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Sword Alchemist
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Fullmetal Alchemist or any of it’s characters.

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AUTHORS NOTES: You might notice that my other Denny/Maria stories all fit together. This story is NOT related to my other stories. I wanted to write a more serious story involving Denny and Maria.

I had to do medical research for this story so I hope I didn’t get anything wrong.



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DENNY'S MIRACLE


Lieutenant Maria Ross was sitting in the waiting room at Central Hospital, tightly clutching the hand of Sergeant Denny Brosh’s mother. Denny’s father sat beside his wife, nervously tapping his fingers on the armrest of his chair.

The three of them were anxiously waiting for news on Denny’s condition. The doctor had said that he had an idea of what was wrong but didn’t want to say anything until he got the results of the medical tests back.

Maria thought back on the events that had led them here. A few days ago, Denny had gone to H.Q.’s infirmary because he had been running a fever. The doctor there had told him that he was probably just coming down with a common cold.

However, what had happened today was proof that it wasn’t just a common cold.

Earlier that afternoon, Denny and Maria had been on their way to the cafeteria to get some lunch. As they were walking in the hallway, Denny’s legs suddenly gave out and sent his crashing to the floor. Knowing how clumsy Denny could be sometimes, Maria extended her hand to him to help him back to his feet. Denny looked up at her with fear in his eyes and told her that he couldn't get up. His legs looked as limp as a rag doll's.

Maria was pulled out of her thoughts by the doctor entering the waiting room. The doctor motioned for them to stay seated. It was obvious by the look on his face that the news wasn't good.

“Tell us,” Mr. Brosh demanded, “What is wrong with my son?”

“There’s no easy way for me to tell you this,” the doctor said. He took a deep breath before continuing, “Denny has polio.”

“WHAT?” Maria gasped, hoping she had heard wrong.

“Not my Denny.” Mrs. Brosh whispered. She put her hand over her mouth and began to cry, “Not my little boy.”

Maria couldn’t believe what the doctor had just told them. Denny, her best friend and comrade had polio. She had heard of the disease and how devastating it’s affects could be. Some polio patients couldn’t even breathe without the help of a special kind of machine.

“How could he have gotten pol………this?” Maria asked. She couldn’t even bring herself to say the word polio.

“It’s possible he could have gotten it from contaminated drinking water or food.” the doctor explained, “You and Denny are both in the military so I assume you do a lot of traveling. Has Denny traveled anywhere lately?”

“We recently returned from a mission on the borders between Amestris and Drachma,” Maria said, “There were rumors of another uprising taking place.”

The doctor just nodded. That area was known to have rather unsanitary living conditions and that polio had become a common epidemic there .

“But if that’s where he got the polio then why didn’t any of the other soldiers or I get sick as well?” Maria asked.

"There's no way to explain why Denny got polio and you didn't. The majority of those who get the polio virus never even knew they had it,” the doctor said. “If any of the other soldiers got it then it’s possible that they may have only had mild flu-like symptoms and recovered quickly. Others such as Denny develop a form known as paralytic polio in which the virus affects the nervous system. The sudden paralysis Denny experienced in his legs is known as Acute Flaccid Paralysis. However, there is hope that the paralysis isn’t permanent. He could regain some if not most movement.”

“Can we see him now?” Mr. Brosh asked.

"I'm afraid not. Denny will be moved to a ward for patients with polio,” the doctor said, “and until the virus has run it’s coarse and is no longer contagious, only medical staff will be allowed in his room.”

“So we’re not even allowed to visit him?’ Maria asked bitterly. She hated the thought of Denny being trapped in this hospital with only doctors and nurses for company.

“I’m sorry Lt. Ross but those are hospital rules and my hands are tied,” the doctor said sympathetically. “Now, there’s really nothing more any of you can do here. I suggest you just go home now.”

“No,” Maria said firmly, “I’m staying right here.”

“Maria. The doctor is right. You staying here wont help Denny get better any faster,” Mrs. Brosh said gently as she took Maria’s hand, “Come along now.”

