Fandom: Fullmetal Alchemist
Pairings: Eventual Roy/Ed, mentions of past Ed/OC, mentions of past platonic Hei/Ed
Type: Psychological, Drama, COMPLETE
Summary: 34-year-old Edward Elric finds himself standing in a city he thought he’d never see again; in a time that had already come and gone in the distant memories of his past.
Chapter Listing Here
Transparency through Time
The wind howled and the snow danced around him in a furious gale, but still Roy stood his ground. The heavy clothing provided by the military was enough to keep him warm, but this far north, near the border of Drachma, the weather was bitterly cold and it seeped through the thick wool like water and chilled him to the bone.
He tried to ignore it though, and normally his thoughts kept him too busy to notice the frigid temperatures, but it had been almost six hours since he’d eaten last, and his stomach, along with the setting sun, reminded him that it was almost time for dinner.
Yet the hunger in and of itself was another reminder of how horribly he had failed in protecting those around him. His best friend, Maes Hughes; the fuhrer’s son, if it was really appropriate to call the boy such, given that the fuhrer had not really been his father; and Fullmetal...
The world believed Fullmetal was dead; after all, it had been two years since his disappearance, but Roy knew it wasn’t so. The boy’s brother—Alphonse—searched for him even now, and Roy desperately wanted to give him the information that he knew, but he’d been forbidden to do so. Time must run its course, he’d been told, and so he’d done nothing.
After his confrontation with the fuhrer—the homunculus Pride—and being gunned down by Frank Archer, Roy had been nursed back to health by Lieutenant Hawkeye. He’d insisted there was no need to keep him at the hospital, that his cousin lived with him and that he’d be well taken care of, but the doctors had mandated he would stay there, and Hawkeye had taken it upon herself to care for him.
‘Men don’t know how to take proper care of those who are sick,’ she had said, and Roy might have been inclined to agree had it been any other male than... But she had decided she would care for him, and it had been agreed upon without his permission by the powers that be.
And Hawkeye had taken very good care of him... Even to this day, he felt almost guilty for accepting her kindness when he knew she had feelings for him. He’d wondered, during that time, if he would have ever been able to fall in love with her. She was a beautiful woman; strong and caring, someone he could see himself with if he had to be with a woman. He might even have settled for her—resigned himself to the fact that she was the best he would ever find if he didn’t want to be alone—if he hadn’t already found someone...
He heard the door to the small, military building open behind him before a hand rested on his shoulder. “Dinner is ready,” a voice said. Roy nodded wearily, and he heard footsteps go back into the building. He took one last look around, though now that it was dark he couldn’t see much, and turned to go inside.
The heat hit him immediately when he walked through the door, and Roy quickly shrugged out of the heavy winter coat and his civil officer’s jacket. He stared down at it solemnly and quietly fingered the single star on the shoulder.
He wasn’t fit to be in command of anyone... It was because of his mistakes that so many people had died. He should have made Maes tell him what was happening, should have been able to save that boy, should have been able to keep Fullmetal from being so reckless... He should have protected them all, but he hadn’t. So he’d given up his command. He’d finally reached the rank of general, but he’d given it up. What good was it to have power if you couldn’t save anyone?
A hand covered his, breaking Roy out of his thoughts. He looked up and saw golden eyes looking at him in concern. Roy cleared his throat and quickly hung up the jacket. “Smells good in here.” The smile he got in response to the compliment was enough to lift his spirits a little.
He made his way over to the table. Fullmetal was alive. He knew it because of the boy’s older double who had been living with him for almost three years. If the boy was dead, such an arrangement would have been impossible. Yet, despite all of Roy’s pleadings and demands, Ed had refused to say where Fullmetal had gone. He claimed that it would be interfering with the past, and he couldn’t be held accountable for such a disruption. There had been many angry words exchanged over that subject, but Ed was always unrelenting.
A bowl of some sort of thick soup was placed before him and a loaf of bread was set on the table before Ed set a bowl down for himself as well. Roy eyed Ed easily. They’d been living at this outpost for almost a year now, and within that time, Ed had decided to shave off the facial hair, change his hair back to its natural color, and let it grow out again. It felt good to see Ed not needing to hide—visitors to this outpost were few and far between, and when they did get visitors, Ed simply stayed out of sight—but it also hurt in a way to see Ed looking so much like his younger self. It was a constant reminder to Roy that Fullmetal was out there somewhere and he could do nothing to help.
