Kale (jadedsilk) wrote in fm_alchemist,
Kale
jadedsilk
fm_alchemist

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[Title]Firestarter
[Author] Mara D (Watarisgirl/Lady Jade)
[Series] Fullmetal Alchemist
[Pairing] RoyxEd
[Rating] Not work safe.NC 17
[Beta] cherrymelle
[Spoilers?] Yes. It's fairly AU. My take on the end of the series, The movie doesn't exist at all for me.
[Chatter] Okay, I don't have a map of Amestris, I only know what little I have gleaned from the FMA game. I don't know if it snows in Rizenbul, but it does now. Because I said so. I get the feeling that the place is really deep-south-ish (If it were to be part of the USA), but please bear with me for now. I want it to snow in Rizenbul. I do. I do! SO IT IS! :sobs: That is all. ^_^



~*~
***IMPORTANT**

I don't know if it ever really snows in Rizenbul. BUT IT DOES NOW ^_^

***End**

~*~

He was standing at the nurses’ station, borrowing their phone because of the urgent message he had received from Colonel Hawkeye, that he was supposed to talk to Adelaide Quinn as soon as possible.

Right now his heart was in his throat as he struggled to see past his ice pack and black eye. He had had to be more or less guided to the phone by Riza, who was still supporting his elbow helpfully.

“He isn’t supposed to be able to use alchemy!” Roy snapped, feeling heartsick.

This couldn’t be true, it had to be a lie.

“He did sir.”

“I would have sent alchemists, not soldiers.”

“He did sir, he used arrays…”

“Casualties?”

“Everyone inside and outside the house sir, and one Pinako Rockbell.”

“Winry?”

“Understandably terrified…but fine. She won’t let anyone near her though, she has locked herself into the room she is renting, and refuses to come out.”

Roy let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding.

“She is a strong girl, I am afraid this is the second time though, that my judgment has cost her something dear. She also does not know Alphonse is badly wounded…perhaps Pinako would be alive if I had insisted that Edward contacted the Rockbell’s right away…they would have been on a train here, not there, being slaughtered because I was too short sighted to think that an alchemist would be needed. I know better…I know better…it was foolishness on my part.” Roy snapped, more at himself than Quinn as he closed his eyes in sick pain and frustration. His body already hurt.

“Sir, you don’t even know that they wouldn’t have been attacked on the train, and then more people would have died, perhaps the girl too. It may be a blessing not a curse.”

Roy swore anyway.

“Has anyone caught sight of him? What if he tries again…the girl will not be safe.”

“That Sir, is why, if I may be so bold, I believe the General should go to Rizenbul. There will be a funeral. You should pay your respects. The girl will be safe with both yourself and Major Elric. This Wrath is a coward. He seems to only attack when he is confident he can win.”

“I am loathe to leave Central that long. The distraction will be working then, and Central will be unprotected…Alphonse and /Envy/ will be unprotected. That would also be a foolish move.”

“Sir, if I may again be so bold, there are several powerful and highly trustworthy alchemists here at Central. Rizenbul is unprotected. This girl is unprotected.”

“She will not be glad to see me, nor to be near me.”

“Sir, she has no home anymore.”

“What are you suggesting First Lieutenant Quinn?”

“Edward will want to give her a place to stay Sir, one way or another, you should work things out. Besides, she is more useful to us alive than dead. She would make excellent bait if need be and…”

“That is enough Lieutenant.” Roy said flatly, his voice almost dangerous.

“Yes Sir. Has the General made a decision?” She asked quietly, carefully.

“I will inform Fullmetal and Izumi. I need to speak with them about this matter before I act.”

~*~

Riza had sympathetically guided him down the hallway, while Roy swallowed hard, audibly at least three times. He didn’t know if he was actually going to be physically sick or not. (He tried to think of Riza, her worry and pain for Edward. For Winry. Riza too was trembling as he was, feeling the loss, the attack, very personally.) Good soldiers’ and a civilian had died. Another civilian might not emotionally recover enough to be considered normal again…Oh Goddess of Ishbal, who was he kidding? Two women, acquaintances, family and friends by association had…

Roy sighed and took another deep breath, letting it out in a shaky hiss through his teeth. He was nauseous and cold and sore and an utter /failure/. He had failed his men and Edward with a moment’s poor decision. He had failed Winry Rockbell yet again, and Pinako Rockbell whom he had also already wronged.

