Bones of the Dead

Summary: Bones/SVM crossover. Sookie Stackhouse is a telepathic waitress who works at a restaurant in Washington DC. When her brother gets sucked into a serial killer case, Sookie conducts her own investigation to clear Jason's name. This brings her into contact with the brilliant forensic anthropologist Dr Temperance Brennan, her partner FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth and one Eric Northman, the enigmatic ruler of all vampires in DC.

Disclaimer: I don't own anything that you recognize. They all belong to their respective owners, Charlaine Harris and 20th Century Fox. The mistakes are all mine.

Warning: This is a crime story so there will be graphic descriptions of crime scenes, bodies, evidence etc. You have been warned.

Chapter 1: The Vampire in the Bar

Winter in Washington D.C. is full of people walking in the streets with their hands stuffed in their pockets. Snow is churned into grey slush on the roads by millions of feet and wheels. The bell rings as yet another potential customer escapes into the warmth of the cosy little diner just opposite the Jeffersonian Institute. Its faded red leather seats are soft and welcome to tired people looking for a place to sit and wind down for a few minutes before they go back to their cluttered and busy lives.

The smell of whisky is strong. It mingles with the aromas of tomato pasta and meatloaf. You meet all sorts of people here. Professionals, people down on their luck, mothers juggling full-time jobs and their families; everyone needs food, and our food is pretty good. And then there are those who deal with the dead. Not the walking dead —vampires— who came out of the coffin two years ago. No, I mean the people who deal with the truly dead and decomposing. See what I mean about all sorts of people? Frankly, I'm surprised they have an appetite after what facing what they do at work. I guess you adapt to your environment, no matter what that might be.

As a waitress, I witness the lives of all these people, perhaps even more than my fellow servers, because I'm not just any waitress.

I'm a telepathic waitress. Sookie Stackhouse is my name. I work at a restaurant called the Founding Fathers, and I also read people's minds. Maybe I should put that on my CV. It might get me a better job; one that actually covers my bills.

As a result of my special ability —disability, most of the time— I constantly see live feeds of crime scenes, of maggot-infested eye-sockets and discoloured skin slipping off greasy bones. I sometimes even smell the scent of decomposition when I make the mistake of not keeping my mental shields up. Although, from a forensic scientist's point of view, 'decomp' is just another unpleasant scent that's part of their lives, much like the smell of stale grease is a part of mine.

Yeah, yeah. I could probably better myself, get a degree or somethin'. I hear ya. The thing is, high school was hard enough for me, what with all those teenage hormones and the gossip and the insecurities. I don't think I can make it through another four years of that. College is like glorified high school with bigger fees.

"Hey, Sook!" calls the barista. "We're stayin' late for drinks tonight!" That's Tara, my best friend from high school. She, like me, could have gone to college but neither of us had the money. At least I had my brother Jason to help me from time to time if Gran and I ever needed it. Tara's supporting her alcoholic mother on her own. It ain't easy, but Tara's tough.

"What are we celebratin'?" I ask.

"Don't you remember? It's Sam's birthday!"

Sam Merlotte is the owner of the restaurant. He's also my friend and I think he has a crush on me. Too bad for him, he's safely cordoned off in the 'friend zone', as are most of the guys in my life. It's safer and less complicated that way, believe me. Dating doesn't work very well for people like me. No, I don't mean blonde-haired blue-eyed tanned waitresses with long toned legs —it comes with the job— and an hourglass figure. I mean telepaths. Do I really want to know what a guy thinks of my ass, or worse, what they want to do to my ass? I don't think so.

So here I am, twenty five, single, and virginal. Sometimes I wonder if there would be less hassle if I went and became a nun. But then, I'm not into organized religion.

I see my one of my best customers come into the diner for dinner. Dr Temperance Brennan is one of my favourite authors. She's also a great tipper and I don't have to worry about reading her mind because a) I don't understand any of the scientific mumbo-jumbo in her head and b) she always says what she thinks. She's with her work partner, FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth. As usual, they're arguing about something. Seriously, I think they should just get married or something. I know Agent Booth likes Dr Brennan —I don't read their minds deliberately; it's just that their mutual attraction is rather obvious, even to people who can't read minds.