Ed took a bite of his soup, then said, obviously trying to make conversation, “Wasn’t it nice to see Lieutenants Havoc and Breda the other day?” His voice had lost the strong unknown accent, but a little still remained, and Roy never tired of listening to it.
“No...” Roy said to the question while cutting a slice of bread and slathering it with butter. He hadn’t wanted to see them, and hadn’t wanted them to see him... It wasn’t hard to see the pity in their eyes, and he hated it. He didn’t need sympathy and he didn’t want people trying to make him go back to how things used to be. Even if he went back to Central and was restored to his previous rank, things would never be the same.
Ed stared at him with a frown and Roy knew that if it had been him, Ed would have loved for someone to come visit. As it was, Ed had gone into the other room as soon as he’d known they were there. There would be too much explaining to do if they saw him.
“It’s not good for you to be shut up here, away from social interact—”
“I have you. I don’t need anyone else,” Roy interrupted. They’d had this discussion several times before. Why couldn’t Ed understand that he wanted to be left alone? Was it so hard to believe that he was just fine being a border officer? Here he didn’t have to worry about his relationship with Ed being found out. No one had to die; no one had to get hurt... He couldn’t hurt anyone like in Ishbal, and he couldn’t fail anyone either...
“Stubborn,” Ed grumbled, gulping down another spoonful of his soup.
Roy grunted but said nothing else and focused on his meal, so Ed did the same. It was no use talking to Roy while he was like this—which happened to be eighty percent of the time nowadays—because he seemed too content to hide in the little hole he’d created for himself. Just hide away from the world and mourn about things he couldn’t change. Hell, the man wouldn’t even use alchemy anymore!
Ed almost wanted to try slapping some sense into him. It was so frustrating to see him so depressed and down. This weather did nothing for a person’s spirits either. It was almost never sunny; and, when it was, the temperature was even colder than when it was snowing. They’d both become a little pale with the lack of direct sunlight as well.
With a discouraged sigh, Ed thought about what day it was. Alphonse had once told him the exact date they’d met up in Amestris, and right now time was speeding toward that day with a fury. Ed had assumed that when Havoc and Breda showed up, they would take Roy with them, and that was why he’d been in Central when his eighteen-year-old self had shown up.
But Roy hadn’t gone with them, and Ed wondered if he’d stayed because of him. Was he holding Roy back? Should Roy have gone to Central with Havoc and Breda? Would he even be stationed at this outpost if they’d never met? Maybe Roy would have decided that staying with Hawkeye was the best choice and that’s why he’d be in Central at that time... But it was all a guessing game because he’d never know. However, what he did know was that Roy had to be in Central on that day. They needed him... He and Al needed him...
“Roy...” Ed said, clearing his throat. Roy said nothing, simply looked at him. Ed hesitated. Should he say it? What if something else happened that he didn’t know of that made Roy go to Central? But if that were so, it would have to happen soon because it took at least a few days to get to Central from here...
“What?” Roy asked when Ed had been silent too long.
Taking a deep breath, Ed said, “I think you should go to Central.”
“I told you—” Roy began, but Ed cut him off.
“No, I mean, it’s not like that. You can come back, but...” Ed hesitated. How much should he say? Where was the line between not enough information and too much? “You have to be in Central...” he finally said quietly. “Please go. Something is going to happen and... you need to be there...”
Roy pointed his spoon at Ed and said in an accusing tone, “What about changing history?”
“Dammit, Roy!” Ed exclaimed in frustration. “You’re supposed to be in Central in a few days. You were there! If anything, my being here has made it so that you aren’t in Central!”
What would happen if Roy wasn’t there? No one would have helped them when they were being attacked, and even if they would have gotten to the ship, Alphonse would have needed to stay behind to close the gate on this side. He never would have been able to go to the other world because it was Roy who closed the gate on this side...
“Please,” Ed begged desperately. “Please go... For me... please...”
