(A/N: Here's chapter thirty five! Enjoy!
LiquidBloom: Thanks for the review! Yep! Orihime is deeply in love with Ichigo, which may or may not cause some complications down the line. In fact, Orihime's love for Ichigo is engraved into her very soul. Hell, even Eria is in love with Ichigo because Orihime's love for him is just that strong. Will Orihime start to fall in love with Ed? It is part of the romance, but who knows how long that would take? Plus, I don't want her loving Ed just because she can't be with Ichigo. Don't want Ed feeling like he was 'second choice'. I want Orihime to legitimately choose between Ichigo and Edward. None of that 'possible love interest was taking out in some plot contrived way, so the true couple could be together' stuff. You know what I mean?
sacke110: Thanks for the review! I feel like I'm spoiling the series for you. Sorry, if I am. But honestly, that's really what happened in canon. Ed's pocket watch gets stolen and they end up in the thief's home with Winry delivering a baby later on. Not that much went on in that episode. It was really sweet of Ed to buy Orihime earrings. It's something I came up with on the spot for Valentine's Day. Added some Edward/Orihime scenes because of that.)
Orihime glanced at the window, watching the scenery flow by as she, Edward, and Alphonse were currently on a train to Dublith. Her grays gazed over at Al, who was reading a book. Ed was busy snoring away, off in dreamland.
She was still very mad at him. How could he do that? Read her diary? All her private thoughts and feelings are written in there. Every precious moment in her life, her biggest fears, stuff about her friends, things she likes, things she hates, and her experiences. Everything was written in there, and Ed read it!
How could he? How much did he read? She glanced over to his sleeping form. Her face softened a bit when she was able think about it. He was still clueless about souls, Hollows, and Soul Reapers, so he probably didn't read much. For the first time, she was glad that English was the language most dominant in Amestris instead of Japanese.
But still, he invaded her privacy, and that's something to be mad at!
Orihime heard the metallic crank of Alphonse's head moving. She watched, curiously as Al perked up.
"What is it, Al?" she asked.
Al gazed at her as he answered. "I'm not sure. I just thought I heard a cat's cry."
The ginger haired girl watched as Al lifted himself off the chair to go investigate the strange mewl. She turned her focus once again at the scenery through the window, watching the colors of blue, brown, red, yellow, and green pass her by.
They were going to Dublith to meet Ed's and Al's teacher. She wondered, what was their teacher? Were they tough and strict? Or firm and kind? Maybe even eccentric and wise? So many possibilities.
Her ears perked when she heard the blond alchemist stirring. Her gray eyes shifted over just in time to see Ed's eyelids flutter open. His drowsy, golden orbs glanced around the train as he stifled a yawn, sitting up. He stretched his arms, hearing the muscles in his shoulders pop.
His eyes landed on Orihime, and when they did, he received an angry pout in return. He almost forgot she was still mad at him. He inwardly sighed, gazing around to discover that his younger brother had disappeared.
"Where is Al?" he asked.
"He thought he heard something, and went to go check it out," Orihime replied in a clipped down.
There was a moment of silence.
Urgh, Ed didn't like this awkward quietness between them. It's not like doesn't know the reason why Orihime is angry with him. He read her diary, invaded her privacy, something he shouldn't have done, especially without permission. He just...didn't know what to do to make her forgive him. He already said he was sorry. What else is there?
Blowing a strand of hair from his face, Ed dejectedly placed a palm under his chin, his gazing out the window. He eyed her once again, more specifically, her ears. She was wearing the earrings he gave her. They stuck out between the strands of her long auburn hair. They really did look nice on her!
"Those earrings… They look good on you," he commented, honestly.
He watched as her gray eyes fluttered open and close, trying to process his words, momentarily confused. Once the auburn haired girl did, Edward witnessed a light dust of pink adorning her cheeks. Subconsciously, her hands reached up and fiddled with her new earrings. He could see her with all her might trying desperately to suppress the urge to smile.
Orihime puffed out her cheeks, her gray eyes glaring at him, but Ed knew the glare at zero intensity behind it. "I'm supposed to stay mad at you," she said, stubbornly, almost like she was struggling to convince herself.
Edward smirked. Well, she was failing in that department because she looked seconds away from bursting into a wide grin.
Both teenagers perked up when they heard the metallic clang of Al's feet as he reentered their compartment.
"Where have you been, Al?" Ed asked.
Al sheepishly rubbed the back of his head. "Oh, nowhere, brother," he replied, innocently. "I...just went for a walk."
A yellow, skeptical eyebrow rose as Edward glared at his younger brother, suspiciously. He knew that tone of voice. That was the tone Alphonse always used when he's trying to play the innocent act, especially when he picks up stray cats.
"Did you find another stray?" Ed questioned, bluntly.
Alphonse jumped at the accusation. "Wh-what?!" he blurted out, frantically, sweat drops appearing on his forehead. "No! Of course not, brother!"
Ed's accusatory glare did not diminish. His little brother was definitely hiding something. "Open your chest plate, Al," he demanded in a hard tone.
Al nervously backed away slowly, vigorously shaking his head. Ed growled before charging at him.
