Hey, guys, it's been a while! Had the urge to continue this story because I was rereading it and giving myself feels. Here you go!
The house was quiet as the sun rose up over Central. Ed sat on his bed, back against the wall, staring out the window at the sunrise. He'd taken the night in full, not pausing in his thoughts a moment to allow sleep to creep up on him. He couldn't stop the swirling thoughts in his head even if he'd wanted to-the house in Resembool, a baby they'd lost, a torture he hadn't been aware he'd put her through...
He pinched his forehead softly, then pressed his palms against his eyes, rubbing the sleepiness from them. He'd made a bigger mistake in leaving than he'd thought, and yet he couldn't bring himself to say it was wrong. Looking over at his brother's sleeping figure across the room, he knew he'd made the choice that was right for them.
He quietly got out of bed and headed out the door and down the stairs. He felt the need to walk, to run. He needed to punch something. No. He stopped. He needed to stay still. Every step he took threatened to break his back. Or was it his soul? He found himself like stone by the front door, one hand on his coat and the other on the doorknob.
Why not? Running is what he'd always done, wasn't it? Running was what had gotten him into this mess, perhaps it could get him out of it. His hand tightened on the doorknob.
"She would die if you left again."
Ed turned on his heel, his hands flying up in defense. Elliot stood at the bottom of the stairs, dimly lit by the sunlight creeping in through the curtains.
"What?" Ed asked, his hands relaxing to rest at his sides.
"If you leave again, she would die. In the metaphorical sense, of course." He laughed wryly, but something was off. A sadness in his eyes caught Ed off guard.
"What do you care if I leave?" Ed asked. Elliot shuffled nervously, extending his arm to rest behind his head as he formulated an answer.
"I'll go out on a limb here, and guess that you still love her." He said finally. Ed bristled at the statement. For some reason, it sounded so wrong coming from him.
"What's it to you? Afraid I'll steal your girl?" He responded, with a hint more venom than was intended.
"No, I'm afraid you'll leave her," Elliot said, taking a step closer to him. "And that you won't be there when I can't. Besides, I don't think you could steal her." Elliot smiled wryly at him. "She never does anything unless she wants to. If she chose you, I'd respect that."
Ed choked back a witty response. Elliot was showing signs of being a halfway decent person, and he'd be damned if he wasn't actually feeling a little respect for the guy at the moment.
"Now, uh, if you'll excuse me," Elliot said, reaching past Ed to grab his coat off the coat hook. "Early morning business to attend to. Have a good one, yes?"
"Yeah, you, too." Ed watched, returning Elliot's wave as he walked out the front door into the early morning sun. He wondered if he should believe the exchange they just had, or if he should think to be dreaming.
Nevertheless, it had cured the restlessness in his bones, and he found his eyes heavy with sleep. He made his way back to the bed, slowly comprehending all that had just happened.
Rei placed the plate of pancakes on the table and frowned at her guests. She counted: Al, Winry. Elliot was at work but...
"Where's Ed?" She asked, pulling out a chair for himself.
"Pulled an all-nighter, I guess," Al responded, serving Winry and then himself. "He was just laying down when I woke up."
She turned her attention to Winry, who had begun to pick at her pancakes quietly. Then back to Al, who had again lapsed into a silence that fell awkwardly over the table.
"Um, actually, you guys enjoy. I'm still really full from the dinner at the ball last night, so I think I'll go work on my presentation or something." Rei said, quickly vacating her seat at the table. She hurried herself into the other room, standing at the foot of the stairs and contemplating her next move.
The house was eerily quiet, a rare thing since the boys practically moved in. She thought about it, and it had been nearly two months since they'd been back. She should charge them rent, she thought to herself.
Perhaps she'd go down to the range today. Hawkeye had always wanted her to go down with her, and it was Sunday so she'd be sure to be there. Rei's gun skills could use some work. She started up the stairs with that thought running through her head, and was determinedly headed to her room when something caused her to stop.
Ed. Well, the sight of Ed, really, for he was simply lying in his bed, asleep. The door was open just enough for her to see his face.
She leaned against the door frame, taken aback by the sight for a second. Maybe she hadn't really looked at him since he had been back, or maybe it was that she had been afraid to...but now she couldn't take her eyes off of him. She allowed herself to watch the little twitches in his face as he slept, twitches she used to know so well. The sunlight crept in through the window, giving his golden hair a soft glow. Before she could stop herself, she let out a small sigh.
