I am REALLY sorry that this took me so long As I said in my note all of my work on my floppy disk got erased and I had to start over so I really am sorry for the HUMONGUS delay this caused and I hope you guys will forgive me once you read this. BEWARE: Roy is going to be angsting lot in this one XD
Also a MEGA BIG thank you to everyone who has reviewed and given me support:
Psychotic Lee: OMG! Hi! Thanks for your review hun! Yeah the horror! XD Well, poor Edo had to learn the birds and the bees from somewhere at some point XD Hope you like this chapter!
Rokona: Hi thanks for your review I hope you like this one and sorry for the HUGE wait!
Ursweetheartless: Ha ha! I made you wait ages again didn't I? Oh well I 'm sure this chapter was worth it XD Thank you for the review!
ScathingSarcasm: XD your review made me laugh! Everyone seems to hate me when I leave cliff hangers…but there so fun! Blame all the soap dramas I watch here in the UK, they are MURDER for cliff hangers XD
Aino Hikaru: OMG! Hi (Glomps) Yeah I know, I'm murder for run on sentences though I think I'm improving on that as I go along! Thank you for your advice and for all the lovely fan art you've ever made for this story! I'll be requesting more from ya soon! XD
Anmbcuconnfan: Yup he discovers sex! I figured it was about time! XD Thanks for reviewing!
Jumping shinobi: Why yes I am um how did you put it…'Fucking evil' for making Ed love his adopted father but that was the whole point of the story! And another thing, how come you only realized this until chapter 5??? XD
Hikaru: You asked and you shall receive! I hope you like it!
PuRE'Curse: Yeah I always have problems with stuff like that hopefully I've improved on that in this chapter! Enjoy!
DMHPluv: Wow thank you (Ego swells) I hope you enjoy this update as much as the last one!
Samuraigirllrf: Here's the update Thanks for reviewing hun!
Fmetalalchemist: This story is my love child! Of course I'm gonna continue! Enjoy this chapter!
Roy Mustang 08: Thanks a lot for your review!!! Wow you posted and awful lot of reviews in one go didn't you? XD I'm glad you enjoyed it and I hope you enjoy this chapter too!
Peachtarts: I'm sorry it took so long to update! I hope you didn't forget this story! And thanks for adding me to your alerts!!!
Yumeki-Chan: OMG Tears (Glomps) I dun care if you changed your name on gaia your always tears to me I hope you like this chapter!!! (Hugs)
Laine Squirrel- Thanks! Yes he is very confused at the moment and is pretty torn as you'll see in this chapter; even though he loved Roy he's scared of rejection more than most people would be because of his abusive past. Let's just hope Roy realizes he loves him back ne? XD
Kianna13: Thank you I glad you liked it!
Hink: I know I'm just glad I bough a memory stick, they're much more reliable XD
Rokona: Thank you for your concerns but I promise you nothing was harmed in the making of this chapter! XD Enjoy!
XxTypoMasterxX: Yup I'm still breathing! Like id abandon this story! Like I said earlier its my love child! XD I hope you enjoy this chapter!
Sabith: I'm glad you liked it! Hope you enjoy this chapter too!
Bar-Ohki: Thanks I hope that this update lives up to your expectations!
Namen Shoda: Thanks for the offer but ill have to decline, I know my style isn't perfect but that's the way I like it, I want to slowly improve my writing in my own way, so please keep reading getting comments like yours only shows that I can still improve!
Sora: I finally did it! Hope you like it!
Crazy-88's: Yeah I know I seem to suck at proof reading but I do it a lot more these days! Hope you like it!
Pervy Muskrat: Why thank you XD! No worries I do try my best to edit out and typos and grammar errors but I sometimes miss a few! Thanks for your comment!
Itachiluver: Um you kinda contradicted yourself there XD Oh well never mind I hope you glad for the update! Ja ne!
Devil's dame13: Thanks for your review I hope you enjoy this!
And that's it! That's all the reviews I received for chapter five and my note in chapter 6! Wow I got 29 reviews! (Yup I'm sad enough to count them) I'm so happy I really hope everyone enjoys this chapter! And until next time, Ja ne!
Chapter 6: Avoidance and Alchemy assessments.
Roy Mustang was worried.
He didn't try to show it on his face as he sat in his dull, boring office and signed several papers that needed his attention, but he was worried about Edward, his adopted son whom he loved dearly; for the past few months the young blonde had been acting very...oddly around him, at first it was just the blonde being quieter than usual, then he began coming home late from school, and even avoiding Mustang altogether and it had the dark haired lieutenant Colonel rather worried.
To be honest Roy was at a loss of what to do; he'd never raised a child before and Edward had always been such a polite, obedient child, so there had been no need for him to use any tactics to get Edward to listen to him or for him to do as he was told. But at the moment it was frustrating, he could hardly ever find the golden haired neko and when he did, the blonde usually ended up avoiding him or cutting the conversation short, and to Roy it felt like he was banging his head against and Edward-shaped brick wall.
He wondered who he should turn to for advice; he instantly decided against asking his aunt Izumi; she would tell him to give Edward a clip around the ear which Roy doubted he could ever do to the young blonde, not after what the blonde had already been through, then he considered ringing the orphanage for help, but also decided against it think he would sound foolish asking for help now instead of when Edward was younger.
Roy's only last resort was Hughes; he was the only person who Roy knew personally that had a child and could possibly give him some sound advice, the only bad side to this, was that he'd probably have to suffer having photos of Elyisa being shoved in his face before Hughes was serious enough to help him. Roy was in the middle of weighing whether having Hughes photos shoved in his face outweighed getting advice for Edwards sake, when he heard a very faint click right next to his right ear.
