Title: 30 Kisses - The Roy/Ed Way
Fandom: Fullmetal Alchemist
Warnings: Ratings range from G to NC17 for various prompts. Fluff, humour, angst and action are all fair game. A few spoilers for Conqueror's of Shamballa thrown in for good measure.
Summary: Thirty ways a kiss could go.
1. look over here
“Taisa,” Hawkeye’s voice slipped loudly into the relative silence of the office, stilling Roy's pen. “You may want to come look over here.”
“Not now, Lieutenant,” Roy declared pompously, not looking up from the doodles he was covertly scribbling on his blotter. “Aren’t you the one who always tells me to stay in my desk during work hours?”
The look Hawkeye gave him was bland, although the tiniest hint of amusement twitched in the upturned corners of her mouth. “Thank you for remembering Taisa. But I really think you ought to see this.”
Roy sighed heavily. “Fine.” He pushed back his chair and ambled reluctantly over towards the window. “Since you insist, Lieutenant. What is it that I’m supposed to be looking … at…”
Gloved hands suddenly had a death grip on the window frame, Roy leaning out far enough that he was in danger of tumbling headlong into the elegantly pruned shrubbery two floors below. None of the blue-clad figures on the ground noticed, too busy staring at a 10-foot high photograph of Roy locked in a rather passionate kiss with none other than Edward Elric, the Fullmetal Alchemist. Their murmurs, shocked cries and poorly stifled snickers were clearly audible from the office window.
“…sir?” Hawkeye said after a moment, hands at the ready to hold him back if he decided to jump out the window after all.
“Pardon me for a moment, Lieutenant,” Roy said, deceptive calm betrayed by the tightly clenched line of his jaw. “I have to go kill Maes.”
“Ah, Fullmetal,” Roy greeted, not even bothering to look up as Ed tromped angrily into the room. “I was wondering when you’d get around to skulking back here. How was Rush Valley?”
Ed shot him a sour look. “As if you don’t know.”
“I trust Miss Rockbell enjoyed herself?”
“Did she ever.” Ed rolled his eyes dramatically. “I can’t believe you told her I was going – I swear, if I had to watch her kiss one more spanner I think I would’ve shipped her home in a box.”
“But of course you showed much greater restraint than that.” Roy’s smile was mild, a touch of wickedness creeping into the expression. “Creating a 100 mile-long crevice down the middle of the main street between you and Miss Rockbell was a much more mature method of dealing with the situation.”
Ed threw up his arms in exasperation. “Dammit Mustang, do you know everything?!”
“I try Fullmetal, I try.”
Heat crackled sharply around him, pressing against his skin and tingling warningly across his nerves. Ed lunged away instinctively, a burst of flame exploding scant inches away from his ear. Swearing to himself, Ed ducked under another blast and clapped, thrusting both palms against the blackened ground. Blue lightening arched upwards and outwards in response to his will, alchemic power jolting through the earth, and Ed dove hurriedly behind the eight foot wall he’d created, trying to figure out what the hell to do next.
An exasperated sigh echoed from across the yard. “Too predictable Fullmetal,” Roy told him, pausing his barrage of fireballs to deliver a verbal one instead. “Really, it’s a wonder you’ve ever completed a mission using such paltry tricks.”
“That’s a fine criticism coming from you, Colonel One-Trick-Pony,” Ed shot back, taking the opportunity to get quietly to his feet. Keep him talking. “How do you deal with knowing that all an enemy has to do is break your thumbs to render you even more completely useless than you already are?”
“Ah, but there’s a difference between possessing a limited arsenal and going easy on a shrimpy, inefficient subordinate who couldn’t win a fight if his life depended on it.”
Ed’s jaw clenched at the jibe, hands fisting automatically, but he controlled himself with a will. “Resorting to name-calling, Mustang?” he taunted instead. “You must be running out of ideas.”
A pointed sniff. “Hardly.”
Roy was going to attack again. The sound of Ed’s hands clapping together echoed like a gunshot across the court, putting him on the offensive before Roy had a chance to take charge. Lightning crackled between Ed’s fingers, almost blinding in its intensity as his power slammed into the concrete, wrenching it apart and reshaping it to his desires.
The ground shuddered ominously underfoot and Roy jumped hastily aside, surprise colouring his normally calm features as the gaping concrete maw of a venus fly trap lurched hungrily out of the ground, its patterned leaves rasping restlessly as it snapped at the empty air.
The thing lunged again and Roy backpedaled out of the way, eyes fixed intently on this new challenge. And that was when Ed moved, springing out from behind his wall with a sprinting dash, gleaming automail blade aimed unerringly at Roy’s blue-clad chest.
The attack didn’t go quite as planned, however. The Colonel spun before Ed had a chance to strike, feet widely braced as he snapped again, sending an explosion of thick, clinging smoke flaring up around them.
Ed cursed, wheeling about blindly in the obscuring cloud. Footsteps rushed at him from one side and he spun to meet them, automail blade just barely kissing the side of Roy’s cheek before Roy had him by the collar, other hand insinuating itself directly under Ed’s nose.
Ed looked down. “Fuck.”
The explosion knocked Ed right off his feet, sending him skidding painfully over the blackened ground. Coming to a gasping stop scant inches from the still-shifting leaves of his stone plant, Ed scrambled to gain his feet, unwilling to let it end this way.
A heavy boot pinned his automail arm at the wrist, trapping the blade against the ground and limiting his motion. The smoke shifted and Ed scowled at the sight of Roy stood triumphantly over him, gloved fingers held, poised to snap, right above Ed’s head.
“Nice try, Fullmetal,” Roy smirked, pressing down with his boot and making the joints in trapped automail grind warningly. “But, once again, your puerile efforts have proven insufficient in the end.”
Ed made a face, free hand shifting restlessly along the edge of spiny leaves behind him. “So you say Mustang,” he managed with a gasp, then an almost Roy-like grin split across his face as his searching hand drifted against one of the suspiciously detailed circles that decorated his concrete attack plant. “But it isn’t quite the end yet.”
