Word Count: 1,053
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 next part is still pretty short, but I was all anxious to get it out. They should be a bit longer after this.
The rest of my fics are here.
Without the benefit of daylight as a gauge, the days all ran together. Roy couldn't remember how long he'd been in the hospital anymore, or how long since he'd shifted from waiting to be healed to adapting to a malady he'd be living with for the rest of his life. Despite Ed's invitation, he kept to himself. No one needed to see him this way.
Still, staying in bed wouldn't make going home any easier. It was practicality that won out over his poor mood. Practicality, he told himself, and not loneliness that drove him out of his room and stumbling awkwardly to Ed and Al's.
It was more of a shuffle at first, as if the loss of precious sight had also ruined his balance. He desperately sought out the wall, hands outstretched until he found the door frame. Clinging to it, he sighed in frustration as he realized it wouldn't be so simple as looking in until he found Ed's room.
A stroke of luck in a nurse passing by got him directions to Ed's room and an offer of help he struggled not to rail against. Hadn't he been untouchable once? He was better than this, shrugging off a stranger's aid in favor of groping his way along rough wallpaper that did nothing to cut the clinical nature of his surroundings.
Roy curled his fingers against the wall in frustration, scowling at the way it scraped across his knuckles. He could have stomached dying for something so important, a monster's victim or made an example for his mistakes. This though, this was something far worse, his existence sputtering into nothing and every option yanked away.
The first door he reached, he nearly fell into, the wall he'd been leaning against abruptly giving way to empty space. He was almost glad for his blindness, for just a moment, that he'd never see who he'd accidentally stumbled in on. Roy righted himself with a mumbled apology and kept going, but the hall seemed to stretch on forever, with no visual cues to tell him otherwise.
"The fuck are you doing?" Whether it was sense or just a big mouth that had Ed speaking to him before reaching out, it was warning enough. He barely jumped when Ed's fingers curled around his elbow, apparently intent on leading him along whether he wished for the help or not.
Roy didn't dare ask how long Ed had been watching him suffer for the sake of his pride, but his lips were moving before he'd quite decided how to react. "Fullmetal, I'll quite capable of..."
"Oh come off it, already," Ed abruptly cut him off. There was an edge to the young man's voice, something distraught and tired, and Roy didn't need to take in his expression to know Ed was suffering too. He hated the world just then, for taking all Ed had willingly given and demanding more, and it was humbling enough to silence his protests. Ed was gentle despite his obvious distress, and Roy didn't say a word when fingers splayed along the small of his back, guiding him down the hall.
They'd reached the room before Roy had worked out quite what he was even there for. Ed steered them through the doorway and he scarcely had time to school his expression into something more sure than he felt before Al was greeting him.
He might never see the body Ed had dragged from the gate, but the sound caught in his ears and stayed there. Al's voice had lost its hollow, tinny edge, the disembodied echo he'd so long associated with the younger Elric. He could practically feel Ed beaming beside him in that moment, like what he'd given up didn't matter, because they'd won.
Roy clung to that, smiled when he didn't feel it, and reminded himself that their losses were worth it. He'd rarely had time to just talk to them, and he drank it in, whiled away the day with company that didn't leave him feeling like a failure. His team followed him to every end, and the limbo they were in now that he could not lead them was something palpable. Ed though... only seemed to want someone to preoccupy the time they were cooped up behind hospital walls. That, at least, he could give.
It was penance, Ed decided, for all the nights Al had spent sleepless by his side in hospital rooms. He was as well as he was going to be. Still battered and bruised, the worst was over, and if there were screws poking out of his shoulder, well he could move it and that was the important part.
It wasn't bad during the day. Al was awake, often enough, a smile practically glued to his gaunt features. They happily wiled the hours away with chatter and card games, strangely silent on what was to come next. They had the rest of their lives in front of them and Ed could only think to be sure Al lived it, whatever the personal cost.
The nights were harder. Restless from too many hours spent cooped up, Ed watched his brother sleep. There were no leads to follow, no possibilities to research. Every circle he found himself doodling was dead beneath his fingers, so spark of energy, no thrum of power lying in wait when he touched the lines. He'd never feel it again, but that was better than a brother who could never feel anything.
The moon shone through the slits in the blinds, cool light washing over Al's sleeping form, and Ed could never begrudge that. There was no room for regret, no place for sorrow or self pity, not when Al could wake up screaming and still manage to be grateful, even for the nightmares, before for the first time in years, he could sleep.
Al was waking again, murmuring fretfully, lost in his dreams. Denying himself even room to hurt, Ed crawled out of his own bed and into his brother's, wearily smoothing a hand over Al's hair. For every breath, every heartbeat, every night where Al scooted closer in his sleep, nose buried against Ed's throat, it was worth it. There was no power left in his fingertips but to offer comfort to someone who merited it far more.