A/N: This is the end. Thanks for reading everybody!
'Later' couldn't have been a better vocabulary choice if they had tried. Whenever they felt the pressure to define who they were, Brennan would lean over a desk and smile or Booth would charm his way into dinner and a movie and they would forget to have the entire conversation again. It was a perfect, unspoken system that suited them both just fine and they stayed in this blissful limbo for nearly two weeks before Sweets barged into Booth's office.
"You have to tell them." Sweets demanded. Booth glanced up surprised at the uninvited visitor.
"What are you talking about?" Booth asked. "And shut the door." The young man did as he was told and sat down in front of Booth's desk.
"You have to tell them about you and Dr. Brennan. If they suspect that I've been keeping this a secret, I could get fired."
"Sweets, what are you talking about?" Sweets rolled his eyes.
"Do you really think that you're fooling me? I literally wrote the book on your relationship, which should have put me a little higher up on the information food chain, by the way." He added.
"Tell them before Friday or I'm telling them myself." He said sternly. Booth's face softened as he began to feel vulnerable.
"Do you think they know?" He asked. Sweets sighed as he fought the resounding 'Duh' that he wanted to respond with. He had a hard enough time being taken seriously; he didn't need to add to their pile of ammunition.
"I think that rumors travel fast, Agent Booth. And for a man who just broke up with his girlfriend, you sure have been smiling a lot." Booth frowned, immediately dispelling any smile that may have been on his lips. Sweets saw that his message had been sent so he headed back for the door.
"Hey Sweets?" He turned around. "Thanks." He nodded before opening the door and heading back towards his office. Booth sighed as he glanced out the window. Time was up.
Booth showed up at the lab that afternoon with a definite worrisome look on his face.
"What's wrong?" Brennan asked hesitantly, not sure if she wanted to know.
"Sweets came to my office this afternoon in a panic. He thinks he's going to get fired if the FBI finds out that we're...you know...us." He said, unsure of what exactly they were.
"How did Sweets find out?"
"He's our shrink, Bones. It wasn't going to be kept a secret for long anyway. You're not exactly subtle."
"I can be subtle." She said, offended at his suggestion.
"Please." He rolled his eyes. "You nearly mauled me in your office the other day."
"I did not!" She defended herself. "And if I did, it was only because of what you were doing first." She said. Booth smiled briefly at the memory. "Wait, if we are the ones breaking a rule, why would Sweets get punished?"
"Because he's the one put in charge of monitoring our partnership. If it gets out that he knew, and he didn't report the change to his superiors, he could actually get into some serious trouble." Brennan frowned.
"What does this mean for us?" She asked. "What do you think might happen?"
"Worst case scenario? They assign someone else to the Jeffersonian. Most likely Perotta since she was my back up." Brennan clearly did not like that idea and Booth couldn't help but inwardly chuckle at the face she made.
"And you?" She asked.
"I would go back to working alone."
"Well, that's not happening." She said definitively. "Who do we have to tell? I mean, Andrew..."
"Not Hacker." Booth said. "That guy has way too much personal interest in the success of our relationship."
"Booth, now is not the time to be the alpha male." She said, annoyed that he would even consider getting jealous of Hacker. Then she paused as his words sunk in. "Are we in a relationship?" She asked. Booth shrugged.
"Yeah, I think we are." He said nonchalantly, as if the idea had just dawned on him.
"Okay." They both let the awkward moment settle before Brennan went back to the task at hand.
"So, if not Andrew, then who?" She asked.
"We gotta go straight to Cullen."
"He hates me."
"No, he doesn't. He used to, maybe, but you solved the case that involved his dying kid. You don't get any more respect than that." She didn't like it, but what other choice did they have?
"I'll set up a meeting as soon as I can."
"Bones, he's the director of the FBI. He's a little busy." She sent him another stare. "Fine. I'll make sure to mention our close rate." He said. "That has to buy us 15 minutes."
"Thank you." She said.
"You're welcome. You can pay me back later." He said, flashing her a sinful smile.
Brennan stared at the clock on the wall one more time.
