Semper Fi Santa

Chapter Eighteen

Disclaimer- You know the deal, I don't own it, I'm just playing with Stephanie Meyer's toys. A Midsummer Night's Dream belongs to Shakespeare, also, not mine.

"Don't be scawed, Daddy! I won't wet you faww!"

Ed gripped the push bar on the back of Jasper's trike, clutching the handgrip as if his life depended on it. If the guys could only see me now, relying on a five year old to stay upright.Some big, tough marine you are, Masen!

"I trust you Jasper."

"Howd on tight!"

"We've got this!"

And they did, until Jasper turned the corner and Ed leaned a little too far to the right, losing not only his balance, but Jasper's as well and the pair fell to the sidewalk with a crash.

Jasper immediately began to cry and for the first time in his life, Ed knew what it meant for one's heart to break. He'd vowed never to hurt any of his kids, not intentionally, not accidentally. And now, he was faced with explaining to Bella why her six year old was battered and bruised, his beautiful bike no doubt destroyed. All because some overgrown lummox thought he was a damned kid.

Ed pulled the little boy into his arms, assessing him for injuries. He wore the protective gear Ed had gifted with the bikes and appeared no worse for the wear. Still, he howled like he was in agony.

"What's wrong kid? You can't be hurt, there's no blood!"

Sniffling and hiccoughing, Jasper pointed to Ed's leg, twisted grossly in a direction opposite from the other.

Ed groaned. He'd been so caught up in the kid, he hadn't realized his prosthetic had disengaged. Jasper rubbed the alligator tears from his cheeks, smudging his face with dirt and grime. Bella was gonna have a fit when she saw how upset her kid was.

Ed looked from Jasper to his contorted limb. The boy was still obsessed with all things Transformer, and Ed's prosthetic, by association. At least he could improve the kid's mood before he upset Bella's. "You wanna give me a hand with this?"


"Yeah, kid. Really."

Ed removed the roller blades he'd dragged out of storage. Back in the day, he and his buddies played hockey in the street, reckless and young, they didn't have a care in the world, nor a shred of responsibility. But now—now he had a family—and while he saw nothing wrong with taking the boy out for some carefree recreation, he hadn't considered what he'd do, if he suffered a mechanical malfunction. Guess it woulda been good to have a contingency plan before you got yourself in a bind, Jarhead!

"Think your mom's gonna kill us for this?"

Jasper's sniffles turned to giggles and the little boy held his tummy. "No, siwwy, she's gonna kiww you!"

"Get over here and give your old man a hand!"

Ed half crab-walked to the curb where he could sit more comfortably and get himself sorted out. Jasper scooted next to him, his eyes wide and wary.

After easing the prosthetic out of his pant leg, Ed handed the four pound limb to Jasper. This is not looking good. Not good at all.

"Wow!" the boy exclaimed, gazing at the leg with wonder. Of course, the kid was familiar with his device, but he'd never held it in his hands.

Ed rolled up his pant leg and began assessing the damage. The liner was most certainly torn, and without a replacement, he wasn't going anyplace.

"This afternoon isn't going to turn out quite like I'd envisioned."

"No ice cweam, den?"

"I'm afraid not, buddy. You're right, I'll be lucky to get out of this with my life intact."


"So, tell me again what it was that possessed you to pull a stunt like this?"

Bella stood over them both, hands on her hips, bitch brow firmly in place. She'd been under a lot of stress at work and she wore that expression a lot lately; Ed feared for his life every time it appeared.

"But, Honey—"

"Don't you honey me, mister! I can't turn my back on you two for a minute; it's like I have a pair of five year olds."

"I only—"

Bella handed him the tool kit she'd had to deliver on more than one occasion due to her man/boy's antics. "Don't. Please just get yourself sorted out before Mrs. Cope has a heart attack from seeing Jasper sitting here with your leg in his lap."

"It's my fauwt, Mommy. We just wanted to be coow wike Seth and his daddy, Jacob."

"Your daddy is a grown-up Jasper, he's supposed to know better than to succumb to peer pressure."

Ed put on his backup liner and sleeve; placing the roller blades into Bella's outstretched hands.

Asking for sneakers when he'd called would have given rise to questions he hadn't been prepared to answer over the phone, so Ed had appealed to his wife's sympathetic nature and simply asked for his kit and a ride. He could get to the van in his socks.

He hurried over when he saw her trying to lift the heavy trike into the back of the Jeep. "No baby, I don't want you to hurt yourself."