"There are no such things as vampires!" Dr Brennan is saying.

"Then what would you call people with fangs who can only come out during the night, are immortal, and drink blood?" asks Agent Booth.

"Perhaps their characteristics match that of the traditional concept of a vampire, but the idea of dead bodies getting up out of their coffins and growing fangs is ridiculous and completely irrational. It goes against all the laws of science."

"So how would you explain the existence of these vampires?"

I interrupt the conversation to take their order, and then leave them to discuss the probability of a mutation that makes people immortal and allergic to the sun. And then I see him. A vampire.

I've never met a vampire before even though I live in a large city. I guess most of them don't come to middle-class restaurants like the Founding Fathers. Although Sam has bought a case of that synthetic blood just in case one happens to drop in. I guess he was right to do so.

The vampire sits down at one of my tables. He glows —no, I don't mean that he's fluorescent or anything. There's just this aura around him. I can't really explain it. I reach out with my mind to try and discern what type of person he is. To my surprise, I find only silence. It thrills me and scares me at the same time.

I take a deep breath and approach him. "Hi," I say, plastering on my best 'Crazy Sookie' smile. "I'm Sookie and I'll be your server tonight. What can I get ya?"

He gives me a small smile. "Do you have any of that True Blood?" he asks. He has a southern accent. His dark hair flops in an unruly manner over his high forehead. His skin is extremely pale and his lips are rather thin. He's not not handsome but I wouldn't take him over Orlando Bloom.

"Yeah, sure," I say as I write that down on my pad. "We only have A positive, though. Is that okay?"

"A positive is fine," says the vampire. I practically bounce off to get his bottled synthetic blood. A vampire! How exciting! The announcement of the invention of a synthetic blood product by a Japanese company came just one month before the vampires' revelation. I think the vampires timed it that way so that they can say that they're not a threat to humanity because they can drink this synthetic stuff. The revelation was an event that shocked the world. A lot of people were scared. Some people, I guess, still think it's a hoax. I suppress the urge to giggle. Dr Brennan is still trying to explain away the existence of vampires when there's one sitting just one table away from her.

"Did you get a boyfriend, Sookie?" asks Arlene. Arlene Fowler is another of my friends at the restaurant. We're a pretty close bunch at the Founding Fathers. She has long –dyed- red hair that's the texture of straw due to all the products she uses. "You seem very happy."

"There's a vampire here," I whisper.

"A vampire? Dear Lord!" Arlene crosses herself. I guess she's not as keen on the idea as I am.

I take the top off the bottle of True Blood and then stick it in the microwave. When the microwave beeps after thirty seconds, I put my thumb over the mouth of the bottle and shake it to even out the temperature of the blood, as per the instructions. What the instructions don't say is what one should serve True Blood in. A mug? A glass? A champagne flute? I settle on a plain glass like the type you serve a whisky on the rocks in. I don't pour the blood. If the vampire wants to drink out of a glass, he can pour his blood himself.

"Thank you, Sookie," says the vampire when I bring him his blood. "My name is Bill Compton."

"Well…nice to meet you, Mr Compton," I say awkwardly. Why is he introducing himself all of a sudden? It seems very odd.

I turn to my other tables. Agent Booth's meatloaf —sans boiled eggs— is ready. As I deliver the meatloaf, I suddenly hear something that I really don't like.

A couple called Mack and Denise Rattray have come to the restaurant. They look totally out of place here with all the rest of the middle class professionals. The Rattrays are dealers. Drug dealers, to be exact, and tonight, they're replenishing their stocks. They're not just looking for any drug. They're looking for a certain type of drug.

V is the street name for vampire blood, and the only way to get vampire blood is to go and drain a vampire.

There is a vampire right here.

I see Denise sidling up to Bill Compton. No, this just won't do. I march up to the table. "Can I get you anything?" I ask the dealers as I blink furiously at Mr Compton, trying to tell him to get away from them. Mr Compton doesn't get it.

