Rating: PG-13 (eventual R or NC-17)
Summary: I wrote this for a prompt over at the kinkmeme. The request was "Roy ends up maimed in some way, maybe from being captured/tortured; Ed is the one who finds/rescues/takes care of him" It was meant to be a oneshot, but it's run away with me. Also, a very special thank you to elfen and cryogenia for read overs and encouragement and letting me spazz about this story
Disclaimer: I don't own Fullmetal Alchemist or any of its characters.
The rest of my fics are here.
Sunlight filtered through the windows, prying Roy from sleep. He didn’t open his eye, recent experience encouraging him to first get his bearings. Everything was fuzzy and muddled in his head, the last days’ events replaying in fragments he had trouble making sense of.
Edward. He remembered that much. Fullmetal had saved him…for whatever reason it was that ever made Ed do anything. He was grateful of course, because whatever drove Ed meant that he was still alive. It was hard, though, not to be utterly humiliated by the fact that Ed had done singlehandedly what he had not managed on his own.
Ed’s arm pressed briefly against Roy’s stomach as he stirred from sleep. It was still draped over his body, and it slid harmlessly over the tops of the blankets before being gone entirely. Roy didn’t open his eye, but he heard Ed groan in what was probably soreness from the awkward way he’d slept. There was a soft, sleepy sigh and he could almost feel Ed looking at him.
A hand brushed briefly against Roy’s forehead. It startled Roy, giving away the fact that he was awake and he opened his eye, trying to make sense of Ed’s actions. He might have asked what Ed was doing, but the young man was already muttering a sharp curse and pulling his fingers away.
There were tired, shuffling steps across the tile, and water running in the sink. Roy tried to turn his head to watch whatever Edward was up to, but then he was coughing, a painful, rattling assault on his lungs that left him shaking in pain. He didn’t notice Ed return to his side, only felt himself being pulled to sit up. It was agonizing, gentle as Ed was trying to be, but he simply hadn’t the breath left to protest.
Repulsed by his own weakness, Roy scowled as he was carefully tipped to the side, against Ed’s chest so that he didn’t have to hold up his own weight. Ed patted awkwardly at his back in what was probably meant to be a soothing gesture, and offered him a glass of water. He stared at the ceiling like he had managed to be utterly oblivious to the way Roy sagged against him.
“You’re hot,” Ed grumbled finally, breaking the silence as Roy handed back the empty glass.
“Umm?” Roy stared blearily at Ed’s face, not at all comprehending what was being said. It wasn’t that he hadn’t heard correctly, it was just that… Roy tried to pull away, but the motion was enough to make his stomach lurch, threatening to empty itself right into his lap. He doubled over in the bed, wishing he could think straight enough to know how to approach this.
“You’re burning up,” Ed murmured, the concern in his voice evident, though Roy couldn’t see it. He knew that meant something, but he was too busy trying to settle his poor stomach to work out what. Ed gruffly nudged Roy back into lying down, and pressed a cool cloth over his forehead. It felt heavenly, almost distracted him from whatever it was Ed had been rambling about. When he finally meant to ask, he couldn’t actually see Ed any longer. The washcloth had slipped over his good eye, and he hurt far too much to reach up and move it. Instead, he only groaned in pain and confusion.
“What are you talking about?” Roy finally asked, wincing immediately. It hurt no less today than it had the day before to speak, bandaging scraping against his ruined cheek each time he moved his jaw.
“You know, a fever,” Ed explained irritably, finally noticing and adjusting the cloth so that Roy could see. Apparently getting entirely the wrong idea about Roy’s confusion on the matter, he scowled. “Geez, what did you think I meant, you freak?”
He watched Ed’s aggravated expression become something else entirely. Realization of what he’d said passed over Ed’s face in a guilty shadow. Ed winced and scratched awkwardly at still loose, matted hair, “Sorry…I didn’t really mean that.”
Roy wanted to hit something. He was nothing short of pitiful if Edward Elric of all people felt the need to censor himself that way. Perhaps noticing the disgusted, angry twist of Roy’s lips, half hidden beneath bandaging, Ed turned and stepped out into the hallway. For the first time since Roy had been freed from his prison, he was relieved to see the young man go.
The respite wasn’t nearly long enough. Ed returned, a nurse in tow. She gave Roy a terribly sympathetic look that made him want to scream, even more than Ed had. Only the fact that she was currently shoving a thermometer into his mouth kept him from saying as much.
