So I was rather tempted into putting this up sooner than normal. I might update this one every day too... I've not decided yet :shrugs: I guess it depends on what sort of response I get. To my regular readers, yes, I am still continuing Believe In Me every day. And I will never be happy with a summary I write.
Let's see... what sort of nonsense should I cover.
Ah! Yes. This is an Ed/Roy, Roy/Ed fic where there is much rainbows and ponies and lollipops and you have been warned. Sometimes fluff and I actually get along, we are for this plot... so far. If it lets me down you'll hear the reason why I remind people of Riza.
...Jeez I'm tired, I'm going to bed now. Celebrating my brothers birthday wore me out, teenagers... I sure wasn't that hyper five years ago.
"Al…" Ed's voice was dreamy and detached sounding to his own ears.
"Mmph…" Came the muffled reply.
"Why are the clouds gone?" Edward asked, his head feeling very hazy and clouded. Golden eyes stared up at the blue sky, free of smoke, and clouds ribbed in fire.
"We died." Al chuckled merrily at his side.
Both men were lying spread-eagled on their backs in the middle of a courtyard they'd both once known very well. However at this point in time they were both trying to rein in coherent thoughts, and could do little more than stare up at the sky and try out their words.
"Died… hmm. That was a rather spectacular car crash we were in." Edward mused slowly, his thoughts were becoming clearer. In the process, his ability to speak with more success
"We just kinda went BOOM!" Al giggled and stared up at the blue sky.
"Boom." Ed agreed with a rather silly smile. "I think we have concussions."
"The dead don't have concussions." Al retorted sensibly.
"Do they have addled wits?"
"They do if they were addled to begin with. You're the one the Gate speaks to. Ask the keeper of truth if we're dead." Al commanded with a goofy smile.
"The Gate isn't speaking to me right now, and I can't focus enough to contact it even if I wanted to." Edward sighed lightly.
"Ed!" The new voice interrupted what the brothers had been conversing about. It struck a chord in the man the shouted name belonged to.
Edward blinked up at the blue sky as he replayed the voice in his mind. "Weird dream… I swear I just heard Mustang."
"I thought we were dead?" Al queried vaguely as he giggled randomly at a bird that flitted across his vision. "Fla-ap."
"Conc… co… concussed?" Ed drawled out, still not twitching a muscle in any part of his body past his neck. He didn't even seem to mind the sound of hurried footsteps running nearer to him. As a shadow fell over him in the form of the face of the man that had been the star in almost every single one of his dreams, Edward shrieked. Not yelled, not gasped, shrieked.
"Addle witted…" Al could be heard giggling from beside Edward who suddenly seemed to have gained the ability to move again.
"Ed! Are you… is that really you?" Mustang asked in concern as the young man suddenly whipped into a sitting position to gape open mouthed like a carp at him. He didn't see how it couldn't be Edward… he was older now, in a way that made him almost flush had he not caught himself in time. What the hell had that been about? He wondered idly.
Edward blinked at him, still not shutting his mouth. "Mustang?" He gaped and suddenly looked around so fast Mustang was worried he'd get whiplash. "Holy fucksickles!"
"Eloquent as always." Roy remarked wryly as he sat back on his heels to openly stare at the blonde man in front of him.
Edward was dressed in a long sleeved white button down dress shirt that had been tucked loosely into a pair of doe brown leather pants. He had the same heavy black military issue boots, but his jackets were absent. The shine of automail under the white sleeves of the shirt fabric kept it from obvious view, and the gloves he still wore concealed the rest of the evidence. His blonde hair was pulled back into a ponytail that flowed neatly to the middle of his back now. The golden eyes were the same molten depths that threatened to burn anyone who gazed for too long into their magnificence, but Edward's face had entirely lost what youthful fat had remained.
There was a reason Edward had been asked to be the lead actor in several romance films back in Europe, not that Roy would have known this, and it was doubtful that Edward would ever mention it.
Edward turned those smoldering eyes on Mustang again, seeming to soak in every detail. A few more years had done nothing to make him any less attractive. Not that he'd ever tell the man that he found him very edible looking, and had ever since he was seventeen. He was the same old Mustang, in uniform, but without an eye patch. "Am I really… are we really… back?" He asked while staring deep into those obsidian depths.