And Roy didn’t even have time to jerk back as Ed’s power flowed through the carefully inscribed array decorating his ostentatious diversion, the lines flaring to life as the entire battlefield suddenly rose up like a hundred writhing snakes and encased Roy from his armpits to his feet, enfolding him in a cocoon of solid rock.
Ed pulled his hand carefully out from under Roy’s rock-sheathed boot, wincing slightly as a part of his sleeve caught and tore. “Dammit, I’m gonna have to patch that now. I hate sewing.” He got to his feet and grinned at Roy smugly. “Give up old man?” he asked, solicitously wiping away the trickle of blood rolling down the side of Roy’s face. “It looks like I won this one.”
“Indeed,” Roy acknowledged, calm within his concrete casing. “Perhaps you’re learning after all.”
“Gee, thanks for the vote of confidence.” Rolling his eyes, Ed clapped his hands and pressed them to Roy’s chest. Light flared briefly and then the rock was sliding away, releasing Roy and slinking back into its original position. “And now I believe you owe me dinner. Just as well too – I’m starved.”
Roy massaged his arm briefly, his arch look tinged with something almost like fond amusement as he slanted his eyes towards Ed. “You’re always starved Edward – really, you think you’d be taller with how much you eat.”
“Bastard,” Ed shot back, although his tone lacked its traditional fervor. “Now you’re just giving me another incentive to eat you out of house and home.” He straightened his somewhat singed braid and grinned infectiously at his commanding officer. “So, Colonel? You coming?”
Roy couldn’t help an answering smile. “After you, Fullmetal. Just don’t complain during tomorrow’s match when I beat you because you’re sick from eating too much – again.”
4. our distance and that person
Roy paused just inside the door to the library, attention caught by the sight of a young man sitting by himself near the window. Sun-kissed blond hair tumbled over red-clad shoulders and Roy allowed himself to imagine, just for a moment, that those dark, honey-coloured waves were lighter, more vibrant, and spilling like molten gold around a tanned face and amber eyes that glowed with a fierce brilliance so bright it took your breath away just to look at them.
Then the young man looked up, a welcoming smile spreading across his face as he caught sight of Roy lingering in the shadows. “Mustang-taisa,” he greeted, closing his book carefully. “You’re early today.”
Banishing foolish imaginings from his mind, Roy dredged up a small smile in return. “Hello, Alphonse.”
5. “ano sa”
“Uh, ano sa,” Ed said into the sudden, awkward silence between them. “It’s okay, y’know? I mean, it’s not like…”
“Forgive me for disagreeing Fullmetal,” Roy interrupted, his tone coldly formal. “But I hardly think this counts as ‘okay’. That was entirely inappropriate of me and I apologize for putting you in such a situation. I’ll undertake the necessary steps to have you transferred into someone else’s command immedi…”
“Oh, shut up Mustang!” Ed cut in irritably. “Do you have to make decisions for the entire world? And since when do you even have any morals anyway?”
Roy’s eyes fixed on him and he faltered suddenly, the pressure of that dark gaze making him shift uneasily and rake a self-conscious hand through blond bangs. “But, uh…what I was trying to say is that I didn’t… I mean I wasn’t… I don’t…”
“…know how to construct complete sentences?”
“I wasn’t complaining okay?” Ed snapped, then immediately flushed the same colour as his jacket as Roy raised a surprised eyebrow. Golden eyes darted nervously about as Ed tried for a nonchalant shrug. “So I mean if you wanna… y’know, try kissing again, I won’t transmute you into a paperweight for it or anything.”
You know Fullmetal,” Roy observed almost absently, his smile deepening into something that made Ed’s stomach do strange, uncomfortable little flip-flops inside him. “I think that’s the most romantic thing I’ve ever heard you say.”
6. the space between dream and reality
Daisoto King Mustang leaned back comfortably behind his large, immaculately clean desk, enjoying his morning cup of coffee. The staff office was peacefully quiet on the other side of the door and Roy noted with pleasure that all was as it should be with the world.
A polite knock on the door interrupted his solitude, but Roy accepted the change with aplomb.
“Enter,” he bade, and wasn’t surprised when a blond head poked diffidently into the room a moment later. He would recognize the distinctive sound of metal on wood anywhere, after all.
“Welcome back, Fullmetal.”
“Daisoto,” Ed greeted him formally. “Did you have a moment to read my mission report?”
“Of course,” Roy granted magnanimously and Ed stepped fully into the room, every brass button on his immaculate uniform gleaming as he shut the door quietly behind him.
“You’re back in good time,” Roy noted as Ed turned back to him. “I trust things went well?”
Ed snapped off a salute. ‘Naturally. As soon as they realized I was there at your behest, people were falling all over themselves to help me.”
“Good to hear.” Roy accepted the neatly typed mission report from Ed, setting it to one side to look at later. “Nothing major to report?”
“No, sir. Everything went according to plan.”
“In that case, why don’t you head back to barracks for awhile? I’ll send someone for you when I have your next assignment.”
Ed clicked his heels together smartly. “Daisoto.”
Leaning back on one arm, Roy extended the other before him. “You may kiss the royal hand before you leave, Fullmetal.”
“If you think I’m kissing any part of you, you’ve got another thing coming you perverted bastard. Now wake the hell up so I can get out of here.”
Colonel Roy Mustang jerked upright in his chair, nearly upsetting a large stack of urgent looking papers on his overloaded desk. The top of a blond head was just barely visible over the piles of paper, but Roy didn’t need to see it to know that the expression on Ed’s face was dangerously close to mutinous.
“Get with it, you useless Taisa,” Ed growled, paper crinkling as his metal hand flexed impatiently. “I’ve got better things to do than waste my time in your presence.”
Blinking away the last of the sleep from his eyes, Roy spared a moment to mourn the end of such a delightful dream. Then he sighed diplomatically and made a show of standing up and peering over the edge of the desk.
“Ah Fullmetal, there you are. I see you actually managed to complete an assignment without destroying any public property in the process. That must be a new record.”
