The bundle of heavy green wool is given to him in a small white box, from her hands to his. They are (that is, the socks) intricate-looking (at least, to his unseasoned eyes) and thick, but still enough so he can wriggle his feet into his shiny loafers. And best of all-

"They've got fishes on them!" Booth exclaims happily, practically ripping off his shoes and socks (white, with Woodstock playing a saxophone embossed all over them) to fit the warm covers over his feet.

"I'm glad you like them, Booth." Brennan doesn't even try and suppress her simper. She leans against his desk and tilts her head to watch as he admires his feet, toes squirming like a line of tiny little grubs. "I've made a pair for Parker, too. They've got guppies on them."

"Jesus, Bones. Where did you learn to knit like this?"

"My mother." Brennan shrugs noncommittally "She told me that it would save me a lot of money, in the long run, if I could learn to knit socks and sweaters for winter."

"Do you?"

"Occasionally." She pauses thoughtfully "I mean, hand-made sweaters do loose some of their conjuration after pre-adolescence. And, anyway, I'm a famous author and Anthropologist- gaudy woolen clothes don't exactly fit."

"Oh, yes." Booth snorts, slipping his shoes back on "What a tragedy it would be if you were to look like one of us lowly earthlings."

She elbows him playfully, pursing her lips to avoid joining in on his infectious grin. "Careful, Booth." Brennan chides.

The agent casts his eyes downward, comfortable in their easy camaraderie. His partner, while being interesting and funny and….well, other varying adjectives, is a bit like a very serious clam (this is, of course, a comparison that Booth keeps to himself. He does keep in mind that this very serious clam is also fluent in fourteen different kids of very serious whoopass.) and is tough to crack, so to speak. But when she opens up-

"So," Booth clears his throat and attempts to deviate from that line of thought. "what's the occasion? Is it national Sexy FBI Agent Appreciation Day already?"

Another rough nudge "No. It's cold."

"Cold?"

"Cold. Cold in a way that yellow birds with saxophones-"

"Woodstock, Bones, Woodstock."

She furrows her eyebrows at him "No, Booth, I'm talking about your socks."

"I know, but Woodstock is the name of-" He thinks the better of it and shakes his head "You know what? Never mind. Go on."

"-cold in the way that birds with saxophones," Brennan continues, still giving him a wary look from the corner of her eye "will not protect you from."

"Ah! But red fishies will?"

"Red fish socks can be surprisingly tepid." She concedes, attempting to play the straight face with little success.

"I never would have thought. Those toasty little bastards."

"Indeed."

There's a stretch of silence, Booth with his head bowed and a thoughtful expression on his face. "You know what?" He snaps up, taut as a string on a violin. His face brightens with jovial deviousness, sparing the wry woman a sidelong glance "I've got to go pick something up. I'll be back in a jiff." He grabs his keys and dashes out the door before a syllable of protest can leave her mouth.

_____

They're not hand-made, but that doesn't make them any less perfect. Black, knee-high (perhaps a bit to big for her dainty feet) with an anatomically correct foot and leg skeleton drawn on each.

Booth smiles, closes his eyes, and indulges and image of her wearing the socks, bunching slightly around her petite ankles, his over-sized FBI T-shirt- and absolutely nothing else.

The man at the checkout stand rouses him from his quiet reflection and repeats the price of the socks passively, asking whether he'll be paying in cash or credit. The Agent doles out 5 bucks and scampers to his car, a warm feeling tingling in his feet the entire way back to Brennan's office.