"I'll have a beer and some of those cheese fries," says Mack without so much as looking at my face. He's too busy leering at my chest.

"I'll have a salad," says Denise.

"What kind?" I ask.

"Chicken caesar."

I can't do anything except take their orders and deliver them their food. They're asking Mr Compton about where he's from. Soon, Mr Compton gets up to leave with them. Hell no!

I don't know what I can do or what's taken over me, but I follow them. They go out the back to the parking lot there. I sense them in a back alley littered with used condoms and hypodermic needles from heroin addicts.

I hear pained moans coming from the alley. They're already draining him!

Rather than confronting them myself and be killed for my efforts, I run back inside. After all, if one of your customers is FBI, you might as well make the most of the fact.

The next morning, I'm all over the third page of the news. I guess the story's not good enough to make front page, but it's good enough for the second most important news page. "Look at you, Sook!" says Tara over the phone. Her phone call woke me up. She's more excited about this than I am. "You're celebrity!"

"I'm the latest flavour, Tara," I say. "Is Sam mad that I missed his party?" I had to go away and give statements to the police —like explain how I found out about the Rattrays draining Mr Compton; I told them I needed to go out for a little bit of fresh air— and I stayed there for a while.

"He's not mad, but he was worried about you," says Tara. "You should go out with him, Sook. Everyone knows he has a thing for you. Who knows? It might work out."

"Tara, we've been over this before. I don't want to risk ruining a friendship."

"How do you know it's going to be bad if you don't even try it?"

"I've just had far too many bad experiences."

"And what if that's causing you to miss out on a good experience? Sam's not like those other guys."

That's true. I can't read Sam's mind the way I can read other humans' minds. I would have loved to ask him what he is, but what sort of question is that? I haven't told him what I am. Only Tara and my family know.

Gran's cutting out the story from the newspaper. I hope she's not going to frame it. "I'm so proud of you, sweetheart," she says when she sees me come into the dining room with two cups of tea. "It was a brave thing you did."

"Agent Booth did most of the work," I say as I sit down opposite her and set the cups on the coffee table.

"Yes, he is quite a hunk, isn't he?"

"Gran!"

"It's just a comment, honey. Who was the vampire?"

"His name's Bill Compton. That's all I know. Oh, and he has a southern accent."

"I wonder how old he is? Do you think he saw the War?" By 'the War', Gran really means the American Civil War. Her family's from Louisiana and some of her ancestors fought in it. Gran's also just your usual history buff, like me. I would have gone and gotten a history degree in college if I'd had the money, but I don't.

When my parents died in a freak accident, Gran took in my brother Jason and me. I was seven, Jason was ten. We were very lucky that we didn't go into foster care.

"I don't know, Gran. I only served him his bottled blood," I say. I glance at the paper to see what they've said about the incident, only to be distracted by another headline.

'Vampire suspected in slaying,' it says. Below the headline is a picture of Maudette Pickens, who was in my class in senior year. She was held back for a year. It turns out that Maudette is the fourth victim in a series of murders with similar MOs, but the cops didn't manage to link all the murders until recently because they crossed state lines, and the different state police departments don't communicate as well as we would like to think. All the victims had vampire bite marks, and they were all dumped in prominent places —as prominent as body dumps go— naked with their hands bound in front of them. The report doesn't go into too much more detail, probably for fear of copycats, but it does mention that Maudette was last seen with one Jason Stackhouse.

Gran's seen it too. "Oh my," she whispers.

This does not look good for Jason.

It is a normal day at the forensic lab at the Jeffersonian. There are bodies on the platform waiting to be examined, chemicals to analyze and bugs to be identified. Plus an impatient FBI agent who has no patience for detailed explanations about science. Just another day at the office.

"The sperm found in the victim's vaginal tract belongs to Jason Stackhouse," says Dr Camille Saroyan, chief coroner and team leader, as she climbs up the steps to the forensic platform.