Orihime anxiously observed as the two boys wrestled with each other on the ground, wondering she should interfere.
"Brother, please stop!" Al cried out, desperately. But it was too late as Ed latched onto his chest plate and yanked it open. His golden orbs peered inside, and does he spot? A black cat with a white underbelly staring up at him with sharp, green eyes.
"Al…!" the blond alchemist growled at his younger brother in a disapproving tone.
Alphonse began to fidget and play with his fingers, nervously. "Brother, I can explain! You see, it's been following me. I think it wants to stay with me, brother."
"Well, we can't!" Ed argued. As soon as he angrily spat those three words out, the cat hissed at him. It hissed at him, baring its fangs and everything.
Ed glared at it, his lips curling downward into a displeased frown.
"See?" Al said, pleadingly. "It doesn't want to leave. It wants to stay. Can't we keep it?"
"You know we can't keep a cat, Al," Edward scolded him. "We don't have the means to take care of it!"
"But…!" Alphonse really wanted to argue with his older brother on this matter. The cat was just so darn cute and precious. Conversely though, he knew Ed was right. With all the traveling they do, there is no way the cat could live a happy life.
He glanced up when he heard the soft putter patter of footsteps approaching them. Ed followed his little brother's gaze.
"Orihime?" Al spoke her name, his tone lacing with confusion.
The ginger haired girl ignored him. She squatted down, matting away her long, flowing, dark blue skirt. Her face was set into a grim line, a hard look of concentration on her facial features as she stared at the cat lying inside Al's hollowed body.
She hadn't spoken a single word, her contemplative, perpetual silence greatly confusing the brothers as she stared at the feline with such frightening intensity.
The suit of armor's hesitant voice snapped her out of brittle musings. She blinked, gray eyes staring at the brothers' puzzled expressions.
She bashfully waved her hands in front of her face with a sheepish expression on her face in an attempt to diffuse the awkward tension she almost set in motion.
She shot Al a delicate, easygoing smile. "Do you mind if I hold the cat, Al?" she asked, politely.
Alphonse seemed to hesitate a bit before silently nodding his head.
Orihime grin brightened as she carefully lifted the cat away from the youngest Elric's empty armor, ignoring the way it was glaring at her with suspicion.
Ed and Al carefully and quizzically observed as Orihime held the feline with a gentle yet firm grip. They watched the curve of her lips slowly dissipate, and was replaced with a mirthless and sullen frown. She and cat simply stared at each other, not even a single word was uttered the abysmal silence.
"Where did you get this cat?" the ginger haired girl asked, abruptly, cutting Al off, her tone grave and serious.
Alphonse seemed uncertain if he should answer her not, but did so anyway. "I found it in an alleyway back in Rush Valley," he answered, a bit of dubiety in his voice. She was acting very strange around the cat. Does she not like cats?
She nodded her head, more out of distrait than anything else. After a second or two passed, she shoot a bright smile towards Ed and Al. "I think we should keep him."
"What?! No! We are not keeping a damn cat!" Edward shot back, his face etched into a disapproving scowl.
Once again, the cat hissed at him, baring his fangs.
Ed glared, heatedly at the hissing feline. There was no way they keep such an undisciplined cat. The cat was obviously mean, misbehaved, and feral.
Orihime laughed, lightly. "I never said anything about keeping him, Eddie. It's only after...he is able to...survive out on his own," she explained, reiterating her words.
The blond alchemist crossed his arms, contemplating with a deep scowl plastered on his face. He opened his mouth, but was interrupted by the cat's angry howl, hairs bristling.
A subsequent pained yelp erupted through the train.
"Sorry to keep you waiting, Solala," a tall man with blond hair and green eyes greeted a dark haired girl with purple eyes and silky pale skin. She had a busty, slim figure underneath her long black dress and dark purple halter jacket.
"It's alright, Ron," the woman said. Even her voice was silky and smooth. She scooted over to make room for the soldier.
Ron shot a toothy grinned. He took his spot next his beautiful date. They were at a small, local restaurant in Hiltenburg.
Lunch was short and uneventful. Soon after the dark haired woman bid farewell to her blond date a bright plastered across her light purple colored lips. As soon as her date was out of sight, that smile turned into a deep frown.
"That guy was useless," she thought, disgruntled. "He knew next to nothing about what's happening in the military." She was going to get nowhere with a simple warrant officer. Everything he said were information she already knew. Such as Scar and Mustang being transferred to Central.
Maybe she should have picked someone of a higher rank to lure in and seduce. She needed an unwitting pawn that would act as her spy within the ranks of the military. Just to make sure there isn't any unnecessary interferences. After all, Envy could only do so much.
Hiltenburg was a rather small town a few miles south of Dublith. It was the only town between Dublith and South City. It was a small, quaint, suburban town. There wasn't much, the two was mostly used as a trade route. Most of the town's income comes from the local inns and various hotels for travellers to rest in for the night before taking a train to South City or Dublith the next day.
The heels of Lust's shoes clicked softly clicked against the pavement. Since she found nothing of value here, she really should head back to Central. She could hear the chattering of housewives, the bustling of markets and food stalls, and the obnoxious sounds of children playing.
