Okay, so I heard you loud and clear and decided to add an epilogue. I've never written an epilogue before and have no clue what should be added to tie up the story, so I just went with what I thought they would start out the next episode with if the story had been a real episode. I hope you like this, thanks everyone again for the amazing feedback. Hope this satisfies the need for a bit more closure out there. It's pure fluffiness, as I'm assuming an epilogue should be, right?
Three days later
"How are you both coping?"
Booth and Brennan glanced at each other before turning back to face the psychiatrist before them. Booth even managed to crack a superficial smile. "Fine, feeling much better."
Doctor Brennan nodded in agreement. "Eager to get back to work."
Sweets smiled, seeing their artful dodging of his question's true intent as yet another example of their partnership working cohesively toward self-preservation.
"I was referring to the newly discovered romantic aspects of your relationship. How are you coping with those?"
Sweets looked at the pair sitting before him, letting the silence stretch out as long as it needed to before someone felt compelled to break it. Booth shifted uncomfortably in his chair as he always did when the discussion became personal regarding their relationship as opposed to work related. Dr. Brennan sat calmly in her seat, but it didn't escape Sweets' attention that she avoided his eyes.
"That's going fine." As Sweets predicted, Booth broke the uncomfortable silence first. The man hated awkward silences.
Sweets continued his line of questioning. "You were released from the hospital early yesterday. Have you both been staying alone?"
Booth shifted uncomfortably again. "I don't see what that has to do with anything."
Sweets held up a hand to ward off Agent Booth's increasing discomfort. "I merely ask because it is important that there be a firm support system in place following the end of a traumatic event such as this."
Booth glanced over at Bones, who still sat stoically in her chair, before he answered the question. "Well, we've, I've…I stayed with Bones last night."
The young doctor had to suppress a small smile as a tiny, almost microscopic reddening blossomed over Brennan's cheeks. For all of her ability to remain focused and seemingly objective despite the distractions around her, Doctor Temperance Brennan, Sweets was discovering, was not as good at hiding her feelings as he'd originally thought. Her giveaways were subtle, but as he continued to observe her he was beginning to learn them and it satisfied him to no end when he identified an emotion under her many carefully constructed walls.
"Doctor Brennan, you seemed to react to Agent Booth's answer. Would you care to elaborate on your feelings?"
Brennan's expression grew exasperated and she straightened slightly in her chair. "I did not react."
Sweets smiled. "Vasodilatation of the capillaries of the face would definitely, in my opinion, be considered a reaction."
Booth looked between Sweets and Bones, the later of which was looking increasingly uncomfortable. He leveled his eyes on Sweets. "Was that even English?"
Sweets couldn't contain a snicker. "Dude, she totally blushed."
Booth's mouth turned up at the corners in an amused smile. "Bones, were you blushing?"
"I was not blushing." Annoyance etched itself across all of the features of her face. She turned her attention to Booth and repeated her statement. "I was not blushing."
No sooner had the words come out of her mouth that her cheeks went pink and the smile on Booth's face brightened into a full blown grin. "You are too blushing Bones, you're blushing right now."
She put a hand to her cheek, feeling the heat emanating from it and then shrank back into her chair with an embarrassed scowl.
Booth couldn't take his eyes off of her, a small chuckle escaping his lips "That is so cute."
She wanted to disappear. "Stop it."
Sweets cleared his throat and the partner's turned their attention back to him. "This is good, this is a very telling interplay. Unfortunately, in light of recent events, I feel you may not like what I have to say."
Confusion knit their faces, the levity of the previous moment giving way to uneasiness at the serious expression that had taken over Sweets' features.
"You two are clearly in love, would you say that is a statement of fact?" He looked between the two of them before he turned his questioning glance to Booth. "Agent Booth?"
Booth glanced quickly at Bones before he looked back at the shrink and nodded evenly. "Yes."
Sweets looked expectantly at Doctor Brennan for her response. "I don't understand why you are asking a question that you already know the answer to." She looked at Booth. "Do you see why I hate psychology?"
Sweets folded his hands in his lap. "Because I wanted independent confirmation of the facts at hand."
When neither of them responded Sweets could see that he was just going to have to be blunt with them. "Agent Booth, Doctor Brennan, you have been through a very traumatic experience and have been able to find some very strong and powerful feelings for each other as a result. I feel it is in both of your best interests to continue on with therapy, but I also feel that it is in the Bureau's best interest that you be split up as a partnership in light of the change to your personal relationship."
Booth was on his feet in an instant. "You aren't splitting us up."
Sweets fought back the urge to run for the door as he looked into the angry face of the large man looming over him. Instead he calmly continued, after all, he'd known that this part wasn't going to be easy. "Agent Booth, I understand your desire to stay with Doctor Brennan. Until we can evaluate how your new relationship will effect your work, however, it is in everyone's best interest that you be reassigned."
Booth sank back into his chair and the group sat silently for a moment before Booth leaned toward Sweets to speak, his voice coming out soft and measured in the quiet of the room. "I can tell you that I've been able to work with this woman, to face what we face and do what we do every single day, despite the fact that I've been in love with her from the beginning."
Brennan couldn't take her eyes off of him, his words making her heart rate kick up in her chest.
"Agent Booth, are you saying that you recognized your feelings for Doctor Brennan before the events that occurred two days ago?"
Booth turned his head and looked back at Bones as he answered the question. "The first official case we worked as partners. You shot a guy in the leg for trying to destroy evidence. You were a loose cannon, you made everything harder than it had to be and I fell completely in love with you."
Brennan smiled, the memory of Booth's face when he'd walked in to find her standing over the killer with the gun in her hand as fresh as if it had happened yesterday.
