"For as long as there has been an Eastern Seaboard, there have been the Hodgins to provide for it." His grandfather, big and blustery, pronounced this over Jack since his baptism.
It was Jack's birthright, his responsibility to carry on not just the primogenitive nature of his family, but also his inheritance. Jack was tiny, even for a fully developed newborn, but he had been strong: his lungs, his mind, his body. He had inherited the Corkorin physicality: the tightly compacted but proportional body size and build mixed with the Hodgins's willful determination and hidden arrogance. He was, even at birth, the perfect blend of his parents' traits. His grandfather forever towered over him until Jack was seventeen and the man could no longer get out of his bed.
Jack watched him die, gave the old man the ability to die easy in a warm bed with a successful heir by his side. "You are not your father," Hodgins whispered, his voice full of phlegm. "Nor your mother. You are first your own man, second a Hodgins. You will breed better than I did, and your son will be as you are. Raise him right, and he will carry on the Hodgins name proudly."
His grandfather had all but raised him using the Joe Kennedy Manifesto on parenting techniques and the Hemingway Romanticism of the Masculine Mystique. On his fourth birthday, the two went fishing. The wind was blustery cold, but the sun shone harsh, blinding them as they pulled in their poles, oars, and weights. "You are a Hodgins. You will survive this. But you must help me" The man said into the wind. The two flittered around their wooden boat as a small gale bullied across the sky. The young boy held on to the ropes, helping tie things with kindergarten knots, staying out of his grandfather's way as the man steered the rudder this way and that, the engine hissing and sputtering. The two were marooned in the boat for hours, Jack frozen with ice-laced clothes, his fingers and toes graying out dangerously. The man guided a path along the shoreline, never attempting to land. "It is far more dangerous to try for shore than waiting it out. We'll be more cold and miserable in the Bessie Lee, but less dead. There are too many jagged rocks and eddies and dangers hidden to navigate successfully. But if we stay here stubbornly like Hodgins men, the storm will pass, and we'll be stronger for it." Jack nodded, curly hair matted flat against his eyelids. His grandfather could do no wrong.
His father died when he was seven or eight or nine. He could never remember, he was so young that the correct age never mattered. He did remember the newspapers and television news shows that aired the death for almost a week. Each time, it reopened the loss, the anger, the desperation of being alone. He had his grandfather, but it was small comfort. Later, when he was older, wiser, more jaded, the heart attack that had killed his father slowly turned into small whispers, then large rumors about a cocaine overdose. It was the early eighties and the man could more than afford the addiction but, affixed with the Hodgins surname, he was either too prominent or too powerful to have the truth ever come out. The death soon turned into an urban legend, never to be confirmed nor denied nor fully disappear. His grandfather, he realized, had done much to protect him and the family from those stories, from the people who would mock or give too many details to a young boy who had lost a father.
His family, though. Over time, the Hodgins and the D'Antons and the smattering of Parsons who all made the larger Hodgins clan came to see the boy as somehow less than his grandfather. Despite the grooming, the official acknowledgement, the proclamations from on high, the enforcement for him to attend every function, fundraiser, and family reunion, Jack was never fully accepted as the official heir. Part of it was the Corkorin. He didn't look like a Hodgins, who were generally tall, burly, and thinning hair. The Corkorins were rich and well educated, but somehow outside of Hodgins' social class. His father was classically good looking, prominent in all of the quiet circles of government and business, and exceedingly charming. He had done his familial duty by having Jack and then promptly returned to his own life. He wasn't considered a true heir either, but he at least looked the part. The Corkorin family was dispersed-three or four small families that had allied for political and economic reasons. Jack, despite an ancestry going back three centuries, was just never considered good enough.
As Jack grew older, he realized just what kind of power he had. The money, the trust fund, the Jeffersonian Institute, the accounts in numerous banks on four continents, the museums that were publicly funded and those that were anonymously. He was an American prince within a Republic. At the age of eighteen, he went feral. Let his hair grow long, dressed in castoff clothing, refused to help his family deal with their squabbles and tea parties. He travelled the world, collected things and stories and cars and several bogus friends. When he was nineteen and realized that no matter how much he spent or partied or witnessed, he would never empty the family coffers. There was too much money, too many influential friends to cover up anything untoward, and he was too much like his grandfather to live a juvenile lifestyle.
