Roy sat on the front porch steps, leaning back against the sturdy wooden guard rail that wound its way around the entire porch area. Behind him, on the swing sat his wife and daughter. While attempting to maintain a relaxed appearance, Roy glanced up and down the sidewalk that paralleled the front of the house. Still there remained no sign of the person he was waiting for. He knew Riza was beginning to feel his anxiety because she continually glanced up from the book she was reading to Mae.
For her part, Mae was completely oblivious to her parents' anxious glances toward the empty sidewalk beyond the picket fence. Roy wondered what it was like to have no worries, at least, not serious ones. His dark eyes lingered on the form of his one and half year old daughter for a moment, taking in the shimmering black hair that seemed to float on the gentle breeze of the spring morning, the brown eyes that sparkled with interest as they scanned the pictures in the book that lay open on Riza's lap, and the chubby hands the grasped Riza's skirt, bunching it up and wrinkling it.
Riza caught his gaze and smiled, though that smile didn't reach her eyes. There was little doubt in Roy's mind that Riza was just as concerned as he was. It had been awhile since the last time they had seen them. What if something happened to them on their way here?
While these thoughts swirled through his mind, Roy had turned back to the sidewalk and stared at the far end to the north. There was no sign of anyone, not even an MP. Before he could sigh and stand up, two arms wrapped themselves around his neck and lips brushed against his right ear.
"They'll be fine, Roy, relax a little," Riza's breath sent shivers down his spine as she spoke into his ear.
"You're right, of course. Nothing could stop those two, especially when they're together," Roy laughed lightly, though the nervous knot remained in his stomach.
As the words and laugh left his lips, Riza scooted around and sat on the step beside him, relaxing her arms so that they were loosely wrapped around his neck and shoulders. She kissed him lightly on the cheek before laying her head down upon his shoulder.
"Where's Mae?" Roy asked it absently, knowing that he would have seen her had she wandered off into the front yard.
"Sitting on the floor with her book. She thinks she's too smart for her mother to be reading to her. I swear she got your stubborn streak," Riza snorted, not bothering to lift her head.
"My stubborn streak? What about yours?" Roy snapped back, smirking when Riza's head lifted and she glared at him.
"It's settled, she got her stubbornness from the both of us, besides, you do realize what that means don't you? Imagine what she's going to be like at 13," Riza's smile was decidedly evil as she regarded Roy's face.
"She's never leaving the house," Roy grunted, glancing back at his daughter furtively.
For a moment, Riza held her serious demeanor, after that, it was shattered and she was giggling wildly. Mae looked up from her book curiously before standing and toddling over to them both. Roy watched her come out of the corner of his eye and wondered what the child would ask.
"Mom, what funny?" Mae's voice only caused Riza to laugh more hysterically than she already had been.
"Nothing Mae, your mother's just having a mental breakdown," Roy responded seriously, his face composed and dispassionate as he regarded his wife.
"Huh?" Mae's nose scrunched up and her brows furrowed as she tried to deduce the meaning of his words.
"Dad's just being mean. I'm fine, and it's nothing you have to worry about, honey," Riza replied, wiping tears from her eyes and cheeks as she looked over at her daughter's confused continence.
"Okay," Mae shrugged, an imitation of Havoc, and walked back to her book, flopping down on her stomach and looking at the pages with their brightly colored pictures.
"You do realize that we have a rather precocious child, don't you?" Riza asked quietly, sitting up straight and looking directly into Roy's eyes.
"How so?" Roy asked, he'd never been around children before Mae came along. Unless you included Fullmetal.
"Gracia and I were talking the other day and she informed me that Mae speaks more like a two and half year old than a one and half year old. She said that it might just be because she's always around adults, instead of other children. However, it's also possible that we might have a rather intelligent little girl on our hands," Riza explained, her chestnut eyes never leaving his obsidian ones.
"Uh huh," Roy returned her steady gaze with a bored one. As far as he was concerned, it didn't matter, he'd already saved Amestris, albeit with help, so what was so hard about raising a smart kid?
"You realize what this means don't you?" Riza's demanded, her eyes narrowing dangerously.
The look made Roy sit up and listen. It was dangerous to act uninterested when Riza got that look. That could very well get one shot, actually.
"What do you mean?" Roy asked innocently, he honestly had no idea why Riza was so concerned about this.
"It means that we will have to make sure she gets into the right schools, has tutors, and is constantly busy. Intelligent children get bored very easily, she'll be no different. Bored children generally find more trouble than children who are busy," Riza explained slowly, as though she were talking to a dimwitted child.
Roy felt a momentary irritation at the way she was speaking to him, then what she had said sank in. Suddenly, images of toppled buildings, large rock pillars, shattered statues, and a very short-tempered blond entered his mind. Fullmetal was smart, a genius in fact, and he'd been destructive while busy.
"I hope she's not a genius," Roy muttered, getting the feeling that a few gray hairs had just sprouted on his head.
"I doubt she's genius level intelligence. Simply smart. She's be above average I don't doubt, as long as we keep her motivated and interested in learning," Riza assured him. As far as she knew, Mae had shown no signs of a genius level IQ and that was fine with her. Truth be told, Edward was the first image that had popped into her head as well.
"I hated school," Roy stated bluntly, wondering how he was to keep a child interested in something he'd despised.
"I know, but I didn't. We'll figure it out," Riza stated calmly, slipping her left arm through the space between his right arm and torso before lacing her fingers with his.
"How the hell did we get a smart kid, Hawkeye?" Roy sighed, his voice muffled by the hand that his chin rested upon, the fingers in front of his mouth.
"Don't know, sir, but we sure as hell did," Riza grinned, waving as two familiar figures turned the corner of the north end of the sidewalk.
Roy followed her gaze and lifted his left hand in greeting to the two blonds walking toward them. Both young men, fore they were no longer boys, lifted their hands in greeting as well. The shorter of the two had a huge grin on his face that Roy could see, even from this far away while the taller had a calm smile on his face.
"Al's a genius too, right?" Roy asked as the two blonds came closer.
"Yes," Riza affirmed as she stood from her place on the top step and turned to beckon Mae over.
"Good, maybe she'll take after her godfather," Roy muttered as the two men came up even with the gate. He followed Riza's lead and stood up as well.
"Hey old man, long time no see," Edward's voice was deeper now, but the old tone was still there.
"Yes, but how would I know, it's hard to see you from up here," Roy replied easily, smirking at the mock scowl on the younger man's face.
"Who you callin' short?" Edward demanded without his old gusto. Considering the fact that he was now only a head shorter than Roy, it was understandable that the old comments no longer had much effect.
"It's good to see you again, Fullmetal. Alphonse," Roy stepped down from the porch and held out his hand. Edward took it in a strong grip and shook it deftly.