Author: Seraphim grace
Feedback: Always appreciated and replied to.
Full Metal Alchemist
Warnings: Manga! verse
Spoilers: not deliberately
Edward Elric had never seen the sea. Whenever he knocked on the door of Roy Mustang's house in the hours between dawn and midnight it was a photograph of the Xingian Ocean he stared at.
It had started nearly a year after he had first appeared in Central. Roy had been reading late at night, he had curled himself up in a chair in front of his fire reading a book he had borrowed from Fuery. He had meant to put it down hours ago but it had caught his attention and his chair was warm and he hadn't lifted his whiskey in hours. He was going to be grumpy at work tomorrow but he was sure that Hawkeye could cover for him. He was quite content reading a rather trashy novel when he heard the most tremulous knock on the door. The first time he had been unsure he had heard it; he lifted his head from the amazing adventures of Lady Phedre, the Rose Alchemist to listen better. It was raining quite heavily so he shrugged it down to the weather and returned to the fictional alchemist who was saving East City all on her own with nothing but a string of rubber, a pair of sizeable bosoms and her own wits.
The knocking came again. It was definitely someone using the knocker.
With a muttered curse he climbed out of the chair, downed the last of his whiskey and went to shout at who ever dared to knock on his door at, he squinted at the clock, half past one in the morning.
Edward Elric stood on the welcome mat, soaked through to the skin and looking much younger than his thirteen years. Hawkeye always managed to surreptitiously make sure that the Elric boys were in the dormitories when they were in East city. "Colonel," Edward said and he sounded like he would fly apart, "I."
That was all he had to say.
Roy completely understood, he ushered the boy inside without saying anything. He fetched a towel from the linen closet and when he went back to the living room Edward stood in front of the photo of the Xingian Sea. It was a sepia coloured daguerreotype that had been taken by his grand father before the war.
Roy dropped the towel on the boy's head and began to rub the water from his hair. "I," Edward started again; "I," and then he threw his arms about Roy's waist and started to sob.
Roy didn't know what else to do so he guided him back into the chair by moving backwards and sat down pulling Edward with him. The boy was heavier than he looked and gathered him unto his knee. Edward balled his fists into Roy's shirts and just cried and cried and cried. He could not help him, he didn't know what else to do, so he just stroked his hair and let the boy weep. His instinctive reaction was to phone Hawkeye, to phone anyone, but he knew he was privileged that the arrogant and brave boy had chosen him to shelter him when he shattered.
Roy called in sick the next morning. Edward was as malleable as a toy walking where Roy pushed him, standing in the shower until the water was cold, he had said nothing, just sobbed. He had fallen asleep on Roy's lap and had not stirred when Roy laid him out on the sofa with a blanket over him
He handed Edward tea and not coffee but he stared at the bacon sandwich in front of him as if it might bite him back if he tried to eat it. After a long period of silence in which Edward sipped the milky tea that Roy had given him and seemed to pull himself back to himself.
He stood up, pouring himself more tea but although he added more sugar he did not pour in any more milk. In part Roy had poured it in to see if Edward would notice, and in part because he had heard that it helped calm people who were upset. Then he walked to the picture of the sea that hung on the wall. He stared into it as if it contained the mysteries of the philosopher's stone..
"Hawkeye said I could trust you." Edward said, "she said that," Edward stopped, "she said that," He sounded like he would sob again, "she said that I could trust you to lead me and to protect me."
"I'm glad you thought of me, I assume you didn't want Al to see you cry."
Edward whirled his golden hair standing almost to attention, "no, and don't you tell him either, he thinks I'm at the library, if you tell him, bastard colonel, I'll, I'll, I'll, I'll fucking kill you."
Roy smiled, "that sounds more like you."
"Well," Edward said putting down his tea, "you give me this slop, it's the fucking worst tasting coffee I've ever had in my life, and the bacon in that sandwich looks more like charcoal, makes me wonder why I bothered to come across East City to see you." He brayed a laugh but it sounded forced.
"It can't be my good looks and charm to have such a small reaction on you."
"Who are you calling so small that they can't cross a city on their own at night?"
Roy just looked at him and smiled, "I'm glad you're feeling more like yourself now, Fullmetal, It's good to have you back."
Edward puffed up his chest and jutted out his chin, then for a moment he was a fragile twelve year old boy again, "that picture," he said, "is that the sea?"
Roy nodded, "my grandfather was an ambassador in Xing," he told him, "it's he Xingian coast. It's beautiful isn't it?"
Ed nodded, "I hope I can see it someday."
"When I'm Fuhrer I'll make it my second order that all the people under my command can travel to that Xingian coastline."
Edward looked to him very young as he switched between expectation and then confusion, "what's the first order?"
"That the women must wear miniskirts all the time."
Edward's laugh to that at least sounded honest.
It became a sort of ritual between them that for at least one night whilst Edward was in base he would knock on his door and throw his arms around Mustang and just cry. He cried like he was falling apart and only Roy's arms about him were keeping him together. The next morning they would not speak of it, Roy would feed him and give him coffee and then they would have a blazing row and Roy would return to being the bastard colonel.
It suited them. He could even sometimes predict that knock on the door because he would hear that Ed had been involved in this and he learnt very quickly that the fact that he could breakdown with Roy gave him the strength to do the things that he did.