ZaKai Stonewall (zakai_) wrote,
ZaKai Stonewall

The More I Learn to Care for You - Chapter 8

Title: The More I learn to Care for You - Roy's POV
Fandom: Fullmetal Alchemist
Main Characters: Roy Mustang, Ed Elric
Rating: R
Warnings: Language, sex
Summary: One person’s reality is not necessarily another’s. Can Roy figure Ed out before their differences overwhelm their fragile relationship? [RoyEd]

A/N: This story is being co-written with kikiko_haru I am writing Roy’s POV and she’s writing Ed’s. All of Ed’s dialogue in what I post belongs to her, but everything else is mine. Also in this chapter all of Doctor Maple's dialogue belongs to her as well.

kikiko_haru is writing a companion story to this (with the same name only with ‘Ed’s POV’ in the title, click here to read it) where all of Roy’s dialogue belongs to me, and the rest is hers.

The More I Learn to Care For You—Roy’s POV

Chapter Eight

Letting Go

For the next couple of days, Roy stayed at home; stayed in bed. He hurt both physically and emotionally, and all he wanted to do was forget the world and all his troubles. The pain medication helped wonderfully with that. He’d been trying to wean himself off it for when he’d have to return to work, but after the confrontation with Ed, he just wanted to sleep it all off, so he was back to his normal dosage.

Of course, it wasn’t that easy. His troubles followed him into his dreams. Sometimes he dreamt of Ed, sometimes of the accident, sometimes of Hakuro and the impending trial. There was no getting around the fact that Roy was in deep shit with the military. Perhaps if he had a kinder and more understanding commanding officer it would be different—or even if he had one who didn’t have a deep grudge against him.

But things weren’t different, so he’d just accept that. The same with Ed... If he were a different man, then perhaps he’d feel worthy of having Ed, but he wasn’t and he didn’t feel that way. Ed deserved better than him. He deserved someone who wasn’t an asshole. He deserved someone who would treat him right...

Ed would recover, and he would go on because he was strong like that. Roy was sure Ed was doing much better now than he had been the last time he’d gone to see him, but then, he really didn’t know for sure. He hadn’t called in to check since that day...

As if on cue, the phone rang and, turning on his side, Roy reached over and, cursing whoever was calling this early in the morning, felt around until he found the receiver. Picking it up, he sleepily mumbled, “Hello?”

“Colonel Mustang?” a male voice said. “I haven’t heard from you in several days. I was getting worried.

Roy frowned. Doctor Maple... Roy sighed heavily then murmured, “It has been several days, hasn’t it...”

There was silence on the other end of the line for a few moment then Maple said in a serious tone, “Colonel, we need to talk about Edward.”

Yes, let’s talk about him, doctor, Roy thought. Let’s talk about how I want him back. Let’s talk about how I seem to be messing up so much recently. Let’s talk about how it will kill me to see him with someone else, even if it’s in his best interest...

He said none of that, however. Instead, he said wryly, “What has he done now? The hospital is still there, right?”

“This is quite serious, colonel,” Doctor Maple said sounding a little frustrated. “Edward is refusing his medication.”

Refusing his medication? Roy thought worriedly. “And why is that?” he asked, trying to sound as disinterested as he could. Better just to distance himself from the whole thing... yet he wanted to know—needed to know... “He’s stubborn, but he usually has a reason, no matter how absurd it is.”

“He’s complaining of crying, but this medication hasn’t been known to affect patients like that. He can’t go without his medication for long, but since he’s brought up his desire to stop this particular course of medical treatment, and because he’s underage, I have to contact you for further instructions.”

There was a slight pause as Doctor Maple cleared his throat, then, “There are other drug therapies we could try, but he’s responding well under this drug protocol, and I wouldn’t want to change without further provocation.”

Roy blinked and frowned deeply. They didn’t seem to understand that Ed really was considered an adult by the state. Unless Ed had been injured under deployment or something similar, Roy really couldn’t order Ed to take the medication.

