DC's been hot since schools let out. And it kept getting a little warmer every day, until this week it's somehow a hundred and four according to the thermometer on the bank that also tells him it's 6:03pm. He has nowhere to be, and no one to go home to, and like most of the time when he's not at work, he wonders what he was so worried about leaving behind if he went to Indonesia.
He debates doing a lot of things, like picking up his dry cleaning, or renting a movie, but he winds up at Founding Fathers because it's familiar and because it's where he's always been ending up lately.
Sweets loosens his tie and throws his jacket over the chair next to him. Rolls up the sleeves of his shirt and orders a beer. There's pre-game coverage of the Yankee game on ESPN, and he pretends to be watching it because he's sitting by himself in a bar and there needs to be a reason to stop this from being depressing. To stop it from being a thing that he could put a name to without any of his degrees.
The bottle is cold in his hand and his palm is wet from the condensation and he's thinking about the names of the bones underneath that Daisy would recite to him while slowly running her index finger over the skin there. He's stuck on metacarpal, almost feeling her touch in the crux of his thumb, when someone's asking, "Is this seat taken?"
He looks up and Cam's standing there like she's not sure asking was an appropriate thing to have done.
"Dr. Saroyan, please, of course, join me."
He feels awkward when she tells him to call her Cam. When he notices she's not wearing any lipstick and her eyes look tired.
"How are things at the Jeffersonian?"
"Busy," she says, holding her wine glass almost against her cheek. "Boring," she adds on, like it's just occurred to her.
"Mmm," he murmurs while swallowing. "I know the feeling."
The conversation turns to other things. They talk about Michelle and the interns and order some food and before Sweets knows it, the Yankees are closing out the 8th inning ahead.
"I had a nice time tonight," she says, while counting out her portion of the tab.
"Thank you for joining me," he says, waving her cash away and putting it all on his debit card. "I've been..."
"Lonely?" she fills in, leaving the bills she counted out on the table, like if he's not going to take it, their waitress will.
"Yeah, that I guess."
They make plans to do it again next week.
He wonders on the drive home whether this is the start of a thing. If it matters one way or the other.
Caroline tries Elaine for the last case they worked on, under a manslaughter charge.
It's a good case, they gave her everything to get a conviction, and the confession certainly doesn't hurt, but when it's over, it doesn't feel like it should.
Yes, justice has been served, but Elaine Akusta doing her time isn't taking a dangerous criminal off the streets. It was an accident, what happened there. There's so many other people she feels like she should be putting away.
But Caroline doesn't know how to find them.
Dr. Brennan has written to him all along. About cases and journal articles and conferences, and he has always appreciated it. He keeps the letters with the ones his mother sends, although her's tend to be more about things he has no interest in. The church picnic or her snapdragons or the boy his sister's dating who she's too good for. But he keeps them, just the same, because Angela's told him that sometimes you can take comfort in immaterial objects.
She also told him that Dr. Brennan was chosen for the site on the Maluku Islands, and that she left, eventually, for the length of the project. He's not surprised at all that she was chosen, or even that she went. Sweets seems confused by it when he visits, but Zack understands that the work comes first, above all else. And something like this, well, it goes beyond even work. It's a privilege.
Now, Zack gets letters from Dr. Brennan saying she wishes he was there with her while they're excavating. That she'd send him a femur if she could. She can't imagine him not getting to see it.
If he was prone to wallowing, he'd think the same thing himself. But at the moment, he just puts the letters with the others and cheats at poker by counting cards with the other patients on his floor and accepts this is how his life needs to be.
In the beginning, she's so caught up in the job. The digging and labeling and detailing that she just falls into bed exhausted every night, too tired to even dream. But then they've been there a few weeks, and there's not so much to be found, just a lot to investigate, which is left to people a lot higher up than she is. And she starts missing things. Things like The Daily Show, and Ben and Jerry's, and Lance.
She misses Lance, and a year seems a lot longer somehow when there's only eight months left than twelve. It's something not logical, and therefore something that she can't really understand herself or talk to Dr. Brennan about. What sucks is that Lance is the one who'd be able to explain it.
Daisy tries to focus on the job. On the markers in the bones or the notes Dr. Brennan asks her to transcribe. And she can do that while she's in the lab, or at the excavation site, but when she's not, she just...can't.
She doesn't even like Halloween back home, but as the date on her calendar grows closer, she wants trick-or-treaters and mini candy bars and to wear something slutty out into the world because it's for some reason acceptable on October 31st. One night at dinner, over a few bottles of wine that one of the more recent arrivals to the site brought, she tries to explain the holiday to Akemi, this very attractive anthropology student from Japan. He tells her about the O-Bon festival, which is for remembering those who have passed, and which is so much more beautiful than plastic pumpkins and dressing like a french maid. Listening to him talk, she feels her face growing flushed, the excited pull in the bottom of her stomach that she's very aware is the start of an infatuation.
