‘One boring, normal day. Is that so much to ask for?’
This thought ran through Special Agent Seeley Booth’s mind in an endless loop. The agent knew that such thoughts were a lot like those dreams people have about winning the lottery or being whisked away to some fairy-tale kingdom for a life of leisure: nice to fantasize about, but unlikely to happen. Still, Booth saw no harm in indulging in this fantasy for a moment.
He soon pushed that aside, however so he could focus on matters at hand. Right now he had a distraught entomologist, a pathologist who wanted to strange said entomologist and an unconscious psychologist on his hands.
It had all started in a prosaic enough manner. Booth had been assigned a case involving a murdered plastic surgeon and several very unhappy clients. The victim, Donald Felton, despite having a successful practice, had managed to make numerous enemies giving Booth a lot of suspects to sift through.
Sweets had been working on the case with him, building a profile to help narrow things down. At one point he mentioned that he needed to take a closer look at the miniature stone figurines that had been placed in a circle around the body. Booth had wanted to check in with Brennan anyway, so he decided to take the therapist along.
Once they arrived at the lab, they went off in separate directions: Booth toward Brennan’s office and Sweets off to find Hodgins.
“Hey Bones. Got anything for me?” Booth asked as he stepped into her office. The anthropologist was typing away at her computer and did not look up when he came in.
“Cause of death has been confirmed,” she replied. “Those radiating fractures in the temporal and frontal sections of the skull indicate fatal head trauma. Death was most likely due to cerebral bleeding.”
“That’s great, Bones, but I need something more,” Booth sighed. “I was finally able to narrow down the suspect pool to under a dozen people, but I’m going to need something that will trip somebody up under interrogation.” Brennan stopped typing and glanced over at him.
“I’m sorry, Booth. I’ve asked Mr. Nigel-Murray to continue to examine the remains for now. So far not much else has been found.”
“Where is he now?”
“I’m not sure,” she frowned. “Doctor Hodgins had mentioned that he might need help with an experiment he was working on to see why the victim’s tool shed exploded the way it did.”
Booth tensed; experiments involving explosions and Hodgins were not a good mix.
“Did Cam actually give her permission for this experiment?” Booth asked.
“Not the first version of it, no,” Brennan replied. “But then Hodgins assured her that he could extract the needed data from a significantly scaled down version. Cam seemed to find that acceptable.”
None of this eased Booth’s mind in the least, and he was about to go look for Cam when a thunderous “boom” echoed through the lab. Alarms immediately started to screech, and technicians began scrambling about. Booth and Brennan looked at each other for a moment before rushing out into the main area of the lab. Soon they ran into Cam, who had just relayed a series of orders to a group of security guards.
“What happened?” Booth demanded. “Is everyone all right?”
“I think so,” the pathologist seethed. “I just know that Hodgins better be all right because I want to be the one who actually maims him.”
Just then Hodgins and Vincent Nigel-Murray staggered out of a smoke-filled lab. They tried to speak, but their coughing made it difficult to understand them. Hodgins lunged toward Booth, grabbing his forearms. His eyes were watering, and his face was brown with soot.
“Booth…need medic…Sweets…” the entomologist gasped out.
That was all Booth needed to hear before he ran into the lab that Hodgins had just exited. The smoke had started to dissipate, but the agent still ended up hacking into his tie.
“Sweets! Where are you?” he bellowed.
A faint groan was the only answer he got. Booth rushed over to the source of it and found the psychologist lying on the ground, coughing and moaning. Booth knelt down beside him and gingerly turned his face upward. The agent’s hand brushed across something wet, and it was then that he discovered a jagged gash along Sweets’ temple.
“Sweets? Can you hear me?” Booth asked. “Are you all right?”
For a moment a pair of chocolate brown orbs looked up at Booth in confusion, but they were soon replaced with white as Sweets’ eyes rolled back into his head and he fell unconscious.
This all led to where everyone was now: Sweets lying on the couch in Brennan’s office while being examined by EMTs…Booth, Brennan and Angela watching the scene in the office from the doorway…and Cam alternating between handing out instructions for the cleanup of the lab and berating Hodgins.
“I didn’t think the explosion would be that big,” Hodgins said, unable to look Cam in the eye.
“And may I ask why you persisted in doing the experiment in the first place after I had already said ‘no’?” Cam inquired in a low, threatening voice. “Did you think that my answer of ‘no’ was just a suggestion?”
“When I crunched the numbers, I realized that the smaller experiment wouldn’t produce any measurable data,” Hodgins replied. “There just weren’t enough reactants to create the results we needed.”
“Doctor Hodgins deduced that if we only increased the amount of the reactant by a couple of tiny intervals, we could remain in safe parameters,” Vincent Nigel-Murray chimed in. “Of course the increase of reactants made it necessary to increase the size of the models in order to maintain the integrity of the experiment. So we….”
“Mr. Nigel-Murray,” the pathologist interrupted while raising her hand at him. “I suggest that you stop trying to defend Doctor Hodgins’ actions unless you are looking for an equal share of the punishment that I have in mind for him.”
The intern closed his mouth and took a couple of exaggerated steps away from Hodgins.
“I didn’t even hear Sweets come into the lab,” the entomologist said, his shoulders slumping down. “He must have been hit with some of the shrapnel from the explosion. I…I hope he’s ok.”
Cam shook her head and joined the others in watching the medics tend to Sweets.
Booth had listened to this conversation, his jaw tightening the entire time. Even though he was angry with Hodgins now, the agent knew that it wouldn’t last. So he chose to remain silent, lest he say something that he would regret later. In the meantime, he would focus on making sure that Sweets would be all right.
‘Sweets will be fine…Just a bump on the head,’ Booth told himself. ‘He’ll have a monster headache when he comes to, and I’ll probably have to stay with him tonight and wake him every couple of hours to be safe. He may even have to take a day or two of work. But after that everything will be fine and things will go back to normal…At least, as normal as they can be around here.’
As if on cue the psychologist stirred and tried to sit up. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief. But then the mood swiftly changed when they all saw the frightened look on Sweets’ face and the way he shrank back from the EMTs. Not content to wait any longer, Booth marched into the room. One of the medics tried asking the agent to leave, but Booth brushed right past him.
“Sweets…hey. Are you all right?” Booth asked as he crouched down beside the couch.
“Where…where am I?” Sweets asked, timidly.
“You’re at the lab. We had to stop by here to check out some evidence. There was an explosion. Remember?”
“Something blew up? At this…lab?” the psychologist asked, quizzical. “Um, that’s…kind of cool.”
“Yeah well, it’s not going to seem so cool here soon with the bump on the head you have,” Booth smirked at him. “Come on, let’s get you to the hospital so you can be checked out.”
Booth began to take Sweets by the arm, but the therapist jerked away.
“Wait, what are you doing?” he yelped. “Who are you, and where are Mom and Dad?”
Booth swallowed hard; Sweets’ reactions were making him nervous.
“Sweets…Lance…I’m Special Agent Seeley Booth from the FBI,” he said, pulling out his wallet and showing him his ID. “Can you tell me who you are and what the date is?”
Sweets held the wallet in his hands and stared at the badge and identification for a moment before looking back up.
“Sure, I guess,” he shrugged. “I’m Lance David Sweets, and it’s June 1st.”
“1997,” Sweets answered. “Why?”
There was a sharp intake of breath from Booth, but then he let it out just as quickly while hanging his head.
Nope, today was not going to be boring or normal either.
After a lot of persuasion and reassurances, Booth finally managed to convince Sweets to go with the EMTs to the hospital so that he could be examined further. Brennan and Booth followed the ambulance, and once there, Booth tried to handle the paperwork as much as he could. By the time he was done, the agent was ready to go home and call it a day. Instead he ended up joining Brennan in the waiting room, determined to stay at least until they got word from the doctors on Sweets’ condition.
“Booth, do you think Sweets will get his memory back?” Brennan asked, breaking the silence. “Cognitively he seems to have retained his overall intelligence, but….”
“I don’t know, Bones,” Booth said, running his hands down his face. This was just the sort of question he would usually ask Sweets, and Booth found himself frustrated that this was not an option here.
“He seems scared,” she said.
“Can’t really blame him,” Booth replied. “He was just in an explosion and now he wakes up to all these people who are telling him that it’s thirteen years later than what he thinks it is.”
“Booth…he kept asking for his parents,” the anthropologist said quietly. The agent nodded and started to rub his eyes. Brennan didn’t finish her thought. She didn’t need to.
They both knew, courtesy of Wyatt, that Sweets had lost both of his parents not long before they met him. Although they never asked him much about it, both of them sensed that it had been a devastating loss.
‘How do you tell someone who thinks he’s a kid and who thinks that he’s still living with Mom and Dad that he’s never going to see them again?’ Booth asked himself. ‘It was probably bad enough to lose them the first time as an adult. But now….’
Booth stood and began to pace back and forth. He knew that the doctors were explaining things to Sweets like what year it really was and his actual age, and he hoped that that would be enough to jog the psychologist’s memory so that none of this would become an issue. Still, he wondered how well Sweets was handling all this.
After what seemed like hours, a nurse finally came out to meet them.
“Agent Booth,” she said. “Mr. Sweets keeps asking for ‘that FBI guy’. I think you should go to him now. The doctor will speak with you on the way.”
A brief discussion with the doctor yielded nothing that Booth had been able to guess on his own: some minor bruising with the most serious thing being a slight concussion that somehow had robbed the therapist of all his memories after the age of twelve. After being assured that he could take Sweets home, Booth walked into the examination room and found the psychologist studying himself in a mirror. There was a large bandage on his temple, but otherwise he seemed all right.
Sweets whirled around when he heard Booth approaching, but after he saw who it was, he went back to looking into the glass.
“When did I get so tall?” Sweets asked with tinges of awe. Booth could not suppress a smile.
“Hey, Sweets how are you doing?” he asked. Sweets shrugged and moved away from the mirror to hop onto the examination table.
“Ok, I guess,” the therapist responded. He looked down at his legs which were dangling over the edge of the table and began to swing them back and forth.
“They told me that it’s 2010,” Sweets mumbled. “And that I’m actually twenty-five years old.”
“All true,” Booth nodded. “You believe that, don’t you?”
“I suppose I have to,” Sweets said, looking into the mirror again while running a hand along his face. “How else could I have aged this much? It’s just that….”
The psychologist paused and jumped off the table. He paced back and forth, his stride jittery.
“It doesn’t make sense, you know?” Sweets said. “How can I go to bed one night, twelve years old and starting on my summer vacation, and then wake up the next day and be twenty-five? I mean, I was just getting ready to start high school in a couple of months.”
“High school at twelve?” Booth asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Why not?” Sweets pouted. “I was finished with elementary school by the time I was almost ten.”
“Look you’re just having a little temporary memory loss here,” Booth said. “I’m sure after a little while you’re head will clear, and then….”
“What?” the agent asked.
“It’s called retrograde amnesia,” Sweets repeated as he sat back down on the table. “And you don’t know for sure if I’ll remember things again. It doesn’t always happen.”
“But hey, you’re already starting to remember the stuff you learned in college,” Booth said encouragingly. “That’s a good sign, isn’t it?”
“College?” Sweets said, furrowing his eyebrows. “I read about all that stuff last year. Dad got me some psychology textbooks because I….”
Upon mentioning his father, Sweets became somber again.
“Agent Booth, shouldn’t I go home to Mom and Dad?” he asked. “Maybe they could help me remember…or if I can’t remember, they could….”
“Sweets, this is your home now, all right?” Booth said. “Look, why don’t I take you around to some places like your apartment and where you work. Seeing all that might help you remember something. How does that sound?”
Sweets fidgeted; he opened his mouth as if he was going to speak, but then would immediately close it again. He did this several times before starting to blush.
“Will you…will you stay with me? Until I remember?” he asked in a tiny voice, not daring to look Booth in the eye.
“Of course I will, Sweets,” the agent assured him. “I won’t leave you alone until then. I promise.”
Booth decided that the best place to begin would be Sweets’ home, so after getting the psychologist discharged from the hospital, the two of them along with Brennan headed over to Sweets’ apartment building. The agent noticed that Sweets was eerily quiet during the ride, but decided to leave him alone for the time being.
Once they arrived, Booth used the therapist’s keys to get in. The three of them walked in with Sweets moving ahead of them while looking around the room. He slowly walked around, examining every corner of the room. He finally stopped to pick up a framed picture that was sitting on a stand near the couch.
“Mom and Dad,” he murmured.
Booth edged closer to see a photo of a teenaged Sweets standing between two people with greying hair and kind eyes.
“See anything familiar here?” he asked the psychologist.
“No,” Sweets replied. “I don’t even remember this picture being taken. Sweets ran his fingers along the glass as if he could somehow reach his parents by touching the images encased within. He sat the photo back down and resumed walking around the room. After a couple minutes of this, Sweets turned back toward them.
“Um…I’m going to go to the bedroom,” he said. “To see if I can remember…and to change. It feels weird wearing this suit.”
“Sure think, Sweets,” Booth said. “We’ll wait for you here.”
The psychologist walked away, and Booth leaned against a wall. He then spotted Brennan walking around the room and picking up some of the items she found.
“Bones, what are you doing?” he hissed.
“Sweets will likely need a variety of memory triggers to help him recover from his amnesia,” she replied as she gathered the items she found into a pile on a stand. “We cannot just rely on familiar settings.”
“Yeah, you’re probably right,” Booth said, scratching the back of his neck as he began to pace about. The anthropologist nodded and started to place the items into a small, plastic bag that she had taken out of the kitchen.
A couple of minutes later, Sweets emerged from the bedroom wearing a long sleeved tee shirt and jeans which only served to re-enforce his youthful demeanor. He was carrying what looked like a giant photo album.
“Hey, I found this in a trunk at the back of the closet,” he said, holding it up. “It’s got, like, a ton of photos in it. I thought I’d take it with me and look at it. Maybe looking at it will help me to remember?”
“Worth a try,” Booth said. “Would you like to go somewhere else now?”
“To the Jeffersonian,” Brennan answered.
“I work at a museum?” Sweets asked.
“No, I work at the Medico-Legal lab,” she answered. “I’m a forensic anthropologist.”
“No way!” the psychologist replied. “So, you study dead people and find out who they were and how they lived?”
“That’s an oversimplification of my job, but you are correct,” Brennan said. “I am impressed that you know about the type of work I do.” Sweets blushed and looked away.
“Mom and I saw this show about anthropology on TV one time,” he mumbled. “But wait, if I don’t work there, why are we going?”
“While it’s true that you are not technically employed by the lab, you do spend a lot of time working there with me and my team,” Brennan responded. “Would you like to go there now?”
“Sure,” Sweets said, starting to smile. “I haven’t been to the Jeffersonian since I was a little kid. Do you think we’d have time to stop the Egyptian exhibits?”
“Sweets…this isn’t a field trip,” Booth cut in. “We’re trying to get your memory back.”
The therapist’s smile immediately vanished from his face, and he ended up hanging his head instead.
“I’m sorry,” he mumbled. “You’re right. That was dumb of me to ask.” Booth sighed; he hated seeing Sweets so miserable.
“Hey, why don’t we run over to the lab, and then when we are done, maybe just maybe, we can take a quick run over to the Egyptian section,” the agent said. “How about that?”
Booth reached over to pat Sweets’ shoulders, but the psychologist flinched and backed away.
“That’s ok, Agent Booth. It…it wasn’t important anyway,” he said. “We should probably go now.”
