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(Back to Letter 10)


Letter #11


Hi Cath!

Lots of good news from home, eh? I told dad that if he let himself rest a little, he'd feel a lot better. I guess that makes me sound smug, but I'm glad he's doing so well. And I like Dean's idea of opening another store in the next village. I just hope they take everything slowly. There'd be nothing like having a second store to get dad all riled up again. It's good that Ken, Karen, and Jake are stepping up and doing most of the planning. Tell them that if they let dad start working himself to death again, I'll get furlough and come home and knock a few heads.
Just kidding. I think.


Things here are getting even busier, if you can believe it. The planting of the new grain I told you about last time is in full swing. People think we're in the military so we can go off and fight, but they don't get that we're really glorified supply clerks, half the time. Well, not clerks, exactly, because our crew mostly does the planning and coordinating, and we've got minions to do the clerk stuff for us. (That's what Breda calls them—minions. It's kind of funny, though some of them are Ishvallans. Which means that when he uses the word, I sometimes hope it's one Amestrian word they haven't learned the meaning of. It's not very diplomatic.)

We're also busy because there's a wedding being planned. Since Mustang and Hawkeye are getting married here instead of in Amestris (did I tell you that?), we've got some extra arrangements to make. You know, security and things. They're throwing a big bash, so we've had to arrange to import food. And we've even had to find a big tent that will fit everybody in. That was my job, since I know a lot of suppliers for that sort of thing. Who knew that working in the family store all those years would come in so handy now?

You might tell dad about that. I think he'd be kinda proud. I did learn everything he taught me. I just didn't use his teaching the way he expected me to.

Anyway. One thing I'm making sure I do is keep going up to that outcrop to do those exercises every morning. I'm feeling great, so I owe Rakhella a lot for teaching me to do them. She comes up there every morning, now, and we've got quite a routine going.

Of course, it didn't take long for the boss to find out about the morning exercises. It wasn't a big secret, but I just hadn't mentioned it. We all have our own ways of getting ready for our day. His is to take a walk alone—which drives us crazy, because he could still be in danger, even though a lot Ishvallans are starting to be forgiving after the way he's making up for things now. Which is why Hawkeye's morning routine is to secretly follow him and act as a guard. The Eye of the Hawk, remember? She somehow still manages to get back to headquarters before him, though. Which is why the second part of his morning routine—the coffee that makes him human—is always ready for him.

Anyway. Mustang. He came up this morning, to see what Rakhella and I were doing. I didn't even know he was there, at first. We were doing a series of exercises together—we've gotten pretty good at coordinating, so we're making the same moves at the same time. When you do your routines together and try to coordinate like that, you develop extra control and strength. But when we were between sequences, I glanced around and noticed the boss watching. So he came over and started asking me about the different exercises. I told Rakhella to do the next sequence without me, so Mustang and I stood around and talked while she was doing it.

I didn't know that he knew these exercises too. He even does them himself, sometimes. He said that they definitely came from Xing before they reached Ishval. His mother was of Xingian origin, and he still has a few ties to the Xingian quarter in Central. So I guess he'd know.

He got me to do a few of the exercises, and he actually suggested a couple of shifts in stance and position, to reduce a strain here and there. I could feel the difference right away, when I made the changes. And when I glanced behind him, I could see that Rakhella was trying them too. She must have sensed some difference herself, because she was smiling.
He didn't stay all that long, but as he was getting ready to leave, Mustang said, “I like that you're doing this. I'm glad you're feeling better.” I tried to tell him that it wasn't that I wasn't feeling good, but that I was just doing this to stay in shape, but he gave me that Look he does. And that little smile. He said, “I'm not an idiot, Jean. I'd been trying to think of something that would finish your healing. The hot springs helped, but this is even better. You've got a smart young woman here.”

And of course, that set me stammering. Because I don't want him to get the wrong idea about things. You know, with Rakhella. And it sounded like he was.

But he just said, “Shut up, all right?” He stood at the edge of the outcrop and watched the pink sky on the horizon getting brighter. I was behind him, and I swear, it looked like there was this glow of fire all around his head. You can't help but make associations like that, him being who he is.

Then he said, “Isn't that magnificent? I never get tired of watching the sunrise here.” He smiled at me and said, “I've started to believe that we all have a right to be happy, Jean. I know I am, especially because of Riza. And that applies to you too. We can't forget the past, but we can move forward and create good things. Time for you to do that too, don't you think?”

And then he left. I don't quite get what he meant. Isn't that what I'm doing already?

Anyway. Rakhella watched him go for a bit, and then she said, “He's a wise man, Lieutenant Havoc.” I must have looked a little confused or something, because she just laughed, and told me, “Never mind. You missed some exercises, so let's catch up.”

The weird thing was that she had the exact same smug smile that Mustang had when he left. I get the feeling that I'm being ganged up on, somehow, but I'm not sure how. People drive me crazy sometimes, you know? Especially these two.

Anyway, that's how things are going here now. You stay off your feet and don't let everyone drag you too much into all the planning for the new store. You've got more important things to think about right now. I suppose your next letter will be telling me I've got a new niece or nephew. Be safe! And congratulations in advance.

Love always,
Jean

Sorry this chapter/letter took so long to appear. Life has been beyond hectic lately. Two chapters to go, so I hope I can get them done much more quickly.


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