title: Under His Wing
summary: Edward Elric's hectic life is no small matter and it doesn't come without sacrifice.
disclaimer: I don't own a thing apart from the story (pity...)
A/N: Sooo, I felt creative but because I don't have a clue what to do with SP and because I had an sudden urge to write Parental RoyEd this was born.
He was running, running away from the darkness.
He couldn't see anything.
"You're running away... Are you afraid?"
He shivered. That voice had haunted him for years, he knew this. He couldn't remember exactly how they had met, he had only vague images from that time. Not that he wanted to remember, no. Those images and these dreams were bad enough.
"Leave me alone!" he shouted even though he knew it was useless.
A soft, cold laughter attacked him from all around the darkness. "You wish", it whispered.
He felt tickling behind his eyes. No, he didn't want to cry. He wasn't going to cry. Not here. Not when it was there.
"But I'll always be there", the voice purred and he felt as if he was next to a huge cat, pressed against its side. "You're never alone."
"NO! LEAVE ME ALONE!"
Laughter. "Didn't I just tell you, you're never alone?"
"No... Please..." he didn't know when he had stopped running but it didn't matter anymore. The light had disappeared.
"Begging doesn't help you, you should know that", the voice was now mocking. "We've known each other for – what? Five years already? - and you haven't learned even that. I'm disappointed in you, Edward."
He felt his knees to hit the ground even though he was sure he didn't have those here, in the land od dead. "No... Please... don't say it", he whimpered, grabbing his head.
"Your name?" now it was amused. "I'm sure we're in first name basis already."
"Please... Get out..."
"Why should I? It's nice in here, listening your rantings and watching you to wallow in your self-pity... It's amusing."
Tears were now streaming down his face.
"I still don't get why you even try. You're never going to find the Philosopher's Stone and you know it. You should just kill that miserable brother of yours, free him from his pains."
"NO! I'LL FIND IT! YOU DON'T KNOW ANYTHING!"
"Is that so? Then why are you crying, looking like you've already given up? You've, haven't you?"
"Just admit it. It makes you feel better."
He felt a finger trailing his face. He couldn't see anything, he didn't know if it was because of the tears or because there really wasn't anything.
"Everyone is better off without you... And your excuse of a brother. He is just an useless tin can, you should just get a rid of him."
Edward shot bolt upright in his bed, face drenched in cold sweat. His golden eyes were wide in a horrified expression, his breath was coming out in irregular puffs. His head hurt. He blinked slowly and a wave of nausea hit him.
He dropped back down, letting out a low groan and lifted his left hand to his forehead. It felt hot against the back of his hand.
He stared up at the ceiling, letting his thoughts wander. He knew he should try to sleep but he couldn't. He felt as tired as he had been last night and the little sleep he had had hadn't helped him at all.
For the past months Edward had been feeling awful most of the time. He was tired, his head and joints hurt, his throat hurt, everything hurt, really. He couldn't get any real sleep, only eyeful here and there. Rest of his time was spent plagued by nightmares.
He shut his eyes, concentrating entirely on breathing, the rise and fall of his chest.
When he next opened his eyes, the rays of sun were making their way through the crack between curtains, hitting him fully to the face.
He looked blearily around his military issued dorm room, taking in the familiar surroundings. His pocket watch was open on the nightstand between two beds in the room.
10 a.m... Why did it feel like he had forgotten something?
Groaning he got up from the bed, figuring that he would eventually remember. The room swam in his eyes and Edward blinked few times but alas, it only made it worse.
He grabbed his mid section, shutting his eyes tightly and whimpering softly. 'Why me?' he wondered weakly and staggered blindly forward.
Soon he felt the wall against his bare left shoulder and he moved forward, leaning heavily against the wall. When he reached the doorway he let out a breath of relief and stumbled into the white tile bathroom.
He dropped to his knees and crawled towards the toilet, grabbing a weak hold of it and rose into more upright position.
He let his head hung over its debths, eyes closed, breathing deeply. His noramlly golden blond hair hung around his face, hiding it from view of everyone who would stagger into his dorm (in other words, no one).
For the last few weeks Edward's stomach had been very upset. He couldn't eat his normal share of food and what he managed to eat didn't stay down for long. And every morning he had to drag himself here, to worship his newest best friend; the toilet seat.
It wasn't by any means nice in any way but this was the only way his stomach would calm down for the remaining part of the day.
