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King(s) of the Cold (BONES: Zack Addy/Jack Hodgins)


Sequoia

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Hi all! I'm obsessed with Bones right now and even though I'm 'already' in season five (please don't spoiler me... Please...), I couldn't help but write some Zack/Hodgins. I love their friendship and I love Zack and... Well. That's all, I guess. 

Disclaimer: I don't own Bones. I don't own any of the characters, to be exact. I'm just having fun torturing Zack (he really deserves it...).

Summary: The intern is sick and... sneezing? Hodgins only wants to go home. (Basically plotless sneezefic featuring Hodgepodge and Zackaroni - But there's more to come. There will definitely be contagion and at least six parts - It's NaNoWriMo, after all, and the document has got more than 25 pages, so...)
Spoilers: Nearly spoiler-free. As long as you already know where Zack lives, you should be fine. - This may change over the course of the series! But I'll warn you soon enough

Notes: This is probably the only time in the "Kings of the Cold"-series that you'll find stifled sneezes. And there aren't many of them. This time, only Zack is sneezing. Plus, I want to thank @helyzelle for proofreading the fic! I'm not a native speaker and I'm really glad that she checked my spelling :)

 

King(s) of the Cold, Part 1/?

 

Hey, how long’s this gonna take?” Hodgins slumped down on a chair and looked at Zack, his co-worker. He didn’t seriously expect a reaction, let alone a reply, but he tried anyway. He always did. 

And indeed, the forensic anthropologist in question ignored him. He was busy bending over a skull. Or at least something that had once been a skull and was supposed to look like one again, once Zack had finished his reconstruction. Under normal circumstances, that would only have taken him a few hours or so, but today, he worked very slowly. To be honest, Hodgins couldn’t even see a difference to the stage it had been in two hours ago. If Zack continued at this speed, not even the eye sockets would be visible by the next morning.

Zack sniffled and picked up a very small piece of bone. He inspected it as if it were the egg of a Phoneutria, the Brazilian wandering spider, and could hatch any moment. Hodgins smirked. Inspecting bones was one of the few occasions when his roommate (or rather garage-mate) would show emotions. “Is that bone going to bite you?”, he asked. Actually, the boy looked irritated, rather than scared, but since he didn’t pay attention to Hodgins’ comment anyway, it didn’t matter.

"This bone doesn’t belong here”, Zack said.

Technically, one could have accepted that statement as an answer to his question, but Hodgins knew better. Coming from a concentrated Zack, it was nothing more (but also nothing less) than the beginning of a conversation. Satisfied, the entomologist turned around in a smooth motion (which wasn’t very hard, as he was sitting on a revolving chair) and raised an eyebrow. Of course, Zack still didn’t pay any attention to him. “You mean, it doesn’t belong to our victim?”, he asked. To his surprise, he was even rewarded with an answer.

"No.” Zack frowned and brought his left, un-gloved hand to his nose. “It does belong to our victim, but it doesn’t belong to the place I put it into... I don’t know where to put it.” His eyebrows furrowed even further and he let the splinter fall onto the table, biting his lips. “It’s frustrating.”

Hodgins sighed. Ah. That kind of conversation. “Guess you won’t be king of the lab tonight”, he muttered. Err... Wait. This was a bad move. Zack would become more determined now, and he certainly didn’t want to spend another two hours in here. “... But Dr. Brennan is not not here. So no sense in being king of the lab”, he added quickly.

“What does that have to do with this bone?” Finally, Zack turned his head and faced Hodgins. He did look frustrated. And tired. Which was not surprising, as they had spent even more time here than Dr. Brennan today. Hodgins shook his head and yawned. This boy was driving him crazy. “My point is, it’s nearly three a.m. and you still haven’t figured out how to reconstruct that skull, so you probably won’t finish it tonight anyway.” That was a lie. Even when working this slow, Zack was still much faster than Dr. Brennan. She had reluctantly admitted that, blaming it on Zack’s abnormally high ability to recognize patterns and structures of any kind.

Zack cocked his head, letting his messy hair fall to the side. Oh. There he goes… The entomologist groaned and closed his eyes in an attempt to brace himself for the imminent flood of logic.

“What exactly makes you think that I ca-hh- “ Zack trailed off, causing Hodgins to open his eyes again and glare at him. That was definitely not a pause for effect (not that Zack would use such a dramatic element at all). The boy slowly raised his hand, looking even more frustrated than before. His voice sounded as shaky as his fluttering eyelids, but he tried to continue his sentence nonetheless. “Thahht Ihh cahh!- cannohhehnnt!” Shivering, he lowered the finger he had pressed under his nose just a second ago and stared at his bones.

Hodgins blinked, trying to digest the unusual action he had just witnessed. He had heard stifled sneezes before, mainly from women, but none of them had been as silent as this one. If he hadn’t been looking directly at Zack, he would’ve missed it. “What was that?”, he asked with a disbelieving expression. 

Zack looked at him as if he had just asked whether the patella was located at the leg or rather the arm. “A sneeze.”

“Yeah. Riiight.” He did his best to suppress a chuckle. He really hadn’t expected Zack’s sneeze to sound so unnatural. The young scientist didn’t seem like someone who would suppress his bodily functions.

Apparently, he had recovered from the strange sensation and gazed at the grinning figure in the chair. “Why are you looking at me like that? It is perfectly normal for a human being to - heh’n! Heh’ng!” Without any warning, shaggy brown hair fell forwards again, and Zack emerged from the crook of his arm with a slight sniffle.

“That is not a sneeze.” Hodgins shook his head and laughed. “You call that a sneeze and I -“ He paused, looking for a good comparison that could illustrate the strange, or rather non-existent, sound of his sneeze to Zack. He didn’t find any, which he blamed on the late hour. Luckily, Zack began scrunching his face again and smothered three soft, but quick ng’h sounds in his arm. This time, he gazed at his bones a little while longer, visibly shaken.  

“Bless you”, Hodgins replied with a smirk. “But that can’t seriously be a sneeze.”

“It is a sneeze.” Zack sounded somehow reluctant when saying this, but Hodgins could also hear a trace of congestion in his voice. This was not good. He blinked a few times and tried to focus his heavy eyes on the young scientist, who avoided his gaze and rubbed his nose, seemingly forgetting the bone fragments in front of him. Zack never ignored his bones.

“It’s not. I know a good sneeze when I hear it.”  

Zack scoffed. “How can a sneeze be good? It is an involuntary e- hhh-Heh’ngt! Nnh! Nghh!

Hodgins inhaled deeply and shook his head while watching his friend fighting another sneeze. “It could at least be satisfying”, he began slowly.

Zack shook his head furiously and pressed his nostrils closed. “Hhhnnggt! Ngxxt! It isn’t. It… hhh! NGHh! It is thehh... most unsatisfying action I-hhh… HH’nxxt! Hnghh!

“Yeah, if you do it that way.” Hodgins gestured towards Zack’s finger. “Come on, Zack. Just sneeze like a normal person.” ‘If you can’t act like one’, he added silently. But Zack didn’t listen to him. He was still struggling with his nose, now using his whole hand to pinch his nostrils shut. Maybe he needed just a little bit more logic. ‘Sneeze like a normal person’ was indeed not the most rational advice one could give. And when reasoning with Zack, being ‘most rational’ was the least one could do. He sighed and started again: “You do know the function of a sneeze, don’t you, Zack?”

Of course he knew, he was Zack. Then again, it was hard to concentrate while sneezing. Or holding in a sneeze, for that matter. “Expelling irritants from your nose, remember? Doesn’t work to well if you’re-” Once again, he gestured towards Zack’s hand, “Doing that.”

The boy held still for a moment, as if contemplating the pros and cons of this action. Usually, Zack’s mind worked much faster. Hodgins inhaled sharply to explain the benefits further, but before he could think of any words, Zack released his nose and immediately bent forward, giving in to the sensation. “Heh’Shhh! EH’Chshshh! Chhsshh! SHShh! Hhh… HHhh… Hh! Hahh’CHSHchh! Heh'SHheew!” The fit was followed by a series of wet sniffles and a few half-hearted rubs on his nose. “Thad soun’ed reaso’able”, he muttered, avoiding his friend’s eye.

“Wow. Impressive.” Hodgins nodded and rubbed his friend’s shoulder.

Zack sniffed again and slowly raised his head, biting his lip. “I dob’t see how one can call anb- snff- semi-autonomous expulsion of air -”

“Whoa, stop there. It’s too late for - “ Was ‘irrelevant... babbling’ too offensive? Hodgins shook his head. The young anthropologist really needed to stop working now. “It’s nearly 3 am. We’re going home”, he corrected himself.

“I haven’t finished the reconstruction.”

“I can see that. You’re not even halfway through. It will take an eternity.” Now, that wasn’t a lie. Just a slightly exaggerated observation. Hodgins straightened and gazed at the boy.

