Part 22

Wyatt wasn't accustomed to feeling invisible, he was a man whose presence usually commanded attention from any audience, be it one of his patients or a lecture hall full of students; however at this particular moment he was unseen. The psychiatrist believed he knew exactly how the two people currently sharing his office felt about each other, but even he had underestimated the depth of feeling that had been evident the second the FBI agent had stepped into the room. The instant change in the atmosphere of the room was so complex that Wyatt believed he could write an award-winning article about it in any medical journal and still not accurately reflect the true nature of its intricacies.

Doctor Brennan and Agent Booth were completely motionless, eyes wide and fixed on each other. Doctor Wyatt deliberately stayed silent and took the opportunity to observe the unspoken language that was currently flowing between them. Doctor Brennan was rigid in her seat, back ramrod straight and muscles taught as though preparing to flee, however her eyes were sorrowful and slightly questioning as though seeking reassurance. Whilst Agent Booth was not quite as uneasy, his expression conveyed just as much emotion and Wyatt was now in no doubt of Booth's feelings for his partner.

As Wyatt politely cleared his throat, he was amused to see the sudden startled change in expression as both sets of eyes quickly turned towards him and tried to cover their embarrassment.

"Agent Booth, please take a seat," he said, watching as Booth frantically scanned the office for anywhere else to sit other then joining Brennan on the couch; however as it was the only available seat he had little choice and carefully joined her whilst desperately trying not to make any kind of physical contact. Wyatt watched in fascination as a look of both relief and pain registered in Dr Brennan's expressive eyes.

Both of them now looked towards Dr Wyatt and he was amused to see the same expectant look of desperation on their faces, as though he held the magic spell that would instantly resolve all their fears and restore their hope. If only it were that easy, he thought to himself.

Clearing his throat Wyatt sat down and smiled, trying to relieve the thick tension that had invaded the room along with Agent Booth's presence.

"Welcome Agent Booth, thank you for joining us," Wyatt said, as though Booth would have been anywhere else, "Doctor Brennan asked that you join us today and begin the process of re-establishing the effective working relationship you had previously. Doctor Brennan has given me permission to discuss the issues involved with you Agent Booth, and I know in previous sessions you have also expressed your desire to inform Doctor Brennan of your own concerns. Can I just reaffirm with both of you that you are willing to discuss any subject I raise with both myself and each other, however difficult that may be?"

Booth and Brennan both looked away and squirmed uncomfortably whilst still making certain not to touch each other. Booth was the first to agree.

"Yeah, ok," he mumbled.

Brennan soon followed though somewhat more assertively, "yes I am willing to discuss any issues that will help us work together again."

Even though he had their word, Wyatt was still unconvinced that the former partners were yet ready to be completely truthful with each other; well, only one way to find out he thought.

"Hmm, I have a bit of a quandary here Agent Booth, Doctor Brennan; whilst I do believe that your previous working relationship can be restored, there is an issue between you that until resolved is going to permanently cause tension and uncertainty between you. However this issue is not something that can be resolved until it is acknowledged."

Pausing, Wyatt noticed the change in expression of both of the people in front of him. Two pairs of eyes, one brown, one blue, both now confused and slightly guarded; sitting so close together, yet with a chasm between them; an abyss of unspoken words, denied feelings and open wounds. Little did they know that only they held the key to the resolution of their crisis, not him, not anyone else! But were they ready to begin this journey?

Impatience was now evident in Agent Booth's eyes, he wanted answers, he wanted a way to fix this and he wanted it now.

"Well Doc, are you going to tell us what this issue is? Or are we supposed to guess?" Booth asked, although he thought he knew exactly what Gordon Gordon was talking about, and that certainty was adding to the tight ball of anxiety residing in his stomach. If Wyatt knew how he felt about Bones, it was going to be as embarrassing as hell to have him tell her right now.

"Ok then here it goes. Any successful relationship is built on trust and honesty; whilst I believe that you both had the former in abundance, I do not believe that you ever truly had the latter. As you both believe, wrongly I might add that Agent Booth's actions have destroyed the trust you both had in each other, until you can be completely honest with each other your relationship is never going to work."

Shocked at the psychiatrists bluntness, Brennan asked, "What do you mean?"

"I mean, my dear Doctor Brennan that until you both acknowledge how you feel about each other, truly feel about each other, you can go no further."

Silence hung heavily in the air, along with a feeling of anticipation………………..who would be the first to speak and either confirm or deny any 'feelings'.

