And I fall…
Disclaimer - not mine, all characters belong to Hiromu Arakawa etc, Square Enix and funimition. I don’t make profit
Pairing - various combinations of Roy/Riza/Maes/Gracia, hints of Ed/Win
Rating - NC-17
to be safe
Warning: very angsty!!! ( which is nearly normal with my stories, but oh well, some day I´ll write a comedy … I swear! )
Summary - No matter how many people were saved, no matter how many wars were avoided, it still didn’t sound right in his head.
Author’s Note #1 -This is unbetaed so read on your own risk.
Author’s Note #2- lets just assume that Alphonse has his body back and that Hughes is alive ( cause I love him so much. Heh) Oh and of course Ed stayed in Amestris This is set a few months after the whole stuff with Bradley ( Maybe I´ll even write and finish the prequel to this. We'll see)
Osiusti, meditabitur, sapientiam, The mouth of justice mediates wisdom,
Et lingua eius, loquetur indicium. And his tongue shall speak judgement.
Beatus vir qui suffert tentationem, Blessed is the man who endures
Quoniam cum probatus fuerit, temptation, For, once he has been tried,
Accipient coronam vitae. He shall receive the crown of life.
Kyrie, ignis divine, eleison. Oh Lord, oh Holy Fire, have mercy!
O quam sancta, quam serena, Oh, how sacred, how serene,
Quam benigma, quam amoena, How benevolent, how lovely,
O castitatis lilium. Oh lily of chastity.
"Lillium" by Kayo Konishi
and Yukio Kondou.
"No its true, I really don’t get it." Edward Elric was shouting, not really caring if the whole of Amestris could hear him. "I don’t get how you can kiss him in the night and then give him to his murderers the next morning without even batting an eye."
But it was too late, the damage was already done. Winry saw how Riza at first wanted to respond something to this, but then didn’t and stormed out of the kitchen instead. She sighed. "Edward Elric, was this really…?"
"Don’t "Edward Elric" me. It's not like you would understand it either!" With that he ran off, in another direction than Riza, leaving Winry alone to her thoughts.
Closing her eyes for a second, Winry took a deep breath. Somehow he had been right. She really didn’t understand it either. She and Pinako had left Rizembool immediately after they got the message, just arriving the very second as the military had come to get Mustang. She remembered the incidents all too well, since they only happened a few hours ago, still bringing the tears to her eyes.
Colonel Mustang had been standing at the door when she and Pinako had arrived at the little gate the entry of the tiny front garden had, and only on second glance had Winry noticed Mustang´s bound hands and the uniformed men behind him. Obviously not noticing her, he had made a step forward, the men joining him as she heard a loud scream from behind.
"No you are not taking him. I won´t allow that."
Edward was outside now, standing in front of Mustang and the men, blocking their way. The men, obviously not amused, seemed already on the verge of drawing their weapons, but Mustang turned around and held up his hands.
"It´s okay. Give me a minute to deal with him."
A few grumbling murmurs followed but the guards seemed to be all right with it, so Mustang turned back, facing Edward. "Edward I…" He swallowed. "It´s okay. I deserve this."
Edward shook his head violently, taking the Colonel's arm. "No, nobody deserves this. Please, I...,"
"Edward, come with me." Winry hadn't even noticed when Pinako had stepped up from behind her, going to Ed and the Colonel, laying a hand on Ed´s shoulder to calm him.
"It's going to be all right, Ed - " Roy said once more and then Ed was led away by Pinako to the door where a red eyed Riza and Maes were already waiting for the boy. Both looked like they had cried, cried a lot actually, but now they radiated a calm that had made Winry shiver.
Winry remembered all too well the short glance Pinako had given Mustang, before leading Edward inside. There had been so much it in. Pain, anger, understanding, a tiny bit of admiration and forgiveness…
Why couldn't they…? Hell, she herself had lost a lot in this war as well, but Winry knew that more killing wouldn’t help anyone.
She had wanted to storm towards the colonel as he was led into the car just a few metres in front of her, but found she couldn’t move. He had only noticed her when he was already inside and gave her a short nod before the car had started, driving away into the morning. It was only then that she had felt the tears streaming down her cheeks.
It had taken Winry a few minutes until she had the courage to go into the house, afraid of what might greet her. Pinako was in the kitchen sipping a coffee, next to a sad Alphonse who was staring outside the window, not even noticing her, while Gracia and Elicia were sitting in the living room, crying silently. Riza and Maes were somewhere upstairs as she heard later and Ed had stormed off into the back garden, wanting to be alone.
It had took nearly an hour until anyone had spoke a word again and now everything had resulted in a huge quarrel once more, Ed, of course, being the catalyst. Nevertheless she still could understand him. Mustang was a friend, even to her now, despite their history together and she didn’t care if the new government thought that it was okay to give him to the Ishbalans. Winry didn’t really care that it would stablize relationships with a race they had been at war with for so long, she just wanted to live in peace and without fear, at least for a while. She knew Roy, Gracia, Maes and the others had come to this house here in East city to heal and get a little distance from all the happenings with the homunculi, but it seemed it just wasn’t to be. The people in this house had suffered so much already and it still wouldn’t stop.
It was like they were all cursed.
Shaking her head, Winry went into the living room, seeing Ed sitting on the bench in the garden, head on his knees. His red eyes told her he, as well, had been crying again, although he probably wouldn’t have admitted it, stubborn as he was. Just as she wanted to go outside she heard a knock at the front door, and turned around to get it.
Breda and Fury looked pretty shaken as well as they entered the house, nodding a welcome to her.
"Any news?" Winry asked but somehow didn’t really wanted to hear, afraid that they might tell her that he had been killed already.
"Yeah, we just come from Eastern headquarters. They said they arrived at New Ishbal safely." Fury spoke the last word like it was something he didn’t know the real meaning of and grimaced. "The execution is scheduled in 5 days."
Winry gasped. She hadn't thought it to be so quick. Taking a deep breath she lead the two military officers into the living room before getting the others.
So far, it hadn't been bad. A few Ishbalan guards had spit at him and one of them took a swing at his face, but Roy somehow had expected more violence. Hell, he had thought that after three days he would have been tortured half to death, wishing for the execution to come soon, but nothing like that had happened. So he was just waiting. Waiting for his death, which he nevertheless still dreaded. Not that Roy wanted to really die, but it wasn’t like he had a choice. New Ishbal had been close on declaring war again and if it took the sacrifice of him to prevent that and give the Ishbalans their much wanted revenge, so be it.
He was just glad that he managed to get Armstrong out of this. Luckily, the man had broken down back then and hadn't stayed the whole war. That had been a big help in settling Roy being the scapegoat. Somehow, all the other alchemists who had been in Ishbal had either fled or were dead or simply weren't important enough and so it left him, the Flame Alchemist.
A few steps and then a clang at the metal bars alerted him that someone was coming, but somehow he couldn’t find himself to care.
"Hey, your meal is here -" the man shouted.
Roy turned to look at his guard before slowly standing up from the cot. Reaching through the bars, he took the tray and returned to the cot, sitting down. Slowly taking the old slice of bread from the plate, he began to chew on it, not giving the other stuff on it a single glance. He had never been much of an eater anyway and now he was even less hungry. He only ate the bread to keep his stomach from gurgling and that was more then enough. Grabbing the cup next to the plate he took a long swig from it, nearly grimacing as he tasted what was in it.
Milk. Why the hell did they give him milk?
Roy shook his head and smiled as he remembered how he had handed a cup of milk to a very thirsty Edward one time. Although once Edward had tasted it, nearly all of it had ended up onto Roy´s shirt, but the little tantrum after it had been worth it. God, Edward was so easy sometimes. Staring at the half eaten bread and the half empty milk cup, he shook his head and set them down.
He had known the boy would take the news hard, but he hadn't thought it would be this difficult. Roy had tried to explain to Edward that it was for everyone's best. That he had no other choice but to comply since bringing up the whole Parliament of Amestris and the Ishbalans against them was nothing he or they could fight. And even if the Parliament would be with him, it would have meant another war.
"Do you really can handle being a human weapon in a war, Edward?" Roy had asked. "They can still make you do that since you are a State Alchemist, you know. You've got no choice."
Edward had just glared at him.
Shaking the thoughts away, Roy got up to put the tray next to the bars where it could be taken away when the guards would come back, but hesitated. The guard who had brought his meal was still there, watching him. Roy looked at him for a second, a bit puzzled, but set the tray down anyway, turning around to go to the cot again.
"You should eat."
Roy stopped in his tracks. The guard had been with him the whole three days now, while the others often changed, this guy and another one who had punched him in the face once, had always stayed the same.
"Why do you care? I'm going to die in two days anyway."
The guard tskd and then leaned against the wall in front of cell, eyes never leaving Roy. "Why are you here?"
What kind of question was that? Roy didn’t know what to say. Maybe because I have a death wish, he thought, but didn’t speak it aloud.
"From what I understand every other Alchemist who was in the war has vanished. You are the only who could be found and you even came willingly. Why?"
Roy took a deep breath. That was a question he would've never expected Staring at the guard, he contemplated simply not answering, but the man looked like he would wait until he got what he wanted.
"Maybe I think I ran enough." That was true. He, well all of them, had done so much running in their lives, be it from Homunculi, wars or other things, so they simply were tired and wanted to rest. Roy even more than Maes or Riza and the Elrics, he supposed.
But that was life, the running would never stop, unless he stopped it himself.
Roy found the guard still watching him but not saying anything. He eyed the bulky red eyed man for a second then wandered to the cot again, sitting down.
"So you have given up?" the guard inquired.
Roy shook his head.
"There is a difference between giving up and not running, you know?"
The man raised an eyebrow at him. "How so?"
"Giving up would be… Wait, what are you trying to do, anyway?"
"I don’t know. Getting to know you maybe?"
Roy raised his eyebrow. "Why would you want that?"
"I don’t know why. But somehow…" He stopped, getting up. " - Somehow I thought you'd be different."
Roy just eyed him for a second then choose to stare at the sandish brown wall of the cell instead, like he had done for hours in the last days.
"Somehow … I don’t know… somehow less human." Getting closer to the bars he, leaned against them, always keeping his eyes on Roy. "Listen, I lost my brother and his whole family the night of the big firestorm. I know so many people who lost everyone and everything they had. But somehow… I don’t know…" Not saying anything more, the guard left the cell doorway, finally leaving Roy alone. He closed his now teary eyes, taking a deep breath to calm himself.
He didn’t want to cry. Not now.
The last days had been hell. Everyone had stayed in the small house in East city, constantly tense about everything and there was nothing really to be done, Edward knew.
Nevertheless, Edward still wanted to free the colonel, no matter at what cost. Back when Hughes had faked his death in order to get more information about the homunculi, it had nearly destroyed his family. Gracia had told him how she had watched Elicia´s, Riza´s and the colonel bastard´s hearts break.. She herself had been broken as well, from acting the whole time and not being allowed to say anything, especially to Riza and Roy. Of course, Ed hadn't even known about their special relationship back then but now it was even worse. He knew that it would destroy them if the bastard died and, even though it still peeved him a bit to admit it, it would hurt him as well.
Edward wasn’t ready to let another one die, damn it. He had lost so many already. Nina. - his mother … and the others had been through so much as well.
What was even worse was the fact that they were literally helpless. The homunculi had been something they could at least try to fight but now…. knowing and still not being able to help ? It drove everyone nuts, including himself.
Wandering towards the kitchen, he watched as Winry threw the automail hand she had been working onto the floor, cursing loudly. Putting the automail magazine she had been reading aside, Pinako got up from her seat, and simply hugged her granddaughter without a word.
From upstairs he could hear Elicia crying. She, of course, didn’t really knew what was up, but everyone being so tense rubbed off on her, making her overly clingy and whiny. Gracia´s voice could be heard shushing her daughter, trying to calm Elicia but even from here Ed could hear that she was close to crying herself. A quick glance confirmed that Alphonse was still outside on the bench, staring into the sky and Edward sighed. Somehow he wanted to kill that bastard himself for bringing so much dread on them, but sadly that was out of his hands. Hell, there had to be a way out of this somehow.
Remembering he was still thirsty, Edward entered the kitchen, a bit surprised to find Riza sitting there, cleaning each and everyone of her weapons. She looked tense and somehow concentrated on the task, so he went over and got himself a drink without bothering her.
"Maes still not back from the headquarters?" Riza voice startled him a bit, but Edward quickly caught himself.
"No, but I think he must be back any minute." Getting a tiny bit closer, he watched as she started to clean her favourite gun and took a deep breath before continuing. "Listen I don’t… I mean, I ... I don’t think he should be doing this alone tomorrow. It’s the least we can do."
Riza didn’t even look up from her work. Edward was close to shaking her for ignoring him again as she answered awfully quietly. "Don’t worry, he won´t be. "
Edward nearly jumped. "What?"
