pandora_culpa: (Ed golden eye)
[personal profile] pandora_culpa
Title: The Prices We Pay
Characters: Roy, Ed, cameo by Hawkeye
Word Count: 13639 (just a little too short for Big Bang, dernit!)
Rating: R (warnings for gore, and major manga spoilers for chapters 76-77, maybe a little before and after that as well. Please read responsibly.)
Summary: Only life is equivalent to another life.
A/N: The conclusion to the story- please read part 1 first!

Part 1

For a moment, Roy couldn't even think; a roaring sound filling his ears and swamping his senses. Too many emotions to process tumbled through his mind in a jumble, leaving him shaking and numb, but the impact remained, the punch-to-the-gut, sickening feeling that came over him as he absorbed the understanding of what Ed had done.

At the foot of the bed, Ed watched him with eyes that held no trace of denial or artifice, and Roy wondered in mute agony how he could sit there, without any fanfare or theatrics, as though what he'd said were of no consequence. The Colonel searched the young man's expression, finding no trace of the reproach he'd assumed would be there, and passed a shaky hand over his face, desperate to retain the mask of calm he always wore. But it had been cleanly stripped away, leaving him achingly exposed to the unforgiving truth.

“How could you do that to yourself?” he finally found voice to whisper, horrified. “Instead of putting yourself in danger, why didn't you let me die?”

Ed gave him a wide eyed stare that suggested he'd lost his mind. “What the hell makes you think I'm the kind of person who lets people die?” he exclaimed. “And I already told you, you don't get the luxury of dying. Not while I'm around.”

Pain and guilt stabbed through him. “Your life, Ed. I never wanted to take that from you.”

Gold eyes narrowed, angrily, perhaps, but Roy didn't trust himself to define the emotion that smoldered there. “Yeah, my life,” Ed snapped. “Mine to use how I want, and you were fucking dying, Mustang. I wasn't just gonna stand by and watch.” Abruptly his expression softened, although the corners of his mouth drew tight. “You'd have done the same thing.”

“I couldn't have done the same thing. I doubt anyone could.” Brilliant, a genius, and how could Ed not see that he was so much more valuable than a broken, worn out soldier? “You gave me part of yourself,” Roy insisted. “You gave it to me, but it feels like something I have no right to. How can I ever find something equivalent-”

Ed sighed. “It's not always about equivalence, Mustang.”

“It has to be! I can't...” Everything was coming apart; the situation, his control... Roy took a deep breath, closing his eyes briefly and reaching for the equilibrium that had always been his to command. Slowly, his heart calmed its frenzied patter behind his ribs, and each successive breath came easier until he finally felt steady enough to continue. Opening his eyes, he tried again.

“You're not the kind of person who can be replaced, Edward. There's no one else with your abilities or intellect, let alone your morals.” He paused, mind floundering to find the right words. “What I am... Ed, I'm expendable.”

Ed's face darkened, and Roy tried to pull away in alarm as the smaller man lunged forward and grabbed his shirt in rough fists. “Expendable?” Ed spat, shaking him, hard . “Fuck you, do you really think like that? No one is expendable. No one is replaceable. Someone else might be able to do your job, but people can't be substituted.” He let go abruptly and Roy fell back onto his pillows, mouth slack with surprise. But before he could even think of a response Ed was snarling, fingers curling in the air as though he longed to shake him again. “What the hell is wrong with you, that you don't think your own goddamn life has enough value to be worth saving?”

Unnerved and confused, Roy tried to take refuge in the authoritative tone that had always served him well in the office. “You shouldn't have risked yourself. You could have died doing this.”

Somewhat belatedly, he realized that that had never impressed Edward. “Maybe I was okay with that,” the young man retorted, his jaw set in a belligerent expression that Roy knew all too well. It was a gauntlet Ed had thrown down at him so many times before that his response was nearly automatic.

“Now you're the one with a death wish?” Roy regretted the words as soon as they emerged, watching how the young man stiffened, eyes flaring, and hastened to add, “Ed, you are undeniably brilliant, but I can't imagine any situation that would allow you to know exactly how much life you have to spare. Just a little too much spent, and it's over.”

“I knew what I was doing,” Ed snapped, as if the Colonel were suggesting he was incompetent to make simple decisions, but Roy would never make another disparaging comment to him again, if only he'd understand the seriousness of this...

“Do you think that Al would find my life an equivalent trade for yours?”

Ed froze, mouth hanging open as the rant that had been building crumbled on his lips. For the first time that afternoon, he looked uncertain. “That's not the point...”

“You don't think so?” Roy leaned forward, scenting an advantage. “One miscalculation, and that's all he'd be left with. And what about all the other people who care about you? All we ever wanted, Edward, was for you to succeed so that you and Alphonse could live normal lives. Long, happy ones, we'd hoped, to make up for how you had to grow up. Not... not with pieces taken away from it for someone like- if it was for Alphonse...”

