Hmm. I haven't written anything in a while and this idea has been on my mind for several days so I wrote it down. I hope you'll enjoy it.
Disclaimer: I don't own FMA.
BREAK THE ICE
Step. Step. Step. Step.
Step after step after step.
His legs hurt so much and he felt like he should just stop and fall but something kept him running. Maybe it was the adrenaline. Or his own stupid stubbornness. The air was cold and it hurt his lungs and it had started to be hard keeping track what he was even thinking anymore. The scenery was blurry and his steps became smaller and smaller. It had even started to rain. He was freezing, every muscle of his body was sore.
But he hadn't cried. Not that it would've been a miracle. He didn't even remember the last time he cried. There was no point crying when his burdened little brother couldn't cry. Hadn't been able to cry for years.
And it was his entire fault.
He felt his knees finally giving in and he hit the ground violently, getting nasty bruises and pain shooting up his body.
But he didn't cry.
His body started to react to his exhaustion and his whole body was… well, not actually in pain or maybe this was some kind of pain he hadn't actually experienced before. He curled up and let out a choked mix of whine and growl. He squeezed his eyes shut and rolled over.
Over. Over. Over. Over.
Over and over and over. Time after time.
Maybe this was some kind of pain he hadn't experienced before. Something that had never gotten named. The pain in his lungs was the worse. If he tried to breathe in too much, too quickly or say anything he hit a violent fit of coughing. And it made the "pain" even worse. He was just so tired that he couldn't even get up. He felt like he'd fall asleep soon.
The ground was wet, freezing and hard. He wished he could at least bury his head in grass if there wasn't a pillow to use, but no. He just had to collapse to the ground in the dirty streets of Central. God, he hated the place. He hated it so much.
Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough.
Cough after cough after cough until he managed to stop it.
He opened his eyes slightly and his breaths turning to white or maybe grey vapour right in front of him. He extended his left arm and tried to feel his breathing but his body felt numb. He let his hand fall to the ground again and closed his eyes, feeling a dark shadow over his head. It was like a lullaby wanting him to fall asleep but he felt a huge urge to stay awake. He didn't want to sleep. He was too pissed off to sleep. He was too damn guilty-feeling to sleep.
He tried to lick his dry lips but his mouth was dry. He noticed that his breathing was rapid. Well no wonder now that he thought about it. His whole body was trembling, trying to express his exhaustion. He tried to ignore the pain.
Step. Step. Step. Step.
One after another they were coming closer.
Damn it, he thought tiredly. I'm too tired to defend myself…
"…Fullmetal? Fullmetal, are you alright?!" Colonel Roy Mustang asked fearfully and kneeled down next to him Ed waved his hand to the Colonel tiredly.
"…I'm okay…" he managed to say and opened his eyes. Mustang seemed really worried. He tried to help him up. Ed growled angrily. "…Let go, you bastard, I want to rest…"
"Not in the streets", Roy stated and started to guide him away. Ed managed to take a few steps before collapsing again, curling his arms around his throat. He coughed a few times. Roy waited for a while before lifting him up with a low growl. He tottered slightly.
"You're heavy", he stated amazedly and started to walk forwards, receiving a silent moan from Ed. He didn't have any kind of idea how long it took but after some time he noticed that the air was warmer and he had been laid to a soft couch. Roy covered him with a blanket.
"You'll catch cold that way. Why not starting to take care of yourself? Is it too much to ask from someone who has to take care of himself and his brother?"
Ed growled and turned away from the Colonel, his hand curling around the edge of the blanket, his head lowering closer to his chest. His breathing had slowed down a little and he felt a little more awake. Roy disappeared somewhere. Ed growled.
Why did that bastard have to find him? Why couldn't people just leave him alone?
The steps came back and he looked at the Colonel bitterly. Mustang didn't smile when he handed him a glass of water. Ed drank it gracefully but didn't thank. It wasn't like Mustang had expected him to do so anyway.
Roy sighed. "What happened, Fullmetal? Where is your brother?"
Ed buried his face to one of the pillows, taking its scent in. Damn it, it smelled like the bastard…
"Nothing…" he muttered. "Take care of your own business."
Roy's hand twitched angrily. "Don't tell me to back away. Your business is mine too."
