With thanks to Idon'tknowwhatthatmeans32 for the inspiration of her parody piece on Hodgela.

They sat around the lounge above the platform, a motley group that might not otherwise be assembled all together, shaking their heads and grumbling in shared frustration.

"First, they write Zack off, or turn him into a bit part when they need a quick out of some situation where they can't find another guest star," Jack grumbled, rubbing his hand through his close-shaven beard, "then they break me and Ange up in the single most bullshit breakup conversation that's ever been written. And, I miss my wild curly hair and beard. I look kinda creepy with the short hair."

Angela shook her head, her tousled brunette curls framing her troubled expression. "'You're the one who's not stopping me?' What the hell is that? I mean, we got together after Jack was basically raised from the dead, I'm going to let a little something like Cam hopping in the sack with my admittedly smokin' ex-husband break up the love of my life? I mean, what the hell?! And! And! I'm supposed to be a talented artist, but all I ever do is make out with Jack in the lab and nag Brennan about Booth, which is totally going to backfire one of these days! Why can't I have a gallery show, or spend some good girl time with Brennan? I feel so one dimensional."

"Tell me about it," Booth grumbled. "They've made me look like an idiot the last three episodes. I mean, I'm a Ranger, a decorated Master-Sergeant, for Christ's sakes, I shot people and skulked through back alleys and mountains on far more dangerous missions than driving a car through the streets of London. I mean, any fan fiction writer with half an imagination would have brought up a still from my funeral scene and looked up all my badges and honors on Wikipedia-- I have a bronze star, for Christ's Sake! I can drive a damned mini without having a meltdown."

Brennan shook her head, looking at him warmly from the seat she'd taken next to him. "And talk about continuity problems. In the first episode of the season, I'm telling Dr. Wexler I won't sleep with him, because it would offend you, and then I have that conversation with Inspector Pritchard that seems to finally make a chink in my admittedly thick emotional armor, and then we have that lovely "Lady Temperance, Sir Seeley," walk-off scene, but in the very next episode I'm back in the sack with someone besides you? So much for allowing me to grow as an emotional person. Like I would have slept with that welder anyway. He really wasn't that cute."

Angela shook her head. "Tell me about it. It must have been a slow day at the casting pool for one-episode-only hookup character actors."

Cam snorted. "Well, at least I got to sleep with someone this season. Last season was ridiculous. I don't get why they always write me like I'm some kind of homewrecking dominatrix. I'm a medical doctor, an accomplished pathologist, and despite my initial tensions with Doctor Brennan while there was the alpha-female struggle that was only resolved with Seeley's little "I'm with Bones all the way, Cam," speech, she and I get along fine now, and our scenes where we work together are actually some of the better-written ones, from a procedural angle."

Brennan nodded. "I concur. And why they continue to write you as someone who's too much of a control freak to let accomplished experts such as Jack and Angela do their own thing, just to create unnecessary tension that detracts from the central premise of the entire show, which is the unresolved sexual tension between myself and Booth, I'll never understand. If I were writing this show, the science would be far more consistent, that's for sure."

Booth reached over and slung his arm around the shoulder of her chair. "Yeah, Bones, you're right. There's not nearly enough real cop or squint stuff lately, it's all too choppily cut, like they had to go back and re-edit episodes after a writer's strike or something."

"Hey, I hadn't noticed that, man, nice catch." Jack responded, his blue eyes twinkling in amusement, and perhaps a slight guy crush. Ange was right, Booth is hot, he thought to himself.

Booth smiled, and tapped the side of his head. "Like I said. They don't give me enough credit-- I mean, if I were as much as an idiot as they're writing me to be, I never would have made Special Agent. The FBI website says I have to have a Master's Degree, by preference, in order to hold that position, but do I ever get to pull out some super erudite knowledge, like poetry, or philosophy, or Russian or Arabic, to help solve a case? Nooooo. It's just "come on people, this," and "let's go, squint squad, that..."

Brennan patted him on the arm. "I agree with you. You know what else I have a problem with? Why are they always dressing you like an undertaker these days? I mean, yes, every once in a while we get a flash of the socks or the ties, but in the first season you had a much better variety of suits and colored shirts, but now it's all black suits and white shirts, like you just went to the Wal-Mart and bought thirty off the rack. You're a handsome and well-structured man, they shouldn't be dressing you like that."

