This Is A Short Oneshot I Was Typing Throughout The Week. It Mainly Focuses On Roy And The Guilt He Feels After The Ishbalan War. It's Not All Angsty, The Ending Is Rather Sweet, If I Do Say So Myself. Just Think Of This As A Parental!Roy, Chibi!Ed Bonding Thing…Yanno?
I stared at my reflection in the mirror, and my reflection stared back. Why? Why were my eyes so dark and emotionless, like endless pools of ink? Why were my brows always knitted together in such an angry manner? Why was my mouth always arched in a disapproving frown? Why was my gaze always cast downwards?
Why was it so difficult for me to forget?
Why had I done those horrible things? Why had I committed such a terrible sin?
Why had I murdered?
I shut my eyes tight in an attempt to hide from the faces. The many faces of the people I had killed. So much blood shed, pouring from the lifeless bodies and pooling beneath my feet. I slowly turned the sink tap and listened to the sound of water pouring out. It was not a soothing sound. It was terrifying.
I cupped my hands beneath the clear liquid and raised them to my face. The tingling sensation of ice-cold water against my skin made me shudder. I let the water continue to run and watched it disappear into the drain. I wonder where it ends up.
I picked up the plug and stuck it in the drain. Instantly, the water began to rise, like an erupting volcano. Higher and higher it got, closer to the edges of the sink. The clear, icy liquid that was both my life and my death. My heart began to pump faster, I could hear it throbbing in my ear; a sure sign that I was feeling nervous.
A smile graced my lips, and I cautiously lowered my head into the water. I was seized by terror the moment my entire head was immersed. My body told me to run away; but my brain would not comply. I forced my eyes to open, and found myself staring into a vast, empty hole of white nothingness.
Is this what death is like? Living in an empty hole? Never seeing, never feeling…never living, never dying.
Just existing in nothing.
I finally ran out of breath and yanked my head out of the water. Gasping and coughing, I sucked in a large gulp of air and felt my lungs swell. My heart was racing rapidly. I felt both burning and freezing.
This was my punishment.
I shut off the tap and pulled out the plug. The water swirled down the drain and dissipated. I tried to keep my gaze on the remaining water, but I had to turn away.
Ironic, isn't it? The great Flame Alchemist has a fear of water.
I curled up on the couch, alone, freezing, hurting. My legs were drawn to my chest in an attempt to keep warm. My arms were wrapped tightly around my knees, with my head resting in between them. The water on my skin had long since evaporated, and yet liquid was still running down my face. Hot, salty liquid that coursed down my cheeks in little rivulets and burned my heart like acid.
The nightmares, the horribly gory dreams I had every night. Reliving the past, killing over and over again, watching the lives slip away. The red eyes glare at me, the voices hissing at me, reminding me of what I had done.
I regretted it. I regretted ever joining the Military. I regret agreeing to follow out the orders I was given. I should have known better. I should have listened to my heart.
The people I killed; the families I destroyed. Those red eyes, so full of fear, staring back at me, begging me to let them live. How could I have just disregarded them, and ended their lives without hesitation. Mothers, Fathers, Children…all of them were wasted because of me.
For so long I have held in this guilt, this sorrow. I have told no one of my regrets, nor of the overwhelming grief I feel. I hide it all behind my mask and bury it deep within myself. I have tried to escape from it, but it continues to haunt me and torture my soul. I have taken lives for no reason. I have killed several innocent people, just because someone told me to.
I am nothing more than a greedy, narcissistic, heartless bastard.
The padding of bare feet against the floor caught my attention. I stiffened, and quickly wiped my face on my sleeve. I couldn't –wouldn't- let him see. See that behind this hard, impassive mask was a broken man with a heart full of guilt.
The padding stopped, the near inaudible sound of quiet breathing was heard. I could almost feel the anticipation lurking within this individual. I wanted so badly to raise my head, to reassure this young person, to tell him that everything was alright, but I couldn't. I just couldn't.
It hurt too much.
"Woy…" the person spoke in a quiet, concerned tone. I clutched the loose material of my pants to refrain from weeping. The tears threatened to spill, but I couldn't let them fall in front of him. I had to hold myself together.
