Roy lay still, his head resting on his forearm and cocked slightly to watch the rise and fall of Ed's flat, smooth chest. The blond boy was sprawled out comfortably on his back, fast asleep and oblivious to the rest of the world. His mussed hair was spread out over the pillows; it shone like white gold in the traces of moonlight that came in through the curtained windows. His lips were parted slightly, and there was an almost angelically androgynous ethereal beauty to his calm, young face.
He feels safe here, Roy mused. He can let himself truly be at ease. He sighed heavily and resisted the urge to reach out and possessively stroke the blond's cheek.
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. The younger alchemist had assured him, over and over, that he would not regret it, but it was Roy who felt fear-tinged repentance leeching the colors from his world. It stole his peace of mind just as surely as his maddening desire for the act he now regretted had stolen it before. There was no rest for the wicked.
He swallowed hard and clenched his teeth. Mustang was not a pious man, but there were some sins that were obvious, even to the unreligious.
He's still a child! part of his mind shrieked at him, then and now. Then, in an attempt to force him to confront the reality of his own misdirected lust, the enormity of the sin inherent in even the idea. Now, in a vicious, endless cycle of repetitively dumbstruck horror that he'd actually, finally acted upon his physical cravings for the boy. He's only fifteen! He's half your age!
He consented, he snarled back silently at his conscious. If he's old enough to join the military and perhaps be sent off to war to kill people, he's old enough to consent to sex. He knew what he was doing. He understood what he wanted.
Of course, he consented; he's a horny teenager and you're his commanding officer! He's supposed to do what you say.
Roy flinched slightly, his mouth turning down in an unhappy grimace.
And he's only in the military at such a young age because you enabled him to be, the voice continued, poisonously accusing. He has no more right to be on a battle field than in your bed.
Bitterness filled his mouth. He couldn't argue with the truth of that. The debate in his head settled down for a few moments, and he looked over at the gently sleeping figure lying next to him.
He's mature for his age. Ed's not like most teenagers. He's very intelligent, and his intelligence has led him down a dark and dangerous path. He's had to grow up quickly and grow up young.
So you decide to take the last little shred of innocence he had left? his conscious snapped back.
I didn't take anything! He agreed to it!
You seduced a fifteen year old boy! No matter how you look at it, it's wrong! It's wrong even if he sits down in your lap naked and asks for it. Wrong, Roy. Wrong.
He'd have blown me to high hell if I tried to force him into doing anything he didn't want to do! Fullmetal isn't a push-over; he isn't gullible or easily-led.
You've steered him onto certain paths before, though, haven't you? Used him like a little wind-up toy, pointing him in the right direction and sending him dancing unknowingly on to do just what you wanted him to do? Haven't you strategized within his blind spots before?
A low, ragged horrified noise slide past Roy's lips, and he shut his eyes, trying to ignore his clenching stomach, twisting his hands into the pillow.
Ed shifted, his automail hand clutching the corner of the blanket up to his face in an endearingly childish gesture of comfort, and Roy froze. He didn't want to disturb the boy; it was late and he needed to get all the sleep he could. Confrontations and awkwardness could be postponed until morning. The blond's breathing was still deep and slow in slumber, and the older man relaxed, running his eyes down Ed's muscular torso. The darker scars bleeding out from under his steel automail arm onto the tanned flesh of his shoulder and the rigid, ugly, inhumanness of the prosthetic itself only served to make him lovelier; it was the flaw that showed his true beauty and strength.
Roy had heard that in distant lands the rug makers deliberately wove a single error into otherwise perfect works of textile art in order to show humility to God, as only He could create perfection. Ed had attempted to play God, and in return God marred him to remind him of his own humble mortality.
He had been eleven...
Roy closed his eyes again, trying to blot out the ache in his own heart. Ten and an orphan. Eleven and a cripple. Twelve and in the military. Fifteen and taken as a lover by his commanding officer who is twice his age. Life was more than unfair... Life was a cruel joke.
