Author's Notes: Let it be known that I am not a Wendell/Cam shipper. I am a Wendell/myself shipper. However, he's a college graduate, and let's all just admit it, Cam's hot. Hence the obsession I have found that Wendell seems to have.
In other news, this is pointless. But I wanted Bones to punch someone, so I thought, hey, why not in a diner and why not for no reason at all and why not do it from Wendell's point of view, on account of how I love Wendell THISMUCH?
That's logic, muthaducka.
One to the Kisser
The six of them are packed into a four-person booth, but Wendell's kind of okay with being squeezed between the window and Cam. He's actually really okay with it. This may or may not have been what the beginning of last's night's dream was, although, admittedly, they weren't sitting side-by-side, and her lips were on his, not on a hamburger.
He takes a moment to sulk in the impossibility of this dream, and consoles himself with the fact that anyone with two eyes and an appreciation for women would understand where he was coming from.
"I was bullied when I was that age," Dr. Brennan says, around a mouthful of French fries, and he understands that she is thinking of their last victim—a scrawny girl whose tormentors accidentally drowned her with mean teasing that went too far. Wendell wonders if she thinks anyone is going to be surprised at those words. "This girl, she used to pull my pigtails and shove me in the trashcans outside of school. Then one day I told Russ about it and I guess he asked her to stop, because she never did it again."
Everyone is sort of staring at her in disbelief, so Wendell speaks up to give her a little slack. "I never had any trouble with bullies. I boxed, you know, my Dad was really into it, so. Anyway, after I got good enough, I picked a fight with some kid in the schoolyard, kicked his butt, and never had to worry about it again 'cause people thought I was a badass." He shrugs. "It was a good strategy, although I did get suspended for like a week."
The table laughs, and he sees Booth give him an approving nod, which means more to Wendell than he's really comfortable admitting. When did the opinion of these crazy people start to matter to him as much as that of his neighbors, or his professors at school?
"I… was a bully," Cam admits, raising her hand sheepishly. "Hey, it was a dog eat dog world in my neighborhood. You bullied or your got bullied. I owned those bitches in the schoolyard."
"Yeah, and my brother if I recall," Booth adds with a half-grin. "I believe that's how we first met, Cam. You were flushing Jared's head down the toilet."
Cam shrugs unashamedly. "He told me I was going to grow up to be a cleaning lady, so I was demonstrating my toilet-cleaning technique for him." She leans across the table to stage-whisper at Angela, "Booth told me that if I ever hurt Jared again he would flush me down the toilet. We were dating by the next week."
The FBI agent goes red and splutters while the rest of them laugh. It's nice. It feels comfortable, inclusive, like maybe for once they aren't all thinking about Zack.
"People attempted to bully me once or twice," Hodgins muses, popping a potato chip into his mouth and leaning back against his seat. "I usually just paid them off. It worked pretty well. Plus, I was friends with a bunch of really big guys, so… no one really wanted to mess with them. Besides, with my charming personality what it is, who would want to bully me?"
Angela punches his shoulder, but she's smiling. "I was made fun of in middle school a lot. People thought I was weird. I got a lot of flowers drawn all over my stuff all the time—you know, flower child? But I liked them, so…" Then she straightens proudly. "Then I turned fifteen, hit puberty, got hot, and all the teasing stopped. Imagine that."
Yeah, Wendell thinks. Imagine that.
Everyone turns to look at Booth except for Cam, who is too busy punishing her hamburger to bother. He looks uncomfortable for a moment and then shrugs. "C'mon, guys. I was never bullied. Look at me. And I had my hands too full of girls under the bleachers to bully anyone myself."
Cam looks up at that. "By that he means, 'after Camille dumped my sorry ass for the first time, I spent too much time crying to myself in my room to bully anyone.'"
"I did not cry!"
"Yeah. You did. You totally did, just admit it, it's okay…"
"This is a safe place, Booth," Angela says solemnly, reaching across the table to put her hand over his.
He levels her with a glare. "I didn't cry," he says again flatly. "And anyway, Cam, you're getting it all mixed up. I broke up with you the first time."
Wendell hears himself speaking incredulously before he can stop it—"Why?!" That gets an amused silence from the rest of the group and a terrifyingly knowing look from Angela, so he coughs once and repeats, calmer, "I mean, uh, what happened?"
Booth shudders. "She hooked up with her cousin."
"Second cousin," Cam interjects, "and anyway, I maintain that I was very drunk. Or rufied." She looks determinedly down at her burger. "Either way, you overreacted." She pulls an exaggeratedly sad face. "Why, Camille?" she mimics, her voice high-pitched and nasal. "How could you?"
Everyone laughs. There's a feeling of camaraderie, one that Wendell usually feels like he's on the outside of, but tonight managed to get an invitation to. Their plates are almost empty and he's down to his last long slurps of soda; Booth is already digging into his pockets for his wallet, muttering murderously at Cam the whole time (who is smiling serenely back at him). Hodgins and Angela are heatedly arguing about flowers—don't as Wendell to explain how flowers could turn into an argument, but with those two you never know.
