A/N – This is not the chapter I had planned. Not even close. It's probably not the one you were expecting. But, it is the one that LMM insisted be written. As a very dear friend told me, LMM is like having a gun, LMM always goes first. So, here we are, following LMM's lead. Ten days have passed since we last saw our dynamic duo.
Disclaimer - Let me check. Nope. Still don't own Bones.
Knock, knock, knock
Dr. Lance Sweets jumped when his office door was thrown open with such force that it smacked the wall and then swung closed just as his two unexpected visitors had cleared it.
"Agent Booth. Dr. Brennan. We've discussed this before. You need to make an appointment. It's not appropriate for you to just barge into my office whenever the mood strikes you. You are not my only patients. I have an appointment in five minutes. I'll see you at your scheduled time tomorrow morning."
Sweets made it to the door to see the partners out before he realized that neither of them had moved from their usual spots on his couch.
"Um, Agent Booth, Dr. Brennan, you need to go. Now." Taking a look at Booth's body language, arms crossed, brow furrowed, knee bouncing, he decided to dial back his tone before Booth took his head off. "Please."
"Don't worry Sweets. This will only take a minute." Booth pulled his stare away from the window just long enough to glare at the kid.
Sweets sighed as he assumed the position, in the seat across from the partners. That's when he took in the totality of the picture the pair presented. Each sat on their established side of the couch. Instead of their usual ease with each other, they sat as far apart as possible, sucked up against the arms of the couch. While Booth's arms were crossed, Brennan's hands were in her lap, clenched so tightly together that her knuckles were white. Instead of knowing looks that they were yanking his chain or sharing a secret that only they knew, they refused to look at each other, with Booth's gaze still firmly fixed out the window and Brennan's anchored to her clenched fists.
"So, uh, what's going on here, guys?"
Brennan lifted her chin to look Sweets in the eye and broke her silence. "Agent Booth and I have come to inform you that we are dissolving our partnership as of today and, therefore, will no longer have to be subjected to your partner counseling sessions." The look of distaste as she said the last few words was so obvious his dead grandmother would have picked up on it.
Uh oh. Something bad has happened between these two. She called him 'Agent Booth.' That is not a good sign.
"Agent Booth, do you have anything to add?"
"No, I think Dr. Brennan pretty much covered it. No more partnership, so no more sessions with you." He shot Sweets a pointed look before looking away again.
Oh god. This is worse than I thought if he is calling her 'Dr. Brennan.'
"Well, can you at least tell me why you're dissolving your partnership?" Sweets was trying to catch up to the (non) partners. If he didn't know what had broken between them, he wouldn't be able to fix it. Wow, Lance, egotistical much?
"Agent Booth betrayed me and I find I can no longer trust him." She returned to staring at her clenched hands, obviously just waiting for the very uncomfortable meeting to end.
"Bo-, I mean, Dr. Brennan is being stubborn, like a dog with a bone (hehe), and won't let this go." Booth had sat still for longer than Sweets thought was possible, when he went to stand by the windows, arms still crossed, back to the room.
"I don't know what that means," Brennan stated, mostly from habit rather than actually not knowing.
"You know what? The two of you want to talk about this, go ahead. I'm outta here. See ya, Sweets." Booth stormed out of the office, once again slamming the door behind him, leaving a stunned Sweets staring in his wake.
Sweets tried not to think of his book that he would now have to abandon and adopted a conciliatory tone with Brennan, hoping to delve further into the Grand Canyon of discord between his two favorite patients. "Dr. Brennan, would you like to discuss what happened between you and Agent Booth? Voicing your feelings can be very therapeutic." Why did you say that, Lance? You know she discounts psychology. You might as well have chased her out the door.
As if she had heard his inner thoughts, Brennan rose from her seat, hell-bent on escaping the clutches of the boy wonder before he could pursue the matter any further. "No, I do not wish to discuss this. I'll be returning to the Jeffersonian now. As I will no longer be serving as a consultant for the FBI, I don't anticipate our paths crossing again. Good-bye, Dr. Sweets."
After her departure, Sweets sat with his elbows propped on his knees and his head in his hands in utter defeat. He had no idea where to begin to put them back together or if he even could.
He collected himself and asked his assistant to reschedule the rest of his appointments for the day. He'd already failed two patients. That was enough for one day. He wasn't ready to face any others. In any event, he needed to put all of his efforts toward getting the band back together instead of letting them embark on solo careers.
After leaving the psychologist's office, Brennan walked purposefully through the corridors of the Hoover, not meeting the eye of anyone she passed. The agents who knew her recognized a pissed off Brennan when they saw one and stayed out of her way. The one rookie agent who was brave (stupid) enough to try to engage her, felt castigated from just a look.
She bypassed the elevators in favor of the stairwell. Waiting for the door to close behind her, she stood on the landing and looked around. Anyone watching her would have assumed she was just looking for a place to have a moment to herself.
