"We just hit the motherload of information on this guy Pattinson," Angela rushed through on the phone. "We uncovered a whole slough of IP addresses of blogs and sites he was running. He was into all kinds of anti-government stuff, racial hate groups - you name it, he helped host it."
"So he could have been after DeGrast because he was black?"
"Or because he helped non-profit, government-funded stuff, but it might also just be work-related. Seems like DeGrast was always able to follow through on all the projects Pattinson either helped start or worked on with him."
"You got confirmation that he was working with DeGrast on this frisbee thing?"
"Not exactly, but —"
"Hey Booth," Hodgins called over to him before Angela finished her sentence. "Have you seen Wendell?"
"Booth," Angela cut back in urgently. "Pattinson did a short stint with a special ops unit."
"Got it. Thanks, Angela" Booth hung up and pulled out his gun.
Brennan noted him drawing the weapon and told Hodgins to stop yelling.
"Stay here and take cover," Booth ordered. He started down the path to the next hole, but was only a few steps in when in the distance he spied Wendell facing the tip of Pattinson's knife. He could see Wendell's biceps flexing and hoped he wasn't planning on doing anything stupid. He scanned the area, trying to determine if he had a chance of being able to come from behind quickly enough.
Brennan showed up at his side, and in spite of his annoyance that she did not follow his orders, he gave her his gun and told her to keep her sights on Wendell and Pattinson. "But don't shoot, okay?"
She agreed and he darted back to Hodgins who, thankfully, actually did follow his instructions and was crouched behind a tree. "Hodgins, where's that frisbee?"
Hodgins handed him the disc and Booth re-joined Brennan who had at least moved to the side enough so that even though she could see Pattinson, he wouldn't necessarily be able to see her.
"If this doesn't work, you may have to shoot after all. You ready?"
Brennan nodded. Booth took in the surroundings and threw the disc. It sailed fast and true, hitting Pattinson's wrist, loosening the knife from his hand. Wendell took that opportunity to knock it completely out, though Pattinson followed quickly with a blow to his throat, causing Wendell to fall to his knees, gasping for air. Pattinson did not have a chance to land another blow as Booth had quickly covered the distance as soon as the disc had left his hand and tackled Pattinson to the ground.
Booth finished cuffing Pattinson as Brennan reached Wendell and helped him regulate his breathing.
"I found," Wendell rasped out painfully, "the murder weapon."
Looking at Pattinson's full profile, they were lucky he was the nut job Angela said he was. Pattinson was smart, and though he wasn't as smart as Pelant, he had the potential to seem like Pelant, which might have knocked the team for another loop if they'd had to begin an all out search for him. Booth, for one, was thankful that Pattinson was just enough off-kilter to have made his apprehension a standard one.
Carrie Lewis claimed that she hadn't set out to steal Stephen's idea, but she'd put so much time into her agency and their primary grant hadn't been renewed. She got desperate. She ran into her ex and before she knew it, Torin was seducing Celia and Carrie was signing on Carter Pattinson. What they hadn't expected was Pattinson being the loose cannon.
She and Pattinson went out to the course with Stephen under the guise of seeing how the disc worked. But then Torin showed up unexpectedly. Stephen recognized him and threw a punch.
"Torin always had a temper, but I don't think he would have killed Pattinson."
"Which is why he started choking him with the basket chain," Booth put in sarcastically.
"But he let him go, because he couldn't breathe – I mean because of his asthma. I knew he had medication somewhere, but then Carter got a little crazy. He said an asthma attack would be a death by natural causes. We were almost home free, he said. Stephen somehow managed to throw the disc out of sight, which angered Carter more. He kicked Stephen in the chest. He fell on that tee spike and I was in shock. He died within minutes."
"Why didn't you turn in Pattinson and Torin? Did they threaten you?" Brennan asked.
Lewis bit her lip and looked away. "I was still involved. Who would believe I didn't have any part in killing him? Plus," she paused a moment, "Pattinson had the frisbee."
Brennan and Booth looked at each other in shared disgust for the woman in front of them. "You," Brennan noted to Lewis, "are the antithesis of everything your organization represents."
"We help a lot of people."
"Right," Booth shook his head contemptuously as he and Brennan left the interrogation room.
"Did you see the shot I made on hole seven?" Sweets exclaimed to Hodgins and Wendell. "I thought for sure it was gonna go in to the trees, but it sailed just along the border." He floated his hand to demonstrate the smooth flow of the disc.
