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The Art of Camouflage


The colonel, as always, wanted to hold him close and make a teddy bear or something out of him. He was always like this, after sex, always thinking Ed was some kind of girl who wanted to be petted and cuddled.

Sex always charged him up, made him want to get up and do things. Made every muscle in his body quiver and surge and that was why he liked it so much. It got his blood pumping, but for the colonel it was something different. It made him mellow and languid, he wanted to lie tangled in the sheets, nose Ed's face and hair and say a bunch of mushy crap that Ed didn't want to hear, (or would admit to wanting to hear).

There was so much to do, besides just lie around after sex; like eat. He liked to eat after sex; anything would do. It was a good thing the colonel had an ice box where all manner of edible things could be stored. There was always some left over something just waiting for Ed's after sex eating binge. All he had to do was extract himself from the colonel-come-vice-grip, borrow the colonel's discarded shirt on the floor and the house would be his for a good half hour of so; poor colonel, so old it took him time to recover after sex.

He slid into the kitchen and bowed to no one. He looked around and planned his attack carefully. First he checked the big ceramic jar on the counter. Yes, as he suspected, it was filled with cookies. The colonel's housekeeper was sweet on him, (almost every damn woman the colonel knew was sweet on him and there were always giving him stuff, like he wasn't a man who could afford his own stuff. When Ed complained about the colonel being a constant gift-generator, the man had laughed and patted him on his head. Then he'd run down the hall from Ed and locked himself in the bathroom for a while.) so there was always little stuff like cookies, or bigger stuff like a whole cake (!) lying around.

Damn that had been good cake, Ed wished she'd make another.

After he'd left two of the cookies for the colonel, (one and a half, but it wasn't his fault it broke), he descended on the ice box to see what the colonel hadn't eaten from the night before and it was therefore forfeit. It was a rule if you didn't eat all the food you had on your plate before you were full then someone else got to eat it. He and Al knew this rule from their early childhood. That's just the way it was done.

The colonel often complained that Ed always ate his dinner, or his leftovers that were going to be his dinner, but that was just too bad, because the colonel wasn't in here guarding this plate of left over fried chicken, and seriously, that was just bad manners to have fried chicken and leave some left over to put in the ice box. Ed would never just leave fried chicken to be put away. Out of consideration for the cook he'd make sure to eat all the fried chicken. Even if it made him sick (and had in the past), because that was manners.

He just. Couldn't. Believe. The colonel was still in bed! Here he'd cracked all the bones and sucked out the marrow, and still! No colonel! What was the man doing...sleeping? He noticed a pile of mail sitting on the kitchen table and sidled over to have a look at it. That was really bad, to go through someone's mail, it was like an invasion of privacy. He thumbed through it quickly so the offense would be minor. There was one envelope with curly-q, cursivey, girly handwriting on the front and it smelled like perfume, too. Somehow that one managed to get ripped up and stuffed under the chicken bones in the bin right outside the back door. How did that happen? Who knew?

Would the man never get up? Ed hung his head back and shuffled from the kitchen into the living room. There were high bookshelves there, stuffed with books for reading. But he didn't feel like reading, gah, all he did was read. When he came over to the colonel's place he shouldn't be expect to have to entertain himself by reading. The colonel should be entertaining him. Ok, so the colonel had been entertaining him but then the colonel always just poops out afterwards, especially if Ed entertained him back. Ed shouldn't entertain him so much, it made the man mushy and then it obviously made him drowsy. Just because Ed had finally learned to use his mouth the way he was suppose to in situations like that. You'd think the colonel wanted to give him a medal.

He didn't have enough time to investigate the bar, and besides, if it came to his crystal highball glasses clanking around the man had the hearing of a bat. Still, that could get him out of bed, but oh no, that would just get him a lecture, and possibly a trip home in the car. Leave the glassware alone. He went and peeked out of the blinds. Nothing there, either. No fat neighbor sunning himself in his rickety lawn chair. No mousy single-girl from two doors down walking her rat on a leash back and forth in front the colonel's walk like elevendy-billion times, no nothing.

Fuck, was he bored.

