A.N. : Thanks so much for all the reviews and alerts!!! This is gonna be good, I think :)

There's a paragraph in there that I really like. I seldom go with Booth's POV, but that paragraph felt right to me. I hope you can find it and tell me if I managed to make him believable too!

Chapter 2
FIRES AND FIGHTS AND A WHOLE LOT OF NOTHING

"What are you doing here?" Angela asked Brennan as soon as she spotted her still sitting in her chair.

"Well, it is my office. I'm working."

Angela dropped her purse on her friend's couch and walked to her desk.

"Didn't you say you had a session with Sweets this afternoon?"

"Booth cancelled," she informed her.

And she should have been glad, too. Those sessions were more and more awkward every time ever since they had read Sweets' book. So she knew she wasn't bothered by the fact that he had cancelled. She was bothered by his reason. Never had she ever cancelled a session because of a date.

"Ok, tell me," Angela said, taking a seat on the other side of the desk, ready to listen.

"Tell you what?"

"I know you, Brennan. Since I've walked in, you've been opening and closing random folders, pretending to be working. Tell me what's bothering you."

When had she become so transparent to everyone? Or was it only to Angela?

Brennan laughed at herself. Pathetic. Go on. Prove to your friend just how pathetic you are.

"He has a date."

'Again?' was Angela's first thought, but she remained calm for her best friend's sake.

"That is sooo cliché!" she said.

"What is?"

"Third parties! Come on. Booth has totally jumped the shark!"

"I don't know what that means…" Brennan admitted. But then her stomach clenched. "Is this a sexual thing? A play on words because she's a marine biologist?"

Angela laughed, shaking her head.

Brennan frowned. She failed to understand the hilarity.

"A date in the afternoon?" she said through giggles. "That does not sound sexual to me." Seeing that Brennan didn't agree implicitly, she added, "You shouldn't worry. Lunches and afternoons don't mean anything."

Brennan kept to herself. Booth had everyone fooled with his seemingly puritan persona. But she had always suspected him to be well capable of enjoying the benefits of a great endorphin, oxytocin and dopamine release any time of the day. She brought her shoulders back.

"I'm not worried."

And that made Angela snort.

"Right."

"I am not!"

Angela's conspicuous smile turned into a solid grin.

"Do you want me to check on them?"

Brennan's eyes widened and she shook her head vehemently.

"No!"

Then she paused. And thought. And lowered her voice.

"How would proceed exactly?"

But as soon as the words flew out of her mouth, she took them back.

"No," she said again. "Don't. Just… No. Ok?"

Angela laughed, stood up and took her purse.

"Okaaaay… But if you change your mind…" she dragged on with a wink.

Brennan watched her friend leave. And wrestled with herself inwardly. She should be happy for Booth. It was good that he was socializing. Very good. He didn't have to let her know every time he had plans with her, though. That was not necessary. Unnecessary. And childish.

***

Booth was getting ready to leave when the young doctor appeared out of nowhere to stand in his way.

"We need to talk," Sweets said, vaguely hoping it would be enough for Booth to do something out of character and listen to him.

"Can't. I have plans," he refused, trying to get Sweets out of the doorway.

"So you're really going through with this?" the therapist said, really surprised.

Booth snorted.

"You're the one who told us we needed to… seek and form other bonds," he quoted.

Sweets felt like throwing up. Or giving up.

"That was reverse psychology!" he cried out, in desperation.

Booth tapped him once on the shoulder.

"Well, maybe you should concentrate on your forward psychology before you try and reverse it."

"I just hope you know you are complicating things," Sweets said before regretting it slightly.

Booth stopped trying to exit and turned to face him.

"I'm complicating things? She has dated my friend, my brother, my boss… and I'm just supposed to watch and wait it out?"

"You," Sweets emphasised, "are aware of your feelings. You are making a conscious choice to betray those feelings. It's not healthy, agent Booth."

"Oh! Because suddenly my feelings are real now, huh?" Booth was so pissed, so confused, so overwhelmed by the overall feeling of being a loser that he laughed. "You wake up one day and, needing a good conclusion for your book, you decide that it's not all in my brain anymore?" He breathed in deeply. And again. "Get out," he dropped, on a very calm tone.

Too calm.

Sweets was gone before hearing that freakishly calm tone again.

It's not healthy, agent Booth. Booth repeated in his head. But pining and hoping and getting nowhere is?