Roy looked down at his soup for a moment before saying quietly, “That’s unfair...”
“Have I every asked you for anything before?” Ed asked urgently.
“Lots of times,” Roy said, glancing up at him with a small smirk.
Ed glared. “I mean of this magnitude. I’ll do anything. Just... please go.”
Roy raised an eyebrow, suddenly looking a little more interested. “Anything?”
Ed gave Roy a flat look, then said in a slow and bland tone, “You are a pervert. You know that, right?”
It had been a little over a year after he’d come back to this world that he and Roy first had sex. It had been an educational and almost nerve-racking experience for them both. Roy hadn’t been with very many people, so he was relatively new with this level of intimacy; and though Ed had plenty of experience, he’d never been with anyone of his own gender.
But over the last two years, they’d gotten it down well enough, and Ed had been surprised to see how solid and complete their relationship had become over time. He had something with Roy that he’d never had with his wife, and while Ed still insisted he had loved her, he now knew he’d never been in love with her.
Somehow it had happened with Roy. Ed couldn’t say at what point it had happened, because it had been such a gradual thing, but what they had now was good; no, it was amazing. Their relationship was fulfilling in so many ways—physically, emotionally, intellectually... His only regret was a nagging at the back of his mind that constantly wondered if he could have ever had something this good with Alfons...
“Funny you should say that after what you did last nig—” Roy began, but Ed cut him off before he could finish that thought. Roy was sidetracking this conversation and it was far too important for that.
“Will you go?” he asked solemnly.
A sigh, then, “Alright. For you, I’ll go.” Roy paused and looked at Ed with a pointed gaze before saying, “From what you said, I assume I’ll be seeing Fullmetal there.” Ed didn’t answer. Roy would find out soon enough. “I’ll take that as a ‘yes’,” Roy said when he didn’t say anything. Looking down, he said quietly, “You’re not going to come with me... are you...”
Ed swallowed hard. He didn’t want to be separated, but it would probably be best if he didn’t go. He’d be too tempted to involve himself when he shouldn’t.
“No...” he whispered.
Roy nodded, and by the look on his face, he’d expected that answer. “When should I leave?” The question sounded hollow and empty, but determined at the same time.
“Tomorrow, I guess...” Ed said, stirring his soup absentmindedly. “I’ll keep watch for you here until you return.”
Ed shivered at the sudden cold as the two of them stepped outside. The weather in the mornings was never pleasant in this area and the wind was usually wilder than at any other time of the day.
“I won’t be gone longer than two weeks at the most,” Roy shouted over the wind.
Ed swallowed hard and nodded without a word. He hadn’t slept well that night, knowing Roy was leaving. He’d been tired enough to sleep, their lovemaking had assured that, but his mind had been too full of thoughts and worries to allow him any rest. And then there had been what Roy had said over breakfast...
‘I had a thought, but you’ll probably think I’m crazy,’ Roy had said.
‘I already think you’re crazy,’ he’d replied.
‘What if you aren’t changing history? What if I was there in Central in your past because you were here and you made me go?’
‘Some sort of paradox?’ Ed had asked skeptically.
‘See, I told you that you’d think I was crazy.’
They hadn’t talked any more about it, but the thought had stuck with Ed. What if it were true? What if he had already messed with time by sending Roy to Central and that was why he’d been there when he was younger... Was this his purpose? The reason he was here in this world and time? And if that was so, what would happen to him now? Did he no longer have a place in this world?
Roy stepped close, wrapped his arms around Ed, and asked in his ear, “What’s wrong?”
Ed shook his head, not trusting himself to speak. He knew his worries were unfounded and silly, and he didn’t want to burden Roy with his gloomy thoughts. He didn’t want Roy to leave, but he knew that he couldn’t make him stay either.
“Take care,” Ed finally said in Roy’s ear, then reluctantly let go and stepped back.
Roy nodded, but instead of turning immediately, he let his eyes rest on Ed for a moment, his gaze filled with an emotion that still mystified Ed that someone—anyone—could possibly feel such a strong thing for him.
