Pairing: Implied past EdxWinry, future EdxRoy?
Rating: M for Ed's mouth
Summery: Everyone says it gets better, but how do I go one without her?
Chapter listing can be found here.
A/N: I have like 10 sheets worth of math to do, but I decided to post this instead.
“Edward.” Al started, it was late in the evening and Annelise had already been put to bed over a half hour ago. Al had dragged Edward out of his room for dinner, telling him that he needed to set a good example for Annelise and eat at the table like their Mother had taught them.
“What?” Edward asked, his voice was flat and uninterested. He was sitting on the couch in the living room, his eyes focused on the TV but he wasn't really watching the dull crime drama that was on.
Al was sitting on the loveseat nearby, a pen and paper in hand as he was working on something related to his job. “This can't keep going on.” Al said, twiddling the pen in his fingers. “We can't keep having this happen daily.”
“What do you mean?” Edward asked, turning his eyes away from the TV and to his younger brother.
“You wallowing away every day, spending your days being half alive and wasting away in bed.” Al said, lifting his head away from his work and placing a hard gaze on his older brother. “It's like I'm watching you die, Ed.”
Edward started at him, looking at Al with a matching hard gaze. “Well, what do you expect me to do?” Edward asked, his voice void of any emotion. “My wife fucking died, my whole life is in shambles Al.”
“Edward, Winry died nearly four months ago.” Al said in a very somber tone, “It's time to start...” Al paused, thinking over his words carefully as he knew how touchy the subject was. “..moving forward..”
Edward looked at Al liked he had sprouted two extra heads, “You want me to move forward?” Edward asked, his voice questioning and filled with annoyance. “My wife is dead, Alphonse..” Edward started, “She is dead, and I have to wrangle a child all by myself who asks me nearly daily when she can see her Mother again, I have to muster up the courage to tell a four-year old that her Mother is dead and is never coming back.” Edward rambled on, “Hell, I have to find the courage every day to just get out of bed to make a damn cup of coffee, I have to watch life move on without the love of my life, Alphonse...” Edward's voice started to tremble, “Do you know how hard that is?”
Alphonse was quiet, taking in all of what Ed had said and carefully thinking over his words. “No,” he answered truthfully, “but I know how hard it is watching my brother fade away.”
Edward didn't reply, so Alphonse kept on going. “It's bad enough that Winry, my sister-in-law who has been more like family to me since the day I was born, died. Do I have to watch you die too, Edward?” Al asked, his voice starting to shake. “Because for the last three months it's been like I lost both of you.”
Edward was struck silent, so Al continued. “Since moving in with me it's been like you died too, I've been raising Annelise. I've done all the things you should be doing Edward.” Alphonse started. “I've had to tell her what happened to Mommy and why she's not here, which is damn hard enough, but do you know how difficult it is to explain to her why you're not around?” Al continued, his voice raising slightly. “She stands by your door waiting for you each morning, hoping you will come out and be the one to make her breakfast or take her to school. She is dying for your attention Edward but you've shut her out just like you've done me.” Al was on the verge of tears, he felt so worn down and exhausted with the life he's had to live for the last three months. “Every day you are breaking her heart, she's already lost one parent Ed, why are you making it like she lost both?” He cried out. “Why are you doing to her what Dad did to us?” Tears began to roll down Al's cheeks, he had spent everyday since the funeral putting his grief aside to play the role as Daddy to his niece and to be strong for his emotionally-fragile brother and now he was getting a chance to let that jar of emotion break open and lift the weight off his chest.
And like that Edward felt like complete and utter shit. Making Al cry was one of the worst feelings possible, and guilt was pouring all over him. “I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry...” Edward repeated over and over, throwing his head in his hands. Hating the fact that he put his brother through all of this..
But the feeling of Al wrapping his arms around him and pulling him into a warm hug melted some of that guilt away. “It's okay, brother.” Alphonse said softly, tears still streaming down his cheeks. “I just miss her, like we all do.”
'You'll never miss her like I do.' Edward thought with bitter sadness eating away at him as he buried his head in his little brother's shoulder.
'Shouldn't be here, shouldn't be here.' Edward thought as he made his way to the back entrance of Annelise's elementary school to pick her up. He was early, once again. He didn't find a good parking spot, once again. 'Should've stayed home, should've stayed in bed.'
But instead of turning and running for the safety and protection of his bed, Edward made his way up to the short iron gate and scanned the crowds of soccer moms bragging about their precious little angels and all of their achievements. 'Fuck Al for making me do this...' Edward thought, letting his face fall into his hands as pulled at the bags under his eyes trying to make himself feel alive.
“Someone looks like hell.” A deep, silky voice interrupted his thoughts and brought Edward back into the land of the living.
Turning his gaze, Edward saw Roy Mustang, the man he had met yesterday at pick-up time, approaching him. He inwardly groaned, he wasn't in the mood to socialize.
“Hey.” Edward said meekly, brushing his bangs out his face before turning to face Roy.
“You alright?” Roy asked, giving the blonde a look of concern. “You look like death.”
Edward let out a light, slightly forced, chuckle. “Thanks, really appreciate it Roy.”
Roy raised his eyebrow slightly, Edward's appearance concerned him. “So what's got you looking like you could drop at any moment?” He asked.
