I am hoping that for those of you who read Sêl Euraidd, that this might help cheer you up just a bit. Not only the fact that I finally got another chapter of this up, but that this is not... well, you know.
As to the questions I've been getting about the update schedule of this fic, I would like to note once more that this is a pet project fic, not a main one. That being said, the update schedule can be from between days, to far longer dependant on when I have the spare time to mess with a pet project. That also means I won't abandon this fic. I've not before, and I don't plan to start now.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy! Even if you have to read back a few chapters to remember where we are.
Chapter Thirty Two
The last dinner that Edward knew he might ever share with Daphne here at Roy's home came to an end a little over an hour and a cheesecake later. And it had been one of the most relaxing dinners Edward had shared with her and Roy. It was that warm comfort of a supportive family that came out when one of the members would soon be departing for their own home for a time unknown.
And for Edward, it was a time unknown indeed. So he enjoyed every moment.
Afterwards, Daphne left to go upstairs and fetch her belongings with promises that it wouldn't take her long.
So hoping that meant only ten minutes at most, Roy and Edward waited together near the front door, leaning back against the wall next to each other with arms just brushing.
"You're going to miss her, fess up." Edward chided his lover affectionately.
Roy rolled his eyes with a tortured groan, "are you kidding? I'm just glad to get rid of her so I can take you back home and ravish you wherever I want tonight. You did give me permission to order you around, I plan to take this opportunity in stride, knowing it won't leave me tied up naked outside alone all night."
Edward snorted at the mental imagery, "I've never done that to you. But thanks for the idea."
Roy suddenly had two reasons he couldn't wait for his mother to get down here so they could ship her home. He didn't want Edward dwelling too much on such thoughts.
So when Daphne did come back downstairs with her things in hand, Roy was more than eager to help toss her into his car, followed shortly by Edward. He knew they both were laughing at his rush to get rid of his mother, but he didn't mind. And Daphne was taking no offense, if she had someone like Edward living in her home, she'd want alone time with him too without parents around.
"You two are going to visit me soon, right?" She double-checked as Roy drove to the train station, barely obeying the traffic laws. Honestly, however had her son become Fuhrer when he enjoyed riding the line between legal and illegal so hard? She chose not to ask him though and offer him the distraction of not answering her initial question.
Edward leaned up from the backseat in order to pop his head between the two front ones, grinning over at Daphne. "I will. And don't worry, I'll drag Roy too."
Roy cocked an eyebrow, "are you strong enough for that, shrimp?"
Edward's head turned so he could glower over at his amused-looking lover. "I am not something that can be eaten with cocktail sauce."
Daphne tried not to laugh too hard at the indignant squeak that came out of Edward, and before the conversation either degraded any further, or ended up with Edward smacking her son, she quickly spoke up. "Make sure you call soon when you have a date. I'll make sure I have a good welcoming ready for you. Not like the sorry affair my son threw me."
"Edward wasn't feeling one-hundred percent, you may have noticed." Roy grumbled, not seeing anything wrong with having wanted to care for his lover first. And besides, it wasn't as if he'd asked her to come… not that he was sad she had, if he were being honest.
Edward sat back in his seat with a smile. "Well I'm better now, clearly. So I will."
Daphne nodded, and began to ready herself for it only being a relatively short stay. But also planning to make the most of it. As after her talk with Roy on the way back from the hot springs, she too now knew that there was a possibility that she might not see the blond again.
It was a disquieting thought, and the rest of the drive to the station was interspersed with casual commentary and thoughtful silences none of them would admit to.
When they finally reached the station and unloaded from the car, the atmosphere changed into something more energetic. And gleefully happy on Roy's end.
After purchasing her ticket, Daphne had to look around a moment to find where Roy and Edward had gotten off to, knowing only from the promise Edward had made that Roy hadn't dragged the two of them off immediately. And after a moment she spotted them where they were talking quietly together next to a concrete pillar.
Yet she didn't go over to them right away. Just stood there watching them, a faint smile on her lips. They truly were good together, she could see that clearly. She'd never seen her son so relaxed and happy with anyone except the departed Maes, and herself. But there he was, looking at Edward with no lack of love. And Edward mirroring it with his own brand of humor.
It was nice to just see them like this, and for a moment she surprised herself by considering just getting on the train and leaving them to each other, but she quickly shook it off. She did need to say her goodbyes, and so she began to walk over.
"Please tell me there were enough seats left on the train." Roy piped up with a smirk as soon as he saw her come back over to them. "Although being the Fuhrer, I imagine I could get them to stick you in cargo."
Edward rolled his eyes, elbowing the man sharply in reproach.