“…you’re an utter bastard, you know that Mustang?”
An obedient Fullmetal likely wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining anyway.
Roy returned to the office after lunch with a smug expression on his face and lipstick marks on his collar.
Ed, who had been waiting impatiently to deliver his latest mission report, rolled his eyes exaggeratedly.
“Something the matter Fullmetal?” Roy asked.
Ed made an unimpressed noise. “Do you think you’re some kind of superstar, going out with a different woman every day?”
“No,” Roy answered calmly, taking a seat behind his overflowing desk. “But everyone else does. And that, O naïve one, makes all the difference.”
8. our own world
“The nerve of that bastard! Showing up in the nick of time and being all ‘look at me, the heroic Colonel, here to save the day!’ Jerk!”
“Nii-san,” Al admonished, his tone of fond exasperation so familiar after two years alone that Ed had to pause his rant for a moment to beam at his whole-again younger brother.
The reprieve didn’t last long though. “I mean, who does he think he is? I’ve been missing for two years and all he has to say is ‘it looks like you brought this trouble with you Fullmetal,’” Ed mimicked, adopting his holier-than-thou-Colonel face. “He didn’t even notice how much taller I am! Al!” Ed declared staunchly, rounding on his brother with the familiar light of ambition burning in his eyes. “As soon as we get back to our own world, I’m gonna hit that bastard Taisa so hard the Fuehrer’ll feel it!”
Al arched an amused eyebrow. “Are you sure nii-san? That last time you and Mustang-taisa had a fight, you ended up kissing him in front of the entire office instead.” He pursed his lips thoughtfully. “I believe Havoc-san still has photographs somewhere.”
“Hmph,” Ed grunted, crossing his arms petulantly across his chest. “You know Al, I’m totally thrilled to have you all back again, but did you have to remember everything?”
Al clanked as unobtrusively as possible into the staff office, one hand rasping sheepishly across his helm as he lingered in the doorway. “Ano, have any of you seen my…”
A red and blond blur dashed past him down the hallway, a hurried “Hi Al! Bye Al!” just barely registering before the figure careened out of sight around a corner.
“…Nii-san.” Al finished with a sigh. Glowing eyes shifted among the blue-clad residents of the office, taking in the poorly-concealed amusement on every face. “Do I even want to know?”
It was Havoc who answered him, grinning fit to burst as he chewed on the end of an unlit cigarette. “See, earlier this morning Armstrong-shousa caught Taisa and the chief kissing in a supply closet.”
“And he doesn’t approve?” Al hazarded, wishing he had the ability to frown when Havoc started snickering.
“No,” the blond man managed between gasps. “But he…”
“Excuse me everyone!” a voice boomed and the entire office cringed as Major Armstrong strode enthusiastically into the room, sparkling brightly enough to make Fury clap his hands over his eyes and start whimpering that he’d gone blind. Armstrong didn’t appear to notice.
“Have any of you seen Edward-kun?” the big man asked hopefully. His face shone as he continued, “I wanted to acquaint him with the Armstrong family guidelines for tantric homosexual relations – passed down through the men of my family for generations! – but I seem to be having trouble finding him.”
“Sorry Major,” Al squeaked, trying not to look directly into the sight of all those flexing muscles. “I haven’t seen him since this morning. Perhaps you should check the mess hall?”
“A capital idea, Alphonse-kun!” Armstrong beamed, clapping him on the shoulder-guard hard enough to make his breastplate rattle. “I shall continue my search for him there!”
Everyone breathed very shallowly until Armstrong had marched off down the hall, a few stray sparkles still glinting in his wake. Once he was sure the man was gone, Al turned towards Havoc curiously. “Why is Armstrong-shousa only looking for Nii-san and not Mustang-taisa?”
Havoc smirked. “Because the Colonel’s getting a little ‘talk’ from Hughes-chuusa instead.”
That made Al want a mouth to smile with but, judging from the identical expressions on the faces of all those present, he figured they probably understood him anyway.
“…confiscation and subsequent destruction of a motorized boat?”
“She was getting away! How else was I supposed to keep up with her?” Ed crossed his arms petulantly. “And I fixed the boat, by the way.”
“That’s nice. Infraction #10…” Roy raised one eyebrow at Ed over the top of the extensive list. “You threw Psiren through a bridge?”
“Hey, it was a wooden bridge and the workmanship really wasn’t all that…”
“You threw her through a bridge?”
Ed shuffled uncomfortably. “I didn’t mean to throw her that hard – and I apologized afterwards.”
“Why did you throw her through a bridge?”
“She kissed me! I got caught off guard!”
Roy sighed and rubbed at his temples with his free hand. “Fullmetal, we really need to discuss the way you interact with women.”
It was a normal looking house.
Roy stopped atop the crest of the hill, looking down at the home of Hoenhime Elric. Or former home, if the letter he’d acquired was anything to go on. He ambled cautiously closer, one hand on the array stitched into the inner lining of his raincoat as his eyes watched for dangers in the shadows.
The house certainly didn’t look inhabited at present, nothing more than a dark, bulky shadow on the hill, half-hidden in the drizzling rain. No light shone from the lonesome windows, no fresh footprints in the now-muddy path leading to the whitewashed door. Beneath the layered effects of recent neglect, the house looked well cared for and homey, a place for children and blue clouds and hanging laundry.
Now, however, the clothing lines were bare and stretched thin across the black sky, dripping forlornly in the heavy rain. Once-immaculate flowerbeds lay tangled and wild, heavy gardenia blossoms drooping over the neatly laid stone walkway, white petals glistening wetly in the flashing lightening. Roy wondered if it had been Hoenhime’s wife who had cared for them, and whether her sons realized how abandoned they looked now without a loving hand to help them grow straight and tall.
And then the world flashed as the whole building crackled with the strongest alchemical charge he’d ever seen and Roy forgot all about the sad, rain-drenched flowers.
