A/N: Just a little bit of fluff to get my feet wet. This is my first attempt at "Bones" fiction… though I've written extensively in another fandom and I can only hope I do justice to the "Bones" crew… and your reviews and feedback will be greatly appreciated.
This was written based on speculations for ep 100 and should pretty much be canon up to that point, could be references to any ep prior to "The Parts in the Sum of the Whole."
Of course, standard disclaimers apply. I own nothing and make no profit… simply a labor of love and homage—no infringement intended.
"Bones, do we really have to go?" Booth asked, not bothering to hide the whine in his voice. "It's been a long week, an even longer case and the last thing I want to do on a Friday night is have a session with Sweets."
"It's not a session, Booth. He just wants to talk about his book," Brennan answered, looking out the window of Booth's SUV. She wasn't ready to have the inevitable conversation with him.
"Did you read it?" he asked.
"Yes," she answered. "Did you?"
"I skimmed it," he said. "What did you think?"
"I hate psychology," she answered.
He watched as she continued to look out the window. She wasn't ready to participate in this conversation, and truthfully neither was he. But he was also pretty sure he didn't want to have it in front of Sweets, either.
"So, what do you think?"
Sweets looked at the partners expectantly.
'I think it's brilliant,' Brennan thought. 'At least half of it… but this is why I hate psychology. It's all speculation. While you're exactly right about my feelings… you missed Booth's by a mile." She looked over at Booth, wondering what he was thinking.
'Who knew the kid could be so insightful,' Booth thought. 'Of course, to be fair, I DID tell you that I loved her. .. But she doesn't feel the same way…"
"It's ridiculous," she said.
"It's crap," he said at the same time.
Sweets shook his head, smiling at the pair. Always with the united front… even now. When were they going to open their eyes and allow themselves to see the truth that was right in front of them?
"Guys," he said. "I have an idea…"
Brennan watched as Angela finished reading the manuscript and dropped it on the coffee table.
"Who knew Sweets was actually brilliant?" Ange asked with a smile.
"Angela," Brennan intoned.
"What, Bren? Did you expect me to disagree with the Boy Wonder? I've been telling you for years that you and Booth just need to jump each other's bones and get it over with, and then maybe you can admit to what you're actually feeling…"
"You're wrong Ange, both of you."
"Oh, sweetie. I know you're scared, but Sweets is absolutely right about this and I think you know it."
"But that's just it, Angela… he's not. He's got it half right," Temperance said with a sigh. "Booth just doesn't feel that way about me."
"He does, Bren. Everyone can see it. Everyone, that is…but the two of you, apparently."
"No, he told me."
"He told you what?"
"Well, you see…" she paused, searching for the right words. With a long sigh, Brennan went on. "A while ago, not long after Booth got out of the hospital, we were leaving the diner and he looked at me… it was a look that I didn't really recognize…"
She paused again as Angela watches, listening with rapt attention.
"…Ange, he said he loved me…"
Angela drew her hands to her face and bit back a squeal as her friend continued her story.
"…and just as I was about to respond, he said 'In a professional, atta-girl kind of way.' "
"Oh, sweetie," Angela reached out to take Brennan's hand.
"So you see? Sweets is wrong. Booth cares for me as his partner… but that's all."
Angela didn't know what had caused Booth to backpedal out of his declaration, but she did know that she was going to get to the bottom of it. She hated that her best friend had finally opened her heart up to love only to have Booth cause her to question it all over again.
"So Sweets wrote a book that was supposed to be about you and Tempe working together, but his conclusion was that the two of you are in love," Jared said, setting his beer down on the table.
"Yeah," his brother answered, running his hand over his face in frustration. "I just don't know how it all got so messed up."
"You need to just tell her how you feel, bro."
"I tried," Seeley answered with a sigh continuing as he knew his brother wouldn't let it go at just that. "After I woke up from the coma, I just felt different. It was like I couldn't ignore it anymore, you know? I didn't want to ignore it anymore… but I needed a little advice."
"Oh no, tell me you didn't ask Pops."
"No," Seeley laughed. "But maybe I should have. I think he likes her better than he does me. Anyway, you were in India and I couldn't ask her, so I went to someone else who knows me pretty well…"
"Camille," Jared surmised as his brother nodded. "What did she say?"