Roy was poked and prodded at and all he really wanted was to go back to sleep and be sick and miserable in peace already. He looked around, hoping to at least chase Ed off so he could go through this indignity without an audience who’d probably never let him live it down. In a rare moment of insight or mercy, Ed had already slipped away.
It was just as well that he’d gone. Ed was still covered in blood and dust like he hadn’t thought Roy could handle himself for the time it would take him to have a shower. Maybe he would get himself a hotel room and some decent rest somewhere that wasn’t a hospital armchair, and assuage some small fraction of Roy’s guilt.
When the nurse finally left him be, Roy sank gratefully against the sheets. He hurt, possibly worse than the day before, and of course malnutrition and dank air had made him ill. He felt like some pathetic shadow of the man he’d been and only the way Ed was still mostly being Ed allowed him to deal with his nearly constant presence. Roy dreaded facing Riza when he could barely face himself.
Half an hour passed and Roy wondered offhandedly where Ed had gone. An hour and Roy cursed under his breath when he noticed himself staring at the closed door for the hundredth time. An hour and a half and Roy felt entirely stranded because for this particular moment in time, Ed was really all he had. Each time the door opened to reveal the nurse checking on him yet again only made Roy scowl more.
By the time Ed finally came back, Roy was half asleep. He heard the door creak open, but didn’t look up, assuming it to be the nurse again. Only as clunky, mismatched steps drew closer did Roy open his eye, blinking at Ed. Edward mostly ignored him for the moment, flopping back in the armchair he’d apparently decided to take up residence in.
He was not, was not going to ask where Ed had gone. It smacked of neediness, and he didn’t need anyone here, Ed or otherwise. He was sure there was something he could say, something he could do that would set things right, but all that came out was a terse, “What are you doing here?”
Ed reached over, dropping a brown paper bag into Roy’s lap. Rather, what would be Roy’s lap were he sitting up, something else Ed seemed to be trying to remedy. Much to Roy’s relief, Ed wasn’t actually trying to make him sit up, instead just fiddling with the bed itself. It didn’t really occur to Roy to tell him to knock it off until he was sitting halfway up.
“Are you quite finished?” Roy asked as Ed finally backed away a bit. He grimaced as he leaned forward just a bit more, peering into the bag. Inside were miscellaneous fruits and pastries, as if Ed had taken it upon himself to clear out an entire breakfast buffet.
“What’s this?” Roy ignored the pain he incurred by speaking. That, at least, had marginally dissipated from whatever pills the nurse had given him during one of her numerous check-ins.
“It’s breakfast. What’s it look like?” Ed asked, shaking his head at Roy as he leaned back in the chair.
“Perhaps that was the wrong question. Why?” Roy clarified, hoping that would get a more direct answer.
Ed’s lips curled up. It was a faint smile at first, broadening a bit into something more substantial. It was the first one Roy had seen on him in… a long, long time, and somehow it lifted his own mood just a little. Ed chuckled, gesturing vaguely towards the door. “If you’re asking me that, they haven’t tried to feed you yet.”
Roy raised an eyebrow at Ed, or tried to. It hurt far too much to maintain, and he grimaced in pain instead. In a poor attempt at recovery he glanced at Ed who was sprawled in a rather undignified manner across the poor, abused armchair. “I take it you’ve spent a bit of time here.”
“Is there a hospital in Amestris I haven’t spent a bit of time in?” Ed joked, and even if he wasn’t nearly himself, it was a start.
They sat in companionable silence for a while. Roy settled on taking his chances with an orange, offering the bag back to Edward. He regretted his choice as soon as he began picking at the peel. It hurt his injured wrist, but he refused to ask for help, and Ed did not seem terribly inclined to humiliate him further. In fact, Ed went on like he hadn’t noticed a thing beyond the fact that there was a chocolate pastry in the bottom of the bag.
Roy managed eventually, though his wrist was throbbing painfully. It was worth it once he brought a segment to his lips, the first really edible thing he’d had in a while. It was sweet and juicy and didn’t seem to be threatening to stage a coup on his stomach so far.
He took a moment to glance back over at Ed, still stretched out, legs dangling over the arm of the chair. The young man looked a bit worse for the wear, obviously still not having taken the time to get cleaned up. Roy sighed through his nose. Maybe he couldn’t control his current predicament, and maybe he couldn’t get Ed to leave him alone entirely. At least he could make sure his subordinate took care of himself, though.
