[identity profile] tierfal.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] tierfallen
Title: Speechless
Fandom: Fullmetal Alchemist
Pairing: Roy/Ed
Rating: R
Word Count: 30,000 (10,200 in this piece)
Warnings: something like a post-BH AU; language; blood and drama at turns and also at once; it wouldn't be a Tierfal fic without some bad innuendo; S O U L M A T E S!!
Prompt: "soulmarks on the wrist/arm that Ed lost" for Roy/Ed Week
Summary: Ed's mark is long, long gone, but it's not like he has time to care.
Author's Note: As an apology for how dark this chapter starts and how poorly I edited it, I'm going to tell you a secret: I wrote pierogi into this chapter because I wanted them at the time, and then, completely unbeknownst to me, Mr. Tierfal's mom mailed us some for our six-month anniversary. Use this power wisely.


SPEECHLESS
PART 4

It’s a dark room—is it even a room?  Maybe it’s just… a place; maybe it’s just the world; maybe the whole universe is shadow, when you think about it, and it’s all anyone can do to project a spotlight into it somewhere, and it won’t hold out forever, but don’t you have to try?

There’s a wet rasp behind him.  Not a breath—not quite.  More like the sound you’d make to emulate breathing if you knew what it was like, but you couldn’t really do it anymore.  More like the sound you’d make pretending to breathe if your ribs had punctured both your lungs, and your throat was full of blood.

Ed turns.

There’s a huge, jagged fragment missing from the top left side of Erik’s skull.  A couple straggling sections of his hair have matted into the blood and caught along the edges of the bone.

“Not good enough,” he chokes out—blood spills from his mouth; there’s so much of it he shouldn’t be able to speak at all around it, but somehow— “Not good enough.  Tell you what, I’ll give you a piece of my mind—”

He reaches up and touches the tips of his long, cracked fingernails to the meat of his—

No, no, oh, God, no—

Ed turns on his heel, stumbling as the automail slides in—something, and—

There’s a little girl.

No.  Not a little girl.  A dog—a big dog, huddled smaller, with a long snout and its ears low.  A dog with stark white hair and ruby red eyes.

“They’re—all—dead,” she says.  “Every… one.  Mine.  And yours.  Everyone—you—love—is dying—Big Brother—”

He can’t; he won’t; he knows it’s not—he can’t

He turns again; how did three hundred and sixty degrees get to be so fucking claustrophobic?  There’s nowhere—

Erik’s weight falls against him; Erik’s arms sling around his neck, and the fingers scrabble and twist into his hair, and everything is wet—the blood’s so thick; it’s not just fucking plasma; there’s chunks of flesh and tissue in it—globs and clots and lumps so dark red they look black—

“I’m sorry,” Ed fights out, writhing, shoving; the panic freezes his guts, climbing in his chest; the frost is strangling him—he has to get out of here, has to get out of this— “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I—”

The light shifts; the contours of the world jitter and resettle, and the arms dragging at him are soft and…

Are—

Sheets.

It’s a bed.  He’s on a bed.  The room’s dark, but there’s a streetlamp outside somewhere; he’s curled up on the end of the mattress, but somebody folded the blankets across to cover him.

Right.  ‘Somebody’; like hell was it ‘somebody’—it was Roy.  This is Roy’s fucking bed in Roy’s fucking house.  He’s wearing Roy’s fucking clothes.

Which is still weird.

But he doesn’t really have time to dwell on that, not that it’d matter anyway, because he told Al he was gonna be home for dinner, and it’s dark already, and fuck

He’s up, and his knees quaver a little but then hold, and after a second he focuses past the ragged edge on his own breathing for long enough to listen to the rain pattering on the roof.  He figured it was probably still coming down out there; his ports haven’t stopped aching, for one thing.  Means he’ll either have to talk Roy into driving him home, or walk in the fucking rain while wearing the bastard’s too-big clothes.

He stands as still as he can with the last few shivers rattling up and down his spine, breathing as deeply as he can.  He pushes his left hand through his hair and tugs a little at the sleeves of Roy’s shirt.  One of them sort of unrolled on him while he was thrashing around, so he pushes it back into place.  He squares his shoulders, and sets his jaw, and starts out of the room to go look for the owner of all of this shit.

When he gets to the top landing of the staircase, he can see down through the foyer that there’s a light on in the kitchen.  There’s also a smell on in the kitchen, which makes his body suddenly and acutely aware that he hasn’t eaten fucking anything since the bagel Al pilfered for him this morning.

Doesn’t matter, though.  He needs to get home.  Besides—what kind of a shitty surprise guest shows up to someone’s house, leaves blood all over their bathtub, wears their clothes, and eats all their food?  His mother raised him fucking better.

He creeps down the stairs—more because he’s trying to be careful of his miserable fucking leg than because he’s worried about making noise, but there’s a bit of that, too.  He’s imposing so much at this point that it sort of makes him want to be… unobtrusive or something.  As much as possible.

He puts his head into the kitchen and knocks his softer set of knuckles against the doorframe.

The latter gets Roy’s attention, but the former was a mistake.  The kitchen’s just as fucking almost-too-opulent as the bathroom; there are shiny granite surfaces and pretty utensils and nice stuff everywhere.  Ed simultaneously wants to run for the hills and stay here forever.  It’s all just… gorgeous.

Roy most of fucking all.

The bastard.

Worse now because he’s… smiling.  Gently.

“Did you sleep all right?” Roy asks.  “It looked like you needed it.”

“Yeah,” Ed says.  To one of those parts; whatever.  “You—can I use your phone?”

He’s not looking at the skillet on the stove.  He’s not looking at the little streams of silver steam curling upward from the little dumpling-looking, pillow-shaped things frying merrily away.  He’s not looking at the vegetables simmering next to that; he’s not thinking in excruciating detail about how both would taste and letting his mouth water; he’s not…

Wondering what it’d be like to sit down at the table and eat dinner with Roy.  Like they were close—like they were comfortable.

Roy’s got his own fucking sleeves rolled up to the elbows, and his stupid-gorgeous hands and his stupid-gorgeous forearms and that stupid-gorgeous wrist with the white mark smack-dab in the fucking middle are shamelessly out on display.

“Of course,” Roy says.  He gestures with his elbow; there’s butter on his hands—on his fingertips, slick and gleaming.  Fuck.  “It’s on the table in the hall just to your right.”

Ed swings around the corner, blinking hard to try to get his eyes to adjust back to the dimness of the hallway so that he c—

“But if you’re planning on calling Alphonse,” Roy says idly, “I already took the liberty of filling him in.”

Ed pauses.

He reprises his position hanging on the doorframe.

He adds a glare this time.

