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Ed was in bliss. He was cocooned in soft blankets, entangled with his lover, and drowning in contentment. "I missed you so much," Ed breathed into the curve of Ling's shoulder blade. "So much."

Ling, asleep, said nothing.

Ed didn't want to wake him. The moment was simply too good. Ling smelled sweet and musky. His skin felt silky under Ed's fingers, even relaxed as he was, his muscles of his belly were hard. His thick black hair, for once, did not tickle, but rather felt comfortable against Ed's cheek. The light of the morning sun caught on the fine hairs of Ling's naked arm, making them glow like a faint golden halo.

Ed had missed this. By truth and the gate and everything Ed knew to be real, he'd missed Ling like a piece of his own soul. But Ling was back now, and that empty aching spot in Ed's heart was once more filled.

As long as Ed didn't wake Ling, the spell would last. As long as he didn't move too quickly, or speak too loudly, everything would be just fine. Ed tried to slow time down, but the sun was burning too hot, and Ling was stirring, stretching.

Without turning, Ling spoke in a deep gravelly voice that was horribly, hideously not his own. "Goodbye."

Ed tightened his grip, but Ling was melting, and hard, warm flesh turned soft and cool, collapsing in. Gone. Ed opened his eyes to find his arms wrapped around the bedding and a damp spot on the pillowcase next to his cheek.

He sat up and looked around the inn. Al was curled in the corner of the room, thick metal arms wrapped around thick metal legs. His head was bowed but Ed knew better. His brother wasn't sleeping. Ed quickly rubbed the evidence of his sentimentality from his face before Al could notice. "Morning," he said, keeping his voice as even as he could.

"Good morning!" came the cheery reply. Al rose up with a clatter and bang. "Did you sleep well?"

"Yeah," said Ed. He wouldn't tell Al about the dream. There was no point.

Al didn't miss Ling. Al never much liked the Xingan Prince. No, that wasn't right. Al liked Ling fine, he just didn't like the fact that Ling and Ed were lovers, though in the last weeks before... it... happened, Al had seemed to come to terms with their relationship.

It didn't matter. Past was past, done was done, Ling was gone and he wasn't coming back. And maybe it was just as well—after all, there really was no future between them. Ling wanted Ed to go to Xing with him and be part of some absurd harem, living in pampered luxury, isolated from the world. Ling also wanted to search the world with Ed for the philosopher's stone.

The two ambitions never really jived with each other, but that didn't bother Ling. Since Ed shared the second ambition, and wasn't about to give in on the first, the choice was pretty much moot.

So it shouldn't have been a surprise that ,when push came to shove, Ling had picked the philosopher's stone over Ed. After all, Ed was never going to give Ling what he wanted—a doting spouse, content to be one of many. Still to be so suddenly and unequivocally jilted—well, it fucking stung actually.

Ed could still hear Ling's voice telling him not to shoot, not to save him, let him go. And Ed had done just that. With his finger on the trigger, he'd hesitated until it was too late. His reward was to watch Ling be consumed by the very thing he wanted so much to possess.

Ling. Ambitious, greedy Ling. He deserved what he got.

This ache Ed felt was stupid. Ling was a fucking annoyance anyway. A fair-weather ally at best and a goddamned embarrassment at worst. How many times had he asked Mustang if he could marry Ed? As if Mustang had any say at all in the issue. And how Flame had horded it over Ed. At least now Ling would never humiliate Ed again.

Good riddance Ling. I don't need you.

"Brother," said Al. "Are you okay?"

Ed quickly wiped his cheeks again, surprised and disgusted to find them still damp. "I'm fine." Ed sat up and swung his feet off the bed. He dressed mechanically. "Let's get some chow, Al. The train'll be coming soon. If we are going to catch up to Hohenheim we better not miss it." Standing in front of the hotel room's small sink, Ed looked at himself in the mirror. He looked a bit tired, but no, he didn't have the word "sap" written on his forehead.

"Brother," said Al, softly as Ed brushed his teeth. "I miss him, too. It's not your fault."

