Warning: This ficlet contains spoilers for the season 8 finale – and a fair helping of crack, of course ;-)

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Tying the Knot

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Temperance Brennan was frowning at something when Angela walked into her office.

"Hey, Sweetie, what's up? You look all pinchy."

Brennan's frown deepened. "I'm not sure what that's supposed to mean, but I found this on my desk when I came back from lunch."

Angela stepped closer. "Looks like a piece of string to me."

"It is." Brennan held up the object in question; it was neon pink and had the appearance of something filched from a small child's toy loom. "There are knots in it."

"Well, that happens when a piece of string is lying around. Why is it important?"

"It probably isn't; it just feels like a strange coincidence because I seem to come across a lot of knots lately." Noticing Angela's puzzled face, she added, "This morning, there were knots in my favorite necklace, and then Christine somehow managed to tie several knots into her shoelaces even though she has never been able to do that before."

"Well, there you have it then – the mini genius worked out how to tie knots and is practicing all over the place now."

Brennan shook her head. "That's what I assumed at first too, but then I found knots in the charging cable of my cell phone, and I never leave that where she can reach it."

Angela shrugged. "Cables have a way of tying themselves into knots all the time."

"No they don't." Brennan finally put the offending piece of string aside, but she didn't seem ready to let go of the topic. "Knots don't just appear by themselves; they require some kind of outside force, and in most cases that force is applied by human hands." She brightened a little when a thought occurred to her. "The Incas even devised the quipu, the Talking Knots, which were used as a kind of writing. I read a fascinating book about it a while ago…"

Angela cut her off before she could slip into full anthro mode. "That's really cool, Sweetie, but could you take a look at this reconstruction instead of your knots now? I'm sure they don't mean anything."

Brennan sighed. "You're probably right." She still made a mental note to ask Booth about the book – she had been looking for it last night because she wanted to re-check the Incan knotting patterns, but for some reason it had been missing from its place on the shelf. Maybe Booth had seen it.

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As she had expected, Booth scoffed at the insinuation that he might have had anything to do with the disappearance of a book about Incan anything. "You're kidding, right?"

Brennan eyed the empty spot on the bookshelf with dismay. "Then I really don't know where I put it."

Booth shrugged and turned back to the TV. "You probably lost it somewhere."

He felt a little bad about the remark when she exited the room in a huff – he knew that it would be a cold day in hell before Bones lost one of her anthropology books, and that the mere suggestion probably felt like an attack on her scientific integrity to her, but he hadn't been able to think of another way to end the conversation before it tipped off the invisible foe who might be watching their every move right now.

It was no good anyway – either he sucked even worse at any kind of handicraft than he had assumed until now, or that old Incan knot writing just hadn't been designed to convey the message I didn't want to call off the engagement, Pelant forced me to do it.

Booth ran a hand though his hair in frustration; he was beginning to run out of options. Morse code was too obvious and Braille too nondescript – Bones had just scooped up all those dots of ketchup with his fries without noticing the patterns, and he couldn't even tap them into her skin while they were safely under the covers at night (they were still safe under the covers, right? Was there a way to bug a duvet?) because she was ticklish as hell and started squealing whenever he tried. Scratching a message into her bar of soap had been a total bust because it had made her think that Christine had gnawed at it, and the artfully arranged blobs of toothpaste foam in the sink had only made her wrinkle her nose and call him a slob.

He had really had high hopes for the Incan knots because they were so anthropological. The Native American wampum thingie had looked promising too, but you needed beads for that, and Christine didn't have any among her toys because Bones claimed that she might swallow them. He could have cut up one of Bones' beloved bead necklaces, of course, but while he was definitely getting desperate, he wasn't anywhere near suicidal so far.

Booth sighed and resigned himself to the fact that there probably was no way around that ancient Celtic – or had it been Germanic? then again, who cared? – thing with the runes carved into wooden sticks that he had postponed until now because he wasn't sure how Bones would react if he carved up one of her fancy non-toxic wooden cooking spoons.

Damn the Incas.