Darcy knew she was worthless. He told her so. It's written all over her body…worthless. It was written down her arms, down her legs, all over her body. She could see it, right in front of her face.
"Sit still, Darcy!" her social worker, Andrea, chastised as she sat in the Child Services Office. The rough, scratchy chair rubbed against her bare legs, uncomfortably making her legs itch and turn red. Her muscles ached from sitting still for so long. Andrea had said to sit still. Head high, straight back, ankles crossed. Darcy fidgeted, getting a disapproving glare thrown her way from across Andrea's desk.
Darcy wanted to scream. Where was this person, this new foster parent she was assigned to? Were they a married couple? Were they a single person? If they were a single person, were they a he or she? Were they nice or mean? Couldn't they wait until after school?
"Miss Andrea?" she asked, waiting quietly before being acknowledged that she could speak. An annoyed look ran across Andrea's face before nodding that Darcy could speak.
"Do you know when my foster parents will be here?" she asked, looking meekly at Andrea before averting her eyes.
"He will be here when he gets here, Darcy. Don't be impatient, it doesn't look good on a lady," Andrea said, giving a look that suggested she was a heathen.
"Yes, ma'am, of course, Miss Andrea," Darcy said quickly, not wanting to anger the woman. Finding no place to settle her wandering eyes on, she looked down at her plain, black oxfords, part of her school uniform. She followed the patterns of the stitches with her eyes.
"Does everything have stitches?" Darcy thought, looking at her immaculate uniform, following the threads across the pleated skirt.
Stitch: noun. One complete movement of a threaded needle through a fabric or material such as to leave behind it a single loop or portion of thread, as in sewing, embroidery, or the surgical closing of wounds.
"I wonder if I need any metaphorical stitches," she mused, debating with herself on whether any metaphorical stitches would help her in this situation.
She was startled from her internal debate when she saw two people in the doorway. The man was tall and handsome, dressed professionally in a suit, though Darcy spied rainbow stripes on his socks. Though it seemed he was trying to hide it, Darcy's keen eyes sought out the FBI badge he wore in the waist of his trousers. The woman, however, was beautiful, impeccably dressed. The woman's beauty seemed to radiate, her striking blue eyes putting the sky on a beautiful day to shame.
"Hi, Miss Breer? I'm Special Agent Seeley Booth, this is my partner, Dr. Temperance Bre…" he started, before being cut off by the woman.
"Dr. Temperance Brennan, of the Jeffersonian Institute," she said, shaking Andrea's hand. Though Special Agent Booth smiled good-naturedly at Dr. Brennan's inturruptance, he still said, quietly, "Bones, you didn't have to interrupt me."
"Sorry," she whispered, leaning towards him before Andrea cleared her throat.
"Darcy, please, have some manners!" Andrea declared, sternly giving Darcy a glare that reminded her of the phrase, "If looks could kill."
Darcy stood and said hurriedly, "Hello, my name is Darcy St. Vincent, it is very nice to meet you, Agent Booth, Dr. Brennan," she stated, holding out her hand for both of them to shake. But, instead of sitting down, she moved to the side and motioned that either of them could take her seat.
Andrea sat back down behind her desk, shuffling through some paperwork. She finally found the documents she needed for Darcy's new home, sorting through them before giving a sheet to Agent Booth.
"Agent Booth," she stated, "Since this is your first foster child, I feel I should let you know a few things about our children here. Though not all of them are heathens, quite a few of them are, so you might want to be wary of any important or personal belongings. Also, Darcy gets a small allowance every month, which you can control if she does or does not behave. Is that clear?"
He smiled, quite charmingly, at Andrea, and said, "Yes, I understand, Miss Breer," before signing the papers that made Darcy St. Vincent his first foster child.
Darcy held her garbage bags, filled with all her worldly belongings, and stood at the front doors of the Child Services building, squinting her eyes in the bright sunlight. She looked right at the sun, trying to predict the time from its position in the sky. Needless to say, Darcy couldn't tell if it was before or after 12 O'clock in the first place, let alone a definitive hour.
