Chapter four

The Light in the Tunnel

To mourn a mischief that is past and gone
Is the next way to draw new mischief on,
What cannot be preserved when fortune takes,
Patience her injury a mock'ry makes.
The robbed that smiles steals something from the thief,
He robs himself that spends a bootless grief.

William Shakespeare
Othello, Act I Scene 3

Seeley Booth and Dr. Camille Saroyan stood silent and unmoving as Temperance Brennan and Angela Montenegro-Hodgins gave their findings regarding the identity of their current John Doe. The Director of the Medico-Legal lab and the Federal agent were sworn to secrecy regarding Brennan and Angela's findings; they didn't dare let any of this information leak out, not until they could prove the veracity of their evidence beyond even the slightest doubt.

Finally Booth spoke; "So you're telling me that that," he pointed to the three-dimensional scan on the main Angela-tron display, showing the charred emaciated remains of what was once a human being, "is Pelant?"

"The remains were so badly burned and degraded," Brennan explained, keeping her voice calm and clinical, "that DNA testing is out of the question. But we were able to retrieve three teeth from the mandible, and the dental records retrieved from the forensic dentistry files indicated that they belong to Christopher Pelant."

Booth inhaled slowly to calm his churning emotions. The thought that the monster who had heaped so much pain and misery on the people that most mattered to him was dead, murdered in such an ignominious fashion, felt almost surreal to him, like some twisted cosmic joke where the punchline eluded him.

"Bear in mind," Brennan continued, "that dental identification is not as exact as fingerprinting or DNA, but judging from what we do know of the victim before the dental records arrived, his probable weight, height and physical build based on bone structure, it's highly plausible, even likely, that our victim is indeed Pelant."

"Plus the fact that Pelant's been conspicuous in his absence," Angela added. "No cryptic clues, no taunts, no dead bodies turned into meat puzzles."

"Considering how good Pelant is at staying off the grid," Cam growled skeptically, "it's gonna take more than a charred corpse and a few loose teeth to convince me."

"Do you want me to run the research again, Dr. Saroyan?" Brennan asked, her voice slightly defensive.

"No one's doubting your skills, Bones," Booth assured her. "But it would be just like Pelant to kill a homeless man matching his height and build, torch him so that his DNA's useless for ID purposes, and then hack into Federal data-bases to muddy up his victim's dental records. Throw us off his scent by making us think he's dead."

Brennan nodded in agreement. "We were thinking similar thoughts," she admitted. "That's why we chose not to inform anyone else except the two of you."

"Even this conversation's a risk," Booth observed, "if Pelant's got his eyes and ears in the Jeffersonian."

"Watch it, Studly," Angela smirked. "You're starting to sound like Jack."

"When it comes to Pelant," Booth answered darkly, "there's no such thing as 'too paranoid'."

"Maybe," Cam answered. "What we need is a way to insure that the dental records are accurate and haven't been compromised."

"Who would have had access to his records previously?" Brennan asked.

"His dentist, obviously," Angela suggested. "But without knowing who that is, finding his records is nearly impossible."

"Needle in a haystack?" Cam quipped.

"More like a needle in Iowa," Angela huffed.

Booth thought for a moment. "I'm reminded of the words of Sean Connery in 'The Untouchables'," he mused. "If you're afraid of getting a rotten apple, don't go to the barrel, get it off the tree."

Brennan's brow furrowed in that familiar confused expression that Booth recognized so easily. "I don't know what that means."

Booth smiled inwardly at her familiar statement. "It means, Bones, that we need to go directly to the source to verify the dental records we have. The fewer people and/or computers in the chain from the file to us, the more likely the records are authentic."

"That could take days," Cam warned. "By which time, if Pelant did kill our John Doe he could fall off the grid again. If he's our victim I want it confirmed. And if he's killer I want him taken down once and for all!"

