Disclaimer: Characters contained within do not belong to me.
Author's Notes: I should stop rewatching the episode. I keep wanting to write more stuff. Thanks for all the great feedback! I hope you enjoy this one, too. And big thanks to Jenbachand for her beta help.
by Kristen Elizabeth
The house was finally quiet and it was okay for her to come out from under her covers. Even so, she stayed huddled there for a few minutes. She was a little mad at herself for that; at six years old, it was high time for her to start acting like a big girl. But sometimes he came back and they started fighting again. And if she was out of bed, it would only make things worse.
She was safe under the covers. Nothing could hurt her there.
After enough time had passed to be sure her father had really made good on his threat to leave, she crawled out of bed. As soon as she opened her bedroom door, she heard her mother's muffled sobs down the hallway.
Her bare feet made soft slapping sounds against the wood floor as she crept up to her parents' room.
"Mommy?" she whispered. Her only answer was more sobbing, so she pushed the door open and stepped inside.
She didn't see the glass from the broken lamp until she stepped on a large piece of it.
"Sara?!" Her mother vaulted out of bed at her scream of pain. She groped around in the dark until she found the surviving lamp and turned it on, flooding the room with light. Sara had dropped to floor, just out of the circle of glass. Her face was pale, but her foot was a bloody mess. Stepping into her slippers, her mother ran to her. "What are you doing up?"
"I'm sorry, Mommy." Tears dripped down Sara's cheeks. "I'm really sorry."
Her mother reached for her foot, bringing it up into her lap for examination. "It's not too deep," she concluded. "I don't think we'll need to go to the hospital."
Sara sniffed. "Your eye is hurt, too."
Immediately, her mother's hand shot to her swollen cheek, as if she'd forgotten it in the wake of her daughter's injury. "C'mon…" She gathered Sara up. "Let's take care of you."
In the bathroom, Sara sat on the counter with her foot in the sink, and watched her blood wash down the drain. After cleaning out the wound with peroxide, much to Sara's fascination as her foot began to bubble in a reaction she wouldn't understand for years, her mother bandaged the cut.
"There." She gave Sara as bright a smile as she could muster with one eye almost swollen shut. "All better." She lifted her daughter up and off the counter. "Now, you need to be getting back to bed."
Shaking her head furiously, Sara wrapped her arms around her mother's waist and molded herself to her side. "Canslethyou?"
"Can you sleep with me?" her mother repeated her muffled words. "Sara…you know big girls sleep in their own beds."
Sara looked up at her, sniffing back more tears. "I don't want to be a big girl anymore."
The little bathroom lit up with laughter. When Sara glanced up again, she saw her mother wiping tears from her good eye. "Okay," she conceded. "Just for tonight…you don't have to be."
Her foot still hurt, but when she was snuggled up in her mother's arms in the big, four-poster bed, Sara felt even safer than when she was under her own covers.
"Mommy, why does Daddy yell at you?"
It took her a long time to reply. "I don't know, sweetheart." Her mother's lips were wet with what she figured were tears when she pressed them against Sara's forehead. "I don't know."
"Why don't you yell back?"
"Because…" She could tell her mother was searching for an answer, like she had to with so many of Sara's questions. When she finally spoke, her voice sounded very far away. "He's my husband."
Sara frowned, her brow crinkling in confusion. "When I have a husband, I'm going to yell back."
"Oh Sara..." Her mother hugged her tighter, rocking her ever so slightly. After a few moments, Sara's eyes drooped. Before she fell asleep, her mother whispered, "You're going to have a husband who won't yell at you in the first place."
She must have tensed up, startling the bee that had crawled around to her palm, because she felt a sudden prick of burning pain.
He was so apologetic, as if he were personally responsible for the bee's behavior. As he rushed to put more smoke in the air, he rambled on about how to keep the venom out of her bloodstream. All she could do was stand there and watch him.
Grissom wanted to marry her. Or at the very least, he was open to the possibility. Suddenly blurting out the suggestion in the middle of an impromptu biology lesson wasn't exactly dropping to one knee in front of the Bellagio fountain and presenting her with a two-carat diamond. But it was a proposal, and the look in his eyes the second before the bee stung had told her it was heart-felt.
Sara could feel her heart racing, and it was probably a good thing he was scraping the stinger out of her palm, or else the venom would have traveled a lot farther much faster.
She realized she only had a few seconds before the question would begin to stagnate. Hesitating too long might make him retract his offer. But she needed at least a few moments to process it all.
Getting married. Getting married to Grissom. Being Grissom's wife. Having Grissom as her husband.
Suddenly, her whole body felt warm. It wasn't the sun, or the bee suit, or whatever venom had gotten into her bloodstream. It was the fact that she was being lovingly tended to by a man to whom her well-being and comfort was paramount. A man who felt guilty for exposing her to even the minutest amount of pain. A man who, in the nearly ten years she had known him, had only raised his voice to her twice that she could remember.
And on neither of those occasions had he actually yelled at her.
"So, uh…" He kept his eyes on her palm, but apprehension was written all over his face. "What do you think? You know…"
She didn't need to think anymore. Because really…she'd made this decision a long time ago.
"Yes." Grissom glanced up. His expression reminded her of a little boy who woke up on Christmas morning and found that Santa had left him everything on his list. She smiled, even more sure now. "Let's do it."
That night, Sara went to bed with a married man. She pulled the covers up around them and settled down with her cheek on his shoulder and her ring-adorned hand on his chest, finally and completely safe.