[Roy Mustang; ] Don't Wake Up And Believe Them Character/Series: Roy Mustang; Fullmetal Alchemist 2003 Rating: PG-13 Notes: Written using theme 'lie to me.' Title: Don't Wake Up And Believe Them Author:yuuo Word Count: 1613 Summary:Roy liked to drink in private.
Roy liked to drink in private.
He had no problem enjoying a drink at a bar with the other men, but that was social drinking. When he wanted to drink, he stayed home with two bottles of whiskey. One was all he ever needed, but the second one was an 'in case of emergency, break glass' bottle.
He preferred to be alone, but the Elric brothers had taken to checking in on him whenever he was clearly hiding. In his less lucid moments, he wanted to accuse Riza of having told them that he was about to drink himself into a monstrous hangover. Regardless, they showed up, each of them planting themselves on either side of him on the couch, trapping him in the middle.
"Do you always have to do this?" Roy demanded.
"You need someone to keep an eye on you," Al said in a gentle tone. He was the caretaker brother, that much was obvious. Always had been. He could soothe hurt feelings and make everything feel better with just his voice alone.
Ed, on the other hand, was blunter. He was a caretaker in his own right, protecting his loved ones from having to do things that'd hurt them, but he no longer dodged question when he was asked one. He called a spade a spade and that was it.
"You're a dumbass, Mustang," Ed said, with all that grace previously mentioned. "You keep doing this to yourself. You shouldn't."
"And yet you keep letting me," Roy replied, knocking back a swallow of his third tumbler.
Ed snorted in a very rude fashion. "That's because the last time you and I fought, Al and I almost got killed. You're lucky I forgave you for that."
Roy stared at the amber liquid in his glass. "I don't know why you did. You've never been good at forgiving people."
"I grew up," Ed said with a shrug. "It happens."
Al smiled. "We never thought he would though, didn't we, Colonel?"
Roy sighed. "I'm retired, Al. I'm just Roy now." He peered at Al. "Although, knowing you, you'll just start calling me Mister Mustang."
That smile never left Al's face, although it took on a touch of amusement. "Is there something wrong with that? Your mother taught you manners, didn't she?"
That got a derisive noise from Roy. "She tried. Just like yours tried. You got them, your brother didn't."
Al leaned forward to look at Ed. "You did fail those courses, Brother."
Roy hid his smile behind another shot of whiskey. "Now boys, don't fight. If you have to, let me get out of the middle here."
Ed gave his brother a dirty look and stuck out his tongue. Al returned the gesture.
"How old are you two?" Roy demanded, looking between them.
"Eighteen and seventeen," Ed said. "But you don't outgrow sticking out your tongue at your little brother."
"Or your thick-headed older brother," Al added with the same ornery tone that Ed had just used.
"I am not thick-headed."
Al looked at Roy, and Roy decided to oblige him by giving Ed an incredulous look. "You can't seriously think that."
Ed gave them both the stink-eye, then sat back and sulked with his arms crossed over his chest. "Traitors."
Roy ignored Ed, leaning forward to grab the bottle off the coffee table in front of him. His hand was unsteady as he lifted it to pour another glass. Edward's soft, warm flesh hand rested over his, stilling it. "That's enough, Mustang. You need to sleep. We'll see you next time."
With reluctance, Roy set down the bottle, the glass thudding on the table. Even in his inebriated state of mind, he was aware of how close he came to knocking it over in the process. "How many times do I get a next time?"
"Probably until your liver fails," Ed said. "You really gotta stop this."
Al put his hand on Roy's arm in a comforting gesture. "Brother's right, you know."
Roy took in an unsteady breath, closing his eye as he leaned back into the couch. "You two have lost a lot of people in your lives. Does it ever get easier?"
Silence passed for a moment, and he could just imagine that the boys were looking at each other, whatever thoughts in their heads shared as they figured out how to answer, and who got to.
