[identity profile] tierfal.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] tierfallen
Title: Coal and Carbon
Fandom: Fullmetal Alchemist
Pairing: Roy/Ed
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1,000
Warnings: S C H M O O P; one of many vaguely post-BH AUs where I don't even bother explaining why things are the way that I like them
Prompt: "intricate machinery" for Roy/Ed Week
Summary: It's the little things in life – or, as luck would have it, in one's bed.
Author's Note: Q. Are you really trying to pass off a poorly-executed extended metaphor as a fanfic? A. WELCOME TO ROY/ED WEEK, MOTHERFUCKERS ……maybe.


COAL AND CARBON

Surfacing from sleep and knowing, somewhere in the back of his mind, that he doesn’t have to drag himself out of bed for several hours yet is one of the single simplest and most decadent pleasures of life, as far as Roy is concerned.

Surfacing from sleep and focusing on Ed beside him, splayed out on the white sheets, painted soft and peaceful by the strengthening sunlight, is another.  Perhaps the finest.  Perhaps the best.

Roy shifts onto his side and observes in silence for a long moment—silence but for Ed’s gentle breathing, that is; silence but for the swell and release of the pair of bellows wrapped in the cage of his ribs.  When Roy stops to think about it, it staggers him how grateful he is for every last cell that makes up Edward Elric’s magnificent form.

The skin is a marvel all on its own; he reaches out and lets his fingertips hover just above it—close enough that he could almost swear there’s a tingle of electricity, and there’s no question that he’s transferring a tiny bit of heat—and traces along the paths of the endless unmourned scars.  Ed drew the blankets high enough that Roy can’t graze the contours of the wide, angry well of knitted flesh low on Ed’s side, but that one he has lamented—that one he’s stroked, and kissed, and murmured little praises to until Ed started trying to shove him away.  Not before Roy saw the flush burning in his cheeks and his throat and the tips of his ears, of course, and relented knowing that he’d made his point.

He follows the trails of intertwining pearlescent marks onward and upward until he reaches the edge of the steel bolted down where Ed’s right shoulder blade would be.  Sometimes, if you listen very closely, you can hear the mechanisms underneath—the tiny, delicate arrangements of moving pieces that shift with symphonic precision to let Ed move his wrist and his forearm and his fingertips.  Roy has learned a hell of a lot more about automail in recent years than he could have imagined knowing in the time before, but a great deal of it is still a mystery to him; when Winry takes her masterpiece apart, he’s somehow always floored by the complexity, no matter how many times he watches the innumerable pieces slot together without a millimeter to spare.  The curves and edges and planes of it are superficially familiar, yes; Roy’s memorized the gleaming lines of every dip and every angle, but he’s not sure he could hope to understand.

He likes it that way, to an extent.  There’s always been a hint of the preternatural to Ed—a whisper of yesterday and of eternity in the Xerxesian coloring; an intimation of the impossible every time he moves.  The purity in him hasn’t died, or failed, or faded—it’s aged, yes; it’s matured; it’s evolved, but it’s never faltered.  It’s never flickered out.  There’s a magic to that.  There’s something powerfully unprecedented and something unknown.

Roy loves that about him.

Roy loves a lot of things.

He loves the tendons of Ed’s neck; he loves the pale violet branches of the veins beneath Ed’s skin.  He loves the sweet sculpted shape of Ed’s ears; he loves the impeccable balance of the shapes of his jaw and his brows and his nose and the lips (just slightly parted) and his cheek (squashed adorably against the pillowcase).

And of course, of course, he loves Ed’s hair—possibly more than life itself; certainly more than any art he’s ever seen hung in a museum.  He loves the tumble of it; loves the tangled strands around Ed’s ears; loves the silken caress of it as he drags his fingers through, and the hundred-thousand harp strings part, pale-yellow and honey-brown and pure-gold cascading, to admit the progress of his hand—

Which he’s doing, now, despite the fact that he’ll disrupt Ed’s sleep.  He can hardly help it; he’s only a man.

He loves Ed’s eyelashes.  He loves Ed’s eyelids.  And he loves Ed’s eyes, more than any other piece; more than any other part.  They encapsulate so much of him—the sharpness; the brightness; the uniqueness; the indefatigable fire of intellect and heart and soul and courage and compassion.

As Roy’s knuckle catches in a snag of tangled strands, one of the eyes in question—the one not concealed by the curve of the pillow—is opening, and blinking, and narrowing to squint at the source of the disturbance.  It focuses on Roy, and the flare of recognition thrills him no matter how many times—

The corner of Ed’s mouth turns up slightly, softly, for a breath-long moment before it twists down into a pointed scowl.

“Knew it,” Ed says, voice scratchily underscored by the vestiges of unconsciousness.  “I was dreamin’ that some old perv was starin’ at me while I was sleeping.”

“Thank heavens that nightmare is over,” Roy says, stroking his bangs back.  “The only people who will watch you sleep here are dashing, handsome young officers.”

The first time Roy saw Ed struggling with a grin after something stupid that he’d said, he remembered that coal—even coal in the shape of a long-since-forsaken little heart—can be lit, and warmed, and made important.

He will never not be grateful.

He will never not be moved.

Ed buries his face in the pillow, as if Roy won’t know he’s smiling.  “Isn’t it too damn early to be a bastard?”

“For you, my dear,” Roy says, shifting in to guide the fall of hair away from his ear, the better to kiss it softly; “nothing is insurmountable.”

Ed’s eye makes another appearance, exhibiting a rather unconvincing attempt at a glare.  “How about breakfast?”

And Roy thinks How about the rest of my life?, but—

Well.  It is a bit too early for that.

Instead he says “What are you in the mood for?”, and the way Ed sits up, reels, grabs a fistful of his pajama shirt for leverage, smears a damp and bleary kiss across his cheek, scoots to the edge of the bed, and says “Anything” is more than reward enough.


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