Brennan marched out the door happily, waving the keys to the SUV from her fingertips. "Time to go." She smiled widely.
"Already?" Angela moaned, "but we haven't seen Wee Willie yet!"
Brennan froze and glanced at her watch. "7:30."
"He won't come till eight." Hodgins shook his head.
"Isn't there anyone we haven't interviewed yet?" Angela asked Booth.
He shook his head. "These papers say Curly-locks lives in Baltimore, and the Fat man from Bombay, he only comes once a month."
"But someone must have seen something!" Angela whined playfully. She really, really wanted to see Wee Willie run down the street in his nightgown.
A teen came down the street crying.
"Hey!" Hodgins called out. "Are you alright?"
The teen came over and shrugged. "Yeah, I deserved it."
"Deserved what?" Booth asked his hackles rising instantly.
"I stole a pig and ate it, and then I got beat."
Hodgins frowned. "Are you Tom, the piper's son?"
The kid looked surprised. "Yeah, I am."
"Aren't you supposed to run down the street?" Hodgins raised his eyebrows.
The teen rolled his eyes. "What am I? 7?"
Booth glared at Hodgins. "Your dad beat you?" He asked the kid, who looked at him astonished.
"Hell no. Twas my sister! We play rummy every night and I was so full I darn near fell asleep and she beat the pants off me!"
Brennan looked at his pants, which were so baggy they were practically falling off. "I don't imagine that would be difficult." She declared.
He scowled at her. "Sez you."
"Hey, Did you happen to notice anyone hanging around this house a while back? Round when Peter Piper went missing?"
"Just ****-Robin and Sparrow." The kid shrugged.
"Where are they now?" Booth asked slowly.
"****-Robin is dead."
"Who killed him."
"The sparrow." The teen looked at him sourly. "With a bow and arrow."
"How medieval." Angela said.
The teen shrugged and hitched his pants up. "You guys looking for whoever pickled Piper?"
Booth rolled his eyes. "Yeah. Know anything?"
The teen stared at the house behind them. "It doesn't stink."
"It wouldn't." Brennan said, "He was pickled."
"In a vat?"
"Then where did all the peppers go? They wouldn't have fit in there with him."
"Some did." Booth replied, thinking of the crime scene photos.
The teen shrugged. "Just sayin. Gotta go, bye." He turned and continued his walk down the street.
"Kids these days are so LAZY." Hodgins muttered.
"He has a point though." Angela mused. "I didn't see any extra peppers did you?"
Hodgins frowned. "I'm going to have to run some tests."
All of a sudden doors started opening and woman came out and started sweeping the front step, or reading the paper, or drinking tea and chatting with the neighbours.
"What's going on?" Booth hissed.
"It's almost eight o'clock." Brennan smiled.
A few minutes later a giant of a man came jogging down the street in a half undone night gown.
"THAT's Wee Willie?" Hodgins gaped.
"Oh, YUM." Angela sighed, watching him run past, the shirt flaps rising and falling as he moved.
"I should arrest him for public exposure." Booth muttered.
"You can't." Brennan declared. "He's got underwear on."
"Are you sure?" Booth asked, "Because I definitely saw more than I wanted to."
She nodded. "I distinctly saw a leopard print thong."
"Men." Hodgins announced, "Should not wear thongs."
Tom, Tom, the piper's son,
Stole a pig, and away he run,
The pig was eat,
And Tom was beat,
And Tom ran crying down the street.
Who killed ****-Robin?
"I" Said the Sparrow,
"With my little bow and arrow,
I killed ****-Robin."
(And many more verses, google The Death and Life of Poor ****-Robin if you want to read the whole thing)
"Nope." Brennan swatted his hand away.
"Nope, I'M driving, I get to choose the station now." She smirked.
Booth leaned back in his seat and sulked. "But you don't even have it on!"
"I know." Brennan looked behind her and switched lanes. "I want to talk."
"Ok?" Booth asked.
"What did you mean you'll divorce me if I'm like that old lady when I'm old?" Brennan asked suddenly.
Booth's eyes widened. "Who said that?"
"Yes you did, Angela, Hodgins, and I, all heard you."
"Oh. I don't know."
"You must know, you said it, and you never say anything you don't mean, right?"
Booth rubbed his hand over his face. "I don't want to talk about right now."
"Ok, when." Brennan persisted.
"When pig's fly." Booth muttered.