Sighing heavily, Roy said, “Doctor, look, Ed is practically an adult.” Practically because he didn’t act like it sometimes... “It’s his body. If he wants to change medications, then let him.” He paused, a sudden thought occurring to him. “Unless you have a reason for not wanting to give him something else?”

“As I’ve already stated,” Maple said. The patient tone the man used reminded Roy of someone talking to a child and he felt the sudden urge to just hang up on the doctor. “He’s responding well under this drug protocol. I wouldn’t advise switching unless the need arises since the chance for an allergic reaction goes up each time we switch.”

Roy scowled at the wall. So basically what the doctor was saying was that he didn’t think Ed was having any sort of reaction to the medication, and that Ed was just being stubborn. Sounded like Ed...

“Okay, so what do you want me to do about it?” Roy asked in exasperation, already thinking he knew the answer. The thought of seeing Ed again made his heart beat quickly in his chest both from eagerness and from fear.

“I would think, colonel, that as his commanding officer, and someone who has been here everyday since Edward has been admitted, that you would take a more concerned attitude when I call you with something of this nature—especially since you’ve constantly been on the entire staff’s case on his condition, and badgering us to do a job that we are more familiar with than a colonel who thinks he can drive a car when he knows he doesn’t have the skill!” Doctor Maple said in an angry, and unprofessional tone.

Roy’s eyes narrowed at the sharp words, but before he could say anything, Maple continued. “Now,” he said in a slightly softer tone, as if trying to get himself together from his outburst. “I would like for you to come down to the ward, talk to Edward, and see just what is behind this sudden request to switch medications.” There was a pause, then Maple said, as if it had just occurred to him, “While you’re at it, he needs toiletries and a change of clothes. Do we have an understanding, Colonel Mustang?”

Inside, Roy was seething. If this doctor thought he could get away with insulting him, and then trying to order him around when he had no authority over him, he was wrong.

“Doctor Maple,” Roy said in a calm, flat voice. “As you just pointed out, you and your staff are more familiar with what to do in medical matters. It isn’t my problem if you, the doctor in charge,” he emphasized with disdain, “cannot get his patient to do something. In the state’s eyes, Edward is an adult, and has been since he was twelve. The state, our government, ruled by the military, has deemed it so. This is his choice, not mine.” And with that, Roy hung up the phone.

Rolling back onto his back, he looked up at the ceiling and sighed heavily. Not the most mature thing, hanging up on Maple, but it made him feel a little better and the doctor hadn’t exactly been the pristine picture of professionalism either. He didn’t think the doctor realized that Ed most likely wouldn’t appreciate seeing him. There really wasn’t anything he’d be able to do that would be helpful.

Roy closed his eyes, trying to sleep, but the conversation wouldn’t go away. ‘He’s complaining of crying...’ Maple’s words floated in his mind. Roy swallowed hard wondering if it had been because of him that Ed was crying... Probably... Despite his hard exterior, Ed could be really sensitive sometimes... But didn’t Ed realize it was all for the best? Surely Ed would be fine. He’d go on with his life, find someone who would treat him well and forget... he’d forget…

Roy squeezed his eyes and tried not to let it bother him. After all, wasn’t he doing this for Ed’s own good? Did it really matter if he hurt over this? He’d already caused Ed so much pain, wasn’t this equivalent?


Maybe not...

Pulling the blankets to his chin, Roy again tried to push all the thoughts away; tried to ignore the fact that he desperately wanted to see Ed again. It was better this way. Besides, he hadn’t liked how Maple had tried to push him around. He wasn’t going to visit Ed and he wasn’t going to go pick up his things, and that was that.


Roy turned the key and heard it click before turning the doorknob and opening the door to Ed’s small dorm room. His first thought upon seeing the dorm room was that someone had broken in and searched the place. Books and clothes were thrown everywhere, and there were places where papers were scattered about. Ed’s bed was unmade, and the bedding was onto the floor.

