Ed had his suspicions about any offer Roy Mustang made that sounded like what he wanted. There had to be a catch.
| | Fullmetal | DF: |
Ed was shocked. Roy never got like this in public. And now here they were in the National Library.
| | Fullmetal | DF: |
Through this, one would think I know him well, given my constant observing of him--but there is too much he does not put in the report, too much that he hides within himself.
rated:G | GEN | Fullmetal | mid-series |
It was a short letter, very succinct, to the point, like all official military correspondences were.
A man can do terrible things in the name of his uniform--his leader, his service, his country. Then he spends the rest of his life going crazy or chasing penance.
She knew the instant she opened the door and saw their blank faces.
Your eyes stared up at me, wide and questioning, in a response not fit for such a young child.
She could remember his voice, husky with tortured emotion, screaming a name, the name "Edward Elric..."
Fear kept Al's metal arms at his sides, shaking slightly with each of Edward's pained moans.
Were Riza to choose, she would be the shield rather than the sword.
Even Hawkeye could be caught off guard, and the men moving in too late, even five seconds too long, too far away.
"You could have roped in the typing pool instead, they moon over the Colonel all the time."
One day Edward was out kicking the crap out of those damn Homunculus with Al...
Who was waiting for him? He tried to remember, but his mind wasn't working quite right at the moment.
He recalled lifting it cautiously up to his nose, and then back away from the stinging, spicy herbs along with the smouldering scent of tobacco.
More than once she thought she half-saw a face in the leaves, formed by a trick of light and shadow, and her steps grew languid and slow.
In a blur of red and flying braid, Ed is on his knees before her.
But the harsh light of early morning sharpens the hard angles of desperation on Al's face so instead Ed smiles, all teeth, and lies, "Of course."
She accepted the label and its implication without argument, lifting the revolver and sighting along its barrel.
And of course, he does not believe in God anyway, and scorns the idea of predestination.
It was the last moments of the change that had always held Ed rapt, had always thrilled him with the knowledge that whatever came into being, every tiny detail of it, was his creation.
The feeling came more naturally than anything he'd known.
That day, Ed had pulled his hair out of a braid and tied it up into a neat ponytail.
It’s February in Central. There’s nothing better to do.
He shuffled into her store nearly six months after she had moved to Central.
For now, he has mastered one world, two worlds; they have mastered him as well, and he is tired.
Some of the details he needed, of course, they wouldn't have; no non-alchemist would know. And most of the details they had, he didn't want.
He just carries himself with a certain atmosphere, one that feels like splinters of buildings falling off walls and landing broken or the smell of roasted flesh.
"Oh, hello, brother." Alphonse flashed the smaller boy a smile, startled but pleased. "I didn’t hear you come outside."
What do you know, he wanted to scream, what do you know about my brother, what he’s gone through and how far he’s — we’ve — come?
"You. Boy by the window who's been doodling all the way through. What would be the result of this equation?"
He's seen quite enough of the military hospital in Central, and much as he likes the nurses, he was still glad when he thought they were through with it.
With a sense of rising dread, Alphonse raised his fist to pound for admittance, worry tinging his voice. "Brother? Are you alright in there?"
"I want to bring father back for her," Al had whispered the week before Christmas fell.
Ah. Fans. He preens slightly into his coat, sits up just a little taller on his haunches. Fans he knows how to deal with.
Even so, you still are a manipulative bastard.
Al should've never told his mother the box was a present for Winry.
"Bill for repair of said hotel after occupants of said room 'incited riot'?"
There were people here who did not run screaming when he whipped out a photo. Or five.
"That would have killed you, you idiot! You wouldn't be destroyed, or erased, or whatever. You would be killed! I would have murdered you!"
"Well... Brother does that, every so often. He really should think before he tries to attack people."
He had only meant to pass through the town; it wasn't like much would have changed anyway.
For in equivalent trade, everything has value and therefore everything can be taken away.
Because he had said one year; and dammit, he meant it.
What he remembered of ice cream, more than the taste, was how messy it had always been.
"We ought to have a toast," Ed says, frowning into the depths of his bottle. "They always do when they're having a drink in someone's memory."
"Our boy here hasn't done a lick of work since eleven am, and she hasn't noticed at all. D'you think she's in love?"
A pure and virtuous soul was nothing short of surprising.
Like the touch of Izumi-mommy's hand in mine, like her voice in my ears.
It was a pleasant thing, warm and innocently tender.
Usually when he wanted something he just took the steps he knew were necessary to getting it.
It was only after the sheer sensation had abated — only when he felt on solid enough ground to focus on the subtleties of life once more — that the habit began to catch his attention.
And when the next words followed, barely loud enough to be heard, the General was surprised by the force behind them.
It was a lousy day, depressing and the color of the sky on his way home reminded Ed of the color of the Gate and he just felt helpless and sorry and lonely and bad.
Roy Mustang often looked back on his wedding night, recalling what he had thought about his subordinates; even now, they were his family, his safety, his friends.
"When I walked in on you in the bath, Edward, I wasn't expecting Al to be there too."
His arms weren't big enough to encompass all of himself, and Edward always got the pieces that he couldn't reach.
Red. It looked strange on him, the red did, strange and somehow distressing.
Envy could rip him and all the worlds in two.
Around when the hour of nine rolls up to the door, fat as a bellied barfly, Roy has already taken his jacket off the hook and has gone outside to walk.
Sometimes they race to see who can get to Winry's house faster.
And if he did forget mom's face, what would be next? Her voice? Her smile? The color of her eyes?
...the two men drank Roy's good whiskey, clinked glasses and Maes exclaimed that It was about damn time.
Like other little girls, she wanted to be an actress, the heroine in her own perfect fairytale.
They are his signposts and self-inscriptions, cordoning off the book as his own, as something he possesses.
Only some things, he knew, could be repaired. Not every broken sword could be re-forged.
He can hear their strained breathing but that's all, and he's never liked the General's silence and he likes Ed's even less.
"Don't go to sleep," he murmurs into Ed's hair, and thinks of their mother, long ago, telling a story about spinning straw into gold.
The Full Metal Alchemist, of course, accepted his assignment with all the gravity due his station.
"I'm going to plant a few solid pounds of Risembool milled steel right in her catty, smirking face is what I'm going to do!"
He did not expect an answer even though it was true that Wrath was more likely to speak to him than anyone else, even Winry.
Roy Mustang had his own addiction, and it was very simple: Roy Mustang was addicted to lieutenants.
When Havoc came back from lunch, he wondered why Hawkeye was picking up scattered papers with a small and warm smile on her face.
"But he's just a kid... he's too short to be a criminal..."
"Yeah. Him again. The Colonel doesn't know when to quit, does he?"
Ed finally conceded that the cats were indeed very useful.
Winry was ten when her grandmother commented that she already needed training bras.
"Huh? Whose fault? Ahahah.. aha..." Ed tried to avoid the topic.
The pretenses stopped midway through the second cigarette.
After all, one didn't have a high ranking officer fall into one's lap every day, and Greed was not one to squander someone with that much potential.
Yet there are still nights that he wakes up to find his hand clutched by a seated Al, who laughs his hollow laugh and asks if he's okay, even though he does not remember screaming.
"...That is an order, Fullmetal, and I will have you court-martialed if you refuse."
Ed looked down at the camera again, and smiled an evil, evil smile.
The staff look at each other, look at their automail bottle-opener, and prepare to duck.
Al's slightly hollow voice positively echoed with embarrassment but he bravely soldiered on...
She hated being idle; it ranked far above the petty pain of a mere gunshot-wound in her personal list of annoyances.
"Damn well better be--I bought 'em two days ago and I'm not keeling over yet. Got any dry ones on you?"
And when you held your breath, where did you keep it, in your lungs or your mouth or your throat?
It is a photograph that brings them together, and that's as it should be.
He decided, then, quite firmly, that he wasn't ever going to drink coffee again, with anybody. It was too risky.
It shouldn't have been a surprise that he would run across on Jean Havoc, sitting just underneath a "No Smoking" sign outside in the afternoon sun.
It was so terribly painful, really, the way he would smile when he was about to cry.
His brother was brilliant at many things, but finances were not one of them.
Edward had come into his life, taken over his life; and sometimes Roy wondered what was left of it for him.
