Rating: This chapter rated PG-13 for language and Roy and Ed fooling around
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: "Joy at the start/Fear in the Journey/Joy at the Coming Home..."
In which we are assured Love Never Dies, Friendships Last Forever--and Ed STILL owes Roy 520 cenz...
.A/N : WOW. Three novels. Four and a half years of writing and a heck of a lot of words. It’s been an incredible journey, and I thank you for letting me share it with you. If you’ve read any or all of Half Lives/Whole Lives/Our Lives, let me know what you thought—your feedback means so much!
“Half Lives”, “Whole Lives” “Our 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, CH 49: CONCLUSION: THE ONCE AND FUTURE ALCHEMISTS
By The Binary Alchemist 2015
The cold shock of the other side of the ocean was beyond anything I could have ever expected, and we tumbled and clung to each other, kissing and laughing like idiots. “Careful,” Ed spluttered. “You’re gonna drown me, asshole!” We crawled up to the shore, grinning like fools. There was nobody to see us at this late hour, so my hands crept to where my hands always want to go. “Are you out of your fuckin’ mind?” Ed shouted above the crash of the surf. “You wanna get sand pounded up your ass?”
“Not an issue. I’m not the one who’s about to get pounded.”
That was the evening we made two very enlightening discoveries about Oceana:
One—ghost crabs come out to feed at night. The burrow up from the sand in search of whatever dead fish or such washes up on the shore. A male human posterior, gleaming white in the moonlight, may not be decaying, but to a battalion of hungry crabs, it’s a banquet.
Two—the Shore Patrol along the Great Barrier Reef, thankfully, has a sense of humor. They didn’t even put the cuffs on us. They laughed like hell, though. “Bloody shite, and they told us Amestrians were so dangerous! ‘Feckin’ alchemists, blowin’ up the soddin’ world’, they said. Don’t look all that impressive to me, mates! If that bum of yours was any whiter, Roy Mustang, you’d outshine the moon! “
Al laughed so hard he spilled his beer, and Sig and Izumi weren’t much better, holding each other up for support as they cackled at us. “And so,” Ed intoned solemnly as he dug the sand out of his crack, “the world famous Flame Alchemist embarked on his diplomatic career, representing his nation with all dignity and decorum—HEY! Cut it out!” A tendril of fire spat out from my hands, missing his rump by inches.
There were no red carpets. No fanfare of trumpets. No parades like the ones we hosted the first time Prince Claudio arrived in Amestris. No, it was a boatload of sun burnt, laughing men catching me with my pants down—quite literally. This, I suspect, sets the tone of the next phase of my life. As my new friend Cobber Hamilton told the press a few hours ago, “Mustang—he’s just some bloke, y’know? Bit of a know-all, but he’s all right. We’re mates, I reckon.”
Greater praise in Oceana? “Not effin’ likely.”
With love to you all from Your Foreign Correspondent, drunk on his ass on a tropical beach and safe, along with his crew--
Havoc folded the letter and wiped the tears from his eyes. He had laughed so hard it had taken nearly ten minutes to read the missive. Hawkeye shook her head. “What—you don’t approve?” Havoc teased, as he passed the letter to a chuckling Gracia and Elycia, sharing the couch with Nina. “Okay, so it’s a little randy. Okay, maybe a lot. Who knew he could write like that? It’s hilarious! Who knew he was a born storyteller?”
“Bullshit artist, more likely,” Nina suggested.
“The man’s got a way with words,” Fuery agreed. “That’s so out of character for him. He was always so straight-laced and strict.”
David Collins looked thoughtful. “Kain’s right…but you know, he’s spent his whole life being the responsible one. Officer in the military. Head of state. So much riding on his shoulders. And now,” he gestured to the letter, “he’s…what did it say?”
“He’s ‘just some bloke’.” Falman quoted with a smile. “Only we know better.”
“He sounds young.” Gracia looked thoughtful. “This is the Roy Mustang Maes always told me about. He sounds happy.”
“—they’re on the radio.” Sheng poked his head out of the library. “I’ll turn it up.”
Everyone dashed inside the library where the huge radio console that Maes had built was humming and crackling. Havoc twiddled with the tuning knob and suddenly a familiar voice filled the room.
“---This is Maes Elric, coming to you from the beautiful western coast of Oceana in our first ever trans-ocean broadcast. Good morning, Central! We’re coming to you from the beautiful city of Perth, where Former President Mustang, Professor Edward Elric, Captain Alphonse Elric and—“there was a pause as Maes struggled to keep from laughing, “—a housewife—and alchemy master Izumi Curtis met this morning with the regional Parliament, where a vote was cast in favor of establishing an Amestrian embassy for the first time on Oceanian soil. A resolution also passed which will establish a new branch of Mustang’s Collegium of Alexandria schools, which will allow students from Europa to come and study abroad on student visas, and for Oceanians to study at the Hohenheim Institute in Central, the Chrysanthemum Palace Institute in Xing, at Stoltovgrad in Drachma, and at the academies in Creta and Aerugo and in Nihon. Edward Elric, Izumi Curtis, Sig Curtis and Coorah Yindi have agreed to work together to bring this to fruition. Famed Xingese expert in medical alchemy, Dr. Kenichi Chen, will discuss the possibility of establishing the first medical university of the Collegium in Perth.
