The Adopter.

Xander saw the twinkling on the couch while he was making a snack.  He sighed, looking out there, then finished the short cooking task before walking out.  It only took a minute and Hubert was still staring at the carseat.  "I know, we've seen one of those before.  About a month before the convention."  It had been almost a month since the convention and he was bored today anyway.

Looks like he had something to do now.  He sat down, taking the envelope off her stomach.  It was clearly a girl in the all pink onesie that had 'girl' printed across the chest.  She had red fluff on top of her head and gorgeous medium brown skin, mostly still wrinkled.  Her nose was a bit pronounced but so was her chin.  He was sure she'd grow into them some year.

She was sleeping so Xander got to nibble while he read the contents.  "Well, Amelia Jocelyn, let's see what we can do since they sent you to me."  He stood up, putting the information in his pocket before picking her up.  The carseat had the base attached so he could install it in the Range Rover for now.  It was the safer car.  No one was going to shoot at it because they knew better.  The corvette was more easily crashed too.  He locked the house and turned on the alarm, heading out to stick the baby seat in the front seat.

He turned off the front airbags and made sure she was in properly.  He had looked that information up when they had the Chris for a few hours.  She yawned, blinking at him like Jensen did when he didn't have on his glasses.  "Shh, Mellie.  I'm Uncle Xander, and I'm taking you to meet your other uncles," he soothed.  She went back to sleep.  He closed the door and walked around the front to get in and drive them to the team's apartment building.

It wasn't a long drive, thankfully.  She was starting to get more awake instead of sleepier.  He smiled at her, letting her have his hand to squeeze for now.  They had to get some baby things.  He paused to do that at a drive-thru so he wouldn't have to take the baby out of the car.   "Hi, I need some formula, a few bottles, a pacie set, and some diapers for a newborn," he told the woman with a smile.  She gave him an odd look.  "I'm babysitting and the mother forgot the diaperbag."

"That poor dear.  Girl or boy?  They do make different ones."

"Girl.  Just home and Mom needs sleep."  He handed over some money and got the bag, smiling at her.  "Thank you.  Can you say thank you, Mellie?"  The baby grunted.  "I know, that's a normal noise.  We'll see your other uncles to introduce you around."  He smiled at her.  "Thanks."

"Welcome, sir."  He drove off, the bag on the seat beside him.  She was having a funny feeling but she wasn't sure why.  So the next time an officer came in, and there was a local precinct so it wasn't too long, she had a talk with him.  "I just had a guy picking up stuff for a newborn girl.  Said her mom was resting, they were just home from the hospital."

"I haven't heard any alerts," he admitted.  "What was he driving?"

"A huge matte silver stretch thing."

"That's Harris," he said, realizing it.  It was their local precinct too.  "I'll check on that but I know him.  He'd never hurt a kid.  His boy's in the department."  She smiled.  "I know his assistant's girlfriend is pregnant so maybe it was hers.  Thanks."  He paid and walked out, calling through dispatch to Flack, who didn't know a thing.  Flack said he'd call though.


Xander hit the button to answer the hands-free system as he parked.  "Yup."

"Baby?" Don asked.

"Amelia Jocelyn... no last name yet.  I'm the adoption committee."  He parked and turned off the engine.

"Where did she come from?" Don asked.

"Devon."  He hung up and looked at the baby, seeing her wide awake.  "That was Uncle Don.  We'll visit him later."  He got the bag and got out, closing and locking the door then walking around to get her out.  She was trying to smile, so she probably needed to belch.  "I'll burp you in a minute."  He closed and locked that door then let himself in and went upstairs.  "Jensen?" he called.  They were all used to it and the normal residents thought he was cute.  Jensen opened the door.  Xander looked.  "Your place is a wreck."

"Yes it is.  Jess was over," he sighed.  "Oh damn," he said, staring at her.  "Um...  Where?"

"Came from Devon."  He grinned.  "Go get Junior?"

"I can do that.  Go to Coug's place."  Xander nodded, walking that way.  Jensen grabbed something off his desk and went to get the other baby.  Pooch was asleep so he snuck in and got him.  Jolene was out getting groceries.  They showed up at Cougar's to see him staring at the baby.  "Roque made a pretty little thing."  He put Junior down.

Junior stared then at him.  "You need to learn how to properly hug babies," Xander said.  "Since you're going to be a big brother soon.  Just like Dean is."  He put Junior into his lap.  "This is Mellie.  Can you say Mellie?"


"That's close enough."  He undid the straps and pulled her out to sit next to him.  "She's very little.  You're very big next to her," he told the baby, who grinned and patted her.  "Gently and not on the head, Junior."  He taught him to hold her hand, which she liked.

"That's the please burp me face," Jensen said.

"I know."  He put Junior down, turning her to burp her.  She belched up some stuff but seemed happier.  Junior crawled back up to sit next to her.  "Good boy."

Jensen considered it then sent a text message. //Want me to be nice for a minute?//

He got back, //Why?//

Jensen took a picture.  "What's her actual name?"

"Amelia Jocelyn."

Jensen typed that in and sent it.  It took a few minutes then he got a simple //Thanks//.  He put his phone up.  "She's adorable.  Clearly the best of both parents."  He took her to hold.  "You're a solid little girl.  Like your daddy is."  Junior crawled over to sit in his lap too so he could hold her hand.  "That's very good, Junior.  Such a smart little boy."  He smiled.

Pooch walked in.   "What are you doing?"

"We're teaching him to not thump a baby," Xander said with a grin.

"We borrowed one for that?" Pooch asked dryly.

"No, I got named the adoption committee."  Pooch glared.  "Wouldn't Roque rather that you guys made sure she didn't turn out like him?  This way you know where she is.  And he still needs to learn before yours gets here."

"He did," Jolene agreed, walking in.  "Aww, she's adorable!  Even if she is that mother fucker's daughter."  She picked her up to hold.  "Such a pretty thing, baby girl."

"Amelia Jocelyn.  So I'm gathering contacts to introduce her to.  Plus letting you guys see her."

"If he was dead, we'd have looked out for her," Clay agreed as he walked in and shut the door.   "Hey, little one.  You're tiny and have red hair."

"She's probably going to have some curls.  Willow did when she was younger."  Xander took Junior back.  "He did very good learning to coo and hold her hand so far."

"That's a good thing to do with newborns," Jolene said, sitting beside Xander that meant they had to scoot over and so did Cougar but this way her son could learn how to love on her.  "Who are you thinking about introducing her to?"

"The family.  Horatio knows some couples that want to adopt.  Maybe the higher end of the poker circle in case some of them might.  I figured you guys would at least want to meet her."

"Yeah, we did," Jensen agreed.  He smiled at Clay.  "I sent a picture."

