The snow piled up, steady hills of white that rose, brushing the bottom of windowpanes with ghostly-frosted fingers. There was a point when Roy wondered if it would ever stop, if it would simply come and come, overpowering the little shack with promises of a frigid, lonely death, one that would leave him simply lying prone on the floor, not found until spring, not found until the thaw and new life would begin. He sighed, watching the growing blizzard, the twirling winds that swept the dust into the air, a dessert of white, before he turned back to the fire that he had started with.

There was no tree for the holiday, no presents, no jingle bells. No carols were being sung, not out here, not so far from everyone, far from everything. No chestnuts, no hot cocoa, no mistletoe and stockings. No, out here, time and dates didn't matter, didn't matter now that Edward as gone.

Self-inflicted punishment was always the cruelest.

Sighing, he pushed from little chair, rickety and cheap, the front leg wiggling and waiting for the perfect moment in the future to snap off and send him tumbling. There was a cup of tea mixed in with a shot of sharp whiskey beside him, something to keep his toes warm, to keep his body working at least on some fundamental level. In his lap, lay his burden, his wicked milestone that he took upon himself, that he took as his penance, his salvation, his sanity and his fear.

Who knew a Christmas card could be so difficult to write? Who knew the trials it could offer one's soul that had been so thick with the swirling chaos of—

I couldn't save him. I couldn't fucking save him, dammit!

—dreams that never came to fruition?

His breath was a transparent spirit before him, a phantom that hung in the air before dissipating into nothingness; Roy was almost envious of it. Oblivion seemed much more appetizing than writing this card.

He sighed, again, before leaning back. How does one send a greeting to a boy he failed, one he had harmed with good intentions? Alphonse didn't deserve what he had dealt to him, that lapse in reason replaced with loss after loss after loss, the most devastating of which wasn't even the robbery of his corporeal body, but the theft of his brother. Alphonse didn't deserve...

Roy closed his eye, the pen in his hand shaking as his fingers jerked it, shook it back and forth. He loved them, those boys, loved them both and missed them with fire, with longing.

Fire. Longing. Love.

The words wrote themselves in the flickering darkness as the wind raged outside, black, heavy ink across the white inside that little card, and it wasn't until Roy read them back that he found he was satisfied with them.

You are the only one who he can believe in.
You are the only one that will find him.
I believe in you.

Gently folding the card in envelopes and good wishes and hope, he sealed it, stamped it and set it by the door to be mailed.