Notes:

Hello everyone. After being heartbroken by the events of ep 25 (why do my favorites always die ;_;) I decided that some events were missing and I wanted to expand on what happens after the death and during the funeral.

In Between

Upon our arrival at Central City, Mustang headed immediately to Hughes office where we were told by a crying Seska that Hughes wasn't there and that she had been fired. Confused and angry, he stormed out, almost running into me, vowing that he would incinerate Hughes when he found him. He barely finished his sentence when he got the phone call.

I didn't need the Colonel to me what was said on the phone, the speaker on the other side was yelling so loudly that I could have heard if I were in another room. The Colonel hung up the phone with a shocked look on his face and told me in a daze what had happened. I quietly asked him the place and found a car to take us.

The ride to the crime scene was silent.

The body was still there, Roy demanded that no one move anything until he arrived. He wanted to see him, he had to see how it happened.

They found him lying on his back. There was a serious injury to his shoulder, but the fatal wound was a single gunshot to his chest. I couldn't bear to look at him for long so I turned my head away and saw what had always accompanied him, and was still next to him even in his death: a picture of his family. This was almost too much for me. Barely managing to choke back a sob, I bent down and picked it up before Mustang could see it. Placing it in my pocket, I turned around and reminded myself that I had to stay calm, for him. My eyes widened when I saw the Colonel walk right up to the body and kneel down close to it. I was about to walk up to him, when Armstrong arrived. His eyes were wide with disbelief and he came up to me.

"I heard…they told me… Is he real-" He stopped abruptly when he spotted the body and Mustang next to it. I asked him to give Mustang some time alone. And we waited for what seemed like hours, but in reality was probably about five minutes. During that time, Major Alex and I were both so lost in our grief that we jumped in surprise when Roy suddenly stood up. Head lowered, he walked straight up to me.

"Lieutenant, please notify Glaysia-san, and start the preparations for a military burial."

"Yes sir. Do you need anything else?" I tried to meet his eyes, but he lowered his head.

"Yes, I need to get away from here." And with that, he turned and left.

********

By the time I arrived at the Military base's quarters, I was exhausted. Poor Glaysia, nothing I said consoled her. I just held her while she wept bitterly, her heartfelt sobs escaping uncontrollably. I don't know how I managed to control my own sorrow, but I did for her sake. And all the while, I wondered about when my time to grieve would come. But now, alone in the apartment assigned to me during my stay in Central city, I couldn't cry. I wondered about Mustang and if he was crying. I didn't think about Hughes, I didn't want to. Instead I focused on the man he dedicated his life to. I didn't sleep at all that night.

The next day, at the funeral, Elisia tore my heart into pieces. She couldn't understand what was happening and her protests at the burial of her father, saying that he had to work, said more about him than a thousand obituaries. For Hughes was a man who not only loved his family, but was also very dedicated to his work. Glaysia left, along with the others immediately after the service. I had wanted to say a few consoling words to Armstrong, who couldn't help but cry rivers at the grieving family's pain, but he left quickly and I had to stay behind with the only person who could possibly be as effected by the death as the family.

He was angry. He wondered why he was left out of the events which he believed might have led to the death. I could almost hear him, mentally blaming himself for not finding out earlier. So I told him of Hughes's intentions; that he hadn't told him because he didn't want him to focus on anything but his career. Instead of being comforted however, he made a comment about the rain pouring and I knew that his tears were caused by the reality of knowing that his friend died supporting him, and will never do so again.

It was then that I gave him the photo. I knew seeing it would pain him, and I didn't want to give it to him later and risk him shedding tears again. I walked up to him, and keeping my head respectfully lowered to spare him any embarrassment, I showed him the photo.

"This was found near him." He took it and looked at it for a while. I saw his frame shake slightly, but he managed to keep his voice steady when he spoke.

"Thank you."

Hearing those two words was what finally caused me to break. I turned to leave quickly, not wanting to do so in front of him. He caught me by the arm, and I slowly raised my eyes to look into his, to see his pain. And I knew, in this act, he was giving me permission to shed my own tears in front of him. In fact, he was asking me to.

So I did, in his arms. For I knew that personal consolation was at times achieved by comforting someone else. And so, for once, I ignored the fact that he was my superior, that I should keep a professional distance between us. For I was sure that Hughes would have wanted me to help him overcome his grief. And god knows I needed him to help me overcome my own.

Author's notes:

You like? I plan on writing a sister piece to this one. I love Roy and Hawkeye and while I'm not sure if they would make a good couple, I do know that they should at least be friends. About the picture, if you check, you'll notice that the picture framed on Roy's desk in ep 26 is the same one which fell from Hughes during his final moments and I wanted to explain that in a way which appealed to me ^_^ , involving Roy and Hawkeye. About the title, I don't know. It just seemed to fit in my head.

Information specialist

April 13, 2004