[Author] Mara D
[Series] Fullmetal Alchemist
[Spoilers?] Yes. AU. Picks up after the series ends. The movie doesn't exist as far as I am concerned.
[Chatter] You could cut the angst with a hand axe. ^_^
Roy sat silently, stroking Ed’s hair where the young man was sleeping with his head in his lap. The nurse had given the injection a few moments ago, and already Ed was beginning to stir.
Roy kept stroking those blond locks as Ed finally blinked open golden eyes groggily.
“Be still Fullmetal.” Roy whispered.
For a moment, Ed turned a dazed and adoring glance at Roy. The young man didn’t know what was going on, but he remembered many a morning waking like this in a better time and place, no doubt.
When he cuddled down though in Roy’s lap to go back to sleep, the General gave him a light shake.
“Wake up Edward.”
“Five more minutes Roy. Please?”
“Edward…we have some things to discuss. Move slowly if you do so.”
Ed was blinking up at him again, this time with eyes that were not quite so calm. So it was finally registering that they were not in the safety of Roy’s apartment years ago.
“Where the fuck am I?” Ed asked, his words still slightly slurred.
“You are in the hospital.”
“The hospital?!” Ed echoed, eyes suddenly a bit wider than they were a moment before.
He tried to sit up, but slid back down to Roy’s lap with a moan as he pressed both automail and flesh fingers into his eyes and rubbed.
“Oh fuck! I’m so dizzy. What the hell am I here for?”
No. Roy knew they weren’t in a room, and Ed did realize that now too.
“We are in the waiting room, waiting for your brother to get out of surgery. You have been drugged, so please sit up with c…”
Ed rocketed up out of Roy’s lap.
“What the Fuck?! Al’s in SURGERY?!”
“Fullmetal, perhaps you should move a bit slower and…”
“Oh fuck, I’m gonna be sick.”
Now that Ed wasn’t in Roy’s lap, it was not difficult to lunge for a trash can which he both procured and simultaneously shoved under Ed’s nose. He pulled back that long golden hair in one fist, and braced Ed’s chest with the other supportively.
Ed hit his knees after several moments of heaving uncontrollably, and Roy supported him on the way down.
“Oh fuck.” Ed whined when the sick spell finally ceased.
“I told you you shouldn’t have moved so fast.”
“Who drugged me, and why the goddamn hell is Al in surgery?!” Ed asked between raspy gasps for air.
“Edward…perhaps you would rather I wait until you are feeling better before I tell you this and…”
“WHO?!” Ed demanded just before he got sick again and Roy had to scramble to keep him from throwing up on his hair.
“Edward.” Roy began softly. “Alphonse drugged you. He carried your father outside and performed a transmutation that healed him, and consequently lead to the loss of his left arm, about halfway down his upper arm actually.”
Ed froze for a moment, pupils narrowing to mere pinpoints. He said nothing, just stared at Roy in horror. And Roy watched thought after thought, memory after memory chase itself across the countenance.
“He didn’t.” Ed whispered, his voice low. “He didn’t!” He gasped as he forced himself to his feet.
“Edward NO!” Roy said sharply, catching the younger man around the waist as he tried to let himself into the hallway. “Edward…Edward! Ed!” Roy growled, grabbing onto flesh and automail alike as Ed grappled with him. “Ed…Ed…let the surgeons help him. He’s going to be fine…he is! I gave a pint of my blood and so did Havoc and Breda. He’s just fine, they just need to cauterize the wound…Edward!”
The more Roy spoke, the more Ed slowly began to sink to the floor until he fell limp, head bowed and shoulders shaking.
“I’m going to kill him!” Ed moaned. “He promised to let me help him! HE PROMISED HE WOULDN’T GET HURT!” Ed shouted to the floor, his tears wetting the back of his hands. “He drugged me, lied to me, and then he…he…ROY HE DIDN’T UNDERSTAND! He doesn’t know what he’s getting INTO! What he gave up!”
Roy knelt next to Ed, reaching out to brush those bangs away from an already tear soaked face.
“I know Ed. I know.”
Ed finally just rested his forehead against Roy’s chest, reaching up with his flesh hand and twisting it in Roy’s jacket.
“He didn’t know what he was doing…I thought having a brother like me would be a reminder. He knew but he didn’t /know/ and now he can’t take it back and he’s…I worked so hard to make him…and…I never wanted him to feel like this. Never wanted him to be without…to have to…”
Roy slowly, cautiously wrapped his arms around Ed, tucking him under his chin and closer to body warmth.
