“You know you want to,”
came the familiar voice, albeit in a higher pitch than he was used to
hearing. Startled, Grissom looked around.
He was alone in his office, behind his desk in the familiar semi-darkness that he preferred. To his left, the metal shelves of specimens looked fine—maybe a bit dusty. To his right, the reference books stood waiting to be pulled out at any moment. Nobody was passing by outside his office windows, and Grissom was fairly certain after all these years that Rosalita hadn’t learned how to talk yet, much less speak to him in Sara’s voice.
Grissom glanced over at the tarantula’s terrarium just in case. She was hunkering down in her little plastic half log shelter, probably sleeping off the last cricket, and definitely not talking.
He frowned a little, and looked down at his report, trying to concentrate once again.
“You know it and I know it, Handsome . . . Everything you think is an open book to me . . . “
Grissom blinked. Definitely a familiar coo; he looked up towards the door, frowning now. “Sara?”
“Not there . . . down here.”
He looked back at his desk. Blotter, reports, framed Trigger certificate, and there—lounging on the handle of his coffee cup.
An itty bitty Sara about six inches tall in a slinky red spangled cat suit and high heels, wearing minute horns in her hair and twirling a pitchfork.
Grissom wondered exactly how much caffeine had brought this hallucination on. Fascinated, he looked down at her, cocking his head carefully.
He took a moment to study her, appreciating the way the material clung to her curves, the way the rich scarlet flattered her glossy hair. Under his gaze, she preened a tiny bit, waggling her elegant eyebrows at him.
“Sort of. I’m an anthropomorphic personification of your current internal conflict. One point of view, with the details pulled from your very naughty subconscious.”
“—Details . . . “ he muttered, his brow wrinkling even as a faint redness touched his cheeks. DevilSara winked at him.
“Um, yeah. Despite not being a practicing Catholic, you’ve got pretty traditional lusts there, Grissom. Of course I could have gone for that thigh boots and bustier ensemble you liked so much in the Jezebel catalog, but we are at work—“
Grissom quickly closed his eyes, even as she giggled, the sound very amused. Cautiously he opened one eye and was disappointed when the handle of his coffee cup was empty. Grissom sighed, and wondered if this little episode was one of the first signs of a breakdown.
The sabbatical was supposed to have lessened some of the strain, but clearly it wasn’t all gone. He reached for the coffee and as he picked it up, DevilSara waved at him from her spot behind it. She’d parked her pert behind against his nameplate and was grinning up at him. Grissom noted the tiny gap in her front teeth and was charmed against his will.
“So, as I was saying . . . it’s clear to me you want to,” she purred.
He hesitated, then took a quick sip. It was early in the morning; nobody was around—why not have a little chat with an adorable figment of his imagination? Certainly, Rosalita wasn’t going to tattle on him.
“Nuh unh—you know perfectly well what we’re talking about, babe. That urge deep within you that’s been getting stronger. The one you’ve been debating for over a week now. The one you want to you know . . . ACT on.” She gave a little wriggle of her eyebrows, and Grissom gave a half-grin. She really WAS adorable with those long little legs and tiny horns.
“If you’re one side of the argument, where’s your counterpart?” he demanded courteously. “For every pro there is a con—and forgive me for making an assumption, but you’re definitely the converse in this conversation.”
DevilSara pouted, her pretty mouth drawing down in an unhappy bow. “We don’t need her.”
“Then it’s not officially a debate,” Grissom pointed out over the rim of his coffee mug. “In order to be so labeled, there must be another point represented.”
“Couldn’t we just keep this between us? Honestly, you’re more than qualified to stand up for the other side.”
Grissom shook his head. “I’m biased—you know that.”
DevilSara rolled her little eyes and waved her tiny pitchfork; Grissom could picture a cocktail weenie on it. “Oh fine if you insist, Captain Justice—“
A small sparkly cloud, no bigger than a mouse puffed up on the blotter, clearing away to reveal another small Sara, this time in low-cut filmy white robes that looked disturbingly like a sheer negligee. She smiled up at Grissom and blushed, the pink a lovely shade across her cheeks and pert nose as she adjusted her petite gold halo.
“You need to do what’s right, Grissom. Thanks for insisting I be here.”
“Not a problem,” he nodded politely. Her gown was outstandingly diaphanous in the high intensity lamplight. She looked up at him with a slightly stern expression.
“Grissom—focus on the debate, not the outfit.”
“I’ll try . . . I just had no idea my imagination was so prone to carnality,” he confessed, resting his chin in his hand and watching both Saras. They glanced at each other and gave little smirks.
“Fertile ground—you’ve been cultivating the Sara file for nearly a decade,” DevilSara crowed. “Everything from miniskirts to that weird Furry fantasy—“
He cleared his throat and blinked, cocking his head warningly. Both Saras giggled, the stereo effect sounding like a pair of delighted mice; they high-fived each other, much to his annoyance.
