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Seeing Al off after his visit opened a whole new vista of awkwardness for Ed. Or so it seemed to Roy. He hesitated now, when they kissed, almost as if he was afraid. Even after the night they'd spent, that one precious night, just sleeping in each others arms.

It was like one step forward, two steps back and Roy, for one, was starting to feel something he hadn't felt in a long time. Impatience.

It was one thing to be pacing themselves, that was good, it was what was needed. But it was another thing entirely to not be moving forward, but instead dealing with some amount of regression.

Al's visit had been essential. It was the one stumbling block Roy felt they needed to clear before they could finally move their relationship to the next plateau. And even though Al had reacted in a manner than wasn't entirely instant acceptance, neither had he reacted with total negativity. In fact, he'd left on a high note with every indication that he was going to come to terms with it in his own methodical way.

Roy let himself think back to the one night, not so long ago. He hadn't meant to fall asleep there, lying above the covers on the bed with Ed below the covers. He hadn't meant to keep Ed there, in his arms all night and sleep breathing in the scent of his hair. That morning Ed was staring at him when he opened his eyes. Ed had drawn back enough to do this, but he had not pulled himself from Roy's arms. Ed had mumbled about how he needed to get up, get washed, meet Al and Roy of course had work. But the kiss in the bathroom...he could have sworn there was something more there. The way Ed clutched at his arm, the way Ed pushed up on his toes. He hadn't imagined that. And then Al left and now they were back to this.

He toyed with the idea of talking to Ed about it. Ed was, after all, an adult now and they had perfectly adult conversations. What to have for dinner? What was in the newspaper that was worth reading? Who did what at work? Developing an array that would cook steak to the perfect doneness...they had plenty of discussions, all useful, entertaining and adult.

Roy allowed these thoughts to distract him all day, Riza had not been happy. Even now, as he sat outside the building that housed Ed's lab and offices, drumming his steering wheel tunelessly he wondered just how to broach the subject without setting off Volcano Elric.

No, that's silly, Roy told himself. That was the Ed of old, well young really, back when Ed was new and to honest for his own good. Ed of now had been a far more reasonable creature than Roy was use to dealing with. A new and engaging Edward. An older, mature...who was he kidding? Ed was sexy. He was so sexy. He was all knowledge and grace of movement. He was refreshingly candid and a touch prudish and it was all Roy could do of late not to start begging.

Oh ho, but he couldn't do that. Ed's head was big enough to eclipse the sun as it was. He saw a familiar figure burst forth from the building and come tearing down the walk. He might have been alarmed if this wasn't the way Ed exited his place of employment every day. Roy likened it to the career giving birth to Ed anew each time he came flying out the doors. Sometimes he had little fantasies that Ed had rigged the building to explode and they only had X-seconds to get away. Either way, his lover, his soon to be lover, oh please YES, his lover came barreling up to the car and snatched the door handle open and jumped in.

"We only got 20 seconds until the blast, floor it!" Ed yelled and grinned.

Roy had let Ed in on that particular little fantasy.

Roy 'floored' it until they had to stop at the building security gate and wait their turn to get out. Ed fiddled with his briefcase, a bit before dumping it in the floorboard between his feet. He lay his head back on the seat and turned to look at Roy, smiling.

Roy's breath took a holiday at the beach for approximately 30 seconds, the longest it had ever left him alone. His breath had obviously decided he and Ed needed some alone time, what with Ed looking so happy and gorgeous.

"Good day at work?" Roy said, pulling up to the gate and nodding to the gatehouse guard.

"It was passable," Ed said, still smiling, "how about you? Productive at war mongering today?"

"You know how it is," Roy said, turning onto the main road, "'encroach a little each day!' is our motto."

"Soon you'll have a finger in everyone's pie," Ed sighed. "Do we have plans tonight?"

Focus on the road. Focus. Don't think things that will make you uncomfortably tight in these military issues pants. Do we have plans tonight? Do we have plans? Well, Roy had plenty of plans, only Ed's newly found sensibilities kept fucking them up. It seemed rude turn about, since he'd fucked Ed's plans up for years, according to Ed. Plans, oh yes, Roy had plans. Many of his plans started with Ed naked or nearly naked or promising to get naked. Roy's carefully drawn out strategies transversed every square foot of the house and which bit of furniture was comfortable enough/could withstand the strain. Roy wanted to plan Edward all night long; but that wasn't looking promising because Edward was being an enigma, and that was infuriatingly not surprising.

"We have to have a talk," Roy said without meaning too and cursed inwardly at his libido. But his libido only snickered and looked unrepentant.

"Ok," Ed said, "what do you want to talk about?"

Sex. I want to talk about sex. Sex with you specifically. I want to talk about how it will be sweaty, possible dangerous, somewhat traumatic, brain-breaking, awe inspiring, ballad writing, paint peeling, heart palpitation inducing, most incredible moment of my life and if we don't do something soon please just go ahead and kill me. Really, I think death is preferable to being under the same roof with you and not being on you. Crude, but hey, a man has needs.