“It’s all right Edward. It isn’t your fault. All you can do is love him right now. Beat him later, love him now.”
“Is this…this must have been how he felt…when I…how helpless and angry, except he didn’t have his body so it had to have been worse…Roy!”
“Edward, no matter how you hurt, you have to be here for him right now. There is no worse punishment than what he is suffering right now.”
“I know…that’s why I’m so mad.” Ed whispered as he cried against Roy’s chest.
“It’s all right Edward…at least the waiting room is empty?”
There was another shuddering sob against Roy’s chest then.
“And he did cure your father.”
Ed’s only reply was another sob.
Ed wiped his face, staring at his red rimmed eyes in the mirror of the hospital bathroom. Roy had a steadying hand on his lower back. A gesture that could not be seen from the doorway but was very soothing nonetheless.
“Are you ready?” Roy asked softly.
Ed nodded his head, and set his shoulders.
Roy reached up then, capturing that jaw in the palm of his hand, and Ed wearily let him.
“I know how hard this must be for you Fullmetal, but he needs you.”
Ed nodded again into Roy’s hand, reaching up and just for a moment, resting his over the top.
“Let’s go.” Ed said resolutely.
Ed’s heart was in his throat as Roy knocked on the door, and Hoenheim’s voice bade them enter. Roy slowly eased the door open, gently herding Ed in front of him with the sway of a hip and the brush of a shoulder.
And then Ed found himself in a dark room, the door only open a crack.
The light from the hallway was falling across Al’s sallow face and Ed froze.
His flesh arm was across his chest protectively, tubes running into it, two of them, one running crimson and the other clear. Al’s chest was barely rising and falling and he was deathly pale enough to make dark circles under his eyes. There were crows feet at the corners of his eyes that spoke of pain not eased by medication.
Ed remembered the first night after his incident…the way the shadows had looked, how he could feel his heartbeat in his head and his chest rising and falling like thunder ensnared in a cave…
He felt Roy’s hand at the small of his back again, saw a flash of gold as Hoenheim sat up, eyes as red and swollen as Ed’s meeting his sons terrified gaze.
“It’s all right Edward.” Hoenheim murmured lowly even though both of them knew it never really would be again.
Ed made the mistake of blinking.
/Hands were scrabbling at him, grabbing, tearing…there was the wet pain, burning snap of bone and sickening crunch…blood and pain and a suit of armor./
He woke to reality again when Roy had him by the shoulders and was shaking.
“I…it’s!” Ed murmured fearfully, his breath coming too fast and his undershirt soaked with sweat. “Get me…get me out of here Roy…”
Roy understood Ed’s behavior from his own all too well.
“No, Ed…everything is all right. Come sit.”
Ed had to be all but picked up and carried to the bed, he looked like he would protest and would keep protesting, but Roy grasped Ed’s flesh hand, and moved it to the warm and bare skin peeping through the v of the hospital gown. Roy pressed Ed’s hand over that heartbeat reassuringly. Hoenheim’s moved to cover Roy’s then.
Ed stilled his slight struggles then, the touch almost magic.
Ed was frozen again, his mouth slightly open as though he wanted to cry out in pain or denial.
Instead, his hand softened under the combined weight of Hoenheim and Roy’s, moving slowly, fingers curling slightly, like a blind man memorizing something he touched.
Ed stared in awe, fear, and frightened love. Part of him wanted to scream that this was someone else’s little brother. That this was not Alphonse. The other part was just sad. Sad that Al had done this. He understood wanting to protect him, but Ed didn’t want to be protected. He also knew that was why Al had had to resort to such drastic measures. He was sad because his own pride had lead to this. To Al having to lie, Al having to tear his body to pieces.
“Why…Al…what is one more piece of automail for me? I made you to be perfect, unlike me…Al…”
Roy and Hoenheim’s hands left the top of Ed’s, going instead to his shoulders, supporting him gently.
“Because Son, he loves you that much.” Hoenheim said softly.
Ed swallowed audibly in the silence of the room, only broken by a cool breeze through the room, ruffling the sheets and clinking the IV tubing minutely against the steel rail of the gurney.
Ed reached up and touched Al’s cheek.
“Why didn’t you let me help you, Al...?” he whispered brokenly.
Someone was touching his cheek, he had been hearing voices for a while, but now, now he was warm and someone was close enough to make it worth his struggles.
