Fullmetal Alchemist Fan Fiction ❯ Underneath it All ❯ Tunnel Vision ( Chapter 8 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Chapter 08: Tunnel Vision
When the two men got settled in the kitchen, Gracia filled them in on what had caused the eldest Elric to return from Resembool so quickly. To say Roy and Maes were stunned would have been an understatement. After the men had a moment to gather their thoughts, Roy stood to leave.
“Well. It's been an eventful night. I think we've all been kept awake for long enough, so I'll head home. Good night Maes, Gracia.”
“For God's sake Roy, it's after three in the morning. Just crash here for the night.” Maes remarked exasperatedly.
Roy looked over at Gracia. “Oh, it's not a problem at all, Roy. I have plenty of extra pillows and blankets in the house. Elysia's gone too, so we can all sleep in and then have a nice big brunch. It'll be like old times.” She said warmly.
Roy nodded gratefully, and Gracia went to retrieve the pillows and blankets. Soon Roy was settled down on the couch. Sleep claimed him swiftly.
* * *--
When Roy woke the next morning, the house was silent save for the sound of cabinets opening and closing softly in someone's apparent effort not to make too much noise. Simply assuming that it was Gracia, Roy looked at his watch, noted it was close to eleven and made his way into the kitchen. He was taken aback to find Ed in there, systemically cracking eggs into a bowl.
“Good morning, Edward.”
Startled out of his thoughts, Ed dropped the egg in his hand. A wet, slimy sound quickly followed, breaking the momentary silence as it cracked apart on the kitchen counter.
“Fuck, Roy! You scared the piss out of me!”
“Sorry about that. If you give me a minute to wash up though, I'll lend you a hand with brunch.”
Ed sighed, gave a slight nod and proceeded to clean the egg off the counter.
When Roy came back after cleaning up, the two worked in what could almost be called a state of oppressive silence until Roy could stand it no longer.
“I was surprised to see you here. I thought you had already left for Resembool.”
“I had, and now I'm back.” Ed curtly replied.
Inwardly Roy flinched at the bite in Ed's tone. “You want to talk about it?”
Ed fell silent as he began to methodically place the bacon in the heated pan. In truth, Ed did want to talk but the many conflicting thoughts and emotions prevented him from finding a place to begin. He was confused at Winry's reaction. Sure, he knew what had upset her but he couldn't wrap his brain around how she had come to those conclusions. He was also a bit annoyed at how Al had made it clear that even if Winry had made her feelings obvious he still would have been blind to it. These things weighed heavily on his mind, but above all, he was angry with himself for being the reason Winry was hurt so much that she couldn't even face him. Logically he knew he had no control over others' feelings and reactions; that did little to make him feel any better about the situation in reality.
Ed glanced up at Roy. What he saw in the man's eyes was not what he had expected. He had expected pity, but what greeted him in those dark eyes was compassion; for once Ed was more than willing to take that offered empathy. Even if he never gave the need voice, that didn't change the fact that he really needed some commiseration at the moment. Ed wanted nothing more than for all of the madness of the past day to disappear.
* * *--
Roy could all but hear the distress echoing in every stiff movement Edward made. Roy was a man that was more than familiar with what Ed was doing. The young alchemist was trying his level best to forget the memories-and his worries-in something familiar. Too many times Roy had tried the same thing and the outcome had never been anything close to what he desired. As he watched Ed move about the kitchen, he thought about how many late nights he'd spent in the office working or staring down the neck of a nearly empty bottle. When he thought about times like that, he thanked his lucky stars for some of the people in his life.
When left to his own devices in the wake of a personal disaster, Roy in his younger days could spiral out of control and into depression faster than even he would like to admit to himself. As he stood there watching Ed looking around for yet another mindless task to perform he exhaled, stepped closer to the disheveled self-designated chef and placed a hand on his shoulder.
When Ed's head whipped around and their eyes met, he could see all the anger, frustration and confusion trapped in those golden orbs. Yes, it was now clear that the incident with Miss Rockbell had rocked something in Edward's world, and it was eating at him with a vengeance.
At first, it looked as if Ed was going to remain silent; but soon enough his posture relaxed under Roy's hand and once Ed started talking he continued to do so until he had let go of everything.
Roy offered him what words of comfort he could but before Ed could respond to any of it, Maes and Gracia swept into the kitchen.
