jlady_fics: (Time For Healing)
[personal profile] jlady_fics
Title: A Time For Healing, Chapter 1

Warnings (if any): Spoilers. Big end-o-series ones.

Rating: PG-13

Characters: Roy, Winry, Pinako, Armstrong. Others to appear later.

Summary: End of series AU. Things start going rather badly for Roy after the series. Can he come to terms with the reality of his new situation? Will he even have a chance to?

Misc. notes: Inspired by [livejournal.com profile] kaitou_marina here and by a friend I had some wonderful 'conversations' with during my senior year of high school. The two-POV thing is my own experiment inspired by the fact that there really are going to be two different worlds going on; I need to show inside his head and the things he does not know.

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

Roy's POV

He remembers the fight. He has nightmares about the way Bradley's blade felt inside him.

He doesn't remember anything after that until he wakes in the hospital, wracked with pain, half the world completely dark.

He can't understand anything the nurses say. His own words sound like meaningless babble.

Poking. Prodding. When he tries to squirm away, to get away, they hold him down. Tie him down.

Riza comes once, twice, and does not come again.

Grumman comes by, pats his least-injured shoulder, and leaves with water in his eyes.

The others float in, out, and do not return.

He is alone the night there is a pain at his arm and he falls asleep.

He is alone the day he wakes screaming and babbling from the agony in his shoulder.

He is alone the day nothing takes the pain away and they put something in his mouth to stop the racket.

...

He loses track of days as he lies there.

It seems like an eternity until he sees a face that had been familiar before.

It is not the face he would have preferred.

She is there at the door, blond hair faintly sparkling from a dusting of snow. She waves and smiles. Her lips move in something he can almost imagine might be "hello", even if he can't understand the sound. It is the first time he has been sure anyone was talking to him since the day he woke up.

But it is her.

Winry.

It is her, and so he averts his gaze.

He barely sees her eyes go wide as she seems to notice the bonds on his limbs and around his torso. Words fall from her lips. They are babble to his ears, but even he can hear the indignance.

She comes closer, hand reaching for his but stopping before she gets that close, staring at his face.

He wants to try to talk, even if only babble, but his jaw doesn't want to work anymore and one of his teeth aches when he tries.

She stands there, pats his shoulder.

A nurse enters and the two speak at each other. Winry pats him on the arm one last time, something indescribable on her face, and leaves.

He tries to ignore the hours that follow and is disturbed at how easy that has become.

...

It is night, the moon barely visible from what he can see of the window.

It may be the same day. It may be weeks later. He does not know.

He does not know.

Something big moves in the doorway. He flails slightly, failing to hold in a whimper that turns into a groan with the pain in his tooth.

And then he sees the sparkles and the small form behind.

Armstrong. Winry.

And the determination in their eyes.

They use a small light to help undo his bonds and he lies there slowly rubbing his wrists as they undo the strap over his chest.

He is almost too weak to even do that.

He nearly screams when she tries to undo the gag in his mouth. She presses a hand over his mouth for a moment and shakes her head.

He nods.

She shakes her head again.

He slightly shakes his head, moaning from the pain, and then nods.

She grins in the dark and gives him a thumbs-up before removing the hand.

It is the first communication he has had with another human since he woke here.

A prick in his arm for a moment.

Something being wrapped around him.

Being lifted as he simply gets tired.

Warm arms.

And nothing.

...

Movement under him, the smooth rhythm of a train.

A soft hand on his arm.

Another prick.

Darkness.

...

He wakes curled up on a soft mattress with warm blankets.

The pillow is just firm enough and smells of herbs.

He knows that smell.

His eye flies open.

He knows these walls.

He freaks, then falls back from the sudden agony of the tooth.

Pinako is there in a moment, saying something in a tone he had heard long ago.

He tries to retreat, finds himself trying to talk no matter how much pain it causes.

Her hand on his mouth, holding his jaw still as she shakes her head at him.

He starts crying but he can't stop it and he doesn't understand and he wants to be anywhere but here and he needs to apologize and he has been in pain for so long...

She is closer suddenly, next to him on a chair, resting his face on her shoulder and patting his back with one hand and supporting his head with the other while she babbles at him.