"The notes with her said that the coven named her because Willow knew she'd never give her up and they had a 'duh' moment when deciding Sunnydale was dangerous," he said sarcastically.  "She decided she trusted me enough to let me find her good parents and to look over her shoulder so she doesn't turn into us."

"Will she have the gifts?" Jolene asked.

Xander shrugged.  "It wasn't in Willow's family before that.  Possibly.  If so, there's easy training and I'll make sure she gets the stuff that Willow skipped on purpose because it was so slow learning it."

Junior shifted closer.  "Mama?"

"Yes, dear?"  She let him crawl into her lap, such as it was, and stare at the baby closer.  "Pretty soon you're going to have a baby brother who's about this size.  You have to learn how to be a good, protective big brother."

"Just like Dean is," Jensen agreed with a grin.  Junior grinned back, he loved to chase Dean around Xander's yard.

"Hopefully with less guns," Pooch sighed, sitting down.  "She is adorable."

Xander smiled.  "I was told all babies were cute so no one killed them when they got them up for the third time in one night."

Jolene cackled, nodding.  "Mostly, yeah."  She gave them both a hug.  Junior leaned over to suck on the baby's cheek, making her smile.  "Aww, that's very sweet."  Jensen took a picture with his phone.

"He gets it from me," Pooch said with a grin.

Clay held out his hands.  "Can I?"  She handed him the baby.  Junior reached for her.  "I'll give her back, Junior."  He looked at her.  "You're tiny, kid, but you can't learn knife work until you're a teenager.  Got it?"  She belched.  He laughed.  "Your father did that too."  He handed her back.  "She's fucking adorable."

"She is," Xander agreed.  "I'm sure she'll grow into her nose and chin."  Jolene elbowed him.  "Won't she?"

"Yes, she will.  The same as the head won't seem so big in a few months."  She handed her back.  Xander put her in his lap, letting Junior turn to stare at her some more.  "We'll get you used to having a smaller baby around, Junior.  That way you only hug your brother instead of patting him to death."

Pooch smiled.  "He's gonna be a good big brother.  The son of Pooch can do no less."

Clay nodded.  "Hopefully.  They say some kids fight all the time."

"No, I have sense," Jolene said.  "They may spat now and then but we won't see that sibling rivalry shit."  Xander snickered.   "We won't."

"I figured you wouldn't."  He saw the face she was making.  "Okay, I can change that."  He went into the bathroom.  "Is it supposed to be yucky yellow stuff, Jolene?"

"Yeah, at that age it is," she promised.  Xander came out with her cleanly changed.  "That's good."  He grinned and handed Jensen the bottle and formula, letting him go make him one.  She was hungry and it was helping her go back to sleep.  "I'll see if any of my friends are thinking about adoption.  I know Anya and Wade are adopting theirs out."

"Anya said she'd make it a condition that their kid didn't get into Disney," Jensen said with a grin.

"Yeah, there was a bit of traumatic freaking out.  Especially when one of the Princesses tried to hug Anya and pat her belly.  She had a full blown panic attack then."  He grinned.  "I think they went out to find a mass murderer or something later that night."

"Well, three were found dead," Clay admitted.  "But there's no proof."

Xander shrugged.  "Whatever happens does as long as it's not innocents and I don't hear about it as it happens.  Them, I'll let go.  Guys who hurt kids, I'll cheer."  Jolene smiled, giving him a hug.

"Mine!" Junior pouted.

"I can hug Uncle Xander too."  She gave him a cuddle.  Then she put his hand on her stomach.  "This is your baby brother.  He's going to be her size in a few months."  Junior looked so confused.  "It'll be fine.  You'll get used to being a big brother."  He snuggled into his mother's lap, watching the baby eat.  He pointed and grunted at the bottle.  "No, you have a cup now."

"Aww, that's a huge step, little man.  Congrats!" Xander cooed.  Junior smiled at him.  "Such a big boy now."  Junior hugged his mommy again.  He stood up.  "Let me take her around to introduce her to others.  I'll be home later."  They all nodded.  Xander took her and the bag of stuff off.

Clay sighed.  "Any idea if the family is going to adopt?"

Jensen cleared his throat, making everyone stare at him.  "Tickle.  But... Willow basically helped raise him.  So she's like his sister.  He hasn't quite managed to push her out of the pack list he has.  He'd have to make sure she was safe and all right if they didn't.  He'd consider it taking care of his pack's cubs."

"So it'd be someone he can check with," Clay said.  "This makes two that the family's going to be looking over."

"I'm pretty certain Anya considers Horatio sweet and nice, a bit too sweet and nice," Jolene said.  "She and I talked about birth stuff the other day and she said she's not sure Horatio and Speed can handle it if their baby turns out like them."

"Horatio would probably be able to channel it or stop it," Jensen told her.

"She's not sure of that.  But....  I saw Ray having squishy thoughts the other day too.  Something about his last niece is all grown up."

Clay nodded.  "Let's ask around if the family doesn't pan out.  Better a contact who wants another one than a poker buddy."

"He's a good pack leader," Cougar said quietly.  "Even if he can't stand the parents, he'll watch out for them."  They all nodded and it was decided.

"I sent a picture of her to him," Jensen announced.  "That way he knows what she looks like."

"I'm sure he wouldn't contest the adoption.  He never wanted kids," Clay said.  "Him and me both."  He left again, going to check his contact list to see who he knew that liked having little kids in the house.

Jolene took Junior and Pooch home to teach him about new baby things.  Xander was right, he did need to know sometime very soon.


Xander sat down at the poker table, grinning.  "Mellie, this is Paul.  That's Peter.  That's Consuella's cousin Madra.  We don't know why his mommy named him that.  That's Andrea," he said with a point.  "She likes Uncle Sam.  You'll like Uncle Sam too but not in the same way."

Andrea snickered.  "She might lust."  She stared.  "She's adorable.  You adopted?  You found maybe?"

"I'm the adoption committee."  They all nodded.  "So I'm introducing her around in case no one in the family is thinking that way."

"That's wonderful," the dealer said.  "Don't sit her on the table in case she's wet."

"She's not wet.  My shirt is because she puked up some of her bottle but I just changed her."

"Uh-huh.  She can learn poker from your lap."  He chipped Xander in and then dealt the new hand.  She fell asleep pretty quickly.  "She healthy and all that?"

"According to the coven's people, yeah."

"Her mother belongs to a coven?" Andrea asked.

"Yeah."  He shifted, which woke her but she drifted back off.  "They're pretty strongly British.  If I can't find her one, the Council will try to claim her and raise her to have a stick up her ass like they do."

She nodded.  "Who are her parents?"

"My former friend Willow."

"Oh, no wonder."  Xander nodded.  "She's still adorable but a kid would seriously make it so I couldn't work."

