In the Rough - Chapter 1

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In the Rough

by dragonimp

Libraries: Angst, Drama, Fantasy, Fullmetal Alchemist, MenLovingMen Non Mature, One Shots, Romance, Song Fic

Published on / 1 Chapter(s) / 2 Review(s)

Updated on

Roy/Ed post-series songfic, inspired by Anna Nalick's "In the Rough"

It couldn't have lasted the way it was. Looking back, Roy could see that. Maybe he could even have seen it at the time, but oh, he'd wanted it to last, so badly that maybe he'd blinded himself to the signs.

They'd both been desperate, back then. Desperate and more than a bit lost now that neither of them had the focus he'd clung to for so long. That's how they'd been together; desperate and passionate.

And somewhere along the line, Ed had grown dissatisfied. And Roy—Roy had grown complacent.

"This isn't working."

 

You say you fell while holding diamonds in your hands

"It's your fault for running holding diamonds," I said

It shouldn't have come as such a surprise. He should have seen it coming. It shouldn't have hurt so much.

"What are you talking about?" He'd tried to laugh like it was all just a joke; but if it was a joke, Roy had been the butt of it.

"This." Ed had waved his arms to indicate the house, their shared lives, everything. "It's not working. It's—I'm sorry, Roy, but it's just not. I can't do this anymore."

And I offer no sympathy for that

"You can't be serious. Fullmetal—Ed, you can't just—throw away everything we have, just like that—"

I hear that it was you who died alone

"What everything? What 'we'? This is your life, Mustang, always has been. I'm just tacked onto the edge of it."

And I offer no sympathy for that

"What are you talking about? Of course you have your own life—"

"I have a position you got me, and I can't do anything I want with it without you sticking your nose in—"

"Protocol—"

"Bullshit. And it's not just the job. 'Our' friends are mostly your friends—and they're great, they are, but I don't have anything that's mine. Even this house, everything in it is you."

"If you wanted to redecorate, you only needed to say something—"

"That's the point! It'd still be yours. Roy. . . ." Ed had reached out to him then, his expression pained but unyielding. "You try to control everything. I don't think you even realize you do it, but you do. And I can't do this anymore."

Better off I sparkle on my own

"But—I love you. I just want—"

"I know. I know you're just doing what you think is best, but . . . I need to live my own life."

It hadn't been as simple as that, Roy had pulled out every argument he could think of, anything that might make Edward reconsider, anything that might make him stay, but the young man's stubbornness was almost as legendary as his alchemy. In the end, Roy had let him go. He'd let go, because otherwise Ed would have torn him in two as he pulled away.

 

And someday love will find me in the rough

Someday love will finally be enough

 

Edward got himself transferred out of Central, and out of Roy's life. The older man kept track of him when he could. It wasn't hard; Ed never had completely lost his flair for making a scene. He settled, or at least bought a house, out in one of the suburbs, barely an hour by car but so, so very far from Roy and Roy's life.

But it was inevitable that he would come back to Central; he was still working for the state, after all. Roy simply waited.

 

I turned around 3 times and wound up at your door

Now you say you know all you did not know before

They were a little awkward with each other at first, but Edward did seem genuinely glad to see him. They got lunch, and they caught up. Made small talk. They still fit together so easily; not in any way that made sense to most people, full of angles and sharp words, but so comfortable. Roy let himself hope. And he let himself voice that hope, because didn't this prove that they could still be something . . .?

And I offer no sympathy for that

But Ed's response was to give him sad, resigned smile.

I hear that it was you who died alone

"You still don't get it, do you."

"What's not to get? You could still keep your new position. We could—"

And I offer no sympathy for that

Gloved fingers against his lips, and such a sad, aching look, and he realized that the younger man's heart was breaking just as much as his. And yet;

"I can't, Roy; we can't. You don't. . . ." His hand slid back to cup the back of this head, and Roy looked down into the gold eyes he loved so much and just broke. "You don't want a partner. Not really. You try to own everything. And I . . . I do love you, Roy, please believe me when I say that. But I can't be that for you."

Better off I sparkle on my own

"What can I. . . ."

"I don't know. This is just . . . who you are."

"I'm sorry. . . ."

"Yeah. Me, too."


And someday love will find me in the rough

Someday live will finally be enough


I got your love letters

I threw them all way

And I hear you think that I'm crazy

I'm driving 95

And I'm driving you away

And I shine a little more lately

 

They'd parted, but they didn't say goodbye. Roy still kept track of Ed. He wrote, when he could force himself to make the letters nothing more than friendly, hey-here's-my-life, how's-yours? notes. Ed even wrote back occasionally. Those brief, almost illegible letters and the news he got through the grapevine were enough to let him know that Edward was moving on with his life. And, because his pride was still such that he wouldn't let himself be out-done or done-in by the younger alchemist, Roy forced himself to do the same.

