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The CSI Slayer

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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

You're Frickin' Kidding Me!

Chapter 3: You’re Frickin’ Kidding Me!


You’re Frickin’ Kidding Me!


Disclaimer: Buffy and all characters therein are property of Joss Whedon/Mutant Enemy. CSI: Miami and all characters therein belong to Anthony E. Zuiker, Carol Mendelsohn, Ann Donahue and CBS. So, copyrighted material belongs solely to their respective creators… (i.e. NOT ME!)

Timeline: Post-Chosen for BtVS; and post-Lost Son for CSI: Miami. Everything thereafter is mostly non-canon and AU to boot.

Author’s Note: Special thanks goes out to my wonderful beta: mmooch. Any mistakes you find are solely mine. Enjoy!



20-March-2005
3:20pm


Pulling into the parking lot of the MDPD Crime Lab, Buffy reveled in the feel of the late afternoon sun on her bare arms.

She awkwardly got out of her new car, rubbing at her aching back. ‘Man, I cannot wait for the twins to be born!’ Buffy thought ruefully as she popped open the cargo-hold of the car, grabbing the picnic basket filled with goodies for her Miami family.

She’d been working on some of her IDC paperwork when the nesting urge had struck out of nowhere. So in a fit of ‘Susie Homemaker-ness’ she’d gone into a baking frenzy and made enough cookies and other sweet treats to feed an army of minis after a vigorous patrol. So she was bringing some of it to Horatio and the others… Besides, she had an idea that she wanted to discuss with him, and she figured that bribery couldn’t hurt her chances.

Slowly making her way to the entrance of the Crime Lab, she saw Horatio standing in front speaking with his “lady-friend” Rebecca Nevins. Buffy knew that she was the State Attorney, so she wondered what they were discussing, because whatever it was, it looked serious. With her curiosity piqued, Buffy decided to take advantage of her enhanced hearing capabilities by eavesdropping on the conversation.

And the more she heard of the conversation, the more annoyed Buffy became. ‘What a total dumbass! How could Rebecca think, for even a moment, that Horatio would be okay with her making a deal like that? Does she even know him at all?!?’ Buffy thought in irritation.

As Rebecca walked away, Buffy saw the brief look of disappointment and hurt flash in Horatio’s deep blue eyes before he covered it up with the mask of cool professionalism he usually wore. It made Buffy want to smack the hell out of Rebecca for her stupidity! Deciding then and there that she was going to cheer Horatio up, she adopted the overly perky cheerleader persona she used to do so well and called out, “Hey there Lt. McHottie! Whatcha doin'?”

Turning to his right, Horatio saw Buffy walking awkwardly towards him. Smiling at her salutation, he went to meet her, “Hello sweetheart. What are you doing here today? Shouldn’t you be relaxing?”

Inwardly, Buffy was congratulating herself for getting Horatio to smile; on the outside, however, Buffy stuck out her lower lip in a mock-pout. “What? So now I have to have a reason for coming to visit my favorite CSI? Well, I’m certainly feeling the love here.”

Quickly backtracking, Horatio amended, “Of course you don’t need a reason to visit. I just figured that you’d want to take it easy until the twins were born.”

“Relax H, I know what you meant. I was just teasing you. You know, making with the funnies?”

“Hmm, I see.” Noticing the picnic basket in her hand, he asked, “So what’s in the picnic basket, my little comedienne?”

Lifting the basket higher, she teased, “Oh, you mean this? It just so happens that I got hit with a dose of ‘Susie Homemaker-ness’ and had a baking frenzy like you wouldn’t believe, so I thought that you and the others might appreciate some of the goodies.”

“Well, thank you, that’s a lovely gesture.” Moving to take the basket from Buffy, Horatio was surprised when she pulled it away from him at the last moment.

At Horatio’s raised eyebrows, Buffy gave an apologetic shrug as she clarified, “Normally I’d let you, but this is one of Willow’s special, magically-enhanced baskets. Not that I don’t think you can’t handle it or anything, but it’s far heavier than it looks, and I don’t want to take any chances.”

With a shrug of his own, Horatio placed a protective hand on the small of Buffy’s back as he said, “Shall we head inside then? I’m sure the others will be eager for the sugar rush, and you can get off of your feet and relax.”

“Lead on, Lt. McHottie.”



