(A/N: Here's chapter twelve. Enjoy!
Kairi671: Thanks for the reviewing! Oh, good! I was worried Orihime's speech was too sappy. Glad I succeeded!
CrazyWill71: Thanks for the review. Yeah, I know Orihime knows martial arts. I just thought it'll be funnier if she stepped on the man's shoes [although, in hindisght, it'd be funnier seen and not read]. I always laughed at that part of the episode... To the point that every time I hear Father Cornello say the lines 'evil of this world must be purged', I end up cracking up. I don't know, I just find anyone saying the words 'evil' and 'purge' in the same sentence, funny! Yeah, I know, I'm weird like that.
And thanks for everyone else who has reviewed, faved, and followed the story so far! This is by far my most popular fanfic, even more popular than my Naruto story! I guess, writing this fanfiction wasn't such a bad idea, after all. I'm so glad!)
Mining for the Gold
Orihime was witnessing one of Ichigo's most grueling battles yet. His fight against the Sixth Espada, Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez. He promised that he'll win, and she had no doubt that he could.
Until, she saw his face. It wasn't Ichigo's face. It was the face of a Hollow! Ichigo's warm, kind, fearless eyes were replaced with cold,unfeeling black irises with gold pupils.
This was not Ichigo.
This was not her Ichigo!
And it frightened her!
His spiritual pressure was much more dense, oppressive, and malevolent than it usually is.
It brought up painful memories. Memories she wants to forget. Memories of her hollowified brother.
Ichigo was becoming just like her possessed brother. Would he end up turning on her after he defeats Grimmjow? The thought of that scared her! Would he try to kill her just like her brother tried to do?
Her heart wrenched in anguish. She wants to believe in Ichigo… But seeing him with a hollow mask makes it so gut wrenchingly hard.
"Why are you so afraid of him? Ichigo cares about you, too. How would he feel if he doesn't hear you cheering him on?"
Those words made her snap. The words of the little Arrancar, Nel.
It made her realize something. The reason for coming to Hueco Mundo. The reason for isolating herself in this godforsaken place.
It was all to protect Ichigo and her friends. She wanted to keep safe. She wanted them to live. And if it meant exchanging her life for theirs, then it was a small price to pay.
"Please don't die!" she yelled loudly, hoping Ichigo would hear her voice. "Don't die, Ichigo!" Saddened tears began dripping down her eyelids. Seeing the man she loved this terrible wounded, hurt her more than anything. "You don't have to win. You don't have to fight for me. Just please… Don't get hurt anymore!"
Everything began fuzzy as the world around her began to shake.
Gray eyes fluttered open.
"Orihime? Are you okay?"
The ginger haired girl glanced over to Edward and Alphonse, her eyes completely wide and blank, frozen in their own hidden terror as her mind was trying to comprehend what happened. Both brothers stared at her worryingly, uncomfortably confused, unable to say anything.
Finally Alphonse spoke up. "You were...crying in your sleep," he informed her slowly, as if not trying to startle her. She could hear the worry and concern in his voice, and also the hesitancy, unsure on how she'll react.
It took quite a while to register for her to register what he just said. Instantly, her pale hands flew to her face to feel a wet substance. Indeed, she was crying.
It's been over six months, and the nightmares have not stopped. Orihime end up having dreams of the horrors she endured at Hueco Mundo, whether it was her psychological torment by Aizen or witnessing Ichigo's near death experience. Each time, she always wakes to a red, puffy eyed, tear stained faced girl.
And the fact that she lives alone with no one to comfort her, makes it even more depressing. It's not that she couldn't tell her friends at school. It's just that… She didn't want to cause any more problems. They already done more than enough for her. Especially Ichigo.
"Speaking of Ichigo, I've never got to say goodbye this time," Orihime thought, sadly. She glanced vacantly out the window, seeing the sun set behind the horizon creating a soft orangish-yellow glow.
"Do you want to talk about it?"
"Huh?" Gray eyes stared at the suit of armor, confusingly.