“I just need a few more minutes”, he mumbled, rubbing his nose while searching through the bones, probably looking for the splinter he had dropped earlier. Given the amount of bone fragments, this was harder than finding the egg of a Formica fusca in a nest full of Formica sanguinea - Zack was a bad liar. Hodgins rolled his eyes when the anthropologist reached for forceps, but ended up covering his nose again: “IhSHhhshh! H’Shhhss! Hihhh… Hih’Ishhh!

At least he now sneezed like a normal person. “Bless you. You already said that two hours ago and sneezing on top of that doesn’t impress me at all. We’re leaving!” He raised and strode towards the stairs. But when he turned to throw an angry look at Zack, the young scientist was still standing at the table, fumbling around in the pile of bone fragments. Of course. How could he have expected otherwise? He took a deep breath and crossed his arms. “Zack!”

“I haven’t finished the reconstruction”, came the clinical response, as if someone had hit the replay-button. Hodgins inhaled loudly. “I can see neither bugs nor slime”, he paused and tried to ignore the glistering wetness under Zack’s nose, “At least not on this table, and as I am the bug and slime guy, I have finished my work here.”

Zack looked at him, puzzled. Wow. This boy could solve unsolvable maths problems within seconds, but did not understand a broad hint. “I’m also your driver. So when the bug and slime guy is ready to depart, you either join him or get your own driver’s license.” Hodgins exhaled and attempted to look angry. Actually, there was a third option. Zack could stay at the lab, but it was better not to bring that up, as the more-robot-like-than-human intern would probably have considered that the best option.

Zack blinked and thought for a moment. “Or, I could stay at the lab”, he said.

Great. Hodgins shook his head and looked around, as if he could find an argument against that written on the walls of the Jeffersonian. They were clean and not helpful, as always. “No. You can’t”, he began. But authority was the only thing his tired mind could come up with, so he tried his best at that one. “You can’t, because you’re coming with me”, he stated firmly. When he turned this time, he was relieved to hear Zack’s footsteps from behind, followed by a wet sniffle and irregular breathing. Good boy.

“Hehh… Heh’ISHshh! IHSHhhh! Hihh'CHShsshh!”

“Bless you”, he said, softer this time. Zack rubbed his nose and eyed his friend.“Why?”

Hodgins raised his eyebrows. Either he had -again- completely overestimated Zack’s social skills, or one of them was tired. Or maybe both. “Why what?”, he asked, returning the confused look.

“Why am I coming with you?”

Yeah, both of them were tired. He smiled and put his arm around Zack, chuckling. “I don’t know. Maybe because you don’t want Booth to find you tomorrow morning and ask if I had forgotten you at the lab, even though I would never do that.” 

Zack sniffed and cocked his head, eyeing his friend. “You forgot me once.”

“Yeaaah. Once. But only once.” Hodgins thought for a moment and grinned at the memory of the sleeping boy on the dissection table. Brennan had found him in the morning next to a floater, and even now, everyone kept joking that the table was still free whenever someone yawned at work. If he remembered correctly, Angela had even made a sketch of the sight. None of them had dared to wake Zack until she had finished it.

“Or?”, Zack’s congested voice brought him back to reality.

“Or what?”

“Your answer indicated multiple possibilities.”

Hodgins blinked and tried to recall his words. “Er... Right. Maybe just because you’re sick and tired and don’t want to mess up everything?”

Zack frowned. “I’m not sick.”

“Sure.” Zack had always been a bad liar. And a reluctant one as well. Therefore, it didn’t surprise Hodgins when he corrected himself a minute later. “Actually, a viral rhinitis is the most rational explanation for my… heh’SHHhht! Ih’Shh! Hhh… Eh’schh! M’by con’dition. Budt idt would dnot snff affect the quality of my work. I could have finished the reconstruction.” Afterwards, he coughed lightly, which did not exactly underline his statement.

Hodgins smiled. “I know, Zack.” They walked in silence, apart from Zack’s now frequent sniffling. When they arrived at the car, Zack suddenly stopped and freed himself from the other man's arm, rubbing his nose with an annoyed expression. Hodgins clapped him on the shoulder and grinned. “Need to sneeze again?”

The young scientist took a step backwards. “Yehhs. And I would appreciate it if you… hhh... didn’t - IH’SHHhh! Eh’SCHchh! Heh’ChShh!” He sniffed again and turned away from Hodgins while wiping his nose on his sleeve.  “... If you didn’t stand so close to me when I’m sneezing. You could... catch this.”

Hodgins nodded sympathetically and rummaged around his pocket. Zack had to be tired, otherwise he would never have used a phrase as imprecise as ‘catch this’. His red, bleary eyes reinforced this impression. When he finally found a small pack of tissues, he stepped closer to the young scientist. “Here, take these. I might be the bug and slime guy, but I don’t mind you using a tissue on occasion.”

He handed the tissue pack over to Zack, who immediately picked one and blew his nose. “Thank you, Dr. Hodgins”, he whispered, his face still hidden behind the tissue.

Hodgins sighed and opened the passenger door, patting on the seat. Luckily, he had enabled the pre-heating in the morning and comfortable warmth escaped the car. “Come on. Let’s get you home, Zackaroni.”

Zack crumpled the white cloth and smiled softly before he slumped on the seat and closed his eyes.

 

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OMG! I just got into this show a week ago and I'm only on season 2. This is heaven on earth 😍 please tell me that you're going to continue this! 

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

 Hey! Thank you all so much for commenting on my fic :) I was really nervous about posting it and kinda avoided looking at this thread afterwards. But now I'm back, thanks @2SHY222 for reminding me! Also, @MoonDuck revived my Bones-fever and I'm more thrilled than ever to continue:). 

So, there you go:

King(s) of the Cold - Part 2

Disclaimer: I still don’t own Bones. But I love the boys :D
Summary: Hodgins tries to keep Zack from going to work… Will he succeed?
Spoilers: Still none, I guess. Well, Zack’s got a new robot, but… I don’t think you need to know why
Notes: If you’re arachnophobic, you might not want to google “Phormingochilus everetti”. If you’re not arachnophobic, I recommend you to check the species out! They’re beautiful :) 

And, as always, a special thanks @helyzelle for proofreading my fic! ♡ 

_____

When Hodgins made his way down to the garage the next morning, he was surprised to find it already open, the car ready to depart. That was usually Zack’s job. And Zack was… Ah, standing next to the car, shivering in his thin jacket. “You’re late”, he said, shifting from one foot to the other. “And it is cold today.”

Hodgins raised an eyebrow and examined the boy. His hair was ruffled like on any other day, but he was pale and shivering. While that could be explained by the cold air, the dark circles around his glassy eyes and his red, chapped nose could not. “Your coffee”, Zack said, his voice somehow lighter than usual. “You might want to tahhke ihht be-hh- before -” And neither could this desperate pre-sneeze expression. The entomologist grabbed the cup and watched Zack fight his losing battle.

“Heh’Ktschhh! Hehh… hih’Hischhh! KSchhhhishh!”

Hodgins shook his head and stroked Zack’s back, as the sneezing had somehow resulted in a coughing fit. “What do you think you’re doing?”

Zack sniffled thickly and took a few deep breaths before answering: “Waiting for you to open the car and drive to the Jeffersonian like every other day. I’ve already opened the garage, cleaned the windshield and even the side mirrors. I also prepared your coffee, as always. But you are late.”

“Yeah, like, 45 seconds”, Hodgins replied, shaking his head. “But I won’t let you go to work when you’re like this, anyway.”

The young scientist furiously rubbed his nose. “Like what?” Sighing theatrically, the forensic entomologist grabbed him by his shoulders and led him to his apartment upstairs. “You’re ill, Zack. You belong in bed.”

To his surprise, Zack didn’t complain. But he didn’t look approving either, once he was standing in his living room. Hodgins decided to ignore his look - it was hard to look approving while also looking like a sick mess. “What are you expecting me to do now?”, Zack asked, wiggling his nose.

Hodgins raised an eyebrow. This was probably the first sick day Zack had taken in his entire life. How did one explain what to do on a sick day? That was one of the things one had to learn by doing. Just like riding a bike... Which the genius in front of him was incapable of. Seeing Zack’s helpless look, he tried his best at explaining: “Well… Go to bed, sleep, drink some tea, watch reruns of Firefly - anything that is not work.”

The intern grimaced. “There are many things that are not work.”

Hodgins sighed. He should have known that this was not going to be very easy… And he did not exactly have much time to explain if he wanted to reach the Jeffersonian in time. So he only gave Zack a mildly annoyed look. “Yeah. And you’ll choose the ones you can do while lying in bed.”

The young scientist swallowed and furrowed his brows. Hodgins couldn’t tell whether he did that out of pain or dislike. “I can’t just miss work.”

