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jade pen

Love is a Battlefield

chapter 2. the bitter taste of defeat

Edward Elric was feeling good. Since it was the weekend, he had gotten to sleep in late, and even better; he didn't have to see that bastard Colonel all day long. He had gotten a wonderful lunch at one of the few sit-down restaurants that Roy Mustang didn't frequent, and it was all on the military's cenz. The best part, however, was the fact that, after spending the greater part of the day wrestling with it, Edward had finally cracked the Zimmer code, taking him one step closer to his goal.

All in all, it was a wonderful day. And it wasn't over; to celebrate, Al had promised to cook him his favorite stews, and in portions generous enough that even Edward wasn't sure if he'd be able to eat it all.

He was looking forward to the challenge, though.

So it was that he breezed into the apartment that he shared with his brother, and upon hearing the faint rustle of pages in the kitchen, he called, "I'm home, Al! How's the stew?"

Edward pulled off his coat, and tossed it on a chair. Both boots soon followed, and as he bent to remove his socks, he added, "Al! Put down that book and talk to me!" After a moment had gone by, with no answer, he turned around. "Al, what are you—"

His speech was cut off in mid-sentence by a rather large boot being planted in his chest. Edward went flying, and crashed onto his bed. The impact was enough to make him see stars, and he could only stare blankly at a flash of red light somewhere above his head. Then the metal coils wrapped themselves around his arms, pinning them against the headrest, and spreading his legs before pinning them, as well.

When his vision cleared, he saw Russell Tringham standing above him, a book in hand, and smile planted firmly on his face. "Welcome home, Edward."

"What on earth? Where's Al!?"

In response, the taller blond simply smiled as he pulled out a scrap of paper from the book, and recited, in a mocking version of Al's voice, "'Brother, I've run out of milk and beef for the stew, so I'm going to the market. I'll be back before six. Alphonse.'"

"It's... five-thirty now; Al's going to have a field day when he finds out that you've attacked me." Despite his position, Edward smiled; the thought of what Alphonse would do if he caught Russell was very entertaining. Definitely worth the momentary pain of being kicked.

"Oh no, I'll be long gone by then." Russell tossed the Red Stone on the bedside table, flipped over one of the journal's pages, and frowned. "But what kind of notes are these? They don't make any sense whatsoever, and there's no underlying code tying it together..."

Edward burst out laughing. "You know, if you wanted to take a look at my notes, you could have asked. That way I could have the satisfaction of saying 'no' to your face. And besides... any real alchemist would be able to decipher it in about five minutes."

Another page turned, and Russell's smile returned. "That's the way this game is played, then. I've got a bit of time for some fun. Then I can take these notes home and solve it later." And with that, he sprawled out on the bed, and rested his feet on Edward's stomach.

"What are you doing?"

Russell turned another page. "Making myself comfortable. You're an excellent foot rest. Soft, and just about the right size, too."

"I am not so short that you can use me as a stool, you—"

"Of course you aren't." Russell raised the book slightly, so that he could smile directly into Edward's face. "Since I'm so much taller, you'd be more like a rug. For Fletcher, though..." He let that thought drift as he tried to ponder through the meaningless scribbling.

At least, until Edward burst out laughing. "I forgot to ask! Who actually released you from the library?"

At this, Russell choked, and sprang back up to his feet. "For your information," he hissed, "Fletcher was the one who drew the array. I had to give a full explanation of what I was doing there, you know!"

"I bet!" Edward was laughing so hard that tears were coming to his eyes. "He's probably never seen that much of you before, either! At least you're his 'big' brother!"

"You..." Russell slammed the book onto the table, and grabbed Edward by the collar. "I had to explain to him what an erection was, you idiot!"

Edward simply lolled his head back, and easily added, "At least the librarian didn't find you, eh?" Russell mumbled something at that, which made the older blond ask, "What did you say?"

