editor's note: this story has been adapted into a doujin, which you can read at the author's journal.

sisyphean effort

Why Can't I Be You?


Late afternoon light slanted through the blinds, cross-hatching the office floor with a shadowy grid of bars that made the whole place look like it was inside a cage, or a prison cell. At a large mahogany desk, polished to an almost jewel-like shine, sat Colonel Edward Elric, who was deep into his paperwork. Or at least that is how he appeared. Though his pen scratched purposefully across the page, his mind was not on his work, but on his subordinate—who was, as usual, already a full hour late in giving his report. Elric sighed a heavy sigh of weary resignation, tinged with annoyance. Resignation, because he knew that no matter how much he berated his subordinate for his continual tardiness, he would never—never—arrive on time. And annoyance, because of his subordinate's blatant and persistent refusal to even acknowledge the wrongness of his behavior.

Well, some things never changed.

The scratching of the colonel's pen paused on the page as he heard the familiar sound of heavy boots stomping towards his door. He held his breath and waited.! The office door was kicked open with one heavy, harnessed boot and allowed to smack rudely—and loudly—against the back wall. The dark-haired man standing in the doorway took his foot to the door a second time, this time hooking it with his heel and slamming it closed. Then he sauntered, with his hands stuffed deep within the pockets of his red coat, over to the couch before Elric's desk, where he flung himself down into a slouching position. He threw his arms over the back of the couch and waited, staring at a small space on the wall somewhere above Elric's head.

"Well, Flame, it looks like you're late again—as usual."

The man in the red coat merely shrugged and rolled his almond-shaped eyes and said, "Blame it on the train. I got here as soon as I could."

"No salute for your superior officer?"

"Piss off Colonel Bastard—I'm not in the mood. Can we just get this report over with so I can leave?" The colonel watched as the Flame slouched even further into the couch cushions. The slightly sulky expression on his face made him look like a teenager.

"Very well then," Colonel Elric answered coolly. He picked up a manila folder from the side of his desk and flipped idly through it. "I have to say, Flame, even I'm impressed by the level of damage you managed to cause on this particular assignment—"

"—it's not my fault that those three chimera decided to go on a rampage through the village!" the Flame interrupted. "Besides, I meant to put that butcher's shop back to rights. Honestly. It just...kind of slipped my mind."

"And what about the—" and here Elric peered with squinted eyes down at the page "—florist's, the cafe, the feed store, the post office..." Elric looked over the top of the page at the other alchemist and fixed him with a cold, reprimanding stare. "Did those just 'slip' your mind as well?"

The Flame shrugged insouciantly. "Whatever, bastard. I did my job. Those chimera are now officially toast."

"And apparently, so is half the town of Brunswick." The colonel sighed out his disappointment. "Your pyrotechnics are costing me a great deal of money, Flame. A lot of cenz. The amount of destruction you've caused—"

"—hey! I got the job done, so quit complaining about my methods! It's not like I wanted to go chase around a bunch of chimera out in the middle of nowhere!"

The two alchemists both paused to glare at one another across the gleaming expanse of the colonel's desk. The Flame alchemist's dark eyes flashed rebelliously; his jaw was set in a firm line. His hands visibly tightened their grip on the back of the couch in rising anger. The lines of his body were taut with barely disguised fury. The colonel knew that he hated it—absolutely hated it—whenever he grilled him about his work methods.

The colonel, by contrast, genuinely loved grilling the Flame alchemist over the destructive outcomes of his work assignments. And it was precisely because of this—because of the Flame's fiery response: the dark flashing eyes, the determined, set jaw, the barely contained anger. The Flame's already spiky hair was practically standing on end, like that of a hissing, cornered cat. He looked stubborn—stubborn, and dangerous, in his long red coat and navy tank top and black leather pants. He looked gorgeous and furious and untamable. He looked irresistible. He looked incredibly...!

The colonel cleared his throat and redirected his gaze. He realized he'd been staring, and not in any kind of appropriate commander-and-subordinate fashion. He steepled his hands together beneath his chin and said, in a clear, cool tone: "Now, what are we going to do about all this expensive damage you've caused?"

The Flame alchemist huffed. "I don't plan on doing anything."

"No? You don't care about all the money you're costing me?"

