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herongale

The Flooding Dark, The Evening Strange

chapter 6.
Most modern freedom is at root fear. It is not so much that we are too bold to endure rules; it is rather that we are too timid to endure responsibilities.—G.K. Chesterton

Edward was already deep in study when Scar arrived, ignoring his coffee in preference for the more delicious caffeine of cryptology. The time was around 11:30 am, and when Edward looked up it was with a smile, glad to see that Scar had brought books of his own. This would be the first time they'd met after that night in the cathedral, and Edward still felt awkward enough about it that he didn't really want to sit and talk to Scar without this kind of mutual shield. He reached out with his left hand imperiously. "Let me see."

Scar raised an eyebrow, and then handed over his books, three worn volumes along with a slim notebook. Totally expecting some boring religious treaties, Edward's eyes widened when he saw the actual titles. Euclid's Elements. Newton's Principia. Ambitiously, Archimedes' On Plane Equilibriums, the first volume. "Wow." Instinctively Edward started shuffling through Principia, looking for his favourite bits, wishing he had Sczieska's ability to memorize books wholesale. Wouldn't it be nice if he could write all this out for Alphonse?

After a minute Edward heard a cough, and when he looked up Scar was sitting across from him and staring at him steadily, hand outstretched with the palm up. Edward sighed and then returned the books, stroking the Archimedes longingly. He hadn't read that one yet. "Why are you studying math?"

Scar shrugged. "It's a part of the training. All novices, if they are capable, are supposed to learn useful skills, such as logic or rhetoric." He interrupted himself in order to place an order with the café maid, asking for his ubiquitous tea. "It's interesting, but difficult. I don't think I understand much, yet."

This caused Edward to nod tactfully, deciding not to mention that he'd found Elements to be almost drearily basic. There were similar books in Amestris, all of them in the core alchemical canon, and although there were some odd differences, it seemed that logic was one of those things that crossed dimensions. "Where are you at?"

"Book four of the Elements. Last thing I looked at was something about straight lines fitting into a circle. Also, a lot of stuff about circles and triangles." Scar offered his notebook, showing his practice diagrams. Edward examined the man's writing, small meticulous figures, and remembered that Scar's brother had been a talented alchemist. It was easy to forget that Scar was actually intelligent underneath all of that business with faith and repentance. It seemed that Scar was understanding the main principles, at least of math, quite well. Edward looked up with a mischievous grin.

"You know what this looks like, right?"

Scar's gaze was level, and he frowned deeply. "It's not the same thing."

Edward took a sip of his coffee, relenting as he looked off into the distance. It was still strange drinking with his left hand, and Edward preferred to use the automail even for that. But out in public he didn't dare pretend that the automail was functional, so his right arm was arranged in ostentatious limpness. It sucked that there was a custom of greeting people with right-handed handshakes... without that one thing, Edward thought he might be able to risk pretending the arm was real. This did cause the ladies at the café to treat him with particular kindness, however, which was not such a bad thing. Edward didn't mind it when women fussed over him.

Scar opened his book, and after a bit Edward returned to his own, more complex work. He'd already made some pretty good progress with Melchior's texts, and Edward estimated that he'd have the whole group translated by the end of the week. With luck it would be less than a month before Edward had figured out all of them. This caused Edward to hum tunelessly, picking out the airs of a popular ballad that he'd been hearing a lot recently.

Several coffees and one hour later, Edward was still at it, but starting to feel antsy. He had all day and all night to work on these things, but Scar only had a few hours free every day, and although today was one of the "long days," Scar wouldn't have all day to sit around in leisure. It seemed ridiculous not to spend at least some time in actual conversation with the man, even though Edward had to admit that it was nice that Scar could be so comfortable and undemanding. With a small sigh Edward closed his books and looked over to what Scar was doing. "Need any help?"

Wrinkling his eyebrows together, Scar nodded, not looking up from his own book. A compass and ruler were holding his notebook open in front of him, and in Scar's left hand he held a pencil. "Are you good with hexagons?"

Was he? Edward almost scoffed. "What's your pleasure?"

Scar raised his eyes to that. "Equilateral and equiangular," he said, passing the Euclid over to Edward. "Like that."

Snatching compass, ruler, pencil, and notebook, Edward closed the textbook and drew one for Scar from scratch, arranging his automail arm so that it held down the edge of the paper against the wind, and getting Scar to hold the compass or ruler down at appropriate intervals. Normally this was something he could do instantly, but he explained the process in detail so it took longer. Scar leaned forward, placing his arms on the table as he listened intently. When Edward was done he handed the notebook back to Scar, conspicuously choosing not to proffer it with a flourish, a nice touch of restraint that he hoped Scar noticed. "Does that help?"

