Disclaimer: I do not own Bones, and I will most definitely never profit from this story. :)
Spoilers: Some Season 5 Spoilers
A/N: This story was written prior to The Proof in the Pudding, before we knew that Brennan had already been filled in on Angela's affair with Wendell
"Squints! Who's ready for some food?" Booth came bounding into the lab holding two full bags of Chinese takeout. They had just put a difficult case to bed, and the squint squad had really gone above and beyond on this one. He would have never been able to tie this one up so neatly without them, so Chinese was really the least he could do.
"Mmmmm, do I smell Chinese?" Hodgins asked as he start poking through the bags in Booth's hands.
"Oh thank God, I'm starving," Cam took one look at their favorite FBI agent, then ran to the break room to grab plates and utensils.
"And he brings food. Remind me again why you and I haven't run off to Vegas to tie the knot, Studly?"
"Yeah, I'm not going to touch that one, Ange," Booth gave the artist a grin as he started up the stairs to the sitting area. "Wait, where's Bones?"
"She disappeared into her office with Wendell about half an hour ago, I guess they are doing some sort of post-case conference," Hodgins answered as he arranged the sofa and chairs around the coffee table.
Cam stopped mid-stride, plates in hand. She looked like someone had just run over her puppy. "You're not going to let us eat without her, are you? You're going to make us wait."
Booth couldn't help but laugh at the three devastated, yet resigned, faces around him. "Sheesh, people, you'd think it had been months since your last meal."
"I've got to tell ya, man, it feels like it's been months. Analyzing soil samples under that much pressure really take a lot out of a guy."
"Well, Hodgins, it looks like fate is on your side today. Here she comes." Booth watched as his partner walked Wendell to the lab's exit and shook his hand. She spun on her heel, then spotting her coworkers upstairs, strode purposely toward them. Booth recognized the glint in his partner's eye and the determined set of her jaw. "Um, did one of you do something to piss off Bones while I was out?" he hissed.
No one had time to answer.
In a flash, Brennan was in front of them, hands on her hips, eyes darting accusatorially between her friends. "Okay, does someone care to tell me what's going on?"
Booth flashed her his best 'calm down, there' smile. "I don't see what the big deal is, Bones. Everyone worked so hard on this last case, I thought I'd treat us all to dinner to celebrate. Even serious scientists have to eat, right?"
"Booth, I'm not really interested in why you brought takeout right now. What I would like to know is why one of my most promising interns just came into my office and told me he could no longer work with us. He refused to look me in the eye, or give me a reason, but based on his reaction to the possible loss of his scholarship earlier in the year, I feel confident in concluding that he isn't leaving because he simply got bored of being at the Jeffersonian," she paused, giving her friends a chance to respond. When no one did, she threw her hands in the air, "It's obvious that something happened with Wendell. Is anyone going to tell me what it was?"
Cam, Angela, Hodgins and Booth looked at the floor like chastised school children. The fact that Wendell would actually leave was surprising to everyone, but Brennan was the only one who had no inkling as to his possible motivation.
"I never thought he'd actually leave the lab. I mean, I know the break-up was a little weird, but it's not like we were engaged," Angela whispered.
Hodgins snorted, he couldn't help himself. The irony was not lost on him.
"Wait a minute, " Brennan fixed her eyes on Angela, her voice rising with each sentence, "you broke up with Wendell? To break-up with him, you would have had to have been dating him. Were you dating him?"
"Weeeelll, I'm not sure I would exactly classify it as dat-"
"OH MY GOD! You all knew about this?" Brennan looked to Cam and Hodgins for confirmation before her eyes found Booth. "This is it, isn't it? The 'thing' you saw that night at the Founding Father's, the 'thing' you said I wouldn't want to know." Booth gave her a sheepish look before she rolled her eyes and turned to face her best friend. "Ange, how COULD you? Honestly, did you learn nothing from your affair with Hodgins, the end of which had him sulking around the lab for months?!"
"Hey-" Hodgins thought maybe Dr. B. had just insulted him, but she moved on so quickly that he didn't really have a chance to process.
"Wendell is a promising young scientist Angela. He could be great, but as everyone here knows he can't really afford to go around scrambling up this opportunity-"
Booth cleared his throat, "I think you mean 'screwing up' Bones," but the words died on his lips as his partner gave him a glare she typically reserved for gang lords and icky serial killers with wandering hands. Booth held up his arms in a sign of surrender as she refocused her tirade on Angela.
"As I was saying, Angela, what were you thinking?! Wendell's smart, but he's sincere and open in a way that probably doesn't serve his best interests. There is no way he was ready for you-"
"Hey! What's that supposed to mean, 'ready for me'?"
"You know exactly what it means Angela," Brennan could feel the anger building in her chest, and she knew it would be logical to take this conversation elsewhere, or, even better, to stop and really consider whether she wanted to have it all, but adrenaline was coursing through her veins, and she no longer cared to control the words flying out of her mouth. "It means that when you slept with him, he probably thought he stood a chance. He probably thought he was getting involved with someone who knew what she was doing, someone who wouldn't be selfish enough to fall into bed with him, knowing how much he had to lose, for the sake of a nice moment. I mean, God, Angela do you ever stop to think about what you do to other people? Other people aren't simply rest stops on your journey to self discovery. The funny thing is, that you're the one always giving me advice about relationships, like I'm the damaged one...and maybe I am, but so are you. You tell me I'm wrong because I refuse to risk the most valuable thing in the world to me for the remote chance at a romantic relationship. Well, your words say one thing, but your example has taught me that I'm right. You have no problem risking your own heart, or anyone else's, and I haven't seen it end well, not once. I know I usually say the wrong thing, but sometimes Angela, sometimes you DO the wrong thing." Shaking with the weight of everything she said out loud, Brennan fled to her office and shut herself inside.