“My, it smells good in here!” Gracia chimed in an approving tone.
“It's nothing more than your lessons in action.” Ed replied as his voice took on a lighter quality for the first time that morning.
“I think biscuits would be a great addition to all of this, don't you honey?” Gracia said as she got up and started pulling out the flour and other ingredients necessary for the task.
“I am good with whatever you decide, my love.” Maes answered her as he propped his feet up on the edge of the table and started reading the newspaper.
“Aren't you even going to offer to help, Maes?” Gracia chided with a mock scowl on her face.
“This is my castle and I'm content to sit around like the king I am.” After hearing that, Gracia promptly thumped her husband on the head with a dishtowel, an action that elicited laughter from the two alchemists turned chefs.
“Why don't you both have a seat, Gracia?” Roy said as he took the towel and mixing bowl out of her hands, “Biscuits are actually one of the few things I'm damn good at making.”
“Go ahead, have a seat Gracia, we have this under control.”
“No `but's,” Roy cut in, “we've got it.”
“Well I, for one, am not going to argue.” Maes remarked in a cheerful tone.
“Oh, you hate to cook anyway,” Gracia said as she eyed her husband, “Besides, you can barely manage to pour cereal.”
Once the laughter died down, Gracia and Maes settled into their chairs while Ed and Roy started to work on the food again.
* * *--
The office brunch last fall had been the last time Roy had bothered to make biscuits. There was really no point in making them for a breakfast of one. The few people whom he had the pleasure- or disaster- of sharing breakfast with usually wanted to be taken out and had practically no interest in a home-cooked meal or a serious conversation. Unfortunately for the General, most of the people that took interest in him saw his rank first, his looks second and normally, it went no further. It was almost as if they wished for him to desire nothing more than some live trophy to show off on his arm at public functions.
Roy was so wrapped up in his musing and bread-making that he didn't pay attention to where he was flinging the excess flour and dough off his hands, and eventually a wayward clump smacked Edward right in the nose. Seeing that the older alchemist was engrossed in his task still, Ed grabbed the dough ball and flung it back at Roy, hitting him on the cheek with it. Startled out of his bread making, Roy looked over at Ed. He noticed the blond trying extremely hard to appear innocent.
Roy was not convinced.
He cut out a few more biscuits, grabbed some excess dough, dipped it in flour and let it fly. It nailed Ed square in the chest. Undaunted, Ed continued what he was doing until he felt that Mustang had his guard down. It one swift motion Ed grabbed a handful of flour and tossed it in Roy's direction. A gasp was heard from the General shortly before an entire wet biscuit landed on Ed's head.
A flour-covered face looked over into a pair of golden eyes and it was officially on. Flour was flung, dough was hurled and when the dust settled both alchemists looked like human pastries; regardless they were laughing so hard they couldn't breathe.
“Wow. That absolutely had to be the funniest thing I've seen you do in the last five years, Roy.” Maes said while trying his absolute best not to chuckle at the pair.
Both Ed and Roy snapped to attention and they looked over at the couple, who sat forgotten by the pair of alchemists, at the table.
“I hope one of you knows some alchemy good for cleaning up messes, because you two certainly made one.” Gracia said while shaking her head in a show of mock exasperation.
Roy looked around and sure enough the kitchen was looking a…little worse for wear. “Ah…sorry, Gracia. I guess we kind of forgot where we were for a moment there.”
“No harm done, Roy. It was all in good fun.” She said with an amused smile. “Now let's see one of those fancy light shows you guys like to put on. I never studied alchemy myself but I've always liked to see it in action.”
Roy looked at Ed expectantly. The shorter man rolled his eyes. “You never did learn any day- to-day alchemy, did you?”
“As a matter of fact, I know plenty.”
“Just not any for kitchen cleaning.”
Ed snorted, clapped his hands and placed both palms on the floor. Everyone watched in fascination as blue energy danced all around and the floor vibrated almost imperceptibly until the flour and debris was all neatly piled in the center. Another clap and the counters were clean as well. Roy gathered the dustpan, swept up the piles and dumped them in the garbage. But when he passed by Ed he saw a minute blue spark of alchemical energy crackle up the blond's arm. His eyes met Ed's and everything in Ed's expression warned, not now. Taking the hint Roy continued across the room to put away the dustpan.