Knowing it was useless to put up a fight, Maria just sighed and allowed Mrs. Brosh to lead her out of the hospital.


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Several weeks later, Denny was allowed to leave the hospital. He was still unable to walk but thankfully the paralysis hadn’t spread beyond his legs or affected his ability to breathe.

Denny would be moving back into his parents house. Everyone thought that Denny would be more comfortable rehabilitating in the house he had grown up in rather than his small, cramped room in the military dorms.

Home care had been arranged by the military, mainly Major Armstrong and his family. A nurse would visit the house daily to do treatments on Denny’s legs.

During treatments, hot wool cloths would be applied to Denny‘s legs. His legs would then be stretched and massaged to relieve the tightness in the muscles. The treatments were known to be painful. Even though his legs were paralyzed, he still had feeling in them.

Maria and Mrs. Brosh were outside that afternoon, waiting for Mr. Brosh to arrive home with Denny.

Maria was nervous about finally seeing Denny again. This didn't go unnoticed by Mrs. Brosh.

“I know you’re anxious about seeing Denny,” Mrs. Brosh told her softly, “but you’re his best friend Maria. He’s going to need you more than ever right now. You have to be strong for him.”

“I know,” Maria whispered. She then looked over at the wheelchair which was awaiting it’s occupant.

The wheelchair had a high cane woven backrest and a wooden frame. Two large spoked wheels in front and two smaller ones in the back.

Maria just couldn’t imagine Denny sitting in it.

Just then, Mr. Brosh’s car pulled up to the house. Mr. Brosh got out and went to the passenger side and opened the door. He wrapped one arm around Denny’s shoulders and the other under his knees and lifted him out of the car. Denny felt a little embarrassed by this. After all, he had been 9 years old the last time his father had carried him.

Mr. Brosh sat Denny down in the wheelchair. Denny placed his arms on the wooden armrests and leaned back, sighing inwardly. He was only in his mid 20’s and there was a possibility that he would be in this chair for the rest of his life.

“Are you comfortable?” Mrs. Brosh asked as she situated Denny’s feet on the footrest, “I can get you a pillow to put behind your back if you want.”

“I’m fine Mom,” Denny said. He then looked over at Maria and managed a small smile for her.

“I missed you so much,” Maria whispered as she hugged him.

Blushing, Denny hugged her back. “Thanks. I missed you too Maria.”

Once inside the house, They wheeled Denny into his old room. Mrs. Brosh had kept the room exactly the same as it had been before Denny had left home to join the military.

“Well, I’m sure the two of you have a lot of catching up to do,” Mrs. Brosh said as she and her husband left the room, “I’ll call you when dinner is ready.”

“So this was your room huh?” Maria asked, trying to make conversation.

“Yeah,” was all Denny said.

Maria looked around the bedroom. It was painted light blue with a hardwood floor. On the wall, above the bed was a pennant that said Central High School.

On the shelves, were several framed photographs. In one of them, a teenaged Denny was wearing a soccer uniform. The words Central High were printed across the front of the jersey. His right foot was propped up on top of a soccer ball.

Maria never knew that Denny had been on his high school soccer team. Even though they were the same age, Maria hadn’t known Denny in high school. She had gone to a private academy.

She wanted to ask Denny about it but thought that now wasn’t the appropriate time. It was too soon to bring up times when Denny could still walk and run.

A short time later, Mrs. Brosh called them out to the dining room for dinner.

“It’s your favorite Denny,” Mrs. Brosh announced as she was putting the food on the table, “Fried chicken and mashed potatoes.”

Dinner was eaten in an awkward silence. This made Maria feel somewhat uncomfortable. She had always been so used to Denny's endless chatter during meal times at H.Q. She remembered one time being so annoyed by it that she yelled at him to shut up. Now Maria realized that she actually missed his voice.

“I baked a chocolate cake for dessert,” Mrs. Brosh spoke up after Denny had finished, “Would you like a piece?”

"Actually I'm feeling a little tired right now," Denny said, "I'd really just like to go to bed."

“Of course son,“ Mr. Brosh said as he got up and pushed Denny back to his room.