Ed spit a mouth full of foam into the dingy basin. "Of course, it's not my fault! He wanted to be a homunculus. Well now he is. I'm very happy for him. I wish him a long and fruitful life."

Until we have to kill him, Ed didn't say. Because damn it, at some point, they would, not because Ed wanted to, but because the Sin would force the issue, and fuckall this was hard to even think about.

But Ed didn't have to worry about that now. Taking down the asshole who looked so eerily like their father would come first. And to do THAT Ed needed to find his actual father. Hohenheim and Father knew each other. The way they looked, they HAD to be related in some way. After bowing out of Al and Ed's childhoods, the old man damn well OWED it to them to cough up whatever information he had on ... whatever the hell Father was.

Tracing Hohenheim was proving to be a major pain in the ass. Ed and Al had started back in Rizembul, the last place they'd seen him, and had pulled out the stops in ascertaining where the man had wandered off to. Bribery, threats, morally dubious promises, Ed had offered them all. Luckily for Ed, Hohenheim was unusual enough in his appearance that people did remember him, even weeks later. Still this was a bitch and a half following the cold trail, and there was no guarantee that when this tip ran dry, that anyone would be able to point them further.

Al put his leather hand very lightly on Ed's shoulder. Ed pulled away, then immediately apologized with a smile. "Hey, Al, I saw a restaurant down the street. I better eat up, you were looking pretty skinny last I saw you." Then softer, "Really, Al, I'm fine."

At Carsontown they split up, Al taking the West side of town and Ed the East. Ed glanced down at the old photograph in his hand. This one had Pinako and Hohenheim leaning on each other in some bar. The photograph had to be at least 30 years old, judging from Pinako's appearance, and yet Hohenheim looked just the way he had the last time Ed had seen him. Ed pursed his lips. When he caught up with the old man, he would have to ask about that as well. Half that man's genes were imprinted on every cell in Ed's body, he had a right to know exactly what sired him.

At first Ed dismissed the flicker as a shadow. A bird passing overhead maybe. When he'd looked up he'd seen nothing on the rooftop of building next to him. He'd waited a second but heard nothing.

The second time he caught a glimpse of something out of the corner of his eye, he was being distracted by a young woman, who kept pointing to Ed's picture and talking about someone she thought might be Ed's old man. By the time Ed realized that while she'd probably seen Hohenheim, she didn't have any idea where he'd gone to, whatever it was that had caught Ed's attention had gone.

Ed had almost forgotten about it when he happened to turn down into an ally that he thought he recognized as a shortcut back towards his and Al's rendezvous point. Half way down the narrow path he realized his mistake and turned around to head back out. He heard a faint thud behind him.

Ed had been in enough situations in his sixteen years to know when it was better to just attack instead of stopping and checking out what he was up against. With a quick clap of his hands he turned his automail into a blade and then swung around fully expecting to give the mugger the scare of his thuggish life.

Instead he was brought to a complete halt by Ling's charming smile. "Hi, Ed. Been a while."

Ed's throat went dry. "Ling," he croaked. Impossible.

His lover took two steps forward, out of the shadows and into a patch of late afternoon sun. No. Not Ling. The hair was Ling's, and the shape of his face, but the purple, slit-pupiled eyes belonged to another entity entirely.

"Greed," Ed corrected. He brought his arm up again, putting the blade's edge between Greed and himself. "What do you want?"

Greed cocked up an eyebrow. "I want what I've always wanted, Ed. Everything."

Ed rolled his eyes. "Do have some message from Father to me?'

"No."

"Then why are you here? Just a happy coincidence?" Greed kept closing the distance, knife blade or no knife blade. He had no weapon on him, but Ed knew better than to think him unarmed. He was dangerous. At least he didn't want Ed dead.

Greed snorted. "There are no coincidences. I've been following you."

"How long."

"A while now, quite a while actually."

Ed was surprised. Father had made it plain that he planned to keep Ed and Al prisoner. It was only due to the massive confusion caused by Scar that they'd managed to escape. If Greed wasn't following Father's orders then..."Why?"