"It does," Scar said, but he didn't look down at the notebook, instead fixing his gaze on Edward. It was a measured, almost admiring look that Edward was beginning to become familiar with, and something about it caused Edward to return the gaze with the sensation of hunger rising in his throat.

"I want you to come with me," Edward said abruptly, standing up and clumsily digging for his money, for the millionth time cursing the need to maintain a façade of disability. He didn't know how much the bill would be, exactly, so Edward put down an amount that was probably at least twice what was owed. "Let's go." He gave Scar a glare when the man appeared ready to open his mouth in protest. "My treat. Don't argue, just help me with my things."

A faint rose color touched Scar's lips, which was just about the only evidence that Edward had that the man was flushing. With a sweeping motion Scar collected everything, picking up Edward's books along with his own and putting everything into Edward's knapsack, which he lugged onto his shoulder wordlessly. Well. Edward had only meant for Scar to help him quickly gather and arrange everything into his left arm, but that worked too. If Scar wasn't going to quibble over the money, Edward wasn't going to argue over who would fetch and carry.

Leading the way back to his flat, Edward walked at a double quick pace. Scar followed closely behind, his longer limbs allowing him to maintain a more relaxed stride, but it was still quicker than his usual deliberate amble. Edward didn't quite understand his own sudden urgency, but he didn't want to deny it either. It was like having to piss; when you had to do it, you just did.

Edward wondered if it would be possible to con someone like Winry to just drop everything the instant he wanted sex. A brief but vivid fantasy of Winry coming at him with a machine wrench seemed to suggest the true answer to such speculation. But Scar? Scar was a man. Scar would understand.

Never had getting someplace in record time seemed to take so long. All this picturesque beauty was highly aggravating because it came complete with illogically curvy roads and complex redoubling routes. Edward's aim for home was unerring, however, and when he finally sighted it there was much narrowing of the eyes in triumph. Winning the steps, Edward turned around to look at Scar before the man could join him there. He held up his left hand in the "halt" position. Scar looked puzzled but stopped obediently.

"Before proceeding any further, I need to warn you. There are cats." Edward took the opportunity of his little lecture to back himself up a few more steps, making himself temporarily the tallest one present. "Even though they are annoying, please refrain from killing them."

"I think I'll manage," Scar said dryly, but suddenly the man was looking around with an expression Edward had never seen before in that stern face. "Where are they?"

"Here and there," Edward shrugged. "Most of them are still kittens, so they hang out with their mom." Edward turned around to take the steps up to the flat, glad that Ilse wasn't around to ask any questions or, worse, leer at Scar in some kind of frightening pre-menopausal desire. That kind of thing reminded him too much of Izumi.

"Kittens?" Scar's voice sounded strange. Edward turned around and saw that Scar was rooted to the ground, looking up at him expectantly. This made Edward blink.

Scar liked cats. Who knew?

"Oh, screw that," Edward cursed, and turned back down the steps, tugging on Scar's arm forcefully. "Come on. You are not here to see kittens."

"A shame," Scar murmured, but the man did begin to follow Edward up the steps, and after a moment pulled his forearm back out of Edward's clutches so that he could grip Edward's hand instead, suffering himself to be led with no further commentary. At the top of the three flights Edward looked around shiftily, and when he decided that no one was watching he reached forward with his right hand and fished the keys out of his left hand pocket. Awkwardly Edward unlocked and opened the door with his automail, never relinquishing control of the hand Scar had given him.

"We're here," Edward announced. The far window was open and letting in bright afternoon sunlight, the light muslin curtains wafting fetchingly. Birdsong, a late morning aubade. Suddenly Edward was glad that the place looked clean, and nice, but he wondered why that should matter, or why he should care. It wasn't really home, after all. Edward kicked off his shoes and turned around to look at the man he had brought to the place he lived for sex.

Was Scar his lover now? Looking up into the strangely wine-colored eyes made Edward catch his breath, a pulse of desire intermingling with a shot of embarrassment over the question he'd just posed to himself. A lover would be someone he'd be proud to have sex with, or should be. But even though he wanted Scar, Edward did not want to have to admit to it. And, when the question of why he wanted Scar bubbled to the surface, Edward had to restrain himself from grimacing, even as he reached forward to stroke the front of Scar's pants with his automail, his fingers feeling nothing but his chest aching heavily. It didn't make sense, and why was Edward initiating it?

