Genre: Plottish, fluff with smut
Rating: NC-17 (sex, language)
Warnings: AU, after series. Spoilers if you lived in a cave.
Summary: There was a future, a real rest-of-his-life to do stuff in!
Many thanks to obsidianwing for beta-ing!
Where are we at the beginning of this tale:
Al is restored to the flesh and has become a state alchemist. He is currently pursuing a military career. Ed had been missing for 3 years, suddenly returned and is once again attached to the military as a civilian consultant. He and Roy have been lovers since he came home. They have been living together for about a year and Ed is nearing his 21st birthday. Roy has recently become a full General. Winry has set up shop in Central. She and Al have been seeing a lot of each other but nothing is official as of yet.
(I keep editing after posting, mostly corrections and formatting stuff.)
Edward Elric swooped into his brother’s office without knocking, nothing unusual, waving a manilla folder around. His long, blond hair was tied in a high ponytail and his red coat swirled around his legs.
“Hey! Al!” he called out. “I need your signature!”
“And good morning to you too,” said Colonel Elric with a sigh. He wore his blond hair cropped short and his uniform was pristine. “What is it?”
Ed handed him the folder, walking around the desk to do so. It's surface was gleaming, tidied to within an inch of its life. Al liked for things to be orderly.
“I want to take this on,” he declared. “From what I read there, this might very well be a perfect place for me to flesh out this theory I‘ve been working on.”
“The crackpot theory you won’t talk about?” Al inquired drily, leafing through the folder.
“The very one,” Ed said with an easy grin. “Once it’s out of the crackpot stage I’ll tell you all about it, Al. You can’t blame me not discussing something so tentative.”
Al read bits and pieces of the dossier and pursed his lips. Ed hopped about the room, weaving around the evenly spaced chairs, too wound up to stay quiet.
“This is insane,” Al said, closing the file and pushing it away from him in a very definite gesture. “I’m not going to sign this for you.”
“What?” Ed’s mouth hung open. “Are you nuts? You can’t do that!’
“I can,” Al said severely. “This is suicide. I won’t let you do this.”
They glared at each other.
“You can’t stop me, Al,” Ed said, only slightly stunned.
“I can. I outrank you. This is my mission. I get to choose who to assign it to.” Al managed not to sound defensive, balancing on the edge.
“Of course you outrank me,” Ed said, shaking his head. He never had any problem with that. Until now. “That doesn’t mean you get to decide what I do. I’m not even in your chain of command.”
“In this case I can,” Al held his ground. “You’re not going.”
Ed opened his mouth, decided against it, and closed it again. He grabbed the folder and left, letting the door slam behind him.
“I can’t really blame Al,” Roy sighed as he put the folder down. His office was all a General's should be, impressive and intimidating. His desk was massive, as was the mess of paperwork on top of it. He was currently leaning against it, holding Ed’s hand in his, to calm him down a little. “You know he’s only trying to protect you.”
“He pulled rank on me,” Ed sounded strangled.
“I know, I know,” Roy shushed, kissing the knuckles of the hand he had so conveniently captured.
He let go of the hand to get a pen and scribbled his signature on the file.
“You had better be extremely careful here,” he warned. “If you prove Al right I’ll never live it down.”
He rose to press his lips to Ed’s for a brief moment.
“I’ll have a word with him. Off you go, try not to break things.”
Ed slid down on the train seat, trying to find an even comfier slouch. Outside the sun was setting on a rural landscape. He liked being on the train, it was a great place to think. He missed having Al along but knowing he was safe in Central and not with him on the other end of the journey made up for that. If it was up to him Al would never again do anything more dangerous than crossing the road. He curled his lip. Yeah, as if. Stubbornness was apparently the ultimate Elric trait.
Al and he got along just fine but lately Al had this way of questioning, even doubting every single thing he did. They were not as close as they used to be; while he had been away Al had built a life without his brother. That was good, that was what he'd spent years trying to restore Al for, right, but it did sting a bit. He shook his head. He was just greedy, that's what. His life was damn good as it was, far better than he ever dreamed possible, far better than he deserved. If it took having a spat or two to keep everybody safe, so be it. He would make it up with Al when he returned. Roy and Al would probably be denouncing him right now in perfect harmony, and Al would feel better. It was great to be able to work on a difficult /project/ with nobody he cared about in danger. He didn't have to rush, he could make this work perfectly. At some point he would need some feedback or even, possibly, assistance but not before he made damn sure he could deal with whatever would happen. He had made a promise and he would keep that but there would be no price too high to pay this time.
He moved his shoulders, wiggled his fingers. He was so ready for some action. He had been home for a couple of months now and if he had to attend another soirée he would scream. He had actually screamed last night, coming home from precisely such an event, a huge, angry rant about the state of society, leeches and social climbers, until he was hoarse and panting. Roy had calmly sat through it all, eyes narrowed, nursing his scotch and fucked him raw afterwards. Then, this very morning he had casually mentioned there might be something interesting for him in the office. And here he was. Doing Roy's bidding of course, as per usual.
“What were you thinking?” Roy’s voice was level. He leaned in the doorway of the young Colonel's office, arms crossed.
Al coloured slightly.
“I was within my right, Roy. I don’t have to send my brother off to get himself killed.”
“So, you were going to send someone else to get killed, to spare yourself worry about your brother?”
“Who would be capable of fixing this mess if not Edward, Alphonse?” There was a note of warning in Roy’s voice. “Don’t ever pull rank on your brother again, understand? How could you do that to him?”
“What?” Al gasped. “What the hell are you saying? You want me to make exception for him?”
Roy was not the kind of man who would ever say “Duh” but his body language did it for him.
“It’s not as if you are objective where he’s concerned,” he said. “You do not get to act as if he can’t judge for himself.”
“I will do as I see fit,” Alphonse hissed, goaded.
“Then you will cause unnecessary grief,” Roy stated. “I will override every decision you make where he is concerned if it comes to that.”
“I did not think you capable of such blatant favouritism,” Al said sourly.
“You are the one that was going to make sure your brother wouldn’t go on a dangerous mission,” Roy reminded him. “Are you going to talk to me about favouritism? You are fucking alive because of fucking favouritism!”
