If you want to find Edward Elric in Central City, you have to be a National Alchemist. Roy mounts the steps to the Central Library without fear of being in error, with a nod and a smile for the librarian at the front desk; Edward is always here in his free time, pausing only occasionally for meals and a discussion of alchemical theory with his brother in the dorms.
Ed has a real passion for alchemy; it goes far beyond restoring his brother. It's a fascination, rooted in something that Roy cannot begin to guess. He doesn't try to; he merely notes with interest the books piled by his chair as Ed hunches over his little notebook, scribbling away in a code that Roy doesn't know.
"Hello, Colonel," Ed says without preamble, only glancing up briefly when the shadow falls across the page of the book he is currently scanning.
"Hello, Fullmetal," Roy says, drawing up a chair for himself at the table, allowing Edward to draw the lines of contact. He leans forward, reading upside-down from the open book. Alchemy is not a passion for him; he knows what he must to maintain his title, and little more, although he purchases texts to study before bed. He reads, 'The primary and remote material of the Stone is triple, to wit, Mercury, Silver and Gold, in that all perfection consists in triplicity, and that all that is triune is perfect. Should others such as those holding the material of the Stone to be Tartar, vinegar, semen, blood, moonwort, salamander or other things similar assert the contrary, they know not the Art.' "Semen?" he asks—Roy cocks an eyebrow at the crown of Edward's head—his face is cast towards the book.
"Hm?" Ed looks up at Roy, his face quizzical; Roy points to the word, and Ed's eyes scan the passage. "Oh, that," Edward waves a hand, apparently unimpressed. "Everything's been considered, you know, but I think the idea that the Stone's just made with metals is crock. It's not equivalent trade even remotely," he notes. "Some of the ancients were big on the Trinity and balance, is all. The blood thing might be onto something, though."
"The powers of male essence non-withstanding," Roy says offhandedly, refusing to hide his amusement and waiting for Edward's reaction, his breath unconsciously held. He has never researched the Stone, except in the dark days in Ishabal and after, and he never comes across such passages—and he's against a limit that he's uncertain of. There are so many rules between them; Roy pushes against them, but it is always Edward that breaks them down.
Edward's gaze flies up to Mustang's face, and a crooked smile etches his features. "Of course that would catch your attention," he says, the sarcasm in his tone not quite complete; there's a question in his voice, as if to ask, What are you suggesting? "They mean—"
"A component of the creation of life, I know," Roy finishes for him. "I am a National Alchemist, after all."
Edward's gaze does not leave his face for a long moment, and then he notes his place and shuts the heavy tome with a soft spray of dust. "Why are you here?" he asks, blunt and to the point.
Roy is blunt as well; dancing around the subject will merely ignite Edward's anger. "To see you," he says, leaning back in his chair.
"You came just to say hello?" Edward answers incredulously, standing up and leaning over the table, his usual scowl skirting confusion.
"It's the only place to find you," Roy points out, leaning his cheek against his hand.
Edward merely looks at him for a long moment, golden eyes searching for something—Roy doesn't know what.
"You're a strange man," he says at length, coming around the table. "You could at least ask me somewhere instead of pretending we're playing hide and seek."
"I didn't think we were," Roy counters, but evidently it's enough for now, as Edward's gloved fingers slide behind his neck and open lips press to his.
It's a good place.