Scar let go of Edward's hand and Edward expected the other man to draw him into a crushing embrace and take over. Instead Scar put his hands behind his own neck and closed his eyes, breathing deeply. At a bit of a loss Edward continued to play his metal fingers lightly over Scar's groin, wondering what property of the wiring made it so that he knew that folds of cloth and a penis were there. If it wasn't touch, what was it?

Edward wanted to be taken. This was the thought rising in his mind like bile, contaminating and confusing his desire. He didn't want to be the one to take, at least, not when Scar was involved. Maybe if it were Winry, or... someone else. Maybe it would be okay then. Edward felt his shoulders hunch and his breath grow ragged as he wanted to get closer, to be pressed and fucked and made to come.

"Get undressed," Edward commanded hoarsely, forcing himself to step back.

Scar opened his eyes slowly, looking at the ceiling. For a long moment he did nothing, but slowly he dropped his arms to the front of his trousers, unbuttoning them unhurriedly. Not once did he drop his gaze to look at Edward; he simply stripped.

Edward licked his lips as brown flesh was uncovered. The man was so tall, so muscular... so male. He wanted Scar to touch him, to undress him, to force him to use his mouth on that body. He wasn't so sure that he wanted to evaluate him like this, in a position of gifted power, twisted into being forced to articulate his desires. Which, when it came right down to it, were these: regardless of the intense shame he might feel if anyone important to him ever found out that he'd done Scar, Edward wanted it. And he'd fuck to get it.

Edward took off his gloves.

And yet... was it just shame? Edward remembered the earnestness with which Scar had paid attention to his descriptions of Euclidean principles, and his response then had been one of... happiness. It made him happy to see the admiration in Scar's eyes. He wanted that admiration, he wanted to be on that man's pedestal. Wanting Scar to want him was not rooted only in craven, unworthy feelings of shame. It was also born out of some kind of reciprocity. Edward discovered, with a fierce twisting sensation, that he liked Scar. Liked him sincerely.

When Scar was completely naked, Edward pointed at the bed. "Over there," he whispered. "Go."

Scar looked at Edward then, projecting simple want with only the slightest bitter undercurrent of... sympathy. The taller man opened his mouth as if to say something, and Edward very much hoped that Scar would demand to fuck him. But nothing like that happened. Scar seemed to decide against saying anything and simply lay down on his back, taking up almost the entirety of the bed as he stretched out. Again the man looked at the ceiling, and again he closed his eyes.

Edward slowly undid the tie in his hair and shook out the braid. He then stepped over to the bed where Scar... where his lover... waited.

"Scar," he said, leaning over the bed so that he could place his hand on the other man's neck and kiss him somewhere just south of the collarbone. Edward's hair hung over his shoulders and about his face, and small pieces tickled Scar's skin. The kiss started off soft but soon became aggressive, and suddenly Edward felt his feelings shift. Shame became possessiveness. Edward used his tongue and sucked hard, breaking capillaries under the skin to leave a mark.

Something also seemed to change for Scar. As soon as Edward started to kiss his body the other man started to move, bringing up one leg and pulling Edward closer, demonstrating that he, too, was gripped in desire. Relief flooded Edward's mind, and it occurred to him that perhaps he'd been afraid that maybe Scar was ashamed to be with him too.

"Take off my clothes," Edward whispered.

Scar sat up while holding onto Edward, effectively pulling the alchemist onto the bed with him by catching him off-balance. Lying on his back in Scar's lap, hair splayed, caused Edward to gasp. That was more like it. Scar rubbed his palm hard over the top of Edward's chest, the buttons of his shirt digging in at the midline. The man's hand literally covered half of his chest, but when Scar started to work the buttons open with thumb and forefinger his dexterity was not challenged by the neatness of Edward's clothing. Edward could feel Scar's hard cock against the back of his head, and the look he gave the other man was both knowing and breathless.

With a flip of cotton Edward's chest was exposed, and Scar worked his fingers under the waistband of Edward's pants using his right hand. After a moment Edward's left hand joined Scar's, and together they touched Edward's penis, Scar concentrating on the shaft while Edward cupped his own balls. There was barely enough room in there, even though Edward's pants were loose fitting.

"Does this please you, Edward Elric?"

Edward nodded mutely, arching his head backwards over Scar's thigh. Scar leaned forward and opened the front of Edward's pants with his free hand, and then pulled it back to touch Edward's hair. Edward could smell the soap he used to wash his hair as Scar smoothed it back from his forehead, a clean smell intermingled with the odor of man.

