A/N: For the longest time, I couldn't think of anything to write. And school took over my life. I don't know how much more I'll write for FMA, but rest assured that if an idea comes to fruition, I'll post it.
The soft sound of footsteps had Ed looking up before his daughter was half-way across his study. He sighed. Elena was her parents' daughter when it came to being a night owl. He wondered how Max had escaped it. After looking just a little intimidated, Elena braced herself and spoke. "Daddy, Mommy and Max fell asleep in the middle of a story, and I can't fall asleep without a story! Make Mommy wake up, please?"
Ed sighed again and shook his head. "I can't make your mother do anything, Elena… Especially not come to bed instead of staying up all night working on my leg. 'You need it!' my… foot," he amended quickly as Elena looked excited. At six, Elena was a wordsmith, and, unfortunately, she liked nothing better than exotic words, whether they were for polite company or none at all. "I can tell you a story. What? I can!" He protested when Elena gave him a dubious look. "C'mere. It's a story full of adventure and alchemy… and romance."
Still looking unsure, Elena toddled over and allowed Ed to situate her in his lap. Ed cleared his throat and began.
"Once upon a time, there was a young girl. She wasn't very happy. Her mother had died when she was young, and though her father tried to make sure they could live comfortably, that meant he focused on his alchemy research and didn't have enough time for her. He was also trying to keep his talents hidden from an evil king, who would use the alchemy only for evil.
"One day, when the girl was older, a young man came to the house, asking to be the father's student. Because the girl's father knew the boy's mother, he said yes. The girl was even sadder now, though—she thought someone had come to replace her, that her father would never love her again. Hey—don't look like that—it gets better, I promise!" Elena's face had fallen a little bit, and her eyes were starting to fill with tears, magnifying the gold flecks in her otherwise cerulean eyes. "You know that the rain exists so that we appreciate the sun, right?" Elena nodded. "Well, sometimes, bad stuff happens to people, but it will have the happiest ending you can imagine. I promise." He held Elena a little close, rocking her gently.
"The boy noticed that the girl was lonely, that she needed a friend. So, they became friends. And then they became best friends. And then… I think they fell in love."
"You think?" Elena looked unconvinced.
Ed contemplated it for a moment. "Yeah, I do."
Elena pouted. "You're not supposed to think it, Daddy; you're supposed to know it."
"Do you wanna go to bed without a happy ending?" Ed asked a little acidly. Elena looked stubborn, but shook her head. "Then let me tell the story, okay? I know you're excited. I know you want them to be okay. And they will be, but you've got to just trust me. Like they trusted each other.
"Until the young man went off to become a soldier. The girl felt betrayed; this was exactly what her father had not ever wanted! But the man promised he would return, that everything would be okay.
"The girl's father was very ill. One day, before the student had completed his learning, the girl's father died. The man had come back to finish his learning, but the father was smart. Very smart. He left his research to his daughter. Despite her dislike of the army, she allowed the young man to complete his learning. She still cared for him, and he still cared for her. When he went to war, she waited only until she was the right age to join the military, and then was sent to the war."
"Oooh! Did they get married on the battlefield?!" Elena looked excited.
"No." Elena looked disappointed, and so he explained quickly, "Neither of them was ready for it, and even if they had been, there was a rule against it."
Elena's nose crinkled in disappointment. "That's a stupid rule."
Ed ruffled his daughter's hair with a gentle smile. "Yeah, it is. Now, will you let me go on?" At Elena's nod, he continued.
"The war was horrible. They were forced to do things they didn't want to do to people who had done nothing wrong. It was horrible, but somehow, they got through it. But they knew they had to do something. The man decided he was going to stay in the military so that he could one day rise to the top and prevent bad things from ever happening again. Rather than wait at home, the woman decided she would stay with him and support him, no matter what, because she loved him. And, in turn, he would do his best to protect her because he loved her." Ed couldn't help but smile when his daughter sighed dreamily.
"It wasn't easy. The military had a lot of bad people who were all working to take total control, to gain eternal life. But they had no idea what they were getting into. There was a very, very evil man who was controlling even the evil king, and it took the man and the woman a long, long time to figure it out. In fact, they had to have a little help. Nobody's perfect, after all.
"But the evil people knew what was going on, and they decided to split the man, the woman, and the rest of their team up, taking the woman as a hostage. What they didn't know was that the man's plan had already been set in motion. When the time came, the man, the woman, and their team deserted the army and started the final fight for the future of their country.
"It wasn't easy. The man was supposed to be a sacrifice to the evil master, and though he fought bravely, he went blind. But, the whole time, defying even death itself, the woman stood by him and believed, and together, they saved the day.
"And then, when the time came for him to become king, he asked the woman if she would be his queen. She said—"
"Yes! She said yes, didn't she?!"
"No. She said, 'I thought I was all along.' And she had been." Ed smiled at the memory. Roy had looked slightly shocked before the biggest, goofiest grin Ed had ever seen crossed Roy's face and he had, quite literally, swept Riza off her feet into a hug. "And she still is. The end." He looked down. Elena was grinning dreamily.
"That was a really good story, Daddy." She nestled into Ed's coat. "Thanks."
Ed kissed the top of his daughter's head. "You're welcome, Elena. Now, are you gonna go to…" But Elena had already fallen asleep, her head lolled against Ed's chest, her thumb comfortably in her mouth. "Guess that answers that question." He looked up at a sound in the doorway.
Winry stood there, smiling. "You give yourself too little credit, Ed."
"She was always my hero," Ed mused. "I guess him, too, in a way, but I didn't always like him."
Winry chuckled. "I know, Ed. They deserve that story."
Ed grinned. "Just don't ever mention it to Roy. His head will swell even more."
Still laughing, Winry kissed her husband on the cheek. "I won't. It's too late for me to call, anyway."
Ed rolled his eyes and stood, carrying Elena to her bedroom and tucking her in. He was just about to leave, when—"Daddy?"
"Will you tell me that story again tomorrow night?"
Ed smiled softly and nodded. "Yeah, I will."
A/N: A couple fragments of this popped into my head a couple hours ago, and so I sat down and wrote this. I'm probably very rusty. Please, tell me what you think!