Okay than, here is the sequel to Guilt Can Kill! I was not expecting to write this, especially since I still have a final paper to do before Thursday, but once again I just sat down and it started to flow. This does have a pretty depressing air, but I promise it is worth it :) All mistakes are my own, enjoy it!
Warnings: Angst, Hurt/Comfort,WAFF, some good ol' much needed fluff at the end!
Disclaimer: I do not own FullMetal Alchemist or its characters; nor do I make profit from writing this. All rights go to the respected creators.
Stroking his fingers through the dirty-blonde hair before him, he pulled the smaller male closer to his chest.
"It's okay, just take a deep breath. It was only a nightmare." He whispered to try and calm the shaking body in his hold, but he knew the nightmare was only a repeat of a recent memory that seemed to haunt everything the young man did. The dry sobs tore at his chest, and he tried to soothe the petite male with loving words.
"It's alright, Ed. Just let it out." He murmured, pressing his face into the hair he had been stroking and holding him as close as possible. Ed clung to Roy's arms wrapped snuggly around his body. It had been almost 4 months since his return from the mission where he had lost his brother. He'd not been at work since, and everyone accepted his reason for staying away. Since the day Roy had found Ed with the gun to his head he'd moved him into his home; not sure he could truly leave the young man alone that long again.
"Roy…?" The soft yet rough sound of Ed calling out to him pulled him from his thoughts, and he lifted his face from his resting place on the top of Ed's head.
"Yeah? What is it?" He loosened his arms so Ed could turn in his arms as he tried to face him. Staring into those haunting honey-colored eyes reminded him everyday why he fought so hard for the younger man through everything; because all the affection mirrored at him made him desperately want to keep him safe.
"Thank you," the soft words reflected so much more than the comfort he was given in Roy's arms. Tightening his arms to bring Ed up closer to him, he leaned down and lightly covered his lips with a chaste kiss.
"You're more than welcome."
"How is he doing?" Roy didn't look up from his paper work, spending most days getting through all his duties quickly so he could return back home to make sure Ed had everything he needed.
"He is as well as he can be, I suppose." Was his only reply as he continued to skim papers and sign them.
"Colonel Mustang, if I may say something?" Hawkeye asked softly, keeping a steady gaze at the desk. Swiftly placing his signature at the bottom of the page, he sat it off to the side with the rest of finished papers. Taking his glasses off, he sat them down before looking up.
"I don't understand exactly why you're doing what you're doing, but I want you to know that I support you in it just like I always have. If you or Ed need anything, just let me know, alright?" Before Roy could think to reply, Hawkeye had left the office just as silently as she entered. A kind smile rose to his lips, and he placed his glasses back up on his nose before getting back to the papers before him.
Ed lay in bed still, just staring at the wooden floor where the sunlight that seeped in from the windows played patterns along the wood. Hours had passed since Roy had left him alone, the same routine questions he asked everyday playing through his thoughts.
"Will you be alright while I'm gone?" – "If you need anything, feel free to call me and I'll come straight home." – "Make sure to eat something, I'll fix dinner tonight." – "Try to get some rest if you're feeling tired."
It made me feel so warm yet so much of a burden that the older man worried over him constantly. This side to Roy that he'd never witnessed before was heartfelt, and meaningful; making him wish that it had always been this way between them. The tragedy of losing Al still made him feel empty and breathless but being with Roy made it bearable. Hearing the phone ring from downstairs made him lazily lift his head from the mattress and look towards the door. It could be Roy, but at the same time Roy never called the house in all the time Ed had spent there with him. Laying his head back down to watch the light patterns, he ignored the ringing in the background until everything grew fuzzy and seemed to fade to black.
Tucking his keys back into his pocket once he shut the door behind him, Roy hung his coat on top of all the others neatly on the rack in the corner. Sitting down on the small bench, he began to untie his shoes, and looked around. His thoughts still wondered around Ed as it had all day, wondering what the smaller male had done all day while he was gone. Placing his boots just as neatly as his jacket; he wandered up the stairs as he undid the top buttons of his shirt with one hand.
"Ed? Ed, are you awake?" Roy entered the room, smiling softly when he saw the ruffled bedspread and clothes messily scattered on the floor. The sound of the shower, and steam leaking from the door across the room made him smile. Picking the clothes up, he tossed them into the bin in the corner along with removing his own and doing the same. Entering the bathroom and making sure to shut the door behind him, he wasted no time stepping into the shower behind the petite blonde and wrapping his arms around him to draw him closer.
"How are you doing this evening?" He murmured against Ed's neck, just breathing him in. Ed leaned back into Roy, not answering his question but making a small noise that thankfully wasn't as distressed as most of them had been recently.