As predicted, the cookies, tarts, and muffins were a hit. Buffy got a chance to talk to all of her favorite people. Alexx came up from the morgue to fuss over Buffy and the babies, and to make sure that she was taking care of herself.

While she was there, she got to meet the newest member of Horatio’s team: Ryan Wolfe. According to Horatio, Ryan was eager to prove himself, though he seemed a bit on the cocky side. He was OCD, and practiced very meticulous gun maintenance. Something that Buffy wished Tim had taken more seriously.

When he’d been introduced to Buffy, he’d been nothing but polite and respectful. Though there was a hidden gleam in his eyes. In some ways, he reminded Buffy of Faith when she first came to Sunnydale, like he had the propensity to be a real wild card if given enough provocation to let loose. He looked like he was wound a little too tightly.

‘What was that saying Faith had? Oh yeah… Ryan could really be in need of ‘finding the fun’ or else he’ll burst,’ Buffy smirked. ‘Oh dear lord! I so need to keep Faith away from Ryan or she’ll eat him alive; although… he might just enjoy some of Faith’s “special attention”.’

As he made his way back to his office and Buffy, Horatio saw that she was smirking, though her thoughts seemed to be focused elsewhere, and he wondered just what she was thinking about. With the sunlight spilling in from the window of his office, Horatio was struck by how beautiful Buffy looked at that moment. She was, by nature, a beautiful young woman to begin with, but her pregnancy seemed to amplify that beauty. And the way the sunlight hit her seemed to cast her in an ethereal sort of light.

When Horatio entered his office, Buffy turned and gave him a three hundred megawatt smile, and Horatio felt his heart stumble a bit. “Hey there, precious lady, how are you feeling?”

“I’m good, H. So, I met Ryan… and I was just thinking that we’d better keep Faith away from him, or else she may just eat him alive.”

“Yes, I agree. Faith can be a bit overwhelming at times.”

“Well that’s putting it mildly, H. I’d say it’s more like trying to run through a brick wall, and just when you’re getting your equilibrium back, getting hit by a Mack truck for good measure,” Buffy joked, before getting serious. “So anyway, I was wondering if you had any plans this evening. If you don’t, Joseph and I would love to have you over for dinner tonight. I’m going to be making Joseph’s favorites: lasagna, and then chocolate mousse for dessert. And there’ll be plenty, especially since Faith is away taking care of some IDC business.”

“I would love to join the both of you for dinner tonight. Thank you. What time would you like me to show up? And do you want me to bring anything?”

“No, just bring yourself. Dinner will be around six-thirty.”

“Okay.”

Rising slowly from Horatio’s chair, Buffy let out a slight groan. “Boy, I can’t wait for the twins to be born. It’s getting to be a hassle to get up and down now.”

Horatio moved to help Buffy stand all the way up- which she gratefully accepted- rubbing at her aching back once more. “I should go. I have a few things I want to pick up from the grocery store before I go home and start dinner. Want to walk me out, handsome?”

Nodding, Horatio casually draped an arm around Buffy’s shoulders, listening as she talked about the new car she had recently purchased, as they left his office and the building.

“…it’s called a Dodge Magnum, and it’s like a station wagon on crack, according to the dealer. I didn’t care for the standard colors, so Eric went with me to this place that painted cars, and I got a really pretty silvery-blue color, with a light interior that’s been stain-proofed against whatever havoc Joseph can wreak on that poor defenseless car. And there’s plenty of room for when the twins' arrive as well. And then I got some custom rims that act like pinwheels when it’s moving. It’s really neat. Although, the only downside is that it isn’t very fuel efficient. But, if need be, I can also get another car that is less of a gas guzzler… Otherwise, I’m pretty crazy about this car.” Buffy raved.

“That sounds lovely. But how’s the safety on it?” Horatio asked with concern.

“Well, I had Faith with me, and she knows a bit about cars and all that, she told me that it’s fairly safe. It has a V8 engine with something called a Hemi. I don’t know what that means, but Faith says it’s super-powerful. She also says that it in no way could be mistaken for a Mom-mobile. ‘Cos the last thing I want is to have something as uncool as a Mom-mobile! That would just be wrong for someone my age!”

Horatio chuckled at Buffy’s shudder of horror at the thought of being caught in a car that could be considered uncool. “That’s great, sweetheart. I’m glad that you’re happy with your new car.”

