Author's notes: I racked my brain trying to come up with a unique way to process this month's CBPC into a story. To be honest, this isn't one of my best pieces, but… °shrugs° Oh well... There's a fairytale in here… somewhere…
Disclaimer: Nope, don't own Bones. Duh.
Thanks for the beta-job, Elvawen!
--° Itchy Tights
Wearing a million dollar smile, Booth hopped up the stairs and rushed through the entrance door of the local theatre. He checked his watch while opening the next door. Damn it, I'm late. When he pushed through the last door, he ended up in a large hall. His eyes slid over rows and rows of chairs before they came to a stop on a small group standing on the immense stage at the other side of the hall.
He could make out the familiar figures of Hodgins, Angela, Zach and Brennan. The last three were looking at the entomologist who was waving around a bunch of papers; probably the script. Booth shoved his hands in the pockets of his trousers and watched Hodgins point at every member of his team with the script.
Earlier that day Booth had received a call from the entomologist, asking him to participate in a play organised by the board of a well-known orphanage. Somehow the orphanage had gotten ahold of Hodgins' phone number. Normally Hodgins would have just written out a cheque, but one of his fellow multi-millionaires had challenged him to put together a small play to raise funds and entertain the children at the same time. Hodgins wasn't one to back down from a challenge, so he had happily accepted to become the director of a play he had written himself.
And of course he had decided to force his friends to help him win the bet.
Booth didn't mind. Playing the knight in the modern fairytale Hodgins had written would be a welcome change from his usual job. He decided to make his presence noticed when Hodgins began to jump around like a horse with the mad cow disease.
The FBI-agent moved towards the stage, loudly clearing his throat. Everyone turned to him.
"Booth, glad you decided to join us," Hodgins welcomed him.
He waved Hodgins' words away. Then he rubbed his hands and with twinkling eyes took in the sight of his partner anxiously tapping her foot. "Alright, where's the damsel in distress?"
To his surprise Angela raised her hand. "Right here."
His mouth formed a silent "Oh" before he said, "Doesn't matter. Where's my sword and script so that I can figure out how to save you from whatever kind of danger you're in?"
He tried his best to keep the disappointment out of his voice. In his head he had already envisioned a play where he would come to Brennan's rescue, much like he did in real life. So much for seeing Bones stalk around in one of those princess gowns, he thought bitterly.
"Easy there, champ. You aren't doing any saving today." Hodgins pointed at the one person Booth thought was incapable of saving a fly, let alone a damsel in distress - Zach. "He'll be the hero."
"Why?" Booth exclaimed.
"Because I say so. Angela's the princess and Zach's her knight in this play. Unless, of course, you can give me at least three good reasons as to why it should be you who should be up there in the spotlight, wearing tights and flinging around a sword."
Two words flashed through Booth's mind. Itchy tights. He shuddered. "Who can I play then?"
Hodgins grinned broadly. "You, my man, can be the ass."
A snicker came from Booth's left. "It's a part you were born to play, Booth."
The FBI-agent shot a dirty look in the snicker's direction. "Who are you playing, Bones? The jealous stepmom?"
"Close," she easily warded off. "I'm the evil sorceress who locks the princess up in a tower."
His eyebrows shot up. Zach's the knight, I'm a donkey and Bones is the evil sorceress. Was Hodgins doped up when he wrote this play?
Hodgins interrupted his train of thoughts with an explanation of what play exactly they were going to perform. Basically, a poor farmer and his donkey, respectively Zach and Booth, were going on a quest to save the princess. With some help from Zach's fairy godfather (Hodgins) they'd turn into a brave knight and his noble steed. The pair would have to free Princess Angela from the claws of Brennan, the wicked witch.
Two hours of rehearsing later, Hodgins called it a night. He sent everyone home with the order to have a good night rest and to be back for a second rehearsal in the morning.
Brennan was putting on her jacket when Booth approached her.
"Hey evil hag, you up for some pie at the diner?"
She smiled. "Sure. Lead the way… ass."
"What? You called me a hag so it's only fair that I get to call you an ass."
"Yeah, but could you at least try to leave the smug look behind?" He shook his head. "The hag and the ass; what a pair we make."
