Well here we are again, new story. And now everyone who participated in the voting knows what won when I finally managed to break that darn tie. And just to be clear, yes, this will be a romance. The genre's do not lie. Though humor is of course... debatable XD.
So I hope you enjoy!
"Let's go for it."
Those words echoed in Edward's ears. Those words had been the last thing he remembered saying. Beyond that were screams, flashes of blood, and the looming Gate followed by a flash of white light and the sensation of falling back, falling back away from that structure that had caused a flash of fear inside him.
"Let's go for it."
There they were again. He needed to stop them from echoing in his head. Where was he anyway? The last thing he remembered was… Al!
His eyes shot open.
"Not again." Edward sighed as he woke up.
Well, waking up wasn't exactly something he did. Sleeping wasn't something he'd done for seven years. But he did hate it when he tried to rest just to pass the time, close his eyes and lose complete touch with his fractured reality, and he was jolted back by that memory, those words. It got rather tiresome, as it was the only "dream" he ever really had. And it got him every time.
Edward sighed and began to aimlessly pace around the office he'd been confined in for seven years. He'd seen many occupants come and leave, and none ever saw him. He'd gotten used to being overlooked. He'd gotten used to being here and only here, for he couldn't seem to leave. He suspected that the only way he ever could leave was if someone were to ever actually see him. But it was obvious to see how many times that had happened.
It was the fact of the matter that Edward was, and had been, a ghost for seven years. The night he and his brother Alphonse had tried to bring their mother back to life, Edward had given his life in order to keep Al from dying. He'd not known he was giving his life, not until he'd come to, here in this very office. The current occupant of the office at the time had had a mirror on the desk; it had shown him why no one could see him. He was practically translucent.
It had been a bitter shock. But over the years Edward had gotten accustomed to being like this.
The office had gone through five occupants in his time here, and now stood empty once again awaiting the sixth. Through listening in on all the conversations that had been held here, Ed had learned he was still in Amestris, Central in particular, in the Military Headquarter building. He'd also learned his fair share of dirt, seen his fair share of the dirt, and figured he'd grown up quite a bit living here. Even if he was confined.
The one thing he missed the most, was surprisingly not the thing most people would think of. That perhaps he missed being alive. Oh no, it wasn't that at all. He was lonely. He missed being able to talk and have someone respond. Most of the time he could handle the loneliness, he had no choice, but there were days where he desperately wished that he could be a part of something once again. Be a part of someone's life once again. He talked to stay in practice, but otherwise, he had no reason to believe he would ever speak again and be heard.
The next few days passed without anyone entering the office. These were always the hardest days, the ones where he wasn't guaranteed at least some form of entertainment for part of the day. He normally passed the time by floating around aimlessly. But even that was getting old.
So when that door finally opened again, and in stepped two people, Edward brightened with interest as he continued to float near a ceiling corner to their side. He was positioned so that it might have appeared he was sitting on a wall and kicking his legs back and forth, and he leaned forward a bit to watch these new people.
One was a dark haired man. The other, a blonde haired woman.
"If there's nothing else?" The woman asked after setting down the cardboard box she'd been carrying onto the gaudy and splintering orange painted wooden table in the middle of the room.
The man grimaced as he glanced around at the furnishings. The chairs were losing their stuffing, quite literally, and the floral fabric was stained by suspicious fluids. The desk was tiny, and the chair no more than a child's computer chair at the local school. The room was completely devoid of other affects. "Bring me an order form for some new office supplies. This stuff is getting burned by the end of the week." He replied, setting the box he carried onto the desk. "That'll be a-…" He trailed off as he turned around, his eyes widening as he stared at the far wall near the ceiling.
Edward blinked, and the bored hand that had been at his chin drifted down. The man was looking right at him. In the eyes, and looked about as shocked as he felt. "Can you see me?" He asked, floating down to the floor.
The man watched slack jawed as the silvery apparition not only spoke, but drifted down looking just about as shocked as he felt.
"Colonel?" The woman frowned, and looked behind her. "I know that chair is hideous, but please focus."
