Sara tapped her pen absently on the form
she was staring at, rocking the implement back and forth between her
fingers as she tried to concentrate on what was going to be a very
boring case write-up. Slow nights were always a trial to her,
and while Catherine and Nick had a nice interesting bomb threat and
Warrick had the night off, Sara had landed a perp so dumb that
he’d come back to the scene of his robbery to find the wallet
Which had put her back at the lab within an hour of leaving it, with no new assignments yet available. She had to admit, she was dawdling over the forms. I’ve been through all the cold cases at least twice, and I left my magazine at home.
Sighing, she filled in two blanks. Her pen paused over the third, though, as an odor teased her nose. Faint, complex, acrid, it was out of place, and Sara frowned as she recognized it. Someone’s smoking in the lab?
That violated so many regulations that she couldn’t be bothered to count them. She tossed down her pen preparatory to rising and excoriating the culprit, but a tiny yelp distracted her from her goal. “Hey! Careful!”
Sara looked down at the table, and felt reality give a peculiar lurch. Standing next to her form, apparently nearly struck by her pen, was a miniature...Grissom.
She stared, wondering if she’d fallen asleep with her head pillowed on her work again. The little figure was roughly six inches high, she estimated, and without a doubt it was...alive. It--he, she supposed--blinked up at her through silver-rimmed glasses that didn’t really go with the medieval priest’s outfit he was wearing.
Not to mention the halo.
“Um.” Sara had, she realized, no idea what to say. “Sorry?”
The miniature Grissom gave her one of her lover’s sweet smiles. “Hello, Sara,” he said, and while his voice was far too high-pitched, the cadence was exactly Gil’s.
“Hi,” she managed. Delusion, dream, or reality? Sara didn’t think she’d run into any mind-altering substances that shift. “Uh, aren’t you a bit early for Halloween?”
Angel Grissom gave her a patient look, the sort bestowed on students groping slowly towards answers. His robe was white, which she guessed befitted an angel, and he lacked the beard that Gil had sported on his return from Massachusetts. “I’m here to guide you.”
“Uh-huh.” Sara had never been one to take unasked-for advice, even from something as cute as this little hallucination undoubtedly was. “About what?”
Angel Grissom’s tiny hand stroked absently over the knotted rope that served him for a belt. “The future.”
“Don’t listen to him,” broke in another squeaky voice, one that was an echo of the first. “Goody-Two-Shoes there wouldn’t know a future if it bit him in the ass.”
Angel Grissom’s mouth quirked in a very familiar annoyance. Motion at the edge of her vision caught Sara’s attention, and she looked to her right to see another small Grissom leaning against her pager where she’d left it on the table.
This one was the source of the smoky odor, she realized; he was holding a miniscule cigar in one hand and grinning in a lascivious fashion that Gil never displayed in public. “Hey, gorgeous.”
Nonplussed, Sara gaped at him. One wasn’t bad enough?
This one had the beard. He was also dressed in a fashion she could only call gaudy; a burgundy suit that, while natty, was a far cry from the sober blue or black Grissom wore to court. Tiny horns poked through his hair, but the satyrish look was spoiled by the little pointed tail that trailed behind him.
“Oh, this is getting good,” Sara said dryly, her wits returning. If this was some weird joke, she was going to have the perpetrator’s balls on a platter, but in the meantime she figured she’d go along with it. If nothing else, having two miniGrissoms show up had made her intensely curious. “I suppose you’re here to tempt me?”
Devil Grissom sighed in exaggerated disappointment. “I’m afraid not. Not this time.”
“Sara,” the angel interjected. “You’re coming to a crossroads in your life. A momentous occasion.”
She looked back to him, wondering what the hell he was talking about. A disgusted snort from the right made her glance back. Okay, maybe “hell” isn’t quite the right word. “Am I?” she asked flatly.
He nodded solemnly, and she couldn’t help smiling a little. He was just adorable. “Fine. Keep talking.”
Angel Grissom’s return smile melted her heart a tiny bit. “You’re about to be offered an opportunity, and--“
“Bullshit,” Devil Grissom said rudely. “It’s not an opportunity, it’s a trap! Say yes and you know what’ll happen.”
Sara considered the two little Grissoms, who were sneering at each other in a visual stereo that left her slightly dizzy. She knew what they were talking about; Gil had been out on a last-minute court appearance when the call from the jeweler had woken Sara from her midday sleep.
