A Special Alchemy
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership to Fullmetal Alchemist and the characters in Fullmetal Alchemist. I just write fanfiction, that's all, and I gain no monetary profit from doing so. I just get writing practice.
Riza leaned over as far as her stomach would allow and tucked the end of a clean sheet under the side of the mattress. When she was finished, she grabbed a pillow, fluffed it, and placed it on the clean sheet. She then placed several blankets over it and topped off the bed with a pink quilt that Elicia would like.
Elicia was going to stay overnight with them since Gracia's aunt passed away and Gracia needed to attend the funeral. Elicia was still going to therapy due to the traumatic experience at her father's funeral, so it was best to keep her away from those kinds of events for now.
Riza clicked off the light to the guest room and headed down the hall toward the living room. She stopped at the room across from the bedroom she shared with Roy. She stood in the doorway, just enough light filtering in through the curtains and the hallway for her to make out the furniture. No matter how many times she walked down the hall and stopped, no matter how many times she'd been in that room, the amazement and realization of what was happening never ceased to make her smile.
The walls were pale yellow, a neutral color since they didn't know what they were having, with several pictures of stars hanging upon it. A white, wooden, circular crib sat in the middle of the room, the bed filled with soft linen and ready for the baby to be swaddled inside it. Above it hung a crystal mobile, a present from the men at the office. Her eyes drifted over to an intricately crafted rocking chair. Its red oak wood carved at the back with etchings of various Amestrian fairy tale stories. It was her favorite thing in the room until the baby got in there.
She rested her hand on her stomach and stroked it lovingly, her small smile widening when she felt the baby move. The sheer amazement that she and the one she loved created a life nearly overwhelmed her and she had to reach up to wipe the tears forming. Her dream of being a mother and having a family with Roy was happening. She laughed as she remembered the way Roy reacted to the news. He'd smiled so large she thought he'd unhinged his jaw.
After glancing around the room one last time, she went to the living room. The clean smell of her favorite peppermint tea hit her senses and the baby shifted again. As she approached the coffee table, she saw Roy had made a pot of tea and set some cups beside it. She prepared two cups, picked up hers, and took a sip. Roy would come into the living room at any moment, so his tea wouldn't have time to get cold.
Much to her surprise, she heard the front door open instead. He walked over to her; set the box he was carrying beside the tea set, sat beside her, and kissed her before leaning down and kissing her stomach.
"Why'd you go to the bakery? We had stuff in the kitchen."
"You mentioned earlier that you'd like some carrot cake." He lifted the lid on the box, revealing a cake with chocolate frosting and orange, carrot-shaped confects around the edges. In the middle, orange icing spelled out a message.
"I love you? On a carrot cake?"
He leaned to the right, his upper arm pushing against hers. "It wouldn't fit on a cupcake."
She laughed and motioned toward the cup on the table. "I poured you some tea."
He took the cup, leaned back, and put his other arm over the back of the couch, an invitation for her to lean against him. She scooted closer and rested her head against him.
"You don't want any cake?"
"The baby isn't asking for it right now, so no."
They stayed quiet and listened at the cracking and popping of the wood in the hearth. After a while, Roy said, "You're having our baby."
Roy had spoken that line at least once a week ever since they'd learned she was pregnant. "Yes, we found out five months ago," she teased.
"It's still so incredible." He put his cup back down on the table and got down on his knees on the floor. He rested his head against her stomach and listened. "We're going to be parents, and it will be a little girl too."
Roy had insisted that the baby was a girl from the second she suspected she was pregnant. His voice had been filled with so much conviction that she had little doubt he was right. Though he was excited at the prospect of a girl, she knew he'd be just as happy with a boy.
"About that." He looked up at her and waited patiently for her to continue. "Well, you are so excited for a little girl. Most men nowadays want boys to carry on the family name and all."
He huffed. "If that's all people care about then they shouldn't have kids. Besides, I'd always..." He smiled down at her stomach. "Never mind," he said and placed his ear back down on her growing belly. She was going to ask him to continue, but when she saw him intently listening against her skin, she decided it could wait.
"What do you hear?"
"I do believe I hear snapping. You're giving birth to an alchemist. No doubt."
Riza shifted as the baby kicked. With the way she moves, it wouldn't surprise me. Sometimes it feels like she's trying out transmutations."
Roy moved back up to sit on the couch and leaned over. He took the plastic knife the bakery provided and cut a slice of cake. Her stomach rumbled and their daughter moved around as if communicating that she wanted dessert now. After handing one to Riza, he got himself one as well.
"I got the room ready for Elicia," Riza said and took a bite of cake. As expected, Roy protested her doing such.
"I thought I told you that I'd do that. You shouldn't be moving around too much."
His protection of her, while endearing, was sometimes overly stringent. "The doctor said a bit of exercise is good for me, and it's not like making a bed requires much effort."