“Would you rather be dead?” Ed cried suddenly, his hands gripped in fists on his knees, arms shaking. There was open pain in the question, shimmering in the bright eyes that were locked on his own and as strong as the anger that burned beside it, and looking into that fire Roy thought he at last recognized the emotion that had hung between them. A mirror to his own, and who'd have thought Ed...

It was suddenly hard to breathe again. “I would rather you were whole,” he choked out quietly, heart in his throat. “Ed... Haven't you had enough tragedy in your life without taking on more?”

“You don't get it, do you?” Ed said bitterly, breaking his gaze away to glare down at the bedsheets. “You think it would somehow have been less of a tragedy for me to watch you bleed out? You think I want that?”

Roy just watched him, aching and sad and painfully grateful to the young alchemist. “I think at this point, I don't know what you want.”

“Still fishing, you bastard.” Ed grumbled without looking up, clearly unwilling to meet Roy's eyes. “When did you ever give up on me?” he asked with gruff exasperation. “Fuck... you've been there for years, and you...” A fist pounded the mattress once in frustration as Ed swore to himself. “Things wouldn't be the same without... I wouldn't be the same...” He stopped, brows knotted together, then closed his eyes in resignation.

“I need you here,” he finished simply.

And that really was the heart of things, for both of them, wasn't it?


Fuck, there it was. Out in the open, ripe for contempt or mockery, and Ed had no one to blame but himself. All of the pithy, expedient answers he'd dreamed up over the past few weeks, and he had to go and blurt out the pesky grain of truth he'd discovered, and hoped never to bring to light. It was too strange a thing to admit, it upset the balance they'd worked out long ago, and Roy- Mustang, dammit!- would never let him hear the end of it...

Only the Colonel wasn't making fun of him. The Colonel wasn't saying anything; he was just sitting there, and Ed wanted to open his eyes and glare at him, only that would mean actually looking at him, and he really wasn't ready for that yet.

But the longer the silence dragged on, the more it gnawed at Ed, until he finally turned and gave Mustang the glare he'd been longing to deliver. A snarl curled his lips, but it died unuttered as he met the candor in those dark eyes. Mustang was watching him, every mask and barrier down, his face utterly disarmed and he looked...

Damn it, he looked completely freaked out.

“The fuck, Mustang?” he grumbled, shifting back on the bed and drawing his knees up to his chest to hide his discomfort. “Can't think of a good comeback?”

Roy blinked, his face smoothing but not closing in the slightest. A sigh slid away from his lips, and he slumped back against his pillows as though too tired to sit upright any longer. One hand began to motion vaguely, then fell back to the bed as the Colonel seemed to lose the train of what he was trying to say. All the while his eyes remained locked on Ed's, and uncomfortable as he was, he couldn't look away.

Finally Roy's hand lifted again, shaking just a little, and pointed at Ed's chest. “As soon as I'm better,” he said in a voice whose sternness was betrayed by the thin quaver that ran through it, “you are going to draw that array you used to heal me so that I can learn it.”

Shock slammed through him, alarm bells ringing in his mind; he'd never expected... “What the fuck do you think-” he started to exclaim, but Mustang cut him off.

“Do you really think,” the other man snapped, “that you're the only one who feels that way? After all this time? I know you're smarter than that!” He ducked his head, but not before Ed saw the fierce expression that flickered across Roy's features. “I may not be the genius that you are, but I can damn well learn an array. As reckless as you can be on your missions...” Roy paused, swallowed. “You don't get to die either, Fullmetal. I won't allow it.”

“Fucking oneupmanship now, is it?” Ed grumbled, but some of the constriction in his chest eased.

Mustang smirked at him, though his eyes remained warm. “I always pay my debts,” he grinned, then sobered abruptly. “Ed... I'm serious. I wouldn't...” His voice foundered, the intent writ clear on his face even as his words failed, and recognizing the emotion shaking him, Ed took pity on the man.

“You just need someone to keep your damn head from outgrowing Headquarters,” he grumbled with as much snap as he could manage which, under the circumstances, wasn't all that much. But Roy's weak smile went a long way toward making him think that maybe, they could adjust to this new acknowledgment of each other's worth. It even felt kind of good, in a weird way. Not that he needed the bastard's respect; he'd been getting along without it for years without any problem.

But it was nice, all the same.

“So...” Ed cocked his head to the side, brushing aside the bangs that fell in his face at the motion. “When are you getting your lazy ass back to work?”

Roy's laughter at the question broke off into a hissing wheeze; his wound, although healing, was still tender, and Ed winced in sympathy at the quick pull of pain on Roy's face. Gathering his breath, the Colonel gave a rueful grin. “As soon as possible, I expect,” he replied. “Although all the paperwork that has surely built up is liable to present a far greater danger to me than that chimera ever did.”

