Havoc had gone out for an evening of dinner and dancing with Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan (eternally scorned, forever snubbed by the true object of her affections, she had more than likely settled for something she had considered 'second best'), Lieutenant Hawkeye was taking one of her (extremely rare) sick days, and the other members of Roy's staff had punched out by the time he finished sorting through his piles of reports and requisitions, and for a moment he stared around his empty office and considered.
Without thinking, he picked up his telephone and dialed the dorms.
"What?" came Edward's voice from the other end of the receiver, slightly sleepy and hopelessly annoyed—he must have just gotten back from Dannensfeld, and Roy considered hanging up, or perhaps telling the blonde to forget about it, but he gritted his teeth and plunged forward.
"I've finished up for the day," he informed the youth casually, jamming the receiver between his cheek and shoulder as he rummaged around in his desk and started pulling on his gloves. "If you'd like, I know a nice place on—"
"I've told you, time and time again!" Edward interrupted him, in an irritated whisper, keeping his voice low and undoubtedly cupping his hand over the receiver to keep his brother from listening in. "You don't have to butter me up before you fuck me—I'll be waiting at your house in a few minutes, bastard."
Click. Roy sighed, hearing the dismal hum of the dial tone in his ear.
"...I only wanted you to try their steak," he said hollowly to the buzzing receiver in his hand.
Edward assaulted him as soon as he was in the door, pushing his shoulders back against the wall, knocking the coat-rack painfully on top of his head, and biting at his lips with an impatience that suggested that the blonde had even given up self-gratification while he was on his missions in favor of taking out all of his sexual aggression on his perfectly passive commanding officer. There was nothing to be done for it, really; Roy hoped that, as more time went on and the intensity of their trysts ascended to a passionate fever pitch, that Edward would give it up, that he would would one day walk out the door, and accept the older man's proposals for what they were—evenings of coffee, not carnality,—but that day seemed farther and farther away with each evening that Edward would knock aside the hand that tried fruitlessly to stroke through his hair, and jam it artlessly down his pants.
"You shouldn't...say such incriminating things...through the military telephones," he panted disapprovingly somewhere around the middle, and jerked his shoulders uncomfortably.
And Edward, from far up above him, much more concerned with roping the man to the headboard with some leather transmuted from his pants, only replied with an infuriatingly smug: "Then you shouldn't participate in such incriminating actions under the military's nose, no?"
It was a pattern of vicarious violence that Roy was slowly starting to understand. Edward, he knew, lashed out him because he felt entirely helpless in the face of his encompassing attraction, but most importantly, he lashed out at him because the older man would take it; would smile grimly through the bruises and bites, would pretend to be annoyed and sometimes even stern when his companion reached orgasm yet still left him hanging, but couldn't help but let that damnable softness show in his eyes.
He wondered, tonight, as the teen groaned long-sufferingly but let himself be pulled into a post-coital embrace, if Edward was even grateful for his paternal patience. Depressingly, he doubted it—Edward, unbelieveably, probably thought that he was the one who was getting the shitty end of the bargain, which was just plain laughable.
"I need to go home," the blonde was mumbling into Roy's clinging embrace, "I only told Al that I'd be gone for a few hours."
For a moment, the dark-haired man hesitated, and held on even tighter, taking a deep breath and feeling his shoulders start to shake minutely.
"...I love you, you know," he said out loud, letting the words fall janglingly on the boy's nerves from the too-hot bedroom air. He wasn't sure if he was trying to convince his companion of that fact or himself.
For a moment, Edward froze and seemed to die, before pushing away disgustingly and starting to put on his clothes.
"No, you don't," he grumbled peevishly as he pushed through the bedroom door, leaving it banging slightly ajar, "because if you did, you wouldn't make me so goddamned angry."
There was much to be said on the subject of love, Roy decided, as Havoc moped and told, disconsolately, the story of his failed romance with Lieutenant Colonel Pearl Jonathan, complete with elaborate hand gestures and mockly shrill falsetto. All of the colonel's conclusions, however, whether he focused more on firebird or fraternization, always led him to the same conjecture:
Love fucking sucks.
Another month went by in the fifteenth year, and Roy telephoned Edward again.