What the humans were doing were of no concern of her. Humans were foolish, selfish, and weak creatures. They would turn on each in a drop of a hot, if it would benefit themselves. They are willing cause bloodshed over the most, silliest, stupidest, and pettiest of things. And when things go bad, they are quick to blame others, and yet they are proud glory hounds when something goes their way.
Urgh! She hated humans so much. They were disgusting, vile creatures. She hated them so much. They were so loathsome, pathetic apes.
Her ears picked up the sound of running and screaming. She opted to just ignore it. Human problems are of no concern to her.
That was her initial idea. However, it looks like fate had other plans for her. She felt a small bundle of flesh and bones crash against her legs.
With a grunt of annoyance, she glared down at the small human child. She had long, unkempt, brown hair with bits of scrunched up into a pair of twintails. Her green eyes were wide with horror and fear. She was a skinny, little thing. Actually, she was unnaturally skinny. Lust could practically see her bones that were only covered in a few layers of skin and fat. Her arms were way too bony, her ribs were almost prominent through her clothing, and her face were sunken in. She was definitely malnourished. Horrendously so.
Speaking of her clothes, she wore a tattered, brown dress that was about a size too big for her. There were patches of dirt and grime that stained the dress in a variety of filthy, disgusting colors. Even the natural brown color was started to fade into ghostly brownish white.
The little human child hadn't said a word to her, just staring, mutely at Lust with her fearful, shy green eyes. Lust frowned at her. Out of all the pathetic humans she's encountered, this child was the most pathetic out of all of them.
"What do you want, child?" Lust questioned, coldly.
The little girl jumped, startled, backing away in fright. Not a single sound escaped from her as she nervously fidgeting with the ends of her dress, ducking her head away like a frightened, little puppy.
As soon as screams of angry men could be heard, the small child let out a horrified gasp before turning tail and running. Lust watch the girl run away in fright with uncaring, cold, purple eyes.
Whatever happens to her was of no concern. Humans were such pathetic creatures.
"I don't know why you insist we let the cat tag along with us."
Edward shot Orihime an incredulous look as he stared at her bandaged nose and left check where the cat viciously scratched her with its claws.
Orihime simply giggled, gleefully. "It's not that bad, Eddie," she assured him. She held the cat, tenderly in her arms. The cat had a grumpy look on his face, glaring at everything in sight. Other than that, he was completely quiet and still in her arms, his tail flickering every once in a while.
"Aren't guys excited to meet your teacher?" she smiled, changing the subject.
Once the question passed her lips, an aura of despair and gloom hovered over Edward and Alphonse.
"I would be more glad, if she doesn't kill us," Ed whined, fearfully.
"Huh?" The ginger haired girl cocked a confused brow at him.
"We're here, brother," Al announced, miserably as if resigning to a horrible fate.
The only female out of three stared, quizzically at the brothers, watching them shiver in fright, their eyes glued to a store with the sign 'meat' in anticipation. She craned her head around when she heard the door to meat shop, not really hard to guess what they sell, swing open and out came a very large, burly man. She stared at him in wonder. He was just...so huge! Almost as big as Major Armstrong!
"Oh, hey, Sig," Edward greeted the man with a tentative wave.
The big guy eyed him for a second before his large hand came up and rubbed his head. "You've grown a lot." Even his voice sounded deep and bulky.
"Hi, Sig," Alphonse stepped and greeted him. "I look a little different, but it's me. It's Alphonse.
Orihime could see Al tensing him as Sig stared at him for a second or two with an indecipherable expression. Finally he patted his helmet head.
"You've grown up a lot."
Lastly, he eventually took notice of her. "Who might you be?" Sig asked in a gruff voice.
Gray eyes widened, slightly. "Oh, pardon me." Orihime offered a quick, apologetic bow. She smiled, brightly. "My name is Orihime Inoue." She happily held the black and white cat out. "And this is Sammy."
Ed eyed her, questionably. "Sammy?"
She faced him, nodding her head. "That's the cat's name," she explained as if it was the most simplest thing in the world.
"Well, it's a pleasure to meet you, Orihime," Sig said, holding his large hand out.
The auburn haired snapped her head back towards him. "It's nice to meet you, Mr. Sig!" She grasped his hand, leading to a firm handshake. "His hand is so big and strong," she thought in childlike awe as her hand was fully enveloped in his.
He nodded his head before letting go, and stalking towards an open window. "Hey, Izumi," he called inside the window. "The Elric brothers are here. And they brought a friend."
A young, strong, yet sickly woman's voice responded. "I'll be out in a sec. I'm feeling a little better today."
Orihime's eyebrows scrunched together in concern. Was the lady sick or something.
Ed seemed to confirm her worries. "Sick in bed?"
"Guess, she hasn't gotten any better since last time," Al's said, his hollow voice laced with worry.
Suddenly, the door violent swung open, and Ed received a vicious kick to the face that sent him spiraling and crashing into a building across the street.
"Eddie!" Orihime cried out in surprise, rushing over to him to check for injuries.
Out came a woman with dreadlocks tied into a ponytail. "Hello, my stupid pupil. I hear you've become one of the military's dogs!" Anger was an understatement. She sounded incredibly furious.
