The Flooding Dark, The Evening Strange

chapter 10.
The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.—G.K. Chesterton

Morning came, and when Edward finally woke he found his arms untied and himself still lying in Scar's arms. The man was sleeping soundly and even faintly snoring, but must have woken up briefly some time earlier and decided that the demon child that was Edward Elric had been sufficiently tamed.

Other then with his own brother, Edward had never slept the night in the same bed with another person before. Sure, Winry and he used to take catnaps from time to time at her place, sprawled out over her bed... but it had always been during the day, always included clothes, and any intentional (or even accidental) touching had been mutually forbidden as the result of at least seven separate Elric-Rockbell treaties. Sunlight filtered through the quivering needles of a fir tree just outside the window, lighting the wall opposite from the bed. Edward stared at it a while, content simple to enjoy Scar's well-muscled arms around his body, the scent of sex that rose warmly from under the sheets, and the sinusoidal rise and fall of the man's breathing.

His whole body moved when Scar's did.

Edward closed his eyes, smiling as he thought about going back to sleep. He shouldn't, of course, but it was nice to think about. He missed having the daily rush of kittens to tame his weariness.

The Al kitten, now. Edward would miss that guy a lot. And so, most likely, would Scar. Father Ernesto was a nice man and all, but he was not really a cat lover, and once he discovered that Scar's absence was more than a temporary thing, he might end up giving the poor little thing away to yet another new owner. Edward hoped that this wouldn't be the case, but his hope meant nothing in the grand scheme of things. Of all the loose ends that would have to be left untied, this was the one that burned the most.

After a few minutes Edward struggled to get up, disengaging from his lover's arms. It didn't take him long to draw up water to bathe, although all he ended up doing was a quick sponge bath because he didn't want to fuss with the automail. He made the water extra hot, which was how Scar seemed to prefer it, and before he went to find his clothes he woke up the man and pointed him towards the bathroom. Rubbing his eyes blearily, Scar complied without words.

Funny: Scar looked almost hung-over. Apparently standing right on the edge of a really good orgasm for half the night and just letting it pass him by was not exactly a restorative thing to do. Pitilessly, Edward followed Scar into the bathroom and watched the man climb into the tub, leaning against the wall to make sure that Scar didn't drown or anything by accidentally falling asleep in the water. Plus, this way he got to stare at Scar naked, for free.

"Want me to scrub your back?" Edward offered, after Scar settled into the bath only to close his eyes and not move for many long moments.

"Shut up," Scar said, without opening his eyes or moving one centimeter.

"Yes, sir," Edward said, smirking. "But is that a no or a yes?"

"If you touch me right now I will have to seriously consider killing you," Scar said quietly.

"Scary." Ambling near, Edward knelt at the edge of the tub and placed his elbows on the edge, leaning forward with chin on the heels of his hands. "You should have let me take care of things for you last night."

"My decision," Scar mumbled, keeping his eyes closed but crossing his arms and lifting his chin defiantly. "Did you know that you kick and snore when you are asleep?"

"So do you. Well... snore, anyway." Edward touched the water with his left index finger, making small wavelets as he stirred the hot water as if it were tea.

"Whatever I do cannot possibly compare to the wretched noises you were making last night." Opening his eyes at last, Scar watched Edward play with the water. "Don't even think about splashing me, either."

"Your decision has left you totally grumpy," Edward smiled, a friendly and forgiving smile. Scar probably found it maddening. It could not be easy, even now, for the man to refrain from at least jerking off. "Don't worry, I don't want you to be tying me up when we hike the road to Oberkirch. I'll leave you be."

"I know." Nodding, Scar returned the smile... a bit grudgingly, but there it was. "Sorry. But you are too desirable for me to have an easy time of it. You must realize this."

"I do." Daring much, Edward reached forward to ruffle Scar's hair, winking as he did so. It would be so easy to beg the man to just get over it, but of all the many unfair things he'd subjected him to lately, that seemed to be going way too far. "Come on, let me clean you up. I can at least do that much."

Scar stared at him for a long moment, saying nothing.

"Don't insult me by thinking I'll act like a child when it counts. I'll just scrub your back, nothing more."

"That's not it," Scar replied at last, meeting his eyes with a clear blush in his cheeks. "But if you touch me now I will certainly have to fuck you."

No hesitation over the big curse word, none at all. Scar must have been thinking about saying that to him all night, practicing it out in his head. Nodding, Edward leaned in to kiss Scar lightly on the lips, and then stood up. "Be ready in half an hour, then. I'd like to be at the ruins before noon." He then walked out of the bath and closed the door behind him, sighing as he did.