Her hand jumped to her mouth just as his eyes fluttered open. He'd always been a light sleeper when he slept in the daytime. He gave a small yawn and sat up, revealing himself to be still dressed fancy from the night before. She involuntarily gave him a once-over, drinking in the nice clothing, ruffled slightly from sleep.
"I-I uh..." For some reason, words were failing her. Finally, she managed to mutter: "Breakfast is downstairs. Sorry to wake you."
"Oh, right. I'll be down in a bit, I guess. Um...you okay?"
"Yeah, I just..." Well, while she was here... "I wanted to talk about last night, actually."
"Oh." His honey gaze turned to an apparently interesting spot on the blankets. "Well, uh...come in?"
Elliot stared at the building in front of him, his hand tightening on the briefcase he held. Inside was a bomb big enough to knock out an entire floor of the building in front of him. His job was to surreptitiously leave it somewhere to detonate at Lust's will. Why? He had no idea. The building looked harmless enough, just an office building that was mostly empty for the weekend.
He looked over to the bushes on his left, where he knew Lust to be watching. He caught the glint of her eyes as she smiled cruelly, holding a sharp nail to the throat of his sister. He knew it wasn't really his sister, just Envy playing head games, but the sight still made his stomach churn.
He steeled himself and looked away. At least he could be sure nobody was on the floor he chose.
He hesitated for a moment, and then walked into the building with a heavy heart.
Ed brought his hand to his face, rubbing the sleepiness from his eyes. They had talked for a good hour or so, clearing up all the things she had told him last night. His head was throbbing, threatening to break his temples with unresolved feelings he had hoped not to have to deal with. He tried to pretend they weren't holding hands at the moment. For her it was a comfort, but for him it was a reminder of what they used to have.
"What would life be like if you hadn't left?" She asked quietly, and he felt a small squeeze on his hand.
"Well, I suppose we'd be living in Resembool with a two-year-old right about now." Ed responded automatically, and chanced a sidelong glance at her to be sure he hadn't upset her. He caught a smile.
"Yeah, but what about us? Would we have made it?" She asked.
He rested his head on the wall, formulating his answer. There was no telling what might have been. He probably would have wanted to leave to return their bodies to normal, yet with the baby there he might have been torn. They might have fought a lot.
"I honestly couldn't tell you," he said. He looked over at her again, and she was smiling fondly at some thought in her own mind. "Tell me you love Elliot."
She looked at him, puzzled. "Of course I do. Why would you ask me that?"
His eyes flitted to their hands, and he withdrew his to rest in his lap. "I just wanted to hear it. Makes me feel a little better about leaving before, because you found someone you can be happy with."
She must have caught his glance, because her own hands were folded in her lap now and her gaze was avoidant.
"I'd better go clean up the breakfast mess," she said, getting up. He made no move to stop her. She paused in the doorway and turned to lock eyes with him.
"I am happy," she said with a small smile. "But I was happier before."
Then she left, letting the door click closed behind her, leaving him to sink his face into his hands with a groan. That statement didn't really make him feel better. After a minute he heard a slight knock, and the door opened. He looked up to see Al, who saw his face and quickly took his seat next to him on the bed where Rei had been sitting just a moment before. They didn't say anything, but somehow he knew Al didn't need to hear it anyway. They had never needed words to convey emotion or emotional support.
For the millionth time since he'd been back, he wondered if love was worth this much pain.
"I don't understand the question," Lust mused, examining her nails thoroughly. Elliot bit his lip, fighting back the rage that swelled in his chest whenever he dealt with these horrible things.
"I asked if...I asked when you will return my sister to me. I've done everything you asked."
"True, you have done all that we requested so far, but your objective is still incomplete. You know your task."
"I know, you want Ed. But I don't understand how I can get him for you!"
Lust turned and lay her hand on his cheek, pressing her fingertips into the soft flesh of his cheek. "Silly child. You possess the greatest bait for the Fullmetal brat that anybody could. You have the affection of the one he adores."
Her hand travelled to his neck, her nails nicking his skin slightly. He cringed.
"Use it," she hissed.
This has been a nice long chapter! Thought I might try for some story development but mostly I was just continuing the angst between Ed and Rei haha
Reviews would be way helpful since it's been a while since I've updated this story, so...