When Brennan came to, the first thing she noted was the dirt beneath her fingers. Her brain snapped to attention, and she listened carefully even as her eyes remained closed. Faint noises could be heard in the distance. It sounded almost like construction was going on.
She finally opened her eyes to see Simon seated in a chair against the far wall. His head was down, but Brennan quickly realized that the limp manner in which his head and arms were hanging meant that he was unconscious. And then she saw the bowls positioned under his hands to catch the steady drips of blood.
Brennan sat up but realized she couldn't stand because her hands were chained to metal rings secured at the base of the wall. Looking around, she realized she was back in the torture and kill room in the abandoned building where the victims had been found. But how had she gotten here?
She closed her eyes and tried to remember. Things were fuzzy in her memory, but she did recall going to the loading dock to take charge of an arriving shipment. Wendell, Simon and Chris had all been with her. Wendell had gone to request additional help with the unloading while she and the other two interns were checking the boxes. After that, her memory was a blank.
Brennan opened her eyes and gingerly raised a hand to her head. She couldn't feel any new bumps or cuts, so a head injury was unlikely. And she doubted anything like chloroform had been used because she was certain she would be able to detect the odor. Some other form of knockout gas was the likeliest cause of her extended period of unconsciousness and hazy memory.
She looked up to see Chris Walker standing in the doorway to the kill room, a pleasant smile on his face.
When she said nothing, he continued. "I was worried that you might sleep through the grand finale."
Brennan suddenly heard sirens in the distance. "This is a very irrational plan, Mr. Walker. But I suppose you're not actually Chris Walker, are you?"
A smile lit up his face. "You remember me?"
"No. But Booth told me that identity theft likely figured into this case. They've also been searching for a particular undergrad student – one who was on the same research dig in Guatemala that I attended as a graduate student. What happened to Chris Walker?"
"Chris Walker is dead, of course. Luckily he is not close to any of his family members, so no one has noticed his absence. I'm Daniel, by the way." His tone was very conversational as he walked over to check the bowls beneath Simon's hands. "I don't suppose you can be blamed for not remembering me. I was an unfortunate victim of the freshman fifteen the year I went on that dig. My self-confidence was lacking, and I didn't talk much. But I listened – I learned so much from you during those weeks, Dr. Brennan."
Brennan tried, but she still couldn't remember Daniel from the trip. She could almost hear Booth in her head telling her to keep him talking. She'd heard the sirens, so she suspected that Booth already knew they were here. "Is Mr. Dempsey dead?"
Daniel placed his fingers against the other man's throat. "Not yet, but he should be soon. I didn't want to kill him because the blood flows out more nicely when a person is still alive, and it retains their vitality."
"Why are we here? With all of the construction going on and the crews working, you couldn't have managed to sneak in without someone seeing you."
"Oh, they saw me," he agreed. "But then I wanted them to see me. It wouldn't be any fun without an audience. Based on the sirens, I expect Agent Booth to be here quite soon." He picked up one of the bowls of blood and examined it. "That should do nicely. I really only need a little."
He walked over to an urn near Simon and poured the blood inside. Brennan recognized it as one of the K'iche burial urns though it was not exactly like the one he had sent to her. The predominant theme appeared to be the serpent god's body winding around from the base to the top of the urn.
"Why do you need his blood?" She suspected she knew why; blood had been an important part of many of the rituals performed by the Mayan people.
"This urn contains the blood from each victim. It also contains my blood." He raised his sleeve to show her a long scar. "And when I add your blood, I'll become even more powerful."
Brennan stared at him in disbelief. "I believe Dr. Sweets was right. You are, indeed, crazy. There is no ritual outlined in Mayan history that involves the mixing of blood to cement power. At best you are combining myths of other cultures or beliefs such as those found in paganism."
"And the most powerful in history have culled what they've needed from many in order to forge new paths."
"How does this work? Do you intend to dance naked about the urn while chanting? If so then I have to reevaluate my theory regarding the killer having a logical mind. Returning to this location was also quite stupid."
"This location is important because it holds the spirits of the deceased." A crack appeared in his composure. "I outsmarted you and everyone in that lab. I really expected to be found out before now. I knew I was taking a huge risk by entering your lab as a new intern. The security was tightened, and FBI background checks had been performed. And although I bear a passable resemblance to Chris Walker, anyone taking a close look at photo IDs he had previously made should have known I wasn't him. But then, people see what they expect to see I suppose."
"So that is why you killed Dr. Walters," Brennan surmised. "He could identify you."
Daniel nodded. "Both Dr. Walters and Dr. Stires would have known I wasn't Chris immediately. When I heard Agent Booth tell you that he had set up a meeting with Dr. Walters, I knew I had to do something about that. I talked to Dr. Walters that night, you know. I was aware that Dr. Stires was meeting him for breakfast – my plan was to take care of both of them at the same time, but sadly Dr. Stires was late."
"It was the article about my internship program, then. A photo was taken, and that article is scheduled to appear in the newspaper today. You knew Michael would see it."
"I shouldn't have been in that photo. I made arrangements to be away during that interview, and Dr. Saroyen changed the time in order to accommodate me. But it all worked out." He walked over to Brennan, a long handled ceremonial knife in his hand.
Brennan moved her hands down toward her ankles. "You are not getting one drop of my blood."
