AN: This is an idea that I've been tossing around for a while, and thought I'd finally try to get it down on paper. It's a bit AU, but hopefully it can be done right and will be somewhat amusing for everyone. Please let me know what you think of it, and I'll hopefully be able to get some updates done soon now that I think my drama with California state disability is finally over. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this new story as much as I've enjoyed coming up with the idea.
"I'm sorry, you want us to what," Booth asked as he looked at the young therapist in front of them. Sweets only smiled back, his head resting on his steepled fingers as he watched the partners sitting opposite him. He could see the tension between the pair, and lately it had gotten to the point of disrupting their work. Something had happened to them that kept them from their usual professionalism but neither had filled him in on the occurrence. The only thing he was certain of was that it had something to do with them personally.
"It's an experimental device that will open you up to the feelings of those around you."
"No, absolutely not! I don't need anyone fiddling with my head anymore than they already have thank you very much. Besides, I don't think my doctors would approve of this." Ha. That had to stop this line of thought from progressing, but there was really no way he was going to allow the kid to fiddle with his head anymore than he already tried to do on a daily basis.
"Well it's obvious to me that something's happened with the two of you, and unless you're willing to divulge what it is to me, this is really the only course of action I have to get you to be more open with each other."
"You don't think this is overstepping professional boundaries at all?" He knew the question would come from Dr. Brennan. She didn't seem disinterested in his suggestion, but was wary of the implications.
"Not at all. This isn't some 'experiment' I'm trying to conduct. I'm trying to fix whatever it is that's gone wrong with the two of you."
"There is nothing wrong with us Sweets," Booth protested, drawing the attention of the therapist back to him. Sweets simply quirked up an eyebrow at the two of them and picked up a file from his desk.
"That's not what I've heard from either Dr. Saroyan or Assistant Director Hacker. According to both of them, you were unable to successfully work your last case together and it resulted in a botched arrest in which your main suspect forced a suicide by police. That doesn't sound like nothing to me." He shut the file and looked at their contrite faces. "You two have a unique relationship, and I'm not sure exactly what happened to ruin that, but I would like to fix it."
"How is putting a microchip into our heads going to help?" Brennan fixed her gaze onto Sweets, remaining her usual calm self as she awaited her answer. In truth, she knew what the problem was, but she also knew that there was no way that Booth would want to discuss it with Sweets. In fact, they'd hardly said two words about it themselves so talking to the young therapist wasn't likely to happen.
"This chip will focus your ability to read and understand the emotions of those around you. If you're more aware of the emotional state of others, you'll be more able to work out whatever your problems are between the pair of you. The procedure won't even require any type of invasive surgery. It's just placed under the skin, so no 'poking' around inside of your heads. Come on guys, what do you say?" Sweets watched the partners look at each other, Brennan impassive as always, and Booth with uncertainty in his eyes.
"How long would this chip have to remain in our heads?"
"It would remain there for however long it takes for you two to become more aware of how the other feels about whatever it is that's causing strain on your relationship. Once you're able to grasp the feelings of the other and work through it, then the chip can be removed and we can get your partnership back on track."
"I just don't see how this can help us," Booth said. He'd already had the twerp therapist tell him that his feelings for Temperance were not real, but a result of his brain tumor, and the last thing he wanted was for her to get more mixed signals from him than he'd already been sending out. That was the basis of their problem and he knew it. How was he supposed to protect her if what he was feeling for her suddenly changed during the course of this experiment? No, it was just too risky.
"Well unless you're willing to discuss the problem with me like rational adults, then I'll be forced to suspend your partnership until said problem is worked out."
"You're going to blackmail us into this procedure?" Brennan looked horrified. Granted, the reason she was in a partnership with Booth in the first place was because she'd blackmailed him, but it didn't mean she had to like it done to her.
"Not at all. I'm recommending a course of treatment that will help you. If you're unwilling to work on your issues, then I'll have no choice but to separate the two of you. We can't risk another disaster like this last case to occur."
The pair felt cornered. They either had to talk to Sweets about what was going on between the two of them, or have a chip put in their heads that would only add to the problem.