Hazily, Edward looked up and fetched Scar's attention with a moan. This was what he wanted. But he also wanted more. Something new, something different. "Use your mouth," he whispered, and Edward could not tell if that came off more like a request or a command.

Scar stiffened. "Are you sure?"

"Yes."

Scar stopped moving his hand and looked off into the distance. Edward squirmed, wondering if he'd made a mistake. Was that too much, too outrageous? Would Scar find him sick for asking that? Was it sick? If his lover had been a woman Edward would have known what to do, he thought, but the logistics of sex with a man were hazy to him. How could he be expected to know what was allowed and what was forbidden? Edward offered a shaky grin, prepared to beg off with a laugh, pretending it was a joke.

Scar looked down and noticed the grin/grimace, and frowned. "What is the matter?"

"It was just an idea," Edward said, grin fading. "You don't have to. I guess it's kind of weird."

The other man widened his eyes, and in response he flipped Edward out of his lap, spilling him onto the mattress as he sat up on his knees. As soon as Edward was down Scar turned him over and began to roughly kiss the skin of Edward's belly as he helped Edward out of his pants. At first Edward thought the kisses were mocking and his whole body shook, but after a minute or so of this Edward realized that the lips and teeth nipping his skin revealed nothing more ulterior than passion. Scar's mouth was hot on the inside, and slowly, slowly Scar's kisses moved down his body to where Edward's hard cock waited.

Edward looked down and became paralyzed by what he saw. The idea of what it would feel like to have Scar fellate him had been totally sensual when it first occurred to him, but the only thing he'd really imagined was how it would feel. What it would look like, having another man's head over his groin, what seeing that would feel like, was something he'd been completely unable to prepare for. It was strange and somehow very sexy. Powerful, like the rush of alchemy. That pang of possessiveness returned, stronger than before. He absolutely owned Scar at this moment, owned him and ruled him. Edward moaned loudly, careless of the noise.

The problem, Edward decided, was in seeing Scar as a static entity instead of as a shifting target. Or maybe the problem was in himself, for making the mistake of having narrow expectations. Did shame matter? Did power? The only thing that really seemed significant was that this felt good, damned good. Edward reached down and ran his fingers through Scar's short hair, using him roughly even as the other man ran his tongue over Edward's cock with surprising delicacy.

Stripes of warmth and wetness, the broad lick of Scar's tongue seemed to invigorate Edward's entire body. Edward wondered what it tasted like, what that thin flesh felt like as it moved over the hardness coalescing underneath. In a smooth but perhaps hesitant moment, Scar placed his mouth over the head of Edward's penis, pushing back the foreskin with his lips while licking the tip with his tongue, tucked inside the other man's mouth.

"Fuck," Edward breathed. "Shit."

Nothing was like this, nothing. Edward thrust forward, wanting to fill Scar's mouth, wanting to find the back of the other man's throat and make him gag. Not an easy task because everything about Scar was oversized, including the inside of his mouth. Edward's cock, nicely proportionate to his own body, was not exactly mortifyingly small. But still it was a stretch, and Edward had to strain. In the end he held Scar so roughly by the hair that the other man grunted in discomfort, but Edward held Scar firmly in place and kept him there until he came.

It was everything Edward could do to keep himself from hyperventilating into a faint, but breathing as hard as he was caused Edward to feel a tingling pressure in the back of his brain and behind his eyes, and he just knew that he was fucking with his body chemistry in some really narcotic ways. He'd done it that way before when he masturbated, so he knew that this was just the way his body chose to try to hold onto the moment. But never had he clung so desperately to a climax, never had he wanted to force himself so hard into extreme pleasure. Even if he had to pass out, prolonging this feeling for a few seconds would be worth it.

Those seconds passed, however. They had to. Time caught up with Edward and he blinked as the moment shifted from present into memory. Everything that was real rushed in to claim him, and suddenly Edward remembered that he was naked and in bed with Scar, and that Scar was his lover now even though that was something he didn't fully understand. Keeping Scar as a lover was a kind of responsibility, and Edward swallowed hard as he thought about what he felt he needed to offer next.