After a moment he realizes what she is doing, what she is offering, and clings back.
Winry's POV

She has come to the city for a festival.

She keeps reminding herself that. It makes the days more bearable. Her friends are gone or replaced by who they once were long before. Life with her grandmother is much the same as it has always been.

Celebrating the Festival of the Departed someplace where her parents aren't the chief people being remembered is the closest she can come to a vacation from all she has been through.

And the one person she really wants to spend time with now, who would have to listen, have to try to understand...

Rumor has it he has been no-mind since the coup.

The rumor must be true; he would be Fuhrer if it were not true.

It is early in the morning, the best time for slipping into the hospital as just one more healer and looking into things for oneself before the real bustle of the day begins.

She decides it is time to check the rumor herself.

A five minute walk in the early winter air, three flights of stairs, a patient log, and two of the flights of stairs again later, she is standing in a hallway. This is as close as the place comes to a mindhealer's wing; not that they have a mindhealer, but there are some ills best treated away from outside eyes.

The world is disjunct for a moment. The last time she saw him he was boldly marching toward certain doom, and yet his name was clearly listed with a room number on this hall. Some healers try to acclimate themselves to such things, but she has long refused to.

She walks forward, secretly bracing herself.

She waves when she enters the room and says, "Hello," even before she really sees the room or its occupant. It is almost a ritual action, something she has been told to do all her life: respect the presence of mind and soul even when body is failing. Especially when body is failing.

It is only then that she realizes how wrong the situation before her is.

He is mostly covered by a blanket, but it does not cover the straps holding his hands and feet in place. She knows in an instant that they are in no way any of the restraints allowed under Healer Law, and that this is not a situation where most of those could be used.

One of his eyes is covered with a taped piece of gauze.

The other is open and blinking in the morning light, clearly trying to look at anything but her. The gaze aversion is more than enough to tell her all the no-mind rumors were not true.

"What have they done to you?" she chokes out.

He makes no attempt to respond and she moves closer.

Something has to have led to the no-mind rumor. Some injury, somehow...

She reaches for his hand, to make some sort of human connection—the past means nothing, the Law her parents died following is being violated before her very eyes—but her eyes see his face more clearly and she has to stop.

There is a gag in his mouth, not the usual easily removed cloth improvisation that has to be taken off for eating sooner or later anyway but a bit instead. His lips meet somewhat in the front, certainly enough for him to swallow properly, but there is no mistaking the metal sticking out at the corners of his mouth and the mix of spit and who-knew-what-else leaving tracks across his face. She is almost sure she sees blood.

She can see his jaw move, see he is trying to communicate something.

And so Winry stands there, patting his shoulder until there is a voice at the door.

She tries to stay calm, asks noncommittal things about what has been tried and what hasn't, what the official prognosis is.

"No-mind, from the injury that took that eye."

She remembers enough of her father's big books on mindhealing to know this 'healer' has no clue what she speaks or is dealing with.

She pats his shoulder again, turning to leave.

"I suppose it's just his just desserts."

Something about the way the nurse says it makes her blood run cold.

"'Hurt a healer, need a healer', after all." The old saying is about minor hurts, cheating on the price of apples, charging more than necessary for gauze, denying herb gathering on private property.

This is about her parent's lives.

The hairs on her neck stand up.

She has to get out of here.

She gives him one more weak smile, head held so he can see and the nurse cannot, lets her hand brush his arm in the most unnoticeable way she can, and leaves.

She has to get out of here now.

She is running before she reaches the stairs.

It is only when she is downstairs and has finished calling Armstrong to come get her that she realizes it is the first time she and Mustang have ever actually touched.

...

They come back that night, ready to act.

They have to get him out, as soon as they can. There's no telling what might happen to him next, or when, and the violation of Healer Law is nearly unfathomable as it already is.

Winry uses her healer credentials to get them in a half hour before a shift change.

They go upstairs through the normal stairwell.

He is still there, tied in the same way but looking no worse. Winry lets out a sigh of relief; she has been worried her presence might trigger another level of mistreatment. He whimpers a little and tries to move away, then quiets with an air of recognition.

The use a small portable light to see the clasps on the straps.

When his hands are free, he starts rubbing his wrists with his hands. They fumble, move slowly, and the thick marks from the bonds are visible even in the dark.

