Island Unto

S J Smith

Disclaimer: No and no and no again; but sometimes, I wish.

Rating: T for implications, though there's absolutely nothing graphic.

Summary: "No man is an island unto himself."

Spoilers: Futurefic. If you know what happened in chapter 15 of the manga and "that episode with Hughes!" in the anime, you'll be good.

Written for the fmaot4 winter challenge, with the prompts: "pine cone" and "One can hear the falling snow."

…like I used 'em. eyeroll

The wind toyed with his hair as he made his way along the path. Gravel crunched beneath his shoes, the quartzite gleam of it enough, with the chill in the air, to remind him of snow. He lowered his head against the cold as he made his way up the slow incline. Surprise trickled in at the sight that someone had arrived before him; a trio of two young men and a girl; another of two women and a child.

Roy Mustang unconsciously squared his shoulders, raised his chin. The flowers tucked into the crook of his arm bled their scarlet in the cold air and, along with the offerings already made, he laid them before the headstone of his best friend.

Stone is cold, like ice, and slick and leaves no impression of the one who inspired the marker to be raised, just carvings of letters and numbers that make up a name, a date, the vaguest of memorials and Roy's hands clenched inside the pockets of his heavy overcoat. The words came out in a plume of air, a bare whisper that did nothing to thaw him, "Damn it, Maes, you were supposed to help me with this." Maes' promises tumbled in his memories, heady words spoken in the heat of the moment and again, in a long low murmur against Roy's own skin and Roy shuddered, throwing his head back to stare at the grey sky overhead.

"He should be here."

Not bothering to meet the young man's eyes, Roy almost smiled at the tone of Fullmetal's voice. "He should." He could just hear the familiar buzz of Maes' voice, the companionable arm slung around his shoulder, the noise resolving itself into, "Tell him, Roy," and because he could never, truly, refuse Maes anything, Roy took a breath, holding it in his lungs until the air warmed and said, "Maes would be proud of you, Edward."

His head jerked around, topaz eyes studying Roy closely, as if waiting for a joke at his own expense. When none seemed forthcoming, Edward's chin tilted down, his brows knitting together.

"You've done what you've sworn to do." Roy nodded towards the youth kneeling on the short spiky grass, his arm around Elicia's waist as she told him about her father. Beyond Alphonse and Elicia, Roy could see that promise in Winry's eyes as she glanced towards Edward, a vow he recognized in the expressions of the two women standing behind her. "That would make him very proud of his son."

Giving the astonished young man a smile, Roy patted Edward's shoulder. Dropping to his knee, he opened his arms and Elicia sped to him, flinging herself against his chest. Roy swung her up into the air as the first snowflakes fell, her giggles ringing in the cold air like silvery bells.

"I think he'd be proud of you, too." Edward raised his voice to carry over Elicia's laughter.

The stars on his shoulders made Roy think that Edward could be right.