At the bottom of the hill was a small abandoned stone arch, the trailing footpath under it near vanishing from disuse. Waxy-leafed ivy climbed the arch from side to crumbling side, and the tall grass leading up to the arch was dry and a burnt yellow at the tips from wounds taken during the recent summer. Edward joined Scar in walking through the arch and then stopping, squinting to examine the steep climb to Schauenburg Castle.

The wet from the previous day's rain had evaporated off in the clear, angled sunlight. Shifting the strap of the duffel so that it didn't cut so painfully into his shoulder, Edward took a deep breath.

"Want me to carry that?" Scar asked, voice neutral.

"I want you to stop asking me that." Marching onward with atheistic fervor, Edward grumbled as he started up the hill, trying to hide both his panting and his terminal droop. Forget miles; every yard conquered was a real triumph.

Very soon Edward would begin preparing the arrays for opening the gates of death. In his notebooks he'd scribbled pages of complex alchemical design, modifying the forms and symbols he was familiar with in his bid for home. Thinking about all of the work he'd done, Edward bit his lip.

He'd done this before. He'd done this very thing before. It was the very definition of transgression, of pride, that he was willing to try again.

Some things, after all, would always exist beyond the power to calculate. Humans, which could be made so cheaply, stood before him in his mind like an unending wall of accusation.

Water, 35 liters. Carbon, twenty kilograms. Ammonia, four liters. Lime, one and a half kilograms. Phosphorus, 800 grams. Salt, 250 grams. Niter, one hundred grams. Sulfur, eighty grams. Fluorine, seven and a half grams. Iron, five grams. Silicon, three grams.

...Plus fifteen other elements, all in diminishing quantities so as to seem almost, but not quite, meaningless.

In both this world and his own, the physics of alchemy often boiled down to equations with constants. If stripped to the core, a constant was merely the measure of everything that existed in the universe that could be extrapolated but not explained. Truths experimentally verifiable, but logically almost random. There was no reason that pi, for example, was 3.1415 (on and on, into infinity)... the number just was, and that was its own reason. Constants were the true gods of the universe... but even they had the potential to be false, to fail when humans attempted to warp reality.

Scar reached the summit first, and Edward was panting hard as he struggled to finally join him, dropping his bag as he looked around to survey both the full scope of the ruins and the surrounding countryside. For a while he just breathed, bent over with hands on knees as he tilted his head up to take in everything. "I'm just going to ask you this once," Edward said finally, after catching his wind. "Do you..."

Cutting him off with a sharp hand gesture, Scar turned to Edward with weighing eyes. "Don't ask," Scar said, tone brackish.

"You didn't even wait to hear the question," Edward protested.

"I know."

"I'm not going to ask you to fuck me."

"I know." Scar reached up to run fingers through his hair. "Whatever doubts are plaguing you, let them be." Leaning down, Scar swiped Edward's duffel before the boy could protest. "Don't offer me an out."

"Hey..." Edward made a sour face.

Scar said nothing, simply began walking towards the free-standing stone wall, several stories high. In the wall were several arched windows, but behind those windows all that could be seen from this vantage were pieces of the sky. The castle that had once stood here was now merely impressive rubble. After circling around the wall and stepping over some prickly brush weeds, Scar and Edward stepped onto the floor of the leftover foundation, looking up and around as they took in the open-air space.

"There," Edward said, pointing. Right in the center of the stone was a place that was smooth enough for chalk work.

Nodding, Scar dropped the bags and opened up one of them, sorting through all of the items inside. Edward sat down on the opposite side of his lover, watching as Scar plundered in a militaristically systematic fashion. Soon Scar had pulled out a tool kit, a large sheet of folded canvas, metal stakes, and rope.

The first past of this venture was all Scar, with only a bit of an assist from Edward. Because it was autumn, capricious rains were always a possibility... and even though today was fine, tomorrow might not be. So, before Edward made one mark with his chalk, Scar was going to set up a sheltering tent for his work. Edward put on a pair of work gloves and watched as Scar unfolded the canvas, lying it flat over the area Edward had indicated. He then walked around the edges, dropping supplies wherever they might be needed.

Scar took off his coat and dropped it on a large stone to the side, and unbuttoned his sleeves at the cuff, rolling them up. "Ready?"

Edward nodded, kneeling at one corner of the canvas. This part was the worst, for getting discovered. Scar knelt next to him, showing him where he wanted Edward to hold the stake.

Of the two of them, only Scar was strong enough to drive stake into stone. Edward leaned back but held the stake securely, looking up to watch his lover as he swung his hammer. The hammer was heavy and Scar's aim was true, and the sound as the stake broke the warm-grey sandstone echoed loudly from the sole wall standing. It was a good thing that the castle was fairly removed from the main town, but still Edward winced. Too loud.

