CM: So, we were planning on posting this on this stories four year anniversary but obviously we sort of missed that. So happy belated anniversary readers!
Chapter Fifteen: Resolutions
With the combined forces of their best fighters the battle for Amestris was eventually brought to a close. Once the fight was over, those who remained standing were left to pick up the pieces. The injured were immediately taken to undergo medical care while others began digging up the dead and laying them out for later burial. Kat, in spite of her protests, was one of the many who was taken to emergency care. She had no idea where they took Elly.
They placed her under morphine and for a while she was on a cloud. Oh, did she hate that. Her body liked it well enough, but she despised any sort of drug that took away her ability to think straight. By the time she was back to semi-coherency, she was in a hospital bed with bandages on and around her sides. If there'd been any sort of surgery, she didn't remember it.
Since there were no nurses around at the moment, Kat disengaged herself from the bed and medical equipment before sneaking out the door. Unfortunately for her, her room was being guarded.
"I figured you'd try to leave the first chance you got."
"Charlie?" Kat's vision was still a little fuzzy, but she could make out the smirking features and blonde hair of the corporal.
"Damn, hospitals and their non-smoking rules." The other female sighed. "You look like hell with a side helping of death warmed over, by the way."
"And you're as charming as ever, Corporal," Kat returned.
"Heh, and I ain't never changin'," Charlie declared firmly. Then she laughed a bit and turned Kat right around and marched her back to her bed. "And I know you aren't either so I'm gonna say this now. You're staying right here and recovering. NO arguments."
Kat looked up at her old partner and a smile tugged at her lips. "Since when did you become the sensible one?" she asked laying back in her bed and looking up. She wasn't about to agree to stay...but she thought she could at least humor her for a bit.
"Since the whole city was almost destroyed," she answered folding her arms. "And since I was placed on your guard detail. I know you, and you'll have to wait to go see your pals until either you or they are good enough to be allowed to move."
"If you know me so well," Kat said, her smile growing further, "then you know you can't keep me here."
"Wanna bet?" the other woman said. "I already took the precaution of…" she reached into her military jacket, then froze, eyes widening slightly.
"You know me,' Kat said, before using her alchemy bracelets to freeze Charlie's feet to the floor. "And I know you. Funny how that works, isn't it?"
"Rrgh, dammit, Kat!" Charlie growled as she attempted to pull her boots loose. "Would you for once in your damnable life…"
"Charlie, you already know that answer," Kat said, getting up and leisurely striding past. "So don't bother finishing the question."
"I swear…" Kat heard the Corporal mutter followed by a stream of profanities.
The Ice Cold alchemist felt a little guilty about it, but not enough to warrant her staying put. Her side was a bit tender, so she adjusted her walk accordingly before beginning her search.
Glancing both ways on either side of the door, Kat quickly left her room and began heading down the hall in search of her comrades. Since she'd stayed behind to help look after her partner and to stay out of the other's way, she had no way of knowing how the final battle ended. Obviously it was their victory but still.
As she traveled down the hall, she glanced into each room looking for the others, but with no results. It wasn't until she found a room that was occupied by a beautiful blonde that she stopped and headed inside.
"Riza," she murmured lightly stepping into the room. The woman turned her head and looked at Kat with surprise and then a light frown.
"Kathleen, shouldn't you be in bed?" she scolded lightly.
"I'm fine," Kat replied taking a seat on the side of the blonde's bed. "I wanted to know what happened after all of you left."
"We won," the lieutenant told her. She gave a succinct explanation of what happened during the battle up above. Kat thought the most interesting part was Roy using clap transmutation. Seriously, if she didn't know that several people would kill her for even attempting it, she'd find a way to be able to do that herself. "In the end, it was Edward Elric who won us the battle."
Kat beamed at the thought. "No surprises there. He was always exceptional from the very beginning. I'll admit though, when the Colonel first brought him on, I couldn't help but think, 'what sort of jerk recruits a thirteen year old boy into the military'?"
"I suppose the same sort of jerk who was kind enough to put up with you for five years." An all too familiar voice interrupted from the other side of the dividing curtain.
Kat started at the sound of the voice and turned just as the curtain was pulled aside to reveal Roy who was staring off blindly. "And I am very grateful for every moment," she told him with a smile. "Why else do you think I was so pleased to work under you?"
"I thought it was because you hoped your brother would convince me to treat you special," he quipped.
"Well, that was a bonus," she admitted with a shrug. "But really there's only so much I could get from you to counteract the whip you would crack over us."
He sighed, rubbing his eyes before asking, "How are your injuries?"
"I'm well enough to move about freely, sir," she answered with a smile.
"And your eyesight?"
"I'll probably need to renew the prescription on my glasses." Kat glanced over at Riza who made a small motion with her head. The ice cold alchemist rose up from the bed and went to sit beside her Colonel, making sure to maintain a professional distance of course.
"Is there anything that can be done about your eyes?" she asked him.
Roy smiled, though it was strained. "Probably not. Considering they were taken by unnatural means."
Kat swallowed, knowing that without his eyesight, his days as an officer were over. He would be discharged, and he would never make it to Fuhrer.
As if sensing her unease, his hand sought hers until warmth covered her cool fingers. "I'm not going to let this beat me," Roy told her. "There's still a lot I can do, even like this. I plan to fix the mistakes the military has made, starting with helping the Ishvalans reclaim their land."