“Now if only that would work for the two of you,” Gracia pondered as she took in the disheveled mess Ed and Roy were in. “both of you are rather dusty.”
“I could fix that too, but I think it would make a mess of the kitchen again, which I would have to clean for the second time.” Ed mused out loud.
Maes waved a hand and said, “You two just head on up to the bathroom. I've got plenty of clothes I'm sure you can alter to fit. Besides, nothing short of soap and water will get the dough off your faces.”
Both Ed and Roy flushed at this bit of knowledge, an action that put a grin on Maes' face. A split second later, a flash lit up the room. When the victims turned to look at the mad photographer the flash went off again.
“You really didn't think I was gonna let an opportunity this golden slip by, now did you?” Maes asked as he waved his camera around. “One can never have enough blackmail.”
Roy growled as he slowly stalked towards his so-called best friend. Maes leisurely stood up … then without warning, he bolted from the kitchen with Roy hot on his heels and Ed not far behind.
Maes nimbly navigated through his living room and hopped over a rug and onto the platform at the base of the stairs. Roy unfortunately slipped on the rug, which in turn caused Ed to crash into him. They ended up in a heap of arms and legs at the base of the stairs.
Again, the camera flashed and Maes took off up the steps to hide his prized possession with the images stored within. Roy was slumped over and frustrated, but Ed was laughing his head off. Gracia came up to them and asked the two if they were all right. Roy simply grumbled and Ed's response was to say, “I don't think anything's hurt here except for twinkle toes' pride,” as he pointed a thumb over at Roy.
Roy just glared at Edward, which caused Gracia to join Ed in his fit of laughter. When things calmed down, she chased them off upstairs to get clean while she returned to the kitchen to put any remaining edible biscuits in the oven.
* * *--
Once brunch was over Maes disappeared upstairs, leaving Roy, Ed and Gracia to chat away in the living room. A little more than an hour later Maes reappeared to ask if anyone wanted coffee. After the unanimous “yes”, he headed into the kitchen with his wife following behind him.
Once the kitchen door swung shut behind Gracia, Maes gave a soft chuckle.
“I think you were right, Maes.” Gracia said softly as she leaned on the counter and watched her husband prepare the coffee.
“So you noticed it as well.”
“How could I not?” she asked quietly, “They completely forgot we were even there during their little food fight.”
“It's like that a lot between them. I so wish you could have seen them at Fidel's that night. I don't think I've ever seen something that overtly sexual done while standing!”
“Maes!” Gracia nearly shouted as her face flushed scarlet at her husband's blunt approach.
“Well hey, it was true Gracia.” He said as he turned the percolator on.
“They do seem to work well together… and that was the most human thing I've seen Roy do in a long time.”
“I know, I think they would be good for each other.” Maes said as he began pulling coffee cups out of the cupboard.
“But what about Ed's relationship with Jean?”
“I'm hoping to get Roy to make a move on Ed before they actually make a commitment…but if that doesn't happen I guess I'll just have to wait for Jean to work his magic so Ed will be free again.”
“That's a terribly rude thing to say, Maes.” Gracia said as her brow crinkled at her husband's unusual bout of crassness. She was clueless as to why her husband was so set against Ed's relationship with Jean. So again, she asked him what his problem was.
His eyebrows knitted together and thought carefully before he said, “I really can't explain it in words. It's just this uneasy feeling I get when I'm around him sometimes. It's like my instincts are trying to tell me something.”
“So you're condemning the man just because of some… weird gut feeling?”
“It's not like I'm sending him off to be executed Love, I just don't want him romantically involved with our son.”
Gracia let out an exasperated breath. “I don't exactly agree with you on this Maes, are you sure this feeling isn't the least bit influenced by the fact that your best friend has a thing for Ed?”
“Absolutely positive. I've had this feeling for a while now, long before there was anything between them.”
“I think you've worked in investigations too long Honey, it's making you distrustful and paranoid.”
“That may well be the case, Love, but on more than one occasion my instinct has saved my life.”
Gracia couldn't disagree with that; she just wished her husband had more to tell her than that he had an uneasy feeling. In her opinion Jean was a nice man, and for the time being he seemed to be making Ed happy. She had to admit, though, on the few occasions she's had them over they didn't seem to have the same type of connection that she's seen between Ed and Roy. But this was Ed's life and she really didn't want to interfere.
Not that it would stop her husband.
