Well, according to this website, I first started this story in late 2010. I have no idea why it's taken me so long to update it but I'm just horrible with that kind of thing. I sincerely apologize. I went ahead and rewrote whatever I had published in hopes of reviving this story and starting fresh. Hopefully I can stay focused enough to finish the rest of it. Please do not hesitate to send me spam e-mails about finishing because I really need to be yelled at to accomplish anything.
This story takes place during those mysterious seven months that everyone was gone from DC. I was really unsatisfied with how the writers handled the situation between Cam and Sweets. They had the perfect chance to bond and grow closer while everyone was gone and yet it seemed like they hadn't seen each other in months in the season 6 premier. This is purely for my benefit because I was really upset that they hadn't kept in touch. Hopefully someone else finds benefit from this as well?
Alright then, rambling complete. Enjoy.
"Well, it's official..."
Lance was surprised. As if his poor heart could take any more damage, somehow, her words hit him like an eighteen-wheeler. Hard. He turned to her, trying to erase from his memory the fresh image of the airplane taking off of the runway with the last batch of his friends. Needless to say, it didn't work.
"There is no more Team Jeffersonian," she continued. Though her words hinted at her defeat, Lance could not help but notice how unaffected she appeared to look. Perhaps it could be that she was just one of those people who could take whatever life handed to them and deal with it without too much of a struggle. That, or she was just in denial. At this point, one could not be certain.
Thinking about how they had just lost the most valuable members of their team wasn't easy. It hadn't been easy before it happened and now that the time had finally come, Lance was certain it was something they would eventually just have to get used to someway or another. His theory was that it would not work well, at least not so soon, but that one day he (and Cam, included) would be better suited to coming to terms with their losses. Today was just not that day. Today he would go home to his apartment and sulk for the remainder of the night, because he was alone, and sulking all night is something that people are allowed to do while not in the presence of other people. Really, he had no doubts that things would be okay with time. The when was what he was worried about.
It wasn't only that his recent wife-to-be (now technically wife-not-to-be-anymore) had decided that he and their relationship meant less to her than her career did (which insultingly happened to consist of dead things), but his main system of support had collapsed and now the only people left to help him get through this difficult time was, well, nobody. Booth was off in Afghanistan training soldiers and fighting wars. Brennan was off in the Maluku Islands (with Daisy, of all people) digging through dirt. And he and Cam (his only remaining friend - yes, they were friends, weren't they?) had just said their goodbyes and watched as Angela and Hodgins' plane took off towards Paris. France.
He'd lost his friends, family, and the love of his life in one swift, painful blow. Right below the belt, he figured, where it hurt the most. He, of course, had stayed behind to focus on his work because, as his ex-fiancée had stated herself, he was no Mr. Adventure. Becoming a pearl diver in Indonesia did not fancy him, not even for a single year. He'd worked damn hard to get to where he was, at such a young age. To get people to actually respect him and his work. It would be foolish to give that up, he assured himself. And Daisy, she obviously wasn't ready for the kind of relationship he wanted to have with her. Maybe he'd pushed them too fast. It was true that his proposal had come out of nowhere. Had he driven her away? He wondered.
Lance did not want to follow her to Indonesia partly because he did not think it was fair he had to. It had been a great opportunity, he was aware, and he was admittedly glad for her to have been accepted on the dig, but he did not appreciate the way she'd just jumped on it without a second thought. At least to him it felt like she hadn't given it a second thought. The handful of pamphlets and information that she had forced upon him about the islands, and pearl-diving (his possible new job) did not make the idea any easier to digest. It all felt so unnecessary to him. At such a distressing time he could hardly get his mind to focus on anything.
With Agent Booth and Dr. Brennan leaving the Jeffersonian and the FBI, Lance was unsure of what there was left to look forward to. They were his two favorite patients, his two favorite people. Without them, their group did not function. The team was falling apart in their wake and Lance knew it and Dr. Saroyan knew it, and they could both see it coming long before it came and yet, there had been nothing done to stop it. "Only for a year," they had repeated over and over, hoping to quell their anxieties and make the numerous departures feel less painful. But in truth it had only served to increase his disappointment, his worry. He wasn't sure if Dr. Saroyan felt the same but he was assuming she was going through something quite similar.
What could they do for a year? How would they survive?
Lance did not know. Perhaps if his fiancée was still around, she could help him get through losing his best and only friends. But apparently she could care less about the commitment she had made and left him high and dry. He could not stop replaying the scene over and over in his head, like a broken record. She was walking away from him and the ring was shimmering on her finger. She had kept it. He believed she had the right to because he had given it to her, but the fact that he had already explained that they should not wait for each other, gave him the idea that perhaps then he should have gotten it back. Didn't he deserve to get it back?
For some reason he wasn't sure of anything.