Al cautiously approached her, sweating bullets. "Hello, teacher. You might not recognize me, but I'm Alphonse."
The woman paused, taking a good look at Al before her face transformed into one of recognition. "Al? Is that you? You've grown so big!"
Alphonse breathed out a sigh of relief. So imagine his shock and surprise when he was unexpectedly flipped over and throw onto the ground.
"Your skills are rusty," Izumi chastised him, disappointed.
The suit of armor let out a pained groan. "You sure have a lot of energy for someone who's not feeling well."
Orihime helped Edward walk, his body bruised and wobbly.
"Not feeling well?!" Izumi screamed, appalled. "What do you mean?! I'm perfectly fi-!" Her boisterous shouting was cut off as a spray of blood comically spewed out from her mouth.
Orihime cried out with a start, her hands covering her mouth, a horrified expression on her face. Her healer instincts started rang through and she was about to activate her powers, but a firm hand on her shoulder stopped. Confused, she gazed back at Ed and received a solemn shake of a head in return.
"You shouldn't exert yourself," Sig commented to his wife, tenderly wrapping an arm around her shoulder.
"It's so sweet of you to worry, honey!" Izumi cooed, starry eyed. "Thank you!"
Orihime was amazed by all the sweetness and gushy words. There were even pretty, pink, floating hearts, and the backdrop sparkled with comical rainbows. This was the type of scenery sees in a cheesy romance novel.
She perked her ears when she Edward sigh in exasperation. She wondered if this happens all the time, then smiled to herself. Mr. Sig and Ms. Izumi must really love each other then. How sweet!
"My name is Orihime Inoue! I'm pleased to meet you!"
Orihime finally got around to introducing herself to Izumi Curtis once all the shenanigans settled down. They were all invited in and were currently stationed around the Curtis's dining table. Orihime took a spot on the right side of Edward while Alphonse took his left with Izumi and Sig seated across from them. Sammy laid down by the leg of her chair, his curious, green eyes staring around the room, taking in the new environment.
The auburn haired girl began to fidget and nervously play with her hands under Izumi's sharp, scrutinizing gaze. She was beginning to feel incredibly self conscious. Was her appearance not appropriate? She checked herself. All she wore was light brown, sleeveless turtleneck, a long, dark blue skirt that reached all the way down to her calves, a pair of brown, ankle length socks, and bright yellow, strappy, flat sandals. There was nothing out of the ordinary with her appearance.
Maybe it was something she did or didn't do. Maybe she offended the older woman in some unknown way. Now, an essence of guilt began to gnaw at her. She didn't mean to offend Ed's and Al's teacher in any way. She needed to apologize. It was not good to leave a bad impression.
However, and thankfully, Edward saved her from his teacher's accusatory stare. "Teacher, Orihime isn't a part of the military," he stated. He seemed to have taken notice the ginger haired girl's nervous and tense body language.
Izumi's expression relaxed. She pressed the palm of head underneath her chin, taking another, more direct examination of Orihime. After some time, she nodded her head in approval.
"She's a pretty and polite one." She turned her gaze towards Alphonse, sending him a pleasing smirk. "You picked a nice one, Al."
"She is not my girlfriend."
"She is not his girlfriend!"
Both Al and Ed quickly responded in unison. Al flustered, frantically in front of his face. Ed's reaction was the exact opposite. Indignantly yelling out the response in comical anger. Izumi quirked a brow as she detected an underlying hint of jealousy in Ed's tone. Orihime blushed in embarrassment.
"Uh, teacher, do you know about the Philosopher's Stone?" Al tried to immediately change the topic before it got too out of hand.
Izumi blinked. "The Philosopher's Stone?" she pondered. "No, I've never heard of it. I holds no interest for me."
The brothers deflated at the dismissive claim.
"Oh, really? That's okay," Ed spoke, his voice a mixture of acceptance and disappointment.
"There was that one guy in Central," Sig chimed in, helpfully.
Both Ed and Al perked up at that.
"Really? Who was it?" the blond alchemist asked unable to contain his excitement and eagerness.
"Ah! Let me see…," the woman reflected, recalling the memory of the short time she spent in Central. "I believe his name was...Hohenheim."
Orihime heard Alphonse's shocked gasp and witnessed Edward tense up. His face twisted into of ice cold rage and bitter resentment. He clenched his fists into anger balls until his knuckles turned white.
She felt the dreadful sense of unease like she stepped into something personal. The tension was so thick a knife could cut it. She nervously nibbled at the bottom of her lip, her gray eyes, anxiously darting between the overwrought Elric brothers and the confused Curtis couple. She instantly knew Ed's and Al's relationship with this 'Hohenheim' guy was not a good or even pleasant one.
Even Sammy was beginning to sense the unpleasant tension in the air. He let out a disconcerted mewed, stretched his legs, and leapt onto the ginger haired girl's lap, seeking comfort. She smiled, , softly petting the cat's fur in an effort to soothe him.
"What is it?" Izumi wondered. "Is he someone you know?"
"He's…," Alphonse started, a sense of unease filling his tone. "...Our father."