After the lingering look, Roy stepped forward and leaned down to press his lips against Ed’s. The kiss was almost chaste in its sweetness. Roy was about to step back when Ed grabbed a hold of him and pressed his lips harder against Roy’s, then opened his mouth slightly and pushed his tongue against Roy’s lips, seeking entrance. It didn’t take much persuasion on Ed’s part and for another long moment, the two of them warmed each other with their breath; taking each other in, and giving each other strength.
“Ed...” Roy whispered, finally pulling away and pawing lightly at Ed’s cheek with his thick glove. Their eyes met and Ed almost said that he was coming to Central too. Forget guarding the outpost for a couple of weeks; nothing ever happened in this area anyway. He didn’t want to be without Roy, didn’t want to be alone; yet, inside, he could feel it so strongly that it was if fate itself was holding him back. He wasn’t meant to be in Central. Only Roy was to go.
Leaning into the soft caress, Ed murmured, “I can’t... I can’t go... I want to... but...”
“I know...” Roy murmured. The wind didn’t hide his disappointment, but instead seemed to amplify it and carry it on the frigid air currents. There was a pause, then a reluctant, “I should go...”
Ed swallowed a lump in his throat, and nodded. He snatched one last kiss, uncharacteristically grateful for the empty landscape so that he didn’t have to hide his affection, then stepped back.
With a small smile, Roy rested his hand over his heart, and gave Ed a meaningful look. “In two weeks, sooner if I can,” he said, then turned and started away.
Ed felt his eyes sting and he blinked angrily. Roy would be back in two weeks. There was no reason to feel so depressed. Yet, he couldn’t help it. He’d been alone during the hellish period of time when his younger self had been running away from the military and Roy had been chasing him as well as following military orders. Then there had been when Roy had been injured...
His eyes focused on Roy’s form—growing ever distant in the snow strewn landscape. But except for that period, they’d been together since he’d come back to this world, and even though he’d been lonely, he’d always known Roy would come back alive because he’d been there in Central that day... But now, Ed didn’t know what would happen, and the fear of returning to the loneliness he’d lived with before being with Roy was almost staggering.
Roy will be fine, he thought, trying to convince himself. When he could no longer see him, Ed turned and headed back to the outpost building. It would be a long two weeks, but when it was over, he was sure he’d feel stupid for having such worrisome thoughts.
Roy sat on a ruined step and surveyed the damaged city around him. It was hard to comprehend that only yesterday the city had been pristine and whole. It reminded him of how Ishbal looked during the war. Not after—no, after the war the countryside had been in a much worse state than this. They had obliterated any sign that a civilization had once occupied those lands. They had eradicated the Ishballans, and for what?
“Not a general anymore, Lieutenant Hawkeye...” he murmured, then glanced over to where she was making her way through the rubble.
She stopped and gazed at him sadly. “You’ll always be ‘General Mustang’ to me...” He gave her a weary smile as she sat down next to him. Hawkeye studied him, then asked, “What happened?”
His smile slipped and he looked away from her. “It was Fullmetal,” he said softly. “I imagine he wanted to cause one last bit of trouble for me before he left...”
“Edward?” she asked in wonder. “You saw him?”
He was quiet for a moment, then said, “Yeah... I did. But he’s gone now; he and Alphonse both.” It had been such a wonderful thing to see the Elric brothers working together again; how he’d missed that... He could see Fullmetal’s face in his mind, older than he’d remembered, but so much younger than Ed’s. The foreign clothing had reminded him of the first time he’d met Ed by the bookstore, and he suddenly wanted nothing more than to leave Central and be back with the one he loved.
“Where did they go?” Hawkeye asked.
Roy shook his head. “I don’t know...” But he’d find out. When he went back north, he would find out. He’d make Ed tell him somehow; after all, what did it matter if he knew now that Fullmetal and Alphonse were gone?
His heart had gone out to the boy as he’d cried for his brother. He could understand Alphonse so well at that moment. The thought of having to say goodbye to Ed—his Ed—forever, made his heart ache fiercely. He’d told the boy that he would close the gate on their side and had assisted him to the aircraft. So he had closed the gate, and now here he sat, pondering all that had happened.