Dislike. Definitely dislike. The entomologist sighed and nodded, trying not to roll his eyes at Zack. He did not act like this on purpose, after all. “Right. So you’ll take your phone, call Cam and tell her you can’t go to work”, he said slowly and with emphasis, as if talking to a child. Which was basically what he was doing - In social terms, Zack would probably never reach the status of an adult.

“But… I can go to work”, Zack argued. He looked like he was going to say more, so Hodgins interrupted him before he could start with arguments that were too good to ignore. “But you won’t. Because you’re ill.“

Zack still seemed a little bit undecided (his brain really worked much faster when he was healthy). After a minute or so, Hodgins decided to take action: “You know, I can kick you out of this flat and leave you on the cold street like a stray dog. And don’t think I’d bring you to the Jeffersonian first. Take that phone.” He had been told that he could look very intimidating when angry, but apparently, this did not work on Zack.

“For what reason?”, he asked, looking Hodgins right into the eye. Now he was really becoming annoying. The entomologist furled his eyebrows, feeling a strange grin form on his face. “Well, I own this place and I’ve got enough money to ignore the law. I don’t need a reason for anything”, he said. Now, that was something Zack could not ignore. He did not seem too impressed, but he sighed anyway, coughed and stumbled towards his bed. Hodgins watched him with crossed arms until he had found his phone in his pocket. When the boy began typing Cam’s number, Hodgins turned and inspected the attic of his garage. Dozens of high shelves covered the walls, mostly filled with anatomy books. Zack had probably built them himself, as they fitted exactly to the slightly tilted walls. It did look rather peculiar, but a terrarium in the corner of the bedroom, directly next to the heater caught his attention - He was a zoologist, after all. He walked up to it and looked through the pristine glass.

Meanwhile, Zack had successfully called Cam. He was not prepared to talk to her, however, and nervously eyed his friend, who paid much more attention to the terrarium than to him.

“Good morning, Dr. Saroyan speaking. How may I help you?”

Zack inhaled loudly. Her voice was always enough to make him stutter. “Hodgins told me to call in sick.” There was a pause in the line. He could practically hear Cam thinking.

“Is this Zack?”, she asked, her tone making the intern cringe.

“Yes”, he admitted, “I didn’t expect you to recognize my voice.” It had indeed changed since yesterday, sounding deeper and slightly congested.

“Then why didn't you say your name?!”

Zack bit his lip and quickly added: “Good morning Dr. Saroyan, Zack Addy speaking. Dr. Hodgins told me to call in sick.”

Dr. Saroyan sighed. “Did Hodgins threaten you so you would call me?”

“Yes, but first he asked very nicely.”

“Tell him he's done a good job.”

Zack held the phone away from his ear and turned to look at his friend, who was currently pressing his nose against the front glass of the terrarium. “Hodgins? Apparently, you've done a good job.” The entomologist completely ignored his comment and turned, his eyes gleaming with excitement. “God, look at her! I never thought you'd have such a beautiful girl in your bedroom!”

The head of the Jeffersonian cleared her throat. “Zack?”, her voice sounded through the apartment. Hodgins didn’t react, but Zack flinched and immediately held the phone to his ear again. “Yes, Dr. Saroyan?”

“Are you two... alone?” If Zack had seen her while she said this, even he would have noticed the strange look on her face. But he could not see her. Neither could Hodgins. “Is this an adult female Phormingochilus everetti?”, he called out, his eyes still fixed on the terrarium, unaware of the discussion at the phone.

“Yes, it is”, Zack said before answering Cam: “We are. Unless one counts the tarantula Hodgins is talking to as a person, but since it is an animal, an invertebrate on top of that, that would be incorrect.”

“Ah.” She paused. “Sure. Er, feel better soon. And tell Hodgins he has got some work to do.”

“I thought he'd already done a good job today”, Zack said, frowning again.

“Nevermind, Zack. Talk to you later!”

Confused, Zack stared at the phone in his hand. “Does that mean I can stay home?” He lifted his head to face Hodgins, but the entomologist only grinned and pointed at the spider. “I've got a male.”

Zack blinked. “Interesting. I wasn’t aware of this species being kept in captivity already.”

Hodgins’ smile grew wider. “That’s because it isn’t. Yet.

“Well, you’ve got one.”

“Yes, but you don’t want to know how much money I spent to get this gem into my house.” If Hodgins lifted the corners of his mouth a little bit higher, they’d probably touch his eyes.

“Mine was ahhh a- present fromhhh! my uncle”, Zack replied and brought his hand to his nose. His eyes closed seemingly against his will, and in the corner of his reddened eyes,  Hodgins could see a glistering tear reflecting the bright light of the morning sun.

Hih’TSHiihh! Hep’SHHhh! Hah’PSCHhh! He's fromb' Boneo.” The young anthropologist sniffled thickly and raised his other hand to pull down his sleeve and wipe it under his nose. What had been a slightly pinkish tone to his nose yesterday had now turned into an aggressive red, covering not only his nostrils, but the whole area beneath them. Hodgins flinched by the mere sight of the scratchy fabric touching the irritated skin. “Bless you. Don’t you have any tissues or at least a handkerchief?”

“Dnoe”, Zack snuffled against his sleeve, “The robot’s got them.”

Ah, right, how could he have missed the absence of Zack’s little helper 2.0? He hadn’t even tripped on it yet. He turned around, this time minding his feet. But nothing moved on the bedroom floor. “And where is your little buddy?”, he asked.

“Id’s a robot, dnot a buddy”, the young scientist replied. He was wearing a pained expression, but kept his sleeve at his nose.

“Call it whatever you want, but call it quick.”

Zack rolled over in his bed and began rummaging around his sheets. Hodgins could make out at least three blankets and countless crumpled tissue balls between the dozens of pillows Zack seemed to own. Even a teddy bear peeped out of this cozy nest. To be honest, he had not expected Zack to own such a comfortable sleeping place. Sleeping on a dissection table fitted his character much better.

Curiously, Hodgins inspected the bedside tables. A ridiculously high pile of scientific books fought against gravity, only supported by a spaceship-shaped clock and a framed photograph filled with what appeared to be over 40 copies of Zack, all of different ages and some of the opposite sex. A family photo. Another thing he hadn’t expected to find here. Hodgins let his gaze wander between Zack and the photo, trying to find out which one was the real Zack.

This was when a small remote control caught his eye. “Looking for anything in particular?”, he asked and picked up the small item, waving it in front of Zack. The boy nodded and reached for it, but paused halfway through the motion. “Wait a hhh-sec- Hp’TShhh! Heh’IhhSHhh! Hap’TSCHhhss!”

“Aaand bless you.” Hodgins raised an eyebrow. Zack looked progressively worse and also progressively desperately in need of a tissue. Preferably a whole box of them, given the over-activity of his nose. “Which button?”, he asked, seeing that Zack wouldn’t take his sleeve off his nose anytime soon.

“Whi’dch budd’n for whad?”

“For calling your robot in, idiot.”

“Gree’d”

Hodgins pressed the green button. Nothing happened. He pressed it again. And a third time. Still no robot. When he began pressing it like a woodpecker, Zack mumbled something into his sleeve.

“Sorry, can’t hear you over the sound of this stupid button. Why did you even invent something this useless?!”

“Id’s probably oud of reach”, the boy repeated.

Hodgins rolled his eyes and threw the remote onto Zack’s bed. It hit the teddy bear on the head, making it fall off a pillow. “Great. You know, it really does remind me of you. Standing in the way all the time until you need it. Where did it go?”

“Dobn’t dnow. I askebd id to fetch sombe tea.” The boy shifted uncomfortably.

“Well. So at least, I don't have to look for it in the kitchen.” Hodgins shook his head and looked at Zack. “I’ll go fetch some tea, tissues and my male Phormingochilus everetti. Anything else?”

“Dnoe.” Zack bit his lip (as far as Hodgins could see that, with Zack’s sleeve still on his face) and avoided his eye. That boy was really bad at lying. “Anything, Zackaroni?” Hodgins asked, trying his best at making his voice sound soft, given the weak state of the boy.

The young scientist sighed. “Could you… pigk ub the teddy when’g you leave?”

Hodgins chuckled. “Sure.” When he made his way to the fallen plushie, he spotted a tiny grey object out of the window which made him grin. “Well, look at that! It’s taking the garbage out!“ Indeed, there were two large bags hanging on the tiny robot, making him look like an Arianta arbustorum, a copse snail, with the house of an Achanita fulica. Zack climbed to the back of his bed and peeked outside. “Idnterestin’. Id's never n’done thad before.”

