Disclaimer: I own neither Angel or anything associated with him, and "Bones" is equally out of my reach control-wise
Angel of the Bones
"Special Agent Booth," the familiar voice of Alex Radswell said as he walked up to them, the short man's commanding presence somehow still managing to draw Booth's attention despite the devastation around them matching what he'd witnessed in some of the grimmer parts of Hell, "and I'm going to assume this is Doctor Brennan?"
"Bones," Booth said, looking at his partner as he indicated the new arrival, "Alex Radswell; he's, uh, from State Department."
"Why'd you say it like that?" Bones asked, even as Booth tried to avoid further questions by glancing at his notes; he tried to avoid it, but even if Radswell wasn't intimidating, he was good at making people feel uncomfortable.
"Booth believes the State Department was put on Earth to protect bad guys from the FBI," Radswell said with a slight smile.
"I count three dead?" Bones asked, shining her flashlight around the room.
"Four," Radswell corrected. "There's one behind the bar, already ID'd as the bartender. This was a cocktail party after a conference on drug trafficking in South America. The keynote speaker was Colombian judicial attaché Dolores Ramos."
"Did she survive?" Bones asked, glancing around the room.
"Minor burns, smoke inhalation," Radswell said dismissively. "She'll be fine. Luck of the draw."
"You seem uncomfortable," Bones said, looking at Booth as she indicated Radswell (Why was it that his partner could never be socially unobservant when it mattered?). "Does his size make you self-conscious?"
"Bones…" Booth said, once again regretting his partner's tactlessness; there were times he found the reminder to Cordelia comforting, and other times- particularly when he was already in an awkward situation- when it really got on his nerves.
"It's a condition; skeletal dysplasia," Bones said, before looking curiously at Radswell. "Pseudoachondroplasia or S.E.D. congenita?"
"Bones!" Booth said, hissing her as Radswell stared at her in a nonplussed manner, clearly uncertain if he was being mocked.
"Doctor Brennan," Radswell said, taking advantage of the brief distraction as Bones turned to look at Booth, "I can see that you're a straightforward person, and as much as I appreciate that quality, what you're asking me is neither your business nor relevant."
"But it's my business because I'm a forensic anthropologist," Bones replied, before she turned her attention back to the room. "But you're right, it's not relevant."
"So, what happened here?" Booth asked, eager to get back to the central topic; even without his uncomfortable memories of how judging by appearances had caused him to kill a demon champion, he just wasn't in the mood to discuss unusual appearances. "Bomb?"
"The blast came from the room next door," Radswell said, indicating the corner of the room where some of the FBI techs were working. "Your people are working on the cause right now."
"I'm betting Colombian drug types," Cam said, as she entered from the hole in the wall leading to the other room. "They just love blowing people up."
"Before she was attached to the embassy, Dolores Ramos was a prosecutor in Bogota," Radswell said- Booth took a moment to glance at Cam and suddenly found himself feeling awkward as she smiled at him-, the ex-vampire continuing to take notes. "She had plenty of enemies in the cartels."
"You ID anyone else beside the bartender?" Booth asked.
"Hector Madure," Radswell said, indicating the body of a dark-skinned man just behind him. "Chief of police from Quito, Ecuador."
"I brought you in to confirm the identity of his wife," Cam said, holding up a photo. "She's the extra crispy one."
"Father Gabriel Ruiz," Radswell said, pointing at another body as Bones walked over to join Cam. "He ran a drug program for kids in Bogota."
"Well, you know, it's a big score for the drug cartels," Booth said, looking thoughtfully at the bodies. "Any one of these people, you know, make a good target."
"I'm gonna check on the conditions of the survivors," Radswell said, as he indicated a less damaged part of the room. "You need anything, just holler."
"Will do," Booth said, before walking over to where his partner was examining the body she'd been brought in to look at; hopefully they could get this case sorted out and be on their way before he had to spend longer dealing with the State Department than was absolutely necessary…
"Lisa wasn't scheduled to work last night," Denise said, the other waitress proving to be a potentially useful witness even if Booth wondered what it said about a hotel where their bar could be mistaken for a nightclub. "She just came in on her own as a customer, picked up a guy."
"You know anything about him?" Booth asked; the sooner he could work out whether the extra victim in that bomb had been the focus of the blast or an unfortunate additional casualty, the happier he'd be.
"Looked Hispanic," Denise said uncertainly. "That's not P.C. to say, but you want details, right?"
Booth hummed in response; he wasn't officially condoning the word choice, but he appreciated the additional clue it provided them with.
"And it looked like he had money too," Denise added.
"How tall was he?" Booth asked.
"I don't know, he was sitting down when I saw him," Denise said, her tone apologetic, before she looked more thoughtfully at them. "Look, Lisa was a good kid, but she used to scope the place for rich guys."
"So she was a prostitute," Bones said.
"What?" Denise said, looking at the anthropologist in shock. "No, no. She was just like any of us."
"Looking for a husband, right?" Booth asked in understanding.
"This guy last night," Denise continued after a brief pause. "she zoned in on him real hard. Took him upstairs, you know, for privacy."