"What we should have for dinner," Roy said, his libido gasped then clutched it's chest and fell over.

"Ummm," Ed sighed and Roy's groin drooled, "I think you should make me pork chops with apples," he sighed.

"Well have to stop at the market," Roy said through gritted teeth. "We don't have any pork chops at home."

"Ok," Ed said, "we can get some coffee while we're there, too."

DAMMIT, how the hell was he suppose to WALK?


Once the Mustang Mojo was set in motion it was almost impossible to stop. Every little thing Ed did was some brazen tease. Eating pork chops by opening his mouth was a blatant invitation to suck his tonsils out. Sitting on the couch and opening the paper was a blazon display of his body on a surface that was suitable to making him horizontal. Expressing the desire to go and see a movie was a crude suggestion that Roy should feel him up in a darkened movie theater.

Roy wondered if banging his head on the wall until his skull cracked might be a good distraction. He snapped and crinkled his paper in such a aggressive manner that he caught Ed staring at him from the couch, one eyebrow raised.

"Oy, what are you reading? I want to read that article, too," Ed said. Roy tried to disengage from the paper and it bent in unnatural ways and he finally dropped it on the floor and stomped on it for good measure. Ed watched intently, leaning forward a bit, and then quickly thumbed through his own paper looking for the section Roy was stomping.

"Must be a damn good article," Ed murmured, searching.

"Let's talk about our relationship," Roy blurted and Ed jumped and seized up like every muscle had wandered into the arctic circle unprotected and had frozen.

"No, I'm serious," Roy said to Ed's trapped and cagey expression. "Don't you think we should talk about it? I mean it's been a couple of months..."

"What's to talk about?" Ed said panicky and rushed.

When cornering the Wild Elric, there were things that every hunter should know. First off, Elrics tended to leap right to the Wrong Conclusion. It didn't matter the topic being discussed. Elrics assumed, at least the Edwards did, that each and every serious topic of discussion would lead to a Big Falling Out, or to a lesser degree, A Painful Lesson In Why Life Sucked.

Roy was starting to feel bad. After all, he was only interested in his ailing libido. He tried to take a very relaxed pose and crossed his legs.

"Edward, it's alright, I promise that I'm not looking to make you bare your soul here. I'm so very happy you're here and I was just wanting to see what you thought about your current situation," Roy said soothingly. "That's all, nothing more."

Edward seemed to relax just a bit. He allowed his spine to unstiffen and he wet his lips and snapped his paper.

"So you're looking for an review, is that it?" he asked, still ready to be wary.

"Yes, a bi-monthly review," Roy said, "because I do want to know where I stand, I hope that's alright?"

"In brief summation; I would like to say: you're a bastard, but I came into this knowing that already, never change," and Ed snapped his paper up again, wondering what article brought that on.

And so, Roy let him off the hook for a while longer.


A week later and something about Roy's friendly and non-pressure bi-monthly review still nagged Ed.

He was in the lab at Baden, Baden and Hoff Pharmaceutical. He was with two of the other lab assistants, Tweedle-Dee, who's real name was Jay or Jerry or James? Well he knew his last name was Barrow and Tweedle-Dum who's first name, he was fairly certain was Carl. But he might have misheard that, the team leader sometimes called Tweedle-Dum Carl, but who was he to trust the team leader? He knew the team leaders name, it was I Will Have Your Job One Day, but he masqueraded as Bob Cluck, an unfortunate surname that Ed still had to fight not to snicker over every time he said it.

Tweedle-Dee was married. He knew this because he often spoke of his wife and kids to Tweedle-Dum. Tweedle-Dum was single, he knew this because Tweedle-Dum often bragged about this when Tweedle-Dee spoke about his family obligations. Neither of them spoke directly to Ed, they seemed afraid of him, but they spoke around him quite often. Ed preferred their fear, it kept him from having to dispense any sort of advice on subjects he knew nothing and cared even less about. Like soccer practice or band practice or bars teaming with single, nubile women who might give skinny-assed, pasty faced Tweedle-Dum the time of day.

But for some reason, today, their cheerful banter made him think about Roy. And what Roy had asked him and about what he had said. Should he have been so flippant? Maybe that had been some evaluation that Roy would take into consideration about their... their relationship.

Here Ed thought he'd escaped all the hazards of the 'relationship talk' by involving himself with another man. But he should have known that Roy was such an aberration that the mention of something that would send normal men running for the hills wouldn't even phase him. In fact, it had come from Roy's own mouth. Roy had dared to speak the words that Ed dreaded from every single girl he dated in his disastrous ten-year training program in order to get Roy Mustang.

The trail of women who hated Ed was probably only a dozen shy of being able to circumvent the globe. After all, how could anyone really like a man who saw you as a stepping stone in order to win the affections of another man? And it's not as if they knew that, but somehow Ed suspected they figured it out.

