6.5x21: The Agony in the Defeat ~ Written by Squinttoyou and NatesMama
"Please state your full name and designation for the record."
"Dr. Temperance Brennan, Forensic Anthropologist with the Jeffersonian Institution's Medico-Legal Lab."
"And your title within the FBI?"
"I am contracted out per an agreement between the Bureau and the Jeffersonian to identify previously unidentifiable human remains for purposes of investigation within the confines of the Criminal Investigative Division, specifically Violent Crimes, in partnership with Special Agent Seeley Booth."
"So, you are Agent Booth's partner."
"That's what I just said."
"Right." Agent Mills cleared his throat and ignored the smirk on his partner's face. "Thank you. This is FBI Special Agent David Mills, Internal Affairs Division, today is Tuesday, May 29, 2011 and I am interviewing Dr. Temperance Brennan. Also present are Special Agent William Somerset, IAD, and FBI Certified Court Reporter Michelle Dailey." He paused, slightly unnerved by Brennan's intense stare. "Dr. Brennan, would you please recount, to the best of your ability, the events surrounding the interrogation of Wallace Fitz on May 25, 2011?"
"From which point would you like me to begin?" Brennan sat back and relaxed into her chair, unconcerned with the looming interview, considering it a monumental waste of time.
"Please start from when you were called to the Hoover to join in the interrogation of Wallace Fitz, Dr. Brennan."
"Are you not concerned with the investigation itself?"
Mills fumbled with his paperwork. "Uh…we have that information, Dr. Brennan. What we need from you is your recounting of the events that pertain to the incident in the interrogation room."
"Very well." Brennan sat up, hands clasped on the table in front of her as if she were a schoolgirl taking an important exam. "I was working with the rest of our team at the Jeffersonian, collecting, cataloguing and analyzing the evidence that proved the serial killer we called Creeps McGee was, in fact, Wallace Benjamin Fitz. During this time, Agent Booth called me and requested that I come to the Hoover and join the interrogation."
"And was this unusual?"
Brennan considered her answer for a moment, "Moderately. I am, as a matter of course, with Agent Booth when he begins an interrogation. However, as I explained, it was imperative that I remain at the lab to collect the case evidence."
"Did Agent Booth give an explanation as to why you were called in to assist at such a late date?"
Booth pulled Brennan aside, away from where Sweets and Turner stood near the observation room, and lowered his voice.
"Bones…" He glanced at Turner, who was trying very hard to look as though she wasn't listening. "I am not entirely comfortable with you being in the same room as this psycho, but…"
"What, Booth?" She grabbed his hands in an uncharacteristic show of public affection. "I know I don't read people very well, but even I can see that you're troubled about more than my safety."
Sighing, Booth led Brennan into the observation room and closed the door, affording them a bit of privacy and giving Brennan her very first look at the suspect in question. Booth watched, stomach coiled in worry as she faced the glass and stared at Fitz, who was sitting calmly on the other side. Booth focused on Brennan's face, unable to look away as something dark crossed her features and the hand that she placed against the glass curled into a white-knuckled fist.
"We have to do this by the book, Bones. And ... I've tried. I reasoned with him, played good cop-bad cop, let him think he was intimidating me...nothing is working. He's the hardest suspect I've ever tried to break and it's pissing me off, Bones." He took a shuddering breath, letting all his frustrations, worries, and feelings of inadequacy out at once. In the privacy of the observation room, Booth was able to show a side of himself that he only ever showed to the woman in front of him. "I feel like I'm losing to this guy and he's sitting right in front of me! He turned himself in and I can literally feel him slipping through my fingers!"
Brennan nodded once and turned from the glass, her eyes immediately locking with Booth's. "Then let's go in there and make sure that he doesn't get away with it."
"So Agent Booth was worried?" Mills gave Brennan what she could only describe as an oily smile.
She shook her head slightly, trying hard not to let his combative attitude get to her. "No, not worried...frustrated. Booth is very, very good at his job. One of the best agents in the country. And the interrogation room is his domain, where he feels most comfortable. And Mr. Fitz was sullying that domain with his pompous and uncooperative behavior. He was offended."
"Offended enough to do something he shouldn't have?"
"If you really believed that, you would have already arrested him. You simply want someone to take the responsibility from the Bureau. And although he did everything by the book, followed every rule, obeyed every guideline...this happened under Booth's supervision. You want to make him the scapegoat, completely disregarding the fact that one is not necessary."
"You don't think someone should be held responsible?"
"Wallace Fitz is responsible. He admitted to killing all of those innocent people, and he walked in this building of his own volition. No one could have possibly foreseen what was to happen. Logically, the responsible party has been identified. Why you continue to waste my time and the time of every member of our team is beyond me. Internal Affairs must not have much of a vetting process as compared to the other divisions." Brennan finished her speech, laced her fingers together and placed her intertwined hands on her lap, a wide-eyed, innocent look crossing her face. Luckily, neither agent could see that although she radiated outward calm, on her lap, her knuckles were blindingly white.
Mills sighed, more than immune to jabs at him and his colleagues by now. "Just tell us what happened in the interrogation room, Dr. Brennan."
"Ah. The inestimable Doctor Temperance Brennan. I'm honored that you could join us."
