Got three of 'em here. Not fake-cutted, because I'm just lazy like that. :P
Characters: Mainly Gracia and Hughes, Elysia for a paragraph or two
Rating: G (It's fluff to the extreme)
Word count: 940
Summary: Hughes spends some quality time at home. No spoilers.
It was nearly 9:30 in the evening when Maes Hughes finally unlocked the door to his house and stepped inside, positively rigid from being exposed to the near sub-zero temperatures outside.
"Welcome home, Maes," his wife called cheerily from the kitchen as he hung up his dark winter coat in the hall closet and slipped off his black military boots, the melting snow creating small pools of water beneath them. "I was afraid you had gotten lost." Hughes grinned as he strode over to Gracia, who stood at the kitchen counter, making coffee, and slid his arms around her petite waist from behind, pulling her body close to his.
"I'll always be able to find my way back to you," he said, "no matter how much paperwork they dump on me."
Gracia gave a small laugh, then turned around in her husband's arms to face him. She reached up and ran her fingers through his near-black hair, then slid her hands gently down his cheeks. "Oh, honey," she said worriedly, frowning, "you're absolutely freezing!"
Hughes smiled as he set his hands upon hers. "Don't worry, I'm fine," he said reassuredly, causing Gracia to click her tongue and shake her head in mock defeat.
"I don't know what I'm going to do with you. I can't have you getting sick, not so close to the holidays."
Hughes replied by wordlessly leaning in towards his blonde lover and stealing a long, gentle kiss. That could have been one of the reasons Hughes had fallen for Gracia like a fool-- she had the sweetest kisses of any woman he'd ever been with. Just a peck on the cheek from her could send chills down his spine, but a full-blown kiss like this completely drove him mad. After he finally broke away slowly, he gazed into her eyes and smiled once more.
"I told you, don't worry about me."
Gracia grinned and lazily wrapped her arms around his neck. "I know, but you can't blame me for trying. Maes, Elysia is waiting for you upstairs. She said she was going to stay up until you came home." Hughes laughed at this, knowing full well his darling daughter had probably fallen asleep hours ago.
"Alright, I'll go see her." He gently broke away from Gracia and left the kitchen. He crossed the hallway and flipped the light on as he quietly ascended the staircase. He reached his daughter's bedroom door and opened it slowly, gently, so as not to disturb her. The light from the hall fell softly onto her tiny frame beneath the pink bed sheets and illuminated her angelic face. It was all Hughes could do to keep himself from whisking her up in his arms and cuddling her on the spot.
But instead he quietly sat on the edge of her bed, leaning over to softly stroke her pale blonde hair. "Elysia?" he whispered, but there was no response save for her steady, quiet breathing. Hughes gazed at his daughter adoringly, and it was at times like these when he couldn't help but imagine Elysia ten, eleven, twelve years from now. She, coming down the stairs in a beautiful pink gown, stars in her eyes, ready for her first prom dance. And there he would be, camera in hand, waiting to capture the fleeting moment on film before he lost it forever.
That was the main reason he loved taking pictures of Elysia in the first place-- he wanted to keep his precious memories of her forever. Her childhood was slipping away faster and faster, and it was getting harder for him to keep up, especially with the work he did.
From the day she was born, Hughes vowed he would always be there for her, giving her everything she needed, loving her endlessly. He leaned down once more and gave her a soft kiss on the forehead. Elysia's eyes opened slowly, and she smiled upon seeing her daddy home.
"I missed you, Papa," she said tiredly, giving him a hug.
"I missed you too, Elysia," Hughes replied, embracing his daughter. "Now," he said, mocking sternness, "go back to sleep, or else Mama will be mad at me if she finds out I woke you up."
Elysia yawned and nodded, her eyelids already falling. Hughes stood up slowly, and was slightly startled when he noticed Gracia leaning in the doorway, smiling at him.
He followed her out into the hall, shutting Elysia's door cautiously. Once again he wrapped his arms around his wife and pulled her close, rocking her gently.
"I must be the luckiest woman in the world," Gracia murmured, resting her head on Hughes' chest.
"I think I was blessed to have met you," Hughes replied, "and even doubly so to have had the most wonderful daughter in the world with you."