And Izumi. Izumi whose son had killed her students’ last remaining living support. Friend. Izumi whose son who was now a homunculus who could use alchemy.

When he knocked at the doorframe and stepped into the room, he found Ed resting in a chair next to Alphonse’s cot, and Izumi perching on the cot between her two students, delicate hands shifting through Al’s hair.

“General Mustang.” Izumi said coolly, her eyes not quite as unfriendly as her tone.

Ed smiled up at Roy, innocently happy despite his worries. Not stupidly, no, that wasn’t his Edward, but that smile was finally what brought Roy to his emotional knees.

When Roy didn’t give him even the tiniest contented gesture in return, Ed’s brows knitted in worry. He was standing almost immediately, and looking as panicked as Roy was certain he looked serious. He had his mask on, and that always meant trouble. Edward knew him that well.

“What is it?”

Izumi was standing now too, and Roy found his breathing imperceptibly quickening. Real people were far scarier to deal with than any monster, at least for Roy Mustang.

She was standing behind her apprentice, one hand on his shoulder. She knew. He didn’t know how she did, but she did.

“Roy, what is it?!” His tone was even more panicked now.

Roy was attempting to turn on his heel and bolt, when he almost slammed into Riza.

She shook her head slightly at him, pressing him back towards Edward.

“Both of you might wish to sit.” Roy said softly.

~*~

Edward was staring, his automail hand gripped vice like into the wooden arm of the hospital chair, so tight that every time he sporadically drew a breath, the wood creaked in protest.

Izumi looked floored and sickened.

“You lie.” Izumi said lowly.

“I swear it to be the truth.” Roy said quietly, his voice trembling with his shame.

“There is no way…” Izumi began.

“You’re wrong.” Ed interrupted, his voice trance like and breathy.

“What?” Izumi asked, turning to stare at her student.

“You made Wrath from part of yourself and his immediate mortal remains. He had been dead how long?”

Izumi shook her head, looking aghast, but she answered. “He had barely cooled…I was a desperate mother…”

Ed nodded.

“His spirit was not yet through the gate then, most likely. It takes three days for the spirit to flee the mortal plane.”

“Are you saying…?”

“I’m saying that Wrath is different enough to be powerful all on his own. His soul is completely his own. Perhaps not what you expected but…”

“Okay, so perhaps my son can use alchemy, he did it before with the aid of your arm and leg. What about the others, can they as well? Even if they were not made from their immediate mortal remains and soul?”

“Yes, but, before we get to that, he didn’t need my arm and leg. He already had part of you inside of him.”

Izumi touched her stomach then, mystified, almost horrified.

“You mean?”

“I will get to that. Hold on and listen to the rest.” Ed said woodenly, wearily.

Izumi was obediently listening then, almost dumbstruck while Ed continued. Her dark eyes attentive.

“I spoke with Hoenheim about…such things. Homunculi…we alchemists always assumed them to be soulless and therefore incapable of alchemy. But half of alchemy is /purely/ will.” Edward said softly. “If they were told ‘no, you cannot do alchemy’ and they believed it, then there is no way that they could use alchemy. However, look at their abilities. A bit strange, a bit weak in comparison to a well rounded alchemist. They /are/ alchemists. They /can/ use Alchemy. Envy could transmute his physical form to give the impression of another person, Lust could create swords with her fingernails through transmutation, seemingly without a circle…”

“The Ouroboros.” Izumi whispered.

“Yes. And being that all of the alchemy in this world is facilitated not by an alchemist, but from by spiritual energy on from the other side of the gate…”

“They have all the power they need. They are the closest to the walking dead, their souls are within the gate and partially trapped to their bodies by the Ouroboros.” Izumi expounded on her own, awe and horror in her voice.

“They aren’t stupid or as weak as we think they are. They are untrained and highly specialized alchemists. How can they not be? They are forged body and spirit by the sciences of our world.” Ed said lowly. “And…”

“And?” Riza prompted, ruby eyes wide. “what?”

“As such.” Izumi continued in Ed’s stead. “The laws of equivalent exchange do not apply to them anymore.”