Maria sighed as she helped Mrs. Brosh clear the table. She had never seen Denny so depressed before.

Not that she could blame him.


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Weeks passed by and Denny’s depression didn’t seem to be improving. In fact it was getting a lot worst.

He barely laughed or smiled anymore and whenever he did, it was obviously forced. Many people from H.Q. had come to visit him but he refused to see any of them. Every time a letter would arrive from a concerned friend or relative, Denny would just add it to the ever growing pile of unread mail on his bureau. He never wanted to leave the house and just spent most of his time moping in his room.

Maria was desperate to cheer him up. She wanted to see a genuine smile on his face again. She wanted to hear him laugh again. She just wanted the Denny she used to know back.

“How would you like to get out of the house for awhile today,” Maria asked Denny, “Maybe we can go get something to eat.”

Before polio had entered his life, Denny would’ve said yes without a second thought. He would’ve said yes to anything that even remotely sounded like a date with Maria Ross.

However, he just shook his head no.

“Denny, you’ve been cooped up in this house for over a month now,” Maria said, becoming exasperated, “It would do you a lot of good to get out for awhile.”

“I don’t want to Maria,” Denny said in an irritated voice.

Maria sighed in defeat. “Fine then, we’ll just stay here.”

“You’re wasting your time,” Denny said.

“Pardon.”

“You’re wasting your time on me Maria,” Denny repeated, “We both know I’ll never be able to walk again.”

“Dont say things like that Denny?” Maria asked, “You dont know that for sure?”

“Oh come on Maria. Why dont you just face reality already? This is the way it’s always going to be now.” Denny yelled, “Sooner or later you‘re going to get tired of taking care of me. Why don’t you do yourself a favor. Stop feeling sorry for me and get on with your life.”

“YOU IDIOT.” Maria screamed, tears flowing down her face, “I’m not trying to help you because I feel sorry for you. I WANT TO HELP BECAUSE I LOVE YOU!”

Denny’s eyes widened at her words. Did she just tell him that she loved him?

“You have made it very clear that you don’t want me here so I’ll leave,” Maria said, “Goodbye Denny Brosh.”

She then turned and walked out of the room.

“Maria,” Denny pleaded, “Please wait.”

But it was too late. Maria was already gone.

Denny began to cry silently. The only woman he had ever loved had just walked out of his life.


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“Maria, are you alright?” Lt. Riza Hawkeye asked the next day at H.Q. “You look like you’re going to burst into tears any moment.”

Maria sighed deeply before speaking, “Denny and I had a fight yesterday.”

Maria told Riza the whole story. About she and Denny’s argument to her declaration of love to her finally walking out on Denny.

‘So she finally admitted that she loves Brosh,’ Riza thought to herself.

This news was no surprise to Riza. The way Maria felt about Denny had always been very obvious.

“Listen to me and listen good Maria,” Riza said firmly. “You should try to look at this situation from Denny’s point of view. Imagine what it must be like for him not knowing if he will ever walk again or not. To make matters worst, he feared that you would eventually abandon him and that is exactly what you did Maria.”

Maria knew that Riza was right. She had never given much thought to how Denny must’ve felt and how difficult his life was now. She now realized that she had been selfish by thinking about how Denny’s disability made HER feel. She had wanted him to be happy not for himself but for her.

“You said that you loved him,” Riza continued. “but I don’t think that you really do.”

“YOU'RE WRONG," Maria shouted.

"Am I now?" Riza asked calmly. "If you really loved him would you have turned your back on him?"

The tears that Maria had been trying so hard to control were now falling freely. Riza's expression softened as she put a comforting arm around Maria's shoulders. Riza didn't like having to be so harsh on the younger woman but this had been a lesson Maria had to learn.

"If you truly love Denny then prove it to him," Riza said softly, "Let him know that you wont give up on him."

Maria nodded and got up from her desk. Before walking out the door, she turned to look at Riza.

“Thanks.”

“Don’t mention it,” Riza said with a smile, “Now hurry up. I'm sure he misses you.”