The hellcat came out; her nails sharpened and ready to scrap. "I'll have you know, mister, I've lifted far more than a tricycle—"

But she burst into tears when she looked down at his sock covered feet. "You haven't got any shoes."

"You were kinda grumpy when Jasper and I went out to play; I figured I'd be pressing my luck to ask for shoes."

Bella frantically searched the place where they'd been sitting waiting for a ride. "Oh God, Jasper."

Ed slipped the keys from her fingers. "Is already in his car seat; come on baby, I'll drive us home."


Ben Cheney's deep laughter rang off the walls of the rehab gym at the prosthetic and orthotic clinic.

"You were doing what when you trashed the kid's trike?"

Ed's ears heated in anticipation of the tongue lashing he expected from his PT. "I was rollerblading?"

"You asking me or tellin' me?"

"Telling?" Ed whispered under his breath.

"Atta boy!"

"I don't know if I deserve an Atta boy," Ed mumbled. "You don't think it was a stupid idea?"

"What was going through your mind when you strapped those blades on your feet?"

It was the weekend before Jasper started first grade and he was going to miss the quality time he'd spent with the little guy after kindergarten each afternoon. "I was imagining the fun I was going to have at the park with my kid! I'm gonna miss spending my afternoons with him!"

"Did you have fun?"

"I think I would have. If I wasn't such a jerk."

"Break anything beside your pride... and the bicycle?"

"Isn't that enough?"

"I remember when we first started working on your rehab—so determined to recover everything those fuckers stole from you; nothing stopped Ed Masen."

"Yeah, well, he's married with kids now, so he needs to think about more than just himself and his reckless desires and start acting like a responsible family man."

"Maybe you're embarrassed that you had to call the wife to bail you out, maybe you took her away from something and you upset her. Big deal. Get over it. She will. You're setting an example through every one of your actions that will resonate with your family; and you're showing that little boy that your disability hasn't kept you from living a full, adventurous life—that it's okay for him to follow his dreams."

"I should have been better prepared. I'm a Marine for crying out loud! Jasper's fellow Cub Scouts are better prepared than I was this morning."

"So, lesson learned, but for God's sake, don't change who you are. Next time there's a snafu—you take care of it and move on. That's the Ed Masen I know and that's the kind of role model you want to be for your little boy. Isn't it?"

"Yeah, you're right."

Ben handed Ed a fanny pack with the OttoBock logo on the front. When their eyes met Ben smiled. "A little something for your next adventure, courtesy of OttoBock."

It was a good-sized bag with a number of zippered compartments and judging by the weight of it, filled with something other than some crumpled paper. Ed rummaged through the brilliantly appointed tool kit while Ben typed away on his computer. Not only did it contain everything-from lube, to scissors, to tools for making adjustments to his pump and his foot; there was even a spare sheath and sleeve in the pack.

"The part will be here in the morning. Bring Jasper by at noon, I'll fit you in over my lunch break, make sure everything is adjusted properly."

Ed looked up from exploring the kit. "Thanks Man."

"No problem, that's what I'm here for."

"I meant for helping me get my head in the right place."

Ben shoulder checked his old buddy and laughed. "Like I said, that's what I'm here for."


Bella's eyes were red-rimmed and she was holding herself at the picture window when he returned. He loved that picture window; from the moment he'd come to Christmas Dinner nearly three years before, that window represented something he desperately longed to be a part of. Those smiling faces waiting for him, excitement in their eyes—that window welcomed him home.

But on this day, it made him sad. She was sad; and it was his fault.

"I'm sorry I'm such an ass," he whispered against the top of her head.

Her face lifted, her lips searching out his. "I'm sorry I've been so mean. I think I lost my filter when you got me pregnant."

Ed stepped out of their embrace his heart pounding as if he'd just run a marathon. "When I did what?"

"Got me pregnant?"

Ed dropped to one knee and pressed his lips to her belly. He desperately wanted to say something, but there were no words for the emotion that hit him like a tsunami.

He felt Bella's fingers running through the hair he'd let grow just a bit longer than regulation standards. He pulled her just a little tighter, rocked them back and forth. Her voice was barely a whisper. "Edward?"

Ed braced himself on the arm of the wing back which flanked the left side of the window and stood. A quick calculation in his head, of the weeks with short answers and emotional outbursts, had him slightly concerned.

