Disclaimer: FMA isn't mine. :(

Song: Hello I'm In Delaware - City and Colour

It's been so long,

Sometimes I wonder,

How I will stay strong...

It was storming out.

Rain was pouring down from the sky in torrents, churning the earth into a sea of mud, streaming down the windows, pounding on the roof, hissing as it came down the chimney and landed in the embers of the fire.

She had known the storm was coming. She'd seen the clouds gathering in the sky for hours before the first drops began to fall, seen the leaves turn their undersides up so that the shiny sides were showing, caught the earthy, almost musty scent on the air. She had known it was going to rain with enough time to make sure all the windows were firmly shut and latched and that the ones that leaked had towels pressed against the sill. Enough time to make sure that the leak in the attic upstairs had a bucket placed beneath it, enough time to make sure that the three remaining chickens they had were shut in their coop. Enough time to make sure that the tarp was pulled over the old car that they hadn't used is nearly five years.

Her father was asleep upstairs, or he had been when she'd gone and collected his tray from lunch. Asleep with a book in his lap and a blanket hunched around his shoulders because he'd let the fire in the grate go out. She had added a few more logs and taken the book gently from his hands, marking his place before placing it on the desk in front of him.

Thunder rumbled and lightning split the sky, a fork of brilliant white light that illuminated the neglected gardens lining the edge of the house, the old oak tree in the front of the house, the drive that circled it. The next flash and she saw the water running in a small river from underneath the front porch, the overflowing barrel under the eaves trough, the old rope swing still dangling from the branches of the oak. Tree branches whipped back and forth, the ivy on the trellis fluttered as though it were a curtain, one of the saplings she'd helped her father plant when she was only five bending nearly in half from the wind. Rain lashed at the windows, which were fogging.

She was sitting on the old sofa beneath the window. She'd let her blonde hair grow out a bit; now it hung down around her ears, hiding the glint of the earrings she always wore, the only thing she had of her mothers'. She had grown a few inches too, in the past year or so. She was just getting past that thin and awkward stage of thirteen.

She cleared a patch on the window with her hand, staring outside at the downpour. The walls of the house that surrounded her seemed like fragile, incomplete protection from such power, such raw energy.

The lightning flashed again, illuminating the valley far below, the town where most of the people in the vicinity lived, the path to which she knew better than her own left hand. The thunder followed closely, rumbling deep and low, shaking the house to its very foundations, creating a sound she could feel in her chest and on the air she was breathing. Storms like this were the ones she loved, where everything was set on edge, where the smell of rain lingered for days afterwards, where the mud made ripples of different colors down the drive, where the plants in the poorly tended gardens glistened with droplets and flourished, turning her world into a rainforest for a few short weeks.

Still, it wasn't the same without him here.

He had been here to comfort her when lightning struck a tree nearby the house and she was afraid it had crashed through the roof and they were all going to die, all going to drown and father would be so very, very angry... A childish fear to be sure, completely unreasonable, but she had been terrified out of her mind nevertheless, no matter how many times she tried to reason with herself. He always comforted her on the rare occasions that the sheer power of the storm got to her and she realized how small and insignificant her life was in the face of so much. He would put his arms around her and hold her while she cried, even though she could feel him trembling.

He never liked the rain.

I wonder where he is now.

It had been more than a year since the last letter, eight months since the last telegram. Neither had contained much information. Just a generic greeting, a few rambling sentences about what he had been up to; at the bottom of the letter, a sloppy signature. Never once had he expressed any wish to come back, any feelings of homesickness. Never once had he said he missed them, her cranky old father with his backwards rules, their large, crumbling house containing the remnants of former wealth, the library full of every book on alchemy you could ever wish to read and hundreds you would never want to.

Never once had he said he missed her.

Lightning flashed again, and thunder shook the house.

She fed the fire, which had died down to a grate full of simmering embers.

She pulled her socks back up to her knees from where they had crumpled around her ankles, and tucked her feet underneath herself for warmth.

She blew softly on her hands, rubbing them together to get the blood flowing.

She watched as the storm raged outside and wondered if somewhere, wherever he was, he was seeing the same thing from his window; the torrential rain, the howling, twisting wind, the angry sky.

She wondered if she would ever see him again.

She wondered if she wanted to.

This is one of the pieces I started before I wrote At Arms Length. I kind of like it. I'm not so sure about the ending, but I think it works well. It's just not what I was aiming for. Then again, it almost never is. :)

It's almost Christmas break!!!