Title: Tipping the Scales
Author: Sage SK
Date Started: 5/19/11
Date Ended: 5/19/11
Genre: Family
Rating: K

Comments: Just a random short fic of Maes Hughes musing. And because Hughes is awesome.

One o'clock on the dot. Maes Hughes couldn't comprehend why at that exact time he awoke parched. Stress, maybe? No, he doubted that very much. He was always stress-free when he was at home with his girls. Oh, well. No sense in fighting it.

Disentangling himself from Gracia, he put on his slippers and made his way downstairs to the kitchen. And, that's where he saw it. The very armor that housed the soul of one of the two boys staying with his family.

Alphonse Elric sat on the couch, engrossed in a book Hughes had left on the table earlier. Hearing him there, Al looked up and said meekly, "Oh, Mr. Hughes. I didn't wake you, did I?"

Maes chuckled. "Not at all. Just need a drink of water." As he made his way into the kitchen, Hughes reminded himself that Alphonse couldn't sleep. He couldn't drink, eat... he couldn't *feel*. All that torn from him when he and his brother performed human transmutation. His punishment, Alphonse had said. For what, Hughes didn't know... until he asked his best friend to provide a better explanation.

Being an alchemist, Roy Mustang told him about equivalent exchange, or rather a basic rundown of how alchemy worked. Regardless of it being put into layman's terms, Hughes didn't understand it, and after hearing what Alphonse and Edward told him, he considered it unfair. To have your entire body torn away from you just because you wanted to see your mother's smile again... where was the fairness in that? There was no equivalency as far as he could tell. But, then again, he wasn't an alchemist. He didn't see things the way they did.

Of course, there were two sides to every coin. Fair and unfair. Was this "coin", this "scale" always perfectly balanced?

Downing his glass of water and placing it into the sink, Hughes made his way back to the living room. Contemplating on what was fair and unfair reminded him that Al was alone at night, while his brother and the rest of the world slept. His mind made up (and disregarding the fact that he'd be needing extra coffee when he went to work in the morning), he went to the top shelf of the bookcase and pulled out a small box.

"Hey, Alphonse. Ever played chess?"

He wasn't an alchemist. The rules didn't apply to him. As far he was concerned, he could tip the scales.

- END -