Sorrow's Dark Array
Author – D M Evans
Disclaimer - not mine, all characters belong to Hiromu Arakawa et al, Square Enix and funimition.
Pairing – Roy/Riza, Ed/Win (eventually) Winry/OC, mentions of Maes/Gracia and Al/OC
Rating – will vary from chapter to chapter, mostly Pg-13 but will eventually contain well marked adult chapters.
Time Line – anime based, spoilers all the way through the anime and the movie and does have strong manga elements such as Armstrong's older sister and the land of Xing
Summary – As Roy and Riza prepare for their wedding, while dodging assassins, Ed and Al try to find their way back home.
Author's Note #1– This was written after much prodding by S J Smith as a sequel to the source of sorrow and is now her holiday gift even if she has beta'ed part of it. So thanks to her and lyricnonsense for the beta. You do not have to read the first story to understand this. You'll quickly pick up that Riza has retired from the military to be Roy's wife and bodyguard. Olivia Armstrong is now president and she's assigned Roy as the ambassador to Ishbal; oh and that Roy was severely injured in the destruction of the Gate, requiring some of Winry's automail.
Author's Note #2 - This is a longer work and like real relationships, the ones listed in the pairings, take time to mend and come together. They have to work at it. Hope you enjoy the ride.
"Days of absence, sad and dreary, Clothed in sorrow's dark array, Days of absence, I am weary; She I love is far away." – Shakespeare
Home is a name, a word, it is a strong one; stronger than magician ever spoke, or spirit ever answered to, in the strongest conjuration. Charles Dickens
Pittsburgh PA – 1925.
Edward trembled, his mouth opening and closing but, for once, he could think of nothing to say. There were no words for this. He and Al had fled Germany, not liking what had been happening there. Hughes had brought Gracia and followed them all the way to the United States. They'd discussed where they wanted to go and what they wanted to accomplish and, during one of their late night discussions, Edward suggested they try Pittsburgh.
Ed had chosen the steel-making town for a few reasons; namely, the science. There were other critics with more promising research, that was true, but Pittsburgh had several other resources the brothers were interested in. Ed needed his limbs to keep working, but with the available technology, it was getting harder and harder to keep his automail in even a semblance of working order. Every malfunction fed Ed's growing fear that he would be spending life in a wheelchair.
Right now, however, he wished they had never even heard of Pittsburgh. Ed still wasn't sure how this had happened. It was too unreal to comprehend. One minute, they were a good family and then, no, Ed didn't want to think about it, but he had to. His brother was in love with the pretty Annunziata, a young school teacher, and they were engaged to be married. Hughes, already happily wed to Gracia, was babbling on about their first expectant child.
Then everything ended.
Ziata and Gracia had been out walking, going Christmas shopping. That was a holiday Ed was still wrangling with since he just didn't get why people put importance on a God they couldn't prove existed. At the moment, he doubted God's existence even more than before. The night before the ladies had gone out shopping had been snowy. The next day, a car skidded on the ice and plowed into the crowded sidewalk.
A broken sob brought Ed back to his surroundings. He squeezed his brother's shoulder. Ed wanted to drag Al out of the funeral home but it was freezing outside. Still, it wasn't doing Al any good to sit here staring at his fiancée's coffin. In the room beyond, Maes sat by the coffin Gracia would share forever with their unborn child. Ed shuddered, his throat closing up. One icy patch on the road and an out of control car and their lives were suddenly ruined.
"I want to go home," Al whispered, getting up.
"I can take you there." Ed tightened his grip on Al's shoulder, wondering if Al was holding him up or vice versa.
"No…home, Resembol," Al murmured, his chin dipping to his chest.
Ed tensed. The other reason they had come to Pittsburgh had been to study in the archives of the Carnegie Library. Al had been the one to suggest it, thinking a way home might be found here, not in alchemic texts, but in the folklore and mysticism of this world. Ed didn't buy into it. Alchemy didn't work here and he couldn't believe in non-scientific nonsense the way Al could. His brother was certain they could find a way home, though Al himself had gotten sidetracked when he fell in love. Ed didn't say a word about Al losing his drive to return to Amestris. Ed's mistake had already cost his brother so much time out of his life. Ed silently bore up to his failing automail, never looking at the mythology texts alone. He was sure the answer couldn't possibly be there. Now, Ed wished he were wrong.
Ed's hand brushed his brother's back. "I'm getting us home. I promise."
X X X
"Roy! Roy!" Riza screamed, blood running down her face. The bomb had rocked the building. Parts of the military office were on fire and that the flames were not being suppressed made her heart thunder. Was her lover dead? Too injured to respond? She knew he had been inside with the rest of his ambassadorial staff.
Seeing an arm poking up from the rubble, Riza tore at the bits of building, trying to free the trapped person. Metal and concrete bit into her skin but she managed to clear enough to see an arm tossed over a head of dark hair. The arm was fractured completely, wires jutting out. Winry was going to be so furious. With the pressure of the rubble gone, Dev raised his head, blood running into his eyes.
"Can you get up?" she asked the dazed Ishbalan boy, trying to help him stand.
Dev grunted but she wasn't sure what that meant.
"I have him, ma'am." Fuery appeared at her side. "Find the General."
Riza nodded, not trusting her voice. She saw Falman and Breda trying to make their way into what had been Roy's office. If there was such a thing as a good place for a bomb to go off, she was happier it happened here in Central than in the ambassador's offices in Ishbal. Here, in Central, there was help. There were less people who wanted Roy dead.
She could hear the scream of sirens, telling her the fire trucks were nearing. The heat of the building was beginning to become oppressive and the smoke thickening. Soon it would be too dangerous to search. She had to find Roy.
