A/N: This story will have 24 chapters. I will post every day from now until Christmas. The chapters will be short, some even drabble size. I wrote most of this during November, and I still have 4 more chapters to write.
This is unbetaed, so I can almost guarantee there will be some mistakes, but I hope you'll be kind enough to over look them and enjoy the story anyway.
A/N 2: Please note that this story does not follow the cannon anime in some things. Also, Ed is 13 and Al is 12.
Roy yawned and stretched tiredly. It was almost quitting time, and all he wanted to do was go home, sit by the heater, and read. Maybe even drink some coffee or hot tea... He turned in his chair and glanced out of his office window.
The sky was covered in heavy gray clouds, and fat snowflakes were floating silently to the ground in the millions. Central City had already had plenty of snow this year, but in his opinion a fresh layer of snow never did too much harm, and always ended up looking very nice in the morning.
Oh yes, this was the time of year for blankets, fireplaces—if you had one, heaters if you didn't—warm drinks, and good books. Of course, if you could find someone to share such things with, it made it even better.
Roy turned and looked to where Lieutenant Hawkeye was sitting at a small table. She was looking over a few folders. She opened her mouth to say something—mostly likely to ask a question—when there was a knock on the door. The knock had the hollow sound that he'd grown used to hearing whenever Alphonse Elric came to see him.
"Come in," he said, wondering why he'd be getting a visit from the Elric kid. The door opened and he frowned a little. Correction. A visit from the Elric kids...
Alphonse Elric, soul bound to a large suit of armor, was pushing his older—but much smaller—brother into the office.
Roy couldn't help smiling and saying, "Well, to what do I owe the honor of your presence on such short notice?"
Edward Elric—the military's youngest ever State Alchemist—froze at the mention of the word 'short' and gave him a dark glare before pushing away from Alphonse and muttering something under his breath to Al who simply shook his head.
At thirteen, Ed should have been much taller than he was, but he simply hadn't hit that much coveted growth spurt yet. Roy was sure he would eventually, but for now it was amusing to watch the kid spazz whenever someone mentioned his height. Roy never said it outright, he had to maintain a bit of professionalism since he was older and the kid's superior officer, but he did like to sneak in little things that technically had nothing to do with Ed at all though usually the boy got disgruntled at any words that implied small size.
When whatever silent argument the two brothers were having was over, Ed grabbed a small, brightly wrapped package from his brother and marched to Roy's desk, and without a word he tossed it at Roy, who caught it deftly.
Without a word, he began to turn away, when Alphonse said, "Brother..."
Making a sound of irritation, Ed turned back and muttered, "Merry Christmas."
Roy blinked at the package, then looked at both Ed and Al. "Merry Christmas, Lieutenant Hawkeye and Colonel Mustang," Alphonse said cheerfully, and he was sure that if Al could, he'd be smiling.
Roy looked at Hawkeye who shrugged, then back at the boys. "Merry what?" he asked, not exactly sure what to say to this.
"See, I told you this was a dumb idea," Ed said petulantly to his brother, then to Roy, "Christmas. It's some old religious holiday that—"
"I thought you weren't religious," Roy cut in.
"I'm not," Ed said. "That's not the point. It's some holiday that our father insisted on celebrating, and—"
"I thought you hated your father," Roy pointed out with a small smile, knowing that he was simply going to irritate the boy further by cutting in again.
"I do. Will you shut up and listen?" Ed snapped, then continued in a lecturing tone, "So when our father moved to Rizembool way back before me and Al were born, he slowly ended up getting the whole town to celebrate it, and now it's sort of a tradition. Our mother always had us celebrate it."
"Ah, I see," Roy murmured, glancing quickly at Hawkeye who seemed interested in what Ed was saying. He looked down at the brightly wrapped package, then back to Ed. "And, what's with this?"
The boy rolled his eyes impatiently. "You're supposed to give people gifts for Christmas."
"And," Alphonse broke in, "you get a pine tree and decorate it with stuff like candles and ornaments and you hang up your socks by the fireplace and then in the morning there are gifts from Father Christmas!!"
Roy raised an eyebrow. "Presents in your socks? I hope they were clean."
"Duh..." Ed said, but Al was already going on.