This was familiar, more like what they'd always had. Snorting in mock exasperation, Ed rolled his eyes skyward. “More like Hawkeye's gun, once she catches you slacking off after the day or so it takes you to get tired of being back.”

“Mm,” Mustang said, possibly in argument, maybe agreement. “I don't know, I may have developed a newfound appreciation for desk work.”

“Yeah, you're clearly not cut out for fieldwork,” Ed retorted, eyes twinkling. “You just make messes that I have to come along and clean up...”

“Ed...” Roy sat up abruptly, still holding his side, making Ed's words hang in his throat as he wondered if the jibe had somehow overstepped. But the Colonel reached out to lay a heavy hand on his arm, staring up at him with fathomless dark eyes, and the thought arose again that Roy had almost been gone, and what would he have ever done then...?

“I don't know that I ever said it properly before now,” Roy said, his voice quiet but intense, “but even if it's hard to accept what you did, I owe you my life, and I will never forget that. I doubt I'll ever have the means to repay you, but my sincerest gratitude... I will always be grateful...” He broke off, the hand on Ed's arm tightening as he took a shaky breath. “Edward. Thank you.”

All the pride, all the arrogance and cunning that Ed was accustomed to seeing in Mustang's face were gone. What remained was open and thankful, and for one ridiculous second Ed thought how he'd always wanted to see the Colonel like this; no longer impervious, but unguarded, humbled. But in the next instant he'd banished the childish notion. It didn't matter. None of it did, except that they were both here, and alive, and it was just that simple.

The smile that grew on his face was easy, as natural as the one he'd worn while he lounged in the doorway watching Roy think. That was simple, too. “Just live,” he told him. “Keep on living, and being a bastard. That's all I want.”

The smirk put in a brief reappearance, and there was a hint of challenge in Roy's voice as he replied, “I think I can manage that, so long as you promise to do the same.”

Shit, you're demanding!” Ed rolled his eyes in mock exasperation, listening with quiet amusement as Roy chuckled in response before finally acceding, “Yeah, fine, whatever. Fuckin' bastard.”

There were a few moments of comfortable silence between them then, Roy studying him contemplatively while Ed pretended not to see him at all, before Mustang finally broke it with a sigh. “You know,” he said, in that deliberately innocuous tone that Ed knew damn well meant the man was up to something, “I never did ask how you got me out of there.”

Ed gave him a sharp look, to mask the quick roil of embarrassment in his stomach. “Fuckin' full of questions today, aren't you?” he growled, but Roy only smiled back and really, after everything else, this wasn't so much to explain.

“Well,” he drawled after a moment's pause, “you were in really bad shape, you know. Bad enough I wasn't sure if I could move you at all, let alone carry you out. An' there was no way you would've lasted 'til I could get help down to you, even with what I'd done.

“So I thought that what we really needed was an elevator, something to lift us right up from underground, and get us up to street level. Up there, we'd find help, no problem, right?”

Roy looked confused. “You didn't transmute an elevator. There'd be no way of powering it.”

“Right. But that's what gave me the idea...” Ed leaned back, knowing he was going to catch hell for this one. “Instead I, uh, kinda pulled down the walls and ceiling. Used that material to create a pillar that lifted us up through the hole it left. Dumped us right out on Cory Street, actually, maybe a block or two from the hospital, so that was pretty damn lucky.”

Eyes widening, Roy gaped like a fish for a moment, clearly taken completely off guard. “You opened up a hole in the middle of Cory Street? What if something had been above us, like, I don't know, a car, or a building? What would have happened then?”

“Fuck if I know!” Ed shot back, having had the same thoughts since then. It could have been a disaster. He rubbed the back of his neck, averting his gaze. “I might have been just a little, uh, freaked out at the time.”

Roy was staring at him as if he were certifiably insane. Might as well go on and tell the rest in that case. “Anyway, it caused enough of a commotion that a patrol came by pretty quick after we got to the surface, and they called for backup, and an ambulance once they saw you. And then they really started in on me, screaming about me causing all that damage and interfering with the city's infrastructure, and a whole lot of other bullshit I couldn't even follow since by then I was about to pass out too.”

Mustang's expression had passed beyond incredulity now; he had one hand clamped over his mouth, and if his eyes bulged out any farther they were going to fall right out of his head. Just knowing that the tirade that was building was going to be a doozy, Ed figured he'd better just get the rest of it out of the way before the Colonel started reaming him for not thinking, and creating a situation that was sure to reflect badly upon him.

