On that fateful night he had two choices that would result in him keeping the life he had.. but the wrong choice resulted in him losing the only precious thing in his life, but what if he'd gone w...
By Rebecca Mason.
Authors Notes: Shou, Nina and Alexander belong to Hiromu Arakawa.
Finding a Solution.
Shou Tucker sat in the darkness of the mansion's dining room, things were looking very bleak.
Earlier Basque Grand had come over and had more or less given Shou an ultimatum.
Either he produced good results for the assessment that was in less than two days.. or he lost his certification as a State Alchemist and he, Nina and Alexander would have this mansion and life-style taken away from them..and be put back into a life of poverty; something that two or so years previously, Shou had to make a huge sacrifice to get them out of.
He didn't want to go back to being poor, how on earth would he be able to support both Nina and Alexander then?
Shou knew Nina wouldn't be used to being poor, it would be too much of a big change for her.. and if it turned out that they couldn't keep Alexander....that would completely break her, Alexander was her only friend; Shou could remember all the times Nina played with Alexander, how her cheerful laughter always could be heard outside in the garden.
If Alexander was gone, Nina would probably never smile or laugh again, and then there was the fear that Nina would be taken away from Shou.
If that did happen, Shou just wouldn't be able to go on.. Nina meant the world to him, ever since the day of her birth.
Although he was nothing like Major Maes Hughes, Shou still tried to spend as much time with his daughter when he got the chance.
It was just that with the assessment date coming up, Shou had been waist-deep in research and felt that he had to get all of it done before the dead-line, it was a habit he'd got back when he was a teenager working in the gun factory, believing that if he got all the work done fast, he could do more pleasant things afterwards.
That had also been the reason as to why he'd married Nina's mother so late as well, work had kept them waiting for at least three years before they both tied the knot and work had also kept them waiting another three years before Nina was born.
" Well it won't take me over this time.." he muttered quietly to himself.
" Once I get the funding for the result of the assessment..I'm going to try and spend as much time with Nina as possible"
Ideas had been running through his head lately, decisions on what to do..everyone had been asking Shou to make another talking chimera..even the Elric brothers wanted to see one.. and not being able to say 'no', Shou had promised them that he'd show it to them once it was made.
" But everyone wants me to... maybe I should.."
But what would he use? there were guards keeping watch outside the house.. he couldn't use one of them, it would be too noticable.
The Elric brothers were no longer staying at the house..and even if they were, Shou couldn't of used the smaller one.
Everyone would definately notice if the military's new prized 'possesion' went missing.
Right now there were only three life-forms in the house that he could use to make the talking chimera that everyone wanted to see.
Nina, Alexander...and himself.
But his eyes widened with fear at the mere thought of using his daughter as an ingredient in the making of the said-chimera.
He still felt intense guilt from when he used Nina's mother as an ingredient to make that other talking chimera, back when he became a State Alchemist.
The nightmares of his chimera-ized wife still haunted him from time to time, as if mocking him for his foolish actions.
He had always tried to apologise to her, tried to tell her that there had been no other way, that he did it for all of them..and if she hadn't of killed herself, she would of been able to be there for it too, granted she wouldn't of been in her original human form but she still would of been there.
But she never listened to him, she didn't understand him.. and she never had, not even when she was human.
Shaking himself from his reminiscence, Shou once again focused on the matter that was at hand.
" Surely if I did use Nina..she'd understand me.....right?" he looked up at the ceiling for a few seconds, as if expecting someone to answer him.. but as he should of expected, no reply was to be heard.
" Who am I kidding?....I'd be a monster if I did such a thing.." he said, drooping his head with a sigh, but he'd made a promise to those boys..and when Shou Tucker made a promise he intended to keep it..even if in reality that meant his needs came last.
But then again.. his needs always had came last when work was concerned.... the people he worked for, they didn't care if he lost the one precious thing in his life that kept him going, that one thing that kept his sanity in tact, that one thing that stopped the darker insane part of his personality from surfacing.
" My baby..my little Nina.." he squeaked quietly.
He had started to sob helplessly, it seemed like everything was lost, no matter how he looked at it.
" But if I did do it...what if someone found out?.. what could I tell them ... because I did it out of blind curiousity and for the scientific good of man-kind? ....or to see just what I could really do with this skill and knowlege that I have?! or would I just tell them the truth and say that I did it to keep this house, just so me and Nina wouldn't end up on the streets?" he had started blurting out questions to just himself, hoping that somehow he could find some kind of solution.. but to no avail, once again no answers came.
He then just sat for the next few minutes in silence, it was only when he heard Nina say ' Daddy' that he turned around to face his little girl, there she was.. his little angel, standing in the doorway with Alexander.
The decision that he feared was starting to make itself even more clear, but he wasn't going to allow it to overtake him, he needed to try and put on a brave face.
