HALF LIVES, Chapter 18 Part 2: Standing By--and Standing Up To
Rating: PG13 to NC17 for yaoi sex and references to domestic violence and spouse abuse.
Pairing: Roy/Ed, Al’s unrequited love for Winry, references to past Roy/Hughes—hints of Havoc/Hawkeye??—and Ed and Winry’s impending divorce.
Genre: Hurt/Comfort, Yaoi romance.
WARNING: This is yaoi. If you aren’t comfortable, don’t read. Wank will be ignored.
Spoilers: Years have passed since the Father’s Fall (chapter 108) Things in Resembool have not gone well and Ed has the scars to prove it, seeking healing and refuge in his work at Central Command…but Roy Mustang has never been one to calmly stand by and see his friends hurt…
CHAPTER LINKS: can be found in Part 1 of Chapter 18, "Archer On Target" http://community.livejournal.com/fm_alchemist/7008437.html
SUMMARY : Winry’s “Foot-in Mouth” adventure on Radio Capital may have played into Frank Archer’s muckracking plans to hurt Roy—but Ed is NOT amused—and Ed and Winry face off as some ugly truths come to the surface…and in the end, Ed learns who his real family is.
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A/N Always for rueme , with gratitude for her amazing art
HALF LIVES, CHAPTER 18, PART 2: STANDING BY--AND STANDING UP TO
“Ed, I know you’re mad—“
“I…don’t…want…to hear…one…word. Do..you..understand me, Winry?”
His quiet, calm tone frightened her. “Yes,” she whispered, and something cold and anxious bloomed in the pit of her stomach.
“I am not going to lie for you.” She could hear him breathing hard, keeping his anger in check. “I will not call you a liar. But I…will…not…tell…lies. And if that makes you look bad….tough shit. Did you get that, Winry?”
A very small voice answered, “…yes….”
“Put Maes on the phone.”
A moment later he heard her tell the little boy your daddy is on the phone. He wants to talk to you. There was a muffled sound and then a boyish voice piped up “Daddy?”
“Maes? I heard you on the radio. You were great. I’m proud of you, son. Are you being a good boy?”
“YAH!” Maes giggled. “I don’t hit Den. She not mad now.”
“That’s right,” Ed assured him. “We don’t hit people or animals. Is Nina a good girl too?”
“Yuh-huh! She did a boom-boom. Mama said not say ‘shit’.”
“Mama is right, and I’m proud of you both. I’m going to be home soon and I can’t wait to see you. Give your sister and Granny a big hug for me.”
“Love you, son.”
Ed scrubbed the tears out of his eyes and cleared his throat. “I need to talk to Mama now.”
After a moment, he could hear her breathing hard in the receiver. “Did he hit Den?” he asked in a dangerously soft voice. Yes, she admitted. Pinako caught him going after Den with a wooden spoon—but she quickly assured her that Granny had had a constructive talk with the boy and since then he had only patted her with great gentleness.
“Looks like Alphonse isn’t the only one who’s seen you hit me. And this is the end, Winry. I’ve had it. You take those kids to Rush Valley, and I’m going to fight you every step of the way. I’m not going to have them messed by your—“
“Then what are you going to do, Ed? Raise them in the Palace? Where are you going to get diapers and milk in an airship? Are you going to give up your life to raise them?”
“Well, you damn well aren’t doing it!”
“I was going to get a NANNY, damn it!”
“You…you’d better do better than that, Winry,” his voice began to rise.
“You should talk,” she snapped back.
In the background, Maes began to whimper. Ed sighed. “Winry…don’t. Just….don’t. He doesn’t deserve this. This is how it starts…and I don’t want him to be as fucked up as I obviously am. Kiss Nina and give Granny my love. And Winry?”
“Unless there’s an emergency with the kids or Granny or if they need something….don’t call back.”
When Roy arrived at their quarters, Ed didn’t look up. He had folded himself into the middle of the sofa, a book unread in his hands, staring at the fire.
Roy sat quietly down beside him, placing a bottle of fine Aerugoan brandy on the table with two crystal glasses beside it. He poured a measure for himself, took a sip and watched the flames dance. It was a companionable silence. There was no pressure for Ed to respond or even acknowledge Roy’s presence. But he was there.
After awhile, Alphonse wandered in and poured himself a drink. Sinking down onto the floor beside the couch he laid out his notebook on the coffee table and began working on a sketch for a new gondola burner design.
Ling ducked in, carrying a bottle of maotai, a vicious spirit consumed by the thimbleful. He claimed the opposite end of the couch, crossed his legs and made himself comfortable.
Alexi looked mischievous, a large plate of sandwiches in one hand, and a tin of sweet biscuits in the other. Maxim brought a chessboard and a deck of cards. Pyotir began to strum very softly on a small balalaika, his voice a low, mellow baritone.
