Rating: This chapter rated PG 14
Pairing: Roy/Ed, Havoc/Hawkeye, onesided Riza/Roy, unrequited Al/Winry, past Al/Julia Crichton and Winry’s remarriage
Spoilers and Warnings: Post-Manga verse, Star of Milos, the FMA Novels and Prince of the Dawn game, FMA OVA’s . Yaoi romance/angst/humor
Plot: Roy and Ed have been together for 15 years now—Roy prepares to fulfill his 520-cenz promise to make Amestris a democracy, but just before Roy’s 50th birthday and his wedding to Edward a tell-all biography about Mustang is published that sets the country on its ear---because the ‘truth’ about the Promised Day is about to come out, with Roy miscast as the evil genius behind it all…
CHAPTER SUMMARY: An act of senseless violence disrupts Ed and Roy’s wedding--and transforms Ed’s life forever in the one way he could have never anticipated….
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Feedback greatly appreciated---“Half Lives”, “Whole Lives” and other fics hosted at fanfiction.net at http://www.fanfiction.net/u/1651220/BinaryTales and also at my new host at AO3 Thanks so much for your comments!!!
OUR LIVES CHAPTER 33: A DIFFERENT LIGHT (PRESIDENTIAL WEDDING PART TWO)
By The Binary Alchemist 2013
“When biographers and historians recount the events of that fine spring morning of the Presidential wedding, the answers will not make sense. I was there. I saw each moment unfold in crystal-clear detail. And I can tell you this for certain: President Mustang was not shot by a terrorist from Creta. He was not shot by some scarred veteran of the Ishballan campaign. The bullet was not fired by an old lover or a false friend.
“President Mustang was shot by…nobody in particular.
A nonentity. A bland face in the crowd. A young man of no great talent or intellect and of no fame. A young man who, somewhere in the twisted working of his thoughts, felt the need to draw attention to himself. A young man who brooded in the pubs and in his one-room bed sitter flat that the World Had Done Him Wrong, but for his lack of ambition had not bothered to find a way to take the reins of his life and choose a course that might make him respected or loved—a path that might have helped others less fortunate and more desperate than he was.
“He brooded until he found what he deemed a Just Cause. He found it in the pages of a book about the Ishballan conflict, staring at the photographs of a grim-faced young man—no older than Richard Terrence Chapman was at this time—a young alchemist who could melt a human child to a puddle of grease and ashes with the snap of his fingers. A boy soldier who had the power of death at his fingertips—who had risen to the highest office in the nation. A devoted son of his motherland, born into a line of cavalry officers, who was deceived into becoming a tinderbox of war, ordered to harness his remarkable talents to reduce the Ishballan resistance to cinders. A boy soldier and alchemist, horrified by what he had become, who would dedicate the rest of his life to stopping the madness of unjust wars and healing the nation.
Richard Chapman did not read this part of Roy Mustang’s story. He didn’t read it because I didn’t write it. In those days I was too eager to chase the money, too quick to listen to a biased source and dash off words of insinuation as fact.
“Richard Chapman read the words I wrote about Roy Mustang. He poured over the pictures taken by Donal Samuelson, over and over, hour after hour.
“Richard Chapman found a Cause. He brooded over it and the faulty mechanics of his mind convinced him that if he were to take down Roy Mustang, he would be a Hero. He would right a great wrong. He would protect the children. And most importantly, his days as a faceless, fameless drifter would be over.
“And in the end, , everyone believed it was my fault.”
---“One Writer’s Life: My Story”, by Kelley Winchell
The doves had distracted his attention. Ed had glanced up and seen that some idiot had released Princess Elena’s 500 white doves before the end of the ceremony. He’d thought ‘great---We’re about to get dive bombed. Bet Winry and Mei are gonna find some goddamned bad omen about bird shitting on your head during your wedding…’
Then his daughter cried out and his husband—so very nearly his husband---clutched his chest. Only then did his brain process the sharp cracking of a handgun coming from the crowd. Without hesitation, he shoved Roy to his knees and flung himself in front of him. “SONOVABITCH!!” he screamed. “NO! GODDAMN IT!! NO!!!”
