Disclaimer: I do not own FMA or FMA: Brotherhood
This story takes place a bit before the series and will run into the series. I think I will continue this fic. It depends on whether I get reviews or not.
Cries filled the Mustang household for the fourth night that week. Riza lightly bounced the infant in her arms as she paced the floor of the nursery. It was roughly 0100 hours and she couldn't help but to think that her daughter couldn't have picked a better moment to send her mother bolting awake. After all, Riza had only managed to fall asleep an hour ago.
"Reagan, honey, what's wrong?" She asked.
Reagan Christine Mustang kicked her legs and squirmed, her face red and scrunched tightly. Overall, she was usually a very happy baby. After finally tying the knot, Roy and Riza conceived and raised her in a very loving home. Roy had a tendency to spoil her, along with her godfather Maes Hughes who doted on her and "couldn't wait to have a daughter as adorable as her with Gracia".
Riza wondered momentarily if her husband was hearing any of their daughter's cries, but quickly shook the thought from her mind. Roy was probably lying in their bed with a pillow over his head trying to block out the incessant wails so he could get some rest. Most likely, he mentally kicking himself for not making sure she was deeply asleep. After all, he was the one who had made the first attempt to get Reagan to fall asleep that night. He was successful, but that was an hour ago and it had only granted Riza and Roy an hour of sleep.
Roy headed down the hallway to the nursery to assist his wife. During the first year and two months of her life, Reagan wasn't this difficult to put down. Even when she got her first tooth, it was easier to make her fall asleep. Neither of he nor Riza could figure out the reason for Reagan's sudden bedtime rebellions. Well, not just bedtime. Their daughter's crying bouts had become much more frequent and seemed to be for no reason at all.
Riza sat down in a rocking chair and rubbed the infant's back. She had checked Reagan's diaper, tried to get her to fall asleep again, and burped her. She offered her a bottle, burped her, and held her. She'd left her alone. She had given Reagan her favorite teddy bear, Mr. Pookie. Riza removed some of her blankets in case she was hot and gave her more blankets in case she was cold. Nothing seemed to calm Reagan down.
"Honey, what's wrong?" Riza asked. "What's got you so upset, hmm?"
The fourteen-month-old whimpered in response. Riza gently placed a finger inside the baby's mouth, feeling for signs of any new teeth. She sighed a moment later. No new teeth. What was wrong?
"I couldn't figure it out either."
Riza looked up to see her exhausted husband in the doorway in his boxers. Roy walked into the nursery and stood beside his wife, peering down at the baby in her arms. Reagan's cries were beginning to wind down into whimpers.
"I was wondering how long it'd take until she cried herself into exhaustion," Roy stroked the baby's hair.
Riza shook her head, "I don't know what's wrong with her. Do you think she might be in pain?"
"Pain?" He considered this for a moment. "Well…it would explain why nothing we're doing will make her stop. Do you think we should take her to the doctor?"
"It wouldn't hurt. If it's nothing serious, he'd probably just tell us that she has colic." She gently placed Reagan back in her crib. "I hope it's nothing too serious."
Roy placed his arm around her waist, "She'll be okay. I promise."
Riza shook the memory from her mind and focused on the playing baby in front of her. She couldn't believe that that had been a month ago. A month had passed since they had found out that the reason why Reagan wouldn't stop crying was due to a very serious middle ear infection. A month had passed since the doctor told Roy and Riza that the damage the fluid from the infection had caused on their daughter's right middle ear might have caused hearing loss.
Since that month, Reagan's cries filled them with greater concern. Both of them feared that it could be another infection or something much worse.
"Ma-ma!" Reagan babbled.
Riza waved with a smile, "Hi, Reagan!"
Reagan giggled and began to crawl away from mother while babbling on about something Riza didn't understand. It was a calm day in the Mustang household. Roy was filling out paperwork in his study, while Riza sat on the floor of the nursery playing with their daughter.
"Reagan," Riza laughed. "Where are you going, huh?"
Her daughter continued crawling and babbling.
The baby crawled onward. Riza frowned. Reagan rarely ignored her parents before. She usually recognized Riza's voice or Roy's voice, and would giggle or coo. Before her infection, Reagan had gotten good at saying "ma-ma" or "da-da", and would say it repeatedly whenever they called her name.
Now, despite Riza's calls, Reagan continued to crawl with her back turned to her mom, her path set for the block on the far end of the rug. Deep in her gut, Riza knew what was wrong with her daughter, but part of her didn't want to believe it. She fixed her position so that she was on the baby's left side, and a few inches closer than she was before.
"Reagan, don't you want Mr. Pookie?"
At the sound of her name, Reagan stopped crawling and sat on her bottom. Her small eyebrows furrowed, almost as if she were trying to decide where she'd heard the voice. A second later, Reagan faced her mom. For Riza, that one second felt like an hour.
"Reagan, honey," repeated Riza. "Don't you want Mr. Pookie?"
She watched the fifteen-month-old outstretch her arms and open and close her tiny hands. "Ma-ma, 'ookie!"
