I got a request from Lorelai Anastasia for a corporal punishment story with Bones. So blame her if you hate this. It's a continuation off my Unwanted story, but will have several parts. Hope you all enjoy and if you don't, do not blame me because it wasn't my idea.
I have watched the show, but I may get a few facts wrong. It's hard because the third season hasn't come out on DVD yet so I'm watching what I can on youtube. But this story takes place at the end of the third season so there are spoilers.
Disclaimer: I do not own.
As he turned the TV off, Lance Sweets knew what his problem was. He had probably had known all along, but watching Batman Begins confirmed it. The Scarecrow had been a little . . . too familiar to Lance. Yes, both he and Jonathan Crane were doctors, psychiatrists, young for their professions, innovative and intelligent. But also . . .
Lance squirmed on the sofa, trying not to think about what he had just seen. That look on Crane's face when he sprayed the toxin and watched his victim go crazy. That wide-eyed, eager expression as he watched the mind go wild, savor each expression of horror that flickered over the victim's face.
Lance had never sprayed fear toxin on a patient or anything grotesque like that, but he understood the desire to watch a patient, to understand the limits of the psyche, the dark places that the mind could go to.
Shakily, Lance stood and headed towards the kitchen. He went and opened the fridge, wanting something to distract himself from his scary thoughts. Late at night, in the darkness of his room, he often wondered how far he was willing to go, how far would he push patients just so he could learn more about the human brain.
"Stupid," he muttered as he stared into the fridge, feeling the coolness on his face. "Completely stupid."
A moment later, he realized that his shelves were nearly empty. Every since his girlfriend had left him, the fridge always seemed empty. He went to the store when he remembered to, but he was always hungry these days. He found himself eating at the office, sometimes even bring a fast food breakfast to work and eating there just so he wouldn't have to fix breakfast alone.
And the dinner with Brennan and Booth had been a welcomed diversion. He had spent the first half of it miserable, but then they told him they were teasing and he had spent the rest of the evening eating and joking with them. But they had made their point to him all the same – they expected him to treat them like people when they went out, not patients.
He grabbed a bottle of water off the top shelf and closed the door. He would have liked to have a beer, but he was out again, mainly because buying beer was such a pain. Whenever he bought it, he had his driver's license ready at the checkout, but the cashiers never believed he was twenty-two. Then a manager had to be called over, and the line was held up, and customers behind him grumbled and tapped their feet and edged closer and closer until Lance wanted to run out of the store. He always got his beer, but it was never really worth it.
He went back to the living room and flopped down on the couch, sighing heavily as he opened his water.
Everything had been fine after that dinner, and they had even asked him out the next Friday. Well, to be honest, he had asked them, but they agreed, and they spent a nice time at a friendly pub. Then Booth had been shot and faked his death, and Lance had . . . well, he had meant to tell Brennan that he wasn't dead.
But somewhere along the way, things had gotten complicated. At the time, Lance had rationalized that he wanted to make sure the whole sting operation went off well, and that Brennan wasn't a good actor and would have given the whole thing away if she had known Booth was alive. He tried so hard to make himself believe that was the truth, but the whole time he had known exactly what he wanted.
That moment when Brennan saw Booth and realized he was alive, he wanted to see her face. Would she be relieved? Overjoyed? Angry? Enraged? He had barely contained his excitement through the whole funeral, and as soon as Booth appeared and Brennan slapped him, Lance knew he had been right about the two of them the whole time. They were more than work partners – they were more than friends.
And he felt like a complete jackass.
He wanted them to spend time with him, he wanted them to like him – okay, he wanted them to be his friends, even though that sounded so middle school. And he had betrayed them because he was too eager to watch them like test subjects.
Lance grabbed the remote and turned the TV back on. He could drown himself in late night TV, an endless run of TV sitcoms where life was full of laughs and all problems got solved in thirty minutes including commercials.
"And so I confronted him," Brennan said emphatically. "I went to his apartment and told him how I felt. We had a nice conversation, in spite of him complaining about being naked."
Lance lifted his eyes from the blank notepad perched on his knee. "You two were naked?"
"Well, he was," Brennan gestured to Booth.