Kat beamed at him. "Elly will probably be thrilled to hear that."
His hand tightened over hers ever so slightly. "Yeah she will be," he answered slowly. "That is when she wakes up."
"What do you mean?" Kat asked worriedly. "She's alright isn't she?"
"She's alive," he answered carefully. Kat glanced back at Hawkeye for some clarification only to see her looking concerned as well. "She should be out of surgery by now and in the recovery stage."
"That's good at least," Kat breathed a sigh of relief.
"There you are, Colonel Mustang."
They all looked to see a man walk in, and Kat also recognized the low guttural voice. "Dr. Knox?" the flame alchemist asked.
"Geez, things sure are a mess around here," the doctor said, scratching his head. "Doesn't help that some patients can't follow doctor's orders and stay put like they're told."
"Good to see you too, doctor," Kat answered smilingly.
"So what happened to you, Colonel?" the doctor asked, searching the man's body for injuries.
"I can't see," Roy answered, covering his eyes. Roy chuckled when the doctor let out an exclamation of surprise. "A punishment for dreaming too big, or so I'm told."
"So much for becoming Fuhrer," Dr. Knox stated, voicing Kat's earlier concerns. "With that sort of disability, you'll be forced to resign."
"General Grumman can have that job," Roy answered. "The old goat deserves it. For now, I'm going to move forward and do what I can to continue helping this country and the people in it." He gave Kat's hand another light squeeze before saying, "I'll have more than enough help to do so."
Kat bit her lip to keep from smiling too much.
"Well, maybe you'll be able to do more than you think," another voice stated as someone else entered the room.
Kat looked up and jumped to her feet in surprise when she saw who it was. "Dr. Marcoh!" she exclaimed. "Wh-what are you doing here?"
"Marcoh..." Roy repeated taking a moment to piece together what his presence could mean.
"Colonel Mustang, I have with me a philosopher's stone," he explained holding up the stone for all who was present to see. "If you want, I can use it to restore your eyesight."
Kat's eyes widened in surprise and when she turned to look at Roy, he too was shocked by the news. She was sure she could see hope there.
"In exchange," Dr. Marcoh continued, "I want you to do whatever you can in your power to assist the Ishvalans in the re-establishment of Ishval. And then allow me to live there as their doctor."
Roy's eyes saddened. "I see… so you were in Ishval too."
"Ah, there you are Major Ice Cold!" Armstrong said, coming into the room. "I must said, you've made several people worried, running amuck when you haven't fully recovered yet."
"Ah, Major Armstrong, perfect timing," Roy said before Kat could make to defend herself. "I need you to pass on a message to my men."
"And what would that be?" the major asked.
"I'm going to be busy again, so follow me." Roy's expression was one of hardened determination as he extended his hand to Marcoh. "I promise, I will dedicate all my power on revising the policies on Ishval."
Marcoh smiled and took the offered hand in a firm handshake. "Now, let's get you back on your feet Colonel."
"First...I need to make a phone call," Roy stated firmly.
It took a few minutes to bring a phone to the room allowing Roy to dial the phone. When it arrived he picked up the phone and dialed a number. Miles away the call was answered. "This is Havoc's Delivery," the man answered through his cigarette.
"Havoc, it's me," Roy told him. "I need you down at Central immediately."
"Huh?" Havoc asked nearly dropping the phone. "Colonel, you realize I'm running a store. Besides, why am I needed at Central for?"
"You'll see when you get here," Roy told him, his voice sounding borderline sly. "And besides, there's a beautiful young Ishvalen girl who's probably looking forward to you visiting her."
"Elly?" Havoc asked. If his legs still worked, he would have stood up. He rubbed his fingers over his beard. "How is she?"
"Come see for yourself," Roy told him. "While you're at it, bring Terry with you. There's someone here she needs to see as well."
Havoc grinned widely at this. "You got it Colonel. I'll be right there," he said before hanging up. Then he raised his voice and called out, "Hey, Terry, get your stuff together we're heading to Central."
"Sounds good to me," Terry shouted back. "I was bored out of my mind. Now, I can see my sweet Fuery." She swooned at the last part of her statement before the sounds of shuffling and thuds could be heard.
"Hehe, can't blame her for being excited," Havoc murmured to himself. "I am too. I can't wait to see Elly again." With thoughts of the young Ishbalan flitting around his mind, he rolled over to his room and started packing as well.
Elly wasn't sure where she was. Her body felt heavy and her mind was extremely foggy, she tried to move, but it was difficult. She remembered fighting Wrath with her brother, and bleeding a lot. The surface she was laying on was a lot softer than what she remembered. Through the fog, she could hear voices speaking.
"I think she's coming to!"
"Should I get a nurse?"
"No, that's the last thing she'll want. Where's Breda?"
"I think he went out to pick up…"
Elly's eyes slid open and she had to blink several times as her eyes adjusted to the lighting of the hospital room.
She took a moment to try and clear her head while looking around at her surroundings. She could see white and off-white all around her telling her she was in a room that was probably sterilized. There were two people standing near her bed but her eyes wouldn't focus enough for her to figure out who they were.
She closed her eyes again trying to clear up her sight and attempted to sit up. Right away she felt a firm hand on her left shoulder pushing her back down.
