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This is the seventh chapter of the arc called "Gains and Losses". It is Havoc-centric. It is set in the mangaverse, so if you don't know what happens to Havoc around Chapter 38, then read it before you start this fic.


Title: Meetings
Author: SeaweedOtter
Beta: The truly awe inspiring havocmangawip
Characters: Mostly Jean Havoc, but the most of the rest of the gang appears.
Rating: G- PG
Disclaimer: Manga Spoilers... Set in the manga, a couple years after the end of chapter 38. Maybe AU?
Summary: It is easy to forget about the little things in the big picture.


Read all the chapters so far HERE!




There was a general routine that Havoc had settled into quite well. Although now, things took him so much longer than they used to, and there was much more to do, which left him with precious little free time during the day.

He would wake up around eight o'clock, about when he used to in order to get ready for work at nine. Doing the necessities of life weren’t as quick, and by the time he relived the morning pressure, had breakfast with Breda and Janet, got a shower, and got dressed, it was already close to ten.

By then, it was time for his morning therapy routine, which lasted until about lunch time, when Janet, who was now permanently home until after she had the baby, would fix him lunch, then another shower before work and the arduous task of putting on his dress blues, which definitely hadn't been designed for someone in a wheelchair, and calling the driver to take him to Central Command.

In the evening, he would come home and eat the leftovers of whatever Janet had made for dinner, and do some a short series of light therapy, which he found helped him fall asleep pretty fast. It wasn't a very exciting life, or a very social life, but for right now it was all he had.

On a typical morning, Havoc was in the living room, where a corner had been graciously donated to the various exercise equipment that he had gathered. He hadjust started the calisthenics routine that Ross had taught him over the last week's worth of sessions. He heard a knock at the door, but didn't think much about it. Janet's doctor had been visiting quite often recently, making house calls to the soon to be new parents.

He shrugged and started back on his exercises -- repetitions on lifting his dumbbells -- when he thought that he heard a familiar voice. He smiled and shook his head, guessing that he must be imagining things. He had done a couple of more dumbbell repetitions when he heard the front door close again and Breda stuck his head around the corner and into the room.

"Hey, Havo. Come here, bud... " He had a huge grin on his face, the kind of grin that told Havoc that he knew something. Something big. That sent his stomach falling. He nodded, and did one more rep, then put the dumbbell down and tried his best to towel at least a little bit of sweat off of him. He couldn't guess as to who was here, but he wanted to look somewhat presentable. He was guessing it was a personal visit from the Fuhrer. Although he was busy, he tried to make time to visit when he could. Between his job and his wife, he was much busier than Havoc could have ever been, and Havoc definitely didn't covet that job one single bit.

With a grunt of frustration -- not happy that this was going to set his schedule back -- he rolled into the main room, the sweaty towel, forgotten, still on his lap. His eyes went wide, and he stopped dead in his tracks.

"Ma? Pop? what are you doing here?"

____________________________________________________________________________________


A few minutes later, they all sat, laughing at the dining room table, while Janet finished pouring tea for everyone and sat down herself -- her large belly making her sit back from the table a bit.

"So... Ma, Pop, what are you guys doing here?"

"You don't remember, son?" his dad asked, confusion evident in his voice and on his face.

Havoc thought for a second, trying to scan his brain for something specific about this week, but he couldn't come up with anything. Heck, most days unless someone told him, he didn't even know what day it was. Most days were exactly the same, with the same routine from waking up to going back to sleep. "Well, I guess I have been here about a month?" was the only straw he could grasp for.

His mother laughed and shook her head, leaning over and gently patting the top of his hand with hers, rubbing gently. "No, dear. It is your birthday tomorrow."

His eyes lit up. He had been so busy in Central that he hadn't even though about it. Birthdays had never been much of a big deal when he had been growing up. He was usually busy working on farms around town, trying to make money to help his parents get by. Being an only child, he had never felt like he had ever wanted for anything, but it hadn't been an easy childhood by any means.

"Oh, yeah," Havoc replied with a smile.

"And not only that, Jean, but you are going to be thirty! That big milestone only happens once!" She beamed over at Breda. "I am glad that Heymans and I didn’t forget. We had been plotting to come up here since right after you left.”