Ed was never openly affectionate; not even in the early stages of any of his liaisons with the opposite sex. If the girl really wanted to run headlong into the wall that was Edward Elric, she had to be damn stubborn and hit him pretty hard to get his attention. He made it deliberately so, because he knew good and well what he was doing, even though he would never really admit it to himself. Well at least not his heart, his head however had drawn up battle lines.

First the girls were all very friendly and accommodating. They seemed to enjoy battering themselves against his defenses. They made all sort of overtures and concessions, and if they were going to leave themselves open to it, why shouldn't he take advantage of it? They started with little things; cooking for him, doing his wash, giving him a place to live. That eventually led to the bigger thing, and that of course, was sex. He was always really upfront about sex. He explained the automail and all his scars, just so they knew right of the bat what they would be dealing with when the clothes finally came off. It was always sort of a surprise that none of them seemed to mind. It always made him feel...bad afterwards, especially in the afterwards when the inevitable relationship talk would come up.

It's not like he enjoyed making women cry. Logic never worked on them, either. It came to the point where he would avoid girls he just knew were the type to be heartbroken easily, (he was never quite sure what his parameters were, but somehow, he just instinctively knew), and tried to chose the girls who were capable of giving as good as they got.

But it never failed. No matter how seasoned the girl, no matter how straight forward the relationship, there was always the question.

Why am I not good enough?

It was all very simple to Ed. Ed, the most selfish bastard in the world who knew it would never be good enough no matter how perfect the girl strove to make it to be. The answer to Ed was simple, none of them, no matter how hard they tried, were Roy Mustang.

And here he was again, at a cusp, and Roy had the most subtle way of pushing the envelope without pushing it at all. Here was Roy Mustang asking to be sized up and found acceptable. Here it all was, every last second of the last ten long years. Every shouted word, every tear, every feeling left raw in his wake. And Roy was asking now.

Am I good enough?

"ELRIC," someone shouted and Ed shook his head and looked at Tweedle-Dee who was gaping at him. His eyes trailed down to the shattered glass beaker and the chemicals bubbling gently on the counter top. "Are you ok?" Tweedle-Dum asked breathlessly, "We should get the building medic..."

"No," Ed said hoarsely, then cleared his throat, "no, it's ok, it's just my metal hand."

His unfeeling metal hand. Nothing got in, nothing got out, it just went on, day to day, serving it's purpose. It was hard, it was tough, it survived. But it wasn't warm, it was never warm.

He wore automail, he didn't want to be automail.

"Procedure is procedure", Bob Cluck, team leader and chicken said from behind his desk. "We need to call the person on your in case of emergency listing."

And so, the general was called.


Tweedle-Dee sat with Ed in the medic's office. Tweedle-Dee had been told to escort Ed there, as was company procedure by the team chicken, no wait, leader.

The medic came out and looked at Ed's hand and said he didn't have a buffing machine, and Ed had bared his fangs and laughed in such a way the medic went away and never came back. Tweedle-Dee tried to lean as far away from Ed as he possibly could.

"This is ludicrous," Ed growled at Tweedle-Dee because, well because he was there. "I'm not hurt, it's automail, look!" Ed slammed his hand as hard as he could into the cinder block wall of the medic's office and the clank made Tweedle-Dee whimper like a puppy. Ed snorted and stood up.

"I'm going back to the lab, I haven't got time to sit around like this, neither have you," Ed said, eying Tweedle-Dee who almost went belly up in submission. "Come on," Ed ordered and stomped out into the hall. He could hear Tweedle-Dee snuffling behind him, more afraid of Ed than company procedure.

He had to tell Roy to disregard his previous bi-monthly review. If he had to beg Roy to throw out those results and let him submit new data, he would. He had to tell Roy that he was amazing. He had to tell Roy that he was giving. He had to tell Roy he was the stable force in his life, finally, after all these years. He had to tell Roy that he had a life now that he had Roy. He had to tell Roy...

He loved him.

It was on that note, on that feeling burning him up from the inside out, that he heard the familiar voice. It must be some sort of illusion brought on by these revelations, because he was still in a restricted part of the building, but then he heard the laugh that could only be the laugh of Brenda from Reception. Brenda on the Prowl. Brenda the Eternal Huntress, who stalked everyone in the building except Tweedle-Dum, apparently. Brenda the Chronically Single was talking to Roy.

She spotted him before Roy did and did her little wave and giggle.

"Oh Edward, there you are! I was just bringing your friend, General Mustang to the infirmary. Silly me, I don't know one rank from another and he had to correct me twice. Why didn't you ever mention you knew such a handsome man?"

Five strides and Ed was there in front of Roy. He practically ripped him from Brenda's grip, pushed him against the wall, climbed him like a tree and kissed him like he had nothing to lose. Kissed him like tomorrow was never coming. Kissed him like he was doing a mouth to tonsillectomy. Right there in front of Brenda and Tweedle-Dee. Like he gave a flying fuck.

