So although no one seems to like Cam as much as I do (especially with how underplayed but darkly hilarious she is), I still decided to write this. Give it a shot. My original plot for it came to a resounding crash with the twists of season six. I'm hoping I'm more inspired by reviews ;) and by where this season takes us. If she's still just as underplayed in this season, it'll be that much easier to devise a fictional background that's relatively plausible. Oh, this is T but I'd say like PG14 and up. Nothing bad that I foresee, just don't want irate readers! OK. I'll stop talking now. Happy reading! Oh, and review. Every time.
"Salty," the word was whispered huskily, his finger still hovering near his mouth, after capturing and tasting a bead of sweat that had been slinking down her neck with the ease of a panther.
"Sweet," he grinned, his voice even duskier, causing her to shake as his finger came up dripping again; it was too hot to hide from him. The air conditioning was beyond saving but she didn't care. The bar lights had been swimming with neon angels but this devil had taken her home and her overpowering crushing loneliness had let him do it. Everyone was gone; why shouldn't she have someone to take home to bed?
He didn't have a name. He didn't ask hers and she didn't bother him with those things that mattered so much in college but ceased after twenty-five. He instead, with a positively satanic grin, so much like that blonde devil that haunted her favorite novel - Sam Spade, leaned in an began to nibble on her shoulder. She shivered pleasurable and gave a clipped, short cry when he bit down a little too hard. She pushed him away briefly, but he went for her throat, like a dog for the jugular with surge of vengeance that sent a thrill of fear up her spine and simultaneously made her pant. The swift nips went from deeply pleasurable to a tad past vanilla. She winced and tried to push him back with a half deprecating laugh. He didn't budge and she shoved harder, irritated. He wouldn't get anything if he was going to be rude; hell, she wasn't asking him to be an angel. Lucifer here hadn't even bought her dinner.
He growled, with a sound that chilled her blood. It wasn't the growl of an aroused man, but rather the growl of a starving beast. Panicked now, and actually fearing for her safety, she immodestly pushed him from her. Her legs and feet against his chest gave her enough leverage to throw him from her skin long enough for her to register two things. One, he had ripped the skin from her neck, and she was bleeding. The second – his eyes had gone as red as her blood, and fangs had slunk out of his gums.
"What the –" she panted.
"I told you you're delicious," growled the demon, and he fell upon her again, his suddenly sharply clawed fingers ripping the entrails from her abdomen, her skin flaying under his razor tongue. She screamed, but there was something clogging her throat. She wasn't sure if it was her own blood.
Cam came awake with a start, feeling the scream lodged in her throat and she rolled out of bed and vomited into the handily placed trashcan next to her sheets. The cotton was soaked with sweat, saturating both her body and her hair. She shuddered, terrified by an irrational nightmare buried in half truths from her subconscious.
"Goddamn Hodgins and his stupid goddamn clam bake," she huffed, hugging the shaking plastic in her arms, her own weak bile such a foul smell that she was caught retching up air.
What a way to wake up on a Monday morning.
Sunday afternoon and night had been spent in a reuniting circle with her newly returned peers. Angela was glowing and chatting up Brennan with her fashionista haircut, while Cam laughed as Hodgins teased Sweets mercilessly. Booth had been moody; what was new. She sourly refused to think of him.
It had been the newlywed's idea to hit up a newly opened bar in downtown DC, where a delicious pizza place had just gone out of business, vanished like a lightning bug squashed beneath the body of some newly decomposing corpse in a marsh. Cam ground her teeth as she ground the shampoo into her hair. She had to stop thinking in such graphic metaphors. The bar was a clambake joint, owned by a young couple from Maryland who brought the East Coast version of gumbo to the foreground of the nightlife. They had all shared a shrimp platter much too large for a group twice their size. There had been peanuts and dark beer, chicken wings and cocktail sauce. But that had been nothing compared to the easy comradely and the hours of related tales, falling back so easily into a family that had been wrenched apart, leaving Cam alone. Leaving her...well, abandoned was not a word she was inclined to use. Or to admit.
She wondered briefly if anyone else was as sick as she was; she didn't understand why she was so completely nauseated. But it convinced her to swear of shrimp for a while, and to never revisit that bar again. Cam resolved not to say anything at work; if it was just her that had food poisoning, it must have been that smoke she had snuck between drinks. Booth was constantly telling her they would make her sick. He had been right. Damn it. Damn him.
