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Rewind - Ch.3

Title: Rewind
Author: lilshorty7923
Rating: T
Warnings: Ed's language, kissing, drinking
Spoilers: This takes place after Brotherhood, so will have spoilers for that series
Pairings: Roy/Ed, Al/Winry
Summary: This is a kind of prequel to my story, Redo. It's a mostly non-linear collection of moments from before Redo started (from Ed and Al's original time line). Roy/Ed Al/Winry
Author's Notes: This fic can also be found on ff.net and AO3





I've gone back and changed Ed's age. He's now already 18, which I'm making the legal age in Amestris (for alcohol, to be considered an adult, etc.). I had a plan for Roy and Ed getting together on Ed's birthday, but I needed him 18 here and I like the way they get together here better.

This chapter was inspired by a conversation with amethyst_koneko on LJ (I hope you like your cameo!) and a request in a review on ff.net by bunnynohoogle.

This chapter (not including the AN) is just shy of 7,000 words! So much for this being a series of non-linear drabbles lol





This takes place the day after the last chapter.





What did it mean?

Was it just different because Roy wasn't a girl?

Was it just surprise at a new sensation?

Soft, short hair tickling as it slid through his fingers.

What had Roy thought?

Why hadn't he stuck around?

Normally smirking lips relaxed and open.

Soft as they press against his, a light pressure.

Ed glanced at the clock for what felt like the millionth time that night. 5:23 A.M. He needed to sleep. Sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep.

Go to sleep. Go to sleep.

Stop thinking.

Turn off, you stupid brain, turn off!

A firm hand skimming up his side, leaving a trail of earthquakes in its wake.

Ed groaned and rolled onto his stomach, burying his face in the pillow.

Stop it.

What if he hadn't moved away? What if that hand had been allowed to touch more?

Would he want that?

I said stop it!

Sleep, sleep, sleep.




About two hours later, Ed heard Roy walk by on his way to work. He would stop in the kitchen, Ed knew, and drink some coffee. Then he would go outside and climb into Havoc's car, and then he would go to the office where no doubt more coffee and boredom awaited. Ed knew because he was usually awake to have coffee with Roy before Havoc showed up, or Ed would go to the office with him to see everyone. Occasionally Ed slept in though. Roy would hopefully think he was sleeping today, and not hiding in his room, staring at the ceiling and avoiding thoughts about… well, everything really.

Like if Roy was well rested or if he had trouble sleeping too.

Al was still asleep. Roy had given them separate rooms, but they were right next to each other and Ed hadn't heard Al get up. Al usually slept in though, as if he were making up for all the sleep he had missed while in the armor.

Ed enjoyed sleeping in as much as the next guy, but he also liked his talks with Roy in morning.

What did that mean?

Ed did his best to ignore all thought, focusing instead on Roy's footsteps, the clink of a coffee mug on the counter, and the soft thud of a chair being pulled out.

Ed put the pillow over his head as he realized just how cowardly he was being, lying in bed and waiting for Roy to leave so that he could get up. Another thud brought to mind images of Roy drinking coffee and reading the newspaper. Another few sips and a couple of articles read would pass enough of Roy's morning so that it would be time for work.

Ed heard a knock on the wall he shared with Al. It was a habit they'd picked up while staying at Roy's. In the morning, if they were feeling too lazy to get up, or didn't hear the other in the kitchen or living room, then they would knock on the wall; a knock back let them know that their brother was awake too.

Ed tapped his fist once against the wall. He hoped Roy couldn't hear them. He hoped even more that Al didn't expect him to go to his room now, not outside the door where Roy could see. He didn't want Al to walk to his room either, it might delay Roy leaving, or even worse, let him know that Ed was awake.

As if on cue, Ed heard Roy put his cup in the sink and walk out the door. A few minutes later, Al walked into Ed's room and slid onto the bed.

Ed turned to look at him just as Al said, "Good morning."

"Hey."

Al furrowed his brow, creating wrinkles across his forehead. "You look awful."

"Oh thanks, Al," Ed grumbled before rolling onto his back.

"Well, you do… I thought you went to bed early last night, after your talk with the Brigadier General."

Ed shrugged as much as he could while lying down. "Yeah, but then I couldn't sleep. One of those nights when you can't turn your brain off, you know?"