It took an effort, but he finally managed to crack his eyes open.
His vision was blurry, but it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that it was his brother. He knew from skin scent alone. There was a blur of glasses and dark blue and black. Roy and Hoenheim too…he was…oh yeah.
His heart sank to his knees as he realized this nightmare was real. His arm was gone. There was no waking up from this…
“Ed?” He whispered brokenly.
And Ed had to hate him.
Ed didn’t know how to feel, how to react. Should he be angry, worried, hurt? All of those expressions warred with is face briefly, making his eyebrows knit and un-knit strangely before he settled on a decision. No. He was glad that Al was alive. He should be relieved, and this was finally real to him. With Al’s eyes open, when he called Ed’s name he realized that it was /real/. This was really Al. Al really had lost his arm. Al needed his big brother now more than ever, and he needed reassurance and a warm touch.
The decision of feeling washed through him in waves of pure bliss. Maybe Al wasn’t in one piece, but he was alive, and mostly okay. Apparently Elrics thrived on the concept of nine lives.
“Al!” Ed finally exclaimed quietly as he made eye contact with his brother “Al, you idiot, we were all so worried about you!”
And then he wrapped his arms carefully around his brother’s waist and hugged him gently, pressing a kiss to that clammy forehead.
He was surprised when Al’s good arm came up, tubes and all and wrapped around his shoulders. Al whimpered.
“I love you.” Al whispered. “I love you so much.” He repeated, the cold of the gate no doubt still an icy whisper on his skin.
Ed’s arms around Al’s waist felt like a reminder of damnation and love both. The automail a reminder of what Al would never want. Would never have if he had his way. That arm was also reassuring. A reminder to Al that it wasn’t over if he so chose. That he could be strong of he had the strength left to get up, dust himself off and walk forward in life. He still had strong legs.
He didn’t quite know what to think of that, hanging halfway between panic and depression. Moments of comfort followed by moments of chilling terror that reminded him that this wasn’t right. What he did to Ed wasn’t right. And he was reminded abruptly that he could die. Die right now, and then what? He had to say it now.
It took him a moment to properly form words because he was trembling, because Ed was so warm and whole and he felt so /not/.
“I’m so sorry Ed…I am so sorry that I hurt you…that I lied to you…I’m so, so sorry... If you hate me for this, I understand.” Al whispered, his lip trembling as he finally flicked his gaze upward to Roy. “I’m sorry Roy. I am…so sorry…” Al murmured, feeling everyone’s pain agonizingly acutely. “And Dad…I heard you crying…I hurt you too even though I was just trying to help…
“I don’t hate you...Al...I just...I just wish that you would have let me help...,” Ed murmured, trying to blink back the tears. Al didn’t need him to be a sobbing mess right now.
“Look...see...you’ve got it...pretty good, because...because you have a big brother who can...who can help you out, right? I’ve been here before...too...,” he sniffled.
Roy nodded in agreement with Ed, reaching out to run his fingers through Al’s sweat stiff hair.
“Everything will be all right Alphonse, we are here for you, yes?”
Al clung tighter to Ed then, trembling even harder.
Hoenheim made a low sound in the back of his throat.
“Alphonse…a father’s tears…they are nothing special. I cried when you were born. I cried the night I found out that you were an empty suit of armor. And I cried tonight because I feared I would lose you in your attempt to save my worthless life.”
Al took a moment and glowered at his father.
“I wouldn’t give up my arm for someone who was useless you bastard.” Al snapped, his voice rough from intubation and vomiting.
“Shut up and quit running away Dad.” Al said, and the words shocked Hoenheim instantly into wide eyed silence.
They shared a moment of hard glances in which Hoenheim was the first to look away.
“I don’t feel you should have Alphonse, but you are right, I have no right to belittle your sacrifice.”
Al sighed then, collapsing forward a bit closer to Ed, where he halfway sat up and buried his cheek against Ed’s chest.
“I’d do it again in a heartbeat…but…I didn’t know.” Al whispered against his brother’s chest. “I didn’t understand and I…don’t know how to…get through this.” Al whispered to his brother, his lover. The only person he honestly wanted here right now.
“I understand.” Ed responded quietly. “It’s not real until you wake up and it’s really gone. And you wonder, what the hell was I thinking? Even though you’d do it again in an instant...it /is/ scary and it’s not going to get a whole lot better any time soon. But...we’ll help you...Al...I promise...”