“Might not have been the best thing to do, but I shoved my watch in their faces, told them to shut the fuck up and call in Major Armstrong to fix things up all pretty again. Those guys must be a new breed of recruit or something, because they actually did all of that. And after that... I don't really know, because I passed out, and woke up later in the same room as you. Which is why I was being treated for exhaustion as well.” He sighed, staring at his feet and bracing himself for what was to come. “You know all the rest.”

A sound kind of like a wheeze caught his ears, and he glanced back up at Roy. The Colonel was red in the face, hand still pressed against his mouth, but his whole body was trembling, and Ed didn't think he'd ever seen the man so mad. “Look,” he said, holding one hand out, “I'm sorry, okay? I was just scared as hell that you weren't gonna make it no matter what I'd done, and-”

He didn't make it any further, as a sudden bark of laughter broke from behind the Colonel's restraining hand. Within seconds, Roy ceased struggling to keep it contained, throwing his head back and laughing until he was clutching his side, hissing with pain but still unable to keep the guffaws under control, and with a start Ed realized that what he'd taken for barely-contained fury was, in fact, the opposite.

“You...” Roy breathed, fighting back the laughter that spilled around his words, “you opened up a goddamn crater in the middle of Cory Street? A-and then left it to Major Armstrong to clean up?”

Unbidden, a chuckle crept out of Ed's own throat. “Yeah,” he admitted, then added, “Bet there are little mustached statues everywhere now.”

Roy absolutely howled with mirth, tears rolling down his cheeks, and Ed soon joined in without reservation. The laughter poured out of them, a catharsis of all the anxiety they'd both held inside during the months since the incident.

And looking at it this way, Ed thought about how easy his choice had really been. How he'd do it again in a heartbeat, if ever faced with the necessity, because anything else was unthinkable. Because sitting here with Roy, both of them laughing their damned heads off over the massive destruction he'd caused in the wake of near-tragedy, and the absurdity of the whole thing, was the second best feeling he'd ever had in his entire life, topped only by the day he'd held Al, whole and human, in his arms again.

If he hadn't spent a piece of himself down in those tunnels, if Roy had died down there, this could never have happened. And now the future lay wide open; days like this, and others he hadn't even imagined yet, possible because of the choice he'd made. He may not have understood the implications at the time, but it was coming clearer with every minute, and if it took years for understanding to come in its fullness, well... he had the time to wait now. They both did. As Roy reached out, clutching Ed's arm in an effort to keep himself upright in his amusement, Ed knew with a fierce burst of joy that he would never regret what he'd done. It had been worth every day he gave away, to have this moment.

Date: 2009-11-22 02:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Very nice realization in this story. The ending is very sweet without being maudlin.

Date: 2009-11-23 12:18 am (UTC)
ext_27574: (FMA- Ed- blue and gold)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you very much. I'm glad the ending didn't come across as too saccharine; I wanted it to be hopeful, but realistically so. The boys get knocked around so much (by myself as much as anyone else) so it was nice to be able to give them something good at the close.

Thanks so much for reading! :)

Date: 2009-11-22 02:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That was just outstanding. You captured them both so well!

Date: 2009-11-23 12:18 am (UTC)
ext_27574: (FMA- Ed- blue and gold)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you very much! I'm delighted that you enjoyed it, and I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. :)

Date: 2009-11-22 02:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Awww, at first I thought this was going to turn into a Roy/Ed story. I tend to avoid those...but this one was purely Ed and Roy respecting each other and learning their actual friendship/feelings towards each other.

Such a cute story. Loved every bit of it. <3

Date: 2009-11-23 12:21 am (UTC)
ext_27574: (FMA- Ed- blue and gold)
From: [identity profile]
Delighted that you enjoyed this! I wanted this story to focus far more on the willingness each had to sacrifice themselves for the other, and while I'm all for shipping those two, I really thought that any kind of overt romance in this story would detract from that overriding point. Building that foundation of respect and friendship is important.

Thank you so much for reading, and for taking the time to comment! :)

Date: 2009-11-23 01:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Aww well you did a fabulous job. <3

Date: 2009-11-22 03:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Loved it! You write my favorite Roy/Ed, where they both come across as adult and their attraction makes sense. Thanks so much for writing!

And while we're on the subject... Rusted Dawn. I love it with a pure and passionate love. Any chance you might be updating soon...? I miss it so.

Date: 2009-11-23 12:27 am (UTC)
ext_27574: (FMA- Ed- blue and gold)
From: [identity profile]
Aw, thank you! I'm really happy that you enjoyed this. Roy and Ed have such a fascinating dynamic; I never get tired of playing with them! ;)

And Rusted Dawn, yes... I can't guarantee when I will be updating it, but never fear that it's been forgotten. I hit a major snag on the latest chapter, which I was lucky enough to have my beta point out, but it was like taking out a foundation beam. I've been flailing around, trying to shore things up and while I feel like I've got some solid plans to work through that, life has been complicating my return to that story. It's such an intense piece, and writing it requires a lot more concentration and finesse than I've had the brain for lately. But as I said, never fear for it. I love that story with a powerful, peculiar love myself, and it will not be abandoned, I promise. And I hope that when it does come out, that it will be worth the wait! ;)

Thanks so much for reading, and for the comment! :D

Date: 2009-11-22 03:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ed gave him a wide eyed stare that suggested he'd lost his mind. “What the hell makes you think I'm the kind of person who lets people die?”


