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This story is No. 3 in the series "Life As You Know It". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: #3 in my series. Life goes on for Buffy and family. With new choices and prospects, what will Buffy choose to do?

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
CSI > CSI Miami(Past Donor)KieriToewsFR131133,63534815,1665 Dec 094 Jan 14No

Hungry Eyes


Not mine (unfortunately). The lyrics to the song "Party Up" belong to DMX and his record company.


This chapter was a royal pain to write, which is why it took so long to be posted. Also, because I am incredibly impatient, this has not been beta'ed (aside from the revisions I made to it). BTW, MS Word *hates* me, so quite often, it will do it's level best to thwart my editing efforts. Any and all errors are mine. Oops? Let me know and I'll do what I can to correct the mistakes.

"Qoutations": Speech

'Single Quotations': Thoughts

Bold Italics: Memory/Conversation

Don't know what they're called { }: Song lyrics

CH. 10: Hungry Eyes

3rd of June

The sun was just peeking out over the eastern horizon when Buffy was jolted out of her sleep. Instantly alert and ready to spring into action, she instinctively scanned the bedroom for any possible threat.

When she found none, her Slayer-mindset retreated and her mommy-mindset came to the fore. That’s when she heard the fussing of a baby. Given the time that it was, then it had to be Nathan fussing. The only question was: did he need a diaper change or to be fed?

When she lifted him out of his crib, she immediately knew which matter of business needed tending to.

Although she would never admit this aloud; but there were times she could honestly say that her babies' diapers smelled worse than some of the nastiest demons she’d had to go up against as a Slayer.

Once he was changed, she decided to see if he was hungry as well. Moving over to sit in the rocking chair; she lifted her top baring her breast to Nathan, which he immediately latched onto. As he fed, she quietly sang to him in an effort to lull him back to sleep.

It was strange, but like Joseph, Nathan seemed to like when Buffy sang songs by Genesis to him; whereas Benjamin and Aidyn preferred Sade and Queen, respectively. She knew that each of her babies had different personalities, but for them to have such distinct musical preferences this young? It just was weird. But who was she to knock it? And it wasn’t just their musical preferences that varied either.

Their sleeping patterns differed greatly as well. For example: Benjamin loved his sleep and could sleep like the dead through the night, waking up at a decent hour in the morning; while Aidyn was already more nocturnally inclined; and Nathan was an early riser, much to Buffy's dismay.

When Nathan fell back to sleep, Buffy put him back into his crib, intent on going back to sleep for a few more hours herself. While she could go for long periods of time without a lot of sleep, she really didn’t like to. She was very much like Benjamin. Meaning, that she loved her sleep and would sleep in whenever she got the opportunity; which wasn’t very often these days, but it was a sacrifice she’d long ago learned to live with.

Several hours later…

Ryan was just locking the front door of his apartment- sweaty from his morning run- intent on a shower as he headed towards his bedroom. He sat down on his immaculately made bed so that he could pull off his running shoes, he then stripped off his running shorts and shirt. Walking into his bathroom, he turned the water on and let it warm up before hopping into the shower.

Once in, he let the warm stream of water rinse away the sweat and dirt from his body before grabbing the shampoo and squirting some into his hair and working it into a rich lather as his mind drifted off.

Today was the barbeque at the Summers-Speedle residence, and Ryan was psyched. He was looking forward to seeing Dawn again. He’d been thinking of her almost non-stop since meeting her.

She was beautiful, funny and he could tell that she was intelligent. Plus, he thought her babbling was adorable.

He’d been working up to asking her out for coffee when her sisters had embarrassed her and she’d run from the room that day. When she came back, she’d barely acknowledged him before leaving again with her sisters.

He hoped to have the opportunity to get to know her a little bit better today. If all went well, he was going to ask her out on a date. From what he’d heard, the beach wasn’t very far from their home, apparently. He hoped to be able to talk Dawn into a walk along the water at some point during the barbeque.

Calleigh had already given him a friendly warning about courting Dawn. She’d told him that all members of her family were scarily protective of her, and if he wasn’t seriously interested in her, that he shouldn't bother pursuing her. But instead of deterring him, Ryan found himself even more intrigued by her. But he would heed Calleigh’s advice and move cautiously in his pursuit.

After he was done with his shower he headed back into his bedroom to get dressed, and then he was going to make himself breakfast.


