Author: Misty-Nala

Pairing: Hughes/Ed parental

A/N: Okay, this is my first FMA fic in English which isn't my mother tongue. If there are any grammar mistakes ( which is likely), questions, suggestions to make this story better, criticism or if you just want to chat about FMA, please leave a review. I'm a talkative person.

Disclaimer: I don't own FMA or any of it's characters or names or anything. If I did, there would be some changes in ep. 25, ep. 51 and in the movie.

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Silence

Edward sat on the floor with Elysia. They were making a butterfly pictured puzzle and the boy tried to help the girl to solve it without putting the pieces in their places himself.

"Here's a blue piece", Edward lifted the object with his gloved right hand. "Where does it belong to?"

Elysia took the piece and looked at the picture; there were still several pieces missing so the butterfly's wings were not complete yet. The concentration was shown on the girl's face as she thought.

Edward watched her progress and thought also; he had never quite understood how even the easiest puzzles seemed to be difficult for small children.

"Here!" Elysia finally said and placed the piece to the blue spot on the butterfly's left wing.

The boy tickled he girl making her giggle happily.

"That's good!"

Alphonse walked into the living room his armor body making a weird 'clang' voice with every step.

"Elysia, snack is ready."

Elysia looked at her 'older brother' with her brown eyes. "But the puzzle isn't ready."

"I'm sure it can wait for a while", Alphonse said with his tiny red eyes glowing and Edward could actually see the emotions hidden in them although it wasn't possible. "The butterfly won't fly away, right?"

Elysia laughed at the simple joke and the armour laughed also.

"Ed!" The children heard Gracia's voice coming from the kitchen. "Come to eat also!"

"It's okay", the boy said still sitting on the floor in his black jacket and leather trousers. "I'm not—"

His voice was drowned under the noise coming from his stomach. The woman came to living room laughing quietly.

"Your stomach seems to be protesting", She smiled lifting her daughter up to her arms. "C'mon. There's plenty enough for you also."

"Mom, what 'protesting' means?" Elysia looked at her mother while she carried her towards the kitchen.

"It means that..."

The voice got more quiet the closer to the kitchen the mother and the daughter got. Edward hurried to the room also avoiding Al's stern gaze.

His brother and Hughes had somehow gotten an idea that he might be having troubles with eating. It had sounded ridiculous at first but then they had told him the facts that they had seen;

He often refused to eat while being at Hughes's, and in the places where he ate, he always ate a horrible amount of food.

Telling the truth, Edward admitted everything; the guilt he carried for losing his brother's body sometimes didn't give him any peace. Then he didn't eat.

And when he ate, he was always hungry. He was a growing teen after all.

He was touched that his brother and Hughes cared so much for him but really, there was nothing to be worried about.

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...

The eating was a nice event; it really was an event because Elysia started to make a song twice, first about apples and then about peanut butter, and got scolded by her mother who looked at her disapprovingly.

Edward and Alphonse looked at each other and the older smiled. He could still remember how their mom had scolded them about the same thing when they were younger. She had said that a table was a place for food, not for songs.

"You must respect food because some people don't even have the half of what we have here to eat."

That's what she had said.

Gracia seemed to be similar to their mother. She was the parent while Hughes was... well, the funny one.

Suddenly there was a voice of a door opening and soon everyone in the house heard a greeting:

"Anyone home?"

"Daddy!" Elysia jumped down from her chair and ran to the door to her father. He lifted the girl into his arms and kissed her cheek. Elysia giggled when feeling the beard.

"How are you, princess?"

"Big brothers are visiting."

"Really", The man asked smiling and started to walk towards the kitchen. Edward and Alphonse had been on a non-military quest for two weeks, he had heard nothing of the boys for a long time. Well, long and long.

When they stepped into the room, Alphonse was helping with the dishes while Edward simply sat on his chair drinking coffee and reading a news paper.

"Hello, boys!"

Alphonse turned around to face him.

"Hello Lieutenant Colonel Hughes", He said ever so politely while his brother didn't knowledge the man's presence in other way than simply turning the page.

Hughes shook his head smiling a bit dejectedly..

"Al, just call me Hughes. Don't be so formal all the time, you're part of the family."

There was a coughing voice and the man turned his head to Edward amused.

"Yes, Ed, it means you too."...

"Didn't mean that. My throat has been a bit sore."

"It might be flu", Hughes lowered Elysia back to her chair. "I heard it's been going around again."