Fifteen... Fuck, when I was fifteen I was still playing games with my school friends.
Playing with male friends and wishing that they'd just shut up about how pretty girls were and notice how me, notice how I looked at them. Wishing that I could tell them how I felt, how I wanted to feel their firm, hard bodies pushing against mine as we kissed... yet not saying a word, knowing that they would hate me and beat the shit out of me for being a faggot. They'd never understand, never accept.
Maes understood. Maes knew.
Roy bit down on a harsh, half-choked cross between a laugh and a sob. Maes understood, but that hadn't stopped him from falling in love with someone else—a woman—and marrying. It hadn't stopped him from bragging about his marital bliss even as he promised to still support him.
I'll go in from below and help push you up to the top, he'd said, and Roy remembered the gleam of faint amusement in Hughes's green-hazel eyes. It had been a subtle joke; even at a time like that Maes was still teasing him, reminding him of the dynamics of their old relationship, the one that burned in them fiercely long ago, before Gracia, before Ishbal, when every bit of love and devotion was expressed in unabashedly physical ways.
It hadn't stopped him from harassing Roy to settle down and get married himself, though Roy knew why Hughes harped upon the theme. It was for the same reason as his endless string of female dates and reckless flirtations... to hide the inappropriate desires for his fellow soldiers that would get him thrown out of the military in a heartbeat.
Maes had known how much Roy needed him, how much he loved him, but that still hadn't stopped him from dying.
Maes... Roy cursed softly into his pillow, feeling his eyes burn with unshed tears. Sometimes, he could swear that he still caught whiffs of the other man's scent around the office; there were times when the phone rang and Roy's heart leapt up into his mouth and his fingers felt numb and giddy with excitement...and then he heard the voice on the other end and remembered, once more, that Hughes was dead.
So... What? Am I using Ed to fill that place in my life and heart? Seeking acceptance at last with a young boy on the edge of becoming a man, like I can't move past that phase in my own life?
So which one of us has maturity issues again?
The cool touch of a hand upon his bare back made him startle and curse again, instinctively snapping his bare fingers before he focused on Ed's amber eyes regarding him. Roy opened his mouth to speak, but no words came out; the river of speech was dammed up in his tightly restricted throat.
"Colo... Roy," Ed said, his voice firm. "Go to sleep."
Roy shook his head mutely, still struggling with language. "I... I'm alright, Edward," he managed. "Go back to sleep."
"Roy," Ed repeated himself stubbornly. "You've been awake all night."
He was quiet for a moment, and Roy waited, knowing that Fullmetal had more to say.
"Do you regret it? Do you... wish we hadn't? Is that what's on your mind?" Ed turned away, then looked up again, staring into Roy's eyes with that power of determination that made Ed a formidable force to be reckoned with. "I still don't, you know. I told you I wouldn't, and I don't. I don't regret anymore. I do what I want to do—what I need to do—and I accept the consequences, and I keep walking. That's... That's the only way to keep living sometimes."
Roy paused, his thoughts turning and chasing their tails in his head. The morning birds were beginning their delicate songs in the dark outside his window, and the moon was setting. He reached out to brush Ed's bangs back from his face, only to have his hand smacked impatiently away.
"I guess so." Ed sat up, and while his long hair blocked his expression, Roy could hear the cutting edge of bitter disappointment in his tone.
"No." Roy was surprised at the sound of his own voice in the stillness. "I don't regret it for my sake. I regret it for yours."
Ed glanced over at him, gold brows rising, then snorted softly. "It doesn't matter. What's done is done."
Roy sat up as well and wrapped a strong arm around his young lover's waist, pulling the reluctant boy back against him. He inhaled the musky fragrance of Ed's neck, tracing the smooth skin with his nose, and his hands rested against the taut muscles of his abdomen.
"What's done is done," he agreed.