Booth stood in the doorway of the hospital room, quietly observing the scene in front of him. Sweets still lay in his bed, disturbingly still, flanked on either side by Cam and Brennan, both of whom were holding his slack hands.
The women had taken over the bedside vigil so that Bailey could go home to shower and relax for a few hours. In that time, there had been no change in Sweets' condition, and it seemed like, unless there was a miracle, time was slipping away. With a sigh, Booth moved into the room itself, taking the seat next to Brennan and slipping his arm around her.
"Any movement?" He whispered.
Cam shook her head. "No, nothing. The doctor said he is having muscle spasms, but that it's from whatever this damn poison is, and not from voluntary movement."
"Anything from Hodgins yet?"
"No, Angela went to the lab to see if she could help him, but that was hours ago." Brennan leaned into his embrace for a moment. "Have you heard from my dad?"
"Yeah. He has a lead on Colleen from an old contact and he was heading back here to check it out."
Brennan bristled. "Booth…he can't investigate this on his own, he is not a police officer."
"I know, Bones. He's only going to talk to another contact that might have had a run-in with her. That's all. I told him to call me the minute he had a bead on her. I'm not stupid." He ran a hand over his face in frustration.
She put a soft hand on his knee. "I know that, Booth…it's not you I'm worried about. You know my father…he's killed to keep me safe, so it would not be out of character for him to do something irrational now."
Booth moved his hand to the back of her neck and rubbed her nape. "Bones, he promised me he wouldn't do a thing if he found her. I made him swear he wouldn't do anything to his contact." He leaned towards her and looked her in the eye. "I gave him my trust, and Max will not violate that trust."
Nodding, Cam agreed. "Brennan, Max respects Booth. He wants to help and he wants to do it the right way."
"He has changed." Brennan acquiesced. "And I do trust him." At Booth's look, she reiterated. "I do trust him, Booth. But if things get out of hand unexpectedly…"
"Then he will walk away and call me. We worked it out between us, okay?" His hand moved from her hairline to her lower back. "Okay? I've got this."
She shook her head in defeat. "I really don't have any choice but to be okay. Right now…"
"Batrachotoxin!" Hodgins excited voice rang down the hallway of the intensive care unit. The three sitting around the bed all stood as one and started to head for the door as Angela ran in, panting from exertion.
"Hodgins found the poison all over Sweets' FBI ID!" She grabbed the door jamb, trying to catch her breath. "It comes from…whew, from poisoned frogs! He's already made an antivenin to counteract the effects."
Brennan, Booth and Cam all breathed as one, trying not to yell in excitement and disturb the other patients on the floor. "Thank God." Cam whispered.
"Amen." Booth crossed himself, a little surprised when Brennan sagged against him, barely standing. "You alright, Bones?"
Nodding against Booth's shoulder, Brennan bit back a sob. "Yes. Yes, I am."
Angela leaned over and kissed Brennan on the temple. "He's going to be fine, sweetie. I've already called Bailey, she's on her way. As soon as Jack gets the medicine to the lab here, they can test it and then administer it to Sweets."
"Why not now? He needs it as soon as possible!" Booth looked from the still figure on the bed to Cam and Brennan, confused.
Cam ran a comforting hand along Booth's arm. "Because, big man…we know Hodgins and we trust him, but the hospital can't just administer medication from anyone off the street. They need to run tests on it, make sure it's safe and viable. Dr. Andrasini is willing to do almost anything to help, but protocol needs to be followed."
"Fine, fine…alright." Booth ran a frustrated hand through his hair. "So, we keep waiting."
Three hours later, the team sat in the waiting room again, this time waiting for word that the antidote Hodgins had manufactured was doing its job. Booth and Brennan shared a small padded bench, their mutual silence only broken by the intermittent sound of Booth's leg bouncing up and down and Brennan's definitive slap on his thigh to stop him. Hodgins and Angela sat on the floor around the low coffee table with a Travel Scrabble spread in front of them, trying and failing to concentrate on the game. Cam paced the room quietly, stopping only when Booth's phone rang, interrupting the tomb-like silence.
"Booth." Listening to the caller, his eyes slipped closed and he shook his head. "How in the hell did that happen?" The voice on the other end obviously wasn't telling Booth what he wanted to hear and it was clear he was trying not to throw the cell across the room in frustration. "Well, find out how she got the goddamn job! And I want all of her information on my desk in exactly one hour. No ifs, ands or buts." He slapped the phone shut with a grunt and stood, hands on hips and scowl on his face.
"Was that about Colleen?" Brennan asked, reaching out to grab Booth's hand, both for comfort and to hold him still.
Pinching the bridge of his nose tightly, Booth shook his head. "Cameron."
"Who?" Cam asked, confused.
Booth allowed Brennan to pull him back to his seat, throwing his arm around her out of habit as he settled in, still irritated. "Cameron McDonald. She is the woman who set me up for murder and who almost killed Sweets. We know that Hodgins found the poison all over Sweets' FBI ID. She was working security at the Hoover, and she is the guard who scanned Sweets in yesterday morning. Security footage shows that she was wearing what looks like surgical gloves when she gave him back his badge, she must have applied the poison right before then."