Are those little flamels on his pajamas? Where the hell does he shop, Alchemist Cliches 'R Us?
In that moment, nature feels alive around her, resisting her, and every small victory of every small breath confirms that she’s alive, too.
Sometimes, when he lay awake and undisturbed for many hours, he almost thought he had even succeeded.
Nothing made sense anymore.
"You finally took my advice and settled down! Not quite what I had in mind, of course, but I'm so happy for you!"
"Let me get this straight — you want to kiss me to support a theory!?"
What part of 'this is my house' are you having problems with, Fullmetal?"
"Get out of the kitchen, brother," he snarled, waving the spatula threateningly. "I'm still cooking, damnit."
Greed has one, fundamental, flaw.
The metal in his mouth tastes cool and tangy and yummy but he can't eat because he has to find Lust.
The boy's brother stretches out a flesh-and-blood hand towards her, and at that moment she hates him, hates them all.
Winry sucked in a gasp, and dropped backward in shock.
She preferred mechanical work for just that reason; at least you knew with relative certainty what automail was going to do when you did something to it.
It was the truth, but it sounded lame upon Edward's lips; the way her eyes hooded, she seemed to think so, anyway.
He would have killed, before a nonexistent God and Winry, to be that goddamn spatula.
I'm going to kill Ed when he gets back, Al told the General. I just thought I should tell you in advance in case there's paperwork.
Dear Ed: I miss you more than you can ever know.
Al crouches down on a dune looking down on the camp and draws an array in the sand, thinking of Gunnar with a dull pang of grief.
God, he's gorgeous, even cut up. Especially cut up.
They smuggled Al out of Central and back to Rizembul, where they rented a small house with room for Ed's books and Al's wings.
Around two o'clock in the afternoon, women around the city began to disappear ... and a crowd, primarily of females, formed along Third Street.
"Then I'm gonna rule the world, too," Maes replied, because he and Roy always did everything together.
For instance, Havoc knew that Hawkeye was not fond of gunmanship.
Mustang is possessed, maybe, but not with the feverish intensity that will someday be the trademark of the Full Metal Alchemist.
He didn't die of natural causes, oh no — the old man clung to life tenaciously.
This is the smell of ozone from a lightning strike. This is fear.
Every line in his chest and back was defined; he hardly seemed to have any body fat at all.
It is what people say to him because they cannot think of any other way to relate to him, this boy who has the heavy title of 'Full Metal Alchemist'.
Ed remembered that Al's first word was 'Mama', and his second one was 'Niichan'.
"Those are very nice gloves," Pinako observed when Edward came back.
And if she listened carefully enough, she could hear Edward reading in a low voice to a gurgling Alphonse.
But you never thought of it as a handicap, did you, as something just the same as being blind or deaf.
Anything, she reflected, is worth seeing you so genuinely happy.
Ed shrugged, although his expression suggested he was trying to keep from being too smug about beating a man almost twice his age.
Winly was touched, really, that even after two years without seeing one another, Ed still wrote her letters.
Five minutes before the day officially ended, Havoc retrieved the car, and saluted as Mustang came down the steps and opened his own door.
Fullmetal smiled a long, slow smile, the sort that promised evil things were in the near future, and put his boots up on Roy's desk.
The Colonel narrowly saved himself the disgrace of fumbling for Edward's name (Id? Alex? Eowan?) by resorting, once again, to his title.
And he learned to think ahead from his grandfather, over the chess board on the back porch of their home.
He was afraid, so afraid, that something would go wrong, but he couldn't let this go.
What price for a human soul? Even a body and a leg had left a debt that could cleave the world in two.
The first time your mother asked you what you wanted to be, you answered, 'King of the whole world!'
That she might have to tweak a recipe to get it to come out tasty was something she found irritating at a base level.
Al waited to say something until Ed's hair brushed his shoulders.
If armor could narrow its eyes, Ed knew Al would have been doing so.
They shared the same eyes, the same hair, and a level of intelligence ... and sometimes, Ed felt far too much like he was his father's son.
...Edward saw red - but he took a couple of deep breaths before answering. He knew a real kicker now, thanks to Hawkeye.
"Mai--" Ed didn't finish his sentence as he stared at the three-inch stack of letters in Foley's hand.
You're the only person on earth who will ever be able to read this message.
PR, we need PR, he kept telling himself, but at this point he didn't think he could string more than two sentences together.
"... Hey, I thought we were supposed to be celebrating the Boss' release," Havoc protests weakly.
Ed liked him this way -- so why did it make him so furious to have to deal with Al caring one way or another about him?
Al wonders, a little, what it's like to live inside Ed's head now.
But he still flinched away from that metal skin, and held his own burning automail arm a little further from his body in hopes that he would not bump against it.
Al loved the way his brother's face turned inward, his golden eyes unfocusing and a little smile coming to his face...
When they are alone in the passenger car, the silence is both natural and oppressive.
"I must savor every moment of every love letter I recieve to do the sender justice," Mustang said, before proceeding to open the letter.
I really don't like this body, he thought sadly; if he'd had a face to pout with, he would have.
"It's different when it's Mom," Ed said with a scowl, but he looked at Al's face, and he softened a little.
It was the first official meeting of the Big But Not Scary Club.
Ed growled under his breath, color high in his cheeks, and pulled away.
Edward glared up at him, wiping some of the stuff off his nose.
"Oh, he's probably just studying too hard to notice you knocking," Winly said at first.
But he glanced behind himself for Winly, and it was a terrible, bittersweet thing.
"Come on," he snorted. "As if I could say no to Al AND Winly looking at me like that."
"Go back to sleep, Mustang," Ed answers absently, flipping the page.
He always put his tongue in his cheek when he fired his weapon, and bit down when he grimaced at the aftermath.
What he really wanted to know was something else - a question of 'why', quite likely.
Ed imagined Al's expression would look something like Fletcher's did right now.
Occasionally, after a bad sand storm, a bone would work its way up to the surface; bare and bleached, like the sticks he used to pretend were swords.
"Just remind me, even if the alternative is to sleep on a ice cube, NEVER to share a bed with you again.
It was just the men today, sitting around drinking coffee and playing cards and waiting for the paint to peel or the Fuhrer-in-Training to request they do something.
Such strength. Such dignity. Such discipline. So not the person she was supposed to seduce.
"I like you a lot Al. I really do. It's just... you are kind of intimidating..." and seven feet tall, made of metal and a boy...
Ed saw Roy's fingers twitch and curl at his sides as the desire to embrace almost overwhelmed discretion and good sense.
"I'm not thirteen," Al said, as if reading his mind.
Roy stuck a finger in his mouth, swirling his tongue around it as he savored the heavy and rich fluid.
Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye stands behind Colonel Roy Mustang, laughing silently about her silly dreams, her hand never straying far from the gun by her side.
He could ask so many things at this point. About sex, Ed, himself...
So much has happened since you last came to Central.
Dante took the seat next to the bed, and handed a mug of tea to Trisha.
Schezcka pushed her glasses up, using the glass reflection to hide her eyes.
She would notice when that body's pulse went up around her, the flush of cheeks, and the way the eyes followed her curves.
She had hoped that the older woman would forget, so she didn't have to reveal that childishness to such a strong woman.
Ed glared at him, and Al sighed. Maybe today wouldn't be a good day for Edward after all.
She had heard all the lines before. Pinako was a female in a mostly male line of work, after all.
"Al," Ed said seriously and leaned forward to look up into his brother's glowing eyes, "if he had mind control powers, you would tell me, right?"
Always on Al's face was that soft, sad expression, paralleled by the fierce unyieldingness on Ed's.
The tree was wobbly, but with a few kicks and shoves Ed got it to stand up in the corner by the window.
He'd meant to say something but Ed had been so determined, so anxious to be useful, to create something.
But it was through the hands that you cooked, and with a false hand Ed found that the cooking didn't come as easily anymore, didn't taste quite like Mother's.
"If you hadn't messed in the mud to get the cat," he pointed out, "your hands wouldn't be so cold. Give me your other."
He tilted his jaw and the kid struck the match, lit it, lifted it to his cigarette.
Inside the house, the door to the new room his father was building, with the wonderful baby-blue walls and blankets and toys, is shut and locked.