“What had you tied up earlier?”
“Oh, just had to call in a favor from an old friend.” He said innocently as he poured the coffee.
Gracia glared at her husband as she arranged the cream and sugar on the serving tray.
When they entered the living room, Maes wasted no time putting whatever scheme he had in action. “Well Ed, what do you plan on doing with the rest of your vacation time?”
“I was just telling Roy how I'd probably go on a little road trip.”
“Really,” Maes said as he passed each one of them a cup, “Roy loves road trips. We used to do that all the time, he should go with you.”
Roy looked at his friend as if he'd grown a second head. Dark, narrowed eyes peered over the coffee cup. If looks could kill, Maes would have been in dire straits.
“I would, but I haven't put in any paperwork for any time off.”
“Funny you should mention that,” Maes started as he settled back against the couch with his own heavily creamed cup of coffee, “I spoke with Riza earlier today and she said there would be no problem with you doing so since you have so much time accumulated anyhow.”
Roy again narrowed his eyes at Maes but the man simply smirked around the rim of his cup. “In fact, she had it all worked out and approved in an hour's time.”
Ed could sense there was something going on that he wasn't quite aware of yet, but he was more focused on having company on his little journey. Not wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth, he elbowed Roy and said, “Well how about it old man? You up for a little adventure?”
Roy was torn. Yes, more than anything he would love to spend that much time with Ed all to himself- but at the same time that was exactly what he feared. What the hell was Maes playing at, throwing him into this? Roy knew for a fact that Maes was well aware of most of what Roy was going through concerning the blond sitting beside from him. Why was he doing this?
Roy glanced at those expectant golden eyes and he couldn't say no. Ed's vacation had gotten off to such a shitty start Roy couldn't bear the thought of adding to that disappointment- even if it meant it would be his own undoing. It was then that Riza's words floated through his mind. …he's so precious to you that you would be willing to be without him rather than take the risk of you possibly hurting him yourself.
“Sure, Ed. I'm game.”
Ed's face lit up when he heard Roy's response. “Well then, let's finish our coffee and get a move on. If we leave at four we can be in East Grinstead right after sundown!”
* * *--
The two alchemists made haste to pack and were indeed on the road a little after four. They had decided to take Roy's car, just in case Alphonse returned to Central early and needed the one the brothers shared. They had spent most of the time in the car singing and joking, but the little alchemical incident in Maes' kitchen wouldn't leave Roy alone. He wanted to know what was up and the suspense was killing him.
“All right Ed, I kept my mouth shut around mom and dad, but now I want the truth and I want all of it.”
“Don't play innocent with me. I want to know exactly how you were still holding onto alchemical energy even after your transmutation was done.”
Ed swore under his breath. He then sighed, folded his arms across his chest and slumped down into his seat. He had managed to keep this little issue from everyone, even Al, and Ed now wondered how he had managed to slip up in front of Roy Mustang of all people. It wasn't like that was anything bad, necessarily; it was just new. Yeah, it was just new, and… different.
When Ed repeated this to Roy, the older alchemist simply arched his eyebrow at him. “Remember who you're talking to Ed, let's try this again.”
With resigned tone, Ed told him how it all started about two years ago. Edward almost didn't get past that point at all, because Roy went on a small tirade about him keeping something like this to himself for that long. Once Roy calmed down Ed went on to tell him about the first time he noticed this new thing. He had clapped his hands to perform a simple transmutation while remodeling the basement of the house; and after he finished the job he felt the rush of alchemical energy still coursing through him. He said he had tried to just ignore it, but after it didn't disperse after a number of minutes he tried to do another transmutation without clapping.
“And…?” Roy eagerly inquired, perched on the edge of his seat.
“It worked.” Ed responded matter-of-factly.
Roy looked at his companion, completely awestruck; but he remained silent for it was obvious that Edward had more to say.
Ed said that the reaction was weak, and the transmutation took much more concentration. But it worked. It was something that now happened almost every time Ed clapped his hands. The younger alchemist completely astonished Roy when he said, “Sometimes I don't even have to clap.”
Roy almost ran off the road at this piece of information. Rather than to risk injury Roy pulled off the road, stopped the car and turned to face Ed. “You mean to tell me that you now have the ability to just…just perform transmutations at will like that? Ed, this is… this is huge!”