12. in a good mood
“What’s going on?” Ed asked as he and Al walked into the main office of the East City Royal Amestris Army Headquarters. “Hawkeye’ll kill you guys if she catches you slacking off again.”
“Oi chief, Al,” Havoc greeted, an unlit cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth as he looked up from the stacks of money spread out across his desk. “We’re still accepting bids – you want in on this?”
A not-quite sigh echoed from Al’s helmet. “What are you all betting on this time?” he asked, footsteps clanking as he moved towards the group.
“The Colonel’s been in a good mood all day,” Fury told them in a dramatic half-whisper that could probably be heard on the other side of the city. “He’s been humming and grinning for no reason since he came in. And hasn’t tried to put off his paperwork once!”
“And when Hawkeye brought him a double armful of forms to sign,” Farman interjected eagerly. “All he did was blow her a kiss and make space on the desk for them!”
“The Colonel’s off his rocker,” Breda nodded sagely, arms crossed in front of his chest. “I bet someone put something strange in the coffee this morning.”
“So you’ve said,” Farman noted, gesturing at the small pile of money on the table next to Breda’s name. “But don’t forget that you’re not the only one with an opinion.”
“I still think Hawkeye threatened him with something terrible,” Fury reminded, looking around fearfully as if he expected the blonde lieutenant to show up and do the same to them at any moment.
Havoc snorted and stretched leisurely in his chair. “He probably got laid last night.”
There was a sudden loud crash by the door and Ed started swearing and hopping around the room in pain, clutching the foot he’d just whacked against a large metal filing cabinet.
“Nii-san?” Al queried, moving solicitously towards his brother.
“S’okay Al,” Ed gritted out, still holding his foot with both hands. “I tripped, is all.”
“You alright there Edward-san?” Farman asked, but Ed waved him off.
“I’m good. But I think I’ll visit R- ah, Mustang later. Last thing I want is to get extra assignments because he’s actually feeling productive for once. Come on Al.”
“Don’t you want in on our bet?”
“That’s alright Breda-shouii,” Ed denied. “It’s not really fair when I’ve got insider’s information. Bye!”
“Nii-san!” Al gasped as Ed dragged him bodily out of the room, but they were both gone before anyone else could so much as blink.
A long moment of shocked silence descended on the room.
Fury was the first one to recover. “What kind of information do you think Edward-kun was talking about?” he asked. A horrified look crossed his face. “You don’t think he’s helping Hawkeye blackmail the Colonel, do you?”
“Nah. He probably saw the Colonel out on a date last night.”
“Bet he transmuted the coffee into something funny.”
“Five dollars says that…”
13. excessive chain
“Lieutenant, while I generally approve of your methods of dealing with difficulties among the staff, don’t you find this somewhat… excessive?”
“Unfortunately Taisa,” Hawkeye calmly finished securing the metal cuff around Edward’s wrist before rounding on Roy with her business face on. “I don’t find this excessive at all. The pair of you have been at each other’s throats for weeks. Your inability to be civil with each other is damaging not only to staff morale, but also to your respective reputations. And since you refuse to address the issue like adults, you’re both going to remain in this room until you can come to some sort of accord with each other.”
“Yeah, but did you have to tie us up?” Ed threw in, metal links clinking as he tugged on the chains that were keeping him hanging, spread-eagled, in the centre of the room.
“Unfortunately Edward-kun, this is the only way to guarantee that neither of you attempt to use alchemy to escape before I decide to let you out.”
“So we’re just expected to kiss and make up?” demanded Roy, his tone of voice clearly expressing how likely he thought that was. On Hawkeye’s other side, Ed gagged in agreement.
Tawny eyes were completely unsympathetic as Hawkeye checked Roy’s restraints one final time. “If you want to eat anytime soon, then yes, Taisa, you are. Now if you’ll excuse me, Taisa, Edward-kun.” The blonde woman saluted smartly and left, the sound of a key turning in the lock loud in the confined space.
Roy and Ed stared at each other.
“This is all your fault, Mustang.”
“I couldn’t agree less Fullmetal.”
14. radio-cassette player
‘…We interrupt this broadcast to bring you a live news bulletin. The Fullmetal Alchemist has been spotted in Reminesse, where he appears to be in alchemic combat with an unidentified man. The man is of average height and in his late forties. Our reporters are on hand to give you complete coverage.’
Roy put down his pen and stared at the radio-cassette player with a raised eyebrow. This was bound to be good.
‘This is Elena Murphy, reporting live from Reminesse. The battle seems to have calmed down for the moment and the Fullmetal Alchemist himself is heading in our direction. Let’s see if we can speak with him.’
‘Excuse me! Fullmetal Alchemist-san!’
‘Ano – it’s not me. Nii-san is going that way.’
‘Huh? Hey, wait! Fullmetal Alchemist-san!’
‘What? I’m kinda busy here.’
‘Elena Murphy, National Amestris Broadcasting Corporation. Could you give a few words about how it feels to be the ‘People’s Friend’ among the State Alchemists?’
‘Nope, not really. ‘Scuse me.’
‘Fullmetal Alchemist-san, please! The whole world is listening to you right now – surely you have something to say?’
‘Yeah – in about 10 seconds a madman with a really big chimera is going to come charging around the corner and blow us all to bits. So unless you want to kiss your radio career goodbye, you’d better start running!’
‘Oh, for… come on Al, let’s get these people out of here!’
‘Wait, what are you – hey, put me down!’
‘No can do lady. I’m the People’s Alchemist, remember? Letting you get yourself killed would be out of character.’
‘Shit, let’s go Al!’
‘BANG! THUD! THUD! THUD!’
‘… our apologies ladies and gentlemen, but we appear to have lost contact with Murphy-san. We’ll keep you updated as the situation in Reminesse changes.’
‘We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.’
Roy switched off the radio with a neat flick of his wrist, unable to curb the smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. Only Fullmetal…
15. perfect blue
Edward Elric has never been all that fond of the colour blue, but even he has to admit that the Amestris Army’s official dress uniform looks pretty sharp when it’s worn properly. Resplendent royal blue from top to bottom, with every bar and button gleaming against crisply pressed seams – it’s really no wonder women always go on about how kissable a man in uniform looks.
