The door opened with a faint clicking noise, and a voice sounded inside the waiting room, “Edward?” The doctor asked, searching the small waiting area until she met with the distraught eyes she was looking for.
“Ah, there you all are…” she rubbed her hands together and stepped inside, shutting the door quietly behind her.
Ed straightened in his seat, and Alphonse mirrored him, giving his brother one last concerning glance before he turned to the doctor.
“How are they?” his strained voice was like a knife in her throat. Honestly, she still had no idea what to say. Despite the long walk she had traveled to get to the room, her mind had come up with nothing. Only worry was present.
She sighed and rubbed her forehead, deciding to act like an adult and tell it to him straight, “I honestly can’t say that I know. Winry is in critical condition, and the baby is being taken care of in the NICU.” She paused and took in a breath, not daring to look him in the eyes, “Winry lost a dangerous amount of blood during the operation and that combined with her sickness doesn’t make for a fast recovery rate. The baby is alive and breathing, his heart rate is low, but that’s to be expected since he was born so early on in the pregna-“
The doctor’s head snapped up at the realization that she had revealed the baby’s gender, and was met with gold, tear stricken eyes.
She swallowed back the lump in her throat and looked back down at her hands, “Yes. You both have a little boy on your hands now.”
“haa….” Ed let out a breathy sigh and brought his hands up to his forehead, taking this information in. A son. He had a son. They had a son.
Alphonse set a hand on his brothers back, tears also threatening to overflow in his eyes. He’d had a hunch that the baby was going to be a boy.
Their wait was finally over, though it had only begun hours ago. The mind numbing, nail chewing, foot tapping silence had died down for now. He had his answers, but more questions had come out of them, starting yet another waiting period.
“What do we do now?” Ed voiced his question to the doctor, and she looked up at him with a guilty expression on her features.
“I truly am sorry, but you’ll have to wait this out again.” She answered in a sorrowful tone.
“We can do that.” Alphonse spoke this time; arousing glances form both his brother and the doctor. “Winry will be fine.” He stopped and turned to Ed, “Like I was telling you before brother, Winry’s strong. She can pull through. And if you’re son is anything like his parents,” he paused and smiled, his brother’s perseverance through the years running through his head, “he’s going to be just as tough.”
The doctor took a step back, and observed the pair, not quite knowing how to react to their optimism. It was almost as if there was an unspoken conversation happening behind the words that were actually spoken. Years of history, trauma, and experience were being exchanged with a single look, she could tell, the scene in front of her bringing back a wave of memories from when they had returned.
The news of what the brothers had done over in Central had spread throughout the country like wildfire, Resembool of course being one of the first places to hear anything thanks to Pinako Rockbell. The whole town was soon in an uproar over the turn of events. They were ecstatic that the children they had labeled as “unfortunate” and “broken” in the past had saved each and every one of their lives. They had made a name for themselves, intentional or not, and climbed out of the worst of situations.
The town was proud, and welcomed them back home with open arms instead of side-glances full of sympathy. They weren’t the “poor boys who had lost their mother” or “the children whose father abandoned them” or “the foolish children who had committed a taboo” anymore. In their eyes, they had become a hero’s of sorts.
Of course, given their personalities, Edward had refused to be called a hero and found the attention annoying, while Alphonse had grinned a sheepish smile and voiced a heart filled thanks to everyone that praised him.
The doctor looked at them now, and decided they were the strongest people she ever had the privilege of knowing. Here they sat, faced with yet another terrible affair and they were smiling encouraging smiles, and had eyes lit up by hope. Despite they’re show of optimism, being who she was, what she’s seen, and knowing how most of these cases turn out, she couldn’t bring herself to hope as strongly as they were.
Oh, they’re strong alright.
She heaved a long sigh, collected her thoughts, and cleared her throat to gain their attention, “I’m fairly sure that your boy will be alright. His heartbeat was faint, but steady and that’s a really good sign. All he needs is to be kept in the NICU, watched over, a few more weeks to develop properly and he should be good to go.”