"I suppose." She handed him her plate and he sat it down on the table. "What time is Gracia bringing her over?"
"At eight." She cringed, groaned, and lifted her hand to her stomach.
Roy sat up straight, eyes wide. "Is the baby coming?"
Riza's eyebrow twitched in annoyance and a memory flashed across her consciousness. "Roy, babies aren't born after just five months. When are you men going to learn that?"
"Sometimes it hurts when she moves or kicks. We're going to have to get her into martial arts when she's old enough."
"She's going to be tough like her mom," he said, "and I wouldn't have that any other way."
Gracia and Elicia arrived at the house at exactly eight o' clock. When Roy and Riza answered the door, a little voice said, "Uncle Roy!" He looked down when he felt someone grab his leg. After he patted Elicia on the head, she moved to hug Riza.
"I can't thank you enough for watching Elicia for me," Gracia said as she handed Roy an overnight bag.
"We're happy to have her here," Riza said.
Gracia placed a hand on Riza's stomach. "How are you two feeling?"
"We're doing fine," Riza said.
Gracia smiled. "It's quite the little mover."
"She does that whenever someone else places a hand there. I think she's saying hello," Riza said with a chuckle.
"Roy's one hundred percent convinced it's a girl, so I have to call her she."
"Oh? Well don't count out that male instinct yet. Maes didn't have any doubts about Elicia either." She looked at Roy. "Keep in mind though, you have a 50/50 chance."
"Actually the probability of it being a girl is—"
"Roy, don't get into statistics and the science of it again," Riza said. "Gracia doesn't have all night."
Roy sighed. "Fine."
"I'm actually quite interested, but I have to get going or I'll miss my train." Gracia kneeled down to her daughter and hugged her. "You be good for Uncle Roy and Aunt Riza, okay?"
"I will. I promise."
Gracia kissed Elicia on the forehead and thanked Riza and Roy again before going to the car and getting in. Elicia waved to her mom as the car drove out of sight.
"Well, what do you say we go into the house?" Roy said.
"Kay." Riza went inside first and Roy and Elicia followed.
"I'll go put the overnight bag in the guest room," Roy said and walked down the hall.
"Well, Elicia, why don't you come in the kitchen and sit with me while I finish the dishes," she said.
They walked into the kitchen and Elicia stood beside Riza when she got to the sink. She ran her eyes up and down Riza's body then rested them on her stomach. Riza turned her head when she noticed the usually talkative girl was being quiet.
"Is there something wrong?"
"Is there really a baby in your tummy?"
Riza wiped her hands on a dishtowel and turned to her. It was sad that she couldn't remember ever being that innocent. "Yes, there is."
"Was I in mommy's tummy like that? I don't remember being in a tummy."
"Yes you were, but you were too small to remember. Haven't you ever seen a pregnant woman before?"
"Never in my whole life."
Riza's lips quirked for a second. "Would you like to touch my stomach?"
Elicia nodded excitedly and placed her hands were Riza directed her. "Wow, it feels-" She jumped and yanked her hands back. "What was that?"
"That was the baby kicking," Riza said.
"Why's it kicking? Is it playing ball?"
"No, it's not playing ball. It's just moving and it kicks my tummy when it does."
"Ohhhh," she replied.
Riza turned back to dry the dishes she had in the rinse water.
"I think you are going to be a good mommy, Auntie Riza!"
Riza paused and looked down at her. Other than Roy, no one said she was going to be a good mother. When people at headquarters found out about her impending motherhood, they were shocked. When her stomach became noticeable, she'd heard whispers about training a baby like she did her dog, and insults about how she was unfit to be a mother. She'd never mentioned the reactions to Roy or any of her friends.
"Why do you think that?"
"Because you're a lot like my mommy. You are pretty, fun, and nice and you don't look at me bad when I ask questions. Mommies are supposed to be those things and you are all of them."
Riza looked down at the water in the sink. She didn't want to alarm her by crying. Damn hormones. "Thank you, Elicia," she said. "That was one of the sweetest compliments I've ever been given."
She hugged Riza and ran to the door. Riza turned as she went. "I'm going to go see Uncle Roy now. I have a question and he's the only one in the whole wide world that can answer it."
"All right." When Elicia left the room, Riza looked down at her stomach and rested her hands atop it. "A good mommy. I hope so."
"Uncle Roy," he heard Elicia say before she came into the room, her eyes alight with excitement. He put his book on the table beside him. She bounded toward him and then crawled upon his lap.
"Is there something I can do for you?" he asked and pulled a strand of her hair playfully. When she giggled, Roy could barely contain the excitement of soon having a little girl of his own.
"Yes, I have a very very big question," she said as she spread her arms out.
"Oh, if it's that big, it must be massive."
"Yeah, and only you can answer it for me."
"Go ahead and ask then."
