Author's note: The end. Epilogue.
Weeks later, he's in his office when the Bug Man knocks.
"Hey, man," Hodgins greets, a little tentatively. A halfhearted wave, and Booth has to motion him in before he even attempts an entrance.
"Hodgins, what can I do for you, pal?" he offers, interest mostly fixed on the small black combo safe he's storing the files in.
The Bug Man doesn't smile. In fact, he looks out of place. A little ashamed.
"In the interest of full disclosure, I thought you should know that I used your security clearance to obtain those evidence files on the Gravedigger."
If surprised, it doesn't show on Booth's face. Nonplussed, he turns back to the safe, loading documents.
"I figured if you wanted to shoot me, I'd save you the trouble of hunting me down and show up here on my own."
"I wouldn't have any trouble hunting you down."
Hodgins finally looks up from the intense stare he'd set against his feet. The G-Man's face shows no evidence he'd just spoken.
"I know what I did was wrong, but I… what it was like, down there, not knowing…"
"You don't have to worry about it," Booth interrupts, looking up from the file. A change overcoming him.
Hesitant at the cut off, Hodgins waits before speaking. In the end, he doesn't have to.
"What that son of a bitch did to you, to Bones? I understand now what you both went through, completely. And it's unacceptable."
Bones – his Bones. His partner, now in more ways than one. Every way.
Heaving the remainder of the files on the counter onto his desk – a heavy whump at the weight – he points to them. "This is all the new information I've gathered. Every connection to that ship, the party, even the damn little Beatles toy I was stuck in. Call my kidnapping a recon, if you will."
The air shifts, becoming colder, heavier.
Hodgins holds his breath, transfixed as brown eyes cloud over with a feral darkness. The molten brown literally becoming black.
"I promise you, Jack, I will find this guy. And when I find him… I won't be bringing him to justice in handcuffs."
It's a long stretch of silence, seconds unspooling, before he arrives at his knee-jerk reaction.
Hodgins smiles humorlessly, nods. "We never had this conversation?"
"Whose land do you think I'm going to bury him on?"
"That's… ironic and fitting. I like it."