Hola everyone! I am SOOOOOOO SORRRRRY that this chapter has basically taken like a LIFETIME to even upload. I love you guys and I am so sorry to have taken so long. But, a lot of stuff has happened and it's been a rough few months. However, I am here and there is a new chapter that I hope all of you enjoy! :)
Also, I would love to give a shout out to sub.C, a reader and reviewer of a few of my stories, who has been very supportive and a wonderful friend to talk to in a time of need. Thank you so much dear for all of your kind words and help and your creative comments!
So, here you go.
Please R&R and as always, enjoy the story.
Colonel Mustang was a man of many things. He prided himself on his calmness in any given situation, the way he could think quickly on his feet in the throes of danger, and how he could always keep his men in a safe position. Mustang also considered himself to be able to take care of himself quite easily. Cooking was very simple for him and was something he had learned early on in life. He found cleaning to be tedious, but with the right song on the radio he could be inspired to keep things neat. He would also consider himself to be the person that others would come to for advice or help, and he was always willing to give it. Roy Mustang could, after all, keep his cool in a stressful situation. He was able to hold emotions in around others and was one to never cry in front of anybody for fear of an enemy discovering a weakness, which was a trait he picked up in the war. Yes, Roy Mustang was a man of many things; tough, considerate and intelligent. However, all of those things left his personality the moment he stepped through the single, oak door of that hospital room.
Roy could feel his internal walls break down and crumble. Nothing, absolutely nothing, could have prepared him for this moment. There, lying in the crisp white hospital bed with tubes and machines hooked up to him was the FullMetal Alchemist. Edward Elric. The youngest of his team. How did it come to this? How could things have gotten this bad?
Stretching a shaky hand out towards a bandaged arm, Roy broke down. He could feel the tears slide down his cheeks and the hot pain of guilt shoot through his chest. Mustang gripped lightly at the boys left arm, running a thumb across a patch of skin, and took a seat in the chair beside the bed. He focused on the boys breathing, watching his chest rise in slow, agonizing breaths. He was thrilled at the fact the boy was still breathing, but it would have been more of a relief if Edward could breathe normally without the pained grasps for air. Even with the oxygen mask secured to his mouth, his breathing was very labored and dragged out.
"I've seen worse." The voice startled Mustang out of his concentration. Without moving, Roy stared at Ed's face, as if hoping his eyes would open. It took a moment for Roy to process what had been said.
"Really? I'm not sure if that's reassuring or if I want to yell at the both of you for not telling me the other times this has happened."
Alphonse walked over to the other side of Edward, facing Mustang before he spoke. "There is a lot brother hasn't told you about. And there is a lot that he hasn't told me about. Brother-Ed used to always tell me things, before mom died that is. He would tell me all of his secrets." Alphonse's gaze settled on Ed as Roy's settled on Al's figure, watching with a silent interest at the younger Elric's actions and words.
"Brother never had trust issues. I think after everything happened, between dad leaving and mom dying, he gained them. I also think he stopped trusting in himself. It's like-he's scared of messing up. He always tells me that he's okay and that everything will be alright, but I wonder how much of that is actually truth? How much of that does he himself believe in?"
Roy was taken aback by Alphonse's thoughts. He had never heard the boy speak like that about Edward, much alone anyone, before. Taking a few moments to mill over what Al had said, Roy sighed. This gained the attention of the younger boy.
"I think-I think FullMetal doesn't want you to worry about him. You are, after all, his little brother, his responsibility, his family. He wants to protect you from all of the evil and ugly in the world, and honestly I don't blame him. You've already seen your fair share of the bad side of the world; he only wants to keep you from seeing all of it."
"But I'm not little anymore. I'm not that little kid that he used to kiss bruises and cuts for, or the kid that would need his protection from a bully. We've both had to grow up so quickly. I don't understand-."
"You will one day, Al. Once you have children yourself, you will understand. You're his little brother, and while that might not mean so much to you, it does to him. You are his to take care of. He just wants to make sure he is doing his job. Don't take it the wrong way. He is just showing you how much he loves you."
