I AM SO SORRY THIS TOOK SO LONG! I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT HAPPENED I JUST GOT UN MOTIVATED! But it's up now so please enjoy the final chapter of "a fathers touch"
"Ready to go?" asked Roy, slipping on his coat.
Ed sighed. He still hadn't moved from the couch. "Yeah."
Roy looked at him sadly. Ed really didn't seem to want to leave. It had been three days since Riza had come home from the hospital. Ed had spent that time relaxing with Riza on the couch, resting most of the time and eating food when he could. All of the sleep had done him well, he recovered nicely within the time span and was now ready to go back home to his apartment and his brother, who was anxiously awaiting his return. But, Roy had noticed that when he spoke of him going home these past days, the boy would become sullen and quiet. Did he not want to go home?
Well, in truth, Roy really didn't want him to go either. Ed or Riza. He had almost gotten used to them being around. Waking up to Riza's smile, even if he had to walk all the way downstairs to see it, he had made her a decent bed out of the couch in the living room. It was the best he could do since she would accept his bedroom. She would be asleep, all snuggled up in blankets, with a small lump at her side. That lump usually turned out to be a slumbering little Elric boy. He would walk downstairs and look at the sweet sight for a moment, then her eyes would open and she would smile up at him. That's they way it had been the past few days… he was going to miss it.
"Come on Ed," he said, his voice heavy, "it's time to go."
Ed still didn't move from the couch. He didn't want to move. He didn't want to go. There had to be a way for him to stay. . . Then, suddenly his mind hatched an idea. But… He'd need more time.
"Can I at least stay for lunch?" asked Ed, turning around on the couch to face Roy. Roy looked surprised for a moment.
"Uh, yeah sure." He finally said. Riza, who had been sitting in the big chair of total comfyness, stood up.
"I'll make something." She said smiling, already walking to the kitchen. Roy chuckled and glanced at Ed.
"You okay?" he asked, noticing Ed had a blank look on his face and was taking deep breaths.
Ed's head snapped in the direction of where Roy's voice came from. "W-What? Oh, yeah, I'm alright." Ed closed his eyes and took a few more deep breaths. Roy placed a gentle hand on the boys shoulder.
"Ed. What's going on." He said his voice quiet. Ed didn't look at him. He just took another breath and placed a hand on his stomach. Milk it Ed, milk it. He thought. Roy had a worried look plastered to his slightly aged face.
"Nothing," replied Ed, for a second time, "I'm fine." Ed squeezed in a small, pathetic sounding cough after his comment. Which, obviously worked because Roy's face grew even more worried.
"Ed. Are you not feeling well again?" he asked.
Ed shook his head. "No, No. I'm fine."
Roy looked him over for a moment before placing a hand on his back and a hand on his chest, gently pushing the small boy down onto the couch.
"Ed. don't lie," he said, "I'm going to go see how Riza's doing. I'll be right back."
Ed sighed. "Alright." Ed watched him take a double glance back at him before disappearing into the kitchen.
Ed sighed again, lying on the pillow he had been on for the past days. He wasn't even sure how many days it had been. He lost track. It just became so natural to him. So normal. He didn't want to leave. And he would do anything to stay. He finally had a home. A family. A "mother". A "father". He could finally feel the hole mending. Mending as much as it can.
"Ed, come on in for lunch." Said Roy, his voice interrupting his thoughts. Ed sat up, making sure to do it slowly and wobble slightly. As he walked into the kitchen he gave a low moan. Catching Roy's worried glance at him, he did his best not to smile. But Riza however, he could not see. Her back was turned to him and she was stirring something nasty smelling on the stove.
Roy walked over to a chair, pulling it out away from the table. "Here Ed," he said, "You can sit here."
Ed nodded and sat down, sighing and placed his head on the table. Wrapped around my finger, he thought. After a few moments, he felt a gentle hand on his shoulder.
"Come on Ed, he heard Riza's voice say, "sit up and give this a try."
Ed began to get excited. Maybe it was her tea. Oh, he really hoped it was her tea. But, unfortunately, when he lifted his head he got a nose-full of the most rancid smell that had probably even passed his nostrils.
"Oh!" he said, his head almost immediately shooting away from the table, his hand coming up to pinch his nose closed. "What is that!"
Riza smiled. "It's tea dear."
"Is not," shot back Ed, "The last cup of tea you made… smelled better!"
Riza simply chuckled. "I know, this is a different tea. It should help with your stomach ache a bit more than the other."
Ed just kept eyeballing the putrid smelling liquid. He didn't even notice when Roy took a seat down next to him. "Go on and drink it, Ed." He said. Ed sighed. Tentatively he picked up the warm mug and brought it close to his lips. His eyes traveled over to the blonde adult standing in front on him by the stove, she simply nodded towards the cup.