"I know.  We're just doing some introductions today.  Then we'll see who's interested and if no one is we'll search father afield or I'll have a shopping buddy."  They all smiled.

"Against the law," Madra said quietly.

"Her papers are from Cali, where the mom lives."  He grinned.  "It says that they're inheriting her."

"That makes more sense.  Is that legal?"

"Willow might be dead, not real sure," he admitted.  "Not really sure I totally care," sighed.  "She's one of the two that screwed me up so badly."  They all nodded.  They knew there were some women involved in that sort of problem.  "The papers will adjust to make sure it's all legal.  She and the coven worked on them for months."

Andrea grimaced.  "Knowing some Council people, that doesn't surprise me."

"Are those the same people who came after that little boy?" the dealer asked.

"Yup," Xander agreed.  "Over my former friend Buffy and girls like her too."  They all groaned.  They had heard rumors about her.  "But anyway...."  He looked down, putting her thumb in her mouth.  She accepted that treatment and decided it was a good reason to stare.

Wade walked in looking freaked out.  "Xander, I need you to come with me.  What the hell is that?"

Xander held her up.  "This is Mellie.  She's Roque's daughter."

"She's darker than I expected with her mom's pale skin and red hair."

"She has red hair," Xander said with a grin.  "She's got a hat on."

"I can see that.  We need you.  That way I don't freak out."

"Okay."  He put the baby back into the carrier and strapped her in.  The dealer chipped him out and he took the money and baby to the Range Rover.  "C'mon, Wade.  Into the back."  Wade got into the back, the baby got into the front, and Xander drove them off.  "Where?"


Xander headed that way.  Wade was clearly freaked out.  So it must be time.  They got there and out, him carrying the baby and bag of stuff.  Wade led the way and got them into her room.  Xander put Mellie on Anya's stomach, leaning down to do a bit of a neck massage to ease the tension he could see.  She panted, coming down.  "Why, hi, fancy meeting a girl like you here," he teased with a smile, moving down to her stomach.

The nurse came in.  "Sir, don't do that."

"It's not interfering with the pushing muscles.  It's her sides that're staying taut and hurting her."

"The baby should not be on the bed."

Xander stared at her.  "I'll move her in a minute, really."  She huffed off.  "Clearly needs laid," he told Anya, who laughed.  He grinned.  "How soon?"

"Hours," she moaned.

He did a blessing over her stomach.  "For an easy one."

"Thank you.  This is closer to torture than I really want to be.  Even if Wade might be enjoying watching me like this."

Wade shrugged.  "You look fine, Anya."

Xander rolled his eyes.  "Torture later, Wade.  For now, be supportive."

"After this, I'm going to a spa to get back in shape and to unswell."

"That's not a bad idea," Wade agreed.  It'd leave him less time being unhappy that she was incapacitated.  She finally relaxed until the next one started.  He helped her through that and it was easier.  He sat down, staring at the trio on the bed.  "Should I be doing something?"

"You can help remember the cadence of panting," Xander offered.

"I didn't go to lamaze."


The nurse came back and scowled.  "Get the baby off the bed or I'll have you removed."

"You nag me one more time about the baby and I'm opening that window and throwing you out," he assured her, making her gasp.  "Anya does not need this.  The baby's keeping the unborn one's heart rate up and it's actually helping keep less pain from the contractions by acting as a counterweight."

Another nurse came in.  "My toddler did the same thing.  Helped me tons and kept me calm," she said.  She smiled at Xander.  "Be less frantic."

"I'm the best friend."  He grinned.  "It's been a long day."  She nodded.  He did move Mellie up, letting her see her aunt.  "This is Mellie."

"She's all scrunched up," Anya said.

"They are in a water pouch," he sighed.

"Newborn?" the nice nurse asked.

"I'm the adoption committee.  The mother decided she couldn't let her go if she even named her.  So her aunts figured I'm the next best thing."  He smiled.  "But yeah.  Just over a day old."  He let her see.  "She's a quiet little thing so far."  Mellie groaned. "I'm told zombie noises are normal."

"I was going to ask if she was undead," Anya said.  She shifted, Wade getting up to help.  "I'm not liking this."

"Kegals," Xander reminded her.  "Lots and lots of kegals.  Within a month you'll be unstretched."  She nodded with a sigh at the end.

Anya looked at the nurse.  "I signed papers to be clipped.  When are we doing that?"

"After you deliver and we make sure you're all right, dear."  She checked things.  "The heartbeat is nicely up.  For now, let's just stay calm."

"I'm calling a few friends who wanted to know.  I'll listen to them instead of the woman who clearly needs some non-latex friends."  The nice nurse walked out cackling, the other huffing off.  Xander called Adam.  "I'm at the hospital with Anya, who is panting, and Mellie, who is on my lap.  Sinai."  He hung up.   He left a message for Speed and Horatio too.  Then his boys.  "There, we'll have a lot of support to make it easier."

"I'll feel like a circus freak," she complained.

"We can wait outside," he promised.  "But this way you're not alone and we can all help."  She nodded, touching the baby's hand.  He stared at her.

"Yes I do," she said at his silent 'you don't have to give it up' look.  "I am not meant to put someone's needs in front of mine."

"If you're sure.  I can be an adoption committee here too."  She smiled and nodded.  He leaned down.  "You can put a different name on the certificate if it's family," he said in her ear.  "It'll make it easier."

"We've already decided that," she promised.  She moaned.  "Put the baby back, it hurt less."  Xander did that and helped her concentrate on her breathing.

Speed tapped then walked in.  "Hi, guys.  Awww, who's that?"  He stared at the sleepy baby.  "Such a pretty little thing."  He picked her up to hold.  "Were you in the way, princess?"  He adjusted the hat down over the red fuzz.  "There we go.  Xander?  An explanation?"

"Why think it's me?" Xander asked dryly.

"Wade and Anya don't seem like the type to suddenly show up with a baby," he said dryly.

"Baby Willow/Roque."

"Ah. You're so fucking adorable."  Ray walked in.  "Look."

"Already?" he pouted.

"No, different kid.  Willow's kid.  Name?"

"Amelia Jocelyn.  No last name yet."

"Cool."  Speed sat down to hold her.  She was just... perfect and cuddly and made zombie noises at him.  When she puked on him and he thought it was adorable, he knew he was in trouble.  He called his husband.  "Come save me before the ferrets have a cage mate.  Sinai in Anya's room."  He hung up.  Anya suddenly winced and grunted.

"Her water broke!" Xander bellowed.  The nice nurse came back in to check on her.  "Much longer?"

"Few hours," she said happily.  She smiled at Anya.  "Your OB is on her way in.  We have you scheduled for the clipping tomorrow morning, Miss Emmerson.  Would you like some ice chips?"

