Edward Elric raced toward the pool, leaping into the air and curling into a tight ball before breaking through the surface of the cool water with a large splash. He was drawn down quickly by the weight of his metal limbs, and kicked hard off the bottom, grabbing the concrete side and flipping errant strands of hair from his eyes.
"Damnit, Ed!" Winry called after him, slightly distracted from fuming at her friend by her own 8-month-old daughter, who was tenaciously attempting to divest the woman of her tiny bikini top. "I told you that the chlorine isn't good for the wiring of your automail! Now it's too late, anyway, we'll just have to soak it in a cleaning solution later."
"Come off it, Winry, I'll take care of it. And before you say ANYTHING else, I am not going to wear those fucking float things. I'll be fine. I may not be able to swim all that well with the extra weight, but I can manage. This week is about fun. So give the kid to that good-for-nothing fiancée of yours and get your skinny ass in the pool before I throw you in."
"Is that a challenge, Mr. Elric?" Winry taunted, placing her daughter in Russell Tringham's waiting arms. "That's a laugh. You're too much of a bean to intimidate anyone, much less me."
Ed had long grown past his violent reactions to short jokes. He still hated them, but he liked to think that he was mature enough not fall into his teenage habit of temper tantrums. Although Ed knew that he would never be a tall man, he was roughly average, and he was enough of an adult to be happy with how he was.
This, however, was an old game, and Ed wasn't above rising to the bait.
"WHO ARE YOU CALLING SO SMALL HE COULD GET SUCKED THROUGH THE POOL FILTER!" Ed hollered as he launched himself up and out of the pool, water streaming from sun-bronzed flesh covered only by his clinging swim trunks. Winry shrieked and turned to flee, but was blocked by Roy, who just happened to be rather nonchalantly standing in her only path of escape. Ed grabbed her by the waist, swinging her up off her feet before flinging her flailing body into the water.
"Having fun yet?" Roy asked, smirking at Winry's sputtering form in the pool as Ed leaned back against his chest.
"Hell, yes," Ed replied, closing his eyes and tilting his head back against Roy's shoulder. Strong arms circled his body and fingertips began lightly tracing the firm muscles of his stomach. "This place is gorgeous, and we really needed a break. Work's been a bitch lately. Hey, who owns this place, anyway? One of those snobby rich friends who have parties you're always trying to drag me to? Hey, come to think of it, where the fuck are my brother and our son, anyway?"
Roy shrugged. "Around. I think they saw a cat or something", he replied with a dismissive wave of his hand. "As for this place's ownership, since you, understandably, refused to move into the traditional fuehrer's residence, I thought a nice getaway in the country might be nice."
"GETAWAY? This is a fucking mansion, Roy!"
"Perhaps," Roy smirked. "But it's a fun place, no?" He shifted the smaller man in his arms just enough to gain the necessary leverage to launch a thoroughly shocked Edward out into the pool.
Ed surfaced with a strangled gasp, howling curses and threats to Roy's life and manhood as he struggled into waters shallow enough for him to stand.
Roy just laughed at his husband's sputtered attempts at intimidation and gracefully dived into the pool after the other man. A few strong strokes were all that were necessary for him to overtake Ed, and he grabbed the irate blond by the waist and twisting him around, the two of them disappearing beneath the roiling waters.
When the men finally resurfaced, Ed's legs were wrapped tightly around Roy's waist, and their lips were just parting enough to take in much needed air before crashing back together.
"Really, guys, get a room," Alphonse called from the poolside, little Al's hand held firmly in his own. "There certainly are enough here, and there are children present who surely do not need a show. Right, Win?"
"For sure," Winry agreed from her position on the steps of the shallow end of the pool, her daughter in her lap. "Malia doesn't need to see that kind of thing. And quite frankly, neither do I. It's like seeing my brother making out. So not necessary. Besides, Roy, aren't you supposed to be firing up the barbeque about now? I'm starved! That was a LONG drive to get out here."
"Fine," Roy sighed, unwinding Ed from his person and making his way past Winry and out of the pool. He turned to his son. "Hey, Midget, do you want to help me make dinner?"
"No way!" Ed interjected from the water. "My boy's going to go swimming with his Papa Ed. Right, buddy?"
Little Al laughed and wrenched his hand from his uncle's, running to the pool and leaping off the side into his Ed's arms, bowling both of them back and under the water. There as a collective gasp from those watching, but Ed and little Al were both laughing as they came back up, Ed holding his son firmly in the shallow water.
"Guess that answers that," Russell laughed at Roy's annoyed snort.
"Fine, you all have fun, leave me to do all the work," Roy sighed, a slight twinkle in his eye as Alphonse joined his brother and nephew in the water. He pulled up the lid on the grill and began to prepare to fire it up.
"Yeah, that's us youngsters, no respect for our elders," Ed called out to his husband. Roy stiffened slightly at the crack at his age.