On Ed's thirtieth birthday, he attends a memorial that some of the military officers are holding for Ed.
"Ah, Alphonse-kun, I was wondering when you would wake up."
He didn't play anymore, not with reports to file, books to read, notes to scratch out.
He lifted his eyes to Ed's, returned Ed's even, blank gaze. "Brothers," he said. "That's what we are."
The house rumbled gently, as a cat purrs, and Alphonse tied off the braid, pressing his hands to Edward's scalp one more time before dropping them to his side.
Al knew better than anyone that Ed, if he put his mind to it, could do anything, and a little thing like missing limbs wasn't going to stop him.
At fifteen he had been intimidating; at thirty, he could be terrifying.
All the alchemical skill in the world didn't matter, he was learning, when it came to something like this.
She hadn't come to confront the sameness of him, but the difference — the nonconformity anyone could mark and everyone did...
She'd barely managed not to wail But it's Yoletide! and prove herself both spoiled brat and country bumpkin.
Contrary to popular opinion, Roy Mustang was quite skilled at dealing with emotions.
Words entrance her: the workaday prose of school texts as much as the skylark flights of lyric or the measured music of story.
When dealing with the military, it always paid to look ready for inspection. Neatness counted; passion was suspect.
There's nothing wrong with his legs, at least — a sidestep to the right and two paces back and he'd be out the door, if it weren't shut.
Water fills her ears without stopping them, just as grief does her mind, and she drums her fingers on the wooden slats in time to the litany of her failure.
She laughs readily, but no one else, he's sure, has ever seen the double-takes with which she greets his successful deadpan strikes.
Open Mike Night at Rush Valley's one and only coffee house attracts a great many of the town's most ridiculous people.
...but he must take a moment to compose himself, all the same, before he can look through the small window.
Louis Alex Armstrong has been seriously wounded... BUT THE SOUL STILL BURNS.
It was so strange, the way Alphonse's suddenly reduced size could make Edward look suddenly so much bigger.
Ed's birthday had passed a little over a month ago, while they were still with Sensei.
It does not occur to him until later — years later — that this might be considered a case of sexual abuse.
It was a game they often played, what would they do once they got their bodies back.
Hope — he could almost reach out and touch that hope, hours away, maybe, just a few ticks of the clock and an array or two later and it could be real.
"We offer you not a world in which your brother died, but one in which he never lived."
"She loved him," Ed said. Crack, snap. Another flower joined the pile.
He knew, as he had never known before, his own body; the strength and flexibility in every limb, every joint, every bone.
Alchemy. It's all fun and games until somebody loses a limb and creates an abomination.
"I don't think there's anything wrong with you, Brother," Al said loyally, and Ed scowled.
It took you long enough to make your call. I was beginning to think you'd forgotten how to work a phone.
"What do you mean, you're PREGNANT?" Ed yelled through the door.
He was just contemplating a launch, kick and a dash for the window when Armstrong's hands closed in his hair.
Gloved hands shot out and grabbed the book in question, dragging it off the shelf and holding it to the light.
There was a crunching noise from Roy's direction, as of teeth biting through the edge of a porcelain cup.
There was something almost funny about the surprise on Roy's face.
"But we're going to be late on her birthday," Ed fretted, and Al had to suppress a long-suffering sigh.
"As you can see," she said to Mr. Elric, wryly, "Appreciate them while they're at this age, because they turn into teenagers in the blink of an eye."
"Edward," Hawkeye said kindly, "has it occurred to you that you and Alphonse may be spending too much time alone?"
It was a big world out there, full of more possibilities than either of them could dream of.
Sergeant Broche smiled in frozen panic at the miniature devil that had cornered him in the officer's mess.
"Stupid bullies," Ed grumbled, limping for a few steps before he remembered that he wasn't supposed to be feeling it. "Call me a girl, will they?"
"What part of self-defense was it to write 'BIG FAT NINNY' on his forehead in permanent marker?"
He was looking forward to the prospect of a hot meal in the cafeteria; even if it wasn't exactly home cooking, at least it was hot, and it was fresh.
But we the people of Ishvar endure, by the grace and mercy of Ishvarra we endure, and so long as we live we will remember.
"It's good to hear that Fullmetal is in good spirits, if he's being so obtrusive in showing off."
With two younger sisters himself, he knew well that siblings quarreled, but never to this extent.
"Oh yeah... Huh!" Ed looked around, brightening. "Wow, it looks a lot different upright and not burning."
Today I saw the god of fire, Roy writes in his notebook, knowing he will never be believed.
"This is blackmail," Ed growled, but he pulled open the bathroom door.
"I believe my exact words were, 'a microscopically short bean boy the size of a pin'."
Okay, his hair wasn't brushed, and it had been a while since he'd gotten a bath, but he didn't think it was anything to blush at.
The dizzy whiteness rushed over him again; bright, hurting, noisy, afraid, hard, can't remember, Niisan...
The voice hit Ed like a blow, and drove the breath from his lungs. "Where are you?" he shouted. "Where are you?"
Ed opened his mouth, and then closed it. "Visibility is that important to you, huh?" he said.
Now Ed was into his favorite mode, bitch-at-the-bastard-father-who-ditched-us.
In the summer they competed at climbing through the twisting branches, risking life and bruises to collect baskets of fruit and bring them back home.
Winry muttered something Scieszka couldn't quite catch, brow furrowed as she leaned in to adjust something on the switchboard.
"You and I? Sleeping together?" Hughes snorted disdain, and spared a hand to push his glasses back up his face. "Ridiculous!"
Both Edward and Winry were on hand day and night, looking for anything they could do to ease his way.
But when the acting commander of the Intelligence branch, the man who controlled her widow's pension, requested and required this service... well... well.
He didn't need chalk, or ink; hell, if anything, blood was a better medium for this purpose.
Roy smiled slowly as Edward approached his desk, his usual careless pose turned into something... challenging.
It's not the same at all when the patient choking back cries of pain and thrashing against the straps is her friend and playmate and brother.
"Alchemy is intended for the public good. If it wasn't anything illegal, why the need for secrecy?"
"You aren't Envy, are you? Because if you are, I'll kick your ass and find out what you've done with my brother."
You could attribute it to teenage rebellion, if you liked, or to homunculus-hormones, which could be quite fierce, or heck, maybe she was just living up to her name.
Roy cleared his throat, and stepped up to the podium. "Welcome to Elric Fanciers Anonymous," he said.
Apparently, years of stress had jaded Ed into thinking that if things were looking good now, then something terrible must be around the corner.
"You'd think the Colonel would have plenty of experience in dealing with irate brothers by now."
It didn't fool Al one bit when his brother tried to sneak into their dorm room long after curfew, but that didn't stop Ed from trying.
Ed jabbed accusingly with an automail finger — nearly putting out Mustang's eye as he did so — and shrieked, "You're a crossdresser!"
No alchemical reaction could sustain fire without fuel forever.
"It's blue!" Edward announced with the voice of desperation.
You had to hand it to Roy, he certainly knew how to keep his cool.
This would be so much easier if he could just refuse the man to his face.
Roy was enchanted by the sound of her voice, pure like dewdrops in the morning.
Instant formulas for your pairing of choice! Simply add prose and stir well!
"All this will do is give your soul access to the feelings that should be in your body right now, just like a normal teenage boy."
There were three ways to identify the Fullmetal Alchemist, wherever he went.
"In case you hadn't noticed," Ed went on, poking Roy in the chest, "I am no longer twelve."
Ed loved his brother, and would take his company as a roommate over anyone in the world — except one; but he made a damn lousy substitute for a girlfriend.
"You don't think doing grown up things makes you look older?" Ed said after a while.
It was so easy to forget how uneven alchemy made a fight. No ordinary guy ever had a chance.
In the file were pictures of the alchemist's circle where the boys had attempted to bring back their mother.
Sometimes Al thinks that somewhere back in the Armstrong family tree lurks an alchemical accident in a sequin factory.
The audience fades away; the chatters dies, their twin breaths are the soft herald of thunder to come.
The kid is easily recognizable by his golden hair and eyes, his automail arm and leg, and the obvious chip on the shoulder.
If Ed had his way, his allowance (and all of Roy's salary) would be spent entirely on the most expensive brand of dog food to have ever existed.