“Yeah, and it’s even been set up with the kiddie seat for Joseph, and the car seats for the twins’. Willow and Tara placed some protection charms on it as well. I’m really pleased with that!” Buffy enthused.

When they reached the parking lot, and Buffy’s new car, Horatio let out a low whistle. “You were right sweetheart, that is a fantastic car. Exactly how much did this piece of automotive marvel cost you?”

As Buffy got into the car she said, “Well, once Giles became the Head of the IDC, he arranged for Faith and I to receive compensation for all those years as the only Slayers at the time. And I got some bonuses for my two deaths, so I had plenty of money to pay for it outright; even with the modifications. But it ended up costing close to $36,000.” At the mention of the cost, Horatio let loose another whistle.

“So, I’ll see you later this evening, right?” Buffy confirmed.

“Yes sweetie, I’ll be there tonight.” Horatio assured.

“Okay, then I’ll see you later, H.” With that, Buffy started the engine, leaving Horatio watching as she drove off.



Horatio pulled up to Buffy’s house at twenty minutes after six. He figured that he’d be there to help out with the last minute set up, if need be. But, he also wanted to visit with his nephew for a little while before dinner too, so that was why he was a bit early.

He’d had enough time after work to go home for a shower and to change into something more casual. Since it was a warmer than normal evening, he had decided to wear a pair of khaki-colored linen slacks, and a deep peacock-blue button-down shirt, and a pair of light brown boat shoes. As he walked up to her door, he held in his hands a bouquet of bright, gaily colored sunflowers, and a bottle of sparkling apple cider to enjoy with dinner, since wine was a definite no-go for Buffy right now.

With some maneuvering, Horatio rang the doorbell, waiting for Buffy to answer the door. When she opened the door, he smiled down at her as he crossed over the threshold when she stepped back, allowing him in. She looked fresh and lovely in a cornflower blue maternity sundress. “Hi handsome, I’m glad you could make it. And you’ve come bearing gifts, I see. What kind of prezzies did you bring?” she asked, looking to see what he was carrying.

Handing the flowers and bottle of sparkling cider to Buffy, Horatio replied, “Nothing too exciting really, just some flowers and a bottle of sparkling cider to go with dinner.”

“Thank you. You didn’t have to do that, you know,” she said as she moved to hug Horatio. “But I do appreciate it, though.”

Wrapping his arms around her, he gave her an affectionate kiss on top of her head. “It was no problem.”

Buffy was in no hurry to move out of Horatio’s embrace- as it felt safe and welcoming- the sound of racing feet pounded through the house announcing Joseph’s imminent arrival. “Uncle H! You finally got here!” Joseph squealed, as he threw himself at Horatio, heedless of his mother. So it was good thing that Buffy still had fast enough reflexes to move out of the way before Joseph brought them all down.

“That I am, little man. So, how was your day? What new and exciting things did you do today?” Horatio asked.

Joseph started chattering about how he’d spent the day at SeaWorld with his Aunt Dawn and Uncle Xander, watching the show with the whales and getting to pet the stingrays and the dolphins. While he explained everything he’d seen and heard, he was gesturing wildly with his hands, much to Horatio’s bemusement.

“Why don’t we head into the dining room now? Dinner should be done any minute now,” Buffy suggested. Looking down at Joseph, who was standing next to Horatio, she said, “Did you wash your hands yet, baby boy? You know the rules.”

Nodding his little head, “Yes Mama, I washed them just before Uncle H got here, pinky promise.”

“I believe you, baby boy. Now why don’t you sit down in your spot, okay?” she chuckled. “Go ahead and have a seat, H. I’m just going to grab the lasagna from the oven. Then we can start dinner.”

Even though there was only three for dinner that night, it was by no means a quiet affair. The sounds of laughter and Joseph’s bubbling voice permeated the dining room. After dessert, Joseph was allowed to go watch a movie before his bed time, while Buffy and Horatio cleaned up the dining room, and put the dirty dishes into the dishwasher before sitting down in the living room to have some coffee (or tea in Buffy’s case), making small talk, when Joseph fell asleep watching his favorite Disney movie ‘The Lion King’.

“How about you let me tuck Joseph into bed? That way you don’t have to keep getting up and down, since it’s not an easy task for you,” Horatio recommended.

“I’d appreciate that. Are you sure you don’t mind?”

“Not at all; in fact, I enjoy it.”