"It's best if you don't move," the owner murmured kindly. She knew the voice but couldn't identify it. "It's a pleasure to see that you're alright, Miss Elly."
She slowly opened her eyes again and saw the owner was none other than Falman. "Hey," she croaked forcing a smile onto her face. "Where am I?"
"The infirmary," he informed her gently. "How do you feel?"
"Heh, like Armstrong ran me through a gauntlet," she answered lightly.
Elly glanced around the room and saw Fuery also standing nearby looking all but relieved. "Hey, Fuery," she said with a smile. "So what happened? How long have I been out for?"
"The battle reached its conclusion," Falman informed her. "We succeeded in taking back the country. You have been asleep for almost five days."
He blinked in surprise. "That long? Wait, so where's Kat? Is she alright?"
"Yeah, she's just fine," Fuery said with a smile. "She's been in and out to see you."
"That's… great," Elly said, throwing an arm over her face to cover her eyes. "And Scar?"
The two men exchanged glances. "No one has found a body," Falman stated. "General Armstrong concluded it was lost somewhere in the rubble."
"No body," she repeated feeling her heart seize up for a moment. Then something occurred to her and she was able to relax a bit. "I understand." She went to move again but flinched as her body exploded with pain originating from her right side.
"Elly, are you okay?" Fuery exclaimed seeing her flinch. She didn't respond as she was trying to ignore her pain. "I-I'll go grab a nurse!" With that he turned and took off out of the room.
"F-Fuery!" Elly tried to call out to him but he was already gone. "Ugh...yeah I hurt but I don't want anyone poking around at me," she muttered under her breath.
"With all due respect, Miss Elly," Falman said. "It would be best if we were to ensure your health is prime."
Before she could argue the point, a very loud female voice reached their ears from down the hall.
"Fuery! There you are! Why the hell didn't you call me? Do you have any idea how many bottles I've been through worrying?"
"I'm sorry, Terry, really I am! Things have just been really busy, what with having to clean up and everything…"
His voice was cut off and Elly was sure that the boisterous woman had tackled him. She smiled lightly to herself thinking about the odd woman and her crush on Fuery.
"Hmm...if Miss Terry is here then that means..."
Moments later the door to Elly's room opened and in rolled a fresh, clean shaved Havoc. Elly's eyes widened seeing him before her and she slowly forced herself to sit up despite Falman's protest.
"Havoc," she whispered grinning from ear to ear as a few tears slipped from her eyes. "You're here." As she finally got herself into a seated position, the blanket on her slipped making the young Ishbalan shiver a bit.
When it did, Havoc's smile slipped as well as he just stared at her for a few moments.
Silence filled the room as the two looked at each other, one happy to be reunited and the other utterly speechless. Falman felt the small amount of tension that was slowly filling the air and cleared his throat. "Well, I guess I'll leave you two alone then." With that he gave a salute to Havoc before leaving the room.
The silence didn't break immediately after he left. Elly couldn't help but feel broken under Havoc's gaze and she made to pull the blanket over herself. It was difficult, however.
"You don't have to hide it from me," he told her, wheeling his chair forward. "But what happened?"
"I fought against King Bradley with Scar," Elly said, not looking at him, as much as she wanted to. "He died… but he took a good piece with me."
He wheeled to her side and set a hand gently on her leg. "At least it wasn't your life," he murmured softly.
She smiled back at him and put her hand on his. "Yeah...so how's your own recovery going?" she asked trying to change the topic. "You promised you'd show me the next time we saw each other."
"Heh...yeah I did," he agreed. Then he slowly moved his hand off of her and onto the armrest of his chair. She watched in amazement and joy as he slowly lifted himself into a standing position. "Ta-da."
"You really did it...Jean," she murmured feeling proud of him.
His legs trembled a bit and he lowered himself back into the chair. "Yeah… well, I got Terry to thank for that mostly. The woman might be nuts, but she's one hell of a miracle worker. She's been helping me with recuperation so I can at least stand up for a few seconds. I can also do this…"
Elly watched as Jean very carefully moved himself out of the chair so that he was kneeling by her bedside. Her eyes widened as he pulled on leg up so that he was down on one knee.
"I've been wanting to do this for a while now," Jean said, reaching into his pocket and pulling out a small box. He kept himself supported by keeping his elbows on the edge of the bed. "I know my timing could be better but… Elly...will you marry me?" he asked opening the box to reveal a very beautiful ring.
The young Ishbalan opened and closed her mouth a few times shocked that he'd even asked it. "Uh...yes," she answered unable to say anything else. "Yes I will!" With that she leaned forward and wrapped her one arm around his neck ignoring the pain that shot through her.
Havoc hugged her back, all the while being mindful of her injuries. He knew the two of them had a tough road ahead. Even with the war over, the majority of Amestrians would probably continue to look down on Ishbalens. However, he knew that any amount of hardship and suffering was worth having her in his arms.
Kat strolled along the outer walls of Central, enjoying the fresh air. Technically she shouldn't be out and about, but she never really cared about technicalities before. Why start now? Plus she actually did have business for being there. The Elric brothers had been kind enough to stop by to visit her. She was all but thrilled to see Alphonse with a body of his own. It was still hard to believe those two boys helped to change an entire country. It really proved just how important the little things were.