Sweets kept his head down as he trudged out the door into the hallway with Brenan following him closely. Booth turned to lock up the place and glanced over at the photo Sweets had been looking at earlier. The agent noticed the wide smiles and the sparkling eyes which told of the happiness Sweets and his parents shared.
While it might not mean much as far as helping the psychologist recover his memories, Booth wished that he could produce a similarly happy expression from Sweets right now.
The ride to the Jeffersonian ended up being relatively quiet one at first. Both Booth and Brennan tried to engage Sweets in conversation, hoping that they could trigger some sort of memory. But the psychologist would only answer their questions with shrugs or nods and continued to stare out the window as Booth drove down the DC streets.
After a few minutes of this, Booth decided to give him some space and started to go over some of the details of the plastic surgeon case with Brennan instead. It did not escape the agent’s notice that Sweets eventually shifted his focus from the scenery outside to watching and listening to the two of them talking.
‘Some habits never go away,’ he thought ruefully.
“And here is the lab where I work,” Brennan said as she and Booth ushered Sweets inside.
“Wow, awesome,” the psychologist said in a near whisper as he looked around the room. He took a few tentative steps forward all while craning his neck so he could see every corner of the lab.
“And…you said that I work here too?” Sweets murmured.
“Actually you work for the FBI,” Brennan said. “But you do work with my team in conjunction with the Bureau.”
“You mean, I work for the FBI too?” Sweets said, turning toward Booth. “Hey, am I an agent? Are we partners?”
“No, Booth and I are partners,” the anthropologist quickly corrected.
“You’re a psychologist and a profiler,” Booth told him. “We’re not partners, but we do work on the same team.”
“Oh,” the therapist nodded before going back to exploring the lab. Booth could have sworn he saw Sweets’ expression darken slightly, but shook the notion off as he watched the intensity of the psychologist’s eyes taking in every detail.
“Booth, Doctor Brennan.”
The three of them turned to see Cam, Angela and Hodgins walking toward them. Brennan had called from the hospital, so they were all aware of the situation. Still, none of them seemed comfortable with breaking the uneasy silence that suddenly developed.
“Booth, is he….?” Cam asked, motioning her head toward Sweets.
“He knows the basics, but still doesn’t remember anything,” the agent filled in for her. Angela started to move toward the therapist, her eyes sad, but with a smile on her face.
“Hi, I’m Angela Montenegro,” she said warmly, holding out her hand. Sweets’ face turned scarlet as he reached over to shake it.
“Hello,” he mumbled, looking down and to the side.
“And, I’m Doctor Camille Saroyan,” the pathologist said, also shaking Sweets’ hand. “But you can call me Cam if you like.”
“And I’m Doctor Hodgins,” Hodgins added clearly uncomfortable. “Sweets, I…I’m really, really sorry about what happened earlier.”
“You’re the one who blew up the lab?” Sweets asked, finally looking up.
“Um, not the whole lab, but…yeah…sort of…I guess,” the entomologist answered nervously.
“Did you mean to make it blow up?”
“Well, sort of…” Hodgins said while keeping a close eye on Cam’s expression.
“So, you get to explode things as part of your job?” Sweets asked. “That…is so cool! How did you get a job like that? And…can I help next time?”
“Doctor Hodgins will not be causing any more explosions any time soon, will you Doctor Hodgins?” Cam answered with a little too wide of a smile and a little too syrupy of a voice. Hodgins gulped and shook his head vigorously before beginning to back away.
“I uh, have some things I need to do…like right now,” the entomologist said as he turned to leave. “I hope you feel better soon, Sweets.”
“I wish I could remember working here,” Sweets sighed as he watched Hodgins sprint off. “It’s probably one of the best jobs in the world.” Booth cleared his throat loudly.
“Ok, Sweets, I need to discuss some things with Bones,” the agent said. “So why don’t you go with Angela for now.”
The psychologist looked over at Angela and then back at Booth a couple times, his reluctance obvious.
“Hey, don’t worry; I’ll meet up with you later, all right?” Booth assured him. “I’m just going to go with Bones to look at some things.”
“All right,” Sweets said quietly. Angela put her arm around his shoulders, making him blush again.
“Come on,” she grinned. “I can show you some pretty awesome stuff on my computer.”
“Oh Angela, here,” Brennan said, pulling a small object out of the bag she had brought from Sweets’ apartment. “Maybe you could use this as well.”
The artist took it and then smiled when she saw what it was.
“Ok, I get it,” Angela said. “Let’s go, Sweets.”
The psychologist fell in step with her as they walked away. After they were out of earshot, Booth let out a sigh.
“I don’t know if this is working, Bones,” he said.
“Then what should we do next?”
“I don’t know,” the agent said. “That’s the problem.”
Booth and Brennan moved over to the ooky room in the hopes that they could make progress on the case at the very least. As the two of them looked over the cleaned skeleton of the plastic surgeon on the table, Brennan went over her latest findings.
“The angle of impact and the force involved indicate that the murderer had to be at least five foot nine,” the anthropologist added at the end of her report.
“Well that leaves Matthews out,” Booth nodded. “He can’t be more than 5’5 tops. Still that leaves us with at least seven viable suspects all of whom have flimsy alibis.”
“Have you been able to find any witnesses?”
“Not anyone who is willing to talk,” the agent huffed as the two of them walked back out into the main area of the lab. “Someone must have seen or heard something though. I’m not buying the idea that a tool shed can blow up in the middle of a crowded suburb, and no one notices. But for some reason, we can’t find anyone who will admit to knowing anything.”
“So what should we do now?” Brennan asked him.
Booth was about to answer when the wail of guitars and what sounded like screams blasted away all other sound. Clamping their hands over their ears, the two of them headed over to Angela’s office. Once there, they found Angela and Sweets rhythmically swaying to the death metal that was blaring away from Angela’s computer. Sweets glanced over to see them walking in and began to smile.
“Agent Booth, Doctor Brennan,” he shouted at them. “Angela showed me how to play music on her computer with that…that…what is that thing called again?”
“iPod,” the artist yelled before going back to enjoying the music.
“Yeah that,” the psychologist nodded. “Isn’t it awesome?”
“Not awesome, deafening,” Booth shouted back. “How did Angela get your iPod?”
“I gave to her from Sweets’ apartment,” Brennan yelled. “Since memory is a complex collection of various sensory data, I thought we should stimulate as many senses as possible to help Sweets’ brain in memory restoration.”
“There’s going to be nothing left of my brain before long,” the agent scowled. A second later, Cam and Hodgins stepped in, their hands hovering near their ears as well.
“What is this?” Hodgins bellowed.
“Extreme Acid Dawn,” Sweets shouted at him.
“Extreme Acid Dawn,” the therapist repeated. “Apparently this is their latest single.”
“Yeah, they are way better than Sanity Entombed,” Angela yelled.
“Angela please,” Cam shouted. “Before all of our eardrums disintegrate.”
Angela gave them a mock-frown, but then proceeded to tap her control pad a few times, lowering the volume of the music and then eventually stopping it.
“You guys are no fun,” she said.
“Agent Booth, Angela…Ms. Montenegro…she has such an amazing set up here,” Sweets said as he nearly bounced over toward Booth. “Her computer is mega-fast, and the internet is so massive now with all these cool sites that….”
“Sweets, are you starting to remember anything?” Booth interrupted. “About your life or anything else?”
Booth watched as the giddy expression began to fade again from Sweets’ face, and the psychologist became more thoughtful.
“I guess not,” Sweets mumbled while turning his gaze downward. “I saw a lot of things on the internet…a bunch of them were pretty cool…but none of it was familiar.”
The psychologist slumped down onto the couch nearby.
“I know that I’m not here for stuff like this,” he said quietly. “I’m sorry.”
“Hey sweetie, it’s ok,” Angela said, moving to sit beside him. “It was worth a shot.”
The artist took one of his hands, causing Sweets to blush again.
“You’ll get your memory back soon,” Angela assured him while squeezing his hand. “Don’t worry about it.”
The psychologist nodded in agreement, but Booth couldn’t help but noticed the slight tremor in Sweets’ hands and the unease in his expression.
‘He gets so nervous when anyone gets too close to him or tries to touch him,’ Booth thought to himself. ‘Granted, he doesn’t remember us right now, but what is he so scared of?’
Almost in the same moment that he asked himself that question, Booth thought back again to the revelatory conversation he had with Wyatt and Brennan about a year previous about Sweets.
‘Scars on the back…of course,’ he told himself. ‘Bones acted like whatever happened to Sweets happened while he was still a child. Maybe he’s learned to handle it as an adult, but what was it like for him when he was twelve?’
The agent watched as Sweets extracted his hand from Angela’s and continued to stare at his feet. Booth knew that he couldn’t blame the psychologist for being apprehensive, if not a little scared, of all of them and the situation he was in given how he had been treated in the past.
‘I need to do something with him that’s routine and that will help him relax,’ Booth pondered. ‘But what relaxes Sweets? Besides death metal that is?’
An inspiration finally struck Booth, and he walked over to the therapist.
“Hey Sweets, how do you feel about visiting the FBI next?” he asked him.
There were some raised eyebrows along with some meaningful smirks from some of the agents as Booth entered the building with Brennan and Sweets in tow. In his current attire, the psychologist looked like a teenager hanging out after school than a member of the Bureau.
Sweets noticed the smirks and stares and began to walk with his head down, carefully studying every tile on the floor as he walked. A few well placed glares from Booth, however, soon put a stop to the other agents’ gawking.
“Bones, I’m going to go drop by Hacker’s office and let him know what’s going on,” he said.
“About Sweets or the case?” she asked.
“Both. Why don’t you take Sweets by his office and see if he remembers anything.”
“Why can’t I tell Andrew about what is going on,” Brennan pouted.
“Because…Just because, Bones, all right?” Booth said as he started to go down the hall. “I’ll meet up with you guys there later.” After the agent had left, Brennan turned toward Sweets and guided him toward the elevator.
“Let me show you to your office, Doctor Sweets,” she said.
“Doctor Brennan…am I really a doctor too?” Sweets asked.
“Technically you are a doctor of psychology because you have two doctorates in the field,” she responded. “But since psychology is not a real science, you’re mainly a doctor in the academic sense.”
“Oh,” Sweets said, shrugging his shoulders slightly.
Brennan soon felt a twinge of regret at her words. She had become accustomed to Sweets defending his profession and his field of study in response to her jabs, usually in a teasing but playful manner. It was disconcerting to her to see the therapist not only passively accept her comments but appear hurt by them as well.
“However,” she added. “Despite the fact that psychology is a soft science, I believe you to be very adept in your field due to a high level of intelligence.”
That brought forth yet another blush, and the anthropologist was please to see Sweets starting to smile again.
“Thank you Doctor Brennan,” he murmured. The elevator made a soft ‘ding’, and the two of them got on as the doors opened for them.
“You’re welcome, Sweets,” she smiled back. “And you can call me just Brennan if you would like.”
The two of them made their way to the psychologist’s office, and were greeted by Sweets’ secretary, Becky.
“Doctor Brennan, Doctor Sweets,” she nodded. “Agent Booth mentioned what happened,” she said. “So I’m rearranging Doctor Sweets’ schedule so that he won’t have anything to worry about this week.” She then regarded Sweets with a smile.
“I hope you feel better soon, Doctor Sweets.
“Thank you,” he said, his tone unsure.
The secretary went back to her work, so Brennan walked with him into his office. She stood by the door at first and watched as he walked about, the only sound being a faint shuffling as Sweets dragged his feet along the carpet.
“Does being in this environment stimulate any sort of recollection?” Brennan asked. “You spend a lot of your time here.”
“Not really,” Sweets sighed. He plopped down into his usual chair and began to dig around in the bowl of knick knacks he kept on the coffee table, eventually pulling out the toy chicken and fidgeting with it. Brennan took her normal seat on the couch across from him.
“Um…Brennan?” he finally asked.
“What is it?”
“Are you and Agent Booth…? Uh, are the two of you…?”
“Are we what?” Brennan asked, tilting her head slightly.
“Are you…more than partners?” Sweets asked, hesitantly.
“We are very close,” she replied. “But we are just partners. Why do you ask?”
“You seem…I don’t know….” Sweets faltered and began to look around the room as he searched for the right words to say.
“You guys…you kind of remind me of Mom and Dad,” he finally stammered out.
“How so?” Brennan replied, intrigued by this revelation.
“Well...My parents…They’ve been together for years, and they really love each other,” he said. “And they just enjoy being around each other, you know? Even when they’re doing things like chores or errands or just spending time talking, they always seem happy and content. It’s as if all they need to be happy is to be together. And sometimes, it just feels like that’s how it is between you and Agent Booth.”
Brennan sat still and silent, stunned at this observation. She was about to ask more when Booth barged in through the door.
“Ok, Sweets, how did it go in here?” he asked, clapping his hands together.
“Sorry Agent Booth,” Sweets mumbled shaking his head. The agent had a brief look of disappointment on his face, but he quickly shook it off.
“That’s ok, Sweets,” he said. “I’ve got just the thing for you to do now.”
“What’s that?” the psychologist asked.
“You’re going to help me interrogate a witness.”
“Are you sure that this is a good idea?” Brennan asked as she and Booth watched Sweets wander around the listening area of the interrogation room.
“It’ll be fine, Bones,” Booth assured her. “Sweets needs a chance to be in familiar settings and do his normal routine, right? This is perfect for him.”
“But how can he help interrogate someone if he doesn’t remember any of his training?” she wondered.
“Don’t worry, this will work,” the agent said. “Look, I know Sweets. Even without all that psychological mumbo-jumbo in his head, he is still a human polygraph. He will know if this guy is lying. And while he’s doing this, he might start to remember things.”
“It seems logical on the surface,” Brennan said reluctantly.
“Hey Sweets,” Booth said, motioning for the psychologist to move close to them. “Ok, I want you to stay in here with Bones and listen to what this guy says. If you think he’s lying at any point, you let me know, all right?”
“Ok,” Sweets nodded eagerly.
“All right then, good,” Booth said, exchanging a look with Brennan before walking out.
Booth walked into the main interrogation room, file in hand and sat down across the man, who was waiting for him. The man was Norman Adams, a neighbor of Felton’s who had been particularly uncooperative ever since the investigation had commenced. Something about him had struck the agent as suspicious from the beginning and some digging had revealed some interesting facts that Booth hoped would lead to something more.
Adams could hardly keep still and kept looking at his watch and at his hands.
“Mr. Adams, I’m Special Agent Booth,” the agent said as he opened the file.
“Yes, we met before,” Adams snapped. “How long am I going to be here?”
“I’m sorry about the wait,” Booth said blandly. “There are just a few things we need to clear up is all.”
“Look, we’ve already gone over this,” Adams huffed. “And as I’ve said about a hundred times now, Agent Booth, I wish I could help you, but I can’t.”
“Oh oh, Agent Booth, he’s lying,” Sweets chimed into Booth’s earpiece.
“Yeah, I noticed that, Sweets,” Booth muttered.
“Noticed what?” Adams asked.
“Mr. Adams, are you sure you wouldn’t like to correct your statement?” Booth continued. “We checked with your supervisor at work. According to him, on the day Doctor Felton was murdered, you left work four hours early.”
“Ok, I wasn’t at work,” the man sighed, slumping his shoulders in defeat. “But that doesn’t mean that I was at home or at Felton’s place. As it turns out, I ran into some old college buddies of mine the other day. I didn’t want to tell the wife, but me and my friends decided to hit this old bar we used to hang out in so that we could catch up for a while.”
“Lying again,” Sweets said in a sing-song voice. “You should ask him where he really was that day.”
