Hughes is restless.
Beside her, Maes propped himself up on one elbow, watching her sleep. He lifted a hand to touch her, caress her bare shoulder, but dropped it again. He didn't want to wake her. She trembled slightly and he pulled the blankets up to her shoulders, his hands brushing her skin after all. He loved the feel of her smooth skin against his calloused hands.
He rolled onto his back, staring at the dark ceiling. Something big was coming, he could feel it. His instincts were pretty sharp; it was hard to survive in the military and impossible to advance without them. Sharp instincts or no, he had no idea what this big thing was. All he could really do was keep his eyes open and be ready when it happened. Maes glanced at his wife again. And pray that it didn't touch his family.
Throwing back the covers, he rose, pausing long enough to tuck them around Gracia. She didn't even stir and he gazed down at her. She was still beautiful and still kind. He finally gave into temptation and touched her face. He still loved her.
Maes threw on a robe, stepped into slippers and padded through the silent house. He couldn't sleep and he didn't want to wake Gracia. She did that sometimes when he laid awake thinking. She always told him that he thought too loud.
He paused to stare out a window. The crescent moon provided little light this late at night. He remembered night talks with Roy, especially just after the war. There had also been nights when he was still a bachelor, nights where they stayed up all night, drinking and talking about nothing. He missed those nights.
Now, Roy was entangling himself in the intricacies of military politics. He had promised to push him to the top and he wasn't about to renege on his promise. He had a good head on his shoulders, but sometimes he wondered if Roy hadn't bitten off more than he could chew. Sometimes Maes thought he could even see the noose tightening around Roy's neck.
He continued his restless trek through the house, inevitably standing in the doorway of his daughter's room. He smiled as his dark thoughts fled. She really looked like an angel sleeping. He entered her room and kissed her cheek. She sighed softly, just like her mother, and curled a tiny fist under her chin.
He suddenly wondered what the Elrics had been like at that age. His smile faded. They had seen horrors that would have turned grown men into quivering piles and still they pressed on, ever-reaching for the philosopher's stone.
He didn't know much about their past, but he didn't know that their father had abandoned them when they were both young. He chuckled softly. Everyone talks about motherly instinct, but no one ever mentions fatherly instincts. He felt like their father sometimes: keeping them out of trouble as best as he could, slipping them otherwise classified information, seeing that they are able to reach their goals.
Elicia twitched as she dreamed and he turned his eyes back to her, watching her sleep. He wondered what she would be like at Ed's age. Would she be calm like Al or ambitious and pushy like Ed. And Roy. He chuckled again. Sometimes it seemed like he was working with two version of the same person.
He knew why Ed pushed himself. It was the same reason Roy did. Their unrelenting pursuits of their goals were their entire lives and hew knew that both were afraid to stop and look back on their lives. He wondered if Al knew it. He couldn't read the stoic armor, but sometimes, when Al looked at him, he thought he could almost see human emotions. But then the helmet would turn and look at something else and the emotions Maes was trying to put into words would fade from his mind.
Maes rested his head on top of Elicia's head, feeling her feathery hair beneath his firm hand. She would grow up to be a wonderful woman, he just knew it. He was determined to give her the best education he could afford. He suddenly wondered what she would be like as an adult, what her talents would be. Would she study alchemy? He'd support her, of course, but he would beg her to stay out of the military if he had to.
He leaned down and kissed her on the forehead. He needed to return to bed soon or Gracia would wake and come looking for him. She worried too much about him, even though she tried to act otherwise. He did his best to keep work and home parts of two very different worlds, but there were times when he would stare off into space, deep in thought, and she'd drop whatever she was doing to just hold him in her arms.
Entering his room once more, he kicked off his slippers and dropped his robe on the floor beside the bed. He slid into bed slowly, the ease coming with practice. How many nights had there been when he was called away or didn't even return home until after Gracia had gone to bed? He had lost count years ago. He eased the blanket away from his wife and pulled it up to ward off the chilly night. He snuggled up to the beautiful woman and wrapped his arms around her. She sighed again, but still didn't wake. Maes closed his eyes and breathed in her scent. He finally drifted off to sleep.