Riza smiled. "He won't be alone I promise. You know, some time ago I made a promise and I'm intending to keep it."
That was when Edward understood. The cleaning, the weapons, Riza´s strange behaviour the last few days. No. "No you are not doing this. I wont let you - " Edward was close to screaming now, shaking all over. He would not watch Riza kill Mustang and then herself soon after. He knew about that promise she had given the bastard ages ago but Ed didn’t care if she thought that this were her damn duty.
" No, you won't do this. Listen to me,---" he shouted, trying to take the gun she was cleaning from her, making her turn to him.
"No, you listen to me. I won't let either one of you die, damn it. I…"
Riza just looked at him with the same calm face she had sported the last days since Mustang had been collected by the military men. God, Edward hated this face. It showed nothing but acceptance. How could anyone accept something like this?
"Some day you'll understand, I promise"
Utter bullshit. He never would understand this. Raising the fist he slammed it onto the table, causing some of the unloaded guns which were on it to clatter. Riza though still seemed to remain stoic and calm which unnerved him even more.
"Well, adults sometimes have to take hard decisions Edward. It's not like they enjoy them but some things cannot be changed." Edward hadn't even heard Hughes coming in since he had been screaming so loud and so he winced a bit at first at the voice from behind, closely followed by the urge to kick the man into the shin. Hell, had everyone gone crazy? How could he watch not only one but two of his lovers go into their deaths?
"Pfft, that's not an adult decision, that´s suicide." He hadn't heard Winry come close either and was a bit surprised at her harsh words, but she was right. This was suicide, nothing else.
Neither Hughes nor Riza said anything to that and Edward sighed. What could he do to stop Riza? He didn’t have the slightest idea. Maybe if he could make something that was bullet-proof and…
"Did you get the tickets Maes?"
"Yes, I have."
Maes? Since when had Pinako started to call him Maes? What was she doing here anyway. Well okay with him screaming he probably alerted everyone in the house since it was not too big. Whatever.
No wait, tickets? As if she had read his mind Pinako answered his question.
"We'll be going back to Rizembool with the first train in the morning, Ed. I think you and Al could need some time off as well, so you are coming with us."
Edward was utterly at loss now. "No." was all he could manage before he stormed out of the kitchen. What the hell were they thinking? At first, they didn’t even tell him about Mustang's decision until it was all over the newspapers and now they thought he'd play the good child and come with- ? Fuck them, he cursed under his breath, slowly making his way towards Al, who was still in the garden. He wouldn’t go with Auntie Pinako, no matter what, and he had the feeling Al wouldn’t, either.
Winry had been gaping at everyone in shock as Ed ran out of the kitchen, but soon regained her senses. "If you really think I would leave you are mistaken." She said resolutely, turning around to search for Ed. Maybe he had been right, they were out of their minds.
Making her way into the living room, she saw Edward sitting outside with Al, talking to him while gesturing wildly, a fact that made her sure he was still angry. Winry joined them in the garden and Edward turned around as he heard her.
"I'm not going either," she stated and Edward nodded.
"Yeah, that's what I thought." He waved her closer. "Listen… " he nearly whispered as she was close enough and looked around once more to make sure none of the adults were within hearing range. " Al and me decided we're going to get the Colonel out of there tonight. This craziness has been going long enough."
"Okay that’s a good idea, I'm coming with you."
"What? No that wasn’t what I meant… I…"
Winry crossed her arms in front of her, setting up her resolve face and Edward just sighed seeing this. Yes, he wasn’t the only one who could be damn stubborn. But maybe he still could make her stay…he just had to find a good argument.
A few hours of planning and giving lots of glares, but refusing to speak with the adults later, Edward had given up trying to make Winry stay. He had considered locking her into the bedroom, but she said she would scream as loud as she could and then follow them anyway, not caring what she had to do for it. So he just let her be and told her to stay back if they came into a fight and she had nodded and promised him that.
At around seven Winry decided to go and pack all the stuff they would need. It wouldn’t be much they were taking anyway, just some chalk in case Al needed it, money for the tickets and such and maybe a weapon or two, just in case. Not that she would tell the boys, but she felt she needed to make sure she could defend herself somehow. Making her way towards the stairs, she passed Riza and Maes, who were sitting or rather cuddling on the couch now. Maes held Riza in his arms, mumbling something soothing to her, both seemingly lost in their world for a while. Seeing Riza´s sad expression, -- Winry wanted to go and hug her, but knew better to let them have their privacy, since it was kinda obvious she was saying goodbye.
She shuddered at the thoughts and cursed the woman's stubbornness, watching them for a second, but then shook her head. Focus Winry, she told herself and walked upstairs, where she went into the boy's room and started searching.
As she was ready, she grabbed the tiny duffel bag, took a long breath and looked around. There was no sign of Gracia, thank god, so she probably had gone to sleep as well. Thankful that she still could hear Riza and Maes mumbling downstairs, Winry went to get the last thing she needed.
Tiptoeing into the room which had been Riza´s and Roy´s for the last few months after the whole thing with the homunculi, she stopped for a second, glancing around.
It still seemed so normal, as if nothing had changed. There on the chair next to her was Roy´s uniform jacket. His side of the bed hadn't been made and the book he had been reading just a few days ago still occupied the night stand, waiting to be concluded. Winry swallowed and shook herself, trying to regain her senses. There wasn’t time for this now, she knew that.
Walking over to the night stand she opened the drawer and started searching. There, between socks and a few condoms (which she gladly ignored, thank you very much) was at least one of the items she was looking for. Taking the white glove into her hands, she was quite surprised by the roughness of it. Imaging that this thing could kill… no this was not the time now.
Just as she went to look for the second one, she heard steps in the hallway. Jumping up, Winry closed the drawer in the process. Turning around, she managed to hide the glove just in time to see Gracia enter the room.
"You shouldn't go." The woman said quietly, walking closer to Winry. "I know I can not stop Edward and Alphonse, but you. You really shouldn’t go."
Winry couldn’t bring herself to look Gracia into the eyes as she answered.
"I … I can't do this anymore."
"I can't stay and just wait. I'm tired of waiting, always hoping everything will go all right…"
Gracia nodded. "I know. I sometimes feel the same, but..." she swallowed "But with Elicia, I can not… although I wish sometimes…. It´s so hard to let them go." She backed away a few steps, wiping away the single tear which made its way down her cheek, then turned around again. "I wish I could just take you all and settle down on a lonely island or something. Somewhere where it's just us, where all this hurting will stop." Winry nodded, unable to answer while fighting tears on her own.
"Do you know that they chose Maes as a representative? They make him go there tomorrow to watch how they kill his best friend. He has to pretend it's all right with him, cause it is the best for the country. And Riza… " Gracia broke down sobbing and Winry rushed to take her into her arms, unable to hold back her own tears. They stood there for a while, just holding each other until both of them had calmed down a bit.
Reaching into her cardigan pocket the older woman produced the very thing Winry had been searching for, gently placing it into Winry´s hands. "Promise me you'll be careful."
Winry nodded. "I will."
After slowly climbing out the window, Ed made sure that Winry didn’t fall and then helped Alphonse outside. Running towards the train station, they knew they had to be fast since the last train for New Ishbal would soon leave, but they were lucky and made it just in time to buy the tickets and get on the train.
"Okay, now we just need a seat." Edward said and walked into the first car. "It shouldn’t take too long anyway, New Ishbal is just an hour away so maybe… Damn is everyone going there tonight ?" He cursed under his breath and already wanted to enter the next car as Alphonse held him back.
"No wait. Look."
Edward gasped. There, a few booths in front of them was Riza Hawkeye, staring out of window, clutching a small bag to her lap. Edward could already guess it contained her favourite weapon and it took all his strength to not run over to her and shake her. Turning around he closed his eyes for a second, then went back the way they had come from. "I just wish she hadn't come,." he stated quietly as they searched for a seat in one of the other cars. The others nodded, thinking the same.
They found a seat two cars further down and hardly spoke during the whole train ride. After about three hours New Ishbal was announced and Winry got up first, looking pretty determined.
"Okay, let's do this. But first we need to make sure Riza doesn’t see us."
They waited until Hawkeye had stepped off the train and was heading in the other direction, then jumped off themselves, hiding behind some big boxes of goods, while discussing their plan.
"Okay, according to the map the prison is right at the center of the town, near the market place where the execution is to take place." Edward swallowed. "It’s about a mile in this direction." He pointed to where Hawkeye had left a few minutes ago. "We can't miss it. We just have to go straight on."
Roy hadn't even realized someone had come into the room until the metal of the door of the cell had creaked. Warily he turned around, seeing the bulky guard which had hit him in the face come in, cuffs in hand. It wouldn’t be long now anyway and Roy asked himself what they could want from him.
Maybe they wanted to talk to him one last time or he'd get one last wish? Hell, he didn’t even know what he would wish for. Maybe one last night with his beautiful lovers?
No, that was impossible.
Cursing himself for thinking of them again, he got up from the cot and faced the guard, who stood in front of him now.
"Hands," the man demanded and Roy obeyed, letting the man cuff him as he had done many times before.
These last hours had been the hardest. He hadn't even managed to eat or drink something and the time was wearing on him. It had been dark already for some time now, so it was just the night and then tomorrow at noon he would see his end.
It wasn’t that long anymore. Really.
The man nudged him to move and Roy wanted to make his way towards the cell door as he was pushed left instead, hitting the wall. One quick move of the man and his hands were raised up and then it dawned Roy what he wanted. He didn’t even put in the tinniest fight as he was chained to the wall, arms in the air, leaving him completely helpless. Roy doubted that the man wanted to talk but he didn’t care. It would probably hurt like hell whatever the man was going to do but at least the time would fly faster. At least that was what he hoped. Waiting made him nuts.
And well, maybe he would be killed here in the cell instead? It wasn’t like he really did care anymore.
Waiting for the first blow he was surprised when the man left. Probably to get some tools to torture me, he thought and then nearly laughed. It seemed like insanity was slowly sneaking up on him already. Speaking about sneaking up, Roy cursed himself and Bradley again for having the eye patch. The way he was chained to the wall now, he couldn’t really see his tormentor until he was close to him. That way it would be much harder to prepare.
It wasn’t long before the guard came back and when he came into sight Roy immediately noticed he was carrying a whip. As much as he had mentally prepared himself for the first blow, it still hurt like hell. The man had ripped open his shirt but not bothered to remove it and Roy turned to his side as much as possible to avoid getting hit in the stomach or the face. Soon, he stopped counting the blows and hurt so much he hardly could hold himself onto his feet. Nevertheless he hadn't even screamed once and while the man was silent as well the only sound which could be heard in the cell was the whip lashing through the air.
Slashing sound again.
Roy wondered how long he could stay conscious anymore, as the pain began wearing on him, making his legs tremble.
Another slash and this time, the pain exploded on his left thigh, tearing through the remnants left of his pants. Well if the guy continued like this, Roy soon wouldn’t be wearing anything anyway.
He prepared for the pain, waiting for the impact as he suddenly heard a voice-
Whirling around, he saw Edward Elric standing in front of the cell, looking determined to clap if necessary. Not far behind, he could see the Alphonse looking as determined as his brother and he sighed. Damn kids, why had they come? Did they really want to risk a new war?
The guard just laughed.
"So some tiny kids is all you could get for your rescue?" Preparing to swing the whip again, Roy heard Edward growl but the guard laughed even more.
"I'm not a kid"
Roy was surprised how calm Edward sounded. He had expected another of the usual tantrums, but he was mistaken.
Well, maybe he is growing up, he thought, then shook his head inwardly. No, coming here like that was not smart, so no real growing up, at least for now. It was too bad he couldn’t see the man Edward would be, Roy sighed for a second, but then focused on the situation again. He needed to get the kids out of here, preferably unharmed, but knowing Edward…
"Step away from him or you'll regret it." That was Alphonse and his voice made even Roy shiver. What the hell?
Nevertheless the guard didn’t seem to be impressed and now closed in on him, delivering a hard kick onto his stomach. Roy heard his ribs break, hoping the kids didn’t as well, as he tried desperately to stay onto his feet, barely able to breathe. Another kick was delivered and he was afraid that Edward might hurt himself as…
"He said stop it, can't you listen?"
No it couldn’t be, could it? They didn't bring her, did they? It was too dangerous and…
Roy had to strain to see Winry, who had stepped up from behind the boys but the cocking of a gun made him hold his breath. He swore he heard Alphonse and Edward gasp as Winry stepped into the light, now looking at him directly for a second, while aiming for the guard.
"Drop the whip and back away. One false move and I´ll shoot you. That's a promise."
The guard did as he was told, raising his hands and Roy managed to get out of his stupor.