He grabbed her hair and tilted her head back, his smile doing nothing to disguise the rather maniacal brightness of his eyes. "You count on the fact that you are intimidating to most people, don't you Dr. Brennan? I've quite enjoyed the way you cut people down with a few words, the way you send the interns running for cover. The times you made Hannah cry were a bonus. Her little crush on me was very annoying – she was constantly hovering, distracting me. It did have its uses though."
The surge of anger that shot through her was surprising; hearing him speak of Hannah so casually after what he had done to her was an atrocity. "Hannah was twice the scientist that you are. Unlike you, she would have gone far in the scientific field."
"This would be a good time for you to be quiet," he replied through clenched teeth. "I have done my own research with each victim. You'll find my many notebooks filled with research in Chris's apartment, and I assure you that it's brilliant. Hannah was a little girl playing at being a scientist – she would never have had the fortitude to carry out such experiments."
"You tortured people and then murdered them. That makes you a serial killer and a sadist – not a scientist. You are clearly pathologically delusional. But after you're arrested, I hope they find you competent enough to stand trial because I will very much enjoy putting together the case that buries you."
"You really do spend a lot of time with Agent Booth, don't you?" He laughed and placed the knife against her skin. "But as you can see, we're still quite alone here. Simon will certainly be no help to you, and we're still waiting for Agent Booth's entrance."
Brennan looked up to see Booth by the door way, weapon drawn and pointed at Daniel. "You are late."
"Well, you know – D.C. traffic is a bitch." Booth's voice was calm, almost as if they were discussing him being late for lunch. "Daniel Swinton, you're under arrest for a whole lot of crimes that I'll list out later. Right now, you're going to drop that knife and step away from my partner."
"Or you'll do what?" Chris laughed again. "This knife is very sharp, Agent Booth. If I slip, I assure you the results won't be pretty."
"You've got five seconds," Booth stated. "One, two…"
The gunshot was startling in the small room. Booth rushed forward as Daniel Swinton crumpled to the ground, holding the back of his thigh.
"Where did you get a gun?" He grabbed Swinton and turned him over to cuff him. Then he pressed his foot down on the wound, causing the man to cry out. "You stay down, or I'm going to let her shoot you in the other leg." He kicked the knife away and turned to Brennan.
Brennan held up her hands, still cuffed. "He cuffed me to the wall, but apparently he didn't check to see if I was armed."
"Where the hell were you hiding that thing?" He muttered. Not waiting for an answer, he turned to the other agents who were now streaming into the room. "We need to get the paramedics down here." He gestured toward Simon against the wall.
Patterson turned and began giving out orders as Booth leaned down to sit beside Brennan. He pulled her into his arms. "Are you ok?"
She nodded. "I'm fine. I think he must have used a gas to render us unconscious at the loading dock. But the effects have already dissipated. Do you think we can find a key?" She held up her arms as she leaned back.
"I have something quicker," Agent Patterson said as he approached, holding up bolt cutters.
Booth took the bolt cutters and used them to cut the cuffs from Brennan's hands. He handed them back to Patterson and helped her stand up, holding onto her to make sure she was steady. "Ok?"
"I'm fine, Booth." She looked down at Daniel, who still lay moaning on the floor. "I'm a little disappointed that he dropped so quickly. I would have enjoyed shooting him in the other leg."
Booth relaxed for the first time in the last couple of hours as he pulled Brennan closer and kissed her forehead. "I was scared – when I knew that he had you. And while I don't like you packing, I'm not going to complain about it today."
"There's another one in my bag," she confessed. "Unfortunately, that one was at the lab. I really do think you should reconsider your stance on this topic."
"Discussion for another day," he promised, kissing her temple. They walked over to the medics who were preparing Simon for transport.
"How is he?" Booth asked.
The medic started to reply but Brennan interrupted. "Based on the amount of blood in the bowls, he should survive. The cuts were not as deep as they could have been. It appears that he wanted Simon to bleed out slowly."
"She's right," the medic confirmed. "But he will need a transfusion." He and his partner lifted the gurney and walked out of the room.
More medics were now attending to Daniel Swinton, who cried out every time they touched him. "Not quite the behavior you'd expect from someone who thought he was a god," Booth remarked, finding some satisfaction in the other man's pain.
"I believe Sweets was correct – this man is floopy like his cereal."
For the first time, Booth smiled. "Floopy, huh?"
"He actually planned to mix all the blood of his victims and perform some magical pagan ceremony with the K'iche urn. He convinced himself that this would bestow powers upon him. And he apparently believed that the ceremony needed to take place in this room because the spirits of his victims are here."
"Well, it's over now. Let's go home. Right now, I don't want to think about him or the case. I just want to hold you and be thankful that you're alive. But first, I think we need to go to the hospital and make sure that whatever gas he used on you has no lasting effect."
Brennan grimaced. "I don't believe I've ever had so many trips to the hospital before in such a short period of time."
Booth led her out the door. "And if I have any control over it, you never will again."
A/N: I know it's been forever since I posted on this story and I apologize for that. Honestly, I felt like Season 6 might have affected how I wrote the characters, and I hated to end the story on a sour note. I've done a little rewriting of the final three chapters in an attempt to recapture Booth and Brennan, so I hope that if you are reading you will enjoy the ending.
I also want to thank those of you who refused to let me give up on this story. I've been getting regular PMs from many Bones fans asking me to continue and encouraging me to regain my Bones muse because they enjoy my stories. 'Dungeon' is finished now, so I will post Chapter 44 next week, and Chapter 45 will come shortly after that. I'm considering a sequel to this story, but I've got some playing around to do with that idea first.
Thanks to all of you who didn't give up on me!