Don't You Dare.

Edward takes a bullet on the battlefield. Fatherly RoyEd. Slight AU. Oneshot.

He was The Fullmetal Alchemist for Truth's sake! Just think.

O-okay, one bullet. Still somewhere inside him, if he tensed –

Ow shit! Don't tense! Tensing is bad.

- He could feel something still in his chest, tearing. White hot pain left him gasping onto the floor for a moment but his brain was still working, neurons firing electric impulses, trying to work out what the hell happened.

He'd been shot. That was enough to leave his body reeling, he knew somehow that it had already been a few minutes since the act had occurred and that he was in fact, very likely, going into shock.

The sounds of a dying battle warped in and out in the background. Men shouting. A few stray bullets peppering the dirt and shooting up dust in their wake. Sounds of running footsteps and barking commands. But they were not as frequent as they had been.

He focused on himself. Just think, block everything else out. Shallow breaths. Good. The bullet. Ow. Ahh. Small breaths, damn it! Missed the heart. Didn't miss something else vital though. Crap. Shit. Blood was filling up his left lung like the hull of a sinking ship, if he wasn't careful he'd drown in it.

A groan sounded from his side and his heart leapt in relief. He knew that groan, he had it directed at him the last few years behind a large wooden desk cluttered with paperwork; Mustang. He had been fighting next to him when the bullets had torn through the air. The bastard hadn't been hit though, he remembered. He remembered shoving his shoulder with the automail port into that bastard's side and using the weight to knock them both to the ground.

Who would have known the idiot older bastard would have sounded so amazing right now. The jerk was alive.

He tried to say Mustang's name, but his lips were slippery with blood and fumbled on the 'M'. Stupid bastard with the stupid name. His breath rattled in his chest and blood splattered the floor a brilliant red in front of him.

Red had always been his favourite colour.

Woah, don't get distracted. You're supposed to be… doing something.

It was oddly beautiful though. Some of the claret droplets and spatters in front of him were already starting to dry around the edges, a deeper darker rusty brown, like the curling edges of a wilting rose. He could taste the metallic tang in his mouth. People said that blood tasted of copper, but he knew it was actually iron that gave that metallic taste. Iron. A good metal to work with, an excellent element for those spears he was so fond of transmuting. Shame he was spilling it out all over the place, he needed that back inside his body where it belonged.

Another groan and a shift of a leg. Ouch, it pulled at his chest. He snapped his eyes shut and tried to level out his juddering breaths.
Hey, wait a minute… that leg felt like it was under him… Was… was he lying on top of his superior officer? And… leaking blood on him? He cracked open a golden eye and surveyed the situation with a new feeling of annoyance and dread.

Yeah, he was lying haphazardly over Mustang's legs. His face was pressed against the dirt of the ground, fingers of his left hand splayed before him, but his torso and right arm were laying over the bastard's knees. Well, that was just great…

He may as well be dying in the bastard's arms or something. He'd never live this down. Well, no he probably wouldn't… live.

He tried to speak again; this time a piercing cough helped to clear away his airways, even though it felt like it was tearing his chest open and more warm blood dripping from his mouth was his reward. He wiped it away with a shaking flesh arm, not caring about the dark maroon streak it left on his blue uniform sleeve; no doubt the front of his uniform was beyond repair now anyway. Truth, he hoped he wasn't buried in this ridiculous outfit, just another dog of the military shot to death in some meaningless battle. No state funeral for him, he would hate it. Might defy his own belief and come back from the dead just to dig himself back up and wrap himself in his infamous red alchemic cloak...

Did that make any sense..? The world was growing fuzzy. Al would take care of it anyway. Alphonse…

A sudden shift beneath him. Oh yeah. Bastard.

This time Edward managed to speak. It was a haggard voice that greeted the air. Raspy, but urgent and somehow still strong. Ed was proud of himself.

"Mustang, don't freak out, okay?" He spluttered. "I need you… to have a level head."

"Ed?" came the confused reply. And then the bastard shifted his legs and sat up.

It was agony.

That was all Edward could think, his mind exploded into white and he distantly heard a sharp cry of pain. His chest, his chest. Ah shit, was that him, screaming. Ow ow ow. Shit. OW.

The world fizzled back into view. He panted, trying not to choke on the blood that now filled his mouth, spilling out over his lips and down his chin. Somehow Mustang was now above him. The bastard had moved, no wonder it hurt so much.

Through the dark splodges in his vision he could see two dark concerned eyes. No, concerned wasn't the word. Those eyes were frantic, desperate. Scared. He knew those eyes. He knew them better than he knew his own; they were the eyes of little Alphonse when he was gobbled up by the hands in the gate, Ed had seen them nearly every night in his dreams before they got his little brother's body back.

They were the eyes of someone who thought they would never see their brother again.