“My brother is definitely rubbing off on you,” Al said primly.
“That was bound to happen. He is my life.”
There was mutual glaring.
Roy had spent the three years Edward was elsewhere, presumed dead, with his life reduced to ashes. He had not known how much he actually cared for the blond alchemist until the young man had been so undeniably gone. Roy had gone through the motions, advanced his career admirably, had forced himself not to dwell on might have beens and what ifs. But nothing was real anymore, he was frozen. There was no joy, nothing to make life worthwhile. He had tried to date for a brief period but that was sheer agony. In the end he had given in and spent his nights staring at the ceiling, not feeling anything but hollowness.
And then Ed had returned. As sudden as he had been gone he was back and, like the most trite of all clichés, the sun had shone again. Ed had refused to speak of his whereabouts and Roy had found he didn’t care to press. He was curious, of course, but if Ed didn’t want to tell then he didn’t have to. They had become lovers the very night of Ed’s return, the young man apparently having discovered feelings similar to his own.
It had been bliss. It was still bliss, more than a year later. He sometimes still had trouble believing it had actually happened, that he was really free of the numbness and he was together with the man he loved. He craved taking care of Edward, had a tendency to treat him as if he was his mentor. He tried to curb that but it came so natural, having done it so much in Ed’s boyhood, and part of him wanted the role. Ed didn’t seem to mind, though he growled and grumbled. But then, Ed always growled and grumbled, it was his main method of communication. He had done some serious growing up in his absence and was generally very appreciative. Which only served to make Roy even more inclined to cater to his needs. Deep inside himself he was so afraid he might lose this happiness again, he went out of his way to secure it. Part of that was a certain detachment, to send his very life on his missions, no matter how dangerous, with a cheerful good-bye. Edward needed the adrenaline, the sense of usefulness and, most of all, the breathing space.
For six weeks nothing was heard of Edward Elric. Roy and Al weren’t exactly on speaking terms but Al made a point of looking at the General reproachfully whenever their paths crossed. Roy merely looked cold.
When Roy returned home from the office that evening the housekeeper informed him the Major had come home that afternoon and had gone to get some sleep. Roy took a deep breath, feeling some of the tension that had been building gradually over the past weeks flow away. He made his way to the bedroom, trying the door to Edward’s study out of habit. It was locked. Ed usually dumped whatever he had gathered on his missions in there when he arrived home and locked the door because he wanted to sort it all out in peace. It was a symbolic gesture, they both had all the keys of the house, and Roy at least respected it.
The bedroom was dark and silent, save for deep breathing. Roy moved inside and lit one of the bedside lights. Ed woke up, frowning and blinking against the light. He sported a nasty bruise on one cheekbone and a band-aid on his forehead.
“Welcome home,” Roy whispered, the relief now flooding through him. “Are you alright?”
“Yeah,” Ed snorted. He sat up, exposing bandages on his left shoulder.
“Then what’s that?” Roy sat down on the bed and pointed at exhibit A.
“A few stitches,” Ed shrugged dismissively. “Nothing important.”
He leaned forward to kiss Roy deeply, his mouth hot and hungry. Roy responded for a few moments then withdrew reluctantly.
“You’re not seriously hurt?”
“No!” Ed snapped. “I am just fine! Arrived this afternoon but I was wiped so I went home to get some sleep. Now I’m hungry. And I’m horny. I missed you.”
He initiated another kiss. This lasted a little longer and involved serious tongue groping. Ed moaned. Again it was Roy who withdrew, fingers cupping Ed’s face.
“Let’s have some food. You can call your brother, he’s been worried sick. Hell, I’ve been worried sick. You didn’t touch base for six weeks!”
“You knew it was going to be tricky,” Ed defended himself. “Things moved real fast. There was no time!”
Roy leant into him and nuzzled his neck, already threading the irresistible hair. His gaze fell down his lover’s back, where more bruises revealed themselves. He pursed his lips as he stood up.
“Get up,” he commanded and made an imperative gesture. “Let’s have a look at you.”
Ed scowled mightily but complied nevertheless. He was already conveniently naked. He held his arms away from his body in a mocking gesture. Roy paid it no heed as he carefully looked the powerful body up and down. Bruises, scrapes, the occasional band-aid, all in all it did look minor. He grabbed an arm and turned the younger man around. More bruises and a big patch of scrapes down his left side. The automail leg looked seriously scratched.
“Will you tell me what happened?” Roy asked quietly.
“Do we have to do this tonight?” Ed pleaded. “I’ll come to the office tomorrow and tell you the whole story. I just want to be home for a while.”
“Of course,” Roy smiled. “If you promise to visit the base hospital and Ms. Rockbell as well. I want them to look you over.”
Ed grunted but left it at that. Roy traced his spine with a finger.
“Put some clothes on and we’ll eat,” he said, hoarse all of a sudden. “Hurry, or I might just jump you.”
Ed grinned over his shoulder.
“That’s fine by me.”
“You look like you could do with a hot meal,” Roy wavered.
Ed turned around and leaned into him, hot breath on his neck.
“Food can wait,” he whispered.
Roy moaned in return, resolution crumbling. Six weeks was a long time. Jacking off was never enough, not when the real deal was so vivid in his mind. He could barely remember how he had managed those long years when Edward had been missing. Did he jack off then at all?
“You know,” Ed breathed against his ear, pushing him on the bed and kneeling above him. “I used to be able to jerk off thinking of you just fine while I was gone but these days all it does is make me long for you.”
“I know what you mean,” Roy closed his eyes, moving his tongue along his lover’s jaw line, down his neck and back up to his mouth.
His hands moved carefully along the lean back, wary of the bruises, until he could grope the firm buttocks. Ed was wrestling with his pants, eager to get down to business. His mouth was trying to eat out Roy’s, his desire tasting particularly satisfying.
