Summary: Cam and Hodgins have a conversation about coffee…and other things.
Spoilers: General season 4; "The Salt in the Wounds"
Word Count: 1,562
Disclaimer: They sure don't belong to me. I wouldn't even want to claim ownership of them at this point.
Author's Note: So this was a birthday present to my dear friend Lina! I know it's none of the stories I'm supposed to be posting, but I promise those are on the way! In the meantime, enjoy :). This doesn't have much of a plot, but I think it's kind of fun. Constructive criticism is always welcome. Happy reading!
It had been exactly one hour and forty-five minutes since Hodgins had left with Angela yet again, and Cam was starting to wonder if he'd ever come back. It wasn't that she was keeping track of him, but incidentally that had been all the time it took to finish up her latest autopsy. This one was fairly cut and dry, so there would be no battles in the lab this week. Or at the very least, none between her and Brennan. However, the rest of the gang was still debatable, considering that Clark was the current lucky intern on this case.
When he finally returns, Cam greets him with a smile as she tosses her used gloves into the garbage.
"Nice to see you remembered that there was still work to do here," she jokes with a deadpanned expression.
"Yeah, well, I'm smart like that," Hodgins retorts with a little smirk. He walks over to stand across from Cam, taking note of all the goodies she collected for him to analyze.
"So, what did I miss?" he asks, grabbing hold of his tray and sliding it across the now body-less examining table so it sat in front of him.
"Not much," Cam says with a shake of her head. "The autopsy was pretty straight forward but I couldn't find the cause of death, so this one is in Clark and Dr. Brennan's court."
Hodgins shrugs nonchalantly. "Well, you can't win 'em all. This is for me, I'm assuming?" he asks, pointing to the tray sitting in front of him.
"Smart and perceptive," Cam jokes sarcastically with a grin and an eye roll. "So how was coffee with Angela?"
Hodgins meets her gaze, face with an unreadable expression. "It was fine," he shares, not offering up any further details.
"So did you have coffee? Or did you guys have…coffee?" Cam proceeds to question, putting extra emphasis on the second 'coffee', but otherwise allowing the implication to remain open.
She can see his instant reaction as his face contorts into something resembling a scowl. But he recovers quickly and heaves an exaggerated sigh instead. "You know, you're fast making me regret telling you about that in the first place," he accuses with a finger pointed directly at his boss. But she can hear the softness in his voice and knows instinctively that he's not actually mad.
Cam is actually quite surprised at how quickly their relationship morphed into where it is now. Less than a year ago they had a respectful working relationship at the best of times, and periods of significant strife between them at the worst of times. But in the months following his break-up with Angela, she and Hodgins had somehow started to become more than just casual colleagues. They had become friends. Close friends, even. With Brennan and Sweets being out of the lab on a more consistent basis, Hodgins and Angela making great effort to generally avoid one another, and their intern of the week who often kept too busy for idle conversation, Cam found that she and Hodgins were suddenly each other's biggest source of social interaction during work hours. So what had originally started off as idle shop talk to pass the time eventually turned into discussions about their own thoughts and feelings and lives, which eventually led them to become each other's primary confident. They were an odd pair, but Cam found him surprisingly easy to talk to and confide in. And if she were being completely honest with herself, she might be willing to admit that she probably enjoyed his company far more than she should.
Cam smiles lightly at him, even if she's already starting to regret asking the question in the first place. "Yeah, but it was a fair question," she informs him with a knowing look.
Hodgins shrugs, still looking generally unimpressed, but still can't seem to hide the amusement in his voice. "I suppose…" he starts, trailing off for a moment, and Cam is almost certain that he's doing it on purpose just to tick her off. "But to answer your earlier question," Hodgins finally starts up again, "We did, in fact, just go for coffee at The Royal Diner. Nothing more, nothing less."
Cam meets his gaze and nods, but chooses to remain silent as Hodgins starts to absently sift through the various items sitting on the tray in front of him. In the mean time, she continues to clean up the rest of the examination room.