Orihime's gray orbs widened in surprise. She was not expecting that twist.
"Your father? The one who ran out on you when you were little?"
"Yeah, that's the one!" Edward snarled with cold fury. "It's because of that bastard that our mother's dead!"
The auburn haired girl felt extremely uncomfortable. A feeling of distressful unease gripped at her. The discomfiture sensation of being trapped between a rock and a hard place like a child who accidentally broke their parents' highly expensive, exotic vase.
She snapped out of her musing with a pained yelp from Ed.
"Now, we're going to eat!" Izumi declared, vehemently.
"Okay," Ed childishly pouted, resisting the urge to roll his eyes and mouth off a sarcastic remark, knowing he'd receive a beating if he did.
Dinner looked deliciously appetizing. Orihime eyed the assortment meat, vegetables, and steamy bread with mouth watering awe. "Thank you for the food!" she proclaimed, graciously. She set aside a plate for Sammy before beginning to eat her own share.
"Why aren't you eating, Al?" Sig noted, curious gaze trained on the soul bonded armor.
Both Edward and Alphonse immediately tensed while Orihime sent an uneasy and confused glance towards them. Their teacher doesn't know about their secret?
"I ate on the way here," Alphonse swiftly responded. Orihime knew that was a lie, but didn't voice it.
"Why don't we tell them about the baby being delivered back in Rush Valley?" Edward suggested, immediately and hastily diverging the topic away from Al.
Al nodded in agreement. "There was this family," he started, eagerly. "The mom was pregnant and was about to have the babies, but we couldn't get to a doctor in time because of the heavy rain."
"We wouldn't have been able to deliver it, if it wasn't for Orihime!" Ed declared, shooting the ginger haired girl a proud grin.
Orihime flushed in embarrassment. "Oh, I didn't do much really!" she remarked, completely flustered. "I mean, it wasn't just me. Everyone helped!"
Ed playfully nudged her, staring at her with such fierce and gentle eyes. "What are you talking about? If it wasn't for you, who knows what would have happened. You were the one who discovered the mother was having twins."
"A baby is a precious miracle," Izumi interrupted, blissful as she tenderly held her stomach. Orihime face scrunched up in concern, her gray orbs filled with sympathy when she detected a hint of sadness and regret in the woman's voice. "That's how all of us came into. Always cherish the lives that were given to you."
The way she talked, the sound of her voice… It was all too sad. She spoke with such firm wisdom, but there was this underlying grief filled sadness in her tone. Orihime couldn't help but to feel an overwhelming sense of sympathy for Ms. Izumi.
Her gray eyes shifted towards Edward and Alphonse, who were completely oblivious to their teacher's hidden torment, laughing and grinning, happily and cheekily. She figured she better play along with them, not wanting to get caught.
After dinner, Ms. Izumi was nice enough to show her the guest room where she would be spending the night. "Thank you for the hospitality, Ms. Izumi," she thanked the older woman.
Izumi creaked the door open, causing a tiny squeak to vibrate. Sammy wasted no time in padding into the room. "There's no need to thank me," Izumi replied. "Any friend of the boys is okay with me."
Orihime smiled, politely, entering the room. Her eyes scanned around the room. There seemed to be nothing of noteworthy about. What did she expect? It was a guest room, after all. Just simple, king sized bed and a drawer.
"How has those boys been?" the older woman asked, more out of curiosity than anything.
The auburn haired girl beamed. "They've been doing great! Al is always so sweet and helpful, and Ed's funny at times. And he's real nice and kind."
Izumi tried hard to suppress a laugh. Ed nice? Kind? He's known the Ed since he was a little kid, and he's always been an abrasive brat, not shy about picking fights. No one had ever described Ed as kind before. At least, it certainly wouldn't be the first description of him they would use. An overbearing, obnoxious brat would more likely fit.
Orihime tilted her head and hummed in confusion when she heard Ms. Izumi snort out a laugh.
"Don't mind me." She waved it off, dismissively. "It's nice to know those boys are doing alright for themselves."
The humor in her dark eyes suddenly died as they turned sharp and serious. "I heard you delivered twins back in Rush Valley."
The ginger haired rubbed the back of her head, sheepishly while letting out a self conscious laugh. "It was nothing really."
"You didn't seem so happy about during dinner," Izumi commented, frankly.
The younger girl couldn't hide her shocked gasp and her gray orbs widened in surprise. She didn't realize she wasn't being as discreet as she thought. After a few, her auburn brows crinkled in sadness and her gray eyes stared, sympathetically into Izumi's dark orbs.
"I wasn't unhappy about the twins, Ms. Izumi," Orihime elucidated. She fiddled, nervously at her skirt. She could hear Sammy's impatient mewl in the background, but decided to ignore him for now. This was a more delicate matter at the moment.
"I was really happy to help the mother give birth." She paused, licking her lips, feeling flurried about talking to Ms. Izumi about something personal. Would she get mad? Sad? Laugh it off with hidden disdain?