"What do you say?" Riza reminded.
Riza handed the stuffed bear to Reagan, who happily received it. Her heart sank. Reagan was Deaf in her right ear. If she wasn't Deaf, she certainly had signs of significant hearing loss.
"'ookie…'ookie," Reagan sang, squeezing the bear. "'ookie…ookie."
The 'p' sound was a sound that was difficult for the infant in front of her to make. Roy and Riza had both chalked it up to the fact that she was still young, and hadn't quite figured out how to make that sound. An anxious feeling crept through Riza. Perhaps the reason why Reagan couldn't make the 'p' sound was because of the loss on her right side. Riza shook her head. She needed to talk to her husband before she started to think too deeply about this.
"Roy!" She called. "Can you come in here?"
She heard the sound of his feet on the hard wood floors of his office and the hallway. Riza leaned forward and picked up Reagan, placing her safely in her lap, before raising her eyes to meet her husband's. Roy's brow furrowed at the sight of his wife. To anyone else, she would have appeared fine. Roy, however, knew much better than that.
"What's wrong?" He asked.
Riza took a small breath, "Roy, I think Reagan's lost her hearing."
"Do you think it's bilateral or unilateral?"
"Unilateral, it's only on her right side."
He looked from his wife's concerned face to the carefree one of his daughter. Reagan babbled and stuck Mr. Pookie's ear into her mouth. Her dark eyes lifted until they met her father's.
"Da-da!" Reagan giggled, dropping the bear. She lifted her arms and once again made a grabbing motion with her hands. "Da-da, Da-da, Da-da!"
Riza picked her up and placed her in the waiting hands of Roy. While Reagan cooed, he brought her closer to his body. He placed his left arm under her bottom and braced her back with his right hand, before lightly bouncing her. Reagan rested her head against his shoulder, her left ear covered by the fabric of shirt.
"Hey, Rea," Roy patted her back. "What's wrong, huh?"
Her eyes were focused on the window, her eyebrows slightly furrowed again. Riza noticed then how much their daughter resembled Roy when she made that face. Roy frowned. He kissed his daughter's head and gently smoothed her soft black hair.
When she didn't answer again, he felt a pull in his stomach. Riza was right, something was definitely wrong. Roy and Riza made it an important goal to teach Reagan the importance of parental obedience at a young age. Even though she was only fifteen months old, if they called her name, she usually made it known in some way that she had heard them. If they asked her not to touch something or to put something down, she understood. The fact that she wasn't even recognizing that Roy had called her name, let alone the sound of his voice, concerned him.
He stopped bouncing Reagan and adjusted his daughter's position on his shoulder. She turned her head so her right ear rested on his shoulder. The baby girl whined and kicked her legs, signaling Roy that she was either uncomfortable or unhappy with his choice to move her. He shushed her as he rubbed patterns on her back. He shifted his weight from his left to his right, swaying slightly to calm his daughter. Her eyes began to close.
"Reagan," stated Roy.
She opened her eyes and looked up at Roy with wide dark eyes. When he remained silent, she put her back head down. After a moment, Roy spoke up again.
Reagan looked up at her father, extended her arm and tried to grab his hair. Roy intercepted the attempt and she grabbed his finger instead. Opening her mouth, she put his ungloved finger in her mouth. At that moment, Roy wished they hadn't done away with her pacifier. He carefully moved Reagan to her crib. She protested for a moment, but eventually went down without a fight. Roy covered her with a light baby blanket.
"I'm sorry, kid." Roy sighed and faced his wife. "We're going to have to take her to the doctor to make sure, but you're right. If Reagan isn't Deaf in that ear, then she's definitely lost some of her hearing."
"I was hoping that infection wouldn't have damaged her this way," remarked Riza, as she got to her feet.
Roy ruffled his hair, "Same here. Part of me had a feeling that this would happen, but I didn't want to believe it."
"I'll make the appointment in the morning."
He nodded and watched Riza join him next to the crib. The two of them looked down at their daughter. Riza rested her head on her husband's shoulder. Guilt was washing over her. If she had just taken her to the doctor when Reagan first started crying last month, they wouldn't be here right now. If they hadn't chalked it up to colic, their daughter would be fine. If they hadn't-
"Stop it," Roy stated.
Riza looked up at him in alarm, "Stop what?"
"Whatever you're thinking right now, stop it. It's neither of our faults."He wrapped his arms around her, resting his chin on the top of her head. "We didn't know it was an infection, Riza. It will be fine. Reagan will be fine. She's not an invalid now, she just can't hear in one ear."
Riza took a deep breath and nodded. Roy was right. She pulled away from him slightly, "At least this happened now, while she's still young. As she gets older, it'll be easier for her to get used to it. Her other senses will adapt."
"Exactly. We can handle it. We'll figure it out, Riza. We can help her adapt to the cards she's been dealt," He planted a soft kiss on her lips. "We'll figure it out. Reagan will be okay."
I hope you liked it so far. Please review and let me know what you think.