All right, this is Greed's little fic from me. I'm terrible at writing, and the reason they're out so early is that I hoped to finish them by Christmas, but...I know I won't so...ah well. Greed likes Ed Kitty, and uke Ed at that, so...I came up with this. xD I was in the mood for eyepatch Roy and a christmassy theme. So...here.
White. A seemingly endless expanse of white, glistening snow that, well, went on forever, a scene that one could become used to quickly, but still have the surprise of seeing the newly fallen foot of snow out of the dusty window. The skies were gray, snow falling in amazing waves. It was difficult to see a foot in front of you, trails being covered the moment you took your next step. The winds blew harshly, turning skin pink, no matter the color, and biting at those not wearing the proper coverings. Ruthless. The cold town, just a bit south of the Drachma border was small, quiet, and the seemingly perfect spot for that time of year. Christmas was a beautiful time to celebrate, children out running, older kids throwing snowballs, families out building snowmen, dogs and their owners romping through the fluffy ice that melted upon heated things instantaneously.
His job in it all? To make sure they remained safe. It had been what, ten years since he had been sent away, and the job hadn't changed. He enjoyed the job, as much as one could, despite the conditions. The people in this Christmassy town were wonderful, and though they decorated much too early, for his tastes at least, about two months early to be exact, he didn't mind. Invitations came from all sides…they knew he lived alone, and had for quite some time. He politely refused, saying that he would go home for the holidays. It wasn't a lie; he did go back to Central…he just…spent it at gravesites, rather than friends or family. The people he wanted to be with were dead. He wouldn't impose his meaningless existence on the living.
Releasing the hand of a small girl with pigtails, who, despite the fact that her hair was white, reminded him of darling little Elysia Hughes back in Central, watching her run up to her mother who grinned and waved her thanks. "Thank you again! I don't know why I just don't go and get her anymore."
"If you do that, she might just find a new place to hide. Don't fear to call me, it is fine." He answered with a brief grin, waving a hand clothed in black rather than white that was usual. Dressed in his blue uniform, covered in a long brown parka, the fluff around the hood tickling his chin, he continued on his way, a small grin lifting his pale lips at the little girl's calls to come play again sometime. A single obsidian eye glanced down at the snow covered ground, the pure sight of it making the grin fade away. Two months, and his heart longed to go see those graves again. It was about the only time he could get enough vacation to go all the way to Central.
The little kids didn't seem to mind him so much, and the older kids didn't mess with him, hearing the rumors and tales that he had been quite a few things back in the past before he had gotten switched way up there. Because of the eye patch, many thought he had been a pirate, though he wasn't quite sure they still existed, if they even had to begin with, or that he had cut his eye out himself to make himself look tougher. Actually, few had guessed the truth: that it had happened the night that the Fuhrer's life had been taken.
He chuckled at the other stories he had heard pop up in the years that he had been there. He couldn't complain; it wasn't all bad. He was doing what he wanted to do, do what he could for his country, even if it meant never being Fuhrer. He had killed the bastard manipulating innocent thinking men and women into following his lead and killing people all for his selfish purposes for the Philosopher's Stone. He would be the first to admit he was not innocent in it all, but he hadn't been completely at fault. Again, he was running himself in circles. It no longer mattered…it was in the past, when he had to rewrite his future along a different, less obscured path.
It wasn't all that long ago that he had decided for a trim, having cut his hair as it started to block his vision. However, that was three years ago, and his hair was growing out again, bangs in his eye, brushing against the bulky eye patch, and contrasting his pale skin. "Good afternoon, Officer Mustang!" greeted the shop owner as he approached. "Your two week rations have arrived. Would you like a ride back home, tonight?"
Roy grinned weakly, nodding his head. Their happy faces never seemed to amaze him. The way they could smile, no matter what was going on…how could their hearts remain so strong with such barren conditions, with the pain that surrounded them, not crumbling when it seemed to be hopeless…? He didn't have such strength to continue on after he lost it all. He merely continued with his life where he had been told without question. The others hadn't even known until Fuery had searched him down, catching his report over the radio with the Northern command center on the border of Drachma with…Lieutenant General Armstrong, a frightening woman, to be sure.
"All right. We'll be leaving in three hours, around four. Care to be ready by then? They say there's a storm coming in that'll last a few days. You might want to stay in town; I doubt you could make the trip here on your own, each day." The owner said, clearing the path to his shop again for the third time that hour. Why don't you have some stew? My wife made a big batch; we'll wrap some up to take home with you tonight."
