A/N: This is in response to Cullen's Bullpen Challenge for October. I'm taking advantage of my own heritage to write this, so feel free to ask any questions you may have.
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I'm in an awfully cheery mood as I virtually prance into Bones' office. Got no pending cases, got no pending paperwork, got no pending sex date with anyone from my past… plus I'm spending the weekend with Parker and we'll be getting ready for his first real Halloween. We're going to a pumpkin patch to pick a couple of good ones to carve later tomorrow night… a jack-o'-lantern for my place and one for him to take back to Rebecca's… and then we'll go costume hunting.. perhaps get matching father-n-son vampire wear, fangs and all. Oh, and candy!
Candy was my all-time Halloween favourite when I was a kid. Perhaps it was cause it was the only time of the year mom allowed us to eat candy until we were about to burst. It's a real shame that nowadays you can't trust what people give out while trick or treating… I really feel bad about tossing perfectly good apples and other homemade goodies cause you never know what's inside them… portable x-ray machines and geeky science toys ought to come in handy when trying to analyze chocolates and gooey stuff. I'll probably ask Jack for his opinion on what a secure treat is nowadays. If anyone should know that stuff is him. And if it's good enough for him, then it's good enough for Parker to eat and for us to give out.
I find Bones within her office, with her back to me, all dressed up in black, and I wonder if witches, even modern day ones, would look as sexy as she does right now. Her parents should have gone with Temptation instead of Temperance to do her any justice. Hmm… Temptation in a micro mini she-devil dress…
Darn… I've been letting Mr. Jones do too much thinking these days. Better regroup and head up north, Seeley, you dog. Think Parker age-appropriate celebrations… pre-school joys and not x-rated ones, shall we?
As I approach her, I'm curious as to what she's doing. She seems completely focused and altogether unaware of her surroundings as she busies herself… setting a dining table?
"Someone better tell you that romantic dinners work better when done away from work, Bones, before you waste precious time getting the china out of its box"
"Only you Booth, would consider THIS a romantic dinner setting," she replies, gesturing her surroundings with her right hand, "And not recognize it for what it is."
And with that, she moves apart and I can take a good look at what she's been working on.
It's definitively not a table set for two, but a table set of some sort, anyway. With tablecloth, candles, glasses, flowers. It bears a close resemblance to… uh… an altar? Bones just built an altar at her office? Where's the candid camera hidden here?
"Ok, Bones. What gives? Last time I checked you weren't into any religion, so what's with the orange and purple carnations or marigolds and the votive candles?"
"Those are not carnations Booth. Or marigolds. They are called flores de zempazuchil, and they only grow this time of the year. And I don't need to participate in any form of organized religion to know that votive candles are considered best to keep departed souls company…"
"Hold it. You want to keep departed souls company? I thought you dealt in bones and not souls"
She sighs and walks to her desk, picking up her mother's framed photograph. "I know. It's just that… with all that's happened lately… I just feel differently about the whole thing, that's all"
"Care to elaborate a bit more on the "whole thing" for me? I'm a bit lost here."
"Death, Booth. WE deal with it on an everyday basis and we never stop to contemplate it under any other light. To us, it is business as usual. But did you know that other cultures even make fun of it? Worship it? Have a whole day to celebrate it and rejoice in it?"
"Wait. People actually celebrate a day for death?"
"Not a day for death. A day for the Dead. Dia de Muertos, Booth. A chance to spend one evening with those loved ones that are no longer with us. To view death not as a tragic event, but as a normal part of life. A chance to party and bring the family together and mock the preconceived notion that death is a synonym of sadness"
I look at the colourful pieces of tissue paper cut to from intricate designs, the vibrant colours and overpowering smell of the flowers, the child-like skulls made out of sugar and decorated with all sorts of pastel shades of icing. " I take it that death for them is not a black-tie affair…"
She walks towards the altar and places her mother's picture neatly in the center of the offering. "On the contrary. It's cheerful and loud and full of colour and tastes and music and joy. A joy of living that we'd never associate with death. Did you know that people in Michoacán and other states in Mexico actually throw a dinner party at the cemetery?"
