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. Thanks, per usual to elfen and cryogenia for read overs and edits and the like.
Disclaimer: I don't own Fullmetal Alchemist or any of its characters.
The rest of my fics are here.
Despite the doctor’s fit about Ed “endangering” Roy’s health by dragging him outside, for once, the worst did not happen. If anything, it did a world of good, and it became sort of secret between them, to see how long they could get away with leaving the room without being caught.
It wasn’t easy. The unfamiliar territory still made Roy shiver, whether he meant to or not. He still panicked when he reached the exit, though bit by bit the utter terror was fading away.
Things were coming more easily though, both physically and mentally. Roy left the bedroom more often, even if it was only to sit on the couch and play games with Edward, or watch him scribble away at the desk. He could make it outside with only a soft, strangled gasp to his breathing, the rapidly dissipated once he relaxed again.
Ed had a way of being whatever he needed for the moment, either by accident or design. He walked beside Roy with such an easy gait, that Roy could almost believe it wasn’t intentionally slow so that he could keep up. He moved closer, his shoulder pressed reassuringly to Roy’s seconds before panic set in every time until Roy was certain Ed knew his cues better than he himself did.
The nightmares still came, angry slips of memory that jostled him from sleep with agonized cries and flailing limbs. But Ed knew, knew what had happened, and somehow that eased the pain. Golden eyes, dulled with sleep, and gleaming lazily in the moonlight, would be fixed on him when he finally woke enough to realize he was safe. Warm fingers slipped through his hair, along his shoulders, soothingly tracing his spine as Ed listened to frantic, whispered words.
It was getting more difficult to ignore the inevitable after. It was easy, normal even, for him to wake with his arms full of warm skin and metal, with a blond head tucked under his chin. They clung together, even as they healed, and Roy was at a loss how to explain the precise way it was becoming less about need and more about want. He only knew that when Ed looked at him, less often now were his eyes hollow and haunted. He smiled, smiled and meant it, and something in Roy’s chest constricted at the sight.
He’d been terrified, even a month before, of trying to cope on his own. A night without Edward had meant a racing heart as he stared out into the darkness, and nightmares that shoved him out of what little sleep he managed. Both were less frequent now, and all he could think about was how much he’d miss the solid weight of automail curled protectively over his side.
It was inevitable, the fact that eventually they’d have to go home, and learn to live without the other’s constant presence. Roy tried not to think about it, as much as he tried to ignore what it all suggested. This ever present need that wasn’t, was cloying and inescapable, and Roy took his time with it because he couldn’t quite put a definition into words.
Bandages so thick he felt like he was being suffocated had become as commonplace as Edward’s weight pressed against his side. On some level he knew they weren’t going to be there forever. Still, it came as a surprise when the nurse came in and said she was leaving them off this time.
“Do you want me to go?” Ed’s voice was soft, but it cut through the silence so sharply, Roy had no choice but to acknowledge it.
Roy immediately discarded the idea. Ed had seen the worst of the damage, and even if he hadn’t, he’d stuck by through everything else over the last couple of months. He shook his head and Edward stayed, scooting off the bed to give the nurse room to work.
They’d come off time after time to be replaced, but he’d never really looked. Roy watched her nimbly pick the tape loose that held them, and something nervous and fretful twisted in his stomach. Always before, the small glimpses he’d caught were “healing”. Now, though… now whatever she unraveled was quite likely the rest of his life.
Roy’s eye flicked along with the nurse’s fingers as she unwound the strips of gauze. Another layer, and another, and by the time she was on the last one, he didn’t want to look any longer. Desperate for relief, because he couldn’t stand the suspense, Roy tipped his head up, watching Ed and waiting for it to be over.
For the first time he could remember, Ed’s face was entirely unreadable. It was blank, free from horror or pity as his mostly healed chest was revealed, inch by gauze covered inch. Roy watched Ed’s eyes trail downward, surveying the damage, or perhaps lack thereof. If he hadn’t known Edward, wasn’t painfully aware that he bled emotion down to his very core, he’d have thought it was simply callous.
The nurse did not wait for Roy to work out whatever might be going through Ed’s head. She tugged gently at the strips that angled across his face, pulling them free. With nothing left to hide behind, Roy swallowed and looked at Ed, who was no longer quite so placid.
For a fraction of a second, something like despair washed over Ed’s features. He closed his eyes and looked away, and Roy thought perhaps Ed was as disgusted as he’d feared. They opened again almost immediately. There was nothing like repulsion there so much as barely concealed hate. His lips quivered with the inevitable urge to scream, and mismatched hands fisted at his sides.
It told Roy volumes more than he was comfortable knowing. The nurse looked from him to Ed and back again before apparently deciding they no longer needed her help, and quickly heading back out of the room. Roy took a breath and started to look down, but his attention was drawn by Ed’s low, furious mutter.