"We all do, trust me on that," Brennan answered. "Fortunately, I may have a way to expedite the process." She withdrew her cell phone from her lab coat pocket and dialed. "Hello, Dr Choudrey," she announced. "This is Dr. Brennan ... Yes, Temperance ... I'm doing well, thank you. And yourself? ... Good, good ... Listen, I have a favor to ask you. I have some dental records but I want to check their authenticity … Well, we've had some issues with computer hacking at the Jeffersonian, and I want to simply double-check our findings ... This afternoon at 1:30? That will be most satisfactory. My partner and I will meet you there with the files. Thank you for fitting us in. Good-bye." She disconnected the call and turned toward her friends, a pleased smile on her face.

"Dr. Choudrey?" Cam asked. "Would that be Dr. Mark Choudrey with BOLD?"

"BOLD?" Angela asked, genuinely puzzled.

"Bureau of Legal Dentistry," Brennan explained. "It's located in British Columbia and is the only lab in North America dedicated fully to forensic dentistry. I attended a lecture of his at Georgetown several years ago and we conversed at length on the subject. We've spoken professionally several times since then, discussing the latest papers and findings in the field. He's currently on loan to the American Board of Forensic Odontology here in Washington DC."

"I'm guessing that he knows his stuff, Bones," Booth commented, "if you're that impressed by him."

"He's one of the five top names in the field. If anyone can definitively identify these teeth, it's him."

"Here's hoping," Angela murmured. The other three nodded in silent accord. The sooner Christopher Pelant was out of their lives, one way or another, the better.

Eight hours later:

"This had better be good, Cheres," Caroline Julian blustered as she entered Dr. Saroyan's office at the Jeffersonian. She noticed a larger crowd than usual; several of Dr. Brennan's interns were present along with the senior staff and Agent Booth. Booth and Brennan were sitting on the leather sofa with Dr. Sweets next to them, while Cam Saroyan sat beside Aratsoo Vasiri with an abiding familiarity. Jack and Angela, Finn Abernathy and Wendell Bray rounded out the rest of the gathered faces. "I just dug myself out from under a mountain of depositions, so all I want to do is soak my tired bones in a lavender bubble-bath."

"Trust me, Caroline," Cam assured her, "I think you'll want to hear this. We identified our current John Doe this morning, and Brennan and Booth just confirmed it with ABFO."

"Charming," Caroline huffed irritably, turning back toward the door. "Look, unless the body's the Lindbergh Baby or D. B. Cooper, I'm going home."

"The body is Christopher Pelant," Brennan declared.

Brennan's simple declarative statement stopped the New Orleans born prosecutor dead in her tracks. Sweets gasped slightly while the other interns sat amazed at her announcement. For the last two years, the shadow of Christopher Pelant hung grimly over the lives of everyone in this room, a Sword of Damocles on a hair's tether. If this announcement was true, if the dragon was indeed dead...

Turning back toward the assembled experts, Caroline breathed, "Okay, you have my undivided attention."

"Angela?" Hodgins turned toward his wife. "You're not bee-essing me here? That son of a bitch is dead?"

"We ran his teeth through the system," Angela replied, "and his name came up on the dental records."

"And Booth and I visited a colleague of mine," Brennan added, "Dr. Choudrey at the ABFO and he confirmed that the records were accurate."

"Their systems didn't get hacked, did they?" Finn asked. "I mean, from what we've seen of this rattlesnake, he's supposed to be capable of hacking the DOD computers with an iPod and a sheet of tinfoil."

"Actually," Brennan replied, "Angela had suggested the hypothesis that while he was a capable hacker, much of Pelant's supposed skills were more an elaborate sleight of hand. Smoked mirrors, I believe she called it?"

"Smoke and mirrors," Angela gently corrected her friend. "But it looks like that's all academic, Finn. I double-checked the Angela-tron, and Dr. Choudrey assured Booth and Brennan that the systems at the ABFO haven't been hacked, so everything seems to check out."

"So what you're saying, Chere, is that not only is he merely dead, but truly most sincerely dead?"

Angela smiled broadly at Caroline's obscure movie reference. "So let the joyous news be spread!" she announced.

Sweets let out an audible sigh of relief, and Vasiri held Cam's hand a little tighter. "I refuse to celebrate his death," intoned Vasiri, "but neither will I be a hypocrite and mourn his passing."

"I'm just glad that this nightmare is behind us," Bray added. The others nodded in agreement.

