Fandom: Fullmetal Alchemist
Spoilers: through 51
Summary: Roy hasn't learned from other people's mistakes.
Previous Parts: Prologue | Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI | Part VII | Part VIII | Part IX | Part X | Pat XI | Tag filter
Notes: Betaed by the still awesome daringu. Only two chapters and an epilogue to go! Aren't you all so excited?
Roy isn't quite sure why he wants to do this to himself. He hardly believes that it will bring any sort of closure, that this will somehow alleviate him of some guilt.
The last "meeting" with Wrath happened a few days ago, and Roy's back is still healing and his mind is still reeling from the complete and utter stupidity of the act. What had he been thinking? What had he been looking for? He doesn't really think he wants his answer.
And now he's here, and maybe he's still looking for that thing, that strange intangible thing, that he went to Wrath for. He knocks on the door in front of him, half-hoping that no one will answer. Someone does.
"Hello, Gracia," he says, and his smile probably looks as fake as it feels.
She just smiles back, in that almost infuriatingly understanding way of hers, and gently takes the flowers out of his hands.
Gracia doesn't say a word. She doesn't need to say a word.
She leads him into the kitchen, because Roy has somehow managed to deserve a place there, as one of the family. He has never really noticed how quiet Gracia is until this very moment, as he silently waits for her to make tea. She moves about with barely a sound, just a clink of china there, gently running water here, the sound of a stove igniting. He realizes that it's because Maes was always so loud, always willing fill in the empty spaces that Gracia made. Opposites, Roy thinks, but the word doesn't quite fit.
She hands him a cup of warm tea, and the right word comes to him. Complements. He can't help but feel guilty over the pang of jealousy.
Roy is certain that he does not belong here, that he upsets the balance that exists in this house. He owes Gracia far more than he can ever repay, though she doesn't quite know exactly how much that is, and he hates that she still thinks of him as a good man, a man worth inviting into her home.
He thinks of Alicia, wonders where she is, and figures she's probably asleep. He's never seen her sleeping, though the image is forever ingrained into his brain. He'd been shown that picture at least twenty times. Maybe more.
The tea is not as hot as he usually takes it. He likes it scalding, so that it burns its way down his throat and reminds him that he's still alive.
Gracia sits down across from him and wraps her fingers around her mug. She looks as calm and as beautiful as ever, and Roy has always wondered where she finds her poise, her dignity. It's something that Roy has been faking his entire life, and it always amazes him when he finds someone who projects it so effortlessly.
He opens his mouth to say something (he's not entirely sure what), small talk probably, maybe a long-winded confession, but his tongue refuses to form words, so he merely shuts it again.
Gracia starts the conversation instead. "There's something he asked me to give you," she says. "For some reason, he didn't put it onto his last will and testament, but he wanted you to have it."
She hands him an envelope, old and faded with time. There's something in it, two somethings in it, and Roy wonders what they could be. They're small, he can tell, but oddly shaped and strangely familiar, though Roy can't seem to figure out where he knows them from.
"Thank you," he whispers, because his throat as gone dry, and she smiles in that quiet, pleased way of hers.
In this very moment, he completely understands why Maes would always love her more, love her better. She is perfect in a a way that he is not, never could be. It does hurt but only for a moment, a long-familiar pang.
It is because of this, the fact that she is perfect and the fact that Roy is not, that he needs to tell her. About Maes, about Wrath, about how utterly fucked this whole mess is. He sips the tea before he begins.
"I'm sorry," he says.
She still looks understanding, like she thinks that all he's apologizing for is Maes' death, being sympathetic and pitying like everyone else, but it's so much than that. It's for Wrath and his ambition and sex in a back alley.
It's for the fact that he loved Maes too much to ever let him go.
He doesn't know how to say it all, and he considers just thanking her and going home, but she deserves the truth, his truth at least. And he is the one who deserves to tell it to her.
"I loved him," he starts, though it doesn't sound quite right. "I loved him and I failed him."
His fingers tighten around the envelope, crumpling it slightly. Gracia's soft hand is on his own, and he hates that she thinks she should comfort him. "We were lovers," he chokes out, and even though it's barely more than a whisper, it seems to echo in the room.
He looks away, because he can't really bear to see her reaction.
"I know," she says softly.
His head whips around to stare at her, and he's sure that the surprise is written clearly across his face.
Her smile is tinged with a bit more sadness, but there is none of the anger or the resentment that he expected. "There were no secrets between us," she says.
Roy just nods and continues, because his list of sins does not stop there. "He died for my cause, because he was following me."
"He chose to follow you. He knew the risks, and he still chose to follow you." There is still no resentment in the way she says it, and Roy wonders what it is like to be so fucking perfect all the time. He feels petty, like he needs to search for reasons to hate himself.
Of course he managed to save the best for last. "I tried to bring him back with alchemy."
"Did it work?" She can't keep the hope out of her voice.
It strikes Roy like a punch to the gut. She knows it's illegal; they've all been taught about it in school, even before Roy became an alchemist.
And she doesn't care.
It's the first time he's seen even the tiniest hint of imperfection of in her, and it renders him speechless.
Then he remembers that she's just asked a question and stammers out, "No. It didn't."
Her face visibly drops.
"There's a homunculus out there wearing his face," he continues. "And its my fault."
She looks a bit puzzled at that, and he tries to explain the technicalities as simply as he can. At the end, she nods and looks into her teacup. The room falls into silence.
"I'm sorry," he says again, knowing that this time she fully understands what he means by it.
Gracia smiles and stands up. She leans over and kisses the top of his head, just like his mother used to. One of her hands squeezes his.
"I forgive you," she whispers.
Relief washes over him. He needed to hear that. It's not quite what he's looking for, but it's close, and maybe it's enough.
Lior. They were going to Lior.
Scar was in Lior. Scar, who was going to make the Stone. Scar, who would kill however many people he needed without any hesitation.
The two brothers knew what could happen, what would happen. There was no real choice between going back to East Headquarters and going after Scar.
They were going to Lior.