I've had some time to think about you
And watch the sun sink like a stone
I've had some time to think about you
On the long ride home
~Long Road Home by Patty Griffith
Silence of the Sound — Epilogue
—:—:—One Year Later—:—:—
Idiot. I. Am. An idiot.
These were the thoughts currently running through the angry mind of Edward Elric. He was cursing the world for letting this be the day — of all the days in the god damn year — that he, Alphonse, and Winry decided they were going to head out to the city, and hey, as long as they were there, why not drop into headquarters and visit their friends?
What they hadn't realized when they'd made that fateful decision was that it was also the same day a certain General Armstrong had also decided to visit.
Al and Winry exchanged tolerant smiles, then looked over at Edward, who was sitting on the end of the couch, his elbow on the arm of said couch, his cheek resting in his hands, scowling. Like everyone else in the room, he was trying very hard not to listen to the mostly-bald, often annoying alchemist standing in the middle of the room, recounting what sounded like the latest of his tales (Edward wasn't quite sure what he was talking about, honestly). Fuery, Breda, and Maria were all half-heartedly attempting to work; their pens were moving, though Edward doubted they were actually writing anything. It must have been hard to concentrate with that loud voice booming across the room. Roy, who was sitting in a position similar to Edward's, though at his desk, was just staring at Armstrong, not even bothering to feign interest.
Denny Broch, who was standing next to Armstrong (though a little ways away to avoid falling victim to the man's constantly swinging arms), happened to look over his shoulder just in time to see two blonde heads peek into the room.
Riza cringed at being caught. She'd kind of been planning to just wait in the hall…
Too late. Maes was already bouncing into the office. He had a rather morbid fascination with Armstrong's muscles, it worried Riza and Roy sometimes…
"Hi General Armstrong," Maes chirped, clapping his hands behind his back and bouncing on the balls of his feet. Riza wasn't nearly as happy as her son as she shuffled into the office, one hand resting against her forehead.
"Wow…you're a big man."
Riza slapped her forehead with the palm of her hand, shaking her head. "I swear I taught him manners General Armstrong, I really did…"
"He seems like a fine boy, Hawkeye." Armstrong waved Riza off with a chuckle. Maes grinned widely, clearly pleased with the comment.
"Spend five minutes with him, you won't be saying that…"
"Thank you, thank you, thank you," Roy mumbled over and over as he went over to stand with Riza, wrapping an arm around her waist and pressing a kiss to the top of her head. "You are my savior, I love you, thank you so much…"
"Don't thank me yet, we're still here," Riza murmured back. Roy chuckled weakly. "How long has he been here anyways?"
"Two hours. Two. Long. Hours. Of listening to Armstrong. I'm just about ready to ask Lieutenant Ross to shoot me."
"I hope she doesn't listen, I quite like having you around. I've gotten used to you."
"Oh good, I'm glad you're used to me. Because you know, if you weren't by now we might have a problem…"
By now Maes had lost interest in listening to Armstrong and had moved over to the couch where the Elric brothers and Winry were sitting.
"What's wrong with my eyes?" Maes demanded angrily as he glared at Edward, who cringed. He could have sworn that comment had been quiet enough for only Al and Winry to hear.
"Nothing's wrong with your eyes, pal, don't worry," Al said with a smile, patting the boy's head. "Brother just doesn't know how to control his mouth. Kind of like you."
Maes giggled. Ed scowled at the slight. "Thanks Al. Love you too."
"…and you know what, last night I had to be really good and pretend to be asleep because Mom and Dad were having their 'playtime'—"
Riza and Roy stiffened, and in the time it took blink Roy had bolted across the room and clapped a hand over Maes' mouth, effectively silencing him. "Well then, we were just leaving, we're going out to lunch, come on Maes, let's go…"
And with that he dragged Maes out of the office, a hand still over the boy's mouth to prevent any more words from coming out. Riza was shaking her head, blushing lightly as she followed them. As soon as the door closed, everyone burst out laughing. They all had a special place in their hearts for the loose-mouthed little boy who was constantly getting his poor parents into trouble.
