Brennan stared with disdain at the stacks on the floor, surrounding the small three-shelf bookcase in her bedroom. There was no way around it—she had more books than room on her shelves for them. She had bought the small bookcase last year when she ran out of room on the built-in shelves in the living room, but within a year's time she had filled the new one and then some. Now books stood in silent stacks on the floor, building up higher and higher after every lazy Sunday trip to the second-hand bookstore on the edge of downtown. She set the bag of new books—which were not really new, but new to her—next to the preexisting stacks and sighed. She would deal with this tomorrow.
The next day at work, Booth arrived at the lab late in the morning, whistling a vaguely eerie but somehow comfortable tune. He rounded the corner into Brennan's office and found her sitting at the computer, browsing a webpage with a lazy finger rolling the scroller on the mouse.
"What is that from?" she asked as he plopped down on her couch, continuing to whistle. He rolled his eyes.
"The Harry Potter song," he said, as if that were common knowledge borne into all people. She scrunched her brow, not bothering to look up from the page she was surfing.
"How can a book have a song?" she asked.
"Not the book, the movie," he explained. "Haven't you ever seen the movies?" She shook her head.
"Books-turned-movie tend to be horrible representations of the literary work from which they are based. And besides, Harry Potter is for children, Booth. I am not a child." Booth look scandalized as he stood up and meandered over to her desk.
"Harry Potter is so not just for kids, Bones," he argued. "They're like, the best books ever written."
"I believe Leo Tolstoy would disagree," she said. "As would F. Scott Fitzgerald, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Toni Morrison…"
"Whatever, War and Peace doesn't hold a flashlight to Harry Potter," Booth snipped. "Or The Great Gatsby, or Oliver Twist, or Huckleberry Finn, or Beloved. Harry Potter beats all."
"Impressive," she said with a wry smile.
"That's right, I read," he said, puffing his chest out and sounding miffed. Apparently insulting Harry Potter was enough to ruffle his feathers sufficiently. "Me and Parker read all the time, and we love Harry Potter."
"Well of course Parker loves it, he's what, seven?" Brennan asked, clicking to a new page. Booth made a grouchy noise. "All I'm saying, Booth, is that the Harry Potter series is not world-class literature. Young adult fiction at its best, undoubtedly, but not literature."
"Lots of adults read the books," Booth pointed out.
"Most of the adult population isn't that smart," Brennan said. "Just because a lot of people read something doesn't make it high quality. A lot of people read Weekly World News, too. Popularity doesn't denote quality."
"Whatever," he said, walking around the side of the desk so he could see what she was doing. "What are you looking at?"
"I'm trying to find a well-priced bookshelf," she answered. "I have more books than shelf space now, and I'm tired of seeing them in stacks all over my floor." Booth knew the feeling—he often found himself working around shoulder-high piles of case files and comic books on his desk at home. The difference between them was that he just didn't care.
"Why would you waste money on buying one?" he asked. Her brows scrunched together.
"Because I can't build one?" she said, almost as a question. He scoffed.
"Yeah, Bones, but I can." He thrust his thumb towards his chest, lifting his chin a bit. "You tell me what you want, I'll make it."
"You'd make me a bookshelf?" she asked, a hint of a smile on her voice.
"Of course!" he said. "What are friends for? I'll get the lumber on Friday, we'll do it Saturday morning." She smiled and nodded, leaning back in her desk chair.
"Alright," she said. "Saturday morning, then."
Brennan screwed her eyes shut, trying to block out the incessant sound of her alarm clock going off. It took a moment for her to realize that the repetitive, sleep-disrupting sound in the background wasn't the alarm, however. It was a ceaseless pounding on the door, accompanied by someone disturbingly awake for seven AM.
"Bones, come on, get up!" she heard him shout through the door. She rolled over, covering her face with the sheets briefly before groaning and dragging herself out of bed.
"Seriously?" she asked when she opened the door and was greeted by Booth in a paint-splattered t-shirt and khaki shorts, beaming cheerfully and carrying a cup of coffee.
"Nice bed head," he said as he let himself into the apartment. "I told you I'd be here this morning, remember? The bookshelf?"
"I didn't realize morning meant the crack of dawn," she grumbled, running her fingers through her tangled wavy hair and sighing.
"Early bird catches the worm," Booth chirped. "Just let me measure where you want this thing and we'll get started."