When he’d seen what kind of peril the city was in, he hadn’t been able to hold back his assistance. It was the first time he’d used alchemy since his fight with the homunculus Pride and it was also the first time he’d taken command since then as well. It hadn’t been his right, as he’d given up his rank, but his former subordinates hadn’t demoted him in their minds and they’d followed him eagerly.
“Sir...” Hawkeye said, breaking into his thoughts. “Won’t you come back? Won’t you allow yourself to take on the rank you truly are? We need you.” She paused, then said quietly, “I need you...”
Roy let his gaze settle on her before sighing and shaking his head. “Lieutenant... I...” He took in a deep breath. What could he say to that? How could he tell her that they weren’t meant to be? “I’ll think about coming back to Central, but...” He paused, then said sympathetically, “I can’t ever be what you want me to be. I can never give you what you need.” He swallowed, trying to get more moisture in his throat. “Please understand...”
Hurt flashed across her features before she looked down at her hands. “I see...” she whispered.
Do you? he wondered silently. He didn’t think she did, but that was okay with him. He wasn’t sure that he wanted her to understand completely, and he had a feeling she really didn’t want to know. People were like that. They’d rather not know some things. They’d rather just pretend that some things didn’t exist—that some people didn’t exist.
“As a friend, then,” she finally said. “I hope you’ll come back.” Hawkeye slowly turned her head and gave him a small smile.
Roy stood and extended his hand to help her up. He should report back to headquarters, then he wanted to be on his way back north to see Ed. He didn’t want to delay; and, if he was lucky, he’d be back sooner than the two weeks he’d planned for.
After he helped her up, he tightened his grip on her hand and murmured, “I need good friends like you. Thank you...” Thank you for understanding... he thought gratefully as they started making their way through the rubble.
Ed shivered and stamped his feet. He was too old to be doing things like standing out in the snow all day. In two years he’d be forty; not exactly old here in Amestris, but the other world had a much shorter life expectancy and he still hadn’t been able to switch his mindset over. People on the other side of the gate began dying in their fifties—that was considered old, the end of your life. Here in Amestris, Ed figured he might have another thirty or forty years left, instead of ten to fifteen. The thought was only marginally comforting as he stood there scanning the landscape that marked the boarder between Amestris and Drachma.
A noise somewhere to his right caught his attention and he stepped away from the shelter of the building to get a better look, but saw nothing. He shook his head and returned to the lee of the building.
It had been a week and a half since Roy had gone, and Ed longed to hear his voice, to touch him, to be with him... He was tired of being alone. Sleep was hard to come by. It would take him forever to fall asleep, and then he would awake after only a few hours. He would grope the bed around him, desperate for human contact, only to realize he was alone.
He needed sleep, but his dreams were filled with his fears. Dreams of Roy never returning haunted him into his waking hours; and sometimes he had dreams of Alphonse calling to him—desperate for Ed not to leave him.
Ed sighed and watched the misty puff of his breath dissipate into the cold. He felt so guilty for never finding a way to return to his brother, but how could he possibly find a way back if he didn’t know how he’d come to be here in the first place? Besides, Alphonse had a wife and children, and while Al would miss him, Ed knew his brother was alright without him.
Another sound caught his attention, this time to his left and as he turned to see what it could be, gunshots sounded and bullets ricocheted off the stone building. Ed ducked, but not in time, and felt a bullet rip through his left shoulder. He cried out and instinctively grabbed at the wound with his right hand as he ran to the door and flung it open.
The need to get to the radio and warn the other outposts coursed strongly through him, but he didn’t get any farther than the first step inside when he saw the house was already occupied by Drachma soldiers. In the course of a second, his eyes widened and the man closest to him lifted a gun.
In his younger years, Ed might have quickly dropped to the floor and performed alchemy to save himself, or even rushed forward to attack the man head on. But he was older and slower now, and the instinct to use alchemy had been tapped from him in his long years on the other side of the gate. There had also been little use for his fighting skills in the last twenty or so years, so it took him a moment to realize exactly what was happening and what to do.
He took a step backward, intending to leave the building and take his chances among the trees—after all, if he couldn’t use the radio to warn others, then he’d have to do it on foot—but at that moment, the soldier pulled the trigger and he felt pain flare hot in his side. Ed cried out and clutched at his wound with both hands while falling to his knees.