"Upstairs where?" Booth asked.
"The room that was being renovated," Denise clarified. "The one that caught on fire. I mean, it's against the rules, but we've all done it."
"Right," Booth said, chuckling slightly at the memory; no matter where he went, there was always one rule of the workplace that people were willing to break so long as they timed it properly…
"I mean, why else work in a high-class place like this, right?" Denise said with a slightly flirtatious smile.
"Yeah," Booth said, reminded of some of his old cases in Los Angeles; sometimes, even if it was crap, people would take any job so long as they could find the right perks (He recalled one time he'd spent a few months delivering pizzas in the early seventies as Angel, appreciating the fact that it allowed him to work nights and be on his own).
"Someone's trying to flag you down," Bones said, prompting Denise to turn as the bartender called her name again, apologising briefly to them before she walked away to return to work.
"Looks like it's possible that Lisa went upstairs for a little quickie and, uh, wandered into a nightmare," Booth said, looking over at Bones as he rapped thoughtfully on the table.
"She was trying to get you to go upstairs for a little…" Bones replied, knocking on the table and whistling; Booth was only saved from replying when Denise came back to their table
"Hey," she said, indicating a guy walking across the bar behind them, "that's the guy that Lisa was with."
Following the indicated direction, Booth noticed a young man walking across towards the bar, wearing dark trousers and a vertically striped shirt with dark hair and Hispanic features.
"Yeah, he looks like he can be six feet tall," Bones said.
"What do you say we go pay him a little visit?" Booth suggested, the two walking over to the bar where the guy was now sitting before he could have a chance to move.
"Mind if we ask you a few questions?" Bones asked, leaning against the bar alongside their new suspect.
"Oh, well," the man said, grinning back at her, "lose your friend, and maybe."
"It's about Lisa Winnaker," Bones clarified.
With that statement, the man slowly turned around in his seat before he practically leapt off it and began to run. Booth tackled him to the ground with relative ease, only for his temporary elation to be cut short when he heard the sound of a gun being cocked behind him; evidently, whoever this guy was, he'd brought a friend.
"OK," he said, quickly halting his attack on the downed man- dealing with the armed enemy was always the more sensible call- as he slowly got to his feet, the gun up against his neck as the suspect began to crawl away. "It's cool, man, it's all good…"
With the armed man lulled into a temporary sense of security, Booth spun around to grab the arm with the gun and knock it aside, forcing the guard back as he took the gun from his hand before pulling out his own weapon and handing it to Bones, their suspect once again on the ground after his partner had halted his attempts to get back up.
"My name is Antonio Ramos!" the man they'd initially confronted said, looking at them with an anxious edge to his voice. "Call the Colombian embassy; I have diplomatic immunity!"
Looking at the man they'd just knocked down, the faint trace of a smirk on his face at that statement, Booth groaned at this latest turn of events.
They finally get a lead, and they were going to be unable to follow it up due to the damn mess of diplomatic immunity (Booth had no reason to doubt that story; anyone who just wanted to buy time to get away would make up a far trickier story to confirm or deny than diplomatic immunity)?
He really missed the days when he dealt with monsters that wouldn't have known the meaning of that kind of crap (If it hadn't been so terrifying, the idea of some of Wolfram & Hart's clients trying to get away from him by claiming diplomatic immunity would have been rather amusing; he somehow doubted that extended to the kind of demons he'd run into back then)…
"A woman like Judge Ramos, who stood up to the drug cartels, who always did the right thing… it's hard to imagine her killing another human being," Bones said, looking thoughtfully at him as they sat at their usual table in the diner, turning over the recent evidence in their minds as they ate their food.
"Bones, she's a strong woman; that's why she stood up to the cartels, and lived on after her daughter was killed," Booth said, once again uncomfortably reminded of Bones's previous statement about good people being incapable of murder. "Hey, look, her point of view… Lisa Winnaker was threatening her family, so she snapped."
"Will she get away with it?" Bones asked.
"Yeah," Booth said, nodding as he sipped at his coffee. "I think she will."
"OK," Cam said, walking up to them placing a file on the table before she sat down alongside Bones, looking between them with a direct manner. "We all got together- well, Zack wouldn't help until I threatened him-, but the rest of us…"
By way of explanation, she opened the file she had brought with her, showing various contents including a photograph of Antonio in an elevator.
"The blowback patterns shows that Lisa Winnaker's killer was six feet tall," Cam explained. Antonio Ramos is six feet tall. Lisa Winnaker had sex immediately before her demise, DNA tests show it was with Antonio Ramos. Lisa Winnaker was strangled with a silk ligature, Antonio Ramos favours silk ties."
"Why are you manipulating the facts to make it sound like Antonio was the killer?" Bones interjected, looking at Cam in confusion.
"No, it's OK, Bones," Booth said, looking solemnly at Cam. "Let her- let her continue."