Greed put one hand on Ed's shoulder and the other gently wrapped around Ed's automail wrist. "You can put that away, Ed. It will hardly hurt me. Not now."

Ed clapped his hand and put the blade away. No. That wouldn't hurt Greed. "If you aren't here to attack me, and you aren't here to tell me anything, you might as well go away." Ed shrugged his shoulder away from Ling's—no Greed's touch. "I'm not going to entertain you."

Greeds hand tightened on Ed's wrist. "Entertain, yes, that's an interesting term for it. And that's exactly what I was looking forward to." The smile on Greed's face made it very plain what the Sin was wanting.

Ed's cheeks colored. "Don't even think it. You aren't Ling."

"You used to say that to Ling as well. It's the same body. Don't tell me you haven't missed it." Greed took another step forward and Ed found himself wrapped in the others embrace. It could have been tender. It would have been tender if had been Ling... but it wasn't, no matter that it felt like him. Goddamn it, Greed even smelled like Ling.

Ed's automail knee rose up and connected hard with Greed's crotch. The Sin coughed and folded over in a surprisingly human way. Ed felt a bitter satisfaction as he wrested his arm away from Greed's now limp grip. "Leave me alone, Greed."

He walked towards the light at the end of the alleyway, trying to convey confidence and finality in his stride. He almost made it, just a couple more steps and he'd be past the garbage cans and back out into the reasonably populated street. He was only a little surprised to feel the hard black arms embrace him from behind, pressing his upper arms to his chest.

So, it was going to be a fight, thought Ed. So be it. He simultaneously drove his boot heel down on Greed's foot, and clapped his palms together. A jut of stone rose steeply up from the earth between his legs, angling backwards. He felt the threatening pressure of it driving between himself and Ling like a wedge. Had Greed been made of anything softer it would have impaled the Sin and hoisted him away, but as it was, it did no more than loosen Greed's grip before breaking and shattering uselessly behind them.

Ed used the moment to hop up and around. Years of sparring combined with natural grace to put Ed on his feet, facing his opponent. Greed looked nothing like Ling now. He looked like a monster, black bisected by red lines, and accented by white gleaming teeth. Once again, Ed clapped his hands and made the blade.

"I mean it, Greed," said Ed. "Leave me alone or I will have to kill you."

"Do you honestly think you can kill me," the black thing said. Then the darkness retreated in a jagged, almost geometrical way, from his face, and once again Ed saw his lover.

Damn it.

"Don't push your luck," Ed said.

Greed smiled and attacked again. For a few minutes, it was noisy. Walls jutted in, the ground rose up, fixed and immobile features of the alleyway took on almost organic life. Greed had much of Ling in him, Ed found to his dismay. He recognized the graceful way Greed dodged his attacks. Even though instead of a sword, Greed flashed pitch-black talons, Ed could still see much of Ling's technique in his offense.

Too much technique. Ed realized after a bit. How Ling had done it Ed wasn't sure, but the Sin had managed to maneuver him during their battle, deeper and deeper into the alley, until Ed realized he'd been backed up against a dead end. Ling paused and grinned. Dust settled slowly out of the air.

"This doesn't have to hurt, you know, Ed." Greed said. "Just come quietly with me, and it will be as good as we both remember it."

"Why now, Greed," said Ed, as much to buy time to think of a way around the Sin as to actually know. "Why did you wait?"

"You know, your brother sticks to you like glue. It's charming, really, but not very conducive to romantic encounters."

"Romance—is that what you call this?" said Ed. Before Greed could reply, Ed rushed forward, jumping onto a trashcan and then back off, skirting around the Sin.

A hard hand caught his sleeve and pulled back, then another one wrapped around his throat. Automatically Ed raised his free hand to dislodge the choking grip. No. It couldn't be. Father needed Ed alive, Greed couldn't kill him. But Greed wasn't following Father's orders, he was doing something on his own. The grip didn't loosen and Ed's flesh fingers merely scraped uselessly over flesh as hard as steel.

Dots swam before Ed's eyes and he felt his body growing numb. Then it all turned black.