Roy had spent years listening to the sound, to many it was insignificant, but to Roy Mustang that sound meant he was close to death by a certain happy trigger First Lieutenant. The dark haired Lieutenant Colonels back jerked straight and his dark eyes were wide and alert as Riza Hawkeye spoke. "Sir if you don't get on with your two week backlog of paperwork, I'm afraid I may have to commit an act of treason and shoot you" she said this in a very calm and level manner but Roy, who had heard these threats before could easily hear the subtle tones of malice in her voice.
Roy Mustang swallowed and nodded, picking up his pen once more and signing as many papers as possible while the Lieutenant watched over him; while she was there he couldn't afford for his mind to wander lest he actually loses it because Riza decided to actually shoot him in the head for slacking. Riza meanwhile just watched the man a frown on her face; the man hadn't been himself lately, sure he slacked off everyone in a while; everyone did in Mustang's office, but he'd been a lot more distracted lately and it was really affecting his work, the blonde solider wanted to inquire if everything was alright at home with him and Edward but she knew it wasn't her place to ask about such personal matters, so for now, she remained silent.
After about twenty minutes Riza was satisfied that he was working hard enough and she left to do her own work, but it wasn't long after she had left that the dark haired man began slacking again now that Riza's influence was gone. The dark haired man sighed as his mind wandered back to wondering if he should get advice from Hughes, and after ten more minutes of giving it thought Roy decided that's he'd try to sneak out of work early; Riza always went to grab a coffee at around 4.30, if he could sneak out after her, he'd be home by 5pm, just in time to see Edward make dinner, he could sneak in on the blonde and find out what his problem was (Edward had a tendency to talk out loud to himself when something was bothering him or he had to remember something)
Then, with his plan set in motion he bent down over his papers and got back to work.
12 year old Edward Elric sighed as he finally arrived home from school; he'd been given a detention for nearly fighting with another pupil in class today who called him a midget, luckily the teacher had broken it up before a bit of pushing and shoving before it had turned into punches and kicks. Edward was glad to see that his adopted father hadn't come home yet, much to the blonde neko's relief; he really didn't want to explain to Roy why he was late home (Because he couldn't lie to Roy and he was terrible at it anyway). Dumping his school bag near the door he took off his shoes and headed into the kitchen to make some dinner for him and Roy; Even though the blonde had been avoiding the dark haired man recently he still made dinner for them both; it was a habit he'd picked up from his mother when she was still alive, she had loved to cook and Edward seemed to have picked up her passion.
With great reluctance Edward pushed a small stool over to the kitchen counter; the small neko hated using this but he didn't have a choice, it was either this or chop vegetables blindly and risk the chances of cutting his own fingers off. He washed potatoes, carrots and mushrooms than un-podded some fresh peas and chopped up an onion, then he hopped over to the fridge and took out some juicy stakes, which he brought back to the counter and he carefully chopped up, then he took down a frying pan from a small shelf above him, and added a little oil from the small bottle on the counter, then he fried the meat and onions. Once they were cooked he put it all into the pan added the chopped vegetables, then put some beef stock and some water in the pan to make a stew.
As he did all this his thoughts wandered over to Roy; he'd been avoiding him a lot over the past few months and he knew he was worrying the man a lot, but Edward didn't know what else to do, he knew he loved his adopted father a lot more than he should and he knew it was wrong, he'd even read in a book that incest was illegal in virtually every country he could name, but Edward knew Roy wasn't his REAL father so it wasn't really incest right?
The blonde shook his head and sighed as he stirred the stew; to be honest he really didn't know and he didn't know who to talk to about this; his teachers were a definite no-no, they'd defiantly tell Roy, and he couldn't tell Russell either, he'd be disgusted and hate him and Russell (Apart from Winry and Al who lived miles away) was the only friend he really had, he couldn't bare losing him. So Edward was stuck with bottling his problem up and pretending to everyone that he didn't have a crush on Roy, but that meant staying away from the one person he'd like nothing more than to hug and be near all the time.
'But I can't' Edward thought as he continued stirring the stew his eyes brimming with tears as his golden cat ears drooped sadly. 'The more I'm near him the stronger these feelings get, I have to stop them before they get too big for me to control, if I don't...then Roy will find out and he'll hate me' Edward sniffed and wiped his tears away in the sleeve of his school shirt, then he took a deep breath and he wiped all the counters with a clean cloth and cleared away the vegetable clippings and put them in the bin, he then noticed the clock and sighed "Roy will be home soon" Edward said quietly to himself as he placed his automail hand over his heart; it was aching to be with the man right now but he couldn't allow it, not now and not ever.
A few minutes later the stew was done he poured out two bowls one for himself and one for Roy, then he placed the rest in a container and put it in the fridge to eat later, then he took a spoon and his bag up into his room. Once he was there he ate his food and did his homework within ten minutes. Then once everything was done he snuck out of his room into the spare bedroom.
This bedroom as mainly for any visitors such as his teacher Izumi or for Winry and Al to stay in, but this room also held a secret; it opened the doorway into the attic.
Edward stood on the bed on his tiptoes as he tried to grab the string that was dangling from the ceiling, after a few failed tries he finally managed to grab a hold of it and with a giggle he jumped off the edge of the bed, using his weight to open the trap door which, once open, slid a ladder down giving Edward easy access into the attic. Quickly the blonde neko scrambled up the stairs and closed the trapdoor behind him.
