Ed stomped down the street, lost in thought. It wasn't often that he had to walk around at a time like this. Stars up in the summer sky, street lamps flickering as he walked by. It wasn't really his fault that he had only just arrived... or maybe it was. Well, the train stopping was kind of his fault, but not really... In any case, when he'd showed up on Al's doorstep, smiling weakly and carrying his suitcase, the boy had given him an apologetic smile and politely denied him a bed. Apparently girlfriends were more important than brothers.
Well, there was also the fact that Ed had a completely acceptable bed elsewhere, that he shared with someone who was waiting for him. He kicked a rock and it skipped into the road. Yeah, he could go to Roy's house. It was what everyone expected, Roy included. Just... As much as he wanted to see Roy, as much as he'd missed the man throughout the past month, he didn't want to go back tonight. Not when he'd left without a word, not when he'd promised over the phone to be back... He glanced at the clock tower. Yeah, he was supposed to be home seven hours ago.
He kicked a larger rock this time. What good would it do to come home at this time? Roy would be asleep. And if he woke Roy up, who knew what kind of vengeance would be exacted. Maybe he was being pathetic, but he was certain Roy was pissed. It didn't help that his own sense of guilt was stabbing its way through his gut.
He stopped when he found Roy's door in front of his face. He took a deep breath. He shouldn't be worried. They fought all the time, and he was sorry. He swung the door open and muttered, "I'm home." He didn't want to wake Roy by being loud this late at night. He kicked off his boots and dropped his suitcase. He padded into the living room and plopped on the couch. He could sleep here; he didn't want to wake Roy.
His stomach growled, and he smiled wanly. Food sounded good. So he stood up, and was surprised to find the light was still on in the kitchen. In fact, it was even in use. Roy was sitting at the table, hair disheveled as his clothes, a steaming cup of coffee between his hands. He was still squinting a little from waking up. Ed faltered in the doorway, shoulders dropped, not sure what to say.
Roy blinked at him. "I made some coffee, but I guess you wouldn't want any. It would keep you short forever." He sipped his own coffee, and Ed gave up. He slumped into the chair opposite Roy, while the elder man passed over a plate of muffins and eggs. "Muffins are stale," he warned Ed, but the blond didn't care. He just devoured everything anyway.
"You're not mad?" Ed asked between bites.
Roy shrugged, watching the steam rise from his cup. "I was. For the first week." He yawned. "Then you called. I knew you were safe, understood why you didn't tell me, and I just had to wait." He drank his coffee and silence fell between them. And then, "As for you being late... I was pissed when you didn't show up at first. I went to the station to look for you, but there's not much either of us could do about the train stopping."
Ed rested his chin in his hand. "Yup. Once it's stopped, there's nothing you can do."
Roy's eyes turned hard on his lover. "Once it's stopped? What exactly does that mean?"
"Er..." Ed leaned back with his lips pursed, considering all the ways he could spill. His eyes landed on the dishes in the sink. Meticulously clean, except for the few dishes Roy had used to cook the eggs. He sighed, giving up. "I guess this means the station only told you that the train stopped. They didn't say that it, I dunno, broke down, or exploded, or got into some kind of accident..." He looked up at Roy, who had that stern look on his face, like if Ed lied he would find out and personally shave off all of his hair.
"No," Roy answered tersely, "They only said it had stopped."
Ed nodded slowly. "They probably have to report it to the government first..." He trailed off, looking up at the ceiling. He'd expected perfect whiteness, but he found several stains and yellow circles. When he looked back down, Roy still had that stern look. "Come on," Ed snapped, "You know how shit just happens around me. I can't help it." Roy raised his eyebrows and clasped his hands, waiting patiently, reminding Ed of what it used to be like to report to the man when he was a Colonel. Uncomfortable, Ed began, "Alright. I was on the train, coming back..."
Dying sunlight shone through the window, spilling across Ed's lap and the book lying there. Ed flipped through the page, not oblivious to but ignoring the noise from the other passengers. A child crying, a mother cooing, four teenage boys gambling with clothes, and a couple holding hands and talking quietly. Just from the noise, he would have never guessed that there was a man staring quietly out the window, but he had seen the man get on and thought nothing of his unusual suit and tie outfit. After all, they were on a train. Why dress up?
