Disclaimer"I don't own them and I don't make any money off of this.
Warning:Male/male sex, graphic, language, violence, angst, attempted NCS.
Full Metal Alchemist
Roy x Ed
Ring of Fire
He was a dog on a leash and Roy Mustang had a firm grip on it. Edward Elric clenched his hands into fists, his back stiff and his shoulders hunched, as he stalked from Mustang's office. The sunlight was too bright, the trees too green, and the birds too cheerful. Everything should have been as dark and as cold as he felt.
"Brother?" Al had been waiting patiently on the marble steps outside of headquarters. He rose, his large, metal frame towering over his smaller brother "He's made you angry again."
Edward kept walking and Al followed a step behind. People looked at them curiously as they passed, all of them aware of who they were and the whispered rumors that shadowed them. Edward hunched into his collar, pretending not to see them. "Mustang denied my request to go to Creta," Edward explained angrily,."He said that it's too dangerous and that I'm too valuable. I reminded him that he had agreed that I would be allowed to pursue the Philosopher's stone when I wasn't under orders, and that he was breaking that promise."
"That's true," Al agreed anxiously. "What did he say?"
"He gave me orders," Edward snarled back, blonde braid snapping in an arc as he turned to Al abruptly. "I'm to investigate several murders." His gold eyes were full of fire as he shouted, "I can't let him do this to us! If we have to leave against orders, we will."
"Brother," Al warned in a worried tone. "He's a powerful man."
"So am I!" Edward retorted, drawing himself up to his full height. He jabbed a thumb at his chest and said, "He doesn't own me!"
It sounded confident, and Edward hoped that Al was fooled. Inside, he was far from sure what to do about Mustang's sudden concern for his safety, and his new resolve to keep Edward from investigating leads to the philosopher's stone. The military was everywhere and Edward had seen it demonstrate, on more than one occasion, it's ability to find a man anywhere and destroy him. A young, blonde haired man, and a very tall suit of armor, had very little chance of traveling unremarked or escaping the long arm of their military might.
There had to be a way of slipping Mustang's leash, though, some way to pursue the rumors in Creta of miraculous resurrections and healing, something only the philosopher's stone was capable of. Roy Mustang was an important man with ambition, but there were other men who were his superiors. If Edward could convince one of them that his trip was necessary, they might countermand Mustang's orders.
"I need to know what is going on in Creta," Edward told Al as they turned towards the communal dinning hall. "There must be a good reason for a State Alchemist to visit there." Investigating resurrections and healings were both very good reasons, but Mustang had chosen to ignore them. Perhaps someone else wouldn't. What better weapon could there be for an army than the ability to raise the dead and heal without equivalent trade?
"I've heard that there is trouble in Creta," Al told him as Edward as they entered the dinning hall. "Mustang may be right, brother. We can look elsewhere and go there when it's safer."
Edward glared hotly at his brother. He was served food by an attendant and then he took his tray to a table and sat down. Al had trouble sitting, but he managed it, the weight of his large frame straining the wood of the bench seat.
"If we wait," Edward pointed out as he stabbed a fork into his food, "The philosopher's stone might be claimed by someone else." He narrowed his eyes as a thought came to him. "It's possible that Mustang will do that very thing and that he wants us out of his way." He dropped his fork with a clatter as the suspicion bloomed.
"If that's so, brother, "Al asked tentatively, "then why hasn't he kept us from searching for it before now?"
Edward scowled. "They were all false leads. Mustang might believe that this rumor is true."
Al sounded distressed as he wondered, "If he finds it, do you think that he will use it to help us?"
"He's not Fuhrer... yet," Edward reminded him. "I don't think his superiors would let him keep it for his own use and I can't believe that he would use it to help us even if he could."
"You are angry at him, brother," Al sighed, "but I don't think that he is a bad man."
"He has ambition, Al, " Edward grumbled as he picked up his fork again. "That has made many good men bad."
Al was silent, disagreeing probably, Edward thought, but then he always did have more trust in the goodness of people than was wise. Believing that Roy Mustang was a good man, though, was going too far. Edward thoroughly believed that Mustang would use them both, in whatever way was necessary, to further his ambition to be Fuhrer. That was why it was very easy to believe that he was after the philosopher's stone for himself. Having a power such as that one would make him invincible.
"The great Full Metal Alchemist is troubled?" a smooth voice asked.