"Please."  The nurse got some for Wade since he wasn't doing much.

Ray looked at her.  "You're much too delicate for me to ever hold, sweetheart.  Pity because you're adorable."  Adam walked in and he stared at him.  "That's Mellie."

"I can see that."  He patted the hat back down.  Then he looked at Anya.  He looked outside then helped by working some of the muscles.  She groaned in pain but it got it moving faster.  He smirked.  "It helped in the old days."

She took Wade's hand to hold.  "He used to be Death way back when."

"I always wondered, was Pestilence just not a bather?"

"No one was in those days," Adam said dryly with a smirk.  "You were lucky if you got one a month."

"Eww," Anya complained.  Speed laughed.  So did Xander.  "It is."

"Yeah it was.  They were afraid of water, like kitty cats."

"Kitty cats are nearly as evil as bunny rabbits," she said dryly.  She looked at Adam.  "Can you help make sure this one doesn't know Disney?"

"There's a reason he didn't get anything from there," Xander assured her, petting her hair.  "He would've tied me to something and set me on fire for a few minutes."

Wade nodded.  "It was damn close to me doing that too."

"That's why I let Ray go be traumatized the first time he went," Adam said.  Her next contraction was stronger.  The OB was still missing.  Adam went to scrub in the bathroom in case he needed to.  The nurses were with some woman across the pod that was screaming in pain.  So when the baby started to crown, Adam called through the intercom and then delivered it.  It wasn't like it was his first.  "Hello, gorgeous little boy," he said in greeting, smiling at him.  Ray sighed in pleasure.  Adam gave him a funny look, noticing the mushy look.  "Ray?" he asked patiently.

"He's just... perfect," he sighed.

"He's human, he'll be pooing on someone soon," Adam said.  The nurse rushed in.  "Thankfully not my first.  She's pushing out the afterbirth."  He let her take the baby once the cord was clipped.  Ray followed to stare.  Oh dear, to quote Ray's former Mountie partner.  Ray was totally besotted.  Horatio walked in and took off his sunglasses.

"I really don't need everyone looking at my vagina," Anya said.

"That's why you have the sheet, poppet," Adam said.

"Oh, yeah, I can't feel that.  That's some damn good pain medicine."  They all smiled and Horatio moved closer to Speed.  "That's Mellie," Anya said, sounding high.  She looked at Wade.  "It wasn't a bad orgasm but not good enough.  Not as good as the ones you give me."

"You'll be more sensitive for a few months," Xander told her.  She smiled at that information.

Ray picked up the baby with a coo.  "Hi, handsome.  Welcome to Miami.  You'll fit right in with the family.  We're all kinda nuts but we're tight."  He cuddled him.

"Are you the father?" the nurse asked.

Adam looked at the couple, who smiled and nodded.  "Yes, he is."  He took the baby to hold.  "Hello, precious.  We need a name, don't we?"  Mellie was back asleep on Speed's chest.  She was getting to miss all the important stuff.

"We can name him Max," Wade offered.  Everyone stared at him.

"If it wasn't for him being all sorts of crazy, Wade never would've met Xander and he would've missed having me because he was dead," Anya pointed out.

"Nah, the only other Max I know is a scuzzy biker type."  Wade shrugged.  The nurse left them alone for now.  "Got anyone you wanna commemorate outside him?"

"Not really," Wade admitted.  He looked at Anya, who was yawning.

"They're not exactly popular names and they're hard to spell.  Name him after someone you liked since he'll be yours."

Adam sighed, pulling the baby to him.  "I have no idea what to name you."

"If we call him Ray, we can bring him home to Ma and let her fuss."

"You should let her fuss over him anyway because you know she would," Adam said dryly.  "The same as Joe will make strange faces at him."

"He looks confused like he's stoned," Speed said.

"Yes, most do," Adam said dryly.  "Remember, while they do make seats to go on the back of motorcycles, it's generally safer to use a stomach snuggling system when they're that young."  Speed grinned.

Horatio took the baby to hold and had to stop himself from sighing in pleasure when she snored on him.  "Spells on her, Xander?"

"No, I think that's just the power of a baby, Horatio.  On the paperwork...."  He grinned.  "Which is coming from Cali."

"That is one good thing.  She is sweet."

"She has red fur so far," Speed told him.  "You can't really call that stuff that'll disappear hair."

"No you usually can't," Horatio said, staring at her.  She blinked at him then yawned and went back to sleep.  "We are very quiet."

"I'm sure she can scream," Speed told him.  "We've just taken good care of her so far."

"I think she can fuss.  She did at the poker game," Xander said.

Horatio stared at him.  "You brought her to a game, Xander?"

"To introduce her around, that way I mined other contacts if you guys didn't want her."

Horatio sighed.  "I...."  He stared at the baby.  Speed smiled at him.  "Papers?"

"On the couch."

Danny knocked and looked in.  "We decent or we still about to deliver?  'Cause I might pass out."

"No, he's out," Xander said with a smile.  He pointed.

"Aww, two little heathens.  Twins?  No, can't be.  But I heard where you came from," he told her, patting her back.  She belched, making Horatio grimace and wipe at the spitup before it stained him.

Speed laughed, taking her back.  "Don't mess up the suits, sweetie, he'll scowl at you behind the sunglasses."  She snuggled in on his chest.

"I can't blame her for a totally natural effect," Horatio sighed.  Yup, he was screwed, but he had always wanted a family.  Looks like he had a daughter.

Xander took a picture of them hovering over her and sent it to Roque for his FYI moment.  "Papers are on the couch, guys."

Don walked in with them.  "I was wondering why we had these."  He let Horatio have them, taking the baby to hold.  "Hi, precious."

"Mellie," Xander said.  "She's met her uncles.  She met some poker buddies.  She met a new friend.  She's had a pretty big day."

"Yes, she has," Horatio said.  He signed where needed.  So did Speed.  The paper twinkled and adjusted itself.  Now it was full custody forms and that they had 'inherited' the baby from Willow.  Filed and sealed with a California stamp.  "In the system?"

Xander shrugged.  "Ask the coven?"

"Point.  I'll have someone file them just in case."  He looked at her then put them into his jacket pocket.  "It looks like we need to take some leave time."

"Me too," Ray sighed.  "And buy a carseat."

"She'll probably be here overnight so you got time on that and diapers," Danny offered.

Xander handed over the bag of stuff and the carseat with a grin.  "They didn't hand over the diaper bag."

"Figures," Speed said.

"Which was why a pharmacy worker talked to a cop in our local precinct and then he called me," Don said.

"Yup," Xander quipped with a grin.  He looked at them.  "Wade, are you doing her spa time?"

"Yup.  I can easily do that."

