Ok, thank you to everyone who reviewed my last posted chapter and for everyone who reviewed my AN. You guys are so great, I will try to post more regularly. I have a little note here from my beta that she wanted me to put on this.
Hello lovely readers. :) It's the Beta here. I just wanted to apologize - I've had this on my desktop for a few days, and I haven't had a chance to do anything with it until today. Thanks for reading, and don't forget to leave the brilliant author a little love in the form of a review. :Dg
Now I got to say that I actually was going to post this earlier today but got distracted by my brother's insisting they take me out for dinner and a movie. But I said I would post on the 24th, and here on the wonderful West Coast it still is...for another fifty minutes lol. So enjoy, and let me know what you think :-)
"Yes, right away."
Angela sighs, refusing to open her eyes even though she is now awake. She snuggles comfortably in Booth and Brennan's bed, mentally thanking Booth for being a gentleman. He may not have wanted them there, but he still insisted she take the bed. Of course he slept on the couch, forcing Hodgins and Zack onto the floor. He was glad for the distraction she knows, even if it came in the form of barking semi-playful insults at the other men.
"Call me back at this number as soon as you have that report."
A dark brow lifts as she tunes into her husband's voice, a little more authoritative than what she usually hears from the bug man. She assumes from the silence that he must have ended his call and she starts to slide back into slumber. The bedroom door opens slowly, quiet footsteps coming closer. The bed dips slightly and she smiles as her nostrils are filled with the familiar smell of Hodgins' cologne.
"Good morning, my little Scelionidae," he whispers softly, head level with Angela's stomach.
"A part of me wishes I knew what that meant," Angela says in a sleepy husky voice. "The other part knows better than to ask."
Chuckling, Hodgins kisses the small mound of his child then crawls over to lie next to his wife. "Good morning, sweet knocked up goddess."
"Hmm." She tries to fight the smile but his pecking kisses to her neck defeat her. With a shake of her head she opens her eyes to seek out dazzling blue. "You were using your Cantilever voice."
"Booth wants me to check on something," he shrugs off, propping his head with one hand.
"About Bren?" Her smile falls away, missing her friend again.
"Yeah. Don't worry, I'll keep you in the loop," he kisses her lips. With a childlike smile of eagerness he slides down, until again eye level with her torso. "Alright, lesson time. Today: North American beetles."
Shrugging into his suit jacket, Booth tilts his head as he hears soft laughter. Swearing to throw Hodgins out the window if ANYTHING is going on in there, he walks to his bedroom. The door is open just enough to reveal the couple happily talking to their unborn child. Booth watches them for a long moment before silently walking away.
"What are you talking about? You can't pull the plug." Self righteous anger and fierce denial of failure vibrates through Stires' body, lighting an unpleasant fire in his eyes while his meticulously shaven face scowls unattractively, like a petulant child. "We've only been here a month!"
"And in that month nothing has been found." The clear disappointment in the dig's funding board chairman's voice has Michael closing his mouth tightly in frustration. "You're a brilliant anthropologist and we trusted your judgement with all the confidence in the world. But the truth of the matter, Professor Stires, is that nothing has been found to even suggest support of your theory.
"The Guatemalan government assignment will close the gap on the expenses we've already wasted," the vice-chairman leans towards the video link, barely attempting to conceal his contempt for the overly arrogant Stires. "As you are on the assignment the rest will be packing up. In deference to your previously high anthropological expertise, we will leave a small team for an additional month. You, however, will not be on that team."
Stires scoffs in insult. "Wait a minute. This is my project!"
"You will do more good here at the university," the chairman overrides him, stacking his papers together in clear dismissal. "We'll see you next week Professor Stires."
The link cuts off, leaving Stires blinking in useless anger and humiliation. He stands there, listening to the sounds of the camp outside the tent. He's heard the talk from them all, when they thought he wasn't listening, about how the complete failure is his fault. And now to have to go out there and prove them right is lowering and debasing. But he has to choice but to accept it and move on. He grabs the four folders of departure duties to be given out and walks out of the tent.
