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The Ropes


Well, it sure looks like the rumors were true about Wednesday nights, Ed thought, easing inconspicuously along the edges of the room.  But I never knew so many soldiers were gay.

Chatting at little two-person tables, lounging against the bar with assets displayed, dancing pressed close enough to make Ed swallow and shift uncomfortably against the wall; the bar was full of men and men, women and women, and a few too androgynous to tell at a distance.  There was something almost shocking about it, so many faces he recognized from the mess or the dorms or just walking the halls on his way to Mustang's office, and they all looked so...easy, happy, loose.  Is Wednesday night the only time they look like this?

He almost jumped, physically, when the back of a vaguely familiar dark head turned a little to the side, resolving into Maria Ross in slacks and thin suspenders, a white dress shirt with rolled up sleeves and unbuttoned far enough to show a shadow of cleavage, gesturing with a bottle in her hand and smiling rather warmly at a woman Ed had seen only once or twice before.  He chalked it up to another rumor confirmed and tried to slip out of her line of sight—he was here just as an observer, it was research, no need to bump into anyone who might recognize—

"Ed?"

He really did jump this time.  "S-S-Sergeant Fuery?"

"Shhh!" Fuery hissed.  "Don't call me that here!"

Ed clapped a hand over his mouth, tried to talk around it, then scowled and put it back at his side.  "Why not?"

Fuery straightened his glasses and glanced away for a moment before looking back.  "You...do know it's Pink Night, right?"  Apparently Ed's full-body flinch was answer enough, because Fuery continued, "well, it's mostly military in here...so, there are rules.  Don't ask, don't tell, you know, just call me Kain in here.  And keep your watch out of sight," he added; Ed flinched again and shoved the offending item back in his pocket, trying to resist the nervous urge to fiddle with anything that came to hand.

"So if you know it's Pink Night...are you...you know...looking for someone in particular?"

"NO!" Ed shouted, and tried to shrink a little as a few heads turned in his direction.  "No," he said again, more softly.  "I'm just...you know...doing a little research."

"Research?" Fuery repeated, then smiled an amused sort of smile, as though Ed were his slightly hopeless little brother.  "Come on, I think you need a drink."

Ed, rather used to being big-brothered by his own little brother and too out of sorts to argue, let Fuery lead him around to a vacant spot at the end of the bar. 

"So.  Research," Fuery asked again, seeming to order a drink with just a little wave of his hand and a pointed glance. 

"Well, yeah, you know, Al's fixed now and all that, and he's an even bigger nag than he was in the armor, wants to go out and have a life and he keeps tellin' me I should go out and have one too.  So I thought I should...well...."

"Investigate the scene?" Fuery supplied, then sighed with a lopsided smile.  "I guess Falman's going to get the last of my paycheck."

Ed blinked.  "Don't tell me you guys were..."

"Easy now, Ed, it was all Havoc's—"

"YOU WERE BETTING ON MY SEXUALITY??"

Fuery's eyes went wide behind the glasses at the sudden volume.  "Shh, you're making a scene!  Yes, okay, yes, we bet on everything, you know that, but really I had my money on you and Winry Rockbell, I never even suspected—"

Ed's rage deflated at once into guilty melancholy, and he took a swig from the bottle the barkeep had brought him without bothering to see what it was.  "Well, you were half right."

"Oh...so she...oh, that's awkward."

"Yeah, tell me about it.  At least she didn't cry."  Then Ed paused mid-swig, swallowed hard, and fixed Fuery with a sharply nervous look.  "Was the bastard in on that bet?"

"The...oh, really Ed, when are you going to stop calling him that?"

"Was he?"

A suspicious frown pulled Fuery's eyebrows together.  "He knew about it, but he refused to put any money in.  Why?"  Ed felt a flush rise in his cheeks and looked down, suddenly interested in the label on the bottle he'd half-drunk already, and Fuery leaned closer.  "You weren't thinking you'd see him here?"

"No way, I gotta see him every day until my damn contract is up, why would I want to see him at night too?"  Fuery grinned wide enough to split his face.  "DON'T ANSWER THAT," Ed growled.

"I was just going to say that he's a bit more discreet than that.  Or so I've heard.  I mean, I know a guy in the dorms who knows a guy who's been to a motel with him."

Ed sputtered for a moment, turning this information over in his head.  It was one thing to hope, but even a third-hand rumor was another thing altogether.  "So he really does..."

"That's what I hear, anyway."  Fuery leaned in closer.  "So you might have a shot."


It took four beers and some generous sips of Fuery's gin and tonic to get down to the truth.

"If I'm gonna fuck around with that bastard, then I wanna know how to do it right," Ed declared, gesturing wildly with the glass and slopping its contents onto his hand.  He looked at the spill with some confusion for a moment, then shrugged to himself and bent to lap it up from the crook of his thumb.  That went rather well, so he pursued a little rivulet that skated across the back of his hand.  And then he noticed he'd gotten it on his fingers; naturally, so nothing was wasted, he slid one finger at a time into his mouth, eyes heavy-lidded with drink.  Beside him Kain cleared his throat and shifted around a bit on the barstool, and his voice, when it came, was a little bit choked.

"Uh, Ed, maybe you've had enough to drink."

"Nah, 'm fine," Ed protested, sliding his elbows along the bar as he leaned in, remembering the thread he'd been on before the very distracting spill.  "But you know what I mean?  I gotta be a good catch, not some...some...virgin," he hissed.  "You gotta help me, Sar—uh, Kain, you gotta hook me up.  Show me the ropes."


It was the finger-sucking, Kain thought later, trying to reason with himself through the haze.  How could I be expected to resist that?  He glanced down at the blonde head bobbing with sloppy enthusiasm between his thighs, decided how it happened didn't really matter anyway, and slipped his hands into Ed's hair to help him find a better rhythm.

Ed was nothing if not a fast learner—it only took gentle pushes and and little tugs of that mussed gold hair to teach him here and harder and put those teeth away!  Which was just fine, because Kain wasn't sure he could formulate words with Ed—Ed!  Whose eye all the young women (and men) on the base tried to catch, at least as much as the infamous Mustang, except Ed apparently never noticed—working his cock like a popsicle on a high summer day.

Then warm living fingers curved along the inside of his thigh to press his legs wider, and a chill automail thumb smoothed feather-lightly over his balls, and Fuery had time only for a tug and a cry of warning before the universe exploded behind his eyes.



By the time things had come into focus again, Ed's pants were gone and he'd found the little jar of oil stashed beneath the bed, dipping two fingers in and rubbing it between fingers and thumb as if to test the texture.  Kain managed an incoherent questioning sound, and Ed grinned at him, eyes dark and cheeks flushed with alcohol. 

"I read some books," he said, "so I get the logicstic...logiscic...the way it goes," he said.  "But I think 'm a little drunk, so you gotta steer me, ok?"

All Kain could do was nod in wondering agreement as those slick fingers fumbled about beneath his balls, grab Ed's hand with his own to point him in the right direction, and try to keep in mind just how thin the military dorm walls really were.