“What the hell is wrong with you, that you don't think your own goddamn life has enough value to be worth saving?”

You tell him, Ed ♥
I love Ed's appreciation of human life, his own included in the manga ^^

Anyway, awesome story. It's always surprised me how little discussion in the fandom sparked that chapter about Kimbley and Ed's wound; the boy said he'd given up his life expectancy, that's badass on levels impossible to describe. Also, it makes RoyEd that much Sweetbitter, in the sense that their life expectancy is probably not that different now (a.k.a, "they'll die together"?).
I'm so glad to read more manga verse fic, and this was perfect. Ed's characterization was fantastic, he's snarky and grumpy and defensive and sweet and boyish and a fucking genius, yes (I love that his genius figured in the story so much ^^)and he could sustain the whole Central City on his will power and soul strenth alone. Roy was exactly the same but with loads of self-scorn, less strenth and a bit more maturityXD
I also have to comment on the AWESOME asumption that Ed continued in the military after the series, since that's how my personal cannon goes

A little more on the office guys would have been appreciated, though, specially since this was a manga fic. Oh, and that ending paragraph is begging for a follow-up, just sayin' ;-)
Though the subtle levels of unacknowledged and innocent love going on here make me all fuzzy and warm inside ^^

Date: 2009-11-23 12:33 am (UTC)
ext_27574: (FMA- Ed- blue and gold)
From: [identity profile]
The lack of mention of that single, incredible moment from the manga is honestly what inspired this story. It's one of those moments that I can't believe hasn't been touched on before, and my mindset has always been that if I can't *read* the story I want to read, then I sure as hell will *write* it. So, um... yeah. ;)

And it was actually pointed out to me about the lack of Roy's officers in the story. And while I thought about that, and tried to figure how to work them in, every place I tried to put them just upset the flow of the story and felt very placeholder-y. It just didn't help advance the story I was trying to tell, and in the end, I abandoned it. I kind of feel the lack a bit myself, and wish I could have worked out how to include them, but I'm just not that good, I suppose. Maybe I'll do better on the next one.

But I am delighted that you enjoyed the characterizations. If there is one thing I always try to do, it is to nail the essence of who the characters are. Many things can be forgiven in a story, but poor characterization is not one of them. So thank you very, very much! And thank you, of course, for reading and commenting as well. :)

Date: 2009-11-23 06:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Your mindset is a fantastic one ;-)

I actually get what you're saying, and you're probably better for not including them, now that I think about it. This story, wasn't really about Roy, which would have needed the office guys. This particular story was about how much value Roy and Ed put on one another. The office guys don't really have a place in this kind of story, they would distract from the deeply intimate emotional level condensed in this piece. You know what probably prompted me to say that in my review, now that I think about it? mentioning Riza in the 'characters' section. It gave me hopes of seeing her, and maybe the others. she doesn't feature here, really, you could substitute her with almost anyone and the story still works. I suggest you remove her from the "characters" introductory section, because it'd really reduce the fic to its essence: Roy and Ed about Ed and Roy ^^

Date: 2009-11-22 04:00 am (UTC)
amethyst_koneko: kitty Ed is love! (kitty Ed)
From: [personal profile] amethyst_koneko
OMG! This story is just...I have no words! Awesome, perfect, amazing, heart stopping, gut wrenching, breath taking - they simply don't cover it! I love it! I can't fully express everything I felt reading this. You made me cry dammit! Several times in fact I'll have you know! I'm still kinda reeling from it all. :) The end, that last scene, whew. wow. just wow. I was like Roy. I kinda suspected that Ed had done something that drastic but I had also hoped not. Roy calling himself expendable, Ed's raw fury at that statement, that simple admission, "I need you here", OMG! *dies* Oh how you kill me while making my heart soar at the same time! :D The way you wrote these two, totally believable, totally IC. You have outdone yourself with this one! <3333

Date: 2009-11-23 12:38 am (UTC)
ext_27574: (FMA- Ed- blue and gold)
From: [identity profile]

I am simply delighted that you enjoyed this so much! It is always the most rewarding thing I could wish for, to touch someone so deeply with a story, and it's also immensely humbling. This fic really pulled out some interesting turns, even surprising me in places, and to know that it rang true for others is enough to make my own heart soar! Thank you so much for reading, and for your kind comments! :D

Date: 2009-11-22 08:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wow. This is an amazing piece. you shows so much strength in character and plot and insight into their relationship without falling into sappy. You were also very detailed and paced everything so well. I love it. It's going straight into my favourites.