He pulled back so they could both breathe for a moment, and Roy looked stunned and flushed and beautiful, there, trapped against the wall, arms full of Ed.

"Take me home, I hurt my hand," Ed said.

"You're hurt?" Roy managed to gasp. "Has the attending medic seen you? I'll get you to the hospital myself..."

"It's my right hand," Ed said serenely, "I need to go home."

Roy sat Ed on his feet and looked at Brenda and Tweedle-Dum, both of whom were standing there quietly. He brushed down the front of his uniform and reached up to ruffle his bangs just so.

"Please tell Edward's supervisor that I'm taking him home," he said smoothly to Tweedle-Dee who nodded mutely. "It was a pleasure to meet you Miss Grayson, perhaps we'll be able to speak again sometime," he said to Brenda the Source For All Gossip at Baden, Baden and Hoff. She nodded once, glanced at Edward again, then hurried quickly away.

Well, Edward thought wryly as Roy ushered him down the hall toward the outer doors, at least he had the satisfaction that he'd given Brenda the Need To Know Whether You Want To Or Not the company scoop of the century.


"The automail is fine?" Roy asked when they got in the car.

"Yeah, bunch of worry warts in there. It's good automail you know, a little chemical spill isn't going to hurt it," Ed said, glancing sidelong at Roy then away.

Roy nodded and went about the business of driving them home. Neither spoke, and that was ok, too, because Ed wasn't sure what to say after his...display. He wondered what Roy thought? He wondered if Roy was angry or embarrassed or...ashamed? The silence was growing rather uncomfortable and he kept shifting a lot in his seat feeling like he was twelve again and Roy could see right through him.

"I love it when you kiss me like you did in the hallway," Roy suddenly purred. "It was only utmost propriety that kept me from feeling up your ass. I'm sure your co-workers wouldn't have appreciated it. They might have appreciated it even less if that led to us finding an empty office and available desk space."

Ed turned his head sharply away to stare out the passenger window. Oh fuck, Roy was going to tease him about this until the end of days. What had he done? What monster had he unleashed? He'd never live this down, and because he never could he'd have to kill Roy and that was just tragic. The most tragic thing he could think of since he'd wasted ten years getting to this point only to have to KILL Roy out of love.

Roy kept looking at him, Ed could tell because he could see Roy's reflection in the car window. How was he going to go back to the lab tomorrow? What would he say? It's not like they talked to him anyways, but still. The whole building probably already knew. Brenda probably sent out a memo. One of those little pink ones that was stuck in everyone's in box that talked about company policies or wished someone a happy birthday or someone had a couch for sale. He was sure his went something like: Edward Elric from the R&D labs full on frenched a military General in the hallway around 1:14 this afternoon. Bets on whether he can look anyone in the eye from the next six months will be taken in the cafeteria this afternoon with odds of 4:1.

Ed slapped a hand over his eyes then ran it down his face to cover his mouth.

Fuck.

Ok, so here was his first real challenge of a real relationship and where were all the noble thoughts that flooded his mind before he decided to have a taste of Roy's tonsils? All those thoughts that had galvanized him down that hallway and into Roy's arms, (more or less), in the first place?

And why hadn't he told him he loved him?

"Edward, are you alright?" Roy asked, voice suddenly gentle.

"I don't know," Ed said honestly, because he really didn't know, He didn't know how to feel in this moment. He should know, he should know exactly how to feel. He'd practiced for this; he'd taken several test drives. But all that experience was no experience at all. It was a way to pass the time, wasn't it? There was no emotion involved.

"Do you want to talk about it?" Roy asked.

"I do, I just don't know how," Ed said still looking out the window. "I don't understand what it is I'm feeling here. I don't know where I'm coming from. Honestly? I feel like I'm being pulled apart. My mind goes in so many different directions just when I look at you. You make me feel like nothing else in my life has ever felt, and I don't know what to do about it."

Roy nodded once, but he didn't say anything right away. Why should he? Ed was sure he didn't want to hear how he threw his life into a complete tail spin when all Roy ever told him was how he wanted him to be happy.

"Tell me what to do," Ed implored, "you were always good at that."

"No," Roy said simply. "This is something I can't help you with, Ed. As much as it pains me, as much as I want to give you advise...I have to much at stake here, too. I just want you to know that despite being helpless to solve this for you, I am here for you, and I hope that's enough."

They arrived home at that moment and both exited the car in silence. Roy let them into the house and went to hang up his jacket. Ed lingered in the hallway, but then went into the study and sat down at his desk and leaned back in the chair to look at the ceiling. It wasn't long before Roy looked in on him. He'd changed into casual house clothes and he leaned in the doorway.

"Why don't you have a soak or something? I'll make us some dinner," the general offered, being far to kind to Ed, who it turned out, was the actual bastard.

"No," Ed said hoarsely, "I want to have a relationship talk."

