Hey, what do you know, its chapter five! This focuses a little more on Rose, as well as the homunculi a little bit. Fun, fun, fun! :D
I've decided that this will be mangaverse based. And since it will *HOPEFULLY* be done long before this will be, there should be no spoilers because I'm sure all of you loverly people will have read it by the end of this fic. …maybe.
I don't own, you don't sue. Get it? Got it? Good. 3 June 2010:
3 June 2010:
I don't know how many of you are reading this that know me personally (maybe... four people...?) but if you don't, I just recently had a close friend pass away. He was a high school student, like myself, and actually lived right up the street from me. Words cannot express how much I will miss him now that he's gone.
This chapter is dedicated fully to him.
Chase, I don't know where you are right now, but I'd like to believe that you're hanging out with Jesus and laughing at my stupid little mistakes, like you always did. Did you realize that I went through a whole box of tissues today? Singing at your wake was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. I think its the hardest thing I will ever have to do, as well. Don't drink too much Monster up in heaven, alright? You know how much I hate that habit of yours. Don't forget about us, kay? We all miss you-Deuce and Werewolf wrote songs for you. I sang at your wake today, did you hear me? I love you and I want you to know that everyone else does too. We miss you. Rest in peace.
Chapter Five: Goodbye, Kain.
"Every day, the same routine," Envy sighed, shutting his eyes and rolling his head around to crack his neck. "I don't understand why we have to do this."
"Because," his companion, Lust, replied boredly, "our master has told us to. To keep an eye on Fullmetal."
"This sucks," a man decided, dropping into a vacant seat beside Lust. "Hey, babe."
Said homunculus grinned widely, showing a long row of slightly sharpened teeth. "Nice to see you, Lust. Looking good, as usual."
"Shut up, you bastard," Envy growled, picking up the glass of water before him and taking a long sip.
"Missed you last night. Don't know why we can't stay in one place together," the sly homunculus purred into Lust's ear.
"Because we're on a mission, Greed. You're Joshua Richardson and I'm Katerina Wilkins. We can't stay in the same place," she said in reply. "Besides. You have plenty of whores to keep you busy."
"I don't want whores," he whined, wrapping his arms around her. "I want you!"
"There's a first, Greed not wanting free sex," Envy scoffed.
"Yeah, well, there's a first time for everything."
"You're being childish, Greed," Lust reprimanded him, picking at the salad in front of her. "There's no need for you to be such a… such a teenager."
"But, babe, we are teenagers now," Greed reminded her.
"Wish I wasn't. Going through this once was pain enough. I hate doing it twice," Lust muttered.
Envy said nothing about this.
"Well, either way, we're going through it. Might as well enjoy it, act the part, hm?" Greed said with a smirk.
"Leave the lady alone, would you?" Envy muttered, poking a mound of potato with his fork. "Jesus Christ, is this even edible?"
"I dunno, never tried it." Greed lifted a soda to his lips and took a long sip. "So what is this Jesus Christ you keep talking about?"
"Nothing important," Envy hissed, suddenly wishing he hadn't opened his mouth. "Did the Master want to see us tonight or do I have the evening off?"
"We're not needed tonight. Master wants to talk to Gluttony and Sloth alone, apparently."
"Thank God, I was wondering when Gluttony would leave me alone. Maybe Master will finally put him in his place," Lust sighed with a small smile.
"Has that creep been harassing you again?" Greed demanded, suddenly fierce.
"No, Greed," Lust sighed again in annoyance. "But you are. So if you don't mind, I'm going to leave now." And with that, she stood up, tossed her plate in the trash barrel, and marched out of the lunchroom with her long curls swaying behind her.
"She's hot," Envy remarked simply, then turned back to his meal.
"Lay a hand on her and I'll kill you again."
"Yeah, yeah, whatever, Tuba Boy."
Greed glared at his fellow homunculus. His older "brother" was such a bastard.
