Since Hohenheim had left, sleeping had been rather rough for Trisha Elric. There had been a good reason for Hohenheim to leave, she knew that. He loved her and the children so much that he wouldn't leave out of whim. There had to be a good reason. But the same "good reason" kept Trisha up at night, worrying. What had caused Hohenheim to want to leave? What could have been so bad that he had to shield it from his family?
Trisha yawned hard, rather grateful at the moment that Edward and Alphonse were over at the Rockbell's. Edward was often too helpful when it came to figuring out what was wrong with Mommy. She could still taste the "potion" he had made to make her feel better.
She barely noticed when there was a knock at the door. She was so tired that the already soft knocking was almost completely blocked by weariness. When the knock came again, it almost didn't seem real. Finally, she opened the door as the person on the other end started again.
"Hello, may I help you?" Trisha asked softly, noting her words were flat and tired. She tried a smile, hoping that was more polite.
"My name is Dante." The speaker was an elderly woman, with a kind smile that appeared a little forced to Trisha. "I'm sorry for bothering you, but is this the house of Hohenheim Elric?"
The smile on Trisha's face softened. "Yes, it is. I am Trisha Elric, Hohenheim's wife. I'm sorry, but he is away on business." She turned slightly, motioning. "Please, come in. It's quite a walk from the train station."
"Thank you, Mrs Elric," Dante said, bowing very slightly. "You are a very kind lady. However, I was not aware Hohenheim had married..."
Trisha ushered the woman to a seat, and busied herself with making tea. "It was a rather small and private wedding. Neither of us were very big on ceremony. If I may, what is your relationship with Hohenheim?"
Dante lowered her head in a brief nod. "I knew him from days long ago. I had received word that he had settled down in this town. Oh, do ask for help," she said crossly as Trisha attempted to balance the sugar bowl and two tea cups. Dante stood and took one cup and the sugar.
"Ah, thank you. I'm sorry, but the boys have been so impressed by that so far that I am used to it by now!" Trisha laughed briefly, and went back for the whistling tea kettle. "Would you like some cream?"
"No, but thank you." Dante picked up her bag, rummaging around in it. "Mrs. Elric, I have wanted to give this to Hohenheim. It's some sleeping medicine, an old remedy, that he needed when he was young."
Trisha considered the vial that Dante pulled out as she poured the two cups of tea. "Sleeping medicine?"
"Yes. While he hadn't needed it for years before I lost touch with him, I believe it's still a good idea in case of stress. Of course..." Dante tilted her head, eyes quickly raking over Trisha's form. "It does help women who are stressed with children and no father."
Trisha laughed at that. "Am I that obvious? Well, thank you, Mrs. Dante."
"Please, Mrs. Elric, call me Dante."
"Then Trisha, please. If you have time later, I would appreciate it if you visited at a later date." Trisha took a small sip of her tea, making a face as she realized she forgot both sugar and cream. "And... oh dear." She looked up at the sky, noticing the sun's position. "I'm sorry, Dante. I hadn't realized how late in the day it was."
"Ah." Dante put her cup down, untouched. "I am staying at an inn close to town. I will take you up on your offer. Perhaps, in a few days time?"
"Yes... if I may, shall I walk you to the main road?"
Dante nodded, and slowly stood. "You are a very kind woman, Trisha Elric."
Trisha let her lips curve in an embarrassed smile. "Ah, well. I thank you."
"Now, boys, no alchemy around Winry!" Trisha smiled as Edward turned in mid run to wave and fell over his feet. She stepped forward in case her eldest would need help, and smiled again when Alphonse hauled his big brother to his feet and continued running on unsteady legs.
"They are adorable children, Mrs... ah, Trisha."
Trisha turned to the side slightly, her face glowing with pride. "Thank you, Dante. Ah, but they take after their father..."
Dante watched the two blond head be joined by a third, female blonde. "Alchemists at such a young age? They must have amazing potential." She shifted the shawl around her shoulders to a more stable location. "You seem to be in better spirits."
Trisha lifted a hand to her cheek, feeling the embarrassed heat rise from the skin. "Well, the sleeping medicine you gave me worked wonders. I haven't been sleeping this well in years."
"I am glad it works," Dante said, searching in her bag. "For last time," she told Trisha as she pulled out an old, battered tin.
"Oh, Dante. It was simply kindness, nothing that needed to be repaid."
"Perhaps, but I had made too much and I had wondered if you and your sons would enjoy some."
Trisha took a quick peek into the tin, smiling softly at the sight of chocolate chip cookies. "Edward and Alphonse love chocolate chip! Dante, I must thank you again."
"Trisha, it is simply kindness," Dante said, eyes twinkling. "Nothing that must be thanked."
Trisha laughed, tucking the tin into her basket. "Nevertheless. How were your travels? I haven't seen much outside Resimbool, so you must tell me everything."
"My, Trisha, what has happened?"
Trisha smiled wearily, knowing exactly how pale she looked. The doctor had told her not to leave bed since her collapse. Edward and Alphonse were currently over at Pinako Rockbell's, since the orders kept her from getting up and making meals for the boys. "Stress. I'm fine, Dante. I will just need to rest for a while. Sit, sit." Trisha struggled to move into an upright position.
Dante took the seat next to the bed, and handed a mug of tea to Trisha. "Here. This should make you feel better."
"Thank you, Dante." She took a cautious, shaking sip. "You didn't have to visit."
"I'm to leave soon. It would be rude to leave and not say goodbye, now wouldn't it?" Dante took a sip from her own mug, watching Trisha's face. "Oh, Trisha."
"Please, Dante, don't worry about me." Trisha took another sip, then stroked the warm porcelain surface with her thumb. "Let's not talk about such things. If I remember correctly, I haven't heard about how you and Hohenheim met."
"Ah, I feel as if I've known him from birth. He was such a serious student of alchemy when he was young. I suppose your children do take after him very much in that respect." Dante's voice was warm, happy. "He was a bit absent minded as well. Why, I remember him searching for his glasses when they were right in front of him!" Dante's face quickly shuttered down as the thoughts obviously took a dark turn. "But one day, he did leave without any warning. My son... a boy that had looked up to Hohenheim deeply, he was very angry. And so was I, at first. Hohenheim had always been with me. And when I found he had a wife..." Dante fixed a hateful glare on Trisha. "It hurt."
Trisha squirmed uncomfortably. "Dante..."
"Hohenheim of the Light has done things like that before. Leaving women he loved without a second glance. But I will find him back again. And you, Mrs. Elric, Trisha, will help heal that hurt."
Trisha blinked a few times, feeling woozy. "Dante, I don't..."
"You are a very kind woman, Trisha. You also stole my Hohenheim. It's okay... your children are very prolific with alchemy. You won't be gone forever... instead, your body will be reborn, and will be mine. Perhaps as Sloth... you appear to not be easily worked up about anything."
Trisha watched Dante take the mug from her now dead fingers, wondering if this was a dream, that she had been rude enough to fall asleep while Dante was visiting. "Dante..."
"Hush, Trisha. I do like you... very much." Dante stroke Trisha's cheek as the world faded around the edges. "That is why I am glad your sons take after Hohenheim. I will be seeing you later, Trisha." She kissed Trisha's forehead as she got up.
The world was still shifting as Dante tucked the woman back in, normal things taking on odd and scary turns. She wanted her children to be there... Hohenheim... she wanted to wake from the dream...
And very faintly, she heard three childish voices and Pinako's strident voice scolding them.
Dante was no where to be seen.