Title: To Be There Now

Author: Prolificmuse

Theme #9: Siblings for 55themes (Old, mostly dead LJ comm)

Genre: Angst, Character introspection.

Warnings: None

Rating: PG-13ish.

Pairing: Jean Havoc x Roy Mustang

Summary: A Sequel to "It Was Just a Fling." One night, Havoc is looking out the window thoughtfully, remembering who taught him his signature escape.

Notes: First line is not mine, belongs to a Carissa's Wierd song, "so you wanna be a superhero." Also, this is the first Havoc/Roy fic I've written in about three and a half years, and the damn tense kept trying to change near the end. Headache! In any case, more in this vein are planned as of now. I am not ready to tackle Roy introspection again yet, but eventually it will come.

I'll make you proud someday, I just won't be around to see your face.

Havoc watches the snow flutter against the glass, his newspaper forgotten on his lap. It hasn't snowed in East City for a year, but that's okay because he hates the cold and the muck that comes when it melts and turns to slush, just like back home. He can almost hear her tap on the window pane to get back in after a midnight cigarette and quickie run. He can almost see himself throw the blanket off his legs and go open it, but he doesn't because she hasn't really knocked. He's just imaging it. She can't knock anymore, her fingers are dust.

The window routine started because of her. That's why he fell out of Roy's window in the first place and all this started.

The last time he saw his sister, she was climbing out in the snow, her hands bracing herself on the frame as she slid her feet onto the shingles of the roof, her last cigarette tucked behind her ear. Margot had smiled at him, told him not to wait up for her, she'd get back in somehow. The snow had flown around her lightly, peaceful in its flurry, and the wind had picked up her scarf. The sound of their neighbors shouting at each other had hurried her on. Jean had rolled over in bed and hugged his pillow, falling asleep despite the commotion. It happened nearly every night. Margot couldn't sleep listening to the man next door slap his wife around. Havoc's mother worked so hard during the day that she slept through it, or decided to ignore it. Jean didn't like listening to it, but he liked the snow even less. He didn't go with her that night.

"Jean?" Roy says.

It takes a moment to come back, or come forward, to his life now and not his life then. Roy is looking at him with slight concern, his book snapped shut in his hands. They are in bed together in a warm apartment. He is not a little boy. There is no shouting. There is snow on their window.

"You're not thinking of going out, are you?" Roy asks, trying to lighten the look on Havoc's features with a joke, but Jean is not fast enough when it comes to hiding Margot.

He doesn't want to feel sad about it, and he doesn't think he does, he just thinks it's like he's seeing her again in the snow. But it's not really her this time. It's like at the funeral, when he saw her body, he was convinced that it wasn't her, that she was still existing somewhere, not that cold corpse. She is a snowflake, a snowflake queen, of all the snow that falls in the world. He knows he should say something to Roy. He probably looks ready to cry, but he won't, he's not feeling sad, he just always looks ready to cry when he thinks about snowflake queens. Roy probably wants to know though so he can bolt, or maybe tell Jean to go home. He can't tell him what he's seeing. Margot is falling, but not falling like she fell, off the roof when she tried to come back, like she's caught on the wind and she's taking her time to fall.

That was what happened, she softly blew away.

"Jean, tell me what's wrong," Roy says softly. He sits up, touches Havoc's hand. Havoc thinks he really wants to believe that he is not alone right now, because being alone with a ghost is terrifying, let alone this snow ghost who is knocking at the window.

"It's snowing," Havoc says.

"Snow upsets you?" Roy coaxes. He doesn't think this is true, but Havoc knows he is making an awkward, fuzzy feeling in the room and Roy doesn't know what to do.

"My sister," he says softly. She's smiling that smile as she left. "She died in the snow."

Roy is quiet, not looking at Havoc, but that's okay because Margot is. He can see her sitting on the end of their bed, the picture of happiness, just like she always was, despite everything.

"Margot," Havoc adds her name.

"I'm sorry, Jean," Roy says.