She showered in a sullen anger, mulling over Booth's new love. Lover. Whichever. This wasn't how it was supposed to go; Cam and Angela had been planning their triumph for years now, each silently cheering their champion on in the epic quest of Booth and Brennan.
But if she was honest with herself, Cam knew why she was so upset, having nightmares and the like. The reality of having every single one of her friends pick up their lives and leave – including even the young psychologist with whom she rarely spoke – reminded her forcibly that even her home life was ending. Michelle was a senior now; in a scant 2 years her new life with her foster daughter was ending and Cam was two years older and two years lonelier.
It was startling to realize that she had no one beside herself. She had no close family – Felicia was….well…Felicia just was. She stopped, frozen with a hairdryer pointed at her white lace bra, leaving her hair to flap dully around her pallid features, still dizzy and fatigued from her nightmare and the shrimp. What would happen to Michelle if Cam died? Or was injured? Michelle only had her, and Cam had been a poor guardian in planning ahead, or thinking of her future and her resources. She had managed to stack up a little college fund in two years, and of course Andrew had left some for his daughter as well, but they weren't scot free by any means. Already Michelle applied for scholarships alongside her college applications. It twinged at Cam's heart to realize she hadn't planned at all for her foster daughter's future.
It was probably for this reason that she was most upset. Cam knew that in the back of her mind, she had already picked out Michelle's godparents. She hadn't formally asked them yet, but she wanted to circumvent Michelle ever living with irresponsible Felicia. Cam swallowed and forced herself to button her blouse and stare unflinchingly at her puffy eyes.
She methodically and mechanically covered her weakness with smooth cover up, applying lotion liberally under the dark circles beneath her eyes, and livened her pasty cheeks with rouge. It was battle armor, of sorts, armoring herself against the truth that she had been planning to ask her best friend to look after her daughter, and his affluent and intelligent partner. Because deep in her heart, Cam believed they were destined to be "partners" in a very different sense. They would be the parents she would want Michelle to have in any event. Brennan was certainly wealthy enough, if a little odd. But now…Cam wanted to growl. Booth had thrown a wrench in the works. What a meathead. Absolute thug. She would love to pistol whip him upside one temple and scream down at him to get his head on straight, at least for her sake. So finally someone could work out their life better than she could work out her own.
She squared her jaw in the mirror, packed her purse and slung herself into her car with careless grace in heels that could literally kill a man, given proper leverage. As she drove, she constantly checked her eye makeup in the rearview mirror, and clumsily made sure her perfect teeth hadn't suddenly fallen out from a demon eating her face off or rotted away from the turbulent bile.
She knew why she was dreaming of death; she had actually picked up the very same devil close to six or eight weeks ago, with the result of a very pleasurable one night stand. He had been a gun in bed, and polite enough about slinking out in the morning. Cam didn't know his name, and she didn't want to. He had held her close when she had felt the whole world had pushed her away. She had declined to mention the encounter to anyone. She almost laughed at the thought as she walked her power walk – her intimidating walk to battle – into the lab. Who would she ever tell?
"Salty," crooned a voice, and Cam jumped clean out of her skin, reminded forcibly of her dream in two respects. She spun, eyes wide, to see, with some disgust, Angela feeding her husband a pretzel at a time, as if he were a begging dog. They laughed, and Cam saw the bright lights wink off their gleaming white teeth as their smiles met in a kiss. Disgusted, Cam forced herself to bury her heart in paperwork at her desk, trying to swallow her pitiful need for human contact. She was stronger than that for God's sake. But underneath, she quailed that she wasn't.
She used to fantasize that while she was crying, a handsome man would sweep her off her feet and tell her that she enchanted him, even at the lowest point in her life. She always secretly yearned for a confidant, even if it was a woman and not a soul mate, in which she didn't need to confide, but who would guess what was troubling her long before she knew herself. Basically, she wanted Superman. Cam chided herself and tamped down on any more ideas of being noticed. She had come to realize early on in the family at the lab that people only noticed her failings when they were big and messy. She hated big and messy; it was humiliating and exhausting. The idea of getting into a heart to heart only sounded good in theory. In reality, Cam knew how much that would suck. Jesus, she could hardly imagine pouring out her soul in great sobs to a stranger without listening in return and sitting idly, wringing her hands like a 30s con artist. The reality of opening herself up to someone else's scrutiny – especially to a point where they knew her better than herself – was painful and unlikely. She didn't ever want anyone looking that close. Who knows what they might see, or what she wouldn't be able to conceal? No, she said decisively, accentuating it with a smack off a sheaf of papers on the hardtop next to the keyboard, far better to be isolated and get nostalgic pains of loneliness than to open yourself up to that kind of suffering. How completely humiliating.