“I’m getting to that,” Booth mumbled.
“Getting to what?”Adams demanded.
“I’m going to need you to write down the names of these friends,” the agent said, pulling out a pen and shoving a pad of paper toward him. “That way we can contact them and make sure your story checks out.”
“All right,” Adams nearly shouted. “I wasn’t out with friends. Are you happy? I was at home. But I don’t know anything, I swear.”
Booth paused and stared at Adams, waiting to hear something in his earpiece, but nothing came. He then looked over toward the mirror and mouthed Sweets’ name, but still got no reply. After another minute of silence, Sweets finally responded.
“Um, Agent Booth…I don’t think he’s lying there.”
“Are you sure?” Booth hissed.
“Yes, I’m sure I was at home,” Adams snapped. “And I’m sure that I don’t know anything.”
“So, you’re telling me that you were just sitting at home, watching television or taking a nap, or whatever you were doing, and you just didn’t hear your neighbor being murdered and his tool shed blowing up a few yards away?” Booth said. “I think you can understand why I find this difficult to believe.”
“Nevertheless, it’s the truth,” Adams insisted.
“Uh, Agent Booth,” Sweets said, his voice flush with embarrassment. “Maybe he um, wasn’t alone or….”
“Gotcha,” the agent nodded. “Mr. Adams…was there perhaps someone with you? Someone who could maybe tell us something about that day?”
Adams started to say something, but instead grew increasingly pale. Eventually he put his head in his hands.
“All right…I wasn’t alone,” he mumbled. “But I…Look, my wife and, more importantly, my boss can’t find out about this. If he knew that I was seeing his wife on the side….”
“None of that needs to leave this room if you cooperate,” Booth said. “So the question is: are you ready to cooperate? Did you see anything that day? Anything out of the ordinary?”
“There was one thing,” Adams nodded thoughtfully. “There was that cable guy who stopped by Felton’s place. He went to my place first, by mistake, and I had to point out Felton’s place to him. Happens more often than you might think for some reason.”
“What was strange about this visit?” the agent inquired.
“Well Felton was always talking about how he didn’t have a TV and how he never intended to buy one,” Adams said. “Kept saying how television was turning everyone’s mind into mush and how reading was a much better leisure activity. I suppose it’s pretty weird that he would get a visit from a cable tech.”
Booth stood up and gather up his files and notes.
“Ok, Mr. Adams, I’m going to send a sketch artist in here,” he said. “You just give him a good description of this cable guy, and there will be no need to mention your ‘afternoon activities’ again.”
Adams nodded gratefully, and Booth left him. The agent gave instructions for the sketch artist to one of his assistants before returning to the listening room. He went over to pat Sweets on the back, but stopped himself when he saw the psychologist flinch.
“Good work, Sweets,” Booth grinned at him.
“Thank you,” Sweets smiled back. “But I….”
“But you don’t remember anything else, do you?” Booth asked.
“No,” the therapist said, slinking off toward a corner of the room. “What do you want me to do now?”
Booth looked over at Brennan and shook his head. He would have liked to answer Sweets’ question right away, but he found himself running out of ideas…a situation he had been dreading from the beginning of all this.
‘We can’t give up,’ Booth told himself. ‘But…what else is there to do?’
Sweets sat in Booth’s office behind the agent’s desk, tossing a ball from Booth’s desk up into the air over and over. Just outside the room, Booth and Brennan watched him while they talked.
“I don’t know, Bones,” the agent said while rubbing the back of his neck. “Do you think maybe we should give him another conk to the head? See if that shakes him out of it?”
“Giving Sweets another head injury is not the answer,” Brennan frowned. “You need to stop using cartoons and television shows as scientific reference points. I’ve said this before.”
“Well what do you suggest?”
“I’m not sure,” she responded. “But I do know that another blow to the head could have serious complications: concussion, intracranial bleeding….”
“All right, I get it,” Booth said while holding up his hands to stop her. “I just…I just wish that there was something we could do to help him.”
“I know,” Brennan nodded while looking back at Sweets. “I wish we could too.” The two of them ended up watching the psychologist for a couple moments before they turned back toward each other.
“Have you thought about where he should stay tonight?” Brennan asked. “He probably shouldn’t be alone.”
“Yeah, I know,” Booth sighed. “I guess he can stay with me.”
“I think that would be best,” the anthropologist replied. “He seems to be more comfortable with you than anyone else right now.”
Booth nodded in agreement, but secretly he had his doubts. He had noticed how edgy and uncomfortable the therapist often was around them ever since this had started despite the fact that Sweets had tried to conceal it with his good behavior. The agent knew that this was mostly due to Sweets’ childhood traumas combined with the fact that they were virtual strangers to him now. He began to wonder how deeply ingrained the psychologist’s lack of trust and uneasiness around unfamiliar people were.
‘How’s he going to get better if he’s always nervous about the people he’s around?’ Booth asked himself. ‘I need to find a way to let him know that he can trust us. But how? Especially since the only people he probably trusted at this point in his childhood died years ago.’
“Booth?” Brennan asked, noting his introspective expression.
“Yeah, ok. I’ll swing by Sweets’ apartment and grab a few things so that he can stay with me,” Booth said, shaking himself a little. “I’ll get him something to eat, keep him company, and we’ll figure out what else to do tomorrow. All right?”
“Ok,” she said. “I’ll go back to the lab and see if I can find out anything else that might help on the case. Oh, and I left those things from Sweets’ apartment in your office. You might want to try and see if they help at all.”
“I’ll do that. Thanks Bones,” Booth said as he watched her leave. After she was gone, he headed back into his office. He walked in to see Sweets still sitting at his desk, but now the bag that Brennan had left was sitting next to him, and the therapist was reading a book. When Booth got closer, he saw that Sweets was reading his own book, The Art of Evolutional Profiling, which had helped the psychologist obtain his position at the Bureau. Sweets looked up from the page he was on as the agent drew closer to him.
“Did I really write this?” he asked.
“Yeah, you did,” Booth chuckled. “Don’t ask me about it though. It was a little too squinty for me.”
“Squinty?” Sweets asked, furrowing his eyebrows.
“Never mind,” the agent said as he walked over to his desk. Sweets hopped up and moved to pace around the room while Booth sat down.
“Um, Agent Booth, did I write any other books?” the psychologist asked.
“You know what, let’s change the subject,” Booth said as he glanced at a couple of files stacked on his desk. “You’re going to need a place to stay tonight where we can keep an eye on you, so I thought that you could stay with me. Does that sound ok to you?”
“It’s fine,” Sweets nodded.
“Great. We’ll just pick up a couple things from your place on the way home,” Booth said as he placed his files off to the side. “Hey, are you hungry? I could order some stuff some stuff for dinner. How does Chinese sound?”
“I’d love Chinese,” Sweets said with a slight smile. “If…if that’s ok with you.”
“Sweets, it’s fine,” Booth insisted. “I wouldn’t have offered if I didn’t want to do it. Look, I’ll tell you what, I’m going to let you decide what we do after I get out of work. Whatever you want to do tonight is fine by me.”
“Really?” the therapist asked, his face lighting up.
“Really,” Booth grinned back. “Have you got something in mind?”
The psychologist looked thoughtful for a moment, but then he started to smile again.
“Well…when I was checking out Angela’s….Ms. Montenegro’s computer, I saw some sites on the internet,” Sweets said. “Did you know that they made three more Star Wars movies?”
Two movies and several paper cartons of food between them later, Booth was slumped against the back of the couch in his apartment. Sweets was sitting next to him and was continuing to discuss the films he had just seen in a voice that was a little too animated for the agent right now.
“That was so epic,” the psychologist gushed. “I mean they talked about the Clone Wars in the other movies, but it was so cool seeing how all that got started in these movies.”
“Yeah, that’s great Sweets,” Booth yawned. Despite his tiredness, he had to admit that it had been fun watching those movies with Sweets. Sometimes it reminded him of evenings spent with Parker, just hanging out and watching something together. But now the agent was becoming exhausted from the case and from dealing with the situation that Sweets was in. Booth stood up and stretched.
“I need to get some sleep,” he said. “You should get some too. “We’re going to have a lot to do tomorrow so we will have to get an early start.”
“Ok,” Sweets said, suddenly much more subdued.
“Are you going to be all right out here on the couch?”
“Sure,” the psychologist said. He laid down and stretched his long limbs out as best he could. “It’s pretty comfortable.” Booth went over and grabbed a quilt from a nearby closet and tossed it over to him.
“All right, then I will see you in the morning,” he said. “Then I’ll take you out for some breakfast….Good night Sweets.”
“Good night Agent Booth,” Sweets called out as Booth left the room. “And thank you.”
Booth walked into his bedroom and collapsed onto his bed. He was so tired he started to fall asleep the moment his cheek touched the pillowcase.
Booth was still fast asleep a few hours later until a scream woke him up. Startled, he bolted out of bed and went out to the front room, turning on a small lamp along the way. He looked over to at the couch and saw that Sweets was no longer there.
“Sweets?” the agent called out as he scanned the darkened room. A sniffle caught his attention, and Booth slowly walked over to see the psychologist huddled up in a corner. His knees were drawn toward his chest, and his face was buried against his legs.
“Hey, are you all right?” Booth asked him. Sweets sniffed again and nodded all while not lifting his head.
“I’m sorry that I woke you up,” he mumbled, his voice muffled by the fabric of his lounge pants.
“Never mind about that,” Booth said. “What happened?” Sweets finally looked up and swiped at his wet, red-rimmed eyes with his fist.
“I…I had a nightmare,” he replied while trying to avoid looking at Booth.
“A nightmare huh?” the agent said as he sat down beside him. “Guess that will teach you about watching too many sci-fi movies right before bed.” Booth was trying to lighten the mood, but it was clear that Sweets was having none of it.
“I know it’s dumb,” Sweets said. “And I know I’m too old for stuff like this, but sometimes…I have dreams about Andrew.”
“My biological father,” Sweets whispered. “He…he’s not a good person.”
Booth clenched his jaw. He had heard from Brennan and Wyatt along with Sweets himself about some of the details of his early childhood. These facts along with the description Brennan had given him of the therapist’s scars had been enough for Booth to figure out that Sweets was probably making a vast understatement about the man.
“I was adopted a while ago,” Sweets continued. “I know I should have mentioned that before, but Mom and Dad…well they are my real parents. And they adopted me legally so….”
“It’s ok, I understand,” Booth assured him.
“It’s not like I have these dreams all the time,” the psychologist said. “It’s just sometimes…when things get really bad or intense for me…it just comes up again.” Sweets shook his head.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “You don’t want to hear all this. It’s stupid, I know.”
“No Sweets, it’s not stupid,” Booth countered. “And don’t go thinking for one moment that it is, all right?”
The therapist gave a half-hearted nod in response, and Booth began to wonder how long it took for these nightmares to abate…if they ever did at all.
Booth stood back up and patted Sweets on the knee. To his relief, the psychologist didn’t flinch this time.
“Come on, back to the couch,” he ordered. “You still need some sleep.”
“Ok,” Sweets said as he slowly got to his feet. He trudged over and plopped back down on the couch and began to fumble with settling the blanket back over him. Before he could finish, Booth grabbed it from him and with a quick shake, he was able to fan the quilt out and envelop the therapist back into it. He then sat down onto a chair next to the couch. Sweets looked over with a puzzled expression.
“What are you…?”
“I’m just going to stay here until you fall back asleep,” Booth answered.
“You don’t have to…” Sweets began.
“No arguments,” Booth replied. “Just lie down and go back to sleep.”
Sweets curled up under the blanket and began to close his eyes.
“Agent Booth…thank you,” he nearly whispered.
“You’re welcome Sweets,” Booth murmured. “Now, try and get some rest, and I’ll see you in the morning.”
Booth ended up spending almost an hour in the chair before Sweets finally fell asleep. He then went back to his room and managed to get in a few more hours of dreamless slumber before waking up again. He had beaten the alarm clock by about ten minutes, so Booth turned it off before it could sound. After working all the morning kinks out of his limbs, the agent got up to face the day.
He was shocked, however, to find Sweets lying on the floor at the foot of his bed, sleeping soundly. The psychologist had laid out a pillow and was mostly hidden under the blanket that Booth had given him. Booth sighed as he watched him.
‘How long was he sleeping there?’ he wondered. ‘And more importantly, how on earth could that be comfortable?’
Deciding to let him sleep for a little longer, Booth crept over to his closet for some clothes and then headed off to the bathroom. A short time later, refreshed and ready to go, the agent returned to the bedroom to find Sweets starting to stir.
“Up and at ‘em Sweets,” Booth said. “You need to get ready so that we can get going.”
The psychologist shifted his blanket and slowly sat up while rubbing his eyes.
“Come on Sweets,” the agent added. “Get dressed, and I’ll take you to get some breakfast, all right?”
Sweets nodded and stood up. Booth could tell from the expression on his face that the therapist was grateful that he wasn’t asking any questions about his sleeping arrangements, and he watched as Sweets grabbed at the duffel bag that contained his clothes. He then hesitated and turned back toward the agent.
“Don’t worry, I’ll take care of the stuff here,” Booth said as he picked up the blanket. “You just get ready.”
Upon arriving at the Royal Diner, Booth managed to grab his usual table while Sweets followed him to sit down. The psychologist picked up a menu and started to scan it when one of the waitresses came over to the table.
“Good morning Agent Booth, Doctor Sweets,” the waitress grinned as she pulled out a pad of paper and a pencil. “Shall I bring you guys your usuals?”
“That’ll be perfect Steph, thank you,” Booth said before Sweets could speak. The waitress made a quick note of their orders and walked off.
“Um, Agent Booth, what is my usual?” Sweets asked.
“Don’t worry about it, Sweets,” the agent said. “I’m sure you’ll love it. I’ve seen you eat it dozens of times. Besides, this place has some of the best food in the DC.”
“Ok,” Sweets shrugged. The psychologist began to fidget with his napkin and look out the window while Steph served them some coffee. Booth sipped at his cup and frowned. He knew that it would be all too easy for Sweets to retreat again, so he nudged the therapist’s arm to get his attention.
“So how did you know that Adams was with another woman?” the agent asked him.
“Oh, I uh…one of my classmates at school…his parents were getting divorced and his dad was seeing someone…someone who wasn’t his wife,” Sweets said, looking back at Booth. “I remember one time his dad came to pick him up from school and as I was leaving, I saw that other woman leave his dad’s car. He saw me and tried to say it was nothing, but…I knew he was lying.”
“That’s what you’ve always been good at?” Booth nodded. “Spotting when people were lying?”
“Yeah, that’s what Dad says too,” Sweets nodded sheepishly. “Anyway, that Mr. Adams…he was acting a lot like that while you were talking to him. So, um…I sort of had a hunch.”
“Well it turned out to be a good one,” Booth smiled. “Thanks for helping out.”
“You’re welcome,” Sweets blushed. “And thank you…for last night.”
“No problem, Sweets,” the agent grinned back at him. “Hey, what did you want to do today? Would you like to go back to the Jeffersonian? Maybe try again to see if it reminds you of anything?”
“Sure,” Sweets nodded. “But…do I have to stay in the lab the whole time? I mean, it’s wicked cool, but maybe…maybe I could check out other stuff too?”
“I’m sure we could arrange something,” Booth responded, taking another sip of coffee.
Steph showed back up and served them their food. Booth started eating immediately while Sweets stared at his plate tentatively for a couple moments. He then took a few bites and started to smile.
“I think I like the usual,” Sweets said in between bites of fruit and waffle. “I just wish I could have….”