Date: 2009-11-23 12:41 am (UTC)
ext_27574: (FMA- Ed- blue and gold)
From: [identity profile]
I'm allergic to sappy, so I'm glad I dodged that bullet! ;) But seriously, thank you very much, and thank you for the favorite. This story ended up meaning a lot to me as I wrote it, and I'm gratified to know that others like it so much as well. Thank you for reading!

Also, your icon is adorable!

Date: 2009-11-22 03:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Excellent job. I really liked how you showed their relationship - and I loved that Roy wanted to learn the array as well. It was a nice take on what Ed and Roy mean to each other, complex and at the same time very simple.

Also, I loved Ed's easy competence in the fight against the chimera :) actually, I just loved Ed all through this.

Date: 2009-11-23 12:48 am (UTC)
ext_27574: (FMA- Ed- blue and gold)
From: [identity profile]
Ah, I'm glad someone else appreciated the bit with Roy wanting to learn that array! I thought it was a quiet, but very telling point about him, and I'm delighted that it was noticed. :D

And I'm also happy that you liked Ed's characterization. He's such a joy to write, honestly. Roy's so much more difficult, but oh, I adore him all the same. Even if I do tend to abuse him quite ruthlessly. *embarrassed*

Thanks for reading, m'dear, and for the lovely comment! :)

Date: 2009-11-23 12:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Roy was staring at him as if he were certifiably insane. Might as well go on and tell the rest in that case...

I forgot to mention, how Ed's total offhand logic here cracks me up almost as hard as the mustached statues. OH ED. NEVER CHANGE.

Seriously, your characterization here is just golden.

Date: 2009-11-23 12:54 am (UTC)
ext_27574: (FMA- Ed- I'm evil)
From: [identity profile]
Ed has the best asides sometimes, he really does. His view on life is just so adorably askew, and I don't think he ever recognizes how odd it is. Makes for one hell of a ride, being in the backseat of his head for a story!

And y'know, I think it's all the crackfic that's to thank for the characterizations. Because, as we've discussed, for any decent crackfic to work, the people have to be solid, and man, does that practice ever carry over well! Pretty damn sure all my HP stuff is 2D by comparison. But that's the learning curve, isn't it? ;)

Oh, and speaking of crackfic, I owe you some Boys! Ee, must work on that! *scampers*

Date: 2009-11-23 03:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I love how you can go from somber to mirthful so smoothly. I love hearing Ed's story about how he got Roy out.

Date: 2009-11-29 11:43 pm (UTC)
ext_27574: (FMA- Ed- blue and gold)
From: [identity profile]
I was very glad I was able to work in Ed's story, about getting Roy out, because it didn't appear in the first draft. And it really would have been a shame to miss it. Thanks for reading; I'm really glad you enjoyed this! :)

Date: 2009-11-25 08:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I just wanted to say I've read this story two or three times now, and it's still awesome every time. ;)

Characterizations are spot-on, and you really describe their friendship well. To be honest, I'm rather glad this didn't become Roy/Ed, as that pairing never quite worked for me. Especially in a piece like this, I don't think it would have fit as well. I do miss seeing Riza and the other officers, but reading the comments above, I think you're right: it would have thrown off the tone.

Um. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that the fic is fantastic. I seem to recall reading one or two of your pieces before, so keep at it.

Date: 2009-11-30 12:11 am (UTC)
ext_27574: (FMA- Ed- blue and gold)
From: [identity profile]
Ah, I'm delighted that you've enjoyed this enough to read it more than once! That's always such a compliment. :D

I can't say that the temptation wasn't there, to make the story ultimately wind up as Roy/Ed (I tend to adore them as a pair, for a variety of reasons). But for what I was trying to express here, it really would have been distracting, and diluted the point. For them to be willing to sacrifice so much for one another, without the impetus of romance, made what they are (potentially) giving much more important, I think.

But anyway, I'm really happy that you liked it. Thank you very much for reading, and you can bet I'll keep writing. I don't know what to do with myself when I'm not! ;D

Date: 2009-12-04 09:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Loved this. I know everyone is commenting on the lack of Roy/Ed, but I saw Roy/Ed subtext all over the freaking place here (and I liked it XD). This said, I totally appreciate your decision to keep the subtext sub- here, it makes Ed's sacrifice far more meaningful not to have it subsumed in romantic motives.

That aside, I love how you've mined this moment in the manga. Ed's actions in Chapters 76-77 are one of his great character moments, and my slashy tendencies aside, I love how his thoughts of Winry and Al propel him forward there. It's brilliant and tough and audacious and a bit scary, and it shows what a big heart he has. You're totally right that this moment is worthy of more exploration.

