Disclaimer: not mine!

Title: Drifting Above

Summary: One of the cases from the POV of the victim. B/B, H/A, Z/C

A/N: No particular case. Set in AU future (Zach not in Loony Bin, Cam not dating stupid what's-his-name). I was in a weird mood. This is kind of odd. Oh, what finals do to my already-messed-up brain. And I don't usually do the science-y forensic-y part of this show… I'm a history major for a reason, peoples. So if stuff is off, or weird, or just plain stupid, I hereby formally apologize and throw myself at your collective mercies.

She died four months before she was found by a family in the park. She'd been well buried under snow and a thin layer of dirt, but the spring rains had exposed her rotting body to the world and the screams and squalls of the three children.

Naturally, her spirit had had a vested interest in seeing justice done, in hauling her killer into court. So the spirit of Julie Thomas had clung to her earthly remains, and now follows the body from the park to the lab four states over, in Washington D.C.

None of the people around her can see her, which she accepts as fair. She is dead, after all. She has also accepted that and is really only waiting around to see her murderer caught before she… moves on. To wherever.

She watches, intrigued, as the scientists swarm over her dead body, showing no squeamishness at the corpsified remains. Well, the FBI man looks a little grossed out at finding that her head and torso had been splattered into hundreds of pieces, and the artist just seems disgusted in general, but the other four act like they do this every day.

Which, she supposes, they do.

Julie quickly grows bored of watching them dig around inside her… insides, and switches her attention from the scientists' actions to their words.

Since she's dead, and not quite on the same… plane, or dimension, or whatever, as they are, their words are a bit fuzzy and distorted.

"…traces of copper on some of the skull and rib fragments."

"And there's another bit of skull. Zach?"

"Thank you Dr. Saroyan. Only about fifty more to go."

"Nah, there's only forty. At least."

"That doesn't really help, Hodgins."

Dr. Saroyan is the woman digging through Julie's fleshier bits (which grosses the spirit out if she thinks about it); Hodgins is the man who found the copper (from the pipe her jackass brother beat her to death with, but they'll hopefully figure that out later); and Zach is the man reconstructing Julie's skull.

Another woman comes over, walking straight through Julie, although she doesn't show any sign that she noticed.

"Any idea on the murder weapon?"

"Something with copper, maybe a pipe, I'm not sure."

"That's conjecture, Hodgins."

"Oh, lighten up, man. Your first case back! Let's have a bit of conjecture for once!"

Julie lets herself drift upwards a bit, so that she can have a better view of the lab.

The woman she now identifies as Dr. Brennan is poking around in Julie's remains, saying something with a lot of big words that Julie doesn't really understand. There was a reason she went into Political Science and not actual science in college, after all.

Dr. Brennan says something about going over the crime scene data again, and gestures for Hodgins to follow her. He does so, leaving only Zach and Dr. Saroyan at the lab table.

For a little while, they only discuss the case, although Julie notices that they both shoot cautious glances both at each other and their surroundings.

"I'm glad you're back. I... we missed you."

"I'm glad I'm back too. I… missed you too."

Silence falls briefly, and Julie watches, intrigued. There's something between these two….

"So, uh, you're still staying with Hodgins?"

"Yeah. Uh, yes. He… he kept the garage apartment the way I left it."

"Oh, that's good."

"Yes. I was surprised. I thought he would've gotten rid of everything after…."

Another moment of silence, broken by Dr. Saroyan putting her creepy-looking-body-dissecting-tool down.

"Zach, you know nobody blames you, right? You were tricked, plain and simple. It could've happened to anyone."

"No. I was an idiot. I shouldn't have listened to him, I should've talked to someone–"

"How were you supposed to know? He tricked you. Nobody's immune to being fooled, not even a super-genius like you."

"That doesn't change the facts. I listened to him, and innocent people were hurt, and killed. That's my fault."

"Zach, stop it. Don't blame yourself. We don't. Nobody does."

He shakes his head, and Dr. Saroyan walks around to his side of the table, putting her hand on his shoulder.

"We all still love you. We did even when we were stupid enough to think that you… did what you said you did. You're our friend, Zach."

He looks at her, and as Julie drifts above them, she can see something like hope in his eyes.

"Really?"

"Really."

She pulls him into a hug, and then goes to kiss him on the cheek. But, for some reason, he turns his head, and it's not an innocent-cheek-kiss.

"Ahem."

They spring apart, both turning bright red and determinedly not-looking-at the newest arrival to the lab platform, the artist whose name Julie still hasn't caught.

"Angela!"

There it is.

"Angela, we were just… um…."

They look at each other, eyes wide, and Angela laughs.

"Look, I just came here to see if Zach finished the skull reconstruction. I didn't see anything if you don't want me to have seen anything."

Dr. Saroyan and Zach turn even redder, and they mumble and stutter.

"So, I take it you're not done?"

"Um… no. Not yet. Sorry."

"That's OK, you can… take your time. I'm in no rush."

Angela smirks a bit, and walks away.

"Well, that was…."

"Yes. It was."

They look at each other, and they both smile hopefully.

"So, are you… doing anything later, Zach?"

"I don't think so. As long as I get the skull reconstruction finished, I'm free."

"Good. Go, reconstruct. Let me know when you're done. We'll… go get dinner, or something."

"Good."

Julie smiles to herself, and starts drifting after Angela.

She finds Angela talking to Hodgins, both of them leaning in close and speaking in hushed whispers.

"…really not that interested in bugs and crawly things, Hodgins."

"That's not what I'm talking about, Ange. You just… you have to see this, alright?"

Hodgins grabs her arm and starts dragging her towards the door into Dr. Brennan's office. Julie follows, curious.

"Ow, Hodgins, let go of my arm."

"Shh! They'll hear you!"

"They? They-who? Is this another conspiracy theory, because I'm really not in the mood–"

"Shh! I mean it!"

They peek around the corner, and Angela gasps in surprise. Julie drifts forward and tries to see what they're gawping at.

Dr. Brennan and the FBI agent, whose name she thinks is Booth, are wrapped around each other, kissing each other like it's the last day on earth.

Julie smiles a little bit, and listens to Hodgins and Angela whisper back and forth.

"Oh my GOD! Do you see that? Is that really happening?"

"Yeah, I'm pretty sure."

"About freakin time, huh?"

"I'd say so."

They grin, and look at each other again. Their heads are very close together, and Julie can see that there is something between the two of them as well.

'What is it with this place?' she wonders. 'These people are all pairing off, today. Instead of solving my murder.'

Fortunately for Julie's peace of mind, they all eventually switch their focus back to the case, although they all keep shooting each other significant glances.

As they grow closer and closer to solving her murder, Julie drifts higher and higher, feeling less and less connected to her remains and the people around them.

It's part of the process, she supposes. Dying and moving on afterwards is a long, complicated… thing. At least, that's what she's assuming. She's never died before.

The higher she drifts, the more it seems she can hear the voices of other people who were murdered, and then had their murders solved by these people in the lab below her. They're all murmuring and whispering about the scientists, the FBI man and the artist. How they've gone through fire and death to catch murderers and serial killers. And how they never seem to have things work out for themselves.

Julie Thomas smiles a bit to herself, knowing that, for some reason, this last detail will not be true for much longer.

'Must be something in the air,' she thinks. 'After all, it's springtime.'

And the spirits of all the murder victims are drifting above the lab, and they're all whispering about the Jeffersonian's heroes.

A/N: Umm. I don't like the ending. But… eh. It's not a ZANGST-fic, and I'm clearly not used to ending on a happy note, so…. Eh? Enjoy it if it's decent! Review please!