June 20th dawned gloriously, with every promise of staying that way. All over Sunnydale, people slowly woke up and decided that maybe it was worth it to roll out of bed and see what so glorious a day offered. After all, no matter how bad things ended up, they had at least started off well, right?
Well, not to Riley Finn.
At around seven in the morning, Riley woke up with a scowl like a Detroit winter on his face. His wife rolled over and treated him to a long kiss filled with promises, but for once he was too distracted to take her up on her offer. Ignoring her husband's surly response, Buffy Summers cheerfully hopped out of bed and flung open the curtains, allowing a flood of cheerful morning light to come streaming into the room.
"Looks like it's going to be a gorgeous day!" she called to the lump of sheets that constituted her husband, "Just perfect for your b-"
"Don't say it! It's not true until you say it!" Riley screeched from the bed. Rolling her eyes, Buffy crossed to the foot of the bed and with one quick jerk, pulled the sheets off. As he yelped in surprise, she took the opportunity to admire her husband's chest and ponder briefly the inherent possibilities of closing the door and climbing back into bed for an hour. If anything could snap Riley out of a surly funk, that was it.
Her plan was quickly derailed, however, by the sound of an irate five-year-old's screams of rage.
"No, CJ! Those are *my* blocks! Go play with your dolls!"
Lobbing a pillow at Riley, Buffy headed towards the door. "Get up, hun. The beasts are awake, and want to celebrate their daddy's *birthday*."
Grumbling, newly 30-year-old Riley Finn pulled on a pair of sweat pants and followed his wife downstairs.
If anything, breakfast in the Summers-Finn household was even more chaotic than usual. A surly Riley and a perky Buffy would normally have been enough to completely wreck the usual morning routine, but added to this was the fact that three-year-old CJ had committed the mortal sin of trying to play with her big brother's blocks. Normally, the two toddlers got along fairly well simply due to the fact that while little Simon never shut up, CJ was a very quiet baby. Therefore Simon could be generous enough to allow his sister to putter around with his blocks in exchange for a receptive audience to his various diatribes.
Today, though, he was trying to explain to his father between bites of toast just why it was so awful that CJ had delicately nudged one of his blocks half an inch from its previous location. Unfortunately for him, his father was apparently dense as a rock this morning.
"It's a *special* building, Dad." Simon said for the fifteenth time.
"Yes, but you shouldn't hit CJ." Riley repeated.
"But she knocked one of the blocks out."
"All you had to do was put it back. I saw you do it. The building looks the same."
"But it's a *special* building*."
Having no luck reasoning with his son, Riley turned to Buffy for help. Seeing his desperate look as she attempted to clean Cheerios off of their wiggling daughter, she said, "Simon, why don't you *show* Daddy why it's special?"
As his mouth opened into an 'o' of surprise at how logical his mother's advice was, Simon led Riley into the living room, leaving a trail of toast-crumbs behind him. Pointing to the large configuration of blocks right in front of the couch, he proudly said, "It's a crocodile."
"Really? That's.... that's great, Simon. Best crocodile ever." Riley carefully tilted his head. Yeah, now that he really looked at it, there might be something crocodile-like in the design. He was pretty sure that one end was a tail, for instance.
Shaking his head at how old and slow his father was (Riley would receive this treatment from his son for many, many years), Simon carefully explained. "It's a *birthday* crocodile. 'Cuz it's your *birthday*." Duh. "And 'cuz Uncle Forrest says that now that you're thirty, you're an old toothless crocodile."
Riley managed to paste a very pleased look on his face, and tossed Simon into the air once or twice to prove how much he appreciated his birthday crocodile. He also made a mental note to beat the shit out of Forrest.
After returning to the kitchen and finishing off his breakfast, Riley helped Buffy dress the kids, and between the two of them they managed to get both strapped into their car-seats with a minimum of blood-shed. Apparently both his wife and their friends had big plans for his 30th birthday, and they didn't involve any of the children that the group had produced in the last eight years. Though Riley did wonder what idiot had actually volunteered to watch all of the little rugrats for a whole day.
"Giles, always good to see you!"
Riley followed Buffy inside the small apartment, noting with interest that the former Watcher had somehow managed to baby-proof the entire first floor in anticipation of the flood of lil'uns that he was about to be deluged with.
"And the same to you, Buffy. And I see you've brought this little tot with you as well." Giles addressed little CJ, who was doing her best impression of a snapping turtle by curling completely into a ball in her mother's arms and regarding Giles carefully. "How are you today, Caroline Joyce?"
Riley winced. Apparently Buffy had not gotten around to warning Giles about their daughter's little... quirk.
For a child who rarely spoke, CJ showed an excellent talent for projecting her voice when she wanted to be heard. It even put her brother to shame as she screamed, "I'M CJ!"
From the look on Giles' face, he realized that he had just ruined any chance he had of a good afternoon with this child. As Buffy handed over the wailing voice with a body attached, Riley watched as Simon started tussling with Kenny, who had apparently been dropped off early and staked out the good spot on the couch.
Looking at the small, wiry child with attitude to spare, Riley wondered for the thousandth time what had possessed Willow and Tara to name their son after a character in the film "Can't Hardly Wait". Both claimed it had been the other's idea, so he couldn't help but wonder if tequila shots had influenced the naming process in any way.
After calming CJ down to the point where she was merely sitting in a corner and glaring at Giles, Buffy and Riley beat a hasty retreat before any of the other children showed up.