It's Been There All Along
Disclaimer: As much as I would love to own Seeley Booth (and all the men of this show) I don't. I'm a poor college student, and all content belongs to Fox and Hart Hanson. I just mess with their characters.
Author's Notes: An un-betaed story that wouldn't leave me alone at midnight (how nice of my muse.) My first posted foray into Bones fan fiction, based on a magnitude of promos for the 100th episode and the recent musing about whom Sweets realized was in love with whom. Not my best, a little ramble-y and heavy on the parentheses, and hopefully a little different from the rest that's out there dealing with the same content. Constructive criticism and thoughts are always appreciated, I hope you enjoy.
So here's the deal. He's been in love with her since the moment he first saw her.
The moment he walked into that lecture hall and saw her speaking, circling that mummified (he thinks, he never thought to ask) body with such self-assurance and grace, simultaneously sprouting off facts that made his head spin, he knew he was done for. Every cell in him leaped to attention, humming for him to find some way to connect to her as he listened.
Because really, he'd always thought that Velma was the hottest Scooby, that Brainy Smurf and Hefty Smurf were the coolest smurfs in the village, and that librarians were really, really kinda hot. (The Catholic schoolboy in him loved when the young new librarian, Ms. Colby, shushed him in seventh grade. And there was the short lived but amazing relationship he'd had with the undergraduate student working in the library for a couple of extra bucks, when they'd stolen off to dark corners of the library at two in the morning and hadn't left until they were thoroughly satisfied and smelled like old books.)
So when he saw her standing there in her sexy professor outfit, casual but professional, all she was missing was a pair of glasses, an arched brow, and a book in her hand as she scolded him. (He quickly got used to the arched brow, combined with the condescending look she'd get before going on a highly intellectual spiel, and when she said the big words, it - at first - made his pants embarrassingly tight. Two years after he got used to that, he got to see her in a pair of black glasses and had to make his excuses to go and calm himself down before he made an idiot out of himself.)
Even though she was extremely beautiful and, well, sexy as hell, that was only half of what attracted him to her at first. The other half was her confidence. He'd always been attracted to confidence - it had been Rebecca who approached him the first time they met, eyes bright with self assurance in herself and that low cut top she'd been wearing as she came up to him and told him to buy her a drink, because he was going to fall in love with her. But there was something about it in Bones that drove him even crazier, made him need to know what brought on such confidence, because he knew with certainty that it wasn't a couple of shots of tequila or having a good hair day.
So he was attracted to her. And maybe just a little bit in love (but unlike with Rebecca, he didn't need her to tell him that. And later he'd find out she never would, because she didn't believe in love.) But that was all blown out of the water shortly. Because they were attracted as hell to each other, and it was all about sex and levels of hotness and when-the-hell-are-we-going-to-fuck-already, but he still had that half of him that was in love with her and didn't want to rush things.
But she didn't believe in love. And she only wanted a (really) good lay, and nothing more. And Booth didn't think he could do that. Because with her, he wanted to make love.
She left him in the pouring rain after that, and he tried to suck it up and carry on.
The next time they saw each other, they could barely keep their hands off of each other (although this time, it was more to keep from strangling each other than tearing each other's clothes off.)
They settled into a routine, biting each other's heads off while slowly making their way into a proper partnership, and a proper friendship (which is really the best friendship he's ever had), and a proper...something.
And at every step along the way, every milestone they've ever had, he's fallen a little bit more in love with her. Every moment where she's exposed more of herself, her vulnerability beneath the tough exterior, has only made her stronger in his eye and made him fall even more in love with her. Every touch has held a different meaning for him than her, every glance and pause have meant something so much incredibly more than what it could mean to her. Because she doesn't believe in love as anything more than chemicals, and she doesn't want to believe in it because it would shatter so much of what she's built her beliefs on, and she can't find it in herself to trust herself and another human being.
He knows people have noticed. Angela, he's pretty sure, knew from day one with her crazy people-reading psychic skills. Cam probably figured it out second - she knew all along that their relationship was sex with a friendship on the side, and the moment she watched him pull Bones out of the earth after the first Gravedigger incident, he's pretty sure she knew it was just a matter of time. Hodgins was a bit slower, but with Angela's guidance he saw the light around the same time. (He doesn't know that Hodgins saw Brennan's path to Booth first, while they were trapped in the car underneath the sand and saw the completely unscientific faith she put in Booth because she trusted him implicitly.) Zach, of course, was completely oblivious to the whole thing. Sweets, he knows, believed they were in love but didn't believe that Booth was aware of it - until something Gordon Gordon did, and something with a handkerchief, and somehow the little brat had him read like Bones reads those bones laid out in front of her on an exam table.
What none of them know is that he has had a plan this entire time. Seeley Booth has always been a patient man when it comes to the things that matter, like waiting for the perfect line of vision for his shot, or for his son to be born. So he's been patient this entire time, guiding Brennan in what he hopes is the right direction, on the right path - the one that leads to him.
And sure, there have been mishaps and delays - Cam, Agent Perotta, the nurse Cathy down at General he'd dated for a few weeks and never told anyone about. He gets frustrated at times, thinks that Bones won't get the clue until they're old and wrinkly and one of them is on their death bed.
But he never gives up hope, never loses faith. Because he's always believed in fate, and fate brought them together for a reason - so that they could figure it out and be together.
Lately, he thinks they're on the right path. Sure, it took him a tumor and a really vivid dream to realize he was running out of time, that patience wasn't always the best path, that he was madly in love with her and if something didn't happen soon he was going to lose it. There have been slight stumbles, like him now liking clowns, but he knows for certain that his love for her is not something that's going to fade away, soon or ever.
And Brennan has been talking about the right kind of men, hasn't been seeing more than one man at a time, has realized that what they have is theirs, and is making toasts (her new favorite activity) to love, something she know believes in because of him.
He's not sure if she's connected the dots yet, but she's a smart woman - genius, to be specific - and he knows she'll find the right path soon. The one that points right to him, how he's been here all along, and shows her that he's madly in love with her too. That'll be the moment where the universe is righted again, when the laws of physics will be broken, and Seeley Booth will live the rest of his life as the happiest man alive - inevitable fights, confusion, explanations, and jokes so bad his six year old won't say them included.