"I'm NOT OLD, damnit!" he snarled, squirting lighter fluid on the coals and purposefully snapping his fingers.
Nothing happened. No gloves. Pool. Oh, yeah.
Ed roared with laughter, shifting his son to one arm so that he could point at his husband with the other. Roy's face reddened as the rest of the party realized what had happened and joined Ed in laughter at his expense. Roy turned his pack on the party, reaching for a nearby box of matches and muttering to himself about certain ungrateful family members. He struck a match against the side of the box and tossed it amongst the coals.
There was an audible voomph and a tower of flame shot towards the sky. All laughter died as Roy let out a shriek of pain and stumbled backwards from the tour of fire, clutching his right arm to his chest, his breathing heavy with pain.
"You idiot," Ed sighed, bandaging Roy's burnt hand. "Leave it to you to use too much lighter fluid and burn yourself by creating a fucking fireball. Flame Alchemist, indeed. Too bad you're on vacation; this would have gotten you out of quite a bit of paperwork, not being able to sign anything and all."
Roy glared. "Shut up, Edward," he groaned. "This hurts like a bitch, and I am not in the mood for your mouth."
Ed raised an eyebrow. "Really?" he cooed. "Too bad, because I had a few ideas on how to distract you from the pain…" He lifted one of the fingers on Roy's unhurt hand to his lips and began to suck gently. Roy's eyes rolled back as he let out a low groan.
"Alright, you two, that's enough!" Russell called from the place he had taken up at the grill. "Anyway, food's ready."
"Yay!" Winry called from the pool, where she and Alphonse were playing with the kids. "Come on, guys, it's dinnertime!"
By the time they were all dried off and sitting at the picnic table by the pool, the sun was low in the sky. Little Al was happily gnawing at a hot dog while all four men pointedly avoided looking at Winry as she fed her daughter.
"Yeah, so little Al and I were looking around earlier, and there are stables, Ed! With horses!" Alphonse exclaimed, excitedly waving his fork as he spoke. "It was really cool! Hey, Roy, do you think that we could go riding tomorrow?"
Roy smiled at the man's boyish excitement. "I don't see why not. I'll speak with the caretakers later. I'm sure that there won't be a problem, we should have everything at our disposal."
Al beamed. "Oh, how fun! Ed and I used to go riding sometimes when we were really little, friends of mom's that lived nearby had a farm and she would take us over on weekends. It was so much fun, but then…" Al trailed off, unspoken words heavy in the evening air. But then their mother had died, and not long after Al himself had been confined armor.
Alponse let out a startled squeak as a hotdog bun bounced off his forehead. He turned to glare daggers at his brother, who was grinning back at him.
"Don't start getting all depressed, moron. We're here to have fun, remember? No more mopey Al for the rest of the week!" Ed declared, waving his fork emphatically.
Little Al perked up from his seat next to Winry. "No, not you, monster," Ed laughed. "Closest thing you've ever been to depressed was that time Anita was sick and Papa Roy tried to cook for us." Both men shuddered. The health of Anita Johnson had thereafter been made a matter of national security. Literally. There was paperwork for it any everything. It was even signed.
"So, Alphonse," Russell called from his place at the barbeque. "When you get married and settle down, anyway? I don't know if I like the idea of there being another bachelor out there having more fun than me."
Al instantly turned scarlet. "Ummm, well…"
"You know, Alphonse, you're never gonna get anywhere if you don't just come out and tell him. Mooning over him but not acting is no way to get what you want," Roy advised.
Ed turned to his husband, eyes wide with surprise. "What do you mean, him? Damnit, Alphonse, I always thought you had a thing for Scheska. Is there something you haven't been telling me?"
Alphonse shrunk away from his brother's accusations. "N-no, brother, it's just that, well…"
"Poor man hasn't even admitted it to himself yet," Roy announced in a loud but conspiratorial whisper. "But he's got it bad for our dear Havoc. It's so cute, how he comes up with random excuses to come up to headquarters, obviously so that he might run into his dear Jean. The two of them just stand around chattering like schoolgirls. Hawkeye has a sizeable pool going as to when these two will wake the hell up and figure it out."
"That's so cute! Winry squealed, wiping the ketchup from little Al's chin.
Ed crossed his arms and huffed. "Really, Alphonse. You could have told me."
Roy put his arm around the smaller man's shoulders. "Now, Ed, don't be sore at the poor guy…"
"Shut up, you," Ed snarled, shrugging Roy off. "You could have told me, too, you know. What the hell happened to this great trust and our not keeping any secrets from eachother? Huh?"
"Ummmm, I think that I'm going to go for a walk." Al mumbled, standing and taking a few steps back from the table. "I really don't think that I'm ready for this conversation..." He continued to back away.
Ed's eyes widened. "Hey, Al, wait! Watch out for the-"
Ed winced. "Nevermind."