She tries to excuse herself for bed, telling him she's had too much to drink, when he runs a finger along her arm and asks her to accompany him on a walk. She heads for the door half hoping he'll follow her and half hoping he forgets that they've even spoken in the morning. He catches up with her right outside the door of the cafeteria, where it's been raining all evening. The air smells of wet earth and it's warm, and then Akemi has her pressed up against the wood frame of the building.
Daisy kisses someone else besides Lance that night, in the rain, on an island of Indonesia.
She still misses him afterward, but in the way that she misses sleepovers and jungle gyms. Where she knows they're not a part of her life any more.
It's only sad if it's late at night and she's alone in bed, which, thankfully, is not so often after that.
Russ and Amy invite him to spend Thanksgiving with them and the girls. Russ lets him carve the turkey and the girls tell him all about how they made the pumpkin pie themselves, and his team wins the bowl game he put some money on.
It's one of the nicest holidays Max has had in a long time, but all he can think about is how Tempe's not there. How wherever she is on the other side of the world she probably won't even eat any cranberry sauce today, even though it's her favorite.
Angela thought New York was supposed to be the most beautiful city at Christmas time, but Manhattan's got nothing on Paris as far as she's concerned. She's been walking around for weeks, taking in the French women in their designer coats, and the way the whole city just seems to be glowing from the inside out. And she loves it, all of it, everything about this experience so far. She loves the way they give you sugar cubes in restaurants, and the lights on the Champs Elysees, and that no matter where she is, she can kiss Hodgins the way she wants to kiss him always, because this is Paris and it's romantic instead of frowned upon.
Today, she almost cried looking at the tree at Galeries Lafayette, it was just so incredible, and she's thinking about it again, while he's holding her hand and they're walking by the Seine. And then there are just the smallest flurries falling all around, getting caught in his stubble and on her eyelashes. "How do people live in this city if they're not in love?" she asks, feeling that choked up tightness in her throat again like it's all too much. Like she wouldn't even be surprised if she burst open into something so much brighter than the bulbs strung up in all the trees.
"Luckily, I'll never have to find out."
Angela kisses him in the snow and feels like they're the only two people in the world who have ever been this happy.
Brennan believes that whenever you notice an area in your life that requires improvement, you should work on it then, immediately if possible. Not just because it is the start of a new calendar year. But she can't help but recognize that milestones like these: birthdays, deaths, any event that signifies a division into a before and an after, they encourage retrospection in a person.
She's had too much champagne, she knows that's why, and that she'll regret wasting this time tomorrow when she's supposed to be going through the stack of drafts piling up on her desk for possible article submissions.
But she can't help but think she has to be more brave. To take more chances. Even if they don't seem logical. Maybe especially if they don't.
It's easy for her to have these thoughts alone in her room, while it's an hour after the first midnight of the year and she's definitely going to have a headache in the morning. Still, she thinks it again, I'll be braver this year. This year, I won't let myself be so afraid, and it feels good and irrelevant at the same time.
Paul buys Cam a pair of gold earrings for Valentine's Day that she'll never be able to wear to work. They dangle and are delicate, and when she puts them on, she feels beautiful. She feels like a woman who doesn't have to touch death every day. Who someone loves for more than telling them justice will be served.
Whenever work's boring or terrible or both, she thinks about those earrings. And then she thinks about Paul. And thankfully, Sweets usually then sends her an e-mail, one of like sixty she'll get from him a day, and she can focus again on earning her paycheck.
At 8:13 that morning, there had been another explosion outside of Kabul. An IED that killed two of his men, and left one of them probably a triple amputee.
Booth can remember when this used to hurt so badly that he'd thought there would never be a reason to get out of bed ever again. How now it's just this dull ache inside of him, an ulcer of his soul, gnawing away, slowly, but still letting his life go on mostly business as usual.
He's supposed to be here keeping these kids from getting killed. That was the job. And instead, he teaches them until they get themselves blown up, and then they send him new ones to teach. New ones who have names he has to learn, and families back home, and this faith in him that he feels more undeserving of with each round of recruits.
Nineteen of his boys have been sent home in boxes. He doesn't even know how many more with injuries that will change their lives irrevocably.
For the first time in his life, Sergeant Major Seeley Booth feels doubt with the American government.
The regret's been there all along though, since he stepped off the plane.
"I think I'm going to have to go outside my field and write a paper about how it's apparently possible for a woman to survive purely on Nutella."
"I can't help it that your child demands chocolate on an hourly basis," Angela says, and Hodgins runs his hand over the curve of her belly, this almost subconscious thing he does whenever she mentions the baby.
She's got some of the spread on her lower lip, and he kisses her there, her mouth sweet and open.
His mother's taken him to the Memorial Day parade since he was a baby, before even, when he was still growing inside of her.
She tells him it's important to remember the people who keep them safe, especially those that don't get the chance to come home.
There are kids from ROTC at the high school who are marching, all decked out with flags and uniforms and shiny boots. Parker watches them and tries to think of nothing. Not about how much older his father looked the last time they Skyped. About how he's the one who told him he should go.
The squeeze his mother gives his shoulder is too tight, and he knows she's probably crying. He doesn't want to look.
They're at an airport. It's been a year.