Title: Dressing Down
Pairing: Roy Mustang x Maes Hughes (mostly inferred)
Rating: PG-13 for slight sexual overtones
Disclaimer: Set at the end of Episode 25, right before the funeral for Hughes. I dont own the characters.
Read all five parts of the story arc HERE!
The alarm woke the man, even though he really hadn't slept at all the night before. He blinked a couple of times, letting his eyes adjust to the light. His head throbbed from his drinking the night before. As much as he had tried, he hadn't been able to get his mind off of Maes Hughes. Even drinking only made the pain worse. At least it was this morning. He took a couple of deep breaths and sat up in bed. Groggily, he looked out the window with his bloodshot eyes. The sunrise was just starting to peek over the horizon, bathing everything in an orange-red glow. It was almost pretty.
With a deep sigh, he remembered why he had to get up at ths God-forsaken hour. He rubbed his fingers thru his stringy black hair, laying askew at every angle imaginable. Against his wishes, he sat up and rubbed his aching eyes. He stood up, a little dizzy at first, he put his hand back on the warm bed to steady himself.
"This is where we slept." he mumbled, sighing again. "God, what I wouldn't give to be there again." He shook his head softly. "God has nothing to do with this." He added, with firmness, and a regret.
Shakily, he headed over to the bathroom, where he relieved himself, then stripped off his wrinkled sleeping clothes and stepped into the shower. As soon as the hot water hit him, a tiny bit of his stress lifted. His nose, stuffy from the last couple of days of crying by himself, cleared. The ache in the back of his eyes lightened slightly. For just a brief moment, he felt just a little bit better. Inevitably, his mind started to wander as he took a washcloth and started to lather and clean himself. "There was never enough room for both of us here" he said to nobody. "But we always made the room somehow." That brought a sad smile to his face, remembering the times that they had had together. There was a soft sniffle as a few salty tears mixed with the swirling water at his feet. He wanted to curl up in the shower and let everything go down the drain. It felt like his life already had.
He lingered in the shower as long as he could, untill the entire room was bathed in a thin fog, and the hot shower turned into a lukewarm one. Softly he sighed and reluctantly turned the water off, wrapping a towel around his thin waist and stepping into the still well warmed room. Still dripping wet, he stood in front of the foggy mirror and readied his razor for his normal morning shaving routine. Softly he rubbed his bristly whiskers. They had grown out
over the last few days, making him rather ragged and haggard, which was just how he felt. He thought about not bothering to even shave, but he quickly thought better of that. "He deserves my best, or at least the best of what is left of me." he grumbled.
His hand shook, and more than once he had to dab blood off the side of his face. But eventually the deed was done, and his face returned to its normal, soft look. Roy winced a little as he splashed some alchol based aftershave on his face, the little cuts hotly stinging him. He was so numb, it didnt even seem to hurt as muchas usual, though. Nothing could possibly hurt as much as what happened a few brief days ago.
He glanced down at his watch. It was 7:45. He needed to be out of his apartment by 8:15 to make it down to the cemetary by 8:30. Roy sighed again as he ran a brush thru his jet black hair. even with his wet hair, it didn't want to cooperate, and stuck at odd angles off his head. "Well, at least my hat will hide most of this." he tried to joke, but even he didnt find his own joke very funny.
He knew even though he was well dried off from the shower, the bedroom would be cold- in more ways than one. He tried to rationalize, to find a way to not have to go in there. Every moment that clicked by, every step he took, led him closer and closer to the inevitable time where he would have to face his feelings, and face his lover's family.
The blast of cool air that hit him when he opened the door to the bedroom shook any lingering thoughts of sleepiness from his head. He shivered once, then threw his towel onto the bed and walked over to his closet. He looked at the dark blue outfit hanging seperate from the rest of his sparse clothing. Roy would have given anything to not have to put this on, but he knew all the procrastination in the world wouldn't stop the inevitable outcome. He sighed softly and took his suit out of the closet and off the hangar, laying it softly on the bed.