"Baby, you've been grumpy for some time now." Don't pregnant women have bloated bellies and swollen feet? Is she having another of those mystery pregnancies where her body doesn't really know she's pregnant?

Bella nodded, her lashes wet with unshed tears. "If I calculated it right, I'm about twelve weeks, God, Edward, I'm scared to death." He took her face in his hands and forced her to meet his gaze, his stomach rolled at the memories Charlie had shared. "Everything's okay? You're both healthy?"

"We have an ultrasound next week, but there's no reason to think anything is wrong."

"But Jasper's pregnancy—"

"Was exacerbated by Emmett's death," Bella assured him quickly.

"I'm not going anywhere, baby," Ed replied, punctuating each word with a kiss.

"No life threatening acts of adventure while I'm carrying this baby. Understand? I don't think my heart can take it."

"I'm not getting my roller blades back any time soon, am I?"

Her bright smile shone beautifully through her tears as she shook her head.


Ed loved first grade. The kids were adorable and he wondered how he'd ever thought family men made sacrifice of self in responsibility to their offspring.

In October, a parental career Show and Tell day had Ed proudly wearing his blues; and just after Thanksgiving, Mr. Banner asked if he'd like to help the class prepare greeting cards for service individuals that would be overseas for Christmas. How could he say no?

It hadn't always felt that way, though. Ed was fiercely protective; little Jasper had lived a life more sheltered than his siblings, attending a preschool that reknown for its service to children with disabilities. Being accepted into the same school's private kindergarten when the kid turned five felt like a safety net for Ed and he'd ponied up the bucks to keep Jasper in the same circle of friends he'd known for several years.

So, Ed felt hesitant about the whole public school thing at first; the nervous father even went so far as to explore the requirements for home schooling—Jasper was different and society could be cruel. Parents didn't always expose their children to diversity and there were times when it hurt to be different.

He understood that first hand.

But, when they entered the classroom the first day of school, Ed nearly fell over—the environment that greeted them was nothing like the 1970's classrooms he'd attended.

Motivational posters encouraged the youngsters to reach higher, dream larger and to embrace the things that made them unique.

The subjects on the artwork came in a multitude of skin colors and physical traits; what excited Ed most, though, was seeing a child with Down Syndrome laughing in a swimming pool with his friends; a boy launching a basketball from his wheelchair; a little girl rounding the bases of a softball diamond using forearm crutches, like Jasper's, in her quest to home plate. The teacher, Mr. Banner, was Ed's new hero; and the kids in Jasper's class—they were so damned cool. They interacted with Jasper in the same manner they did with each other.

And that—that, was a really good feeling.

So, it was of less consequence to Ed than his wife when Mr. Banner expressed his concern during November's parent/teacher conferences that their boy did nearly all his walking on tiptoe or when Jasper's pediatrician ordered a fitting for ankle/foot orthotics to be worn by the little boy.

It wasn't that Ed didn't care; it gutted him every time the little guy experienced a setback, but the orthotic would do its job; he knew in his heart, Jasper would adapt, he would be fine.

Bella did what she did best; she researched and studied; polled the parents in her online circle of friends and came out of her office rubbing her temples, her four month along baby bump now on full display. Ed wrapped her gently in his arms when she began to cry. "He's never gonna wear them. Benjamin's mother finds his on the floor every morning. Katie cries every time they put them on. What if the kids make fun of him?"

Ed understood her reservations, he'd done his own research and he knew AFOs couldn't do their job if they didn't remain on the tiny limbs they were designed to gently manipulate, but he had a secret weapon that would ensure they stayed in place. He smiled and kissed his wife's temple. "I got this babe!"


Ed slowed his steps to fall into sync with Jasper's; he'd been throwing the boy over his shoulder so long it had become second nature, but Bella reminded him repeatedly that their son needed the exercise that would allow him to master using the crutches with the same sort of ease he had using the walker. "So, we're gonna meet my friend, Ben today. He's the one who fixed your trike."

"Yowe PT?" Jasper asked, huffing and puffing as he navigated the long corridor.

"Yeah, my PT; he's a real cool guy. You'll like him."

When they rounded the corner to the gym, Ed picked his boy up and rested the extra weight on his unaffected hip. It was clear the kid had begun to run out of steam, and while the point was to build his stamina, it was not about completely exhausting him. Why they housed the prosthetic clinic so deep in the bowels of the hospital was something that confounded Ed every time he visited.

He and Ben Cheney were far past formalities; their bond forming over years of fittings and therapy sessions. Ed tapped sharply on the door before pushing it open.