Under other circumstances, Edward would have enjoyed this display of Scar's raw power. Those arms which could crack the stones of the earth were also arms made for holding him fiercely. It was a man's power; Edward had it too, but to a far lesser degree... and a portion of his own power was artificially supplemented. A healthy sheen of sweat developed on Scar's brow, and as the stakes were placed he unbuttoned the top part of his shirt. Edward kept his eyes on Scar's face the entire time, but the man only had eyes for the target he was pummeling into the man-made foundation.

The canvas was a large rectangular sheet, and because it was meant to be only a temporary thing Scar was going to raise it at the four corner points only. This meant a total of twelve stakes... three at each corner. Careless of any desire to preserve the beauty of the ruins, once the holes were made the man poured a limestone powder into the holes, portland concrete, mixing it with water to cement the stakes in place. Now all he had to do was let it set... Scar folded up the canvas and set it to the side. Satisfied, he turned to Edward.

"Your turn."

"Good." Edward took a deep breath. It had been a long time since he'd drawn a real array. "Ready to be my personal slave?"

"If by personal slave, you mean someone who plans on tying you up again this evening... sure."

Blushing, Edward closed his eyes and tossed his head a moment. That was a sharp burn. Scar was getting better at dealing with his smartassitude, and Edward found that he liked it. Shuffling through his own bag, Edward retrieved a large metal pole and tied a rope to it, and took it over to the spot dead-center between the stakes. Using a piece of thick white chalk, Edward drew a thick point, and then balanced the pole on it. "Here, hold this."

Obediently, Scar came over, and Edward risked licking his lips as the man came close. "If you tie me up, will you..."


Edward made a face, and then took the free end of his rope, pulling it straight it until he held it taut about five meters out. "You're getting in the way of me forming great memories to sacrifice, you know," Edward accused, his voice teasing but also slightly frustrated. He wouldn't mind spending his last nights with Scar tied up all kinky, but without a mutual orgasm it would seem... kind of cheap.

Silence. Edward looked down, smiling as he began to mark the circumference of his array, using the rope as reference to keep it perfectly circular. Even though it was nice to be triumphed over from time to time, Edward did like awfully to win. Scar's desire... Edward imagined that he could feel the man's eyes on his small body, watching him hungrily as he prepared the skeleton of his science.

This was not the time for dirty thoughts, though. It took some time before Edward had a circle clean enough to satisfy him, and once he did it was time for pulling out his pile of notebooks, going over his pages and pages of drawings. Even though he had the circle down cold from ages past, he still felt like dithering and tinkering with his designs; adapting the sephirot of the Tree of Life into a functional array that he himself could use had always been more art than science, and summoning the tools for effective ritual meant delving deep into his understanding of symbolic forms and meanings, adapting them to fit his alien consciousness.

Brooding for some time, Edward didn't notice at first that Scar had sidled up next to him and was looking over his shoulder after setting down onto one knee. Thus, he startled a bit when the man spoke up, deep voice surprising him from his complex reverie.

"What's the hold up?"

Edward turned to Scar, treating him with the fuzzy look of an intellectual who is not prepared to come down from the heights of his calculations in order to discuss them with mere mortals. "Erm?"

"You've been sitting there for a half hour, doing nothing. Is something wrong?"

"This," Edward said, pointing an accusing finger at one of the drawings near the end of his notes.

Leaning in to get a better look, Scar frowned, and then looked up. "That looks fairly complicated. Are you afraid you won't be able to draw something like that on a large scale?"

"No way," Edward said, almost scoffing, before returning to glum pique. "It's easy to scale designs like this if you know how, and I do. But... look." Edward pointed at the figure, a chaotic swirl of spikes and curving forms, which looked more like a curling wave crashing against a rock than the ordered alchemical designs he was used to. "It's uneven."

"Eh?" Scar vaguely raised one eyebrow, the kind of perplexed look Edward had seen in his face exactly one time before: when the man had flown over a building in East City fleeing pursuit from the military, only to find Edward, Alphonse, and Dr. Marcoh all conveniently lined up for assassination.

No matter how much Edward had taught Scar about magic, the deeper understanding was something that only he alone could carry. "Here," Edward said, pointing with a blunt fingertip. "This is supposed to be Jacob's ladder, right?"

"Right." Scar crossed his arms, a game attempt at looking subtle. "From the dream, in the Bible. I remember that."

"So why isn't it symmetrical?" Edward clipped the word short, irritability growing as he returned to contemplate the troublesome array.

"... because that's how you drew it?"

"That's what theory told me to draw," Edward said tightly. "But I don't like it."

"Oh." Scar tapped a finger against his arm. "Well, hey... Maybe it should look more like a ladder?"

Maybe it should look like.... "What are you, stupid?" Edward shook a fist high in the air, sounding outraged and even a bit insulted. Scar looked at him, slightly startled, and Edward made an effort to contain himself. "The ladder is just a metaphor."