“Did you really walk into a restaurant like that?” Roy asked.
Ed lifted his head from the arm of the chair to look at Roy. Dust tarnished bangs clung to his forehead, and there was still a suspicious looking smear across his nose and one cheek. “Yeah, so?”
Somehow, pointing out that Ed looked like he’d just dug his way out of a grave seemed highly inappropriate. “You’re rather a mess. I’m surprised they let you in at all.”
Ed’s expression darkened, obviously remembering exactly why he was such a mess. And really, he was. His button down shirt that had probably been white once was now smeared with blood and debris. His hair hung in dirty tangles, drooping in his face and down his back. Whatever sleep he had managed at Roy’s side the night before had done little to alleviate the dark circles under his eyes. Even Ed could not possibly be oblivious to all of that, and yet he only replied, “Well, I lost my hair tie.”
“Go take a shower and get some proper rest, Fullmetal,” Roy murmured. Why he’d expected Ed to do anything without a fight was beyond him.
“Don’t tell me what to do,” Ed grumbled back petulantly. He crossed his arms over his chest as if that somehow made him more intimidating.
“You look terrible. I’m shocked the nurses haven’t herded you into a shower already,” Roy said blandly. He didn’t have the energy for this, really wasn’t all that keen on being alone again, but if he didn’t get some semblance of control back now, he knew he never would.
“Oh you have room to talk. And who’re you calling… whatever you’re trying to insinuate. You act like…” Ed trailed off, scowling irritably at Roy and not budging. Roy continued, cutting Ed off before he could say more.
“Go take a shower and a nap. That’s an order, Fullmetal,” Roy grated out.
“Fuck you. You don’t get to be…gone for this long and make me chase your sorry ass down and then just run me off,” Ed railed at him. It was different from his usual outbursts, something more serious lurking just beneath.
“Did I somehow stop being your commanding officer?” Roy hoped that Ed was too riled to notice the quaver in his voice.
“It doesn’t fucking matter! You can’t just order me away after…after,” Ed faltered, head turning away and down until his face was shrouded by his hair.
Roy reached up to card his fingers through his hair, grimacing in pain. “This is non-negotiable. You’re no good to anyone if you’re too worn out to think.”
It seemed to be Roy’s discomfort more than anything he said that finally swayed Ed. He watched Roy’s expression, his own face tight with concern. Finally, he pushed up off the chair. “Fine, suit yourself.”
Winning wasn’t nearly as satisfying as it ought to have been. Ed seemed to have decided the hospital room shower would suffice and trounced off, leaving Roy by himself. By all rights, the silence ought to have been welcome, offering sleep he couldn’t really get with Ed hovering over him. Instead, it had him glancing at the empty chair now and again, feeling strangely hollow without Ed occupying it.
There was a heavy thud, metal against the wall or the tub itself, that startled Roy from his thoughts. He might have gone to make sure Ed was alright, but even lifting himself up of the half reclined bed was excruciating. Ed was not yelling or making any other sort of ruckus, so Roy tried not to worry too much.
He was just considering braving the agony of getting up when the water shut off. A few moments later, Ed emerged from the bathroom, towel wrapped firmly around his waist. He cursed under his breath, utterly ignoring Roy as he went to his suitcase and retrieved a cleaner set of clothes.
Roy looked Ed over, mostly to satisfy himself that Ed hadn’t injured himself. He seemed well enough, if a bit bruised up. His eyes were a bit red, his cheeks blotchy, from what Roy could see. He scowled and turned his head away when he caught Roy’s gaze, and if Roy hadn’t known better, he might have mistaken it for simple irritation at being told what to do.
Ed disappeared back into the bathroom, shutting the door behind him. He emerged again fifteen minutes later, looking like nothing at all had happened. His hair still hung loose at his shoulders, but it was clean and shiny once more. Ed looked almost put together, only the way he blinked a bit too much giving anything away.
Roy didn’t comment on it, and did not complain as Ed plopped back down in the chair. It wasn’t a bed, but Ed was at least being quiet, and halfway obeying orders. He pulled the lever on the chair until the back reclined and sprawled along the length of it. Roy snorted at the young man’s stubbornness, but there were worse people to be stuck in a room with.