Ed growled angrily. His throat burned. "You, old man, have no idea what does the word 'personal' mean, do you?"
Roy's eyes narrowed. "Of course I know what it means. But I think it's fairly odd to see you lying on the ground almost passing out and your brother nowhere to be seen. What if someone attacked you? I think it is my business."
"No one attacked us", Ed said furiously, noticing that he was starting to lose his voice. It was so damn irritating! He pulled the blanket better on and started sulking. "Go to hell."
"I'm trying to look after you and this is how you thank me?" Roy asked angrily. Now it was Ed's turn to narrow his eyes.
"I wouldn't call it 'thanking you'. I wouldn't do such a thing. Especially when you're just pissing me off. Leave me alone", he snarled and closed his eyes. Roy snapped his fingers. Ed opened his eyes alarmed but noticed that Roy didn't have his gloves on. Thank god.
"What happened, Fullmetal?"
"IT IS NONE OF YOUR DAMN BUSINESS!" Ed bellowed and started coughing furiously. Roy rubbed his back worriedly and laid his hand on Ed's forehead.
"You're burning up. See where you got yourself? You're ill. Now, why wouldn't you let me help you? What's so hard in it?"
"I don't need your help! I don't need anyone's help! If it's so hard for you to understand, I'll just-!"
Roy guided him back down again when he tried to get up. Ed tried to hit him. "Let go of me!"
Roy grabbed his hand and pushed it down. He was strong, but it wasn't like Ed expected something else. Roy was part of the military. In there even the ones that didn't look strong had their times to surprise, so why not Mustang who also looked well muscled?
"Calm down. You aren't going anywhere in that condition. Throw your stubbornness away for even once. It isn't healthy. Everyone's worried of you two when you just disappear and come up after several months without us having any kind of idea about where you've been. We just want to help you two", Roy said sadly and sighed. "Do you want more water?"
Ed nodded hesitantly and leaned his head back against the soft pillow. Roy took the glass back and started heading away towards the kitchen Ed assumed. He rubbed his eyes and forehead as the steps came back.
"Are you sure that you're alright, Ed?" Roy asked hesitantly as he gave the glass. Ed looked at him weirdly as he sat up.
"…Huh? I'm just fine… I'm fine, really…" he said and tried to gulp down the water all at once. Roy laid his hand on his shoulder and Ed stopped in halfway.
"Don't rush with it. Drink it slowly", he said. Ed nodded as he made a slight movement to push the man's hand away but decided against it. After he had drunk he lied down again. Roy smiled as he caressed the boy's hair. Ed trembled slightly but his warm touch felt so good that he didn't push him away. It was comforting.
"Alright Edward. Tell me what happened."
Ed hung his head. "It's my fault… He must be still furious…"
"Who? Alphonse? You know he doesn't stay mad for long… he's probably worried already…" Roy tried to comfort him but Ed shook his head.
"But it's my entire fault and he just realised it", Ed whispered fearfully and Roy hugged him.
"Why don't you start from the beginning?"
Ed nodded. "Yeah, right. …Wait, I'm not telling it to you. Get your hands off me, let me go!" he started fighting again and Roy leaned back, sighing heavily.
"Edward, I'm really just trying to help. Telling about things will make you feel better. Trust me, I know it."
"Not the 'I'm older than you so trust me' crap…" Ed growled furiously. Roy took the blanket away.
"If you aren't cooperating, why not just go and freeze to dead there?!"
Ed looked at him angrily. "You don't need to know about every little detail in my life."
"And I don't know. I know nothing. I know only some facts. I don't think I really know the real you under that surface. And you don't know me either, so no judging", Roy said. "So are you going or are you telling?"
Ed narrowed his eyes. "If I'll stay can I get the blanket back?"
Roy nodded. Ed smiled maliciously.
"Can I have those cookies?" he asked and pointed at a pack on the table. Roy sighed angrily.
"…Fine!" he yelled and threw the blanket at Ed and brought the cookies. Ed smiled sadly.
"Mum used to bake cookies. They're better homemade, you know", he said. Roy nodded.
"I can imagine that."
Ed took a bite. "I haven't eaten cookies in years… I already forgot how they tasted like. My favourites were chocolate-drop ones."
Roy nodded again and let Ed eat a few before hawking to remind him what for he was allowed to eat his cookies. Ed's face changed.