"Ha! Why should I?"

"I think you should care. I think maybe you should pay me back for some of it—"

"—then take it out of my account—"


"—that's not the kind of payment I was thinking of..." And here the colonel rose from his seat behind the desk, leaning both hands on his ink blotter. The gold braiding on his uniform picked up on the color of his eyes, accenting their aureate gleam. A smirk played over the colonel's face, and his expression was one of pure mischief. "Stand up, Flame. I want you over here...right now." The colonel barked the command as if he'd been giving orders from the cradle.

"What the hell?" There was another roll of the eyes, but then the Flame stood up and reluctantly approached the front of the desk. He stood, tapping his foot, waiting. The smirk was still on the colonel's face. Then the colonel said:

"Now move to the side of the desk."

The Flame glared, but complied. He stood to the side, facing the desk. Its wooden surface was so shiny he could almost see his own image in it—a suggestive blur of black, white and red. His eyes moved lazily over a pen and ink set, a gold letter opener, an aveturine paperweight with the outline of a lion cut into it...

"Take off your coat, then lean over and put both hands on the desk." The colonel had moved from his place behind the desk, was now rummaging around inside a filing cabinet somewhere behind him. The Flame did as he was told, but his actions signaled his angry, wordless protest loud and clear: he slid the red coat off his arms and flung it over his shoulder in the direction of the colonel. He heard a small grunt as the heavy material hit its intended mark; he heard it slide with a hushed, velvety whisper to the floor. The Flame grinned to himself as he imagined the irritating smirk suddenly leaving the colonel's face. The Flame waited, facing the wall. He didn't hear Elric's silent approach, did not see what it was he had pulled from the filing cabinet until—

—the first thrash of the riding crop caught the Flame off guard and he gasped and winced under the sting of its contact. He gripped the sides of the desk in anger, in pain. "What the fuck?" A second whack on his ass had him leaning in, had him gripping the desk even harder. He turned his head to look back at Elric—Colonel Elric, with his blue uniform and beautiful, tied-back blond hair. Colonel Elric, with the large gold eyes and smirking mouth. Colonel Elric, with a wicked-looking black leather riding crop in hand, and the most tempting, sensual expression on his face...

The Flame jerked his face back around to the wall. He swallowed hard, his pulse suddenly racing. The image of Elric in that uniform holding a riding crop was almost too hot for the Flame alchemist to bear. What was once a feeling of anger was now quickly sliding into something more overwhelming, more powerful: his angry emotions were being transmuted into pure lust. He found he wanted the colonel to use that crop on him.

A third punishing whack had him gritting his teeth. And a fourth. And a fifth. "I was going to use my real hand for this," the colonel said conversationally, not once pausing to let up on the other alchemist. "But after that little bit of insubordination with the coat, I decided to use my automail hand instead." The crop hissed through the air a sixth, a seventh time. The Flame alchemist bit his lip and leaned even closer to the desk, until he was practically sprawling on it. He watched his image waver and lurch on its surface—even as he felt his cock growing hard, even as he felt the beads of sweat begin to form on his brow.

The blows came to a sudden halt. The Flame alchemist struggled for breath, and he said, in a voice that came out a little too shaky for his liking: "Are you done now?"

"No," said the cool voice from behind him. "I'm just getting started." The Flame jumped as he felt the tip of the riding crop suddenly caressing its way up the inside of his thigh. He sucked in air as it traveled higher, as it grew more threatening, more arousing. It slid up, between his legs—and was suddenly gone. The Flame felt a sense of disappointment. And then the colonel commanded:

"Drop your pants."

The Flame alchemist didn't move, didn't take his hands from the desk. "I said, drop your pants," the colonel repeated. "Or, do you want me to do it?" The Flame could practically hear the smirk in Elric's voice. Still, the Flame didn't move.

Suddenly, the colonel was right behind him, almost pressed against him. "Don't you dare move," Elric whispered threateningly, sensually, into his hair. His gloved hand caressed his face once, before traveling downward, reaching around to grip the clasp on his belt. The sound of the buckle being undone was uncommonly loud in the quietude. The Flame's whole body was shaking, every nerve beneath his skin was on fire with want. He was having trouble maintaining the uncomfortable, disciplinary pose; he wanted to do nothing more than turn around, grab Elric around the shoulders, and thrust his tongue down his gorgeous throat. He wanted to touch him so much—so badly—that the alchemist found himself besieged with a pain of an entirely different kind.