"Psst! Up here!"
Taking a step forward, she looked up the stairwell and saw a grinning face looking back at her. She held up a finger, as if to say wait a minute. Confirming that no one had followed her or was watching her, she propelled herself up the flight of stairs and into Booth's arms, her lips colliding with his as he wrapped her in a bone-crushing embrace.
Pulling back when the need for oxygen finally registered, Booth chuckled at the sparkle in her eyes. "Bones, we cannot do this here! Someone might see us!"
"I know, but it's been" checking her watch, "an hour since we were last in close contact. I find that I missed you."
"Aw, Bones, I missed you, too." After a quick kiss on her temple, he continued with the business at hand. "So, do you think he bought it?"
"Absolutely. I looked back as I was exiting his office and he looked very despondent. He believes we have ended our partnership."
Booth wondered if she was enjoying this just a little too much, but then, so was he.
"Good! The kid is going to get exactly what he deserves. Now, you need to get back to the lab and I need to get to my office. You know he is working up the courage to confront one of us about the break-up." After a final mind-blowing kiss, he spun a stunned Brennan around to face the steps, gave her a love-swat on the butt and walked out the stairwell door. Before Brennan could start down the stairs, he stuck his head back in and said, "Hey, I love you, Baby." With a wink, he was gone, leaving Brennan to happily marvel at her changed life.
Booth saw Sweets walking through the bullpen, straight for his office. Booth mentally rubbed his hands together in gleeful anticipation. Time to have some fun.
"Agent Booth, we need to talk. Whatever is going on with you and Dr. Brennan can't be so bad that you have to end your partnership. Tell me what's going on. I want to help."
"No way, Sweets, not gonna happen." Booth picked a ball up from his desk and bounced it off the wall a few times. "Don't think you can come in here, shrinking around the bush and get me to talk." Booth continued to toss the ball off his office walls, narrowly missing Sweets's head once or twice.
Worried that Booth might not miss the next time, Sweets pulled the ball from its flight, earning himself a glare as he took a seat. "Agent Booth, you and Dr. Brennan can't begin to work through this until you talk about it. I can provide a safe zone for the two of you to discuss your issues and work through them."
Booth rolled his eyes at the "safe zone" comment. "Sweets, look, you heard what Brennan said. She doesn't trust me. There's no way we can work together like that." Time to see if he takes the bait.
"Well, maybe you can tell me how she thinks you've betrayed her." Come on, Agent Booth, just a little more. Sweets sat forward in the chair, leaning toward Booth, trying to draw the words from him.
Look, there's a nibble on the line. "I don't know, Sweets. She'd probably see that as another betrayal." He chewed on his lower lip, as if considering Sweets request. "I guess it doesn't really matter, considering she already doesn't trust me."
"She won't hear anything from me. Whatever you tell me falls under doctor-patient confidentiality." He gave Booth his most reassuring smile. Come on, Booth, one more baby step.
Time to reel him in. "OK, Sweets, but if I find out that you've told her what I'm about to tell you, there will not be a hole deep enough for you to crawl in and hide from me. Got it?"
Sweets nodded eagerly, shocked that Booth was actually going to tell him. Booth must be really upset if I can get him to crack that easily.
"Here goes. Brennan thinks I betrayed her because she wasn't informed that I was actually alive. She says the she should have been on my contact list." Booth rambled on, as if Sweets were a priest and he was confessing all of his sins. "She was, I made sure of that. I don't know why she wasn't told. She thinks I didn't put her on the list, that I didn't want her to know, which she sees as a betrayal of our partnership. So, now, she doesn't trust me." He looked down and rubbed the back of his neck. He was trying not to laugh, which would ruin their chance at payback. Once he had gotten the urge under control, he looked back up at Sweets. "I was thinking I would ask Cullen why she wasn't told, but I'm not sure it matters now."
Sweets looked calm and collected on the outside, but on the inside, he was in full panic mode. Oh god! This is because of what I did. I took her name off of the list. I can't admit that to Booth. He will kill me and have Brennan dispose of my body. I better get out of here before he senses that I'm hiding something.
Sweets looked at his watch, "Booth, I didn't realize what time it was. I've got an appointment in two minutes. We'll talk about this later." Sweets beat a path to the door before Booth could process what he was doing and disappeared in the hustle of the bullpen without a trace.
Brennan was startled by the buzz of her cell phone's incoming text notification. She walked into her office before pulling her phone from the pocket of her lab coat.
Text message from Booth:
Phase one complete. He's probably heading your way. Love you, baby.
A/N2 - Not what you were expecting, was it? Me either. Well, the good news is that there is more coming, including what happens at the cabin after Brennan's arrival. If you're enjoying this story, please leave a review in that box below. LMM loves reviews! If you are reading "Captive" and "The Results in the Change," they should both be update soon, starting with "Captive." Thanks for reading! ~ craftyjhawk