Ed woke up in bed. One painful swallow told him that the encounter in the alleyway was not a dream, and he wasn't foolish enough to believe that the Sin had simply taken him back to the hotel to recover.

Biofeedback told him many things about his state. Firstly, he was oddly and wrongly comfortable. The slight shafing and pinching of his clothes was gone, replaced by decadent feeling of bare skin under soft cotton sheets. The second thing was the faint but very characteristic ache in his shoulder and leg that he got every time his automail was serviced and the ports were left uncoupled. The last was a tightness around his remaining wrist. He flexed his fingers just slightly. They felt a bit cold, but not the way they would be if his circulation was truly being cut off. This was a good thing, since that meant there might be enough give whatever Greed had used to tie his wrist for him to slip free.

It was quiet in the room, but that didn't mean that Greed had left him alone. His belly unconsciously tightened and he cracked his eye open, just the tiniest amount.

"I was beginning to get worried," Greed said.

"How long was I out."

"Almost five minutes. Enough time."

Ed opened his eyes and blinked around. He appeared to be in some child's bedroom, guessing from the toy's on the floor. He turned his eyes back to Greed. The sin was straddling a chair, his arms casually draped over it's back. The Sin's eyes were closed and his head was cocked as if he were listening for something. For a moment again, he looked so much like Ling that Ed had a hard time believing his own memory of the last month. But then Ling's eyes opened, and a cold smile spread across his lips.

"Don't do this, Greed," said Ed. "Just... don't. If there is anything of Ling left in you, don't."

"Really," said Greed, sounding hurt. "Now I admit I haven't given you the attention you deserve. We've said things that perhaps we shouldn't have. I've been busy and so have you. Still, it hurts to hear you cut me off." He stood up. "Was our relationship really so shallow? It's been less than a month and you don't love me anymore. I'm hurt."

Ed gritted his teeth. "Greed, we NEVER had a relationship. Don't pretend you are Ling, you don't even sound like him. You are just some... some thing that's taken up residence in his body."

"But I AM Ling," said Greed. "I remember every thought, every emotion he used to have. Even his soul is still inside me. Everything he ever was is still here." Greed sat on the edge of the bed and reached over to gently stroke back Ed's bangs. "I also have the memories of every Greed Father has ever made, and the souls of so many many others. I am more than I once was, not less."

Ed pulled his head away.

"I'm stronger now. Wiser. Less vulnerable, more capable. I'm going to be Emperor Ed. No one can stop me. And when I take that throne, you will be with me. My first consort. My wife. Beautiful thing." Ling's fingers drifted over Eds cheek, to his ear then finally down to the band around his braid. With one quick pull, the elastic snapped.

"That is crazy," said Ed.

"Oh don't act so surprised. This is what Ling always said he would do. He wasn't the least bit coy about it." Greed suddenly drew back and folded his harms, tutting. "Now don't tell me you've been stringing Ling along all this time. Using him to help you get the closer to the stone, ready to dump him the moment you found it? Is that all he was to you, a stepping stone to your own ambitions? Tell me, did you just fuck him to keep him happy? Were all those kisses and sweet talk just a distraction to keep him from questioning the shameless way you used him to further your own agenda?" Greed shook his head. "Didn't you love him at all?"

Ed felt as if Ling had slapped him hard. "Fuck you, Greed, It wasn't that way at all. You—Ling—HE was the one using me! And what I feel—felt for him is none of your fucking business!" Ed yanked his bound wrist hard. The cord did not give, but his skin did, in a line of burning pain. Fuck it.

"Well," said Greed in a silky purr that reminded Ed eerily of the former Greed. "It doesn't matter, I suppose, even though you are a cruel ... little... slut," Greed slowed down to draw out each word, "I'm generous enough to overlook that."

The slight against Ed's height made him see red for almost a minute. When he came back to himself Greed was straddling him, one hand holding Ed's remaining forearm, the other clamped tightly over his mouth.

Greed spoke again, in a quiet but firm voice. "Ling loved you, and I still feel a bit of that lingering on. So, dear friend, you are coming with me to Xing even if I have to wrap you in chains and keep you in a box."