For the moment all was calm. Edward loosened his hold on Scar's hair and beckoned for the other man to lie down next to him, holding out his arms to invite an embrace. This Scar did, eagerly, crushing Edward's body against his own and tucking Edward's head underneath his chin. Scar's erection was quite obvious against Edward's spent cock, which was now hypersensitive and even a bit uncomfortable. But overall this felt good. Edward sighed, and kissed Scar's warm and slightly clammy chest, chilled with the sweat drying off his lover's body. Edward would take a minute, or two, just to enjoy this completely non-desperate moment. Something about being held like this was even better than the orgasm that had proceeded it, giving Edward a sort of relaxation that felt almost spiritual. Edward didn't need to venerate any gods to enjoy it, the sex and the being held melding into one inseparable experience.

Eventually, Edward shifted. "Scar..." he began, a tiny whisper accompanied by an appreciative kiss.

"Yes, Edward Elric?"

Wondering if there would ever be a moment when Scar dropped his allegiance to formalities, Edward paused. How could he best offer himself to Scar? How could he let the other man know that his body could be used? He wondered if Scar would be burdened with any hesitations, and wanted to let him know that he would return the favour of not considering Scar sick, no matter what he wanted to do.

No matter what. Edward thought about what Scar very well could be wanting, and took a deep breath. "Ummm..."

Feeling himself starting to shake, Edward cursed his weakness. In the past his body had suffered pain, of the countless and seemingly endless variety. In comparison to losing an arm, or a leg, or being speared through the heart, allowing one man to fuck him should have seemed like nothing. But there was something uniquely perverse in offering up his body like this. It should be a pleasure, but it would be one he was afraid he could not share. It frightened him to think that he could hate it, especially after Scar had humbled himself to the point of prostrating himself before Edward's cock. It seemed grossly unfair, and Edward despised little more than judging himself to be unfair.

Scar made a noise, perhaps a sigh, and began to stroke Edward's hair. The other man would ask for nothing. Edward knew it. He would only take what was offered and nothing more. So if Edward didn't do or say anything, then Scar would end up leaving unsatisfied— which might be fine, except it would end up leaving Edward feeling like the biggest shit. So Edward swallowed... his pride, his fears... everything. He had to do this. "Scar... you can... if you want..."

He found himself cut off. "Make no mistake, Edward Elric. I intend to do to you just as you did to me," Scar whispered. "The very same."

Suddenly Edward felt himself shaking even more. That was an outrageously generous thing to say, and it made him feel even more weak and ridiculous. Scar must have known that he was afraid of being fucked, must have figured it out and decided to save face for Edward by pretending it was something he didn't even want in the first place. "Of course you can," Edward answered huskily. "I will. But... isn't there... don't you want more?"

There was a pause. "I don't want more than what your body can take," Scar answered softly, voice betraying only a little strain, but enough to betray the lie. It was a kind lie, though. Edward didn't even have the heart to find it humiliating, and resumed his kisses meekly, wondering if he could ever find a way to pay Scar back for this. But then a new thought occurred to him, and he realized he didn't have to.

Scar's body was best mapped in terms of territories, at least as far as kissing was concerned. "Have you..." Edward began, disengaging himself from Scar's embrace and forcing the man on his back, sitting up with a toss of hair, "...ever heard of," Edward dipped down, and took one of Scar's nipples in between his teeth for a gentle bite. "... Empiricism?"

"Nnooo..." was Scar's drawn out, intensely felt reply. The man actually squirmed.

Success. Edward nodded to himself, and began to lick at the nipple gently, glad that his experiment was not failing. "It's a kind of proof," Edward explained through studied kisses. "Proving through experience that something works." Face parallel to Scar's body, Edward fixed his gaze upwards, using the muscles of his eyes instead of the muscles of his neck to look at his lover. "...or doesn't." Scar's head was thrown back, the muscles of the other man's neck jutting in stark relief. Muscles Edward could name, if he wanted... after all that study of bioalchemy, he couldn't help but pick up a few things like that.

Empiricism was the opposite of faith. It was belief founded in reality, a system of thought built out of investigation. But it was also a way to learn. How could Edward learn how to make up for his fears unless he put them to the test? Maybe it was true that Scar's cock would be too big for his body. But men bigger than Scar had been raping little boys for generations. If that was possible, then why not this? Possibly he could even enjoy it. Edward hummed a little, that sense of possessiveness returning along with his self control. Scientists did not balk from the unknown, even if people of faith did. If the idea of being fucked in the ass was so sexy, perhaps the reality would be as well.

Scar had kissed his belly, and that had felt good. Edward stretched, rolling his shoulders and cracking his knuckles out in front of him, fingers intertwined. He'd have to try that first.

"Edward.... Elric..."