"You can see me?" Edward whispered, slowly drawing closer.
The man quickly looked back to the blonde haired woman, his eyes still showing his uncertainty. "And that'll be all, Hawkeye."
Hawkeye nodded, and spun on her heel with a salute to turn and leave.
Right through Edward who rolled his eyes, now used to being walked through. But he kept his eyes on the man who never once looked away from him. "Who are you?" He asked quietly in his awed surprise and clinging to a faint hope that he wasn't imagining this.
"Mustang… Roy Mustang." Roy answered, and slowly backed up until he bumped against the desk. "I haven't drank at all today… maybe it was the food? I'm clearly having hallucinations."
Edward snorted. "If you thought that, you'd not still be here or have spoken to me." And a grin split his face as he hurriedly floated forward until he was right in front of Roy, his silvery translucent hands nearly touching Roy's chest. "You can see me! No one has ever been able to see me!"
Roy looked down at the hands in worry. "You have a point about the hallucination thing." He admitted, still staring at those hands.
"I'm not going to hurt you." Edward smiled and took his hands away, and suddenly shot into the air with a gleeful noise almost akin to a squeal, to spin a few elated times before he came back down to where Roy was watching him with his jaw hanging stupidly. "I'm Ed. Edward really, but my brother always called me Ed."
Roy suddenly managed to shut his jaw as he puzzled over the being in front of him. A being who was clearly glad to see him. "Ed, are you…"
"Dead?" Edward filled in quite nonchalantly, and at Roy's slight nod, he nodded as well. "I've been dead for seven years. Though it's weird, I still grow older." He said, looking down at himself. "I died when I was a kid."
Roy stared back at him, torn between speechlessness and the want to try and figure out why a ghost was here. And why the hell only he seemed to be able to see said apparition. And those questions only gave him more. As his office door opened he put a hand to his forehead as Hawkeye walked back into the office.
Edward quickly floated out of her way as she nearly walked through him again. He never felt it, but it bothered him. There was just something about being walked through that felt as if you were being violated.
"Order form, sir." She said as she handed it to him. "Do you have a headache?"
Roy gave her an almost plaintive look. "Of course I have a headache." He said, and waved a hand around the room, indicating the décor and in the process, the ghost Hawkeye evidently could not see. "Can you not see what this place looks like? Everything in it's so old it's practically rotting to death."
Edward gasped, and scowled at this Roy Mustang. "Hey! I may not be able to kick your ass, but just watch me hide everything you need. I can manipulate the inanimate objects in here if I want to you know!" He frowned at the ground. "Somehow…"
Roy hid a smile as he looked away from the indignant ghost and back to Hawkeye.
She glanced around as well, and frowned. "Point taken. At any rate." She nodded to the order form. "Just fill it out and have it on my desk by the end of today and I'll send in for new furniture."
"Thanks, Lieutenant." But as she turned to walk back out again, he held out a hand to motion her to stop. "Don't think I'm insane or anything, but have I been acting strange today?"
Hawkeye gave him a pointed look. "Roy, you're always acting strange."
Roy glowered at her, and waved a hand around. "No. Stranger than normal." He explained, and tried to ignore the sounds of snickering coming from where the ghost was now creeping closer.
She frowned at him. "No. What are you on about?"
"Pinch me." Roy repeated insistently.
Edward didn't bother trying to stifle his laughter. "I'm really here, you're not imagining me."
Hawkeye sighed, and shook her head. "Just remember, you ordered me to do it." She said and reached out to take the arm Roy offered out, and pulled the sleeve back just enough to pinch the skin of Roy's inner forearm so hard he yelped and jerked away.
Rubbing at his arm, Roy shook his head as he saw Edward was still there, still laughing. "Why me?"
"Believe me, if I knew why an idiot of all people could finally see me, I'd tell you."
"You asked me to."
Roy rolled his eyes, to both the answers. But it was not Hawkeye to whom he responded. "I am not an idiot."
"Of course not." The words were echoed in unison by the two others in the room. And the dead other looked over at the living other with a smile. "I like her."
