A/N: It has been really hot here. Really, really hot. And for reasons unknown, when it gets this hot, I start listening to Christmas music. A lot of it. In fact, it's playing right now. I probably listen to more Christmas music during the summer than I do during the actual holiday season. Anyway, a certain someone sent me a Bones related text while I was listening to aforementioned Christmas music, and it got me thinking... and that thinking turned into this. It's short, it's sweet, it's like one of those mini candy canes they give out in department stores. Enjoy, and let me know what you think!
Everyone's a kid at Christmas time
A holly jolly kid at Christmas time
Now's the time to throw your cares away
The world is on a holiday...
- Everyone's a Kid at Christmas Time, Stevie Wonder
Brennan wiped the beading sweat from her brow as she entered the J. Edgar Hoover building, relieved by the cold blast of air that met her in the doorway. The fact that she couldn't even walk across the parking lot without breaking a sweat was just another reaffirmation that the summer had made a home in D.C., and it wasn't going anywhere fast. The thermometer in her car read ninety-two when she parked outside the building Booth worked in, carting an armful of files for him to sort through, and she believed it.
She trekked down the familiar halls towards his office, arms heavy with overstuffed manila folders. Half-way down the hallway his office was located on, she heard a familiar tune playing. After considering it for a moment, she furrowed her brows, realizing what it was.
"…to face unafraid, the plans that we've made, walkin' in a winter wonderland…"
"Booth?" she called out as she approached his door. It was cracked open, so she bumped it the rest of the way with her hip, her arms being occupied. He was kicked back in his office chair, feet stacked on the desk, eyes shut. He smiled and bobbed his head to the tune, fingers laced and resting on his abdomen. When he heard her enter, he opened his eyes and grinned.
"Good morning," he greeted.
"Afternoon," she corrected. "It's twelve-thirty." Brennan set the files on the edge of his cluttered desk, and he immediately reached for the one on the very top, opening and flipping through it nonchalantly.
"So these are all the cases the squints were able to connect based on the perp's DNA?" he asked. Brennan nodded slowly, only half-listening to his question. Her attention had been fully garnered by the string of twinkling rainbow-colored Christmas lights wrapped around the fake potted Areca palm in the corner of the room.
"Yeah," she said vaguely, finally tearing her eyes from the palm. "Booth, why are there Christmas lights on your palm tree?" His face split into a grin.
"Nice, huh?" he said. She frowned, arms akimbo.
"Booth, it's July," she pointed out. "Those are lights traditionally used to decorate pine trees as part of the celebration of Christmas. Christmas is in December."
"Come on, Bones, haven't you ever heard of Christmas in July?" he asked. The CD changed over to the next song, Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!
"I'm aware that some modern societies in the Southern Hemisphere embrace the celebration of Christmas-oriented traditions during the months that constitute their winter season, yes," she said. "But we're in the Northern Hemisphere, Booth, and it's ninety degrees outside."
"Doesn't matter," he said, tossing the folder down on his desk and sitting up in his chair, feet on the floor. "I love Christmas. Any chance I get to celebrate it, I will."
"Well, realistically the birth of Jesus Christ probably occurred in early spring. Why don't you celebrate Christmas in the early spring as well, if you're going to assign celebrations to a month as arbitrary as July?" she asked.
"Maybe I will," he said playfully. "Besides, July isn't arbitrary. After the fourth of July, there aren't any commercial holidays until October. Stores use Christmas in July specials to bump sales during the slow months." She scoffed.
"Oh, so it's not arbitrary, just blatantly commercial," she said. "I see, you're right, that makes it much more meaningful."
"What's your problem?" he asked. "It doesn't matter why we hang up lights and listen to Christmas songs as long as it makes us happy, does it?" She rolled her eyes and sighed through her nose.
"I guess not," she said. He resumed his chipper smile, walking around the side of the desk and clapping her on the shoulder.
"See, I knew you'd come around," he said. The song changed over again.
"Oh, I love this one," Booth said, cranking up the CD player to a volume that Brennan was sure would irritate his office neighbors. Brennan instantly recognized it as Brenda Lee's classic Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree. He began soft-shoeing circles around Brennan, swaying with the easy music.
"What are you doing?" she laughed, spinning slowly to keep eye contact as he danced around her.
"Come on, Bones, dance with me," he said.
"Dance? But it's not dancing music," she said.
"All music is dancing music," he argued, taking her by the hand and pulling her across the floor. "You know you want to." She had to admit, her foot had been tapping ever since the music started up. She rolled her eyes and smiled, allowing him to take one hand in his and place his other hand on the small of her back. She rested her free hand on his shoulder, and they began an easy foxtrot around the cramped office space. The song wasn't really typical foxtrot music, but it was something they both quickly stepped into, so they made it work.
"I didn't know you could dance," she said as they moved naturally together, two slow steps followed by two quick ones.
"Don't sound so surprised," he said. "Besides, I haven't seen you do much dancing in the past either."
"I don't exactly get a lot of opportunities," she said as she barely maneuvered around the corner of the desk. He was less aware of himself, and bumped into it hard. He made a pained face and she snorted, trying to conceal her laughter.
They found themselves dancing even after the song switched over to a jazzy cover of This Christmas, adjusting their rhythm and swaying easily to the piano and lusty vocals. Brennan shut her eyes briefly and let herself be absorbed by the moment—it didn't matter that it was the middle of July, that it was almost a hundred degrees outside, that the decorations within consisted of a single string of lights wrapped around a fake palm tree. When he held her close as they moved around the makeshift dance floor, that feeling of warmth grew within her, and it truly felt like the holidays. It felt like Christmas.
"You're right," she said suddenly, opening her eyes. She saw his snap open too—amazingly they had been able to carry on with both of their eyes shut without running into anything.
"About what?" he asked.
"The 'why' doesn't matter," she said. "As long as it makes you happy." He smiled softly, relishing the feeling of her warm, soft hand in his, their faces so close. They almost seemed to be getting closer. Were they getting closer?
"Merry Christmas," he said, swallowing hard and now fully able to feel her hot breath on his face. The CD had completed the last track and the room was now silent, but neither of them noticed. They stood still in the middle of the room, still holding each other in the same position, each staring almost expectantly at the other. Waiting.
He took his shot, bridging the gap between them and letting his lips land softly on hers. There was no mistletoe this time to blame it on—this was their doing, or their undoing, depending on her response. He felt her kiss back, and relief washed over him, and he smiled even as he kissed her. When they came up for air she beamed up at him, looking a little shocked but also somehow freed, cheeks flushed.
"Merry Christmas to you too."