"Were you thinking about anything specific?"

Sparks sizzling from his lips to blaze a tingling trail through every nerve in his body.

"Not really."

Silence settled over the room in contrast to the whirlwind of thoughts in Ed's mind. What if he was gay? What would Al think? Winry? Granny? Would he have to act different? Be different? He didn't feel much different, maybe more confused, but he still felt like Ed.

What did that mean?

"Do you have any plans for the day?" Al asked.

"No."

"Nothing?"

Ed turned his head to look at Al. "No, why?" Ed sat up a little so that he was leaning on one elbow. "Do you want to leave already?" Ed's chest tightened. If Al wanted to leave, then Ed couldn't argue. They didn't have a reason to stay in Central much longer anyway, not really. Maybe they should head out soon; they had countries to explore after all. The tightening increased.

"Oh, no," Al said, looking surprised. "I still have places I want to see in Central now that I have my body back. I still haven't tried that bakery you love by headquarters. I was just hoping we could go there for lunch if you didn't have anything to do. I'd love to have something else to cross off my list."

The release of tension felt incredible, like an invisible weight that had been constricting Ed's chest had broken and allowed him his first deep breath in years. He smiled at Al and said, "Let's do it!" Al smiled back as Ed lay flat again. If they didn't have a reason to stay, then why did he feel so anxious at the thought of leaving? Nothing was holding him there, nothing. Definitely not Mustang.

Would they see him since they would be so close to headquarters? Would he happen to walk by in his starched uniform, looking less ridiculous than any other soldier Ed had ever seen.

"And then after lunch we should head over to the book store."

"Sure, Al. The one down the street from the bakery? I haven't been there since we got back to Central. We can go see what new books they've—"

"No, actually umm, I was thinking the little red one."

Ed gave Al a questioning look. "But we just went there."

Al twisted the bed sheet between his fingers, his eyes focused on his hand and avoiding Ed. "Right, but maybe we missed something there."

"We already searched their whole alchemy section." Al still wasn't look at him. Ed turned to face him completely and continued, "Why do you really want to go?"

Al glanced up at Ed before focusing back on his hand. He shifted around before squaring his shoulders and looking Ed in the eye. "There was this girl—"

Ed leered. "A girl, huh?"

"Yeah, and I told her that you'd go out with her."

"What!?"

"Tonight. That theatre troupe is in town, remember? I told her you'd take her."

"Why would I do that?"

"Well, I already told her you'd go, and—"

"Al," Ed said slowly.

"I just think it would be nice if you had someone to write to while we were traveling."

"What do you mean?" Ed let out a little laugh as he rolled onto his back again. "I write to Roy all the time."

"But this is different. It's like—like—"

"Like how you'll have Winry to write to?" Ed asked with a knowing smirk.

Al blushed and punched Ed on the shoulder. "Shut up."

Ed laughed before they fell into silence again.

"You'll go, right, brother?"

"Al," Ed groaned.

Al leaned up so that Ed could see his face even though he was on his back. "Please?" he asked while doing his best puppy dog eyes. It wasn't fair, it really wasn't. Al knew that Ed would do anything for him, but that didn't mean he should take advantage of the fact that he had such a kind and devoted big brother. Ed was about to inform him of that when Al spoke again, "You said you had nothing to do today, so there's no reason you can't go, right?" Ed swallowed.

Firm skin, not soft.

Stubble under his hand.

A strong hand, larger than his, resting on his side.

"No, no reason at all."




Roy tried to focus as he filled out another form. He couldn't really remember what the paper before this one had been about, much less the one before that.

He would have liked to have seen Ed before he went to work that morning. As awkward as it might have been, it would have been nice to know where they stood. Would Ed act different around him now, or would he do his best to act like nothing had happened? Things would just get tenser the longer they waited to confront it. He didn't want to lose a good friend over something like this.

But what was this exactly? He knew he had felt something when they kissed. More than something. It had been the best kiss of his life. The most intense, the most passionate, and possible one of the shortest.

Damn Ed for running away. Was he scared because it was good? Roy hadn't been expecting the life, the need, in the kiss. Maybe Ed hadn't either, and maybe that had spooked him. Or maybe it had only been good for Roy, and Ed had run out of disgust. He thought Ed had liked it, lost himself in the moment, just like Roy had, but was his perception skewed? Had he been too wrapped up in his own feelings to accurately read Ed's last night? Was he too sleep deprived today to clearly remember Ed's reaction?

