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chapter 5. Every Dog Has Its Way

The woman was such a determined and ferocious lover, an acute follower of the credo 'sweet is pleasure after pain'; it was somewhat of an inexcusable shame that Roy cannot remember her name.

He had tried quite diligently to recover her forgotten title over dinner and the theatre, because it was bound to become an issue later if he planned on taking the night's activities to the next level, but it had ended up not being much of an issue at all. She had confessed somewhere around the middle that she had a husband, and that he was not the forgiving type; he was not the loving type, either, though she had no doubt he loved her—he was just no good at showing it, instead spoiling her with a giant bankroll and a house that only served to clarify her solitude; the house echoed quite disturbingly when they had sex, and while she was an excellent lover, Roy surmised that he probably wouldn't return—it was like there were many of him floating around that room, ghosts that slept with everything under the sun and mocked him while doing so.

Like at the restaurant, when he had looked around to find the cause of that minor earthquake, it was probably a bizarre fluke that made him look up around the end; like at the restaurant, he sees a flash of golden hair—Edward, shit—but the boy is not grinning cheekily; he looks quite pained, smashes up against the window, then disappears from view.

What the hell? The woman is settling down comfortably below him, panting heavily but smiling, and Roy is just thinking of a course of action when there is another noise. The sound of a car door slamming.

"Oh, God!" the woman cries, sitting upright and flitting across the room hurriedly, picking up clothes and throwing them at him in a scramble. "My husband! I-I wasn't expecting him back for at least another hour! Y-You'd better get out of here! If he catches you, you'll—!"

He is familiar with angry husbands—hell, even angry brothers and angry sons—and he might have stayed behind just to satisfy his gambling urge, just to see how high the stakes would run, but his blood is frozen; he dresses automatically, grasping his boots and jacket in his hands, not bothering with the technicalities—he is not concerned by this faceless marital figure, but rather, the events going on outside.

Oh God, Edward.

Roy goes for the window, throws it open with a loud clack, and launches himself out the opening into the adjacent cherry blossom tree; he nearly overbalances and falls to the ground, but he instead drops his boots and jacket to free his opposite hand, and twists fingers around another branch; twisting and ducking at a dangerous speed, he swings down from the tree onto the ground.

Edward.

There are noises coming from the house, dull murmurs that sound nothing like an argument; the nameless woman and her husband must be settling down for bed, oblivious of the chaos going on down below their window in the yard. Any other time, Roy would have been nearly giddy with exhilaration; he has just narrowly averted the potential danger of an outraged spouse; the danger adds spice to sex which had already been flavorful enough to begin with, and he is also aware that Hawkeye won't expect him back at the office until the late morning; he can sleep in, God, he ought to be skipping his way back home right now—but he skids on something wet on the ground and looks down; he freezes, yet again, staring at the sight on the ground below him.

Edward, Edward.

If it wasn't for the blood then he'd be beautiful—gold eyelashes sweeping across cheeks that are just a tad too pale, slightly colorless lips parted just a fraction, pink blossom petals laced through perfectly disheveled hair—he very nearly achieves the beautiful status with the crimson serum; if Roy was into the whole blood fetish thing, he probably would have taken a picture with his photographic memory, but his daze shatters suddenly into a million pieces.

Blood; he's bleeding—what the hell was he doing here?—he must have hit his head when he fell from the tree—what was he doing in the tree to begin with?—dammit, dammit, I've got to take him to the hospital or something—how in God's name are we supposed to explain this mess?—because he might have some sort of concussion...

"Fullmetal, wake up," he orders, dropping to his knees and smacking the blonde on the face lightly—if he is slightly breathless, he will blame it on the long climb down. "Wake up and go home, you nosy brat; wake up, dammit, you can't—You're foul-mouthed, foul-tempered, hell, short—Wake up, I said, this is an order from your commanding officer—!"

"Not so short that...can't see down...lady's dress..." Edward mumbles, eyelids fluttering. Roy, encouraged into earnest, slaps him hard across the face.

"Get up and go home, Edward!" he commands loudly, allowing himself a moment to recall that he only raised his voice in situations of extreme distress or extreme relief—this case calls for both, he thinks. And—

God, God, Edward—

- Fullmetal's eyes blink open slowly, the gold welcomed like a rising sun on a dark night. He is confused, unfocused for a moment; his pupils are dilated problematically, but contract to normal size as he centers on Roy's face. "Wha—?" he asks dubiously, words slurring. "Go home...?" He grins leisurely. "Ah, don't be like that, Colonel...I just had a really awful nightmare—you sent me home, and ending up going home with some tramp...and I followed you...and..." His eyes were growing wider and clearer in amusing increments; amusing if you happened to have a very morbid sense of humor. "...and the two of you...I was in the tree...then..." He feels the back of his head, sees his fingers wet with blood, and starts shaking profusely.

