Heaven is beginning to wear a little thin on Edward Elric.

The problem with a happy ending, Edward thinks as he stares out at their little lawn and its square bushes, now fast turning shapeless in the falling snow, is that he knows damn well he ought to be happy. Safe, secure, fed, Al is back, so many things he ought to be grateful for. "Ought" was becoming a very popular word in general, really. Maybe, he considers, staring out at the snow sullenly, he should look it up in the dictionary, see if it has his picture beside it yet.

It sounds as good as any idea he's had of late, so he turns on his heel and slinks into their growing library. Al has taken to collecting books the way he once collected cats; books are stacked everywhere around these two joined "parlor" rooms. Luckily most of these are used and cheap, else they probably wouldn't be able to afford it. The new government had given them a handsome severance pay when he'd gone off active duty as a State Alchemist, enough to buy this house yet, but not really enough pension to let them live amazingly well. He rather suspects Colonel Shit had a hand in that; it reeks of his subtle manipulation. Come back to us, the measly paycheck said every month. We'll pay you more if you only come back.

Fat chance of that. Ed runs a finger over a random leather bound spine, opens the book briefly, then discards it. What they can't afford, they'll transmute or they don't really need. Finally, after so many years, he has his brother back, his real flesh-and-blood brother. He doesn't need anything else. They have a house together (in Central still, for the moment; Winry is in Rush Valley anyway for her apprenticeship and somehow Risenburg seems too lonely and crowded at the same time. Too many memories.) By all rights, this should be a happy ending. By all rights, he's gotten everything that he's ever wanted.

Then why, why, why is there so much needless, frustrated energy?

He paces the room a couple times; tries to select a book, finds nothing that will let his eyes settle. He's tried blaming it on the winter, on being cooped up, on the snow, but nothing he hits on quite fits, and regardless, attempting to identify the cause of this malaise does nothing to solve it. He is in it every minute, every hour, of every day. Has dissected it, turned it over logically, picked it apart and still come up with no way to help himself.

The symptoms are thus: endless energy, a sense of restlessness, frustration. The urge to run until he has nearly killed himself; the urge to sleep until his eyes can't possibly stay shut any longer. The need to pick a fight, any fight, and just throw himself into it, to be able to get lost in things the way he used to, to be able to focus on something...

He is aware, again, that the only thing he's managed to focus on today so far is his lack of concentration. It is ironic and amusing.

He tilts his head back and laughs, harsh and bone-dry.

Maybe he should get out more, he thinks. Al is at the grocery store already though, and he's not sure where else there is to go in this neighborhood. Plus, it's snowing. He glances over at the cover of another random book (of the sort he is going to have to Talk with Al about, he realizes, blushing). Goes over to it. A picture of a flaxen-haired beauty about to be ravished by some wild and wicked daredevil, the content obvious before he even cracks a page.

Maybe he should take up masturbation. He tilts his head to the side, considering. It is one thing, admittedly, he has not tried yet to solve his problem. Repressed sexual energy, he recalls, can be said to cause "frustration". That kind of frustration is not something he thinks he's experienced, though—oh, he chokes the chicken every once in a while but really, getting off has never been all that boys say it is, on bathroom walls and in hushed, eager voices when no girls are around. Edward's mostly ignored it. Sometimes, there is hardness when he wakes up, but generally it goes away.

He looks down at the romance novel again. The girl stares mindlessly up at her man. The man supports her in her swoon.

What the hell, he thinks, and takes the book upstairs to his bedroom.

He gets a towel ready in advance and then curls up around it on the comforter, opens the book and begins to turn pages. Unfortunately, he remembers the problem with this kind of literature. The prose is terrible. He tsks to himself especially when he gets to the porn scene, a flowery affair with much mention of the girl being seduced by the scheming ne'er do well, whom he already knows is going to get thwarted somewhere around chapter nine or ten, and then the real hero can come to properly woo the woman. Not terribly interesting. He reads through the sex scene twice, hoping for a reaction, but it's not particularly doing anything for him.

He sighs, thumbs another page.

Here, the heroine has realized her error, but not before the villain has shown his true colors and shackled her in his storage shed in chains. He kisses her in a very flowery way and then leaves her to languish for a while as he goes about his Scheme, which of course will take place in chapter eight and die in flames by chapter nine, but he is less focused on that part now because all of a sudden his cock has finally decided to respond. Odd, he considers, but better late than never. He flips back to the sex scene again but then realizes the thought of stomaching through that many adjectives again (honestly, who calls a cock 'turgid'?) sort of turns his stomach, so he shuts the book and just gets to it the old fashioned way, with the palm of his left hand eagerly sliding down the front of his pants to make acquaintance with his real, and most definitely not 'turgid', cock.