Wendell is shifting through his own wallet when he feels something kick at his ankle. He looks up, surprised, and sees Dr. Brennan leaning in with a shifty look on her face. "Um," he says, "what's up, Dr. Brennan?"
She hisses at him to lower his voice—an obvious gesture that the rest of the table pretends not to notice, for her sake. He leans in, humoring her, and repeats in a whisper, "What's up, Dr. Brennan?"
"So you really beat people up in school?" she asks, tilting her head to the side and gazing at him openly, guilelessly, like a child. He's only ever seen this version of Dr. Brennan from a distance, and it unsettles him to be so close. "Like—just walked up to them and punched them?"
He grins to himself. "Well, that's . . . not exactly how it started, but yeah. I really beat some kid up at school."
She bites the inside of her lip. "I've kicked people before," she muses, "but it was always in a high-stress situation. I mean, I was always very clearly provoked. I even shot someone once. He died."
Wendell blinks. ". . .Oh," he says, after a moment's deliberation on the proper response. "Well, I've . . . I've never done anything like that. It was mostly just schoolyard stuff."
"I punched Jared once," she continues, ignoring him completely. "He fell off of his chair. But it hurt my hand. I almost fractured a finger."
He grins, letting out a breath of laughter. "Well, you probably weren't holding your fist right," he tells her, and then leans in closer. "Make one for me, right now. Show me what you did." She obliges, wrapping her four fingers around her thumb triumphantly. He shakes his head. "No way, Dr. Brennan. You're gonna end up hurting yourself more than your opponant that way. You want to keep your thumb on the outside—like this."
She imitates him, bringing her thumb around to lock her other fingers in place. "And then I just . . .?" She mimes punching him.
"No, no, no—never fully extend your arm. Make sure your elbow stays just a little bit bent. It gives you more force and it'll keep you from straining anything. Plus, it gives you a quicker drawback for your second blow."
"Thumb on the outside," she mutters, "incomplete extension . . . how far do I pull it back beforehand?"
"You don't. When you're in the middle of a fistfight, bringing your arm way back just leaves you exposed. Always keep them in front of your face and just strike from there. You don't get that much more power with a big draw back, anyway, unless you've got someone straddled and you're really trying to rearrange their face, which I don't think you want to do." He falters. "Err . . . what is it that you want to do, Dr. Brennan?"
She shrugs. "You never know when you might have to punch somebody in the face," she tells him placidly. "I like to be prepared for all eventualities."
Wendell casts her a bewildered look and then follows Cam as she slides out of the booth. The group stands for a second in the aisle, still laughing (or, in Hodgins' and Angela's case, bickering), until at last Cam yawns. "All right, team. I'm off to bed. See you bright and early tomorrow."
She kisses Booth's cheek, probably in apology for having teased him about crying, and then turns, pushing her way through the crowded diner and into the street. Wendell watches her go, because, well, he'd follow that ass anywhere.
"We'll be going, too," Hodgins declares, and Angela crosses her arms over her chest.
"I'm in half a mind not to let you drive me home," she tells him, but she's grinning. "All this unprovoked hatred against flowers is making me suspicious of your character."
"Hatred?" Hodgins repeats. "Dude. I'm the dirt-and-bugs guy! Flowers are like . . . how I make a living!"
"Like you really need to make a living," Angela needles him, following as he makes a path to the door. Wendell can't hear them after they go outside, but through the huge glass windows it's obvious from Angela's laughing face that she's winning the argument.
Big surprise there.
So it's just him, Booth and Dr. Brennan, and Wendell gives a sheepish shrug. "Thanks for inviting me out toni—"
From nowhere, a fist comes flying at his face. It's perfectly formed. The elbow doesn't extend all the way. There was no initial drawback to signal the punch was coming.
If Wendell had been anything but a former boxer, he'd have taken one to the face and gone down like a sack of wet sand. But he has been a boxer, so he dodges to the left and the hand goes sailing past him . . .
Only to make contact with their hapless waiter, who falls down and takes the plate of food he is carrying with him.
There is a big silence. Like, really, really big silence. Big-enough-to-eat-China-and-as-for-dessert silence.
And then Dr. Brennan throws her fist into the air and whoops, "Did you see that? I did it!"
Wendell cringes, looking down at the unconscious server. "Um, yeah, Dr. Brennan. That was, uh, really good."
Booth shakes his head with a sigh, covering his face with his hands. "Of all the ways you could have rubbed off on her," he moans at Wendell, kneeling down to drag the waiter onto the booth, "you just had to teach her how to throw a punch."
Dr. Brennan is jumping around, showing off her fists. "Look!" she cries proudly, shoving it at an alarmed woman at the bar. "Did you see that? I did that!"
Wendell sighs. "I so do not get these people," he mumbles.
"Welcome to the club," Booth says.