"Well Cherie, you've got some luck on your side. Mr. Grabby has decided to drop all charges against you. Apparently he didn't realize that having you arrested would make the nightly news for days on end. To save a little face, he's willing to admit he was a tad overenthusiastic with you." Caroline stood at the end of Brennan's hospital bed as she looked down on the anthropologist.
"If he thinks that's going to convince me to drop the charges against him, he's gravely mistaken." Brennan crossed her arms and set her expression to petulant. Caroline shook her head at the doctor.
"I had a feeling you'd say that. The trial date is set for two weeks from now. I'll see you back in town then. For now, I'm going back to DC. Never could stand the Golden State, too false for me."
"Thank you for everything Caroline."
"You're welcome Cherie, and don't think this doesn't mean you don't owe me. I just haven't decided on the terms yet." Caroline quirked a smile at her before turning and leaving Brennan alone in the room. The anthropologist sighed and leaned back against the raised mattress. She was waiting for Booth to return so she could get dressed and leave the sterile environment. Speak of the devil, she thought at the knock on her door. Booth stood there with a travel bag in his hand.
"Hey you," he said as he entered the room. He set the bag down before dropping into the chair by her bedside. "I picked up everything you asked for."
"Thanks. I can't wait to get out of here." Brennan reached for the bag and began to riffle through it. "I have to stay in town until the trial, so I'll be working with the Museum of Man on some authentications."
"Well, I wish I could stay with you, but I have to get back to DC. I finally got a call from Cullen. The review board wants to see me tomorrow." He ran a hand through his hair and sighed.
"I still can't believe you were suspended. You didn't do anything wrong."
"Yeah well try explaining that to my boss. I did let Noor get hold of that file, and he knows that you and I slept together, so I don't think that is going to be in my favor." Brennan looked at him, stunned.
"You told Cullen we had sex? Why would you do that?"
"It's not like I meant to, it just sort of slipped out."
"Booth, they could pull you from out partnership."
"Bones, at this point that's the least of my worries. I'm more concerned about whether or not I have to start looking for a new job." Brennan pinched her mouth shut. He was right, that was the greater worry. She decided to drop the argument for once and just let it be. There was nothing to gain from flinging accusations anyhow.
"I talked to Angela this morning. She said that Sweets confirmed the profile that Noor drew up on the rapist. The FBI is looking for a couple, not a single individual. Rebecca had to feel comfortable enough to get into a car with a strange person, and since most women wouldn't willingly get into a vehicle with an unknown male, the thinking is that a female accomplice is involved."
"Great, at least that narrows down the field a little bit."
"Also, I thought you'd want to know that Rebecca's date from that night, Bradley? He's going to be charged with criminal neglect for leaving her in that parking lot alone." Booth shook his head and sighed.
"Well, I can't say that I'm happy with the outcome, but at least some justice is going to come of it."
"We wouldn't have been able to charge anyone with murder anyway. All evidence points to the fact that she was raped, and then fell off a cliff while being pursued by her attacker." Brennan looked at Booth and noticed the weary expression that seemed to settle over his features. It was as if he were aging before her very eyes.
"You know, sometimes I think Sully had the right idea to just chuck it all and sail off into the sunset."
"What are you talking about?"
"Don't you get tired of all the murder Bones? Don't you sometimes just wish that the bodies would stop showing up, that there wasn't a need for us?"
"You aren't thinking of quitting are you?" Booth didn't miss the hint of panic in her voice.
"Do I want to quit? No. Will I be fired? I guess we're going to find out. I just…I don't know, maybe I just need to take some time off, spend it with Parker."
"Oh." She couldn't help the disappointment that she felt. She was of course the one to put the final brakes on a future relationship when she'd said no, but after their night together, she was reconsidering her decision. Now though, it seemed like maybe he didn't want to further things. It wasn't like she could blame him, not after how she'd treated him.
"Well, I hate to leave, but I need to get packed before I head to the airport. Are you going to be okay getting back to your hotel?"
"Oh, yes. I called the concierge and they're sending a car to pick me up."
"Okay, great. I'll call you as soon as I know what the future holds for me." Booth stood and turned to the door. A gentle hand on his arm kept him from leaving, and he turned back to face Temperance.
"What are we?" At his puzzled expression, she continued on. "I mean are we going to remain partners, or are we going to be something more than that?"