He’d never seen the place in such disarray. It was then that a thought occurred to him. Ed always knew when Roy was coming over. Roy never just popped in and surprised him, so he’d probably always cleaned up before hand...

Stuffing the key into his coat pocket, Roy closed the door and gazed around in a sort of wonder. It was as if he was seeing a side of Ed that he’d never seen before. He searched the book strewn floor wondering how Ed even got to his bed. The floor was barely visible, like the sky on a cloudy day. You could only get a glance if it here or there.

He couldn’t help but wonder where the hell Ed put all this stuff when he’d come over before. Glancing at the open closet at the back of the room, Roy thought he’d found his answer. After all, he’d never seen that closet open.

Tentatively, Roy made his way to the bed and sat down. He already felt exhausted from the trip here. He hadn’t moved around this much in days. Leaning his crutch against Ed’s nightstand, Roy laid back, and rested his head on the pillow. He instantly regretted it as his head met something hard that rested beneath it.

Reaching underneath, Roy’s fingers touched a book, and he thought with a bit of amusement that only Ed would sleep with a book... Pulling out the offending book, Roy took one glance at it before letting it plop down on his chest. He felt his amusement drain out of him and disbelief filled him... disbelief and a little bit of pain. Holding the book back up, Roy stared at the cover of the book he’d given Ed last holiday season.

The book was worn, the edges a little frayed and the pages softened by use. It was obvious that Ed had read through the book many times—sticky notes marked many pages and there were notes both written on the pages themselves and written on loose papers and stuffed into the book. He turned it over in his hands and inspected the worn cover. As ludicrous as it seemed, Ed really might have even slept with it, though Roy doubted he’d slept on it.

With a sigh, Roy set the book down on the nightstand, then blinked in surprise when he saw a cup with dead flowers on the corner of the nightstand. They were the remains of the flowers he’d given to Ed on New Year’s Eve... The corpse-like flowers were dry and brittle, and when Roy sat up, he could see dead leaves and petals dotting the nightstand.

Roy tore his eyes away with an effort. All of this was just making him so damn sentimental... Ed wasn’t his anymore. He needed to just forget him; just needed to push all of the memories out of his mind because it just hurt too damn bad to think about them...

Getting up, Roy moved carefully over the mess on the floor and opened the top drawer of Ed’s dresser. He was here to get things for Ed, not sit around thinking about the past. Reaching into the messy drawer, Roy began pulling out socks and boxers, then stopped when his hand rested on one particular pair of boxers.

More memories invaded Roy’s mind as he remembered buying these boxers for himself. The first time he’d washed them they’d shrunk and he’d given them to Ed because they’d ended up close to his size... Ed had worn them so often that the fabric had become thin, and the seams had become frayed. Roy had finally felt the need to suggest Ed perhaps move on to wearing other boxers and perhaps tossing these ones. Ed had agreed reluctantly and Roy had never seen him wear them again; yet, the boxers looked even more worn since then and he had a feeling Ed had never quit wearing them.

Feeling a little frustrated, Roy glanced around the messy room wondering if he was going to be assaulted by memories the whole time. The last thing he needed right now was to be shown just how much Ed had cared for him. It served to prove just how much better off Ed was without him... Ed deserved better than him.

Roy swallowed hard as other memories, distant ones that he’d much rather forget, came to his mind. Memories of a younger him and of a person he’d cared for as much as Ed cared for him. Roy shook his head, angrily trying to get rid of the memories. He’d been young and so devoted to that person... He shook his head. That was the past and it didn’t reflect on the now.

With a deep breath, Roy looked around for the large book bag Ed often used when he went to the library. It would be easier to deal with then trying to pack that monster of a suitcase Ed owned. Taking another step, Roy nearly stumbled on a pile of books in an effort to get to the bag, and growled irritably as he snatched it. Ed was smarter than most, but the kid had absolutely no organizational skills...

