A/N: Written for the "Dead Daisy" challenge over on Bonesology. My entry for Laffers Birthday. I have been known to have a, shall we say, odd sense of humor at times. So, this story will perhaps best be appreciated by those of you who enjoy Feghoots, puns, and Shaggy Dog stories.
"Dr. Temperance Brennan." A part of him heard Bones answering the phone, but Booth's attention was drawn back to the file in his hands that he and Bones had been reviewing in preparation for giving testimony in a court case the following morning.
"Kat! Hello! Is everything okay? How is the new Maluku project going?" Her eyes darted to Booth sitting on the couch and didn't miss the painful look that quickly washed over his face, but that he quickly replaced as his eyes raised and caught hers. She gave him a sad smile knowing that just the word was painful for both of them.
Shaking her head in response to his his quizzical look and the gesture between himself and the door, she silently mouthed, "No. Please stay." She smiled thankfully at his slight nod of agreement and switched her attention back to her colleague on the phone. Dr. Katherine ("Kat") Owens had been in charge of the Maluku project a couple of years previously and had put together a new project this summer.
"I'm surprised that you'd be calling, Kat. Has something - - -" Brennan's mind was working more quickly than she was speaking. Given the location of this latest project, Kat would be calling her on a satellite phone. It didn't take a genius to surmise that this wasn't just a social call.
"What? Are you sure? But, how . . . " Although he had been trying not to listen in on the call, the inflection in her voice caught Booth's ear and he felt frustrated at only being able to hear Bones' side of the conversation.
"Oh, my goodness! We had tried to warn them. But, are you sure? Ms. Wick? Really? Okay." He caught the look of anguish she was giving him and the way her hand was gripping the phone receiver in her left hand.
At the sound of Daisy Wick's name Booth was truly confused. He knew that Daisy and Sweets had ended their relationship earlier this summer and that Daisy had come to Bones to ask for a recommendation for some anthropological project out of the country. But, he hadn't really paid any attention after that. He had just been grateful that Daisy wouldn't be around this summer.
"Well, thank you for letting me know. Yes. Yes. I understand. I can contact them and let you know their wishes. Of course, Kat. It's really not a problem. Thank you for calling. Yes, I can take care of that also. Okay. I'll be in touch, Kat. Thank you." Putting down the phone, Bones sat for a moment staring straight ahead with her hand still on the receiver.
"Bones? Bones, are you okay? Who was that on the phone? What's happened?" At her lack of response, Booth raised himself and walked over to where she sat behind her desk. As he placed his hand on her shoulder, she seemed to rouse herself.
Looking up at Booth, he saw a mixture of emotions cross her face. "Bones, who was that on the phone? Are you okay?" She continued to stare at him. "C'mon, Bones, you're scaring me here. What's going on?"
"Booth, that was Dr. Owens. She sent Christine that little pareo? She was the friend that ran the Maluku dig that Daisy and I went on a few years ago." A pained look crossed her face as a quick memory went through her mind. Shaking it off, she looked back at her partner.
"Yes, Bones. I remember Maluku." Although that summer had led to a very painful episode in both of their lives, Booth shrugged off any sense of impending fear and quickly returned to the present. "I think I only met Dr. Owens once, but I remember her. What was the call about, Bones? Isn't she the one in charge of that new project that Daisy ran off to earlier this summer?"
"Yes, Booth. That's why Kat was calling. It was about Ms. Wick." Brennan shook her head and had a pained expression on her face.
"Daisy. What about her, Bones?" Booth was puzzled. Why would Dr. Owens use the satellite phone to call Bones back in Washington, D.C. But his head came up at her next words.
"Booth, she's been killed." The look on her face was similar to the look she would give a set of remains when she knew there was an answer that she just wasn't seeing yet.
"Killed? What do you mean killed? Daisy's dead? Are you sure?" Booth was incredulous. He knew that there was always some degree of danger when Bones went off on an archeaological dig, but this caught him by surprise.
