Well, hello again! yes, i am back with another chapter which is what everyone who reviewed told me to do. thank you all for your wonderful comments and this is the last chapter of 'Angst'. well let me know what ye people think. don't kill me!
It had been a week since Roy and Al had confronted Ed. It was as though a huge weight had been drawn off his chest.
He hadn't felt normal for such a long time. Just normal.
What he had done still haunted him. His insides burned with guilt and shame every time he caught a glimpse of his left wrist, nor was he blind to Al or Roy's stares as they watched him from the corner of their eyes.
Roy had moved him and Al into a new room. He hadn't given any real reason but Ed was grateful, he could just imagine every time he was alone their old room he'd remember what he'd done…where he'd kept his knife…things like that
He was very grateful.
Ed hadn't been put on any missions either. Also the colonel's doing.
Neither Roy nor Hughes had said anything of what had been going on, though both were being pestered for answers. Riza was especially pissed, which is very dangerous for the people around her, as she didn't like not knowing what was going on, Roy had never been able to keep things secret from her, when had he gotten so good?
The week had passed quickly for Ed. Just hanging out with Al for the most part. After a day or so they hadn't mentioned Ed's cutting directly though it was by no means forgotten. You're supposed to learn from your mistakes and besides, there was no way he would forget it had happened, even if he tried.
It was almost like all that needed to be said had been.
Amongst all of the depression, confrontation and relief in the return of normality Ed had completely forgotten it was his birthday. It was always in the back of his mind, he would notice his birthday coming and ignore it or try to forget it, but he always knew.
The first news of it he heard was when Al had shaken him awake whilst screaming something that morning.
Eyes snapping open he'd dived off the bed, rolled across the floor and transmutated his auto-mail into a blade, fighting off visions of homologous in his half dreaming, half wakened state before he'd understood the words his brother had said.
His enthusiasm had kind of died half way though as Ed dived across the room operating in autopilot attack mode.
"You're really not a morning person niisan…" Al sighed.
Squinting up at his brother having failed in trying to locate an enemy Ed groaned at Al "Wha's going on? What're you screaming about? Does it involve kittens? Because the answer is no."
Al stared stupefied.
"Niisan…it's your birthday!"
"What?" Ed said confused and he changed his arm back.
"Your birthday. You are a year older." Al stated.
"Huh. So it is." Ed said. Getting up he walked back over to his bed and lay down as though nothing had happened.
"Ok ok I'm up." Ed grumbled with a small smile.
Together they went down to the dining hall for breakfast just as it was getting busy. After picking out their meals they sat at an empty table on the far side of the hall for some quiet.
Ed couldn't help but watch Al eat whenever he was with him. After all those years of being bound into the armour unable to eat he now savoured every mouthful. He never ate as much as Ed but it was the pure enjoyment he got from the flavours of the food that astonished him.
"Yo Ed, Al. How are you two?" Hughes said as he sat down on the opposite side of the table to the brothers. Without waiting for a reply he carried on talking.
"The two of you are coming to my house for dinner tonight for a meal to celebrate Ed's birthday! Roy and everyone from the office will be coming."
"That sounds wonderful." Al smiled happily
"Thank you, that's really nice Hughes." Ed said a little awkwardly.
"It's nothing between old friends. I remember the first time I saw you as an innocent eleven year old. The only thing that's changed is you're a little bit taller and you swear more." The man laughed jumping up before Ed could turn what he'd said into an insult about his height. "Hang around after work and I'll drive the two of you. Bye!"
"That's nice of him niisan." Al said cheerfully
It was after breakfast Ed was called to the colonel's office.
Feeling slightly weary as the last time he'd been there he'd indirectly trashed it Ed went silently to the office.
Knocking on the wooden door he waited for a confirmation from within.
Opening the door Ed stepped into the office, shutting the door after him.
"You wanted to see me colonel?" Ed said as he moved forward taking his usual seat on the black sofa before the raven haired man's desk.
For once Roy had been sitting waiting for Ed's arrival. They had become more polite towards each other over the last week though in the back of Ed's mind he doubted it would last long.
"Yes Fullmetal. I wanted to tell you about a new arrangement."
Curiously he raised and eyebrow in a scary likeness of the colonel's usual expression.
"Once a week, excluding when you're on missions, you will report to my office and we will have a chat." Roy said resting his hands on the desk before him with fingers interlaced.
Throwing Roy a curious look Ed said suspiciously "About what?"