They manage to get him completely loose. He makes no move to sit or even squirm.

She tries to get the gag out, remove that last humiliation. He nearly screams and she has to use her hand over his mouth to keep him quiet.

If the perpetrators know the word is out that Healer Law has been broken, he will most certainly be dead by morning.

The following of Healer Law is the moral high ground that keeps them all safe, or is at the least supposed to. This is all of them teetering on the brink. This is the healer families with guns at their backs.

This is her people dying in the name of her parents' memory.

And so the evidence will be gone by morning, one way or another.

She shakes her head. The last thing they need is noise.

He nods, weakly.

She shakes her head again. He has to be silent. If he isn't, they'll hear downstairs.

He shakes his head, ever so slightly, and she can feel the moan more than she can hear it. He nods then, more weakly than before.

She flashes him a smile, offers a thumbs-up.

He just communicated. We just communicated. He is still in there.

She wonders why she suddenly feels so giddy.

He is still in there.

She holds his arm still, injects a sedative. She feels horrible about doing such a thing without letting him know what is going on, but there is no time and his life is on the line.

His eye is slowly blinking closed when they wrap him in the blanket. Armstrong lifts him up, cradles him in his arms, and they are off, down the back delivery stairway and running to the train station.

They spend most of the trip to Resembool in silence except for Roy's soft snoring on the floor of the compartment. Putting him on the other seat would have been softer and kinder, but there's too much risk if something happens. On the floor, he cannot fall.

And if this was from brain damage, the last thing he needs is a concussion. Even if it wasn't, we don't need him to have one of those and communication difficulties.

...

One very scary late night train transfer and several more shots of sedative later, they are in Resembool just as the sun started setting the next night.

They move as soon as it is dark.

Pinako opens the door on the first knock. "Winry, what happened?"

"We have a problem." She moves the blanket back, revealing just enough of Mustang's face for him to be identifiable and for the strap to the bit to be clearly visible.

"My gods. Get inside, all of you. Bedroom upstairs, the one with its own plumbing."

...

They have him mostly settled an hour later in the softest button-up shirt and pair of pants they can find in the pile of 'for patients' discards. They and the sheets are warm from the electric dryer Alphonse used part of his "compensation for services to Amestris" to get them.

All they can really do until they know how much he can understand is try to make him as comfortable as possible.

He stirs, finally.

Winry sees the shock on his face a second before his eye opens.

He fumbles backwards, gasps in pain, tries to get away from his own left cheek.

Definitely need to find a dentist. Something is wrong there.

Her grandmother spits out, "How could anyone do this to a human being?"

He keeps backing, jaw trying to work around the thin bar.

Pinako grabs him a moment later, stilling his mouth and shaking her head.

Tears are streaming down his face a moment later.

"You know where you are, don't you?" Her voice is soft, controlled. She gets close, sits next to his head, pulls him onto her shoulder. "You don't have a clue about anything else. Shh. We are not going to hurt you. Shh. No one gets to hurt you again. You're safe now."

He reaches his left hand out, grasps the shoulder strap of her apron weakly between his fingers.

It is a horribly pitiful gesture, and it makes Winry want to cry.

Human contact. Voluntary human contact.

"Shh. You have nothing to fear here. Nothing at all. There's no revenge we could ever want that even comes close to this. Shh. Just rest. Just heal. Just sleep. Shh. Nothing can hurt you here."

Winry sees the eye blink closed again.

"Go to bed, Winry. Armstrong is already in the guest room downstairs. You've taken care of Mustang for over a day, I can handle him tonight. You need rest too."

Winry leaves, goes into her room, lies down and stares at the ceiling.

She can still hear the faint sounds of her grandmother's ministrations in the next room.

She yawns uncontrollably.

Grandma sure is good at her work...

Date: 2006-02-20 04:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flameraven.livejournal.com
Interesting....very interesting.

Date: 2006-02-20 11:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] evocates.livejournal.com
... Wow. Wow.

This is really very intriguing, I can't wait to see more! I've never seen a concept like this before, and you pulled it off marvellously.

More, please? XD

Date: 2006-02-20 08:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ceirwy.livejournal.com
ooo... I like very much... more? please?

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