"They shouldn't be dressing him at all..." murmured Angela to Cam, who smirked in return.

Booth, missing this exchange, gave Brennan a full charm smile, that made every female character (and not a few of the male ones, too) at the table melt. "You noticed that too, eh, Bones? I was noticing how lately they're always putting you in one button suit jackets that close just under your breasts, so it looks like you're about to bust out of it, which is actually uncharacteristic of your character's usual physically modest appearance. And that cut of jacket's not very practical for chasing perps, is it? Really, I've always thought that the funky hippy stuff they dressed you in in the first season was closer to your character's real style. And you haven't gotten to have a really good fistfight or martial arts combat scene in ages. I mean, yes, I'm your knight in FBI standard issue body armor, but they seem to forget that one of your central attractions is your ability to kick ass all on your own."

She smiled back, gazing into his eyes as she said, "Oh, thank you, Booth," and their eyes locked as the rest of the room fell away.

"Well, at least they've still got them making goo-goo eyes at each other," murmured Cam, leaning over to Angela. "What do you guys have to say?" she said, calling down to the end of the table.

"Well," said the deep-voiced, handsome and dignified Dr. Goodman, "I've always thought the writers' failure to wrap up what happened with me, Sid, or Sam Cullen was sloppy. I suppose we all know Sam retired because of his daughter's death, but it seems strange to me that ever after, Booth has essentially become a sole agent, and just magically shows up with case files."

Cullen nodded. "I agree. I mean, he's a good agent, but there are more bureau politics and interesting angles to be explored on his behalf. I mean, how's he supposed to become Director some day, like they write in those fan fictions, if we have no idea what he does when he's away from the lab, or with Dr. Brennan? Plus, I was a good foil and reminder of the tension that partner's aren't supposed to date each other. I have more authority than that new character they've written in."

Sid inclined his head and agreed. "I'm with Dr. Goodman on this one. And look, I know that the actor who played me passed away, but they never even mentioned what happened to me, they just started sending you guys to that nasty greasy spoon."

Jack rolled his eyes. "Tell me about it. Their fries give me worse indigestion than that seven organ soup I insisted you serve to me. I miss you, man."

Booth sighed a deep sigh. "We all miss you, Sid. That diner set is completely generic."

Angela cleared her throat, then. "What I'm worried about is that damned Gravedigger plotline. It's still unresolved. What will happen if they use that as a cheap plot device to get me and Jack back together? That's totally cheesey." Everyone groaned and shook their heads.

"Not looking forward to that," Booth agreed. "My shoulder still hurts from whipping that guy onto the table in my office, though I'll admit I was happy to have a little Deadly Serious Smart and Scary Booth time to balance out all the Stupid, Mooning over Bones Endlessly Booth. Speaking of which, by the way, Bones, what the hell did you write in that note when you and Jack were still underground? I assume it was to me, right?"

She shook her head. "I don't know, I assume I wrote it to you. I assume they'll find some moment in the next season or two when you and I are at an emotional impasse and one of us needs a nudge to act on our feelings for the other, at which point it will fall out of a book in my living room while I'm plating up some takeout for us to eat, or you'll find it in my desk at work, or something like that. If I knew, I might have already acted on my well-hidden feelings for you."

Dr. Sweets popped up out of nowhere, for no apparent reason, and said, "Well-hidden feelings, yeah, right, Dr. Brennan. The way your bosom was heaving in my office last week as Agent Booth gave you that little "there's someone you're meant to be with for the rest of your life" speech that's number one on the Bones Channel on YouTube-- your feelings are not well hidden at all. And can someone please explain to me why I can't just make a normal entrance like any other character? It makes me seem like some kind of creepy nerd stalker."

Angela smirked. "You are some kind of creepy nerd stalker." Cam guffawed, and Jack reached over her to high-five Angela.

"Cheries," came Caroline Julian's voice from the end of the table, where she'd been watching this whole discussion play out, "I just wish they'd give me another catchphrase to use besides 'Cherie' all the time. And a little thanks for the Mistletoe might be nice, too. I mean, if it hadn't been for me, the viewers would have had to suffer through another season without any nod to the Unresolved Sexual Tension."

"Thank you, Caroline, for the mistletoe," chorused Booth and Brennan, whose chairs had managed to edge closer to one another, as they held hands and pretended that there was nothing going on, even to each other.