He felt a burning sensation in his throat and the vile taste of stomach acids in his mouth and he opened his lips obediently, letting out all what he had had in his stomach.
He kept his eyes closed as he leaned back, and flushed the toilet blindly. He knew he would throw up again if he even glanced at the direction of the toilet seat again. His morning routine was disgusting enough without him watching it.
He leaned against the tile wall and he noted absent-mindedly that it was pleasantly cool. He sighed softly, feeling his bangs fluttering before his face, tickling his nose. Just like when he had used a feather to tickle Mustang's nose when he had caught the man sleeping at work...
His eyes snapped open and he was up from the floor faster than if someone had offered him milk.
"Shit!" he exclaimed and ran from the bathroom, yelling obsenities to himself as he started to search for his clothes.
"How the hell can I forget?" he muttered. "I was supposed to have a meeting with Mustang!"
He didn't bother with his jackets as he dressed. He wouldn't need them and he didn't have the time. He glanced at his watch and cursed. It was already nearing 11 and here he was complaining his stomach and head.
He stuffed the watch into his pocket and bolted out of the door, his blond hair flying behind him.
For a fleeting moment, while sprinting down the corridor, he wondered where Alphonse was. His brother normally would wake him up with his gentle, echoing voice coming from a huge suit of armor. He frowned.
He skitted to stop before a familiar door, full of dents, most of them caused by Edward's own automail foot.
This time he decided against kicking the door open. He was already late and kicking military issued doors would just get him into even more trouble. And being in trouble with certain Colonel Roy Mustang, the Flame Alchemist was far from wise and healthy.
He forced his breath to regulate. He could feel himself swaying back and forth in a slow, nauseating way. He opened his eyes and took a deep breath and opened the door (via door knob) before he chickened out.
The room was full of Mustang's subordinates; Hawkeye was shuffling through some papers on her desk, Havoc was leaning back so that only two of his chair's legs touched the floor and smoking – against all orders - , Breda was eyeing Black Hayate (who was sitting beside his mistress) warily and Fuery and Falman were doing whatever they were doing. Something military related, anyway.
"Umm... Is Mustang in?" he called coyly.
Everyone turned to look at him as he stood in the doorway feeling utterly ridiculous.
Hawkeye rised her eyebrow at him. "You're late, Edward", she said calmly.
Edward nodded and gulped, despite the burning sensation in his throat. "I know", he answered, doing his best to ignore the feeling of being on a ship in a storm. 'Why the heck is everything swaying?' "Is he in?"
"Yeah, chief is been waiting for you for the past hour", Havoc waved his hand lazily.
"Okay", he muttered and headed through the room, towards another door, this one leading to Mustang's private office.
He opened this door more cautiously than the previous one, mostly because on the other side of this door resided his commander.
"You're late, Fullmetal", came almost before he had poked his head in.
Ed flinched, Mustang sounded very annoyed with him. Well, he would feel too if he had waited for someone for an hour.
"Sorry", he muttered to Mustang's office carpet. "I... slept in."
"I can believe that, Fullmetal", the man growled. "Did it even cross your thoughts that this could have been a life and death situation?"
Edward felt his cheeks flush. "Sorry sir, it won't happen again."
"You're right, it won't."
He looked slowly up to the black haired man sitting behind the desk, with piles of papers surrounding him with a frown on his pale face. His onyx eyes were sharp as they looked Edward's slumbed figure up and down.
"Are you alright, Fullmetal?"
Edward sighed and rubbed his eyes. "Yeah... Just couldn't sleep..."
"... And you slept in?" Mustang didn't seem to believe him.
Ed refused to meet his eyes but stared hard at the carpet, trying to ignore the fact that even it was swaying from right to left. "I fell asleep around 6 a.m..." he muttered.
Mustang sighed. "Well then. Let's get this out of the way so you can go back to sleep."
Edward blinked surprised and looked up, eyes wide.
Mustang ignored his shocked expression and started looking through his papers, muttering to himself. Edward proceeded to stand there quietly.
"Aha! I found your resignation papers", Mustang sounded victorious.
"Resignation?" Edward asked, dread in his voice evident. "Are you going to throw me out of the military before I get Al's body back?!" he felt anger surge through him. How dare he?! He joined only because Al didn't deserve what he had been through!