—Edward, it's for your own good.

"I suppose it would be a bit belated to inform you that very little comes of peeping, Fullmetal," Roy tells him coldly, getting to his feet. He manages to meet the boy's eyes without flinching—God, give me a medal, he thinks, it's a feat worthy of recognition—and shrugs on his jacket. "Let it be a lesson to you about karma—what goes around comes around, and you were on the receiving end of tenfold."

"And let me teach you a lesson," Fullmetal hisses in return, getting into a sitting position with some effort. "A lesson about equivalent trade."

Roy stills abruptly, in the process of tugging on a boot. He looks down at the footwear, pretending to focus on that. "Oh? You forget; I'm an alchemist, too. It's the most basic of principles, really—you're an alchemical genius, for certain, but even us average Joes know about that."

"Right, right." The blonde pulls himself to his feet awkwardly, using the older man as a support. "So let me teach you a lesson about the Elrics, instead."

It is true that Roy would love to learn anything and everything about the Elric brothers, but Edward's statement has the distinct flavor of a trap being set, thorny and dangerous, carefully treaded. "By all means," he proceeds cautiously, smirking. "Will there be a quiz on it later?"

Edward snarls and stalks down the street drunkenly, dragging Roy along to use for more of a steadying post than anything else. "Don't be an ass," he growls futilely; he might as well ask the sun to stop shining. "Just remember it, bastard—we Elrics take equivalent exchange very seriously, and we apply it to the real world, too. Things aren't even between us yet."

Of course not. We aren't equal. We're like the fabled prince and the pauper—it's easier for us to switch roles between hunter and hunted, willing and unable—but never shall the twain meet.

"Even between us?" Roy laughs, forces it to sound natural. "Shall I interrupt one of your dinner dates, then; follow you back to your room and watch through a window as you make love?"

"Fucking BASTARD!" Edward howls, shoving away and taking a swing—shit, he was serious, Roy realizes, he's coming at me hard and with his right hand, his automail hand—Roy doesn't want to dodge(he deserves this, after all) but he does automatically, self-preservation instincts kicking in; Edward trips over a crack in the sidewalk and falls into the hedges that line the side of the street, legs sticking out of the underbrush comically.

He doesn't leap to his feet automatically, spitting insults or taking another swing again, and Roy suddenly remembers the tumble that the blonde had to have taken from a rather tall cherry blossom tree; he rushes over to the hedges and pulls on Edward's legs, getting hands under his arms and hoisting him upright—he is still concious but slumps petulantly, merely trying to be difficult.

That's something Roy understands; Fullmetal will be difficult out of spite—he is still a kid, after all, and kids can't understand the fact that it is sometimes better to yield than it is to fight, that yielding can sometimes become a better option than fighting—and the fact that he understands makes him smile, catching the boy off-guard.

"Don't fucking grin at me," Edward swears, stumbling out of the older alchemist's grip with a crimson face. "You're a sneaky, insufferable, oath-breaking bastard; I hate you with the fire of a thousand suns."

"Oath-breaking?" Roy inquires, genuinely puzzled, and the fact that he doesn't remember seems to incense Edward even more.

"Yes, YES, oath-breaking!" he insists, jabbing a stiff metal finger into Roy's chest. "You promised, you bastard, said you'd quit looking at girls—quit looking to girls—because...because you had...!"

Ah. Ah, I see. And Roy remembers, of course, though he remembers it in images as opposed to words—photogenic memory—he sees himself kneeling calmly while Edward's hands are a vise around his throat; and he hears himself say something that might have been a promise—might have been, but the boy couldn't honestly believe something like that, could he? Believe that words uttered under pressing circumstances could have any credibility when applied to the real world?

He stares down into innocently angry golden eyes; notices that there are no darker flecks mixed in with the yellow ones—pure gold, not tainted by impurities—and thinks, Yes, yes he can, can and does.

And Roy is a masochist, when all is said and done, he will do or say the thing which causes him the most pain, and he will cover it up with lies and say that is is for Edward's sake. "Had what?" he asks, deadly quiet, dark eyes never leaving the boy's own. There are two answers, he thinks to himself tiredly, two answers, and if he picks the right one, then God help the two of us, because I don't know if I'll be able to withstand it.

"Isn't it obvious?" Fullmetal mumbles miserably, eyes raw. That look is killing him, too, killing him slowly. There were times, sure, when he had wished for death, but he had been either too stubborn or too cowardly to go through with it; even then it had been quick, painless death—disintegration due to human transmutation or a gunshot wound to the head—he didn't want to be speared to death slowly with these primal, accusing eyes.