And damn Roy Mustang for being the perfect example, anyway.
“Sorry Nii-san,” Al apologized, trying without much success to secure the bandage around his fidgeting older brother’s shoulder. “But you really should try and be more careful. You’re not invincible, you know.”
“Hey, it’s not my fault that – ouch! – my moronic commanding officer keeps sending me into the line of fire.”
“I don’t think Mustang-taisa meant for you to get in an alchemy fight with the Kissing Alchemist Nii-san,” Al said reprovingly.
Ed scowled. “And who would’ve expected an alchemist with such a dumb name to be such a dirty fighter? Who picks these stupid – ow! That hurt Al!”
“Sorry Nii-san,” Al replied, not sounding sincere in the least. “Now please stop flailing so I can finish wrapping this bandage.”
“I am so gonna kick Mustang’s ass when I see him.”
17. kHz (kilohertz)
Ed’s expression was ominously calm as he strode into Roy’s office and locked the door behind him.
“Ah, Fullmetal,” Roy began, only the slightest flicker in dark eyes betraying his surprise at the visit. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”
Eerily calm, Ed marched across the room and slammed both his palms down on Roy’s desk. “A normal radio operates at a frequency wavelength of three to thirty megahertz,” he recited flatly. “That’s the equivalent of a cycle of 3000 to 30,000 kilohertz every time you tune into a signal.”
Roy blinked. “I see.”
“And did you know that telephones operate on a similar, though somewhat higher, radio band frequency?” Ed asked, warming to the subject. “Therefore, through the use of alchemy, a working radio and some basic logic, it’s possible to create a radio that can tune into telephone conversations within a certain radius.”
“Well, that’s an absolutely vital piece of useless information, Fullmetal. Remind me why you think I should care?”
“Because,” Ed hissed, suddenly leaning right in Roy’s face with an expression that could have flayed a man alive. “Next time you want to brag to the other officers about the ‘hot blonde’ you were making out with last night, you’d better as hell wait until I’m out of the city before you try and pass me off as a girl.”
Gloved hands thumped down heavily on Roy’s desk, making the surface wobble. “Mustang, I need to tell you something.”
Roy calmly finished signing his name at the bottom of the report he was working on. “I’ve told you before, Fullmetal. If you want more funding for your research stipends, you’ll have to talk to Myer in Finance.”
“It’s not about that!”
The table shook harder as Roy picked up the next form off the pile. Edward snatched the paper out of his hands and leaned in menacingly, his face practically in Roy’s own. Roy sighed and glanced into gold eyes disinterestedly. “What is it then?”
Ed’s face was deadly serious. “I’ve fallen desperately in love with you and I can’t hide it any longer!” Gloved hands flashed forward as he seized Roy’s face and closed the last few inches between them, sealing their mouths together in a fierce, awkward kiss.
Roy did not look even the slightest bit startled when Ed drew back several long moments later. “You must be Envy,” the dark eyed man observed conversationally, calmly smoothing his mussed hair. “Fullmetal’s told me about you.”
“Annn?” Ed purred, sunlit hair and golden skin shifting to midnight tresses and chalk-pale limbs as the homunculus perched neatly on the edge of Roy’s desk. “And how did you figure it out?” Envy asked, cocking his head to one side. He grinned mockingly. “Too blunt for the Fullmetal chibi?”
“Oh no,” Roy objected mildly, his smile all teeth. “Quite the opposite in fact. But you don’t kiss a thing like Ed does.”
Due to his… unusual condition, Alphonse Elric can no longer sense things the way ordinary people can. His hearing is tinny, his sense of touch is dulled to the point of being essentially non-existent, and it’s best not to mention taste or smell in his general vicinity if you don’t want to upset him.
Thanks to this, many of Alphonse’s more recent memories are tied up with his sense of sight which, if not quite normal anymore, is a good deal more accurate than the other four. Especially when it comes to colour. And over the years, it seems that more and more of his memories have something to do with the colour red.
He remembers waking up to blood and bile and innards splattering thickly across everything – smearing their laboriously drawn transmutation circle and spilling his brother’s life, drop by drop, across cold stone tiles.
He remembers fire, hot licking tongues of flame that burnish his new metal body to a sooty orange glow as their childhood home burns behind them.
He remembers the flare of the transmutation circles on Mustang-taisa’s gloves as their new commanding officer shows most of Central Station just how dangerously beautiful fire can be.
He remembers Nina’s red crayon drawings; childish, carefree celebrations of the wonders of the world she lives in.
He remembers Nina, or what’s left of her, nothing but a graceless smear on a dirty wall, the darkening rust of blood that’s been exposed to the air far too long to do anything about.
He remembers the pressed burgundy shirt Mustang-taisa wears when he arrives to take Ed out on what his brother vehemently denies is a date.
He remembers the single red rose that an unusually quiet Ed has with him when he returns later that night.
He remembers eyes the colour of blood, glaring at him with hate and pain and anger that has nothing to do with who he is and everything to do with what he has become, alchemist and abomination both.
He remembers stones as bright as rubies, red like the blood that was paid to make them and nearly as precious.
He remembers the colour Ed’s face turned the first time Mustang-taisa kissed him in the office.
He also remembers the fist-shaped mark that Ed left on his lover’s cheek in response.
He remembers Ed’s jacket, flaring like a banner in every town, village and hamlet in Amestris, inciting the minds of the people with enthusiasm for the People’s Alchemist like a dream for the future.
He remembers crimson lines, begun in hate and paid for in blood, etched on the travel-worn steel that masquerades as his body in the final repayment of their long, hard search.
He remembers blood, so much blood, seeping across the polished dance floor of a forgotten ballroom as Envy grins at him with a hatefully smug look and Ed’s eyes turn glassy and blank in the most horrible kind of endless sleep.
And then he remembers nothing.