Nothing was out of the norm, figuratively quiet. Suddenly, the door opened to the car and two men in suits ran through. Ed looked up at the commotion, and saw the two men run through. They pulled out guns as they ran past, and flung open the door to the other end of the car. Ed shot to his feet, and ran into the aisle. All the noise from before turned into uncertain murmurs. Ed ran after the two who had run through the car, but stopped short as the man in the suit jumped in front of him, brandishing a pistol.
"Sit down," the man snarled.
Ed snarled right back without hesitation and side-stepped just before the trigger was pulled. Ed grabbed the assailant's wrist and elbow, twisting until the gun clattered to the floor. The man cried out, and Ed pushed him to the ground, holding the armbar. He looked up at the sound of approaching footsteps and was surprised to see a scared looking teen picking up the gun. Ed opened his mouth to tell him to leave it, but before he could, the teen closed his eyes and smacked the butt against the back of the assailant's head as hard as he could - several times.
Ed wasn't about to complain, so long as the man didn't die. He stood up, and the shaking teenager, eyes wide with fear, asked, "Are... are you, like... part of the military or something? Those guys have guns, so..."
Ed grinned. "I'm a State Alchemist. Don't worry." He clapped the kid on the back. "Don't kill anyone with that. I'm trusting you to protect your friends and that kid." He gestured to the child who was wailing now. The teen nodded, so Ed took that as a signal to leave, and bolted out the door of the car and into the next, ignoring the buffeting winds between the cars.
As he barreled through the door, he bumped into another man in a suit. A quick elbow to the neck of the bewildered and slightly unbalanced stranger sent him sprawling onto the ground. All the passengers stared at Ed as he picked up the gun and handed it to someone who looked trustworthy, saying, "Protect this car. Aim for the chest." He ran to the other end of the car, but an arm reached out and yanked him back. He almost punched whoever it was by reflex, but stopped himself just in time.
It was a woman. Her eyes were hard and determined. "Take me with you."
Ed turned around and ordered her, "Stay here, where it's safe." He jumped onto the next car-
"Wait. So you just handed out guns to random civilians?" Roy asked incredulously.
Ed frowned. "I wasn't going to wait for them to wake up with their guns still on 'em. Besides, they weren't random. They were people who looked like they could handle it."
"Like a gambling teenager?"
Ed glared. "A teenager who had the guts to knock a man unconscious. Are you going to let me tell you what happened, or wait for the report from the witnesses and train station, almighty Fuhrer?" Roy closed his mouth and leaned back. So far, it didn't seem Ed had done anything incredibly stupid. Ed rolled his eyes. "Anyway, I got to the last car before the engine room..."
The car was, not surprisingly, was filled with men in suits. Everything was dimly lit, sort of orangish. Before Ed could even process how many people were around, or that the passengers were missing, a man with grey hair snarled at him. "Move or the girl gets it!" Ed froze, eyes flickering around the room and assessing the situation. In the old man's arms was a woman who looked about ready to cry. A gun was pressed to her temple and her dress was rumpled up.
Ed glowered. "Why are you guys parading around with guns and pointing it at innocent people?"
The old man smiled, sweat forming on his brow. "I guess it couldn't hurt to tell you. We've got time, and you aren't going to be able to foil our plans regardless." Ed severely doubted that, but he kept his mouth shut as the old man passed the lady to one of the younger members of their suit-group. "When this train reaches Central station, the entire place is gunna blow. You know why?"
Ed raised both his eyebrows. "I believe that's what I'm waiting to hear."
The man's eyebrow twitched in irritation. "Because of faggots like you!" Ed almost jerked back in surprise at the insult that had never once been directed at him, but he managed to keep the surprise mostly in his expression and out of his body language. "I heard the Fuhrer's lover was on the train." He sneered. "Nothing better than a large explosion to scare the public. And the death of his lover's the icing on the cake."
Ed replied, "You could have made it a lot simpler and just said 'we're terrorists.'"
Roy interrupted with one hand raised. "Hold on a second. They were going to blow up the train when it got to Central station - probably because it's a busy place - and because you were on the train? Didn't they recognize you? Why didn't they just shoot you?"
Ed shrugged. "Hell if I know. That wasn't made clear."
