Intermission (Happy Birthday)

One year closer to 40. (Taking a quick porn break to fill a request from an ace combat fan (for Macross)

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Hansel and Marion 2

So I’m continuing Hansel and Marion in another series, however, I don’t know if I’m going to be keeping this series title as Hansel and Marion. Why? I’m trying to diversify who the story focuses on, but I just might end up keeping it HaM. Ch55 was the final chapter for HaM, this is Ch1 for the next series. It’s been a good while since I’ve written about everyone in HaM so I’ll be trying to go through HaM again to get my vibes back for characters and to generally smoothen any rough edges or inconsistencies. As always I hope you enjoy my little inserts.

 

Hansel and Marion 2 Chapter 1

The massive King Tiger tank Marion Walter cuddled her husband and former commander Hansel Walter against her turret cheek late on a Sunday night. She had pulled him out of his bed and set him against her cheek just under her eye, wrapping around his stomach and holding his hands. A calming hand strokes his arm while two more massage his shoulders, one last hand was running through his thick dirty blond hair. He was distraught, but it wasn’t because of an unforeseen mishap or even anxiety. It was years of unfulfilled desire, he wanted a son he could relate more to for years. They had hoped that Jasmine, their humorph baby girl, 14 years old now, would be a boy. they were happy and proud regardless, but it only served to increase Hansel’s thirst for a boy. the problem was that they weren’t sure if they could afford another kid comfortably, and they weren’t sure if it would be a boy anyhow. Marion could feel the tension and decided to break the silence, offer some solutions, and pick his brain.

“We could try for a son, Hansel, I’m alright with it.” He sighed despairingly.

“But it might not even be a boy, we’re two for one right now. Odds don’t look good.”

“It could be a pattern, girl, boy, girl, now it’s a boy’s turn.”

“I don’t think it works like that-actually I know it doesn’t work like that.” He dropped his head onto his wrists and withered his fingers around her hands. It reminded her of how Cindy used to fidget, and that sparked an idea. 

“Hansel, what if we adopted a son?” Hansel stopped his fidgeting. “Like when we took in Cindy, you loved her like she was one of your own.” Cindy was an orphaned Sherman child during the second world war, Marion convinced Hansel to take Cindy in until they could find a suitable home for her. After the war, Cindy’s parents were recovered alive. Cindy still bounced between her biological parents and the Walters as her family.

“I still do,” he chuckled, “sometimes I debate if Hannah is really our first kid?” Marion smiled, sometimes she wonders the same thing.

“So,” she asks suggestively, “you’re open to the idea?” Hansel lifts his head and bobs it around trying to formulate his response.

“Well, yes, but, I-” he struggled to convey his thoughts, “I wonder how well I’d bond with him. He’s not my own flesh and blood, but I know father’s aren’t defined by that.” He exhaled a mighty breath of anxiety. “Would he take me as his father? Would he bond with me? Would he be closed off? My biggest fear is that we won’t see eye-to-eye, we don’t get that connection.” Marion moved from his shoulders to his back.

“We get along with everyone, I don’t think there would be much problem with that.” Her massaging skills were impeccable, she soothed him deeply and thoroughly. He went with her motions religiously.

“Maybe, maybe you’re right.” He turned his head and looked into her brilliant eye. “I’m okay with adopting a son.” Marion smiled. His mind drifted to a woman at work, she was very community oriented and spent a lot of time at the orphanage. She had talked to Hansel about a boy who was fascinated with world war two and machines. She mentioned him to Hansel because she knew of Marion. “There may be a boy good for us, but he’s not a baby.”

“Oh? Do you know how old he is?” Hansel shook his head. “Well, Cindy wasn’t exactly a baby, either, I think it will be fine.”

“I’ll ask Shelby about him in the morning.”

“Oh, she’s the lady that volunteers at the orphanage, right?”

“Yes. That’s her.”

“So she could maybe help us with the paperwork?” Hansel shrugged.

“Maybe.” Marion began to wind down her massaging and opened up the bed for him.

“Well, it’s awfully late, dear, we should get back to bed.” Hansel agreed and swooped in for a goodnight kiss.

“Thank you, babe. Goodnight, I love you.” He got under the covers on Marion’s engine deck and started falling asleep.

“Goodnight, Hansel, I love you, too.”

They rested well and woke up early in the morning. Marion woke first and got Hansel up shortly after, as he dressed and groomed himself she went out and started breakfast. She called down Jasmine to wake her up for school and feed her. While she was waiting for the first batch of eggs to cook she rapped on Hannah’s door asking if she wanted breakfast. Hannah politely declined and so Marion put away the extra ingredients. Hannah was their first born child, a King Tiger like her mother. Hansel came out clean shaven and fresh just as breakfast finished cooking. Marion handed him a plate of food as he poured cups of juice for them. He put his plate and the beverages at the table while Marion rolled up with plates for herself and Jasmine and the silverware. They waited for Jasmine to come down before they began eating.

