Sacrifice

Hang In There

(Alphonse’s POV)

“Hurry, Al! She could be dying!” Edward shouted as we ran back to Headquarters.

I held Alex close to me. Most of her shirt was stained a dark red at this point. “I’m coming, brother!”

We rounded the corner and burst into Headquarters. The main room was pretty much empty. Everyone was working in their offices.

“Let’s go to Colonel Mustang.” I said, running over to his office.

Ed threw open the door to his office. “Alex got shot!”

The colonel gasped and jumped to his feet. “What happened? Where were you guys? On second thought, wait before you answer that. Let’s take her to the infirmary first.”

We hurried into the infirmary and I set the unconscious Alex down on a bed.

Colonel Mustang looked at her. “By the looks of it, the bullet wound isn’t nearby any of her vital organs. It’s her breast.” He said.

Edward blushed a little bit. “So what do we do?”

“You two are going to get Lieutenant Hawkeye. I am going to get the bullet out of her.” The colonel said, pulling on some heavy-duty gloves.

“You’re not taking her shirt off, are you?” My brother asked.

“This is a medical emergency. I am going to do what needs to be done.” Colonel Mustang replied.

“Can’t Lieutenant Hawkeye remove it?” Ed asked.

The colonel sighed. “If you two aren’t back in one minute with the lieutenant, I’m removing her shirt.”

That was all it took to send us flying down the hall. We reached the lieutenant’s office, and I knocked on her door.

“Why are you knocking? We have forty-five seconds until Alex’s shirt is going off! This is an emergency!” Edward cried.

The door opened. “Hello again, you two.” Lieutenant Hawkeye greeted us.

“Alex got shot and she’s in the infirmary and you need to take her shirt off!” I rambled.

The lieutenant’s eyes widened. “Let’s go, then.”

We ran back to the infirmary, with exactly five seconds to spare. Yes, I had been counting.

“Hello, Lieutenant. The wound is on her left breast.” Colonel Mustang told her.

Lieutenant Hawkeye pulled on some gloves and took a pair of sterile scissors out of a drawer. Slowly, she cut Alex’s shirt down the middle and moved the pieces of fabric.

“Can someone get me a few wet towels?” The lieutenant asked.

The colonel ran and got several towels and a bowl of warm water. He brought them to her.

“Thank you.” Lieutenant Hawkeye got a towel wet and wiped the blood off of Alex’s chest and stomach. She picked up the scissors again and started to cut Alex’s bra off.

I grabbed my brother and turned around. “We don’t need to be seeing this.”

Ed started freaking out. “She’s hurt! What if… Wait… What about Mustang? Does he need to be seeing this?”

The colonel walked over to us, his back also facing Alex. “If you need help, Lieutenant Hawkeye, just let me know.”

“Can someone get the tweezers?” The lieutenant asked.

Edward broke free of my grip, dashed over to the drawer, and pulled some tweezers out. “Here.” He said, handing them to her.

“Thank you.” She replied.

My brother walked over to me. “There’s a blanket covering most of her… Never mind.”

“Tell me you did not get the tweezers just to sneak a peek at Alex.” I sighed.

He blushed. “N… No! I just don’t want to feel useless.”

“Can someone get the hydrogen peroxide?” Lieutenant Hawkeye asked.

Colonel Mustang opened the cabinet and gave the lieutenant a brown bottle.

“Thank you.”

We stood with our backs to Alex for a few more minutes, until Lieutenant Hawkeye spoke again.

“I need everyone’s help with the bandages.”

“Is Alex… Decent?” I asked.

“Yes.” She said.

We all turned around. Ed and I walked over to Alex, and the colonel headed over to the drawer to get some bandages and gauze.

A blanket was covering most of Alex’s chest, although it revealed just enough skin for me to see her bullet wound.

“She’s very lucky. The bullet didn’t go that deep, and it didn’t destroy anything. She’ll probably have a scar, but that’s about it. Her mammary glands are still intact, so she’ll be able to breastfeed.” The lieutenant said.

Edward turned bright red. “That’s… That’s a good thing.”

Lieutenant Hawkeye put several pieces of gauze over Alex’s wound. “Can you three go behind her and hold the bandages in place? I’ll hand the roll of bandages to you, Colonel, and can you pass it back to me?”

