Word Count: 1,017
Rating: Probably R or NC-17 (PG for this part)
Characters: eventual Roy/Ed
Summary: Alternate timeline ignoring the last few chapters of the manga, most glaringly the part where Roy's eyesight was restored.
Disclaimer: I don't own FMA, blah blah blah XD
This isn't the smutty one-shot I was working on the other night, but it's been eating my brain for months, and I finally have time to work on it, so be expecting more soonish :D
The rest of my fics are here.
He couldn't see, but he felt it, the warm thrum of alchemy, a transmutation that centered around him. His nose was clogged with the scent of ozone, but in that moment, it hardly mattered. A few more moments, and his lost sight would no longer be choked with memories of the gate. The world would appear before him again, and he could begin piecing it back together.
"Well?" And it wasn't until Marcoh was speaking to him, cutting through that hopeful voice in his head, that he noticed it was over. There was no warm touch of energy, and the smell of antiseptic was already cutting through the scent of alchemy. Only...
He had been useless when it mattered, reduced to fumbling and trying to keep out of the way. Even alchemy without circles had been largely useless, blinded as he was, but he had accepted that. It was temporary. They could fix this. Roy swallowed, scarcely recognizing his own voice as he took in an eternity of the world reduced to nothingness around him, "I don't see anything at all."
He couldn't stop touching. It wasn't that Al had ever ceased to be real, but he was warm and whole and human and Ed couldn't stop reminding himself of that. Even frail and weak, Al looked so happy, and the way he smiled caught in Ed's chest and pulled. Even if the nurse looked at them funny for the way Ed always seemed to end up in Al's bed, wrapped around him like a large, particularly insistent cat, he couldn't bring himself to care.
Al's hair was still dull and flat when Ed ran his fingers through it. His ribs poked against the flesh of his abdomen in a way that made Ed want to cry, but he was alive, and the rest would get better with time. In the secret hours of the night, in the shadows between nightmares, Ed could pull Al against his chest, two flesh and blood hands skimming over his brother's hospital gown, and remind himself that his own sacrifices did not matter. What he had lost of himself paled in comparison to the life he'd fought for, warm breath and a heartbeat pattering alongside his own.
Roy had memorized that sound long before he'd lost his sight. He was guiltily relieved, despite the failure it signifies, to find Ed's footsteps were still recognizable. They drew nearer, somewhere to the right of his bed, and Roy schooled his expression into something neutral. It was hard to appear dignified when he couldn't even look Fullmetal in the eye, but he hardly needed an audience to his sulking.
"Did you need something, Fullmetal?" Ro asked, focused on keeping his voice perfectly level.
"Nah. I just... Al's taking a nap, and I thought I'd come say hello at least. Not like there's anything better to do." That Ed had heard how poorly things had gone was unspoken between them, and Roy was grateful for that at least. He didn't want anyone's pity, and he couldn't have stomached Ed's.
Ro nodded, lacking for any valid excuse to chase Ed off. Settling back against the head of the hospital bed, he asked, "How is your brother?"
Roy couldn't really fault Ed for the way that question was like breaking a dam. They'd saved the world, they'd lost so much, and he could smile at least for the way Ed ignored his own pain in favor of stories about how Al was breathing and eating again. He could not see the ridiculous grin, unfettered and happy, that turned up Ed's lips as he spoke. Roy had seen it so preciously few times in the years they'd known each other, he'd committed it to memory. Even sightless, he could hear the way it took over Ed's face and seeped into his words until Roy couldn't help but he happy too, for a moment.
Roy could hear just as clearly when that joy slipped away, overcome in fits and starts by grief. It was grief and not bitterness, because Ed refused to resent the sacrifices he'd made, refused to even acknowledge how unfair his losses were. Still, his worse were soft, heavy with loss . "Look, not that I don't want to help, but when you get back to the office..."
"Skipping out on me, Fullmetal?" Roy asked, because teasing was safe ground. An Edward Elric who was annoyed with him was far easier to sort out than one who was hurting, pained by an adversary Roy could neither beat or bolster him against.
"Well, a state alchemist who can't perform alchemy is sort of ridiculous." Roy knew his words had failed to have the intended effect, and he ached for Ed. He was a man augmented by his vision, but Ed was all but defined by alchemy. For all that blindness hampered his aspirations, his was not the only life in ruins.
Ed had always been so tactile. Failing verbally, Roy reached out, meaning to rest a hand on Ed's shoulder, an expression of solidarity if nothing else. Unable to see, and his other senses ill equipped to compensate, Roy misjudged, coming up with only empty space. It left him frustrated and helpless, and Roy stifled the urge to wail at his own impotence, only squeezing his vacant eyes shut.
There was no warning, and Roy couldn't quite keep from being visibly startled when a hand found his. Ed's fingers, warm and soft and heart wrenchingly human, curled around his for moment, slipping away before Roy could settle on a response.
"Al's probably up by now," Ed murmured, and Roy could only wonder if he'd imagined how much nearer the young man sounded.
"And looking for you, no doubt," Roy replied as neutrally as he could manage.
"Yeah." And there was Ed's voice, further away again as his mismatched steps clicked back towards the hall. "You know, you should come down sometime... if you're up to it."
Roy nodded absently, lacking the words to respond as Ed finally left, abandoning him to the darkness once more.