Okay, OKay, i know i haven't updated in a bit , but i have been busy. . . That and my attention span hasn't been that fantastic this week. :) well please enjoy! I do not own any FMA characters.
Roy Mustang pushed the button on the top of his pen impatiently. He was bored...No…bored was an understatement. Roy had been sitting in front of the same stack of papers for almost two hours now, with absolutely no intention of getting them done. He had been stuck in his office all day with the Lieutenant breathing down his neck. Each time she walked behind him to make sure he was doing his work, Roy pretended to be studying a piece of the report.
When Riza passed behind him, probably for the third time in the last ten minutes, Roy switched papers, so it at least looked like he was doing something. When she stayed behind him, Roy absently signed the paper, without even reading what it was, and shoved the whole pile away to the corner of his desk. When Riza went back to resume her position on the couch, Roy turned and glanced up at the door to his office.
He was half expecting his best friend to come charging in the office and begin to rant on about his daughter, showing picture after damn picture of his little girl. But Roy knew he wouldn't. Maes Hughes was murdered last week before Mustang arrived in Central. Since then, no one had really been themselves, especially a small blonde boy. Roy had noticed this over the course of the past few days.
Even though Ed had tried to hind his pain, he couldn't fool Roy. But, that was only because he had to report to Roy and Roy knew the boys behaviors and habits almost better than his own. And he definitely knew him well enough to know when something was wrong. For instance, Ed was always late, but, since he found out about Hughes, Ed had barley shown his face in the office. This bothered Roy. Sure it was okay for him to grieve, but there must be something else going on for him to be shut up in his room. Ed wasn't normally the one to grieve openly, so not even coming into work was very troubling. Roy sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose. Riza noticed this and walked up to the edge of his desk.
"Everything okay, sir?" she asked, slight worry entering her voice.
"Yeah," he answered, "Just tired."
Riza's' face hardened. "Sir, with all due respect, I have been working with you for some time, I know when something's wrong."
"Nothing's wrong." He said flatly, but he knew she didn't believe him.
"Is it Hughes?" when she got no answer, she knew she was right.
"You're worried about Ed too, aren't you?"
Roy gave her a subjective nod. Damn, she got right on the money. He was beginning to wonder if she could read his mind.
"He hasn't shown up for work in a while, but when he does, well, he acts strange. . . It worries me."
He glanced at Riza and noticed she was smiling.
Her smile widened.
"It's nothing sir. I just have never heard you sound so concerned for someone."
Roy rolled his eyes, making Riza laugh at little, lightening the mood at bit.
"You know," she said, becoming a bit more serious,"I saw Ed come in today."
Roy suddenly seemed more attentive. "Really, when?"
"About an hour ago, when I stepped out of the office. . . Alphonse wasn't with him. He told me he was at home. Apparently, the only reason why he had come in today was because his brother hadn't stopped breathing down his neck."
Roy sighed. Riza could have sworn there was a tinge of sadness in his charcoal eyes. "How'd he look?"
"Like he hadn't slept for days . . . and his eyes were bright red."
Roy, for the millionth time today, sighed and stood up from his chair. "Lieutenant, I think I'll take my break now."
Roy walked to the door and shut the door behind him, but not before giving Riza a smirk, which, Riza knew, was his way of saying thank you. As he walked down the hallway he kept thinking of what to say to Edward.
"But what do you say to someone who hasn't slept in days and has a temper like a firecracker?"
Roy inwardly smiled. For the first time he noticed something; Edward was a lot like him. Stubborn. Strong. . . hurt. He could do this. It was just like talking to a younger version of him. This gave Roy an extra kick in his step. . . until he got to the entrance of the library.
Roy took a deep breath. "Just like talking to yourself." He said encouragingly as he pushed open the doors to the library. He spotted Edward as soon as he walked in. He was sitting at one of the tables, bend over a large book, but he didn't seem to be reading it. Roy couldn't tell, his bangs were in his were obscuring his face, but he could tell by his posture that something was off.
So, to get a better look at the kids face, Roy calmly walked over to one of the bookshelves in front of Ed and pretended to finger through the books. Now he could see his face better, he wasn't even looking at the book, he was staring at a small piece of paper that was folded in his hand. There were tears in his eyes and water stains on the books thin pages in front of him. A hollow feeling rose in Roy's chest. What is that piece of paper? Thought Roy. After several more minutes of examining the books, Roy finally pretended to notice Ed.