“Oh, yeah?” he says.  “You assign yourself any other liberties while you were at it?”

“I felt entitled to the liberty of putting Maria Ross on the investigation of the fire,” Roy says without looking up from the food.  He uses a spatula to flip one of the pillow-dumplings.  It’s got a beautiful golden-brown sear on it.  Ed is so hungry.  “I trust her to be both fair and thorough.”

“Yeah,” Ed says, only a little bit grudgingly, which he thinks is an accomplishment.  “Good call.”

Roy looks up this time—and fucking smiles again.  Just a little, with his eyes all soft-warm and deep and everything.

“You’re welcome to stand,” he says, “but it would probably be easier to shovel the food into your mouth if you’re sitting.”

“I don’t ‘shovel’,” Ed says stupidly, because if he thinks too much about—if he lets himself process the fact that Roy Mustang apparently just fucking made dinner for him, or for them, or whatever—his brain’ll up and quit.  “I… convey food maybe a little faster than strictly necessary, or some… shit.”

“I will confess I’ve never seen you actually eat with a spade,” Roy says.  He’s depositing the beautiful pillow-dumplings on plates now.  Oh, fuck.  It’s too late; Ed’s staying for dinner.  Ed’s staying and having dinner with Roy, in Roy’s house, while wearing Roy’s clothes, and a part of him is screaming that he should run.  “But just because I’ve never seen it doesn’t mean it’s never happened.”

Ed bares his teeth.  “When I said I was born in a fucking barn, I was being sarcastic.  Or was that conversation just too quick for you to follow?”

“I would say something about proportions and agility and your resulting evasiveness,” Roy says, picking up not one, but two plates Ed would consider giving the other arm for and carrying them over to the table; “but I don’t want to get a spade in my eye.  Come and sit.”

Growling would not help Ed’s case, so he makes a face instead.  “You miss the memo that I’m not your damn dog anymore?”

“Hardly,” Roy says.  He draws a chair out, leaves it, draws out the one across, and sits down.  “Allow me to rephrase that: please come and sit?  Your brother made me promise that I’d feed you.”

That’s pretty plausible, actually.  Al worries about that kind of shit.  Hence the bagel and all.

Equally pertinent, when was the last time Roy Mustang asked him—or anyone—nicely for something?

Well—probably the last time he wanted somebody to pass the salt when they were all having fries at the stupid pub, but that’s not the point.

The point is that Ed can’t stop his hands from uncurling and releasing the damn doorframe at last, and he can’t stop his feet from moving, and he can’t…

Well, shit.  Whatever.  He needs to eat something one way or another—might as well be this, and might as well be here.

He sits down.

He picks up the fork.

Roy smiles a little more, with only a subtle trace of smug bastardliness, and the food smells so fucking good that Ed’s just going to let that one pass.

He carves a bite off of one of the pillow-dumplings with the side of his fork.  Once the beautiful wisp of steam clears, the contents look like… mashed potato and heaven.

When he puts it in his mouth—a little too soon; it burns the roof of his mouth on contact, but he doesn’t have any spare fucks lying around to spend on caring—it also tastes like mashed potato and heaven.

“Have you not had pierogi before?” Roy asks.  “They’re wonderful.”

“No shit,” Ed says, hacking away to try to get a second bite that’s twice as big.

Roy laughs—softly, lightly, lowly—and picks up his own damn fork.

“Enjoy,” he says.

“I ff’cking will,” Ed says through a mouthful.










The eating part is easy initially, while he’s too starved and grateful to pause for conversation or any of that crap.  It’s when he cleans the plate and pauses that the problems start.

One problem, anyway: the Roy problem.

It’s a good thing Ed has pretty much no interest in being overly honest with himself or anyone else; if he did, he’d have to admit that he’s had the Roy problem for a lot longer than he’d like to think about.  The bastard was on to something—like the bastard often is when he turns on that frighteningly apt awareness of other people’s motivations and emotions and inner lives.  Ed has fucking felt it, too.  They’re linked.  Nobody can prove it’s a soulmate thing; nobody can prove it’s even real, but he knows it.  Roy knows it.  Even when they’re halfway across the country from each other—even when he’s trying his absolute fucking hardest not to care—

He sets the fork down as gently as he can so it won’t fucking clatter.

“You were going to say something,” he says.  “Back at… before the whole thing.”

Roy’s barely even eating.  He’s consumed a little bit of heaven-food, but mostly he just seems to be picking at it and kind of moving it around.  Which is a crime given how good it is, but if Ed takes him to task for it, Roy will let it distract them both from the real issue, and he’ll use that to weasel his way out.

Or maybe he doesn’t even need an excuse.  The fucking bastard just blinked at Ed twice and then closed his whole face off—like dropping a wall; like whipping the curtains shut; like wiping the marks off of a chalkboard and leaving nothing but the gray slate behind.

“Was I?” he says.  He stands from the table, collects Ed’s plate and lays his own on top of it— “I don’t remember.”

Like hell he doesn’t.  Like fucking hell

This is the same old shit as before—as in the good old days, when Roy used to parcel out just as much information as he wanted Ed to have and not a fucking morsel more.  This is the same old fucking tactic; he gives on his terms, and then he reconsiders, and then he plays fucking stupid like Ed’s some military asshole who believes for a second that Roy Mustang doesn’t know exactly what he’s doing all the fucking time—

Roy starts rinsing the dishes and putting them in the sink.  Ed gets up, and curls his hands slowly into fists at his sides.

“You were talking about how we’ve got a connection,” he says.  “I kinda wanted to hear the rest of that.”

Fucking primly, Roy dries his hands on a little towel hanging next to the stove.  He doesn’t look at Ed, which is a dead fucking giveaway, and they both know it.  “I can’t recall what I was going to say next.”

“You don’t think I’m that stupid,” Ed says.  “Which makes it pretty fucking insulting that you’re trying this shit anyway.”

That gets a rise out of the bastard—Roy’s whole back tightens, and he plants both hands on the counter and turns enough to look over his left shoulder at Ed.

“After everything that happened today,” he says, “I don’t think this is the time or the place to discuss it.”

“Tough shit,” Ed says.

Roy turns.  And then he pauses long enough to swallow once, audibly, which—by the standards of the Sneaky Bastard Extraordinaire—is practically like a fucking scream.  If you know him like Ed does, you can see it in his eyes that he’s processing as fast as he can—calculating what he’s going to say.

“Please,” is what he ends up saying.  “Another time.  Another place.  We’re both upset; we’re both—”

“Fuck that,” Ed says.  “I’m basically always upset, as you’re well-fucking-aware.”

Roy’s mouth twitches towards a smile, and then he irons it out into a flat, unrevealing line.  “Still—”

“What were you gonna say?” Ed asks.

