Disclaimer: not mine.
Title: Let Go
Summary: Hodgins and Zach, early season 3, each wanting what they think they can't have.
A/N: OK, so this is likely the last thing I'll put up for a while, seeing as finals are about to get started and I'm going to be SO INSANELY BUSY from now until May 7th. So, while this is it for now, expect more stuff starting, like, May 9th. Because I have a brand new addiction, or maybe just a new facet of my old addiction to ZANGST. Now it's Zach/Hodgins! Thank you cwgirlup for getting me addicted! Plus, her fic 'Changes' kind of inspired this one. GO READ IT, IT'S AWESOME!
A/N2: Just a note, I do not warn for character death, since I feel like it gives everything away. This note being here does not necessarily mean that there is character death, although there might be. It's now a standard author's note for all my stories, particularly the ZANGST ones. They're the ones that are most likely to involve character death (I think at least one actually had it, or at least hinted at it).
Hodgins had thought that he'd loved Angela. He'd thought, 'this woman is my life, my love, my ultimate happiness'. He'd been so hell-bent on falling in love with her, and on getting her to fall in love with him, that he'd ignored what was right in front of him. And now that he'd finally figured it out, it was too late. The person he'd really loved was gone.
That's not to say that he hadn't loved Angela. He had; he really had. But he loved this… other person… even more.
She had sensed it, and had been gracious enough to let him go without a screaming fit. She'd understood. She'd always been one of the most understanding people about… stuff like that. And, somehow, after all of that, they were still very good friends.
But that didn't change the fact that Zach, the man he loved, was gone. In Iraq, likely to die.
Yes. Zach. A man. He wouldn't have thought it himself, seeing as he was very fond of women through most of his life, but somehow it didn't matter. He didn't care that the person he loved was a man. So what? First of all, it didn't matter, because Zach was completely out of reach. Secondly… he didn't care that he loved a man. He would have loved Zach no matter what, and anyone who had a problem with that could go straight to hell.
He resigned himself to loving someone he could never have. He accepted it, and that knowledge became a part of him, ingrained bone-deep.
Then, one day, Zach came back.
He was… very different, after Iraq. Quieter, more withdrawn, maybe a bit… nervous?
Hodgins watched the other man from a distance, at first, acting as though everything was normal. Then, carefully, he began asking Zach if he was alright.
Zach persisted in saying that he was fine. Everything was fine.
But he was clearly lying.
One late night at the lab, Hodgins spots Zach asleep at a lab-desk. He grins a little, still dancing inside at the fact that the man he loved was back, and shakes Zach's shoulder lightly.
Dark. Loud. Noises exploding in his ears. People all around him screaming wailing crying dying –
Rough hand on his shoulder. Turn. See a gun pointed at his face. Throw himself backwards. Man with the gun and no visible face follows, saying something incomprehensible.
Panic. Blood pounding in the ears. Back hits a wall and can't move farther away. Can't escape.
Breaths come in terrified gasps, arms cover the head, body curls up and he cowers away, hiding from the gun.
No-face speaks again, sounding afraid. Still incomprehensible. Still with the gun.
Hand on his shoulder again. Smaller. Lighter. Bumpy, hot wall against his back levels, cools. Screams and explosions silence, and the gibberish that No-face with the gun (without the gun; there was no gun) has been speaking morphs into English, the harsh voice smoothing into something familiar.
"…freaking me out here, Zach. I'm not gonna hurt you. It's me, it's Hodgins. Come on, Zach. It's OK. You're OK. Breathe, man, breathe."
He blinks, and reality slides back into place with an almost-audible 'snick'.
He's at the Jeffersonian. He's not in Iraq. He's safe.
Hodgins is in front of him, staring at him with wide, worried eyes.
"Zach? Are you… back?"
Zach nods slowly, still staring at Hodgins.
The response 'I'm fine' perches on the tip of his tongue. He opens his mouth to say the words, but something in Hodgins' eyes makes him pause.
It's something soft, caring. More than caring.
Zach closes his mouth, and, after a moment that seems to last for years, slumps forward, shaking with long-pent-up sobs.
As Hodgins sits next to Zach, wrapping an arm around his shuddering friend, Zach's mind reels. The emotion in Hodgins' eyes was acceptance, friendship, and maybe something… maybe something more than friendship?
Zach leans into his friend (his maybe-more-than-friend; Zach certainly hopes so), and finally lets go.
Lets go of the fear and self-loathing that followed him from Iraq. Lets go of the doubt, the belief that no one could ever, would ever, love him.
He lets go.
And Hodgins is there to catch him.
A/N: D'AWW! With the schmaltzy, soppy AWW-ness! Wanted to finish before finals with something… not-depressing. Well, it is a bit, but not that much! Happy ending!