"Now, Bones, that's… who in their right mind would ever consider EATING on top of a tomb?"
"Think of it, Booth", she tells me as she arranges some animal crackers on a plate next to the photograph. "if you wanted to celebrate the holidays with your relatives, you'd go visit them at their place right? Going to a graveyard to visit you departed loved ones is, for all practical effect, exactly the same thing."
"As long as they don't decide to come pay us living ones a visit…" I shudder at the idea of Grandpa Booth arriving to my folks' place carrying what was left of his head in his arms….
"As a matter of fact…. that's what the altar is for"
Bones busies herself setting more plates with food, fried chicken and tuna patties from the smell of it, and a lump of what looks like bread, putting everything in an artistic display while lecturing me on the subject.
"These altars are a way of inviting our loved ones over for dinner. Wouldn't you prepare your parents favourite dishes if you asked them over to your place? My mom loved fried chicken… and tuna patties… and she loved the smell of freshly oven baked bread. See those humanoid figures? Those are animas and they're only baked during these days." She holds an open bottle of red wine and pours half a glass, placing both of them on the table as well.
"Mom would always drink red wine during Sunday brunch…" she mutters and turns to me. "You must think I've totally lost it."
I reach out for her hands and hold them in mine. "I don't think you've lost it, Temperance. Actually, I'd say you've just got it back. If you want to throw a feast for your mom so you can feel closer to her now that she's not here… it makes perfect sense to me."
Pulling her closer , I place a soft kiss on the top of her head. I want to tell her that I understand her completely, but can't find the right words, and my actions will have to speak for me right now.
"Come on, Bones. We're getting out of here and you're coming pumpkin harvesting with Parker and me"She seems to like the idea and chatters animatedly as she puts away all her stuff. "Did you know that it was the Celts that lived in what is now Great Britain and Northern France who would carry a lantern when they walked on the eve of All Hallow's?. These lanterns were carved out of big turnips and the lights were believed to keep the evil spirits away. Years later a stingy and mean old man, named Jack, who was too mean to get into heaven when he died so he went to hell and was meet by the Devil who gave him a piece of burning coal and sent him away. Jack placed the burning coal in a turnip to use as a lantern to light his way. That's why they're called Jack-o'-lanterns. Centuries later the first American settlers began using pumpkins instead of turnips…" I nod and hmmm, happy just to have her with me for the time being. "I'm sure Parker will have a blast with that story, Bones. Just go lightly on the Devil stuff, ok? And if you're really, really good I'll even let you come trick and treating with us…" Her smile seems to light up at the suggestion. "Can I dress up as the Catrina?" "I have no idea who she is, but if it makes you happy and it can get us hoards of candies and you don't get us landed in jail or worse, you can dress up as … her? Him? It?" She feigns indignation, or at least, I hope it's feigned, and she stands at the door sill, hands on hips. "The Catrina is the icon of death invented by José Guadalupe Posada. It is a skeleton, but dressed in an aristocratic manner…" I laugh out loud at the idea. "So basically, you're just gonna dress up and walk around wearing your fanciest clothes" She stops and turns to look at me with a puzzled expression on her face. "I don't understand how me dressing up would…" "Not Temperance Brennan. BONES. You, Bones, dressed up. La Catrina, remember?" She smacks my shoulder. "Not fun, Seeley. If you're going to mock ancient cultures… "
I pull her into my arms once more. "Come here, you silly woman." And I hold her tight.and I marvel at the unique combination that's Temperance Brennan. Clinical detachment paired with child-like wonder. A complete misunderstanding of modern day pop culture, but a profound knowledge of ancient ones. She may not respect organized religion, but she vows to millenary tradition.She is who she is, and I love her for it. Despite of it. Because of it. In spite of it. Weird dead traditions and all. Maybe one day we'll build and altar just like this at our place, and I'll set Grandpa Booth's favourite scotch next to that bottle of red. One day. Just, not yet. x x x x x X x x x x x A/N: Mushy historic humour with a blink-and-miss-it sexual hint? How would you suggest I try cataloguing this one? Please close the door on your way out. Feel free to revisit any time you'd like. Author's always in.