“It should wait,” Roy says.  “We can talk about this when we aren’t both worked up about—”

“Let’s fucking talk about it now,” Ed says, crossing half the span of kitchen floor laid out between them.  “I don’t get your undivided attention too much.  Don’t give me any bullshit, and I won’t give you any back.”

Roy looks at him for a long, long couple of seconds—long enough that Ed’s guts start to writhe a little, and the unsettlement wants to ripple through him and make him squirm.

But he can’t.  He can’t lose ground now.  He’s finally got Roy on the fucking ropes.

“Well?” he says.  “You started this, Mustang.  Are you gonna finish it?”

Roy takes two steps towards him, and then two more.  Ed’s heart beats—a tempo too quick to dance to; too fast to gauge and too heavy to stop; he’s momentum straight through.

Roy takes one more step.  There’s about a foot and a half of tiled kitchen flooring left before their bodies collide.

If neither of them moves, that is.  And neither of them will.

“You have always had,” Roy says, “so many things you had to do—good things, important things.  You’ve always had a mission, and a direction, and a reason to be.  A reason to be who you are; to be doing what you’re doing.  And the last thing I want—the last thing I’d ever want—is to slow you down.  To drag you backwards and distract you from that.”

He takes one more step.

“You’re going to do great things, Ed,” he says.  “You’re already doing them; you’ve already done more than most people can dream of.  And I have been selfish enough times in my life to know when to stop.”

Words keep swelling in Ed’s throat until they’re too big to breathe past, let alone to speak.  He tries to swallow, tries to clear them, tries to choke some out, but Roy’s eyes are focused and sincere, and that is fucking with his head.

“Mustang,” he says.

No.  He’s better than that.

Roy,” he says.  “You ever think that that’s exactly the same fucking spiel that I would’ve given you?  All this life’s work shit, and me being a drain on it, and the whole thing being unbalanced and all that shit?”  He realizes that the sentence is true as he gives voice to it: “It’s the same damn story.  And that’s the only reason we haven’t…”

They haven’t what?

Pretended like they both believe in fairy tales long enough to see if this one’s true?

“You asked me a question,” Roy says.  “By the house.  One question, full honesty.”  He tilts his head, just slightly, and it changes the cast of the tiny shadow of his eyelashes on his cheeks.  “Do I get an equivalent exchange?”

“Maybe,” Ed says.

Roy takes another half a step.

He’s so close.  He’s so close; Ed can smell his sweat, his skin, the last of the fucking blood—

He’s so warm.  And somehow his eyes are midnight-fucking-black and still so bright.

“Where did your mark used to be?” Roy asks.

There it is.

There it fucking is, and Ed feels like he’s on the end of a goddamn cliff—

He swallows, a little too hard.  “Why’d you waste your fucking question with one you know the answer to?”

The corners of Roy’s mouth curl upward just slightly.  “I want to hear you say it.”

Ed’s heart pounds, and shudders, and just keeps going.  “You think I give two shits about what you want?”

“Yes,” Roy says.  “Possibly three.”

Something in Ed is shaking so violently he can’t believe he hasn’t cracked a rib.  “Shows what you fuckin’ know.”

Roy’s throat works.  His skin is so fucking—Ed hates cows, hates milk, hates everything dairy fucking stands for; but just this once, the pale-cream color of Roy’s fucking skin—

“I know…” Roy says, and he lifts his stupid fucking right hand, and Ed’s frozen solid and can’t dodge out of the way as he sets just the very, very tips of his fingers against Ed’s jaw—so light it’s almost more of a tingle than a touch; so light that it doesn’t seem real— “…that marks are not as important as people make them out to be.”

Ed sort of wants to bite him.  Just—anywhere.  In general.  A pulse-quickening inclination, slowly solidifying into a concrete fucking desire.  He wants to bite fucking Roy.

That’s probably a bad sign.

Either he’s a cannibal, or he’s holding back an avalanche of fucking affection here, and he’s not sure which one’s worse.

“Easy for you to say,” he manages.

“They’re not a universal law,” Roy says.  “They don’t define us, and they don’t control us, and they don’t make us who we are.  You can fall in love with someone who doesn’t match with you.  And you can fall in love with someone without ever knowing if they do.”

His fingertips are still resting against Ed’s jawline.  They shift to graze his cheek, and fucking lightning runs through Ed’s veins, and how do people live like this?  How does anyone get anything done?

“I’ve done both now,” Roy says.  “The marks don’t matter, Ed.  Having yours wouldn’t change you.  And nothing about you needs to be changed.”

“Bullshit,” Ed says, but his stupid voice shakes.

“I’m still being honest,” Roy says.  His fingertips skate down, settle under Ed’s chin, tilt his head up just a fraction— “Are you?”

Ed swallows, and then his mouth’s so fucking dry he has to swipe his tongue across his lip, and that—

Drags the worst and most gorgeous fucking little half-caught breath out of Roy.

Ed has to say something.  He has to say something brilliant and cutting and clever enough to fix all of this.

What comes out of his mouth is “Try me.”

“Gladly,” Roy says, and there’s a hint of a fucking purr in it, and Ed’s right knee isn’t working properly.  “Where was your mark?”

More than just his voice is shaking now. Fucking everything is.  “You know,” he says, “exactly where it fucking was.”

“I have a theory,” Roy says.

The hand flirting with Ed’s throat stays there, and the other one—

Latches onto Ed’s automail arm and draws it up to eye level, so that Ed can fucking watch Roy lean over and brush his lips across the steel in the very center of Ed’s wrist.

Roy’s breath mists on the metal.  And the whole thing, Ed’s whole forearm and the hand and all of it, looks so fucking—good with Roy’s mouth hovering over it in a way he has to describe as loving—it looks so fucking normal, so fucking nice—

“Bastard,” Ed gasps out.

“I’ve never once denied it,” Roy says.

Ed’s whole heart is just—pieces.  Just a spill of fragments like shattered glass, sticking in his throat.  “Would you just fucking kiss me?”

Roy graces him with a smirk that could end entire worlds.

“I would love to,” the bastard says.

“So do it,” Ed says.

And he does.










Kissing Roy is great.  It’s fucking—amazing, actually; it’s…

Kissing Roy while staggering backwards towards and up the stairs is also great, right up until the point where the constant pulse of low-grade pain rather abruptly transitions into a dozen spears of high-grade pain, and the sudden intrusion of it makes Ed startle, lose his footing, slip, and land on his ass on the next step.

Roy goes halfway down with him and ends up leaning over him, blinking, arms still looped around him.

“Are you all right?” Roy asks immediately, and his hands sort of flutter around Ed’s limbs, like they’re checking for injuries, rather than trying to haul him back up to his feet.

