velvet mace


chapter 12. Punishment

Roy knew what was going to happen as soon as Midnight
ordered him be taken. Ed had acted up, but he would be the one to get punished.
A month ago it would have been easier, but all the company and stimulation had
spoiled him. This was going to hurt like hell.

He met Ed's eyes for the briefest of moments at their
room. He saw the look of fury suddenly being replaced by confusion, and the
golden eyes going wide as the kid realized that he was being hauled off. He
absurdly wanted to comfort the kid, reassure him that it wasn't his fault, even
though it was. But how could Ed have known. Roy hadn't told him. Roy had been
so sure he'd be able to control Ed, that he hadn't seen the need.

Then the door shut, and Roy clenched his teeth.

They didn't take him far—just down the hallway through
a heavy windowless door and into tiny cold grey cell. Roy breathed a sigh of
relief seeing only a manacled slab, and a fan. Soon they would come in with
the buckets. Seeing the dogs feet had made him certain they'd try electrocution
this time, but it would just be the old familiar cold sheeting. They didn't
want to harm him—just to hurt him. He didn't fight the guards as they readied
him. It would only mean bruises.

Roy closed his eyes and focused on his goals, and when
his skin went numb and the pain settled like knife blades into his bones, he
thought of the look on Midnight's face when he realized just how badly he'd
miscalculated Roy. When his muscles ached and tore from prolonged shivering,
he thought how the Fuhrer would look when Roy snapped his fingers a final time.
When at last the shivering stopped and his brain began to slow with the dullness
of hypothermia he imagined the fierce smile Ed would have when he saw Roy's
plan come together. Then he stopped thinking all together.

He vaguely noticed being dragged down the corridor and
rolled into bed. Ed's voice echoed in from far away: "What the hell did you
do to him?"

A hot hand on his forehead, "Damn, you're like ice, and
you're wet. What did they do, dunk you in the river?"

"It's ok," Roy mumbled.

"Lets dry you off." He felt a blanket being rubbed across
his hair. Then something hot pressed against his back. It felt so good. Ed wrapped
his arm around Roy's shoulder and held him close. "Like holding an ice cube,"
the younger alchemist muttered. "You conscious?"

Roy didn't respond. He was too damn tired.

"Ok, I need to get your shirt off. This works best skin
to skin." Roy didn't respond. He was falling asleep and at this point he didn't
care what anyone did to him.


Ed seethed. Why the HELL had they tortured Roy? Roy had
done absolutely nothing. He wasn't even involved in the altercation. It made
no sense. If anyone deserved to be hurt it was himself.

Actually, if anyone deserved to be hurt it was that son-of-a-bitch
Midnight. What an asshole. When they gave him back his arm, he vowed Midnight
would get a good taste of his metal knuckles. All that cretin did was strut
about like some over-bred show dog, pretending like he was in charge when it
was clear that someone else was pulling his leash awfully tight. All the man
did was pass the freaking mind games on Roy and Al and himself.

He hated mind games. Hated them with a passion.

The body next to him stirred a bit, jarring him back to
the present. Ed became uncomfortably aware that he was lying under two blankets,
pressed bare chest to bare back with the biggest mind-game player of all.

Man, what am I doing? If I stay like this he's going
to wake up and I'll NEVER hear the end of it.
Ed started to pull away,
but then felt Roy begin to shiver in his sleep. Ed pressed himself against the
other again. It was the least he could do. Roy had been tortured because of

"I'm sorry," Ed said, feeling the guilt rushing over him.
"They should have punished me. You didn't deserve this." Damn it, it was just
like Al taking the fall for his going AWOL. Every time Ed slipped up, someone
else paid the price. It wasn't freaking RIGHT. Where the hell was the equivalency.
"I'm so sorry."

And without thinking he hugged the other closer and gave
a small kiss on back of the shoulder, thinking of how he'd once kissed his brother's
cold armored body, and had whispered a similar apology.

"Don't tease." It was almost plaintive.

Ed flushed with embarrassment, realizing how badly his
actions could be misconstrued. "I'm not, I mean, I thought you were Al, and
I thought you were asleep." He was getting flustered.

"And anyway, what the hell do you mean, 'don't tease.'"
He felt a bit of righteous anger covering over his embarrassment. "That's all
you do to me—Tease me with fake come-ons and find excuses to touch me. Well,
it's my turn, how does it feel!"

