When Booth and Brennan arrived back at the museum, Cam was already at the scene with the police team and Detective Mewes. "I hadn't left my office yet." Cam explained with a tired smile. "Wait'll you see this one."
They made their way into the archaeology lab and Booth said. "Woah. That's not fresh."
"No. It. Is. Not." Confirmed Cam with raised eyebrows.
"Caucasian female, late teens early twenties…dead approximately a week. It's difficult to tell." Brennan said, her eyebrows drawing together. The remains were in a bin of liquid and had deteriorated a great deal. "What is this liquid?"
"It's a very mild corrosive. The department had been using it to clean some bronze tools and weapons and had sealed and marked it for hazardous waste pickup. Mister Hess noticed the seal was broken and the lid was askew when he made his rounds." Cam said, indicating the security guard, an older African-American man who was seated down the corridor with a policewoman who was gently handing him a cup. His face was ashen and he looked terribly shaken.
Alexa Mewes joined them at this moment and said. "Hey, there." With a gleaming look at Booth. "Are you taking this one too?"
"Yep, is that going to be a problem?" Booth replied, all business, feeling Brennan's watchful eyes on him.
"Not from me. I've got enough on my plate without begging for more work. D.C.'s a popular place to get killed, you know?" She said, her sharp hazel eyes shifting between Booth and Brennan. She smiled brightly and turned to Cam. "Doctor Saroyan, I presume?"
"That's right." Cam said, smiling back and shaking her hand.
"Detective Alexa Mewes, D.C. Metro." Alexa said. "My people will help Agent Booth wrap this up and be out of your hair. Let me know if I can be of any help."
"I'll do that." Cam said with an amused gleam in her eye, too smart and too familiar with Seeley Booth not to notice his edginess around the stunning detective.
"Brown hair. Long brown hair." Brennan piped, having turned back to the body. "Glasses. I believe this is a lab coat. You should check to see if any staff has been absent in the last week." She said to Booth. He was writing in his notepad rapidly. "Or…interns. Given her approximate age."
"Good one. Thanks, Bones." He said. "Bring it all over to the lab?" He guessed.
"Yes." Brennan said briskly. "Everything."
"Alright. You heard the lady." He said to the police crime scene technicians. Alexa nodded her concurrence and they finished cataloging the scene and began working out a way to transport everything to the other wing of the Jeffersonian. "I've gotta talk to Mister Hess." Booth said to Brennan. "You need to get some sleep. I'll find a way home."
Brennan looked stubborn, Booth didn't miss her eyes quickly darting to Alexa Mewes and he almost smiled at her.
"I'll give you a ride home, Seeley." Cam said, smothering a smile. "Once I check this into the lab, we should both be okay to get out of here till morning….well…till later this morning anyway."
Brennan was relieved but her face remained impassive. "Alright then. I'll see you in a few hours." She said.
"I'll walk you out." Booth said. "That lot isn't lit properly."
"I'll be fine." Brennan protested.
Booth dug in his heels. "Alexa, get one of your guys to walk Doctor Brennan out, please." He said in a no-arguments tone.
Alexa Mewes was a very smart woman and knew her chance with Seeley Booth was nil, especially after this macho display. She was now very amused and met Cam's also-laughing eyes before saying. "Davis? Walk the Doctor out, will you?"
"Ma'am." The very young officer said and hurried over. He smiled at Brennan. "Are you really Doctor Temperance Brennan? The author?" He asked eagerly.
He was too young and too much like a golden retriever puppy for Brennan to be aloof. She smiled. "I am." She walked with him out the door, only casting a brief last glance at Booth that held a mixture of annoyance and watchfulness.
"The good news is I've got copies of all the reports and the list of guests and staff for you." Alexa said, digging into a file and handing Booth a stack of papers.
"You work fast." He said with some admiration.
"Oh, stop it. That's how a girl gets a reputation." Alexa said with a smirk, not able to stop herself from flirting with a gorgeous man in a tux no matter how unavailable. "I had an hour and put it all together while I grabbed something to eat. I didn't read it all, just collected my people's handwritten reports and ran a copy for you. Good luck with Davis's chicken-scratch."
"Huh." Booth replied absently, skimming the first sheet. "It'll take a while to dig through this, but thanks."
"There were about four hundred people in the building tonight." Cam said, looking over Booth's shoulder at the documents. The police techs had mobilized the bin by lifting it – using six officers – and putting it onto a rolling dolly.
"But if these two deaths were related, it narrows the list to people who have been in the area for the past week and people with access to the Jeffersonian archaeology labs." Booth said.
"And if they aren't related?" Cam said.
"Oh, they're related." Booth said. "Twenty-to-one the flecks in the wounds on Doctor Felding's body are from an ancient bronze weapon…recently cleaned in a mild corrosive." He gave the two women a smug look when they both looked suitably impressed. "Well, I'm going to talk to Mister Hess and then get him on his way. Cam, I'll meet you in the labs?"
"You got it. I'll leave a note for Hodgins to check those particulates and confirm their origin first thing in the morning." She said, following the police technicians and the bin.
"Detective." Booth nodded stiffly at Alexa.
"Agent Booth." She replied. "Relax. You're safe with me. You're clearly…unavailable. And you might be surprised to know that I'm not used to needing to convince men to like me." She laughed.
"I…" Booth didn't know what to say to this, so he didn't try. "Thanks for your help on this. I'll let you know if I need anything else."
"Great." Alexa stuck out her hand. He shook it and headed over to the security guard.