Disclaimer: These characters do not belong to me. Bones belongs to Josephson Entertainment, Far Field Productions and 20th Century Fox Television and BTVS belongs to Mutant Enemy and Joss Whedon. I only play with them.
Warnings: some violence, description of bones and tissues.
Summary: What happens when Booth and Bones get a case were the bones are just plain unusual?
A/N: Just a story idea that has bugged me and bugged me until it decided to just write itself. Enjoy.
The smell that rose from the room was vile, Dr Brennan’s walk didn’t stutter at all but Booth grimaced and stumbled as he got a waft of the stench on his face. The room was littered with many bodies but the one in the middle was the most mutilated, the stab wounds through the sternum were clearly visible.
Dr. Brennan approached the altar and trailed a gloved finger above the wound, “This is impossible,” she gasped.
Booth leaned over and looked at the body, his face clueless, “What’s wrong, Bones?”
“Don’t call me Bones,” she answered absently. “These stabs wounds are clearly fresh,” she continued, “but the bones appear to have healed considerably.”
“That’s what they do right?” Booth questioned, “You know, um, heal?”
“No, not at the rates that I’m estimating,” Bones answered shaking her head, “I have to get these to the lab but surrounding remaining flesh suggest a deep stab wound,” she made a downward motion with her fists, “it pierced through the sternum and at the angle may have pierced the heart but the bones show visible signs of rapid healing, much too fast regeneration.”
Booth shrugged, “If you can get all of that from just looking at it then I’m sure you and your squint team will find out the whole shebang at your lab.”
Bones looked up and nodded absently, “Yes, of course. Tell them to take some pictures of the altar,” she pointed at one side, “There are visible markings that may have some significance to the type of ritual they were performing. That might lead us towards types of weapon that could have caused the wounds; rituals usually follow a set pattern and sometimes have specific tools.”
“So, it’s like a satanic cult ritual?” Booth asked.
Bones shrugged, “The markings are not familiar to me. There are some figures that have been used in some satanic rituals but you know how I don’t like conjectures. We should gather the evidence and determine the facts and avoid making wild allegations.”
Booth grinned, “Come on, Bones. I’m thinking like a scientist here. I’m formulating a hypothesis and all that. A bunch of young kids, mass suicide, you know, the works.”
Bones ignored him and headed towards an adjacent body. She pushed some of the decomposing flesh off and tapped a thin slant, “this wound seemed to have only grazed the ribs. There are small serrations on the third and fourth rib but they are minor compared the other victims and they are also appeared to have healed.”
She trailed her finger of over the cut and continued, “Visually it appears as if it is an old wound but with the seepage of blood in the surrounding area, it suggests something quite recent. The growth of the bone is also odd but it appears as if it healed fairly quickly but this rate of healing should be impossible.” She had a baffled look on her face and she turned to Booth, “this makes no sense, scientifically this shouldn’t happen.”
He shrugged asking, “What else can you tell me?”
She glanced around the room and began, “The decomposition rate suggest at least 2 or 3 weeks but the smell in the room suggests only a two days maximum. Based on pelvic bones, I would say all seven are females, between the ages of 13 to 16; they were fairly short in stature and very delicate facial structures.
Four of them appear Caucasian and bone structure suggests European descent, 2 are of African descent and this one is somewhat difficult to classify.” She moved towards it, “There are also several anomalies in her bone and flesh that suggest a medical condition. Her bones are tinged with a slight mauve color and her blood has a pale blue liquid floating within it.”
She looked at Booth and added, “It could be something that was done to her, some sort of biological chemical.” When he just stared at her confused she added, “There could be something within her body that could contaminate us. It would be a good idea to call someone about that.”
Booth made a motion over his shoulder and within 15 minutes several men in suits entered and after thurough tests they determined it safe, with no foreign or pathogenic microorganisms.
Bones watched as they exited and continued her assessment. “She also seemed to have suffered repeated trauma to her head, the small fractures are deep and they seemed to have healed rapidly as well. If I were to guess, I would say that she healed faster than the others and for that ability she received a more severe beating. There are several fractures along her radial and multiple carpal and digitalis fractures.”