"What?" Hawkeye asked him with a frown. "Are you sure you're feeling well?"
Roy groaned, and gave another shake of his head. "I'll be fine. Carry on."
Hawkeye gave him one last uncertain look before retreating from the office.
Edward followed Roy with his eyes as the man went around the desk to take a seat, never once did their eyes break contact. "Please don't tell me you're going to be a pain and keep thinking I'm an illusion until you finally get a clue. I'm lonely. You don't know what it's like being stuck in here and no one ever seeing you. Until now, that is."
Roy's eyes narrowed calculatingly. "No… you're real." He decided, knowing that although it went against all his prior beliefs about the existence of ghosts, there was no way to pass this off as anything but reality. "You've been stuck in here? Did you die here?"
"No." Edward smiled faintly, and drifted up as he folded his legs as if he were sitting in a chair. "When I died I was at home. In Risembool."
"That's nearly six hours away by train. How'd you end up here? And why are you stuck here?" Roy questioned further, drifting less away from the apprehension and slight fear he'd felt at the ghost's presence initially, and now finding himself just a bit curious.
Edward shrugged his shoulders, and waved a hand through the air. "I have no idea. I just woke up here after I died and I was this." He motioned to himself. "I've been stuck here seven years. I've counted. Every single one of them. I've seen seven calendars be completed before my eyes, and for those seven years I have been unable to leave this office. I can't pass through that door. And believe me, I've tried. I don't know why I can't, but I just can't."
"No wonder you're lonely." Roy frowned, feeling some pity for the ghost. "And no one has been able to see you? At all? If you can manipulate inanimate objects why not just write a message to someone?"
Edward laughed, and straightened out of his sitting posture. "To what purpose?" He laughed. "I don't know if exorcists or whatever would be able to banish me, but I rather this than nothing at all. If I'm to have my druthers. And that's only to say if the person didn't believe they'd gone crazy. Or in the case of the last person who used this office, the drugs hadn't been behind the hallucination."
Roy slowly nodded, leaning back as best he could in the inadequate chair as he puzzled over the apparition before him. He'd never imagined he'd see such a thing before, and now that he was, he couldn't help but stare. Edward was pure silvery light, but it was like looking at an old black and white photograph, there were clear definitions to everything. Aside from the slight glow that surrounded him. Really, he could have almost passed Edward off as an angel, but for the lack of wings. "How did you die?"
At that, Edward sighed. "I was young and stupid. And I gave my life to save my brother for the mistake I pushed us both into. I just didn't know the price I'd have to pay to save him." And he looked at Roy sharply. "Not that I regret it, or anything. Regret saving my brother. I wouldn't take it back."
"Yes," Roy agreed, "but how? What happened that caused you to give your life to save his?"
"We attempted to bring our mother back from the dead." Edward replied after a moment of considering and weighing his options. It wasn't like he could be punished for attempting one of the most outlawed practices ever thought up. He was dead, what more could a human that couldn't touch him physically or with alchemy do to him?
Roy's eyes widened, and realization suddenly dawned on him. Understanding. Remembrance. "You're Edward… Edward Elric."
Edward frowned, and nodded. "I don't understand… how do you know me? I've never seen you before in my life."
"I knew your dad. Briefly. I got a letter trying to find him, a letter from your brother after your death. You two had been mailing trying to find him. I still have all the letters. They always came to me for some reason. He mailed again saying that you had died…" Roy's face was drawn in thought. "He wanted so badly to find your father. I think he's staying with a family… Rockbell, or something?"
"They were close to us." Edward smiled with melancholic fondness. "I'm glad it worked though… that he's still alive."
Roy's look grew stern. "That was a very foolish thing you did. Both of you."
Edward leveled him a withering look. "You don't think I haven't come to that realization? Or that he hasn't? He had to bury me, and I've spent nearly half of my life in solitary confinement."
"I didn't mean it like that." Roy faltered, feeling suddenly very off balance.
"Of course not." Edward grumbled. "Not that I'm expecting sympathy or anything, but have a heart. I was young and impulsive. I'm paying for my sin in a way the Military could never duplicate."