"I see."

"Stop looking at me like that." The man was actually smirking, damn him.

Scar smoothed his expression, and actually offered Edward a smile, albeit one that was an odd mixture of shy and sly. "Sorry," the man confessed. "Go on."

"Right." Edward nodded, twice, feeling a look of serious concentration come over his face, abandoning his brief moment of genius paranoia in order to move it the meatier realm of genius megalomania. "So, what does this have to do with ladders, you might ask? It looks like oil spilled on water. But that's alright, that's what happens when you translate a multidimensional concept into two. That's not the problem."

"I'll take your word for it." Scar took a deep, presumably calming, breath. "What is, then?"

"Where's the circle? I ask you that... WHERE IS THE CIRCLE?"

Speechlessly, Scar pointed to the chalk drawing that Edward had just made.

"Exactly." There was a pause, a meaningful one. Edward eyed Scar. "And, shut up."

Scar reached out to touch Edward's hair, smoothing the plaits of his braid and stroking the top of his head. It was a fond gesture. "You know what you have to do," he said softly, but with assurance. "You can do it."

"I know I can... but..."

"No buts. Remember, Alphonse is counting on you."

Looking into those mahogany brown eyes, Edward stilled and then slowly nodded. "Al is pretty gullible sometimes," he said, deciding to take comfort in the man's faith in him. "Okay, though... okay."

"Good." Scar said, lifting his hand with a look of pleased resolve. Edward let loose a relieved little smile, and Scar smiled back at him, nodding as if Edward finally was seeing a joke. "Where is the circle...?" Scar raised the pitch of his voice slightly, making it somewhat more boyish, and laughed warmly. "Sometimes you are very amusing."


Edward reached out, blinking, about to be consumed with a pressing need to explain the whole thing all over again, seeing as how Scar obviously didn't get his angst and who had just now betrayed that all of his faith was merely a matter of indulgent appeasement. Before he could splutter out a clarification, Scar patted his shoulder and stood, picking up the bag containing the overnight supplies.

"I'm going to set up camp now."

"But... the circle... "

"Yes, yes. It's quite nice." Scar waved one hand in a friendly (but ultimately dismissive) gesture as he walked away, turning his back to the shaking alchemist. "Where is it, though?" Laughter, the hearty laughter of a man who didn't know that he should be afraid of his own upcoming demise. "I wonder."

Inside of Edward's mind, the tiny little scientist whose genius was acknowledged by all the masses (but not, apparently, by his non-genius lover) exploded.

Later that evening Edward dusted off his hands. After abandoning his dithering, Edward had had a fairly productive afternoon putting down the bones of his outline, ellipses overlaying the circle like orbitals. There was also a design stolen directly from his visions in the gate; a spiraling mandelbrot track that broke the main array into a tiling, fractionated set, fractal and delicate like the curling spine of a seahorse.

He still had one more full day before Michaelmas; the fine detail could be filled in then.

It didn't take long for Scar to set up the canvas shield over his work, and then they left the castle for the night, going to a clearing just outside the entrance where the Ishibalite had raised the tent. No fire was lit; this high on the mountain, any light at night would be suspect. Dinner was therefore cold: cheese and bread and beer.

Scar and Edward ate outside, sitting on rocks and watching the sun set beyond the rind of the earth. Beyond a certain point on the horizon the sun seemed to go down very fast, breaking into rays and then shadow. Taking its light beyond the ocean, to lands half a world away. The moon was almost full and therefore it was already visible to the east, a cheerful white light that was both wan and pure.

"I have a question, Edward," Scar said into the fading purple silence.


"What did you mean earlier, about making memories to sacrifice?"

Damn. Why couldn't any of Scar's questions be easy? "It seems probable that the gate will take a certain fraction of one's memories. I don't know what that fraction will be, but logically— the more memories I have, the more I'll be able to keep. So..." Edward took a deep breath. "The more sex we have, the more chances I'll have of holding onto at least one memory of my brother."

"Convenient logic," Scar said, but there was a certain gentleness to his voice that only came out when the topic of Alphonse was addressed, either directly or indirectly.

"You asked." Edward looked down at his feet. "It's not like I only want to have sex for myself, you know."

"Come sit here," Scar said, and when Edward turned to look the man was gesturing to the place on the ground between his legs, where his back would be to the rock Scar was sitting on and his head would be... directly leaning against Scar's groin. That would be a nice place to sit, warm and protected from the wind rising from the northwest. Edward looked, his head tilted and a pang of longing catching him in the throat. He wanted to sit there, to cozy up to Scar by increments and let things happen according to whatever mysterious flowchart the man had in mind to make their sex acts acceptable.

"That sounds good," Edward said, voice a bit harsh and pitched lower than usual. "Are you sure?"