“Yeah, and scary as fuck too, Mustang. Let's just drop it.”
“But, are you sure? I mean, are you sure that other parts of your body aren't somehow making the circle instead of your hands?”
Ed leered at him. To prove his point Ed sat perfectly still, and in moments his hands and arms were glowing with the crackling trails of alchemical energy. Roy stared at him partially in wonder and partially in fear. He wasn't afraid of Ed, but of the numerous unknown things, this phenomenon could mean. After Ed managed to dissipate the free alchemical energy, an uncomfortable silence fell over them.
“Oh for fuck's sake Roy, say something!” Ed shouted, and Roy couldn't help but smile. It had been ages since he had riled the other alchemist up like that. On some level, he missed their little verbal sparring matches. Roy caught his musings in time and responded to Edward's outburst.
“… What do you think caused this, Ed?”
“Hell, my only guess so far would be my repeated exposures to the Gate. Not many people survive seeing the Gate even once, and for me to have done it multiple times… I mean the first time alone gave me the ability to just clap and transmute, along with more knowledge than a single person should have.” Ed let out a sigh. “I should have guessed all along that every other time I saw the Gate would alter me in some way as well.”
“But that, it's amazing!”
“Well, I'm glad you think so, all I can see out of it is the fact that I'm a bigger freak now than I was to begin with.”
“Why would you even think that? You're not a freak, Edward.” Roy said, becoming apprehensive at the tone in the younger man's voice.
“Whatever…” Ed mumbled. “Can we please get back on the road now?”
“Sure,” Roy said as he maneuvered the Roadster back in the driving lane, “can I ask you two more questions before we drop the subject, though?”
“Why not… go ahead.”
“How does it make you feel to do that? Is it very difficult?”
“It makes me feel like I do when performing any other alchemical reaction, and as far as difficulty goes, it's very hard to do. I have to be well rested and focused to gather up as much energy as I just did. But on the flip side, when I perform alchemy my usual way, by clapping, it's quite easy for the energy to linger.”
Roy nodded and proceeded to change the subject to their little food fight earlier. Subsequently, the atmosphere lifted and things were back to normal. As they approached East Grinstead Roy asked Ed what his goals were on this little journey. Ed's response was that his goals were to shop in Grinstead, then move on to B'Lina to look up Levi and back down to Hayden to see Preston and Aggie.
Roy figured they had enough time to spend a couple of days in each spot, and so the plan appealed to him.
“Anywhere you want to go?” Ed asked.
Anywhere with you is fine, Roy thought. He quickly erased the thought from his head and simply shook his head no. When they reached East Grinstead there happened to be an inventor's convention of some sort going on and rooms were scarce. Roy and Ed actually ended up sharing suite five at Lou's Inn-the only vacant room that was even remotely close to town. Neither of them really thought much of it when they dropped their things off to go grab a bite to eat, but when they returned in some time to call it a day, the solitary bed loomed before them, creating a rather awkward moment.
Not really trusting himself to do anything else, Roy told Ed he would sleep in the armchair in the room. Ed's face scrunched up, which made him appear half his age, “I really don't see any reason we can't just share the bed…it's not like either of us has fleas or something like that.”
Roy smiled at Ed's words even as he thought about all the reasons why he shouldn't be that close to Ed for an extended period of time. Roy prided himself in his self-control, but the sleeping arrangement would probably be more than even his willpower could stand.
“It'll be fine, besides I don't bite unless provoked so you should be safe.” Ed added jokingly.
Roy rolled his eyes at his blond companion before he gathered his toiletry bag, pajamas and headed in the bathroom to change. Once he shut the bathroom door, Roy Mustang's mind flew in several different directions. The more he thought about “it” the more nervous he became. By the time he got around to brushing his teeth, his hands were shaking like a leaf in the wind. He couldn't believe how his body and mind were reacting to this situation; Roy was far from a blushing virgin, but he sure as hell felt like one at times in Edward's presence. Just the simple thought of sharing a bed with Edward was enough to make his heart race and his palms sweat; all of this led to Roy taking his sweet time going through his nightly routine.