“I wish I hadn’t killed him,” Ed hissed, his face nearly unrecognizable in its rage. His voice rose steadily as he spat, “I wish I hadn’t so… I’d fucking take him apart for this.”
“Ed, it’s over,” Roy replied, shocked that his voice remained at all level. Ed’s eyes widened as if stung, and he squeezed his eyes shut, shoulders slumping in defeat.
He needed to know, needed to see what Ed was seeing. Roy left his companion perched awkwardly at the foot of his bed and fled to the bathroom, fighting down the nervousness he felt. The mirror was directly across from the door to the little room, and once he was facing it, there was no turning back.
Ed made no move to stop him, didn’t even get up to follow. Roy took a step into the room and flipped the light switch. His eye drew slowly up to the mirror slowly, and he couldn’t help the strangled gasp that snuck past frayed nerves and chapped lips.
There were parts of his chest that hadn’t been burned, pale swatches of smooth skin couched in all the damage. They were few and far between, just visible enough to stand out sorely. Hospital issue pants rode low on his hips, exposing unmarred skin across the lowest parts of his belly. Above, even now, he was a mess of knotted scar tissue and damaged flesh that reminded him somewhat of flannel, the way it rippled and caught in places.
His throat was strangely close to free from damage, and almost a startling break from all the rest. Carefully gripping the porcelain edges of the sink, he finally looked at his reflection’s face. He was fairly certain he was going to be sick.
He’d known from the get go that his eye was a lost cause, most likely damaged beyond repair itself. Still, it made his stomach churn as he inspected the knotted, shiny scar tissue that crept across where it had been, dipping into what might well be an empty socket, and cauterized shut as if nothing had ever existed there. It continued across the side of his face, missing his nose and mouth by less than an inch, and ending just above the curve of his jaw.
It wasn’t the damage itself that was killing him. Thanks to Edward, he was alive, and that counted for a great deal. But General Mustang was more than this, and for the first time he completely understood that there would be no reclaiming the man he’d once been. His stomach roiled threateningly at the mess that was left of him and he tightened his fingers around the sink, turning his head from the mirror.
Warm fingers against his spine startled Roy from his thoughts. After months spent swathed in bandages, every touch was acutely felt, and he shivered in spite of himself. He turned his head warily to find Ed watching him, trying valiantly to pretend he wasn’t worried. Ed fixed him with a strange, watery sort of smile, never so much as flinching as he looked at Roy.
Roy didn’t smile back, couldn’t bring himself to be reassuring, or even strong right now. The look he gave Ed was as broken as he felt, a dismal, anguished frown as he tilted his head away from Edward, letting shaggy bangs cover the majority of the damage on his face. The sick feeling rose in his throat, and his words were thick as he bitterly muttered, “I look like… some kind of monster.”
Ed said nothing at first. He moved closer, disregarding any ideas Roy might have ever had about personal space. There were hands on his arms and Roy simply hadn’t the energy to pull away as he was drawn more fully into the overhead light. Ed’s gaze was sharp and focused as he looked Roy over, and as disconcerting as it was, Roy couldn’t move under it.
“Roy.” The name was soft and lilting on Ed’s tongue. He reached out, delicately drawing metal fingers along Roy’s ruined cheek, a subtle reminder that he wasn’t the only one who’d ever been damaged. The feeling was muted by damaged nerves, but it was still there, and Roy’s heart stuttered as Ed gently cupped his jaw, drawing his face so close their noses all but touched.
He might have pulled away. He didn’t know what this was, only that it was startling, and he was already so precariously on edge. Ed was closer still, his human hand splayed firmly across Roy’s chest. His voice was all but a whisper as he finished, “All I see is you.”
He hadn’t cried when the whole of what had happened to him finally came tumbling out. By the end, he’d been entirely numb, and Ed was scrubbing furiously at his eyes enough for them both. He’d thought for sure if he could make it through that, he could manage anything.
Now though, Ed’s fingers slid along his jaw to card carefully through his hair. He jumped when Ed’s human palm skimmed over an undamaged patch of skin on its way around to his side. It continued around to the middle of his back as Ed gruffly tugged him forward. His face found its way to press against Ed’s throat, and something in him finally collapsed.
It was a quiet thing, a choked sob he couldn’t quite muffle or restrain. Ed had to be feeling awkward he imagined, but his hand only slid soothingly up and down Roy’s spine. He offered nothing in the way of words, but metal fingers rested against the back of Roy’s head, rubbing painstakingly careful circles against his scalp. Roy thought he should probably be mortified that he was leaving Ed’s throat salty and damp, but he couldn’t quite bring himself to back away or pull himself together.
He wasn’t sure when Ed finally dragged him out of the bathroom. How they made it to the couch was just as much of a mystery. Ed did nothing to draw attention to the situation. He only stayed put, his heartbeat steady and lulling as it pattered against Roy’s chest. He could barely feel it, but it was there all the same. Ed’s jaw and loose hair shielded his face from the empty room, and finally he felt something like catharsis.