Step by Step

The room is dark.

This is to be expected; night is heavy upon the land and the moon is gone, and there are only the candles on the dresser, six of them, wavering softly in the breeze let in by the open window.

The room is not empty.

There are two figures, although pressed so close they seem to be one. They are both clothed, both wrapped around each other on a simple bed, the fabric beneath them cotton and white, glowing pale in the dim light; Alphonse's hair is spread over the equally pale pillow, eyes half-lidded, the corner of his mouth twisted up in a smirk.

"Finished yet?" he asks hopefully.

"Almost," Ed says, turning a page on the huge book balanced on Al's belly. "Hmm."

Alphonse sighs and tips his head back, fingers curling tighter around the book's edges. He's hard, his erection straining desperately against his pants, but his efforts to get Ed to notice this have so far failed spectacularly.

The problem with Ed, Al thinks wryly as he shifts in an attempt to alleviate some of the pressure, is that he's so damn single-minded. It was his fault in the first place—mentioning at the breakfast table that he'd like to move beyond the heated kisses, the hands down each other's boxers, the mouths wet and hot on each other's cocks; onto something else, entirely.

The problem was, neither of them knew how to go about doing this 'something else'.

"Books," Edward had said firmly one evening, after he'd given Al an exceptionally good blowjob. "I'm not gonna ask someone about that sort of thing. Think of rumours it would cause." He'd turned his head away, still licking his lips, and gazed thoughtfully at the rumpled sheets pooled by the side of the bed, where Al had kicked them by accident.

"Mmm," Al had replied intelligently, reaching for his brother and managing to bury his fingers in Ed's hair. "I agree." He'd kissed his brother, slow and sloppy and tasting himself in Ed's mouth; had pulled away and wiped up the excess saliva with the back of his hand. "Where are you going to start, then? I should imagine books on—s—s—sex between men aren't very common." He'd rubbed self-consciously at his cheeks, burning with the force of his blush, and tried not to see the wicked expression on Ed's face.

"I'll think of something," Ed had replied, flippantly, and jerked him forward for another kiss. "In the meantime," he'd breathed across Al's lips, when they parted, "It's time for you to return the favour you gave me."

Alphonse had glanced down their bodies, and laughed. "Sure," he'd said, teeth flashing. This much he was familiar with, at least.

"Okay," Ed says, his voice oddly without infliction, "I think I got it." He leans back and scowls; Al licks his lips and lets go of the book, unsure whether or not he should close it. It's a heavy, uncomfortable weight on his chest and stomach, but his brother still looks thoughtful, and Al is not certain whether it would be wise idea to risk disturbing him.

"We need oil," Ed says, abruptly, catching Al by surprise and making him jump. "The book says we can't have proper sex without oil. Steps one to four are all based on the application of oil, too."

"Oh?" Al asks, brows wrinkling together. "Why? What does the oil do?"

Ed opens his mouth to reply, and then stops. "Al," he says, slowly. "Do you remember when you were six?"

"Yes," Al replies, cautiously. "What has that got to do with—"

"—And you got that key ring stick on your finger because you thought it was a wedding ring and you were playing around with it?" Ed continues, overriding him effortlessly. "And mom took that olive oil from the kitchen and smeared it over your finger, so she could pull the ring off easily? That's why we need oil now."

"I don't—oh. Oh," Al says, and blushes a brighter red than his brother ever wore, during their quest, as the implication sinks in. "To make your... thing... fit easier?"

Ed nods, and gives him a grin. "Don't worry about it," he says bossily. "I know what to do. Give me the book—don't close it—ah, thanks."

He rests it open on the bedcovers beside Al, who cranes his head and lets out a muffled squeak at the illustrations. "Br—brother," he says, and Ed flashes him a grin. "Are you—sure? Because—that looks like it might hurt—"

"Only if you do it wrong," Ed replies with a shrug. "Stay right here, Al, I'm gonna go transmute the oil." He pushes himself off the bed, muttering phrases like not too thick and must not be harmful to the skin; pauses at the door frame and tosses Al a warm smile over his shoulder. "Look," he says, and winks. "You'll be fine, okay? So just relax. Be right back."