~*~

Roy was blown away. He stood there feeling the tension between his eyebrows get worse and worse.

Edward had taken the news calmly, too calmly. He was being so practical that Roy found the subdued and numb responses far worse than any screaming fit that his lover could possibly have had. This news… was something he could have used a long time ago, though he wondered how much of it had been hypothetical until Edward had learned what he had.

“I am going for the funeral. I am departing tonight, and leaving Colonel Hawkeye, First Lieutenant Quinn, Colonel Armstrong, and Havoc in charge. God help us all.” Roy said, trying to breathe and finding that the room was suddenly too hot.

“What are you going to do?” Izumi asked Roy then, her voice low.

“I will find Wrath, and I will eliminate him.”

Izumi drew herself up to her full height.

“This is my son, you are talking about.”

Roy shook his head, feeling the fine trembling of stress starting in his hands, so he shoved them into his pockets.

“I am afraid he ceased to be your son the day he died. Even if he still was, he has now murdered twenty soldiers, killed an innocent civilian, and attempted to rape another. I cannot allow him to run free in Amestris. This is only the start, and you know it.” Roy said levelly.

His tone was not cruel, nor was his body language. If anything, it was apologetic.

Izumi glanced away angrily, knowing Roy spoke the truth, but unable to accept it as a mother.

Roy didn’t expect her to.

She turned away from him then, as if she were going to sit down, and then moving faster than Roy could blink, she kicked high to his jaw. Roy didn’t bother ducking.

The kick slammed him sprawling into Hawkeye who just barely managed to break Roy’s fall with outstretched arms.

“You /BAST…”

“IZUMI!” Ed’s commanding shout brought the woman up hard as he stood, putting himself between Roy and the angry woman alchemist before she could strike him again.

She had never heard Ed call her by her name without an honorary. She froze, both her hands falling back to her sides as she realized what she had just done, clenching and unclenching them into fists.

“If it is anyone’s fault, it is mine. I knew that this could potentially happen, I just was uncertain that Dad was right, that I was right, so I didn’t bring it up. It cost…it cost…” Ed’s voice cracked as he fell to his knees, gazing up at her.

/It cost me…it cost lives…and…I failed…I failed…I…Auntie…Winry…Al…, I’m sorry…I’m sorry…/

~*~

Riza helped Roy back to his feet, the dark haired man ignoring the third bruise of the day forming on his face as he knelt by Ed who was currently gibbering in another language again.

Izumi stared, and Riza moved up to rest a mildly restraining but understanding hand on the other woman’s shoulder.

There was silence in the room after a moment, and just Ed’s unsteady breathing.

“It is not your fault Fullmetal.” Roy said lowly.

Ed shook his head.

“Edward, listen to me.” Roy reached out, resting strong hands on Ed’s shoulders.

Ed glanced up at him, golden eyes wide.

“You cannot save the world, no matter how much you want to. You are not responsible for the mistakes of others, even your father’s or…Izumi’s. It is not your fault that people you love or care about die. It is life. We all die, and someday, you and I will too. Someday. But not right now. It doesn’t mean that you and I get to stop trying to help people, but we aren’t gods Edward. We are just alchemists, we are just men. And we do what we can to help others. I know you loved them, I know how it is nearly impossible not to feel responsible, but know that while it may hurt and feel that way, it is not the truth. You realize this?” Roy asked.

Ed stared up at him.

“But I could have…”

“Bullshit.” Roy said lowly, cutting Ed off.

Roy knew if it was anyone’s fault, it was his. He knew that he was being a hypocrite. But there was nothing else for it. Edward was much emotionally stronger than he was. Edward would be all right with some truth to arm him. Roy felt…guilty, broken. Unworthy to even be touching Ed at all. He had let him down…he had made a mistake. The great Roy Mustang had finally made a strategical mistake that had cost the lives of his men. His pride was bruised as well as his heart.

Feeling bad didn’t even begin to cover it.

Ed was shaking under his hands, golden eyes studying Roy’s face still, studying that black eye and bruising jaw critically. There was a moment when Ed shuddered, and Roy thought the blond might be about to sob or be sick, but then Ed slid his mask into place. That mask of false cheer and hope that had been put on so many times in Roy’s office in front of his desk.