Edward raised an eyebrow, then bit into the ridge of the rectus muscle, eliciting a garbled groan. Slowly, slowly Scar was uncoupling his first name from his last. With any luck Edward would make Scar forget that he had a last name, or any name at all. Maybe it was shameful, but Edward would make this man his, and own him even while being fucked. To do that, Edward would have to maintain control even as he shredded every last ounce of his lover's restraint.

Parting Scar's legs, Edward touched them carefully, using the outside of his left index finger to caress the skin, then brushing his cool automail over any bit that felt particularly warm. It was totally teasing, and Scar was completely erect. Edward examined Scar's penis, and decided there were some advantages to circumcision, as preposterous as that might sound. The main one was that the head of Scar's penis was right out there, visible without having to use fingers or lips to push back any foreskin. This made it possible for Edward to stiffen his tongue and apply it gently to the slit at the end.

Scar went to claw for Edward's head, wanting apparently to hold him in place just as Edward had earlier. But Edward was on the lookout for that and shifted away swiftly, rolling off the bed and standing up. The look on Scar's face was priceless: confusion combined with sticky desire and prickly pre-fury. Before Scar could get really mad, however, Edward was back in there, leaning over Scar's groin after clamping Scar's hands down to his sides. "I'm going to show you," Edward whispered. "We can do this. You can do this."

"Do... what?"

"You're going to fuck me," Edward whispered. "I'm telling you, so you will."

"How did you get to be so... damned... audacious?" Scar snarled helplessly, not really fighting against the way Edward was holding him down as his cock was teased with tongue and lips.

"Scar!" Edward looked up, eyes shining. "You swore." Power, yes, was very addicting. He could play with Scar like this until the man ejaculated in his eyes, but that wasn't really the plan.

In fact, that was so far from the plan that Edward paused, grossing himself out over the thought of having a come-covered face. Clearly it was time to focus. "I want you to fuck me," Edward said, using his deepest and (he hoped) most sexy voice. "I'm sure you can figure out how."

With that, Edward let go of Scar's hands and held his own up, ostentatious in his defenselessness. Edward backed himself up off the bed and stood up straight, keeping his arms in the air in an attitude of arrest, although the coy smile on his lips belied any possible impression of helplessness such a pose might otherwise convey. Scar was lying there, naked and hard, his long limbs splayed and his blunt fingers clutching at the sheets. Scar shook his head no, the look in his eyes pleading for Edward to come back, to finish what he'd started.

Edward leaned forward and mouthed yes, mockingly, before turning around so that Scar could see only Edward's back and the gaze leveled at him from over an automail shoulder. "Are you coming?" Edward asked, softly, cutting his lover with double entendre and innuendo as if it were his birthright. Edward dropped his arms, but not his eyes, staring at Scar acutely.

The bed groaned as Scar stood up, and in moments Edward was pulled into a sinuous and desperate embrace, Scar holding him from behind and leaning down to kiss Edward's neck as at the same time he lifted Edward to his toes by cupping his fingers around the front of Edward's crotch and pressing hard, forcing the boy to stand higher or be crushed. Edward leaned back, leaned and offered all his weight. Against Scar's body he felt so light. The man was absolutely immoveable by conventional means, and Edward knew that it would be impossible to fall while being held so intimately.

Scar certainly was an excellent groper. Despite the intention to stay aloof, Edward found himself drawn in, desire licking him as effectively as Scar's tongue. Scar's cock was pressing into his rear, fitting into the depression between his buttocks. Edward wiggled his hips and clenched, squeezing the leading edge of the shaft of Scar's penis.

"Edward..."

Placing his hands over the crest of the iliac bones winging at the front of Edward's hips, Scar firmly rubbed his cock and balls into the soft rounded flesh of Edward's ass. A pang, a groan; maybe Edward wanted this after all. Pivoting Edward's smaller body with an easy shove, Scar turned Edward around and pushed him down into the bed. Although it was freefall, Edward was prevented... but only by inches... from landing face-first by the firm grip Scar had on his automail.

"... Elric."

Damn. Edward clutched at the sheets, considered biting them. "Call me Edward," he growled. "Just that."

He could not see Scar's face, could not guess what the man was thinking as he looked down on him as he lay prone. What was Scar doing, retreating into a fugue or something? How much thoughtfulness was really necessary, any the fuck way? When Scar eventually lowered himself down over Edward's body, it was all the boy could do to keep himself from spitting out "finally," which would have revealed just a little too much about his own difficulties with patience.

