Author's Note: So I never did get to do a post-ep for The Man In the Cell. I will, I promise. I guess in the meantime you can pretend that this goes for both, since it's way longer than the drabble I originally had planned. This came about because we didn't get a scene like it tonight, and of course I had to do something about it.
The smell of smoke from the grill is still heavy on Booth's clothes when the knock drags him off the couch and back to the door. He hasn't bothered to change, the uneasy gloom of his admission sweeping back in the moment Wyatt's too-British psychobabble wasn't there to distract him. The sight of Brennan in his doorway, take-out box in hand, does little more than confuse him for a moment. Then, like clockwork, jealousy works its magic, and suddenly he wants to take the pie from the box in her hand and deposit it in the face of one Agent Sullivan.
"I thought you were out…" Booth pauses, trying to mask the bitterness in his voice. The shot was his mistake; pies in faces notwithstanding, he ought to own up to the punishment. "…doing what we do."
"I was." Brennan says it with the directness that tells him she isn't thinking about his feelings, then softens just a little. "But logically, in order to do what we do, I'm required to do it with you."
It takes Booth half a second to realize she's joking, and the slight quirk of her lips sends him into a near-hysterical laughing fit. He realizes with a fresh wave of relief that he'd already been assuming she'd go home with the guy, though that defies even his shoddy brand of logic. "Come in," he says, finally stepping away from the door.
"Thanks." She hands off the pie as she steps through the doorway, a hint of mischief still in her eyes. "Eat that. High carbohydrate intake will boost your serotonin level."
Booth rolls his eyes. "We're not in the lab, Bones. And psychology's not your thing."
"That was biochemistry." Brennan sheds her jacket and sits on his couch without asking. "Purely empirical."
"And I suppose Sully would know that." Booth bristles again as he puts the pie down, angry that he's lost an entire case with her. All because of a stupid mistake. A loss of the control he prides himself upon. The control he sometimes thinks is the only thing keeping him together. Wyatt is right. He hits what he shoots; someday, if he isn't careful, that will put innocent people at risk.
"What does that have to do with anything?" Brennan looks genuinely confused, and for just a moment he feels guilty for the stab of jealousy that now inevitably accompanies her temporary partner's name.
"Well, you know, the way you were talking about him on the phone, that guy can do everything. What do you need me for?" He's taking it too far and knows it, but he can't seem to stop himself. Out of control again. Danger, danger. Get all civilians to safety.
For a moment, she just stares, a look of utter incredulity on her face. "Well, I…need you to be you, Booth." Straight, like it's another perfectly obvious fact to be rattled off in a report.
"Why are you here?" asks Booth, softening as he goes to sit next to her.
"You're my partner," says Brennan, giving him a look he can't read. "And I hate psychology, but right now I sort of wish I didn't. I want to help."
Booth is quiet for a long moment, wanting to touch her, but too afraid of his own shaky control. That he's lost control twice now bothers him more than he cares to think. That she was witness to both is worst of all. She is the one thing in his life he has yet to corrupt, and he can't help thinking that it is because he's never had any control over her at all. He can't afford to.
"You already are."