Roy said nothing for a moment, but looked down at his feet. Then he nodded, came over, pulled up a chair in front of Ed's desk and sat down. He leaned back, crossed his legs and folded his hands in his lap, looking for all the world like he might be there for some meeting or applying for a job. Ed drummed his steel fingers on the desktop a few times; he couldn't look at Roy directly.

"I don't think I'm upholding my side of this relationship," Ed said finally. "I've noticed the give to take ratio is definitely out of balance."

Roy kept his hands folded tightly, he kept his voice under control; but his heart pounded wildly against his rib cage. Don't let him talk himself out of this, don't let him go. Don't let him give you all this hope and then strip you down to nothing. It's not fair, it's not equivalent. Don't let him go...no matter what he says.

"This relationship is still new," Roy heard his voice say. He remembered, telling himself at the beginning that he would give himself up willingly; that Ed would be the most exhausting of lovers.

"Right," Ed said, clasping his hands together in front of him on the desk, "so I've decided we should work out some sort of payment schedule."

"Payment...schedule?" Roy said, one eyebrow raising.

"Yes," Ed said, nodding, "like...when you cook dinner I do the dishes. That sort of thing."

"I wasn't aware we needed to have some system of returns," Roy said. Then, of course, Roy's mind jumped to just a few hours previous, in a hallway, in a lab, when Ed had scaled him like a cliff and tried to kiss him like a leech. That had been great. What was the return on that?

"I just thought, you know, because of this imbalance in the system, I mean we don't want to have a relationship economic crash," Ed said.

Roy leaned forward suddenly, unclasp his hands and planted them on top of Edward's hands on the desk. Ed was so insufferably charming without meaning to be; it was all Roy could do to keep from dragging Ed across the desk and kissing him until neither of them could breathe properly.

"Edward, I think that it's time you know that relationships aren't always fair or equal," Roy said pragmatically. "Sometimes one partner has to put in extra to get a return on his investment and that is perfectly normal. The partner hopes to gain on their investment with interest or dividends by witnessing the happiness of the receiving party. Now, I am the investor, you are the receiving party. I make all my investments with the hope to get a whooping capital gains return. I think I've invested wisely and you are a very promising commodity. Does talking in terms of economic growth make this more comfortable for you?"

"I thought it would," Ed said, "but now I feel like a nutjob. WHY can't I just talk to you about this? What is my hang up? I'm 26 fucking years old! When will I ever be old enough to be sane?" Ed flexed his hands, opened them, laying them palm up and Roy lay is own hands over Ed's.

"You are running yourself in circles," Roy said, soft smiling spreading over his face, looking at their hands.

"Ok,ok, then tell me what to do," Ed wheedled, "clearly I'm not doing this right."

"There is no right way and there is no wrong way, there is just a do," Roy said enigmatically.

Ed stared at their hands for a long moment, then looked up and squared his shoulders.

"I think...no, I know I'm in love with you. I have been for a long time, we both know that. I am afraid, no I am terrified that somehow, someway I'm going to fuck this whole golden set-up. I mean, I have what I want. A stable home life, a good job, friends and you, most importantly, you. I starting to think this taking it slow thing isn't good for me, it gives me to much time to think. Stop smirking at me, bastard, you know what I mean. Ok, ok, so Al is more or less good with this,so that makes me happy. I've been here for almost three months and you're still alive, that makes me happier. I have just kissed you in front of the biggest gossip this side of Drachma, so our relationship is now public. What's next?"

Roy wet his lips and met Edward's eyes and Ed raised his own eyebrow, then slowly lowered it.

Oh...oh yes. He'd sequestered that off in his mind back when Roy started preaching the slow part; but the slow was over now, wasn't it?

"Was that so hard?" Roy asked, flexing his fingers, stroking over Ed's palms.

All that thinking, all that worrying, all that agonizing...and it was all so simple and right there. Roy's fingertips on his palms started to become more than just a touch.

"Sex is next," Edward said, making sure to meet Roy's eyes.

"Sex is next," Roy confirmed with a slight nod of his head. "I know, academically, you are educated in sex between males."

"I've had time to study up on the subject," Ed said, wrinkling his brow and tilting his head to the side. "It's an interesting dynamic that I don't think any psychology text touches on properly."

"I seem to remember you always learned best with the hands on method," Roy said smoothly. "I could volunteer some of my time in a demonstrative capacity."

"You're flirting with me," Ed mumbled, looking off to the side, "why is that so fucking embarrassing?"

"I don't know," Roy said, leaning even closer. "Do you like it? I can flirt with you endlessly you know, you're that inspiring."

Ed squared his jaw and turned back to face Roy. He suddenly gripped Roy's hands in his and pulled Roy toward him, forcing the older man up out of his chair and his chest down onto the desk. Ed couldn't help but grin, keeping his grip tight as Roy reflectively tried to pull back.

"You should see your face," Ed said, then pressed his forehead to Roy's, keeping him prisoner there. "You look like you think I might eat you."