"That's up to you Temperance. You know how I feel about that already." She looked at him a long moment before glancing down at the sheets on her hospital bed.
"I think that it would be foolish not to acknowledge the changes that have occurred in our relationship." Booth's lip quirked up and he shook his head. He slowly leaned down and kissed her lips before standing back up.
"Don't stay here too long Bones. I think you owe me a dinner date." As she smiled back at him, he left the room, neither sure about what the fate of their working relationship would be.
"I'd like to make it perfectly clear that any chaos caused while Agent Booth was in San Diego is my fault." Noor sat before a panel in the FBI building. Cullen looked over several reports before looking up at the young woman before him.
"What makes you say that Ambassador Haddad?"
"I asked for Agent Booth to be assigned as my protection because of a past physical relationship I had with him. When it became obvious that his feelings for me were not compatible with mine, I used poor judgment in an attempt to prove my worth to him."
"Your poor judgment involves taking a confidential file I take it?"
"Yes. Earlier I had tried to convince both Agent Booth and Dr. Brennan that I could assist them on their case, but was told that I was not authorized to help. While they…discussed other matters, I took the file knowing that they were too preoccupied to notice."
"What exactly do you mean by 'discussing other matters'?" Cullen leaned forward in his chair and folded his hands on the desk before him. Noor took a deep breath before looking him in the eye.
"If you are asking whether or not they were engaged in intimate activities then the answer is no. Agent Booth and Dr. Brennan are much too respectful of others to do something of that nature while others are around." Cullen stared at her for a long moment before nodding his head.
"Thank you Ambassador Haddad. Your testimony will be taken into consideration by this panel." Noor gave a brief nod and stood up to leave. As she reached the door, she turned back around.
"Director Cullen, let me make one thing quite clear. If Agent Booth loses his position because of my actions, then I will go above your head to have him reinstated." A general murmur of shock and slight outrage ran through the FBI panel. Noor gave one short, curt nod and left the room.
Booth sat outside the conference room unable to control the butterflies that seemed to have taken residence in his stomach. For once his gut didn't have an opinion either way on his likely fate, and it was making him twitchy. He tapped his heels on the ground over and over while checking his watch for what seemed like the millionth time. How could a decision take so long? Hadn't they already looked over the reports?
The door opened and Cullen stepped out into the hallway. Booth stood up and ran a hand down his tie in an effort to flatten it against his chest.
"We're ready for you Agent Booth." Seeley nodded once and followed his boss into the conference room. As Cullen made his way back behind the desk with the other panel members, Booth sat down in a chair facing them. "You understand the charges that have been raised against you?"
"Yes sir." He was holding his breath. His fate now rested in the hands of the panel members.
"After reviewing all testimony, we have decided to reinstate you as a Special Agent. You will however be under scrutiny for any future acts that are unbecoming of an agent of your stature."
"I understand. Will I continue working with the Jeffersonian on cases that need their expertise?" Cullen looked down at Booth with a hard expression.
"While your partnership remains intact for the time being, if there is even one slip up, or if I get word that you are involved outside of the work environment, then your partnership shall be terminated immediately. I don't know what really happened in California, but your behavior regarding Dr. Brennan is partially to blame for the situation that arose. Please see to it that you remain professional."
"Yes of course sir." Booth nodded. Cullen glanced from him and back to the reports.
"This incident is going on your permanent record. One more slip up like this and I can't say that we'll be so forgiving. Do you have anything you'd like to add?"
"No sir. I believe everything is clear on the subject."
"Good, then you're dismissed." With a curt nod, Booth stood and left the room. His stomach unclenched and he breathed a sigh of relief as he headed to retrieve his badge and his gun. He was keeping his job, and more importantly he was still partners with Brennan. Now he had to find a way to keep his relationship with her off of the radar, but that shouldn't be too difficult. They could after all be incredibly discreet. With a smile, he pulled out his cell phone. There was a phone call he had to make. His Bones needed to hear the news.
AN: Okay all, that's the end. This is just a note to let you know that this is the first in a series of stories that will be known as the Butterfly Effect. Next up in the series will be The Wrestler in the Swamp. Look for it in the future, as I need to take a short break from writing fanfiction and concentrate on my actual television spec scripts. Wish me luck as I attempt to write well enough to get a job in television. Hopefully I can end up on Bones. We can only hope right? I'll keep you all updated on my progress. Until then, thank you for reading and keep an eye out for me in future.