(A/N) A near and dear series in my automail heart. I'll try my best if you lend me an arm and leg-I mean, an ear. It's a work in progress! I don't own Full Metal Alchemist, no matter how many transmutations I try.
"Mom! Look!" The little girl can hear her oldest brother, Edward, shout as he holds out his hands to reveal his newest creation. A small clay horse made from a scribbled chalk transmutation circle on the living room floor. Their mother comes over with a basket of picked apples and praises his work, stating that he's just like their father. The father that had mysteriously left them one day.
"Very good, Ed." She pats him on the head, making his golden eyes glimmer happily. Elena's other brother, Alphonse, is making a similar circle, and she watches him, hoping to someday draw it perfectly herself. For being so young, they were 'experts', as their mother would often say. Even the most experienced alchemists would be jealous. Elena mimicks her older brother as he claps his hands together and presses them in the center of his drawing. Electric blue energy shoots out as a tiny wooden bird is born from the floor beneath his careful fingers. It's no bigger than her fist as he finishes, cradling it in his palms.
"Mother." He smiles, showing it off. "Oh, Ed's is much better."
"I think they are both very lovely." Their mother holds them both preciously. "Your father would be so proud of you all."
"Yeah." The two boys nod cheerfully as their little sister copies one of their circles with her best precision. She wants to be just as good as them, which impresses her mother with pride. She's only six.
"Almost, Ellie." Edward looks over her work. "You're getting better."
"Really?" She asks, her bronze eyes enlarge in happiness as he helps her complete the drawing.
"Wow." Alphonse whistles as he watches. "That's really good, Ellie."
She giggles as their mother sorts through the colorful apples, watching over her children with love. It does look perfect with their help.
"Okay, now just clap your hands and touch the points." Edward instructs her importantly, even though she already knows. Her small hands clap together and she presses down on the floor just like the dozens of times she's practiced when they haven't looked. A similar blue light crackles and shines as she works with the alchemy under her delicate fingers, everyone watching her. The result, a kitten, is crude compared to her brothers', but to her, it's perfect.
"That's beautiful, Ellie." Their mother praises her daughter affectionately as she peels the apples and cuts them into small slices, and Elena beams as her brothers inspect her creation.
"Yeah, it's really good for your first one, Ellie." Edward touches the rough, uneven edges. He was proud of his baby sister.
"Uh-huh." Alphonse adds, transfixed at the figure. He had an adorable obsession for everything cat. Their mother gently inserts the slices into a handmade crust as they each compliment their hard work.
"Dinner will be ready soon. Why don't you go wash your hands? You can put those on the mantelpiece. I'm sure your father would love them." Their mother smiles and they nod as Edward reaches to place the creations on the shelf, barely tall enough. She adds the top crust to the apple pie and slips it into the oven. She pulls out the stew that had been simmering away all day and ladles some into each bowl. The delicious aroma draws them in as they return, the smell welcoming the children as they sit at their spots.
"Thank you for the meal." Their mother prays and they mimic her.
"Thanks." They repeat, then begin eating after their mother. It tastes delicious, even though it has milk to Edward's displeasure. He and milk never got along very well, but this was the one of few meals that he would eat with it. They savor the dinner, enjoying every spoonful of meat and veggies in the thick broth. The smell of baking apple pie fills the living room as their mother leaves the table to check on it. The children finish their dinner as strong scent of cooked apples comes into the room.
"Who wants to be my sous chef today?" Their mother's voice comes from the kitchen, but all three come to her aid. Edward reaches into the sink for clean plates, Alphonse for forks, and Elena for helping her mother close the oven as she carries out the delicacy. Her sons set the plates and forks as the apple pie makes its way to the table. "Thank you."
Just like the stew, it's perfect. Fresh apples from the market, and their mother's handmade crust. Half of it is gone in moments.
"I'm sure Grandmother Pinako and Winry would love the rest of this." Their mother says thoughtfully. "They're probably having dinner right now, too. Should we go and deliver it?"
