I do not own Bones.
The Gambler and The Scientist
He gave it up for her. She did not know it, and he impatiently waited to tell her. The chance never came during that year apart, and by the time they reunited, he felt embarrassed that a few days with a crazy anthropologist had changed him so greatly.
He tried to convince himself on multiple occasions that he quit because he had an obligation to his son. He rationalized that he did not want to be like his own father. He claimed it was to become a better man by focusing more on his career. Truthfully, he could not deny that it was only her. She was who made him want to be a better father and man; he wanted to do right by his son, himself, and the fiery woman he barely knew.
That night, after he fired her from their first case, they both had been eager to leave, quick to explore the attraction between them. The sexual tension had been palpable for both of him, flowing through his veins like a mild form of electric torture. She rationalized it more scientifically, but felt it nonetheless.
Sensing a strong connection to her, despite the short time, he had to tell her. He was not working on his gambling problem as he said, but he knew that, for her, he would. He would threaten gangsters, give her a piggy-back-ride as they braved snakes, move in front of bullets, and quit gambling if it meant she would be his.
Once he admitted his problem he knew he would never gamble again.
His silent promises turned into pleas for God's ears as she hailed that cab and slowly faded around the corner, turning back only to sadly wave. Once out of sight, he felt the familiar rush to gamble, but instead of excitement forming in his gut, stomach acid begun to form in his mouth, burning his throat. Rather, remembering her eyes and the quickly fading feeling of her lips on his, he went home.
He never gambled again because of her, or at least not for money. Sometimes he felt like every step he took around her was a bet, wagering whether or not he will reveal too much and scare her away for good.
It was all for good reason, too. When he did wager a bet and risk it all, he lost. He lost time, he lost progress, and he lost a part of his best friend that he thought he could never get back. Most critically, though, he lost a part of his heart.
He mostly blamed Sweets. As a trained psychologist, Sweets should have known what pressuring Booth to gamble would have done to him, especially with such high stakes. Sweets should have known how much that could irrevocably change things between the duo, particularly for the worse. Sweets should have been able to predict how, later that night, Booth would have gone home and flipped his poker chip and dice until his fingers were numb with calluses.
Sweets should have known Brennan well enough to know that she could not overlook the piles of evidence she formed. Sweets should have understood the deep desire to protect each other, even to a fault. Sweets should have been able to understand the scientist she is and know that she never makes decisions without being absolutely certain, without triple checking her formulas and deductions.
But yet again, Booth could not help but blame himself as well. He should have known by now not to jump the gun and gamble. He should have remembered how hard he took losing. He should have remembered how, when he did lose, he always got the impulse to try once more, for just one hand, one more round. He should have noticed the trap he was forming for himself.
He should have known Brennan better than to spring that on her, known her well enough to portend how she would respond. He should have protected her first so she did not feel the need to protect him. Because of all of that, he should have known not to go all in, if at all.
Maybe re-enlisting was his way of running from his former gambling addiction, or maybe it was a new bet altogether. Maybe Hannah was a bet with himself, a bet that he could find happiness with someone other than Brennan. It was almost as if he bet he could forget about her, but even he would never make such a stupid bet.
In the end, the person he stopped gambling for the was the person who made him gamble again, and, unlike the last time he gambled right before he met her, he did not win. Maybe if she had seen his cards, really known the gravity of everything he has done for her, she would have wagered a bet of her own. But, she was never the betting type and so it was the Scientist who beat the Gambler, the one who always hedged her bets instead of acting on an impulse from his gut.