Disclaimer: I don't own Bones or any of its characters.

Author's Note: Don't get me wrong, I like Ohio and have lots of friends there. More importantly, I have labored under the (potentially false) apprehension that the show takes place in or around DC. If I'm completely wrong, my bad, and try to enjoy anyway.

It was almost April, and the Prunus x yedoensis were blowing.

Then again, so were the rest of the varieties, and it was a damned nuisance. The pink and white cherry blossoms were everywhere, even floating through the air, like some kind of huge, visible bacteria, although people seemed to enjoy flowers a lot more than germs. Hodgins didn't. Germs were so much cooler than flowers.

The cherry blossoms covered everything left out in the open, including cars. Hodgins had spent five minutes one night clearing the windshields of his car so that he could see enough to drive home. It was almost as bad as snow. Furthermore, a cherry-blossom-coated car did not give off the manly vibe that he tried to cultivate (Booth would have said that if that were his intention, maybe Hodgins should drive something other than a toy car), although the colors did, surprisingly, match well. But that was not the point. Maybe he should invest in one of those car covers…

And there were tourists everywhere too, taking pictures and acting like they'd never seen trees before. At the gas station he'd had to listen to some soccer mom from Ohio loudly exclaiming on her cell about how beautiful it was. When she'd seen him glaring, she'd even had the nerve to give him a dirty look! Him! He wasn't the one forcing innocent bystanders to listen to an inane, repetitive conversation about how the cherry trees were simply divine and pictures wouldn't do them justice and Ellen, you really should have come. He'd rolled his eyes and snorted with greater-than-usual rancor before driving off.

If he complained, Dr. Brennan would remind him of the cultural and historical significance of the trees and how they'd been given to the United States as a gesture of friendship from the people of Japan. Zach would have chimed in with some obscure trivia about the trees and their effect on the local environment. Angela would have told him just to enjoy the beauty, because the blossoms would all fall eventually and he wouldn't have to put up with them for another year. And Booth, were he around--he usually was--might actually agree with Jack. Or not, just to piss him off.

And they'd all have good points, and would be right, after a fashion. If he were in a more conciliatory mood, Hodgins would at least give some consideration to all of their opinions. But for the time being those damned flowers were everywhere, like he was in some kind of snowglobe, and he was determined not to enjoy them, or appreciate them, or have any good feelings toward them altogether.

He almost got away with it.

Angela loved spring. After the long grey passage of winter, the approach of spring in a pastel flush was a welcome sight. She'd begun to feel like she was drowning in all the layers of gear that the temperature forced her to don, and she would not miss the opportunity to shed even a single one of those layers.

She'd taken off for lunch before any of the others even got a chance to ask where she was going. She headed to the Tidal Basin, where the trees were most densely concentrated. Since it was the middle of the week, there weren't too many people around, although she did spot a Park Service ranger leading a school group, all in little uniforms. Angela smiled. When she was in school, she wouldn't have understood the worth of something so ephemeral.

It was like magic. She hadn't told anyone where she was going, doubtful that they'd understand. Brennan would probably know all about what the trees meant in Japanese culture and the celebrations surrounding their blooming, and Zach would talk about the birds and insects that flourished, or didn't, around them. Hodgins could easily use cherry trees as an introduction to a tirade about myths in American history, and Booth might just agree with her joy in them, if he felt his manliness was not being called into question.

The blossoms were so sweet and soft and frail. They begged to be noticed before they were all blown off their branches onto the ground (and cars--she'd seen Hodgins testily wiping them off his windshield after work the other night). Walking among the cherry trees gave Angela a feeling of peace, as if she were far from the busy city, far from her difficult job, far from the inescapable reminders of death in the lab. Here, the air was fresh, the cherry blossoms cleansing. It was a bit of a foolish thought, but she was allowed to be foolish on her lunch break. She let the blossoms drift over her and smiled, wishing her friends could feel the way she did at that moment.

There was the faintest influx of fresh air into the lab as the door opened before Angela. At least, the sound of her shoes made him think it was Angela, although at this point they were moving rather slowly. Hodgins didn't look up from his microscope as the steps grew nearer, but then their rhythm was interrupted by a scraping, as if the walker had... twirled. It was at that that he paused.

She was a little surprised at herself. Had she really just twirled, right there in the lab? Angela shook her head, reminding herself that she was back from lunch, and it was time to work. And to help drive that point home, Hodgins stepped out into the hall.

At the look on her face, his intention of accusing her of twirling died, even while his mouth was open. He had to say something now, though. "Um. Did you have a good lunch?"

She nodded. "You?"

"I just took a short break. I really wanted to keep working on that sample Dr. Brennan brought in. For the case. She seemed pretty worried about it." Her face shifted and he rushed to reassure her that he wasn't maligning her work ethic. "Not worried about your end, though. I guess this substance could have a major impact on identifying... not that your reconstruction couldn't..." He trailed off, foot in mouth. Eager to save himself embarrassment, he shifted topics again. "Where'd you go, anyway?"

He could hardly believe it, but now she looked embarrassed. "The Tidal Basin. I wanted to see the cherry blossoms before they all blew away." She rushed on before he could begin griping about them. "I know you don't like them, Jack, but you should have seen them. They're beautiful. When you get up close there are so many different colors, and it's quiet, and like being in the middle of a snow shower. It was so beautiful, and peaceful. I think that's why they don't last that long. Nothing that beautiful can stay."

Hodgins looked down at Angela as she talked, her eyes bright with remembering, her voice quiet but intense. This wasn't her normal outgoing attitude; this was something she believed in. He watched as the smile on her face grew a little sad, and she repeated, "Nothing that beautiful can ever last."

He reached out, hesitantly, and pulled a blossomed from where it had landed in her hair. They must have been all over her; the image made him smile. She'd only missed this one when she'd brushed the rest out of her hair and off her coat. Angela looked surprised as he touched her, but didn't pull away. Holding the flower in one hand, he grabbed one of hers with the other, and placed the blossom gently in her palm. Her eyes were expectant as he said, "Yes, it can."

Now he'd never be able to curse the damned things in her presence again. But he wasn't sure he really wanted to anymore.