Alphonse Elric was a gentle soul, and he detested fighting.
Roy wondered how far Alphonse would go to prove his point.
"Elric, you're excused from labor today. I hear you've got mechanical problems."
"Just who're you calling..." Edward's voice stuttered to a halt as he saw where the man was pointing. "...short?"
"You'll be up against the wall before you know it, Mustang, right where you belong, eating the bullets of a firing squad for breakfast."
He was, to sum up, a pretty unpleasant guy to have at the head of your department in the holiday season.
At night, curled shivering on the layers of musty damp leaves under the glimmering stars, Ed lay silently and thought of unspeakable unknowns...
Trisha looked up in surprise to see her guest in the open doorway, barely casting a shadow in the sunlight that streamed in around her.
Etiquette doesn't quite cover situations like this one.
"I was your mother once," Dante told him with an air of great drunken magnanimity one evening.
It was such a beautiful way to die.
Unfortunately, Winry's 'own devices' were becoming the death of Pinako's various household devices.
I, the stray dog of the desert, who sloped long and pale, slashed to ribbons, across the moonlight sands on my journey to God.
She stands beside him with her arms full of bandages, hoping the day he sees his own danger will come before the day he sets himself alight completely.
"If you've got something to say, say it," she said. "If not, hand me a fork, would you?"
She looked the wire over for a minute, noting where the insulation had been stripped away for retuning, then tugged it gently, careful not to pull too hard.
Edward Elric was notoriously known for his intense dislike of milk.
It was easy enough to start a fire, with the appropriate array and dry wood.
"I remember the flavor too; it was strawberry. It's still his favorite."
He can still feel in his cheeks the faint scratch of beard against skin when his father kissed him there.
Al decided he didn't like that particular grin on his brother's face.
The Colonel's staff next door ignored the pleas for help and gunshots.
"And search for free porn." Havoc pointed out.
He remembered finding himself asking why the Fullmetal Alchemist would be the one to patch his own clothes.
The only problem was that Ed didn't know what the heck "getting some" was or what he was being congratulated for.
It seemed, the man thought, that Ed was a lot like the sun -- warm, comforting -- and at a distance.
He gave, and he gave, and he gave, and he could only hope that it was enough.
For the first time, he suddenly understood that there was worse than death.
But the language of legend and that of alchemical secrecy were linguistic-sisters...
Light was what brought shadow into being; they were cast by its brightness and thrived in its absence...
Hohenheim had been familiar with death, but his own still took him by surprise.
What was it like, Father mine, to die and to be resurrected again?
Faith, he'd thought, was something he'd learned as a child, squirming on the hard wooden pews.
There was a terrible vulnerability to Roy when his cover slipped, and it made Ed uncomfortable.
What kind of stupid creature would walk willingly and calmly to its own violent, brutal death?
His desire for everything and everyone meant subversively that anything the alchemist blew to high hell was his: possession by association.
There is grass growing on the cinders, ivy covers the old stones.
Edward Elric was in an exceedingly bad mood.
The boys grow older, wiser and closer, and their mother watches them do so and is proud.
They stand and take notes, eyeing him suspiciously, but he doesn't turn to meet their eyes...
People all have different ideas of beauty, Al knows, and no two ever appear to be the same.
It had been a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Eyes across a crowded room, and all that jazz.
And he was tired, and he did eventually fall asleep, to the vague hum of voices in discussion downstairs.
"He's a smug arrogant prick and Jean's a lazy bastard with a mouth like an ashtray."
When he received no immediate response, he drew back and let her go, and the aching vulnerability on his face made her blink in surprise.
The reaction is the most intense Edward has ever seen.
rated:G | S+S | Fullmetal | joyous drivel |
Humans are so greedy, the Truth had told him in his dreams; and for all his airs and graces, he is no exception.
Winry had been confused by the birthday present she received from Gracia, this year.
What could you give a soul trapped in a suit of armour as a present?
Sometimes, he really wished that sleeping dogs would have been left alone...
When there was no answer, he tried again, but gave up after that. It wasn't like Ed would get eaten by a rabid saucepan, or something.
Hope was a stone around the lonely young brother's neck, one that broke his back and ironed out his heart, smoothing the wrinkles of time and pain.
rated:G | GEN | Fullmetal | SP: ep 51 |
Could be anything... could have anything... and there was a pride, a greed in the words as they had dripped from those tainted, twisted lips.
He didn't know why they would do this to him, why they would stare with sad eyes and sad lips, with mouths turned down for the frowns that came.
Envy mused that this was what it sounded like when a spirit broke, a large pop of a fictitious heart, the snapsnapsnap of each rib cage.
I had asked him, thinking she would say yes, that everything would be okay, that no one would tell my brother no because I know I never could.
rated:G | GEN | Fullmetal |
Alphonse washed, and Edward dried (owing to the automail; safer not to submerge), and between the two of them the stack eventually diminished.
It was getting kind of depressing, though, by the time the color red alone would make him wonder about the child; the flash of a cardinal, a sprig of bright berries, the gaudiness of nighttime tavern lights, and the scarlet lipstick of bar women.
Sometimes, he prays that the hand will come down and Ed will tell him gently they are done, they are going to quit, end the nightmare before it worsens.
Nurses in white smocks bustle about a tiny nurses's station, and he is intercepted by one of the younger ones, a new girl he doesn't recognize.
"Do you remember that song Mom used to sing to us?" He asked instead, concentrating on the tiny kinks of the inside of his detached leg.
That was the problem with girls these days... they just didn't know how to deal with a little pain.
She reached into her pocket and pulled out her tobac tin, more to annoy her visitor than anything else.
He has lots of women like her, who would like to be his anchor, and too many of them confuse that for throwing themselves head first into the ocean.
It was not fair to the boy to get tripped up by what he looked like, especially not when he had avoided it for so many years already.
PR, we need PR, he kept telling himself, but at this point he didn't think he could string more than two sentences together.
And there was a certain look they shared, the one they both used when they thought Ed was being unreasonably stubborn.
The reminder that Roy always managed to know what Edward was doing barely got a half-hearted glare.
On the day the Fuhrer died, it snowed.
It was a short letter, very succinct, to the point, like all official military correspondences were.
rated:G | | Fullmetal | DF: ep 24 |
I told you he was all talk, Ed interrupted again, turning back to his brother.
rated:G | | Fullmetal |
He even dragged out his Best Manners for the occasion, the ones his mother had taught him so long ago.
ROY: [calmly] If drinking means acting like an idiot the way you are, I'm going to pass.
So, he says, and his voice cuts through the sound of battle outside in the streets. "What's it going to be?"
Besides, no one ever said that tumultuous times had to begin with a fanfare.
Roy Mustang was shipped back home last week. Neat as a parcel of vegetables with the stamp upside-down on the crate.
When Winry found him, he could not help but clutch at her, babbling almost hysterically.
He would have been crying for a long time, but the tears seem to have frozen in this damn cold too.
Are you listening to me, Lieutenant Hawkeye?
Once you promised me that you would dance on my grave. I'm keeping you to that promise, you know.
Very few alchemists believed in God, but all of them believed in books.
"Oh, what would YOU know? said Winry. "You've never looked at a girl in your life."
If Al began to forget things, then Edward would remember anything and everything for the both of them.
...The world is saved. You two can just gnaw on each other for the rest of your lives.
And while he didn't know the Niisan that had been to hell and back again with a grin on his face, he knew his Niisan, and he knew that prison was not at all where he belonged.
You hide it well behind your bluster and your sulks, but the workings of your mind are at once cunningly devious and ruthlessly simple.
He hadn't asked Hughes to follow him to this place.
Brother likes to pretend that he doesn't care what goes on in the military unless it directly affects him. Or, you know, directly offends him. One or the other.
Brother wasn't the only one hiding his fears; I was so afraid everything I knew was a lie -- that our brotherhood was a lie.
"You know, Al, you don't have to warm yourself in the sun for me."
It would be a shame if the future Fuhrer got himself killed over something as trivial as a chess game.
It wasn't easy to imagine how he had been mistaken, because Al could swear that even from a distance, a hanged man looked very different from a tent post.
“The General,” I answer. “He resigned his rank and got a transfer. They sent him up North. He’s alone there. I couldn’t talk him out of it.”