"You dream, I mean. Do you want to talk about?" Alphonse asked, tentatively.
"What kind of dream were you having to make you cry like that?" Edward questioned, eyebrows furrowed into a deep frown. Even he was a little bit concerned over the girl. Although, he was never good at expression it, he wasn't heartless.
When Orihime caught the brothers' fretful gazes, she offered them a small smile. "It's nothing, really. Just had a weird dream."
Ed raised a skeptical eyebrow. "Weird enough to make you cry."
She nodded, vigorously. "It was about this sick, dying whale," she explained, her face contorted into a comically serious expression. "It ate some really algae. It was poisoned by the evil pirate squids. So… The whale's friends, the space fishes, tried to find the cure and fight off the squids. They succeeded in fighting them, but we're too late to save their whale friend. It was so sad!" She sniffled to emphasize her point.
"Wow, that is a sad story," Alphonse commented.
"That's what you're crying about?" Edward deadpanned, not believing he got worked up over nothing.
The ginger haired girl sheepishly rubbed the back of her head. She glanced over to the window before looking back at the boys. "So where are we going again?"
"To a town called Youswell," Al answered.
She tilted her head, confused. "Why?"
"The Colonel wants us to check out the coal mine there before we report back to East City," Ed explained.
She vaguely remembered a phone call Ed received from Mustang about some sort inspection. Guess, that's where they're heading before they report back.
The trio made it to their designated town. Or ghost town is a more accurate to description as it was completely deserted except for one or two people who are supposed to be working, seeing as they are carrying hammers, beams, and pipes, but are just lazing around.
"It isn't very lively," Orihime observed.
"You can saw that again. Especially for a coal mining town," Alphonse commented.
Just then Ed was hit in the back of the head with a beam. "Ow!" Edward yelped, crouching down and clutching the back of his head.
The boy, who was the one to actually whack the Fullmetal Alchemist on the, finally took notice of the three. His face broke out into a wide grin. "Hey, are you guys travelers?"
Golden eyes glared up at the kid. "How about a 'sorry' first?" Ed grumbled, bitterly.
The kid ignored him. "Where are you from?"
Yellow eyebrows twitched in annoyance. "Isn't it common courtesy to tell us your name first?"
"Have you eaten? Got some place to stay?"
"Hell of welcoming committee…"
"Pop, we got visitors!"
"Listen when someone is trying to talk to you!" Edward shouted out, frustrated.
"What are you going on about?" A tall, bulky man appeared carrying a large pipe.
"Over here!" the kid shouted. "Big spenders!"
"Big spenders!" Orihime repeated.
"Hey, my name is Halling," the man, now identified as Halling, greeted them. "I'll take good care of you."
Edward, Alphonse, and Orihime found themselves at an Inn that Mr. Halling owned. Orihime was amazed at all the townsfolk in the room, waving happily at them, which they returned.
"What do you think?" Halling asked them. "I know it's not much, but with coal mines so low, at least I can use this as a substitute."
Ed, Al, and Orihime were talking the lady at the desk, booking two rooms for the night. She happened to be Halling's wife.
"Now… That'll be a room for three for one night?" Mrs. Hallings inquired, writing the information in her Inn book.
"How much?" Alphonse asked.
The way the residences stared at them with gleeful, predator glares made Orihime feel a little uneasy.
"Well, they ain't cheap," Halling said, slyly.
Edward let out a small smirk. "No sweat. I may not look it, but I have plenty of cash."
Halling's grinned widened as held up three fingers. "Three hundred thousand."
The trio fall over anime style.
"What?!" Ed screamed in anger and disbelief. "That's ridiculous! Are you going to put gold bars on our pillows?!"
"It's a fair price seeing as our Inn is the finest one in all of Youswell."
"Not to mention it's the only one," his son, Kyle Halling, added in all too happily.
"We don't get many tourist, so when we do, we try to milk them for all their worth," Halling said with a laugh.
The Elric brothers paled whilst Orihime pouted, sadly. She felt bad they are paying that much for her.