At twenty, he got his GRE, bought his way into a minor Ivy League school, and spent two years taking every class he could, trying desperately to figure out what to become and how to not become his father. As junior year came, he fell in love. With his best friends. He knew it wasn't romantic- one of them was a guy- but he loved "them." He did everything with them and for them. He had finally found a life and all was well. And then it was gone. They greyed out of his life. To return to their future of hedge funds, black tie parties, and rear the next generation. Before he knew it, they were erased from his existence.
Entomology came next. He wasn't a nerd, geek, or socially awkward. He became angry for the first time in his life and paranoid. The ability to keep everyone away became easy, too easy. He became a fulltime loner, attended classes, symposiums, graduate projects, finishing his doctorate in one-third of the time it took everyone else, and began adding to Jeffersonian's insect collections. Having access to every ecological niche in the world, he bought, stole, and indeterminately borrowed the best specimens to catalog and display. It became too easy for him, and he was soon bored as he signed for fossilized Antarctic flies that had been brought in by a Parsons's second cousin in the Navy. With this revelation, he realized that he was getting too complacent, was being groomed to become the next entomology department head at too young of an age and professional maturity.
On a Thursday, he asked for a transfer to the opposite side of the Jeffersonian complex. On Monday, he showed up at the forensic lab despite the request not being approved yet and had everyone call him Hodgins instead of Jack as a way to overtly hide the family connections. By Tuesday, he was deathly ill. Vomiting and diarrhea soon turned into hypochondria. The dead bodies were piling up around him, haunting his dreams with their decomp and maggots. Two weeks later, he was used to it, becoming more and more engaged by the thrill of discovery of capturing murderers and identifying Bronze Aged Saturnia pyri puparia. Life grew easier for him again- the ability to wake up in the morning and find purpose and meaning.
Then Zach Addy, aged nineteen, was adopted into the lab. The moppet headed muppet asked too many questions. Was way too curious for all of the wrong reasons. Hodgins once joked that he must have been locked in a closet as a child to not understand anything despite his obvious intelligence. When Zach replied that none of his closets were big enough to accommodate his size except for the one in his parents' bedroom, Hodgins realized that Zach would have to be looked after. Especially as he lived along the boundary between Washington D.C.'s slums and ghettos. He quickly took the boy on as a hobby. Breaking him down and then rebuilding him as a person independent of anyone. It took time and a lot of money (and very little subterfuge), but Zach finally plateaued at being mostly autonomous. He could survive on his own. That was enough.
When Zach came down with walking pneumonia followed by irritability (for Zach) and the palpable loss of concentration and several IQ points (for Zach), Hodgins called the Health Department. The apartment was demolished a week later. There was black mold deep within the dark crevices of the building. Zach, feeling that he had been thrown to the streets, was surprised to find a "Room for Let" notice from Hodgins's email. "I need someone to watch my garage," he whined, helping move what few things Zach owned. When they both realized that half of the boxes had somehow gone missing during the trip to the garage, Jack ponied up for new possessions. The rooms over the garage were pretty much already furnished, and Zach never really missed what had been lost except for his first microscope, that created a slight pang of loss. The new apartment was three times the size as his old one, but most of the rooms were barely used.
The two quickly fell into a routine. Hodgins would drive Zack to work, take them back home, and then part ways. The few gay jokes that made its way around the building complex quickly died as neither publicly acknowledged them. Zach was oblivious to them for the most part and only stated that he had slept with women when directly asked. Hodgins frowned and made a few quiet threats if anyone brought it up again.
Hodgins's paranoia soon took over. It wasn't a true phobia, more of a hobby. Knowing every important group in the world's political infrastructure, he knew which secret societies were real and which ones were not. Not that he minded. He liked the fantastic tales told and retold and built up to grand delusions of power and wealth. Being part of that caste himself, he played the role of crazy whistle blower. It was childishly silly, but it helped keep his brain working. The tendrils of who did what, the crazy theories that were baseless and those that existed. All sounded like reality on some level in the end.
He was no longer a real Hodgins. The gilded party invitations died off, the family affairs frizzled out, his black tuxedo never properly fit anymore. The family no longer relied on him for support or gratitude. They all squabbled over family politics as he finally came into his full inheritance at the age of thirty and found himself the unwilling head of the family. He quickly threw off the title, which was taken over by a Thomas D'Anton with a properly receding hairline, and resolved to never use his power and influence ever again to help the other Hodgins. The money was still his as was the Cantilever Group and all of its subsidiaries. Despite initial resistance, he wasn't stupid and knew that he needed the money. He had been born into it and never once lived without it. He would keep it, continue to fund the charities and fellowships, but now lived as he wanted to. It made him smile to think how his extended family hated him for his independence.
He was finally comfortable.
And it killed them.