Reaching Out

Written by: Bar-Ohki

Betaed by: ehxhfdl14

Summary: After Ishbal, and at the recommendation of his physiatrist, Roy Mustang finds himself enrolled in the "Little Brother, Big Brother" program at Central Military Hospital. AU, Parental!RoyEd One Shot

Warnings: Depressing hospital moments? Mentions of a terrible accident?

Rating: K+ because it's too calm to be T.

Other Stuff: This was inspired by a picture I found on a RoyEd Yaoi site. Some of the pictures could pass as parental!RoyEd and this was one of them. It is a picture of Edward pre-automail, post-accident sitting on a hospital bed. Roy is sitting next to him pointing at a part of an alchemy book they are reading, Edward's face lit up in childish awe. There is a link to this picture at the end of the story.

-Monday, May 3rd, 1912, 09:24; Office of Lieutenant Colonel Roy Mustang, Central Headquarters

Colonel Mustang was a handsome man. He had smooth pale skin, deep onyx eyes, and fine raven hair. He was lean-muscled, fit as would be expected of anyone who was in the military. However, he seemed to be weary despite his young age. Young because he was only 24 years old; tried and burnt out because he had returned from a brutal war just two weeks ago.

The war had been a terrible one: it had been a civil war. The country of Ishbal had been annexed a decade before to help its people in a time of dire need. Drought and anarchy had been raging their lands, and they had asked Amestris to take them in and nurse them back to health. Amestris had done just that without any complaints, now owning some of the finest sand, a necessity for glassmaking, as well as some of the best oil deposits and some of the richest and untapped gold mines. When Ishbal recovered they discovered they were not content with the Amestrian taxes, nor the Amestrian governmental system. Tension had risen up quickly between the two sides. A stray bullet killing a child was all it took for the rebellion start.

Roy Mustang had been a Major when the decision to deploy State Alchemists had been made, having just enlisted as a State Alchemist. He was sent to the battlefield to participate in the genocide campaign the Fuhrer had ordered. It had been a brutal massacre. Ironically, Mustang had been promoted after his "valiant" efforts during the Ishbalan campaign. Like most State Alchemists deployed to commit the massacre, Mustang had been sent to psychiatric care to ensure his sanity.

Today he was sitting in his new office, waiting for his new superior and subordinates to arrive. His uniform and appearance were extremely well kept, not a single hair out of place. Soon there was a polite knock at the door.

"Enter." Mustang's voice was steady and dominating, as any military man's should be. Five people marched into the room. A woman with short hair and cinnamon eyes came in first. Her blue uniform was also well kept. Mustang duly noted that she was wearing standard issue pants, rather than the skirt.

"First Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye, reporting for duty Lieutenant Colonel, sir!" She snapped herself at attention and saluted sharply. Mustang returned the salute.

"Welcome First Lieutenant." Mustang returned her greeting. "Please take your assigned seat."

"Sir!" Hawkeye was quick to oblige, now sitting with perfect posture in her desk. It was the one nearest his.

Another person entered this one a tall blond with blue eyes. He was Second Lieutenant Jean Havoc. Following Havoc was a chubby man with red hair and brown eyes. Apparently the man was a stagiest by the name of Second Lieutenant Heymans Breda. Breda was followed in by a tall, older man with gray hair called Warrant Officer Falman, a walking databank. Falman had a younger- boy, whose brown eyes were innocent enough to say that he had not been in Ishbal like the rest of them. He had black hair and boxy glasses along with an awkward appearance. He was Master Sergeant Kain Fuery, communications technology expert.

"Welcome." Mustang greeted them again. "Your first assignments are on your desks, I look forward to working with you." There was a small chorus of "sir" and the office fell into the almost silence, save for the sound of filling in paperwork.

A little later the paperwork was stopped by another knock on the door. After Mustang signaled it was safe to enter the newcomer came in. It was an older man with green eyes and graying black hair. The rest of the people in the room all stood up and saluted the man; his uniform proclaimed him to be a man of higher rank than anyone in the room.

"Good day. I am Major General Airacobra." The man introduced himself. "I look forward to seeing what this team can do."

"Thank you sir." Mustang did not drop his salute, but did raise a small smile.

"Have a good day." Airacobra left.

The filing of paperwork was resumed.

-Monday May 3rd, 1912, 17:04; Central City

The workday ended and all the soldiers went home or to the bar to have a long drink or two. Mustang did not do either, himself; he instead journeyed to the psychiatrist's office for an appointment. The office was in a branch of the Central Military Hospital, or CMH for short. CMH was open to the public, but usually at higher fees and prices as it was for military and military related patients. The only people that were accepted for free were children, usually victims of some tragedy that left them the ache of missing limbs and family members. They were kept in "WT" or "Wing of Tragedies" as most called it.

Mustang noted that the waiting room was the same shade of pink it had been when he first arrived there. The magazines on the front table had been updated and now included a copy of Mr. Bunny. (1) At this Mustang grinned a little and picked up the magazine, only to frown, realizing this was one of the issues he would not be interested in.