The zipper on his pants was being pulled down; the brief contact against his crotch was electric. The Flame could stand no more. "Fuck it!" he yelled, and then he did reach around and grab Elric and covered his lips in a searing, brutal kiss.

Yield to me...

Elric was bending, melting into the Flame's embrace. And the Flame's inner voice whooped with triumph. Yes! Now! Yes! It was a triumph that was short-lived, however, as he felt the colonel just as quickly pulling away from him, pushing him back. There was a look of triumph in the colonel's eyes as well, but it was one accompanied by a sense of mischief, of pure, evil cunning.

"I'm going to have punish you for that," the colonel said a little breathlessly. "Now, get back into position..."

The Flame alchemist hesitated but briefly as he turned back around to grip the corners of the desk. He heard a sharp clap and saw the crackling blue flash of light which signaled the use of alchemy. And then suddenly Elric was back, looping what appeared to be a knotted red cord—no doubt transmuted from his coat—around his wrists and then under and around the legs of the desk. He watched, motionless, as the colonel drew the cord deftly across the surface of the desk to encircle his other wrist, which he then tied to the far leg. Like a fly caught in a velvety web, he was now completely, thoroughly ensnared. His pulse began to race at an excited, delirious pace.

After the final knot was put in place, the colonel reached around to condescendingly pat his cheek. "There now. We won't be breaking our position again, now will we?" And then Elric reached out, gripped the Flame's belt loops in both of his hands, and yanked his pants down to his knees. The Flame watched the colonel move behind him again, out of sight, and the Flame felt himself trembling with rising fear, with anticipation—with a near unbearable, cock-throbbing lust.

He felt like he could literally explode...

The thrash of the riding crop was not completely unexpected as it swished through the air and smacked down on his bare ass. That didn't less the intensity of the pain, though. The Flame cried out in shocked surprise at the stinging imprint it left on his bare skin. He wasn't given any recovery time, though. The crop came down again and again—the colonel was still using his automail hand—and the pain began to spread, to burn. It also heightened his lust, fanned the flames of his passion to more scorching heights. His erection rubbed against the cold, hard surface of the desk, a painful—yet delicious—counterpoint to the pain being inflicted on his backside. After he lost count of the blows, the Flame began to groan, to writhe in unabashed agony against the side of the desk. The sting of the pain was getting too much to bear. His wrists pulled at the bonds that had been tied too securely, too firmly. He couldn't get away; he was thoroughly trapped. And the colonel, it seemed, had no plans to cease his punishment any time soon. Finally the Flame cried:


"Why? I'm not done yet..." Thwack!

"I said stop!"

Thwack! The blows had moved down to the back of his thighs.

"Beg me," said the colonel. Thwack!

"Fuck you," panted the Flame.

Thwack! "Wrong answer." And the Flame could hear the throaty croak, the notes of undisguised lust in the colonel's own voice. He had to be in as much lustful agony as himself. Had to be...

"Stop," the words were barely more than a pained whisper. And then, to the Flame's ultimate surprise, the blows did stop, only to be replaced with the cool, steely touch of automail on his tortured backside. The effect was like leaning your forehead against the refrigerator door on a hot summer's day.

Cold, hard metal stroked and soothed his punished skin. The Flame slumped against the desk, sighed into its surface. He closed his eyes, relishing the touch. A touch which grew ever greedier, heavier. He felt his flesh kneaded, pried apart. And then he felt—

The Flame's eyes snapped open as he felt steel fingers invading him, pressing into him. He moaned into the surface of the desk, thrashed against the bonds as far as they would allow him. The ink bottle tilted over and rolled off the side, clattering loudly to the floor. He was practically banging his head against the wood, the sensation was almost too much. Too painful, too filling—

—too goddamn good.

"Ed..." The Flame moaned, and the use of the name earned him a painful smack on the ass. "You gotta...uhn..."

"I gotta what?" the colonel prompted.