Havoc sighed and rolled his eyes a little. He was afraid he knew what was coming and tried to head it off at the pass. "I know, I know, Ma. I am about to turn thirty and I still don't have a girlfriend, right?"

She got a stern look on her face, smile dropping immediately. "Jean Havoc, you know that is not what I was going to say," she snapped. "Your father and I are not here to harass you about getting a girlfriend, although we would love to see you find someone special. We are here to celebrate your birthday."

"Yes, Ma." He dropped his head on the table, his forehead hitting first with a satisfying smack. Not a good way to start the day, he thought. "I am sorry," he said, his voice sounded defeated. "I guess I am just a little stressed out. I have been so busy that I haven't even had time or energy to find an apartment yet, and I don't have very long to find somewhere else to live."

"Well, we can go look at a few places next week. I have a couple sick days that I can take off," Breda chimed in with a smile, quickly attempting to diffuse the situation.

"Won't you need those when your baby is born?" Havoc asked.

"Well, I will need some, but Janet's parents will be coming when the baby is born, so they are going to help us for a little while."

"All the more reason for me to move out."

"Well they are coming because we figured you would be moved out by then, or else they wouldn't have."

"Thanks, Breda. You and Janet are really good friends. I know I need to get out of your hair soon. I will try to arrange things with Ross so we can go looking for an apartment in the morning, before she tires me out. I don't think she knows how much those sessions take out of me."

"I bet she does, and that is why she does it, son," his father replied, taking a short sip of his rapidly cooling tea. “She does it to build up your strength, so you won't be as tired in the future."

"Yeah, I guess so."

There was an awkward pause, silence for a few moments, before with a squeak of her chair, Janet stood up. Four pairs of eyes trained on her. She broke out in a wide smile, then turned towards the kitchen, calling out over her shoulder "Who wants sandwiches?"

There was a chorus of "Me!" immediately after.

____________________________________________________________________________________


Ross had already told Havoc the day before that their session today was going to be a short one, since she was going to be late. He understood now that she had been in cahoots with his parents and Breda as well, so he would get time to visit with them. She couldn't let him off without exercise at all today, because she was not going to come over the next day -- on his birthday. At least not as his trainer.

By the time she arrived, the brunch of sandwiches was over, and Havoc had taken his parents into the living room to show them the little gym that he had set up there.

"Hey, Maria. Can I talk to you for a second?" Breda motioned for her to come over
with a finger.

"Sure, Breda. What is it?"

"I have a little favor to ask you... a proposition, as it were." Even Ross knew to fear the smile he wore.

____________________________________________________________________________________


"Are you sure that you really want to watch this?" Havoc asked his parents, after they got the short tour of his corner of the living room. "I was always really careful when I was living at home to not have my shirt off while you guys were around. The scarring is pretty bad."

"Jean, honey. You are our son. We love you, no matter what you look like or what has happened to you. I saw you when you fell out of the big tree in the front yard and your arm was bent backwards. I couldn't even begin to tell you how many scraped knees and black eyes I have seem while you were growing up. One scar isn't going to change our feelings. We want to see this workout that you do every day."

Havoc closed his eyes for a moment and took a deep breath, then pulled his t-shirt partially up, enough to see the scars on his stomach. He heard his father's breath catch for a moment, and his mother softly whisper "Oh my God." Quickly, he put the shirt back down and opened his eyes again, right as Ross entered the room.

"Should I... come back later?" Ross asked, starting to turn back around.

"No, Maria. It’s fine. I think you should hear this as well, anyways," he said and then turned back to his parents. "I told you that is wasn't pretty. Believe me, after four years of healing, it looks a lot better than it used to. I already explained as much as I could about how I was injured. Part of it is still top secret and I apologize for that. But I never told you guys what happened afterwards."

Havoc sighed and rubbed his eyes for a moment, giving Ross time to find a seat next to the rest of the group. He took a deep breath, then continued. "I don't remember everything, but after I was injured, I was fading in and out of consciousness. I heard Mustang yell my name, and I couldn't really see him, but I could hear him. He said something about pain and fire, and he apologized several times. Then... I felt the pain. Hot searing pain in my gut, worse than when I was stabbed. He kept apologizing, then I passed out again. By the time I woke up again, I was in the hospital. That was when I realized that he had used fire to cauterize my wounds. If he hadn't, then I wouldn't be here today."