The laughter of the soldiers echoed in his ears and he could hear the sound of more soldiers outside. Would he die here? Was his time in this world complete? He didn’t want to think so, but...
Orders were being shouted—plans to take over the small outpost and to attack the other ones in the area. They were ignoring him, probably on the pretense that he wasn’t a threat and that he would be dead soon. Maybe they were right, maybe he would be dead soon; but Roy would be coming back this way, and Ed wouldn’t allow him to meet the same fate.
Pulling his hands away from his side, Ed clapped them together—splattering a little blood from his palms onto his face and onto the floor—then pressed them against the ground. Power surged through him with a strength born of his need to protect the one he loved. The earth shook and he heard screams around him, but he was unyielding. Bits of stone and sand fell from the walls and roof as the building tried to withstand the force of his power. And Ed had no doubt that it would stand when this was all over, but he knew for certain that these men wouldn’t.
The ground trembled slightly, and Roy stopped his forward trudge through the snow. He lifted his head and looked in the direction he was going, noticing a flock of birds in the far distance taking off.
He didn’t think so. This area wasn’t prone to them, but... What then? He trudged a few more steps through the snow, then stopped again when he felt more trembling and heard the faint sound of... what? Shouting? Screaming? He wanted to dismiss that thought. After all, this outpost never saw any action. It was too far out of the way...
Of course, if he were a tactician—and he was—where would he strike? The blood drained from his face as he realized that he would pick a spot where the enemy wouldn’t suspect. Roy pulled off his heavy winter gloves, took his ignition gloves from his pocket, and put them on. The ground trembled again as he started forward. If there was trouble, he only hoped that Ed would be able to hold his own until he arrived.
Ed cried out in pain as he felt himself being scooped into someone’s arms. His body ached and he felt a chill settling upon him. There were shouts, but Ed was too focused on the pain to really make them out. Whoever was holding him shifted and Ed’s eyes involuntarily opened and he gasped.
A face was close to his and it took him a moment to make it out. Finally, he whispered, “Alphonse...?”
“I’m here, brother,” Al said, his voice quivering. “Just hold on. Help is on the way.”
Ed blinked and moved his gaze away from his brother’s face. He could see that he was lying next to a car, and that there were people around, but that was about it. He wouldn’t be able to see more unless he moved his head, which he didn’t feel inclined to do.
Looking back at Al, Ed swallowed. He could taste blood, but wasn’t quite sure where it was coming from. “Al...”
“Don’t talk,” Al said quickly. “Everything will be fine.”
Ed blinked again. No... Everything wouldn’t be fine. He felt disoriented and confused. He was here with Al, but he was also lying on the floor of the outpost building. He could feel the cold air seeping in through the mostly closed front door, but he could also feel the warmth of his brother’s skin against his body.
“Al...” Ed said again, his voice shaking. “Will you be alright?”
“What?” Al asked, taken aback.
“If I go... if I...” He trailed off at the look of utter anguish on his brother’s face.
“Don’t say it...” Al begged, tears filling his eyes and voice. “You’ll be fine. You’re... you’re Edward Elric... the Fullmetal Alchemist... A stupid car can’t stop you...”
Ed tried to shake his head, but the pain wouldn’t allow it. “Not anymore, Al. I’m just Professor Elric, the strange old widower who does nothing but teach at the university and research.”
He could hear someone calling his name from the other side of the gate, but it was distant—somewhere outside of the outpost building. It sounded like Roy, but Roy wasn’t due back for another few days...
Ed swallowed. He had to choose. He couldn’t stay here with Al if he was to be with Roy, and he couldn’t be with Roy if he was to stay with Al. Yet, he was injured in both worlds. Even if he chose one, would he live long enough for it to matter?
Tears of pain and sorrow welled up in Ed’s eyes and he said, “Al... you know that I love you, right?” Al swallowed, and nodded silently. “I’m not happy here... You have your family, and I’m alone... I don’t want to leave you, but the loneliness hurts too much.”