Agent Booth and Dr. Brennan had left her at the front door, stating that he was going to get his car and for Darcy to wait there, at the front door. Where was he? Did he abandon her?
Darcy started sweating, though it was nice outside at 75 degrees, with a cool breeze, but she knew what was happening. It had happened before. But yet, she didn't actually know what was happening. Darcy felt so hot, so, so hot. She felt like she had burst into flames. Where was she, again? How long had she been standing here?
In front of her, a big sedan pulled up, somebody getting out, but she didn't know who. Her throat closed, Darcy felt like she was choking. She was choking on nothing. Her hands shook violently as she held her bags in hand, dropping the bags as she held her hands to her forehead. She was so hot. She was so dizzy. Where was she? She felt detached, she was in another world. How long had she been outside?
"Darcy? Darcy?" A male voice asked. Where was the voice coming from?
"Miss St. Vincent?" A soft, womanly voice asked. Where were these voices coming from?
She felt herself sit down on the warm sidewalk, hands still violently shaking. She could hardly control them anymore, and she still felt like she was choking. Her heart was going so fast, how could it go so fast? Darcy could've sworn it'd even skipped beats a couple of times. What was happening?
Finally, she seemed to be coming back to her senses. How long has this been going on? What was going on? Opening her eyes, she looked up to see her new foster parent, Agent Booth, looking concerned and kneeling in front of her, while his partner, Dr. Brennan, kneeled beside her and said, "Miss St. Vincent, do you know what just happened?"
Darcy shook her head no, looking around. Her bags still sat beside her, seemingly forgotten, abandoned. She could sympathize.
Darcy could sympathize with her bags, how abandoned they probably felt.
Abandon: verb. To leave completely and finally; forsake utterly; desert.
"Yeah, I'm utterly forsaken, all right," Darcy thought as she turned her attention to Dr. Brennan.
"Dr. Brennan, what happened to me?" Darcy asked, feeling so confused, so out-of-touch, as if waking up from a deep sleep. She felt like Sleeping Beauty. "Rip Van Winkle, more like," she thought, recalling the fairy tale from her childhood about the man who slept for twenty years.
"I think you had a panic attack," Dr. Brennan said bluntly, not bothering to sugar-coat her words, like Darcy was so used to hearing. All those social workers, all those people inside the child services building, they sugar-coated everything. It was nice to hear someone who wasn't afraid to speak her mind – or the truth for that matter – and know that she could criticized for it, yet do it, anyway.
"A panic attack?" Agent Booth cut in, taking off his sunglasses that reminded Darcy of the street cops she saw at her old home; the police were always called quite often where she had lived last. "Why would she have a panic attack?" he asked. The question reminded Darcy of something Andrea would say, but, instead of sounding sarcastic and uncaring, Agent Booth sounded concerned and a little confused, like he actually wanted to know why Darcy had gotten a panic attack.
"There could be a lot of different reasons," Dr. Brennan stated, sounding worldly and wise.
"I'm not sure," Darcy spoke up. "Why I had the panic attack, I mean. I was just standing here, wondering when you'd get here. For a minute…" she trailed off, chuckling.
"What?" Agent Booth asked, like he actually wanted to know.
Though Darcy didn't find it funny, she forced herself to laugh, anyway, and say, "For a minute, I thought you two had abandoned me!" She then continued pretend-laughing for a moment before standing up to get her bags.
Before she could get to them, though, Agent Booth beat her to them and grabbed them just as she took a swipe, giving her a small smile and saying, "Go ahead and get in the car, Darcy. I'll get your bags for you."
Darcy nodded and said, "Thank You," before opening the back door to the sedan and jumping in, admiring the cool leather seats and nice interior that still smelled a little bit like new car, with hints of leather but mostly a nice, musky cologne mixed with the sweet smell of perfume.
