AN: This is my imaginative take on what happened after the season 2 finale. Guess this is kinda spoilerish for the actual eppy, so if you didn't see "Stargazer in a Puddle" yet, you may not want to read this.

AN2: I'm working on another fanfiction, so update time won't be as fast (not that Boom has been going that fast either).

Chapter One: Here

"Geez, Zach, aren't you dying with that hat? It's like 100 degrees in the shade."

Zach Addy frowned and patted down his ridiculous Mohawkish wool hat, answering, "If I were dying, I wouldn't be sitting here with you guys."

"Well, hat aside, I'm glad you decided not to go to Iraq," Hodgins replied while taking a huge swig of water. "Damn, it's hot as hell out here."

Booth and Brennan came and sat down on the grass beside Zach. "Nice hat, kid," Booth chuckled. Brennan looked at Zach questioningly and asked, "Aren't you hot?" Angela and Cam followed, each bringing pitchers of water.

Zach felt his throat tighten. Maybe he was thirsty after all. "Actually, I am feeling slightly dehydrated…" He reached out for the water but the pitchers Angela and Cam had brought were already empty. Zach grimaced as he became soaked in his own sweat. He looked at Hodgins, feeling weak suddenly.

"Jack, I need water…"

Hodgins ignored him, the half-empty glass of water forgotten. Zach reached out, but instead of grabbing it, his hand went right through.

As if it wasn't there.

The five of them turned suddenly, facing Zach with empty eyes. "You should have stayed…"

Zach blinked, the blaring Arabian sun beating down on his bruised and bloodied flesh. His left hand reached out into space, grasping at his water-glass mirage. He groaned and set his arm back down on the dried and cracked floor of his prison. His lips were blistered and bloody, his throat tight and constricted. He tried moving, but his lower back screamed in pain. Closing his eyes again, he willed himself to pass out, to escape the pain and the heat.

And to not remember what had happened to him.

He never should have come to Iraq.