A/N: I don't own Bones or any of it's characters—sadly Santa did not bring them to me…but there's always next year! This is my entry for the Dec. CBPC, hope you enjoy!
"Bren, step away from the microscope."
Temperance Brennan jumped slightly at the unexpected voice of her best friend. She looked over her shoulder at Angela and frowned. "Didn't you wear that last year for holiday party?"
Angela looked down at her green 'sexy elf' costume. "Yes, I did—although nobody saw me wearing it because we didn't actually attend the Christmas party last year. Lung fungus…remember?"
Brennan rolled her eyes, "How could I forget?" She leaned back down to the microscope and was just about to adjust the focus when Angela called her attention again.
"Sweetie!" she whined, "That bone will still be there when we get back. It's almost six and the party is starting."
"Ange, we had this discussion last year—I'm not going."
"You have to go. It's mandatory." Angela watched her friend's face contort into confusion. "Did you even read the invitation?"
"They can't make it mandatory. What about those who don't celebrate Christmas?"
"Holiday party, pretty much covers everything. There's no way out of it, Bren. You are going to this party if I have to drag you there myself."
Brennan looked at her friend doubtful. "I don't actually think you could drag me there, Ange."
With that Angela gripped her friend's wrist and tugged her away from the platform, ignoring Brennan's protests.
"Oww, Angela!" Brennan exclaimed, trying to disentangle herself.
"Come on, you have to change before we go upstairs."
Brennan slowed her steps, "I didn't bring anything to wear!"
"Luckily, you have a best friend who comes prepared. I figured that you'd stage a protest so I went to your apartment at lunch and grabbed a few things for you."
Angela led her friend into her office and pointed to a bag that was draped over her couch. "I brought some accessories that make it feel more Christmas-y."
Brennan carefully lifted the garment out of the bag and shot a glare to her friend, "Of all the clothes in my closet you chose this dress?"
Shrugging nonchalantly she replied, "What? It's a real knock-out."
Brennan ignored the pun and looked back to the black dress Booth had picked out for her in Vegas. A knock-out indeed. She still flushed slightly at the memory of Booth saying 'that's hot'. It was much more revealing than she was used to, although it still appeared tasteful.
"Well go on!" Angela said shooing her further into the office and closing the door.
A few minutes later Brennan emerged clad in the tight black dress. She resigned herself to a chair as Angela held up a large curling iron, "We don't have much time," she said, "but I can still make Booth wanna throw himself at you—not that you really need my help with that."
Brennan held up a hand, "Stop! Right there, Ange. I'm not going through all of this for Booth." She had been waiting for Angela to bring up Booth's name and the matchmaking attempts that accompanied it.
Angela looped Brennan's hair around the curling iron and twisted it slowly, "Just go with it, Bren. He's probably upstairs right now, looking impossibly yummy in one of his stupid ties, searching the party for you."
A brief smile graced her lips at the mention of Booth's taste in ties, "You're probably right about the tie, but I'm sure he's not looking for me. He's most likely with Cam."
A grin broke out on Angela's face, "Nuh-uh." She said in a sing-song voice, "Cam is upstairs, but she is attached to the arm of some hottie New Yorker…and Booth doesn't appear to be the slightest bit crushed."
She was usually not one for gossip, but Brennan had no control over the question. "Really?"
Nodding happily, "Yep." Angela continued, "Apparently they were very hot and heavy shortly before she left New York. They broke it off when she moved down to DC, but he called her up two weeks ago—said he realized he missed her, couldn't stand being away from her anymore."
Brennan sat back in the chair, "Huh."
"Exactly." Angela twirled another section of hair into the iron, "So this is your chance, sweetie. Booth is totally within your grasp. All you have to do is grab him."
Flustered Brennan stammered, "I'm not…grabbing him."
"If I wasn't with Hodgins, I'd be grabbing Booth…all day." She smiled sinfully.
"Booth and I are…" Brennan began.
Angela rolled her eyes and sighed, "Yeah, yeah…just partners and engaging in a romantic relationship would be detrimental to that partnership…blah blah."
Brennan frowned, that was exactly what she had planned on saying.
"Just do me a favor, Bren."
"I promise I won't let you photocopy your butt, Ange."
Angela grinned, happy that her friend remembered. "Thank you, but that's not what I was going to say." Angela twirled the chair around to face her friend, "Just open yourself up to the possibility."