He had a few ideas about where she was going with this, but he'd prefer to hear it from Cam before he made any snap judgements; he'd learned the value of not doing those the hard way…
"Because of his broken arm, Antonio Ramos was forced to place his foot on Lisa Winnaker's back, damaging her vertebrae," Cam continued, indicating an X-ray.
"You are fabricating a scenario by misrepresenting the evidence and omitting key facts," Bones objected.
"It's a bluff," Cam said. "Cops do it all the time."
"So you think if we frame Antonio, Judge Ramos will confess to save her own son," Booth said, looking thoughtfully at Cam.
"What mother wouldn't?" Cam asked.
Booth had to admit, it certainly fit most of the mothers in his experience; even Darla had died to save her son in the end…
"Bones?" he asked, looking over at his partner.
"No," Bones said firmly. "No."
"It's no different than lying to a criminal to get a confession," Cam said.
"Or having Hodgins call the FAA with a fake terrorism tip," Booth noted, smiling slightly at Bones.
"He did what?" Cam asked, looking sharply at Booth.
"Oh, what?" Booth said, looking back at Cam. "Now, suddenly, there's a line here?"
"You can't allow this," Bones said, looking indignantly at him.
"I'm a hundred percent against it," Booth said; his mind had been made up when Cam started speaking- he'd made too many moral compromises as Angel, and didn't want to make any more unless he was certain it was required-, but he'd wanted to give her a chance to state her case before he dismissed it completely.
"Seeley, you hate diplomatic immunity," Cam said, looking incredulously at him.
"Well," Booth said- another difference between his life as Booth and his life as Angel; he'd had to bend the rules when he was running Wolfram & Hart, but these days he had to acknowledge and appreciate some of the rules on the larger scale even if he found them inconvenient personally-, "I'm against it when it's interfering with my murder investigation, but the world's bigger than that."
"What are you talking about?" Bones asked.
"We cheat diplomatic immunity here in DC, we catch a murderer, that's great," Booth said (Potential political backlash; another thing he had to worry about more as Booth than he ever had as Angel, particularly since he didn't have Gunn to help him apologise for some of the faux pas that could have ruined everything when he'd slipped up during his time at Wolfram & Hart). "They do it in 'Upper Kamikazestan' and our boys end up on a red-hot spit over a slow fire."
"There's no such place as 'Kamikazestan'," Bones pointed out.
"OK," Booth said- he'd try and spare the time to give Bones a refresher course in sarcasm later-, "bottom line is, we ignore diplomatic immunity and the rest of the world finds out, it's open season on Americans. So you know what?" he said, reaching over to pick up the file Cam had brought, "thanks for the effort and the fake file," he continued speaking as he tore it in half, "but let's just remember, all right?"
He tossed the torn file into a passing bin and looked firmly at Cam. "We're the good guys. Oh, I'm gonna need that real evidence file too."
"OK," Cam said, getting up and leaving the diner, leaving Booth to look at Bones.
He'd need to remember to talk with her about this particular turn of events when things were over; judging by that stare, she was not happy with what Cam had suggested they do…
Looking at Bones as she leant against the railing on the Jeffersonian's upper lounge, Booth wished that this whole case could have been resolved in a smoother manner than it had been; this mess with Cam contemplating faking evidence hadn't exactly helped the still-tentative relationship Bones was developing with her new boss.
"Well," Booth said, walking over to stand beside her as he looked at their team, examining their latest body on the main table of the lab, "look at 'em down there, huh? Heh! Probably falsifying evidence."
"I'm not sure I can totally trust Doctor Saroyan after that," Bones said, her expression the neutral one she always assumed when she didn't know how to process what she was feeling.
"You know, Bones," Booth said, feeling obligated to voice Cam's perspective in her absence, "Cam's a cop at heart. She, uh… she just wants to catch the bad guys. There are a lot of grey areas."
"Not for you," Bones said, with the straightforward simplicity that reminded Booth why he liked being Booth; he might still need to find the occasional compromise, but at least he could avoid those grey areas of letting certain criminals go free so that he could continue to deal with others. "You did the right thing."
"Yeah, it worked out, is all," Booth said, trying not to smile at the compliment; something about Bones's simple perspective on his actions really made him feel better about himself.
"You did the right thing," Bones repeated, looking solemnly at him.
Booth could only smile in response to that simple statement, with the smile becoming slightly broader when he turned around to see two men in suits approaching the lab platform.
"Uh, oh," Booth said, as the men walked towards Hodgins, one showing the entomologist his badge; evidently the fake terrorism 'tip' was being followed up on.
"Shouldn't we do something?" Bones asked.
"Are you kidding?" Booth said, allowing himself a grin as the men took Hodgins by the arms, the entomologist looking up at them with a slight smile on his face as he was led away by the new arrivals. "Hodgins being abducted by men in black? That's a dream come true."
It might be a weird fantasy for any man to have, but considering some of the things Booth had fantasised about when he was Angelus, he wasn't exactly going to criticise Hodgins for something this minor; at least Hodgins' dreams didn't hurt anyone else.
They'd solved the case, caught the killer, and managed to deal with the frustrations of diplomatic immunity; all in all, it hadn't been a bad day.