* * *--
Ed was busy using the time Roy was taking in the bathroom to unpack; he only pulled a few things out of his bags since they were only going to be staying in this place a couple of nights. Once he was done with that, he went over to the small desk in the corner and picked up a flyer that had the details of the inventor's convention on it. It gave a brief description of what types of inventions would be on display in each section of town. Interested in seeing most of the inventions at the convention, Ed figured he would ask Roy how he felt about touring the convention tomorrow. Ed placed the brochure back on the desk and turned toward the bathroom. The General was certainly taking his time in there. Not that Edward had anything pressing to handle, he just never pegged his commanding officer as the type to primp before bed.
He shrugged his shoulders at the thought, sat down in the armchair and started taking off his boots. As he sat there untying his laces it dawned on him that he would actually be sharing a bed with one of the most sought-after people in Central. The thought made him laugh out loud until he lifted his head and his eyes fell on the suddenly too-small bed.
A lump formed in his throat. By the time, he forced it down, he felt a bit anxious and for the life of him, he couldn't figure out why. It'll be fine, Ed reassured himself, he'd said that same thing to Roy earlier, but I…
Before he could think any further, he heard the bathroom door creak open as Roy finally emerged; and Edward was surprised at what he saw. He'd seen Roy out of uniform many times over the past few months, but even then the man was usually wearing business casual attire. In other words, plenty was left to the imagination. Ed had caught the man just out of bed before, but even then, Roy was usually in a pair of military PT sweats and a shaggy robe.
What he had on now was… was noticeable, to say the least. Roy was wearing a rather form-fitting blue tank top that looked similar to the black one Ed often wore, and a pair of thin white cotton pants.
Roy filled out the shirt rather nicely.
Ed would have never guessed that the man had all that toned muscle under all that crap he used to cover himself up. His physique was not as well defined as Ed's own, but it was nice…very nice. So nice Ed's eyes followed every shift Roy made as the man drifted about the room putting his things away.
He could easily see the commanding presence that helped Roy Mustang climb the ranks at such a young age. It was in every movement the man made and Edward sat there mesmerized by it.
* * *--
Roy was a little edgy but he knew he couldn't stay in the bathroom much longer. When he opened the door, his eyes fell on Ed who was bent over untying his boots. The shorter alchemist looked up when the door creaked and an odd expression crossed his face. Not sure how to take it, Roy just set about putting his things away. As he moved around the room, he could feel Ed's eyes on him. Roy chanced a sidelong glance at his temporary roommate and Ed's countenance pleased him greatly. His lips were slightly parted, his eyes were wide and he was blatantly following every move Roy was making.
Roy grinned to himself inwardly.
Ed was so lost in whatever was going on in his mind while he was watching Roy that he really wasn't paying attention to how close Roy was moving to him. Roy stopped less than five feet directly in front of the blond and asked innocently, “Is everything alright, Ed?”
Roy watched as Ed snapped out of his daze. His eyes and mind slowly adjusted themselves to finally focus on Roy; the alchemist nearly fell out of the armchair. Edward's face turned crimson and he averted his eyes as he realized that he had been caught staring.
“Uh…yeah, I'm good.”
“Are you sure?” Roy asked, not being able to resist needling him a bit.
“I'm sure, I'm fine. Fine.”
“You look a little flushed.” Roy said as he placed the back of his hand on Ed's forehead. Ed squirmed slightly in his seat.
“I'm just tired.” Ed mumbled.
“Well then, you better go get ready for bed.” Roy replied as he backed away and watched the short blond jump to his feet, grab up his things and all but run to the bathroom. Once the door shut, more of Riza's words floated through his mind. Maybe Ed's not considering you because he doesn't know that you are available. Roy was not exactly a relationship expert, but Ed's response just a moment ago made Roy think maybe just maybe he really should make a move on Ed…but the timing and the circumstances were awful.
Now was definitely not the time. Roy would feel like he was taking advantage of Ed considering everything that happened in Resembool. Ed needed a friend right now. So Roy decided that's exactly what he would be.
All while damning his instincts and sense of morality.
When the bathroom door squeaked open and Ed strolled out with his hair undone wearing shorts and a T-shirt, Roy sought to shift them away from the earlier tension and asked Ed what he came here to shop for. Ed's shoulders visibly relaxed as he told Roy that he wasn't looking for anything in particular, but just wanted to browse; but there were a few things at the convention he wanted to check out.
When they finally climbed into bed, Roy had them both laughing as he retold the story of Breda's last encounter with canines. The second time he caught Ed stifling a yawn, Roy decided that it was probably time to sleep. “Let's call it a night, kiddo.”
