Prompt: 100moods #3 Angry
Author's Note: So, I promised a third part to Gone and Give back in July. Then, I got wrapped up in other fic and promptly forgot. So, here it is. I apologize for the wait. Thank you to hikaru_9 for the wonderful beta job. :D
He stared at the page, for a long, long moment, innocent and vile on his desk. Once it had been pristine parchment, white as untouched snow, but now nearly every surface was marred by scribbles of ebony ink, leaking across the paper, presumably to cover up a symphony of words he did not want. All that remained were a few messy letters in a familiar script, near the bottom of the page.
The words were hollow and meaningless. If Ed was sorry, he would not have walked away. He would not be gone, vanished from Roy’s life, leaving only a hollow, haunting specter of what had been in his wake. He would have at least tried.
In the end, a merciless snap of his fingers reduced the letter and its envelope to ashes. He watched the edges crisp and fold in on themselves, graying and shrinking in the face of the fire. It was strangely unsatisfying when, after a few miserable moments, all that was left was fine, ashen dust, easily brushed off the desk and into the trash can.
A brief spark at the desk, and Ed knew what it meant. It was not enough, as a simple apology never, never could be, and Ed cradled his face in his hands, flesh and metal palms settling over his cheekbones. His heart ached and it burned, a litany of pleading whimpers in each beat against his chest.
“You ought to at least give him a chance to decide for himself, you know,” Al had chided once Ed had explained the situation.
“Maybe, eventually. I can’t let him risk everything for me just because I want to be near him.”
“It’s not just about you, Ed. If he didn’t love you, he wouldn’t keep you around, wouldn’t have gotten involved in the first place, I’m pretty sure. Shouldn’t you take what he wants into consideration, too? Believe it or not, there’s a chance you might actually be happy, and that everything could be okay if you’d stop being so stubborn.”
It had taken months, but in the end, the letter was not enough, and Al was right.
Ed pulled himself from the edge of the rooftop, and headed for the staircase. Perhaps Roy would tell him to get lost, or that he didn’t love him after all, or something, but Ed guessed he owed him the opportunity to do so at the very least.
Ed took the steps two at a time, anxious to be finished and out in the open air. He guessed Roy would be heading for home, but there was no way to be certain, and Ed didn’t want to risk losing him. Not that he wasn’t perfectly willing to scour the city to say what he needed to. It just seemed terribly inefficient when he was right here, and could simply follow if he was fast enough.
Roy hadn’t gone far, and Ed wondered if it was a rare moment of luck on his part, or habit on Roy’s that he was walking instead of ordering a car to take him wherever he was going. Whatever the reason, Roy was walking, swathed in wool and leather, his shoulders hunched a little against the bitter cold. Ed followed, closely enough to keep Roy in his line of vision, but far enough to go unnoticed, not particularly interested in a confrontation in front of Central Headquarters.
And so he followed, enamored with the way that even shielding himself from the cold, Roy managed to look put together. Ed doubted anyone but him, and maybe Hawkeye noticed the tense line of Mustang’s shoulders, the way, beneath a placid expression, his jaw was clenched in agitation when he turned his head enough for Edward to catch a glimpse of it.
Ed watched Roy enter the park, and frowned a little at the familiarity of it. It had been here that he’d realized the folly of what they were involved in, here that he’d clung to the last little bit of happiness he felt he safely could. This cobbled walkway had seen the last time he’d allowed himself to entertain the notion of just letting Roy risk everything else he wanted on them.
The path wound through the trees, limbs as lonely and barren as Roy felt with the last days of autumn surrounding them. The last leaves scattered across the ground, faded and dead, and shrouding what life might have remained in the grass beneath their crumbling blanket. Somewhere along the way he paused. With his coat wrapped around his frame, pitch black hair splayed across his face, it almost appeared that he belonged there amongst the melancholy skeletal branches.
