Title: Contents Disclosed
Disclaimer: Bruckheimer owns CSI Miami, Joss owns BtVS. Nuff said.
Spoilers: Er, set in the current season of Miami, but not related to the season, so spoilers for s1ep8 “Slaughterhouse”. Post Chosen.
Summary: To answer the oh-so-evil what’s in the envelope question.
A/N: Because quite a few people asked… only took me a few years to pay up. Contents Disclosed
Horatio Caine waited until he was at home to open the heavy envelope Buffy Summers had given him. He had wondered how little Erin Caplin had turned out. It had been a long time that he’d thought of the little girl. He had stayed in touch with Stacy, Erin’s aunt for a short while, as he did with several of his team’s cases.
Shortly after Erin’s third birthday, her aunt had moved her out of the Miami-Dade area and Horatio had lost contact with the young girl. Several times over the intervening years, Horatio had thought back to that tiny little girl who’d come out physically unscathed even though she was drenched in the blood of her entire family.
He gently removed the contents of the envelope and smiled at the bright smiling face of the girl staring up at him. Printed carefully on the back of the picture were the words ‘Erin Caplin, Ms. Jones’ 1st grade class’. Beneath the school photo was a handwritten letter from Stacy, apologizing for the abruptness of her departure from Miami and for not keeping in contact with him. She also went on to thank him for his aid during the custody hearings. Caplin had actually tired to contest the custody decision that gave his daughter to his dead wife’s sister.
A small scrapbook full of pictures of Erin in both a ballerina outfit and a karate outfit mirrored each other on the cover. Interspersed between the photos were coloring book pages with the words ‘For Detective Caine’ written over and over on them.
The final page of the book had a sleeping Erin cuddled up on the lap of a man with a dark eye patch and a Hawiaan shirt. Her thumb was in her mouth and a dark orange stuffed bunny was clutched tightly to her chest.
Horatio recognized it as the toy he’d given Erin after they’d arrested her father for murdered his wife and sons. She’d been crying uncontrollably before Stacy had come to get her. The moment Horatio had peered over her crib, she’d quieted. Scrawled across the back in neat block letters read the words: ‘Erin’s nightly bedtime ritual - hearing about her two heroes: her brother and the detective who saved her’.
The final object in the envelope was a business card with the name ‘Xander Harris, special projects liaison’ printed on it next to a smiling image of the one eyed man from the final picture of the scrapbook. On the back of the card were the words ‘I’ll try to take care of our girl as good as you and her brother did‘.
Horatio knew then that even though he had reservations about this group helping Erin and Stacy out, that both woman and child were in capable hands and that he didn’t have to fear for their safety. ~*~
“Tell me again, Xan,” Erin yawned against Xander’s chest as he carried back to the extra bed in Stacy’s hospital room. The doctors weren’t sure she would pull through, and with the traumatic injury she’d suffered at the hands of the vampires who’d been out to get Erin, the Council was sure she wouldn’t. It was just a matter of time.
Stacy had done everything to protect her niece - everything she’d claimed she’d failed to do to save her nephews and sister years before. Erin had family here with the Council, with Buffy and Xander. Stacy knew that her death would be hard enough on Erin, she didn’t want her to be ripped away from everything she knew for a third time. And Stacy’s earlier living will would rip Erin away. Because Erin would have been given over to the man responsible for saving her life the second time: Horatio Caine. And while the Council didn’t doubt his ability to protect Erin, they couldn’t guarantee that she
could protect him from the things that went bump in the night.
“Once upon a time,” Xander said on a shaky breath as he watched the machines breathing for Stacy. “There was a little slayer named Erin.”