The female alchemist spotted who she was looking for and casually approached them. The Xing prince and his female attendant. "I was told you wanted to meet with me?" Kat could tell it was Ling in control. She could see it in his eyes and the way he carried himself. Admittedly, he wasn't the one she'd been hoping to see.
The two turned to face her when she drew closer and nodded in acknowledgement of her greeting. "Yes, I felt that as you were unable to see the final battle that I should be the one to pass on this information," the prince stated, his expression serious. "But first...I have to ask. Just how close are you to Greed?"
Kat frowned and crossed her arms in front of her chest. "I told you before, it's not something I plan on explaining, to anyone," she stated firmly. "Why can't you just ask him anyway? He is in your head after all."
Ling sighed and shook his head. "No...he's not," he told her slowly. "Not anymore." With that, he lifted his hand to show her the missing tattoo.
Kat would admit she half expected this. The expectation did nothing to cushion the gut wrenching blow of the loss. He was gone, again. And this time, she was certain it was for good. She took a deep inhale through her nose, forcibly swallowing back the grief. She might as well have swallowed a handful of nails.
"Thank you for informing me," she acknowledged with a stiff nod.
"Greed wanted me to tell you something," said Ling. He seemed almost pained to say it. "He said…" The prince hesitated before approaching her and leaning in to whisper something in her ear.
Kat felt her chest constrict painfully and her eyes were steadily moistening with the ache of loss. She covered her face with her hand and gave a forced laugh. "Typical of him, he was so greedy he wasn't satisfied to die only once. He had to die twice."
"You really loved him, huh?" Ling asked softly.
"Is that wrong?"
"Considering I accepted him into my body without a second thought, not at all. He'd probably hate me for saying so, but I think maybe… he might have felt the same way."
The Ice Cold alchemist took a moment to regain her composure. "Again, you have my thanks. I take it you'll be returning to your country then?"
"Yes, Lan Fan, Mei and I will all be returning," he answered pleased by the change of topic. He didn't really feel like seeing her sad before he left either. "Hopefully, the Philosopher's stone I acquired will be enough to ensure my position as Emperor."
"What'll you do if you do become Emperor?" she asked curiously.
"I strengthen my own clan, do what I can to protect Mei's clan and accept all the others as well," he answered with his trademark smile.
"Accepting all of them, that's a bit greedy don't you think?" Kat asked in a teasing manner. He laughed and nodded his understanding. "Well I wish you luck with all that."
"Thank you," he murmured accepting her words. "And I wish you luck...with you and the Colonel's future."
The prince held out his hand and she took it in a brief but firm handshake. As Kat left, she made a mental to to visit Xing in the future. She was looking forward to seeing just where the prince's ambitions would take him.
It was late afternoon a week after Elly's awakening and she was determined to go for a walk. She needed to get out of the hospital even if only for awhile and since the other soldiers were busy she knew it'd probably her one chance to get one unaccompanied.
So, she spent a good ten minutes struggling to get her clothes on one-handed before finally managing to step out the door and sneak her way outside.
The moment she stepped out of the building, she took a deep breath of fresh air and allowed the sun to settle unencumbered onto her face. Oh how she missed being able to go where she wanted, and losing an arm required several days of bed rest and physical mending before she'd be allowed to return to the apartment she shared with Kat.
Luckily her hospital stay hadn't been that boring as after visiting with Havoc, she was able to see Kat and the rest of the soldiers. Even Ed and Al came to see her, showing off the younger's newly acquired body.
Now though, all she wanted was a bit of alone time out on the town. So, setting out, she traveled quite a distance around Central getting to see how the average citizen was dealing with the aftermath of the country's near destruction.
She heard the sound of a car approaching and turned to see a vehicle coming up beside her. At first, her survival instincts caused her to take up a defensive position. However, she caught sight of the driver and she relaxed.
"Miles," she said with an unrestrained smile.
He nodded to her in greeting. "It's good to see you, Elly. I apologize for not visiting you sooner."
She shook her head. "Don't worry about it. I'm sure you had your hands full."
The back seat window rolled down and General Armstrong glared at her. "Enough with the pleasantries. Get in."
Elly was both confused and wary as to why but she didn't dare argue. She walked around to the other side and got in the backseat with the General. "So… how've you been General?" the younger female asked tentatively.
"No different than normal," the General answered rather coldly. "Better than you, it seems."
"Oh…this," Elly muttered glancing down at the stump. "Yeah, not exactly my proudest fighting moment. You didn't lose too many men during the battle though, right?"
"We lost many," the General explained shortly. "Far more than we should have."
"Well...with that lead homunculus going on a rampage what do you expect?" the Ishbalan asked with a shrug. "Still...I'm glad to see so many survived. Especially you two...I don't think I'd know what to say if you guys died. No tearful farewells I know, but still."
She took a deep breath and sighed heavily. "So how long are you two planning on staying in Central?"
"Not much longer," Miles informed her.
"We've stayed in this crap hole long enough," the general muttered, brushing back some of her long hair. "I can only hope Gruman does a better job of running the country. Better him than Mustang."
"Oh, I dunno," Elly said with a small smile. "I think he'd do a pretty good job. He's got plenty of people to keep him in line."
