ZaKai Stonewall (zakai_) wrote,
ZaKai Stonewall
zakai_

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Father Christmas - Chapter 11

Title: Father Christmas
Fandom: Fullmetal Alchemist
Rating: PG
Type: Holiday fic, gen, slight AU
Pairings: None
Warnings: Some Language
Summary: Through the reluctant efforts of one man and his eager ‘elves’, Christmas is brought to Central City and most especially to two young alchemists.

Chapter Listing Here

 

 

Father Christmas

 

11

 

Tree Ceremony

 

 

“This is AMAZING!!” Alphonse shouted, spreading his arms wide in his excitement.

 

Ed looked around Central Square feeling a little amazed himself.  The huge tree was now decorated lavishly, but no lights were on except for regular street lamps.  Ed knew that the trees lining the square had also gotten lights, and they’d be light up as well tonight, but he didn’t think that anyone not on the planning committee knew this.

 

“Look at all these people, brother,” Al said in awe.  “It looks like the whole city is here!”

 

Ed nodded as he looked around at the mass of people in the large square.  It really did look like the whole city was there, though he suspected that most likely wasn’t the case.  Still... the turnout was massive and it hadn’t even started yet.

 

“Come on,” Ed said, grabbing Al’s loin cloth and starting into the crowd.  “Let’s go see what they’re doing at the platform.  If we’re lucky we won’t have to hang around long.”

 

They pushed their way through the crowed to where preparations for the fuhrer’s big speech and the lighting ceremony were to take place.  Fuery and Havoc were inspecting the wires, while Hawkeye was talking to Breda about something.

 

“Hey,” Ed said, drawing close. 

 

“Oh good,” Fuery said.  “Ed can you crawl under this and make sure everything is plugged in?”  He turned to Havoc and said with a frown, “I told them to make sure there was enough space for us to check all this stuff.”

 

Ed scowled irritably, knowing that he was being relegated to this because of his size.  “Stupidsizenotelfsizewhatthehellisthis...?” he muttered incoherently under his breath as he wriggled underneath the platform to check the wires.  One of the cables had been severed, and Ed quickly repaired it, then scooted butt first, out of the confined space.

 

“Anyone seen Father Christmas?” Falman said, as Ed looked up.

 

Hawkeye shook her head.  “You know he hates being called that, don’t you?”

 

Breda grinned.  “That’s part of the fun,” he said in amusement.

 

Ed rolled his eyes.  He didn’t know where it had come from, but the other officers had started to get into the habit of calling Mustang ‘Father Christmas’.  It seemed to be some sort of inside joke, and no one was willing to let Ed in on it.

 

“We only do it ‘cause he hates it,” Havoc said, lighting up a cigarette and taking a deep drag.

 

“Alphonse!”

 

At the shout, everyone turned their heads to the right where Mustang was quickly trotting over to them.

 

“You see those men over there by the tree?  They need someone tall and strong, would you go help them?” 

 

“Sure!” Al said happily and scampered off.

 

Ed glanced at Mustang, who was wearing a three piece suit and his hair was slicked back.  “You look nice,” Ed said in surprise.  He wasn’t sure what he’d expected, though considering that none of the other officers were in military blues, then Mustang wouldn’t be either.

 

Mustang looked at him in surprise, then stepped over and put one hand on Ed’s forehead and one on his own.  “You don’t feel feverish...”

 

“I’m not sick; I just had a moment of insanity,” Ed said irritably as he pushed the man’s hand away.

 

There was a momentary smirk, then Mustang turned and became all business.  “Did you get the wires fixed?”

 

“Yeah.  Actually Ed did,” Fuery said.  “He’s the only one who could fit in—”  The master sergeant broke off when he saw that Ed was about to launch into one of his famous rants, and said, “I mean, he’s the only one who could fix it...”

 

Mustang reached over and patted Ed on the head.  “Good boy!  You deserve a biscuit.”

 

“Die.  Just die...” Ed snarled, batting Mustang’s hand way.

