A/N: This is my entry for CBP's May Challenge. The topic is fairy tales, so please forgive any OCC behaviour. I can assure you it was totally intentional.
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"But Sweetie! You know I've always wanted a fairy tale wedding!"
As much as she loved Angela, there were times when Temperance's tolerance of her friend's whining got dangerously low, and this was one of them.
"Just listen, okay? I'm not asking you to do anything about it. Just listen to what I have to say and I'll leave you alone and I promise I'd never mention it again."
And that's as far as she got. Literally. The moral of the story could be a cautious warning: don't argue as you walk, lest you don't see where you're going and end up walking into a low ceiling pipe.
"Brennan? Brennan? Temperance! Can you hear me? Are you okay?"
Why is it, Temperance thought, that people insist on asking if you're okay when you're obviously not? And what's with the chirping birds, anyway?
Temperance sat up and stared incredulously and the 4 or 5 little yellow birds that kept circling her head, joyously chirping. She tired shooing them away, but it didn't work for long, as they returned faster than she managed to get them out of her sight. She tied getting up, thinking they'll fly away as soon as she started moving, but she tripped over the long skirt she was wearing.
She looked down at herself and nearly fell down again, shocked. She was wearing a dress? Angela was going to pay for this. Only she would dream of dressing her as…as… she hated to admit it, but she looked rather similar to Disney's Snow White. She instinctively looked behind her to see if there was a small red cap hanging there. Temperance felt slightly relieved to see that there wasn't.
Her relief, however, was short lived. Cement and concrete had given way to grass and dirt and tree roots and all the shining metal she felt comfortable surrounded with at work was now a tangle of trees. This isn't happening, she thought, Angela really went too far this time! Next thing I know all sorts of animals will come out of the woods to greet me.
Fortunately, the Snow White fantasy didn't stretch that far. She did, however, come upon a house. A gingerbread house. With cookies for roof. And marshmallow bricks.
The only thing missing were the two glutton kids eating the whole thing up. When the licorice door opened, Brennan held her breath. But instead of an evil witch, Dr. Goodman came out.
"Why… if it isn't dear Dr. Brennan! How are you my dear?"
How was she? Wouldn't it be more logical to ask where she was? Or why was she here? Or why was HE here, for that matter?
"I'm… fine, Dr. Goodman. And you?"
"Never better my dear, never better. Would you like to come inside for a nice cup of tea?"
"No thanks, Dr. Goodman, I really should be heading back…" Although I haven't got the slightest clue as to how to do that…
"It's okay, dear, perhaps some other time. Now run along, darling, lest you start running late like a rabbit…"
Brennan thanked him and turned to leave when she heard him call out to her:
"Temperance? Don't follow the yellow brick road. It ain't worth it."
And with that, he got back inside the gingerbread house, with cookies for roof, marshmallow bricks and a licorice door.
Temperance felt confused. A yellow brick road? But there wasn't a… She looked at the floor. She was absolutely certain that there hadn't been a yellow brick road before, regardless of the fact that there was one now. She pondered for a moment whether to follow the road or Dr. Goodman's advice.
"Tempe! Tempe! Get back in here right now!"
Brennan's head snapped up. Angela? Angela! But where was she calling from? She heard children's laughter somewhere behind the tree line and decided to follow it instead of the road that opened in front of her.
She managed to get through the wooded area without too many scratches. She got to a clearing and she stood there, open mouthed. She had seen drawings of it before, but she had never expected to see it live. And yet, here it was, right in front of her. A giant old-fashioned boot fixed up as a house.
There was an old lady that lived in a shoe…
The old rhyme came back to her naturally, at least the first line. She couldn't quite remember how the rest went, but she was sure it mentioned something about dozens of kids running around…
"Jack, Jacquie, Hodgie, Angel, Angelina, Monty, Cameron, Boothie and Tempe!!!"
Temperance watched in disbelief as a very pregnant Angela, with a baby in her arms and a toddler holding unto her skirt, came out of the house. "Jack, Jacquie, Hodgie, Angel, Angelina, Monty, Cameron, Boothie and Tempe!!!" she shouted again. Half a dozen kids, in all sizes and shapes, came running from out of the woods, laughing and squealing and wrecking havoc all around them.