Edward looked up, startled, and saw a man settle on the bench across from him. He was tall and slim, dark hair greased down and back so that not a hair was out of place. His face was high boned and aristocratic and his uniform was high ranking, not as high as Mustang, but close enough to make Edward instantly wary. Politics in the military was best avoided and Edward had kept to himself, avoiding anyone trying to draw him into a faction. They tended to step in whenever they saw a rift and he supposed his loud fight with Mustang counted as one.
Edward tried to remain respectful, but didn't do very well. He hunched over his food tray and stared down at it, keeping his hot, gold eyes lowered."No."
"Good," the man said . "You're wary, not the child I expected."
Edward bristled. "I am not a child!"
"Yet Mustang calls you one and treats you accordingly," the man pointed out. "That must wound your pride."
"It doesn't matter to me what he thinks," Edward shot back.
"No, but his actions and orders do matter, am I correct?" The man leaned forward steepling long fingers together on the table top.
"First Lt. Andrews," the man told him. "Lt. Colonel Thompson is my superior."
Who was Mustang's bitter rival, Edward recalled, or at least one of them. The man had made many enemies in his climb to the position he held now.
"Lt. Colonel Thompson is interested in speaking with you, Edward Elric," Andrews told him. There was an eager glitter in his dark eyes as he looked about them. It was early yet and many of the benches were empty, giving them some privacy. Andrews still leaned in closer as he whispered, "If you want to pursue your quest for the stone, and get rid of a superior who stands in your way, there are men standing ready to help you. You would be surprised how many men share your distaste for Lt. Colonel Mustang."
Edward replied in a clipped tone, "No, I'm not surprised at all."
"Brother?" Al whispered, worried.
Maybe it was time to listen? Mustang had gone too far this time, Edward thought, had pulled his leash too tight and expected him to heel. It wouldn't do any harm to hear what Lt. Colonel Thompson had to say.
"I won't kill," Edward ground out as he shoved his tray of food aside.
The man smiled and it was like oil on water, slick and slippery. "No, nothing so drastic. Come with me and allow the Lt. Colonel to speak with you. He will tell you everything."
Edward clenched his hands. "You aren't afraid that I'll go to Mustang and tell him about this?"
The man cocked his head slightly and he arched an eyebrow as he stood up. "No," he replied. "I'm not."
Edward left his meal and Al behind and followed Andrews. He felt naked without Al's comforting shadow, but he couldn't help being protective towards his little brother. He sensed trouble and he wasn't going to bring Al, when it wasn't necessary.
Edward wasn't surprised when Andrews led him far into an old section of the complex. What they were doing needed shadows and secrecy, he was sure, and frowned darkly. He was half certain that this Thompson was going to ask him to kill Mustang, despite what the First Lt. had said. Edward was ready to turn him down, of course, he wasn't a murderer whatever he felt about Mustang, but there was a chance that this man might want something else, that he might have some other solution for getting Mustang out of his way, and for that, he followed.
The office was posh, full of thick, oriental carpets and glossy wood furniture. A man behind a large desk looked old and bitter. His white hair was grizzled and his face was creased from long days spent in the field. He motioned to a chair and Edward cautiously sat down.
"Full Metal," the man greeted him and looked him over. His face wrinkled as he smiled, but Edward found it an unpleasant expression, chilling rather than reassuring.
"Lt. Colonel Thompson?" Edward guessed.
The man nodded. "I've been watching you," he said as he sat back in his chair and lit up a cigar. He puffed and clouds of reeking smoke filled the room. Edward tried not to cough, but he found himself putting a hand to his face as the smoke drifted over to him."You chafe at Mustang's orders"
A statement, not a question.
"He made a promise," Edward replied, "He broke it." It was a naive thing to say, but it was at the root of Edward's anger and resentment.
"He promised to allow you to search for the philosopher's stone," Thompson clarified and Edward nodded stiffly. "I know that you are not surprised that such a promise was broken."
"No," Edward replied. "The military doesn't have a good reputation for such things."
Thompson looked amused. "You are more than I expected, Edward Elric." Thompson took a long puff on his cigar, sucked in deeply, and then let out the smoke in a steady stream, his lips making an o shape.
Edward was growing impatient. The man was feeling him out, obviously. Edward decided not to reply, keeping his mood and his thoughts to himself. Let Thompson make his offer, Edward thought, and then he would see.
Thompson motioned at Edward with his cigar. "The search for the Philosopher's stone is very important to you, so important, that I think that you are willing to attempt to leave the military against orders. I have to warn you against that course of action. The penalty is death, as I'm sure you know."
