I went back and edited the first two chapters. Baby is a girl. I want Ed to have girls - a whole circus of daughters (pending Mom's approval). I love the idea of Ed with daughters, he'd be such a fantastic daughter-dad. And I wish I didn't have a bunny farm… I've thought up more than one way I'd like to handle this story. Now I'm indecisive, woe. Maybe I'll write them all and then decide which I like the best. Lucky for this chapter, my indecisions don't affect it.
Chapter 3 – Moments You Didn't Live
What if these weren't moments you didn't live…
Sneaking in from behind, Trisha grinned when a kiss from her youngest son pushed into her cheek, "Hi Gran'ma" Al greeted her playfully.
Ed did not realize until the smell of food on the plates in Alphonse's hands entered the room that he was even remotely hungry. He gave a tired, very hungry, very longing look to the assortment his younger brought into the room. In any other heart beat, Ed would have made a b-line for the little side table Al placed breakfast down on, but this heartbeat shuddered around in his chest, terrified at how red this poor unhappy baby was becoming. He'd walked through towns, he'd walked through stores, he'd walked through the streets of East City, West City, and Central City and heard the annoying, maddening cries of other peoples children and wished they'd do something to shut them up. But this distraught, incommunicable little creature made his chest hurt and heart ache; he didn't know something so tiny could make him feel so awful and helpless. There was no way to hold her, no way to cradle her, no way to comfort her - Ed couldn't get her to calm down. She wouldn't be soothed. How could she be so incredibly upset? What do I do?
"Here, let me try," Alphonse's thought the fluster on his brother's face was laughable, but the younger brother had a lot more pity than anything else for the situation, even on a night of no sleep. A hand came to his brother's shoulder to break him from the concerns overtaking his face. Ed carefully passed off the bundle of distraught flesh and bones to his younger brother, and watched Al put the baby down against his chest with a light rub over its back and bounce to his feet.
"Come on baby, hush."
Shoulders fell when Alphonse's presence seemed to make the baby's mood worse, not better.
"So much for you being a teddy bear," Ed scoffed, somewhat relieved that it wasn't just him who couldn't quell the baby's problem, "tell that little girlfriend of yours she needs to give you a new nickname."
"Oh shut up," Al shook his head, eyeing the little bundle in his hands that was thoroughly unimpressed with life so far.
With the shake of her head, Trisha slipped her hands in behind Al's and relinquished him of his failed attempt to calm a crying newborn, "Give her to me."
Ed's hands slipped into his pockets as he watched his mother place his child into her chest, like every other mother in the entire world apparently knew how to do. He couldn't remember what it was like to see his mom hold Al as a baby; Ed had been too young to keep that memory, but she just looked so content like this. Unfortunately, Edward's baby was not interested in interacting peacefully with anyone at the moment.
"I bet she's hungry," Trisha concluded, continuing to try her hand at claming the newborn infant.
"What is all this racket?" Hohenheim's voice rose up as he entered the room, coming up from behind his wife, leaning around, and placing a kiss on her cheek, "do I spy some kind of déjà vu in your arms, Trisha?"
His wife laughed.
"The baby is putting up a protest," Alphonse announced, "things were better when it was warm and comfy inside mom, and she had a feeding tube for all life's needs."
"Well, she's just going to have to accept this life and move on," the newly crowned Elric grandfather grinned, "here, Trisha, let me see my grandchild."
Again, possession of the unruly baby was transferred, this time into the largest hands of anyone in the room, and Hohenheim took his turn at quieting a thing that could not communicate its problem.
Al glanced to his brother and quickly did a double take before laughing, "You look like you're going to pass out from stress. Calm down."
Ed began to sputter with nearly as much gusto as his crying child, "B-but I don't know what's wrong! What if something serious is wrong? How am I supposed to know? Babies can't talk. They… they do that! How's that supposed to help me? That doesn't tell me anything… it's just… an upset sound!"
Al responded with a malicious grin, "Maybe you should have thought of that before you'd had sex, my genius older brother."
For Edward, the world may have ended right then and there. Rather than turning beet red, Ed bled down to a pure, horrified white, "A-ALPHONSE," his pointed index fingers flew out in two directions, "parents are right here."
Al looked upon his brother's lack of maturity with a blank stare, before he popped his voice to his mother, "Mom!" he cried out theatrically, "Brother's been having unprotected sex. Dad's holding the evidence. He's obviously guilty, maybe you should ground him. Send him to bed without dinner, buy him condoms, or something."
Trisha found herself torn between scolding Alphonse for his childish outburst, and laughing at Edward's expense while she peeled her eldest son off the floor.
"You're not going to know what to do," Trisha brushed Edward off, and sweeping the window dressing of hair from her son's face, "the baby is going to cry sometimes and you won't ever figure out what she really wants. You're going to just have to let her cry. For all the other cries, she'll teach you what she wants… you'll get familiar with them, but that'll take time. There's a lot of guessing involved."
"Mom," Ed pleaded, "I'm an alchemist. I don't guess."
"Edward," Trisha smiled, "you're a father. You will guess."
Ed's face contorted, giving a wary eye to the baby in his father's arms.
A sudden realization hit everyone just then, and a deadpan of Elric family eyes hit Hohenheim like an assault of brick.
The baby was silent.
Hohenheim smirked at his family, "I still have my touch."
Trisha sighed, "Oh you…"
From beyond shoulders and behind backs, a voice fell down the stairwell, "Oh good, everyone's mobile," Izumi took a few steps down the stairs, leaning around to peer into the room from beyond the handrail, "Mom's up."
Hohenheim returned the silenced child to his eldest son's arms, and Ed took on the moderate escort mission through the house to the upper floor where Mom had spent her night.
To Be Continued…