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. Sorry for the short chapter, guys. It seemed like a good stopping point and I had places I wanted to go with the next one.
Disclaimer: I don't own Fullmetal Alchemist or any of its characters.
The rest of my fics are here.
The dreams were worse that night, more vivid in the fever that had yet to relinquish its hold. They left him gasping for breath, trembling with a terror he couldn’t quite reason away. He curled in on himself despite the pain that shot through his shoulder, afraid to open his eye.
“Hey, it’s okay. You’re okay.“ Fingertips brushed along his cheek, and Roy jumped, surprised by the contact. Sick and frightened and still half asleep, he’d forgotten about Edward altogether. He felt his damp bangs pushed gently back away from his forehead, gentle fingers smoothing over his hair.
It was entirely too much. Bad enough Ed had seen him ill and battered and half dead, but terrified of his own dreams? It was getting to be more than he could stomach. He shoved Ed’s hand away, gritting his teeth at the pain the movement elicited and growling through them. “I’m fine already. Just leave me alone.”
For the briefest of moments, Ed honestly looked hurt. He yanked his hand away as if stung, cheeks red in embarrassment at having tried to help at all. He didn’t look at Roy as he mumbled, “I was just trying to help.”
“Why do you keep acting like I need your help?” Roy asked irritably, hiding behind the fractured pieces of his pride. Ed hovered and was gruffly caring and that was just marginally okay. He was not willing to be subjected to being pet like a frightened child.
“Why do you keep acting like you don’t?” Ed retorted. There was an angry undercurrent to his voice, like he was struggling to keep his temper in check for once.
“Because I don’t! You keep… Look, you went above and beyond. Fine, I’m grateful, but I don’t need a babysitter. I just want some peace and quiet,” Roy yelled, the tenuous control he had finally snapping. “Go. Home.”
“Babysitter? You think I stayed to be your fucking bodyguard? Well fuck you, you can have your stupid peace and quiet.” Ed’s teeth clenched so hard, Roy could see the flex of his jaw, holding back some emotion Roy couldn’t quite decipher. He was too angry to care, only glaring at Ed as he stooped to snatch up his suitcase. Ed stalked out the door without so much as a glance back. The sound as the door slammed behind him echoed in the darkness, all that was left of his presence.
The minutes stretched out for miles, until all Roy could hear was the ticking of the clock on the wall and his own harsh, labored breaths. His shoulder complained under the weight of his body pressed over it, but Roy didn’t move, only staring at the door. He’d have braved the pain and gotten up to go after Ed if only he’d had some idea of where he was.
Eventually, Roy gave up hope that Ed might change his mind and come back. An hour had passed and then two, and surely Ed was on a train home by now. The darkness and fever played tricks on his mind, shadows teasing with specters out of his nightmares. He closed his eye, trying to shut it out, but they only crowded in around him until he could barely breathe.
The door creaked open, dim light from the hospital hallway spilling into the room. It was shadowed by a familiar form, the edges of his hair glowing in the artificial light at his back. Ed glared at Roy as he stalked back into the hospital room, unceremoniously dropping his suitcase.
Ed stared, silently, for a long moment, steadily meeting Roy’s gaze. His jaw worked as he thought about saying something, and then his shoulders tensed. Even as they spilled off his lips, even in the gloomy light, they were obviously painful to say. “Maybe you want to be alone… but I don’t.”
Roy’s eye widened at the realization. All this time he’d taken Ed’s attention for pity. On some level, perhaps it was, or just Ed’s awkward way of trying to let on that he cared. There was more, though, and Roy’s stomach twisted with guilt for having taken what solace Ed had.
He would apologize. He would tell Ed the truth. He was pathetic and broken and jumping at shadows and right now he needed this like he needed air. He opened his mouth, willing to subject himself to the blow to his ego if Ed would simply stay. Ed never gave him the chance.
“You shouldn’t lay like that. You’re shoulder’s still fucked up,” Ed muttered tersely, nudging Roy onto his back once more as if nothing at all had happened.
With Roy settled in a less painful position, Ed plopped down in the chair beside the bed. He said nothing, only staring into the darkness, but the simple fact of his presence did much to ease Roy’s nerves. He tipped his head back, a soft sigh bubbling between his lips.
“Why here? Why not go back to Al?” Roy prodded. His voice was hushed hardly more than a whisper to invade the darkness between them. It was a terrifying thing to ask, but he felt like he needed to know.
There was that sigh again, and Roy couldn’t quite work out if it meant Ed didn’t want to answer the question, or if he was just very tired. His jaw worked a few times, and for a few moments, Roy thought Ed really wasn’t going to answer. Finally, Ed fidgeted and replied, his voice soft, pleading for some kind of understanding. “Because…when I’m here, I guess…I feel like maybe, maybe I did the right thing.”
“Edward, no one blames you for what happened. It was a terrible situation you shouldn‘t have had to be in,” Roy murmured. It wasn’t enough, but there was nothing he could do, not when the sacrifice Ed had made was to save him.
“I blame me,” Ed whispered, turning his head away. He pulled his legs up into the chair, hugging his knees until they and his bangs shrouded his face from view entirely.
Roy’s chest clenched tightly as he watched Ed, who always got right back up from everything, give up and wallow in his own perceived sins. He needed a drink, needed two or three actually, before he’d be ready to deal with this. There was nothing for it, though. Roy reached out as best he could manage fingertips brushing along Ed’s knee. “You did what you had to do. I’m sorry it came to that.”
The balance Roy had struggled to regain finally came to the surface, if not the way he’d intended. Nothing was ever really going to go back to the way it had been before, but perhaps they could be something else. There was no way to know if he didn’t try.
Swallowing his pride, Roy tugged at the leg of Ed’s pants. Golden eyes peered at him from behind Ed’s knees, wary and emotionally exhausted. After a moment’s hesitation, Ed gave in and slid his feet to the floor. He leaned forward awkwardly, forehead nudging slightly against Roy’s side as he settled halfway against the edge of the mattress. Roy didn’t argue as an arm was slung over his stomach.
He told himself that he had nowhere else to put his hand that wouldn’t end up in Ed’s face. He told himself that it was just that Ed was miserable and probably needed the contact. He told himself it had nothing to do with how familiar Ed’s presence was. Whatever he might allow himself to believe, Roy threaded his fingers through Ed’s hair, the soft brush of his hand against Ed’s head lulling them both back to sleep.