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Denny was sitting up against the headboard of his bed, chewing on the top of his fountain pen. An open notebook was laying in his lap.

Denny was writing a letter to Maria. Well, trying to write one anyways. It had been an hour and all he had written was ‘Dear Maria'. Sighing, he closed the notebook and tossed it along with his pen aside.

There was a soft knock on his door.

“Come in,” Denny said, thinking it was his mother coming to ask if he was okay for the 50th time that day. He knew she meant well, but it was getting annoying already.

Slowly, the door opened to reveal Maria Ross.

"Maria," Denny whispered.

“Am I still welcome here?" Maria asked quietly.

Denny nodded and before he knew it, Maria had jumped onto the bed and was hugging him tightly. She buried her face into his shoulder and began sobbing.

“I’m sorry Denny. I’m so sorry,” Maria cried, “Can you ever forgive me?”

"Oh Maria," Denny said. Tears fell from his eyes as he put his arms around her, "You dont have anything to be sorry for. What happened yesterday was all my fault."

Maria could not believe that Denny was actually blaming himself. "But Denny, I walked out on you."

"Maybe we're both to blame then," Denny said. "Tell you what. I'll forgive you under one condition."

"And what's that?" Maria asked.

"That you forgive me too," Denny replied.

Maria gave Denny a teary smile and nodded, "Sure."

For the next several minutes, Denny and Maria just held each other and cried.

“Did you really mean it when you said that you loved me?” Denny asked hopefully.

“Of course I meant it Denny,” Maria said as she wiped the tears from her eyes, “I love you and I am never going to leave you ever again. I promise."

“I love you too Maria," Denny said as he gently touched the side of Maria's face. "I have always loved you."

At that moment, Denny and Maria’s lips met in a kiss.

However, the kiss ended abruptly when they heard someone clearing her throat. Denny and Maria looked to see Mrs. Brosh standing in the doorway.

“Uh……I’m sorry to interrupt,” Mrs. Brosh said awkwardly, “But Nurse Hilda is here for your treatments Denny.”

“Um yeah……….thanks Mom,” a very embarrassed Denny said.

"From now on this door will stay open whenever you two are in here alone." Mrs. Brosh said, taking on a strict motherly tone of voice.

“MOOOOOM!” Denny whined.

It was humiliating enough that his mother had walked in right in the middle of he and Maria’s very first kiss. But now she was talking to him as if he were a still a child.

“I mean it young man,” Mrs. Brosh said.

"Yes ma'am," Denny muttered, his cheeks turning pink.

As soon as Mrs. Brosh left the room, Maria started laughing. Her laughter must’ve been contagious because Denny couldn’t help but join in.

A moment later, a middle-aged woman wearing a white nurse’s dress and hat entered the room.

“Good afternoon Denny,” Nurse Hilda said politely. She looked at Denny for a few seconds, “I do believe this is the first time I’ve ever seen you smiling.”

Knowing that Denny didn’t want anyone in the room during his treatments, Maria got up and excused herself. But Denny had grabbed her hand before she could leave.

“You can stay if you want to Maria." Denny told her

“Okay,” Maria said with a smile. She then took a seat in Denny’s wheelchair, which was sitting beside his bed.

“So who’s your friend Denny?” Nurse Hilda asked.

“This is Maria Ross,” Denny said proudly, “She’s my girlfriend.”

“Oh really," Nurse Hilda said in a teasing voice, "You never mentioned having a girlfriend."

“I didn’t know I had one until just recently.” Denny joked.

“Well, I think you two look like a charming couple,” Nurse Hilda said.

“Thank you,” Denny and Maria both said in unison.

Denny Brosh’s girlfriend. Maria liked the sound of that.


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“Denny, you‘re eating like a pig,” Maria said amusingly as she and Denny sat at a table outside of a small restaurant one evening.

“I haven’t had a hamburger in months,” Denny said in between bites.

Maria just smiled as she took a bite of her own burger. She was happy to see Denny so cheerful again.