The older woman snorted in disgust. "Don't tell me his charms got to you."
"Oh, please, he's already got someone, and so do I," Elly muttered. "Maybe you should do the same, general."
Miles coughed and cleared his throat to save Elly from whatever verbal or physical attack the general might throw at her. "Elly, do you remember when I told you I was married?"
"Yeah, I remember," she said with a nod. "Will I ever get to meet her?"
"That's the thing," he said slowly. "She's sitting right next to you."
Elly's jaw nearly dropped at this as her face turned extremely red. "Uh...sorry. I mean sorry for the comment not for getting married. Congratulations on that. Uh..." Suddenly she felt very awkward.
"So, what you were saying before. Does this mean your relationship with Havoc is finally official?" he asked changing the topic, though to another one she'd rather not discuss.
"Yeah...he actually proposed," she muttered in embarrassment.
"And your answer?"
"Obviously she said yes," Armstrong cut into the conversation. "At any rate this is not the reason I asked you to accompany us."
"I didn't think it was," Elly muttered glad things finally moved away from relationships.
"As I said before, we're leaving soon," she continued, uncrossing her legs, only to cross them the opposite way. "I thought it was only fair you had a chance to say goodbye."
"Well, that's nice of you but… it doesn't seem like you to take someone for a car ride just to say…" Elly began but Armstrong cut her off.
"Use your head, you idiot," she snapped. "Of all people… isn't there someone you noticed was missing?"
Elly thought about it. Well, there was her brother… but when she had asked about him, everyone had said the same thing. He went missing. No body had been found. It finally clicked and she gaped at Armstrong. "Scar! You have him? Is he okay?"
"He's recovering," Miles assured her. "Like you, his wounds were severe, but thanks to his stubbornness he managed to hang on. It must run in the family."
She smiled lightly at this as she turned to stare out the window. "Yeah, it kind of does."
After this, the group fell into silence until they arrived at the Armstrong estate where Elly was escorted into the building and up to one of the numerous rooms. She glanced at Miles, who nodded at her, before taking a deep breath and stepping through the doorway.
Inside she found her brother leaning against a wall next to the only window staring out of it. She could only guess what he was thinking. Her thoughts stayed on his physical well being though as his shirt was off and she was able to see the still healing wounds left behind by the Fuhrer.
"Glad to see you up and about," she commented finally catching his attention. "Though you really look worse for wear."
"You've little room to talk," he answered, his red eyes shifting to look at her. He took a moment to examine her before meeting her eyes. "Still, it's good to see you made it out alive."
"Well of course," she replied with a smile. "I had an amazing brother to look out for me."
He grunted before returning his gaze to the window. Elly sighed before going over to him and sitting down beside him. "So… what now?" she asked him. She knew he didn't have an easy road ahead of him. Even if he helped them, he was still a criminal, and a murderer.
"I wish I knew." The fingers of his right hand curled in. "My quest for vengeance is over. A part of me wished to die there with Bradley. Yet I still live."
"Oh the horror," she joked lightly. "You have to live another day. Maybe there's a reason for it though. At the very least, I'm glad you're still around."
He didn't say anything in return and didn't look her way, but she got the feeling she made him smile; internally at least.
"There's a lot to do as far as reconciling with the Ishbalans," Miles spoke up stepping into the room and drawing both of their attention. "Scar here will be assisting us in rebuilding Ishbal."
"Really? That's awesome," Elly exclaimed excitedly. "Maybe I'll see you some more then. I plan on helping with that as well...if the Colonel will let me that is?"
"He'd be an idiot not to," Armstrong stated. "Though he's an idiot regardless."
Elly released a light chuckle at that. "Yeah…" She turned back to Scar. "So, I guess that means you'll be leaving then." She supposed she should be used to being separated from him, but she'd really been hoping that after all this was over, they could finally start rebuilding their relationship.
Scar nodded slowly. "I don't know why I was kept alive, but I plan to make good use of it. I will dedicate my life to helping ensure our culture lives on."
She nodded, having expected as much. "Could you promise to at least keep in touch this time? No more disappearing on me, okay?"
He met her eye and for a moment she thought his lips turned up in a smile, but a second later it was gone and she wondered if she'd imagined it. "I'll...contact you once in awhile," he agreed grudgingly.
Elly smiled as she walked over to him and tentatively wrapped her arm around him. It was brief, but she was pleased that he at least patted her head in return...like he used to.
"By the way, I should tell you I'm getting married," she murmured when she pulled away. "You're not allowed to hurt him though, and you can't meet him until the ceremony."
His eyes dilated at this. "You're what?"
"You heard me," she said, grinning as she stood up. "And remember what I said." She turned to Miles and Armstrong, bowing to them both. "Thanks for this. I should probably get back before they send a search party."
"I'll drive you back," Miles told her.
She nodded and began to make her way to the door.
The female stopped and turned to look at her brother.
"Thank you. For believing in me."
She shook her head smiling. "How could I not? We're family, and you're the only one I've got left," she told him. Then she turned and left feeling like everything was going to be alright.
"You're here early." Kat glanced up to see Roy making his way along the row of headstones. In spite of the warm weather, he was wearing his black coat over his uniform.
"No, you're just late, General," she replied with a smile. The sun was getting close to setting, turning the sky several different colors.