Maybe that's just what he needed. Just to see if he could possibly be happy with anyone else. Even for a second. She seemed to do fine without him, why couldn't he do fine without her? So what if he needed to stop thinking about her? About his next step. To stop worrying about pushing her and losing her. To stop daydreaming about their almost kisses. Almost touches. Almost. So what if he enjoyed being pursued by a beautiful woman? So what if he liked that long-lost feeling of being attractive and charming? So what if he enjoyed when a woman let him open a door? So what if he loved being able to pay for lunch without getting endlessly nagged about his need to stand out as an alpha-male? So what if he loved feeling wanted? Openly wanted. And Desired. And useful. So what if he did all this just to see that new indefinable flicker in her eyes every time he mentioned the other woman? So what if he enjoyed the situation now that the tables were turned? Did that make him a bad person? Well, then… so be it. It felt good. It felt manly. It felt him again. It felt… so damn fucking wrong!

***

"How's the case going?"

That was the first question out of Sweets' mouth when the session started.

Though usually unaware, Brennan sensed something was different about Sweets. He never wanted to discuss cases right away during therapy.

"Fine," Booth said a little dryly.

"Well..." she turned to him, ready to contradict him. "We still have to find the rest of the remains."

"Right. And identify the victim. Or the arm, anyway."

"True."

"I mean," he mumbled, "we can't really do anything until we have an ID."

And she bit back.

"I'm working as fast as I can, Booth!"

"I'm not blaming you!"

"I hope not. It's not my fault we're stuck," she let out, turning away from him, arms crossed over her chest.

"You saying it's mine?"

"Guys?" Sweets intervened. They were pouting. And glaring at each other. "Guys!" They snapped out of it and turned to him at exactly the same time.

The doctor took a deep breath. He knew deep down that it was the right thing to do, but sitting there, watching them, he decided to re-examine his decision. His doubt lasted only for a second.

Doctor Lance Sweets was a good psychologist. But he had done a mistake, evidently. He had assumed they were ready, but maybe by publishing his book, he had screwed with the balance of the universe. Instead of confronting him, they had not stopped confronting each other. Had he pushed them so far back into denial that they couldn't even close a case anymore? Yes, the therapist had let himself get too emotionally involved. He had to stick to his decision. For their partnership's sake.

"I have decided to ask that I be reassigned to other agents. I mean patients. Or another team."

Their mouth dropped open.

"What?"

"Why?"

Sweets got up, circled his desk and stood behind it.

I screwed you up and I'm sorry.

"I think it would be best for you both if I stepped aside and let..."

"He can't do that," Brennan let out, turning to Booth, as if he could be the one to stop him.

"What is it, Sweets? We don't inspire you anymore?"

Like that's going to help.

"You can't abandon us," she tried herself. "I mean... are we done with therapy?"

"I know another FBI psychologist who would be happy to take over for me."

Brennan had no idea why she was feeling panicky all of a sudden. She looked at Booth again for support. He was smirking.

"That's reverse psychology again, isn't it? You want us to beg you to stay or something?" he said.

"He looks serious, Booth," she whispered.

Booth examined the shrink's face. He did look serious.

"What are we gonna do with a new shrink, huh? Come on," he pressed on. "We've wasted over 2 years with you!"

"You're the baby duck," Brennan admitted. "We trust you."

Sweets let out a sad laugh.

"Trust me?" And he shook his head. "No, you don't. But thanks."

They all kept staring at one another, wondering what could be done. Wondering what should have been done. Wondering.

Brennan shoulders dropped. She felt betrayed. She turned to Booth again who was sitting so far away from her on the couch that their legs weren't even touching like they always did. She felt lost. And alone.

***

But by Saturday night, she got her smile back. Working had always been the best way for her to regain her balance. She was back on her feet now. Oh yeah. And she couldn't wait for him to know that they... that she had found their breakthrough. Who knew you could find so much from a single arm? She did. There were thirty bones in the human arm. It was a wonder it had taken her so long to get something from them.

Half gloating already, half anxious to hear his voice, she dialled his number. On the 5th ring, she checked her watch. It was late. She should have waited until the next day. He was probably sleeping. Or maybe he was out. With her. Again. On the 7th ring, when she was about to hang up, his voicemail picked up.