Packing what supplies Ed needed into the bag, Roy was about to leave when he picked up the book he’d given Ed, and, on impulse, stuffed that into the bag as well. He looked around at the mess, thinking perhaps that some other books would be good too, but decided to leave sifting through the bog for another time.


Roy stared around the foyer feeling both glad that he couldn’t see either Doctor Maple or his staff, yet frustrated because he’d love to just drop the damn bag off with one of them without having to see Ed... Yet, he did want to see Ed... but he didn’t want another confrontation with him...

He started slowly toward the door. At the very least a nurse could have taken the bag for him. Moving on the crutch was a pain all in itself, yet carrying the large bag filled with Ed’s things was frustrating because it kept moving back and forth making it hard for him to find his balance.

When he got to the door, Roy carefully balanced himself as he turned the knob, then pushed open the door lightly before letting himself into the room. Turning, he shut the door and grunted at it as if to show his frustration.

Letting his breath out, Roy glanced down to where Ed’s bed was located and felt disconcerted at the fact that Ed was awake and looking at him. Roy supposed he’d hoped Ed would be asleep so that he could have his fill of looking at him before quietly slipping away.

Roy met Ed’s eyes before breaking off the uncomfortable eye contact and starting forward. When he got there, Roy carefully set the bag down on the end of Ed’s bed. Silently turning to leave, Roy glanced at Ed and felt a lump form in his throat at the way Ed was staring at him. Golden eyes seemed to beg him to stay, and when Ed opened and closed his mouth, Roy couldn’t resist.

Sitting down and resting his crutch against the table, Roy tried to make himself appear businesslike, but wasn’t able to let it carry through his voice. “I was contacted by your physician. It seems you’ve been making trouble.”

Ed sighed and looked down and away. “I’m sorry. I... it’s been... hard. I—” Ed frowned, then looked up at him. “I’m glad you... came.” The last was whispered, and he looked away again.

For a moment, Roy was quiet as he digested what Ed had said, and how he’d said it. There was so much he wanted to say, but he settled on a soft, “Of course I came.” He paused as he realized what he was doing and mentally kicked himself. He wasn’t here to make up with Ed. Changing his tone, Roy said, “I think that Maple and his staff aren’t prepared to deal with someone as troublesome as you.” That was an understatement, Roy thought irritably. “I couldn’t very well let them suffer.” He could, and he wanted to, but this was a great excuse despite the fact that was a complete lie.

“I’m sorry,” Ed said started to explain quickly. “I didn’t mean to react like that. I mean, I wouldn’t hurt the nurse on purpose, but I was really angry and I wasn’t thinking straight. It’s like my head is all messed up,” Ed said with a wave of his hand. Frowning, he continued, “I mean, I know I knocked the thing down, but—okay, yeah it came close but not that close. There was a good few inches between her nose and the stand-thingy. I just needed to get my head clear and these drugs aren’t letting me do that, so I wanted to change them, but they won’t listen to me ‘cause I’m not legal yet.”

Ed rolled his eyes, but it didn’t interrupt the flow of words coming from his mouth. “Which is so stupid—and just now, I mean after they changed my bandages, they wanted me to go to the damn playroom. With all the other kids! Hello, is it any wonder that I freaked out like that!” Ed flipped his hand in disgust, then paused in his rant and said in a deflated tone, “So yeah...” as he shifted to his side with a pained look on his face.

Roy just stared at Ed feeling confused and slightly amused. It felt sort of good to see him talking so freely. It was as if there was nothing wrong between them at all, yet the quick and nervous pace did much to destroy that impression. And what was this about the nurse and knocking something down? And taking Ed to the playroom? That was absurd...