He mostly trusted his brother to be able to put a nearly-three-year-old to bed by himself, but...Al should probably check, just to be sure.
“Sir,” he says, and Roy could be imagining it, but he thinks Falman’s usually flat tone has a hint of panic in it. “Have you read this memo yet?”
Lust had memories. They were strange, confusing, painful. But she thought maybe she remembered love. Also hate. They seemed, from her perspective, very much alike.
Envy forced down the nasty smirk that threatened to overwhelm him.
Heavy-lidded, he would savor them slowly, letting them seep into his mind's eye until he could see nothing else.
"Hey! She did it blindfolded! No one else could do that! And better her than that old hag!"
If killers and empty assassin armor hadn't frightened him, half a foot of park bench shouldn't leave him feeling so useless and pathetic.
It doesn’t disappoint, never does; Ed is standing on the corner when the car arrives, all sharp moody edges and obtrusively coloured blue shorts.
"I know how things work, sir," the boy continued, laying the watch across his lap.
All it took was a push of his hand and the twist of a small brass key to put it out of sight.
His tone was all weary patience, as though explaining to a child why candy was out of the question until after dinner.
There was one thing that Edward had missed above all others.
He's getting so awfully, awfully tired of pictures, but they won't just stop coming.
It was an old argument — practically every night, the ritual sparring for who'd be in control.
Sometimes Roy would just hold him for an hour or more, late at night, blind comfort.
"Honestly, Fullmetal, I'm beginning to think that you're more trouble than you're worth."
"It's cheating," he declared at last, "To pick a fight while I ache."
Neither brother seems willing to speak, but their thoughts dip down into similar wells, dredging up the questions that most haunt them.
The feel of hands on his shoulders woke him, one metal and one flesh, and it was the chill in human fingers that told him how cold the night had grown while he slept.
It was just as his body heat was beginning to bring the sheets up to a reasonable temperature that the noise caught his ears- an ugly scraping sound, unnatural and harsh in the silence of early morning hours.
There were precious few memories remaining, now, dimmed with the passage of time and the years that he’d spent lacking a flesh body, but he kept them close to him all the same.
The water streamed clear and icy through his fingers- and all at once he straightened, laughing, to flick the last few drops into his brother’s face.
"Brother," Alphonse said, voice soft with horror, "I think that Winry's going to kill you."
"You know we need to catch that train to Central, and you were being unreasonable. If we're late getting back again, General Mustang's going to have a fit."
Alphonse had thought that he must have the bravest brother in the world.
Life, the Fullmetal Alchemist decided viciously, wasn't fair.
Alphonse settled for a barely audible sigh and hoped that his brother knew what he was doing.
It was so, so much easier just to go hungry than to try their hands at something she'd done so well.
More than once already, Edward had regretted turning down the offer of a ride home, despite the fact that the little house he shared with Alphonse was nowhere near where Havoc lived.
He was just moving to light the stove, casting about for a match to begin the flames that would cook their dinner, when the voice drifted in from the other room.
"Tall girls need not apply," Hughes read aloud, without even the trace of a smirk.
rated:K | M+F S+S | Fullmetal | mid-series | First Place, Het & Non-Het | Green Lion Winner | Riza Hawkeye | Roy Mustang | angst | humor | sweet | Elric Kyoudai | 354th FG HQ | 2004 First Kiss, Non-Het
"You're late," Ed tells him flatly. "You should have been here one minute and forty four seconds ago."
You want to break him just once; see what he really is beneath that cool exterior.
He wanted to be able to do something like that; tangle limbs and lips and know what it was like to not have a responsibility.
Gone was the helpless, kicked-puppy look from those purple eyes.
Greed reached out for whatever proved she was undeniably, unrepentantly alive.
It is snowing in earnest by the time the fire has begun to burn low, but neither boy wants to move to add more wood.
Tenderly, Ed's flesh fingers threaded into hair that he had created — short and bronze-gold, the same downy texture that he'd recalled from childhood.
See him move, see him train, see him jump into that air and swing his leg in a complete arch before he lands heavily to the ground in a perfect execution of Sensei's teachings.
Fingertips drifted over curves, up over hips and thighs and the dimple of ribs, and if my eyes were closed, I could have told you in detail every perfect flaw and scar.
They kissed only once. She tasted like ashes and brine.
Greed grinned, slid a hand from his pocket, curled one suddenly black claw. "Great. Come on, let's get it on."
If she cries, he may have to kill her. He can't stand that sound any longer.
She paced the wide, marble floor, visited each of the soaring windows, feeling every supple sinew beneath her skin move with the perfection of the young.
"Would you like a blindfold, Mr. Tucker?"
Someone had clearly forgotten to tell Roy that he was much better at starting fires than stopping them.
It really irritated him that he did have ten years of experience and Roy could look at him and drop his voice a little and Ed squirmed.
"Post break-up beer, all the way from Xing," Al grinned merrily. "Taken right off a cart heading for the royal court. See the lengths I go to to cheer you up?"
"You're getting quite the list," Roy said. "Not that I am any sort of advocate for monogamy, but you certainly are taking full advantage of playing the field."
Roy's breath took a holiday at the beach for approximately 30 seconds, the longest it had ever left him alone.
Unexpectedly, the door flew open with a loud bang, steps sounded on the tile, and a very familiar, very cranky voice said...
Some of the stuff he was asked to investigate was truly stupid shit. A bakery, for instance.
You'd have to be inhuman not to quake in fear when she stares you down.
"Can't you forget what you read for a few minutes, and just... you know... go with the flow?"
The sunrise is spectacular, and it is the first that Edward has been awake to see in years.
"That's what you said last time. And the time before that. And," he added, dragging the feather upward with maddening slowness, "The time before that."
"Up," said the demon, as the blinding force of a million suns illuminated its frame and set an evil light to its eyes.
"Do we still have cucumbers? Or I guess I could transmute a mold, do you need this dining chair?"
"YOU HAVE JUST INTERRUPTED AN IMPORTANT TRIP. IF YOU WISH TO NOT BE BEATEN WITHIN AN INCH OF YOUR LIFE, YOU BETTER ABANDON THE TRAIN RIGHT NOW!"
He was not ready to be an uncle! He was ready, however, to hit things and curse.
He was also certain that if he gave in and laughed, Edward would hang up and never speak to him again.
Living dangerously had its perks.
For a few minutes they sat in silence, looking out over the sun-dazzled water. There didn't seem to be much to say.
"How is it possible for you to be so like him?" she whispered, nuzzling against his throat.
An alchemical reaction of the most ancient kind: sitting down to eat as though filling the stomach could replace the gap in one's heart.
As much as he loved his family, Alphonse Elric wouldn't have traded these moments alone for anything.
Any girl would be driven insane if she was the youngest child and the only girl in a family of six children.
Envy had to admit, Edward Elric's body was convenient for maneuvering around the people in a crowd.
Artificial muscles and steel could not replace the level of sensitivity real muscle and skin had.
Roy was far from at ease and he could not sleep, and so, instead, he watched Edward, feeling anxiety and guilt sink claws into his belly and tear into his mind.
While Al couldn't say he approved, he was certain the Colonel wasn't stupid enough to try anything with Ed on a first date.
The creature tilted its head, eyeing the two men to the side of her, and slid off its precarious perch.
"It's cold and dark and raining, and there are thugs roaming the street - brother, have a heart! He could be killed! He could become kitten stew!"
"I'm not being forced out of another home. They won't be here long, and it's not like they'll be looking for us."
Roy had arched an eyebrow, cleared his throat. "Can I ask what it is about my hand that merits such an intense examination?"
Al can see his handwriting -- which closely resembles the marks a tap-dancing spider might make if it fell in an ink pot first.
Not many people are close enough to his brother to have seen either of the first two with any sort of frequency.
There were many things that Edward Elric didn't want the world to know, secrets to be protected at all cost.
"You are so dead, bastard," Ed said, still in that dreamy tone, and took a step forwards.
He had never dared to dream that things could get better, astounded as he'd been by the way air tasted spilling over his tongue...
He had started to wonder if it was Edward or himself that was farther out of reach at the moment.
There were whispers behind him, words exchanged in a frantic flurry of hisses and low notes.