"Winry, stop it. What the hell are you doing?" He shifted, trying to get closer to her but the chains made it impossible. Wincing as he felt the cuts and the pain in his stomach once again come to life with any movement, he looked over to Edward for help. "Why the hell did you come here? Didn’t I tell you to leave it? Edward, what the hell happened to you that you let Winry carry a weapon?" This was even crazier as he had feared. Focus, Roy focus, he told himself cursing his wobbly legs.
Edward just smirked and shook his head. "Its not like she listens and you know that."
Yeah, Roy knew, although he could see in the boy's eyes that he was surprised and annoyed about the weapon as well, though probably thought it was better to not alert the guard to the fact that she had never used a gun before. Grabbing the whip from the floor, he walked over to the guard and transmuted it into a rope, binding the man's hands in the process.
"You settle down in the corner and shut it. Believe me, she can shoot pretty good," Surprisingly, the guard did as he was told and Edward was on his way over to free Roy as they heard another noise from the doorway.
"Hands up and step away from the prisoner!"
Guards rushed into the cell and only seconds later they were surrounded. Roy could see that Edward was just about to clap as…
"Don’t you dare Edward Elric. Winry, drop the gun instantly."
Roy closed his eyes at this voice, one he thought he'd never hear again.
Riza was frantic as she entered the cell, wishing that’s she wasn’t too late and Edward had done something dumb. It had taken longer than she thought. Convincing the guards that she wasn’t here to attack them and that there might be three kids trying to free Roy had taken a few minutes.
Nearly gasping in horror as she saw Edward standing next to a hurt Roy and, even worse, Winry clearly holding one of her guns she could have sworn she had locked into the drawer in Amestris, she steadied herself, afraid of giving her fear away.
God, why had the kids come? She knew it would happen but she still had hoped she could have prevented it.
After Winry had stormed off it had been silent in the kitchen for quite a while. Riza had started to clean her weapons again, while Pinako had started to cook although she probably knew that hardly anything would be eaten. Maes had just sat there, deep in thought, before he finally had spoken again.
"You know they are going to try to follow you, Riza?"
Riza sighed and let her hand sink away from the gun for a few seconds.
"Yes. But what can we do? Do you want to lock them up? You know Edward, I doubt that's going to help."
Pinako raised an eyebrow. "I doubt Alphonse would let you lock him up. I think the only thing which could stop Edward is when we would take his arm. And if we cuff Alphonse…"
Riza had looked up from her work and Maes had looked a bit shocked as well, but Pinako had just nodded. "Yeah, just what I thought, I don’t have the guts to do that either. And I doubt that we could do it unless we attack them while they are sleeping."
They had talked then, but it all had lead to the same thing. They had no idea how to stop the boys and decided it was better if they would watch them. Also no one wanted to strip them of the right to be with Roy when it happened. Although they might do something dumb it wasn’t fair to take away the chance to see their friend and be there for him one last time.
What they hadn't counted on was Winry going with them.
"Don’t you dare, Edward Elric. Winry, drop the gun instantly." Good, that at least had come out steady. Edward stared at her like he had seen a ghost but Winry dropped her arm immediately, turning towards her. Taking her pistol back into her possession, Riza motioned the guards over to the still bound man sitting in the corner before addressing Edward again. "Edward what the hell are you doing? We have been over this." She said still calm, but now the was an underlying growl in her voice somehow, as if she was trying hard not to shout.
"But…" Ed started, nodding towards Roy again.
"No Edward, please just go with her. Don’t make it worse then it already is." That came from Roy and Riza winced, fighting the urge to run over to him. Meanwhile three guards had taken Winry and Alphonse into their hold, resulting in Edward being the only being able to do anything anymore.
"Ha, like you get any say in that, bastard. I can do what I like!"
Edward clapped and the chains went off Roy`s hands. Not expecting the sudden release Roy´s knees buckled and found himself on the floor. He hissed as his knees cracked on the stone but turned towards Riza, standing next to Edward now.
"Edward…" Riza sighed and wanted to continue but didn’t get very far.
The bindings on Roy´s guard were servered and he immediately wanted to storm over to Edward and Roy to get his revenge, but was halted by the other guards. "I should have killed that bastard directly,." he spat and Riza nearly went back into "protect Roy" mode, but stopped herself at the last second to make sure that Edward didn’t jump him instead.
"Stop it already, -" one of the guards bellowed and Riza identified him as Preston, the head guard she had spoken to as she arrived at the prison. "You know you had no right to lay a hand on him. The Elders ordered that our prisoners should remain unharmed."
The guy struggled again. "Pfft what do I care, the guy is a monster. He should suffer the worst way possible before he dies and if the Elders are afraid to do this… "
Edward growled at him, while Winry shot him a death glare, but the guy didn’t get any further cause Preston had already waved him off and two others escorted him out of the room. "I'm sorry Ma'am. but I have to take you and the kids into custody until tomorrow, -" Preston said. Riza nodded, handing him her weapons, Edward of course wasn’t as easily conteained.
"To hell with that Hawkeye, let's take the bastard and get the hell out of here! Look what they've done to him."
Riza grimaced for a second but then her face showed the well schooled mask again. Letting out a long sigh she tried to get through to Edward a second time. "Edward, look around you. There are at least ten guards here and they all carry guns. Outside, there are even more. And Winry is here as well, do you want to risk her life? And even if you get out of here, do you really want to be responsible for what's going to follow?" She grabbed his hands, although she knew she probably wouldn’t be able to stop him from clapping. Then much quieter so that only he could hear Riza said." I'm sorry, but there isn't another way and you know that. You know that I wish it would be different as well."
Edward eyed her for a moment - then scoffed and shook her hands off. Walking over to the guards who had Winry and Alphonse in their grasp he growled. "Let them go." When they didn’t move he looked at Preston. " I promise we wont run."
Preston nodded and Winry and Alphonse were free again, but still guarded by the men.
"You are the real monsters here." Edward told Preston and the stunned guards in a cold, hard voice and stormed out of the room, Al and Winry following immediately with some of the guards behind them. Riza sighed and looked at Roy, who still knelt on the floor.
"Go after them!" He motioned with his eyes and Riza nodded, already stepping forward.
Roy took a long deep breath as he watched the kids and the guards wander out of the room. Riza turned for one last time, giving him a long look, before leaving the room as well and he could have sworn he saw her eyes shine with an unshed tear, but he decided he didn’t care. There was no way he could do anything against it anyway.
Now it was only him and the main guard in the cell once more.
"You have quite some kids there." The guard said and offered a hand to help him up, which Roy decided to take after a short hesitation. "Your son especially."
Grimacing at the pain he felt in his knees and the rest of his body as he got up, Roy chuckled. "He's not my son. Just..." he contemplated for a second. "A subordinate" Maybe I can make myself believe that, he thought. And if we all can believe it, everything would hurt much less. He wouldn’t have admitted it to anyone, but seeing the kids and Riza had hurt him more than he thought it would. He had military training for gods sake. It should have helped him with these things, shouldn’t it?
Settling Roy down onto the cot Preston raised an eyebrow at him.
"Oh I'm sorry. Thinking about your age though, you are a bit young for such big kids, I should have known that. Nevertheless he really seems to like you."
Inwardly rolling his eyes, Roy decided it was better to say nothing to this and grimaced as Preston started to check out his wounds. "That's not necessary." He grumbled at the guard and started to scoot away but Preston seemed insistent.
"Listen, I'm sorry that this happened. We normally don’t…"
"I said that's not necessary!" Roy stated once again, this time in his commando voice and Preston dropped his hand and slowly got up.
"Okay, okay, I wont touch you."
"I don’t get why you care. I'm going to die in less than a day anyway." Settling down at the corner of the cot he leaned against the wall, bringing his knees to his chest. He hissed as they came in contact with his stomach, but stayed like this anyway. Looking at the guard who was still standing in front of him, watching, he took a deep breath, cursing silently as it hurt quite a bit. "Can you please leave? I think I just want to sleep for a bit."
Preston nodded and looked at him like he was about to say anything but then shook his head and left the cell.
Relieved Roy let his head sink onto his knees.
Just a few hours, he told himself. Just a few hours and it would end.
Alphonse was trying to calm himself down. Next to him was his brother, sitting beside Riza, still grumbling, while Riza appeared more or less calm. Winry sat across them and the guards, who were supposed to be watching them, were just talking amongst themselves, not really caring anymore, since he and Ed had been bound. The guards had been smart, securing their hands together with a piece of wood in between so that there was no possibility to clap. Not that he really wanted to flee cause he feared that only would it make it worse but… Al still felt uneasy.
He couldn't help but think if they would be punished. What was the punishment for trying to free a prisoner here? Would they die like Mustang? Or just go to prison?
However he didn’t regret his actions one bit. He still believed what they were doing to Mustang was unfair, but he also wouldn’t want to risk a new war. Ed and Winry thought the same, he knew that, and it hurt that there still was no way out of this.
Closing his eyes he tried to think and ignore the seemingly impending heat of the night. In the background he could hear Ed and Riza talking quietly now and struggled to block them out. He needed to focus. Which became of course impossible as soon as his brother decided to pick this moment of all times to throw one of his tantrums again.
"Who are you telling me not come to here?" He was screaming at Riza,, who grimaced and just shook her head in warning. "You are no better then them. You just can't wait to get Roy´s blood onto yourself."
Slash, that must have hurt. Alphonse cringed and already wanted to apologise for Edward (as well as smack him), but Riza to his surprise remained completely calm. Hell, he could see that even Winry wished for a wrench that moment, desperately searching the room for something she could throw at Edward…
"If its any consolation for you Edward, I gave all my weapons to the guards. Now sit down and stop making such a ruckus." Riza said and extended her hand at him, wanting him to sit down again. Neither she nor Winry had been bound, Riza seeming reasonable to guards anyway and telling them Winry didn’t pose a threat.
Edward stared at her, still fuming, but then surprisingly complied. "You are not lying?" he then asked, trying to get her to look at him, but was stopped as the head guard, Preston, Riza had told them his name was, entered.
He had been away for a while, probably reporting to the Elders, which were the leaders of the Isbalans, Al thought.
"What's all the noise here?" Preston asked, settling down onto the chair. Wiping a bit of sweat off his forehead, he removed his uniform jacket and hung it over the chair, not really caring as it made a metal clinging noise when it came in contact with the wood.
Riza just shook her head at Edward again, rolling her eyes. "Nothing. The kid is just fuming a bit and…"
This sent Edward into his fit again" I'm not a kid! Damnit!" he shouted at the top of his lungs, growling.
Alphonse suppressed the urge to moan and put his hands over his ears ( or well, at least one ear- cause he was still bound) as they suddenly heard someone calling from outside. A few seconds later there was banging on the door and a guard ran and got it.
As soon as it was open, two panicked men entered, screaming:
"Fire… Fire. The woods are burning."
Winry could do nothing but gasp and stare at the reddish yellow glow of fire which nearly seemed to have engulfed one side of the town. She remembered vaguely from the map that New Ishbal had been built next to some hills with a deep forest on top of them, but only now she realised what it meant.
Everyone had run up the roof as the men came in, to estimate the impending damage and it had been worse than they had imagined. The fire was closing in pretty quickly and it was evident that the town would probably be lost soon unless they did something pretty quick. Although even that didn’t guarantee that it could be saved, even Winry could see that.
Preston was already bellowing orders again, sending most of the guards out to fight the fire directly, while a few others got the task of waking the Elders and the rest of the town to start evacuation.
"Okay and you three escort them somewhere safe. I believe the caves are a good place to set up an emergency office. I will come there myself once I met up with our general."
The three guards already wanted to lead Winry and the others away but Riza stopped them. "Excuse me sir, but I´d rather help and I'm sure the kids as well." she inquired and Edward nodded.
"Yeah. We'll help. And I think you can use as much help as you can get."
Preston looked torn at first, but then nodded. He seemed to know that they hadn't much of a chance anyway. "Okay, but I have to talk to the Elders first. Follow me."
Edward rolled his eyes at this "You what? You want to talk while the whole town burns down? Listen if you let us help you, we maybe still have a chance to save this city. So stop being…." This went on and on with an occasional more quiet remark by Alphonse and even Hawkeye, while everyone followed Preston down the stairs.
While the guards and everyone else seemed to be pretty busy angsting and calming the fuming Ed down, Winry couldn’t help but grin. Sometimes Ed's temper could be a good thing.
This was one of these times.
Letting herself fall back more and more until she walked last, she stopped altogether when they reached the hallway to the entrance on ground level. Ducking into a corner she hoped that with a little luck they would walk on and not miss her.
She held her breath and waited until she heard the click of the big front door, then started to run upstairs immediately. It didn’t take long until she found the room she was searching for.
