It was Mother’s Day in my part of the world on Sunday, even though It is usually May for most of the world. :)
I actually wanted to post this Sunday, but didn’t finish it on time. I got this plot bunny before my idea for @moms-made-fullmetal-2017, so even though I could have waited til then, I wanted to still do something for Mother’s Day (at least in Ireland and UK).
This is part of my Without Her, or Family Portrait AU. Beth is Roy and Riza’s child, and Roy has to raise her alone after Riza died. This fic is pure fluff, I promise.
Belly full, Roy sprawled out on his favourite armchair in his aunt’s parlour. Chris was in the armchair opposite with Beth on her lap. The little girl seemed a little restless and she slipped down from Chris’ lap.
Roy straightened up in the chair. “Are you okay, sweetheart?”
“Want play!” Beth walked to the toy chest in the corner.
Chris shook her head and looked over at her nephew. “She knows what she wants.”
Beth plonked down on her bottom beside the chest. The chest was always brought out ahead of their visits. It was filled with books, toys and teddies. Chris loved to dote on little Beth.
“Dinner was delicious, Chris,” Roy said.
“I noticed.” She arched an eyebrow. “You ate enough of it.”
“Take some pity on me. My cooking skills are not comparable to yours. I have to take advantage when your turn to make Sunday roast.”
“It’s your turn to cook for the three of us next time.” She waggled her finger. “Don’t think you can con me Roy Mustang! I know all your tricks.”
“You offend me,” Roy replied.
Roy watched his daughter playing out of the corner of his eye. Her head was in the toy chest and her arm knocked some toys out onto the floor.
“Oops!” Beth’s hands went to her mouth.
“Beth, be careful!”
Beth was already putting the toys back into the chest. “Okay Daddy.”
Roy’s heart swelled with pride.
He glanced at his aunt. “Beth loves coming here too.”
“It’s mutual,” Chris replied. “You know if I’m honest, it might have something to do with the toy chest though.”
Roy raised an eyebrow. “Remember when I said that you should stop buying her toys?”
“Pfft.” She waved a hand at him. “My house, my rules.”
“You’re getting soft, you know.”
“Don’t tell anyone.” The corners of her mouth turned upward.
“Now, Beth what are you doing, honey?”
“House.” Beth stuck out her tongue in concentration as she placed the blocks on top of one another.
Chris bent down to join Beth, who was playing with wooden blocks on the floor. “Can I play with you?”
Beth nodded and handed Chris some bricks.
Roy sat up in the chair. “Are you sure you will be able to get up?”
“Cheeky!” Chris threw a cushion at him. “I liked you better when you were praising me.”
Roy just about avoided the cushion.
He sat back in the chair and watched his aunt and daughter play together. It was a relief to have a second pair of eyes. Beth was getting into everything. She was a very curious child; she wanted to know what everything was. She had also had developed a penchant for climbing on furniture which was a terrifying development. His kid was too smart for her own good.
Beth abandoned the blocks and started rummaging in the chest again. She pulled out some books and sat on the floor again.
“I wish I knew you at the age,” Chris said wistfully. “You must have been a handful.”
“Hey! Why would you say that?”
“Given the number of times you’ve voluntarily walked into danger…” She started counting on her fingers. “Enlisting, treason, homunculi - I could go on.”
Roy rolled his eyes. “I was in control … most of the time.”
“Think that if it helps you sleep better at night.” She patted Beth on the head. “Your daddy is a fool, and you’re going to terrify him someday. I see that dangerous Mustang glint in your eyes.”
Beth looked up from the book in her hands and nodded. “Silly Daddy!”
Chris threw her head back and laughed.
“Don’t listen to her, sweetheart,” Roy said.
“Allow an old lady her moment of revenge.” Chris kissed Beth on the forehead. She looked over at Roy, a smirk on her face. “I’ll say this though. If your little girl ever enlists in the military, you’ll have to get in line behind me to shake sense into her.”
Roy shivered at the thought. Neither he nor Riza ever wanted that for their child. They had vowed they would never let their child make the same mistakes they had. Chris must have noticed Roy’s eyes glaze over, because she had turned her attention back to Beth.
“I blame your Grandpa for stealing your daddy away,” Chris was saying to Beth.
“I think I turned out alright in the end.” Roy leaned forward in the chair. “Isn’t that right, Beth?”
“Book!” She waved the book in the air.”
Roy held out his arms and she headed straight for him. “Do you want a story from Daddy?” He scooped her up into his arms.
She snuggled into his chest, and he smiled. He loved the way she was so affectionate with him. He dreaded the day she inevitably no longer craved cuddles with her Dad.
“Hmm - what’s this?” He looked at the title of the book and smiled. It was one of Beth’s favourites from Chris’ treasure trove. He started to read, “My visit to Grandma.”
Beth tugged at his sleeve and pointed at Chris. “Gan!”
Roy’s eyes widened, and he looked over at Chris, who had frozen.
“Did you hear that?” Roy spoke slowly. “I think she just tried to call you Grandma!”
Out of the mouth of babes.
“Gan,” Beth repeated pulled on his arm again. “Ganma.”
Roy gazed down at his little girl. “Yes - that’s your Grandma.”
He glanced at his aunt again, who had averted her face.
“Chris? You don’t mind, do you? I mean-”
“It’s okay Roy-boy.” Chris turned back to face him. “It’s just I never expected to be called such a thing.” She wiped at her eyes. “Oh Beth, you little darling.”
“It makes sense, at least for me,” Roy said quietly. “After all, you’ve been a mother to me for the most of my life.”
Roy watched open-mouthed as his usually stoic aunt started to cry.
Oh no - I didn’t mean to make her cry.
He stood up, shifting Beth to his hip. She giggled at the sudden movement, although she clung to him tightly all the same.
Chris waved him away. “I’m fine, I’m fine.”
Roy ignored her protests, and hugged her with free arm.
“It will be a while before she can say Grandma,” he whispered in her ear.
“The little darling can call me whatever she wants.”
“You’ve definitely gone soft, Grandma.”
Roy swallowed the lump that had formed in his throat. He reminded himself that he should tell his aunt more often how much she meant to him.