“You might be getting a little brother, Jasmine.” Hansel announced.

“Mom’s pregnant?” Jasmine was surprised, she looked to Marion for an answer.

“No, we were thinking about adoption.” She responded.

“Oh, why?” She looked to Marion again. “Are you getting too old, mom?” Marion smiled and drifted her turret no.

“No, I’m not there yet.” Marion chuckled and wondered if she’d ever turn infertile.

“Actually, I was wanting a son.” Hansel opened up. “And we decided that this would be the best way to do that.”

“What about Tyler?” Tyler was their second child, also a King Tiger tank, he had joined the army during the Vietnam war and was upgraded to fight modern tanks. He found a wife, an M48 Patton, and they worked at Fort Knox as instructors.

“I love Tyler, but I don’t relate to him like I can relate to you, and I can’t relate to you like I would a boy. Besides, Tyler’s too much of a mama’s boy.” Marion chuckled.

“He is not!” Marion looked back to Jasmine. “Dad’s funny, I think he’s getting old.”

“Dad aren’t I boy enough? Come on.” Hansel nodded gently.

“Yes, you’re certainly boyish, but you have posters of boys in your room, I don’t get that.” Jasmine raised her eyebrows.

“And you think you’d relate to a boy if he hung up posters of boobs and women?” She gestured to Marion, who laughed at the juxtaposition. Hansel’s mouth hung open, he shook his finger and tried to rebuttal. He brought up his left wrist and looked at his watch.

“Are you late for school yet?” He jested, he shook his head and came back around. “I don’t get liking boys, I get liking girls.” Jasmine shook her head and rolled her eyes, Hansel put some more food in his mouth.

“Boys are fun, Jasmine.” Marion nodded. Hansel instantly swallowed what he had and snapped a retort.

“No! They are devils, stay away from them!” Jasmine and Marion laughed. “You and Hannah will be ours forever, I swear it!”

“Okay Hansel, whatever you say.” Marion winked to Jasmine, who giggled. Jasmine drank the rest of her juice and asked again about the prospect of another brother.

“So my baby brother, when will I get him?”

Little brother, the child we had in mind isn’t a baby.” Hansel said.

“We don’t know when, either.” Marion answered the question. “Hansel’s supposed to ask about it today.” Hansel nodded, he wiped his mouth off and excused himself from the table.

“Hurry up Jasmine, it’s almost time to go.” Jasmine wolfed down the rest of her food just as Marion reminded them that the bus schedule changed. “Oh, right, I forgot. Well, if you still want a ride, I’ll take you.”

“No, thank you. I’ll ride the bus.”

“Okay then,” he walked over to her and hugged her while she sat at the table and kissed the top of her brown hair, “have a good day at school, sweetie.” He walked over to Marion, who had turned her turret over to him. He embraced her and kissed her, as well. “Goodbye, dear, have a good day.”

“Bye, dad!”

“Goodbye, hun, have a good day at work.” Hansel walked to the Fourier and collected his shoes, coat, and tie before he left.

“How’s your boyfriend, sweetie?” Marion asked Jasmine when Hansel left, it was their little secret. Jasmine’s shoulders slumped and her head dropped.

“We broke up.”

“Awww, ” Marion scowelled, “did you break up with him?” She shook her head.

“No, he dumped me.”

“Did he say why?”

“Because I’m metal, he’s weirded out by it. His friends made fun of him for it.” Marion rolled up behind her and hugged her snuggly, rocking her side to side.

“Nevermind him, anymore. He’s just going to miss out on how awesome you are, baby.”

“Thanks, mom.”

Marion kissed her daughter’s head and assured her that she’ll be okay. Marion had noticed that Jasmine left her bedroom door open and sent Jasmine up to close it. Jasmine’s room was on the second floor of the house built into the hanger. To the left of the Fourier from the hanger, the Fourier being center of the house structure, was the stairs leading up to the second floor. Jasmine’s room was to the left from the Hanger’s view, and to the left of her room was an empty room prepared to receive a baby. On the right side of the stairs was a lounge space, then two more rooms. The room furthest to the right was strictly for storage.

“How does a little brother sound, Jasmine?” Marion asked when Jasmine trotted down the stairs with her bag.

“Eh, pretty cool, as long as he’s not a dweeb.” Marion rolled her eyes. “I’m tired of being the baby, it’s his turn.” She threw her backpack on and went to the door to put her shoes on. “What about you, mom?”

“I’m very excited!” She shivered with anticipation. They wished each other goodbyes and good days. Jasmine walked down to the bus stop and Marion went to clean up and begin her day. A few hours later she would tell Hannah about the adoption decision, Hannah, too, was optimistic and excited.

