lavandarlizard2: (Sandy)
[personal profile] lavandarlizard2
Didn't make April, after all, but I'm close! That counts, right? ^___^ This is a longish part.

Chibi Problem — Part 33

At 0900 the next morning, I was dressed in my new non-swimming suit and a shift-style cover-up, with a change of real clothes in my bottomless tote bag. I had the salad staged in the refrigerator, an empty cooler for ice next to the door, with three bags of assorted chips in it, my hat, a bag of yarn, crochet hooks and knitting needles, a magazine of puzzles and three bags of Chibi stuff. I do not travel light anymore.

BabyDoll and his little family were going, as well as a dozen of the most interested Chibis, both adults and juveniles. Orders for the day had been given and discussed so that everyone knew the rules. Three adults; two quatres and a heero, would be responsible for the nine juveniles. Once again, Demon, Happy, Ghost, Zee and Justy were going with. As the heroes of the Bubba war, they had the right of first refusal, and they chose the other four, two duos, a trowa and a quatre. Altogether, eighteen Chibis to make things really interesting.

We went in Gunny’s truck, with all our crap in the back and Shawn and the Chibis tucked into the jumpseats. Fubar stayed home, reluctantly; no dogs allowed on the base beaches.

The day started out fairly well; no crisis, no hysteria at the sight of the Chibis. The EOD shop isn’t large, but some of the ordinance people from other units were invited. There’s a certain camaraderie between people who like to make things go “BOOM!” and people who keep other things from going “BOOM!”

It was the usual sort of unit party, really. The Marines were interested in the Chibis; one of them had had some contact with a gundam in Montana as a kid. The women in the group, both WMs and wives, thought they were ‘just adorable!’ The kids immediately set about nagging their parents to “buy me a Chibi!”

I took a few minutes, while Mike unloaded the truck, to explain to everyone – especially the kids – that the Chibis were friendly, but they shouldn’t try to catch them or tease them because they could get annoyed. If they touched first, I explained, the humans could touch back, but no grabbing. I pointed out that they were not toys and they were used to defending themselves if threatened.

BabyDoll strutted around the table where the others gathered like a little field marshal, twirling his scythe and showing off. The rest of the group obligingly displayed their weapons as well.

The Marines had to get closer looks at the armament. The heeros and wufeis were particularly eager to show off, although the duos were right there with their scythes. The quatres and trowas generally carry smaller, more close-in weapons, but any of them have been known to whip out a grenade launcher if sufficiently annoyed. Thousand Yard Stare and Gnaws On Ankles were both a big hit with a miniature rocket launcher and dam dao. Seduces Humans pulled a cuddle-me and refused to leave my shoulder. One of the Marines reached out to touch him and got a quick slice on the back of his hand. The Staff growled at him about listening to warnings after that. He didn't seem upset, more in awe that such a tiny creature could do such a thing.

It didn’t take long before Mike had joined the group and they began debating the merits of the various weapons. Shawn took off to play with the other kids as a designated ‘watcher’, as in ‘watch out for the little kids’. Several of the Chibis went with, also with instructions to watch out for everyone.

Snack food got laid out, umbrellas and canopies were erected, towels spread out, sand chairs positioned and charcoal lit to be ready for lunch. Our group had three grills going; one each for chicken, hamburgers and other goodies. We had enough food for lunch and dinner and grazing in between. I passed out mini cookies to the Chibis and to the kids, slathered up with sunscreen and plopped myself into my chair under Mike’s canopy with my bag of junk. Wives gradually joined me; we had the best view of the part of the beach where the kids were playing.

The nineteen kids in our group ranged from about ten months old up to about thirteen years; the little one was just starting to walk and his mother spent most of her time distracting him from the other kids. The kids all knew each other and played together pretty well. BabyDoll, his chibits and the quatres made a point of staying around the children, while the other Chibis ranged up and down the beach.

“They seem so protective,” said one of the women. “Are they always like that?”

“Oh, yeah. By letting them know that all of you are part of the ‘tribe’ for the day, they’ll keep an eye on everything around here.”

“And they’re really okay around the kids?” said another hesitantly.

I nodded. “They like kids. Well-behaved kids, anyway. If they get tired of the attention, they’ll just back off a ways, but they’ll still keep watch.”

“Wow; that’s better than having a dog,” muttered a third woman.

“They are great companions,” I said. “I have cats and they get along great with them. Chibis are kind of suspicious of dogs, because of the coyote/wolf connection, but they’ve warmed up to Mike’s dog.”

“Hard not to like Fubar,” someone laughed. “He’s such a cute little guy.”

A Marine wandered over to introduce himself to me; he had been TAD to a unit next door to my job last year and thought he recognized me. Turned out he was the owner of the classic 64½ fastback Mustang that I had drooled over more than once. We did some mutual car admiration stuff and then he took off to play Frisbee with his buddies.

BabyDoll and his mates made regular stops to advise me that everything was fine. The Marines and their spouses found that just mind-boggling, I guess. Everything stopped – conversations, grazing, book-reading, child-distracting – whenever one of them appeared before me and launched into a trilling report. I could tell that at least a few people really wanted to ask if they were “talking”, but didn’t want to sound silly. I had an internal laugh over that and made myself a bet on how long it would be and which one would finally ask. Gotta get your amusements where you can.

Approaching noon the beach was getting crowded. Our area was staked off with EOD hazard tape, so we weren’t having any problems with squatters. The volleyball net was up, and half a dozen people were playing. The Frisbees were getting a workout. A couple of the significant others were dabbling in the water or surfing. Some of the older kids were wave boarding; a few of the Marines were out board and body-surfing. Everyone was just doing their usual beach thing.

The company commander stopped by and Mike brought him over to introduce us. He seemed like a decent guy; he was an LDO, it turned out, and probably had a blouse full of fruit salad going back 20 years. Killer happened to be reporting then and he stood on my shoulder and gave the guy a narrow-eyed glare. The CO laughed and said he’d seen some wild Chibis years ago in Germany, but they didn’t look nearly as business-like as my wufei. The guy immediately went on my holiday card list.

Gunny brought back a bowl of fruit and flopped down next to me with a big sigh.

“That’s out of the way,” he muttered, and I looked at him. “The Major’s a good guy, but it’s always awkward to have the CO come around when we’re off-duty. He’s cool, though. Some COs want to hang out and they just kill the whole party.”

“Seems pretty restrained,” I suggested. I’ve seen officers who have some weird notion of being part of the gang with their troops; it never works out well. Those rules about fraternization are there for a reason.

“He gets it; I hope we get to keep him for a while.”

We shared some grapes, watching the waves come and go. A couple of the juveniles came and sat beside Mike, just watching him. Expanding their knowledge of humans, I guess. He grinned at them and offered grapes, and became their new best friend.

After a bit he went back to the grills and the cooking for lunch commenced. I’d already been told that, as a guest, I was not allowed to help, so I just concentrated on my knitting and watching the Chibis in their ranging.

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