“Shut up, Ed…I’m…all right…I think.” Roy’s hand was pulling at the lapis colored waistcoat. There was blood seeping out, staining his fine clothing, but he was upright and still breathing.
“Shut up and don’t die!” Ed snarled back. “Some asshole is shooting!” Then he saw his daughter clutching at her left arm with a bloody hand. “NINA!!”
She was very pale but she wiggled her fingers on her left hand, even though it hurt like hell. “I’m hit, but I’m okay, Daddy! Keep down!”
Riza Hawkeye shoved Ed aside, dropping to her knees and wrapping her arms tightly around the President’s body. “Roy….ROY!! Nooooooo!!!” She clutched him close, tears spilling down her face.
The eyes that gazed into hers were very lucid, very clear, although his voice was barely a whisper. “Colonel…why aren’t you at your post? You…promised me….you’d watch my back…”
Al saw the fury and disbelief on Ed’s face and crawled over to stop whatever act of violence Ed might be capable of in the madness of this horrible moment. He caught Hawkeye by the arm. “He’ll be okay---get the shooter!” The older woman didn’t move. “You want to keep him safe? Get the bastard that shot him. Maes!” he shouted over his shoulder, “Go help Hawkeye!”
But Maes had already gone…
“Chyort voz’mi!” Peta Lobachevsky was, as usual, shamelessly late—but that damned Amestrian food did terrible things to her digestion, not to mention the stunning hangover she’d gotten drinking Cretan grappa last night with Maes and Collins. Her father was furious for her having to excuse herself just as everybody was getting seated for the ceremony. She was running disgracefully, still clutching her unfashionable leather handbag stuffed with books. Several people snickered as the tall, buxom girl dashed past, ginger hair flying, one finger shoving her glasses up the bridge of her nose. “Ah, poshyol-ty (fuck off)!” she yelled back as a young man in rough clothing dashed past her out of the green hedges and into the parkland, knocking her to the ground.
She was scrabbling for her glasses when she heard the gunfire. The lid was off the dove crate—he must have opened it to create a distraction. He had dropped into a crouching stance, firing wildly and amateurishly but in the general direction of the wedding party. “Ublyudok!(bastard)!”
Flat on her ass, she couldn’t stop him but she sure as hell could slow him down. A copy of a rare commentary on water alchemy Maes had given her last night was still in her bag, It was roughly as large and a hefty as a brick, and Peta had been throwing snowballs at the dignified students of Stoltovgrad University since she was old enough to spank.
She caught him in the back of the head when he turned and ran, making him stagger and then shoved two fingers in her mouth, letting loose an earsplitting whistle she knew Maes and Nina and Collins would immediately recognize. “DE GATE!” Peta bellowed in Amestrian. “Dot shooder—he iss headink tovards de gate!”
Maes and Collins thundered past her, way ahead of the security team. She crawled to her feet, snatched up her glasses and headed after them, swinging her book bag over her head like an avenging angel.
Ed’s fingers pressed against the side of Roy’s neck. His pulse was erratic but strong. Roy was pale and sweaty but he was alert and sensibly trying to stay calm and lie still. Ed glanced up and nodded. “Chen’s coming with Mei. I see Knox. Don’t worry, we’ll get you fixed up.”
Alphonse was examining his niece. “The break’s not bad,” he told them. “I’ve gotten the bleeding to stop. Chen can---“
“I’ll help Miss Nina.” The voice was low and calm as a tall figure knelt to join them. It was Sheng Yao. Before Ed could protest he lifted the palms of his hands, revealing the fine tracery of alkahestric array tattoos. “I am Master Mei’s disciple. Let me be of use.”
Moving to her side, he asked Alphonse to hold Nina’s arm straight, resting it over his own. The prince’s hands were deft and gentle and his quiet voice was oddly calming. “Nina-sama, bear the pain if you can. This will not take a moment.” He clapped his hands and a cool greenish light crackled between them. One palm cupped her elbow, the other cradled her hand, and the energy leaped and danced along the length of her arm. The burning pain was extinguished and she sighed heavily with relief. She stared up into his dark, serene eyes, surprised that someone barely older than her brother could be this steady in a crisis. “I want to learn how you did this.”