"Jeeps are all packed, Michael," says Robert, an archaeologist and one of the few people who consider Stires a friend. Noticing Stires' scowl, his bleached blond eyebrows scrunch together, his confusion subtracting nothing from the surfer-dude look he strives so hard to achieve. "What's wrong?"
Stires gives him the folders in answer. "Hand these out. The team is ready to go?"
"Everyone but Brennan," Robert motions to the tents behind him, smiling lasciviously. "And how is your star pupil?"
"Frigid as Iceland," Stires says with a trace of bitterness, pride still stinging from Brennan's outburst against him. "And late. Get those folders handed out."
He walks through the huddle of large tents, pushing through his annoyance enough to smile flirtatiously to any single female he passes. He is just heading towards the small personal tents when he spots Brennan coming out of the medical tent. His annoyance kicks up another notch with the worry that she may be sick. Worry not for her personally but that he will have to replace her on the side assignment. As much as he resents it, she is brilliant at what she does. Never one to give up, he changes direction, confidant that he is displaying to right amount of concern.
"Tempe. We're all ready to go. You're not sick are you?"
"No," Brennan says dispassionately, striding towards the jeeps, Stires briskly catching up.
"I have to say, I'm disappointed," he shakes his head. "I didn't expect you to be one to pout about a few innocent comments. I thought you were more mature than that."
She barely glances at him. "I'm know what you've been trying to do, Michael. I have no interest in having sex with you."
"Wow," Stires chuckles softly, mockingly, to cover the sting to his ego. "That's highly inappropriate, Tempe."
"I agree." Brennan stops at the jeep, tossing her bag into the back. She turns to Stires, her voice completely rational. "For health reasons, I am returning to D.C. after we identify these remains."
Anger and insult is bubbling inside his chest, so in reaction his voice becomes more patronizing. "It's not necessary for you to come if you're not feeling well. I'm sure we'll do perfectly fine without you."
"I disagree," Brennan walks around to the spare seat, unaware of the amused smirks of the others around her listening to their conversation. "And I feel perfectly fine. It will be safer for me to go home as I'm pregnant."
Stires hastily steps back as if she were carrying a bomb. "Pregnant?"
With that, Brennan climbs into the jeep. Stires stares at her for a second before the lead jeep honks. Brennan has already dismissed him, busily settling into her seat. Lindsey turns from the front seat, a large smile on her face.
"I think that's the first time anyone has put that man in his place. That was great."
Brennan returns the smile, eyes light with mischief. "Yes it was."
Everyone laughs as the four jeeps rumble into life, jerking forward.
"Congratulations on your baby," Lindsey adds sincerely.
"Thank you." Brennan secures her hat and leans back in her seat, fingers playing with her necklace as she thinks fondly of Booth.
Agent Sam Reilly strides through the bullpen with fierce confidence of a Federal Agent with twenty-five years experience behind him. His round face is grim; anger blazing from his coal black eyes, though if one knew him well enough they could see concern hovering just under the surface. His gaze focuses on his target, his anger climbing another notch as he watches the young agent brooding blankly instead of filling out the stack of paperwork in front of him.
"Booth," Sam says shortly, barely breaking stride, knowing his summons will be followed.
Booth jolts before rising quickly to follow his mentor, struggling to force his worry for Brennan a little more into the back of his mind. Watching Sam, he's pretty sure he's going to need his complete focus; Sam only charges around like a bad tempered bull when he's pissed about a tough case. Booth raises his eyebrows inquisitively when Sam closes the office door behind them. In the years he's been an agent, this is only the third time he's seen Sam have the door closed with a junior agent inside. And none of the times have ended well for the junior agents.
"Sir?" Booth hopes showing respect will help ease him away from whatever storm might be coming. No luck.
"Cut the 'sir' shit." Sam slams a thin folder on the table and Booth isn't entirely sure he wants to know why. "Want to explain this?"
Instincts starting to hum, Booth dreadfully picks up the folder. Even as he opens it, he knows what it's going to say. Sam watches him, hands on his rounded hips.