Daphne merely whacked her son across his arm with her boarding pass. "If they have any sense, that's where they'll stick you when you come to visit me. I'm sure they'd still let Edward ride in the actual passenger cars."
"As if I'd leave Edward unattended on a train while I'm in cargo." Roy muttered in dry humor. "The first time I stuck him on a train it took a team of engineers weeks to set it right again after the modifications he made."
"But I've not messed with any since!" Edward protested indignantly. "And it's rather your fault I messed up that train. You stuck me on it, knowing what would happen, manipulative bastard."
"As if I've got the whole world on a string." Roy brushed it off airily.
"You do." Daphne and Edward said as one, with conviction.
Roy cracked a grin, but didn't level a protest.
Shaking her head, Daphne decided it was finally time. Not that she didn't adore her son's misconceptions about himself, but she knew when it was time for her to go home. And she knew that she'd be leaving her son in good hands. "Edward," she began, stepping forward to wrap him in a tight hug, "take care of yourself. And don't let Roy get into too much trouble."
Edward hugged her back as best he could as his ribs were being crushed in, but as soon as he was released and could get air, he smiled at her brightly. Realizing just how fond he'd become of this woman. "Don't worry, we take care of each other."
Daphne nodded, and then turned to look at her son.
Roy smiled faintly at her, his eyes showing more than his expression let on. As much as he'd protest seeing her, or her seeing him, he knew that it was no secret from them that he did enjoy seeing her. She was his mother after all, the only one he had. "You take care of yourself too, mom, understand?" He chided her as he stepped forward to accept the hug he knew he wouldn't be able to avoid anyway.
Laughing, Daphne hugged her son tightly, smiling as she heard him squeak out a bit of air in protest. "Don't worry. I've still got shotguns lying around the house."
Edward paled. Shotguns? But then, she was the Fuhrer's mother. It made sense she might need the means to protect herself one day.
"Good." Roy replied firmly as he was allowed to remove himself from the hug, and his smile became more successful. "It'll be so nice to finally have my house back to myself."
Edward scoffed, "I'll still be there, jerk."
Daphne could only smile and laugh as Roy appeased the blond with something whispered into his ear, followed quickly by a long and seemingly thorough kiss that left Edward with a satisfied cattish smile. But before either of them could do anything else, she took her opportunity.
"Roy, come here a moment." She said, taking her son by the arm and not exactly giving him a choice as she led him away far enough that they'd not be overheard. Which just so happened to conveniently be almost right next to the train she'd be needing. Stopping, she turned to Roy, not releasing his arm, but raising her other hand to his face as she looked searchingly into his dark eyes. "You'll be okay?"
Roy knew she wasn't just asking the question lightly. And he wished it were an easy answer, as it would have been any other time. He braved a smile though, turning his head to look over his shoulder to where Edward stood watching him with a loving but curious look, and turning back to his mother he gave a jerk of a nod. "I'll have to be. For both of us."
Edward watched them from afar, wondering a little bit what they were talking about. But he couldn't hear them, nor see their lips move from this angle. He could only guess that it had to be something between just mother and son. He couldn't begrudge them that, so he waited patiently.
"You're only one man, son." Daphne caressed his cheek affectionately. "But I've never been more proud of one man… just remember you can always come home. With Edward," her smile shadowed slightly, her eyes soft as they looked upon her son, "or without."
And before she even had time to blink, her arms were full of her son. A feeling she'd not had in far too long. Not since Roy had been a child, too young to care who might see him flinging himself into his mother's arms for comfort. And it made her smile in that fulfilled maternal sense as she held him tightly, the prickle of tears threatening her perfectly applied mascara.
"I love you, Roy." She whispered as she held him to her to try and soothe him, even a little. "So very much."
Roy knew his voice betrayed the tears he was fighting back. "I love you too, mom."
Edward barely kept himself from hurrying over, seeing how distraught Roy had suddenly become. But knowing that the man really did love his mother, he supposed that goodbyes were hard for them both. Even still, he was shifting from foot to foot anxiously as he waited for any sign that he was allowed to hug Roy himself, and check the man over for anything that might be wrong.
When Roy finally walked back to join Edward, it was with a comforting smile at the anxiously concerned look that told him that Edward was fighting the urge to paw him over and demand to know what was wrong. "I'm okay. Really." He said as he quickly took Edward into his arms for a tight hug. "I'm just a bit of a sap."
Edward wasn't entirely satisfied, but he did know how much Roy loved his mother. And he did know the man could be a bit of a sap where loved ones were concerned. "If you're sure…" he hesitated anyway as he hugged the man back before drawing away to look up at him.
