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jlady_fics ([personal profile] jlady_fics) wrote2006-02-09 03:07 pm

The Bad Stuff

(no... not writing style...)

In doing my 100themes type thing, I got a really evil idea. I've been working on those sections of the story at the same time as the stuff I've been posting.

I now have just about enough to post a coherent narrative and then fill  in the remaining gaps later as I finish the rest of the themes. (heck, I may be doing filler drabbles after I get the themes done just to fill in some bits of this)

This entire section is under a blanket R rating for adult themes even though only one or two themes are actually deserving of the rating by themselves. I'll mark the safer sections as such later.

I have been working on this plotline since I started doing these themes under a month ago and I stand by my decision to write this plotline, cruel as it may be to my characters. I insist on writing fanfic as if it were serious original fiction about the real world, and even on its own Full Metal Alchemist is not all bunnies and flowers.

Spoilers for Episode 51. The movie does not exist.

(Note: Between these and the previously posted themes Roy and Izumi have gone off into the wild to investigate some odd goings on in Amestris. Winry insisted on going along so that they would have a healer with them.)

Disclaimer: I own not anything involving Full Metal Alchemist. It belongs to Arakawa Hiromu.


She is nearly asleep when he takes her place at watch.

Izumi has been gone for hours, off hunting in the dark.

He helps her to her bedroll, helps her climb in as her eyes start drifting closed.

He is sure she is asleep before he whispers, "Good night, Win."

It would not do for her to know his formality is faked, a barrier to keep him from doing things he should not do.

It would not do for her to know he calls her by her last name to remind him why he should not do those things.

She sighs in her sleep, whispers something he chooses to ignore.

She's dreaming. She would never say that to me. She must be dreaming of Full Metal. She can’t say that to me.


She is tired, she is asleep, she will not remember.

He leans over, bracing himself against the ground with his hands.

His lips have almost touched her forehead when his arm gives out.

She is awake five seconds later.

"I was just helping you in, and I slipped," he stammers, talking far too fast as he scrambles backwards. "I am sorry, Miss Rockbell."

She stares at him as he backs away, across the small clearing to his own place at the other side of the fire near the horses.

He thinks she is coming to kill him when he sees her eyes, glinting with the light of the dying campfire, coming closer a half hour later.

But she has something else on her mind.


She wakes slowly, the orange light of sunrise flickering over her face and into her eyes.

Feelings she has never felt before.

I'm not a little girl anymore.

She savors the feeling in the ways of her people, savoring the experience.


Her eyes fly open.

She knows that twinge.

That twinge is several days early.

No! Please no! This can't happen!

A whicker nearby pulls her back to the physical outside world.

"Winry, we've got breakfast cooked," Izumi calls from the other side of the cleaning.

She and he are crouched around the small fire, the two horses still tied beyond them.

He is looking away from where she lies, then glances at her from the corner of his lone eye.

There is an uncertainty there in his stance, an unease.

By all things in the world, last night should not have happened.

By all things beyond the world, last night needed to happen.

She knows that as she manages a weak smile that does not even reassure her.


It is a short while later when they move out, Izumi and the baggage on the brown gelding and he and her on the pale mare, leading.

"Are you okay, Win?" he whispers.

Hearing the secret nickname again makes her heart thrill against her wishes.

"I think so." She wraps her arms around him, cheek pressed against the back of his shirt.

"What does all this mean?"

"I don't know. Can we try to figure it out once we get through finding out whatever is going on out here?"

"Whatever you think best for you, Winry." There is something in his voice, something that tells her he does not want to go back to feigning disinterest.

"I need the time to think." And make sure this situation doesn't get any worse.

"Having regrets?" he asks in a voice she has never heard before, a murmured almost-purr that holds so much emotion she feels tears nearly starting in her own eyes.

"About the risk, yes. About everything else, no."

They ride in silence for a time.



“No matter what we end up deciding, I want you to know something.” She lets her voice become the barest whisper on the wind. “I don't think I could have picked a better First.”

She feels him tense against her as he realizes just what she means. “Your grandmother is going to kill me.”

She barely moves her head as she glances down at her stomach. You have no idea, Roy.

You have no idea.


They are racing across the countryside, Izumi on the brown gelding and Winry sitting in front of him on their golden-tan mare.

It is the only option they have to survive, and so they take it.

