Edward wakes up one morning to the realisation that it has been a year since he killed his brother.
It’s been a year, and he can finally admit to himself that he was the one who did it. Regardless of whether it had been intentional or not, it was his fault. He has not forgiven himself, but he has accepted it. It’s a burden that he will carry until it is his time, in ten years from now –
Edward’s stomach drops when he realises that the clock is ticking. It is no longer ten, but nine years.
Not for the first time since he sold his soul, Edward feels a blinding panic and unbearable claustrophobia. His breaths are heaving, his arms shake, and he just wants to leave. He wants to wander and detach himself from everyone who cares. From Roy. Roy, who did his best for Edward. Who took him in and loved him, although not in so many words. Roy, whose best was still not enough. Whose best would never be enough; not in light of what Edward has done to his brother. Roy is looking to give him absolution, but he cannot find it within himself to take it.
It is a quiet, awkward day in the house. Roy must know what day it is, because he skirts around Edward and does not say anything about the fact that he’s been crying. He does not offer to take the day off, but Edward is grateful for the unexpected kiss on the forehead before Roy leaves for work. Affection has never been Mustang’s forte – even less so in the past year. He’s been treating Edward like he’s made of glass. Perhaps, to Roy, he’s made of smoke, and if Edward is held too tightly, he will disappear. Some days, Edward wishes that were the case. To die in Roy’s arms, he thinks, would be nice.
Edward stays in the guest room that night, and Roy does not say anything.
Edward wanders into the kitchen at 4 AM the next morning. He is surprised to find Roy sitting at the table, staring blankly at nothing. Edward lowers his eyes before Mustang can look up, and sets about making coffee for both of them.
‘I miss you.’ Roy says as Edward sets a mug down in front of him.
‘That’s not how you thank people, Mustang.’ Edward raises an eyebrow as he takes a sip of his coffee.
‘I miss you,’ he says again, and Edward sighs because he can’t pretend that he doesn’t know what Roy is talking about. He feels it too; the giant, seemingly impenetrable wall that has grown between them in the last year. Roy is tirelessly trying to break his side down, while Edward is unwillingly building his up. He loves Roy. And because he loves him, he will not get close to him. He will not make Roy’s suffering worse.
‘I’m right here,’ Edward tells him instead, and the lie makes him ill.
Roy opens his mouth to say something, and then closes it again. They finish their coffees without another word. Roy leaves early for work, and it is a long time before Edward gets up from the table.
Edward is careful not to leave the guest room until he hears the front door swing shut the next morning. Roy is gone, and he thinks that today has the potential to be a good day.
He wonders when he started associating good days with days where he doesn’t see Roy.
Part of him wonders why he is fighting so hard to push Roy away.
That night, Edward makes sure he is holed up in the guest bedroom when Roy comes home. He feels guilty for doing it three nights in a row, but he can’t face Roy. Not now. Roy is crossing into dangerous territory that Edward isn’t prepared for. He is reaching for him, trying to bridge the gap.
For the first time, Roy is trying to show Edward that he needs him, and Edward can’t find it in him to reciprocate. There was a time where it would have made his heart soar – but now he pities Roy for fighting a losing battle.
He hears Roy come home. There is silence in the house, and then footsteps on the stairs. They do not stop at their bedroom – Roy’s bedroom, Edward corrects himself. Instead, they keep going until they stop outside the guest room. There is a knock, and then Roy lets himself in anyway.
He looks like hell, and Edward feels horribly guilty. Roy is trying his best, and Edward is cutting him down every chance he gets. Roy does not deserve to suffer because of his own unbearable self-loathing.
Roy sits down on the edge of the bed and does not meet Edward’s eyes. ‘This needs to stop.’
Edward is caught off-guard, but he does not speak.
‘You avoiding me needs to stop.’ He sounds tired, and Edward would give anything to hold him. ‘You – you and your stupid fucking guilt and self-hate. What’s done is done, Edward. I know that no amount of time will ever be enough to grieve your brother –‘
‘How do you know?’ Edward snaps. How dare he – how dare he assume to know what the grief of losing a brother is like. ‘You didn’t lose a brother you spent your life fighting for! Tell me, Roy, how the fuck would you know?!’
Roy watches him for a long moment. Quietly, he says, ‘I didn’t lose a sibling, but I lost a brother all the same.’