Mustang stared at him with a odd expression on his face. He seemed to be trying to grasp what Ed had just said.
"...Come again? Are you sure you're alright Edward?"
"You didn't answer my question!"
Mustang stoop up suddenly and Ed had to look up to his face. He swayed slowly. "What are you blabbering about, Edward? You returned Al to his body a month ago and he went to Resembool to wait for you to resign from the military."
Ed blinked slowly. "...I did?" he questioned, sounding unbelieving. Could it be true? Or was Mustang just pulling his leg?
"You don't remember?" Mustang asked softly, stepping from behind his desk. "Are you sure you're alright?"
Now the room was swaying even more, Mustang was just a big blue blur with black top. He felt dizzy, he couldn't think straight. His body ached and his vision was tunneling.
"M'' fine", he slurred. Everything was rotating.
Then, everything went black.
Roy's eyes widened as Edward's eyes glazed over. The boy was swaying like a sailor on his boat. Then, he started falling to the side, away from Roy.
He dove quickly towards the boy, catching him just in time and preventing a painful collision with the floor of his office. His hand found its way to Edward's forehead and he froze. The boy was burning up! His face was hot, cheeks flushed and beads of sweat flowing down the boy's smooth cheeks.
"Lieutenant!" he called sharply to the outer office.
The door was banged open by his herd of subordinates, Havoc looking like he had just fallen from his chair, Hawkeye as calm as ever and the rest looking a little panicked.
"What happened to Edward?" Fuery squeaked out before anyone else had a chance to open their mouths.
"He fainted", Mustang said, hauling the boy up to his arms. The boy may have been small but sure as hell he wasn't light! He was quite ready to blame that on Ed's automails. "Call an ambulance."
Fuery immediately rushed off to the nearest phone while the rest tried to figure out the best way to help Edward.
"Havoc, you help me to get Fullmetal to the main gate, Hawkeye, Breda, you help us and Falman, you call to Resembool and inform his brother about this."
Roy sighed as he leaned back against the wall in the hospital waiting room, surrounded by his friends and subordinates and waiting for someone to inform them how his youngest charge was doing.
They had now been sitting there for two days straight, waiting for news. They could see doctors and nurses running around, talking in medical terms about Edward's condition and at the moment Roy was sure that nurses and doctors originated from a completely different planet.
"Colonel Mustang?" came a scared voice from down the hall and Roy's head snapped up.
When he recognised the person the voice beonged to, he felt a surge of disappointment flare through him. He had hoped it would be one of the doctors but alas, it was Alphonse Elric judging by the ragged appearance.
"Alphonse", he gave the by a slight smile despite the situation. "How have you been?"
Boy slumbed to sit next to him and ran a hand through his messy, light brown hair. "Fine until Breda called", he admitted tiredly. "After that it's just been worrying about Brother."
"Yeah", Roy admitted. "We've done nothing else but worried after he fainted in my office."
"Have you... seen him after that?" the fear was evident in the boy's voice.
Roy simply shook his head and sighed. He felt guilty of not knowing how Edward was doing. The boy had been under his watchful eyes since he joined the military and now... he hadn't seen or heard of him for two whole days. He was afraid of that, afraid of what doctors would eventually tell them and he was afraid of not seeing Edward again and he was afraid for Edward.
He rubbed his eyes and turned his blank stare to the opposite wall. Ed had been a cheering presence among his men ever since the boy had started to get social and had crawled out of his self-pitying personal hole. He had gotten his men to laugh and tease him. And of course Edward had made them all to worry.
Roy couldn't figure out how someone who caused so much worry for others was so popular and loved among his men. They all always worried for the boy when he and his little brother, who approxiately sat next to him at the moment in his human body, traveled all around the country.
Those years had made him feel responsibility over the two boys. Sometimes it annoyed the hell out of him but at other times... he would feel proud of them. And if they're being stupid he would shout at them for being stupid and ordering them to think how he felt about each of the problems the boys had caused.
But in the end he didn't really mind. He didn't think he would ever settle down with a woman and have a family, he didn't need those. They weren't for him. He had his friends in the military, all of them like brothers (and in Hawkeye's case; a sister) and the Elrics like kid brothers or sons even. He had a family in them, why would he need to find a wife and have kids when he already had everything he wanted?
His head snapped up from his hands and his head turned, along with everyone else, to look at the middle-aged man in a white doctor's coat, holding a clipboard.