Buffy watched as Horatio picked Joseph up, took him into his room, so he could put him to bed. She mused to herself about what a great father Horatio would make. It was just a shame that he hadn’t found a woman worthy of him yet.

She recalled both Tim and Calleigh mentioning his sister-in-law, Yelina. How they’d had feelings for each other, but Horatio refused to act upon it, out of respect for his late brother. She’d ended up dating his nemesis, Rick Stetler to spite him, when she got jealous at the misconception that Suzy Barnam- a druggie girl he’d helped out before- had gotten pregnant and had a daughter by Horatio, when in reality it had been his younger brother Raymond who’d fathered the girl.

And now there was that idiot Rebecca to add to the growing list of women unworthy of Horatio Caine. ‘Geez, H just seems to have some seriously bad dating karma, and it’s such a shame too, because he’s such a wonderful man. Why can’t the women he shows an interest in see that and treat him like he should be treated?’

Horatio came out a few minutes later, so Buffy waited until he’d settled himself back onto the sofa, before she brought up the idea she wanted to discuss with Horatio. “So, no problems tucking Joseph into bed?”

“No, no problems. He didn’t even wake up when I got him changed into his pajamas. I think today’s adventures wore him out completely.”

“Well, that’s good. It’s easier when he’s so wiped out that he can’t kick up a fuss. Otherwise getting him to go to bed can become a frustrating chore. Although I think most parents feel that way, at some point or another.”

“Dinner was wonderful, Buffy. Thank you for inviting me.”

“It was my pleasure. It’s kind of funny how much I actually enjoy cooking now, because when I was younger, I was a disaster in the kitchen. I was the type that could burn water.”

“So what changed that?” Horatio inquired.

“Well, after having Joseph, I realized that I didn’t want to be the type of Mom who fed their child fast food or frozen stuff all the time; and since I couldn’t expect my Mom to do all the cooking, all the time, it became important for me to learn how to cook as well.”

“And then when Mom started getting sick, it was up to me to keep the house running smoothly, which made learning how to make things other than spaghetti and tomato sauce, or burgers and hot dogs even more important. Or else Dawn, Mom, Joseph, and I would have ended up starving, or having to live off of take-out or those nasty frozen meals… or having to eat Dawn-food!” Buffy recalled with a shudder. “And those convenient frozen dinner things have so much horrible crap in it that it would make you cringe. And always eating take-out would’ve gotten way too expensive. And I wouldn’t force Dawn-food on my worst enemy, much less my Mom or son; therefore, I had to learn to cook. But it wasn’t so bad, because I had Mom instructing me whenever she felt alright.”

“Well, whatever the reason you had to learn how to cook, I have to say that you’ve developed quite a talent for it.”

“Thank you for the compliment, H. However, I confess that there were a couple of other reasons for asking you over to dinner.”

“Oh? And what reasons might that have been?”

“Well, I had an idea, and I wanted to get your opinion about it, before I brought it up with the IDC board members.”

When Horatio didn’t say anything, Buffy plowed on with her idea. “I thought that it might be prudent to have members of the IDC placed within the Crime Lab and other local law enforcement agencies, in case something of a more supernatural bent ever comes your way, especially during the night shifts. In fact, I think it would be wise to have witches and slayers within the federal and other governmental branches of law enforcement as well.”

“Ever since the IDC was rebuilt, we have so many active Slayers, and an abundance of magic-wielders and research types at our disposal that can keep an eye out for the weird; and it would also give some of the older Slayers a chance to have careers, all while maintaining their duties… So, what do you think?” Buffy asked earnestly.

Anxiously awaiting Horatio’s opinion of her proposal, Buffy remembered the many recent nights she’d lain awake weighing the pros and cons of this idea. In her opinion, it seemed like common sense, because vampires and certain demons were able to move around so freely amongst the humans in the larger metropolises, while the majority of humans were completely ignorant of the dangers that lurked under cover of darkness, so they were especially vulnerable.

And try though they might, Horatio and his team weren’t equipped to handle the supernatural. That was why it made sense having teams of supernaturally-aware people work within local law enforcement agencies here in Miami, and around the US, and around the world for that matter.

“So what do you think, Horatio?”

“I think… that is a very good idea. It’s a well thought out plan, with sound reasoning behind it; and I know that it would probably be helpful to have people in the field with that kind of knowledge working for us, and the other agencies.”

