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[personal profile] argyle_princess
Millific to follow the Bones finale, written largely to relieve my feelings. Lance Sweets has no idea what’s about to hit him.



Just Desserts

It has been an odd start to Hannah’s college experience. Brennan calls late on the third day of classes to say that Agent Booth has been shot and that it doesn’t look good, and then calls back a few hours later to say that he has died. And then there follow two utterly surreal weeks, followed by the even more surreal funeral that isn’t. It takes a lot to surprise a girl from Neptune, California, but this does it – the sudden, disruptive arrival of . . . whomever that was, and Booth’s emergence from the Honor Guard, and the ensuing scuffle, and then Brennan clocking Agent Booth and storming off, with Angela and the squints and even Booth trailing after her. Hannah and the other no-longer-mourners stand there awkwardly, everyone clearly puzzled as to what the hell protocol on this sort of thing is, and then slowly start to drift away. Finally, with a shrug, Hannah walks over to the overturned casket and drops the white rose she’s still holding on it. She spends an hour at the Tomb of the Unknowns, almost deserted between changing of the guard ceremonies, listening to measured march of the guard, and then goes back to the metro station and her dorm.

Brennan calls that night with an explanation – something about national security and protocol and vetting and flushing out a criminal and Booth thinking Brennan knew the whole thing was an elaborate charade. The fact that Hannah can follow it at all is probably a testament to both Brennan’s natural ability to explain things rationally and Hannah’s Neptune-honed ability to accept events that would seem farfetched on daytime TV.

Brennan also mentions that there have been developments – she doesn’t elaborate more than that – in the Gormogon case, and that they’ll all probably be busy for the next few days.

Hannah is, surely, one of the few students at GW who can keep up with her friends by setting e-mail alerts on CNN.com on topics like “Temperance Brennan” and “Jeffersonian” and “Gormogon.” And so it is Hannah who calls Brennan when the news breaks that there’s been an explosion at the Jeffersonian medico-legal lab. It’s a short conversation – Brennan is waiting at the hospital to get in and see Dr. Addy, and there aren’t a lot of details. After that, Hannah gets a couple more calls, short updates, and she gets the feeling there’s a lot they’re not telling her, and couldn’t even if they wanted to. Besides, if things were busy before, they’re probably frantic by now.

When she turns her phone back on after Biological Anthropology, she has four missed calls and a message, all from Agent Booth. The message is ominous in its brevity. “Hey, kiddo, why don’t you call me when you get this?” She’s already headed for the metro station when she gets through to him, and she’s not surprised when he asks her to meet him at the diner.

He looks tired, to Hannah, and he doesn’t smile when she sits down across from him, and he doesn’t ask before ordering her a cup of coffee.

“Hey, kiddo,” he says. “How are you doing?”

“I’ve had better months, honestly. You?”

“I’m sorry about that,” Booth says. “I gave a list to the Bureau of people who were supposed to be in on, and Bones was on it. So she was supposed to know I wasn’t dead, and I figured – look, I’ve seen Bones try to act. I sort of figured the rest of you would figure it out.”

That, Hannah thought, was fair. “So why didn’t she know?” she asks, picking up her coffee.

“Ehhhhhhh, Sweets took her off the list,” Booth says.

Hannah sets the coffee back down very quickly. “Sweets? Dr. Sweets? Your partners’ therapy shrink? The one with the ridiculous questionnaire and the trust exercises?”

“Yeah.”

“Why?”

Booth shrugs. “Said she’d be able to handle it and with national security and all, and I was safest – the whole setup was more likely to work – the fewest people knew. Bones says she compartmentalized and dealt.”

Hannah’s eyes narrow. She talked to Brennan during those two weeks, and she wouldn’t call it “dealing” – at least, not healthily. And besides, she’s been in almost daily contact with Temperance Brennan for two years now, and it has definitely changed the way she thinks. In short, she’s heard about enough experiments to know when she’s hearing about another one.

“Anyway, I really am sorry you had to go through that, Hannah,” Booth says.

It’s Hannah’s turn to shrug. “I’ve probably been through worse. At least there’s a happy ending, right? Is that what you wanted to see me about?”

“No, it’s not.”