"I am." Roy assured him with a smile, reaching up to brush fingers into blond hair. Out of anyone who should be worrying about anything, it wasn't Edward. And he didn't want Edward to know that he had his suspicions about the full truth that was being kept from him still.
Daphne had let the couple have a few moments alone undisturbed before she went back over in order to say her final goodbyes, giving both of them hugs that had them gasping for breath afterwards. And with one last misty-eyed look at them both, she turned and boarded her train.
She'd see them again soon… but it was still difficult to leave.
Edward and Roy waited until the train had gone from the station before they turned away to head back for the car and shortly thereafter home.
The large house seemed oddly emptier without the charismatic woman.
But that still didn't stop Roy from locking the door behind them in satisfaction while tossing his car keys to the small table in the entrance hall. "You realize we cleaned this place top to bottom for her, and she barely saw the half of it?"
"The half of this place is about the size of a small school." Edward pointed out to him with a smirk. "And you can't tell me you didn't enjoy some of what our cleaning ended up involving."
"Oh I did." Roy assured him with an increasingly sly smile as he recalled exactly some of the ways they'd ended up postponing cleaning. Some of the cleaning, after all, had fallen during those initial days following the start of their relationship.
Edward rolled his eyes at the look, not needing to have slept with the man to know where his thoughts were. But with a rise of humor, he decided to see just how long Roy could hold off before he pounced. "Why did you buy a house this big, anyway?"
"To hide from Maes, when he was still alive." Roy supplied, and as Edward laughed, clearly not believing him, he tugged the blond against him to silence his amused lover with a kiss that soon had Edward making those soft, submissive noises in the back of his throat that made Roy only burn with immediate desire to drag the blond up to the bedroom.
And the subject of the house was forgotten, and Daphne's absence confirmed as Roy dragged them both to bed while littering the hallways with their clothes.
Later that night, long after their activities had reached a pinnacle of conclusion, long after Roy had fallen asleep, Edward lay there in his lover's arms just staring at the far wall in thought.
This house… how had Roy managed not to go insane with loneliness being all alone here? Laying a hand over the one resting along his chest he gained only more resolve that he had to find a way to stay. What could the Gate want from him as reason enough that he wouldn't try to cross worlds again? What could ever be good enough for that twisted sentient entity?
Closing his eyes with a sigh, he tried to get some sleep. Hoping that as dreams were want to sometimes do, that his subconscious would present him with a solution.
"You're thinking much too hard on this. You're acting as if I want to do this."
Edward gave a mental sigh. "You do."
There was a pause, and then, "yes. But not for the bitter reasons your human brain can comprehend."
"My brain, you may recall, is just as full with the things I learned through looking through you that night. Just as much as it's full with what every normal person should have to know. So don't patronize me."
"Yet you still cannot possibly imagine what was not shown to you." The Gate reprimanded firmly. "I have already told you all you need to know. I have already said I'd give you no more hints, but as a fact, you're thinking too hard."
"I'll keep that under advisement." Edward growled mentally. "Now if that's all you wanted to say, let me alone."
"Actually I do have another reason." And this time the Gate sounded somewhat more serious, if possible. "Since when have you ever submitted to him like that? That was hilarious to watch. I – "
"Oh, fuck you!" Edward snapped, annoyance rising inside him as the Gate fell into gales of laughter. "You don't even have a libido! Quit watching my private life, you twisted – "
"Would it help if I told you I only watched until you got to the bedroom?"
"Not an exhibitionist then?"
Edward felt the Gate's presence flee his mind about halfway through a very long list of expletives, and fell into a grumpy sleep.
The next morning, Roy was uncertain whether or not his mother being gone was a good thing. Because at this moment as he woke Edward up, the blond was radiating fury, and he had the luck of being the nearest person in range of the famed Fullmetal Alchemist wrath.
"You okay?" Roy managed to get out weakly.
Edward groaned as he sat up, rubbing a hand against his forehead. "Yeah… just, didn't sleep well."
Roy felt a tingle of uncertainty nag at him as he asked. "It's not because of anything I did, right? Last night?"
Edward shot him an amused glare as he shook his head. "Last night was fucking good and you know it. It's not that. It's the damn Gate."
"What did it do this time?" Roy frowned, mind instantly racing towards his suspicions about what Edward was hiding from him.
Edward decided that he wouldn't subject Roy to the knowledge that the Gate was watching them almost constantly, he loved the man far too much to do that. He merely replied, "it was being a fucking bastard, and it knows it."
Just as he knew the Gate had more than likely just heard what he'd said. Far be it for him to care.