“Yeah,” Ed says, trying to shake his head to clear the last of the little yellow star-dots bursting in his field of vision.  “Just this fucking…” He raps his knuckles on the edge of the automail port on his thigh.  “With the rain.”

Roy looks down at the progress of Ed’s hand, then up at his face, and then smiles, arching an eyebrow.

“May I have the unparalleled honor,” he says, “of introducing you to the art of the sensual massage?”

That sends Ed’s heart ricocheting right up into his throat again.  Which is fine, because it’s closer that way to the blood that just rushed into his face.  That must be a more efficient use of his circulatory system all around.

“Um,” he says.  “Y—yeah.  Uh—sure.”

It’s not like he figured they were stumbling up the stairs joined at the mouth so that they could play pinochle or some shit—he was aware that this was a prelude to sexual activity of some kind, although admittedly he was a little distracted trying to focus on the kissing part.  Partly he was deliberately focusing on the kissing part, because he doesn’t actually know what the sex part is supposed to be like, and not knowing shit puts him on edge, and the last thing he wants is to be sharp enough at the corners to cut Roy’s fingertips right now.

Roy’s other eyebrow darts up to join its brother, and he should look stupid like that, but instead he looks cute.  There is no fucking hope for Ed at this point.  All is lost.  Irrevocably.

“We don’t have to do anything you don’t enthusiastically want to,” Roy says.  He touches his forehead to Ed’s, closing his eyes like he’s savoring the feeling of it, and runs a couple of fingers through the damp tangles of Ed’s hair.  “In fact, I really don’t have any interest in doing anything you aren’t enthusiastic about.”  His eyelids rise, just slightly, and the slow fucking burn in his eyes leaches all the moisture out of Ed’s mouth again.  “That being said, some introductions to a few things you haven’t experienced before might give you reason for enthusiasm.”

Ed doesn’t know exactly what that’s going to entail.

But he knows he fucking likes the sound of it.

It’s not the sex part—not the intimacy part, not the bare skin and barer feelings—that he’s afraid of.

It’s not knowing.  It’s not knowing what he’s in for, what it’ll be like, what he’s getting into—not knowing if agreeing to something that seems all right means signing up for a later part that isn’t, or… what.

But this is Roy.  This is Roy, and Roy’s smarter than that; Roy knows him, and knows how his fucking head works.

Roy’s his fucking soulmate, apparently.

That’s got to count for something.

He takes a breath and lets it out slow.

“I’ll try anything once,” he says.

Roy smiles, stands up, and offers both of his hands.  “I thought you might say that.”

A part of Ed’s brain wants to hesitate, but his body doesn’t listen.  He reaches out and grabs on, and Roy helps him up.

“If you start doing cutesy trying-to-finish-my-sentences shit,” he says, “I’m gonna call this whole thing off and then kick your ass so hard you get a new mark, in the shape of my foot.”

“Maybe that’s what Jean’s looks like,” Roy says mildly.

Ed trips, and only Roy’s grip on his hands prevents him from doing a fucking header on the next stair up.

“Sorry,” Roy says.

“I can’t believe this,” Ed says.  “In one day I have to come to terms with all this soulmate shit and with you having a sense of humor.”

“The fact that you chose not to notice it doesn’t mean that I didn’t have it,” Roy says.  “Perhaps it went over your head.”

Ed stares at him.

Roy stares back.

“If you’re trying to get laid here,” Ed says, “you are doing a shitty job.”

And Roy—

Laughs.  Low and long and rich, like he fucking means it.

One way or another, Ed survives the rest of the staircase, but in the doorway to the bastard’s bedroom, both of them pause.

This unison shit has seriously got to stop.  If this is part of the soulmate deal, Ed’s going to quit.

He hasn’t worked out exactly how yet.  Hopefully it won’t come to that, because Roy’ll stop trying to read his fucking mind and succeeding.

“Ed,” Roy says, softly, “are you sure you want to do this?”

Shit.  So much for that.

“I—” he says.

And then he makes himself—think about it.

He wants fucking Roy—that much he’s painstakingly clear on; that much is written on the insides of his ribs, and his heart keeps hitting it so hard the ink’s imprinted.

Whether he wants Roy fucking is a little bit… murkier.

Roy’s hands—palms, knuckles, fingertips—against his skin have felt… pretty fucking great so far.

Roy’s mouth has, too.  Evidently he can do some pretty amazing things with that mouth.

But the rest of it…

“How about this?” Roy asks while he stands there, tongue-tied and so tense that he’s making all the aching worse.  Roy’s hand sweeps up his left arm, feather-light, and then brushes his hair back out of his eyes.  “Let me see what I can do about the automail, and then we can play it by ear from there.”

“I’m tone-deaf,” Ed says.  Which is a stupid thing to say, probably, but nonetheless fucking true.

Roy smiles.

And then Roy fucking kisses him again, and he lets his eyes slide shut, and the world fades to a sort of sweet, undifferentiated dark.

“Good,” Roy murmurs against his mouth.  “I can’t sing.”

Ed draws back enough to open his eyes and assess the quality of Roy’s grin.  It’s a pretty good one, all told.

“Okay,” he says.  He grabs at Roy’s sleeve.  Reaching for the bastard’s hand would still be… weird.  Touchy-feely.  Too-real.  Cute.  “Impress me.”

“Yes, sir,” Roy says, and catches his collar—his borrowed collar, that is; the collar of his borrowed shirt, because who even wears…?—and draws him across the threshold, across the carpet, to the bed.

Ed wants to eyeball the bed—not because he thinks it’ll have changed shape in the hour he’s been away from it, or something, but if he doesn’t register the suspicion, it’ll have to come out somehow.  Problem is Roy’s too mesmerizing to look away from, and he’s leaning in again—

And kissing Ed all soft and tender and nice and shit, and that’s just… disarming.  Is what it is.  Bastard probably knows exactly what he’s doing.

“Relax,” Roy whispers into the inch he puts between them by drawing back just far enough to meet Ed’s eyes.  He fans his hands on Ed’s chest and drags them down the shirt just a little.  “May I take this?”

“It’s your shirt,” Ed manages.  “You can do whatever the fuck you want with it.”

Roy’s smile tilts—weird.  Weirdly sort of… rueful.  Or some stupid romance novel word like that.

“You’re wearing it,” he says.  “Original ownership aside, as long as you are wearing it, it is, de facto, yours.  And you’re in control of its fate.”

Ed gives him a sardonic look.  Which is a little more difficult when you’re two inches from somebody’s nose, but he hasn’t exactly backed down from a challenge yet.