Hansel sat at his desk patiently while waiting for Shelby to clock in. He was trying to figure out how to approach the topic while trying to figure out how to budget for the renovations. Damn asbestos, he thought as he saw her enter the offices to clock in. Once she checked in he stopped her in the hall. Their friendship goes back to when Hansel was showing her, a shy eighteen years old college girl, how to stock shelves, that was forty years ago. She constantly teases him for his youthful completion, nearly unchanged thanks to Marion. He’d always snap back about her being near sixty years old with acne if she had turned. She asked him if he stopped her about work and she was confused when he said otherwise. She began to worry it was something deathly wrong at home.

“No, it’s not about my family shrinking, the other way, expanding.”

“Uh-huh,” she was thinking of why he’d be asking an elderly woman about expanding a family, “I’m sorry, dear, I don’t know anything about machine menopause.”

“We weren’t thinking of expanding it that way, Shelby,” she nodded as she began figuring it out, “we were thinking of adopting a boy.” Her face lit up.

“Oh! Why didn’t you just say so, Han?” She playfully slapped his shoulder, he shrugged. “So you were thinking of the boy I talk about? Oh-” she held a hand to her chest, “he’s a sweetheart.”

“We were, yes.” Hansel said, he was about to ask her about how the process to meet him would go when she did it for him.

“I can bring him over this afternoon, will Marion be there?”

“-Oh, uh, y-yes she will. That’s…” he shook his head astonished, “that’s amazing, I’ll call Marion real quick and let her know.”

“Great! I’ll get him hooked by promising he’ll see a tank, he loves tanks!” Hansel smiled, he liked this kid already.

“Awesome, I’ll tell Marion to act natural.”

“Great! I’ll call your place when I’m on my way with him.”

“Alright, sounds good!”

They exchanged numbers and addresses and went about their businesses with great excitement. Hansel called Marion and gave her the great news, she was thrilled. She rushed around making the house perfect and even pressured Hannah into helping. Usually Marion keeps her environment clean, neat, and orderly so she can move about easier and doesn’t have to worry about getting dirty, but when visitors are coming she goes crazy. Everything must shine. Her children grew up used to it and it was Hansel who planted the seeds early on when he kept her fairly tidy as the commander. For hours the two cleaned until Hannah gave up and retreated to her room to go study more. Marion continued until he got a knock at the hanger door. Marion suspected it was Hansel home early to help prepare and answered it as so, thrusting a broom towards the opening. It was Jäger coming to visit. Jäger was a JagdTiger they fought with in the war and a close friend. She lived on a classified military base built for the living machines acquired during the war, the regulations had relaxed a lot since then, and the machines were much more free but still considered top secret assets.

“Who told you I was coming? I kept it under wraps just so you didn’t do this. How’ve you been, Marion?”

“Oh, Jäger! I thought you were Hansel!” Marion shook off her surprise and asked Jäger what she’s doing out here.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve cranked my engine this much, and even longer since I’ve seen you, so I thought I’d come by and chit-chat. What’s new with the Walter family?”

“Oh I’m tidying up for who might be our new son!”

“Come again?” She was confused.

“Hansel and I are going to adopt a son, he’s supposed to be visiting today.” Jäger was speechless.

“I can’t say I didn’t think you two would do it, what with Cindy and all, but I didn’t think you two would ditch the fun way of making them.” Marion chuckled.

“Oh no, Hansel really wants a son, this is just the best way to guarantee that.”

“Oh, alright, well, I’ll stay outside now. I’m all dirty, don’t want to ruin all your cleaning.” Marion’s hospitable side wanted to invite her inside anyways, but she did work hard for this.

“Uh, what if we just clean you up first? Then you can come inside?”

“Alright, sounds good.”

Jäger and Marion moved over to a section of the concrete ‘driveway’ that was used to wash the dirt off and they started cleaning, continuing to catch up on things. Jäger says that everyone should pitch in to pave a road between the base and the Walter’s place. Marion politely declined, instead insisting that the Walters just need to go up to the base more often. Jäger again emphasized that a road would do well in that scenario. Marion shrugged. Hannah took a break from studying and came out to talk. They talked about her studies and that led up to a topic Jäger wanted to talk to Hansel about.

While many of the human spouses had learned basic maintenance for their machine lovers none of them were especially capable like Hansel, and often had to default to base technicians. This was an issue because the base was contacted by a private collector that possessed a mostly working KönigsTiger. His health was beginning to fail and he wanted to send his beloved tank somewhere it would be kept in excellent shape. He insisted it wasn’t alive but many machines were skeptical. Nonetheless mostly everyone on base agreed Hansel would be the best person to give it to. Marion, too, was skeptical. She said she’d try keeping it in mind. Hannah said could be kept in her room, she didn’t intend on staying in the house much longer. Marion shot it down, she said the house was for family and friends only, Hannah’s room wasn’t going to be replaced by a dead metal tank. Marion said only if it was alive would she lodge it up in one of the rooms.