"I apologize," he answered, "Turn's out being a general is busy work. I might need to get myself more men to help me with the paperwork." He came to stand beside her in front of her brother's grave.
"A poor excuse to keep a lady waiting," Kat jibed with a smile. The Flame Alchemist smiled, taking her hand and bringing it to his lips.
"I agree," he said before kissing it softly.
The Ice Cold Alchemist kept a straight face on, but her insides squirmed in private delight. Even after the big fight, a lot had been going on. Elly was in rehab learning how to cope with only one arm, and she and Havoc were an official item. Kat had gone back to Risembol to get Cammy, and then asked Izumi if she could take care of her. The older woman had been delighted by the prospect and was more than happy to adopt Cammy as her own. The child had been unnervingly calm about the whole thing, even when Kat had told her that Daddy Greed wouldn't be able to see her anymore. She was brave.
Kat exhaled a huff of air. "You know they're sending me to Eastern."
"Yes I've heard," he answered calmly. "It's to be expected now that you're a Major. You'll have control over your own group of men now."
"Something I never wanted," Kat sighed shaking her head. "But, I can't stay a follower forever."
"No...you really can't," Roy replied turning from her to look down at the headstone she'd been waiting at. The name on it read Brigadier General Maes Hughes.
They lapsed into a peaceful silence. As the sun lowered, it began to cast light of orange and red, creating a surreal rose colored tinting over everything. "So, is there a reason you called me out here?" she asked him, adjusting her glasses. They were of a different prescription than her old ones.
Roy reached up and removed his military hat. "There's something I need to tell your brother, and I'd rather you be present for it."
Kat looked at him questioningly, but decided to wait instead of asking questions.
The newly appointed General released a long breath, only to suck in another lungful. "Maes, I'm in love with your sister."
Kat was stunned speechless. She could feel her insides roll and her face exploded with heat. Did he really just say that?
"Honestly, I don't know how it happened," he muttered, rubbing his forehead. "She's such a pain, always doing things her way, going against orders. She's quite possibly one of the most disobedient subordinates I ever had."
The happy feeling quickly faded away and Kat could feel mild irritation taking its place. "Hey, now…" she said in a warning voice.
"Then I realized," Roy continued on as if he couldn't hear her. "She never belonged beneath me, or behind me. There's only one place I want her in my life." Then he turned to her, his face unnervingly serious. He took her hand, and she could only stare wordlessly as he slipped a ring onto the finger of her left hand. "Major Hughes, would you do me the honor of staying by my side, as Mrs. Kathleen Mustang?"
"First a sewer, now a graveyard," she muttered, with a small shake of her head. "You really pick the most unromantic places to propose." Really, truth be told her heart was thumping, her face was flushed and she felt like screaming, laughing and crying all at once. Her mind was so blown her brain was having difficulties catching up, thus her dry sense of humor was helping to fill in the blanks in the meantime. Yet he waited patiently, holding her hand, waiting for a definitive answer. Finally she nodded. "Yes. My answer is yes. Always."
It was a drizzly Tuesday. Skies were grey, blotting out the sun and allow a cool chill to settle over Eastern City. It had been raining erratically all day, with showers ranging from a light sprinkle to a merciless downpour.
Kat was in her office, slouched up against her paper covered desk, staring outside at the wet weather. She loved these kinds of days. Central was usually sunny, warm, and worst of all dry this time of year. It was nowhere near as bad as Southern or Western areas but, it wasn't like Eastern where there was high precipitation year round.
Things were so much easier back in eastern. Less work, more freedom, away from the big city noise.
So why then was she in such a dismal mood?
Well, for one, she was in Eastern, practically running the place, while Roy and nearly everyone else were in Central. Shortly after the huge uprising, General Gruman had been named Fuhrer. Roy was now a General and she had been unable to hand back her rank of Major. It had been bad enough they almost promoted her to Lt. Colonel. Somehow she got roped into a transfer to Eastern. Temporary, but still inconvenient.
Kat nursed the ring on her left hand ring finger, twisting it around with the fingers of her right hand. It was beautiful, no diamonds, but instead a sapphire stone rested between two pear cut rubies. Ice protected by fire. She released a sigh of longing.
Kat heard her office door opened and a droll spoken, "Knock knock."
The female alchemist glanced up to see Elly stroll through the doorway, without even bothering to ask if she could.
"Hey, how goes the paper pushing?" she asked in good humor. No matter how many times Kat saw it she had a hard time holding back the urge to laugh at the sight of Elly wearing the military uniform. The right arm was resting on her hip while the left sleeve hung limp and empty.
"Fine," Kat replied pushing away the piece of paper which had been sitting in front of her untouched for a good half hour. "You seem in good spirits."
"Havoc's taking me out tonight," Elly said with a mild shrug, but Kat could tell she was more pleased then she let on.
Havoc, unable to be too far away from his love, had requested to stay in Eastern when he heard Elly was being transferred there with Kat.
"I certainly hope then you finished all of your duties for the day, Private," Kat said warningly.
Elly had yet to take the state alchemist's exam, and Kat could never resist pointing out that fact.
"Yeah, I just finished them," Elly replied forcing herself to keep her smile. Being at such a low level despite her experience and skills really irritated her. "Just coming to see how you were doing. I know being away from the flame can be pretty rough on you."