"What would you say if I said I wish you would," Roy said, trying to focus on Ed's face, "I would gladly serve as your meal."

Ed growled then, released Roy's hands but immediately grabbed his upper arms to keep him in place and then he kissed him. He crushed his mouth over Roy's, forced his tongue against Roy's and tried to draw him in. So Roy wanted to be eaten, did he? Ed was starving.

And Roy did the most amazing thing, he let Ed do as he pleased. He opened his mouth to facilitate Ed's invasion, he didn't try to struggle away even though the lip of the desk must be biting into his stomach and he made sounds. Delicious wet sounds, pleased sounds, the type of sounds Ed had never appreciated before. The vibration of Roy's sounds prickled along Ed's spine and went straight to his crotch. So much sound. He wasn't sure how long he kept Roy there, but when he finally pulled back for air, Roy was panting slightly, too.

Ed eased up on his grip in increments until he let Roy go, and Roy backed off the desk. They just studied each other for a few minutes, neither sure what the other might be thinking.

"Ok my thoughts are this," Ed began, because he was tired of all the pauses that allowed embarrassment to take root, and by just plunging ahead he sought to till up the quiet and letting nothing grow, "technically I'm a virgin again. I don't really know my way around here so I'm going to have to be shown the ropes, I'm hope you know the look of the ropes and are willing to give some instruction. I guess the topic of who gets to be top and bottom comes up in these sorts of situations and yeah, I'm not the savvy one, but I think I might be better on top. No, call it a gut feeling, but I'm thinking I would be must better suited to being the man in bed. Did I say man? I meant top, I'm not inferring in any way, shape or form you're the woman. There are no women here. You and I are both guys, no women involved. We're doing a guy thing that is two guys...doing this thing. Ok fuck, I sound like Al, I should stop now."

Roy just grinned and held out his hand. Ed came around the desk and took it. He laced his fingers with Roy's tightly and let himself be tugged down the hall. Roy stopped then, just outside his bedroom door.

"Here or your room?" he asked, running the pad of his thumb over the back of Ed's hand.

A choice of venues. Ed looked down the hall toward his room. In contrast to Roy's sparse and neatly kept bedroom, Ed's room was a ever changing vista of interesting bits and ends. Not to mention four stately gargoyles loomed high above, perched on the crown molding. His bed was bigger than Roy's, lusher and probably piled with his latest notes. He had 7 pillows, he couldn't remember why. It was his room in his home and he decided if he was going to fuck Roy's brains out, it should be in there. So now it was his turn to tug.

Roy followed easily, even herded Ed a little and they both grin and half stumbled through the door. There they stopped to kiss and Roy kicked the door closed behind them. Ed pulled back to look up at him and grinned and Roy felt his breath catch. The curve of Ed's check still held all the appeal it had years ago, when Roy longed to touch it. So he did, reaching up to cup it, run his thumb across it. He could do this at his leisure now, and had been indulging periodically. Ed turned his face a little, leaned into the touch for a moment, then reciprocated by brushing his hand down Roy's chest, tucking his fingertips in the waist of Roy's trousers.

"I know I'm not the first man you've had sex with," Ed said, eyes searching Roy's face, "but that doesn't matter. Really I don't think even the gender should matter; on that we are lovers should matter."

"But you're curious," Roy said, tilting his head and starting to edge them closer to Ed's bed, "I can understand that. I might not be a totally open book, but I have places that can be accessed easily enough. All you have to do is ask, and I will answer the best I can."

"Nothing is ever voluntary with you," Ed murmured, reaching the bed and turning to sit on it, tugging Roy down beside him. "I guess I can't say I'm not curious. But I feel like kind of an asshole asking any questions because I am the champion of not holding the past against anybody for obvious reasons."

"In my lifetime, up until this point, I have had two male lovers," Roy said, volunteering just a little. "My first lover was a man, I guess that's surprising."

"It is, kinda," Ed said with a nod. "You know, this asking thing, that works both ways...only you know all my really good fuck-ups and probably all the names of all the women that have dumped me. Funny how I'm laid open flat to you and I know next to nothing about you."

"I'm not an overly personable individual when it comes to the past," Roy acknowledged. "But, for you, I will try to fill in any blanks you would like filled in."

"Ah, well, now I feel like more of an asshole for not knowing anything in the first place," Ed rubbed the back of his neck. "Ok, so, where were you born?"

"Here, in Amestris, not far from old town," Roy said, leaning back on his hands. "There's not much to tell, it's like that book...I am born, I grew up. For me there was military academy courtesy of the legacy of one of my grandfathers."

"Who gave you the slanty black eyes?" Ed said, turning half toward Roy now. "No brothers or sisters?"

"My mother was Xingian," Roy supplied enigmatically without any elaboration, "I was an only child."

"Did you want to be in the military?" Ed asked, leaning forward now, his intent and curiosity an aura around him, "Did you want to be an alchemist?"