Brennan took the seat directly across from Fitz as Booth took up guard directly behind her. "The sentiment is not returned, I can assure you." She raised an eyebrow at his derisive chuckle. "What do you want?"
"I can see that interacting on a daily basis with a partner so below your intellect has eroded your usually impeccable manners."
Brennan bristled inwardly. "As a matter of fact, Agent Booth is quite intelligent."
Giving her what could only be described as a condescending nod, Fitz continued as if she had never spoken. "I mean, class always tells, am I right, Dr. Brennan? The son of a weak-willed woman who gave up a life of privilege and status to marry an alcoholic barber from Philadelphia, who ended up beating her and their children for sport."
Booth moved in front of Brennan and slammed his hand down on the table, rattling everything in the room not nailed down. "Why don't you stick to talking about what you know? Huh? Murdering innocent people, that's your specialty, so if you want to have your say with Dr. Brennan here..." Booth leaned forward, making sure he looked Fitz straight in the eye. "You will behave yourself."
"Fine, Agent Booth." Fitz looked mildly irritated as he leaned forward towards Brennan, causing Booth to tense in anticipation. "How do you deal with someone with such an obvious lack of control?"
"Why did you kill Zack?" Brennan asked suddenly. Booth gave her an appraising look, and obviously seeing what he needed to see, backed off and took up his previous position behind her.
"Zack. Zachary Uriah Addy. You met him in the psychiatric hospital. He was only thirty years old. He was a very gifted forensic anthropologist and a very good, if troubled, man. He was loyal and kind and he was my friend. And I know that you know exactly who he was. Please do not insult my intelligence or yours with cheap and useless denial." Brennan sat back again, her lips set in a straight line and her arms crossed in front of her.
The other man pretended to consider her request, and then dismissed her with a shake of his head. "Obviously you are not the rational, emotionless scientist I was told you were, Dr. Brennan. I cannot possibly continue a dialogue with you when we both know that it will only dissolve into inconsequential detritus."
"Inconsequential detritus?" Brennan's voice was low and deadly serious and it sent a chill skittering along Booth's spine. "You-" She shook her head in amazement. "You refer to the death, or deaths, of fellow human beings as mere loose fragments...as waste? Not..." she spit the word out, "worthy? Worthy of your obviously superior intellect and valuable attention?" Brennan stood suddenly, surprising Booth and drawing a smile from her opponent.
"Bones..." Booth moved to touch her arm, but she stepped back and held up her hand to stop him. Turning back to Fitz, her voice clear and strong, Brennan began to speak.
"Alice Fernley. She was just a lovely woman who wanted to expand her horizons and you tortured her as if she were nothing. Bruce Davis, a good family man who never hurt anyone. Dr. Lauren Kellogg was a decent woman who was murdered in front of her child! Todd Adams, Sam Osman, senseless deaths. Dr Ofelia Cruz, killed in one of the most horrific ways I've ever seen...all good, decent people who never did anything to deserve their end at your hands, and you..." She wheeled around to face Booth. "I need to get out of here."
Booth, who had been watching Brennan's spiel with a combination of awe and worry, was quick to agree. He pointed at Fitz in warning and led his partner out of the interrogation room and out into the hall, where he pulled her into his arms tightly.
"After you left the interrogation room, did you continue to observe the interview?" Mills asked.
"No, I did not." Brennan looked off at a point somewhere behind the agent. "I did not wish to share any more space with that monster."
"Monster? That's awfully harsh, Dr. Brennan."
"Well, what would you call him?" Brennan's voice now lacked it's previous fire. After everything that had happened in the last week, she just wanted to go home.
The bell chimed overhead as Brennan entered the bar, her eyes immediately seeking out one person. When she spotted him, sitting next to Cam and nursing what looked to her like a simple glass of water, she crossed to their table. He stood to welcome her and she slid gratefully into his waiting arms.
"Booth." Brennan breathed. "I am so glad to see you."
"Hey, Bones..." Booth looked down at where her head was buried in his chest. "Was it...were they hard on you?"
Shaking her head against him, she sighed. "Not especially so, no. I'm just..."
"You look exhausted. Why don't you let me take you home, and I'll come back here to wait on-"
"No, Booth. I want to stay." He turned her toward the table, where she greeted the team with a wan smile. "I need to be here."
Cam reached over and patted her hand. "Would you like a drink, Brennan? I'm buying this round."
"No, thank you, Cam. I think I'll stick to water for now."
Booth looked at her askew. "No wine? You sure, Bones? Might help you relax."
"I'm sure, Booth. I just...I want to keep a clear head right now." She gave him a quick kiss on the cheek and nodded to Claudia and Sweets. Looking closely at the silent woman next to her, Brennan leaned over and whispered, "How are you doing, Angela?"
"No! No, Booth...that is not going to happen!" Angela paced the length of her office furiously, waving her free hand in front of her as if swatting an annoying insect buzzing in her face. "I absolutely forbid you to let my husband anywhere near that freak show!"
"Ang..." Booth glanced at Brennan as he tried to explain his position to the agitated artist. "We aren't getting anywhere with this guy. We are hitting a wall and we can't hold him much longer. He wants to see Hodgins. I think he might actually talk if we get Hodgins in the room with him."
