Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Full Metal Alchemist in creation or ownership.

Early Spring, 1908
West City, Amestris

Gracia Jones walked with determined steps to her uncle's bar. It was dark already and the bar was beginning to fill. She pushed her way through the drunken men and salacious women, ignoring the catcalls and licentious eyes. She walked straight to the kitchen where her uncle and her cousin, Betty, were frantically cooking. Her uncle was a short, stocky man with a big gut who looked perpetually dirty. Her female cousin wasn't very different from her uncle, except for her large, saggy breasts and long, greasy hair. They looked up when she entered. They were both furious, but her uncle was filled with murderous rage.

"Where the fuck were you, Gracia? You're two hours late! Customers are complaining that the food is taking so long to cook, and who's fault do you think that is?" He ripped open a bag of frozen chicken wings. "Hurry and put on your fucking apron! Betty and I were working our asses off while Ned was out looking for you! What the fuck were you doing, huh? It better be something damn good 'cause I'm going to whip your ass to a rawhide tonight if it isn't."

Ironically, Gracia was surprised that her uncle wasn't angrier. She pulled out a check from her bag and placed it on the counter. "That is the twenty-nine thousand dollars I owe you, not a penny more, not a penny less," she said coolly, though she was trying to hide the quivering in her voice.

Her uncle picked up the check. His eyes widened. "You conniving bitch!" he roared. "How'd you get it?! How'd you steal the money?"

"I didn't steal it."

"Bullshit!" Betty interjected. "You stole it! You lied for it! You fucked that lawyer for it, didn't you?"

"No. Now that I have paid back my debt, I never want to see you again." Gracia turned to walk away.

Her uncle ran and grabbed her by the hair. "Oh, no you don't." Gracia let out a cry. "That money is mine," he sneered. He slapped her across her face and knocked her to the ground. Gracia held her swelling cheek as tears welled up. Don't cry. Be strong. Her uncle bent his face down close enough for her to smell his reeking breath. "I gave you food, shelter, clothes . . . and what did I get in return? Your lazy, ungrateful ass acting like you're better than us. Is that what you think? That you're better than us?"

She couldn't resist. Not this time. "Yes."

Another loud slap resounded in the tiny kitchen. This one was from Betty. "Did you forget how sick your mother, father, and brother were? How much pain and agony they went through? That they came crawling to us, begging to help them? And then how we graciously leant you some money and medicine even though it ended up being a damn waste. Your family died pitifully, embarrassingly. I'm ashamed to even call you my family."

"Likewise," Gracia whispered. Her cousin upper cut her stomach. She doubled over, winded by the blow. Tears began to fall.

Her uncle picked Gracia up by the collar of her shirt. His lips grazed her ear. "I am going to get the rest of the money. Remember, I still have Connie."

"No," Gracia managed to utter, "you don't. I gave her the rest of the money. She got on the last train out of West City as of two hours ago. You'll never find her."

"BITCH!" Her uncle kicked her hard in the legs. "That money is mine!" He raised his hand to backhand her. And then he screamed. A dagger was firmly planted in the hand that was about to inflict abuse.

"I wouldn't do that," a low voice warned.

The three looked up. A tall man wearing glasses and a black coat stood in the doorway. He looked calm and nonchalant, except for the dagger hanging between his fingers.

Holding his injured hand, Gracia's uncle sprung to his feet and sputtered, "What the fuck?!" He scrambled to grab a knife with his uninjured hand, but was suddenly struck with another dagger in his wrist. He howled in pain. "Who the hell are you, you son-of-a-bitch?" He turned to glare at his niece with wild eyes. "Gracia, do you know him?"

Gracia couldn't take her eyes off of the tall man as she replied, "Yes. He's my husband."