To hear those words from his brother’s mouth was probably the most reassuring thing to happen to him since he had awoken.
“I don’t think…it’ll ever be okay again Ed…” Al whispered.
“It will be.” Ed said softly. “But it will take time. We will help you through this. You’re still in shock. This will get worse before it gets better. Our friends will be here for us. Dad is here, I’m here…even The Bastard.”
Roy didn’t deny his title, he just reached out and touched the top of Al’s head affectionately.
“I am here.” Roy said softly.
Al nodded and then yawned slightly, leaning against Ed’s shoulder, submissive, frightened and weary.
Hoenheim followed suit with and even noisier yawn a moment later.
Roy smiled a bit weakly himself.
“Like father, like son.” Roy murmured. “Edward would you mind staying with Al then while I take your father for a change of clothes, a shower, and possibly a drink? He looks like he needs it.” Roy said softly.
Ed looked up from Al for a moment.
“I figured on it, actually. I’ll spend then night, you two…go home and get some rest.”
“I suppose.” Hoenheim said quietly. “I really should. I have not had any sleep to speak of for the last few days…and a meal and a drink would be most welcome. Edward…will you be all right?”
Ed nodded. “Yeah Dad…get some rest.”
Roy stood up then wearily, stroking the top of Al’s head one last time, and clapping Ed on the flesh shoulder gently.
“Call me if you need anything Fullmetal.” Roy said quietly as he stood. His shoulders were drooping slightly as he glanced over his shoulder. Hoenheim was also standing slowly, almost limping as he followed Roy. They both looked so exhausted.
Hoenheim turned in the half light of the room then, facing his son.
“Call if you need me Al. I won’t be far.”
Al returned the glance a bit unfocusedly.
“I love you too son.”
The drive home was uneventful, neither Roy or Hoenheim really speaking, simply because they both were exhausted.
When they returned, Roy transmuted a set of his clothing for the bigger man to wear, and sent him to the shower while Roy did roughly the same, and changed into more comfortable civvies.
When they met in the downstairs hallway, Roy gave Hoenheim a smile as for the first time, he got to see him in something short sleeved and light instead of the layers of clothing that were inherent to the man’s manner of dress up until now.
“Good to be back I would wager.” Roy said more cheerfully than he felt. “Your color looks much better. You’re certain the rot will never return?”
“Quite,” Hoenheim replied, admiring his clean arm in the mirror. “Alphonse not only restored my body, but bound his own flesh to mine, sealing out the rot, because he is my flesh. As long as I am in this body, I should be fine. If I were to switch again, though, I would not be so lucky. However, I have no intention of doing so.”
Roy nodded thoughtfully. “It is time for you then.” Roy said quietly. “I can see wanting a bit of peace, I suppose.” Roy adjusted his coat, that matter of business addressed. “There is a wonderful little restaurant and bar just down the street from here. Let’s go get you something decent to eat and then you can come back here and get some sleep…”
Hoenheim nodded, taking a step forward even as, to his surprise, Roy did not.
Roy rested a hand on his shoulder and clenched his fingers in a warm squeeze.
“How are you faring….Really?”
“I am...worried,” Hoenheim said softly, not looking at Roy. “Alphonse will carry a heavy load because of this, I am afraid, and I know that Edward is less than thrilled about all that happened. Apparently, the two of them were talking about doing this together, and then Al decided otherwise... I worry for the both of them. But...then,” he turned and gave Roy a small smile, “I am their father, and that is my job.”
“They need you. See that you stick around, yes?” Roy said, veiled threat hinting in his tone.
Hoenheim smiled ruefully. “I believe I have learned my lesson. It isn’t easy...but I think you’re right.”
Roy Mustang had seen a lot of things in his life, but meeting someone who exceeded the gastric capacity of Edward Elric was astounding. (Although he imagined there were some things to be made up for, like ill health.)
Hoenheim was on his third beer and looked…cozy. Roy was on his second scotch.
“Well, if you still want me to drive you home, I suppose we should be off then.”
On a whim, Roy asked if Hoenheim wanted dessert.
He was sorry. Immediately.
After finishing his third banana split and feeling a healthy glow buzzing around behind his eyes, Hoenheim deemed himself ready to be taken home. Roy looked a little sad when he paid for it all, but then, he /had/ offered, so Hoenheim didn’t let himself feel /too/ badly about it.
