Bittersweet Symphony

Author – D M Evans

Disclaimer – never mine sadly

Rating – FRT

Characters – Pretty much an ensemble, Roy & Al predominate

Series – Manga

Time line/Spoilers – Post series future fic with spoilers up to 106

Warning –some AU elements

Summary – None of them had a truly happy childhood.

Word Count –1,184

Author's Note – this wanted to be so much longer (as per usual) It grew out of a conversation with SJ Smith and flybynight00 and includes a little speculation as to why Izumi was so protective of Roy (a theme I've written before)

Al twisted on the hospital bed so he could see his roommate more clearly. He could read that expression well; the colonel was bored. Al didn't blame him. It was some ungodly early hour just after the nurses had awoken them to given them breakfast. Roy's had looked more appealing than the mush Al had but his freshly restored stomach wasn't up to dealing with much. They wouldn't be getting visitors quite yet and it was too early to go to therapy. "Sir, how are you this morning?"

"Bored and you don't have to call me sir, Alphonse."

"I'm just sorry you got hurt helping us."

"And my country and the people I care about which includes you and your brother. I've lost my sight, Alphonse. You lost a whole body and almost all your senses and bore up to it with amazing regality. How could I do less?"


"Put it this way, that Xing prince should have had half your nobility."

Al blushed. "Thank you. I just wish I didn't get so tired. I wanted to help Ed with the memorial for Dad."

"You need to recover and the memorial can wait. There isn't a body that has to be buried." Roy swung out of bed, walking toward Al's bed, one healing hand outstretched. He already could make the crossing without a problem. He fumbled for the chair next to the bed, plopping in to it. Roy put a hand on Al's arm. "I'm just glad you boys got to know your father better before he died."

"He wanted to go," Al whispered.

"He was never there in the first place." Ed's voice startled Al, making him twist to look at the doorway where Ed and Winry stood. "But I understand why. He believed he was going to be with Mom so I guess that's good."

"It's a shame though that you'll miss out on knowing him as adults. You lost your parents too young, you, too, Winry. It's rough." Roy stood up. "Here, have the chair."

"You didn't have to move," she protested.

"Like you'd know how rough," Ed grumbled, sitting on the edge of Al's bed. Al kicked him gently.

"I lost my parents when I was six, Edward. Trust me, I understood all too well why you and your brother made the attempt." Roy scowled, his face turned toward the brothers but he couldn't see the shock and embarrassment on Ed's face.

"I'm sorry. There's been so many wars, was it one of those?" Al asked.

"No, it was my fault," Roy whispered, turning onto his side on the bed, facing the wall.

Winry sat on the edge of his bed, resting a hand on Roy's shoulder. "How could that be?"

"Because he likes to blame himself for things," a whiskey-rough voice entered the conversation. Al knew this woman as Madam Christmas. She had shown up at the hospital a few times to talk to Roy but usually Al had been out exercising most of those visits. He was surprised to see her with Riza and Izumi. Both women still looked terribly battered. "And he's overly protective. If someone gets hurt, he always thinks it's his fault."

"Loses his eyesight and apologizes for failing everyone." Izumi snorted.

Roy flopped back over. "But it is my fault."

"Why don't you tell the boys, Roy?" Riza sat on the other side of his bed. "It'll give Ed some idea why you took him under your wing besides giving them the chance to do what they needed to."

"I was home sick with Mom. You know how parents are always telling their kids not to open the door to strangers? I always get nervous when I visit Gracia and Elicia beats her to the door." Roy picked at the bedding. "I opened the door. The man seemed nice at first, getting Mom's trust, then he attacked her. I tried to stop him but I was only six and I had just started learning my alchemy. I know how to turn floorboards into toy trains but not much else. I tried to shape the flooring into a wooden sword."

"It didn't work," Ed said.

"It did but I only managed to slice open his leg. The man hit me, sent me over the railing." Roy ruffled his hair, showing a scar hidden under the thick black mop. "That's where he hit me and I landed on the back of my head. That was all the fight I had in me."

"You nearly went blind then," Riza reminded him. "From swelling in your brain."

"I wanted to protect my mother." Roy sighed. "I could hear her screaming as this man raped and killed her but I couldn't get up, couldn't go for help. Then Dad came home early. Mom was like you, Alphonse, a cat person. He found a stray at work and brought it home for her. The man shot him during his escape. I'm just lucky my sister wasn't home or I would have lost my whole family. Sent us to live with our Aunt Chris."

"For once after-school detention was good for me," Izumi said.

Ed's jaw dropped. "What?"

Izumi slapped Roy's hip. "He's my kid brother."

"Don't shock us like that. Al's weak!" Ed clutched at his heart as he snarled across the bed at Roy.

"But it explains why she was so protective of him in the battle but…why didn't you say so?" Al said.

"I went to Resembool following up on the rumors about your father and found you," Izumi replied.

"And by the time I was summoned there, you two felt like you had family in Izumi and Ed didn't particular seem to like me. I thought it might tarnish how you felt if you knew." Roy shrugged.

"Ed likes you, Winry protested.

"You're just too much alike to get along," Al added.

"Take that back," Ed grumbled.

"So right, Al." Izumi ruffled Roy's hair. "Time to start a new family and forget the old pains."

"Hmm? I guess everyone in this room is family," Roy said.

"You always did want kid brothers." Chris nodded to the Elrics.

"He did but I meant it's time to try on fatherhood for size, Roy boy." Izumi grinned. "You can't stay in the military. That means you can finally quit pretending with Riza."

Riza blushed. "It's not that easy."

"She's just trying to set us up because she's afraid I'll move in with her until I get on my feet." Roy held out a hand and Riza took it. "And I'm not proposing from a hospital bed. Besides, we have to wait until Al's strong enough to dance at our wedding. Then we can have a brood and sic them on Edward." He smiled.

"I hope by brood you mean like two," Riza countered, leaning in to kiss him.

"All of us being family, that's sweet," Al said. "I'll be there, dancing all night." At least Riza could see his smile. Who really knew what their future held? Something their parents had never imagined but it would be an adventure.