"I was in the tub at the time," Booth explained. "Trying to relax, and she barged right in."
"He had nothing to fear – I've seen a grown man naked before, and Booth stands up very well in comparison."
"He does not need to hear that!" Booth exploded, looking both shocked and exasperated at the same time. "My . . . size has nothing to do with this session."
"I was not discussing your size," Brennan protested. "I could have been talking about your stomach or your thighs."
"My stomach or my thighs?" Booth was horrified.
"Some men have very large stomachs or pasty thighs," Brennan explained. "But you don't," she placed a reassuring hand on Booth's knee.
He scoffed though he did not push her hand away. "I'm sure Sweets is just eating all this up. Aren't you, Sweets?"
Lance had been staring at his blank notepad, his eyes slightly glazed over. He was tired, and he wished he could get them to leave his office so he could stretch out on his sofa and take a nap. He had stayed up past two and then fallen asleep on his own couch only to wake up at seven and rush to get ready for work. He needed more sleep.
"Sweet?" Booth repeated, slightly raising his voice. "What, are we boring you?"
"Booth," Brennan admonished, "don't yell at him."
"Well, he makes us come in and talk about our 'feelings'," Booth made quotation marks in the air. "The least he could do is pretend to listen."
"I'm listening," Lance tried to straighten. "I am. I'm just tired."
"Are you getting sick?" Brennan leaned forward, concerned.
"No, I stayed up too late," Lance admitted, rubbing his eyes.
"What? You need someone to tell you when to go to bed?" Booth challenged. "Need Mommy to tuck you in with a kiss and turn the nightlight on?"
"Why do you do that?" Brennan turned to Booth.
"Turn everything about him into a patronizing degradation. He could have been working on something really important last night, something for the FBI, and you want to make him feel like a little kid. You were working on something important, weren't you, Sweets?"
"No, I was watching TV," Lance sighed.
"See," Booth was triumphant. "Watching TV on a school night – what do you expect?"
"I can watch TV at night," Lance said defensively. "I work really hard here and I'm writing papers and I'm helping people."
"Ha," Booth snorted. At a look from Brennan, he amended, "I'm sure you're doing all you can. But if you're not paying attention to us, we're not talking."
Crossing his arms, Booth sat back with a so-there look. Brennan pressed her lips together, but she said nothing.
Lance thought about saying "Patients are hostile and uncooperative" as he wrote it on his notepad, but he didn't. The silence dragged for a few minutes, and then Lance slowly asked,
"Do you think I'm manipulative?"
"Of course," Booth answered before Brennan could say anything. When she looked at him, surprised, he went on, "Well, he is. Everything he does is to make us figure out who we are inside and who we want to be and all that crap. He has to be manipulative."
"He's talking about what just happened," Brennan pointed out. "Not telling me that you were alive. Letting me think you died."
"Oh," Booth let his arms loosen the smallest bit. "Okay."
"He was manipulative then," Brennan said bluntly.
Booth said nothing, and Lance felt his cheeks grow warm. "I'm sorry," he offered.
"Well, that's not enough," Brennan told him. "I've been trying to forget it, and not think about how awful I felt. Those days – thinking I would never see him again, that I had lost a very dear friend –" she broke off, her eyes glassing with tears. Her lips were angry, pressed together in a tight line, but her gaze was full of hurt.
Lance suddenly couldn't stand to be in same room with them anymore. He stood abruptly. "The session's over," he mumbled as he rushed for the door.
Out of the office, down the hall, he ran into the bathroom, rushed into an end stall, and locked the stall door. He leaned back against the wall and slid down until he crouched down, holding onto his knees. He couldn't understand it or even explain what he was feeling, but his insides were twisting horribly.
Why couldn't he just explain how he felt? Why couldn't he just apologize? How hard would it be? "I'm sorry, guys, I was a jerk and an idiot and I should have figured out a better way. Please, please forgive me, and I promise I'll never do something so awful again." But he couldn't just make himself say it. Because if he did, they might laugh at him . . . or even worse, refuse to forgive him.
He hid in the stall for an hour, and when he ventured back into his office, they were gone. Part of him felt overwhelmingly relieved, and part of him felt frustrated beyond words.
