Hey, so. I'm indifferent about this one. I'm still testing the water with these characters, but hopefully I did Sweetness some justice. (Yes, I call him Sweetness, and no, you may not follow my example! He's all mine.) I just think he's a very interesting character. Despite being a psychologist, he's very insecure of himself and often lets his emotions take over his rational psychological bumbo jumbo'd reasoning. I mean, hey. He's so young, and his family's just left him, and his fiancée's just left him, and that's a lot to handle. He doesn't have time to think of reasoning - he's thinking like what he is. A broken hearted kid who's alone in the world again. I'm worried about how he's spending the year after the SF, so here is my idea of his dark brooding/pep-talk. It's not really what I planned on writing, but I was trying to get a muse going and this was born. I just can't wait 'til the new season starts, and Sweetness doesn't get hardly enough love in this fandom, so I hope you enjoy it. I've got a few more ideas in store that hopefully work out. Sorry it's so negative! The end is kind of bittersweet. Oh, and if you've seen the promo pics for S6, then you might find one of the things on his list a little humorous. I don't know, I was a little shocked to see his Hodgins-look, but hey, it kind of grew on me.

Yikes, sorry for blabbing so much. I'm a rambler...

Disclaimer: The diner ain't mine, Bones ain't mine, neither is Sweetness, but a girl can hope.

Lance Sweets stumbling into the Royal Diner was hardly an uncommon thing. He went there on an almost day-to-day basis, usually accompanied by one of his friends/co-workers. There was something extremely comforting about it there. The atmosphere, the smell, the sounds - everything reminded him of all the good times he'd shared with them. But when he stumbled into the diner that late afternoon, there was nothing comforting about it. Nothing comforting about it at all.

He'd ordered himself a coffee and seated himself in a booth by the window. He always liked people-watching. Not in a creepy stalker kind of way - he was a psychologist after all! He lived for human behaviour and all things related. So with his mind reeling, he decided to stare out the window and do pretty much nothing but watch. Watch as the people around him continued on with their lives like normal, as if nothing had changed. Lance knew things had changed, and they had changed tremendously. It angered him, almost, that all these people did nothing to acknowledge it. He knew it was irrational - they couldn't have known, of course - but he wanted so badly to be mad at someone other than himself. He wanted to call these people out for still being able to go on, as if they knew exactly where it was they were headed, while he was left questioning everything.

Why had his family left him? How could things have ended so fucked up? And why the hell had he not agreed to follow the love of his life? He'd let her leave him. He hadn't liked it, she hadn't liked, yet it had happened somehow anyway. In the smallest kinda way possible, he was thankful that she was gone. He would never (ever) admit it, but he wanted to punish her, wanted her to suffer like he was suffering because he knew that she would be sorry she ever thought about leaving. After he'd asked her to marry him, for godsake! And she'd accepted, and she'd taken his dead mother's god-damn ring and she'd taken it along with her on her stupid (okay, not stupid, he knows - he's just angry as hell) trip, as if she expected to just come back and pick up where she left off. Him, with a broken heart. She was just too nice not to feel bad about hurting anyone's feelings. He figured she would see how wrong she was thinking it was the right thing to do, and want to stay home with him instead. To help him deal with knowing that the rest of his friends had left him. But then she'd left him at that horrible time, declaring that her career was more important than him, and she knew that she was hurting him bad. But she left anyway. He could and couldn't understand how and why she could and would do that to him.

She wanted him to go with her. She wanted him to quit his job for the year and follow her to Indonesia while she dug up ancient remains with her idol. She wanted him to dig for pearls. But he wasn't Mr. Adventure - that's what she had said, right? So naturally he would have to turn down the 'exciting' offer. Much too adventerous for him. Oh, and they could elope! How romantic. No, he wanted his whole family there. The only family he'd had since his parents' passing. Agent Booth (who decided to wander around Afghanistan), Dr. Brennan (who was in the Maluku Islands with his ex-fiancée), Hodgins and Angela (the sort of newly-weds who decided to spend the year exploring the wonders of Paris), and Dr. Saroyan (who was the only person who'd decided to stay behind in DC and continue to live her life the way her life should be lived - near him). But no, Daisy didn't want that. She wanted Indonesia, and pearls, and whatever. She didn't even care.