He slunk back down the hall and peered into the bedroom. There was still a colonel shaped lump under the covers. He meandered in and stopped to inspect things on the dresser. There wasn't much. A silver tray with a brush and a comb, a little box the colonel kept all his cuff links in, the colonel's watch. Ed picked up the colonel's watch and tried it on. He tightened it as much as it would go, but it was still loose and the big face mechanism slid around his wrist so that he had to turn his wrist over to look at the time, but when he did that, it slid back the other way. After several attempts to flip his wrist fast enough to see the time, he gave up, pulled it off and set it in the silver tray.

He slowly, carefully, and after glancing at the bed several times, eased open one of the long thin drawers in the top of the dresser. In it were socks, nothing but socks. There wasn't even any lose change he could borrow lurking under the socks. And they were all black. Every last pair, and identical. There was like thirteen or fourteen pair of them. Why did he have so many socks? One drawer over was handkerchiefs and button extenders and a lone cuff link. Did it not have a mate? How sad, one lone little cuff link all alone in the drawer of the monogrammed empire. The colonel didn't embroider did he? Every fuckin' hanky in the drawer had R.M scrawled all over it in big stitched letters. Ed had once thought about embroidering after Al mentioned in on a particularly long train ride. Al had suggested they take up some sort of hobby to make all the long train rides productive. After all nixed experimenting with noxious chemicals, somehow the topic had come around to embroidery and crochet. Ed deduced that his interest at that point was probably from the lack of sleep and could be chalked up to some sort of sleep-deprived dementia. He swore Al to secrecy on the whole thing. No, no way the colonel could have done this, gah, probably just gifts. That bastard.

Ed put the single cuff link in the box with the other cuff links before moving on to the bottom drawers.

The right hand bottom drawer had house pants. Roy liked baggy, shapeless house pants. Not that Ed cared or anything, it was fine. House pants meant they were staying in and maybe playing the phonograph or cards. Sometimes it was discussion over coffee, (or screaming matches over coffee because that bastard needed to give him more money in his research budget and OH YEAH why wasn't Al getting paid, he ought to get paid, he was helping out, too! It wasn't his fault that he wasn't a state alchemist, it was the colonel's because the colonel talked him out of it, so what if he had no body and they would have gotten busted, huh, huh, HUH?) or a jigsaw puzzle or something quiet.

Quiet had it's moments, definitely, only not right now, he was so boooorrreeeddd.

The final drawer in the dressed had a robe in it that wasn't the robe that hung on the back of the bathroom door and some folded up t-shirts. They were all white, some of them had those yellow stains in the armpits. Ed was familiar with that and that is generally why he avoided anything white, especially on the road. He sweat a lot. A lot. Probably the automail, although Al was sure it was because he wore a red duster over a jacket over a shirt. But the shirt was short sleeved! It wasn't all that hot. He liked his jacket and red coat. If he wore long things he would look taller. He would. Yes, he would, shuddup, he would.

He turned and looked at the colonel still in the bed and he wandered over to the foot of it. There was a foot shaped lump there and he stared at it. His fingers twitched, causing his automail to clank a little, and the colonel made one of those sleepy mumble sort of inquiries, but he didn't sit up. The colonel's blanket had an interesting pattern, it looked like it was covered in little woven boxes. It was green, a lot of things in the colonel's room were green, supposedly to match or something. There were even green pillows in a green chair in the corner. If you sat in that chair naked you got a waffle pattern on your butt. He knew because he'd checked it out in the mirror one time after having been put in the chair with his legs over the arms. The colonel had fallen asleep after that time, too. All the colonel did after sex was sleep, why did he even bother?

He edged around to the side of the bed where the nightstand sat. On it was that fuckin' alarm clock he wasn't allowed to break, a lamp he did accidentally break once and transmuted back together and an ornate little bottle full of oil. Ed got all twitchy looking at the bottle. He wasn't sure what had been in the bottle originally, but now the bottle had a much higher purpose. When the colonel reached for the bottle, Ed would usually grab the headboard. More often than not Ed's legs were hooked over the colonel's shoulders at that point and he was already sweaty. See his jacket and coat didn't make him sweaty, he was just a natural sweater, that's what he did, he sweated.