Alphonse dropped his gaze to the floor. If it were possible for helmets to smile, his would have. "Thank you, Colonel."
Roy let a tiny, yet graceful, smile capture his lips for the briefest of moments before returning to wonder about Edward's current health. He noted everything on the boy's body that was visible. The scars from numerous fights and countless encounters with sociopaths, the bruises and burns from past missions (especially the giant hand-print like bruise enveloping the majority of his neck), and the tale-tale sings of sleep deprivation; yes, Roy saw them all. In this situation, Edward was unable to hide any of that from him. He often asked the boy if there was something he needed or if he had been injured during his mission and needed assistance, but Mustang was denied each time with a bitter laugh and a scoff with the hand.
"I wonder how many of these scars are recent." Colonel Mustang muttered out loud, stopping his stroking of Edward's arm with his thumb long enough to admire the deep gash that ran along the inside of his wrist and down, curving around to his elbow. Roy didn't remember seeing that one on a list of injuries and it did look fairly recent. The gash was not bleeding nor was it scabbed over, which suggested that it was new, yet somehow healed. The Colonel felt his brows knit together in confusion. "Alphonse, do remember when Ed got this?" He asked in a gentle voice while taking Edward's arm in his hands just as gently to show the youngest Elric.
Alphonse shook his head. "No, but that doesn't surprise me. Brother normally tries to keep all of his injuries a secret. It's only when he has to be hospitalized or is unconscious that I find out about anything." He ended with a slight chuckle although worry was very apparent in his voice. "For all I know, brother scraped his arm on a nail or something. It looks like it has healed though. Why are you asking, Colonel?"
Roy shook his head, biting his bottom lip in a form of concentration. There was something Edward had said a very long time ago that suddenly sprung to the forefront of his mind. Something about controlling injuries and how he wished there was a way that Edward could heal himself without a hospital. Roy had thought nothing much of the conversation then, but now it sparked an interest. "Al, did Ed ever tell you he wished he could heal himself?"
Alphonse laughed, "Every day. He hates hospitals. I wouldn't be surprised if he screams and kicks when he wakes up and realizes where he is."
"Has he ever talked about looking into it?" Roy mused, staring in a sort of sick fascination at the wound.
"Not that I remember, why? Is there something wrong, Colonel?" Roy shook his head no, but kept looking at the mark. "I was just wondering. You know your brother, he's very intelligent and I wouldn't put it pass him to try something like that."
Alphonse chuckled and nodded in agreement. Edward was the type to try anything once if he believed it would become useful to him. He watched the Colonel as he pressed a finger lightly to the scar and traced it from his wrist down to the ending point right at the elbow. It was with care, almost as if it were a loving touch. Although Al had suspected such feelings from his brother towards the older man, he was not expecting the same feelings to be coming from the Colonel.
Coughing lightly as to gain the Colonel's attention, Alphonse prepared himself for a conversation that may, or may not, end well. "Excuse me for asking, but Colonel I can't help but notice how you have been acting towards my brother. Is there…is there something you would like to tell me?"
Never before in his life did Roy Mustang consider himself gay or anything of that nature, but he would be willing to admit that he did find the older Elric very attractive. He would have been stupid not to have noticed how grown up Edward had become, and was guilty when it came to admitting that he had, indeed, checked FullMetal out on a number of occasions. It was hard not to. The young man he had grown into was not kept from Roy's watchful eyes. So the Colonel happened to notice how broad his shoulders had become, and maybe he had paid a little more attention to the way Edward's waist was shaped lately, and perhaps he did find those beautiful, large, golden eyes even more attractive than before.
Whether he wanted to admit it to either himself or anyone else, it was completely undeniable: Roy Mustang, fearsome Flame Alchemist, had fallen head over heels for the little, insubordinate, stubborn headed brat, Edward Elric. To say he was "screwed" was just the beginning of the long list of issues. Not only was he old enough to be the boy's father, but he was also his superior, and the military did have a strict policy against interoffice relations. Not to mention, they were both males.