"Good. Did you know what you wanted for dinner?" Roy asked just as softly, reaching ahead and grasping the soapy cloth that had been tucked into a niche of the shower. He slowly drew the cloth along Ed's body, not making any more noise as he gently washed him. Ed stayed silent, leaning all of his weight into Roy. After he'd woken from his nap, his thoughts had once again drifted to Roy; that's where all of his thoughts seemed to go if they weren't on the loss of his brother. The man continued to do so much without asking a thing in return from Ed though he mentioned all the time, as if he knew how insecure about it Ed was, that he got plenty in turn from the younger man. He just couldn't see it. All he did anymore was take up space. Ed barely spoke, and when he did it was only to answer or ask questions and nothing more. How much longer would Roy put up with him if he didn't start doing things in return?
"I thought…maybe I could fix dinner tonight…"The soft spoken reply stopped Roy in his movements, his soapy covered palm resting right in the middle of Ed's stomach. Making a noise of consideration, he went back to moving his hands in soothing circles along Ed's skin.
"I suppose that would be fine, if you want too." Ed just nodded his head, turning his face slightly to kiss the corner of Roy's mouth and enjoyed the warmth and affection that Roy seemed to readily give whenever he needed.
"This is very good Ed, thank you for fixing dinner." Ed only nodded his head with small thanks, a small upturn of the corner of his mouth appearing in reply. It made Roy feel good just too even get that reaction. That's the closest to a smile he's seen the younger man do since that fatal day months ago. He felt that Ed offering to fix dinner was a sign that maybe he was starting to come out of the fog of his grief. Roy had become increasingly worried as the weeks wore by and not much changed.
"I have to go in early tomorrow to do a few things, but I'll be getting out early as well. I was hoping you might possibly come with me, if you were up for it." Ed froze with his fork headed to his mouth, sitting the silverware down as he stared at his plate in thought. He hadn't stepped foot into that building since he turned in his mission report; just thinking about that day made him feel nauseous.
"Ed? You don't have too, I was only…"
"No…" Ed bit out loud enough so Roy could hear him, reaching for his glass of water and taking a sip before clearing his throat.
"I can do that…if you like…" Roy just stared in awe at Ed, who still stared at his plate. He noticed the younger man's hand was fisted tight and reached over to place his own overtop of it; squeezing to let him know he was there in case he was lost in thought.
"It's not if I like it, Ed; I only asked 'cause I worry about you being stuck in this house all the time. I'm sure the sunlight misses you just as much." Roy tried teasing, anything to get some sort of reaction from Ed. He'd done this from time to time, hoping to see some spark to let him know that Ed truly wasn't just a shell.
"I…I can go," was all he said before opening his hand and lacing his fingers with Roy's across the table; picking his fork back up and continuing his meal. He never let go of Roy's hand throughout dinner, and Roy didn't feel the need to let go either.
"I am making it clear to all of you now. No one is to enter my office today. If you have a question, knock and ask through the door. If you have paperwork to give me, knock and wait until I retrieve it. Otherwise I will be leaving during your lunch hour, and you are to sit any and all paperwork on my desk. Any questions that you have at that point can be directed to Lieutenant Hawkeye. Understood?"
"Sir, yes sir!" The men answered in reply, sitting to their desks and getting back to work. They knew their Colonel well; and everyone knew of the tragedy that had swept over there favor comrade FullMetal. Hawkeye stepped up to Roy before he could go back into his office.
"He's in there, isn't he?" Staring straight into her eyes, he gave her a sharp nod before retreating back into his office.
"Do you need anything?" Roy asked as he walked towards his desk, glancing towards Ed who sat curled up on his normal couch; staring out the window.
"No thank you," he answered softly in reply. Roy nodded before sitting at his desk, going through most of the paperwork that was already stacked up; signing where needed and ripping others up when they held no importance. Throughout all of it he continued to glance up at Ed who just continued to stare out the window. It was good to see the younger man in a different setting for once, but he worried if maybe he had pushed too much. He had noticed that Ed was doing things when he asked or brought them up and he wanted the blonde to make the decision to do it for himself; not for him. Hours passed quickly; time easily passing by between him working and Ed's presence keeping him alert.
"Did I tell you…right after it all ended it started to rain?" The sudden sound in the room had him hone in on Ed, his eyes immediately locking onto him. He hadn't moved, and he still stared out the window.
"No, I don't believe you did." Roy answered calmly in reply, waiting to see if Ed would tell him anything else.
"It hasn't rained since." Roy took note in how Ed's voice seemed to drop; a sign he knew meant the other was holding back tears.
"I took his armor outside to let the rain wash it all away…It always rains when bad things happen…" Roy rose from his desk, moving over to stand beside the couch when he saw Ed start to shake slightly. He placed his hand gently on Ed's small shoulder, and just waited for him to continue.