She prompted to just cut her losses. There's no point in hiding her fears and nerves. "Did something about to your baby, Ms. Izumi?" When she saw the older woman's dark eyes widened, stupidefied, but there was underlying sense of doleful regret in them, she quickly elaborated her question. "We were talking about babies, and you just seemed so sad about it. I thought-"
Izumi held her hand up to cut her off. She shoot the younger lady a wry smile, giving a mirthless laugh. "You are a perceptive one. We haven't even known each other for two hours, and you already know parts of my past. That's more than the boys ever did." She stepped inside the room and closed the door behind her with a soft 'click', leaving Orihime bewildered.
The older woman took her position on the bed, and motioned the still stunned auburn haired girl to take a seat next to her. Orihime stood stock still for a hesitant moment before complying.
It was then Izumi began revealing the story about how she performed the taboo of Human Transmutation to revive her stillborn son who died, tragically without taking his first breath. And as a gruesome and devastating consequence, she loss parts of organs preventing her from ever conceiving a child again.
Orihime tried to resist the urge to cry. However, her eyes still burned. Just imagining losing a child and then never being able to give birth again because of one stupid mistake was horrifically tragic. She felt a tear drop glide down her cheek, which she promptly wiped away.
Everything was pensively silent. The only sound was the soft thumping of Sammy's tail hitting the floor.
"I was foolish back then," Izumi admitted, ruefully. "And because of my mistake, I'm never allowed to have another child. That is why you should always cherish the life you had." She softly patted Orihime's head like a mother would do to her child.
Just then, there was a soft knock on the door. Izumi swept onto her feet to answer the door. She was not surprised to see Ed and Al standing on the other side.
"Teacher?" Ed inquired, confused.
Izumi gave him a nod of acknowledgement before heading out the room, not before giving Orihime a small smile.
"What was that? Why was teacher here?" Edward asked, eyeing Orihime, curiously after witnessing his teacher disappear down the hall.
Orihime's lips spread into a tiny, tactful, and delicate smile. "Nothing really. Just girl talk. What are you guys doing here? We should be getting ready for bed." She pulled and unzipped her pink bag.
"Al wanted to see Sammy," Ed swiftly corrected himself at the end.
"Oh, he's by the foot of the bed." The ginger haired girl nudged towards the general direction of the cat.
Sammy's ear twitched. The cat raised up on his legs when he heard the clanking of Al's metal feet sauntering into the room. Sammy wasted no time in trodden towards Al and rubbing his body against his cold, metal leg, giving off an affectionate purr.
Orihime giggled at the adorable sight. "He really likes you."
Edward snorted. "Every cat likes Al."
"Cats would like you, too, brother, if you were nicer," Alphonse remarked, bending down to scratch the cat behind his ear.
Ed rolled his eyes. "Like I care if cats like me or not."
Orihime gasped, dramatically. "Don't say that, Eddie!" she chastised him.
"Why am I the enemy?" the blond alchemist squawked.
She just giggled, playfully in response. She dug out a long sleeved, bright yellow nightgown out of her bag after digging for a while. "Do you guys know where the bathroom is?"
Ed inclined his head towards the door, indicating to Orihime to follow him. She happily tailed after him.
After a few twists and turns, they made it to the restroom. It was not surprising that Ed knew the way. After all, he had lived here for a couple of years in his childhood. He doubted the place had changed at all, and he was right.
"Thank you, Eddie," Orihime smiled before opening and closing the bathroom door behind her.
The bathroom was nice, neat, and clean. White tiles covered the floor and walls. One second thought, there was nothing but white everywhere. The only thing that wasn't the color of milk were the dark gray shower curtains and the black handle of the cabinets.
She heard a quiet knock on the door. "Are you almost done, Orihime?"
She was somewhat surprised to hear Ed's voice on the other side. She'd figured we would've gone back to the room by now. "Not yet," she responded. The ginger haired girl started shedding out of her turtleneck. "You don't have to wait for me, you know," she spoke, her voice being muffled by the shirt.
"Then how would get back in the room?" he questioned.
She took off her sandals and socks. "I know my way back. I'm a big girl," she argued, removing her skirt.
The auburn haired girl heard Edward make some kind of noise between a snort and a laugh. "You would get lost easily. And you are very clumsy. You might trip and fall over a corner of a wall, if I'm not here."
"No I won't!" she pouted. She threw on her yellow nightgown, and yanked the door open. Unfortunately, her left foot over the bottom corner of the door. She closed her eyes, tightly, preparing to have her face planted against the side of the wall. Although, she never met the hard, cold surface of the wall because something firm and strong held her up.
Her grays eyes fluttered open, slowly, tentatively. Gradually, her vision began clearing away, and was met with Edward's smirk.
"You were saying?" She could hear the playful tone in his voice.
Her lips pursed. "You distracted me!"
He quirked an eyebrow. "Are you blaming me, Orihime?" he questioned with mock hurt.
The auburn haired girl's cheeks flushed in embarrassment. She made a frustrated noise, and buried her face in her bundle of clothes, her hair flailing forward.
Ed breathed out a small laugh. He should stop teasing her now. His fingers grasped the sleeve of her nightgown, tugging her forward. "C'mon on, or else you'll crash into another wall if your eyes are covered," he smirked, suppressing a laugh. Okay, he couldn't help himself with that one. Her adorable reactions make teasing her just so fun!