There, Winry thanked the heavens and whatever forces there were in the universe as she saw the uniform jacket still resting on the chair. A quick look into the pocket confirmed the key was still in there, and grabbing it, she made her way towards Roy´s cell. Swallowing hard she tried to ignore the smell of burning wood which began to drift in from the windows and focused on her task instead. The noise outside had branded up now and she could hear people screaming and fleeing. They were trying to get somewhere safe and she was sure no one paid a mind to the war prisoner who was supposed to die anyway. They would probably just let him here to burn when they would give up the town and she wouldn’t have this.
The cell wasn’t that far from the room of the guards, probably since it was one of the high security ones in the prison and so she only had to walk down the long corridor to get there. Half way she only absently registered the guy who had attacked them and Roy in one of the other cells but paid him no mind.
She had to get to Roy first. Then she would see about him.
Entering the pre-room to Roy´s prison, she found the man in question huddled in the corner, head on his knees.
"Roy?" She asked gently and opened the cell door but he didn’t react. "Roy?" She tried again and only when she was standing right before him did he raise his head to look at her, only to let it fall back down again.
"Roy, we have to get out of here!" grabbing his left wrist she tried to hoist him up, but with no avail.
"Go away." he said simply.
"Roy Mustang." She was screaming now. "Get the hell up, the town is burning and we have to get the hell out of here!"
This seemed to do it, he looked at her, shocked. "What?"
"The woods are burning, we just found out. Can't you hear the noise outside? Everyone is getting out of here! Come on?" She tried again.
Roy was still perplexed "What happened?"
Winry shook her head. "I have no idea, but from the looks of it is bad. They are trying to fight but I doubt its going to work. Listen, there's no way I'm leaving you behind."
She grabbed his hand again but he pushed her away, making Winry wish she had brought a wrench to beat some sense into him.
"Why are you doing this anyway?" He inquired then. "Have you ever thought what your parents would think about what you are doing?"
It took Winry everything to not simply kick him in the shin after this. He is hurt, she told herself and has been expecting death for a week now, he is being irrational and probably has no idea what he is saying. Nevertheless it left her furious.
"Yeah, I know what they would do. They would kick my ass for leaving one of my family behind. Listen Roy, the parents excuse is not going to work on me and you know that. We have been past that for a while now. Hell you saved me countless times and I nearly got you killed, so what?"
Roy said nothing to that and instead choose to stare at some point at the wall in front of him, making Winry sigh once more. "Okay now you can come with me or I knock you out and drag you out of here, your choice."
A bit of more incoherent grumbling, which Winry assumed probably had been a muttered curse, but then Roy got up onto his feet. "Okay, okay you win. But I wont run."
Nodding at him she offered him an arm, which he gratefully declined.
"I figured as much."
They left the cell without another word and Winry inwardly shook her head at Roy who wouldn’t accept any help, although he clearly was in pain. Half way down the corridor they heard someone shout after them.
"Ah, should have known that your are running. The fire probably was your doing, right?"
Winry cursed herself for forgetting about the man. Looking at Roy she urged him to go on and ignore him but of course that didn’t work.
"Roy, leave him. I´ll get you somewhere safe and then come back for him, but I doubt it’s a good idea to let him out."
But instead of him, Roy ignored her and went over to the man, only now realising who it was. "Give me the key:" He ordered her but Winry shook her head.
As if on cue the guy just went into a screaming fit, telling them he was going to kill Roy as soon as he could get his hands on him, and Winry shrugged. "See?" She said with her eyes.
But Roy didn’t care, grabbing the key from her hands he tried the two ones on the chain, but to no avail. They just weren't right.
"Where are the other keys?"
Winry shrugged. "I have no idea, I just knew Preston had yours, but his… I think one of the other guards might have them."
Rolling his eyes, Roy started to scan the room for something to draw an array with, but came back with nothing. Then…
"Listen, I'm going to get you out of here, but you have to stay back from the cell door okay?" He inquired at the man, who just growled at him.
"And no killing him, right? He is actually trying to help you." Winry intervened but the man said nothing to this. She sighed and instead started to watch Roy, because she had no idea what he had in mind to get the man out, but then cringed as she realized what it was.
Using his own blood of the wounds the man had given him, Roy managed to draw an array after some time and soon the door was open.
"Okay, get out. And don’t worry I wont run, I promise." Roy said and turned around to go.
The man said nothing at first but then followed. "I´ll watch you. You wont have a chance to flee." He bellowed but neither Winry no Roy reacted to this.
Once they were outside both Roy and the man stopped in shock. They couldn’t see all the hills from where they were, but judging from the glow erupting at the west side of the city they knew it was bad. Roy was the first who found his words back.
"Shit, when you said it was bad, I didn’t think that bad.."
Winry shook her head and wanted to say something but was interrupted by Roy, who suddenly started running. "Come on, let's see if we can do something." With that he dashed off, clutching his chest in pain, leaving Winry to roll her eyes.
It took them about ten minutes and several stops for Roy to catch his breath before they reached the hills. They met lots of fleeing people and even a few soldiers but they seemed to pay Roy no mind and Winry was thankful of that. Staring down the street, which curved its way parallel to the woods, they could see some of the Ishbalan troops trying to fight the fire with water, but from the looks of it wasn’t having a big effect.
Roy walked over to the nearest tree, broke down a branch and started to draw an array into the soil beneath it.
"What the hell are you doing?" The Ishbalan man with them demanded and Roy shot him a look.
"What does it look like? I'm trying to help."
The man growled. "You'll be doing none of your stuff or I´ll kill you directly. I shouldn’t have let you out anyway."
"Leave him be, he is really trying to help, which is nothing I can say from you." Winry barked back and she watched as Roy activated the array producing a shot of flames which engulfed two trees and left nothing but ashes.
"Wow, thats a good idea." Winry declared, but Roy shook his head.
"Well yeah, if it could it make bigger maybe yes, but without my gloves I don’t have as much control where the flames might go. I want to burn them down directly not start another fire." Roy sighed and Winry couldn’t help but grin.
"If its only that, that can be helped." She told him and started to search her duffel bag for the gloves. Only seconds later she found them and dangled them in front of Roy´s now wide eyed face which immediately turned into one huge smile the first time since all the trouble had started.
"Winry Rockbell you are awesome." Roy exclaimed and gave her a short hug, before putting on the gloves. While he walked over to the tree line to start a bigger aisle, Winry was having a rough time holding the man back, who was close to jump Roy now.
"Bastard, I said you wont use any of your stuff. You wont be burning down this town again." He screamed and this time Winry gave in to her urge and kicked him in the shin. The man growled in pain, but he struggled less, giving Winry some time to breath.
"Listen to me, you idiot." She grumbled. "Can't you see that he is only burning the trees cause he wants to take away the nutriment of the other fire? If there is only ashes left for it to consume it will go out on its own. Gosh have you paid any attention in school at all?"
The man was interrupted before he could say anything.
"Hey bastard, need my help?" Ed yelled and Roy turned around and came over to the group which had appeared behind Winry. Preston looked a bit indifferent at seeing Roy free and roaming about but didn’t say anything to this, while the other three smiled at him.
"Listen, I'm just trying to help and I wont run. " Roy stated, watching Preston, who nodded to his surprise. Deep concern and slight panic was radiating of the Ishbalan man in waves and Roy could see he had no real idea what to do anyway.
"Okay I believe you. But how do you want to help?"
"By making aisles and therefore taking away the nutriments of the fire. Edward, Al maybe you can help me? With my gloves and concentration I have a range of about 5 metres but if you can make walls I could cover a much bigger are at once."
Edward and Al nodded. "Of course we can."
"Riza, maybe you help the troops with the water? If…" Roy then asked but Edward shook his head.
"That's not going to lead anywhere, the river doesn’t have much water at the moment. It wont be enough to extinguish the fire. We tried alchemizing some water out of the air but that took too long and wasn’t very successful."
"Well and it kinda scared the people." Alphonse added, mouth grim.
Roy nodded. "Hm I see. Have you guys thought about wetting the buildings first? If the water isn't enough we should make sure we make the most out of it."
Preston nodded. "I think you are right. I should go and tell them."
"Okay, Riza you go and help them. Winry, maybe you as well?" Roy inquired and Winry nodded. It was strange. Roy took command again, without having the right or himself even noticing it but the others followed anyway. It seemed natural.
"How long is this forest line near the city anyway?" He asked just as Preston was about to start running and the man stopped.
"A lil bit over an kilometre, why?"
Roy scrunched his face. " Fifteen meters… argh its going to take ages. Anyway, boys we have to be quick."
With that the three walked over to the edge of the forest and after a quick instruction everyone started to work. Alphonse clapped and parted an area from the rest of the forest making a huge wall, while Roy snapped igniting the trees and a second later Edward had alchemized a wall that shielded this area from the street. Lees than a minute later the area was in ashes and they already had moved on to the next.
"Okay, I think the widest I can manage is about 20 metres, otherwise I wont be reaching far back enough." Roy stated and Ed looked at him with an raised eyebrow.
"Okay, but don’t overdo it." Alphonse answered, looking concerned at the injured man in the torn remnants of the uniform. He knew Roy all too well by now and of course Roy tried to calm him.
"I wont, don’t worry. You make sure you are okay yourself, will you?" Sighing, Al nodded and with that they went back to work, everyone hoping they would be fast enough.
Meanwhile Winry and the rest had watched them for a minute but then started to run towards the soldiers at the other end of the long street.
There was no to time to be lost.
Edward Elric felt like he was going to burn right up. He had no idea how Mustang did it, being this close to the heat, hell, even producing more of it, without collapsing. Although one closer look confirmed that he seemed to be swaying slightly, Edward noted, but choose to ignore it for now since they had no other choice. Nevertheless the Colonel hadn't even complained the slightest yet, the face concentrated, like he had put on a mask and Ed worried a bit about the other man. He sure would smack the damn bastard for all this when all this was over, he told himself and worked on with clenched teeth.
What pissed Edward off the most though, was the Ishbalan man behind them. They had been fighting the fire at least for 15 minutes now and the guy still remained close to Mustang watching his every step. What else did they have to do to make him believe that Roy was only helping?
Ed fought his urge to smack him, knowing it would only cost him time they didn’t have, but as they moved one area further he shot him a death glare. Hell couldn’t this guy help at least a tiny bit?
Hearing somebody honk from afar he saw Hawkeye sitting behind the wheel of what seemed to be something like a makeshift fire truck. Winry was standing in the back, wetting the houses with a hose together with some Ishbalan soldiers. Far behind he could see a second truck and a few soldiers trying with something which might have been buckets, but he couldn’t really tell since they were too far away.
"Ed stop dreaming, will ya?" Mustang got him out of his thoughts again and Ed nodded and got back to work.
They worked on.
Clap. Snap. Clap.
Clap. Snap Clap
The routine seemed endless, draining them like nothing Ed could remember before, but nevertheless he kept going on. Mustang was breathing heavily now and Al seemed to be exhausted as well, though still managed a tiny smile as Ed glanced at him for a second.
Looking at both of them he wanted to call a break, but seeing that they weren't even halfway done stopped him from doing that. They went on for what could have been another half an hour as it suddenly happened.
Edward heard a curse coming from Alphonse of all people and only a second later the younger Elric sank down to his knees and hit the ground.
Both Ed and Roy immediately stopped what they where doing and ran over to Al, who was already slowly gaining consciousness again.
"Al are you all right?" Edward asked nervously but was glad when his brother nodded.
"I think so. It probably was a little bit much, damn this silly body." His brother grumbled and Ed shook his head. " Just give me a few minutes and I`ll be back up again." Ed clenched his teeth and just wanted to say something to this as…
"No you wont." Mustang said in his serious voice not listening to Al's complaints. "We should have known that this would be coming. After all you got your body back only a few months ago and still don’t have the normal strength."
Al looked a bit like he was pouting as Mustang continued. "Listen Al, I think its great you want to help but I wont have you risking your life doing that.. You go and rest."
"Come on Al, you know he is right." Ed tried, somehow glad that it had been Mustang who brought it up. Sometimes even the bastard was right. But only sometimes.
He wanted to say more but Al complied already. "Yeah, its okay."
At this moment they heard a screech of tires and Hawkeye and Winry appeared next to them, Preston and another soldier on their heels.
"Is everything all right?"
"Al, are you okay?"
Managing a tiny smile Al nodded." Yeah, it was just a bit much I think."
While Winry gave him a worried hug and Hawkeye helped him up Preston walked over to Roy.
"Will the boy be all right? Tomas alerted us and your friend drove like hell." Preston explained and Roy couldn’t hide a tiny smile for a second.
"Yeah, he will be. Its just that ever since he came ba…" Ed raised an eyebrow and wanted to say something but luckily Roy managed a turnaround at once. "I mean, he has problems with weak lungs but the doctors say it can be cured. He should rest now."