Roy suddenly seemed to find it hard to keep his heartbeat even, and wondered if he might be coming down with something. "You're in Central right now." He said and looked about the empty courtyard. "It's a weekend, you're lucky I had to come in to get something from my office." He suddenly peered over at Alphonse who was still laying there. "Al, are you okay?"
Alphonse flopped his head sideways to peer over at Mustang. "I feel a bit dizzy, sir." He admitted and slowly pushed himself into a sitting position and braced himself up on his palms. "Are we sure we're not dead?" He continued, seeming to have gotten a better grip on himself.
Mustang looked over at Ed, and suddenly reached back behind him to tug sharply on the man's blonde ponytail. As Edward gave a yelp of indignation and attempted to box him, Roy stood up quickly to dodge and smiled down at them. "I think you're very much alive. Welcome home."
"Brother?" Al asked, turning to a glaring Edward.
Ed looked over at him and groaned. "Well, I'm tempted to believe him. Though I've no idea why we'd find ourselves back here."
"Come on, we best get you two to the hospital." Mustang insisted and reached down first for Edward.
Ed grasped the offered hand and got to his feet, swaying where he stood for several moments before nodding to Mustang who had held him steady throughout his mimicry of a tree in a hurricane. "Thanks." He said quietly as he was released, feeling a sense of loss at the gesture.
Roy gazed at him for a brief moment, noting that Edward was now only a few inches shorter than himself. He had released the other man, but not without feeling oddly empty in doing so. "Manners, Fullmetal? I'm shocked." He smirked and went to help Alphonse up.
"Yes, Fullmetal has manners. Despite the fact I've not been called that in two years. My name is Edward, or Ed, if you please." He replied.
Alphonse slowly brushed his clothes straight. He was wearing a white shirt like Ed's, but instead of leather pants, had donned black slacks that fitted nearly just as well. His caramel colored hair had also reached nearly the middle of his back, and he had it back in a looser ponytail than his brothers. "Brother, can't you just ask th-"
"No!" Ed said sharply, effectively derailing that line of thought. "Even if I wanted to, my head hurts, I couldn't concentrate."
Alphonse nodded, meekly accepting the explanation.
"What's this about?" Roy asked, glancing between the two siblings. He felt as if he was missing something. Strange as this was in the first place. Not that he wasn't glad to have these two back home again, but they seemed to be unclear as to how they ended up here, and just a bit blurry in their thinking.
"I'll tell you eventually." Edward said, turning his golden eyes on Mustang. "Your eye…"
Mustang raised a hand to brush at it absently. "It took longer to heal than anyone thought. But it's fine now."
"I'm glad." Ed said honestly. He had always felt badly for leaving Roy to face Pride on his own, the man hadn't dealt with homunculi before then, not in the way Ed had. To know he was healed was a relief on his mind.
Al managed a knowing smile at his brother, that twitched into a smirk for a brief moment before he said. "I believe we should get looked at, for concussions."
Ed raised a hand to the back of his head and flinched. "Maybe so, that car crash wasn't a good one."
"Car crash?" Mustang parroted in concern. "Come on, we're getting you two to the hospital." He said, and began marching them off urgently.
As Roy ushered his no longer wayward State Alchemist and said alchemist's brother through the streets of Central he could already here the rumors begin to start and the whispering. It wasn't that hard to recognize Al, much less Edward who was quite famous in his own right. They made it to the hospital without being accosted yet by questioning citizenry. Roy knew the stern look on his face probably had much to do with that.
The walk was a silent one, both brothers kept oddly quiet as they allowed themselves to be shepherded to the hospital. Waiting was not required for them, and both brothers were shown to examination rooms.
Roy paced the white and brightly lit hallway as doctors and nurses walked by. Some of the aforementioned shooting him appreciative looks as they raked his body with their eyes. He ignored them. It was not only his looks now that he was sought after.
Besides, even if it were not the case that he was no longer interested in nightly flings, he couldn't see flirting with anyone when Edward and Alphonse were being examined.