He bowed his head. “When His Excellency is out of danger and all is well, it will be my honor, Nina-sama. Now,” he helped her to rise, “let us do what we can for His Excellency. I fear Dr. Knox will not allow us to heal him---“
“Goddamn right! Get out of the way!” Knox shooed the alchemists aside. Ed looked angry enough to bite him. “Get his shirt open and—“ the doctor peered down and frowned. “What the hell is this?” There was a small hole in Roy’s waistcoat and Knox stuck his finger through it. “Could have stopped the bullet, almost.” His eyes moved to the President’s face. “You may be luckier than you deserve, Roy.”
Ed was thoroughly confused .“What?”
“Slow….as…ever….Ed.” Roy closed his eyes and smiled weakly. “A different….vest.” He squeezed Ed’s hand. “Yours too.” Ed touched his crimson waistcoat. It did feel different. ”Maes…changed---“
“Easy, Roy,” Al cut in. “Yes, it’s Maes’ design. We got the idea from Ling’s people. It’s silk—layers and layers. Alchemically modified.” Ed had been in too big a hurry to get dressed to notice it, and Nina had certainly argued with her father to wear this particular outfit. “ Your waistcoats, both of them. Mine too. And Maes. Nina’s got it in the lining of her jacket, and Ling’s got his under his robes. I think a little more work and his prototype ballistic fabric could prove very useful.”
“Shut up, Al,” Knox interrupted. “I wanna see what we’ve got here. You—with the hair---“ Knox jerked a thumb at Prince Sheng. “Get the kid out of here. Get her to triage. I want that arm x-rayed. Tell ‘em to get me a stretcher. Let’s get the President out of here.”
“No.” Roy lifted his hand in feeble protest. “If it’s…not deep, get…the…bullet out. Chen …patch me up. Not…leaving…gonna finish this. Waited too…damn….long…”
“Shut up, Mustang!”
Roy closed his eyes again. “Hurry, damn you.”
“Thank you, Sebastian.”
Every hour that the Majordomo had forced Collins to practice on the shooting range was finally paying off. He shouted for Maes to get out of the way, took a secure stance, aimed and grinned when he heard the scruffy man scream, tumbling to the ground and grabbing at his right leg. A moment later, Maes was on him and Collins found himself in the distasteful position of having to save the life of the man who had just tried to kill the President.
“Maes! Stand down! He’s not going anywhere!”
Edward’s son couldn’t hear his lover for the fury that had taken over his good sense. His face was a terrible mask and his hands were wrapped around Richard Chapman’s throat, thumbs digging into his windpipe. “I’ll kill you,” Maes bellowed. “Fuckin’ kill you!”
Riza Hawkeye raced up to intercede, her blood running cold at the sight of Edward’s good natured firstborn, killing a man with the same cold blooded rage that Roy Mustang had shown the day of his epic battle against Envy. The same transformation had come over this child whom she had known since he had been small enough to right piggyback on Jean’s strong shoulders. “Maes. Maes. Stop it. Let him go. He’s not going anywhere.”
“KILL YOU, you son of a bitch!”
Collins grabbed at his lover’s shoulders and got shoved aside. “You heard the Colonel, Maes. Let her---“
“Out of de vay!" Peta Lobachevsky stumbled up to her long time friend, whirled her book bag over her head and clouted Maes hard on the back, knocking him flat. She grabbed him by the hair and pointed her finger in his face. “You stupid sookin’syn (son of a bitch)! How you gonna question dis prick if he’s dead?? I saw him do it. I’m your witness. We bust him and den he goes to jail, da? “ She hauled Maes up to his feet, wiped a smudge of dirt off his face and then kissed his cheek. “Come on. Your papa needs you now. Grow up. Get going. Don’t make me kick your zhopa(ass)!”
Arm in arm, Peta led Maes away, with Collins at their side, Hawkeye cuffing the suspect and ordering the security team to search the perimeter. Collins passed his clean handkerchief to Maes, since the younger man had broken Chapman’s nose while beating the hell out of him and some of the blood had spattered Maes’ face. “You really might want to reconsider marrying Peta,” Collins added, “Terribly handy in a fight.”
“Oh, piss off, Davy!”
