Zach stretched his legs and savoured the rays of sunshine that shone upon the front veranda of his parent's house. He was sitting on the swinging chair, his legs outstretched, gently rocking himself as he watched Dani fiddle with their father's motorcycle. When their father had gone through his mid life crisis two or three years ago, he had bought himself the motorbike, and, as Dani had been the only one at home at the time, he'd taught her how to ride it, much to their mother's horror. Dani had loved it, and had often, when she was home, borrowed the Bike and gone off for a couple of hours, so it didn't surprise any of the siblings when Dani had been given the motorbike in the will. Zach knew that, when they'd gone on family vacations to the mountains, Dani and their father had sometimes gone dirt biking with Steve, and sometimes Matt. Sam had never gone, preferring to go for a walk and admire the nature, while Lizzie and their mother had stayed behind and done girly things. Zach often had found himself going walking until he found a nice, quiet spot, before setting down with a good book or some research. Of course, he hadn't been on an actual family vacation since he had finished college and gone to the Jeffersonian.
Earlier that morning, Sam had left, heading back home. Matt was leaving the next morning, and Dani was planning on leaving as early as possible the next day. Zach had already packed all of his things, and everything he had inherited (including the jewellery), and now he was just enjoying having a few minutes to himself before Hodgins and Booth arrived in their cars to pick him up, before the entire Squint team went back to the capital.
Zach was ready to go back to Washington. It didn't make any logical sense for him to linger on in Michigan, his parents were dead, and his older siblings were determined to move on with their lives. There was nothing left for Zach in his hometown except for childhood memories, which Zach knew were dangerous to dwell on, and harsh reminders of his sibling's abandonment, which Zach wanted to forget about, though he was unable to, the stinging pain of the rejection still too fresh for him to bury. It was obvious, to Zach at least, that Dani was suffering with the same feeling of disconnectedness from her former home. Zach could tell from the way she was acting that she was restless, eager to get back to college and to try and rejoin the academic world, where, in Dani's opinion, family had no place.
Steve had told Zach that Lizzie was going to buy Dani her own set of Motorcycle leathers, which apparently was what their parents had planned on giving her for Christmas. Zach had suddenly been thankful for Lizzie's overprotective nature, as he knew what the risk was for a motorcycle rider of sustaining a significant injury while wearing leather, compared with if they were wearing denim, or another less protective form of clothing.
Zach was pulled from his musings when he heard the familiar sound of Hodgins' car pulling up at the side of the street, with Booth's SUV pulling up behind. Zach got to his feet as his 'other family' walked up the garden path.
"Hey, Zach, how's it going?" Hodgins asked, grinning cheerfully. Zach nodded.
"Fine, thanks. All of my belongings have been packed into bags, and I am ready to go."
"Okay, you go and grab your bags, and I'll make some room in the boot of the cars" Hodgins said, and started to walk back to the cars.
"I'll help you, Sweetie," Angel smiled, and Zach nodded, turning around and walking back inside. Cam and Brennan paused, before following Angela into the house, while Booth went to help Hodgins make room in the boot of the two cars for Zach's stuff.
Sweets, on the other hand, walked over to where Dani was sitting on the driveway, and sat beside her.
"Hey," he softly said. Dani looked at him.
"Hi, you're Dr. Sweets, right?"
Sweets nodded, "How are you going, Dani?"
"Pretty good, considering what the last week and half has been like. I think I'm looking forward to heading back to school. Everything makes sense there. Computers don't ditch you in favour of the latest vacation spots." Dani laughed at her last comment.
"Seriously, how are you coping with it?" Sweets asked. Dani's face turned serious.
"Seriously, I think I'm managing, if only just. It's kind of hard, because here, there are so many reminders, I mean; I have to go past Mom and Dad's bedroom every time I want to go to my room, not to mention all the memories in this house. On the other hand, I don't feel so numb now, it's like it's just started to sink in. There have been a couple of times when I've just started crying, and I don't know what's triggered it." Dani broke of, her gaze returning to the motorbike she was sitting beside and gently, with a soft cloth, rubbed at a mud spot. Once the spot was gone, she spoke again.
"Fiddling with his bike makes so much sense to me, even when nothing else does. I've been so tempted to deliberately get someone to muck with the wiring of my computer, just so I can fix it. Like Anakin Skywalker says in Episode 2, Attack of the clones, 'everything makes so much more sense when I'm fixing things.' Saying that makes me sound like the biggest geek this side of the Canadian border, but it's so true."
Sweets let out a slight laugh at the reference, "It doesn't make you sound that Geeky, really. I've been told similar sorts of things by other people."
Dani nodded, "yeah, they just probably word it differently." She broke of when she realised that Zach was approaching them, having carried all his boxes of stuff out to the cars. There had been more boxed than he had anticipated, since he was emptying his room of everything that had been stored in there, as well as the clothes he had brought with him, and the additional things he had inherited. Sweets got to his feet, nodding in acknowledgement of Zach, before walking away towards the cars. Dani got up and stood beside Zach
"Bye Dani" Sweets called over his shoulder.
"Goodbye, Dr. Sweets, it's been nice talking to you" Dani replied, before turning her attention to Zach.
"Did you get everything, Zach?" she asked.
"Yes, and Steve has told me that if they find anything that I have forgotten he will send it to me"
"Good, I'm going to miss you, Zach. We really should see each other more often."
"I know, but I often work on weekends with Dr. Brennan, and you have college all through the week."
"And spend all weekend doing assignments. At least I've got holidays coming up. Four weeks of doing absolutely nothing."
"What are your plans for the Christmas vacation?" Zach asked, knowing that Dani's upcoming holidays were the ones that spanned Christmas.
"Nothing, at the moment. I'll probably go on a road trip or something, especially over Christmas, since campus is closed down from the weekend before Christmas, till the weekend after new years." Dani shrugged. Zach looked over his shoulder, and noticed that Hodgins was waiting for him to get into his car.
"I've got to go, if you want to call me, anytime, you can."
"I'll send you an email when I get back to school, okay Zach?"
"That would be good, Dani." Zach smiled at his little sister, before pulling her into a hug. They both had tears in their eyes as they pulled away.
"Bye, Zach" Dani smiled, rubbing his arm comfortingly. Zach nodded, patting her on the shoulder.
"Bye Dani," he said, before turning away and walking across the front yard to the front gate, which was open. He closed it behind him and walked down the street to where Hodgins was parked. Letting himself into the car, Zach didn't notice how Angela was dabbing the tears from her own eyes. Hodgins started the car up and pulled out onto the street. Zach watched at they drove past his old house, Dani waving from her place in the driveway. Zach waved back at her, but then they had gone past the house, and turned out of the street, Booth's SUV following close behind.
"Ready head back home, Zach?" Hodgins asked.
Zach paused, before nodding his head, "as ready as I'll ever be, Dr. Hodgins."
A.N. Before you say it, I did not intend for this story to have a Sweets/Dani touch to it, but I realised as I was writing that part of this chapter that it sounded like it. At the moment, I have no plans of their being a Dani/Sweets romance (but that doesn't mean there won't be).
I know you all are probably kind of confused at the moment, but, instead of making this one big long huge story, I have decided to break it up so it is a series. You have just finished the first story of the series.
The next instalment will be online soon (hopefully)