I gotta get a hold of myself, thought Ed. Just relying on my fist isn't going to get me out of this one. Think. Think!

"What about your master's plans?" asked Ed, the moment Greed pulled his black hand away. "Father is going to use me in some alchemical experiment. I don't know what the hell 'human pillar' means, but usually when you sacrifice a person, you don't get to marry them afterwards."

Ling smiled. "That's why I'm not taking you back to there. Father can find another alchemist to be his pillar."

Ed thought he detected a bit of leverage. "Then you aren't loyal to Father." The first fragments of a plan began to form in his mind. Please, let him say "no"

Greed rolled his eyes. "I'm greedy I don't give up what's mine." Greed leaned down and brushed his lips against Ed's temple. "You belong to me. Don't deny it."

And suddenly that plan just evaporated under the sensation of Greed's lips. Ed's body shuddered. It wasn't fair, damn it. It wasn't fair that it smelled like Ling. It wasn't fair that it's ambitions were the same. It wasn't Ling. Ling was dead.

Or was he? Greed had Ling's memories, and somewhere buried in that body was Ling's soul. Perhaps Ling could one day come back, and be the dominant personality again. Maybe Ling could still be saved...

Greed leaned down and distracted Ed away from his line of thought with a kiss. The smell, the warmth, the taste... God even the way he slid his tongue over Ed's lips first before pushing inward. There had to be some of Ling mixed up with Greed. There had to be. Greed broke the kiss and began running his hands over Ed, tracing his muscles with teasing fingertips.

"See, your body remembers me," Greed babbled. "It wants to be mine. You were Ling's and now you are mine."

Perhaps I can have both Ling and the philosophers stone if I just ...

"No," denied Ed, jerking away from both the thought and the touch. "I belong to no one. I've never belonged to anyone."

Ling's mouth had moved to Ed's ear, sliding warmly over the folds of the shell before delving in, tickling his sensitive eardrum with warm breath and a soft murmuring voice.

"How untrue. You were owned by the military before I laid my hands on you, and before that, your brother put his chains around you. If someone handed you your freedom on a plate, you'd turn it down. You WANT to be possessed. You need it, deep down. Without someone to call your master, you are without purpose."

Ed wriggled away, but the words seemed to follow him, worming their way into his consciousness. Greed was talking complete crap now. There was absolutely no truth in any of that.

"Tell me, Ed," said Greed sitting up. "What would you do if your brother were flesh again? You don't know, do you? Well I do, you'd wander lost for a bit until someone came and claimed you and put you in your place.

"I'll be a much better master than the military ever was. I will lavish you with luxury, dote on you, give you a purpose and direction. In return you will obey me, serve and service me, stay with me, be my faithful pet. It's a fair trade, don't you think?"

"No, that fucking isn't fair."

"And yet," Greeds hand strayed down, sliding under the sheet, over Ed's belly to his growing and treacherous erection. "And yet you are hard for me." His fingernails ever-so-gently grazed against the tender skin from the base of the shaft up to the glans. It was teasing and torturous and cruel, psychologically as much as physically. God he didn't want Greed molesting him and yet, on a purely physical level, missed this kind of contact.

"I..." said Ed weakly. "It's been a while. It's just a body thing, don't make it more than it is."

With a quick flip of the wrist Greed pulled the sheet off Ed's body. Ed immediately pulled his knees up and tried to hide his privates between his thighs. The Sin was having nothing of that, and pushed them back down. Damn it, the Sin was strong.

I could just give in and pretend it's Ling, came a thought that Ed immediately tried to disown. It continued on in all it's selfish, hedonistic way: After all, if this creature can fights like Ling, he probably fucks like him too. Ed groaned. I must be a slut if I'm thinking this!

Greed mistook Ed's groan for pleasure and paused to chuckle before continuing to lick and nip his way down Ed's torso.

"Wait," said Ed, and to his surprise Greed actually did, lifting his head up questioningly.

"Not here," said Ed, more in a bid to buy time than in a real coherent plot. But once the words were out he felt inspiration come to him. "I'll go with you to Xing. Willingly, no need for a box or chains. And this doesn't have to be rape. I'll sleep with you, too."