I had offered him something he couldn't deny, something he couldn't refuse: the blink of salvation and a flesh-and-blood body for his brother.
We were the naive kings of all we surveyed, lingering on the hilltop as we stared at our kingdom of ash, of ruins, of dust.
"Mother?" And his voice broke, shattered as he raced to her, arms wrapping around her thin body, embracing the image, the idea. "Mommy!"
There were good things about having Mustang around, least of which was when one forgot their matches.
"We'll have you patched up in no time." Edward announced, slicing the leather into short, precise strips. It was irrational, but somehow Alphonse hated those words.
... to prove his point, he wields his tongue as he would a pen, hastily spelling out the letters P-E-R-V-E-R-T with his saliva...
I noticed, Ed told him with as much edge as he could muster.
Death could come to Roy on his time. Appointment first. Lunch, maybe.
They would have had a bitter bitchfight had both suddenly not stopped and realized it was all Roy's fault.
Elysia glanced once more around the room. In her head, there were echoes, snatches of conversations, voices from people long gone, long dead. There were ghosts in this room.
What things Envy learns of his master's nature, of his future and his past alike, are those things which he has divined on his own, and nothing more.
"You'd be dangerous if you ever figured out what you wanted, Fullmetal."
Years later when they shipped him off on a belated honeymoon, Roy went without audible protest.
There was a loud crack, like the sound of several chopsticks simultaneously being snapped in two, followed by the sound of something heavy falling, the object hitting the ground so hard the earth literally shook beneath Ed's feet.
Here, all is one, one is all, but everything is also nothing.
But at least there was softness beneath the fear, and the eyes apologized to her for her pain, even when the lips did not.
It hurt, somehow, to know that there was no one now who could see past the mask if he didn't want them to.
"You should know better than to behave that way, Envy," said a voice against his ear, and he felt the warmth of breath as it feathered over the side of his face.
It was inconceivable to think that this could ever be called beautiful...but the same could have been said for her once, couldn't it?
The Colonel should, by all that is logical in the world, be less intimidating out of his uniform.
Yeah. Get it right and be honest, it's a little too good, a little too everything to let go of just yet.
Edward would speak to him, eventually. Any good dog would, and despite his obstinacy, the child could be trained.
She clung to him so tightly that his skin was white under her fingertips.
Oh, yes, Ed had ordered him not to speak, too. Couldn't forget about that.
Half the apple pie was still on a cracked plate on the windowsill, covered with a bowl so it didn't go stale before tomorrow, because it was all he had in the house.
"Did God," Scar asked softly, "mean for us to die?"
All he had to do was snap his fingers. Again. Again in this endless night of terror.
This new life was staggering - more so, the feel of Alphonse's shoulder, warm and flesh beneath his cheek as the train lurched out of the station.
He would come to understand later that what she meant was, I’m stronger than you.
Alphonse might not have been attractive in Envy's eyes, but what he currently represented was.
When she prayed the next day, she only whispered the bits about sin, because how could anything that felt that good be wrong?
He’s killing his brother slowly, but he has already promised to do it quickly; what does it matter?
Ed tosses four sausages at once into his mouth and swallows almost without chewing, shooting Al a smug, triumphant grin.
Ed meets his eyes, holds them, and then -- slowly, painfully, but deliberately, traces his free hand in a line across his throat.
If Al hadn't known how often the older boy feigned unconsciousness in order to stave off these visits, he might have been fooled.
Could I burn like that - would the lick of flames on my skin wipe me clean?
Humans were fools, and alchemists were the worst of the lot.
For an instant, a look passed between them, and Alphonse could almost imagine that he saw his own emotions reflected within the eyes of his brother.
I'm lying through implication, but the kid won't know that, and after all the stuff I've done, lying has gotta be my pettiest sin.
I've never regretted keeping you, Envy.
"...Sir..." he tried, beginning to compose himself again. "Don't you think...ah...that this isn't very professional of either of us?"
That was when the nightmare had begun, when the world had become stone walls, sterilized laboratories, and lights so bright as to make little red capillaries snake across both boys' eyes.
A small smile crept along her face--this visage made for mischief--and her tell-tale purple eyes narrowed.
Her original name had been Mary, like the mother of Jesus, and Hohenheim had found that noteworthy; something to comment on, if only in passing.
He made the slip-up not whilst in the throes of passion, but rather, sitting quite peacefully at the kitchen table, watching the slender blond cook.
There was uncertainty in those eyes, and wounded pride, but there was no less passion, and therefore, Roy was no less terrified.
"Don't worry," Greed had whispered. "I'll take care of your little death."
Sick, both of them, sick and inhuman, the sigils of the devil's research pressed against each other's skin.
The easiest way to destroy an enemy is to destroy those he depends upon.
The desire to go wandering again, to never settle down... it worried Alphonse.
Edward doesn't come back the next night, or the next.
Edward Elric was a fanciful new obsession, an action figure still bound to the cardboard by twisted-ties, and Kimbley had to find a way to properly take him out of his packaging.
Edward snaps awake at precisely three thirty-one in the morning, safe in a bed next to his one and only brother, and for the life of him he cannot imagine why.
To every outlandish, self-serving, and sometimes damn near suicidal thing that Edward Elric suggested, Jean Havoc would always reply mildly, with just a touch of good humor, "You're the boss."
He had to force himself to remember that he hadn't even known what Alphonse had been like in the flesh, but he was fairly certain that he hadn't been a polished and polite doppelganger of his older brother.
He looks like he wants to scold Ed for swearing, but is afraid to; at the thought, Ed forces his expression to soften, and gives his little brother a wan smile.
No public place was safe, a park, a grocery store, the laundromat. Archer would turn his head and there Greed would be, acting casual.
Edward was like on a dog on a too-short leash, so close to the bone but unable to taste it.
A hand was extended, and he finally, finally took it, even if he didn't use it to pull himself up.
Her lover could have been anyone; Edward or Alphonse Elric, Roy Mustang, Ling Yao.
Roy had not wanted to cry for many years; he hadn't wept since Ishbal.
Al sits in a doorway puzzling absently over the problem of what array to draw to bandage his arm before he bleeds to death.
Ed's scowl deepens. "Want us to leave and come back when we aren't virgins anymore?"
Bravado. Make them regret they ever talked to you.
Ed began to understand why some people talked to themselves.
"I'm told by Mr. Mason that you resisted being fed, and he had you punished for that."
The advantage to being so distinctive-looking was that sometimes Edward didn't have to look for people; they found him first.
In the winter months the ground was too hard to dig ditches, so instead they chipped rocks.
"Aww, is the rough and tough Elric crying for his dead brother?" sneered a voice in his ringing ears.
He grabbed the nearest inmate by the front of his shirt and hauled him up. "Where is he!?" he roared.
He thought, for a fleeting instant, that he ought to feel some kind of guilt—but he couldn’t muster any.
"Fuck, I have a gang," Ed breathed in horror, about to take a seat.
"You report here every Monday at eight o'clock in the morning, on the dot, and call me every other day. You fail to report or call, and your ass is grass."
The Colonel's laugh might have been relieved or wanting or even mocking; it was hard to tell.
The door opened, and all the energy Ed had been ready to put towards transmuting the door into a pile of sticks drained out of him through his feet.
"No funny business!" Ed thundered, not fooled for one minute by that innocent look.
Ed was pretty sure that the Colonel had an office fetish.
They were sharing a bed by necessity that winter, piling all the quilts onto one bed and hiding under them while the little radiator struggled to warm the small room.
Ed let out the barest squeak, then glared fire as if daring Roy to say anything.
A collection of short fics. Pairings and warnings listed individually.
rated:M-L | GEN S+S | Fullmetal |
Two things were constant in his life: His brother and blood.
Of all the castle's "guests," Roy was the only one not allowed to leave. Ever.
Once Envy could have killed Al with the mere scratch of a sharp black finger against those thick bloody lines.
Ed did precisely that, yanking down his shirt and attempting to close his jacket around what was a quite fine, if a bit incongruent, pair of breasts.
Ed did not love Roy. But he was utterly, completely, and hopelessly in lust with him.
The smart thing to do would be to cut and run, but somehow that just didn't seem manly. And Ed was not going to look like a girl in front of this creep.