There was darkness for a moment, then a faint click and a single dull light bulb flickered to life, the attic air was a little musty but the attic itself was clean and free of dust; the blonde had spent one Saturday when his adopted father was working overtime to clean this area out, so he could regularly use it to practise his alchemy without having to explain to Roy about why he had chalk marks all over the wooden floor in his bedroom. This way he could practise to his hearts content and as long as Roy wasn't here when he was practising, the dark haired man would never find out about this place.
Currently the attic was stacked full of various alchemy books, some Edward had borrowed from the local library, and some his adopted father had given him or had taken out of central headquarters library, there was a small table that was littered with papers and sketches of transmutation circles Edward had made, and on the floor which took up half of the attic space, was a large transmutation circle, it wasn't quite complete yet as some of it needed filling in or changing but the blonde knew he was getting there.
The blonde sighed and picked up a book that had been placed next to a stool and sat down and opened the book to where it had been bookmarked earlier; the transmutation circle was so he could get in contact with the gate, he'd read about it, it was apparently a mythical gate that held all knowledge and could give you anything you wanted...for a price. Edward wanted to meet it, he wanted to see if this was the gate he sometimes heard his teacher taking about, and he wanted to see if the gate could give him the same ability that his teacher had; the ability to use alchemy without drawing a transmutation circle first.
It was because of what had happened a month earlier that he had begun obsessing over getting this power...
Edward had been coming home from school one day, late again because he had been given another detention, when he'd heard a girl crying; it was faint and quiet and was hard to hear on the busy main road of the evening rush hour, but Edward heard it; it was because of his father and his regular beatings that he could fine tune his hearing to heard the faintest creak of a door or the thump of his footsteps and this was no different.
Curious he stepped into the alley, his neko tail twitching behind him; the alleyway was dark and dull compared to the brightly lit busy roads but Edward could see perfectly well what was going on; a young girl, probably not much older then seventeen was being pinned up against a wall, a knife to her throat, she had bright blonde hair like he did and bright blue eyes that were currently wide with fear, tears pouring down her cheeks, the pale blue dress she wore had gotten covered in slime and one arm of the dress had was torn.
"Now, now don't cry poppet, you just give me all your money and jewellery than I'll take you hostage, as leverage" The man holding the knife to the young girls neck said with a sneer, he had dark eyes and dark hair that was greasy and matted, his cloths were ragged and dirty and he had a bottle sticking out of one of his pockets.
This man reminded him of his father, he looked too much like his father and instead of being scared (He had stopped being scared of his real dad once he understood he was behind bars in a prison miles away) he became extremely angry, quickly he pulled out a piece of chalk he always carried around with him; a habit ever since he began using transmutation circles by himself and began drawing one on the dirty ground with amazing speed for a young child, then activated it without pausing.
Suddenly the ground around the man morphed and moved around the man and before he could understand what was happening, giant stone hand wrapped around the man and held him tightly in place. The man struggled but it was no use, Edward's alchemy hand made sure that the man couldn't move his arms or legs.
The young girl's eyes widened at the stone hand currently holding her would-be captive "A-alchemy?…" The girl whispered before looking around the dark alleyway "H-Hello?" she called out obviously still scared Edward took a deep breath and stepped out of the shadows "Are you okay?" He asked gently worried that if he spoke any louder he might frighten the young girl.
Instead of being scared the girl stepped over to him shakily, then before Edward could react she dropped onto her knees and embraced him in a tight hug, her shoulders shaking, whether from relief or from the adrenaline still pumping through her from the fear, the young neko didn't know, but he'd tensed at the contact for a moment before he relaxed and patted her on the head gently "I was so scared" The girl whispered, her voice shaking "I t-thought he was going t-to kill me…" she held onto the young boy for a minute more before letting him go and wiping her eyes she looked at the boy a watery smile on her face "T-thank you so much for helping me, what's your name?" She asked
The blonde gave her a small smile "Edward, my name is Edward Eric" he said quietly and the girl nodded giving the small boy a watery smile, slowly she stood up picking up her purse that she had dropped when she had been attacked and turned to the blonde child "I am Anna, please, come with me, My father must hear of what you did for me and he'll find some way to repay you I'm sure of it" She said as she wiped her eyes. "Is there anything you would like?"
The blonde child looked up at Anna and thought about this "Is your father in the military?" He asked quietly upon noticing a pair of dog tags dangling from her slender neck; something that was unlike a lady of her high status to wear. Anna seemed surprised at this question but nodded her eyes glinting with pride.
"Yes, my father is a General in the military and he is often sent away from home so, when I was little, he gave me his dog tags to remind me of him, he said that when I have them on while he's away its like a bit of him is still with me" she said with a smile "I've always worn it whether is at home or not…why do you want to know?"
Edward thought about his answer for a moment then with renewed determination the looked up at her "Do you think…your dad could let me take the state alchemy exams?"
After that Edward had found himself in the girls large house in front of an aging man, who looked like he was in his late forties, he had dark grey eyes and wrinkles around his eyes and his mouth when he smiled. He was pleasant enough guy, who eagerly agreed to sneak Edward into the state assessment exams, also fervently swearing under pain of death that he would not tell a certain Lieutenant Colonel or any of his associates. The blonde neko he'd already taken the written test and the medical exam and had passed them both with flying colours, now all he had to do was attend the practical test, but in order for him so he needed to figure out this ability.
After reading for a few more minutes her placed the book down and began adjusting the array with some chalk, the young blonde worked in silence for at least half an hour, adjusting the circle and rubbing out parts he didn't need. Then one he'd finished the young neko whipped his sweaty forehead "I think…I've done it" the blonde neko whispered excitedly as he put down the chalk he stared at his creation; the transmutation circle was extremely complicated with various symbols in and around the circle, If the blonde had gotten one thing out of place then all his weeks of hard work would be for nothing, and there would probably be some harsh consequences too.