Angela shook her head. "I thought her name was Colleen? How did she get a job with the FBI under a pseudonym?"
"She changed it, legally." Cam offered.
Booth nodded morosely. "She changed it a little less than twenty years ago." He gave Brennan a sideways glance. "Right after she aged out of the foster system."
"I don't understand." Brennan said, absently rubbing her forehead as she felt a headache coming on. "You're saying that she was the source of the poison, and that she poisoned Sweets by applying the venom to his FBI ID?"
"Right." Booth moved his arm back and rubbed her neck softly. "She's out of her mind, Bones. If you're right…and she was sleeping with Dale when you turned him in, maybe she holds you responsible?"
"But why now? That was decades ago!"
Angela pulled up the chair next to Brennan and sat, placing her hand on her friend's arm. "Bren, Booth is right. She obviously mentally imbalanced, and actions motivated by that kind of thing rarely make sense."
"Angela is right, Brennan. It's possible she hasn't had the means to do anything until now, or maybe she was in prison-" Cam stopped, exchanging looks with Booth. "You know it's really possible…."
Booth stood and flipped his phone open. "Not a bad idea, Cam." He punched a number and stepped off to the side to call Charlie and get the full background check on Colleen slash Cameron while the rest of the team watched silently.
"Temperance? Angela?" Bailey's soft voice barely cut the quiet of the room, but it may as well have been like a scream, judging by the way the group reacted.
"Bailey!" Brennan gasped; taking in the younger woman's smiling face. "Is he…"
Bailey nodded, and then crossed the room and threw her arms around Hodgins, shoulders shaking with sobs. "Thank you, Dr. Hodgins…I-" She pulled back and kissed him full on the lips, causing Angela to laugh and Jack to step back nervously. Bailey didn't seem to notice as she held onto his hand. "I can never repay you for what you've done." She turned to the rest of the group, including Booth, who was now off the phone and smiling widely. "Lance's fever has broken and his respiration and heart rate are slowly returning to normal."
The cheer that rang out from the group brought a nurse peeking in to see what the noise was about, but she retreated quickly when she saw who the troublemakers were. The entire intensive care floor knew them all by now and was happy to give the obviously tight-knit group a little leeway.
Booth, Brennan, Cam and Angela all took turns giving Bailey a hug, taking the moment to enjoy some good news after so many days of worry and tension. Booth pulled Brennan into a tight embrace and kissed her forehead lightly. "You okay now, Bones?"
"Yes." She whispered into his shoulder. "I was so worried. If-"
"Now, none of that now." Booth chastised her gently. "Sweets is fine, we know who we're dealing with, we will get her." He leaned back and kissed her lips with a grin. "We're the best, baby."
"We really are."
Just then, Angela's cell began ringing, and she stepped to the side to answer it as everyone chatted quietly about Sweets and what lie ahead for his recovery. Only Booth noticed how Angela's face paled as she listened to whomever was on the line, and he nudged Hodgins towards his wife with a worried glance. They stood together for a few minutes as Angela continued to speak on the phone while Jack held her hand, not noticing that they now had everyone's attention as well.
Angela closed her cell and wrapped her arms around her husband, stifling a sob. Hodgins shook his head, confused. "Ang, baby…what the hell happened? Who was that?"
Sniffling, Angela leaned back, still in Jack's arms. "That was Janelle. From the gallery."
"Is she okay? What-"
"The gallery is gone, Jack. Burned to the ground. They suspect arson."
"Jesus." He shook his head. "And what about all your..?"
She whimpered slightly, his arms around her the only thing keeping her from swaying on her feet. "It's all gone. Everything…the paintings, the…sculpture…oh God, it's all destroyed."
Brennan sucked in a breath, moving to Angela's side and wrapping her arms around her. "Angela…I'm so sorry, I'm-" Guilt crossed her face, darkening her features. "This…it can't be a coincidence." She looked to Booth, who was shaking his head.
"Bones, we don't know that. Okay?" He joined the three of them huddled tightly together, putting a comforting hand on Jack's shoulder, Bailey and Cam trailing behind him to complete the circle.
Angela nodded in agreement. "They said it could have been arson, we don't know that for sure."
"But your sculpture…oh, Ang…" Brennan's breath caught. "I am so, so sorry…"
Waving her hands in front of her and shaking her head vehemently, her best friend deflected. "No, sweetie…this isn't your fault. And the sculpture can be recreated; I have hundreds of pictures of it." She sighed. "The paintings are gone, but…replacing them will just kick-start my inspiration, right?"
Brennan hugged Angela again, floored by her friend's reaction. "I wish I had your outlook on life, Ang."
Angela looked at the people around her and couldn't help but smile. "Well, admittedly, the thought of going out and getting blind drunk later is helping."
Booth laughed and tapped his friend on the tip of her nose playfully. "You are so on, Ang. As soon as we get Sweets squared away, we're tying one on."
"Tying one on what?" Brennan huffed at the amused looks on everyone's faces. "Sometimes, none of you make any sense to me."