Musie was so sad about Games being over that I had to let her start another one. Let me know what you think. Thanks, T.
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Dr. Camille Saroyan stood looking at the two people in front of her and fought the need to scream out her frustration. It's not like anyone would actually be able to hear her over the noise those two were making yelling at each other. Dr. Temperance Brennan and FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth stood toe to toe on the platform, their angry stances mirror images of each other and the way they were going at it gave a new meaning to the phrase getting in your face. Cam didn't even know what had set them off this time. Not that it seemed to take much, especially lately, for them to have one of their infamous discussions. One minute, they would be fine, just Booth and Bones and the next minute, for some inexplicable reason, they would exhibit the most erratic and irrational behavior that Cam had ever seen and be all up in each other's faces. Then they would disappear for a while, presumably to go to their separate corners and lick their wounds until you looked up and they were, once again, living in the land of the sane. It was really starting to wear on her nerves. It was also beginning to stress the rest of the team to the point that it was interfering with their work.
Cam badly wanted to smack their heads together and tell them to just sleep together already and give them all some much-needed relief. But she could hardly do that since she had been the one to tell Booth that he had better be sure about his feelings for Brennan before he told her that he loved her. She could not believe how much she had come to regret what she had thought at the time was good advice. She had expected for Booth to get all broody for a little while and then man up and tell the anthropologist how he felt because a moron could see that these two people were in love with each other. But had that happened? No, it had not. Instead, two professional, allegedly intelligent people had suddenly turned into adolescents who apparently couldn't stand the sight of each other and Cam couldn't believe how guilty she felt every time she saw them going at it like this. She had really messed things up for these two and she had to figure out how to go about righting that wrong but right now, she had to separate them and send them to time out. She had never felt more like a kindergarten teacher in her life.
"Okay, people, enough!" yelled Cam at the top of her lungs and was a little surprised when the agitated pair turned to look at her, the blessed silence almost deafening and most definitely welcome. "What's going on here?" Cam demanded, folding her arms across her chest and giving them her very best I am the boss look. She rarely interfered between the partners but had found it necessary to separate them on several occasions over the few weeks and she was getting pretty fed up with their drama. Booth and Brennan both flushed and looked at the floor at Cam's question. Booth muttered an answer and Cam looked at him in disbelief then very, very quietly asked him to repeat it.
"We were discussing a movie," he repeated, looking around at the staring people a little sheepishly.
Oh, dear God, thought Cam, what the hell was wrong with these two? Couldn't they see that the way they were acting wasn't about any freaking movie? Apparently not, she realized, but no way was she getting into that right now or ever, she admitted to herself, knowing they would not welcome her interference. But she absolutely had to figure out some way to fix things between the partners before they drove them all insane. Wearily rubbing her temples and trying to ease the headache caused by all the shouting, she knew she would have to think about that later. Right now, she had simply had all she could take for one day.
"Well, consider the discussion over," she snapped. "I think you two have disrupted the lab enough for one day," she continued harshly. "Booth, I think you should go," she instructed and saw his eyes widen in disbelief that he was getting kicked out of the lab but she didn't want to take the chance that they would be fighting again as soon as she turned her back.
"What? No, Cam, we were just having a discussion. Booth doesn't need to go," Brennan objected, immediately jumping to her partner's defense and coming to stand protectively in front of Booth as if Cam was going to physically attack him. Cam didn't know whether to laugh or cry at the other woman's actions because Brennan, herself, had looked as if she would take great pleasure in killing Booth mere minutes ago. These two were clearly making her nuts.
"Fine," she gritted out through clenched teeth, "but if I hear another peep out of you two, Booth is out of here," she threatened, holding Brennan's eyes to let her know that she meant it. Brennan's eyes narrowed but she finally nodded, grabbed Booth's hand and dragged him off the platform and toward her office, shutting the door firmly behind them. Cam shook her head.
Those two had been acting strange for months now and, at first, she had thought they had started a relationship. But a few weeks ago, she and Angela had questioned Booth and Brennan separately and both had denied that anything had changed in their relationship. And then, as if in response to the questioning, they had turned into raving lunatics and were doing their best to take the rest of the squint squad with them. Secretly, Cam thought that the fighting had started after the questioning because it made them both realized that that was exactly the kind of relationship they wanted with each other but both were afraid to make the first move and she was at least partially responsible for that. Which made it her fault they were all being driven crazy. Which made it her responsibility to take care of the problem before they all wound up in a rubber room with Zack.