Recalling the impressively diverse fauna in the trash on the lower floor, Hodgins could only scoff. “You're telling me…” He took another look at the robot and inhaled sharply. It had rolled dangerously close to the flower beds before, but now it had decided to take a shortcut directly through the rose bushes. While its aluminium body was immune to the thorns, the garbage bags were not. Oh, how he loved Zack’s inventions. “It got stuck”, he stated lamely. “Aaat the rose bushes. All over the bushes.” Slowly, he turned back to Zack and crossed his arms in front of his chest. “Zackaroni?”

Somewhere between the sighting of the robot and the incident in the thorns, Zack had managed to slip under the blankets. He coughed miserably and stuck his head out of the cushions with a pained expression. “Whad?”

“Your robot”, Hodgins repeated.

The scientist sniffled loudly and wiped his nose with his blanket. Hodgins flinched again by the mere sight -That boy sure had a high pain tolerance. “Trash is your hhh- your area of exhh-exnbertihhh’IHshh! Ihh’SHhh! Heh’ChShhhh! Of exnbertise...”

The entomologist furrowed his brows and watched Zack. He could swear that he saw a smile on his lips, even though the entire lower half of his face was hidden beneath the blanket. Geez, this boy was smart, too. He gazed at him a little while longer, but the only notable change was a fit of dry, unsatisfying coughs. With a look at his watch, Hodgins felt compelled to let Zack win this silent fight. “You’ll pay for this!”, he called out and strolled out of the room.

Zack cuddled a little bit deeper into his nest of blankets and smiled to himself. But only a little rest was granted to him, before a teddy bear hit his nose and triggered another bunch of sneezes: “Hap’TSHHhhih! Eh’TSHhh! Heh’ESHHhhss!

tbc.

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OMG. This is brilliant! You have Zack down absolutely Perfect! I love it!

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There are so many little funny details in this fic. Zack is so cute in his cluelessness. The dialogue between the guys is also very funny. They have an interesting friendship.

I don't remember much of the early seasons of the series, it seems like the last few seasons have been repeating endlessly on tv for a long time, but now I saw season 2 on so I've watched a few episodes when possible. Actually last week I was in a fast food restaurant with my boys and Bones was on the tv in the background. I caught a glimpse of Zack asleep on a table and Booth checking if he was still alive. It immediately made mind think of your fic since that event was mentioned in the first part.

Thanks again for letting me beta too! Feel free to send me the next part if or when you want me to do it again :)

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  • 2 years later...

I know, it's been three years, but while I was checking on my discarded WIPs I did not only find a finished Saroyan-fic, but also two mostly finished parts of this story. The remaining parts are rather sketchy and I don't know when I'll find the time and energy to finish/rewrite them, as I haven't seen Bones in ages and should probably be doing stuff for university instead of browsing old fics.

Sorry for any spelling/grammar mistakes and general inconsistencies, I only briefly skimmed over this before posting - better now than never, I guess - Don't want to keep you waiting another three years... :oops:

King(s) of the Cold - Part 3

Sighing, Jack Hodgins stared at the insect egg in front of him. Or rather, below him - he could only see it through his microscope with 20x magnification and even then, it was super tiny. With 60x magnification, however, it was too large to fit onto the screen, no matter how much he adjusted the microscope. “What are you, mhm?,” he asked it and slid the camera up and down, trying to decide whether he wanted the upper part of the egg or the lower one in the picture.
 

“I don’t think it’s going to reply,” Dr. Brennan’s voice sounded from his left. Hodgins whirled around. He had stopped wondering about Brennan’s skill of sudden appearances long ago, but they still made him jump. “Anything new?,” he asked. This time not the egg, but the forensic anthropologist in front of him. 
“No.” She shook her head, wearing a dissatisfied expression. “Nothing. We haven’t even finished half of the reconstruction of the skull and we cannot confirm the dentals because of the missing teeth. And there seems to be no connection to the body we found next to him.”

“Great... The only insect activity I found is this. And all I can tell you is that it is a Diptera species. These fly eggs all look the same.” Hodgins leaned back and tossed his gloves and a pair of tweezers onto the table. Brennan ignored the metallic sound and kept her gaze fixed at the tiny egg on the screen. “What does that tell us?” 

“Nothing.” The entomologist groaned. “Nothing at all.”

Brennan sighed and sat down next to Hodgins. “I sent the x-rays to Zack to see if he can find anything I might’ve missed.”

Hodgins raised an eyebrow. “You don’t miss things.”

“I do. Rarely, but I do. And Zack is the only one who could find something I’ve missed. Which is not an insult to you, Dr. Hodgins.”

“Yeah,” he nodded lamely and turned his attention back to the fly egg. It had not changed. “I’ll wait for this buddy to hatch. Maybe he can tell us something about the dead guy.”

“Don't you have something more useful to do while it’s hatching?” 

Why did Dr. Brennan always sound insulting even if she did not intend to do so? “Well, I could look at the dirt Cam found in the eyegulps of our second victim.” He underlined the word “dirt”, but the anthropologist did not seem to notice his displeasure.
“Fine. I’ll go tell Booth we haven’t found anything.”
Hodgins only rolled his eyes and made his way to Dr. Saroyan's workplace. 

 

“I’m collecting my special order - fingers with tasty particles!,” he proclaimed before he had even entered the lab. Cam grinned and pointed towards the dissection table. “Help yourself. Did Brennan get anything out of the bones? She looks as if she is about to leave.”

“No and yes. She wants to tell Booth she hasn’t found anything.”
Cam nodded. “Right. Have fun with your dirt!” The entomologist had taken a few samples plus a ripped-off finger with a promising amount of dirt under its nail and was just reaching for the doorknob with his clean, non-slimy hand, when Dr. Saroyan called him back: “Wait, Hodgins! How’s Zack doing? He’s never called in sick before.” He turned back and shrugged as best as he could without dropping the samples he was carrying under his arm. “He’s alive, I’d say. I didn’t want him to contaminate my car and if you had seen him this morning, you would not have wanted him near you.”

Cam sighed. “Tell him to feel better when you see him.”