"Cam's putt at the last hole was amazing," Wendell put in. "What was that, twelve, fifteen meters away?"
Booth and Brennan sat away from the group, enjoying the remaining time they had to just be out as a couple without Christine. They'd all decided to try out a disc golf game together, in spite of Booth's criticism of the activity, knowing full well that he would show them all up in both unexpected skill and fully expected competition. It felt good to be all together, outside of the lab and outside of any case.
"You know, I kind of thought you would have been a lot better at throwing a frisbee than you actually were," Booth confessed, hiding his smile with his beer bottle.
"I did too."
Booth laughed at her disappointed expression and leaned in to tell her, "As always, you were over thinking it. Sometimes you just have to let it sail."
She eyed him and tried not to smile in response, but couldn't manage it.
"This is nice," Booth commented.
"I agree. Everyone seems to be quite happy and relaxed."
"Yeah, but I just meant us. It's nice to be here, with you, like old times."
"Do you miss the old times?"
He shook his head. "Nope, because I didn't really have you then. Not like I do now." The words, though completely sincere and truthful, brought on an unanticipated weight as he considered how "having" her now could also mean losing her in ways that he never counted on.
Brennan watched as his face became serious and almost sad. "That makes you sad."
"No. No. It's just, saying that made me think of other things, that's all."
"What other things?"
"It's not important. We can talk about it some other time."
"No. We agreed after I got back that we'd talk over everything so that we wouldn't hold in anger for each other. I don't want to talk about it later."
"Does that include you, too? You've been holding back too, haven't you?" He held her eyes and felt the answer in them. He took a deep breath and with that action, tacitly agreed to start.
"I think about when you and Christine were gone all the time. I try not to, but I can't help it. Sometimes, when I see you drive away, or even just walk away, I think about that day you left, and I can't move. Sometimes, when I come home alone, before you, I walk into the house and I can't breathe because I can feel the emptiness. Sometimes, when I'm playing with Christine – or feeding her or changing her or just holding her – I think about all the moments I missed that I wasn't supposed to this time."
Tears filled her eyes as he whispered out these confessions to her, and while his heart hurt for this, he could also feel a release of part of the pressure that had been pressing on him for so long, so he continued. "If it hadn't been for Parker, I might not have made it through everything while you were gone. My weekends with him kept me grounded because he reminded me of why I trusted you then and why I still trust you now."
He wrapped one of her hands inside of his. "You told me you loved me. When you came back, you told me again. You told me why you left and why you didn't tell me you were going to leave. As sure as I know I will love you for the rest of my life, I know you will too. You want logic? Your logic would say that at first, all that pheromonal stuff would keep you attached to me, but after three months of separation? Someone like you would adapt, allow those pheromones to fade away, and move on. But you didn't. That's why I still trust you."
"Because I said I loved you? Those are just words, Booth."
He smiled. "Coming from anyone else, maybe. From you they make a fact. Who am I to argue with you on facts?"
"You do it all the time."
She'd told him a few days ago that if their situations had been reversed, that she might not have been able to trust him again, but she knew that wasn't true. She would have been angry and likely would never have spoken to her father again, but she knew Booth would never do what she did unless there was a threat to her or Christine. It would be to protect them, not himself.
This was why she could not forgive herself. "What I did was selfish. I ran out of self-preservation and took Christine out of the attitude that she was my daughter and children should never be parted from their mothers. I was wrong to take her with me."
He looked at her seriously. "I would die if anything happened to you or Christine. What you did – yeah, I hated it, but it meant you were both safe. You did exactly what you needed to do for that to happen. And for that, I will always be grateful."
She regarded him skeptically. "Grateful?"
"Yes. I couldn't have done it. I couldn't have left you, even if I had to. I'm grateful that you can make the hard decisions."
It was one of those moments, one of those statements he made that was like a promise. He was wrong about making the hard decisions, but he believed he wasn't, which was all that mattered. She felt a tiny piece of her relax, and she placed a hand on his.
She had that twinkle in her eye, and he knew a joke was coming. He loved her for it.
His mouth twitched at the corners, and she knew he was ready to smile or laugh at her attempt at a joke. She loved him for it.
However, it wasn't a joke, but a confession. She leaned into him and whispered, "Remember when Daisy's disc got lost in the trees at hole fifteen? I found it right away, but threw it in deeper. Does that also count as a hard decision?"
His grin gave her all she needed for an answer.
Thank you so much for having reviewed or simply having read this story, especially those that hung with me from start to finish. I appreciate it more than you know.