Thanks to the alcohol and a full stomach, Hoenheim slept much better than he expected to, all things considered.
Al had thrown up a few more times until they gave him something for it. They had let him attempt to eat two hours after that. Ed had spooned chicken broth into him, and he had taken each bite cautiously, swallowing hard around his raw throat.
Ed had had to do it because Al’s right hand had shaken too violently from the pain medication to allow him to feed himself. Ed had just reassured him, telling him to take it easy, that he understood.
Ed was right.
Al remembered spooning ice cream into Ed for calcium and calories, how he had done so with great care and an understanding hand. It had made him feel better at the time, to be helping Ed through his injuries. Equivalent exchange. Now it was Ed’s turn. And Al let him, trying not to feel humiliated or exhausted.
Ed had eaten a sandwich, and had fed him a few bites of the crust soaked in the broth even though he wasn’t supposed to. It had made Al’s stomach feel better though. He didn’t feel as physically hollow now as he felt emotionally.
Afterwards, Ed just talked to him, about anything, everything, and the longer Ed talked as though this was all okay and normal, the more not okay Al felt.
There was a panic growing inside of him. The world kept turning while he fell apart. He wanted to shout ‘Stop! My life is over! Everything is wrong!’ and the world kept going and life went on and he was left emotionally on his knees, begging mentally for someone to acknowledge that something was wrong for Alphonse Elric.
Finally, he couldn’t take it anymore.
He sat up with a gasp, and Ed stopped mid sentence.
“I can’t breathe.” Al gasped softly, shaking and grasping his brother’s shirt in a death grip. “Ed, I can’t breathe.”
Ed leaned forward quickly, putting his ear to Al’s chest appraisingly.
“Ed…I can’t…I can’t…”
“Al…relax, you’re breathing just fine.”
“I can’t feel myself breathing, I can’t…I’m…Ed!”
“Al…Al…it’s okay to feel like this. You’re still a little in shock. This isn’t concretely real to you yet, it comes in goes in waves, the realization. I know that. I understand. Al…Al…lie back down.”
Al wouldn’t let Ed…and he found that he was getting worse to the point of wailing quietly in distress.
Ed though, did not have to go get a nurse, a nurse found them thanks to Al’s cries.
When she stepped into the room, Al clung tighter to Ed.
“No more…Ed…get me out of here…Ed…I hate hospitals…Ed!”
The nurse recognized what was going on immediately.
She stroked Al’s sweaty hair back out of his face, and then promised him she had something that would make it ‘easier for him to breathe.’
If Al had known she was going to tranquilize him, he might have fought harder.
Ed was trying to coax him back to sleep, had been for nearly an hour. Whatever they had drugged him with had made him itch and shake. He felt strange, and he was definitely terrified to go to sleep. Every time he closed his eyes, he saw the gate, and the pain would come back. The pain where there was no arm left to feel pain.
Grasping hands and cold…
He would come back awake shrieking in fear.
Ed would just hold him, soothe him desperately. Ed was even beginning to look exhausted, and Al was fighting, fighting for reality, fighting his bruised mind and tattered soul and he was simply shuddering with the fear of being. Not sure if he would rather be dead or alive.
He hurt, but he just couldn’t do a damn thing to alleviate the pain.
The nurses came and gave him something else, some more sedatives and pain medication.
Eventually, Ed took off his boots and slid under the blankets next to Al…and the exhaustion won out at last. Ed’s steady heartbeat and protective arms fought off the nightmares long enough for Al to slide into an uneasy and nightmare troubled sleep.
Ed cursed his more than likely peacefully sleeping father.
Al woke up in a dead panic about once an hour until dawn, which took a good ten or fifteen minutes to calm anyway. He had finally fallen into a relatively sound slumber around five thirty, and naturally, the first knock on the door came at around six.
There stood an apologetic looking Denny Brosch and Maria Ross, stating that they wanted to visit before their shifts started at seven, and was that all right?
Al had finally fallen asleep, the pain lessening magically with the sedatives they had given him, when Ed got up to answer the door, asking him quietly if he minded visitors.
“Uh…no, of course not.” Al slurred, glad he was too drugged to be grumpy.
And so the entourage continued, Roy even stopping by at seven before he went in to the office, and dropping off Hoenheim.