They stood there a moment, each enjoying the other's warm, comforting embrace, until Hughes finally led Gracia downstairs and into the living room, where the two lay down on the grey sofa together, still entangled in each other's arms.
It would be awhile until either one consented to leaving the sofa to go to bed, but to Hughes, it felt like just another second in the day. He wanted to spend forever with his wife and daughter and nothing more. He silently lamented the long hours he spent at Central, be he knew that he was doing his part to keep civilians-- especially his precious family-- safe.
The two had been silent the entire time. Hughes leaned over and whispered sweetly in his wife's ear: "I love you Gracia."
To which she replied, "I love you forever, Maes."
A/N: This was another lame ending, but... arg, I just completely suck at ending stories. xD I've wanted to write a fluffy Hughes/Gracia fic since like, forever. I just love Hughes so much like you would not believe. I might even come somewhat close to rivaling treesock, but that's doubtful. xD
Title: In These Times
Characters: Roy, Havoc, Kimbley
Rating: R (language, blood, violence (This is no Saving Private Ryan, but it's not all fluffy-happy either... T_T))
Word count: 2,400
Summary: Roy and Havoc witness more than they care to see during their time in the war, and they get a short lecture from Kimbley on the meaning of war. Takes place near the beginning of the Ishbal War. No spoilers.
What I saw there is not something I want to remember...
"Roy! Nngh... help me!" Havoc struggled with the downed man he was trying to drag out of the line of fire. The blood smeared on his hands made them slippery and unable to grip the fabric of the dirty blue uniform quite right, and besides that, he was completely exhausted. He had been at the barricades for over five hours, and fatigue had settled in ages ago. His face was covered in blood, sweat, dust, and his muscles were aching horribly. His uniform was splattered with dried blood and thick mud, and his boots that had once gleamed black were now a sad shade of grey-brown. His bangs fell down irritably in his eyes and the back of his head itched with sweat. The man he was carrying didn't look much better, but at least Havoc was alive.
"Give me a minute!" Roy hollered back, his voice cracking from exhaustion. He had been forced to man a large machine gun after its user had passed out not too long ago, and his replacement had just had his right leg shattered by shrapnel. Roy was less certain with guns than he was with alchemy, but it had been part of his training regimen, so he at least had the skills to operate them if the situation called for it. His entire body shook as the rounds fired with automatic precision, the shells dropping listlessly on the ground near his feet. When the last stream of shots had been exhausted, Roy took a moment to wipe his drenched forehead and take a swig of water from the canteen hanging from his belt. He called for reinforcements, then shakily lifted himself to his feet and jogged as best he could to Havoc's side. He grabbed the fallen soldier's legs and the two dragged the man as carefully as possible over the safety lines and leaned him gently against a mound of gravel and dirt. Havoc knelt down and gazed into the man's face. He was pale and shaking violently, and his tear-filled eyes were dilating larger and larger by the minute.
"J-Jean... " he whispered hoarsely, "I... don't wanna die... "
Havoc gulped, turning his face away and wiping at his own eyes. He took a long, shaky drag from his cigarette, then turned back to face his comrade, patting him gently on the shoulder. "Don't worry, man. You'll be okay. I won't let you die." He scanned the head and torso. "Where'd you get hit?" The soldier pointed painfully to his left quadricep, which around it the blue uniform was dripping with dark red blood. There were two large holes in the fabric-- the bullet had been shot completely through his leg. Havoc's eyes rounded and his stomach churned disgustingly. "Shit... " he breathed, rubbing the back of his neck, trying to think as rationally as possible as to how to cease the blood flow and give this guy a chance to make it to the medical tent before he died right then and there. "Roy," he said suddenly, looking up at his companion, who stood there blankly, watching, "you got any handkerchiefs on you?"
"Yeah," Roy said quietly, and took out the cleanest one he had left in his back pants pocket. Roy himself was unable to understand why he did nothing but stand there, watching Havoc calmly take over. It was in his own nature to be a leader, but at that moment his mind was blank and he could do nothing but assist. Maybe it was the fatigue or the grotesque condition of the soldier's wound that numbed his mind, but he simply couldn't muster the strength he needed to force his emotions aside and take charge. He passed the handkerchief, patting his friend's dirtied palm reassuredly. Havoc nodded gratefully and took the cloth, quickly wrapping it tight around the gun wound on the soldier's leg. The man winced and groaned, but said nothing.
