Booth was walking through the walkways of the FBI headquarters in Washington, planning, having just arrived, and hoping that there would be a case file sitting on his desk, waiting for him. He nodded a greeting to one of his friends, who was carrying a file, and his coat, obviously on his way out to a crime scene.
"Hey Booth, isn't one if your squint friends at the loony bin?" the man asked, stopping in front of Booth. Booth nodded.
"Yeah, why do you ask?"
"They found a body this morning, still in his bed. They don't know if it was murder or Suicide."
"Yeah, poor sole, apparently he didn't get many visitors. I was just wondering if you wanted to go see your friend while I checked out the crime scene."
Booth considered it. He hadn't seen Zach for over a month, as he'd been busy. He remembered how Angela had said that Zach still looked pale, ill, and withdrawn from his bout with pneumonia. He didn't have a case, his desk was empty; he could see it from where he stood.
"I think I will come with you." Booth said, turning around and walking out of the building.
XO XO XO XO XO
Booth and his companion walked down the corridor of the institution, Booth's gaze flickering from side to side at the poor misfits that were in the rooms on both sides of the corridor, looking curiously out at him, or lying in their bed. A few of them had company, but Booth they were doctors, not friends or family. He felt a twinge in his chest, suddenly realising how bad Zach must feel. He resolved that he would visit more often.
They reached the end of the corridor, and Booth turned, knowing that he needed go that way to reach Zach's room, and his friend followed him.
Booth was about to ask what the vics name was when he looked up the corridor they were now in, and froze.
There was a small cluster of people, Nurses, a doctor or two, police, and a couple of FBI agents standing in the corridor, right near where Zach's room was.
A chill settled in Booths stomach.
"Zach, please not Zach" he whispered, breaking into a run. He bolted down the corridor, skidding on the polished floor when he reached Zach's room. He felt his heart drop into his stomach. Through the window that allowed for greater supervision of inmates Booth could see Zach lying on his bed, his eyes closed, is head turned towards the window. His pale face looked calm, peaceful, and relaxed. Booth felt his eyes mist over with tears. Although Zach looked like he was sleeping, the amount of blood that Booth could see on the blankets, on the floor, and all over Zach was fairly conclusive.
Zach Addy was dead.
He spun around, grabbing his friends arm.
"Give me your keys"
"Booth, are you okay? Is that your friend?"
"Yes, that is my friend, I have to go and tell the others."
"I'm really sorry, mate. I didn't know it was him, you know, your friend."
"Just give me your keys" Booth snapped, and his friend handed them over. Booth took off running.
He had to go and see someone.
XO XO XO XO XO
Bones was sitting at her desk, writing some of her newest book, when Booth burst in.
"Bones, can you get the team together, I need to tell them something."
"Can't it wait?"
"No, Bones, it's really important." Booth pleaded with himself not to let his emotions show in his eyes.
"Okay" Bones rolled her eyes and got up, catching the rest of the team's attention.
"What's going on? Do we have a case?" Hodgins asked when they all reached the platform.
Booth took a breath, having no idea how he would break this to the team. He slowly exhaled.
"I don't really know how to say this." He said out loud. 'I mean I should be used to telling families their loved ones are gone, why is this any different?' he found himself thinking.
'Because it is Zach, you idiot' he replied in his head. Deciding that being straight to the point would be the best way to say his news, he took another deep breath.
"One of my colleagues at the FBI got a new case this morning, at the institution."
"What about it?" Hodgins asked. Booth took another breath.
"It was Zach. Zach. He's gone."
"As in escaped?" Bones asked.
"No, as in dead." Booth said back, his voice harsher than he had intended. A stunned silence took over the office as each person took in the news.
"Zach's dead?" Angela asked for clarification, and Booth nodded, his head bowed.
"They don't know if it was a homicide or a suicide."
"Zach wouldn't kill himself, he just wouldn't" Cam said.
"I don't know, he has been really quiet, and he was so distant the last time Hodgins and I went to see him." Angela said. Bones walked away from the group and dropped into a chair.
"I can't believe he's gone, are you sure it was him."
"Yeah, I saw him. He looked, I don't know, peaceful." Booth couldn't meet anyone's eyes, so he looked at his shoes. Angela leant into Hodgins' chest, her eyes filling with tears, as Hodgins rubbed her arm comfortingly, though he had tears in his own eyes. They all did.
Booth slowly walked around the table in the centre of the room to where Bones was sitting, and crouched beside her, gently taking her hand in his, and squeezing it reassuringly. Bones sobbed and leaned against him, and Booth could not think of anything he could say or do that would make it all better for Bones and all the others.