Booth wasn't sure that he could speak, his throat had suddenly become bone dry and he felt as though the ground had been ferociously yanked from under his feet. He desperately wanted to look at Bones to judge her reaction to Wyatt's statement but his acute embarrassment and discomfort wouldn't let him even glance in her direction.

Bones was also reeling, if she and Booth were to re-establish an effective working relationship, how on earth was discussing feelings going to help? It had been one thing to share her vulnerabilities with a trained professional, but it was something else entirely to discuss it with the person who had been both the cure and cause of some of her anxieties.

Doctor Wyatt sighed; this was going to be even more difficult that he'd anticipated. Brennan and Booth were now both in full 'fight or flight' mode, every muscle tense, every nerve ending humming with anticipation. Maybe it was time to change tactics?

"Ok then, if neither of you are willing to talk to the other, then maybe we should try something else. May I first remind you though, that if this cannot be resolved I will not be recommending that you remain partners, and may I also remind you that whatever is discussed in this room is confidential and will not be shared with anyone else?"

Brennan and Booth both gave a faint nod, their expressions mirroring each other. Wyatt thought that the situation could almost be comical if there wasn't so much at stake.

"Right let's get started then," Wyatt continued. "I'd like you both to stand up please."

Wyatt watched as they both complied and stiffly rose to their feet.

"Before we begin, I'd like to share with you a brief recap of why we are here and how we reached this point. I'm sure that some of this is going to be difficult for both of you to hear, but you must listen carefully and not interrupt." Rising to his feet Wyatt observed similar guarded and fearful expressions staring back at him and once more found himself enthralled by the complexities of the human psyche, here were two people who had such a rare gift, complete and utter devotion to each other, their absolution and peace of mind lay solely with the other and yet they were both so determined to assert their independence they were completely blind to the fact that they were actually totally co-dependant, at least when it came to their emotional well being.

"Although you may not see it yourselves, my dear Doctor Brennan and Agent Booth, you are actually both very similar. You both have an innate sense of justice and you also value truth, honesty and integrity above anything else. You are both professional people who take great pride in your work as well as basing your sense of self worth on your ability to do your jobs effectively. That is why the impact of Agent Booth's betrayal has affected you both so acutely."

As expected, Brennan and Booth opened their mouths to dispute that statement, but Doctor Wyatt raised his hand to stop them before they could protest.

"I know what you're both thinking, it wasn't a betrayal, Agent Booth wasn't responsible for his actions when he assaulted Doctor Brennan, etcetera, etcetera; however, that is exactly how you are both feeling. Doctor Brennan, after your traumatic childhood you had withdrawn emotionally from those around you and when you finally placed your faith and trust in your partner and believed him to be a person who would never hurt you or cause you pain, he did exactly that, and all the suffering you experienced earlier in life resurfaced with the added intensity.

"Agent Booth, your betrayal is to yourself, to the person you believed yourself to be. The impact of your betrayal was then intensified by the knowledge that the person you assaulted is the person whose regard you hold in highest esteem. Therefore in order for you to resolve this issue, you must both acknowledge the truth of what actually happened to you and in order to do that you must first acknowledge the depth of feeling you have for each other."

Doctor Wyatt paused to allow time for his words to be processed, the two people in front of him had spent so long denying and resisting their feelings that asking them to recognize and admit them could ultimately fail, especially when you added the fact that they were also both incredibly stubborn and strong willed. However, even if Gordon Wyatt wasn't an expert in his field, he would still recognise what he saw in the eyes of these two people when they looked at each other.

"Agent Booth, Doctor Brennan, please turn and face each other," Doctor Wyatt asked, although it was more of a command than a request.

Booth was the first to turn. Cautiously watching the internal battle Bones was having with herself Booth felt his heart breaking, his Bones was such a proud, brave person, yet here she was struggling just to face him. Unable to bear it any longer, Booth's eyes fell to the floor, fixing his gaze on a small scuff on the tip of his shoe. Eventually turning, Bones glanced at her partner taking in the dejected slump of his usually strong shoulders, he appeared to have shrunk before her and she held back a gasp at the saddening tightening in her throat and chest, quickly looking away.

Reaching forward, Wyatt gently placed a finger under Brennan and Booth's chin, slowly raising their faces until their eyes met and locked.

"Be honest, both with each other and yourselves," he said as he stepped back.

Booth looked into Bones eyes, the usually clear blue now grey and stormy. Out of respect, he had never allowed himself the luxury of truly searching her eyes before but now he didn't hold back. Booth truly believed that entire conversations could take place in the exchange of eye contact and right now he wanted to read everything that Bones was telling him.

