There were lots of things no one ever really knew about Hughes. Only two people knew Hughes had insomnia, and more often then not he'd work the night away. Not many people knew Hughes was allergic to most common pain medicines, or that he'd been medicated bad depression as a teenager. More people knew Hughes parents were both dead, but that number was still in the single digits. Only two people knew that Hughes had refused three promotions to Colonel, and those two people were Roy Mustang, and Gracia Hughes.
Roy Mustang hated it when people came to funerals when they didn't know the person who died. Oh, all the people knew OF Lieutenant Colonel Maes Hughes. He was a man in intelligence that was obsessed with his wife and child, and most of them knew that Hughes and Roy were friends. How good of friends they couldn't say..
For the first half of the ceremony Roy was furious with the people who came because they'd only heard of Hughes. He was furious with the people who had looked at the sky that morning and wondered if they'd wanted to stand out in the weather for an undoubtedly long ceremony for a man they didn't know. He hated the people who were wondering when this would end, and what they would have for lunch afterwards. He was madder with them than he was himself for letting Hughes get killed. He hated them more then the tight, choked feel of the bottled up sobs in his throat.
Slowly the fury wound down, and Roy began to feel pail and sick. His face and hands got cold, and his stomach twisted into a knot. He was standing in front of his friends casket feeling angry and hurt, when he should be feeling something else. What he should be feeling, Roy wasn't sure, but hate might not be it. He was hard pressed to keep his official military pose, and his eyes kept stinging.
The man began listing off Hughes's rank, and the fact he'd left a wife and daughter behind. Roy glanced sideways at Gracia and Elicia. Gracia's face as a mix of sorrow, and somehow pride. She, who knew Hughes almost as well (maybe better) than Roy did, was being comforted by the burial of Hughes. Perhaps she was even comforted by the people who had shown up because they knew of Hughes. Roy fought the urge to let his hands contract into fists. Why wasn't he taking comfort from these things?
Shouldn't he be glad Hughes hadn't disappeared, only to be found in a canal a few months later? Shouldn't he be glad Hughes hadn't died in a war, where his body might never have been recovered? Shouldn't he be glad Hughes death wasn't painful, as they had always joked it would be? The thought of those jokes made Roy even sicker.
Now the people were lowering the casket into the ground. Roy heard Elicia asking why they were burying her daddy. His heart clenched along with his throat as her piping voice told the people around her her daddy needed to go to work.
Roy almost laughed, but that would also break his formal military pose. Hughes had probably told her a beautiful fantasy story about his work place. He'd be a Knight working to restore order to a place that had none. Roy would be his brave commander who the people loved. Elicia, of course, would have been a princess who granted Hughes the strength he needed to do his work, and Gracia would be the queen who took care of them all. He could here Elicia asking why Hughes wasn't a king if her mommy and she were a queen and princess. Hughes would laugh and say he didn't need to be king when he had them with him.
Elicia was crying now, and Roy had an ever harder time keeping himself still and composed. Part of his was screaming like a child, and curling in on itself in grief. How could Hughes be gone? How could Maes Hughes, his best friend, his most trusted companion, his brother in everything but blood, be dead? How could he be gone? How? How? HOW?!
Roy bit the inside of his cheek hard enough to draw blood, and he knew his shoulders were visibly trembling. He didn't care as much as he should have. He made an odd choked noise, almost like he was clearing his throat. He watched straight ahead of him, and didn't even see as the people buried the casket.
Roy's entire body was taught with grief. He knew, he knew he'd seen the very last of his friend, he knew there would be no more trivial phone calls, no more pictures to share, and no more late nights to talk about everything and anything that had Roy down. There would be no replacing Hughes either. There was no way anyone else could do all the things Hughes had done for Roy. No one else would do. Roy would never allow anyone to get as close to him as Hughes had, because he couldn't protect them like he thought he could, and it hurt too much too lose them.