And Fullmetal has asked, "Isn't it obvious?", but it isn't, not to Roy. He has done many things, and he has had many things—people included—but he has learned years ago that sometimes the rules of the world didn't always apply to Edward Elric. He had a beautiful and sad way of complicating every situation he came into contact with.

"No," Roy replies, voice still low. "I'm not the genius, you are. So you tell me. I had what?"

"It'll cost me a lot to say it," Edward whispers. "What will you give me, in return?"

Ha. I thought the battlefield was waning, but I should've known better than to underestimate this determined young man. "That depends on your answer," the elder alchemist counters coolly, refusing to let himself be snared.

"No, no," Edward insists firmly. "Forget it then, bastard, I'm going home—"

Don't—!

"Don't!" Roy shouts vehemently, grabbing the youth by the arm in an iron grip. It is suddenly important, too important that this conversation is finished, that he hears and understands what it is that Fullmetal wants to say. He thinks frantically of something he can use for a bargaining chip; he will give Edward something, as long as the boy doesn't ask for himself; he will not give himself up for anyone.

- should not, could not would not deny Edward Elric anything

"Coffee," he manages to gasp, along with, "And my books have footnotes."

"Are you inviting me home, Colonel Bastard?" Edward asks in a sing-song voice, but his smile is nasty. "You'll have to try harder than that."

"I'm sure," Roy responds dryly, regaining his composure. He would control this situation, come hell or high water—hell more likely than the high water bit. "So tell me. I'm a bargaining man; name your price. If it's nothing so elaborate, I'm sure we can come to terms."

Fullmetal whistles once, lowly. "Jeez. You were just with that lady—hey, was that her husband who went in through the front door?—and you're all ready to go with me again? You'd better be careful, you're kinda old, after all—"

Roy knows he shouldn't have—he was just a boy, a boy lashing out in anger, in confusion; hell, he shouldn't have if only for the reason that Edward may have a concussion from that fall out of the tree—but he does anyway.

He rears back in full and punches Edward in the face.

Everything from there follows in a sort of slow motion. The blonde falls sideways, braid flying out, eyes stunned—those eyes pass by Roy's once, just once, and show no signs of recognition—and lands on his shoulder, still possessing enough motor skills to use his arm as cushion from the concrete sidewalk; it is his automail arm, however, and there is a clonking noise that is deafening to Mustang's ears, though probably not so loud in real life. And Edward recovers slowly and rolls onto his side, a hand to the side of his face and his hair screening his face.

And Roy wants to apologize, to do anything to take it back—pick Fullmetal up and carry him back to his apartment, perhaps, and give him whatever he wants, relinquish unto him all the protection and affection he desires—because he's just a boy, after all, and that's how kids are; instead he kneels down and takes a deep breath, because he really doesn't have much of a choice but to be harsh, to be the spark that ignites Fullmetal back into action.

"You'll want some ice for that," he says quietly, wanting to put his hand up but crushing the urge. The jab about his age was unnecessary, after all, and it is also a timely reminder that he has the habit of letting things get out of hand when it comes to Edward.

Edward looks up at him sharply—Roy clenches his jaw for the inevitable blow; he'll take it because he does deserve it, after all—but the anger in his eyes crumbles abruptly as the situation catches up to him; his eyes water and a few sobs choke themselves past gritted teeth before the blonde caves completely and opens his mouth in a heart-wrenching wail.

Mustang's jaw drops ungracefully—he can't help it, Fullmetal cries from time to time, because he was just a kid, but he never screams like this, has never displayed so much misery in someone else's company—and he doesn't know how to handle it, isn't sure he has the right to handle it, because it's all his fault; if not him, though, then who?

He stretches a hand out experimentally, waiting almost patiently for an automail blade to flash out and strike off his fingers in a neat, clean line; there is no rebuke, however, and he ventures even further, laying his hand gently on the side of Edward's face that he had struck; the skin is red, hot to the touch, and swelling slightly. Eventually Edward calms somewhat, though his breathing is still uneven and his eyes are still hopelessly lost. There is silence for an unimaginably long time, then—

"You... You hit me," the blonde breathes accusingly, shaking marginally.

Roy takes a breath and lets it out slowly. "Yes, yes I did."

"It hurts."

"I'd imagine so."

Edward looks down at his hands, which are balling into fists. "There are a lot of people who'd I'd expect to do something like that... Sensei, Winry, sometimes even Al, but you...you were..." His hands tighten, digging into his legs hard, too hard; Roy bats them away, knowing that the point that the boy was hurting himself would be moot coming from him. "We fought, sure, but it was always with fire—you kept your hands to yourself, and—"

"Exactly," Roy interrupts softly, even somewhat ruefully. "I'm afraid the rules have changed a bit, Fullmetal."

