Disclaimer: Okay…please don't ask me if I own Full Metal Alchemist…That is just a stupid question. I love Roy and Maes!
A/N: It is not very clear as to when Gracia found out about her husband's murder but for the purposes of this story I am assuming it was the same night, after they found Mäes body. I've also added a slight touch of Royai into this, as no story is right without at least a bit. It goes a small way to make up for the utter despair that this story seems to resonate… I miss Maes… :(
"Mummy?" Gracia turned to the doorway where her three year old daughter Elicia stood, doll in hand and rubbing her eyes tiredly.
"When is Daddy coming home?"
"Come here." Gracia whispered. Elicia then ran towards her burying herself in her mother's arms. "Daddy will be home soon, honey. Don't you worry." She replied, trying to keep the troubled tone out of her voice. "You should be asleep now, Elicia."
"I want to wait for Daddy!" she cried, completely oblivious to her mother who was chewing her lip nervously. Mäes had told her that there was something he needed to investigate in his office. She remembered the worried look in his eyes as he mentioned the trouble brewing in the military.
"Gracia, I will get to the bottom of this. Something just isn't sitting right with me. I'll be home soon. I love you Gracia." He leaned over and kissed her softly on her lips. That was all he said before he quickly bustled out the door and drove off.
She was so worried about him, as she glanced at the clock for the third time in the past ten minutes. He really should have been home already; as he had been gone now for over five hours.
"Mummy?" What's wrong?" Elicia's tiny voice cut through her musings. She smiled softly at her daughter who was peering up at her with her big green eyes, reminding her sharply of Maes.
"Nothing, honey." She replied gently stroking Elicia's hair. "Go sit on the couch and play with your toys then Elicia." There was no point in trying to force her to go back to bed. When she wanted something, there was no stopping her. She was like her father that way…. Her eyes settled on a photo of Maes and Roy Mustang, his best friend.
He is strong and smart; he knows how to keep himself out of trouble…
That's right another voice spoke up there's no need to worry.
That was the problem of having a husband in the military, the sleepless nights spent sitting up and waiting for the moment when he would walk through that door with a big grin on his face, completely assuring her that he was alright. Gracia's eyes then flickered over to the picture next to it; a photo of Maes, Elicia and herself. Gods how she loved him! Ever since she first met him it had been that way. How could she not love a kind loyal and handsome man that was completely and utterly devoted to her?
A sharp rap on the front door startled her out of her musings. Her heart thudded loudly in her chest… Maes? No she thought, shaking her head slightly, he doesn't knock on his own front door.
"I'll get it!" cried Elicia as she scrambled to sit up from the couch.
"Let Mummy get it, sweetie." She countered gently, reaching down and picking Elicia up. "But you can help me!" she conceded to whoops of delight from her very excitable daughter.
I wonder who that could be, she thought as she walked down the hallway to the front door. Taking a deep breath she opened it.
"Colonel Mustang! Lieutenant Hawkeye! What a pleasant surprise! What brings you here at this hour?" she greeted, kindly ushering them inside. Before they could respond they were interrupted by a loud exuberant voice.
"Hello Elicia, how are you?" he replied, smiling warmly at her, the expression in his eyes somewhat distant.
"I'm good, Uncle Roy. Mummy and me are waiting up for Daddy to come home from work. He had lotsa important things to do, he told me! Daddy always told me what he was up to, I'm his special helper!" she said proudly, puffing her chest out slightly. She then turned towards Lieutenant Hawkeye, who was looking curiously subdued. "Aunty Riza! Daddy is always saying you are the bestest shooter ever and he reckons that you should marry Uncle Roy because you know him so well-" Gracia clamped a hand over her daughter's mouth.
"I'm sorry, Roy, Riza. You know how her mind gets carried away with her, just like Maes I suppose." She smiled broadly. Roy nodded solemnly while Riza bowed her head, a low sob escaping her lips. Roy reached over and squeezed her hand gently.
"It's alright, Riza." He whispered soothingly. Gracia's eyes widened imperceptibly with shock.
Maybe there was something to what Maes was saying after all…
"Are you alright, Riza?" Gracia asked her voice etched with concern. Riza nodded slowly, wiping her eyes discreetly. This was really disquieting, Riza Hawkeye never cried. "What's wrong?" Gracia demanded sharply to Roy, panic beginning to override her senses. Something was definitely going on. Roy met her eyes for a moment and she was startled to see the pain and hurt that clouded his obsidian gaze.
"Perhaps we should take a seat." Roy digressed, obviously hoping to delay the inevitable.
"No! Tell me now! You really are worrying me, what's wrong? Maybe I should call Maes, he is in his office tonight, you know just to check-"
"Gracia." The stress Roy placed on the word forced her to meet his gaze once more.
"Roy?" she whispered, biting her lip nervously.
"Gracia, there was an incident tonight…involving your husband." Roy began slowly, never taking his eyes away from hers. A terrible fear gripped her heart as endless possibilities flew though her head.
"Maes?" she reiterated, looking imploringly at him. His face was now filled with pity as he watched her. "W-Where is my husband, Roy!" she demanded, the silence that had fallen over the group unsettling her deeply.