“You’re right.” Ed said, smiling that smile.

It broke Roy’s heart to see Ed do it. It broke something inside of him so badly that he wondered what he should really do. If he and Ed had to wear masks to get through the next few days. They would. It was a sort of gentlemen’s agreement between the two of them, an unspoken decision. They shared a look, and Ed nodded, taking a slow deep breath for emotional control. They would do whatever they had to do, and then sort out the emotional repercussions later. Winry needed them.

“Who will stay with Al?” Ed asked as he stood slowly and turned to glance at Izumi and Riza.

“Pinako was a friend of mine, but she will forgive me staying behind to look after her family.” Izumi said, her posture and voice defeated.

Roy stood as well, drawing himself up to his full height. His arm ached, he was sore and tired and he just wanted to lie down, but that was not likely.

“I have to make a few phone calls then, if you would all excuse me?” Roy fled the room.

~*~

Ed was silent the whole car ride back home.

Roy was staring stoically ahead, having flipped up his eye patch so that he could almost see to drive them.

Ed felt terrible and numb.

He was worried sick for Winry. He was worried sick for Roy and Izumi.

He was just plain worried.

There was an expression on Roy’s face then, one that Ed didn’t recognize. That was a rarity. In the few weeks he had been with Roy, he had learned to read the man like a book. That expression though, it was neutral, reproachful. Almost cold.

They both packed for the train station in silence. Roy was ready far ahead of Ed. A clean dress shirt over the bandages on his arm, a spare dress jacket to replace the bloody shredded one, and a short note to Holly about having his clothes mended and the house looked after.

When Ed finished packing finally, he found himself starting to tremble. He wanted Roy. He wanted revenge. He wanted a thousand things and nothing at all, and closure was one of them. He really had no place in Rizenbul anymore, and now more than ever he needed Roy.

He felt homeless somehow, cut adrift and he hadn’t even been back to Rizenbul. He hadn’t seen Winry. He hadn’t seen the casket. He hadn’t seen anything at all and still he felt like someone had jerked the rug of life out from under his feet yet again.

He wanted Roy.

He forced himself to walk calmly down the stairs, to come stand beside his lover, to set his suitcase beside Roy’s.

Roy was looking at him strangely, almost expectantly.

Ed lasted about three more seconds before he was wrapping his arms around Roy’s waist, burrowing past the as of yet unbuttoned black overcoat to the General’s jacket underneath. He rested his cheek just over Roy’s heart, and took a shuddering breath.

“I’m sorry.” Roy murmured to him, slowly holding Ed back, almost as if he were afraid that Ed would shatter if he moved too fast or held on too hard.

Ed shook his head against Roy’s chest.

“It isn’t your fault, you couldn’t have known.”

“Edward, I plan for everything. I know better. I should have taken this sort of thing into consideration, no matter how outlandish.”

“Shut the fuck up bastard!” Ed moaned vehemently against Roy’s chest. “It’s nobody’s fault. Even if there had been an alchemist there, they probably would have died too, and maybe Winry wouldn’t have made it. You can play ‘what if’ all goddamn day! But it doesn’t change the facts!”

Roy was humbled then by Ed, feeling a bit contrite, and maybe a little bit better.

Ed didn’t really seem to hate him. Ed was holding him. Someway, somehow, this would be all right. Just not tonight, and for tonight, for this red-eye train ride, he would not be alone. Edward would be sitting beside him, and they would have a private box to themselves on the military car, and everything would somehow be all right. For now. For now.

He didn’t relish looking Winry in the eye and telling her once again that…

No. Ed was right. They had to dwell in the here and the now. They had to solve this problem. And they had to find Wrath. And they had to pray that the crew he was leaving behind would be enough to stop Envy if he found a way to escape the seal they had put on him.

~*~

Al woke slowly, something warm and fuzzy was tickling just under his chin and mewling persistently. He kind of wished it wouldn’t do what it was doing, because it was clumsily stepping on his shoulder, and that hurt. A lot.

“Mhh.” Al moaned softly, opening his eyes to a pair of serious blue ones that were definitely not human.

Al might have been terrified, but he recognized them right away.

“Kitty?” Al asked curiously, his voice cracked and dry.

Where was he? What was going on? It was so white in here!