"The military was convenient," Roy said, shrugging from his position, "and I sought out alchemy training, so the answer to that is yes. Like your teacher, mine was rather unhappy with me as a result."

"Fuck, is there anything you don't know about me?" Ed grumbled and folded his arms. Then he turned contemplative for a moment, sucked his lower lip for a moment or two and plunged into the big question. "Who were your male lovers before me?" he asked, looking ashamed even as he did it.

"One of them you knew," Roy said easily, "the other you will never know."

"Hughes," Ed half whispered.

"For a while, in academy, right after academy, before Gracia," Roy clarified. "It wasn't like we are here, I knew from the beginning that it would never be like that. We were both young and greedy and horny, pretty horny apparently."

"I hated you for a while, for not telling us when he died. I came to terms with it later," Ed said. "I know you did that to protect us, because you knew we'd...I'd feel responsible. But I think you lost more than you ever let on and I'm sorry that I was to young to see that. I'm sorry, Roy. My brother and I, we didn't do any of you any favors."

Roy reached out then, gathered Ed closed and then tipped them onto the bed, lying facing each other on their sides.

"You asked for nothing," Roy said, stroking the hair off of Ed's cheek. "You worked hard for everything you got, you were willing to do what needed to be done. Did you have any idea how much you were respected? What was done for you was done of the doers own free will. When there is a shining ideal in front of you? You should support it, encourage it and watching it grow. We were looking at our futures, and that is a good thing to look forward to."

Ed just looked at him without speaking, then pushed up on his elbow so he was looking down at Roy. Roy turned onto his back and parted his lips when Ed leaned down to kiss him.

Fingers worked buttons and zippers; pushed fabric along skin. Mouth moved from mouth and on to other parts of the flesh. They half rolled while tugging at clothing. The notes that littered Ed's bed, on top and underneath the covers crinkled; the only sound in the room besides their breath.

Ed was an aggressive de-clother. Roy finally gave up trying to undress himself for Ed's obvious impatience with him. Apparently Roy had been doing it wrong all these years, and he couldn't help but grin when Ed got up on his knees and wrenched his trousers off using a hand over hand technique. Roy's boxers followed in pretty much the same manner and he lifted an eyebrow at Ed who seemed to be studying him in the fashion he would study a specimen in his lab.

"I think I'm bigger," Ed said with much satisfaction, and then handily bounced around getting his own pants and boxers off. Roy rolled onto his side again, propped his elbow in his chin and gave Ed the once over once Ed had gotten naked.

"See?" Ed flopped back and spread his legs shamelessly. "Somehow, I feel ok with all those short jokes you use to make now," Ed grinned wickedly.

"Very impressive," Roy murmured, voice dropping, eyes going heavy lidded. "May I?" He made a gesture toward Ed's display. "I'd like a closer examination."

"Sure," Ed said, squirming a little. "I thought you were going to make one of those, it's not the size, it's the skill comments. Well I've got skills; not that I can give you any good references because, well, they all hate me, I'm sure they'd want to make me look bad," Ed half snorted. "You know, women really know how to push every button you got, even some you didn't realize you had...AH," Ed lifted his head and looked down his body. He watched a moment because, really, what an amazing place for Roy's mouth to be. For once thing, it wasn't where Ed expected; it was lower. He felt a tongue run over his balls, then the odd and incredible sensation of suction. If the sight of Roy's head between his legs wasn't enough, the fact that Roy was sucking on his balls was. He groaned, hard and loud and felt his spine curl up from the bed. He tried to spread his legs wider, because after all, Roy needed room to work and he worked his fingers in the bedsheets in circles, trying to bore into the mattress.

A sudden light stroke in that area between his balls and anus made him yelp and his thighs felt like steel cables they tightened up so much. Roy lazily moved a hand over Ed's stomach, briefly investigated his navel, (moving before Ed could shriek about it), and then seemed to follow the light trail of wispy hair that lead into his groin. When Roy made contact with Ed's cock, he gripped it tightly around the base. Ed grunted and found it was an effective handle for him, because Roy used it in exactly that way. He pulled up on Ed's cock to get his balls higher and grunted in satisfaction when it worked. Ed however was help partially suspended by his own damn cock. And Roy wasn't rubbing it, he was using it as a means of control. Ed tried a series of half-exasperated noises through his nose to signal his discontent at this development, but they fell on deaf ears.

Ed had his balls played with before; but he'd never had them worked over before. They felt so heavy, so hot and Roy kept making these fucking noises like this was the best thing in the world and FUCK, his cock was hurting; something had to give. He tried an angry squirm with his hips and Roy just squeezed his cock tighter and DAMMIT, he didn't like it and he loved it and what the fuck was Roy going to do, keep him from coming until he lost his damned mind?

Roy pulled up then, as if on cue and released Ed. He sat on his knees and surveyed his creation and Ed bared his teeth and pushed up on his elbows. Roy reached out and laid his fingertips on the head of Ed's cock, toyed briefly with the foreskin.