Mustang turned to the elderly doctor now at his elbow. "Yes?"
"I'm Doctor Johnson. I've finished examining Mr. Elric."
"Which one?" Roy asked with a frown.
"Edward, sir." Doctor Johnson added, "he's got some minor bruising to the head, but no concussion. He said he was in a car accident? Do you know anything about this?"
"No. I haven't questioned him." Roy explained with a frown. So he was fine? Perhaps the travel through the Gate was tougher than he'd imagined.
"I'm going to insist he stay overnight just to be sure there's nothing lingering."
"I agree, he needs to rest, this is a good excuse for it." Mustang fisted a hand in his thick ebony locks for a moment before shaking his hair out with a sigh. "Can he have visitors?"
The doctor smiled, "Edward can have visitors. But if the hospital gets destroyed because you two start fighting I'll be very upset."
"Now why would I fight an injured man?" Mustang rolled his eyes and nodded to the doctor. "Thank you for your help, doctor."
"You're welcome, sir. Shall I ask security to keep the press away?"
"Yes. I'll issue a statement about their returns tomorrow morning. Ask your security to keep the press reined in until then. I'm not about to have their peace disrupted. They need calm after they're mission." Mustang said, and passed the doctor with a cordial nod to enter Edward's room with a gentle knock.
Ed looked up from the magazine he'd been reading and to the door where Mustang stood, oddly looking uncertain. "Come in." He extended the invitation immediately, and folded the magazine to set it aside on the bed next to where he sat. His legs were crossed at the ankles, and he was propped up into a sitting position by large pillows.
Roy closed the door behind him, not once shifting his eyes from Ed's. "I can't believe you're back… how?" He asked as he walked closer. "I thought I'd never see you again."
"Disappointed?" Ed asked lightly, the hint of a smile on his lips removing any chance his question could be taken the wrong way.
"No. Not at all." Roy sat down tentatively on the edge of the bed, their hips aligned, and he twisted his body to face the blonde.
The smile came fully to Ed's face, it was an easy one, a light one. But it held much meaning. "I share those sentiments. But as to how we're back, I'm unsure still. I… I destroyed the array on the other side. Didn't you do the same here?"
"Of course I did. It didn't take long."
"Then I haven't an idea." Edward admitted and leant his head back against the pillows. "The last thing I remember before waking up in the courtyard was the car accident. Al and I were on our way to Venice, there was a rockslide and our car was forced off the road through the guardrail and off the cliff. It was raining… and there'd been forest fires in the area. The clouds were like they'd been during those bombing raids." Ed gave his head a rough shake and fixed one golden eye on the man sitting with him. "Sorry, I'm rambling about things you don't know. But the last thing I remember was getting Al and I out of the car, and then we both sort of collapsed from our injuries."
Mustang nodded slowly, "and what is this thing your brother mentioned that you didn't want to talk about?"
Edward suddenly brought his head back from its restful position and fixed the entire intensity of his gaze on Roy. "The thing, entity, really, that would have the answer to how we returned." He replied and frowned as he cast a dark eyed look towards the sheets that covered his stiff hospital bed mattress.
"What is that?" Roy prodded gently, sensing that the subject was something of confusion for the blonde.
Ed considered the man before him. He was opening up to Roy as he never had to anyone aside from his brother, his walls were down right now thanks to the fog that still lingered at the corners of his mind. He knew that they'd reached an understanding years ago before the battle against Dante and Pride, and at last Ed was seeing that understanding flare to life between them. They had reached a plain in their relationship where they could talk to each other like the adults they both knew themselves to be. And apparently still pull each others hair childishly at times, as Roy had demonstrated earlier.
He would open up further to Mustang if given the chance, he'd bear his entire heart on his sleeve. But like he'd done for nearly four years now, he kept his true feelings inside. Things were safe this way, locked up where rejection could not hurt him.
'And you wonder why you're back.'
Edward jumped at the sudden intrusion of the snickering voice into his mind. 'Shut up! How many times must I tell you to stop invading my mind? Does the word "meddlesome" ring any bells?'