Sighing with his head in defeat, Roy cleared his throat. "Alphonse, I-I'm not quite sure what to tell you. You do know I care for both you and your brother very much. I've seen the both of you grow up so fast and…I honestly don't know what I should say. What I should tell you…." He trailed off, taking the moment to look between Al and Edward. Could he really admit it out loud like this? Sure, Hawkeye and he had talked about it before, but he had not actually said the words.
"It's alright, Colonel. You don't have to say anything if you don't want to. Believe me. I'm pretty sure I already know what you're going to say." Alphonse shook his head in slight humor. "You know, brother may not say it, but he is grateful for everything you've done for us. And I am too."
Roy smiled. "Really, you boys don't have to be that way."
"I know, but brother is already that way. I'm the nice one, remember?" Alphonse joked lightly. "Besides, brother doesn't really show affection. I was surprised with how he was playing around with you…that day. Normally he just keeps to himself."
"He has been…more open now that you mention it. We've had lunch together quite a few times. You don't think his previous mission has anything to do with that, do you?"
Al shook his head. "No," he said with a slight smile to his voice, "I believe that brother was trying to open up to you all along, he just was too afraid of rejection at first. It's always the first step that seems the farthest."
"Rejec-Oh, I see. So, you do know. You didn't happen to have a conversation with Hawkeye, did you Alphonse?" Roy asked, a bit of skepticism seeping into his voice.
"I guess you could say a little birdy told me, yes."
Roy laughed for the first time in what seemed like days. Alright, so Alphonse knew. Now what? Would he tell Edward when he awoke? Would the boy hate him? How would the others react if they knew?
"Colonel, sir, I know the Lieutenant has already told you that he does feel the same way, but perhaps another voice of reason will easy your worries?"
"Are you suggesting that you are willing to tell me your brother's secrets about me?" Roy posed, one eyebrow cocked.
Alphonse was quiet for a moment. "It's not my place, I know that, but brother is too…what's the word…stubborn? Yes, stubborn to admit anything out loud. He's had this crush since I can remember. He used to talk about you a lot."
The room went quiet again and the only sounds that could be heard were the beeping of machines from Edward's bed. Roy could feel the blush creeping down his neck towards his chest as the silence lingered.
"You know," Alphonse sighed, breaking the silence, "He's actually been flirting with you."
That made Roy's left eyebrow cock upwards. "Flirting?" Roy could hardly imagine Edward flirting with him. Being suggestive, yes that has happened in the past, but flirting? The idea was merely laughable. "Al, I doubt your brother has truly been flirting, yet alone with me."
Alphonse shook his head with a small laugh. "Okay, so perhaps brother doesn't seem like the flirting type. But Colonel, I assure you that he has. It may be subtle or it may have looked as if Ed was only doing it to make you angry, but it was flirting. Think back on it. Think about the looks he has given you. Think about the comments he has made. The actions brother made around you; think about them all." With a final sigh, Alphonse left.
Roy laced his fingers together in his lap and leaned forward. His mind was racing. Did Ed really flirt the way Alphonse suggested? Suddenly a memory sparked. There was a time in Ed's dorm, one that specifically stuck out in his mind.
It was before the case of the serial killer weeks ago. Actually, it had been the night that Edward was assigned the mission.
"Also, do you think I could get the name and address of the surviving victim?" Ed smiled sheepishly. Mustang sighed and shook his head.
"What happened to the one favor?"
"Don't make me beg." Ed laughed. "Besides, you'll do it 'cause you love me." (1)
Was that considered flirting? You'll do it 'cause you love me. Roy could not shake a feeling deep within the pit of his stomach. It started slowly as a warm heat at the thought that Edward might have loved him, and the more he thought about it the hotter it grew until Roy was sure he would burst into flames. His onyx eyes focused on the young boy again for the hundredth time that day. He could feel the pinpricking of tears once more and the sudden want to just hold him; to hold Ed and try to wake him.