A plump woman came out, carrying some bread with her, probably for her neighbor. Roy recognized her to be the gentleman's wife, the woman constantly cooking 'too much' and shoving it off on just about anyone she could find who looked thinner than her. Her favorite target was Roy…"There you are, Mr. Roy!" She said, as if she was planning on going out to search for him. He sighed, preparing for the daily ritual of being poked and prodded; judging whether he had been eating properly or not, and planning twice a week visits to make sure that the military was providing adequate nutrition for their favorite corporal. "You really do need to eat more. You're skin and bones! You aren't like these young'uns, here. Though, just between you and me, for a thirty year old man, you look young enough to be my son."
The owner coughed behind his wife, while Roy stepped away from the woman. "I'm forty-two, ma'am, and really, I should get back on my patrol." She stuffed a loaf of bread into his arms before he could protest. "At least eat that. I'll make you a pot of stew to take home with you; those people at the command center don't give you enough to eat." She said firmly, turning away and marching towards her neighbors. While he really did want to throw it back at her and scold her for interfering in his life, he politely took it, a grin in place and waved, with a promise to be back at four for a ride home.
The snow was cold, biting, uninviting. However, the protest could not escape him, sitting in that box far off. In that dark alley that seemed to be colder, shadowed from the sun by the buildings on both sides, no heat able to reach him in such a spot, the wind seemed to swirl by, cool his body even more…he couldn't stand it, none at all. The box he sat in didn't provide much more shelter or heat than the clothing he wore. Attempting to hide away from the cold only made it worse.
People passed, without a word. Children ran by, not noticing the ears poking up from the wooden crate that he had taken as his refuge and bed, lined with a thin blanket, probably there when he had been tossed from his home. He couldn't remember…it made no sense. The sore muscles on is body, the dried blood through his clothing…he remembered the man who had him before, the cruel bastard who had broken him…
The honey colored ears upon his head twitched, hearing the laughing, and the bells, and the voices carrying through the air. His nose sniffed at the air at the delicious smells, wafting through the air…beautiful pies, breads, meats…anything that made a scent seemed wonderful and, to his empty stomach, anything that he could, would suffice. Groaning softly at the loud rumble, stomach just about eating itself without having any food for three days, using snow for water, he fell back in his box, honey tail, laying beside him, energy drained from waiting for someone to drop something to pounce on, anything, even a small scrap of food.
Clothed in a simple black shirt that was too big for his body, drenched from the snow, his body shivering from the cold and the wet garment he had been forced to wear. There were reasons he could not leave him box. The snow was cold, dammit, and he was only going to risk stepping in it. Two, he couldn't be seen. If someone saw him, who knew what they would do? He didn't want to be hurt anymore…he just wanted food and a nice fire to sleep by. And…the last reason was…he was missing his right arm and left leg. There wasn't much that could be done with only two limbs.
He whimpered, curling up. His missing limbs hurt in the cold, despite the fact that they weren't there. It couldn't be helped, it just bothered him. Phantom limb…or something or other. He didn't know. He didn't care. He just liked the fact that he was away from the bastard who seemed to find some strange enjoyment out of the fact that he was helpless. He didn't like to be helpless…he was independent, but humans were cruel creatures, fearing what they did not understand, and just because they had the power, they did as they pleased. Things had been learned quickly enough, but painfully so as well. If anything, he despised anything that had ears on the sides of their heads and tailless.
He rolled over in his crate, curled up into a rather uncomfortable ball, the blanket draped over his small body. If death was going to come…he wanted it to come now. He was tired, tired of fighting, tired of living, tired…of the world…
He sighed softly, waving to the elderly woman who just slapped a box of cookies into his arms for helping her carry her groceries home. Of course, this really was how he survived the long, cold, harsh days since he moved up there, on the donations from women of all ages and sizes, giving him goods to eat to 'lift his spirits'. He didn't see need for concern, but, perhaps the happy little people who seemed to have no fears or cares saw just how low he had fallen, how sad he felt, how much he had failed…"Thank you, Mrs. Thorton. I'll eat them all, I promise." He didn't like sweets much, but the woman would have his head if he didn't. Old ladies could be quite frightening when they thought you needed to fatten up…
The woman waved, apologizing for taking him of his duty of protecting the citizens. Not that there was a lot. An occasional robbery, in which he'd shoot the thief in the leg and be done with it, that was about all these people had trouble with. Cars were scarce, using dog sleds for deliveries. He preferred sleds though, they were pleasant, and the train didn't come through that area, meaning you walked, found a rare truck, or went by horse or sled. There weren't a whole lot of options, like in Central, and the closest town, this one being a twenty minute sled ride from his shack, was another hour by sled, which was where the train stopped. You had to be insane to come out that way…
He grinned at little Julie who rain by, throwing a snowball in the street in defeat while her friend, a young man named John, who Roy secretly thought liked the girl chased her, the two of them enjoying the wonderful, fresh snow that had fallen. The skies were growing dark, however, and it was a sign that the storm was moving in. Hardly in the mood to deal with the snow coming in, he picked up his pace. He was going to be late as it was, with Mrs. Thorton's late run to the market for her nephew's visit.
