Competing with Cam
Disclaimer: I own nothing... Obviously. Just playing in someone else's sandbox for a bit.
Summary: An email from Zack brings Brennan home early just as Cam is about to be hired by the Jeffersonian. A competition for the boss's job and Booth ensues. AU.
A/N: This story assumes that all events in season 1 are canon. The story picks up just before 2x1's "Titan on the Tracks" and should be considered AU after that point. As ever, annoying flames will be fed to my pet dragon. A good piece of advice... if you don't like the story (be it premise, writing style, plot, characterization, or INSERT RANDOM GRIPE HERE), stop reading, and hit the back button. It's that simple. :)~
Prologue – Birth of the Competition
Zack Addy sat on the main platform in the Medico-Legal Lab of the Forensics Department of the Jeffersonian Institute in Washington D.C. The last few weeks of the late summer months had been somewhat more sedate than those of the prior year. Zack's mentor and friend, Dr. Temperance Brennan had left the Jeffersonian on one of her regularly scheduled trips to Darfur at the beginning of June. It was now late July, and in anticipation of the new academic year, Zack knew certain plans were being made by Dr. Daniel Goodman. It surprised no one that Goodman had been tiring in recent months. The continued bureaucratic pressures of running a makeshift department out of one lab, in addition to his other duties as an institute director, had been weighing on him for quite some time. Goodman had missed the beginning of the annual field season, and Zack observed that every time he got an email or a phone call from some other friend or colleague who was actively pursuing archaeological pursuits that the tension increased.
While it was now late July, and the traditional archaeological season for many crews was winding down, Goodman had had an epiphany some days ago. At some point, he had burned out. He woke up each morning, got out of bed, and reluctantly came into work because duty compelled him to do so. There were many things other things he wanted to do beside get up each morning to come to work at the Jeffersonian. That one fact grated at him. The logical, rational part of his psyche admitted that no finer institution existed in the country. Very few could challenge its stature world-wide. Thus, Goodman knew it was time for a break. And, he intended to take one. When an email came from one of his former colleagues from the University of Arizona, relaying to Goodman the update that the field director had suffered a medical mishap, Zack's sedate summer schedule abruptly ended. When Goodman realized the removal of the project's primary investigator put the remaining months of the excavations based at the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center at risk, he pounced.
Within forty-eight hours, he had met with members of the Jeffersonian's Board of Directors and explained his plight. Arrangements could be made to cover the majority of the administrative duties of Goodman's workload so that he could take a sabbatical to go to Arizona and fill in at Crow Canyon. However, there was one glaring exception to that decision. The one exception stemmed from the nebulous pseudo-department that had been created in the past year by one Dr. Temperance Brennan. Prior to Brennan's consultant work with the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Jeffersonian had occasionally subcontracted its lab facilities or a single expert to such local law enforcement agencies as occasionally requested. The past year had changed that standard practice when Brennan's efforts had effectively created an active forensics team who worked out of the Medico-Legal Laboratory on site in DC. The board had been indulging Goodman on this one issue for months, and his desire to have them grant his sabbatical came with a condition. Either formally create and populate a new department with the requisite administrative personnel or disband Brennan's makeshift team and get her back to focusing on the concerns of the Jeffersonian's own collections. It went without saying, however, that whichever choice that Goodman made, it was his responsibility to see that choice was enacted prior to his departure on August 1st.
Goodman knew Brennan. He knew her better than most of the other administrators of the Jeffersonian did. From the beginning, Goodman knew that the option of disbanding Brennan's team wasn't viable. For some reason, establishing the team, and working on cases with Agent Booth, made Brennan happy. A happy Brennan made other people in the Jeffersonian happy. She continued her work with Booth, while also working on her own work related to the Jeffersonian's collections simultaneously. Essentially, Brennan had spent the past year doing two jobs for the price of one, and had been less antagonistic and less unpleasant - according to other Jeffersonian employees, at least – during the process. Thus, Goodman knew that disbanding the team wouldn't be a good idea, particularly because he did not want to have to deal with the good doctor's own reaction if he tried to do so. That piece of information meant that formalizing her team's place within the Jeffersonian as a new department really was his only option. So, Goodman began the motions, quietly, but on a firm schedule, to make the change while Brennan was gone during the summer.