Xander nodded.  "Let me know if you need help with stuff."

"I can do that too, though I'm doubting I will."  Xander shrugged.  "You heading home?"

"Yeah, it's been a really long day."

Danny gave him a hug.  "Some year."

"Yeah, I know."  Don gave him one too.  He hugged Anya.  "Happy spa."

"Thank you," she said, sounding sleepy.  "Everyone go away."  Ray got the nurse to move the baby to the nursery for him.  She filled out her parts on the birth certificate and let him have the rest to fill out.  He and Adam sat down to argue over names.  It was good for them.


Horatio looked at the Chief of Detectives.  "Why are you punishing us?  Because you can't really deny paternity leave, especially when there's no mother."

"We can't have a third of the lab and a fifth of homicide down, Caine.  Be reasonable."

Horatio stared at him.  "We just got Amelia."

"If you had told me ahead of time...."

"If I had known, I would have," Horatio said dryly.  "I had told you that this situation might come up next month, but we weren't sure if they were going to let us adopt Wade's new son."

"Then yours came from...."

"Another friend of Xander's who is in very bad trouble."  He smirked.  "Her powers got her in trouble."

"Then how did you get her?"

"Xander was her adoption committee when they went looking.  Since it was filed in the mother's state of residence there's no problem with Florida laws."  For all he knew, he might read as the baby's father now, no one was sure yet.  "We did not expect her to show up in our lives at all."

"Who adopted Wade's son?"

"Ray and Adam."

He huffed.  "That makes sense but I can't have both you and Speedle off at once."  Horatio stared at him.  "There's no mandated gay husband paternity leave, Caine, even if you did adopt the baby together.  Before you ask, the Union didn't stand up for another couple last year that needed the same damn thing.  If we had more people...."

"You have that grant," he pointed out.  "The rest of the departments are waiting on it to trickle in."

"Don't be snide," he ordered.  Horatio continued to stare at him.  "I understand and I agree, but it's not like the lab can function short two of you.  Homicide's already over hours again.  That would drive overtime at your lab back up."  He sighed.  "I can give you each the three weeks you wanted, but separately.  You can even alternate, but you can't take it at the same time."  He stared at him.  "I heard Harris was carting a baby to a poker game."

"Yes, that's Amelia."  He smirked.  "We'd like to stop that trend before it starts."

"I'm sure I agree, but it's still not logical and I'm having a hard enough time with Kowalski's time off.  You can have them separately but not at the same time.  Not unless you can mystically come up with two other CSI to fill in who don't need paid.  And if you do, you can keep them," he offered with a smile.

"The lab does need at least one more person."

"I'm aware of that.  You're supposed to hire internally for those.  We listed the opening and no one's submitted?"  Horatio shook his head.  "Isn't that why you got Taylor's lab?"  Horatio nodded.  "If you can poach someone who's able to work unsupervised and who will take very low pay, like rookie low pay, you can go then.  I wish I could.  I know it's important and you could use a day off too."

"I can, yes."

"Before you think about it, if your back blows that disk again, you'll be on permanent desk duty.  You might even get a rank raise."  Horatio shuddered.  He smirked.  "You wouldn't be the first.  Your doctor made it very clear that if it blew again too traumatically he wouldn't authorize you for field work."

His assistant leaned in.  "Sirs, there was a shooting at the lab."

"Who?" Horatio demanded.

"Your spouse, sir."  Horatio moaned, shaking his head.  "He's alive and complaining but he got taken just now.  It was on the news.  One of the gang kids."

"If one of the family group prompted that, I'm going to arrest them too," the Chief of Detectives said blandly.

Horatio glared.  "I'd never let someone shoot at Speed, even a marksman."  He left.  "I'll be back."

"I'm sure you will."  He sighed.  This was a cluster fuck.  And Kowalski still needed his too.  He had a stay-at-home husband so why did he need six weeks off?  He reread the form.  "Oh, they're going to be taking him to introduce to the family for part of it.  Chicago winter, yuck."  An hour later he heard that Horatio had gotten the shooter, getting injured in the process.  That made him thump his head on the desk.  The injury wasn't severe but it was bad.  Speedle had needed a cast for his leg, but they had closed the wound in the ER.  Caine had went to surgery for his hip.  He called Mac down to talk to him.

"Yes, sir?" Mac asked as he walked in.

"It appears they were so desperate for paternity leave that they managed to get shot," he said dryly.

"Technically it was a gang initiate," Mac said dryly.  "And I shot him.  He was a very bad shot and was aiming for Horatio's hair as he gasped before he died.  Got him on the hip.  Not enough to need it replaced but it does have a small fracture."  He handed over the doctor's notes.  "He got Tim on the ankle, the bullet lodged between the bones thankfully or we might be talking about replacement feet."

The Chief of Detectives stared at him.  "Did someone prompt him?"

"No, sir.  He was a Mala Noche recruit."  He shrugged.  "They still hate the lab."

"Are we going to have problems with Mr. Harris?"

"I believe he's already made his displeasure known when he was hormoning their building right before SWAT got there.  SWAT nicely put them in gen pop still stinking."  The Chief shuddered.  Mac smiled.  "Yes, I think that was their feeling as well.  Which, if we didn't have better charges on them, will probably lead to assault charges when they try to fight back."

"That's almost evil of him."

"No, sir, they did finally remove that tumor."

"Good!"  He stared at him.  "Are they going to be able to do childcare?"


"He didn't tell you he adopted this morning?" he asked dryly.

"No, I had not heard that news yet."  He looked behind him as the door opened.  "Xander, Horatio adopted?"

"Willow's daughter."  He showed him the pictures on his phone.  "And this is Wade and Anya's little boy, who Ray fell in love with immediately."  He grinned.

"Aww, he's already scowling.  They taking him to Chicago to show him off?"

"Yup, in a few weeks.  Long damn drive but they can do it."

"I'll go visiting later with new baby gifts.  Wasn't she early?"

"Yeah but he was getting really hefty in there and they were starting to worry about that.  His lungs are fully developed.  He'll be in the hospital for a few days but then he'll be home.  It's giving Ray time to spaz over the nursery."  He grinned.  "And to call around."

"Wonderful.  I'll pick up something nice."  He smiled.  "That was mean."

"Yay.  I could've danced and started an orgy that SWAT would have to break up.  They all know not to touch the lab."

The Chief of Detectives coughed.  "Do the other officers get that protection?"

"Yeah, as much as I can.  If I hear about it they know I'm showing up and I'm going to stomp their asses.  They know shooting at my boys or the family means I'll show up seconds later and kill their asses.  I do what I can."

"Thank you for that."  He looked at Mac.  "How is Kowalski adopting?"

"She put his name on the birth certificate," Xander said.  "No one's going to contest that and no one's going to ask for DNA."