Then that left Dr Saroyan, and Hodgins and Angela and himself. The two love-birds (who suddenly started to make Lance sickeningly jealous) had decided that breaking in a new forensic anthropologist and FBI agent did not sound particularly appealing to them, and announced that they were leaving to Paris to spend a year exploring on an extended honeymoon. Cam and Lance had both been crushed by the news, having high hopes that the four of them could have forged some sort of wolf pack and braved the world together, as if they were a couple of children who'd just lost their parents.
Hodgins and Angela packed their things and left a day later. Again, Lance felt there had been no second thoughts.
And then there were two, he mused to himself. Two left where they rightfully belonged, left to try their best in continuining to do whatever it was they did without the help of the people they usually did it with. It was just the two of them and they both felt a weight on their shoulders. It said that it was up to them to salvage whatever bits of the team they had left (which really, aside from the interns, was them two) and make sure that it survived. The interns were familiar faces and their presence would help fill the void left behind from the other members who had given up on them and fled. Though Lance knew that he still had people he was familiar with left to see, it just didn't feel the same and it only made the situation more difficult to swallow.
He felt his eyes begin to water. He blinked, doing his absolute best to rid his eyes of the nuisance tears that had suddenly ambushed him. If Cam noticed how close he was to breaking down, yet again, she didn't mention it. She simply heaved a heavy sigh, like he'd noticed she'd been doing a lot lately, and motioned towards the airport's exit.
"Should we go have a drink?"
Lance nodded numbly, thinking that to be the best idea he'd heard in what felt like weeks.
"...and now I'm not sure what to do," Cam said, setting her second or third empty glass down onto the counter. By now it did not matter how long they had been there, nor how many drinks that they'd had. Neither of them cared. There just wasn't any time to care about those kinds of things.
Lance frowned. He forced himself to think up some words of motivation, doing his best to keep looking interested. It wasn't that he didn't care about his friend's problems. It was just that his mind continued to wander to other things and as best as he tried, he could not help it. By the looks of it, it seemed that Cam too was aware of this, and she was okay with that. It didn't seem that she was even listening to herself. It was as if she was only talking about these things to save them from the pain of having to talk about how their friends had abandoned them.
"Just...give her some time." He suggested, half-heartedly. "I'm sure she'll come around."
"It's just, Michelle's such a good girl," she continued, as if she were explaining it to him for the very first time. "And she's smart, you know? She's so smart and she just...she shouldn't be wasting her time doing stupid things like that..." There was a pause. "I just want her to do well in life. I only want what's best for her."
"I know you do," he said. "But what I think what you have to do here is let her make her own mistakes. You know, let her learn from them herself. Sometimes it's the only way to get people of that age to understand what you're saying. If you try to shield her from everything, then she's never going to learn, and she's never going to gain the experience that you wish she already had."
Cam agreed. They'd had this conversation a thousand times before but his reassurance was, as usual, just what she needed to hear, even if he was practically a kid himself.
"You're right," she told him, nodding her thanks to the bartender who'd just served them their new drinks. She cupped her glass and gave herself a moment to gather her thoughts. "You're...always right. Thank you."
"No problem." He'd made it known many times before that he would always be there to listen whenever she or one of the rest of them needed to talk about anything. He was rather enthusiastic about that kind of stuff, being a psychologist and all. He hoped that she would not hesitate to come to him now that they were all alone together. He hoped that she would continue to need him unlike the way the rest of them had.
"No, I'm serious...thank you," she told him, sincerely. "For everything. I know listening to people complain all day about their problems isn't always fun, and you've already heard me say all these things before. And yet you still listen and still have wonderful advice to give, and it's always exactly what I need to hear." She produced something between a laugh and a sigh. "I don't know how you do it. Sometimes I think you'd make a better mother than I do."
He laughed at that.
"But, anyway...I just wanted to thank you. For everything. You're a good friend."
"Thank you, Dr Saroyan." He replied, feeling genuinely important for the first time in too long. He wrapped his hands protectively around his second or third glass and almost smiled. "I appreciate that."
"You're quite welcome, Dr Sweets."
She brought the glass up to her lips and he followed her lead. When she set her glass down, she broke the somewhat comforting silence, staring into the alcohol as if it housed the script for what she was supposed to say next.
"I'm glad that you're still here."
"I'm glad that I'm here, too." He agreed, rather surprised.
"It's gonna be one hell of an adventure breaking in a new forensic anthropologist, and entomologist..."
Lance turned to her, chosing his words carefully. "Do you already know who is going to be substituting?" He hadn't wanted to say "replacing" because there were no other people on the face of the earth who could ever replace the Team Jeffersonian's original team members, and they both knew it well.
She shook her head, "I have honestly no idea. But I do know one thing."
She cradled the cool glass in between her hands, feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of having to build a new team up from scratch. Things were about to get a whole lot different around the lab, and she honestly wasn't sure if it was for better or for worse.
"This is going to be one long year. "