"She told me to be careful. To know that I was sure…that Bones isn't as tough as everyone thinks she is… and that I could break her heart."
"No pressure there," Jared said with a chuckle.
"I know, right?" Seeley replied, smiling. "So, I also went to Sweets."
"Based on the book, I'd say he told you to go for it."
Seeley shook his head.
"No, he told me it was all in my head."
"A side effect of the brain surgery," Seeley answered, taking a pull on his beer. "He even had visual aids. Showed me pictures of my brain scans and tried to convince me it wasn't real."
"Yeah, I mean…. I'm not stupid. I know I was feeling like this before the surgery. I know it's not a side effect."
"So, you said you tried. What happened with Tempe?"
"I decided I was gonna tell her… so I did."
Jared knew there was more to the story and waited for Seeley to go on.
"But then I saw the look in her eyes. Jar, she looked so scared… I freaked. I said I loved her in a professional, atta-girl kind of way."
"Oh man, Seel. You really screwed the pooch on this one."
"Tell me something I don't know."
"And then Sweets told us not to communicate with each other all weekend… unless we get a case, of course."
"And how do you feel about that?"
"I honestly don't know, Angela," Brennan answered with a sigh.
"Maybe it's a good idea," Angela said. "Though I never thought I'd find myself agreeing with Sweets." She felt her heart go out to her best friend, who sat next to her looking more forlorn than she'd ever seen her. "I think maybe you and Booth both need some time to think about all this."
"What is there to think about, Ange? I know all I need to know. Everything was so much easier when I didn't believe in love. I've just got to figure out how to make this all go away so that we can continue to work together. If our working partnership is all that we can have, then I have to make sure that nothing happens to change it."
"Oh, sweetie. Do me a favor, and don't give up just yet. I'm going to leave you to your thoughts tonight, but I'm picking you up early in the morning and we're gonna have a girls' day. I'm going to make reservations for us at the spa, and you are going to be pampered like you've never been. We're going to relax and not think… about anything," Angela said with a smile. "And then tomorrow night, we're going to sit down with a couple of bottles of wine and hash this out in the only way that makes sense for you- empirically."
"But there's nothing empirical about love, Ang."
"You just leave it to me," Angela answered. "You need evidence, I'll give you evidence. After all," she said with a smile, "evidence is what we do."
"So then, Sweets tells us we can't see or talk to each other all weekend."
"I think that's a mistake," Jared offered.
"I don't know, Jar. Maybe the kid does know what he's talking about."
"I don't doubt he does," Jared answered. "On paper. I mean, I think he's probably got it all right in that book. The problem is that you and Tempe are definitely unique… and what might be the right course of action for someone else isn't necessarily going to work for you. I think you have to sit down with the woman you love and tell her that you love her…with no qualifiers this time."
Booth let out a long sigh.
"I just don't know, man. I don't want to scare her, you know? I mean, what if I push her so far that she doesn't want to work with me anymore? I don't think I could handle that."
"Something tells me you won't have to worry about that," Jared said with a smile. "You've got Parker this weekend, right?"
"Yeah," Seeley answered.
"Do something for me. Go home tonight and try not to think about it. Get a pizza, drink some beer and turn on ESPN. When you pick Parker up in the morning, come over to my place. Spend the day with Padme and me. We'll have a family day, and then tomorrow night we'll sit down and figure out how you move forward with the lovely Dr. Brennan."
"Hey little man," Jared said, leaning down to ruffle Parker's hair.
"Hey Uncle Jared."
"So, how are things today?"
"Better," Seeley answered. "I took your advice and tried to not think about it all, about her, last night…"
"Daddy," Parker interrupted, tugging on his sleeve. "Is Bones coming with us today?"
"No Parks, not today," his father answered.
"Hey Park, Padme is out in the back yard and she's got a surprise for you. Why don't you go see?"
"Can I Daddy?"
"Sure, buddy. Be good and listen to Padme, okay? Uncle Jared and I will be out in a little while."
The brothers watched the little boy make his way out the patio doors in search of his future aunt. When they were sure Parker was safely in Padme's care, they turned their attention back to each other.