No, I had to be strong. I was a Colonel, a leader, a parent. I wouldn't let myself break. I slowly began to raise my head. It proved to be a grueling task; my brain felt like it was full of heavy concrete. My face was stiff from crying so much, and trying to force a smile onto my face turned out to be the most difficult thing I've ever done.
"Edward, why aren't you in bed?" I questioned the child. My voice was hoarse and emotionless, and every word felt like it was drenched in thick lead.
Edward must have heard the roughness in my voice, for he didn't reply. He must have sensed something was wrong. I cleared my throat and curved my neck to face him. I could barely make out his figure in the dimly lit room. I couldn't see his face, as it was cast downward. Why wouldn't he meet my gaze?
I ran my eyes over the outline of his body. His hair was tangled and messy, running down either side of his face in a way similar to that of a lions' mane. It really didn't suit him that way, it made him seem like a homely, forgotten child. When was the last time he'd brushed his hair? When was the last time I'd brushed his hair?
I unconsciously reached for a nearby table and fumbled around. My fingers grazed across the spiked top of a brush, and I grasped it tightly.
"Ed…come here, Edward." I summon the child in a gruff tone. Edward hesitated, and for a second I thought I saw a flash of fear in his nearly invisible eyes, though it was quick to pass. Ed timidly walked up to me, his gaze still lingering on the ground. I picked him up gently and drew him into my lap. His body tensed at the sudden contact, then soon relaxed in my grip.
Without a word, I began to tug the brush though his soft golden hair. Edward fidgeted uncomfortably in my lap. He didn't like having his hair brushed, I knew that. But at this moment I just needed something to distract myself.
Whenever it contrasted against a tangle, the brush made a sickening ripping sound. I winced in pain, staring down at the blonde strands curled around the brush. I waited for Ed to cry out in discomfort. He remained silent.
It was almost heartbreaking. I could feel the tears well up again. Why didn't he cry? Why did he ignore the pain? It should hurt! He should cry! He should tell me he's in pain, not ignore it! Why didn't he trust me?
"Woy…why are you crying?" Ed's voice was lowered to a dull whisper. He craned his neck around to face me; his amber eyes were full of distress. In the weak light they almost looked red.
I told myself to look away, to run away and hide behind my mask like I usually did. But this boy…this child…I could not hide from.
I tugged the brush from his hair and set it down. I hadn't gotten all the knots out, but it was noticeably tamer. My mouth opened and closed several times as I tried to think of a reply. I couldn't just tell this 3-year-old that I was a murderer. He was too young to understand about death.
"Edward," I began softly. "I…I have done very bad things in the past. Things that you wouldn't understand." My voice cracked slightly. I covered it with a cough.
Edward hung on to every word. His gaze was still glued to mine, it almost seemed like he was able to comprehend what I was saying.
"What kind of bad things?" he asked tentatively. I knew I shouldn't have responded. One wrong word could conceivably scar him for life. But the words just tumbled from my mouth like vomit.
"I-I hurt a lot of people." When I realized what I had said I snapped my mouth shut. Disappointment shone in Ed's brilliant eyes, and I turned away in shame. "I…I feel so dirty inside." I confessed, more to myself than to Ed.
My vision became blurred as the stinging tears returned. They ran freely down my cheeks in glistening trails. They felt so thick…why did they feel so thick? It felt like my eyes were bleeding.
I felt a small, warm hand brush against my face, taking the heavy tears with it. I tried to croak, "No Ed, don't stain your hands," but my throat was coated with sandpaper. Through blurred eyes I was able to see Ed staring down at his little hand, where stray tears had pooled in the middle of his palm. I couldn't read the expression on his face, but I assumed it was remorseful.
"I'm sorry!" I blurted suddenly. I wasn't apologizing to one person in particular, but to all the people I had slaughtered. Even though I knew a simple apology wasn't enough. I had sinned. I had murdered. Nothing I say can amount to the lives I took.
"It's ok, Woy." Ed reassured me in a soothing manner, albeit he probably hadn't the slightest clue what I was weeping about. That didn't matter to him; he knew I was upset and was providing me with as much comfort as he could offer. I wanted to express my gratitude to him, but my throat still felt strange, like it was layered with grit.
Instead, I hung my head in ignominy. This felt so wrong. I was the parent, it was my job to be strong and competent, and falling apart in front of Ed was a clear manifestation that I was unfit to be his guardian. It just wasn't right.