He realizes he's forgotten the hand lotion.

Damn, he thinks, especially since he turns to look and the bottle he keeps by his bedside is mysteriously absent. He considers going to look, but it probably isn't strictly necessary. Sexual education manuals just advise lubrication made masturbation feel better, and well, he hisses, right about now this is feeling pretty damn good. He jerks his hip against his hand several times before he even bothers to unzip his pants; it just feels nice like this.

He lays back and gets going for real now, but unfortunately, before long, remembers why he doesn't do this very often.

It's not that it's particularly bad he thinks, rolling up onto his side a little to give his left hand better access. In fact, it's very nice. Touching his balls yields a rather crawling but pleasant tingly sensation; jerking his cock sends sharp, more intense jolts of pleasure up his spine. He could get off like this, definitely, and then he'll come all over this towel and go back to his regular life.

He already knows that isn't what he's looking for.

Irritated, he clenches his hand down unconsciously, and his next little thrust ends up hurting. "Fuck," he curses, but at the same time there is a subtle thrill shivering through his body, the same way one might feel when the last symbol of a difficult array slides into place. Interesting. He squeezes hard again and presses his hips, and his cock once again hurts because that chafes, but paradoxically, that also feels good.

Different kinds of stimulation... he thinks, and does it again, and this time it feels very good, and he groans and fucks his hand again, and again, and again, his cock screaming because yes, fuck, that also burns.

This, this is closer. He bites down on his lower lip and trembles a little at the strange blend of hurting and satisfaction. Fuck, that chafes. Ah, that's good. Maybe he should stop. No, no he shouldn't. Each hard stroke is tinged with uncertainty, and something in the back of his head is unwinding at that, a tense place uncoiling. If it hurts too much, he can always stop. He really, really doesn't want to stop.

He chokes up again, feeling the burn sear even greater with pleasure-pain, and wonders if there is any way he can possibly make it more than it already is, because what it is now is making him pant like it's summertime. He looks down at his automail.

He grabs his cock with his automail.

Carefully, though, very carefully—he has always been terrified he's going to catch the skin of it in the joints or something, so he's never used it. He just holds it there, watching the fingers as he closes them tighter—he has only basic proprioception with it and he doesn't want to pull the damn thing off or something—but it's okay, his cock tells him exactly when it's being compressed and not liking it. He squeezes just a little more past that.

I'm going to explode, he thinks giddily at the sudden throbbing that results. Ohhhh, fuck!

He flexes his hips, pressing his cock forward into his automail's grasp, and the burn is so blinding it's right on the edge of drowning out the pressure, sends lances of sensation up his front, down his legs, everywhere, everywhere...he can't help but gasp now, and then he gasp again, and again, and again.

When he comes, he comes so hard he's fairly sure his free hand tears the sheets, and that is his human hand.

For a moment, afterwards, he is so sensitive that he thinks he might never move again. He lies there and shivers, hypersensitized, and oh fuck, he has never had quite this feeling before. It's not even so much the orgasm as that endorphin rush from the pain getting to him; coupled with the orgasm, it's almost too much. Holy crap, he feels so good.

Holy crap, his cock also hurts.

He unwinds his automail fingers one by one, wincing a little now as the high starts to ebb. He looks down and is a little concerned to find that he's rubbed his cock red. He drops the automail hand immediately and explores the fading erection with his human hand, wincing a little when touching it proves to send shocks of raw-hurt-ouch down the length. It's not bleeding that he can see, which is good (and oh hell, he thinks now; how on earth would he explain that to a doctor, anyway!?). He cleans himself gingerly with the towel, which somehow he'd forgotten about in the moment and then manages to tuck himself back in his boxers at least before he realizes he's not really a fan of zipping his pants up right about now. He kicks them off.

Something about pain, he considers muzzily. No, endorphins. He's certainly not turned on right now, and he definitely aches. Endorphins then, that's what he's been missing. That's gone a long way toward fixing this inexplicable imbalance plaguing him. Running gives him an adrenaline rush, but endorphins, not so much, he's fit.

I should get Al to spar with me when he comes home, Ed considers sleepily, and crawls beneath the covers. He feels much calmer, more relaxed right now. He hopes it can last.

Heaven is back.