"Yes?" he asked and rose to his feet, adjusting his uniform jacket.
"You're here for Edward Elric, correct?" the man questioned, taking glasses out of his pocket and putting them to his nose, peering down to the paper he was apparently holding.
Roy felt his throat tighten and he started to answer, only to notice that his throat was dry as a paper. He coughed before opening his mouth again. "Yes... all of us", he said, motioning to everyone around him.
Before the doctor had a chance to continue, Al had jumped to to his feet. "Is my Brother alright?"
The doctor blinked. "Ah... For the time being, yes."
Roy's insides froze, his stance rigid as he whispered: "What's wrong with him?"
The doctor sighed. "I'm afarid that Mr. Elric is suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome", he said gravely.
Al's eyes widened, his hand rising to cover his mouth. "Tha-that's..." he managed to get out. "that's what Mom had..." his voice was only whisper.
"So he got it through genes", the doctor concluded. "That can happen, but I'm sure that his... hectic life has had something to do with it as well."
Roy's eyes widened, his body going numb. '"His... hectic life"' he thought with dread. 'I was the one to get him to join... I sent him to those missions...'
Roy didn't know what to think so he dropped unceremoniously to his chair, hiding his face into his hands and taking deep breaths. He was to blame. It was his fault Edward was now laying there, all alone in a hospital bed, fighting for his sanity, his life.
Everyone else seemed to be shocked as well, they looked as if Ed had already died. 'No. Damnit, Fullmetal, you're not dying before me!' his hands balled into fists.
Tears were streaming down Al's cheeks.
The doctor looked from one to other and frowned. "Do you not know that CFS doesn't lead to death?" he questioned.
Roy looked up, hope raising its head inside of him. Would Edward survive?
Al sniffed and wiped tears away from his gray eyes. "But w-why did Mom die then?" he asked weakly.
Doctor looked thoughtful. "She might have had some other sickness besides CFS. Those who have CFS have a greater chance to get infected by Fibromyalgia and Endometriosis... though neither of those is life-threatening", the doctor comtemplated. "But CFS can cause some unexpected allergies. She might have eaten or touched something she was allergic to."
Now even Alphonse dared to look hopeful. "So... Brother isn't going to die?"
The doctor chuckled. "Most certainly not, I assure you, young man. Not while I'm his doctor."
Al's face broke into a wide smile. "Thank you, thank you, thank you!" he hugged the poor man.
Roy felt like a part of his guilt had been taken away. Maybe, because Edward wouldn't die because of him. And because he just couldn't stand it if the boy died, wether it was his fault or not. But despite the relief of his survival, he still felt guilty about the fact that he had helped CFS to take hold of Edward by sending him to all those missions and making him face all those horrible things.
"Can we see him?"
The doctor turned to look at him, calculating. Then he smiled. "Yes, follow me, Colonel Mustang."
Roy and the rest waited outside Edward's room while Alphonse went in and had his normal "do-not-keep-these-things-from-me-because-it'll-get-you-killed-and-then-I'm-angry-at-you-and-I'll-kill-you-again" - speeches. All the while Roy was smiling like Hughes had when he found out that he was a father. He kind of felt like one when thinking of those two brothers inside the next room.
Soon Al came out and motioned for Roy to go in. He smiled at the boy and stood up, patting Al to the shoulder when he walked by.
Roy stepped into the white hospital room and looked down at the bed where Edward was sitting, hair down like that morning two days ago when he had come to his office.
The boy smiled hesitantly back.
Ed's gaze fell to his lap, where he was fumbling with his bed sheets, looking embarrassed. "I..." he started with a raspy voice. He flushed and cleared his throat before saying softly. "Thank you."
Roy raised his eyebrow. "For what?"
"Everything", the boy answered, looking up into his eyes.
Roy smiled softly and sat down into a vacated chair. "You're welcome", he said simply.
A/N: And now, everyone say "awwwwwww".
About Chronic Fatigue Syndrome:
It has those before mentioned symptoms. Memory lapses, stomachache, migraine, getting enough sleep but still feeling unrested, nightmares, depression, weird new allergies etc. And the stuff my nameless OC doctor said is true too (but that allergies causing Trisha's death is my own speculation that happened to fit this story ;))
I would also like to point out that I know no one who suffers from CFS, all that information was from Wikipedia.
And now I want reviews.