By then they had finished the wash and Jäger was clean, sopping wet, but clean. They hung around outside to chat about how folks on the base were doing. Nothing too major was going on, most of the time Jäger talked about how she was trying to get Erin, her daughter, to finally date Petre, Mini-Rommel and Kramia’s son,and to get them to move in together. She, like Marion, griped about how her kids didn’t reproduce yet. Hannah rolled her eyes and shrugged off the jabs. Marion and Jäger harassed Hannah,edging her on to go find a man and get the goods. Hannah jabbed back that she wants to be able to support her husband and kids. Marion fired back that it was Hansel who did that, Hansel’s mindset is to have a job that lets Marion work whenever she wants. Hannah had figured that’s where her similar mindset came from. Marion also said that when Hannah does have kids she’ll want to be home much more often.

Jäger was fairly dry by this time and the three moved inside, Hannah sat at the doorway to her room, Jäger sat on the kitchen side of the main space, and a very anxious Marion sat at the hanger door gantry with an ear out for anyone coming. Jäger and Marion discussed how good the house was, how Jäger’s place was, how the husband’s were doing, their works and such. Hannah begin fidgeting with a Rubik’s cube and was absorbed by it. Marion heard the familiar rumble of a car coming down the driveway, and by the sound of the engine she knew it was Hansel’s car. He parked in his spot by the front door and came in very excited. He greeted Jäger briefly and told them that Shelby will be calling when she’s on her way with the boy. Marion moved around with Jäger to be closer to the phone while Jäger and Hansel caught up.

The phone didn’t even complete its first ring cycle Marion was so quick. She snatched the phone and almost crushed it against her cheek as the tiny plastic phone struck her giant armored turret. She had an anticipating smile on her face, and as time drug on it grew larger and she looked even more excited. Everyone was silent and watching intensely as Marion spoke in response to the phone. She cried out in excitement as she hooked the phone back on the receiver and told the group the kid was on the way. The tension in the room grew higher, anticipation raced through everyone’s veins and their hearts beat quickly.

Jäger and Marion used the chance to talk to Hansel about the dead metal Tiger tank being talked about back at the base. He was fine with taking it for a while, he saw it as something he could use to spend time with his upcoming son, his confidence in this kid was impressive. Hansel did agree with Marion on keeping it outside, he said the only reason it would enter the house was for something serious. Hansel went on a tangent about what he would do with his son, from rebuilding the transmission to getting his first drink. Just before the kid was expected to show up Jasmine got home, she wasn’t too phased by the news and said she was going up to her room. She stopped just outside of her door and said that all of the living tanks might overwhelm the poor kid. Hannah said she’d sit this out and retreated into her room to check her email. Jäger said that the extended and taxing use of her engine made her oil too runny and was excused to relieve herself and top off in the bedroom. Suddenly it was just Hansel and Marion.

they heard the dirt road rumble as a car came down the way. Their excitement soared and they could barely contain themselves, Shelby’s little car bounced down the road and came to a stop just short of the huge gantry. The engine was cut out and the driver door opened up, Shelby hurried out and around the car to the passenger side backseat and opened the door. Hansel stepped out, heart thumping and mind racing, he motioned for Marion to stay put, to her frustration she sat still and waited. Shelby seemed to be giving the kid a pep talk as she undid his seat straps. She leaned in and gave him a big hug and helped him out of the car. Hansel immediately felt familiarity with him, he was a shorter kid, very thin with very pale skin and bright red hair. He had a round chin and a little nose, high cheekbones with a round face, he squinted in the sunlight and showed timidness. He was dressed in a blue and black plaid button shirt with a collar and name tag that glinted in the sun, he had khaki slacks with a neat belt and polished leather shoes that looked too big for him. He showed no sign of getting anywhere near Hansel, or even leaving the car door. Hansel couldn’t help but smile ear-to-ear. Shelby took his hand and walked him towards Hansel, who knelt down to get eye level with him.

“Go on, Chad, say hello.” Shelby said, the kid stood awkwardly and slouched over, slightly behind Shelby as they reached Hansel. Chad couldn’t pick his head up, his eyes fell to the ground in a somewhat defeated manner.

“Hello.” He squeaked out, looking at Hansel before looking down at the ground between them.

“Tell him your name, sweetie, introduce yourself.” He was silent for a minute, then he looked up to Hansel and made eye contact. Hansel was amazed by his eyes, they were a dark blue with a white inner ring bordering the pupil that made his eyes look like the eye of a storm, they were breathtaking.

“My name’s Chandler, I’m ten years old.” He said softly before returning his gaze on the cracks of the concrete slab beneath them.