"Do you think they're in there fighting?" questioned Angela softly. Cam looked around to see that Angela, Hodgins and, oh joy, Lance Sweets had joined her while she was lost in thought.
"I don't know, Angela," Cam answered tiredly. She couldn't see the room's occupants but there were no raised voices or sounds of combat coming from the room so Cam was going to assume that all was well. And if they had to deal with a couple of dead bodies in the morning then she would be, at least, well rested and destressed enough to take on the task.
"Are they like this with you now, Sweets?" Cam questioned curiously. The young psychologist nodded solemnly.
"Pretty much," he answered, an odd note in his voice.
"We have to do something," Angela said with feeling. They were all on edge constantly lately, never knowing what was going to set one or the other of the dynamic duo off and they all just wanted it to stop. Not that either of the partners were being mean to anyone other than each other, they weren't. They seemed to save all their angst up to release on each other but you couldn't help getting caught in the cross hairs every once in a while . The best you could hope for lately was just not to be around when they let loose.
"What exactly do you think we can do, Angela?" Asked Hodgins cautiously, knowing how much his ex thought those two belonged together.
"I don't know, Hodgins," Angela said, looking at him pleadingly. "Something had to have happened and maybe if we could figure out what went wrong between them, we could figure out how to fix it." Warming to her subject, she continued with more animation, not noticing that Cam and Sweets were both looking at the floor rather guiltily. "You two," she motioned between Hodgins and Sweets with a finger, "are geniuses and we," she motioned between herself and Cam, "are pretty smart. Plus, we're women and surely we can figure out a way to fix whatever Booth did."
"Why do you assume that Booth did something? What if Brennan did something?" demanded Hodgins, not at all certain why he found Angela's assumption offensive, but he definitely did.
"Oh, please, Hodgins," Angela rolled her eyes, "Bren couldn't mess things up this badly even if she tried. It had to be Booth." She insisted.
"You don't know that, Angela," Hodgins insisted, his ire rising "You don't know that, Angela,". "Brennan is pretty damned good at messing up relationships," he said heatedly.
"They didn't do anything. I messed things up," Cam confessed, suddenly unable to contain the guilt eating away at her insides a second longer.
"I did it," Sweets insisted simultaneously, also harboring a lot of guilt over the way the partners had been lately. Hodgins and Angela instantly turned their attention to the other two in puzzlement.
"Oh my God, you slept with Booth, didn't you?" Angela gasped to Cam, her eyes going round and her hand flying up to cover her mouth, her horror at such a thing happening again obvious. Hodgins eyes widened then narrowed in accusation and even Sweets looked very disapproving. Cam wasn't sure whether to be insulted that they all obviously didn't think she was good enough for Booth or be glad she could deny the accusation.
"No, Angela, I did not," she snapped. The other three didn't look even slightly mollified and were still eying her suspiciously, Sweets' confession apparently forgotten. "Let's go to my office," Cam suggested with a sigh. She was ready to talk to someone about this and while she might not have chosen these three together, she realized she probably would have wound up talking to one of them about it eventually because her guilt became a heavier burden with every disagreement she witnessed. Besides, maybe Angela was right, maybe between the four of them, they could come up with some way to fix this mess. They were barely inside Cam's office with the door still closing behind them when Angela rounded on her.
"What did you do, Cam?" the artist demanded. Cam calmly seated herself behind her desk, wanting to be in a position of power when she made this admission. But she didn't feel powerful, she felt mean and petty and like a really, really bad friend to Booth and Brennan.
"I basically told Booth not to tell Brennan how he felt about her," she mumbled, avoiding everyone's eyes.
"What?" gasped Angela.
"Why would you do that?" demanded Hodgins who wasn't quite as hostile as Angela but it was close.
Cam didn't really have a good answer to that one other than she had been looking out for Brennan because she truly believed what she had told Booth, that if he changed his mind after telling her he loved her, the anthropologist would die of loneliness before she let anyone else in. Since then she had searched her heart and was ashamed to admit there might have been a tinge of jealousy and possessiveness for Booth still lingering there. She didn't think those had anything to do with the advice she had given him but she couldn't deny it with any certainty either. But, she sure as hell couldn't tell these people that, not that she was afraid to face their wrath, exactly. It was just that she needed to fix this and she needed their help to do it.