Greed arched an eyebrow and sat up, clearly skeptical. "Really. Now why do I just think you are saying this in the hopes I'll untie you and let you run away."

Half a minute ago, Ed wouldn't have been able to respond to that, because that would have been the plan, but now, now he could see something bigger and broader, and oddly enough it was the Sin's own insults that inspired it. "No. You are right. I hate to admit it, but damn it, I need a good screw. I haven't had anything but my hand in a month now. You look like Ling. You feel like Ling. If you would just shut the fuck up, I think I can over look that you aren't."

"How generous," muttered Ling, but he seemed intrigued.

"Yeah, and I don't fucking want to be human sacrifice either. If it takes moving to Xing to avoid that fate, I can live with it." Ed was skirting the truth here. He wasn't about to abandon his home country to whatever alchemical apocalypse Father had planned, but Greed might not know that. After all if Greed were truly greedy, the concept of altruism and risking his life for others might be too foreign for him to understand.

"Very sensible, but there's a catch." Greed stood up. "What's your equivalent exchange?"

"I want Al," said Ed firmly. "He's coming with us to Xing. And I'm not fucking you here in some kid's bedroom, where we could get walked in on. We're going to go back to the hotel and do it in private like normal people."

"I can live with that. Al can come with us if you can keep him in line."

If Ed had any luck at all Al would already be at the hotel room when they returned, and then it would be two against one. Hopefully they could chase the Humunculus away until they had time to talk with Hohenheim, and maybe get some info into how to bring Ling back...

Of course if they DIDN'T chase Ling away right off, then perhaps...

"AND," said Ed. "I want to use a few of your lives in your stone. My quest is to get Al's flesh back. I can just open the Gate the way we did with Envy. Once Al's body is back, well, then I have no reason not to live it up in a palace. Like you said, I'd just be hanging around waiting for someone to tell me what to do."

Greeds eyes narrowed. "Or you'll simply take your brother and vanish on me. No. I'm not going to help you with that."

Fuck. "If you aren't going to allow me to get my brother back, then you better be prepared to fight me tooth an nail ever step of the way to Xing. And as for once you get me there, I'll do my utmost to trash your palace." Ed watched to see Ling's reactions.

Greed tutted in a most unLing like way: "Now who is the greedy one. Your willingness buys you safety, purpose, a life of pleasure that would be the envy of any reasonable man or woman in Amestria. For your brother's body back, I expect more."

"What more can I give you? I'm already offering up my life and my body."

Greed looked smug. "He can have his body back if he will make the same pledge. His life and his body, to me. If he's comely enough, he can be one of my consorts, if not, he can be a body guard, or a servant, or whatever job I think most fitting. Yes, I kind of like the idea of your brother fanning us while I fuck you senseless."

"I..." Ed swallowed. We'd split the moment Al has his body back. Al wouldn't really have to do anything. After all, I'm making these proposals under duress—one could hardly expect me to hold to them. Just tell him what he wants to hear. "I ... " said Ed again after a moment, "Can't offer you that. I can't make that kind of commitment for him."

To Ed's surprise, Greed nodded. "I wouldn't have believed you if you had said yes." Greed reached over and snapped the cloth tying Ed's wrist to the headboard. "But," said Greed with a sly grin, "I wonder if Al would say no, if I offered. You know, I imagine Al would serve me with a smile, if it meant he could stay with you. And if I sweeten the deal with his body, I've no doubt he'd feel honor bound to keep his end."

Ed brought his raw wrist to his mouth briefly before sitting up.
"Very well," continued Greed. "I accept your proposal. Let's go back to your hotel room, where we can properly consummate our deal."

If Ed had had any thoughts of ditching Greed on their walk back to the hotel room, the homunculus effectively squashed them. It might look to an outsider like Greed had a companionable arm draped over Ed's shoulders, but Ed knew better. When by chance he stumbled the hand on his shoulder tightened immediately, holding him tightly to Greed's side.

