Author's Note: Yep new story time. I'm going for something a little bit different this time, so I hope all of you enjoy it. This takes place maybe a month after the Season Six finale.
I do not own Bones or any of its characters.
I want to thank everyone who reads/follows/reviews this. It is always appreciated.
The Incandescence in the Reflection
Even though he was driving to a crime scene, Special Agent Seeley Booth could not help but smile.
He had just spent the last week and a half on vacation with the first week having been spent in the Bahamas with Brennan. The two of them decided to go there on an early sort of "babymoon" to reconnect as partners and explore even more their new relationship as lovers. After the week was over, Brennan returned to DC, and Booth spent the remainder of his vacation camping with Parker. All of this had been just what he needed after months of a grueling case load along with everyone still dealing with the aftermath of the Broadsky case.
Now he was driving out of DC and into one of the forested areas within Virginia to answer a call about a body that had been found in the woods. The Jeffersonian had already been called in, and Booth knew that he would be meeting Brennan, Cam and possibly Hodgins there.
As Booth parked his SUV along the edges of the yellow tape surrounding the scene, he consciously made sure to remove the smile from his features. He had told Brennan many times about how one should not smile too much at crime scenes, and he figured that he had better get into the right mindset for whatever was waiting for him anyway.
As he walked around, he saw the FBI techs milling around and gathering evidence. He soon found the local sheriff who had called in the FBI and got the initial details from him. Apparently a pair of hikers had found the body in a secluded area off the main trail. They freaked out and ran to a park ranger station where they called for the local police. Upon seeing the condition of the body, the sheriff decided to call in the FBI.
"We just don't have the facilities to investigate something like this," the sheriff said. "Hopefully you guys can figure something out from this. I should warn you though, the body…it's pretty messed up."
Once he was finished talking to the sheriff and the hikers, Booth walked over to find Brennan and Cam kneeling over a pile of flesh and bones which the agent could only assume used to belong to a human being.
"Booth," Brennan smiled at him as he approached.
"How was vacation, big man?" Cam asked him with a smile of her own.'
"Vacation was great," Booth said. "The Bahamas were great and so was camping with Parker. He said that he can't wait to do it again next year."
"Actually, the Bahamas were more than just great," Brennan said with a mischievous look in her eye. "There was this one night when we were walking along the beach, and when we discovered how secluded it was we…."
"Had a lot of fun, but Cam doesn't need to know about that, ok Bones?" Booth interrupted hastily. "So what do we got here?"
"Judging from the pelvic bones, I would say female," Brennan said, looking back down. "Late teens, early twenties."
"Hard to say how long it's been here just based on visual inspection of the decomp," Cam said. "Looks like the insects and scavengers went to work on this one quickly. We'll know more once we get it back to the lab, and Hodgins looks over the insect activity. But if I had to guess, I'd say the body has been here no less than three days, but no more than two weeks."
"Anything else you can tell me?" Booth asked. "Like whether or not it was murder?"
"It's difficult to say with complete certainty at this point," Brennan answered. "But there are indications that this could have been murder."
"These wounds here on the torso," Cam said as she pointed to one of the larger lumps of flesh. "They are too shallow to be cause of death, but would have been painful. Plus, I found what looks like burn marks on her upper arms."
"We will be able to give you more once we get the remains back to the lab," Brennan said.
"Right," Booth said. "I'm going to go talk again to the hikers who found the body and then I'm going to meet you back at the lab."
"Bye Booth," Brennan said as she stared down at the remains. Booth shook his head a little as he walked away. His gut was telling him that this case was going to be a bad one. He wished that this was just some kind of jitters from having just been on vacation.
But Booth knew that his instincts were rarely wrong in things like this.
A couple hours later, Booth walked into the Medico-Legal lab. The additional conversation with the hikers turned up little else that was useful, so the agent ended up heading back to his office to start the paperwork for the case and to catch up on some additional correspondence that had stacked up while he was gone. Brennan had not declared murder yet, but Booth was certain that she would, and thus, decided to get a jump on things while he waited for results from her team. After accomplishing everything he could at this juncture, Booth decided to head over to the Jeffersonian to see if anyone had more for him to work with.
Booth walked toward the forensic platform to see Cam, Brennan, Hodgins, and Arastoo all gathered around the remains which were lying on one of the examination tables."
"Find out anything?" he asked as he slid his ID card through one of the security monitors.
"Angela is running the victim's dentals now," Cam answered.
"Based on the larvae and eggs I have found so far on the body, I'd say she was out there no more than five days," Hodgins said. "I'll be able to give you an even more exact date once I finish analyzing my samples."
"Five days, but no scraps of clothes left on the body," Booth commented. "Are we looking at some kind of sexual assault?"
"Too early to tell," the pathologist answered. "I can tell you that the cuts on the torso were not made at the same time as the burns on the arms, but they did occur within a short span of time of each other. And they were not cause of death."
"So what is cause of death?" Booth asked.
"What are your thoughts, Mr. Vaziri?" Brennan asked.
"The hyoid bone suffered multiple fractures," the intern responded. "She was strangled and given the extent of the damage, it was what killed her."
"I concur," Brennan nodded. Just then Angela appeared with a pair of files in her hands.
"Dentals came back with a hit from the missing persons database," she said. The artist handed one file to Cam and then went over the one of the monitors, her fingers dancing along the keyboard. Seconds later, a picture of a young, blond woman appeared on the screen.