Al blinks at him, and then rubs self-consciously at his cheeks. "Yeah, well," he mutters, nudging the book away slightly with his foot, "I already knew that, brother."

He still hasn't plucked up the courage to examine the pages by the time Ed returns, metal hand closed around a tea-cup of some pale, transparent substance. Alphonse watches as his brother sets it down on the bedside cabinet; licks his lips nervously and scrunches back up the bed as Ed climbs onto it for the first time. "Okay," his brother says, and rubs his hands together. "I tried to make it warm, 'cause it said in the 'handy tips!' section that cold oil there can really, really suck."

A part of Al still marvels that he can hear the exclamation mark; another shivers and asks, "What's step one?"

"Application of the oil," Ed answers promptly, and turns sharply to examine the book. "But first, we need to decide on a position. The illustration here indicates that I have to bend you over something, but the only thing suitable is the desk... Maybe if we cleared it?"

Alphonse gulps, but Ed is already squirming off the bed, book in one hand, lube in the other. He sweeps his papers off the desk with the book; sets the oil on the corner, and the book open and shoved back against the wall in the centre. "Come over here," he says, and frowns. "Take your pants off first, if you can."

Al blinks at him and then glances down, then gulps and undoes his belt with sharp, jerky motions of his wrists. His pants fall by themselves when he steps off the bed, pooling around his ankles; he kicks them off and hesitates, fingers curled around the waistband of his boxers. Ed is staring at his crotch with an avid expression, and he realises, somewhat dizzily, that his erection must be very obvious.

Even knowing this, it's difficult to pull his boxers down, to stand before his brother stark naked and let Ed's eyes roam hungrily all over his nude body. Ed is smiling, though, and Al knows that if his brother was not pleased by the sight of him naked, he would not have been sleeping with Al for as long as he already has; with this in mind, he manages to take the steps over to Ed from the bed, and no sooner is he in arm's length than Ed lashes out and grabs hold of him, pulling him in, stumbling, for a kiss.

They part with a small gasp—Al curls his hands around the back of Ed's neck, leaning into his older brother for support—and then Ed's hands are running down his spine, around to his hips. "You're a good kisser," Ed says lightly, and leans up to give him another peck on the lips, drawing away before Al can properly reciprocate.

Ed's hands are pushing him, turning him and easing him over the edge of the desk. Al clutches at the edge and bites his lip, his cheeks burning bright red and his eyes squeezed shut; but Ed strokes a hand down his spine, and says, gently, "Hey. Are you sure—?"

"Yes," Al hisses, the book open beneath him, the edge of the pages pressing against his collarbone; there's a clink beside him as his brother dips his hand in the teacup. It's his good hand, and he brings it back shining wet; Al looks down at the wood of the desk, and lifts his hips a little. "Brother," he says, as Ed places a metal hand on the small of his back; it's cold and he wriggles away from it. "Go slow, okay?"

"'course," Ed says lazily.

Al grits his teeth when the cold fingers slip between his buttocks, slick with the oil and feeling... odd, contact where he'd never expected contact before. Ed's metal hand drifts to his hip, forming something for Al to brace himself against as his older brother slips the tip of his index finger. inside; Al starts and squirms uncomfortably.

"Bear with it," Ed says shortly, and waits for him to stop before continuing.

His brother does go slow, waiting for Al's body to adjust before pressing on. And it stops being uncomfortable and embarrassing; by the time his brother has two fingers inside he cranes to peer over Al's shoulder, looks down at the book and then leans back and shifts his fingers just... so.

Al lets out a gasp at the flickering bolt of sharp pleasure, arching along his spine, and his brother shifts. "Did I find it?" Ed asks, hopefully; Al leans forward, over the book, and just concentrates on breathing. Nobody had said it could feel like that; if they had, he'd've been a lot less reluctant about the whole thing.

"Y—yeah," he murmurs, when he thinks he can speak again. "W—what is it?"

"Never mind," Ed replies cheerfully, and slips his metal arm under Al's chest, lifting him up and off the book. "Hmm. Steps one, two, three and four completed."