"I'm going to kill Rebecca," Roy growled as he finally released Maes. The poor boy looked disheveled — and a bit confused by his father's admittedly strange actions.
"You can't blame her because he inherited your mouth."
"I can blame her for the things she teaches him though."
Lunch, of course, was a never-ending affair of Maes informing his father of everything that had happened between that moment and when the family had woken up that morning. Roy smiled through the entire thing, though he kept his ears peeled for anything he might not want an entire restaurant full of people to know about his and his wife's private lives.
"And then Mom found out—"
"Maes!" Riza cut the boy off in a surprisingly harsh voice. Maes blinked a couple of times, realizing he'd been about to say something that was supposed to stay secret.
"Oh. Um…never-mind," he mumbled, turning his attention to the fries on his plate. Roy raised an eyebrow at Riza, who was now eating her sandwich with determined, deliberate slowness.
"Something you two wanna share with me?" They shook their heads at the same time. Roy looked between them, smiling a bit at the similarities between the looks on their faces. Neither of them looked like they were going to crack. No problem. Maes couldn't keep a secret forever. "Come on buddy, you know you wanna share this big secret with your dad, you love telling me secrets. Remember when you told me what Mom was getting me for my birthday?"
"He did what?"
Maes pressed his lips tightly together, staring at his plate. "Aw Maes, please, you can't hide this from me forever can you?"
"Roy!" He wasn't surprised when Riza slapped him upside the head. "Maes go wash your hands, they're covered in ketchup."
Maes nodded silently, as if he didn't dare to open his mouth, and jumped up, running to the bathroom. As soon as he was gone, Riza turned to glare at Roy. "Don't."
"What's the big secret?"
"You'll find out later."
"That's not fair!" Riza rolled her eyes.
"I thought our son was the six year old, not you."
Needless to say, Roy was not happy when he returned to the office. His already bad mood was magnified when he saw that Armstrong was still there. He slumped across the room, dropping into his seat and returning to his original position as Armstrong launched into the story Maes and Riza had interrupted nearly an hour earlier. Roy sighed, his eyes shifting to the framed photo sitting on his desk. A picture of the two people he loved more than anything in the world. And he smiled despite himself.
It was quiet. Normally quietness wouldn't be a cause for alarm — unless you happened to be Roy Mustang, who lived in a house with a loud-mouthed little boy and an over-excitable dog. If that was the case, then quiet usually sent you into a panic.
"Let me guess," Roy said as he walked into the kitchen and saw Riza standing at the stove, stirring a pot. "You finally snapped, killed Maes and Hayate, and buried them in the backyard."
"Well if anyone could get away with it, it's probably me," Riza reflected idly. "Unfortunately no, they'll both be home tomorrow, they're spending the night at Havoc's."
"You sure you feel safe leaving Hayate with Havoc? The man wanted to eat the poor dog once for Christ's sake."
"Well if Havoc's house happens to explode we'll know he tried, won't he?" Riza smiled as Roy wrapped his arms around her waist from behind, pressing his chest against his back and leaning in, running his lips lightly along her neck. "Roy…" She moaned, suppressing a shiver. "I'm trying to cook, don't…"
"I believe you owe me a secret," Roy mumbled, moving her hair out of the way to give himself a better view. A few more attacks at her neck and she'd be putty in his hands.
"Later — Roy, the food—"
"Screw it," Roy said at once, reaching around Riza and turning off the stove before turning her around and pressing his lips against hers.
"Do you wanna eat?" Riza demanded, pulling away just enough to be able to speak.
"We have the house to ourselves and no worries that a certain blonde-haired, bigmouthed boy is going to walk into the office tomorrow and yell for everybody to hear about Mom's and Dad's 'playtime.' Forget eating. Just tell me the secret and let's get on with the rest of the night."
