Second, this fic would very likely not have been finished without the help of Ficfinishing. Many thanks to Emmademarais for running the community so efficiently.
Thanks to Xela_fic and Kajivar who served as beta readers. Any remaining mistakes are mine alone.
Thanks to Ppyajunebug, Crearealidad, and especially Koshkaphoenix for serving as first readers, cheerleaders, etc.
I've had the idea to write a Bones casefic set in Pittsburgh ever since I found out that it was Booth's hometown since it's my hometown as well. Here are some fun links to Pittsburgh references I use in the fic:
University of Pittsburgh
CAPA High School
And, while I did base a few of the original characters on people I know, they are used in a completely fictitious manner and events depicted in the story are not real.
Raucous laughter shattered the otherwise tranquil summer day on the Allegheny River.
"You're goin' down, Jake!"
"You wish, Canary!"
Splashing and hoots of laughter followed. The scout leader spoke up. "Boys, how about less splashing and more paddling. We have fifteen miles to go before we make camp tonight."
The boys settled down for a while, singing traditional camp songs as they canoed down the river.
A little while later, more insults started to fly.
"Hey, Drew, why are you wearing such a sissy looking shirt?"
"'Cause Leanne bought it for me," he shot back. "You're just jealous cause you can't get a girl to give you the time of day."
A scuffle broke out between two of the canoes, boys trying to use their paddles to send waves of water at each other. One of the canoes started to tip, but the scouts in it managed to keep it upright.
One of their supply buckets fell in to the river though. "Aw man," Lenny whined, putting his paddle down so he could fish his bucket out of the river. He got the bucket and started to put his supplies in the canoe so he could dump the excess water out.
A scream resonated through the trees when he pulled out the bone.
"Pack a bag, Bones, we've got an out-of-town case."
Temperance Brennan looked up from the papers on her desk. "Where are we going? And what's the case?"
Her partner, FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth, entered the office and made himself comfortable on her couch. "We're going to my hometown, Bones," he grinned. "Some Boy Scouts were canoeing down the Allegheny River. One of them knocked a bucket into the water and when they retrieved it, they found an ulna. They had divers scour the area; they ended up recovering about fifty bones that they assume are from the same victim. They're widening the search area based on recent weather and projected currents and they want you up there to determine what they're dealing with."
"How long do you think we'll be there?" she asked.
"Couple of days," he replied. "It all depends on what we find, really. If we're dealing with a single victim and an accidental drowning, it'll be easy. If it turns out we're dealing with something more sinister, then it might be longer. Pack enough for a week, just to be safe. I'll pick you up at your place in an hour."
She nodded and stood up, straightening the papers on her desk into neat piles. "What time is our flight?"
"We're not flying," Booth said. "It's only a four hour drive."
Brennan rolled her eyes. "And let me guess. We're taking your car and you'll be doing all the driving?"
He grinned. "Of course, Bones. It's in my job description."
"Does Cam know we're leaving?" she asked.
"Yep, everything is clear here," he assured her. "See you in an hour."
"See you in an hour, Booth," she replied, grabbing her purse and briefcase. Four hours in a car with Booth could end up being a lot of fun or horribly awkward. She would never admit it, but she was curious to see the town where Booth hailed from. Maybe it would give her more insight into his personality. That would certainly be worth a potentially awkward car ride. She was aware that, at some point, they would need to discuss that long ago Christmas kiss and her reactions when she thought he was dead. But they seemed to have a tacit agreement for the time being to pretend none of it had happened.
"What are we dealing with?" Temperance asked as they arrived at the river bank.
"So far we've found about sixty five bones total,” the sheriff said. "Fifteen more since we first called you all. No idea if they're all the same victim or if they're even human for that matter."
Temperance crouched down and began to examine the bones. "Definitely human," she said. "This is a femur. I'd say the victim is female. Probably late teens."
The sheriff raised his eyebrows and looked at Booth. "She can tell all that just by lookin'?"
Booth grinned. "Bones is the best at what she does," he said. "They all the same victim?" he asked.
"I would say that's likely," Temperance said. "All of the bones seem consistent with a teenage female. It's possible you're dealing with multiple victims if they are all similar ages and weights, but I think that is highly improbable, though I'll need to do more tests to be sure."
"We've got divers dredging the area," the sheriff said. "If we find more bones, we can let you know."
"I'll need to get these boxed up and sent back to…" she broke off, suddenly remembering that there was no one currently in the lab who was qualified to examine the bones. She wondered if she would ever come to terms with what Zack had done and the effect it had on all of them. "Is there somewhere local where I can borrow lab space?" she asked.
The sheriff shrugged. "Probably one of the universities. We got enough of 'em around here. Let me get my secretary to make a couple of calls for you."
"Thanks, Sheriff," Temperance said, bending down to study the bones more as the sheriff walked away.
Booth crouched down next to her, placing a hand on her shoulder. "You okay, Bones?" he asked.
"I don't know," she replied honestly. "I keep forgetting that Zack is gone. It's… hard to get used to."
He nodded. "I understand. We'll find you some lab space here. Maybe a couple of eager grad students to help you out. "
She shrugged. "I suppose. I know Cam wants me to interview new grad students to take Zack's place. I'm just…"
"Not ready?" Booth asked when she stopped speaking. She gave a nod of confirmation and he slung his arm around her shoulders. "It's only been a few weeks, Temperance. Zack worked with you for a long time. I understand why Cam is anxious to fill the position, but I think she'll understand that you need some time to adjust. It looks like we'll be here for a few days sorting all of this out. Maybe a break from the Jeffersonian will do you good."
"Perhaps," she agreed.
"And I can show you all the cool places in the city," he added, grinning like a little boy. "We'll go to Primanti's for sandwiches and Eat'n Park for smiley cookies. Oh! And I'll take you on the incline. Maybe we can even catch a Pirates game. Their new ballpark is pretty awesome."
Temperance smiled at his enthusiasm. "Are you going to visit your family while we're here as well?"
"If there's time, I guess," he said. "My mom is the only one that knows I'm in town right now and she understands that I'm here on business. Though she did invite us over for dinner. Said she'll make kielbasa and her homemade pierogies."
"Do you do anything besides eat when you're home visiting?" she asked.
Booth laughed. "Pittsburgh has some great food traditions."
"Is Parker going to be upset that you came to Pittsburgh without him?"
"Probably. I'll buy him some smiley cookies though. My mom will probably be more upset that she didn't get to see her grandson," he admitted. "Though she'd like to meet you."
Temperance looked surprised. "Your mother knows who I am?"
"Of course she does, Bones. You're my partner. I've told her stories about some of our cases," he explained. "She likes you already, if it makes you feel better. Saving her son's life definitely gave you a gold star in her book."
"I didn't save your life," she argued.
"Yes you did," he said. "I don't know why you keep insisting you didn't. If you hadn't grabbed my gun and shot Pam, she would have shot me again, and I very likely would have died."
"Then the FBI wouldn't have lied to me," she muttered.
Booth gave an exasperated sigh. "I explained that to you already, Bones. I wasn't allowed to contact anyone. I put you on the list of people they should contact and it's Sweets' fault that they didn't tell you I was okay. I don't get why you're still holding it against me."
