The Man in the Mansion
"You just don't get it," Booth said, leaning over his desk as he looked at Sully on the other side of it; he might consider the other agent a friend, but this whole situation was just so awkward he was suddenly more understanding of Xander and Gunn's use of humour in the past…
"What?" Sully said, shrugging expressively at him. "I'm asking for guy advice, you are a guy; what's not to get?"
"First of all," Booth said as he sat back down, "guys, they don't ask for advice. And secondly, I'm not going to help you get my partner into bed."
"Why not?" Sully said. "It's not like you want her."Damn
wished Sully hadn't said that; that simple phrase opened up so many cans of worms he wasn't sure how
he was meant to answer it without exploring crap even he wasn't sure about yet (Like why this whole conversation reminded him of a more polite version of some of his earlier confrontations with Spike after he'd walked in on Angelus and Drusilla having sex…)
"Unless… do you want her?" Sully asked, leaning forward slightly as he spoke.
"Nah," Booth said automatically; it was easier to go there than think about making another
relationship more complicated than it had to be; he could
be friends with attractive women without wanting them, hadn't his time with Fred, Willow, and now Angela and Bones proven that? "Come on, Bones is, you know, my partner."
"That is why you need psychiatric treatment," Sully said, clearly ignoring what he had said earlier as he stood up and looked at Booth with a broad grin. "Because you have the hots for your partner!"
"I'm not in psychiatric treatment, OK?" Booth corrected; this might be shying away from the issue, but he preferred that to facing such difficult questions right now. "It's an evaluation; big difference."
"I can tell that Brennan is the go slow type," Sully said- Booth wasn't sure at this point if he was being deliberately frustrating or just trying to divert the topic to something else as quickly as possible, "but you gotta help me out on how slow, because too slow is worse than not slow enough."
"Agent Booth," another agent said from the office doorway, giving Booth a welcome opportunity to focus his attention back on the case, even if the news that the missing kid was in the morgue already was far
from the kind of distraction he'd wanted…
"In point of fact, it is therapy," Doctor Wyatt said as they walked along the street towards the Royal Diner, the latest location chosen by Wyatt for a casual encounter; apparently the house was some kind of 'stage one' meeting place.
"What?" Booth said, looking at Wyatt in frustration. "No, no, it's not; it's an evaluation."
"No, I've already certified you as fit to carry a gun and go back to work," Wyatt said.
"OK, then why are we meeting?" Booth countered.
"Well, because you discharged your weapon at an ice cream truck," Wyatt said, as they crossed the street. "My provisional certification of your mental health only holds as long as you continue to meet with me."
"Great," Booth said; he hated
being this dependent on someone else's good will, given the unpleasant memories it evoked of his time trying to manipulate the Senior Partners and the Circle (Even if he wasn't required to kill anyone this time around). "For how long?"
"'Til I'm satisfied you won't start firing at confectioners again," Wyatt said. "What's your objection to therapy?"
"You know what, doc?" Booth said, falling back on the most obvious protest he could make at this point. "I am not the kind of guy who's got anything to hide."
"You know," Wyatt said, as he opened the door of the Royal Diner, "I often find that when people declare what they are not, it almost invariably turns out that that's precisely what they are."
"Great," Booth said (In a way, that statement from Doctor Wyatt was slightly comforting; so far he wasn't showing any sign that he'd guessed at what Booth was really
trying to hide about himself). "Then, you know what? No more declarations from me."
"You do know that what you just said is, in fact, the very avatar of a declaration," Wyatt pointed out, as they walked over to an empty table in the diner.
"Avatar, that's great," Booth said, before he beckoned at a nearby waitress over. "Can I get a cup of coffee, and a, uh…"
"Tea, please," Wyatt said, making a 'T' sign with his fingers
"Tea, yeah," Booth said, waiting for the waitress to walk away before looking at the physically older man. "Let me ask you a question, doc. Why is that every time you introduce yourself, you always say your name twice, huh? 'Hello, my name is Gordon, Gordon Wyatt'."
"Well, now you're simply lashing out, aren't you?" Wyatt said, showing no sign that he was offended by Booth's mocking imitation of his accent. "Why don't we talk about the case you're working on at the moment?"
"Why?" Booth asked, surprised at this new turn.
"Well, I am trained as a forensic psychiatrist," Wyatt said, his hands under his chin as he looked thoughtfully at Booth. "I might be able to help."
"OK, fine, great," Booth said, deciding that he might as well take the guy up on the offer and see what happened; a new opinion didn't hurt, after all. "I have a dead rich guy, works with at-risk youth, gets brutally murdered after confiscating a couple of pounds of heroin from one of his kids."
"It's interesting the first word you use to describe him is 'rich'," Wyatt said, pointing both index fingers at Booth.
"Second," Booth countered. "First description was 'dead'."
"Why do you think you have a problem with wealthy people?" Wyatt asked.
"This case is a perfect example," Booth replied (Part of it came from some of the things he'd seen working at Wolfram & Hart, dealing with people who thought that money could buy them a 'Get Out of Jail' card, but he wasn't going to get into that even if Wyatt knew the truth about him). "This guy, he makes up his own rules; what's that word that you used?"
