We had actually made a significant profit, despite the old man protesting that his imported chewing tobacco should have been fifty five cents cheaper due to an advertisement. To my humiliation, Al was the one to deal with said difficult customer. I had been sorely tempted to beat the crap out of the fart adorned with a mouldy fishing hat. But, like always, Alphonse pulled me away from such an embarrassing situation and plopped me back to the till to count cash. This, by the record of my post-it-notes, I had to re-do five times.
Hey, you try counting out various bills with obscene comments blurring your head each time you passed a hundred.
"It's my snuff dammit, and I'll pay up for it in exactly $6.35, I saw it in the paper."
"Sir, that flyer was not for this establishment. We've been trying to tell you that-"
"Mine, ya hear? I don't feel it right to give to such young kids like yourselves an extra amount. Ain't right to try and cheat paying customers out of house and home, son. $6.90! Kids these days…"
I sighed, baring my teeth warningly, "Hey! Grandpa! Stop being a stingy old man and pay up. We provide the goods, and you people give us money."
His long bearded face whipped over to mine and he snarled, cigar nearly falling out of the protruding crack of his covered lips. "And I especially ain't ready to give that whining toddler over there anything! What are you boy, six?"
'That's right buster, you keep smoking that damn pouch of rolled leaves, just wait till it burns up enough to start your overloaded facial hair on fire.'
Grinning at my daytime fantasies, though weakening slightly at Al's glare, I smartly shut up and let him deal with it.
After all, Roy had graciously mentioned to me that if I was to voice such… offensive thoughts to customers, I would likely be out of business very quickly.
And if there's one thing I'll give Al that I don't myself, it's his abundance in patience. I don't know where he gets it.
"How about this? You pay what we've asked, and I'll include this," Al stated while holding up sparkly neon bait shaped as a worm.
The glint of golden sparkles seemed to calm the codger, before he grumbled about sneaky salesman's deals and snatched the item, handed over the money, leaving on his way. A small portion of chewy substance already breached his mouth.
I cried out in triumph, "Three hundred and sixty eight! Fucking finally…"
My brother sighed at my enthusiastic cursing and proceeded to tally up the inventory, since closing time was fast approaching.
Luckily, my part of the day was already complete, and Roy would be coming soon, so I could kick back on the barstool and watch Al doing physical labour.
Roy reenlisted two weeks ago, and has now returned to his old position of an officer. From what I'd heard out of Hughes after the fact, their jurisdiction was exceedingly happy to have such a capable man back.
That left his store in thin air.
There was no way he could have his job and tend to manage the building. And he'd said he couldn't just sell it.
So, after much persuasion and pestering on his part to myself, I accepted the role of Manager. Of course, I'd hired Al (who was job hunting) to work with me.
Talk about responsibility.
No longer could I sleep until noon, nor do whatever the hell I pleased.
Mustang's words were, and I quote, "Now remember, you are a responsible adult. And if you can't live up to that then for the sake of your pride please try to at least act like one."
A certain word jarred me, nearly knocking the wind out of me. But, for the sake of moving on, I made no visual signs of my discomfort.
And besides, who the hell was he to talk?
I've gone into the place where he is supposed to be working.
Lazing around on his ass better fits what he gets paid to do. I hate to think how bad it would get around there were it not for a certain sniper circling through the building.
When I had seen the harness underneath Hawkeye's jacket and made a comment of it, she smiled dryly. "You have to be prepared when working with children like these."
Obviously, I was not making the connection between a gun and misbehaviour. Though once I heard shots fired from Havoc's desk area, I bolted to the washroom in a sudden understanding.
And if she had Roy that well trained too, well, let's just say I considered getting one myself. Only to torture him upon impulse of course.
Alphonse slipped his light jacket on; cold fall weather was slowly approaching, prepared to leave.
But, he halted while walking past where I was and awkwardly came to stand in front of me.
"What's the matter Al?"
I wish I could've taped the look on his face with some picture or camcorder when I'd come home and simply said 'Hello' to him.
The price is right? Yeah, I'd say that to see Roy's, Al's and even my Father's expressions to my speaking were very regardful for the pain surgery took.
All I can do is thank someone that Marcoh was a smart enough man to realize that some of the vocal cords had been damaged, but not all. Also, according to him, my voice box was fine, hence the reason I previously could growl, moan or sigh.
