Competing with Cam
Disclaimer: I own nothing... Obviously. Just playing in someone else's sandbox for a bit.
Summary: An email from Zack brings Brennan home early just as Cam is about to be hired by the Jeffersonian. A competition for the boss's job and Booth ensues. AU.
Epilogue – And the Winner Is….
Three days before the end of the ninety-day probationary period was set to end, Brennan walked into the Royal Diner carrying an envelope. She saw Dr. Camille Saroyan sitting alone at a table and approached it with a hesitancy to her movements.
Looking up from the newspaper she was reading, Cam nodded when she saw who had interrupted her lunch. "Ahh, Dr. Brennan. Good afternoon."
"I apologize if I'm interrupting you, but I felt the need to tell you that, during the Dylan Crane murder investigation last month, you were right about the pipe," Brennan said.
Nodding, Cam said, "Well, you were right about the rose."
Inclining her head, Brennan said, "Could I sit for a moment?"
"I wish you'd eat some of these fries. Save me from myself. They're really good with garlic mayonnaise," Cam said as she watched Brennan sit into the seat opposite her.
"We have a problem," Brennan began, deciding that taking the direct approach, as usual, was the best option.
"Uh huh," Cam agreed. "Do you see a solution?"
Sliding an envelope in front of her, Brennan said, "That's a copy of a letter that I submitted to the Jeffersonian's Board of Trustees this morning. You can read it at your leisure as I made the copy for your records, but to summarize its contents, I asked that my application for the position of head of the Forensics Department be pulled from consideration."
Her eyes widening just a bit, Cam was quiet for a moment. She gave Brennan a level stare before she said, "If you did that, it means I got the job, doesn't it?" Cam said.
"I would assume so," Brennan said. "However, since I'm not privy to the board's regular business procedures, I can't say for certain. I would think you'd be hearing something shortly, perhaps when you return to the lab."
Shaking her head, Cam responded, "I told you, I didn't want to get it by default."
"I know," Brennan admitted. "And, I apologize for that, but I didn't really have any other options."
"Meaning," Brennan clarified. "You were right when you said there was only so much any one person can do and have at any one time. And, right now, I can't have that job and Booth and our partnership, too… So, I made a choice," Brennan said. "Booth and our professional partnership are more important to me than any job promotion. I don't like the idea of having to make a choice, but one was required, so I did."
Cam stared at her for a moment and said, "And, have you figured out how you're going to figure out a way to convince the FBI higher-up muckey mucks not to split you and Booth up as work partners when it becomes common knowledge that you guys are seeing each other romantically?"
"No," Brennan admitted. "I haven't quite thought that far in advance yet. But, in trying to emulate some of Booth's better qualities, I'm trying to remain optimistic that a solution to the problem will eventually present itself."
"Wow," Cam said. "That's… a completely unexpected admission coming from you, Dr. Brennan. I must admit, I don't know what to say."
"Booth says that I have... well, something about control issues and the weight of the world," Brennan admitted. "He thinks the only reason I really went after the job anyway was because I didn't like the idea of having you as my boss... anyone as my direct supervisor, really. When he pointed out that I have no reason to feel threatened by you, in either a professional or personal manner, I realized he might have a valid point about the fact that you may be more… suited to the bureaucratic aspects of the department chair job than I ever could be."
Cam listened carefully and then nodded. "That sounds like Booth."
"I think he meant that if I'm going to share responsibility for these cases, I'm going to have to learn to try to stop controlling everything else in my life, too. Does that make sense? Psychology's not – I really – I really hate psychology," Brennan sighed.
Cam thought for a minute and then slowly nodded. "Not everyone's brain works as fast as yours. I have to mull sometimes. Are… are you familiar with that concept?"
"Yes," Brennan admitted. "I just always thought it was a waste of time."
"You don't want to leave the Jeffersonian, even if I'm your boss, do you?" Cam asked.
"No, I don't," Brennan said. "It's my home."
"I've started to get that feeling, too," Cam admitted. "And, just between you, me, and the wall, I've been sitting here each lunch hour for the past week trying to figure out a way I could swallow my pride and ask to stay on in the pathologist's position if you did get the job."
"Why were you talking to the wall? Brennan asked in confusion.
"I don't," Cam said. "Listen... just... it looks like I won't have to do that now because it appears like you beat me to the punch."
"You wanted to punch something?"
Laughing, Cam said, "No, Dr. Brennan. It was just a figure of speech. It means… well, never mind." Looking up at her, Cam picked up the letter and gestured with it in the air. "It's not important."
"All right," Brennan responded.
"What *is* important," Cam said, "is the fact that, I guess with your letter to the board, that means you've made me your own boss, so I'm in charge. But, out of respect for you, I could extend… well, did you ever play Monopoly?"
"Well, they have this thing called a 'Get Out of Jail Free' card. Think of it as a free pass to defy me. No explanation needed. No recriminations. No repercussions." Cam explained.
"Well, how – how many would I get?"
"One a week," Cam offered.
"Five per case," Brennan countered.
"Three per week."
Thinking at her offer, Brennan nodded and then reached over and took Cam's hand to shake it.
The pair were silent for a minute before Brennan said, "Booth told you about us, didn't he?"
"Okay, yes. He did. But, he did it on accident... and he has a good heart, and I'd really appreciate it if you didn't let him know I told you that. Please. I'm sure you know he's quite sensitive about the whole office romance gossip thing," Cam said.
"He's going to know that you told me the second he sees us together."
Cam thought for a minute before she nodded in agreement. "It's true. He's awful like that."
"He reads people the way you read pathology reports or I read bones," Brennan replied.
"Oh, God. I know. I hate him," Cam chuckled. Looking up at her, Cam then amended with a serious look, "Well, I don't really…."
Nodding, Brennan said. "I know. Me either." She paused and then reached for one of Cam's fries. "I will take you up on this."
"Would you, please?" Cam said, with a smile. "Us strong women? We've got to stick together, you know, Dr. Brennan. Otherwise… who knows what would happen in the world?"
"Agreed," Brennan said, chewing the French fries with a flair of gusto. "Agreed."
A/N: Okay, here is my obligatory wrap up at the end of the story. I actually started this story so I could have something light and fluffy and fun to write after the dark and heavy angst of my story "He Shouldn't Have Done That." Hopefully, that's how it came across to you all.
The good news is that I've already decided to continue this plot line in a forthcoming sequel entitled "Laughing During Sex." It will be set during season 4, having taken its title from a certain episode in that season, which some of you more detail-oriented people might be able to spot. But for the events that resulted Booth and Brennan hooking up in "Competing with Cam," the new story will attempt to follow canon from their point of view with the following twist – now that Booth and Brennan have finally hooked up, why will no one believe that they're actually together… and to what lengths will they have to go to prove it? Might a bet of their own ensue... something to do with Booth finally getting Brennan a gun... or Booth getting to chose Brennan's wardrobe for a month? For those who are curious, it will continue to be nothing but fun and light and sexy. With so many great B&B episodes in season 4, how could it not be? I think there may also be a rating bump on that one, but we'll see. Either way, be on the look out for it. Or, sign up for an author alert so you know when the fun starts. Until then, to my normal cadre of faithful readers and reviewers, you guys know how awesome I think you are. Thank you SO much for the reviews and reading along with me. Take care and see you on the flip side fairly soon!~