"Edward," Scar whispered into his ear, and the breath of air tickled deliciously. It was as if Scar was tasting the name, savoring it as if he'd never said it before. With Scar's accent the name almost sounded Persian, spicy and thick and quite different from how the Germans tended to pronounce it. Just now Scar's accent was quite strong.

Tangling one hand into Edward's slip-prone silica hair, Scar twisted it into a loose skein around his fingers. This was apparently to move it out of the way, because soon Edward was being kissed softly in the square depression on the back of his neck, bounded by skull and tendons and with spine in the deep. Lips touching not just skin, but everything underneath, pressing into Edward's body roughly along with glancing lashes of a searching tongue. Scar's body was heavy and warm, and even though most of the other man's weight was distributed onto his various limbs Edward mmmed as Scar eclipsed Edward's slim pelvis with the entire weight of his own.

In this land of Germany lived the remnants of a perpetual gloom, the memory of forests more vast and thick than any other on the continent. Stories of that heaviness had made little impression on Edward's farm-born mind, but now with the weight of man pressing into him like the darkness of years past, Edward gasped, and a little part of his mind clicked into understanding. Scar covered his body like dusk, shadowing him with a palpable lust. Already with summer Edward's body was hot, but Scar's body stifled him further, exiling him to a feverish desert, his thirst for touch unquenched.

The hand holding Edward's hair back, Scar's right, disengaged and dropped the hair back to Edward's skin, causing it to cling to the sheen of sweat beginning to slick Edward's body. Scar moved his arm and fingers down Edward's flank, shifting most of his own weight onto his left side. Edward remembered the tattoos that used to adorn that arm, arcane markings of the highest and most taboo form of alchemy. Beautiful markings, concealing power lifted from the attempted genocide of Scar's own people. Power that had been given, first to Edward's brother, and then through Alphonse to Edward himself. The tattoos were gone but the gift was not, and Edward breathed heavily as he remembered that the price of his own life was the destruction of half a race of people as well of that of nine hundred of the culprits. Lives that Scar had mastered and for which the man considered his soul damned.

With his fingers Scar explored the smoothness of Edward's bottom, gently touching the youthful curves. Edward was fully aware that his body was one in full ripeness, fresh despite its brokenness. Scar, on the other hand, was like a blown rose, strong and loose with the blowsy aroma of a man fully realized, grown into full individuality and yet somewhat at a precipice. Just before decay and death a body possessed fey beauty, sometimes for a season and sometimes for years. Scar had this kind of charm, this sort of attraction, because the weight of his body was like the weight of age, the weight of legends, the weight of endless gloom on which the sun yet dared to shine.

"I believe this will hurt you, Edward Elr... Edward." Scar's voice was hushed, strained. He must have wanted it, wanted it at the very limit of what he thought was right. At least he did not ask if Edward was sure, because if he did Edward might have had to clobber the man with his automail arm until something was broken and several things bled. The lack of any questioning flushed Edward's mind with triumph and filled him with maliciously sexy goodwill. Was it cruel that he wanted Scar to use him, when he knew that Scar would feel guilty about it before, during, and after?

Perhaps. "Prove it," Edward whispered.

Fingers without any particular skill dipped into the crevice between Edward's buttocks, starting up high at the tail bone and plumbing the natal line down until he found the entrance of Edward's anus, testing and probing until sure that this was the right spot. Scar's touch was both artless and naked, revealing much about the man's own lack of experience in this realm, and yet outside the obvious clumsiness was a larger confidence that left Edward breathless. There was no doubt now that Edward would be fucked.

There was little preamble after that. Slowly, carefully Scar helped his penis into the vault of Edward's rectum by holding it steady with his fingers as he advanced.

Edward closed his eyes tight and clenched his teeth so hard that he thought that the back molars would crack. Every muscle in his body tensed and Edward pounded the mattress, once, with an automail fist. Fuck. It was the same pain. Tears rose in Edward's eyes. It was the same as getting an artificial body part, the same electricity, the same shock, the same fucking same.

Tending to his pain, Edward barely noticed when Scar began to thrust, first hesitantly and then with evolving force. Biting his lower lip, Edward endured. He had asked for this, this was the one thing his shock-focused mind remembered. It was not pleasant, not even slightly, but this was proof and it was real. Proof that bit, proof that probed, proof that bled. The same.

Pain that equaled truth. Truth that equaled pain. How could Edward have expected anything different?

I'm alive, Edward hissed in his own mind. Only being alive could hurt like this. Somehow that was a comforting thought.

