Disclaimer: I do not own the characters of Bones, National Public Radio, Budweiser, Ford Motor Company, Elvis, or any individual songs named or lyrics quoted (see end for credits).

Author's Notes, Part I: Whoa like whoa, guys. Thanks for the gazillion reviews and hits for Louder than Words, especially SlaYeRGiRLkaL, Sorrowful Jones, Mishelle20, dork1147, AJeff, jezziebeth, snowflake-shona, starzstruck-1, Erkith, wanderingsmith, bonesrulz13, alwaysf0rg0tt3n, justawritier, Stephanie519, silentsister, Ataea, Arianna Malone, silverjazz, MarieP, LasVegan, and kippling croft.
Part II: Apparently I lied about just writing the one Bones fic. Please forgive me.
Part IIa: I almost don't want to post this, because it really blows compared to LtW. Please lower your expectations. If you hate it, there's no need to tell me.
Part IV: The views expressed by characters do not necessarily reflect the views of the management of this station.


Listen

I.

My best friend listens to bones. Even if it forensic anthropology is her job, it goes deeper than just work for her. To be literal, and more than a little ironic, it's her vocation (I can hear my high school English teacher now: "Vocation, one's calling in life; from the Latin vocare, to call."). I guess all that's why she never listens to music while she's working. She has to focus on what the bones say to her.

As it turns out, she also listens to rap. You'd never guess just by looking at her, not with those wide, sometimes naïve blue eyes, but she's full of surprises and she loves the beats of rap. That's why we don't judge a book by its cover, people. I do wonder if she understands what the rappers are saying--she's never been good at keeping up with popular culture, and slang is definitely not her strong point--but then again, I don't think she cares that much. By the time she gets out of the office, I think she's ready to listen to anything that's not facts. I've seen her sit in her car with the bass turned up, not moving, just listening, or more precisely, feeling the music pound around her. I know that if I dealt with death as often and as face-to-face as she does, I'd definitely need something to remind me that there are people out there who are really alive.

Maybe I'm just more spastic, but there are times when I have to have music on while I work. I'll listen to pretty much anything once. I usually keep my radio tuned to a top 40 station, but I like oldies and classic rock, too. I guess I'm like Brennan in that I love a good beat, especially after a long week at work. Sometimes there's nothing better than to go someplace where the music is so loud that you can't think. Thinking too much is a common problem among my coworkers, at least in my opinion. At times I feel like I have to let loose for all of them, since they seem unable to let themselves loose. I try to be a role model for them, like "this is what a normal person having fun looks like," but I'm afraid my efforts go unappreciated.

I'm what's commonly termed a "people person." I like people in general. I'm outgoing, and I enjoy being around other people. Add that to the fact that I'm not unattractive and the sum seems to be that I must not be very smart. I'm smart enough, thanks, and it's just in my nature to like people, just like it's in Hodgins' nature to be suspicious of people. All that aside, I like hearing people's voices, and being able to add my own to them. That's why I like music with words. I can hear someone else's voice, and I can sing along. It makes me feel like I'm part of something, like I don't have to feel lonely. Don't get me wrong, I don't cry myself to sleep at night, but everybody feels lonely sometimes. People are pack animals, and I like howling with the rest of the pack.

I wanna always feel like part of this was mine


II.

The people I work with aren't quite as socially advanced as I am. They're geniuses, sure, but they can be pretty awkward when it comes to living, breathing, less-intelligent people. You'd think at first glance that they were all NPR subscribers or classical music aficionados, but remember what I said before about not judging by appearances. Even so, I have to say that although I've never seen or heard anything from Dr. Goodman's CD collection, I seriously suspect that his preset buttons are tuned to classical, NPR, and talk radio stations, probably with a jazz station thrown in for good measure. It may sound like I'm stereotyping, but if you've met the good doctor, you'd agree.

Hodgins is a little harder to pin down. One day I found myself staring at him, trying to picture him listening to his favorite song. That led to picturing him dancing, which led to me giggling, which led to him wondering if I had actually gone crazy this time. I shook my head and asked him what kind of music he liked, and he (as I should have foreseen) launched into a tirade.