Ed's response was to flop his pillow across Roy's face.
“And just what was that for?” Roy sputtered.
“Kiddo my ass. I'm long past that age.” Ed groused.
Roy broke into a fit of laughter, which earned him another pillow to the head. Soon it was an all out pillow fight/wrestling match. Roy hadn't played like this since his time in the academy. It was wonderful to cut loose and forget for a while. He was having a great time and so was Edward. At some point Ed won the dominant position and straddled him, whacking Roy with relentlessly with two pillows; tired of Ed having the upper hand in this battle, Roy caught him off-guard and reversed their positions. “Not so fast Mustang!” Ed shouted as he fought to flip them back over. They rolled, struggled, laughed and tossed about until they finally ended up falling off the bed and onto the floor with a resounding thump.
They landed on the area rug with Roy victorious.
Out of breath, Roy looked down and the sight of Ed smiling, flushed and panting beneath him with all that flaxen hair spread out made Roy's heart skip a beat. Before actual thought could become part of the equation, he moved his hand to caress the side of Ed's face and Edward leaned into his touch. The breathing of the man beneath him quickened, and Roy watched his face becoming flushed. He knew the meaning of that look all too well. If Roy Mustang knew any language like the back of his hand, it was body language. That was desire calling in those golden eyes and Roy wanted to answer that call so badly he could taste it.
As his fingers trailed down the side of Ed's face, again Roy leaned in a little closer. Ed's tongue darted out to moisten his lips, causing Roy's own breathing to pick up. Did Ed have any idea what he was doing to him? Roy wasn't sure and he really didn't care at this point. As he moved in those last precious few inches, he saw those golden eyes close and his lips parted in anticipation.
* * *--
Ed could not believe Roy had called him kiddo. The first thing that came to the blond alchemist's mind was exactly what his body carried out; he whacked Roy with his pillow. When Roy asked him why he did that, his response made the man start laughing, which resulted in Ed grabbing his pillow and assaulting his superior officer with it once again. After that, it turned into a battle.
It reminded Ed of how he and Al use to have mock fights before bedtime. It was always fun and often ended with them in tears from laughing and sometimes with a room full of feathers.
At some point Ed got the upper hand and ended up on top of Roy as he pummeled him with both pillows. Roy could barely defend himself because he was laughing so hard. Ed was so distracted by Roy's antics that he soon lost his superior position. “Not so fast Mustang!” Ed yelled once he landed on his back, as he struggled to regain his former position. Soon all of their tussling about caused them to fall off the bed and onto the floor.
He was such in high spirits-and so out of breath- he couldn't even bring himself to be pissed about Roy landing on top.
Ed was startled out of his contentment when he felt a hand ghosting down the side of his face. Without thinking, he leaned into that surprisingly gentle touch. His stomach knotted and he felt like he couldn't catch his breath. Ed watched as the expression on Roy's face morphed into something he couldn't define.
When Roy leaned down a little Ed felt overtaken by a want. He only had a vaguest idea of what he wanted, but everything within him was pretty damn sure Roy had it. Ed's heart was beating so fast, how could Roy not hear? His throat and mouth suddenly became unbelievably dry and when he licked his lips, he felt Roy shift above him.
Rational thought…what the hell was that, anyways? Ed had no idea and at that, moment and he wanted no part of it. He was fully immersed in what was happening and that was fine by him. When Roy moved even closer still, he simply reacted… no contemplation, no reason, no logic; it was pure instinct at play, easy and effortless.
Suddenly Ed felt Roy's breath by his ear and he heard, “We need to get some sleep, Ed.”
The moment between them shattered. Ed's eyes opened and he found himself wondering when they had even closed. He blinked up at Roy a few times, still somewhat dazed and mustered a reply. “Sure.”
* * *--
As the Flame Alchemist rose from his position, he mentally berated himself for his temporary loss of control. True, Edward was a bit naive when it came to things like this but Roy was pretty certain that even he would realize what had almost happened. Roy had had no intentions of doing anything that would make Edward uncomfortable and he definitely didn't want to do anything that would jeopardize Edward's current, though unofficial, relationship with Jean. Roy wondered again, why he became so irrational around Edward Elric.