It was such a nice smell.
Darcy stared out the window of the sedan as Agent Booth drove through the busy streets of DC, Dr. Brennan quietly typing, frantically, on her laptop, a look on her face that reminded Darcy of when Christian-never mind. Taking her mind off the person who wasn't around anymore, she people-watched out the window. She wondered how many people were connected, how many people outside of the tinted window had families at home, friends at work, acquaintances on the subway.
Connection: noun. The act or state of connecting; association; relationship.
"So, Miss St. Vincent, how old are you? What grade are you in?" Agent Booth asked, tilting his head back in a strange attempt to address Darcy while keeping his eyes on the road. To him and Darcy, and maybe even Dr. Brennan, they'd know why his head was in such a strange position, but to an outsider, Agent Booth was strange. To someone we knew, but didn't really know, a person, who knew another person, who knew another, creating a big web of people who knew each other. To everyone else in the world, all 7+ billion humans, Agent Booth was a weirdo. He was the outsider.
"I'm seventeen, Agent Booth; I'm a senior in high school. And, please, Agent Booth, call me Darcy," Darcy said quietly. Darcy didn't speak much, usually for different reasons. At home, he didn't allow talking. Neither she nor Christian- scratch that. Bottom line, Darcy didn't really speak. In some foster homes, the parents wouldn't let you talk unless you were addressed directly.
"Really? Wow, so you'll be going off to college in just a few months," Booth said, whistling for some unknown reason.
"Yes, sir," Darcy said, then turning back around to look out the window. Before Agent Booth could ask Darcy any more questions, Dr. Brennan seemed to sense Darcy's uneasiness and distracted Agent Booth with conversation about her latest book. She was beginning to like her new foster parent.
Agent Booth continued to drive, navigating the streets of DC with an ease of someone who's lived there a long time. He knew his way, almost as well as Darcy did. But he didn't have the same landmarks she did. Agent Booth started driving through the part of town filled with nice, stately townhouses. The beautiful part of town, the one people liked to look at. People liked the outsides.
Everyone likes the outsides. The outsides are what everyone likes to see. They cover up the insides, the ugly things that happen. Darcy recognized the gardens, the cars on the street. There was Old Man Jernigan's house; he was really nice, especially to Darcy. He always gave the neighborhood children candy when they came to visit him. He now sat on his front steps, drinking a Pepsi and reading an old, worn copy of Romeo and Juliet that was one of his most prized possessions.
And right there, four doors down from Old Man Jernigan, was Mr. and Mrs. Sweets, who were very sweet and never particularly mean to anyone, not even each other. And that means that on the other side of the road was…it's not hers anymore. From the name on the door, that beautiful brownstone with the flowers on each windowsill belonged to the Cox family. No longer the St. Vincents. The St. Vincents haven't inhabited that house in 4 years.
Darcy quickly looked away when she saw the Cox family, the parents sitting on the steps, their children playing jump-rope on the sidewalk. Darcy could see the old ghosts there, lurking behind the lacy curtains. All the memories, the ghosts of her past, sat right in that house. She could've sworn she saw a younger version of herself, a 5-year-old Darcy, peeking from behind the window in the attic.
Darcy was startled out of her thoughts when she heard the bright chirping of a cell phone. Tearing her eyes away from her old friends all hanging out outside, she looked at Agent Booth, who had answered with just a simple, "Booth."
He sat silently, soundlessly, for a moment, before hanging up suddenly. Agent Booth could hang up without answering whoever it was that had called him? He must be important to be allowed to be so impolite. Agent Booth then turned his head back towards Darcy and said, "Darcy...we have to take a detour."
"Pardon?" Darcy asked, leaning forward in between the front seats. What kind of detour? Where were they going? They weren't going to leave her somewhere, were they?