No one knew how to respond to Brennan's outburst. It was so shocking that all anyone could do was stand still, looking anywhere but at each other. Eventually, Angela quietly turned and disappeared into her office.
"Wow, Bones, when you have something to say, you really don't hold back. You know..." Booth trailed off at the sight of his partner slumped behind her desk, tears rolling down her face. His heart clenched, as it did every time he saw her cry. "Hey, don't do that. You can fix this."
"I was awful." She looked up at him, her blue eyes blinking fiercely, trying to hold back her tears.
"What happened out there wasn't great, but your heart was in the right place." She looked at him with raised eyebrows. "No, hear me out, you were concerned about Wendell, and- though you worded it poorly- it was also obvious that you were concerned for Angela as well. Even in your anger, you showed concern. That's actually pretty amazing Bones. Just go talk to her. People get angry, they say things they wish they could take back, but that doesn't mean that everything is ruined."
She looked right into his eyes, "Because people forgive. We all make mistakes, but when you love someone, you forgive them. That's why things aren't ruined."
Booth smiled that smile he reserved only for her. "Exactly, Bones, because people forgive...because people don't easily give up on the things that are valuable." He crooked his head to the side and opened his mouth as if he were debating saying something more. Apparently, he decided against it, because he closed his mouth and simply nodded.
"What? It looked like you wanted to say something."
He chuckled and shook his head, "It's a conversation for another time, Bones."
"Booth! I hate it when you do that!"
"Come on, Bones," he pulled her out of her chair and began ushering toward the door. He nodded towards Angela's office and gave her a wink. "It's time to go fix your friendship."
"Angela," Brennan knocked on the door before opening it and called out timidly to her friend, "can I come in?" She didn't get an invitation, but she didn't get the door slammed in her face either, so Brennan took it as a sign of encouragement.
Once inside her best friend's familiar office, she didn't know what to do. Angela stood looking at her, dark eyes filled with emotion that Brennan couldn't quite read. Her friend's arms were crossed over her chest, and it was obvious that she had been crying. Brennan found herself wishing Booth were here to direct her, then she found herself angry that she allowed indulgence in such dependence. Finally, she gave up and blurted out the only thing that seemed to matter- "Are we still friends?"
Angela relaxed her stance a bit, but her tone was still cold. "You yelled at me in front of everyone."
"I know, and I'm sorry."
"The things you said were mean."
"I know, and I wish I could take them back."
Angela looked in her friend's watery blue eyes and gave a little half smile. "The things you said hurt, but they weren't exactly untrue."
At that, Angela couldn't help but laugh, "Oh Sweetie, this is such a Brennan apology." She sighed, "We all say things we wish we could take back."
"So, are we still friends?" there was a hopeful lilt in Brennan's tone.
"Of course we're still friends. It's always going to be you and me... that is if you still want it to be," she swiped at the tears that were once again streaming down her face. "Sweetie, you're right about Wendell. I should never have gotten involved with him, it was totally selfish. I'll talk to him, I'll make this right. After I do that, I'll go straight to Sweets and demand that he fix me. I'll meet with him every day if I have to-"
"Whoa, Ange, I'm not sure that Sweets is the answer here. If I recall, he's the one who suggested the whole celibacy thing in the first place, and that resulted in our friendship almost ending because I thought a pig was cute." She was pleased to see that she seemingly said the right thing, since her words brought a smile to Angela's face. "I just think sometimes you don't realize how strongly people attach themselves to you. Hodgins, Roxie, even that Brazilian with whom you jumped over a broom. You're very lovable, you know."
Angela's smile widened, "I just can't seem to actually hold on to anyone. You're right- I am too willing to risk other people's feelings without considering the consequences. Maybe it wouldn't hurt me to try to be a bit more like you...but you should try to be a bit more like me too."
"Because extremes aren't healthy."
Brennan nodded, "I'll take that under advisement."
Angela pulled her friend into a bear hug, when she suddenly remembered part of her friend's angry speech that had slipped past her. She smiled and whispered conspiratorially, "By the way Sweetie, now that we've confirmed that we are and will always be the very best of friends, are you going to tell me who you were talking about?"
"Huh?" Brennan pulled back, looking genuinely confused.
"Oh come on, out there, when you were yelling at me, you said that you refused to risk the most valuable thing in your life for the remote possibility of a romantic relationship. So, are you going to tell me who, and I assume it is a who and not a what, is the most valuable thing in your life?" Angela's eyes were sparkling as she waggled her eyebrows.
Brennan rolled her eyes, "Good grief Angela, I was angry. I was saying all types of thoughtless, irrational things."
"Uh huh, keep telling yourself that my friend."
Brennan smiled and shook her head as she turned to leave.
"Bren, wait!" Angela's tone was urgent as her friend paused at the doorway. "There's always a risk...but some bets are much safer than others."
They stood facing each other for a moment before Brennan finally gave a small smile and whispered, "I'll take that under advisement."
The whole lab heard Angela's high-pitched squeal, proof positive that things would soon be back to normal.
A/N: As I say in my profile, I'm definitely more of a reader than a writer. This was my first attempt at fan fiction, so any constructive criticism is welcome. Thanks for taking the time to read!