He'd been up for a while afterwards thinking through possibilities. The most likely ones included Ed wanting nothing romantic from him, either Ed hadn't felt the same or it just helped him realize he was attracted to men, but not Roy specifically. Then again maybe his thoughts from last night were making him doubt himself.

Besides, what did he want from Ed? A relationship? Edward was a child-except not anymore really; he was 18 now. Roy wasn't used to being unsure, and he hated the feeling. He was the type of person that planned, that had move after move prepared for the battlefield, be it political, social, or actual war ground. But it had always been difficult to plan around someone as unpredictable as Ed. He had been good at maneuvering him around as a child, but it had gotten more and more challenging as Ed had grown. Thankfully Ed hadn't realized that yet, hadn't realized that Roy didn't actually know his every move before he made it or how he would react in any situation. Time and time again Ed had surprised Roy; not blowing up any buildings, blowing up too many buildings, finding Marco, letting him go, defeating Father, saving Al by giving up something Roy couldn't even fathom as an option yet Ed had thought of and given up, without hesitation, after only considering the problem for a few minutes. How was Roy supposed to calculate the moves in a chess match when he didn't even know what movements his opponent's pieces could make?

"Sir?"

Roy shifted his attention back to his office. In front of him was a document he couldn't remember signing. Raising his gaze he saw Lieutenant Colonel Havoc standing at attention in front of his desk.

"At ease."

Havoc relaxed before saying, "Sir, Colonel Hawkeye requested that I, 'Take the Brigadier General home and help him resolve his distractions before he accidentally signs a petition to go to war.'" Havoc smirked around his cigarette.

Roy looked down at the paper in front of him. It was a routine form, nothing war related. That was good.

"You're no use to us, or the country, as you are." Havoc continued. Then he raised his hands in surrender at Roy's harsh glare. "Her words, not mine, Chief."

Why did she always have to call him useless? Roy deflated in his seat. "She's so harsh," he mumbled.

Havoc chuckled, grabbed Roy's coat, and held it out to him. "Come on."

Roy followed him, but they didn't speak until they were securely in the car and on the road. "What's going on, Chief?" Havoc asked.

Roy sighed, debating. This wasn't just his problem, it was Ed's too, but Havoc was trustworthy and a good friend of Ed's as well. He was one of the few people who knew Roy's sexual preference, and he never judged. His only complaint was that women kept leaving him for Roy, who didn't want them and wasn't even trying. Well, sometimes Roy did try to steal them, but only when they weren't good enough for his Lieutenant Colonel, he was annoyed with Jean, or he just really needed a laugh. There weren't many people Roy could go to, and he needed advice on this one.

"I kissed Edward," Roy said, straight to the point. The drive wasn't long enough for him to beat around the bush.

Havoc's head whipped around to face Roy. By the time he looked back at the road he had to slam on the brakes to just barely manage to stop at a stop sign. Roy straightened from where he had lurched forward and glared. He wondered how Havoc's cigarette hadn't fallen from his mouth yet, between the whiplash and Havoc's gaping.

"Elric?!" Havoc squawked.

No, one of the other dozen incredibly attractive Edwards we know that I interact with regularly, Roy thought. He turned back to the road, hoping that Havoc would take the hint and do the same. "Actually, he kissed me, I suppose," Roy added smoothly.

Havoc shook his head, and started driving again. "The boss, who'd have known?"

"He certainly didn't," Roy said. "Still doesn't, I don't think."

"How do you mean?"

"He's confused, doesn't know what he wants. He kissed me as an experiment." Roy chuckled darkly. "Then the brat ran away without saying anything."

Havoc glanced at him from the corner of his eye. "Sorry, Chief."

Roy shrugged. "I guess it's better he figure this out using me instead of some stranger. Poor kid doesn't have a clue—"

"The boss isn't a kid anymore. Eighteen, right? Legally he's an adult, and he finally looks like he grew into one," Havoc said, and Roy smirked. "Besides, he hasn't been a kid in years if you ask me," he finished, somber.

"You think?" Roy asked while looking out the passenger window.

