First Sight

Disclaimer: Belongs not to me.

One and a half years before the pilot:

The body—skeleton, more like—lay moldering in the summer sun of DC's lowland swamps. It had been there for more than a year, if he could hazard a guess. Agent Booth stood by the yellow tape and pulled the knot of his tie down and undid his top shirt button. It was so damn humid to be out here like this, but they were waiting for someone from the Jeffersonian to come. Why? He couldn't fathom a guess.

"Who the hell are we waiting for?" he asked the FBI's site agent.

"Some doctor. A bone lady. Uh, Brennan." He looked down at his clipboard. "Yeah, Dr. Temperance Brennan."

Booth paced away and back. He tried to imagine what this bone lady would look like, and all he could picture was a combination between a Jewish mama and a voodoo mama—eccentric, skull and bone jewelry, badly dyed red hair, and wizened as an aged turnip. "And why did we need her? We can have the crime lab—"

"Apparently this woman's been all over the world identifying bodies," the other man said. "She's famous. Since this body is so decomposed, there's a better chance of this scientist figuring out who killed him than our team."

He growled and threw his hands up. "I hope she gets here soon," Booth mumbled. "We need this hag to be all scientific before we can do our job."

Long minutes passed in July heat before he heard the sound of a vehicle pulling into the makeshift parking lot about twenty feet behind him. When Booth turned around, his eyes immediately landed on a very pretty woman who looked to be a little younger than him. He could see people in similar blue coveralls with the Jeffersonian Institute's insignia on the shoulder around her, but didn't pay them much attention. Booth watched the woman approach as she pulled her shoulder length brown hair into a ponytail. He could tell she had blue eyes from fifteen feet away, but the closer she came, the clearer they got—like lake water.

"What do we have?" she asked. Her voice was deep for a woman, throaty in a blue's singer way, in a what-would-his-name-sound-like-moaned-at-midnight way. He liked it.

Booth gave her his most charming smile, and said, "Well, that would depend on who's asking. Your boss probably want to have a look around before you and your—" he looked toward the two men who were coming down from the Institute's van carrying bags and coolers—"associates start taking samples."

Her brows arched up, and a cool smile tightened her lips. Those eyes got awful cold all of a sudden. A lake they may be, but it was a glacial one.

"My boss sent me out here because your boss knew he needed me," she said. "And he wouldn't need to see this anyway. Dr. Goodman deals more with administrative details these days."

"You mean you're the bone lady?" Booth sputtered. "Oh! Oh. Uh…"

"Yes," she snapped. "I'm Dr. Temperance Brennan. Now would you tell me what I'm going down there to look at? Or better yet, get out of my way and let me go see."

She wasn't quite so pretty now. Her face was all pinched and she had a superior tilt to her chin that was quite unattractive, if he did say so himself. And that voice? Less Mae West, more Oscar the Grouch.

Booth stepped back and led Dr. Brennan down to the body. "There were a couple of kids from the local elementary on a science field trip who stumbled over it. Coroner said the body looked at least a year old, but with the wet conditions, he couldn't be more accurate. Part of a briefcase was found with the initials LM nearby. We think it's Lesley Monroe, an undercover agent working the office of Congressman Dieter who's suspected of money laundering. He went missing fourteen months ago."

The bone lady knelt down next to the body as she put on a pair of blue gloves. She cleared away some of the long marsh grass that grew around the bones, and made a little "huh" noise in her throat She looked over her shoulder at her two male colleagues.

"Hodges, take some local samples to compare with anything you collect from the bones. Also, take some from around and under the body to check for foreign particulates, or any organic matter we can test to determine exactly how long the body has been here since the marshy terrain would have accelerated decomp.

"Zack," she signaled the younger one over, "come take some photographs of the layout of the bones and the surrounding area."

Booth cleared his throat. When the doctor moved aside to let the little squint through, he came closer. "Look, sorry about before. I wasn't given an idea what to look for, and I didn't realize you would be so—"

"You look, Agent…what was your name?"

"Booth," he supplied. "Special Agent Seeley Booth."

"Agent Booth, I would appreciate it if you would just back off and let my team work."

She pushed past him, and left Booth staring after her bouncing ponytail. Yeah, he was so not asking her for drinks after this.

As soon as Dr. Brennan got back the Medico-Legal Lab of the Jeffersonian, she sent Hodges and Zack off to collect data from the samples they took. Brennan went to her office and pulled her pet project up on her computer. Contrary to what many people would guess and few would believe, what she was working on had nothing to do with facts and everything to do with fiction. She was writing a book—or trying to.

It had started as a middle-of-the-night mental vomit onto paper about the atrocities she'd seen that were chasing around in her head coupled with the understanding of what the survivors and victims' families went through to get answers. She'd heard that having fictional characters say an author's thoughts and feelings was a healthy way to exorcize negative emotions in a positive manner. To Temperance's surprise, the voices that said things on paper became people in her mind (in a non-schizophrenic way), and they had a story to tell. She now had a whole book planned out. She was even searching out possible publishers.

At this point in the story, her heroine had just become involved in a fifteen year old murder case that took her in over her head. There were lawyers and media frenzy. Also, there was someone who was trying to sabotage the investigation. Brennan's fingers hovered over the keys as she stared at the computer screen. What happened now?

Now, she decided as she typed, an arrogant, cocksure FBI agent was added to the mix. He was put on the case as a favor to someone high up in government because he's one of the best, but he has no respect for what the main character does. He was very good looking, charming, and well dressed with a thin tie and huge eagle-embossed belt buckle. But something about him made her—the character in the book—want to bring him down a peg or two.

Temperance smiled at the display. Fiction was so much more exciting than real life.