"We should get him over to the meds, Havoc." Roy's wits finally began to resurface, and he bent down, carefully draping the soldier's right arm over his shoulder and lifting him to his feet.
"Right behind you," Havoc grunted, craning his neck over the dirt mound to make sure it was safe to move again. It had quieted down considerably on the battlefield in the past hour, which either meant that most of their men had died or were falling back, or they had overpowered the Ishbalans and were moving in. When he felt it was safe to make their escape, he took the man's other side and he and Roy carefully led the half-unconscious soldier about a quarter-mile to the nearest medical tent.
Havoc lifted the coarse, dirty tent flap and walked in. When the sight of at least a dozen or more bloodied, wounded, or violently ill soldiers greeted him, he suddenly felt the urge to throw up. The tent reeked of disinfectant and rotten... something. Havoc didn't want to find out what. A bleary-eyed nurse rushed over to them, smiling weakly, nodding her thanks for retrieving another wounded man. "Uh, is there anything we can do to help, ma'am?" Havoc asked half-apologetically. There were only two other nurses there, and he was sure this wasn't going to be the last man to limp into the tent today.
The nurse shook her head. "Thank you, darling, but we don't want to risk you contracting anything. Just get out there and do your job." Havoc nodded weakly, and felt the sudden urge to just hug this woman for being so strong in the face of death and sickness, and he wondered how much worse it was, being out on the battlefield, or inside caring for the sick.
A sudden cry pierced the air, and Havoc, Roy, and the nurse whipped around to see the two other nurses bent over a screaming, writhing soldier. One was trying desperately to hold down the man's arms and leg, while the other one struggled with a large serrated knife, preparing to amputate his other blackened, bloody leg. The nurse turned around, a pained expression on her face. "You two had better leave. I'll take care of your friend now."
Roy nodded. "Best of luck, ma'am," he said, and pulled a gaping Havoc outside. When they were a good distance away from the tent, the two collapsed behind another mound of dirt.
"D... did you fuckin' see that, Roy?" Havoc said almost hysterically, jabbing a thumb back in the direction of the tent, where the screams still emanated fairly clearly.
Roy nodded soberly. "God help the poor bastard who has to go through THAT," he said quietly, running a hand through his sweat-soaked hair.
"And those nurses," Havoc added, "Jesus. I mean, some of those men looked like they had been dead long before they even laid them down on the bed!" He propped his elbows on his knees and rubbed his temples slowly. "I... I can't stand this, Roy. If you and Armstrong weren't here, I swear to God I'd kill myself."
Roy wrapped an arm around Havoc's shoulder. "Shit, man, don't say that. You're strong. I've seen you out there, you're really a great soldier. You gotta quit that fuckin' smoking though," he added with a half-smile as Havoc reaching into his pocket for a fresh cigarette. Havoc grinned weakly, not paying any heed.
"Can't help it," he said, holding up his cigarette expectantly between his fore and middle fingers. "Could you... ?" he asked feebly. "Forgot my lighter."
Roy rolled his eyes and brought a gloved hand up to Havoc's cigarette. He snapped his fingers lightly and the end of the white stick glowed orange. Havoc grinned and brought the cigarette to his mouth, letting it hang familiarly between his lips.
"I wonder if anyone would notice we were gone if we stayed out here for awhile," Havoc sighed, leaning back to gaze up at the sky. It was a beautiful day, light wisps of cotton clouds painted against a brilliant blue sky, and a faint cool breeze blowing gently. A disturbingly perfect backdrop for such a horrid turn of events.
"Dunno," Roy answered lightly. "Would anyone back home care if we ever returned... ? It's not like I have any family to go home to," he said, referring to the fact that both his parents had died not long before the Ishbal War began.
Havoc shrugged. "My sister and I aren't too keen on each other, so I don't think she'd mind if I got my brains blown out," he said, chuckling. Roy laughed at this, the first real laugh he'd been able to muster since the war began.
Suddenly the ground rumbled and there was a deafening explosion not more than ten feet behind the dirt mound. A few seconds later, another explosion, this time much closer.
