Christmas Eve - 1906.
It was four years ago to this day..ahh how I remember it well.
Work had done it's usual job of running me rugged and I traipsed home through the snow on an achingly cold Christmas Eve.
With every step, my feet began to get heavier and heavier..until it was like I had weights attached to them.
Every breath I took, I could see it appear before me in visible white clouds of water vapour.
The winter had always been my least favourite time of the year, they always say that Christmas is the season for 'Good will to all men' if that's the case..then why did no one show good will towards me and my wife? ..was it because we were poor?
I suppose it's greedy of me to say this, but the only good thing about this time of the year back then, was the fact that my boss became more generous with the money he gave his workers.
It was a nice enough gift..but that money always had a terrible tendancy to disappear in time, that's why I worked extra hours.. to earn more for me and my beloved wife.
Although my boss had started to show his concerns at my hard work..
I don't understand why.. but he always said to me.
" Shou my boy, don't let work get the better of you.. you have a beautiful wife, go home to her"
Yet those were words that came from a man who was practically sitting on a mountain of money, who lived life without a care in the world, who sat around all day while his workers did what he paid them, oh so minimally, to do.
I knew that he lived in a big mansion, I knew that he had eight children running around.. I knew that his wife was a loving doting, though rather loud, lady..with a ninth child on the way.
He lived the luxary life....a life that I'd never had.
Every evening when I made my way home through the streets, the smell of home-made cooked dinners floated through the air and struck me in the nose.
How my mouth used to water as I pictured the appetizing meal in my head, my eyes used to sparkle at the mere thought of trying a wholesome meal for once.
Instead of the less-than-delightful gruel and bread that was the only affordable thing my wife and I could get.. although the occasional vegetable soup was quite nice.. but even that was once in a blue moon.
" Someday..." I used to say to myself.
" Someday I'll get me and my wife out of this life-style.. I just need enough money..and then all our troubles will disappear!"
Heh... if only I'd of known back then, being rich doesn't get you out of trouble..not when you're a State Alchemist with the 'power' to make chimera's anyway..
This particular night was no different, albeit being nail-bitingly cold..and I felt like I was about to pass out, however a relieved smile spread across my rosey-cheeked face when I saw mine and Sharon's home, illuminated by the light from within the living room.
Mustering up what strength I had left, I walked as quickly as possible to the front door then turned the handle on it and went in, the warmth of the house hitting me as soon as I stepped in.
My wife was no-where to be seen, normally she was in the kitchen finishing off supper for the two of us, or sitting in the rocking chair in the living room.
" Sharon?!" I called out, still no reply.
I began to panic, where could she of gone? I knew that she was pregnant..and with the baby's birth coming ever closer, it would of been fatal for Sharon to go out in vicious weather like it was that night, yet her coat was hanging on the coat rack..so she must of been in the house somewhere.
In my fear for my wife and unborn child's safety, I ran through the house looking for her.. relaxing only slightly when I heard her call out for me from our bedroom.
Without hesistation I followed the sound of my wife's voice to our room..
There she was.. half sitting, half laying on the bed.. her expression seemed to be that of an intense pain.
She looked over to me..and said two words.
" It's here.."
My eye pupils must of shrunk and my face, paled when she said those words.. it took me aback slightly.
No one else was around to help deliever the baby..and the hospital was too far away from us, I couldn't just leave her here all by herself....
So that's when I gained some courage and walked over to her while rolling up my sleeves, I was the one who would bring our child into the world.
The experience was truely one that I could never forget for many years to come.. throughout the course of it all, I felt like I was going to faint.
Sharon's screams pierced my soul, it hurt to hear her go through so much pain as she gave birth.
The stench of blood permeated around the two of us as I delievered the child, I very nearly passed out at one point in time, from exhaustion and the fact that everything was so overwhelming.
But I was stopped from doing so, when my wife called out.
" Shou, I need you.. don't give up now!"
