"Why did it have to be red?"

Jim just shook his head, large hands holding steady the shoulders of his six year old daughter.

"Really. There are at least seven other colors you could have picked. Why red?"

Katie's eyes filled with tears, her breath hitching in a soft sob, and her mother paused in the tirade, looking to her husband for help.

He shrugged, but lifted a hand to stroke his daughter's dark hair, fingers tangling in the thick waves so much like her mother's as he scratched lightly at her scalp. Johanna knew it was a trick he'd learned to calm his baby when she had a nightmare, to help her wind down when she needed a nap.

"Oh, sweet girl, I'm sorry," the woman soothed, her voice lower now as she brushed a thumb over the little one's cheek. "I didn't mean to make you cry. I just need you to think before you do something like this. And then preferably, don't do it. Okay?"

Katie nodded and her mother leaned forward to press a kiss to her forehead, smiling against the girl's skin when she heard a hesitant voice.

"The red one was the smallest, and I didn't think any of the others would fit."

Johanna looked up at her husband again and could see that he was clearly trying to hold back a laugh. Oh dear. No one had prepared her for something like this.

Dirty diapers. Colic. Sleepless nights spent walking the hall with a fussing baby. They'd dealt with all of that. Together.

They'd taken care of all the bumps and bruises an active young child inevitably accumulated.

And they'd handled it just fine, said all the right words when Katie came home from kindergarten that day crying about how the boys in her class wouldn't let her play soccer with them. Jim had taken the girl to the sporting goods store, helped her pick out a cleats and shin guards and taught her how to play, promising that they would sign her up for a girls' summer league if she wanted.

But this? She had no idea what to do.

"I just wanted to see if it would go," a tearful voice whispered, pulling Johanna from her thoughts. "But what if it won't come out? What if it's stuck in there f-f-forever."

Jim sighed and squeezed Katie's shoulder.

"We'll get it out, Kit-Kat, don't you worry."

He leaned down and kissed the crown of the girl's head before reaching out toward his wife.

"Here," he said. "Give me the flashlight to hold. Unless you want to shine it and let me handle the extraction."

Johanna hummed a little and gave him a teasing wink.

"Maybe I should hold it. After all, you always say that I'm the light of your life."

He rolled his eyes good-naturedly and opened his mouth, but Katie spoke first.

"Daddy, I thought I was the light of your life."

Jim ruffled her hair with one hand and reached up to cup his wife's neck with the other.

"You both are," he appeased. "After all, a man can never have too much light."

The little girl tilted her head to one side, a thoughtful expression crossing her face.

"But what about when you're sleeping? It isn't supposed to be light then."

Her father nodded.

"Right you are. But even then, it's good to have a night light so you can see where you're going."

Small arms crossed defiantly across a thin chest, and Johanna could see that Katie would be spoiling for a fight if they didn't head her off quickly. The night light issue had yet to be resolved, even though the little girl did occasionally end up calling one or both of them out of bed to check for monsters.

"Okay," Johanna interjected. "Let's get back to the task at hand."

Jim stepped around the kitchen chair to stand next to his wife, his hand skimming lightly over her back before he knelt in front of his daughter. She'd married a good man.

Their daughter really was a combination of the two of them. She clearly possessed Johanna's stubbornness and fierce sense of right and wrong. And Jim's compassionate nature came out early, while his quick wit that she'd apparently inherited made itself known more and more often these days.

"Which piece did you say it was, sweet pea?" he asked softly, shuffling forward to get a better look.

Katie reached out, setting her small hand on top of his where it covered her knee.

"I'm really sorry," she said, her voice repentant and worried.

Jim flipped his hand and squeezed her fingers tightly. Johanna bent over and set her own hand on top of the joined pair.

"It's okay, baby," she assured her daughter. "You're already forgiven, and everything will turn out just fine."

Katie nodded, and the older woman lifted her hand, stepped back a bit to give her husband a little space, and pressed the button to turn on the flashlight.

"Tweezers, Jo?" Jim requested, and his wife passed over the small tool. "Now which piece was it, Katie? So I know exactly what I'm looking for."

The little girl sighed, the sound more than a little pathetic, and answered as she dutifully tilted her head back.

"One of the tail lights, from the ambulance set you got me for Christmas."

Jim nodded, and lifted his free hand to brace his daughter's shoulder as he set to work.

Johanna had planned for many things when they found out they were expecting Katie.

But a Lego up the nose?

No one had warned her that could happen.

A/N: So I saw a gif on Tumblr today of a scene from 3x09, "Close Encounters of the Murderous Kind," where Kate says that the thing Lanie finds in the vic's x-ray reminds her of the time she stuck a Lego up her nose when she was six. I happened to watch that episode with my mom, and we both flipped, because I did that same thing at about the same age. Unfortunately, they had to take me to the emergency room to get the piece out. Twenty-plus years later, I still love playing with Legos, though I learned my lesson about sticking them up my nose.

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