“Well Chad,” Hansel spoke, trying to get his attention, “my name is Hansel Walter, it’s nice to meet you. I’m very old, how old do you think I am?” Chad glanced up then down again, shrugging. “Come on, give it a shot.” Chad scoured over Hansel this time, scanning him over and over.

“Forty.” Hansel smiled wider.

“Nope, try again, I’m very old!”

“Fifty?” Chad guessed again, a bit more involved, he was no longer slouched over and his head began to rise.

“One more guess, Chad.”

“Sixty?” Hansel shook his head, Chad leaned in, intrigued.

“Nope, I am eighty-two years old!” Chad’s mouth dropped.

“Titanic is almost that old!” He belched and smiled with hope. “Do you know anyone who was on the Titanic?!” Hansel frowned and shook his head no, if it wasn’t for Jasmine’s obsession with Leonardo Di’Caprio he wouldn’t even know what that ship was.

“I’m sorry Chad, I don’t know anyone who was on the Titanic.” Chad retreated back into his shell. “But,” he pushed on Chad’s shoulder gently, “Miss Shelby here told me you like tanks?” Chad perked up a bit, a twinkle in his eye and a subtle grin on his face. The hope and optimism of children is blissful, his wild idea that Hansel had a tank was preposterous, but it’s exactly right. “Do you want to see a tank, Chad?”

“Chad let’s go see the tank!” Shelby bent over and said to him, for the first time Chad stood up straight and shined with energy. Marion heard them talking and was up a wall with excitement. Her smile was huge and her eyes shone with warmth, excitement, and as much comfort as a death machine could convey.

“Chad let’s go see this tank! Come on!” Hansel said, he stood up and beckoned the two inside. Chad raced up to Hansel’s side and his head immediately locked onto Marion. He was floored. His mouth was agape, he stood petrified with so much excitement and awe, and his eyes bulged out of his head as he saw Marion. He was speechless. Hansel saw him and knew this kid was the one, he fell in love with him immediately.

“A King Tiger!” He finally exclaimed, Hansel and Marion were pleasantly surprised. Hansel squatted down next to him and motioned to Marion.

“It’s not just a King Tiger, Chad,” Chad looked over with great interest, and from the way everyone was acting so far Hansel knew his next statement was a matter-of-fact one, “she’s your new mom.” Chad’s face mysteriously twisted into more amazement than before and he snapped back to Marion, she had her arms outstretched and was waving for him to come closer. He bolted out towards her, she knew he was going to climb all over her and she was exceptionally okay with that.

“I’ve never seen him like that,” Shelby said to Hansel. He stood up and watched Marion pluck Chad up and sit him down on her deck just in front of her left eye, “he’s very shy, thick shell, you blew that into a million pieces.”

“Yeah,” Hansel nodded, “he’s our little mouse, now, I guess.” She chuckled.

“I’m glad you like him; and sorry he’s dressed so formally. It’s the orphanage’s policy. I-” she gasped and dropped her hand to her thigh, “I’ve never seen him like this. With other families he’s super shy and introverted, it’s why he’s never gotten a home.”

“Well, he’s home now.” Hansel said confidently, he looked over to Shelby and started getting the list of what they needed to do to adopt Chad.

While Hansel and Shelby sat down at the table to discuss proceedings, Chad and Marion openly introduced themselves. Chad was bouncing off the walls with energy, he spat out a million questions for her, she answered all she could and asked him many questions, too. He quickly answered her with what he knew. Marion let him play and explore all over her, he had a blast. Eventually he got down and would run to the car to come back with things to show her, he had small toy tanks, drawings, books, pictures, and knick-knacks. Marion fell in love with this little bundle instantly. Jäger had finished her oil change and heard the commotion going on. She didn’t want to interrupt the bonding moment so she held off, however curiosity got the best of her and she opened the door a bit. She was extremely excited until she saw the kid, her heart sank and she was weak as a wave of depression swooped over her. She closed the door and fought back the tears.

Marion decided that Chad was alright with tanks being alive so she called out Hannah. Hannah cautiously came out and delightfully interacted with Chad. She had to explain that she wasn’t from world war two and that she was born after it. She answered another million questions from Chad and asked him a bunch of questions as he started showing her all his stuff, too. While Chad buzzed around showing Hannah and Hansel his stuff Marion went to check on Jäger. Marion knocked on the door and asked ifJäger needed some help, there was no response so she opened the door. She saw Jäger trying to shy away, teary eyed and miserable. Marion pushed her back and squeezed into the room to shut the door behind her.

“Jäger what’s wrong?” Marion tried comforting Jäger, who shied away, sniffling.

“I’ll be fine, go-go on and enjoy yourself.”

“No, I can’t anymore. What’s wrong?” Jäger wiper her faceplate. “You can still have more kids, Jäger.”