“I will!” Hodgins turned around and pushed the door open, accidentally touching the glass with the finger. 
 

~~~
 

“Without the skull, I can’t do a reconstruction, Sweetie”, Angela's voice sounded out of her office. “Yes. Of course. I’ll finish it. It was Zack’s job, but apparently-”


“I forced him to stop and go home,” interrupted Hodgins, “Otherwise, he would have contaminated our evidence.” 

“He’s right, Sweetie. Poor Zack. It must have been horrible for him not to finish his project and even worse not to go to work today. He’s never missed work before.”

Hodgins nodded at this, but Brennan shook her head. “We could really use his help now. I’ll call him. I’m sure he’s already had a look at the x-rays and-”

“Sweetie, he’s sick! Let him get his rest.” 

“I’m sure he won’t mind,” mumbled Hodgins. “It was hard to keep him home, anyway.”
 

“I dnow how to ide’dify our vigtim.”

“Zack! You should be home!” Brennan jumped around and frowned. Then she looked at Hodgins and Angela. “How did he get here?”

“I took a cab.”

Hodgins sighed. “I left him some money in case needed to see a doctor or go to the hospital or something.” Angela grinned. “Wow. That was naive. You should have known better.” 

“Yeah. Hear me, Zack? This was the last time I gave you money!” The intern nodded, but did not seem worried at all. “Whed I failed to reconstruct the skull yesterday, I had the feeling that something was missing.” He sniffed strongly, producing a wet, gurgling sound. 
 

“No one can understand a word you’re saying,” muttered Hodgins under his breath and walked towards his microscope. When he tilted it to the side, a white handkerchief emerged. Angela shook her head in disbelief. “Jack? You keep a handkerchief under your microscope?” The entomologist inhaled sharply and tossed the cloth to his friend. “Yes, I do. And there’s no need to interrupt Zack’s explanation here. You were saying?”

Zack stared at him. “You said you dibdn’t umbderstan’ a word I’b sayin’. May I use your handkerchief firbsd?”

Hodgins sighed and rolled his eyes. “Yes, you may.” 

“Handkerchiefs are not very hygienic,” stated Brennan matter-of-factly while watching Zack blow his nose. “Your sinus cavities sound very swollen. I don't think it was a wise idea to come. Plus, you’re emitting viruses with every breath you take-”

“Don’t remind me of that,” groaned Hodgins, taking another step back. 

“I’b sorry, Dr. Brennan”, Zack said, straightening. “I had the feeling thad something was missin’. And now that I see the x-rays…” He reached for the mouse, but Hodgins pushed him away. “Keep your germs to yourself. I’ll do it.” 

The x-rays of the halfway-reconstructed skull appeared on the screen and Zack pointed at the mandible. “Zoom in… Here, look ad this.”

Brennan squinted. “Did we miss that part?”

“No. I think it’s an anomaly.”

Brennan’s eyes widened. “Angela?” 

“On my way.” The artist pressed a soft kiss on Hodgins cheek and left. Zack looked after her and rubbed his nose. “Hey. I did the work. Why is she thanking you?”

“Because I’m the one and only king of the lab,” grinned Hodgins. “You, on the other hand, are merely king of the cold.” Zack frowned. “But Ihhh - IH’Chhss! Ehshhss!”
 

The entomologist winced at the sight of Zack’s uncovered sneezes. “Bless you. I gave you that handkerchief for a reason.” The intern seemed to have remembered, too, and held the handkerchief to his nose “IhhSHiisshh!”

“Zack! You’re contaminating evidence! I don’t allow sick people on the platform.”

“But Dr. Brennan, I-”

“Out. Now.” Brennan firmly grabbed his shoulder and led him down the platform. “I appreciate your will to help, but…” She trailed off, looking back at Hodgins. “Dr. Hodgins will drive you home.”
 

“Right”, Hodgins nodded and approached Brennan and her assistant, who was leaning weakly onto her. Now that he had said everything he wanted to say, all energy seemed to have left his body. “Come on, Zackaroni. I’ve got work to do.”

Zack nodded and reluctantly let go of Brennan’s side. She smiled at him and strode her hand through his hair. Hodgins smiled secretly. Brennan liked the boy much more than she usually dared to show. “And only come back when you’re not contagious anymore!”

That was probably her way of saying that he should not come back before he was feeling better. 

“Yes, Dr. Brennan. I’m sorry I- HhhHeh’EHshh! IHXChhsss!”
“Bless you, Zack.”

“He’s not finished”, grinned Hodgins. Zack frowned at him before disappearing behind the white cloth once again “EHtSHh!”
“What?,” asked Hodgins. “I’ve had more than enough time to figure out your sneeze pattern.”

 

The intern did not seem too proud of that, but he did not say anything. In fact, Hodgins had never seen the young anthropologist this quiet. He was quiet on the way to the car and he did not say a word inside the car, either. While the constant inflow of words was usually annoying, it felt strange not to hear anything but frequent, wet sniffles and a few stifled coughs coming from the passenger seat. But he did not want to pressure Zack (after all, his voice sounded as if talking was quite painful) and also liked the thought that less germs were exposed to the air when Zack did not open his mouth more than necessary. He was breathing through his mouth, though. Probably because his nose was too stuffed for that, given the congested voice Zack had shown earlier this day.
 

“There we go,” he said overly enthusiastic when they had finally reached the garage that was not only his car’s, but also Zack’s home. Zack did not reply. He was not asleep, but did not seem fully awake either. “Zackaroni?”

“Mhm?” The boy stirred and looked at Hodgins, his eyes somewhat glassy and unfocused. They seemed to be fixed on a point behind or inside the entomologist. “Hey,” mumbled Hodgins, eyeing his friend worriedly. When Zack did not make any effort to move, Hodgins left the car and opened Zack’s door, pulling him out with gentle force. The intern felt like a lifeless puppet in his arms. He could carry his own weight, but did not seem too eager to do so. “Zack? Hey! You okay?”

“Dnoe,” he whispered. Hodgins frowned and brought his hand to Zack’s forehead. Yeah, just as he had expected. The intern was running a fever. No wonder that he had been so quiet during the ride… “This,” he stated while leading Zack to his apartment, “This is what happens when you work while you’re sick.”
 

Zack did not reply. In fact, he did not do anything. He laid down on his bed when Hodgins told him to do so, he sipped the tea Hodgins pressed into his hand and did not react when Hodgins offered him painkillers. “It will help with your headache and your sore throat,” the entomologist explained impatiently, “And it might even lower the fever you’re running because you did not listen to me, Zackaroni.” 

“I cabdn’t tage pills,” Zack admitted finally, sounding rather sorry. “What? Are you serious?”

“Yes. I dnow thad id is theoretically possible for me to swallow them, bud… I canb’t seeb to manage.”
The entomologist sighed dramatically. “You’re-” He stopped himself. It would not help Zack if he called him a child. “Fine, you’ll have to suffer, then. I’ll be back in the afternoon.” Zack replied with a sudden shudder and inhaled sharply, the blanket raising in the process. “IHSHiihhsshh! EHCHShhh! Ehh… hhhi..IH’PSChss!” 

“Yes. Exactly. Just like that.” Hodgins shook his head and left the room.

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The first part is just a bickering Hodgins trying to make soup. Feel free to skip to where he arrives at Zack's flat

 

King(s) of the Cold - Part 4

 

“How’s Zack feeling?,” Angela greeted him as he had returned to his microscope. He looked at the fly egg. It had not yet hatched, so he sighed and turned around to his girlfriend. “He can’t take pills. Can you imagine that? Zack?”

“Sure sounds like him. Do you think he can take care of himself?” She looked worried. Angela was always worrying over everyone and everything, that was one of the reasons why he liked her so much. She was so kind and- Wait. She was right. “No,” he said. “I don’t think so.”
“Exactly.” She nodded, “He would probably starve if we didn’t take him to lunch every day. We should bring him something in our break. By the way, we identified our victim. Zack was right.” 

Hodgins smiled, raising his hand to her cheek. “I knew you’d find him. Wanna say queen of the lab? Zack’s not here.” Angela grinned at him and gave him a kiss before turning to leave. “When you’re the king, I cannot help but be your queen.” Hodgins watched her leave with a wide smile on his face before turning his attention back to the tiny egg. It looked the same as before. This was going to be a long and boring morning. Sighing, he adjusted his chair so that he could rest his head on his table while watching the egg. 
 

“Dr. Hodgins?”

“Mhm?” He blinked. Immediately, his eyes focused on the tiny egg in front of him. It was - just like it had been a few hours ago.

“Still “watching” the egg, I see.” Cam smirked while saying this, but didn’t comment on his short nap. “How long will it take to hatch?” “At this temperature… I estimate a maximum of six hours,” he replied, rubbing his eyes. 
 

“And did you find anything in the fingers?”

“Oh.”

 “‘Oh’ like in ‘Oh, I totally forgot about the samples because Angela came in and distracted me’?”

The entomologist sighed and rolled his chair to his second microscope. “Five minutes,” he said, avoiding Dr. Saroyan’s eye. “Sure.” She was grinning when she left the room and Hodgins had to pull himself together to keep from snapping at her. How could he have forgotten about the particles in the eyegulps?
 

Half an hour later, he entered Dr. Saroyan’s workplace with the results in his hand. “Special delivery for the head of the Jeffersonian,” he called out and let the papers slip onto the table. Cam was busy checking the little flesh that was left of their victim. 

“Angela said you’re planning on bringing Zack some food for lunch so he doesn’t forget to eat.”

“Yeah. It was her idea.”

“I thought so. Homemade soup is best for the common cold, you know.”

Was she expecting him to cook for Zack? He laughed. “Hey, I've got work to do.”

Cam did not look at him, but Hodgins could see the left corner of her mouth raise slightly. “No, you haven't. You're just standing next to me while I'm examining this body.”

The entomologist raised an eyebrow, bowed over the remains and pretended to look for insects. “There could be bugs or minerals. You could need me any moment.”

“Sorry, Hodgins, but you're practically useless here. Go play king of the kitchen for Zack.” Dr. Saroyan lifted her head, smiling at him while pointing towards the kitchen of the lab. Hodgins shook his head violently. “I. Aam. Not. Useless,” he hissed. But he could feel that he was already losing this argument. Cam had apparently come to the same conclusion. “Not when you're king of the kitchen!”

But the entomologist did not want to give up so fast. He was Dr. Jack Hodgins, after all. Right as he opened his mouth to give a good counter argument, Cam spoke again, a teasing tone in her voice: “You may use the pot that says personal property of C.S.”

“Oh”. Hodgins’ eyes lit up and he turned around swiftly, practically fleeing from the room.

“Only this time! Not for some slimy, maggotty - “ Saroyan called after him. He held his hands to his ears while running. “Sorry, I'm afraid I didn't quite catch that!”

“Well, you’ll rinse it afterwards…” Smiling, Cam shook her head and returned to her work
 

When Hodgins emerged soon after with a steaming pot of soup and presented it to his boss, she gave a half-hearted smile. “He won't eat that.”

The entomologist furrowed his brows. Even if Cam did not believe him, he was a rather decent cook. Angela had assured him many times that he was a much better match than any of the most expensive restaurants in the city. But that might also have something to do with the things they could do while and right after eating, things that were unacceptable at normal restaurants. Anyway, he did not like Cam’s comment. “Hey! Are you trying to hurt my feelings? If so, it doesn't work.”

She looked up from the body and chuckled. “Er, no. But that's normal noodles. He’ll only eat macaroni.”

Hodgins paused, thinking. That was a good point. He had never seen Zack eat anything pasta-like besides macaroni. But… “They taste exactly the same.”

“Yes, but I'm afraid he won't be able to taste anything. And as far as I could see, his eyes were still okay, so, trust me, he won't eat them.” She looked amused while saying this, but her tone was serious. She was right. He did not like it to be wrong. He inhaled slowly and raised his eyebrows. “Are you telling me that I should pick all the noodles out and add macaroni instead?” He already knew what the answer would be. 

“No, Dr. Hodgins. I'm just telling you that Zack won't eat your soup in its current state. It's up to you what to do about this.”

Why did Cam always have to be right about everything? Groaning, he turned and strode back to the kitchen. Now he would have to go shop for groceries just because Zack-

“There's still a pack of macaroni in my personal cupboard!”

“Thank God,” he muttered.
“You’re welcome!”
He did not bother to thank her as well. Zack would have to pay him back for this.