"I think," came the voice of Max Keenan, as he popped around the head of the stairwell with a bag of Snickerdoodles, "that we should resolve the romantic tension between my Pumpkin and the cop I've personally approved to be her protector by having them both be abducted by the Gravedigger, and while they're in the car telling each other all about their feelings, Russ and I can have a special two-episode arc where we work with the Squint Squad, and maybe even bring back Sully to help, and Russ and I use our criminal connections to find out where they are and who the Gravedigger is."

"I agree," said Sully, coming around the corner, tanned from his sailing trip on the seven seas, and brushing his floppy hair out of his eyes. "I'm sick of getting killed off in fanfictions, or being written to be some unstable, psycho ex-boyfriend. I mean, I'm basically a good guy, or Booth never would have let me date Tempe in the first place, even if he wasn't willing to admit to himself that he was really the man for her, not me. I think if I was brought back for the episode that Max describes, I can provide the final spur that Booth needs to tell Tempe how he feels, and then I can be all noble and valiant helping her felonious, but gold-hearted relatives find them. And then, maybe, Cam could get a long term love interest? Because really, I haven't worked much since I sailed off into the sunset."

Cam looked him up and down appreciatively and smiled. "I'd be down with that, and it would be a nice naughty twist to the show, with you and I dating and Booth and Brennan dating? Kind of like kinky sloppy seconds. And all sorts of room for angsty misunderstandings and comedic twists."

Brennan shook her head. "Sloppy seconds? I don't know what that means."

A set of feet tromped up the stairs. "Sorry I'm late everyone, it took forever to get that prosthetic makeup off of my hands."

"Zack!" called the chorus of characters, as they all jumped up to embrace him, except for Booth and Brennan, whose hands had crept to one anothers' knees, each tracing light circles on the pants legs of the others, as they continued to gaze searchingly at one another. When they'd settled down into their chairs, and Brennan had gotten up to give Zack a soulful, blue-eyed look and a hug, Zack said, "I heard some of what you were saying while I was in the green room. One thing I think might work well for a mid-season break cliffhanger would be if they sent Dr. Brennan off on one of her mysterious trips to war-torn regions, where she's got to be doing something for the CIA or NSA or some other intelligence agency, and Agent Booth goes with her, and then they go missing, and I have to help find them from the safety of my padded room. Max and Russ could even come help break me out just long enough to examine the evidence the government is willing to share with us, before returning me to my prison after the episode is successfully concluded."

Jack rubbed his hands. "Think we can come up with a crazy experiment that needs to be done in order to find the answer? Or maybe... I get to use my high security clearance as a member of this country's aristocracy to access the information that we need to rescue them, and then I could hire a plane and we could all go shoot on location, and not just the two of them in London."

Cam rolled her eyes. "Whatever keeps you and Angela from angsting all over the lab until they get you back together. But I would like to get out of the lab."

Angela looked over at the series' two central characters. "Have you guys heard anything more about this 'Bren kisses Booth's mysterious brother' episode?"

They both shook their heads, as their hands clasped one another's tightly, each circling their thumb on the back of the other's hands. "Nope," answered Booth. "I don't even know if I only have one brother, or if I even talk with my family. They've never really discussed in any detail how the effect of my fathering an illegitimate child affects my relationship with my family, or why I'm really so dark and broody, with serious impulse control issues. I mean, clearly some of it is the dark guilt I bear from my past as a sniper, and the self-esteem issues I have as a result of my shame over my consequent gambling problem, but I don't know how much else of it might be catholic guilt, or some truly horrible family fight that's left me with deep wounds that can only be resolved in the arms of my beloved, wonderful, Bones." He sighed, tears glittering in his soulful eyes.

Brennan pulled the hand she was holding closer to her chest, and patted it. "You're right. And they could write in an arc where you're tempted by your gambling demons under really trying circumstances, and I could help you resolve your problems by resolving our mutual sexual tension in a truly mind-blowing, loving, and intimate sex scene. There is an incredibly well-written fan fiction on that point that I re-read every time I need some inspiration for another sex scene between the protagonists in the books I somehow have time to write. I bet the author would be glad to spec up a script for the writers and sell it to them for a discount, just for the satisfaction of seeing us finally get together."

He gazed deeply into her depthless blue eyes with his meltingly chocolate ones, then said, huskily, "Send me the link, will you?" She nodded, swallowing, her chest heaving gently.