“Lift your ass,” he mumbled into Roy’s mouth, who readily obliged, pressing himself against the body on top of his. Ed got him out of his pants and took hold of his dick without letting go of his mouth, which was quite admirable. He moved down, mouthed at Roy’s chin for a second, lapped at his throat. Roy threw his head back to allow better access, breathing deeply. Ed tasted his sternum, teased first one nipple, then the other with his tongue, his left hand gently fisting his lover’s hard cock. Down his tongue went, leaving a moist trail that burned nevertheless. Roy's breath hitched as his lover licked along the length of his cock, sucking the tip as he came to it. The teasing licks made way to hard sucking in moments, taking his higher brainfunctions with them.
He came hard, thrusting in his lover's mouth. Ed accommodated beautifully, keeping him in his mouth as he gasped for breath and shuddered. After the last spasms subsided the blond sucked his softening cock like he might a popsicle, only releasing it once it has gone completely limp. Roy sighed happily, reaching out to touch his lover's face. Ed kissed his mouth, lips swollen and tasting of cum. Roy kneaded his ass, giving himself up in the kiss, dizzy with satisfaction. After a few long moments Ed pushed up on his arms.
"Can you reach the lube?" he asked, the husk in his voice sending violent shivers down Roy's spine.
Roy stretched out his arm to the side table, managing to grip the bottle with the tips of his fingers. He uncapped it, poured the oil in the palm of his hand and held it up. Ed put his hand on top of it while he claimed Roy's lips once again. They kneaded their hands together as their tongues entwined and smiled with their eyes at the ritual. The blond alchemist then moved his slick finger round and round the ring of muscle, massaging firmly while he studied his lover's face with narrowed eyes.
"You're taking your time," Roy gasped out, his voice hoarse, writhing under the skilful touch.
"I'm just savouring the moment," Ed bent down and carefully licked around the rim of the older man's ear, making him shudder. He pushed his index finger inside, moving it around, rotating and stretching. The second finger followed, feeling towards the spot he knew well how to find, making his lover arch up with a deep moan.
"Oh, baby," Ed grinned, breathless himself.
"Fuck me already," Roy managed. "Oh, my god!"
Another surge silenced him, he arched again. A drop of sweat ran from his temple to the corner of his mouth and he licked it.
Ed took pity on him or couldn't wait any longer himself. He held his breath as he fisted himself quickly with the warm oil left in his hand and lined up. He moved slow at first, sinking in carefully while keeping an ear out for the sounds his lover was making, responding to those cues as he started to move.
"Ah," he gasped as he felt the heat, the tightness enclosing his cock. He thrust, harder as his need, his desire built, one hand on Roy's hip, the other pumping the man's reawakened erection. Their bodies surged, their groans and sighs took up a cadence, building towards a climax that shattered and rebuilt at the same time. Ed moved as long as he could manage, reluctant to let go.
"You lasted damn long," Roy commented as they lay panting, wrapped in each other's arms, Ed on top of Roy. He nuzzled the blond hair.
"Breathing exercises," Ed said smugly. "I really wanted some spectacular sex when I'd finally get any."
"I'm glad you're home," Roy offered, kissing his eyelids. "And that /was/ spectacular."
Ed grumbled a bit and squirmed.
When the alarm went in the morning Roy unwound himself from the tangle of limbs most reluctantly. Ed stirred.
“Want me to come to the office with you?” he offered grousing.
Roy kissed the temple he had available.
“No, love, you sleep in. If you drop by around noon I’ll take you out to lunch, okay?”
“It’s a date,” Ed affirmed and went right back to sleep.
Ed knew he was terribly spoiled. He had spend the last year of his life living with a General of good standing, in what was practically a mansion, with staff to do the cooking and cleaning. He was perfectly happy to leave those tasks to other people. He disliked shopping for clothes (fitting, more accurately and the shop assistants ogling his automail) so Roy had made him a deal: he’d make sure Ed would have anything he needed and Ed would not complain. At all. Which wasn’t hard because it was a true relief not to be bothered with that particular annoyance. Roy knew what he liked and was kind enough not to inflict anything too outrageous on him. When the social restrictions of life as the might-as-well-be spouse of the General became too much to bear he was shipped off on some mission, combining useful work with the chance to blow off some steam.
Perhaps, on occasion, he might find his wardrobe a bit too conservative but today he was grateful for the selection. With his face looking like it did it paid to dress nicely. Leather pants with tank top and bruises screamed: I am a thug. White button downs and a cashmere v-neck sweater with the same bruises said: whatever happened to me was an accident.
Roy was rubbing off on him. Well, actually, Roy did his utmost to rub off on him, continually pointing out these connotations in the ongoing attempt to civilise him. He honestly didn’t mind much. After three years in a drab world, away from all he loved with only pale imitations to keep him company, the things Roy said and did still made him feel like he was really alive and not just existing. Sometimes he could hardly believe how mushy he had become! Roy often remarked he had become so much more compliant and wasn’t it a sign of him growing up? Perhaps true but it was also because he had learned to appreciate the endless machinations. He couldn’t get enough of Roy being Roy. And, if he was brutally honest, he had to admit he had been such a stubborn pig of a boy that the relatively small concessions he made now seemed like a lot but weren’t, really. Of course, he would never ever say that out loud.
After a serious breakfast of glorious, home-cooked food, Ed went to his study to unpack his suitcase. He had already prepared most of his report on the train, that was taken care of, but there was still some stuff that needed attention. He put the artefacts, carefully wrapped in sacking cloth, on his desk. These were /his/. No way, no hell was the military ever going to lay hands on them. The archaeologists in Zonvar had been keen and knowledgeable but they hadn't been State-Alchemists with access to the Central Library. It was that access that kept him attached to the military in the first place. He snorted at himself. Yeah, just keep lying to yourself. A certain amount of loyalty to a certain General was as much a factor as any but why dwell on that. He unpacked the artefacts, ancient chunks of stone that formed a rough circle, elaborate markings carved into them. Most of it was text but there was a very accurate carving of the Gate, eyes and hands and all. It was unnerving to even look at the carving but it did serve to make it credible. This might very well provide the key he was looking for. Too bad he could never present this to his peers. He wrinkled his nose at that thought. He was already deemed eccentric by some of them and a nutcase by others. He really needed to work on something presentable if he was ever going to achieve academic credit. Hey, he was actually thinking about the future! There was a future, a real rest-of-his-life to do stuff in! Who'd have ever thought that, only a few years ago? Downstairs a clock chimed and he jumped up. Wouldn't do to keep Winry waiting.