Winry is clinging to the mare's mane with all her might, clinging to stay on even as Roy has one arm around her and one hand on the reins.

"Too many non-human chimeras here to stand and fight," he tells himself. "I'll need to dispatch the army for this."

He stops, strangely still on the galloping horse.

There is something odd with the way Winry is tensing and untensing.

"Don’t worry about me," she gasps.

Then they enter cornfields ready for the harvest and they are hidden and safe.

They slow to a trot and make for the main village near the mountain pass the sun is rising through.


Things are happening too fast for her, the world is spinning around her ears.

She clutches the front of his shirt as the world turns to yellow sparkles for a moment and she holds in a scream from the pain.

"Winry, what is going on?" he practically orders.

She doesn't even really hear it, not really.

"'member that night?" she grits out.

"How could I ever forget?" His mind seems to catch up with the rest of him a few seconds later. "Oh no." His voice waivers, trying to fail him. "Win..."

She feels the horse slow under her.

"Roy, don't stop. It's already too late. We have to get safe."

Izumi calls out behind them, "What's wrong?"

"We need a doctor, now!" Roy calls out. She can hear in his voice that he is already frantic. "Ride ahead, we'll follow!"

"What's going on?"

The world went sparkly again and there was nothing she could do to hold in the scream this time.

Izumi swore as she slipped past them at a full gallop.

He holds her with one arm and the reins with his other hand. "Why didn't you tell me?" he whispers.

"Scared." She buries her face in his shirt, trying to take some comfort in not being completely alone. "Was so scared."

They ride in silence for a moment, his hand patting her side as he keeps holding her.

A chimera howl behind them. "Damn it all," he bites out, voice sounding on the edge of tears.

Another howl.

The world shifts again.


He was sitting in front of the fire after breakfast, reading through a book on bone setting, when there was a sudden frantic knocking at the door.

He was there in a moment, fighter's instinct and healer's training carrying him forward.

A woman is at the door, at least partly Xingan by the looks of her, holding the reins of a brown horse. "One of my friends needs a doctor. She rides behind. Do you know woman's medicine?"

"A bit. There's a midwife in the next village."

"What's wrong with her?"

"Miscarriage. Third or fourth month. She hadn't told anyone she was pregnant."

"Anyone with you who has any healer's training?"

"She is our healer. Raised healer, not booklearned."

"I'll do what I can. At that early, nature should take care of everything unless things go wrong."

Hoof beats nearby, an equine scream, and a faint snap followed by an explosive roar that he had heard often in another life.

A tan horse. The woman took the reins as a familiar man handed him a whimpering young blonde who kept murmuring something to herself.

He charged in the house with her. "Roy, what happened?"

"Our camp was attacked an hour ago. I threw her on the horse and galloped off. That was when it started."

Up the stairs to the room he kept prepared for injured patients. "Your friend says this girl's a healer from a healer family." And healers from healer families tend not to end up in situations like this.

"One of the older healer families."

"Then how..."

"Miscounted," she ground out between her teeth. "Safe... window... wasn't..."

"Shh. Save your energy, Little One."

"Stupid... idiot..."

The other woman was there again. "Was your count what you were keeping in that journal of yours?"

The girl was nodding as he laid her on the bed.

"Then I'll recheck your count for you. That should settle that. Short cycles aren't unheard of."

"No... please... no..."

"Keeping more than a count in that little book?"

It was perhaps the most impressive combination blush and death glare he had ever seen in his life.

"It's important to know how long..."

"Long enough... that things... have to open... Izumi! Nothing... else... matters... now!" She had managed to haul herself up on her hands and now cried out, screaming in pain as she fell back to the pillows.

Her hair, eyes he had seen before long ago, the stricken look that crossed Roy Mustang's face for a moment as she was voicing her agony...

"Oh. Hell. No."

He could feel Roy's eyes on him. It was not a thing he would have said years ago when he was sponsoring a young fire alchemist in a bid for State Alchemy certification.

There was something in his eye that simply stated 'Oh hell yes, and don’t give us hell about it.'

She cried out again. Her hands clutched at big bunches of the sheets.

Roy's defiance faded in an instant. He slid down beside her, holding her with one arm and holding her hand with his other hand.

"I'm sorry," he whispered to her.

Her free hand shot up and grabbed his ear.