Brennan frowned, and fell silent for a few miles.
Then she smiled, and pointed out the window. "Look Booth!"
"There is a man in brown suit flying a pig!"
Booth leaned forward and stared. "That's not a real pig!"
"Yes it is, look, it's strapped to that large kite! I'm going to phone animal services, he shouldn't be terrifying that pig like that!"
"I think he's trying to get it down Bones… It must have got tangled in the kite ropes. Look, he's got it down now."
They drove past the man, who was now hugging his little pig and looking like he might have a stroke.
"Hmm." Brennan mused. "He does look appropriately shocked, doesn't he?" She spun her head around to stare at him.
Booth winced. He should have known better, today was just one of those days. "I was confused Bones, that old lady had me going round in circles."
"Literrally or figuratively?"
"What do YOU think?"
"Oh for crying out loud!" Booth exclaimed. "Not literally Bones!"
"But we're not married! We're just partners! Right?" She glanced at him.
He rolled his eyes. "Oh please, we're more married than half the people I know who actually ARE married."
"But we don't have sex or physical intimacy."
Booth chuckled. "Neither do they."
Brennan looked horrified. "Then what on earth made them get married?"
"Hope. Love. Happiness." Booth ticked off his fingers. "And they were having sex then."
"What about the other half?"
"Other half of what?"
"You said we're more married than HALF."
"They have sex, and intimacy, and vacations for two, and are blissfully happy 5 days out of the week." Booth smiled.
"Why only five days?"
"Because everyone argues, Bones."
"Well, maybe we should get married then." Booth said.
"Maybe we should." Brennan shot back.
"We'd have to have sex." Booth said, "I'm not marrying someone if we're not having sex."
Brennan shrugged. "I'm not marrying someone who leaves the cap off the toothpaste."
Silence fell over the car as they caught up to their own conversation.
"I thought you don't believe in marriage."
"I said that it's an antiquated ritual, not that I didn't believe in it."
"There's a difference?"
"Obviously.. I thought you would only marry for love."
"I wouldn't marry for anything less."
Brennan opened her mouth and then shut it again.
"What?" Booth asked warily.
Brennan looked at him from the corner of her eyes.
"WHAT?" He repeated.
She shrugged and looked forward again.
"BONES.." He sounded cranky.
"If you loved me enough to marry me, you'd tell me, right?" She finally asked.
Booth sunk lower into his seat. "Maybe. Eventually. If I thought you might love me back and wouldn't kick my ass." He muttered.
Brennan nodded. "And if I did.. We'd have sex, right?"
Booth looked at her incredulously. "What do you think I am? Stupid? Of COURSE we'd have sex."
Brennan smiled. "Good to know."
"There's fresh fruit somewhere?"
"No, why would you think that?"
"Well, you said.."
"I didn't mean.."
"Well, why would you talk about fruit then?"
"Bones, you're so.."
An hour later they pulled into the lab parking garage and got out, still bickering.
"I don't understand the use of fruit in polite conversation."
"I wasn't being polite!"
"OOOHHH…" Brennan looked startled. "Well, THAT makes sense then."
Dickory, dickory, dare,
The pig flew up in the air;
The man in brown soon brought
Booth stalked into Brennan's office and threw himself down on the couch beside Hodgins.
"Well, that was a bust."
"Yep." Booth tapped his fingers on the coffee table irritatingly. "She was there the day before. Was in New York the night he went with the Gin guy and came home drunk. Has witnesses to her alibi as well."
Angela shook her head. "So we're back to nothing. Did you check up on Sparrow?"
"Yep." Booth sighed deeper. "By the time the sparrow shot ****-robin, Piper had already been gone two days."
"Who reported him missing." Brennan looked up from her computer.
"Well maybe she did it."
Hodgins blinked. "Does she have curly hair?"
"Yeah, sorta." Booth looked at him.
Hodgins nodded. "Could be! That hair I found, definitely female, and it had pickling fluid on it, definitely from the time of the crime." He grinned. "I rhymed!"
Booth sighed. "That's not a proper rhyme Hodgins, Flour of England, fruit of spain, Met together in a shower of rain; Put in a bag tied round with a string; If you'll tell me this riddle, I'll give you a ring." He quoted. "That's a proper nursery rhyme."
Brennan looked up again. "It's a plum pudding. That was easy." She held out her hand.
"What?" Booth squinted at her.
"There is no ring, it's part of the rhyme."
