A note from the Hime no Argh herself—

It's funny, but after nearly half a year I'm just now starting to get into fanfiction again, with this, with possibly another FMA fic, and with a un-discontinued Zelda fic, which will be posted tomorrow. I never realized how much I missed fanfiction.

Next chapter is easily my favorite piece out of those I've written yet.

Title: Mother

Summary: Lieutenant Ross reflects on that which she can never have.

Disclaimer: I don't own it.


Red water was everywhere, staining the floor of the fifth laboratory like blood. The energy that shot through the room like lightning made the hair on the back of her neck stand on end and her nerves fizz in a way that told her to stay out, whatever was going on in this room was too dangerous for her to challenge.

She would have listened to her instincts. She would have turned around and run without looking back—if she hadn't recognized the figure frozen in the middle of the room, at the apex of the alchemic energy.

"Ross!" she heard Broch yell over the howling wind even as she advanced, her arms shielding her face against the light and wind and the lightning kiss of energy bolts. "What the hell are you doing! It's too dangerous!"

Maria Ross ignored her partner. She knew that already, but she could not leave Edward like this, frozen, shivering in the harsh wind, practically glowing with the reaction of his contact with red water. Was he in pain? Was he dying? Would she die if she touched him? Grimly she knew it was a very real possibility, but it was her duty to protect him. She would not shirk that duty now out of fear of a science she didn't understand.

The energy swirling through the room and rushing beneath her skin reached an almost unbearable pitch as she reached her ward. Steeling herself, she put her arms around him, shuddering as miniature lightning bolts jumped through her, and pulled him close. It was painful indeed—no, it was agony, but she hung on because that was all she could do.

"Mother," she heard him whisper before the energy died and he sank, unconscious, into her arms.

Later, in the hospital where Edward and Alphonse were placed, Edward still unconscious and Alphonse—no one really knew what to do for Alphonse—Broch waited until the hallway where they stood guard was clear before rounding on Ross.

"What the hell did you think you were doing?" her partner demanded, his voice cracking in his distress. "You could have died!"

She faced him angrily. She knew he was upset, she understood he had been afraid for her, but he had no right to question her actions. "I was doing our job, Broch! We were assigned to keep those boys alive! Would you have had us gawking like idiots while Edward died?"

"He's not your son, Maria!"

She stared at her partner, stunned into silence by this new angle of attack.

"He—what?" she whispered at last. "What are you talking about?"

Broch averted his eyes. "Look, Maria—" He stopped and shook his head. "Lieutenant Ross. I understand, okay? He's a kid and you want to protect him. That's fine. But you take it a step further—you know you do! I know it must be hard for you, the way things are—that you can't ever—"

Only ten years of training kept Ross from slapping her partner. "Drop it, Broch," she whispered, clenching her hands into fists.


"Drop it!"

He did.

Later Ross stood guard beside Edward's bed, watching him sleep. His face looked distressed, as though he dreamt something disturbing; she brushed a hand over his clammy forehead, wishing him soothing dreams with all her might.

Sons were left alone with their mothers died. Barren women were without children, unable to experience the joys and pains of motherhood. It wasn't fair, but little in life ever was.

I know it might be disrespectful to you, Ross thought to the deceased mother of these boys. I know I'm only kidding myself. But please, just let me pretend. Just for a little while.

Next link: Holding On

The reunion.