Edward nodded and turned the page again. His eyes saw a big announcement with little text, it wasn't a part of the newspaper but a individual paper. There were pictures of women, men, girls and boys around the text but only the persons who belonged to the same sex hugged each other. Edward didn't see any straight pairs in the group of pictures.

"What's this?" He hold out the paper to Hughes who lifted his head from his food still wearing a military uniform. The man reached out his hand, took the paper and read it smiling a bit.

"Oh, day of silence", He took a sip of his coffee and Edward looked at him clearly not understanding.

"It's the day when people are silent. That's the way they show their support to homosexuals."

Elysia looked at the two of them innocently curiosity filling her eyes.

"Daddy, what's a homosexual?"

The room became quiet and the four most adult-like persons looked at each other not knowing what to answer.

Luckily for everyone, Gracia decided to save the situation..

"Elysia", she looked at her daughter. "You haven't shown your brothers the picture you made yesterday. I'm sure they would love to see it."

"I'll go get it", the girl nodded enthusiastically and jumped down from her chair starting to run upstairs. Hughes leaned his forehead onto his hand.

"My poor sweetie will never get over this." (1)

Just as quickly he lifted his head and looked at the boys.

"It's been long time since we saw each other. How are you two?"

The brothers looked at each other unsure. Hughes seemed to be able to change his mood in a split second.

"Okay, I guess. We just came back from our quest", Alphonse answered and Edward smiled.

"Did you find anything?"

Both of them shook their heads sadly and a bit bitterly; the mission that they were on didn't seem to improve at all.

At that moment, Elysia ran back to the kitchen holding a crayon drawn picture in her right hand.

She gave it to Edward smiling happily jumping a bit as she stood beside the boy.

Edward opened the folded paper feeling Al leaning towards himself to see the picture also. He had no kind of idea what to expect.

There were five persons in the picture; two of them had brown and one had a black hair, the fourth was blond and then there was a grey helmet looking like thing.

Edward stared at the picture not sure what he should say, or even feel.

"One of my books asks to draw a picture of your family", the girl told happily. "And I did so."

Alphonse reached out to pet the girl's brown hair. "It's really great, Elysia."

Elysia giggled and Edward turned his gaze at her. "But you do realise that we're not really a family."

Elysia stared at the boy not understanding his words. "How come? Aren't we —"

"Edward", Hughes's voice was stern as he stood up not looking at the boy. "Come with me."

The boy stood up also and followed the man to the living room where the puzzle was still undone on the floor. Now he knew what to expect.

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...

Hughes turned around around facing the boy. His hands were crossed on his chest.

"Do I even need to tell to you?"

The man's voice was serious but there was a hint of tiredness. Edward couldn't meet his eyes when he used that tone so he fixed his gaze to the couch feeling a bit embarrassed.

"Ed, I know your life isn't easy but couldn't you just —"

"Al and I are not biological siblings with Elysia, we don't belong to the family."

That was his ever lasting excuse but he had to admit, it was starting to lose it's power.

There was a silence and after that Hughes said emphatically: "Family isn't only connected with blood ties."

The boy didn't answer but neither looked at the man. Hughes smiled bitterly not letting his eyes travel away from the teen.

"You really are stubborn, aren't you?"

No answer.

The man started to walk back to the kitchen but stopped and clapped his hands to together.

"I challenge you", he said to Edward pointing at him with his combined hands. The boy turned his gaze to Hughes blinking; he must have missed something.

"Excuse me?"

"We'll compete in who can be silent longest on the day of silence."

"You can't be serious!"

"What did we miss?" Gracia appeared to the living room Alphonse and Elysia following her. Edward walked towards Hughes's wife shocked.

"He", the pointed to the man ," wants to challenge me to some kind of silence competition!"

Gracia shook her head desperately and disappointment was shown in her eyes.

"Maes, not again—"

"What? It's just fun!"

"This is an annual tradition", she explained to the boys. "He always challenges someone to compete with him", The woman looked at her husband her voice changing to more stern. Sometimes it seemed like she had four children.

"Well", Hughes smiled at Edward. "Are you in?"

"Absolutely not!"

"Well, of course", the man started to provoke the boy; he knew Edward's sore spots and was about to use them. "It's impossible for you to stay quiet. You always have to be loud so that people can actually realise you even exist!"

"I can be quiet if I want and — WHO ARE YOU CALLING SHORT?!"

"Nii-san, he didn't actually call you short", Alphonse tried to calm his brother down. Edward looked at the armor full of anger.

"He meant it by his words. He's a wicked man, I tell you!"

" Are you in or not?" Hughes smiled amused; Ed's tantrums were always interesting to watch but he needed the answer.