"She wanted to do more than just talk," Hodgins admits a few moments later, avoiding looking up at Cam.
Something in Cam doesn't sit right upon hearing that information, but she swallows down the feeling. "Oh yeah?" she asks as casually as she can muster.
"Yeah," he confirms. "She started talking about how she misses me. Misses us. And about how well we fit together – like we're two pieces of one puzzle."
Cam nods and again buries the surge of annoyance that creeps up inside of her. "So what did you do?" she asks, though she's not sure she wants to know the answer.
Hodgins stops looking through the items on the tray and instead goes to help Cam clean up. He should be going to do work, but since they're in the middle of a conversation, he figures he might as well make himself useful.
"I said no," Hodgins finally s hares, passing a couple tools over to Cam. She is surprised at how relieved this information makes her feel.
"Angela is a wonderful woman," Hodgins starts. "But she can't commit, and I'm not willing to be 'friends with benefits'. It's a little more than I can handle. Besides, I want more than that. I ideserve/i more that that," Hodgins tells her earnestly.
Cam puts away the last of the equipment and meets Hodgins' gaze. "Good for you. You do deserve to be with someone who can give you what you want," she says, placing a hand on his forearm and squeezes lightly.
"I was tempted though," Hodgins admits as his eyes fall on the hand still on his arm.
Cam shrugs and removes her hand from his arm, suddenly feeling a bit awkward. "So what? That's normal. You stuck to your guns. But even if you hadn't, that wouldn't make you a bad person." She's pretty sure that he already knows this, but thinks that he might need to hear it again anyway.
Hodgins smiles uncertainly at her, but nods. "Thank you."
Just when it feels like the conversation is over, Cam suddenly finds herself opening her bit mouth. "It's a shame though."
Hodgins cocks a brow and shoots her a questioning look. "What is?" he asks, sounding genuinely confused.
Cam lets out a little sigh, uncertain as to how to say what she wants to say without giving him the wrong impression. But she's already started down this path, so she knows she needs to continue.
"That Angela can't settle down and be happy with you. She's always chasing after a new thrill, trying to find excitement and fulfillment, but I don't think she ever will. I mean, it's her loss," she glances at Hodgins quickly before continuing. "But I don't think she quite realizes what she's missing out on. What a great guy you are." Cam thinks she might be blushing a little, and is thankful that the lights in this room are quite dim.
Hodgins looks at her with an expression that she's never seen before, a little half smile playing upon the corners of his lips. He reaches out to touch her arm, but stops himself before he can finish the gesture. Their gaze stays locked on one another for what feels like an eternity and the intensity of his look is almost too much for Cam to bear. He takes a step closer to her and she feels her heart skip a beat.
But unfortunately, Clark chooses that moment to burst into the room, and Cam and Hodgins both instinctively take a step away from one another.
"Dr. Hodgins? Dr. Brennan is looking for you," Clark shares in his typical professional, detached manner. He looks between the two of them briefly and if he senses anything out of the ordinary, he doesn't let it show.
"Okay," Hodgins says with a slight sigh. Clark leaves the room again a moment later.
"I guess I'd better get going then," Hodgins mumbles, grabbing onto the tray filled with particulates and other little treasures that made his world go around. But Cam can hear the reluctance in his voice, and is glad that he seems to be feeling the same way that she is.
Cam nods and watches him as he goes to leave. But before he steps outside of the examination room door, Hodgins turns back to her. "Did you want to maybe go out for coffee later?" he asks shyly.
Cam nearly chokes on her saliva as Hodgins seems to realize what he'd just inadvertently asked, and even from across the room she can see the deep crimson blush appear on his cheeks.
"Um, at The Royal Diner, I mean," Hodgins clarifies with an embarrassed grin. Cam can't help but laugh in response. And maybe it's her own wishful thinking, but she's pretty certain she also hears him utter "for now" as he walks out of the room.