"Amy Whitmore," Angela said. "Twenty-one years old and a college student. Reported missing by her parents a little over a month ago."
"A month?" Booth said. "But according to all of you, she died less than a week ago."
"Meaning she was probably held somewhere first," Brennan said. "In a place that resulted in all of the non-fatal injuries she sustained."
"Torture," Arastoo breathed.
Everyone became quiet for a moment while looking at each other. It wasn't the first time they had investigated a crime with such brutal indications, but that never seemed to make things any easier to investigate. Booth kept staring at the photo of the victim on the screen. The girl was smiling, as they often were in these pictures, and he felt his heart drop slightly in an all too familiar way.
"Do you have a copy of the file for me, Angela?" Booth asked. The artist handed him the other file she had been holding and started to leave the platform.
"All yours," she sighed. "I'll be in my office if you guys need anything else."
"Thanks Angela," Brennan said. "I might need you run some scenarios over the injury patterns later."
"I'm leaving too," Booth said. "I've got to inform Amy's parents about their daughter."
"Did you want me to come with you?" Brennan asked.
"No, I've got this," the agent said as he went back down the stairs. "You and your squints just…see what else you can figure out so we can catch this guy as soon as possible. We need to stop him."
"Because of the vicious nature of what he did," the anthropologist nodded.
"That…and because someone who does something like this…They're not going to stop with just one victim," Booth said. "They'll keep doing it until somebody stops them."
Almost four hours later, Booth leaned back in his chair in his office and contemplated the information he had gathered thus far.
The Whitmores had just left about a half an hour ago. They had already guessed why Booth had called them there, but nothing had been able to prepare them for the moment when every last hope they had been holding onto had been shattered by Booth's confirmation of their daughter's death. After allowing them a couple minutes to grieve, the agent started with the usual questions: who did their daughter hang out with? was she having problems at college? any enemies? any boyfriends or boys who thought they were her boyfriend?
The usual lines of inquiry came up dry until Booth brought up the subject of boys. There had been one boy: Thomas Lucke. He had dated Amy for about a year, and her parents had not liked him from day one.
"Amy said that he was exciting and unconventional," Mrs. Whitmore had scoffed. "That was her way of covering up for the fact that he had dropped out of college and couldn't hold a job, let alone lead any sort of normal life."
"But that is…was our Amy, Agent Booth," Mr. Whitmore said as he took his wife's hand into his. "She always tried to see the good in people, even if there wasn't much good to be found."
"Were there problems in the relationship?" Booth asked.
"I always suspected that he hit her," the mother added. "But Amy would never speak ill of him. When she finally did end things with him, he kept calling her, wanting another chance and telling her that he could never leave her."
"Agent Booth, please," Mr. Whitmore said. "Please find out who did this to our daughter. To our Amy. And…and if it was this boy who hurt her, please make sure that…."
"Mr. and Mrs Whitmore, I promise you that we will find out who did this to Amy," Booth said. "And I will make sure that they pay for what they did."
Following up on the parents' comments, Booth had his agents pull up whatever information they could on Lucke. A short time later, his assistant dropped off a file which Booth immediately scanned through.
'Looks like Lucke has quite the record,' the agent thought grimly. 'Vandalism, petty theft, and even assault charges.'
As he read through the reports, Booth felt even more confident that they had a viable suspect in Lucke and started to make plans to have him brought in tomorrow for questioning. Moments later, he had gotten an email from Cam, giving him the latest reports from the lab. There wasn't much in the way of new information other than confirmation that Amy had suffered from numerous non-fatal injuries in the weeks leading up to her death, all of which dated from the time period she was missing.
Booth looked again at Lucke's file and took a long sip of his coffee.
'This guy might be a criminal, but I don't know if he's really the type for something like this,' he mused. 'Nothing in his file shows a tendency for something like torture and murder.'
The agent took another large swallow of coffee so he could finish what was in his mug and got up from his chair. It suddenly occurred to him who he should start talking to at this stage of the investigation.
Booth gathered up the files he had and made copies of them along with the notes he had thus far. After telling his assistant to track down Lucke's parole officer and making arrangements to have him picked up, Booth headed off toward Sweets' office. By this time it was late evening, but he suspected that Sweets would still be around. Over the past three years of working with him, Booth had noted that Sweets tended to work the same kind of long hours that he did. He hoped to not only get a profile out of the psychologist, but to also get some help in the interrogation with Lucke tomorrow.
As he approached the office, Booth saw that Sweets' secretary, Becky, was already gone for the day, but that the light was still on inside the office proper. As he predicted, Booth could make out Sweets' silhouette sitting at his desk. Seeing the shadow of only one person inside, Booth figured it was fair game to just walk right in...not that the presence of someone else in there was enough to deter him in the past.
"Hey Sweets," Booth said as he opened the door and walked into the office. "We've got another case and this one has got a real sicko behind it. Someone who enjoys holding women hostage and torturing them. I've got a possible suspect here, and I need you to work your shrinky mojo on his file to see if he's the type of person who could do something like this."
Sweets had been facing away from the agent at his desk when Booth walked in. The therapist slowly swiveled his chair toward him, and once Booth glanced up from his file to look at Sweets, the case was immediately forgotten.