Taking a deep breath he carefully placed his hands on the array and watched it light up, praying he'd done everything right
Roy Mustang sighed in relief as arrived home early from work; he'd managed to sneak out when his First Lieutenant had gone to take her usual post afternoon coffee break. Sighing with relief, he closed the door quietly stopping in his tracks when he spotted Edwards back pack on the floor, then looking up; he'd expected Edward to be nowhere in sight, but to his surprise he could hear the blonde rattling around in the kitchen. Smiling to himself, he quietly closed the door behind him and crept over to the kitchen to watch the young blonde neko stirring something in a pot which smelled delicious, Roy could only guess that the blonde had made stew, the neko began cleaning up the kitchen completely unaware that the dark haired man was watching him in the doorway hoping that maybe he could find out what was on the young neko's mind; you see Edward had a habit of muttering to himself when he had a problem or was trying to think through a problem, so he'd just wait to see what would pop up in the blonde neko's mind.
Roy didn't have a fear of being caught by his adopted son either; whenever Edward was absorbed in a task of some sort, nothing could divert his attention not even when Roy called out to him so he doubted Edward would spot him at the door way. A few minutes passed in silence and the dark haired alchemist found it odd, but then again that was just another thing that had changed with Edward; he wouldn't speak to him anymore not even to himself, it was like he was shutting Roy out and the dark haired man didn't know why. "Roy will be home soon" he heard the blonde say quietly to himself jerking Roy out of his thoughts.
He looked at the blonde and felt his heart breaking; why? Why did Edward look so sad when he said that? Swallowing heavily he silently turned away from the kitchen and opened the front door closing it behind him quietly. He leaned on the door deep in though fro a moment, before taking a deep breath and walking away from the house.
Edward meanwhile felt cold….very cold and light headed 'Did it work? Am I here?' The young neko opened his eyes slowly and saw a bright yellow light and that was all he could see a bright yellow light as far as his eyes could see; there were no trees, no grass, no houses or other people, just him and this hazy yellow nothingness. With a sigh the blonde alchemist began sitting up, and he groaned and rubbed the back of his head which was aching for some reason 'Where am I?
'Where do you think you are little one?'
The young neko's eyes snapped open and he spun around in shock at the deep voice that called to him, and found him self almost face to face with a large black gate, eyes carved into he black stone. The blonde chilled shivered in fear and stumbled away from it in surprise, then there was a roar of laughter coming from the gate, the blonde child could hear others laughing with the voice, other's whispering excitedly behind the gate…
'Now, Now there is no need to be afraid, you came here to look for me did you not…Edward Elric?'
The blonde blinked; the gate knew his name? But how? He hadn't even spoken yet! "How do you know who I am?" He finally said standing up properly and facing the gate, his head cocked to one side curiously.
'I…am the gate of truth, the gate of all knowledge I know all that there is to know in this world, and in others, and I know everything about you, I know what you wish for, and what you…desire perhaps?' The gate chuckled in amusement as Ed yelped in surprise as a vision of his adopted father appeared beside him, smiling, accepting him. Edward walked over to Roy, and tried to touch him, but it was a vision after all and Edward hand passed right through the fake Roy's arm. 'I will grant you what you want…but there will be a price'
The blonde child swallowed and backed away from the vision of his adopted father, while shaking his head "I don't want Roy…well I do but…It can't work between us anyway…and…and id never…never force him to…no, I want to be able to perform alchemy without…without drawing circles first...I want to be able to clap my hands and do what I need to" Edward said clapping his flash and automail hand together in a demonstration of what he wanted. "Do…do you think you could do that for me and if so…what do I have to pay??"
There was silence for a moment and the gate chuckled 'That is all you want? To be able to unlock the full potential a human can have when performing alchemy? I see…I can do it, and usually I ask for someone's legs for this ability, but for a mere child such as yourself…I'll take that automail arm of yours' the gate said with a chuckle 'So…do we have a deal Edward Elric?'
The young neko thought about this for a moment; should he really make this deal? Sure he was only going to lose his automail arm so it wouldn't hurt much, but then again he was going to have to explain to Roy where his arm went and he really didn't want to talk to the man… 'But…I want to pass the exam…' Edward took a look at his automail arm, then at the Gate before he nodded "Alright, you have a deal"
There was a chuckle as the black carved doors of the gate opened slowly, creaking on its hinges and the young boys eyes widened; he couldn't see what exactly was in there, only a pulsating mass of black, then eyes opened and peered at him hungrily, then before Edward could yelp in panic, thin black arms shot out and wrapped themselves around the blonde who screamed and struggled, but it was no use, with one last triumphant laugh from the gate, the blonde neko was pulled into the gate, the black doors shutting on the blondes terrified screams.
Roy meanwhile had arrived at the only place he could go for advice and knocked on a familiar white door three times before waiting for an answer. When the door opened he expected his friend to start joking around with him, but he didn't; Hughes saw the heartbroken look on Roy's face and knew now was not the time for messing around. "Roy? Are you okay? Has something happened?" the spectacled man asked with a frown at his friends face; he didn't think he'd ever seen his best friend looking so miserable or depressed before; His face was paler than usual, so much so that it almost looked unhealthy, there were dark circles under his eyes and his hair was a mess.
The dark haired man just let himself be guided onto a nearby couch then once Hughes had made some tea and pushed a warm mug into his hands he finally spoke. "Edward hates me" he whispered to the floor; he didn't have the energy to look at his best friend right now; he was convinced that he'd done something to make Edward avoid him.
