1A/N: My entry for the CBPC January challenge: a member of the team (not Booth or Brennan) is trapped somewhere and needs to use their skills to get out. Revel in the wackiness (and then review!).
Meetings with the Cantilever Group's board of executives were boring. Being the only child at a dinner party where the next nearest person in age was forty was unbearable. But this? This was torture.
The entrances were blocked. His eyes darted around, searching for escape, his mind frantically trying to calculate a plan, any plan that would get him out of this hell. His head turned towards the door and his lips turned into a sneer as he read the poster there: Anger doesn't solve anything. It showed a picture of a seemingly cowering flower (how flowers were able to cower, he wasn't quite sure) shadowed by a large dark cloud. The walls of the room were painted cheery shades of pink and blue and the blinds were open, allowing sun to stream in and light up the faces of the scarily happy circle of people. A circle that he was now a part of.
A woman (who was so thin that he was surprised she didn't crack in half) jumped to her feet. "Good morning!" she smiled, obviously eager to share her joy with everyone around and they seemed completely happy to bask in her perkiness. "As most of you know, I'm Jill! Welcome to Angry People Anonymous! We have one new friend with us today. Say hello to Jack."
Just as in a panic situation, all eyes turned to Hodgins. Their eyes seemed to shower him with smiles and wish him a lifetime of butterfly rainbow ponies. He had never been so scared in his life.
"Jack, please share something with us about yourself! We are all listening, and we would be so glad of anything you want to tell us!" Jill said, once again demonstrating her phenomenal overuse of exclamation points.
Hodgins sighed. There was no way to get out of this. He would just have to be a man and do this. "My name is Jack," he began, half expecting everyone to chorus 'hi, Jack', "I work with bugs in a lab. I don't actually want to be here. The only reason I'm here is because my fiancee's best friend's shrink said I needed help. But I don't... so I'm just going to leave."
The whole group seemed immensely saddened by his speech. Jill leaned over and put her hand on his arm. "I know where you are, Jack. We've all been there. Here we call it Denial Land." She reached over to take his hand, and when he didn't give it to her she knelt in front of him. "You can try to ignore the anger, but it's there. We want to help you get over the problem and come out and join us in the sun!"
It must be drugs. There's no other way these people could be so happy. Damn Sweets. He knew that this was some drug thing when he dropped me into this mess. 'You need help managing your anger', my ass. Maybe Sweets is Gormagon and he's picking us off one by one so we'll be vulnerable when he comes to eat our faces off.
"Jack, come join our group!" a middle-aged man hailed "We're about to start interpretive dance."
"I have to go to... the bathroom," Jack said, hustling off to find a way out. The bathroom? What a lame excuse. He felt like he was in junior high. He ran down the hall in search of an exit. The front doors were all locked. As he turned around, not ready to admit defeat (maybe just to actually go hide out in the bathroom), he came face to face with Jill.
"Oh, Jack," she sighed, her face dropping into such deep disappointment that it was almost comical. "How can we help you if you won't admit what's wrong? The signs are all there: the tired eyes, the stress in your voice, the rubber band for snapping the anger away. We can make it so you don't need any of that anymore." She saw the obvious terror in his eyes and took his arm, dragging him back down the hall towards the Room of a Thousand Horrors. "Well, I think that maybe this is too much for you to take in right now. Come have some cake and you can come back next week." They reached the room and Jill pulled him in. She pushed him into a chair and, after shoving a piece of cake into his hands, turned to talk to another group of people. Jack examined the cake. It was probably full of drugs. Maybe that was how they were getting all these people to be so relentlessly cheery. He stared at his sweater. Jill's clothing was covered in cat hair. She had gotten it all over him and his cake. At least he wouldn't be tempted to eat the cake... Suddenly, inspiration struck.
He was having drinks with Angela and Cam. He was feeling a deep sense of accomplishment. After three years of trying, he had finally succeeded. That afternoon he had instigated a fight between Middle Eastern Artifacts and South American Relics that had come to blows. Those doctors and researchers were always so calm, so unflappable, until Hurricane Jack had ripped up their foundations.
"You have a real talent, Hodgins." Cam had said. "You can make people fight about anything."
That was his ticket out of here. He walked over to Jill and tapped her on the shoulder. "Excuse me, Jill, I just had a quick question."
"Ask away, Jack. I'll be glad to hear it!"
"What do you think about the declawing of cats?"
"It's terribly inhumane! Cats are some of natures most precious and gentle creatures and don't deserve to have an essential part of their animal-hood ripped away from them!"
"Are you kidding?" A tall man from the group Jill had been speaking to rolled up his shirtsleeve and pointed to a long ugly scar. "That's from a cat. Scratched me when I was eight years old. Cats are vicious. If they aren't put down, they should at least have their claws removed so they can't hurt anyone."
"Larry," Jill admonished, "I can't believe what I'm hearing! You shouldn't let one renegade cat spoil your conceptions of felines everywhere! No being deserves to be so painfully crippled."
"Cats are a menace! You're lucky I haven't started an anti-cat group. People would be killing cats left and right once they realized that they're not alone. Everyone is fooled by their fluffy, innocent appearance, but I know the truth: they need to be destroyed before they destroy us!" Larry steamed.
Cats seemed to be a hot button issue here, (what did you expect from a group called Angry People Anonymous?) because the discussion took up fast. Some of these people apparently hadn't been reprogrammed too successfully because they were just letting that anger spill out. Jack smiled, pleased at his handiwork and sidled over to one of the windows. Now that everyone was distracted with the fiery debate about the declawing of cats, he unlocked the window, slipped out and sprinted towards his car. As he drove off he saluted the Hell Building. "My work here is done. Although if I get my hands on Sweets..."
A/N: When I first read the challenge, I was going to write a Cam piece (which is so weird cause I'm like the founding member of the Cam-haters club) But then I sat down to write and this came out. It's the first time I wrote Hodgins, so I hope it came out ok. The 'Sweets as Gormagon' theory is courtesy of my cousin.