"Guys, I'm only looking out for your best interests here. I need to know what you want to do, so I know what to put into my report on your status as partners." He watched the two of them struggle silently. It amazed him how two people who were once so in sync with each other were now having a hard time communicating. What was it, he wondered that had happened to bring them to this point so quickly. Two weeks before they'd been fine, but now they had difficulty even sitting on the same couch together. Not only that, but they were as far apart as they could get from each other.
"We don't really have much of a choice in the matter, do we," Booth sighed and scratched at the back of his neck. Better to get this out of the way than to have his partnership with Brennan ended. Sweets just smiled at the pair and turned to his calendar.
"I'll make an appointment for the two of you on Thursday to have the procedure done. Honestly, it'll only take moments for the chip to be placed and then you'll be on your way to resolving your issues. This is a good thing, I promise." Somehow Booth and Brennan couldn't agree with the young therapist.
"I can't believe we agreed to this," Booth growled as he sat in the waiting room of the doctor's office next to his partner. Brennan just looked up at him from her anthropology journal and shrugged.
"You're the one who's been making this more difficult than it is. Personally I'm finding the idea of studying the emotions of others fascinating. I think it could really help with my ability to understand people around me."
"Yeah well I'm just surprised you're looking at it that way and not trying to explain how emotions are just caused by chemicals in the brain and are therefore not real or whatever it is that you always say."
"I'm not discounting that people feel emotions, just that there is a scientific basis behind why we feel them."
"God, I knew this was going to be a bad idea," Booth muttered and crossed his arms over his chest before he turned away from Brennan. Temperance opened her mouth to respond to him, but closed it as they were called into the doctor's office. Both trudged silently behind the perky nurse until they were settled into an examination room.
"Dr. Chan will be with you in a moment," she informed them before leaving them alone in the room. Booth looked around before his gaze settled on a tray with two syringes sporting long needles.
"Not invasive my ass," Booth muttered as the door to the room opened up. The doctor stood there, looking over a chart before glancing up at the pair. She smiled at them and set her chart down on the counter.
"Good afternoon Agent Booth, Dr. Brennan, I'm Dr. Chan. I'll be performing the procedure on you in just a moment, but before doing so, do you have any questions?"
"How invasive is this procedure?" Brennan asked for Booth's sake. If he was going to be a baby about the whole thing then they might as well just get it out of the way now. The doctor smiled at her and leaned back on the counter a little bit.
"Think of this as if we were micro-chipping a pet in case it got lost. It's basically the same thing. The chip is injected just under the surface of the skin and therefore not causing any type of rejection from the body."
"So there shouldn't be any type of side effects to this?" Booth looked at the doctor curiously as she shook her head.
"No, not at all. There might be some slight irritation at the injection site, but that's to be expected. It would be like if you stuck anything into your arm with a needle. The irritation would only last for a short amount of time and then would be gone." She could see the hesitation in Booth's face and smiled to reassure him.
"There's nothing to be worried about Agent Booth. Once the period of time has passed for your treatment with this chip, then removal is just as simple." While he still looked reluctant, Booth sighed and gave a nod of his head.
"Fine, then can we just get this over with?"
The procedure didn't take long as promised, and once both Booth and Brennan were chipped, they left the office. Neither one knew what to expect from the procedure, but there was no huge wave of emotion being sent their way. Booth mused on it as he drove his partner back to the Jeffersonian. Maybe this thing didn't work, he thought, and they could just get the chips removed from their heads.
"I'm sure it just takes a little while for the information to reach our brain," Brennan responded as she looked out the passenger side window. Booth shook his head. There was absolutely no way that she could have voiced what he'd been thinking like that. No way at all.
Temperance turned from the window to look at her partner and frowned. "What are you talking about Booth? You just said that you thought the chip didn't work."
"Bones, I didn't say anything."
"Yes you did, I heard you." What was he going on about, she wondered, you'd think by his reaction that I could hear what was going on in his head. She frowned at him when his eyes went wide with shock.
"And that's exactly what I'm talking about," he said. The two locked eyes as he pulled to a stop at a signal light. What had they gotten themselves into?