This is (the very slightly extended version of) another fic written for a prompt over on LJ, this time: Your favorite Squint(s) plus Booth; Beyonce and Lady Gaga's Telephone, so emmm, don't expect this to be sensible in any regard :D
It begins when Booth picks Brennan up at 2pm on a Thursday afternoon. It was something he'd taken upon himself to do each week, shepherding her to the diner for some form of desert, amidst her lectures about a balanced diet and her post-visit melancholy.
His first words when she'd slid into the illegally parked SUV that particular day were: "So how is he?"
"And his treatment?"
He asked every time. This was not the usual response.
"Hey, what's wrong?"
After a beat, "They're focussing on exercises that will help him assimilate into society. He's... having trouble."
Booth snorted. From across the car she shot him an icy look and he quickly adopted a more serious face and mustered some fairly convincing concern.
"What kinda problems is he having?"
"He doesn't... understand much of society as it is. He's not performing well in their activities because he doesn't know how to adapt."
"But Zack's always been like that."
"Regardless, I'm concerned that unless he can demonstrate he's capable of being an average, functioning member of society, they might not see him fit to leave the institution."
For a moment, this hung in the air.
"I was thinking... maybe you could go see him."
"I thought maybe you could help him."
"Help him how?"
"Maybe you could talk to him, about... things"
"That's a very un-Bones-like choice of words there, Bones."
"Society's nuances. Popular culture. Booth things."
He could only imagine how that might go.
Zack sitting at his little table, the gloves, the horribly awkward conversation, the miserable kind of-
Probably best to stop that one there, he decides.
"Me? What about Angela, she has to be better at that kind of thing, she knows how to communicate with squint-kind."
"I'd like it to be you, Booth. I'm confident you can do it."
Her voice was kind of faraway when she offered him a small smile and said, "You helped me... understand a lot of these things. I thought you might be able to help Zack."
And that is how it begins.
What was he meant to do, bring flashcards?
Look here Zack, this one, look, this one with the blonde curly hair? That's Taylor Swift. Perky country singer, do-gooder and god among teenage females. And apparently also to my nine year old son, who in other news has recently discovered girls. Excellent, popular culture lesson over.
Next up: common slang, expressions and turns of phrase.
Unfortunately, it didn't actually work like that.
It worked more along the lines of:
"They're trying to get you to listen to the radio?"
"Do they know that you know how to take one apart and use it to make break-out-of-the-loony-bin keycards?"
"None of the radio's functioning components have the capability to-"
"You know what? Never mind."
It stretched on just long enough for Booth's mind to wander for that spilt second-
He had to curse Bones' shy little smile that brought him here just a little when, for her sake, he forced himself to continue, "Why do they want you to listen to the radio?"
"In order to refamiliarise myself with modern society, the therapists believe I should expose myself to various mediums of social expression and popular culture."
"Is it helping?"
"I can recognise and remember a large number of commonly played popular songs..."
Booth recognised his trepidation. "But...?"
Zack was very agitated as he explained, "I can't understand why this music is, as its title would imply, popular music. While I can recognise that these songs' melodic properties might indicate that they are music rather noise as defined within the confines of the sound spectrum... I can't rationally find the appeal in listening to what are entirely purposeless and unimaginative compositions."
"What do you mean?"
"One of the songs played regularly appears to fixate entirely on being unable to answer the telephone."
"The entire song?"
"Both its singers are quite insistent. They provide many reasons as to why they won't answer the phone throughout the duration of the song."
"What kind of reasons?"
"One of them is living in a train station, and subsequently won't be taking any calls."
Booth's bemused response was lost as Zack continued to speak, "-the other provides an array of explanations, but from what I can discern, her strongest motive is that she is consuming some form of beverage and is reluctant to put it down."
"And you're sure you're not listening to some exclusive loony bin station?"
This was going to be harder than he thought.
"Wait, Bones, can you turn the radio up?"
"Just... just turn it up."
She obliged, watching as he listen carefully.
"Booth..? Why are you smiling like that?"
Grinning, he shook his head. "Nothing, it's nothing."
"It's just something Zack said to me."
She seemed surprised, "You went to see him?"
"I said I would, didn't I?"
"I know," carefully adding after a moment, "Thank you."
Catching her eye, he could only smile with a whole new (and he would admit, amusing) understanding of The Things He'd Do for Temperance Brennan. "Any time Bones, any time."
Okay... I'll admit I'm a closeted Gaga fan (waaaaay deep into that closet though ;). All reassurances that you don't think I've lost my mind are appreciated, but otherwise, hope you were sufficiently entertained :)