***Please don't hate me for this, okay? I just wanted to experiment. I own nothing, save for the OCs.

A ten-year-old squirrrel girl dug around in a cluttered drawer. It was a day off from school today, so she was bored. Her name? Bailey SquarePants. The only child of SpongeBob SquarePants.

"CD...DVD...empty battery pack...what's this?" Bailey mumbled. With a little bit of trouble due to the drawer's disorganization, she pulled out an old picture. It was a wedding picture. To be specific, it belonged to SpongeBob and...some squirrel Bailey had never seen before. So she went up to the big bedroom.

SpongeBob sat contently in his chair, organizing some things for work. He looked up after hearing footsteps. "Hiya, kiddo! What's up?" he asked. Bailey kept a serious expression. "Who's this lady, Daddy? She looks like me," she said, showing the picture.

Silence. It was almost eerie. SpongeBob went slack-jawed for a few moments. After regaining his senses, he decided to answer. "That's...that's your mother," he said.

Bailey felt just as shocked. She had no memories of her mother and she wasn't brought up in the house. At all. "You found the picture," SpongeBob said softly. He sat on the bed. More than just his eyes were blue now.

He simply looked down, not moving. Not speaking. Just thinking. Bailey climbed on the bed next to him. "Daddy...can you tell me about Mom? What was she like?" she asked.

SpongeBob explained everything about Sandy that Bailey asked to know; name, personality, the works. A few simple questions later, the big one came along. "How did she die?" Bailey asked.

She rested her chin on her knees as SpongeBob told the story.

XxX

Sandy had always insisted that she was fine. That it was just a little bout of sickness. SpongeBob didn't believe it at first. Now he definitely didn't believe it. This "little bout of sickness" had landed Sandy in the hospital.

Things seemed to be falling apart. Money was really tight around the SquarePants house. SpongeBob had been ditching work for the past good while now. He was always at the hospital. It pained him to know that Sandy most likely wouldn't live for much longer. Bailey SquarePants, barely two months old, would probably grow up without a mother.

SpongeBob pulled up a chair by the bed. He gently took Sandy's hand. She looked so fragile, so sickly in the bed. "H-hello," she said. Her voice, once clear and strong, was now raspy and soft. She was dying.

"Hi. Another day gone by, huh?" SpongeBob asked. He tried to smile but failed. He merely watched as Sandy grew sleepier, the life in her eyes fading. "SpongeBob...just lay with me," she said. SpongeBob did as told. He held Sandy close, stroking her fur. "I don't want to let go," she said. She was about to cry.

SpongeBob nodded. He was about to cry as well. "I don't want to let go either. But we have to let go at some time. This is one of those times. Before you leave, I want you to know that...th-that I love you, Sandy," he said. He didn't know how else to put it.

"I love you too," Sandy said. She made herself smile one last time. "We'll always be tighter than bark on a tree." After that, she broke into a coughing fit. It was time.

SpongeBob held her close until she stopped coughing and closed her eyes for the very last time. She went still. SpongeBob remained in the bed, tears involuntarily falling down his cheeks. They fell onto the bedding and even onto Sandy's fur.

Bleeeeeep.

The monitor flat-lined. Heartbroken SpongeBob got out of the bed and sat back down in the chair. He couldn't believe this. He refused to believe this. But...he had to believe it. The world could be such a cruel place at times.

Saddening silence was broken by the sound of the room door opening. In came an orange fish nurse. She held a crying baby squirrel. "Mr. SquarePants, I think she wants you," the nurse said.

SpongeBob stood up and took Bailey from the nurse. He rocked her gently, shushing her. "It's okay, calm down. Daddy's got you. You're okay..."

XxX

Current-day Bailey wiped some tears from her eyes. "I-I...I don't know what to say," she said. SpongeBob was crying as well. He held onto Bailey with the same comfort he'd given her ten years ago. And they both cried harder that they ever had in their lives. Salty tears stained the bedding.

This continued for a half-hour solid. "Daddy, it's okay. We'll be okay. Mom's still here with us," Bailey said. "Sandy died ten years ago," SpongeBob said. He stopped crying after a small, warm finger pressed softly into his chest over his heart. "What are you..." he trailed off.

"You and Mom, you were "tight as bark on a tree" like she said. That doesn't have to change. You never know; Mom could be looking out for us right now. I bet she still loves us," Bailey said. SpongeBob kissed her atop her head. "Thank you, sweetheart," he said. Bailey only smiled.

"No problem."

***That's that. What did you think? I'd like your reviews.