Disclaimer: Fullmetal Alchemist isn't mine which shouldn't come as such a great surprise.
A/N: English is not my first language, so I apologize for all possible grammar mistakes and such.
This is a strange little one-shot which decided its own direction. It sets in the middle or after a nameless war, when and where, it doesn't really matter. It's the first FMA fic I've ever posted anywhere, so I'd appreciate it if you tried to bear with me.
"You've hot water here?" he asks, turning back to glance at the motel receptionist with the smudged apron, and just turning his head feels like a great effort, because it's so heavy, because his body is so heavy and his mind like a rock. The man brushes his hand over his dark moustache (There are a few grey hair among the darker ones, Roy notes. His senses seem to have absurdly become sharper now, although everything feels dull and worn-out.) and flashes an awkward half-smile. The advertisements on the desk are from a few years ago.
"Well, yes," he says, and both Hawkeye and Mustang stop, waiting for the but. "But there's only a little of hot water before it turns freezing. Just a few minutes' worth. I'm really sorry about that." He is sincerely apologetic, they do know it, and it would be nice if they could answer with equal kindness.
"That's all right," Hawkeye says, and looks so tired, exhausted, and Mustang knows that most would have collapsed under such weight, and he is amazed that either of them is still standing.
The room is small, but at least it's not cramped. There are two beds and between them some kind of a nightstand, and there's a small table and two worn, wooden chairs, and a makeshift kitchen. The curtains are pale and threadbare, and light is dusty and blinding.
Mustang lets the bag he has been carrying (an addition to this heaviness) fall to the foot of one of the beds and flops down onto the bed. It creaks and feels rather hard, but he doesn't care, not as long as he can sleep this heaviness off. Surely it would be nice to be in a fancy hotel, and it would be nice if they had their own rooms, and it would be nice if there was no war, of course, of course, of course.
"You can take a shower first. I'll see if there'll be hot water left," he says with his eyes closed, and feels the dust buried in his skin, and knows she feels the same. It's like they are dust statues, and once it's washed off, there will be nothing left.
"We can take a shower together," she says. It's all so damn absurd. As a comment, it's completely uncharacteristic for her, nearly outrageous. But then, her tone is usual, calm and almost colourless, and so it doesn't mean what the words mean. He should joke at this point or at least ask her what the hell she's talking about, but the weight is pressing him down so that he's nearly faltering, and so he is just able to raise his head and look at her questioningly.
"We can shower with our backs to each other, there should be enough room. Then it'll be sure the hot water won't run out too early. I know how much you crave for a proper shower to get the dust and blood and ash and gunpowder off your skin. I know because I do," she replies to his wordless question, and it's a breathless stumble of words, and there's still more she would like to say, but is all too exhausted to.
Under any other circumstances, he'd tell her to go, that it'd be okay even if there'd be no more water left, but right now the dust and its weight is too much, and he manages a tired nod, "Okay."
He glances at her uniform which is neatly folded and smiles from the corner of his mouth. He undresses with tired movements, and lets his clothes fall to the floor, doesn't bother to pick them up.
Hawkeye was right, the shower is big enough for the two, and she is standing facing the wall as he enters. This is a foolish thing for them to do, and it's fortunate that they're both so exhausted now, that they both have this weight on their shoulders, forcing them to the ground. It's the weight of war, the weight of losses and tiring work and dust. He sighs as the flow of water reaches him.
The water is brownish grey as it reaches the tile floor and swirls away into the sewers. First it's so dark that it's almost as if one of them is bleeding, but the colour turns gradually to a paler shade.
It's almost holy, this water cleaning them, thoroughly, and it takes away some of the weight, it wipes away a few minor sins, and that makes everything a little lighter, and they both are still worn-out and tired and weary.
"Could you wash my hair?" he asks, and he doesn't know why, and she knows he doesn't, and it's an absurd thing to ask because there is really no reason.
"Sure," she says, and turns around. His back is quite pale, and she remembers they've both lost weight when she sees the shadows of the bones beneath his skin. She has to reach up to reach his hair, and then her fingers sink into his dark silky hair, and touch his scalp.
He sighs under her touch, and her actions are somewhat rough, and yet they have a strange kind of gentleness, and it's so Hawkeye-like that for a moment his heart weighs even more than it has for the past days. It's so much like her, this combination of roughness and affection, and her hands move in his hair steadily and calmly and knowing their way.
He knows the water is a little too hot, and enjoys how it burns his skin. She then rinses the little of the cheap motel shampoo out of his air, and it occurs to him that their bodies will smell nearly the next day, and it's a strangely appealing thought.
Her hands pull away from his hair then, and casually, naturally, she asks, "Will you wash mine?"
"Yeah." This is the first time he manages to catch her with her hair free. There's a scar under her third rib, he notices, it must have come from a knife or sword of some kind, and he brushes his finger over it so that she can't be sure if it's his touch or just her own imagination. And there's another one on her shoulder, a bullet that has barely passed her, and his mind replays all the times, all the wounds, all the scars, all the guilt.
It's so strange; it's not that they are ignorant or that there is nothing in the air now, but it's affection and something oddly natural, as it is for them, fundamentally, it's natural for her to follow him, natural for them to work together in such way.
His fingers are tangled in her hair, and he feels how the weight is finally lifting off his shoulders, how it's becoming easier to breathe as the burden leaves his chest.
And then the water turns cold, she turns it off, and he exits first and gathers his filthy clothes. She follows slowly, and eventually they are lying in the small, rather hard beds, a foot away from one another. They glance at each other with weary eyes, and smile a half-smile, say goodnight although white light is seeping through the thin curtains, and she wonders if tomorrow is the day he'll kiss her for the first time, and he wonders if it's on this trip that they'll fall in love.