“All right,” says Hannah, when the silence reaches the point at which it seems to demand that she say something. “What’s up?”

“This story’s gonna break in a couple hours, and I wanted to make sure you heard it from a person and not that BlackBerry of yours, ‘cause it doesn’t have a happy ending.” He pauses. “We got Gormogon, and his apprentice.”

“Isn’t that good news?”

“The apprentice is Zack.”

It takes Hannah a moment to process that. “Wait. You mean – You can’t mean Dr. Addy. Can you?”

Booth nods.

“Are you sure?” Hannah asks, and regrets it immediately, because Agent Booth wouldn’t say that about anyone if he weren’t sure, let alone one of the squints. She starts to apologize but he cuts her off.

“Yeah, kiddo, I’m sure. We’re sure,” he amends, and Hannah doesn’t have to ask who “we” is. “He confessed. Led us to Gormogon, actually.”

“Is . . . is Brennan okay? And Dr. Hodgins and . . . ?”

“Bones and Cam went to meet Zack’s parents at the airport. Hodgins is with Angela. Are you okay?”

Hannah shakes her head. “Not really. Are you?”

“No.”

“What’s going to happen to Dr. Addy?”

“He’s cooperating with the investigation. Cut a deal with Caroline. He’ll go to a secure psych facility. For a very, very long time.”

Well, thinks Hannah, that’s better than a prison. Better for Dr. Addy, who Hannah has to say has not struck her as the type of person who would do well in prison. Probably better for the squints, too. Incarcerating criminals is all good and well in theory, but Hannah’s found that it gets into a grey area in a hurry when you move out of the abstract and into the world of people you know.

“Why . . . why did he do it?” It’s not fair, she knows to ask Booth to explain that, but she has to ask someone, and he’s the only one here.

Agent Booth sighs. “Because he met someone who twisted logic too damn well, and he made a bad decision – a series of bad decisions – and now there are consequences.”

Hannah’s suddenly very grateful for the coffee – wrapping her hands around it gives her something to do with them.

“Agent Booth?”

“Yeah, kiddo?”

“I’m really, really glad you’re not dead.”

“Me, too.”

* * * * *


It’s a terribly rough couple of weeks that follow, and Hannah says that as a person who is a connoisseur of rough weeks. It seems like you ought to reach a point at which life loses its ability to knock you on your ass. But if that point exists, Hannah hasn’t hit it yet. And given some of the things Hannah has been through, she suspects that means it doesn’t exist.

It’s all over the news for days and days and days. Hannah gets used to it, sort of. There’s a terse official statement from the Jeffersonian, but nothing from any of the squints but a few “no comments.” (Dr. Hodgins, in one frequently played clip, looks like he’d love to go all Sean Penn on the reporters firing questions at him on his way into the Jeffersonian, but Angela pulls him away before he can.)

The person she sees talking about it repeatedly is Dr. Lance Sweets, boy wonder psychiatrist. The initial interviews, the ones that get replayed in the first few days, are bad enough, though Hannah can forgive him for those, given that he didn’t know who he was talking about. But the later ones – the ones that are clearly about Dr. Addy – those make her mad, leave her muttering at the TV and scowly, worried about Brennan and Dr. Hodgins and everyone. After a week, Hilary refuses to let her watch the news.

It’s two weeks after it all comes out that Hannah knocks over a pile of magazines and photocopied journal articles and odds and ends. While she’s picking them all back up and sorting them back out, she finds Booth’s funeral card. And she finds that she’s really annoyed.

Because the past two weeks have been, in a lot of ways, hellish. But so were the two before that. And those two – the two they had all thought Agent Booth was dead – those two had been needlessly hellish (issues of national security aside). Brennan, at the very least, should have been spared them, even if the rest of them hadn’t.

Hannah takes issue with people who put you through hellish experiences for their own ends. And in Hannah’s opinion, Dr. Sweets has done just that.

Hannah is meeting Brennan for lunch today, and she’s early, because she’s still new enough to DC that she overbudgets time for the metro. Hannah has an ID and some sort of intern status at the Jeffersonian – something Brennan worked out. It’s not enough to get her into the secure areas or let her skip checking in with security, but it’s enough to get her to the lounge or to Brennan’s office without someone having to take the time to come and get her.