Clearing his throat, Roy decided to address the most important points. “I informed Doctor Maple that both the state and I consider you to be an adult. It’s really up to you if you switch medications or not. Though I think you should know that most medications have some sort of side effects. I don’t think a fuzzy head warrants changing prescriptions.”

“But what does the doctor think?” Ed asked. “He still gave me that shit when—after he—well, I mean it sounded like you weren’t coming so... he just gave it to me anyway.”

“The doctor thinks you should stay with this mediation as well, though I’m not agreeing with him because he’s the doctor,” Roy said and felt irritated all over again at the tone Maple had used with him earlier. Pushing those thoughts away, Roy continued. “If you really want to change medications, I’ll talk to him about it, but like I said, I don’t think it’s really necessary.”

Ed glanced down at his bedding, then pressed his lips together. “Well, I don’t know, but I’m... I mean, I don’t act like this normally, but I’m...” He trailed off and looked up before looking away at the windows on the far side of the room. It took him a few moments, but finally he said, “Hakuro came to see me.” He frowned and looked back at Roy, looking him in the eye. “I don’t know what you put in your report, but I don’t think I said anything harmful.”

Roy flinched at that, but worked to relax his body. Hakuro came to talk to Ed? He hadn’t even thought that Hakuro would do that, but he should have supposed that he would. Roy really wanted to demand that Ed tell him everything he told Hakuro, but he didn’t want Ed to know what was going on. This was his problem, and he wouldn’t let Ed take this on himself.

Roy took a deep breath. With an effort, he ignored what Ed had said about Hakuro, and as he let the air out, he said, “Well, medication can mess with how you act sometimes, but that doesn’t mean it’s not the best one for helping you heal. It won’t be forever.”

“Yeah, I guess,” Ed said, then fell silent. He looked uneasy, and Roy suddenly wanted very much to leave.

After a few moments of silence, Roy shifted forward a little and said, “Well, if there’s nothing else?”

“Oh, wait!” Ed exclaimed quickly, then reached out and grabbed onto his coat sleeve. Roy stopped and looked at Ed, hoping this had to do with the matter a hand and not with anything that would be too uncomfortable to talk about.

Golden eyes met his challengingly, and he said, “Stay. Please.” Stay? He didn’t want to stay. He wanted to leave before Ed started talking about more intimate subjects, but a conflicting part of him did want to stay, and that part won out.

“Alright,” he said quietly and moved slightly to settle back into the chair.

Ed tugged at the sleeve he was holding. “Give me your hand,” he demanded. “And you’re going to tell me straight how it is with us now. No more lies, no more half-truths. I wanna know how come you...attacked me like that…please. I need to know.” Ed’s demanding tone had slipped into one of begging.

Roy stiffened slightly. Hadn’t Ed understood what he’d meant the last time he’d been there? Didn’t he realize that they were finished? The last thing Roy wanted to talk about was that morning. It was an agonizing thing to even think about and part of him just wanted to say to Ed, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about’, but that was an answer he would have given to the others he’d been with. Ed deserved better than that... but Roy didn’t know if he could give him what he wanted.

Again Ed tugged on his sleeve. “Give me your hand,” he demanded again.

He searched his memories to find the right thing to say, and felt frustration well up in him at what he found there. Ed wasn’t the only one who wanted answers... “Why don’t you tell me why you’d been so distant,” Roy responded. “Perhaps you should tell me why you seemed to be less interested in our relationship. What was it to you, Ed?”

Roy paused, almost reluctant to go on because it seemed almost ludicrous coming from him, but he’d wanted more from Ed than he’d ever wanted from anyone else. “Was it the sex? Was that all it was?” he asked. Perhaps he deserved to have the tables turned on him... “Am I getting too old for you? What?”

He wanted to go on, but he was already embarrassed at having asked what he had. Unable to meet Ed’s eyes any longer, Roy looked down. He didn’t like sounding so needy. It made him feel weak and it reminded him of how he’d been with...