"Popular music has always been full of subliminal messages, even when it was used to pass down oral histories in prehistoric societies. It's been propaganda since the beginning, telling listeners which side they were on. In the 1940s the American government really stepped up their use of music in sending messages, but do you know who their biggest breakthrough was?"

"I have no idea." Hodgins' theories could be annoying, but this one was amusing, and it was funny to hear him work himself up.

With a satisfied smile, he intoned, "Elvis."

"Elvis Presley? The same Elvis who offended parents and censors?"

"It was perfect!" His eyes were shining now that he was really getting into the topic. "Think about it. The government wants to spread their message, so they give it to an artist who appeals to the young demographic. That artist is attractive, fairly talented, and salacious enough to draw adults' disapproval. With that disapproval, liking Elvis and buying his records become acts of rebellion, and we all know how much teenage rebellion moves the market." That last part was true, at least. "Of course, we've all heard about how playing certain music backwards reveals the hidden messages, 'Paul is dead' being the most famous. But technology has improved so much since those days that the messages are even more difficult to detect, and thus are more effective on the average music consumer."

"So you're saying that you don't listen to music because you don't want The Man pumping suggestions into your brain?" I knew he hadn't said that; I was playing dumb because he liked explaining things. And besides, I actually was interested in knowing what kind of music Dr. Jack Hodgins could possibly like.

"That's not what I'm saying, Angela. I'm saying you have to be aware of what you listen to and know what messages are in your music." Jack paused for a moment, and I was almost sure that he looked embarrassed as he said, "I mostly listen to country."

I raised an eyebrow at this unexpected revelation. The movement set Hodgins on the defensive. "I find that of all the major genres of vocal music it has the fewest number of subliminal messages that I consider personally offensive."

"What kind of messages are in country music?"

Hodgins smirked. "According to country music artists, happiness is a cold Budweiser, a hot Ford, the girl or guy of your choice, and the latest country CD. How do you think they sell so many albums?"


III.

And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true

Then there's Zach, crazy-smart little Zach. I don't have to wonder what kind of music he likes, because he likes to sing when he thinks no one can hear. He'd be mortified if he knew how many times I've heard him. I wouldn't be surprised if everyone in the lab had heard him at one time or another. I sure don't mind hearing him, because he has a nice voice and a decent repertoire. He tends to be a little heavy on the showtunes for my taste, but he also likes '80s stuff in the way that only kids who can't remember most of the decade can.

Sometimes I hear him singing and it makes me wonder. Who taught him to sing so well? Did his mom or grandma sing to him when he was little? I know he has a photographic memory; does that have any bearing on his ability to remember things he's heard? How many songs, including lyrics and melodies, can the average human brain remember, anyway? I bet Zach knows the answer to that, or knows where to find the answer. I have a feeling that he remembers songs perfectly, note for note and word for word. If I asked and he said yes, he'd shrug it off with the explanation that music is related to math, and once you understand the relationships between notes, it's all very simple. But that wouldn't account for the emotion I hear in his voice when he sings words that obviously mean a lot to him.

Tempe and I were working on a reconstruction one evening, and the door to the lab was open. It wasn't very late yet, and some of the staff were still around, but no one was paying us any special attention. It was quiet; quiet enough, as it turned out, to hear Zach singing. Like I said, he must not have realized that anyone else could hear him, especially not this particular song.

It started out softly, wafting down the hall as little more than the suggestion of a song, a melody you could believe you were imagining. It grew gradually louder, first loud enough to recognize the song, then loud enough to hear the words. Zach was singing "Over the Rainbow," for who knows what reason. I smiled; it was like a song in a dream. Brennan didn't seem quite as pleased, though. When the tune had gotten loud enough for us to tell what it was, she'd stiffened, but had gone on with her calculations. As Zach kept on, though, she started to shake. When I looked up her eyes were brimming with tears, staring into the distance, and she was struggling not to fall apart.