"I really wouldn't want to tell. It's so stupid. Just a random fight, those turn up with everyone…"
"But others won't end up lying on the streets totally unable to defend themselves, do they?"
"I am able to defend myself, you-!"
"You weren't at that time. What if something would've happened? This is Central, Ed. Central is full of people who would do almost anything to someone just lying on the streets. You should be happy that I was the first one to see you."
Ed sighed. "Do you have a sibling?"
Roy shook his head. "No."
"Then it might be a little hard to understand… but siblings get at fights at times. Random ones, you know. Like if you don't like something the other one does and try to point it out so often that the other one completely loses it. At this time I was on the city next to Central and we were just chatting and then our… well, Al mentioned our father again… I hate it when he does that…
"Well anyway, I got angry and started yelling at him to stop talking about that bastard like he was some hero who had to go to war or something. Then Al said that I was too stubborn not to give him a chance and then the fight became. I can't even remember all of it… but it the end we were pointing out the things that were each other's faults and… and… he just got up with so many and they were all true and… I just couldn't think of anything. Just a few little ones. Nothing major. And he had a full collection of things to blame on me. It was just so scary. What kind of role model am I? I have screwed up everything, I've screwed up my brother's life, and he'll never get back the time that gets lost because of me. It feels so bad. I just hate myself so much-", Ed talked as his voice started to tremble. Roy felt bad for him.
Ed raised his head. "…Why not?"
Roy smiled faintly. "You shouldn't hate yourself. Everything you've done has been for your brother. You've just wanted to see him happy again. You've tried hard, Edward. Really hard. The things you tried… they just were too hard for you. Too hard for anyone. Don't blame yourself for losing and worsening the situation. Your intentions were good. Alphonse would be proud. He was just angry. People say stuff they don't mean when they get angry."
Ed shook his head. "You didn't hear him."
"But I know that he isn't the type who would hate heartlessly their own brother. He loves you, Ed, as much as you love him. He hates seeing you hurt as much as you hate seeing him hurt. Sometimes you just don't see it."
Ed looked at him almost pleadingly. "Are you just saying that to make me happier or do you really mean it?"
Roy almost chuckled to his childish sentence but held it back so that he only smiled gently. "I mean it. I really, really mean it."
Ed smiled as he put another cookie in his mouth and watched out of the window with a look in his eyes like he was looking somewhere far beyond the clouds.
"…Al must be worried", he said with a little guilty smile. "I shouldn't have run. I just snapped. Felt like the right thing to do. It was about two miles from here."
Roy's eyes widened. "You ran for two miles?"
"Yeah… I was just… I don't know. I just felt like running."
Roy touched his forehead again. He raised his eyebrows. "You don't feel feverish anymore."
Ed laughed. "I don't get sick often. If I do it goes away within a few hours."
Roy took the empty cookie pack away as Ed tucked the last one on his mouth. "I think you owe me a pack of cookies, Ed."
"I don't. You gave them to me by yourself. It was equivalent exchange for the information you got."
Roy snorted. "Yeah, right. You should sleep now, you still look exhausted."
"He'll find us. Trust me."
Ed looked at him hesitantly. "I don't know."
Roy smiled as he patted the teen's head. "You really should trust me more."
Ed snorted and turned his back to Roy. "If he doesn't find me until I wake up, you're dead, Mustang."
Roy laughed as he got up and grabbed the empty glass. "I can imagine that."
About an hour later Roy heard the doorbell ringing and opened it quickly so it wouldn't disturb Ed's sleep. A large suit of armour was standing behind the door.
"Colonel, you've got to help me, brother-!"
"Is here. He's sleeping, come in", Roy said warmly and gave way. Alphonse stepped in with a hesitant "Oh."
Roy smiled as he shut the door. Alphonse had known for years who to rely on when he'd feel like he needed someone's help and hopefully Ed would start realising it too. Maybe the ice had been broken.
Crack. Crack. Crack. Crack.
Crack the ice and melt away.
Hmm. I wonder how you'll like it. Mind to share your opinion? Just push the review button! I love reviews! Pleaaaase? I wrote about cookie-eating Edo! Isn't he cute? Review! Or he'll throw a bunch of cookies to you!