Havoc closes his eyes for a moment and watches the ghost behind his eyelids. She stops laughing to light a cigarette. He is almost angry as he pictures it. She is there and gone and didn't she always promise to be there and not gone? Now he climbs out windows and doesn't believe when Roy whispers that he loves him between the sheets and is afraid of snow. No, not afraid, he hates it, for as beautiful as it is, it has her and he doesn't.

Suddenly Roy moves, tugging his hand and granting him the momentum to crash into his arms. It's welcoming to be held. Havoc rests his head on Roy's chest and lifts a hand to hold onto his elbow. He thinks of how he fell out of Roy's window and it didn't scare him. In fact, he hadn't really realized he had fallen. He had been alright.

"She fell off the roof in the snow," Havoc says. "It broke her neck, my mom said. She used to climb out the window to go buy cigarettes and see her boyfriend. We lived on the forth floor. She had to climb onto a tree and then go down the fence. But it was snowing that night."

"Is that why you climbed out my window?" Roy asks.

Havoc tenses. He hadn't expect Roy to say that. The snowflake queen's ghost is watching him coolly, as if she expects the answer as well.

"She taught me," Havoc says, shaking his head. He feels Roy tighten his hold on him and he thinks it's nice, despite the fact that he wants to break something right now. It's the first time Roy has held him like this, to give him comfort. He's held Roy like this, when he woke from a nightmare. Havoc still expects, from time to time, to wake up and use the window to escape, but right now he's too afraid to, because of the snow. It's piling up outside and on the foot of their bed.

"I'm sorry," Roy says again.

The snowflake queen at the foot of the bed smiles, catching Havoc's eye. He wants to tell her he's scared. She was there for him when he was scared, before she fell. Her cigarette is gone and she is beautiful, and he can't tell her because he feels a lump in his throat. He knows he's going crazy and should snap out of it. He has been alright in his life—without her. He's been an adult. He's been taking care of himself. It's just so warm in Roy's arms. After all, Roy is fire incarnate. Havoc burrows his face into Roy's shoulder, smelling his soap from the shower on his skin and breathing it in. Havoc is being held but he still has reservations about them being together and it's all the snowflake queen's fault, because she slipped on the ice.

It's on the tip of his tongue.

"Let me close the blinds," Roy suggests.

Havoc shakes his head. "I want them open." He almost adds, So she can knock.

"She meant a lot to you," Roy says.

"She kept an eye on me," Havoc says. "Our mom worked. Margot looked after me all the time."

"She loved you," Roy tells him. "It's not hard for me to understand."

Havoc smiles slightly, feeling the sense of grief abating. Margot is no longer sitting at the foot of their bed. The snow at the window is settling, the wind relaxing. Roy is stroking his hair like he is some girl, or maybe a kitten. It's kind of nice, though rather sentimental and gushy. He realizes that the whole situation is sentimental and gushy. Havoc almost sits up but thinks better of it. He thinks back to the night he was climbing out the window. You steel yourself against things, don't let them hurt you again. If they fool you once, shame on them; if they fool you twice, shame on you. Havoc has been overly cautious though, he thinks. He's being held.

It's right there, on the tip of his tongue.

Havoc thinks he took her window lessons the wrong way. She always climbed out the window, but she always came back. She didn't have to, but she cared about him. She cared to be there, to be there now. It was an accident that she didn't come back the last time.

"Roy," he says and it comes out raspy. He swallows and tries again, pushes against the other man's chest to sit up and look over his shoulder at him. He has tried not to call him by name and after the weeks spent together it seems foreign but the right thing to say. Roy kisses him sweetly, his mouth slightly open but respectfully light. It's about Margot and it isn't, and Roy is perceptive enough to see that. He can't say it, but it's waiting there, for the right time, for the next right time. The room and the bed are warm.


More Notes: Probably to be followed by something.

Edit (Notes Again):

Note: It's been a while since I wrote much of fan fiction. I'd really appreciate reviews, even to say that you hate it, the direction I've gone, the realism is terrible. No matter how many reviews I do or don't get, I'll keep posting, but anything is better than hits and visitors but no notice that it really exists. Thanks for reading ^^