* * *--
As Roy made his way around the bed and across the room he dreaded the moment he would have to turn and face Ed. Roy figured he needed to have some words of apology ready when, out of nowhere, a pillow smacked him on the back of his head. Stunned, he slowly turned toward his assailant and what he saw made his eyes go wide.
There, on the center of the bed, stood Ed with the other pillow clutched in his automail hand as his flesh one pointed at Roy in a challenging manner.
“Get that somber look off your face and bring your pale ass over here! I want a rematch!”
Roy could not believe his luck. Maybe Ed had actually missed what was going on a moment ago; and if he had not actually missed it perhaps this was his way of blowing it off and sweeping it under the rug. Either way Roy was happy to go along with it.
By the time they finally decided to really call it a night, they had to completely remake the mangled bed. Once that was done, both parties climbed in wearily and Roy was thankful for their worn-out states; he hoped it would keep his nerves steady and his mind from…wandering.
Roy cut the lamp off on his side of the bed and once the room was dark, he started to doze off pretty quickly. He was on the edge of consciousness when he heard, a “Roy…?”
“Yes.” He mumbled sleepily.
“What am I gonna do if she never forgives me?”
Ed's voice was quiet and slightly unsteady. Roy rolled over to face him and found the younger man staring up at the ceiling. The pale moonlight coming in through the windows cast a shadow on the face of the man beside him. Roy cleared his throat, propped himself up on one elbow and said, “You two have been friends far too long for that to happen, Ed. Besides that, you have done nothing that merits her never forgiving you. She simply needs time to get over her wounded feelings and disappointment.”
The room was silent for a while.
As the silence rolled on Roy's eyes adjusted to the darkness, enough so that he could almost fully make out the facial expressions of the man beside him. He took this opportunity to blatantly stare at the object of his affection. His mind had wandered so far into “Edville” during the stretch of silence, when Ed actually spoke it somewhat startled Roy.
“Say you're right and she does get over it. Things still won't be the same, now will they?” Ed voiced his thoughts while never taking his eyes off the ceiling. Roy could see Ed's automail hand clutching the thin bedspread that covered them, as though the material was a lifeline connecting him to normalcy.
Between the obvious distress in Ed's tone and behavior, Roy knew he needed to choose his words carefully.
“I won't lie here and promise you that they will be. It's an unfortunate fact of life that things like this change relationships. If this was anyone else, I would say things will probably never even be remotely the same; but this is between you, Al and Winry. The three of you have been through and overcome so much together I honestly think there is a great chance for you to overcome this as well.”
Roy watched as a tired smile appeared on Edward's face. The young man beside him let out a big sigh and swallowed hard. When Ed turned to face him that small smile grew in size, and with knitted eyebrows he asked, “You're not just blowing smoke up my ass, are you Mustang.”
Roy smiled back at him and replied, “I would do no such thing concerning something so serious. I know how much she means to you and Al.”
Another period of silence followed, and as it stretched on Roy noted how Ed's eyes appeared to be unnaturally bright. It wasn't until a barely audible sniff escaped him that Roy realized the brightness in Ed's eyes were caused by unshed tears.
“Edward, are you…” Roy began, only to have the blond huff loudly in response and roll over to face the wall.
“I thought I got all of this emotional crap out of my system yesterday.” Ed growled out, but Roy could tell he was trying to put on a gruff front.
“It's okay to be upset. Yesterday was quite the trying day for you. I think you're holding yourself together far better than I would be if this had happened between me and Riza.”
“But being like this still sucks.”
Roy smiled at the blond's back and said, “Yes it does, but it will get better.”
When Ed grew quiet and still, Roy tentatively placed a hand on his shoulder. He felt a slight shudder pass through Ed's body and before he could utter the words of comfort he had lined out in his mind, Roy found his arms full of Ed. The younger man had rolled himself over and buried his head in Roy's chest so swiftly it was almost startling.
They stayed like this for a while neither of them say anything. Ed taking comfort in Roy's arms and Roy relishing in being able to provide said comfort. Hardly a sound escaped the blond during this and that was fine by Roy. He was just happy to see Ed getting this out system in whatever way he saw fit.
With the worst of Ed's emotional storm past, a muffled voice rose from Roy's chest. “If you tell anyone I cried like this I swear I'll cut both your balls off and display them on the parade grounds.”
Roy chuckled quietly and said, “My lips are sealed, Edward. You have my word.”
Not too long after that, sleep descended upon them both.