Been a while. But, this story is the one I work on when I am burned out on my others...it just isn't my main focus, so updates are shaky at best. Sorry about that.
EDIT-Someone ask if this is going to be a yaoi story or just a Parental! Roy/Ed. And the answer is...I dunno yet. I haven't really planned this one out, since it is not really first on my list. I tend to lean toward yaoi as a general rule though.
Once again, Roy jolted awake, though this time, he was more confused than scared. He shook his head and rolled out of bed and took a much-needed shower. He scrubbed furiously to vent some of his frustration.
The man had been a bit off kilter before, but after that dream, he was even more confused. However, perhaps due in part to sleep deprivation, he reacted with anger, rather than thinking logically.
His mind tried to fight through the fog and churned recent events over and over in his mind, but he always seemed to fall short of the conclusion he was looking for. There was something missing, some crucial bit of information that would make the whole puzzle fall into place and he just couldn't figure out what it was.
Purely factual, the voice had said. But it was insane to be listening to a dream. Then again, it was said that dreams were messages from the subconscious. Roy had never really bought into that, but perhaps it was true. What was it trying to tell him? What was he missing?
He punched the nearby shower wall, bruising his knuckles on the tile.
Silently cursing, he turned away and flicked off the taps.
After getting dressed, Roy went downstairs and started making breakfast. It was Sunday, and there was no real reason for him to be up this early, but he knew that he wouldn't be sleeping again anytime soon. He went about fixing breakfast for himself and trying desperately to think of anything other than the person occupying his spare bedroom. The dark haired man had to mentally convince himself to calm down and let Fullmetal sleep.
He stopped tending to his eggs at that thought.
'I guess he shouldn't be referred to by his state given title anymore. So much has changed…I wonder how Alphonse will react…'
He ate his almost burned breakfast and piddled around the house in a futile attempt to distract himself. For hours he waited impatiently, until he felt that it was about time to rouse his guest. It was the middle of the afternoon when he went upstairs, and he didn't feel bad at all about waking him. Alphonse would want to talk to him as early as possible, and the waiting was quite frankly driving him mad.
The Flame alchemist knocked on the door, waiting a total of five seconds before the cracked it open and peeked inside. What he saw immediately sowed the seeds of fear in his mind.
The room was empty.
He burst in, no longer caring about being quiet and called for the one that should have been there. No response was heard and he turned in a full circle before blind panic began to set in.
'Not again. Not so soon.' This was the only thought in the terrified man's head. He ran through the house, calling out all the while and receiving no answer. For the first time in his life, he honestly had no idea what to do, and he simply stopped moving under the mental weight. His mind flipped over itself again and again, but for the life of him, he couldn't make it work beyond forcing his body to sit in his most comfortable armchair.
Roy wasn't entirely sure how long he sat there, and in his near catatonic state, he failed to notice the gathering storm outside. All he knew was that the next time a coherent thought came to him, thunder had sounded and shaken him out of his stupor. He started and looked up, vaguely recognizing that Central was seeing a lot of storms as of late. After another couple of loud rumbles, he heard the sound of his door being opened. He moved faster than someone his age should have been able to, standing and dashing across the sitting room to the main hall in just a few seconds.
"Where the fuck have you been?"
The blonde that was now standing in the foyer simply glanced up at him, and then went back to slowly and deliberately closing the front door.
"Is that any way to greet a guest?"
"Where were you?" Roy hissed through gritted teeth. Had he not been so emotional, he might have picked up in the fact that his younger counterpart was completely dry, despite having been out in the storm a few moments earlier.
"Out," said the shorter man as he walked past the half-enraged, half-relieved alchemist. "Couldn't sleep. Needed to go do something outside. Have you called Al yet?"
The raven-haired man blinked at the quick change of subject and shook his head to clear it.
"Don't…do things like that. Pulling disappearing acts after you have been MIA for years is not good for the sanity of those around you."
Edward glanced back and looked genuinely apologetic as he whispered a quick "Sorry." He then turned into the room Roy had just come running out of. Slowly, the General followed, bare feet padding silently over the hardwood floor. He watched as Edward collapsed onto his leather sofa, noticing for the first time how tired the young man looked. He gave a great sigh and went to sit down on the opposite side of the couch.
"So?" came the expectant question.
Roy glanced over at him. "Hmm?"
"Have you called Al yet?'
"Ah. No, I didn't think that telling him his brother had come back only to disappear again would make him too happy."
Edward bashfully scratched his head and hid his face behind his bangs. "Yeah. Sorry about that."
"Would you like to call now?"
Roy got up and walked over to his phone stand, mentally trying to recall which room to ask for when he called the hotel. As he went to pick up the receiver, he heard a voice from behind him.
"It's General, Edward." Roy reminded gently.
The dark haired man noticed his hesitance and turned around, secretly hoping that the younger of the two was trying to open up a bit. With that in mind, he readjusted his mask, so all that could be seen was kindness laced with slight concern.