"Mister Mustang?" A petit nurse with short brown hair and blue eyes stood at the threshold of the doorway. Mustang stood up and followed her into the back hallways to the room where he always met with his psychiatrist. It was a cream colored room with several bookshelves full of nick-knacks. The psychiatrist was an elderly woman with gray hair pulled back into a small bun, her blue eyes hidden behind some simple glasses. Today she was wearing her usual lab coat over a brown skirt and green blouse.

"Hello Roy." She greeted him with a kind smile.

"Hey Eirny." Mustang greeted her as he sat down in the comfy green chair that was always available in her office. "Any news?"

"You…have been making progress," she began sincerely, "but it's not quick enough for you to assume full duties again."

"…I see." Mustang looked down at the floor in dark contemplation. He had really wanted to be over this thing, to move forward and on with his life.

"You are still prone to nightmares, and certain noises and smells still make you shut down or react violently. Roy, I know none of this is ever going to leave you completely, but it's just too soon to start pushing yourself."

"I want to be myself again." Mustang told her, determined.

"Your current workplace setup is designed to ease you back into working with normal people again. If you do well there, we can proceed to allow you more freedom." Eirny assured him.

"Is there anything else I can do?" Mustang asked her desperately. Eirny opened her mouth to answer when the phone in her office rang. Mustang blinked, that phone never rang before, not once. Eirny frowned and answered it.

"Hello, Doctor Eirny Jameson, Psychiatric Care Specialist speaking. How may I help you?" Eirny's tone was crisp, absolutely keeping the professional attitude. The person on the other end said a few things that Mustang heard, but did not understand.

"…A boy you say?" She sounded and looked surprised. "How old?" More talking from the other person, this time quick and sounding distraught. Eirny looked around the room for a moment as if searching for something, and then- her eyes landed on Mustang.

"…I do have a candidate." Eirny said after a while. "Would you like me to take him down?" There was more conversation.

"He's plenty good looking, Susan." Eirny assured the person on the other end. "We'll be down there shortly." The phone was hung up with a pleased smile.

"Well Roy, there is something you can do." Eirny smiled at him. "Have you heard of 'Little Brother, Big Brother'?"

"Isn't that that program were older people take care of unfortunate younger people or something?" Mustang didn't quite remember what it was, but he had heard it before.

"That is one way of putting it…. You see it's a program we've started to help young children get over some kind of tragedy in their lives. Usually limb loss alongside with family loss." Eirny explained. "They are the 'little brothers' and 'little sisters'. The 'big brothers' and 'big sisters' are their mentors and caretakers during the time of recovery. Sometimes if the situation is such that the child has no one to go home to, the 'big brother' adopts them."

"Ah." Mustang nodded.

"I want you to participate in this program." Eirny told him.

-Monday, May 3rd, 1912, 18:04; Central Military Hospital, WT

Roy Mustang had never seen something so disturbing in his life. In the room was a young boy- ten years old, Eirny said- with bright, canary blond hair. He was lying on a bed with an IV in his left arm. Normally that wouldn't have bothered Mustang if it hadn't been for the fact the boy had no right arm to put an IV into. Nor a left leg.

"His name is Edward Elric." Eirny told Mustang. "He is ten years old, a resident of the small town Risembol. He and his family were driving down the road in their new car when the driver, his father, drove over a mine. The blast killed his parents instantly and severely damaged his younger brother. Because of the angle of impact, Edward got his leg irreparably crushed and his arm severed. He took a large hit to the head as well, losing some of his memory."

"What happened to his brother?" Mustang asked, fearful.

"Alphonse Elric- he is conscious but suffering from third degree burns over most of his body, he had to have both of his legs amputated and one of his arms as well." Eirny explained. "We'd have put the two together but… Edward doesn't remember that he has a brother."

"And you want me to watch over both of them?" Mustang gave her a look. She was insane.

"No, Alphonse would need professional psychiatric care. Edward just needs someone to look after him and comfort him." Eirny explained. "Hopefully Edward will remember he has a brother, then he can help look after Alphonse as well. Alphonse is aware that Edward is suffering from some memory loss and can't see him at this time until we know the extent of the damage."

"I think you should tell the boy if you know." Mustang stated his opinion.

"Who's the professional here?" Eirny reminded him curtly. "Now, any time now Edward's going to wake up from the anesthetic, they want you to be there for him when he wakes."

"…Alright." Mustang walked into the room after the doctor left. He sat down next to the young boy, wondering faintly what color the boy's eyes were.

"…Why'd this happen to you?" Mustang whispered. "You're so young to be like this…."

Edward twitched and whimpered in his sleep. His little hand began to reach out, trying to touch something.

"…Mom? …D-dad?" Edward pleaded in a voice so small that Mustang almost didn't catch it.

He's looking for the warmth of his parents... Mustang held back a gasp in realization. He had to do something, but what?