"Entitled," Wyatt said.
"Yeah, entitled," Booth said. "That's what got him killed."
"Did this rich guy, by any chance, have a wife?" Wyatt asked.
"What, are we changing the subject now?" Booth said; this was a complete turn in the conversation as far as he could see.
"And does the rich guy's wife have a lover?" Wyatt continued.
"I just told you," Booth said, looking at the psychiatrist in frustration- did Wyatt honestly think he'd ignore other leads if he found them?-, "the murder has to do with the heroin. The boy the victim took the heroin from also turned up murdered."
"And is this boy from a modest background?" Wyatt asked.
"Doesn't get any modester," Booth said, reflecting briefly on Julio Diaz's sad end; the kid might not have had much, but now even the potential to be more was gone.
"So is there any chance that you would rather catch the boy's murderer, than the wealthy fellow's murderer, so you have decided that they're one and the same?" Wyatt asked. "Any chance that you've based this assumption purely on your bias against rich, entitled people?"
"You know what?" Booth said, humming thoughtfully for a moment to give the impression he was thinking about it before he said what he wanted to say right now. "I did the belt buckle, I did the tie, I did the socks… what else do you want from me?"
"What would you say if I told you that my name actually is Gordon Gordon Wyatt?" Wyatt said, after the two men had stared thoughtfully at each other. "That my first and middle names are the same?"
Booth had no idea what point Wyatt was trying to make at first, before a possible solution came to him; the guy was encouraging him to think about other ways to interpret things.
Under other circumstances, Booth would have found that amusing- he was an ex-vampire who'd been cursed with his soul and was now working for the FBI; if anyone had a unique perspective on things, it was him-, but the severity of the situation just left him preferring to think about things…
"Hey, Doc," Booth said, as he and Wyatt ate Chinese take-away in his office- Booth chose to take the relocation as a hopeful sign, considering that the office was definitely his
territory-, "what we're doing here, would that be considered therapy?"
"Absolutely," Wyatt said, putting down the box he was currently eating from and sitting back in his chair. "Especially since I'm about to inquire whether you've experienced any outbursts of temper since I requested you alter your dress code."
"Yeah," Booth said, targeting the main issue he was facing right now. "One of the Squints- Hodgins- decided the rules, they didn't apply to him. He got entitled and jeopardized my murder case."
"Ah," Wyatt said. "And you confronted him physically?"
"Physical confrontation; that's my main skill," Booth said, allowing a slight edge of self-deprecating humour into his tone; there was more to him than that, and Wyatt knew it- his record wasn't that of a guy who relied on violence to get what he wanted-, but the point still stood.
"'Entitled', you say," Wyatt said thoughtfully. "Is he a wealthy man?"
"Yeah," Booth said. "Like the guy who got killed."
"The murder victim… who tried to help a child and then died for it?" Wyatt said, looking probingly at Booth. "And your… uh… Squint?"
"Yeah, squint," Booth confirmed.
"Extraordinary," Wyatt said. "Your squint tried to help a friend. So they both endeavoured to do good."
"With no clue of the way things are," Booth said, grateful that nobody from his true past could see him acting like such a hypocrite; he'd done more extreme things to help friends in the past, but it wasn't the same when you had to go by the rules to stop the bad guys…
"The way things are as defined by… a working class lad from Pittsburg?" Wyatt said, looking at Booth in a more pointed manner.
"That's right," Booth said, already prepared with a statement that covered the facts of his lives without lying about them, as he put down his take-out box and looked at Wyatt, getting up to walk back to his seat behind the desk. "Pittsburg, where I'm from, all right? From the streets. Where you get a sense of how the world really is."
"Yes, I'm sure that's true," Wyatt said. "But has it occurred to you that without the distortion of reality provided by a privileged upbringing, there'd be no such thing as the Sistine Chapel, the Taj Mahal, the Three Rivers Stadium, home of your beloved Steelers?"
"The Three Rivers Stadium was demolished in 2000," Booth said, before allowing himself to reflect on both some of Booth's memories of visiting there as a child and Angel's memories of watching games there when in his better moods. "But it was a great place, though, that Lambert …"
"No doubt," Wyatt said. "The point is, you rebel in your way, your friend rebels in his. We all of us have to overcome our upbringing, rich and poor alike."
Booth had to acknowledge that point; it wasn't like he hadn't moved on from his
background, considering how he'd started out as a drunken layabout in the mid-1700s and ended up an FBI agent in the twenty-first century…
"You know what?" Wyatt said, looking thoughtfully at him. "I'm going to ask you to go back to your bilious socks and your ostentatious ties, and your provocative belt buckles."
"What, you're saying that if I wear flashy socks, I'm going to forgive Hodgins?" Booth said, looking at Wyatt in confusion.
"Oh Lord, I'm not sure I'm that good," Wyatt said, chuckling as he stood up. "Well, perhaps I am…"
"Hey, Doc, Doc, Doc," Booth said, before the other man walked out the door, one of the other man's earlier statements confusing him. "Uh… why is it that the belt buckle is provocative?"