Lance muttered a quick, distracted 'thank you' to the waitress who delivered his coffee and grabbed at it with no hesitation. His mind was so pre-occupied he didn't seem to notice how badly his fingers were burning. He just sipped away, relishing the warmth it gave his cold body/soul, hoping to God - which he wasn't sure he believed in, anymore - that it would solve all his problems.

A couple passed by the window - looking much too happy, Lance decided. He could only remember the times he and Daisy walked hand in hand, right into that very diner and sat in the very booth he was seated in alone. He could only recall the laughter, and kisses, and smiles that actually reflected how good his life was and how he was genuinely happy. But now with everyone he cared about (minus one, of course) gone, he wasn't sure what was happy and real and what wasn't. Enjoy it while you can, he silently told the couple, who'd mockingly chosen the booth beside his. It's going to end eventually.

Was he totally wrong in his decision? Yes, he knew very well that it was a great oppurtunity for her. He knew it was a dream of hers coming true. He had no right to hold her back from that, right? From her dreams? It was selfish, the thought. But she was his, wasn't she? He should have been number one in her book of priorities - just like she was his. But was she really his number one? He wanted to say yes, but he knew it wasn't completely true. If she'd been his first priority, he might as well have gone with her without a complaint. He should have given up his dream for her sake. He wanted nothing more for her to be happy. He wanted them to be happy together.

But then again, it was selfish of her to expect him to give his dreams up for her gain. She was wrong about it - wasn't she? - in wanting him to drop whatever he was doing - which he really liked doing - and just become a pearl diver on the other side of the world. Why, because he had done a little swimming. So what? He'd worked damn hard to get his life where he'd wanted it. After the years of abuse, after the years of mockery. He'd studied and studied and done his best and he was proud of where he'd gotten, especially at his age. Proud of where he'd ended up when people had told him he was going nowhere. He knew he could show them they were wrong - he and his parents were happy that he did. So she had no right to demand him to give that all away! No, he'd worked way too hard. He wasn't going to give up on any of it.

Of course, it had only been a year...but still, he couldn't leave Cam all to herself. They didn't have too close of a friendship, at least not as close as he'd had with Daisy or with Booth or with Brennan, but Lance was determined to change that. To keep in touch, to help her out on cases and with Michelle and the stressful situation of having to live with the fact that her entire team had just up and left with hardly a second thought. She had new interns to break in, she needed help. He was going to be there for her, like he (really) hoped she would be there for him. Because he knew she liked him for the person he was. They were friends, after all - no, they were family. He wouldn't abandon his family like they had abandoned him. No, sir. Lance Sweets was not that kind of person.

But then again...

No, he told himself. He'd made the right decision. He wanted a serious relationship, one more serious than Daisy was ready to handle. He didn't want to be settled for. He wanted them to both know for sure it was what they wanted. Lance, personally, knew it was Daisy Wick he wanted from the start. He wanted her, for him, forever. He thought she wanted him too, but she wasn't ready to give herself up completely and he would not settle for her either. No, if they couldn't do it correctly then they weren't going to do it at all. So he'd told her he would not wait for her. He'd said for her not to wait for him, either. He thought it was best. He figured they might as well move on, so they wouldn't have to be alone. He didn't want either of them to suffer. He wanted them both to be okay.

But the ring, damn, should he have asked for it back? He'd given it to her, so it rightfully belonged with her. But she wasn't going to marry him, anyway. She'd left him. They weren't even together anymore - in any sense. Surely she should have given it back. It would have been the right thing to do. But he wouldn't have let her give it back, if she'd tried. He wanted her to carry it around with her, to feel like he was still with her and a part of her life. He wanted to remind her how he was always there, and how she'd given all of that up. So, yeah, he wanted her to suffer.

But the thought sounded so wrong in his head, he slammed his cup of coffee down so hard the hot, dark liquid tipped over the edge of his mug like a tsunami of conflicting emotions and left him feeling more pathetic than ever. He was a psychologist. He should know how to deal with his feelings. He'd been dealing with his feelings his entire life. He'd been through pain before - been through things much worse than this. Hell, he'd had his own father whip him and leave him to die. Surely this situation did not/could not compare. She was just a girl, after all. He hadn't known her for extremely long. He told himself he'd never let a girl cause him so much damage. But she was the one for him and he knew it. And she knew it, he hoped. So all his psychological reasoning was wiped out of him and replaced with confusion and misery and exhaustion.