"Surely Wade...."

"No.  The kid'll know."

"That's not illegal.  The mother can name whoever she wants."

"With a residence somewhere else they can also adopt there," Mac realized.  Xander smiled and nodded.  "Horatio's?"

"Willow's from Sunnydale.  Papers are Cali in origin."

"That gets around that stupid law then," Mac agreed.

The Chief moaned.  "I still can't have a third of the field techs out."

"Sir, if I had any extra I'd lend them, but I'm understaffed too.  We can recombine back into one lab since ours is being fixed and we need to for a while."  Xander gave him a hug and a grin.  "Thank you.  We needed that and the insurance company agreed it was a good design and took the warning off our insurance."

"You're welcome."  He looked at the Chief.  "The new ones?"

"I've put up an opening for one.  Horatio said he hasn't gotten any offers."

"That's because half the officers think we do mystical things with test tubes and we're halfway between Frankenstein and Igor," Mac said dryly.  "They don't know what we do."  The Chief pulled up the hiring notice and Mac reformatted it on him, including the necessary skills.  "That should help."  He let him have it.

"It sounds like a better help wanted ad."

"I've had to do a few over the years.  We kept getting lab techs that didn't fit in."

Xander grinned.  "Just think, there's somewhere out in the vast alternate universes where I'm a CSI."

"Probably a ballistics tech," Mac agreed with a smile.


"That means I get your inventory this month, Xander."


"Thank you.  Anya?"

"Going to a spa to unstretch for a bit.  That way she can come back ready to climb into Wade's lap and he doesn't have to sulk about not getting any for another month."

"I suppose that's normal with the relationship they have."

"That and succuba torturing, yeah."

"I don't need to know," Mac ordered.  Xander grinned.  "Thank you."  He looked at his boss.  "Since we do have to push the labs together during this building phase, which should take about three months, that might ease some things."

"It might, yes.  When can they come back?"

"They were saying casts for six to eight weeks for Speed's ankle and possibly some light rehab, and Horatio's going to be on bed rest for days," Xander said.  "Then the doctor will decide."  The Chief moaned.

Mac smiled.  "We'll deal, sir.  We always do."

"Please do.  Did you add another one?"

"Horatio's lab really needs two, and mine really needs one, sir."


"If they're already PD then there's no increase to the budget.  They still make officer pay as long as they aren't lab techs."

"So if Wolfe went lab only...."

"If Wolfe changed from being an officer to a lab tech, he'd get about a twenty grand raise a year, yes."

"He's not allowed," the Chief said.

"I don't think that's crossed his mind yet," Mac assured him.

"Good!  Don't tell him that either!"

Mac smiled.  "It'll be fine.  Give it a few years and everything will work out.  As long as we don't have too many losses."  That got a nod and a groan.  "Let me talk to my people about the upcoming move.  I can easily share space with Calleigh, since she'd be in charge."

"She hates the paperwork," the Chief warned.

"None of us like the paperwork."  He left, taking Xander with him.  Xander picked up treats for the talk.  He called his lab over as well.  Calleigh moaned when she saw him and Xander with the box.  "Small talk."

"People, conference," she yelled.  Everyone came out to join them.  Mac's lab showed up.  Xander handed out pastries, earning a few smiles.  "Bad?" she asked.

"Due to our building phase, they want us to move out for three months."

"We have the room and could certainly use the help," she said.

"Especially since Speed and Horatio got injured," Stella agreed.  She took her donut and handed them on.  She nibbled, smiling.  "The good Krispy Kreme shop even."  Xander showed her a picture.  "Awww....  She could almost be his."

"Yeah."  Xander showed Mac, who smiled.

"She is adorable."  He let the others see.  "That is...."

"Amelia Jocelyn Caine," Xander said.  Calleigh stared.  "Willow's."

"Anya's?" she asked, wincing.

"Sorry, Don."

"Ray's going to have a lot of fun letting Mrs. Vecchio's grandkids spoil that one," Don said with a grin.

"So, we're losing Horatio and Speed to paternity leave?" Maxine Valera asked.  She handed the phone to Alexx.

"No, we lost them both to minor gunshot wounds earlier thanks to a recruit," Xander said dryly.  "I did go make them miserable as SWAT was picking them up to put them in general population."  He smiled innocently.

Danny kissed him.  "No more evil thoughts, Xander.  Or else we'll scan for a new tumor."

"Did we find out which herbs it was that kept it growing?"

"The same ones that kept Jensen from healing that time."

"Good to know," Xander decided, smiling at them.  "They removed it."

"Thing was the size of a damn grapefruit this time," Danny complained.

"I even got some headaches.  It's also a damn good thing Pride's castrated."

"Yes, it is," Ryan agreed, taking the phone.  "She could be his.  She's adorable."  He found the other picture and smiled.  "Aww, he's scowling like Daddy Adam already."

Calleigh looked then sighed.  "So we need to get baby stuff together, huh?"

"We can see what they still need," Alexx promised.  "With them both being limpy, it might take a while to pick up everything."

"I sent Sam over to help for tonight," Xander offered.  They all smiled.  "That way Mellie doesn't bond to me instead of the daddies."

"Even the poker circle thought she was adorable from what we heard," Frank said dryly, taking the phone to look.  "Aww, he does scowl like Adam."

Mac smiled at Calleigh.  "You and I can work out the paperwork stuff while he's gone.  I know he asked for three weeks of leave before he got shot in the hip."

She snorted.  "Figures.  Let me guess, someone said no?"

"He was saying not at the same time," Xander said.  "Horatio complained about that."

"So now they have longer," she snorted.  "Just like a man."  Mac smiled.  "We could use the help."

"I adjusted the opening notice so it reads better.  Hopefully we'll get more offers."

"There's the program at the university," Ryan said.  "We have officers in it.  We can see how far along they are.  They might need intern hours or be nearly done."

"Good point, I can do that today," Calleigh said.  "Welcome home, Mac's lab.  Please let us have some days off again?"  They all nodded they needed the same.  "Maybe the usual insanity that happens whenever Horatio's out of the office for a while won't happen this time."

"I predict one major event," Xander said dryly.  "And one major drug dealer going down."

"He pay you in drugs?" Stella asked.

"Nah, Cougar's been watching him.  The major event is there's a bit of friction between two of the lesser gangs that even Don Cheva's been bitching out.  He vowed if they got out of hand, they'd be dead somehow."  Calleigh whimpered.  "So... the two down by the Brazilian section...  They're being bad."

"I'll alert Gangs that they're being pains," Don said.  "That way they can watch them for annoying others.  You think he'd pull what Chuck did?"

"I think Chuck will," Xander admitted.  "Don Cheva got a nice call telling him not to worry about it during our last poker game."