"When did you get here, Fullmetal? I didn't see you come in." Lied the raven-haired man, taking a seat beside Ed.
When Ed looked up from his book, Roy saw that Riza had been right; his eyes were bright red and blood shot.
"What do you want, Colonial Bastered?" He said, his voice was raspy when he spoke.
"Are you feeling okay, Fullmetal? You don't sound so good."
Roy asked, suddenly concerned for Eds health.
"I'm fine." Replied Ed, looking back at the book in front of him. Ed sniffled and rubbed his eyes, sighing heavily, which didn't really enforce that he was fine. And Roy, apparently unconvinced that he was fine, reached out and placed a hand on Eds forehead. But Ed immediately slapped it away.
"I said I'm not sick, Idiot!"
Ed shouted, but apparently louder than he had intended because he made a face, like he was in pain.
"Ouch." He mumbled, taking a peppermint out of his pocket and popping it into his mouth.
"What was that for?" asked Roy, determined to prove that he was right.
Ed hesitated before answering. ". . . My throat feels raw."
Roy sighed and sank into his chair. "You can't tell me something like that and then say your fine. It just doesn't work that way."
"I'm not sick! Just leave me alone!"
Shouted Ed suddenly, looking at his commanding officer straight in the eyes. Roy was startled by the look on Eds face. His eyes were watering and he looked extremely distressed. Roy had never seen this look on the boys face before. It was almost a mix of anger and helplessness.
"Fullmetal," said Roy quietly, "What's wrong, just tell me."
Ed looked like he was going to respond for a minute, but suddenly his face contorted in sadness and he put his head down on the table, burying it in his arms. Startled, Roy stared blankly at the boy. Some people who standing in the aisle of books behind them looked over and cast awkward glances in Edwards' direction, whispering to each other silently. Something inside of Roy wanted to protect Ed from the looks the two people were giving him, but he couldn't stand up and say, "Stop staring at him," that you just embarrass him further, and Roy was sure Ed was already a mess. He never cried in front of anyone, especially him.
Roy placed a hand on Ed small shoulder, it was shaking. When he listened carefully, he could hear the muffled sobs coming from the small boy. Roy chest tightened again, as did his grip on Ed shoulder. So Ed really wasn't sick. . . but he sure wasn't fine. He had been crying; and by the looks of his eyes and the sound of his voice, he hadn't stopped in a while. Roy sighed . . . maybe he really didn't know what to say, but he knew why he was upset. . . for the same reason he was.
"Fullmetal . . . " he said cautiously, afraid of what might come out of his mouth, "Don't get so worked up. . . you might choke on your peppermint."
Roy mentally slapped himself. Choke on your peppermint? How was that supposed to make him feel better? Roy heard Ed take a stiff breath as he raised his head, not bothering to shrug Roy's hand off his shoulder. He wouldn't admit it but it felt comforting to him. Strong and warm. . . just like a father's hands. Ed rubbed his eyes with the back of his sleeve, his breath still hitching every once and awhile.
He said, struggling to keep his voice even. He took the peppermint wrapper back out of his pocket and spit the candy into it, tossing it effortlessly into the trashcan beside him.
"I-I'm fine, really."
Roy's head tilted to the side and his eyes softened. He truly felt sorry for this boy.
"I know you're not Fullmetal."
Ed tried to look as defiant and he could with his red, swollen eyes.
"How would you know!"
Said Ed stupidly.
"Well . . . because you just broke down in front of me. . . and I've been feeling the same way since he died."
Roy hoped Ed had gotten what he was trying to say. He did. Ed looked back down and squeezed his eyes tightly shut, trying to stop a new onslaught of tears from falling. Roy could tell he was holding his breath as well. Well that wouldn't do anything for him. Roy gave Ed's shoulder a small squeeze.
"Ed, take a breath, don't hold it in."
But Ed remained tense. His hands balled into fists as a stray tear made its way down his face.
"Ed, come on, just-"
But Ed interrupted him.
"I-It's all my f-fault. If I hadn't ever t-tried to bring back mom, then n-none of this w-would have n-never h-happened! I-If I had n-never even found o-out about that s-stupid stone. . . H-HUGHES WOULD HAVE NEVER DIED!"