Roy’s trying not to laugh again.  He’s awfully fucking giggly tonight.  He then tries to sniff disapprovingly for good measure.  “Don’t look at me like that.  I thought it was very clever.”

“You would,” Ed says.

Roy smoothes the lapels of the shirt, and even through the layer of fabric, his hands just feel… fucking transcendent, really.  “I’ll take that as a ‘no’, then, which is perfectly all r—”

“As the de facto fate-decider of this shirt,” Ed says, “or whatever the fuck it was, I’ll thank you not to put words in my mouth, Mustang.”

Bastard’s eyes gleam.  “I can think of other things I’d much rather…” He pauses.  “Sorry, that was a bit—”

Ed heaves an overstated sigh loud enough to drown him out and unbuttons the stupid borrowed shirt—at least it’s got bigger buttons than the ones Al likes; at least his fingertips can tremble a little and still make contact and pull them free.  Then he rolls his shoulders to shrug it off, which hurts like a bitch on the right side but is absolutely fucking worth it for the way Roy’s breath catches, and his pupils dilate.

“That looked wonderful on you,” Roy says, and his voice is slightly strained, and his eyes are tracking slowly and intently over all the scars and lines and contours of Ed’s chest, “but I must confess that I like it even better on the floor.”

There’s a lot of it to fucking look at right now—apparently Roy’s just got more body mass than he does, because the waist of the loan-pants has gradually and inescapably crept down to hang precariously from the very edges of Ed’s hips.  It’s honestly possible that if his left thigh wasn’t a little swollen from the automail problem, these pants would also be on the fucking floor.

Roy’s gaze lingers on the nasty snarl low on Ed’s stomach where the fucking pole went through—it’s a big, jagged, obtrusive fucking thing, pearly pink shot through with angry red veins like severed vines trying to take root.

“That’s interesting,” Roy says.  And he’s undoing his shirt now, in a fucking hurry at that, and Ed’s heart takes up residence in the back of his mouth, possibly in an attempt to attract air that he can offer to his extremely empty lungs.  Roy peels the thing off like he’s a professional fucking stripper, which—given his upbringing—is less far-fetched than it sounds at first.

And then he gestures to the equally obtrusive tangle of knitting scars on his own abdomen.

“We match,” he says.

They’re not identical, obviously; not even close.

But still—isn’t it a little bit strange?  Isn’t it a little bit convenient, a little bit too unlikely to be a product of ordinary chance?

Isn’t it a little bit weird that they both have an uncommon mark in the same damn place after all?

Ed’s not going to think about it too much.  He’s still got a couple other things pending on the agenda, as it happens.

Well, one.

Which is Do Roy.

Which he needs to handle before he lets himself get distracted with any of this other shit.

He shifts his weight back to move into what might be characterized as a defensive stance—about the best one he can get to without actually moving his feet.  He wouldn’t put it past fucking Mustang to think it was sexy to pick him up and toss him onto the bed, which is a little touch of foreplay that is only ever going to take place over his dead body.

“So,” he says in the meantime.  “You gonna wow me, or what?”

Fortunately for Roy’s hands, they don’t even twitch toward a part of Ed that would make a good leverage point for hurling him onto the mattress.  That’s a good thing.  That means Roy gets to keep them.

“I am certainly,” Roy says, “going to try.”  He sweeps one of those hands sideways in an encouragingly not-grabby way.  “Would you like to lie down?”

Questions that aren’t actually questions but are, in fact, carefully-worded commands generally drive Ed up the fucking wall, but he’s trying to stay open-minded here, so he only hesitates for a second before he clambers up—cautious of his stupid fucking automail on both fronts—and flops down on his front on the bed.  “S’this okay?”

“Perfect,” Roy says, and Ed doubts that, but he doesn’t get a chance to comment—Roy climbs up with him, and he forces himself to stay still instead of tensing, and then Roy hikes a leg over him and plants one knee on either side of his waist.  “Is that all right?”

The upshot is that Roy will not be able to see Ed blushing with the approximate heat and coloration of a forest fire.  “Uh—fine.”

“Good,” Roy murmurs, and the way his voice fucking rumbles from the center of his chest when he lowers it like that is just—

Another natural disaster.  Is what it is.  Possibly a fucking tidal wave, and Ed’s not sure whether this fire is going to hold out.

Roy’s obnoxiously attractive hands—which are still attractive when Ed can’t see them, because they feel attractive; in related news, he’s beginning to wonder if he hit his head hard enough at some point today that he immediately forgot about it and also damaged something—very gently shepherd his still-damp hair off of his neck and collect it on the left side, clear of all the metal.  Roy’s obnoxiously attractive hands then spread themselves on the bed on either side of Ed’s head, which seems confusingly counterproductive for a second until Roy bends down and kisses the nape of Ed’s neck, then breathes slowly and deliberately down along his entire spine.

Ed wants to say something scathingly witty, but when he parts his lips, what comes out is “Oh.”

“If I do anything you don’t like,” Roy says, and his open hands slide slowly over the curve of Ed’s lower back and up from there, one on either side of his spine, and goosebumps flood down Ed’s left arm despite the way he bites his lip, “I’m trusting you to tell me.  Anything at all.  It doesn’t imply anything, and it won’t affect anything except that I’ll put that off-limits and find something better.  Is that fair?”

There’s no such thing as fair.

But it sure as fucking hell—

“Sounds good,” Ed manages.

“Lovely,” Roy says, and the word alone is warm and soothing on Ed’s skin; when Roy’s thumbs follow it, pressing in—gently at first and then progressively harder all the way up—on either side of his spinal cord, tracing it upwards until they reach the base of his skull—

Shit.

He gets one good breath in before the pads of Roy’s thumbs dig into the tendons on the sides of his neck, and holy fucking hell—

“Do you get a lot of headaches?” Roy asks—in an idle-conversation voice, rather than a straddling-your-soulmate-on-a-bed voice, apparently because sadistic bastards don’t change their stripes overnight.  “You’re carrying a lot of tension here.”

“It’s not tension,” Ed grinds out.  “It’s bullshit.”

“In your case,” Roy says, “I think it amounts to the same thing.”

“I guess,” Ed says.  His bantering skills aren’t exactly top-notch to start with, and it’s a mite fucking tougher when you’re being pinned on a mattress in an extremely suggestive fashion by the weight of your extremely hot destiny-boyfriend.  His extremely hot destiny-boyfriend’s extremely clever hands press in against a pair of matching sore spots on both sides of his jaw.  “Ow.”

Roy pauses.  “Is that a good ‘ow’ or a bad ‘ow’?”

Ed turns just enough to get a bit of a sightline on him, the better to raise an eyebrow.  “Aren’t massages always kinda both?”