"But Booth...this man is insane. And he's driven my husband to the edge, more than once over the last few months. For God's sake, Booth...he killed Zack! I cannot see any reason why he would want to have Hodgins in that room other than to taunt him!"
Booth sighed. "Maybe. You might be right, Angela. But look...do you trust me?"
Angela seriously considered saying no, but her better nature took over and answered for her. "Yes." The response was whispered and desperate. "You know I do, Booth." She released a ragged breath. "That was a dirty play, Agent Booth."
Finding no joy in his looming victory, Booth matched Angela's low tone. "I promise you, Angela. Nothing will happen to Hodgins. I will be right there the entire time, and I will protect him."
Her hand that held the phone tightly shook with the effort to put her faith in the man on the other end. "You swear to me, Booth. You swear that you will protect my husband, and I will believe you."
"I swear, Ang. You have my word."
The fight drained out of her as she absorbed the absolute sincerity in Booth's words. "Then I have no choice but to believe you."
"I'm okay, Bren. Really." She glanced to the other side of her friend, noting Booth's stiff demeanor with a pang of guilt. "It's no one's fault." She looked pointedly at the agent. "It's just...hard to think about."
Brennan awkwardly rubbed her arm, attempting to comfort her. "I understand. Is there...anything I can do for you?"
Stifling at smile at Brennan's earnest offer, she shook her head. "No, really Brennan. I just need to sit here, have several more drinks and try and get this whole nightmare out of my head. Once I do that, I think I can function again."
"Angela..." Booth started to speak, his eyes hooded and slightly red.
"No, Booth. No. Please don't do this to yourself." She looked around the table at the others. "No one here blames you. And do you know why? Because it's not your fault. No one could have seen this coming. No amount of science or psychology or investigation could have predicted it. Not even you and your gut." She paused while everyone murmured their agreement. "Let's just sit here, drink, and try to forgive ourselves for a change, huh?"
Still looking unconvinced, Booth nodded slowly and turned to take another sip of his water. "Alright. Thanks, Ang."
"You're welcome." She gestured at her empty tumbler. "Now, who's buying my next drink?"
"Please state your full name for the record."
"Dr. Jack Stanley Hodgins IV."
"Thank you. This is FBI Special Agent David Mills, Internal Affairs Division, today is Tuesday, May 29, 2011 and I am conducting the debrief of Dr. Hodgins. Also present are Special Agent William Somerset, IAD and FBI Certified Court Reporter Michelle Dailey. Doctor, would you please recount, to the best of your ability, the events of May 25, 2011?"
"Oh, Doc, tell me we aren't going to have a problem here."
"No problem," Hodgins answered harshly. "I just can't imagine what a repeat of my written statement would accomplish. If you have questions get to them."
"What's going on here, Doc?" Mills asked as he leaned forward in threat. "You are more than a little agitated."
"Agitated?" Hodgins laughed in a harsh burst. "I'm angry, Agent Mills. I am more pissed off than I have ever been in my entire life. And I'm more than a little offended that you are making the people who lived through this nightmare relive it like it was nothing. You have no idea what that man cost us. I doubt you can fathom the price we have paid."
"The attitude will get us nowhere, Dr. Hodgins." Somerset spoke up when his partner appeared to struggle to control his reaction to the tirade. "We can do this the easy way or the hard way."
"Do you want to break out a couple of rulers and compare size, Somerset?" Hodgins asked derisively. "Don't try to intimidate me."
"You've got a lot of money, huh Doc?"
Hodgins leaned back in his seat at the familiar subject. This was not a new line of accusation he had faced it often. "Quite a bit actually," he casually agreed. "Why?
"Make you feel important? Invincible? What you figure you can just do whatever you want here and some high-priced lawyer will just make the consequences go away?"
"That's not me and you know it. That kind of hubris belongs to men like Creeps."
"You mean Wallace Fitz?"
"You know who I mean. You call him whatever you want, but that name I gave him? That's the one that fits."
"Wow." Mills eyes narrowed and a smile lifted his mouth. "You actually hate him don't you?"
"With a passion, Agent Mills."
"He's an awful lot like you."
Hodgins eyes narrowed and his fist curled into a tight ball. "I don't think so, no."
"Rich guy, maybe not your kind of rich, but the kind of rich most of us won't ever see," Mills said his eyes watching Hodgins' every response with intense scrutiny. "Highly intelligent; you both attended fancy schools, Ivy League and what not. Multiple degrees, too. What is it with rich guys and bugs?"
"Do you have a point?"
"Just that the similarities are fascinating."
"You are easily amused."
"Actually, no Doc I'm pretty damn hard to amuse and right now my patience is wearing thin. So why don't you cut the crap and explain to me how this happened? Because the way I see it, you are the guy with the motive, the knowledge, and the opportunity to make it happen."
"I've never killed anyone in my life, Agent Mills."
"But you would kill Fitz if you had the chance. Admit it, Doc."
Hodgins blue eyes were bright and they met Mills' gaze with absolute honesty. "Yeah, if I'd had the chance I would have done it."
"You were eager to get in that interrogation room, weren't you Hodgins?"
The memory was replaying in his mind once again and Hodgins eyes gleamed. "Oh yeah," he admitted his voice thick with the echo of that moment so clear in his mind. "I couldn't wait."
