A/N: It's finally here - the most wonderful time of the year. Christmas! Or, if we're being politically correct, Christmahanukkwanzikadha. :) I've been thinking about this little series of shots for a while now - I'm not going to call it a full-out fic necessarily, because there is no real storyline or purpose behind it. No case, no plot, nothing. Just a series of twelve Christmassy shots along the theme of the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas." They will be primarily shortish (shorter than my normal shots, anyway), fluffy and nice. Maybe a little dark and twisty here and there, but mostly happy/comedic. Or at least I hope they're comedic... I suppose you'll be the judges of that. Anyway, enough jabber... on with the holiday splendor!
On the first day of Christmas, my dear squints gave to me...
a skull topping off a tall tree.
When Booth entered the Jeffersonian Medico-Legal lab, his first impression was that he had entered the wrong section of the museum. Taken a wrong turn, left the elevator on the wrong floor. This was not Bones's lab. This was not her house—the House of Logic, of knowledge, of truth. Her house had been infiltrated. Somebody from the outside world had entered the House of Logic, and turned it into… what was Caroline's phrasing… a Christmas pageant.
Every supporting column, every beam, every stair railing, was wrapped in green faux pine and draped in tinsel, or strung with brightly colored lights. Shimmery fake snow collected in the far corners of the vast room, and Booth did a double take when he saw a set of large wire reindeer hung from the ceiling over the platform. No, he was definitely not in the House of Logic. All logic had been evicted from the premises. This was sheer fluff—the kind of happy holiday goodness that Brennan wanted no part of. So when he saw her assisting Angela in wrapping a string of lights around a tall Douglas fir in her office, he vaguely wondered how many sleeping pills he had actually taken the night before.
"Bones… what are you doing?" Booth asked incredulously, approaching the tree with what could only be described as mild wonderment. She maneuvered around the side of the tree, adjusting the lights so that they were evenly spaced.
"I'm decorating the Christmas tree, Booth, what does it look like I'm doing?" she quipped, plugging the end of the string into the outlet on the wall. The tree came alive with colors, like bright red, green, blue, and yellow stars sprinkled among its branches. "You know, the Christmas tree tradition was originally adapted from the Pagan custom of…"
"That's nice," Booth said, cutting off her anthropological ramblings. He put his face in near the tree and inhaled—it was real. A real, live Christmas tree. In Bones's office. Who died and let the Sugarplum Fairies take over Brennan's brain?
"A real tree?" he asked, pinching a nodule at the end of one of the branches between his thumb and index finger. Strong smelling pine sap oozed onto his fingertips, and he wiped it on his jeans.
"Yes, Booth, a real tree," Brennan said, pulling one glass bauble after another out of a Martha Stewart decorations box and placing them strategically on the tree's limbs.
"Let me get this straight. You went out and bought a real, live Christmas tree, to set up in your office and decorate?" Brennan nodded, then stopped mid-nod and shook her head.
"Well, I didn't buy it—the Jeffersonian paid for it."
"How did you fandangle them into that?" Booth asked, picking up an ornament and hooking it up near the top of the tree, higher than Brennan or Angela could reach.
"How did I what?" she asked.
"Fandangle. You know, coerce. Bully. Force."
"There was no 'fandangling' involved," she began. "I simply explained to the board that it was imperative that, as an anthropologist, I be able to submerge myself fully in different cultural aspects of the holiday season. My anthropological interests are not relegated merely to the biophysical aspects of the field—I enjoy a detailed ethnography as much as anyone else."
"Anyone else, huh?" Booth said. Brennan missed the remark and continued.
"I merely stated that observation through cultural immersion was the most effective method of research available to modern cultural anthropology, and that in order to study the impact of the commercialization of a formerly religious Western holiday in a secular professional environment, I would have to be immersed in one."
"I have no idea what you just said," Booth said bluntly. Angela laughed from behind the tree.
"She basically lied her panties off about doing research to get decorations," Angela clarified. Booth raised his eyebrows.
"Bones, I'm impressed," he said.
"I'm more impressed that they fell for it," Cam said, entering the room with a newly opened box of silver tinsel. She handed it to Brennan, who began pulling the strings out piece by piece, carefully settling them on the branches. Booth scoffed.
"That's not how you do it," he said, grabbing a handful of the silver stuff and throwing it in small clumps at the tree. "That's how you do it."
