Disclaimer: I don't own Fullmetal Alchemist.

-

Edward and his brother left Lior three days ago, and Roze is still seething with hatred. As she walks, somber expression on her face, Roze looks to the sky. The sun overhead is baking everything in its path. Her hardened gaze doesn't last long; the heat tends to get to her a lot more during midday.

In Lior the fountain of wine still runs, but as far as Roze is concerned, it may as well be running with blood. Once upon a time she saw it, and many other things, as miracles, as signs of Lior's prosperity and blessing from Leto. Now that she knows the truth behind Father Cornello's powers, she'd rather have nothing to do with anything those powers have touched.

Staring straight ahead, she avoids the bleeding fountain up ahead and proceeds toward the store.

Roze didn't ask for the veil to be shredded from her face, and she'll be damned if she thanks him for it. Roze didn't want intruders like him in her life, and when it comes to Edward, intrusion is an understatement.

Kain came into her life and left with her virginity. Edward came into her life and left with her faith in God.

Roze wants her hope back, even if it's hope for what she now knows is impossible.

-

Her life is following mostly the same routine as before -normal daily tasks for a normal, honest girl- but when it comes time to pray each evening, Roze balks as much as she tries. Ultimately she finds herself unable to take part even when alone. In the church, in her home, anywhere. The wound from where Edward ripped the hope and faith and trust right out of her is still too raw and fresh for comfort.

Just how far do the lies extend? Is Leto a lie, or was it only the messenger?

Roze simply keeps kneeling, hoping without hope -Edward took it all- that the words will come. Her legs grow numb, but she's too tense to notice at first.

-

As much as she hates to remember her first meeting with Ed, it's been branded into her mind. She only knew him for one day, after all, and weeks later the burn marks make her feel like it was only yesterday.

That is why when the military comes in, Roze wonders if he'll be among the soldiers who have come to help resuscitate her dying, dried up little town.

She looks and looks and never finds him, which makes her ecstatically angry.

Lior becomes a military stronghold that makes the underworld look cozy, and Roze begins to hate Edward even more. If Edward were here, she hisses as she dresses the fresh bruises from each day, but she never finishes that train of thought. She doesn't know how Edward's presence would affect the state of things. She only knows he would hate Lior's sickly state as much as she does.

Edward hadn't stood for Father Cornello's corruption. No doubt he wouldn't stand for the corruption of the very military financing his wild goose chase for the Philosopher's Stone.

This is how Roze begins to pray for Edward's return.

-

In the year and then some since she lost Kain to that accident, Roze has dreamt of him innumerable times. Sometimes it is pure longing, the simple desire to see those one has lost but still loves, and sometimes it encroaches on the realm of pure and simple lust. There have been many times when she's woken in the middle of the night, curled like an embryo on her side and hands between her legs, thighs slick with the evidence of arousal. Her pulse has usually been erratic, and teeth marks adorn her lips when she tries to keep quiet; if the soldiers hear, they might want to listen in.

She still dreams, but Kain's face has slowly disappeared over time, his features muted beyond recognition until the man in her fantasies has become a faceless figure.

Roze worries the same will happen to her. Roze tries to conjure up his image, but it always becomes diluted within seconds.

She cries out to God -to Leto- as she comes in her sleep, then dreams of hair the color of the sun, with eyes to match.

Her sleep is always restless, and when she wakes, her body aches all over.

-

Roze is always nervous around Father Cornello, nervous and distrustful, so when he walks up to her one day and asks about the marks on her arms and legs, it's all she can do not to back away slowly, then turn and run. Something inside her still draws her to this man, even though he radiates an aura of lies and trickery and betrayal. She knows what he claims, but she still can't find it in her heart to trust him. His promise to bring Kain back to life for her held less water than Edward's 'blasphemy', and after what she saw and heard with her own eyes and ears, she'd rather believe a proud but honorable infidel than a man of the cloth who lies through his teeth.

Roze stops and gives him a smile as false as the hope and faith he'd once installed in her. They're nothing, Father, she tells him. Nothing.

The priest gives Roze a look of concern, then rests his hand on her shoulder with a nodding, slit-eyed smile. Roze resists the urge to shudder at the touch.

-

Roze is dreaming again, praying in her thoughts. She works her fingers into a frenzy between her thighs, her breath coming in short pants as her toes curl and she nears completion.