"Yeah." Elena nods with a smile, taking another sweet bite. "I wanna see big sister Winry."
"Me, too." Alphonse adds, then to his older brother mischievously. "You three, right, Ed?"
"What's that supposed to mean, huh?!" Edward stammers, trying to sound like it doesn't bother him, but his face is a shade of blush red. "I'll go if you do, Al."
"I'll go." Alphonse confirms his decision yet again, his face a similar shade. Their mother smiles fondly at her sons crushing as she covers the rest of the pie with wrap.
"Brothers are in loooooooooooove." Elena giggles as she sings. "Ed and Al and Winry in a tree. K-I. I..um..N-G!"
"Ellie, don't tease them." Their mother says good naturedly as she slips the container into the woven basket. Her sons mutter something under their breaths, faces still blushing. "Well, shall we go?"
Edward opens the door to the golden light of the setting sun as the family sets out to their neighbor's home. Elena closes her eyes to the warmth of it, and the coolness of a stray breeze. Edward jumps up onto the stone fence and balances his way as he crosses it, his younger brother admiring him as he does.
"Al. Al. Carry me." Elena tugs at his t-shirt, pleading with her big, dark gold eyes. "Please?"
He crouches down without a word as she climbs onto his back like a monkey. There's a laughing smile on her face, and an olderly brother one on his as Edward watches from his perch.
"Race you." Edward challenges, his steady pace on the top of the stone fence getting faster, leaving no time for them to reply.
"H-hey!" Alphonse cries out, trying to keep up with his big brother with his little sister clinging to his back urging him to go faster and cheering. He doesn't see the fairness in this race, but Edward was always like this. But then again, he was the one running on the edge, and one misstep could have him tumbling on the ground. "E-Ed!"
"Fast, Al, fast!" Elena squeaks, her short arms wrapped around his neck and tiny knees digging into his sides.
"You hitched a ride with a slowpoke, El-Ah!" Edward shouts over his shoulder jeeringly. The second he does, an uneven rock makes him trip off of the ledge and onto the ground in a heap.
"Brother!" Alphonse and Elena both shout as they see him fall, their mother just as fast as them as they run to his side. She lowers the apple pie basket, kneeling down as she looks him over. A groan escapes his mouth as he opens his yellow gold eyes, his matching hair dirty.
"Man, that hurt." Edward mutters, glancing down at his left leg that starts to bleed red. "Ow."
"Let's patch that up. I'm sure Grandmother Pinako has bandages in her workshop." Their mother says calmly, untying the apron that's around her waist. Elena looks like she'll burst into tears at any moment.
"Does it hurt, Ed?" Despite living with her older brothers that hurt themselves on a daily basis, mainly Edward, she couldn't stand to see them injured. They are her entire world along with her mother. And Winry and Grandmother Pinako, too.
"Nope, not at all." Edward grins, a slight wince as the fabric touches his wound. He hates seeing her like this. It was his duty as the eldest to be brave for them, even if it did sting a little. "I'm strong!"
"Yeah, Ed's strong!" She repeats, any fear gone. The sight of her warms Edward's heart, and he doesn't feel a thing as their mother wraps up his knee. He loves his baby sister so much. "Al, too! You carry me."
"Really?" Alphonse asks her, not sure if he really is strong. He doesn't get into fights like Edward, isn't as brave like Elena, not strong like his mother, taking care of the three of them all by herself. He couldn't even keep the stray kitten that he found last week. Elena nods with confidence. To her, he is strong, and that's what gives him strength. Their mother helps Edward stand on his injured leg, Elena's attention back on him worriedly.
"Still doesn't hurt." Edward even pats the bandage, trying not to cry out at the pain that it causes. "Who needs a left leg, anyway?"
"All right, let's keep going. We're almost there." Their mother picks the basket back up, her gaze on Edward and making sure he can walk. "One of us can carry you, Ed, if it's too much."