Her absence proved to be fortuitous for him. By the time that Brennan returned, the new infrastructure would already be in place. Goodman knew that Brennan hated change, but he much preferred the idea of her being confronted with the end results of his efforts in one foul swoop, as opposed to her complaining during the entire transition. And, so, after consulting with personnel at the FBI to determine what type of changes might more easily facilitate the new department's continued working relationship with that organization, since that relationship had effectively prompted its creation, Goodman began the hiring process for a new department chair. Really, a good administrator would be the key to making things solidify as the new department came into being. Goodman knew that he needed someone with some type of a scientific background, but also the ability to interact with a multitude of individuals in varying contexts, handle the pedantic administrative issues related to personnel and budgetary concerns, and bear the bureaucratic pressures of the Jeffersonian's Board. All this had to be accomplished before said candidate could devote their attention to personal work interests and goals within the lab. As such, Goodman never even considered Temperance Brennan for the job. By the time the job had been announced, applications solicited, submitted, and screened on such short notice, Goodman really only had one choice – and, her name was Dr. Camille Saroyan.
Now, how much of this did Zack Addy actually know? Not a tremendous amount. He could only see and observe minute amounts of data from his small watch post on the forensics platform. What he did know, he shared with Hodgins, and they pieced together what they could since Hodgins was better at getting information from living human beings than Zack was.
When they were done, Zack mused, there was only one clear thing that had been gleaned from their efforts. Dr. Goodman was hiring a new person to take over their team at the Jeffersonian. Since only one person could be in charge at a time, logically, it stood to reason that Dr. Brennan had been removed from her position for some reason. Zack usually was uncertain of inferring many things when it came to personal preferences and motivations. However, he felt fairly certain that Dr. Brennan greatly preferred her current position at the Jeffersonian above any possible alternatives and would not willing leave it of her own devices. Ergo, for some reason, her actions must have resulted in Dr. Goodman deciding to replace her with someone new. Surely, as her intern and assistant… and friend, such a piece of news deserved personal clarification.
Opening up his email program, Zack began to type.
Dr. Temperance Brennan sat in her brother's beach house in North Carolina. The past few weeks had been an experience that she savored. She enjoyed reconnecting with her brother, and, in a way, her past. The leisure time also allowed her to spend a great amount of time on pleasurable pursuits, such as reading books with little or no relation whatsoever to the field of forensics, swimming and enjoying the natural beauties of the beach, and sleeping. After the traumatic experience she had endured the previous May with the discovery of her mother's remains, she needed a break. However, that had been almost six weeks ago. And, now, six weeks later, she had read all the non-forensic books she had wanted to, she had talked to Russ and made all the decisions and plans they really could, she had slept more than she needed to, and she was ready for her sojourn to come to an end. Revitalized and metaphorically refreshed, Brennan ached to be in the lab again, working with a set of remains and the entire process that came with that experience.
Thus, one morning as Brennan contemplated how best to effect her early return to the Jeffersonian, she received a curious email.
Subject: Your Replacement
Date: July 28, 2006 08:23 AM EST
Dear Dr. Brennan:
Dr. Goodman has just informed Hodgins, Angela, and I that your replacement will begin working at the Jeffersonian on August 1st. I am very unsettled about this development. I am now considering my options since I will no longer be working with you per the terms of the agreement of my doctoral fellowship. I do not know believe that your replacement (Dr. Camille Saroyan) possesses the suitable credentials to continue to mentor me here at the lab given the fact she is not a specialist in osteology, but pathology. When you return, I hope we can discuss the status of my dissertation in forensic anthropology. Even though you are no longer on staff at the Jeffersonian, I have come to value your opinions and advice. I hope you are enjoying your vacation.
