Some things can't be analyzed in cost-benefit calculations. And Roy has long ago accepted that he will have to walk half way down the road to insanity, to meet Edward coming back.
It is slow. He likens it to the taming of a wild animal, although animals are only wild, innocent in their savagery, and Fullmetal's madness is dark and malicious. His part of the work will be wordless, reaching with gestures and patience and expressions and glances. Slow.
His first big break comes early one morning, when he wakes up while Fullmetal is still asleep. Edward has shoved him away in his sleep, as he always does, and kicked the covers off; he sleeps naked and spread out wide across the bed, as if assuring himself with every inch of his skin that he is free, with no bindings, no impositions.
For a long time Roy simply looks at him, marvelling at his beauty, wondering—idly, and sadly—what devil before him had been so tempted by it to so mangle the soul of an angel. Then, on an impulse, he leans down and kisses Edward's forehead. Once, like a benediction.
It doesn't stop there. Methodically, working on some unseen internal dictation, Roy works his way down Ed's face, his neck, his collarbone, leaving a gentle kiss on every inch of skin. Learning, loving every part of him. Every single part.
He goes down the flesh arm; bicep, elbow, forearm, wrist, hand, every finger, and up again; and he repeats the process, just as slowly, just as methodically, with his other elbow. And on.
He's just passed Edward's hips, giving only a soft breath on the boy's cock, when he becomes aware that Edward is awake. It's hard to tell, because Edward is as tense and battle-ready in sleep as he is awake, and the boy doesn't open his eyes. But he's gone quivering, restless under Roy's lips, and he stops, looking uncertainly up Edward's body to his face, trying to read this situation. Ed doesn't like uncertainty, he knows, he doesn't like vulnerability, and he's all too quick to chase away either one with howling angry violence, and a steel fist.
But Edward is lying motionless, arms still spread, knees still parted, as though he's been transfixed there. His muscles tremble slightly, his eyes flicked under their lids, and his throat works as he swallows.
Roy continues. Consciously. Touching, kissing, loving every part of Ed. Every part. Not just his cock or his ass, his nipples or his long hair or his muscled chest or his hand. Every part, not just his sex, not just his beauty, but all of him. All of him.
Total, unconditional acceptance. Delivered without words. Roy follows him all the way down to the automail foot, and breathes on the sole. The toes twitch, and one kick could break Roy's nose. He knows it, Ed knows it, but he's as still as if he's been bound there.
He finally finishes, with Edward's right foot, and sits back. Sits up and waits, and with an almost explosive movement Edward rolls over, curls into himself and hugs his knees, metal and flesh to himself. He's trembling violently. "I hate you," he hisses, one of their ritual-words, that mean nothing and everything and exactly what they say and exactly the opposite as well. "You arrogant bastard, I hate you so much."
Afterwards, though, Ed goes to sleep curled in a ball, at the other edge of the bed; for once, leaving most of the space to Roy. Roy stays awake to watch him, for a while, in his sleep, and try to read the new patterns Ed's putting out. What memories are these, what sorrows in his posture and line? What unpredictable new reactions will it bring?
Roy is afraid, not just for Edward but for himself; eventually, though, he goes to sleep all the same.
And wakes, early the next morning, to a nearly unchanged view. Edward is awake too, and watching him from wary, wounded, hooded eyes.
Before Roy can say anything, Ed has shifted around, until he is lying flat on his back. Arms spread, knees parted, a posture of aggressive defeneslessness. A posture that says, I don't need to fear showing my belly to you, because I can rip your throat out before you can get close enough to hurt me.
His eyes, though, give the lie. They are vulnerable, aching, wanting, and afraid. Ed looks at him, once, then shuts his eyes tight.
The message is clear, in his posture, exactly mimicking that of the other night. It is an invitation. An invitation that Roy, gladly, takes.