Author's Note: This one-shot was inspired by a prompt from one of my readers, Stephaniew. I want to thank her again for giving me the idea for this one-shot.
I do not own Bones or any of its characters.
Thank you to everyone who reads/favorites/reviews this.
The Truth in The Semantics
As was often the case in his life, Doctor Lance Sweets found himself happily sliding into the role of observer of the people around him. But what made the practice unusual today was the fact that he had just gotten married about an hour ago, and now he was leaning against a wall and watching everyone at his reception.
Sweets tugged again at the starched collar of his tuxedo. It was mostly a rather absent-minded gesture since he could barely feel how uncomfortable it was by this point. He was too busy trying to absorb the events of the day thus far.
He thought again how just one hour ago he finally married the love of his life: Daisy Wick. His proposal to her had been borne out of doubt and tragedy, but the wedding ceremony had been anything but somber.
Daisy's family had been there, along with a couple of her friends. Sweets soon realized that she had not been kidding when she said that they were a dysfunctional lot. The neuroses of his co-workers at the Jeffersonian paled in comparison to the issues surrounding them. He was glad that he had the excuse of preparing for the wedding to extract himself from them. Sweets was convinced that he now knew what the world would be like if it was populated entirely by people like Colin Fisher. He shuddered a bit when he thought about the fact that Fisher seemed pretty determined to create as many of his own progeny as possible what with his numerous one night stands and occasional sperm donating. But even that didn't frighten him as much as the thought that now Daisy's family was his family too.
'How on earth did Daisy become so upbeat while surrounded by the likes of them?' he wondered.
'Daisy'. His mind drifted back to her as he watched her hug her mother and father. She looked so radiant in her dress; the soft white of the satin contrasted beautifully with the warm brown of her eyes. Most people would have never recognized her during the ceremony itself. She was clearly happy, but she was also calm, almost regal as she walked toward the altar.
Watching her with her parents, Sweets felt a slight pang in his heart. He wished that his parents had been here for this. He had given Daisy his mother's engagement ring, and he was sure that she would have loved Daisy. His father would have too. But more than that, they would have enjoyed seeing their son finding some of the same happiness that the two of them shared. Sweets hoped that his marriage could be at least half as loving as the one his parents had.
Sweets sighed, but soon he had a smile on his face again. While it was true that his share of invites to the wedding was rather sparse, he didn't mind that too much. He mainly invited a couple family friends, a few colleagues he had become friendly with and, of course, everyone at the Jeffersonian. Even Clark who, naturally, declined to attend.
Sweets watched them now as everyone arrived for the reception. Brennan, who Daisy had begged to be her maid of honor, was talking to Fisher and Nigel-Murray. 'Probably talking about how ceremonies like this are pleasant but pointless,' Sweets figured. Although the reasoning would be quite different between Fisher and Brennan. Nigel-Murray was probably chiming in with all sorts of facts about weddings in general.
Hodgins and Angela were talking and laughing with Wendell. Sweets found it fascinating that they all decided to remain friends, despite the fact that Angela had dated and dumped both men. He shook his head as he thought about how greatly he had underestimated Hodgins. His personality had showed tremendous growth over the past year. He just hoped that Angela would wake up to this fact. Seeing how close she and Hodgins seemed right now, Sweets suspected that Angela was close to realizing this truth.
Cam was talking to Arastoo and Caroline. Sweets was grateful to Cam. Before the wedding, he had been very nervous. Then Cam had a talk with him.
'Hey, you're not getting cold feet are you?" she asked him. Because the last time we had a wedding, the bride and groom just up and ran away from the alter. We all ended up eating overly warmed entrees and drinking too much champagne."
"No, no, I want to do this," Sweets insisted. "I love Daisy and I want her in my life. But I just…I worry that…"
"I mean, you know me: I always say the wrong thing around women," he said. "Daisy…she insisted that we say our own vows along with the ones the minister is going to read. This day is so important…I…I don't want to make a mistake."
"Don't sell yourself short, Sweets," Cam smiled at him. 'You're not always as wrong as you think you are about things. Trust me; you'll know what to say today. Just keeping speaking from your heart."
Sweets now knew that that was all he needed to hear. While he was exchanging his vows with Daisy, he could feel his heart guiding his every word. He could see the love in Daisy's eyes as she responded to the feelings he poured out to her, and he knew he had said just the right things.
