Chapter 1 - Prologue

As he watched the plane headed for Jakarta take off, Dr. Lance Sweets knew he'd made the biggest mistake of his life. How could he have talked himself into giving up Daisy? He'd proved he was Mr. Adventure, hadn't he? And what was one year away from his career? He was younger than most of his peers, by several years. He could afford to take a year off.

Hell, he could probably convince the FBI to keep him on as a part-time, long-distance consultant. It's not like it was the nineteenth century. There were computers and satellites and, "Oh God, what have I done?"

He ran through the airport, not caring that all the TSA security people watched him with concern. Lance knew that there was only one way to rectify this mistake, and it meant blowing most of the money he'd saved up for the wedding. Well, if he didn't fix this, he wouldn't need that money anyway.

"Hey!" he cried, skidding to a stop in front of one of the ticket counters, the company logo matching that on the plane that had taken Daisy away from him. "I need a ticket to Jakarta, right away!"

The man behind the counter frowned up at Lance, eyeing the line of people behind him. "I'm sorry, sir," the guy drawled gruffly, "the flight to Jakarta just departed."

"I know!" the psychologist cried in frustration. "I want to be on the next plane. I don't care if it takes forty hours straight! I'm getting my girl back!"

"Our next flight to Jakarta," the clerk said, his voice carefully neutral, "leaves the day after tomorrow. I would ask that if you would like to purchase airfare, you please step to the end of the line."

"Day after tomorrow?" Sweets asked, his heart crushing under the weight of all that time. But then again, "Okay! Okay, that's perfect! Thank you so much," checking the man's nametag, he continued, "Mr. Kelly. Thanks!"

Amid the confused and angry expressions surrounding him, Lance Sweets sprinted back to his car. If he was going to do this right, there were preparations that needed to be made. Letters to write, asses to kiss, and luggage to pack.

He'd never been so sure of anything in his life.

Another man watched that plane take off, and his reaction was the opposite. Instead of convincing himself he'd made a mistake letting Bones go, Booth reminded himself that he had tried. He'd mustered the courage to tell her how he felt, and she didn't love him back. Or if she did, she wasn't ready for him. She'd probably never be ready. And so soon after having his heart crushed, it was a relief watching her go. It was a relief knowing he wouldn't have to struggle with seeing her every day, knowing she would never love him.

Then why was his face wet with salty tears of grief?

"So?" Dr. Jack Hodgins asked his wife, leading her into the apartment and throwing back the curtains to reveal the nighttime Paris skyline, complete with Eiffel Tower and everything. "What do you think, ma chérie?"

"Oh, don't call me that!" Angela squealed, throwing herself into Jack's arms, smiling broadly. "That reminds me too much of Caroline Julien, sweetie. And we're here to escape all that for a year, right?"

"Correct as usual," her husband grinned, kissing her soundly before showing Angela the rest of their extravagant Paris home.

As Camille Saroyan drove home, through the afternoon DC rush hour, she wondered just how long it would take the Jeffersonian to decide she was obsolete. The entire Medico-legal lab had been built around Temperance Brennan's successes. And without her, Cam knew she was just a coroner. A kick-ass coroner, make no mistake, but still someone they didn't need any more if their star team – Brennan, Booth, Hodgins, and Angela were all gone.

Oh, sure, they said they'd all be back in a year. But this was the end of an era. By this time next year, Michelle would be graduating and Cam would probably be working somewhere else. Maybe it was a good time to brush up her résumé and start dusting off all those old Justice Department contacts. Maybe the FBI could use a medical examiner? And if anyone had the chops to make it as a Federal forensic scientist, it was Dr. Camille Saroyan.

Daisy Wick watched the ground disappear (though it wasn't actually disappearing, she just couldn't see it anymore past the clouds) and tried not to cry. Just a few days ago, she'd been looking forward to getting married, starting a life with her Lancelot and making some of the most exciting finds in anthropological history. But now, without him supporting her, knowing Lance wouldn't wait for her, Daisy found it difficult to see the bright side of spending a year on one of the best career moves of her life.

And she was a bright-side kind of person.

When the pilot made his announcement, Dr. Temperence Brennan sighed and pushed the button to make her chair recline. This was going to be a long trip, and she found herself glad once again that Ms. Wick could not afford a first-class ticket like herself. It would be a quiet and restful flight, with plenty of time to catch up on the literature she would need to cite over and over again on this dig. No one would yammer on next to her, bugging her about this and that, just wanting to talk about nothing.

In fact, no one at all was seated next to her, and Bones thought it would be a relief. Instead, it kept bringing up memories of her aborted flight to China. Memories of Booth disobeying the flight attendants to come bother her, of them solving a crime together with almost nothing to go on, of him sitting in that chair next to her, making ridiculous noises.

He wouldn't stop her this time. Booth wasn't on the plane and he wouldn't keep her from another scientific discovery. In the five years they'd been working together, her publication rate had plummeted to only one or two major papers a year, where she was used to five or six. She wondered if her colleagues thought she was slipping.

Well, she would prove to everyone that she was still the scientist that commanded respect throughout the world. She would prove that she still had something to say about what it meant to be human.

Dr. Temperance Brennan would prove to everyone that she didn't need Special Agent Seeley Booth.

The patient made a few more notes in his book, cross-correlated a few more newspaper articles, and finally allowed himself to open his mouth in shock. Why hadn't anyone else seen this? How could the entire country be ignorant of this event going on under their noses (he was getting better at metaphor) when he'd found it in half a day, given an old stack of newspapers to archive for the hospital library?

Standing up and abandoning all but his notebook, which he clutched protectively to his chest in his gloved hands, the patient stood and approached the orderly standing guard. "Mr. White?" he asked the man, who had curiously dark skin for someone of that name.

"What is it Zack? Need another break?"

"I think …" he began, trying to meet the man's eyes and failing. He used to be able to do this. He used to be able to pass for almost normal most days. As long as he didn't have to open his mouth. "I would like to speak to Dr. Sweets, please."

"About your therapy?"

Zack thought about the question for a millisecond. He'd always been told that lying was one of the worst things you could do when engaging in social interactions. But a time or two, he'd seen Booth or Jack lie, and it appeared to be for social interaction's sake. To keep the peace, as it were. A lie, then, to make sure what needed to happen, happened. "Yes," the patient told Mr. White. "I have emotional issues, and I would like to speak to Dr. Sweets about them."

Nodding, the orderly led the patient from the library, towards the director's office. Pointing to a chair, he asked, "If I ask you to wait there, will you still be there in five minutes?"

"I'm very intelligent," the patient replied. "I can follow a simple direction."

Twenty minutes later, the patient had learned that anyone he cared to talk to had left the country, and everyone was planning to be gone for at least a year. If he was another person, the patient might have been offended that none of his people had mentioned to him that they were leaving. But he wasn't another person.

He was Dr. Zachary Uriah Addy, Ph.D., Ph.D., and he had to get out of here. Lives were on the line.

A/N: Hey everyone!

This is my response to last night's season finale, picking up where the episode left off, and I just had to post it right away.

Since it's just the prologue, this chapter is a little short and a little fragmented, but don't worry, things will get more narrative from here. The romantic relationships will be canon, so for those of you who were fans of "The Brothers in the House", no, there won't be any Booth slash in this fic. This is how I imagine the summer progressing, so it will be the same genera as the show, i.e. Mystery, Romance, Adventure, Humor, and so on and so forth. I'm hoping to finish before the show comes back on again in the fall and I get Jossed, again.

Thanks for reading, and please leave a review! I love any and all comments. Plus, my hit counter is broken again this week, so I won't know if anyone's reading unless I get reviews...