"I know, I know, the deal is whoever's on bottom gets to pick your shape, but really, this is ridiculous."
"This will feel like home, soon," Greed said when he woke the first time in this bed.
He dragged through his last mission a true convert to the stone, the last shreds of self preservation stripped from him.
Inevitably, within five minutes of the door shutting, he has me wanting to put my automail in his face.
The air feels cold against Al's face, and even colder down his naked back.
It was so easy to want to do something, just because he could do it.
Ed knew he was going to muck everything up between the three of him if he didn't get a hold of his libido.
A small biological flaw, if one could even consider it that.
"Have you ever thought about becoming a daddy?" Wrath said.
"Oh my," the woman smiling broadly. "How CUTE. You are purring."
His first thought was that there was something fundamentally and frighteningly wrong with him.
Ed clapped his hands again and Roy felt distinctly cold in his nether regions.
There was a foul, slightly decaying scent that lingered cloyingly in his nose even after he turned his head to the fresh breeze.
Archer smiled. "You are no longer the darling of the Military, Mustang. I am."
The Fuhrer always used that word. Ripe. Like fruit to be devoured .
After three years, two months, fourteen days and five hours of anticipation, Roy heard a knock at the door to his house.
"So, Colonel, when are you going to find my replacement?"
Roy would have to remember to make Ed take a hot shower before sex; it would cut down on unpleasant cold shocks.
Al turned out to be damnably difficult to seduce, but Roy wasn't about to back down from the challenge.
"One of us was going to betray the other tonight."
"I've never met a pair of virgins more ready to jump off the sexual deep end, and you are hung up on a little social rule?"
If it weren't for the expression, Roy would have assumed that Ed had been sparring with Al as they frequently did while he was away at work.
The sun was up. It was time to start the day, but Roy felt exhausted.
Who knew how long it would take to find Al and take down those who'd conspired to feign his death?
So soft... so completely squeezable. It would take work to make this decadent man hard.
The resemblance to the first set was so uncanny that had he not known better, Ling would have assumed she was a twin.
Really, who said that a woman's sex life had to end at 60? An experienced woman had a lot to offer, and Pinako was quite, quite experienced.
"It's just a hazing, Elric," said the first voice, almost gently.
"You embarrassed the brass, and now they want their pound of flesh."
I have enough things to worry about without dragging you into my messes. Why did you have to be the one to come after me?
If it had been Mustang in charge, and not Archer, Ed would be down there right now, freeing Al. Mustang understood.
"What I did here was nothing out of the ordinary. You are lucky you were shown it so early."
But Mustang would hold onto his control easily, manipulating the boy to lose more and more of his.
It is her drive that makes Winry love her. It is the fact that her love doesn't weaken her.
Winry had scraped a promise out of Ed.
"Rose..." Winry's voice held hesitation, not sure as if she should finish her thought or not.
rated:M-L | S×S | Fullmetal |
A sin, to mar that innocence of sex, to put physical feelings with intellectual knowledge.
His vision was misted...almost comfortingly so. His hands were slathered in salve and bound with gentle gauze.
"I won't be an example!" He could still hear her voice wailing in his ear. "I'll choose how I die."
Sex isn't comfortable. It's wet, hard, satisfying, but never comfortable.
Ed started to worry that Al was sulking when the cat's neck snapped under Al's hands.
Dodge or block, it was still a whirlwind of events that could end up with him either winning or losing.
But he kept going back. She knew, and confronted him at one time.
If his past actions weren't reason enough to kill him, then this would be more than enough!
Ed had confessed that he had no idea how the relationships had started.
There was nothing more petulant on the face of the planet than Edward Elric when he felt he was owed something.
As far as Edward was concerned it could just take for-damn-ever if it wanted because that’s how long he could go without taking to the Bastard.
In the weeks that followed, the Major General begged, borrowed and stole minor assignments, anything to keep that brilliant mind occupied and the company close.
Ling tried to cover his way with sly smiles and clever lines; he played at being a fool (and did it very well), when he was anything but.
"Half the time you get surprised it's with some shit you didn't even want, the other half of the time you get surprised, you barely avoid getting killed."
"Yeah, so I hear the best way to get anything out of you is by going through your pants," the boy said evenly.
Ed was good; here they both were, trying to call each other's bluff.
There was no need to go rushing off into anything now that he had his flesh and memories back and life was becoming a living experience.
"I can't be this old and still a virgin," Ed snickered. "I mean, you've been with someone, right?
"You are the only one who has acknowledged me," she suddenly whispered , "since he's been gone."
"Your arm," said Al, smiling apologetically. "It's kind of heavy."
Ed peeked into the last box and began to grin. "Twelve-layer chocolate cake," he said. "Wow, a whole slice."
"This is disgusting," he said aloud, then poked his head through the door and yelled, "Brother! This is disgusting!"
He runs out of ink halfway through the page, and with a quiet sigh dips his finger in the inkwell...
"You're a lightweight," Roy said dryly, and smiled at the face Ed pulled. "That's enough for tonight, I think."
When he comes to, the blue light of the alchemical reaction is fading, and the air is thick with smoke.
The cheap ink has blurred and run, but Ed's memorized the gist: Riesenbul needs help; come sort things out.
A collection of 100 word ficlets.
A collection of 100 word ficlets.
When night fell in Ishvar, night vision or no vision, flares or no flares, there was nothing you wanted to do less than draw attention to yourself.
The thought that Elric might be hanging around, watching him like yesterday, was just too creepy to contemplate.
Ed woke up slowly, and wished he hadn't.
Breathing. Fuck, he did it every day of his life, why was it so hard all of a sudden?
The kid packed a pretty good punch, Greed thought idly.
rated:M-L | S+S | Fullmetal |
This is far more effective, Roy thinks grimly, than any threat of physical violence against his own self.
Typical Ed; overprotective, hypocritical, condescending, and for some reason fundamentally incapable of treating Al as an equal.
It's important that a little light always comes in, even if it's only enough to see shadows and outlines, and not words at all.
Fullmetal was starting to turn slightly purple, now, which definitely clashed with his coloring...
The momentary flash of grief and longing took him by surprise, as it always did.
"How do you manage to win, even when you lose?" he asked sleepily, some time later.
But still they see, from the languid, liquid (inhuman) grace of her walk, the sway of her movements, the tattoos on her skin that she is something not quite human.
"If I do not, I might begin to love you, whom I should hate."
It's almost as though Al is the blind one, seeking to memorize his brother's features by touch.
"You have no idea how good you look right now," Roy said.
"Fuhrer my ass," Edward said. "He's still nothing but a perverted old man."
Pillow talk, with the Fullmetal Alchemist, was shop talk.
Let it never be said that whatever his obsessive tendencies, Edward Elric was unable to enjoy life's simpler pleasures.
Nobody knocks at their house; there is only one person who ever comes and Edward doesn't need to knock.
But there would be no alchemy crackling to his command, not in this world, and the thought of swinging a weapon against this man left him cold in agony.
"Tonight," Roy breathed in his ear, tickling the hairs on the back of his neck, "there will be no safe word. Do you understand?"
The first thing he was aware of when the aftershocks faded was an automail hand on his throat.
Everything — Ed's wishes, his remaining dignity, even his trust — was going to have to come second to Ed's life.
"Just talking and showing won't help much. He needs to try things before he can get them right."
That was unacceptable. Anger was to be expected; disgust was not allowed.
Every statement directed at me now seemed to be prefaced with "you bastard." I didn't mind; it was as good a name as any other.
Somehow, this volunteer assignment wasn't starting out exactly the way she'd hoped it would.
The sweet morning snaps like a fragile pane of glass and Al is sobbing, the sounds tearing up out of his chest and throat before he can stop them.
Right. He saw their little game. They wanted to freak him out, break his mind into little pieces. He could resist.
"It was a while ago," he offered nervously. "Before your time. He's, uh, well, he was a persistent bastard, and... You're not mad, are you?"
This, too, was a pain that Edward had inflicted only on himself, but neither Roy nor Al had dared to say so.
Ed frowned slightly; that thought pushed dangerously at the border of sappiness.
Why was Ed still letting this fear haunt him? How long was the lingering pain of these old wounds going to hang between them?
She laughs to see the grand scholar on his stomach on the floor of the living room, reading his sons a fairy tale from a fat little book.
