"If you get married, are you going to send me away?" Shasta asks him one morning before school.
"Well, there isn't much chance of my getting married," Heath laughs. Outside of the single one night stand with Pearl, who left town the next day as promised, Heath's romantic life was pretty much non-existent. "But even if I did,you don't have to worry. I'm your dad now, and nothing will change that."
Elliot grows into a toddler. He has his mother's hair and eye color.
Raising two kids on his isn't easy, but Heath has put his all into doing the job properly.
On Sundays he takes Shasta and Elliot to visit Ashlynn's grave.
Elliot will never remember his mother, but Heath makes sure he knows that she loved him.
Doug's Hangout, the club that first rejected him, has now offered him a steady gig on Friday nights. The Little Lennon coffeehouse also gave him a regular Wednesday night spot, and he does a showat the park every Sunday. With the money he's taking in, he should soon be able to afford to build proper bedroom for Elliot.
One evening as he's coming home from playing for tips in the park, Heath finds a teenager sleeping on the lounge chair behind the house.
"Hey," he wakes the boy gently, "Don't you have a home to go to?"
The kid looks at him sullenly. "Sorry," he grumbles, "I'll get off your beach."
"If you're hungry, I'm about to make dinner. Well, salad, because I'm useless with a stove. But you're welcome to join us."
The kid gives him a suspicious glare, but his hunger finally wins out, introducing he follows Heath into the house.
He says his name is Marvin, and doesn't offer a last name. He takes immediately to young Elliot, trying to teach the toddler new words while Heath chops up vegetables for their simple salad.
Over dinner, Heath draws Marvin's story out with a gentle questioning. The boy ran away from a group home after suffering and endless string of miserable foster homes.
"I'm better off on my own," Marvin declares defiantly. Heath knew a few kids like Marvin when he was in high school, and he can't really dispute his claim. "You aren't going to call social services on me, are you?"
"You can stay here," Heath offers.
The new bedroom gets built, with a bunk bed for Marvin, and Elliot when he's old enough to leave his crib.
Heath did have to get Social Services involved, he couldn't enroll Marvin in the local school without explaining the situation. He'd had dealings with them before when he took legal guardianship of Shasta; back then he;d been worried that his sketchy living conditions would be cause for them to take his kds away from him, but the overworked social worker assigned to case laughed at his fears. "You should see some of the conditions kids are living in," she told him, "Your house would be heaven for most of them." Knowing that, he expected no trouble in adopting Marvin, and he got none. They were jst thrilled to have one more out of the system and into home.
Heath tries to make waffles for their Saturday breakfast, but ends up setting the stove on fire. He's useless as a cook, but he does at least know how to handle a fire extinguisher.
The call from Social Services was unexpected, but Heath came right away, prepared to fight to keep his kids if necessary. When gets to the office, he finds Officer Bradley, the one who interrogated him repeatedly after Ashlynn disappeared, waiting for him with his social worker.
"What do you know about Pearl Yang?" the officer demands.
It takes him a moment to recognize the name; when he does, he blushes. "Almost nothing, really," he admits, "I spent a night with her, but we didn't talk much."
The officer gives him a disapproving frown, and the social worker covers a smile with her hand. "She's a criminal," Officer Bradley says harshly, "She's robbed several banks. Sunset Valley PD picked her up a few days ago. She was in the hospital. Giving birth. She put your name down as the kid's father."
Heath gapes for a second, and does a bit of mental calculation. "It could be mine," he admits. The timing was right on.
"He is yours," the social worker informs him, "Since the police here had your DNA on file, we were able to conduct a paternity test."
"Pearl is gong down," the officer breaks in, "She won't see the outside of a prison for a long time."
"So, we need to know if you intend to take custody of the child," the social worker finishes in a more gentle tone.
"Of course I will," Heath answers.
And so little Farrell joins the family.
Life in the Brannon household carries on. Heath helps with the homework.
And wins trophies at SimFests.
Farrell becomes a toddler.
Shasta has her badging ceremony.
And Marvin has his prom. He went alone, as the boy he was interested in, Jake Preston, decided last minute to go with Annabelle Humble instead. But it turns out okay, as he met Brad Soteto at the dance, and sparked up his first romance.
"How was it?" Heath asks him when he gets home.
Marvin draws a deep breath, and decides to come out to his adopted father, telling him about meting Brad.
"That's great," Heath says, hugging the boy, "You'll have to invite Brad over to meet the family. Unless we're too embarrassng."
Shasta and Elliot have their birthdays together.
Shasta develops a fruitless crush on Marvin.
But, knowing that that won't work, she decides to try romancing her childhood friend Sebastian Striker.
Only to discover that Sebastian acquired the asshole trait as a teenager.
"You can do way better than Sebastian Striker, Shasta," Marvin tries to cheer her up after the humiliating encounter.
Where words fail to comfort, a good pillow fight succeeds.
"I know it's wrong, we're like brother and sister. And Marvin is gay, but I just wish..."Shasta sighs, confiding her feelings in Heath, "The guys at school are such jerks."
Now more than ever, Heath wishes Ashlynn were here to handle this situation. He has no idea what to say to Shasta,what kind of advice she needs. All he can do is hug her and assure her the right guy will come along someday.
While he's out doing the laundry, Heath gets the worst crank call he's ever heard of. Someone thought it would be funny to pretend to be scientists and tell him he could bring the ashes of his loved one in to be revived. What kind of sicko comes up with a joke like that?
Still, the crank call inspires him to visit the graveyard after his gig that night. Ashlynn's ghost takes his hand when he arrives.
"Shasta's a teen, now," he tells her, not sure how much the dead know about what happens down here, "And Elliot has started school. They're both really beautiful children."
Her ghostly voice is unintelligible, so Heath just takes her in his arms and whispers to her about how much he misses her, needs her, and how sorry he is she couldn't be there to see her kids grow up.
"It was great seeing you again, Ash," he says, kissing her goodbye, "I'm sorry I never told you that I love you."
He's kept their photobooth pictures, taken the the day they first met, on his wall. There are still so many things he doesn't know about her, things he'll never know, he figures, just like he'll never know how their relationship would have worked out if she had lived.
He's still not even sure if what they had was love, at the time. His feelings for her have grown, he's fallen in love with his memories of her. There's been no one else who could compare, no one he'd give up his memories of Ashlynn for. He'll be alone forever, he thinks, until he joins Ashlynn in the grave, and that thought doesn't really bother him.
Raising all these kids has been utter chaos.
Heath is up to level 8 of the Singer career.
In game, Shasta isn't considered family, because she's not legally adopted. So, the game considers Marvin a fair target for her romantically, and she immediately rolled a wish to have her first kiss with Marvin when she aged up to teen. So that's where her story of her crush on him comes from.