The house was a buzz of activity as last minute preparations were marked off of the checklist to make sure everything was in order.

All of the items dealing with the supernatural were hidden away; and the house was looking as spotless as was possible for a home with three babies, a six year old, and a nineteen year old. Xander was busy hauling the food from the kitchen-- with Faith’s help-- to the backyard and ready for grilling. Drinks were chilling in beverage buckets at strategic points throughout the house and backyard. Buffy’s iPod was plugged in, with her favorite party play-list set and ready to go. Joseph and the triplets were already dressed for the party. They were currently being entertained by Tara and Willow, so that Buffy could go and finish getting dressed herself.

In her room, Buffy had chosen an ice-blue bikini that flattered her now more curvaceous body, with a blue and white floral sundress to wear over it. She’d recently gotten her hair cut, into an above-the-shoulder razor-cut shag.

It had taken some getting used to at first because she was used to having long hair. But after the adjustment period, she found that she preferred the new ‘do because it was easier to deal with; and with four kids, she hardly had time to fuss over her appearance the way she used to.

Not that she let herself go or anything, she just preferred being able to get her ablutions done quickly these days. When she was done dressing, she went back downstairs to check on her kids before the guests arrived.


At precisely one, the doorbell rang. And since quite a few of the IDC people had already arrived, it was most likely going to be people from the Crime Lab at the door.

When Buffy opened the door, she was unsurprised to see Horatio and Calleigh standing there. If any of the CSIs would be on time-- or early-- it would be these two (and Alexx).

“Hi guys! I’m glad you could make it,” Buffy greeted, waving them into the house.

“Wow! Buffy, I love what you’ve done with your hair,” Calleigh exclaimed at Buffy’s new, much shorter hairdo. “It looks fabulous on you.”

Horatio was surprised by Buffy’s new look. He’d been a fan of her long hair, but he had to admit that she looked even more beautiful, and that the shorter hair accentuated her face. And the sundress she was wearing… “Calleigh is right, sweetheart, you look outstanding. The shorter cut makes your facial features stand out more, and your dress is lovely.”

“Thanks, you two. I was a little skeptical of the new ‘do at first,. But now? I’m loving it. It’s easier to maintain and I can be done with my hair with minimal fuss; which is of the good since I have four kids to take care of,” Buffy said, “By the way, you two are the first ones from the Crime Lab to arrive.”

“Good, then that means we get first dibs on the best seats and food, right?” Calleigh teased, as she and Horatio entered the house.

“Yeah, I’m not so sure about that one,” Buffy replied with a rueful shake of her head. “We have a few slayers coming, and I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but we slayers tend to need to eat more-- especially after vigorous activity. I think we could put football players to shame. And I know that Dawn wants to get some of the people together to play volleyball down on the beach a little later, so we'll have to see if there's any food leftover after that.”

“I had a few friends that were football players back in school, and they tended to eat a *lot* on game days, so I can only imagine,” Calleigh said.

Horatio and Calleigh followed Buffy through the house, as she guided them towards the backyard.

As they stepped through the backdoor, they saw Xander standing in front of a large stainless steel gas grill talking to Faith, as he was placing the food close enough to the grill that it would easily be within reach as he cooked. Willow, Tara and Giles were sitting underneath a large portable gazebo with the triplets. Dawn was on the other side of the yard arguing with a geeky looking blonde guy about how the sound system was set up.

“So, would you two like anything to drink right now?” Buffy asked. “We’ve got bottled water, juices, sodas, even bottled coffee beverages for everyone underage; while right over there, we have a mini-bar set up with beer and wine for the adults. We even employed a bartender for the mixed drinks, if anyone cares to indulge in such concoctions.”

“Looks like you have everything covered,” Horatio observed, “But I think I’ll have a soda for now, though.”

“I think I’ll just have water,” Calleigh answered, “So, what exactly is on the menu anyway?”

“We’ve got everything. Hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken; you know, the whole shebang. We even have stuff for the non-meat eaters, which include Tara’s to-die-for veggie burgers. We also have corn on the cob, potato salad, and all of the other fixings. No food preference will go without today,” Buffy declared, “And we have quite the selection of desserts as well.”

Buffy heard the sound of the doorbell as she grabbed drinks for Horatio and Calleigh, excusing herself she went to answer the door, as they wandered over to the gazebo.

