Disclaimer: not mine, or that AWFUL season-finale I just watched would have been SO DIFFERENT!
Title: Half an Hour
Summary: One bad half hour on a Tuesday morning.
A/N: ZANGST, but only in its vagueness. Except not really, at the end. BWAH! Sorry, it's really late and my brain is FRIIIED.
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).
It's 3:32 a.m. on a Tuesday morning when Sweets gets the phone call.
He only fell asleep two hours ago, and is less than thrilled to be jolted awake by the shrill screeching of his cell phone.
"G'mah?" he mumbles into the phone, trying to force his eyes open.
"Is this Dr. Lance Sweets?" a nervous female voice says, crackling with static.
"Mm-hmm," Sweets isn't really paying attention to what the voice is saying; he's just trying to keep from falling asleep again.
"We have you on the emergency contact list for one of our patients…?"
Suddenly, Sweets has never been more awake.
At 3:38, Brennan is startled awake by the less-than-welcome sound of her cell ringing.
The caller ID says 'Sweets', and she is highly irritated.
"This better be really important, Sweets," she grumbles into the phone.
"Dr. Brennan, you need to get up, now, and go. The hospital," Sweets says, seemingly unable to form a coherent sentence.
"The hospital?" she sits bolt upright, suddenly feeling her heart turn cold. "Why? What's going on?"
3:43, and Hodgins' phone rings.
Angela answers, as the phone is somehow on her bedside table as opposed to Hodgins'.
"Whoever you are, be prepared to be set on fire," she threatens half-heartedly, yawning into her hand.
"Angela?" the sound of her best friend's tear-filled voice has Angela's eyes popping open, and she starts shaking Hodgins' shoulder to wake him up.
"Sweetie? What's wrong?"
As Hodgins sits up, eyes still bleary, Angela hits the speakerphone button, and Brennan's voice fills the room.
Cam runs a hand through her hair and stares blankly at the clock.
'3:51,' she thinks. 'Why am I still awake?'
Her cell phone, never far from her side, lights up, and starts singing 'You Can't Always Get What You Want'.
Making a mental note to chew out Michelle for changing her ringtone, Cam picks up the phone with a sigh of, "Dr. Saroyan."
"Cam?" Hodgins' voice says, and suddenly all thoughts of Michelle and ringtones are gone from Cam's mind.
There's only one reason for Hodgins to be calling this early, with that tone of voice.
"Oh God. It's Zach, isn't it," she says. It's not a question.
"Brennan says he's at the hospital," Hodgins' voice is oddly stilted, as though he's trying not to break. "She says we should hurry."
Booth is asleep. Finally.
Day after day of catching bad guys and fighting crime tires you out, after all. Being a hero is exhausting.
So when his phone goes off at 3:59, he is less than ecstatic.
"It's 4 a.m.," he says into the phone without opening his eyes. "Somebody better be dead."
"Seeley?" Cam says over the line.
Booth's eyes spring open. Cam sounds… oh, this is not good. He instantly regrets the 'somebody better be dead', because now it might be true.
"Cam? What's going on? Are you OK?" he stumbles from his bed, looking for his pants.
"Seeley, something's… Zach's in the hospital. I know you don't really like him, but–"
"Whoa, why is he in the hospital? What happened?" Booth tries not to fall over as he shoves first one leg, then the other, into the first pair of pants he could find.
"I don't know, Hodgins didn't say, I don't think he knows. Just… we need to get there. Soon."
At 1:53 a.m., on Friday, Zach Addy's eyes open.
Instead of the bleak grey walls of the mental hospital, he sees the painfully-plain-white of a hospital. And not just any hospital.
This is the hospital he went when his hands were damaged. When he'd… been caught out as the Master's Apprentice.
Why is he back here?
He blinks, and is suddenly much more aware of himself.
He feels… very woozy. Lightheaded. Like his head isn't really connected to the rest of him.
With a great deal of effort, he shifts his head to the left, and his eyes widen at the sight that meets them.
On the chair closest to his bed is Dr. Saroyan. Her head is pillowed on his bed, and she is sound asleep.
The chair to her immediate left contains Dr. Brennan, whose head is resting on the shoulder of Agent Booth, who is asleep in the chair next to her.
Zach flops his head to the right, and his eyes widen even farther.
Hodgins and Angela are on the floor to his right, propped against the wall and leaning against each other, completely dead to the world. Near them, also leaning against the wall, is Dr. Sweets, also asleep.
Zach smiles a bit.
He remembers why he's in the hospital, now.
He probably should have mentioned the fact that he was coming down with the flu to one of the aides at the mental hospital, but he hadn't really felt like talking recently. If recently meant in the past six months, which, to him, it did.
Zach had been feeling abandoned by his friends, and had shut down, both emotionally and socially.
But his friends were all here, at his side, when he needed them most. He wasn't abandoned by them.
They had come when he'd needed them.
From the moment Dr. Sweets had answered that phone call, it had taken less than half an hour for word of Zach's near-death state to spread along the Jeffersonian-grapevine. And it had taken only another forty-seven and a half minutes for all of them to gather at the hospital, frantically demanding answers (Booth had even threatened to shoot one particularly obnoxious nurse). But Zach doesn't know this. He doesn't really need to know it, either. He just knows that his friends, his family, came when he needed them.
And it had really only taken half an hour.
A/N: Meh. Not sure about how I feel about this. It was actually really hard to write…. Eh. It is what it is. Enjoy it or set it on fire. Either way, review!