"Because you are too eager, Hodgins. He asked for you, doesn't that suggest something?"
"It suggests that I'm finally going to get the opportunity to look this guy in the face and get some answers."
Booth shook his head. "No, it suggests he's up to something. And we aren't going in there until I'm certain that you are aware of the danger."
"I don't know!" Booth barked so hotly that Hodgins jumped. "I've dealt with serial killers before, Hodgins. Epps was an obsessed nut-job, but Creeps is different. He's both brilliant and fuckin' nuts; he's the worst combo! I can't get a read on any of this, but I know he's up to something. I promised Angela that you would be safe." He ran a hand through his hair and his dark eyes locked with the eager blue of his friend. "I promised Bones that this guy has done all the hurt he's going to do to her family. I intend to keep those promises, Hodgins. So just slow down and be careful in there."
"Yeah, ok." The reminder of what they had already lost sobered Jack and his eagerness was tempered with caution as he followed Booth into the room.
"Dr. Hodgins, thank you for coming," Creeps greeted him.
Jack took the seat opposite and crossed his arms across his chest. "I'm here. What do you want?"
"Conversation with a peer, Dr. Hodgins, nothing more," he answered. "I had hoped to find that with Dr. Brennan, but I fear while we are intellectual equals she lacks a certain something that would help her understand me."
Hodgins snorted. "You don't come close to matching Brennan's intellect."
"Petty, Jack," Creeps sneered.
"I see this will not be the civil conversation I hoped it would be."
"Civil?" Jack shouted.
Booth had gravitated to the corner hoping since Creeps had requested it that the conversation would prove to be productive to their end if he simply stayed out of it. He stepped forward now concerned at the spark in Hodgins' temper. "Hodgins," he called in warning. Jack glanced his way and made an effort to calm himself.
Creeps chuckled. "Is it frustrating Dr. Hodgins? Is it galling to know that I sit here and there is nothing you can do to extract that revenge you are so desperate to find?"
"Watching you rot in jail for the rest of your miserable life is going to be sufficiently satisfying."
"You don't honestly believe that will happen. How could it? You have nothing. No evidence. No proof." He smirked. "You've been studying this for nearly a year, Jack and you have nothing. Admit it. I won't be going to jail."
"You are going to pay. You killed those people. You killed Zack! And you are going to pay." His voice had quivered with his passion and Hodgins paused to gain better control of himself.
"In the year you have wasted learning nothing, I have learned a great deal." Creeps leaned back in his chair and hooked his left ankle over his right knee in casual repose. "For instance, did you know the body's reaction to paraponera clavata venom accelerates exponentially? Alice could have survived if I had not bred additional generations to assist in the testing process. I am lucky that I conducted that experiment. I would have been most vexed if my revenge against Dr. Kellogg had failed."
The scowl on Hodgins face seemed to amuse him and he continued as if they were discussing the latest American Journal of Entomology. "Bruce taught me that a fracture to the fourth rib is a far greater danger to the heart than a blow to the sternum. Though I suspect Dr. Brennan could have told me that. The toxicity of the hippomane mancinella was a fascinating experiment. Man will never reach the same level of raw danger as that of nature itself. It took Dr. Cruz some time to die and my observations assure me it was quite painful."
He sat forward, both feet dropping to the ground and his hands reaching out as if to convey sincerity. "I want to assure you that Dr. Addy felt very little pain at all. I was impressed with his intellect and so chose to make the act mercifully quick. He knew what was happening of course, but it was over soon. His body however reacted long afterward. His feet kicked for a very long time."
"Doc, you still with me?" Mills called snapping a finger in front of Hodgins' face.
"What?" The image of Zack's final moments that Creeps had created still haunted Jack and his breathing was labored as he tried to remove it from his mind's eye. "What did you ask me?" he asked returning his attention to this moment.
"I asked you to explain again how you identified Wallace Fitz as your suspect."
"Zack…" he closed his eyes as he imagined the sound of socked feet beating against a metal table. "Zack's journal."
"Dr. Zack Addy, the eighth victim?"
The words still hurt and Jack swallowed audibly. "Yes. He wrote about his days, mostly observations he made about his fellow residents." He chuckled fondly. "Sometime the kind of stuff only he would have noticed."
"And he identified Fitz?"
"At first, I didn't pay attention to the entry. When Booth and Brennan interviewed the hospital staff and patients they believed the Ben mentioned in the entry was the manifestation of a patient. A product of the man's multiple personality disorder. We didn't realize until later that it was actually Creeps stalking Zack."
"How did you know it wasn't made up?"
"Like honey bees?"
"Exactly like honey bees. I'm an entomologist, Agent Mills. I notice bugs. Zack wasn't, but he was a very good scientist and he could recognize that in others. In that entry, he mentioned Ben's scientific prowess and their discussion of a study on CCD."
"Colony Collapse Disorder. It's an unexplained phenomenon in which worker bees abruptly disappear leaving behind an unhatched brood and their queen."
"How was that helpful?"
"Because Zack said Ben participated in a significant study at UC-Riverside. And I happen to know that the only such study ever conducted at that institution occurred the year before I joined the faculty. When I put that together, I realized what had been nagging at me. I knew Creeps. I'd seen him twice, once in the Jeffersonian garden and once in the lab itself. Both times I thought he looked familiar, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. The memory of that bee study let it all fall into place and I knew his name."