Scar took Edward with animal ferocity, letting loose gradually but completely. Edward could tell the exact moment when his lover came, because Scar's body suddenly spasmed upwards and there was a release, a marvelous release as the hardness lodged in his ass became quiescent and normal. The ebb of pain was almost like a shadow orgasm. Edward felt Scar slowly disengage, felt his body gently turned over and then picked up, adjusted so that he was lying down the right way in bed. His eyes were closed, and he kept them closed because he knew that tears were hidden away in the corners and it was too early to open them if he didn't want to be betrayed by tears tracking down his cheeks.

Outsized fingers searched him and found him out, however, when Scar placed the edge of his thumb against the corner of Edward's eye, picking up an unshed tear. The unasked question was very loud: are you okay? It was a question Edward wasn't quite sure of the answer to as he drifted back into himself, immediate pain replaced with an ache that was more complicated than mere soreness and hurt. Scar's body was not on the bed, so the man must have been kneeling at the edge of it so that he could carefully touch Edward's face without disturbing any of the rest of his body.

When he was ready, Edward opened his eyes. The look on Scar's face was not apologetic, not fearful or hopeful, but it wore a look of faintly ragged concern and complete, complete attention.

This was, then, Edward's proof. Edward wondered with a slight pang of self-recrimination if he would ever learn. Had his curiosity every bought him anything other than pain? The body, this body, was simply too frail to handle the demands he made of it. One arm gone, one leg destroyed, and now a fire in his belly as his gut gurgled uncomfortably with the referred insult. His eyes grazed Scar's body slowly, scanning from head to chest to shoulder and then, inescapably, to the miraculously new and non-cursed arm. The fingers from that arm were the ones that touched him, brushing the side of his face and his neck as if sweeping off dust. "Well," Edward whispered. That was...

"I will not allow you to talk me into that again, Edward Elric," Scar cut him off. The man's tone was severe but his eyes were gentle, as gentle as the velvet of a red and dying rose.

"Wasn't it good?" Edward replied in a tiny voice, feeling a sort of sick mortification catching in his throat. After all that, and still his sacrifices were worthy of nothing but rejection? It was humiliating, awful, to think that he'd taken that pain only for Scar to find him not good enough. Edward inhaled, wanting to light the embers of outrage that always simmered in his heart, wanting to burn because it felt better than this creeping coldness.

Scar stared. "Good?" The fingers on the side of Edward's face dug into the flesh painfully. "What are you talking about?"

"Didn't you like it?"

Before he knew it Edward was being kissed on his cheek. This was the closest Scar had ever come to kissing his lips. "Yes," was the answer. "But..."

This wiped Edward's fears effectively as he figured out exactly what was going on. Relief squeezed his heart until it fluttered. "I'm glad." Edward hefted his automail arm, disinhibiting the restraints on his deep brain structures through some mysterious neurologic process that allowed his metal fingers to run through Scar's hair, petting the other man's head without even seeing what his arm was doing. The arm Winry had made for him, miraculous in its own way. How had he allowed himself to forget just how wonderful it was? Something like the memory of touch echoed through the wires.

"Your pain is something I don't want to see," Scar whispered. "Ever again." Scar's lips left Edward's cheek when he spoke, but then pressed again into Edward's skin. Edward could feel it against the edge of his teeth, through the flesh, and a part of him wanted badly to turn his face so that those lips could touch his own.

"Don't be so melodramatic," Edward said with a tremulous smile. "That was nothing." Edward did turn, then, but only so that he could pull back and look Scar in the eyes. "I'd like to fuck you like that."

"Oh." Scar looked at him and flushed, becoming so warm that even his cheeks went pink, and Edward stilled his face into amused blankness as he realized that his shot told. Obviously Scar wanted that too. "Do you think... you... can?"

Hmm. Edward felt himself flush in turn as he realized what Scar was implying, and considered the mechanics. "Maybe," he whispered but suddenly his tone was doubtful and frankly boyish. "You are rather big," he confessed. "And I..." Edward's voice trailed off as he realized that he had come fatally close to the most taboo topic of his life. "I'm so..." How could he catch a save? What was Edward, really, other than small? Like a bean? "Um..."

There was a long pause, and Edward tried not to blink as his mind scrambled for the best evasive maneuver, the most effective verbal parry. Edward really, really didn't want to have to have his hackles rise in defense of his own honor this soon after sex. He felt the muscles of his face screw into academic thoughtfulness.

"...Specialized?" Scar suggested, giving him a look completely stripped of irony or sarcasm.

Edward relaxed, feeling a strange surge of total comfort. "Yes. Yes, that's exactly it."