"…It didn't rain the night I planned to shoot myself…does that mean it wasn't a bad idea after all…?" The break in his voice finally happened and Ed's body began to shake harder than before. Roy moved to sit beside him on the couch and pulled him against his frame; tucking Ed's face into his neck and leaving no space between them.
"Sir?" Roy turned to face Hawkeye as she came from inside the building to stop him before getting in the car where Ed was waiting.
"Not that it is my business, sir, but has he spoken to his family? The young girl Winry and his grandmotherly figure? I just happened to think about it when he was here today…I just thought…" Roy lifted his hand to stop her speaking, and nodded his head.
"I am not sure, I try not to ask too much of him. That is a good thought though, thank you." With a nod of his head, he turned away and headed for the car. He was internally cursing himself. Why he hadn't thought to ask that seemed to irritate him. Those were the only family that Ed had left, but he had been so caught up in taking care of Ed and making sure he lived that it hadn't crossed his mind. This was definitely something he needed to think of and bring up to Ed.
'The sooner, the better.'
Ed was curled up around his pillow, not moving. Roy was laid out behind him, once again sighing and trying to think of something to say. He'd waited a few hours after they'd gotten back before bringing the subject up with Ed, and now he realized how bad of an idea it had been. The look on Ed's face was enough to make him lose his breath; the despair, pain, and sorrow all so overwhelming he had fled upstairs. Once Roy had finally reached him, he hadn't left his side but Ed was still in the same position. Nothing he said could get the smaller male to reply or move.
"Ed, please…I wasn't trying to upset you. I had to ask, you have to understand. Everything you've told me since that day has only bordered on your thoughts and feelings…even things about how he died. Not once have you mentioned either of them." He reached out and stroked Ed's arm, ignoring the mild movement to try and remove him. Persisting, he tucked his arm around Ed and drew him flush up against his body.
"You are mourning and holding onto all of this pain by yourself. They loved Al just as much; don't you think they deserve to know?" Roy whispered, holding Ed tighter when he felt the familiar shaking taking over the small frame. The words that Ed whimpered out he had no answer too, only because he knew anything he said would be ignored.
"How do I explain to them that I let him die?"
6 and a half months. A little over half a year had passed, and if Roy were being honest with himself – which he tried to do as often as possible – Ed was doing a lot better than expected. The day he had brought up Ed's remaining family had been a hard one. Ed had not spoken to him for a whole week before the younger male had followed him into the shower one evening. Just thinking about it made him so proud.
Roy had his eyes closed and was gliding his fingers through his hair as the soap ran down his body into the drain. He'd heard the door open, but assumed that Ed had changed his mind for whatever he had needed since he'd not heard him since. Feeling the quick cool breeze behind him told him that he was wrong, and Ed was now in the shower with him. Right as he was about to turn and face the smaller man, he'd felt the lithe arms wrapped around his waist. Wiping the water from his eyes and taking a small step back to avoid getting more water in his face, he'd placed his hands upon the arms wrapped around him.
"I…I wanted to tell them. I want to tell them. I was afraid, and…I didn't want them to feel this way. Winry always had such a crush on A-Al…how can I tell her that he's gone?" Roy stayed silent and tightened his hands over Ed's arms that seemed to hug him tighter.
"I don't know where I would be if you didn't take the gun from me that day. I don't even like thinking about it, because I care for you so much it scares me. If you die too, I'll have no one…" Before Ed could continue, Roy easily turned in his hold and lifted the younger man's face to look at him. As always Ed's eyes seemed to suck him in.
"Ed, I can't promise you that I won't die. No one can. I can promise you that I'll never go down without a fight, and I'll always fight to come home to you. It's okay to be scared. Do you have any idea how scared I was when I saw you with that gun to your head…I don't know where I would be if I hadn't taken that gun from you that day." He admitted before leaning down and placing a chaste kiss on Ed's lips. The arms wrapping around his neck only made him pull Ed closer to his body. Tucking his face into Ed's neck, he breathed in his scent.
"I want to learn to live again, Roy. You told me that day that just because Al was gone didn't mean I was too; only a piece of me. Can you help me live without that piece?" Roy felt tears pricking at his own eyes and he tightened his hold on Ed.
"You know I will Ed, never doubt my will in what I would do for you."
It had taken time, and Ed still wasn't the same but he was better. He'd started coming to the office again, now sticking to a desk that was in Roy's own office and doing his work. He had started running during the week, a way to think and feel without the weight of everything suffocating him. He spoke more, but was still very mellow in all his actions. No one could say that they didn't miss the old FullMetal, but they were glad to know he was still here. Stacking all of his paperwork together as he thought on the past few months, he looked over to Ed who was writing out a few more things he needed to finish before they could leave. Roy had requested a few weeks time off for both of them, and they were headed to Resembool to finally tell the remaining of Ed's family of Al's passing. A small groan from across the room caught his attention, and Roy looked over to Ed in worry.
