The dark haired man leaned back in his seat, rubbing his eyes wearily with one gloved hand before dropping it back on the shoulder of the half-grown boy in his lap. The golden braid gleamed resplendently against the dark blue of the military uniform, and the loose sheaves of the boy’s bangs covered most of his face; the man pushed them back with a gentle touch, though even this was enough to cause a worried crease form on the sleeping face.
There weren’t many times that Ed allowed himself vulnerability, the man thought, stroking the black shirt smooth over the sleeper’s shoulder. Falling asleep here, now – He trusted this man, though sometimes he did not show it, or else expressed it in code. Ed sighed heavily and nuzzled his face against the legs he rested on; a faint blush crept across the older man’s face. He thought it a good thing that Ed would never see the expression that he must be wearing then. He’d never let his guard down enough to repeat this if he knew what thoughts ran the mind of the dark haired man, and truth be told, the man was a bit surprised that he would even permit this once.
Ed stirred again, and the man’s hand returned to his gold hair, pulling strands of it around his slender fingers. It was so bright – like spun gold, like the light of the sun. The man paused, pondering. Alchemists were forbidden to transmute physical gold, and there were few that completely understood the more esoteric meanings of gold and the alchemical process – but Ed knew. He understood the true definition of "gold" , and the need for the lapis philosophorum to function as a lens; human alchemy was almost impossible without one.
The dark haired man was extremely interested in human alchemy, more than the sleeping boy could have guessed. He resumed petting the head resting on his leg.
Gold was the color of the highest nobility in familial heraldry. The man wondered what Ed remembered of his father; he seemed bitter about the abandonment of his mother and angry, and the dark haired man could not blame his for that. He didn’t care for Hoenheim either, and it was easy to look at Ed and see his father – they looked eerily similar – and it was easy to judge him because of that.
Gold was considered the solar metal; it was associated with royalty, with egoism and bravery, with the sign of the Lion and its ruling planet, the sun. The dark haired man nodded to himself. It was appropriate for Ed.
It seemed, the man thought, that Ed was a lot like the sun – warm, comforting – and at a distance. It was better that way. Even at a distance the sun could burn you – but oh, he craved that light and heat! He was foolish, and he knew it, stretching his hand out for something that he couldn’t have. He lifted his arms to the sky, but he could not grasp the fiery ball. His hands could only block out the thing that he sought; his desperate reach eclipsed it, the umbra falling over him and leaving him in darkness.
Ed made a soft noise and opened his eyes – a similar golden color to his hair; a sight that made the man’s stomach roll over – then turned to look up at him calmly. "You probably want to get home," he said quietly. "It’s late."
The man shook his head, wanting to stay, then reconsidered and sighed heavily. "I should," he said reluctantly. "Will you –" No, that was a useless question: of course he’d be alright, he didn’t need him. Ed was capable of taking care of himself.
The blond boy sat up, scrubbing at the sleep-wrinkles on his face. "Yeah," he answered the unfinished question anyway. He glanced over his shoulder then at the floor as though embarrassed, then spoke: " –thanks for staying."
The man stood up, brushing his uniform neatly into place, and nodded. Nothing needed to be said in response; it was better not to. He stepped to the door, his boots silent on the carpet, and pulled it open to the night.
"Roy!" Ed called after the man, and he hid a wince at the name as he half turned, looking back into the room. "Don’t – I mean, I didn’t –" He stumbled, but the man nodded again.
"I won’t," he said, then stepped outside and pulled the door shut behind him. He took a deep breath and forced himself to walk away. It was hard.
After two blocks, he glanced around, and noting no one else out on the street this late into the night, he changed – a blue-white sparkle sweeping down his form and leaving in its wake a leaner form, clothed minimally in black. His bare skin gleamed pale in the starlight as he stretched, arching his back and raising his arms up. He stared up at the sky at the cold silver glitter of the moon, and he wondered if it knew that its shine was only reflected glory; he wondered if it knew that it shone not at all when it blocked the light of the sun.