He was glad his expression rarely reflected what he felt on the inside.
"I am not obsessed with Edward Elric!"
He had lost everything in a heartbeat, on a chance, and deserted his brother, although against his will.
"So ...." Havoc tried to look nonchalant. "Fullmetal's hair is, uh ... bright."
Sometimes it was easy to forget she was a conscript. Other times, it was impossible.
"Apparently their mother never cautioned them to stay away from strangers with cars."
His boyfriend. He wants me to be his boyfriend. He's wooing me with gifts. I'm being courted!
It was, and he hated to admit it, an intriguing proposal. Ed wondered who the General had leaned on to get it written in just such a way to make his alchemic blood tingle.
"I know those court ordered anger management classes were years ago, but you've come such a long way."
If it didn't rain so often, Ed thought, he might feel a little more like he could make plans.
"We don't know for sure." Ed rested his chin on his metal arm, gazing unseeingly out the window. "But people go in there, and they don't come out."
...when he presses his hand against the scraped array and wills it to activate, he can't help but send a whispered prayer to it. Please work. Please, please...
It's the same nightmare all over again, but quieter this time.
"Pretty!" she says, and kneels to press her palms to the curls and knots chalked on the stones. "Papa! Did you drawed this? What's it for?"
He lay back on the couch (in Roy Mustang's office, where else?) and declared , "I'm not wearing this."
Ed did not want to die without seeing Alphonse again.
Before this war, he'd never wiped human blood off his automail.
"...If I...really went insane...I mean, completely lost my mind..." Ed said, carefully, "do you think you'd be able to stop me?"
Screaming or crying would have been appropriate. Edward Elric didn't care about propriety. He was laughing.
Mustang fell into a kind of trance whenever he killed with his flames -- snapping his fingers continually, sometimes so fast that both his hands blurred.
"Listen, bastard... Do you always have to do things the hard way? You never, ever make it easy for me."
"I forgot my....the ticky thing? It's...it's round and it...tells the time..."
Snuggling on the couch was perhaps the only place where their differences worked with each other, albeit briefly.
It wasn't enough just to know what chemical components went into a human body, not if the structural knowledge was completely lacking.
"Hi Brother!" the other end of the phone chirped, and Ed's shoulders immediately went from tense to jelly.
"So by 'torture,' you really mean 'sexual gratification'. Specifically your sexual gratification.
Envy was no poet -- one could say that he lacked a poet's soul -- but he did recognize beauty when he saw it.
Most people knew enough to leave Envy alone when he was so clearly unhappy.
In matters of love and loss, it could be argued, the principle of equivalent exchange did not exist.
He wanted Hughes to know how many lines he had crossed in his lifetime.
"That angel hated God's second born. He was jealous. Why was he so easy to cast aside and walk away from?"
It isn't often that our darkest fantasies get fulfilled.
There are some things that aren't to be tolerated.
Here's the game then: I'm gonna tell you what I want you to do, and you're gonna do it exactly as I say.
They were not used to being alone and when they were together they were not.
From saint to sinner, from mother to whoreâ€¦ She was far more beautiful in death than she'd ever been in life.
Predator-sleek and supple like a malignant-looking trickster, blurring the lines between human and inhuman, male and female, dead and alive.
Alchemy, the science of turning lead into gold, was never about actual, physical transmutation.
The blow cracked Ed's cheekbone, an audible noise in the quiet room, and he felt and tasted the blood that filled his mouth.
One never grew entirely accustomed to having nightmares, Ed had found.
Even now, when Envy was nowhere near him, he was still too close; he was still under Ed's skin, rubbing him raw.
There were lines that should never be crossed and things one should never wish for, and sometimes even the best of intentions were not enough.
Roy was silent when Maes came back several minutes later. If he heard the sounds of retching from the bathroom, he didn't say.
On the first night, he comes to her as her teacher.
"He's the Fullmetal Alchemist," Alphonse interrupted, tapping his pen against his clipboard. "Are you sure you're up to the task?"
"Damnit, brother," Alphonse managed, and Ed grinned at him. "I was only away for a week!"
Sometimes he feels like an actor, playing to an especially difficult audience.
"Stop that," he snapped, flicking the tap on. "Change into something a little more appropriate. You're not him, brother."
His ruse works; Ed dismisses him - with a harsh, impatient rejoinder that he isn't finished yet - and devotes his attention to his brother.
Boys shouldn't do this, either with their brothers or with any other boy.
...Ed looks bored, but Alfons knows that it's an act, that Ed loves learning and these impromptu history lessons are favourites of his.
"Don't worry about it," he says bossily. "I know what to do. Give me the book--don't close it--ah, thanks."
If he would permit himself to be honest, Alphonse would admit to Roy that he hates the rain, too.
"I know," Ed replies, and grins. "I mean, I can totally see why. Nobody else kisses the way I do."
There is only the Now, with Them, although They have not come for a long time.
They say that a wizard lives in the log cabin, on the other side of the dark woods and the silver river.
Wouldn't it be easier, after all, to slip from beneath the blankets and return to his own bed, all but unused for the past month?
It made a lovely picture, with the moonlight streaming in thick and silver under the curtains, and Edward silently cursed everything that came to mind...
As always, there was a spark of hope in the younger Elric's expression, and it dug its claws into him as it had every day for the past eight months.
This was always my favorite part of the day, when I could observe the wicked gleams of a glare I wasn't meant to see.
There was gold in the middle of midnight, and Envy smiled over his satisfaction.
"He misses me," came the quiet whisper, a hope that maybe this madness would end, that maybe, maybe, he could be released, that he could go home.
The first time was not a night of magic or fireworks, not something dreams were made of, not something that either of them planned on repeating again.
Sweet nothingness, just feeling, no Stone, no pesky mental commentary or guilt, and just this goddamn sensation that eclipsed the sun.
Wasn't young love grand, perfect as crystal, flawless as the summer overtures?
I know we're going to wind up in our power roles again and again, claws out, dipping hard, down into flesh that sprouts the sanctity of red, red, blood.
And then the Words were coming again, maddening addiction crawling straight down inside, making him itch, making him want.
The sheer naughtiness of it all was unexpectedly exciting, and she found herself trembling even before the cold steel met her skin.
He was only human though, and he had given into his rage at having to deal with Edward's dysfunction--and now Edward was gone, and it looked more and more like he might not be coming back.
His brother seemed to like it when the leather left marks, a residual token of ownership, even when the collar (by job-dictated necessity) had to be removed.
Endorphins then, that's what he's been missing.
He realized for the first time that Edward, who he was used to seeing shadowed by blood and sweat and his own private sorrows, was actually beautiful.
"You can't do that! This is a shounen series!" he hissed.
His name. His name on wet, bloody lips. Edward turned his face away, his lips in the long, dark hair.
After so many years in the dark, Edward Elric had discovered he had a libido after all, and it was unfortunately exacting its frustrated vengeance upon one Alphonse Elric.
There was a lot to be said for experimentation, Ed thought later, when Al was curled up in his arms as Winry fussed in the bathroom.
Roy had been among the rebels for weeks now, and he'd learned very early on that these men were dangerous, very dangerous.
He underestimates the little things, like how long it will take him to put his socks on in the morning, and she comes up the stairs when breakfast is long since over to find him crouched over a torn stocking, blinking back furious tears...
Now the eyes were dull, the gold frosted, and bitter lines caged his mouth.
He hates the military. Maybe he doesn't. Roy and straight-line thinking aren't on speaking terms anymore, though he likes to pretend.
Ed had his suspicions about any offer Roy Mustang made that sounded like what he wanted. There had to be a catch.
How do you condition the unconditional?
“Your latest expense reports left something to be desired. Why don’t you have a seat, and we’ll go over them.” “I’ll stand, thanks.”
“Are you all right, Loincloth Witch Alphonse?” “Y-y-yes,” the young hero stammered, feeling as though at any moment his heart might leap right through his ribcage.
The human body (or rather, the nearly-human homunculus body) is really an incredible thing.
There's a bit of a debate in classics over whether or not the Fates are the supreme beings of the world, whose power cannot be trumped even by Zeus, King of the gods.
Our history has produced mechanical science as its primary tool for technological advancement; the FMA history produced alchemy to the same ends.