The boy breathed heavily and looked at him furiously.

"FINE!" He yelled pointing at him. "Let's have this competition!"

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The day of silence came finally and Edward sat in the Central's Military Headquarter's Mess Hall in one of the many long wooden tables. In front of him was a plate full of salad and other vegetables.

The Mess Hall was a big place so you could speak freely of anything because no one heard you but there was only one bad thing; food.

Today was meat loaf and potatoes. Edward remembered he had never actually liked it but his appetite had gone completely when Breda had made a comment that the meat loaf looked like something that had already been eaten and then spat out.

"Hey!"

Edward lifted his gaze and smiled at Havoc who sat down opposite him the always present cigarette hanging from his lip. The boy always felt a bit sick when breathing in the smoke but would definitely feel more ill if he ate the food offered today.

Havoc watched the kid carefully as if something was missing.

"Have you lost your voice?"

Usually Edward would have already started talking.

The boy shook his head and took a notepad from his leather trouser's pocket and a pen and began to write.

No. Me and Hughes are having a competition.

"Oh", Havoc nodded when realising the reason and smiled. "The Silence competition."

Edward lifted his brow questioningly.

"I was his opponent last year. No need to tell you who lost, huh?"

The boy started to think looking at the ceiling. Havoc watched him for a moment and when he had no answer, he pushed the teen's shoulder playfully.

"Hey, it was a rhetorical question!"

Well, who lost?

"Me, of course. That's what he always does", Havoc took off his cigarette putting it between his fingers and took a small amount of vegetables off Edward's plate with a fork.

"Didn't you get it?" He asked when he saw the boy's surprised gaze. He didn't even seem to realise he was eating his food.

"He always picks out the persons who will most likely start talking without even realising it."

No wonder he's the top of the Investigations Department.

"Yeah."

It was two o'clock. The corridors were empty, people were now actually working.

Edward walked through the corridor but something wasn't right. His walking was difficult and pain was showing on his face.

He held his stomach, it hurt terribly. He didn't understand what was going on. He didn't feel sick, he felt fine expect that his stomach seemed to be burning inside.

Tears filled his eyes as he slid down the wall and sat on the floor. The position didn't help him at all.

He wanted someone to come and help him.

Gosh, he really was out of his mind. The great Fullmetal Alchemist didn't just go to people and ask for their help.

Besides, he would lose the competition. No, he wasn't going to give Hughes the satisfaction that he had been right about him not being able to be silent.

The pain shot through his stomach again and he clenched his teeth trying very hard not to cry.

He couldn't take this anymore.

He had to tell someone.

Edward stood up shaking and kept the other hand on his stomach while the other rested against the wall helping him to keep his balance. The office room was the closest place.

He opened the door slowly and stepped inside, he couldn't walk straight anymore and was bent a little. Everyone in the room fixed their gazes at him.

"Edward? What is it?" Fuery asked getting alarmed by the way the boy looked.

"My stomach... is hurting so much."

Hawkeye stood up and guided the boy to sit on the couch. Edward bent his head curling his upper body against his legs.

The woman kneeled beside him her usually cold eyes looking worried.

"Where does it hurt?"

"Everywhere."

"Tell me if this hurts", Hawkeye pressed the right side of Edward's stomach gently with her hand.

The boy screamed because of the pain and everyone else in the room stood up. Mustang rushed out from his office clearly looking for a reason for the voice he had heard.

"It's his appendix", Falman said worriedly looking at the boy who now layed on the couch in fetal position. "We need to get him to the hospital."

"No hospital", The boy whimpered desperately.

"Edward", Mustang rarely used the boy's real name. "If it really is your appendix, this is serious."

"I'll call an ambulance", Fuery was about to rush to the phone but Breda got hold of his arm.

"It'll take too much time for them to get here."

"He's right", Mustang admitted nodding. His black eyes looked at the boy who was clearly in pain. Edward's face was sweating and he whimpered quietly.

The man's worry towards his youngest subordinate was only shown in his voice.

"Hawkeye! Go get the car ready and drive it to the Main Entrance. Havoc! You'll help me to get him there!"

Hawkeye hurried out of the room.

Mustang walked up to the boy and was about to slide his hands under his back and knees to lift him when Edward slapped him slightly with his left hand.

"No, no, no..."

The man took hold of the arm.

"Fullmetal, if you won't stop slapping, I'll have to knock you unconscious."

"Let me try, sir."

Mustang was still for a moment as if thinking should he even give Havoc the permission to try to calm the boy. Finally he backed away and Havoc got to his place. He saw how the Second Lieutenant slid his hands under the boy as if it was nothing.

