Author's Note:

Well here it is, my very first fanfiction....hopefully it works out.

Much has been written about Sweets' background in regards to the abuse he suffered as a child. But not as much has been mentioned about the "loving, wonderful people" who adopted him and the life he had with them. This story explores that.

Warning: Heavy angst and fluff.

Updates will be slow at first. I have about half the story written out, but I need to research and revise to improve future chapters. Oh and of course, I do not own Bones or any of its characters.

Years Zero--Despair

Lance Jensen never could remember his mother.

His father, Andrew Jensen, mentioned her once in a while. Usually it was accompanied by an angry look or numerous curse words. Often his father seemed furious with a photo in a cheap, plastic frame of a woman with large, brown eyes and long, wavy hair that fell past her shoulders. Andrew would lay the frame flat so that the picture could not be seen most of the time. Then one day he picked the picture up and smashed it, frame and all, into bits and threw it into the fireplace, burning it. As Lance watched the pieces of the photo curl and crackle in the fire, he wondered if that woman was his mother.

However, he didn't wonder about it much, because that night his father threw him into the closet and didn't let him out for two days. Right after he broke Lance's wrist.

At four years old, Lance already knew a lot of things.

He knew that crying, yelling or screaming would not get him out of that closet any sooner. He knew that eventually he would be let out and they would see a doctor—never the same one twice—to fix his injuries. He knew it was best to keep his mouth shut and let Andrew say whatever he wanted to the hospital staff, no matter how big a lie it was. He knew that when he got home afterwards, he would have to clean up any sort of mess he might have made in the closet if he wanted a chance to eat again or to even be allowed to hide out in his room.

He knew that life was simply this repeating cycle of pain, isolation, and humiliation.

Lance tried to find simple joys. He found that he enjoyed watching people. He would spend long periods of time staring out of windows, watching people interact with each other. He often wondered who these people were and what they were feeling. He would watch television if his father wasn't home, but he didn't dare do that when his father was there. Lance did anything he could to stay out of his way. One of his father's girlfriends took the time to teach Lance to read because she thought he was 'a little doll'. Her crude lessons led to Lance being able to read books for elementary students at age four. He loved to read and relished the times he could find a book to savor.

It was usually Andrew's girlfriends that took care of Lance. At the very least they would try to cook him decent meals—otherwise it was cereal and microwave dinners for him—and some of them would buy him some clothes or toys. Lance would often spend most of his time under the cot he slept on. He played there and tried to read his books there. Sometimes he even slept there. Anything to keep him out of his father's sight.

The worst times were when Andrew didn't have a girlfriend. Then all his attention was on Lance and that was never a good thing for very long. Either he got upset with Lance for the slightest infraction or his father blamed him for his woman troubles.

"No good woman would want to look after a stupid kid like you," he would shout. "You're worthless."

It didn't take long for Lance to believe it himself. 'Why am I here? Other kids' daddies love them. But not mine. Why doesn't Daddy love me? What did I do wrong?' He tried hard to not cry when these thoughts filled his head. When he did cry, it often led to his father finding ways to 'give him something to really cry about.'

After a while he learned to not cry anymore. At least not while his father was around. He would grind his teeth, hold his breath, or even bite his lip until it started to bleed while his father punished him. But he would not cry.

"You're a messed up kid," Andrew would mumble when he was done with Lance. What Andrew didn't know was that Lance would still cry. He just waited until he was back under his cot or when he was locked in the closet. When he was alone, he would let the tears come.

Lance knew vaguely that soon he would be turning five years old. It was nothing to look forward to. It was just another way of marking time. While many children felt like time stretched out endlessly in front of them, Lance knew his time was running out. Among all the things that he knew that was perhaps the scariest one.

But a part of him was beginning to wonder if he really cared about that at all.