Just a little exploration into the lives of the Military Family! I hope you will leave a review!!
The members of Eastern Command serving under Colonel Roy Mustang were all fairly decently surprised to see Alphonse Elric come walking into the office, a manila envelope in his large hand.
"You guys back in town already?" Second Lieutenant Heymans Breda called from his desk.
"Uh-huh," Alphonse answered, bobbing the helmet serving as his head. "We got back yesterday afternoon."
Those gathered in the room knew that the thirteen year old was just a soul bound to a suit of armor, having lost his real body in an alchemical ritual gone awry. It had taken awhile for the soldiers to get used to hearing such a timid and gentle voice echo hollowly from such a large, towering figure, but in time, they quickly accepted him as one of their own.
Second Lieutenant Jean Havoc leaned back in his chair to peer around Alphonse. He took his cigarette from his mouth.
"Where's the chief?" he asked, referring to Alphonse's far shorter and more hotly tempered older brother, Edward Elric. Two years ago, Edward had become a State Alchemist in the Amestrian military, and reported back to Colonel Mustang every so many weeks. It was a rare occasion to find him without Alphonse, or vice versa. The two were practically joined at the hip, determined to find the one thing that could restore Alphonse's original body and Edward's right arm and left leg: the Philosopher's Stone.
Before Alphonse could answer Havoc, Colonel Mustang entered the room. He blinked at Alphonse before smiling.
"Hello, Alphonse. I thought I'd heard your voice."
"Hello, Colonel," Alphonse replied, folding his hands in front of him and bowing slightly. "Here, I need to give this to you." He handed over the manila envelope.
"Oh, thank you."
The man noticed Edward's nearly illegible scrawl on the front of the package, and he looked up, peering around Alphonse much as Havoc had.
"Where's your brother? Is he avoiding me now?"
There was a slight smirk on the man's face at the thought. Alphonse shook his head, silently amused that the lack of Edward's loud presence was so obviously noticeable to these men. The knowledge that they seemed to care about Edward's whereabouts was nice.
"No, sir. He's back at the dorm."
"He caught some sort of stomach bug last night."
Everyone in the room winced sympathetically.
"Ah. That must be unpleasant."
"Yeah. He spent most of the night lying on the bathroom floor, groaning and telling me that he was sorry, but he was pretty sure he was going to die."
The others all smirked.
"Sounds like Edward," Havoc commented, sticking his cigarette back into his mouth and pulling in a long draw.
"How's he feeling today?" Mustang inquired.
"Better, I think. I'm pretty sure he still has a fever, but I can't tell for certain."
The others around him heard the veiled regret in Alphonse's voice. With the body he had, he couldn't feel any sensation of touch, and was therefore unable to confirm his suspicions.
"He could barely open his eyes this morning, and he didn't have any strength to sit up. He sounds pretty congested too, but he managed to keep some soup down, at least."
"That's a good sign," he said. "You should probably pick up some medicine for him, though."
"That's where I'm headed now, sir. I'd like to stay longer, but I really have to get back."
He bowed slightly again and headed for the door.
"See ya!" he called.
The others waved, replying with similar farewells and watching him vanish.
Once he was gone, Mustang walked back to his office, opening Edward's report as he went. Breda suddenly squinted at the calendar hanging on the far wall, struck but a sudden thought.
"Hey, what's today's date?" he asked the others.
"February 3rd, I believe," replied First Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye, sliding a file into one of the three filing cabinets in the room. Havoc's expression began to echo Breda's as he caught on to where Breda was leading.
"Isn't that the chief's birthday?" the blonde man said, knocking his ashes into the ash tray.
"I think so. Let me look."
The woman moved to another filing cabinet, opening the second drawer and fingering through a few folders before landing on the file she wanted. She pulled it out with practiced ease and scanned a paper lying on top.
"You're right, Havoc. February 3rd is Edward's birthday."
She closed the folder and replaced it.
"How old is he now?" Havoc continued. "Fourteen?"
"Yes," Warrant Officer Vato Falman replied. "He was twelve when he joined the military, and it has been nearly two years since then, so he should be about fourteen today."
"He is," Riza confirmed, having seen the year on his birth certificate.
"Man, what a crappy day to be sick," Breda said.
"Yeah. Worshipping the porcelain gods doesn't sound like much of a fun birthday," Havoc agreed.
The two men sat looking at one another for a long moment.
"We should do something for him," Breda put in. Havoc nodded, expression becoming contemplative as he searched for an idea.
"What do you have in mind?" asked Master Sergeant Kain Fuery.