"I…could come back later," said the tentative voice and Cam looked up, so far dragged into Sherlock's Great Grimpen Mire of her own mind that she hadn't even been aware of Hodgins hovering in the doorway.
"What?" she said blankly, quickly trying to remember if she had been muttering aloud, a bad habit of hers, but one developed by much time alone and in the presence of the silent dead on lab tables at 1 am.
"I said, it's lunch time, and we're all gathered upstairs. You coming?"
"Oh." She plastered her usual tight-lipped smile to her face. "Yes, yes of course. I'll be right there." Predictably, Hodgins left without waiting for her as Cam stood and unearthed a Tupperware container of Italian food she had ordered with Michelle almost a week ago. It had been congealing in the fridge long enough.
She was hyperaware of the silence that descended as soon as her clacking heels resounded on the tin stairs up to the lounge where the makeshift kitchen was. Everyone watched her ascend the stairway and Cam concentrated her gaze on putting one foot in front of the other. She smiled brightly and slid into her customary place at the end/head (whichever way her petulant inner voice had construed it that day) of the table.
Hodgins sat on her left, Booth on her right. The two couples always sat side by side. Cam tried to let her features remain carefully detached as she remembered Booth and Brennan were not exactly a couple, thanks to the third wheel Booth had so irritatingly ingratiated in between them. Cam swallowed her bitterness. Their lives – love or otherwise – did not much intertwine with her own other than professionally. She need not agonize. Perhaps, said a snide little voice, that's exactly why you do. Cam, in no uncertain terms, told that little voice exactly what to do with itself as she savagely microwaved her food.
The conversation resumed again as soon as the microwave clicked on. She sank next to them, container in front of her, and concentrated on eating without spilling on her usual dress. There was some small talk, before someone brought up the previous night. Hodgins grinned.
"Glad you said that Booth," he bent at the waist, retrieving something next to a foot, "since I brought the leftovers!" With a grand flourish, he unearthed a large takeout container and snapped off the lid. Cam, panicked, soothed herself with the resolve simply to not have any; judging by the zeal that the others upheld while serving themselves, she reasoned she had been the only one that was sick. Brennan, a vegetarian, likewise abstained. Cam, who had not said anything, jumped a foot when she turned and less than an inch from her face swam a platter held by Hodgins.
"Ladies first," he said cheerfully, but she barely heard him. The stench roiling from the shellfish was so strong, it turned her stomach in an instant; the noodles she had just consumed revolted and with dread, Cam realized the ferocious headache she had been sledgehammered with would not allow her the grace to retch in private. Gagging, she fell from her chair, her high heels peeling themselves away from the soles of her feet, and scrabbled on her hands and knees to the nearest trashcan, mere feet away. She dimly heard the exclamations of surprise and worry as she heaved into the bucket. She didn't realize she was crying until big, cool hands stroked at her forehead.
"Hey, hey, easy there Cam. Easy."
"I'm okay," she choked, as her body convulsed around her spinal cord, the rest of her organs blissfully empty, and the burning sensation of vomit no longer plaguing her rancid, ravished throat. She wanted to die, and not from physical pain. This is exactly what she had been hoping to avoid; a big messy scene where her pathetic emotions got out of control. Irritated with Booth beyond reason, not out of any jealousy, but out of anger that neither Booth nor Brennan recognized what they had or their luck of friends, she fled, still shoeless, to the stairs.
"It's the shrimp," she gasped, hand poised on the banister. She turned to gain some composure, to salvage what little dignity she could in face of her weepy eyes and acrid tongue and was briefly aware of the shocked disarray of people half standing, when she felt the world spin. The lack of food, the sleepless night, the stress, the illness all caught up with her and forced the blood in her brain to over flood her orbital cavities. She cursed under her breath.
"Fuck. This cannot be happening," right before she bonelessly flew down the metal staircase with all the grace of a clipped bird, and crashed into a senseless heap at the bottom.