Title: Embers
Fandom: Fullmetal Alchemist
Author: Batsutousai
Rating: Teen
Pairings: Edward Elric/Roy Mustang, background relationships
Warnings: Alternate Universe, soulmates, established relationship
Summary: They'd been officially dating for almost three months, and there's still so much Ed doesn't know about Roy.

Disclaim Her: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by Arakawa Hiromu and various publishers. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

A/N: I asked for prompts for 520 Day via a prompts meme on tumblr, and an anon asked for "You didn't tell me you had a dog". My muse insisted this would work best in an AU where Ed had never joined the military. I sort of wrote it as a sequel to Sparks, which is a soulmate AU fic I wrote for RoyEd Week last year, but you shouldn't need to be familiar with that fic to follow this one.

This has had the very briefest of read-throughs, but no real editing was done.

You can also read this at Archive of Our Own, tumblr, Dreamwidth, or LiveJournal.


They'd been officially dating for almost three months, and there was still so much Ed didn't know about his soulmate. Like, he knew Roy had two people he considered his best friends – Riza in his own office, and Maes in Investigations – but he didn't actually know how they'd met, or much of anything about them. Hell, he hadn't even met either of them, though he sort of chalked that up to the military's disapproval of gay relationships – soulmates or no – and Roy's particular brand of suspicious caution. (He hadn't actually met any of Roy's team, save Vato, who had sort of set them up, but since Roy didn't seem to spend time with them outside of the office, he didn't really expect to meet them.)

He'd also never seen Roy actually use his alchemy, though given how rarely Ed used his own outside of the lab or a particularly nasty fight, he couldn't really be upset about that. And it wasn't like Roy wouldn't talk about his alchemy, if Ed pushed enough, or they got onto the topic of alchemy in general and the topic meandered into Roy's particular field of expertise. (Which was larger than Ed had originally expected, given he was only known for flame alchemy, though further contemplation had reminded him that they all started with the basics, and keeping up with those basics was the smart choice.)

And, while he knew about Roy's family situation, he'd never met his aunt or any of his not-actually-cousins, which he expected was at least half an attempt to keep Ed from his aunt. (It hadn't been hard to suss that Roy enjoyed attempting to keep things from his super spy aunt.) Probably related to that, Ed had never actually seen Roy's place, though he knew where it was, thanks to a bit of research.

Meanwhile, Roy had already met the most important people in Ed's life – had met them before they'd actually started dating, even – had seen Ed perform alchemy, and had been to the flat he shared with Al and May a handful of times. (Some of those handful of times, he'd even stayed the night. Which Al had only given Ed a little bit of hell about after Roy left in the morning. As if Ed hadn't been forced to listen to his baby brother having sex for well over a year, once May had moved in with them.)

Sometimes Ed felt a little like Roy didn't actually give a fuck about him, that it had nothing at all to do with the shadows the military cast over their relationship, and everything to do with how worthless Ed was as a person. (Half a person, even.) Which he did his damnedest to keep from Al and their friends and Roy, because he knew, intellectually, that it was just his own self-deprecation talking, that Roy totally did love him and keeping his life with Ed separate from the rest of his life was meant to keep Ed safe, not hurt him. (Not unlike how Al was the only one who knew Roy was more than just a military paper-pusher; the less Ed's friends knew about his soulmate, the less likely they would get themselves stuck in some dick with a vendetta's crosshairs.)

Still, knowing such didn't stop Ed from feeling, despite his best attempts, so he'd settled on going for a walk whenever he got into such a mood, aiming for the areas of the city he knew his friends didn't frequent.

It was one such walk, when he was startled by a dog's bark, then a familiar voice calling, "Hayate," in a slightly helpless tone, right before a dog ran up to Ed and sort of jumped up, front paws resting on Ed's knees.

Ed blinked once in surprise, then let out a quiet laugh, reminded of Den, who had often greeted him in a similar manner, before her accident. (The automail front leg, while letting her walk like a normal dog, had left her with a severe balance issue, which she could manage fine on all fours, but not so much when she was just standing on two. Once Ed had his own prostheses, her falling over when she unbalanced had become a lot less funny.) "Hello, there," he murmured to the unfamiliar dog, reaching down to scratch at its ears.

He glanced up as Roy approached, taking in his helpless smile and wishing it would do more to erase the sense of being unloved that was still hanging heavily off his shoulders. "Hello, Ed," he murmured, voice low and warm in that way that he had, but he didn't reach out to brush his fingers along Ed's face, like he'd usually have done, and that...stung.