Temperance shrugged. "Sweets wouldn't have had to make that decision if you had called me yourself."
The sheriff walked over to them before they could re-hash the old argument again. "Got you some lab space down at Pitt," he said. "I can give you some directions."
"No, thanks," Booth said. "I grew up around here and I know how to get to Oakland."
"What amenities does the lab offer?" Temperance asked.
"All that science mumbo jumbo don't mean much to me," the sheriff said. "There's a grad student that'll meet you there to show you around and help you out." He handed her a piece of paper with the name Casey Miller and a phone number written on it.
"Thanks, Sheriff, we really appreciate all of your help," Booth said, shaking the man's hand. "Here's my card. Call me if you find anything else. I'll be searching the local missing persons' reports to see if we can ID the victim."
The sheriff nodded. "My boys are interviewing all the witnesses. I'll get copies of the reports to you as soon as I can."
"That would be very helpful," Booth said.
"So would a skull," Brennan added. "It would make the ID much easier, because I could send it to Angela and she could do a facial reconstruction."
"Well, ma'am, we're looking in the woods and the river for more bones," the sheriff said, rolling his eyes. "If we find a skull, we'll let you know right away."
"Come on, Bones," Booth said, grabbing her elbow to lead her away before she could cause any trouble. "Let's go check out the lab space and then find a hotel. The forensics boys will pack up the bones and ship them over to the lab for you to examine and run tests on and whatever else you do."
Brennan looked like she wanted to argue, but didn't. "Fine. Also, can I get some samples of the river water and the dirt around the banks to send to Hodgins?"
The sheriff clearly didn't understand what value those items could have, but he shrugged. "Sure, if that's what you want. I'll get the boys to include that when they ship over the remains."
"Thank you, sir," Brennan said.
"I'll be in touch, Sheriff," Booth added, walking away, propelling Temperance in front of him.
"Why is there a large phallic symbol in the middle of a college campus?" Brennan asked, peering out the windshield as they drove into the heart of Oakland, where the University of Pittsburgh campus was situated.
"Jeez, Bones," Booth said. "It's called the Cathedral of Learning. It's a national landmark and it's the tallest educational building in the country."
"Whoever built it clearly had compensation issues," she remarked.
Booth sighed. "The lab space that they're letting you borrow is in Crawford Hall," he said. "Try not to offend anyone."
Brennan rolled her eyes. "It's not my fault if people can't deal with honesty."
"Have you ever heard of tact?" he asked.
"Did you go to school here?" she replied, changing the subject.
"Yeah, I got my degree from Pitt," Booth told her. "Played Panther football too."
"I bet you were one of those frat boys," she said. "Partying all the time."
He shrugged. "You say that like having fun is a bad thing."
"If it gets in the way of your studies, it can be," she pointed out.
"Yeah, and I graduated college, joined the army and then went through the FBI academy, so it didn't hurt me any, Bones."
Brennan gave him an apprising look. "You're a rare exception, Booth."
"Why are you so biased against jocks and frat boys anyway?" he asked, genuinely curious.
"I struggled with student loans and lived on peanut butter and jelly to get through college," she replied. "Those guys sailed through on athletic scholarships or their trust funds and the vast majority of them didn't do anything with their lives."
Booth nodded and pulled into a parking space. "I can see where that would sour your opinion on them," he admitted. "But look at you now, Bones. You're a best-selling author and you're one of the most well-respected women in any scientific field. You worked hard to get to the top and you deserve to be there."
Brennan smiled. "Thank you, Booth. That means a lot."
"It's the truth," he said simply. "Okay, we need to go up to the eighth floor and find Casey Miller. And be nice to her. She's a grad student who could probably benefit from you wisdom.”
"I'm always nice," she retorted. "But I'm also honest. I don't like lying."
He sighed. "Just... never mind. Let's go."
Casey Miller didn't end up being the type to look up to Brennan. He ended up being the type to give her a very thorough once over, his eyes scanning up and down her body. "Wow," he said. "I never knew lady scientists could be so hot."
Booth groaned inwardly. "Dr. Brennan is here to investigate a potential murder with the FBI," he said, flashing his badge. "How about a little respect?"
"It's fine, Booth," Brennan interrupted. "If he wants to appreciate my physical attributes, we can't stop him. I hope that he is able to control his arousal though, given that the blood flow will decrease in his brain as long as he is stimulated, probably making him useless to me.”
Booth hid a smile as Casey's face flushed. "Yes, ma'am," he said.
He gave them a quick tour of the lab facilities. "I'll be around if you need help operating any of the machines or if you need someone to do prep work or anything," he said, very carefully looking Brennan in the eye as he spoke.
"Thank you, Casey. I may need some assistance, and as intelligent as Agent Booth is, he's not much help in the lab," Brennan said. “I would appreciate if you were easily reachable.”
"Yeah, I'm not a member of the squint squad and that's totally fine with me," Booth agreed. "But I could use a computer with internet access to do some research into missing persons reports.”
Casey nodded. "You can use my office," he said. "Well, it's not mine, it's the grad student office, but I'm the only one that's around this summer."
"Thanks," Booth said. "Bones, I'll be around if you need me."
"I'll be fine, Booth," she replied. "I think Casey and I will work very well together."
Casey mumbled something, but Brennan's earlier put down had definitely served its purpose.
"Booth!" Brennan called.
He hurried out of the small office to the workspace his partner was currently occupying. "What's up?"
"These bones are definitely all from the same person," she said. "A girl, I'd say late teens based on bone density. She was also active in sports or dance based on the wear I'm noting on the leg and feet bones."
Casey was looking incredibly impressed. "I still don't know how you can determine that," he said, his tone definitely leaning toward awe rather than disbelief.
Brennan pointed at one of the bones. "It's simple, really," she said.
"Simple for you, Bones," Booth said, cutting her off before she could launch into an incomprehensible scientific lecture. "I've found about ten missing teenage girls in the sixteen to nineteen range," he said. "We'll have to do some more research to determine which is our victim."
"We'll ask about their activities," Brennan advised. "Anyone that was heavily involved in physical pursuits is a possibility. I really wish they would find a skull. Then Angela could get us a face.'
"Yeah, well, they're working on it," Booth assured her. "The sheriff called me about forty minutes ago and said that they found a few more bones. They're packing them up and sending them over now."
Brennan smiled. "Great! Hodgins is waiting for the package of water and soil samples that we couriered to the Jeffersonian. Angela is going to help him run some experiments and he'll notify me if he discovers anything worthwhile."
Booth picked up on the sad note in her voice when she mentioned that Angela was helping Hodgins with his experiments. They were all still getting used to the fact that Zack wasn't part of their team any longer. "If anyone can find a clue in those samples, it's Hodgins."
"I know," she said. "It'll just take him some time to run the tests and get back to me with his findings. In the mean time, do you want me to come with you to interview some of these families?"
He really didn't, because she inevitably put her foot in her mouth when they did interviews, but he also didn't want to leave her stuck alone with Casey the horny grad student.