Roy carded a hand roughly back through his hair as he watched the ghost before him. And he came to a quick decision. "Listen, I don't think that sort of talk… your sacrifice, your brother, that sort of thing, is probably the best thing to talk about. Nothing can be done to undo what happened. And clearly you've come to terms with it. I was rude enough to try and make more out of it." And he lowered his hand as he came to his final decision. "Can we maybe start over?"
"Start over?" Edward echoed as he paused what had been some irritable floating around the ugly chair in a circle. And he turned so he could look at Roy. "How do you mean?"
"I mean," he stood up and walked around the desk to come and stand before the apparition, "start entirely over." And he offered out a hand after a moment. "I'm Roy Mustang… and apparently, I don't know how, but I can see you."
Edward looked down at the hand being held out to him, and then looked up at the man as if he were crazy. And looking up at him just wouldn't do- he floated up so they were at eye level. But even despite the ridiculousness of the actual act Roy had made, he appreciated the gesture. So he looked down again and brought his opposite hand towards Roy's until it was about to pass through. He held it there, and looked back into the black eyes. "Edward Elric… I've waited for you a long time."
Roy smiled, and his eyes crinkled a bit in amusement. But he didn't dare comment right now on Edward's attempt to even their height. "I'd like to get to know you, Edward. If you'll let me. And in turn I'd be honored to let you know me."
And Edward smiled, and moved his hand so that it passed halfway into Roy's. "Thank you."
Roy glanced down at their merged hands, and instead of feeling unnerved by the sight, he felt a strange sense of relief. "You're welcome." And slowly he lifted his gaze back to Edward's, finding himself staring into translucent silvery eyes. In a way they were almost… hypnotic.
Hawkeye chose that moment to enter the office, and Roy barely had time to jerk his hand back down to his side before she looked up at him from the file she'd been reading. "Sir, how is this getting any work accomplished?"
Edward tried to stifle his laughter, not that it mattered. Only Roy would hear him.
Roy cleared his throat in a dignified manner. "I was merely getting measurements of the room, Lieutenant."
"Ah, very good, sir." She smiled, and walked over to hand him the file. "This is a request for Armstrong to transfer over as well."
Roy took it with a smile. "Glad he made his decision at last."
"Which Armstrong?" Edward asked aloud, and floated over to look at the file which Roy inconspicuously opened for him to view on the pretense that he too was glancing down at it every now and then. He only shut it when Edward drifted back with a "hmm."
"I'll deal with this as well then before I leave." Roy nodded to her, and Riza left with a salute. He turned to look for the ghost, finding Edward was hovering just above the desk in an appearance of sitting on the edge. "Why did you want to know which Armstrong?"
Edward swung his legs back and forth. "Just that I know his sister. She used to visit the last occupant of this office sometimes."
Roy considered the teen, and slowly nodded as he fiddled with the file. "Your knowledge of people could come in handy if you'd be willing to share at times where you recognize a name or face."
"Hey." Edward held up a hand, closing his eyes as he shook his head. "I am not a tool. If you expect me to give you information, you better be willing to keep that promise to talk to me. I don't do things for free."
Roy smirked at him, "like you'd let me ignore you. But don't worry, I'll talk to you. I meant it when I said I want to know you. And you me."
Edward opened his eyes, and lowered his hand with a matching smirk. "Then we have a deal. Though it's entirely up to you not to let people start thinking you're crazy. I can't exactly help the fact that I'm invisible to everyone but you."
"I'll see what I can do." Roy promised with a roll of his eyes, and he walked around to sit in the chair at his desk. The file he set up on the desk where he ignored it in favor of turning to the ghost who had flipped around to face him.
Though Edward's legs were now no longer in sight as they'd merged into the desk.
"How badly do I need to disinfect the rest of the office before the new furniture arrives?" Roy asked after a moment of trying not to feel unsettled by the image.
Edward grinned, and looked around. "Badly. Most of it… well, you really don't want to know what was spilled in a lot of places. If I were you I'd get people scrubbing every inch and have the carpet cleaned."
