Roy opened his eyes and took a deep, nearly painless breath. The pain was slowly, but surely, fading from his body thanks to the new drug they started giving him. He wasn't sure what exactly the drug did or how it worked, but he did know that it had a ridiculously long and unpronounceable name that was mixed with an uncountable amount of vowels. But, he decided, none of that mattered, because for the first time in weeks, he felt amazing on a physical standpoint. However, on the emotional side of things, he felt so indescribable. There was no word in their language that could match how he felt without demeaning its honest value.
Yes, he could finally admit, and admit truly to himself and others, that Edward Elric was the best thing to happen in his life. Having him around made it all worth it, and he would gladly take all the pain and sorrow again if it meant keeping the other alchemist forever his. Because in truth, it was his poor health that brought them together. It was his sudden decline, his heart's failure, that he was able to develop such warm feelings for the blond he used to see as arrogant and cocky, really just a much younger version of himself.
As his mind whirled with their definite future together, he decided that it all too precious to throw away or give up on. He decided then and there that no matter how tough things got in the future, whatever lay there, he would strive to fight and be the victor. He swore to himself that he would never give up again like he had when he knew his life would come to an end. And so long as his Edward stayed beside him, he knew he would never have to give up. Never again. Every battle would be for his Edward, for the promise of another day with him.
But there was still one very big problem: He was still stuck in a hospital and being treated like the fragilest of glass figurines.
"Good morning, Colonel," Susan said with an upbeat tone to her voice as she entered his room with the familiar tray of food. "How are you feeling today?"
"Restless," he replied with a small smile and subtle shrug.
"I can imagine so!" She set the tray of food (finally solid food!) on the small table next to him.
"Any idea of when they'll let me out of here?" he asked as he took a plate of scrambled egg whites and unbuttered toast in his lap and began eating.
She laughed at his words and smiled brightly, the same smile she probably often gave her own children. "Some time this week, I think. Dr. Fischer hasn't really said too much about it, but with the way things are going now, I'm sure you'll be out of here before Sunday. Hey...Where's Edward?" she asked upon noticing his unusual absence next to Roy.
"I made him leave," he replied with the utmost amount of manners as he chewed around a mouth full of egg.
"Leave!? Did you two get into an argument?" Over the course of his long stay, Susan had become quite attached to the two of them and vice versa. She offered pleasant company and was too kind for her own good, and she also had that "air" about her, which Roy assumed was because she was a mother and sometimes moms just had that feeling about them.
"No, nothing like that. I made him go home to get some rest. After all, I'm sure that chair isn't comfortable enough to catch a decent sleep."
"Good," she said with a sigh of relief. "By the way, I'd like to thank you for what you did."
"Nah, you did more for me and him than I could ever repay. It was the least I could do."
As luck would have it, the night she allowed Ed into his room, someone had seen and snatched her out. Not long after Dr. Fischer was told about her conduct, he let her go. Upon hearing the news, Roy promptly had some strings pulled and was able to get Susan back her job, proving that he was still quite powerful even confined to a hospital bed. Then, he only felt it right that he should explain why she had disobeyed, so he told Dr. Fischer all that he needed to know and Ed did the same. Now the kind woman had her job back and the doctor held a new-found respect for her. All in all, everything worked out quite nicely for everyone.
He was reunited with the well-rested and clean blond not long after noon and they spent the rest of that day in pleasant conversation. The day, however, was the day Dr. Fischer came into this room with some very excellent, but half disappointing news.
"Well, Colonel Mustang, in the past few weeks you've been here, you've been to Hell and back. From the way things stand now, I see no reason why you shouldn't be discharged and sent on your way," the doctor said with a smile.
"Really? I can go home?" Roy asked eagerly, feeling every bit like a child. "Wait a minute...this isn't a joke, is it?"