Maes meanwhile blinked in surprise at this; whenever he and his family had visited the two they'd always seemed happy together, but recently it'd had gone totally downhill and he knew Roy must be worried out of his wits, but to say Edward hated him all of a sudden? "Okay I think you'd better start from the beginning Roy because from what I could tell Edward always adored you"
So the dark haired solider took a deep breath, and told his best friend everything that had happened in the past few months, from Edward acting odd around him and then avoiding him altogether. "He won't talk to me anymore Maes, its driving me mad, I keep thinking I might have done something to upset him!"
The dark haired man's friend hummed for a moment as he rubbed his chin thoughtfully; that sort of behaviour was certainly odd to say the least but at the blonde's age it wasn't exactly unusual either. "I think your thinking about this a little too personally Roy, he's growing up and he's almost a teenager, they go though phases like these, I know my Elyisa is already and she's only 10, she keeps ignoring me if she doesn't get her own way"
The dark haired alchemist sighed and leaned back in his chair; maybe he was looking too deeply into this, maybe it was just one of those things kids go through when they turn into teenagers and it didn't have anything to do with him; if that was true then Edward would turn back to normal soon and then he'd have nothing to worry about right? "So it's just a phase…"
Maes sighed and leaned forward, ruffling his friends already unkempt hair playfully "Seriously Roy, you take things far too personally sometimes, it probably has nothing to do with you and I seriously doubt that Edward would ever hate you, he probably just has a crush on some girl at school and wants to sort it out himself, you know how independent kids get, and Edwards no exception, after all we've both seen him become more confident in himself, trust me its just a phase and it'll pass"
The dark haired alchemist sighed and smiled at his friend, feeling a little better than he had been before "Thanks Maes" he said while his best friend chuckled and leaned back in his chair and finished drinking his lukewarm tea. "Your welcome, now, shouldn't you be getting back to him? He's probably wondering where you are" Roy nodded and placed his still half full cup on the coffee table then with another nod of thanks, left the Hughes household and began walking back to his own.
When Edward awoke, the first thing he remembered was the gate and sat up hastily trying to look around in the dimness, after a moment of panic he realized that, he was back in the attic no huge black gate to be seen, after sighing with relief, the second thing he noticed was the pain: it wasn't bad, in comparison of getting his automail fixed to his body, but it did throb annoyingly, and when Edward turned to look at his automail arm, it was gone, only a few wires that were poking out from the automail socket was all that remained 'Great, now I'll need a new arm before I can perform alchemy! And how am I gonna explain this to Roy??' the blonde child pouted as he got unsteadily on his feet. Suddenly a wave of dizziness washed over him and he had to use the attic wall to steady himself, when he regained his balance and wiped his forehead he found it drenched in sweat 'I must be coming down with a cold or something,,,' The blonde thought as he lowered the ladder down to the spare bedroom, suddenly the neko felt really tired and light-headed, he managed to get down from the attic and stagger out of the spare bedroom, but then he sunk down onto his knees and before everything went black, and he collapsed in a heap on the hallway floor.
It wasn't a minute or so after Edward had collapsed, that Roy arrived home "Edward?" He called, as he looked in the living room and kitchen for his adopted son but the child was nowhere to be found. Sighing heavily, the dark haired alchemist took off his dark outer coat and headed up the stairs, intending to see whether Edward was in is room, when he spotted the blonde in a heap on the hallway floor "Edward! Edward wake up, talk to me!" Roy cried shaking the unconscious blonde neko gently, when Ed didn't respond he tried turning him over and gasped; Edward's automail arm was missing and looked like it had been ripped from it's socket "My god, what happened to you" Roy whispered in horror as he gathered to boy in his arms as he ran down the stairs, grabbed the phone in the hallway and called an ambulance.
The ambulance arrived within 5 minutes of the call and they checked Edward's signs "It looks like he's developed a high fever, must be due to his automail being torn out, sometimes the strain of such a thing happening can trigger a dormant illness" one paramedic said as he shone a light in each of Edward's unresponsive eyes "He's not responding, and his breathing his uneven, we need to get him to the hospital ASAP" the paramedic and his partner both placed the unconscious boy onto a stretcher and carted him into the ambulance Roy following. As soon as the dark haired man was inside the ambulance he sat next to the blonde and held his hand, squeezing it gently, feeling as though he wanted to cry and feeling as though he was to blame; he'd left the blonde on his own and the door had been unlocked; what if Edward had been attacked by someone? What if Edward had tried to fight off the attacker and they had torn out his arm? These thoughts just made the dark haired man feel even more guilty and did not help his state of mind at all "I'm so sorry Edward…" he whispered sadly as the ambulance engine started up and drove them both to Central hospital.
When Edward woke again he ached all over; his mouth felt like a desert and his joints screamed in protest at being moved. 'What happened to me?' the small neko thought as he open his eyes slowly and tired to focus on the room; all he could see was a white door and of white walls in front of him, neither of which looked familiar. Slowly he tried to sit up, gasping as he spotted his right arm; the arm where his automail used to be ached, and instead of an empty socket like he'd expected, a shiny brand new automail arm had been attached onto his arm to replace his old one, and was poking out of a plain white shirt he was wearing that was far to big for him, his shoulder plate which the arm got attached to was still aching, as it did for a few hours after automail being re-attached to his nerves 'T-that must mean Winry and Al must be here somewhere…' The neko thought as his vision focused and he looked to his right, there was nothing but a plain window showing that it was pitch black outside and probably the middle of the night, there was also a jug of water and a clean glass on a bedside table next to the bed.