"Gracia," he begun again, his voice not louder than a whisper, "Maes was found outside a telephone booth-"
"Found? What do you mean found?" she interjected sharply; Roy just placed his gloved hand on her shoulder, his gaze forcing the awful truth to surface in her mind. She slowly began to shake her head,
"No, no, you've got it wrong! T-That can't be right, he-" Gracia reached up and clutched the collar on Roy's jacket, "Roy, tell me he is alright! Tell me that if I call him now he will answer! Tell me Roy!" she all but screamed in his face, panic blinding her judgement, she grasped onto him tighter as he shook his head slightly.
"Gracia, he is gone." He replied instead, his voice breaking slightly over the last word, as if the whole idea that Maes would no longer be calling him up at work to chat about his daughter or even just seeing him around Central was absolutely ludicrous.
"No! He c-can't!" she shrieked, Roy quickly held onto her as she all but collapsed in his arms, sobbing hysterically in his thick military jacket. He then brought his arms around her back, clutching her tightly to him as he leant his head against hers, silent tears flowing down his face.
"Aunty Riza? Why is Mummy crying?" she asked Riza, tugging slightly on her jacket. At the sound of her daughter's voice, Gracia tore away from Roy and threw herself down on the floor, pulling a frightened Elicia into her embrace as a fresh wave of tears engulfed her.
"It's okay Mummy, don't cry, Daddy will come home and make it better."
"E-Elicia-a, h-hon-ey," she managed to say through her sobs, "D-Daddy's n-not c-coming home a-any-m-more!" it was all she could manage before her words became unintelligible. Riza bent down and gently pried Gracia from her daughter and helped her over to the couch and sat down with her, allowing her to cry on her shoulder as she patted her arm soothingly. Elicia looked from her inconsolable mother to Roy, who stood there watching the little girl.
"Uncle Roy? I don't understand." She asked, with tears in her eyes and her voice laced with confusion, "Daddy promised he would be home soon. He said that to me! He never lies! Daddy is always telling the truth, Uncle Roy, always!" Roy bent down so he was on the little girl's level.
"Yes, I know, Elicia. Your daddy was a good man, but now his life has been taken from him" Roy said as gently as he possible could while trying to keep the bitterness from his voice. "Believe me when I say he wanted more than anything to come home to you and mummy."
"Then he will!" she cried, still not grasping the idea that her father was no longer alive. She ran to the front door and yanked it open, "DADDY!" she yelled out into the quiet of the street, "MUMMY IS SAD, COME MAKE HER BETTER!" She stood there on the front step, her ear trained towards the dark sky, as if hoping her father would respond to her.
"Elicia, come here s-sweetie." Gracia called softly from behind her. Elicia spun around to see her mother sitting on the floor next to Roy, beckoning to her. She ran into her mother's arms and hugged her tightly. "Daddy is not dead!" she cried, tears spilling over from her eyes and pouring down her cheeks. "He has too much work to do! He told me that!" Riza, who had been sitting with a hand over her mouth, finally broke; the desperate pleas from a little girl for her father were just too much for her to take. She stood up abruptly and walked into the next room, where Roy could hear her muffled cries. Roy placed his arm around Gracia and Elicia who were huddled on the floor, both crying their hearts out. He tried his hardest not to succumb to the grief that was surging up inside of him. He had to be strong for Gracia, for Elicia and for Maes.
As Gracia sat there on the floor of her living room, holding onto her daughter and Roy, the terrible cold finality of it all hit her. Maes was not going to be coming home, he was not going to spend his days at work calling her just to see how she is; and he was not going to be there as Elicia grew up. She loved him with all of her heart; before she met him, she never thought that was possible. The realization of his premature departure from everyone's lives left a gaping chasm in her heart, one that would never be filled again. Her eyes caught sight of the picture on the mantle piece of their family once again, seeing all of their smiling faces was like an arrow to her heart.
"I love you Maes Hughes." She whispered, fresh tears following the same tear-stained path down her face once again. Elicia's heartrending cries broke her heart, unsure of exactly what to do to console the little girl in her arms, who had just realized her father wasn't coming home she clutched onto Elicia even tighter, trying to offer her some small measure of comfort. She knew for a fact that they would never be the same again.
"I can't do this by myself, Roy. I need him, I need him so much!" she whispered to him from where her head lay on his shoulder.
"You are not alone, Gracia, I will always be here for you and for Elicia." He replied, swiftly, "He was my best friend and I owe him that." At that moment Riza then came back into the room, sniffling slightly, Gracia looked up to her and motioned for her to join them on the floor. Riza sat down besides Roy, folding her legs beneath her.
"You will get though this, Gracia." Riza whispered as she curled her fingers around Gracia's. "We are here for you." Gracia looked up and truly saw the first time what wonderful friends she and Maes had. She bit her lip and nodded her eyes shiny with tears of gratitude. Elicia then chose that moment to crawl out of her mother's lap and into Roy's.
"Uncle Roy? I want Daddy to come back…" she mumbled as she circled her arms around him tightly.
"So do we all Elicia." He replied, allowing himself to cry openly then, tears streaming down his face as Riza pulled him into a hug. The four of them sat there for a very long time all encircled in each other's arms, trying to reconcile the death of a loving father, devoted husband and dedicated friend.