"Good." Preston seemed relieved and satisfied with that version and Roy took a deep breath, cursing himself slightly for his nearly slip.
"Wait who is Tomas?" Edward inquired and Roy couldn’t help being curious as well. Preston just pointed at the man standing next to the fire truck and they noticed it was the Ishbalan guy who had been Roy´s shadow all the time. While Ed couldn’t help and stare at him for a second, Roy just nodded at him shortly. Since the fire came dangerously close now Roy got up again, preparing to continue. They had done a little bit more than half the road, but that still left a big territory for the fire to attack.
"Ed we have to go on. Riza maybe you can get him to a doctor?" He said and Riza nodded, before looking at Preston.
"There's been an emergency hospital set up in the caves south of town. Just follow this street and it will get you there. Lt. Rick, I think its best if you show her." He instructed the guy next to him and the soldier nodded.
A few moments later Riza left, half-carrying Alphonse, the soldier walking beside her.
While Preston took Riza´s place in the truck, Tomas jumped onto it as well, helping Winry and the two soldiers which were left with the fire hose and the pump. Another honk and they were off to the house where they left off, leaving Ed and Roy alone.
Roy was already snapping again as he turned towards Ed, looking at him seriously.
"You'll say if it gets too much, will you?"
Pfft what was the guy thinking?
A growl from the older man. "Ed?"
Yeah, yeah. Edward rolled his eyes at him for emphasis. "Look who's talking!"
They continued to go on in silence.
Roy watched for another time how the fire first shot around the trees, then fully engulfed them. A clap beside him could be heard and only a millisecond later Edward had built the wall to shield them and the town from the heat.
Wearily he stumbled further, ignoring the pain in his stomach and the fact that the troops behind him were already trying to fight the first burning houses, which probably had been ignited by a flying spark. The heat was nearly unbearable now, with the fire so close, and made it even harder to breath. Nevertheless they still had nearly one third to go and time was running out.
Preparing himself for his next snap he halted as he suddenly heard a scream from behind. It was one of the Ishbalan soldiers who was screaming, quite shaken by something which he had seen.
"Oh my god. There's someone in the house."
One quick look at Edward and they found themselves running towards the direction from where the screaming had come. About five soldiers were standing in front of a burning house, staring up at a window. One was even pointing at it.
"There's a girl in there. I just saw her, but now she's gone. God, we have to get her out of there." The soldier rambled and Roy nodded, eyeing the house in the process. Having seen quite a few burning houses in his life he knew that this house was doomed. The fire already was consuming the ground level, slowly licking at the upper one, while a spark now ignited the roof covered by dry branches. It took only a second and it burned like hell.
"There's no way anyone can go in there. The whole roof and facade are burning already." Another soldier intercepted and the others started mumbling among themselves, probably agreeing to what he had said.
"Yeah it would be suicide." Ed concurred "Are you sure she is still alive..I mean... but maybe we could…" He didn’t get any further cause as if she had heard him, a silhouette of a little girl could be seen through the smoke and flames. Seeing the men outside the little girl started waving.
"Help me. Help, I cant get out." She screamed and a few men gasped as a beam loosened itself and fell down onto the street, nearly hitting some of them in the process. Probably scared, the girl had jumped back as well and couldn’t be seen anymore.
"We cant help her anymore." A soldier said and Roy simply shook his head and ignored the coward. Of course it was risky but he refused to give up such a young life so easily. And well, it wasn’t as if he had anything to loose, even if he died trying, so that probably makes it easier for me, he thought.
"Don’t worry, I´ll get you out. Just keep making noise." Roy then shouted as loud as he could and hoped the little girl had heard him. He was lucky cause only a second later there was a loud wail and without thinking he ran towards the fire.
"Ed, you continue with the fire back there, I´ll be right back!"
Not really noticing how Ed huffed at this, he could hear Riza calling out somewhere behind him. She must have come back from the hospital just at this minute.
"Roy be careful." He nodded, not sure if she could actually see him doing this and ran off into the heat.
Inside the house the temperature seemed to be even worse than he had expected. The fire already was in every room and he had to dodge a few sparks and crackling flames before he made it to the stairs. Seeing that they were already starting to burn as well he jumped twice, but made it upstairs safely.
Once there he started to worry. He couldn’t hear the little girl anymore. Calling out he tried open the door to the room he thought her to be in and nearly burned himself on the door handle. He cursed, then stepped a few steps back before throwing himself against the door, opening it.
"Hello?" He called into the smoke filled room, not really able to see anything through his good eye due to all the smoke. "Where are you? I'm here to help."
What followed was only as small whimper but it was incidentally enough for him to find the girl, who was crouched in a corner, trying to hide herself from the flames. She couldn’t be much older then five and cradling a big teddy bear she looked at him with fear filled eyes. He smiled and hoped that he didn’t look too scary with the eye patch and all.
"Its okay. I'm here now. It'll be all right." He assured her and she nodded, scrambling into his open arms. Not wanting to wait any longer now, Roy dashed through the door and made his way to the stairs as fast as he could. Eyeing the half burning stairs only for a second he decided he had no other chance anyway and simply ran down, trying to ignore the heat at his feet. He was lucky and made it without really burning himself and silently thanked the amestrian army for supplying such strong shoes and good trousers.
A loud crumbling noise drew his attention then and he winced as he saw how more beams from the roof collapsed down right where the entrance had been. Another groaning noise and part of the ceiling gave way, finally trapping them inside the house completely. Even the two windows of the room were no option, being blocked by burning stuff as well. Roy cursed and then looked at the girl, who was watching what was happening with scared eyes.
"Is there a backdoor somewhere?" He asked and thank god the little girl nodded.
"Yes, its just through the hallway and through the kitchen."
"Okay then we go there. Just keep holding onto me and duck your head, we'll be out here soon." He more said to himself and started to run through the little hallway, dodging the burning furniture in the process as good as this was possible. Only seconds later he had made it to the kitchen and saw the exit he was searching for. Running towards the door he tried to open it, but nothing happened.
The damn thing was locked!
Shit. A quick thought and then he struggled to muster all his remaining strength to kick it in, but to his despair the hardwood wouldn’t budge.
The girl had begun to cry now and Roy tried to calm her, making shushing noises while searching for another way out.
"Ssssh. Its going to be all right. Just another minute" he whispered and looked around.
The windows? Too small.
Going back to another room? A quick look to the hallway confirmed that wasn’t a good idea, the way the fire was ravening there now.
Maybe he could draw an array and…
No, he didn’t have anything to draw it with, but…
He didn’t get much further cause after a groaning noise from above more beams came falling down and he rarely managed to get the girl out of the way before he got hit by one beam on the head. He was lucky, at least he didn’t get knocked out but it still hurt like hell. Wincing at the pain just above his blind eye and several other body parts, he tried to get up but halted as he heard someone call from outside.
"Rooooy? You all right in there?"
"Yes, just hit my head, but we are okay. The door is locked and I cant seem to kick it in. Maybe you can help me?"
He could nearly imagine the stern look of determination on her face now.
"Sure thing. Stay back from the door." She ordered and he was glad to oblige. Taking the little girl in his arms once more and making sure that she was covered behind some furniture, he called out for Riza to start and they heard how three shots were fired at the door.
"They lock is gone!" Riza confirmed and Roy got up, the girl still in his arms.
"You hold onto me, okay? We are going to get out of here now!" He told the girl and then he started running again, jumping over the now burning remnants of the furniture in the process. At the door he used his left foot to kick the door open and they made it outside, stumbling onto the ground.
It only took seconds until he was surrounded by the soldiers, Ed and Riza, and a few meters behind them he could see Winry and that Tomas guy running towards them.
"Roy are you two okay?" Riza was the first to find her voice and Roy smiled at her reassuringly.
"Yes, I am. Don’t worry."
Riza nodded although her mouth was grim and he knew she was probably not very convinced.
"Are you all right?" he asked the little girl and she nodded.
"Yes, though my throat hurts a bit" She managed but then coughed making Roy a bit worried.
"I think she needs to be taken to the hospital.".
"You could use a doctor as well, Bastard" Ed added but Roy waved off.
"Its just a head wound. Looks worse than it is. She… " He looked at the little girl " What's your name little one?"
"Well Ann here is more important. I'm okay, the bleeding will stop on its own I'm sure."
He could see Winry didn’t really approve of his decision. Looking around she seemed to search for help from Riza and Ed, but they seemed to be arguing about something in hushed tones now, completely lost in their world.
However that suddenly changed and he could see how Edward was shouting at Riza in one of his biggest temper tantrums he had ever seen.
"What the hell were you thinking?" The boy screamed. "You told me you didn't have anymore of these." Pointing at the gun he snarled at her. "You are a liar, nothing more."
Snatching the gun from her with strangely small resistance by Riza, Roy watched as Ed transmuted the gun into a piece of metal and then threw it into the fire. "Liar!" Ed snapped once again before turning around, not sparing her a real glance anymore. Somehow Roy didn’t dare to ask what that had been about.
"Are you really okay?" Winry was looking at him from the side and he nodded.
"Yes, the head probably looks worse then it feels." Pressing the tissue a soldier had given him to his head wound to stop the bleeding he nodded at Riza and Ed, before looking at Winry again. "Do I want to know?"
Winry laughed and shook her head. "Trust me you don’t." Then, albeit a bit more quieter, she added. "Although she kinda deserved it."
Roy laughed silently and looked at the still stunned Riza for one more time, before getting up to fight the fire in the woods again. "Maybe you'll tell me later. Anyway I have some work to do."
Winry's face grimaced. "Okay I´ll take her to the hospital. But you stop if it gets too hard." She then added and Roy nodded.
Winry just huffed at him and shook her head before taking Ann into her arms.
"Wait let me help you. You cant carry her the whole way." Tomas who had been watching them the whole time declared and Winry nodded, passing the girl to him.
"Just be careful, okay?" She whispered at Roy and then she was gone.
Roy watched for a second as Tomas and Winry walked off towards the caves, then moved over to Edward and threw the tissue away, not caring that the wound still was bleeding a bit. His stomach felt way worse anyway and since he didn’t even felt the slightest bit dizzy anymore, he didn’t care and decided to rule out he had a concussion or something like that. And even if… the fire was still there anyway and he was needed.
"Okay, lets go on." He told Edward and the boy nodded after giving him a stern look and followed him towards the fire.
It took them about 15 Minutes to reach the caves. Tomas carried Ann directly to the small emergency hospital, which had been set up left to the entrance and Winry followed a few steps after him. Arriving there she noticed Alphonse sleeping peacefully on a cot and smiled, before walking towards the doctor who was already checking on Ann.
"What happened?" The dark-haired amestrian woman was asking and Tomas was filling her in.
"She got trapped in a burning house and got hit by parts of the ceiling. She has been coughing quite a bit but apart from this, there only seem to be a few scratches."
The doc nodded and wanted to say something but was interrupted as another woman, this time an Ishbalan, stormed towards them. "Oh my god, Ann. Oh god are you all right?" Hugging the little girl she looked at the doc and then at Winry. "Will she be all right?"
"Are you the mother?" The Doctor inquired and the woman nodded. "Good. You don’t have to worry, from what I can see now there might be an easy case of smoke poisoning and a few scratches, but nothing major. Your daughter was very lucky."
"You are really right about that." An Ishbalan man, who had appeared behind the mother now, added and Ann stretched her little arms towards him.
"I'm sorry Daddy." She whispered but the man shook his head and took her into his arms.
"Its okay hun, but promise me to never ever run away again, okay?"
The girl nodded. "I just wanted to get my bear." Grabbing the now dirty stuffed animal she hugged it once again and smiled.
"Yes I know but that's nothing worth to risk your life over." Giving his daughter back to his wife he looked at Tomas. "I have no idea how to thank you sir, I owe you my life. If something had happened to my little girl…"
But Tomas shook his head already. "It wasn’t me who got her out. I just brought her here." He answered, leaving the other man surprised.
"The flame guy."
The eyes of the other man widened. "Why would they let that monster out? He shouldn’t be allowed near children…" He rambled but Winry´s death glare made him stop.
"Yeah that's a nice way to thank someone who just saved your daughter." She spat and turned around to walk away before she said anything more she was going to regret. Well at least the girl was with her family again, that was all what counted, she thought and wandered around the caves a bit.
Suddenly her eyes fell upon 5 old men who seemed to be wearing special suits and who were heavily guarded. The Elders she assumed, and Winry was just about to make her way towards them as a hand on her shoulder stopped her.
Turning around she looked into the face of Tomas, who looked like he was really sorry.
"I am, I shouldn’t have expected anything else. Excuse me, but I have something to do." With that she ignored the man and walked up the Elders, which were sitting in a corner, talking to someone who looked like a military man of some sorts.
"I have to speak to you. " She inquired at one of the men who had watched her approaching but was halted by one of the guards around them.