"That only proves he had sexual intercourse with her," says Temperance Brennan, author, forensic anthropologist and all-round genius. She doesn't look away from the x-rays she's examining. The body lies on the table "The hyoid bone is fractured, suggesting strangulation."

"Just like the others," says the impatient FBI agent, a certain Special Agent Seeley Booth. "What about the bite marks?"

"There are two puncture wounds on her thighs, Booth," says Brennan. "There's nothing to indicate that they are bite marks. She got them approximately forty-eight hours before she died."

"Well, if you can't tell me anything else, I'm going to question Jason Stackhouse," says Booth.

Jason Stackhouse doesn't have the face of a killer. He is blond, handsome, and not very bright. At the moment, he's twisting his hands nervously and he seems to be on the verge of tears. "It was an accident!" he blurts out as soon as Booth sits down opposite him in the interrogation room. That is…a quick confession. "She told me to play rough, so I did. I put my hands around her neck and squeezed, and I squeezed, and then she just didn't move!"

Maudette Pickens died from being strangled by something bendy and flat, with an edge. Either Jason Stackhouse is a very good liar, or he really has no idea what happened.

"I panicked, so I just left!" Stackhouse continues. "I'm sorry!" He does burst into tears.

Booth's phone rings. It's Angela. She has something to show him.

Angela Montenegro is an artist. By that, she really means she likes creating works of art. However, it's hard to sell art so she ended up drawing dead people for a day job. She's also responsible for reconstructing anything graphical that is in need of reconstructing. Right now, she's working on a sex tape. No, it's not one of her. It's one of the suspect —who has very nice abs and a cute butt— and the victim.

Speaking of cute butts, she hears Booth come into her workroom. "Hey, whatcha got for me?" he asks.

"I'm fine, thanks for asking," says Angela as she pauses the video.

"Sorry," says Booth. The FBI agent hooks his thumbs under his belt. "You said you had something for me?"

"Yeah," says Angela. "Check this out. This is Jason Stackhouse with Maudette Pickens the night she was murdered. Note the clock on the wall. It says it's nine thirty at night." She fast-forwards through the strangulation sex part. There is no need to watch that in detail. She's already checked it out and there's nothing special about it. She resumes normal playing speed once Maudette Pickens appears to have died.

"Stackhouse did confess to the murder, saying that he killed her accidentally during sex," says Booth.

"But then watch this," says Angela. On the screen, Jason Stackhouse leaves in a panic, and once he's gone, Maudette Pickens starts laughing. "Unless Stackhouse came back afterwards to kill her, he didn't do it."

The scene on the screen continues to play out. Maudette Pickens is still bound, suspended from a hook hanging from her roof. Someone else comes in.. At first, they can only see the man's heavily tattooed back and the back of his bald head, but then he turns around. His face seems to be the only part of him that's free of tattoos, but that's not what really stands out.

He has fangs.

"Why anybody will let that bite them voluntarily, I will never know," says Angela.

Bones are Dr Brennan's territory. Flesh, however, is Cam's. With her tailored dress and high heels, she's not exactly dressed for performing autopsies, but that's what scrubs and gloves are for.

Decomposition happens more slowly during winter, which is a bad thing for murderers but great for those who try to catch them. Maudette Pickens was discovered in a dump station by a couple of workers going back to work after the weekend. Most of her skin is still intact. There are a few brave nibbles here and there, mostly from rats, but the cold means that most of the usual carrion eaters, such as the bluebottles and the blow flies, have yet to begin their work on the body.

Cam runs the black light over her, trying to pick up anything that the naked eye might have missed. A partial mark shows up on the back of her hand. It's a stamp of some sort. Most of it is gone, but Cam can make out the letters '—asia'. She takes a photo of the stamp. Perhaps Angela might be able to match it up to something.

It's back to Jason Stackhouse again. This time, Booth is asking him about the vampire who went to…uh…see Maudette Pickens after Stackhouse left. This time, Booth has the FBI psychologist and profiler listening in on the conversation from behind the one way glass. Lance Sweets might be young, but he is one of the best at his job. Not that Booth will ever tell him that unless the time really calls for it. He doesn't believe in inflating other people's egos unnecessarily. Besides, he's sure that Sweets knows he's good. Only the best get to work for the FBI.