Edward let out a deep sigh, “My brother and I got into a... fight of sorts last night.” Edward answered, his tone soft and watery. “I don't like fighting with him, and I especially don't like the topic of the argument.”
“If it's not too personal, what exactly were you fighting about?” Roy asked, hoping he wasn't moving into forbidden territory.
Edward let out another sigh, “He thinks it's time I start...” Edward paused for a moment, taking in a deep breath, “moving forward with my life..”
'Oh.' Roy thought, inwardly grimacing. He knew that conversation all too well, thinking back to the one he had five years ago with his best friend. 'Get your ass in gear before the boys start calling me Daddy thanks to you never being around!' His best friends echoed in his mind, reminding him of how far he had come since then.
“He wants me to get back to work, he says he's watching me waste away each day and it's like he lost me too...” Edward said in somber tone, running a hand through his bangs.
“It's hard,” Roy replied with a soft sigh, “moving forward, returning back to a daily routine without feeling guilty for it all.”
Edward nodded, “But Alphonse is right, I need to get back to work.” Edward started, “I can't just live off Alphonse, and honestly I need to get out of the house more often.”
“Well, let me know if you need help finding something.” Roy offered, “I wouldn't mind giving you a good word somewhere..”
Edward smiled slightly, “Thanks.” Edward replied, rubbing his temples slightly. “I'm not quite ready to go back to work but I can't wallow around forever, I need to set a good example for my kid because right now my brother is being more of a Father to her than I am.” Edward admitted sullenly, “I hate to say it, but it's true.”
Roy sighed, he remembered those days. “Loosing someone close to you when you have a small child is very difficult.” Roy started, “You are grieving but at the same time you have to be a parent and set a good example for your child, and you have to put your grief in the backseat as you care for your child and their pain.”
Edward nodded, looking down at his watch to see that their was still ten minutes till the school day was over. “You know, it helps talking to you because you totally get it.” Edward said, “My brother understands my pain, sort of, but it's not the same unless you have been directly in that position.”
Roy smiled, “I'm happy to offer some help, I know all too well what it's like to be in your shoes.”
Edward smiled, a real smile, before a shy-ish grin spread across his lips, “Maybe we could go get coffee or something sometime, you know, talk about something other than our woes..?”
“That sounds lovely, maybe later this week?” Roy suggested, mentally going over his schedule trying to workout a day and time that would work for him.
“That sounds great.” Edward replied, “Um, should I text you a day and time that works for me?”
Roy grinned, “Sounds good to me.” He started, “After we figure that out, we can decide where to go.”
Edward nodded, “Okay.” He said, a small smile gracing his lips as he shoved his hands into his pockets.
Silence fell between the two, it was almost comforting to the blond. But for Roy it felt awkward, he felt like he needed to say more, to tell his new friend how happy he was at the idea of spending more time together and how he wanted to help him, just the same as his best friend did for him. Instead, he chose to bite his tongue.
The minutes ticked by, and soon the faint echo of a bell came and the children began to eagerly sprint out the door. A grin began to spread across Edward's lips, he was excited to see Annelise. Alphonse had truly got through to him, he was missing out on so much of Annelise's life just wallowing around in his bed mourning. 'Why are you doing to her what Dad did to us?' Al's words were like a punch to the stomach. And, at the realization that Al was right, Edward could feel his heart nearly break in two. Three months – thirteen weeks, ninety-two days, two thousands two hundred hours – had passed since Winry had gone and Edward has spent nearly half of that time laying in a bed and blocking out the outside world. Including his daughter, his beautiful and bright daughter had to endure the pain of loosing her Mother without her Daddy being someone she could lean on.
He was so lost in thought that he hadn't notice Annelise sprinting towards him with a wide grin spread across her lips. Instead he felt the sudden latch of something grabbing on his legs, “Daddy!” an excited voice squealed.
Jumping slightly, Edward looked down to find his daughter gripping onto his leg tightly. “Hi honey.” Edward said with a smile, leaning down to pick her up. Annelise latched her arms around her Father's neck, snuggling into his shoulder. “I didn't know you were picking me up again!” She excitedly exclaimed.
“I'm glad to see you too, sweetheart.” Edward said with a warm smile spread across his lips. Annelise began to excitedly babble on about her day,
Roy watched from afar, still waiting for his boys to come out. He watched as Edward's smile spread across his lips at the sight of his young daughter. Despite looking like death on two feet, looking like he could drop at any moment, he managed a cheerful demur for Annelise. It took him back to the days where he was in Ed's shoes, where he felt like he couldn't breath and the sight of a mere happy family made him run for the hills, well, more like run for the booze. Shaking his head slightly, trying to forget those days, Roy saw Lucas and Roman running towards him with wide smiles.
“Daddy!” They cried, running towards him.
“Hi boys,” Roy said with a grin, meeting them halfway. “How was school today?”
As the began to ramble on about their day, Roy began to help them gather their things together.
“See you later Roy!”
Roy turned to see a grinning – a bit slightly forced – Ed waving at him, Annelise still in his arms wearing a wide smile. “I'll be sure to text you tonight about lunch.”
“Sounds good, have a good night Edward.” Roy said, waving goodbye.
Watching as Edward walked to his car, a thought came to Roy's mind.
'He's doing far better than I did...'
A/N: Long time no see! Hope you all enjoyed the chapter! Don't really like the ending, but hey I had to end it somewhere.