"They don't have to," Edward insists stubbornly, rubbing the side of his face, his normal vigor returning. "What's your problem? If you're pissed because I don't know what I'm doing...'cuz, you know..." The redness of his face is no longer just from Roy's fist. "...Look, if you wouldn't be such an ass, I'd learn," he mutters defensively, crossing his arms across his chest, "all right? I wouldn't mind learning, but not if you're gonna keep playing games with me like this."

There is a moment when Roy can only gape at him.

He thinks...? And now I'm supposed to...? God, what a world we live in, where two people can have such vastly different patterns of thought.

"I doubt this is something you would have your sensei teach you, eh?" he asks mildly, face neutral.

"Right, now you're getting it," Edward nods, grinning ferally. "You don't have to worry—I'm a prodigy, so I'll pick it up fast."

Roy pivots abruptly and walks away, leaving an amusingly appalled Edward behind. God, he would rather take his chances with the irate husband than to stay there and face this. It was a release thing, whether it was one-time or no, and he'd done it out of sympathy, nearly out of pity; it wasn't a mutual thing, they didn't have a relationship of equals, he'd just done something that had, at the time, felt eerily similar to a duty, an obligation. It's true that he really needs to let the fuck go, sometimes, but he will deal with it his own way, on his own time; it isn't fair to delude Edward like this, to let him make more of this than what it is, which is something that even he is starting to lose track of.

"Hey, asshole, don't run away!" Fullmetal is yelling behind him; he tries to follow but is still slightly concussive; he stumbles over his own feet and falls flat on his face with an emphatic 'oof!'. Roy stops slowly and turns around; Edward doesn't move to get up, simply sighs heavily, probably frustrated to high hell, and buries his face in his arms; the image is sickeningly respledent in the moonlight—an awkward angel hopping from tree to tree trying to fly on underdeveloped wings—and it makes the older alchemist laugh hopelessly, shaking his head. Nothing ventured, he thinks, shrugging, and walks back slowly.

Edward looks up and shoots him a painfully childish look, jutting out his lower lip and sulking obviously. "Come to kick me while I'm down, hunh? It doesn't matter, I'll be a good dog and take it—that's what good dogs do, after all; a good dog'll come crawling back to its master no matter how often its kicked at or beat down, no matter how cruel of a bastard the master may be."

"It's unlike you to so voluntarily demean yourself, Fullmetal," Roy says lightly, bending down and hoisting the blonde onto his back, piggy-back style. "It's just coffee, you know, coffee and books with footnotes. Nothing more, but also...well, also nothing less. You can use the shower, too; you're a mess."

Edward relaxes, draping arms over Roy's shoulders, holding on solidly but not too tight. "I don't like coffee all that much," he mumbles. "I want juice."

"You'll probably have to do some hunting for it; you've finished off my last carton of orange, but there might be something else all the way in the back."

"That's alright. I'm good at hunting."

It takes a moment for Roy to register that the surprise he's feeling is indeed his own, but it is not a very long moment, and Fullmetal's unexpected wit makes him smile, though only a little.

"I don't doubt it," he replies honestly, and sets off down the street, knowing how odd he must look carrying Edward on his back, and not caring a single bit.

The walk home is long, and the shower that the boy takes when they get there is even longer; Roy is actually nodding off in his chair when Edward comes out of the bathroom, steam curling ominously around him; his hair is scraggly and wet and the borrowed clothes are too large on him again, but the blood is gone and his coloring has definitely improved since the night began. Gold eyes catch a neatly stacked pile of garments near the coffee table and narrow thoughtfully.

"Those are my clothes, aren't they...? And they're washed, you didn't have to..." Edward looks down at short sleeves that reach his forearms and pant legs that have to be rolled up around his ankles; smiles then, and looks inexplicably pleased with himself. "Never mind," he grins, and goes into the kitchen, probably to find his damned juice.

Roy takes a break from surrealism to stop and think. It's dangerous to let him get this close. Too dangerous, it's too close to that night back then, and I ought to stop right now. Why can't I stop; why does it always end up like this, with me losing all of this hard-earned self-control, throwing caution to the winds?

"I got you coffee; you're useless without it, you know." Edward sets the mug down in front of him with a plunk; he has the same nettled look from two nights ago, and Roy wonders vaguely if every time will be as hard-earned and as memorable and as damning as the first time; he forces himself to keep his hands at his sides.