"Sure, let's go."
The first three families were a bust. Two of them the girls had returned home of their own volition. The third was the victim of a custody battle, not foul play. At the fourth home, however, they struck pay dirt.
A young woman in her late twenties answered the door, looking rather frazzled. It was obvious she hadn't been sleeping from the dark circles under her eyes.
Booth flashed his badge. "Special Agent Seeley Booth with the FBI, ma'am," he said. "I'm investigating the disappearance of Sabrina Mellon."
Her eyes flashed with hope. "Do you have a lead on my sister's whereabouts?" she asked.
"We may," he said, shooting Brennan a glare warning her off of telling the sister just what that possible lead was. "But we'd like to ask you some questions."
"Sure, sure, come in," she said, ushering them in. All of the surfaces in the house were coated with a thin layer of dust and there were dirty dishes on the end tables. Behind the door, Booth spotted a pair of dirty hiking boots. "Sorry about the mess," she said. "I've been pretty distracted."
She tossed a sweatshirt aside so they could sit on the sofa. "My brother just got back from camping and he just dumped his stuff when I told him that Sabrina was missing. He went out to look for her."
"I'm sorry that we need to ask you more questions," Booth said. "I'm sure you've answered a lot already. You said that you're Sabrina's sister?"
"Half sister, if you want to be technical," she said. "My name is Josie. I've had custody of Sabrina and Drew for six years, ever since we lost our parents in a plane crash."
"This must be extra hard for you then," Brennan said, clearly sympathetic.
Josie nodded. "I was only twenty-one when we lost them. And raising teenagers when you're barely out of your teen years yourself is definitely not easy. When Sabrina didn't come home, I thought she was rebelling because I had denied her permission to go on an overnight trip with her friends."
"When did you realize that there was something else going on?" Booth asked.
"When she didn't answer her phone the next day," Josie said. "No matter how mad she gets at me, she'll always answer her phone when I call. Drew was away so I was alone. I didn't know what else to do, so I called the police and reported her missing. She's probably going to be really mad at me when she comes home and finds out. Her reputation in the theater community is her number one priority.”
Brennan and Booth exchanged a glance. "Sabrina's involved in theater?" Booth asked.
Josie nodded. "Yeah, she wants to be a Broadway star. She attends the school for Creative and Performing Arts as a Musical Theater major."
"She's a dancer, too?" Brennan asked.
"She tries," Josie said. "She's always said that dancing was her weakest skill. She's got an amazing singing voice though. And she's won awards for her acting."
"Has she been performing for a long time?" Brennan asked.
Josie stood up and grabbed a collage frame from the wall, handing it over to Brennan. "She started dance lessons at three and musical theater at six. It's always been an interest, but she's really thrown herself into it since we lost our mom and her dad. Said she wanted to make them proud by making herself a star."
Booth sighed. "Do you have some photographs of your sister that we can borrow?"
"We just got her headshots done a few weeks ago," Josie said. "The photographer called to tell me they were available, but I haven't gone to pick them up. His card is on the fridge, if you want to go take a look at them."
"That would be helpful, thanks," Booth said. "Do you mind if I have a look around your sister's room? See if she left anything behind that might give us a clue about where she's gone?"
Josie shrugged. "Sure, I guess. I mean, the other cops looked around too and didn't find anything, but you're welcome. Her room is upstairs, second door on the left."
"Thanks," Booth said. "We'll just take a few minutes." He nodded at Brennan and she followed him up the stairs.
"This girl could definitely be our victim," Brennan whispered. "The wear and tear on the bones is definitely consistent with dancing for more than a decade."
Booth nodded. "I'm hoping we can find a hairbrush or something to get DNA to type against the bones."
Brennan gave him a small smile. "You're starting to get the hang of the scientific aspects of your work," she said.
"I do try to pay attention when you babble at me, Bones," he said. "Just because eighty percent of what you say goes right over my head doesn't mean that some of it doesn't stick."
She pushed open the second door on the left and looked around. "Sabrina was definitely interested in Broadway," she remarked, taking in the number of posters hanging around the room.
Booth nodded. "Clearly,” he agreed, moving further into the room. He glanced through the CD collection on the shelf above the state of the art stereo system. "Doesn't look like she listened to the music most teenagers listen to."
"There are an awful lot of ticket stubs hanging on this bulletin board," Brennan observed. "And pictures of her with various actors and actresses at stage doors. The parents must have had decent life insurance for Josie to be able to afford this house and all these trips and theater tickets."
"Good thinking, Bones. I'll have to look into that," Booth said. "Ah-ha, here's what I was looking for," he said, pulling a plastic evidence bag out of his pocket and using it to pick up a pink hairbrush from the vanity. "There should be plenty of hair here for DNA testing."
"Do you need a search warrant for that?" she asked.
"Nah, I'm investigating the disappearance of a minor," he said. "And we're using this for identification purposes, not as evidence against someone that lives here. Besides, Josie gave us permission.”
Brennan nodded. "Okay, then we can probably go back to the lab," she said.
They headed back downstairs and Josie was standing near the bottom of the stairs, playing with a small white card in her hand. "Did you find anything?" she asked.
"I'm going to take your sister's hairbrush," he said. "We want to run a DNA profile. I’d also like to take her laptop and see if we can find any information that will give us a clue as to her whereabouts.”
"That's fine," Josie said. "Here's the contact information for the photographer," she added, passing Booth the card.
"Thanks for all of your help, Josie," Booth said. "We'll be in touch if we discover anything."
"I appreciate it, Agent Booth," she said. "I don't know what I'll do if anything happened to Sabrina."
Brennan patted the younger woman on the shoulder. "We’ll find out where she is.” She hoped that the bones in her makeshift lab weren’t that of this particular young girl. As much as she tried to keep her emotions out of her work, cases that involved orphaned or fostered children always affected her.
She gave a weak smile. "I'm trying not to worry too much.. But after everything we've been through... it's hard not to."
"We'll be in touch soon, Josie," Booth repeated. "Take care and please call me if anything turns up," he added, handing her one of his cards.
"I will. Thanks for stopping by," she said, showing them out.
A teenage boy was walking up the front porch steps as they exited. "Are you here about Sabrina?" he asked.
"We're investigating her disappearance," Booth said. "Do you have any information we should be aware of?"
He shook his head. "I was away when it happened," he said, walking past them and entering the house without so much as a second thought. Josie gave him a big hug, and he looked vaguely annoyed by the attention.
"Was it me or did he not seem that upset about his sister's disappearance?" Brennan asked once they were back in Booth's car.
"I don't know, Bones. He's a teenage boy. Showing emotion around adults is against their religion or something. They just write that crappy emo music instead," Booth said.
Brennan smirked at him. "Parker's going to be a teenager someday," she reminded him.
"I know," he said. "And believe me, I'm less than thrilled to think about it."
When they returned to the lab, Booth closeted himself in the grad student office, doing searches of local and national databases to get information about the elder Mellons. Brennan used some of the hair from the brush to run a DNA profile of Sabrina and determine if she was their victim.
She was waiting for the results of her tests when a courier arrived with another box of bones for her.