The excited emotion that flickered over Jasper's features was priceless and Ed wished he'd carried the boy the length of the corridor and allowed him to walk through the door to Ben's office on his own accord because a Kodak moment was clearly about to happen.

The boy's eyes widened and his jaw dropped. "Wow!" he whispered loudly, craning his neck and gawking at his surroundings. "Wowwww!"

With a specialty in amputee rehab, Ben's office décor consisted of posters of individuals donning all nature of prosthesis. Numerous samples, representing various styles and brands of sockets and limbs, were on display. A shelf at Jasper's level showcased examples of prosthetic feet; multiaxis, single-axis, a number of dynamic response feet and several brightly colored running blades; the little guy squirmed to get down. When Ed placed his feet firmly on the floor, Jasper grabbed his crutches from Ed's hand and made a beeline for the prosthetics; Ed worked to get his attention.

"Jasper, this is my friend Ben. He's going to show us the orthotics I was telling you about."

Jasper's attention continued to fixate on the overwhelming presence of prosthetic devices. Just as Edward made to reprimand him for being rude, the boy's attention settled on Ben.

"You buiwd twansfomows hewe?"

Ed watched the corners of his friends lips twitch as he struggled to keep from reacting. Ben knew all about Ed's alter-ego; said the boy's reaction was the coolest thing ever. Now they were going to use that fascination to convince the little boy how cool it was to be the only one in his class wearing braces.

"I don't actually make them, I help guys like your dad find the most effective limb for their situation. The prosthetists do the formal fittings and everything. Downstairs we have an in house lab where some of the guys design and construct custom limbs and sockets. They make orthotics like you're gonna get down there too, wanna see? I could show you around."

"Weawwy? Coooool!"

"You have to promise not to touch anything."

"I pwomise."

"Well, then, let's go!"

Ed had previously spent some time in the lab, being measured and fitted for his first prosthetic and for the Ottobock he still wore, and after picking his friend's brain about the best way to get Jasper to regard the fitting for his braces as a positive experience, he had acquiesced to the new Microprocessor knee Ben had been trying to peddle since Ed had first come home from the war.

Anything for Jasper.

Ed was riddled with guilt when he'd been fitted for his first limb, and he couldn't have cared less about the performance it offered; but it had been a serviceable limb, allowing him to get back to life on two feet. A few years later, the OttoBock had been a definite improvement, but, even Ed knew that neither were anything like the limbs on the market today.

Functional and serviceable had been just fine for the weathered Marine who'd been well-accustomed to functioning without creature comforts in the sandpit of the world; for the disabled vet who was still licking his wounds and scoffed at the high-tech prosthetics as a luxury he didn't deserve, but becoming a family man was the best thing that had ever happened to him and his mindset was different now.

He wanted that high-tech prosthetic so he really could get back to living life to its fullest, because, it took finding Bella to make him see he hadn't been really living in a very long time.

Ed had put a lot of thought into what Ben said about being a positive role model for the kid and with any luck he'd get Jasper to follow his lead.

He didn't need to worry, for, as they walked, Ben engaged in what he did best. The pitch. Little did Ed know that it would be geared in his direction, nor did it matter; he was immediately sold, because he knew it was the perfect solution.

"You know," Ben said, under his breath, "we have an artist on board who does some mad designs on both orthotics and prosthetics. I was thinking—imagine if you both did it." Ben whispered, grinning from ear to ear. "You know it'll work."

Ed loved the kid in his arms more than life itself, and he would do anything he had to in order to help Jasper reach his full potential; he couldn't have thought of a cooler way to keep those orthotics on his legs till his gait was corrected.


Eyes wide with curiosity, Jasper sat next to Ed on the upholstered table, watching as a member of Ben's team wrapped his tiny feet in stockinette and cast them for the braces. When it was Ed's turn, he rolled up his board shorts and stood, while they wrapped him in much the same way and cast his residual limb for his new socket.

Jasper watched as Ed put himself back together and the two followed Ben back to the office. Ben slid a ring bound notebook across his desk and Ed placed it in Jasper's lap. Ben folded his hands behind his head, and gave Ed a knowing smile.

Ed chuckled to himself. Yeah, buddy, he's gonna be eating out of your hand.

"We'll have you guys come over the next few weeks for fittings, and then if you want to get your devices airbrushed, Garrett could probably have them finished before the holidays."

