It was just an ordinary day, an ordinary case. Some unidentified human remains had been found in a park in the suburbs, dug up by a dog on an early morning run with its owner.
At 6:13am, Booth was woken up by the phone call. He collected Bones from her apartment, and they drove out to the site.
Bones had been up all night writing. Her publisher wanted religious symbolism and Christian history, or as Bones put it, 'lies and misconceptions' in the new book. Readers were turning away from thrillers with political commentary and valuable anthropological information and wanted something that touched on wider concerns. Apparently the bleeding skies and multitude of strange deaths of a few months ago had put the fear of God into the consumers. Bones objected to this request strongly and vocally for most of the trip out to the crime scene.
She was still talking about it as they ducked under the yellow tape.
"They want me to put angels in it, Booth! Angels! Something for which there is no definitive proof at all!"
Booth was about to snap back that the point of religion was that you didn't need proof because you had faith, but the officers at the scene came to fill him in at that point, so he resolved to finish the discussion later. It was futile to argue religion with Bones anyway. She was unmovable.
The body had been dismembered, but all the parts were there except the mandible and a femur. Bones said the victim had been female, between late fifties to sixties, cause of death unknown until she could examine the bones more closely in the lab. Booth thought dismemberment would probably do it, but hoped there was a different cause that didn't involve being chopped up alive.
Back at the lab, the squints did their thing. Hodgins examined dirt and insects, and got very excited when he discovered something that put the time of death at almost exactly one year previous. Angela reconstructed the face, with several possible jaw lines. Cam examined something disgusting and squishy that she assured him was liver tissue, and ran DNA. Bones and Daisy X-rayed the bones.
Sweets came to get Booth and Bones for their session after lunch. Booth had been sort of hoping he'd forgotten. He had a lot of work to do, trying to discover the identity of the victim, and Sweets was definitely going to notice the tension between them since the conversation that morning.
"I'm noticing some tension between the two of you," he said immediately. "Is everything ok?"
"Yes," Booth and Bones said simultaneously.
"If something's bothering you, you need to talk about it. Otherwise it festers, and you won't be able to operate effectively as a partnership," Sweets told them.
"We have a case," said Booth, standing up.
"Wait, Booth. I feel like you're avoiding this conversation. Did you have an argument?"
"Why do you always think we've had an argument? Booth is a very reasonable person. We have discussions, that's all."
"Oh, that was a discussion this morning? Because that's not what it felt like." Booth could feel his frustration rising.
"But angels? I understand that you believe in these things, Booth. I just don't understand why."
"Don't you ever want to believe that there is something out there that will help you if you're in trouble? Something that rewards people for living a good life and looking out for others? Someone to guide you in times of need?"
"I can help myself, Booth. And I have you. I don't need angels."
There was really nothing Booth could say to that.
By late afternoon, they had narrowed the possible pool of missing persons down to three, the most likely being Gillian Sparrow, a school teacher who had gone missing from the area one year and two weeks ago. Cause of death had not been established, but Cam said that the alcohol content of the liver tissue was high enough that she had probably been unconscious at time of death.
Bones was frustrated. Booth could tell by the way her brow furrowed as she ran her gaze up and down the bones, commenting on cuts inflicted after death, and healed injuries, but not finding the cause of Mrs. Sparrow's demise. He dragged her away to get Chinese, eventually. If he hadn't, she would have been there all night.
As it turned out, it was lucky he did.
At 11pm, his phone rang. An intruder had been caught in the lab at the Jeffersonian, apprehended in the processes of desecrating the remains. He had been tackled just as he was about to set them on fire, and had put up a decent fight – not to escape, but to light the bones. Security had stopped him, but the remains had been covered in salt and doused in gasoline.
If Bones had been in the lab there would be a case of murder on her hands.
The intruder had been arrested and fingerprinted. He was waiting to be interrogated. The agent in charge was very insistent that Booth come immediately. The detainee had a history of violence and impressive escapes from custody.
Booth rang Bones. He wasn't sure he should. There was a good chance she would assault the suspect once she heard about the damage to the evidence. He called her anyway, though, because Bones hated being left out of interrogations, and maybe she could use some of her observations of the suspect to judge whether he would be capable of mutilating someone.
They handed him the file before he entered the interrogation room. He made the mistake of not opening it before he went in. It always looked more impressive when you opened the file in front of the suspect.
The man who sat on the other side of the desk looked tired. Tired, and sad, and lost. Defeated. He was handsome. Thirtyish. Vaguely familiar.
Booth opened the file. Underneath the mug shot, it said in large black letters: DEAN WINCHESTER. DECEASED.
Booth skimmed the file. Multiple counts of murder. Torture. Armed robbery. Weapons charges. Grave desecration. Escaping custody... The list went on. It included two reported deaths, including one in which the body had been left at the scene and positively identified as Dean by DNA evidence.
"You destroyed my evidence!" Bones began, angrily.
"I had to," said Dean, "But they stopped me and now more kids are going to die." It was quiet and matter of fact, but he did not look at them. That was unusual. Murder threats after arrest were usually a form of intimidation, spoken threateningly, with strong eye contact.
Booth skimmed more of the file, watching out of the corner of his eye to be sure Bones did not assault the suspect. Believed unstable. Narcissistic. Delusions of grandeur and the supernatural. Possible vigilante.
"So, Dean. I see here you've died twice," Booth began, "Care to explain that?"
Dean laughed. "Twice? Dude, I've died more than Buffy. They just keep bringing me back." The smile drifted away from his face without reaching his eyes. He laid his head on the table and closed his eyes.
Maybe they should have woken Sweets up for this.
And then there was someone else in the room. Booth was looking at the file, and Bones was glaring at Dean, who was pretending to sleep.
"Dean." A voice said quietly.
Bones shrieked. Booth let out a manly yell of surprise. A dark haired man in a trench coat stood behind Dean. Booth reached for his gun.
"Dean." The man repeated. Dean bolted upright and spun around, standing up with impressive speed.
"Where the hell have you been, Cas? How could you just leave me here alone?" Dean was yelling, standing very close to the man, who seemed totally unperturbed.
Booth pointed his gun. His hand was shaking. "Sit down!" He commanded. It came out less commanding and more shaky than he intended. Beside him, Bones was frozen in spot.
The words had no effect.
"I must speak with you, Dean." The trench-coated man said it quietly. Booth was not afraid of many people, but this man terrified him. There was a feeling of raw power around him. His coat seemed to billow in a non-existent wind. The lights flickered alarmingly.
"You didn't even say good-bye, Cas. Just went back upstairs and abandoned me for months! I prayed to you and you didn't come! And now you need me. Well, I'm not doing it. I'm through. I've lost everything, and I'm done. So you can just fly away home, now."
"I have missed you, Dean."
Dean seemed on the verge of punching Cas, but the handcuffs prevented it. Booth let out a slight hysterical snort at the thought of calling someone so terrifying Cas.
Bones recovered her voice. "Who are you?"
That was reassuring. It meant he probably wasn't hallucinating, if Bones had seen him too.
The man turned his head slightly. "I'm an angel of the Lord. I must speak with Dean."
Booth crossed himself and began to pray.
He heard the angel speak.
"See, Dean. This is a devout man. This is the correct way to acknowledge the presence of an angel."