"I-I'm sorry Edward," I croaked, still refusing to meet Ed's gaze. "I shouldn't have told you that."
Edward gave no reply. He extended his little hand and ran his fingers through my hair, in a way that was reminiscent to the method I use when comforting him. Although his chubby fingers made my hair ruffled and knotted, it was very soothing. I leaned back against the couch and let the child's consolable actions ease my mind.
Eventually, Edward's fingers slipped from my hair and returned to his side. I was almost disappointed. I glanced at him out of the corner of my eye and scanned his features.
A look of pensiveness appeared on his face. He seemed to be contemplating something, meditating upon it in his mind. Finally, his mouth twitched slightly and his lips parted.
"You know what you need Woy?" he questioned me with an innocent tone. Strange, I was not expecting a question, especially one regarding me having to obtain something.
"What do I need?" I whispered back. To be honest, I had not a clue what he thought I needed. A small part of me hoped it wasn't something expensive.
"You need a hug." Ed's voice was so quiet it was barely audible. Without a seconds' hesitation, he stretched out and wrapped his arms around my chest, squeezing me tightly and burying his face in my shirt. I was mildly astonished. A hug from Edward was the last thing I had anticipated. Sure, he had changed a lot when he was reverted to a toddler, but inside he was still an impassive, unsentimental boy.
My tense body relaxed into his hug, and I clumsily returned it. How long had it been since I'd last hugged some one? How long had it been since I'd last received a hug? A long time, apparently.
He was so warm and comfy it eased all my troubles. My knotted stomach unwound and my aching heart melted. He fit so snugly in my arms, like a little blonde teddy bear. I never wanted to let go. I never wanted his grip on my garments to loosen.
He was right, I did need a hug.
I don't know how long we stayed in that position. All time ceased the moment I felt his arms around me. Did it really matter? I was happy, I felt whole. I wanted this feeling to last. I rest my chin in his head of golden locks and inhaled their sweet scent. My arms tightened around him slightly, begging him not to let go.
Edward muffled a yawn in my shirt. He shifted his head to one side and let out a content sigh, indicating that he too felt blissful. I chuckled into his hair, evoking small quivers from his figure. It was strange; how a child of only three years knew how to comfort a grown man. Especially since it was Edward Elric, and the comfort was a sentimental snuggle.
I slowly stood up from the couch, lifting Ed's small body with me. The movement didn't seem to affect him, conceivably because he was asleep. I cradled him in my arms like an infant as I steadily made my way into the bedroom he shared with Alphonse.
Though it was difficult to find in the dark, I managed to make out the outline of his bed. I cautiously bent over it and placed Ed's small form on the soft sheets. His fingers released themselves from my clothes and fell limply to his sides. One particular finger found its way to Ed's mouth, and he began quietly sucking on it.
I tugged his blankets up to his shoulders and ignored his thumb-sucking. Usually I would scold him for sucking on his thumb, as it would soon become an unconscious habit, but this time I let it pass. I knelt down by his bed and leaned my chin against the edge of the mattress.
I instinctively raised my hand and began gently stroking his silky hair. Watching Edward sleep was so hypnotizing I probably could have done it all night. It was mystifying, watching this perfect little creature sleep, I almost –almost- wished he was mine.
Sadly, that would never happen. I was just their temporary guardian. Once the Military discovered what had reverted them to this form, then reversed the effects they would be back to their normal selves, possibly without any memories of what had happened.
I sighed, rose to my feet and ambled toward the door. When I reached the door frame I halted and ran my hand across the smooth dry wall.
"Goodnight Edward," I whispered to the child. I knew I would receive no reply, so I exited the room and went to close the door. The moment my fingers came in contact with the cold brass knob I heard a voice whisper incoherently,
I smiled to myself. The memories may fade from the minds of the Elric brother's, but they would remain with me forever.
Everybody Say It With Me! Awwwwwww! I Hope It Didn't Give You Too Many Cavities. This Was Just A Quick Oneshot I Started Typing While Feeling Depressed, I Was Planning On Making It An Angsty Fanfic, But It Soon Turned Into A Fluff-Infested Candy-Shop-Of-A-Oneshot. I Find It Hard To Believe That I Actually Wrote It, I'm Usually Not Good At Angsty Fanfics. I Hope You Enjoyed It! (Note: Where The Hell Is Alphonse?)