Ed and Al crouched down under the table with the former pulling Orihime with them. The alchemist opened his small money pouch, silently counting the money inside. He dropped his head down in misery when he realized he definitely did not have enough for a night's stay, much less a meal.
"It's not even close to enough," he sighed, dejectedly.
"What do we do?" Orihime asked.
Ed's expression twisted into a thoughtful expression. "We could always turn lead into coal."
"Brother! Using alchemy to make gold is illegal!" Alphonse chastised his older brother.
"Well?! What else are we supposed to do?!" the elder Elric snapped. He sighed once again. "I guess… We could always go to plan B…"
"Plan B?" the auburn haired girl questioned, confused.
Yep, plan B was to fix the civilians broken possessions in the hopes to having the price of a night's stay at the Inn lowered as Orihime began to realize when Edward started fixing a man's pickaxe with alchemy.
"Does anything else need fixing?" Edward asked with a huge, cheesy grin on his face.
"Yes," Mrs. Halling announced, walking towards the boy with a half broken vase in her hands. "If it's not too much trouble. This is special to me, but it's broken."
"You still haven't thrown away that old piece of junk?" Mr. Halling asked his wife.
She pouted. "Well, maybe if you bought us some nice things once and a while."
"Here. I'll take care of that." Edward clapped his hands and began to alchemically fix the broken vase until it turned new once again.
"Thank you so much," Mrs. Halling spoke, gratefully.
"Who would've thought that our first guests in ages would be real life alchemists?" Mr. Halling chuckled. "I took a crack at alchemy myself once, but didn't have the necessary talent with it."
"So? What brings you to Youswell?" Kyle asked Edward. "There's not much here for someone like you to do."
"It's business. In fact, I've come here to inspect the coal mines," Edward answered. However, the happy atmosphere suddenly became very tense as the residents in the room began to coldy glare at them.
"Inspect? So you're with the military?" Mr. Halling questioned a hint of bitterness in his tone.
"Yeah," Ed replied, unsure. "I'm a State Alchemist. Pretty cool, huh?"
That got him an immediate response. A physical response that ended with the three of them getting kicked out.
"We don't offer any food or housings to dogs of the military," Mr. Halling spat, gently dropping a puzzled Orihime on the ground next to Ed and Al.
"But I'm not a State Alchemist," Alphonse protested.
"Oh? Then come in!" Mr. Halling pronounced, happily, closing the door behind him after Al reentered the Inn.
"Al! You traitor!" Ed screamed, furiously.
Edward didn't know how much time has passed since he was unfairly kicked out. An hour, maybe two… All he knew was that he was extremely hungry.
"Man, I'm so hungry!" Ed groaned, miserably. "Stupid, Al!"
Just then, the sound giggling caught his attention. He craned his head around to see Orihime happily writing away on a small, pink, floral patterned notebook with bright smile on her face.
Curiosity got the best of him as he silently crawled next to her. "What are you doing?" he asked. He had nothing else to do.
Orihime almost jumped up in surprise, her startled gray eyes staring at him, widely. It took a moment for her to register his question. Her face turned a light shade of pink as she tried to shly hide her diary away from inquisitive golden eyes.
"N-nothing!" she suddenly exclaimed, her tone sounding a bit flustered.
Edward merely rose a brow. That statement only made his curiosity grow. He tried reaching for the book.
"NO!" the ginger haired girl screamed out, unexpectedly causing Ed's golden eyes to widen slightly by the sudden outburst as he watched dumbstruck as the girl bounced away from as if she was caught on fire, hugging the book close to her as if her life depended on it.
She gave him a sad, embarrassed look before silently putting the small book away in her bag, her cheeks flushed with a light shade of pink.
"You can't," she whispered softly, staring at him expectedly as if that dissolve the strange tension in the air.
Ed was even more confused. Why was her face red? It was just a stupid book. He sighed, more out of boredom than anything else. He'll never understand girls and their weird behaviors. The blond alchemist decided to leave the girl alone for now.