He yelped.

"Roy, damnit... this... took... two! Need I... remind you... who went... to whose... bedroll... damnit!"

Then she cried out again, the hand beside the alchemist's head tensed white, and Roy screamed with her.

There was something about the way they were interacting, something...

Whatever is between them is mutual and consensual.

She was trembling, moaning.

The old doctor reached out, grabbed her other hand. "You're going to be okay, child. Nature's just got to take her course."

She nodded weakly.

"Do I have your permission to help?"

She tensed and cried out again.

"You know?"

"What I'm doing? Enough."

"No. You know." The look on her face was heartbreaking.

"Yes. I'll reserve judgment until after I hear the whole story." The words tumbled out but he knew they were true.

She doesn’t want this to happen in a place where the child would not have been welcome if born alive.

He holds her hand for a moment more, running old rough fingers over her smooth skin.

She tensed, clutched at his hand, screamed.

He slipped his other hand under her back and tried to rub away some of the tension once the pain had passed.

"Then help please aahhh!"

He waited until that pain was gone before pulling away.

As he and the older woman tended to things that had to be tended to, he tried to ignore what he knew.

It was oh so hard to ignore that it was her blood from theirs that was soaking into his guest bed.

It was oh so hard to ignore that the tiny bundle of tissue and fluid—oh gods it was far enough along to be visible clearly—he wrapped in gauze and placed in a covered pot for burial later was their grandchild sired by the one who had held the gun.

It was oh so hard to ignore that the forlorn little girl lying on the bed was now a childless mother as well as a motherless child.

And then he could not ignore any more, ground out the words, "I'm sorry," and charged from the room.

By the time he was able to return, she was nearly passed out from exhaustion in Roy's arms.

Roy pulled away slightly. "Do you have a phone here? I need to make a call."


Roy leaned close over the girl. "I'll be right back, Win. I'll be right back here soon."

She groaned from the start of the after-cramps. She clung to Roy weakly until it was past.

Then, he carefully got up and left.


He sits staring at the phone.

One last horror and we can all try to sleep.

He lifts the receiver.

An hour later he finally gets through to Central and arranges the extermination of the local chimera population.

And then there is no putting it off any longer.

"Put me through to Pinako Rockbell. If she isn't in Central, she'll be at Rockbell Automail in Resembool. I'll wait as long as it takes."

Five minutes of waiting, sitting with nothing to distract his mind. At one point he almost abandons the phone when he thinks he hears her cry out again.

Less than a minute later, there is a click on the line.

"Pinako here."

He opens his mouth and nothing comes out.


"Ma'am." It was all he could manage.


"Ye... yeah."

"What happened?"

"Winry... oh damnit." I can't do this, I can't do this, I can't do this...

"Mustang, I'm going to make this slow with easy answers." There was an edge in her voice that could scrape flesh from bone. "Is Winry alive?"

"Y... yes."

"Is she going to be staying that way for the foreseeable future?"


"Thank the gods. Is she hurt?"


"Emotional or physical?"


A pause. "Mustang, is Winry pregnant?"

"Not ahngh..." He curls up as he sits there, his own distress becoming far too real.

"Was she pregnant?"

"Y... y... yes."

Silence on the other end of the line as his breath came in little gasps with the shaking of his shoulders.

"Roy, is there anyone else there I can talk to who will be able to get more than one word out at a time?"


"Roy, I've seen the way you two look at each other. Are you the other responsible party?"


"Did you know before this happened?"


"Oh, gods. How long since this happened?"

"Since mo..." The word refuses to come out. "...dawn."

"Oh, gods. Roy, listen. This is Grandma Rockbell's Doctorial Orders: Get yourself cleaned up. Eat something warm. And then find somewhere soft close enough that if she needs you you can help without moving very far and try to get some rest. You probably won't be able to sleep, but you have to take care of yourself even if only so you can take care of her."


"Can you get Izumi on the phone now?"

He calls out towards the ceiling and within a few seconds a frightened looking Mrs. Curtis is downstairs and takes the phone from him.

Somehow he manages to make it back up the stairs, nearly collapses when he makes it to the room where she lies limp on the bed and their host watches over her, and somehow makes it far enough to borrow the tiniest edge of the wide bed.

"Roy?" Her voice is wavering, barely audible.


"Need... you..."