"What were they?" Al asks, vaguely, and tilts his head to peer at his brother over his shoulder. "Brother?"

"Step one was finding the oil, step two was putting it on my hand, step three was putting my fingers inside you, and step four was finding your prostate," Ed says matter-of-factly. "Step five... step five... Al, your erection is in the way of step five, can you move to the side, please?"

Al blushes furiously and ducks his head, shifting a little. "I can't help the way my body reacts," he mutters, as Ed leans forward and runs an automail finger along the little lines of text. "I mean, I'm human now, and this is part of being human, right?" He pauses. "Brother, what's taking you so long?"

"Hmm," Ed says, and leans back. He unzips his pants and climbs out of them; pushes his boxers to the ground, and then closes his hand around his own hard cock. Rather than stroking, as Al expects, he holds his automail hand out next to it with the fingers folded. "I think we need three fingers, not just two."

"Does it matter?" Al spits, frustrated.

"Yes it does," Ed replies, with a sniff. "The book says I need to ensure that you're stretched enough to accommodate the width of my—my penis, and the book has to be right."

Al slaps a hand to his face and just groans, as his brother grabs hold of him and manhandles him back into position. "We should put some sort of film over the book," Ed says, with a frown. "Because otherwise you're going to come over it, and that'll damage it and you can't damage books—"

"Shut up and touch me," Al snarls, spreading his legs and bracing himself with his feet far apart. "Otherwise I might spontaneously combust and damnit, brother, that'll ruin your book a lot more than some come will."

"You're pushy," Ed says, surprised; but dips his fingers in the oil once again. Al squeezes his eyes shut as first one, then the second, are slipped into his entrance; and then bites his lip as the third passes the tight ring. "Stay still," Ed warns, as his fingers move—stretching Al from the inside, brushing past that place again and allowing heat and pleasure to mix in with the ache and occasional little needle of pain.

"Brother," he whispers, fists clenching on the edge of the desk. "Brother—oh, god—please—I think I'm ready for your—your—your thing, please hurry—"

Ed draws his hand back slowly, and drapes himself over his younger brother again. His body is somewhat smaller than Al's, though still filled with a wiry strength; he presses a kiss against the centre of Al's back and reaches out to touch the book, shifting it. "Okay," he says, "We're done with steps one to four."

"That's a relief," Al replies dryly, and his brother snorts as he shifts and, once again, dips his good hand into the teacup. This time he draws it back and takes hold of his cock, stroking it and slicking it with the oil; he wipes his hand on Al's thigh when he's done, somewhat casually, and receives only a sharp, "Hey! Brother, that's disgusting."

"It's going to go in you, Al, I don't see how it's only disgusting if it's on you," Ed retorts, testily, and Al snorts. "Now, step five is complete... step six comes with a fold-out diagram, I believe, so Al, if you don't mind?"

Al unfolds the diagram, stares at the paper, and manages a squeak at the sight. "That's—that's—that's going to be my ass?"

"It won't feel as bad as it looks," Ed answers, and then hesitates. "Probably. But in any case, if it repulses you so, moron, close your eyes. I need to see what I'm doing."

"I thought you'd already read this thing!" Al snaps, his blush spreading from his cheeks to his jaw and working downwards.

"I had," Ed replies, and frowns. "But the practical is always different from the theory, Al, you know that—"

"It's sex, brother, not a chemistry experiment!" Al sputters, and his brother sighs.

"You're making too big a deal about this," he says. "Sex is part of biology. Therefore, it's a science-related matter and should be approached as such—"

"No it isn't!" Al flares. "It's a lot more like cooking—you take the original recipe and improvise, brother, you don't stick to the rules—"

"I'm not having this conversation with you right now, damnit!" Ed snarls, and there are abruptly hands on Al's hips, pinning him down. "Step six indicates I should place the tip of my cock at your—..."

"Brother?" Al says, voice oddly flat, in the abrupt silence. Ed's hands on his hips are trembling, his body shivering with tension; Al hesitates, but presses ahead anyway. "That's my thigh, brother. Can you, uh, reach my ass in this position?"

"Of course I can!" Ed thunders, but Al is shaking his head before he's even finished.