Mustang however, gave the best reaction by far. Unfortunately, it didn't come any farther than a hot make out session, it never did.
Twirling his thumbs nervously Al refused to meet my gaze. "I need your advice on something, Brother."
Advice? Well, I wasn't a philosopher, but I damn well could try.
"How do you kiss a person?"
I blinked disbelievingly.
Was he actually serious?
"Ah… Well-I… Why are you asking me?"
"Who was I supposed to ask, Dad perhaps?"
"I'm sure he did that with Mom, Al. Didn't you pay attention in Health class when they spoke of the birds and bees? Surely you know that people who do that usually-"
He blushed beet red, "I know that!"
I outright laughed at his embarrassment; it was just all too fun to tease one's baby brother.
Though, they say to fight fire with fire…
"I'm asking you because you must've done those things with Roy."
I believe I pulled a gold fish act while trying to catch up to my brain. Since when had my innocent sibling turned so observant?
Though, I did move out of our house and into Roy's. So that may have been some indication, but still…
And we hadn't even done anything worth mentioning. (Not that I talk about my sex life with Al or anything.)
Nervously I laughed, "W-We do. But, why are you asking in the first place?"
His determined gaze fell to the floor and I already knew the unspoken answer to my query.
"It's Winry isn't it?-"
Al shuffled his feet nervously.
"-Aww! Alphonse has got himself a little girlfriend. Took you long enough… Or wait, maybe you're gonna seduce her to make yourselves a couple. While that is a brilliant plan Al, but make sure you don't make her feel like a slut."
"I'm just saying. Females are sensitive you know? No need to give her a reason to beat the pulp out of you."
Suddenly, he desperately grasped my shoulders and shook me roughly, "Brother! You don't think if I ask her she'll reject me, do you?" Fear shone through his eyes, less bright than the panic.
"I can't breathe Al," He loosened his iron grip, "And no -don't be an idiot- she's had a crush on you practically from toddler hood. Just do what feels natural and it'll come to you."
With a new sense of determination and vigour he left through the door, small bell ringing alertly, as he whispered a chant of what I'd told him.
I chuckled again.
As usual, Roy arrived late, leaving me to gaze at one of Al's Wildlife magazines, and as much as I enjoy Bio related facts, learning how a hyena acquires prey was not what I would have preferred to doing on my time off.
Thus, the reason why I was glaring at him from my position on the chair at his house.
My method was simple: act like I couldn't talk when I was angry at him.
And damn did it work!
"Look, I really am sorry! I got overloaded with work and had to stay to finish."
Forgetting my earlier thoughts of silence I hissed, "If you didn't procrastinate everything to the last minute then this wouldn't happen. Don't you think two and a half hours is a little long to wait in a store Mr. Mustang? When one's shift ends at seven?"
He nodded, and disregarded everything I'd said (otherwise he would have argued against his work habits), grabbed me by my waist, lifted me across the coffee table and onto his lap.
I hate how being short makes me light.
The bastard even equipped himself with the nerve to begin nuzzling my neck.
I'll admit the sensations nearly made me lose all sense I'd had. And that I was leaning into the ministrations. But a particularly sharp bite snapped me out of it.
"Cut it out Roy! I'm trying to make a point!"
Really, what good was a lecture/argument when the subject was not even paying attention?
He continued to ignore me.
I pushed against his chest that he'd some how managed to turn me facing against and threw an icy glare at him.
"I'll make it up to you."
When he picked up where he left off, I just let it go.
Though, through our heated exchange, Roy lightly pushed me down onto the couch and leaned on top of me.
A warning went off somewhere that I ignored.
His hand drifted past my (now exposed) chest and to the loose drawstring holding his borrowed sweats onto my much smaller frame.
The warning morphed into a scream.
I roughly shoved him back up and scrambled away to the other end of the couch
Fighting to control my rapid breathing, I gripped the pillow underneath my arm and gasped harshly.
That was the furthest we had ever gotten.
And apparently, Mustang didn't like it one bit.
"Alright Ed, I'll bite. What is with you?" I refused to attempt to respond. "I mean, I can understand you being a little nervous. But you should know that I'd never intentionally hurt you." I nodded numbly. "Then why the hell do you panic like that, every time?" My eyes clouded over.
