Ten Feet Tall

Edward Elric always rather enjoyed the Fuhrer's Birthday celebrations.Oh, the speeches were dull as hell, and the formality of the occasion was annoying, but the flags and decorations were pretty, the parade was usually fairly enjoyable, and it was the only damn day of the year that Roy Mustang didn't pick on him. Instead he was polite to Ed all day long and refrained from smirking, making rude comments, criticising, or even talking very much to the young Alchemist. For this one special day they shared a tacit, unspoken truce.

It pleased Ed, to be treated like an adult in this way. And in return for this consideration, he kept his head down and his mouth shut, and generally behaved like a properly brought-up child for the day. He even dragged out his Best Manners for the occasion, the ones his mother had taught him so long ago.

The best part of the celebrations, in his opinion, was the evening meal. He would sit through the interminable speeches and boring platitudes, itching with the need to get out and DO something energetic, and aching to make a snide comment about the pompousness of age. Instead of doing any of those things however, he would sit quietly, refusing to wriggle or squirm, until the last old fart sat down and Roy, as the highest-ranking Officer on base, rose to his feet. All the other soldiers, and Ed, rose to their feet with him, and as one raised their glasses high.

"To the Fuhrer!" Roy would announce."The Fuhrer!" They'd all obediently chorus, and drink to his health, Hawkeye always pausing first to shoot a disapproving look at the wine in Ed's glass. The first year they'd done this she'd tried to give the then 12- year-old Alchemist fruit juice, but a single curt order from Roy had seen to it that Ed always got wine like the others. This was most likely done in recognition of the fact that there was absolutely no way they could prevent him from simply transmuting any drink they gave him into something alcoholic, but Ed liked to think that it was an acknowledgment of his maturity. Consequently he never did anything to jeopardise the privilege, such as trying to have more than one glass. He didn't actually like the taste of wine anyway, and would have preferred juice, but that wasn't really the point.

After the toast, everyone would quietly eat, and then wait to be dismissed from the table. At this point the port and cigars would usually come out, and Ed would quietly head home to Al, who was not invited to the military celebrations. On the way out, he'd always pass Roy, stationed by the door, and wish him a good night. Roy would return the compliment, and then put a hand on Ed's living shoulder and squeeze gently, before releasing him into the night.

Ed never ever mentioned that part of the evening to Al. He never told anyone how, in that one brief moment, he felt as though he was ten feet tall.