"Shit! An ambush!" Havoc cried, his hand reaching for the gun secured in the holster around his waist. Roy slipped on his other glove and was attempting to discreetly peer out from behind the mound when the explosions stopped, replaced with the sound of hearty, amused laughter.
Roy frowned. He slowly stepped out from behind the mound and saw the Crimson Alchemist, Zolf Kimbley, his face flushed, laughing himself sick. The ground around him was still smoking slightly. Havoc came out after Roy and stood there, gaping. "What the fuck, Kimbley?" he cried.
Kimbley looked up with tears in his eyes. "I scared you shitheads good!" he managed to get out between breaths. "What the hell are you doing hiding your asses over here for?" It took a moment for him to regain his composure, and soon his trademark smirk was plastered on his face once again, although his eyes glared coldly at the two soldiers. "Everyone's looking for the great Flame Alchemist," he said, his voice dripping with sarcasm and annoyance at the fact that Roy was always the one getting all the glory.
"We were just... taking a break," Roy said, shrugging. At this, Kimbley began to laugh again.
"Breaks?" he said incredulously. "There ARE no breaks in war, dumbfuck. Get that through your head. You kill, and you kill, and you kill some more. And you keep on killing, until every last Ishbalan dog is lying at your feet, bleeding out of every Goddamn hole in their body!" he said, suddenly filled with rage. Roy could see a curious gleam in Kimbley's eyes that he could only interpret as an insatiable lust for blood, which sent shivers up his spine. Kimbley was definitely not someone you wanted to cross paths with, and everyone in their division knew it. He wasn't insane, but he wasn't exactly right in the head, and it showed as he gleefully ran into battle, smashing his hand against an Ishbalan's face or chest or wherever it was convenient, his eyes lighting up as his victim was incinerated in a glorious display of fire, plumes of smoke, and the scent of burning flesh.
"They're not dogs," Havoc said flatly, removing the cigarette from his mouth and stamping it out on the ground.
Kimbley glared at him. "What are they, then? Don't tell me you're one of those people with... morals." He dragged out the last word with annoyance, as if it were a burden to be weighted down with something as trivial as love for your fellow man. "Morals don't exist in war, Jean. You should've been able to figure that out by now. They're dogs, praying to their high God Ishbala or whatever they call it, thinking that they're so fucking far above us, when they don't even realize they're the sorry ones!" Kimbley spat on the ground and continued. "You wanna lump them in with respectable people like us? Then get your ass over to their side, and I'll gladly burn you up, just like the rest of them!"
Roy gave a quiet growl and took a small step towards Kimbley. He noticed this and smirked once more.
"I think you need to educate your friend here about the trials of war, Roy. He's too damn soft." Roy stood there silently, glaring at Kimbley. As much as it pained him, he had to agree. It hadn't taken long for Roy to adjust to the fact that it was either kill or be killed, and soon the Ishbalans became faceless, nameless, only targets for him to destroy. Man, woman, child, it made no difference. If he gave them any second chances, they would sooner drive a knife into his side and that would be the end of him. He didn't have any dreams of coming home a war hero-- just alive.
Roy coughed. "Are you done, Kimbley? Or do you want to lecture us more?"
Kimbley shrugged. "Just wanted to make sure you two got the idea. We're in a WAR, understand?" he said, tapping his head with his forefinger. "Look that word up, and it sure as fuck won't say 'Pansy-ass skip through the springtime flowers.' Now get your asses back to camp, we're being relocated again." He glared at Havoc and Roy for another second, then turned and began to walk back towards the camp. The two soldiers watched him warily, then followed behind him, keeping a good thirty feet between them.
Roy jammed his hands in his pockets, scowling at the ground, and Havoc fished around in his pockets for another smoke. "Man, I'd love to shut his damn face one of these days," Havoc said angrily.
"He's right, though," Roy said quietly. "You can't be soft in war. You'll die in an instant."
"Don't you think I know that?" Havoc snapped. "Maybe it's easy for you guys to adjust, but not so much for me, you know? Spending the last ten years in a military office, then suddenly getting sent to unknown lands to shoot hundreds of people dead? It's not that easy to get used to."
"Yeah... I know."
"But... I'm not backing out, Roy. I'm staying with you. Until the end."