Maes. The memory hits Edward like a ton of bricks, and he falls silent.
‘As I was saying,’ Roy continues, sounding a lifetime older than he did a few minutes ago, ‘I know you’ll never stop grieving your brother. But I thought that maybe after a while you’d let me in. It’s been just over a year now, and you’re treating me like I’m gonna throw you out if you look at me for too long. You don’t exactly have a long time left… and I’d like to actually spend some time with you before you leave.’
Roy falls silent after that, and Edward stares at his hands. He is scared of loving Roy. He is scared of getting close to him, because he knows that it won’t end well for Mustang.
‘I’m just tired of ruining people’s lives,’ Edward whispers, and he has almost forgotten what it feels like to be honest. ‘I don’t want you to miss me when I’m gone.’
‘You’re not dispensable, Edward,’ Roy tells him tiredly. ‘I’m always going to miss you, just like you’re always going to miss your brother. But I’m not going to stand by for the next nine years and watch you recede into yourself.’
Edward makes the mistake of looking up. Roy is looking at him – really looking at him. There’s no mask; he is not pretending to be the stoic commanding officer, or strong significant other. He is Roy Mustang, who is tired and jaded and whose lover is dying. He is Roy Mustang, who Edward has been abusing since day one.
He has not deserved any of it.
Edward feels the wall between them crumbling, and this time he does not want to build it up again.
He does not sleep in the guest bedroom that night, and he does not flinch when Roy holds him. The minutes tick by and the room is silent but for their quiet, steady breathing. Edward is fighting the guilt of pushing Roy away. After all – Roy had taken him in, despite everything. Roy had loved him anyway – and he still did. Edward was selfish and stupid and he did not deserve Roy.
‘I’m sorry.’ Edward whispers into the dark. In response, Roy strokes his hair, and Edward knows he is forgiven.
Roy holds him just a bit tighter, and Edward’s last thought before he falls asleep is that he could get used to this.
He has not slept so well in years.
CoS why are you so cruel to this pairing
also guys i have a writing blog where i post even more feelsy fma drabbles + other things in general (◕‿◕✿)
A little more…
A silence has settled over the house now. He does not look at Roy, and Roy does not look at him. In bed, they lie as far away from each other as possible. It’s a matter of centimetres, really – Edward could easily reach over and touch Roy. But it feels like miles. And soon, he knows, they will be separated by more than that.
He has a week left, and neither of them wants to admit it.
Edward thinks of other people who have their loved ones with them til the last. He thinks of how they spend every moment together, laughing and talking and enjoying each other as much as they can, until only one of them is left. He would be lying if he said he wasn’t jealous. He doesn’t want this distance. He doesn’t want to be treated as a ghost; he doesn’t want Roy to act as if he’s already dead. He wants Roy to look at him and love him as a human. Because that is what Edward fears the most. He does not fear leaving this world behind. He does not fear the unknown. He does not fear Death, or the suffering that will surely come after. He fears being remembered.
Edward knows Roy, and he is sure that in the colonel’s mind, Edward is being refabricated. He is sure that Roy is putting him onto a pedestal – forming him into some sort of divine creature; ethereal and unreachable. Something he does not deserve. Edward knows it is to cope with the loss, but it terrifies him. For, who else is there to remember? Alphonse is gone. The team does not know him. They, and everyone else, see him as a saviour. To them, he is the Hero of the people. He is the one who has solved their problems and chased the demons away. He has given them their happy ending.
They do not know that he will never get his.
But Roy is different, because he knows. He has seen Edward at his lowest – lost and broken and lonely. Roy has watched him rise above the sorrow to become stronger and smarter (if only on the outside). He has seen Edward shoulder the weight of the world and keep fighting anyway. Roy has seen Edward save lives, and take them too. He has seen him cry, and held him on the nights where he can’t sleep. Roy has listened to him recount his nightmares, voice hollow. Roy knows his mind; he knows not only its brilliance, but also the demons that lurk there. Roy knows his body, which is more scar tissue than flesh. He knows it and he knows the automail, and he loves them. Roy has seen him lose everything, and still, he has stayed and welcomed Edward with open arms. He knows Edward as he really is – lost, and broken, and lonely. Human. But he will not remember Edward this way.