Booth frowned, “They broke her fingers?”
Bones nodded, “Yes. Multiple breaks to each digit as if they were repetitive; it seems that as one healed they repeated the act and broke it again.” She lifted the other hand and nodded, “Yes, both hands were broken at intervals as if she was being prevented to use them.”
She stood up and looked at Booth, “There are several bone breaks on them all but with the suggested advanced rate of healing; I would assume that they were inflicted around time of death, a method of torture if you will. The similar rate of re-growth also suggests some sort of relation between all of them.”
The lab was loud with activity; many people were running around excited at the prospect of people that had super human healing. Dr. Brennan’s team were the ones with official clearance but the rest of the scientist within the Jeffersonian Institute found one reason or another to roam near the room were the seven bodies were displayed.
“Dr. Brennan, as you predicted, the healing is unusually rapid even on a cellular level. We estimate that at these rates these women would have recovered easily despite the severity of the wounds.”
Dr. Brennan nodded, “Which means that they died from something else.”
Zack Addy, Dr. Brennan’s assistant shook his head in dismay. “Despite the fact that there appears to be multiple fatal wounds none of them account for the deaths. All of them healed considerably before the victims’ deaths, which leaves the question as to how to figure out what could have caused the death of women that healed so quickly.”
Dr. Brennan looked up from the piece of bone that she was examining and replied, “That of course our job Zack,” She turned the piece in her hand and waved him close, “look at these, this was a fracture I think five or six years old and the pattern of growth is consistent with normal healing rates but several inches above it, this is a similar break but the difference between them are clear. It’s as if the healing process was a lot faster and it seems as if the bones had re-grown a lot stronger than normal.”
She paused and frowned, “Has the FBI given you anything on their DNA? This could be some genetic anomaly that could account to their accelerated healing.”
Zack shook his head, “They haven’t sent anything yet.”
He frowned and headed towards his computer and typed several keys. “In fact the pictures of the scene haven’t arrived at all, no forensics work-up nothing at all, no preliminary information on the case.”
She frowned, “Clean the bones carefully and make sure to record any wounds healed or not and don’t forget to document bone scaring.” She pulled her gloves off, “I think it would be safer to take pictures of every wound, in order to compare the healing rate and determine a time line.”
Zack frowned and asked, “A time line for what?”
“We need to determine when those women developed whatever mutation that enables them to regenerate flesh and bone so quickly. It’s clear that this is not an ability they’ve possessed since birth proven the fact that they have scars that show normal healing at some point in their lives. Determining the approximate dates for the older bone scarring would help us find out when the genetic anomaly manifested.”
She shrugged her coat on, “I’m going to talk to Booth and find out why there are no files here.”
A quick glance at her cell phone and she frowned, “he hasn’t answered any of my calls, so I’m heading to his office. Once you’ve removed the flesh give it to Hodges so that he can determine a time of death and tell him to check the tissue for any drugs that may have been used on them.”
She headed out but quickly returned, “Once you’ve cleaned the skull give it to Angela to see if she can give us an ID,” she glanced around at the many people visibly watching them, “Make a note to inform Dr. Goodman of my inability to work in this condition, I expect that all of those people will have vacated the lab space before my return.”
Zack saluted, “Will do, Dr. Brennan.”
She frowned at him and headed out, pausing only to grab her keys from her office. Within half an hour she was sitting in a conference room with Agent Booth on her left facing the Deputy Director of the FBI.
“You can’t take Booth of the case,” Dr. Brennan argued, “He’s the lead agent at the scene,” she leaned back in her chair and crossed her arms, “and I work better with him.”
Booth passed a weary hand through his hair and muttered when his boss’ face closed off, “Stop helping Bones.”
She frowned, “I’m just trying to help. You have this cave man type dominance over your cases. Once you’ve connected, you constantly worry about solving them. I think it’s your drive towards being the hunter and protector so anything that falls as a slight against that rule automatically ruffles your feathers. It’s quite fascinating, there are old…”
Booth hissed under his breath, interrupting her, “Seriously Bones, stop helping.”