"Well, that's misleading."
"You really don't know any nursery rhymes?" Angela shook her head at Brennan.
Brennan thought about it. "I do actually.. Over the hill came piss-pot Pete…"
Booth jumped up and ran around the desk, shoved his hand over Brennan's mouth. "THAT is NOT a nursery Rhyme, Bones! Where the hell did you hear that!"
"Parker's friend Marcus." She said against his hand.
Booth's eyes rounded in horror, and Hodgins doubled over laughing.
Angela just smiled. "Is that the one…" She mused thoughtfully, standing up and moving to the door. "I'm going to have to google that. Let me know if Mary Contrary caves in the interrogation room." She waved, then left.
Hodgins stood up and followed her out, still laughing. "See ya later guys."
Brennan reached up and pulled Booth's hand off her mouth. "I still think you owe me a ring."
"You could buy a bigger rock than I could." Booth muttered, focused on trying to figure out when Marcus had managed to get Brennan alone, and whether Parker had been present.
"I have a theory about that.." Brennan began.
"Yeah? What's that? No. Don't tell me, I don't really want to know." Booth shook his head. "If I get you a ring, will you wear it?"
Brennan frowned up at him. "Of course." She held her hand out in front of her and stared at it. "Nobody's ever got me one before."
Booth rolled his eyes. "Right. Well, I'll go get Mary Contrary hauled in, and grill her, and if she confesses before midnight tonight, I'll buy you a damn ring, ok?"
Brennan looked satisfied. "Ok. Oh, and Booth?" She asked as he turned to leave. "I wouldn't kick your ass."
Booth stood at the door, his hands in his pockets, waiting for her to answer. It was late. Maybe she was asleep.
He'd barely completed that thought when Brennan opened the door, and the scent of her perfume surrounded him.
"Evening Bones." He smiled at her.
She glanced at her clock. "It's actually Sunday morning now." She smiled and held the door open. "Come in.'
"Are you sure?" He paused in the door.
"Of course, I wasn't sleeping."
He nodded and walked in, pacing around the living room.
"Did you get her to confess finally?" She finally asked.
"Yeah, took all day." He muttered. "We ended up having to bring in the fat man of Bombay."
"Was he fat?"
"No, but he was phat."
Brennan squinted at him.
"It's a saying Bones.. Like, 'Cool'. Sorta." Booth made a restless motion with his hands.
"But she did it?"
"Yeah, he was in the cab that dropped Piper off, and he saw her sneak over to his place. Thought they were going to make up or something." Booth made another motion with his hands.
"No. I don't."
Booth sighed. "Make-up sex, Bones."
She raised her eyebrows. "Okay."
"And she killed him. Stuffed him the vat and hammered the lid down, then cleaned it all up. The buyers of the vat cam and picked it up. It wasn't supposed to be opened for ten years, some kind of aging experiment."
Brennan nodded. "I've often wondered about that myself. Wine gets better with age.."
"Anyways!" Booth pulled his hand out of his pocket and held it out to her, fist closed.
She crossed to him and bumped his fist with a smile.
His hand opened, and there in his palm was a gold ring, with a trio of diamonds inset in it.
She gasped, and grabbed it, and put it on her hand, then held her hand up. "It's beautiful Booth!"
"Does it fit?"
"Perfectly!" She grabbed him by the collar and kissed him on the mouth. "How long does it take to get married?" She smiled happily.
He stared down at her in shock. "I love you. You want to get married? What?"
She smiled. "Yes, I do. Thank you for asking. I think Brennan-Booth would be acceptable, don't you? I've always wanted to be hyphenated. This ring is perfect Booth, I can even wear it under my gloves, and the rocks won't break the latex." She held her hand up and looked at it again, then back at his face. "And, I love you too by the way."
"How long?" He asked, his brain clicking together events in the past.
He shook his head. "Wow, I wasted a lot of time, didn't I?" He picked her up in a fireman's carry.
"Can we talk later Bones?"
"Where are you taking me?"
"The church, before you change your mind."
"But it's 12:30 AM!"
"Yeah, the priest owes me a favour."
"Take the stairs, the elevator has been having trouble."
On Saturday night
Shall be all my care
To powder my locks
And curl my hair.
On Sunday morning
My love will come in,
When he will marry me
With a gold ring.
In case anyone was wondering, the rhymes are from: The Real Mother Goose, published by checkerbox press.