"Booth asked me for advice and I told him what I thought at the time. I still think it was good advice, Angela," Cam insisted, if somewhat half heartedly. "But I certainly didn't expect it to lead to this." She waved her hands around dramatically to encompass the lab.
"What the hell did you expect to happen, Cam?" grouched Hodgins, running a hand through his hair and glaring at his boss.
"Wait," Angela interrupted, pinning Cam with a speculative look. "Exactly how does Booth feel about Bren, Cam?" Cam had a much harder time answering this one because she wouldn't betray the confidences of a friend so she just rolled her eyes at Angela.
"So he loves her?" picked up Hodgins and Sweets perked up from where he had been slouched in a chair, taking an interest in the conversation for the first time.
"Did Booth actually say he was in love with Dr. Brennan?" Sweets asked, looking at Cam intently. Cam had to think about that one. No, actually Booth had inferred it and she had actually said the words, so it wouldn't really be breaking a confidence to tell them that.
"No, I did, but he didn't deny it." She felt safe in assuring the other three that Booth definitely loved Brennan because there was no doubt in her mind that he was very much in love with the anthropologist and that she loved him back. Besides, if there were truly going to be any help, they needed an accurate assessment of the situation.
"Well, that shouldn't be so hard to fix," Hodgins said, rubbing his hands together as if he were getting ready to take on a task. The other three looked at him questioningly. "Cam, you just have to convince Booth to tell Dr. B how he feels," he explained with a sigh of exasperation, looking at them as if they were idiots. The look on Cam's face at this pronouncement was indescribable and Hodgins was just about to demand she tell them the rest of what she was obviously holding back when Sweets interrupted.
"I'm not sure that would take care of whatever problem has developed between them, Dr. Hodgins. Unless I'm seriously mistaken, Cam's conversation with Booth took place months ago and this increased aggression between the two of them is a fairly recent development," Sweets used his best psychologist voice but Hodgins wasn't about to let his plan be shut down without a fight.
"Dude, will you lighten up?" he directed at Sweets. "It's worth at least giving it a shot," he told Cam earnestly with Angela eagerly nodding her approval.
"Um, guys, I'm afraid it won't do any good," Sweets replied softly.
"How do you know that, Sweets?" Hodgins demanded, turning on the younger man in irritation. Sweets dropped his head into his hands and mumbled an answer. Hodgins and Cam look each other in confusion because they hadn't understood a word. Angela looked at Sweets in utter disbelief and the beginnings of anger, hoping that she had misunderstood.
"Would you please repeat that more clearly, Dr. Sweets?" Cam asked politely before Angela could demand the same thing much less politely. With a sigh, Sweets sat up straight in the chair and then flopped against the back of the chair as if it was too much effort to hold himself upright. He knew that he would be skating the line on breaking patient confidentiality if he shared this but, like Cam, he felt that he had made a huge mistake and guilt was taking its toll on him. He avoided all three sets of eyes that were locked on him.
"I convinced Booth that he's not in love with Dr. Brennan, that those emotions were generated by a combination of factors when he was in the coma," Sweets admitted, looking at the hands twisting in his lap rather than the other people in the room.
"You did what?" Angela hissed, her voice so low and threatening that Sweets actually felt a shiver of unease travel down his spine. Cam and Hodgins just gaped at the kid, unable to believe anyone could do that. "Why would you do something like that, Sweets? How did you do something like that?" Angela demanded more loudly, her anger rising. Cam and Hodgins were just as eager to hear an explanation but Angela seemed to be handling the role of interrogator with aplomb so they left her alone.
"Because it was the truth, Angela," Sweets told her, finally raising his head and he looked like a lost little boy, but the other three had little sympathy to spare for such a colossal screw up.
"How could you possibly know that?" demanded Hodgins when Sweets appeared to be finished with Angela's questions. The artist looked like she was almost too angry to speak so Hodgins took over.
