Summary: Jack Hodgins has made a very rational decision. He's never going to sleep again. Spoilers for The Corpse on the Canopy. Pretty dark ending, in a way consistent with the episode itself.
A/N: Loved the latest episode, but man, they really enjoy pushing all of these characters to the breaking point. Especially Hodgins. Poor guy. So here's some comfort for him, topped with more angst.
By most outward appearances, it's a night like any other. It's dark and cold and there are stars out, though he can't see them from here. But this night is not like any other, because Pelant's escaped again. Booth wounded him, but wounded isn't dead, and that's the only way Hodgins wants him.
Part of him wishes he'd killed him when he had the chance, even though that would mean Brennan might never have been cleared and he'd probably have been thrown in prison. Part of him doesn't even care about those reasons, because at least if he'd killed him when he could have, that monster never would have been able to touch a single hair on his son's head, and that'd be nearly worth it.
His son is sleeping now, in a crib Jack can't look at without his stomach lurching. He double checked the room and all was clear, though Pelant's shadow still clings to every wall. He feels impossibly grateful that Michael Vincent is still young enough to not know what happened, to not be able to tell real monsters from the fake, still young enough to be comforted in his mother's arms and rocked to a peaceful, nightmare-less sleep.
Needless to say, he'll be checking in on him every hour.
Angela is watching television when he comes down to the living room. Every inch of the way she holds herself screams of exhaustion, but when she turns her eyes to look at him, they are alert and anxious. "There's no news on anything that sounds like Pelant," she says, "And to be quite honest, I got sick of watching." She nods towards the television, on which a rerun of Friends plays.
He settles onto the couch beside her. "You should go to bed, Ange. It's been an...exhausting day."
"I can't sleep. I'm afraid to close my eyes."
He remembers saying those words to her once, after the Gravedigger put him and Brennan in that car, in that hell. He once thought that was the most afraid he could be. He was wrong then, because that was before Angela had truly become his entire world, before Michael Vincent had taught him what love really is. Now, he'd die a thousand times over if it meant they could both be happy and healthy and live long, full lives. Not that Angela would let him, of course.
"He came into our home," she whispers. "A home should be a safe place, and he just violated it. I see him every time I close my eyes, and I think about him with Michael Vincent..."
Hodgins swallows tightly. He hates Pelant with such a raw passion, hates him for being the sick bastard that he is. And he hates himself for not being able to protect his own family. He wishes he owned a gun, or better yet, had a full-time security team stationed around the house. If they could have known just a few short days ago, he would have spared no expense. But thanks to Pelant, there is no expense to spare. Just another loss, just another violation of their lives, and to Pelant, this is a game.
Jack sighs, puts his arms around his wife. She leans into his comfort. "I know, honey. But we're going to get him, and he's not coming back. I promise you, we just won't let him. You and me can handle anything, remember?"
"Yeah, I know. Just wish we weren't tested so often."
He chuckles. "Agreed."
She looks at him, eyes soft, sincere, needy. He's never known her to be needy. "Can we sleep in Michael Vincent's room tonight?"
He smiles, glad that for once, he's not the one to suggest such an overprotective act. "Yeah. We can take that mattress from the pull-out couch, put it on the floor, have ourselves a little campout. Might be the closest thing we get to a vacation for a long time now."
She laughs, presses a warm hand against his cheek. "Baby, Paris ain't got nothin' on this."
And so that's what they do – they drag the flimsy mattress to Michael's room, set it down on the floor with a large pile of blankets. She takes the side nearest Michael, he takes the side between both of them and the door. No one is getting past him, not tonight, never again. Angela snuggles up close to him and closes her eyes, but even so, it takes two hours before her breathing settles into the even rhythm of sleep. Hodgins himself keeps his ears strained for any creaks of the house, and manages to pick up the almost imperceptible but reassuring hum of his sleeping son.
He keeps his eyes open. As much as he wants to reassure Angela, as much as he tells her she needs to sleep, it doesn't mean he has to. He's made the very rational decision to never sleep again. There's too much at stake, too much to lose. His wife, his son. It's a mantra inside his head, keeps him burning, keeps him steady even as fatigue sets in.
If he gets another chance to kill Pelant, he knows he will. He'll hold onto his throat for just a few seconds longer, he'll force the light out of his eyes. He'll plan ahead, find a way to stump even Booth and Brennan. He'll hold on just a little longer.
But for now, he watches shadows play across the walls and strains to hear all the sounds from outside this room. For now, he just needs to keep his eyes open.