He scoots close, right next to her, and wraps his arms around her. "Here."

His shoulders are still trembling.

"Just... stay..."

"Not... going... away..."

He pulls energy from somewhere, nowhere, and manages to fumble the eye patch off without poking out his other eye. Their host gasps for a moment, but for once he doesn't care. She needs him next to her and he needs her next to him and compared to the sorrow of the moment the sorrows of the past seem so small and far away and utterly meaningless.

They lie there, cheek to ruined cheek, and seek whatever solace they can find in the presence of each other.

Exhaustion grants her an uneasy sleep.

The night offers no such compensation for his losses.


Time is a blur to him now.

Hold her close, staring into the wall. Talk weakly to her when she needs the comfort. Help her hobble around when she absolutely has to move to relieve muscle tension from the cramps. Help carry her whenever she needs moving.

Try not to think about the tiny body lying on a bed of gauze and herbs in a covered pot pressed against one wall, little fragile limbs still wrapped in the tissues which should have nurtured them.

Try not to realize the only child he has ever fathered is dead, not even old enough to have known sun, open air, its parents' arms.

Was it old enough to have a soul?

This is his world now.


Time moves too fast and too slow.

Pains take forever to subside and then there is a few second break before the next one is starting.

She isn't crying. Water runs down her face, but she is not really crying.

She is too weak to cry.

She needs help to eat and drink for she can barely lift her own head.

She doesn't know who the doctor helping them is, the doctor who made last night barely within the realm of bearable rather than wholly outside any human pain tolerance. She doesn't know his name or whether he is booklearned or part of a healer family. She vaguely remembers times when she was so much younger and would fight even when weak with fever chills until she knew who owned the hands that were trying to help.

Now, she is simply grateful the odd man with huge shoulders and gray-haired blocky head was here to help at all. She could not have handled this alone, and she knows it.


There is no time.

"Grandpa, why are Mommy and Daddy crying?"

"Because they wish very much that you could be there with them right now."

"But aren't they going to be here someday too?"

"The living find that hard to see, Little One. You were not in that world long enough to understand."

"Will I ever?"

"Of course." He picks her up and lets her climb on him until she is riding piggy back across his wide shoulders.

There is no weight here either, unless one wills it.

"You'll learn the same way we all did, Little One. By watching and learning. You just get to watch a lot more."

He reaches up and ruffles her straight cornsilk hair.

She buries her face in the back of his neck.

If she were alive, she'd be demanding to understand now.

No, if she were alive, Winlet would still be pregnant.

The grandmothers are there in a moment.

His beloved is still exulting in her grandmotherhood, wearing the wrinkles and gray hairs she had never grown old enough to sport in life.

The other stands in the glory of the youthful days before she met the smooth-talking general who loved her, left her, and then had to marry her or risk war. Her long black hair is immaculate as it hangs over softly colored silk.

"They will be fine," the old shrinemaiden tells him with the glint in her eye that reminds him she saw more of life than he did.

"Why wouldn't Mommy and Daddy be fine?"

His beloved takes the child from his back and holds her close. "You'll understand."

They leave and he is standing there where the couple lies in the bed side by side, finally dozing from the overload of stress and emotion.

She shivers when he gets closer and the alchemist pulls her closer into his arms, trying to keep her warm, without waking.

"Take care of her," he whispers. "And may you both know better times."

He moves away, deeper into the world beyond the world.

And yet he is always only an untaken breath away.


She is not yet even able to walk reliably on her own when the report comes in from Central.

He would have preferred to have never seen it, but he is Fuhrer and so he must see it before anyone else is told and she is a healer so she reads over his shoulder from the moment she sees the seal of the medical researchers on the report. He does not mind until he learns what is in the report, that the odd rumor so often hushed in the back corners of the hospitals as he and others moved through them is true and real.

No one had statistics before. It was just an odd fact that the generals who had spent most or all of the war in Ishbal itself weren't having many children. It wasn't noticeable, just a childless family here and there. The other military families were more than enough to cover it up. No one had really bothered to track the drafted.

Those who were there for over a year are having problems having children. The live birth rate is much lower than it should be, even for military types.

Those who were there for over two are not having children at all. What few children there are tend to be so developmentally abnormal that they simply do not survive.

Between the war and the clean-up, he was there for three.