Ed closed his eyes and lifted to bottom end of the mug, pouring just a little swallow of the ghastly liquid into his mouth. Immediately he wanted to spit it out as he felt his gag relax attempt to do it for him. He had to place a hand over his mouth to keep the tea from shooting all over the kitchen. It was the most vile, disgusting thing he had ever tasted Bland and tasted like a mix between spoiled milk and raw meat. He only knew this because the one time he had tried milk… his brother had given it to him a bit too late. It also had a thick strange, almost lumpy consistency to it. He couldn't swallow it. It would be no use seeing as it would just come back up.
"Now swallow Ed." Said Riza in a gentle voice. Ed shook his head. "If you don't want a relapse of the past few days you need to drink it Ed. And to drink you need to swallow." Added Roy.
Ed closed his eyes and swallowed, a few times, before the repulsive liquid finally went down. Now the question is: will it stay down? Ed felt his stomach churn in disagreement as the tea entered it slowly. Great. Now he did feel sick again.
Roy, apparently noticing the boys' sudden change in facial expression, glanced over at the woman by the stove.
"Maybe this isn't helping Riza. I don't think he needs to drink anymore."
"Nonsense," disagreed Riza, "my mother used to make this for us all the time when we had a stomach ache. Yes, it was nasty, but oddly enough, it did end up helping. Come on Ed, another big gulp. Just get it down."
She came over and sat down by the boy, who missed the slight sly glint in her eyes. Ed shook his head. "I-I can't."
Riza picked up the mug and brought it up to the boys face. "Come on Ed, you have to. I promise it will help."
Ed looked over at her for a moment. She was smiling her gentle, motherly smile. Her eyes sparkling softly… to him anyways. Ed sighed and took hold of the cup, but Riza didn't let go. Just like before.
"Alright Ed, come on." She said, and tilted the cup forward. Immediately, when the tea…or what was supposed to be tea, touched his lips he wanted to stop. But Riza had a firm grip on the cup, keeping it tilted to allow the gruesome drink to slip into Ed's poor mouth.
"Come on Ed, swallow or we're going to have a mess." Said Roy.
You may end up having a mess anyways thought Ed as he allowed the sickly tea to slip down his throat. After about thirty seconds, he was still drinking. He just couldn't get it down. It was like re swallowing something that had been chewed spit up and chewed again… just the thought of that added to the vileness of the drink and the queasiness of his stomach.
"There you go Ed. That's—"
But suddenly Ed began to struggle. That was it. He couldn't take it anymore. He was going to pop. In his attempt to get away from Riza, some of the drink that had been in his mouth had slipped to the back of his throat when he breathed in, causing him to choke and cough loudly. He placed a hand over his mouth.
"Ed, stop. Swallow and breath." Said Riza, placing a hand on his back. Ed took a moment to catch his breath. Well. He didn't have to pretend anymore. Now he felt completely sick to his stomach. Ed took another breath and braced his hands on his knees, looking extremely uncomfortable.
"I think this was a bad idea." Spoke Roy softly to Riza, who was rubbing Eds back. "Ed, are you alright?" he asked. Ed didn't answer. He was too afraid too. Suddenly his stomach gave an evil lurch and, before anyone could ask what was wrong, Ed stood up and ran to the closest basin to him. Ed braced his hands against the sides of the sink and put his head down over the shining silver. Wow. Such a nasty feeling. He felt a gentle hand on his shoulder.
"It's alright, Ed." A soft voice said. Eds' breath hitched as he tasted the foul tea a second time. When he was finished, someone handed him a glass of water. As he was drinking he heard Riza's voice in his ear.
"Not only did it help us when we were sick, but it proved that we were actually sick." Ed choked on his water.
"Ed." Roy stood up from his chair and went over to Ed. "Are you alright?"
"Of course not!" shouted Ed, louder than he had intended to, "That woman's trying to kill me!"
Riza stood up straight and leaned on the side of the counter. "Ed, what are you talking about." She said, exasperated.
Ed leaned against Roy, partly for effect but also partly for balance, still glaring at Riza. "She put something in that drink to make me sick!"
Roy raised an eye brow. "Oh?"
'Yeah!" rambled on Ed, "She put something in it to make me sick…er. Damn it."
Roy chuckled. "How did you know that would work?" he asked, looking at Riza. Ed jumped away from him. "YOU WERE IN ON IT TOO!"
"My mother used to give it to us when we complained of a stomach ache. If we were actually sick, it would make us feel better. If we weren't… well you saw what happens."
Roy looked at her with a confused expression on his face. "… How does it do that?"
"I have absolutely no idea." Concluded Riza. Ed rolled his eyes; his arms fell limp to his sides. He felt a gentle squeeze on his shoulder and heard Roy voice. "Alright Ed, the joke and lunch is over. Go get your jacket."
Ed didn't say anything. He simply walked out of the room, hesitating at the door before dragging himself over to the coat rack.