And really, Edward knows that he does not deserve to be remembered like that. Humans are pure and wonderful - quintessentially beautiful. He is poisoned. He is cursed. His metal limbs have marked him out as subhuman for as long as he can remember. He does not deserve to be remembered properly. He does not deserve to be honoured.
It is three days before he is supposed to die, and Edward accidentally meets Roy’s eyes as they pass in the hallway. They are red-rimmed. There are dark circles that he knows were not there before. His cheeks are tearstained, and he looks gaunt. Roy is not quick enough to hide the pain in his expression when he sees Edward, and he ducks his head and walks quickly by. Edward is rooted to the spot, and he is sure that an eternity of suffering will never be as painful as this.
It is this encounter that takes him to Riza.
‘Edward,’ she seems surprised to find him on her doorstep. He stopped keeping in contact with the team shortly after he found out his time was coming. It has been ten years, and she has aged. She is a little more plump than he remembers, and there is the beginning of soft creases at the corners of her eyes. But she is still beautiful, as she always has been. ‘I won’t say I’m not surprised, but it’s good to see you. Come in.’
He forces a smile and follows her to the kitchen table. He remembers sitting here with her before, listening to her talk about the horrors of Ishval. The memory is like a knife in his heart, and he blinks back tears. Ten years of separation has not dulled his fondness for Team Mustang, and he desperately wishes that he didn’t have to go.
‘I doubt this is a social call,’ Riza Hawkeye watches him shrewdly, carefully. Their relationship has been a little strained; he knows that she holds the same affection for Roy Mustang that he does.
‘I’m going to die soon,’ Edward says matter-of-factly. Riza’s eyes widen, but he continues. ‘I’d rather you didn’t ask questions. Just – my time’s almost up. I’ve got two days left. And, yes, that’s why I cut myself off back then,’ he can see the question in her eyes, and she deserves an answer. ‘But it doesn’t matter now, okay? I… Riza, I need you to do me a favour.’
‘I’m listening.’ She says, with the formality and determination that he remembers from his time in the military. He thinks for a moment that if it wasn’t Roy, it would have been her. But the thought is useless, and he lets it go.
‘You’ve never stopped loving him, have you?’ Edward asks quietly. He has to force the words out. He doesn’t want to be here. He doesn’t want to be deciding Roy’s fate. He doesn’t want someone else to come in and take his place. He doesn’t want someone else to hold Roy and love him and share their life with him. He doesn’t want Roy to move on.
He doesn’t want Roy to forget him.
‘No,’ Riza’s voice is controlled. She is wary, but now is not the time for tact.
‘I want you to take care of him for me.’ Edward can feel his heart breaking into shreds at the hopeful look on her face, but he doesn’t care. ‘I want you to help him. I… I don’t want you to take my place. We’re different people, after all. But I want you to be there for him.’
The next sentence is the most painful thing he’s ever had to say.
‘I want you to make him forget me.’
Riza watches him carefully for a long time, and he knows that she is trying to figure him out. He imagines that she is silently picking apart his brain, absorbing the devotion and love for Roy. He imagines that she sees the desperation and the grief, and he knows what her answer will be long before she says it.
‘I can’t be like you,’ she tells him. ‘He’ll never forget you.’
‘I don’t want you to be like me,’ Edward replies. ‘I want you to be better.’
She searches his face for a long time, and then she sighs heavily. ‘I’ll try, Edward.’
There are tears in his eyes as he stands up. ‘Thank you.’
That night, he does not turn his back to Roy. He turns around and watches the expanse of Roy’s back, trying to memorise the way it looks in the dark, the soft rise and fall of his breathing. He knows that Roy is only pretending to sleep, but he is surprised when Roy turns around to face him. Roy reaches out and tangles his fingers with Edward’s, their hands resting in the space between them. They watch each other in silence, and Edward imagines that they are both silently telling each other everything they won’t say. They will not say I love you – not now. It’s too late, and saying it now will be too much and not enough.
Roy removes his hand from Edward’s, and instead cups Edward’s cheek with it, stroking his face gently. His eyes burn has he blinks back tears, instead putting his hand over Roy’s. He has missed this. He does not want to leave it behind. He does not want to die. Roy opens his mouth to say something, and for a minute Edward thinks he’s going to say I love you.
‘Don’t go,’ Roy whispers instead.