"I'll carry you." Elena volunteers, offering a shoulder to lean on.
"Ok-" Edward begins, his knee shaking under his weight.
"He's strong, Ellie, remember?" Alphonse reminds his baby sister. "What would Winry think?"
A strange sound comes out of Edward, then silence as he starts hobbling towards his childhood friend's home. Their mother follows closely behind as Elena hums the song again with a giggle and skip. The house, just as large as theirs, is a soft yellow compared to the forming crimson behind it of the setting sun. It's a big house for only two residents, but also the famed workshop for automail in their calm town. After all, the Elrics weren't the only ones missing a parent, but Winry lost both to war. They were doctors, whereas their father simply left without a word. Out of their lives. They didn't know if he was dead or alive.
"Hello? Grandmother Pinako? Winry?" Their mother knocks on the wooden, white door that opens with bright blue eyes and blonde hair peeking out.
"Oh, Ms. Elric." The eight year-old girl opens the door all the way, inviting them in. She notices Edward's injury almost naturally. "Ed, what did you do?"
"It's-" He starts to explain, thinking of some epic tale than plain up saying that he-
"Brother tripped on his face" Elena grins as his face matches the red sun in a matter of seconds.
"Did not-" Edward counters, but it's too late. His best friend's eyes narrow in annoyance at the temporary bandage. Winry grabs him by the collar as he tries to explain himself, being dragged inside as Elena and Alphonse follow with different expressions on their faces. Their mother sighs, not at all in a bad way, as she sets down the basket onto the Rockbell's living room table. Grandmother Pinako greets her as she enters from another room, the shouts of Edward causing Den, their black and white puppy with a automail limb, to bark with excitement at their arrival.
"It's flesh, not automail! What do you need that wrench for, Winry-Ow!" Edward's voice comes from the workshop portion of the home, then silence, then "That hurt!"
"Good!" Winry shouts back, and Elena's cries of not sure of who to side with, rang through the walls, along with Alphonse trying to bring order.
"They act like a married couple, don't they?" Grandmother Pinako cuts herself a slice of the gift. There's a glimmer in her eye.
"Oh no, they're just children." Their mother waves her hand at the statement, almost shocked by it. The thought, however has crossed her mind. Her Edward, and little Winry? She wonders what it will be like, years from now as a fond smile dawns on her face. It reminds her of good times, when Hohenheim was still home. With her and the children. She can hear them, the battle still raging between Edward and Winry. A cough erupts at her throat and she covers her mouth. She still can't hide anything from Grandmother Pinako.
"You should really have that looked at, Trisha." Grandmother Pinako says quietly, though with all the racket coming from children there's no way to overhear them. "They can't lose you, too."
Trisha smiles sadly behind her hand, knowing she's unable to keep the promise she had made since he left them behind. He had his reasons, she knew that, and she promised to wait for him to return.
"You'll look after them, won't you?" Images of her babies, her sweet, sweet children flash before her eyes. She doesn't want to leave them, and another cough squeezes her lungs. The sound of small feet scuffling across the wooden floorboards, Den's automail paw thumping away as he barks.
"Ed, come back!" Winry's voice shouts as the children round the corner to the two adults sitting at the table. Despite all the tortured yells from Edward earlier, his knee looks better with a large bandage covering it.
"It's getting late, I'm afraid, Winry." Their mother rises from the hand carved chair, using the hand in front of her face to stifle a yawn. "We have to return home, but I'm sure we'll be back tomorrow, okay?"
"Bye bye, Winry." Elena gives her best friend a tight hug, and the older girl spins her around, making Elena giggle as they go round and round. Alphonse says his goodbye to Winry as well, an innocent smile on his kind face. Edward is silent, sulking over his new bandage, but mutter a sort goodbye when Winry glares at him.
"See you tomorrow!" Winry waves from the porch as the Elric family leaves, smiles on all of their faces. The last happy day.