"And another thing!" cried Angela from her side of the table. "We didn't get any good beefcake Booth scenes last season."

Cam nodded. "Nope, no good Boothcake at all."

"Hey!" Booth exclaimed, exasperatedly running his hands through his artfully-mussed hair. "What about the bathtub scene?! I had no clothes at all on above the waist in that scene."

The woman at the table just exchanged glances and smirked, even Brennan.

"What?!" Booth kept mussing his hair.

"Dude, just, a beer hat? Not even you look hot in a beer hat." Jack smirked, content in the knowledge that there is a cadre of online bugnslime fangirls who love him even though he's only gotten to appear bare-chested once on the show.

Booth shook his head in chagrin. "Tell me about it. I spent how much time getting my goddamned chest waxed so I can show off my well-structured form for the first time in almost a year, and again, they make me look like a moron. I won't be surprised if it doesn't somehow come back to ruin my first attempt to make love to Bones-- she'll probably trip over it and laugh at me at an inappropriate moment, and all my feelings that I'm not worthy of her will come to the surface all over again, even though the universal opinion in fandom seems to be that I am the world's most well-endowed man."

Sweets' head turned in his direction, curiously. "Well, are you?"

"How the hell do I know? All my on-camera sex scenes have me covered with a sheet, or are shot above the waist! Which brings me to another problem!"

Brennan patted his arm, then stroked her hand along his thigh. "Calm down, Booth. If you mean to say that there's no way the writers can satisfyingly resolve our sexual tension in an eight p.m. time slot, I entirely agree with you. I would certainly prefer a move to a ten o'clock time slot if I'm finally going to learn what it means to make love."

He charm smiled back at her, saying softly, as if they were alone on the room, "Temperance, you are my soulmate." Everyone else ignored it, because they knew he would shoot them if they ever said anything.

Her eyes glittering with unshed tears, she sighed softly. "As are you, Booth, and I'd really like to call you by your first name for once, though it hasn't happened yet. You'd think they could write one tender moment where I'm the one comforting you for a change, and our relationship takes a leap forward while I give you a guy hug and call you Seeley."

He gazed back and sighed in response. Everyone else just rolled their eyes.

"They weren't this bad when they wrote me off," observed Dr. Goodman to Sid.

Sid nodded. "Well, it is a show about two complementary characters with deep emotional baggage to resolve with the other's help before they can become a healthy romantic couple. The procedural framework is interesting, but in the end, is just a framing device."

Sweets looked down the table. "That's a ... very shrewd observation," he said quietly, looking insecure.

Sid smiled sympathetically. "Of course. I'm the mysterious and knowing bartender, the psychologist cognate for the first season. I'm the catalyst character for so many of those deep and meaningful moments at the end of the show that end up in all those YouTube fanvids."

Sweets shook his head sadly. "I just wish I was less of a dork. And would it hurt if they let me tell someone like Angela that I have no intention of breaking them up, because I'm a lonely misfit whose belief in true love is only affirmed by his observations of these two patients' interactions?"

"Oh, Cher," said Caroline, reaching across to pat his hand. "There are oodles of fangirls online who would jump all over you in a moment. You just have to be patient. You go look yourself up online after this, you'll feel better, I promise."

Booth grimaced, but sympathetically. "Yeah, Sweets, you hang in there. I mean, I'm the show stud, and I haven't gotten any play since I broke up with Cam a season and a half ago. They'll get you someone, eventually."

"Eventually..." sighed Brennan, resting her head on Booth's shoulder as a deep expression of longing passed over his face as he looked at her.

Just then, a bell rang, and they all looked around, and stood.

"Damn, writer's lunch is over, time to get back to being inconsistently written characters in a well-loved show that is currently leaving many of its viewers dissatisfied with the rough start this fourth season is having," commented Booth.

"Yes, well, see you all at lunchtime tomorrow," finished Brennan, stepping away from the table and shooting a coy glance at her partner until he placed his hand on her back and walked down the stairs with her.

A voice cleared from the back of the lounge, and they all turned around to regard the man as handsome as a god standing there. "Excuse me, but I seem to have missed my plane flight to Fiji again. Could someone give me a ride to the airport?"

Before Cam could answer, someone else did. "I got you, Cherie," called Caroline Julian, shooting a wink to the rest of the table. "Now where did I put my mistletoe?"