Kain Masterson was a very ordinary person. He was tall and broad-shouldered with long, straight brown hair and tan skin, like Rose, and blue eyes. He had a fondness for old black-and-white films and for the culture of the country of Ingary (a place far to the west of Creta, an island country).
And he and Rose were very much in love.
He was a good person, kind and honest, great with children, especially. He had a full ride to a prestigious university, a school in Ingary (coincidentally) called Wales.
So Rose was shocked and distraught when he was snatched away so fast.
It was an accident. He had been driving home one night after a late-night study session with some friends and had been hit by some sixteen year old who thought he was the shit because he got wasted.
It was too fast, too soon.
Rose remembered the officer calling the apartment, the fear she had felt rising up in her stomach finally realized. It was an awful, awful thing to wake up to in the morning.
The day had run by in a blur. If you asked her, she probably wouldn't be able to tell you half of it. When Winry stopped by that evening to study, she was shocked and amazed to see Rose in such a destitute state.
"Hey, hon…" the blonde said cautiously when a disheveled Rose yanked open the door. Her books were held slackly in her arms and she was perplexed at the brunette's puffy brown eyes and red, tear-stained cheeks. "What happened?"
Rose bit her lip and started crying again, suddenly reaching forward and grabbing Winry's shoulders. Her sobs shook her whole body violently as her wails were muffled only by the country girl's shoulder.
Winry was slightly taken aback by Rose's sudden bout of tears, but gently led her into the apartment, kicking the door shut behind her. "Hey, now," she murmured, guiding her to the couch and sitting beside her. "Come on. It's okay."
"No, it's not!" Rose wailed. "It's not okay! It's awful! He's dead!"
"Speak slowly. Calm down! Who's dead?" Winry asked softly.
"Kain! Kain, he's dead! He died last night! That fucking driver killed him! He's fucking dead and he isn't coming back, Winry!" Rose sobbed, gripping the blonde's shoulders tightly, still not looking her in the face.
Winry froze in her spot. "Dead?" she whispered, shocked. There was no way. Kain couldn't be dead. He was such a wonderful person, he was so kind and nice and loving to Rose, he was a hard worker and… He just couldn't. Kain, the same kid who would feed her licorice every morning in A-block. Kain, the very boy who had always lent out lunch money to freshman who had theirs taken by upperclassmen. Kain, who had loved Rose like nothing else in the world, was engaged to the brunette, was already working to support her. No, no, there had to be a mistake. He wasn't dead. There was no way.
"They called… they called this morning," Rose said through her tears, easing her grip on Winry slightly. "He was hit last night by some dick driving drunk…"
Winry did her best to comfort the Liorean girl while trying to figure out exactly what was happening. There was too much at once.
"The super says that I can stay here for a while longer, but then I need to find a place to stay. I may end up just going home to Liore," Rose said, her sobs subsiding.
"Back to Liore?" Winry choked out.
Rose nodded. "I have some old family friends there… I can make a living for myself, probably finish high school there."
"What about your parents?"
"Dead, too." Rose had suddenly become very quiet.
Winry watched her carefully for a moment, then stood and pulled her onto her feet, forgetting the schoolbooks she had brought along. "Come on, babe. You're coming over to stay at my place tonight. I only have one maintenance appointment tonight. After that we're going to have a girls' night."
"And that's supposed to help?" Rose spat.
"No. It's just to remind you that I'm your friend and I'll help you through anything, alright? Especially this. Now come on, don't bother packing clothes or anything. Let's go."
Rose was silent as Winry led her out of the apartment, pausing only to lock the door behind her. She followed the blonde to the lot outside the apartment complex and to a large, clunky red van that had definitely seen better days. The inside was dull beige cloth and sported a large pair of white and black dice that hung from the rearview mirror. The radio was covered in glittery nail polish and the backseat was littered with empty cups of coffee, old mechanic's catalogues, and the occasional tool or bolt.
Rose silently climbed into the passenger seat of the large van as Winry hopped into the driver's seat and started the engine. It purred happily as the lithe mechanic shoved the van into gear and pulled out of the parking space, heading off down the street.