Orihime lifted her head, face flushed, and lips pressed together into small pout. "That's not funny, Eddie!"
He chuckled. "Fine. I'm sorry, okay?"
She stared at him, gray eyes filled with disbelief and a bit of skepticism, but did not comment or make a remark, too embarrassed to.
Coming to a silent agreement, Edward led Orihime back to the room.
"You guys sure took a while," Al commented with a hint of amusement in his tone.
Ed narrowed his golden eyes at his younger brother. "Not now, Al."
"Whatever you say, brother." A small noise of laughter couldn't help but to escape from him.
Orihime strolled across the room until she propped herself down on the bed. Sammy was already sleeping comfortably by the floor. She smiled and resisted the urge to coo. The sleeping cat was just so adorable.
She laid down on the bed, stifling a yawn.
"Are you tired, Orihime?" Alphonse asked.
"Maybe a little," the auburn haired girl answered, honestly, seeing no reason to lie.
The creak of Al's armor could be heard as he climbed onto his feet. "It is really late. We better leave, so you could get some sleep."
She nodded. "Goodnight, Al, Eddie," she said, sweetly.
Edward waved his own goodnight as Al shut the door behind him.
As soon as the nearly silent 'thud' of the door shutting completely closed, Orihime's smiling face twisted into a contemplative frown as her gray obs eyed the slumbering feline next the bed.
She knew what the cat really, and she had the feeling the cat knew she knew. And he also knew what Al was, which was why he followed him. He felt some sort of kinship with the youngest Elric.
But the cat shouldn't be here.
Orihime regretted not asking Sammy what's he doing? What's keeping him here? That was the reason she insisted the cat would stay with them until she figured it out.
She sighed, softly to herself. No matter. Tomorrow's another day.
Tiny, padded, white sandaled footsteps splashed against the earthy ground as small hand was grasped tightly in much larger ones. Her bright, green eyes spotted vegetable food stand. She eagerly tug on the woman's hand.
"Mommy! Can we get some spinach?" she asked, excitingly pointed a finger at the food stall.
The woman smiled down at her daughter. Her bent to her child's level, tugging a long strand of her black hair behind her ear. "Let me guess… You want to eat spinach quiche for dinner tonight?" she questioned with a hint of amusement her voice.
The dark haired girl bobbed her head up and down, joyously, unable to contain her excitement. "I love your quiche, mommy!"
"How about this, Chloe? I'll make quiche for dinner, if you help out with the dishes."
Chloe pouted. She never liked doing chores. But she really loved her mother's quiche! Finally, She reluctantly agreed to her mother's requirements. Doing the dishes is worth it for her quiche. She hadn't eaten it since last winter.
She happily pulled her mother along.
"Alright, alright, Chloe. The spinaches aren't going to go anywhere," the dark haired woman laughed, letting herself get pulled along by her daughter.
Mother and child duo finally arrived at their home. "Okay, Chloe, go clean yourself up for dinner," the woman instructed.
Chloe swiftly charged up the stairs and into the bathroom to wash her hands. She smiled, joyfully to herself, already eager to eat dinner already knowing what awaits her. She listened to the gentle sound of rushing facet water, gingerly scrubbing her tiny hands underneath after applying a generous amount of soap.
The sound of the door barged open it and it slammed against the wall hard enough to make the whole rattle caused Chloe to almost jump out of her skin in shock and fright.
The dark haired, little girl could hear the burly voices of men as they rampage inside the house making her cower in fear. When she heard the loud crash of glass shattering followed by the horrified screams of her mother, she shakingly went to investigate.
Chloe trembled as she tried steadily walking down the staircase, trying to be as silent as possible. She could her heart pounding loudly against her ears. Her whole body was shaking in fear. Drops of cold sweat lingered against the base of her forehead and the back of her neck.
She heard her mother scream in terror and protest once again, but she could barely make out the words, her brain is too much in panicking state to do so. The blood in her veins were pumping full of adrenaline as her tiny hands became clammy with sweat making it terribly difficult to get a stable and firm grip on the rails of the stairs.
The tearing of clothing and reverberated through Chloe's ears. Hot tears prickled her eyes, gliding her cheeks in miniscule rivers. What were they doing to her mom? She was so scared!
Strange noises echoed. A jolt of confusion hit Chloe for a few seconds as the noise sounded like a rubber ball being squeezed quite brutally, she may add. However, that confusion quickly turned into terror and dread as another one of her mother's pain filled cries rang out.
They were hurting her! Whatever they were doing, bad men were hurting her mother!
Chloe knew she go down there and help, but what could she do? She was just a weak, little girl. A child like can't stand up to grownups.
Still though, her trembling feet pressed forward.
Chloe inched towards the last of the stairs, and froze at the sight before her.
Green eyes stared, blankly and wide eyed at the indescribable scene before her. Her tiny, underdeveloped brain could barely comprehend what was happening. Her face remained frozen and horrified. Her blood turned ice cold, her heart refusing to pump any more blood into her veins. The rapid streamline of tears wouldn't stop pouring. A small whimper of noise escaped from her, but it was enough to alert the three men.
