A/N: It had to happen eventually. We couldn't allow our separation anxiety to keep us from letting our fic reach its natural, inevitable conclusion. Now, we cry and drown our sorrows in sangria, comforted only with the knowledge that of course inspiration will soon strike again, and we will collaborate once more for all you lovely folks. If, of course, you'd like that. Would you like that?:)
Six months later...
Lance Sweets, Ph.D., rubbed his hand across his forehead tiredly, heaving a deep sigh. "You're kidding."
His clients blinked at him. Brennan leaned over to whisper into her partner's ear, indiscreetly. "Why does he think we're kidding?"
Booth shrugged. "How would I know?" he whispered back. "The kid spends most of his time at comic book conventions. I don't know how he thinks."
He had discovered a while back that the only surefire way to disrupt the insults was to keep their minds occupied with more questions. "Guys. I asked you to discuss an important topic you've had conflict with this week. And this is what you come up with?"
Brennan looked offended. "This is important. Booth and I share many meals together. And I think it's only fair that he respect my feelings about this."
Her partner gave Sweets a desperate look. "I'm sorry. But have you seen tempeh? It's soybeans fermented with mold. That can't be good for you. I just can't watch her eat that crap."
She looked offended. "I'm not asking you to eat it, Booth. And it is a very healthy food choice."
"But it ruins my meal to see it!"
"Guys." Sweets felt a little like crying again. "After everything we've discussed... this is your important issue?"
Brennan crossed her legs, looked thoughtful. "I think so. After all... Angela and Hodgins have been navigating the adoption process nicely. We've been very successful in our past several cases."
"So the inevitable conclusion is to argue over your food choices?"
A look at his clients told him that indeed, that was the only obvious conclusion they saw.
"You do realize that therapy has come full circle now," he pointed out dryly. "A year ago, we sat here while you argued about tofu satay. Therapy is supposed to lead to some sort of progression, you know. Improvement? It's not supposed to end where it began."
"That's not our fault. You sidetracked us from our tofu discussion by talking about mail. What are we supposed to do? Argue with our therapist?" Her words were sweet, and he struggled with the urge to strangle them both.
Booth jumped in. "You know what? I think I actually preferred the tofu. At least it wasn't moldy."
"Mold is not necessarily a harmful organism," she shot back. "It's used in the production of many things you do eat, such as cheese and soy sauce. Your prejudice is aimed directly at the vegetarian lifestyle. And I resent that."
That was it. He exploded. Again. "Jeez, guys! Don't you see? Nothing has changed!"
Booth turned to look at him calmly. "Sweets. Really. Relax. So we bicker about what she eats -"
"You mean you harass -"
"-But shouldn't that make you happy? Maybe that's all we have to argue about anymore. Maybe that's all the conflict resolution we need - the fact that she eats mold in front of me."
"You got a salad with bleu cheese the other day!" Dr. Brennan said triumphantly.
The agent turned to her slowly. "Yeah, and I scraped it off - it tasted like an old, moldy shower curtain," he said, his face showing his distaste. "And I only ordered a salad in the first place because you kept ragging on my burgers -"
Sweets stood up, his hands on the sides of his head, his elbows cocked out to the sides as the two went back and forth. Walking over to the window of his office, he looked down at the city of DC and sighed.
"Dr. Sweets?" Dr. Brennan called to him. "Are you okay?"
He turned around slowly. "Guys. You have stressful jobs. You come into contact with really disturbing people who do extremely creepy or sad things to other people. That's something you should want to talk about, something you should want to discuss -"
"We do," Agent Booth said quietly. "With each other. And that's enough for us."
Sweets paused, glancing between the two of them. "You do?" he asked suspiciously. "You really talk about how you feel after cases?"
"We always have," Dr. Brennan said quietly, her fingers curling together in her lap. "What we didn't talk about was how we felt about... other things."
The FBI agent nodded, jumping to finish for her. "And we do that now, so, you know... we can argue about moldy food," he said, his grin impish. "Right?"
The psychologist sighed, glancing between them for a moment before picking up a folder as he sat back in his chair. "Get out of here, both of you," he muttered. "I have real work to do."
They looked startled, but he amended his words with a smile. "Your session's almost over, guys. Go get some lunch, argue about what you order..."
His two clients looked at one another suspiciously, but stood up anyway. "This isn't a trick, is it?" Booth asked. "To see if we're willing to cut out early?"
"Go!" Sweets said laughing. "Just go. You guys are ridiculous, you know that?"
"See you next week, Sweets," Dr. Brennan said sweetly, gathering her up her belongings.
"Yeah, yeah," he muttered, the smile still teasing his mouth. "Try to have some real issues, next week, though, okay? I'm tired of arguing about soy products."
"Yeah, sure, we'll work on that," Booth joked. At the door, he held it open for his partner. "I'm so getting a burger at lunch," he muttered to her. "No more salads."
"You're going to get fat -"
"Not a chance, baby..."
And with that, the door swung shut, the muffled sounds of their bickering just audible as they waited for the elevator. Pushing back out of his chair, he wandered over to the window again, his eyes on the park several blocks away. Maybe he'd go have his lunch there today.
Some movement caught his eye in the parking lot, and he looked down to see the two partners burst out the front door. Dr. Brennan was shoving the agent's shoulder, and then crossed her arms across her chest, looking clearly miffed. Laughing, Booth wrapped and arm around her waist and tugged her to him, and, surprisingly, she let him pull her into a kiss. It lingered for several moments, and then he must have whispered something to her, because she threw her head back with laughter. Even despite the several floors between them, Sweets could see that she was beaming, and when they finally broke apart, moving towards the car, he watched the agent reach for her hand, curling his fingers around hers.
He smiled again, broadly. Maybe he'd made more progress than he'd thought with these two. They'd discussed the prospect of the two of them in a romantic relationship months ago when he'd threatened to break them up, but he'd never actually observed the two of them together, at ease and without an obvious audience.
The two of them reached the car, finally, and the young psychologist's eyes widened as he saw something truly amazing - Booth pressed the keys to the Tahoe in his partner's palm and, with a joy almost child-like, Dr. Brennan clapped her hands and skipped around the side of the car. The agent just shook his head, his smile visible as he climbed into the passenger seat.
As the two drove away, Sweets moved back to his desk and sank into his chair with a satisfied sigh.
Oh, yeah. I'm that good.
A/N: Thank you for you interest, enthusiasm, and your lovely feedback. It meant and means the world to us. Loves.