Ten o’clock found Ed all but gnawing through his gloves to quell his stress, hunger and exhaustion. Everyone and their mother wanted to see Al, the famous and kind Lightning Alchemist, and bring him gifts. The room was filled with balloons, chocolates, flowers, teddy bears, and get well cards. Hoenheim had brought a change of /real/ pajamas from home, which Al had been ecstatic about, and Ed and Hoenheim had gotten to give Al a bath which, combined with the drugs they were keeping Al on for the anxiety, seemed to work wonders in the comfort department.
By noon though, Al was sleeping peacefully with Hoenheim stroking fingers through that now dry and silky clean hair, and sleeping deeply and restfully. Ed said a thank you to whatever deity had provided them with this miracle, and he sank into a chair miserably. He was exhausted, hungry, and he had a headache the size of Ishbal.
Hoenheim saved the day by telling him to make Roy take him home on his lunch break. Ed knew Al would be in good hands with Hoenheim and six bazillion other people, and so he agreed, and instead went to bother Roy. Roy had a sofa in his office anyway.
Because he was Ed and for no other reason, he slammed the door open hard enough that it bounced off the door stop that existed simply because of him, and stalked into the room. He slammed his hands down on Roy’s desk.
“Mr. Popular Lightning Alchemist has had a steady stream of people since six this morning. I didn’t sleep at all. My arm hurts. My head hurts. My stomach hurts. Roy Mustang, for the love of Ishbala, TAKE ME HOME.”
The Mustang Crew looked up in surprise at the familiar sound and gesture. It wasn’t that they weren’t familiar with it, or even numb to it, it was just that Ed seemed to have grown out of his door slamming phase (For the most part.).
Roy glanced up at Ed, surprised that it had taken /this/ long.
“Of course Edward, I haven’t taken any breaks or lunches today, the Colonel has been making sure that I did all my paperwork that I was behind on.”
Roy saluted Hawkeye half-heartedly. She gave him a glare that no doubt told him to consider himself flipped off.
“So why don’t we go to the pub for beer and a decent lunch, and then we can take you home for a nap.”
Hawkeye sighed and then moved to scoop the few remaining papers off of Roy’s desk. He wasn’t going to ask her for them back, but he was curious and his glance asked the question for him.
“I will finish your work. Go home early, you have been working weekends, I am sure the Fuhrer will forgive you this once.” She told him with a hint of mock severity.
Roy wasted no time bolting out the door and dragging Ed along with him.
Ed staggered into the pub behind Roy. It was a dim place, slightly smoky, but well polished. The music was playing quietly on the radio, and Ed felt like he had been run over by a tank…twice. Possibly three times if backing up counted too.
He all but fell into a booth seat across from Roy who gave him a sympathetic look and dug in his pocket.
When the waitress arrived, Roy told her to bring two cups of coffee, and a tall glass of orange juice, and then he set what was in his hand out on the table.
“For your headache Fullmetal.”
He dropped two blue pills on the table.
Ed glanced at them.
“I’m kind of nauseous…I don’t think I should…”
Roy nodded. “Take them with your orange juice. Trust me, this will help. Raise your blood sugar, get some caffeine into you, and feed you. That should take care of the problem. That and a nice long nap.” Roy said quietly.
Normally Ed would have bristled at this sort of comforting behavior from Roy, but lately he was too traumatized and too tired to give it much fight. He didn’t really know what to think about things, everything considered.
“God my head fucking hurts.” Ed whispered.
“Take your braid down then.” Roy said practically.
Ed wanted to snap something at Roy about being a pervert, but he didn’t. Instead he simply complied, flesh hand untwining the three thick strands until the shiny blond cascaded in waves down to his butt.
The waitress brought them the coffee and the orange juice then, an appreciative eye scanning Ed and Roy both. Roy flirted with her. Ed gave her shark’s eyes. Blank and exhausted. She quickly seemed to lose interest as Roy insisted on ordering for them both. Ed couldn’t even begin to think about food, so he was glad Roy was looking at the menu for the both of them.
He took a few sips of orange juice that didn’t feel like they would stay, but after a moment, he began to feel a bit better. And then he realized he was ravenous.
When the waitress brought them their plates, Ed was overjoyed to see a large bowl of stew, a club sandwich that was almost as big as the plate, and a salad that even made Ed’s lettuce hating heart skip a beat.
It occurred to Ed then that Roy had ordered nothing for himself. What a pity.
The medication had kicked in, and Ed was groggy and exhausted, slumping against the passenger window of Roy’s car. He had been silently dozing off as the engine lulled him.