"I need you to sign here and here, please," the courier said. "Apparently this is a really important package since it requires two signatures and I was told that only two people were able to sign for it. Is it valuable?” He looked intrigued by the possibility that he was delivering some sort of treasure.
"It contains bones for a potential murder investigation," Brennan told him, signing her name where he indicated.
The kid's face went pale. "Oh, that's gross."
"Actually, bones are fascinating," Brennan said. "You can tell so many things about the way a person lived and died just by examining their bones."
As she spoke, his face went from pale to an odd shade of green. “Uh, that’s great. Have a good day," the kid said, rushing out of the lab.
"That wasn't very nice, Bones," Booth remarked, a bemused smile on his face. He was holding a sheaf of papers in his hand.
Brennan gave him a confused look. "What wasn't?"
"Never mind," he said. "Guess what I found out. The parents? Were extremely well off. Have you heard of Andrew Mellon?"
Her eyes got wide. "You mean the Andrew Mellon who donated his art collection and ten million dollars to establish the National Gallery of Art? They're that Mellon? I guess that explains how Josie paid for the house and for all those theater outings that Sabrina went on."
Booth nodded. "The father was a great-great-great nephew or something. I'm not sure of the exact lineage, but he worked in the family business and left behind a rather sizable trust fund."
"And Josie isn't a Mellon," Brennan pointed out. "Which means she might have motive to get her younger half-siblings out of the picture if she stands to inherit.”
"I don't know, Bones," he said. "She didn't give me the killer vibe. But it's definitely worth looking into. According to Sabrina's Facebook, there's a jealous ex-boyfriend in the picture."
"Facebook?" she repeated, a puzzled look on her face.
"Online networking site," he explained. "Primarily for high school and college kids. They can post tidbits about their lives, photographs, play games, all kinds of stuff. And Sabrina posted more than once about her ex-boyfriend, Cody. And it seems like Cody was trying to win her back."
Understanding dawned on Brennan's face. "Ah... and if he wasn't able to win her back, maybe he decided to keep her from leaving him?"
"Teenage hormones can be wacky," Booth said. "I think he's definitely worth looking into. At least, assuming that Sabrina is our victim. Did you get the DNA results yet?"
Brennan glanced over at the machine. "Looks like they're ready now," she said, walking over and pulling out a slip of paper. She sucked in a breath and nodded. "Yes, the bones we found were definitely those of Sabrina Mellon."
Booth looked down. "Okay. Well, we need to notify the family and I definitely want to look into the boyfriend."
"I'll come with you," she offered.
"You're awfully quiet, Bones," Booth said as they drove back to Oakland after informing Josie and Drew Mellon that their sister, Sabrina, was deceased. "Something wrong?"
Brennan shrugged. "Josie's breakdown was difficult to witness. She said that she failed her sister and her parents. But I can't help remembering the way Will Hastings acted when we told him Graham was dead and it turned out that he was the culprit.”
Booth glanced sideways at her. "You think we should be looking at Josie?"
"No. I mean, I don't know. I feel like I'm a terrible judge of character. Look at my dating history. And then there's Zack." She stopped talking and looked out the window. "It also makes me wonder if I failed Russ when we were kids. What if I hadn't made him think that he wasn't good enough? What if he had stayed? Would things have turned out different?"
"What if is a dangerous game, Bones," he replied. "What if I hadn't hooked up with Rebecca? Then I wouldn't have Parker. And despite the issues Rebecca and I have had, Parker is totally worth it. What if you weren't a gun-crazy scientist? I could be dead and my son could be half-orphaned. Things happen. I trust that God has a plan for me and that those things happen for a reason."
"I don't believe in God, Booth," she reminded him. "I also don't believe that our lives are a pre-determined entity that we have no control over. Don't you believe in free will? Do you think that the victims we investigate were destined to die? Do you think that all of the perpetrators of those crimes were destined to kill?"
Booth shook his head. "No, I believe that we have some control over our lives. But I believe that the big guy upstairs is looking out for us. Do you think that you would have ended up in forensic anthropology, giving names to long deceased individuals so their families and friends can find closure, if you hadn't suffered losing your parents as a teenager?"
The question startled Brennan and she looked over at him with a thoughtful and slightly shocked expression on her face. "I… I don't know. I was always interested in science, but…"
"But you didn't want other people to go through what you went through and decided to do something about it," he said gently. "There's nothing wrong with that. Everything that happens in our lives helps shape who we are and who we become. And you've become someone who does great things for people."
She looked away shyly. "You do great things for people too, Booth."
"And we make a helluva team," he added with a grin. "You hungry?"
"Sure, I could eat," Brennan said.
Booth's grin got wider. "You are in for a true Pittsburgh treat then."
"What is this?" Brennan asked, staring at the plate Booth placed in front of her.
"It's a Primanti's sandwich," Booth said. He was clearly amused by her reaction. "It's a taste experience that you won't find anywhere else in the world."
She poked at the sandwich with one finger. "It's… grilled," she observed.
"Yep. Part of what makes it taste so great."
"And it has… coleslaw on it?" she said, wrinkling her nose a little.
"And French fries. On the sandwich."
Booth laughed. "Yes, Bones. Stop dissecting it and take a bite."
"I don't know, Booth. It has to be incredibly unhealthy. How many calories are in this?" Brennan wondered.
"A lot. But you can afford a few extra calories," he said. "You've dropped a few pounds since everything happened."
She looked at the sandwich instead of at him. "Stress triggers endorphins in the body that make it difficult to eat sometimes."
Booth covered her hand with his. "I know that, Bones. But you need to eat. And trust me, you're gonna love this."
With great trepidation, she pulled her hand from under his and picked up the sandwich. After a moment, she took a careful bite, trying not to spill any of the contents on her outfit. Her eyes got wide as she chewed methodically.
"That's amazing," she said after swallowing the bite. "The flavors all blend together in a way that I would not have guessed upon hearing the ingredients."
He chuckled. "Told ya. You need to stop doubting me."
"I'll think about it," she joked before turning her attention back to her sandwich.
The sheriff paced uncomfortably in the lab. "So you haven't determined a cause of death yet?"
Brennan shook her head. "It could very well be impossible to do so without finding the rest of the bones. The rate of decomposition was high because of the heat and probably from the prevalence of wild life in the wooded areas, but without knowing where Sabrina was killed or finding her skull, it's going to be difficult."
"So we don't know if we're investigating an accident or a homicide?" he asked.
"Well, unless there was a good reason for Sabrina Mellon to be near that river, I'm working under the assumption that she was murdered," Booth said. "And from what her sister says, she is not the outdoorsy type. I've got interviews set up with her best friend and her ex-boyfriend. I'm also going to question her teachers and other people who knew her well to see if she had any enemies and try to pinpoint when exactly the last time was that anyone saw her."
The sheriff nodded. "My boys are still canvassing the area. They've widened the search to include the river banks at the suggestion of the FBI."
"That's good," Brennan said. "If we can find a kill site, Hodgins should be able to help determine a time of death from insect activity and blood saturation in the soil."
"We'll let you know," the sheriff promised, shaking his head in disbelief as he left the lab.
