Title: Misstep
Author: Jordanna Morgan (librarie@jordanna.net)
Archive Rights: Please request the author’s consent.
Rating/Warnings: G.
Characters: Izumi, with a glimpse of Edward.
Setting: During first-anime episode 27, before dinner at the Curtis home.
Summary: Izumi is all too observant.
Disclaimer: They belong to Hiromu Arakawa. I’m just playing with them.
Notes: Written for the prompt word “Step” at Fan Flashworks. This was inspired by a line Izumi gives when she confronts the Elrics about their human transmutation.




“Ed, will you please set the table?”

Over her shoulder, Izumi Curtis saw Edward quickly rise from the dining-room table—recalling her past reactions to any lack of promptness, no doubt. As he moved to obey her, she discreetly paused in the task of chopping vegetables at the sink, and listened with care while her student crossed the floor to reach the cabinets.

She had wanted to hope that she was somehow wrong… but now she knew for sure.

From the moment Izumi and Sig tracked down the Elric brothers in Rush Valley, Ed hadn’t taken his gloves off, even to eat. He knew his teacher would view this as an uncouth lack of manners. It was hard to imagine that he would willingly risk giving her a reason to take offense; but even so, the gloves stayed on. It became clear to her that he was hiding something.

That clue only added to what Izumi had observed much sooner in Ed’s brother. Even after five years, it was inconceivable that the wiry boy she knew could have grown big enough to fill Alphonse’s huge suit of armor; but there was more to it than that. At the very outset, when she had body-slammed Al at the hotel in Rush Valley, she could feel that the weight and balance of him was all wrong. The sound when he hit the floor was unnatural as well, too hollow and ringing, unmuffled by contact with anything softer inside.

What she heard in her kitchen at this moment was merely the clincher. Behind her, Edward’s booted footsteps carried an uneven rhythm, every second one falling just a little harder and heavier than those in between. Only someone who was listening for it would notice… but to she who was seeking it, each step was a fresh blow to her heart.

There was no more doubt for Izumi. There was only the regret of her own shamed silence, the truths unspoken that had hurt her students rather than protect them. It was a pain worse than any her broken body had ever known.

Precious children, if I had told you everything from the beginning…

Izumi shut her eyes and quickly turned her head away, lest her tears fall onto the vegetables under her knife.

…I’m so sorry to you both.

© 2016 Jordanna Morgan