A/N: *Sniffs, chokes back sobs* It's... the last chapter. Thank you all so much for reading this. I'd like to thank the Academy....
Oh, you wanted me to shut up and leave you to the ending? Well all right then. So long, and see you when I write my next fic. :)
Booth and Bones sat in Dr. Sweets' office the next morning. Booth was fervently praying for phone call that a case had turned up. Then his Catholic guilt kicked in as he realized that he was essentially praying for someone to be murdered and their body mangled beyond recognition. Let me rephrase that, he amended silently. Out of all of the people who have already been murdered and mangled beyond recognition, whose families have yet to receive closure, let one be discovered today. So that we can bring the murderer to justice. And if by some happy coincidence, that means we happen to get out of this therapy session, I will go to church every Sunday for the rest of my life.
Booth had never been comfortable with the whole sharing-and-caring thing. It wasn't his style. He didn't like talking about his problems, largely because he didn't like to admit he even had problems to anyone outside of his small circle of close friends and family. By nature he was a man who played his cards close to the vest. But there were three topics in particular that he absolutely hated to discuss in their sessions: his childhood, his personal weaknesses, and his sex life. For some reason, these were also the topics Sweets loved to discuss. One guess as to which one he had latched onto today.
"Bringing sex into a relationship can complicate things," Sweets was saying. "You allow yourself to be vulnerable to your partner, which can be frightening, but ultimately it's that mutual vulnerability that will strengthen the bond between you. It's important to maintain honesty and trust in the relationship now more than ever."
Booth rolled his eyes and propped his head up with his hand, his elbow digging into the armrest. As if he needed relationship advice from a guy young enough to be his kid. He'd been having sex since Sweets was in diapers! And granted, his relationship with Bones was special, in that they worked together and screwing up the relationship meant screwing up his career, but still. Give a man some credit. He wasn't worried about the next few weeks, or even the next few months of their relationship. What worried him was that he could see himself with Bones several years down the line, and if she didn't cave in and marry him by then he was going to seriously lose it.
Meanwhile, Sweets was still blathering on about the importance of a healthy sex life and communicating your needs, et cetera, et cetera. Booth thanked his lucky stars that he'd had the foresight to have a talk with Bones before the therapy session, explaining that he felt sex was one of those things that was between them and should just be theirs. Sweets was there to observe them and facilitate their professional relationship, and it wasn't necessary for him to be privy to all the intimate details of their personal lives. Bones had agreed, but Booth suspected it was only out of deference to him. He knew she would be perfectly comfortable chatting it up with Sweets; he could just picture her discussing how interesting it was that she usually called lovers by their given names, and Booth called her Temperance in bed, but she found herself crying "Booth" again and again while having intercourse with him. Yes, Booth had really dodged the bullet on that one.
Sweets was still yammering away about trust and honesty and not using sex as a bandaid for deeper issues, and on and on and on. Finally Booth had had enough. "Well, Bones and I are very happy so far," he interrupted Sweets, "but thanks for the concern. Now, for the love of God, can we talk about something else?"
Bones looked amused at his discomfort, a small smile on her lips. Sweets shot him a calculating look. "Certainly, Agent Booth. We could talk about your constant attempts to steer our sessions away from topics you find uncomfortable, indicating your desire to assert control over the situation –"
"Why is it so wrong that I don't want to be lectured on sex for an hour by someone who can't go to an R-rated movie without a parent or guardian?" Booth demanded angrily.
"Really? You're going to pull the age card? I can't believe, after all this, you still can't admit that I might know what I'm talking about!" Sweets exclaimed.
Booth narrowed his eyes. "What the hell is that supposed to mean?"
"C'mon. Guys. " Sweets glanced smugly from Booth to Bones, appealing to them with loosely outstretched arms in the classic "are you not seeing what I am seeing right now" Sweets pose. "I was right."
"Right about what?" Bones asked blankly.
Sweets pressed his lips together and rolled his eyes in disbelief. "You seriously –" He sighed in exasperation and clenched his hands. "About you and Agent Booth, Dr. Brennan. After all your resistance, and hostility, and aggression, and denial, I was right. You two are in love. And now that you've admitted it, your relationship is able to grow and mature in new directions -"
"Whoa, whoa, whoa – I told you that I was in love with Bones," Booth corrected.
"But, if you'll recall," Sweets countered, "I wrote my book long before you were able to face your own emotions and vocalize them."
"So you made one lucky guess," Booth retorted. "Big deal."
"It was not a guess!" Sweets insisted hotly. "I am a professional psychologist. I have four degrees. People pay me for my advice – they pay me good money. So why is it that you two refuse to take me seriously? Especially you," he appealed to Bones, looking disappointed. "You're a logical, rational woman. How can you ignore all of the logical indicators of my skill simply because of my age?"
Brennan looked at Booth before responding, as she often did when she was unsure about what to say. "You know that I don't believe in psychology," she began.
"Dr. Brennan –"
"No, let me continue." She took a deep breath. "I admit that there are… some problem-solving techniques that are unscientific but nevertheless effective under the correct circumstances. For example, Booth's hunches and gut feelings."
Booth stared at her incredulously. Is she… is she admitting that I might be right to go with my instincts? Where's the real Bones, and what have you done with her?
"But it's not Booth's methodology I trust. If anyone else expected me to accept judgment calls they made based on intuition, I would question their competence and professional credentials. But Booth has demonstrated to me time after time throughout my years of working with him that for some reason his unjustified emotions are usually correct." She smiled a hard, flinty smile. "That's scientific rigor, Dr. Sweets: conducting a test again and again to verify the validity of your results. And I achieved consistent results with Booth. Eventually, I was satisfied that I could rely on his judgment, even though I found his methods suspect.
"So, knowing how I feel about your methodology, you can understand that even though one positive result certainly strengthens your credibility, by no means does it concretely establish it. I simply have not known you long enough to come to any conclusions about your efficacy or accuracy. Statistically speaking, I have no way of knowing whether or not your observations were astute or merely a fluke." She had avoided Booth's gaze ever since she started her little spiel, but now she looked him straight in the eyes, all of the affection and pride and esteem she had for him radiating from that gorgeous face. "So when I have to chose between your opinion and Booth's, with no other data available, I'm afraid that the only logical choice is to give Booth the benefit of the doubt. If he says that experience is more important than theory when it comes to relationships, I'm inclined to believe him."
Booth smiled slowly, unable to contain the warm fuzzy feeling that was pulsing in the center of his chest. He laid his hand over hers, and they shared a silent moment of acknowledgement.
I love you. I respect you, she seemed to say.
He sent his silent response back. Thanks, I respect you too. Let's get married.
Somewhere far, far away from cloud nine, where Booth and Bones were currently making googly eyes at each other, Sweets coughed quietly.
Booth was rudely jerked back to reality. He broke eye contact with Bones and smirked at Sweets. "See that, Sweets? That's trust right there. And Bones is honest enough for the both of us. So you know what?" He put his hand on Bones' knee. Christ, he loved doing little possessive things like that. "I think we're going to be just fine."
Sweets smiled ruefully. "The funny thing is, I couldn't agree more."