"Booth," Bones started to explain. "There was this other tribe that we had heard about when we were in Maluku. We didn't interact with them, although we did surmise that those guerillas that attacked Daisy and me at the end of our time there might have been from that tribe. Kat was putting together a project to work with that tribe, so when Daisy approached me about getting away for the summer to buy herself some time to process what had happened between her and Sweets, I put her in touch with Dr. Owens."
"But I thought that the Maluku project had been an unsuccessful dig." Booth asked.
"Yes, the dig had been unsuccessful. But after Ms. Wick and I had left Maluku to come back here to help Cam, Kat had made contact with this other tribe. They are quite interesting from an anthropological standpoint, but they are quite dangerous. Ms. Wick knew that it could be a dangerous project to work." Brennan continued.
"Bones, what happened to Daisy? What does all of this have to do with Daisy being dead?" Booth was still trying to wrap his brain around the fact that Daisy Wick was dead and it had happened in Maluku, and Bones was giving him all of this information about some tribe.
"Well, this particular tribe is quite fierce. They attack other tribes and villages in the area. When they defeat a tribe or village, they ransack the houses and take the throne of the defeated chief and carry it home, singing victory chants the whole way. Once they return to their own village, they hold a celebration which culminates in placing the captured throne in the attic of their communal grass house." Brennan shuddered as she recalled running into the guerillas and how dangerous the men of the tribe could be.
"They've been doing this for years, Booth. Of course, we had only heard rumors while we were there, but from the locals with whom we had contact while on the dig, we were given to understand that their throne collection had grown quite large. Apparently the members of the tribe felt that the throne collection added not only to their reputation and prestige, but that it also instilled fear from other villages and tribes in the area." Brennan was intrigued by how this might reflect on other societies.
Looking up, she saw the impatience on Booth's face. "Bones? It's time to land the plane. Just finish telling me what happened to Ms. Wick!"
"Land the plane, Booth? I don't know what that means." She replied with a puzzled look on her face.
"Finish the story, Bones. Finish the story. What happened to Daisy Wick?" Booth was trying to be patient, but he wasn't sure he needed all of this background information about some tribe with thrones and grass houses.
"Well," she continued with a slight smile knowing how much he disliked it when she drew out an answer to one of his questions, but unwilling to miss the opportunity to educate him just a little bit more about her chosen field of study. "This capturing of thrones has been going on for several generations. The collection itself is quite intriguing anthropologically, as it could conceivably provide information on villages that have been overthrown and are no longer in existence. Booth, I know this all seems very drawn out to you, but really I am getting to the boxing line, I promise." She saw a look of confusion cross his face.
"Punch line, Bones. Punch line." Booth replied with a smile. "Okay. Get to the punch line. What happened to Daisy Wick, Bones?"
"Well," she continued. "Apparently, some tribal members recently defeated a tribe of fairly large peoples, Kat said that some might call them giants, although as you know the term is often a misnomer - - -"
"Bones? Ms. Wick? Dead? Could you finish telling me what happened?"
"Well, apparently after the victory over this particular group of people they held their usual celebration of the ritual of putting the throne in the attic of the grass house. Unfortunately the weight of the new throne was just too much for the structure and the ceiling collapsed, killing everyone, including Ms. Wick."
Booth looked at her with a look of incredulity as she continued. "But, Booth," she finished. "We knew this would happen eventually, even when we were in Maluku two years ago. We tried to tell them that - - -" she finished with a look of mixed emotions sweeping over her face, "People who live in grass houses shouldn't stow thrones."
I'm not sure if Reginald Bretnor or Ferdinand Feghoot would have been fans of Bones, but I'm fairly certain I would not owe them apologies. Although they might have shared the tale a tad more efficiently.
For those of you reading on a regular computer, you don't even have to push the little blue button. Just enter your review below! I know how challenging it can be reading on a smartphone or eReader, but always appreciate any comments you might make (even if it is only a groan at the "boxing line" - or the grass houses and stow thrones :-)