AN- Welcome to my first sequel! So many of you asked for it, I thought I'd give it a shot. This is a follow-up to "The Marriage in the Mission." I don't know that it's absolutely necessary that you've read "TMitM" but some things may not make sense if you haven't. ;-)
Because the basis of this story is seeing Booth and Brennan balance work and family, it will be a little more case-heavy than any of my other fics, but I would by no means call it a "case fic." It is my first attempt at a real case that is more than just a "drive-by," so your comments will mean a lot.
Oh, and while it's not technically a crossover, don't be surprised if some other familiar characters pop up from time to time. :-)
The plan for this one is weekly updates that I plan to post on Sundays.
And, as always, please review… I really love reading your comments, and though I may not respond to all of them, I do read each and every one and they really do keep me going.
Special thanks to Ceeray3 for being the most amazing friend, and for giving this story the once-over and sharing her thoughts and opinions. C, you're the best!
The Family in the Fieldwork
As the hot summer sun shone down over Washington, DC, Seeley Booth looked out over the assembled crowed with a touch of pride. They were an eclectic bunch, that was sure. But they were his bunch… his people… his family. He loved days like this, days when the whole "family" was gathered around the pool in his back yard.
Ever since he and Temperance had bought this house four years ago, their home had become the gathering place for their family of squints, cops and kids. He reached out to flip the burgers on the grill in front of him as he felt a pair of very familiar arms snake around his waist.
"Contemplating your kingdom again, King Seeley?"
"You caught me, Queen Temperance," he replied with a chuckle.
The royal reference had become a running joke between them over the years. When they'd first moved in, Booth often lamented that the house was more befitting of a king than a simple civil servant. Their royal family had grown several months later with the birth of their little princess.
Amelia Caroline Booth brought her parents much joy and with their love for her, they were finally able to move past their pain and the loss of the baby they had created on their honeymoon.
Mia was not only the light of their lives, but she had brought much to the rest of their family, as well. Auntie Angela was so taken with the beautiful little baby that she stood in the middle of Brennan's hospital room and announced to her husband that it was "baby making time." Ten months later, Michael Joseph and Catherine Temperance Hodgins were born.
"Come on guys!" Parker called out from the far end of the pool. "Dad, I could really use your help out here. I can't let Uncle Jack and Sweets win at pool volleyball!"
Booth looked over at his wife with pleading eyes.
"Go," she said, taking the spatula from him. "The Booth family pride is at stake!"
He kissed her quick and hard.
"Thanks, babe. You're the best!"
She laughed as she watched him run across the concrete decking to do a cannonball into the pool.
"No running by the pool!" she called out amongst her laughter.
"Need some help, Boss?" Wendell asked, walking up next to Brennan at the grill.
"Thank you, Wendell," she replied, allowing him to take responsibility of the barbeque. "I want to go and check on Mia. She should be getting up from her nap soon."
"No problem," Wendell replied. "I'll keep an eye on things until Booth gets back."
Much later, three couples sat around the fire pit.
"Listen to that," Booth said.
"I don't hear anything," his wife replied.
"Exactly," Booth answered, wrapping his arm around her shoulder and pulling her close. "Exactly."
"It is nice," Angela agreed.
"Does it make us old that may favorite time of the weekend is when the kids are in bed and the 'young guns' have gone home?" Hodgins asked.
"No," Paul and Cam answered at the same time.
They all sat quietly for a few minutes.
"How are things at the university, Cam?" Brennan asked.
"They're going really well," Cam told her friend. "I was a little worried, going from being a New York cop to running the lab to becoming the Dean of Forensic Science was quite a ride, but I think that I'm well suited for academia at this point in my life."
"You mean you're getting old," Angela quipped.
"Hey!" Cam replied in mock offense.
"Hey," Angela said. "I get it. The lab can be exhausting. That's why I only go in when they absolutely need me."
"That, and the fact that you have twin two-year-olds," Booth added.
"Well, yeah. There is that," Angela said. "But when Mia was two, Bren was taking over Cam's job at the lab so she could move on to American U."
"True," Brennan stated. "But I only had one two-year-old… and a nanny."
"So, Booth," Paul said. "How 'bout them Phillies?"
"Too much estrogen in this conversation for you, Doc?" Booth replied with a laugh.
"Come on man," Paul said, laughing along. "Throw me a bone, will ya? I spend all day surrounded by pregnant women. I like to talk about anything but babies and children when we finally get a night out. No offense, ladies," he said to Brennan and Angela.
"How are the plans for Michelle's wedding coming?" Hodgins asked with a twinkle in his eye.
"Thanks," Paul replied, shooting a glare in the entomologist's direction. He knew that once his wife got going on that particular topic, they were in for a long night.
"Come on guys," Booth said, standing up. "Lets' go check out the highlights on SportsCenter."
Hodgins and Paul stood to follow.
"Check on the children before you go downstairs, please," Brennan said as her husband leaned down to kiss her.
"Sure thing, babe," he answered, following the guys into the house.
"Booth, round up your squints," Cullen called out as he charged in to Booth's office. "You've got a case."
"Let me get Wells in here," Booth said, reaching for the phone.
"I don't think you heard me," Cullen said, placing his hand over Booth's and keeping him from picking up the receiver. "I said you have a case."
"But, sir," Booth said, confused. "I haven't been in the field in years."
Cullen dropped a file on Booth's desk.
"Michaela Austin," Cullen said. "New York party girl. Missing since last weekend."
"I still don't get it," Booth said. "Shouldn't New York Missing Persons handle this? What am I missing?"
"They were," Cullen answered. "Until NYPD found her roommate in a dumpster behind a club in Soho. That got it bumped to Major Crimes. Witnesses put Michaela in DC last week, so New York bumped it to us."