~~~

It was dark and quiet at Zack’s place, just like always. One never knew if the young scientist was home unless he was creating some strange invention at his workplace or experimenting in the little part of the living room that he had changed into a lab. He needed light for that, but otherwise, he regularly seemed unaware of the existence of light switches.

“Special delivery for Zack Addy!” He called out and entered the living room, which was empty - just as he had expected. The door to the bedroom was closed - right, he had done that when he had left earlier today. 

“Zackaroni? We made you some soup.”

The heap of blankets stirred. There was something alive in there, looking just like the cocoon of a Bombyx mori, the domestic silk moth. “Zack! Hey, it’s mid-day. A little bit more enthusiasm?”

With a soft groan, Zack’s face emerged. Now he looked like a mummy, part of his blanket still covering his head. He blinked at the entomologist. “Bwhere did you combe from?”

“The door, like any normal human being. I don’t climb through windows.” At least... “Usually”, he added. “You hungry?”

“Mhm...Ih’hhh IhhSHiisshh! Heh’EHshh! High’hhh… IHXChhsss!
 

~~~
 

“My mother always forgot that I don't eat normal noodles. She always had to pick some noodles out and add macaroni. Or even cook another soup just for me. She was very annoyed then.”
Oh, yes, Hodgins could very much relate. “Friends remember their friend's needs”, he said and handed Zack the bowl. “But I get her. How many siblings do you have?”, he asked, remembering the family photo in Zack’s bedroom. 

“Seven. And we usually got each other sick. All eight of us basically at the same time.”
Geez, he would really have to talk to Angela about the thing with the
millions of kids she wanted. “That must have been a giant pot of soup”, he muttered. Zack nodded, slowly bringing the first spoon to his mouth. “It was. My pot usually didn't fit on the stove and she had to cook it on the fire.”

“Very old fashioned.” Hodgins himself could still remember the old stove his grandmother had always used. The smell of fire and wood… Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Zack tremble suddenly. What an earth - Oh. Of course. “Hihh Ihh think I’m goinb to Hihh’hiihhh!-”

“Yeah, I think the whole world knows that by now.”

IHSHiihhsshh! EHSCHShhh! Ehh… hhheeh!IH’PSChhhss!”
 

“Bless you. I brought you some medicine, by the way. Painkillers-”

“I already told you I don't like taking pills.” Zack lowered the tissue and eyed him skeptically, his lower lip trembling slightly.
“Yes, I remembered that. That's why I brought liquid pain reliever for children.”

“I'm not a child.”

“Right. I’ve also got cough syrup and something for your nose” He waved the nasal spray bottle in front of Zack’s eyes. 

“Nasal drops work much better than spray.”

Hodgins narrowed his eyes. “Do you expect me to drive all the way back to the pharmacy to get you nasal drops instead of this spray?”

“Yes.”

Unbelievable. “The appropriate answer would have been ‘No, thank you, I'm glad you brought something because I never thought of storing medicine for myself’”.

“No, thank you, I'm glad you brought something because I never thought of storing medicine for myself.”

Hodgins exhaled loudly, turned and went to the stairs. 

“Where are you going? And why are you taking the spray bottle with you?”

“I’m going to get you your damn nasal drops.”

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You would never believe I just started a Bones rewatch (going slow cause I'm watching with someone else) so this came back at a PERFECT time! I hope you'll get a chance to get more parts up but thanks for the pieces you already had!

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  • 11 months later...

Hey there! As always, I'm a bit late to the party (but hey, this time it's not even been a year, I'm gettung better), but I'm happy announce that I found the time to edit a few more pages. Even though I should probably work on my NaNoWriMo-Draft (and university stuff, work stuff and many more) :rolleyes: But I'm at the tail end of a cold and stayed home, so...

On 1/3/2022 at 7:02 PM, jem said:

jkfdjkfsa I don't know how I haven't seen this!! This is fantastic!

Thanks! :) I'm happy you enjoyed it.

On 1/4/2022 at 6:06 AM, Seeker said:

You would never believe I just started a Bones rewatch (going slow cause I'm watching with someone else) so this came back at a PERFECT time! I hope you'll get a chance to get more parts up but thanks for the pieces you already had!

If you went very slow, this post might still come at the right time. I still haven't rewatched Bones, but I bought some DVDs (up to season 7 I think), so Netflix can't stop me anymore.

So yes, these parts are a bit sketchy. It's also nighttime where I live and I tried to fix the text as quickly as possible (because otherwise, it might take years before I finish). But anyways, I finished(or rather corrected) two more parts. Also, there is not much sneezing in them, especially in the first one. But in the next ones (which I plan to post this year, but I can't promise anything), there should be plenty of them.

CW: descriptions of insects and spiders

*****

King(s) of the Cold - Part 5

Hodgins had never seen a bug like this. It was sparkly and green with tiny orange dots, but the most remarkable thing about it was its size. The transparent box Hodgins had captured it in was filled to the brim. If Hodgins had wanted to pick it up (which he didn’t, given the giant jaws it angrily displayed), he would have needed both hands to hold the enormous insect. Scratching sounds filled the lab, as dozens of thick, thorny insect legs moved around to escape its transparent cage.

Wait, dozens of legs? Hodgins moved closer. How many legs did it have, exactly? He tried to count, but a loud, persistent noise distracted him time and time again. “Keep it down, I just discovered a new species!”, he called out. The noise remained. So, Hodgins grabbed the box and carried it out of the lab. But the further he went, the louder the noise became. No matter how many times he changed directions, it filled his ears and finally made him loosen his grip on the box. The last thing he saw were giant insect jaws coming right at him, while the strange noise tortured his ears.

But why was it so much louder to his left? And why did it sound so familiar?

Hodgins blinked and was greeted by a photo full of Zacks.
Right.
Vague memories of the last night slipped into his mind. Zack running a fever, Zack being afraid of something he could not explain to Hodgins and finally, him first sitting, then lying down next to Zack, comforting the fever-ridden boy until he drifted off into sleep. Or apparently, until they both did. Groaning, Hodgins turned to the other side and pressed his head into his pillow. “Zack, would you please stop coughing?”

“Can’t help it”, wheezed Zack. Of course, he could not. With closed eyes, Hodgins groped for the water he had put on the bedside table the previous evening.
“Drink something and shut up.”
Zack did as he was told. Apparently, he was much more awake than the entomologist. “I think I can go to work again”, he proclaimed, after his coughs finally subsided.
“You sound like there’s a giant cicada stuck in your throat.”
“I don’t see how these two facts are connected.”
“My ‘yes’ is a ‘no’”, explained Hodgins, opening his eyes. While Zack certainly wouldn’t go to work today, Hodgins had to, no matter how few hours of sleep he had gotten tonight. Yawing, he eyed the clock on Zack’s bedside table.
“Fu**!” Hodgins jumped out of the bed and frantically searched the room for his clothes.
“Why on earth don’t you use an alarm?”, he snapped at Zack while ripping off the blankets to locate his socks. Zack held on to his side of the blanket and didn’t reply. They had a brief tugging war that ended abruptly when Hodgins spotted his socks on top of the book tower next to Zack’s bed. Seconds later, he was jumping on one leg, trying to put on his trousers, and threw an angry look at Zack. “Where is my coffee?!”

“Coming, Dr. Hodgins.” Zack rolled into his his blanket until he looked like a chrysalis and ran off to the kitchen. The sudden change of position probably triggered some irritants in his nose, as Hodgins could hear his usual wet triple sounding through the apartment: “EH’SHhhiihh! EPShhiiihh! EFTschhh!

“Don’t sneeze into my coffee!” Panting, he made his way to the door. “I’ll start the car. Be quick!”
“I cannot influence the boiling point of water”, Zack called after him.
The only reply was the bang of the car door.

 

“Dr. Hodgins, you’re late.” Cam raised her eyebrows as she approached him with crossed arms.
Hodgins exhaled loudly through his nose. “Thanks, Dr. Saroyan, I wasn’t aware of that.”

“Care to explain?” Hodgins shook his head and brushed past her towards the kitchen. Luckily, Cam seemed too busy to follow him. Angela, on the other hand, called after him. Hodgins only rolled his eyes and quickened his pace. Not enough to outpace his girlfriend, though.

“Jack, what’s the matter?”
“Coffee”, he said through clenched teeth, “Zack forgot my coffee.”
“Uhhh”, his girlfriend exclaimed. “So you’re Mr. Grumpy today. Don’t worry, I’ll tell the others not to disturb you before you’ve had your first cup…”
Hodgins closed his eyes and continued his walk. The coffee at work tasted like water tainted with beetle juice. He had only drunk it once in his life and could do very well without a second time, but without caffeine, his head would not give him a minute of peace today. Zack was going to pay for this.
