Most of the characters and situations in this story belong to Alliance Atlantis, CBS, Anthony Zuicker and other entities, and I do not have permission to borrow them; any others belong to me, and if you want to play with them, you have to ask me first. No infringement is intended in any way, and this story is not for profit. Any errors are mine, all mine, no you can't have any.

This is in response to an improv challenge at the Unbound forums; the first and last lines were given, and the word limit is 1,000.

Spoilers: none really; this is a future-fic.


Grissom approached the tomato warily. There was absolutely no telling where it would go next, given the arm of the culprit, and he reflected that she would make a first-class pitcher when she got a little older.

"Just wait until your mother gets back," he muttered, amused, and then made a snatch as the blue-eyed mischief-maker grabbed for the tomato wedge. He won, but all it got him was a screech of outrage, and he sighed.

"Here," he said, resigned, and handed the toddler the tomato. She batted it out of his hand and it fell onto the tray of her highchair, mixing in with the remnants of her lunch--cereal pieces, a few peas, and some peanut butter. Grissom eased himself into a nearby chair, feeling his knees complain, and watched with bemused adoration as the little girl slid the tomato around the tray, babbling all the while.

It had been a long time, he mused, since he'd had to deal with the sheer chaos and mess that a small child brought. But I wouldn't give up one minute of it. And where his own daughter had been a somewhat placid child, this one was a firecracker already. She had only just learned to walk, and still somehow she seemed to keep three steps ahead of everyone.

"Want some more milk?" he asked, and when she bared her teeth at him in a happy grin, he smiled back and got up to fill her sippy cup. It's too soon to tell, but it looks like she'll have her grandmother's smile. He opened the fridge. I hope so, anyway.

Grissom filled the cup, put the lid on firmly, and gave it to his granddaughter, who immediately threw it back at him. He was ready this time, though, and caught it handily. "No," he said firmly. "This isn't for throwing."

The glee in her eyes faded to a serious look, and he took the tiny hand in his, gently wrapping her fingers around the handle of the cup. "Try again."

She stared at him a moment, then lifted the cup to her mouth and began drinking. "Good girl," he said fondly, not at all surprised that she had caught on so quickly. She's definitely got her mother's brains...and since her mother has both of ours...well...we're going to be in trouble soon!

As the toddler guzzled her milk, Grissom sat down again and looked around the kitchen. The normally pristine counter was cluttered with boxes and jars of baby food, and there was a stroller sitting in one corner. Order went out the window when his daughter and son-in-law came to visit, but he didn't mind in the least. It was worth any amount of spills and child-proofing to have his granddaughter around.

The floor underneath the highchair was now littered with bits of the toddler's lunch; she was just as apt to play with her food as to eat it, and sometimes Grissom wondered how she could grow so fast when it seemed that half her food got tossed onto the floor. He also wondered if his arthritic knees were a good enough excuse to get out of cleaning it up. He could just imagine it; his daughter's breezy assurance that she would do it, and Sara's narrow-eyed, teasing suspicion.

They should be back soon. The two women had gone out on some feminine shopping expedition; his son-in-law was busy all week at a conference, which left Grissom with the delightful role of babysitter. The baby in question smacked her empty cup down on her tray, and Grissom sighed happily and took it away before she threw it again.

"I suppose we could go to the park," he told her, "but I'll have to get you cleaned up first. What do you think of that?"

The toddler laughed, her voice surprisingly deep, and Grissom guessed that she had inherited Sara's lower register as well. He marveled at how genetic traits could skip a generation; two workaholic, independent scientists had produced an easy-going liberal-arts major who had deliberately chosen motherhood as a career, and yet her own child was already more like Grissom and Sara.

Thirty years ago I would never have dreamed this was possible. He indulged in memory for a moment, paging back through his daughter's life to before it, when one stubborn, intense physicist had finally made him see sense. And a good thing she did, t--

The present intruded with rude suddenness as a handful of peas and cereal hit him in the chest, bouncing everywhere. Grissom looked over to his granddaughter, who was shrieking with glee, and sighed. "I need the bib more than you do," he informed her. She chuckled as he picked debris from his beard.