Upon turning to his left he froze, there sat next to him and fast asleep, was Roy, his head was using the bed as a pillow sleeping peacefully, though his face looked paler than usual. The blonde neko's gold eyes softened and he reached out with his flesh hand and raked a hand through Roy's messy hair. 'I've been avoiding him and not talking to him...and he still worries about me' the blonde neko thought his cat ears drooping sadly.
Suddenly, the door opened and a young nurse with dark hair and blue eyes walked in "Oh! You're awake!" She whispered softly with a friendly smile as she walked in and closed the door quietly behind "No need to worry I just came to check up on you, I'm Jade your nurse, you all had us worried for a while, what with your arm in such a state and your high fever" carefully, she checked Edward's pulse and his temperature before giving him a relived smile "Well it looks like your fevers broken so that's good…" she smiled then glanced from Edwards worried face to Roy the young nurse picked up on his worry and chuckled. "Oh don't worry about him, he's been sat here watching you ever since you were admitted here two days ago, it looks like he's finally getting some rest so you should leave him be" the young nurse said with a reassuring smile "Your mechanics re-fitted your arm as well a few hours ago and are resting in a residency room down that hall if you'd like to see them tomorrow" The blonde just nodded quietly letting the nurse do her job. Once she had finished her check ups she wrote everything down on a small clipboard "You should try and sleep some more it's a while until breakfast will be served" Then with one last nod she left the room.
Edward didn't sleep for the rest of the day however. He continued to sit up and watch his adopted father sleep peacefully on his bed, occasionally stroking the man on the head while he was deep in thought as the sun rose into the sky 'So I've been out of it for two days, no matter what I do I just keep worrying him' The young neko thought as he continued watching Roy sleep, the blonde neko lost count of how long he watched the man, but when the sun was high in the sky the door opened and a male nurse walked in carrying two trays of food followed by two familiar faces.
"Ed!" Winry whispered happily as both her and her younger brother embraced Edward in a hug making sure they were quiet so as not to wake the dark haired solider "We were so worried about you! Mr Mustang called up in a panic and said he thought you'd been attacked because your arm was missing, so we got the first train over here yesterday morning and fitted your arm while you were still unconscious, how does it feel?" Winry asked as Edward flexed his new arm slowly before he nodded and smiled weakly.
"Its fine Winry it looks great…is this a new design?" The blonde asked, noticing that his new automail looked a little different; Alphonse nodded his sandy ears twitching in happiness as he sat on the bottom of the young neko's bed. "Yeah, this design should be easier for you to manage…so how are you feeling? The doctors said you had a really bad fever and for a while they didn't think you'd make it your temperature was so high…"
Edward sighed and smiled weakly "I feel okay just a bit tired and groggy…how's Roy?" He asked looking over at the man, who was still completely fast asleep despite the three of them talking. Winry and Al exchanged a look before the sandy haired girl sighed while Al bit his lip and took a deep breath.
"He…he took your illness pretty badly ainki (1) he wouldn't leave your side even for a moment, he wouldn't sleep and he refused to eat, he really panicked when the doctors rushed into your room last night, I think the reason he's asleep now is because his body couldn't stay awake any more and he just...crashed out" the sandy haired neko explained.
This explanation however just made Edward feel even more guilty than he already did but he tried not to show it on his face as he caught up with his friends, then once they had left him to eat his breakfast he dropped all pretences and sighed sadly glancing over at his adopted father "Gomen nasai tousan (2) Edward said then, not touching the food that had been left on the bedside table, lay back down, pulled up the covers to his neck and curled up to sleep next to his adopted father.
The dark haired alchemist awoke a few hours later, his stomach growling and his head pounding from lack of sleep and stress, the first thing he did was check on Edward who looked a lot better then he did last night. Roy sighed in relief and raked a hand through Ed's hair gently, then he frowned when he realized it was full of knots; the dark haired solider sighed and reached down for a small bag; he had called Riza as soon as he was in the hospital to tell her he wouldn't be coming into work, and the blonde haired women had kindly offered to gather up a few things for them both, one of those things happened to be Edward's hairbrush. Slowly Roy began undoing the tangles in the blonde's hair, with the brush, taking his time to get rid of all the knots, not knowing that Edward had already woken up and was enjoying the pampering his adopted father was giving him, he made sure the pretend to be relaxed, like he was still asleep as he felt the brush going through his hair.
Once Roy was finished and the blonde neko's hair was smooth and shiny again, he rummaged around in the bag for a hair tie then he set about braiding the blonde neko's hair; it was tricky because of the funny angle in which Edward slept so it was a little crooked but he managed it eventually and tied the end off with a hair tie and a red ribbon. Once he was finished he gently shook the blonde to wake him "Edward...Edward wake up..."
The blonde didn't want to move, but he knew he couldn't fake being asleep forever, so slowly he opened his eyes and looked at his adopted father sadly not bothering to try and get up he just stared at Roy while still lying on the bed. "Are you mad at me?" He asked softly; he really couldn't blame the older man if he was, after all he'd destroyed his automail and treated the older man like crap for the past few months. The dark haired man just stared at the young neko before he shook his head. The dark haired man reached over to the blonde gently he plucked Edward out of the bed and into his arms. The blonde flushed at the close contact and wanted to struggle, to get away but his guilt from how he'd treated the man earlier stopped him from doing so and he forced himself to relax as Roy's arms wrapped around him and the man buried his face in his hair.