Silence filled the air once more.
"Hmm?" Gray eyes turned to give him a curious glance.
"...You don't have to stay here out with me. Why don't you go inside like Al did?" Edward suggested. "You're not a State Alchemist, remember? So you can in if you tell them that."
"But wouldn't you get lonely out here by yourself?" Orihime asked him, innocently.
Ed stared at her slightly wide eyed in mild surprise. She was staying out here in the bitter night cold and uncomfortable ground because she didn't want him to get lonely? How considerate and...and...s-stupid.
The blond turned away from her, his face flushed in embarrassment as laid on his side, his back facing her.
"Hmph. Just don't blame me if you catch a cold," he threw back. He didn't exactly sound harsh, more playful than anything.
"Okay!" he heard her chirp before everything went silent once again.
There was nothing much else he could do, so he opted to go to sleep. He could say goodbye to this jacked up town after he inspects the mines tomorrow.
Nonetheless, as if some force in the universe was preventing him from sleeping, the sound of soft humming and the diminutive sound of threading needles caught his attention.
Out of curiosity, Edward flipped over to his other side to find Orihime humming a tone to herself while stitching some sort of fabric together. Judging by how it looked, it was possibly made from cotton and the color of it was a midnight blue dark enough to be mistaken for black.
But that wasn't what caught his interest. It was the way she was staring at it. Her eyes full of longing and wistfulness as she tenderly worked sewing the fabric together, a soft smile gracing a her lips while her cheeks were dusted a light pink color.
He's never seen her look like that before. It was quite...cute? The blond alchemist shook his head to get rid of such thoughts.
"What are you doing?" he finally decided to ask.
Orihime snapped out of her daze and stopped what she was doing to turn her attention towards him. "Oh? This?" She held up the fabric in her hand with the sewing needle attached with the small color thread sticking through it. "I'm… I'm making a present for a friend," she answered, feeling a bit flustered again.
Before Ed could ask further Alphonse barged out the door of the Inn.
Edward faced away from his younger brother in childish anger still remembering how he cruelly, in his opinion, left him alone to sleep in the dirt.
"What are you doing out here, Al?" Ed asked, pouting. "Shouldn't you be inside enjoying a night's stay in a comfortable Inn?"
If Alphonse had eyes, he'd roll them at his older brother's childish display. "Is that some way to thank me for sneaking food out for you?"
At the mention of food, Edward perked up, swiftly whipping his head around to see a tray of two burgers in the armor's hands. Animated tears of joy poured from eyes as he gleeful went to hug the soul bonded armor.
"Oh, dear little brother…! You're the best!"
Al sighed at Ed's antics. "Brother, you're so predictable." He handed him a burger, which he began devouring without a second thought. He passed the other hamburger over to Orihime. "Here's your share, Orihime."
Orihime, having already put her sewing kit back in her pink bag, gently plucked the beef sandwich out of Alphonse's hands. "Thanks, Alphonse," she said, graciously as began eating at a much slower pace than Ed.
As the two teens ate, Alphonse began telling them how the townspeople loathes the military and, especially, State Alchemists because of a corrupt officer named Lieutenant Yoki, who's currently in charge of this town. He over taxes the citizens, and whenever an authority tries to help, he bribes them. It's gotten so bad that no one bothers to lift a finger to assist these people. And they can't forgive alchemists who turn their backs innocent people and sell their souls to the military.
"So…? Another corrupt officer making things worse for the rest of us?" Edward muttered under his breath, his face deep in thought. "I always knew I'll be disliked because of my status as a State Alchemist, but I never knew I'd be hated this much."
Edward has always been impulsive and childish, but the way he spoke… With such maturity… It was almost like he was different person.
"I like you!" Orihime blurted out, causing both boys to jump, startled at her comical and overt declaration and blunt honesty of her feelings. Her grays eyes sparkled with fiery determination as she stared into bewildered golden eyes. "I like you. You're a good person, so I like you. I'm your friend!"
