It was a challenge. He excelled at challenges.

He could still see the shifting of light and dark behind his eyes, and he used it to direct him to the blue. After that, it was just a question of setting himself rock-steady, and letting his flesh hand lead the way.

His fingers brushed over stiff material, then it smoothed under his palm. Down, first, to the end of the arm and the wrist. His automail held it while his flesh hand worked nimbly at the cuff buttons. A chuckle from above him, and then it was up the arm again and onto the broad, rough, warm expanse of chest.

He had to go carefully, working from the pattern in his memory, to find every button on that chest and painstakingly undo it. A quick detour down the other arm to finish with the cuffs, and then he could slide both hands under the jacket, along the smoother, softer material of the shirt. He leaned forward, pressing his cheek and closed eyelids against the chest as he pushed the jacket back, off the shoulders and down the arms to tangle around the wrists.

Another laugh, and the man took pity on him, shoulders shrugging as he shook the jacket the rest of the way off, and then those firm arms wrapped around his shoulders, pulling him in close. "Not bad," the voice said approvingly. "But can you do the rest?"

He grinned, but kept his eyes closed. "Try me."

The shirt was slightly easier, in that all the buttons were in a straight line, but then harder in that each new button opened up a new field of warm skin under his fingertips. He switched hands; the automail was slightly less dexterous but less easily distracted, and soon the shirt went the way of the jacket.

Warm hands ran over his back, and he arched sightlessly into the tough, biting his teeth against a moan. "Stop trying to distract me," he snapped. "You're not getting out of this that easily."

"I seem to be getting out of 'it' fairly easily after all. Perhaps you should have to work for your prize."

"Fair's fair," he said crankily; capturing one of the hands, he pressed it firmly to the man's side. As if in apology for his tone, he pressed a kiss against the inside wrist of the other before following suit. He felt a shiver pass across the skin, but it was over in a moment and the man stood docile again.

Which was good because the next task would require all of his attention, as he knelt before the man. This goddamned uniform required the use of two belts, which was annoying enough under the best of circumstances.

He got the first one free, with a bit of fumbling and swearing, and yanked it loose; there was a rustle and a breeze as the expanse of cloth it had been holding fluttered to the ground. Pausing for breath, the image flashed on him unbidden of what he would see, now, if he opened his eyes and looked up. It was an Orphean temptation, but he battled it down firmly as his fingers tugged on the waistband of the uniform pants.

His hands were beginning to shake, his chest tighten, and he switched to breathing through his mouth so that the sweet smell of soap and arousal wouldn't distract him. His own clothes were beginning to feel far too constraining, but he kept at his task with single-minded patience, knowing that he had to finish with his lover's clothes before they could turn to the task of his own.

The unseen cloth parted under his hands, and his palms both metal and flesh skated over the man's hips as he reached around and tugged them down. Thank god he worse his looser than Ed's own. As he eased the pants down around muscled thighs, he pressed his cheek briefly against the pooling heat of the other man's groin, granting it a quick nuzzle and a wicked grin. He heard breath catch, somewhere above him, and hands landed on his head. At another time he might have shaken them off, but they did not guide or pressure him, merely threading through his hair and stroking carefully.

Folding neatly over onto the floor, now, he grasped one ankle and tugged it insistently out of the pants leg, directing him to step over it, then the same with the other.

"I admit I'm impressed," the voice came, sounding more than a little breathless. "It usually takes me longer to get the fastenings undone."

"Sheer talent," he informed his lover smugly, rising up onto his knees, hands skating up either side of the man's legs as he reached for the final article of clothing.

"And lots of practice."

He scowled, and nearly opened his eyes to glare before he caught himself. "What are you implying?"

An amused chuckle. "Only that you must have worked very hard to get so much fine control with your automail."

"Damn straight," he grumbled, eliciting another laugh. He put a stop to that when he reached his goal, and slid his fingers under the elactic of the man's underwear. White, he knew they'd be, and imagined a spreading wet stain in the front. It took a little maneuvering, and a couple more gasps and shudders, before he managed to slide these down too, and over the feet.

"There." Task done, he at last opened his eyes and grinned up at the man standing over him, now completely naked. "Told you I could."

"Indeed, I shouldn't have doubted you," Roy said, eyes narrowing over a warm smile. "Well. You can have your way tonight. I expect you not to be too smug about it tomorrow."

The grin widened, and he turned straightening up into a fluid tackle that knocked his lover back onto the couch they'd been standing in front of, leaving Roy's clothes in a pile on the floor. "Wouldn't want to intrude on your territory, old man," he crowed, although he had every intention of gloating for as long as he could get away with it.

"Wouldn't you?"

At least until Roy distracted him. Mmmm. Oh.

"How do you manage to win, even when you lose?" he asked sleepily, some time later.

Roy just smiled, stroking long, capable fingers through his hair. "It's a matter of choosing your battles."