She goes, therefore, straight to Brennan’s office once she’s though security. If Brennan’s not there, she’ll leave a note and go hang out in the lounge. And Brennan’s not there, but some man is, with his back to the door.

“Um, hello,” Hannah says.

She recognizes him when he turns around. “Hi. Are you looking for Dr. Brennan?”

“Dr. Lance Sweets?”

“Yes. I’m sorry, have we—?”

He breaks off, abruptly if not surprisingly, when Hannah punches him. (Slapping, in Hannah’s opinion, is just too soap opera.)

Dr. Sweets, not exactly unexpectedly, reacts to this like something of a girl. “Owwwwww. Jesus, what the hell was that for?”

“You use my friends like lab rats again, and I’ll do more than give you a black eye,” says Hannah, and turns to go.

Agent Booth is standing in the doorway, with an expression somewhere between a gape and a grin.

“Hold on just a minute here,” Dr. Sweets says. “Who are you?”

Hannah looks over her shoulder but doesn’t break her stride. “I’m Hannah Griffith. Get used to me. I’m gonna be around for about four years. Hey, Agent Booth. Have you seen Brennan? We’re supposed to have lunch.”

“She’s in with Angela. And that, kiddo, was . . . kind of awesome. But don’t make a habit of punching people, okay?”

“Yes, sir.”

“And don’t start calling me ‘sir,’ either. You mind if I crash your lunch?’

“If Brennan doesn’t mind, I don’t.”

“Agent Booth,” says Dr. Sweets, gingerly touching his already purpling eye. “I’ve been waiting to meet with you and Dr. Brennan.”

“Sorry, Sweets,” Booth says, with a nod at Hannah. “Prior commitment.”

“You just made those plans—” Sweets starts to object, and then cuts himself off. “Fine, I can come with you.”

“Excuse me?” Hannah asks.

“This is unexpected,” Dr. Sweets says, still addressing Booth. “You and Dr. Brennan have a mutual acquaintance, not someone you work with, someone who is, in fact, quite an improbable relationship for either of you to have. Although, I find it interesting – and telling – that she calls Dr. Brennan by the same name that her friends use, while she uses your professional title. Which suggests—”

“Dude,” Hannah says, “‘she’ is right here. And she will hit you again if she has to.”

“I apologize, Hannah.”

“Ms. Griffith,” she corrects, and she sounds so much like her mother that it startles her.

“All I’m saying,” Dr. Sweets continues, turning his attention back to Booth, “is that observing your interactions with Ms. Griffith could help illuminate owwwwwwww,” he says, wincing as Agent Booth grips his arm and pulls him away, though not so far away that Hannah can’t hear them.

“Okay, Sweets, you’ve already been slugged by an eighteen-year old girl here today, why don’t you bow out while you still have some dignity left? You’re not coming to lunch, and you’re gonna leave Hannah alone.”

“Agent Booth, I really think that examining and exploring and understanding—”

“You are going to leave. Her. Alone.”

“Right,” says Dr. Sweets.

“Also, you and I are going to be talking later about just what Hannah meant by ‘lab rats.’” Agent Booth lets go of Sweets’ arm and claps him on the shoulder in a way that looks friendly only if you don’t notice that it almost knocks Dr. Sweets over.

Hannah notices. And she’d almost feel sorry for Dr. Sweets, but he sort of brought this on himself.

“So, Hannah, what are you and Bones thinking for lunch?”

“Thai, maybe.” Hannah’s in the mood for something spicy, and she remains skeptical about East Coast Mexican food.

“Sounds good. Just watch out, ‘cause Bones will eat all the mee krob.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.” Hannah hesitates, then says, “Things are okay here, right?”

“No, they’re really not,” Booth tells her. “Everybody’s pretty – they will be, kiddo, okay? They’re just not yet.”

Hannah, after a moment, decides to believe him, even if part of her doesn’t, and nods.

Things will be okay. Maybe not great, and maybe not even good, but okay.

And if she has to, until they are, Hannah is pretty sure she can find another excuse to punch Dr. Sweets.

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Hannah Griffith

June 2009

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