A few hours later, the party was in full swing and it seemed as though everyone was having a good time when Buffy plopped herself down next to Horatio. Watching her guests interact, she asked, “So, are you enjoying yourself, H?”

“I am, sweetheart. You did a wonderful job on this party. Everyone seems to be having a great time.”

“Good. I’m glad everything seems to be going smoothly,” Buffy said as she laid her head on Horatio’s shoulder with a yawn, “Who knew that planning and hosting a party could be so tiring?”

Horatio chuckled as he leaned his cheek against the top of Buffy’s head, “I suppose it can be.”

“At least I have Tara here to help me with the triplets. I would’ve been beyond exhausted if I’d had to care for the triplets as well as make the rounds as the “hostess with the mostest”, if she hadn’t been able to make it. I have to say that hiring her as a nanny for the kids was one of the smartest things I’ve ever done. I really ought to get Giles something special for suggesting it in the first place.”

“She does seem to have a way with children, doesn’t she?”

“Yup, it’s that whole “earth mother” vibe she’s got going on,” Buffy agreed, “Though, now that the triplets are down for their nap, I think I may just go for a swim in the pool. Hopefully it will invigorate me enough to get through this afternoon with as few complications as possible. Would you care to join me, handsome?”

“Certainly. But first, I’m going to head back inside o that I can get changed into my swim trunks. I’ll be back shortly, though?”

“Sure. You can go ahead and use my bathroom to change into your trunks if you want to. That way you won’t have to wait in line for access to any of the bathrooms if they’re busy. I’ll see you by the pool in a few minutes, H.”

As Horatio was walking away, he didn’t see Buffy strip off her sundress, revealing her swim suit. However, when he was mere steps away from reaching the backdoor, he made the mistake of looking back to where Buffy stood, which proved to be his undoing. Instead of paying attention to where he was walking, he was too busy staring at Buffy in her ice-blue bikini. So, rather than opening the backdoor, he managed to walk into it instead.

Horatio looked around to see if anyone had seen his little misstep. Much to his chagrin, he saw that Giles, Calleigh, and Tara were smirking in his direction. He felt his cheeks beginning to heat up from the embarrassment of his moment of clumsiness being witnessed... so much for being cool and unflappable.

Ryan was having a great time. He had been chatting with Dawn for the past half hour, and the more they talked, the more attracted to her he became.

She was nineteen, almost twenty; and she was already a junior at the University of Florida. She was a Language Arts major with a minor in forensic anthropology.

According to her, she was a total geek for languages. In fact, Dawn had recently been accepted into an internship program to study Egyptology and some of the more ancient and obscure languages- such as Sumerian and Aramaic- as soon as she graduated from U of F. And she was already fluent in Spanish, Italian, French and Russian. She was also in the process of learning Norwegian and Irish at the moment. She even knew how to speak a bit of Klingon; and a little bit of Quenya and Sindarin, which were the two main languages of the Elves of Middle Earth. She said that she’d learned a bit of the last two because her friend Andrew was a sci-fi geek who had taught her how to speak them after a movie-fest where they watched all three of the movies in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

She’d also readily admitted to being something of a spaz when it came to athletics. And yet, it didn’t deter her from still trying.

He admired her for her dogged persistence in regards to her apparent lack of athleticism, though. Plenty of others would have given up trying after having as many sports fails as she had claimed to have.

So she was smart, beautiful, courageous and funny… and if he was reading her body language correctly, she was also as into him as he was into her.

Needless to say, Ryan was feeling pretty darn happy right about now, watching as she went about wrangling up some people to play volleyball down on the beach.

Buffy was lying in a floating chaise when Horatio finally made his way to the edge of the pool. As she watched him lower himself into the water, she couldn’t help but admire his body. He still looked pretty damn good for a man in his mid-forties. He was definitely a hottie in her opinion, and she could feel her mouth watering.

If Horatio had seen the hungry look that had entered her eyes, he would know what a bison felt like when it was being stalked by a pack of wolves. As it was-- because she was wearing a pair of oversized, dark-tinted D& G sunglasses-- he couldn’t see the lust-filled look she was shooting in his direction. Her thought processes were stripped down to the most basic levels as she watched him swim towards her, simply running along the lines of ‘hmm, yummy, me likey’.