“Brother...” Al whispered painfully, his face crumpling in agony. “Don’t talk like that...”
“Forgive me, Al...” Ed choked out. “But, please... please let me go...” It was getting hard to breathe and hard to talk, but he refused to die just yet. He still hadn’t picked where he’d end up. For a moment he didn’t see Al’s face, but the ceiling of the outpost building, then he saw his brother again.
Al closed his eyes and the tears that had been pooling there spilled over and trickled slowly down his cheeks—one sliding all the way to his chin, the other disappearing into Al’s light mustache. He opened his eyes and said, “Brother...” Leaning in close, Al whispered, “I love you too...” He paused, then gently kissed Ed on the temple. “I’ll miss you so much...”
Ed closed his eyes and felt his own tears, hot against the cold, spill down his cheeks. Opening his eyes, Ed let himself look at his brother one last time. After a moment, Al started to fade from his vision and the ceiling of the outpost building filled his view yet again. The last thing he saw of the other world was his brother shaking his head and whispering, ‘no’ over and over, then he was gone.
Roy’s heart dropped in his chest when he saw the scene before him. The bodies of Drachma soldiers had been impaled by earth coming up in sharp spikes, and blood stained the white snow. The soldiers that hadn’t been impaled had been covered by earth, and only parts of their bodies were visible.
“Ed!” he called urgently, as he started toward the building. He cursed the snow impeding him; then with a growl, Roy snapped his fingers and melted a clear path. Running to the building, he threw open the door and gaped breathlessly at the scene before him.
More men were impaled and squashed throughout the small room. The carnage would have sickened him if he hadn’t already experienced the war in Ishbal. As it was, Roy quickly ignored the soldiers in search of what really mattered.
It wasn’t hard to find Ed. Blood was smeared from the door to the cold fireplace where Ed was laying on his back, eyes staring at the ceiling. Blood soaked his shoulder, side, and leg. The last few inches of Ed’s hair, now messily sprawled out from his head, was saturated in crusty, half-dry blood that looked more black than red.
“No...” Roy whispered in horrified shock. His nose and eyes stinging with emanate tears. His chest constricted and he wondered if he’d be able to find his next breath. How could he go on living if the only thing he had to live for was gone?!
Blinking from the sudden tears, Roy dropped to his knees and crawled the short span to Ed. “No... No, no, no...” It was all he could think of to say. If only he’d gotten here sooner! But how could he have? He’d left Central mere hours after he’d helped Fullmetal... He’d come as soon as he could!
Ed’s staring eyes twitched and he blinked, then glanced at Roy. “Roy...” he whispered hoarsely.
“Ed!” Roy cried in relief. He was torn between wanting to hold him and fearing he would injure him even further by doing so.
“It’s cold...” Ed murmured, then glanced at the fireplace.
Roy snapped, quickly lighting the logs in the hearth, then got up and said, “I’m going to get the medical supplies. Don’t move!” It didn’t take long to gather what he had and, after radioing the nearest military camp for help, in mere minutes he was tending to Ed’s wounds.
“I won’t be going back...” Ed murmured while Roy worked to stop the bleeding. “I’ll be here until I die...”
“Don’t talk about dying,” Roy said. “You aren’t going to die.” Ed would not die. He wouldn’t allow it!
“I’ve already died,” Ed said, and at that Roy froze and looked unblinkingly at Ed. “Twice. Once in the hidden city; the other... just now...”
“What... do you mean...?” Roy asked slowly as he started tending to Ed again, but either Ed didn’t hear him, or he was ignoring the question.
“It’s strange how life works, isn’t it? The first time I wanted to save Al, and this time...” Ed’s voice became tight and choked. “This time, I said good-bye to him...” Roy shook his head. He could only guess that Ed was a little delusional, but that was fine. Delusional meant he wasn’t dead.
“I wanted to be with you...” Ed whispered. “Isn’t that funny? If I would have had time to tell Al, he wouldn’t have believed me. Such a strange thing to be in love with a man, don’t you think?”
“No...” Roy whispered, a lump forming in his throat, making it difficult to speak. “I don’t think so at all.”
Ed’s lips curved up into a small smile. “Me either...” He was silent for a time as Roy worked, but after a while he said, “Roy?”