“Sorry, sorry, yeah—getting back to the issue at hand. Grissom, don’t do it. Know you want to, love you, but just—NO,” DevilSara advised him earnestly. She got up and paced a little, walking in that slightly clunky way that Sara had sometimes. “Much as you love me—and we both know it’s the devilish Sara you love—I say don’t do it. It will ruin the sex.”
Grissom’s eyebrows went up. “I thought you’d be urging me on, given the uncertain reception I’m likely to get.”
DevilSara shook her tiny head, resting her pitchfork along one hip. “No way—it’s much more . . . illicit this way.”
“You mean uncommitted,” AngelSara broke in, looking exasperated. “Nice faux argument there, DS, but we’ve been an item for a long time already, any way you look at it. This is just a formalization of that fact.” She crossed her arms under her chest and beamed up at Grissom. “Ignore her—you’d be doing the RIGHT thing, babe. The legal and noble thing.”
“Oh forget noble! We don’t want noble, we want our freedom! We want to keep things low-key and just a touch nasty, Halo Girl! Why rush anything? It’s been nearly nine years!” DevilSara growled, stalking over to her angelic counterpart and glaring. “Our relationship is as established as it needs to be.”
“No it’s not,” Angel Sara replied seriously. “It’s still a love affair. Oh sure there are new living arrangements and a couple of important mergers, like mail and bills and that joint account, but this next step is the biggie. It’s the official one and he NEEDS to do it.”
Grissom sighed. “I’ve been considering it for a long time. When you get down to the core of who I am, my values are fairly traditional.”
“Yeah right,” scoffed DevilSara, stroking the handle of her pitchfork suggestively. “Like that little game we played last Thursday—what did the two of us call it? Held Over for Questioning?”
Grissom tried to bite back his smirk but it was difficult. He cleared his throat instead. “We’re consenting adults.”
“Heh. We both consented so loudly the neighbors nearly called the cops,” DevilSara replied with a naughty smirk. “Sure you want to give up that sort of delicious thrill? Because I’m telling you, once we make it legal, some of the spark goes right out the window.”
“Not everything is about sex,” AngelSara pointed out gently. She strode over to the center of the blotter and smiled up at Grissom, her little brown eyes bright with faith and trust. “You know how much we trust you and love you. We waited for you and you were there when we needed you. Sure it’s been rocky here and there, and yeah, it will be again because that’s the way life goes for two people in love. But commitment and freedom aren’t opposites, Grissom. You know that, and deep down, we know that too.”
He paused, letting the little angel’s words sink in. Carefully Grissom reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a small velvet box. He held it out. DevilSara growled.
“Damn it, that’s not playing fair.”
“I play to win,” he told her gently, but firmly.
He laid his arm on the desk. With a push of his thumb, Grissom opened the hinged lid, revealing a beautiful two-carat pink diamond on a platinum band.
AngelSara gasped happily.
DevilSara gave a throaty little whimper. She dropped her pitchfork and scrambled forward, climbing over Grissom’s arm resting on the blotter and made her way to the ring, tugging it free of the velvet and clasping it to her red spangled chest. “Mine!”
“Oh you bitch! That’s SO not fair! I won the argument!” AngelSara protested, running over and climbing up. The two of them began a grunting tug of war over the ring, yanking it between them as Grissom watched, riveted. It wasn’t quite a catfight, but it certainly had potential to go that way, and he leaned forward for a better view.
Suddenly the door to his office flew open, and with guilty surprise, Grissom looked up, his face flushing a bit.
“Um, Grissom, we need to talk,” Sara began in a slightly harassed tone.
He blinked. On Sara’s left shoulder was a . . . miniature version of himself in a burgundy pin-striped suit complete with silk vest dotted with gold pitchforks. The wee DevilGrissom had a beard and jauntily puffed a miniscule cigar as he winked.
On Sara’s right shoulder stood a beardless curly-haired angel in a gleaming white satin monk’s robe complete with hood, rosary and knotted rope belt. Behind glasses, guileless blue eyes looked at Grissom beseechingly.
Grissom stood up. Carefully he scooped up Angel and DevilSara and dropped them into the left hand drawer of his desk, ignoring their startled little cries of surprise. Moving with deliberation, he plucked Devil and AngelGrissom off Sara’s shoulders, dropped them into the same drawer and then slammed it shut.
Sara sighed. Grissom picked up the ring from his blotter, took her left hand and slid the band onto her finger in one slow, sweet push, moving it to rest there before he brought her hand up to his lips and kissed it.
“Yeah,” Sara murmured, moving to rest her forehead against his.
Carefully Grissom slid his arms around her, smiling as he pulled her closer. He tipped his head and leaned in to kiss her when they both heard unusual sounds coming from the drawer. Muffled, but recognizable, giggles and growls accompanied by faint wisps of smoke and sparkle.
“Are we really that . . . polarized?” Sara murmured, her grin a lovely private thing.
Grissom smiled back. “I’m sure we could debate the issue . . . at home.”
“Intimately?” she teased.
He arched an eyebrow at her. “In depth. Possibly to great lengths.”
Sara laughed. “Lucky for me I love both sides of you—there’s never been any debate about that.”