G, oneshot, fluff, humor. No pairings.

In Their Glory
by Maaya

It's thanks to Hughes they all know today's day, date and year.

Everybody has grown accustomed to hiding from that man by now, he'd nag and nag and talk about his daughter with even more enthusiasm than he usually put behind his words, 'she's growing so big', 'I can't believe she's already this old' and 'Gracia's going to bake her a delicious princess gateau!'

And while he doesn't brag as soundly about the other birthday child, he makes sure to mention--very casually, according to himself, scarily, according to others--that Edward is turning fourteen this year, this day.

It's not like Colonel Mustang's staff usually celebrate their co-workers birthdays. It is not like they are planning to celebrate Edward.

However, they are all silently wondering about the fact that they actually have a child among them, a child that they are--at least partially--responsible for. They're adults; perhaps they are making it to be a bigger issue than it really is. Edward, though a child, is not one to care much about birthdays. They even know that Hughes will invite him to Alicia's party later. There's really no problem.

Still, they all quiet down when they hear the loud steps from Alphonse's armour in the hallway; they're almost drowning the sound of determined stomping of boots with thick soles. They can all imagine Edward having taken a deep breath to prepare himself before entering the building to face, horror of all horrors, Colonel Mustang.

When the door is opened, they hurry to look back down into their papers. Havoc almost drops his tooth-pick in the process, he bites down on it and it breaks. He spits splinters into his hand carefully and knows that Breda will tease him for this.

Right now, there is an almost awkward silence in the room that surprises Edward. The boy stops in his tracks and hesitates, glancing at them, probably wondering if something has happened, if there is something wrong. He rubs his face to make sure there's nothing stuck there, is relieved to note he doesn't have crumbs around his mouth. Alphonse stands right behind him, looking curious, if armour can look curious. The air is thick with embarrassment.

Hawkeye saves the not-really-a-situation by smiling and saying, "Edward-kun. Welcome back."

"Ah." Edward looks relieved, putting his hands in his pockets and tilting his head slightly to smile back. It's obvious he is somewhat fond of Hawkeye. "Thank you. Is the basta--uh--Colonel in?"

No one comments on Edward's slip, though both Havoc and Breda grins.

"He left to run some errands." Hawkeye's eyes clearly express her disapproval. They all know the Colonel will have to answer to her when he gets back. He has papers due to this afternoon.

"Huh." Edward looks annoyed. "I'll come back later." He gives the rest of the room one last, suspicious glance before turning. "Come on, Al."

"Oh. And Edward-kun?" Hawkeye's voice is amused now. It makes them stop just before Alphonse would have closed the door. "Happy birthday."

Edward blinks and his face colours slightly. His hand comes up to scratch his neck. "Um."

Havoc uses the moment of hesitation on Edward's part to give him a lazy salute, as well. "Yes, happy birthday, boss!"

Edward shifts uncomfortably, probably wondering if it is some kind of joke. He looks at them for a while, wide-eyed, before stuttering a "thank you."

Then he pushes the door closed and escapes.

The air feels lighter in the office after that, when they know that their part and responsibility is taken care of.

Sometimes, it is hard for military personnel to take care of a child.

end

Umm, how to explain this one? I was just amused when thinking about the adults going all scared about caring for Edward who doesn't really need to be cared for. Or perhaps he does. Well, it amused me. ;;

...is this a good time to mention I'm a feedback whore?