Roy grimaced and looked down at the file. "I'll do that as well then along with everything else."
"I'd stop sitting in that chair, too." Edward pointed out belatedly. "And wash those clothes when you get home. Immediately."
Roy quickly got out of said chair, all of a sudden feeling very paranoid about just how badly this place might be lacking as far as sanitary conditions went. "Is there any place in here that's clean?"
Edward smirked, and shook his head. "If you want a clean place to sit and do work, I'd have the blonde lady bring you something like a towel to sit on. And maybe to lay your things on." He nodded to the cardboard box. "I'd burn that too."
Roy would have wondered if the ghost was messing with him, but the general state of this room led him to believe that Edward was telling the truth. "I'll do that." And so he walked to poke his head out the office door and request several towels and ask that the woman put in a request to have the entire office scoured top to bottom by tomorrow.
"There's a reason that I don't actually let myself touch anything in here since the last occupant." Edward said from where he was pacing along one wall, paying close attention to his feet as he walked, but never touching the floor. "Not that it would do me any harm."
"I find it hard to find fault with that." Roy said as he watched the ghost walk back and forth along the wall. "So you can pass through inanimate objects or not, depending on what you want?"
Edward nodded, and looked over at him through the curtain of loose silvery hair that had floated forward to frame his face as his head was still tilted down. "But nothing alive. I can't touch living things, even plants. And they can't touch me."
"Perhaps because you're dead." Roy shrugged and walked over to the desk where he'd left the file. He would get it signed and back to Hawkeye when she came in with the towels.
Edward's head lifted fully now, "explain?"
"Well," Roy uncapped his pen and found the signature line, "maybe things that have no life to them are enough like you that they are tangible."
"I guess that makes some sense." Edward mused and floated a few feet up off the floor as he drifted over to Roy. "So Alex Armstrong is transferring here? To your team?"
Roy nodded and finished his flourish of a signature. "He's a good man, good alchemist."
"And what of you? Are you any good?" Edward asked quite calmly. "Or am I truly stuck with an idiot?"
"It's not every day a person realizes they can see a ghost." Roy countered with a smirk as he straightened and gathered the file up in one hand. "Is it, Ed."
Edward couldn't help it, he smiled. "Touché."
"So tell me something I don't quite get yet…" Roy began as he looked Edward over. "You said you keep aging?"
Edward nodded mutely.
"How is it your clothes still fit and your hair isn't as long as you are tall? Which, granted, wouldn't be much of a stretch with how short you are-"
"Hey!" Edward squawked indignantly.
Roy laughed, and continued. "But really, how is it that you look as you do?"
Edward was still scowling at the height comment. Yes, just wait, Roy Mustang. He'd hide everything the man might need. "Because I can manipulate inanimate objects." He explained in short, but at Roy's look, pressed on. "I can hold scissors if I want," and he reached around to bring forward a lock of silvery hair that went past his shoulders, "so I can cut my own hair. It just vanishes, the cut parts. As for the clothes, they've grown with me since I was a kid. They're the same ones I was wearing when I died."
Roy felt somewhat more informed. Though he believed that he might never run out of questions to ask the ghost. It was a whole other existence. And even besides that… Edward was likeable. It could have been an imposition to be the only one who could see Edward, but he really didn't believe that would become the case.
The door to the office opened, and Hawkeye came in bearing a stack of clean white towels. "Here you are, sir."
Roy immediately hurried around the desk and moved to intercept them before she set them down anywhere. "Thanks, Hawkeye." He said with a breath of relief, and handed her the file. "Are we sending someone out for lunch or going down to the mess hall?"
"Send someone out, unless you want to be backed up for a month." Edward yawned and drifted up to the ceiling again to shift into a sitting position as he watched them.
"Because I was thinking," Roy quickly continued before she could answer, "that we should try some of the places around here first. Instead of joining that mess downstairs."
Riza nodded, "I'll send Falman out. He's been looking a bit bored. Do you have any preferences on what you want to eat? Or I have menus from places out here." She said, and made her way back out the door.