20. the road home
The autumn air was crisp and chill as another day drew slowly to a close in the peaceful town of Rizenbul. The sun hung low in the cloudless sky, its molten glow turning the empty fields to burnished bronze and outlining the silhouettes of two figures standing alone together at the top of the empty road.
“We used to play over there,” the shorter of the two was saying, careless of the way the wind swirled his blond hair in rippling cascades across his shoulders. “The tall grass is always full of fireflies in the summer – we’d be out for hours chasing them. Then we’d show them all to Kaa-san before letting them go again.”
His dark haired companion made no comment, listening quietly as the blond man turned towards the nearby riverbank.
“And that spot over there was great for playing tag, ‘cept Winry always complained that it was harder to run in a skirt so we always ended up letting her win.” The half-smile on the youthful face became somewhat wry as he added, “Later, it was a good space to spar since it was so flat. Although once Al became… y’anno, it meant that I got thrown in the river a lot.”
Taking a few steps down the road, he threw a surprisingly unguarded look over his shoulder at his companion. “I’m sure you remember where the house was, but you never saw it when Kaa-san was alive. There were flowers blooming everywhere and Kaa-san would be out by the tree during the day, hanging laundry. When Al and me were coming home from the market, we could always see the white sheets blowing in the wind. And Kaa-san would be waving from the garden or busy in the kitchen, making lunch for her ‘hard working boys’.” His voice trailed off and he stood in silence for a moment, watching memories from a past that only he could see.
His companion came forward and put a hand on his shoulder. “It was a good home,” he offered, nothing more.
The blond sighed. “Yeah,” he agreed, but his tone was one of nostalgia more than regret. “It was.” He stood for several minutes more, drinking in the last few rays of sunlight. Then he sighed again and turned to face his companion.
The taller man cocked an eyebrow. “Ready to go?”
In answer, the blond man snagged the lapels of the other’s coat and tugged insistently. Responding easily to the silent urging, his companion leaned down to accept a kiss that was at once fierce and profoundly grateful, the epitome of his vibrant, challenging lover.
“Yeah,” Ed murmured softly, hand sliding down to entwine with Roy’s. They turned as one back the way they had come, leaving behind the sun and a thousand long ago memories. “Let’s go home.”
The rain fell in torrents, soaking the black, empty streets of East City. At one dark window a solitary figure stood watching the downpour, the frequent flashes of lightning reflecting off the rain-kissed glass and tracking the illusion of tears across solemnly dry cheeks.
“You ought to try and get some sleep,” a voice suggested from the shadows. “Alphonse went to bed hours ago.”
The boy in the dark chuckled hollowly. “You know as well as I do that Al doesn’t really need to sleep, Taisa.”
“Perhaps,” Roy agreed, moving silently forward until his face appeared ghostlike in the glass above the speaker’s own. “But I’d wager he finds it comforting to do something ‘normal.’ You however, could probably do with the rest, Edward.”
Ed shrugged noncommittally, still staring at the rain.
With a small shrug, Roy shifted to sit in a nearby chair, joining Ed in watching the swirling storm.
“For me it’s the desert,” he admitted after a moment.
Edward blinked at him, nonplussed, and Roy shrugged ruefully. “The regrets in my life? It’s the desert that makes me think of them. Never the rain.” He leaned back in his chair, dark eyes far away. “Most of the damage had already been done long before I ever saw the rain again.”
“…if you’re trying to make me feel better Mustang, you’re wasting your time.”
“I can’t do anything about your demons, Fullmetal. I’m just making conversation.”
Ed snorted. “Bullshit.” He was silent for several long moments, Roy a voiceless presence at his side.
“There’s always so much violence around me,” Ed blurted out suddenly, the words spoken in a rush as though he wouldn’t get them out otherwise. “So many people I couldn’t save, so many lives that keep slipping through my fingers.” His hands clenched at his sides, an angry, futile gesture. “The rain always seems to bring those memories back.”
“And that’s the difference between you and me,” Roy observed. “The only deserts I see are in my mind, but it always rains in East City.” He shook his head, rueful respect in his voice. “You always were one for facing your demons head-on. Come on Edward,” he added, gaining his feet as Ed stared at him. “It’s time for bed. Things will seem drier in the morning.”
“Hmph. I’m not going to thank you, you bastard.”
Roy’s smile was suspiciously tolerant as he steered Ed by the shoulders out of the room. “I wouldn’t dream of it, Edward.”
“Who’s the most beautiful little girl in the world, huh? Gitchy gitchy goo!”
“Maes,” Roy sighed, rolling his eyes at the sight of his best friend practically lying in Elicia’s cradle as he showered noisy kisses on the giggling infant. “Was there any particular reason you called me here to witness your puerile behavior? I have a date to get ready for.”
“You know Roy, you really ought to think about settling down and starting a family of your own. Then you’d understand how much I love my Elicia-chan! Isn’t that right sweetheart? Gitchy gitchy!”
The air around Roy crackled warningly. “Maes…”
“Oh, lighten up Roy,” Hughes admonished, but he was straightening even as he spoke. “I called because the Elrics have finished their mission and should be back on the ten o’clock train tonight.” Dark eyes were unusually serious as he added, “It seems like Edward may have overdone it this time.”
“Doesn’t he always?” Roy wanted to know, waving a dismissive hand when Hughes frowned at him. “Don’t worry, I’ll deal with it.” He glanced at his watch and frowned. “The ten o’clock train, you said?”
“Yes,” Hughes answered, trying very hard not to grin as Roy turned and swept dramatically towards the door. “What about your date?” he called solicitously.
An elegant shrug was his only reply. “I’ll expect you in my office tomorrow morning with a full account of what he’s done this time,” Roy declared, his tone all business and not fooling Hughes one bit. “Goodnight Maes, Elicia-chan.”
Only when the door had shut behind his friend did Hughes shake his head with a fond smile. “Goodnight Roy. Take good care of them.”
