Disclaimer: All characters are property of Fox, Hart Hansen etc.
Warnings: Humorous speculation and incredibly minor spoilers for season 5.
Note: Inspired by Konfetti's marvelous SVN fic "Waiting to be Dead and Gone." Silliness abounds.
Come What April
The lab at the Jeffersonian was becoming unusually crowded for a Thursday night in February. Due to the winter hiatus, murder was expressly forbidden in the district of Columbia and the surrounding counties unless the murderer crossed his heart (and hoped to die) that he would commit the deed in a way that was sure to leave the victim's bones completely and totally uninteresting. Simple stabbings and shootings in highly populated areas were still mostly safe but even accidental deaths were banned if there was a chance they might result in ambiguous skeletal remains.
Dr. Camille Saroyan, authority-in-residence of the lab, sat behind a desk on the main platform, sneaker'd feet propped up as she leaned as far back as the swivel chair allowed. Cam, who'd spent her entire salary on designer monochrome, structured dresses and still only owned enough to cover broadcast season, was dressed in the thoroughly shocking attire of jeans and a college hoodie. As she waited for the latecomers to arrive at the semi-annual meeting, she wiggled her toes happily, thinking that, at the very least, the winter hiatus gave her fashionably abused feet some quality time with Dr. Scholls.
("What's with the Michael Cera impersonation?" Michelle had asked, eying Cam's wardrobe choice, before Cam left the house. Cam resolved to Google the name and check with Angela to see just how badly she'd been insulted.)
The attendees who'd arrived on time were strewn about the platform, making use of the the lab equipment-turned-furniture to different degrees of appropriateness. Drs. Sweets and Wyatt were leaning against the railing, engaged in conversation. Actually, Sweets was conversing, Gordon Wyatt was just looking on with a knowing smile that said he found the boy's conversation amusing but he'd still always know Sweets' patients better than Sweets did. Sweets, clearly agitated, had tripped the infrared sensors that guarded the platform more than once with his annoyance-enhanced hand gestures. That's what happens when some genius gets the bright idea to build a high-security lab without real doors, Cam thought, not for the first time.
Angela and Hodgins were perched on an autopsy table, having hopped up from opposite sides so that they sat somewhere between back-to-back and facing each other. Usually Angela would have made a big to-do of being disgusted about sitting on a stainless steel table usually reserved for dead people (ick!) but the position made her most visible to the entire group as she put on a show of spinning a globe with her eyes shut and then extending a manicured nail to stop it on a spontaneous travel/relocation destination. So far she'd spun herself into the Pacific Ocean twice.
Also present were Jared and Parker Booth, Jared's fiance, Max Brennan, and Caroline Julian. The ever-precocious Parker had fallen into the habit of loudly referring to Max as "Grandpa Max" whenever he felt ignored since it was sure to draw indulgent smiles from all present.
Lingering near another autopsy table was the intern who tended to glance warily over his/her shoulder at the slightly misty figures of Zach Addy, Heather Taffet (aka the Gravedigger), and an infant in a bassinet. Other than the regular glances, the intern seemed equally torn amongst the desires to pray, remark on his sexual prowess, make googly eyes at Sweets, spout facts, make googly eyes at Angela, or tell himself just how unprofessional all the other impulses were.
In an oddly dark part of the platform were Tim "Sully" Sullivan and Agent Perrotta.
"So are we having this meeting or what?" Hodgins asked, especially paranoid tonight as indicated by his particularly tousled hair.
"Yeah, some of us have places to be," Angela said, spinning the globe, indicating in one fell swoop that she had a very active social life and that she was much too free-spirited to know just what activities were up next.
"We're still waiting on—" Cam was cut off by her ringing cell phone. "Dr. Brennan!" She switched the phone to the speaker setting since a problem as complicated as 'why is Dr. Brennan late' clearly called for the expertise of all the squints.
"I'm sorry I'm late, Dr. Saroyan," said Brennan's disembodied voice. "I'm either returning from examining really important bones in a third world country or neglecting all other aspects of a normal, healthy lifestyle to have dinner with Booth."
"You're not sure which, Sweetie?" Angela asked with concern since the basis for her friendship with Brennan was one-sided concern.
"Well, those are the only things I ever do outside the lab," Brennan said reasonably. "So it's highly likely that it's one of the two."
"Though there's been no visual confirmation to support it, it's also highly likely that you shower on occasion," Zach pointed out, a hideously scarred finger semi-raised to score his point.
"That's true, Dr. Addy," said Brennan's voice. "It's also possible that I was showering. I apologize again for being late."
"Hey, it's your name in the title Temperance," Sully said sullenly. "We'll just all wait here for your earliest convenience."
"Even though everyone likes Booth better anyway," Agent Perrotta put in in a tone that was both snide and suggestive.
"Wow," Angela said, sharing a very taken aback look with the other squints. "I remember you two being a lot nicer."
"Have you read any fanfiction lately?" Sully scoffed. "We rank marginally above the Gravedigger and only slightly below Gormagon on the evilness scale."
"Yeah," Perrotta said, rolling her eyes. "And we're only below Gormagon because he tricked Zach into almost becoming a serial killer."
"Hell," Sully said, throwing his hands up in disgust, "If the fans get their way we'll probably be serial killers by the end of season 5." He gave Perrotta an appraising look. "Wanna team up?"