“Can we see them?”
“Yes actually. You’ll have to wait for us to move your wife to a different room, but your son has already been placed in his own bed so you can see him now if you’d like.” She paused, and looked over to Mei who was still sleeping awkwardly on the seats, “Um, is that girl alright? She’s hasn’t moved at all since we’ve been talking.”
“Oh!” Alphonse snapped out of his focused state and turned back to a drooling May who had slumped over while he had been talking to Ed. “Yeah she’s fine! She’s just tired.” He assured the doctor.
She gave a concerning glance, but brushed it off. There were more urgent matters she needed to attend to, “I’ll give you a moment to collect your things. I’ll be waiting outside to take you to the NICU.”
Both Ed and Al nodded to her as she stepped out.
“May?” Alphonse placed a hand on May’s forearm and gave it a light shake, Xiao-Mei giving him a helping hand. “Oh man. Her necks going to be killing her when she gets up….”
“Way to go Alphonse. You should be more considerate of your girlfriend.”
“Yeah I know…”
It took a second before Al froze. Confusion. A glance back at his brother. Then realization.
“Wha- how- wai- huh?!?!?” Al voiced his obvious embarrassment at his brother while his face began going red, “When did I…??! How did you…??”
Ed only chuckled at his brother’s reaction, wondering if he had looked the same all those years ago, “I’m not stupid Al.” He reached over and ruffled his brothers hair, “Anyone would see it with the way you two act around each other, especially me. Wait scratch that. Winry noticed it first, and then when IIIIII had realized and asked her about, she gushed about how perfect you two seemed together.”
Alphonse looked down, his blush still holding strong, “………..It was that obvious?”
Ed reached over and grasped his brother on the shoulder, “Good for you Al. Really.”
Alphonse looked back up, forgetting his embarrassment for the moment. Ed’s face held a sincerity that he’d only seen a handful of times, but the sadness and worry from his current predicament still lingered on his features, particularly on his eyebrows.
And a weight lifted off of Al’s shoulder’s. He’d been meaning to tell his brother and Winry about this, but his embarrassment kept getting the better of him, though it’s not like he knew how to bring it up in the first place.
Seeing his brother and Winry get married was when he had really begun to think about the “love” thing. They had both look so..so HAPPY, that it made him think about what it would be like if he were to get married sometime in the future. And yes, he had spent more time thinking about it than realizing what was right in front of him. Once he did though, he reprimanded himself for saying that his brother was the most oblivious to his own feelings, which he had been, but it felt wrong to have called him that when he had been equally oblivious.
Ed was about to reply, but just as he was May began stirring awake.
“mmmm….” She groaned as she began to feel the pain in her neck.
“Oh, you’re awake now?” Al turned his attention back to her as he she began waking up.
“Hmm, yeah.” She sat up, and blinked twice before she remembered where she was.
“Oh! Was there any news?! What happened?!” she began groggily asking the two men in front of her, confused by the expressions they were sporting.
“Yes, there actually was some news. You just missed the doctor.” Al replied.
“Well, what happened?” she straightened herself out a bit more, and brought a hand up to the side of her neck as Xiao-Mei hopped onto her shoulder.
“I’ll explain on the way there. We’re going to see the baby now.”
The pair of brothers got up from their seats, along with May and her companion, grabbed their belongings and began to make their way out of the room.
As promised, the doctor was silently waiting outside of the door, a solemn look on her face.
“Are we ready now?” she asked as she pushed herself off the wall she was leaning against and addressed the trio, or quartet if you include the little one on the girls shoulder.
Ed only nodded, words not wanting to come out of his mouth. He couldn’t even really say that he was ready anyway, at least not whole-heartedly.
The doctor nodded back to him in response, and began leading the group towards their destination.
He sucked in a breath, and let it out silently. His son and wife were waiting on the other side of the hospital, and that was all the cause he needed to throw away his fear and continue on down the old halls of the hospital.
A son….. huh?