“What the hell did you do?” Winry sounded more exasperated than angry, much to his relief.
He sucked on his lower lip. He was laying on the worktable, dressed only in his boxers (because she had insisted on checking the arm as well, though he /said/ it was fine), propped on his elbows.
“The usual,” he said carefully. "You know I'm not supposed to talk about it." And boy, was that ever convenient.
She raised her eyebrows and powered up her grinder. He winced slightly at the noise.
“How are things going here?” he asked, to take his mind of the proceedings.
Winry shrugged. This made Ed frown.
“Something the matter?” he asked. Not all the careful coaching Roy subjected him to could make the Fullmetal Alchemist someone who picked up subtle signals from the people around him but this was family. Winry made a face.
“I am fine but I'm worried about Al. He has not been himself. Maybe you could talk to him?”
“Roy said the same thing,” Ed offered. “Did anything happen?”
“I asked him but he says he’s fine,” Winry sounded tired. “I can’t think of anything that happened. His very busy with all his duties and his research is just gathering dust. It’s not like him.”
Ed had to agree with that.
“I’ll get him to tell me,” he promised.
She wiped his automail leg with an oiled cloth.
“I can’t believe you’re wearing monogrammed boxers,” she said, shaking her head at the sheer decadence.
“What?” he squawked, jumping from the table and snatching at the offending undergarment. The fucking bastard!
“Look at you,” Roy said, practically purring behind his desk, taking in the black trench, black tailored slacks and aforementioned shirt and sweater combo. “You look really handsome.”
Ed ground his teeth. His tongue burned to make a remark about the bloody boxers but they had the fucking deal!
“You said you’d take me out for lunch,” he managed through clenched teeth. “I was expecting something special.”
Roy beamed at him.
“Of course. We have to celebrate your return, practically unharmed.”
He got up to get his coat. Ed shook his head. It was hopeless, he was too smitten.
“Hey Al,” he greeted, leaning in the doorway. Al jumped up, came toward him and fidgeted a bit. Ed hugged him tightly.
“Ed!” Al said, relieved. “Are you okay? You look beat up.”
“It’ll heal,” Ed said, dismissively. “How have you been?”
He looked his brother up and down. It was all true, he looked far from happy. Al shrugged.
“Much the same. Busy with paperwork. I was worried about you. You didn’t even call once!”
“I never had the chance,” Ed said as patiently as he could manage. “Things were pretty tense for a while. I did you a nice report with all the details.”
“Yes,” Al sighed. “The General has invited me for a debriefing this afternoon.”
“Isn’t he considerate,” Ed huffed. “This was your mission, right? He might perhaps sit in on your debriefing.”
“Ed, it was no longer my mission once you decided to go over my head. Let’s forget about it, shall we?”
“Alright,” he said, filing it for later. “How’s your research going? Any luck on getting those seedlings going?”
Again Al tensed, he nearly clenched his fists.
“I haven’t been to the lab in days. I hope things are stable, at least.”
“You want me to go check?” Ed offered. He tried very hard to hide his concern. Things were completely out of hand here. Al not checking up on his project in days? And he sounded so flat, as if he didn’t even care anymore.
“No!” Al snapped. “I don’t need your help!”
He seemed suddenly close to tears.
“Al,” Ed felt nearly sick with worry. He reached out but Al twisted away from him. “What is the matter? You must tell me.”
“I don’t think so,” Al said, sounding put out. “You would only run to the General, my actual boss and spill all.”
Ed opened his mouth, to protest as well as in actual amazement but Al waved a hand at him.
“Don’t bother,” he said. “You have your happy little life, the General’s little prince, you don’t need to think about me. I can take care of myself. I don’t need you rubbing in that you can do whatever you like, whenever you want to.”
Ed slugged him.
Al didn’t just take that and hit back. There was a most undignified scuffle, ending with Al shoving Ed on the couch and Ed using a foot on Al’s chest to hold him off. There was a moment of silent impasse. They glared at each other, panting and scowling.
“Idiot,” Al said.
“Moron,” Ed retorted.
Al took a deep breath and stepped back.
“Please, get out of my office,” he managed.
“We’re not done yet,” Ed growled and fled, furious with himself.
The debriefing was an awkward affair with Al stubbornly silent and Ed volunteering nothing. The General was persistent however, and questioned until he was satisfied. This led to glaring from Ed and flared nostrils of indignation from Al. At the end of it he was completely exhausted. He hadn't been able to decide which brother he’d like to shake most at the moment. He had found out the town of Zonvar was still standing (mostly), the archaeologists and the townspeople had reached an agreement and the local gang of opportunistic idiots had been safely put away for a long time.
"How did you do it?" was the inevitable question.
"I just banged their heads together until they saw reason," Ed said, ever one for the direct approach. He was leaning back on the couch, his feet on the low table in front of him, the picture of not-caring-at-all.
Al sniffed. Ed glared and pressed his lips to a thin line.
"Can we pretend to be grownups and perhaps even professionals for five minutes?" the General spat. "How in hell did you land in jail the day after your arrival? Who bailed you out? Why didn't you request my help, as per usual?"
"I /wanted/ to be in jail," Ed explained. "That's where I could get in touch with Maurice, the leader of those nitwits behind all the shit. Nobody bailed me out, we escaped. This established my credibility as a mercenary."
"You infiltrated their gang?" Roy was impressed.
"I joined up, temporarily like," Ed conceded. "They were not happy when they found out, in the end. That was where I got knifed."
He pointed at his shoulder.
"I didn't move quite fast enough."
Al defrosted long enough to wince a little.
"You didn't mention your research in the report," the General remarked. "Did you find anything of interest at all?"
"It is too soon to tell," Ed said, very smoothly.
This made both his brother and his lover frown in unison.