"If you're going to do this, there are some things we need," Roy's voice, low and smooth throttled off Ed's angry demand. "The most important thing, of course, will be lubricant."

"I thought of that already, bastard," Ed said, sounding breathless, "it's in that jar thing on the side table, it's been there for a while. Ah fuck, ah fuck...," Ed reached down to rub at himself and Roy made a tsking noise.

"I thought you wanted to put that to other uses. I can finish you off, if you like," Roy said, retrieving the jar and unscrewing the lid.

Ed scrambled to push himself into a sitting position, watching Roy intently. Roy offered him the jar.

Ed took it slowly, peered into it although he knew it's contents and looked at Roy again. It was the moment of truth, if you will. It was to this point that all other points seemed moot. Roy took one of Ed's many pillows, settled it down then he lay down across it,when it under his hips. He turned and looked over his shoulder at Ed.

"Oh fuck, no pressure huh?" Ed said, holding the jar now like it was dynamite. "I mean, you've had all this experience and you know, you've been with all these people and really I haven't been with that many. I'm starting to think ten years wasn't enough."

"Ed..." Roy started, pushing up to get on his knees.

"No, I mean, I've been waiting for this and now, I mean fuck, Hughes, how am I suppose to compete with that? I know what he meant to you, I don't care if you say it wasn't serious like us, fuck, fuck, what's wrong with me?" Ed turned quickly, sat the jar on the bedside table on his side of the bed.

Roy got to his knees, crawled to settle on them in front of Ed and didn't let the flinch Ed gave when he touched his shoulders put him off.

"Ed, stop this. It's alright. It's ok to be nervous. I remember being so nervous I thought I'd be sick to my stomach. I know how you are; you put such tremendous pressure on yourself it's a wonder you don't break. But I've watched you, I've watched your resilience. This will pass, it's just the jitters, trust me," Roy said, then tilted his head and leaned down a bit to kiss Ed.

Ed shook his head, tucked his chin in an attempt to avoid Roy's lips, but it couldn't be helped. He gasped and gulped through the kiss, his own hands balled into fists and resting on his thighs.

"Calm down," Roy said. "There is no sense in getting yourself so worked up over this," he kneaded on Ed's shoulders soothingly.

"Says you," Ed managed to gasp out. "I'm only fucking up again! You know, you'd think I'd learn by now I can't have the good things in life. FUCK, what the hell is this?"

"An anxiety attack, perhaps?" Roy offered. "I don't want you to hyperventilate, so try to even out your breathing."

"I'm not prone," Ed wheezed, "to anxiety attacks. Not my...nature," Ed took a few more deep breaths and set his jaw.

"Allergies? Something you ate? Some of the chemicals you spilled at the lab?" Roy asked, rubbing his chin. "It wouldn't be my cologne,I'm using the same brand I always use..."

"No rash," Ed gasped, "no running eyes or nose, no swelling," Ed took a few more deep breaths.

"Some blocked memory of why you would never have sex with me in the first place?" Roy teased gently.

Ed screwed one eye shut and tried to bare his teeth, but it came out as a grin anyways.

"Fuck you," Ed said, hands relaxing and breathing beginning to even out. "Don't fucking tease me, asswipe. God, I feel like an idiot."

Roy reached up and took Ed's head between his hands and titled his forehead against Ed's. Ed reached up to cover Roy's hands and they sat there for a minute or so, just being close.

"Better?" Roy asked.

"Yeah, sorry, you must think I'm some sort of freak," Ed laughed weakly. "I always do this, promise me you'll never let me get me, ok?"

"As long as you don't let my nose get stuck in the atmosphere, we'll both be ok, now, where were we?" Roy said. He gave Ed a quick kiss on his forehead and sat back on his heels.

"We were at the part where I was going to use the lube," Ed said. "Well past second base."

"Ah," Roy said, holding up a finger, "that's right. You know, I was being pretty presumptuous earlier, do you even want me on my stomach? You know, doing me on my back is called sweet side up," Roy wiggled his eyebrows.

"...get on your stomach," Ed growled, turning to retrieve the lube.


Ed was a little stiff with the preparation. Some soft instructions and gripping Ed's wrist a time or two solved that. Ed was a quick learner, he absorbed every sound Roy made, every movement, and he analyzed it, cataloged it for future use.

Ed's weight on his back felt good. He liked the press of bare flesh, he always had. He liked Ed's breath heavy in his ear; he liked the way Ed fit along his spine; he even liked the way Ed wasn't quite tall enough to get to his ear, so lapped at the nape of his neck instead.

There was some negotiation, some grunting and a lot of reassurance; and then there was a joining. They both trembled with the moment, the culmination of a lot of determination, heartache and perseverance. It was a moment of truth in which they had both believed in. It was the rest of their lives, together, the way they wanted to be.

It wasn't spectacular, but it wasn't bad, it was just new.

Just like this thing they had, that had a proper name; a relationship.