"Jack, clean your face. Jacquie, tie your shoes, Hodgie, don't pull Angelina's braids. Angle, get off that tree. Monty, don't eat that! Cameron, get some wood for the fire. Boothie, stop chasing that squirrel. Tempe… sweetie, put that bone down."
Brennan approached her friend cautiously.
The pregnant woman turned to face her, showing no surprise whatsoever at finding them in the middle of the woods in such unorthodox situation.
"Oh, hi sweetie. You're just in time for lunch. Would you be joining us?"
Temperance took one look at her friend's progeny and her gut reaction was to run screaming back into the woods. She wasn't that good with children, and even on a one-to-one basis she was ill-at-ease more often than not, so the mere thought of sitting down to a meal with 9 kids, a baby and a pregnant irritable woman was… well, unsettling, to say the least.
"I'm sorry; I have to… well…"
"It's okay. I understand. Have you found Booth? You have to find him before you leave, you know"
"Booth? He's here?"
"Never mind, he'll find you. He always does in the end. Jacquie!!! Put your brother down!!!"
And with that, Angela got back inside the shoe/boot house, followed by a myriad of noisy kids.
If there was ever an argument for not getting married or consider reproduction… Temperance shuddered at the idea. She began walking away from the clearing, keeping in mind not to follow the yellow brick road, either. It wasn't long before she realized she was lost.
"So we're definitively not in Kansas anymore, Toto" she muttered, paraphrasing the famous line form the old movie.
"Actually, Dr. Brennan, you've never been in Kansas. At least not that I know of."
Brennan turned around sharply. There, in a clearing that hadn't been there 30 seconds ago, stood three houses: one made of straw, one made of wood and one made with bricks –normal bricks. And standing in front of the houses was Zack dressed in a denim overalls and a straw hat on his head. Behind him, Hodgins and Cam, identically dressed, were arguing over some blue prints.
"But he's going to huff and puff, people."
"The problem is that you used aestera romenticus instead of aestera roballicus."
"The difference being? It's just straw, Hodgins."
"When will you learn that "straw" is a word that doesn't tell me anything? There are so many varieties, each hosting their own varied microcosms…"
"Should we try hay, instead?"
"Just remember, no unauthorized experiments."
This proved to be too much for Brennan. She could suspend belief only to a certain degree and watching these three argue over houses that a wolf was going to come and try to blow down… she knew for a fact that wolves (or any other member of the canine, lupine or vulpine families, for that matter) could not blow.
She turned around trying to erase the image, but she could still hear them arguing around her. She childishly closed her eyes and covered her ears with her hands.
This isn't happening, this isn't happening…
Suddenly she felt dizzy as if the whole place were spinning round and round. She couldn't stand still much longer, and before she knew it, she was flat on the ground… again. In the distance, the distinctive clip-clop of a horse approaching was heard. Brennan opened her eyes just in time to see Booth, all dressed in white, riding a black horse.
"Wait a second. You're no prince charming…"
As if to prove her wrong, Booth got off the horse in one swift move, undulating cape flowing behind him, perfectly coiffed hair, a coat of arms adorning his chest. He looked at her and smiled his charming smile, and Brennan could have sworn she heard a faint "ping!!" as he did so… oh, and little stars sparkling as well. I can't believe this hallucination… if only the room would stop spinning… and the cold… why is it always so cold in a forest clearing?
The last thing Brennan saw before blacking out again was Booth-slash-Prince Charming kneeling next to her, his face closing in, his lips on hers…
She came to, gasping for breath. She looked up and saw the worried faces of her coworkers and friends. She also realized that she was laying in Booth's arms.
"What… happened?" she asked, her voice barely a whisper.
"You hit your head hard and fainted. I was trying to bring you back to it, but then you convulsed and stopped breathing and I panicked and Booth had to perform mouth-to-mouth and… oh sweetie you scared me so badly!"
Angela's rushed explanation did very little to clear her confusion, but at least Brennan now knew that the whole thing had been just some whacked out dream she had while unconscious.
Booth's voice was tentative and still tinted with worry. Temperance still felt a bit too woozy to attempt any form of communication, but she smiled at him reassuringly.
All of it had been just a dream… a ride into the wild side of her imagination…
Booth smiled back at her.
And Brennan could swear she saw twinkling stars…
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A/N: I think I'll stick to psycho-of-the-month and smut. This whole "fairy tale" telling wasn't exactly meant for me!