"Booth, I swear to God if we are late to this thing..." He emerged from his bedroom with a tie in his hands.
"You don't believe in God." He smiled his charm smile as he wrapped his arms around her waist briefly. Brennan pulled the tie out of his hands and turned around, hoping to speed up the process.
"Please be serious. This is important. Our entire partnership depends on this meeting." She said as she tightened the knot just a little too much.
"You're nervous." Booth said, surprised by the fact.
"No?" She asked incredulously.
"And why not?"
"Come on, Bones. You said it yourself, we're don't want to be late." He said as he swept her out the door.
"Good morning Agent Booth, Dr. Brennan. He's inside waiting for you." The secretary said with a smile that Brennan didn't like. Booth smiled back in return and she fought the urge to smack him in the guts.
"After you." Booth smiled and motioned for her to take the lead.
"Chivalry? Or are you just making sure that I get fed to the wolves first?" She muttered under her breath and Booth fought a smile. She really did get feisty when she was nervous.
"Why can't it be both?" He whispered as Brennan took a deep breath and stepped into the office.
"Dr. Brennan, nice to see you again." Cullen said as he sat down at his desk.
"Director Cullen, a pleasure as always." She said as she sat down across from him.
"Agent Booth, close the door behind you."
"Yes, sir." He said as he followed orders.
"So, I'm going to assume that this meeting has to do with your partnership since you both requested to be here?"
"Then you have the floor." He said as he leaned back in his chair and waited.
"As you may have heard, Dr. Brennan and I are, well," he glanced at his partner looking for the right word.
"In a relationship." She preferred.
"Oh, God. Here we go again..."
"Again?" They both said as they turned to look at Director Cullen in unison.
"I know you thought you were secretive but seriously, everyone knew. The entire janitorial staff saw you break up on the front steps of the Hoover one night." He sighed. "And correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't that lead to the two of you actually flying to the opposite ends of the earth to get away from one another? The entire Jeffersonian program shut down." Brennan turned to look at Booth.
"We were never in a relationship." She told Cullen, surprised to hear otherwise.
"Don't use semantics on me, Dr. Brennan." He sighed. "Listen, I'm going to be perfectly clear. You two are a part of the best team I have out there and somehow, even when Booth came back from the desert with a blonde journalist in tow, you two managed to act professionally, remain discreet and solve cases." He turned his attention towards Booth. "If you can do that while working with your ex-girlfriend and sleeping with a journalist, you can do anything. Just know that there will be no more running away. If you break up, take a sick day. Is that understood?"
"Yes, sir." Booth said with a measure of gravitas that Brennan found extremely impressive considered she couldn't even talk. "Thank you for your time." He stood up and Brennan followed him out the door. Once they were in the clear, he turned and smiled.
"See, not so scary."
"They think we are dating again." She repeated.
"Well..." He muttered as they made their way towards the elevator.
"Relax, they were just office rumors." Booth said with a wave of his hand.
"Oh my God. You knew!" She said, accusingly. "You knew that they thought we had already dated."
"I had my suspicions. I mean, partner's therapy? Who the Hell has to participate in partner's therapy? Besides, he wasn't entirely wrong. I mean, we did sort of break up the entire team and leave them stranded before." She couldn't argue with that. "Look Bones, everything in the universe happens for a reason. Maybe we went through all of that stuff so that when we were ready, we could stay partners." He offered.
"It explains so much." She said.
"Really?" He was surprised that she would agree with his theory.
"When I came back from the Malukus, I was hit on every single time I walked through the door." She said. "They all thought I was available again."
"What?" He said, paying attention now.
"And those guys at the gym!" She said, snapping her fingers as it all fell into place.
"What guys at the gym?" Booth asked as he stopped walking. "Bones? What guys at the gym?" He called as she made her way to the parking garage. He sighed. There was never going to come a time when she wasn't trying his patience.
She keeps you on your toes. The words echoed in his head as if someone were standing directly beside him and he couldn't help but smile.
"Every day." He muttered to himself as he jogged to keep up with her. "Every single day."