"There you go", Havoc said softly and lifted the boy bridal style. Edward was squirming a bit but that was only because of the pain. His hands were resting on his stomach to ease the pain.

The boy's head rested against Havoc's shoulder; he was breathing quickly.

"We gotta hurry", Havoc noted when seeing the boy's eye lids dropping; Edward was clearly losing consciousness and that could only mean that the situation was getting worse.

Mustang let his subordinate out first and turned towards the remaining three.

"Go and get Hughes, then come with him to the hospital."

"Yes, sir!"

Hawkeye was waiting for them as Mustang had commanded. She saw Havoc appearing carrying Edward and immediately stepped out of the driver's seat to open the passenger's seat door. Nothing was said as the man stepped into the car keeping the boy in his lap.

Mustang opened the front seat's door himself although Hawkeye was about to round the car to do it for him.

"Now, Go!" The man shouted before the woman was even sitting. She turned on the engine and so the car started to move.

The ride was silent, Edward didn't hear anything else than the sound of the engine and Havoc's soft voice as he tried to keep him awake. His eyes were half open, the man was keeping him in his lap like he was a baby. Havoc's arm supported his head and the man made sure he was breathing without problem.

He kept his gaze on Havoc's face but suddenly he got too tired and let the painless sleep take him.

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It was warm but still a bit chilly...

It was bright but still a bit dark...

When Edward started to wake up the first thing he noticed was that his eye lids seemed extremely heavy. Another thing was that it was soft.

He forced his eyes open and slowly they started to focus. He could see the bright light and the white colour.

He was lying on a white bed, white covers were drawn up to his chest. He was wearing a green costume and there was an IV in his heft hand. He could feel that his hair wasn't in a braid anymore, someone had tied them to ponytail.

He heard rustling and tried to focus to the direction where the sound had come from. There was a person sitting in a chair, reading a newspaper. Right leg was crossed on the top of the other. The person was wearing a military uniform.

Then, as if feeling that the boy was looking, the person looked at him behind the newspaper.

"Good morning, Sleeping Beauty", Hughes smiled and putted the paper away. The man leaned towards him, he didn't look worried, only relieved. "You slept long, didn't you."

Edward didn't answer but looked at the man with his half open eyes.

"I'll go and call the doctor", Hughes stood up and opened the door. He walked to the corridor and soon came back with a slightly older man who smiled cheerfully.

"So, you're back in the world of living."

The doctor took out a lamp from his jacket's front pocket and lighted the boy's eyes to see how his pupils reacted to the light.

"What's your name?"

The boy, despite his tiredness, tried to answer the man, but his voice didn't work.

The doctor turned to look at Hughes. "Could you please pour him some water?". His grey hair looked almost silver as it came in contact with the light from the lamp.

Hughes took a glass from the table and filled half of it with cool water. He brought the glass to Edward's lips and helped him to drink.

After two small sips, the boy pushed the glass away with his lips and coughed a bit trying to get the soreness out of his throat.

"Let's try again, your name?"

He looked at the doctor in his blue eyes. "Edward."

"How old are you?"

"14."

"I won't even ask the date", the man took his person file from the edge of the bed and flipped through it. "Do you feel any pain?"

"No."

"That's good", the smile was genuine. "You were in pretty bad shape when your friends brought you here. Your appendix was extremely close to perforate, they did the right thing."

"Why did it even start to hurt?" His voice sounded so young and weak.

The doctor shrugged looking at the ceiling as if thinking of the great mysteries of the world. "I'm not sure, sometimes appendicitis just happens."

The man stood up and patted his left shoulder gently but still encouragingly. He nodded at Hughes who nodded back. He was just about to leave the room, when he heard the same voice ask:

"When can I leave?"

The doctor turned around and looked at the small boy lying on the bed.

"Let's just take it easy for now", he suggested. "Do not overdo it, okay."

And so the man left. Hughes looked at Edward shaking his head.

"How long was I out?"

The man looked at the floor. "You got out of the surgery about four o'clock. Now it's about", he looked at his watch ," seven fifteen."

"Huh", Edward smiled a bit relieved. The smile Hughes wore made him frown.

"At the morning."

"What?" He would have shouted if he had only been able to but his throat seemed to refuse. He grapped it coughing a bit.

Hughes patted his back trying to help him to breath. He offered the glass which Edward now took all by himself and drank all of it.

"Remember what doctor said, do not overdo it", the man said but there was something in Hughes's voice that left Edward thinking.