“Captain Alphonse Elric will be meeting with government officials to discuss opening new trade routes and airspace for travel between the two continents. Emperor Ling Yao of Xing has offered his cooperation. It is expected that both parties will convene in Xing in the next six months to establish the guidelines.
“And on a personal note, to my family and friends back in Amestris—it’s been a hell of an adventure—whoops! Sorry…but I’ve been cussing by accident on the radio since I was three. Anyway, I’ll be returning back to Central in style in a few weeks, as the airship Kakadu makes its first ever voyage to our side of the world. We’ve made some amazing new friends over here, and I’m looking forward to introducing them to the locals back in Amestris…only they’ve already said they don’t like our beer. They say it’s like making love on the beach—it’s fucking close to water. Ahhahhaaaahaaaa!---“
A furious Ed cut his son off. “—give me that goddamn microphone, or I’ll---“
“Ed! You’re swearing too! I knew you were going to make a fool of yourself on the radio again—“ “ED! Alphonse! Maes! Boys! Don’t make me come over there and---“
“Izumi, calm down. You don’t want to make yourself sick—“
There was the sound of a snap, followed by a very loud FWOOOOOOSSHHH!
The calm, professional voice of Roy Mustang filled the room. “And to all our friends, loved ones and countrymen in Amestris and Xing, the crew of the Discovery sends its best wishes. Good night from Oceana. This is Roy Mustang, signing off…until we meet again…”
He swung down the alley behind the old familiar bakery, still prospering under the Hughes family. He’d stop in later when he had a minute, if only for the pleasure of seeing the bakery girls ooh and ahh over the handsome young pilot with the long blond ponytail who arrived from Affrika over the weekend in time to teach classes in rocketry at the Hohenheim. “Hope they’re into older men,” Edward snickered to himself. Al was supposed to be picking up the cake for Nina’s 100th birthday. Hopefully he wouldn’t pick up anything else.
There was a loud jangle from his front pocket. He still hadn’t decided if mobile phones were worth the trouble. It was like everybody around you had you on a leash; there was no real privacy. “Yeah? What is it?”
“It’s me, Daddy. I got your message. What’s up?”
“Hang on a sec, kiddo. Lemme find a place to talk where it’s a little more private.” He rounded the corner to Central Park and shooed a flock of hungry pigeons off an empty bench. “I was heading to my first lecture, but I wanted to wish my little girl a happy birthday.”
There was a chuckle on the other end of the line. “I’m a hundred years old today! I haven’t been your little girl since…hell, since forever.”
“Bullshit,” her father answered. “Did you see the headlines? You’re all over the front page. ‘Former Prime Minister Nina Mustang Elric celebrates her 100th birthday today. The famed stateswoman, feminist author and human rights activist has chosen to celebrate at the family’s Rose Hill compound in lieu of a grand gala as was expected.’”
“My century isn’t going to be anything compared to the headlines when the four of you come out.”
“Blame your husband. Sheng was the one who figured out that we were aging. Slowly, but definitely not immortal. Good thing we sent him to that genetics institute in Frisco Bay, or we’d never have known the truth. Not like we’re gonna dry up and croak tomorrow…there’s still time enough for life.”
“And love. “
“Especially love. You better believe it. And he’s describing it as ‘rare cellular damage’ resulting from being at Ground Zero on the Promised Day. And he’s going to put a good spin on it, so it doesn’t sound like anything any sane person would want to happen to them. Last thing we want is some crazy assholes in the government to start trying to make Philosopher’s Stones and Homunculi again.”
There was a long silence on the end of the phone. Finally, Nina sighed. “And if they do?”
Ed shrugged. “We kicked their asses before, baby girl. We’ll do it again if we have to.”
Ivan Elric, named after his uncle Jean Havoc, predicted ‘there’s gonna be a hell of a row when the story gets out, Poppy.”
Ivan was right. There were investigations—screaming editorials, the right and the left wing spin doctors foaming at the mouth over the fact that four innocent people got stuck in the dead center of a cosmos-splitting holocaust as the Father tried to consume what it thought was God Itself. With Bradley long dead, there was no need to tip-toe around the facts, and when the real truth of what occurred finally came out in the second hearings on the Promised Day, the reaction was so violently negative in the press that the quartet agreed among themselves that the chances of somebody trying to capture a creature from the Gate and create a national transmutation array or even make a new septet of Sins—well, it just didn’t seem likely. “We’ll just have to keep our eyes open,” Izumi sighed. “But it’s better by far not to have to hide. Better than empty graves and dyed hair and telling lies. That’s what gets people in trouble in the first place.”
Kit Elric, who had taken the place of Peta Lobachevsky at the Hohenheim Academy when the much loved Headmistress retired, straightened her uncle’s tie before he greeted the freshman class. “Aw, Kit, why do I even bother with shit like this?”