"You gotta—" His ability to speak flew out the window as another finger slid inside him, stretched him. Words were impossible to form within such a miasmatic cloud of all-consuming animal lust. Instead, his pleas were channeled into a sequence of low, pornographic moans. His right fist pounded out a tattoo of desperation on the top of the desk.

Release me...

All sensation suddenly stopped. All touch ceased. There was nothing but air on his bare skin. Nothing. The Flame waited silently, breathlessly. There was the rustling of fabric, the snap of a clasp. A hushed whisper of soft, silken movements. The Flame remained crouched over the side of the desk in a motionlessly agony of waiting. He heard the familiar pop! of a plastic lid being opened. He groaned in growing, wanton anticipation. It grew. And grew. And grew. And...

Without warning, without further preparation, Elric positioned himself behind him, spread his cheeks, and roughly shoved himself inside. The Flame lurched forward with a heady, cathartic groan: it was half relief, half pain. He felt the colonel's metal hand tangling in his hair, twisting his head back, arching his throat. The colonel's flesh hand snaked around his waist, grasping his eager erection in between lubricated fingers. The Flame's body rocked violently against the desk under the force of the colonel's punishing strokes. Over and over again, he was pushed farther, rougher, harder against the desk's unforgiving wooden surface. The colonel hissed a litany of curses by his ear; he could tell he was getting close. The Flame fought against his bonds as a powerful, all-consuming heat arced its way through his body. It enveloped him in waves of pure pleasure, metaphorically eviscerating his insides. It was too much. It was all too much. A keening moan scraped its way by his clenched teeth. He felt the colonel quicken his thrusts, felt the friction pushing him farther, closer to the brink. Closer and closer. Harder and harder. On and on. Too much—

The Flame came over the colonel's hand with a strangled, gasping cry, came over the side of the desk, glazing its polished surface with his spent lust. There was another hoarse cry—this time from behind him—and a gritted curse of, "Fuck! Oh, goddam it!" and the colonel was coming too, just as hard, slumping against the Flame's back as waves of orgasm overtook him, drained him, sated him. The Flame didn't move. Couldn't move. Not after all that. So he just remained there, trembling on top of the desk, riding out the aftershocks of pleasure, with the colonel over him, draped against him like a military cloak...


The two of them lay together on Mustang's couch afterwards: Roy with his pants back on, and Ed with his hair undone, lying across Roy's chest. The early evening light flooding through the blinds criss-crossed their faces in a patchwork of shadow. Ed drowsed lazily, slumped like a cat, as Roy idly pulled his fingers through his hair. That simple touch was sheer heaven. From beneath him, Roy said:

"You make a pretty good me, you know. Maybe I should take the week off and leave you in charge of the office."

"The hell you will," Ed muttered into Roy's chest. "I don't want to be in charge here." And then he added: "Unless, of course, you're going to be hanging around the office all day in your leather to entertain me..."

" that has possibilities."

Ed snickered. "Yey, right. Then no work would ever get done and Hawkeye would be forced to shoot us both."

"Good point."

Ed felt Roy shift beneath him, felt him wince a little—no doubt from the stinging barbs of dual pain emanating from his rear. Ed lifted his head to Roy and said:

"You are a real freak on a leash—you know that, right?"

The infamous Mustang smirk was firmly back in place. "Oh, I know it, alright. And don't try to deny it—you enjoyed the hell out of that, too—"

"—oh, I'm not denying it," Ed said quickly. "That was one of the best fucking orgasms of my life. We should come to the office after hours and act out these little fantasies of yours more often, Major Mustang."

"I'd be more than happy to follow your orders, Colonel Elric," Roy said with a sly grin. Then: "Why don't you tell me one of your fantasies."

"What? Now?"


The look of mischief came back into Ed's eyes. "Well, it involves you and me, in your office, after hours..." and here Ed allowed his hands to stray downward to punctuate his words.


"And we're both lying on your couch, like this, and then I—" and Ed reached down to tease Mustang's cock through his pants.

"Ooh, can there be a blowjob somewhere in this scenario?" Roy asked hopefully.

"Maybe. But remember, I'm the colonel here; I'm giving the orders."

"Sir. Yes, sir. I salute you, sir."

"That's not a salute."

"Oh yes, it definitely is..."