After he left, Booth looked at Bones. "Is there anything else you need to do here?" he asked.
She shook her head. "No, Casey and some of the other grad students are running some tests on the bones we have, but unless we get new evidence, there's not much more we can do. Hodgins reported that he didn't find anything of value in the soil and water samples we sent him."
Booth nodded. "You want to come with me to interview Sabrina's friends?"
"Sure, it's better than being cooped up in the lab by myself."
"Oh, and my mother invited us over for dinner afterwards," he added casually.
Brennan stopped and looked at him. "Okay," she said.
She didn’t acknowledge that she was both curious and nervous about meeting Booth’s family. Curious, because it was obvious he came from a loving family that was quite opposite of the one she had grown up with; nervous because if his family didn’t like her, it could have bearing on the relationship they might have some day.
Cody Phillips was trying to look cool, but it was obvious to Brennan and Booth that he was nervous about being questioned in his ex-girlfriend's possible murder investigation. He kept twisting the black twine bracelet on his left wrist, and his right foot was tapping in time to a rhythm only he could hear.
"So, was Sabrina really murdered?" he asked.
"That's what we're trying to find out, Cody," Booth said. "When was the last time you saw Sabrina?"
He shrugged. "'Bout a week ago, I guess. We had rehearsal for a show we were both in. Sabrina was in a bad mood and kept flubbing her lines, so rehearsal ran late. Everyone was annoyed with her."
Booth nodded. "And did you talk to her after that?"
"Not that I recall," Cody said, his voice catching a little. Brennan leaned forward.
"Do you recall anything that might be useful to us?" she asked.
He clenched one hand and shrugged again. "Well, I didn't actually talk to her, but we chatted a little online the next day. She was excited because NYU had contacted her about wanting to set up an audition for their theater program."
"What else did she say?" Booth asked.
"She was looking forward to our next rehearsal so she could lord her audition over Melody," Cody said.
"She and Melody were rivals?" Brennan asked.
"Pretty much," he said. "They were similar enough physically and vocally that they usually ended up going for the same parts in productions. Melody is two years older, but Sabrina ended up with more starring roles. And Mel hit the New York circuit when she was looking at colleges, but didn't end up getting accepted to any, so she stayed local and managed to get into Carnegie Mellon. Sabrina knew that Mel would be jealous that she got an audition for NYU."
"Jealous enough to kill her?" Brennan asked.
Cody's eyes got wide. "No, no, Mel wouldn't hurt a fly. She's really a very sweet girl. Too sweet. She doesn't have the same fire and drive to succeed that Sabrina has… had. It's why Sabrina beat her out for so many roles."
Booth scratched some notes on the tablet in front of him. "Sabrina was dedicated to her craft?"
"Man, dedicated barely begins to describe it. She ate, slept and breathed Broadway. Her IPod was loaded with musical soundtracks, bootleg performances and solo albums of people who had made it big," he said. "She could recite the resumes of pretty much anyone who ever performed in a Broadway show, including the national tours. She wrote fan mail, ran a couple of fan sites online and always hit up the stage doors."
"She didn't have any other interests?" Brennan asked.
"Not really," Cody said. "It's one of the reasons why we kept breaking up. She was incredibly self involved and I felt like her Broadway obsession overshadowed the importance of our relationship in her life."
Brennan raised her eyebrows. "So you were jealous of her dedication and drive?"
"Not jealous," he argued. "But she didn't have room in her heart for me and her chosen career path."
"According to her Facebook, you seemed pretty determined to get back on her good side," Booth pointed out. "If she didn't have room in her heart for you, why did you want her back?"
Cody's face went pale and he sighed. "Because I loved her. She was incredible. So full of life and so much fun to be around. Plus, she was so talented and we always had fun playing opposite each other in shows. I couldn’t stop hoping that one day she would realize she could have her career and a life with me.”
"So you wanted her to change for you," Brennan said.
"Not change. Just… open herself up more."
Booth leaned back in his chair. "So after you two talked online on Monday after rehearsal, what happened?"
Cody shrugged. "Nothing. I had to work that evening. I didn't talk to her at all on Tuesday and then she didn't show up for rehearsal on Wednesday. Dan, our director, was pissed. He thought she was pulling a diva act. But then she didn't answer any phone calls, which was weird. I called Josie, and Josie told me that they had gotten into an argument and she hadn't heard from Sabrina either. The next day, Josie called to tell me that she had filed a missing persons report. That was a week ago."
"When does your show open?" Brennan asked.
"Two weeks," Cody said. "We're going to dedicate the performance to Sabrina, and Dan managed to get a tribute written up for the program."
Brennan nodded. "So who's playing Sabrina's role?"
"Her understudy," Cody replied cagily.
Booth and Brennan exchanged a glance. "And who is that?"
Cody looked down at the table. "Melody."
"Thanks for your time, Cody," Booth said, standing up. "If we have any more questions, we'll contact you. In the meantime, please don't leave the state."
"Yes, sir," Cody mumbled, standing up and still not meeting Booth or Brennan's gazes.
"And if you think of anything that might be useful to our investigation, give me a call," Booth added, shoving one of his cards in the kid's hand.
Cody nodded and fled from the room.
"You think this Melody chick might be a good suspect, Bones?" Booth asked.
Brennan shrugged. "It's certainly possible. She clearly had reason to dislike Sabrina. And she certainly benefitted from Sabrina's death. Show business can be brutal."
"Let's get Ms. Melody in here for an interview then," Booth said.
"Why can't I be in the interview with my daughter, Agent Booth?" Mrs. Grant demanded.
"Because your daughter is nineteen and legally an adult, ma'am," Booth explained patiently.
Mrs. Grant folded her arms across her chest. "Then she would like to retain a lawyer."
Booth groaned inwardly. "Mrs. Grant, Melody isn't being charged with any crime. All we want to do is ask her some questions."
"Mom, it's fine," Melody said. "I don't mind answering their questions. They need to know the truth about Sabrina and I have no problem telling them."
Mrs. Grant sighed. "Fine, but if you feel threatened in any way, you stop the interview and demand an attorney. Daddy has a friend who is willing to represent you."
"Ms. Grant, please come this way," Booth requested, ushering her into the interrogation room.
Melody entered the room and sat down in a chair without waiting for invitation. Booth and Brennan followed, sitting across from her.
"Ms. Grant, can you tell us a little bit about your relationship with Sabrina Mellon?" Booth asked.
"Please, Agent Booth, call me Melody," she said. Brennan raised an eyebrow at the overtly flirtatious nature of her attitude.
Booth either didn't notice or chose to ignore it. "Melody, please tell us about your relationship with the deceased."
Referring to Sabrina as ‘the deceased’ caused the girl to blanch, but she recovered and plastered on a bright smile. "Sabrina and I were professional rivals," she said. "We've been involved in the same local theater organization for a number of years and we attended the same high school for our two overlapping years."
"I understand that you and Sabrina were often pitted against each other for roles," Booth said.
"We're very similar types," Melody said. "There was enough of a physical resemblance that people occasionally wondered if we were sisters. Plus we sang in the same vocal range."