"Yes," Scar said, not turning to look at him, eyes fixed on the retreating sun. "There are other ways I plan on performing my penance... and it seems cruel to deprive not only you, but Alphonse as well."

Edward bit his lip, and then his tongue. He would not even bother to ask about the 'other ways.' Scar's reasoning was almost certainly sophistry, illogical even according to the dictates of faith. But clearly this was a disconnect, a failing that Scar had possessed for a long time. It was easy to forgive, really, because it was evidence of the man's fundamental goodness. Plus... Edward really wanted sex right now; he'd be insane to quibble.

Silently, without further commentary, Edward stood up and shook out his limbs, walking over to where Scar was. For a minute all he did was look at the man, catching his eye in the failing light and lifting his chin challengingly.

"You're... beautiful, Edward Elric."

How should a boy respond to that kind of complement from a man? He still had no idea. A frisson of heat touched his cheeks, and finally, finally, he nodded, swallowing.

The light of the sun set Scar's eyes on fire, making them appear dark red. "Sit," Scar bade, gesturing to the patch of grass at his feet. Taking a deep breath, Edward lowered himself to the ground, slowly adjusting himself so that he was leaning into the warm angle created between Scar's thighs. With a satisfied sigh, Edward leaned into the hard inner bundle of muscles. It wasn't long before Scar began running his fingers over the plaited hair, first smoothing it down over the scalp, and then teasing out the braid, loosening the tie and making the blonde hair hang free.

This was not penance; this was positively vengeance. Edward closed his eyes, not insensible to the fact that Scar's teasing touch was both echo and payback for the way that he'd seduced the man the night before. Scar had promised to tie him up again tonight, but this felt different... no way was the man preparing himself for punishment or self-denial. The skittering touch of Scar's fingers was not hesitant but teasing, touching not only the sensitive places on the top of his head, but gently pressing into the grooves defining the muscles of his neck, drawing latitudinal lines along his body in motions of surveillance, curiosity, desire.

Edward felt so small, and he hugged his legs close to his chest, making himself even smaller.

With his eyes still closed, the sun set at last.

At some point, Scar slid himself down off the rock, lifting Edward into his lap and wrapping his arms around Edward's slight body, kissing the curves of Edward's neck and encouraging the boy to lean back. Somehow this reminded Edward of the first time that Scar had touched him, when the man had invited him into his bed in the monastery. That felt like ages ago, but the pang of remembrance made both the memory fresh and the current sensation new.

"You're mine, you know," Scar whispered into his left ear.

"I know," Edward replied, voice so quiet as to be almost inaudible. "I do."

His breath caught as Scar raised one hand to cup Edward's chin, tilting his head to the side and up, favouring him with a gentle kiss on the lips. Edward opened his eyes. Scar's face was so close, now, which was a little bit intimidating. Beyond the contours of Scar's nose and cheek, the sky's color had deepened to indigo. At the edges of his vision Edward caught the twinkle of fixed stars.

"I want you," Scar whispered. "Very, very much." The hand on Edward's face strayed down his chest, finding and cupping his already-hard cock.

Edward swallowed, again, and Scar's lips curled slightly... a rarely-seen, wicked smile. Scar opened his mouth, and for the second night in a row there was deep kissing. Scar's mouth tasted sweet, like apple... when had he eaten an apple?... but also faintly bitter. The taste was complex, intoxicating... like flowers of antimony. Edward tried to push his tongue forward but Scar's was in the way, invading his mouth and preventing him from reciprocating. Again the man's arms were around his body, crushing him close, making him warm and stifling his ability to move.

The kiss was long and lingering, and completely on Scar's terms. Edward gasped when Scar finally pulled back, blinking and licking his lips. So often was Scar deferential and kind that it was easy to forget how absolutely strong he was. The man didn't need to tie him up at all to get what he wanted... without alchemy, there was no way that Edward could find an advantage now. And really, he didn't want to. Things felt too good this way. Edward clung to Scar's shoulders, his automail fingers pinching the thick flesh underneath the man's shirt.

Scar's desire, when properly activated, was flatteringly complete, his browsing touch firm and possessive. Edward was kissed again and again, and Scar groped everything... his back, the curve of his ass, the junction of limbs to automail, the nape of his neck. It felt particularly good when Scar fingered the inner edge of his left leg, skirting the edge of his balls through the clothes and moving down along the thigh to find the ridge of steel demarcating real from artificial.

"Lie back," Scar said softly, chasing his words with a gentle shove. The autumnal night was becoming cool; the smell of leaves burning from a faraway bonfire wove through the evolving crispness of the air. The sky behind the Milky Way had become dark, and the moon was rising, casting a silver film over the birch trees in a copse at the edge of the clearing.