"Darcy, Bones and I solve murders, and we just got a new case," he said, sighing deeply, as if he didn't want to work. Darcy wondered if it was because she was there. Did 'taking a detour' mean that someone was murdered, and he had to go investigate it? Another person gone? Another life taken? Could people really act like the human life they took wasn't worth something?
"So...you have to go into work?" she asked, cocking her head at him as she shook away the ranting, rhetorical questions that had started looming in her mind. He suddenly looked uncomfortable; the look on his face telling Darcy that he was trying to form an answer. She kept her eyes on him, though, fascinated by the way his face changed with thoughts of how he could tell Darcy about his career.
"Not exactly...I have to go to a crime scene," he answered, finally just deciding on the easiest answer to use without being too graphic. Darcy couldn't stand graphic imagery. Well, the kind that made her feel like she was going to throw up. How can people stand seeing those images in their heads? Don't they get sick, like Darcy? Or are their minds so twisted, that they don't feel squeamish about the fact that they hear, in detail, what a dead body looks like, or how it smells, or even how they died.
"Oh, okay," Darcy said, taking it all in. He had to see those bodies, that graphic imagery for real, in front of his face? How was he still normal, still functioning? Hasn't seeing what he has, seeing what used to be humans, but then lay unrecognizable masses, scarred him, even just a little? It's had to have. If he wasn't scarred, don't those images stay with him? That's the problem about things like that. Things like dead bodies, the images of them that you see, they stay with you. Darcy knew that from experience.
Experience: noun. A particular instance of encountering or undergoing something; verb: to meet; undergo; feel.
"Is it...sad?" Darcy suddenly asked out of curiosity, the words spilling out of her mouth before she could stop them, like rain falling from the clouds. They seemed to have a mind of their own. They danced out of her mouth, shimmering in the air, before disappearing with her next breath. "The words are out now," she thought, internally chastising herself at the bluntness of her question. "What you didn't think about, Darcy," she thought, "Was the fact that he might not like to talk about that kind of thing."
"What, investigating murders?" Booth asked, coming to a stoplight and turning halfway in his seat, looking at Darcy, right in the eyes. Direct. Good, people always avoided her eyes, especially when delivering bad news. He never looked in the eyes.
"No, Agent Booth, looking at the dead bodies and...knowing that they used to be human, like you and me. That they had family, friends, lived day to day like we did," Darcy stated, stopping herself from going into a full-on rant. She wanted to scream, scream for all those dead, all those murdered, all those whose murderers lived on, acting as if they did nothing wrong, while their victims couldn't get help like the living could.
"Actually, yes, but...you get used to it," he said, turning back around just in time for the light to turn green. He pressed on the gas, maybe a little too hard, the car lurching forward just a little bit before Agent Booth released a bit of the pressure, slowing the car just a little to a more reasonable speed.
"It is hard, though, Darcy," Dr. Brennan cut in, looking up from her laptop. "That's why I do what I do. To find the truth." That one statement made Darcy's day. That this woman, a woman born just a normal person, just like you or I, who worked so hard her entire life to speak for those who could no longer speak. She gave them last words by finding their killers and bringing them to justice.
Darcy nodded, going back to watching out the window. There was her old middle school, where her entire life changed in her last year there. She walked into that school a normal pre-teen sixth grader, and came out an entirely changed person. Darcy remembered her Middle School years with much clarity, much more than her Primary years.
She recalled her first year at that school, how she was so innocent. She had never worn any bit of makeup before, had never said a bad word. Had never made anything under a B. By the time she made it to seventh grade, though, her entire demeanor changed. The summer before seventh grade was when her life changed. Halfway through seventh grade was when she finally told someone her deepest, darkest secret. He was Darcy's best friend at the time, still is, actually. Dakota Vick tried to keep in touch with Darcy, but some foster homes didn't allow Darcy to talk on the phone, or access to the internet. Now, Darcy was grateful for a letter coming through to her.