Brennan leaned forward. "How did it make you feel when this younger girl started winning the roles you thought you should have?"
Melody's face tightened. "Sabrina was talented. It was hard not getting all the lead roles, but if I'm going to make it as a performer, I know that I can't always play the lead. Besides, some of the smaller parts often end up being more recognizable and well-respected than the leads."
"But you were jealous," Booth said. His tone was very matter-of-fact and not accusatory.
"Sure, I guess. Teenage girls are always jealous of each other though. And Sabrina was jealous when I got a role over her, too," she said.
"You were her understudy for the show that is currently in production?" Brennan asked.
Melody smile vanished. "Yes, I was. And now I have the part. Believe me; taking over the lead role in a musical three weeks before it opens is not a fun experience."
"Had you heard about Sabrina's audition at NYU?" Booth asked.
"Yes, Cody mentioned it to me at the first rehearsal Sabrina didn't show up for," she said.
"When was the last time you saw or talked to Sabrina?" he asked.
"At rehearsal the Sunday before she disappeared. We didn't talk much since she was in royal bitch mode."
Brennan raised an eyebrow. "And you had absolutely no contact with her after that?"
"No,” Melody said firmly.
Booth chuckled. "You shouldn't lie to the FBI, Melody." He slid some papers in front of her and her face went pale. "Sabrina commented on your Facebook wall to brag about her audition. You knew on Monday. Two days before Cody told you at rehearsal."
"Okay, fine, I knew and I was pissed," she admitted. "But I was annoyed that Sabrina was flaunting it in front of me, not that she got the opportunity. I only told everyone that I didn't get any acceptances in New York, but the truth was I didn't want to leave Pittsburgh."
"So you lied," Brennan said.
"Yeah, to save face," Melody said.
"Why didn't you want to leave Pittsburgh?" Booth asked.
"My boyfriend at the time was here," she said. "And, well, I was a little bit scared of living in New York City."
"But you and your boyfriend have since broken up?" Brennan asked.
"Yeah," Melody said, looking uncomfortable. "We realized that it wasn't going to work between us."
"And why didn't you tell Sabrina the real reason you stayed?" Brennan continued.
"Because she would have made fun of me for being a wimp. And told me that if I really wanted to succeed on Broadway, I had to put my career first and everything else, including relationships, second."
"And you didn't want her to disapprove of you," Booth concluded.
Melody looked down. "No. I knew she had a better chance of making it big than I did. But a lot of the business is about who you know. So I figured if she became a star, maybe she'd take me along for the ride."
Booth nodded. "Do you have any idea who might have wanted to hurt Sabrina?"
"No. She had a talent for pissing people off, but I can't imagine anyone killing her over it," she said.
"Thanks for your time, Melody. And please contact me if you think of anything else that might be useful to our investigation," Booth said, standing up and showing her out of the room.
Brennan was worrying her bottom lip and looked over the printouts that Booth had shown Melody when he came back into the room.
"What's wrong, Bones?" he asked.
"Looks like Drew Mellon was friends with Sabrina, too," she said, pointing to a posting on the paper. "At least if I'm reading this right."
Booth frowned. "Yeah, it certainly does look that way," he agreed. "I'll have to get back online on Sabrina's laptop and check out all of their Facebook pages in more detail. Man, these kids make my job so much easier with all of their internet pastimes."
Brennan looked at her watch. "What time is your mother expecting us?"
"Oh, hell," Booth said, checking the time. "Ten minutes ago. We'll have to play online later."
The number of cars parked on the street that Booth's mother lived on didn't strike Brennan as odd because she was used to living in Washington DC. But Booth groaned. "Oh, man."
"What's wrong, Booth?" she asked.
"It looks like my mother invited the whole damn family to dinner," he said. "I told her not to make a big deal out of this."
Brennan gave him a crooked smile. "What's wrong? You afraid I'll embarrass you in front of your family? I know not to talk about our work in public."
"No, Bones, I'm worried that my family is going to embarrass me in front of you," he admitted. "I wonder if we can beg off with some kind of last minute emergency."
"Oh, no," she said, enjoying his discomfort. "We're here and your mother is expecting us."
He sighed. "Okay, but remember. I have no control over my family."
She gave him a puzzled look. "Why would I think you could?"
"Just… you'll see," he said, leading her up to the porch and knocking on the door.
"Seeley, it's about damn time," the man said who opened the door. He looked an awful lot like Booth, in Brennan's opinion. They had the same strong jaw and overall larger skeletal structure. "Mom was starting to fret."
"Yeah, got wrapped up in a witness interview," Booth explained. "Jared, this is my partner, Dr. Temperance Brennan. Bones, this is my brother, Jared."
"Nice to meet you, Doc," Jared said, flashing her a grin that was identical to his brother's. "We've heard a lot about you."
"Good things, I hope," Brennan said. "Booth and I tend to have a lot of disagreements."
Jared eyed her. "Oh, I bet you do," he said. "But, yes, my brother has been nothing but complimentary about you."
Booth cleared his throat. "So, Jar, you gonna let us in?"
"You know it, bro," he said, stepping back from the door. "Everyone's very excited to meet your… partner."
Booth groaned but headed down the hallway to the kitchen, where he knew he would find his mother waiting. "Hey, Ma, sorry for being late. We were doing witness interviews."
"It's okay, Seeley, I kept dinner warm," Mrs. Booth assured him, putting down her wooden spoon and pulling her son into a hug. "The natives were getting a little restless though."
"Yeah, I see that you invited every person we're related to," he said.
"Don't you take that tone with me, Seeley Booth. Your family misses you and you don't come to visit often enough," she said. "I just wish you had brought Parker. He's getting so big."
Booth nodded. "I know, Ma. I've already talked to Rebecca about bringing him up for a week later this summer."
"Good, good. Now, are you going to introduce your pretty friend? I know I taught you better manners than that."
"Sorry. Ma, this is Dr. Temperance Brennan. Bones, this is my mother, Marianne Booth."
Mrs. Booth stepped forward and engulfed Brennan in a hug. "It's so nice to finally meet you, Dr. Brennan. My son has nothing but good things to say about you."
"Thank you, ma'am," Brennan said. "It was very kind of you to include me in your family gathering. And please, call me Temperance."
"Well, Temperance, you're practically family, far as I'm concerned," she said.
Brennan furrowed her brow in confusion, but Booth spoke up before his mother could expound on that subject. "Who else is here?" he asked.
"You saw Jared, I assume," she said. "Your father is around here somewhere. And your Aunt Catherine, Uncle Murray and cousins Pam, Shelley and Annie. Pam's husband, Bruce, is here and their kids. Shelley and her girlfriend are here." She lowered her voice. "And Annie's expecting, but don't say anything because your Aunt Catherine is very upset that she doesn't know who the father is."
"It is possible to perform paternity tests while the baby is in utero," Brennan piped up.
"Bones," Booth said. "Let's leave the science talk for work, okay?"
"Okay, Booth," she said, clearly not understanding what she had said wrong, but willing to follow his lead since this was his family.