Out of nowhere, Timmy’s words popped into her head as she watched Horatio. ‘When the opportunity does present itself, don’t turn away from it. Don’t doubt what you feel. For what it’s worth, I’ll be happy for you. I want you to be happy; it’s what I’ve always wanted for you.’ Stunned by this sudden epiphany, she was certain that if she had been drinking anything at this moment, she would have done a major spit-take. Pushing her sunglasses up, she stared at Horatio in dismay, her thoughts going a mile a minute. 'When the hell did this happen?!? When had she developed “more than friends” feelings for Horatio?'

Horatio was swimming towards Buffy, when he realized that she was gaping in his general direction. Concerned, he swam a bit quicker to her. “Buffy? Are you alright?”

Quickly shaking off her dismay, she smiled at Horatio. “Of course I am, H. Why would you think something’s wrong?”

“Well, it appeared as though you were disturbed about something, and since you were looking in my direction, I used my deductive reasoning skills and came to the conclusion that something was wrong,” Horatio answered.

“No, nothing’s wrong. I’m peachy with a side of keen,” Buffy hedged, not looking Horatio in the eyes.

She didn’t know what to make of her sudden epiphany, and she wasn’t about to share this little tidbit of information with Horatio until she’d had an opportunity to think about it-- and she was definitely going to have to think about it-- just not right now. Instead, she sent him a three hundred megawatt smile, as she abruptly changed the subject to something less intense.

‘Buffy is avoiding the question,’ Horatio thought.

He could count on one hand the number of times she had done that to him since they had become better friends. And frankly, Horatio was a little hurt by it. He had assumed that she knew she could talk to him about anything. But it was obvious from Buffy’s deflection of his concern that she didn’t want to discuss whatever it was that was bothering her. He believed that she would tell him when she was ready to, so he had to let the matter slide for the time being.

It was almost six o’ clock when the party started winding down. Most of the people from the Crime Lab had left already. Only the diehards (i.e. Horatio, Calleigh, Eric and Ryan) remained. As for the IDC members, only the core Scoobies remained, with the exception of Rona, Vi, Amanda, Shannon and Andrew.

The party had been a success in Buffy’s opinion. The slayers and Watchers had gotten along rather well with the CSIs. And from some of the conversations that Buffy had gleaned, it seemed like the whole idea of having the IDC working with the MDPD Crime Lab would be a good one.

If this project worked out, then Buffy and the other Board Members could think about expanding this project to the other law enforcement agencies.

Horatio was talking with Tara, Willow and Buffy-- as they entertained the triplets-- when the music changed from some light-hearted tune to a much faster, heavier tempo song. Unsure what to think of such a drastic change in music, Horatio turned to Buffy with a quizzical look. From the look on her face, this was not a song she was aware was on the music playlist. And when the lyrics came on, he understood exactly why.

{Y’all gon’ make me lose my mind, up in HERE, up in here
Y’all gon make me go all out up in here, up in here
Y’all gon’ make me act a FOOL up in HERE, up in here
Y’all gon’ make me lose my cool up in here, up in here

I gotsta bring it to you cowards then it’s gonna be quick, aight
All your mens up in the jail before, suck my dick
And all them other cats you run with, get done with, dumb quick
How the fuck you gonna cross the dog with some bum shit?
There go the gun click, nine one one shit…}

Horatio watched, fascinated, as Buffy’s face started to turn red from her barely contained anger. But when Joseph wandered past them singing along to the song, {“...Y’all niggaz remind me of a strip club, cause every time you come around, it’s like (what) I just gotta get my dick sucked…”} When Buffy heard that, she lost her composure completely.

“DAWN ISABELLA SUMMERS!! You get your butt over here right this minute!!” Buffy bellowed.

Horatio watched as Dawn sauntered over to them with a smirk on her face, “You bellowed?”

“Can you tell me *why* my six year old son is singing along to the lyrics of this awful song?” Buffy demanded.

“I’m guessing it’s because he likes it. Isn’t that usually the reason why anyone sings the lyrics to any song?” Dawn replied innocently.

“I cannot believe you, Dawn! What the heck are you thinking playing this kind of garbage around Joseph?! I thought you had more common sense than that! This kind of music is completely unacceptable to play around him! He is an impressionable child, and whenever I leave him in your care, I expect you to act like an adult around him!” Buffy raged.