Buffy let out the breath she wasn’t aware she’d been holding at Horatio’s approval. “Oh thank God! I wasn’t sure it was a good idea. And I really wanted to know what you thought of it, because your opinion really matters to me, Horatio.”

“Well, I’m glad that my opinion matters to you. I have to admit that you and Joseph have become a special part of my life,” Horatio confessed.

Buffy stood to go over to the sofa and give Horatio a heartfelt hug. “Ours too, H; I don’t know how Joseph and I would have gotten through Tim’s death without your support.”

Walking over to the stereo, Buffy turned it onto a lite rock station, before going to sit next to Horatio on the sofa. She cuddled into his side when he wrapped an arm around her, content to enjoy the companionship and easy silence, as they listened to the music.

Horatio was also enjoying the relaxed silence. Around Buffy, Horatio felt a sense of contentment he’d seldom felt around other women he’d known in his life, and it was a feeling he cherished. This night was making up for the rather poor day he’d had while working on the case of the two young lovers who were trying to be the next Bonnie and Clyde; and then having to deal with Rebecca. He still couldn’t believe that she’d made that deal.

“Horatio, can I make a confession to you?” Buffy wondered.

“What is it sweetheart?” Horatio replied.

“I wanted to confess to eavesdropping on you today. I know I shouldn’t have, but when I saw you talking with Rebecca this afternoon- you both looked so serious, and my curiosity got the better of me- so I took advantage of my Slayer-hearing and listened in on your conversation… I’m sorry. Do you think you can forgive me?”

“Hmm, well I appreciate your honesty. I won’t deny that I’m not thrilled that you listened in, but I’m not going to hold it against you, so long as you try to stifle the impulse the next time it strikes you, agreed?”

“Agreed. I solemnly swear not to do it again,” Buffy promised. “But, I have to say this: Rebecca is a dumbass. I can’t believe she would make that kind of deal and then think things could still be peachy between the two of you. Is she evil? Wait a minute... She’s a lawyer- of course she’s evil! I could slay her for you, if you want me to.”

Chuckling at Buffy’s statement, Horatio gave her an affectionate kiss on top of her head, “As much as I appreciate the offer, I’m going to have to decline. Even though I may not have liked her decision, I can’t stop her from doing her job.”

Shrugging Buffy stated, “Oh well, I tried. I’m sorry it didn’t work out though. You need to find someone who can support and love you the way you deserve to be loved, H. I’m certain she’s out there, just waiting to give you the love you’ve been waiting for.”

At that particular moment the song ‘The Power of Love/Love Power’ by Luther Vandross came on the radio, Buffy awkwardly stood up and held out a hand to Horatio and asked, “Dance with me?”

“I’d be delighted to, pretty lady.” Horatio stood up and pulled Buffy into his embrace. Together they swayed gently, lost in the music and the comfort of each others embrace, not bothering to pull away when the next song played. Several songs later, Buffy pulled away with a small cry of distress. Concerned Horatio asked, “What is it sweetheart? What’s wrong?”

Looking down at the puddle of liquid on the floor in dismay, Buffy replied, “Oh Jesus… my water just broke. Horatio, I need you to call Willow, and tell her that she and Tara need to get here ASAP. And then I need you to call Dawn and let her know what’s going on, please.”



After making the call to Willow, Horatio tried to keep himself calm, as they waited for her and Tara to arrive. When a whooshing sound came from the dining room, both Buffy and Horatio turned in that direction. Tara and Willow entered the family room where Buffy sat, along with Faith and Dawn. Tara immediately walked up to Buffy, a gentle smile on her face, “Hi sweetie, how are you feeling?”

“Not too bad at the moment, the contractions are just starting to make themselves known,” Buffy smiled slightly.

“Do you want to head into your room now, or do you want to wait a little bit longer? Whatever you want is up to you.”

“I think I’m okay to stay out here for a bit longer. Is there anyway you or Willow can do some kind of silencing spell on my room? I don’t want to wake Joseph up sooner than necessary.”

“I’m sure Willow can come up with something, let me go ask her. You just keep as relaxed as possible, okay?” Tara instructed. When Tara walked away, Horatio moved to sit next to Buffy as Faith walked up.

“Hey B, I guess you don’t like to do things by halves do you? When you do something, you go all in, don’t ya?” Faith smirked. “Hey H! How’s it hanging?”

“I’m fine, thank you for asking Faith.” Taking one of Buffy’s small hands into his, and with the other Horatio smoothed the hair away from Buffy’s eyes as he asked, “How are you feeling, pretty lady?”