The Deputy Director, Sam Cullen, rubbed a hand over the thinning hair of his head and replied, “Dr. Brennan, if you had allowed me to finish, I would tell you that Agent Booth was still involved in the case. I wouldn’t dream of handing you off to another one of my agents, I’m sure if you don’t shoot them, they’ll probably shoot you.”
“Hey, I’m not…”
Cullen continued ignoring her protest, “In fact Agent Booth here is the only one crazy enough to find this partnership enjoyable. I’m sure there’s a psychotic reason for that.”
“Hey, sir,” Booth protested, “That’s not…”
“Anyway,” he forged on, ignoring him, “the case is no longer under Agent Booth’s sole leadership. The FBI was given a choice to either butt out or share equal involvement with another party. Of course we prefer to remain somewhat in charge of this case so I’ve agreed to allow full disclosure of Dr. Brendan to them.”
“What agency will we be working with?” Booth asked.
He shrugged, “I’m not privy to that information,” he noticed their shocked faces and added, “There’s a lot of things that I don't have clearance to know and that’s one of them.”
“Who are we working with then?”
“Dr. Brennan, I’m glad you asked,” Cullen replied. He pushed a thin file towards them, “That’s all we have on him, his name is Alexander Harris and he comes highly recommended.”
Booth opened the file and read the name and turned the page and gaped at the black page. He flipped through the rest and frowned, “The whole thing is blacked out, sir. What are we dealing with?”
He shrugged, “That’s all that I could dig up on him, and when I asked they told me to butt out, so I butted out.”
Dr. Brendan picked up the file and said, “He’s clearly not military.”
“What makes you say that?” Booth asked.
“Well, it says it right there at the bottom of his name. ‘Civilian, do not approach.”
Cullen looked at his watch and said, “His plane lands in an hour. Pick him up and fill him in, since I’ve informed you of everything you’ll need to know. Dr. Brendan should be receiving the FBI’s side of the work and Mr. Harris should provide you with additional information as well.” He stood and headed towards the door, “Dr. Brendan, I suggest you keep this investigation to only people that you trust.”
She frowned, “I trust all of my colleagues’ expertise in their fields. They are all cleared for working with sensitive FBI information.”
Cullen shook his head, “That may be so, but this is higher level and more sensitive and they are not cleared for that information.”
Brennan shook her head, “Then I suggest you get them cleared because their input will be essential in this investigation.” Cullen began to argue and she continued, “There is no compromise, if you want this case to be solved you have to get them the necessary clearance.”
“I don’t think that’s possible.”
She stood up, “May I remind you that there are seven decomposed bodies and they all show signs of possessing advanced abilities for healing and possible genetic complications. Add in the fact that there is no clear ID on any of the victims, suspicious ritual markings and no determined cause of death, I suggest you make it possible.”
He sighed, “I’ll do what I can.” He headed out and muttered under his breath, “Damn persistent woman.”
Brennan turned towards Agent Booth and frowned, “I don’t think he likes me very much.”
Booth nodded, “Yep, I suspect as much. Let’s go Bones.”
The airport was bustling with people and Dr. Brennan held the small card board awkwardly, the bold letters, ‘Alexander Harris’ printed on it with a black marker.
She turned towards Booth who was sipping on a drink and asked, “Why am I holding this?”
“So that Mr. Harris can know to come to us,” he replied speaking slowly as if talking to a child.
She frowned, “They should have given us a description of who we were meeting, approximate height, hair color, facial markers, anything.”
A voice behind them chuckled, “They should have just told you that I had one eye, but I guess they didn’t know what I looked like.”
They turned towards a grinning man with an eye patch over his left eye.
Booth extended a hand, “Agent Seeley Booth. Alexander Harris?”
He chuckled, “Jesus! You look just like someone I know,” He shook the hand and added, “You can just call me Xander; I’ll answer faster to that.”
He turned towards Brendan and asked, “You are?”
“Dr. Temperance Brennan, I’m the forensic anthropologist that’s helping in the investigation.”
Xander smiled, “Nice to meet you, Dr. Brennan. I know someone that’s read your book. Spike tells me it great, has mystery and crime solving and all that good stuff.”
Booth pointed behind him, “The car’s that way. We should get going.”
Xander nodded, “Lead the way.”