Roy tasted sweet, like the strawberry ice cream he’d been eating. Ed grinned into the kiss, his tongue sweeping leisurely through Roy’s mouth. With a thoroughness most would think he didn’t have the patience for, Ed methodically lingered over every trace of strawberry until all that remained was the lingering chill of the frozen treat and a far more intoxicating flavor that was unique to Roy alone.
Ending the kiss as unhurriedly as he’d begun it, Ed had to smirk at the smugly expectant expression on Roy’s face as he pulled back.
“Well?” his lover inquired.
“Not bad,” Ed admitted blandly, taking a deliberately nonchalant lick of his own ice cream cone. “But I still like chocolate better.”
24. good night
“I should go,” Ed said eventually, though his limbs seemed loathe to co-operate. “Al will be missing me.”
“Alphonse knows where you are,” Roy countered smoothly, making no attempt to assist Ed’s retreat. “And, knowing you, I sincerely doubt he’s in the dark as to what goes on when you come here.”
“Well no,” Ed admitted, his flesh hand carding absently through Roy’s tousled hair. “But I shouldn’t, I don’t want to…”
“Get used to this?”
Ed nodded and Roy smoothed one hand along his warm flank.
“The Fullmetal I know isn’t afraid of being serious about anything.” Roy’s eyes were midnight deep in the quiet bedroom. “This only needs to change what you want it to change. Even you don’t need to fight all the time.”
Blond hair fell like a curtain around Ed’s face and Roy brushed it aside with a hand that would have been considered gentle in anyone else.
Roy pressed a chaste kiss to his lover’s lips. “Ed,” he murmured, breath gusting warmly across Ed’s face and making him shiver. “Come to bed.”
Ed resisted for a moment longer, then settled back against Roy’s chest with poorly affected reluctance. “Fine,” he humped. “But you know, I wouldn’t need to fight all the time if a certain Colonel didn’t keep sending me all over the known world to further his own ends.”
Roy’s chuckle echoed in the dark as well-muscled arms slipped easily around Ed’s torso. “You know you’d get bored without the opportunity to destroy public property on a regular basis.”
Ed whacked him and Roy grinned, settling them both more comfortably. “Good night Edward.”
“…good night, Roy.”
Ed darted soundlessly through the shadow-splashed garden, little more than a flicker in the heavy dark. No alarm rang out from the building, no watchful eyes spied on him from darkened windows and he grinned, fiercely exultant.
The wind whipped through his hair and tugged on his coat as he ran, its cold, twisting fingers no more able to hold him than the alarms and locks and warnings had managed. Right now he felt he could take on anything – scale a mountain, kiss a cloud, make a hundred philosopher’s stones and still have enough energy to race the entire Amestris army to Rizenbul and back again.
And Roy Mustang said he had no ambition.
A flash of metal in the darkness ahead marked the final obstacle to his escape, and Ed allowed himself a silent laugh as he picked up his pace.
The fence was high but not too high – spiked metal above solidly built stone – perfectly in keeping with the neat, modest little house behind him. Ed clambered over it like a squirrel, quick and smooth and silent. He could have transmuted a hole right through it just as easily, but the last thing he wanted was to let the house’s occupant know he’d been there. Not when he’d been so careful to avoid it up until now.
Teetering precariously on top of the fence, Ed paused a moment to stick out his tongue at the quiet house behind him. Then he was slithering neatly to the ground on the other side, the shadows swallowing him as he took off down the well-kept little street conveniently close to East City’s main military base. He doubted it would be quite so peaceful when a certain Colonel found his ‘present’ in the morning.
Ed laughed quietly to himself. Mustang wouldn’t know what hit him.
26. if only I could make you mine
You’re used to knowing what you want.
You’re a man of strength, pride, determination. The goals and dreams that keep you going are ones that you’ve held close for years, far longer than anyone would suspect thanks to your carefully cultivated reputation. You’ve sworn to achieve them or die trying and you really mean it. So no, knowing what you want isn’t the problem.
The problem is that you want him.
Not that you haven’t already had him in any number of ways over the years. You’ve seen his ferocity, his unyielding determination in the face of nigh insurmountable obstacles. You’ve felt his devotion to his brother, realized the way it gives his life direction but can also be used to control him. You’ve marveled at his intellect, suffered the brunt of his volatile temper, and had the pleasure of watching him grow from a crippled child into a breathtaking, fiery young man, completely oblivious to the allure in his expressive golden eyes.
You’ve tasted his kisses, felt the heady ambrosia of knowing that you’ve been the first and only person to touch this golden man-child and make him gasp in helpless pleasure. You’ve explored every inch of him – flesh and metal both – and had your every teasing touch turned back on you in the most exquisite kind of torture. You’ve laughed with him, fought with him, slept with him, suffered with him and shared hopeless dreams with him and no one, perhaps not even his brother, could be considered as knowing him better than you do.
But, despite it all, he’s not really yours.
And you can appreciate that, really you can. You didn’t get where you are now by being impractical and you know there’s going to come a time, probably not too far in the future, when he’s going to chose his quest over you and you’re going to lose him. And that hurts, even though you’ve known it all along because, somewhere along the way, you started wishing you could make him yours and all dreams and goals and visions be damned.
And that thought scares you because it means that you’re already his and he doesn’t even know it.
Edward Elric is an incredibly powerful alchemist. Roy Mustang would never deny this to anyone – except perhaps for the individual in question. There’s more to it than just Ed’s ability to perform alchemy without a transmutation circle, however. It’s his fierce desire to achieve, to make things right, that makes Edward so frighteningly strong.
Roy stood too close to Ed once while the younger man was performing alchemy and the overflow of power that washed over him was warm as a caress, intimate as a lover’s kiss. Because not only is Ed so strong that his backlash can affect someone over 20 feet away, but his strength has always been built on love and hope and a fierce whirlwind of emotions that push him far beyond the limits of what anyone else would ever dare try for fear of what they might lose in the process.
And that worries Roy, because he knows there’s only so much loss a person can take before all that love becomes the worst weakness of all.
28. Wada Calcium CD3
Ed stared hard at the innocuous bottle on the table, his expression dangerously close to mutinous. “What are those?”