"Where'd you get the van?" Rose asked quietly, trying her hardest to think about anything but Kain.
"Some old guy who wanted me and Gran to scrap it for parts. I asked him if I could just keep it, and he said that I could if I fixed it myself." She smirked, flicking on the radio with one hand. "I don't think he knew who he was dealing with."
Rose managed a small smile at the blonde's adventures in mechanics. "I see."
"He was so impressed, he gave me the van and gave me the money for a new stereo system," she said, nodding to the radio, which had been tuned to a tiny alternative station and was playing some song by the Cure.
"It's got a cassette player built in. You up for some Bananarama?" Winry's hand dived into the small case of cassettes beside her and pulled out one at random, checked it, then pushed it into the cassette player.
Rose smiled, sniffling slightly. Bananarama was one of her favorite bands. "Thanks, Winry."
She waved and snorted. "Dude, it's nothing."
The brunette was quiet again and the two rode in a companionable silence back to Winry's grandmother's shop.
"My last customer's got an appointment at seven thirty," Winry said as she parked the car out front. "It usually doesn't last long, but this guy seems to bust his automail every other day, so it might take longer than usual. Sorry, but I might end up having to ask you to hang out upstairs at my apartment while he's here. He's very private about his prosthetics."
Rose nodded, her eyes still puffy, but otherwise feeling much better having spent her entire afternoon bawling her eyes out. She sniffed loudly and clambered out of the vehicle.
Winry stood at the front of the hood, waiting. As Rose approached, she wrapped one arm around the brunette's shoulder and guided her inside. "Come on, babe," she said. "Let's get you some dinner."
Rose nodded silently.
By the time seven fifteen rolled around, Rose had let herself go through another bout of sobs and wails and had eaten some of Pinako Rockbell's stew, which could help heal anything, the old lady said, including a broken heart. Rose would never admit it, but it felt nice to have something home cooked. It did, in fact, seem to help a little bit.
Winry glanced up at the clock as she finished off the last of her stew and laughed a little. "Oh, jeez. I'd better wrap some of this stuff up for them…" she murmured to herself.
"For who?" Rose asked.
The blonde looked at her, slightly surprised for a minute, then realized what her friend was asking. "Oh. Ah, for my customer. He never actually eats anything that's edible, he's the type who lives off of take out and TV dinners. So whenever he comes here, we give him something to take home with him and his brother."
Rose nodded quietly.
"I'll be back up in about a half hour, forty five minutes or so. You're welcome to anything, like, books, the TV, whatever. Help yourself." And with that, Winry gave her a quick smile and left.
The door of the mechanic shop swung open, then shut, and two pairs of feet strode in from the chilly fall evening.
"Hello," said the taller, Alphonse Elric.
"I'm here for a tune-up, Grease Monkey!" the smaller, Edward Elric, said with a grin and a joking attitude.
"Alright then, midget. You know the drill," Winry said, smirking back.
"I'M NOT A MIDGET!" Ed yelped.
The blonde girl laughed good-naturedly and meandered to the opposite side of the room to fetch her toolbox. "Just take off your shirt and I promise we'll be done in no time."
"Yeah, yeah," the blond boy said grumpily. He shrugged off the black leather jacket he was wearing and lifted the black tank top underneath as well, revealing his rather well- toned chest.
Winry bit the inside of her cheek as she willed herself to ignore it. Just a customer, just a customer, just a customer… she thought, rummaging through her toolbox to find her gloves.
"How have you been, Winry?" Alphonse asked politely, taking a seat by the door. Despite the fact that he looked like he could easily rip someone apart, Winry found that that the boy in the armor was surprisingly polite and fairly docile, the exact antithesis of his brother.
"Good, thanks," she said with a smile, pulling her leather gloves on and digging for a wrench. "And yourself?"
"I've been good, too, thank you."
