A/N: "Too Much Like Cheating" is my way of exploring the quasi-relationships on BONES. There are more of them than I thought when I first started thinking about it, but the main non-couple relationship is obviously Booth and Brennan. Then Angela and Hodgins. Then you get into Cam and Brennan's boss-employee non-relationship, and the fragile father-daughter relationship with Max and Brennan, and the non-friendship/male-bonding between Booth and Hodgins, and Booth and Sweets, and many others. There are just so many to choose from that I will never cover them all. But the gang of BONES commands loyalty from each other, and sometimes those lines get really blurry...so what is cheating and what is justified? I want to play with that idea with both original situations and thoughts from episodes.
This chapter is set either during or immediately after "Widow's Son in the Windshield."
Disclaimer: I don't own BONES.
"Yes, thank you for meeting with me," Cam said as the Deputy Director of the FBI gestured her into a chair across from his desk.
"You had something to draw to my attention?" Cullen asked, looking annoyed that a squint (even one so levelheaded as Cam) was sitting in the FBI building.
"I'm worried about the Booth-Brennan partnership," she stated bluntly.
"Why am I not surprised?" Cullen deadpanned.
"Although Dr. Brennan is very compartmentalized about her father being arrested by Booth, I believe there are some lingering issues that are causing their partnership to be less effective. It's certainly caused the FBI forensic teams to move slower and with less organization. None of the evidence was compromised, but with Dr. Brennan working in the lab, rather than in the field with Booth, there is a communications breakdown. Dr. Brennan works well in the lab; she works better when she has firsthand evidence when she's looking at the bones." Cam knew that what she had described was the very tip of the proverbial iceberg. The "communications breakdown" involved far more than the FBI forensics teams and the Jeffersonian Medico-Legal lab, but Cam chose to stick to relevant facts.
"Why come to me?" he asked, getting to the point. "Dr. Brennan is your employee, why come to the FBI to fix the problem?" Cam shifted uncomfortably in her chair, not wanting to admit the next part, but still convinced that it needed to be done.
"Dr. Brennan is a difficult employee. She is very much sought after in academic communities, and the Jeffersonian has made it very clear to me that I must retain her services by any means possible. So that means my authority over her is…limited," Cam admitted, and the admission hurt as much as she thought it would.
"So you can't threaten her in any useful way," Cullen stated. Cam gave a small nod, but mentally she was strangling the Doctor that made all this a problem in the first place. While she was at it, she had a brief fantasy of strangling Seeley, too, for arresting Max Keenan and causing the root of the problems. Cullen continued, "And you think the FBI can make a threat that she will follow?"
"Yes," Cam said confidently, "Although Dr. Brennan and Agent Booth are having difficulties right now, Dr. Brennan still would like to be involved with the work provided by the FBI."
"She does seem to be an adrenaline junkie," he commented under his breath. Cam ignored the statement that she wasn't meant to hear.
"If you threaten to sever their partnership, they will do whatever they need to in order to reinstate their good standing," Cam finished. Cullen looked thoughtful.
"What do you suggest for them to do to help their partnership?" he asked. Cam took a deep breath and let it out slowly.
"I would suggest that they have mandatory counseling sessions with a qualified psychologist. I would also suggest that they see the doctor that Agent Booth was required to see during his…unfortunate incident. He really seemed to help their professional relationship before."
"Unfortunately, Dr. Wyatt has been loaned out to Interpol and is no longer available for counseling FBI agents and their squint partners," Cullen said with finality. Cam sighed and her shoulders slumped. "However," Cullen continued, and Cam mentally perked up again, "There is a promising young psychologist that has been asking for a challenge." Cam noticed that the Deputy Director was smirking a little as he said that and Cam recognized that smile.
"And I suppose this young doctor needs some…guidance?" she said curiously.
"Dr. Sweets and the dynamic duo will be great together," he stated forcefully with a wicked gleam in his eyes. He nodded, accepting the matter as settled. "I'll inform Dr. Sweets and Agent Booth of the change."
"I would very much appreciate if you kept my name out of this," Cam asked in trepidation. If this Dr. Sweets was everything the Deputy Director's tone promised, then Seeley and Dr. Brennan would be beyond irritated. And against Booth's wishes, Cam knew that Dr. Brennan had a monster of a gun.
"Of course," Cullen said, reassuring her that at least Booth and Brennan wouldn't hear about her deceit from either the Deputy Director or herself. They shook hands solemnly, and Cam left.
As she left, she thought about what she had just done. Her mind struggled with itself, because for all the arguments that this counseling was a good thing, she still felt like it was a betrayal of who they were. They commanded a weird, twisted sort of loyalty—one that Cam didn't understand when first starting, but was beginning to feel despite herself. Both Dr. Brennan and Seeley had been adamant that they were fine and that they did not need any sort of help, but the fact remained that Dr. Brennan was reluctant to go out into the field despite all of Seeley's charm. She claimed that she didn't have time because she had to find Zach's replacement, but that seemed a thinly veiled excuse.
Cam had to keep Dr. Brennan out in the field with Seeley Booth. And she could admit to herself that their quirky partnership held the team at the Jeffersonian together, despite impossible odds. Seeley kept Dr. Brennan balanced, and Dr. Brennan kept Booth from annoying Cam to death. Of course, the opposite was true as well, because Dr. Brennan balanced Booth and Booth kept Dr. Brennan's most annoying habits to a minimum. But Cam had debated for a while about how best to approach this problem, and the only answer seemed to be to get the two of them to see a professional. But going behind their back like this…
She considered herself an upfront and honest person. Maybe not as blunt and to the point as Dr. Brennan, but honest all the same. This felt…wrong, like she was a tattle-tale in nursery school, telling the teacher that her classmates were fighting. She sighed as she stepped into the elevator and pressed the button for the lobby. The fact remained that she was in charge of the scientists in the Jeffersonian, for better or for worse, and she needed the team to work efficiently. She would do whatever was necessary to keep the relatively smooth pace that the Jeffersonian so desperately needed.
"And," she thought in the back of her mind, "What they don't know won't hurt them."
A/N: I don't feel like I write in Cam's view very well. She is a bit harder, more worldly wise than I normally write, and I struggle with her place in BONES as well. I hope that I did her justice. Please tell me how I did and what you would like to see out of this series of fics.