Author's Notes: This was written for my friend Bethany, who had requested a Hughes-centric piece. So after thinking about the guy for awhile, I came up with this.

The date of Elysia's birth was something that several members of the FMA livejournal community said seemed accurate, so I went with it.

I hope you all enjoy this little oneshot:)

A World of Numbers


That was all that mattered to him.

Numbers. Dates. Times.

As long as it was numerical or pertinent, it was valuable; each decimal, each fact adding up to the bigger picture. That was the way of the job, the best way to be a true investigations agent. He had to know everything and seek out all the details to keep one step ahead of the game.

He had countless files, books and data stored away. All of it ranging from the normal to the abnormal. He knew if someone had a birthmark on their left finger or if they had a scar on their right thigh. He knew their height, weight, date, time and place of birth.

Had he not been so humble, he could call himself a god because he knew so much about everyone else.

But Maes Hughes always knew when to designate the important from the non-important. Certainly, knowing a person's exact height could come in handy.

The dark-haired man could recall the instance in the past, a man five-seven and a man five-eight, both suspects for the crime. But that one-inch difference solved it all. Because that one-inch was all it took to make a slight difference in the average shoe size for the person, and those bloody footprints could then only match up with one of the suspected men.

Yes, statistics were important. They were very valuable when it came to such situations, and it was his job to keep track of these numbers.

But Maes also carried with him a small booklet with all the facts he would ever truly need. A worn black cover and tattered pages, often found tucked inside his jacket or kept carefully balanced atop the paperwork on his desk.

This book never left his side, and within it- he kept the most important facts of all.

Each page was scribbled with quotations and notes, but it was the items nested in the yellowing crevices of the pages that really told the story.

Page one, a worn napkin from a favorite bar. A phone number, a date and time scrawled lightly on the corner along with a single word- Mustang.

And with just those few ancient ruins to guide him, Maes could be taken back to the exact time and place when he'd met his best friend and the man he hoped to one day help become Furher.

The next page was embraced warmly with a light perfume, the smiling face of a beautiful young woman captured in an aging photograph that hugged to the crease in the pages.

On the back of the photo was the faint etching of a date and time- the moment he laid eyes on the woman that would someday become his wife.

And oh how he loved Gracia, the pages could barely contain it. The whole front of the book seemed to be filled with all the memoirs of her.

There were notes, reminders to call her, tickets from movies they'd seen together and recipes to her tasty pies. All of it labeled to perfection with the exact time and date of its occurrence.

The next set of pages reflected his comrades. The scrap of a cigarette box with the information on Jean Havoc. A gun powder scented paper with the information on Riza Hawkeye. A seemingly sparkling piece of authentic Armstrong family paper, passed down through generations most likely, that had the notations about the sometimes over-enthusiastic strong-arm alchemist.

Each page continued onward, each one devoted to another person that was of importance to Maes Hughes.

The Elric brothers found themselves tucked in the pages right before the photograph crammed mid-section of the book. Edward and Alphonse, a rather unique pair in Maes' eyes. Edward, who would probably berate him for writing the notes about him on such a small piece of paper, was quick to anger and very firm and forward in whatever he did. On the contrary, Al was kind hearted and thoughtful, which was hard to believe given his armor body at the time. But it was thanks to these two brothers that Maes Hughes got to add in the most important statistics he'd ever recorded.

On the same day as the older, albeit shortest, of the two Elric brothers was born- there was brought into the world a bouncing baby girl.

Elysia Hughes. Born thirty five seconds into the twenty first minute of the hour of six, post meridiem, on January the 17th, 1911.

And then the most strenuous of statistics began, each one recorded with accuracy and care. First time she smiled. First time she cried. First time she laughed. First time she ate.

Each minute detail was noted, sometimes on a piece of military personnel stationary, hastily scribbled down after getting the call from Gracia about the newest development with their baby girl. The others were small papers in Gracia's handwriting, his wife's attention to detail down to the second all for the sake of her husband's love of numbers.

And it continued for pages and pages- first words, first steps, all the cherished moments of a young child's life listed in official looking graphs, charts and notations. These were the most important numbers in the entire world to Maes Hughes. Because instead of the dreary and sorrow-laden body counts and estimated times of death- these were numbers of life and of happy tomorrows.

And he cherished that book as if it was the only real truth in the world. For a man who lived in a world of numbers, he knew that only a few numbers really mattered.