The therapist stopped, and Booth sat his fork down.
“You wish what?”
“I wish I could have remembered it beforehand,” Sweets said before taking another bite.
“Hey, Sweets, you’ll remember soon enough, ok?” Booth said. “Me and Bones and all the others…we’ll keep going over this with you until you remember. I promise.”
Sweets nodded and went back to eating while Booth contemplated how much he wanted to fulfill that promise.
After breakfast, the two of them arrived at the lab to find everyone else gathered in a group, waiting for them.
“Good morning, Doctor Sweets,” Cam smiled at him.
“Hello Doctor…Saroyan?” Sweets asked. Cam nodded, and everyone’s shoulders slumped a little as they realized that the psychologist still could not remember them.
“Booth, I found some interesting marks on the bones,” Brennan said.
“That’s great Bones, but let me take care of something first,” Booth said. He then looked over at Hodgins and walked toward him.
“Hey Hodgins, why don’t you show Sweets around the lab some more? See if it helps him remember?” the agent asked.
“But I’ve got particulates to analyze and tarantulas to feed,” the entomologist nearly whined.
“Doctor Hodgins,” Cam said in a voice that held more that a touch of menace in it.
“Can I help you feed your spiders?” Sweets asked. Hodgins looked over at him and let out a sigh.
“Ok, come on,” he said while managing a half smile. “But make sure that you don’t let any of them out while you’re feeding them. Doctor Saroyan has this irrational fear of spiders for some reason.”
“There’s nothing irrational about being wary of creepy, furry, eight-legged creatures that can bite you,” the pathologist said as she walked away. Hodgins smirked and guided Sweets off toward his office.
“I’ll be working on some facial reconstructions in my office if you need me for anything,” Angela said as she turned to go. “Including babysitting.”
“All right, Bones,” Booth said, spinning on his heel. “I’m all yours.”
Once in the ooky room, Brennan began to show Booth some close-ups of the bones under the magnifiers.
“Note these marks right here in the clavicle and the scapulas,” she said as she moved the lens. “It’s as if the victim was struck with some kind of instrument with a dull edge several times before he was killed. None of these marks, however, were related to cause of death.”
“Right, like someone was hitting him with something, but then decided to switch to something more lethal when it wasn’t getting the job done,” Booth nodded.
“Pure conjecture, but it does match the findings,” the anthropologist continued. “Hodgins is analyzing the swab I gave him of the wounds.”
She started to go over some more of her findings when Hodgins huffed his way into the room.
“Were you able to figure out the composition of the particulates?” Brennan asked him.
“Yeah, and where’s Sweets?” Booth chimed in.
“The particulates were metal,” the entomologist answered. “Tin to be exact. Not unlike what you would find at a grocery store.”
“Are you telling me that someone hit the victim with a can of green beans before he died?” Booth asked, incredulous.
“Um, something like that, yeah,” Hodgins responded. “Although, I couldn’t tell you what was in the can. The sample only had trace amounts of tin.”
“You still didn’t answer my question from before,” the agent said, moving closer to him. “Where’s Sweets?”
“He’s off in Angela’s office playing computer games or something,” Hodgins answered. “I tried showing him around the lab and my office.”
“And that didn’t spark anything with him?” Booth asked.
“Oh it sparked something all right,” Hodgins grumbled. “About a billion questions…’What does this machine do? How do you use this test to solve murders? How many bugs do you keep in the lab?’…It was never-ending.”
“He’s Sweets, and right now, he’s twelve years old,” Booth chuckled. “What did you expect?”
“Isn’t there anyway to fast-forward to the point where he stopped being so annoying?” Hodgins grimaced.
“I’m going with Bones to go over her reports on the bones,” Booth said as he steered Brennan out of the ooky room. “You go back and go over those mass spec results again. I’m not having my agents go searching for a maniac wielding a can of lima beans.”
Back in Angela’s office, the mood had become quiet. The artist was busy studying the skulls she had been given, trying to draw some sketches that she would use to build into more detailed artist renderings. Only a couple feet away, Sweets stood tapping some buttons on the control pad of her computer.
He had been playing one of the latest first-person shooting games for a while, but eventually lost interest. The psychologist then asked Angela how to get back on the internet, and ever since he had taken to browsing news sites. Sweets was interested in learning more about the time period he had woken up into and was reading up on major news stories that had taken place over the past year.
After reading through several articles in the archives, an idea formed in his mind.
‘The web is a lot more detailed and it’s got a lot more stuff on individual people now than it did before,’ he thought to himself. ‘I bet if I did a search, I can find out what Mom and Dad are doing, and if they are still at the same address…They probably are. Mom loves her home.’
Sweets entered his parents’ names into the computer and started to look through the results. Eventually he found some reference to a newspaper listing for them and pulled it up on the screen and started to read.
He had not, however, been prepared for the kind of listing that he was able to find.
‘No…No, it can’t…It can’t be….’
As Booth walked with Brennan toward her office his cell phone went off and he answered it. After a couple minutes of listening, the agent thanked the person on the line and hung up.
“So our people checked with the local cable company,” Booth said. “Turns out they have no record of sending anyone out to Felton’s place.”
“You think that it was the murderer who went to Felton’s house?” Brennan asked.
“Makes sense,” Booth replied. “Apparently the company sells its uniforms through a local shop, but unfortunately it’s open to the public.”
“Meaning that anyone could have bought a uniform for a disguise,” the anthropologist added.
“Pretty much,” Booth said. “It’s a long shot, but I’ve got an agent heading over to the store to see if anyone remembers anyone buying one of those uniforms recently. At least it’s more solid than following our ‘canned vegetable’ lead.”
Brennan was about to say something else, but was interrupted by the sight of Sweets racing out of Angela’s office and out the lab doors within seconds. A moment later, a distraught-looking Angela appeared in the doorway.
“Angela, what’s going on?” Booth demanded as he jogged over to the artist with Brennan. “Where was he going?”
“I’m…I’m sorry,” Angela said, her eyes tearing up.
“Hey, was that Sweets running out of the lab just now?” Hodgins asked as he showed up behind them. Both he and Cam had been drawn out by the commotion and had quickly joined the others.
“I…I was letting Sweets play some games on the computer,” Angela said as she backed into her office. “You know, to keep him occupied while I worked on the facial reconstructions for that new batch of skulls we pulled from Limbo.”
“Then what happened?” Booth said as he and Brennan, Cam and Hodgins followed her inside.
“Well he started to check out some stuff on the internet…and he seemed to be fine,” Angela continued. “But then, all the sudden…I don’t know. He just made this sound…like he was in pain. I looked up to see him backing away from the computer screen. I tried to ask him what was wrong, but he ran away. Then I saw what he was looking at.”
The artist gestured toward the screen and everyone looked over, their faces falling at what they saw.
On the screen were a pair of obituary notices and it only took a moment to scan the photos and captions for all of them to figure out that these were probably Sweets’ parents.
“So now he knows about them,” Brennan said. “And maybe that’s why he ran…because he’s starting to remember them and what happened to them.”
“Maybe…or maybe instead we have a kid who just found out that both of his parents are gone and that he’s alone,” Booth said, his voice grave. “Either way, we need to find him now.”
Booth marched out of Angela’s office while everyone else followed him.
“I’ll go check with security,” Cam said. “We might be able to find him with the cameras.”
“We’ll start looking around the lab,” Hodgins said as he and Angela started to walk away. “Maybe he in ducked into one of the nearby storage rooms.”
“Where should we look, Booth?” Brennan said. “Maybe we should go outside, in case Sweets left the Jeffersonian.”
“No…no, I’m pretty sure that he’s still here somewhere,” Booth muttered. “I’m thinking that he doesn’t want to run off…he wants to find a place to be left alone.”
“Why?” Brennan asked. “I would think that the last thing he would want is to be alone right now.”
“He doesn’t want to be alone, but he’s scared, Bones,” Booth said quietly. “Scared and confused. He doesn’t know what to do or how he’s going to cope…and I don’t think he knows if he can trust us enough to ask for our help.”
“So where would he go?” she asked.
“I’m not entirely sure,” Booth frowned. “But…I think I have an idea.”
Booth and Brennan walked down the back corridors of the Jeffersonian toward the storage rooms. Brennan pointed out the one that housed the Egyptian artifacts and the two of them noted that there were signs that someone had run through here recently.
“Sweets,” Booth called out as they walked among the boxes and display objects scattered about. “Sweets, where are you?”
The agent ran and hand through his hair as he watched Brennan begin a more systematic search. The room was vast and with all the things stuffed inside it, there were many places where the psychologist could hide. He started to worry about how long it could take to find him.
A sound interrupted Booth’s reverie, however, and he held out a hand toward Brennan to get her attention. Soon they both heard it. It was faint, but it was definitely the sound of someone crying.
The two of them carefully moved toward the direction of the sound to find Sweets huddled up on the floor next to an elaborate sarcophagus. His legs were drawn up near his chest and his arms were crossed over his shins. Sweets head was buried against his knees while he sobbed and he didn’t lift it as they approached.
“Sweets?” Brennan said softly.
“Go away,” he sobbed, still not looking up.
Booth and Brennan looked at each other for a moment before they both sat down on the floor on either side of him.
“I’m sorry, Sweets,” Booth said quietly. “I know that doesn’t mean much to you right now, but….”
“Booth and I were hoping that you would get your memory back before we would have to inform you about your parents’ deaths,” Brennan interrupted.
“I know that technically it was purposeful omission on our parts,” Brennan continued. “But it was done with good intentions. We wanted to spare you from any…unnecessary pain.”
Sweets said nothing for a while, but his tears had quieted down by this point. A few moments later, he looked up at the anthropologist with swollen, red eyes.
“Mom loves the Egyptian exhibits at the Jeffersonian,” he sniffed. “She said…she said that when she was a girl, she used to read about all about life in ancient Egypt and the pharaohs.”
“I did that too when I was child,” Brennan said gently with a smile. “Did she have a favorite?”
“Um, Amenhotep the IV,” Sweets said, wiping his face with his arm.
“Ah, the pharaoh who became Akhenaten in 1348 BCE,” she smiled. “He was a very interesting ruler.”
“His wife was Nefertiti, the famous queen,” Sweets sniffed again as he turned his body toward her.
“That’s correct,” Brennan nodded. “Akhenaten abandoned Thebes to build his own capital to the north and establish the priesthood of Amun.”
“Mom said that someday she wanted to see the bust Akhenaten had made of her,” the psychologist said. “But she…she really enjoyed seeing the things on display here.”
“The Jeffersonian does have a comprehensive collection of Egyptian artifacts,” Brennan said. “I’m sure your mother was able to discover much during her visit here.”
Sweets nodded a couple more tears slipping out which he wiped away.
“I…I think she did,” he warbled. “She…she said that she wanted to come here again with me. I…I hope she did.”
The psychologist started to cry a little more and Brennan put her arm around his shoulders. At first he grew tense, but soon he relented and leaned against her a little.
“Sweets,” Booth said, carefully laying a hand on his shoulder. “Would you like to come back to the lab with us?”
“I guess so,” he quavered. “You…you’re going to stay with me, right? You and Brennan?”
“Of course we will,” Brennan said, rubbing his arm.
“Sure,” Booth added. “We’ll go back and we’ll work something out, all right? But no matter what, we’re not leaving you alone.”
Back in the lab, Sweets settled in on the couch in Brennan’s office and stared at the walls while Angela sat with him, holding his hand. Just outside, Booth, Brennan, Cam and Hodgins gathered to talk about what they wanted to do next.
“Poor kid,” Hodgins said, shaking his head. “Finding out about his parents this way.”
“Did he remember anything after you talked to him?” Cam asked.
“Nothing,” Booth sighed.
“What are you going to do now?” Hodgins asked.
“We need to work on this case,” the agent said. “Have you guys made any progress yet?”
“Tox screens showed nothing,” the pathologist said.
“I’m still waiting for the latest round of results from the mass spec,” Hodgins said.
“Well I need to check on some leads at the clinic,” Booth said. “I called them on the way over here, and the secretary said that Felton’s personal assistant was there and that he could meet with us. Apparently his assistant saw him just about every day so he might have something we can use.”
“What about Sweets?” Brennan asked. “I don’t think we should leave him here again.”
Booth sighed, his posture sagging. He wasn’t entirely sure about taking Sweets along with him, but he was sure that Brennan was right in saying that it wasn’t a good idea to leave Sweets at the lab after what just happened.
“Ok, he’ll come with us,” Booth said. “But help me keep an eye on him, all right?”
“Ok,” Brennan said as she went to the office to fetch him. Hodgins left to go back to his office and Cam walked over toward the agent.
“I think she was right to invite him,” Cam said. “He does seem to trust you more…and Doctor Brennan has been good with him.”
“Yeah, you’re right,” he said as he watched Sweets stand up and walk with the anthropologist. While he waited for them to join him, Booth pondered how he sometimes thought that Brennan did not give herself enough credit for her caring heart.
“Come on, Sweets,” Booth said once they arrived. “You’re going to help us some more with our case.”
The three of them arrived at Felton’s clinic and the secretary waved them back to the assistant’s office where he was waiting for him. Booth and Brennan sat down in a pair of chairs in front of his desk while Sweets went back to the reception area to wait.
The man introduced himself as Martin Wright and mentioned that he had worked with Felton for over five years.
“The longest anyone was willing to be his assistant, I might add,” Wright said tersely.
“Is something wrong with your right shoulder?” Brennan asked.
“Injured in a car accident a couple years ago,” Wright answered. “How did you know?”
“The way you hold your arm when extended suggests trauma to the deltoid muscle,” the anthropologist explained.
“Mr. Wright, your secretary mentioned before that Felton had a lot of unhappy patients,” Booth said. “Was there anyone else who had reason to harm him? Past associates or disgruntled co-workers?”
“Felton was not the easiest person to work for, that’s for sure,” Wright nodded. “We’ve a quite a few people come and go around here. Our secretary, Ginger, she’s only been here for about three months.”
“Did he have problems with anyone recently?” Brennan asked.
“Well there were some of his patients,” Wright mused. “But between you and me, most of them did not have a legitimate gripe. I mean, yeah, Felton didn’t always have the best of beside manners, but he did his job well enough. I’ll tell you who you should look at though: his old partner, Doctor William Arnold.”
“Why him?” Booth asked, writing the name down on his notepad.
“Let’s just say that they didn’t part on the best of terms,” the assistant said. “Felton was no saint, but Arnold had a nasty habit of cutting corners. Even I was glad to see him gone.”
“When did they part ways?” Booth asked.
“About four years ago.”
“And you think Felton held a grudge this entire time?” Brennan asked.
“Well a couple of Arnold’s patients recently met up with Felton,” Wright said. “I don’t know all the details, but it sounded like Felton was thinking of helping them file some kind of class action suit against him.”
“That could ruin him,” Brennan nodded.
“Yep and it makes for a pretty good motive for murder,” Booth said.
After Wright gave them Arnold’s current address, Booth and Brennan decided to stop off at the diner for a quick bite. On a whim, Booth ordered a large ice cream sundae for the three of them to share. While they were waiting Booth called Arnold’s office and set up an appointment to talk to him later this evening. Once the food arrived, the agent rubbed his hands together after handing everyone a spoon.
“Ok Sweets eat up,” Booth said.
“Booth, this is rather decadent for lunch,” Brennan said.
“Which is exactly why it’s a good idea, Bones,” Booth grinned. “You need to do this sort of thing once in a while.”