For the rest of the day, he was a mess. He lost papers only to find them later in the trashcan, mixed up his patients, worked on a research paper for an hour only to delete it without saving it, and then broke the keyboard when he slammed on it in anger.
Five o'clock could not come quick enough, and the moment it did, Lance was rushing for the door. It was Friday, and he planned to bury himself in his apartment with three more superhero movies, video games, and a case of beer.
He stopped at the convenience store a few blocks from his office, squeezed into a parking space (DC traffic was always crazy), and headed inside. He stood in front of the cases of beer for several minutes, trying to figure out what kind he wanted. It really made no difference, and eventually he grabbed the cheapest case. No one was in line at the register when he brought up the case, and the guy behind the glass demanded, "ID."
Reaching into his pocket, Lance took out his wallet and pulled out his license and put it in the little tray that reached under the glass. The guy snatched it up and looked at the picture skeptically.
"Doesn't look like you," the guy stated.
"It's me – Lance Sweets," Lance insisted. "I'm twenty-two."
"Looks like a fake," the guy shook his head. "Got any other ID?"
"Fine," Lance grabbed his wallet again. "I got credit cards, FBI ID card, library card," he began laying each of the cards on the counter, "debit card, Starbucks card, Smoothie King – if I buy two more smoothies, I get one free."
"Problems?" someone asked from behind him.
Lance turned, and his heart sank a little further. Hodgins and Angela were behind him. She was holding a bottle of wine, and he had his arm around her shoulders as he smiled at Lance.
Lance straightened. "No problem. Guy here is just doing his job – not giving alcohol to minors, which I'm not one of."
The guy behind the counter was already ringing up the beer, frowning at Lance. "That will be 6.45."
Lance grabbed the cards off the counter, but offered one of them to the man.
"Credit card machine's down," the guy told him. "Cash only."
Lance opened his wallet, but only found a single dollar bill inside. Flustered, he glanced around. "Can I use the ATM?" he motioned to the machine at the side.
"It's broken, too," the guy told him.
Angela tugged on Hodgins' arm. "Come on, help him out – don't you have cash?"
"Sure," Hodgins reached into his wallet and took out a twenty.
The guy took it and rang up the order and gave back the change in the little tray. "Next?"
"Thanks," Lance mumbled, not able to look them in the eye. "I'll pay you back."
"Forget it," Hodgins took the wine from Angela and put it on the counter.
"Cash or charge?" the guy asked, typing in the order.
Lance turned back, furious. "But you just said it was broken –"
"You have your beer – now get out before I call the police and have them arrest you for loitering," the guy snapped.
Lance stumbled out of the store, determined to grow a beard to show just how old he was. How embarrassing to have met Angela and Hodgins there and then they had to pay for his beer. Lance got in his car and sped away, feeling like he was fleeing a crime scene.
His apartment was dark and cold, and he flipped the lights on before going to turn up the heat. He though about changing into more comfortable clothes, but he just plopped down on the couch, ready to lose himself in a world of TV and alcohol.
He sipped the beer slowly as he watched reruns of sitcoms, recalling the jokes he had heard before, moments before the characters said them. How nice it would be to live in apartment with your friends stopping by every evening, and sometimes in the mornings or hanging out with you at a coffee shop?
He had finished one beer and three sitcoms when a knock sounded on the door.
Surprised, Lance got up and opened it.
Booth and Brennan stood on the doorstep.
"Hey, guys," Lance managed an awkward smile, "I – what are you doing here?"
"Can we come in?" Booth ignored the question.
"Yeah, sure," Lance stepped back, "sorry, it's kind of a mess."
He meant the video games on the floor and the beers on the coffee table, but they didn't seem to notice.
Lance shut and locked the door before turning to them. "What's up?"
"We've talked a long time and we've reached a decision," Brennan announced crisply.
"Oh?" Lance swallowed. They were going to ask to be transferred to another therapist – they never wanted to see him again. It would be okay – he just had to keep from crying until they left.
"What you did to her was unacceptable," Booth announced abruptly. "And since you acted immaturely and childishly and in a way unfitting a FBI psychiatrist, we're here to straighten you out."