Kenichi Chen brought steamed dumplings and more coffee for those who wanted to stay just this side of sobriety. He also brought a small workbasket with leather scraps cut to the pattern of a flight helmet, faced with thick, soft fleece. He set to work meticulously stitching away, humming tunelessly under his breath.
Jean Havoc and Riza Hawkeye came in together. They were both out of uniform and each had a bottle of beer.
Finally, Ran Fan stepped out of the shadows. She sat down near the door but still close enough to be a part of this silent gathering of friends who had decided they would not leave Edward Elric the hell alone, even when he told them to.
They spoke quietly among themselves, eyes lifting and heads turning to include the silent companion in their conversations—but no one felt ill at ease by his reverie. He’d speak when he was ready. They knew it, accepted that—accepted him.
A soft rap on the door. Ran Fan rose and let Sebastian in. He bowed and placed a cream cake, stuffed with fresh strawberries, on the table in front of Edward, and bowed again. “With my compliments, sir.” The door closed quietly behind him.
Roy’s eyebrows lifted. “If there is a hell, it just froze over.”
A corner of Ed’s mouth lifted. Plucking a scarlet berry off the top, he bit into it, nodding. “How’d he know my favorite?”
“Son of a bitch is psychic, sometimes.” Roy was smiling now. “And he made it himself. He’s a better pastry chef than Ramsay—although for the love of god don’t quote me or I’ll get a cleaver between the eyes next time I sneak into the kitchen for a snack in the middle of the night.”
Ed cleared his throat. His fingers laced and unlaced, then curled around Roy’s brandy glass. “I…” He seemed at a loss for words. Al looked up and nodded in encouragement. “I…guess I…need to set a few things straight. And if you’re here—“
“—it’s because we are your friends,” Ling confirmed.
“Da,” Maxim stated firmly. “We have only known you short while—but you reached out to us, to break down walls between our peoples. We are scientists and brothers, Edward.”
Havoc and Hawkeye and Ran Fan didn’t comment. They didn’t need to. As for Dr. Chen, he beamed at the elder Elric. “I know you through knowing Alphonse-sama. His friendship was a gift unlooked for and much treasured. You are a part of each other. You too are my friend.”
Ed glanced at Roy. “You don’t have to ask,” the Fuhrer told him. “You know where I stand.”
Ed sighed quietly, then looked at them, one by one. “All right. Bottom line. This,” he gestured to the patch that had been re-shaved when Knox had removed the blood clot, now showing a fine golden stubble. “wasn’t an accident. My wi…Winry… got frustrated and decked me with an automail prosthetic. And,” his face was flushed and he lowered his eyes again. “this wasn’t the first time. Al’s seen it happen. And so has my son, looks like.”
No one spoke but their faces told him mutely to continue, that it was safe to tell the whole story. “We’re done. And I’m gonna have to figure out how to do right by the kids. She’s not a bad person—but we bring out the worst in each other. I…when I stopped being Fullmetal, I stopped being the man she thought she wanted. We’re…too much alike. We’re better apart. And…” he bit his lower lip and then risked a glance at Roy, “…I know where I want to be. And who I want to be with.” He looked up into Roy’s eyes and saw only trust and affirmation. “Maybe you can accept that. Maybe not, but that’s my decision. And I know that sooner or later, some asshole will drag us through the mud. Bet that’s why Winry got set up by that dickhead, Archer. But I’m here. I’m staying. And,” his hand barely touched Roy’s, “ and whatever the fuck comes, we’ll deal, okay?”
“See that interview with Edward in the paper this morning?” Funderburg greeted Pinako as he made his morning rounds with the mail and daily paper.
“You haven’t given it to me yet, you old fool,” she grumbled. “Is it something I need to know about before Winry sees it?”
“Mebbe.” He tugged his cap nervously, searched for the right words and didn’t find them. “ ‘Mornin’, then.” He pedaled down the road as fast as his old legs could carry him.
It was an article about the flight of the Xerxes, how Ed was learning to pilot and design airships with his brother, under the tutelage of some doctor from Xing. How he was planning to fly with Alphonse Elric, Kenichi Chen, and a trio of scientists from Drachman to Aerugo as a scientific envoy accompanying Fuhrer Mustang. After their return from Aerugo, it went on to state, the group would spend the summer in Drachma to lecture and study at Stoltovgrad University.
And as for the recent interview on Radio Capital’s popular Midday Amestris program which revealed that Edward Elric would be relocating with his family to Rush Valley, Mr. Elric stated that in fact he and Mrs. Elric had come to ‘an amicable agreement of divorce’ and that he wished her much success, adding a personal endorsement of her skills as an automail engineer. He also stated that he was quite proud of his young son’s first appearance on national radio and that he looked forward to seeing both his young children in the weeks to come.
Pinako tucked the paper under her arm, took a deep pull on her long stemmed pipe and bent down to scratch Den behind the ear. “Knew he had ‘em.” She grinned, puffed out a wreath of smoke and then padded up the steps to greet the anxious young woman who was waiting in the doorway….
……TO BE CONTINUED……