Brennan nodded and she and Booth started to eat with Sweets eventually joining in. They ate for a few moments silently before Brennan cleared her throat.
“This is pretty good,” she said.
“There, you see,” Booth grinned. Brennan then looked over at Sweets.
“Are you enjoying yours?” she asked.
“I guess, yeah,” Sweets said as he scooped up some more ice cream with a chunk of banana. Brennan looked over at Booth for a moment before reaching across the table and placing her hand onto Sweets’ arm.
“It’s scary, I know, to wake up one day and have your family taken away from you,” she said quietly. “You wonder why this happened to you and it’s hard to know who to trust.”
Sweets looked up at her, his brown eyes shiny but clear.
“You know?” he asked very quietly. Brennan nodded. “Did…did you ever see them again?”
“I found my father,” she said. “But…my mother died before I could see her again.”
“I’m sorry,” Sweets murmured.
“Thank you,” she said. “But the point is that family is not always just the people you grew up with.” She glanced over at Booth before looking back at him. “Family can also be the people who you become close to. People who share in your life experiences, both positive and negative.”
“Yeah, Dad said something like that once too,” Sweets said. The psychologist took another large bite of ice cream and then finally started to smile a little.
“Thank you Brennan,” he said softly. “And you too Agent Booth. For the ice cream and…everything.”
“You’re welcome Sweets,” Booth smiled at him. “Now help me finish this up. We need to get Bones back to the lab so we can work on catching this murderer.”
Once they were back in the lab, Brennan left Booth and Sweets, saying that she needed to go on an errand. The agent took Sweets back to Angela’s office and the two of them played some more video games for a short while. Within a few minutes she was back with a large book that was filled with photographs and drawings in her hands that had a paper cutout of a line of hieroglyphs for a bookmark.
“Here Sweets,” she said, offering it to him. “This is a fairly comprehensive history of Ancient Egypt. I think you will find its chapters on culture and society very interesting.”
“Wow, thanks Brennan,” he beamed. He opened up the book and started to flip through it while Booth and Brennan exchanged smiles.
“Hey Sweets, why don’t you take that and read it in Bones’ office while we look at a skeleton,” Booth said.
“Can I see the skeleton too?” Sweets asked. “When…when you’re not busy.”
“We’ll see,” Booth replied, doing his best to suppress an eye roll. “Now go ahead and read while we take care of some things here.”
The psychologist nodded and walked off, still flipping through the book as he left. Booth couldn’t help but smile again as he watched him.
“Thanks Bones,” he said.
“But I didn’t get you anything,” she said.
“Maybe not…but thanks anyway,” Booth said.
“You’re welcome Booth,” she smiled at him.
The two of them moved back into the ooky room, where Brennan went over Vincent Nigel-Murray’s latest results.
“The nicks to the scapula have some irregularities,” the intern reported. He walked over to where some X-rays hung on the wall monitors.
“Yes,” Brennan nodded. “What is your hypothesis for this?”
“The assailant struck the victim with uneven blows,” Vincent responded. “Perhaps because the victim fought back, and the assailant was outmatched strength-wise.”
“I concur,” the anthropologist said. “Give the specifics of these injuries to Angela so that she can run some scenarios.”
“Will do,” the intern said with a pert nod.
“What does this mean, Bones?” Booth asked as they walked out of the ooky room.
“It means that whoever killed Felton was either feeble physically or disabled in some way,” Brennan replied.
“Right, right,” Booth said. “So we should look for someone like an older man or something like that.”
“Precisely,” she said. Booth pulled out his notepad and started to scan through his notes hurriedly. “What is it?”
“My people did a background check on Arnold since he was on the list of known associates,” the agent said. “Doctor Arnold is over sixty years old.”
“At that age, his strength might be diminished enough to explain the uneven nicks,” Brennan replied.
“Yeah,” Booth said, tapping his notepad. “I was thinking the exact same thing.”
Sweets sat on the couch, so engrossed in his book that he didn’t even notice Daisy creeping into Brennan’s office until she dashed over and plopped down onto the couch beside him. The psychologist dropped the book to the floor and swallowed hard.
“Um, hello,” he said.
“Lancelot, I waited for you for over an hour,” she pouted. “Why didn’t you call me?”
“Lancelot?” he stuttered.
“Did Agent Booth and Doctor Brennan pull you into some new case?” the intern asked.
“Um, yeah,” Sweets said. “I…I sort of forgot about, uh everything.”
“I get it,” Daisy smiled. “You get so swept up in your work sometimes, you get a little absent-minded.”
“Do we know each other?” Sweets asked, confused. Daisy leaned over and put her arms around his neck.
“I know you well enough to know when you need a little reminder about why you shouldn’t miss out on lunch with me,” she grinned. She then planted a deep kiss onto his lips. At first he gasped, his eyes wide open as she kissed him, but eventually he relaxed and started to close them. By the time she finished, his face was beet red.
“Wow,” he smiled shyly. “Are you…are you my girlfriend?”
“You could say that, Lancelot,” Daisy said, running her fingers through his hair. “You could say that.” She then kissed him again, holding him close as she did so. Sweets did not know what to make of all this, but he had to admit that it felt good and that he was enjoying it.
That is, until Daisy’s hands started to wander.
Brennan continued to go over the case with Booth when one of the other lab techs walked over to them.
“Doctor Brennan, Ms. Wick was looking for you earlier,” he said. “She said that she needed to ask you something about her dissertation.”
“Fine,” Brennan said. “I will talk to her in a moment. Do you know where she is now?”
“She was also looking for Doctor Sweets,” the tech said. “So I went ahead and sent her to your office to wait.”
“Wait, you sent Daisy to Bones’ office?” Booth asked. “To meet up with Sweets?”
“Yes,” the man answered. “Why? Was that wrong?”
Booth shook his head and immediately headed over the anthropologist’s office, Brennan following close behind.
“Booth, what are you so concerned about?” she asked. “Sweets and Ms. Wick are in a relationship together. Maybe her presence will help him remember.”
“Yeah, maybe,” Booth said, not hesitating in his stride. “But Daisy doesn’t know what is going on and knowing her, by now it’s possible that she….”
The agent was interrupted by the sound of yelling, and both him and Brennan quickened their pace. By the time they got to the office, they were treated to the sight of Daisy storming off, tears glistening in her eyes. Inside the office, Sweets sat hunched up on the couch. Booth and Brennan looked at each other, their faces falling.
“I’m going to see if I can catch up with Ms. Wick,” Brennan said as she walked off, her strides speeding up as she went.
“I’ll handle things here,” Booth called after her. After she left, the agent took a deep breath and then marched into the office. He sat down next to Sweets, the psychologist keeping his head bowed as he did so.
“Sweets?” Booth asked. “Are you all right?”
The therapist, clearly mortified, shook his head, still looking down. Booth nodded and reached over to rub his arm.
“Agent Booth,” he said in a near whisper. “Do…did I know her?”
“She’s your…girlfriend,” Booth answered. “Her name is Daisy Wick.”
“Daisy,” Sweets mumbled. “That’s….that’s a nice name.” Booth saw the book Brennan gave him on the floor, and he picked it up and sat it down on the coffee table across from them.
“Ok Sweets,” Booth said. “What happened?” Sweets gulped, his face turning even redder.
“She…she um said that she was waiting for me,” Sweets said. “I asked her if she was my girlfriend and she uh…she kissed me.”
“Uh huh,” Booth said. “Let me guess, you didn’t really want that?”
“No, I…I liked that,” Sweets said. “It was nice…And she was really pretty. But um…then she uh….she….”
“Went a little farther than you were ready for?” Booth finished for him.
“Yeah,” Sweets said, his blush only intensifying. “I didn’t like…what she was doing, so I sort of pushed her away from me and she fell to the floor. She got mad and started to yell. I kind of got upset too and then she ran off. I think she was going to cry.”
The psychologist finally looked up, worry etched into every feature.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I didn’t mean to hurt her. I just….”
“No, it’s ok, Sweets,” Booth assured him. “Bones is going to talk to her right now, all right? Trust me, Daisy will listen to what she has to say, and this will all be worked out.”
“Are you sure?” Sweets asked.
“Yeah, I’m sure,” Booth nodded. “She will forgive you, ok?”
Sweets nodded and rocked back in his seat, pulling his legs up onto the couch. The two of them sat quietly for a moment, and Booth almost breathed a sigh of relief that he had averted a crisis when Sweets cleared his throat. The agent closed his eyes momentarily, groaning inwardly.
‘Please,’ Booth thought. ‘With everything else that’s happened, please don’t let him ask me about….’
“Agent Booth,” the therapist said hesitantly. “Can I ask you something?”
‘Here is comes. I just can’t win these days.’
“What is it?”
“Um…do you think there’s something wrong with me?” Sweets asked. “Besides the whole amnesia thing. Do you think it’s weird that I didn’t….that I didn’t want to….? I mean I’m twenty-five. I should be wanting to…to…. ”
“No, no, Sweets,” Booth interrupted. “You may be twenty-five years old physically, but right now you’re twelve years old in every other sense. And twelve year olds are not going to be ready for…that kind of thing. Besides, no one has the right to make you do something you’re not comfortable with, all right?”
“Ok,” Sweets said. Booth patted his back, pleased that for once, Sweets did not flinch at touch. Just then Brennan walked back into her office.
“I was able to explain things to Ms. Wick,” she said.
“Is…is she mad at me?” Sweets asked.
“She was upset, but I believe she understands,” Brennan answered. “I sent her to work on some supplemental work for me…to give her a chance to process what I told her.”
“Thanks Bones,” Booth said.
“Thank you Brennan,” Sweets chimed in.
“You’re welcome,” she said.
“Well…we should get going,” Booth said, standing up and grabbing Sweets’ book. “We’ve got another suspect to talk to.”
The ride over to Arnold’s clinic was a quiet one with Sweets studying his book and Booth and Brennan silently sorting through the facts of the case thus far. Once they arrived, Sweets carefully sat the book down on the seat and got out of the car.
“Um, I was thinking I could help out this time,” he said. “You know, see if he’s lying again…if that’s ok.”
“Sounds good to me,” Booth said. “How about you, Bones?”
“Sure,” she nodded.
“But this time, I need you to signal me in a more discreet way,” the agent cautioned. “We can’t let on that we know he’s lying automatically.”
“Ok,” the psychologist nodded. “I’ll be sure to hide it this time. I promise.”
The three of them were ushered into Arnold’s office with Brennan and Sweets sitting on either side of Booth. The doctor, a sinewy man with wispy grey hair, sat behind his desk with a weary expression.
“Did Felton send you guys here?” Arnold asked. “I’m sick of that man’s vendetta. And the next time you see him, you can tell him that I….”
“Actually, Doctor Arnold, Doctor Felton is dead,” Brennan said.
“What? Dead?” the doctor said, his eyes growing wide. “Well it’s about time. Do you know, by any chance, who killed him? I’d like to send my congratulations.”
“Guess we don’t need to ask if he had any issues with the victim,” Booth smirked at Brennan.
“Sounds like almost like a confession to me,” Brennan nodded.
“Whoa, whoa, you think I killed Felton?” Arnold said, holding up his hands. “That’s crazy. I mean, sure I wanted the guy dead. So did a lot of other people. But do you actually think that I’m stupid enough to go out there and get my own hands dirty?”
“Even if it means stopping a potential class action suit against you and your clinic?” Brennan asked.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Arnold said. “And anyone who says otherwise is a damn liar.”
Booth was about to speak when he felt a slight tap on his leg. Figuring that this was Sweets’ signal for lies, he made sure to give the psychologist a meaningful look before continuing.
“We have Doctor Felton’s records and names from his appointment books from his assistant,” Booth said. “Trust me when I say that it would be very easy for me and other agents of the Bureau to track down these names and set up interviews.”
“All right, all right,” the doctor sighed. “Felton called me a few days ago to tell me that some of my patients were less than pleased with the care they had received and were looking to do something about it. Like he should talk.”
“And that was the last time you spoke to him?” Booth asked as he took notes.
“To him, yes,” Arnold said. “I got a call from that assistant of his two days ago. Told me that Felton wanted to see me about some private matter that could, and I quote ‘benefit both of us’. I mean can you believe the nerve of that guy?”
“Do you know what this meeting was going to be about?” Brennan asked.
“No I don’t,” Arnold said. “We were supposed to be meeting tomorrow and I was still trying to decide if I was going to show up.”
Booth glanced over at Sweets again, the therapist catching his look and shaking his head in response. The agent then closed up his notebook and stood up, Brennan and Sweets following his lead.
“Thank you for your time, Doctor Arnold,” Booth said. “We’ll be in touch.”
“I hope so,” the doctor grumbled. “I still want to know who to thank for putting Felton out of my misery.”
“Well, what do you think, Sweets?” Booth asked once the three of them got to the car.
“Other than that one time…I think he was telling the truth,” Sweets said thoughtfully.
“I agree,” Booth said. “And by the way, good job with those signals.”
Sweets blushed and bowed his head down, clearly pleased with Booth’s praise.
“But we still don’t know who killed Felton?” Brennan said. “Doctor Arnold had the right physique to inflict those uneven nicks on the scapula…but the two of you say that he’s telling the truth.”
“Don’t worry Bones, we’ll figure it out,” the agent said. “I’ve still got agents checking other leads. I’m sure they’ll turn up something, especially since we can tell them that the guy we are looking for is over five foot nine and elderly.”
“Or disabled,” Brennan added.
“The murderer,” she said. “Remember? Mr. Nigel-Murray said that they could be elderly…or perhaps disabled.” Brennan stopped, her eyes flickering back and forth for a moment before focusing on Booth.
“Booth…I know who the murderer is.”
Booth, Brennan and Sweets went back to the Hoover Building with Booth instructing Brennan to keep an eye on Sweets for a while in his office. About an hour later, the agent returned with Felton’s assistant, Martin Wright.
Booth put him in the interrogation room and looked over his notes in the hallway outside. Brennan and Sweets met him there.
“I had Charlie do a little additional checking,” the agent said as they arrived. “Looks like Mr. Wright was not entirely honest with us.” Booth scanned through some additional papers in the file he was holding before looking up at the two of them.
“Ready to do this, Bones?”
“Can I watch?” Sweets asked. “Please?” Booth rolled his eyes yet again.
“All right, you can watch in the observation room,” Booth said. “But you need to keep quiet and let Bones and me do our jobs here, ok?”
Sweets bobbed his head enthusiastically, and the agent got him settled into the other room before going with Brennan to talk with Wright.
“Look, you didn’t have to bring me in,” Wright scowled. “If you wanted to talk to me again, you could have just called the office.”
“We weren’t entirely sure you would want to see us again,” Brennan said. “Especially after we reviewed some more evidence.”
“You failed to mention that you contacted Doctor Arnold about some secret meeting that your boss was trying to set up,” Booth said. “Care to explain that?”
“It just sort of slipped my mind, ok?” Wright sighed. “Felton told me to call Arnold and give him that message along with a proposed date and time. He didn’t tell me anything as far as what the meeting was about. I figured it had something to do with that class action suit.”
“But it didn’t did it?” Booth asked.
“What do you mean?”
“We also checked out your bank records,” the agent said, sliding some papers toward Wright. “Turns out you had lost a lot of money a couple of years ago on faulty investments and were well on your way to defaulting on your mortgage. It was around this time that you suddenly seemed to be getting a lot of ‘bonuses’ to your income at work. We had a forensic accountant go over the financial records from Felton’s clinic, and guess what they discovered?”
Wright said nothing. His stony gaze fixed on the papers in front of him.