Roy glanced up at Havoc and smiled. "Thanks. That means a lot, Havoc."
"We're friends. No fuckin' war's going to ruin that."
Roy threw an arm over Havoc's shoulder and the two walked back to camp, saying a silent prayer for the fallen soldier they had helped earlier, knowing he certainly wouldn't be the last they would have to encounter.
A/N: Arg, I ended this so badly, but I honestly couldn't figure out how to finish it properly without making it a frikken novel. And... yeah. It was fun getting to write something with Kimbley in it. I love him so much. :D Kimbley and Havoc. Every fangirl's dream. Wewt.
Title: In My Head
Characters: Ed, Al, Roy
Rating: PG (F-bomb dropped twice)
Word count: 1,491
Summary: Ed goes for a walk around HQ after the Tucker incident, and runs into Roy, who gives him a little advice.
"Little big bwother? Little big bwother? Wanna play? Wanna play?"
The voice he once cherished hearing now looped hauntingly in his head, feeding upon itself and causing the boy's stomach to turn violently. It had been like this for at least a day now-- Nina's sweet smiling face flashing before his eyes, her voice calling out for him to play in the snow with her. Then suddenly the face would change, warping hideously into something half-human, an abomination. The voice changed with it, echoing in his ears, a mockery of the human tongue.
"Wa... nna play? Wa... nna play?"
Edward growled in anger and frustration and jammed his head underneath his pillow in an almost childish attempt to make it all go away. Alphonse noticed the growl and turned his head to look at his brother.
"You okay, Ed?"
Ed sighed before replying. "No Al, I'm not. I'm really, REALLY pissed. Pissed and confused."
Well, it was a start. It had taken Al and even a couple of kindly military personnel a half-hour to calm Ed down after he returned from the Tucker manor. At that time, he had been absolutely LIVID. Al could handle pissed and confused by himself.
"Why don't you go for a walk, Brother?"
Ed's head swiveled to face Alphonse, an annoyed look on his face, as if the prospect of such a stupidly mundane action such as that was so far below THE Edward Elric. Al could see that he didn't appreciate his comment, and simply shrugged, his armor clanking noisily.
"It was just a thought. I really hate to see you so moody. I know you're upset, and so am I, but keeping it inside isn't going to help you, or bring Nina back, or--"
He was cut off abruptly as Ed stood up and cleared his throat loudly.
"I, uh... I think I'll take that walk, Al," he said quietly. As he walked out the door, he mumbled: "I certainly hope for his safety's sake that I don't run into Colonel Shithead." He shut the door quite loudly, leaving Al alone to sit quietly by himself and think.
But as luck would have it, not more than five minutes into his cleansing stroll did Ed run into Roy, who was coming out of the mess hall looking somewhat amused. His grin faded upon seeing Ed, and his face became more serious, more business-like. He nodded in Ed's direction. "Good day, Fullmetal," he said sternly yet without threat. Ed said nothing, keeping his eyes cast to the floor, a murderous scowl on his face. He made certain to forcefully push his way past the Colonel, who stopped walking and turned to face Ed's retreating backside. "Edward," Roy said in a tone not unlike a father punishing his misbehaving son, "maybe you're not familiar with regulations around here, but when your commanding officer extends you a greeting, it's damn near required to respond."
"Fuck you," Ed called back, not even bothering to turn around. "How's that for a response?"
Roy was a bit surprised to hear such language from a child not even half his age, but he made no mention of it. He simply folded his arms and glared in Ed's direction. "Something you want to talk about, Ed?"
"What do you think?" Ed snapped, curling his hands into tight fists. He could feel the tears coming to his eyes and his face becoming hot, but there was no way in Hell he was going to let that bastard see him cry.
"Well," Roy began slowly, "I think I'd like to see you in my office now. I want to talk to you."
"No thanks," Ed mumbled. Then after a moment: "I'm taking a walk."
Roy almost laughed at this, but managed to keep his commandeering composure at the fore. "Come on, Ed," he said, stepping closer to the boy, moving to place his hand on his shoulder.
"I said no!" Ed snapped, spinning around to face Roy and angrily pushing the hand away. "Don't even bother talking to me! I don't want your damn sympathy."