"Without a foot stool, I mean," he says, and bites his lip. "Speaking of which, I don't think we have one—maybe we should do this in another position?"

Ed's hands tighten, and his brother leans forward, pressing his face into the small of Al's back. "I'm not a midget," he whispers, disconsolately. "I'm not too short to fuck you properly. I'm not."

"Brother," Al whispers, aware that he's signing his death warrant, "You are. You have to be, to—uh—I'm sorry."

Ed makes an odd noise into his skin, part maniacal laugh and part hysterical sob, and Al gulps nervously.


"I didn't say that, though, brother!" Al wails. "I said we should try again in a different position!"


Awkwardly Al twists himself around, the edge of the desk pressing into his lower back and knees bent crooked, and wraps his arms around his brother's naked waist to help his balance. Ed is bristling with his anger; but he's careful not to shift, to let Al cling to him as he needs, and doesn't object when Al presses a kiss against his chest, right next to his left nipple. "Brother," Al whispers against lightly bronzed skin, "We can't give up now. Let's just—keep looking?"

Ed takes a deep breath—and then lets it out, in one long huff. "Yeah," he says, and pushes himself back up, dragging Al along with him. "Go lie on the bed," he says, reaching for the book, "I won't be long."

"If you're sure," Al murmurs, releasing his brother reluctantly but leaning in for a quick kiss, more a meeting of lips than anything else. He sprawls on his back over the bed covers, stark naked and with one leg hooked over the bed post; drums out the rhythm from a song he'd heard playing on the radio earlier on the sheets with one hand as he stares up at the ceiling, trying to count how many tiles there are. He's aware that it's all a ploy, that he's desperate not to think of his cock, hard and full and hungry for attention, or his brother, naked and golden and on his elbows on the desk, golden eyes flickering intensely from page to page.

And when his hand stills with the refrain, slips over his side and over his chest and down the plane of his stomach towards his erection, he is somehow unsurprised when Ed's voice rings out, sharp as a whip crack. "Stop that, Al," his brother says, and stands up, the book in his hands. "I think I got it. Make some room for me."

He wets his lips and rolls over onto his back as his brother climbs onto the bed, and then thumps the book down over his chest; the motion makes him wheeze and gasp for air, winded. "Sorry," Ed says vaguely, and frowns. "Okay, spread your legs for me, Al?"

"B—brother!" Al hisses, horrified. "Do you realise what that sounds like?"

"We've got this far," Ed says, curling an arm around Al's thigh and hefting it, "Don't get all bashful on me now."

"I'm not!" Al protests hotly. "You're just using some—really—really odd words and I'm not sure I'm comfortable with them and oh God what is that?"

"My cock, Al," Ed grumbles, and Al licks his lips. He can feel the tip of it between his buttocks, pressing against his entrance; funny how it can feel different there to how it's felt so far, in his hand or his mouth. "Lift your hips a bit."

"I—sure," Al says nervously, shifting slowly. His brother doesn't press ahead immediately, instead worming a hand up, past his erection—Al squirms as Ed brushes it accidently—and stops below the book, pressing out flat over Al's stomach. "Brother?"

"Are you sure?" Ed demands, again, his golden eyes piercing. "'cause I'm not going ahead with this is you don't want it, moron."

"Yes," Al says, forcibly, and flashes him a grin. "It's just—I haven't read the book, so it's all a bit surprising for me—"

"Al," Ed says, and grins. "Just leave it all to your big brother, okay?" Al hesitates, wondering why those words make him all the more nervous, but eventually nods. "I'm gonna push in, okay?" Ed adds; his hands slide down to grip Al's hips tightly. "Just put your legs on either side of my torso—yeah, like that."

His grip provides a kind of support as his own hips jerk forward; Al lets out a startled yelp at the penetration. "Brother!"

"Sorry," Ed grunts, "It's nearly in—there, that's all of it. Tell me what I can move?"

Al bites his lip and shifts a little, caught off guard by the new sensation of fullness, and frowns. "Is that—all of it?"