“They found that these bonuses correlated with unexplained disappearances of funds from the firm’s accounts,” Booth continued. “We interviewed everyone else at the clinic and they all told us that you handle the books. So there is little chance that you wouldn’t have noticed it…which means you were probably the one skimming the books.”
“Ok, so maybe I took a little extra from Felton’s accounts,” Wright spat. “It wasn’t like I didn’t earn the money anyway. Felton never paid well and I needed the money to keep my house. It doesn’t prove anything.”
“But the way you hold your arm does,” Brennan said.
“The victim suffered numerous blows to the scapula with a can,” the anthropologist explained. “Judging from the injuries, I’d say that it was from someone matching your height. Plus the injury to your deltoid muscle would have caused the irregularities in the strikes.”
“We have people going over your apartment right now,” Booth added. “They’re looking for a uniform, additional statuettes like the ones found around the body, and chemical traces of the materials used to construct the bomb. Maybe they won’t find all of these things, but how much you want to bet that they will find at least some of them?”
Wright said nothing as Booth talked, his gaze now set on a photograph of Felton lying near the other files. As Booth reached the end of his speech, Wright ground his jaw for almost a minute before shaking his head and finally looking up at Brennan.
“You want to know how I got that injury?” he asked her.
“I would hypothesize a car accident of some kind,” Brennan responded.
“That’s exactly right,” Wright said bitterly. “You want to know why I got into that car accident? Because Felton called me up one night, in the middle of a blizzard, and tells me that I need to fetch some patient files from his office and deliver them to his house if I wanted to keep my job. The roads were terrible that night I…I lost control of the car and wrapped it around a pole. Messed up my shoulder. And Felton…not once did he visit me while I was in the hospital. He didn’t even send me a ‘get-well’ card.”
Wright pushed Felton’s picture away with the tips of his fingers and watched it sail off the table onto the floor.
“All the things I put up with, all the things I did for him,” the continued. “And not once did I get the slightest bit of appreciation. I wanted to leave, god I wanted to quit that job. But…I needed the money, so I stayed. I guess…I guess that I was hoping that I’d eventually get a raise or something for all the hours I poured into his practice.”
“But he never did give you a raise, did he?” Booth asked. “And then to make matters worse, you lost too much money on your investments.”
“I begged him for a raise,” Wright said. “I tried explaining to him why I needed the money. Know what he said? He said that this was my life’s way of teaching me a lesson. A lesson about being more prudent with my money. I was going to lose everything, and he was giving me a lecture about money.”
Wright collapsed back in his chair, his arms sliding off the table to dangle at his sides.
“I was desperate,” he said. “I started taking a little money away here and there, just to pay my bills, so I could get out from under, you know? Initially, I was just going to take enough to make it so that I wouldn’t lose my house, but then…But then I decided that it was about time that he started paying me what I deserved for all the work I did.”
“Felton didn’t see it that way,” Brennan said. “He found out somehow.”
“I don’t know how he did it, to be quite honest,” Wright replied. “He hardly ever takes a look at the books. But somehow he found out about the money I was taking. That’s what he was going to see Arnold about. He was going to tell him that I had probably taken money from him as well and that I was probably the reason he was getting sued by those other patients.”
“Felton didn’t tell you about the meeting at first, but you found out,” Booth said. “Or…he confronted you.”
“I knew something was up, so I borrowed my cousin’s uniform from his job at the cable company and went over to his house,” Wright said. “I was so flustered; I actually went to the wrong house at first. I just wanted to see…to see if I could figure out what it was he was doing. But I wasn’t even able to get inside and find out anything.”
“What happened on the day Felton died?” Booth asked.
“Felton had me come to his house,” Wright said. “He told me everything: about how he had figured out what he was doing, the reason he had set up the meeting and what he planned to do about what I had done. I thought that maybe he was going to fire me, make me pay the money back. But that wasn’t enough for him. He said that he was going to sue me and said that he was going to encourage Arnold to do the same. He said…he said he’d make sure that I’d never get another job in DC ever again.”
Booth and Brennan exchanged looks as he talked, but remained silent.
“After everything I had been through…I just lost it,” Wright said. “Felton walked into the kitchen and I followed him. I grabbed the first thing I could find which ended up being a can of carrots that he had just opened, and I started hitting him with it over and over. He…he fell to the ground, and kept moaning that he was going to have me locked away. I remember seeing red and picking something else up from the counter and after that…it’s like there’s a blank of a few minutes. After it was over, Felton was lying on the floor dead, and I had a meat tenderizer in my hand.”
“I…I knew that no one was expecting Felton at the office that day, so I…I started cleaning up. I took his body out to the back lawn and straightened everything up inside. Then I mixed up some stuff I found lying around to make a crude explosive. After I was done cleaning, I showered and got out of the clothes I was wearing. I had my gym stuff in the car, so I switched into that and put the clothes and all the other stuff into the shed. I set up the bomb with just enough delay so that I could high-tail it out of there.”
“Why the statues?” Booth asked.
“I…I figured that the police would be looking into Felton’s death,” Wright shrugged. “And I had just read a book about real-life murder investigations and about how they often used some kind of profiler to read the scene. I thought that the statures might make the cops think that there was some kind of cult-like thing going on, especially if they did use a profiler.”
Wright leaned toward them, his face defeated, but his eyes pleading.
“Look, I know that I have to pay for what I did and…and I’m not proud of it,” he said. “But believe me, five years of working for Felton could make anyone a little crazy.”
After taking down a full confession from Wright, Booth and Brennan left him in the custody of another pair of agents. While they stood in the hallway, Booth’s cell phone went off and he answered it. After a couple minutes of silence, the agent gave a couple of short instructions and hung up.
“They found the uniform and more of the statues at Wright’s place,” Booth said. “
And guess what? Those little statues? They were from a shop that Felton’s brother ran. Felton had actually told him at one point to buy those things to ‘spruce up’ the office at some point.”
“He should have just quit his job,” Brennan said. “It was clear that Felton was never going to be a good employer, and there are plenty of other jobs in a city of this size.”
“I know that Bones,” Booth said. “But for some people…change is more terrifying than the personal hell they’ve already put themselves into.”
Brennan nodded while she considered his words, but her line of thought was soon interrupted by Sweets bounding out of the observation room and heading straight for them.
“Agent Booth, Brennan, that was awesome,” Sweets gushed. “The way you got that guy and then got him to confess. That was…that was mega-cool.”
Booth and Brennan smiled back at him, the two of them finding it hard to not be touched by the psychologist’s sincere praise and enthusiasm.
“I’d love to do this kind of thing,” Sweets said wistfully. “And…and to work with all of you.”
“You will do this kind of thing, Sweets,” Booth said, placing a hand on the therapist’s shoulder. “Once you get your memory back, you’ll be doing this with us all the time.” Sweets’ face suddenly fell, and his shoulders slumped.
“If,” he mumbled.
“What?” Booth asked.
“If I get my memory back,” Sweets said, hanging his head down. “Memory doesn’t always come back with retrograde amnesia. And, and nothing we’ve done so far has helped me to remember. What if…what if I don’t get my memories back?”
Booth looked over at Brennan, who had a concerned look on her face. He then clasped Sweets’ shoulder a little tighter while Brennan took him by one of his arms.
“Listen, we’re not giving up that easy, and neither should you,” Booth said. “And if it comes to that, if it comes down to you not remembering…we will cross that bridge when we come to it. Together.”
After picking up some files and papers in Booth’s office, the three of them took off in Booth’s SUV and headed for the Jeffersonian. Drained from the events of the day, Sweets quickly began to lightly doze in the back seat.
“Booth, what if Sweets is right?” Brennan said. “What if he never does remember? What will he do then? He has no family to take care of him. No way to support himself without his knowledge and training.”
“Technically he does have some family,” Booth said as he shifted in his seat. “Sweets gave me this card once, in case there was some kind of emergency or something. Apparently he has a cousin in the Army, who he still keeps in contact with, and Sweets told me to contact him if anything you know, happened to him. We could always try getting a hold of him.”
“But would he be able to take care of Sweets while he went back to school and received his education again?” Brennan asked. “It might not take as long for him to get multiple degrees again as it would most people, but it would still take years.”
“Yeah,” Booth sighed. “And then there’s all the other stuff to think about.”
“Other stuff?” Brennan asked, her brow crinkling in confusion.
“Growing up is not just spending some time in a classroom, Bones,” Booth said. “There’s stuff that parents, family have to teach a kid. Sweets would need to have people around who could teach him about the world, about people and about how to figure out the best way to lead his own life. None of that is something you can learn from a book.”
“While a statement like that cannot be proven scientifically, anthropologically speaking…you are correct,” she said. “Children are usually indoctrinated by their families into the larger society.”
“Right, so…” Booth said.
“So how do we do that for Sweets?” Brennan nodded. She turned her head to watch the psychologist sleep for almost a minute, contemplating on how young he looked in his current state. Booth noticed her staring and reached over to take her hand, causing the anthropologist to face the front again.
“Hey, we’ll think of something Bones, all right?” Booth assured her. “No need to worry about it. We won’t leave our duckling behind. I promise.”
Brennan smiled at him and the two of the rode the rest of the way over to the Jeffersonian in silence, their hands locked together for most of the way.
Once they arrived at the Medico-Legal lab, Booth woke Sweets up and the three of them went inside. Booth and Brennan went to work on filling out the rest of the forms and paperwork needed to close out the case in her office while Sweets sat down on the couch and read. After about an hour or so, Sweets got up and asked if he could go for a walk.
“All right,” Booth said. “But make sure to stay in the lab, all right?”
“And do not try to go onto the forensic platform,” Brennan added.
“Ok,” the therapist shrugged before leaving the office. Satisfied that Sweets would be sufficiently occupied and in a secure location, Booth and Brennan went back to work.
About one hour later, Cam stopped by Brennan’s office with gift bag in her hands, asking for Sweets.
“He’s somewhere around the lab,” Booth told her. “I’d try up on the balcony. I think he likes to watch everyone working from up there.”
The pathologist took Booth up on his suggestion and headed up there to find him. As she approached the top, however, she could hear the sound of someone crying and immediately became concerned. She walked over to the far side of the balcony area to find Sweets sitting on the floor, sobbing into his hands.
“Sweets,” Cam said softly. The therapist jumped a little in response and turned to see her standing over him.
“Sweets, you can call me Cam, if you’d like,” she reminded him.
“Cam,” Sweets sniffled. “I…I…” He stopped and wiped his face with his sleeve. Cam sat the bag she was holding down onto the floor next to the couch and held out her hand. Sweets stared at it for a moment before taking it and rising to his feet. The pathologist then guided him over to sit with her on the couch.
“Were you thinking about your parents again?” she asked. The psychologist gave the barest of nods and then proceeded to stare at the floor. Cam reached over for his hand again.
“They’re the only people who ever loved me,” he warbled. “And…and I loved them. They were so nice, so kind to everybody. Why did they have to…have to…?”
“I don’t know,” Cam said sadly, squeezing his hand. “I am so sorry, Sweets. But listen to me: as much as I am sure that your parents were wonderful people who loved you…I can assure you that they are not the only people who love you.”
The psychologist shook his head silently, his eyes still fixed on the floor. Cam sighed a blinked back a couple tears of her own before speaking again.
“Can I show you something?” she asked. Sweets shrugged and the pathologist pulled the necklace she was wearing off of her neck and held it out toward him. On the end of the chain was a locket which she opened, revealing a picture inside.
“That’s me and my daughter Michelle,” she said.
“She looks nice,” Sweets nodded.
“She’s wonderful,” Cam said. “She’s my adopted daughter.”
“Adopted,” Sweets said, finally looking up. “Like me?”
“Yes,” Cam smiled. “Her mother died a long time ago. When she was a little girl.”
“What about her father?” the therapist asked.
“He raised his daughter alone,” she said somberly. “And I fell in love with him. With Michelle too, but back then she was still a very young girl. She became like a daughter to me.”
“Did you stay with him?”
“No,” the pathologist said. “I couldn’t, and there were a lot of reasons for that. But Michelle, it broke my heart to leave her. Then one day, years later, her father died, and Michelle needed someone to take care of her.”
“So you adopted her?”
“Yes,” Cam replied. “We have a life together and are very happy, but…I know she still misses her parents sometimes. It doesn’t mean that we don’t love each other; it just means that she still loves her parents and probably always will.”
The pathologist put her necklace back on and then took Sweets’ other hand in hers.
“I know that you miss your parents, but you should know that you have a family here too,” she said. “I promise you that we won’t leave you.”
Sweets nodded and Cam picked up the bag off the floor.
“This is for you,” she said, handing it over to him. “Miss Wick…Daisy gave this to one of the lab techs before leaving with the message that she hopes that you get better soon and she would like to see you again some time.”
Sweets blushed and opened up the bag, gaping at what he found. He then slowly pulled out a caramel-colored plush teddy bear. He let the bag drop to the floor and studied the bear in his hands.
“It looks just like Mr. B,” he murmured, his cheeks growing redder.
“I uh, I,” Sweets stammered. “When I was a kid, my parents got me this toy bear and um….”
“I get it,” Cam smiled. Despite his blushing, Sweets held the bear close for a moment before pulling it back and staring into the bear’s face again.
“I can remember when Mom and Dad got me Mr. B,” he said. “Dad said that it was so that I didn’t have to be alone when I was sleeping. I…I didn’t forget that.”
Cam’s expression fell when she saw how Sweets’ shoulders were beginning to shake again.
“But I’ve been looking at all of my pictures of me and Mom and Dad,” he warbled. “And I don’t remember anything about them. In fact, the last thing I remember was snapping at Mom and Dad for something stupid not long before I went to bed…friends coming over or something, I can’t remember what. Before I went to sleep they came to my room and said good night to me and said that they love me. But, I could tell that I hurt their feelings. I was going to tell them how sorry I was the next morning and try to make it up to them.”
Sweets looked up at her, and Cam felt her own eyes sting when she saw fresh tears streaming down his face.
“I don’t know if I said I was sorry,” he cried. “I don’t know if I made them feel any better. What if I didn’t? What if I was a bad kid who caused them nothing but trouble?”
“I’m sure you weren’t,” she said softly. “I’m sure that your parents knew that you loved them.”
“But I can’t remember,” he said. “I can’t remember anything we did or said after that day. All those years, all those times we might have spent together…What if I don’t ever get them back?”
Sweets hung his head back down and held the bear close to him again.
“I just want to see them again,” he sobbed. “So I could tell them sorry, and that I love them and that I miss them. But I can’t”
Cam found herself at a loss while watching him weep and tried to take one his hands into hers again. As she reached for him, Sweets leaned forward and hugged her instead. Cam was surprised by the move, her eyes widening slightly, but then carefully put her arms around him.
“I’m sorry, Sweets,” she whispered as she held him. They stayed that way for a few minutes until the sound of footfalls on the stairwell beside them caught their attention. The two of them let go of each other to watch Booth and Brennan walk up onto the balcony.
“Come on, Sweets,” Booth said quietly. “Bones and I are going to get you something to eat, and then it’s back to my place so you can get some rest.”
After a brief meal at the Diner that was mostly spent in silence, Booth dropped Brennan off at the lab and then drove Sweets back to his apartment. The therapist changed his clothes and settled in on the couch. He sat with a blanket wrapped around him and stared at the walls, still saying next to nothing. Wanting to break this silence, Booth sat down onto the couch beside him.
“I called your cousin today,” he said. Sweets looked over at him, his brows knitted together in confusion.
“You called Elizabeth?” he asked.