As soon as he was down, Scar moved sideways, dragging Edward's legs around in an arc, away from the rock. Once he was satisfied that there was enough room, Scar climbed into place over him, grinding his cock against Edward's. To do that he had to forgo kissing, but Scar curled in towards him anyway, pressing his lips onto Edward's forehead, wrapping his arms around the top of the boy's head, leaning his weight on his forearms so that the touch against Edward's face was light.

Some months back, Edward had let slip to Scar that he'd never had sex before all of this; nothing he'd define as sex, anyway. This had seemed to surprise Scar quite a bit, and it eventually had come out...after much hemming and evasion, and with lots of teasing on Edward's part... that Scar had actually had at least a half dozen different partners, all female, back during his days fighting with the Ishibal insurgency. To hear Scar tell it, when he finally did, those had all been rather casual encounters, violent and frenetic yet easily dismissed. Sex between comrades, nothing more.

Since then, Edward had always defined their sex as of a similar quality, but something always tugged at him: an undeniable fact. The way Scar dealt affection and tenderness to him suggested that his feelings for Edward had a subtly different tenor. Protective, and yet strangely deferential... it was different from the casual yet distant courtesy with which Scar dealt with pretty women. Was it because the man wanted to make up for all the sex that Edward had never (really) had? Or was it something else, a deeper impulse?

It was not easy to define, of course... the best Edward could do was that sometimes, Scar's concern felt downright brotherly.

The bulge of Scar's erection was easily felt through his pants, and Edward felt himself get all sweaty with friction and the transmitted effort. Scar wanted to be inside of him; this much was entirely clear. Scar was so solid, and his own body so lithe... for him the combination was heavy and sometimes even difficult to endure. Was Scar going to go through with it? Would the man fuck him, even after he'd so long ago vowed not to?

It felt like begging for it would break the spell. Edward feared that saying anything right now, even the lightest and most innocuous thing, might cause Scar to come to his senses... or, as Edward considered it, descend into his habitual dislogic. So, despite wanting to be fucked so badly that it felt like his very bones were fracturing into shattered desire, Edward kept his lips firmly shut, only allowing himself to making inarticulate noises and moans whenever something felt particularly good.

When Scar slowed his motions and dropped sideways to lie next to Edward in the grass, there was brief moment of absolute aggravation on Edward's part until he felt the man's fingers groping the front of his tight black pants, pulling them off with expert precision. Edward widened his eyes, panting, holding back the beguiling coercive plea he wanted to make... if Scar tried to go down on him without fucking him, again, Edward thought he'd have to kill the man out of frustration. Some higher wisdom held him back, however, telling him to chill, to wait. If Scar was going to fuck him, ultimately it would have to be the man's own decision. That's just the way it had to be.

Scar was looking at him, pupils dark and dilated, eyes visible in the waxing moonlight. The man looked hungry, but more than that he appeared irresolute. Even now, something was holding him back, something bigger and more important than his faith: could it possibly be his own feelings? It made Edward shiver to think that Scar could feel strongly about him, could have a kind of partiality for him that approached the level of the man's known attachment to the younger Elric. All along, Edward had remained steady in his theory that, between the two of them, Scar respected and related to Alphonse more. But what if... what if Edward had risen to stand equally with Alphonse in this man's feelings?

That was a frighteningly intense thing to contemplate. Scar had literally been willing to die for Al. Unable to help himself, Edward put one hand down on his own cock, desire catching him out. He did not intend to masturbate, just to... stay exactly where he was, holding in the sensation of pressure and contact his body had come to crave. Scar widened his eyes to see Edward touch himself, and the man's heavy breathing became quicker and more urgent.

Reaching out, Scar took Edward's hand, grip enveloping the boy's smaller fingers. "Only I should touch you there," Scar said, his voice thick and harsh.

Edward bit his lip. That possessive tone suited Scar. He so wanted to tell this man to fuck him, to order him to act. But that probably would not work. Edward made due with communicating his desire with his eyes, staring down obviously at Scar's groin and making a small desiring noise. Scar's own constraints were making him feel helpless... it felt like any false move would make Scar back off for good.

Because Edward was usually such a wordy person, this lack of commentary seemed to put Scar off his game, but instead of making him unsure the man seemed to gather courage and resolve. In response to Edward's glance, Scar slowly began to take off his own pants, uncovering his erect cock without the customary hesitation about revealing his true girth. It seemed strange that a man could be embarrassed for being too large, but Scar usually was. To see that embarrassment muted now was a very encouraging, sexy thing.

When both of them were naked from the waist down, Scar pulled Edward close, taking him for a kiss. This meant that Edward's cock was crushed against Scar's abdomen, and Edward wrapped his automail leg around the upper arch of Scar's pelvis. Kissing and pressing; these were good stop-gap measures, but Scar didn't stop there... with his right arm wrapped around Edward's body, first he touched behind the knees, then up the thigh, and then the rim of the ass.