He didn't know who he was mad at more: Daisy, his friends, or himself. Daisy, for breaking his heart right when he'd given her all of his. His friends, for leaving him in the dust to do their own things like they didn't care whether he was in their lives or not. Himself, for sitting back and not doing anything about it. He'd tried to prove to someone - himself, mostly - that Mr. Adventure was inside of him somewhere and that his then-fiancée was wrong. Heck, he'd helped Hodgins steal a damn car back for his father-in-law. And yeah, so, he had no right to stop his friends from doing things they wanted to do. He was happy for them, he really was, and they'd assured him that they would be back and that the year was going to pass by quicker than he'd know and all these things to make him feel better though they knew that he would be a mess. They hoped he wouldn't, he hoped he wouldn't, but the day wasn't even over yet and he felt much worse than he expected he could.

He'd connected with these people. He saw these people every day. He hadn't had many friends, he hadn't had a perfect track record, he was kind of annoying but they loved him and they'd shown him that someway or another. And he'd given every last bit of himself to make these people like him, to respect him. He wanted their approval much more than he liked admitting. He had suspected at first that they had only felt bad for him. He didn't like the idea, because he didn't want or need their pity. He didn't want to be coddled for the life he'd lived before. He wanted to be liked for himself and nothing else. And maybe his awesome profiling skills (jedi mind tricks, Booth had called them) too, but he wanted nothing more than be liked for the person he was. They'd used his skills when it was useful for them, but then they'd discarded him like some new toy. But things changed naturally, and he wanted things to stay good like that for the rest of his life.

But of course, life and karma hated him and decided to take things away only when they grew consistent. He didn't want to think about it, anymore. He didn't want to think about how he was falling apart. He didn't like admitting that, for a psychologist, he was extremely insecure and broken and not nearly as stable as he probably should have been. Not that he wasn't stable enough - he'd led a healthy life, so far. He didn't want to go as far as, say, offing himself. He was smarter than that. He wasn't that desperate. These people, who'd taken everything from him and then left him with nothing in return, were coming back. He was going to have to wait for them, a day at a time, counting down every hour, every second, every breath without the people he loved and needed back so badly. He'd never felt so alone since his parents had died.

He momentarily wondered when exactly he'd grown so negative. Been hanging around Fisher, too much, he mused. He wiped up his mess of coffee, finished the rest of his cup and reluctantly came to terms with his loved ones being gone. There's nothing you can do about it now, he told himself, except to do your job and live your life and just wait for them to come back. They're coming back - they're all coming back. They said so themselves.

Satisfied with that one hopeful thought, (out of the million other dark ones brewing in his very soul), he brought out more money than necessary, left it on the table and hurried out of the diner before the happy couple could make him sick. If he was going to live a life (just for a year, remember) without Agent Booth with him at the FBI, or Dr. Brennan or Dr. Hodgins, or Angela or even Daisy at the Jeffersonian - or at home with him - then he sure as hell was planning on taking advantage of what/who he did have. He needed to grow up, to not rely on everyone else for so much, and prove that he wasn't as juvenile as his thoughts were.

It's okay, he assured himself. I'm okay, I can do this. It's only twelve months. It's not like I've never been alone before.

As Lance Sweets walked to his car - not really looking enthused, but trying so hard to be - he began to think...

First thing on my List of Things To Do While My Friends Are On Vacation? Call Dr. Saroyan and invite her to lunch. He mentally recited. Second thing, get a cat...or a dog...or a fish, or something. Name it something cool, like Leroy, or James Bond - unless it's a girl, of course. If it is, I'll have to name her something like...Sarah...or, something that sounds good. I'll have to see when the time comes. Third thing, grow a beard. Yeah, that's definately going to take me all year. I better start that off at number one...

And suddenly, the world looked a little less dark and little more bright, and he was pretty damn sure that everyone knew he was going to be fine.