Roy sighed, letting his hand drop. "I'm sorry Edward. I really am. But I honestly had no idea what was going on between Tucker and Gran."
"I'm sure," Ed muttered. Roy frowned.
"Tucker wasn't under my jurisdiction. There was no way I could've known what he was doing! I only mentioned him to you because I honestly thought he could help you and your brother." He sighed and ran a gloved hand through his dark locks. "I don't completely hate you, you know."
But Ed didn't appreciate the joke. His face was now devoid of any expression of anger or resentment he previously had, it was now replaced with the pure spiteful sadness he had kept inside for so long. His eyes, threatening to spill over with tears, were cast to the floor and his cheeks were flushed.
Roy did think he'd ever seen Ed in such a pitiful state before and honestly, he was at a bit of a loss as to how to handle the situation. Blowing up a building or controlling 200 plus men in battle? Cake. Comforting a crying boy? He'd sooner pick a fight with Hawkeye during her time of the month.
"She... she was my friend." Ed finally broke the silence between them in a small, quivering voice that failed terribly at feigning self-control. "She was just a little kid, but I liked her." His eyes were still fixated on his shoes-- he didn't dare look up. His shoulders were slumped over, and to Roy he suddenly lost all of the cockiness and arrogance he once flaunted in the Colonel's face on a daily basis. Now he was just a child, broken and vulnerable, chewed up by the evil of man's desires then spat out into reality once more. "She reminded me of when Winry and Al and me would play together when we were little."
"Ed, I... " Roy made an attempt at comforting the boy when suddenly Ed fell to his knees and began slamming his fists against his legs, hot tears pouring down his face.
"It's not fair, Goddammit!" he screamed, causing a few passing soldiers to stop and stare. Roy noticed, and shot them an icy glare at which they turned tail and sped away, not daring to invoke the wrath of the Flame Alchemist. He turned back to Ed, who was still on the floor, rocking himself slowly with his arms wrapped around his chest.
"It's not fair," he said quietly. "She didn't deserve to die."
And suddenly, slowly, Roy knelt down and did something he knew, in any other circumstance, he would be slashed to death with an automail blade for doing. He lifted his arms and firmly, yet somewhat awkwardly placed them around Ed. He waited for the boy to jump out his grasp and transmute a spear to plunge through his chest, but nothing happened. Ed didn't make any movement to accept the strange embrace, but he didn't try to break away from it either. He just knelt there, numb. Although he knew Roy was there, trying to make him feel better, he couldn't grasp anything but the sound of his own breathing and the cold floor underneath the material of his clothing.
They stayed this way for a few moments, neither saying anything, until Roy finally broke the embrace and helped the somber Edward to his feet. Ed stared questioningly at Roy with red, puffy eyes and flushed cheeks. Roy looked down at the boy with stern yet caring eyes. Then suddenly a gloved hand came forth out of nowhere and harshly slapped Ed's cheek. Ed quickly snapped out his dark state and glared angrily at Roy, rubbing his cheek.
"What the hell was that for, you bastard?" he cried. Roy smirked.
"You're in the military now, kid. Quit your damn crying." He was serious now. "Bad things are going to happen, even more so now. Don't be afraid to let your feelings out, it's only natural. But your job comes first," he said sternly, "and I'm thinking you don't want your State license revoked, right?"
Ed scowled, but he knew Roy was right, and his brain was in too much turmoil to put up a good fight. His frustration and pity was gone for the moment and he finally remembered what he had been doing before his small breakdown occurred. His cocky grin returned and he spun around and resumed walking down the hallway. "I've got a walk to finish," he said. Then, turning to look at Roy with a murderous glare, he added: "And if you tell ANYONE you hugged me, I'll rip your fucking head off. You got that?"
Roy chuckled and nodded. "I wouldn't dream of it," he called back.
"Good," Ed said, turning around again. "Glad we could have this little talk."
"Anytime, Ed," Roy said to himself.
A/N: ZOMG, I know everyone and their mom has written an "Ed angsts over Nina" fic, but it's such good material. I couldn't help it. And just for the record, this is NOT a RoyxEd fic. I dislike RoyxEd, but if you want to interpret it that way, go ahead and knock your socks off. Just know that I didn't intend for it to be. xD