 

“Is everything ready here?” Mustang asked, glancing around.

 

“Yes, sir, Father Christmas, sir,” Havoc said, giving a solute.

 

Mustang ignored him and looked at Hawkeye, who nodded.  “Yes, sir.  Everything is ready for the program.”

 

“Good,” Mustang said, and pulled out his watch to check the time.  “The fuhrer should be here soon.”  He looked up.  “Are Maes and Gracia ready?”

 

“Dressed and ready to go,” Falman said.

 

“Hey,” Ed said, interrupting.  “Do you need me anymore?  I want to go hang out with Al.”

 

Mustang looked down at him, and pressed his lips in thought.  “No...  I think that should be fine.  Enjoy the festivities with your brother.”

 

“Yeah, yeah,” Ed said.  “We’ll check out your dumb festival.”  Not waiting for a response, Ed wandered away in search of Al.  He looked where Mustang had sent him earlier, but no one was there.  He frowned and looked around the sea of people. 

 

Normally it was easy to find his brother, but normally he wasn’t stuck in a crowd of people like this either.  Frustrated, but unwilling to give up, Ed ran back to the stage and climbed up on top of it.  At that vantage point it was easy to see where Al had gone off to.

 

“Hey you!  Get down from there!” someone yelled at him.  Normally, Ed would have set the person straight, but at this moment he didn’t care.  Hopping lightly off of the tall platform, Ed shouldered his way through the crowd until he found his brother watching a group of children playing a game at one of the vendor stations.

 

“There you are!” Ed exclaimed.

 

“Brother!” Al said, guilt threading through his voice.  “I meant to come back, but...”  Ed waved the excuse away.  It wasn’t like anyone was going to kidnap Al or anything like that. 

 

“They’re going to start really soon,” Ed said.  “We should go find a good spot.”

 

Since they’d already known all the plans for the evening, they had scouted out the area that morning in order to see what spots would be best for viewing the lights.  It didn’t take them long to settle in one of those positions, but Ed realized that he’d overlooked one major problem.

 

“I can’t see with all these tall freaks wandering all over...” Ed said, then jumped as if that was going to help.

 

“You want to sit on my shoulders?” Al asked.  Ed quickly considered that then nodded, and in moments he had the best seat in the whole area.

 

Looking around, Ed had to admit to himself that everything seemed to be going smoothly and there were some interesting things going on.  Mustang had done a better job that Ed would have supposed.

 

“What a lame festival...” Ed said, not wanting to complement Mustang, even if he wasn’t here.  Besides, he couldn’t let himself enjoy this.  Normal people had the right to have fun at stuff like this, but not him.  He couldn’t let himself lose sight of what he needed to do—even for a moment.

 

“I kinda like it...” Al said.

 

Ed opened his mouth to retort when a sound caught his attention.  Looking toward the stage, Ed saw Mustang patting the microphone, then turning to signal to the band that it was time for them to quit playing.  Instantly the music was gone, and within moments people were settling down and watching Mustang.

 

“Good evening,” Mustang said easily.  “My name is Roy Mustang and I’ll be your host for this evening.  It’s a pleasure to see so many of you here to celebrate Central’s first ever Christmas tree lighting.”

 

Ed pulled a book from his pocket and began to read.  He wasn’t interested in Mustang’s speech.  The man had practiced it out loud in his office so many times that Ed thought he knew it by heart.  Welcome the people, give information on the holiday, tell about the vendors and activates planned for the evening, and also suggest people visit the booths dedicated to giving more information on Christmas.  After all of that, then he’d welcome the fuhrer to the stage.

 

“Blah, blah, blah...” Ed mumbled. 

 

“Shhhh,” Al hushed.

 

He sighed and stared down at the words before him, not really reading them anymore.  He had the strongest desire to be at home with his family—with his mother, and with Al, and... not in this huge crowd of people.  The heavy knowledge that he’d never again have what he’d had before gripped tightly at his heart.  And yet...

