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27 February 2015 @ 10:55 pm
HALF LIVES 3: OUR LIVES, CH 48: "BRAVE NEW WORLD"  
HALF LIVES 3: OUR LIVES, CHAPTER 48: “BRAVE NEW WORLD”
By binaryalchemist
Rating: This chapter rated PG-13 for language.
Pairing: Roy/Ed, Havoc/Hawkeye, past Hughes/Roy
Spoilers and Warnings: Post-Manga verse, Star of Milos, 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: Plans laid on the day of Roy’s first inauguration have finally come to fruition—there is a new generation of Elrics to carry on the legacy of Edward, Alphonse, and Roy as the original Sacrifices of the Promised Day prepare to embark on the greatest adventure of all….
A/N: 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 for reading!!!
OUR LIVES, CHAPTER 48: BRAVE NEW WORLD
BY The Binary Alchemist, 2015

SPRING 1936    
“We’ve got ten years.  Let’s make the most of it.”
                Those were Roy Mustang’s words to his expanded team the day he was inaugurated for his first term of office as the elected president of Amestris.
 The plan that Breda and Peta had come up with had been simplicity itself. “Living to a hundred is not that strange these days,” Breda informed them. “Okay.  You’ve been elected. Baring some sort of disaster or a lucky assassin, I’m wagering you’re gonna get a second term, easy.  By 1945 they’ll elect your successor and you’ll step down in 1946. That’s when you set yourself up as an ambassador at large.  Set up your base in Oceana if you can—all those islands give you plenty of hiding places and the people there are going to be good allies if you win them over now. Start making overtures. Send Ed and Al down there now to start with breaking the ice. Let’s face it, Sir—the reason the rest of the world has steered clear of Europa is because we’ve got a really bad reputation as being war mongers. They’ve sent explorers to Europa and the ones that lived to come back all say the same thing—“
“—Europeans—especially Amestrians and Aerugoans—are trigger happy sons of bitches,” Ed finished. “ They want us to keep our madness to ourselves.  But Pyotir has hooked me up with crew of an Oceanic exploratory vessel, the Uluru. Female captain named Coorah Yindi. She got on well with him and says she’ll meet with me and Al. She’s a Pitanjarah, a Tribal elder in the Northern Territory, a retired government official and—“he took a deep breath, “she’s an alchemist.”
Roy looked surprised. “Really?”
Alphonse nodded enthusiastically.  “You’ll never believe what she said when she heard that Ed and I are alchemists too. ‘Cooma el ngruwar, ngruwar el cooma. Illa booka mer ley urrie urrie’. ‘Everything is one and one is everything. The soul cannot die.’ I really want to meet these people.”
Mustang nodded. “We’ll make it happen.  What next, Breda?”
.  “You do what Ed’s been doing for years, gone six months—a year, whatever, and you come home for a while. You get to spend time here with us—as much time as you need. And over the years as you come and go, you change your appearance gradually. Dye your hair silver.  Learn some make up techniques to look older than you are.  Maybe even get a cane or walking stick—maybe an eye patch.  I think that you can fake that until….let’s see…around 1985. Then let it be known that you guys are retiring someplace warm and sunny—someplace small and tropical---and out of the spotlight. Let yourself fade from current memory, until people assume that you guys have been laid to rest somewhere in the islands after living a long life of service. Dig some graves in the middle of nowhere if you think that would help.
               “Then….you come back. You might need to take a new name and—I don’t know, Boss—maybe let your hair grow out and start playing up the Xingese side of your looks. Only the family and the team—now and in the future—will really know who you are. “
                “What family?” Roy wanted to know.
                Peta just grinned. “You let me worry about dot.”
#####
                “Julia…please…” Alphonse squeezed his old lover’s hands tightly, his eyes brimming from emotion.  “Just let her see me. Just once. I’m not taking her away. I gave you my word, I would never take her away from Milos. I want—I need her--to know her father loves her. That I didn’t just walk away and never come back. I don’t want her to hate me the way Ed hated Dad for so long.”