“It’s not that, I-” she burst out with tears streaming to her deck, “I can’t stop thinking of him!

“Who?” Marion was puzzled.

“Look at the boy!” Jäger exclaimed, “He looks exactly like him!” Marion thought she saw a familiar face in Chad, she couldn’t remember where, she had seen a lot of faces in her life. Marion shook her turret.

“I’m sorry, Jäger, I don’t think of anyone like him.”

“Irish!” Jäger wailed between bawls. “Irish is dead! That’s him out there! You don’t see it?” Marion’s face lit up after that, there was a terrifying resemblance between Chad and Irish. Chad looked a lot like a child Irish.

“Jäger, I, I’m sorry.” Marion didn’t believe in reincarnation, but this was a tad eerie. “I didn’t see it before, I just never got that close to him is all.”

“It’s alright,” Jäger sniffled, “he was fairly closed off. Stuck to himself.” Marion saw personality similarities, too, but vaguely.

“Well, I don’t believe in reincarnation, but even so, I don’t think that’s him.” She sighed before she got to her next point. “Irish died a long, long time ago, Jäger, he died in forty-four.” Jäger shook her gun to disagree.

“I thought that too, but I always had this inkling inside me that said he was alive!” She tried to wipe the tears away but they poured down her faceplate again. “Not anymore!” She winced in pain and regret. “He didn’t deserve that! He should be here! With us! He shouldn’t have died for some bitch that treated him like shit!” Her emotions were very intense but Marion still noticed the human door open behind her, it was Hansel.

“They’re leaving dear, do you want to say goodbye?”

“Yes, one moment,” Hansel quietly closed the door, Marion hugged Jäger the best she could, “I’ll be right back Jäger.” She opened the door and backed out, turning around and closing the door behind her. She got close enough to Chad to pick him up and hug him. “Goodbye, Chad! Will you be coming back to us?” He wasn’t sure, a tinge of doubt and panic shrouded his expression.

“I hope so,” he said. His attempt at hugging back was tense and full of worry, “will you guys be my parents?” Marion’s heart warmed and skipped a beat, she glanced at Hansel and saw how happy and prideful he was. She knew the answer.

“We’d love to be your parents, Chad.” He warmed up and softened. Marion almost refused to let him go but eventually returned him to Shelby so he could go back to the orphanage to pack his things. They said their good-byes and farewells and Shelby and Chad left just after sunset.

Marion went back to comfort Jäger, she asked Hansel if Jäger could stay the night, Hansel said Jäger and Fritz could stay over if it helped. Marion went back to talk to Jäger and Hansel called Fritz and got him to come over. Jäger insisted all this was just her coming to grips with Irish’s death. Marion pushed deeper and got Jäger to open up that she bears the guilt for the death of her whole crew, she pointed to so many other tanks and their crew’s survival. Jäger opened up about feeling like a failure, she had so much armor, and it did nothing for those she cared about. Hansel and Marion assured her that it wasn’t her fault, they said that her crew being killed by the bomb wasn’t her fault. Jäger adamantly disagreed, she should never have let them sleep outside of her skin. They told her Irish went off on his own accord, it was his choice and not Jäger’s. Jäger said that it was the biggest mistake in her life. Everyday she regrets that decision.

Fritz arrived and relieved Hansel, who started a quick dinner for he and Jasmine. Hannah and Marion didn’t want anything. Off to the side Hannah told Hansel that she was accepted into a museum as the centerpiece, meaning she’ll be moving out soon. Hansel said they’ll talk about it more later. While dinner was cooking Jasmine came out of her room, and announced her return from dream world and that she had completed her homework. She asked about how the interview went and Hansel told her that her new little brother was named Chad, was 10 years old, and love tanks. He discussed it a little more with her while they ate their dinners, ravioli and mac and cheese. She brought up an overlooked detail that shook Hansel to his core.

“So, do you and Mom know where to bury him?” Hansel was taken aback, he couldn’t tell if she was joking around.

“What do you mean by that?”

“Well,” she swallowed her food, “you’re in your eighties, mom in her sixties, and neither of you are physically old, dying. You’re going to outlive him.” Hansel’s lips and eyes fluttered as he pieced it together. His body language darkened and his heart turned cold. “So when are you guys going to change him?” Hansel glanced back to the cluster of machines, then to the gantry door, then he really began thinking about it.

“That…” he started, “is a very good question.” He released a sigh of frustration. Could a child survive that procedure? They ate their dinners while talking about her day at school.

Jäger was calmed down enough to where she wasn’t crying anymore, she still felt terrible, though. Marion insisted that they stay the night but Jäger said she didn’t want to be a bother and Fritz said he could get her home. They wished everyone goodbye and said that everyone should get together again sometime. Fritz and Jäger left the house and headed on their way, when Marion got the door closed Hannah again announced she got the position at the museum as a display. Marion was excited, worried that her first baby girl was leaving the nest but excited to see her grow more. Jasmine was indifferent, wishing her sister luck out there. Hansel was a worried father as he thought about all the maintenance he couldn’t do for her anymore.