" Are you hurtin' somewhere?" the small child asked as she looked up at her father, her expression was full of concern for her father.
Alexander whined slightly, also as if to ask Shou what was wrong.
Shou looked to Nina and Alexander for a while, his expression seemed lost at first.
' Right...keep it together Shou..keep it together' he mentally said to himself as he rose slowly from the dining room's chair.
However as he stood up, his face faltered as he tried to hold back tears.
' So much for keeping it together..' he almost heard a voice that sounded like his, say in the back of his head.
While that concerned him slightly, he just knelt down til he was eye-level with Nina.
' I can't....I just can't.. ' he thought to himself and gently pulled his beloved daughter into a fatherly hug.
' I can't hide anything from her anymore.... I've hidden so much from her already.. all those letters and drawings to her mother.. I burnt every single one of them just to protect her from the truth.. but all this time.. I've just been making it worse..'
" I'm...at the end of the line here...Nina" he finally said, as he held her close to him.
For Nina, that was all it took.. she looked to her father, then smiled an understanding smile and hugged back.
" Daddy.." was all she said.
A few more minutes passed as both father and daughter hugged.
Shou wished that all the uncertainties that threatened their happy lives together just melted away..just so that the two of them could carry on living like this, not even all the knowledge and power in the world could replace this feeling that both father and daughter shared.
But finally the tranquility of the moment was broken as Shou spoke up.
" Nina, sweetheart.." he said as he looked to her.
" Hmm? "
He could hear her sleepy reply and chuckled quietly.
" I think somebody needs to go to beddy-byes now" he said, stroking her hair gently.
Nina smiled and put her arms sleepily around her father's neck.
" Okay Daddy, and don't worry.. I'll make sure that the bed bugs don't bite me" she giggled as she looked up to her father's gentle face.
" That's my girl" Shou said chuckling slightly as he stood up slowly, his arms carefully supported Nina in a fatherly hold and began to walk towards the stairs.
Alexander trotted alongside Shou, scrambling up the steps of the stairs once Shou had started his ascension up them too.
Once he'd got to Nina's bedroom, he'd helped Nina get into her night-dress, before laying her down in her bed, although as he was tucking her in so that she wouldn't fall out of bed, he heard her say something.
" Will everything be okay tomorrow Daddy?.." she asked, although she didn't show it much, he could hear how worried she sounded.
" Everything'll be okay sweetheart, I promise.. have sweet dreams.." he said with a gentle smile and kissed her gently on the forehead.
The little girl returned the smile and giggled gently as he kissed her on the forehead.
"Goodnight Daddy" she said, slowly closing her eyes as she slipped off into dream-land.
Shou smiled at his little girl as she fell asleep before quietly going out of the room, he patted his side motioning for Alexander to follow him, he then walked alongside the big dog as he once again walked back down to the dining room.
" Well I didn't do it.." he said with a triumphant grin.
" I didn't take Nina to my lab.. I didn't make myself a monster!" he said. chuckling happily to himself, almost too happy in fact.. deliriously happy.
" I still have my little girl, she didn't suffer the same fate as her mother, we can still be together!" he carried on muttering to himself.
However that chuckling and smile gradually faded until he looked like his usual sombre self.
" But.. people still want that talking chimera..and I promised Nina that everything would be okay" he put his hands to his head.
He'd just gone and made things even more complicated for himself.
Alexander barked a little and whined, nudging at his master's leg with his cold wet nose.
" I know Alexander.. I don't want to disappoint Nina either.. but if I disappoint the people I work for.. I'll end up breaking two promises..because thing's won't be alright if I don't give everyone else what they want" he stroked the dog's head gently and leaned back in the chair.
" If only I could find one perfect solution in this jumbled mess.." he sighed.
" Something that could fufil both promises..we'd be alright and able to go on with this happy life.. and everyone would see this oh-so wonderful talking chimera"
He then just chuckled half-heartily.
" At this point in time boy, I'd be willing to try anything.. just as long as it meant Nina's safety..I mean she has me and you.. but if they take away all our money.. I don't even know if we'd be allowed to keep you.. I can't lie to you there.."
Alexander's ears flattened slightly and he whimpered, he could tell how his master was feeling now..and started to lick his hand in an effort to comfort him.
" It's alright..I don't plan on losing you either.. I mean me and you..we're a team.. you look after her when I can't.. and I look after her as a parent..I know that she needs both of us.."
His lazy gaze had drifted to a nearby mirror where he saw him and Alexander reflected in it.
" Both of us.." he repeated, his eyes resting on the view he saw in the mirror.
All of a sudden, Shou's once sad expression broke into a small grin as his mind had come up with another solution, surely this one would work.
" Alexander....I think I've got it.."
To be continued!