"Bones?"

"Yes?"

She didn't look up from the file on her desk, but that really didn't faze Booth anymore. "Did you know Zack was alone in the lab with a hyperactive vampire?"

"She's not a vampire."

"Well, I didn't think she was a real --"

"Vampire and goth subcultures have certain traits in common," Brennan explained absently, "but they are distinct, and it's rare for an individual to fully participate in both." She made a couple of incomprehensible marks at the bottom of a page, then closed the file folder and finally looked up at him. "Abigail Sciuto is a goth."

"Okay, she's a goth. Where'd she come from?" Another snatch of rapid-fire squintspeak, laced with something about nuns or bowling or possibly both, drifted through the office door.

"NCIS. We're consulting for them on a much older set of remains found at a crime scene."

Booth's eyebrows shot up. "She works for NCIS?"

"Yes. She's an accomplished forensic specialist." Frowning faintly, she added, "Why is that so surprising? She wears a studded collar. You wear rainbow-striped socks. Both are expressions of identity within the prescribed constraints of a professional environment."

"Bones. The woman has a spider web tattooed on her neck." He shuddered. "Never mind Navy appearance standards, I mean, ow."

The frown line between Brennan's eyebrows deepened. "Are you objecting to the choice of design, or to the idea of undergoing pain for the purpose of body adornment?"

"I'm just..." Oh, hell. This was leading straight to a headache. "Y'know what, never mind. She's their squint, let them figure her out. Gotta tell ya, though, she's confusing the hell out of Zack. Poor kid looked like a pinball machine flashing 'tilt' when I went by."

Whatever Brennan was going to say to that -- and it was sure to be a lot of syllables totally missing the point anyway -- was interrupted by a rap on the doorway, and a cheerful pigtailed head poked in. "Dr. Brennan, I -- oh. Sorry. Hi!" She came in the room, sticking out a hand in safety-pinned fingerless gloves to shake Booth's.

"Abigail Sciuto, NCIS," Brennan supplied, "Special Agent Seeley Booth, FBI."

"Abby," the visitor clarified. "So, you're Booth."

He wasn't sure he liked that grin. "Uh... yeah?"

"Nice." Definitely didn't like the grin. She turned it in Brennan's direction, saying, "I think we're on the same page, but Zack'll call me if any questions come up. I gotta get back and set up some tests on the not-so-cold portion of the case before girls' night out."

Eyebrows rocketing up again, he mouthed at Brennan, "Girls' night out?"

She ignored him, her attention on Abby as she went on, "Angela's for sure got you covered in the makeup department, so I'll see you at her place around eight? We're pretty much the same size, so I'll bring a few options, and we should be set."

"Absolutely." Since when did Bones smile like that about going out with the girls? Since when did she have girls, let alone Wednesday Addams over there? "I'm looking forward to it. And I appreciate your willingness to act as informant."

"Oooh, 'informant!' Suddenly I feel like we're in a spy movie!"

"No, in anthropology, an informant --"

"Bones. I think she was kidding." Great, now he was explaining the vampire squint. Goth squint. Whatever. "So, big plans tonight, huh?"

"Local band night at Midian," Abby explained. Green eyes wide and innocent, she added, "I'd ask you to join us, but Angela made me promise not to unless she was there to see it."

"Um. Yeah." The image of a nightclub full of Abby Sciutos sprang unbidden to mind, and Booth gulped. "Thanks for the thought, but, y'know, far be it from me to interfere with girls' night." Then he processed what she had said before about makeup and similar sizes. "Wait... Bones? You're going to dress up like...?"

She nodded. "It wouldn't be appropriate for formal fieldwork, of course, but Abby and Angela both recommend it, and the idea of observing from a less conspicuous position is appealing."

Booth felt a slow smile spread across his face. "On second thought, maybe I'll swing by. You never know when local bands might be worth checking out."