After that, I managed to pull myself out of exhaustion and went back to delievering the baby, I felt determined to do this..Sharon believed I could do it..so I wouldn't let her down.
It took up to two hours before everything settled down.
Sharon lay on the bed, her hair, face and clothes were drenched in sweat, the poor dear was exhausted.. but she was smiling.
" It looks like we got our Christmas present one day early, huh?" she said jokingly as she looked to me and the baby.
I was sitting on the edge of the bed, holding onto our newborn child.
It amazed me just how small a child could really be.. and so fragile, just like a porcelain doll.
I could feel myself trying not to cry.. all of this had come as such a surprise for me.. even though I had seen animals born into the world before, this was my first time ever seeing a human life enter the world, but this child wasn't just any human.... she was mine and Sharon's daughter.
" Sharon..she's so beautiful...and..and so tiny" I can remember saying to my wife, tears of joy must of been rolling down my cheeks at that point in time..because I can remember Sharon smiled at me softly, sat up and gave me a gentle kiss.
" And you were the one that brought her into the world honey" she said to me, leaning on my shoulder to gaze down lovingly at our baby.
" What do you think we should call her?"
The baby; who had been crying earlier, was now fast asleep in the pink blanket I'd wrapped around her, her chubby little fingers occasionally twitched as she slept, I smiled down at her with a smile that only a father could pull.
Sharon's question of what to name our child floated around in my mind..what would be a good name for our daughter?
I thought in silence for a few minutes before replying.
" Nina.." I said.
" Nina huh?" Sharon had asked me, her eyes questioning as she then looked back down at the baby.. then she looked back up at me, smiled and nodded in agreement.
" Alright then Shou, Nina it is"
December 24th.. Christmas Eve in 1906...that was when my daughter had been born..and after that, I finally had a day in the winter-time that I looked forward to, my Nina's birthday.
And now four years on..on Christmas Eve 1910, here we are.. Nina and I, in a big mansion and celebrating her fourth birthday, along with the Elric brothers, Edward and Alphonse.
Yes you heard me right...a mansion, when I became a State Alchemist the military gave me this mansion and gave us all the money that I could only of dreamed of when I was younger and living in poverty.
I only wish that Sharon was still here to see it.. but in the end, it was something that she just didn't choose, even though she too had also wished for this sort of life-style..and she left this world, Nina and me behind.
But I only have myself to blame for that, I only have Nina now.. she means the world to me.. but this job of mine requires so much research I don't get to spend as much time with her as I'd like to..
Sometimes I begin to worry if I'm failing in my duties as a parent, with all the research that the State load me with..the work saps my strength both mentally and physically..and at the end of it all..I wonder if I still have the vigour to raise my own daughter right.
I know that my assesment will be sometime in February/March next year.. so I need to think about what I'm going to do for that, it will have to be something really great in order to pass the test and still get the funding from the State..and so far I haven't been able to produce any good results.. if I fail it next year....I dread to think what the concequences may be, especially where the General is concerned.
But I can't let all of that worry me now, right now..the only thing that matters to me is being with my daughter on her birthday.
I intend to spend as much time with her on this day as possible, to see her smiling face is the only thing I want at the moment.
Work and all of it's usual worries can wait until tomorrow..and the next day..and the day after that...and possibly the day after that.
- Shou Tucker. The End.
Written by Rebecca Mason.
Authors Notes: Shou, Mrs. Tucker and Nina Tucker belong to Hiromu Arakawa.
Although it was my little sister Bryony who gave the name 'Sharon' to Mrs. Tucker.
And it's never revealed when Nina's actual birthday was, in the manga or the anime..
But in the subtitled version of episode 6.
Roy said to Ed and Al that Mr. Tucker had a daughter who was 'about' to turn four years old.
And considering that Ed and Al stayed at the mansion for four months ( and it could of still been October when they arrived there) Nina could of turned four during those months.
Hehe and picking her birthday to be on Christmas Eve seemed cute.