Both Havoc and Hawkeye brought the General home, Havoc driving and Hawkeye sitting stiffly upright next to him. The General was still reading some of his paperwork in the back seat and Ed was leaning his chin on his hand and stared out of the window, deep in unhappy thought. He was frowning ominously, mentally kicking himself for losing his temper when his brother so obviously needed someone who cut him some slack. Al’s comments had been hurtful but he was the eldest! Al was bloody smart though and knew just how to push his buttons. It had been pretty low, to use the L word. Twice. And to be told he was kept, after living it rough for six weeks, sore and bruised from top to bottom? He showed his teeth at the recollection, oblivious of the looks this caused to come his way.
Roy sighed but refrained from laying a hand on him. Their relationship was hardly a secret but it still wasn’t a good idea to be demonstrative in public. Besides, Ed would have a fit. He was extremely tactile in private, not exactly cuddly but continually rubbing and clinging in search of warmth and intimacy. In public he could barely stand to shake hands and froze at the merest touch from a stranger.
Ed drummed his fingers on the window. He had to find a way to get through to Al. It was painful to watch him like this, almost as if chafing at life itself. Maybe that was it, maybe he was unhappy with the choice he had made by focussing on the military. But that was not too big a problem, right? He could quit, and be a scholar. Possibly even a liaison, like himself. Though he hated the idea of his little brother out in the field, doing god knows what. Not going to encourage that option...
“Fullmetal,” the General said pointedly and Ed shook himself out of his thoughts and looked up.
“We are home,” the man indicated the house in the distance.
The house had been built long before cars where ever invented. The most convenient walkway from the road was narrow and overshadowed by ancient trees. It was quite beautiful, which was why it was kept as it was; it was a matter of time before a decent road would connect to the driveway anyway. The four of them went leisurely, discussing tomorrow's agenda, chatting. They reacted in unison when something moved ahead of them, alert at once when something, anything was out of order. Someone came out of the shrubbery and started to run towards them, waving a rifle.
Time blurred with action: Roy took a step ahead, made a half turn and snapped. A roaring gulf of fire streamed towards the stranger, Havoc and Hawkeye following in it’s wake, guns drawn. As the flames washed over the man, leaving him singed, he dropped his rifle. When he dared opening his eyes again he stared down two gun barrels and slowly lifted his hands. Something golden flashed between the dual shafts and a steel hand grabbed him by the throat.
“You stupid fucker!” a voice screamed painfully in his blistered face, causing him to flinch and cringe. “Why the fuck are you here and not in jail with your stupid mates?”
He gasped, wavered and was shaken roughly.
“Answer me, goddammit!” the voice bellowed.
“M-M-Maurice,” he stammered. “He said, he said, to come to your place, shake things up a little, you know...”
Ed bristled, even more than he already did. The man gulped.
“He said. To, to roughen up your little Mrs. Alchemist a bit, you know,” he backed off a bit, though he couldn't get far. He feebly leaned back as far as he could manage. “A bit of back payment. I couldn’t refuse the job...”
Ed punched him in the face and he crumpled to the ground in a smoking heap.
“Fucking coward,” Ed snarled and moved to kick the guy.
“Easy, boss,” Havoc pulled him back. “We got it from here.”
Ed looked as if he wished to argue the point but pulled himself together.
“This guy should be in jail in Zonvar,” he said, between clenched teeth. “I wonder how he got away. Fucking hell!”
“We’ll take him in,” Hawkeye said, all efficiency.
The General nodded, eyes on his lover.
They watched the two soldiers go off with their prisoner. Then Roy turned to Ed and looked at him with raised eyebrows.
“So,” he said, his voice utterly placid. “Who is your little Mrs. Alchemist? Anyone I know?”
Ed flushed to his roots.
“Shut up!” he growled. “Don’t be stupid! I was in a bar with their lot and they offered me some whore. I told them I was married. What was I supposed to do? Bang her? I thought we were exclusive.”
Now Roy smirked.
“Well, it’s true, isn’t it,” he said, purring. “You are effectively married. In a committed relationship till death do us part? I’ll get you a ring if you want it.”
“Don’t be such an ass,” Ed said, embarrassed yet wanting to kiss the bastard. He gave in to the impulse and pulled the man towards him, taking his lips.
“What are you doing here?” Al asked, sounding tired and put out. It was somewhat disconcerting to find that the first time in ages he managed to get to his lab his brother was already there, acting as if the place was his. Of course, Ed always acted like that, anywhere he went. It was still annoying. They no longer shared a lab, they were working on separate projects and Ed's work was more theoretical anyway, he moved from his study to the library, using the military labs if he needed them.
“I wanted to know how you were doing,” Ed walked by the workbench, picking up things here and there and examining them critically.
“Put that down, Al hissed, exasperated. He liked having a lab for himself and being able to work away from an older brother who always thought he knew things better.
“Come on, Al!” Ed put the sample seedling on the bench with a loud bang. He grit his teeth, determined not to blow up this time.
“What have I done? Are you still upset about the Zonvar mission? What do I need to do to make it up to you? I have no clue here!”
“That’s a surprise,” Al shot, almost automatically.
"Listen,” Ed bravely plowed on, fighting against the red mist that threatened to engulf him. “If you hate being in the military we’ll find a way out, okay? You can’t spend your life doing something you hate.”
Al was stunned for a moment and stood there like a goldfish, silently opening and closing his mouth. Ed looked at him solemnly.
“What?” Al managed, after a few moments. “You have decided that’s what’s wrong with me? And what am I going to do instead?”
“You always loved research,” Ed said defensively. “It looks to me that you miss not being able to spend as much time as you want on that and having to sit in the office all day. If I’m wrong, fine. Just /tell/ me what’s the matter?”
“Ed,” Al sighed. “I know you mean well but you can’t decide things for me based on what you yourself want.”
“Give me something, anything. Something is obviously wrong, you fight everything I say. I don’t know what to do here.”
Al slumped. He sank down on the one available chair.
“I’m not mad at you,” he muttered.
“You fight with /me/,” Ed pointed out. “I really want to help but you’ll have to tell me what to do.”
Al shook his head. The fight had gone out of him and he felt drained beyond belief. He really missed not being able to confide to his brother.
“You don’t want to hear it. You’ll go ballistic and act like it never happened.”
Ed gripped the bench with a deadly force, took a deep breath.
“I swear I will hear you out. I may go ballistic but I won’t dismiss what you have to say.”