"We'd get some treats in our socks and there would be a couple of presents under the tree! Mother said that Father Christmas is mag—"
"You're a little old to believe in that crap, aren't you?" Ed said harshly, and Roy could visibly see Alphonse sag a little. "There's no such thing as magic. It's just a stupid fairytale that that bastard made up. No one brought us gifts last year after mom died, Al. You're just being stupid. There is no magic man out there who cares enough to give us anything!"
"Maybe he just couldn't find us..." Al said quietly.
"Whatever," Ed grunted and stalked out of the office.
There was silence in the office for a while, and again Roy glanced at Hawkeye who had a sympathetic look on her face. The brothers usually got along well, though they were known to argue over little things. Roy had a feeling that this went a little bit deeper than some petty argument.
"I know that he's not real... I know that the thing closest in this world to magic is alchemy, but..." Roy turned his attention back to Alphonse to see him with metal head bowed and hands clasped in front of him. "I want to believe... I want it to be like when we were little. Christmas was always a good time for family and friends. It was like everyone loved each other and we were all one big family... I just..."
The sound of a chair scraping on the floor met Roy's ears and Hawkeye stood and walked over to where Al was standing and put her hand on his arm. It was the gesture that mattered since the boy had no way of feeling the touch.
"The two of you still have each other. Your family isn't gone," she said softly and Roy nodded. Of course... he would never have come up with such a sensitive thing to say, but he did agree with her.
"I know..." Al murmured in that small hollow voice of his.
"So... Today is this Christmas thing?" Roy asked, not exactly comfortable with the mood in the air.
"Ah, no... it's on the twenty-fifth... You're not supposed to open your gifts until then either... The night before Christmas is when you're supposed to put up stockings and stuff for Father Christmas..."
"And will you?" Roy asked curiously.
There was silence in the room for a moment before Alphonse said, "I will. Brother will get mad, but I want to. Even though I know nothing will be in the morning... We don't have a fire place in the dorms, so I'll probably just... I don't know... stick them by the heater..."
To this, Roy had no response, and when he said nothing, Al turned and said, "Well, I'm going to go find brother. Merry Christmas..."
As soon as Alphonse left the office, Riza said, "That's just... it's just sad..."
"Uh huh," Roy murmured, now looking at the package. He hadn't had a chance to inspect it before, and now found that the wrapping was a little loose in some parts and there was excessive paper covering the package making it bulky in some places. Shrugging he moved to open it, when the sound of Hawkeye clearing her throat made him stop and look up.
She was glowering at him. "You have to wait until the twenty-fifth."
"They'll never know," Roy pointed out.
Putting her hands on her hips, Hawkeye said sternly, "It was nice of those boys to give you something; you could at least wait."
"I don't want to take it home without knowing what's inside. For all I know, Ed put a stink bomb in there that will go off when I open it."
"I don't think Alphonse would let him get away with that," Hawkeye said.
She was right, but Roy was extremely curious as to what could be inside the box. What did people give for this kind of holiday? With a shrug, Roy moved the package beside his phone.
"You know what would be really nice?" Hawkeye said, and Roy looked up at her curiously. When she raised an eyebrow, he frowned, suddenly realizing where her mind was going.
"No," he said flatly.
"It would be fun," she said, a smile creeping on her face.
"I don't know anything about this holiday or this Father Christmas character. I don't even know if there are specific things people give for this holiday. No."
"Sir," she said in that tone that women got when they wanted men to do something.
He grabbed a pen and furiously began scribbling his signature on something he hadn't read yet. "No."
A moment of silence, then a soft, "Roy..."
He gripped his pen tightly and worked hard not to look up at her. He was not going to play Father Christmas for the Elric brothers. Absolutely not, and he was not going to let some woman push him into doing what he didn't want to do.
Note: As noted previously, this story doesn't follow cannon. I'm also going to be taking some liberties when it comes to iconic figures and traditions as well as timeline. There are many legends and different traditions varying from country to country, so I'm more or less, picking and choosing.
Mostly, I just advise you to enjoy the story and not worry about the little details. This fic was written for fun and I hope that you'll be able to sit back and enjoy it without worrying about what's cannon or historically correct.
If you're feeling generous, I'd love to know what you think so far :)