"Hughes", he started looking at the man ," did something happen?"

Hughes shook his head and tried to bring out the right words.

"During the surgeon you were attached to a breathing machine. After it they tried to separate you from it but", the man looked at him straight in the eyes. "You didn't start breathing."

Edward got started; he had had no kind of idea how serious the situation was.

He looked at Hughes wanting to hear more. The man looked pained when thinking about the past event.

"They said it was because of something they gave to you, probably a common thing, I didn't understand much what they were saying. They tried again after two hours and then you were just okay."

"Is that the reason my throat hurts so much?"

The man smiled a bit, clearly happy that the boy was now feeling so much better.

"Yeah, taking off the tube isn't nice."

Suddenly there was a knocking voice coming from the door. They both turned their gazes to it and it opened revealing three blue uniformed adults.

"Hey", Havoc greeted the boy and walked up to his bedside ruffling the golden hair like a big brother. "Nice to see you alive, kid!"

Edward just smiled and swiped the man's hand away. Hawkeye looked at him clearly relieved to see that the boy was going to be just fine.

Mustang looked at Edward and Hughes looking very serious hands crossed on his chest.

"I take it this is the last time you ever suggest this kind of competition to Edward", Colonel looked at Hughes who just looked back at him. "His stubbornness almost got him killed."

"Oh", came a tiny voice from the bed. Edward had just remembered the competition. He looked at Hughes a bit sadly; the man had been right.

"So, I lost."

Hughes just shook his head smiling and stroked his golden hair gently. "How about we forget about that? The most important thing is that you're alive and well."

"No", the boy insisted his honest side taking the control over him. "I lost."

"Fullmetal", Mustang broke in to their little argument. "You should accept his offer. His not always that merciful."

Hughes turned to look at his best friend a bit irritated his hand still on Edward's hair. "Yes, I am!"

Mustang snorted a sarcastic smile on his face. "Oh yeah? Remember the time we had this competition and I broke my leg?"

"Edward is still a child, and besides you're beginning to be so old that your bones break easier."

And so the two friends went on with their fight.

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It took four days until Edward was well enough to leave the hospital. He had been set stick rules; no running, stretching or fighting until the end of the week.

It was a Friday afternoon and Edward was laying on the bed of the Hughes's guest room. He and Al had been invited to stay there until Edward was healthy again.

The boy yawned as he woke up from his nap; it was actually pretty fun to live there. He could sleep as much as he wanted to, and Gracia cooked amazing meals. If he didn't feel strong enough to eat in the kitchen with the rest of the family, she brought him his food on a tray. Usually, in those situations, Elysia came to eat with him talking to him all the time and making sure he ate everything.

In the evenings, after taking his medicines which helped the wound to heal and to ease the possible pain, Hughes would come and talk with him about what happened at work and about everything else in the world; sometimes about their mission, sometimes about Edward himself. When he was about to fall asleep the man covered him with the covers making sure he was warm enough. After petting his hair for a minute he would walk quietly out of the room and leave the door a jar.

Edward laughed to himself amused; he was being spoiled here.

He didn't feel like going downstairs, it was still twelve o'clock. The lunch wouldn't be ready yet.

It was alright to sleep for a little while.

He was about to roll over to his back when his eyes spotted something on the desk

He stood up and walked to the wooden desk bare feet, dressed in jeans and a blue jumper. The book was a children fairy tale book; there was a tree on the cover.

Edward took it and sat down on the bed. He opened the book and looked at the first page. He remembered that Elysia had been reading it to him last evening. Telling the truth, she had learned the text by heart and just repeated what she remembered.

Here's twinkle, there was a drawing of a little, big eyed, brown kitten.

Twinkle has Mom and Dad. He has three sisters and one brother. How many siblings to you have?

Draw a picture of your family.

The boy looked at the bunch of cats on the page and started to think. Family... what did it actually mean? Did it mean your roots or your heart? Did it mean the people you liked about or the people who were in connection with you whether you liked it or not?

"One of my books asks to draw a picture of your family. And I did so."

"Family isn't only connected with blood ties."

After a moment, Edward reached out to the drawer and took out some paper and a pencil. He layed down on his stomach, putting the pencil to the paper and began to draw.

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(1) I want to make sure to everyone that Hughes has nothing against homosexuals. He's just worried that no one answered Elysia's question and that it would leave some kind of a trauma to her.

A/N: Here it was! Did you love it, hate it? You have the freedom of speech.

And if anyone can give me tips in how to create the spaces between paragraphs I would be more than grateful.