Al looked him over for a while. He nodded.
“Alright then. It’s not you. It’s fucking Roy Mustang, I hate his guts.”
Ed was stunned.
“Why?” he got out. He had never expected something like this. Roy had been Al’s mentor during Ed’s absence and they had always seemed to have a most cordial relationship. But right now Al looked like he could kill the man given the opportunity.
“He is such a creep,” Al ranted. “He suckered you away from Winry!”
It was Ed’s turn to do a goldfish impression. He floundered and spluttered.
“You were supposed to marry Winry,” Al explained, sounding hysterical.
“What are you saying,” Ed got out, struggling not to go ballistic but losing. “You seriously think I couldn’t decide for myself to have it off with Roy Mustang? That’s insane.”
He flailed about in classic Ed fashion for a while, screeching incoherently.
“Wait a minute!”
A clue had entered his brain. He pointed an accusing finger at his brother.
“Why on earth would you want me to marry Winry anyway? /You/ like Winry! You’ve been going out together for months.”
Al sagged and looked defeated.
“I like Winry well enough,” he admitted. “But I don’t love her. Not really.”
Ed sobered up.
“Al, I love you, but even if I wasn’t with Roy, I would not be with Winry. In case it somehow wasn’t quite clear: I am gay.”
“The General dated plenty of women before he decided to mess with you,” Al pointed out.
“I am not Roy,” Ed said. “I’ve never cared for any girl in my life. I love Winry but as a sister, nothing else.”
Al sat down, utterly defeated.
“Then what am I supposed to do?”
“You’ll have to tell her the truth, of course,” Ed said flatly. “You are not seriously thinking about stringing her along are you? That would be mean.”
Al looked a little guilty.
“But she’s supposed to marry one of us. We can’t just back out and leave her alone.”
“You are nuts,” Ed shook his head. "What is the world coming to, do /I/ have to point out to /you/ that that's no way to treat someone?"
Al flushed slightly.
"Get your head out of your ass," said Ed, much more like himself.
"Shut up," Al said, relieved.
"You are under no obligation to marry Winry," Ed said firmly. "You don't really believe that, get a grip. Tell her, or I will."
"Don't you dare," Al said. "I will do it myself."
Ed narrowed his eyes. Yet another suggestion nudged his brain.
"Are you in love with someone else?" he asked, carefully.
Al flushed richly red, thus giving his brother the answer.
"Anyone I know?" He was on a roll here, Al went purple.
"Who is it?" Ed was getting curious. "It's not Sciezka is it? She's a freak."
"Brother!" Al protested. "Sciezka is very nice. Besides, who are you to call anyone a freak, really? But I'm not in love with her."
He took a deep breath.
"We really have a lot in common," he said solemnly.
Ed looked at him with utter blankness. He had by now reached his limit of perspicacity for the day.
"It appears that I am gay as well," Al said.
Ed's eyes widened.
"Seriously? Fuck! What are the odds? Do you have any idea?"
Al thought about that for a second.
"We lack data," he said eventually. "All I can safely say it's uncommon."
Ed had to agree with that.
"So, who is it?" he persisted.
Al shifted around a bit, looking at anything but his brother.
"Al!" Ed snapped. "Are we back to normal? Is there anything else bothering you that you should tell me?"
Al finally looked at him with some surprise.
"No, I don't think so."
He smiled, a real smile for the first time in months.
"I'm feeling much better now. Thank you, brother, for being such a mule."
"That's what I'm here for. Now, who's your squeeze?"
Al eyed him wearily.
"It's Heymans," he said. "We've been having a sort of... understanding for three months now."
"Before I even went to Zonvar," Ed said. His eyes widened. "You are dating /Breda/?"
"He has a first name," Al pointed out.
"Whatever," Ed was boggling. "How long have you liked him? I never had any idea."
He rolled his eyes at the look he got.
"Yeah, yeah, I never notice these things. It's been pointed out to me before. A few million times."
"He taught me to play Shogi when we were in East City," Al said, going soft at the memory. "I think I've has a crush on him since then."
"Wow," Ed said. "Breda. Roy might actually emote. When are you bringing him over?"
Al went gloomy again.
"I need to deal with Winry first. And nothing is official yet, he might not want anything more than a fling. We haven't spoken about relationships yet."
Ed frowned dangerously at that.
"That is none of your concern," Al hastened to add. "Don't you dare interfere."
The meeting had been going on too long, was beyond boring and now mercifully nearing its end. The participants, some very high ranking officers and their staff, were looking forward to going home for the day, away from this tedious twaddle. Roy was leaning his chin on his hand, half asleep. Random thoughts about dinner and Ed, or dinner on Ed were agreeably drifting in front of his inner eye.
“General Mustang,” a far too crisp voice addressed him, making him jerk up. It was Lt. Col. Rieser, famous brown-nose and all-round idiot. Roy made a noise that in a hopeful light could be construed as encouragement.
“Sir, after yesterday’s events you must allow me to address the issue of your personal security,” Rieser said, radiating concern. It was impressive acting, you had to give the man his due. Roy merely raised his eyebrows. Around the table slumped bodies perked up, desperate for some entertainment.
“I understand you live all alone out in the country?” Rieser went on. “You think that wise, sir?”
Why Rieser had suddenly decided to try his luck with Roy Mustang was anybody’s guess. Roy frowned, disgusted by Rieser’s clumsiness. Trying this move, obviously not knowing his facts, it was sadly amateurish.
“I like to think I’m quite capable of taking care of myself, should need arise,” he said coolly, pitching carefully to quell the man. He had done so just fine yesterday, thank you very much. Besides, he had the Fullmetal Alchemist in his bed. He was sorry in advance for the poor sap who would try something. By the snickering going around him, he knew the idea had crossed other minds. It was generally known (to the /observing/ at least) he didn’t live alone at all. Most people ignored it, others couldn’t care less. There were even those among his peers who thought it worthwhile he had managed to snare someone fifteen years his junior.
As if on cue, General Clythe cleared his throat.
“General Mustang has covered his bases for every eventuality,” he said, eyes glittering. Bastard.
“I am convinced he is safe from any outside attack while he is at home.”