Sometimes the colonel would wiggle the bottle at him and make his eyebrows dance. This infuriated Ed, because he didn't like to be fuckin' teased, (he screamed it at the bastard the entire time he would be rattling the headboard and it just made the bastard grin and grin. Ed wanted to shove his automail toes through the bastard's grin so when he grinned he'd have little holes in his teeth. Perfect little round holes, Ed thought that would be kinda cool, but the bastard always yelped and squirmed away. He was a pansy sometimes.) but he did like to be fingered. So he never like tried to get away or anything.

The bottle had a flip top. It always clicked with the colonel opened and closed it. The colonel would do it all snappy like, sometimes he'd click it a few times open and closed. Once Ed had been in the living room and he'd heard it clicking so he'd come to investigate and the colonel had laughed and said it was like calling a cat with a can opener. Then the colonel had managed to get around the bed and lock himself in the bathroom before Ed could get to him. He'd stayed there so long Ed finally got a cab home. That night had sucked because the colonel hadn't had any leftovers and Al wouldn't make him anything because it was 'too late to be eating'. Sometimes Al thought he was Ed's mom instead of his little brother, the hoser.

"Want me to click the lid?" a voice suddenly asked him and Ed turned and scowled down at the colonel who was looking at him; all sleepy eyed and tousled. He stretched and toed at the blanket, it slid all the way down to his stomach. The he folded his arms behind his head and lifted an eyebrow at Ed.

"No, I don't want you to 'click it'. That's all you think about, ain't it? Y'know maybe I want to come over here sometime and just do stuff and not have sex with you. Why should I have sex with you anyways? All you wanna do is cuddle on me like a girl and then sleep," Ed snorted and sat on the edge of the bed.

"I suppose we could do a few things if you like. There is the theater, the museum, the cafe with the live band...," the colonel started.

"Ick, Ick and Ick...wait, what kind of cafe? Not one of those snooty ones where they give you a piece of meat the size of a one-cen piece and a carrot and think you'll get full?" Ed asked.

"That would be the one," the colonel said, then yawned, unfolded his arms and scratched his head and sat up.

"Then no, ick, you got lousy taste," Ed said.

"Alright then I suggest, if you're going to be the event co-coordinator, you need to come up with some alternatives to us coming here, vegging out and having sex," the colonel said mildly, then smacked his lips. "You ate all the fried chicken, didn't you?"

"I think you should take me to some bars," Ed said. "I try to go in bars now, but even though I show them my watch, the fuckers won't let me in. I hear bars are were you go to hang out. I know Havoc an Breda go to a bar. Fuery has a knitting class, and I dunno, I don't think knitting is to much different from crocheting, so I ain't interested. But bars, yeah, let's do that."

"I take it since you've ignored the chicken question there isn't any left," the colonel said with a sigh.

"There's cookies," Ed said, flopping back over the colonel's legs and turning his head to look at him.

"I just don't think you and booze should become acquainted, never mind I couldn't get you into a bar Mr. Underage. Or I could, depending on who I bribed, but then it's all probably just a sting operation and it would likely be jail time for me and as much as I like feeling up your tight, young ass, I don't want to end up the girlfriend of someone named Crank or Gizzard or some other strange prison name," the colonel said, looking down at him, leaning back on his hands.

"Why you so sure you'd end up on bottom?" Ed asked.

"I could say something right now that would probably end with me locked in the bathroom all night," the colonel sighed. "Let's just say...I wouldn't have my gloves and I'm not so good at hand to hand."

"You weren't going to make some sort of asinine height joke, were you? As in, how you're tall compared to me but you aren't really that tall? Like you're pretty in a pretty to other guys in jail because you're petite or something and got girly pale skin and slanty exotic black eyes? You weren't gonna say anything like that, were you?"

"Oh fuck no, and if you think I was going to, then don't. I swear I wasn't going to. I don't want to spend the night in the tub again, it's hard and cold," the colonel placated.

"Eh, it's too much trouble," Ed grumbled, waving his hand.

"Get off my legs, I have to pee," the colonel said and when Ed grunted and rolled over, he got up and went into the bathroom. If Ed wasn't chasing him he usually didn't bother to shut the door.

"You're disgusting," Ed called after him, "I can hear you, what makes you think I wanna hear you pee?"

