Disclaimer- I don't own FullMetal Alchemist.

The first time she saw them... she was unimpressed, to say the least. The younger one was obviously the stable one, despite being trapped inside a suit of armor. The older was brash, outspoken, stubborn...

The very definition of a teenage boy.

In all, he offended her and didn't give a damn.

But there was that tiny part of her, a tiny part that went beyond her military training that felt something else. Instinct, buried within each woman- a maternal one.

Lieutenant Ross had loved the military, and would always love it so. She never wanted children, much like other women in the service. As a girl, she refused to play with dolls and instead liked looking at the pictures of her father, tall and proud in a blue uniform.

While other girls were giggling over boys, she was studying to get into the Academy. The thought of a baby seemed a distant idea that was rarely considered, and quickly dismissed.

But watching those two boys struggle, fail, break down, and hurt awakened a dormant part of her. She wanted to keep them out of harms way, to make sure they never got hurt, even cringed at the idea of them bleeding- never mind the fact that not only was the Fullmetal her superior, but also a State Alchemist.

Oh yes, she knew that he could take care of himself whenever he protested, but she didn't want him to.

After all, wasn't she the adult? The one trained to kill? Shouldn't she be the one to protect him?

Oh but no, the Fullmetal- Edward, she had taken to calling him in her mind, fought her every step of the way, with all the stubborn resistance of a teenager.

In a way, it was refreshing. Unlike other State Alchemists, who would have reminded her of her place, Edward would scowl and sulk like a child. He was brazenly defiant, hostile to her mollycoddling- or worse, would simply pretend to agree and then do what he wanted anyway.

Such was the case when, after actually agreeing to let her handle a problem, he simply snuck out towards the abandoned laboratory.

So this was why, instead of being completely furious and wanting those boys to learn their lesson, she had wished and hoped for their safety, and secretly prayed that she would be the one to find them, and save them.

And when she finally found Edward, enshrouded in a violent storm of sapphire light, his entire body glowing, she didn't cower away as even Major Armstrong did- she took a few determined steps and held the boy to her chest, pouring out those feelings of protectiveness and care, as if he were a small child crying in the night, not a teenage State Alchemist nearly overwhelmed with the power of the Philosopher's Stone.

Because that's what mothers did.

Author's Notes

I felt that Ross was sort of neglected, so I decided to give her a fic all her own.