 

“And now, what you’ve all been waiting for,” Mustang said, breaking into Ed’s thoughts.  He looked up and saw his commanding officer reach a hand toward the end of the stage.  “Our esteemed Fuhrer Bradley will conduct the lighting of the tree.”

 

Eight soldiers, each in their dress uniform, surrounded the fuhrer as he walked on stage and toward the microphone.  Even from this distance, Ed could see that the four closest to the fuhrer were state alchemists.  The chains from their pocket watches stood out to him—maybe because he knew to look for them.  The applause from the crowd was deafening and it continued for so long that the fuhrer lifted his hand to quiet them. 

 

“My people,” he began.

 

Ed yawned and rested his chin on the top of Al’s head.  While he hadn’t heard the fuhrer’s speech, he knew what it contained.  Pleasure at the prospect of a new holiday in the coldest, darkest, and most bleak time of the year.  The fact that he has generously decided to give the people a day off for this holiday, and the hope that everyone would decide to celebrate it.

 

Stuffing the book back into his pocket, Ed was glad that the fuhrer’s comments took less time than Mustang’s.  He wanted to see the lights, not hear some boring speeches.  With a flourish, the fuhrer stretched a hand toward the huge tree.

 

Ed didn’t catch what he’d said before that, but it didn’t really matter.  There were gasps and exclamations of delight as the tree began to light up in a variety of different colors.  The ornaments on the tree shone and glittered with the light.

 

My idea, people, Ed thought smugly.  Those colored lights?  Yeah, my idea.  Fuery’s original idea had only included bulbs of one color, and Ed felt proud of his own contribution to this.

 

Then, as if that wasn’t enough, the trees and bushes all around the square began to light up.  There were ‘oooh’s and ‘aaah’s from the crowd and even from his own brother.  Even Ed felt awed.  The sight was completely enchanting.  It was beautiful...  If only his mother could have been here to see this...

 

Alphonse seemed to be thinking along those same lines because he said, “Wouldn’t it have been great if mom could have been here?”

 

“Yeah...” Ed said quietly.

 

“I’m so glad we were here...” Al said, and Ed looked down at him.  Al’s armor reflected the lights, but to Ed it was as if his brother’s happiness was visually radiating out of him.

 

‘I don’t think your brother thinks this is a waste of time at all.’  Ed could hear Mustang’s words echo loudly in his mind and he gave a wry smile.  No... he supposed Mustang was right.  Al didn’t think this was a waste of time.  It was something that made him happy—really happy.  Ed supposed it would be awful of him not to let Al have that.  Even if this whole Christmas thing made him feel sad, he shouldn’t make his brother be miserable with him...

 

“And for all the children in the crowd...” 

 

Ed looked up as Mustang’s voice resonated throughout the square.  If he didn’t know better—and he did because he’d had to listen to the man gripe about it for days—Ed would think that Mustang really was happy to be up there.

 

“I present to you... Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus!”

 

There were squeals of pure delight from the children in the crowd as Maes Hughes and his wife, all dressed in red and white, walked onto the stage.  Ed nodded in approval.  Mustang really couldn’t have picked a better man to play the part.  Hughes waved and pointed toward some of the children, and winked at others.

 

When the noise quieted, Hughes announced that he and the lovely Mrs. Claus would be there all night and any children wishing to visit only needed to come to his temporary ‘home’ on the south side of the square.  Then without fanfare, Mustang invited the crowd to have a fun and pleasant evening, and that was that.  The band began to play again and the noise volume rose dramatically. 

 

“So...” Al started tentatively.  “What are we going to do now?”

 

Ed slipped down off his brother’s shoulders, looked around, then glanced up into his brothers face before taking his hand.  “Play games and enjoy the lights,” he said, then gave Al a bright smile.

 

Alphonse was silent for a moment as if trying to figure out Ed’s change in demeanor, then with a whoop of delight, he returned Ed’s grip and pulled him through the crowd toward the closest game booth.

 


Tags: father christmas, stories
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