Title: In the Woodpile
Author: S J Smith
Series: FMA: B or Manga
Word Count: 923
Rating: Teenish for implications?
Characters: Hohenheim, Pinako
Summary: What if Hohenheim had actually survived long enough for Ed and Winry to get married and start a family?
A.N.: Thanks to D M Evans for the edits. Written for the Live Journal Comm, Fma_Fic_Contest, for the prompt 'secret'.
Even after all this time, the dog hated him. Hohenheim wished there were some way around it but the dog either growled or cowered any time he drew near. Considering the dog was never very far from either of his sons, it made for difficult conversations. It was the same with other animals and, despite the fact Hohenheim had given up the other souls within him, the beings that had made him a living Philosopher's Stone, something lingered on that made animals react badly to him.
Take now, as he was rounding the corner of the house. The dog set off her alarm and raced past Edward and Pinako's granddaughter, knocking the girl down. "Den!" she shouted after the dog.
"She really hates you, old man." Edward shuffled sideways, offering Winry his hand. "What'd you do to her?"
"I exist?" Hohenheim watched as his son pulled the girl to her feet. She rubbed her hip, grimacing, muttering something under her breath. Whatever she'd said was loud enough for Ed to catch it, since he chuckled. Ed's hand ran up her wrist to her elbow, and Winry shot him a look. "So!" Hohenheim interrupted before whatever it was they were doing went any farther. "What have you two been up to today?"
"Nothing!" Why did Ed have that rabbit in a jack light look?
"Ignore him, Mr. Hohenheim." Winry nudged his son with her elbow, sharply enough to make him grunt. "We bought eggs and cheese from the Blankenship farm."
"Is that all?" Hohenheim noticed a grass stain on the skirt of Winry's dress. Was that an oil smudge, as well? Before he could focus his attention, Ed broke into his thoughts.
"The old hag wanted us to cut up some potatoes and onions to fry for supper, Winry." He touched her shoulder, a subtle indication she should head inside. She let him move her along.
"She'll make you do chores for calling her a hag."
"Like I don't do all the chores around here, anyway!"
"You? Al and I do chores, too!" With a flounce of her dress, Winry started up the stairs.
"Not as many!" Ed chased after her.
"Oh, right! Who cleaned up the basement while you were conveniently away in East City? Hmm?"
"That's not my fault! The bastard had to give me my discharge papers!"
"He could've mailed them and you know it!" The argument continued even through the screen door of the old house, indicating exactly where the pair had gone.
Hohenheim sighed, sitting heavily on the porch steps. "This isn't good."
"What isn't good?"
He jumped at Pinako's voice, wondering how she managed to sneak around like that. The scent of her tobacco alone ought to have given him warning. "My son. Your granddaughter."
"Oh?" Pinako took a drag on her pipe. "What's the problem?"
"Pinako, even I can see there's something between them." Hohenheim glanced toward the door, making sure there were no shadows lurking behind the screen. Still, to be safe, he lowered his voice. "We need to do something about it!"
Surely, she was being willfully obtuse. "You know. About how Ed," Hohenheim lowered his voice even more, "is Winry's uncle?"
Pinako seemed to consider that. "We don't know that for sure."
"Pinako Rockbell. I can't believe you'd say that."
"Why not? Surely you don't think you were the only one?"
He sputtered. Well, actually.
Blowing a smoke ring, Pinako studied the clouds in the distance. At least, she wasn't looking at him and with the way her gaze was directed, Hohenheim could only guess – not that it made any difference! "There's a thirty-three percent chance you were Urey's father."
"That's still – "
"And your son makes my granddaughter happy. And Winry makes Ed happy. Are you going to deny them that happiness?"
"But – "
"Besides, it really shouldn't be a problem unless some fool decides to tell them." Her eyes glinted like steel behind the lenses of her glasses.
"Children!" Hohenheim managed to get out. "What if there are children?"
"Considering how Blankenship interbreeds his sheep, as long as their kids don't marry each other, it ought to be okay."
"But." Hohenheim stopped abruptly as Pinako poked him with the stem of her pipe.
"With all the sorrow those kids have had in their lives, do you really want to mess that up?"
He considered as he stared at Pinako's implacable face. Ed would hate him if he said anything. Winry, too. And Al. Sighing, he raised his hands in surrender. "Fine. I'll be a party to this secret."
"What secret?" Alphonse appeared almost as if he popped out of the ground, the dog frolicking around his legs. At least until she saw Hohenheim and started growling. "It's okay, Den. It's just Dad."
"Your father just figured out about Ed and Winry." Pinako grinned.
Al sighed. "Just now? Dad, that's slow. I mean, Brigadier General Hughes knew as soon as he met Winry. And I've known forever!"
"I'm sorry, son. Your father's a little slow. And old fashioned, too."
The boy flushed. "Aheh. Well, I wouldn't go wandering around the creek in the early morning then, sir. Not unless you want to have your sensibilities trampled."
Pinako chuckled, slapping him on the shoulder. "I'm going to go help the love birds with supper."
"Oh? I'll help!" Al ran up the stairs, snagging the door and holding it for Pinako to go inside. Their voices joined in the cacophony already inside the house.
The dog growled. She really hated him.