A small person ran into the room and tackled Booth around the knees, nearly knocking him off balance. "Whoa, hey there, Joshy," he said, scooping the child up. "You almost knocked me over."
"Where's Parker, Seeley? I wanna play!"
"Sorry, buddy. I'm here for work and Parker had to stay in Washington DC with his mommy."
Joshy pouted. "Can he come play soon?"
"Sure thing, pal," Booth promised, putting the squirming child down.
He walked over to Brennan and looked up at her. "You're pretty," he said.
She smiled. "Thank you."
"Are you Seeley's girlfriend?"
Booth nearly choked, but managed to strangle back a bark of laughter. Brennan's eyebrows nearly hit the ceiling. "No, I'm his partner," she said.
"But you're a girl," Joshy said.
"Yes, women and men can be partners," she explained.
"I thought a partner was two girls or two boys," he said. "Like Aunt Shelley and Heather."
Booth took pity on Brennan. "She's my partner at work, Joshy. Not like Aunt Shelley and Heather."
"Oh," he said, still not looking convinced, but accepting the explanation. "I'm gonna go play more!"
He ran off and Booth shook his head, laughing a little. "Smart kid," he remarked.
"Too smart for his own good," his mother agreed. "Now, you go and introduce Temperance to the rest of the family while I get dinner on the table."
"Okay, Ma," he said, kissing her cheek. "Come on, Bones. And pay attention. There will be a test later on the names."
"Seeley, what have I told you about keeping that phone on at the table?" Mrs. Booth admonished when his phone rang, interrupting the dinner conversation.
"Sorry," he apologized sheepishly. "It's work." He pushed back from the table and walked out of the room as he answered the phone. "Booth."
Brennan strained to listen to his side of the conversation. She picked out a few words… 'where?'… 'intact'… 'lab'…
He came back into the room. "Bones, we gotta go," he said. "Sorry, Ma, everyone. But duty calls."
"Did they find the skull?" Brennan asked, standing up from the table.
"EW!" A chorus of disgusted noises responded to her question.
"Bones!" Booth said, rubbing his forehead. "They're trying to eat."
"Oh, sorry," she apologized half-heartedly. "Well, did they?"
He sighed. "Yes, they did. They're sending it over to the lab now."
"Let me pack you a snack," Mrs. Booth said, standing up.
"You don't have to do that, Mrs. Booth."
"Yes, she does," Booth replied, his tone resigned as his mother walked out of the room. "It's not worth it to argue with her," he explained.
"What are you gonna do with the skull?" Uncle Murray asked.
"I'll examine it to see if I can determine the cause of death," Brennan said. "If it was a blow to the head or some kind of accident, there will be evidence left behind on the bone."
"You're too pretty to have such a gruesome job," Uncle Murray remarked, wrinkling his nose.
Booth closed his eyes. "Uncle Murray, Temperance is an incredibly intelligent woman."
"Here you go," Mrs. Booth said, returning and thrusting a number of containers into Booth's hands. "Now you'll have sustenance for your late night work."
"Thank you very much for your hospitality, Mrs. Booth," Brennan said.
"Oh, anything for a future member of my family," she replied, smiling sweetly.
Booth groaned. "Ma…"
Brennan cocked her head and gave them both a confused look. "I don't know what you mean by that."
"Nothing, Bones, let's go," he said, ushering her out the door before anyone in his family could enlighten her.
"From the angle of the blow, I'd say that Sabrina's killer was close to her height," Angela said as she talked to Brennan over the internet teleconference.
"And there are very unusual markings around the wound," Brennan said. "I can't figure out what kind of weapon we're dealing with. I wish…" she stopped talking and looked away from the screen.
"I know, sweetie," Angela said. "We all miss Zack."
She shook her head. "I'll find another grad student to work with me. It's a lot of work for one person to do alone."
"Brennan, it's okay to be upset about what happened," Angela said. "We all are. None of us had any idea of what Zack was going through."
"I know, Ang. Booth keeps reminding me that it's not my fault," she said.
"He's right, sweetie."
Brennan nodded. "Okay, fine. Can you determine how much force was used to strike the skull?"
Angela sighed. "I'll run some scenarios and get back to you."
"Thanks, Ang. Has Hodgins received the soil samples?" she asked.
"Just a few minutes ago," she confirmed. "He's setting up tests right now."
"Bones! I think I got something here," Booth said, bursting into the lab with a sheaf of papers. "Hey, Angela," he said.
"Booth, Angela says that Sabrina's killer was close to the same height," Brennan said.
He nodded. "That fits with what I found. Drew Mellon, Sabrina's twin brother, and Melody Grant, her rival, were sweethearts last fall. They split up in February, but I'm not sure why.”
"I don't understand what that has to do with anything," Brennan said.
Angela looked confused as well. "I'm not following either, Booth."
"Drew's going for his Eagle Scout," Booth explained. "He's a member of Boy Scout Troop 227."
Brennan's eyes got very wide. "The troop that found the bones."
He nodded. "And, from what the Pittsburgh River Rescue has determined, Sabrina's body was dumped about ten miles upstream from where they started finding bones. Which is where the boy scout camp is located. Where Drew works as a lifeguard."
"Drew Mellon killed his twin sister," Angela said. "But why?"
"I'm not a hundred percent sure on his motive yet," he admitted. "I suspect it has something to do with Melody Grant though. I'm bringing him in for questioning. Local cops are picking him up now. Bones, you want to come with me for the interrogation?"
Brennan glanced at Angela. "Ang, do you and Hodgins have everything you need for right now?"
"Sure, sweetie. We'll keep working and see if we can get evidence to back up Booth's theory."
"Call us when you find anything," Booth said.
Brennan disconnected the call and grabbed her purse. "Let's go."
Drew Mellon was definitely going to be an uncooperative witness. He sat at the table, arms folded over his chest and a look of supreme disdain on his face. He had also lawyered up already, which Booth and Brennan knew would make this more difficult.
"Do you know why we asked you to come in this morning, Drew?" Booth asked.
"Because you're grasping at straws?" he shot back.
"Drew," the lawyer said, a warning note in his voice.
Brennan jumped in. "We have evidence to suggest that your sister was killed by someone approximately the same height as she was. There is also evidence that her body was dumped somewhere near the camp where you work. Blood splatter found on some nearby trees seems to indicate that Sabrina was killed near the camp."
"Yeah, so what's your point?" Drew challenged. "Do you know how many people work at that camp? Not to mention the number of scout troops we get through there every week."
"Our point is that without being able to pinpoint a time of death, no one has an alibi," Booth said. "And the evidence gives you the motive and means to have done this."
"Agent Booth, your evidence is all circumstantial. Are you charging my client with a crime?"
"Tell me about your relationship with Melody Grant," Booth said, ignoring the lawyer's question.
Drew's face tightened. "Mel and I are friends," he said.
"You used to be more than friends, right? How did your sister feel about her brother dating her biggest rival?" Booth continued.
"Sabrina didn't know," he admitted. "Mel and I decided we didn't feel like dealing with that drama."
"She found out, though. And that's why you two broke up," Brennan accused.
"No," Drew said, looking genuinely confused. "Mel and I broke up for... other reasons. Reasons that had nothing to do with Sabrina."
