fox coop, by hannah foster
Posted originally on the Archive of Our Own at

General Audiences
Archive Warning:
No Archive Warnings Apply
Hatchetfield Universe - Team StarKid
Hannah Foster & Tom Houston
Tom Houston, Hannah Foster (Hatchetfield)
Additional Tags:
Slice of Life, Not Canon Compliant, Fluff, Early Mornings, Family Dynamics, Families of Choice, Found Family, i believe all of my problems would be solved if i was adopted by tom houston, Short & Sweet
Part 7 of 100 ways to say i love you, Part 2 of nosebleed club (december '23), Part 3 of anatomy of a hug (barneston-foster au)
Published: 2023-12-04 Words: 1,335 Chapters: 1/1

fox coop, by hannah foster


Hannah looks at him, eyes something perplexed, before turning back. She’s still a mystery to Tom sometimes — “Probably will always be,” Becky said when he brought it up during pillow talk time one night, — with all her little quirks and being scarily observant. And better than half of humanity in crossword puzzles. She could probably beat Einstein at them.



back on the autism grind. i will never escape

fox coop, by hannah foster

Some weekends, Tom and Hannah are the first ones up. Tom solely because of his old man routine of waking up at six thirty in the morning for work; Hannah, because she likes the peace of mornings more than being able to wake up later. So, sometimes they get to sit down at the breakfast nook — Tom with a cup of coffee, Hannah with hot chocolate — and talk. Or not, that happens too. Then they simply sit in silence, watching the sun move slowly, casting shadows across the living room and kitchen.

It’s May. Hannah is settling in, in Tom’s opinion, better than Lex. He's not the type to judge them for how fast they're adjusting to their lives being completely changed, it's just an obsevation. He doesn't hold it against them.

He presumes that it’s something about Lex being older — the years upon years of dealing with everything alone, having raised Hannah more than Pamela, being her own parent. She never had anything remotely close to an actual welcoming, accepting home, and is fighting against having parent–like figures in Tom and Becky like hell.

He knows that Lex is trying her best to be good, but there’s something that won’t go away. Something that makes her push and pull away, trying to see if they will go with her. How much they can handle before saying “Alright, taking you in was a mistake.”

(That’s what all of these foster parenting podcasts say. He listens to them while he has the protective headphones on in school, Lex’s friends having introduced him to the magic of wireless earphones, so now he’s grinding through the masses of Spotify podcasts. He didn't even know there can be that much stuff to learn.

These podcasts also say that they need to be firm, but always there for Lex. No matter if she screams, or runs away, or whatever the hell she manages to think up that time. They can’t just let her go. Not like he or Becky want to.)

Hannah is rebelling too, but not in a bomb–coming–off way Lex does. She’s more meek — Tom doesn’t like that word, but she is — and obedient, coming straight home from school and staying in her room most of the time. She has her ukulele and notebooks, and a stack of books she keeps in color–coded order. She gets along with Tim, and sometimes walks their neighbors' dogs.

But she sleeps at weird hours, and sometimes doesn’t want to leave the house at all, and talks to herself when she thinks they can’t hear. Looks around rooms before entering them, and sometimes talks back when she's annoyed. Gets angry easily, but manages to keep it under wraps most of the time. Doesn’t like helping out in the kitchen or taking the trash out.

That’s her rebellion.

Tom doesn’t care. She’s Hannah. She’s always been like that. (It could be worse.)

Tom also presumes it will be another quiet morning when he walks down the staircase and Hannah is already sitting criss–cross on the couch. She’s staring out of the window, at the shed where he keeps all of the shop class machinery he can't keep at school, and for his personal use.

He makes himself coffee — dark with half a teaspoon of milk, in that awful fucking half–naked Santa mug he got at his work’s Christmas Party a few years ago and swore he’ll never use — and sits down opposite of Hannah. She makes a small “hi” gesture of spreading her fingers and curling them, and Tom gives back a greeting grumble.

Hannah is the first one to break the silence. She sips her hot chocolate one more time and sets the cup down.

“There are more foxes.”

Tom’s pulse jumps up briefly before he furrows his eyebrows. “What?”

Hannah looks at him, eyes something perplexed, before turning back. She’s still a mystery to Tom sometimes — “Probably will always be,” Becky said when he brought it up during pillow talk time one night, — with all her little quirks and being scarily observant. And better than half of humanity in crossword puzzles. She could probably beat Einstein at them.

“In the corner behind the shed.” She points to the shed in the corner of the backyard. A place where Tom goes to quite fucking regularly and just rather fucking sure that he hasn’t seen any foxes — much more more foxes. “There are baby foxes.”

Tom feels his jaw open. He doesn’t want to deal with fucking baby foxes. “Foxes? Since when?”

Hannah turns back to him, dark brown eyes almost burrowing into his, as if she’s trying to read his thoughts.

“March and April are birth season for foxes,” Where the fuck now does she know that from? “so, a few weeks? They’re still babies.”

Tom takes another sip of coffee from the naked Santa mug.

“Well.” He starts, and then falters. Hannah is looking at him like she’s both looking for an answer, some kind of clue how she should act and like she’s urging him to keep the foxes. “I guess we don’t have much choice if they're still small, do we?"

Hannah shakes her head, but then purses her lips before blurting out, “I drafted a fox house.”

Tom blinks.


These kids will never stop amazing — shocking would be a more appropriate word — him. (Even more than the last time he allowed Tim in the shed and he managed to create Baby’s First Atomic Bomb. Tom didn’t even know he had the materials for that.)


Hannah flushes lightly, looking back at the shed. Tom looks down at the coffee at the bottom of his mug. Don’t stress eye contact, remember. “In shop class. I made a draft, how we can— build them a house. Like a chicken coop, but more underground, because foxes build burrows and not chicken coops. Big enough for two adult foxes and their kids.”

Tom feels the cogs in his head start turning as Hannah’s fingers dance on the table, trying to plan the fox coop out without paper.

“And I left the draft in my art class, because I didn’t want the paper to get creased, and I wanted to fix a few things before actually showing you it.”

He’s out of fucking breath. His heart is stopping and then beating wildly, over and over again, in some weird cycle.

She managed to create a solution to a problem he didn’t yet know even existed. Fucking Christ.

“Hannah, that’s… that’s genius.”

She brightens, like a December sunrise, smiling and tilting her head to the side. (Her and Lex smile in the same crooked way.) “Thank you.”

Tom’s heart swells with parental–like pride. Sweet Hannah, always so thoughtful, always putting others before herself. Didn’t bring something so great home to show them because she didn’t want the paper to crumple. Of course she did.

“No, I mean— I’m serious.” He almost slams the mug down on the table with how excited he is, like a kid on a Christmas morning. Suddenly his blood is buzzing with it, and he needs out, his legs cramping with the urge to get up and walk in circles around the kitchen. “This is fucking amazing. You could do that as your final project this year. For shop.”

Hannah’s eyebrows shoot up, her entire face freezing into an expression of surprise. “Really?”

“Yeah.” Tom nods, smiling and taking another sip of the coffee. Hannah takes a sip of her own drink. “You know what, I'll pick it up after work and I’ll help you fix it up.”

Hannah, for a split second, looks like she’s about to burst into tears — all glassy eyes and mouth corners creasing downwards — before croaking out a “thank you” and sniffling, a ghost of happy smile dancing on her face.

Tom reaches across the table and puts his hand on top of Hannah’s. Smiles, as softly as he can.

Hannah smiles back.

A door upstairs opens.


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