"Mister!" Julie stopped point to a crate that had tipped over, a lump moving inside as John pelted it with snowballs. "It's a big rat! Kill it!"
Roy raised a brow, turning around and walking towards the crate, a blonde head poking out of the blankets and hissing at the two children. At first, Roy had no idea what to except, but at the sight of its clothes, his gaze softened from a concentrated glare. "Go home before the storm hits. John, quit pelting it with snowballs. Home." At the disappointed groans from the two children, who seemed to want him to kill it, which…was really morbid thinking for little eight year olds, he removed his coat, and set the tin of cookies in the snow. "Come here…"
The blonde continued to growl, dimmed golden eyes glaring weakly at the man with one eye. He had scared those brats away, he didn't /seem/ harmful. But instincts told him to fight back, whether he was posed with a threat or not, scared to the point of shaking…to the point of forgetting the cold.
Roy opened the tin, pulling out a cookie that he would feel better giving to the other. He recognized it. He didn't have to study alchemy everyday to know what the creature in front of him was, and…looking into those golden eyes, he could see a familiar flame that lit up, the missing extremities…"Here. You look hungry."
The small one tilted his head, sniffing at the freshly baked cookies, and rather eager to leap at them. However, he couldn't help but think that the man was out to get him, offering such a savory treat, trying to lure him into a trap. But…his stomach protested. He needed sustenance, and it was being offered to him, freely, without him stealing it for his own purposes. After another moment of fighting with himself, he dragged himself over, and sniffed at the cookie, inspecting every inch of it for foreign smells, other than the man's own distinct scent. His tongue flicked out, tasting the cookie before he snatched it away and began nibbling quickly, eyeing his savior.
"You look cold…let me take you to a nice place to warm up."
At the mention of going with him, he dropped what remained of the cookie and inched away, but Roy scooped him up before he got far, wrapping him in his parka. "Rose would kill me if she saw me leave you out here…and somehow, she always knows." Not that he had seen his red-headed niece in…ten years. He clawed at the coat, trying to free himself, though his sharp claws did not penetrate with is half hearted attempts, and finally, he settled into the warmth. In spite of the fact that he was tired, and realizing it as he clung to the warm and another cookie the man gave him, he stared up at him, unable to ask if he was cold as well, he could see the repressed shiver. His uniform looked heavy, but the snow was coming, and the wind had picked up.
"We should go." He replied with a faint grin, lifting the tin and holding the small boy to his body, giving his body heat to the youth while picking up his pace.
"There you are, Officer. We were beginning to think you got distracted." The owner said with a wide grin, loading the last of Roy's supplies on the sleds that were going to his place, driven by him and his son. "You got a guest?"
"It's all right. I suppose I've always wanted a kitten to take home with me. It does get rather lonely there by myself." Roy answered, holding the kitten tighter as he felt it tense. "You don't mind, Johnston, do you?"
"Of course not, dearie, you need a companion. You should find yourself a decent wife though." Mrs. Johnston answered, setting a pot down and giving him a blanket. "There's your stew. And take care of your kitten. He might like some stew, you know. Take care you three!"
The men waved her back inside as the snow began falling at a much harder pace, the drivers of the sleds cursing the early snowfall with a rather annoyed glare at the heavens. Wasting no more time, with Roy and his things in place, they took off at a quick pace, beginning the twenty-minute journey towards the man's shack.
The ride was smooth, quiet, except for the barks of the dogs and the wind hollowing around them as the sped away from the town, blowing his raven locks. He was cold. Freezing, really. But, a quick glance at the sleeping bundle in his arms reminded him of what he gave up. I've changed…He had, for the better he thought. He didn't use alchemy, he spent his days repenting his sins…he deserved the way things had come out, and putting all the bad bits aside, he…was content.
"Here we are!" Mr. Johnston pointed out, waving to the approaching shack, almost blotted out by the heavy snowfall. "Come on, let's hurry up and unload." He told his partner, desire to get back before they hit the worst of the storm coming out in the urgency he added to his tone. Roy climbed from the sled, prodding the kitten in his arms awake. "This is home. This is where you will find me if you get lost." He told him, glancing down into the bleary eyes, his paw coming up to rub at them. "Welcome home, Ed…"