Roy frowned. "So, naturally, you had to keep the train from reaching Central station." Ed smiled weakly, and Roy shook his head. "You're so fucking predictable. What did you do? Just rescue the damsel in distress and blow up the engine room?"
This time, it was Ed's turn to frown. "Damsel in distress? Hold on, just let me finish. I made fun of him for being long-winded, and he trained a gun on me..."
Ed stared down the barrel of the gun so recently pointed at the lady being held captive. He figured he had a few choices. Let the train blow up. Save everyone on the train. Or he could just jump out the window and save himself. Of course, to save everyone on the train, he'd have to get that girl somewhere safe, and then stop the train from getting to Central station. He glanced outside at the sunset and dying scenery. And he didn't have much time.
He raised both his hands in mock surrender. "Well, thank you, gentlemen for the explanation." Eight guys with guns, the girl, the engine room up ahead. Right. He clapped his hands together and smacked the ground, simultaneously managing to dodge a few poorly aimed shots. A wall sprang up between the girl and the man holding her, and she stumbled forward. In the confusion, Ed grabbed her hand and pulled her through the crowd, thankful that all the shots ringing around him weren't hitting anyone.
He barreled into the engine room with the girl, and slammed the door behind him. He let go of the girl and found two startled engineers asking questions and telling them to go back. Ed flashed his pocketwatch, silencing them both. "This the emergency brake?" He received a confused 'yes,' and he reached for it. The cocking of a gun stilled his hand.
"Step away from the emergency brake, fool." The woman's voice rang in Ed's ears and he closed his eyes.
"Ah. Not a damsel in distress then," Roy interjected.
Ed tossed his hands in the air. "Can I tell you what happened or what?"
"No, no, go ahead. Ignore any further comments from me."
"Gladly. So the bitch made me turn around..."
Ed glowered at the beautiful woman behind the barrel of the gun. "You're an idiot. Had to save the innocent princess, didn't you?" She smiled, so arrogant and frustrating that Ed almost punched her in the face. Instead, he stepped away from the brake like he'd been told, and closer to her. She narrowed her eyes. "Don't come any closer."
Ed held up his hands. "Hey, I was just trying to save you. Besides, if you don't want the train to stop, would you risk shooting a gun in the engine room?"
"What can I say? I'm a good shot." She gestured to the engineers, and Ed scooted over to them in the corner. "What about you, blondie?" she asked, smirking. "Even if you pull the emergency brake, we could always just kill you and start the engine again." Ed glanced out the window. So little time... They could arrive in as little as ten minutes.
"I'll just have to fuck up the engine, then, huh?" he asked with a wary grin. She narrowed her eyes and pointed the gun at his crotch. Out of patience, Ed stepped forward quickly, side-stepping the gun as she shot, and sent one hard uppercut with his automail hand into her jaw.
"You hit a girl?" Roy asked.
"Will you shut it?" Ed snapped. Roy apologized quietly and leaned back, clasping his hands and smirking a little. Ed huffed, crossing his arms. "That's about it, actually. She was knocked out. The engineers told me how I could fuck up the train, so I did. Train stopped. I went into the next car, and found the civilians and men in suits firing at each other. I put an end to that quickly and tied 'em up. I was late 'cause I had to report the incident to local officers and then walk back into Central. Did you know that ten minutes on a train is like six hours walking, especially if you're helping an elderly woman?"
Roy sighed and shook his head before standing up. "I'll get this sorted out in the morning." Ed stood as well, and was surprised when the elder suddenly embraced him, smelling him and holding him tight. "I'm just glad you're back safe."
Ed grunted. "Me too."
(Author's Note: Originally, I had Ed say, "like an hour walking," but then I did the math. If a train was going 100 miles per hour, and a person walked 3 miles per hour (I walk 1.5 mi/hr because I'm lazy), the person would have to walk for five and a half hours to match the same distance a train would reach in ten minutes. I don't really know how fast a train goes on average, so I assumed 100 mi/hr was okay, since I read somewhere that a train can reach up to 127 mi/hr.
On a separate note, if anyone has seen Baccano! recently, then perhaps you understand how I was inspired.
Also, I'm sorry I put action in my fluff collection. And then I put in an Author's Note, which is also unlike me. I will also apologize in advance for my next sentence, since I usually keep this thought to myself.