"Nothing I can't handle," Kat dismissed easily.
"Course not," Elly muttered shaking her head. "Well, I should probably tell you that Cammy has really taken after you. I just left her in the wreck room with Havoc and a few of the lower ranking officers. She's beating the pants off of them at poker."
Kat smiled a little at that. No doubt Greed had taught her a thing or two the short time she'd been with him.
"Oh, by the way," Elly said suddenly remembering something. "Her mom called earlier to remind us she needs to back by the end of the week. Her school starts the following Monday."
"I remember," Kat replied with a small nod of her head.
"And that if you don't call her soon she's going to come up to Eastern and give you the beating of a lifetime," Elly added.
Kat laughed at that. Izumi Curtiss, her teacher, mentor, and surrogate mother hadn't lost her edge. She had certainly grown attached to her newly adopted daughter, Cammy. Kat knew it had been the best choice, letting her raise the child. She wasn't ready for parenthood and Roy … well, it wasn't as though he disliked Cammy. Quite the opposite. But she was still a small reminder of an unpleasant time for him. In the end though, everyone was happy with the arrangement.
"I'll keep that in mind," she answered.
"Good, because somehow I get the feeling that if she did end up coming I'd be getting caught up in the crossfire," Elly declared seriously. She looked over at Kat and was surprised to see that she seemed to have stopped listening. "Hey, I know it's not much but I did hear a couple rumors that a certain General was coming to visit. It's supposed to be business that'll take a few days to finish but I'm sure that won't be a problem for you."
Kat looked up at her and smiled warmly. "Thanks. Is that all? "
"Yeah, pretty much," Elly said with a shrug. "Unless you want to talk about something."
Kat opened her mouth and straight after, the phone rang. She moved some papers around to unbury her phone before answering it. "Major Hughes speaking."
"Hey there, beautiful," came a deep voice she knew only too well. "Are you missing me yet?"
"Oh, you were gone?" Kat replied not missing a beat. "I was wondering why things were so peaceful."
She heard a laugh on the other line and she smiled herself. Just hearing his voice was wonderfully uplifting nowadays.
Elly, who knew almost immediately who it was, began silently teasing Kat with charades of love drunkenness. The bespectacled alchemist pointed ignored her by turning her chair.
"So how are things in Eastern?" he asked her. "Not too much for you I hope."
"Hardly," she answered. "Though you might want to be sure to pack your good rain coat. It's been raining a lot this week."
"About that…" There was a long pause that set Kat on edge. "Listen, I'm not gonna be able to make it to Eastern this weekend."
Even Elly stopped fooling around, noticing how the room suddenly became very chilly.
Kat took a few moments to answer. "I see. Central must to driving you into the dirt."
"Yeah, things have been pretty crazy," he said lightly, obviously trying to lighten the clearly darkening mood. "If I'd have known being a general would be this hard I would have thought twice about being promoted."
"That's what you get for letting Gruman snatch away your job," Kat jibed. Really though, she thought the gesture on Roy's part had been a very sweet and generous one. Besides, he would have the position soon enough, she was sure of it.
"I'll try to get this done quickly," Roy promised. "But you know how long it takes to get paperwork filed."
"I know, especially when you're working at it," Kat said in amusement.
"I will come down as soon as I'm finished," he promised again, feeling a little miffed at her comment
"Alright, take care and say 'hi' to the gang for me," she replied before quickly hanging up.
Kat closed her eyes. She probably should have closed that conversation out with a bit more tact. It wasn't like it was his fault. However, Kat didn't want to continue a conversation when she was feeling so agitated. The disappointment weighed heavily on her, making her feel as though her uniform had triple in weight.
"You alright?" Elly asked cautiously. "What's up with the flame master?"
"He's not coming," Kat answered monotonously
"Too much work? " Elly asked walking up to the desk and sitting on the edge. Kat nodded wordlessly and Elly sighed. "Right, busy General and all." Kat didn't say anything. "That settles it then. You're going to be going out to have some fun whether it's right now or after work." Kat was about to protest but Elly cut her off. "I'm not taking no for an answer."
"Elly, I appreciate the sentiment, but you have your own date tonight, remember?" Kat reminded her pointedly. Kat did not want to be the focal point of pity, nor did she want to be the cause of a canceled date, and she most certainly did not want to be a third wheel. "I'll be just fine. I have Cammy to keep me company after all."
Elly frowned in clear displeasure at Kat's blatant stubbornness and the fact she raised a clear point. "Tomorrow then," she conditioned.
Kat nodded. "Tomorrow," she promised.
Elly looked like she wanted to say more but decided against it. So she took leave instead, letting Kat get back to the paper work. The rest of the day crept by slowly. Kat got the work done, called up Izumi and apologized for neglecting her pledge to a once a week phone call, then took Cammy home with her.
"Dorthy, we're home!" Cammy called as soon as they were in the apartment.
A petite, calico cat came running in, yowling up a storm. Cammy giggled picking the cat up and snuggling it.
"Cammy, why don't you go take a bath while I get dinner ready?" Kat suggested.
"Okay, can I take Dorthy with me?" she asked pleadingly
Kat smiled and nodded. "Of course."
Dorthy was a stray Kat had picked up, partly because she herself was in need of companionship, and partly so that Cammy would have someone to play with during her stays with Kat. The cat was an oddball. She loved water, and attention, and Cammy adored her.