“That…” Roy grins.  What a fucking asshole; he’s all ruffle-haired and shirtless and flushed through the cheekbones already, with cords standing out on his forearms where his hands are planted on Ed’s back, and now he’s grinning.  The fucking cheater.  “…is a very valid point.”

Ed snuggles up with the pillow and lets his eyes fall shut again.  “Yeah.  So do your worst.”

Evidently, Roy’s worst involves quite a bit of open-mouthed kissing of one’s fucking vertebrae, an immense amount of almost-too-painful pressure on all of the muscles in Ed’s neck and shoulders that have knotted up the tightest, and an absolutely fucking divine bit of kneading at the scar tissue around the automail after Roy’s dipped his knuckles into some kind of oil.

There have really only been a couple of one- and two-minute stretches where Ed confidently believed that today was actually happening, but this basically seals the deal: it’s not.  He’s dreaming.  It’s pretty fucking great.

And if this is a dream, then… well, fuck it.  Ed doesn’t have to worry about thinking cold-shower thoughts while Roy digs one gorgeous elbow into a tight mass of pure misery lodged underneath his left shoulder-blade; he can just let out the tragically serious fucking moan that’s been stirring in the base of his throat since the start of this.  And he can sort of shift his hips to try to get some friction on the mattress against the increasingly insistent gathering of blood throbbing in his groin; he doesn’t have to be fucking embarrassed about rutting on Roy Mustang’s bed like some kind of horny kid if this is a dream, after all.  If this is anything like the damning predecessors who have ravaged his subconscious, Roy’ll probably grab a fistful of his hair and lean in to nibble on his ear and ask him if he likes that or some shit.  The dialogue in Ed’s dreams isn’t what anybody would call exemplary, but since they’re mostly about the action anyway, he doesn’t figure it matters too mu…

Or, apparently, Roy will go very, very still, and the dangerous heat of his hands will withdraw from where it’s been spreading lines of twining fire over Ed’s vulnerable skin.

“Ah,” Roy says—very, very fucking softly; with a note that is very, very fucking rough.  Ed’s scalp tingles.

He may have miscalculated about the dream thing.  Too fucking late to fix it, though; he’s just going to have to ride this one out.

…that was a poor choice of words.  This is why he can’t do fucking dream dialogue.

Roy’s weight settles further back—directly on top of his ass, actually; and based on the way Roy hitches his body so that Ed can feel the hard heat between Roy’s fucking legs right against his tailbone—

Oh, fuck.  Fuck, and hallelujah.

One of Roy’s hands skims up his side, fingertips slowing to trace along the dips between each of his ribs, and then skates back down to start massaging—much slower; with less efficacy and a whole lot more meaning—at his hip.

“Would you like me to help you with that?” Roy asks in a whisper so soft and so fucking sultry that every single word sounds like a different kind of sin.

“Shit,” Ed says, which is much less sexy altogether.  His breath keeps catching with an edge of a tormented gasp, though, which might save it a little.  “I, uh—I—what’d—you have in mind?”

Are you not supposed to ask?  Maybe that was a faux pas—or a fuck pas, as the case may be.  Are you just supposed to—go with it?  Act by instinct?  Is talking about the thing you’re doing so off-limits that it’ll stop the doing of the thing before the thing-doing even starts?

“Let me show you,” Roy says before Ed can panic too much more—that sure doesn’t sound like someone who wants to bail; maybe he’s in the clear.  Roy’s weight shifts back and lifts off of him, and then Roy’s hand curls around his hipbone and tugs gently.  “Up a little?”

Ed doesn’t really know what he’s—what they’re—doing.  But he assumes Roy does.  And he assumes it’s going to be good.  And it’s really kind of refreshing to be expecting anything other than the fucking worst for once.

Also, he’s so damn turned on he can barely see.  There’s not enough blood left in the area of his brain to sustain any second thoughts, let alone to refuse instructions spoken to him this fucking sweetly; the suggestion beats in rhythm his pulse, coursing through him, trembling out to every last extremity.

This is what people are talking about—isn’t it?  This is why people make it such a big fucking deal.

Sex, that is.  And soulmates.  Either or both.

He pushes himself up onto his hands and knees—the mattress dimples under his palms; the right one dents it differently; the resistance of the metal changes its impression.  Even as he tries to stabilize his uneven weight, Roy’s body conforms against his—chest to his back, limbs not so much caging him as… framing?  He doesn’t fucking know; he just knows he should feel trapped, but he doesn’t, and that’s…

“Beautiful,” Roy breathes into his ear, and the shiver starts low between his hips and ripples out to the rest of him, and the roll of it along his spine pushes him up harder against Roy.

“Such a fuckin’ flatterer,” he gasps out with the failing remnants of his breath.

“Just the truth,” Roy says.

Ed would protest more—it’s sort of mandatory; it’s just how he operates—but Roy’s right arm curls around him, and then Roy’s hand sweeps low across his stomach, and then his pelvis, and then—

Anticipation smolders.

Contact ignites.

Perhaps the Flame is more accurate than any of Roy’s other various and sundry fucking titles; perhaps, at his core, he is pure fucking heat—cataclysmic and consumptive and purifying; breathless fury incarnate, but so, so warm—

And he’s in Ed’s blood and under Ed’s skin—he’s been under Ed’s skin since the beginning, hasn’t he?  And that part of the skin’s gone, but the meaning of it lingers, and the fire has a life of its own.

“Is that all right?” Roy asks, and Ed has the urge to say Gee, lemme think; Roy Mustang, noted sex god, is palming my dick and scraping his teeth dangerously close to my vitals, and I think I’m actually dying of arousal. Eh, I guess I’ll survive.

Too many words, though.  Too many words to fit in around the fringes of the conflagration rising in the core of him, in the middle of his body, upward and outward from where Roy’s hand rests against him, spreading fast.

So instead he just says, “Yeah.  Yes.  Fucking—more, Mustang, c’mon—”

Which is, apparently, exactly what he should’ve said.

Evidently there’s a first time for everything.

Roy shudders against him hard enough that the motion of it passes through them both, and that is—bizarrely hot; bizarrely close; skin-to-skin and sharing nerve reactions is a kind of human synergy Ed never really thought about before, and…

And he likes it.

He wants it.

No two ways about it anymore; he wants this, more than he ever fucking thought he would when he conjured the abstraction.  This is more than he imagined; deeper than he dreamed—it’s a slavering hunger and a fevered desperation and a quaking coldness slowly melting underneath the heat, and it’s just so fucking good

“At your service,” Roy says, and then his hand starts working at the fly of… whoever’s pants they are that Ed’s wearing right now, and the play of his fingertips against Ed’s dick—

Ed can’t believe his elbow joints are holding; he would’ve expected himself to be faceplanting on the mattress pretty much instantaneously after an endorphin-hormone rush like the one he just got—and is still getting; it’s like poison; he’s possessed—but somehow he doesn’t just drop to the bed.  He lets his head fall, though, and his hair swings with it, and Roy’s breath sticks, and that’s a whole brand new kind of fucking power he’s never had or tried to use before.