Sweets quickly stammered out an explanation concerning the two differing brain scans of Booth's that he had used to determine that Booth really was not in love with the anthropologist. He kept his eyes on the floor during the entire explanation and waited for someone to start yelling at him. When that didn't happen after several seconds, he finally ventured a glance upward and found the other three occupants of the room staring at him as if he were a moron. He really couldn't blame them because, after observing Booth and Brennan for several weeks after Booth returned to work, he had realized his mistake. It didn't matter what a stupid brain scan said, those two were obviously in love with each other. He had then done everything within his power to rectify this error other than just going to Booth and admitting he had been wrong. He had found himself unable to do that because he was finally getting some respect and acceptance from the pair and he knew that would all be gone if he admitted his blunder. He knew that was selfish and ethically questionable but he just couldn't bear to ruin things for himself if there was any other way.
He had started hanging around the partners as much as humanly possible and making little suggestions here and there and, for a while, it had looked as if they were getting closer. He had even discreetly questioned them separately about their seemingly more intimate relationship then everything had blown up in his face. Only days later, the two had been at each other's throats over nothing in one of their counseling sessions and they had been going at it ever since. He actually had the thought that they were just trying to throw him off the trail of their new relationship but had discarded the explanation when he realized they were fighting at the Jeffersonian and at Booth's office as well. They wouldn't talk to him about what was wrong and he was at a loss to explain it.
"That is the most ridiculous thing that I have ever heard, Dr. Sweets," Cam's scoffing voice broke the strained silence. Sweets' head came up and his eyes narrowed.
"What, exactly, is that supposed to mean, Dr. Saroyan?" he asked, insulted dignity over her remark clear in every rigid line of his body. Cam rolled her eyes at the question. Sweets' dignity didn't even make the list of her concerns at the moment.
"It means, Dr. Sweets, that Seeley Booth isn't a scientist and he would trust his heart and his gut over your scientific explanation any day of the week," she returned firmly. Sweets, now furious, left his chair, planted his palms on Cam's desk and leaned toward her.
"That may have been true before the brain tumor, Dr. Saroyan," he admitted, "but you had to have noticed that Booth was very confused about a lot of things after his surgery and he had to learn to trust himself again." Cam sighed and nodded because the kid had a good point, she had noticed the same thing which is why she had given him that stupid advice in the first place.
"Okay, you two, that's enough," demanded Hodgins, stepping closer to Cam's desk. "The way I see it is that the two of you," he shot each of them a glance laden with disapproval and they both hung their heads in shame, "convinced Booth that he's not in love with Brennan and to never tell her he is if he ever smartens up enough to figure it out. Is that correct?" Cam and Sweets nodded rather dejectedly. "Okay, we can work with that," Hodgins cheerfully rubbed his hands together and ignored the way the other three were looking at him. He refused to admit, even to himself, that this little problem could be insurmountable and it looked like it was up to him to lead the effort to rescue Booth and Brennan's relationship.
"How can we work with that, Hodgins?" demanded Angela incredulously.
"Look, people, we all know that those two belong together even if they're not smart enough to figure it out. Now, thanks to you two," Sweets and Cam once again received the chastising evil eye, "they can hardly stand to be around each other. If they break up as partners, what do you think will happen around here, Angela?" By their gasps and the looks of horror on the faces of the other three, Hodgins could tell that they had never even considered that possibility. Well, he had thought about it and he knew that it would be awful. If Brennan didn't take off for parts unknown, she would make the lab a living hell for each and every one of them. Admittedly, Hodgins didn't want that to happen but more than that, he didn't want two good friends to rip each other to shreds and break each other's hearts. He knew how badly that hurt, he admitted to himself, meeting Angela's eyes.
"What you want to do, Hodgins?" Angela asked with a soft smile.
"I don't know yet," admitted Hodgins, "but surely we can come up with something to make things better than this. I don't really see how we can make things much worse." The others sadly nodded their agreement.
"Okay, I'm in," Angela offered laying a hand palm down in the middle of Cam's desk, her eyes holding Hodgins'.
"I'm in," Cam quickly agreed, laying her hand atop Angela's. Three sets of eyes focused on Sweets. He chewed on his bottom lip and had a quick internal debate.
"I'm in," he finally agreed, placing his hand atop Cams.
"I'm in," Hodgins stated unnecessarily, placing his hand atop Sweets. The four co-conspirators looked at each other and their determination to fix this became almost palpable. They had to because the alternative was unthinkable. If Booth and Brennan's partnership broke up, the likelihood of them ever becoming romantically involved would be considerably reduced and that would shatter everyone in the room's belief in love and relationships. Those two belonged together and they were damn well going to make sure that they stayed that way.