"Oh, it's a modern day codpiece," Wyatt said. "It forces the eye to the groin."
When phrased like that, Booth had no idea how to respond to what he'd just been told; what did that say about his reasons for wearing it?
"I don't understand how they could do that," Bones said, the squint squad sitting around various tables as she looked at where Caroline was talking to the lawyer on the opposite side of the current case.
"Who?" Zack asked.
"Lawyers," Bones said, indicating the couple in question.
"Do what?" Angela asked.
"Be all friendly," Bones.
"The only people lawyers like are other lawyers," Cam said.
"Well, they were married," Booth said, only for everyone else to turn to look at him form his position standing slightly away from the table. "Well, they have a daughter, second year at MIT."
"Does anyone else see the irony here?" Hodgins asked (Booth wondered how Hodgins would react if he'd known just how ironic it; the idea of Booth knowing something about peoples' social lives that nobody else did was really
bizarre) as he took a sip from his coffee.
"Listen up you people," Caroline said as she approached the table. "The verdict is gonna come down any minute. Maybe we'll win, maybe we'll lose. But this I do know. You people have got to get your sand together, do you hear me? Booth, and you scientist android brainiacs- you got something very special here, but you are losing it."
As Caroline looked at him, Booth felt uncomfortable about the stare she was giving him, but that attitude relaxed as she shifted her focus to the rest of the team. "Dropping serial killers off balconies, blabbing suspects names to vengeful fathers, cuttin' into heads before their times, getting' poisoned, getting' blown up because you go grabbing for things you shouldn't ought, taking photographs from frames, gettin' a perfectly good car smashed to bits for no good reason. Get it together! Start using your oversized heads. This is the real world."
Moments like this reminded Booth why he liked Caroline; she was the exact opposite of the lawyers he'd had to deal with/work with at Wolfram & Hart (Gunn didn't count because he'd only had the legal knowledge rather than the legal 'upbringing'; he'd known how to play the game, but he hadn't been raised on it), while also presenting a Cordelia-like directness about their problems.
That was life all over, he supposed; sometimes, even the most successful team needed an outsider to remind them that what they had was important…
"Now," Caroline said, her tone calmer as she indicated Hodgins, "I know bug man here handed in his resignation. My official Justice Department recommendation is the following: We win the case, he gets his job back. We lose, Booth shoots him."
"The jury's returned with a verdict," the baliff said, as he walked up to the table.
"OK," Caroline said, looking around at the team. "Let's go face the music."
In a strange way, as Booth got up to join the others, he had a sudden feeling that what was about to happen here would be about more than just the case…
Sitting casually in his partner's office, Booth smiled at the sight of Bones and Angela walking through the lab, talking casually with each other about something that was apparently prompting broad smiles from both women.
"…like to shower with the other guys because he diverges from the quantifiable morphological norm," Bones said as the two women walked through the door to Bones's office.
"What?" Booth said, his feet up on the desk. "What's that mean?"
"Stand out from a crowd," Bones said, as she walked back behind her desk.
"Do you have a nickname, Booth?" Angela asked inquiringly. "Something the other cops call you?"
"Why?" Booth asked, trying to sound more teasing than he felt (He didn't think he'd ever received a nickname, but he had to wonder what Angela would think if she heard that he'd once been known as 'Angel'). "What have you heard?"
"Congrats, Bren," Angela said, smiling at her before walking out of the office.
"Wow," Bones said, looking at Booth's feet on her desk. "Those socks, those are...amazing."
"That's right," Booth said, smiling back at her as he fiddled with his tie. "The socks, the tie, the belt buckle… all escape valves for my socioeconomic rage."
"I hate psychology," Bones said, as she studied the files in her hands.
"Oh, you know, they help me deal with the day-to-day irritations of dealing with people that are more privileged…" Booth said, smiling at her as he felt their routine return to normal…
"I slept with Sully last night," Bones said.
"Oh," Booth said, the return to normality shattered. "I thought you already, uh…"
"No," Bones said with a satisfied smile. "Last night."
"Ah," Booth said, getting his feet off the desk. "It's really none of my business."
"Except we're partners," Bones said.
"Yeah, there's that-" Booth said, stuck for anything else he could say that wouldn't amount to a criticism of his partner's social skills.
"And you… told me about your socks," Bones said (Once again, his partner's social ineptitude was showing through; there was a significant
difference between telling someone about your socks and talking about your sex life).
"Mmm," he said, still lost for anything else that could be said right now. "Sex, socks… pretty much the same word."
"Do we have a case, or are you just visiting?" Bones asked.
"Yeah, I'll fill you in on the way," Booth said; it wasn't the best excuse to come along right now, but it had been something. "It's messy; better get some protection."
"Let me get my gumboots," Bones said.
As Bones walked out of the office, Booth stood up and looked down at himself with a grim sigh as he examined his attire, suddenly stuck for anything else to say or think about.
Bones had slept with Sully…