"I dunno, just something," Breda responded, shrugging.
For a moment, no one said anything, but then Havoc and Breda leaned back in their seats to look at Colonel Mustang through the door. Sensing their stares, Mustang looked up, but then he smirked and returned to Edward's report.
"Go ahead," he said with a dismissive wave of his hand. The four men grinned.
"Thank you, sir!" they all cheered, grabbing their coats and heading out the door.
With a self-pitying groan, Edward curled into a miserable ball and coughed harshly into the pillows. A second later, he sniffled and moaned again, laying there with his eyes closed. His head was pounding painfully, and his ribs ached from all the coughing he was doing. Another lead on the Stone had lead to a dead-end, and now this.
"You really like to kick a guy when he's down," he muttered, speaking to whatever Higher Being had decided to torment him today. He shifted and sighed.
"And on my flippin' birthday, too," he grumbled sulkily, folding his arms against his chest before launching into yet another coughing fit. As terrible as he felt, it was hard not count up all the things that had gone wrong this week. I bet Mustang's going to town with this one, he thought bitterly, thinking of all the insults Mustang would concoct about him to fling at him the next time they met. That bastard…
The door to his room opened, and Alphonse lumbered in.
"Hey, Brother," he said, standing at the bedside. "How do you feel?"
Edward coughed and sniffled.
"I feel like a freight train hit me, and then backed up over me just to run over me again."
He squinted up at the small plastic cup in Alphonse's hand.
"What's that?" he asked suspiciously.
"It's medicine. I just picked it up from the store."
Edward groaned and buried his face in the pillows.
"Oh, come on, Brother!" Alphonse argued.
"No. That stuff is nasty," Edward responded, voice muffled by the pillow.
"It'll make you feel a lot better, and you won't cough so badly!"
Edward didn't answer. Alphonse sighed.
"Brother…it tastes like cherry."
That did the trick. Edward peeked up at him with one eye.
Edward sat up weakly, but paused guardedly before taking the proffered cup.
"You're not lying to me, are you? This isn't some kind of a trick?"
"No. Now, quit being so paranoid and take your medicine."
Edward took the cup, eyeing the thick, dark red substance doubtfully, but he decided to give it the benefit of the doubt and slugged it back in one swallow. As soon as it was in his mouth, though, he immediately regretted his decision, but by that point it was too late, as his instinct to swallow overruled his desire to spit it out. He threw the plastic cup back at Alphonse and then buried his face into the pillow again, shuddering as he felt the medicine slide down into his stomach, leaving behind the thick, acrid taste in his mouth that always reminded him of black licorice—a taste he detested wholeheartedly. He lay curled in his protective ball for a few more minutes, getting out the last of his twitches before glaring balefully up at Alphonse.
"That did not taste like cherry, you liar," he groused. He could sense Alphonse's mischievous grin.
"You'll get over it."
"I hate you."
"Yeah, yeah. Get some rest."
With a harrumph, Edward scrunched down into the blankets and closed his eyes.
He didn't realize he'd dozed off until he felt someone shaking his shoulder gently, and heard Alphonse's voice calling his name.
"Ed, wake up," the younger Elric urged gently. Edward blinked sleepily for a moment, mind taking a few minutes to begin working properly. He looked at Alphonse blearily.
"You've got visitors," Alphonse offered in explanation, moving back a few steps and looking towards the door. Edward lifted himself wearily to one elbow, also looking at the door. In the doorway stood Breda, Falman, Havoc and Fuery, and each man's arms was laden with boxes wrapped in brightly colored paper. Edward blinked confusedly.
"Hey, chief," said Havoc, moving into the room towards the boy. The other's followed, all smiling gently.
"What's all this?" Edward finally asked, mind starting to wake up like the rest of him.
"Well, we knew it was your birthday," began Breda.
"And we knew that you were too sick to get out bed," Fuery interjected.
"So we decided that if you couldn't come to your birthday, we'd bring your birthday to you," finished the portly man, and smiles spread all around. Edward rolled to a sitting position and stared at the men in bewilderment.
"You didn't have to do that," he told them, but from the tone of his voice, they could tell he was pleasantly surprised by the gesture. Havoc grinned and walked over to ruffle Edward's hair.
"Of course we didn't have to do it," he said. "But we wanted to. Happy Birthday, kiddo!"
Dumbfounded, Edward could only grin.
Oh man, you can't see it, but I grinning from ear to ear like a fiend right now! This is so cute!! If that didn't put a smile on your face, then you need to lighten up!!
Hope you enjoyed this story!! I know I did! (But I might be a little biased, lol!)