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Unconditional Surrender


"This isn't hurting you, is it?" asked Hohenheim, carefully unlatching Ed's plastic arm and placing it in it's box near the bed.

"No," said Ed, his voice quiet. "You can't hurt me. It's okay. It's fine."

Hohenheim stroked the oddly smooth shoulder. Ed once had a lot of scars, but the Gate in its mercy had wiped them all clean. At least the ones on the outside, inside was another matter.

"It's just genes," said Hohenheim. "It's defines our eye color, the shape of our faces, that's all. It doesn't define us. My blood looks just like everyone else's."

"I know," said Ed. He looked at the wall while Hohenheim unbuckled the strap on his leg. "I'm fine. Really. It makes complete sense to me."

Hohenheim placed the leg next to the arm. He then massaged the muscles of Ed's thigh. As always, they were tense. Ed took deep breaths and with effort relaxed.

"Social rules are not science," Hohenheim continued, staring into the innocent face of the man next to him. "They flex and bend to the situation. We are who we choose to be."

Ed said nothing to this, but turned his head so that Hohenheim could pull the band from his ponytail, and free his hair.

"I just don't want you to be uncomfortable with our arrangement."

Ed settled back against the mattress, crippled, vulnerable, and yet only the more beautiful because of it. Hohenheim took a moment to brush Ed's hair away from his eyes, before reaching lower hooking his fingers in the waistband of Ed's boxers. Ed looked into space as his lover stripped him bare.

"It's fine," said Ed. "Really. I never wanted a father, anyway."