“Yes?” Roy glanced toward the door, wondering how long it would take the medics to get there. He’d done what he could, but it was only a short term solution.
“I’m glad you’re here...” It was said so faintly, that Roy almost didn’t hear it. He bent over and gently pressed his lips against Ed’s. “Don’t ever leave me again...”
“I won’t,” Roy promised, kissing Ed on the cheek and on the forehead. “You cause too much trouble when I’m not with you. I just got done observing one of your bigger messes in Central.”
“Not my fault...” Ed whispered, then trailed off. Roy watched as Ed blinked rapidly and he could see moisture forming in his eyes. “Will you... Will you be alright without me?”
Roy shook his head quickly, and said huskily, “You’re not going anywhere... You... I’m going to be here with you...” He would not let Ed die. He wouldn’t...
A tear trickled down from the corner of one of Ed’s eyes. “I don’t belong here... There’s no place for me here...”
“You have a place with me!” Roy said urgently, then put his hand to he chest over his heart. “Your place is here... You...”
“Every moment... with you...” Ed said, his words broken and labored. “I don’t regret... anything...”
Roy could feel hot tears trickling down his cheeks. This couldn’t be happening... He’d just... he’d just helped him, helped Fullmetal... Now, he and Ed were supposed to be together... holding each other, not...
“You’re going to be fine...” Roy said through sniffles. “You...”
“Roy...” Ed broke in softly, looking at him through liquid eyes. Roy cut off what he was saying and waited. “Live...” He blinked. Ed was the one who was injured, not him... “Live your life... You’re so much more than this...” Ed plucked weakly at Roy’s civil officer’s jacket.
“I...” he began.
A fragile sob broke from Ed and through his tears he pleaded, “Please... You have to go on...”
“No,” Roy said firmly, shaking his head. “I can’t. Not without you. Don’t talk like you’re not going to be with me!” He stared fixedly at Ed, studying him intently, not wanting to believe the words Ed was speaking or the painful look Ed was giving him. Leaning in close, Roy gently kissed Ed’s cheek and petted his hair. “I won’t let you go...” he whispered. “I need you... Please stay...”
Swallowing hard, Ed nodded slightly. “I’ll try...”
Roy shook his head. “No. Not ‘try’. If you want me to live, then I demand that you live too.” He managed to smile a little through his tears. “That’s equivalent, don’t you think?”
“Yeah...” Ed said, the corner of his lips quirking up. “I suppose it is.” He paused, then said, “If I live... does that mean you’ll be doing the cooking while I recover?”
Roy shook his head. Only Ed would make a joke at his expense on the verge of death. “Of course not, we’ll get take out.” Ed’s eyes closed and a smile ghosted his features. “But we’ll have to move somewhere else,” Roy said softly, as tears spilled down his cheeks. He sniffled and swallowed hard before whispering hoarsely, “You know I can’t cook...”
He studied Ed’s face—the face he’d come to care for so much—and tried to imagine his life without it. A small sob broke from him at the thought, but he tried not to fall apart. He couldn’t... not now... With an effort, he held the rough sobs that wanted to escape at bay, leaned over, and gently kissed Ed’s lips. Softly... because he didn’t want to aggravate any of Ed’s injuries... because the medics would be there soon, and they would help him... Of course they would... That’s what medics were for...
One of his tears dropped down and mingled with the tears on Ed’s face. Roy swallowed and kissed him again. “I love you...” he whispered. He’d loved him for these last few years. Ed was everything that he’d ever wanted, and everything that he needed...
There was no verbal response to his words, but the corners of Ed’s lips twitched up into a small, soft smile, and fresh tears trickled from the corners from his eyes. Life didn’t always turn out the way that you wanted it to, and you didn’t always get what you wanted, but this time... this time, Roy knew in his heart that this time was different. This time everything would be alright.
Well, that's it. Thanks for taking this journey with me. I hope you enjoyed the story. A quick thank you to all of you who have been kind enough to leave me comments.
For anyone who checks on the fic table I have on my profile, this story has been moved from the Yaoi WIP section to the Yaoi Complete section. Thanks again for reading.