Jasper stared, owl-like, at the photos in his grasp. His fingers ghosted over different images, but it was the design that began at the top with torn skin and morphed into the nuts and bolts and hardware of a mechanical limb that stole his breath, and apparently his ability to speak, as well.

Ed nudged him. Damned thing was pretty cool. He could happily live with it, but he was thanking his lucky stars that Jasper wasn't a girl child who was into princesses or that little pony shit, even though he'd be the first to admit he'd be sporting a princess castle on his limb if it was what his kid needed, no matter how it looked, but, this—this was gonna be cool.

Ed held out his fist and Jasper bumped him back. "You like that, buddy?"

Jasper nodded, bouncing excitedly in his seat. "Yeah! Awice is gonna be so jealous!"

Ed barked out a laugh. "She sure is!"

"Can you hook us up with something like this mechanical design?"

Jasper drew in a sharp breath. "Bof of us?"


Jasper danced around in his chair so excitedly, Ed grabbed his arm, for fear of him falling.

"I'm nevow taking dem off!"

Ben's shit eating grin said it all. "Told ya so."


At the appointment for their final fitting, Ben suggested Ed buy Jasper a pair of plain, white Converse All-Stars. When the devices were sent to Garrett, he'd work his magic customizing them all.

Ed received the call several days before the holidays and he was stoked at the sight of the extra special packages sitting under the tree. It took all his resolve to keep the secret until Christmas morning…

The requests started at four a.m.; the rhythmic cadence of Jasper's crutches touching down on the hard wood floors as he made his way to Ed's side of the bed.

"Is it mowning yet?" the boy whispered.

"Let's not wake your Ma, kiddo, she had a rough night. Go back to bed and I'll wake you when it's time."

Jasper's shoulders slumped but he nodded and headed back toward his room. "Awwight."

At five it was Alice. "Can we see if Santa came?"

She was eleven and Ed wondered if she still believed, but he smiled in the dark at her enthusiasm.

"Think you guys can stay in bed till six?"

She let out an exasperated sigh. "I guess…"

At five thirty, clanking started in the kitchen. It was his second Christmas waking in Bella's bed, and the rituals still made him smile; so far removed from the Christmases of his childhood. He slipped from the bed and donned his new prosthetic, hanging a do not disturb sign on the bedroom door knob, even though the kids knew better than to wake their mother on Christmas morning.

"Anything I can help you with Pop?"

Charlie smiled. "No, son, I have it covered; I've had plenty of sleep. They wake you bright and early?"

Ed scrubbed his hands over his eyes and nodded. "I don't know where they get all that energy."

"They weren't up all night stuffing stockings and putting toys together."

"I feel really bad about Rosie. I swear I thought she knew."

"We all did son. It was bound to happen sooner or later."

Ed was still awash with guilt every time he thought about their conversation just a few nights before.

"When she asked if she could go Christmas shopping with me, it just sorta slipped out; she was really pissed."

"Can I go shopping with you Edward?"

"Sorry kiddo, it's a top secret trip."

"I could help you pick out Mom's gifts."

"Already got that covered, kid. It's gonna be a quick trip, I'm just picking up the stocking stuffers."

Her smile wilted immediately and he realized his gaffe.

With a small voice, barely a whisper, she asked. "What's a stocking stuffer?"

"You know, the stuff we put in your stockings?"

Her face turned red and she gasped. "YOU?!"

All Ed could do was nod. Cat was out of the bag.

"And the Easter Bunny?"

"That would be your Mom."

She threw her hands up and screamed as she stomped out of the study. "I can't believe this!"

Charlie chuckled. "She seems to be over it."

"We talked after she cooled off. I still feel bad about it."

"Maybe you'll be able to redeem yourself today."

"I'm thinking this might help." Ed propped his foot up on a chair and pulled up the leg of his track pants and Charlie let out a low whistle.

"That's pretty high tech."

"Wait till you see Jasper's braces."

"Bells says you haven't even let her see them yet."

"They're under the tree. Sure I can't help with anything?"

"Why don't you draw your wife a bath and send the kids down to set the table?"


The kids squirmed through breakfast and scurried through clearing away breakfast while Ed walked old Trapper and Bella put her ham in the oven.

Ed thought they'd all explode, himself included if he was being honest, until everyone was scattered round the huge fir and Charlie started distributing gifts, a Santa hat perched awkwardly on top of his head.

Screams and squeals accompanied the sound of ripping paper; a mountain of gifts grew next to each recipient. An hour later, only two packages remained and Ed nudged his little boy and gestured to the gifts. "Why don't you go see what that is?"