"Shit!" one of the men cursed. "There's a kid here."
"I thought you said this woman lived alone?" another one yelled at the third guy, accusingly.
"How the hell was I supposed to know this bitch had a kid?" the third one shouted back.
"That was your job, dumbass!"
"Enough!" the first screamed, furiously, breaking the other two's foolish arguing. "We don't have time for this! We can't leave any witnesses! Kill the kid!"
Chloe gasped, loudly in shock, whimpering in terror, her feet remained rooted to the ground as she stood there frozen.
"No! Leave my daughter alone!" her mother screamed, frantically. She desperately tried to escape her captor's grip as he had pressed against the table. She kicked her leg backwards as hard as she could. He grunted in pain, tripping over his pants, landing with a loud yelp as he his head crashed against the wooden floor with a sickening crunch. Deep red crimson was already beginning to pool from underneath him.
Chloe stared in paralyzed terror, her green eyes horrifyingly transfixed at the blood underneath the man's head.
"Chloe! Hurry! Get away!" Her mother's desperate and terrified scream was enough to snap her out of her petrified state.
"Mommy!" the little cried out to her mother, her voice broken with despair.
"Get out of here, Chloe! Hurry!"
"Shut up, bitch!"
"Mommy!" Chloe screeched, horrified and with anguish filled sorrow as her mother was struck across the face.
Her mother retaliated by slamming her head fiercely against her attacker's chest. The man cried out in pain.
Chloe gaped, shockingly dismay and with terrified distressed as her mother tried to fight off the two conscious men with all her might all the while screaming in fear and desperation for her to get away.
Finally, Chloe heeded her mother's desperate pleas, running out the house with a heart wrenching and anguish filled wail. Her feet kept hitting against the pavement of street with not attention of stopping, her face an overflowing mess of tears, only the thing that was keeping her despite the burning pain in her throat, chest, and legs was fear. Pure unadulterated fear.
Why?! Why did this have to happen?!
Green eyes fluttered, squinting when the sun's rays became to bright. She lifted her head off the mossy, cracked wall. The small house she found herself in was old, abandoned, and run down.
She let out a small yawn. Chloe snatched the small, brown bag at her side, digging her hand inside its contents. She pulled out some bread and an apple. The food she stole from those men the other day. This was going to be her breakfast for the day.
Once done, Chloe stepped outside her shabby hideout. She had to plan her next food raid.
What was she going to do? She was scared and lonely. She missed her mommy! Her eyes burned with tears.
She wanted a home! She wanted a nice, soft bed to sleep in instead of the cold, hard ground. She wanted to enjoy a warm, delicious meal, not just leftovers she finds scattered in places when people don't want them anymore! She wanted her mommy!
She crossed the corner of the street, and stopped when she see spotted that same beautiful lady she saw yesterday.
What was she doing all by herself? She couldn't keep her eyes off the lady that day. There was something different about her. Something mysterious.
However, her green eyes quickly spotted a few men. One of them pulled out a gun, and Chloe watched, fearfully as he pointed it at her. Unpleasant flashbacks entered her mind, terror and dread gripped at her, and finally she screamed.
(A/N: That's the end of chapter thirty five! I hoped you enjoyed it. This chapter… This chapter was really complicated to do. This may end up turning into another three parter. Why? Because there are three separate plots all happening at once. I've done this for before. I'm trying to balance it out. There's a plot A, a plot B, and a plot C
Plot A focuses on, as you know, Orihime and the cat. I'm not going to any more spoiler.
Plot B is mainly about Lust meeting a little, orphan girl named Chloe. My reasons? Well, remember back when I said the villains will probably be their 2003 counterparts? I decided that Lust's characterization comes from her 2003 version. I've already established earlier that she wanted to become human. Some of Envy's personality would also be his 2003 counterpart mixed with his Brotherhood one, meaning his still has his temper, but his smarter at keeping it under control and no daddy issues [since he doesn't have a dad]. The rest of the homunculi would be the same as they were in Brotherhood. People often mistake Lust as in sexual lust, but don't think that's what her sin represents. I think 'lust' is supposed to mean 'a strong desire' for something. That's what first thought when I watched the series. My initial thought was a lust for power or a lust for knowledge. A lust for humanity. Anything someone has a strong, intense desire for. I do find it funny how some people think of lust, they immediately think of sex. Your mind must be really perverted to have that as your first thought. Nothing wrong with that. I just find it amusing is all.
And plot C is the usual canon plot. Ed and Al vs Greed and his chimeras. I'm not really going to focus on this. If you guys seen Brotherhood, you know what happens. If not, just go watch episodes thirteen and fourteen. I really don't need to rewrite the whole plot, nor is there any need to. Orihime isn't not going to effect it any way. Plot C would only be mentioned once or twice.
I don't want to say anything else to avoid spoilers. I-I really don't feel like I explained myself very well. Oh, and before I forget. I have stories up for adoption, if any of you wants them. Remember, tonight's the last day to get them before they are permanently deleted. Last call!
Leave any comments, suggestions, or questions in a review, and thanks for reading!)