"I'll ask that he have them turned in instead," Don said, walking off.  He apparently had to visit the prison upstate.  "Don't hold dinner, Xander."

"Okay."  He looked at the two labs, smiling.  "Initiation may be over with, not real sure.  I think they've decided we're all mean."  He waved.  "Let me go home and start making stuff for Speed to unfreeze and cook."  He skipped off.

"Um, Danny, I have his phone," one said, handing it over.

"That's fine, I'll hand it over later.  He's got a spare at home somewhere or the house phone."  He put it into his pocket.  "So, are we doing a party to welcome the little heathens or just showing up individually to nag at them for being shot?"

"We can do both," Calleigh decided.  "A baby shower is normal.  We can do it in your yard."  Danny nodded that was fine with him.  "Plus I can go nag them from the hospital."

"Speed's at home already," Mac told her with a slight smile.  "He's in a boot.  It got his ankle.  The kid was a really bad shot.  He was aiming for Horatio's hair."

She snorted.  "Yeah, that's a pathetic shot."  She walked off shaking her head.  "Thanks, guys.  See you in a few days?"

"We're due to move out Wednesday of next week," Mac said.

She smiled back at him.  "Come sooner so we all get less stress."  He nodded, taking his people back to go over what to bring and what to put into PD storage.  She went to her lab to kick the walls in the firing pen.  She was *so* going to nag Horatio about getting shot and leaving her with paperwork.  The timing was too suspicious and she did not like that.


Danny walked in that night, staring at his mate, who was making some deliciously beefy smelling things.  "Is that for us?"

"Some is."  He smiled.  "How was your afternoon?"

"I spent most of it talking to thugs who wanted to talk to you about something."

"Yeah, they called here."  He took his phone back to see who else had called, calling that one back.  "You didn't call the house?"  He listened.  "No, we went to share news about Speed and H.  Yeah, they're fine.  No, they adopted Mellie.  Thanks, guys.  No, Sam's helping tonight.  Why?"  He smirked.  "Tell Andrea her man is being snuggly with the baby and it's all nice and sweet."  He smirked.

"Good deal."  He dropped the phone.  "Oops, hold on."  He got it unsauced and put it back against his ear.  "Sorry, dropped it in the gravy."  He listened.  "That's fine.  Yeah."  He scowled at Danny then shook his head.  "No, that was him, not me.  You know my things.  Thanks for letting me know.  Yeah, I saw that and they're in trouble but the others are okay.  Though, those little bitches causing problems?  I've heard that they pissed off some of the higher ups.  Yup, them.  Thanks for letting me know."  He hung up and put his phone in his pocket again.  "Thank you."  He took a kiss.

"Did it hurt the gravy?" Dean asked from the doorway.

"Nope."  He tasted it.  "Not in the least."

Dean grinned.  "Thanks, Xander."

"Welcome."  He dished up things for them, taking a kiss from Danny.  He put a plate in the fridge for Don, got his own, then dished up the rest into the new freezer containers for Speed and Horatio.  That went into the freezer and it was nicer.  The dishwasher started and Xander strolled out to sit and eat with the family.  "Andrea was going to ask Sam out but she cooed that he's helping with Mellie."

"He's probably being adorkable with the baby," Dean agreed with a smirk.  "Singing it all sorts of stupid songs and things.  Speed's going to complain soon."

"Maybe."  He flipped to the news.  Danny flipped it back.  "We always watch the news."

"That's Don's thing.  Now I have the remote."  He smirked.  Xander kissed him.  "We can watch the news next hour.  It'll be back again and he'll probably be home."  They settled in to watch tv, watch Xander get snuggly, and when Don got home, he ate and watched the news.  Then he got snuggly with Xander.  It was good for them.


Sam stared at the baby, smiling at her.  "Are we awake again?"  She yawned, closing her eyes.  "That's such a good girl."  He finished changing her and took her out to Speed's nest on the couch.  Speed stole her and put down the plate Sam had handed him.  "Just changed."

"Thanks, Sam.  Hey, princess of puke."  She yawned again, liking his shoulder.  "Good girl."  He turned on the news, making Sam grin.  "I know, Don probably does the same thing.  I think they teach it at the academy."  Horatio stomped/limped in.  "Did you check yourself out?"

"Yes.  I hate the hospital.  Especially when you can't come in to baby me."  He sat down with a wince.  Sam got some of Speed's spare pillows to help him.  "Thank you, Sam."

"Welcome, Horatio."

"Xander sent him over to help us tonight."

"That's very thoughtful."  Sam got up to get him something to eat, earning a smile.  "Even more thoughtful.  Thank you, Sam."

"I asked if he was going to grow his hair out," Speed said, making Horatio laugh but shake his head.  "Mellie, the other daddy's home.  We have to figure out what you'll call us, huh?"

Horatio ate and took her to hold, shifting so he was laying down with his head in his husband's lap.  She went on his chest to nap.  "How's that?"  She sucked her thumb and it was great for her.  Sam took a picture with the camera Speed had pulled out earlier.  "Thank you for that as well, Sam.  Head home, I'm sure we can get up tonight."

"If you're sure."

Speed nodded.  "Tell Xander thank you in advance for all the food he's cooking."

"Okay."  He handed over the spitup cloth, getting a smile for it.  Then Sam left them alone.

Speed ran his fingers through Horatio's hair.  "This is nice."

"This is very nice," he agreed quietly.  "It's almost perfect.  If we weren't in pain....."

"She's got to be swearing at us."

"She is.  She showed up at the hospital to swear at me for getting hurt.  She said we'll be doing the baby shower in a few days."

"That's fine.  I'm sure we'll be getting her a lot of clothes."  Horatio nodded, yawning.  "Why don't we all go to our proper beds?"  Horatio handed her back then slowly and carefully got himself up off the couch.  He took her back and put her into her crib then came to help Speed up.  Their bed was just the right side of soft to cradle the injuries and not make them hurt more.  Horatio curled up on Speed's chest like usual and it was great.  Until she fussed.  They shared a look and Speed got up to get this one.  He winced as he stood and limped in there.  A quick bottle and burping and she was back down.  By then, Horatio was asleep and Speed got sleep tackled for daring to move.  That was just as nice.  They could handle this without Sam.  He heard someone moving the doorknob and nudged Horatio.  "Burglar."

"Idiot."  He got up and grabbed his piece.

"Me," Sam called.  "I got her some new clothes.  Xander went psychic and said you two were to be on bed rest."  He leaned in with a grin and tossed something.  Speed caught it.  "He sent that."  He smiled.  "I can camp on her bedroom floor."

"Take the couch, Sam," Horatio ordered.  He laid back down, looking at the little ball.  "What is that?"