Slowly, methodically- like he usually does things- he put on a pair of boxers, then the military issued blue pants and tails. They fit him looser than they had in the recent past. He honestly didn't remember when his last meal was, or even what it had been. What had been keeping him going this past week? he wondered to himself. He guessed it was the sheer determination to not let his best friend's death go in vain and continue his march towards the top.
He put on his periwinkle blue shirt and tucked it into the pants, then on went the blue dress jacket. After he buttoned it up, he sighed and looked at the black sash that was still staring at him, laying on the crumpled sheets. It was the sash that was worn for a fallen solider.
Why, why did he have to die? Why did he have to be so fucking smart and figure out what was happening with the corruption in the government? And what was it that he had found out? He shook his head and slowly lowered the sash over his shoulder. His throat tightened and his eyes moistened. It was hard to breathe. He cleared his throat, trying as best he could to compose what was left of himself. As he straighted out the sash, and put his rarely used hat on top of his still slightly unruly hair, his mind inevitably wandered back to the last night they had spent together.
It had unfortunatly been a rather hasty affair, since Roy had one of his many dinner meetings with the higher ups. As much as he hated it, he knew that he had alot of ass to kiss if he wanted to continue to move up towards his ultimate goal. And Maes had agreed that he needed to go, since he was determined to help his friend get there.
They hadnt had time to do much that night, kissing, groping, desperatly holding each other, not wanting to let go, but knowing that they had to. When Roy had left his house, leaving Maes behind to clean up, he never thought that would be the last night of pleasure that they would have spent together.If he had known, he would have forgotten about that damn meeting, which had been terribly boring annyways, and spent the whole night with his lover. He sighed.
Hindsight was always 20/20, and there was no way he could have known. But that didnt make him feel any less guilty. He was gone, and nothing was ever going to change that.
He turned on his heels, spinning on the back of his feet and clicking his heels together. His mind was already getting into stoic soldier mode, like second nature. It scared him a little, his brain was reverting back to his wooden soldier form. The wall was forming, a wall that he knew that he was going to need thru the ceremony. It was a wall that he had formed many times in his life. He had already cried enough for himself. He needed to let others cry now. It was time to become the good little wooden solider of the military.
He gathered his military issue blue coat and headed towards the door. He didn't want to open the door and let the outside in. He just wanted to stay inside for a lifetime or two, and just remember the man that he loved. He softly sighed and got right to the door, his hand mere inches away from opening the handle, when there was a knock. he opened the door to see Havoc, in his Dress Blues and black sash, the car iddling down the stairs at the edge of the road. He had his customary cigarette, but it wasnt lit. He didn't look like he had gotten thru the morning without shedding tears as well, his eyes were puffy and slightly bloodshot.
"You ready, chief?" He tried to flash a smile, but both of them could see how fake it really was. Roy just nodded and softly walked past the slightly taller man, towards the back seat. Normally he would have taken the passenger side and talk with his Lieutenant, but today, neither were in the mood to say much of anything. Havoc climbed in the driver's seat, and they were off.
Roy's mind wandered back to Maes and thier lasts night together again on the short drive, and all of a sudden he thought that maybe talking wouldn't have been too bad. But it was too late. As soon as it started, it was over. They were there.
"Alright chief. Let's get this over with." For a brief second, the Flame Alchemist fumed at Havoc. Was this an inconvience with him? Did he really not want to be here for his commanding officer? But the more the thought about it, the more he understood what Havoc had meant. He wouldn't ever forget Maes, but they had thier own ways of grieving, and they would both rather do it in private.
Quitly, Roy got out of the car and followed Havoc up the little hill into the graveyard. Hawkeye was hanging back from the group a little. As usual, she was beautiful, he noticed, even though her eyes were red and freshly moist. He put a hand softly on her shoulder.
"I am sorry, Riza." His voice was broken and low, not the cocky, arrrogant young colonel, but a broken old man with an extinguished flame.
"I know, Roy. I.... worry about you. Are you going to be okay?"
"I will, Riza. I will." But neither of them really believed it.