A snort. "I know. Think about it, all they've been through, all the secrets they've had to keep. The boss got pretty good at it. Much better than some kid."

"Hmm." Roy watched as the scenery in the window changed to that of his street. "Thank you, Lieutenant Colonel."

"Just reminding you of the facts, Chief."




This was possibly the most awkward date Ed had ever been on. He was distracted, his date, Jill, was distracted, and it wasn't over even though the show had ended. Ed had promised Al that he would take her out for drinks afterwards. They needed to talk about the show and discover everything they had in common because, apparently, Al could tell just from meeting her once that she would get along amazingly well with his brother. At least the buzz Ed had going helped.

They were sitting in a booth in a bar, and they were in the perfect spot for Ed to be able to see out a window and pretend he was outside going somewhere else. But where would he go? Roy's? That was the one good thing about this never ending date, it helped him put off going to Roy's where he'd either have to sneak around or be put in a situation more awkward than any that had occurred on his date.

"Sorry that I'm such bad company tonight," Jill said, breaking Ed from his thoughts. He turned to her. She was pretty, brown curly hair and a cute stretch of freckles on her nose, but Ed appreciated her beauty in the same detached sort of way that he did every other girl's.

"No, you've been fine," he said because he promised Al he would be nice.

"Ugh, don't lie to me," she groaned, and slumped in her seat. This was the most animated Ed had seen her yet, and he couldn't help but blink in surprise. "I've been awful," she continued, "I'm in a bad mood, and I've been taking it out on you. I told Alphonse not to plan this; I knew this would happen."

"You didn't want to go either?"

"No." She sighed. "I'm sorry," she said with a wince. "It's just—I mean it wasn't exactly a break up, but…"

"You're getting over someone, and it's too soon?"

"I wish. No, my reason is so lame, but I'm not getting over someone, I'm pining after someone."

"What?" Ed asked. This girl had just gone from boring to confusing as hell in two seconds flat.

She leaned forward on her elbows on the table, making motions with her hands as she spoke. "You see, he just got together with someone. I knew there was no chance he'd be with me, but there was hope when he was single, and now he's with her and there is absolutely no chance. I still can't help but like him though." She sighed again as she dropped her arms onto the table. "Why didn't you want to come then? Are you pining too? Maybe we can be losers together."

Ed's eye caught on a black haired, male soldier that walked by the window, but the shoulders were too narrow.

"I am not pining," Ed snapped.

Jill raised an eyebrow. "That seemed a little defensive, Edward, are you perhaps lying?"

"No," he said with a glare.

"Really, there is no one at all? You've been distracted too. You weren't thinking about anyone else while we were out?"

He turned his face away from her, and then glanced back before he answered, "It's not like that."

"Ohhhhh, so there is a someone," she cooed.

Ed slumped down in his seat and glared some more. "Not a someone like you're thinking of."

"Right, because you're not pining."

"Right."

"Well, we can test that. Easy," she said, perking up in her seat. Ed eyed her mischievous smile apprehensively. "Okay, so this someone, who is not a someone, do you think about her before you go to sleep?"

Even before last night that was true, but only because he tended to read Roy's letters in the evening. Of course his thoughts drifted to Roy when he had just spent an hour reading and writing about him. Ed shrugged, "Sometimes."

"Do you ever lose sleep because you were thinking about her?"

Last night was a fluke, Ed told himself. "It was just the once," he said out loud, and tried hard not to remember the nights he would get up from bed because he had to write down a theory he wanted to share with Roy, or the nights his brain kept thinking about his next move in the long distance chess match Roy and he had played while he was in Resembool, or the nights he felt too restless because Resembool at night was just too quiet so he lay thinking of Central, and of course Roy would be there, with or without his team, because how could you picture Central without soldiers.

"Do you get excited to see her, even if you aren't going to do anything especially fun or exciting, do you look forward to seeing her?"

He had only been so fidgety on the train to Central because he hadn't traveled in so long. It had nothing to do with Roy waiting at the train station. You're looking forward to seeing him now, even though you know it will be awkward, even though you're dreading it, you still want to see him. Ed shook his head to get rid of the voice in his mind.

"Imagine that she's touching your arm, how does it feel? Tingles in your arm, butterflies in your stomach?"