Broad and rugged shoulders become slender and bony, and Roze tries not to notice the metal plate that connects young, untanned flesh with automail prosthetics.

Tries not to notice the warmth in one hand holding her down, the biting coolness in the other as metallic fingers lightly part her legs.

Tries not to twist her fingers into silky-sweaty hair as she pushes the right-wrong man-boy's head further down her chest.

Tries not to arch her spine when the one she hates has her entire body yearning to fuck him unconscious and he hasn't even entered her yet.

Tries not to wonder if, if this were something other than a dream, a fantasy, she would be ripping away his virginity. She knows he's already lost his innocence.

Hot and sweaty even in the dead of night -when the deadly desert is normally freezing- Roze tries not to scream the wrong name, which might be the right name and the wrong one at the same time.

Frantifrenetic, sinner's name staining her tongue, Roze crawls to the corner, where she is violently sick for several minutes. Her stomach feels as raw as if its insides have been carved out like a pumpkin emptied of seeds.

-

Roze continues to fight back against the soldiers' beatings whenever she can see them coming. No matter how much the bruises and swellings ache and sting, they cannot compare to the pain of betrayal she still feels.

Being faithless in all but herself in the midst of what her precious Lior has become has made her legs a bit stronger. Edward was right about her legs, and if she's to listen to any of his 'blasphemy', it is this.

Roze is determined to keep standing.

-

At night Roze can no longer keep her inner eyes closed. She pushes Kain into the recesses of her mind. Edward has already shown her the price he'd paid for raising the dead and playing God.

Inside her head she can hear his voice reverberating with anger: "Is this what you want? Is it? Is it?"

Even though she hates him for shattering her beliefs, it is impossible to turn away from the truth, that he couldn't stand to see her make the same mistake he'd made.

Inside her head she can hear his voice reverberating with fury: "This is the body of a sinner, Roze. Fly too high to the sun and you get burned, or worse."

And each time she fantasises about him in her dried up paradise, where no one but herself knows her nightly sins of memory, she can see him with her inner eyes open, and she can stop pretending he's anyone other than himself.

Slipping out of her dream-dress, Roze traces the half-mangled scars that lightly sprawl across his chest like roots growing from beneath the metal plate covering his shoulder. She bends in close to kiss it. "I still want to raise the dead."

His golden eyes gleam in the moonlight, and his voice goes low with annoyance. "What did I just tell you-"

Roze straightens to her full height, towering several inches over him. "Wanting and doing are two different things," she interrupts, a glare leveled his way. "And if even wanting it is going to get me the body of a sinner, then we can hit two birds with one stone if you give me yours."

Then she shuts Edward up with a kiss, and things proceed as normal. This time she doesn't mind the bitter aftertaste of alchemy and prayer gone wrong on her lips. It tastes strangely of her own come.

-

The number of soldiers in Lior has tripled recently, and the sight of the bleeding fountain still sickens her, reminiscent of a plague. But one day as she's walking through the crowd in the marketplace, the sight of a certain figure shocks her such that she nearly drops her bags. She can't even speak; the words die in her throat before they can form. But her words aren't necessary. Glancing toward her is the young man she never thought she'd see in the flesh again. The glimmer of recognition in his eyes urges her forward, feet moving by themselves, and soon she is running toward him.

Edward turns and jets down the road, tossing a strange grin over his shoulder, and Roze follows, yelling for him to wait up. She finally catches up to him when he stops in a relatively secluded area.

"Edward," she says breathily, trying to slow her racing heart. "Where have you been?"

He brings his real arm -stillfleshstillbone- up to tangle into her hair, and with the creepiest smile she's ever seen, suddenly snarls his fingers tightly into the shank of pink falling from her temple, tugging down and twisting with precision built for instant pain.

"Shit! The hell are you-" Her eyes squeeze shut like she's staring at the sun and the light has become too intense. Edward's grip becomes worse. "Owwww, you're hurting me!"

Roze never sees Edward's automail hand smash against her left temple.

She most certainly feels it, though, right before everything flickers and goes black.

-

When Roze awakens sometime later, her first instinct is that she misjudged Edward after all. The second is to locate him.

The room she finds herself in is dark, the only source of light coming from somewhere off to her left. Glancing up, ignoring the blinding headache throbbing through her skull, Roze sees that her wrists are tied together and suspended above her head on a hook. A chill runs through her blood.

