FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST (isn't mine)
Title: It's A Start
Rating: PG for language
Genre: slightly caustic WAFF
Warning: Takes place post-anime series and has SPOILERS for same. Note that I said anime and not manga.
Characters: Ed and Hohenheim
Summary: "Dad. Would you please get the hell out of my lab?"
"Dad. Would you please get the hell out of my lab?"
Hohenheim helped himself to an old wooden folding chair, nevermind that Ed had been using it for his notes on fuel-injection-admixtures and weight-to-thrust ratios only a moment ago. The notes went on top of an already precarious pile by the window; Ed eyed them with trepidation (and no little irritation) as Hohenheim settled himself more comfortably than he had any right to.
"That depends. Will you stop working and come down to dinner?" Leaning forward with his hands knit together on one knee, eyes bland and steady over his glasses, he looked more like a professional diplomat than what he actually was: a distraction, trespasser, detriment and general nuisance.
"Then you already know my answer."
Ed threw his hands in the air, dropping the pen he'd been holding onto the desk he'd been facing. He contained a snort of exasperation, barely. "I've told you already! This is important!"
"Yes, I know," Hohenheim said. "However, so is your health."
Now Ed did snort. "An erroneous argument--my health is not in danger." He sneakily brought his left hand behind him, where he could kneed the fingers into the leg of his chair--they'd started to cramp. Damn it. "But even if you did have a point, that isn't the same kind of important."
Hohenheim didn't even blink. Now that Ed had been forcibly shaken from the zone of concentration he'd been in for--how many hours now?--he noticed the light. It slanted into his cramped third floor study-cum-laboratory almost horizontally and was distinctly orange-red. Sunset was at was 6:10 exactly--had it really been that long? Now that he was paying attention, he could hear the noise of the rest of city: shopkeepers calling out, automobiles backfiring, the general murmur of a million people confined to ten square miles of cobblestone and brick.
The low whistle of the six o'clock train. Damn it.
If Hohenheim noticed his rising agitation, he gave no indication. "No?" he asked. "Then tell me- what will an extra hour accomplish?""
"In an hour?"
"Yes. No." Ed had the grace to look away, out of the window to his left. "It's a start, damnit! If I don't keep trying, Al will only get further and further away, until one day the distance between us is so large that no amount of rocket fuel will bring him back." He allowed himself to slump forward until his forehead was resting against the window pane. He didn't look at Hohenheim.
The neighbor's chimney and that of another building down the street formed a kind of frame around the setting sun, almost like a gate. The sky was that beautiful red you got when there was too much dust in the air. Ed spoke under his breath, words meant only for himself: "If I don't keep trying, and the gap between us gets too big, I might give up. I won't let that happen."
"Yes," Hohenheim said, so softly that Ed almost didn't hear him. "I know the feeling."
Ed smiled from his place against the window. "Oh? You do?"
"I'm looking at it right now. It isn't looking back."
Huh. Huh. Ed jerked away from the window and stood, stretching his hands above his head and yawning enormously. He patted them against his hips, making sure he hadn't lost the notes he'd stuffed in his pockets. On his way out of the door, he turned to smile wolfishly at his father.
"Al was always after me to stop working, too. I'll come down now, but tomorrow I expect to work uninterrupted. Friday…Friday, you're taking me to the Royal Institute to see the new rocket models."
"I see," Hohenheim said. He rose to follow Ed out, reached the door just as Ed started down the steps, thought better of it. Re-crossing the room in four long strides, he carefully replaced his son's notes on the folding chair he'd just vacated. It wasn't perfect, but it was a start.