"How did the baby get in Auntie Riza's tummy?"
Roy paled and he was sure his heart was now in his stomach.
Riza, who was just coming out of the kitchen into the living room, choked back a laugh. She inched behind the door and peered around the corner at her husband.
"Why...why didn't you ask your Aunt Riza about that instead of me?"
"What would Auntie Riza know about babies? Silly Uncle Roy."
"More than me," he said.
"Uh-uh! Daddy once told me you were an alchemoose and that you are a big nerd." Roy frowned and Elicia added, "Daddy said a nerd meant you were really really smart."
Riza couldn't hold her laughter in any longer. Roy frowned darkly when he heard her. He would get revenge for that someday. "And Aunt Riza's not smart?" he said, trying to get her to stop laughing. She did and he grinned.
"Auntie Riza is a different smart. How did the baby get in Auntie Riza's tummy?"
"Well…um… you see…" Roy cursed to himself. He wasn't supposed to be the one telling Elicia these things. It wasn't his responsibility. What would Maes tell her? He'd probably get creative and... That was it!
"It was alchemy, Elicia."
"But it couldn't be!" she protested.
"Because daddies put the babies in the mommies tummies and not all daddies are alchemooses."
Roy's eyebrow twitched. This little girl really was too smart for her age and curious like her father.
"It's alchemist, not alchemoose," he said. "And it's a special alchemy that all daddies can do to mommies. No one can take part in this special alchemy until they are older."
"Oh! Okay, that makes sense."
Roy slouched. "I'm glad."
Roy noticed the questioning tone and hoped it wasn't another question about childbirth.
"Yes?" he said hesitantly.
"You are going to be a good daddy. You answer my questions like my daddy did. Please don't leave Auntie Riza and the baby like my daddy did mommy and me."
Roy placed a hand on her head. "You do know your daddy didn't want to go, but he had to." He swallowed the lump in his throat. He was thankful Riza chose that time to enter.
"I know." She looked down at her lap. "But I still miss my daddy."
"We all do, Elicia," Riza said. She walked up to the two of them and placed a hand on top of Roy's. "It's almost your bedtime. Why don't you go get ready and Roy and I will be there to tuck you in."
"Okay," she said, her mood changing back to that of a joyful little girl. She jumped off Roy's lap, ran down the hall, and into the guest room.
Riza looked at her husband. "Are you all right?"
He nodded and stood. "It still gets to me because it's my fault she doesn't have a dad."
Riza took a step closer to him and lifted a hand to his face. "We all made our choices to follow you and knew the dangers. You didn't blackmail us into it."
Roy grabbed her hand and squeezed it. "It doesn't make me feel any better, but don't worry. I'll be fine. Now, let's go get that little girl tucked in. We need the practice."
When they walked into the guest room Elicia was already dressed and sitting in bed. Roy leaned over and tucked the covers under her chin. "Goodnight, Elicia."
"Night, Uncle Roy. Night, Auntie Riza," she said in a long, drawn out yawn. She closed her eyes and was asleep in moments.
"Gracia wasn't kidding when she said Elicia fell asleep quickly," Roy whispered. He wrapped an arm around Riza's waist and pulled her close as they walked out of the room.
They went to their bedroom and got ready for bed as well. It was still early, but Riza found she tired easily. At the beginning of her pregnancy, Roy stayed up a bit later, but after she revealed she had a hard time sleeping without him nearby, he'd taken to going to bed at ten every night as well.
Riza crawled into bed and rested on her side. She shifted slightly, trying to get comfortable with the large stomach she possessed. Roy got into bed and moved his arm around her so he could rest his hand on her stomach. She tried to go to sleep, but the events of the day played in her head and soon settled on one particular incident.
"Earlier when we were talking, before Elicia came, you cut yourself off."
"Yes, when we were talking about having a boy or girl. You said you'd always, but then you said to never mind. What were you going to say?"
Roy moved closer to her and buried his face in her hair. "I always pictured you holding a little girl that looked like you. Rocking in a rocking chair and singing to her. That fantasy got me through Ishbal before I found out you were there. I figured the thoughts would stop when you were under my command, but they didn't."
"That's swe—ouch. Apparently, the baby thinks it's sweet too. I'm not going to have an easy time getting her settled. The little night owl."
Roy caressed his hands over her stomach, up and down in circular patterns, and much to her amazement, the movement stopped.
"How did you do that?"
"Alchemy," Roy said. Riza laughed.
"You know, that was really a brilliant answer that you gave Elicia."
"I was thinking about that actually. You know, conception could be defined as a form of alchemy."
"It takes a sperm and an egg to make a child. It could be a form of equivalent exchange," he said. He waited for her to respond. When she didn't he realized her breathing had slowed and she was fast asleep. He smiled and kissed her cheek, happy that it was with her that he shared this special alchemy.
Author's Code: RW2014