Roy frowned as the blonde alchemist seemed to suddenly be quite distracted. "Ed..? Are you feeling okay?"
Ed snapped his attention back to Roy, ignoring the snicker in his mind that fell silent, waiting for his reply. He could feel the presence still. "Just a bit fuzzy still. Sorry." He tried to compose himself again. "Please do not think me crazy when I say this," Ed began as he fought the urge to fidget, "but the Gate itself talks to me, telepathically. It's never bothered explaining why to me."
"The Gate." Roy repeated, and Ed nodded an affirmative. "I did not think it would be sentient…"
"Nor did I." Edward shook his head, "and it was rather gossipy for about a month after this all started. You'd think it would have the common sense to leave me be since I've seen plenty of the damned thing to last me a life time. I don't exactly want it hanging around in my mind whenever it wants to chat."
Mustang considered this little piece of information, before finally coming to a conclusion. "Ed, after all the crazy shit that's happened to us this fits right in with what I consider normal." He smiled at the other alchemist. "Is it still speaking to you?"
Edward shook his head. "But it's listening. Do you mind waiting for a moment while I ask it what's going on?"
Roy waved his hand in a motion for Ed to carry on, so he did.
'Okay, seriously, what the hell is going on?'
'Roy looks rather good in that uniform.'
'Yes h-hang on!'
'What? It's the truth, I give you the truth. You want to know what's going on? I have been waiting for a chance to drag your lame ass back here for good. I would have done it years ago had your attachment to your brother not prevented it. I couldn't yank him back when he wasn't fully conscious. The accident provided the perfect means, plus you would have died anyway if I hadn't.'
'Well… thanks. But why want me back here?'
'You passing back and forth through me gives me indigestion. Roy will be able to keep you here where you belong. With him.'
'I'm not a military dog!'
'You never were, idiot.' The Gate seemed to snarl at him in frustration, 'let me put it in terms you can understand. You have one month here to prove you have reason to stay. Otherwise I am yanking you back through me, at great discomfort to myself, and letting you die in a heap of wreckage ten kilometers from Venice.'
'That's a rather twisted form of equivalency, and just how am I supposed to prove something like that? '
'I'm a twisted entity. Figure it out for yourself, I've given you clues already, you're on your own now, Edward Elric. The next time you hear from me will be to hear your fate.'
Edward flinched as the Gate withdrew from his mind with a harder tug than normal. "Damn that thing!"
"What did it say?" Roy asked, having seen the emotions play out on Ed's face as he conversed with the Gate.
"It's leaving me alone until a month has passed. I have to prove I have reason to stay by then, otherwise I'll be sent back to Europe." Edward repeated, not having the heart to tell Roy that if he were sent back, he evidently would die. And what were these clues the Gate had given him?
"Besides the fact that I need you here?" Mustang asked, the words slipping out easily. It was true, after all. He trusted Edward above all the rest of his alchemist colleagues… he always had, and he always would. It seemed as if honesty with each other was their mantra right now, it would be a pity to stop it.
Ed looked at him sharply. If only Roy knew how those words could affect him. However he doubted that seizing the man and pinning him to the hospital bed to finally plunder that mouth would hardly be the best move he could make to express that. Best not to express it at all. "It seems the Gate isn't all that interested in State Alchemists and the Amestris Military."
"Pity, it should be. If it's interested in bothering you at any rate."
That drew a smile from Ed. "The Gate has a rather one sided view on relationships I've discovered."
"Well! On that happy note," Roy grinned and got to his feet, "I'm going to go check on your brother. You should rest, I'll be back to check on you. Don't worry, we'll think of something to prove you have a reason to stay here that even the Gate could not refute."
"Thank you." Ed smiled at him honestly, knowing that even having Roy's understanding and support was something to lighten the load that had settled in his heart.
He watched as the man strode from the room, and sighed as the door shut, blocking him from further view. He was every inch as he remembered, but even better. He knew Mustang had been in possession of a very exemplary ass years ago, it seemed that some things could be improved upon even more. He laughed bitterly as he thought of what Roy would say if he knew the things Edward had dreamed about the two of them. Alone. Well, at least right now he certainly had more pressing questions to attend to.