Later, though.  When he’s not quite so fucking invested on having Roy Mustang get him off as soon as fucking possible.

Fortunately, they seem to be of the same mind as far as that goes; Roy, whose hand may or may not be entirely steady right now, drags the zipper out of the way and then grabs a firm fistful of both layers of fabric standing between his skin and Ed’s and pulls them down together.

The air’s cool for a split-second, and then Roy’s staggeringly warm hand wraps itself around Ed’s dick and starts stroking.

Oh… hell.

Or the opposite, really.

Ed’s never been much of a masturbator, which has more to do with not having a whole lot of spare time than anything else—and with being either dead fucking tired or having a book in mind when time does crop up.  He also usually gets a grand total of about forty-five seconds of hot water in the shower by the time Al is done preening and conditioning and exfoliating and whatever other foreign verbs keep his newly-recovered skin and hair as respectively supple and fluffy as they are.  It’s not like Ed hasn’t done it occasionally, firstly because science; and secondly because of occasional trains of thought that meander far enough from basic science to reach anatomy, at which point they stumble towards wondering about the curious cocktail of chemicals and emotions that carnal behavior is supposed to induce.  It is and has been—occasionally—practical to practice.

But none of that was anything like this.

Is it just the unexpectedness?  Is it just the fact that he can’t dictate the sensations?  Just the way his body registers that Roy’s hand isn’t remotely the same as his own, and its actions aren’t predictable?

Or is it more to do with the fact that it is Roy, specifically and undeniably?

It’s Roy tunneling that perfect fucking hand around his dick, fingers cradling him loosely for the first few strokes—and then curling tighter, and tighter than that, until the breath Ed’s unwittingly been holding chokes out of him in an involuntary gasp.

It’s Roy smearing hot, wet, hungry kisses down along the edges of the automail, right where the scar tissue melds with unmarred skin, and groaning softly like he’s the one getting fucking pleasured.

It’s Roy shifting back up to whisper “Sometimes you’re so beautiful I can’t stand it” into his hair like the bastard believes every last damn word.

“Y’ever—” Ed has to drag in another breath before he can muster enough oxygen to formulate any more syllables; the fucking fire in his veins just devours all the air— “You ever tried—sitting down?”

Even stupid-ass humor is pretty impressive in this situation.  Or he likes to think so, anyway.

“Mm,” Roy murmurs, mouth moving along Ed’s spine again, featuring an even more liberal application of the delicate tip of his tongue on the upward sweep.  “Considered it.  As alternatives to standing go, however, I think I like this better.”

He pumps his hand slow down to the fucking base of Ed’s dick, grip almost too-tight, but his palm’s just soft enough that it feels like purgatory and a kiss.

“Me, too,” Ed chokes out.

Roy’s mouth has traveled all the way up his back again, and this time it fixes onto the side of his neck, sucking gently.  That—prickles in a way not quite like pain; Ed’s body’s so flooded with endorphins now that he can’t even distinguish between different nerve signals anymore.  Pain doesn’t exist.  It’s all just—feelings; it’s all just good

And Roy’s still stroking him, firmly and smoothly and progressively faster, but the speed increase is so fucking incremental Ed’s not sure his heart can handle the suspense.

He fights another breath in, squeezing his eyes shut, and tries to focus in on the tumultuous hurricane of rippling emotion and the rising tension clutching his guts, tightening his skin, swirling in his brain so dizzyingly it’s difficult to think concretely of anything at all—

Can friction alone fucking kill you?  It sure feels like it; it sure feels like if he tries to hold his breath and contain this, it’ll explode him from within—

“Stay with me,” Roy murmurs—against his fucking jugular, and how can that be hot?  How can that particular manifestation of manageable vulnerability make him feel simultaneously wracked by the thrills rolling through him and so fucking safe?  Roy’s grasp loosens; he dapples his fingertips up, agonizingly lightly, and then down again, and then cups Ed’s balls in his hand for a brain-sparking half a second, then plunges his half-curled fingers lower to stroke the terrible-wonderful pad of his index finger back along the delicate and all-too-fucking-sensitive skin behind them—

Ed’s voice drowned in the urgent ferocity of the current of his blood what feels like a long damn time ago, or he’d say something clever.  Something like Do I have a fucking choice?, something like Isn’t that the point?, something like Mustang, don’t you know how fucking overwhelming everything about you is?

He forces out a fragment of “Fuck,” which is more than he expected to be capable of.

“That is the general concept,” Roy says.  The fucking bastard.

Ed sucks in the deepest breath he can manage with Roy’s fingers flirting with the deepest, most sensitive, most secret spaces on him: “Quit fuckin’ teasing.”

Roy’s laugh just beside his ear is low and rich and so full-throated that Ed arches involuntarily, and the lightning when their bodies collide even harder nearly short-circuits his brain.  “What’s the magic word?”

Motherfucker,” Ed grinds out.

This laugh is even better—lighter, sweeter, and more genuine.  Less velvet now than—chocolate.  Fucking delectable.

“Close enough,” Roy says.

His glorious hand makes a triumphant return to Ed’s throbbing, needy fucking cock—stroking hard and fast and tight and intently, like this is the only fucking thing in the world he’s ever wanted; the only thing he’s ever wanted to do

And right now, Roy’s the only thing Ed wants to do, so that’s just about equivalent, isn’t it?

Fucking universes coalesce and scatter in the center of his chest—galaxies roiling in the pit of his stomach; there’s no heat quite like concentrated starlight, nothing like the fire of fusion; nothing nearly as indescribably hot and enticing, except the increasingly frantic tempo of Roy’s hand on him—the silky skin of Roy’s palm stoking a supernova in the very fucking core of him—

“Your—” He can’t breathe; can’t see; all he has is instincts, and his have always been shit.  “Your sheets—”

“To hell with my sheets,” Roy says.

Ed was planning to sleep on those fucking things; he doesn’t want to spray sticky fucking… but he’s panting too hard to say it, and even if he wasn’t, it’s stupid

“They’re—nice,” he says.

“Ah,” Roy says.

Does a fucking psychic connection come with the whole soulmate thing?  Al’s going to be so fucking jealous; up ’til now, no one else on the planet has had the slightest hope of reading Ed’s miserable tornado of a mind.

“In the interest of preserving the sheets,” Roy says, “there’s a very simple solution.  Trust me?”