"I really didn't mean to get in to this right away," Jared said. "I wanted you to have a chance to relax and just hang out with the family for a while. I thought we'd talk about you and Tempe later, but I can see it's really eating at you."
"I think you're right, Jar. I need to talk to her and I'm not sure I can wait until Monday."
"You can, Seel. And I think you should. Sit down, map things out, have a plan when you do talk to her."
"I can't plan it out. It needs to come from my heart, doesn't it?"
"Yeah, it does. But how has that worked for you so far? You think with your heart and you follow your gut. That's something I've always admired about you. But until now, doing it your way hasn't worked. You haven't been able to be totally honest with Tempe. And that's because you're afraid of how she'll react. So let's try to look at it the way she would."
"You think we can do that?"
Jared laughed. "I don't know, bro. I mean, both of us together are not as smart as she is… but I think we can figure out how to use a little logic."
"Oh my god, Ange," Brennan practically moaned from her place on the massage table. "Thank you. This is exactly what I needed."
"That's why I'm your best friend," Angela answered, face down into he own massage table. "I'll never steer you wrong, Bren."
"So, what's next? Not that I want to get up from this table. Ever."
"I know what you mean. But when we finish here, we're going to pick up take out from that fabulous new organic restaurant that you love and then we're going back to my place for a girls' night in."
"Seriously Angela, thank you. I know I don't say it enough… emotion has never been my strong suit, but I do love you, you know."
"I do know. But thanks for saying it, it's really nice to hear sometimes." As her masseur finished his ministrations, she sat up and wrapped a towel around her body. "And as much as I hate to say it, it's time for us to get out of here."
Monday morning, Angela stopped Brennan on her way to bone storage. "Hey Sweetie," she said.
"Good morning, Ange."
"How are you feeling? Any different from when I left you yesterday?"
"Thanks for trying Ange," Brennan answered, "but I think I need to just try and forget it. It's like I told you yesterday, I'm just better off alone."
"Oh Bren, you don't really feel that way."
"Yes Angela, I think I do."
Angela watched and as Brennan turned and went toward bone storage she made her way to Cam's office.
"I need your help," Angela said, walking into her boss' office.
"Of course. What's up?"
"It's Brennan," Angela answered, pausing. "And Booth."
"Okay," Cam prompted, drawing out the word.
"I need a sciency way to prove love exists."
"That might be difficult," Cam said, looking up at the artist with a wry smile on her face. She watched as Angela began pacing the room.
"I promised her empirical evidence, but I'm not sure I can deliver…"
Cam continued to watch as Angela continued to pace, wondering if the other woman even remembered she was in the room.
"Sweets told them not to talk all weekend, so I took her to the spa and then we had a girls' weekend. She said that she thinks she's in love with Booth, but she's sure he doesn't feel the same. Then she said maybe she was right after all, when she said love didn't exist. I have to prove to her that it does… and that she and Booth are perfect for each other… I just don't know how to do that. Of course, the easiest thing to do would be to just get Booth to tell her how he feels. She actually believes that he loves her 'as a friend'," Angela said, emphasizing her last words with air quotes as she stopped in front of Cam's desk. "What?" she asked, noticing the sheepish look that took over Cam's face.
"That might be easier said than done."
"Because I might have convinced him that it wasn't a good idea…"
"Oh, my god. You're kidding me, right? What happened?"
"Well, Seeley came to me for advice. He said he was in love with Dr. Brennan…"
"This sounds good so far," Angela said, drawing her hands to her hips. "Get to the part where you give the worst possible advice ever…"
"Hey," Cam retorted. "How was I supposed to know she was ready to hear it? I thought I was looking out for both of them."
"I know," Angela answered with resignation. "Go on."
"I just told him to be careful. I told him to make sure he was absolutely certain because he might only once chance. Dr. Brennan isn't as tough as she wants everyone to believe and he is the one person who could really hurt her…"
Angela blew out a long sigh. "And you're right. Timing is definitely not on their side. So what do we do now? Looks like I'm back to compiling empirical evidence."
"Not necessarily," Cam answered, picking up her phone.
"Logic," Jared repeated, sitting in the chair facing his brother's desk. "Tempe responds best to logic. We just have to make a logical argument that love in fact does exist and that the two of you are meant to be."
