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The Physics of This


The bench was a little too hard beneath him, the snow a little too cold along his nose and this, he thought, this should be a lot easier.

There really ought to be a manual for it, or something, because he couldn't be expected to just know, human biological imperative or no. There were instructions for everything else that man had conceived; alchemy and childcare and How To Make A Chocolate Soufflé In Twenty Minutes Or Less. This should, by all that was right and good in the world, be much easier than a soufflé. Even one that could be potentially made in twenty minutes.

He wondered what Al would do. He thought vaguely about running away to call and ask.

Winry had once spent the better part of an hour waxing wistful about the Right Time and You Just Know! Like it's right there, Ed, shining right in front of your eyes and you can just taste it and oh, oh it's just perfect. Perfect. Ed had rolled his eyes, made a derisive noise and filed it away as female blatherings of the worst possible sort. Because, really, there was absolutely no need to fill his head with pink and fluffy eared romanticisitic delusions when there was physical matter to rebuild. Except now there was something tingling rather insistently at the bottom of his stomach and everything around here was so damn...damn pretty and god, where was Winry and the high-pitched poetics when he needed them?

He stifled a sigh and tipped his head back to stare at the snowflakes tumbling from the sky. They ended their short lives caught, melting, on his eyelashes.

This was stupid. He was Edward Elric, State Alchemist. If killers and empty assassin armour hadn't frightened him, half a foot of park bench shouldn't leave him feeling so useless and pathetic. Or trembling, which he was. He had just been blaming it on the cold. He wondered if he could simply forego this whole hand holding bit by leaning over and licking Roy. Right on the neck. He was always one for skipping a few steps in the character evolution process.

Then again, maybe not.

Alright, he could do this, really and truly and honestly. He took a deep breath (okayokayokay), tried very hard not to choke on it and slid his fingers over.

Roy shifted slightly in response, a barely perceptible movement, but it was enough to root the hesitation in and Ed watched, in hysterical disbelief, as his hand dropped mid-approach to flop loudly onto the wood, curling itself forlornly into a fist. On the other side of the bench, Roy spared Ed an odd look out of the corner of his eye and then went back to staring at the trees. Ed scowled at the fresh silence that had collapsed in around them, felt incredibly idiotic and promptly contemplated the valour of whipping off screaming into the night.

That had went well.

Roy was obviously not seeing the world encompassing importance of this. Ed blinked. Right, so. What exactly was the importance then? Was this even explainable? Understandable? Categoric? He certainly had his reasons, sure, and maybe they weren't the most brilliant ones but well.

(Undefinable? Never.)

It was because he wanted to, because he knew he could if he just. Did it. Because as strange and new as this wrenching, desperate feeling was, he liked it, dammit, and he knew if he just reached over and took stupid stupid stupid Roy Mustang's hand it could be even better. It could be more. It could be what he sometimes saw when he closed his eyes at night.

The consequences stumbled drunkenly out the door.

He reached across the bench. Didn't look. Decided not to breathe because that hurt a little too much.

His fingertips tucked themselves under Roy's palm, pushed it up to crawl underneath and there—the hands twined easily, as if they were meant to fit together, warm and rough with the slide of fabric. Ed wanted to smile.

Roy glanced down at Ed's pathetically twitching fingers and lifted an eyebrow. Well, that was expected. Exactly expected, as Roy's entire plethora of facial expressions went from Condescending Quizzical to Angry Quizzical to Well Edward Elric Is Initiating Intimate Interaction, How About That Quizzical. It shouldn't have been surprising, but it was. And awkward. And um, if Roy would just say something then maybe Ed could finally exhale and the alarming tightening at the back of his chest might go away.

"Well?" Ed snapped. Hoped it was edgy enough to sound like a dare. Hoped, if anything, that it would clear that unreadable brightness out of Roy's eyes so—that—

That—the hand beneath his tightened, suddenly, and there was a warm rush of breath across his face, along his nose. A faint touch of lips. And then Roy. Roy was kissing him.

Ed sighed into it, felt his mind smooth out with a surprised "um" as he let the warmth melt down his spine. Somewhere in the shockwaves, he realized he could sense the wet lick of snow on his cheeks, hear the heavy thump thump thump of the blood pounding in his ears and feel the way Roy's tongue was curling a lazy path along the roof his mouth. He decided he really liked this version of equivalent trade.

"Do you always have to win?" Ed asked as they pulled apart, breathless, astounded, and then he did it again. Just to even the score.