He was on a cot, the lights were dimmed, but the ones coming in from the doorframe in the hall were way too bright.

“Hello Alphonse.”

Al grunted and turned his head at the familiar voice.

“Miss Ross?”

“Just Maria.”

“Why am I not surprised that the first word he says after a day or two of unconsciousness is ‘kitty?’” Another voice asked.

“Denny?” Al rasped in surprise.

“The one and only.”

“What happened? Why do I hurt so much?”

Ross was leaning forward now, he could see her better, she was stroking a cool hand against his forehead.

“Do you want me to have the nurse give you something for the pain?”

“Can you help me pet the kitty?”

~*~

When the train pulled into the station, Ed was leaning against Roy’s shoulder, snoring slightly from the angle that his head had fallen to. Roy himself had been quite deeply asleep, but the intercom had awoken him, and now he was trying to wake Ed.

“Fullmetal, we are at Rizenbul station.”

“Just five more minutes mom.”

“Fullmetal, I am most assuredly not your mother.” Roy said lowly.

“Mhhh…wha?”

“Ri-zen-bul.” Roy enunciated.

“Oh crap!” Ed said, sitting up and frantically trying to locate his jacket, his suitcase, and the packet of peanuts he had not eaten but had been saving for later in case of “emergencies.”

Emergencies according to Fullmetal involved nothing to eat as a midnight snack.

Roy stood and straightened both his jacket and his coat, slicked his hair back out of his eyes and struggled into his gloves. Edward was only a few seconds behind him as the train ground to a halt.

Ed and Roy shared a look before they disembarked into the pre-dawn chill. The snow was deep here and merciless, and it appeared that their ride to where they were staying was a horse drawn sleigh. Roy was metropolitan enough to be frustrated, but Ed immediately became excited.

“A sleigh ride! I missed these! The snow gets so deep here in the winter that you can’t drive a car anywhere.” Ed bounced.

This drew a grudging smile from Roy. Well, it would be pretty to watch the sun come up while he and Ed shared a blanket. (And froze to death.) And besides, if it made Ed smile right now, he would cheerfully ice over any day.

Besides, the cold felt wonderful on his now slightly less swollen eye and jaw.

~*~

Betty and Marcus Leeson lived five miles from the old Rockbell homestead. They were also the people that Winry was staying with for now. Marcus and Ed had chatted all the way back, and Ed had learned about how very poorly Winry was taking all of this (Unsurprisingly.)

When they arrived, they had been shown to their room where they had put their luggage down, and then Betty had gone to stoke the fires and start supper.

Ed would chop wood for her tonight, like he did sometimes in the fall when he was a younger boy. Betty and Marcus were getting older, and Ed was glad to help.

But now he was standing out in the hall, outside the door to Winry’s room.

Ed knocked on the door hesitantly.

Roy was sitting further down the hallway on the top step, a nervous and upset huddle of blue fabric.

“Winry?” Ed called quietly.

The door was yanked open a moment later. The blond looked terrible. Her hair was unkempt, she looked as though she had been crying very hard, her face was red with ((her)) tears, her eyes swollen and bloodshot. She was wearing an old pair of jeans and a baggy sweater that was so oversized it almost fell off of her shoulder, exposing the white undershirt she was wearing beneath it.

“Ed?” She asked breathily, just as new tears welled up in her eyes.

She was clutching a sodden black handkerchief in one hand as she was suddenly clinging to Ed.

Ed let her.

“You came…all this way…just to see me?” Winry asked, as if this should somehow surprised her.

“Stupid woman, of course we did.”

“We?”

“Roy came with me.”

“Roy?!” She growled through her tears. “Roy Mustang?!”

Ed nodded.

“We came to protect you. He was worried about you.”

“He should be!” She snapped, pulling away from Ed hard backing into the room and threatening to shut the door because she had caught sight of the blue uniform on the top step.

Ed stuck his automail hand in the door, wincing as the wood rebounded off of it.

“All of this is his fault! Again! That BASTARD!” she shouted. (Apparently it was a general consensus around Amestris that Roy Mustang was a bastard.)

Ed shook his head.