Colonel Mustang nodded, and we moved behind Alex. The lieutenant sat Alex up, and the blanked covering her chest fell. Ed blushed again, even though we could only see her back.

The colonel and Lieutenant Hawkeye passed the roll of bandages back and forth, wrapping Alex’s chest. My brother and I held the bandages against her back.

After a few minutes, the lieutenant cut the roll of and tucked the end of the bandage into the wrap. “There. We’re done.”

Ed and I took our hands off of Alex’s back and walked over to the front of the bed.

“How long will she be confined to the bed?” My brother asked.

“I say a week, just to be sure. But she’s going to have to keep those bandages on for a while.” Lieutenant Hawkeye said. “She’s all right now, so I’m going to go tell the others what happened. Edward and Alphonse, why don’t you stay with Alex in case she wakes up.”

“I’ll go too. But be sure to come and get me if she wakes up. But before we go, can you please tell me why Alex got shot?” Colonel Mustang requested.

I looked at the ground. “We were buying some things, and on our way back from the general store, there was a gunshot and Alex got hit. I looked around, but we still have no idea who shot her.”

The colonel nodded. “We’ll find him. Trust me. Nobody gets away with hurting Alex.”

Ed pulled a chair over next to Alex. “I’ll stay with her. I want to be there when she wakes up.”

The lieutenant and Colonel Mustang walked out of the room. I moved a chair to the other side of Alex’s bed, opposite of my brother.

“What are we going to do now?” I asked.

Edward looked at me. “We’re going to wait for her to wake up. I’m positive that she’ll come to soon.”

I looked at him. “How do you know?”

“I can feel it, Al.” He replied. “Hey, we should do something for Alex.”

“Like what?”

“I don’t know. Make her a card? Get her flowers?”

“We should! Great idea, brother.” I said. “I bet lots of people are going to give her flowers. We should do something unique.”

My brother looked at Alex. “Yeah. But what?”

“How about chocolate?” I asked.

“That is a good idea, but we’d have to get some. I really don’t want to leave her side.” Ed told me.

“You’re right. Hmm… Oh! I know! How about we make her a treat?” I suggested.

“How would we do that without leaving the room?”

“I could get some things from the kitchen, and we could use alchemy to bake it in here!”

Ed frowned. “I’m not that good of a cook. That’s Alex’s specialty.”

“Oh, come on! We could try! You’ve watched Winry bake hundreds of times! What’s the worst that could happen?”

“Fine. But what are we going to make her?”

“How about a Xingese treat of some sort? We could use a little matcha powder and…”

“Wait. Where are we going to get a recipe for a Xingese pastry?”

I looked at my brother. “There’s a library nearby. Maybe they have a something there. I’ll go check it out. You stay with Alex.”

Edward sighed. “All right. But be back with everything in half an hour.”

“Thank you, brother!” I called, running out of the infirmary.

“Let’s see… Where’s the library… Oh! I remember! I’ve just got to go this way… And turn here… And keep going straight… And turn here again, and… Perfect!” I ran up the steps of the National Central Library.

“Are there any Xingese recipe books?” I asked a librarian, after sneaking inside.

She nodded. “This way.”

The woman led me deeper into the library. She stopped in front of a bookshelf.

“We have six that have been translated. What are you looking for?” She asked me.

“Do you have anything on sweets?” I wondered.

The librarian leafed through the shelf and handed me a book. “This one has a couple hundred recipes.”

“Thanks. Can I borrow a piece of paper?”

She walked me over to her desk and handed me a pen and paper.

“Awesome. Thank you so much.”

The lady nodded. “Any time.”

I sat down at a nearby table and leafed through the recipe book. “Matcha… Matcha… Matcha… Chocolate! Matcha chocolate!”

Quickly, I copied down the recipe, which I found to be quite simple. Then I put the book back on the shelf and handed the pen back to the librarian.

“Thanks again.” I told her, dashing outside of the library. I hurried over to a nearby store and was quickly greeted by a worker.

“Do you have any white chocolate, whipping cream, butter, and matcha?” I asked quickly.

The worker nodded. “Here. Follow me.” He said, leading me around the store.

We gathered the ingredients, and after I paid, I thanked him and ran outside.

“Back to Alex, back to Alex, back to Alex!” I said, running back to Headquarters.