"I… O-okay…" Edward's face flushed a bright red color as he was unable to form a coherent sentence.
Alphonse chuckled his brother's dumbfounded expression. "Thanks, Orihime."
The ginger haired girl nodded, happily.
Just then, a group of men wearing blue uniforms, most likely from the military, barged into the Inn. Al went in to follow them with Ed and Orihime staying behind.
When the commotion inside the Inn became conspicuously louder, the auburn haired girl marched inside. She was instantly meet with the sight of one of the soldiers swinging his sword at the young boy named Kyle. Protective instincts immediately took over as she activated her Santen Kesshun, protecting the boy from the impact of the blade.
The sword collided with the shield, surprising the soldier. His black, stony eyes narrowed in a vicious glare when he noticed Orihime. "Why you…!"
Gloved white hand grabbed the man's wrist before he could do any harm to the girl. "I heard the Lieutenant was supposed to be here, so I decided to stop by to say hi," Edward declared with a smug grin as he flashed his pocket watch.
There was small gasp coming from a tall, skinny guy with short black hair and a thin, pointed mustache. "What a you idiots doing?! Put down your weapons!" His lackeys did as they were told, the fighting ceasing for the moments, however, the tension is still very much thick.
The tall soldier, which the trio was assuming was Lieutenant Yoki, turned towards Ed with a sickening, pleasant grin on his face while rubbing his hands together in what seemed like it was supposed come off as apologetic.
"Excuse my subordinates, Mr. State Alchemist," Yoki said, feigning regret. "What can I do you for?"
"Well, I just came out to check out the coal mines. Although, these guys…," Edward gave the residents of the Inn an exaggerated pointed look. "...Refuse to offer me what I need."
"Hmph!" Yoki sneered at Halling and his men. "Allow me to show to my mansion. It'll be better than staying at this pig pen."
Yoki left as well as his men.
"Orihime, you stay here with Al," Ed told the girl as he went after Yoki.
As Edward left her, Alphonse had to step in and protect her from the hostile Inn mates. Once he told them she wasn't a State Alchemists, the antipathy towards her seemed to dissipate.
Finding nothing else to do and in keeping up with her promise, the auburn haired girl decided to write a letter to Rebecca. She wrote her friend a couple of letters before. Nothing much, just random chatter about this and that. Although, she did have the tendency to leave out important details, like how Mustang offered her to join the military or that how she was attacked by these artificial humans called homunculi. She shouldn't worry Rebecca, don't want to put an innocent civilian in danger.
"This is terrible," Orihime whispered, horrified as she stared at the burnt down Inn as Mrs. Halling cried over it.
"Is this Yoki's doing?" Edward questioned, glaring at the rubble.
"Hey…" The trio craned their heads towards Kyle as made a sluggish march towards them, anguish tears running down his face. "You're so some sort of super alchemist, aren't you? Can't you just fix this place using alchemy? Or make some gold? You can save my dad and this town."
"I can't," Ed responded, his tone taking on a nonchalant coldness.
"Why not?" Kyle argued. "It won't cost you anything!"
"You're wrong. The whole world is based on Equivalent Exchange. I give you gold and then I'd have to pay the price, and I have no reason to do that."
The angry and distraught boy grabbed the blond's collar, shaking him furiously. "So, we have to bribe you now, too?! And you call yourself an alchemist!"
Ed was unfazed by the boy's yelling. "'Alchemist be thou for the people', what a load that is." He lightly knocked Kyle's hands away. "Transmuting gold is a serious offense. If I got caught, not only would they strip me of my State Alchemist license, I'd be thrown in jail."
"Then do it, so you don't get caught!" Kyle suggested, the despair and desperation was obviously apparent in his voice.
"Even if I did, it'll all be taken away for taxes," Ed argued. "If it's that awful here, why don't you guys just move to another town."
Mr. Halling stepped in to argue on his son's behalf. "Kid, this may not make a lot a sense to you, but this place… Well, it's both our home and our grave."