"You have no idea," Booth answered, his shoulders visibly relaxing. Turning toward Brennan, he added, "You wanna tell them the good news, Bones?"

"Certainly," Brennan smiled warmly, taking Booth's hand in hers. "Ladies and gentlemen, now that Pelant is no longer a threat, Booth and I can move forward with our wedding plans."

Angela turned her head sharply toward Brennan, her eyes alight with disbelief. "What the hell did Pelant have to do with you two getting married?"

"Pretty much everything," Booth admitted. He proceeded to tell the assembled team members his story. How Pelant sought to poison the hard-won happy ending Booth and Brennan were building for themselves. How Booth was forced to betray Brennan's trust in him in a desperate bid to keep Pelant at bay. Recalling his horrible ordeal aloud to these people who had become his extended family proved to be both emotionally draining and cathartic; remembering the black dread he felt during the weeks that followed, the ever-present fear that Brennan would cast his love aside for his betrayal, was still too raw, to real in him, but there was something strangely comforting in the act of relating the circumstances, especially how he was able to communicate the truth to Brennan, how they reunited in her father's cabin away from Pelant's constant spying, how they reaffirmed that their love was stronger than Pelant's hate.

Cam regarded Booth with a condemning glare when he finished his accounting of Pelant's actions. "Never pegged you for a total idiot, Booth. Giving in to Pelant's demands? You actually thought he would keep his word?"

"Believe me, Cam," Booth replied irritably, "I'm not that stupid. I was just desperate, hoping that I could at least buy some time, just enough to finally run him to ground. I just couldn't let him endanger anyone else."

After a moment's silence, Sweets shook his head in sad resignation. "Wow," he breathed. "He must have gotten the idea from the psych files he stole from my computers, Booth. Using your need to protect others, while at the same time playing against Dr. Brennan's fears of rejection, I mean, talk about hitting you both where you live. I knew he was a total sociopath but this, this is just...just..." He stammered in spent rage, unable to find the proper word to define their fallen enemy.

"The word you're looking for, Sweets," Brennan suggested, "is 'evil'. There may have been a mental disorder or chemical imbalance at the root of Pelant's actions, but that doesn't excuse them. He was an evil man. He was a murderer and a sadist. Your desire to understand the workings of the human mind is a laudable goal, but no amount of psychoanalysis would have changed who he was."

Sweets slumped his shoulders, conceding to the wisdom of Brennan's words. "I guess you're right. I'm just glad he's not able to hurt anyone else again."

"Agreed," Bray nodded. "It's like we can finally go on with our lives."

"Booth," Angela turned her head penitently toward the FBI agent. "I owe you a major apology. I had no idea what was going on between you and Bren, and I guess I vented at you for hurting her. I mean, if I had known the truth—"

"If you had known the truth, Angela," Booth observed somberly, "then Pelant would have known about it and started his killing spree. Don't sweat it," he added, smiling warmly at the artist. "It's not like I haven't heard worse before from anyone working here, right?"

"I dunno, G-Man," Hodgins smirked. "You should hear what she was saying about you when you weren't in earshot."

"She did express a desire to castrate you earlier today," Brennan commented helpfully. Booth glowered at his fiancé, and then at Angela, whose mock-innocent expression could not mask a devilish gleam of merriment in her eyes. Most of the others began to chuckle, the atmosphere in the office suffused with a strange blend of amusement and relief.

"Hodgins," Booth observed, "your wife is a scary woman."

"I think she gets it from her dad," Hodgins answered, grinning broadly, eliciting more knowing laughter from Angela and Brennan.

"Ahem," Caroline cleared her throat dramatically. The others silenced their laughter as the prosecutor commanded their attention. "Two things, cheres. First; Booth, Brennan, about damn time. And second; I hate to be the one to spot the dark cloud in the middle of your silver lining, but there's another issue you have to deal with if Pelant's dead."

Cam nodded her head, understanding. "Who killed Pelant?"

"Exactly," Caroline nodded. "Last thing we need is another vigilante killer like Broadsky." A general murmur of agreement arose from the others. Brennan especially recalled the anguish she felt as Vincent Nigel-Murray fell dead in front of her, a casualty in Broadsky's war against Booth.