—it is not the danger that is the appeal in this, it is simply Edward—

- Edward who is the danger in all of this, because he would only play the part of the hunted when it was convient for him—

It takes Roy a minute to realize that the unusual pressure he is feeling on his lips is Fullmetal kissing him; he shoves the boy onto the floor instinctively, jumping to his feet. "Wh-What are you...?"

"What am I doing?!" Edward yowls indignantly, getting up as well. "What are you doing, bastard?! First you hit me, now you're trying to bash my head into your coffee table?! I've built up a tolerance to pain, but that doesn't mean I enjoy it!"

Child abuse, Roy thinks wryly. "I shouldn't have hit you," he agrees aloud, solemnly, "but you shouldn't go around kissing someone when you're unsure of the outcome."

Goddamned hypocritical of him, too.

"Unsure...? I thought—Fuck, you invited me over, what the hell am I supposed to think?!"

"Not an invitation," Roy murmurs lowly, "a trap."

"A tr—?" is all Edward manages before he is the one being kissed furiously, before his mouth is being pierced by a tongue like one would jab a rapier through chain mail; he gags and coughs, but submits—he always submits, in the end; Roy feels the darker half of him coming to rise, the half that doesn't care if it's a man, woman, or child; pole, tree, or dog; as long as he is served, amused, satisfied—and Edward must sense this unusual ferocity, because he draws back.

"What the hell?" he asks quietly. "First you can't stand me, now you can't keep your hands off me? Do you need your head examined, or what?"

Well, fuck.

"Then what would you have me do, Fullmetal?" Roy snaps in exasperation, sitting upright and running hands angrily through his hair. "God, you are like a dog; one of those small breeds, the kind that snap at your ankles when you ignore them but don't want to sit still when it comes time to hold them in your arms!"

"WHO THE HELL IS SMALL LIKE A POMERANIAN AND YAPS LIKE ONE, TOO?!" Edward roars, face purpling and mouth contorting with rage. "YOU'RE A LYING BASTARD, NOT ONCE DID YOU—!" He cuts off suddenly, gulping in air too quickly and choking for a few embarrassing minutes. When he recovers, his voice is lower but no less miserable. "The 'snapping at the ankles' part might be true," he admits awkwardly, looking away, "but you've never tried hanging on to me; never once have you held me, gently..."

"Then what would you have me do, Fullmetal?" Roy repeats patiently, calmed but not entirely subdued. He is tired of not knowing what to do; Edward can just tell him, and if he doesn't want to do it, then that will be the end of it, and they can get over it.

"I want you to decide," the blonde mutters irritably, clenching his jaw. "You can either live with me or without me, but if you do decide you want to live with me, then you've gotta quit being an ass and realize that I mean only me; I don't care what you do to me, so long as you don't do it with girls; you shouldn't have had to look to that tramp for company, because you had...you had..."

"...Me," he finishes painfully, grimacing and twisting his mouth as though the words taste bad. His next words come speedily, in an embarrassed rush. "I know that all your dates have probably got volumes of experience over mine, but you still should've—I mean, what I'm trying to say is—I know it wouldn't be equivalent trade, but I told you, dammit, told you that I'd learn, and that I'd learn fast and right... Isn't that enough?"

Roy thinks hastily yet thoroughly before replying. "...In matters like this, I don't follow the principle of equivalent exchange; thus, this argument is moot."

"No, no, it's not," Edward growls, lunging forward and grabbing him by the shirt collar. "You can't parry and evade your way out of everything, Colonel. So fuck, give me an honest answer for a change! If you do this, are you gonna mean it?"

And oh, how he would love to do it, love to pound into the boy until he saw stars, until they shuddered and moaned and then slept; he straightens with some dignity and even more effort, and removes Edward's hands from the front of his shirt.

"...No."

"...I see," the blonde says after some time, sliding off the couch to slump on the floor, head bowed and shoulders shaking.

"Does it have to mean something?"

"Of course it does!" Edward shouts, flinging his head upward. "It wouldn't, of course, for you—that woman had a husband, you know, I saw him come in through the gate!—but it does mean something, it means a lot! And if it doesn't, then it should!"

"Would it, then, mean something to you?" Roy counters mildly, eyebrows raised. Edward snarls; he is backed into a corner.

"Yes, yes," he hisses venomously, "it would mean a hell of a lot to me, are you happy? To know that I'm wanted and worthy, that I'm lo—"

And they both stop moving. Edward cannot believe it, Roy cannot believe it; hell, no one can believe it, because something so odd was simply not believeable; this was not love, this was letting go, letting go in the most extreme way, but the same thing nonetheless. The older man takes a deep breath, and lets it out slowly.

"Truce?" he suggests blandly, no expression on his face.