Her hands flew up in frustration, "Of you and Booth—and before you say anything, just hear me out."
At her friend's silence Angela continued, "Just see what happens…IF anything happens. Just don't be scared if he invades your personal space or god-willing tries to kiss you!"
"Booth isn't going to kiss me."
We'll see about that, she thought. For Angela didn't mention that she had attached some mistletoe to a fishing rod and had forced Jack to keep an eye out for a chance to dangle it over Bren and Booth's heads.
"Hypothetically speaking." Angela settled for. "This could be your Christmas present to me."
"I already bought you a Christmas gift." Brennan countered.
"For last year, then. Just promise me you won't run tonight. Drink some eggnog, dance with Booth, and have fun. That's all I'm asking."
"Alright, I promise." Brennan grumbled, "Can I get up now?"
Angela stepped back and surveyed her work. Brennan's hair now fell to her shoulders in loose curls, a look that went exceptionally well with the dress. The red beaded necklace and red bell earrings added a little Christmas touch. She nodded, "Okay let's go before Booth sets out a search party."
They started out the office and into the open area of the lab as Brennan said, "I told you, he isn't looking…"
Both women looked toward the lab entrance. Seeley Booth, dressed in his usual impeccable Armani suits, complete with a hideous Santa tie strode toward them. Angela threw a sideways glance to Brennan and smiled.
"I was upstairs looking for you. I should've known you'd be down here." He paused as he took in her appearance. She was wearing it. The black dress he shouldn't have picked out in Vegas, but was powerless not to.
"You look…really…" he searched for the words.
Angela grinned at their mutual embarrassment, "Sexy?" she supplied.
Booth nodded, "Yeah," his eyes widened when he realized what was said, "I mean, NO! Wait! Not that you don't…you do, but what I mean is…" he stuttered.
Anglea laughed, "Its okay…I think she knows what you mean."
Brennan was mortified and couldn't muster a single sentence. Why did Angela have to do that? She didn't want things to be awkward between them.
"Well my work is done here." Angela nodded as she walked past the two and headed out of the lab, the bells on her shoes ringing as she walked.
Booth's glare followed her out of the door, but softened as he turned back to his partner. She still had that faint twinge of pink to her cheeks that appeared whenever she was embarrassed. It was endearing really.
He coughed, her eyes falling on him as he did so. "So, uh…let's try that again. You look nice." He said sincerely.
She nodded lightly, "Thank you, so do you."
His eyes lingered on her a moment longer than necessary, a habit he was having a hard time at breaking. "So, you ready?" he asked holding out his hand.
Brennan stared at his hand before looking back to him, "Yeah, I'm ready." She reached for his hand, both smiling at the contact. Booth gave her hand a quick squeeze as the left the lab and headed toward the elevator.
Two hours later…
Brennan sipped the last of her eggnog greedily. The last two dances with Booth had left her virtually parched. Who knew he could dance like that? The man invading her thoughts snuck behind her, his hands on her waist balancing him as the crowd of people moved around them.
His lips were near her ear to ensure she heard him over the loud music, "I know that I've had a lot to drink, but…" he said looking over his shoulder, "has Hodgins been stalking us with a fishing pole all night?"
Brennan concentrated to hear him over the feeling of his warm breath tickling her ear. She nodded and grinned widely, "Yes he has."
She reached into the small wristlet she had been carrying with her, "He's been looking for this."
Booth studied the small twig of green that she held up, "Is that mistletoe?"
"Yep. He had it hanging from the fishing pole, holding it above unsuspecting couples—at Angela's instructions no doubt."
"No doubt." He agreed. "So what, you snagged it?" he said whipping it out of Brennan's hand.
"Well, yes." She replied matter-of-factly. "He was trying to hold it over Zach and Dr. Goodman's head."
Booth laughed as he studied the small piece of green. He bit his bottom lip, a habit Brennan noticed, when he was thinking over something serious.
"What?" she asked.
Booth held up the mistletoe, dangling it over their heads, "Looks like we're under the mistletoe, Bones."
Remembering Angela's words, Brennan fought the smile that threatening to come across. "Looks that way." She said making a show up looking up.
He leaned in, but stopped just before his lips touched hers, "Just to clear," he whispered, "You're not going to kick my ass right?"
Brennan smiled, her eyes flittering up to the mistletoe, "It's tradition, right? Who am I to argue with that."
Booth's smile matched her own, "Tradition…right." He said leaning in the rest of the way.