"So you were colleagues in California?"
"Not exactly. I was on faculty as an associate non-tenure professor in entomology while I worked on my second PhD. Creeps was a second year grad assistant in entomology. I didn't have much contact with him, he was a research assistant for the Department Head, but I knew of him. He was an odd kind of guy, the kind that you remember even if you don't want to."
"And your memory is so good Booth trusted it enough to request an arrest warrant?"
"Don't be ridiculous, Booth wouldn't be that reckless. But now that I could give him a name we could track the connection. Angela didn't have much trouble finding the trail."
"Angela Montenegro-Hodgins, my wife."
"Is there anybody in this group that doesn't sleep with someone else in it?"
Hodgins ignored that. "Angie was able to link Creeps to all of them; all the victims. And even if she hadn't, you've got a transcript where he admits it all himself."
"Yeah, we've got that."
"So it was about revenge?" Booth asked. "You said earlier that Dr. Kellogg was revenge."
Creeps shook his head as if he and Hodgins were sharing a joke and he pointed at the agent seated next to the entomologist. "Agent Booth can't resist taking a guess. He's still hoping to claim some small part in a victory that simply isn't going to happen. It's the product of a smaller mind, Dr. Hodgins."
He turned to Booth and began to lecture. "There are two kinds of people in this world, Agent Booth; those of us of exceptional talent and potential, the gifted, and then those like you, who are of average abilities. As a matter of course, it is the duty of the superior to eliminate the lesser; an application of Darwinism that is too infrequently utilized. Those against whom I took action had taken advantage of me and it had to be addressed. They had to learn a hard lesson about their true position."
"That's a lie," Jack spat. "Zack never did anything to you."
"He would be the exception," Creeps agreed. "But, I'm afraid he was necessary. You see, I had one final experiment to conduct and I couldn't risk your interference. Killing Dr. Addy assured me that YOUR attention, Dr. Hodgins would be harmlessly redirected."
"A decoy!" Hodgins choked out. "You killed Zack as a distraction?"
"It worked very well," Creeps bragged. "I was able to enjoy the culmination of my purpose with absolute attention, no annoying interruptions. It was quite pleasurable to spend a week watching Mitchel die."
"Mitchel?" Booth demanded.
Creeps gave him a simpering smile and reached for the pad of paper and pen that lay waiting for him to make a written statement. He quickly scratched an address on a sheet and tore it from the pad. He slid it across to Booth. "This is my current address. I think you'll find you've missed one final victim. Although I suppose there is less excitement about finding one now that you know where I am."
"Who is Mitchel?"
"The man who had the impudence to marry my wife," he answered. "The worst of all my offenders. Really, all the others were killed as preparation for him. Their offenses were substantial, Cruz interfered with my dissertation defense, Todd Adams cheated on the fourth grade geography bee and robbed me of the title, Kellogg used her wiles to usurp a Fellowship I should have been granted. They all wronged me, but none so much as Mitchel. She was my wife. He had no right to touch her, no right to take her from me. He cheapened her and by extension me. It was unforgiveable and I enjoyed inflicting the pain of his death."
"And the body of Mitchel Garrison was found at that address?"
"Yeah," Hodgins rubbed his hand over his face. "Afterward, we went and found him; Brennan, me and Booth. He'd been dead a while, long enough that Brennan was going to be the only one to identify him. Tests show he died of mercury poisoning. It's a painful way to go."
"You know a lot about poisons don't you, Dr. Hodgins?" Somerset asked.
Jack looked at him. He wasn't fooled by the question; he knew where this was headed. "Yeah, entomologist, botanist, mineralogist, I'm real good with poisonous bugs, plants and elements. I know just about every way there is to poison something."
"You ever use that knowledge?"
Hodgins snorted. "Yeah, man, every day. It's my job!" He leaned back in his chair and waved a hand at the men across the table. "You two have been doing this a long time, right? Let me remind you that, for agents who actually solve crimes instead of wasting time digging for dirt on fellow cops, that evidence is a good thing. I look at evidence, gentlemen. Booth tracks it down and we figure it out. So yeah, I spend a lot of time worrying about what kinds of poison can kill a person."
"And you don't think that with that kind of expertise that we should at least question the official statement?" Mills asked.
"Question all you want. I didn't do it. If I had it wouldn't have taken six hours."
"What do you mean?"
Hodgins shook his head. "Did you read the report? Or were the words too big for you? It was time released. Creeps was a chemist, you know. Trust me, if I'd known he swallowed that damn pill before he entered the Hoover, I'd have made him puke it up."
"You are starting to sweat, Wally," Hodgins noted with a smirk as Booth went to the door to order Turner to follow the tip on Mitchel. Creeps definitely looked sallow but he only smiled. "Are you having second thoughts about what just happened here?"
Jack stood and leaned across the table so he hovered over his nemesis. "You just confessed to the murder of eight people. I don't need the altered exoskeleton I found. I don't need your participation in the CCD study. I don't need your dissertation on chemical components of organic toxins. I don't have to prove any of it, because you just admitted it."