Dr. Fischer laughed and placed a hand on his patient's shoulder, "No, no, I'm entirely serious. But," he said sharply, making Roy's ears perk up, " there are some very important rules you need to follow, so listen closely. For the first few days, stay in bed. No exercising or heavy lifting. Once you feel up to it, try to walk around some but listen carefully to your body. Also, stay away from salt. I'll be sending you off with a list of suitable foods and such. And one more thing, no sex."
"No sex!?" Roy's face whitened and his jaw dropped. "Ever!?"
"It'll seem that long," the doctor replied with a laugh. "I know it'll be tempting," his eyes glanced quickly at Ed who was standing behind them with a red face, "but your heart isn't quite read for such a strenuous activity, so you need to stay away from all forms of sexual activity. I'll tell you when your heart will be ready to withstand such a thing."
"I can't even...y'know..." Roy gave a quick nod downwards and jerked his right hand.
"All forms of sexual activity. Sorry, but masturbation does count."
"Damn," Roy said with a sigh, hanging his head in disappointment. He was young and, therefore, had a rather active sex drive and knowing that he wouldn't be able to act on that drive was already beginning to kill him slowly. But, on the brighter side, at least it would force him and Edward to take it slow and develop an actual relationship.
"Don't worry, Colonel," the doctor said, a laugh chasing his words. "At the rate you're recovering, you'll be able to do all the things you used to do. Oh, and most importantly, make sure you take your medicine every day like you've been taking them, otherwise you'll end up back here or worse."
After signing a few papers and receiving some more rules from the doctor, Roy was finally free to leave! He parted with Susan and Dr. Fischer, thanking them both for their excellent care. And with those hopefully final goodbyes, he set off.
The sun was shining high overhead, its rays extending like comforting arms of warmth. A small smile danced on his lips as he saw his house come into view. It felt like he had been gone for more than a decade and he was overwhelmed with happiness to see the broken fence that surrounded the small yard and the plum shutters that decorated each window. His smiled widened more as the car pulled into the driveway and soon he was standing a few feet away from the bottom step of the porch with his caretaker beside him.
"Hand in hand," he said softly, taking the blond's hand in his own. Ed nodded, looking up at him with a flawless smile and bright eyes. Together they ascended the three steps and crossed the porch. And together they walked into the house, and as soon as they passed the threshold, it was no longer a house - it was a home.
"Man, it's good be home!" Roy said, eyes darting about the living room as if something might've changed in the "decade" he'd been away. Of course, nothing had changed except that it seemed tidier. Roy assumed that Ed had something to do with that.
As Ed watched the raven-haired man's enthusiastic state, he smiled and silently prayed (despite his beliefs) that the man could keep that childlike merriment for a long time. Ed closed his eyes and in the second he did so, he felt arms wrap around him and was soon pressed against a wall of heat.
"I've been wanting to do this for a long time, Edward," the raven-haired man said softly, giving the small body he held a quick squeeze.
Ed looked up at him, a bit surprised by the sudden action and Roy's soft voice. Smiling, he simply rested his head on the man's shoulder and savored the heat that radiated off his body. He would have preferred to have his head on Roy's chest to listen to his unique heartbeat, but because of the recent surgery he underwent, the area was still very tender.
"I was terrified, Ed," he whispered, the words making Ed look up again. "I knew I was going to die, and I thought I would never be able t-to hold you like this." Roy's eyes squeezed shut as his voice cracked. Everything that had happened and the immense gravity of it all was digging itself into his entire being, forcing him to break down.
"Roy, it's okay," the blond cooed, slightly pulling himself away so that he could cup Roy's cheek. He offered a kind smile as the man's eyes opened, revealing two black orbs that sparkled wetly. "We both have a long life ahead of us, hopefully one that we can share between us. And so long as you're next to me and I to you, then you will never have that feeling again."
"You were just a dream," Roy said, eyes sliding shut once more as he tilted his head into the blond's warm hand against his cheek.
Despite how confused he was by Roy's words, he said nothing, but those words stayed with him for the hours that followed.