"Please tell me this is a mistake." He grits out an oath as he reads the answer in Booth's silence. "Why are you trying to make contact with a Guatemalan hit man, Agent Booth?"
"Is that an official inquiry, sir?" Booth asks stoically, his emotionless eyes looking directly into Sam's.
"You know damn well that it isn't," Sam growls lowly, walking around his desk. "If it was, Cullen would be the one asking. After taking your gun and badge. Which is what would have happened if Lisbon hadn't come to me first, you lucky asshole."
Booth relaxes enough to allow his frustration to seep through. "Coralilo is kind of an old…friend. I needed to ask him a favor."
Sam pauses, eyes piercing. "What kind of favor?"
"Goddamn it, you know better than that, Sam," Booth bristles, insulted.
"Do I? This guy has top of the line special ops training. His kill list is longer than my dick! That's only the ones internationally reported before he went rogue from the Guatemalan government. Seven years ago-"
"I know what he did. I was there," Booth says grimly, the undeniable knowledge in his quiet voice slicing through Sam's rampage. The older agent takes a deep calming breath.
"Okay, off the record." He points a finger, voice low and deadly serious. "And no bullshit."
Booth sits slowly, knowing he has no choice, even if it costs him his career. Jaw tight, he tells Sam all about Brennan's dig, about the last minute side assignment and how little details Brennan herself was given the night before.
"She emailed me this morning. All she knew was where they're going at the request of the government. No circumstances, no body count, nothing," fear and frustration is clear in every crisp syllable from Booth. "My gut is all but screaming at me that something isn't right. So I wanted to make sure she was looked after."
From his spot in the chair next to Booth Sam sits back, expression placating. "You have great instincts, Booth, that's what makes you're a good agent. But I don't think you're clearheaded right now, your emotions are too close to the surface. You're overreacting."
"You love this girl, that's great. You're worried about her, fine. That's natural. But you're letting your feelings interfere with your common sense!"
Booth pushes to his feet; nostrils flaring like an irate stallion. "That's bullshit, Sam."
"Hey," he reaches out with a firm grip, holding Booth in place. "Do you know why romance between partners is damn near forbidden?"
"What the hell does that-?"
"They let their personal feelings lead their actions, take risks for the other instead of doing the job first. Emotions, instincts, is an essential part of the job but there's gotta be a line. You have to keep your feelings in check, to think. Think, Booth!" Sensing his full attention, Sam lets go of his arm, speaking calmly as he can to force some rational thought into his friend. "She's going on an official request from the Guatemalan's. No way we don't know the details about it, down to the last show lace on their soldier escorts."
Booth blinks, having never though of Brennan being escorted and watched by soldiers. "How do you know there'll be soldiers?"
"It's an official request form the government. This is what I'm talking about, Booth. You're not thinking!" Glad that the junior agent is listening, Sam shows his relief through irritation, again picking up the folder only to slam it down with force. "It almost cost you your job. I don't want to get handed something like this again, Booth. Understand?"
Though he nods as he leaves, accepting that maybe he rashly chose the wrong avenue, Booth just can't seem to shake that feeling of wrongness. It has to nothing to do about Brennan's behavior, that's it's own separate worry but there's…something, something eating at him. The lack of information, why did she know so little? Or was she not being fully forthcoming? Her email was a little odd, a little formal like how she acts when she attempts to keep something from him. Fruitless frustration burning his stomach, Booth walks back through the bullpen.
Tired from spending all day staring into a microscope and ready to pick up his wife on the way home, Hodgins tosses his bag into the passenger seat of his car. His cell dings an email and he picks it up, his mind already on kissing Angela. The disinterest dissolves from his eyes, one hand starting the car as the other dials on his cell. He backs out of the parking spot, placing his Bluetooth in his ear.
"Booth, you on your way home?" he says as the phone is answered. "Well Angela and I are on our way there. Ease up, G-man. This is about Brennan. Yeah, I know where she's going."