The snickering rose in volume. Roy grimaced.
“Thank you for your assessment,” he said smoothly. “I agree completely. Shall we leave it at that and adjourn?”
That went over well.
They filed out into the hall and of course, there was Edward Elric, slumped on a bench, scowling and clearly waiting for /someone/. He did straighten up a bit at the approach of the group but didn’t bother to get up. Clythe noticed him and pounced.
“Fullmetal,” he hailed with a wide smile. “We have been discussing the security situation of General Mustang’s home. What’s your point of view on this important matter?”
Ed glared at him.
“I would like to see anybody try anything,” he got out. Then it occurred to him that he was supposed to be discreet and was abruptly silent. Roy took pity on him and stepped in.
“Don’t let General Clythe goad you,” he said, smiling blindingly at the man. Back off, fucker (oh, how Ed had enriched his vocabulary). Clythe, who really liked Ed, conceded but his expression clearly said he would happily return to the subject whenever opportunity would allow.
“What was all that about?” Ed said once they were alone in Roy’s office.
“Just a little fun at my expense,” Roy said soothingly, petting Ed’s back since he was bristling. Actually, he was pretty pleased with how that little scene had played out. No-one had reacted badly. Some people had been pointedly silent but they hadn’t dared show disapproval. That was good, he was doing well. Either that or Ed was exceptionally frightening these days.
“Gah," Ed muttered, torn between thinking Roy could stand all the teasing he could get yet that nobody should be allowed to do so except he himself.
“Why do /I/ have to put up with this crap?” he flung out. A little righteous anger never hurt.
“Because you always rise to the occasion,” Roy said calmly, moving his hands up to lightly massage Ed’s delectable neck.
Ed worked his mouth and leaned into the touch.
“You know, I now almost regret I got you a present.”
His eyes half closed and he tilted his head just so.
“Oh, yes, right there.”
Roy smiled and obliged.
“You got me a present?” he prompted after a few enjoyable moments of Ed practically purring under his hands.
“Uh-huh,” Ed leaned back a little and peeled the glove from his right hand.
“Here you go.” He put his automail hand in Roy’s flesh one, who quirked an eyebrow. He examined the hand he was presented with. On the base of the ring finger someone had engraved, quite skilfully, a band of stylised... well, flames actually.
Roy looked up, stunned, to Ed’s now blushing face.
“Stupid, right?” Ed said defensively.
“This ranks pretty high among ‘best presents I’ve ever got’,” Roy said softly. “Did you do it yourself?”
“Nah,” Ed said. “I went to an engraver. He told me automail engraving was a new one. I may have started a fad.”
Roy decided they had to kiss /now/.
Roy was bored, the specific kind of boredom of one who wants to spend their time with someone but can’t for no good reason. Ed was studying, which could easily take forever. He had barely seen his lover for days and today Ed had started at the crack of dawn and never even showed up for dinner. Roy had had enough. He pushed open the door of the sacred study.
"It's getting late, love. How are you doing?" perfectly legitimate question.
Ed was behind his desk, surrounded by mountains of books, notes and unidentified papers. It was nearly dark in the room, the curtains were half closed and the sun was setting rapidly. He did look up after a few minutes, his eyes pale and glazed with concentration. When he finally recognised Roy, he got up and moved towards the man. At some point he had twisted a pen in his hair to keep it out of his face and he looked breathtaking. He took Roy's hand in his flesh one, twisting their wrists in a complicated grip, leaning into him.
"Let me try something," he said absently, his voice slightly hoarse.
"Of course," Roy said, absolutely mesmerised.
Ed took his other hand and pressed their palms together.
"Focus on me," he ordered.
"I was," Roy smiled.
The corners of Ed's mouth tilted upwards slightly but it wasn't enough to break his intense concentration.
"Try not to distract me anymore then you have to," his ever present frown deepened just a fraction. "Here we go..."
Alchemic energy flowed from him, glowing blue edged, surrounding both of them, pulsing, flaring.
Roy's eyes widened slightly.
"Stay with me," Ed said. "Trust me."
"I do," Roy's voice cracked.
The power, building still, was intense. It throbbed like a heartbeat.
The room around them faded, ebbed out of view as a looming, black thing came into focus.
Roy flinched, he knew this thing. He was an alchemist after all.
"The gate," he gasped weakly and twitched involuntarily.
Ed didn't let go of his grip.
"Focus on me!" he snapped. "Concentrate!"
"What are you doing?" Roy heard the edge of panic in his own voice.
"Hush," Ed said fiercely. "It is fine. You are safe with me."
Roy's eyes were wide as he stared in to Edward's. He did trust his lover, Ed would not endanger them on a whim.
"Looks like my crackpot theory is holding," Ed commented vaguely. He tilted his head forward a fraction. The energy that still surrounded them hummed and peaked in intensity. The gate opened.
"What the hell are you doing, ED!" Roy screamed. He was afraid to move, afraid to let go and somehow mess up whatever was happening. He felt completely helpless and hated that with a vengeance. He wished he was as far away from this as possible.
"Roy," Ed sounded so calm, so in control, so quiet. "Just look at me. Don't pay attention to whatever happens. You are here for me, understand?"
Roy swallowed hard, nodded. He couldn't think of a better approach, couldn't really think coherently at all. He felt himself trembling, took a deep breath. Ed. He forced himself to focus on the small figure that had him in his power. He really loved Ed. He would happily kill Ed right now. He leaned into his lover. The energy build up another notch, the humming noise increased.
"So far, so good," Ed said brightly.
Roy groaned. He looked down, desperate to close his eyes but afraid to actually do it.
"Alright!" Ed crowed. "Okay, I think this is enough, for now."
"Yes," Roy very nearly squealed.
Ed closed his eyes.
The energy faded, taking the gate with it and returned them to the study.
"Thank you," Ed said simply, stepping back.
Roy fought the impulse to slump to his knees and only nodded, too weary to do anything of the things he wanted. Shaking Ed and screaming at him could wait for a bit. They seemed okay, that was probably good...