To be fair, he had not even forgotten the coffee, but to arrive at the Jeffersonian without as much as a 1,5h delayal, Hodgins had felt compelled to leave immediately. He could practically smell the magnificent scent of his favourite coffee, feel the exquisite liquid on his lips… The coffee here did not smell much of anything. It was not even hot, only lukewarm and it made his throat feel scratchy. He stifled a cough into the crook of his arm and entered his workplace. Maybe the fly had already hatched. With a sigh, he dropped onto his chair and switched on the microscope. The egg had turned brown. “You were supposed to hatch, not to fowl”, he hissed at the tiny dot, pinching his fingernail into the skin of his other hand. Geez, he really needed to get his wristband back for days like these.

“Hodgie?” Hodgins swirled around. Who on earth dared to enter his- “Whoa, Jack. It’s me. You know I like the cranky side of you just as much as-”
“Not now, Angela.” Hodgins closed his eyes again and leaned back. There was a small scratch on his hand, not deep enough to bleed, but it stung nonetheless.
“Oh, come on. Is it really that bad?” She sat down on the armrest of his chair, laying her hand around his neck. He stiffened at the touch. “Hey, Zack is ill. You should have known that he -”
“I don’t care!”, he snapped at her, immediately cursing himself when she moved away from him. Her warm hands had felt nice. They always did.
“I’m sorry, Ange…”, he said, opening his eyes with a sigh. She cocked her head and raised her left eyebrow. “You look awful today; Sweetie. Didn’t you even get a chance to wash up?”
Groaning, Hodgins laid his head onto his desk. “Just leave me alone.” He did not mean to say that, but it was the only words his mouth could form at the moment. Angela sighed and stood up. The chair wobbled slightly without her weight to his right. “Fine.” She ruffled through his hair before leaving, making him smile just a little bit. “I’ll make sure you get your coffee tomorrow!”

The rest of the day ran by without further incidents, and Hodgins was lucky that both Brennan and Cam had better things to do than bother him about his dead fly egg. His head had not stopped pounding, probably the consequence of the lack of caffeine in the morning, and he flinched when he slammed the car door shut. To his annoyance, Cam, who had parked right next to him, didn't not even seem to notice.
On the ride back, he grabbed some food for him and contemplated to let Zack starve. He had definitely deserved to suffer after what he had done to him. But a softer side of him ordered some macaroni. They were friends, after all. And he could find much more creative ways to punish Zack.

When he drove towards his garage, he could see light coming from Zack’s living room. This either meant that he had left it on in the morning without Zack’s notice, or that Zack was working at his private lab. So maybe, he was feeling better after all and was fit to perform the unpleasant tasks Hodgins had planned on his way back. He rang the doorbell with his elbow. Maybe he could convince Zack to come downstairs and open the door by hand if he just rang often enough - But to his surprise, the door burst open in the very moment he leaned against it to look through the peephole. He stumbled into Zack, nearly dropping the food in the process. “Excuse me, Dr. Hodgins”, Zack said, pushing him back and then taking a step back himself. “Your coffee. Id took exactly as longb as I had estimated, bud you were already gone wheb-”

The entomologist shoved the bags into Zack’s arms and grabbed the coffee mug, inhaling the fine scent. It did not smell as good as always, which he blamed upon the fact that it was not as fresh as usual, maybe even rewarmed.
“Angela called me and said you’d left earlier, so I promptly prepared another cup.” He trailed off, biting his lip. “I drank the other cup myself, as it would not have tasted good if I had kept it warm and I thought it was a waste to pour it away and -”
“Just stop talking, Zack.” Hodgins slowly made his way upstairs, carefully sipping the hot liquid with each step.
“Yes, Dr. Hodgins.” Zack followed him, and Hodgins could see in his face that he was not exactly happy about not being allowed to talk. When they reached the apartment, he sighed and nodded at the intern. “Fine. Go ahead.”
“I dnever use ad alarm. I always wake up at the sambe timbe every day, I’m used to that. I’b sorry I didn’t tell you. And I’b sorry I did not wake you. My internal clock seems to be buch less reliable when I’m ill.” He exhaled loudly after saying this, looking relieved. Hodgins sighed and shook his head.
“It’s fine.” Now that he had his coffee, he suddenly felt generous. Even though the coffee did not taste as good as always. Just like the coffee he had had in the morning (and the five additional cups he had drunken over the day), it hurt his throat. Maybe it was just a little bit too hot.
“I brought us some food. Have you eaten anything today?”

Zack laid his head in his neck. At first, Hodgins thought he was thinking, but then he noticed the subtle change in Zack’s breathing. His eyes focused at the ceiling light, before closing slowly. His nostrils began to twitch at the same time, giving Hodgins enough time to back away. “Hihh… hih’IHTSHhhh! EH’PSHhiihshh! IhhTCHHShhiihh!”
“Aaand bless you. Did your cold get any better?”
Zack sniffled strongly and strode towards his bedroom, returning with a handful of tissues soon after. “Dnoe”, he admitted, “Or yes. Depe’din’ od whether you bmean by symbtombs or mby genehhhii… general- HihSHiihhssh! EhTShuu! Het’Chshhh!” This time, he blew his nose before answering. “Given to the fact that I am still using the painkillers you bought me, I’m afraid that I cannot answer your question objectively.”
“Riiight. So, at least, you’re feeling better because of the medicine.”
“The nasal drops make me sneeze.”
“Really, I did not notice that.”
“...Which relieves the pressure on my sinus cavities, as it loosens the congestion…”
“In a rather disruptive way, yeah”, the entomologist finished his sentence. “I did not need the details.”
Zack frowned. “But you asked-”
“Eat your macaroni. Angela and Cam are going to kill me if you starve at my place.”
“Technically, a human being with my constitution could survive more than two weeks without food. It is much more likely that I’d die of thirst.”
“Mhm.” Hodgins nodded and sat down at Zack’s table. “Next time you forget my coffee, I’ll simply turn off your water and lock you in your apartment.”
“That would be an attempt to kill me.”
“Yes. And I’m beginning to like that idea.”

Zack swallowed thickly and joined him at the table. He had this funny look again, biting his inner lip and tongue, looking uncomfortable and worried at the same time. Sometimes, he also made a funny noise on top of that - this time, actual words left his mouth. “Iii have another thing to tell you.”

Hodgins sighed. “Go ahead.”
“She killed him.”
“What?” Hodgins coughed, nearly choking on his noodles. “You know the murderer of our victim?!”
“Er”, Zack frowned and shook his head violently. “No. I don’t. My tarantula. The female Phormingochilus everetti. She attacked him around noon, after they had mated for the fifteenth time today. He didn’t survive. I tried to save him, but she was too quick.”
The entomologist grinned, putting his fork aside to rest his chin on his hand. “You counted how many times they had sex?”
“Yes. I did not have much of a choice. You told me not to leave the bed and the robot left the remote control somewhere.”
Hodgins could not help but laugh at this. Zack continued to stare at him, making him laugh even more.
“So… I take it that you don’t mind?”, Zack asked finally, glancing at him with his usual unsure expression.
“It’s a good sign when they eat their partners”, he said, “In tarantulas, that is. You certainly don’t have to be eaten to satisfy your partner…” He trailed off.
“I knew that”, Zack replied, still frowning. “There are not many similarities between the mating behaviour of tarantulas and the one of humans.”

Edited by Sequoia
Strange line breaks I cannot seem to change :/
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CW: Contagion, Hodgins&Angela kissing

King(s) of the Cold - Part 5

The sound of his alarm jolted Hodgins awake. He groaned and blindly slapped his alarm clock until he hit the snooze button. Hopefully, Zack had remembered his coffee this time… Finding his throat rather dry, Hodgins swallowed and winced at a sharp pain that had apparently appeared overnight. It was accompanied by a sharp tingle in his nose. “IhPFSHhhuushh! AH’FSHhhshh!” Great. He closed his eyes and contemplated whether he should stay home or drag himself to the Jeffersonian while patiently waiting for the second pair of sneezes. The tickle was playing with him, and he finally pinched his nose softly to coax it out. “IhSHhFssf! Heh’FSHhuhh!”

This was when the ring of his doorbell startled him. Zack. Hodgins jumped up, ignoring his pounding head and strode to the door. He was so going to kill this boy. But instead of Zack, he found the small robot of said young scientist standing at his doorstep. It was holding a cup of coffee. A few drops of the brown liquid had dripped out and there was rose petal swimming on the surface, but it was coffee.

