Ed lay on his back on the old mattress, staring silently at the cracked motel ceiling. The room was quiet, its atmosphere heavy. In the bathroom he could hear the occasional drip of a leaky faucet.
He had not heard from Al in weeks. It was easy enough to throw himself into his work, one case after another. An exorcism here, a residual haunting there, a ghoul in one county and a werewolf in the next. A hunter's work was never done, after all.
Everything was changing. Ed could not tell if it was getting better or worse, but it was certainly different. He had not spoken to Roy in weeks either - for once, strangely, Roy had taken Al's side in their never-ending arguments and Ed was pissed at Roy, too. And now it was going on three weeks since he had heard from anybody. It was the longest stretch of time he'd gone without speaking to Roy in three years.
Winry had called him a few times. It had mostly been frivolities, details of case that were exchanged and no mention of the giant gaping elephant in the room, which was Ed's complete lack of communication with all the people that mattered in his life.
He ignored the phone calls from Bobby.
It was strangely freeing to be cut off from everyone like this. There were no expectations, no bickering, no disdainful looks or rolled eyes at one of Ed's many puns. On the other hand, it made everything infinitely more dangerous to be out on his own. The survival rate for hunters running solo was in the single digits.
It was almost as if there was this great, gaping hole in the center of his chest. He felt empty. He was going through the motions, but nothing seemed to really affect him. There had been no demons and no angels and no Al and no Roy and it was just Ed, his sidearm, and some nasty spirits that needed to be put down before they harmed anyone else.
The facuet kept dripping.
Maybe he should call Roy and apologize. Ed rolled up onto his side, propping his head in his hand and staring at his cell phone. In the recent months his favorite flip phone had gotten broken when a hell-hound tried to use it as a chew toy, and Ed was forced into an upgrade of one of these smart phones that Al adored and Ed despised. The display was bright in the dim light of the motel room.
Ed sighed and hit the button on the phone that dimmed the screen, and then sat up on the bed. It was not as if he had any research to be doing or leads to run down - he had stopped at this motel to sleep in an actual bed for a few nights because sleeping in the Impala gave him a crick in his neck and it had gotten really, really cold outside.
Even as he thought about the temperature he could not help but be reminded of a little over a month ago, the winter chill in the air and buried under the covers of the king-sized bed that dominated Roy's bedroom. Being surrounded by Roy's scent and warmth - it was his favorite place to be. Ed stared at the phone in his hands, and then glanced up at the clock on the wall. Then he hit the touch screen and began to meticulously type out a message on the clumsy touch screen keyboard.
The January air was bitter, it held a cold chill in it that even the several layers and heavy coat seemed to cut through. Roy grunted as he slogged through the heavy snow, hauling the large, awkward box as best he could. Bobby was a few feet ahead of him, shotgun in hand but not up, watching the sky instead of the ground in front of them.
Roy dropped the heavy box into the snow and exhaled, his breath a solid stream of steam. "Aren't we there *yet*?"
"'nother mile or two," Bobby grunted. He was watching the gray sky with concern. "We need t'git there before darkness falls."
"Easy for you to say, you're not dragging the box with the head in it," Roy muttered. He felt his cell phone buzz, tucked deep into the layers of his clothing, so he fished it out. Bobby stopped and glared at him, as Roy smiled unexpectedly at the three-word message.
"What is it?"
"Nothing," Roy said, exiting out of the text message. "Something I'll deal with later."
Bobby huffed in disapproval, rolling his eyes. "I swear, all you boys," he snorted. "Makin' out there to be drama where there ain't none." He watched with a critical eye as Roy hoisted the box again. "Let's git this over with."
"Aye aye," Roy said, full of new energy.
I miss you.
50 Themes Mashup: Prompt #01 - "Air"