A collective silence fell over the room as Jasper crawled under the tree and retrieved the large, colorful bags. A mixture of excitement and anxiety bubbled inside Ed's chest and he prayed he'd made the right decision in presenting the braces as a gift; even though Bella assured him their boy would be delighted.

"Oh my God!" Alice screamed as Jasper pulled the gift from its wrapping. Bella shot her a pointed glance and their middle child blushed. "Sorry, Mom."

Jasper was giggling and trying pull the orthotics on.

"Hey, little man, hop up on the couch and I'll help you out."

Rosalie sat on the arm of her mother's chair, and Ed couldn't tell which one looked more emotional. He knew he was forgiven for the stocking stuffers when Rosalie hugged him and whispered, "You're awesome!"

Ed felt like his face would split as he smoothed out the soft flannel of Jasper's PJs and adjusted the Velcro straps around his tiny legs. He reached for the other bag and pulled out the canvas high tops, airbrushed with the same meticulous design that covered Jasper's braces, and his own leg as well.

"That is so cool!" Alice squealed.

Wiping her eyes, Bella whispered, "Incredible," while Jasper laughed and kicked his feet.

"You gotta sit still buddy or I can't get them all tied up."

"I can't sit stiww!" The excited boy giggled.

"Well you gotta try! You can't walk till I make sure everything is snug." Ed was relieved that his friend had suggested a hinged orthotic. It looked so much more comfortable than the rigid brace that offered no flexion or extension of the ankle. And when he watched Jasper walk, flat-footed and seemingly comfortable, Ed's mind was at ease.

He was jostled from his inner musings when Jasper began patting his knee.

"I wanna see yowes now, Daddy! Pwease!"

Never one to miss a trick, Alice perked up. "See his what?"

"His weg, siwwy!"

"Oh, we already saw that!"

"Can I see, pwease?"

Ed eased his pant leg up, heart pounding, excitement coursing through his body.

"Oh, my God!" Bella whispered, any manner of setting a good example out the window. "Why didn't I know about this?"

"It was a suwpwise!" Jasper crowed, enthusiastically.

"You knew and didn't tell anyone?" Alice demanded, hands on her hips.

"I towd you guys befowe that Edwood was a twansfomow and you didn't beweeve me!"

"He's not really a transformer, Jazzy."

"Is too! Daddy taked me to the pwace whewe they buiwd twansfomows and Ben tuwned me and Daddy into dem."

Rosalie walked over to her step father and pulled him into a tight hug. "Has anyone ever told you how amazing you are?"

Blushing at the heartfelt compliment, Ed kissed the top of her head and whispered. "I hope you're not mad at me any more, sweetie, did you get everything you wanted for Christmas?"

Rose nodded against his chest "I could never really be mad about it," she replied quietly. "Our friend, Tanya, told me and Al that the whole thing was a scam, so I wrote that letter. It was a test and for some reason I was determined to prove Tanya was right. I knew if it was Mom there was no way what I asked for would be there when we got up, but I wasn't counting on you."

Ed smiled and nudged her with his shoulder. "Don't have a clue what you're talking about hun, I just put the letter in the mailbox at the mall like you asked."

Rose rolled her eyes. "You were right that night, you know."


"Yep. You said Santa is more likely to grant wishes if you ask for someone else. Every year I asked Santa for one thing, but it wasn't until I started asking for other people that my own wish came true."

Ed's curiosity was piqued and he wondered who it was that had a hand in making his eldest daughter's dreams a reality. He took a step back and dipped down so he could meet Rosalie eye to eye.

"Well, in the letter, I asked Santa to bring the bike for Jazzy. But when I handed it to you, I closed my eyes and I made a wish.

"I wished for it to really be true. I wished that Mom would be happy again. I wished she didn't have to work so hard. I wished he'd bring Transformers for the little kids, even though Mommy doesn't like them so much." Rose let out a loud snort. "We all know how that one worked out."

"And what was it you wished for, sweetheart?"

"I wished for a dad and Santa brought you."

So, I'm gonna leave this right here. Can't promise there won't be more, but I doubt anyone would mind. I hope you enjoyed Semper Fi, it was so much fun to write.

I can never express my gratitude for your support. I've always sucked at review replies and with my current work schedule, I only really get one writing day per week. Please know I read every single one. You've made me laugh, cry and feel all squishy inside. I love you guys!