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Apologies Are A Little Late Now

By , Fenton, MO

Ed woke up excited. Today was his 22nd birthday, another year he'd survived with his cancer. Brain cancer to be exact. Though Roy didn't know that. He'd never have to know.... But maybe Roy might do something with him today. Maybe he'd stay home with him instead of going out with that pretty girl. Edward didn't care what they did, as long as he was able to be with Roy. He pulled himself out of bed and hurried toward the kitchen expecting to hear Roy attempting to cook breakfast and smell things burning. He didn't. He looked around confused for a moment then smiled sadly when he realized that Roy wasn't there. That he'd probably gone out with that girl again.... This was always it... It was fine... It was fine... He couldn't be selfish and make Roy spend a day with him. It's okay...

"It's okay..." He whispered to himself, "he doesn't have to be here." But it wasn't okay. And a tear slid down Edward's face, a river of them following after as he sobbed quietly. Somehow he found his way to the living room, falling into the big armchair next to the fireplace. He curled himself up into a fetal position. 'It has to be okay.' He told himself, 'If it wasn't okay Roy would be mad at my selfishness.' He wiped his tears and looked at the clock on the fireplace mantle. He must've slept late... It was already 11 o'clock in the morning! He sniffed one last time before wiping his eyes and standing. He'd still do something, he'd still try to make it special. A cake! Somewhere he had the recipe for his mom's homemade cake. She had always used it to make his and Al's birthday cakes! He smiled. Roy would like that. It was even white cake. His favourite flavour. The cake would take about two hours or so to make, then he could make dinner. Roy always loved it when he made parmesan chicken! And it was easy to make too. He smiled and set to work.

He was done. The cake was beautiful, and dinner was set on the table, Ed hoped Roy would like it. Al and Winry called earlier in the day to wish him happy birthday. Al sounded mad that Roy wasn't with him and he had wanted to go find Roy but Ed convinced him that it was okay, even though Al was still angry about it.

He hurt. His head had a splitting pain in it, it was worse than usual. He made his way almost blindly to the medicine cabinet in the bathroom and pulled out ibuprofen, pouring two pills into his hand and taking them dry. He'd probably take another two later. He faintly heard the front door open and hid his pain. He'd become good at that, hiding his pain. So Roy would never know. Ed walked back into the kitchen finding Roy staring at the dinner set out in confusion.

"Are we expecting guests?" he asked and Ed paused.. He didn't... Remember?

"No..." Ed told him, hiding the pain from his voice. I just thought..."

"Just thought what?" Oh no, now he was mad, Ed looked down guiltily.

"I just thought that you might be hungry...?" That was a lame excuse... Why did he have to always make Roy so mad...? Roy sighed and said:

"I already ate, I'm going to-" Roy stopped in mid-sentence when Ed suddenly dropped, knocking the cake to the ground with him, smashing it and clutched his head and convulsed in seizure-like twitching.

"Ed?!" Roy fumbled for the phone dialing 911. They were there in minutes hefting Ed onto a stretcher and loading him into the ambulance. When they reached the hospital, Alphonse and Winry were already there. Al looking very angry indeed. They rushed Edward into a room shutting everyone else out. Roy fell into one of the chairs in the waiting room, and Al sat down right next to him but not acknowledging him. They waited for what seemed to be hours until a doctor came out.

"Mr. Elric?" The man said and Al stood, "I'm very sorry... He's not going to make it this time."

"What?!" Al shouted, but Roy was stuck on 'this time.' How many times had this happened, where had he been when it happened?

"This can't be right! You said two years! It's only been 8 months!!!!"

"I'm sorry Mr. Elric, the stress he's put himself under speed up the development of the tumor. He told us he didn't want the chemo and we respected that. But now, there's nothing we can do."

"This time...?" Roy finally spoke up and both of the other men looked over at him, "What do you mean this time?" The doctor took this as his signal to leave and told them that they could come say their goodbyes before they unhooked Ed and left. When the man was gone Roy repeated his question. Al looked at him with angry eyes.

"Brother has brain cancer." He stated flatly, "He has for almost a year." Roy was taken aback, Ed had never told him or acted like he was sick.

"What do you mean? He never acted like it."

"He hid that from you. He doesn't want you to worry about him. It causes him so much stress! He's always wondering what he's doing that causes you to prefer the company of that woman you've been seeing for the last 7 or so months! Just one date would've meant everything to him! Yet you were too worried about pleasing her with all your attention! You want to know why he's been spending money on that new car for you and the cruise for two and on just useless things? He's trying to get rid of it so it's not just sitting around for forever. And today, he wanted to celebrate with you! It was his birthday, his freaking birthday. One more year he'd been able to live! And you just blew him off! He told me on the phone that he was going to make your favourite cake flavour and your favourite dinner. Your's. Not his. Yours." Alphonse took a breath before saying,

"Some fiance you are." Al turned after that and headed to Ed's room, Roy slowly following him. They reached Ed's room and found him hooked up to a machine forcing air into his lungs, keeping him alive. Winry sat there holding his hand, trying so hard not to cry. His breathing sounded painful. Loud pained gasps that were so far apart it scared Roy. Roy noticed it now, Ed's thin frame, the shadows under his eyes. He hadn't been eating or sleeping. Roy looked back and realized, Ed would've never been so domestic by his own choice. He was trying to be what he thought Roy wanted him to be... And he thought Roy wanted a woman. And because of that, he tried to be a woman in any sense that he could find. The blonde had been attention starved and had been silently begging for that attention to be given. Begging to be noticed. And Roy had ignored him. Al was right, he was a horrible fiance. A horrible boyfriend. He would've been a horrible husband. When Winry stood he sat and took Ed's hand, bringing it to his face and kissing it softly. It felt so warm. He still felt so alive... It was so hard to believe that, in a few minutes, he'd be gone...

"I'm sorry..." He whispered, still fighting his tears with a thick throat and his eyes sealed as tight as he could squeeze them, "I'm so, so sorry...."
The nurse came and looked at Al in question to if they were ready. Alphonse nodded. The nurse unhooked him and set a stethoscope to Edward's chest. One minute passed. Two. Three. Fou-

"He's gone." She said quietly. Behind him, Roy heard Winry let out a choked sob and heard Alphonse comfort her with hushed words, his own voice tight. Roy squeezed his eyes shut trying to trap the tears, but they fell anyway. He squeezed Edward's hand once and set it down. He leaned over and kissed Edward. He had to. He couldn't remember the last time he'd kissed the blonde and desperately wished for a returning kiss. He felt none. When he pulled back, he rested his head on Ed's chest and finally let his tears fall when he heard no heartbeat.

"I'm sorry...." 




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