Darcy spent the remainder of the car ride in silence, reflecting on the past few years. So much has happened, so much Darcy normally blocked out. She wanted, so, so badly, to let it all flood back, but bringing the memories back risked another panic attack, or, even worse, a mental breakdown in the big, strong car that made Darcy feel safe.
They pulled up to the site near a truck stop, the flashing blue lights making Darcy's' head spin. It was a bit like accidents on the side of the freeway; you don't want to look, but you cannot tear your eyes away.
Darcy stayed in the backseat, occupying herself by playing with her school tie as she watched Agent Booth and Doctor Brennan leave the car and go towards the newly-found body, and Darcy allowed herself to snicker as she realized that the body was in an outhouse. She then stopped herself when she realized that she was laughing at someone's' murder.
"You sick fool," she thought to herself as she lay down onto the seat, wanting to sleep. She stared at the ceiling, listening to the incomprehensible voices outside of the window. A horrible odor wafted through the air conditioning, making Darcy cringe at the undelightful smell. She pulled off her school blazer and used it as a pillow, using the sleeve to cover her nose. She suddenly realized how exhausted she was after a sleepless night and a stressful morning.
She kept the sleeve clamped to her nose, turning up the radio so it played softly as she finally drifted off.
Darcy awoke with a gasp, breathing heavily before looking around. She was in somebody's office, sideways in a chair because there were no couches. She was alone, but the door was open. Sighing, Darcy stood and brushed imaginary lint off her uniform, looking at her office was nice, not exactly homey, but...comfortable. Looking out the door, she saw an empty bullpen, everyone having abandoned their posts once six o'clock struck.
"Whose office am I in?" Darcy thought as she spied a nameplate that read Special Agent Seeley Booth. Darcy released a breath she hadn't realized she'd been holding, before realizing that she was in the office of someone she trusted, even just a little. "I can't believe Andrea made me miss school!" she thought angrily, knowing that if she missed too much school she wouldn't be allowed to move on to her senior year.
Darcy was still standing in the middle of the office when someone walked in, stopping when he spotted her. She turned and saw that it was a young man, one that seemed strangely familiar, and stopped, looking at him, cocking her head to the side.
"Um, hello," the young man said, stopping in the doorway. "Where's Agent Booth?"
Darcy shrugged before she stopped herself, internally slapping herself for just shrugging.
"Um, who are you?" the man asked.
"Darcy," she said quietly, looking away and playing with her brown hair. What was with this man, making her act so juvenile? The manners that had been ingrained in her were suddenly forgotten in the presence of someone who looked so very eerily familiar!
"Pardon? I couldn't hear you," he said, smiling pleasantly.
"My name is Darcy," she said louder, lifting her head and closing her eyes, in her head going to The Dark Place, a place for just her and her definitions.
Darkness: noun. The state or quality of being dark; abscence or deficiency of light; wickedness or evil; obscurity; concealment; lack of knowledge or enlightenment.
"Just stay in your Dark Place, Darcy, stay as long as you can," she thought, breathing heavier as she struggled with staying in The Dark Place.
"Um, Darcy, are you alright?" the man asked, concern weaved in his voice.
Darcy opened her eyes and looked at the man, before asking, "Who are you?"
"I'm Dr. Lance Sweets, I'm an FBI psychologist and criminal profiler," he said, a little uncomfortable under her gaze, her brown eyes boring into his own. Her eyes were strangely familiar, and Lance couldn't place his finger on how. He then realized how pretty she was, in a girl-next-door kind of cute. He couldn't help but notice her lips, so thick that Lance wouldn't be surprised if they stayed permanently parted, as they were now.
Clearing his throat, Lance asked "What are you doing in Agent Booth's office?"
Darcy shrugged and said, "I just woke up here," as if that was a normal thing to just wake up in somebody's office.
Lance nodded and said, "Excuse me, for a sec." As he walked out of the office and into the almost empty bullpen, he dialed Booth's number and willed him to answer the phone.