Orihime couldn't help but to admire these people's dedication to their hometown. It reminded her how hard she, Ichigo, and the others fought Aizen to protect Karakura Town. Oh, she deeply wished there was something, anything that she could do to help. To get that nasty, greedy Yoki out of commission.
Orihime waited inside the rebuilt Inn with Alphonse as they both waited for Edward to come back. Ed told her to stay with the townspeople, which she was reluctant to do at first. But it was just something about the look in his eyes, the way it went ablazed with determination and strong and intense resolve made her comply with his wishes.
Soon after, Alphonse came back but Edward wasn't with him. Al told her his older brother was busy 'negotiating' with Lieutenant Yoki. And by the way he said 'negotiate', she knew something was up. Maybe Ed came up with a plan to get rid of Yoki.
As the ginger haired girl was pondering her thoughts, the door suddenly swung open. Edward marched in with an uncharastic peppy smile plastered on his face. "Hi! What's up with all the frowny faces?"
"You leech," Kyle sneered at him. "What do you want now?"
Edward tsked, dramatically. "Hey, is that someone to greet your new boss, landlord, and all around overseer?"
"Overseer?!" a miner exclaimed, utterly appalled at the arrogance of the kid in front of him. "What the hell-" He was cut off when stacks of paper was shoved in his face.
"As you can see, I hold in my hand the title deed to the mine, trade routes, and the entire town of Youswell," Ed stated, smugly.
"What?" Mr. Halling mumbled, unable to register what was laid out to him.
"In other words," the blond alchemist continued. "Everything around here belongs to me now."
The whole Inn went silent with disbelief and some even gritted their teeth at the thought of appealing to Edward now.
"However, I have to be getting back to my busy life in Central," Ed announced, an irritating smirk spread across his face. "I'm not even sure this is worth carrying to the city with me. It's so heavy."
"So? You're going to try to sell it back to us for a profit?" Mr. Halling questioned.
"You bet. And it isn't going to be cheap, if we use your phrase. You remember Equivalent Exchange, don't you? After all, not only is this deed written on high grade parchment, it has gold leaf trim on the edges. It comes in box decorated with finely crushed jade with a nonchalant and the same time luxurious design. Oh yeah, this is craftsmanship and the key's sterling silver. I say it's got to be worth around three hundred thousand."
"Th-three hundred? For the deed to Youswell?" Mr. Halling said in utter disbelief.
"That's all? Really?" another mine said, stating his own skepticism.
"You know, now that I think about it, two rooms at the Inn cost three hundred thousand," Ed stated. "How about I trade you the deed for two rooms at the Inn?"
Mr. Halling smirked, knowing where the blond alchemist was going with this. "Equivalent Exchange, huh?" A wide grin spread across his lips. "Sold!" he announced, gleefully.
Suddenly, Lieutenant Yoki along with his men barged into the Inn, looking completely distraught.
"Mr. Elric, what is the meaning of this?" Yoki demanded. "The gold bars gave me turned into coal!"
"When did you change it back?" Alphonse asked his older brother.
"As soon as I left," Edward whispered back, a cheeky grin on his face. He turned his attention back at Yoki. "Gold?" he inquired, feigning ignorance. "I don't remember giving you gold."
Yoki was started to sweat nervously. "Yes, you did! You traded me the deed to Youswell in exchange for a mountain of gold!"
"No, I didn't. I believe you gave it to me free of charge." He then held up the documents with a huge grin plastered on his face. "At least, that's what it says on the papers."
The Lieutenant growled, angrily. "You brat! You swindled me! Men, take back the papers!"
The miners stepped in to intercept the soldiers. Some of them cracking their knuckles menacingly, gleeful, murderous smiles on their faces.
"Isn't it wrong to take someone else's property, Lieutenant Yoki?"
"Now, we're going to do to you physically what you've been doing to us financially for years."
Yoki and his men began to cower under the miners' malicious glares as the slowly approached, like snake slither towards a trapped and timid mouse.
"Oh, and, Yoki," Edward called to him, his smirk still in place, but much more crueler. "I'd be sure to tell the high ups about your incompetence."