"This is good pie, ass."
"I absolutely agree with you, hag."
They had to stifle a laugh when they received yet another incredulous glance from one of the present customers. For the last twenty minutes they had been calling each other 'ass' and 'hag' non-stop, earning them lots of raised eyebrows and eyes widened in surprise.
Booth cleared his throat and put down his fork. "Hey Bones, I was wondering… Why are you participating in this play? It's not like you to just agree to walk around in a costume and pretend to be an evil witch who puts spells on everyone she comes across."
"It's for a good cause. Isn't that a good enough reason?" Brennan shrugged one shoulder. At receiving a questioning look from the FBI agent, she sighed. "It's for raising funds for an orphanage. Those children need that money. They deserve a decent place to stay at and nice toys to play with. If that means I have to play an evil sorceress who likes nothing more than stirring a kettle while cackling loudly, then I'm in."
"Those children remind you of your days in the foster system, don't they?" Booth softly asked.
Brennan sighed. "Of course they do."
He threw his napkin on the table. "Well then… Good thing you have this ass to back you up."
A laugh escaped her. "You better watch out. This witch might turn you into a frog."
"Well, do you think you could postpone the spell long enough for me to have a second piece of pie?"
She seemed to think his question through. "If you insist…"
Booth chuckled and signalled the waitress to bring them another piece of apple pie.
The next day Booth walked in on Hodgins glaring menacingly at Zach.
"All right, guys. What happened?"
"We've had some…artistic differences," Hodgins explained, sending Zach another scowl.
"Meaning he won't let me be the knight any more," Zach chimed in.
Booth raised his eyebrows. "What's wrong with Zach being the knight, Hodgins? Yesterday you wanted him to save Angela at all costs."
"That was before I realised that Zach would have to kiss her after he has saved her from the evil sorceress."
Zach leaned towards Booth. "He's afraid Angela will prefer my kiss over his. It's as simple as that. He feels threatened in his masculinity."
"That is so not true, dude!"
"Of course it's true, Hodgins! What else are you afraid of? That I might give Angela cooties if I kiss her?"
"Guys!" Booth butted in. "Break it up or take it somewhere else. We're here to rehearse for a play, not to snap at each like a pair of hormonal teenagers."
Hodgins held up his hands in surrender. "Fine. But as the director of this play, I'm giving the part of hero to someone else." He studied Booth for a while. "Not to you. You're probably an even better kisser than Zach. I guess I'll just have to play the knight myself."
"Great. Then Zach can be the fairy godfather."
Hodgins cheered up within seconds. "Awesome idea, Booth! You know what that means, right Zach-o?" Zach shook his head. "It means that you're going to be the one wearing a pink tutu!"
Zach groaned. "I am not wearing that thing!"
"You have no choice, Zach. The fairy godfather part is the only available role."
"Why don't you let Booth play the fairy? Then I'll be the donkey."
Now it was Booth's turn to glare at Zach. "You're just begging for a nice bullet in between your eyes, aren't you?"
"You know, Booth. You might not look so bad in a tutu…" Hodgins joked.
"Forget it, bug boy. Pink isn't my colour!" Booth lashed out.
The three men turned to Angela, who was impatiently tapping her foot. Brennan was standing next to her, arms crossed, trying to hide an amused smile.
"Hodgins, you can't be the hero. You're the only one who fits in the tutu. That means that either Zach or Booth has to play the knight, but since you're against that, I guess I'll just have to switch roles." The artist pointed at her friend. "Bren, from now on you're the princess and I'm the sorceress."
Brennan nodded. "Sure. Who's going to save me?"
"Zach is," Angela decided. "Unless someone here has got something against Zach kissing Brennan?"
As if on cue, all heads swivelled around to look at Booth. He shifted his weight from foot to foot while lifting his eyebrows. "Why are you all looking at me?"
Hodgins shook his head in disbelief and sighed. "Then it's settled. Zach's the knight, I'm the fairy godfather, Angela's the witch and Dr. Brennan is the princess. Let's start rehearsing, people!"
Booth wiped his mouth with his napkin and leaned back satisfied. "Nothing like a good piece of pie to end the day with."