"That is a small toy he found."  He turned it on and let Horatio feel the stimulation.  It vibrated and massaged the pressure points in their hands and wrists, which was very soothing.  They fell asleep holding it.

Sam grinned.  "This way you don't have to just wear girly things your aunties will get you," he cooed quietly.  "Some day I'll want some of you."  She slept on, thankfully. He finished putting things up and went down to the couch.  He could doze and get up before they got woken by her.  For tonight at least.  Tomorrow...  They'd have to see.


Calleigh walked up to Horatio and hit him on the arm with a scowl.

"Not while I'm holding the baby."

"Fine."  She looked at her.  "She could almost be yours."

"Yes, she could be."

"It was the red hair that got me," Speed quipped from his seat.  "Toss her to me, H."

"She's asleep."

Speed grinned.  "He's the possessive daddy."

"Clearly."  She stole the baby to cuddle.  "You're so sweet."  She walked her over to hand her to Speed then came back to hit Horatio on the shoulder again.  "I hate your paperwork."

"It is not my fault they created all those forms," he sighed.  "I loathe them just as much."

"Uh-huh.  Couldn't you have ducked better?"

"No, apparently not."  She sulked.  "It's only for four weeks or so."  She scowled.  "I was planning on taking three weeks with her anyway."

"They're going to go nuts and we'll have all sorts of crimes."

Horatio smirked.  "I believe they're happy that Xander now has someone to fuss over.  Or so we've heard so far today."

"Didn't stop the bank robbery," Stella said as she walked over.  "Fortunately the security system did."  She smiled.  "Hi, princess."  She plucked her from Speed's lap to cuddle.  "You are so adorable."

Speed grinned.  "Yes she is.  I'm wondering if people did the same thing to H when he was that age."

"I doubt it," Horatio said.  "Girls are always sweeter looking."  He took his daughter back.  "Come on, we'll nap."  He shifted on the lounger they had on his back porch.  "I thought the baby shower was at Xander's on Sunday."

"It is."  Calleigh smiled and got something she had put down, putting it beside him.  "It's all yours.  The Chief of Detectives agreed you could do them during nap times.  That way you weren't making me do overtime to do the paperwork."

"Thank you," he said sarcastically.  "We still have to decorate too."

"We can help paint," Stella offered with a smile.  "Pink?"

"We've already got the paint and stencils picked out," Speed said.  He shifted his foot some.  "She's making that face, Horatio."

"I can see that.  We can wait to let her finish."  When she sighed in pleasure he carefully got up and limped inside to change her.  He knew Calleigh and Stella wouldn't.  Xander walked in the front door carrying a basket and exchanged it for the baby.  "She needs changed."

"I changed her first one in Miami, I can change this one.  Those go in the freezer."  Horatio limped off to handle that while Xander changed her.  He came out with her changed into something thinner.  "There.  That way you're not red from the heat too."

"She was?" Speed asked, holding up his hands.  Xander pouted.  "You can babysit."  Xander handed her over.  "Yeah, I guess you were a bit overly warm.  You're all red and splotchy on your stomach."  She snuggled in and let him help her back into a nap.  "She's a very quiet baby," he told the ladies, who smiled.  "I know, saying that means we'll have colic.  What did you bring us?"

"Bunches of stuff.  All in two person serving sizes," he said proudly.  "Some of that beef and gravy dish.  Some little things of lasagna with sausage and the normal kind, some pork chops with stuffing."

"I adore you, thanks," Speed said, pulling him down to hug.

"You're welcome."  He settled in and looked at her.  "I don't think she'll get chilly with as warm as it is today."

"No, probably not.  Can you adjust the shade so she doesn't get burned?"  Xander did that and it was better.  He moved her foot out of the sun and it was perfect.  "That's better."

Horatio came out with a set of plates for them.  Speed's got put beside him and he sat down on Speed's other side to watch him eat.  Xander stole the baby for now with a grin.  "Thank you for the new storage containers too, Xander."

"I figured it'd be better if I broke it up into two people sized servings for you guys."

"It's very handy."  He and Speed ate while the girls cooed at the scowling baby.  Horatio smiled.  "You scowl like Frank, dear."

"The mean uncle woke her up," Stella said with a smile for Xander.

"She adores me.  She napped while we played poker and everything."

"I should swat you for taking her there," Calleigh said.

"You do I'm getting you back," he assured her.  He cooed in her ear, making her wiggle.  "That's my good niece."

"She's a very good girl," Horatio agreed.  "Which means some year we'll have to keep her out of the clubs."  Speed snickered but nodded since his mouth was full.  Sam came out.  "Are you helping again today?"

"Until you can stand up easily."  He smiled at her.  "Hi, precious.  Did someone remember to put sunscreen on you?  We don't want you to be one of those leathery old ladies too soon."

"She's fine," Horatio assured him.  Speed finished and held out his arms.  Xander kissed her on the head and handed her back.  Horatio smiled at him.  "You're a very good uncle."

"I am.  I'll also duck out more often to make sure she doesn't think she has three daddies."

Horatio smiled and Speed nodded.  "She's doing okay so far.  She likes us.  She likes to listen to H read to me when I'm feeling grumpy because of my ankle."  The girls cooed and the baby made zombie noises back.  They all smiled at her for that.

Sam went in to make a bottle and bring it out, letting Speed have it.

"I believe it's my turn," Horatio said, stealing her to feed.  She was happy to eat no matter who was holding her at the moment so that was a good thing.  "We'll be using the daycare by the station."  The ladies nodded.  So did Xander.  "We don't need much in the way of furniture.  We do have a car seat, Alexx asked."

"She came with one," Xander agreed with a grin.  "No diapers but a car seat."  The girls smiled and left to get back to work.  Xander looked at them.  "I'm going to have to be a spoiling uncle."

"As long as she does not learn how to play poker yet," Horatio said dryly.

"Fu and most of the poker circle said congrats on adopting her."  He smiled.  "They said they'd try to keep it down since you probably weren't sleeping and you'd be meaner than usual."  He stood up.  "Want me to take Sam home?"

"For a few hours.  I'll call if we need some help," Speed said.  Xander nodded, going to pick up Sam so they could get into trouble.  He shifted to look at his husband and daughter.  "She looks very comfy."

"She's squinting like she needs my sunglasses."

Speed tipped the shade a bit more directly over them.  That helped some.   "Have we heard from Adam?"

"No.  I'm sure Xander's hovering over them too."

"Probably."  He watched her eat.  It was the most calm he'd felt since the day he had married Speed and let himself be marked as his.  This was what he was missing in his life and now he had it.  And Speed, who was a greedy attention hog at times but he adored him for it.  He gave him a kiss and they shifted over to sit closer together so they could both feed her.  She liked that.  She was one happy baby Caine.

The End.

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