Author: Zalia Chimera
Summary: Roy is pushing himself too hard and Ed must deal with the consequences.
Notes: Minor spoilers for the end of the series. Slightly AU
Disclaimer: Don't own FMA or the characters
"You're an idiot," Ed muttered as he poured antiseptic onto a cloth. The scent of it filled the bedroom and Ed wrinkled his nose in disgust. He always hated the hospital smell it had.
Roy gave him the same mournful look that Ed had seen him use on Hawkeye when she dumped another stack of paperwork on his desk. Ed couldn't stifle a smile and he ran his fingers through Roy's hair fondly. "That look works on me about as well as it works on Lieutenant Hawkeye."
"Damn," Roy muttered. He closed his single eye. "Get on with it then."
Ed rolled his eyes and reached out to dab at one of the burn marks with the antiseptic. Roy hissed in pain and Ed caught his wrist to prevent the involuntary flinch. "You brought this on yourself, Roy." He unbuttoned the sleeve of Roy's shirt and started to push the singed fabric up his arm. Roy stopped him, grabbing his hand and bringing it to his lips. "I don't intend to get hurt." He pressed a kiss to the backs of Ed's fingers and released him.
"Maybe," Ed replied. He pushed the sleeve up to Roy's shoulder and scowled as the shiny pink of new burn scars were revealed. "But you've been doing this for weeks. I'll start thinking you enjoy it soon."
Roy glared in annoyance and tugged his arms away, folding them over his chest. "Do you think I i like /i getting burned?"
"I think you do it often enough that you should have learned by now," Ed snapped, managing to swipe the cloth over another patch of skin. Roy met his eyes steadily for a long moment but then lowered his head, staring at the floor. He pushed up his other shirt sleeve and held his arms out for Ed to work on without hindrance.
Ed treated the burns as quickly as he could, Roy's soft hisses of pain and the simple sight of the marks making him feel sick to his stomach. Roy had been hurt enough, why did he have to continue hurting himself? He finished cleaning the wounds and wrapped them in gauze then headed to the door. He didn't want to get into another argument about this with Roy.
"I don't mean to get hurt. I don't do it on purpose. I just... don't want to be vulnerable." Roy's voice was soft and sad. When Ed turned back to look, his expression was one of shame. Ed sighed and went back to him, settling on the bed and stroking his thumb over Roy's hand. He couldn't really blame Roy. Enough had happened to both of them that on some days he was surprised they ever left the house. Still...
"You should trust in our abilities more, Roy."
Roy made a noise of disgust and moved away a little. "I thought you of all people would understand. I don't want to be protected. I don't want to be treated like a fucking invalid!"
"And when you burn out or suffer a rebound because you pushed yourself too hard?" Ed hissed. He was being cruel, he knew it, but Roy could be so infuriating. He forced himself to use a reasonable tone instead of snapping again. "You nearly i did /i burn out, Roy. You shouldn't be practising alchemy again so soon."
"You performed human transmutation, were comatose for two weeks and you tell me I shouldn't be practising alchemy so soon?"
"At least I have fucking depth perception!"
Ed instantly regretted his words when Roy froze, one hand coming up to touch the eye-patch. It was still a sore point. He hated being reminded of his new weakness and Ed had just thrown it in his face.
Roy laughed bitterly and slumped back onto the bed, fingers still stroking over the eye-patch. "You lose your arm and your leg and you can still perform alchemy most can only dream of. I lose my eye and I'm useless." He looked up at Ed and the emptiness in his remaining eye was terrifying. Ed reached out to put a hand on his shoulder, but pulled back at the last minute. He didn't want to see Roy flinch away.
"I hate this," Roy hissed, fingers twisting in the material of the patch. "I hate not being able to look after myself. I hate not being able to do something that was so simple." With a growl, he tugged the eye-patch off and dropped it to the bed. "I hated my alchemy because it seemed like all I could do was kill, but... I miss it. I can do barely more than make bloody sparks and even then I manage to burn myself because I can't tell how close they are." He sighed heavily, the tension easing out of his body. "I say I can look after myself, but I need a damn keeper."
Ed was silent for a few minutes but then lay down beside Roy. With his automail hand, he stroked the side of Roy's face gently, smiling when Roy leaned into the touch despite his obvious upset.
"We aren't keepers, we're friends and we want to help. You think it doesn't hurt my pride to have to be looked after whenever my automail is damaged? I hate the looks I get from Al and Winry. They don't mean it, but it makes me feel like a broken doll sometimes."
Roy made a soft noise and rolled over, pressing his face against Ed's side and Ed moved on to stroking his hair. "You'll work around it. You'll recover enough to use your alchemy again. But if you push yourself too hard, too early, you'll just have to wait longer. What happened to your patience?"
Roy lifted his head to smile weakly up at him. "I used it up waiting for news about Alphonse and yourself."
Ed smiled in return and leaned down to press a kiss to the corner of Roy's lips, brushing his fingers down the scars on Roy's face again. "Idiot. You are such an idiot." Roy gave him another smile, a real one this time, the one that made the corners of his eyes crinkle, and pulled him into a kiss.