"We?" she asked, following him into her bedroom. He pulled the tape measure out of his back pocket, nodding.
"Sure," he said. "I'll need an assistant, someone to hand me wood screws and stuff. Don't you want to be my Heidi?"
"I don't know what that means," she said, stretching her arms over her head.
"Oh, come on," he said. "You know, Does everyone know what time it is?"
"Seven oh five," she said grouchily. He snorted.
"Nevermind," he said. "Okay, I'll put five shelves in it, that should fit everything you've got and then some. You get dressed and meet me down in the parking lot. I'll set up the saw and get the wood laid out, and we'll get crackin' on it." He left and she threw on an old t-shirt and a pair of jeans, downing a glass of orange juice before meeting him in the parking lot. It was like he had a mini shop set up in the back of the SUV—the back was open and a variety of tools were laid out in it, including a saw glinting in the early-morning sun, waiting for him to finish unfolding the stow-away cutting table.
"How much do I owe you for the supplies?" Brennan asked, helping Booth unload the lumber strapped on top of the vehicle, much to his chagrin.
"Don't worry about it," he said. "The lumber was cheap; I got it from a friend who knows a guy. Now, I don't have a second pair of goggles, so you need to stand back while I cut the wood. I don't want you getting hurt."
"I want to cut the wood," Brennan asserted, to which Booth snorted loudly. She gave him a foul look, and he pressed his lips together.
"You want to cut the wood?" he asked. She nodded.
"I want to cut the wood," she repeated. He sighed.
"Bones, this isn't a toy," he said patronizingly. "It's a cordless Makita BSS610 LXT circular saw. You could hurt yourself with something like this." She crossed her arms and set her jaw, staring down her slightly upturned nose at him.
"I'm not a child, Booth," she said hotly. "I've used power tools before, I understand the precautions necessary for use. I want to cut the wood."
"Have you ever even used a circular saw before?" he asked impatiently.
"No, but I have used a reciprocating saw, and a jigsaw," she said. "I can handle myself, Booth. Just let me do it." He huffed, taking off the safety goggles and tossing them down next to the saw in the trunk.
"Fine," he said. "But we don't have a lot of extra wood, so if you mess up…"
"I'm not going to mess up," she said, placing the oversized goggles on her small face and pushing them up the bridge of her nose as they slid. Booth couldn't help but smile despite the annoyance of having the thunder stolen from him—she was terribly adorable, trying to keep his large plastic goggles from sliding down her tiny nose.
"Give me those," he said, taking the goggles and tightening the band until it looked small enough to fit her head. She put them back on and with Booth convinced that the fit was right, picked up the saw and flipped on the switch.
"Be careful!" he yelled over the growl of the saw as she lined the red lead beam of the saw up against his marks on the wood. She pressed it into the maple, sending a shower of sawdust on the asphalt below. She pressed the saw through the wood expertly, and left a clean, straight line in her wake. She turned off the saw and smirked at Booth, who looked pleasantly surprised.
"Hey, nice job," he said, inspecting her work. "More power!"
"Thank you," she said, a sheen of sweat forming on her forehead above the goggles. Even though they had started early, it wasn't long before the summer sun was bearing down on them.
"Look at you, all gross and everything," Booth chuckled, putting down a new piece of wood. "Are you sure you don't want me to take over from here?"
"I don't think so, Booth," she said. Then, for no reason she could logically explain, Booth began laughing. Not just laughing, but howling, doubling over with his hands on his knees, absolutely wracked with it. She stood with the saw in one hand, other hand on her hip, staring at him with utter bewilderment until he was able to regain composure.
"That was… you… oh God," he said, wiping a tear from his eye and fighting another fit of laughter. "That was perfect."
"Okay then," she said, totally confused but quite sure she wouldn't understand even if he explained it.
He finally calmed himself down and they finished cutting the wood, and by noon they had a finished product standing before them, painted black to match the other shelves in her bedroom. Since the shelf needed an hour or two to dry, they went back upstairs to her apartment to begin unloading books from the old shelf.
As they removed the books and placed them in stacks on the bed, Booth chattered aimlessly, and she smiled and nodded and thought to herself about how she would reorganize all of her books on the new shelf. It wasn't that she found him disinteresting, not at all—only that she often felt when he was rambling on and on about whatever thoughts popped in and out of his mind, that he was verbally running circles around her and she was barely able to keep up. Sometimes it was all she could do to smile and say 'Uh-huh.'