"What, and forget this entire thing took place?" Fullmetal asks in disbelief, shaking his head. "No way. You can just go back to going home with your random whores; I promise I won't watch through the windows anymore, I've learned my lesson about that painfully enough—"

"No one's asking you to forget," Roy points out softly. "I'm just warning you, not to make more of it than what it is."

'Not to make more of it than what it is', Edward mouths to himself, brows furrowing in deep thought. He seems to be tallying something in his head, weighing and measuring some hidden scale that only he knows; he looks up suddenly, sharply, and his broad grin is disarming. "I see," he says amiably enough, and advances. "Let's go, then."

For a moment, Roy is stunned—there are no trucks in his apartment, but it feels as though he has just been hit by one—because this was Fullmetal, after all, a kid who would sooner kick him than kiss him, but that was most certainly what the boy was doing now, clumsily and with more force than was pleasant, but doing it nonetheless; he struggles back with expertise, plowing forward ruthlessly with his tongue—Edward opens his mouth and there is the taste of tomato sauce(something foreign for dinner, obviously), but there is no candy this time, and Roy relaxes.

They snipe meaninglessly at each other for the first bit, passing insults between kisses and epitheting each others' names with curses when teeth were used; the manner is easy and languid, almost unhurried; all too soon Edward abandons himself to the moment, giving up conversation for sensation, because that's just how he is, after all, he would rather feel than think, and yet again it is up to Roy to do the thinking for the both of them.

Small hands paw at the buttons on his shirt; he catches them and laces them around his neck, freeing his lips from Edward's hair to mouth gently at his neck instead. "When you've learned how to undo the buttons of a shirt with just your teeth, then we'll talk," he whispers, meaning it as a joke, but his tone does not come out as light as he had planned. It doesn't matter, either, because he is only partly joking, anyway—it will be a long time before he ever allows Fullmetal to return this favor; it will probably be never, because the boy will outgrow this and find himself a doting young lady before long, and this sordid chapter in their lives will come to a close.

"Ungh," Edward grunts lowly in response, closing his eyes and raising his arms above his head either helpfully or pointedly; Roy gets the hint and raises the shirt above the blonde's head—one of the folds catches on automail and he curses as it rips, to which Edward mumbles something about mending it later.

If only mending our twisted perogatives was so easy, Roy thinks ruefully to that, shaking his head twice and reaching his right hand up to tug at the tie that held Edward's braid, using his left to steady the blonde as he nuzzles at the edge of the automail, his bottom teeth scraping flesh and his top screeching over metal.

The arms around his neck tighten slightly. "U-Um, Colonel...you don't have to worry about the automail...it's cool if it weirds you out or something; you don't have to, you know, uh...stick around it or anything."

"Shut up, Fullmetal," Roy says pleasantly, never wavering from his task. He doesn't have much of an opinion on the subject of automail—it is expensive but handy—but this is Edward's automail, and it is a part of what makes him who he is; therefore, it is alluring and unique. Metal is just blood of a different color, after all, and he is familiar with the taste of blood. He throws the red hair tie over his shoulder without looking; Edward's eyes follow it to see where it lands, he'll probably need it later.

"N-Nice shot," he praises, breath hitching slightly; "you got it around a lamp."

"Mmm," Roy murmurs noncomittally, laying a tattooed pattern of kisses along Edward's collarbone, hands parting the thick twine of a golden braid. His women all had varied lengths of hair—women were women, and took the time to worry about the style and color and length like that—but he found that no matter the face, the longer-haired women always looked the most feminine, the most dainty; the long-haired blonde ones most of all. But this blonde is not at all feminine, not at all dainty or in need of protection, this long-haired beauty was ferocious and deadly and deceptive by appearance.

He thinks once, confusedly (Lieutenant Hawkeye?) of another blonde who was eerily similar in nature, another blonde who would probably kill him if she knew what he was doing, but he is too far along in the process to really care. He would rather puzzle out a mystery right now, perhaps the mystery of how Edward's hair was always perfectly straight despite being braided constantly; he knows that sifting fingers through golden strands is probably not the way to find the answer, but then again, some mysteries just weren't worth the effort of solving; perhaps he'll ask about it later, but that was for later, to hell with now.

"U-Um..." Edward falters again, looking embarrassed. "The l-last time, y-y-you..."

"What now?" Roy sighs, and instantly regrets that it comes out sounding somewhat harsh.

"A-Ah! N-Nevermind..."

"No, I'm sorry, go on." He smiles, trying not to look like he is laughing. For someone who insisted on being so stubborn about this entire situation, Fullmetal is being...awfully unsure of himself, and it's funny. "What did I do the last time?"