"I could never be mad at you Edward" Roy murmured softly as he rocked the blonde child back and forth gently "You scare the hell out of me sometimes, but I could never get mad at you" the dark haired man whispered chuckling weakly as he did so "I'm not going to ask you what happened to your arm, You've been through enough and…I just don't want to know, all I care about is that you're okay"
Edward just nodded and remained silent, trying not to feel too comfortable in the man's arms, trying to deny he wanted more of the man's love and comfort which he offered unconditionally, but he couldn't, he was there feeling the dark haired solders warmth all around him, his arms holding him in place, but it was futile, he might have been in denial about this for a while, but he knew now, he didn't just have crush on this adopted father.
He was in love with him.
He knew this because whenever he saw the man he wanted nothing more than to make him happy, and his heart soared in his chest whenever Roy smiled at him and his face heated up when the man spoke, but more then that he felt as though his heart was breaking every time he tried to shut himself away from the man. All these emotions churned inside of him all the time and he just couldn't stop thinking about him, it was more than an infatuation Edward knew that but how was he supposed to tell the one person who had cared for him like a son, that he was in love with him?
Burying his face in Roy's chest he once again vowed to never let the man know how he really felt even if it meant hurting the man and avoiding him again, because that was better than the older man knowing the truth and hating him forever, so Edward would make sure his adopted father would never know of his true feelings. So with that vow in place the blonde child began bottling up every once of affection he had for Roy Mustang.
A couple of days after the incident with his automail, Edward was given a clean bill of health and discharged from the hospital, with a gentle note to take it easy for the next few days. After that things generally went back to normal, Edward was still avoiding Roy, but the dark haired alchemist had taken his best friends advice and given the blonde the space he obviously wanted, but after two weeks of Edward's behaviour and finding that it wasn't changing, Roy was beginning to think that perhaps this problem wasn't to do with him but maybe something at school, but because of the state alchemist assessment coming up, and due to him having a week's backlog of paperwork, he was working overtime and didn't have time to confront the blonde neko.
Edward meanwhile, continued avoiding Roy and secretly began practising the new skill the gate had given him in his secret room in the attic, whenever his adopted father wasn't around; he was relived to find that the gate had held up his end of the bargain and his alchemy skill worked the same way as his aunts. 'With this skill I'm sure to pass!' The blonde neko thought happily to himself. Once he was satisfied that he'd mastered his new skill to a certain degree he went back to reading up on alchemic theories and memorizing them, each one a possible array he could use in the exam.
Roy meanwhile didn't notice any of this whenever he can home he was often so exhausted from all the paperwork and errands he'd been forced to run that he often collapsed in bed still fully clothed and without eating. Feeling sorry for Roy on these occasions Edward would cover then man in a blanket and make the dark haired solider a packed lunch for tomorrow so the man wouldn't starve to death while at work.
As the state assessments drew nearer Edward began feeling more nervous about actually performing his alchemy in front of thousands of people that always came to watch the event, but the blonde neko was more nervous on what Roy would say when he found out; he wasn't naïve, he knew that his secret of participating in the exam would reach his adopted father sooner or later, after all he was the youngest participant in the history of the state, so Roy or any one of his subordinates were bound to find out.
To the blonde's surprise however, Roy didn't find out and if he did, he never mentioned it which was a good sign for Edward 'That means by the time he DOES find out it'll be to late, I'll have already realized my dream of being a state alchemist and it'll be too latte for him to stop me' Edward thought as he pretended to be packing his things for school; today was Sunday and Roy usually didn't work on this day but again he was working overtime so Edward had decided to pack everything he needed for the practical exam; chalk, (Just in case his ability fails him), three alchemy books (All so he could do some last minute revising) his lunch (he didn't know when he'd be up to take the test so it was in case he got hungry) and a small automail care kit (Just in case he messed up his arm again). Once he was packed he sat on his bed and twiddled his thumbs nervously; passing this exam meant everything to him, not only would he work alongside his adopted father (Even though he wanted to avoid the man, his goal hadn't changed) and he'd finally be granted access to the central headquarters library, where only alchemists are allowed to go.
The dark haired Lieutenant Colonel however had no idea what his adopted son had been plotting for the past two months, and on the morning of the exams he was still being pressed to finish as much of his paperwork and errands by a persistent Riza Hawkeye who constantly had her gun pointed level with his head then she had the gall to bark orders at him, but Roy wasn't complaining because doing errands meant being away from that gun for two minutes.
The dark hired man sighed as he leaned on the nearest wall in the hell way and rested for a moment, the past week had been busy non-stop; even Havoc hadn't had time to have a cigarette break and no one was allowed to slack off even being forced to do unpaid overtime to get rid of their backlog of paperwork. Roy was just thankful that he'd just finished his backlog and now his scary gun wielding Lieutenant would stop breathing down his neck; it's not that he disliked Riza or anything, but she was just too pushy and bossy for his tastes, especially since HE was of a higher rank than her!
Sighing, the dark haired alchemist pushed off the wall and headed over to Brigadier General Haruko's office; he was supposed to be delivering some report there, with a sigh he knocked on the door and waited for the order to come in; The Brigadier General was in his mid to late forties, he had tanned skin, dark eyes and the most ridiculous moustache Roy had ever seen, he knew that the older man didn't like him, he said outwardly that it was due to the fact the Roy was in competent and didn't deserve his promotions, but in truth the older man was jealous of him due to the fact he'd risen through the ranks so fast in his short career.