Late at night Roy was laying awake. Against his chest Ed slept, arms wrapped around him, breathing deeply. As if he hadn't pushed back the boundaries of the very essence of alchemy that evening, brilliant little fuck that he was. Roy sighed and rested his chin on the top of the blond head. He was still somewhat rattled by the experience. Ed had been calm, elated by the success but not the least bit fazed by the unearthly powers he had raised and contained. Whatever had happened in those years he had been away to plant the seeds of this? Crackpot theory indeed. The university would weep with joy if they saw but a glimpse this. He didn't have the faintest idea what Ed wanted to do with it. A shiver ran down his spine; knowing Ed there might well be a purely practical reason he had researched this. Harnessing the power of the gate. Manoeuvring the gate at no other cost than pure alchemic energy. He felt somewhat drained but not too badly, Ed was very skilful indeed.
Ed stirred, frowned.
"Why are you not asleep," he muttered. One golden eye looked up at Roy.
"I was thinking about your experiment. That was madness, Ed," Roy stroked the bangs from Ed's face.
Ed yawned, adjusting himself to fit even better against the chest he was already attached to quite snugly.
"I had thought it out quite carefully, Roy," he said softly. "I wouldn't just drag you into something."
"I would have appreciated some sort of warning," Roy couldn't help but move his lips along Ed's neck, his jaw.
"Mmm," Ed commented.
"Why did you use me for this?" Roy moved his hands to caress Ed's spine. "You usually go to your brother for alchemic matters."
"I have talked it over with Al," Ed confessed. "We agreed this needed something above and beyond the bond of brotherly love."
He grinned and cupped Roy's face.
"You must have noticed we tend to be uncannily in sync."
Roy dipped his head in acknowledgement. He bowed his head further down to claim Ed's lips. Ed arched into him.
"You used our love as a catalytic agent?" Roy murmured into the mouth that covered his. "That's pretty esoteric, not your style at all."
"In time I'll map all the chemicals involved," Ed said dismissively as his hands roamed his lover's body. "I basically used our connection as a power-base and let it build to see how much power it would generate. There is still more but this was enough for what I wanted."
"Why did you research this?" Roy tried to direct Ed's hands but that was ever futile. "What are you looking for?"
"Perfectly in sync," Ed sighed. "Would you ever have guessed?"
He closed his flesh hand on Roy's cock, stroked the tip with his thumb.
"We need to do it one more time," he said. "To see if it works or if it's just a load of theoretical crap."
Roy tried to hold on to his coherency as best he could.
"Again? I thought you proved the theory today? I don't know, Ed, that was pretty intense."
"Today was preliminary," Ed took to long, careful strokes that made Roy shudder and arch. There was a wicked glitter to the golden eyes.
Roy stared open-mouthed at the figure in the glowing circle, then at Ed, who stood outlined by the light of the setting sun.
"Damn!" Ed said, fascinated. "The array projected itself. That has never happened before. Interesting. Did you bring a notebook?"
The tall, blond man stepped out of the glowing, burning lines of the array and walked towards them.
"Edward, Colonel Mustang," he hailed them.
"General," Roy and Ed said at the same time. Roy somehow apologetically, Ed distracted.
"Hi, dad," Ed said, one eye still on the array. "Welcome to Amestris. You owe me big time."
Hohenheim raised his eyebrows. The first time he had met the man, Roy had thought Ed was his spitting image. True, they looked very much alike but he saw differences now, features that might be his mother's or might be uniquely Ed's. He put a hand on Ed's back, just to feel his warmth.
"Where are we exactly?" Hohenheim asked, looking around at the idyllic countryside. He seemed relaxed, not like he had just travelled from wherever Ed had dragged him.
Roy cleared his throat.
"Just outside Marville, a small village some eight miles from Central," he explained. Ed had had the forethought to take this out of the house and into the field.
"Our house is a little way back there," he pointed towards the copse, behind which the house stood, hidden by the trees. Hohenheim looked at him sharply.
"/Our/ house?" he asked.
"Roy's and mine," Ed said, still far more interested in the alchemy than in his father. It was very much like him to leave the social aspects of any interaction to Roy, who chose to respond like he usually did. He moved his hand up to Ed's neck and squeezed a little.
"Pay attention to us, please," his voice entirely pleasant.
Ed looked up at him, then to Hohenheim, frowning slightly and totally distracted. He visibly searched for the proper reaction.
"You can stay with us for a bit?" he tried.
"Ed," Roy suddenly felt how exhausted he was. "Did you actually try to bring your father here or was that just a by-product of your experiment?"
Ed seemed surprised.
"No, that was the idea, of course. But there were a lot of really interesting reactions..."
"I don't doubt it," Roy said. He felt unpleasantly off balance by the experience and tried a different approach.
"Take me home, I'm wiped."
Appealing to Ed's chivalry tended to work quite nicely. Ed, knowing full well when he was worked upon, narrowed his eyes but he relented as he looked Roy over.
"Of course," he said. "I'm really tired as well, come on."
He put his hand on Roy's back in return and looked at his father properly for the first time.
"Everything alright?" he asked. "Are you coming with us?"
Hohenheim nodded and moved to join them.
"Of course," he said. "Edward, you have once again surprised me. I would not have thought it possible to find an answer this soon. Thank you."
"Huh," Ed sniffed. "Obviously you know shit about me, old man." He grinned.
His father gave him a mild look.
Roy came out of the shower to find Edward on the bed, dressed in black drawstring pants and a t-shirt, looking incredibly handsome with his waist length hair loose. The blond smiled when he spotted Roy and reached out to him. Roy decided to position himself between Ed's legs, face down with his cheek on Ed's chest.
"I love you," Ed said, once they had found the most comfortable position, tangling his flesh hand in the dark hair.
"Yes, Roy murmured. "I like to hear you say that."
Ed lifted his eyebrows, still smiling faintly.
"You're supposed to say you love me in return, you know," he pointed out.
Roy greedily inhaled the living smell of soap and cotton and Ed.
"I love you," he said. "I could just melt into you right now."
"Don't go overboard," Ed said lazily. "Go to sleep, bastard."
"You should practice asking nicely, love," Roy yawned.
Ed snorted pleasantly. And as Roy drifted to sleep he felt that life could get no better than this right now.