"Booth, it's me," she started. Maybe she had to specify which me it was. "Bones. Uhm... I've got some good news and I thought... I'd share it with you as soon as possible. So... uhm... Yeah. Call me back when you get this. Bye."

She'd try again in the morning.

***

By Sunday afternoon, she had left three messages. All unanswered. Granted, it was Sunday. The Holy Day of Rest, as he said. But on the second message, she had very specifically said it was important. And on the third, she had told him again that it was good news. Had he become so wrapped up in his own new-found personal life? Didn't he care about them... about their work, anymore? She had to know for sure.

That's why she was standing behind his apartment door, waiting for him to open up. Hoping that he was just enjoying his weekend like most people did. That he was not avoiding her. Hoping that he was not slipping away. That it was only in her head.

But when he did open the door, she realized she had not foreseen the anger that suddenly crept in her.

"Oh! So you are alive!" she grunted, pushing him out of her way to go inside.

"Bones?"

"What's the matter with you?" she said.

"You're the one bulldozing into my apartment, and I'm the one with the problem?" he mumbled, shutting the door.

He had promised himself he would not see her this weekend. A two-day-trial period. Because he could not remember one single day for as far as he could think back, when he had not thought about her. But there she was, breaking the vow he had made to himself. And she was furious and beautiful. And he felt like banging his head again the wall. Or on any hard surface. He was failing his own experiment miserably. No wonder he was not a scientist.

"Why didn't you call me back?" she asked him as soon as he joined her in the living room.

She was pacing around. Like she was looking for something.

No trace of a woman, she thought. So he was avoiding me and he didn't even have a good reason.

"It's the weekend, Bones. I didn't feel like working."

She bit her lips. Yes, she had called him about work. But he didn't know that. So when he thought about her, his mind went straight to work. Fine. So they weren't really friends, now. Now that he had a woman in his life, he didn't need their comfortable surrogate relationship.

Her mind was racing, thoughts over thoughts. She needed a pause. She needed a break. She took a deep breath. All those thoughts were scaring her. She couldn't recognize herself anymore. Doctor Temperance Brennan didn't react like this. To anything. She had lost herself and she was losing him. That could not be good.

"You always answer," she said, almost to herself. "Or at least you call me back."

He had nothing to say, apparently. He was massaging the back of his neck, sign that he was getting a headache. But she ignored it and continued her rant.

"What if I had been stuck somewhere, bleeding to death, huh?"

She frowned at her own words. Those what ifs served absolutely no purpose. She was looking for a fight. A nice fight, to get all the freaking tension out of her system.

And he played along. A fight sounded good to him, too.

"Well, I know you said it was good news, but..."

His words shook them both. Maybe he had gone too far.

He sighed and sat down. Okay. Let's start over. He had wanted to hurt her because she was hurting him. The only difference was that he was doing it on purpose. She had no idea what she was doing to him. Because he hadn't told her. Because he couldn't just yet. He didn't even ask himself why anymore. He just knew he couldn't.

She stood there for a while, blinking. Hoping she had stayed home. A sad wave of calm washed over her.

"Everything is changing," she whispered, sitting next to him. She focused on her hands. "Sweets wants out. You... suddenly have a life."

His eyebrows rose in surprise.

She placed her hand on his knee to reassure him.

"And I'm really happy for you. But selfishly..." She took her hand off before she admitted the rest. "... I hate it. I hate that... nagging sensation in my stomach. That feeling that I've taken you for granted and that..."

Trying to explain what she didn't understand fully yet, her mind wandered back. Way back. To that time when Rebecca had talked about her and Booth. To the words his ex had told her. I think there's a moment for two people. A single moment where they can either catch fire or... We missed our moment.

A chuckle passed through her lips. She buried her face in her hands for a second. Wow. You are way more tired than you thought you were.

"I'm sorry," she said, taking it all back and suddenly getting up.

He stood and planted himself in front of her. Close.

"No, I'm sorry. I should have called you back right away. It won't happen again."

She looked up at him.

"Of course it will happen again, Booth."

He went to touch her shoulders but she shifted on her feet and kept talking.

"But I won't react the way I just did. That was just..." Here came that faint, self-deprecating huff of a laugh again.

His index finger reached under her chin and lifted it up so their eyes would meet.

"I'm here, Bones."

He didn't know what else to say. So he dug through her eyes. She blinked rapidly, taking a deep breath, and forced her gaze not to drop to his lips.

