A/N: Now, I have to apologise. This is hard to categorise, because I found it sad. However, this could just be because I just made the mistake of watching the episode in which Ed and Al go and talk to Gracia after Hughes… well… yeah. And that, for me, is just as sad as the actual episode. So, I was pretty upset while writing this. I do still get emotional watching it. I really do. So, this could be sad for some people. If Maes was (and still is) your favourite character like he was mine, then I hope you'll see I've done his daughter, wife and best friend justice. If not, READ FOR THE HELL OF IT. BECAUSE THERE'S ROYAI.
Sorry, I really shouldn't write A/N's after coming off a sadness kick.
Six-year-old Elicia Hughes sat in her seat in her class, wringing her hands nervously, looking around at all of the other students in her class. There were the students, but next to their desks were all of their fathers, all chatting away before class started.
She was relieved, however, when the raven-haired man with the military uniform walked throught the doors, apologising profusely to her teacher.
"Please, excuse my lateness, ma'am." he said.
"Well, sir, you're not actually late. May I ask your name and who you are here for?" Elicia's teacher, Miss Erika, asked.
"I'm Roy Mustang, here for Elicia, ma'am." he replied.
Miss Erika nodded swiftly after that.
She knew that this day would be hard for Elicia if she had nobody to be with her. But, 'Bring Daddy To School' day was big for the first-graders, and Elicia assured her teacher she could go through with it. She had a special person to bring.
"Uncle Roy?" Elicia asked, tugging on the coat of Roy Mustang. He turned around, giving a smile he only ever gave to his niece.
"Yes, Elicia?" Roy asked, kneeling down to come loser to her eye level.
"Uh, um… well, at my school, right?" Elicia began.
"Yes?" Roy urged.
"Yes! Uh, well, at my school, they have a day where…" Elicia took in a short, sharp breath, "where kids have to bring their papas to school." Elicia clarified. Roy's eyes widened a little and his voice caught in his throat.
"Mmhm." Roy said.
"And… I was wondering… if you'd maybe come to my school? Because… you're a special person. And Miss Erika said that I c-could bring a," Elicia was on the brink of tears, "a special person, because my papa is-" Roy stopped Elicia from speaking anymore by sweeping her up in a hug, his arms completely enveloping the quietly sobbing girl.
"Of course I'll go." Roy replied, pressing his hand to the back of Elicia's head, allowing her to bury her head into his uniform.
"Th-Thank you, Uncle Roy." Elicia managed.
Roy walked quickly over to Elicia's desk, kneeling down next to her.
"I'm so sorry I'm late, Elicia." Roy said, knowing what responsibility he had on that day.
Trying to fill in for, but in no way replace, the father figure in Elicia's life for a couple of hours.
It would be good practise, he guessed, for the responsibilities coming along for him in a few short months. Not to mention that he'd do anything for his niece.
"It's okay, Uncle Roy," she said, kissing him on the cheek, "but why was you late?" she asked. Roy smiled slightly.
"Auntie Riza wasn't feeling very well, that's all." Roy replied. Riza was often feeling ill, seeing as she was seven months pregnant. Elicia's eyes widened.
"Is she okay?" Elicia asked. Roy nodded.
"She's just fine, Elicia." Roy replied. Elicia gave a small sign of relief.
"And is the baby okay?" Elicia asked. Roy gave a small chuckle.
"Yes, he's fine. In fact," Roy began to dig around in his jacket pocket, pulling out a small, black-and-white picture, "here he is. They took this picture using a special new camera, called an ultrasound." Roy said. He'd never admit it, but over the years, he'd picked up Maes' niche for showing photographs wherever he went. Elicia giggled.
"That doesn't look like a baby!" she said, looking at Roy incredulously.
"Well, I hope it's a baby," Roy began, "because it's in Auntie Riza's tummy, and she'd probably be very cross if it weren't a baby." Roy ended, smiling at Elicia.
"Are you really gonna name him after Papa?" Elicia asked.
"Well, your papa was my best friend. And I'd sure be glad if my son turned out like your papa. Maybe a little less talkative, though." Roy smirked. Elicia smiled back and sat up when Miss Erika began to call roll.
Not long after this, the presentations began. First off, there was a student with a fire-fighter for a father. Then, there was a baker, followed by a tailor. It wasn't long before it was time for Elicia and Roy to go up.
"Elicia?" Miss Erika called, gently. Elicia smiled widely and stood up, grabbing Roy's hand and practically dragging him to the front of the classroom. When she got there, Miss Erika knelt down, placing her hand gently on Elicia's arm.
"Are you sure you want to do this, Elicia-chan?" she asked. Elicia nodded before stepping forward, all eyes focused on her.
"This is my Uncle Roy." she said, the class all mumbling that her father wasn't there.
"He has a very, very important job in Amestris… I think." Elicia smiled. The class laughed slightly and Elicia smiled up at Roy.
"He works in the military, which means that he has to boss people around and make sure that the bad guys don't do bad things." Elicia said, causing the class to 'ooh' and 'aah.'