"You don't have to laugh, asshole," Edward mutters, coloring and jerking his arms, which are still around Roy's shoulders. "But the last time, you...uh...scratched." He tosses his head to indicate just what exactly the older man had scratched. "And, ah...it was, um... I r-really l-liked it...so..."

"Ah," Roy says in understanding, and complies, short nails criss-crossing at the area just below Edward's ear, where the hair started growing from his neck. "I hadn't pegged you for the 'scratchie' type, Fullmetal."

"I hadn't either," the blonde snaps in return, though it is lax, and he leans in to the touch, relaxing in increments.

And the dark-haired man does not remove that hand for some time; he scratches while biting possessively at tender nipples, rolling them around in his mouth like fruit, he scratches while nosing curiously across the planes of a muscled abdomen, tongue flicking out occasionally like a viper's; he does not even stop scratching as he slips short legs out of comically large pajama pants; if the boy had been in normal attire it would have been impossible, damn that troublesome belt, but the pants are too big and he slides out of them easily.

"J-Jeez, this again, C-Colonel?" Edward groans unevenly, hands twitching slightly. "Don't tell me you're running out of moves...?"

"So impatient," Roy chides mockingly, voice a dangerous purr. "Perhaps you're just overly hopeful...?" He slithers down to the floor, hoisting Edward's automail leg up to his face; notes the strange indents here and the oddly sized bolts there, and wonders just how much he can feel through the metal. "A shame; that rude comment will cost you. I think I'll have you wait now."

He nibbles at the blonde's automail toes, thinking of that stupid children's parable involving each toe being a separate sort of pig—does Edward know it, I wonder?—and the blonde wiggles them back, smiling slowly and seeming to enjoy it; when the same actions are performed to a human foot, however, Edward gurgles and kicks him in the face, nearly killing the mood by apologizing over and over again for the incident("I'm sorry, I should've said something; my automail's not really ticklish, but the rest of me is; sorry, sorry!"). Roy grunts and rubs the bridge of his injured nose irritably. "The longest wait now, Fullmetal," he swears pitilessly, and Edward blanches.

And Roy Mustang doesn't always keep his promises—especially in regards to Edward—because sometimes he can't remember them; his memory is photogenic but awful, but he keeps this promise, intent on keeping his masochistic side at bay and his sadistic side alive and kicking. He murders the boy in the best way possible, a bizarre mix of credos and adages—slow and steady wins the race, sweet is pleasure after pain, what goes around comes around—lavishing every attention possible on the shaking, charmingly boyish frame; he kisses and tongues, scratches and bites, each time drawing perilously closer to the still-clothed area of Fullmetal's thighs; God, he is such a sadist, because he loves it, each time the boy whimpers, or tries to manuever the older alchemist into going where he wants by shifting himself around desperately; Roy commits all of Fullmetal's sensitive parts to memory—his earlobes, the backs of his heels, the blade of his pelvis, anywhere where there was a junction of automail and flesh—because they may come in handy the next time, though he cannot, will not admit that there is definitely a possibility of a 'next time'.

"F-Fuck," Edward curses, left hand plunging under the waistband of his boxer shorts, seeking to finish the job himself; Roy gives a long-suffering sigh and swats the blonde's hands away, cupping the area with his own hands before a complaint can be raised.

Fifteen, he thinks to himself, half-reminder, half-taunting, fifteen, and too energetic and impatient as it is. I suppose he's been tormented enough.

Fullmetal is rubbing at his palm as though attempting to create a spark from two sticks of wood—and God, was that an awful pun—but Roy takes his hand away; Edward chokes out a noise of strangled disbelief and tries to sit forward; he doesn't realize that the older man has simply moved his hands to strip off the last of his clothes, and his automail arm flails out, striking with force to the side of a dark-haired head.

Roy flies to the side and crashes into the coffee table, banging the other side of his head with a loud bonk; he lays there for a moment, a bit stunned; focuses his energy on just breathing, and waits for the pain to subside. At first he cannot even realize what has happened—why it happened, what the hell had he done wrong?—but his vision clears somewhat and there is Edward kneeling next to him, shaking at his side frantically.

"Are you all right? Oh, come on you bastard, say something! Come on, get up; yell at me, tell me to get the fuck out, hit me back, I don't care! Just—!"

Grimacing, and with no little effort, Roy sits up, a hand to the side of his head; hands wringing his hair nervously, as though the braid is still there, Edward starts apologizing instantly, his voice grating and far too loud.

"I-I'm sorry, Colonel; fuck, I shouldn't have—"

"God, shut up, Fullmetal," Roy growls with feeling, pushing the younger alchemist back against the couch—they are on the floor now but don't care to move—and Edward does shut up; Roy coaxes trembling legs to open and wraps his mouth around an achingly hard erection, gentle in contrast to his undoubtedly irritated expression.