                And that, in the end, was the one argument that Julia Creighton was not able to disregard.
                At the age of six, Katherine Creighton was exquisite—a delicate beauty cast in the same mold as her freedom fighter mother, but with the same golden eyes as her father, the true legacy of her Xerxean ancestry from the line of Hohenheim.  It was all Alphonse could do to keep from weeping openly, hugging the child tightly to his heart, but Katherine was shy and confused, not knowing what to think, bright eyes moving nervously from her mother to her father, shying back and not saying a word.
                It was her cousin Maes who broke the ice, having never met a stranger in his life. Maes swooped Katherine up off her feet and into the air. “HEY! Look at you! You’re gorgeous!” His smile was guileless and as charming as ever. “I’m Maes! We’re cousins, you and me.  You’re just a pretty little ginger kitten, aren’t you?  And you have eyes just like mine. Lucky gold eyes.  Can I call you Kit?”
                Julia’s coolness broke down into laughter as she and Alphonse, Edward and Nina watched Maes romp around the room, a giggling Katherine riding on his broad shoulders, holding on to his long hair like a horse’s reins.
                By tea time, Katherine—now Kit—was cuddled on her father’s lap, eyes bright with wonder as she chatted easily with her new-found family.
                At last, Julia signaled for her guests to leave.  Alphonse reached into his pocket, drawing out a delicate golden ghau pendant, capped with a polished cabochon of golden amber, the same shade as her father’s eyes.  “Nina made this for you, Kit. It’s a special locket for memories, so you can keep the people you love close to your heart. You can put a lock of your mother’s hair in there, so part of her is always with you.”
                To his astonishment, Kit kissed him. “Can I have a lock of yours?”
#####
SPRING 1938
Peta Lobachevsky had had no interest in being a bride but was most enthusiastic to be a mother.
 Two years after Roy’s first inauguration in 1936, Peta placed Maes’ son in the President’s arms. “And here is little Eduard,” she announced.  “Drachman spelling und pronunciation.  Keep the name in the family, since—“ she nodded and smiled at two year old Xin Rin, presently riding on his grandfather Edward’s shoulders and looking down curiously at his infant cousin, “—you may want to get those names back when you come home as their descendents. We have our little ‘Roy’—now we got an ‘Edward’. I get us an ‘Alphonse’ next time.”
                Nina, smiling at her prince, laid a gentle hand on her swollen belly. “We’re going to call her Izumi.”
                “Da. The gold eyes uff the babies? Dot you can make up with contact lenses. “She grinned at the friend who would father four of the five children she would bear in her long lifetime. “And David and I will manage—I make sure his bloodline carries on. I know, Maes, what dot means to you, to have a child from your husband to love. I tell you,” she leaned down and kissed the top of her firstborn’s blond head, “we manage. We take care of the future for you, Poppy Roy.  Nina and I will see to dot!”
#####
              
SPRING, 1946
                “I bet they’re kissing up in there!”
                “Kissing? Yeuuuchhhhhhghhh! Ewww! Really?”
                “They do it a lot when nobody’s looking.” Crafty golden eyes shifted towards the top of the stares and to the right where the Master Suite was. It was ten in the morning and the doors were still locked. “Let’s wake ‘em up.”
                “Brother, no!”  Alfons’ blond brows knitted together; he’d always been a bit of a worrywart compared to his reckless older brother.  “Eduard—we’re gonna get in trouble! Mama and Papa won’t like it, and Poppy and Da will be angry. It’s stupid!”
                Eduard gave his brother Afons a playful sock on the arm. “C’mon. We’re Elrics. We’re supposed to do stupid shit—OWWW!!!”
                A pale hand snatched the back of the six year old’s collar and hauled him backwards away from the stairs.  “Not on my watch.”
                A stubborn lower lip poked out far enough to perch a pigeon on it. “You’re not the boss of me, Mustang!” A chubby finger poked the oldest boy in the chest. “Fuck off!”