By the time the car slowed to a stop and Ed woke up, he realized that he did not recognize where they were. They were not at Roy’s house, but out in the country, parked on a back road.
Ed glanced up at Roy in alarm.
“What the hell General Shit!” He asked, sitting up anxiously and reached for the door handle.
“No…Edward…not like that, I really did bring you out here to talk.”
“Fuck!” Ed gasped, not really believing Roy. “Since when the hell do you want to just ‘talk.’”
Roy shook his head and pulled a flask out from under his seat.
“A good year.” Roy said, twisting the top off and taking a swig before offering it to Ed.
Ed took the flask irritably and took a swig himself, almost coughing as the whiskey burned all the way down.
“What do you want old man?”
“Ed…I wanted to know if you were okay. Really okay.”
Ed stared at the dashboard distractedly, eyes unfocused as he took another swig.
A layer of himself fell away in that moment, and his shoulders drooped.
“Roy…how can I be okay? After this?”
“How are you doing though?” Roy asked, holding his arms open to Ed.
If this had been anywhere else, Ed would never have done what he did. But they were in the country, and no one could hurt them or see them or know that Ed was letting a bit of weakness hang out. Ed crawled across the gear shift and perched on the edge of Roy’s seat and sighed as he curled up against Roy, laying his head on that broader chest.
“Pretty shitty,” he admitted a bit glumly. “But that’s been upgraded from the ‘absolutely fucking miserable’ that was this morning. Al kept waking up all freaked out, and I didn’t even really fall asleep until like five thirty...visitors started coming in at six. And I kept having these terrible phantom pains, but Al was all sad and pathetic, so I couldn’t /leave/...I thought about jumping out the window once, but I figured I’d just break my automail and then Winry would be pissed...oh well, at least my head doesn’t feel like it’s going to explode any longer.”
“Edward, you just sound like you are exhausted to me, emotionally, physically. I do not blame you. This is a hard thing you are doing, having to take the opposite position in a bad situation you have been in before. It is hard to sit by helplessly while someone you love hurts and there is nothing you can do to ease that while you know /exactly/ how terrible it can be first hand.”
Roy gave him a look that clearly stated he himself was in that boat.
“Yeah...I want to throttle him and ask him what the hell he was thinking, but...every time I see him...those goddamn eyes...you know what I mean. It’s like, how the hell can I stay mad at that? Besides, I know what he was thinking, and he...you can’t even possibly imagine how hard it is,” Ed murmured, rubbing absently at his right shoulder. “You can’t braid your hair. You can’t tie your shoes. You’d be surprised as to how hard it is to dry off after a shower with one arm. You have to relearn to brush your goddamn teeth, you know? You don’t think about it until you try to do things and you can’t.”
He sighed heavily, leaning his head against Roy’s shoulder higher up and closed his eyes.
Roy moved an almost regretful and guilty hand up to stroke Ed’s unbound hair.
Part of him screamed to hold Ed, to make love to him like they used to. To comfort this much loved soul and body in his arms. Instead, he simply forced himself to be platonic. Gentle. This was all he got now, and out of respect for both Ed and Al, he would never ask for more. Besides, the news he was about to give would not be easy to accept from a lover. A friend though…that might not be so bad.
“When he is healed enough, do you think he could be convinced to try getting automail?” Roy asked quietly. “It is not substitute for the real thing but surely that’s better than nothing?”
Ed felt his stomach drop to his knees. Automail. The thought hadn’t even really crossed his mind, what with everything else going on. Al with automail? Oh god. Ed felt sick just thinking about it.
“I...I don’t know,” Ed finally murmured. “The pain...is...substantial. Not just the surgery, but afterwards... no matter what he does, he’ll have the phantom pains, I suppose, but...automail...” Ed shook his head, finding his eyes filled with tears at the thought of Al going through so much. “I don’t know, Roy...I just...I can’t ask him to...it makes a lot of difference, yeah, but it’s...so hard...”
Roy nodded, hugging Ed a bit tighter.
“I’m telling you this Edward, and it is privileged information. I don’t want to upset you, and I don’t want it to come as a blow for you and Al…but you know that as an alchemist, Alphonse is slightly incapacitated now. He can draw arrays with one hand, but it makes him a liability compared to what he was. I am certain that the Fuhrer will give him a medical discharge soon. I don’t know if Alphonse enjoys being a state alchemist or not, but it is an honor that only he himself can claim. A blow to his pride like that…right now…may not be the best thing.”