“Edward,” Roy shook his head reprovingly. “And here I thought you were intelligent.” Ed bristled warningly and Roy turned the bottle around to show him the label. “They’re calcium supplements, Ed. To help make up for all the milk you don’t drink.”
“You don’t say,” Ed growled, his tone practically daring Roy to continue.
Which, of course, he did.
“I doubt they’ll help much since it seems like you’re going to be a midget forever, but it never hurts to try, right?”
Ed exploded, and Roy sat back to enjoy the fireworks. Edward in a towering snit really was terribly entertaining to watch. He supposed some might prefer a cup of coffee or a lover’s kiss to begin their morning but, for Roy Mustang, there was nothing quite like a good argument to start the day off right.
29. the sound of waves
“The sea!” Al exclaimed, eyes wide with delight as they crested the low hill and saw what was beyond. “Niisan, look!”
“I am looking,” Ed smiled, suitcase cocked over one shoulder as he followed his younger brother across the rocky beach towards the glittering water. “We never really saw the ocean in Amestris, did we?”
“Well we did, but usually from the window of a train.” Al stopped right at the edge of the water, closing his eyes and breathing in deeply. Ed joined him, the waves lapping at the hems of their trousers and hissing against the rocks as they rolled back and forth with the tide.
Al breathed a contented sigh and canted his head towards Ed with a nostalgic grin. “Doesn’t the sound of the waves remind you of the rain in East City?”
Ed listened to the rippling waves and thought of rain, sheeting down in torrents and shattering across the cobbled streets of East City, filling the endless night with the music of a thousand tears. He remembered the feel of rough gloves pulling him close to a rain-slicked body, his own hands threading hungrily in the dark, wet mass of tousled hair plastered to his lover’s neck while rain trickled down his wrists and vanished beneath the clinging sleeves of his soaking coat.
Amidst the phantom chill of a long ago rain storm, the memory of a warm mouth slanting hungrily over his own lit a fire in the pit of Ed’s stomach, the flushing heat curling through him in a heady mix of fierce passion that was as wild and consuming as the storm that pounded down around them with a noise like the roar of the ocean.
Ed banished the memory with a sharp shake of his head and opened his eyes to his brother’s expectant gaze. “Yeah I guess,” he answered nonchalantly. “Maybe a little.”
“So,” Ed said eventually. “I guess this is it.”
Roy nodded, his still figure almost a silhouette against the evening sky. He cocked his head mildly to one side. “Is this what you’ve been waiting for, Fullmetal?”
Ed’s answering grin was absent of bravado, the faintest touch of despair shadowing the normally sharp expression. “I sure as hell hope so. I’m not keen on going through all this shit again.”
“That I can understand.”
There was silence for a long moment, each of them watching the other’s face as though it contained the secrets of the world. The sun continued to sink below the horizon, bathing the road in its sooty orange glow and sending all the buttons on Roy’s uniform to gleaming.
“You need to get going,” Roy said finally, squaring his shoulders as if against some arduous task. “Al’s waiting for you.”
“Yeah,” Ed agreed, though he made no move to go. His eyes remained fixed on Roy’s face. “You’re going to have it out with Fuhrer, aren’t you?”
Roy nodded shortly and something like worry creased across Ed’s brow.
“If he really is a homunculus,” Ed said, “You’re gonna have one hell of a fight on your hands.”
“Duly noted Fullmetal.” A fleeting, almost wistful smile. “I appreciate your concern.”
“Just don’t want to listen to you whining when you hurt yourself, old man,” Ed shot back, though the barb was distracted at best. Another bout of tense, heavy silence followed.
Ed took a deep breath. “I really have to go.”
Dark eyes were grave and understanding. “Yes. You do.”
“Fuck,” Ed said succinctly and then he was moving, flinging himself into the arms that Roy had opened to him in the same moment.
Their mouths met in a desperate kiss, one last reminder of all that had been and might never again. Ed whimpered and opened himself up to the urgent sweep of Roy’s tongue, fingers of flesh and automail alike twining through the thick mass of Roy’s hair. Gloved hands pulled Ed closer, fisting almost violently in the back of Ed’s shirt.
They stayed like that for several long minutes, soaking up the last rays of the sun and the comfort of each other’s presence with the weight of the future looming at their backs.
It was Roy who finally drew back, fingers sliding a lingering caress over Ed’s sides as they went. The look he directed at Ed would have been called tender on anyone else. “Be careful, Edward.”
Golden eyes were sad but resolute as Ed looked up at him. “I’ll try, Roy,” he answered, as much of a promise as he could give. “But if – if things don’t work out…”
“I’ll make sure Alphonse is taken care of,” Roy answered without hesitation.
“As long as Pride doesn’t rip your spine out before the day’s out,” Ed pointed out, almost an accusation.
“There is that possibility,” Roy remarked calmly. “Though I’ll do my best to avoid it.”
Ed scowled. “Bastard.” He fisted a hand in the front of Roy’s coat and tugged, glaring into dark eyes. “Don’t you dare die on me, Mustang,” he warned, a thousand unsaid things lurking in his voice.
“That goes for you as well, Fullmetal,” Roy responded, in exactly the same tone.
A deep, shaky breath and Ed released Roy’s coat, stepping back with a grin that could almost have passed for arch. “Hey,” he declared. “I’m the Fullmetal Alchemist, you bastard. You won’t get rid of me that easily.”
“Good,” Roy murmured. Ed pressed another quick kiss to smiling lips and then he was gone, braid thumping across his shoulder blades as he raced down the street, throwing himself at his fate with his head held high.
Roy watched him for a long moment, cold now that the sun had set. He shuddered, once, then turned and climbed wordlessly into the car. A nod to Hawkeye, steadfast and calm in the driver’s seat, and the engire purred to life, the car rolling into motion while Roy very deliberately turned his thoughts to the task at hand.
He had a job to do. And he’d be damned if he was going to give Edward Elric the satisfaction of outliving him now.