"What are you doing? You're going to get it all clumpy," Brennan groused, picking the clumps off of the tree and separating them evenly amongst the branches. "If you're going to help, do it right."
"I am doing it right," Booth insisted. "Your way is too slow, it's tedious."
"It's not tedious," Brennan argued. Booth pelted the tree with handfuls of tinsel, shaking his head.
"Maybe not for someone who stares at hairline fractures in finger bones all day," he said.
"Phalanges," Brennan whispered under her breath.
"But for the rest of us, who live in the real world, we've got better things to do than strategically place four thousand strings of tinsel."
"Your numerical estimation is wildly inaccurate, I doubt there are even four thousand strands of tinsel in that entire box," Brennan grumbled, nevertheless handing over the box and submitting to tinsel defeat.
"So is this how you decorated your tree at the house? Strand by strand?" Booth asked, tinseling the tree while Brennan watched with crossed arms.
"I didn't buy a tree for my house," she said.
"What? Why not? You strong-armed Goodman into funding your Christmas pageant at work," Booth said.
"Exactly. Goodman funded it. I see no need to pay sixty dollars for a temporary coniferous living room fixture."
"Bones, you're loaded," Booth pointed out. "Sixty bucks to you is like, nothing."
"Just because I have a lot of money doesn't give me any reason to spend it frivolously," Brennan argued. "I can enjoy the tree here at work, I don't need one at home. I'm here more anyway."
"That's the truth," Angela piped in from Brennan's desk chair, where she had kicked her feet up on the desk and was watching the pair squabble, fingers laced over her abdomen. Brennan gave Angela a disproving look and she grinned sheepishly, setting her feet back on the floor where they belonged.
"Anyway," Brennan said. "Decorating one tree was quite enough fun for me."
"That's nothing," Booth said, waving her off with his hand. "Try decorating a Christmas tree with a five year old."
"I think I just did," Brennan said casually, exiting the room before Booth realized the implication of her words. By the time she returned, he had his witty response entirely formulated in his mind—that is, until he saw what she had in her hands.
"What in the hell is that for?" Booth asked, gawking at the human skull she was carrying.
"It's for the top," she said, as if it were an obvious statement. Angela suppressed her laughter, pressing a hand against her mouth, and Booth stared flabbergasted at Brennan as she stretched to reach the top of the tree, but came several inches short.
"Hey, can you help me here?" Brennan asked over her shoulder. Booth made a disgusted noise.
"No," he said. "I'm not touching that thing."
"Relax, it's not a real skull," Brennan said, holding it out to him. He hesitated, then grudgingly took it in hand, turning it over and finding an opening in the base of the skull. "You can slip the foramen magnum right over the tip of the tree."
"Is that this?" Booth asked, pointing to a hole in the base of the skull where the spine would normally connect to the skull. Brennan nodded, and he slipped the skull on the top of the tree, only slightly nauseated.
"This is wrong," he said, stepping back to view their macabre handiwork.
"What's so wrong about it?" Brennan asked. Booth shuddered.
"It's a Christmas tree, with a skull on the top. What's not wrong about that?"
"I'll tell you what's wrong," Brennan said. "Topping a Christmas tree with a winged woman and calling it an angel. You do realized that nowhere in the Christian Bible is there any reference to an angel ever appearing as a woman?" Booth shifted uncomfortably.
"You're doing it again," he said.
"Also," she continued, oblivious to his discomfort. "The prophet Isaiah described the seraphim he saw as having six wings, not a single set. Most Biblical references to angels describe an apparition that inspired fear—chubby flying babies and beautiful winged women hardly fit the bill."
"Bones," Booth said, his tone strained. "Let's not talk about the Bible, okay? I put up your Nightmare Before Christmas decorations, it's done, let's not talk about it anymore." Brennan gave him a peculiar look, then shrugged.
"Fine," she said. "I wasn't trying to be offensive…"
"You never do," Booth said, shaking his head and smiling despite himself. "Now come on, let's go before someone comes looking for that thing," he said, looking up at the skull atop the tree. She acquiesced, and even allowed him to put his arm around her waist as they exited the building.
A/N: You know, I always thought it was peculiar, the way we primarily portray angels as women when in the Bible they only ever appear as men. I could launch into my theories about the homophobic nature of Western society and its implications regarding Biblical interpretation... but I will spare you. xD Reviews are loved, especially around this time of year, so let me know what you think!