“Cafeteria!” I ran inside the kitchen and looked at the recipe. “Do you have a large bowl and a pot?”

A kitchen worker handed me both. I thanked her and ran back to the infirmary.

“I’m back! Did Alex wake up yet?” I asked, walking into the room.

Edward shook his head. “Not yet. Did you get everything?”

I nodded. “Yep! Look, there’s this super easy recipe for matcha chocolate!”

“You actually pulled it off, Al. I’m impressed.” My brother said.

“Okay. Step one. Cut the white chocolate and butter into small pieces.” I told him.

Ed transmuted his automail arm into a blade. I made a tray out of the wall and set the chocolate and butter on it. It was kind of entertaining to watch my brother cut the ingredients with his arm.

“All right. What’s next?” He asked.

“Step two. Heat up the whipping cream.”

My brother poured the cream into the pot, clapped his hands, and touched the pot’s rim. “Done.”

“Step three. Mix together the butter, white chocolate, and cream.”

“Got it.” My brother changed the blade to a whisk and dumped the butter and chocolate into the pot. “If you say anything about this to Winry, I will kill you.” He said, mixing the ingredients together and glaring at me.

“I won’t.” I said, trying not to laugh. It was really a funny scene: Edward sitting on the floor and blending chocolate with his arm.

“All right. Step four. Add the matcha powder into the mixture.” I picked up the container of matcha and dumped some of it into the pot. Ed blended it with the rest of the ingredients.

“Step five. Pour the chocolate into a tray and let it cool for a few minutes.”

Edward transmuted the cutting tray into a baking pan. I poured the mixture into the pan.

“Do you think Alex will wake up soon?” I asked as we waited for the chocolate to cool.

“I think that when we finish the chocolate, she’ll wake up. Wait… What are we going to put the chocolate in?” Ed asked, changing the whisk back into an arm again.

I stood up quickly. “I don’t know! I didn’t think of that! Can you transmute something for her?”

My brother nodded. “Yeah. Let’s see… I need metal.” He said, transmuting the pot into a square container with a lid.

“We need to return that!” I shouted, turning the container back into a pot. “I borrowed it from the kitchen!”

“Fine! But where are we going to get metal?” Edward pouted. Suddenly, his eyes started gleaming. “Okay, this will only take a second, Al…” He said, crawling over to me.

“No! Ed, we’re not using my armor for this! Are you crazy?” I cried, pushing him away.

“I’m not using all of it! I just want a little bit! Besides, when she’s done with the chocolate, I’ll give it back. Come on, Al. Do for Alex.” Ed told me.

“Oh, all right. But when she finishes the chocolate, I get it back. Okay?” I surrendered.

Ed nodded. “Okay.” He clapped his hands together and pressed them against my back. A little box with a lid fell off of me.

I sighed. “If you’re using my armor, I’m going to design the box. Deal?”

Edward handed the box to me. “Deal.”

“Thank you. Now, Ed. You are going to give Alex the chocolate in… This!” I said, changing the container’s shape into a heart.

He turned bright red. “What! No! That’s not fair! I can’t…”

“Don’t be that way! Do you have any idea how happy that will make her?” I asked.

“Oh, fine. You win. I think the chocolate’s cooled long enough. What’s the next step?” Ed asked.

“Step six. Cut the chocolate into medium sized squares and cover it with a pinch of matcha powder. Serve and enjoy.” I told him.

My brother transmuted his arm into a blade and sliced the chocolate. “There.” He reverted the knife into its original form.

I dusted the chocolate with matcha. “We’re done.”

We cleaned up the room. I returned the tray to the wall.

“I’ll go do the dishes. Be back in five minutes.” I said, walking outside with the pot and the bowl.

After washing the dishes and leaving them out to dry, I headed back to the infirmary.

Ed was sitting in the chair next to Alex’s bed. He looked at me. “Hey, Al?”

“Yeah?”

He blushed. “Do you think Alex is still wearing her skirt? I mean, it had blood on it, so maybe they took it off.”

“Why are you asking that?!?” I wondered, putting the chocolates into the heart-shaped container.

Edward looked away. “I don’t know! I was just curious!” He said.

“Guys? What’s going on? Where am I?”

My brother gasped. I hid the container with the chocolate in it behind my back.

Alex had woken up.


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