A/N: Okay, I'm kind of doing a little experiment with this storyThis is my Thanksgiving/Christmas story.. Why am I starting it now? haha, well, I wanted to try something.

Whatever happens in each chapter will happen on the day I post it, so as you can see, today (the day I'm posting) is November 4th as well as in the story. I have specific days picked out that I'm going to post stuff.

Some of these chapters will be short, and some will be quite long. It just depends on the day. Actually, most of the short chapters are just set up for the ones that will be posted around each of the holidays. So the longer chapters will be posted near Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I've never done this before, or seen it done, so I don't know how well it will work out, but it just seemed like a fun idea...

I'll try to post these chapters early enough here that it's still actually that day where ever you're reading from…

This doesn't follow the exact timeline of the series, so don't expect it to. This is just a little holiday story; nothing grand or way too exciting… but I hope it's enjoyed anyway.

The Gift

1

Autumn

November 4th – (Saturday)

Ed stuffed his hands in his pockets and looked around. He'd been gone from Central for a month and at that time the leaves on the trees were just barely starting to turn from the cool green color of summer to the vibrant reds, yellows and oranges of fall.

Now though, the trees were covered in a variety of rich earthy hews. A leaf fluttered down from one of the trees a head of him and Ed sighed.

It wouldn't last too much longer. It was the beginning of November now and soon all the leaves would fall and the snow would come…

The end of yet another year with no luck at finding a way to get Al back to normal…

When the teen approached the leaf that had just fallen, he kicked at it, but it just fluttered up and away from his boot.

Suddenly, the noise of a car rumbled behind him and he heard, "Hey, chief, want a ride?"

Ed turned and looked over to the street to see Havoc driving one the cars the military let Mustang's department use, then glanced over to where Central's military headquarters rose above all the other buildings.

"Sure," he said, leaving the sidewalk and jogging easily over to the car.

After he got inside, Havoc asked, "How was the South?"

"Warm," Ed replied with a grin. "South is always the best way to go when the weather turns cold." Then he added with a smirk, "Even birds know that, Havoc."

The lieutenant laughed easily at the verbal spar and responded, "Yes, and birds are also smart enough not to come back up north until the weather gets warm again."

"Yeah, well birds don't have to report in to their commanding officer," Ed growled, but he knew Havoc had bested him on the previous point.

The tall man grinned and said, "You can't fool me. I know you missed him." Havoc shook his head. "Seriously, the man is no fun without you around. All he does is work, work, work, and he gets grouchy. Probably from not getting enough se…"

"Havoc!" Ed yelled in embarrassment, and the other man laughed. The teen shook his head and looked irritably out the window. Sometimes he thought he liked it better when the other officers didn't know about him and Mustang.

Relationships in the military were tricky things. Normally, a relationship between a superior and inferior officer was discouraged, but it did happen sometimes. Usually it was kept hidden because, from what he'd heard, it was hell trying to convince the Fuhrer to give permission.

So, him and Mustang had tried to keep it secret, but of course that came crashing down when man had talked him into having sex on his desk while everyone was out for lunch...

Ed shook his head.

You'd think the man would make sure his hard working first lieutenant wasn't working through her lunch break before suggesting something like that…

He sighed. Once she knew, it was only a matter of time before the other officers in their area knew. They were all too close not to know. Of course they wouldn't tell anyone, but that didn't stop them from making jokes.

The only one who'd had any sort of problem with it was Hawkeye. Not because of their ranks or because Ed and Mustang were both men – people having same sex relations wasn't uncommon in Amestris – what bothered her was the age difference surprisingly enough. It had taken time for both of them to convince her that Ed could handle the relationship, and that this wasn't just a fling for Mustang.

Despite having to defend his age, Ed had felt a bit touched that the strict lieutenant would be concerned about his welfare.

"Alrighty then, here we are, chief." Havoc said as he pulled over near the military building. "I have a few more things to do, so I'll let you out here."

Ed nodded and let himself out of the car. "Thanks for the ride," he said as he shut the door.


When Ed let himself into Mustang's office, he smiled at the mess of papers that were scattered across the man's desk. It was hard not to be amused by the fact that, although the colonel was meticulous about his appearance, the same didn't apply to his surroundings.

"No, you don't understand," Mustang was saying into the phone. The man was standing with his back towards Ed and he had a paper pressed to the wall with a pen in his other hand. "Yes… yes, I know you said that before, but…"

The man turned around and froze when he saw Ed standing there. The teen gave the man a smile and a small wave when he was noticed.

"Look, I'm going to have to call you back." A pause. "Or perhaps I'll talk to someone else in your department; maybe someone who can actually do something!" And with that, the colonel slammed the phone down on the receiver.

"Who was that?" he asked in amusement.

The dark haired man made an exasperated sound, and growled, "An idiot." Mustang looked at him for a moment then said with a frown, "I thought you were coming home tomorrow…"

Ed scowled. This wasn't exactly the kind of greeting he had hoped for… "Well, jeez, I can leave and come back tomorrow…" he muttered, turning around to head toward the door.

"No, wait…" the colonel said and crossed the room toward him. The man grabbed his shoulders, turned him around, and hugged him for a moment before leaning down to press his lips against Ed's.

"I didn't mean to make it sound like I didn't want you here. I've just been…" An exasperated sigh. "It's nothing. I am glad you're here, but…"

"But?" Ed asked.

"I'm sorry, I was expecting you tomorrow, and I have plans tonight that I can't get away from."

The blond's shoulders sagged slightly. He had been hoping to spend the evening – and perhaps the night – with the colonel.

"I'll make it up to you, I promise," Mustang said, moving away from the hug and walking toward his desk.

Ed knew that work came before him, just like the colonel knew that finding a way to make things right with Al came before him, but what kind of work could the colonel possibly be doing in the evening?

"Well…what about after…" he began, but the colonel interrupted him.

"I'm sorry, Ed. Tonight just doesn't work."

"Not even after?" he asked in half hope, half disappointment.

"I'm sorry," the man said apologetically. "Really, I was thinking you were coming back tomorrow, and I wanted to get everything done so that I could spend more of tomorrow with you."

Ed nodded with a frown. "Okay… well, I guess I'll go hang out with Al today," he said and let himself out of the office.

Once out in the hallway, he sighed heavily. The teen had hoped to surprise the colonel by coming home a day early, but it didn't turn out the way he had imagined. It made sense that the man needed to get stuff done, but…he just had this feeling Mustang was hiding something from him.


Well, there it is. The holiday chapters will be longer, and more fleshed out than the 'drabble-like' chapters that lead up to them.

The next chapter will be posted on November 7th

If you're feeling generous, please leave me a comment or two...