Suddenly something caught Maria’s eye. She looked down at Denny’s sandaled feet. He was slowing tapping his left foot on the wheelchair’s footrest.

“Denny, how long have you been able to do that?” Maria asked.

“Do what?” Denny asked as he licked some ketchup off the tips of his fingers.

“You moved your foot. You couldn’t do that before,” Maria told him, “Try to move it again.”

“Wow,” Denny said with a huge grin as he moved his foot again, “I wasn’t even aware I was doing it.”

“We have to go back and tell your parents.” Maria said excitedly.

“But I’m not finished yet.” Denny said.

Maria grabbed the small plastic basket containing Denny’s food and shoved it into his hands.

“Take it with you,” Maria said as she started to push the wheelchair towards the Brosh’s house as fast as she could.

“Well, so much for our first date,” Denny said as he rolled his eyes.


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The Brosh’s had called the doctor the minute they heard the news of Denny’s accomplishment.

“What do you think doc?” Mr. Brosh asked as the doctor finished examining the movement in Denny’s feet.

“Well, it would appear that some movement is definitely beginning to return,” the doctor said.

“That’s wonderful,” Mrs. Brosh said happily, “How soon until he’s walking again?”

“It’s still too early to say just how much movement will return Mrs. Brosh,” the doctor explained, “All we can do now is wait and see.”

While his parents were seeing the doctor to the door, Denny took both of Maria’s hands in his own.

“Maria, please don’t get you hopes too high just yet,” Denny said seriously, “I don’t want you to be disappointed.”

“You’re going to walk again." Maria said, hugging Denny, "I just know that you will.”

And Maria was right. Over the next few months, more movement began to return to Denny’s legs.

Soon, Denny was able to walk with the help of crutches and braces on his legs. It wasn’t easy of course. After being in a wheelchair for so long, Denny had to learn how to walk all over again.

No matter how difficult it was, Denny was determined to walk on his own. He wanted to do it for Maria.


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ONE YEAR LATER

“Want to go for a walk in the park,” Maria asked Denny when it was time to go home for the day. It was the first day of Summer and the weather was beautiful.

“You know that I would go anywhere with you,” Denny said as he gave Maria a kiss on the cheek.

Holding hands, Denny and Maria left H.Q. Denny was able to walk really good, however, he did walk with a limp now. He had been told that the limp was most likely permanent. Denny didn’t care though. At least he didn’t have to sit in that wheelchair anymore.

Denny was back in the military. He had been assigned a desk job. He even moved back into the military dorms. His mother hadn’t been too happy about that though.

Once they got to the park, Denny took Maria into his arms.

“You know what,” He told her, “You are a miracle.”

“No I‘m not,” Maria said, blushing.

“Yes you are. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be able to walk right now,” Denny said. Suddenly his expression turned serious, “Maria, will you stay by my side forever?”

“You know that I will Denny,” Maria said.

“Then would you marry me?” Denny asked.

He pulled a small jewelry box out of his pocket and opened it. Inside was a beautiful diamond ring.

“Oh Denny,” Maria whispered. “Yes, I will.”

Denny slid the ring on Maria’s left ring finger. He pulled her into his arms again and kissed her passionately.

“I love Maria. My miracle.”

THE END



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Hope you enjoyed the story.

Denny’s wheelchair was modeled after the antique ones from the early 1900’s Since the time period in Fullmetal Alchemist seems to be similar to the pre-World War 2 era, this seems like the type of wheelchair that would’ve been used. Besides, I think the antique ones look cool.

Also during that time period in our world, there was no polio vaccine yet so it could’ve been the same for the Fullmetal world too.

The treatment that was described in this story was a real treatment for polio patients known as hot packs. It was invented by a nurse named Elizabeth Kenny.
Tombow
@Sword Alchemist - Nice story! We don't see many fanfics based on Danny and Marry.
Danny getting Polio is an interesting twist! I enjoyed reading it. ^^
Sword Alchemist
Thanks for reviewing Tombow happy.gif

The other Denny/Maria fanfics I've written have been cute and fluffy. I wanted to write a more serious fanfic involving my OTP.
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