"That's just what I've been telling you all weekend, Jar. The problem is that love isn't logical… and Bones doesn't believe in fate. She told me that the first time we met and she's been proving it ever since."
"Did you make that list I told you to make?"
"Yeah," Seeley answered, nodding. "It's right here." He handed his brother the list he'd spent the weekend compiling.
"Excuse me," Jared said, looking down to his cell phone as it began to ring. "Booth," he answered, opening the phone.
Seeley watched as Jared spoke to the person on the other end of the line. He looked serious, responding only with an occasional "Mmm-hmm." Eventually, his face broke out in a wide smile.
"I think I have just the thing," Jared said into the phone. "I'll be right there." He hung up the phone and put it back into his pocket before turning to his brother. "Something's come up," he said. "I'm gonna have to cancel lunch, but just leave this," he said, patting the list that he'd folded and placed in his breast pocket, "to me. I have a feeling it's all going to work out the way it's supposed to… You and Tempe belong together, bro. It's gonna be just fine."
Angela stood watching for Jared to arrive at the lab. She'd left his name and a visitor's badge for him at the front door as soon as he'd gotten off the phone with Cam. Brennan had spent the morning in bone storage, so she wasn't likely to see him, but Angela wasn't taking any chances. She was waiting to shuffle him directly into her office before anyone knew he was in the lab.
"There you are," she said, walking over and grabbing him by the arm. "What took you so long?"
"Nice to see you too, Angela," Jared joked.
"Seriously," Angela said, "now is not the time. Plot now, joke later."
Brennan stood in awe of what was in front of her. Angela had taken Booth's list and entered it into the Angelator. She was able to add photographic evidence, and sometimes even video, for each entry and her friend was completely taken aback by the results.
"This is amazing, Ange," she said quietly. "Some of this goes back to when we first started to officially work together."
"I think it's safe to say he's loved you all along," Angela said quietly as Brennan continued to read the list that spanned the wall in front of her. "And you were probably not far behind him." She leaned back on the counter behind her and watched her friend. This was all the evidence Brennan would need, she was sure of it.
Brennan sniffed ever so slightly, holding her tears at bay as she went down the list.
She began with Booth standing up to Cullen on her behalf during their second case together, Cleo Eller, and kept reading.
She had stopped fighting the tears that had been threatening to fall by the time she got to Booth showing up outside the prison where she was celebrating Christmas with her family. She still got a little choked up when she thought of him and Parker bringing her a Christmas tree.
There were so many times over the years when both she and Booth had gone out of their way to do something kind for the other. As she went down the list, she began to realize that in almost everything, Booth put her first. She'd long since stopped trying to tell herself he wasn't the most important person in her life.
Tears were flowing in earnest by the time she read the words she'd said in a toast to Jared and Padme just a few weeks before. It never dawned on her that Angela would have no way of knowing that had even happened, let alone her exact words when she'd declared that because of Booth she now thought she believed in love.
"This is amazing, Ange," she said. "And it's so thorough. You've gone back a long way. This list must've taken forever to complete."
"Just a weekend," Booth said, shaking his head as he walked over to the women from where he and Jared stood in the doorway. "But it's not complete. It took a couple of days to write down some examples of what we mean to each other," he went on, taking Brennan's hand in his. "But it's taken us six years to compile the memories." He lifted her hand to his lips and placed a gentle kiss on her fingertips. "And now we have a lifetime to finish the list. I think it's going to take that long," he said with a smile. He released her hand to drop to her side and reached up to cup her face in his hands. He wiped her tears away with his thumbs. "I love you, Bones," he said softly.
"I know," she responded.
They stood staring into each other's eyes as if they were the only two people in the universe. Jared and Angela backed out of the room, giving them the privacy they deserved to share this moment.
"I love you, too," she said.
He leaned in and gently placed his lips against hers. It was a kiss that began as a chaste declaration but grew into a passionate sign of commitment. The kiss said all they needed to say… and there was no tequila, no steamboat counting, no hiding behind undercover personas. This kiss was both an end, and a beginning. It symbolized the end of the pretense of their being "just partners," and the beginning of a true partnership in every sense of the word… and it proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that love indeed does exist.