“There was no way he could have known, he assigned you many good men to protect you. Friends of his, and now they are dead. He is terribly upset about it and worried about your safety enough to come personally. If that isn’t enough of a ‘sorry’ I don’t know what the hell is!” Ed growled right back, shutting the door behind him but knowing all too well it was too late to avoid Roy hearing the words.

“Do you know what that thing did to me?! Tried to do to me?! How much more do I have to lose! How much more!” Winry raved, rubbing her hands on her sweater as if somehow trying to get them clean. “Mustang deserves to die! Not Auntie! Not my parents!”

Ed would have been angry at her words, knowing how much they were hurting Roy, how much they were hurting him, but he just let them go because he had a feeling that Winry had needed to lose control, to say these things even if she didn’t mean them.

When she started to sob, when her knees buckled, Ed went to her, wrapping strong arms around her waist as she buried her head in his automail shoulder.

And he let her sob for a good half hour. Until he was soaked in tears and she was half asleep and numb, no doubt from the way they were sitting on the floor.

“Would you hate me? If this were my fault?” Ed asked her softly.

“No…I can’t hate you Ed…I couldn’t, not if you didn’t know.” She replied quietly.

“It hurts him terribly, he feels he let you down again, hurt you again, and that was the last thing he planned to do. If you can’t hate me, then you can’t hate him. Its as simple as that.”

“I know. I’m sorry.” She whispered meekly.

“You just needed to be mad at someone?”

“Yeah.” She sniffed.

“He heard all that.” Ed said without judgment.

“I should go apologize.”

“Let me…go first. He’s pretty upset right now. That way if any ‘man stuff’ comes up I can deal with it.”

“’Man stuff’?” Winry asked indignantly.

“Yeah.” Ed replied smugly.

~*~

The shouted words sliced right through and cut Roy to the quick. He actually flinched as she shouted them. She was one of the few people whose opinion he cared about and it was wrecking him. Each and every word was like a punch to the gut.

It didn’t matter that they had just come in out of the snow, that he was just starting to thaw, that the room with two separate beds that he and Ed had been settled in, had his coat.

He limped silently down the stairs and out into the snow that had been heavy before, mottling the sunrise. Now that the sun was up, it was simply a world of flat gray and white and driving blizzard. Roy ran out into it simply because it was better than staying in the house, better than hearing her words echoing accusingly down the hall. Better than memories that haunted him until he wanted to scream aloud from sheer misery.

He waded off into the drifts, heading blindly for what looked like a nearby forest.

~*~

“Dammit!” Ed hissed when he realized Roy was gone.

He was terrified unreasonably, or more like, rather reasonably considering the weather and Roy’s obvious inexperience with Rizenbul weather. It wasn’t like it occurred to you that you were freezing to death after a while…

He borrowed one of Winry’s spare sweaters, shoved his crimson coat on over it, pushed his pants legs down over his boots to help keep the snow out, and burst out into the storm.

“Think fast Ed, where would you go if you were Roy Mustang and you wanted to get away for a while. Heh…well, there aren’t any bars for miles and no one has opened the barn doors…” He mused aloud. “So…”

~*~

Roy flopped backwards into a snowdrift, enjoying the way it made the pain in his arm and face go numb. He listened to the snow falling with an angry hiss, the wind tearing through the gorse nearby and driving the flakes onwards. Not two of the damned things were exactly alike, he mused, as he watched the snow come down. It didn’t look as much like a blizzard how he was lying, staring upwards through a pine tree’s scraggly branches.

A moment later, he heard footsteps crunching through the snow.

He closed his eyes, wishing he could disappear, but when he opened them a cold, reddened and very unhappy Fullmetal Alchemist was standing over him.

“I’m cold you bastard! Can we go back to the Leesons’ house already? They are putting on some tea for us, and Betty is worried sick.”

Ed flopped down next to Roy in the snow, resting a sympathetic hand on his lover’s chest.

“It’s okay Roy, we all are idiots who can’t handle what happens sometimes. I mean…look at me? If I hadn’t been such a stupid kid, we probably wouldn’t all be in this mess today.”

~*~

Roy laughed softly.

“Are you accusing me of running away?”

“More or less.”

~*~

Ed blinked, his mitten clad hands packing at a glob of snow now instead of resting on Roy’s chest.

“You killed Winry’s parents. That is what I heard, but I never was certain…”

“I did, yes.” Roy said levelly.