Ed swallowed and knelt before the dog, who was being far more friendly than its owner. "You didn't tell me you had a dog," he said, and the words came out harsher than he'd intended. Angry, almost.

(This was why he avoided everyone when he got into one of his moods.)

Roy was quiet for a beat too long, like he was maybe thrown off guard, a little, by Ed's tone. But then he cleared his throat and explained, "I don't. This is Black Hayate, Riza's dog."

Ed vaguely recalled Roy mentioning that Riza had a dog, but if Black Hayate was hers...?

"Riza is visiting her grandfather back east for a few days," Roy offered without prompting, likely reading what he could see of Ed's expression. "Black Hayate has a vet appointment today, so she left him with me."

"I see," Ed said, not looking up from Black Hayate, who seemed quite content to be the focus of his attention.

Roy was still for a moment, before sighing and crouching down across from Ed. He couldn't help but glance up at him, a little surprised at how out of character that seemed, and found Roy watching him in a considering way. "We were actually on our way there," he commented quietly. Gently, almost. "Did you want to join us?"

Ed blinked, not having expected that offer, given Roy usually tried so hard to keep him out of his day-to-day life. Which, thinking that just reminded him why he'd been out walking, and he closed his eyes and shook his head. "No," he said, and opened his eyes so he could catch Black Hayate's forepaws and set them back on the ground before standing.

As he made to walk around Roy and Black Hayate, though, Roy rushed to his feet and reached out like he was going to grab his arm, before stopping just shy of touching. "Ed," he whispered, something a little like hurt in his voice.

Ed managed a smile that felt bitter and kept walking, ducking his head down to watch his feet, because he didn't really care where he walked. He felt...a little bad, he supposed, about that. But, well, he really wasn't good company, clearly, and Roy's actions suggested he thought they were too exposed to chance physical contact, so–

The hurried footsteps didn't register until Roy's arms were already folding around him, warm and familiar in a way the completely snuffed that little ember of doubt. He didn't think he could have stopped himself from turning into the hug and returning it if he'd wanted to, taking a deep breath of the familiar, slightly ashy edge that always seemed to cling to his soulmate's clothing, no matter how recently he'd claimed to have washed them.

Roy seemed to be nosing at Ed's hair for a moment, not unlike a dog, Ed realised with a wash of fond humour, before he let out a quiet, slightly helpless laugh. "I suppose," he murmured against the top edge of Ed's ear, "I'll have to bring you by the madam soon, lest she attempt to kidnap you."

Ed blinked a bit disbelievingly. He knew 'the madam' was Roy's aunt, but...kidnapping?

Roy pulled back, his hands leaving Ed's back to cup his face. "Come to the vet with me?" he asked, a helpless sort of edge to his voice. "I'll take you to lunch after."

Ed took a moment to consider that. His dark mood had been sufficiently dispelled, oddly – or not; of course recognition from the source of his doubt would vanquish it – and he could never say no to spending time with his soulmate, especially if there was going to be food involved. (And he should probably be more annoyed than he was that Roy had so easily figured out he could tempt him into pretty much anything by promising food.) Huffing a bit, he decided, "Fine. But you'd best take me somewhere awesome."

"How about to Madam Christmas?" Roy countered, even as he let go of Ed's face and caught one of his hands, using it to tug him along back toward where Black Hayate seemed content to wait for them.

The name was vaguely familiar, but it took Ed a moment to place it. Once he had, he shot Roy a narrow look. "A pub, Roy?"

Roy shrugged, the turn of his smile as much helpless as it was fond. "I did mention kidnapping."

Ed rolled his eyes. "You did. But I'm not sure why."

Roy cleared his throat, a faint hint of pink that Ed rarely saw outside of the bedroom brushing across his cheeks. "I might have mentioned that I was dating someone, but forgot to mention any names or give any descriptions?"

Ed blinked, then laughed as he realised that Roy had probably seen one of his aunt's spies and expected she would find a way to force a meeting between herself and Ed if Roy didn't set something up. Especially since they'd been dating for three months. Which, well... "Al would probably do the same if you hadn't met already."

"Why is that reassuring?" Roy muttered.

Ed laughed again, feeling so much lighter.

Judging by the smile Roy flashed him, he could tell. And, judging by the way he squeezed Ed's hand and didn't let go, even after they'd made it to the veterinary office, he didn't regret giving Ed away to his aunt.

(Whether or not that would hold true once Ed was in the woman's grasp, however, only time would tell.)