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(Back to Letter 9)

Letter #10

Hi Cath,

Tell mom thanks for the care package! This time, the cookies made it through without drying out or crumbling. I know she feels kind of stupid, sending the box via the military express, and even requesting refrigeration, but it worked. It's one of the perks I get, working with the Colonel out here, so it's not like we're doing anything underhanded. And it's worth it. Tell her everyone in my crew appreciates them. I almost had to ration them, so they'd last more than a day.

How is dad's hip doing? I'm glad he's hired Dean to help him in the store. I felt guilty, leaving after he'd gotten used to me being there. I hoped he wouldn't get stubborn and just decide to take over my hours himself. He needs to take it easier, now that things are starting to bother him.

I know what it feels like to get stiff sometimes. Not that my back has really bothered me too much since I've been having regular trips to the hot pool. There are still days, though.

And that reminds me. Don't get any ideas about this, okay? But actually, there's been another thing helping my back. I've been going to that pool once or twice a week, with the boss's permission, but I think I'm going to scale it back to once a week now. The reason is that girl, Rakhella. (I learned that her name would be like Rachel, in our language. Kind of nice.)

Anyway, I ran into her one afternoon, when I was coming back to headquarters. She just kind of appeared from behind a rock, on the road. I was by myself, which I'm usually not, but I couldn't get anyone to go with me that day. She must have followed me or something. So she starts asking why I spend so much time at the hot springs. But she really knew, because then she said, “I see that your back bothers you sometimes. But you never show it, when your leader is watching.”

Which makes me wonder just how much she's watching, if she's noticed that. But I told her that he had the chance to heal himself completely after the troubles, but he gave up some of that healing so I could walk again. So I sure wasn't going to let him see when my back bothers me, if I can help it. (Though of course he knows anyway. The guy sees everything.) She seemed kind of impressed. That's the first time I saw her be anything but frowning and disapproving, when it comes to the Colonel. I think she still doesn't trust him, and who can blame her. But hearing about how he was going to make sure I was healed first, before he helped himself, made her look at him in a different way, I think. The right way.

Then she asked what had happened to my back in the first place. (Did I tell you she speaks Amestrian really well? I tried to answer her in Ishvallan when I could – it made her laugh. It turns out she has a pretty nice laugh.) I figured I might as well spill the beans.

So I told her that my old girlfriend—Solaris--had tried to kill me, stabbing me right through the spine. And that she would have succeeded if the Flame hadn't been there. I told Rakhella how he cauterized my wounds—before he did his own. (You can see a pattern there, can't you?) Rakhella was shocked that my own girlfriend would try to kill me, until I explained that Solaris was really the homunculus, Lust, who had just been using me to try to get information about Mustang.

You know, that's the first time I ever really said that. I guess, on top of the injury and being forced away from the action, that hurt a lot. I didn't give anything vital away—I'd never do that. But to think that I thought maybe I'd finally found “the one,” and then find out how little I really meant to her...

Anyway, I decided I might as well take this story all the way. I told Rakhella about Solaris, and then I said, “And that's why I've pretty much decided that I don't want a girlfriend any more. That's the sort of experience that turns you right off the idea. I hope you understand.”

We were walking together back to town by this point. Rakhella didn't say anything for quite a while. Finally she said—in Ishvallan, but I knew all the words—”You are a both a wise and foolish man, Jean Havoc.” And then she said in Amestrian, “But come to my tent tomorrow at noon. I'll show you how to help your back, even when you can't go to the pool. I've been studying.”

I almost didn't go. I mean—I'd pretty much told her that if she was getting ideas—you know what I mean—she wasn't going to get anywhere. And then she invites me to her tent? But I decided to at least go and see what she meant, because she sounded kinda businesslike. And I took Breda with me. And it turned out that she knows this exercise method that's really different from all the energetic exercises they made us do in the Academy. It's more like slow stretching into specific positions (some of them are pretty weird), and then holding them, before you stretch into a different position.

There's a whole system of these exercises, and they go with meditation techniques too. I guess this is one of the things the Elders teach, along with their spiritual stuff. They can use these exercises for spiritual work too, Rakhella said, but the exercises can be done without all that, too. I guess most of these exercises originally came from Xing. Which explains a lot about how Ling and Lan Fan could jump around the way they did. If these exercises don't limber you up, nothing will.

Anyway, I've started doing them every morning before I get busy with other things. Rakhella showed me a good place—a kind of rock outcropping, that overlooks the town—where you can do the exercises as the sun comes up. The day is still cool, and it's like you're getting all your energy flowing properly. And my back feels really, really good now. Sometimes she comes up and does them with me, and shows me new ones.

The rest of the work is going pretty much the same as always. We got some shipments of stored grain and fruit from the region south of West City, and we're sending that south to the areas of Ishval that we visited last month. That should help with some of their food issues, till they can get some of their own crops going again. The boss has ordered as much irrigation equipment as he can get. The water will still have a ways to come, since there aren't many rivers near the worst areas. But he's determined to help the food economy get going as quickly as he can. If we can establish that, then a lot of other things can follow. But you can't work much on government infrastructure or the arts if people don't have enough food.

That's pretty much all that's going on these days. I hope you're feeling good right now. When's the baby due?

Love always,

Date: 2012-03-31 09:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ishte.livejournal.com
I like this series a lot. I really like Havoc, and I was super happy when he showed back up in the main plotline with an ice cream truck full of arms for Mustangtachi in the manga. That was so awesome. Getting to hear his letters back home is pretty cool. It's a neat and unexpected point of view.

Date: 2012-04-02 02:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] havocmangawip.livejournal.com
I think this one is my favorite so far. :) Thank you for writing these and I'm so glad you enjoy writing them as much as I like reading them!


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May 2012

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