However, she did notice when he stopped talking, and his silence made her look up from her thoughtful contemplation. He held a book in his hand, staring at her with a look of shock mingled with intense joy and a hint of haughtiness.
"What's that?" she asked, feigning ignorance but knowing exactly what he was holding. He began shaking his head slowly, unable to wipe the grin off of his face.
"You said Harry Potter was just for kids!" he said, pointing at her with the book in his hand. Her mouth opened as if she was going to say something in her own defense, but nothing came out. She could not deny the copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone he held in his grasp, or the multitude of other similar titles in a neat row on the bottom shelf. It would be asinine of her to say, "How did those get there?" or make up some excuse as to why she had them. Instead she just closed her mouth, pressing her lips together.
"Okay," she said. "I will admit to having read the books. But it was purely anthropological in nature. Understanding the influence of such widely popular books and their religious and social implications requires a little research into the books themselves."
"No, a little research would've been one book, or reading a synopsis or something," he said, shaking his head and still smiling ridiculously. "You've got all seven, hard back copies. You read them, and even more, you liked them. Admit it!"
"I will not," she said resolutely. "It was research, nothing more."
"I'm sure," he said, reaching down and picking up a book with a bright green cover. He flipped it open to near the end, finding the page he was looking for and beginning to read aloud.
"Dumbledore's eyes were closed; but for the strange angle of his arms and legs, he might have been sleeping…"
"Stop," she said, furrowing her brows at him. He smiled and continued as if he had not heard her.
"Harry reached out, straightening the half-moon spectacles upon the crooked nose, and wiped a trickle of blood from the mouth with his own sleeve."
"Booth," she said, voice edgy. He continued.
"Then he gazed down at the wise old face and tried to absorb the enormous and incomprehensible truth: that never again would Dumbledore speak to him, never again could he help…"
"Fine!" she half-shouted, snatching the book up out of his hand. "Fine, I admit it, I like Harry Potter. I've read all the books, more than once. I even went to the midnight release of the last one." Booth looked as giddy as a child on Christmas morning, eyes twinkling playfully as he crossed his arms in front of him, mimicking her subconscious action.
"Did you cry when Dumbledore died?" he asked. She gave him a steely glare.
"Of course I cried when Dumbledore died, what kind of soulless person do you think I am?" she asked, tossing the book down on her bed. He laughed, shaking his head and putting his hand on her shoulder, steering her towards the door.
"There's nothing to be ashamed of, Bones," he said. "Everyone loves Harry Potter. If you don't love Harry Potter, well, you're just not human." She sighed irritably.
"Can we please just drop the subject?" she asked. He shrugged.
"Suit yourself," he said. "But does that mean you'll come with Parker and me when the next movie comes out?"
"Possibly," she sniffed. "Now, I believe the paint has had sufficient time to dry downstairs." She stepped out from underneath his hand and stomped off towards the door. He chuckled under his breath and followed behind her, whistling a familiar tune.
A/N: I can't remember if they say that art mimics life or life mimics art, but I know in this case, it's the former. Last week I bought twelve books for a little over two dollars at a used book sale, and was extraordinarily happy (I love books). Among the titles I purchased were "Culture, Natality, and Family Planning", "The Forty-Nine Percent Majority: The Male Sex Role", "Readings in Anthropology: Volumes One and Two" and many others. Can you tell I'm an anthro nerd?
However, my bookshelf is already overflowing onto the floor, and this just added to the problem. Of course, in my opinion, having too many books is never a problem, because you can never actually have too many books. I think all writers are like this, though, so I am sure I'm preaching to the choir. Anyway, looking at my many piles of unshelved books gave me the first spark of inspiration for this, and then watching Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone on ABC added kindling to the spark, turning it into a fire. Because I love Harry Potter. Love, love, love. I went to the midnight releases of the books. I've seen the movies, many times. I've written (bad) fanfic. (Really, don't read my HP fanfic. I wrote it several years ago and it's just not good at all.) I'm about as HP dork as you can get without the fake robes and wands. (Seriously, I promise, no dress-up.)
Anyway, so that's that. All Harry Potter rights reserved to J.K. Rowling, whose books are literature IMO and anyone who thinks otherwise can shove it. :) Let me know what you think of the fic!