He saw the walls, but they were broken, cracked and weak; he saw the pain, raw and exposed and it hurt him so much that he had caused that pain; he saw anger and shame, regret and remorse, but through it all he could still see a faint glimmer of hope, a small spark of belief; hope and belief that Booth would know what to do, how to heal the pain and make things right, just as he always did. Booth made a decision, he had something to tell Bones, something he had always wanted to tell her but had been afraid to, so he opened his heart and told her, not holding anything back in the hope that she would hear him.

Bones didn't want to do this. Looking into someone's eyes and having them look back at her felt like a complete violation. She didn't want her vulnerabilities exposed, especially to Booth. If they were to continue working together, she wanted him to know that she was competent and confident, but right now she felt vulnerable and scared. She built up her walls and turned to face him, but as the warmth of his gaze touched her, she felt her walls start to crumble. His eyes searched hers and she knew he could clearly see what was there, she could see it in his eyes, the fear that she would never truly trust him again and the sorrow and regret he felt. But then everything changed, she saw him stand straighter, his shoulders regaining their proud strength and his eyes………….what were they telling her? What did she see? Booth had often looked at her with affection, but it was always combined with either humour or concern, either during a playful but competitive verbal sparing, or after a particularly traumatic event. Now Booth's eyes held much more than affection, he was looking at her with total adoration, his depth of feeling completely drowning her. He loved her, totally and completely, it was clearer than any words he could have spoken, and suddenly his brown eyes were difficult to see through her flood of tears. It felt as though someone had flicked a switch inside of her, all of the pain, cruel memories, fear and despair were now gone, no one had ever looked at her the way Booth was looking at her now, this was her Booth. He was her protector, her saviour, her strength, and she was his; he needed her, respected her, but most of all, he loved her. So finally, she let go of her defences and returned his declaration with one of her own. Reaching forward Bones felt no fear or hesitation as she raised her hand to gently touch his face, slowly sliding her hand into his hair and pulling him toward her. She saw the joy and relief flash through his eyes as their lips softly brushed together, she felt the warmth of his breath as it mixed with hers and she tasted the salt of her tears as their lips parted. Booth's hands danced at her hip as though unsure where to touch, but his grip tightened at her waist and he pulled her to him before sliding his arms around her and deepening their kiss. The hesitance of moments ago quickly evaporated as months of denial were forgotten and the true intensity of their feelings was shared. Passion swiftly gained the upper hand as Booth's hands tilted Bones head back to gain access to her exposed neck, how long had he wanted to explore the soft creamy skin at her throat, to breathe the soft scent of her hair.

Bones was lost; all coherent thought had left her as soon as Booth's lips had touched hers. Their kiss had been typical of their relationship, passionate and unyielding, tongues and teeth clashing with all the intensity of previous altercations, but the instance Booth's lips had found her throat, her weakness, she totally rescinded her control and trusted in his strength to hold her as her own strength left her, her knees growing weak at the ever increasing desire she was feeling as Booth's lips and teeth nipped and grazed at her neck. Gasping as his tongue found a particularly sensitive spot at the base of her ear, Bones eyes snapped open and reality slammed back into focus.

"Booth stop," she whispered, gently pushing him away but noticing with relief that they were alone, although she had no clue as to when Wyatt had left the room.

"It's ok, he's gone," she reassured Booth, turning to meet brown eyes clouded with both desire and confusion. Bones watched in amusement as Booth's head snapped to the chair that had been occupied just moments before. Ignoring the coil of sexual tension that was spreading through her body, she turned his face to hers and rested her forehead against his.

"I don't think we should be doing this here," she said, not wanting to break the spell but acutely aware of where they were.

Sighing Booth nodded, worried that Bones might think this was a mistake; but she slowly moved until her lips where against his ear and softly whispered the words that melted his heart.

"I love you Seeley Booth," she whispered through her tears.

Closing his eyes, the tension drained from his body as he gently kissed her cheek and replied, "I love you too Temperance Brennan."


A/N

Ok, I have no excuses for the ridiculous wait for this update, let's just say stuff happens.

Anyway, I'm really sorry, truly sorry, I always had every intention of finishing the story, I just lost my way somewhere!

If anyone is still reading, I hope this chapter didn't disappoint, it was excruciatingly difficult to write. I was thinking of doing a short epilogue though, if anyone's interseted???