"Well aren't you a demanding person," Riza commented dryly as she pulled away from him completely and turned back to the stove, switching it on again.
"What — no, come on Riza—"
"Supper first. You need to eat."
"Who needs food when they have a beautiful wife and no son around to distract them?" Roy asked desperately. His face fell when he saw Riza smirk. Damn it, she was enjoying doing this to him! "Oh you are going to pay for this later," he mumbled as he started into the living room.
"Like you have the kind of restraint necessary for holding out," Riza called after him. It was clear, from the tone of her voice, that she was trying not to laugh. Roy cursed silently. Mostly because she was right; he didn't have that kind of control. Damn it.
Unfortunately, he knew very well that she did.
He headed to their room to change into more comfortable clothes, stopping long enough to peek into Maes' room and silently gloat over the fact that the boy was spending the night with his godfather (and probably godmother, knowing Havoc's and Rebecca's on-again off-again relationship…) before going back into the kitchen.
Riza sighed as she turned off the stove and picked up the pan, dumping the vegetables and water into the strainer waiting for her at the sink. "I'm going to have to talk to Maes about his own lack of self-control. Him blurting things out left and right really isn't good for anyone involved."
"You are going to tell me, right?" Roy demanded, a bit concerned now. Riza rolled her eyes.
"Not if you keep harping on it I won't."
Ouch. Roy sighed as he gave in, and let them sit down to have a quiet supper — for once. Not that Roy didn't miss Maes — he hated the nights the boy spent with his godparents or one of the many other members of their "extended" family. And he knew Riza felt the same way. But every now and then someone felt the need to kidnap Maes, just to give Riza and Roy a little time alone. They both appreciated it more than they would ever let on.
"Secret?" Roy said as soon as they were done eating. Riza's response was to glare at him before standing up, taking his bowl and hers and going over to the sink, setting them down in the dishpan before turning off the water. Well fine. If she wasn't going to tell him the secret…
Roy stood up, crossing the kitchen in a few quick strides and reaching around Riza, turning the water off. She rolled her eyes as he trapped her between the counter and his own body. "I have to do the dishes," she informed him dryly.
"They can wait. We have one night. Let's make the most of it, shall we?" And with that he proceeded to finish what he'd started when they'd been standing at the stove. It didn't take long for Riza to break down and turn around, pressing her lips roughly against his and looping her arms around her neck, giving her enough leverage to pull herself closer to him, as if that were possible. Roy snaked his own arms around her waist, holding her tightly and deepening the kiss, parting his lips just enough for his tongue to slip through.
He pretty much wanted to die when Riza pulled away from him. "Oh come on…"
"We're not doing this in the kitchen," she informed him gently. "Our son eats in here, remember?"
"So? What he doesn't know won't hurt him." Riza shook her head, smiling a bit as she looked around the room they were standing in.
"This a pretty small house…isn't it?"
She wanted to discuss the house-size? Good lord was her timing terrible. "Yeah well there's only three of us, and two of the three are tiny so it's not hurting anyone, is it?" Riza's response to that was to smack Roy upside the head before she spoke.
"Yeah, but it's not going to be just the three of us anymore."
"Well then we'll—" Roy cut himself off mid-sentence as he realized what Riza had just said. "Wait…what?" He forced his currently sex-dominated thoughts to focus on Riza, and found that she was smiling slyly at him. "You're…?" She nodded. Silence dominated the room for about a half a second.
In the time it took to blink Roy had wrapped his arms around Riza and hugged her with such force that he actually lifted her off the ground. She laughed as he twirled her around in one quick circle before setting her down again and kissing her.
"I love you," he mumbled as he broke the kiss, resting his forehead against hers and grinning widely.
"Well I certainly hope so."
Roy laughed, pulling back so he could press his lips against her forehead instead. "Smartass."
"And proud of it."
