Author's Note: Hope you enjoy this! It will probably mold into a twoshot--depending if it's wanted.
Summary: Sully's back. Guh. Booth visits Sweets, needing to voice his thoughts to someone. I mean... who else can he talk to?
Angela: Just tell her how you feel already and go make hot love!
Hodgins: Dude. You're higher on the federal food chain than this guy. Get him fired, or transferred. I'll back you up, if you feel it's necessary. I mean, the Federal Bureau of Investigations' track record with... (goes off on seventeen different conspiracy theories)
Cam: I don't want to know. Are you doing anything tonight?
Yeah. Sweets is his only hope.
The eyes of one Doctor Lance Sweets regarded the Agent, along with pursed lips and a risen brow. For a time, he remained unspoken—blinking every now and then. His brown orbs were wide with deep thought. The Agent was beginning to feel uncomfortable.
"You're jealous?" The juvenile therapist suspected, eyebrows climbing higher into his scalp.
"What?" Booth blinked. "No." He fought back an irritated sigh, rolling his eyes and stifling the urge to give the boy—man, he had to remind himself—before him a comic book and send him on his way. "Sweets, don't even start with that, please…" he scoffed, trying to relax back into his seat. This was an informal visit—even though attended in the good doctor's office. Booth wore his casual dress, and at the therapist's conclusive leap, removed the sunglasses that shielded his eyes in a fit of frustration.
Sweets was partially relieved at the action. Not only was the removal of the shades a subconcious gesture of openness, but… the vision of the tough former-Ranger before him—arms crossed defiantly with black veils shielding his eyes and concealing every expression—the cold, stone statue of brooding… yes, it unnerved the doctor quite impressively.
It did appear, though, that the good Agent Booth was feeling particularly charitable on this afternoon. And a lot less with the violent intentions and threats of firearm abuse.
"It's just…" the Agent began, and Dr. Sweets recognized his inner struggle that was painfully obvious. "She just…" Booth stammered, shaking his head, "threw herself at him. I mean, the guy barely had a chance to unpack before…" Here, his face involuntarily softened and his voice lowered almost to a mumble, "it started all over again."
He no longer held eye contact with the other man in the room. His gaze slipped down to his hands, which fiddled unenthusiastically in his lap. He let out a breath, sinking deeper into the cushions of the divan. He sort of wished it would swallow him whole. Then maybe he wouldn't have to be voicing his worries to a twelve-year-old.
Dr. Sweets was quiet a moment, taking in the Agent's words and considering them. He pursed his lips again, casting a glance off to the side and slowly nodded. "You're not jealous." Booth couldn't tell if it was a question or an observation.
He wasn't taking any chances. "No!" His voice rose a slight octave higher in his exasperation. God, he wanted to kick him. Sweets was lucky Booth had a severe dislike and strict rule against beating children.
This time, Dr. Sweets appeared aberrantly unphased by the FBI Agent's blatant temper. The man was facing an inner storm that was only natural and not within his region of control. A calm response was what was needed here. Dr. Sweets was well-aware that Seeley Booth strived for control. He couldn't imagine what chaotic and vulnerable helplessness had settled within the Agent now. He honestly felt pity for him. "No, Agent Booth," Sweets said, steepling his fingers and pressing them near his lips, "I'm agreeing with you." The Agent blinked, eyeing him a little suspiciously in his uncertainty. "What you're experiencing is not jealously." Here, Dr. Sweets softened his tone, trying to be as heartfelt as possible—to ease the initial sting of the emotional blow. "It's blind heartbreak."
In that moment, Special Agent Seeley Booth became a boy again. And a lost and hurt child at that. He may have felt the vulerability before, but now it spread across his suddenly saddened features without a single hindrance. He was too late to mask it even if he'd tried. The normally steel black orbs molded into a soft chocolate, burdened. He opened his mouth to say something, but the lack of words that followed only forced him to close it again. He bowed his head, brow drawn and a troubled frown on his lips.
Dr. Sweets tilted his head to the side, exhaling deeply through his nose. He waited for the Agent to collect a part of himself before he went on. He spoke softly. "That's unhealthy."
Booth sighed roughly. "Look," he began, suddenly weary and drained of any energy he'd previously maintained, "Sweets…"
"No," Dr. Sweets interrupted firmly, but his voice was gentle. "Please. Hear me out," he reasoned. "Afterwards, you can deny all you want and give me the 'just partners' speech when I'm finished. Fair?" At Booth's silence and reluctant half-shrug, he felt it safe to continue. Though, he waited until he thought the Agent was ready.
Booth never moved an inch. Taking that as a sign that the Agent was as prepared as he was going to be, he jumped right in—skipping the prologue and any bush beatings.