He should take this as some sort of punishment from a deity for the things he has done. He tries to, curls up on himself beside her on the bed sobbing when he realizes what this means.

All the pain she has gone through was no fault of hers.

Even if the pregnancy had been planned, even if she had been in the care of the best of Amestris's doctors, even if no woman had ever eaten better, the child would have been just as doomed.

He chose to spend his youth in the military to try to satisfy some urge to please his father and planned to have a family later.

Now, that very career has taken the chance of that family away and the way he has learned of it has made him realize how much he really does want that simple dream of a normal life with a small face looking up at him and calling out, "Daddy!"

Imagining that for a moment makes it all even realer.

She is lying behind him now, arms around his shoulders and face pressed into the back of his neck.

He can feel tears on the back of his neck and blames himself all the more.

"Preliminary reports are just that, right? They still have more research to do..." she stammers. "Besides, what would the mechanism be? How could something do that to Amestrians and not do anything to the native Ishbalans? It just doesn't make sense."

They both know she is rationalizing.

They both are unwilling to risk the obvious answers.

Maybe Uncle Theodore's rants about an angry god who punishes sinners were right all along.

Maybe the man who made Roy's childhood a living nightmare of being told the sins of his mother would haunt him forever was right.

Maybe there was a something divine out there.

He could not think of a single thing he had done or could do that would sate his uncle's vision of a heavenly judge, the weigher of souls who had once deemed humankind so unworthy that he brought on the Bright Day so long ago. There were so many counts against him...

He is trembling in her arms and somewhere deep inside he cannot figure out if he has ever been this terrified before.


It is not hard for the old woman to see that the two adults in front of her are really still children inside, no matter what they have seen and done.

They are lying together, her comforting him for a change. She has grown used to the sight as the days pass in Marcoh's home.

They are living in each other's arms, but at least they are living.

He is trembling, crying, and if he were not the leader of a country she would say he was practically on the edge of losing control and wailing.

She stands there, watching. When Winry's attempts to calm him fail, she enters and sits on the bed beside them, running wrinkled fingers through his hair.

Then, she sees the report and glances at the visible pages.

"That explains the Burens, then."

He lifts his head, eye rubbed red and bloodshot and his patch nearly completely askew. She can tell he is barely registering the world around him now.

"The Burens were another healer couple that tried to help who they could during the war. When the military said the words 'final warning,' they believed them and left. They've been trying to have a family for years since with no luck. It's been perplexing all of us. But if the soldiers who were there are having the same problems, then there might be some explanation."

Roy's shoulders heave again and his head falls back to the bed.

"Roy, if a healer couple is having the same problem then this isn't for anything you did other than get sent to a physical location by a government you at that stage in your life thought was trustworthy."

A sniffle.

"If it actually is because of anything you did. Miscarriages sometimes just happen, and as I seem to recall Sara once told me her Mama called her a miracle baby because she was born after a string of disasters. This could be something from her family line."

More sniffles from both of them.

Loss really does bring out the five-year-old in us all.

"It could be either of you, or both, or neither. There is no way anyone is ever going to be able to tell, so there's no use blaming yourselves for what happened."

Winry finally starts calming down, but Roy is still curled up.

"Believe it or not, Roy, things will feel better in time. Nature has its way of healing wounds. If you are meant to help raise a little one or a small pack of them in the ways of this world, you will. Childless parents have a way of picking up strays. And there may be a chance that this report is an anomaly. You may still have young ones of your own."

The Elrics even got picked up as strays twice.

Oh, how many children have Izumi and I put under our wings... she as a village alchemist, I as a healer...

She rubs his hair again. "No matter how dark the night, the sun will rise in the morning."

He won't calm down.

It only takes a few more minutes for her to realize he can't calm down.

She leaves him in Winry's care for a few minutes and goes to get a mug of a tea she knows he is particularly sensitive to.

She comes back and from the way he lifts his head when she enters he knows he smells it.

"I wouldn't normally do this, but sleeping the shock off looks like the only way you are going to calm down. And this is a fair sight better than letting you cry yourself into exhaustion."

He is asleep a few breaths after drinking, as always.

Winry snuggles close to him and is soon at least breathing evenly if not asleep herself.

Pinako pulls a blanket over the pair and leaves them to their grief.


They sit together under the tree, looking down at the roughened spot in the dirt.