"We are going out to dinner," he ordered without preamble, taking a perverse delight in the annoyed growl that inevitably followed, "and you are going to like it."
He hung up before the blonde even had a chance to argue.
In the Chateau de Chauntaire, the restaurant in East City that was most notorious for it's fabulous food and fucking formidable prices, Edward finally let his proverbial ball(s) drop.
"I don't want to do this, anymore," he admitted quietly, looking uncomfortable and distinctly out of place in his trademark red coat and combat boots, amidst the sea of bourgeois businessmen in black suits, slowly and methodically ripping his napkin to shreds.
Though he knew what was coming, Roy was not the type to accept defeat without a fight, and so he smiled as best as he could through his gritted teeth. "This?" He gestured around to where busboys in penguin coats were summoned with silver bells, and shook his head. "The atmosphere—I understand, right. Next time, we'll go someplace less intimidating."
"I'm... I'm not talking about the location," Edward clarified miserably, choking a bit on his words and keeping his eyes focused unwaveringly on the plate of bouillabaise he had ordered for the evening. "I don't—I don't want to go out with you, I just wanted to h-have sex with you, and—"
The irony of the situation was fucking preposterous.
"Oh, I understand that perfectly fine," Roy assured him grimly, leaning across the table with his hands folded over his mouth, smile brittle and cruel. "I only ever wanted to be a father to you, after all."
For a moment, the blonde looked struck dumb with terror, eyes and mouth gaping uselessly, but he clicked his jaw shut and swallowed audibly, shoulders shaking noticeably. "I...I see." He looked up, and his smile was deceptively bright as his eyes bled unforgiveably onto the tablecloth between them. "So, all this time...? You...humored me, was it...? A-Ah...thanks."
It had been goddamned childish of him to lash out so petulantly in anger, and Roy wanted nothing more than to take it back, so he shook his head desperately and hoped that his apology showed clearly on his face. "No, listen, Fullmetal—Edward—I...I didn't lie, honestly, I never lied to you. I do care about you; love you, even! And... And..." He laughed, brokenly. "...And I'm sorry I make you so goddamned angry."
Edward's returning smile was faint, but at least it was real.
"Yeah...me, too," he agreed ruefully, tossed a wad of cash onto the table to pay for his dinner, and then was gone.
Humorlessly ironic, the sex part of their sordid little affair didn't stop there. Edward went away for a while, returned, delivered his report with his usual insubordinate laziness, and showed up unexpectedly at the colonel's door later that night, dripping wet from the sudden rainstorm, and flung himself without ceremony into the older alchemist's arms.
"I know you don't mean it," he had whispered agonizingly into the front of Roy's shirt, "but can you at least pretend that you do?"
It was that night, when he went slowly and sensually for the first time since the fifteenth year had begun, that the man had honestly thought that perhaps, there wasn't much pretending left for him to do, anymore.
It ended not during that night of blackberry wine and bouillabaise at the Chateau de Chauntaire, but rather, sometime gradually over the course of Edward's fifteenth year, trickling slowly out of the sieve and eventually grinding to a halt as, looking down at the calendar, Roy finally noted that Edward hadn't been over to visit in nearly two months, and Alphonse came up to him one day in the office to tell him how glad he was that his irritable older brother had finally mellowed out a bit, at last.
There were worse ways it could have ended, Roy supposed, such as in a cosmic brawl, or a court-martial, or a murder-suicide, but at the same time, he sighed, and listened to Hughes prattle on uselessly on the other end of the telephone line, and fought the urge to hang up on the man and dial the dorms instead.
"...and you really should hurry up and get married, Roy!" Maes berated him laughingly, mock-serious and yet...deadly serious at the same time, which was terrifying. "Then you could have a little one of your own—though of course, they couldn't nearly be as cute as my darling Elysia-chan; oh, have you seen the newest pictures of her from the shore?..."
"Hughes!" Roy interrupted, and the man stopped as though on cue, clearly waiting for a dismissal or a direct threat on his life, but Roy sighed instead, opened up his desk drawer, and took out the photograph of a blonde boy pulling on the sleeves of a red jacket. A photograph in a dusty frame which he finally set out on his desk, to glow a little bit in the sun.
He smiled fondly, but not without melancholy.
"...I think I'd make a terrible father," he said.