Chapter 1- All I want for Christmas is an Egyptian Mummy

December 23rd, 5pm

"Bones, come on..."

"No"

"Then do it as favor to me"

"Booth, I told you before: I don't want to, I don't feel like it and I don't see the point! Just give it a rest!"

"Now you're just being mean!"

"Booth, we've been partners for what? Four years now? When have you seen me celebrate Christmas? Alone or otherwise? The only reason I'm not going to China this year is because I was promised an Egyptian mummy that can, quite possibly, be the remainings of Ramses II's first daughter. It's a great honor to be chosen to participate in the identification of the remainings, otherwise, I can tell you right now, I'd be, by now, landing in Beijing."

"Be that as it may, Bones, you'll be here, in DC, alone. No one works Christmas Eve past 5 pm. No one except you, that is. You celebrated Christmas last year with your dad and Russ. And I'm not going to have Parker this year AGAIN so, as a friend, you could, at least, oh... I don't know... be a FRIEND and keep me company... but no, Ms Bones is TOO CONCERNED with herself and an Egyptian mummy that has been dead for a couple million years to help a friend! NICE TO SEE I CAN COUNT ON YOU!"

"Three thousand years, Booth, not a couple million"

He surprised himself that he managed not to bite her head off. That woman was the most infuriating specimen of the female kind he had ever met. And he had met his fair share. More than that actually, if you counted Rebecca who, in her own right was worth 10 just for all the trouble she had caused him just to get to see Parker. And yet, she didn't even come close to Bones. The woman had a knack for getting him shot, getting him to shoot people or, at least threaten to, had very often succeeded in making him feel inadequate, insufficient, clumsy and dumb and now, to add insult to injury, clingy and needy. He got up from the sofa and paced her office. He felt three years old again, stomping his feet, sullenly, in the dishearteningly carpeted floor. His hands hitched to wring her pretty little neck into a knot.

"You know what pisses me off the most? It's that if I were a deep sea diver with only half a working brain that had asked you to keep him company, you wouldn't think twice. You are more available for a lover than for me."

"Well, now you're just being petty, Booth. It's not often that I come across someone who can satisfy my biological needs. As a mammal, I'm sure you feel them too, so you know what I'm talking about, but"

"Cut the crap, Bones. You and your crackpot theories about biological urges... I've heard them all. AND IT'S NOT THE DAMNED POINT!"

He'd been shouting. He realized it when his brain finally decided to employ a few brain cells in making him stop before he could say something he might just live to regret. When he came short of what, in fact, the point was, he saw himself, towering over her, his face angry and dangerous, intimidatingly close to hers. Objectively, he was a bully. He saw it in the reflection on the glass cabinet and he didn't like it. He would have kicked his own ass if only it were feasible. It surprised him that he did not see fear looking back at him. How could she trust him so blindly knowing what he could do when he lost control over his emotions? Maybe, and the thought made him smile, she trusted she could deck him anytime she wanted.

He wanted to apologize. He wanted to rewind that scene and do it better, without losing it. Hell, he wanted to grab hold of her and just push her against a wall and kiss the life out of her, make her see him standing there, loving her better than anyone had ever done. He sighed and slumped his shoulders, his black suit jacket looking slightly empty, his stance slightly sad. The apology did not come. There was no way it could have passed the knot in his throat. Which made him mad at himself. Which made him gesture in anger at himself. Which she did not understand. Which, in turn and finally, made her get mad. And Temperance Brennan usually wanted to punch people to a bloody pulp when she got mad. She did not dare punch Booth, though she was damned sure she could flatten him anytime she wanted to. It's just that he was her best friend- despite that rank not carrying verbal acknowledgment. He was Booth and there was... respect, to put it mildly, to be observed. Booth was Booth, and though he every so often drove her to wanting to pull her hair out strand by strand with frustration, he was also the best man- the best person- she had ever met. But she'd be damned if he was going to black mail her or bully her into spending Christmas anywhere else but where she wanted to be- alone in her lab and ignoring that it was Christmas. Even if she had to push him back, bully him back out of her personal space and personal misery over the season. Attack was always the best defense. So she got up, slowly, almost pressed her nose to his, raising slightly on her toes and spoke, softly, but with deadly accuracy:
"Well, Booth, I'm not a little project for you, your good deed of the season and I'm, most certainly not a distraction for you, yet again, not having you boy with you. I'm afraid you'll just have to survive Christmas on your own." and she walked out of her office still buttoning her lab coat over a heart that felt colder at that moment than it had ever felt in her whole life, stamping down the guilt that she refused to acknowledge.

Alone in her office, Booth slid down to her chair, his heart broken in millions of little pieces. He allowed himself a minute of self pity. No Parker, no Bones, no one. Bones mad at him, him mad at himself, mad at the world. He needed a beer, probably, something stronger. Self pity time over, he marched out of her office, past the platform without saying goodbye and noticing bitterly that she was already engrossed in the analysis of the ugly, dried prune of a mummy occupying the central table. If only he were a three thousand year old corpse, he could get her to pay attention to him.

Time flies by when you were having fun. Brennan had managed to stamp down on the guilt her brush off of Booth had left her with. But concentration did not come to her easy on that particular afternoon. Maybe it was the headache she'd been trying to ignore since the altercation, or maybe the pain in her neck. Maybe even the throbbing vein in her forehead. She was not a great fan of medication. She rarely had any. But today there was no Booth to pull her for a breath of fresh air or for that quick delicious rub at the base of her neck when she felt tired but did not want to give up. So she removed her latex gloves and walked to her office to try to find some tylenol. And then she'd be good for a few more hours.

The next thing she knew, she was sitting at her desk, the pain in her neck and head was now the mother of all aches and the lab was completely dark and silent.

And then she saw her: Miss Piggy, blond and with excessive make up, sitting in her sofa, in her office, looking at her, tapping her gloved chubby fingers in an impatient gesture.

"Well, finally! I though I was going to have to wait until tomorrow for you to awake up! That is soooooooo rude!" Brennan rubbed her eyes vigorously into a smear of mascara and make up. It had to be the tylenol. It just had to be. Why else would a Muppet be sitting in her office and talking to her? And yet, no matter how vigorously she rubbed, her improbable visitor was still there, talking to her in that snotty little tone and, what was worse, looking more and more miffed by the second.

"I don't get it! Why are you here? Why am I dreaming of you?"
"Well, aren't you ungrateful? There I was, minding my own bees wax, taking care of my Kermy and I get brutally interrupted. How rude! Well, might as well get this over with! I'm here to tell you that you will get three very important visitors tonight. So go home, get yourself ready." And in so saying, Miss Piggy picked up her purse and walked out of the office, angrily nodding and murmuring something about rude interruptions on her family time- and, especially, on the run up to Christmas.