Brennan and Booth exchanged a glance. "Care to elaborate on that?" Booth asked.
"Not really," Drew said.
"But you stayed friends with Melody after the breakup?" Booth clarified.
"Yeah, Mel and I get along fine," he said. "Just because Sabrina was a bitch to Mel didn't mean I couldn't hang out with her."
Brennan's phone rang, cutting off the question Booth was about to ask. "Brennan," she said. "Uh huh... Uh huh... Really?... But... Oh... Okay, I'll tell him. Thanks, Hodgins." She hung up and gave Booth a meaningful look. "Can I talk to you outside for a moment?"
Booth raised an eyebrow but nodded. "Sure. We'll be right back. Sit tight, Drew."
He followed her out into the hall. "What did Hodgins find?"
"There was blood from two different sources at the kill site," she said. "He had a hard time determining the DNA profiles because they shared so many of the same markers. He finally came to the conclusion that the killer and victim were related."
"So it was Drew," he said. "We can charge him."
"Booth, the killer was female," she added. "So it wasn't Drew."
His face fell. "It was Josie?"
"I don't think so. She was several inches shorter than Sabrina. The angle of the injury would have been different."
"Then who?" Booth asked, furrowing his brow.
Brennan glanced in the observation window of the interrogation room. "I think we need to ask Drew why he and Melody Grant broke up again. Angela did a little digging and it seems that Mrs. Grant and Mr. Mellon were high school sweethearts. Mr. Grant is not Melody's biological father; Angela found adoption records."
Understanding dawned on Booth's face. "Guess that's a good reason to break up with a girl," he said.
She nodded. "I'm not sure what kind of motive it gives Melody, but I'm sure it's somehow connected."
"It's gotta be, Bones," he agreed, pushing the door open so they could re-enter the interrogation room.
"So, Drew, we got a call from our lab," Booth said. "Sabrina's killer was a relative."
"I didn't kill her," he insisted.
"We know," Brennan said. "Her killer was female."
"Josie?" he asked.
"No, it wasn't Josie," Booth said. "Tell me why you and Melody Grant broke up, Drew."
The lawyer blinked a few times. "Drew, you may want to answer Agent Booth's question."
Drew pounded his fist on the table. "Mel got pregnant. It was an accident. When she went to the clinic, they got some unusual results on her blood work. That's when we found out we were half-siblings. She terminated the pregnancy and we split up."
"And Sabrina found out?" Brennan asked.
"Yeah. Her laptop wasn't working and she borrowed mine to look something up for a school assignment," he said. "She found an email between me and Mel. She threatened to ruin Mel's reputation by telling everyone about the abortion. She didn't even care that Mel was our sister."
"Then what happened?" Booth asked.
Drew shifted in his seat. "I'm not a hundred percent sure. But all of a sudden, Sabrina started being super nice to Melody. Telling her that she wanted them to stop being rivals and become sisters. We were both suspicious, but Mel figured it was better to go along with Sabrina than risk her telling our secret."
Booth and Brennan were both silent when Drew paused. The teenager swallowed and sighed and continued. "They were supposed to be going shopping or something. I'm not sure why they ended up at the camp. But they were arguing about something and Mel got mad and hit Sabrina. Sabrina lost her footing and smacked her head on a tree branch. Mel called me flipping out because Sabrina wasn't breathing."
"So you helped her dispose of the body?" Booth asked. "Figured that dumping it in the river meant no one would ever find it?"
He shrugged and looked uncomfortable. "It was an accident. I didn't want Melody to get in trouble."
Booth stood up and pulled out his handcuffs. "Drew Mellon, you are under arrest for serving as an accomplice to murder, obstruction of justice, and illegal disposal of a body in the water in the murder of Sabrina Mellon. You have the right to remain silent..."
Later that evening, Brennan and Booth stood on an overlook on Mount Washington, taking in the view of the Pittsburgh skyline.
"The city seems so peaceful from up here," Brennan said.
"I love coming up here at night," Booth admitted. "It's a good place to think."
"Do you miss Pittsburgh?" she asked.
He nodded. "Sometimes. I mean, I love the work I do and DC is a great area. But I miss my family. And I miss this view."
"And you miss the food," she teased.
"Of course, Bones," he said, grinning at her. "You have to admit, it's damn good food."
She chuckled. "I must admit that those sandwiches we had were certainly one of a kind."
"Lot of things in Pittsburgh are," Booth said.
"Like your family?" she asked.
"No, Bones, actually my family is pretty much the standard around here. At least in the neighborhood where I grew up," he said. "Lots of big Irish Catholic families who stay close."
Brennan nodded. "It must be nice having so many people who love you."
He put a hand on her shoulder. "Family is what you make it," he said gently. "You've got a great family in DC. Hodgins, Angela, Cam... me."
"Zack," she added, looking up at him with a pained look. "Zack was and still is part of our family."
"I know," he said, slipping his arm around her. "And hopefully Sweets will be able to help Zack get the help that he needs."
She nodded and rested her head against his shoulder. They stood there quietly, watching a barge float down the river.
"What did your mother mean when she said that I'd be part of your family?"
He pulled away to look at her. "Uh, well... my mother thinks that you and I... are... you know, more than partners."
Brennan nodded. "A lot of people seem to think that."
"Yeah, I noticed."
"Why do you think that is?"
Booth shrugged. "I dunno. I mean, we get along really well. We spend a lot of time together." He paused. "You're really hot."
A small smile played on her lips. "So are you, as Angela keeps reminding me."
"Plus Caroline told everyone about that kiss at Christmas," he added.
"Yes, the kiss at Christmas," Brennan said. "That was..."
"A damn good kiss," Booth offered when she didn't finish her sentence.
She looked up and met his eyes. "Yes. It was."
She put a finger up to his lips. "When I thought you were dead, I didn't know what to do. I had all these feelings that didn't make any sense. And I couldn't get that kiss out of my mind. When I saw you at the funeral, I had these two overwhelming urges building inside me. One of them was to hit you. The other was to grab you and kiss you senseless."
He gave her a rueful smile and rubbed his cheek. "I kind of wish you had opted for door number two."
"Really?" she asked, her eyes hopeful.
"Yes, really," he said, ducking his head and pressing his forehead against hers.
"Is it too late to opt for door number two?"
"Not at all."
Brennan closed the minimal distance between them and pressed her lips against his. Booth's hand found its way to the back of her head and he tangled his fingers in her hair, holding her close.
The sound of catcalls from a passing car finally made them pull back Booth grinned down at her. "No more urges to hit me, right?"
"Not at the moment," Brennan said, grinning back.
"You think Sweets is going to try and say that we shouldn't work together anymore?" he asked.
She shook her head. "I think he, along with everyone else, is going to say 'I told you so'," she said.
Booth laughed. "I think you might be right there, Bones. Come on, let's go eat dessert before we head back to our hotel. You haven't been to Pittsburgh until you've had Eat'n Park's Smiley Cookie Dough ice cream."
"Lead the way, Booth," she said, smiling as he grabbed her hand and they headed to his car.