"Why?" It came as a low whisper and Mustang took a shaky breath to keep from crying, "Why me? Of all the people, Edward, that you could have decided to do this to…that you could have…why me?" Roy hung his head low and allowed the noise of the machines and Ed's strained breathing lull him into a subdued state. His mind was working overtime.
Roy's head shot up and a look of horror plastered itself onto his face. Edward was thrashing in the bed, eyes tightly shut, and screaming at the top of his lungs. Roy stood from his chair, knocking it over in the process. His body froze as his mind tried to play catch up. What should he do? Should he call for a doctor? Should he sooth Edward first? Panic was not something Roy did on a daily basis and he did not deal with it well on the few occasions he had majorly panicked. Now was exactly one of those times.
Making up his mind, Mustang lurched forward and attempted holding Edward in place. He grabbed at Edward's wrists and began talking to him in a calming voice. Ed was thrashing even harder than before and screaming even louder, if that was possible.
Alphonse, who had been standing outside talking with Hawkeye, burst through the door with said Lieutenant jogging in right behind him. It was not long after Hawkeye had entered and assisted in restraining that a group of doctors and nurses had joined them.
Before he knew it, Roy had been pushed to the side of the wall as the physicians attempted to sedate the screaming boy. Roy wiped at his brow, a small sheen of sweat coming off onto the back of his hand. His breathing was beginning to slow from the rush of the adrenaline dissipating. It was when he was sure that the doctors had everything under control that Roy listened to the screaming voice.
His eyes became very wide and his brows knitted in confusion. From the side of his vision, he could see both Hawkeye and Alphonse still their movements. The voice was raspy, as if it had not been used in a very long time. It was deeper than the one he was used to hearing scream at him about a short joke. It was darker than the voice that carried all of that knowledge he loved to sit and listen to. That voice was not Edward's.
"Stop!" Roy shouted at the doctors and nurses. "Stop! Move away from him!" All but two of the members of the group did as Roy commanded. The two that had stayed were holding down Edward's arms. The Colonel did a once over and swallowed hard before approaching the bed.
Edward's eyes were open and staring straight at him, but they were not Edward's golden irises. Blood red eyes and a dark, sinister and twisted smile greeted him. Mustang was speechless as he grew closer to the boy, taking small steps as if to not startle whatever or whoever possessed his body.
The room was silent once more. Roy and Ed locked eyes. What in the name of hell was going on here? One moment the boy was out cold and everyone was informed that it might be months before his eyes were opened again. The next, red eyes bore into his onyx ones.
"Who are you?" Roy spoke, his voice a bit shaky. It seemed as if everyone in the room were holding their breaths. No one spoke as they watched the two. Eyes flickered back and forth between them.
An evil laugh tore through the air. "Je suis celui qui hante vos rêves. Je suis celui qui crée vos pires cauchemars. Je suis celui qui va l'emporter."
Roy's eyes crinkled in confusion. "What?"
"What language is that?" Hawkeye gasped.
Alphonse strode forward very calmly and stood beside Roy. "You are the ancient one, yes?"
Roy turned, baffled. "You understand him?"
Alphonse nodded his head. "Yes. Brother used to read the ancient texts from the people of Français. (2) I learned quite a bit listening to him."
Roy shook his head in disbelief. "Then what is he saying?"
"He said: I am the one who haunts your dreams. I am the one who creates your worst nightmares. I am the one who will prevail."
Roy met Riza's gaze. "It's evil." They both stated.
Alphonse confirmed their thoughts. "Yes. Whatever it is, it has decided to use brother as a host of sorts."
"Can you get it to leave?"
"I-I don't know how to do that."
"Can't you try something?!"
"Try talking to it, Al. See what it says."
Alphonse prayed to a God he had lost faith in years ago that this thing would not bring harm to his brother, and that whatever he said would not anger it.
"Vous êtes l'ancienne, oui?" Alphonse restated in the ancient language.