“No, no ah your other cousin, Peter,” Booth said. “You gave me his card once.”
“Peter?” the psychologist asked. “Why him? I mean, he is family and we are pretty friendly with each other these days, but it’s not like we’re close or anything. Maybe you should have called Aunt Kate.”
“I don’t know about that,” Booth said, reaching for a piece of paper he had laid on the coffee table. “But while you may not remember everything about your cousin, you seem to be pretty important to him. He sent me this picture in an email and told me to tell you that as soon as he can, he will come to visit you. In the meantime, he wants you to talk to him as soon as possible.”
Sweets took the paper from Booth’s hand and unfolded it. The paper turned out to be a copy of a photograph of him and Peter from about three years ago. The two of them were smiling as they posed with an arm slung around each other’s shoulders. The psychologist’s hands started to tremble as he looked at the picture.
“He looks just like Dad,” Sweets whispered, tears leaking into his voice again. He then looked up at the agent again.
“You said that he’s coming here to see me?” he asked.
“Yeah, he was worried about you when I told him what was going on,” Booth nodded. “But he knows that you’re ok and that we’re taking care of you. Maybe visiting with him will help you remember things.”
“I guess, maybe,” Sweets shrugged as he put the paper down onto the coffee table. He started to fidget with his fingers in his lap.
“What is it, Sweets?”
“If…if I don’t get my memory back where am I going to go?” the therapist asked. “I’m too old to be put into the foster system or an orphanage or anything like that.” Sweets shuddered violently and looked up at Booth again.
“You’re not going to put me away, are you?” he nearly whispered. “Cause I can only remember being a kid? I mean that’s not normal, right? To be twenty-five and think that you’re only twelve?”
“No. Listen to me, Sweets we’re not going to do any of that,” Booth said his voice firm. “I promise.”
“Then, what am I going to do?” Sweets sniffled. Booth felt his insides twist at the fear that was plainly visible in the therapist’s eyes. He reached over and clasped Sweets’ shoulder tightly.
“Listen, Bones and I…we were talking about that earlier while we were working on our paperwork,” Booth said. “We also got to talking to Angela and Hodgins and….Well we decided…Sweets, how would you like to live with one of us?”
“You mean, live with you or Brennan?” Sweets asked, his eyes widening in awe.
“Sure,” the agent smiled at him. “You could stay with one of us, and we can help you get back into school. Even at twelve, I’m sure you could test out of a lot of stuff, and you could probably get back into college in no time. By the time you’re done with school, you probably won’t be that much over thirty.” The agent patted Sweets’ back a couple times.
“But you need to know that we’re not just going to let you crash with us and then dump you out at school,” he continued. “We’re going to be kind of like your guardians, and that means you need to listen to us and not leave us out of the loop, understand? We’re going to be keeping tabs on you and will expect you to come to us if you have any problems or issues. No shutting us out. We will all be here for you when you need us: me, Bones, Angela, Hodgins and Cam. But you are also going to have to do your part if you’re going to be a part of our team…our family. Do you understand?”
Sweets sat there silently, his eyes locked onto Booth’s. The agent almost gulped a little when it looked like the therapist was lapsing into one of his so-called “creepy stares”, a move Sweets always did when he was trying to get inside the head of whomever he was talking to.
‘Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all,’ Booth thought. ‘He might think we’re trying to “replace” his parents or something…I mean he’s technically an adult. There’s no reason why he would have to do anything we tell him…And he might not want us sticking our noses into his life.’
Booth was shocked, however, when Sweets suddenly decided to lunge over and hug him. Unsure and not entirely comfortable with the gesture, Booth tentatively patted Sweets’ back again.
“Ok, ok,” he said.
“Thank you,” Sweets whispered as he sniffed hard. “Booth…I….”
“It’s ok, Sweets,” Booth said, a trace of a smile on his face. “I get it.” He then finally relented and gave Sweets a brief hug back before gently encouraging the therapist to let go.
“All right,” Booth said. “First things first: you need to get some sleep. Then tomorrow I’m going to help you get in contact with your cousin. Then we will see what’s next after that.”
“Ok,” Sweets nodded his eyes finally starting to light up again.
That night, Sweets stared at the ceiling, unable to sleep. He kept turning the events of the past couple of days around in his mind over and over again.
He thought about how scared he had been when he had first woken up and had entered this world where he was twenty-five and he worked beside all of these people who had taken care of him for the past two days. Not since he had been in the foster system had he felt so much apprehension and anxiety.
Sweets looked around in the dark and could see the faint outline of a stack of objects sitting nearby: the book Brennan had given him, the bear Daisy had sent him and the bag of “memory prompts” Brennan had gathered for him. Their presence created a warm glow inside of him.
‘They’re my friends,’ he thought. ‘The people who gave all this to me. I have friends now. No, more than friends. Just friends don’t take care of you like this. Like they’ve taken care of me.’
‘I have another family.’
Despite the happiness he felt at this revelation, Sweets also felt a sharp pain hit his heart. He thought yet again about David and Carolyn and found himself filled with guilt.
‘Mom and Dad loved me and cared for me when no one else wanted me. They are my parents. No one else could ever be them.’
‘I have to see them. I have to tell them I’m sorry. I have to tell them…I have to tell them that I love them.’
Sweets got up from the couch and crept over to a nearby closet. After rooting around quietly for a few minute, he found and old drawstring book bag. He then loaded it up with the bear, the book, the photo album and a couple other things Brennan had taken from his apartment. His hands trembling, he then grabbed the wallet that Booth said was his and took all the cash out of it. He then did the same with Booth’s wallet.
Sweets dressed in the dark hastily and put on his shoes. A twinge pulling at his heart, he walked back over to the coffee table and picked up a piece of paper and a pencil and started to write.
Tears leapt to his eyes as he scrawled out a couple of words onto the paper. He knew that what he was doing was probably the wrong thing to do, but he also knew that he couldn’t stop himself.
‘They’re going to be mad at me for this,’ he thought as his vision started to blur from unshed tears. ‘They probably won’t want me after tonight. They’ll leave me alone because that’s what I’ll deserve. Who knows what will happen to me then.’
Sweets finished with his note and let the pencil fall from his fingers onto the table top. His body shook as he let loose some more silent tears at the thought that he was going to lose the only family he had left now.
After a few minutes, however, his wiped his face off as best he could and stood up. He grabbed his bag and took one last lingering look at the apartment before creeping out the door and into the night.
A few hours later, daylight stretched in through the curtains of Booth’s bedroom, and the agent started to stir. His body anticipating the alarm clock, Booth cracked his eyes open and hit the alarm button before it had a chance to awaken him. He then lingered in bed for almost three more minutes before finally sitting up and stretching.
The agent started to walk toward the bathroom, but paused to check the foot of his bed. Upon finding no one there, Booth nodded and went to use the bathroom. After he was done, he pulled his robe around himself and walked toward the front room.
“Ok Sweets,” Booth said, clapping his hands together. “Up and at ‘em.”
Booth was shocked, however, to find the couch empty. He walked around the apartment, but found no sign of the psychologist. He then noticed that some of Sweets’ stuff was missing, but that his wallet was still laying next to his own and Sweets’ duffel bag was still there on the floor with most of his clothes in it.
“Sweets?” he called out. “Sweets, where are you?” He wasn’t surprised when he didn’t get an answer.
By now, he was certain that Sweets was gone and that he was alone.
Suddenly he glanced over at the coffee table and found the piece of paper Sweets had left behind. He snatched it up and scanned it for a few seconds before dashing back to the bedroom and grabbing his cell phone.
“Bones it’s me. Sweets is gone…No I don’t know where he is….No, I don’t think it’s like the last time when he ran. It’s more serious this time...No Bones, I…I don’t know where he’s going.”
Booth completed what seemed like the hundredth phone call he had made that morning and slammed the receiver down in frustration.
After talking to Brennan, the agent had quickly gotten dressed and looked around the apartment for any other clues as to where Sweets might have gone and had come up empty. As he got ready to leave the apartment, Booth discovered that Sweets had taken all of the money out of his wallet. Any annoyance he might have felt at this theft was quickly erased by his growing concern at the psychologist’s state of mind when snuck out of the apartment last night.
Just as he was about to walk out the door, Brennan showed up and asked him what his next move was going to be.
“Do you think he is finally starting to remember?” she asked him as they left.
“No…no if he had remembered, he would have told me,” Booth said. “Besides he left his wallet and his clothes. If he had remembered, he wouldn’t have left all that behind. No…I’m thinking that he’s still twelve for all intents and purposes.”
“So what do we do?” Brennan asked as they got into his car.
“We find him, Bones,” Booth said, gripping the steering wheel tightly. “And we don’t stop looking until we do.”
That led to where he and Brennan were now: in Booth’s office, trying to track Sweets down. Booth got a couple of his agents to start looking around places like the lab and Sweets’ apartment, in case the psychologist showed up at either place while Booth and two other agents began making phone calls to hospitals, airports, bus stations, and taxi services.
Unfortunately, none of it produced any results. Even more frustrating was the fact that because Sweets was using cash, there was no way to track what he needed the money for.
Brennan continued to make calls of her own to everyone at the lab and to Daisy to see if they had heard from him while Booth watched her. He was at a loss to figure out his next move short of getting back into his car and actually combing the streets himself in an effort to find Sweets, but he knew that finding him that way would be haphazard at best and would more than likely accomplish nothing.
Booth ran his hands along his face. He had hoped that his conversation with Sweets last night would ease the therapist’s anxiety, but it was clear now to him that he had underestimated how deep Sweets’ issues went. He thought again about the brief note that Sweets had left for him on the coffee table. There were only two words scrawled onto the paper: I’m sorry.
‘Why did he apologize before running?’ Booth wondered. ‘Did he think that we were mad at him or something? Or…that we would be mad at him for leaving?’
Booth let out a sigh. While it was true that he felt some frustration at Sweets’ repeated attempts to pull back and run away, Booth also knew that he and the others couldn’t hold that against the psychologist.
‘Mentally, he’s a child even if he is some kind of genius already. A scared child who’s being thrust into an adult world without his parents to help support and guide him. And with his past…no wonder he’s having a hard time adjusting.’
The agent drummed his fingers along the edge of his desk as he contemplated his next move. He figured that he was going to need more manpower to try and find Sweets, but could not figure out a good way to do it without involving the local police.
‘And unless I put a BOLO out on him or tell them that’s he’s not mentally fit, they’re not going to get involved until Sweets has been missing for at least twenty-four hours…No, I don’t want them treating Sweets like he’s some kind of criminal or crazy. That would just scare him even more, and he’s got enough to worry about right now. ’
As he considered his options, Booth slumped down in his chair. If Sweets was actually twelve years old, Booth knew that it would be easier to recruit some of the locals and additional people from the office to help in the search. After all, no one wanted to think about a kid wandering around the streets of DC alone. Plus, as a kid, he would have been more likely to stand out to any people who might see him along the way and others would be more willing to help him out.
But as it stood, outwardly, Sweets was an adult and thus, no one would take a second look at him wandering around aimlessly throughout the city. Even worse, Booth worried about what might happen if Sweets ran into the wrong types of people.
‘They’re not going to know the situation, and they might not have the patience or desire to deal with him. And Sweets…he’s book smart and is not going to trust most people but is he going to be savvy enough to know what kinds of situations to avoid completely? Plus, if people were to figure out that he’s mentally a child right now they might want to take advantage of him in some way….’
Booth shuddered as he thought about some of the nightmarish things he had seen and heard about over the years and pictured Sweets being in the middle of them. As a soldier and then as an agent, he had learned to not let himself become too emotionally involved in the horrors he had seen and investigated. But he knew that there was no way he could stay detached in this situation because this was Sweets: goofy, brilliant, occasionally annoying, big-hearted Sweets. A kid, who somewhere along the way had become an irreplaceable part of his team, his family.
A kid who was now alone and who could be in very real danger.
The agent felt his insides twist themselves into knots. He found that he could not stay in this office any longer and rose to his feet. Brennan, who was still on her cell phone, looked up at him.
“Ok, Cam thanks,” she said as she hung up. “Booth where are we….?”
“Look we need to get going, all right?” Booth said. “We can’t just sit here and wait until something happens. Sweets needs us now.”
“I agree, but where do we start looking, Booth?” she said holding out her hands. “He’s not with any of us, at the lab or at his own apartment. Washington DC is a large place and the chances of us finding him by randomly driving along the streets would be astronomical at best.”
“I know, Bones,” Booth replied. “I just can’t…What did Cam say?”
“She mentioned that Sweets was very distraught last night,” the anthropologist replied. “He is still upset about his parents, and he misses them.”
“Makes sense,” Booth said quietly. “Waking up one day to find that both of your parents are dead…that’s not something any one would just shake off…and with Sweets it’s going to be even harder yet.”
“Apparently he kept saying how much he wishes he could see and talk to them again,” she continued. “Booth, it’s so heart-crushing.”
Booth opened his mouth to respond, but stopped as a new thought entered his mind.
‘Sweets was saying that last night too, that he wished he could see his parents.’
The agent rushed over to his desk and picked up a personal file he had pulled on Sweets. He flipped to a page that listed former addresses and soon found what he was looking for. He scribbled down an address in his notebook and left his office with Brennan close behind.
“Where are we going?” she asked.
“I’m pretty sure I know where Sweets went,” he said as they headed out to the parking lot.
“Home. He went home, Bones.”
The address Booth wrote down was a couple of hours away, but the two of them made it in almost half the time due to the agent turning on the siren and speeding the entire way. Once they arrived at Sweets’ hometown, they tracked down the address and found another family living there.
Booth knocked on the door and a woman with a small girl pulling at her apron answered the door. The agent asked her if she had seen Sweets, showing her a picture of him, but she shook her head in reply.
“No, not since a few years ago,” she said. “He’s the young man who sold us this house. Jack, my husband’s uncle, knew the Sweets for years. They were a nice family.”
Booth nodded, trying his hardest not to let his disappointment show. The woman was preparing to shut the door and go back into the house when one last question occurred to Booth.
“Excuse me,” the agent said. “Could you tell me where the local cemetery is?”
After getting directions, Booth and Brennan headed off to the cemetery and arrived in a few minutes. Once there, the agent found the groundskeeper and asked about the location of the burial plot of David and Carolyn Sweets.
“FBI huh?” the groundskeeper huffed. “Well at least this way I won’t have to call the police.”
“Why has something happened?” Brennan asked.
“Some guy showed up here some time late last night or real early this morning,” the man said, poking his thumb in the direction of the graves. “He’s been sitting right in front of the grave you were asking about this whole time. Weird, lanky kid with big eyes and a bag sitting next to him. At first I didn’t think much of it, but he just kept sitting there and then he sort of freaked out a couple times, crying and carrying on. I was about to call the sheriff here in a few minutes when you two showed up. Is he some kind of escaped nut or something? Should I bring a gun? I’ve got a shot gun here in the ….”
“Just…take us to him now,” Booth said as he ground his jaw. The groundskeeper flinched at the agent’s angry expression and wordlessly guided Booth and Brennan to the gravesite. Once they were in a couple of yards of the location, Booth spotted Sweets sitting on the ground in front of the headstone.
“There he is and that’s the grave you were asking about,” the man said, gesturing toward where the psychologist was sitting. “Again, I appreciate you getting rid of him for me. I don’t need someone like that hanging around, spooking out the people who want to visit their loved ones who are resting here.”
“But that’s what he is doing,” Brennan said, her eyes glittering with anger. “He is visiting the remains of his parents. He has every right to be here. It is you who is intruding upon him.”