He pushed himself away from Roy, or at least tried to,
but realized that Roy had a pretty good grip on his wrist. "Actually, it feels
pretty good."

There was a sudden whirl of movement and Roy stretched
his arm over his head and somehow managed to roll over on TOP of him. "Fake
come-ons?" Roy straddled his hips, leaning forward to press Ed's only arm into
the mattress.

"Get OFF me," Ed growled. He tried to roll away, but damn
Roy was HEAVY.

Roy grinned. "What makes you think they were fake?"

Ed felt a sick cold fear settle into his stomach. Then
just as fast he dismissed it. God DAMN, he hated mind games. "Cut it out, Roy.
We both know you like women, and you may be dumb, but I would think even you
would have figured out by now I'm a man."

Roy's eyes narrowed and he seemed to drift into a thoughtful
reverie. "Mmmm. I most definitely can tell you are a man. And I do like women,
very much. But I haven't so much as seen even a picture of the fairer sex in
thirteen months. Right now I'm not feeling that picky." He winked.

The fear was back, Ed tried to yank his wrist out of the
other's grip, but Roy had gravity on his side.

"In fact, " Roy drawled, casually running his free hand
down the center of Ed's chest, "You have managed to remove all possible rivals
for my affections. Congratulations, I'm all yours."

Oh, come on! Ed felt that quick shift to fury again.
"You arrogant bastard!" he huffed. "As if I manipulated this whole situation
as a way to get you into my bed."

"Actually, you are in my bed."

"Get the HELL off me!"

There was a rattle at the door. Roy hastily rolled off
of Ed, who launched himself across the room as quickly as he could. "Damn it,
Roy, you can be such a jerk sometimes." He rubbed his wrist against his chest.

The guard came in with their dinners, gave their half
naked appearance the barest of looks and shook his head. He placed the dinners
on the floor and walked out again.

Ed covered his face with his hand.


Roy knew he'd gone too far, but damn it, it had been so
tempting. Ed just didn't know how incredibly pleasurable it was to goad him.
He was so responsive. The flush, the way his body tensed, the way his eyes would
go wide, and then contract, the tone of voice. Edward was the perfect victim.

But honestly, Roy had been a little relieved when the
guard had shown up, because for a moment there, he wasn't sure himself how far
he'd planned on taking it. The urge to hold the other down and kiss and molest
him against his will was almost overpowering. And he'd spoken the truth to Edward
when he said he hadn't seen a picture of a woman in 13 months—and who knows
when he'd see one in the future.

Meanwhile Ed embodied much of what he loved in women:
youth, vigor, a slender, trim physique. Passion. Intelligence. Dedication. Loyalty.
And while Roy definitely preferred women, he HAD made exceptions in the past,
and under much less restricted circumstances.

Damn it thirteen months was a long time to go without.

So. Damn. Tempting.

And so damn oblivious as well. Even now he could see that
Ed had dismissed it all. Chalked it up to teasing. Never even questioned why
Roy would be so hell bent on teasing him in the first place.

I have an ego, Roy wanted to say. I can get
hurt. Can anyone blame me for wanting some plausible deniability?

And Ed was as much of a tease as he was, objecting with
his mouth and leading him on with everything else. Talk about a mixed message.

Ah, but he'd gone too far. He looked over at Ed curled
up on his own bed, hiding under the covers to such an extent that only the very
top of his hair could be seen. Roy had upset him, and damn it, he needed Ed
in a very practical sense. If Roy didn't want to end up a puppet to the Fuhrer,
he had to have Ed and his brother on his side. A few minutes of giving in to
his baser instincts had pretty well devastated Ed's trust, and if Ed were to
tell Al...

Al was key. Absolute key. If Al turned against him because
of this, then Roy was toast.

He needed damage control.

He needed to do something that he didn't do very often.
He needed to be honest and unguarded, and show Ed that he could be trusted again.

Finger spelling and crude signs weren't going to cut it
this time. Communication had to be clear. Easy. Free flowing.

But damn it would be risky. So very risky. But there was
no other way.

Roy stood up and walked over to his uneaten food and plucked
the spoon off the plate. He then walked over to the desk. With a hard thrust
he jabbed the end of the spoon into the soft material of the wall. He jabbed
again and again until he felt something imbedded in the rubbery substance break.