“What’s the big? It’s not like he understands what the lyrics mean,” Dawn said.

At the blasé comment and attitude, Buffy’s face went from a light red to dark red, almost purple, “What’s the big? What’s the big?!? The *big is* that you are his aunt! And you are supposed to be responsible enough to *know* that I absolutely would not approve of you playing this type of garbage around any of my children!!! I am flabbergasted that you could even think that there is nothing wrong with an impressionable child singing those filthy lyrics! I would never allow this and you damn well know it! I cannot believe your blasé attitude about this! Perhaps I gave you too much credit in believing that you were mature and responsible?”

Before Buffy could continue on with her rant, Horatio interceded and pulled her away from Dawn just as Giles stepped up to Dawn, clucking his tongue in disapproval, also intent on scolding her. However, Giles wanted to avoid making an even bigger scene and further embarrassing Dawn in front of the others. So instead of yelling like Buffy had, he kept his voice calm and even, explaining to her why such behavior and attitude were childish and unacceptable when it came to her nephews and niece.

Meanwhile, Horatio took Buffy’s hand and pulled her in the direction of the beach, “Let’s go for a walk along the water. I think it’ll help you to calm down. I know you don't want to say or do anything that you’ll regret later on.”

“I cannot believe that she would behave this irresponsibly around Joseph! I trusted her to act in his best interests when he was in her care,” Buffy growled, “She should have known better!”

“I understand your anger, sweetheart, really I do. But you have to remember that she’s still pretty young, and she’s bound to make stupid mistakes and act irresponsibly from time to time,” he reminded. “You also have to remember that she didn’t have to grow up as fast as you did. She didn’t have the responsibilities to deal with that you did. You had the weight of the world thrust upon your shoulders at fifteen; while she was allowed to remain a teenager, in spite of the troubles associated with being your sister.”

“That still doesn’t excuse what she did! And did you see her reaction? She thought it was funny!” she continued to rant.

“Maybe not, but she doesn’t see this the same way you do. After all, in her mind, she is just the cool aunt, not an authority figure. And it is easier for her to excuse her own actions with that kind of mindset.”

Buffy didn’t want to be mollified, but she did have to concede that Horatio had a point.

“You’re right,” she grumbled, “But is it so wrong for me to have expected her to use better judgment where Joseph is concerned?”

“No, it isn’t. But, because she is still prone to lack of common sense, she’s going to say and do things that will anger you,” he said, “Although one day, she’ll become a parent, and when she goes through some of these same problems that you did, you can just sit back and laugh at her predicament, because you’ve already been through it and come out of it relatively unscathed.”

“Being an adult really sucks sometimes.”

“That it does. But no one ever said it would be easy, unfortunately.”

“I don’t think Dawn would have been this bad if our mother were still alive. It makes me miss my mom all the more whenever I have to deal with this from Dawn. I don’t think I’ll ever understand how Mom was able to deal with all the bullshit that she had to deal with without losing her mind.” Sighing wistfully, she continued, “I would give just about anything to have my mom back. I would apologize for all the grief I put her through. And I think that Dawn would have been better off psychologically. I know that losing our mom when she was fourteen damaged her. Added to that, my own death soon after didn’t help her, either.”

“I know it’s been tough on you, but I think that considering the circumstances, you’ve done a wonderful job of raising your sister, Buffy. You should give yourself a little more credit than you do. I honestly believe that your mom would be very proud of how far you’ve come.”

Everything Horatio said made sense, but Buffy couldn’t help but wonder sometimes. If she had never been “Called”, then she never would have had to endure all of the pain and doubt she had gone through.

True, she would likely still be the vapid airhead cheerleader that she’d once been, but at least her mom would still be alive, and her parents would still be together, and she’d still be her daddy’s princess.

As they walked along the water, each caught up in their own thoughts; Horatio wrapped his arm around Buffy’s shoulders in a gesture of comfort. He felt her tense up for a moment before she let herself relax into his embrace. And for the second time that day, he felt the hurt flare up. Clearly something about him or something he had done was bothering her; but he was mystified as to what he could have possibly done wrong to receive such a reaction from her.

Letting it slide once more, he kept Buffy entertained with little anecdotes about some of the more comical mishaps from his youth, and some that had occurred while working.

He could brood over why she had tensed at his touch and what he had done wrong later, when he was home alone.
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