Roy followed after her, "where's the nearest bar?" He asked as he went through the doorway, and closed the door behind him, smirking as she laughed.
Edward sighed as Roy passed through the doorway. He'd forgotten what it was like to eat. Forgotten the taste of food. And he'd never once tasted anything from a bar. He would have been legal drinking age if he were still alive. "The pleasures of the living." He muttered to himself and drifted down back towards the floor.
But even so…
He smiled. He was happy Roy could see him. He wasn't sure if he'd had his choices, he'd have chosen Roy to be the one. But the man wasn't that bad.
Even if he couldn't taste food or drink, at least now he no longer felt as lonely.
When he saw the door open again and Roy step back inside, he smiled at him brightly. "I didn't think you'd be back so soon."
"It doesn't take me that long to look at a few menus." Roy smiled back at him. "Now I don't exactly have work to do until tomorrow when I start receiving my orders and paperwork and such. So that leaves me with nothing to do but choose new office furniture." And he walked over to pick up the order form and hold it up. "Do you want to help? After all, this is more your home than it is my office."
An excited grin split Edward's face, and he nodded eagerly as his silvery eyes shone with more than the light his near-translucent body emitted. That same light of happiness that had filled them when he realized Roy could see him. "Yes! Please! I've never had a choice before." He glanced around at the current décor. "Especially with this…"
Roy grinned, he couldn't help it. The ghost was just so thrilled looking, and it filled him with more than a bit of pride to know he'd been the cause. "Okay then. Help me lay out these towels on the carpet. We can sit and browse through together."
Edward reached out to take the towel offered to him, and for the first time in over a year, he actually touched something. And he stood there with it in his hands, marveling at it as he turned it over and over again.
Forgetting about what they were supposed to be doing, Roy was watching Edward with a smile. The ghost looked so amazed, and Roy was interested to see that when Edward's hands were making contact, that small section actually glowed a bit. As if it was feeding off the ghost's own light. "Can you feel it? The towel?"
Looking up at Roy, Edward's smile faltered somewhat, and he shook his head. "I cannot feel anything but light pressure. I don't know if it's soft, or warm. I can't taste anything. Or smell anything. Sight and sound, sure. But otherwise I am blind to the world."
Roy couldn't think of anything to say to that that wouldn't sound trite, nothing but what he did eventually say. "It's cold, like the air. And rough around the edges, and the rest of it couldn't be qualified as soft if it tried."
Edward met his eyes, the towel hanging limply in his grasp. With a thoughtful expression he studied Roy, his smile gone. But not because he was unhappy. Never in his everlasting life would he have believed he'd actually meet someone who could see him. But he hadn't just met such a person. He'd met one who wanted to know him, and tell him about things he could no longer know for himself. No… this man wasn't so bad after all. "Maybe I won't hide your things after all."
Roy smiled, and looked away as Edward smiled back. "Come on, you. Let's have fun." And he began to lay the towels out.
Edward immediately began to help, until a large enough section of the carpet had been covered by the towels so Roy could sit, the order form in front of and off to the side of him. And Edward floated over to hover a bit off the towels and be beside Roy so the order form was now in between them both.
Roy uncapped his pen, and patted the towels underneath Edward. Though he had to actually reach a hand through the ghost's body to do it. "Sit. That's why there's room for you. Quit showing off your hovering skills."
Edward rolled his eyes, but obeyed. "Try not to put your hand through me when you can help it." He said offhandedly.
"Does it hurt?" Roy asked in sudden concern as his head snapped around so he could look at the ghost.
"No, I can't feel it. But… boundaries, you know?" Edward looked over at him, and then smiled. "But thanks for giving me room. You don't ever need to, you know."
"Yes, I do." Roy argued, and smiled back. "I'll remember the boundaries thing. As far as I'm concerned even if you are a ghost, that gives me no right to treat you with any less courtesy. Now keep yourself sat and let's pick out furniture."