Date: 2009-12-05 10:27 pm (UTC)
ext_27574: (FMA- Ed- blue and gold)
From: [identity profile]
I'm glad you saw the subtext. The story needed to be gen overall to work right, but I wanted the hints there as well, for those who cared to acknowledge them. I have a feeling I may end up called back to this 'verse again at some point.

I honestly am amazed that no one else seems to have touched that manga moment in fic. And there was a part of me that was a little afraid to mess with something already so loaded, but once it got in my head it wouldn't get out without being written. So it pleases me enormously that this is being received so well.

I really appreciate you letting me know your thoughts on this story. And maybe the story will go on, at some point. (After all, One Room is still kicking around... these things never really do go away. ;D) Thanks for reading!

subtle but lovely

Date: 2009-12-07 05:58 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I loved this! Great characterization, excellent condensed plot, and it didn't go straight to the romance which made this even more realistic. I've always felt these boys have far too many walls up to just jump right into things the way some stories show them.

And I second the call for more Rusted Dawn. I know all about snags, but if you need inspiration, just remember that there are many of us waiting out here with bated breaths for the next installment!


Re: subtle but lovely

Date: 2009-12-18 12:57 am (UTC)
ext_27574: (FMA- Ed- blue and gold)
From: [identity profile]
Oh heavens, I'm sorry to let time get past me so badly, without replying! I am having comment fail lately, so bothersome...

Anyway- thank you! I'm really glad that you enjoyed this piece, and yeah, I think the boys would have to ease into any kind of real relationship. It's always gratifying on one level to read them falling into bed/love with one another, but I've always far preferred the more realistic approach when it's all said and done. PWPs are fun and all, but the more plausible fics seem to have more of a lasting emotional impact. And it's always rewarding when you can pull off *writing* one of those. So... thanks, I'm delighted that you were satisfied by this approach!

And Rusted Dawn... oh, my darling little monster. I do need to get that troublesome chapter sussed, so that I can complete that story. Of course, the holiday season is totally wrecking my mojo at the moment, but... I've heard so many calls for more RD lately that it *is* putting a burr under my skin- not in a bad way, but more in a motivational way. So while I can't reliably say when I'll have more up again, rest assured that that story isn't going on hiatus or being forgotten. I just want to make sure that what is posted does the rest of the story justice. But it's always nice hearing that others are eager for more of that fic. :)

Thanks so much for reading; it makes me very happy to hear such nice feedback. And sorry again for taking so long to reply!

Date: 2009-12-22 07:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
(Doing some reviewing now that I have time. Thank you for existing, Winter Break, I love you lots.)

I love love love how you took this one idea and expanded it. I remember reading that chapter in the manga and thinking, "Waitasec, Ed just did what?" and it always felt weird to me how so many fanfic writers completely ignore that Ed freaking uses his life expectancy to heal himself, because that's such a grave decision at such a grave point in the manga, and man, why are there not more fics about it?

In any case, your Ed characterization is wonderful. This section in particular:

[“Expendable?” Ed spat, shaking him, hard . “Fuck you, do you really think like that? No one is expendable. No one is replaceable. Someone else might be able to do your job, but people can't be substituted...What the hell is wrong with you, that you don't think your own goddamn life has enough value to be worth saving?”]

So very Ed, this attitude. So. Very. Him.

And your Roy is hilariously and stupidly noble. Oh, Roy, where did you ever get the idea that not telling Ed would be a good thing? I mean, weigh out the consequences: Ed thinks you're healthy, and what if he relies on you to watch his back, and y'know, you can't because you're nearly dead = both of you dead when the chimera attacks. You're so lucky that didn't happen, Roy. (Curiously enough, I would've said his decision to hide his injury = OOC had this not been set post-manga. Really goes to show just how the timeline really changes things.)

Also, sewers: they really are mazes. =|

Er, and I suppose it's just a mild reader preference thing, but I think you could've limited the viewpoints to just Roy and Ed. The beginning with the chimera viewpoint isn't necessary, seeing as how you can incorporate that into the body of the work with just a little bit of effort and lose absolutely 0% of the information imparted. As it is, it just seems like a messy way to begin an otherwise excellent story.

But other than that - awesome job. Great read! Thanks for sharing this with us. *g*

Date: 2010-04-07 01:24 am (UTC)
ext_27574: (FMA- Ed- golden eye)
From: [identity profile]
So I'm only (*checks date*) four months late in replying. *hides face* And after such a nice comment, too. I've been doing an awful lot of comment-fail lately. Ah well... sorry!

For what it's worth, I tend to agree with you about the intro. It was something I had meant to go back and change at some point (I tend to do intros one of two ways- they are either really strong, or else I'm fumbling to find my stride in a fic), but by the time I reached the end I was so *done* with this that I never did. Which is a total cop-out, but there ya go. Maybe one day, I'll revise it to something more solid.