Edward crossed his arms over his chest, feeling the hardness of his automail arm press against his flesh. "I'll do what I have to. I don't have a choice."
The man put his cigar aside in an ashtray and then steepled his fingers. Looking down at them, he said, "Mustang has been a roadblock to my advancement. I'm old. I don't have many years to pursue my bid to be Fuhrer. I need little upstarts like Mustang to fall and fall quickly. If I have to use less than... palatable... means, I will."
"Mustang lied to me," Edward said, "Why should I believe any promises you make to me?"
"You shouldn't!" the man laughed. He grabbed his cigar again and clamped it between his teeth. He growled around it, "A man who trusts is a short lived man, I always say."
Edward scowled. He had expected dissembling, an attempt to reassure him, not a confirmation of what he already knew. It kept him from standing and leaving. Instead, he leaned forward and asked fiercely, "What do you want? No games."
"But it is a game," Thompson chuckled. "Chess. I'm the knight trying to capture the king and I have to make my moves carefully. I have to get rid of the pieces that stand in my way. Sometimes, the best piece to accomplish this is a pawn."
Thompson stood and Edward shrank back in his chair nervously. Thompson was a big man and he looked imposing in his uniform. At that moment, Edward almost wished that he had brought Al along. A person did not bring a little brother into dirty dealings, though, and he doubted that this man was planning anything that could stand up in the light of day.
"It's known to some of my... operatives," Thompson explained, "That Roy Mustang has some eccentric tastes."
Thompson stopped behind Edward's chair and Edward twisted uncomfortably to look at him. "What does that mean?"
"He likes young men," Thompson replied and his smile was cold.
Edward scowled and stood up. He faced Thompson. "I don't understand."
"So inexperienced." Thompson tisked and then clarified, "Roy Mustang enjoys young men in his bed, Edward Elric."
Edward felt his face flame and his hands went into fists. "That's against military codes of conduct. I don't believe you!"
"Why should I lie about that?" Thompson looked Edward from head to toe, slow and appraising. "He keeps it well hidden, but I've had men watching his every move, looking for a flaw that I could exploit to bring him down. Now that I have it, though, I find myself in a difficult situation. One report of such misconduct, proven without a doubt, will destroy his career. Unfortunately, Mustang is particular. He's not fallen for any of the young men I've sent to seduce him." Thompson closed the space between them and looked down his long height at Edward. "That is why I've called you here. I believe that Mustang has an interest in you, personally."
"M-Me?" Edward spluttered in shock and anger.
Thompson reached out and took hold of Edward's short braid. He rubbed it between his fingers as he said, "You are very handsome, did you realize? It would explain why he tries to shield you, why he risks his position to keep you safe, why he now refuses to allow you to go where it is dangerous."
Edward gritted his teeth, gold eyes blazing until he couldn't keep silent any longer. He burst out, as he jerked away and stepped back a pace, "You are mad! Non of that is true! Why did you bring me here? Why did you want to say these things to me?"
Thompson grunted, walked back to his chair, and sat down heavily. He puffed on his cigar and then said, "If it isn't true, then you don't have anything to fear. If it is...all that is necessary is for you to allow Mustang to proposition you. That will ruin him... and remove him from your life."
"Proposition me?" Edward spluttered.
"Yes," Thompson looked irritated now. "You've seen women do it, surely? They simply make themselves available and look beautiful. Men then ask them for their favors. Full Metal, I am not asking you to bed the Colonel, only to allow him to discredit himself by propositioning you."
Edward felt furious. He had wasted his time. This man wasn't offering him hope, he was offering him... something that he didn't want to contemplate. He said scathingly, "So, I will discredit Mustang and you will take his position. How will you treat Al and I after that happens? Will you protect us? Will you allow us to search for the philosopher's stone unhindered?"
"Yes, to both questions," Thompson replied. "You and your brother are an asset that I appreciate. If you gain the philosopher's stone, it is mine by right... after you have used it for your purposes, of course."
"Of course," Edward sneered and then turned away, shoulders hunched as he tried to think. He was making the same deal that he had made with Mustang. He had to trust that this man would keep his promise after Mustang was gone. Edward had as little hope in that as before, but... there wasn't any choice. He needed to search for the philosopher's stone. He closed his eyes tightly, feeling shame creep up his collar and sizzle across his skin like fire, as he asked, "What do I have to do?"
see Kracken's original, published yaoi fiction, The Angel Within, at under Kracken Website:http:kracken. Latest updates at: http:groups. for general fanfiction talk: http:groups.