"Rehearsals went pretty well today. The orphans will be thrilled."
He let his arms rest on the table as he studied her face. "Just look at you, Bones. You've been promoted from hag to princess in a day."
"Just look at you, Booth. You're still an ass," Brennan retorted, a smile playing around her lips.
Booth shrugged. "Beats wearing a pink tutu any day. Besides, someone's got to be the butt of the joke."
"Oh come on, Booth. You would have looked great in that tutu!"
"Yeah right, Bones," he chuckled. "You're just saying that so that I'll run to Hodgins to beg him to please let me be the fairy godfather. I'm not falling for that. You just want to have a good laugh at my expense."
Brennan just shrugged. "Can't blame me for trying." Then she looked at their empty plates. "Another round, ass?"
They exchanged a smile as Brennan flagged down the waitress to order two more pieces of cherry pie.
On the night of the play, Booth found his colleagues standing around a very pale looking Zach.
"What's wrong this time?" he sighed.
"Poor Zach's got stage fright," Angela explained. "He won't go up there because he's ashamed of the tights he's got to wear and he's afraid he'll trip over his sword."
Booth rolled his eyes heavenwards. "Great timing, Zach. Just absolutely impeccable timing!"
"Calm down, Booth. I've got it already figured out," Hodgins shushed him.
"Zach will be the donkey. Then he doesn't have to worry about tripping over his sword."
"Hey, where does that leave me?" Booth protested. Then it dawned on him. That means I'll be the knight and then Bones and I will have to k-… Oh boy…
"You're not the knight, if that's what you're concerned about."
Booth's face fell. "I see. Who is going to save the princess then?"
"I am," Brennan blurted out.
His eyebrows shot up. "You? But who's the damsel in distress then?"
All eyes turned on him. Booth groaned. "Don't tell me…"
Giving him an amused smile, the anthropologist replied, "Come on, Princess Booth. We have to get you ready for your grand performance!"
A couple of children ran backstage to meet the cast of the amazing fairytale they had just seen perform. They brushed past Hodgins who was shaking hands with the friend of whom he had won the bet. A bit further they wiggled past Angela who was helping Zach out of his donkey costume. They finally came to a stop at a tall woman in a princess gown and a broad-shouldered man clad in tights.
"You were so cool!" one of the children, a young blonde-haired girl, exclaimed while pointing at Brennan. "You've got such a nice dress! But I like the sword the most."
Brennan smiled at the fake weapon she was still holding. In the end she and Booth had decided to wear their respective costumes, but let Brennan have the sword since she was the one who had to rescue Booth.
"And you…" The blonde girl turned towards Booth now. "I laughed so hard when you were squealing 'I need a hero'!"
The two grown ups chuckled at the memory of Booth waving his hands around like a teenage girl while wailing how he needed someone to break him out of the godforsaken tower he was stuck in.
The other children swarmed around them, naming all their favourite parts and begging them to perform the play again in the near future.
Booth decided to make a run for it when one of the girls asked him in a serious tone why he hadn't kissed his saviour. He quickly mumbled something about it not being in the script before disappearing behind a curtain to get changed.
Fifteen minutes later he sauntered over to Brennan, who had just changed out of her gown.
"You did great out there, Bones," he complimented her. "You're an excellent knight."
"Well, I learned from the best."
Booth smiled and handed her jacket and purse. "I'm just glad it was you who saved me, and not Zach. He would have poked my eye out with that sword."
Laughing softly, Brennan put her jacket on. "Maybe, yes." She paused for a couple of seconds. "What would you say if this knight bought you a piece of pie?"
"Technically you saved me so I should reward you."
"Booth…" she groaned, rolling her eyes. "I've still got that sword. Don't make me use it."
He held up his hands to shush her. "All right, all right. No need to threaten me. I'll come along quietly."
"That's a good princess," she joked, nudging his side.
"You know, Bones. I wouldn't mind being saved by you."
She gave him a gentle smile. "Right back at you."
Booth shook his head, smiling as well now. "Come on, before you change your mind about that pie."
I think I had too much sugar when I wrote this...