As promised, here's Part Three, the Epilogue, of Ill. (As seen one post below this one.) XD
Enjoy. Comments are love.
Roy was stitched up after a good night’s sleep, his shoulder bandaged and the window glass painfully extracted from his skin. He was released that same day with two bottles of pain medication and instructions to "take it easy on that shoulder a while!" It was a week before Edward’s fever disappeared completely and nearly another full week before they thought he was well enough to be released from the hospital. The cold, glass, and jostling of an already sick boy had made Edward’s condition worsen tenfold. They were lucky he wasn’t there longer, the doctor had said.
Roy, along with several officers both outside and inside the room (Roy wasn’t taking any chances) kept a constant vigil on the boy during that time. Roy listened to the wheezy breathing, changed the cold cloth on his forehead to ease his fever, and listened to his mindless, sleep-induced, midnight ramblings with intense interest. There was a new bond between them now, he felt, and Roy felt as if he had an obligation to take care of the boy. Ed was never awake long enough to talk to Roy, except for later, the last two to three days he was in the hospital, when Roy wasn’t allowed in the room, because he might catch the bug at its contagious stage.
The day he was released, Edward was questioned. He had scrunched his face in concentration before responding that he just didn’t remember much. Just a fire, and a fall. Roy was thankful for that.
Roy had been questioned about the nature of his wounds, what had inflicted them as well as why the hospital was in complete disarray, the curtains were burned to a crisp, and the doctors were found unconscious behind the registration desk. Roy had shrugged, and insisted that it was an immortal woman with long fingernails.
The military police department wrote it all off as a kitchen fire, and decided that Edward had not been the only one overworking himself lately.
On Sunday, the day after Ed had been released, Mustang found himself slouching down the city streets in the fluttering snow, feeling moody and prone to burst on the next person who got in his way. At that point, he hadn’t seen Edward in an aware state in over two weeks, and desperately wanted to do so. To make sure that everything was okay. He had no particular destination, but his feet seemed to be guiding him, so he listened to them, and followed them down Main Street and into a quaint little restaurant at the end of the block.
Inside was a merrily crackling fire and an ancient bar lined with stools. Around the exterior of the tiny room were booths for the diners – or rather, at this point, diner because the building was empty, save a plump looking waitress conversing with a lone customer at the far end of the building. He continued to listen to his feet, and took a seat at the booth opposite the only other dining individual in the building.
He chanced a look at the person opposite him, surprised to find the person he most wanted to see sitting serenely with a large plate of food before him.
"Fullmetal?" Ed started and looked for the source of his name, frowning deeply upon seeing it was the Colonel himself who had called it. Roy winced when he saw the scars that marred his subordinate’s complexion. The waitress eyed Roy disapprovingly.
"Are you the one then?" Edward blushed, his cheeks going pink, then red, and then a deep crimson.
"The one ‘e waits ‘ere every week for, the poor dear." Suddenly, Roy’s conversation with Lust was pulled to the front of his mind. Did you know that every Sunday he leaves his brother for a few hours, and purchases a lavish meal for two at the most expensive restaurant he can find? He never eats both . . . just . . . looks at the one across from him with a pitiful expression on his face and eats about two bites of his own.
Edward responded before Roy had a chance to. "No. This definitely isn’t him. You’ll know him when you see him though." Edward cast her a wistful stare. "Someday, he’ll come with me." A sigh. "And he’ll think your food is as delicious as I do, Rosa."
The woman pinched his cheeks in a motherly sort of way, sympathy written in her concerned frown, and insisted that she would be right back, don’t move, before she bounced merrily into the kitchen.
A long awkward pause ensued. "...So . . . now you know how pathetic I am, I guess." Edward took up his fork in his automail hand and poised it above the food as if in preparation to take a bite. He never did.
"You’re not pathetic."
"Come off it." Images of Edward clinging to him for warmth came to mind, and Roy was alarmed by how sharply that calm face contrasted with the defiant, stubborn one he was wearing now. Roy made a move for a carrot perched atop the mountainous salad opposite Ed’s. The look that was thrown in his direction was enough to stop a highly trained military colonel in his tracks.
"I apologize. It wasn’t my place."
"Damn right it wasn’t. That’s Al’s fucking carrot. You leave it alone." Roy smiled sadly.
"Of course." Abandoning his comfy chair by the fire, Roy removed himself from his seat and made for the exit.
"W.. Where are you going . . . " the voice that met his ears was small and childlike. "Y.. you don’t have to leave just yet you know. You can share my food, it’s just . . . Al was always stingy . . . he never liked his touched." Roy grinned and stalked back to Edward’s booth, taking a seat next to him, rather than across where his younger brother would have been seated.
"Thank you, Edward. I do appreciate the gesture."
"Oh . . . and Colonel?"
"Mmm?" Was all that Roy could manage through a mouthful of mashed potatoes.
"Thanks." And the smile that Edward flashed Roy then made the Flame Alchemist believe that Ed knew much more about his encounter with Lust than the military interview implied.