"Yes..." Edward whispered, unable to hold back affirmation.

Scar's fingers were thick, blunt, with the nails clipped down to a Roman shortness; Edward tensed at first as Scar slowly probed his entrance, tugging at the tightness. The skin down there was dry, and the friction at the edge was not pleasant... but as soon as the finger was inside, the sensation of prickly, burning pain subsided, replaced with an odd feeling of pressure and fullness. While Scar was doing this, attention seemed to divert from the kissing, and slowly the needy motions of their tongues slackened and soon the kissing relaxed into chaste tension, lips pressing and mouths opening but nothing really real occurring... officially, both Scar's and Edward's attention had migrated south.

Edward's cock was throbbing as he thrust blindly against the man's belly, his thrusts constrained by the firm way he was being held and the mounting pressure inside his ass. Scar's touch was not expert but it was curious and confident, and the man poked around until he found a place that made Edward gasp. Once found, Scar corked his finger into place, burrowing at the sensitive spot with insistence and experimental verve.

"Fuck..." Edward spat out, drunk on sensation. "Fucking fuck."

"I can't believe you really want this," Scar whispered, his voice sounding both reverent, and strangely surprised. "But you do, don't you?"

"Yes," Edward said, his reply clipped and unequivocal. "Yes."

This reply earned Edward some intensely-felt words of Ishibal, and another finger up his ass. Which felt so, so good.

Scar rolled over onto his back and Edward used his hands to hold Scar's face firmly, palms over ears and thumbs on cheeks, and he kissed the man in lieu of everything he wanted to say, communicating gratitude for the dissolution of loneliness, communicating desire for the taking of such beauty as the man had to offer. It was easy to thrust against the firmness of Scar's body, to squirm himself to near orgasm, sensations eclipsed only by his body's limitations in processing them. Squeezing his eyes shut, Edward strained to clench all of his muscles and then release them, which slowly helped him to become more relaxed.

"Now?" Scar asked when Edward allowed him to speak, after a particularly intense kiss.

The alchemist nodded mutely, and Scar then removed his fingers to wipe them in the grass, bruising the green stems at the bases and covering his fingers in the cleansing sap of chlorophyll pigments. The night was full of analogue stillness, the kind of profound quiet that could calm the body simply because it was so imperfect. The wind was not strong, but enough to shake the leaves in the birches, a susurration like the glass-breaking whisper of ice-encrusted trees. Rustling underbrush, skittering skies, the distant and mournful call of an owl on the hunt. Under his breastbone, Edward felt his heart flutter, and his whole body ached as if infected.

Scar sat up and in his pivot lowered Edward down carefully against the ground. Underneath the grass, the floor of the hill was stony and uneven and not particularly comfortable, but Edward hardly noticed as Scar leaned over him, crooking his hands into place in the pits of Edward's knees and bending them up and out of the way. Edward was glad his body was so flexible, as pliant as that of a young child... he'd kept himself limber with all of Izumi's exercises, and even the creak and whine of automail couldn't hide his limp-limbed eagerness to comply.

Thumbing his thighs roughly, Scar looked down on him. The man looked ready. Not at peace, exactly, but the earlier wash of irresolution was replaced with sharp determination. The wind, now... the wind was licking Edward's body and reminding him that it was not summer any more, a ripple of chill raising gooseflesh on forearm, shin, and thigh. Scar seemed to sense the way the alchemist's body was prickling into attention, because he nodded solemnly before scooting closer, angling Edward's ass into position and parting his legs smoothly.

"I will proceed slowly," Scar vowed, voice shaking only slightly with the force of his desire. "And I will stop at any moment."

"Don't stop," Edward panted. "Don't..."

Softly, Scar leaned forward. "I don't wish to." The tip of the man's cock bunted against his ass, and Edward gasped to feel the smear of pre-come on his already shivering body. "But say the word, and I will."

"I'll kill you," Edward murmured. "Kill you, kill you..."

"My, my," Scar said sliding his cock along the curve of pale skin. "Ambiguous."

"Fucker," Edward said, raising his voice some. "You know what... fuck!" At that moment, the head of Scar's cock came into moist contact with his anus, and whatever genius retort Edward had planned was lost in a lapse of incoherence. Edward tilted his head back so hard he almost gave himself whiplash, cutting his scalp on a small angled rock buried in the grass. "Fuck..." he whispered, spending his reckless passion with a heart-stopping pause as Scar slowly, slowly pressed past the reflexively tight muscles.

It was time for some eye-closing. Edward bit his lip and forced himself to breathe through his nose. The thing was, this didn't have to hurt, not if he relaxed. He was convinced of it. But just... Scar was so large, and that was a pretty significant mental hurdle to get over. As Edward was wondering how to zen himself into this, Scar released the automail leg, reaching first to stroke Edward's face, and then down to finger along the leading edge of Edward's slightly flagging cock.