A new dread entered Brennan's heart; "Is is possible that Broadsky has escaped from prison? Could he have killed Pelant?"

"Way ahead of you, Bones," Booth replied. "After we left Dr. Choudrey's office, I called up the warden at Mount Olive Maximum Security Prison. Broadsky's been in and out of solitary since his sentencing, constantly attacking other inmates without provocation. Apparently he hasn't shown interest in escaping; he seems to think that he was sent to prison to punish the other inmates, not to serve his own sentence."

"'I'm not locked in here with them; they're locked in here with me!'" Bray quoted darkly. "Someone's been reading Alan Moore's 'Watchmen' one time too many."

"Any leads at all?" Cam asked.

"No shortage of suspects, Chere," Caroline quipped. "That line starts with anyone in this room, myself included, and stretches out to the Potomac."

"How about Pelant's accomplice?" Angela suggested. "I was going over the evidence from his first case, and discovered a torched CD among the remains of the old Angela-tron. Bren and I ran a test of the carved bones that supposedly infected the systems, and found no signs of any virus."

"From the available evidence," Brennan continued, "the logical conclusion is that the disc contained the virus, and that Pelant arranged for someone with access to the systems to plant the disc while Angela was scanning the bones, and made it look like the scan marks carved in the bones introduced the virus."

"Or possibly," Bray suggested, "the disc contained the virus in a zipped file, scrambled so that the Angela-tron's security wouldn't detect it, and the code carved in the bones provided the key."

"Good ideas, everyone," Cam announced, "but right now it's just speculation. Look, I recommend that we all just go home for the night and come back tomorrow refreshed. In the meantime, how do we handle this with the press?"

"I say we hold a press conference," Caroline suggested. "Just get the message out, no specifics on how he died. Maybe field one or two questions. Give me the highlights, Chere, and I'll have a statement for the press ready in an hour."

"One more thing, Cam," Booth rose his hand. "I'd like to get permission to have an FBI sweeper team come through the Jeffersonian tomorrow. Pelant had half of DC wired, and probably had microphones and cameras planted in the labs."

"He also had microphones planted in our house," Brennan added, a faint revulsion coloring her voice, "which was how he was able to blackmail Booth into breaking our engagement. They may be in your homes as well. So it would be prudent to have your homes inspected for bugs."

"The sweepers won't be too invasive," Booth promised, "and it's strictly voluntary if you want them over."

"I'll have the paperwork to authorize your sweepers on your desk before I head for home, Booth," Cam assured him. "Last thing we need is any more of Pelant's surprises biting us in the ass."

"Plus it could lead back to Pelant's systems," Brennan suggested. "If we can trace his actions over the last year or so we may at least provide closure for his victims' families. We may even find the bulk of the Cantilever fortunes that he had stolen from Hodgins."

"Don't sweat it too hard on that front, Dr. B," Hodgins said, glancing at his wife. "We're not exactly suffering." Angela nodded in agreement with her husband, placing her hand over his and giving it a light squeeze; he may have been one of the wealthiest people in Washington DC before Pelant emptied his accounts with a keystroke and some old-fashioned extortion, but he never defined himself by his net worth. As far as he was concerned, he was the "bug and slime guy" at the Jeffersonian, a title he wore as a badge of honor. And it was the "bug and slime guy", not the heir to the Cantilever fortune, who inevitably won Angela's heart.

"Daisy Wick, Clark Edison and Colin Fisher are scheduled to report in over the next two days," Cam added. "I'll keep them posted as well. Okay everyone, go home; we'll get a fresh start tomorrow." Everyone filed out except Caroline who stayed behind to help draft the statement she would give the press.

As they headed for the elevators, Booth turned to Angela. "Ange, I just want to thank you for being there for Bones when I couldn't."

"Glad to, Studly," Angela smiled broadly as she hugged Booth. "Now it's your turn. Go. Play with Christine, have dinner, make love to your fiancé."

Booth glanced at Brennan, who smiled approvingly at Angela's words. "Best idea I've heard all day," he grinned.

Booth prepared vegetarian lasagna and a Caesar salad for dinner, which he and Brennan enjoyed quietly. Christine seemed to enjoy her serving as well, although more sauce ended up on her face than in her mouth.