“Now you’ll be able to meet somebody!” Marion was hoping Hannah could meet someone and settle down, finally get out there and have a life of her own, like Tyler.

“Yep, lots of friends!” Hansel retorted. “So many friends, and nothing more.” Hannah laughed.

“Complains about not having grandkids,” Hannah held out a hand, “forbids daughters from having boyfriends,” she held out another hand, “hmmm,” she tilted her hands like a scale, “mom does this add up?”

“It’s just dad’s crooked math.” Marion replied, she hugged Hannah. “I’m so proud of you!”

“The only thing crooked are boys.” Hansel said, he kissed Hannah’s massive flank. “they’ll jerk you around and use you, stay on your path, baby, I’m very proud.”

“They’ll jerk you around but it is worth the wild ride, Hannah, when you find the one you’ll see.” Marion said.

“There’s no boy good enough for you, Hannah, don’t touch them. That goes for you, too, Jasmine.” He shot a glance and finger back at Jasmine.

“I’ll take the compliment, Dad.” Jasmine said.

“You’ll take the advice.” He crooked his head which made Jasmine laugh. “There’s some stuff I need to get done, Hannah, tomorrow we’ll talk about this more. There’s a lot you’re going to need, sweetie.”

“Thanks Dad, good night.”

“Good night dear, congrats, I’m very proud.” He turned to Jasmine. “Goodnight Jasmine, see you tomorrow.”

“Night, night.” Hansel went into his room, Marion started to follow.

“I’ll see if I can get him on board with you dating, Hannah.” Marion jested.

“I know he’s only kidding, Mom.” Hannah said.

“Sometimes I wonder,” Marion retorted, “he just wants you two to be alright.” She referred to her daughters.

“What do you think he’s going to talk to me about?”

“Oh, stuff like finding a home big enough for you, who would maintain you, how’d you get proper sustenance, he just wants to make sure you’re taken care of.” Hannah nodded.

“So he’ll probably do some negotiating?” Marion nodded. “Alright, thanks Mom.”

“you’re welcome, sweetie, good night. There’s a lot I have to talk to your father about. Good night Jasmine, don’t stay up too late.”

“Night mom. I won’t be up long.” Marion waved and entered her room. She saw Hansel was going through all of his tool chests and boxes setting tools aside. He’d been collecting multiple sets for a long time just so his kids would be tooled when they left.

“Want me to get Hannah’s boxes down?”

“Yes please, babe.” He shuffled through a drawer of sockets. “Thank you.” Marion reached into the rafters above her and pulled down empty tool boxes with Hannah’s name on them.

“Our baby girl is finally leaving, Hansel! I’m so excited!” Marion explained as she opened a toolbox and sifted through the pile of tools Hansel set out. There were pre-cut inserts for every tool she’d need. “And she’s in a public atmosphere, she might meet a decent man.”

“I’m excited and worried,” Hansel said as he tossed a set of wrenches on to the pile, “I hope she doesn’t get a bad deal with this job, and I pray she gets a good man who is good with his hands.” He inspected a torque wrench carefully and put it in a special case. “Otherwise she’s in for a rough life.” Marion put a hand on his shoulder and massaged it.

“stop worrying so much, babe, she’ll be alright. No matter what comes she’ll be alright. Life gets rough for everyone, you can’t stop that.”

“As a father, my biggest job is to worry-“

“You worry too much, I’m worried, I’m still worried about Tyler and Queen, sometimes.”

“Me, too, but if I can prevent problems I will.” He filled up one of Hannah’s tool boxes and Marion took it to the side.

“Hansel there are some problems we can’t see, and others we should let them learn. We won’t be here forever, and we won’t be able to cover our grandchildren.”

“That’s a good point, and it reminds me of another topic,” he quickly checked through a tool chest and pulled it out of line, “-this is Hannah’s now- but my point…” he stopped and tried to think of how to word it while Marion pulled the tool chest to the side, he decided to come out with it. “If we don’t transform Chad he’ll probably die before us.”

“That did cross my mind, but that’s only if he doesn’t meet his own metal woman.”

“It’s too soon to say he’s swings that way, I don’t think we should count on it.”

“So, do you have any ideas?”

“Yeah,” he filled another toolbox and closed it and handed it off to Marion, “I don’t think a kid could survive the transformation, and I don’t want to test it, so I say we wait until he’s grown up and ask him if he wants it.”

“I can agree to that.” Marion said, nodding. “Speaking of Chad, what room are we putting him in?”

