Henrika- Yet another fic in which I make Ed suffer; physically this time. Read and Review!
"Achoo! Achoo! Achoo!"
"Easy. Are you okay Brother? You haven't stopped sneezing since you fell in the lake."
"Pushed Al, pushed." Ed corrected, rubbing at rapidly reddening nose. "Those kids weren't watching where they were going." He wrinkled his nose in distaste, fighting off another sneeze.
"Maybe somebody's talking about you." Al suggested.
"That's a myth Al."
"I know, but it could be true." He said brightly. "Besides, wasn't the Philosopher's Stone thought of as a myth?"
"Alright, alright. Point taken. Probably Mustang practicing insults to use on me. Just my luck that I have to report back on yet another dead end."
"Don't be so dramatic Brother. The Colonel has done a lot for us."
"Yeah, but he's still a smug bastard. Honestly, how big can someone's ego get?"
Al just snickered quietly, lifting his head when he heard the conductor call, "Central Station! All off! Central Station!" Ed bent over, retrieving his suitcase from under his seat and stretching out kinked muscles. And sneezing so loudly and hard that he had to sit down.
"Owwwww." He moaned, massaging his temples at the oncoming headache.
"Are you feeling alright? I think you might be coming down with something." Al placed one of his large gauntlet hands over Ed's forehead and Ed leaned into the cool metal appreciatively.
Al drew his hand away when he realized that he couldn't tell any temperature difference because he couldn't feel. "Sorry." Ed apologized, instantly recognizing the reason for Al's distress. "I'm fine. C'mon, let's get this over with." He stood slowly and the pair began to head towards Central headquarters.
They arrived in record time, despite Ed's numerous efforts to stall as he realized that he would have to give in his report. "Just get it over with Brother. It won't take that long. Brother?" Al turned around, noticing that his brother wasn't with him. He looked back, finding his brother leaning heavily against a wall. "Ed?"
"I'm okay. Just got a little dizzy is all."
"Do you want to go back and rest? I'm sure Colonel Mustang would understand."
Normally Ed would have jumped at this chance to shirk his report, but he waved his brother off. "I'm alright. Besides, we're already here. I'll just be a minute." He entered the outer office, Al following worriedly behind him. They greeted Mustang's staff, Hawkeye waving Ed on into Mustang's office.
"Full Metal." Mustang greeted, quickly abandoning his paperwork in favor of his favorite hobby: needling Edward.
"Here's my report sir. It was another dead end." He said flatly, standing in front of the man's desk.
"Another one? You know the military's patience is running almost as short as you."
"WHO ARE YOU CAL…" He trailed off abruptly, swaying forward and bracing himself on the desk.
"Edward?" A look of concern passed over Roy's face and he pulled off his gloves, placing his left hand over Ed's forehead. "You're running a fever. How long have you been sick?
Ed tried to answer, but his words seemed fuzzy and dry in his mouth. He hadn't even realized he was sick until Mustang said it. His mother had always taken care of him when he was sick. It happened so quickly. He thought idly, vaguely aware that Mustang was trying to get his attention, but suddenly that didn't matter to him anymore. The last thing he saw was a look of fear on Mustang's face before he blacked out.
Mustang watched him fall, unable to reach him in time. The fall seemed oddly macabre and slow, the red cloak fluttering out behind the boy and rising up to cover him when he finally hit the floor. "Ed!" Roy rushed to his side, noting with concern the ghostly pale skin and the high red color on the boy's cheeks as he rolled him onto his back. "Hawkeye!"
She appeared at his door. "Yes sir? Edward!" She gasped, a hand flying to her mouth. "What happened?"
"He's ill. Call a doctor." She hurried off and Al appeared in her place.
"I thought he was coming down with something." Al nearly wailed.
"He'll be alright." And Mustang truly hoped that Ed wouldn't prove him wrong.
"As it is, he's got a nasty case of the flu. His temperature is rather high, but it's starting to come down at a steady rate."
"We'll keep him here for observation for a few days, but he'll be fine."
"Thank you doctor, that's very reassuring."
"Can we see him?" Al piped in behind Mustang.
"For a few minutes, yes. He needs a lot of rest to recover." Al immediately went to his brother's side and Mustang was amazed that the smaller boy still had the coherency to reassure the armor that 'yes, he was okay.' And 'no, don't worry about him.'
"Alphonse? Could I speak to your brother for a minute?" The boy left reluctantly, promising to return when he could.
Ed looked tiredly over at Roy as he sat down. "Sorry about that. Passing out in your office I mean." He turned to stare at the ceiling, concentrating hard on the white tiles.
Roy was silent, the uncommon apology throwing off his train of thought. "What am I going to do with you Full Metal? You are driving yourself into the ground and you don't even know it." Ed studied the ceiling tiles harder, refusing to look over at the elder man. "You'll recover this time, but who's to say that it won't kill you next time? What will your brother do then?"
Mustang noticed Ed's hands clenching the sheets tightly, the boy's eyes blinking furiously as he struggled with Roy's heavy words. "I…" he stopped, his control shaken.
Roy stood up, placing his hand over the clenched flesh fist. He waited until the boy looked up at him. "Take care of yourself Edward. We don't want to see you like this again. I don't want to see you fall apart." Ed found himself nodding and Mustang gave him a small smile before he left.
Once he was gone, Ed thudded back against the pillows. He needed rest if he wanted to have any chance of saving his brother. And besides, even if it wasn't in so many words, he had promised. He wasn't going to let anybody down.
Henrika- Good ol' Ed and his determination.