Al was not back when they reached the hotel room. Ed sighed as he closed the room door shut. He felt Greed's warm breath against his cheek, and the possessive arm slipped from his shoulder down to his waist, spinning him into a slightly rough embrace. Ed opened his mouth to object and found it invaded. Ed's groin twitched with expectation.

Ed broke away from the kiss and caught his breath. "Wait," said Ed. "Slow down, it's been a while. Let me get my bearings."

Greed's reponse to that was to push Ed up against the sole bed in the room. "No, no more delays. I've waited long enough. We agreed, or were you just stringing me along." Greeds eyes narrowed dangerously, and Ed had no doubt that if he pushed at this point the Sin would simply rape him.

"Okay, okay," said Ed. "No more delays. It's just—just, just lie back. Let me do the work."

Greed grinned, his eyes dancing himself onto the bed and stretch out luxuriously. "Of course, I can't deny you the pleasure of touching me! Take me, I'm yours!"

Ed's eyes widened and suddenly he felt as if cold water had been poured through his veins. That had been Ling! His words, his intonation!

But then Ling's sunny expression turned hard. Greed was back in charge. "Do hurry."

I can do this, thought Ed. He unlatched the clasp that held his coat on, and let it drop to the floor. Without looking away, he carefully pulled off his gloves and started making a pile of his clothes.

Ed had NOT used sex to manipulate Ling. Their affair was born out of attraction, respect, and sheer horniness—it had absolutely nothing to do with their mutual quest. He loved Ling. But he didn't love Greed. Hell, he'd done a lot of lousy things in the name of his goals, he could use sex as a weapon if he had to. The Sin could be a useful tool indeed, and all Ed had to do pretend to let the Sin own him. Yeah, Ed could do that.

Ling liked it when Ed made a slow show of getting undressed, it stood to reason that since Greed had so much of Ling in him, that he might like it as well. Ed stripped slowly, sensually, a playful expression on his face, and sure enough Greed responded.

Greed shrugged his shoulders and his tight black clothes melted away into his body. The Sin allowed Ed to crawl on top of him, and kiss and tease him with his mouth. "Yes just like that," the creature said. "Lower, suck me."

"Shh," said Ed glaring briefly up into Greed's eyes.

Greed chuckled. "As you wish."

But Ed did what Greed asked. He was mildly annoyed to see that Greed had made a few minor alterations to Ling's anatomy. He had no idea to what extent Greed was able to manipulate his looks, but if he could wish his clothes on and off, Ed probably shouldn't have been surprised that he could add a wholly unnecessary two inches to what had been a perfectly acceptable sized cock. Ed considered complaining, but decided he could overlook it.

He pressed his lips to the tip of Greeds cock. It still felt warm and silky, just as he remembered it being. Using his tongue and lips he pulled the foreskin away from the glans and began to lave the exposed head with broad licks. Greed groaned appreciatively. Ed slid a hand slick with his own spit down the shaft, then began to suck in earnest. He timed his hand movements to the bob of his head and hoped that after making himself larger, Greed didn't expect to be deep throated.

For a while Greed petted Ed's hair, content to let the alchemist do all the work, but after a few minutes Ed sensed the other growing restless. Ed tried to ignore it, but a minute later he felt Greed's hands tighten on his hair and pull him away. "That was quite lovely, but I'm being selfish here. I'm sure you'd rather hold this somewhere other than your mouth."

"I ... I don't have any lube, so I thought."

Greed rolled his eyes. "You are an alchemist aren't you?"

Ed sighed. "One moment."

He went to the sink and squeezed a large dollup of toothpaste into the palm of his hand. He brought his palms together and broke down the organic molecules, then rebuilt them again. The menthol would have to go—this situation was iffy enough without tempting fate with a substance that could pass through his skin. He started stringing together the carbon molecules in long chains, and allowing the extra oxygen to escape into the air. He debated momentarily about the fluoride molecules before deciding that it probably wouldn't make much of a difference one way or another. There wasn't that much of them anyway. Ditto the Sodium. Mmm, needs a bit more hydrogen. He could pull that from the wet basin and...

"You are procrastinating again, surely it's not that hard a task." Ed heard the impatience in Greed's voice.

