Black and Blue

The fundamental problem between them, the one that surpassed all others, was that Ed liked to hire people qualified to do the shit he didn't care about, and Roy romanticized the idea of doing things himself. The only reason they had a lawn boy was because during any given week neither one of them was home enough to ensure it didn't grow beyond military regulations. Generals were given a good bit of leeway, but the last thing Roy needed was to have someone mention at a State function that his grass was too long to set in motion a long and ultimately ridiculous chain of events that left them destitute and living in the north under sixty feet of snow. Or so Ed liked to imagine.

But the lawn boy was the only concession Roy was willing to make. When things needed to be cleaned, painted, repaired or in any other manner restored, he found some strange, slacker glee in doing it himself. God forbid Ed cheat and use alchemy; the first and only time Ed tried, Roy whined like the world was ending.

So, really, it was only fair that Ed's first, instinctive reaction when Roy hit the ground after slipping off the roof was to snort and tell him, "I told you so."

Roy gasped at him in an oddly fishlike way, his hand reaching up at the elbow before dropping back down to the ground. A moment later, he sucked in a huge gasp of air and started coughing, by which time Ed's more rational part of his brain had kicked in. He knelt at Roy's side, ran his hands over the major bones and tried to determine if Roy had broken anything. If Roy was going to die from a lung punctured from a broken rib, Ed wanted to be able to have better last words.

"I'm going to go call an ambulance. Don't move." As he tried to rise, Roy reached out and grabbed his arm.

"I'm fine. You don't have to call anyone. Just give me a minute."

Ed tilted his head to the side, looking for obvious signs of a head injury. "You fell off the fucking roof. That's not something you walk off."

"I don't want to make a scene." Roy raised a hand in a half-hearted wave, and Ed turned to find half the neighborhood gathered at his back, taking in the two of them.

"Maybe one of you can go call an ambulance while I stay with him." He waved a hand at them, like he was shooing off a puppy instead of several high ranking officers. "And if you didn't want to make a scene, you should have used the ladder to get down."

"Mr. Elric?"

Ed turned, frowning at the use of his last name. "Oh, hey, Kasch. Look, I'm a little busy right now, so I don't have time to talk."

"I brought ice." The boy held up his bowl in offering, a timid smile on his face.

Ed took the bowl and the cloth with a serious nod. "Aren't you a clever boy?" Already, the side of Roy's face was beginning to swell. The lack of grass stains on his face made Ed think that maybe Roy had hit the roof on his way down.

"When I fell out of the tree, it helped."

"I bet it did." He wrapped the ice in the cloth and pressed it to the side of Roy's face. "Does anything hurt? Can you move your toes? Can we, for the love of God, hire someone to do this shit?"

At his shoulder, Kasch gasped. "You shouldn't use bad words, Mr. Elric."

Roy, Roy who had fallen off the fucking roof, had the audacity to laugh at him. "Yeah, Mr. Elric."

He'd tried, several times to get the kid to call him Ed, but something about his parents' rules kept him from every referring to him by anything other than a title. "Sometimes, when you're a grown-up, there are special occasions when bad language is appropriate."

"Like when people fall off the roof?"

"Exactly. Perfect example." He turned back to Roy, who was still grinning like an idiot. "Answer my questions. I'd like to know if I'm going to spend the rest of my life pushing you around in a wheelchair."

Roy rolled his eyes. "I'd get up and dance for you if you'd let me. It wasn't that far."

"It's a two storey house, Roy. Are you fucking out of your mind? You could have died." In the distance he could hear the sound of ambulance sirens.

"Kasch, you should probably go back to your parents now. And try to forget all the new words Mr. Elric is teaching you." The boy nodded before wandering off and Roy reached out to grasp Ed's hand. "I'm fine. It was a long fall, and I'm going to be a little bruised for a while, but I'm fine. You need to relax."

Ed closed his eyes, aware of the audience at his back and how closely they were listening to everything they said. He was tempted to ask them to pay for the show, but then he'd have to turn away from Roy. "You could have died."

"But I didn't. I'm fine and look, there's an ambulance full of people to tell you so."

How Roy could manage to charm emergency workers while injured and flat on his back, Ed wasn't quite sure, but somehow he did. Whenever Ed was hurt, no manner of words, looks or bribes could keep him from a hospital visit. But Roy, apparently, could fall off the roof of their house and not require anything more than an admonition to be more careful in the future.

Ed helped Roy to his feet and watched as Roy then proceeded to thank everyone personally who came to gawk at them like it was some fucking state function and he'd just given a speech instead of almost getting himself killed. The crowd dispersed and Roy walked back to the house, where he finally collapsed on their couch, letting the pain show for the first time.

"If that doesn't make me Fuhrer, I don't know what will."

"You're an idiot. Do you really think you wouldn't make it to the top because you let the ambulance workers take you to the hospital after you fell off the roof?"

"Bad enough I fell off in the first place." Roy pressed the melting ice against his face and turned pouting eyes on Ed. "You never know what's going to tip you in or out of favor with these kinds of people."

"Oh, fuck no. You want to be the Fuhrer so bad you won't go to the fucking hospital, I'm not playing nursemaid to your every whim. You want sympathy? Go to the hospital. Otherwise, get over it." It took every ounce of willpower to walk out of the room. Ed knew than in an hour or two, he'd give in to Roy's pleas for assistance, but right now, he had a point to make and Roy could deal.