TITLE: How To Save A Life
SUMMARY: He's always rescuing her. Always silently saving her life, reminding her that beyond the death and destruction there's always love. And she hates that. All she wanted was to never need him.

"Where did I go wrong? I lost a friend;
Somewhere along in the bitterness and
I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life"
The Fray

"What the hell is this supposed to be!"

The rose was the final straw. Laid on her desk gingerly and accompanied by a look of such tenderness she was forced to melt, the rose snapped the final cord in Angela.

"Some people call it a rose, but according to Shakespeare, by any other name it'll smell just as sweet." He shifted on his feet and she could tell that through the witty retort, he was nervous. It was written in those blue eyes that she could no longer stand.

Since Kirk, he was always rescuing her. Always silently saving her life, reminding her that beyond the death and destruction they saw everyday, there was always love. On the most hellacious cases, in the darkest hour, he'd step up behind her, wordlessly supporting her and bringing her back to herself when anger got the best of her. And she hated that. She hated the sympathetic hue in his blue eyes, and she hated the way he could so easily trap her with his gaze. All she wanted was to never need him.

And the rose made that impossible.

"What the hell is it supposed to mean, Hodgins?" She didn't even bother with his first name. Using his first name would indicate an intimacy she wasn't willing to have with him.

Hurt flashed in those hated blue eyes, but was blinked away in an instant. He looked away and focused that magnetic gaze on the files littering his desk. "It doesn't have to mean anything, Angela."

"It doesn't have to, but it does, doesn't it?" She wanted to throw the stupid rose at him. Such a presumptuous gesture, where did he get the nerve? It was presumptuous, and unbearably sweet, and a little smug. She wanted to hit him. She wanted to kiss him. She wanted to never speak to him again.

Hodgins studied her and she really wished he would just stop it. She wanted to scream at him.

"Angela, why are you so upset about it? It's a rose."

"I know that! I'm not an idiot! I just..." WAS she an idiot? Plenty of other women seemed to throw themselves at him, though she'd never understood why. Roses and support and a tender gaze... he wasn't really THAT good of a guy, right?

So busy was she, battling with herself, that she didn't notice he had made his way toward her until they were toe-to-toe. He plucked the rose from her fingers and tossed it on his desk. She followed it with her eyes... hating it, but unwilling to relinquish it at the same time. Perhaps she was becoming insane.

"You just what?" he prompted, those tender eyes drilling into her, causing alternate waves of hatred and love to flare up within her.

She didn't want to need him. She never wanted to need anybody. As much as she believed in love, and in true love, she didn't believe in that kind of co-dependency. She didn't want him quietly saving her life by sneaking up behind her and reminding her of love. She didn't want him to take away her bitterness and expose the vulnerability she guarded fiercely. She didn't want him to crumble every wall she'd built since Kirk, and she sure as hell didn't want him to be in love with her.

"I don't want it."

There; she'd said it. She waited for the sadness, that hurt-puppy-dog look that was sure to cross his features. But it never came. His blue eyes just narrowed and she always hated the way he could read her. Then, as if her entire inner monologue for the past five minutes had been spoken aloud, he told her matter-of-factly, "You don't know what the hell you want."

She so badly wanted to just strike him. Why her hands weren't cooperating with her mind, she didn't know. "How dare you say something so--"


Her eyes narrowed. She didn't want to fall for him. That was the last thing she wanted. "Callous."

"Callous, sure," he agreed with a shrug, and he really was a smug bastard, twisting those gorgeous lips into a smirk. "But true nonetheless."

"Get out."


"I SAID get out, Jack!" She grabbed the rose off the desk and wanted to snap it in two. She wanted to scatter the petals on the floor and stomp all over them. She wanted to kiss him.

"This is MY office!" he shouted back. "YOU get out!"

A fire blazed within her as she stomped toward the door. She didn't trust herself enough at the moment to figure out just which kind of fire it was, and why he could so easily stir up both. The rose went with her as she stalked back to her office. Once inside, she flung it against the wall with a scream through clenched teeth. She didn't need roses and kindness, dammit. She didn't need someone to save her life and rescue her from bitterness. She was a jaded Juliet, who sure as hell didn't need a Romeo.

"You know you can tell yourself that because of everything that happened with Kirk and because of all your past relationships that you're jaded! That you're bitter!" Hodgins' voice reached her before his presence did, and when he appeared in the doorway of her office his eyes were a blazing blue fire. "You can tell yourself all you want that you don't need anybody and that love isn't for you but you're dead wrong." He huffed. "And it was a fucking ROSE, Angela. It wasn't a diamond ring for God sakes."

She opened her mouth to retort, but he cut her off.

"If you're confused, then fine. Be confused. But don't lash out at me because you don't know what you want." He jabbed himself in the chest sharply. "I know what I want, Angela, and you can't fault me for that. If you're not there yet, fine. But you're not gonna push me away by being a raving bitch. You can't push me away." He shook his head. "I'm not going anywhere."

Angela, as much as she both hated and loved him in that moment, could do nothing but turn her eyes toward the rose lying on the floor near the wall. She felt his gaze following hers, and she met his eyes after a moment.

His voice softened as he asked, "Shall I destroy it, or did you wanna do that yourself?"

She sighed and shook her head, looking at the rose once more. "Don't. I'm keeping it."

"Okay." He nodded slowly and studied her in the way that she hated, but adored. "It's just a rose, you know," he reminded her.

"I know." Yet still she doubted it. The look in his eyes when he gave it to her--

"While you're deciding what you really want, can I ask that you keep one thing in mind?"

Her brow quirked. "Okay..."

Hodgins held her gaze with those awful, gorgeous and bottomless blue eyes. "I'm not Kirk. I never will be, nor do I aspire to be. I'm not any of the other guys you've dated. Unlike them, I know what I've got right in front of me, and I'm not giving up without a fight." He shook his head. "I don't wanna lose you to the bitterness, Ange. You're too amazing for that."

She closed her eyes. Lines like that, and the urge to hit him wasn't as strong as the other urges stirring within her. "Thanks," she managed.

He just nodded and headed for the door, giving her the same look that had snapped that final cord -- the look he'd given her when he first presented her with that rose.

"Dammit," she whispered when he was out of sight.

And she hated how easily she figured out what she wanted. The rose made it impossible not to.

He'd always be saving her life.


AUTHOR'S NOTES: I haven't forgotten about my other stories... for any of my bazillion fandoms. Don't worry. And this is for all those that continually inspire me. Pereybere, BonesDBchippie, FanficAddiction, and others... you know who you are. Thank you endlessly.