Fortunately, she’d been awake enough to answer the question about sizing, and she hadn’t had the heart to spoil Gil’s surprise...
“What are you two anyway? Because I sure don’t believe that you’re really what you look like.” Sara rested her forearms on the table so she could lean in for a closer look. Angel Grissom actually had a teensy rosary on his belt, and Devil Grissom...were those really pitchforks embroidered on his vest?
“Manifestations of your subconscious,” Angel Grissom explained, turning a cold shoulder to his counterpart. “You’re conflicted. We represent both sides of the argument.”
Devil Grissom muttered something and sucked in a mouthful of smoke. Sara cocked her head. “You don’t agree?”
“Oh, I do, but that’s not all we are.” Devil Grissom waved a hand dismissingly. “Not important. What is important is your decision.”
“It’s the logical next step,” Angel Grissom broke in. “A covenant of trust, a melding of lives--emotional, physical, and legal.”
“A trap,” Devil Grissom repeated, straightening and stepping forward. “It’s old-fashioned and out of date! Nobody bothers with it these days. Do it and life’ll get boring and predictable.”
“Is life boring now?” Angel Grissom countered, the gentle smile returning. “All this will do is affirm what we already know and practice.”
Sara pursed her lips, suppressing the urge to pick him up and cuddle him. Devil Grissom snorted.
“Apron strings. Barefoot in the kitchen.”
“Gil does all the cooking,” Sara pointed out, and Devil Grissom shot her a dismissive look.
“You know what I mean. After all--look what it did to your mother.”
Her heart chilled a little at that sally. It was true that her parents had been on her mind a lot lately...
“Sara.” Angel Grissom spoke softly. “We would never, ever hurt you that way.”
His eyes looked up into hers, and she could read the truth there, manifestation of her subconscious or not. “Guys--“
“Prude,” Devil Grissom hissed at his counterpart, and strode towards Angel Grissom. Angel Grissom held his ground, staring calmly back.
Devil Grissom scowled, and pointed a finger. A thread-thin bolt of reddish light zipped from his hand to Angel Grissom, who yelped again. Startled, Sara stared as they began to chase each other around her pager. After the third zap, Angel Grissom began to retaliate with balls of white light, and his throwing arm was quite good, but they seemed to be evenly matched.
This is getting very silly.
Sara reached down to separate them, only to snatch her hand back in reflex as they continued to hurl pyrotechnics. Exasperated, she slapped one palm on the table. “Hey!”
Both Grissoms froze, looking up at her. Sara reached for Angel Grissom, scooping him into her open hand. “We’re going to go see Gil. Right now.”
Angel Grissom gave her an approving nod, and surprised her again by sprouting wings from under his robe and fluttering from her palm to her right shoulder. With a chuckle, Devil Grissom vanished in a puff of smoke and reappeared on her left shoulder.
Sara fanned away the faint reek of cigars and sulfur, and headed out into the hallway, hoping no one was between her and Gil’s office.
The door to his sanctum was closed, but Sara was too wound up to knock. When she opened it, Grissom glanced up from his desk, eyes widening and cheeks pinkening.
“Um, Grissom, we need to talk,” Sara began, then lost her train of thought at the sight of tiny versions of her, holding some kind of tug-of-war on his blotter.
Grissom stood, moving with assurance, and caught up the two little Saras--one in red, one in white--before dropping them in a desk drawer. They squeaked. Rounding the desk, he did the same with her little Grissoms, closing the drawer firmly.
Sara sighed in relief. Grissom picked up the object of the tug-of-war and took her left hand, and Sara knew as he did so what her decision was.
Without a doubt.
The ring fit perfectly--of course--and the press of Grissom’s lips on her hand was a seal on the promise. “Marry me,” he said softly.
Sara moved into his arms, leaning in until she could breathe his breath. “Yeah.”
He’d almost kissed her when the squeaky busy sounds drifted up from the closed drawer. What looked almost like miniature fireworks were appearing just above the desktop.
Sara grinned. There was no doubt as to what was going on in there. “Are we really that...polarized?”
Gil’s smile held both the sensuality of his devilish miniature and the love of the angelic one. “I’m sure we could debate the issue...at home.”
Sara was not at all averse to the idea. “Intimately?” she teased.
One brow went up. “In depth. Possibly to great lengths.”
His innuendo made her laugh. “Lucky for me I love both sides of you--there’s never been any debate about that.”