"Roy," said Riza, "I think there's something else wrong."
Roy averted his eyes from the doorway. "What do you mean?"
"You didn't see that?" she asked him, glancing over at the couch where Ed was getting his jacket. Then Roy saw a sight that made his heart sink. He didn't think he had seen Ed this depressed looking since he had met him in Risenbul. Maybe he didn't want to go just as much as Roy didn't want him to.
"I know." Said Roy, already walking into the living room. He walked over to the chair where the small boy was sitting. He looked down at him a moment. When Ed didn't look back Roy spoke up.
"Come on, Ed. Ready?"
Ed sighed before getting up out of the chair. "I guess..."
Riza followed to two of them out to the front door. "Well Ed, I'm glad to see you're better, come here." She said, extending her arms to the small boy. A small smile cracked on Ed's face before he scooted over into Riza's arms. Her hug was warm and reassuring as she gently stroked his hair. If he could just stay right here…
"Alright, you've got to get going," she said, "Don't want to keep Al any longer."
"Yeah…" replied Ed almost silently. Riza shot a worried glance at Roy, but was surprised with what she saw. Roy's eyes were almost as apathetic and sullen as Eds were. What was going on? It wasn't like they were saying goodbye forever. In fact, they were all probably going to see each other tomorrow in work. There was something else going on.
Ed crawled into the car and shut the door with a depressing thud. "Roy-" Began Riza, but Roy just pulled her into a hug, cutting her off…or making her forget what she was going to say.
"Don't worry," he said, "He'll be alright, and I'll make sure. I'll see you when I get back. Don't go anywhere." He pulled back just enough to connect his lips with hers for just a fraction of a second, a small taste before, with as much restraint as he could, pulled away and walked over to the other side of the car. There. Now she definitely wouldn't go anywhere, especially if she wanted more than a taste. He glanced back over at her. Her pleasantly shocked face was enough to reassure him of his previous thought.
"I'll be back!" he called, snapping her out of her trance. He winked and he watched her cheeks flush bright red. He chuckled and climbed into the drivers' seat of the car. Immediately the air became heavy and Roy could swear the sadness in the car was almost touchable. Doing his best to ignore it, he climbed in, buckled up, and started the engine. The sound seemed to startle Ed out of whatever trance he was in. The boy jumped slightly and blinked a few times before shifting around in his seat and looking back out the window.
He met eyes with Riza, who waved at him, smiling her sweet smile. Ed waved back as the car rolled out of the driveway. His eyes stared at hers until she was completely out of sight. Ed sighed and sank lower into the seat. This sucked.
The ride to Ed's apartments was a quiet one. Neither Ed nor Roy said anything. Partly because Roy wasn't quite sure what to say, but Ed didn't really care. He wasn't really in the mood to talk. Ed pulled his knees to his chest and buried his head. So the silence continued, stretching itself through the entire car ride. Finally they pulled up on the curb.
"Here we are." Said Roy with a sigh. Ed didn't move from the position he had been in nearly the entire car ride. Roy thought that maybe he had fallen asleep. The man placed a hand on Eds shoulder. "Ed? Were here."
His response was a small sniffle. "Ed?" he squeezed his shoulder gently. Still the boy didn't move.
"…Everything's going to change isn't it...?" Well, at least he got a response from the boy this time. Even if it didn't make much sense.
"What are you talking about?" Asked Roy. He saw Ed lift his head just enough to reveal one, thoughtful golden eye.
"… Never mind." Said the voice. His voice was so small. Ed unbuckled his seat belt and began to get out of the car.
"Thanks for everything." Said Ed, putting on his best smile, but Roy saw right through that.
"Ed," said Roy. The tone of his voice made Ed's mask melt, "You're always welcome back."
Ed took in a sharp breath. That was it. Ed lunged back in and grabbed Roy around the neck, pulling his "father" into a hard hug. Roy wrapped his arms around the boy.
"You have my number and you have Riza's. If at anytime you need us, all you have to do is call and we'll be here. And you know if you need a place to go to, you know where we are. And that goes for your brother as well. We may not be a real family, but we can sure act like one."
Ed nodded, "…thank you." That was the simplest way to sum it up. Roy would probably never find out how much Ed really looked to him. How much Ed really needed him there. Thank you was just a general way to say it. But Roy had no idea how much was behind that thank you.
"Alright," said Roy, "You may want to go upstairs before your brother starts worrying."
"Yeah." Said Ed, but he didn't pull away. Just a little bit longer. He felt so safe. So warm. So content in his touch. A fathers' touch. Roy smiled.
And there you have it! Not sure if that was the best way to end it, but I'm pretty happy … even though I have absolutely no idea what that tea thing was… owell ha-ha. Thank you to everyone who has stuck with me through this entire story and stayed with it till the end.