Before Booth could open his mouth with another objection, Cullen went on.
"Her father is Kieran Austin," he said.
"Of Austin Hotels," Booth said, understanding.
"Austin Hotels, Austin Designs, Austin Industries…" Cullen said. "This guy makes Donald Trump look like a kid with a lemonade stand. We need to find this girl yesterday. The press is gonna be all over this, in fact there's a reporter from the New York Post sniffing around here already."
"Great," Booth said. "I hate reporters."
"Austin is a golfing buddy of the President's, Booth. I need the best on this case. That's you and that brain trust of yours. You can bring Wells in. I know he's the one working with the squints these days. But you are running point on this."
"Director Booth," the security guard said. "We haven't seen you around here in a while."
"Hi Sam," Booth replied. "And its Assistant Deputy Director," he added with a chuckle.
"Mmm-hmm," the older man said with a smile, handing Booth a visitor's badge. "Dr. Brennan should be in her office. Just got back from a meeting with the Board."
"Thanks for the warning, Sam," Booth said, excusing himself and making his way to his wife's office.
He stood in the doorway watching her pour over the stack of papers on her desk, a small scowl on her face.
"Hey, baby," he said.
Surprised at hearing his voice, she looked up and smiled.
"Booth, what are you doing here?"
"It's time to get the band back together," he said.
"I don't know what that means," she replied.
"It means we've got a case."
"We have a case?" she asked, her eyes lighting up.
He loved that look on her face. He knew how much she missed field work, particularly since she'd taken over the administrative duties at the lab. He also figured this would be a welcome distraction after her meeting with the museum's Board of Directors. The money guys always left her feeling more than frustrated.
"Yes, Dr. Brennan," he replied. "Cullen specifically asked that we get the team back together. We can use Clark and Wells as usual, but he wants me running point on it… and you in charge of the lab work."
"High profile?" she asked.
"The highest," he answered, sitting down on her couch.
"Where are the remains?" she asked.
"There aren't any," he answered. "And hopefully, there won't be."
"I don't understand."
"Right now, it's a Missing Persons case," he told her. At her puzzled look, he went on. "I am in charge of Major Crimes, Fraud and Missing Persons, you know."
"I'm perfectly aware of your job description, Assistant Deputy Director Booth," she replied. "What I am unclear on, however, is how my lab can assist in a Missing Persons case."
He dropped the file on her desk.
"Michaela Austin," he said. "Recently graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and expected to go to work in the family business. Her father is Kieran Austin…"
"…the industrialist?" she asked. "I met him several years ago at one of the parties my publisher threw for me in New York."
"Yes," Booth answered, resisting the urge to roll his eyes. He often forgot about the fact that his wife was famous and moved in circles he'd never dreamed of. "That's the one. Michaela has been missing for about two weeks."
"And there's no possibility that she went off on her own?" Brennan asked. "To avoid the pressure she was surely under?"
"The information we have says she wouldn't take off," he told her. "And on top of that, NYPD found her roommate last week… in a dumpster outside a popular club in SoHo."
"You think the two are connected?"
"I wouldn't rule it out," he answered. "You know how I feel about coincidence."
"So there are remains," she said. "When can we get them?"
"They're on the way from New York as we speak."
"Why isn't the New York field office working this case?"
"Witnesses put Michaela here in DC last week," he said. "That, and with the profile of the case, New York didn't want to be in the line of fire in case they screwed up. They pawned it off on DC first chance they got."
"Well," she replied with a smile. "You are the best."
"Was," he answered. "I was the best… and only because I had the best team behind me."
"You're nervous," she said, standing to move around and sit next to him.
"Well yeah," he admitted. "A little. I mean, it's been four years since I've been in the field."
"You'll do great," she encouraged, taking his hand. "It's like riding a bike. I never understood that phrase, but it seems to fit."
"Yes," he said with a chuckle. "It does. Thank you."
"You're welcome," she answered, as he brought their joined hands to his lips for a kiss. "I'll call the team in for a meeting this afternoon," she said. "In the meantime, why don't you take me to lunch?"
"Sounds great, babe," he said. "What time do you want to call this meeting? I want to get Wells over here, too."
"Two o'clock?" she asked.
"That'll work," he answered. "We can grab some lunch and that will give me time to check in with Cullen and the guys from New York to see if we've got anything new."
At precisely two o'clock, Booth stood next to his wife as the seats around the conference table in her office began to fill up.
Hodgins sat to his left, Clark Edison and Wendell next to him, Angela had just walked in behind Joshua Wells, the agent currently assigned to the Jeffersonian.
"Sorry I'm late," she said. "It's not easy to find a sitter at the last minute."
"Dr. Edison," Brennan said, "Dr. Bray, will you please round up your grad students? We're going to need everyone on this one."
Clark nodded as Wendell answered.
"Sure thing, Dr. B," he said as they stood and made their way back out into the lab.
"I read the file," Wells said. "This is pretty high profile. Shouldn't we limit the number of people who have access to the case?"
Hodgins chuckled quietly as the agent shrunk a little under Brennan's withering glare.
"Agent Wells," she said. "You've been working with this team long enough to know how we work. Everyone gets involved to their own level of expertise, and there is not one person working in this lab who cannot be trusted."
"Yes, ma'am," Wells said, looking down at the table.
"Where's Daniels?" Booth asked.
"Dr. Daniels is on vacation," Brennan replied.
"The remains are fresh," he said, hating the sound of the phrase. "We're gonna need a pathologist on this one."
"I have an idea," Brennan said, excusing herself to the other side of the office where she picked up the phone on her desk.
Clark and Wendell arrived back with two grad students following behind them.
"Go ahead and brief them, Booth," she called out. "I'll catch up."