Every day, it was the same. He left the office, took a walk through the park on the way home. At least there, the memories were still warm and soft, full of love that he could not guess at the truthfulness of anymore. Except that he knew, because Ed would not speak those words so easily. Ed was not always honest, but he would not have lied about that. He cheated at cards, he was not above finagling the truth when cornered, but he was not deceitful. There was no answer, then, to why he’d left.
It had been here, though, in this spot that to most looked no different than any other in the park. Here, when the trees had been beautiful and new, when tulip tree petals were all that marred the grass. The moon had been out then, and even awash in moonlight, Ed shone like something precious and golden.
Only, that had been then, months ago now. Edward was gone with the warm summer breezes, leaving only emptiness and the first, chilling, breaths of winter in his wake. The icy air whisked its way around Roy, ruffling his coat, coldly caressing his cheek as if beckoning.
With a heavy sigh, longing for happier times, Roy turned, intending to make his way home. His gaze flicked upwards as he headed down the back, his breath catching when he found the one thing that was different today. Perhaps his eye deceived him, for surely what he was seeing was a lie.
Blinking did not dislodge Edward from his vision. He was muted, wrapped in a long brown coat as if the drab color could hide what lay beneath. The ponytail he always wore fluttered in the wind like a sunlit flag. The way the frigid breeze whisked his bangs across his face did nothing to hide the cold induced flush across his face, the only red he still wore. Sad eyes gazed at Roy from behind golden tendrils.
Roywanted to close the distance between them, to reach out and wipe the sorrowful expression from Ed’s face. He wanted to pretend that the last few months hadn’t happened, that Edward hadn’t simply up and vanished with a handful of lies as his reason. It had, though, and no amount of remorse could make time unwind and let them try again.
With no other recourse, Roy simply walked past, unwilling, or perhaps afraid to meet Ed’s eyes. It was easier at least, to pretend he did not care, that he didn’t still love Ed.
“Hey wait!” Ed called after him, and he could hear the nearly frantic footsteps against the cobbled walkway at his back. Though his chest clenched at the familiar voice, and he wanted to turn around, Roy kept on walking.
“Wait…please.” Ed’s voice faltered as he spoke. Roy didn’t trust himself now, not when just listening to Ed asking him to stop made him want to forget the whole ordeal had ever happened. He paused midstride, and would have turned around had he not caught himself.
Ed didn’t give himself the time to think, and wonder if it was a positive thing that Roy had stopped. He reached out, clasping the sleeve of Roy’s coat in his fingers. “Please, just… wait a minute, and hear me out.”
“There’s nothing to say,” Roy growled, any reprieve his anger had been given, sharply withdrawn. He yanked his arm from Ed’s grip, eyes narrowed sharply, though, he didn’t bother to turn and look.
“I’m not asking you to forgive me, just would you just listen?” Ed braced himself as Roy turned to look at him. He tried to ignore the obstinate warm feeling in his chest as Roy’s eyes softened, just for a moment, most likely at his miserable appearance. It didn’t last, though, and almost immediately, Roy’s expression was cold all over again.
“What could you possibly have to say that I’d be interested in listening to?” Roy spat, drawing further away from Ed.
“I wasn’t…I wasn’t entirely honest…before, when I left,” Ed blurted out, finally, desperate to make Roy hear him. He braced himself for whatever response he might get.
Ed could see the way Roy mulled over the implications of what he’d said, the way his expression for once was not entirely blank. After a moment, it locked back down, the icy look he’d been giving Edward returning completely. “Just what part is it you were lying about, Edward? The part where you acted like you actually cared? Because, really, I’m impressed. You even had me fooled.”
“I didn’t…no. That was real. I didn’t want to leave at all,” Ed insisted, trying to ignore the stinging sensation that pricked at his eyes.
“Then why did you?” Roy demanded, shouting loudly enough to make even Edward flinch faintly.
“Because I love you. I was trying to look out for you,” Ed answered reluctantly. He’d known it would come down to the honest truth, but he’d hoped somehow he could avoid it.