When he was done, there were no dry eyes. His parents were holding each other tight, and Ross was sitting rock still, her hands shaking slightly. Havoc let out a long breath. "I am sorry guys. I didn't mean to ruin your day."

Ross smiled lightly. "You didn't ruin our day, Jean. It is just that is so awful. To have to go through that much pain, twice, it is sad. Nobody should have to endure that. The fact that you have not only endured the pain, but the suffering that came after it just makes you that much stronger of a man."

Havoc smiled softly. Ross got up and walked over to him, giving him soft pat on the shoulder. Somewhere deep inside Havoc, he had wished for a little more, but he shook that thought out of his head quickly.

"Now, this is going to have to be a very abbreviated session, but we can at least do some of the muscle exercises."

He nodded, and she smiled and said, "Let's get to work."

She went thru the normal movement exercises with him, showing and explaining to his parents what each of the exercises did and what they tried to accomplish. Even though she didn't have her acupuncture needles, she explained that to them as well. It made his mother turn pale, but his father was very interested, and by the end of the session the two were engrossed in a conversation about the merits of Xingian medicine.

Breda walked in, catching the end of the conversation between the two. "Sounds like you guys have a lot to talk about. I am sure there will be plenty of time when we all meet for dinner tonight! How does eight o'clock sound?"

There were no objections.

__________________________________________________________________________________

The dinner was most pleasant. The six of them were very surprised when the Fuhrer had been able to clear his schedule at the last minute, and he and his wife attended the get together. Al was unfortunately away on some alchemy research, but both Falman and Fuery were able to attend as well, bringing their total to ten.

Havoc stood up weakly on his canes, the events of the day draining the small amount of energy he had. "I just want to thank you all for coming to my birthday dinner, even if it is a day early." There were some small chuckles from the crowd. "I don't know how I came to deserve all you wonderful friends and family.

I am just a country bumpkin from back East whose parents thought the military would straighten me out. I never thought it would change me so much, mentally and physically. I know it sounds dumb and hokey, but if it meant not having you guys, I wouldn't change a thing." With a grunt of exhaustion, he slumped back into his chair.

His mom leaned over and gave him a little kiss on the cheek, tears in her eyes. "That was beautiful, Jean," she said, her voice breaking slightly.

The mood was quickly broken by the waitress, who walked up with a cake, complete with 30 candles on it. Havoc flashed an evil look at Breda, who he knew was behind that, but it was too late, the birthday song was already being sung. Havoc tried, unsuccessfully, to try not to blush horribly at all the attention.

He blew out the candles, and the waitress started to cut the cake, burnt out candles and all.

"Did you have to help them light them all, Chief?" Havoc smirked towards the Fuhrer.He simple shrugged noncommittally and gave one of his patented knowing smiles.

"I can assure you that Roy had nothing to do with this," Hawkeye said sharply. She pointed over to the redhead. "It was all Breda's doing." Havoc flashed another look over to Breda, whose color faded just a little under his wilting gaze.

"Even if you get me back for this, it was so well worth it!" Breda laughed and then took a big bite of cake.

"Oh, don't you worry, I will!"

The light in Havoc's eyes scared Breda more than a little bit.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
seaweed_fma
Mar. 24th, 2007 02:44 pm (UTC)
Thankfully so far I havent forgotten any birthdays, although for the most part they are pretty unexciting. But as long as I have my hubby around, that is all I need. :)

(so far in your LJ I only see one fic.. is that all you have written so far?)
(Deleted comment)
seaweed_fma
Mar. 24th, 2007 02:48 pm (UTC)
Ah ha. Okay.. I will head over that way..

I *REALLY* need to make an FF.net account.. I am guessing it is free.
for the most part I get very few reviews here on LJ.. I dunno if it is any better on FF, but I can try.
asm613
Apr. 4th, 2007 04:08 am (UTC)
my two favorite fan fiction sites are LJ and FF.Net; so i'm glad i can find your stories wherever. i must be a big crybaby because this story has made me cry too. you tell such fullfilling stories. i ususally don't ever read 1 character driven strories; i prefer pairs (or triples) of people. so i figured i'd read the first chapter and see if it held my interest; and now i'm about to start reading chapter 8. so again proving that your writing and story telling talents are spectacular. thanks for sharing.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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