While Cammy ran off to take her bath, Kat got to work on picking out what to make. Truth be told, she wasn't in the mood to make anything but she could hardly let Cammy starve. After a time she decided chicken parmesan and roasted tomatoes sounded good.
Kat got the necessary items out before getting to work. Her hands went into auto pilot while her mind went elsewhere.
Three whole months… and just when she believed there'd be no more separation. She'd figured she'd be used to it by now, but this was a whole different type of frustration. She and Roy were engaged now. And to be so far away for so long… well, it was maddening. Elly and Havoc were good company but still…
She was lonely.
Kat could feel her eyes watering and she blinked them several times. "Dammit…" she muttered, dropping her onion and knife and giving her face a hard slap with both hands. "Pull it together, idiot. You're stronger than this."
The doorbell rang and Kat glanced out the kitchen window at the down pour. What loon would be out in this and so late? Whatever it was, it better be damn important.
When she reached the door she glanced through the peephole but was unable to make out who the person was through the darkness and rain. So, not taking chances on who it might be, she adjusted the bracelet on her left wrist before opening the door.
"What do you want?" she asked coldly. She really wasn't in the mood to receive guests.
"Is that really anyway to welcome a General, Major? " the figure asked. Kat nearly choked as the voice washed over her and the person stepped forward into the light. His head was covered by a hood, but the trench coat it was attached to was very familiar. "Are you going to leave your future husband out here to freeze?" His head tilted up just enough so she could see the smirking face of Roy Mustang.
"You…" Kat was at a temporary loss for words. So she let actions do all the talk she strode forward and nailed the figure right in his diaphragm. "Insensitive ass!" She then proceeded to smack him wherever her fists could reach. She didn't hit him with her full strength, just enough to make sure it smarted and that it got the point across.
The man dodged as best as he could but eventually just reached up and grabbed her hands. She struggled but didn't fight back too much when he smothered her protesting mouth with his own. He didn't let go until she stopped struggling. "I get it you're upset," he said in his deep voice. "But how else was I supposed to surprise you if you already knew I was coming?"
At the moment Kat couldn't have been more thankful that it was raining. Her head dipped, so that it touched his wet shoulder. "Stupid General… I didn't think you were ever going to come."
"I couldn't miss seeing the most important person in my life," he told her, letting go of her hands to pull her into an embrace. "Not for another second."
Kat only resisted temptation for a moment before returning it in full, wrapping her arms around him and hugging him tightly. The only testament she would ever give as to how deeply she had missed him.
They stayed in that tight embrace for several minutes before a small voice called out. "Why are you out in the rain? Mommy Izumi says you can catch cold like that," Cammy said from the doorway holding tightly to Dorthy.
"Haha, she's right. We should get inside," the covered man chuckled. Kat agreed and the two finally entered the house, closing the door behind them. "And how is the squirt doing?" he asked removing his coat to reveal his short dark hair and General's uniform.
"I'm no squirt," Cammy said drawing herself up to her fullest height which was a little higher than Roy 's waist. "I'm a half a foot taller than I used to be."
"Is that so?" Roy asked with a smile. "My mistake then."
A snort erupted from beside him. "What's with the mustache?" Kat asked hiding her mouth behind her hand.
"Oh, this…" Roy said, brushing two fingers over the thin line of hair. "Lt. Hawkeye's idea. It's supposed to ward off women."
"I think she's right on the money," Kat stated looking away. "It's horrendous." She'd have to remember to thank Riza later.
"Are you sure you don't find it, attractive?" Roy asked running his fingers along his mustache and down to his chin.
"Well, I like it," Cammy spoke up before Kat could say anything. "It makes you look really cool!"
"Well, at least someone appreciates my new look," Roy chuckled, lightly rubbing the kids head.
Kat sighed, smiling as she shook her head. "Alright, since you're here you can help me make dinner. Just try not to burn anything, Count."
Oh, she hit a nerve that time. "A count, am I?" He approached from behind her and grabbed her by the waist. "Perhaps I'll just feast on your neck then," he rumbled in her ear, causing shivers to run all up and down her body.
"R-Roy…" she stuttered, turning red as she felt his teeth tease her neck. "Not in front of Cammy."
"Teehee, Uncle Roy's being naughty," Cammy giggled. "I'll go play with Dorthy, have fun!" The girl grabbed up the cat and ran off giggling as she went. She remembered watching her own parents act that way and knew it meant they wanted alone time...but not what it led to. She only knew that they were much happier after their alone time.
"See, she's somewhere else. We've got a little time," he murmured nibbling at her ear after seeing the girl run off.
After months of not being touched, just these simple actions were making the Ice Cold alchemist melt like butter. What the hell? She could let him win one.
"Not too much," she breathed, feeling control slipping away by the second.
"Don't worry," Roy assured her, taking hold of her chin and guiding her lips to his. "I'm saving desert for later."
Shipponut: Haha, so you can see that everyone's alright, some better off than others, but still. Joy is in the air and our two heroins are finally with the men of their dreams. Hope you all enjoyed the story. Just one more time, let us ask you to let us know what you think.
CM: Thank you all for sticking with us for so long. Its been great and we hope you all will continue reading our fanfiction.