I was shocked. I don't know everything in Tempe's past, but I didn't expect this reaction. I wasn't sure what to do. She looked so fragile that I was for once deathly afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing. It's just a song from a movie, really, one that's been played into corniness. I'd never seen anyone cry from listening to it. But there was my best friend in front of me, as vulnerable as I'd ever seen her, just from that one song, and the memories it invoked. The only thing I could think of to do was shut the door, so I stood hastily and crossed the room. As my hand was on the doorknob, Brennan's voice, sounding as far away as Zach's had just moments earlier, said, "Don't."

I turned to look at her. Her back was still to me, and she drew in one shaky breath after another. I stayed there in the doorway, looking away, confused and nervous. All I wanted was for the song to stop. It seemed to take forever, but finally Zach sang the final lines, and behind me I heard Brennan repeat, "Birds fly over the rainbow; why, then, oh why can't I?"


IV.

I would do anything for love, I'd run right into hell and back

And the unofficial member of the lab staff, everybody's favorite federal agent. I admit that if I saw someone as attractive as Seeley Booth in a social situation I'd have to put some kind of moves on him, if only as a matter of principle. Under those dark suits he appears to have quite the body, and his smile is incapacitating at close range. But we didn't meet in a social situation, so I've never seriously flirted with him. Besides, I've gotten to know him a little, and he's a decent guy; but as trite as it sounds, he's not my type. I feel compelled to repeat it, with special emphasis: He's not my type.

I couldn't help humming one afternoon. There are certain songs that I can't get out of my head for days after I've heard them, and one such song had been on repeat in my head all day. Since I didn't know all the words, I couldn't even sing along to my internal soundtrack, so I had to stick with humming.

Eventually it got on Tempe's nerves. "Angela, what are you doing?"

"Humming."

"But why?"

"It's stuck in my head. I'm hoping that it'll leave if I hum along."

She looked at me like I'd suggested that we institute a clothing-optional day at the lab. I stared back, then challenged, "If you can get it out of my head, by all means, do."

Her expression convinced me that there was nothing she could do, so I resumed my humming. When I got to the chorus I started singing under my breath, and was singing "I would do anything for love, but I won't do that, oh no, I won't do that" when Booth walked in.

"I never got that song."

"Me either. I mean, what exactly is it that he won't do? Lie, cheat, steal? I've never been able to figure it out."

Brennan looked confused, her usual expression when discussions like this came up. I thought about trying to explain it to her, then decided against it. Maybe later' Meat Loaf would take a while to explain. In the meantime, Booth was talking again.

"That's not it," he said, shaking his head. "It's that there's something that he wouldn't do for the person he loves. Like there's a limit to his love."

I looked at him, then sneaked a glance at Tempe. She was watching him with concentration, as if trying to find the logic in his statement, but didn't join our conversation. "So there's nothing you wouldn't do for love? Nothing's off-limits?"

He shrugged. "When you love someone, you do what you gotta do."

This from an officer of the law, but I chose not to question his commitment to peace, justice, and the American way right this minute. Instead I repeated slowly, "You do what you gotta do," not a little incredulously, my eyes again sliding to Brennan.

"Yeah."

"That's very poetic, Booth." He grinned.

"You like it? I'm thinking of a second career writing greeting cards." He turned to Brennan and asked her a question about their recent case, and I fiddled with my computer while trying to clandestinely watch them. The problem with that is that Booth is an FBI agent, and he's pretty perceptive most of the time. He flipped through a folder in his hands, and his head was bent over it, but his eyes looked up at Tempe.

Listen to your heart when he's calling for you


Lyrics quoted:

I wanna always feel like part of this was mine from "A Praise Chorus" by Jimmy Eat World

And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true and Birds fly over the rainbow, why, then, oh why can't I? from "Over the Rainbow" by Harold Arlen and EY Harburg

I would do anything for love, I'd run right into hell and back and I would do anything for love, but I won't do that, oh no, I won't do that from "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)" by Meat Loaf

Listen to your heart when he's calling for you from "Listen to Your Heart" by Roxette