"Before I started commenting on peeing, I'd look to my own. As I recall I wasn't the one caught peeing on the back of the dorm building," the colonel called from the bathroom.

"OH MY FUCK," Ed said, sitting up to wave his arms. "I was just back from a billion mile train trip, I'd lost my key, I was mostly asleep on my feet, Al wasn't watching me...FUCK, will I never live it down?"

The colonel came back out of the bathroom. He was still nude. He wandered around nude, like he though Ed wanted look at his naked butt all the time,(and maybe he did, none of anyones beeswax), like he owned the place or something.

Ok, so he did.

"It's to late to go out tonight," the colonel said, looking at the clock on his bedside table. He sat down beside Ed and Ed shifted some.

"You look good in my shirt," the colonel grinned and leaned close.

"Go on, say it looks like a dress, I dare you," Ed said and the colonel halted in his leaning. "I bet I could beat you to the bathroom door from this range."

"Sex makes you hostile," the colonel said, straightening back up. "I think maybe you and I should take some sort of breather from sex. It's difficult explaining the split lips and baseball shaped bruises on my face."

Ed blinked and he blinked again. No sex for a while? Well then what the hell would he do when he came over here, then? Or maybe, that meant he wasn't suppose to come over either. But then that's just rude, that's just proving that all the colonel wanted him to do was come over and have sex. But he rather liked having sex with the colonel. If he wasn't having sex with the colonel, then who would? It's not like the colonel would stop having sex, he'd just stop having sex with him. Then he'd probably have it with a girl, some girl he knew that he could have sex with. He didn't' want the colonel to have sex with a girl because, well, the colonel could have sex with him.

"I'm not hostile," Ed said, "I'm not. I'm just not use to this and y'know if you have sex with someone else while you're not having sex with me...," but then he stopped because making a threat in the same sentence you're declaring your pacifism in is just plain wrong.

So instead, he tried: "Please don't have sex with anyone who isn't me."

And it seemed to have some strange effect on the bastard, because he looked all startled, then he looked all serious. Then he reached out and put his arm across Ed's chest and pushed him back so they were both lying on the bed. The colonel pulled on Ed's shoulder, until Ed was lying on his side facing him and the colonel was also lying on his side. He reached over and brushed Ed's bangs back, he was smiling a little and Ed wasn't sure why. He felt like he should be sensing a trap. But instead the bastard scooted closer so their stomachs were touching and Ed didn't pull away, because even if it was just coming over for sex; well, there were worse things.

He liked it that the bastard liked him.

"You know, you're right. We should go out some, not just come here and have sex all the time," the colonel said.

"I like the sex," Ed piped up, because he didn't want to take a breather. "I just...I just like you, y'know, I just like you. I'm not being mean on purpose, that's just how we are, I just like you, I don't want to not come over."

And there he went again, using Ed as a teddy bear, because he pulled him in close and stroked the back of his head and he kissed his ear and Ed squirmed, but he didn't try to get away.

"I like you, too. I'm glad you like the sex. You really have to quit sending me these mixed signals, Ed, give me a little guidance. I know you can do it, I know that this whole situation is new to you and you don't know how to handle it. But I have faith, I know you'll do fine," the colonel kissed the top of his head then.

"You're not trying to give me the sex talk or anything?" Ed asked, "Because yeah, too little, too late there bastard. Looks like you could have given me the talk before you started rubbing your uglies all over me, or rubbing my uglies for that matter. You're kinda creeping me out here with the whole 'kissy kissy' girl talk stuff and you AIN'T my dad so don't even get it anywhere in your head you wanna be, because that is just fuckin' gross. You wanna go out, we'll go out, you wanna stay in, we'll stay in, I ain't your social planner...," but then Ed got cut off with a kiss.

When the colonel pulled back Ed felt a little sweaty again and he glanced over the man's shoulder at the bottle on the nightstand. The colonel smirked and eased him up into the pillows.

"Click the lid?" the colonel asked with an insufferable grin.

"I'll let you do it like, three times without hitting you, on the fourth you're on your own," Ed sighed.

"Oh goodie," the colonel said and stretched for the nightstand.

Really, the sacrifices Ed made for the man were staggering; but after all, he was here for the sex.