"I'm sorry Miss, but the Elders don’t have time for that yet. Maybe you can inquire a meeting next week?"
Winry shook her head. "No, there's no time for that. Listen I …"
She tried but the grey-haired guy who had been watching her was nodding already.
"Its okay Smith, let her through."
Immediately the guard complied and Winry stepped forward towards the 5 men, who seem to be watching her all now since the military man had left.
"Thank for listening to me. I appreciate it." She started and the man nodded.
"So, you aren't from Ishbal, are you? You must be one of the kids who came here tonight." One of the guys said and Winry bit her lip.
"Yes, I am. My name is Winry Rockbell and I want to speak to you in regards to Roy Mustang."
The men looked grim at her admittance, but nevertheless let her continue. Taking a deep breath she spoke as calmly as she could manage. " I want you to rethink your decision to execute him."
Some of the men started to talk amongst themselves while another one huffed. "There is nothing to rethink about this. This man is a murderer who finally gets his well deserved punishment."
"Yeah, that’s what makes it easy, doesn’t it? Take a scapegoat and kill him and everything seems to be all right again, right?" She answered in a serious and calm voice which surprised her as well. " But let's be honest, you yourself know that it wont work like this. This death isn't gong to make a relations between Amestris and Ishbal easier. Its just for show."
The men were angry now and hardly able to contain themselves, she could see it in their faces. "What gives you the right to talk like this?" One shouted at her. " Have you ever seen what he is capable of? Have you ever been in a war? If yes you wouldn’t talk like this, little girl."
It was the little girl which ticked Winry off completely. At this moment she guessed she had an idea why Ed hated to be called small.
"Actually I have. Its no surprise you don't know, but Roy Mustang is the murderer of my parents." She yelled. " So I actually have quite a good idea what he is capable of. But I have also seen how he cared for my friends when no one else did, how he made sure that we didn’t get killed and how he freed the country of Bradley… and hell, he probably saved this town tonight. But all you can care about is your show of revenge."
"He brought this on himself. Actions like these will trigger punishment. Its only fair." The guy, who had looked at her when she came to them, replied and Winry threw her hands up in the air, now nearly at loss.
"God it was war. It was kill or be killed. Had he refused he probably would have been executed. Can you… tell me, were you different? Did you kill in the war or are your hands free of blood?" She demanded, now staring the guy directly in the face.
"You have no right to talk to the Elders like that." One of the guards bellowed, grabbing her from behind to lead her away. The Elders seemed at loss for words though, but Winry continued her yelling, now beyond furious.
"You say that its only fair. Bullshit. No matter what, you should know that there is no equivalent exchange for a life or even for a thousand lives lost.. There never will be anything like that. What you are doing…" fighting the guard off she managed to turn around at the Elders one last time before he tore her away. " Its just nothing but murder."
Stomping onto the guard's foot she got the man's hands off her and was free again. As she stormed off Winry couldn’t hold back the tears which made their way down her cheeks. She wanted to scream and throw all the wrenches she had at those men, but she knew it wouldn’t lead to anything.
Hell, couldn’t they see that killing someone, no matter how much hatred was there only added to the pain? Roy´s death wouldn’t solve anything and it certainly wouldn’t induce any peace. Running outside in front of the cave she sat down on a small rock and tried to clear her head again and stop crying.
After some time she managed to choke back her sobs and was startled by a hand on her shoulder. It was the doctor she met earlier, and regarding her with a worried expression, the woman sat down next to her.
"So its really you, I can't believe it." The woman exclaimed and Winry looked at her, now really confused.
The woman smiled. "Of course you don’t remember, you were way too young. My name is Dr. Sanna. I knew your parents and even visited you in Rezembool once. But its no surprise you don’t know me, you were maybe three or four years old at this time."
Winry couldn’t help but sit there with an open mouth since this all came as a bit of a shock. "No, I really cant remember, I'm sorry." She managed after a moment and the woman nodded.
"Its okay. But … are you okay? You seem to be quite upset."
Winry nodded. "No not really. I just wish they would understand. "
"Yeah, I heard. Well, actually half of the cave heard what you were yelling at them…"
The statement made Winry blush a bit but she didn’t say anything.
"Why…. I mean… sorry if I ask but how did it come to this? How did you get affiliated with this guy? I mean he was the one… "
Winry let out a long breath she didn’t remember holding. "I know it might be strange to you and everyone, but he is a friend. Yes he did kill my parents and yes I still hate him for that, but its more complicated. It's really hard to describe…"
The ticking of the big clock in the hallway was the only sound which could be heard as Gracia embraced Maes before saying goodbye. "Tell them… if you see them … just… I mean… god.." She whispered, her voice shaking, not able to form a coherent sentence. "…just tell them that I love them." She finally managed and Maes sad eyes looked at her and he nodded.
"I will, but they know that already, don’t worry." His voice was weak, but there were no tears, she was glad about that, cause she knew that if he started now he wouldn’t be able to stop anymore.
She was no different, but had managed to hold it until now.
Giving him a long kiss she tried to ignore what the honk from outside implied and let it last for a few seconds. As they finally needed to breath she drew back and looked into her husband's eyes once more.
"I love you Maes."
"I love you, too." Was all he managed, then he turned around and walked out of the house, leaving Gracia alone at the door, still fighting her urge to cry and not tear him down with her again. Maes needed the mask he had sat up now in Ishbal, she knew that, but that seemed to make it even harder not to cry.
Holding her breath she watched as Maes got into the car which was already waiting for him outside and drove off into the dawn.
She felt like she was walking in slow motion as she closed the door and went into the kitchen.
Get the coffee for yourself and start to make breakfast for Elicia and Pinako she ordered herself, but only managed to take out the cup from the cupboard before stopping again. Smashing the porcelain against the wall with all her force she screamed and finally gave in, sinking to the floor, sobbing.
Ignoring the death glare from Ed Riza watched as Roy more stumbled then walked towards the now close fire again, holding his stomach in pain. Another snap and the fire changed and became much hotter, before Ed clapped and shielded the street with a big wall. A few moments later fire was gone and they stepped up to next area.
From behind her she could hear the house of the little girl collapsing into itself, finally giving into the heat and she didn’t need to turn around to know that there were soldiers trying to make sure that no new house caught fire. Riza could see how Roy snapped another time before motioning some soldiers to go to the other end of the fire as well, to help the other soldiers there already. He was swaying quite a bit now and it was clear he couldn’t continue any longer, but of course his stubbornness got better of him, as always. Riza didn’t even try and talk to him, knowing it wouldn’t help anyway. Seeing that Ed was breathing hard as well she decided to search for Preston, who was working with the soldiers at the other end of the fire about two hundred meters away
Maybe he could make them stop.
They fire was nearly in control now anyway and if the soldiers continued like that it soon would be extinguished. Jogging over to the other end she couldn’t see Preston anywhere and was just about to go back to Roy and Ed as she caught a glimpse of him behind the makeshift fire truck.
"Excuse me, sir?" She said and Preston looked up from working at the pump. "I think the two need to rest. Maybe.."
Preston raised an eyebrow. "I sent a few soldiers over to you just a minute ago. They were to tell him to sit down and rest. The fire is under control now anyway"
Riza grimaced. "Well he just shouted at them and send them back again, I'm afraid."
Preston shook his head." Well he sure is stubborn as hell. Anyway, lets see what I can do." With that he got up and walked towards the other side with Riza. It didn’t take long until they saw that Edward was already kneeling over somebody. They didn’t need to guess who it was and increased their pace.
"Hey, bastard, wake up. Bastard…" Ed was muttering, looking quite worried, while he was wiping the soot of his face. "Come on bastard, its not the time for being asleep."
But to no avail, he couldn’t get Roy to wake up.
"Lets get him to the hospital." Preston ordered and a few soldiers who had noticed him and Riza running scooped Roy up and started to carry him. Walking into the now dawning morning they made their way to the makeshift hospital and as they arrived there, Roy still hadn't woken up.
It was Winry who came up running up to them once they were inside the cave. Giving them both a hug she smiled at seeing them, but as her eyes fell on Roy her face went hard again.
"Will he be okay?" She asked carefully but Riza shrugged.
"I don’t know. I hope so."
Roy was set onto one of the cots in the hospital and Dr. Sanna arrived only a second later. Her face grim, she looked up after the first gaze on Roy and bellowed. "What the hell happened to him? These aren't wounds he could have gotten from the fire." Nobody said a word but Riza found Winry staring at Tomas, who actually was looking guilty now.
Dr. Sanna was still shaking her head at everyone. " Anyway, this is not a showroom, this is a hospital, so everyone stop gazing at us and mind your own business." As everyone but Winry, Ed and Riza went away, she turned to Winry once more.
"Winry, why don’t you get your friends some water and show them where they can clean up a little bit? I need some space to examine your friend. Don’t worry I will let you know the results immediately okay?"
A bit reluctant Winry nodded and Riza found herself following although she'd rather stayed with Roy.
But Riza didn’t take long.
Just a quick scrub for the face and a quick drink of water and she went back, still worried. Winry and Ed would follow when they were ready, she knew that.
As she neared the hospital section Riza nearly let out a sigh of relief when she already heard Roy from a few meters away, protesting against the treatment which the doc was giving him.
"No there's no need. I don’t want to be treated, I'm fine." He protested and the sounds of struggling could be heard as she finally managed to see what was happening. Dr Sanna was trying to peel the remnants of Roy´s shirt from his body to treat him while trying to hold him down with her other hand.
"God you are awful stubborn, aren't you? Listen you are hurt and I'm not about to let you simply walk away. Now lay still."
"Why are you doing this anyway? Haven't you heard? I'm a murderer."
Of course further attempts didn’t work either and Riza already wanted to come to Dr. Sanna´s help but then stopped.
"You know, Sara Rockbell would have liked you."
That did it. Roy suddenly stilled staring at the doc in shock and Riza couldn’t help but stare as well. How did she knew? Had Winry told her or…
She didn’t get much further with her thoughts cause suddenly she was shoved aside as some Ishbalan guards appeared. Turning around she could see three of the Elders standing behind her.
"What is happening here?" One of them questioned and Dr. Sanna nodded at them.
"He was resisting treatment, Sir, but I think I have got him under control now."
At this moment Roy struggled again, sitting up, while shaking off her hands in the process. "I don’t need treatment. I want to be taken back to my cell." Roy inquired, leaving Riza close to running over to smack some sense into him.
"Well if its that what he wants." One of the Elders answered, motioning the guards who took Roy instantly.
"Stop, he is still my patient and I wont let him go back untreated." Dr. Sanna tried but to no avail but the Elder just waved it of.
"It seems he decided it for himself."
"Sir, I must object, the man has at least two broken ribs and…"
The Elders didn’t seem to care and as Riza wanted to run to Roy she was stopped by a hand on her arm. It was Preston, who had just entered the cave again, coming back from the fire line.
"Don't. It will only lead to more problems." He whispered, trying to catch her eyes to emphasise his seriousness. " I will make sure he is okay, don’t worry." With that he turned around again, wandering over to the Elders, leaving Riza alone with her thoughts and the distinctive urge to scream and go on a rampage.
Somewhere behind her she could hear how Preston reported to the Elders. "The fire is under control and if it all goes well should be out soon. We lost about ten houses but apart from that the town is unharmed."
A collective gasp of relieve followed but Riza somehow couldn’t take it anymore. She needed to be out of here. Running out of the cave she tried to get a bit of fresh air.
Maes Hughes could have sworn he never had felt this bad in his entire life. Nevertheless he couldn't let it show. The higher brass of the military and president Johnson would give him hell if he did. So wearing a neutral expression was all he could do as the car entered the city of New Ishbal. Getting out near the railway station they were greeted by a few soldiers and military commanders, as well as another guy who introduced everyone.
"Welcome to Ishbal my gentlemen. I'm afraid we had a little situation, a fire, but that's all taken care of now."
Maes eyes went wide. A fire? There was now way in hell that Ed had…? No that couldn’t be, could it? God, please no. But Riza had been there making sure that… nevertheless one never knew with Edward so …
Somehow he was afraid to ask.
"Okay the Elders are already awaiting you in the town hall, so please follow me. This here is General Smith and that to my right is Thomson our Chief of the military. I'm John Preston the chief of our prison and I´ll be your escort today."
Nodding at the guy Maes heard how the amestrian General next to him introduced him and the others and followed them without a word.
While the others were taking up some Smalltalk, Maes walked silently behind them, looking around the town a bit. The Ishbalans were shaping up the town quite nicely and soon it would be ready and have all the things a town had.
"We are nearly there now." Preston announced and Maes nearly stopped as his eyes fell upon a big place in front of the town hall. It seemed to be a meeting place for the town people and now it was sporting a big platform with a gibbet on it. Maes swallowed hard, his mind already going places with him he didn’t want to imagine. This was the place where Roy…
No he shouldn’t think about this … not now...