Ed gritted his teeth momentarily, then spun around with a false smile. "Just a bit out of practice. All done!" The goo in his hands was a rather unlovely shade of opaque yellow, and there was no vouching for the flavor, but it would do.

Well he was committed now, might as well get the task done. And after all, Ling was in there, maybe even appreciating Ed's attention. Ed climbed back into bed, determined to see past the Greed façade to where his lover lay, beneath the surface.

Ed ran two fingers through the mess in his hand, then reached back to prepare himself. The rest he rubbed somewhat ungently onto Greeds still jutting cock. If Greed found Ed's automail hand too rough, he didn't complain about it. Ed closed his eyes and concentrated loosening.

Abruptly Greed's patience reached its limit. Ed felt the mattress shift and then a moment later a hand grabbed the back of his neck pushing it foreward. Here we go, thought Ed, as the Humunculus lined himself up and pressed in.

It wasn't as bad as Ed was thinking. In fact, it was rather good. Ed's body remembered what to do, and Greed seemed to remember as well. Shifting a bit on his knees Ed found the most comfortable position. Extra inches aside, it wasn't too different from how Ed remembered.

Ed ran his mind over older encounters. The first surprise hand job in the middle of the night, sex in the rain, sex on a rooftop, sex in Mustang's office when the Colonel was delayed by a meeting. Yeah, they'd had a lot of fun.

A hand slid over his stomach, down to his groin, grabbing Ed's cock in a firm grip. Ed was already most of the way hard. A few strokes brought him the rest of the way.

"That's good Ling, that's good," murmured Ed, staring through barely open eyes, at Ling's forearm and wrist. Noticing the way the long fingers curled tenderly around his own clenched fist. The mattress shifted and the springs sang with each thrust. Pressure built at the base of Ed's cock and he moved his hips, seeking to control the rhythm, speed it up. He needed it faster, and harder and deeper and....

Griting his teeth he came into the palm of Lings hand, and it was as if some stress that had been building up in the background of his mind had finally been released. He felt that warm sleepiness wash over his mind. Ed tried to relax into the mattress but Ling straightened up and grabbed both his hips and held him up. Ed didn't fight it, but vaguely hoped that he'd come pretty soon.
Then, abruptly it was over. Ling slid out and rolled off of him. Ed noticed the soft smile on his round face. When Ling opened his eyes, they were black.

"I missed you, Ling," Ed whispered.

"Of course," said Ling smugly. "I missed you, as well," and he closed his eyes. "I love you Ed."

"I'll get you back," said Ed. "I promise."

"Oh, don't worry about me," said Ling. "It will be just fine. I have everything in hand. Trust me. Now, go to sleep."

Ed closed his eyes and pressed his damp cheeks against the pillow.

"Trust me?" Yeah, I think I can do that. .

"Get away from him right NOW!"

Al's distress and anger cut through Ed's sleep like a knife. He rolled onto his back and sat up, his eyes moving around the room while his addled brain tried to figure out what the fuck was going on.

"Relax, O Armored One," purred a voice from the bed next to Ed. "I didn't hurt him. In fact he liked it. Quite a lot."

"Brother?" Al asked, incredulously. The armor didn't shift in any way. The eye holes still dully gleamed, the intimidatingly fanged metal jaw remained forever shut. And yet Ed could almost see his brother's confusion and fear. In his mind he saw Al, naked, starved, alone within the gate. With Ling's help, Al would one day soon be able to smile.

"It's all right," Ed said. "I made a deal with him. He's run away from Father, and he could be a useful ally."

Reluctantly Ed looked over at his lover. Sure enough the Sin's eyes were slit-pupiled and purple again. Greed favored Al with a sharp-toothed grin and stroked the thick black hair from his face with a hand that clearly sported the ourabaras tattoo.

"Did you and he... ?" asked Al. "No don't tell me, I don't want to know." Al's large spiked shoulders rose up and he gave every impression of sulking. "I wish you wouldn't make dangerous decisions without me, brother. That's not Ling."

Greed laughed harshly.

"No," said Ed. But it will be, soon.