Later, while Booth cleaned up in the kitchen, Brennan tucked Christine into her bed and kissed her goodnight. As she watched her daughter slowly drift into slumber, Brennan felt a strange sense of wonder, shot through with no small relief. It seemed almost impossible to believe that it was all over. With the suddenness of a light switch being turned off, the madman who had terrorized her and her family was gone. Even as she returned to their living room, she felt strangely light-headed. Still lost in her thoughts, she sat on the sofa and absently picked up a discarded bridal catalog left behind in the magazine rack.

"Hey Bones," Booth spoke quietly as he entered the living room, two glasses of merlot in hand. "You want to listen to some music before we—" He stopped suddenly, noticing the bridal magazine Brennan was idly thumbing through. The last time he saw her with that magazine in her hands was over a month ago; that terrible night when he was forced to break faith with her, to cancel their engagement. He took particular note of the pensive, contemplative crease in Brennan's brow. The last thing he wanted was to re-live that horrible ordeal. Considering the momentous events of the last twenty-four hours, he felt a strong desire to lighten the mood.

"Hey, you hear this one, Bones?" he started, snapping his fingers to draw her attention toward him. "These two atoms met on the street. The first atom said, 'How ya doing?' The second atom said, 'I just lost one of my electrons.' The first atom asked, 'You sure about that?' The second atom said, 'Yeah, I'm positive.' Ba-doom-tish!"

Brennan lifted her eyes from the magazine and regarded Booth with a knowing scowl. Booth stood before her, a goofy grin plastered on his face. Her stern expression crumbled slowly as a faint smile played at her lips, inevitably turning into an amused chuckle. "For the record, Booth," Brennan informed him, "I was laughing at your facial expressions more than at your actual anecdote."

"Hey, I made you laugh," Booth flashed his familiar cocky grin, "mission accomplished. Besides, it's the face that sells the joke." Brennan nodded approvingly, her smile sweet and welcoming. Shortly after he and Brennan got home from work, he slipped out of his shirt and tie and donned a gray t-shirt with 'FBI' silk-screened in white varsity letters. She now took the opportunity to admire how the shirt hung from his body, gently outlining his well-defined chest and pectorals. Absently she patted the space next to her on the couch, summoning Booth to join her.

Booth took his seat on the sofa next to Brennan and offered her a wine glass which she accepted gladly as she allowed her body to lean into his shoulder. Instinctively, almost automatically, his arm draped around her shoulders. Glancing at the opened page of the magazine, he commented, "I dunno, somehow I can't see you in one of these overly lacy jobs with the long train."

Brennan turned her head toward Booth, a slightly amused expression on her face. "Do you think I would not be attractive in an elaborate wedding dress?"

Booth smiled warmly, his eyes fixed with hers. "I think you're absolutely beautiful wearing anything."

"I am aware of my physical appearance," she replied. "But your opinion of me is both somewhat biased, and something that I value highly. So what sort of wedding dress do you envision me wearing?"

"Oh, I dunno," Booth shrugged. "Something less flouncy, more restrained and elegant. Maybe some daisy-patterned lace for trim, nothing too overblown."

Brennan's brow creased in thought for a moment. "Perhaps you're right, Booth. Anyway, we still have time to make preparations; we haven't even set a date yet. And while I know that we discussed having Caroline perform the ceremony in her office as soon as possible, I think that I would prefer a proper ceremony. It doesn't have to be fancy or elaborate. Just a simple affirmation of our love and our shared commitment."

Booth kissed her forehead and Brennan relishing the easy closeness between them, that they thought had been lost weeks ago. "You want it, Bones," he promised her, "you got it."

"Thank you," she smiled in return. She fell silent as she snuggled deeper into his arms. For the first time in over a month she felt comfortable enough to express her affection for Booth in their own home. Even after their reconciliation in her father's cabin, their lovemaking had become furtive. The knowledge that Pelant was monitoring their actions, that he had invaded their home, their Mighty Hut, with his surveillance equipment, and that he likely would make good on his threat to start killing again if they showed any sign that their engagement was still on, curtailed most open displays of affection. Plus knowing that Pelant had been eavesdropping on their lovemaking in the months prior left Brennan with a distinct revulsion. Twice in the last week they had managed to steal some time away, drive out to the cabin and make love there, which carried a certain forbidden thrill, but she much preferred to be open with her affection for Booth, in the home that they had created for their family.