Sweets frowned when he realized that he hadn't seen Booth anywhere since the ceremony. Booth had seemed reluctant at first when he asked him to be his best man. But he had approached the job with enthusiasm. He even arranged a bachelor party at Hodgins' place. Although Sweets did question Booth's choice for a stripper: she looked a lot like Brennan. 'First he dates this marine biologist who looks vaguely like Doctor Brennan, now this. Definitely some psychological issues there. Sweets was pretty sure that the stripper had been irritated with the clinical stare the psychologist gave her all evening.
At the ceremony, Booth didn't say much; he just gave Sweets a series of encouraging looks and nods, here and there. Granted, Sweets didn't pay much attention to anything besides Daisy once she came out to walk to the altar.
Now at the reception, Booth was nowhere to be found. Sweets sighed again. He had hoped that Booth would enjoy being his best man. After all, he couldn't imagine asking anyone else to do it. And Booth had done an awesome job, even if it was sometimes accompanied by some complaining.
But Sweets was worried that Booth had felt, well…pressured to do all that. Booth was a good man who considered the feeling of others at all times. He could imagine Booth agreeing to be his best man just because he knew how much it meant to Sweets.
But now the wedding was over, and really, Booth had no further obligations. He had hoped though that the presence of Brennan and copious amounts of delicious Chinese food at the reception would entice Booth to stay longer.
Sweets walked over to Brennan, who was now talking to her father, Max.
"Doctor Brennan, Mr. Keenan," he nodded. "Glad you could make it."
"How could I miss seeing the child shrink who said I was a…what was it again?" Max grinned.
"Likeable sociopath," Sweets gulped. Max's grin grew wider.
"Yes, that," he said. "Anyway how could I miss seeing him get hitched?"
"Uh, ok…glad that you are enjoying yourselves," Sweets laughed nervously. "I was wondering if either of you saw Agent Booth."
"Booth said that he would be along in a few minutes," Brennan answered. "He said something about getting ready for the toast here at the reception."
"Toast?" Sweets said, raising an eyebrow. He knew that, traditionally, the best man would give a toast to the bride and groom at the reception, but honestly, Sweets didn't expect him to do that nor was he going to ask him. He knew that Booth was not always comfortable with expressing his own thoughts and feelings, and figured that he would just want to worm his way out of it.
"Yes, some sort of tradition at these functions," Brennan continued. "I think that he needed to go outside to empty his brain."
"Clear my mind, Bones," Booth said, materializing behind Sweets. "I needed to clear my mind….So, where's the food? I'm starving." Sweets looked up to see Daisy coming his way.
"Baby, it's time to sit down for the dinner service," she said, running up to Sweets and kissing him.
"Oh right," Sweets smiled as she held onto him. "Shall we then?"
Everyone filed into their seats at the long table that had been decorated with flowers and candles. After everyone had settled in and had some champagne served to them, Booth got to his feet and was holding his glass.
"I guess it's time for me to make a toast," he said. "Bear with me; I don't make speeches very often. At least, outside of an interrogation room." There were some murmurs of laughter at that. Booth looked down for a moment and took a deep breath before continuing.
"I first met the groom as a patient with Bones. Partners' therapy they called it. And when I first met him, I thought the same thing that I'm sure many of you think when you meet him: how could the FBI let a twelve year old practice psychology?" Sweets snorted; Booth never seemed to tire of the 'twelve year old' comment.
"And I'll admit that it sure felt like I was back in grade school at times," he continued. "What with wearing goofy hats, playing weird word games and his having a foam sumo wrestler in his office. Well, let's just say that he is very fortunate that I'm not allowed to bring my gun into sessions." Sweets saw Hodgins and several of the interns snigger at that.
"But it wasn't just therapy sessions. Soon I found myself doing things with him like talking with him in the diner while he wore a goofy elf hat, going to ceramics class, of all places, and even bowling. And you should all know that Sweets, here, is a terrible bowler. I mean Bones had never played before, but she still was easily able to beat him." Brennan smiled at that.
"Then it even moved beyond partners' therapy when he started to write a book about me and Bones," Booth said. "A book I might add that will probably never see the light of day by this point." He turned to smirk at Sweets. "I mean, if you wanted to spend more time with us, you could have just said so." Sweets began to turn red; he remembered all too well how Booth and Brennan had mocked him in their sing-song voices when he proposed writing that book.
"But we were lucky that he was so dedicated, because the truth is that I and everyone at the Jeffersonian had actually found a valuable addition to our team," Booth said, facing the room again. Sweets swallowed hard at Booth's shift in tone.
"When it comes to interviewing psychos, profiling bizarre cult-like groups, or even solving workplace squabbles, we all know whose office we can barge into," he said. "Thank God, he's never figured out how to requisition a lock for his office door." Sweets shook his head at that. 'Don't be too sure it won't happen, Booth,' he thought to himself.
