Pairing: None; implied Roy/Ed
Summery: "This one was just a child, and one who had done nothing wrong. Why should he have to be forced to deal with this torment on his own?"
Disclaimer: I am unworthy of even considering being the owner of Fullmetal Alchemist...so don't sue me for this, I already have an overcharge on my card as it is! (grumbles) Stupid anime convention...
He had been surprised and probably would have laughed if anyone had told him previously that this would happen. And yet here he was now, holding the child within his arms as the young one slept, a peaceful expression of the bliss of dark sleep replacing the earlier wide-eyed fear and frigid anxiety. However, his position was not fully relaxed as he was curled into a tight ball upon the older man's lap, his left hand clutching at the strong arm wrapped around one of his shoulders.
He was just a child. Children shouldn't see the things that only grown-ups had the ability to comprehend and contain. First the body in the alley, then the death of Nina, then Barry the Chopper…all within less than a week. And he was barely a sliver of twelve years. Now, two months later, he had awoken everyone in the middle of the night as his screams of horror slashed through the darkness of the dorms, echoing in terrified reverberation throughout the halls as though his personal demons were putting him through physical torture.
He was the first to arrive in the young one's room, chest twisting within itself in a panic. His worst fear had been that someone had indeed broken into the dorms and was indeed killing the child slowly and painfully. However, upon his violent entry, no one else was in the room save the one encased in metal trying to calm the hysterical boy down. It was no use. One look confirmed that the child was detached completely from reality, only seeing the gruesome memories playing before him.
He approached the bed carefully, slowly reaching out his hand as he tried to figure out how to awaken the little one from his nightmares. Without warning, the child lunged at him, small fingers gripping his sleeves as the blonde head buried itself against his chest. Screams turned into wretched sobs that stabbed through his heart with each high-pitched cry of internal agony.
Others flocked into the room and he sent them all away, assuring them that the child was in safe hands now. He tenderly stroked the golden strands, whispering words of comfort as a weapon to fend off the monsters ripping at the little one. As the child's sobbing soon decreased to pathetic whimpering, he sat on the bed and pulled the kid onto his lap, wrapping his arms around the tiny body to further shield him from these demons.
Eventually, the young one fell back asleep from exhaustion.
Now, he sat here on the mattress, shifting the child on his lap so that he could be more comfortable. The metal one had long since returned to his own kind of slumber in the twin bed beside him. He should leave, now that his task was done, but he couldn't bring himself to do so. The youngest in the military, this child had a bad little habit of taking everything upon his shoulders. The young man smiled. They were alike, as he himself possessed the same trait. And no one had been there to comfort him, to hold him at night as he underwent his own battles with horrifying memories that surfaced from their repression within deep of his subconscious. The only difference was that he was a full-grown man forced to endure this earthly purgatory. This one was just a child, and one who had done nothing wrong. Why should he have to be forced to deal with this torment on his own?
He leaned back against the headboard of the bed as his back began to protest against his current position. The child clutched to him tighter, a soft moan of argument filtering through his slumber to which the young man had to reply, "I'm not leaving you. I promise. My legs are just falling asleep."
The kid was not light-weight and yet he felt so delicate. A sense of drowsiness was coming over him and he hugged the child closer, stroking his hair with tenderness and parental affection. His paternal instincts were kicking in, and though he had never dreamed he would think of himself as a father towards the kid, the idea was not really such a bad one.
His eyes began to droop as his head lay against the smaller one beneath his chin. Yes, the relationship between he and the child was shaky at best, and promised a future of bickering and misunderstandings. However, no matter how difficult it would always be for them to see eye-to-eye (literally), he would at least always be there to give this little one shelter from his inner demons, give him the security he would always be seeking.