"What's with the eye patch?"
"Oh…" Roy reached up and touched the soft leather covering the left side of his face. "I was injured during the overthrow of the old government."
Edward just cocked his head to show that he didn't know what the General was talking about.
Suddenly, the taller man felt uncomfortable with the topic, and he made an attempt to change the subject.
"We can talk about that later. For now, we need to call your brother."
If Edward suspected his discomfort, he didn't show it. He took the bait easily, nodding and smiling a bit.
Internally sighing, the General turned back to the telephone, dialing the number of the hotel Alphonse was staying at. After repeating Alphonse's room number twice for the apparently half-asleep desk clerk, he waited for a couple minutes while they called him down to the lobby. It was lucky that he had actually come back to the hotel at a decent time; otherwise they would've had to wait until tomorrow.
A voice on the other end of the line distracted Roy from his thoughts.
"Yes. Sorry to call so late," the man stole a quick glance at his now dark windows, wondering where the day had gone. "I would have phoned earlier but there were…complications."
While he had been talking, Roy had not noticed that Edward had gotten up, and was now making a grab for the phone.
"What? Is something wrong?" A brief struggle was heard, as Roy shooed away the agitated blonde and then turned his attention back to the conversation at hand.
"No, no, everything is taken care of. Listen, Alphonse, I need you to come back to Central."
"No 'buts.' I am quite positive that you won't find anything in Liore. I have received a tip from a valuable source, and I am sure you will want to hear it."
"Really? What is it?" The dark haired man could hear the excitement that filled the boy's voice, immediately responding to anything that might help him locate his beloved brother.
"I can't fully explain, not over the phone. You need to come back and get it from the source. I want you on the first train to Central in the morning. Understood?"
"Yes, Sir!" came the exuberant cry, followed by several muted apologies, which Roy assumed were directed at the hotel staff for being too loud.
"Goodnight, Alphonse." He chuckled.
"The same to you. See you in a couple days."
Roy waited until he heard the click signaling that the boy had hung up, then placed the receiver down and looked over at a pissed looking Edward.
"Why didn't you let me talk to him?"
"Because. Alphonse is like you, in that once he has a goal, nothing else matters. If I had told him you were here, he would respond with more urgency than normal, and forget about his own needs. He would probably try to walk here, because the trains wouldn't run fast enough for him, and he would hurt himself."
Ed rolled his eyes at that, but seemed to accept it for the truth, because he went and sat down again.
"At least he sounded eager to come."
The taller man blinked, surprised. "You could hear him talking?"
The blonde stiffened and gave a jerky nod. "Well, yeah. I was standing right there while he was shouting into the receiver."
Roy took the words as they came, filing away the odd reaction for later contemplation. "Now the only question is what to do with you…" Roy mused aloud.
"What do you mean?"
"Well, I have to work tomorrow…it probably isn't a good idea for you to be walking around, because you will cause a panic." He noticed that the blonde flinched when he emphasized the words 'walking around'.
"Listen, Mustang. Sorry I scared you, but I might need to go out during the day. I can't stay inside all the time."
"Look. If I do go out, I promise to be back by nightfall. I am not the same loud brat I used to be, okay? I am pretty good at staying out of sight. Nobody will know I am around."
"I can't just let you do that. How will I get a hold of you at work, if I need to? What if something goes wrong?"
"We can't go through our whole lives subsisting on 'what if's, Mustang. Nothing will go wrong, and even if it does, you don't need to worry about finding me. I'll find you."
Roy just sighed. "And what is it that you need to go out for so badly?"
"I just...I need to be out. I spent so much time locked away from this world-my world. I need to be out in it, now that I am back."
"You aren't going to budge on this, are you?"
The blonde shook his head.
"Fine, just...fine. Don't let anybody know you are back until I know how I want to handle the public story though."
Edward nodded and went to sit down again.
After a few minutes, the General remembered something.
"Hey. Have you eaten yet? I make something for a late dinner, if you like."
"No thanks. I ate while I was out."
"I thought you were staying out of slight?"
"Ed, seriously, what-"
"Look, Mustang. You asked me to trust you once upon a time. I would ask you to do the same. I'm fine."
The dark haired man breathed an aggravated sigh.
"I just don't know how to react with you..." he muttered. "Fine. If you get hungry, you know where the kitchen is. I have to go to work tomorrow, so I'm going to turn in. You should too."
Edward shrugged. "I've become a bit of a night owl over the years, so it'll take a while for me to get to sleep. I'll go to bed soon though."
"Okay. Help yourself to the books on the wall." Mustang gestured to the bookshelves along the far wall.
As he shuffled up the stairs, Roy contemplated his recent dreams. Somehow, he felt that the constant revisiting horror was in some way tied to Ed's return. The General was not afraid of much, but these odd occurrences were getting out of hand, and the younger blonde was really starting to worry him.
He had the sneaking suspicion that he would not be sleeping tonight.
This one was mostly a transition just to get Al into the picture. Reviews?