"The fact is though that we didn't just find a brilliant psychologist and profiler," Booth said quietly. He stopped for a second and cleared his throat.
"There were many times when life would wear us down or the cases would grow to be overwhelming. And during those times, he was always there, to talk or to just listen. Day or night. Even without an appointment." Booth smirked, but then his expression grew serious.
"When…when I woke up from my coma, I thought my world had been turned upside down. Nothing seemed to make any sense, and I couldn't remember so many of the little things that you take for granted in your daily life. It was easily one of the hardest times in my life. But he was there for me every day after I woke up. Whether I wanted him around or not. I'm sure I was the worst patient in the world, but if I was, he never let on. He always kept his cool, his patience and was always encouraging. He never once wavered in his belief that I would be just fine, even when I doubted it myself. And I did recover, but it was no small thanks to him." Sweets' eyes watered up and Daisy gripped his hand and smiled at him.
"He always believes in the best in me, in Bones, in all of us," Booth said. "Even when we don't see it ourselves. I…I told him once that he taught me the importance of words and how you use them. While I may regret the circumstances in which I told him that, I meant every word of it." Booth paused for a moment before continuing.
"One of the most important things you can learn to do with words is to know how to identify the people in your life," Booth said. "And I thought that I was going to come up here and tell you that I consider Doctor Lance Sweets a friend. But because he taught me the importance of words, I knew that I couldn't do that." Sweets' face fell a little.
"Because when I was thinking about all the memories I have of him, I realized that the correct word is 'family'," Booth said. "And now I'm happy to see that my family has found someone to take care of him the way he takes care of all of us." Booth raised his glass higher.
"To Doctor Lance Sweets, counselor, friend, brother," he said. "May he and Daisy have many happy years together."
"Cheers," everyone at the table said, raising their glasses and then drinking. Sweets was close to tears as he grinned. He was glad that Daisy chose to kiss him right then because he knew he would have started crying otherwise.
After the dinner, some dancing, and the cake, which Daisy seemed to relish smashing into his face, Sweets went outside to see Booth sitting there. He was slowly drinking a little champagne and was staring at the sky. When he heard Sweets coming, he sat his glass down and stood up.
"Hey, great party," Booth said, flashing a grin. "Glad to see that you had much better food than this wedding I went to last month. Man, those appetizers could kill a…"
But Booth was cut off by Sweets holding out his arms and trying to grab him for a hug. Booth put up his hand and stopped him by putting his palm against Sweets' forehead and holding him at arm's length.
"Ok look, you need to learn to stop grabbing at people like that," Booth chided him. Sweets hung his head, embarrassed.
"Sorry," he said. "I…I just wanted to thank you. What you said…it meant a lot to me and I, uh…thank you." Sweets started to walk away, but was stopped by Booth putting a hand on his shoulder. He turned to face him again.
"You know, for a psychologist, you sometimes are pretty horrible at reading a person's intent," Booth said. "I said that you need to stop grabbing people." Booth put his other hand on Sweets' other shoulder. "I didn't say anything about thanking people."
Then Sweets got the shock of his life when Booth pulled him in for a strong, 'manly' embrace.
"I'm happy for you, Sweets," he said, patting Sweets' back. "You deserve this." Sweets sniffled a couple times, but managed to keep his emotions under control. He did not want to start crying and make this any more uncomfortable for Booth than he was sure it already was.
After a moment, Booth let go of him and frowned.
"And don't go thinking that you can go around and start hugging me all the time," he said. "From now on, it's just a slug to the arm for you." Sweets laughed a little and wiped hard at his eyes.
"I'll try to remember that," he said. The two of them turned to watch the twilight slowly spread across the sky in companionable silence for a little while. Then Booth picked his glass back up and cleared his throat.
"I need to get back in there and re-fill my plate before Fisher eats all of those egg rolls," he said. Sweets nodded.
"Yeah, and I should get back to Daisy," he said. "We'll be leaving for our honeymoon soon." Booth's face lit up.
"Great, no therapy session this week," he grinned. Sweets looked at him with an impish glint in his eye.
"Not necessarily," he smirked. "We both have laptops, and a video conference would not be hard to pull off at some…" Sweets stopped when Booth pinched the space between Sweets' neck and shoulder and began guiding him inside.
"Don't even think about it," he growled. "The last thing I need is for you to get divorced on the same week you get married. Then you'll be over at my place weeping over lost love and drinking all my good scotch." Booth let go and strode off, still smirking.
Sweets laughed, despite the growing pain in his neck, and followed him inside.