I attempt to write after months on a self served hiatus. I’m a little rusty, but I couldn’t get ohlookitscazz’s headcannon out of my head. Be gentle, I’m out of practice.
She remembers the first baby they lost, the little fluttering heart beat against her skin that would lull them both to sleep and the swell of her tummy that acted as his pillow. Remembers it being there one second, full of life and hope and future and then gone the next. Blood was running down her legs, her stomach twisting in knots and screams tore up her throat and then….gone. As if he’d never even existed, as if they’d never accomplished creating an actual life. A concept that had escaped alchemists for centuries.
Mei had shut the world out and rejected everyone. She completely cut herself off and sat under the willow tree they’d buried their baby under. Not that there had been much to bury, she’d barely been 4 months along. Day and night, hours upon hours resting with her back against the bark and her hands flat in the dirt. Wasting her energy reaching out with her senses to try and find that little heartbeat. The thing about people is that no two ever feel exactly the same, each qi like a fingerprint or a soul. Their little prince had been bright and flashy, a forest fire that was washed away by the summer rains.
She never did find that particular spark in another person again.
Their second baby had been less painful for her, but more so for him. Al had had such high hopes this time, thought for sure they’d get it right. They’d barely known for a month before those pains in her gut that Mei was beginning to know all too well forced her out of bed in the middle of the night. He had been right behind her, with his hands on her back and tears on his cheeks. This one would have been a girl, not that it mattered anymore. She’d felt cool and smooth, so much like her father it hurt Mei to think about. This time it was Alphonse’s turn to mourn, sleeping under a cherry blossom tree cradled next to the willow.
After the third baby and the third tree, they’d all but given up. The little oak looked comfortable and protected nestled next to his siblings, but their expanding garden only served as a reminder of their failures. Families began to grow around them; brothers with sons, friends with daughters, and all they could do was smile, be happy and pretend that the forests didn’t scare them and send their hearts pounding when their nieces and nephews dragged them in to play hide and seek.
“It all my fault.” He sobbed one night with his forehead resting on her stomach and his hands tangled in the sheets. “I should have known there would be something wrong with my body, I should have seen this coming.”
“Shhhhh, it’s alright,” she cooed, threading her fingers through his hair and humming a lullaby under her breath. When his body finally gave out and he fell asleep, a few tears of her own slipped onto the silk sheets. The quiet of the night and the gentle breeze swaying the willow branches back and forth gave the the courage to admit, at least to herself, that maybe she blamed him too.
The fourth time the royal healers sat them down and explained that once again that she was with child, Mei had simply stood and walked out without a glance back. Alphonse had run off after her, finding her resting with her back against the willow and pink petals blanketing the ground. Instead of sitting beside her, he opted to rest against the young oak. Neither spoke for a while and when the sun began to set behind the palace, Mei stood and went to drape herself across his lap.
“I think a white pine might look nice.” She mumbled.
“It would be beautiful in the spring, a perfect place to read.” Al choked out, his arms tightened around her still flat waist. They sit there together under the adolescent oak tree until the sun rises and they force themselves back into the warmth of the palace.
A year later they lay in the exact same place, closely watching the little girl with the golden eyes try to catch the falling cherry blossoms before they hit the ground.
Mei and Al’s garden doesn’t grow any bigger.