That moment in the manga, where Ed used his life energy to save himself, was *amazing* to me. Blew my mind right out of my head, and have never seen anyone so much as mention it before in fanfic (if you have, please point me to it!). Which is why I simply *had* to write this. Any time I can't find the fic I want to read, I'll eventually get annoyed enough to write it myself. Kinda this neurotic tic I have.

It always makes me ridiculously happy when people comment on my characterizations. These guys have such a strong voice in my head, and it's a huge validation (and an honest relief) to know that other people feel that I'm getting them right. Makes me feel like I'm doing justice to Arakawa's work, y'know? Even if I do tend to run far afield of whatever she may have intended... But characterization has always been extremely important to me; as long as the characters are true and recognizable interpretations, I feel that you can get away with an awful lot.

But anyway, Ed is a sheer delight to write; he has the most wonderful asides, and his somewhat skewed take on life is always refreshing. Roy is always a lot more work (he hides things, even in his own head), but he's always worth the effort. After writing him so intensively, I really think I love him even more than Ed. Damaged characters intrigue me so much.

Most of all though, I'm really just happy that you got some enjoyment out of this, and I thank you very much for your thoughtful comments. *grin*

Date: 2010-04-06 06:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This was so good!!!. I so can't see this happening. Very good job!!! I'm a Roy/Ed fan but I'm so glad that you managed to do this without the "rommance/sex" factor.

Date: 2010-04-07 01:26 am (UTC)
ext_27574: (FMA- Ed- golden eye)
From: [identity profile]
Romance would have clouded Ed's altruistic intentions in this story, although I won't say I wasn't tempted to include them. (and if you look hard enough, you'll notice that the seeds for that are scattered liberally anyway!)

I'm very happy that you liked the story. Thank you so much for reading!

Date: 2010-04-06 09:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hmmm how to say this without sounding totally stupid... This is by far my favorite fma fanfic to date, perhaps favorite fanfic overall. I've read a lot of fanfiction in my day (been reading it for over 9 years now) and I honestly think this one takes the cake.

In my opinion every character was true to canon. And Ed was actually Ed. I've read way too many fanfics where he is turned into a simpering submissive character. You kept him true to form. He still kept his compassion without becoming the girly uke many authors make him out to be.

I loved the interaction between the two. Ed stubbornly refusing to leave or abandon Roy made my heart melt. I must admit I am a hurt/comfort fanatic (especially when Roy is the "hurt" one) and you have fed my addiction ;P.

Also, I enjoyed the subtle start of something deeper between the two. Maybe it wasn't confirmed but there was still a underlining potential to be. And I thought this before I even knew there was going to be a sequel :D.

I'm sorry my review is so late. Honestly I'm shy sometimes on the internet and didn't want to give a silly sounding review. Now I'm off to read the sequel and hopefully I'll be more prompt about reviewing it hehe.

Again, wonderful story. You are a great writer, one of my favorites, so keep writing! <3

-Elle B.

Date: 2010-04-07 01:37 am (UTC)
ext_27574: (FMA- Ed- golden eye)
From: [identity profile]
Wow, I am really overwhelmed by that praise! Thank you so much; I am absolutely delighted to have produced something that has made such an impression on you. And late- pfft, there's no such thing! I'm simply happy that you enjoyed the story enough to comment.

The episode in the manga where Ed did this originally was one of my favorite moments in fiction (of any stripe), and once the idea got in my head, I had to run with it. Largely because no one else seemed to even acknowledge it, and it was huge! I mean, it was beyond remarkable!

Characterization is of huge importance to me and, like yourself, an excessively watered down Ed will never fail to set my teeth on edge. I don't know that I always nail him so well, but I was extremely lucky in this story, that all of the writing seemed to ring true. It's a rare treat to find a story that speaks so clearly.

Heh, and you like hurt!Roy? Stick around; he's my favorite chew toy. ;p Mostly because he takes it so beautifully, but also because I love his damage. Flawed characters have always appealed to me, and even if I'm not letting chimeras rip into him, I do tend to pick at his emotional scars rather cruelly. (but Ed is generally around to help pick up the pieces, so I don't feel too bad)

I appreciate your comments very much, and I really hope you'll enjoy this story's sequel as well. Thank you so much for reading!

Date: 2011-02-25 04:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I love hurt/comfort Ed/Roy with Ed as the care taker! Roy hurts so beautifully and Edward's sense of self-sacrifice (quite literally here) makes him wonderful at fixing people.

You characterised this beautifully, weaving their usual ribbing in with the absence being very noticeable when Ed's too friggin' worried to remember Roy's a bastard xD.

I'm off to read the rest of your fics now 8D.
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