For a moment, Edward feels human.
swallowing skylines: (you know it would be heartbreaking if ed tried to set him up with someone else)
swallowing skylines: (so he wouldn’t be alone)
(ﾉ⊙‿⊙)ﾉ .-. DoraNO: (oh my god)
(ﾉ⊙‿⊙)ﾉ .-. DoraNO: (but you know he’d go to riza)
(ﾉ⊙‿⊙)ﾉ .-. DoraNO: (“take care of him for me.”)
(ﾉ⊙‿⊙)ﾉ .-. DoraNO: i don’t know if ed could do it tho
(ﾉ⊙‿⊙)ﾉ .-. DoraNO: because he’s selfish enough to want roy
(ﾉ⊙‿⊙)ﾉ .-. DoraNO: to know that he belonged to someone and someone belonged to him
(ﾉ⊙‿⊙)ﾉ .-. DoraNO: even though he’s going to die
(ﾉ⊙‿⊙)ﾉ .-. DoraNO: because edward’s been alone for so long
(ﾉ⊙‿⊙)ﾉ .-. DoraNO: that he just wants someone to remember him
swallowing skylines: ;___; he doesn’t believe in his own legacy?
(ﾉ⊙‿⊙)ﾉ .-. DoraNO: he knows he has a legacy. but his legacy isn’t him
(ﾉ⊙‿⊙)ﾉ .-. DoraNO: they see a hero, not a broken man who lost everything twice over
(ﾉ⊙‿⊙)ﾉ .-. DoraNO: but roy knows
(ﾉ⊙‿⊙)ﾉ .-. DoraNO: roy knows what he’s done and how hard he fought
(ﾉ⊙‿⊙)ﾉ .-. DoraNO: and he knows what he’s like at night when he’s just woken up, crying and disoriented from a nightmare
(ﾉ⊙‿⊙)ﾉ .-. DoraNO: edward doesn’t want to be a hero; he wants to be human
Edward is thankful that Roy’s house has more than one bedroom.
It’s a lonely existence – he spends his days curled up in Roy’s guest bedroom, curled up under a heap of blankets, listening to Roy’s footsteps. Every now and then, the door opens. If Edward could find the strength, he knows he will look up to find Roy standing there – tired, dishevelled, worried. But he’s weak. He can’t bring himself to meet Roy’s eyes anymore; not now that the man knows what he’s done.
Really, he’s just surprised that he’s not out on the street yet.
Edward knows what he’s done is the ultimate betrayal – especially now that Roy has let him back in, admitting in his own way that he loves Edward too. That should comfort him; there is finally someone who loves him despite his faults. Even though he’s scarred and half metal and a sinner, he is loved. Roy is just as damaged as Edward, and he knows that if he clings, Roy will cling back. Neither of them will ever show it, but they need each other like a drowning man needs air. And Edward knows that this is it. There has been no other, and there never will be. And, as arrogant as it may sound, he knows that Roy, too, will have no other. He knows that there is no other that will see Roy’s scars and burns and love them. There is no other who will look past what happened in Ishval and love him. There is no other who will see his haunted look on rainy days and just know. In a perfect world, time would be insignificant to them. In a perfect world, they would have something that could almost transcend time itself. It would be so pure, so raw and passionate that it would burn everything they touched. And they would revel in every minute of it.
But Edward has singlehandedly stopped them from having that. They will not have anything remotely close to that; it will be melancholy and desperate. Every touch, every glance, every word will be tainted with the knowledge that Edward’s clock is ticking. Soon, he will just be another loss that keeps Roy up at night. He will be another person that neither of them could have saved.
He has destroyed Roy’s last chance at happiness, as well as his own. Rather than having someone that will help him carry the weight of the world, he has deposited it on Roy’s back and shackled them both. His poor choices will to haunt both of them; long after Edward is gone and forgotten. He knows that Roy will not forget.
Edward doesn’t know where his soul will go after it’s taken from him. From what he’s read, he knows that he’s going to suffer. And he will deserve it.
There’s little consolation in that.
we’ll talk after you eat
i figured it’d be better to ask… people don’t usually like cuddling with monsters.
—…..[SIGHS] u dumb little shit
go back to bed
I’ll go on a quick food run and we’ll have a meal in bed
you look tired
you, uh… … thank you. … … canwecuddle?