I hung my head low, and Roy stopped his rant upon glancing at the dark spots appearing on his velvet couch. He connected me to be the culprit.
"Oh, come on. Please don't cry," He tried to reach for my wrist to pull me into a hug, but I slapped him away.
His face became stony, and he came to me instead, stopping my desperate surge to get back from him.
My hands flailed fiercely, some hitting him until he captured my weapons and pinned them above my head.
Every time, it wasn't Roy whom I was seeing.
"I'm serious. You'd best tell me what is going on," His deep tone increased my apprehension and delusions.
A shadowed face over mine.
A body on top of mine that I could not move.
Hash words that frightened me.
A tight grip locking me in place helplessly.
It was all the same.
"Let me go," I whispered hopefully in a warning tone. Sadly, it came as more of a plea.
When the demand was not met I brought up my legs against my chest, prepared to push with all my strength.
That is until a hard and angular pelvis bone dug into my knees from above, I cried half in pain, the other in shock.
I was fucking pinned!
Bucking what I could move I repeated my earlier words over and over and over.
I couldn't move!
Roy tried to calm me down with words. It was only making me worse.
How could this happen again?
I screamed, thrashing back and forth wildly.
"Ed sto- Ed! Stop it! Edward!"
"Get off me, Envy!"
The hoarse call sprang forth from my throat before I could even think exactly what it meant.
Immediately, Roy let go of me, stood up, and backed off a few steps. All the while watching me sob pitifully on his couch.
"W-What did you say?"
I didn't repeat myself.
He heard enough.
It took me a whole friggin hour just to calm down and cease crying, through which Mustang sat near me, but not beside.
To my dismay, he made me tell him who Envy was, as well as what had happened.
Though he had seen Envy's beaten and mangled body at the crime scene, I guess he'd thought nothing so emotional had occurred during my stay there.
But, with this new evidence he was surer than ever that he could get me off on self defense. Especially since he had assaulted me in the past as well.
But, in regards to my comfort on the whole relationship level, he said he understood completely.
And that he wouldn't initiate anything until I was ready.
Exactly when I threw myself into him I'm not positive, however, I do know that I've never felt a place safer.
The morning after came sooner than I would have liked, but was there nonetheless.
We had both fallen asleep on the cramped couch and I know I woke up sore as hell. Even though I'd been lying on Mustang the entire time.
And the watch in my pocket left a huge indent on my thigh.
I stood and stretched, smirking at Roy's pained look when his own back cracked from a brief raise of the arms.
Maybe it was a way of putting the past behind me, or maybe to carry it with me. Whatever the reason, I carried my pocket watch everywhere with me now. Strange I know, and when Roy asked me why, I found I couldn't answer.
So, I dug it out of the loose pants and casually flipped the lid open, gazing at the inscribed date.
But a quick flash of silver caught my eye for a split second.
Must've imagined it.
Hell no, it was there again and again.
"Fuck," the murmur fell from my lips as the watch did from my trembling hands.
"You know, you shouldn't why your things break if you do those kinds of things to them," Roy idly commented.
A shiver brought me to my hands and knees, eyes fixed on the face of my watch.
I heard him get up and come behind me.
He put a hand on my shoulder and was about to ask If I was okay.
When his sight followed mine though, a different message came out. "Well, I'll be damned."
I curled my fingers into the soft carpet and tugged harshly. "But why? Why now?"
Roy put an arm over my back casually. "I think it's because you've finally decided to move on with everything. That your time is starting to pick up-."
Cutting off his explanation I swivelled left and curled backwards to him.
What had I said before?
'Maybe I'm waiting for someone to save me?'
Looking at Roy now, I guess he did help in a way.
But, I think someone who was wiser than I tried to teach me that sometimes one must save themselves.
Roy stroked my hair for what felt like the umpteenth time these past weeks. I rested my face on his shoulder.
The watch lay, forgotten, hands reading 11:02 A.M., the exact time of the kitchen clock ten feet away.
AN: I can't believe it's actually over.
I feel so hollow, as if an empty spot were left in my heart where this story used to reside.
Well, thank you to reviewers and readers alike, the ride truly has been interesting along the way.
And it is the last chappie, so leave comments to your heart's content.