Not long after Roy had said the nonsensical statement, Ed sent him off to bed because of the suddenly haggard expression the man wore. The scene was all too familiar now as he settled himself down on the sofa, opening the murder-mystery novel to the page he had left off on weeks ago.
He had read over about eighty or so pages before he ripped his eyes away from the small print to take note of the time. He had been reading for three hours. After marking his place and setting the thick book on the coffee table, he rose to his feet and stretched as he slowly made his way into the kitchen to figure out something to cook. However, on his way to the kitchen, he happened to look down the hallway to spot Roy walking out of his bedroom. The raven-haired man smiled, his black eyes visibly dull with sleep, and said that he was going to take a bath. Ed nodded, watched him disappear into the bathroom, then continued his journey into the kitchen.
Ed spent ten minutes trying to figure out what to cook that would be healthy before he remembered the list of food the doctor had given them. He dug into the deep pocket of his trousers, then pulled it out and began to search for something. He had just gotten a pot of water on the stove to boil when he heard his name being called out from the back of the house.
His heart set to running as he hurried into the hallway, prepared himself for the worst and threw open the bathroom door (kept unlock at Ed's request). And should he see but Roy sitting in the bathtub wearing nothing more than a smile.
"Hi," the man said.
"What's wrong?" Ed asked quickly, his eyes staying upward while a feminine color danced on his cheeks.
"Feel free to say no, but I was wondering if you could be so kind as to wash my hair. I can't get my chest wet because of the stitches, so I couldn't take a shower, and I can't seem to lift my arms above my without a helluva lot of pain. Staying in that hospital bed so long, my hair was so neglected," he said with a small shrug that Ed only saw out of his peripheral vision. "For all the times it scored me dates, I owe it a good washing."
The small blond hit the palm of his flesh hand against his forehead with a sigh. He turned on his heels and left the room, returning a minute later with a tall, plastic cup in his hand. "Fine, I'll do it, but remember what the doctor said. I know how you are," the blond warned as he knelt in front of the bathtub.
"Thanks, Ed," Roy said softly.
Ed simply gave a small nod, then dipped the cup in the warm water blindly as he kept his eyes away from Roy's body. But despite his intention on keeping his eyes in a "decent" place, he found his gaze wondering over the pale man's broken chest...toned abs...masculine waist...big co-
"Ed? Something wrong?" the raven-haired man asked, a knowing smile playing on his lips as Ed's bewildered gaze snapped up to meet his.
"N-no, nothing. Sorry," Ed muttered, using his hand to tilt Roy's head back and shield his eyes as he slowly dumped the cup of water over the black locks. He repeated the action several times before taking the bottle of shampoo from the corner of the tub, then squeezed it out onto the wet hair. He ran his fingers, both flesh and metal, through the man's hair, slowly working the scented liquid into white suds. He wasn't sure what to think as Roy's eyes slid shut and his head went back against his busy hands, a soft moan falling off his lips. Ed swallowed hard at the sound of delight, a heavy blush forming on his cheeks. He didn't know he could bring someone so much pleasure, especially in something so simple.
Ed was almost so drawn in by what he was doing and the response from the man that he nearly forgot about washing the suds away. He took a deep breath, the smell of honey meeting his nose, as he refilled the cup and began to pour it over Roy's head, his fingers chasing the suds away.
"Sorry," Roy said.
"Making you uncomfortable. Really hadn't thought about how you would feel with this and all."
"No, it's okay. I'm fine," the blond replied in a small voice. "But I have something I want to talk to you about..."
"Yes, what is it?"
"Earlier today," he said as ran his fingers through Roy's hair once last time, "you said I was just a dream. What did you mean by that?"
"I had this dream and in it, I had dreamt that this was the dream. I had dreamt about you, but I didn't know who you were. I knew nothing more than your name and what your looked like. You were a dream within a dream," he said softly. "It hurt a lot not knowing why I loved someone I didn't know. It hurt not knowing who you really were. Then I woke up."