"That could be hot," Perrotta replied, impressed. "We could recruit Heather over there and bury Booth and Brennan alive together."
"That's genius!" Sully exclaimed. "And if we get them emotionally vulnerable and give them enough air that they have time to finally get it on, we might actually earn some points with the audience."
"Please," Perrotta replied. "If we so much as injure one of them enough that the other has to remove some of the injured one's clothing to perform first aid, we'll have more fans than Cam, easy."
"Oh come on!" Angela said, taking her role as the voice of normal, sane behavior very seriously. "Neither of you guys ever showed the tiniest hint of being a villain and the Gravedigger is a known sociopath!"
"Well Zach didn't show any villainous tendencies either and look what happened to him," Perrotta argued.
"And at least it would get me a guest spot and end my indefinite stay on that stupid-ass ship in the Caribbean," Sully said. "It's that or turn pirate. And then I'd be up against Johnny Depp."
Disturbed, Cam hung up the phone and everyone resumed his or her posture of waiting until Angela shouted, "Booth!" She pointed at the approaching Agent, cleverly distracting everyone from the fact that her latest spin had dictated a trip to a desolate section of the Yukon Territory. (Having applied to art school late, she'd only narrowly avoided attending college in the Yukon Territory by sleeping with a few admissions officers. She'd long suspected that northern Canada had it out for her ever since.)
"Sorry I'm late," Booth said, briefly considering flashing his badge since that was his default way of excusing bad behavior. "I really needed a shower." He ran a hand through his wet hair. He was wearing an old t-shirt, jeans, his green jacket, and a slightly befuddled, puppy-dog expression, all of which somehow coalesced into an image that was the definition of sexy.
"Did he put you up to this?" Hodgins asked suspiciously.
"Probably," Sweets agreed. "If Dr. Brennan shows up with wet hair now that'll be enough to rile the fans up and get them through till April."
"I do believe you are entirely correct," Gordon Wyatt granted magnanimously.
"For once," Sweets said under his breath.
A minute later, Dr. Brennan swiped her ID badge in the card reader and strode onto the platform in her familiar, slightly awkward gait that was brought on by the fact that she, unlike Cam, had never quite master the highly impractical art of wearing heels in the lab.
"Bones!" Booth greeted enthusiastically like he was somehow surprised to see her in the lab. It was no wonder that she had spent most of a season treating him like he had the intelligence of a golden retriever or an especially smart fruit fly.
"So can we get this thing started already?" Hodgins asked anxiously, looking around like he thought he was being watched even more than usual.
"Easy there, big guy," Booth said, as calm as if it were his name in the title. He put no effort at all into actually putting the entomologist at ease since he was already hard at work on fulfilling his quota of lingering glances exchanged with Brennan.
"Easy?" Hodgins fired back. "Maybe for you. You're not the supposedly creepy, paranoid guy who only ever acts creepy or paranoid when it might make people think he's a murderer. You're not the one most likely to go the way of Zach when he decides the audience's heartstrings need to be pulled to distract them from the fact that you somehow haven't managed to seal the deal yet."
"Any one of us could go the way of Zach," Brennan said, not in an attempt to console Hodgins but to redirect the conversation to the task at hand.
"All of us?" Jared said skeptically, fully aware of his precarious position as a formerly alcoholic, newly engaged, relative of a main character. "I'm in prime position to cause interesting emotional turmoil. I pretty much have a target on my back. And you, Tempe? Your. Name. Is. The. Title."
"What?" Brennan asked with well practiced confusion. "'Bones'? I thought that was just because we used bones to solve murders."
Most of them didn't even bother with an eye roll.
"The point is," Brennan recovered. "None of us can know what's going to happen next."
"Some of us might know," Gordon Wyatt said cryptically. When they all looked at him in amazement he started his mantra of, "I'm just a chef," and proceeded to jot down notes that he would inevitably turn into subtle-yet-revealing cooking metaphors.
"Okay. Everyone, attention here!" Cam commanded, manipulating a remote to turn down the lights and activate the Angelator which had been moved onto the main floor for convenient viewing. "We are all here at the whim of our deity." The Angelator lit up to display the Fox logo which was just 'Fox' written in capital letters. "And the voice and executor of our deity." The image changed to show a pleasant-face man with graying hair and glasses. Him.
"We know you don't believe in deities," Booth said, cutting off a protest Brennan had never raised.
"I believe in Fox," Brennan replied in the tone that said he was being absurd.
"Someone has to," Max said and the room gave a collective snicker.
"It's only logical. The scripts come from somewhere." Brennan said. "And I'm better off with the deity than the first Creator. In her model, I'm a middle-aged alcoholic."
Undeterred, Cam went on. "Our lives are currently on pause and we'll spend the next few weeks on ambiguous and generally unacknowledged pursuits but in April we'll get started, once again, on life changing, and possibly life ending pursuits. We'll solve murders, we'll exchange witty banter, some of might try and actually succeed in getting married. It'll all lead up to some remarkable and astonishing event to close out the season. Then we'll spend another four months in obscurity, after which, as usual, we'll be expected to pick up our lives again and gloss over the effects of whatever Big Event ended the season. So, as is tradition, we've gathered tonight to speculate and prepare ourselves for the up coming spring premier. So everyone take a good look around the room and see what's on each other's minds because you know we won't effectively communicate anything important to each other come April."