Hot blood was spilling from Edward's mouth but he talked anyway, the words hurried and soft, barely breathing, "B-bastard… sh-should have told you n-not to move. Thought I was doing… so well… heh, I'm such -" here, too large a breath left him reeling in pain, but he bit the last word out through bloodied teeth, "idiot…"

Hands were on his shoulders keeping him down. "Fullmetal, what the hell happened?"

"You must have hit your head… on the way down," Ed muttered, golden eyes closing and head lolling, "possible concussion."

"I meant what happened to you, you idiot! Woah, hey - don't you dare! Stay awake, Fullmetal. Fullmetal."

The name Fullmetal never sounded as weird to Edward as it did at that moment. He longed to roll the word around in his bloody mouth. Fullmetal, it echoed. Fullmetal. Sounded so urgent. Fullmetal. Fullmetal. Don't you dare die on me you little shrimp.




"Not… shrimpy." He managed.

There was a short breathy laugh of relief. "Yes you are, you're the shrimpiest subordinate I've ever had. Ed, the bullet, can you still feel it?"

The insult had lit a small fire in his veins and it was enough to keep him awake. He knew the tactic well, keep the wounded awake by keeping them emotional. Anger was a powerful chemical reaction in the brain, helped the flow of hormones… oxygen… brain states…

"… what?" he mumbled, confused.

He was sure he'd been asked a question but couldn't for the life of him remember what it was. His ears weren't working so well. The sound pounded inside his head. He was losing too much blood.

Mustang was already stripping off Edward's military jacket with firm precision. Mouth a grim slash and eyes burning. "The bullet, Ed. Did it go all the way through?"

"No." Edward bit out, wondering at those burning eyes in Mustang's face. Had they always been like that? "It's… still in there. Missed the heart. Pierced - my left - lung." It was difficult to speak with so little air. "Should be dead - in under an hour from… internal blood loss alone. Small body and all."

He must be dying, he just called himself small.

"Fullmetal, you're going to be just fine, you little whelp. Don't tell me you're going to die. The military medics are out here already. Havoc will be looking for us. Especially for us, if I know him."

"You asked f-for the diagnosis, bastard. I know my own body. Can't… can't get the bu-bullet out. Tell Alphonse…"

"No more talking Fullmetal, that's an order."

"Bastard… don't even want to hear my… last words?"

Mustang's eyes were dark and a storm raged within them. Ed found them fascinating. His own golden eyes were at half mast, dulled, but he kept them open just to keep an eye on Mustang. The older man had taken off his own jacket and was using it to staunch the bleeding. His face was smudged with the soot of the flames he had been wielding in the battle and a line of blood ran from his temple. He had hit his head when Ed had shoved him aside. It didn't look too serious. Head wounds always bled a lot. He would be fine.

Mustang was speaking, and for once Edward found himself straining to pay attention to the soft deep voice. "You took that bullet for me, Fullmetal." It wasn't a question. "What in the hell possessed you to make a decision like that. Do you have any idea how Alphonse would feel if you died here? You've only just got his body back. You don't get to make those kinds of decisions when you have people waiting for you."

"Didn't even think about it… Jerk." Ed gasped, lying back on the ground and noticing his own bloodied and ripped uniform jacket had been shoved there under his head as a makeshift pillow. The world was beginning to numb, and though the absence of pain was welcome he also knew that it was a bad sign. A very bad sign. "Going into shock." He felt the need to say. "Not surpr… suprising… really…" a small laugh gurgled in his throat, and Mustang's solid arm was suddenly around his back rolling him gently onto his side.

"Just focus on breathing okay, you little runt? Alphonse will kill me if you die on my watch."

Ed smiled. "Colonel…" he rasped.

"It's General, Ed, as you well know. Has been for a few years now. Which I might add, is a much higher ranked position than you are, and I already ordered you to be quiet. Don't make me court martial you." He pressed his balled up coat more firmly to Ed's chest, the sudden pressure made Ed's vision spark, and his ears pop and crackle. A tight agonising sound made its way through his clenched teeth.

"Shit, Ed, I'm sorry. You know I have to stop the bleeding. Just don't pass out on me. Fullmetal, don't you dare pass out."

His hair was sticking to his face, and he knew he must be sweaty and pale, signs of severe blood loss already evident. With two missing limbs he didn't have much to spare to begin with. Perhaps his earlier assessment of one hour was being much too hopeful, he probably had just minutes left.

His mouth tasted awful. Metallic and dry. Like flaking rust on the inside of a tin. He didn't have any breath left in him. The world was slowly fizzling out.

"Al." He managed, and found himself unable to say anything else. The world was dark.

"Fullmetal… Look at me you little shit! Open your eyes!"

But he was floating.

A strangled sob. Hands on his face. Desperate. "Ed… Don't you dare…"

But he had never been one to listen to orders.