“What! Are you insane?” Ed cried. “I wasn’t getting tired of you, dumb ass. You were giving me mixed signals that I couldn’t make sense of. I thought you were seeing someone else! But then you called me up drunk, and then I knew you weren’t, and I felt stupid for doubting you! I thought we’d made up! Why did you act like that then?” Ed demanded, his voice rising, and each sentence punctuated by a tug on his sleeve. At the end, Ed gave an extra hard tug.

Roy gritted his teeth together and asked angrily, “Why wouldn’t you confide in me? Why wouldn’t you let me take care of you? We didn’t make up; you were just trying to flatter me into giving you what you wanted. Why did you get upset when I was just trying to be honest with you? You asked me a question and I answered you honestly, but it wasn’t good enough for you.”

It was as if a flood gate had opened inside of him and as much as he wanted to stop the words, he couldn’t. “I gave you what I’d never given to anyone else, Ed—the truth. I gave you a piece of me and when you realized that not all was perfect you got pissed off and wanted to leave. I’m not good enough for you Ed. I know it, and you know it,” he finished bitterly.

Ed stared at him in disbelief for a moment then said in a hurt tone, “I didn’t want to tell you that I hadn’t eaten for almost three days ‘cause I was worried as hell that you were leaving me, and I didn’t want to bother you since we’d just ‘made up’. And as for getting pissed when you were honest with me about why you liked me, I didn’t like how you threw your past exploits out there so casually. I’m sorry I didn’t realize that you were putting yourself out there. I handled it badly. I’m sorry that I have a temper and I can’t ever be calm when I need to be, and I’m sorry that I always speak without thinking. I’m sorry for being me, so please, can we stop this craziness and go back to the way we were now?” Ed said, passion and pleading both in his voice, then, “Please let me hold your hand.”

With a sigh of resignation, Roy let Ed take his hand. So many misunderstandings on both their parts... It was good that they were clearing some of them up, but Ed didn’t seem to understand. He wasn’t leaving Ed solely because of misunderstandings. He’d never wanted to treat Ed the way he’d treated the others, and this had only proven that he couldn’t be trusted not to do the same thing again.

Roy frowned as Ed began rubbing his hand, and thought briefly about taking it back. He didn’t want to give him the wrong impression by letting him hold his hand, but he selfishly let Ed keep a hold of it.

“Ed... I’m just not good for you...” He paused. Telling Ed more about his past relationships wasn’t something he wanted to do, especially after what had happened the last time he’d been honest, but he felt it was necessary to make Ed understand.

“I... You’re not the only one with a temper, though I guess you already know that by now.” Another pause, then, “There’s a reason why I never dated anyone very long, Ed... It wasn’t all about wanting new ‘conquests’...” He paused again, not wanting to say it.

“I haven’t been very... kind... to the people I’ve dated in the past. I never respected them.” Another pause. “Basically they were there for me to fuck.” He glanced up at Ed to see how he would react, then looked away. “When we... got together... by the time we actually had sex—like I said before—I’d already realized I wanted something more from you. I realized that I... I actually respected you... I wanted what we had to be different. I worked very hard to keep myself from saying things I shouldn’t when I was angry.”

He shook his head in self-disgust. “That morning... I did to you what I’d done to them. I knew what I was doing, but...” His voice softened to a whisper and he said, “I did it anyway,” then he let his voice return to the tone he’d been using before. “And you suffered from it in more ways than one. You shouldn’t ever have to worry about that.” He returned his gaze back to Ed. “Do you understand? Do you understand why I can’t be with you? Do you understand why you’d be better off with someone else?” he asked and hated the hurt, pleading tone his voice held.

Ed looked down. “No, I don’t understand. So you got a temper too, it’ll make the make-up sex even hotter,” Ed said with humor in his voice and Roy frowned deeply, not at all amused. When Ed spoke again, his tone was more serious. “Roy, I don’t want anyone else. It’s you or no one, you got that? You keep saying I’m an adult, but you’re making this decision for me ‘cause you think of me as a kid despite what you say to the contrary. Let me decide how, and what, I think is acceptable to me, okay?”