"The results of an experiment are always in flux until the final results are achieved, Dr. Hodgins," Creeps answered. His forehead now gleamed with sweat and his hand shook slightly as he tapped a finger against the table. "Victory is never assured until the final moment. As Einstein taught us, all things are relative."
"Relative my ass," Hodgins gloated as he leaned even closer. "You are done."
"Of course I'm done, Jack." He smirked at Hodgins, "Do you think that I would be here if I wasn't? Those who made the tragic mistake of robbing me of my victories, of stealing what was rightfully mine have finally been forced to face their consequences."
"So, what? You've killed all your enemies so now you're alright with rotting in prison for the rest of your life?"
"No, not at all." Creeps leaned in toward Hodgins and dropped his voice, "I believe that it's best to walk away while you're still on top, when no one else can even dream of besting you." Creeps' mouth opened but he did not speak. His body convulsed once as if he were coughing and a smile grew across his open lips. Grinning wide he looked Hodgins in the eye as blood gushed from his mouth. As It erupted from him, a fountain of dark red liquid, warm and thick, speckling his face and splashing over Hodgins, Wallace Benjamin Fitz gurgled his last words, "Mission accomplished."
Hodgins sank into his chair, the shock of loss too great to do anything more. He watched as the life poured out of his enemy. He held the gaze of the maniacal eyes until the moment they faded to darkness. He ignored the shouts and the chaos as Booth and Turner called for help and others responded. He sat with hands covered in sticky evidence of his loss as they pulled Creeps to the floor and tried to reverse what was already done. But no CPR, no transfusion, nothing they could do would erase the look of victory on the dead man's face.
"I'm sorry you had to retell it, Hodgins."
Jack nodded and tossed back the last of his drink. "Yeah, thanks, Booth. Goes with the job, right?"
"It goes with mine," the agent agreed. "Not so sure they covered that in bug school."
Jack snorted softly enjoying the flash of humor. Angela moved closer and he put his arm around her as he leaned back. "We all chose to come back Booth. We didn't have to. I could still be in Paris living off Cantilever, if I wanted. We made a choice, all of us, and we knew what it meant."
"Well said," Sweets said lifting his glass in support of the sentiment.
"Paris seems a lifetime ago," Angela noted with a sad smile.
"Much has changed since that time," Brennan agreed. Her eyes shifted to the man beside her and she smiled as she reached for his hand. "I find most to be for the better."
"Well, I for one am glad you all returned," Cam said looking around at the faces of this one-of-a-kind group.
"We had to," Booth said giving his old friend a playful grin. "We couldn't miss the chance to watch Dr. Camille Saroyan go from badass to Betty Crocker."
Cam glared at him before letting the smile she felt break through. "In the old days I'd get you for that one."
The levity was welcome, but none of them were feeling energetic enough to maintain it and the light laughter faded quickly. Silence returned as their thoughts darkened and each again reflected on the difficult day.
"They said they would let you know something tonight, right?" Angela asked.
Booth nodded and checked his watch. "Yeah, Somerset isn't a complete jackass. He and I went through Quantico together and he owes me a favor or two. He said he'd give me something as soon as he could."
"I did not care for Agent Mills," Brennan said with a frown.
"You aren't supposed to," Cam assured her.
"You've met him?"
The former cop shook her head. "Don't need to; IAD is IAD, they're all the same."
"They have a job to do," Sweets reminded them all.
"Well, they certainly seem to enjoy it," Turner growled.
"Are you ok?" Sweets asked with concern.
Turner kissed his cheek and gave him a slight smile. "I'm fine, Lance."
"We are all fine," Brennan insisted. "We are simply tired of waiting for this ridiculous and unnecessary process to end."
Booth's phone began to vibrate and seven sets of eyes moved anxiously to it. "Ready or not, here it comes," Booth muttered as he picked it up. It was a text message and he read it twice to verify the message.
"Booth?" Brennan demanded impatiently. She craned her neck, trying to read the message for herself.
He handed her the phone and then spoke to the others. "They are going to recommend no disciplinary action. As far as IAD is concerned the events were out of my control. The case can be closed."
The tension that had surrounded them suddenly vanished and a soft cheer circled the table. Brennan pulled her partner close and kissed him. He lingered against her lips for a brief extra moment then with eyes closed he pressed his forehead against hers. The others celebrated around them but for them this silent communication was all they needed.
"It's the right decision, Booth," Angela said, as their celebration gave way to more silence.
"Yeah, thanks." He knew she was right and he tried to sound like it. "I know it's a hollow victory, we usually have better results, I'm sorry it didn't turn out better."
"You can't win them all," Sweets answered.
"Our goal is always the truth," Brennan said with a tone better suited to a lecture than a night at the bar. "We revealed that. It may have come under circumstances we would prefer to alter, but I will never regret exposing the truth."
There was a murmur of agreement and a few tentative smiles began to show on their weary faces.
"Ok, I'd stay for a round in celebration, but I think we've already had enough when we were drowning the sorrows," Cam joked. "Right now I have the urge to get home and… I don't know change a diaper or something equally life affirming."
There were calls of goodbye as she made her way from the table. Turner and Sweets had climbed to their feet to allow Cam to exit and they shared a look of agreement. "Guys, I think we are going to head out too," Sweets announced. "It's been a long day."