She pecked him affectionately on the cheek. “Shhh, Uncle. They’re kids. They are going to lose the sense of awe as soon as you open your mouth. You can at least try to make a good first impression.”
Ed ruffled her hair affectionately as if she were still a child. That was Riza Hawkeye talking for damn sure, he thought. An uprising in Creta had cost Katherine Creighton Elric her mother, just as Julia had lost her own parents the same senseless way. Being adopted by Jean and Riza had been the best thing that ever happened to all three of them, and it was so comical at times to hear Hawkeye’s admonitions coming out of Kit’s mouth.
Kit swatted Edward playfully with her notebook and shooed him out the door with a laugh that sounded like pure Havoc. “Good luck!”
“I’m your teacher. I’m Edward Elric. You probably heard of me.”
A copper-skinned boy from the Dakota States raised his hand. “You’re that really really old guy, right? The one that got all mutated by alchemy?”
Cripes, Ed sighed to himself. Here we fuckin’ go again. “Yeah. And?”
“Mom showed us your pictures from before, when you went exploring. You got older, some. When did you start getting shorter?”
”So? How was class?”
“It sucked. I thought Maes was bad as a kid. Fuckin’ kids ate me alive, little smartasses. Jeeze!” Yanking off his tie, Ed flopped wearily on the couch in Roy’s office. The rug with the Presidential Seal was gone, and Ed didn’t miss it. The green leather couch had been reupholstered after all the abuse Roy and Ed had given it. Ed reflected with satisfaction that there was still time to abuse it some more—and break a few more bed slats too. “What are you up to?”
Dark brows lifted a fraction as Roy tapped his fingers against his computer monitor. “An intriguing proposal. You remember Maude Kelley Winchell?”
Ed rolled his eyes. “In my nightmares. Sheesh, what a bitch.”
“It seems I’m being flooded with offers from assorted ghost writers. Seems everybody’s keen on reading my biography. There was even a query about the unreleased manuscript for Fire and Vice. The rights are up for sale, and Elycia’s kid made me a counter offer.”
Ed sat up. “I’m listening.”
“Hugh is running the publishing company. He says that there’s a big interest in us since we got back and since the whole story’s come out. He’s suggesting—“Roy paused for effect, “—that I write it myself.”
“Pffft! You can’t write.” Ed plopped back down onto the cushions. “You told him no way, right?”
Roy didn’t answer. Smiling to himself, he rose and drew the curtains aside. “Moon should be up in about an hour. Let’s go for a ride.”
A blond eyebrow lifted cynically. “Do you mean ‘ride’ as in ‘let’s go to the stables’, or ‘ride’ as in ‘let’s go to the stables and get naked’. “
“I’ve got a new double saddle from Ishbal. And some Oil of the Moon.”
“Depends on who gets to ride,” Ed countered, “and who gets ridden.”
“I’ll flip a coin. You got any change?”
Ed dug in his pockets. “Maybe 520 cenz.”
“I’ll have that back, thank you.” Roy held out his hand. “You said you’d pay me back when we became a democracy. That was over fifty years ago. You owe me interest.”
“Oh yeah?” A hot, wolfish grin spread over Ed’s face. He sauntered over to his once and future lover and grabbed Roy Mustang by the collar, biting him on the lower lip. “Take it out in trade, asshole!”
“Not on the desk. I just got the router set up. Hold that thought,” Roy’s hand firmly cupped Ed’s hardening cock through his trousers, “and meet me in the stables for a midnight ride. I’ve got a few things to take care of.”
“You won’t stand me up?” A quick nip to the earlobe made Roy shiver. Some things really did get better with age.”
“I’ll stand you up all right—and bend you over. Now let me get some work done. You’re distracting as hell, Ed…and I can’t wait to hold you in the dark….”
Trying manfully to ignore the throbbing in his groin, Roy settled back at his desk with a groan. There was a touch of arthritis in his joints, but as Sheng said, exercise was the best thing for arthritis and what better exercise was there than a moonlight ride with the man he loved?
Logging in to his network, Roy reread Hugh Howe’s book proposal. “Can’t write, huh?”
Swallowing a mouthful of coffee, he began typing…
Everybody tells kids ‘don’t play with matches; you’ll set the house on fire.’ Nobody ever thought to tell me ‘don’t play with matches AND alchemy’. As such, my career started with a bang. Literally.
Let me tell you about the night I accidentally burned the whorehouse down…..
THE END—of the Half Lives Trilogy, and
THE BEGINNING—of The Memoirs of Roy Mustang….thanks for reading!
The Binary Alchemist,
7/11/2010 to 2/28/2015
Wow. What a long, strange journey it's been! Not counting the side stories, the Half Lives Trilogy took 4 years and seven months to write 118 chapters--an exhausting total of 426,079 words. I think I'm gonna go eat some chocolate now...
If you've read all this nonsense, please let me know what you thought of it.
Thank you, bless you and thanks again for inspiring me.
Until next time--