Zack U. Addy
Brennan stared open mouthed at the email for a minute. Then, she closed it, and frowned. She reread the email several times to make certain there was no possible way she could have misunderstood Zack's information. After careful consideration, Brennan was confident that the information that Zack's email imparted could only be interpreted in one way, the way she originally understood the message. As such, somewhat annoyed that obviously someone had done something without her approval in her lab simply because she was gone, Brennan didn't have to think twice when she booked a flight from North Carolina back into DC for departure the following morning.
Standing in front of his desk, Dr. Temperance Brennan had spent the past fifteen minutes demanding answers from Dr. Daniel Goodman. While externally he remained his cool, calm, and normal self, internally Goodman was continually wincing and grimacing. Three days. He had been so close. Just three more days, and Saroyan would be here, he would be gone, and then, whenever Brennan did find out, he would be so far away that he would only be able to be harangued by email. *So* close.
"While I accept your explanation about Zack's misinformation that I had been fired, and I further understand the issue did appear to randomly manifest itself during my absence, I find that I am not only annoyed, but offended, Dr. Goodman, that you would not even consider me for the job," Brennan said. "It's my team. I am already familiar with how things are done here and to what effective purpose."
"Yes, Dr. Brennan, you've explained that, but, as I've said, the candidate pool has already been assessed, and our final choice has been made. We made her an offer, she accepted, and so the decision is final," Goodman said.
"I was under the impression that Dr. Saroyan does not officially start her tenure as an employee of the Jeffersonian for another three days," Brennan observed.
Goodman nodded. "Yes, that's correct."
"Then, I don't see why it's not possible to let me speak with the hiring committee, and at least interview forthe position myself. Logically-" Brennan continued confidently.
Again, externally, he remained impassive, but internally, his winces and grimaces grew.
"Sweetie, can you explain this to me one more time," Angela asked.
"Yes, of course," Brennan said. "Goodman hired this new person without even consulting me. When I pointed out the fact that my qualifications and standing within the Jeffersonian hierarchy, when combined with the professional prestige I possess in my own within my fields pf research, should at least merit the chance to interview for the position, Goodman told me that his decision was final. I then called the Chairman of the Jeffersonian Board of Directors. I explained the situation, I expressed my displeasure, and when I had finished my conversation with the chairman, he was quite contrite about the entire situation. He said it was the first that he had heard of the specific details and assured me that my having not even been informed about the position so that I could apply if I wished must have been pure oversight. He came all the way down to Goodman's office with me to address the situation. When the two of them had completed their discussion, Goodman apologized to me and said that it was inappropriate that I had not even been given the chance to apply for the position. He also explained that while he couldn't simply fire Dr. Saroyan since her contract has already been signed, Goodman did agree to a compromise since the lab would benefit from having our own skilled pathologist on staff. We're going to take ninety-days as a trial period. Dr. Saroyan will handle issues related to pathology, I will handle issues related to osteology, and we will divide the administrative responsibilities. At the end of the ninety-day probationary period, the individual who has proven to be the most effective leader will retain that position permanently."
"Okay," Angela nodded, after a minute. "Translation: you blackmailed the Chairman of the Board of the Jeffersonian Institute into browbeating Goodman into giving you a chance to prove that you're better at being the boss than this new pathologist?"
Brennan thought for a moment and then said, "Yes."
"And you don't see anything wrong with that, Bren?" Angela asked.
"No. Why should I?" Brennan asked with such a straight face that, had it been anyone else, Angela knew they would have been joking.
"No reason," Angela said with a wave of her hand. She then pursed her lips for a moment before she said, "Well, at least that should make the next few months more fun."
"Fun?" Brennan asked. "Why?"
Angela said, "Oh, you know, Bren. You, this new outsider, in the lab, competing…for dominance."
"Ahh, you mean two alpha females battling for supremacy of the pact, to use an anthropological analogy," Brennan said, a smile of comprehension on her face.
"Yeah," Angela said. "Something like that."
"Well, I can see why that might be entertaining to some from certain perspectives. But, I don't really see how this Dr. Saroyan is really any threat to me when I am clearly the more appropriately skilled individual for the job," Brennan remarked.
"Like I said," Angela replied, with a small shake of her head. "At least it will make the next few months more fun… and interesting. *Definitely* interesting."