Ed could clearly imagine Roy's hand on him, as warm as last night, trailing up his arm. He shivered.

"Now imagine her by other guys, laughing and flirting," Jill said, her face twisted with disgust.

His chest tightened like it did this morning, only this time something else was compressing it, something like anger and hurt mixed together and squeezing the air out of his lungs.

"Now the big one: can you imagine you with anyone else?"

He had already decided that he couldn't see himself with Jill, and none of the other girls he had dated had worked either. But the experiment wasn't to see if he liked Roy, it was to see if he liked men. So even if it meant he was gay, even if the sparks meant that he would only ever feel that way while kissing men, it didn't mean that he waspining for Roy Mustang of all people.

Ed looked out the window again at a man buying something across the street. He was probably only a few years older than Ed, with light colored hair falling down past his ears in small waves, slim but fit, good looking. Ed tried to imagine touching his face the way he had Roy's, but it felt wrong. He imagined the man grabbing his side, but it just made him uncomfortable. He couldn't imagine the man having anything as interesting to say as his alchemic debates with Roy.

Ed slumped back in his chair, wide eyed. "How the hell did that happen?" he whispered.

Jill leaned back too, her good mood mostly gone. "These things just do."

Ed sighed. "Well, what do you do next? Once you've realized…" He wasn't going to say it. He might have feelings for Roy, but he had them in a much manlier way thanpining.

"Well, there are two choices from what I understand. You can, A, say nothing, act normal, and pretend to be happy once they find someone else. This is what I've chosen to do. It's miserable. I don't recommend it. Or you can, B, tell them how you feel and hope that they return your feelings. This option is more risky, you're in danger from laugher, pity, and/or ruined friendship, but the rewards are better because you could potentially get a kiss."

"What if I've already kissed… her? Could I skip that step?"

Jill blinked. "You've already kissed?"

Ed rubbed the back of his neck. "Well, yeah. Then… ughh. Then I sort of freaked out and ran away." He buried his face in his hands. "I've ruined everything, haven't I?" Ed groaned.

"Probably, but now you've got my help so we'll see if we can fix this." She stood up. "This much stupidity calls for more alcohol. I'll get us more drinks while you start thinking of apologies," she said before walking away.

What had he done? How could Roy take him seriously after this? Would he have taken him seriously to begin with? Ed was 14 years younger, he was annoying, and bratty, and part metal. They argued all the time, he was obsessed with alchemy and his little brother, and he was about to leave the country. Roy was handsome, and successful, and yeah he was a bastard, but he was usually a well-intentioned bastard.

Two shots and two beers clinked down in front of him. He looked up as Jill sat down across from him. She moved one if the shot glasses in front of him and took the other. "One," she said with a smile. "Two." Ed hurried to grab his own. "Three." They downed their shots together before slamming them back down. "Now," Jill said as they stared drinking their beers, "What do you think she'll say when you confess you're feelings?"

Ed tried to imagine confessing to Roy. It was overly dramatic in his mind, with flowers and candles and a grandiose speech. Ed's nose crinkled. Ugh that sounded awful, and Mustang would probably just laugh.

"Do I have to confess? Couldn't I just propose that we go on a date? See how that works? Like an experiment to see if two elements combine or react well together?" That could work. Ed could pitch it as the next logical step from their last experiment.

"What?" Jill asked. She was giving him a look of complete disbelief. What? He hadn't said anything wrong. "No," she continued. "You can't just ask her out. You have to apologize and give her a reason to go out with you. You've screwed up, Elric, and you have to make up for it," she said, matter of fact. "So what would she say?"

Stop calling me she, probably. Ed had to fight back a grin when he thought of what Roy's reaction to being mistaken for a girl would be.

"Well... She would list all the reasons we shouldn't be together."

"Are there a lot?" Jill asked.

"Yeah, well-"

"That'll just make it more interesting. Edward Elric, the Fullmetal Alchemist, thrives for a challenge, right?"

Ed laughed. He took another gulp of his drink. "Right! I haven't had a decent challenge in awhile, let's do this!"

"Great! So why doesn't she think you should be together?" She asked, just as enthusiastic as him.

"The age difference," Ed said as a waitress replaced his now empty mug with a full one. "She won't let me forget she's older. It's so annoying."