XO XO XO XO XO
The group said nothing as they stood together on the platform, all caught up in their own memories of Zach. A youngish voice cleared her throat.
"Excuse me, you've got some mail."
Booth looked down and saw the receptionist holding a small stack of envelopes in her hand. He went down the stairs and took them off her, nodding his thanks. The receptionist walked away as Booth looked at the topmost envelope. It was addressed to Brennan, in clear handwriting. He handed it to her, and then handed out the other letters. They were all addressed in the same handwriting, and they all received one: Bones, Hodgins, Angela, Cam, Sweets, and one for himself to. Booth however, didn't make the connection until he turned his own envelope over, and realised there was no address on the back. He opened his up, taking out the folded piece of paper within. His eyes flickered to the bottom of the letter, his jaw almost dropping when he read Zach's name, with a Shaky signature beside it. Across the room, he heard Hodgins curse when he opened his letter.
"Oh God" he said, before falling silent. Booth gently rested his hand of Bones's shoulder, before beginning to read his letter.
'Dear Booth' it said, 'I guess by now you know about what happened to me (at least, I hope you do.) Can you do one thing for me, and look after Dr. Brennan, Angela, Hodgins, Cam and Sweets? It isn't their fault. It's mine. I was too weak to cope. It isn't your fault either, Booth. If I was in prison, instead of here, I would not have lasted this long.
It went on like that, with Zach reflecting on his memories of Booth, and thanking him for the little bit of advice he had given him before Iraq. Once he had finished reading the whole way through the letter, Booth's eyes flickered immediately to the start again.
'Can you do one thing for me…?' Zach had written. Booth blinked, and realised that there was moisture running down his cheeks. He wiped it away, hoping none of the others, especially Sweets, noticed it.
"I promise I will look after them, Zach, I promise I will help them through this,' he whispered under his breath, gently squeezing Bones's shoulder as he spoke. Angela was gazing silently up at the roof, as if she could se through it, all the way up to heaven, where Zach would be. By far, Zach was the most angelic of the Squint team, with the sole exception of the Gormagon incident, and if any of them made it to heaven, it would be Zach.
I was Sweets who broke the silence, nervously clearing his throat. Booth shot him a pointed look that clearly stated 'We are not in the mood for your psychological mumbo jumbo.' Sweets either didn't see or ignored the look, and began to speak.
"I know that this may not be the time, but I feel I should tell you all this, while we are all together. As Zach is gone, I have no guilt in telling you this. Do you remember how, when Zach helped us with a case, and I took him back?"
"Yeah, what is this about, Sweets" Hodgins snapped. Sweets licked his lips nervously.
"Zach spoke to me, while we were in the car park. He told me that…" he faded off
"Go on" Booth said his voice low, and dangerous.
"He said that he never killed that guy. He admitted to it because, I quote, 'if he was told to kill him, then he would have, and also because he was still guilty of accessory to murder,"
"Why didn't you tell us?" Yelled Hodgins
"Because he is my patient and he told me to not tell you. He knew if the officials found out, he'd be out of the institution and into prison before we knew it, and we still might be dealing with this same situation." Sweets snapped back. The group was silent once more.
"When do his parents find out?" Cam asked
"The FBI will inform them, they probably already have. Knowing Zach, he'll have sent a letter to them as well" Bones quietly said.
"When was the last time they visited him, anyway?"
"They all came at Christmas time, when he was in hospital, and his mums come twice since then, though I think Zach mentioned in passing that he got a letter fairly regularly from them." Hodgins said.
They fell into silence once more, until Booth's cell phone went off. Excusing himself, he hurried to answer.
Booth was silent as the person on the other end said something
"I'm with, you know, the other Squints"
He was quiet again.
"So, that's confirmed then?"
Booth ran his hand through his hair.
"Yeah, we got some letters from him, they're dated yesterday. They tie in with your findings"
Booth exhaled down the phone.
"Okay, mate, thanks for keeping me informed. I'll get your car back to HQ when I'm done here. Bye"
Booth hung up, and looked over his shoulder at the squint team, who were all looking at him. Bones got up, seeing the dejected look upon his face.
"Booth, are you okay?"
"The FBI agents on Zach's case have wrapped up their investigations. Zach committed suicide."
Booth strode across the room and engulfed Bones in a hug.
"I'm so sorry he whispered, before kissing her on the forehead.
A.N. THE END – I hope the characters in this chapter didn't seem too OCC, like Zach did in chapter one. Reviews are much appreciated.