"Oui." Another laugh came from Edward's mouth. It was very deep and very dark. Alphonse was grateful that he did not have a body that could shudder at that moment.
"Pourquoi avez-vous choisi mon frère que votre hôte?"
"L'enfant d'or ne sera pas accueilli de nouveau dans ce monde. Il périra pour ce qu'il va faire!"
Roy moved back a few paces from hearing the screech of the creature within Ed as he spoke. "What did it say, Al?"
"He said that…that Brother won't be allowed to wake up…and that he has to die for what he will do."
"What he will do? What the hell does that mean?"
"I-I-I don't know." Al stuttered while trying to gain composure.
"Keep him talking." Hawkeye stated. "Ask him what Ed will do."
Alphonse took a breath to calm his nerves. He may not have had a nervous system to be nervous with, or a mouth to breathe from, but he found it made it easier to ask questions with.
"Qu'est-ce qu'il va faire?"
The creature controlling Edward laughed, pulling his mouth into a strange position. It was sickening and Roy found himself looking away until it stopped.
"Graver. L'. Monde." (3)
With that, the creature let out a horrible groan. The room suddenly went black and dead quiet. Minutes passed before the room lit up once more. When the light returned, gazes settled upon the hospital bed.
Edward was sitting calmly at the edge of the bed, eyes very large and scared, as his breathing seemed to get faster. He appeared as if he had just awoken from a bad dream. Roy looked at the boy in disbelief. This child was just being tormented by a demon of sorts, yet here he was sitting as if nothing had even happened to him. It was then that Roy noticed the gloved hand upon Ed's shoulder. He followed the black hand and arm to a cloaked face.
"Brother?" Al choked out as he too noticed the dark, cloaked man.
Edward's eyes shifted to meet Al's glowing red orbs and to lock on with Roy's. Mustang wanted to breathe a sigh of relief at seeing those sand colored irises once more.
Roy stared for what seemed like an eternity. He began noting things about Ed; the boy was in his usual garb instead of the medical dress he was placed in during surgery, his body was not littered with as many cuts and bruises and a strange glow seemed to be floating right behind Edward's head. It almost looked like a halo. Roy blinked a few times to see if the image disappeared and when it did not he shook his head.
The cloaked man stepped forward and bowed slightly at the waist. When he spoke, the voice was deep, but not too deep. It carried well and was softer than his appearance. "Ladies and gentlemen, friends and doctors…if you please, Enfant d'or is very tired and stressed. Please allow him to have some space."
Alphonse gasped. "Enfant d'or? The Golden Child?" He turned to look at Edward who was staring at his brother.
"You're the Golden Child?!"
Mustang glanced between the two. "What's the Golden Child?"
Al stuttered with his sentence and gave up halfway through just to stare at the cloaked man and his brother as thoughts swam through his head.
For the first time since he awoke and acted to be his normal self, Edward spoke. It was small and Roy, and the others, had to strain to hear it.
"The end of the world."
A.N.: 1) This is from "A Neverending Love" for all of you who probably went "HANG ON, SISKIE YOU GIPT ME! I'VE READ THIS BEFORE." Chill. It's like a flash back thingy :P
2) Oui, I have turned the French into an ancient language/culture that I will further explain throughout the story.
3) This means "Burn. The. World." I didn't have Al say it because he is in shock at this point.
ALSO: Before it happens I'm going to nip it in the bud...THIS IS SO NOT THE MAIN PLOT! People...it is my story and I think I am capable of writing a story with more than ONE plot. I am a novelist thank you. There are many little sub plots and plotty plot things that all come together later in this story. Sorry for the rude behavior but, seriously...I don't tell you how to write your plots. Don't write mine. Just GO ALONG FOR THE RIDE DUDE! Rant done and over...now can we all act like adults here and drink our apple juice? ;)
Anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed...R&R...and if you guys find anything interesting that you would like to share or if you just freakin' love unicorns...let me know! I love you guys.