Was that another moment? Because she had felt on the verge of catching fire way more than once.

"I should go," she murmured, walking away as her heart thumped harder in her chest.

He buried his hands in his pockets.

"What about work? Didn't you have good news for me?" I could use the distraction, now.

She played with the door handle before turning to him one last time.

"It can wait until tomorrow."

"See you tomorrow, then." And he grinned as only he could. And she recognized that manipulative, charming, cocky smile. The one he always used when wanting to make her laugh. And she did, closing her eyes and shaking her head.

"See you tomorrow, Booth."

And as the door shut behind her, she breathed out. Something had to be done. She would not be able to stay away from that man a whole lot longer. And Angela couldn't help, because she wanted them to catch fire since day one. She realized she had no one to talk to. She would have to figure this out on her own.

***

"You can't do this," Brennan told him as soon as she entered his office without knocking.

Sweets' head spun up from the awfully thick case file he was trying to read.

"Dr. Brennan?"

"You can't just hand us over to some other psychologist."

She sat down, ready to plead her case.

"Dr. Brennan," he started. "I am not abandoning you. I sincerely feel that it would be best for you both that I..."

"No. You have no idea what's good for us. Otherwise, you wouldn't even consider leaving."

He waited until she was ready to talk again.

"You know us," she said. "And right now? We're clearly not working at our outmost potential. We've got some... issues." She sighed before he could interrupt. "Fine. I've got...issues. I give you that." The words sounded weird coming out of her mouth. "And... we most certainly would not make a great impression right now on anyone who doesn't know us. I don't want to take any chances. I don't want the FBI to take some other trained psychologist's advice and sever our partnership. You have to stay with us."

She finally looked up to him.

"Please," she added, politely.

Sweets got up from his chair and rolled it with him so he could sit closer to her.

"Are you ready to discuss my book's conclusion?" he asked, carfefully.

Her eyes flew shut immediately. Then, she looked out the window on her right.

"I don't know," she admitted. Which was a huge step up. "Keep in mind that I hate psychology."

"How could I ever forget?" he laughed.

The silence that followed wasn't tense. But it was nerve wracking. She twisted her fingers on her lap.

"Maybe it's just the power of suggestion," she proposed.

Sweets tilted his head.

"But since I read your study of us, I can't help but analyse every little thing. I can't stop."

Sweets nodded, prompting her to continue.

"I know that you've scared him into dating," she said.

"You think I scared agent Booth?" he repeated. Wow. That'd be the day.

She wasn't really paying attention to the doctor sitting across from her. She babbled on and on.

"And if your conclusion had been right, he wouldn't be dating. Or he would be trying with more than one woman."

"But you're dating, too," he pointed out.

"Not really," she confessed.

"Does Booth know that?"

She frowned.

"He didn't ask," she said.

"Do you want him to ask?"

Ok. That was enough. They had gone way further than ever. And it was getting uncomfortable. She straightened her back.

"So, are you considering staying with us?"

Sweets smiled. Boy, had she come a long way.

***

"You can't do this," Booth told him as soon as he entered his office without knocking.

Sweets tried not to laugh as he put down the case file he had started reading again merely half an hour ago.

"Agent Booth?"

"You can't do this to her," he said, walking to the window.

"What?"

Sweets got up, too.

"Oh, I'd be more than happy for you to leave us the hell alone, but she needs stability. You know that. You can't toy with us, suck us up dry of material and just... leave. That's just not right," he said.

But Sweets wasn't saying anything. So Booth turned to him, sighed, and said something he never thought he would say to a man.

"Fine! I'm begging you. Please. Don't do this to her. Please."

"Dr. Brennan has already talked me into staying."

"She did?" He frowned.

Sweets walked back to his chair.

"She's more than capable of taking care of things herself. Maybe you don't need to protect her from everything anymore."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"I think she can handle it," Sweets simply said.

Booth snorted to cover up the fact that he really wanted to believe him.

The psychologist continued.

"Are you ready to discuss my conclusion?"

"Don't push it," he warned him through his teeth. And just before he slammed the door, he let out, "And butt out, now."

---------------

To Be Continued!

I know this one was a little dramatic... I hope you like it, too! More moments to come :)

Dare I beg you to review? Imagine I'm Booth and it's dark and you hear him say, "Please. Just once more."