They had moved Roy under the pavilion, shoving two tables together to give Knox and the alchemists some place to work. “Ed, c’mon---step aside. Give them room.” Distantly he heard Alphonse somewhere beside him. Izumi, too, was urging him to go sit down because he looked like he was about to pass out. Pitt Renback had come over and was trying to get Ed to put his head down because the color had drained right out of his face and he was nearly the color of his linen suit. “Stop hovering, Ed!”
“It is not like you can do anything anymore,” Mei added. She had not meant to sound unkind, but the bluntness of her words earned her an angry glare from Izumi.
Ed’s eyes turned to Alphonse, Mei, Dr. Cheng and Izumi. “I’m useless as an alchemist. Yeah. I get that. I can’t help Roy. Can’t even help my own kid….but I ain’t leaving.”
Knox threw the last surgical sponge to the ground. He had given Roy a shot of lidocane and had cleaned his chest with a disinfectant. “It’s not deep. I can get it.” His eyes moved to meet Ed’s. “You can help me. Hold him steady. Hands on his shoulders.” He looked down at Roy. “All right, soldier. Here we go.” He made the first shallow incision with his scalpel…
She had bolted and run for her life—much like everyone else—at the first crack of gunfire. She didn’t give a damn who shot whom, as long as nobody shot her. The logical thing to do was to run for the house, which had been stampeded by nearly 200 people.
Inside, that wretch Sebastian and some ghoul named Falman were ordering everybody to sit down, shut up and be quiet.
There was a low buzz of wild rumor in the room. The President was dead. It was a terrorist. It was Donal Samuelson. It was the Ishballans. It was a jealous lover. “Aw, everybody shut the hell up,” Chris Mustang roared from her wheelchair. “It’s just a flesh wound. He’s getting stitched up and he and Ed are gonna finish the ceremony, so everybody just stop yappin’.”
Half an hour later, Maria Ross leaned down and whispered something in the old woman’s ear. She nodded. Then she looked around the assembled guests. “Where the hell is Kelley Winchell?”
The crowed around the writer parted like water. “All right, you goddamned hack. They caught the guy who shot my boy. Some two bit loser, trying to make a name for himself. And you wanna know what he had inside is coat?” Her smile was a thing of cold malice. “A copy of that piece of shit you wrote about Ishbal with Frank Archer and Donal Samuelson. Autographed. Should be a real boost for your career.”
He didn’t make a sound, but the tendons on his neck stood out and sweat dripped down his face. Ed was just as glad Nina wasn’t here to see this, thankful that Prince Sheng and Dr. Marcoh were tending her.
How strange that he never paid much mind to the sight of his own blood, but seeing the crimson welling and running down Roy’s naked chest was causing a strange pressure inside his body, like something wanted to burst out straight from his heart…
I’m useless. Couldn’t save Nina Tucker.
Al tossed him a sympathetic look and it only made Ed furious.
My daughter gets shot and another alchemist has to ease her pain and all I can do is just stand there like a dumbass---with all my knowledge and all my experience….my child—my little girl---and I’m useless, goddamn it…
His head was throbbing—it felt like his skull was about to blow apart…
Can’t help Roy….can’t heal him.
Dr. Knox nodded his head. “Got it….almost done. Roy, hold steady…take a deep breath—“
There’s nothing I wouldn’t give—Roy…Nina…
Izumi saw the tear coursing down Ed’s sweaty cheek. “Do what you can, son,” she told him softly, slipping her arm around his shoulder. “Roy understands. It’s okay, Ed.”
Ed was hyperventilating. His hands were icy cold and slick with perspiration. The color rose suddenly in his cheeks and when Al looked at him he was alarmed. “We’re about to start, Ed. Why don’t you go sit down?”
It seemed to explode from the center of his brain, burning down along the pathways of every nerve fiber. It hurt—oh, so terribly---like it was being wrenched out of his soul.
Maes Elric, Peta Lobachevsky and David Collins dashed into the pavilion and stopped dead in their tracks. It was not Roy Mustang that they were staring at.
It was Edward Elric, who stood with his shaking hands on his lover’s bare shoulders, a soft golden light—a different light than the blaze and glory of his younger days—shimmering faintly from his fingertips.
It was not enough to heal, but it didn’t matter.
Roy opened his eyes and smiled up at his lover.
“I always knew you’d come back….”
….TO BE CONTINUED….