"I... I...I want you," Scar whispered, tripping a little over his words. "So much." Edward felt his cock fill and stiffen under the man's burning touch. "Edward."

In reply, Edward thrust his pelvis forward, taking in maybe a millimeter of Scar's girth on his own before the man instinctively responded with enough pressure to slide the cock in past the head and along part of the shaft. Scar was looking down at him as if he was the finest of god's creations, approving and appreciative and something more... as if he was some tangible icon in one to one scale.

Taking Edward's cock firmly in hand, Scar gave it a tight squeeze before pushing himself in further, making needy, almost ugly noises as he pressed on. Scar seemed to be putting most of his weight onto his shins and knees, but still... it was rather impressive that the man could manage this much control of his body without needing to stabilize himself with his hands. Scar's strength was all spine. Placing his hands on either side of his lover's flanks, Edward ran his fingers along the curving processes of the ribs and the soft meat of the belly between chest and hips. Scar moved inside him, pushing in as far as he could before drawing almost all of the way out, and then starting the process all over again; relief, then pressure, then relief, then fucking... It was nice to have a lover who was such an absolutely sexy beast, and even nicer to have one who was so good at making him squirm.

"See?" Edward managed, voice low and hungry. "Empiricism."

Scar smiled then, the judgmental and strained smile of someone older, with enough experience to know that experience could mislead as well as enlighten, but there was fondness in the glance, and in the gestures of his body. His hardness inside of Edward was making for some strange sensations, and the friction at a certain place was making him burn. It would be nice if Scar could just stay put, but that wasn't quite the point now, was it? Edward endured, therefore, each successive thrust. But with Scar's hand on his cock, touching it with the same gentle strokes and consideration the man could give with his tongue, Edward was and stayed hard, and despite the cool wind sweat began to wick from his body.

He even managed a return smile.

Scar was sweating too, skin fragrant with the musk of grass and gravel-dust mixed in with his personal scent. Circumspect and tailored, Scar seemed to be trying to master his desire and put it under chains, but his restraint was fading. This was different from kissing; making love face to face was a less obvious kind of honesty... not so up-close, not so revealing of flaws of form, but certainly naked in what else it exposed in terms of weakness. Edward knew that Scar thought of him as small, but the man never did him the disservice of thinking that equated to frailty. Even as Scar used his fingers to blend flesh into flesh, the strokes as the man fucked him became more clanging and sure. Scar's cock was so large, and large enough that Edward's elasticity was at the absolute tolerance limit; his rectum ached even as he veered into orgasm.

Too much, it was very much too much. Scar gasped when Edward came, thick white semen dripping from his belly and back onto his grasping hand, and instantly he released his hold on the alchemists smaller frame, sticky fingers slamming into the ground next to Edward's ear. For a moment the pace of his thrusts slackened.

"You..." Scar gasped, and the tremor in his voice suggested that he was very close as well. "Need.... you..."

Need articulated was enough to drive Edward into a hollow blush, even as he was coming down from the contact high. The weight of Scar's body was nothing like the weight of his regard, and Edward closed his eyes, trying to just be relaxed enough so that he could take it. He couldn't help it, though... his teeth chattered a little, suddenly feeling the cold fixing to drown his exposed body as he stopped sweating and began to feel the dyskinetic effects of evaporation as well as the acid-calcium twitches of exhaustion deep in the heart of his muscles.

Hair splayed and tickling his face, back itching in irritation as the fabric of his shirt hitched awkwardly against the ground, whole body hiccoughing with each pounding beat of Scar's body, Edward sighed even as he shook, in fulfilled lust. This was good. Even uncomfortable, this was very good.

"Don't stop," Edward murmured, looking up at Scar through eyes hazy with the post-coital drowse of hormones.

"Won't," Scar replied shortly, and the man's eyes closed in turn. In a moment, Edward felt it. When Scar came it was with the rush of repressed ejaculation, and it seemed quite some time— even though it was probably just a few seconds— before the man's erection subsided.

Two hands on Edward's chest, Scar rubbed the boy's nipples and then hooked him up by the underarms, lifting him even as he backed out slowly. Feeling buoyant and practically boneless, Edward did nothing other then make a little noise as he was coaxed into the air as Scar lay back, pulling him down just as quickly into an enveloping embrace. Like that, the wind was cut off, his body warmed, as Scar lazily ran his hands up and down his body, touching him carelessly and possessively.

At some point, Scar started to whisper words to him in the language of Ishibal. His voice was soothing, soothing, and the way the man touched his skin was like the kiss of a July wind off the sea.

Because he did not understand, soon Edward drifted off into sleep.