Winry smiled wider. For a sophomore, he was far too polite. Whatever happened to the loud, obnoxious, I-want-to-get-into-upperclassmen-girls'-pants sophomores? Not that she was complaining. It was a welcome change. "That's good. Anything interesting going on?"
"Just trying to keep Brother from blowing something up, like usual. I swear, if I didn't know better, I'd say he was a pyromaniac or something. He just loves causing trouble." Alphonse snickered a little bit at this.
"I don't like causing trouble and I'm not a pyro! Don't even compare me to that damn stupid drummer lieutenant colonel with his snarky remarks and bad haircut!" Edward yelped loudly, glaring at the suit of armor his brother donned.
Alphonse just laughed harder.
"Al!" Ed cried, holding out the "l" in his brother's name. "You're supposed to be on my side and just shut up!"
Winry sighed, rolling her eyes at the elder of the two. "Jeez, Edward. Why can't you be more like your brother?"
"What? Winry, you're taking his side, too?" Edward whined loudly.
"Of course I am, he's not the one being really obnoxious, now is he?" Winry said simply, lightly bopping him on the head with her fist as she sat down next to him. "Now hold out your arm and let me take a look." Ignoring Edward's whining and protests, she unscrewed the protective plates on his arm and closely examined the hydraulics, suspension, and artificial nerves inside of the metal appendage. "Well, looks like you didn't get much of a chance to bust it up this week."
Edward "harrumphed" loudly. "Course I didn't. I'm not that bad about my automail."
"Could have fooled us," Alphonse and Winry said simultaneously.
"What? I ought to deck you both across the face for that!" Ed cried.
"You know that you wouldn't be able to," Alphonse said with a small chuckle, causing Winry to nod in agreement.
Edward sputtered as he tried to find a decent comeback, but settled for giving his brother and Winry alternating dirty glares. "Evil, evil children," he muttered under his breath.
There was a few quiet moments of Winry working on Edward's arm, then leg, and some quiet talk between the two brothers of matters which Winry had no clue about, until suddenly, Rose threw the door from the apartment to the workshop open. "Winry, may I—" she began, then gasped and fell silent upon seeing who Winry's client was. "Edward Elric?" she murmured with wide eyes.
Ed's eyes widened as well and he said nothing, but looked at Winry with an accusing glare.
"Hi, Rose, did you need something?" Winry asked politely, ignoring the glare that the blond next to her was giving and ignoring the nervous noises Alphonse was making.
"I-I was just wondering if I could use your cassette player…" Rose said quietly, still gawking at Edward's automail. "I-I'm sorry, Edward, if you don't want me to, I promise I won't say a word, I swear it…"
"Yeah, that'd be nice," Ed said bitterly, not looking at the brunette. "Just forget you ever saw this, alright?"
"Thank you, Rose," Alphonse piped up, having picked the name up from the conversation he'd just witnessed.
"Y-you're wel-welcome," Rose stuttered before turning and fleeing back to the apartment.
Edward groaned. Damn, if this got out, he'd be a mess.
Rose kept her word. She never uttered a word to any of her friends about it and avoided Edward like the plague.
Actually, scratch that. Rose avoided everyone like the plague.
Kain's funeral came and passed within a week and Rose suddenly seemed to be an introvert. She had finished off the semester in silence before moving back to Liore, telling few people about it. To most students, she seemed to simply fade away into the history of their high-school careers. Nothing more.
Winry was shocked and appalled when she spotted Rose leaving after C-block on a Thursday afternoon in November.
"Where are you going?" the blonde demanded, running after her and grabbing her by the arm. "Are you leaving?"
Rose nodded quietly.
"You can't leave! It's November! The school year just barely started!"
"I can't pay my rent," she said quietly. "The super wants me out."
Winry looked aghast. "So stay with Gran and me!"
"I just… I can't," Rose sighed, looking away at a spot of tile in the corner. "I need to go back to Liore. Central… I just can't stay here any longer."
Winry knew there was no point in arguing. She gave Rose a hurt look and turned away sluggishly. "Fine," she said. "Call me once in a while."