                Eight year old Xin Rin “Roy” Mustang Elric looked down over the rims of his glasses and offered his young cousins a smirk that would have done his step-grandfather proud.  “Aunty is going to scrub out your mouth with saddle soap for swearing like that—and when she does, I’m selling tickets and popcorn. Now scram, Pipsqueak.” He affectionately ruffled the blond mane of the younger child. “You too, Al.  You have my permission to knock some sense into your brother’s head…if you can.”
                A middle finger was proudly displayed. “Bite me,” Eduard crowed rebelliously and made a mad dash for the second floor suite.
                “Aiya!” Rin shook his head in disgust.  And to think he’d offered to babysit his five younger cousins just so that Uncle Maes and Aunty Peta  and Uncle David could go down to the aerodrome early and make sure all the radio equipment was safely stored aboard Discovery.
                They’d only been gone one hour and fifteen bloody minutes, during which little Dimitri had gotten himself lodged inside the grand piano, Ivan had poured a pitcher of syrup over Sergei’s head and the eldest of the five—the two demons—had made up their minds to storm the master bedroom and wake up poor Poppy and Da, who needed all the rest they could get before starting on their long voyage to Oceana.
                He considered his options…and then he touched the ghau pendant engraved with his very first array. He smacked his palms together. There was an ear-splitting ZZZAWWAAAAHHHSSSSS!, accompanied by a blinding flash of orange light. The staircase transmuted instantly into a slide as the steps melted into each other.  Eduard, giggling madly, slid all the way down, landing at Rin’s feet.  “I hope you got rug burns on your belly button,” he intoned.  “Now, beat it, Ed….or Poppy’s gonna beat you!”
              
                “He’ll have to stop laughing first.”  A tall figure in a deep blue dressing gown appeared on the landing, hair tousled and grinning down at the eldest of his grandchildren.  “Ed! Al! Go on, now. Take your brothers outside and go play in the garden—and try not to get yourselves killed.  Last thing I need before l leave is another big pile of paperwork.” Roy gestured at the damaged staircase. “You can fix this, Rin?”
                The eight year old screwed up his face comically. “Ummm….I know the theory…but…”
                The retired general slapped the landing with his scarred palms and the wood, carpet and nails melted magically back into their original forms.  Rin’s namesake padded down the steps in his bedroom slippers and gave the boy an affectionate slap on the shoulder. “At least you didn’t try to transmute your cousin, tempting as that might be sometimes, son.”
                Rin smiled back at his Poppy. “He’d make a great toilet seat though, wouldn’t he?”
#####
                An Oceanian.  A woman from the other hemisphere. Winry didn’t know what to say. Captain Yindi was tall and wiry and her skin was the color of strong-brewed coffee. Her most striking features were her eyes—so keen and piercing, telling without words of the fierce intelligence of the Pitanjarah woman.
                But Winry liked her, strange as Coorah Yindi seemed. The woman’s Amestrian was oddly accented, but there was no mistaking her competency.  “Young Sarah will stay with me, Dr. Winry.  We will learn much from one another. Trust her.”
 If Sarah’s father, Pitt Renback, had still been alive he’d have thrown a fit and ordered Sarah to stay in Resembool, safe in Europa. But her daughter would be traveling in caravan with her Uncles Edward and Alphonse and Roy, as well as her older brother Maes. “Mom, there’s so much I can learn about the animals in the rest of the world,” Sarah had told her enthusiastically. “I’ll be one of the first ever veterinarians from Europa to study in Oceana! I’m so glad you’ll let me go!”
                She would wonder privately if the presence of Jaya Lowe on the voyage as the mission botanist had anything to do with her daughter’s determination not to be left behind…but she kept that to herself.
                In the end, she sighed. Sarah was grown and was as headstrong as Winry had been in her youth.  “Maes—take care of your sister, okay?”
                This is not the first time I’ve been left behind by an Elric male, Winry thought as she watched the trio motor away out of the Rain River valley, heading towards the station. Elrics leave. They always leave…but they do keep their promises, Winry told herself as she headed back to her automail studio. They’ll be back. They’ll all come back to Resembool someday. They may never write. They may forget to call…but sooner or later, they’ll all be back—at least long enough for some homemade apple pie….