"From the moment you met her—you loved her." There, it was said. The statement hung in the air like a steel weight. He read Booth's reaction carefully. The Agent had tensed visibly at the implication, a muscle tightening in his jaw—but otherwise remained silent. "It was already encoded into your system. Destiny—I'll use that word, seeing as you're very religious. Your heart, pardon the slight cliché, took its time to mold to the idea and catch up with genetic recognition." Dr. Sweets studied his patient carefully. He leaned forward slightly in his seat, becoming sincere. "It took three years for you to realize yourself—through life-threatening perils, random discomfort at her boyfriends, impossible rescues, and a kiss under the mistletoe. Three years, it took you." Dr. Sweets leaned back again, trying a little harder to read the Agent's nigh-unbreakable expression. "You're a stubborn jackass. I mean that in the dwarfed-horse sense of the word," he amended quickly at Booth's sudden glare of doom. "She's even more obdurate than you, which is certainly saying something." Here, he took a verbal timeout, allowing his words to reach the Agent across from him.
To his appreciation, Booth appeared to be mulling carefully over the words. And he didn't appear to be plotting the inelegant demise of one Lance Sweets for calling him a growth-challenged pony, much to the therapist-in-question's relief. After another moment, Dr. Sweets decided it was time to continue on.
"And you'll only go through more together," he enlightened, eyebrows climbing again as he nodded. "More moments of desperation. More moments of fun at the diner; at the lab, even. Times of comfort, tears, shouting, guy hugs—yes, she told me. Laughter, and downright misery. A series of moments. All in their shining glory. That's what our lives are made of. Whether you feel them with your heart, or observe them through a microscope. Moments. You've both experienced many of these together—as one. You're part of each other—each other's lives. You share an unbreakable bond," Dr. Sweets shook his head slightly in appreciative awe. "You've seen each other at your absolute worst. When all hope is lost, you've pulled one another through." He sighed, relaxing back in his chair yet again, and shook his head in foreboding. "You continue on without getting this weight off your chest—either of your chests—it will only grow more painful."
He waited for any sort of response from the Agent—who sat now, maybe a little straighter. He didn't appear ready to speak his mind any time soon, though.
Dr. Sweets could understand that. But his words needed to reach the older man, one way or another. "I am telling you, from a professional standpoint… this…" he searched for the word, "dilemma… it can't go unmet. Or unresolved. It's unhealthy to you and it's unhealthy to her. Hidden emotions such as these—on this grand a scale—if left hidden and suppressed, they can grow and they can eventually destroy. Yeah, I can't tell you what to do. But you need to make a decision. You can choose to keep hiding beneath your excuses, such as the crossing of that invisible line, or you can tell the woman you love how you really feel." Dr. Sweets hesitated, inclining forward, his brow drawing together as he studied the man before him. "Or…" he went on, "you can continue to deny." Again, he reclined back, giving the man his space. "Which will it be, Agent Booth?"
The often steeled gaze glanced at him for the very briefest of moments before slipping away again. His hands appeared to be his only focus now. Sweets waited.
The silence hung, unmet by any response—sigh or otherwise.
Finally, the Agent's small, hesitant voice broke through. "…What if…" Booth shook his head, brow furrowing. "What if she…?" The ex-sniper's head hung even lower than before, and he brought his fingers unsteadily to his brow, at odds.
Dr. Sweets regarded him compassionately—offering him every support. He remained unmoving, but spoke softly, "Allow me to propose a test, Agent Booth." He waited until he had the other man's full attention. "What would break you more? What would cause you the greater heartache?" he posed honestly. "Her turning you away—maybe finally running off with this guy?" He paused a beat. "Or never knowing? Never taking that chance?"
The words seemed to strike a chord within the FBI Agent.
"I can tell you from experience—not my own, but from the telling of others—you let that chance slip? You'll never forgive yourself. The memory of that missed opportunity will haunt you for the rest of your life."
Booth seemed plagued by an inner struggle. He released a burdensome sigh, shaking his head. "But…" he stammered, sighing again with conflicting emotions. "Sully's my friend, I couldn't—"
"No offense, Agent Booth," Sweets cut in—some of that sympathy slipping away. Not on account of Booth's indecision, but due to certain third parties who had been previously left nameless. "But this isn't about Agent Sullivan. This is about you and Dr. Brennan."
He could sense the Agent's obvious frustration, and prepared himself to be on the receiving end of its main focus. "What's your professional opinion, then, Sweets? As long as we're on the subject of good ol' Sully," Booth's voice was slightly louder and dry with sarcasm. "What do you see in them?"
"What do I see?" Dr. Sweets' eyebrows shot up. "I see very little," was his blunt and honest opinion—which spoke very little of Agent Sullivan. "I see a woman who is either terrified of or denying her feelings for someone she cares very deeply for. She's stuck in the middle. In between and without direction. I believe she runs to a man whom she has no obligation to feel any deep attachment or emotion towards. She hides behind him. Whether it be consciously or not. As I've said before—this is not about Agent Sullivan. You are the one she is running from—out of panic. She doesn't mean to, of that I'm sure. I believe it's the outcome of a second nature." After falling back on a more clinical approach, Dr. Sweets then returned to his main point. "From the moment we three were introduced… that spark between the two of you—that connection and raw desire to protect the other…" Dr. Sweets shook his head, again—in blatant admiration and respect. "What you and Dr. Brennan…" he smiled here, "Your Bones… what you have, it's undeniable. It was obvious from the moment you two walked through that door. There was no analysis or surveys necessary to draw that conclusion. It was a therapist's dream," he chuckled slightly. "Professionally, I couldn't ignore it if I tried."