She shook her head slightly, dispelling those dark thoughts; Pelant was gone. That dark chapter in her life was closed. And she and Booth had a future to look forward to.

"Hey, you okay, Bones?" Booth asked her gently. "Whatcha thinking about? And could you narrow it down to one pertinent item? I know how good you are at multitasking—"

Brennan chuckled as she glanced up at Booth's face, seeing his brow furrowing in concern, while his smile was warm and reassuring, laced with gentle humor. "I was remembering something, Booth," she answered. "When I was shot in the lab earlier this year."

"Oh, yeah," Booth harrumphed slightly, "just the mental image I wanted while we're cuddling together; you lying in a pool of your own blood."

"I assure you, it wasn't a pleasant experience for me either," Brennan answered. "Specifically, I was recalling when I was unconscious in the operating room. When I dreamed of seeing my mother." Booth nodded but said nothing more, remembering Brennan's recollections of her visions of Christine Brennan, her mother and the namesake of their daughter. "Understand me, Booth," she continued, "I am not prepared to claim those visions were anything more than a product of my subconscious. But something she said to me, it stayed with me. When I was a teen-ager, shortly before she and Dad were forced to turn fugitive, she told me to always use my brain, to be rational, to not let my heart lead me. Advice I had followed for most of my life." She paused slightly, sipping her wine as she recalled her dream. "During my last vision, Mom said to me, 'It's time for you to find some of that little girl that you locked away so deep inside yourself. It's not about surviving anymore. It's about flourishing. It's about living a full life.'"

She took another sip of wine, savoring the tang of tannin and the mellowness of the grape. She placed her glass on the coffee table and continued; "For so many years, Booth, I believed that I had a full life. I became one of the world's preeminent anthropologists and a successful novelist. I had a fulfilling career, friends, sexual partners...and every night I went to bed alone. Because I believed that's what I wanted."

"Bones..." Booth started, but Brennan placed her finger on his lips, silencing him.

"Please, Booth, let me finish," she requested. "I know now that the reason I was content with the life I had was because I couldn't really envision a better life. I thought of happiness as something that happened to other people. It wasn't until I met you that I started to question my life goals, what I really wanted. Yes, my work fulfills me, but having you here to share that work, to share my life...I may lack sufficient evidence to back this statement, but I feel safe in saying that I am happier now than at any previous moment in my life."

"You deserve happiness, Bones," Booth replied, a slight hitch in his throat. "I'm just relieved that Pelant wasn't able to destroy that we had built together."

"As am I, Booth," Brennan lifted her head slightly; her lips meeting his in what started as a gentle kiss, but began to build heat and momentum. For a few more stolen moments, Booth and Brennan continued kissing, slowly stoking a familiar and ever-welcome fire between them. Finally, Brennan lifted herself from the sofa, picked up her wine glass from the table and took Booth's free hand in her own, gesturing for him to stand. "Come on, Booth," she purred, smiling wickedly. "Now that we know no one is monitoring us, I find that I am feeling rather uninhibited."

"I think I like the sound of that," Booth growled, a devils grin forming on his face.

"You're going to love it even more in a few minutes," she promised, her eyes darkening in her growing arousal. She kissed him again, before darting toward their bedroom. "Don't forget your wine, Booth," she added as she looked over her shoulder at Booth, mischief in her eyes.

Booth grinned wolfishly as he grabbed his glass, made sure the front door was locked and the lights turned off, and joined his fiancé. He took a quick sip of his wine before entering the bedroom.

The bedroom lights were muted, giving an almost fire-place ambiance to the scene before him. Brennan sat in the center of the bed, her top discarded. A pale blue lace bra hugged her upper body, perfectly outlining the contours of her breasts. A few stray strands of hair fell across her eyes, which smoldered in the semi-darkness, radiating both adoration and pure desire. "I think you're slightly overdressed, Booth."