 

Someday love will find me in the rough

 

He dated; he honestly enjoyed being back on the dating scene. But he always made a point of being around when Ed was due back in Central. Just for lunch and a chat to catch up. That's all.

His heart wouldn't be able to take anything more.

And each time Edward was glad to see him. As the months turned into years, they developed something of an easy friendship. Roy learned to accept what he had and not push for anything more. He was too afraid that the alternative would mean losing the younger man from his life entirely.

Someday love will finally be enough

But it was still with a hesitant sort of trepidation that Ed informed him that he was getting married. Roy hugged him, and wasn't lying when he told him he was happy for him, because no one deserved a shot at a normal life more than Edward.

"I want you to be there. You're one of my closest friends, and I'd really—I'd like it if you could be there. But, if you can't, I'd understand—"

"I'll be there."

That evening he went through an entire bottle of whiskey, but he was sober for the wedding. He owed that to Ed. And to himself.

 

Someday love will find me in the rough

 

Roy still wrote; Edward still wrote back. They still saw each other whenever Ed came to Central, or whenever Roy happened to be out in Ed's area. Before long Edward had a daughter, and at times he would talk about nothing else. Roy called him Hughes more than once; they both laughed at that, but it never stopped the young father from gushing. Roy didn't expect it to.

Megan was a bright, cheerful girl with her mother's oval face and soft brown eyes, and a stubborn set to her jaw that made Roy want to laugh because Ed may as well be lecturing a mirror. She also had her father's sense of mischief and penchant for trouble, and her mother's sweet charm that let her talk her way out of just about anything she could get herself into. She was a tornado in pigtails and Roy simply adored her. Edward often brought her with him when he visited Central and Roy always managed to spoil her silly. Ed complained, but he never meant it. He was more than wrapped around his daughter's little finger.

Roy asked the younger man once why his wife never came with him. Edward shrugged and said she didn't like the city.

 

Someday love will finally be enough

 

And because they kept in touch, and because Roy had made an art out of reading people and the subtleties between them, he was not wholly surprised when Ed showed up unannounced on his doorstep one evening.

"Ellie kicked me out. Al lives too far away, I didn't know where else. . . ."

Roy ushered him in, sat him down, and waited. Because he had learned, finally learned, after all these years, when not to push or pull. A few hours and half a bottle whiskey later, Ed opened the dam and let the entire story spill forth; the growing distance between him and his wife, the way she had started to criticize him for little things, things that he had always done, his increasing irritation that lead to more and more time spent in the lab and away from home, and finally the screaming fight that had ended with her slamming the door in his face. And poor Megan's increasing distress and anger as she watched her parents tearing themselves apart.

"I'm so sorry, Ed. Truly. I'm sorry things have turned out this way."

"Yeah, me too." He empted his glass, and stared at it, as if trying to read the answers in the bottom. Roy could have told him that didn't work. "She even called me a bad father. Said I was a . . . bad example for Megan. Said Meg's better of without me." Roy couldn't begin to imagine how that must have stung. He winced in sympathy but kept quiet. "Dun' care what she thinks. She ain't keepin' me from my daughter."

"Nor can she, legally. If she tries, let me know. I can put you in touch with someone."

"Thanks. . . ."

Roy refilled their drinks, but again kept his peace.

"I really loved her, y'know? She's . . . it's like she's not the same person I married. Shit. 'M not the same, neither. But . . . I really loved her."

"I know. I know you did."

After several more hours and the rest of the whiskey, Roy lifted Ed's feet onto the couch and draped a blanket over him, and when he slid the glasses off the younger man's face he couldn't help but notice the fine salt-spray on the inside of the lenses.

 

Edward got himself transferred back to Central. His thirteen-year-old daughter insisted he rent the apartment near the library she'd helped him find. She would only be with him every other weekend while school was in session, but despite this, or perhaps because of it, Ed made every effort to make his apartment feel as much like home to her as her mother's house. Roy offered to help in any way he could, but then stepped back and let Edward come to him, though he checked in on him often.

 

A year or so later and they'd settled into a comfortable sort of closeness. Roy didn't push for more; Edward was still hurting from his separation from his wife. And Roy had learned, finally, that some things were better left outside his control.

"Thanks for, well, for everything," Edward said one evening after they'd had dinner together. "For always being there. I still think you're a manipulative, scheming bastard—"

"And I still think you're a smart-mouthed, arrogant brat."

A pause, and a friendly glare.

"Anyway. I still can't let you run my life. . . ."

"I'm to busy with my own to try to manage yours."

". . . But I think . . . I'd like for you to share it. If you don't mind me sharing yours."

"I think . . . that sounds perfectly wonderful."

"Yeah. Me, too."

 

I shine a little more lately 

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