"How much older is she?" Jill asked. Her voice was slurring a bit.

"Fourteen years," Ed said, and Jill whistled. "I know, I know," he continued. "But I've been an adult since I was twelve, right? Probably before that considering," he said emphatically.

"Considering?" she asked, confused.

"Considering stuff," Ed said, shaking his head. He took another drink. "But that's a stupid reason when you think about it. Our ages have never affected our friendship, and I'm smart enough for like five eighteen year olds, which makes me the older one, which anyone would see if they looked at how immature she is, she's just a giant fucking kid, and—and when she's one hundred, I'll be like eighty-six, or one hundred and fifty eight because being five eighteen year olds makes me ninety… Where was I going with this?"

Jill giggled. "I think—I think it was that age is just a number."

"It is! And I'm good with numbers. I got this!"

"Okay, so why else are you—should you… why else should you be not together?" Jill asked.

"Becauuuusssseee," Ed drug out the word, thinking. "Because we used to work together? But that's a stupid reason too because we don't work together now, bastard. So, it's because of the friendship variable." Ed nodded to himself. "Yeah, I forgot to factor in the friendship variable."

"Do you want to risk your friendship? I don't. And that's why I chose A," she said while putting another empty mug down.

"No, I like our friendship," Ed said. He folded his arms on the table and rested his chin on them. He and Roy had a great friendship, and it had taken so long to build. Could he really throw that away because one kiss felt great? But then again Roy was hot. He was fantastically, fucking hot. And smart, he was so freaking clever, the stupid, annoying bastard. And what if a little risk let Ed feel those sparks again? Roy's hand? His lips? Ed licked his lips, his mouth suddenly dry. When had Ed ever shied away from a risk?

"What if?" Ed began. "What if it wasn't a risk? We are awesome together. We are like kick-ass, bad-ass, fucking awesome friends. Why wouldn't we be even more awesomer as more than friends?" Jill nodded. "I choose B!" Ed declared while straightening in his seat. "I'm going to tell the bastard that B is for best."

"No, no, no, no," Jill slurred. "You have to use her name. No bastard."

"What? No! What?"

"She'll never date you if you call her that."

"But I always call her that," Ed whined. "It's a thing. A thing that I do. A thing thing that needs to be done. She's such a bastard."

Jill reached over and slapped his elbow, even though it took her a couple of tries to make more contact then just grazing him. "No. Her name."

Ed groaned again. That wasn't fair. But he'd already messed up so much maybe he should use her name. His name. Damn, he really had to be nice now because he probably had to make up for that slip too. Roy was going to kill him.

"Fine, fine, I'll use the stupid name," Ed grumbled, "And I'll tell her that I can't get her out of my head, and it's a constant distraction. It's awful, I hate it, and—"

"No, no," Jill interrupted, gesturing with her hand and almost knocking down one of the many cups around them. "Tell her, tell her… Her beauty drives you to the point of distraction, and that your thoughts are overrun by her because nothing could ever measure up to perfection, and therefore, nothing could outweigh her in your mind, and that you long for her every second that you're apart, and—"

"Fuck, how many times have you imagined him saying this in your head?" Ed stared at her incredulously.

Jill blushed and looked away. She mumbled something, and then glared at Ed. "That doesn't matter! You're trying to chicken out! You're—"

"Am not! I'll confess the hell out of the bastard any day!"

"Use her name!" Jill yelled.

"Damnit!"




Roy came home to find his house one Elric short. And of course, it was the short one that was missing. Roy smirked to himself as he sat down next to Al, who was reading a book on the couch in the living room.

"Where's Edward?" Roy asked.

The mischievous smile that grew on Al's face could have rivaled his brother's easily. "It was amazing, sir. I found this girl at the bookstore that would be perfect for brother. She's cute, smart, funny, loves books, she only knows a little alchemy but I figured that was okay," Al said quickly, the words tumbling over themselves.

"Whoa, slow down, Al," Roy said with a chuckle. "What's this?"

"I set brother up on a date. Jill is perfect for him. I didn't get to talk to her for too long, but I saw hints of an attitude as big as brothers, and she's a real bibliophile, and she's really pretty. Isn't this great?"

"You set your brother up?"

"Yeah," Al said while nodding. "Is something wrong, sir? You look pale."