Edward believed it might be easier said or promised than done to stay sitting when he'd spent so long avoiding coming into contact with inanimate objects. But he would try. Because now he'd not be stuck in an office. Roy was giving him a home. It would be clean, and he'd help choose what was in it. So he eagerly leaned forward to begin looking at the first page with Roy.
Each left side of the opened order form was an inventory picture listing with numbers. On the right hands side, those numbers were marked with prices and a place to check if you wanted it and the quantity. It was all, of course, standard military headquarters furniture, not a lot of variety, but it was something.
"Which desk do you like best?" Roy asked as he too scanned the first page, and pointed with one gloved finger to two choices.
Edward studied each one carefully, looked around the room, looked at Roy, and then pondered them again. "That one, the dark brown."
Roy nodded, and marked it before flipping the page. He would have liked either, so it was only fair he let Edward make the final decision for it. Now came storage cabinets. Lamps. Window coverings. Decorative plastic plants. Desk chairs. Tables. Couches.
It was the couch section that had made Edward suddenly snatch away the order form and peer at them closely and with such a penetrating stare it was as if he were demanding the defenseless paper to spill all its secrets.
Roy was far too amused to ask for it back. If Edward was so interested in what couch he wanted, than he'd let the ghost choose on his own. After all, he figured that the couches would be the items the ghost used most of all. It was only fair to let him decide.
Finally Edward set it back down, and pointed to a black leather couch. "That one. But get two."
"Two." Edward reiterated firmly. And he looked 'round at Roy. "It will look better with two. Trust me."
"Then two it shall be." Roy agreed and marked it appropriately. "Now, last section… do you want any knick knacks?"
Edward shook his head. "I have no use for such things. Though if you would oblige putting books in here… I love to read. I haven't read in so long. Most written material that comes through here is paperwork. And paperwork is boring."
Hah! Roy could agree wholeheartedly with that sentiment. "I did order that shelf… we can put books on it for you. And whenever you want new ones, just tell me."
There was a knock on the office door, and Hawkeye entered with a paper bag of takeout lunch. When she spotted her boss sitting there on the floor, on a bunch of spread out towels like the man was having a picnic, she shook her head. "Do I even want to know?"
Roy tilted his head as he considered, and beside him Edward was beginning to laugh. "No, probably not." He admitted truthfully. After all, who would believe him if he mentioned he was sitting here like this so a ghost could sit with him and help him choose office furniture? It just didn't sound like a sane thing to be saying.
"Tell her the chi energy flow is better from here." Edward snickered.
If he could have, Roy would have elbowed the brat. Instead he reached out to accept the bag of food with a gracious smile. "Thank you, Hawkeye."
Hawkeye hummed a bit suspiciously, but saluted and left the room.
"You'll be the end of my reputation." Roy sighed as he began to pull out his food.
Edward watched without longing as the man began to eat. He'd had far too many years without food to be longing for it now. Pulling his legs up to his chest he wrapped his arms around them. "Just as long as you never leave me." He replied softly.
Roy met the silvery eyes, shivering internally at how they seemed to see right through him. As if every wall he built to block out other people was nonexistent. "Surely you know that's a promise I can't keep. I have to die sometime too, you know."
A tired sounding laugh escaped him, and Edward wrapped his arms tighter around his legs. "I'll take as much time with you as I can have."
"I'll not leave you for as long as I am able." Roy promised instead, temporarily forgetting about his food. "I don't know why I'm the only one who can see you." He paused, and glanced down towards the order form they'd filled out together. "But I can… and that's an encouraging thought."
Edward smiled at him. "It's not so bad… you being the one who can see me. Now finish eating. Else that lady… Hawkeye?" Roy nodded. "Will really think you've lost it."
"Point taken." Roy grumbled, and resumed his eating.
Beside him Edward didn't move away. He was quite content to sit beside Roy and watch him eat. He hadn't felt so happy in a long time. And no longer being alone… it made him very happy indeed. He just hoped that Roy would be in this office for a lot longer than its previous occupants. As long as Roy was here, he had someone to speak to, and he had a home. He wasn't sure it got any better than this.