No later, Yoki's undignified screams could be heard through the night air.
Orihime sat across from the Elric brothers as the whole town was celebrating having their hometown returned back to them after years of financial suffering at the hands of Yoki.
The ginger haired smiled fondly as Ed was refusing an offer of wine. He might not show it, but he really was a good person. She can't believe he did all that just to help these people. He really was remarkable!
"Uh, why are you staring at me like that?"
"You really are a kind person, Edward!"
Orihime's genuine praise caused Ed's face to flush a deep red color. He turned away, unable to look at her. She giggled at his sudden bashfulness. He must not be used to being openly praised.
The ginger haired girl perked up, abruptly. She launched herself out of her chair, startling the two boys.
"Is something wrong, Orihime?" Alphonse asked.
"This spiritual pressure… No way…," she muttered under her breath, her gray eyes widened in a mixture of disbelief and recognition. She dashed out the Inn without answering Al's question, leaving the residents inside completely cnfused.
"What was that about?" Mrs. Halling asked the question everyone was thinking.
Orihime stood out in the porch, staring dazedly at the starry night sky. "No doubt about. That was Ichigo's spiritual pressure. Does that mean he regained his Soul Reaper powers?"
Tears began to swell in her eyes. She couldn't necessarily feel Ichigo's spirit energy nearby. It was so close, yet, at the same time, so far away, like it was hidden behind an invisible wall or forcefield, like the time she felt Ichigo's presence when she was helping the ghost girl. Knowing he was alright, knowing that was doing well, knowing that he was recovering from his falsely dispassionate misery about the loss of his powers, made her so happy! Incredible happy!
"I found her, brother! She's up on the roof!"
"Huh?! What the hell is she doing up there?"
"She must've fell asleep here."
Edward climbed the roof of the two story Inn to find Alphonse crouched over a slumbering Orihime.
The blond alchemist scratched the side of his head. "Why'd she sleep up here? If she was tired, she could've just went into her room to sleep."
Al shrugged his metallic shoulders. "Don't know. But look… Doesn't she seem much happier?"
Ed glanced at the slumbering girl. Indeed, her face was plastered in a wide, peacefully smile. A definite contrast to when she was sleeping on the train. The blond boy let out a small smile of his own at the sight.
He gently scooped her up in his arms bridal style. "C'mon, let's get her into a proper bed."
"Ichigo…," Orihime mumbled against Ed's chest.
Alphonse didn't here her, but Edward definitely did. His yellow eyebrows furrowed together. He remembered hearing that name before.
"I'm so happy… Ichigo…"
Ed paused in mid step, glancing down at the girl in his arms. This 'Ichigo' person… They sound really important to the ginger haired girl to make her sleep so peacefully, so soundly.
Just what of relationship did Orihime have with Ichigo, the blond had to wonder.
(A/N: That's the end of chapter twelve! Hope you enjoyed it! Honesty, this chapter was longer than I thought.
As you can see, there is the part where Orihime has trouble sleeping and another part where she doesn't. I wanted to imply in the ending that it was the first time Orihime could actually sleep so soundly without being plagued by nightmares since she came into the FMA world. She already had some trouble sleeping in her world. The stress and loneliness of being trapped in a completely unknown and foreign world just makes it twice, or three times, as worse. You can't imagine how many times she has to remind herself that she isn't in Hueco Mundo or that Aizen's defeated! The ending is both suppose to imply her first genuine sleep and that she doesn't feel as lonely anymore. Feeling Ichigo's presence, gives Orihime some sort of comfort, even if it was only a little bit.
Well, the Nina incident is next. The moment of truth is here…! Will the cute, little girl be saved from her tragic fate? We'll find out soon. Hmm, I think I might make it a two parter. I don't know. I just have a whole bunch of side plot ideas running through my head. Maybe it'll be two chapters, depending on how long it is.
Well, that's it! Leave any comments, suggestions, or questions in a review! And thanks for reading!