"Are you all right?"
He hadn't even noticed that he had stopped and only now became aware of Preston walking towards him.
"I.. ahem.. yes, I'm sorry. I got a bit carried away with my thoughts."
Preston nodded. "I see, you look quite pale."
Somehow he found a way to make his feet work again and so he and Preston followed a few metres behind the others, who were nearly at the town hall now.
"You know Mustang, hm?" Preston suddenly said and Maes was already cursing him. If the guy continued like this then his mask wouldn’t stand a chance.
"Yeah." He admitted, cause denying it would have looked too strange and hoped that the man would stop his questions now.
He was lucky cause they had just entered the town hall and therefore Preston had to rush and introduce them to the Elders while they went into the conference room. As everyone settled down he suddenly felt a hand on his arm, halting him.
"Stay where you are, I´ll be right back." The Preston guy said and then went over to one of the Elders, speaking to him silently. Not being able to hear what was being said Hughes watched as the Elder nodded and Preston retreated again, coming over to him.
"Its okay, follow me."
"Where…? I mean what did you tell him?"
"I told him you needed to inspect the prison and our special prisoner in there since you work for security. Now come with me before they get the idea that's a little strange."
Maes Hughes didn’t object and followed the man. Another walk over the dreaded town place and they entered the prison, leaving Maes with a stale taste in his mouth.
He still didn’t have the slightest clue what happened. There had been a fire, was all he knew. He really hoped that nobody had been hurt or even worse…
Wandering into the break-room of the prison guards he let out a sigh of relief as he say Riza and the kids sitting on a bench near the window. They looked exhausted and were dirty as hell but seemed unharmed and he thanked the heavens for that.
"I assume you know each other ?" Preston quipped and Maes fought the urge to laugh and nodded.
"Yes we do. Riza, Ed, Winry, Al." He greeted them but then turned around to face Preston again. " I'm glad to see you but can anyone tell me what the hell happened?"
The story that followed left Maes speechless. Had he known what had been happening here, he would have mobilised half of Amestris to help them. But with the still weak relations the Ishbalans probably wouldn’t have accepted the help anyway...
"So the fire is under control now?" He asked and Preston and the others nodded.
"They've actually managed to extinguish it an hour ago. We lost of few houses and a few people got slightly hurt while running in panic and falling over, but that was it. I think the town got lucky and your friends are the ones responsible for this, especially Mustang and Edward here." Preston said and took a long breath, before looking at Edward. "I'm sorry I cant thank you better for what you did and to be true I'm sorry this all had to happen anyway. I thought from the start that the execution is not the right way to go if you want to make amends between two races who have been at war for so long. Sadly a lot of people still want revenge and don’t see its not going to lead anywhere."
Maes could see Edward wanted to say something but was stopped as they heard a voice from the doorway behind them.
"That’s why they made you the chief of prison and not me. You've always been the one to think first and not do anything rash or let emotion cloud your judgements and now I can see that they were right doing this. I probably would have killed the guy directly and dammed the whole town with him."
Nodding at everyone and eliciting something, which only could be described as a growl from Ed, a bulky guy entered the room and turned towards Maes. "I'm Tomas Wilk." He introduced himself and only a second later Ed was on his heels.
"What the hell do you want here?" Ed snarled and Maes could see that the boy was close to start a fight with the new guy. Al was trying to hold his brother back, together with Riza, but it was clear that he didn’t like the guy either, not to mention the glare that Winry was giving him. It was strange to see something like that coming from her.
"Maes Hughes. Ed, calm down, I don’t think…" he answered but didn’t get more far, cause all hell, well actually "Ed hell", broke loose.
"What do you want here? Probably finish what you started while he is still weak, huh?" Shaking off the hands from Riza and Al, Ed jumped in front of Tomas. "But first you have to go through me and I wont make it easy."
"Ed, starting a fight here is not…" Maes tried once more, but was held up by Tomas, who put his hands in the air.
"He is right, I'm the one to blame here. Listen, I haven't come here to hurt him and I have been wrong before, and believe it or not, I'm sorry. "
Ed just glared at him, but let his arms sink to his sides, not in attack mode anymore.
"I spoke to the Elders before you arrived." Tomas continued and nodded at Maes. " I have a good and a bad message for you. The execution is postponed due to all the trouble with the fire but from the looks of it they are still going through with it. "
Closing his eyes Maes couldn’t suppress a groan. Why did he get his hopes up anyway? It wasn’t like there was a real chance, was it?
What was worse though, was seeing how the faces of the kids fell. While Edward went into his usual swell of curse words, Al merely looked shattered and sat down onto the bench again. Winry remained where she was, staring into nothingness, while Riza let out a long sigh, her mask still firmly in place.
"That's not fair." He heard Winry whisper, and he nodded. She was right, it wasn’t. But nothing in life ever was.
"Listen, me and Preston will try and talk to them again. I cant promise anything, but we'll try okay?" Tomas attempted to reassure everyone, but no one said a word.
It took a few minutes until everyone, including Ed who was close to going on a rampage, had calmed down again. Leaving the kids to Riza once more, he wandered over to Preston.
"Can I see him?" He asked silently and Preston nodded.
"Sure, just don’t tell anyone. I don’t want to get problems." He hesitated. "But I have to warn you he looks pretty bea…."
They had started to walk out of the room as they suddenly heard a noise from below. It sounded like a heavy door was opened and only seconds later there were heavy footsteps on the stairs, announcing they had visitors.
Preston cursed. "Shit. Just what we needed The Elders are coming." Looking over to Maes he mouthed. "I'm sorry", before he walked into the corridor to greet them..
It took only seconds until the Elders, complete with the rest of the representatives of Amestris, entered the corridor. Preston couldn’t help but stare at the sandish robes the Elders were sporting, which were supposed to tell everyone they were the wisest of the country. He wasn’t sure if it was just the fatigue after this crazy night or the fact that he didn’t really like the execution idea to begin with (It wasn’t like this one death would bring back the thousands lost would it?) but at the moment he suppressed his urge to grimace and shout at such a bad timing, not to mention the stupidity, and even managed a smile, greeting them.
"Ah there he is. Our Chief of prison will show you the way to the prisoner." One of the Elders said and Preston nodded and urged everyone to follow although he'd rather throw them out..
"Just follow me. The cell is upstairs." Looking again at the representatives Preston found himself noticing how cold and calm they seemed. They surely must have heard the story of the fire by now but nobody actually seemed to care what would happen to Mustang, did they?
Bare the Hughes guy of course.
As they finally entered the cell he saw that his intention had been right. Seeing the representatives of Amestris Mustang immediately jumped up and saluted, and while he clearly was in pain and looked like hell, nobody of his countrymen seemed to care or even ask him how he was. Preston bit his lip. Sacrifice a goat from thigh neighbour if you feel guilty but don’t give anything you really care about. Still, he didn’t understand why Mustang willingly played the scapegoat. He didn’t really seem like he was dumb…
"Mustang." The president of Amestris just nodded at the man and proceeded to tell him that his execution was postponed, as Preston noticed Mr. Hughes had entered the room. He was greeted by the other representatives and Preston inwardly winced as Hughes eyes fell on Mustang. He hadn't intended to tell him about his friend's injuries this way and the fact that they indeed were friends was clear now, as he saw the flicker in the man's eyes for a second before he set up a calm face again. It just had been there for a millisecond at most, but the shock had been writing all over Hughes face. Luckily Preston had been the only one who saw it since he faced the door as Hughes came in.
It was the direct question of one of the ministers of Amestris which brought Preston from his thoughts again.
"Now I need to see Edward Elric, I heard he caused quite a ruckus last night!” the man said and sounded to Preston like a mixture of an angry scolding father and someone who entirely dispised the kid.
"I'm right here!"
Preston hadn't noticed the blond boy either and watched how the president shot around, staring at the still dirty boy for a second.
“ So what do you want from me?” The boy inquired, putting his arms in front of his chest, obiviously not amused by the whole sitution. But before he could receive an answer, Riza Hawkeye and the other kids entered the room behind him. The woman greeted the representatives with a salute and nodded at Preston, before shooting a tiny look at Mustang for not more than a second.
“Well you are coming back to East city with us and next week you are going to face a military court in Amestris. We can not allow such a behaviour cause even though you are pretty young you still have endangerd the whole country.”
They were going to imprison the kid now? Preston shook his head, not believing his ears. Yes, he knew that the kid had been a state alchemist which made him a soldier, but a military court? But before Preston could say anything to object, Riza spoke up.
“I´m sorry sir, but I must object. Edward isn´t in the military anymore and therefore he can not be tried in front of a military court.”
The representatives stopped dead in their tracks and looked confused and Edward seemd surprised as well, while Hughes and Riza spurted a calm like they knew exactly what they were doing. Preston raised an eyebrow and could have a sworn he saw a tiny smile on Mustangs face for a second before it went neutral again.
“What? I mean … how.. ?” The boy started but stopped as he noticed Riza´s gaze piercing him.
“The last thing General Mustang did before he was stripped of his rank and imprisioned here was making sure you were let go off the military.” Riza spoke to the boy before turning towards the men, producing a piece of paper and giving it to the Prime Minister. “Its all here, Grunman approved of it and Armstrong signed as well!”
The representatives were all huddled above the paper, while the kids and especially Edward seemed speechless for a second.
“Edward is nothing more than a 16 year old kid now and you have to treat him as such.” Mustang suddenly said and everyone shot around to look at him.
While Edward had already started with a “I´m not a k…” he was silenced by Riza kicking his leg and mouthing a “Shh!” while the ministers of Amestris probably had deemed the paper as satisfying.
“That’s.. that’s right!” One of the ministers started. “ But you still will come with us and you´ll be facing a punishment for your actions. All three of you!”
It didn’t take long and the Elders and representatives of Amestris went on again, probably discussing another part of the upcoming treaty to be signed and Preston made sure they were out of the building before he turned to Mr. Hughes again, who had stayed behind.
“I´m sorry we got disturbed. I can give you a few minutes with your friend now if you want to. The treaties will sure take a while.
Hughes nodded. “That would be nice, thank you.”
“Okay, I have to report back via telephone, so I´m going to leave you for a few minutes.” Half way through the door he turned around again, facing Hughes. “Will they really try these kids in front of a court? I mean okay, they sure caused some problems at the start but…”
Hughes smiled. “Don’t worry, there isn´t that much they can do since they are still underage. And Edward isn´t a soldier anymore so he should be safe as well…”
That was enough to satisfy Preston, so he nodded releaved and left to report.
Roy startled a bit as he heard another pair of feet enter the room. Hughes had left a while ago, after they had talked alone for a few minutes, thanks to Preston, but it had been more like beating around the bush. He hated to see that sad look in his friends face and the hopelessness that was radiating off it and because of that he was nearly glad he was gone now. Roy´s big resolve of going out strong, of not caring, was gone now as well, and there was no way he was going to get that back in a matter of hours, after what had happened in the last few.
With a loud sigh he turned around to face the newest “intruder”, but was more than surprised when he saw it to be Tomas.
“You all right?” the man asked and Roy wasn’t sure if he had heard right, but decided to answer anyway.
“Yeah, I´m okay.” He responded while Tomas setteled down in front of the cell, watching him. They looked at each other for a few minutes, before the Ishbalan finally spoke up again.
“You know, I always thought you´d look different.”
Roy just raised an eyebrow, unsure what to say to that but Tomas already continued. “Like, uhm… bigger… maybe more monsterish and mean… I don’t know. Like someone I could hate from his appearance alone.”
“I think that’s understandable… I mean…..”
But Tomas held up his hand and Roy stopped.
“I .. I just came to tell you that I was an idiot. I thought that when I hurt you it would help, but in the end, I´m not feeling better at all. And I doubt that killing you will change anything as well, not for me or for the country.” He hesitated for a few seconds. “Don’t think that means I don’t hate you for what you did and that I never want to see you again but…”
“Its okay I understand. And I thank you for seeing me. As a human and not as a monster.” And he was thankful. It was more than Roy could ever hoped for, even if it was just one man.
“I think I learned a lot in the last hours. Especially from your kids.”
Roy couldn’t help a smile. “They´re not my kids. Let Edward hear that and he´ll go ballistic.”
Tomas just laughed. “Well, I think they are.”
They were interrupted by Preston who wandered into the room, holding up a hand to interrupt them.
”I have got news for you.” He said and looked over to Mustang.
It was already dawning and Ed still hadn't slept a single minute. He had risen from his bed over an hour ago and taken a walk in the garden, enjoying the silence, hoping it would calm the chaos in his head.
But of course it hadn't.
Mustang was still in custody of the Ishbalans and although they had promised not to harm him until his punishment was re-discussed Edward was weary.