"I'd love to lie to you, Mustang," Ed said. "But no, it doesn't. Not really."
Roy laughed, a bit hysterically, though it only lasted a few seconds. "Of all the lies you told me over the years, you couldn't tell me just one more?"
"Not that one," Ed said. "But anyway, it's time for us to go. Sleep off that shit, and stop killing your liver. I mean it. Don't kill yourself like this. You've got too much to live for."
Roy stared at the empty tumbler and the almost empty whiskey bottle. "I know. It's what I don't have anymore that does this to me."
"Let the dead bury the dead, Roy," Ed said, using Roy's first name in a rare statement of authority. "You worry about the living."
Roy didn't see or hear them leaving as the alcohol drowned out everything until he was passed out on the couch that they'd vacated, leaving room for him to stretch out.
He awoke to a plate of crackers and a glass of water sitting on the coffee table where the whiskey bottle and tumbler had been the last he saw. A bottle of aspirin was next to it. He squeezed his eyes shut, wishing the sunlight coming in through the cracks between the curtain panels wasn't so bright. Or that his stomach didn't ache like it wanted to upend itself. Or his head didn't pound like someone was trying to beat it open from the inside.
He took the offering of the water and aspirin, and although he wasn't terribly confident in the saltines, he knew his stomach would thank him for putting some of them in him. The box of crackers making some rustling noise summoned Riza from down the hall, dressed for a day off, something she did every time he drank himself into sleepy land. It had to reflect poorly on her performance at the bank, but she hadn't lost her job to it yet.
"I would ask if you were feeling better," she said, keeping her voice at a mercifully low level, "but I suspect it's too early to tell."
Roy moaned a bit, and instantly regretted it. "Call back tomorrow."
Riza walked over to the couch, kneeling down next to his head. "Roy, you have to stop doing this. The calls from your liquor store employees are getting more and more regular. And you're lucky they call me, or I wouldn't be here in the morning to take care of you."
Roy didn't answer, not right away, focusing on breathing in a way that didn't make his head hurt more before he downed a couple more crackers and chased them with a swallow of water. "It's the only way I can see them."
He opened his eye to see Riza looking at him with a sadness in her eyes that he used to not see very often, but had become more frequent since he lost his eye. "Roy? They're gone. You have to let go. You did this when Hughes died, and it didn't bring him back more than it'll bring the boys back."
Another deep breath, this one to keep from crying and adding to his already miserable headache. "I should've gone with him."
Riza put a gentle hand on his forehead, brushing back his hair. "You say that every time, and as long as you do, I will say that it was not your fault. You both had different things you had to do. What happened, happened. You can't change that. But you told Edward to get up and walk. Your legs still work, Roy. Keep walking. For their sake."
Roy stared up at the ceiling. "For once, I wish something was lying to me."
Riza's hand moved past his vision, ghosting over his face until it made contact with his hair and pet it with the practiced hands of a woman taking care of someone she loved. "You've had enough lies, Roy. It's time you lived in an honest world. I know it's not easy. But it's not so dark."
Roy turned his head to look at her. "At least you're not a lie yet."
Riza didn't stop petting his hair, giving him a small smile. "I'm not planning on dying until you and I are old and grey. I'm not going to be your lie."
His mind added 'yet', even though he didn't give it voice. The boys weren't supposed to be his lie yet, either.
"Throw out that extra bottle of whiskey, please? And later, I'd like to go to the cemetery. I have some goodbyes to make."
"Yes, sir." Riza got up and headed into the study where the second bottle was hidden. She knew all his hiding places.
Roy closed his eye, trying to will away the ache. He wasn't wanting to make that trip to the cemetery just down Honor Lane. But they weren't going to tell him the lie he wanted to hear. There was no more point in asking for it.
"I miss you two," he whispered, hoping that maybe they'd hear him without the whiskey summoning them.
It was a vain hope, but it was all he had left to hold on to.