"You mean she weren't dead?" Stackhouse blurts out. "So I didn't kill her?"

"Did you?" asks Booth.

"I thought I did…but if she was still alive after I left…" The FBI agent can practically see Stackhouse's valiant attempt to work it all out inside his head. "…that'd mean I didn'tkill her...right…?"

"I don't think he's lying," says Sweets' voice through Booth's earpiece. Booth doesn't think Stackhouse is lying either. He doesn't seem to be intelligent enough to pull off such an elaborate act. However, appearances can be deceiving, although the evidence does speak for him in this case. Still, it's very difficult to come to any conclusions before the murder weapon is found.

Booth's phone rings. It's Cam. She's got something from the body. "You're free to go for now, Mr Stackhouse," he says as he stands up. "But do us a favour and don't leave town."

"Angela's matching up the stamp right now," says Cam as Booth makes his way over to the lab. It's not good practise to talk on the phone and drive at the same time, he knows, but hey, he's got great reflexes and his phone is on speakerphone. "My guess is that it's from some sort of nightclub."

"There are some pretty seedy places around town," remarks Booth as he pulls up outside the lab.

Angela's workroom always reminds Booth of the interior of a spaceship, with all those buttons and screens and controllers. He makes sure that he doesn't touch anything, in case he wrecks something. A half-finished painting of an impressionistic still-life stands in the corner, the canvas and oil paints a fitting juxtaposition to all the advanced technology that Angela always seems to be surrounded with.

"How are you, Angela?" he asks, remembering how he neglected to greet her earlier this morning.

"I'm still the same as the last time you saw me," says Angela, turning around to give him a knowing smile. He flashes her his million-watt grin. No woman can resist that grin.

"Do you have anything for me yet?" asks the FBI agent.

"Well, like Cam has most likely told you, I'm running the partial stamp found on the victim's hand through the database of stamps," she says. "Hodgins is analyzing the ink."

"And Hodgins has identified the components of the ink," says the voice as a man of mediocre height strides into the room brandishing a file, which is undoubtedly full of graphs and tables that might as well be hieroglyphics to Booth. Dr Jack Hodgins is the 'bug and slime' expert. That means he's actually an entomologist and a mineralogist, but 'bug and slime' has such a good ring to it.

"Can we skip all the scientific mumbo jumbo and get to the point, please?" asks Booth. He doesn't know any of those horribly long chemical names, anyway. No one else does either, not even Bones, and that's saying a lot.

"What I found was a very common water based ink with red pigmentation," says Hodgins. "That on its own is not very helpful, but I also found traces of asbestos."

"I'll run a check on all the nightclubs in older areas where there are still asbestos in buildings," says Angela. Very soon, the computer beeps. "There we go." Angela turns the screen around as if she's showing off something bizarre to the two men. Both Booth and Hodgins lean in closer to look at the stamp —and the picture of the nightclub.

Fangtasia.

I am so relieved when I answer the door of my apartment —well, mine and Gran's— to find Jason standing there. Jason might not be the best brother in the world, but he's the only brother I've got. "Oh, thank God, Jason!" I breathe. "What's going on?"

"I dunno…" he says. He's dazed by the entire experience and in a bit of shock. His thoughts are being broadcasted very clearly. I see the interrogation room, I sense his fear. He thought he killed Maudette accidentally during sex — EWWWWW! So not going there! But then it turns out that he didn't kill her. He doesn't think so, at any rate. My brother is hardly ever sure of anything, not even what's going on in his own head.

Agent Booth questioned him. I've never really seen the FBI at work before, despite a good number of them coming to the Founding Fathers for after work drinks. I've never thought of Agent Booth as being just a funny guy, but his interrogation of Jason only proves that he is the real deal. He was firm, he wasn't overly harsh —although Jason was close to tears anyway so I guess he didn't have to be too harsh. At any rate, I'm glad that Jason isn't too traumatized. He is still confused. He's also very angry about Maudette getting involved with vampires.