“Fuck you,” Ed chokes out.  “You know I do.”

Roy presses a long, long, significant fucking kiss to the soft spot right underneath his ear, and then the beautiful-torturous hand releases his dick and wraps around his waist instead—

In order to flip him onto his back so swiftly that his lungs produce a gasp too faint to be audible by the time it pops out of his throat.

And he is all the more fucking vulnerable now—all the more open, all the more bare—and Roy’s kneeling over him, and for a soul-wrenching second, Ed’s heart bottoms out with this absolute certainty that when he meets Roy’s eyes, he’ll find judgment.

He looks anyway.

And his heart jams up his throat with the vapor trail of the last aborted breath, because—

It’s nothing but fucking—

Love.

Nothing but worship; nothing but adoration and utter, unmistakable acceptance.

And that’s what this is about, isn’t it?

That’s what everyone is looking for.

And he can’t help it, can’t control it, can’t stop his left hand from reaching up and grabbing a fistful of Roy’s hair and pulling him down to kiss him, and kiss him, and then pause for breath and for Ed to lift his hips up against Roy’s and grind their bodies together much less gently.

“Thank you for the reminder,” Roy says, partly into his mouth, but fortunately it’s still mostly comprehensible.  “I was distracted.”

Before Ed can assemble enough portions of a lungful of air to put any volume behind a question, Roy’s shifting back, and down, and settling his hands on Ed’s hips, and—

Sealing his gorgeous mouth around Ed’s dick and swallowing him all the way fucking down.

This cannot possibly be real.

This cannot possibly be happening; today cannot possibly be anything other than one improbably long, excruciatingly vivid fever dream—

And Ed was already pretty fucking close to the edge, but Roy’s tongue dragging up the underside of his dick is a hell of a lot more than just about anybody could take, and the precipice crumbles beneath his weight—

Roy’s head dips down; he tilts it just enough to make his hair brush across Ed’s skin, and then he glances up—mouth around Ed’s dick, eyes dark and hooded and blazingly intent, and—

Ed’s hips jolt, and his back arches, and a noise that’s half protest and half sheer pleasure escapes him, and he—

Lets go.

And the blinding, buzzing white envelops him, then shatters into a prismatic spread of colors too numerous to name.

He surfaces gasping for air again, trying to blink enough to clear the lingering spots of spectral afterimage from his eyes.  By the time he succeeds, Roy’s crawled up the bed and settled in beside him, right arm draped across his chest.

“Satisfactory?” he asks.

Ed stares, clears his throat, clears it again, and croaks out, “The fuck is wrong with you?”

Roy laughs.  “I expected you to have a list.”

“I do,” Ed says.  “Fuckin’ alphabetized and color-coded with bookmarks and shit.  Now I gotta catalogue this, too.”

Roy nestles in closer and kisses Ed’s cheek.  Which is disgusting.  “Other than the impending additions to the long list of my grievous flaws—you’re all right?”

“Well, gee,” Ed says.  He has to content himself with wrinkling his nose a lot, because it’d be rude to wriggle away from the affectionate-snuggle thing Roy’s doing.  Really rude.  It’s not that he’s not enjoying it in the slightest; it’s just that he doesn’t want to be an asshole about it.  “The individual widely-acknowledged as the hottest fucking guy in Central just blew me, and apparently we’re soulmates.  I guess shit’s okay.”

Roy laughs again, softly, and the way his eyes gleam with it should be a fucking crime.  “Only Central?  I was really hoping for the entirety of Amestris.  At least Central and the majority of the east.  A regional accolade.”

“You’re gonna have to blow me a couple more times for that,” Ed says.

This gleam’s completely different.

“I look forward to it,” Roy says.

“You would,” Ed says.

They look at each other as a couple of long, long seconds trickle by.

“In all seriousness,” Roy says, which is an ominous start to any sentence, but especially one delivered while Ed’s lying in his destiny-boyfriend’s bed with his borrowed pair of pants down, “this is all… a bit unexpected.  Are you…?”

“I eat universe-twisting alterations to the status quo for breakfast,” Ed says.  “Remember?”

“Historically,” Roy says, “yes.  But historical precedent doesn’t guarantee that any individual instance can’t be… troublesome.”

“You’re troublesome,” Ed says.  “Or just trouble, I guess.  But I’m used to it by now.  And it’s the kind of trouble that I like.”

Again with the damn illegality—that grin’s got to be banned in every civilized country in the world, except apparently for the one that they inhabit.  Maybe Ed should move.

“You,” Roy says, “are my absolute favorite kind of trouble.”

“Cute,” Ed says.

Roy gives him a cheesy wink.  The fucker.  “That’s what I was going for.”

Ed wrinkles his nose a little harder.  “Well, you’re right on the fucking mark.”

Roy pauses.

Ed raises an eyebrow.

Roy grins a little wider.

“Excellent,” he says.

And if his arm tightens just a bit, enough that Ed swears he can almost feel the beat of the bastard’s pulse against his skin—enough that Ed swears he can almost feel a patch of skin in a geometric shape warming just slightly against him—

Well.  It’s been a hell of a day.  No harm staying here a little while.










Ed registers, first and foremost, that it’s really fucking warm in his bed—so damn cozy it feels like he’s getting away with something, or getting something for free; and probably that should be a red flag, but for the moment, he’s just going to snuggle a little closer with the comforter.

He’s not about to admit it unless there’s some duress involved, but there’s a remote possibility that he’s a pretty vigorous comforter-snuggler.  There’s a remote and related possibility that that’s why he wriggles enough settling in with it that he collides with a warm limb.

Damn it.  That startles him awake in a second, and the instant adrenaline rush buoys his heart right up into his throat, and—

And Roy Mustang, eyes all sleep-hazy, hair all mussed, cheek squished against the other pillow, looks at him and… smiles.

“Good morning,” he says.

Ed stares at him.  And then, in typical fucking Edward Elric fashion, Ed says the first thing his jumbled brain comes out with:

“I’m still wearing your pants.”

The smile splits into a grin.  “That you are.”

Ed blinks.  He’s so out of his fucking depth here that it feels like he’s treading water with everything he’s got and just barely keeping his nose above the surface.  “So… what… happens now?”

Roy shifts—slowly, cautiously, no sudden movements—and reaches out to brush Ed’s hair back from his face.

“I haven’t the faintest idea,” he says.  “Would you like to find out?”

People are always parroting that stupid pseudo-optimistic bullshit platitude—Today’s the first day of the rest of your life!

But this time, it feels fucking true.

“Yeah,” Ed says, and he finds himself smiling back at stupid-ass, gorgeous Roy while he says it.  “Yeah, all right.”

“Wonderful,” Roy says, and Ed can feel that he means it.


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