He scanned around the room and found another suspicious
dent in the ceiling. For this he needed the chair. He stood on it and jabbed
up into the ceiling, once, twice, there!

"What are you doing?" asked Ed.

Roy didn't answer. He went to a spot near the door and
jabbed again, this time feeling the crunch on the first slam. "I think that's
all of them."

Ed sat up in his bed. "You broke the listening devices?
Why?" The blanket fell off his shoulders. "They are going to punish you again,
you idiot!"

"We were indiscrete earlier. I really don't think Midnight
needs to hear what I have to say."

"What would that be," said Ed, guarded.

Roy sat down on his own bed. "I'm sorry. You are right.
I am a jerk. But I was honest earlier. The come-ons weren't fake. I'm genuinely
attracted to you, Ed. It's hard to admit it frankly, because I'm not sure how
YOU feel about it. And that's disconcerting for me, because usually I can read
you very easily."

Roy waited for Ed to say, "I knew it, you pervert. Touch
me again and die." Or maybe, more hopefully, "I secretly long for you, too."
But Ed didn't say either. Instead he looked perplexed.

"But you are straight... you aren't saying I look like
a girl are you?"

Roy rolled his eyes. "Oh, for heaven's... You DON'T look
like a girl, and I am straight, but Ed, very few people in the world are 100
percent attracted to either one sex or another." But Ed's eyes were still wide
with astonishment as though Roy were trying to convince him that two plus two
equaled five.

Roy sighed. "Very well, we know where I stand on this.
What about you? I've never noticed you showing any attraction to anyone. Just
what are your preferences?"

Ed's eyes lowered to the floor. "I don't have any preferences."
His voice sounded just a bit bitter.

"You aren't attracted to anyone?" But no there was a slight
flickering shift of his eyes. "Or do you mean the other way around?" Well, that
would be ironic, thought Roy.

"Sex is stupid, Roy, " said Ed. "It just makes people
behave like idiots. What's the point of it. Besides, no one has ever shown an
interest it me."

Roy smacked his head with the palm of his hand. The kid
couldn't POSSIBLY believe the last sentence. "Were you not here for my confession?"
Roy asked. "I could have sworn I just told you I was interested. Maybe you weren't

"Ok, ONE very hard up over-sexed person has shown an interest
in me, though why I have no idea, because right now I'm about as attractive
as a broken toaster." Ed was looking at his prosthetic leg.

"The automail is the problem? You think no one could be
interested in you because some of your parts detach?" Roy couldn't help it.
He laughed.

"Oh, great, I finally open up about this and you laugh
at me. I see this is all a joke."

"You are positively the most stupid kid I've ever met,
" Roy said. "I'm not laughing at you, I'm laughing at this incredibly ludicrous
lie you've been telling yourself." Roy wiped his eyes. "I've never seen a bigger
case of denial in all my life. Ed. People have been coming on to you since you
were TWELVE. I've had to DISCIPLINE some of my people for making inappropriate
comments about you. Trust me, if you had shown the least bit of interest in
anyone, male or female, you'd have had to beat your suitors off with a stick."

Roy shook his head. "But even you don't believe this.
You told me yourself that you were having trouble with the guards. How can you
wrap your brain around being hideous and at the same time irresistible?

"The guards don't count."

Roy raised an eyebrow. "Really. Who does?"

"People I care about."

"I see." Roy paused. "You need them to be friends first.
And apparently once we get to know you, we discover how ugly you are, and can't
possibly want you anymore. Is that it?"

Ed nodded.

"I don't think you believe that either," said Roy gently.
"I think you are scared. Sex is a big emotional thing, and you are still pretty
young. But you are wrong. Sex is most definitely NOT stupid. It's one of the
things that makes life worth living. And when it ends, it isn't always a disaster
either. I've had a lot of lovers in the past, and I'm still on amicable terms
with all of them."

Taking a risk Roy stood up and crossed the distance between
them. Ed didn't move as he sat down on the bed next to him and cupped his chin
in the palm of his hand, forcing the young alchemist to look him in the eye.

"Do you trust me?" Roy asked.

"Yes," Ed breathed back.

Roy leaned in and kissed him. He was almost surprised
when Ed, tentatively, and carefully, kissed back.