Booth looked at Sweets. "I tried to carry on with my life as normal but I knew I couldn't deny it to myself anymore, even if I couldn't say it to her. I knew I loved this woman."
He looked back at Bones again. "Loved her with all my heart."
They looked into each other's eyes for a moment and Sweets had to remind himself why he was forcing this dialogue between them, had to make himself interrupt their gaze so he could complete his purpose.
"And you Doctor Brennan? Do you claim that you've had romantic feelings for Agent Booth that go back further than just a few days ago?"
Bones looked up at him and he was surprised to see a look of smugness in her eyes. "I anticipated that this would be an issue. That being said, I've brought proof that I can compartmentalize my feelings for Agent Booth while still performing my job duties with complete professionalism."
Reaching into her handbag she withdrew a piece of notebook paper, carefully unfolding it. Booth straightened in his chair and looked at the paper with interest, having no idea what it was.
In a clear and strong voice, she began to read.
"To whom it may concern:
My name is Doctor Temperance Brennan and I am a Forensic Anthropologist at the Jeffersonian Institute in Washington D.C. I was abducted along with my colleague, Doctor Jack Hodgins, today November 16th, 2006 by a person who refers to himself as The Gravedigger. If you are reading this, you have no doubt found our bodies and are trying to piece together the details of our deaths. Please contact the Forensics department at the Jeffersonian Institute and FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth, they will have more information than I will about what has happened to us down here."
Booth watched her read in stunned silence as he realized what he was hearing. They'd each written messages in the vault to their loved ones when it was becoming more and more apparent that a rescue was unlikely. Now she was reading the message she'd written a year ago when she'd been kidnapped with Hodgins. He scarcely dared to breathe as she went on.
"Whoever has found this, please impart the following messages.
Angela Montenegro, your friendship has been the most meaningful of my life, you showed me how to embrace life and live it without fear. I love you Angela, and thank you for being my family.
To my brother Russ Brennan, you did the best you could and you had my best interests at heart. I love you not only for who you are, but also for who you try to be every day. Polo.
Lastly, I would like to relay this message to Seeley Booth. I learned a little about myself and the world around me through your eyes every day. You see things and people in a way that I never learned to understand, but learned everyday to appreciate. In these last moments of my life, its your face I see, your voice I hear, and I'm left wishing I'd told you that you are the love of my life."
She looked up into his stunned eyes, her voice quiet and filled with emotion as she finished the letter. "No matter what happens, know that I've loved you from the day I met you and I loved you with all of my heart even to my last breath. Signed Doctor Temperance Brennan."
Booth stared at Bones, tears glistening in her eyes, as she handed the paper to him. He'd known that she had feelings for him, but since their kidnapping they'd mostly concentrated on the present, on the now. To hear those words and know that her love for him, like his for her, went back to the beginning filled his heart.
"Why didn't you show that to Agent Booth after he found you and Doctor Hodgins?"
She dashed an errant tear quickly away and regained her composure with almost alarming speed. "I didn't die."
Sweets cocked an eyebrow at her as Booth folded the letter back up and put it in the breast pocket of his suit, wanting it close to his heart.
Brennan looked intently into the shrink's eyes. ""That letter is dated 2006, more than a year and a half ago. That proves that I can love him and not let it interfere with our professional partnership. I have more than proven my ability to compartmentalize, I really see no reason why Booth and I should be reassigned when I can separate my personal and professional lives just fine."
Booth looked back at Bones with a smile before he turned back to Sweets. "That's right, total compartmentalization. No need for a reassignment."
Sweets looked at their earnest faces. "You are both convinced of this then?"
They looked at each other for a moment before they nodded in agreement at their shrink.
Sweets allowed the smile he'd been holding back to burst forth across his face. "And that's what I needed, for you to be convinced of it too."
Booth's eyebrows knit in confusion. "Excuse me?"
Sweets straightened in his chair. "It had been my theory for some time now that the two of you shared deep romantic feelings for each other. Those feelings were beginning to become a hindrance, not because they were there but because they were not out in the open. Now that they are, it is my professional opinion that you two are better able to perform your duties than you previously were due to the removal of all the uncertainty and tension between you. With you, the typical rule book doesn't necessarily apply and I feel you are a strong unit because of your feelings, not despite them. All I needed was for the two of you to believe it too."
Understanding lit upon Bones' face. "So, you telling us that we were going to be reassigned was merely a ruse to get us to acknowledge that we can handle our current partnership despite our personal relationship."
Sweets nodded. "Exactly." A chirping sound suddenly filled the room and Sweets reached into his pocket to retrieve his cell phone. "Okay guys, great work today. I'll still need to see you for our session next week but I have an appointment across town now." He signed the paperwork that would reinstate Booth and Bones to active duty. "I'll hand this to the director on my way out. Take all the time you need guys."
With that, the young psychiatrist breezed out of the room, leaving Booth and Brennan alone to stare at each other.
Booth reached out and took her hand. "The day you met me, huh?"
Bones shot him a sideways glance, annoyed that he was so full of himself at her words.
Booth smirked and leaned in for a kiss that she returned. Her eyes danced with pleasure as he pulled away to look at her and he had to think, yet again, about how stupid they had been to wait so long when they had this waiting for them.
Their moment was interrupted by Booth's cell phone and he shot her an apologetic look as he pulled it from his coat pocket. "Booth."
He listened for a moment before he hung up and smiled over at his partner. "Nothing says I love you like a badly decomposed body in a storage unit across town."
Brennan's eyes widened slightly with interest as Booth rose from his chair and held a hand out to help her up from hers. "Come on, Bones. Let's go to work."