It was the best place they could think of. A hospital courtyard was a good place for a healer family child. The ground was already a memory garden, so the simple grave would remain undisturbed for generations to come.

They had traveled back to Central, alone, to deal with this thing that they had to deal with alone. Needed to deal with alone.

And so here they were.

"It needs a name," they both whisper as one. That was the one thing they could not stand to do in the weeks at Marcoh's home. It was too soon, too real.


"A name that could have fit a boy or a girl," he whispers. He never wants it to look as if he would have preferred one over the other, never wants to limit himself to one or the other in his mind.

"I had a girl cousin named Aubrey," she offers.

"One of my grandfather's brothers was an Aubrey."

"It runs in both families with both genders," she whispers.

He reaches out with his right hand, touches the disturbed soil. "Aubrey."

She sniffles as she does the same, tears running down her face. "Aubrey."

Somehow, it fits.

Mother (some time later)

He looks up at her and smiles, lifting his arms. She picks him up and she is soft and warm and the feel of his silk dress is wonderful against his skin.

She hugs him. "And how is Mommy's little man doing today?"

He gives her a gap-toothed smile. "Mister Johnson gave me candy."

"He did? How sweet of him. Did you remember to thank him?"

"Uh huh."

She hugs him again.


Daddy is home!

He knows that Daddy's work is important , that he has been away a long time keeping his son and wife and their entire village safe. That's why Daddy hasn't been home since he was born.

Someday I'll keep people safe, too.

They eat dinner together in the little cottage at the foot of the hill. Uncle and his cousins live at the top of the hill. Uncle is mean and the girls pick on him too, so he tries to stay away. Auntie even swatted him with the broom once when he was too close to her laundry line.

Daddy doesn't talk much, but he must be tired from working so hard so that must be okay, right? Being tired is fine if there's a good reason for it. Mommy cooked the best food, but Daddy doesn't say anything about it. Maybe the lands beyond the mountains or the forest really do have wonderful things in them, if Mommy's best food is normal out there.

When dinner is over, he leaves and heads down the road towards the village proper.

He doesn't understand why Daddy is leaving, but there has to be a reason.

When he comes back for breakfast, he smells like the women in town who always wear too much make-up and sit outside the tavern all day.

He is gone from the village by nightfall.


Something is wrong with his mother.

"Just God catching up to her," his uncle scoffs at him when he asks for a little extra money to go find a doctor. "Not worth my silver to cure what the Almighty demands. She was the one who did things she oughtn't. Anything that happens to her is just desserts for her sins."

It was your brother who brought her here, Uncle. He leaves without saying a word, rubbing at the place on his arm where the old farmer had struck him the first and only time he voiced that sentiment out loud.

It seems like she's been fading for all his life, but now it is all happening so quickly and no one will pay any attention to the Xingan woman and her son.

He enters the cottage, goes to his normal place by her bedside.

Maybe if he didn't eat for a week and helped Johnson at the general store after school, he could get his mother a doctor.

She opens her eyes and smiles at him. "My little man."

"Uncle wouldn't give me anything to pay a doctor, but I'll find a way, Mom. I'll find a way."

"Don't worry about me. Worry about yourself." She reaches up, cups his cheek in her palm. "Don't worry about me."

He places his own hand over hers as she closes her eyes and goes back to sleep.

It is only when he notices the hand has grown cold that he realizes she is dead.


They send him to a boarding school in Central the day she is buried.

His uncle swears to him that she will be buried under her favorite tree, the cherry tree in the meadow below the cottage, the tree she planted with her own hands as a living symbol of the dreams she had for her new life in Amestris with his father.

As the train pulls out of the station, he sees the tree fall in the distance.

There is nothing he can do.

The blond-haired girl who sees him first when he gets off the train makes fun of him for weeping, calls him a cry-baby for being homesick so soon.

He can't even manage to choke out that he has no family willing to claim him, his mother is dead, and there is no hope he can ever find the place she is buried.



He snaps out of the reverie and looks up at Winry as she stands next to him. She is less shaky now, more the person she was before everything happened, before the world fell apart and came back together again.

She will never be the same. He will never be the same.

"Two cenz for your thoughts."

He gazes out at the small grove of trees in the small park, little pink petals falling from them in the evening breeze.

"Just remembering."