"Yeah," Ed says, and grins proudly. "You did pretty well, Al, didn't bitch or ask me to—"

"Hmm," Al interrupts, squeezing his thighs slightly. "I could've sworn you were bigger than that."


"No, I didn't mean in a bad way—" Al stammers, and reaches out, managing to touch Ed's cheek. "It's just that when I give you head, your c—your penis always seems really big, and now—"


Al heaves a sigh, and caresses Ed's cheek gently. "I'm sorry," he says, and smiles hopefully. "I still love you, even if you aren't as big as, say, a cucumber."

Ed snorts, tossing his hair back, and nuzzles a little closer to Al's fingers. "Yeah, well. Fine. But you wouldn't want a cucumber-sized cock in you anyway, damnit."

"No," Al agrees smoothly, "I wouldn't. So I guess you're just the right size." Ed lifts an eyebrow, a proud smirk on his face, and Al huffs an internal sigh of relief that he can manipulate his brother so easily. "I think I'm ready," he adds, and flashes a grin. "Thank you, brother."

"Oh, you are? Good," Ed says, and removes one of his hands from Al's hip to turn the page. "Okay—" and he rocks his hips back, sharply and without warning, leaving Al to gasp at the sensation, and pushes in again; watches Al's face intently over the top of the book. "Step seven indicates I have to find that spot I found with my fingers—hold still."

"Like—I—could go anywhere," Al gasps, his fingers curling tightly into the sheets, twisting them underneath him, as Ed draws back and thrusts in again, each roll of his hips igniting a trail of pleasure that bolts from his toes throughout the rest of him, waltzing up his spine and to his face to bring out a blush in his cheeks.

And then Ed stops half-way through a thrust, scowling down at the book, and Al thinks he might have to murder his sibling. "Brother," he snarls, "What—come on—hurry up, don't stop—"

"I haven't found your prostate yet," Ed says primly. "I need to slow down so I can try harder. You'll have to cooperate with me on this, Al—"

Al slams the book shut and tosses it to the side. It falls off the bed with a thunk, and Ed flinches; before he can pull out and run to save the damn thing, Al fists his hand in Ed's braid. "Forget the book," he growls, as Ed stares at him wide-eyed, "Just—keep on doing what you were doing before, brother! Please?"

"But—the book," Ed says, uncertainly, and Al hisses between his teeth. He's so damn close, he can feel it; gives Ed's braid a sharp yank and snarls, "Just fuck me."

"Al!" Ed manages, shocked, and Al just sets his jaw and scowls at him. It works; Ed rocks forward again, at first awkwardly, but then with the assured confidence he'd had before. Al wraps his hands around his brother's shoulders, short nails leaving long scraped white lines in his brother's skin; he arches his spine and gasps as Ed shifts a little and oh, god, he found it, he found it, and suddenly it's all too much and the universe goes up in a flare of white.

He's dimly aware through the haze of his brother moaning and supposes Ed must have followed him over the edge, as well, but he can't find it in himself to be overly concerned. Nevertheless it is a nuisance when he finally returns to full consciousness to find Ed slumped boneless over him, spattered lightly with Al's come and still inside him. "Brother," he says, shifting away and then wincing. His ass hurts—not badly, and certainly no worse than his whole body had after a typical day training with their Master, but still. Ow. "Brother," he says again, "Get out of me."

Ed grunts, and flops an arm pathetically against Al's abdomen, accidentally brushing his little brother's cock. Al hisses at the contact on the hypersensitive skin, and then just sets his hands on his brother"s shoulders and pulls himself off him, wincing as the movement awakes aches and twinges.

He doesn't really want to move anywhere, though, and ends up sprawled over the covers about a foot away from his brother. And somehow he isn't surprised when Ed wriggles up next to him, nuzzling into his collarbone; just wraps an arm around his brother's side and buries his face in soft golden hair.

"So," he says, when he thinks Ed's mostly coherent. "I guess you didn't need the book that much, then?"

"Yes I did," Ed mutters, too stubborn to give in. "Otherwise we'd've failed when it came to the desk and me—you being too tall, right?"

"I don't know, brother," Al says cheerfully, "There was always the option of a stepladder."

Ed hits him with a pillow.