"Hey, Sweets," Booth said quickly to halt their steps. "Thanks; not just for today. Thanks for all of it. You did good work."
"Thanks, Booth. Really, thanks a lot."
Hodgins was chuckling as the younger couple made their way to the door. "He gets to take a girl home and he got a pat on the back from you," he joked. "That was the best moment of Sweets' life."
Booth winked as he sipped his drink. "Somehow I think Turner might top anything I can do."
"I guarantee it," both Angela and Brennan said together.
Claudia cocked her head and looked over her shoulder as Lance held the door for her. "It's good to hear them laugh," she noted. "I was worried that might be in short supply for a while."
"They are all very quick to adapt," Sweets said with a hint of pride.
"Adaptation is important," she agreed. "What about you?"
He turned to her with a puzzled expression. "What about me?"
"Do you adapt quickly?"
"I…I try." He wasn't sure where this was going and he waited for an explanation.
"That's good," she mused. "I like a man who tries." She grinned slyly and her eyes held that same humor as she looked at him. "I like it in a roommate as well."
Sweets stopped walking. "You want us to…are we ready for that?"
Turner stepped closer and he automatically wrapped his arms around her. "I think we might be," she answered as her own arms held him. "Can we at least talk about it?"
"Yeah, sure," he agreed sounding slightly stunned by the surprise. She moved in for a kiss and his lips turned up in pleasure. "Awesome," he breathed just before she kissed him.
"Aw, look," Angela said as she spotted the Sweets and Turner sharing a kiss out on the sidewalk.
The others turned to look through the window and they each grinned.
"Makes you kind of proud of the kid, doesn't it?" Booth joked.
"Dr. Sweets is not a child," Brennan said as she leaned against his shoulder.
"I know, Bones. But don't ruin my fun by saying that where he can hear you."
Angela had turned her attention from the couple outside to the one next to her. It wasn't difficult to see that Brennan would prefer to be elsewhere. "I think we should head home too," she announced.
Hodgins stood, willing to follow her lead, and she gave both Brennan and Booth a kiss goodnight. Hooking her arm with her husband's they headed for the door.
"You ok, Angie?"Hodgins asked as they stepped out into the night.
"Mhm," she affirmed softly. "I was just thinking about Bren. I said earlier that Paris seemed a lifetime ago. For Brennan it really is; her life is completely new. Come to think of it, all of us have completely new lives."
"That's a good thing."
Angela chuckled. "You can say that again. Sweets' moving on is wonderful. Claudia is perfect for him and she appreciates the man he is. It's nice to see. When we first came back to DC I thought he had gained the most, but it turned out Bren and Booth were the ones with the best change. Seven years of waiting and then they fell into it like it was the most natural thing in the world. I wanted them together so badly I didn't know how to handle it at first. I was happy, but I felt a little cheated that they kept it a secret. I got over that pretty quickly though, because really, I just want them to be happy."
"I don't know, Cam might be the biggest change. Paul and a baby was about the last thing I expected to find when we got home. Now I can't imagine her any other way."
"She's very happy. Macon is wonderful."
They had reached the car and Jack gently turned her shoulders so that she faced him. Remembering all the enjoyment she took in listening to Cam's stories, her fondness for the pictures their friend shared and all the times she wanted hold the baby when Cam brought him round, he wondered if he had missed something. "You really love that little guy, don't you?"
Angela shrugged and nodded unable to deny it. "I really do."
"You think you might want one?"
"Jack, we've only been married a year. We have time."
"I know, but why wait?" he asked suddenly enthusiastic about the idea. "You always said you want a whole houseful."
Angela studied his smile carefully trying to determine where this instant excitement originated. Her fear was that after all they had been through, the pain of losing Zack, the year of struggle to find Creeps and then the sudden defeat at the moment of victory, that this was simply his grasping at something positive.
He saw her hesitation and he caressed her back. "How about we just think about it?" he suggested. "Maybe we could talk about it in a few days? I still owe you that trip to Mexico. Why don't we head that way on Friday and we can discuss our family plans while we lie on the beach and watch the sunset?"
"That's what I love about you, Jack," she answered as she moved closer. "You are a smart, smart man."
Hodgins laugh was cut short by her kiss.
The partners watched as Angela and Hodgins walked, arm-in-arm, out of the bar. With a little sigh that Booth found undeniably adorable, Brennan stood and picked up her jacket, handing it to Booth. "I believe it is time for us to leave as well, Booth. I am exhausted, and I would just like to go home."
Nodding in agreement, Booth helped her into her coat, pulling her hair out of the collar and smoothing it down affectionately. "That sounds good, Bones. Just let me settle up at the bar and I'll meet you outside."
Brennan smiled and headed for the door, pausing a moment to admire her partner as he strode across the room and pulled out his wallet to pay the bartender. As an anthropologist, Brennan had always paid close attention to how Booth moved. She knew when his back was bothering him, when his feet were aching, when his heart was heavy. Everything she needed to know, everything he had tried to hide from her before, was readily apparent in his skeletal structure. And although neither felt the need to hide anything from the other any longer, the simple comfort of her science giving her a way to understand this man better than anyone else was something she would always embrace.
