Title -Making Her Mark

Disclaimer - Arakawa owns this

Characters/Pairing - Olivia, Alex Louis, their father

Timeline/Spoilers - pre-series, set when Olivia is a teenager.

Warning - teenaged anxieties

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It wasn't fair. Why was Father paying so much attention to Alex Louis? So what if he was the only boy? Olivia knew better than to look at her sisters. They were more interested in feminine things. Oh, certainly they had gone through the same rigorous traditional Armstrong training but nothing any of them did made their father dole out the pride the way Alex Louis did. The brat merely had to bat his eyelashes and their father was there proclaiming him the finest creature ever to draw breath.

It wasn't really her brother's fault. Alex Louis was always so sweet, too sweet. It made her even angrier when he'd try to honey over the rough spots. What made it worse was some things came to him so much easier than they did to her. Olivia had no skills at all with alchemy. As far as the family was concerned, she was a failure at that aspect of the Armstrong tradition. Who cared? Alchemy felt too much like cheating. Olivia liked to get the things she had by using her own hands and brains to get them. Alex Louis would argue that was all alchemy really was, but Olivia knew it was different.

She tried to get her father's approval again by continually challenging Alex Louis. He might have the combat training, but he didn't have the heart of a warrior. He'd rather play with his pencils and sketch book, creating things Olivia had to admit were beautiful, even if it wasn't a talent she coveted. If her martial prowess impressed anyone, Olivia couldn't tell. Mostly she and Alex Louis ended up getting shooed outside so not to destroy the house.

Finally, she knew one way to get both what she wanted and to put Alex Louis in his place. It wasn't that Olivia wanted to hurt her brother but there was a pecking order. Besides, she needed something where she was in charge. It wouldn't happen quickly, she knew that well as she pulled on the cadet's uniform, but one day people would respect and obey her. She would add chapters to the Armstrong family history. She would inherit Great Grandfather's sword, not her brother.

Striding down to her father's den as if she had already made General, Olivia found her father regaling her young brother once again with the family history. His words died as he hopped off the chair to come look at her.

"Olivia, why didn't you tell your mother and I that you wanted to go to the Academy?" he said. "We've been waiting for this day."

She couldn't quite think of anything to say. It had never crossed her mind, now that they had a son, that they would want her to go to the Academy, too.

"You'll make a fine officer one day." Her father beamed.

"You really will, sister!" Alex Louis's eyes gleamed with pride.

This was not the reaction she was expecting and it dawned on Olivia that she had won. Drawing herself up to her full height, she smiled. "I'll be the best."