Hearing a moan, Riza darted around the remains of Roy's desk, seeing Breda heading that way as well. Roy's body sprawled on the floor. Blood circled around him, his shirt soaked in it. His automail foot wasn't even in evidence. The bomb must have been closer to his desk or had been lobbed in through the window. The only thing that said he might still live was the soft moans ripping out of him.
"Roy." Riza dropped down next to him. Breda, however, nudged her aside and scooped up Roy into a fireman's carry. No words passed between her and the redhead. Riza helped to clear a path for Breda as he hauled Roy to safety.
Havoc waited for them at the street, a car at the ready so she could follow the ambulance once the paramedics had Roy on board and on the way to the military hospital. Riza wondered briefly if they should stay but there was little else they could do. Besides, the ambassador, not to mention his young liaison, Dev, would need guards at the hospital. Had the Ishbalan ambassador, Aris, been inside as well? She didn't know and, while Riza hated to admit it, she couldn't think of that at the moment. Right now, her mind was soaked with the images of Roy's blood.
X X X
Riza hated waiting and the smells of antiseptic, blood and death permeating the hospital didn't help to give her patience. She wished she could wait in silence but only Breda and Falman seemed to understand that. Fuery couldn't sit quietly and Havoc kept going out to smoke a cigarette, managing to make a racket every time. Finally, he came back with someone clinging to his arm nervously. Gracia's eyes seemed doll-like, too big and bright.
"She heard about the attack," Havoc said in way of explanation.
Gracia sat next to Riza and took her hand. "Winry knows, too, but she has her own patients. She didn't think it was fair to not see them since she only comes to the clinic here twice a month," the woman babbled, telling Riza things she mostly knew already. "She wants to be here badly. Winry is trying to hurry."
Riza nodded. It was good that Winry was in town and not back in Resembol or in the clinic she occasionally visited in Ishbal. Roy would need her. Dev, too, and not from a purely medical stand point. The girl was very emotionally attached to the young man so she would want to be here. "I don't think Dev is too badly hurt. Havoc, maybe you should go tell Winry that."
"I can do that," he said, slipping away from them.
"How is Roy? Do you know anything?" Gracia's voice shook.
Riza squeezed her hand. Gracia cared about Roy, too. In many ways, he was a link back to Maes for her. Riza understood that, was never jealous of the time he'd spend with the widow and Elicia. "No." Riza licked her dry lips. "It looked so bad. He lost his automail. There was so much blood."
Gracia wrapped her arms around Riza, pulling her very close. The way the woman shuddered told Riza she remembered all too well about there being too much blood. Hughes was under the ground and all Riza could do was pray to a god Roy didn't believe in that he wouldn't follow his friend.
Riza thought they had waited several lifetimes before news came. Winry had arrived, taking her place as protector on the other side of Riza. Fuery and Falman had gotten them all something to eat, even though no one really felt like it. Finally, the doctor headed their way, looking almost as exhausted as Riza felt.
He shoved his glasses up in a move that reminded the blonde of Hughes, then looked at the sea of faces in front of him. "The general is in recovery."
"Will he be all right?" Winry asked when Riza couldn't find her voice.
"We're cautiously optimistic," he replied.
Riza didn't like that answer. That response left the field wide open for bad things to happen. "How much damage was there, Doctor?"
"There is some damage around the docking port to his automail but I'm not a mechanic. I'm not sure if the stump will need revised or not."
"I'm his mechanic. I can look at it," Winry said, getting to her feet.
The doctor motioned her down. "Tomorrow would be better. We just got all his wounds dressed and he's resting. He needs that more. There's no electrical arcing over on the docking port so it's not an emergency at the moment." He fiddled with his glasses again. "While his shoulder isn't broken, there's been significant tearing of the ligaments. We'll have to operate but again, not today. He's too unstable for that."
Riza's head came up sharply. "Unstable?"
"He took shrapnel to his abdomen. The kidneys were missed but there were nicks to the bowel and some important vessels. It took us a great deal of time to find all the perforations and get them over-sewn. Shrapnel likes to play hide and seek inside of people. We had to give him several units of blood before we got the bleeding under control."
Riza shuddered hard and Gracia's arms went around her shoulder again. Winry squeezed Riza's hand and said, "That's why only cautiously optimistic."
The doctor nodded. "You have to understand, these kinds of wounds are very dirty, not to mention the shrapnel itself. Your bomber filled his weapon with nails. They did their job well. It'll be days before we'll know if the general will develop an infection or not. He's having trouble clotting his blood right now. We very nearly lost him."
Riza felt all the air leave her in a rush. She had almost lost Roy. Only a few more months to go and they would be husband and wife. She couldn't lose him now. She felt a hand clamp on her shoulder, thankful for it. Riza was sure she'd topple off her chair otherwise.
"He's a fighter, Captain," Havoc said, his brave words put to the lie by the worry that shone clearly in his eyes.
The doctor gave Riza a strange look, his eyes sweeping over her trying to find some distinguishing insignia. "You're in command?"
She shook her head. "I used to be a captain. I'm the general's attaché and bodyguard." Riza choked on the word and Havoc squeezed her shoulder gently.
"She's his fiancée," Gracia added.
The doctor's eyes widened behind his lens. "Oh, yes, well, then, you may come with me but only for a few minutes, ma'am. He needs his rest."
Riza stood on wobbly legs, wondering how she was going to get through this day. She had been in situations like this too many times with Roy as it was.
"I'll be back for morning rounds, doctor," Winry said. "You have another of my patients here as well, an Ishbalan named Dev. He lost his automail arm in the attack," she added, keeping her own relationship to him private.
"Of course. A nurse can let you see the Ishbalan for a moment, young lady, but he'll need his rest as well," the doctor said to Winry then he escorted Riza away. She braced herself for the hardship to come.