“Thank you for your time,” Booth said, his voice strained with his own rage. “We will take care of things from here.”
The groundskeeper was nonplussed and a bit frightened by the anger that radiated from Booth and Brennan, so he slunk away with his head down.
“Freak,” he muttered as he walked away.
Once he was gone, Booth and Brennan slowly walked over to the place where Sweets had settled on the ground. As they got closer they could see that the psychologist’s clothes and hair were slightly damp from morning dew and a very light rain that had fallen early that morning. His legs were folded close to his chest and his arms were wrapped around his shins. The knapsack lay on the ground next to him, and Sweets shivered while he sat staring at the headstone, his face heavily tear-stained and his eyes swollen.
“Sweets,” Brennan said softly as she approached. “Sweets are you all right? It’s me…Brennan.” The psychologist did not respond and continued to sniffle as both she and Booth crouched down beside him.
“Sweets, hey listen, don’t worry,” Booth said, carefully placing a hand on Sweets’ shoulder. “Me and Bones, we’re not mad at you or anything. We get that you needed to see your parents. We just need to know if you’re ok.”
“I’m all right, Agent Booth, Doctor Brennan,” Sweets said mechanically, his teeth chattering slightly from the cold ground and his damp clothes. Booth tightened his grip gently.
“That’s good,” he said. “Do you need a little longer with your parents? Because we can come back in a little while if you want. Then we can get you back to my place, and you can….”
“It’s all right, Agent Booth,” Sweets said, turning hollow eyes toward him. “You don’t have to…I remember now.”
“You mean, your memory has returned?” Brennan asked.
“No…not all of it. Not yet,” the therapist mumbled. “But over the last few hours a lot has come back. I remember how old I am, the work I do and all of you. I remember Mom and Dad and how they…how they aren’t here anymore.”
Booth heaved a sigh of relief. He was glad that Sweets was starting to remember his life, but something about the dull, listless way the therapist was acting told him that getting these memories back had not been an easy or pleasant ordeal to go through.
The agent also suspected that the ordeal was far from over.
“Come on,” Booth said patting his shoulder. “Why don’t we take you home so that you can get changed and have something to eat.”
“I’m sorry,” Sweets said, shaking his head. “I’m sorry I stole that money from you, Agent Booth. I promise to pay you back and….”
“Don’t worry about it Sweets.” Booth said, cutting him off. “Right now, let’s just get you out of here and taken care of, all right?”
Sweets nodded and Booth helped him to his feet while Brennan picked up his bag from the ground. The three of them made their way to Booth’s SUV and once they were there, Booth pulled a coarse blanket out of the trunk and gave it to Sweets.
Soon they were heading back to DC, Booth and Brennan in the front and Sweets curled up in the back, the blanket wrapped tightly around him. A couple of times during the trip, Booth and Brennan tried to get Sweets to talk to him, but the psychologist remained silent as he watched the scenery go by outside his window.
They went to Booth’s apartment first so that Sweets could shower and change clothes. After the therapist was finished, Booth made some soup and sandwiches for the three of them to share, which Sweets mainly picked at.
“Can I go home?” Sweets mumbled as the meal drew to a close. “Please.”
“Home?” Brennan said. “Home as in….?”
“My apartment,” Sweets replied. “I’d like some time alone.”
“Sweets, are you sure?” Booth asked. “After everything that’s happened here recently, I don’t know if that’s a good idea.”
“I’m fine,” the therapist insisted. “I just…I need some time to think. Things keep coming back to me, but it’s like it’s all a jumble inside my head. I need some time to sort it all out….Don’t worry, I’m not going to go anywhere or do anything. I’m just going to stay in my apartment.”
Booth and Brennan were still reluctant to leave the psychologist alone, but after several more pleas, they relented. They helped Sweets pack and drove him over to the apartment, making sure to walk him to his door.
“I uh, I’m sorry for everything that happened,” Sweets said as he turned his key in the lock of the door. “If there’s anything I can do to make it up to you…”
“It’s all right, Sweets,” Brennan said. “I’m sure you would have taken care of us if we had been in the same position. In fact, you did take care of Booth when he had brain damage, so you shouldn’t feel self-conscious about it.”
“Bones, you didn’t need to bring that up,” Booth scowled. “Are you sure you’re going to be ok tonight, Sweets?”
“Yeah, I’ll be ok,” Sweets murmured. “I’m just going to spend some time thinking and then probably just go to bed. I need to get up early tomorrow so I can let Peter know that I’m all right.”
“Ok then,” Booth nodded. “But you call us if you need anything. No matter when it is, you just pick up the phone and let us know immediately, all right? You get some rest and tomorrow, Bones and I will drop by to see how you are doing.”
“Thank you, Agent Booth, Doctor Brennan,” Sweets said as he took his things and opened the door. “For this and for everything else. Have a good night.”
The therapist slipped inside his apartment and closed the door behind him. Booth and Brennan lingered by the door for a few moments before finally walking back down to the parking lot.
Inside the apartment, Sweets dropped his stuff onto the floor by the couch and plopped down onto cushions. Random memories continued to flood his mind, and he was becoming overwhelmed by them and by their accompanying emotions. He fell over to his side and curled up into a fetal position, shivering again but this time not from the temperature.
Sweets ended up spending hours in that position and eventually fell asleep that way.
It had been a mostly sleepless, harrowing night, but eventually Sweets was able to drag himself off the couch and into the bathroom so he could shower and change. He thought about eating breakfast after that, but found that he was still feeling too anxious for that, so Sweets decided to skip it for now.
He then called the office and eventually ended up talking to Hacker. The psychologist had been relieved to discover that Booth had kept the deputy director apprised of the situation and that Hacker had contingencies in place in case Sweets needed some time before returning to work. Sweets was not so pleased, however, to discover that he would have to be certified as fit to return to work by another FBI psychologist, and that he would have to wait at least a month before an evaluation for a return to duty would even be considered.
“Take some time off, Doctor Sweets,” Hacker told him. “It’s no good to rush back too soon. As a therapist, I am sure you know that.”
His words stung, but Sweets knew that Hacker was very close to the truth: he would need time to ready himself so he could return to his practice.
Still feeling a little frustrated, Sweets immediately went to the next task on his list: calling his cousin, Peter up to let him know that he was fine.
It took Sweets almost an hour to convince Peter not to get on the next plane he could to DC, but his cousin eventually relented and instead started asking a variety of questions to see how much the psychologist could remember. Peter’s unease started to return as he realized how much was still missing from Sweets’ memory.
“Look Lance, I know you want me to stay put, but I really do think I should visit you as soon as possible,” Peter said. “I have some vacation time coming up in about two weeks. There’s no reason why I can’t spend my time off with you.”
“Some vacation,” Sweets moped. “Hanging around with me trying to help me remember my own life.”
“I can think of few things that would make me feel better right now than the chance to help you get the rest of your memory back,” Peter said, his tone sincere. “You’re my family, Whiz Kid. I don’t want to lose any of that…and I know you don’t want to lose even one moment of your life with Uncle David and Aunt Carolyn.”
“I know…you’re right,” Sweets murmured. “I just….”
“Lance, what you went through…it’s going to take time for you to recover,” Peter said. “Give yourself time to work through this. And listen, don’t do all of this alone, all right? It seems to me that you’ve got people there who can help you. Do me a favor and let them. Let them take care of you once in a while.”
“I can’t do that to them,” the therapist said, swallowing hard. “They’ve already done so much. How can I ask them to take care of me after they’ve had to watch over me like a child for the past few days?”
“Call it a hunch, but I don’t think you are going to need to ask for anything,” the soldier said. “All I’m asking is that you let yourself accept what is offered to you.”
The two of them ended up talking for almost another hour before Peter needed to hang up so that he could get to work. After the conversation ended, Sweets said on the couch for several minutes and stared at the walls. Every time he allowed himself to quietly sit and let his mind drift, new scraps of memories would start to filter into his mind. As more of these scraps made their way into his brain, Sweets found that he was able to piece together more and more of his life past the age of twelve.
But if anything, the emotions that swelled up inside him as a result of remembering was becoming stronger as time went on. Especially as he started to remember some of the darkest times of his life. Times when he wasn’t sure if he was going to be able to pull himself out of his own darkness and survive long enough to reach adulthood.
Rather than focus on these painful thoughts and feelings, the psychologist decided that his time could be better spent trying to regain his training and academic knowledge back.
Sweets went over to his bookshelves and pulled stack after stack of textbooks, reference books and other assorted psychological tomes off of his shelves and settled in on his couch with a tall glass of water with lemon and began to read. Occasionally he pulled out a yellow tablet of paper and made notes with a pencil, but most of the time, he worked to absorb whatever he could from his books. He was elated to discover that much of his knowledge was swiftly coming back to him as he read and studied, but was disturbed at the number of gaps that he was able to discern within his body of knowledge.
The therapist continued to pore over his books and notes for the rest of the morning and into the afternoon and evening, only taking breaks to refill his glass and use his restroom. He barely noticed the time until he started to realize that it was getting dark in his apartment due to the sun beginning to wane. As he turned on a couple of lights in his front room, Sweets stomach began to gurgle. He had been so caught up in his studies; he hadn’t really taken the time to make anything to eat.
Sweets slumped against a wall and hung his head. Rationally, he knew that he should take a break and make himself something to eat, but a large part of him felt too drained and lethargic to do much of anything at the moment.
‘Maybe I’ll just order a pizza or something,’ he told himself. But even this plan did not appeal much to him very much because he still felt too wound up and strangely tense to be able to enjoy eating much of anything right now. He wasn’t, however, able to think of a better plan, so he started to sift through a stack of take out menus near his phone.
‘I suppose I can just eat a couple of slices and then get back to work,’ he mused. ‘I should be able to do that much at least.’
He had found a set of menus from two or three pizza joints that were close by and was trying to decide which one to go with when a knock at the door interrupted his decision process. Sweets walked over and opened it to see Booth and Brennan on the other side, both of them carrying bags on their arms.
“Hey Sweets, how are you feeling?” Booth asked as he pushed his way inside. The agent sat a pair of bags onto the coffee table and Brennan quickly joined him with a smaller one of her own.
“Fine, I guess,” the therapist said, feeling a combination of annoyed and relieved that the two of them had showed up. “What are you…?”
“We said that we were going to drop by and see how you were doing, remember?” Booth answered. “And on the way here, Bones and I realized that we hadn’t had dinner yet, so we decided to pick some stuff up from our favorite Thai place. We made sure to get some for you too, by the way.”
“Actually, Booth is lying,” Brennan said as she helped the agent place the cartons of food onto the coffee table. “We had planned for a few hours now to get dinner and bring it here to you so that you wouldn’t have to worry about it.”
“Bones,” Booth said as he slumped his shoulders. “You didn’t need to mention that.”
“Also we brought this movie for us to watch,” Brennan continued. “Booth mentioned that you had watched a couple of these movies earlier this week and I find myself quite fascinated by the anthropological and mythological constructs that these Star Warrior films portray.”
“Star Wars movies, Bones.”
“Well that is an illogical title,” Brennan frowned. “Stars can’t actually have wars with each other and given the sheer volume of stars within a given universe, I doubt that beings that could travel interplanetary distances would need to fight over specific ones.”
“Agent Booth, Doctor Brennan,” Sweets said with a slight smile. “You didn’t have to do all this.”
“Yeah, maybe not,” Booth nodded as he placed the last carton of food onto the table and pulled out some plastic silverware. “But hey, you had me watch the first two movies the other night. You can’t watch two parts of a trilogy and then not finish it. It’s just not right. Besides, you and I both know that Bones could use the chance to have some fun for a change.”
“I have fun,” the anthropologist protested. “Just last week I had a chance to read several chapters of this book about on the funerary practices of ancient Asians cultures and how they impact modern rituals.”
“See what I mean, Sweets?” the agent said, gesturing in her direction. “So ok, where is the remote for this TV?”
About a half hour later, the three of them were still eating while watching the movie with Booth and Brennan on either side of Sweets. The therapist remained silent as Booth gave Brennan a few pertinent details about the plot thus far and Brennan commented on the sociopolitical structures she was starting to notice.
He had quickly filled up on the food that they had brought, and while Thai had not been his first thought for dinner this evening, Sweets had to admit that it had been a welcome change of pace for him.
Sweets sank deeper into the couch, his eyes fixed on the screen. He had seen this movie more than once before, so it was easy for his mind to drift while still keeping some of his focus on the film. The more he let his thoughts drift, however, the easier it was for them to venture into dangerous territory.
All of the sudden, the psychologist was hit with a powerful sense of déjà vu and familiarity about the situation he was currently in.
Memories of evenings spent in the family room curled up between his parents watching some of their favorite films.
Evenings spent eating together which would eventually meld into all night board game fests.
His father taking him to see the latest Star Wars movie at a local theater in Pennsylvania on one of those rare nights of freedom from his studies.
Christmas morning spend unwrapping one of those 3-D puzzles of some of the spacecraft from the movies.
The Halloween when his parents had bought him his own Obi-Wan costume to wear while he went trick-or-treating when he was eight years old.
Sweets didn’t know when he had started crying. All he knew was that one moment he was reliving all of these memories in flashes within his brain and then the next his face was wet from numerous tears that he had shed. Booth and Brennan quickly noticed what was happening and the agent had stopped the movie.
“Sweets?” he asked.
“Doctor Sweets, what’s wrong?” Brennan asked, placing her hand on his forearm. Sweets hung his head and shook it violently.
“No, nothing,” the therapist gasped out. “I’m fine. Everything’s fine…It’s…it’s…fine.”
Unable to say anything more, Sweets buried his face in his hands, his shoulders shaking as he sobbed. Soon he felt two sets of hands reach over to him. One set pulled him closer after which they tightly grasped one of the psychologist’s hands. The other ones patted his arm while reaching over his back to clasp one of Sweets’ shoulders. Sweets started to squirm away when Peter’s words echoed in his mind.
‘All I’m asking is that you let yourself accept what is offered to you.’
Despite the embarrassment he felt over his outburst, Sweets had to admit that there was nothing he wanted more right now than to do just that. He leaned against Brennan who had adjusted her position to accommodate him.
“Sweets, you mentioned once during a case that sometimes memories, especially happy ones, can be painful to recall because you worry that you’ll never have them again,” she said gently as he wept. “I imagine these memories of your parents are very difficult for you.”
“But hey, you shouldn’t think like that, ok?” Booth said his voice rough. “You’ll have more happy memories in the future to look forward to. I’m sure of it.”
Sweets actually found himself able to laugh a little even in the midst of his tears in response to that remark. He had a feeling that Booth was right, even though it was hard to believe in this moment, and he was thankful at the implications of the agent’s statement.
The psychologist sat back up and started to sniff. Booth got up from the couch and poured Sweets a glass of water and then offered it to him while Brennan grabbed some tissues from a nearby box. After taking a huge gulp of water and wiping off his face, Sweets started to feel better than he had all day.
“Can we…can we watch the rest of the movie?” Sweets said, rubbing his eyes a little more to clear out the rest of his tears.
“Sure,” Brennan said, settling back in her seat while still not letting go of his hand.
“Whatever you say, Sweets,” Booth said sitting back down where he was and leaning back into the couch. “Whatever you say.”
Sweets nodded as he felt Booth pat his shoulder a couple more times. Booth then started the movie back up from where they left off and the three of them quietly spent the next couple of hours enjoying it.
Sweets barely remembered the movie ending some time later, but he knew that he would never forget how his friends had stayed with him for most of the night after that.