Roy tilted his head back against the seat, and squinted his eyes shut, looking pained.
Ed felt a shock run through his body.
That was it. That was enough.
“Goddamn it!” Ed growled, sitting up and away from Roy and slamming his metal fist into the side of the car door. “Why couldn’t he have let me help!? I already /have/ automail, what’s one more goddamn piece! Why couldn’t he have trusted me with this?! I’m trying so hard to trust /him/, and he just...oh god...why does it have to be like this, Roy? Why...?”
He burst into sobs then, finally, unable to hold it back any longer. Roy reached out then and grasped Ed’s automail arm, tugging it away from the dented car door, and he pulled Ed back to his chest, trying to soothe his tears and rocking him just minutely.
“Well, perhaps I am playing devils advocate here…but the way you feel now…that would have been the way he felt. At least, perhaps, he could live with this. I do not believe he sees this the way you do. He meant to do what was right. And maybe it was the right thing to do, but that doesn’t mean that personal sacrifice is ever easy. Shh now. He loves you. He tried to do right.”
“I know,” Ed whispered. “I know, it just...it doesn’t make it any easier. I’m supposed to take care of him...I just...I wish I could have taken his place...he always gets the short end of the stick, you know? When we transmuted Mom, I just lost my arm and leg, he lost his whole body. And now he’s got Envy’s body, and now he’s down an arm, and I’m...I don’t know. I just...want to...help him. And I can’t.”
Roy was rocking him still.
“I think, perhaps, that you help him more than you know Edward. But it is as you say. It will get worse before it gets better. But you can never stop believing in him. It is especially important the less he believes in himself. “
“Yeah.” Ed murmured as he buried his cheek in the hollow of Roy’s neck. “Just…promise me you won’t tell anyone I cried, okay?”
“If you don’t tell them I did.” Roy whispered, and for the first time, Ed realized something was dampening down his hair. “Pass that flask, would you Fullmetal?”
Go Back To:
((Chapter Seven - Part One ))
((Chapter Seven - Part Two))
More fanart! for "Written" by tempest_strife for:
((Chapter Twelve.)) ((Chapter Thirteen.))
[Title] Kitty! Part two.
[Author] Mara D
[Series] Fullmetal Alchemist
[Spoilers?] Yes. I guess?
[Chatter] Continuation of my Christmas drabble "Kitty!" This if for mistr3ssquickly. Sadly, the Kitty does not have a name yet my dear, but I am sure Ed will suggest whatever it is he shouted at the end of this drabble ^_^
The cat still did not have a name. That of course did not particularly bother Ed, who was more concerned with the fact that ‘Furbutt’ (The rather unflattering nickname Ed had given him.) had grown back the claws broken in his struggles with one of Central’s roving stray dogs.
“It’s cute how he sleeps on your head like that.” Al giggled.
Ed cracked one sulking golden eye open and glowered at Al as well.
“He’s trying to suffocate me, and he’s kneading my scalp with that paw full of talons he’s been sharpening on the draperies.”
“You’re just sore that he puked in your boot yesterday.”
“Al, I don’t wear socks. It was an icy stomach juice ladened hair mass that I squished between my bare toes.”
“Oh come on Brother, it wasn’t that bad.”
“Fuck you! Yes it was!”
Apparently Ed’s struggling and grumpy aura was enough to detach the furry wart from his head, where it tumbled in a purring heap. Al immediately tickled its tummy playfully and the animal dug its sabers into Al’s hand in retaliation, biting off his thumb. Or at least, that was what it looked like.
Al simply laughed and yipped at the same time.
“And look, the little bastard is carnivorous. I don’t mind if he eats other things, but one of these mornings after he suffocates me to death, he’s going to come over there and eat your eyes out, or slit your throat with his claws.”
Al just laughed.
“Ed, you’re just grumpy and need some coffee. I don’t think anyone in Amestris wakes up more uncharitable than you. Except maybe Roy Mustang.”
“How do you know how he wakes up?!” Ed snapped.
“You told me silly, remember?”
Ed immediately turned bright scarlet and tried to bury his head under the pillow.
And that was where he made his first real mistake.
Objects wriggling under pillows were terribly exciting to leap on and bite.
Ed’s howl could probably have been heard all the way to headquarters at Central.
Cross posted to: fma_yaoi fm_alchemist elricest fullservicefma