"Are you alright?"
"Yeah, just my arm again." The past week or so Ed's automail arm had been causing him pain. He said it was just like shortly before he'd gotten his auto mail; the ghost pains had come back. It wasn't normal, and something that caused Roy worry, another reason he was glad for them to be going so Ed could have himself checked out; not that the younger was looking forward to it. Hearing the chair slid over the carpet, Roy himself rose from his desk before grabbing his jacket. Ed was dressed in his normal leather pants and blank tank top; no longer wearing his red cloak since Al's passing. Making their way to the door together, they headed out to the car before heading back to the house. They would grab their bags by the door before heading to the station. Ed could only stare out the window as they pulled up to the station. The last time he'd been here was when he returned without Al…now he was leaving without him too. Taking a deep breath, the corner of his mouth uplifted slightly when Roy's hand settled in his own. The words weren't needed to express what his action did.
"I am here for you. We'll do this together."
Ed could feel the dread building in him with every step he took. From the moment he had come back to his birthplace, the pain seemed to beat heavily through his veins in reminder of why he was here. He promised himself when Al died that he wouldn't come back no matter what, but somehow Roy had changed everything about who he had become. Grasping the older man's hand in his own, he looked up to him. Roy looked over to Ed when he felt his eyes on him and gave him a questioning look.
"I don't want them to hate me…for taking so long…" Roy squeezed his hand lightly as they stayed in step; not rushing in their movement to get to their destination.
"They won't, Ed, I can promise. They'll hurt which will make them angry because it is easier to be angry than feel pain, but they will not hate you for something out of your control." Ed only leaned in to press his face to Roy's arm for a moment before pulling away.
"Thank you." Roy could only smile at him, the same smile he always gave Ed when he thanked him for anything.
Coming up to the hill that would lead down to Winry's home, Ed stopped still and pulled Roy to a stop with him. He waited patiently, keeping his hand cradled in Ed's for support. Taking a few deep breaths, Ed tried to school his features like he always did now-a-days when he was feeling unsure and conflicted. Every step he took, Roy matched him as they made their way closer and closer to his familiar second home. Knowing that no one would answer the door to an unexpected visit, he turned to lead Roy behind the house.
"Don't forget Ed, they're your family; they will love you no matter what." Roy assured him as he stood beside him; shock crossing his own facial appearance when he felt Ed's hand drop like a dead weight from his own. The man was older, only a few years younger than Ed but his features were unmistakable. Roy had seen enough pictures to know that the man standing before them was the supposedly dead Alphonse Elric.
"Ed?!" At the loud shout of a familiar name, Winry and Pinako rushed from the back door to stand in shock at both of the boys.
"A-Al…?" Ed croaked brokenly, taking a heavy step forward as the tears began to rush down his face.
"Al is that…that really you…?" The way Al's face began to match Ed's made Roy realize that Al was quickly realizing exactly what must have happened. Before anyone could speak, Al had run forward and wrapped himself around Ed; crying and clinging to him desperately. Ed held Al so tight it looked painful. Both boys were sobbing and clinging to one another, barely understood words being babbled in between it all. Roy looked up to the porch to see Winry in the same state as the younger men, but hugging herself and Pinako staring in pure affection at the two young men she had considered her own children. Roy easily moved forward when the sobbing slowed down, and it looked as if they both were breathing easier. He didn't pay too much attention to the quick, rapid-fire explanation between the two on what happened but from what he could gather Al suddenly woke up roughly a week ago nearby and immediately came to Winry. He didn't remember much of anything about the attack, or his death; he had believed that Ed had found a way to restore his body and would be on his way to find him just as soon as he could. Neither of them were sure exactly how it happened, but they made it clear they would be looking into it. The look on Ed's face had reminded Al of the same look he had seen his brother wear the day their mother died; that was how he knew something was wrong. Feeling the pressure against his side, Roy looked down at Ed who was snuggling into his side before tightening his arm around him. When he looked up, he saw Al smiling at them and knew that everything was now going to be ok. Leaning down to press a kiss into Ed's hair, Roy felt his chest grow warm when Ed flashed him the first real smile he'd seen in close to a year. Nuzzling his face down to press into Ed's neck, he smiled when he saw Ed blush and nuzzle close back into him.
"I'm thankful your guilt didn't kill you, and that Alphonse is alive; otherwise I wouldn't get to show you everyday how much I truly have fallen in love with you."
"I'm thankful he's alive too, and I'm just a thankful that you love me because I damn sure love you too."
THE END! :D I believe the ending totally makes up for all the sadness that has gone on. I really hope you all enjoyed it! -R.L.