"Anything. Any interesting news you heard, funny stuff, sad stuff, anything on your mind. Just general convocation." Roy said simply.
Avoiding the colonel's eye Edward felt a slump in his spirits.
"…I wouldn't do anything like that again. You don't have to watch me." Ed muttered.
Sighing, Roy tried to gather what he was going to say to the young blond. He'd got the wrong end of the stick; this wasn't about watching him or checking up on him. He knew it was still a sensitive subject and it would be a long time before Ed got over it properly.
"This whole thing built up from lack of communication-" Roy had stumbled across a psychology book. He hadn't understood any of it but he'd felt smarter just holding the book. "- so this is just a way for you to chat if Al's not around or if there's something you want to ask an adult in particular."
"I am an adult!" Ed huffed but it was lacking any real anger.
"You are coming to it and that's it. If you don't I will track you down and burn you to a crisp." Mustang said bluntly. Sulking didn't suit Ed, there was no point in mollycoddling the blond, he responded better to harsh words.
"Fine, I'll come but only to see that happy face of yours."
Roy glared at the vertically challenged alchemist.
"That's the one." Ed grinned.
Mustang knew he was asking for it, once the blond returned to normal it would probably just become an exchange of insults instead of any actual convocation but he owed it to him. If he had to put up with the old, loud, angry Ed to help the current version then he would.
"That's all. You can go now Fullmetal." Roy sighed.
Ed was at the door when the colonel called out to him again.
"Oh, and Edward, happy birthday. I'll see you at Hughes' later." He said with a smile.
For a second a true smile was returned then the blond was gone, the office door swinging shut behind him.
Al and Ed walked out into the cool dusk air; the sky was the deep velvety blue of just before nightfall.
The silence was broken by the frantic beeping of a car horn.
"Edo! Alphonse! Over here!" Hughes shouted madly happy from his black car, leaning out the window to attract their attention.
"I wonder what he'd do if we ignored him?" Ed mused as he watched the frantic man.
He suddenly began to flick the cars headlights on and off.
Just when I was thinking all he was missing was a flashing sign saying 'here I am!'…
"Don't be so mean niisan." Al whispered even though he was laughing at the spectacle Hughes was making of himself.
Still laughing the brothers climbed into the car greeting the grinning Hughes.
"You guys don't want to be late! Gracia has made a beautiful meal! And Elysia is wearing her new dress! My beautiful little angel!" he cried as the car shot forward. "Here, want to see the pictures!"
Taking a hand from the wheel he waved a wedge of photos over his shoulder at them.
"Ah! The road!" Al cried as Hughes turned to look at them, driving one handed without even looking where he was going.
"This one was taken earlier this evening! Look how cute she is with her hair in plats!" the manic doting father cried.
"Take the pictures from him Al, take the pictures!" Ed cried gripping onto his door handle as the car wavered at its crazy speed.
"And here she is walking in the park!"
Amazingly they made it to the Hughes household in once piece, though the brothers were pale and shaky when they finally staggered out of the car.
"Come on you two, everyone will be waiting; we're the last ones to arrive!" the man cried.
Mental note: never ever get into a car with Hughes again unless what you're running away from is worse then his driving.
With that the two Elric's were gently pushed to the door where they were let in by the smiling Gracia.
After the exchange of pleasantries and some more photos of Elysia they were finally sat at the table where Al happily chatted with the real Elysia.
Ed was seated at the head of the table as he was the birthday boy; Al sat on the left of him whilst Colonel Roy Mustang sat on his right.
It felt weird being with the colonel in a completely social situation.
Hawkeye and Havoc were also seated at the table which surprised Ed a little. Clearly they'd all come straight from work as they were all still wearing their uniform.
That or they might not own casual clothes…
Gracia and Maes made themselves busy bringing out drinks (Roy was already on the spirits…) and serving the food.
Ed appreciated what Hughes was doing for him, he really did, he just felt incredibly awkward as three of the people at the table knew what he'd done to himself, the others were under the assumption Ed had been ill or depressed from the strange way Roy had moved the brothers into a new room and the fact that he had refused to send Ed on a mission.
Even though Ed was feeling awkward, there was no time for awkward silences, Maes occupied the convocation if there was any space to do so, that and people were enjoying the great food so much that if there were any silences it was from everyone eating eagerly and they weren't bothered enough to speak.
After the dinner everyone was chatting pleasantly, carefully avoiding work as they didn't want anything depressing or stressful working its way into the chatter to ruin the good atmosphere.
