Booth stared at his computer, not really reading the words on the screen. His mind was elsewhere.
He perked up at the sound of his name. He knew without looking at the speaker that it was Bones. Just the woman he'd been thinking of. "Hang on a second, Bones," he replied, moving his mouse around as though he were actually getting something done. He pretended to finish up his fake work and focused his attention on his partner. "What brings you out of the lab?"
She sat down in a chair, stiff and reserved. Most people would chalk it up to Dr. Brennan's cool scientific formality, but Booth knew something was up. She hesitated, and then began to speak. "There's an important issue I need to discuss with you."
Uh oh. Booth's stomach clenched. This was it. The Talk. She wanted to have the Talk about their relationship. She'd finally figured out that he was head-over-heels and was going to put a stop to it. Outwardly, he remained calm. He leaned back in his chair. "Oh?"
"It's about Dr. Sweets," she continued.
Booth just barely caught himself from smiling with relief. That was a close one. The way she'd stared at him with those beautiful eyes of hers, he'd been certain it was something more personal. Luckily his gut instincts had been wrong this time. He took the baseball from his desk and tossed it in the air. "What's wrong with Sweets?" he asked playfully, playing catch with himself. "Did he lose his retainer or something?"
Bones clasped her hands and inhaled deeply. "Dr. Sweets thinks that you and I are in love."
The baseball fell to the floor. Aw hell. So it was about them after all. Always trust the gut, Seeley, he reminded himself. He bent down and scooped the ball up nonchalantly, but noticed Bones frowning. She thinks my coordination is poor. "You just surprised me," he told her. "It's not a brain surgery thing."
She raised her eyebrows in surprise. "I didn't say it was."
"Yeah, but you thought it," Booth insisted. "Don't try to fool me, Bones. I know you too well. Now, why are you concerned about Sweets thinking we're in love? He's said as much before. Let him think what he wants – we know the truth." That statement made him feel almost guilty, being sort of a half-lie; he knew the truth about his feelings for Bones, alright. And Sweets did too.
"No, Booth, he's said that we're attracted to each other," Bones corrected him, "and admittedly, on a purely physical level he was most likely correct –"
" – but I read his book. And he concludes that you and I are not merely biologically compelled to reproduce, but deeply romantically involved. I'm worried that his conclusions may cause him to recommend suspending our partnership." Her face was anxious, and her fingers were twisting the hem of her blazer. She really was upset.
"When did you read his book?" Booth asked, a little peeved. "I didn't get to read it yet."
"I confronted him and asked him to let me read it," Bones explained. "He was reluctant but I convinced him that, as the subjects of the book, we had a right to review its contents before publication."
"Ah." Booth had a feeling that it also had something to do with Sweets being more than a little pleased that the esteemed author Temperance Brennan wanted to read his book. "So what do you want me to do about it, Bones? Intimidate Sweets into agreeing not to split us up?"
"No, I think intimidation is only a temporary solution. I think we need to convince Dr. Sweets that we are not in love," she concluded.
"Convince him?" Booth raised an eyebrow skeptically.
"Yes. Although he is misguided," Bones admitted, "he's capable of logic and reason. I believe that if we present a compelling argument, he will realize his error. That's why I came to you – I need your help. You understand how Dr. Sweets thinks."
Booth was pretty sure that no matter what they said, Sweets would think what he wanted to think. The kid seemed to love antagonizing them just as much as they loved antagonizing him. He was also pretty doubtful that Sweets would split them up, because he knew a good thing when he saw it. Booth and Bones were a good thing, no doubt about that. But seeing Bones sitting there, all anxious and worried at the mere thought of not being partners anymore, made Booth want to play along. "Alright," he said, cracking his knuckles and taking a piece of paper out of his drawer, "let's get started."