Roy forced out another laugh. "I'm just imagining your brother's attitude doubled." He pretended to shiver, and Al laughed.

Ed was out on a date? With a girl? Maybe he had felt nothing from the kiss.

Roy stood before he fully realized that he needed to leave the room. Alphonse looked up at him curiously, so he smiled and said, "I have some work to do, but I hope your plan works out well. You'll have to tell me how it went once your brother gets home."

"Okay!" Al said with a smile. "I'm sure it'll go better than brother expected anyway. He didn't want to go at all."

"No?"

"No, but then he said there wasn't a reason not to and agreed."

Roy nodded, unable to get words through his clenched jaw. He gave a little wave, and then rushed upstairs to his study, closing the door behind him.

There wasn't a reason? There wasn't a reason? Did Roy mean nothing? Just a tool to use, and test, and measure with?

He snapped his fingers and flames soared to the fireplace. They blazed up far higher than necessary, but Roy didn't care. He snapped again, and the flames roared once more before calming. He paced the length of the room, the heat of the fire hitting each of his sides in turn.

Who needs the brat anyway? He could go have attitude children with the pretty bookworm for all Roy cared. He was fine before he thought of Ed as anything more than a friend; he'd be fine without ever thinking of him that way again. He'd be fine—

Alone.

Alone all over again, the way he had been for years.

Roy growled. He didn't need Ed, or anyone. He didn't need some bratty teenager.

Even if the brat did have soft blond hair, and chiseled abs. Even if he was the most interesting, and intelligent, person Roy had ever met. Even if he had a moral compass and steadfast determination that Roy could only wish for a fraction of.

Roy sat down with a groan, and put his elbow on his knees and head in his hands. Even when Ed was messing up he did it well. The way Ed had talked about his sexuality and his proposed kiss in the terms of a science experiment? It was so Ed. When in doubt, go to science. Science was comfortable, familiar, safe; it distanced him from the situation, and helped him regain some control. Roy had seen that. He had known what Ed was doing. But it was so… cute. Ed would punch him for using that term, Roy was sure, but Ed had been endearing even as he had alienated, teased, and hurt Roy.

Then he had chosen to date a girl. Maybe he wasn't gay. Maybe Roy was wrong. Maybe Ed wanted to live years, or the rest of his life, in denial. Fine. Roy had gone through denial. He couldn't blame Ed if this was the result of their 'experiment.'

Except that he did. He blamed Ed because this hurt.




A while later the slam of the front door dragged Roy from his thoughts. He heard shuffling, and banging around. What the hell is Ed doing? There was no doubt that the noise was Ed coming home, but he wasn't usually this loud.

The noise came closer to the stairs, and the bangs increased as he went up. Did he fall? Roy walked over and leaned back against his desk, facing the door with a raised eyebrow. There was no reason Ed would go upstairs except to see Roy; the only rooms on the second floor were his room and the study.

The footsteps stopped outside the door, just as he thought they would. He was surprised though; he expected Ed to spend a few more days avoiding him. The doorknob rattled, and he'd swear that bang was Ed walking into the door. After another minute that failed to produce an open door, but succeeded in making Edward curse, Roy walked over and turned the handle himself. The door flew open and Ed tumbled through into Roy's arms. He smelled like a bar.

Roy held him at arms length, and Ed's hand lingered on Roy's stomach, feather light in a way that almost tickled. Ed's stared at where his hand was touching as if transfixed, even if his eyes were a little unfocused. He licked his lips before looking up at Roy and dropping his hand.

"Are you drunk?" Roy asked.

"No," Ed snapped as he tried to step out of Roy's reach. He stumbled, and Roy caught him again. "Maybe a little," Ed mumbled. Roy sighed and sat them both down on the couch. Ed grabbed Roy's arms and did what seemed like his best to focus on Roy's face. "I have something to tell you," Ed said very seriously.

"I'm sure it can wait until morning, Edward. I'll have Alphonse bring you up some coffee." Roy didn't need to deal with an inebriated teen trying to let him down easy; he was going to bed. Edward could explain himself to his brother.

But when Roy moved to stand, Ed wouldn't let go. He pulled Roy back down and said, "No, no, it's important."

Roy sighed and sat more comfortably. He gave Ed an expectant look. "Well?"