Booth's smile grew positively feral as he approached the bed. "I'm gonna have to do something about that, aren't I?" Standing next the bed, he began to reach for the lower hem of his t-shirt, but Brennan shook her head.

She crawled across the mattress, her movements slow and graceful, reminding Booth of a jungle cat. "Allow me," she whispered as she approached Booth. He began to realize how accurate his pervious thought was. She was a jungle cat. In heat. And he was her willing prey.

He had just barely enough time to place his wine glass on the end-table, before Brennan pulled his free hand, causing him to tumble onto the mattress next to her. With a sultry grin, she regarded his prone form; the firm muscles of his chest and abs; the sinews of his arms, both strong and gentle. She smirked in amusement as she noticed his erection visibly straining against his pants. "That cannot be comfortable," she mused aloud as her hands reached for his belt-buckle. "Feel like reciting the names of the saints?"

"Jesus, Bones," Booth moaned as Brennan loosened his belt buckle. "I hope I survive the honeymoon."

For most of the rest of the night, words became superfluous as their bodies communicated their desires eloquently.

The incessant chirp of his phone awoke him from a blissful sleep, leaving him somewhat grumpy. He wanted to simply lie down again, let the call go to his voicemail and go back to round two (or was it three? he thought wantonly) with Brennan. His sense of duty won out over his libido. Eyes half-closed, he fumbled toward the nightstand until he located his cellular. "Booth," he grunted drowsily into his phone as he turned it on.

"Glad to catch you up," Cam greeted him cordially. "Could you come over to the lab? I may have some information on Pelant's mole in the Jeffersonian."

"We'll be right over," Booth answered. "Just let me shower and shave." Hanging up the phone, he turned to Brennan, who was beginning to slowly awaken. "Wake up, Sleeping Beauty," Booth gently urged him. "Cam called, she wants us to meet her at the lab, says she has some info on who was helping Pelant."

"Really?" Brennan half-yawned, returning to full consciousness. "We'd better get ready."

"I'll go wake Christine," Booth volunteered, "then we can have a quick breakfast before we head out."

"I'll make some scrambled eggs," Brennan offered. Kissing Booth briefly on the lips, she added, "Go, get Christine up."

Booth smiled and reluctantly left the room. She enjoyed the sight of his well-shaped posterior as he walked out the door. Watching him walk away, she was reminded of something Angela once told her; "There's a reason God gave guys buns, Sweetie. Sooner or later we have to watch them walk out the door, so at least this way there's some consolation." She smiled wantonly as she recalled their activities of the previous evening. She definitely had no problems with Booth's stamina last night.

Brennan was about to prepare a quick shower to begin her day, when the phone rang again. She picked up the receiver on the second ring. "Temperance Brennan," she greeted cordially.

Booth returned to the bedroom, Christine squirming slightly in his arms. He was about to hand Christine off to her mother, when he noticed Brennan speaking on the phone. He heard snatches of her responses as the call continued; "Yes, Caroline. I understand...I'll be on my way immediately. Thank you..." She returned the receiver to its cradle and turned her face to Booth. She looked stricken, as though the recipient of a considerable, and unwelcome, shock.

"Bones?" Booth asked. "You okay?"

Brennan shook her head. "Can you drop Christine off at the Jeffersonian daycare and meet Cam without me?"

"No problem," he answered, confused. "What was Caroline calling about?"

"Dad was arrested," she answered plainly. "He's being arraigned in two hours, and I have to be at the courthouse. Hopefully I can post bail, assuming he isn't held without bail."

Booth shook his head slowly. "Let me guess," he ventured, "his bowling team won a tournament and the victory party led to a barroom brawl again?"

Brennan flashed a scolding glare at Booth; a silent gesture that informed him that his jibes were not appropriate. "He's being charged with Pelant's murder," she explained sadly.

"What?" Booth sat down on the bed, placing Christine on his lap. "We don't have any evidence regarding who killed him yet. How did Max become a suspect?"

Brennan sat next to Booth and Christine, her head lowered, sorrow and anger fighting for dominance in her heart. "Because after Caroline's press conference last night, he walked into her office and confessed."

(Dun, dun, DAH)