"Edward?" Roze's voice is weak and almost feeble as it wavers.

"Ah, so the sinful little bitch is finally awake, huh?" rings out a voice familiar only on a certain level. Stiffened with fear, Roze turns toward the light. Edward's figure is in a doorway, features shadowed to the point of silhouette. The figure walks forward a couple steps; she can see him better now. Something about his stance doesn't look right, and it's something she feels she should have noticed earlier, but whatever it is, she can't quite put her finger on it. "It's 'bout fuckin' time. You've been out for two hours. I don't like wasting time, you know."

Each further word takes him one step closer, until they're as face to face as their differing heights will allow. A malicious gleam flashes in his eyes, and Roze tries to take a step back, to no avail.

Roze hardens her eyes and straightens her legs. "What the hell is going on?"

Edward launches his right fist into her chin in an uppercut, leaving her with a split lip. A small bit of blood dribbles down her chin. Roze promptly spits at him; that eerie, crooked smile never leaves his face as he wipes the blood and saliva away with utter nonchalance. Readying herself to give him a good kick, she freezes when she finally feels the weight on her ankles.

Leg cuffs, with chains leading off somewhere. She's too afraid to glance down to look, too afraid to unlock gazes with him.

Leaning forward, Edward takes a firm grasp of her shoulder and licks her neck, leaving a slimy trail that sends a shudder of revulsion through her frame as his tongue laps it up in a sticky but greedy manner. Then she cries out with a hiss and a curl of her spine as she feels him cup her through her dress, the pressure of hard metal twisting and pinching together the delicate skin of her nipple, and she wants nothing more than to bring her knee into his crotch and yank half his hair out by the roots, if only her hands weren't tethered and immobilised. She daren't do anything further, though; judging by his behavior thus far, responding to his provocations only seems to elicit harsher treatment.

Edward pulls away and cocks his head, stroking his chin. "But Roze, why don't you tell me about all those nights you fingerfucked yourself to sleep with my name on your lips, huh?"

Roze's eyes go wide. She's never told anyone anything.

"Have you really passed up Kain for me, even though you claimed you loved him so much you wanted to raise him from the dead?" His voice goes husky. "Does that mean you have a thing for short, underdeveloped fifteen, sixteen year old boys in general, or am I a little something special? Your special little…" A pause, lips pressed into a thin line, and then… "-indulgence, perhaps?"

And here, as Edward brings a thumb up to wipe away a spot of blood and spittle on her chin his voice begins to slither into her skull and she can't keep her throat from tightening.

"Who are you…" Roze's voice is a lilting crackle of a whisper. Her pupils are dilated in fear. Blood continues to leak from her split lip down her chin and onto her dress.

"I," he says, placing both hands on her forearms in vice-like grips that make her squirm and whimper, "am whoever I fucking feel like being."

"Wha-"

He promptly lets go, making her choke on her own word and become weak in the knees. The ropes begin to dig further into her wrists, the hook fully supporting her weight. He steps back and snaps his fingers. As Roze stares back at him dully, she watches in horror as a flashing sparkle creeps up his form, feet first. Before her very eyes, Edward becomes an ordinary military soldier in full uniform. Only his face and hair remain the same.

She knows now that she never misjudged Edward.

This isn't Edward.

The figure saunters toward the doorway and disappears for a moment, returning with three other soldier-garbed figures. He then leaves, and Roze never sees him again.

She can't be thankful enough when she passes out.

-

Her wrists have inch-wide angry red furrows ground deep into the skin when she finally wakes again, alone upon the floor of the abandoned storeroom. When she licks her lips, she can taste small flakes of dried blood melting on her tongue. Her split lip has stopped bleeding; instead it is now bruised and swollen. Her dress is torn wide open and bloody in certain spots, and Roze can't find her shoes anywhere.

A throbbing ache sweeps through her form as she exerts herself to stand up, but she ignores it, holding back the tears that threaten to spill forth. Edward's words from the last time -the real last time- she saw him echo through her mind as she slowly rises to her full height: "You got a good set of legs there. Why don't you use 'em? You can stand on your own two feet, can't ya?"

And so she whispers to herself, and anyone else who might hear, "Yeah, I can."

Even if there is nothing else left, no faith or trust or anything, Roze knows she at least has herself.

There's that saying that that which does not kill you can only make you stronger. But it certainly never said anything about how painful the recovery process will be.