"Come in!" a deep voice barked and Roy opened the door he gave the man a quick salute as he entered before placing the file on the desk seen as the Brigadier General was in the middle of writing something "The reports you asked for sir" Roy said politely squashing down the urge to just burn the mans moustache off. Haruko looked up for a moment then at the report, before setting down his pen and picking it up, the General read the contents of the file for a moment before he nodded "Very well you may leave...oh and I hope you'll wish your son good luck from me"
Roy blinked frozen and confused at the man's words "Sir?" He questioned wondering what the hell the man was on about. The General looked back up at him and they both stared at each other for a moment before Haruko shot the younger man a condensing smirk "You mean you don't know Mustang? The news has been spreading around the whole base for the past two weeks! I can't believe YOU of all people don't know!"
Roy resisted the urge to snap his fingers and burn his commanding officer to a crisp, he took a deep breath, gritted his teeth and spoke in a tone of very forced calm "With all due respect sir, I've been too busy to listen to the latest gossip that's been hovering around headquarters, but I would like to know what it has to do with my son" the General leaned back in his chair with a sick smile of satisfaction on his face; he loathed Mustangs every being despite all the fraudulent rumours about him dating every women he saw (Which wasn't true) no one believed them due to the fact he had raised such a wonderfully polite and kind child by himself, who had been abused before and to many that was a kind thing to do, which made people side with him.
It was not the effect that Haruko wanted, he wanted to tarnish his reputation, so much so the man quit, as Roy Mustang had become a thorn in his side for too long, but he knew that the dark haired solider in front of him was the kind of man who wouldn't quit his job easily, not unless someone he cared about was in trouble. "Well it seems that your son, is going to take the state alchemy practical exam today"
Roy's eyes widened in shock; how could he have NOT known this? Why didn't anyone tell him Edward was going to do this "I...I had no idea sir..." The dark haired man stuttered out in shock, he saw Haruko smirk and if it were possible, he hated the man even more; The brigadier General had probably known about this for weeks and he'd said nothing to him. "When is he taking the exam?" he asked desperately; he needed to find Edward and stop him, the blonde neko was just a child, he didn't know the dangers of joining the military and becoming a state alchemist! There was always the risk of a full scale war with Drachma and if war did happen, Edward...Edward would be sent to the front lines despite his young age, the boy would be selling his soul without even realizing!
Haruko shook his head "I'm afraid I do not know that, but if you want to find him he'll be in the parade grounds with the other candidates" Haruko said with a smirk. Gritting his teeth once again Roy saluted turned and marched out of the office as fast as his legs would take him, as soon as he was out of the mans office he began running towards the parade grounds, knowing that back in the office Brigadier General Haruko was laughing at him.
Edward bit his lip nervously as he looked at the other state alchemist candidates; most of them were men in their mid-twenties and very few women, one women however was stood next to him; She was tall and a little muscular for a women, her dark red hair was tied up into a high ponytail and tied with a black ribbon and had a pair of black goggles resting on her head, she wore a red t-shirt and black jeans and a black leather jacket over the top, she also looked quite bored.
Suddenly she glanced at Edward who flushed at being caught and turned away hurriedly, but then looked back when he heard the girl chuckling in amusement "Nervous kid? Don't worry, everyone is the first time they take the exam" she said in confidant voice. The young neko blinked at her in surprise.
"Y-You've taken it before?" he asked gently peeing up at the tall women who nodded absently her eyes scanning the gathering crowd, who had come to see the candidates; it only happened twice a year and very few people were chosen to be state alchemists, you had to be the best of the best in order to pass.
"Yeah I specialize in water and ice alchemy and a took the test last year, the only reason I failed was because I lost control of my alchemy and injured another participant, but that's not going to happen this year, I've been studying and learning self control since last year so hopefully I'll pass...what about you kiddo? Why are you here? What's your skill?"
Edward blinked and bit his lip half in worry and half in forcing himself not to yell at her for calling him a kid (Even though he WAS a kid, Edward believed that 'kid' 'short') should he tell her about his new ability? It wasn't that he thought the woman was bad or anything, but he didn't want to cause a ruckus or draw attention to himself just yet. "Um I can use alchemy but clapping my hands...I don't need to draw circles" he whispered in a low voice so the other participants couldn't hear him. The women stared at him, a look of utter amazement clear on her face before she smiled a little. "That's amazing, not many people can do that let alone a boy your age, you'll pass easily, just don't lose your nerve ne?" The blonde neko blinked and nodded smiling back a little.
Suddenly there was the sounds of trumpets being blown and the Fuhrer, the most powerful man in the state, appeared on a raised stage; Edward had met him only once before, when he was being asked questions on why he wanted to be a state alchemist, which was a part of the written exam. "Welcome candidates! Today we will test your skills to see whether your worthy of becoming a state alchemist! When your name is called you will come forward and perform alchemy by using the materials available, I wish every one of you luck" Then with one final wave, the Fuhrer sat down in a large chair to watch the action, and a senior officer stepped forward a clip bored in his hand. "Elric, Edward step forward!"
The blonde jerked in surprise at his name being called first, he was so surprised that he didn't even move when his name was called, however the women he'd been speaking smiled and gave him a nudge forward "Go on kiddo, do your best" He blinked at her and nodded before taking a deep breath and walking through the other candidates and out into to the open area of the parade grounds. There was murmuring for several moments as the crowd stared at him in shock, but the blonde ignored it and walked over to the piles of materials that he needed, taking a deep breath and hoping his ability wouldn't fail him he clapped his hands.
Aniki- Means brother in Japanese; it is used between friends who consider themselves closer or as close as brothers.
Gomen Nasai tousan- roughly translated this means "I'm sorry dad"
Aaaand that's all for today! Ha I bet you thought there was going to be more didn't ya! Well tough I'd been struggling with this for months and I thought it was the perfect place to stop it! I hope you guys are happy with the update! Until next time!