Jason Stackhouse is not a fan of vampires. He can never say why, but he just doesn't like them. They give him the chills. It must be noted that Jason has never met a vampire in his entire life. The undead might be out of their coffins, but it doesn't mean that they're all over the place like cockroaches. I mean, I work in the hospitality business and I've only met one vampire so far. I also know that my co-worker, Dawn, likes sleeping with them.

In every situation, there are always extremes. On one side are the vampire haters who believe that they're demons who came out from the deepest pits of hell to lure humanity to evil and darkness. On the other end of the scale are the vampire groupies. There's a very nasty word for them but I don't like using it. Anyway, back to the topic. Dawn loves vampires. Rather, she lusts after them. She says that their long lives mean that they have tons of experience, both in bed and out. She also loves the thrill of cavorting with some of the most dangerous creatures ever known to mankind. I wonder if she would find the same thrill in cavorting with…say…alligators? Then again, alligators aren't half as pretty as the vampire she has a thing for. Well, I wouldn't call him pretty but he is very nice to look at, although experience has told me that thoughts are not particularly accurate as they can be warped by people's prejudices.

Dawn is also sleeping with Jason. I'll bet Jason will be very pissed that two of his girls are with vampires. I know my brother.

So when Dawn turns up dead the next day, all eyes immediately turn to Jason.

The FBI do not believe in coincidences. Since the last person Dawn was seen alive with is also Jason, he's now officially a suspect. It doesn't help that his DNA is all over her apartment. Plus they found his…stuff. You know. Stuff.

I know my brother didn't kill Dawn. Jason might be prejudiced and narrow-minded and incredibly un-smart, but he's not a killer. My guess? I think he's being framed because he's too dumb to defend himself. Sorry, Jase, but that's just a fact. Plus we're not exactly rich enough to hire a great lawyer, so he'll be an easy scapegoat.

I pick the brains of the investigators to try and determine all the known facts about the murders. I have to do something about this. Gran always said that God gave me my 'gift' for a reason. I've always been of the opinion that God should take it back. Still, it's come in useful occasionally. This is one of those occasions.

I find out that both Dawn and Maudette had stamps from a nightclub called Fangtasia. I guess that's where I'm going tonight. I just need a date.

After his draining, Mr Compton sent me a bouquet of flowers to thank me. He also left his phone number and hinted that he might be interested in getting to know me better. All in all, it seems to be very normal behaviour for a guy who likes a girl. I don't feel that way about him, of course, but one date can't do any harm now, can it? Besides, it's not really a date. I need to investigate a vampire-run nightclub and I need protection, plus someone to help me navigate through the waters of the vampire subculture.

I think I might have picked up too many of Dr Brennan's thoughts.

I call Mr Compton and explain what it is I plan to do, which is go there and scan the thoughts of the patrons to see if there's anyone suspicious in relation to the two murders. Not that I actually tell him I'm going to go in and read minds. What I say is that I'm going to Fangtasia to ask some questions and have a look around. He is a little reluctant at first, but finally agrees after a lot of persuasion on my part. His only conditions are that I call him 'Bill' and that I introduce myself as being his girlfriend, because that, apparently, will offer me some degree of protection.

Hey, I'll take what I can get. I think I might bring my mace, just in case.

Temperance Brennan does not believe in vampires. Well, not the traditional sort of vampires, which are basically dead people who rise out of the grave to prey on the living. Dead people do not get up and walk, period. She should know. She makes a living out of working with dead people, both modern and ancient. None of them have ever gotten up and walked anywhere after their deaths.

What she does believe is that there is a curious sort of disease and mutation that causes people to become allergic to the sun and also to develop curious dietary requirements. The fangs are a bit of a mystery, but she's certain that there is a scientific explanation behind them too. Perhaps the next stage of human evolution? She would know more if she could persuade one of these 'vampires' to get x-rays.