"I said that she did find me! She found me first, and ran to grab security! Fletcher and I just barely managed to escape before she came back... and in her report, she mentioned the Red Stone that was lodged in my—"

He couldn't finish his sentence. Edward was positively roaring with laughter now, and he would have been rolling if the metal coils weren't restraining his movements. "P-poor Russell! I didn't think that it would turn out that bad. But... that's what you get, right? Deal's a deal, and... Russell?"

He stopped, because he saw the look on the elder Tringham's face. The sky-blue eyes were hard and cold, his mouth curled up in a demonic sneer. "Oh yes," he whispered, "A deal's a deal. No hard feelings at all. Just a game, and all of that."

"Russell? What are you..."

"However, that does mean that I can pay you back for this. Oh yes, revenge will be sweet indeed." With exaggerated care, Russell picked up the book and his notes, and placed them on the table by the door. "I've got about twenty-five minutes. I'm going to enjoy every moment of this, you know."

Edward couldn't stop an apprehensive shudder when Russell sat down at the foot of the bed. "O-oh? And what is it that you're going to enjoy?"

"You took away a bit of my brother's innocence, Edward. Indirectly, true, but you took it anyway. I'm going to return the favor."

The shuddering increased as Russell crawled towards Edward, a most predatory smile on his face. The older blond nervously cackled, "Y-you've got the wrong one, then. My brother's the big suit of armor, you know? W-why don't you try something on him? Just let me go so I can watch, all right?"

"Oh no," Russell smiled, his face now right above Edward's, "You didn't directly try anything on Fletcher, so it wouldn't be fair to do anything to Alphonse. However... there is something else I can do." And with that, he reached down, and grabbed the top of Edward's leather pants.

"Ah! Get your hands away from that, you stupid—"

"No." Russell's eyes blazed, a brilliant blue like the heart of a fire, as he pulled down the black fabric, leaving Edward exposed. "I had to explain to my brother what an erection is. In return, you will be explaining to your brother, in excrutiating detail, the terms 'semen,' 'ejaculation,' and 'orgasm.' I'm sure, as curious as he is, that he'll be most intrigued. Especially when he sees the state that I'm going to leave you in."

"You wouldn't dare." The smaller alchemist desperately squirmed, trying to free himself from the metal binding his limbs.

For one long moment, the fire in Russell's eyes continued to burn. Then he laughed. "Watch and learn, Edward. Watch and learn." And with that, he wrapped his tongue around Edward's length.

Russell had to smile as he looked up. Edward had melted from the first touch, writhing and moaning at the very start. Each lick wrenched another scream of pleasure from the older blond, and Russell laughed, the vibrations causing Edward to shiver. See, Edward? This time, I'm going to win. I knew that I just had to catch you by surprise...

As he continued, though, Russell found himself intrigued by the small form beneath him. Edward was writhing, struggling desperately against his bonds as he tried to increase the friction between them, and cursed when he found that he was unable to do so. Russell stared into the golden eyes, glazed over in pleasure, and smiled at the sheer vulnerability of Edward Elric. It wasn't a face that he had seen before, and he almost wanted to comment about how cute it made the elder blond look.

But the plan came first; besides, it was against the unwritten rules to say anything endearing. A taunt or a sarcastic remark was fine, but anything that might be construed as affection was strictly forbidden. Otherwise... things could escalate far too quickly.

Not that Edward cared. He kept thrusting weakly into Russell's mouth, and after a moment, the older blond found it necessary to hold down the hips to keep from gagging. At this, when he was completely immobile and helpless, Edward screamed, "Let me go, you pervert! When I get free, I'm going to—"

"Hm?" Russell got back up on his feet, and Edward shivered at the sudden chill. "Do you really want me to go now?" He smiled, and started walking towards the door. "Well then... that's good enough."

"Y-you!" Edward whispered, "You're going to accept defeat, just like that? Don't have the will to finish me off?"

Russell laughed. "True, very true, Edward. I suppose I have to finish you off at some time." He glanced at the wall clock, then frowned. "Cutting it a bit close... But that's all right." He sat back down on the bed, and stared into Edward's eyes. "Beg me."

"What!?"