Eventually he settled for holding Edward's hand, a comforting gesture his own mother had given him many a time.

After a few long moments Edward's eyes fluttered open and looked right into Mustang's onyx ones. Golden eyes staring right back at him, looking for comfort in this new, scary world.

"Big brother?" Edward whispered, looking for hope. Mustang once again remembered why he joined the military. He joined so that children wouldn't wind up like Edward. He joined to protect children like Edward. And the whole world be damned if he wasn't going to protect this child!

"Yes, Ed. I'm your brother." Roy told him with a small, comforting smile. Edward smiled back, the fear within him leaving with gentle waves.

Outside the room Eirny was looking at the two through the glass. She was smiling. Mustang's mental block had been that he hadn't a real reason or motivation to pull himself together. Now that he had to take care of someone else, he responded quickly and managed to pull himself together. Edward needed to be watched over and looked after, someone to lean against. Roy would do that for Edward.

"Eirny, Alphonse has been asking about Edward again." Susan told her friend and colleague.

"I'll talk to Alphonse myself." Eirny assured Susan.

-Friday, May 7th, 1912, 12:18; Central Military Hospital, outside Edward's room

Roy was checking his watch. At precisely 12:20 he was going to go inside and have lunch with Edward. He had brought some alchemy books with him this time to see if the science amused Edward like it did for himself.

Edward had been pretending to sleep when 12:20 rolled around. His room door clicked open and Roy came in. For Edward, parts of his memory were hazy, but he did remember some black haired guy claiming to be his big brother. There was something else about the word brother he should be remembering, he just didn't know what.

"Hey Ed." Roy greeted him with a smile. "I brought lunch and a present!"

"A present!?" Edward sat up and squirmed in delight. Normally he would have been on his feet running over to see what it was, but Edward lacked the legs to do so.

"Yup! I brought you an alchemy book!" Roy informed him, pulling it out from behind his back with a flourish. Edward clapped his hand against his knee, again another altered gesture in his way of living.

"I love alchemy!" Edward announced. "Dad was a great alchemist, he was teaching me and Al, did he teach you too?" Like any other child Edward had yet to figure out how to breath and talk at the same time.

"No, I had a good teacher though." Roy smiled and handed Edward the book. "I had forgotten Dad had been teaching you."

"Its okay, I don't own any books." Edward patted the book fondly. "I promise I'll take good care of this one!"

"Good!" Roy smiled.

"Can we read it?" Edward asked.

"What?"

"Can we read it? Right now?" Edward knew that Roy never stayed long during the day because he had to work. Edward didn't want him to leave, so he always gave him an excuse to stay.

"Hmm… okay!" Roy agreed, deciding that the lecture he was awaiting back at the base was worth the smile that lit up Edward's face.

And so Roy took a seat next to Edward and they began to read the alchemy book

+May 1st, 1915, 14:46; The apartment of Roy Mustang

It had been several years since Roy had adopted the Elric brothers. The day Edward remembered Alphonse had been nothing short of amazing. He had begun by demanding to see Alphonse right away. Roy had obliged him and explained that because of the memory loss they didn't want to hurt Alphonse by taking him to visit unless he had remembered him. Edward, after a long pout, had agreed with the logic.

To make things simpler Roy had visited Alphonse and told him all about the "Little Brother, Big Brother" program and how he was helping Edward recover from the loss of his limbs. Roy was very thankful he did this because it made re-introducing the brothers much easier. Since Edward was in generally better condition than Alphonse he was released from the hospital to live with Roy first. With the consent of both brothers, Roy had adopted both of them the day Edward was released.

Ever since Alphonse came home, both brothers had been living in his home.

As was usual Roy returned home to see the brothers waiting for him in the foyer. Edward's cuts had been clean enough to attach automail prosthetics on. Alphonse, due to the burns and the resulting scarring of the nerves, was unable to have automail. So as usual, Edward was standing behind his brother's wheelchair grinning, and Alphonse was sitting in the chair, smiling as well.

Their happy expressions made Roy smile. He walked across the room and gave both of them a hug.

"You two are the best little brothers in the world." Roy whispered the sincere words in their ears. Edward, though normally sensitive about his height and words like "little", never minded it when Roy called him his little brother. Alphonse just beamed, happy to have a big brother like Roy. Because Roy didn't have to do anything like that for them, but he did it regardless.

They were a strong family because they reached out to one another. No one ever doubted it.

--

Eirny means "new healing".

1- Mr. Bunny, the Amestrian equivalent to Playboy. Some of the magazines are full of good, educational articles, some are full of… the more raunchy verity of things. It is by far the most controversial magazine on the market.

Here's the link to the picture that inspired this story (please delete spaces):

http : / strisma - yaoi . myblog . fr / Ed - X - Roy photo569662 . html

As a warning, not all the things on this site are appropriate for younger viewers. I trust you to be responsible and to use digression as you see fit.

Thank you for reading my story, I would appreciate any reviews or comments you have to say.