"I'm surprised lieutenant Hawkeye is here. I've never seen her socialising outside of the military before." Ed said quietly leaning towards Roy.
"Well, it's your birthday, the lot of us have watched you and your brother grow up over the years from the small 11 and 12 year olds you both were when we first met to the adults you have become." Mustang said smiling, a smile not a smirk.
For a moment Ed looked torn between anger and being pleased with himself as the colonel had called him 'small' and an 'adult' in the same sentence so he didn't know which to react to first.
"Well, that and Riza is certain something has happened that I'm not letting on involving you. And don't worry because I'm not going to. Neither will Hughes."
There was barely time for Ed to smile at Roy before they were all thrown into darkness as the lights were turned off.
From the kitchen emerged a floating fireball which the blond alchemist and everyone else soon realised to be a cake covered in lit candles.
Slowly the chanting song started up.
Happy birthday to you…
Happy birthday to you…
Happy birthday to Edo…
Ed couldn't help but laugh, he'd resorted to clamping his hands over his mouth to stop the hysterical laughter.
Colonel Roy Mustang was singing next to him and it was bad, all deep and slow as it wavered out of pitch…
Breathe, just breathe…
Choking on his laughter Ed stopped just long enough as the cake was put before him to take a deep breath and blow out all the candles.
The smell of smoke filled the air as they were plunged into darkness once again.
"I'll get the lights." Someone called though the darkness.
The lights came back on, sharp and painful to the eyes.
Seeing the knife resting alongside the cake Ed picked it up before saying to the table in general "Who wants a slice?"
As one Al, Roy and Hughes twitched at the sight of the knife in Ed's auto-mail hand.
Al was exceptionally twitchy when Ed was near sharp objects; he'd had a little freak out when Ed had started writing with a fountain pen.
The actual knife was hardly different from the one Ed had been using, he knew because Roy had been the one to pull it out of the bedroom door.
"Er, Ed? I think I should do that." Roy said indicating the knife.
"No way, I want to cut the cake."
"No, I will, so give me the knife Ed."
Looking suddenly horrified Ed realised Roy was talking as though he was going to hurt himself which only made him clutch the knife tighter out of anger.
"I can't believe you!"
"The knife Ed, the knife!"
Before he knew it Roy also had a grip on the knife handle, both of them were standing over the cake with the knife, Roy's hands over Ed's.
To everyone else this just looked like a heated argument over who should cut the birthday cake. Pathetic really.
Whipping out his camera Hughes took a photo with his amazing built in sense of timing as the pair sliced the cake still fighting.
Laughing to himself he hid the camera back in its hidden location around his person.
That photo would be pure gold…
Yawning, Ed walked sullenly down the corridor. He was on his was for his weekly 'chat' with the colonel.
Mondays truly did suck. And why did the colonel have to call him so early? He was probably having a bad day and so though he'd ruin Ed's too.
As he approached the office he saw Hughes jump at the sight of him before hiding a piece of paper behind his back.
"Heh, Morning Ed." He cried waving to Ed as he passed.
"Mornin' Hughes." Ed mumbled.
Silently he carried on, letting himself into Roy's office.
There was Roy. Same place behind his desk, same bored look on his face pretending to be interested in the paperwork but in reality he was just trying to piss Ed off.
Sitting in his usual spot on the black sofa Ed watched as Roy flipped through the pages.
Then his eyes opened wide in shock, immediately grabbing Ed's attention.
He was staring at what looked like a photograph that had been slipped into the work. Getting up Ed walked round the side of the desk to see what it was when the colonel ceased to move.
It looked like…a wedding photo. The edge of the page had a boarder of drawn on ribbons and bells. It was a picture of a bride and groom cutting a cake. underneath the picture it said "congratulations to the happy couple."
Big deal, why was Mustang freaking out?
Then Ed saw it. It was not a bride and groom, it was HIM and ROY!
The photo was from when they'd been fighting over the knife and Roy had also grabbed the handle.
On closer inspection Ed could see that gold wedding rings had even been drawn on…
"HUGHES!" Roy and Ed screamed together as they snapped out of it.
Ed ran out into the corridor closely followed by Roy who looked as angry as Ed felt, only to find the same picture stuck on the walls of the corridor every few meters.
Chuckling to himself Maes sneaked away down another corridor before the two very powerful and very pissed alchemists could find him.
well, i dunno how that was, i hoped it wrapped the story up nicely for everyone and whoo! i have officially just finished my first story on fanfiction!
p.s. im sorry if this chapter was just plain random and didn't suit the rest of the story.