"Isn't that how it worked last time? I begged you to give me my Stone back, and... well, we know how that ended. I think I need to return that favor, as well."

"Fuck no, you—" Edward hissed, because at that moment, Russell nibbled at the tip of his erection.

"Beg me, or I'll leave you like this."

"There's nothing you can— Ah!" The smaller boy arched his back and whimpered; Russell had taken the opportunity to give one slow, sensuous lick from base to tip. Edward's entire body started spasming, and he gasped as he started scratching on the wooden headboard.

Russell paused, mouth only millimeters away from that sensitive spot on Edward's body, and whispered, "Beg me. Beg me to let you."

"F-fuck..." The elder Elric couldn't come up with anything more coherent than that, and he whimpered and thrust weakly, just barely not enough to touch Russell's lips.

It was at this point that Russell realized what he was doing. Namely, he was playing Edward's game of Tease the Helpless, and he was honestly starting to enjoy it. He shook his head, and grimaced as he pulled away. What am I doing? There are rules about these sorts of games! Perfectly good rules to keep it a game! So... why am I enjoying this so much?

Desperately trying to maintain his bravado, Edward complained, "W-what's the matter? Can't handle me, even when I'm tied down—" He was cut off with a strangled moan, as Russell wrapped his hand around Edward's warm length.

"Game over," he said with a smile, "I win this time. I think the white will show up nicely on your black shirt, don't you agree?" He had to laugh as Edward kept scratching at the headboard... until he stopped to think about the implication. He's not supposed to be able to move his arm at all! What is—

Slowly, with a wide grin, Edward leaned to the side. There, where he had been scratching, was a complete array. Russell swore, and turned to grab his Red Stone from the table... but then there was a flash of blue light, and more metal springs erupted from the bed and wrapped themselves around him, wrenching him back onto the bed and completely immobilizing him. Edward had even gone so far as to wrap the coils around the taller blond's waist, neck, and elbows, just to make sure he couldn't resist.

One clap of the hands, and Edward was free. Russell gave an experimental tug, and sighed when he realized that, yes, there was no chance he'd be able to escape on his own. Especially since his hands were pinned far away from any writable surface. He grumbled, "How did you escape? I thought I had you!"

"Heh." Edward pulled up his right shirt sleeve, exposing the auto-mail. "Either you forgot about this, or you underestimated just how strong it is. Besides, your Stone weakens the structure of what it transmutes. Not like my alchemy at all." He crawled forward, until he was perched over Russell's body and was staring straight into the sky-blue eyes. "'You win,' huh? What are you going to do now?"

Russell considered his options, which were surprisingly few. Then, with a sigh, "I concede. Cheater." He spat the last word out as though it was poison.

"Yeah, yeah, heard it all before." Edward sprawled out on Russell's body, resting his head on the hollow of the younger boy's throat. "What to do, what to do... Al's going to be coming home soon, so I can't torture you; I can't just let you go, either, then you'd think that you could just waltz in here and kick me whenever you felt like it. Hm..."

Russell squirmed. "Get off. You won, fine, I can accept that. You had the advantage of auto-mail and your brand of alchemy, but it was my fault for underestimating you. Don't get cuddly!"

"Oh?" Edward flipped over, so that he was staring straight into Russell's eyes. "That's a great idea, actually." Just to prove his point, Edward started running his living hand through Russell's blond hair. It was surprisingly soft and smooth, and Edward made it a point to push aside the taller boy's bangs, so that there was nothing for Russell to hide behind. "Since I won, I get to choose the rules." He crossed his arms in a pout.

"Just get it over with, you—"

"I think I've got it!" Edward offered one demonic smile before he crawled up further, letting his erection brush against Russell's lips. "I kind of like the irony. Your punishment is exactly what you were trying to do for me... but with less mess afterwards! So... get started! You'll really get punished if Al finds us like this," he added with a sharp undertone.

Russell sighed, and complied with the demand. And, as Edward started thrusting and moaning, the younger alchemist could only think, Why am I such a gracious loser? I want to win, damn it!