"You ready, Bones?" She had been so lost in her thoughts she hadn't noticed Booth joining her at the door.
"Yes." She smiled, reaching a decision about something she had been struggling with for a few days now. "Would you mind if we walked a bit?"
Opening the door and allowing Brennan to exit before him, Booth shook his head. "Naw, I don't mind. Probably wouldn't hurt me to walk some of this booze off."
They linked arms and strolled along the quiet street, occasionally passing other couples but alone for the most part. They chatted about nothing in particular; both content to let the heaviness of the last week start to slip away under the contentment of each other's company.
"So, Bones...when we were in the bar earlier, I thought of a secret I could tell you tonight." He grinned, loving the way her face lit up at the prospect of another piece of him to learn.
"Please. That would be nice."
Booth laughed lightly. "Alright. So...my date to the junior prom-"
Booth stared. "How do you remember things like that?"
"I remember everything you tell me, Booth." Brennan demurred.
He shook his head, reminding himself that there were very good reasons why he was never not amazed by the woman next to him. "That's impressive." He smiled. "Anyway, I knew that Sharay was...let's say generous, with her affections."
"You're saying she was easy."
"Bones!" He couldn't help but laugh. "Alright, yeah. She was easy. And I'm not proud of it, but that was part of the reason I asked her out in the first place. But since I'd only, you know, done it a couple of times, I didn't want to look bad when things got hot and heavy so I..." He actually blushed, which Brennan found incredibly endearing.
"What, Booth? What did you do?"
"I, uh...I got into Pops' collection of Playboys and read all the letters to the editor for ideas."
"Playboy is a men's magazine with erotic pictures of unclothed women, correct?"
Booth smiled. "Yeah. And some men write in and tell them about their wild sexual exploits. That's what I used for research."
Brennan began laughing. "Oh, no...what happened?"
"Let's just say that when I tried one of the moves I read about, Sharay was not exactly impressed. I felt that slap across the face for months." He had the grace to look chagrined. "I feel bad about it now, but that the time...it seemed like the thing to do."
"I've found that that particular phrase always follows a rather ill-advised course of action." Brennan replied, still snickering.
"Alright, alright...no making fun of my youthful indiscretions." He took her hand and began to swing it between them as they walked. "And it's your turn. Let's hear a true confession from Temperance Brennan."
Brennan's breath caught in her throat as she momentarily reconsidered what she had planned to reveal. But knowing it had to be said made it easier for her to gather her courage, stop walking and pull on his hand, forcing him to face her.
Booth could see the anxiety in her eyes, and he instinctively rubbed her knuckles with his thumb, offering her silent support in addition to the verbal. "You know you can tell me anything, Bones."
"I know, I just..." She took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, looking up into his eyes deliberately and unreservedly. "I am pregnant."
For a long, interminable beat Booth's face held no expression at all. And then, as if flipping a switch, a wide smile spread across his face and he pulled her up and into his arms and swung her around, laughing and whooping with delight. "Really? A baby?" He put her back on her feet and lay a hand across her still-flat abdomen. "A baby." He breathed.
"I suppose that answers my question as to whether or not you are happy." Brennan couldn't wipe the grin off her own face.
"Oh, I am." Booth leaned down and kissed her gently, lovingly. "Aren't you?"
"I...I am." Her smile was all the reassurance he needed. "I really, really am."
The Bonesology Writers Collective
Brainysmrfs (Mary) – Executive Producer/Writer
TheValiumSofa (Julie) – Executive Producer/Writer Wrangler/Proofreader
NatesMama (Jen) – Producer/Writer
Squinttoyou (Sara) – Producer/Writer
Rynogeny (Cindee) – Writer
TravelingSue (Sue) – Writer
Stayuff (Stephanie) – Writer
Thnx4thegum (Heather) – Writer
GCatsPjs (Colleen) - Writer
I know I speak for the entire Bonesology Writers Collective when I thank all of you who came back week after week (all 21 of them!) to read each new episode. Thank you for all the amazing reviews and constant encouragement – this would have been a far more difficult task if it weren't for the support we received from each and every one of you.
On a personal note, I need to take a minute and thank all of the writers who followed me down the dark and rambling paths of my mind and didn't run away screaming while I plotted out this season. This project was supposed to be something to keep us occupied during the summer hiatus but for me it became something more meaningful. Working on this season has been a gift, it gave me something to focus on and put my energy into while my life was sorting itself out. I can't even begin to tell you how lucky I feel to have such amazing people like you in my life.
Virtual Season 6.5 by the numbers:
263,774 - Total number of words written
17, 335 - Number of miles I traveled during the project
11,641 – Number of views this thread has had on Bonesology (as of this posting)
1,232 - Number of emails I sent regarding this project
81 - Number of times Laffers used the word 'love' in a review
46 - Number of poor souls we offed
21 - Total number of episodes
15 - Number of episodes originally planned
8 – Number of most episodes completed by one author (Squinttoyou)
2 - Number of last names I've had since the first episode was posted
0- Number of Thursdays we didn't post an episode
Also, I'd like to announce that in an effort to help fill the void that will surely come with the winter hiatus of Bones, we are already in the early planning stages of a Bonesology Season 7.5. Look for the new season in early 2012!
~ Mary (Smurfs)