Why couldn’t they just let him go? He had saved so many lives for god's sake. Well okay, somehow he did understand it, but well..
The bastard certainly didn’t deserve death and honestly Edward hoped that whatever punishment he got, it wouldn’t harm him.
Well, at least not permanently.
Yes, he had done lots of bad things but the war hadn't been his fault and he had freed the country of the Fuhrer…
Argh it was just….
Edward was sure the insomnia was taking its toll on him already.
He was just about to punch the wall in distress, as he remembered the people sleeping above. They deserved a little rest after all that chaos, which he partly had been responsible for as well and so he just sat down at the kitchen table, willing himself to think of something nice.
Rezembool. Him, Al and Winry running through the fields, playing hide and seek. Everything had been so easy back then. They had no idea how cruel the world could be.
Until … until their parents had died….
Cursing himself that he couldn't at least think of something nice for once he stopped dead in his tracks. There, that noise, wasn’t that the front gate opening? Glancing at the clock he saw the time was half past six in the morning. There was no way that someone would come at this time unless…
Warily he got up. Please don’t let it be Fury or Havoc with another bad message, he thought and made his way to the front door.
As he opened the door he held his breath. There, just a metre in front of him was Mustang, looking like death on two feet with all the scratches on his arms and the wound on his head, but nevertheless he was free.
Roy was wearing a brown shirt and some khaki pants Edward had never seen on him before, so they were probably borrowed, he assumed. Even through the shirt the bandage around the stomach was still visible and Edward winced not wanting to remember the sickening crack.
Roy`s voice got him out of his stupor and Ed nodded at him. Letting him into the hallway he closed the door, staring at the man in front of him for a few seconds like he had just seen a fish fly.
"Screw it" He whispered, more to himself than to Roy, giving him a short hug. It had looked more like he was trying to hug a very hot bun and then immediately jumped back burned, but well, it was the thought that counted, he guessed. "If you tell anyone about this…"
Roy just smiled at him, ruffling his hair. "No, I wont. Don't worry." Then, cocking an eyebrow." Although…"
They both laughed, not seeing Winry slowly coming down the stairs, already rolling her eyes at the usual banter. It was Edward who saw her first since Roy had his back towards the stairs and he smiled at her.
"Hey look the bastard is back. Apparently they didn’t want him anymore! He is probably the only one ever who got thrown out of prison".
A look at Roy followed, hoping he hadn't said anything wrong, but Roy nodded.
"The elders decided to let me go. They think there has been enough bloodshed on both sides."
Winry nodded, walking over to him. "They are right. I'm glad they finally saw it."
"And I heard I have to thank you for that, young lady" Roy smiled and they embraced while Ed stayed back, watching them.
"Just do me a favour. Never do anything like that again. Suicide isn't going to solve anything, it just brings more pain."
Roy didn’t know what to say to that. It hadn't been suicide, had it? Maybe. Somehow. No, he didn’t…
Only seconds later they could hear Alphonse come down the stairs, soon followed by Elicia and they were more hugs and hellos to be had.
Pinako, obviously woken by the loud noises downstairs, looked down for a second, then walked down as well, smiling.
"Ah I knew it would be a good day today when the first thing I heard was little Elicia´s laughter." Walking over to Mustang she inspected the head wound.
"Hm, we need to clean that again, my dear. Follow me." And with that she was off to the living room, searching for the first aid kit.
Mustang seemed a bit reluctant at going with her first but was practically pushed by Winry. Only seconds later he found himself sitting on the couch and in the hands of Winry and Pinako.
"How are the wounds on your back and sides? Let me see…" Roy managed to shove Winry´s hand away, but Pinako was faster, pushing his shirt away.
"With the amount of dirt in them we probably have to disinfect them again or you'll get an infection for sure."
"No, its okay, they'll heal. It's just a few gashes."
"Yes, and your whole body is covered with them. Didn’t they clean them at all in Ishbal?" Winry asked, eyeing one of the blackish gashes on his neck, wincing as she saw that it was already clinging onto the shirt which Mustang was still wearing.
"No, they… I didn’t let them.."
He didn’t get more far, cause Winry had already commanded "Wrench!" at her grandmother, who gladly gave her one from the table next to her.
Whacking him over the head, she glared at him, while Edward's laughter could be heard from the background. "You are behaving like a kid Roy." Then she shot Edward, who was still laughing, a fierce look,. "You are no better than Edward. Great, now I have one more boy to care for, who cant care for himself and nearly gets himself killed."
Edward went silent in instant and now it was Alphonse who had to laugh, knowing that this was even more true than she already knew.
"Oh you have no idea." That was Gracia, who had just came in, still in her night-gown and a bit sleepy. Seeing Roy, her eyes lit up and she smiled, making her way over to him quickly.
Stepping aside, Winry and Pinako let the lovers have their reunion, smiling as well. Even Edward refrained from a bad comment as he saw Gracia kneeling down in front of Roy, gently taking his head into her hands and kissing him lovingly. Roy responded, embracing her gently and they separated again, needing to breath.
"I thought I´d never seen you again." Gracia whispered, tears slowly making her way down her cheeks. Roy took a deep breath, eyes misting as well.
"I'm sorry. I'm sorry" He whispered over and over and took her into his arms again, not wanting to let her go.
After a few minutes she had calmed somewhat and stood up, looking around the room.
"Sorry, I didn’t mean to get all teary on you guys, its just…" She sniffed again and then laughed. "Damn."
"Its all right." Winry smiled at her.
Looking at Roy Gracia ruffled his hair, then seemed concerned. "Should I take over cleaning his wounds?"
Winry nodded. "Its probably for the best. I doubt we'd get him to remove his pants to tend them."
"Again, you have no idea."
"Well I have an idea how to do that. Get him to remove the pants I mean." Maes entered the room, earning a glare from Gracia and an "Ewww" from Edward at his words, which he gracefully ignored.
Instead he moved over to Roy, capturing his lips with the same passion but a bit more rough than Gracia.
While they separated again, Roy stifled a yawn.
"Let me guess you didn’t sleep all night, did you?" Gracia asked concerned and Roy shook his head. Seeing Edward yawn as well Gracia nodded.
"I guess it’s the best when we all go back to bed. Its barely six and I think we all could need some rest. But first we are going to look after your wounds."
Maes concurred. "We can do that upstairs, I'm sure Riza cant wait to see him." He offered his hand and helped Roy up.
"She's really still sleeping?" Winry looked a bit surprised. Normally Riza woke easily with very little noise.
"Yes she is. I guess it was all a bit much. Anyway, good night everyone. When I get up we'll have a barbecue, we have something or rather someone to celebrate." While everyone murmured their goodnight as well and wandered upstairs, Gracia was just about to take Elicia, but Winry and Alphonse were faster.
"Let us take care of her. Go after them." Alphonse nodded at Maes and Roy who were walking up the stairs arm in arm and Gracia smiled.
"Thank you." She whispered and ran after her lovers.
Everything was like a blur to Roy. Letting himself led up the stairs by Maes, he wasn’t sure if this was a dream or reality. They continued their way towards the bedroom and at the door Roy disentangled his arms from his friend, staring at the figure on the bed.
Riza was still sleeping, but she looked strained and tense as if she wasn’t feeling well. Trembling slightly she started to murmur something and Roy made his way over to her, gently touching her cheek.
"Riza." He whispered. "Riza, wake up." Nothing. Riza continued to murmur and actually started tossing as Roy bend over her, gently kissing her on the lips. It took a moment, but then she responded, deepening the kiss before she opened her eyes and jerked away in shock.
"Its okay, it was just a dream." Roy reassured but she still looked like her eyes were betraying her and slowly raised her hand to touch his cheek.
"How?" She asked. " I dreamt you died."
"It was just a dream Riza. They let him go, he is free." Maes sat down beside Roy and took both of them into his arms.
Gracia entered the room quietly, watching her lovers for a second. Then she settled down behind Roy and slowly started to draw the T-shirt over his head. Roy looked at her questioningly for a moment but then complied and proceeded to undress, moving in to kiss her.
Gracia laughed. "First your wounds dear." Motioning Roy to lay down on his stomach she started to remove the bandage and grabbed the disinfectant from the night stand. Handing over a pad to Riza, who was now kneeling, they both started to clean the cuts on his back and sides.
Roy hissed a few times, but didn’t move away, while Maes tried to distract him by slowly kissing his neck. It didn’t take long and everything was cleaned. Gently motioning him to sit up Riza started to reattach the bandage around his stomach.
"Did the doctors say anything about your condition?" She inquired and Roy let out a long sigh. Riza raised an eyebrow and Gracia was already shaking her head. "You didn't try and avoid them again, did you?"
Roy said nothing and there was more eyebrow raising and head shaking.
"God, you are such a child sometimes." Gracia accused and ruffled his hair. She simply couldn’t be angry with him. Not now.
Attaching the last part of the bandage Riza gently pushed him back onto mattress. "We'll get to a doc later. Now you sleep, Roy. You really need it."
Roy pouted and got up again, starting to kiss her. "I don’t want to sleep. Not now. I have missed you guys so much." Reaching for Gracia he tucked her into his embrace, looking at Maes with pleading eyes.
Riza stopped kissing him for a moment and watched him with concerned eyes, then nodded. " We missed you, too. But we have to be careful." Gently pushing him back once more, she made sure that he stayed stretched out this time. "You just lay back and let us do the work. This is all about you."
Roy just smiled at her and she bent down again for another kiss, while Maes started to kiss his way down his stomach where the bandage wasn’t attachted to the skin.
Gracia watched her lovers for a few second before she started to caress and play with Roy´s nipples enjoying the arches and moans she produced. Slowly moving over to Riza she undressed the blonde and then stole her from Roy for a quick but lusty kiss.
Seeing the two women kiss, Maes moved for Roy´s mouth himself, before undressing his friend fully and then himself. Riza had already made quick work of Gracia´s clothes and soon there were 4 naked but very happy bodies writhing on the bed.
While Gracia laid next to Roy, being spooned by her husband, Riza applied a prohylactic and slowly settled herself onto Roy`s lap. Seeing Roy´s lusty glances she had to grin and watched as Gracia started another tongue duell with the black haired man. Locking herself in a kiss with Maes they started to move gently but soon brought their lovers and themselves over the top.
Spent they seperated, but immediately crawled into each others arms again, still reeling from bliss.
Glancing over to Roy Riza had to stiffle a laugh. “I think he has fallen asleep!”
Gently stroking Roy´s hair Gracia smiled. “Its no wonder, he must be exhausted.”
“I bet, and of course he was downplaying it. Anyway we should catch a bit of sleep as well.” Maes replied and they settled down onto the large bed, encircling each other with their arms and bodies, finally feeling safe.
Winry woke to the noise of two little feet walking out of the room. It took a second until she realised she was in Elicia´s room and probably had fallen asleep after reading a story to the little girl. Groaning she took a look at the clock on the wall, seeing she had slept about two hours and got up, looking for the girl.
She found the little one just about to enter Riza and Roy´s room and barely managed to hold her back. The door to the Hughes´ room was open as well so she probably had tried there already.
"Shh Elicia, let your parents and the others sleep, okay?" She whispered, putting a finger in front of her lips.
Elicia pouted, but then nodded to Winry´s relief. Leading the little girl back to her room she saw that Elicia had opened the door to the other room, leaving it slightly ajar.
"You go and look what you want to play with and I´ll be with you in a minute, okay? But be quiet, we don’t want to wake anyone."
Luckily Elicia stormed off and Winry wandered back to door. Before closing the door she couldn’t help but to take a peek. The room was incredibly messy, night clothes and the ones of Roy scattered everywhere. But the scene on the bed was so peaceful and pretty that it made Winry smile. There halfway under the covers was Roy. His body was still covered in nasty bruises and a huge bandage was applied at his upper body but he looked completely at ease. Snuggled next to him on one side was Riza, one arm possessively around Roy`s hip, while Maes was on the other, Roy`s head resting on his shoulder. Gracia was curled around Riza`s back, her left arm laid casually over Riza´s body, grasping Roy´s hand firmly in her sleep.
"Complete unity" Winry thought and smiled. Hopefully it wouldn’t be destroyed anymore.
Letting the door slip into the lock as quietly as possible Winry was just about go back to Elicia´s room, but stopped at the one of the Elric´s, whose door was ajar as well. Tiptoeing into the room she passed the bed which contained a sleeping Alphonse and went over to Edward. The elder Elric was sprawled across the whole bed, finally sleeping soundly and Winry couldn’t help but grin.
He looked so calm now. So pretty…
Bending over she pressed a tiny kiss onto his cheek and nearly giggled as he mumbled something incoherently, without waking up. Tugging up the blanket over Ed, she went back to Elicia, not noticing the smile forming on Alphonse´s face before he went back to sleep again.