“I’m of the good. It’s only a feeling of mild discomfort for now, so there’s no cause for concern just yet,” Buffy said.

“Can I get you anything? Maybe a glass of water or something?”

Laughing softly at Horatio’s apparent awkwardness in this situation, she shook her head, “No thanks. But, I’d like it if you just kept me company right now.”

“That’s not a problem, sweetheart.”

“Thank you. So, handsome, I take it this your first time around a woman about to give birth?” Buffy teased. “Cos you’re starting to look a little pale.”

“Oh, ha ha. You’re quite the little joker today, aren’t you?” Horatio commented dryly. “But to answer your question, yes this is my first time in this situation, but you knew that already. Any other cute little quips you’ve got in store for me?”

“That… will remain to be seen.” Buffy mimicked Horatio’s own propensity for one-liners, which tickled a genuine laugh out of Horatio.



Hours later, while Buffy was deep in the throes of labor, everyone not directly involved in the delivery were sitting- or in the case of Horatio and Giles- pacing the length of the family room.

Dawn finally had enough of watching Giles and Horatio pacing, and she snapped out, “Would you two cease with the pacing already?! You’re giving me a frickin’ headache! I get that you’re worried and stuff, but that isn’t going to make the labor go any faster, so please, just sit the fuck down already!”

Both Horatio and Giles gaped at Dawn, too stunned by her irritated retort to do anything but comply. Giles couldn’t help but wonder when Dawn had gotten so forceful… then again, she was created from Buffy, so it only seemed right that she would’ve gotten some of Buffy’s dominate personality.

Tara came out from the bedroom at that moment, and Dawn couldn’t help but exclaim, “Oh thank God! I thought I was going to go nuts if I had to wait and watch those two pace a minute longer! I would’ve gone Slayer on their asses! And I’m not even a bloody Slayer!”

“Did the twins’ arrive yet? What are the sexes of the twins'? How’s Buffy doing?” Giles demanded.

With a serene, but mysterious smile Tara answered, “Everyone just calm down, please. Buffy and the babies are fine. Everything went well, and Buffy has invited all of you to her room to meet the babies. I just ask that you don’t get her overexcited. She needs to rest. Understand? Oh, and Horatio? Buffy asked you to go and wake Joseph and bring him along to meet his siblings.”

Nodding his head, Horatio went to do as Buffy asked, while Giles, Dawn, Willow, and Xander followed Tara towards Buffy’s bedroom.

After retrieving a still sleeping Joseph from his room, he made his way to Buffy’s bedroom when he heard Dawn and Xander both exclaim, “Oh, you’re frickin’ kidding me!”

When he entered her bedroom, Horatio noticed that Buffy had one of the babies in her arms, while Giles and Willow also held a baby in their arms. His eyebrows hit his hairline in shock at the sight of three babies. And in his usual understated way he remarked, “Well, this is a most unexpected surprise.”

Smiling tiredly, but with a hint of her normal sass, Buffy replied, “And the award for ‘Understatement of the Millennia’ goes to…”

Several snorts of laughter were heard throughout the room. As Horatio brought Joseph closer to Buffy, so he could meet his new siblings. “Hey little man, wake up, it’s time to meet your new siblings.”

Joseph raised his head sleepily from Horatio’s shoulder, mumbling, “Uncle ‘Ratio? What’s going on?”

“Well, it seems that your new siblings decided that they wanted to come out and greet the world tonight. So, I think we should have you say hello to the babies,” he said, setting Joseph down next to Buffy.

“Baby boy, I want you to meet your brothers and sister.” Raising the baby in her arms so that Joseph could see, she said, “This here is the youngest of the three- Nathan Giles, and that little one in Grandpa Giles’ arms is your sister Aidyn Calleigh, and in your Auntie Willow’s arms is your other brother Benjamin Horatio.” After announcing the name of the oldest, Buffy gave Horatio an insouciant wink, grinning rather cheekily at his gob-smacked expression.

Horatio was at a loss for words. He had no idea that Buffy had even considered bestowing one of her children with his name. He was humbled and flattered by the gesture.

Overwhelmed, he tried to find the words to express what he was feeling at that moment, only to fall short. When she winked at him again, he knew that she understood what this meant to him, so he gave her a grateful smile to express everything he couldn’t put into words.
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