"Auntie Riza also tried to get him to do paperwork, but he usually doesn't do it. He usually makes Mister Fuery do it. I'm not s'posed to tell Auntie Riza, though." Elicia giggled. She continued her presentation very well, Roy noted, and it was then his turn to say something.
He told the kids about the less gory parts of his work, which also happened to be the more boring things. The fact that he was a flame alchemist also didn't pop up, for fear of the students asking him to light something on fire. Roy gave Elicia the stage once more, and she spoke for a minute more.
When it came time to conclude, one boy put his hand up.
"Uh huh?" Elicia asked. The little boy stood up.
"Why did you bring your uncle? Where's your papa?" the boy asked, no malice in his tone, just pure curiosity. Roy automatically put his hand on Elicia's shoulder and Miss Erika stood up.
"That's enough, Robert." she said, sternly. Elicia shook her head, clearing her throat and breaking through the emotion.
"I brought my Uncle Roy because… because my papa's an angel now." Elicia began. Roy could feel emotion bubbling up within him, and had to clench his jaw.
"My papa did the s-same job as Uncle Roy. And he… he…" Elicia began to tremble. Roy tried to hold her back, but she shook her head.
"He died." Elicia managed, her voice and emotion piercing the hearts of a lot of the people in the room. Elicia could take no more and turned to her Uncle Roy, shaking and eyes clouded with tears. Roy picked her up and let her bury her face into his neck. Miss Erika looked at Roy, who stepped forward.
"Elicia's father was a noble and kind man. And, it's true; he's no longer with us. Elicia has been incredibly strong through all of this. And, I don't know about you, but I think she had a pretty good presentation." Roy smiled slightly. The class then applauded for Elicia, causing her to lift her head, tearstained eyes taking in the class. Roy looked over at Miss Erika.
"I think I'll take her home." Roy said.
"I told her she didn't have to do this." Miss Erika said, walking over to the little girl and gently stroking her hair. Roy smiled at the fact that Elicia pushed through with the presentation.
"She's stubborn like that," Roy began, "exactly like her father."
"Ah! Auntie Riza, he kicked again!" Elicia giggled, back to her normal, bubbly self after many hugs from her mother, Uncle Roy and Auntie Riza.
"He's being very active." Riza said, trying to readjust herself on the seat to accommodate the little acrobat currently residing inside of her. Gracia was in the kitchen, cleaning up after lunch, Roy assisting.
"She's incredibly strong about it all." Roy said, leaning on the kitchen counter. Gracia nodded.
"Thank you for going today, Roy." Gracia said. Roy shook his head.
"It was no trouble at all. I'm sure Hughes was up there somewhere, critiquing my presentation, anyway." Roy replied. Gracia smiled.
"I'm sure he'd love your presentation, Roy. You know he would have followed you to the ends of the Earth." Gracia replied, walking back out into the living room, Elicia crawling into her lap as Roy took a seat next to his pregnant wife.
"Are you okay now, honey?" Gracia asked. Elicia nodded and smiled.
"Oh, Gracia, we've a favour to ask you." Riza spoke up, looking over at Roy.
"Ooh, of course." Roy said, realising what his wife was on about.
"What is it?" Gracia asked.
"Well, when little Maes decides to make an appearance, we're going to need someone to take care of Hayate for a little while, while we're at the hospital." Roy said. Gracia looked at Elicia.
"What do you think, honey? Can we look after Hayate in a couple of months?" Gracia asked. Elicia's eyes lit up and she nodded.
"Oh, yes! And we can get him ready for the baby! I can show him some of my dolls and tell him to be nice to them!" Elicia gushed. Roy smiled, seeing so much of his late best friend in Elicia.
"I'm sure Hayate will be good to your dolls." Riza smiled, laying her hand on her stomach before grunting.
"Auntie Riza, are you okay?" Elicia asked. She was very protective of her aunt, especially since she was expecting. Riza smiled.
"Yes, I'm fine," Riza smiled, "you're nearly as protective as your uncle, Elicia." Riza laughed, looking over at Roy, who glared back.
"I'm not protective, I'm just… cautious." Roy said. Riza shook his head.
"What happened to the reckless Flame Alchemist I married?" Riza asked,
"He got you pregnant." Roy muttered, crossing his arms. Elicia giggled slightly.
"Uncle Roy's funny, isn't he, Mama?" Elicia asked. Gracia nodded.
"He is, Elicia. And he's also very good to you." Gracia replied.
"Well, we'd best get home. I can feel a craving coming on and I don't want to eat you out of house and home." Riza said, struggling from her seat. Roy helped her by placing a hand on her back. Before leaving, Roy leant down to Elicia, hugging her tightly.
"You did really well, Elicia." Roy said. Elicia smiled.
"You think Papa would have liked it?" Elicia asked, wringing her tiny hands.
"I'm sure he would have loved it, Elicia." Roy smiled back.
Elicia just wrapped her arms around her uncle, hugging him for all he was worth. He was there for her, even when her beloved papa couldn't be.
And Roy was more than willing to be there for an absent friend.