“You are still feeling guilty? You were ordered to do it, by a very corrupt man.”

“How could I not feel guilty.” Roy asked, his voice choked.

“But you resolved to be stronger, you have done a lot of good things for a lot of people that you might not have helped had you not made a resolution to be better, to dedicate your life to help other people instead of just being an unquestioning tool of the Military…She knows that about you Roy, she talked to Riza, she didn’t mean what she said just now, she was upset, blowing steam. You do know how that feels, Christ, I know you do.”

“How do you know?”

“She told me so. She wants to talk to you, and I think you need to hear what she has to say.”

Roy glared at Ed.

“Not on your life.”

Ed grunted, a tiny malicious smile turning up the corner of his mouth as he bashed Roy in the face with the snowball he had been making.

“Hey!” Roy barked, sitting up and looking really aggravated.

“Coward bastard!” Ed shouted, skipping to his feet and making another snowball. He smacked Roy in the face again. “If you are gonna keep sulking, I’m gonna keep pegging your ass.”

Roy smirked through a face full of white.

“I could turn this place into a forest fire. What will you do with no snow?” Roy asked, getting unsteadily to his feet, limping a bit from the cold.

“Mud wrestle!” Ed smirked right back.

Roy had been busily making a compact little snowball in the hand behind his back. His aim was impeccable.

Ed yipped as the snow slid down the back collar of his coat, and then did a dance as it liquefied over his chest under his sweater.

“Fullmetal, you had best run. I am going to get you for every time you have ever assaulted me on the way to work, you and that brother of yours….”

Ed bolted, whooping in mock terror.

~*~

Ed really was right. Running away wouldn’t make it better, but that didn’t mean he hadn’t been tempted. Tempted to sink into the mire of his own self loathing. To Sit out here and freeze to death. And if he was going to act like a little kid, Ed was going to treat him like one.

Though right now…the concept was lighter hearted. Silently he thanked Edward for this as he forced himself to move, to pelt after the blond monkey that was sniping him with snowballs from time to time.

He was glad that he had someone to remind him that being serious all the time was not the answer. Maes certainly wasn’t here to do it.

~*~

Roy tripped Ed just short of the porch, tackling him into the snow and stuffing handfuls of the white stuff down his jacket and sweater while the blond howled.

They were both breathless and half frozen and laughing so hard neither of them could speak when Betty Leeson opened the door to the antics in her front yard.

“There you two are, Winry and Marcus were worried sick. Come in and have some tea.”

Roy crawled off of Ed then, hauling the blond to his feet and shaking some of the snow off. It was stuck to them everywhere.

“Lands sake look at the both of you. Boys never grow up I swear, are you sure you are both state alchemists?”

Roy and Ed both had the good grace to blush while refusing to look at each other.

~*~

Roy and Ed were both in civilian dress now, sitting in front of the fireplace on a battered old sofa and sipping cocoa.

Supper was on the stove in the kitchen, and the air of tension had dissolved.

Winry was downstairs, helping in the kitchen while Ed and Roy warmed up, (Ed scratching the top of Den’s head amiably. The dog had survived the carnage somehow.)

Winry and Roy were watching each other warily, but both of them seemed more embarrassed than anything else. Ed did his best to cheerfully talk about mundane things, and Roy would occasionally join his partner in a ramble or telling an amusing story.

The mood in the house had been so somber before, but now, things had completely changed.

Ed wasn’t sure how that worked, but that was what had happened.

“I need to re-bandage your arm Roy…you were so busy stuffing snow down my pants that it looks like you tore a stitch or two.”

Roy just snorted in denial.

~*~

Go back to:

((Chapter One))
((Chapter Two))
((Chapter Three))
((Chapter Four))
((Chapter Five))
((Chapter Six))
((Chapter Seven))
((Chapter Eight))
((Chapter Nine))
((Chapter Ten))
((Chapter Eleven))
((Chapter Twelve))
((Chapter Thirteen))
((Chapter Fourteen))
((Chapter Fifteen))
((Chapter Sixteen))
((Chapter Seventeen))
((Chapter Eighteen))
((Chapter Nineteen))
((Chapter Twenty))

~*~



Cross Posted to: steelandsparks fma_yaoi jadedsilk
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