A Little Fall of Rain
Disclaimer – not mine, all rights belong to Arakawa
Rating – PG -13
Characters – Roy
Timeline – Pretty much any time after Hughes' ultimate fate, manga verse
Summary – Some days his fears just bubble up
Warning – other than a few minor bad words, none.
Author's note – Written for the FMA_fic_contest, for the prompt, 'automail dysfunction.' Thanks to the usual suspects for the clean up job.
Roy settled back, feeling the icy stone leeching cold into his kidneys in spite of his stylish wool jacket. "Might snow soon," he mumbled, opening the duffle he carried. Maybe coming here during the dead of night wasn't his best bet but he could hardly do it when the sun warmed the ground. Roy took a bottle of whiskey and box with a rocks glass inside out of the duffle. There was something unrefined about just swilling it out of the bottle.
"Alphonse called me. Edward's automail failed again. If not for Alphonse, I would never have known. Edward has all the discipline of a dead skunk, can't listen and retains the ability to go off when least expected." Roy snorted and let the fiery liquid fill his senses, burning its way deep into his core. He refilled the glass. "I think that Edward's afraid that I'll call him back and assign him less dangerous duties if I knew how often he superseded his automail's limits. I probably should but it would serve no purpose. You know how Edward is, committed to his goals with blinders on to everything else. He'd just quit and try to do this all on his own where I can't protect him."
He took a more sensible sip of the whiskey. Did Edward even know he had Roy's protection? "Sometimes I think Edward breaks his automail merely to have a reason to call on Miss Rockbell." He chuckled dryly. "At least I hope so. He is a young man, after all, and you've seen her. I can see why he'd want to make the occasional side trip. I know I would." Roy grinned up at the stars, taking another swallow. "Miss Rockbell reminds me of Riza back in the day, only she really knows how to dress."
Roy paused a moment to remember the mini-skirt and a nice, long expanse of bare thigh that he glimpsed in the market of Central the last time Winry Rockbell had paid a house call on her wayward patient. "I didn't look purposely, not really. She's too young but you know I couldn't help but notice. I think I'm glad Riza dressed more primly. If she dressed like Miss Rockbell, you and I would never have met. I'd have been a flaming carcass by the time I was sixteen with Teacher standing over me, watching the pervert chasing after his daughter burn."
Roy glanced back at the headstone he was leaning on. "Yeah, I'm the man you always feared Elica would grow up and meet. I guess you're looking at me to be the one to scare those boys away when they come sniffing around years down the road. I'm not sure I can be as crazy protective as you."
Pouring a third glass of whiskey, Roy wasn't sure if the numbness in his fingers was from the alcohol or the cold. "If Miss Rockbell thought Edward was breaking his automail on purpose just to see her, Alphonse would probably be continuing the quest alone. Don't get me wrong, Maes. I'm sure Miss Rockbell's allure isn't enough to make Edward careless in a fight. He should break something on his off times, like throw himself down the steps or something. I hear you laughing, Hughes. Yes, it is something I'd do if I were desperate but you know me. I've never been that desperate. However, Edward isn't sophisticated like me." Roy snorted, feeling slightly tipsy. Maybe he should have had something to eat first. Ah well, nothing to do for it now.
He savored his drink, feeling a heaviness settling in on him. "If his automail breaks at the wrong time, he's dead, Maes. How am I supposed to live with that? I only brought Edward into this as a panicked decision when I saw what he and Alphonse had done, that blood-spattered array. If anyone found out…" Roy shook his head, not wanting to think about it. "I knew if anyone could protect them, it was me and you. You left me alone with this, buddy." He patted the earth, tears starting to trickle down his face. Damn whiskey, loosening everything up inside him. "I know you didn't want to. I don't want to go to that girl and tell her Edward is never coming back. I remember her face the day I came to talk to the brothers, the distrust. How will she live if she knows her automail failed when he needed it most?"
Roy imagined he could hear Maes' rumble of displeasure at that thought. He wiped his eyes with the back of a hand that had killed so many. Who was he to price two boys over the others? Because he knew Edward and Alphonse, felt sorry for them. He knew what it was like to lose parents that young, the desperation to bring them back. And the way the Ishbalans haunted his dreams, he didn't underestimate the value of what he had taken. He was owed the brotherly affection he felt for the Elrics. Those boys barely had an idea what might have been done with them had anyone else found out what they had done.
"Damn it, Maes. How do I do this without you? Riza can only bear so much. I already depend on her too much. If I get these boys killed, I don't know what Riza would think of me."
Spying headlights coming through the cemetery, he packed up his alcohol. "That'll be Mama. Is it too much to ask that you whisper a way to keep those boys safe in a dream for me?" Roy knew he was being ridiculous. He would never hear his best friend's voice ever again. All he could do was make sure he didn't give that bastard Bradley anyone else he cared about. Roy looked back down at Maes' grave. "Just one more question, buddy. Why does it always rain when I come to visit you?"