The brunette nodded silently and turned away, heading towards her previous destination.
That was the last Winry would see of her in a long while.
"Brother, did you finish that essay for English?"
Edward rolled onto his back and looked up to the doorway of his bedroom. "Yeah, Al. I'm going to hand it in tomorrow."
"Do you promise?" the younger asked.
"Obviously, I don't want to fail," the blond prodigy snapped, then rolled back over onto his stomach. "Leave me alone."
"Did you finish your chemistry assignment?"
"And your research paper?"
"Alphonse, I finished all my damn work! Let me sleep!"
The boy in the armor gasped and took a small step back, obviously not expecting the outburst from his elder brother. He wondered what had set him off—a bad day at school? Or maybe his automail? It was wet and chilly out, so his ports had to be aching. Not even the automail geniuses in Rush Valley had been able to figure out a painkiller for achy limbs. "Sorry, Ed. I'll leave your supper on the table when its finished."
The blond grunted in response.
Alphonse carefully backed out of the room, closing the door behind him, before heading back to the tiny kitchen to finish cooking.
The fourteen-year-old flipped the dial on the radio to "on" and cranked up the volume as R.E.M. blared from the staticky speakers. Al frowned as he tried to figure out a way to fix the static; every time he tried, it did absolutely nothing. Normally, he wouldn't let it bother him, but the fuzzy sound was really starting to annoy him.
As he bustled around the tiny kitchen, Alphonse hummed along to the song. Though he wasn't usually a big fan of the band in question, he found he rather enjoyed that particular song.
It took forty-five minutes, but at some point while the younger was cooking, the elder Elric's nose finally managed to sniff out the succulent scent of frying food.
Edward tromped to the kitchen, rubbing his sleepy eyes with his flesh hand. "Hey, Al," he slurred tiredly, walking up to the large suit of armor and peeking over his shoulder. "…that meat?" he asked, looking up at his brother questioningly.
"Yes, but—Ed, don't!—Brother, what—? Hey! Urgh, you moron!"
Edward had reached into the skillet with his metal, unfeeling hand, and picked up a piece of cooking pastrami. He popped it into his mouth and grinned.
"Ed, you pig," Alphonse sighed. "Go set yourself a place at the table and get out whatever chips you want. This'll be done in a minute or two."
"Sure," Edward replied happily, obeying his brother.
Alphonse quickly finished cooking the hot meat and dropped a few thick slices onto a waiting roll. "Cheese and mustard?"
"Please," Edward said, rummaging through the pile of books on the couch in the next living… area over.
Al nodded noisily and finished his brother's meal, then placed it on the table. "You're all set, Ed."
"Thanks a million, Al. Smells good."
Alphonse felt a pang of sadness; the last time he'd tasted pastrami was when he was nine years old. He could barely remember it anymore.
Halfway into his sandwich, something occurred to Edward. He looked up from his book and said to his brother, "The second you get your body back, I'll be the one cooking you dinner like this, alright? Pastrami, lasagna, burritos, whatever you decide you want. That's a promise."
Alphonse would have smiled if he could. "Thanks, Brother."
A month passed. New Years was almost upon them, but neither of the Elric brothers noticed, nor did they care. The Saturday before winter break was to start, Edward had been called to Central Headquarters of the Amestrian military.
After all, Edward was a State Alchemist, the rarest and most esteemed members of the military, and did have to answer when summoned.
He returned home that day with a grin on his face and a devious gleam in your eye.
Alphonse, who had kept himself occupied watching television, looked up. "Did something good happen?"
"Pack your bags and buy us some train tickets to Liore, Al," Edward said. "We've got ourselves a lead."
Chapter six is on its way! Jeez, this will take a while to write, as I have to re-read the first few chapters of the manga and figure out how to semi-modernize it.
Just because Rose knows about Ed's automail, doesn't mean she knows the whole story! ;D
Reviews are, as always, appreciated.
Thank you for reading!