Booth pulls up outside 'Fangtasia'. From the outside, it looks just like any other nightclub. For Brennan, it's just another place where people show themselves off as being sexually available.

The two of them got out of the car and ignored the cue of eager 'fangbangers', which are what vampire groupies are called in the vernacular, and head straight for the 'vampire' manning the door.

The bouncer is in skyscraper heels and a strapless leather dress that falls to mid-thigh. Her fangs are fully extended, and both her nails and her lips are painted blood red. Red, of course, is the colour of power and passion. She might as well have written 'sex' all over herself as far as Brennan is concerned.

"The queue's over there," says the woman. Most women tend to eye Booth. This one, however, doesn't seem to care much for the agent. Her eyes are on Brennan, and she seems to be liking what she's seeing.

Booth flashes his badge. "FBI," he says. "I need to talk to the owner of the establishment."

"Fine," says the vampire. "Go on in."

Brennan follows Booth inside the club. Before the door closes, she catches the woman winking at her. "Drinks are on the house for you," she says.

Because he's a vampire, Mr Compton—sorry, Bill gets to jump the queue. Since I'm his "date" —note the inverted commas— I get to jump it with him. It's one of the perks of being with a vampire, I guess.

The vampire at the door checks my ID as the people in the queue glare at my back. I can hear their vitriolic thoughts. Some are thinking I'm too fat. Others are wondering if my boobs are fake. As if I would risk putting silicone implants inside myself, especially since they could very easily kill me if they rupture.

She finally hands back my ID. "Good luck getting out," she says.

Red lighting plus the pseudo-gothic décor plus the disco ball makes the interior of Fangtasia incredibly tacky. It's a good thing that the patrons are too busy trying to get themselves a vampire or else they'd have noticed it too. That, and the severely overpriced drinks. I work at a restaurant with a bar. Trust me, I know what a gin and tonic costs. It's not even great gin.

His eye is immediately drawn to the man on the stage. Dais. Altar. Whatever it's supposed to be. It's quite hard to not notice the guy when he's put himself so prominently on display. Judging by the way most of the people in the club are unconsciously leaning towards him, Booth figures out that he's the main attraction of this place. For sure it couldn't possibly be the great customer service or the incredible music. Well, at least not for people who frequent the nightclub scene.

"I love this music," Bones whispers loudly to him. Ah yes. Good ole Bones. She likes her music, but her tastes veer towards the classics and she doesn't listen to the radio when she's driving. When Booth drives, he likes to listen to the news. This station is the new 'vampire' station, run by humans, of course. There's a lot of wailing guitars on it, and the DJ is called 'Connie the Corpse'. "And do you see that man?"

"Yes, I see 'im, Bones," says Booth. "That's the owner, Eric Northman. Be careful. He's a vampire."

Bones laughs. "He is impressive!" Then she catches herself not focusing. "Sorry."

"It happens to everyone," says Booth. He was rather distracted by the woman at the door himself and…is that the waitress from Founding Fathers sticking out like a swan amongst a bunch of crows with her prim white flowered dress? There's no time to worry about other people's private lives. He has a murder to solve and someone to question.

The vampire on the throne does not blink as the two approach him. He does look up. Booth flashes his badge. "FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth," he says. "This is my partner Dr Temperance Brennan from the Jeffersonian. We're here to ask you a couple of questions."

The other vampire, the woman at the door, silently slides behind Northman and places an arm across the top of his throne.

"I'm intrigued," says Northman. "I am running a legal business here." His long legs are stretched out before him. He drapes himself over his throne the way an alpha male lion would lie on a rock in the Serengeti, watching over his pride. Discovery Channel is a very useful educational supplement for guys who have never been interested in or good at science. Like Booth.

Those tight leather pants he's wearing show off his…uh…assets to their best effect. It's very hard not to notice what a large man he is, in every way. "Are you impressed, Dr Brennan?" asks Northman, who is practically ignoring Booth. Shit. This interview is not going well.

"Size does not guarantee skill in bed," says Bones matter-of-factly.