Dr. Sweets was glad of the fact that Agent Booth appeared to be truly and honestly listening to him.
"There is no question. When you pull excuses out of thin air just to touch each other; to come into contact, to tease each other—see each other? Agent Booth, with all due respect, takeout after nine o'clock on any night is well beyond the 'just partners' concept. It's insulting to anyone whom you try to convince of its relevance."
The tiniest of smiles appeared to ghost over Booth's lips, despite himself. A soft snort escaped him.
Dr. Sweets smiled approvingly. "And I meant what I said, man. You two, together, are a completion. This Agent Sullivan… I've had very little contact with the man, but from what I've seen, he does very little for her. In and outside of her occupation. He appears to find her work trivial—unworthy, even, of her time. You, on the other hand, believe in her. And you believe in what she does. She's shown the same sentiment towards you. I say this without biased: you are, honestly, the better man for her. From a professional standpoint. You two are symbiotic. Without the other, you lack direction and can't seem to fully function. You're a team. Not only partner and partner, but Man and Woman. You complement one another outside of the work area just as well. I don't think I need to put a name to each example. I'm sure you're aware of them." He offered the Agent a smile, tilting his head.
Booth appeared to accept it, relaxing back into the medicinal influence of the fluffy cushions. The two sat in silence, cogitating. "So," he said finally, clasping his hands together before spreading them apart.
Dr. Sweets' face split in a friendly grin. "So…" he agreed, leaning forward again. "Now that we're through boosting your ego…" his patient gave a half-hearted hmph of humor. "What I suggest, Agent Booth, in my professional opinion—you have yet to give her a choice. You keep dancing around your feelings—you don't tell her? The tension builds out of control—you're both left frustrated and bitter—and she's left with her only believed option. Settling. Don't allow that. Giver her that choice, Booth. Let her know that she has one." He paused, smiling warmly and earnestly. "Let her know she has more than just a partner." He nodded once for emphasis. "Take the chance."
The room sat now in a very comfortable silence. Booth eased back in his seat, a distant and calculative look molded onto his features. Dr. Sweets could tell he was in very deep and much needed thought. He faced each notion with careful deliberation. Dr. Sweets was well aware that Agent Seeley Booth possessed a very intelligent and agile mind. He could only hope the FBI liaison intended to use it.
"That was…" Booth began, narrowing his eyes and staring at the coffee table before his booted feet, "an excellent perspective, Sweets." He nodded slowly, sitting forward and rising to his full height. He appeared to take a deep and calming breath of air—both physically and mentally.
Dr. Sweets smiled slightly, giving a shrug. He still remained earnest as he spread his hands. "I can't promise miracles, but—"
Sweets looked up in blatant surprise at the use of his first name—spoken by the ragging FBI Agent who often referred to him as an undeveloped twelve-year-old dweeb, no less.
There was not a hint of mockery or superiority in the older man's eyes, now. There was only grateful warmth. "Thank you."
Or, at least, there hadn't been. As Dr. Sweets' jaw hung wide and agape, ready to capture any unsuspecting fly in the enclosed room, his eyes large and bowled over, a teasing smile tugged on the corner's of Booth's mouth. His eyes shown with gentle laughter.
Dr. Sweets' cleared his throat, quickly regaining his composure. "So…" he sat back and crossed a leg over the other, shrugging. "What's your plan of action? What sort of story is this, Agent Booth?" A twinkle shone in his own youthful stare. "Tragedy?" A smile threatened to break. "Or fairy tale? Are we even in the third act, yet?"
Booth chuckled quietly, replacing his sunglasses. "What lies at journey's end?" He stuffed his hands into his pockets, pausing in thought. "I haven't decided yet," he said finally, then gave a single nod. Sweets was sure there was a wink behind those darkly-tinted shades. "I'll let you know."
With that, he headed for the door—feeling in a much better mood than when he had entered.
He waited, his hand on the doorknob. "You and Angela should get together sometime," he muttered with mock repugnance, "exchange recipes or something," he threw over his shoulder.
He could hear Doctor Lance Sweets' bark of laughter as he shut the door behind him.
The knock on her door pulled Brennan from the object of her current attention—a simple book. She glanced at the clock above her. Sully was slightly early tonight. She mentally shrugged, setting the book down and rising from her couch.
Her bare feet padded across the hardwood flooring until she met the door. Unhooking the chain, she took the knob and turned, opening the door with a composed smile on her face.
Said smile grew to full capacity, and into a look of pleasant surprise.
There he was—broad grin locked in place and ready to charm her into laughter and relaxed ease. "Booth," she said, offering him a welcoming embrace.
He accepts it without argument and an even wider smile. He holds her just a little longer than times before. She pulls back finally, permitting him entrance. He looks a little shaken, to her growing surprise. Nervous, even. And, perhaps, a little hopeful. She wonders why. She doesn't understand.
But he smiles. "Hey, Bones."
A/N: What say you? Twoshot? Or just the oneshot? Reviews are the elixer to my soul.