#####
                “We leave so we can come back. It still sucks.” Edward cast an appreciative glance across the parklands of Rose Hill.
                “For somebody who once burned down his family home just so he wouldn’t be tempted to run back, you’ve gotten sentimental, Ed.” Handsome in his riding clothes, Roy slid his arm easily around his husband’s shoulders.  He smelled of sweat and horse and after all these years Ed hardly minded.  He knew saying goodbye to his horses would be difficult. But with both Maes and Nina’s families ensconced at Rose Hill he knew that none of his precious mares and foals would be neglected, especially since Roy had spent part of the past ten years training up Selim Bradley as his stable hand. The homunculus had grown in intelligence and common sense since recovering from his mental trauma with the help of Ed and Maes.  Spending his days caring for the horses and barn cats and riding to his heart’s content had brought Selim profound happiness—even more so when Mrs. Bradley had gone into a lovely nursing home and Selim was offered a permanent home in the old greens keeper’s cottage at Rose Hill.  In the distance, Ed could see Selim cantering on Cirrocco’s most recent descendent—yet another proof to the two men that life did, indeed, go on…and that all would be well in the years to come.
                Ed glanced at his watch. “We got..let’s see…about three hours. You got time.”
                “Time?”
                “To say goodbye to Hughes.”
                Roy pulled his husband into deep, lingering kiss, gloved fingers playing softly through the tangled golden hair that would never tarnish with the passing of time.  If their luck held, he expected to be kissing this man for a very, very long time yet to come.
#####
                “Hughes. It’s me.” A sheaf of fragrant lilies was laid on a grassy grave that had been well tended for all the many years since his lover had been murdered by Envy.  There was another bouquet on the peaceful grave, bearing a note ‘To Grandpa Maes from Hugh’. Roy had seen Gracia, Elycia, Cameron and their young son before stopping by the cemetery.  Who knew it would be so hard to say goodbye—at least for now—to a woman he had once resented for sharing Hughes’ bed. Whatever else Roy Mustang had done in his life, he would never regret mending that fence.  They were family now, and he would never stay away from the Hughes family for very long.
                “This seems stupid. I mean…you’re in the Gateway. You’re everywhere.  I don’t know why I come out to your stone, but…” He folded his long legs and settled down in the grass, hands folded under his chin.
                “We should have grown old together—two old soldiers. Together.  But…that’s not the way it played out. We never got that ‘golden future’ we used to daydream about when we were cadets.  When I saw you in the Gateway the day I got my sight back, you warned me not to keep so closed up inside. Glad I listened.  You knew what I needed, more than I do.  Now I’m asking for your help.
                “Maes, none of us wants to live forever. That’s not natural. It’s not right and frankly the thought of it gives me the creeps.  Izumi acts brave, but she’s scared to death of outliving Sig. It’s going to happen one day and if anything kills Izumi Curtis, it would be a broken heart. Let’s just say we’re already prepared for that.
                “Ed, Al and I all want to have good lives. We want to watch the grand kids and great grand kids grow up…but there’s something satisfying about knowing that one day you can lie down and rest, even for a little while.  I don’t have a clue how long we have, but at least we have each other.
                “Maes…help us to make the most of what we’ve been given. Let me make a difference in this world. That whatever name I have—whatever identity, wherever Ed and Al and Izumi and I go, that we can change things for the better.  Keep us sane. Look after our families.
                “I…guess I’ll see you when I see you, old friend. I’ve got to get down to the Discovery. Ed’s waiting. Everything’s ending—and everything’s about to begin.” Rising, he brushed the grass off his trousers and adjusted his glasses. In the distance, he heard the noonday chime from the clock tower of the Hohenheim—his first great step towards achieving a lasting peace for Amestris, for Europa and for lands he hadn’t yet dreamt of.
 “Here’s to the golden future….”

...TO BE CONCLUDED….