Disclaimer: nope. Not mine. If it was, Zach would still be here. Not in the Loony Bin.

Title: Faking

Summary: A look into Zach's head, post-Iraq, foreshadowing the madness that is 'Pain in the Heart'.

A/N: For some reason I seem to be on a roll with the Zach-Angst. It's ZANGST! Ha, I've invented a new word! Unless someone else already did.

...

When they ask him how he's doing, he smiles and nods, his traitor-mouth forming the words: "I'm fine."

He isn't fine, though.

He wants to scream, to howl, to weep and beg and beat his fists against the ground. But he can do none of these things.

He has always kept a rigid control of his emotions, his actions. It was a habit that has become more. That control is everything now, after Iraq.

The others believe him when he claims that he is alright. They stick to the image of him that they have, the unfeeling robo-man. They can't see how he's breaking inside.

He may already be broken. He can't tell.

He thinks that maybe he was breaking before Iraq, losing control of his life, his work. His mind.

Going to Iraq was a stupid decision, he thinks now as he buries his face in his arms. War was no place for him. War is no place for anyone.

He'd thought, before he left, that he was inured to death, because of his work at the Jeffersonian. He was, but just in the abstract. Bodies of people he didn't know, where he could focus on minutiae. And they rarely had faces when he got to them. Not the case in Iraq.

He'd seen people that he knew. Not all that well, but still. And every night, in his dreams, he saw the broken bodies again, only this time with the faces of his family, of his friends who were safely back in D.C.

He didn't sleep that much in Iraq.

When he had returned, he'd thought that he'd be able to sleep again. But the dreams had followed him from one hemisphere to another.

More than anything, he wanted to talk to someone. Not Sweets; psychology made him uncomfortable. And not Agent Booth. The older man had experience with war, but he had long ago made it clear that he didn't want to talk to Zach.

Hodgins and Angela were wrapped up in each other, in finding Angela's husband, so he did not feel as though he could confide in them. Dr. Brennan, though brilliant and insightful, was remarkably inept when it came to emotional problems, and she would not have been able to help him.

He didn't want to disturb Dr. Saroyan. She was always busy with… life, work, etc. Besides, confiding in her would… would be bad. For a number of reasons. That he didn't want to think about right now.

He has no one to talk to, no one to help him deal with everything that has happened.

So he sits at his lab-station, faking fine, faking happy, faking, faking, faking, and inside he is sobbing and screaming and bleeding and wishing for someone to make the nightmares go away, make everything just stop.

And no one notices.

Well, almost no one.

Emotional pain like this leaves one open to… manipulation. Being tricked. Anything to make the inward-bleeding-sobbing-screaming stop.

Even a hyper-rational, highly-logical, very intelligent person, like Dr. Zach Addy.

...

A/N: BWAH! Foreshadowing! Except not really, because everybody knows the travesty that is 'Pain in the Heart', even if you're like me and refuse to watch it. BRING ZACH BACK!