For as sad as Ed had looked from a distance, up close he was well and truly miserable. Shadows gathered beneath his eyes as if he’d not slept properly in months, and his expression was hollow and melancholy. Roy hadn’t looked, not really, until Ed had said that. Now, for all his intent to tear Ed apart, the words hung back uselessly in his throat. He hoped, and he didn’t want to, but the feeling was persistent, winding sinuously around his heart.
Before he could work out some semblance of a response, Ed was speaking again, sorrow softening his voice, “I…I know you’re goals were… are important to you. I was a liability… so I left.”
“No one even knew about us,” Roy argued, desperate to find a hole in Ed’s story, something that would let him just be angry and walk away. Even as he tried to stay upset, he could feel the urge to fight leaving him, seeping away as he listened.
“But they did. If the girl at the stupid chocolate shop could figure it out… What’s to stop anyone else?” Ed asked, brows furrowing as he looked up at Roy.
“So, instead of voicing your concern, or at least bothering to tell me what was going on, you let it simmer and then up and left without even giving me a choice?” Roy demanded, taking a step forward, and wincing internally as Ed matched his movement with a step back.
“I thought I was doing the right thing… That… it was for the best,” Ed replied, sounding progressively less sure of himself.
“You broke my heart when we were both happy together and that’s for the best? What’s the point of reaching your goals if you don’t have the person you love around to share that with?” Roy shook his head, more frustrated than angry at that point.
“I was trying to protect you.” Ed sighed, and he must have thought he deserved what he got because he wasn’t arguing that he was right, simply explaining his motives.
“So you lied to me, and left. What did you think that would accomplish?” Roy snapped, inwardly feeling guilty for making this harder.
“I…I’m sorry. I didn’t know what else to do.” Ed offered a regretful look and turned on his heel, squeaking when Roy went after him and grabbed his shoulder.
“Don’t you dare turn your back on me now,” Roy barked, surprised when Ed turned back around to face him. “Why did you tell me this?”
“You deserved to know the truth, and… you deserved to hear it from me, not some stupid letter.” Ed said quietly.
“So, what now? You get that off your chest and just disappear all over again?” Roy fought the urge to grimace at the desperate note in his voice.
“Being with me is an unnecessary risk to your position, Roy. You have the power now to change the world. Don’t waste it on this.” Ed looked like he might turn away again, and so Roy was quick to reply.
“Do you honestly think I’d have gotten involved with you if it wasn’t worth the risk?” he asked, allowing a fleeting smile to pass across his lips.
“But…” Ed began.
“No. No more arguments, and no more making decisions about us without talking to me. It’s obvious it just makes us both miserable,” Roy chided, far more gentle now that he’d run out of reasons to be angry. It was hard not to smile at the way Ed visibly sagged in relief, the tension seeping from his shoulders once it was clear this was not something insurmountable.
“Do you have a better idea?” Ed asked, looking warily at their surroundings. Roy knew he was searching for evidence that they were not alone, still worried about the same things that had made him leave to begin with. It was a habit they’d have to address, but for now, Roy simply pretended not to notice.
“Yes. Come home and we’ll work this out,” Roy prompted, reaching out his hand to Edward.
“But what I did…” Ed looked at Roy’s palm like he was afraid it might bite him. His own fingers left his side, reaching out and then hesitating, not quite touching Roy’s.
“Was selfless, and the intent was noble. It was also idiotic, but that’s not unforgivable, you know. Just come home, Edward.” Roy looked from Ed’s hand to his own, and fought the urge to just reach out a little more.
For a moment, Roy thought his heart might stop, but Ed finally nodded, threading his fingers through Roy’s. Roy closed the distance between them, brushing his lips quite chastely over Ed’s.
When he pulled away, Ed followed, and he allowed a smile at that. It wasn’t perfect. Things weren’t all better, and maybe they wouldn’t be for a long time. Eventually, though, they would mend what was broken, and in the meantime, Roy smiled anyway, because Ed was home.