"There is something actually. I figured that since I don't have a commanding officer directly over me, you could handle the request." The Major said quietly.

"Go on?"


Several Weeks later-

Edward wearily trudged up the stairs, carrying several boxes as he went. It wasn't just the manual labor that made his ascent slow, it was scalding outside and he could feel it getting hotter with each step he took. Finally he made it to the top, heading for the room at the end of the hallway.

"Winry," he whined loudly. "Where do you want these?" The automail mechanic turned back to him with a screwdriver in her mouth while she finished hanging some curtains. Removing the tool from her between her teeth, she glanced around the already cluttered room. Placing her hands on her hips she let out a sigh.

"Those books aren't gonna be able to go up here." Her husband chewed on the inside of his mouth and rolled his eyes, impatiently.

"I'm not bringing them all the way down stairs again. Besides, I want these books in our room."

"Why can't they go in the office?" Edward frowned, glancing at the boxes in his arms.

"Cause I really wanted these ones up here." Winry tucked a strand of hair behind her bandana. Despite so many years of marriage, something about that look on his face always managed to get to her.

"Fine, they can stay up here." Finding an empty spot on the floor, he placed the heavy boxes down. Pulling the front of his white shirt away from his damp body, he wiped the sweat on his face.

"Of all the places you could have picked to live, why did it have to be Rush Valley?" Winry stuck her nose in the air, closing her eyes as she spoke.

"Because you said I got to pick where we moved."

"Why did I do that," he muttered to himself as he glanced away and crossed his arms. "I hate this town."

"Well technically we're not in town, so it's okay." She walked over to him while he was still scowling and pinched his cheek to get his attention. Before he could pull away from her, there was a crash from downstairs.

"Um, that was Van," the Flame Alchemist hollered up to them. There was another crash and Ed decided it would be in everyone's best interest to head downstairs. Riza was in the kitchen opening boxes and pulling plates out while Roy sat at the table downing a glass of water. Van was sitting on the floor, playing with a wooden car. There were two broken glasses on the floor near Mustang's feet. Edward huffed a breath in frustration.

"You sure Van broke them? From the looks of things, I'd say you did it." He crossed his arms and leaned against the wall.

"Nope, it was definitely the kid." Roy pointed at the toddler. Edward gave him a fake smile before leaning down to Van.

"Hey Van? Who broke the glasses?" The boy looked up at his dad and immediately pointed a finger back at Mustang.

"Roy broke it." The General grit his teeth in response.

"You're such a snitch, Van." The kid turned and stuck his tongue out. He'd learned a lot from his father. Patting Van on the head, Ed glared up at Mustang.

"And you're such a liar. Besides what are you doing anyway? You're just sitting around while the rest of us work. Even the Lieutenant is working and she's pregnant."

"Yes, and I am supporting her by letting her put dishes away instead of taking it over for her."

"You're so lazy. Why don't you try getting up and help. That was the whole point of you coming out here. It's not a vacation."The blond wiped his forehead to prevent sweat from dripping down into his eyes. Roy yawned in response before stretching his arms over his head.

"Yeah but we've been at it all day. Nothing wrong with taking a short break." Edward let out another huff before glancing away from him.

"You're so useless. Don't even know why I thought it would be a good idea for you to come down here," he muttered to himself. Despite what Ed thought though, the General was down here to get away from Central for awhile. To him it was indeed a vacation. When the Major had told him back up at Northern Command that he needed to start thinking about his family's safety more and wanted to move away from Central, he was hesitant at first. Ed had always been a valuable subordinate, that was why he let him get away with so much. Of course he technically wasn't under him anymore, he still liked having him around. Obviously it was beneficial to have him in situations like the one they just went through. But the Flame alchemist was not the same selfish bastard he'd always been. Now expecting his first child, he understood putting someone else before his own personal needs. So he allowed the transfer to where ever the Elrics chose to go. Ed could come to Central every month or so to get his work done and anything else could be mailed to him.

"If I'm so useless then why were you able to move down here so fast. And as I recall the military paid for the move as well as the house." The older man smiled broadly at his observation. "Had to make sure we were even after all."

"I could have just quit, yah know," the blond was clearly getting heated and not due to the temperature outside. "We would have been just fine." Riza sighed loudly, indicating she didn't want to listen to the two of them anymore. Knowing it was in their best interest to not anger her, both Ed and Roy silently agreed to stop fighting. Several seconds went by where no one said anything, indicating the fight was over.

"Now that you're done squabbling, you can finish unpacking the kitchen, I'm gonna go lay down on the couch." She moved past Ed in the doorway when he forgot he was just suppose to agree.

"But I thought you were gonna do it," Ed asked, noticing she hadn't finished. The lieutenant wasn't armed this particular day, however she didn't need to be. Turning back to him, there was something dangerous in her gaze that caused him to back further into the kitchen, almost tripping over Van. "I mean yeah, you've been working hard, you should go lay down." Mustang stood up from the table.

"You want me to come sit down with you?" He offered, trying to get out of working.

"I said I want both of you to finish, Roy! Now get back to unpacking those boxes!" He hurried behind Ed, waiting for her to leave the area.

"Is she gone?" Edward let out a heavy sigh and turned to pat Roy on the shoulder as he walked away.

"Yeah, you're not surviving seven more months of this. It was nice knowing you."

"You're not funny Ed, now come on. Tell me how you managed to get through this kind of thing."

"Oh so now you need my help? First help me with the kitchen and then we'll talk." Mustang turned and followed him back over to the cabinets.

"Speaking of things that were meant to be discussed later, you never did tell me why you went up north with me." Edward glanced at the ceiling, recalling their conversation.

"Oh yeah, that. I did it cause the Lieutenant asked me." Roy slouched forward.

"You mean it wasn't cause you cared for my well being?"

"Nope, not in the least."

"Uh huh, somehow I don't completely believe that."

"I don't care what you want to believe, she's scary and that's the reason I'm giving."

"Would you two shut up!" They both ducked as though Riza's shouting was something to dodge. Van laughed at the two of them before going back to playing with his car.

"Forget me surviving, you might not either," Mustang pointed out in a hushed tone. Edward found himself smiling ironically at the situation. Despite the arguing, he and the General had grown close through all this. Their relationship, although still professional, had become a friendship that he realized he needed. As much as he once thought of Mustang as nothing more then a manipulative womanizer with no moral compass, his opinion of him was changing. He was about to be an inexperienced father, just like Ed was not too long ago. As Edward started pulling pots out of a box, he let out another sigh.

"Alright, so here's how you handle the Lieutenant..." He kept his voice low to avoid any bodily injury. "You should be taking notes by the way."


A/N-bah the ending probably could have been better, maybe someone could recommend something. ::sigh:: It's been a really rough week but some reviews would be nice. :) I'd love to make it to 100 cause that would be the most I've ever gotten on one story. Also if you are sad the story ended I have another one called Past and Present that partially takes place in Rush Valley after this one. Thanks everyone who read. By the way I am contemplating a final story to make this and Darkness Within a Trilogy. Stay posted.