They both laughed quietly, still wrapped in one another's arms with no sign that they would be separating any time soon. After a moment Roy pulled one arm back, letting his hand come to a rest on Riza's stomach. She closed her eyes, enjoying the feeling of his touch and wondering how many times she'd imagined him doing the exact same thing when she'd been pregnant with Maes.
If there was such a thing as heaven, this was certainly it, Roy decided. He was standing there with his pregnant wife, reveling in the feelings that washed over him. He had a wife, a son, and another child on the way. There was no way it got any better than this.
"Oh damn," Roy cursed suddenly, much to Riza's surprise. She blinked, tilting her head up to look at him, confusion alight in her amber eyes.
"Yes," Roy grumbled, feigning unhappiness. "Hughes was freakin' right. He's probably up in some great beyond right now laughing his ass off at me. Son of a bitch."
Riza laughed, trying not to let her relief show on her face. She would never admit it to Roy, but she'd been nervous about telling him she was pregnant. The biggest part of her had been sure he'd be thrilled (he was constantly griping about all the major milestones — first word, first steps, and all of that — that he'd missed with Maes). But there was always that tiny, insecure part of her that was sure all of this wasn't real, and that one day she'd wake up and find out this wonderful chapter of her life was just another wishful dream.
"Forget about Hughes laughing at you," Riza ordered her husband, pushing the insecurities back down. They had no place in this wonderful, happy moment. "I'm pretty sure we have a lot to celebrate tonight." Roy seemed to like that idea. He refocused his attention on the woman in his arms, leaning in again to kiss her. He was surprised when she stopped him. "Not in the kitchen."
"Why?" Roy whined unhappily. "Come on, this isn't fair, I want to have sex in the kitchen. It's right up there on my list, right along with office sex."
"Which is also never going to happen, for the record." Roy sighed. Well if she was going to be like that, he'd just have to take what he could get. In the time it took to blink he'd stooped down, scooping Riza into his arms and picking her up bridal-style. "Roy…I can walk you know."
"Let me have this," he said as he kissed her again. She laughed before returning the kiss, enjoying every blissful second of it before they pulled apart.
"I love you," she informed him as they started towards the bedroom.
"Well I certainly hope so," he said with a smirk, mimicking her answer from before. She slapped him lightly before giving in to the urge to rest her head on his shoulder. It was okay to act like a normal woman every now and then, after all. Especially when the result was getting to cuddle against her husband's broad, amazingly strong chest.
It was incredible, Riza thought as Roy flopped down on the bed, letting her rest on his chest as they picked up where they'd left off before. It was absolutely incredible how one man could make her feel this way. Like she was completely loved. And as always, the biggest part of her knew she was. There was always just that one part that worried. She knew those feelings would always be there — just like Roy would always be there right when she needed to squash said feelings and remind him that she was his and he was hers, and they had a son and another child on the way. They were a family.
Author's Note: …And they all lived happily ever after. Or something like that. Anyways, this story was quite the trip, but I gotta say, I enjoyed it. I've definitely come to love little Maes, and the whole story in general was just…fun. I dunno. I liked it.
ForeverSam's Corner of Sappiness — So if you're an old-time reader of my stories you're used to this section. If you're new, this is the place where I get down on my knees and thank you repeatedly for sticking with me throughout this wild ride. So thank you, thank you, thank you for all the reviews and encouragement! I was a little hesitant when I first started, I'm well aware that OC children don't generally go over well with readers and I was so glad that everyone loved Maes so much. The whole story idea is just one that sometimes isn't received well, so I was pleased with the response. I think this might be the first story I've written that hasn't gotten a flame of some kind, which is really kind of surprising. So yeah. Thank you again!
And with that, I shall now wander out of the realm of FMA fanfiction. Not exactly sure where I'm going — I've still got my Bleach story I suppose (if you happen to be a Bleach fan, check it out, it's called Shattered, it's IchiRuki, and yes, this was a shameless plug). Thank you all again for reading, it's been a blast! —Sam PS: Yay for ridiculous Author's Notes that are more than half a page on Microsoft Word!