Russell could only look to the side when Edward clapped his hands and let him go. There was a brief whisper of leather on skin and auto-mail, then the older boy asked, "Are you all right?"

"Fine! Dandy! If you don't consider the fact that I can't get the taste of you out of my mouth!" He rolled onto his stomach. "Disgusting."

"Really?" Russell didn't resist as Edward reached down with his auto-mail hand and tilted his face upward. There was only the briefest of grimaces as Edward licked away a trail of white that had seeped out of Russell's mouth.

The elder alchemist considered it for a moment, then shrugged. "Doesn't taste bad at all to me. Kind of good, actually."

Russell snapped, "What do you want me to say? That it's sweet as candy and I want more!?"

"I didn't know it tasted that good." Edward walked into the kitchen, chuckling.

"It does not!" Russell fought with a blush, then rolled up to his feet. "I think it tastes more like—" He stopped short, and rubbed his throat. "Didn't have to thrust so hard either."

"Here." Edward appeared with a bottle of juice, which he tossed to Russell. "If you like sweet things, that should help. It's not bad for sore throats, either."

The younger man considered it for a moment, then sighed and took a drink. "...why?"

"Hm?" Edward looked bemused at the expression Russell's face; a mixture of confusion, annoyance, and... something else.

"You didn't have to give me juice. You didn't have to ease up during... that. And you didn't have to stroke my hair, you... you..."

Edward's only response was an enigmatic smile; it silenced the younger blond much more efficiently than any verbal counter could have. After a moment of uncomfortable silence, Russell stood up and reached for the door. "I'll... I'll get you for this, Edward. You know that, right?"

"Sure, sure. Of course you'll try."

"I didn't say that I'd try. Next time for certain." Russell bowed his head, and put his hands in his pockets. "Stupid Edward. I won't underestimate you..." He opened the door, and took a step outside.

"Wait." Edward reached over to the bedside table, and tossed the Red Stone at Russell. "You forgot this. I don't want your stuff in my apartment, or Al will start asking questions."

Russell caught it, and frowned. "...thanks. I need this." He put the stone in his pocket, and turned to leave again.

"One more thing!" Edward stalked forward, then picked up his journal and offered it to Russell. "There was some reason that you were looking at this, right? You can have it if you want." The younger blond dumbly stared at the book, and Edward added, a smirk on his face, "I'll give you a hint; the real code starts on page forty-three. Everything before that's just gibberish to throw off people that take their alchemy too seriously. Works great, doesn't it?" He jabbed at Russell's ribs, and laughed.

That laughter stopped, though, when he saw tears starting to form in Russell's blue eyes. "Russell... are you all right?"

"Shut up!" The taller blond's hands clenched, and his entire body was trembling. "I don't need your pity!"

"Russell?"

With one motion, Russell batted the book aside, and shouted, "You don't get anything, do you!? I don't need your help, I don't need your sympathy, and stop being nice to me!" With that, Russell stormed out, slamming the door on his way. He had been completely, totally defeated, and he hated it.

Only a moment later, Edward heard his little brother's voice. "Ah, Russell! How are you—"

"You'd better watch Edward like a hawk, Alphonse Elric; so help me, I'm going to get him for this! Just you wait!" Then there was the distinctive stomping of Russell's feet as he stormed out, and the door to Edward's apartment opened, revealing his younger brother.

"Brother... what was that all about?"

"Eh, don't worry about it. Russell's just a sore loser, that's all." He burst out laughing, then stopped himself cold, an expression of horror on his face.

"Brother? Is something wrong?" Alphonse took a step closer, then placed his shopping bags on the table.

"Al... I just realized something." He collapsed onto the bed, and flailed, "I just got through a battle of wills with someone younger than me, and I enjoyed getting the upper hand and making him storm out. I smirked at him... but I still offered to help him out, and when he refused it... It really hurt, Al. I won, I think... but it still feels really bad, like I did something wrong. You know what that means, right?"

"No, Brother, I can't say that I do..."

Edward cried, "I'm turning into Roy Mustang!"