“I like you much better than your owner”, Hodgins mumbled and took the cup. The robot followed him inside and disappeared into his bathroom. Curiously, the entomologist peeked inside while taking a few sips of coffee. The hot liquid burned his throat, but he enjoyed it nonetheless.
The robot had started to clean his sink. Hodgins lifted an eyebrow at this but decided not to stop it. Zack would find it if he - The doorbell rang again. Right. He had a job to do. Hodgins swirled around, once again trying to ignore the headache that had transformed from a slight dizziness into a full-blown headache within the few minutes he had spent out of bed. He pulled the door open and stared at the boy. “You gave me your cold.”
Zack swallowed and bit his lip. But instead of making an excuse, he shook his head. “Technically, one canbot ‘give’ a cold to sombeone. Id’s ‘nod an object. Id is possible to imbfect odthers, but thad does not m’bean thad one will therefore lose the cold.”
“Yeah, I can hear that.” He swallowed again and cursed himself for doing so, the sudden pain striking through him like lightning. Zack stood idly at his doorstep, looking at the metal sign saying, “Dr. Jack S. Hodgins”.
Hodgins sighed. “You know, you could at least be sorry.”
The young scientist widened his eyes with a disbelieving expression. “It is not my fault. You let me sit in your car even though I was clearly contagious, you stayed with me for two days and one night and neither of us did wear any kind of mask. It was practically inevitable for you to infect yourself with whatever virus I’m currently infested by.”
“I still blame you on that.”
Zack stood in silence, thinking. He had probably just taken another dose of his painkillers, for he looked rather strained by it. “I admit that I could have thought of wearing a mask myself. But given the fact that I was running a fever, I was not entirely able to take that responsibility. You should have reminded me.”
“If you’re not here to apologize, what are you doing at my doorstep?”, Hodgins asked, ignoring Zack’s arguments. They were reasonable, but sometimes, he preferred emotion to logic.
“I was looking for my robot. And my heating broke. It’s very cold at my place and I can’t seem to locate the problem due to my… current… hhh IHSHiihhsshh! EHSCHShhh! Ehh… hhheeh!IH’PSChhhss!”
Hodgins sighed and took a step back. “Come in and close the door”, he said, “Your robot’s cleaning my bathroom and you won’t stop him, or I will lock you in at your place and turn off the water.” Zack followed him inside, and just like his robot, took the next turn to enter the bathroom. “I wasn’t aware that he could actually do that.”
“I thought so. I’ve seen your bathroom.” Hodgins sighed and drank the last sip of coffee. “I’ll be off for work. Don’t break anything or I’ll add it to your next month’s rent.”
“I don’t pay for the place above your garage.”
“You will if you keep saying things like that”, Hodgins growled and grabbed his jacket with such force that the copper coat rack wiggled dangerously. He put it on and reached for the doorknob, trying to ignore the look Zack gave him.
“Dr. Hodgins?”

“No”, he hissed, but paused anyway. The intern stared at him and did not say anything. Of course. He had told him not to.
“For god’s sake, yes. What’s the matter, Zackaroni?”
“Should I try to keep you from going to work? Because that is what you did when I fell ill.”
“Not if you want to keep your free living place and your life on top of that.”
With this, Hodgins left the house. He shivered at the sudden exposure to cold air, but he was not even thinking of turning back. Nothing would change his mind now. Not even… “Hehh… Hhh… HEh’ehFShhh! IhFSHchishh!” Great. He searched his pockets for a handkerchief, but all he found was an empty gum wrapper and a coin with a dragon fly motive. And so he ducked into the crook of his arm. “MPFShhss! EH’MpfSHhssh!” Could this day get any worse?

“Good morning, Hodgie!”
Hodgins flinched at the sudden sound. Angela had jumped out between a few cars - well, probably she had been standing there for quite a while and waited for him like any other normal human being, but he did not have the nerve for sudden appearances today. Not even from Angela and not even if she seemed to want nothing more than to press her lips onto his. But he could not help but kiss back - Until his sense kicked in and he pulled himself away. Angela did not need to catch this, too.
“Morning”, he croaked, “I don’t see why this of all days should be a good one.”
“Mhmm…”, She whispered, running her hand along his chin. “What’s up with your voice? You sound funny.”
The entomologist grimaced. Was it really that obvious? He did not like the development of this ailment Zack had given him. “Zack”, he hissed and pulled out of her embrace. He hated not to be near her, he hated to let her go, but most of all he hated the one who was responsible for this. “Zack is up with my voice.”
“Oh. Is he still sick?” Angela cocked her head. She extended her arm again, but he turned away and began to walk to the front door.
“Why does everyone care about Zack?!” His voice sounded more desperate than he had intended to, but he did not care. He heard Angela’s soft footsteps behind him and felt her hand on his not a second later. “Jack! What’s the matter?”
Yes, he is still sick”, Hodgins answered her question with through clenched teeth. Angela stepped into his way. Hodgins came to an abrupt halt, turning to face her with a frown. She had crossed her arms in front of her chest and slowly raised an eyebrow. “Are you feeling okay, Jack?” Her expression changed from an annoyed one to something slightly worried and she opened her mouth, but Hodgins stormed off towards his lab. He needed his handkerchief, as he had not remembered to bring one with him. And unlike other people, he found it rather unhandy to carry them around in a pocket.

Once he had reached his lab, he sank into chair, sighed heavily and turned around to stare Angela down. She stood silently in the doorway and watched him.


“What?”, he asked, frowning slightly at the strange feeling talking caused in his throat. Angela chuckled and walked up from behind, laying her arms around him and nuzzling her face into his hair. “Poor Hodgie…”, She whispered into his ear. Hodgins rolled his eyes at her and gave his best not to give in to her soft touch. He always relaxed when she did this and so he did now, partly against his will. “Stop it”, he muttered under his breath, but he did not exactly mean it. The opposite, actually: He wanted her to do this all day until he returned home, that would make the time go by very easy.
Why did you even come to work, Jack?”, Angela asked, now running soft circles around his neck. He could feel her breath and shivered at it. It was a pleasant sensation, but it stopped abruptly when Cam entered. She cleared her throat and cast them a stern look.
Hodgins flinched and straightened, Angela took a step back and smiled at their boss. “Morning, Cam.”
“Good morning. Angela, I need you to check out a photograph!” She tossed an evidence bag with a drippy paper ball inside.
“Garbage would have been the right word”, the entomologist groaned, leaning back with the hope that Angela would continue her massage. She did not. “I’ll see what I can do”, Angela said, not sounding too confident. “Feel better, Hodgie!” She pressed a soft kiss on his forehead before grabbing the bag and leaving the lab. Hodgins longingly gazed after her.
Cam coughed slightly and brought him back to reality.
Next time”, he said, casting her a dark look, “You’ll give us a few minutes to ourselves.”

Next time I find you two like this during worktime, I’ll shorten your salary. Take a look at these clothes.” She passed him a pair of soggy gloves, a hat and the leftovers of what seemed to have been a scarf on his table. “He didn’t wear anything besides these.”
“Maybe he was a snowman.”
Cam only raised her right eyebrow and left him to his misery.

Hodgins coughed and winced at the harsh sound, before finally recovering his handkerchief from under his microscope. The cold air outside had made his nose run, and so had the warm air inside his car and the Jeffersonian. Probably, any kind of air would have had the same effect. For a moment, Hodgins considered to simply stop breathing - neither his nose nor his chest felt very pleasant when he inhaled, but due to his body’s desire to live, it did not work for long and made him inhale rather sharply at the end. This, however, helped an itch in his nose to fully emerge. He groaned and lifted the handkerchief. “MpfffSHhh! HmpffSHhshhh!” Great. He shook his head to clear his nasal cavities, but the second set of sneezes was inevitable. “EHh’MPFSHhhishsh! HEhSHhhesshh!” He blew his nose afterwards, wiped a few tears from his eyes and turned to the clothes. The faster he did this, the sooner the day would be over. But before the entomologist could even so much as reach for the gloves, the tickle returned. He bit his lip and tried to stop breathing again. This helped with hiccups, but not with sneezes, it seemed. “Heh’MpfffSCHhh! EHMpfffshhhh! Hehh… hhh…” Slowly rocking back and forth, Hodgins tried to coax the second pair out. If his body kept interrupting him like that, he would never manage to analyse even the smallest fibre of the clothes… “EHPShhhishh! MPFShhh!” And now his nose was running again. Sighing, he folded his handkerchief until he found a dry section to blow his nose for the second time within the first five minutes at work.

Edited by Sequoia
The line breaks AGAIN
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