“I’d like to put him in the room next to Jasmine’s. I just have to move all the baby stuff into the other room.”

“Why not the room to the right, that’s pretty empty, right?” Hansel thought about it, stopping his tool searching.

“I can’t remember exactly but I’m pretty sure we have junk in there, too.”

“Oh right, the war junk.”

“Yeah, that’s it.” Hansel scoffed. “Although with what he showed us he might like that room.” Marion smiled but shook her turret.

“I don’t want him swamped with all that stuff.” Hansel agreed.

“Yeah, it’s good for show, nothing else. I’ll just move the baby stuff in there, for now.”

“Do we have a bed for him?” Hansel scowelled.

“UUUUh, no, I need to get one.” He set out a number of screwdrivers from a drawer. “What else should we get in there?”

“He likes drawing, a desk would be nice.” Hansel nodded. “he also likes books, so a bookshelf, a big one, he said he made models, too-“

“He seems pretty artsy.”

“Yes! He does!” Marion thought of Irish, he loved painting Jäger and Fritz up nice, her heart strings were tugged. “So maybe we should get him a display cabinet, too.” Hansel felt her subtle mood shift 

“I’d say shelves, but, are you okay, dear?”

“Yeah, I-” she shook, “Jager had a long list of similarities between Chad and Irish.” Hansel put the tools down. “I see many, too.”

“You aren’t thinking of backing out, are you?” Hansel was solemn and serious.

“No, no, Fritz said not to let this stop us. Jäger said it’s time she dealt with reality. They want us to adopt Chad.” Hansel meandered over to Marion.

“there’s a long list of things that need to be done before we can adopt him. I’m worried about an inspection that child services needs to do, I don’t know if they are allowed access to the property, on those grounds alone we could be failed.” Marion looked worried.

“Oh no!” She wrapped around Hansel for comfort. “What do we do?”

“I’ll get in touch with the base, they might be able to help.” They sat in silence for a moment embracing each other.

“Hansel, are you really against our little girls seeing boys?”

“Boys? Yes. Men? No.”

“What do you mean?”

“I want them to meet men who are there for them, not bragging rights.” Marion saw where this was going. “Look at Cindy, she’s the sweetest girl on the planet, and look at how boys have treated her.” Marion knew about them all, she didn’t know how to respond. “if she was still under our roof and boys were pulling that shit with her? I’d of beaten the shit out of half of them.”

“Would you?”

“Yes! they would dump her right after they had sex! I get one night stands, I get hookups, but leading her on for that? When half of them could have left her with their kid? I’ve beaten their asses in a heartbeat, the lot of them.” He took a deep breath and relaxed as best he could, he felt terrible for Cindy. “I know boys will do that, which is why I want our baby girls to find men.”

“But men do it, too.”

“Not real man, if they lead our daughters on like that they are not men.”

“So what about hookups?”

“I really don’t want to think about our kids’ sex lives, that’s on them. I just better not catch any of it.”

“Well I want to know how successful our kids are!”

“Marion, please, no, I don’t. I just want grandkids, that’s all the proof I need.”

Marion went on spiting Hansel about all she wanted to know. Hansel protested for her to stop, wailing in agony, to Marion’s enjoyment. Hannah and Jasmine talked about school and Hannah’s job, Jasmine asked for Hannah’s room jokingly and Hannah jokingly threatened Jasmine not to try, but eventually told her that she could really have it. They did this until about 10 at night and Jasmine went to bed. Hannah got onto Myspace and chatted with friends online and back at the base. Meanwhile Jäger and Fritz were having fun getting back to base and got to the gates giddy and exhausted. They drove up to their large Ware-house and heard a very interesting event happening in the house.

“Was Erin here when you left, babe?” Jäger whispered to Fritz.

“Yeah, but Petre wasn’t.” they heard their daughter wail and moan through the door, no easy feat. Jäger smiled wide and Fritz was a mix of angered, appalled, and impressed.

“Fuck yeah! My baby’s got moma’s lungs on her!”

“Oh god, no, let’s just go somewhere else.” They turned and drove off quietly.

“He better not pull out, moma Jäger wants to become Oma Jäger!”

“Jäger, please, no. I don’t want to think about it.”

“We’re going to Rommel and Kramia’s, they’ll like this.”

“And if they’re doing it, too?”

“Round two?”

“My mood’s been killed.”

“We’ll see.” They got to Mini-Rommel and Kramia’s just as they had finished their own round. They talked for a while and wondered how upset they could get Fritz. Mini, Kram, and Jäger couldn’t wait to tease the young couple about it, Fritz couldn’t wait to forget about it.

Fin HaM 2 Ch 1

 

Yes, we finally start linking all the stories together. Yes, Chandler “Chad” is the same Chad from Fuso and Musashi, and the former story I need to actually repo and complete/fix. Just sort of lost track with it lol.

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