Ed screamed through his tears, forgetting his sour throat. Ignoring all of the people watching him. The only thing that seemed real to him was the emptiness he suddenly felt inside his chest. As he buried his face in his hands, Roy felt something begin to bubble up in his chest. It was the urge to protect, a feeling he had only known for a few people. He couldn't understand why he was feeling it now, this need to protect this young boy from all the horrible things in the world. It felt strange, alien to his heart, but somehow, not uncomfortable. Roy, although he never say it out loud, had always thought of Ed and Al as his sons, and he felt very protective of them. And right now it was killing him to see Ed this way.
Suddenly, Ed lurched sideways, latching onto the front of Roy's jacket, crying even harder. Roy was surprised for a moment, but soon found himself wrapping his arms around the small boy.
He shouted. All of the shouting was taking its toll on Ed throat. This time, when he shouted, it was interrupted by a small coughing fit and a whimper of pain from Ed.
"I-I didn't mean to take away your best friend. . ." he whimpered as more tears made tracks on his cheeks.
Roy's throat tighten. He had originally thought that Ed would blame him for Hughes death. Never would he thought that he would blame himself. Ignoring the looks he was getting from the other people in the library, and Eds surprised squeaks, Roy lifted Ed onto him lap and wrapped his arms around him. Ed was tense for a moment, but soon relaxed in Roy's grip and leaned his head against the chest, continuing to sob quietly. Roy rested his head on the top of Ed's head. If a stranger had walked into the library now and saw them, they would have sworn they were father and son..
"Edward, I want you to listen to me." Said Roy gently. He felt Ed stiffen when he didn't use his military name, but his sobs had nearly stopped and he could tell he had the boys' attention.
"Hughes death was in no way related to you. You had absolutely nothing to do with it at all. He chose to help you with your journey, just like everyone here has. You didn't force him to do anything, he did that on his own. You didn't take anything away from me."
Ed buried his head in Roy's jacket.
"No Ed," said Roy, cutting him off, "You didn't do anything. Okay?"
". . ."
". . . Okay."
"It's gonna be okay. Promise."
He felt Ed nod against him. Then heard him yawn. That's when Roy remembered that Ed probably hadn't slept in days and that he was exhausted.
He asked the boy and got another yawn in response. Roy chuckled. "Well, why don't we head on back to my office and you can sleep on the couch until I'm done with work. Then I'll give you a ride home."
". . . 'Kay."
When Roy made a move to stand up, Ed didn't. And since he was on Roy's lap, that didn't work out very well.
"Ed, come on. Let's go."
Said Roy, nudging Ed, But the small boys eyes were already shut and he just snuggled closer to Roy. So, sighing, Roy picked up Ed, and carried him to the office, Eds' arms hanging limply over Roy's shoulders. The sight of the two of them earned a few awe's of approval from some of his subordinates. By the time they arrived in front of Roy's office, Ed was fast asleep.
"Lieutenant," called Roy, "can you open the door for me?"
A second later Riza opened the door opened. "Did it go alright?" she asked quietly, as Roy placed Ed on the couch. Ed immediately curled his knees to his chest, trying to retain some of the warmth he had just lost.
"I think so." Said Roy, standing up. As he walked back to his desk, he heard Ed moan in his sleep. Quietly, Roy walked back to the couch and draped his jacket over the sleeping boy. Ed snuggled down into the jacket and Roy smiled.
". . . Thanks. . . dad."
Ed mumbled. Ed cracked his eyes open and stuck one of his hands out of the jacket. In it was the tiny piece of paper. Roy, his throat once again constricted by the name Ed had just given him, knelt down to see what it was. As he opened the piece of paper, he saw it was a photo. In it, were several people; Gracia and Hughes, along with himself, who was holding a small child in his arms; Hughes daughter. They were standing in a hospital room, Gracia was still in bed and she looked extremely exhausted. Roy remembered this day. It was probably one of the proudest days of Hughes' life; the day his daughter was born. Roy had remembered Hughes telling him that, aside from the doctor and himself, that he had been the only other person to hold his daughter, and that he was glad he had a best friend to share this with.
Tears brimmed Roy's eyes as he looked back up at Ed. Ed was smiling back at him, something he hadn't done in days.
"You can have it."
He said, sleep laced in his voice.
"Thank you Ed."
Roy was so focused on the picture and what Ed had just said, that he didn't even notice Riza standing by his desk smiling from ear to ear, with three new library books in her hand.
well, there was this weeks work! hope you liked it! (and yes, Roy did sigh alot throughout the story) :) Oh Well!