Ed's face contorted into a less focused version of the expression he used when picking apart an array, like he was trying to remember something. "You're Roy," he said. It sounded like it took a lot of concentration, but Roy didn't think the revelation was worth it.

"Believe it or not, I am in fact aware of my own name."

"No," Ed looked annoyed now. "You're Roy," he said and touched Roy's chest again. "And you're beautiful." Roy froze. What the hell? "Ughh," Ed groaned, frustrated. "No. What I mean is, you're hot in my head. No—argh—your hot and you're in my head. You won't get out. It's just," Ed moved his hand from Roy's chest to tap his own temple. "I can't think about anything but you, bastard. Except no, you're Roy, not bastard. Roy, Roy, Roy." Ed had Roy's complete and undivided attention now. Even if all he wanted to say was Roy's name for the rest of the night, he would stay and listen. Ed moved his hands onto Roy's arms. "Roy, Roy. You're distraction and, and… I don't care that you're old, and we don't even work together anymore, and I'm ninety, so I'm like older than you, you know?" Roy really didn't know. Ed continued, "And we should take the risk because the friendship varied—variably—variable will just multi—multiply with the awesome factor, because we're always so awesome, right? You know? And then it'll be even more awesome. Except not because it's not like an experiment. It's us." Ed moved one hand back and forth between the two of them, and then rested a hand on each of their chests. "It's just us, you know? I think we could work. You think?"

"I think you need to rest for a bit."

Ed shook his head wildly before grabbing onto Roy's chest to balance himself. Once he realized where his hands were he tugged Roy down, and kissed him. On the cheek because he completely missed Roy's mouth. Roy shoved him away, but he held on to Roy's shirt to stay close. Ed placed his hands on Roy's cheeks, and stared intently at Roy's mouth.

"Edward, stop. You're under the influence. We can talk in the morning when you're in your right mind."

Ed's eyes found his. "I've never felt so right about anything in my whole life," Ed said with surprising clarity. "You're perfect, and I'm happy you're not a girl." He leaned forward and managed to find Roy's lips with his own this time. The kiss was sloppy, and reeked of beer, but still immediately set Roy's body on fire. He cupped Ed's cheek with one hand and wrapped his other arm around Ed's back. Ed moaned, and leaned forward, into Roy, but lost his balance and fell. As their lips broke apart, Ed's weight pushed Roy back so that he was lying down on the couch cushions. Ed lay on top of him, with no space left in between. Ed moaned as he slid his body further up Roy and kissed his neck. Roy gasped as Ed trailed his tongue under the collar of his shirt and bit down.

Ed kissed his way up Roy's neck, nibbled at his jaw, and then slid his way back to Roy's lips. Roy tangled his hand in the hair at the base of Ed's ponytail as he pulled their mouths closer together. It was his turn to moan as Ed slid his leg between Roy's on accident. He wrapped his arm around Ed's back again to pull him closer. So close, so warm. The end of Ed's ponytail fell to tickle Roy's ear in the most delicious way. Ed's hand bunched his shirt up on one side. The heat from Ed's body filled his entire perception. There was nothing outside of them.

He heard a choking noise, and thought it might be Ed. He was drunk. Roy should have remembered that. He should have stopped them sooner. Was Ed going to be sick? But as Roy tried to push Edward off, he realized that Ed hadn't slowed in the slightest. He hadn't even noticed the noise, much less made it.

Roy shoved Ed back so that he was sitting, and leaned up on his elbows to look around. Alphonse was frozen in the doorway.

Al blushed and said, "So, I take it the date didn't go well?" which just made him blush more. "Right, ummm I'll leave you to… yeah, right." He ran from the room.

Ed was up and calling his brother's name as quickly as he could untangle his legs from Roy's. He didn't make it one step before falling flat on his face. Roy sat up, but Ed didn't move. Then a snore tore through the room.

Roy ran a hand down his face. Why did he ever think inviting the Elric brothers to live with him was a good idea?

As he knelt down by Ed, he couldn't help but think that for all the Ed sized trouble he had had today, it had had some unexpectedly good parts.




I'm thinking about changing the rating (of both fics probably). I've never written anything even resembling smut before, so I'm not sure. I think I'm doing okay with the T rated scenes, and would be willing to go further… What do you guys think? Opinions?

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