For a moment, Roy said nothing, simply looked at Ed as the teen stared at him with determination. He should have known Ed wouldn’t understand. Yes, Ed was definitely maturing, but he didn’t have the experience that Roy had. Finally, he said, “I don’t think of you as a kid, Ed, but you are inexperienced. You really don’t understand. It got very ugly with some of my past flings. I refuse to let it get that way with you.”

He looked down at the hand Ed was holding, the hand that Ed had given little squeezes to while he’d been trying to explain... In a whisper, he said, “You deserve better than me. There is better out there, you just don’t know it yet. I’m giving you the freedom to find that out.”

Ed sighed. “You’re not hearing me, but you know what? That’s okay because I’m not giving up. I can see that you really like me, and this is killing you.” Ed pulled Roy’s hand up to his mouth and kissed the knuckles while he kept his eyes on Roy.

Roy looked at Ed feeling slightly bemused. Hadn’t Ed complained of getting that sort of treatment? Well, Roy supposed turnabout was fair play, and he said, “I’m not a woman, you know, that you need to kiss my hand.” Truth was that he sort of wanted Ed to kiss his hand again. The truth was he wanted to make up, but he was the adult here and he had to act like it.

Ed chuckled and, as if reading Roy’s mind, gave the hand another kiss before smirking. “You’re in for it when I get outta here, you know that right? I’m not going to let you outta my sight. You know all that determination I had for Al? Well that’s all on you now.”

Roy frowned, that wasn’t exactly how he’d planned for this to go. “Ed... perhaps I didn’t make myself very clear...” he began.

“Sure, sure, I got ya,” Ed said. “You’re being all self-sacrificing, but that’s your decision, I’m not accepting it,” Ed explained and gave a little shrug.

Roy felt his eyebrow twitch as irritation pricked at him. ‘Self-sacrificing’? Well, perhaps he was, but Ed would know about self-sacrificing... his automail arm was proof of that. He should know that sometimes you had to sacrifice for another’s happiness. Still, he couldn’t help feeling slightly offended at those words and pulled his hand away before getting up and grabbing his crutch.

“It’s not self-sacrificing; it’s what’s best,” Roy said. Shaking his head, Roy opened his mouth to say something else, then sighed heavily. He didn’t have the energy to keep up with Ed on this right now. He already felt spent and he hurt.

“Hey! Where are you going?” Ed asked and reached for Roy’s pant leg. He missed and shuffled to the edge of the bed.

“Home,” Roy explained. “I’m exhaust— I have things I need to do,” he finished. He didn’t need any pity from Ed. Didn’t need it, didn’t want it.

“But you’ll come back?” Ed asked and looked up at Roy from his pillow, still trying to reach for the pant leg.

“We’re not a couple anymore, Ed,” Roy said bluntly.

Ed frowned. “So what? We can’t even be friends?”

Roy stared at Ed for a moment. Friends would be nice. It would be better than fighting, and it would keep the peace in the office when both of them returned. But being friends after breaking up, especially when one of the people didn’t want the split, could be complicated...

Finally, he started away, and said, “I’ll think about it.” There were pros and cons to this. If Ed couldn’t accept that they were over, that could cause some difficulties; yet, if they weren’t on good terms, that could also cause problems...

“Hey—Wait!” Ed called. “Come back! Roy? No fair, you can’t leave like that! Come back!”

“Goodbye, Ed,” Roy said without either stopping or turning back.


Roy stopped at the door, opened it, and walked out. Ed called his name one more time before the door closed completely behind him. Sighing, Roy realized that hadn’t gone at all how he’d thought it would, though whether that was good or bad, he wasn’t sure yet.


Tags: stories, the more i learn to care for you

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