And Edward, predictably, tries to fight it—still guilty about the uncalled-for blow to the head—holds himself down and grits his teeth into silence; now the older man really is irritated, because karma was just karma—what goes around comes around—and he undoubtedly deserved to be hit; he narrows his eyes and adds teeth to the mix, teeth and his superior skills. He'll force it out, if need be, and even if it was somewhat sadistic, he would enjoy it heartily when at last the boy submitted.

A hissed groan escapes past tightly pressed lips; encouraged, Roy moves faster; on a burst of inspiration he drags his right hand from the inside of the blonde's thigh(apparently Edward's love of being scratched wasn't limited to just his head) and runs it down his shaft, occasionally curling his fingers through coarse golden hair.

Eventually Edward begins to thrust—meekly at first, as though subdued, but he picks up speed with alarming expedition; he starts offering heartfelt moans, too, almost piteous in their need, and Roy smiles around a mouthful of salty flesh, though he knows the youth cannot see it.

It is not long before Edward comes, hard, roughly, and with force—just a kid, and made to wait for too long—shuddering like a leaf in the wind, voice as cracking and as boyish as the first time; again, Roy swallows, but he doesn't sit up, instead pillowing his head wearily on the younger alchemist's thigh, sprawling out on the floor. What the hell had possessed him to bend over like that, nearly bent double; God, his back and neck hurt—a bath was definitely in order—but at least he could sleep in tomorrow morning, and that was comforting. Oh, and...

A hand is rubbing apologetically at the side of his head; he glances upward to see Fullmetal grinning down at him, content if not somewhat rueful; golden eyes slip closed and the placating hand slows to a stop.

Roy grunts and gets up—the floor was cold, he ought to invest in carpet if they're going to keep this up—and picks Edward up; waits for a rebuke, but none comes, and carries the blonde down the hall to the bedroom. He tucks Fullmetal in, brushing sweaty hair out of a sleeping face, and turns to pad quietly away when a hand grips his arm loosely.

"Bed...?" Edward asks anxiously; for some reason that the older man cannot discern, it sounds like a plea.

"Bath," he says softly, remembering now the first night; he'd refused to lay with the boy, because it had seemed, to him, that it was like admitting the whole thing had been more than a release thing; he knows now that it is, and God, how he was going to pay for it. An aching head would be the least of his problems.

"Then bed?" Edward prompts slowly, looking lucid and awake now, even sitting up on his arms, hair in a disarray.

God, Roy thinks, it's too much; Fullmetal teases and snares without even being aware of it—it took me years to perfect my techinque, and he's managed to crumble the walls of Jericho in a day.

"Sure," he lets out in a sigh, smiling sadly, "but I'd like to have my bath first. I'll probably be a while. Go to sleep."

Fullmetal's eyes are wary. "I'll wait up," he says determinedly, even sitting up against the headboard and grabbing some titleless fiction book off the nightstand to read. Roy shrugs—his sleep, not mine—and shuts the door behind him.

He does draw a bath, and he jerks off again—like the last time, but this time he doesn't mind that no amply-chested, alluringly curved female vixen comes to mind—before finally feeling ready to return to his room and face the most dangerous predator he has ever encountered in his life—a Fullmetal Alchemist.

Before he rinses and towels himself off, he takes a moment to pen the letters 'I-N-F-E-R-N-A-L' across his abdomen with some leftover soap suds; he rolls his eyes and whisks them away with his hand, dressing languidly and ruffling his hair dry; when he takes off the towel he has to smirk at how absurd he looks.

And sure enough, Edward is still awake when he comes back in; there is a flash of relief that spreads across the blonde's face before relaxing into drowsiness, and he scoots over to give the older man enough room. Mustang yawns, ignores how it stretches and rasps uncomfortably at his bruised throat, and slides under the sheets, stifling a laugh at quickly Fullmetal fills the space between them with his own body; the boy is small and warm(metal or no), and damn near a perfect fit, which will be discomfiting later, but is just fine for now.

"Don't make more of it than what it is, Fullmetal," he warns as an afterthought, breathing sleepily into burnished hair.

"Shut up," Edward grouses, pushing his back more firmly against Roy's chest and nestling his head even further under Roy's chin. "Go to sleep, stupid."

Mustang closes his eyes and twines his legs slowly with Edward's, allowing himself to smile. "Will you make me breakfast again...?"

"Don't be an ass," the blonde grumbles, face irritated even when almost asleep. The older man shrugs, and doesn't give it any negative thought.

Then: "Of course I will."

"Ah," Roy says, because that's all that really needs to be said, and the two of them go to sleep.