"How do you know that this isn't the dream, that you're actually asleep somewhere?"
"That's the funny thing though. Since I woke up from that dream I've been having doubts about it, about what's real and what isn't. Over and over I told myself that all this was the reality, but I kept waiting to wake up again and have the dream end. But when I held you in my arms, I knew that this was real. And if I'm dead wrong about this all and you're just some figment of my imagination, then I hope I never wake up."
"Maybe I'm the one dreaming and you're the one who doesn't exist," Ed said with a smirk. "Maybe, just maybe, this is my dream."
"Then promise me that you'll keep dreaming of me. I don't want this to end."
"The water's getting cold," the blond said after a minute of silence, easing himself on his feet. He turned to leave the room, but stopped before crossing the threshold. "If this is just a dream, my dream, then this is too wonderful not to dream about." He didn't linger after those words, shutting the door behind him as he left.
He took his spot back on the sofa, forgetting about cooking. He stretched himself out on the sofa, sighing deeply as he closed his eyes. Not meaning to, he drifted off to sleep where he found dreams and promises of a future with a man with eyes of a moonless midnight and hair that shimmered in hues of blue in sunlight. He was so deep in sleep that he wasn't aware of that same man gazing down at his peaceful face.
Roy smiled, remembering the last time he'd seen this same scene. He brushed back a strand of misplaced hair, his hand brushing against Ed's cheek. Although he thought about doing now what he hadn't done before, he refused. He decided that he was going to kiss the blond while he was aware of it happening and at a time that seemed right.
The following morning, Ed fluttered his eyes open as sunlight dressed his body. With a groan, he rolled off of the sofa and made his way into the bathroom. From there he went into the kitchen, surprised to see Roy propped against the counter with a glass of water in his hand.
"Good morning," the raven-haired man greeted, smiling brightly. He took a sip of water, then set the glass down on the counter-top.
As the blond neared him, Roy grabbed his hand and led him to the far wall of the living room where a neglected masterpiece rested. Roy sat down on the black leather bench and smiled up at him, his fingers automatically going over the white keys where he began to play as he had for Ed in the past.
Ed thought he would melt through the floor at the way Roy's black eyes peered into his as his fingers worked without visual direction, successfully producing the most brilliant and stunningly beautiful of melodies. His eyes slid half shut as the melody slowed and softened, he leaned forward slightly and the dark-eyed man did the same, his own eyes becoming heavy lidded.
Their lips met, softly pressing against the other's. Roy's fingers slowed and slowed until the song stopped, his hands leaving the row of keys to rest on he back of Ed's neck, deepening the kiss. He felt the teen's fingers curl up in his hair, pulling at them with the same intensity of the kiss. Their lips stayed locked for a considerable amount of time before Roy's mind told him to stop. His heart was thumping hard in his chest and he pulled away, smiling at the blond who smiled back.
"I love you, Edward," he said softly as he took the teen's hand in his, their fingers interlocking.
"Roy, I love you too."
As the returned words met his ear, Roy felt a million pins touch his heart in a delightful warmth. Yes, now he knew without a doubt that his life, once shrouded by ruin and despair, would be filled with happiness and joy. Love. From that very moment, he knew his life would finally be worth living.
Yay! This fic is done!! I'd like to thanks everyone who read, reviewed, faved, alerted, and all that good stuff. It really means a lot to me, and thanks for all the support. I hope you all enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed writing this! :)
Just on a different note: I know their whole love thing is rushed. Personally, and maybe I'm very wrong about this, I don't see true love as working this fast. However, I will admit that I've never experienced love, therefore, writing it is guess work, you could say. I really just have no clue how love grows and all and that's why it's as rushed as it is. It's just something I'll hopefully work out as I go on.
Anyway, thanks again! And for the last time, please review!!
Oh! I have a poll on my profile and I would greatly appreciate it if I could get some votes/answers on it!! Thank you!