Amber Haze

by Hotarukat

Rating: PG-13

Summary: Ed thinks he will do a quick favor for Hawkeye on the anniversary of Hughes's death, but things with the Colonel inevitably get more complicated when alcohol is involved.

A/N: This story is really longer than any one chapter piece I've written before, but it wasn't quite long enough to section into two pieces. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I don't own anything of FMA. If I did, it would end very differently in the anime.

XXX

As he took in his surroundings, Ed wasn't even sure what had convinced him to come into this dingy, hole-in-the-wall tavern. The whole room smelled like smoke, and the light of the dusty overhead lamps became an amber haze in it. Plus, most of the customers he could make out through the fog looked pretty shady in Ed's opinion, especially since half of them were covered in tattoos or wearing shirts that showed off bulging arm muscles. He also noticed a few women, dressed in very little clothing but plenty of makeup, hanging around some of the thugs. Ed rolled his eyes when a group looked over and chuckled, gesturing about his height with their hands. The women didn't laugh, but instead gave Ed a sultry look as they wound themselves around their men. Ed blushed but kept walking resolutely; he didn't have time for this shit.

After another quick glance around the joint, Ed's reason for coming was painfully easy to spot. Colonel Mustang looked out of place in his military uniform, except for the fact he was slouched over the bar counter with a bright liquored flush, like many of the other drunks at their tables. Ed headed to the back and sat down on a stool next to Mustang, who looked quizzically up at his visitor.

"You're too young to be drinking, Full Metal," Roy said after staring at Ed for a long minute. Ed, slightly perturbed by the colonel's vacant study of his face, looked at the empty glasses strewn across the counter. The colonel had drunk quite a bit, he decided.

"And you're too young to be drinking yourself into a coffin," Ed replied, sneering a little. Mustang ignored him, instead looking through the remnants of liquor in his glass at the random assortment of bottles on the shelf in front of them. He hadn't even bothered to sit up when Ed arrived.

"Or maybe you are old enough," Ed continued after a second "Compared to me, you're practically ancient. Maybe it's time you went to pasture, sir."

Seconds rolled by and Ed waited for a retort. Finally, the colonel gave a response.

"I'm surprised you made it onto the bar stool. Did they get you a ladder?"

To his surprise and annoyance, Ed was relieved by Mustang's words. He had thought the colonel too drunk to even think coherently.

"I'll let that one slide," Ed said evenly. "Considering your present condition."

Roy snorted and reached for the only glass that had some alcohol left in it. With a quick movement, the glass was empty, and Roy set it down with a clack.

"Hey!" Ed yelled to the plump man serving drinks behind the bar. "I'll have what he's having." He tilted his head toward Mustang, who glared angrily up at him from where his head rested on the counter.

"We don't serve kids," the heavy bartender replied and continued to clean a grimy glass with his apron.

"I'm no kid," Ed managed to say calmly. "I'm a state alchemist." He pulled out his pocket watch, placing it reverently in front of him.

The bartender walked over while looking Ed up and down. "Didn't know they let dwarves into the military."

"I'M NO DWARF YOU OVERSIZED GORILLA! JUST GET ME SOMETHING TO DRINK BEFORE I SHOW YOU WHY THEY LET ME IN!" Ed pulled the man down by his shirt collar. He let go when he sensed the entire room had gotten quite. "Anyone else got a problem?" he growled while he turned around and gave his best glare to every character in the tavern. Everyone immediately went back to his own business, except for Roy, who chuckled loudly to himself.

"Don't make me kick your ass, Mustang," Ed muttered. The colonel became silent once again, simply folding his arms and placing his chin on them. Ed noticed the flush was still heavy on the colonel's cheeks.

After a minute, Ed's drink arrived, followed by another for Mustang. Ed examined the glass first, noticing a few chips and a red mark that Ed could only guess was lipstick. Bravely, he ignored the feeling he would probably get some disease from the dishware and brought the glass to his lips. Ed sniffed its ochre contents and nearly gagged before he even tasted it. He spat his drink right back into his glass when it touched his tongue.

"You drink this shit?" Ed thought about scraping his tongue with a glove to get the bitter, acidic taste to go away. When he noticed the bartender look at him bemusedly, Ed picked up the glass and gave him a fake smile. The bartender went back to pretending to clean.

"I guess this is your first meeting with my good friend Jack?" Mustang asked with a crooked smirk while he sat up. He swallowed half his drink in one gulp and, after wiping his mouth with a sleeve, settled right back down onto the counter. "I told you, you were too young to drink."

"I'm just not fucking stupid enough to drink something that tastes worse than spoiled milk."

"How often do you drink spoiled milk, Full Metal?"

Ed ignored Mustang and clapped his hands together then touched the rim of his glass, with his fingertips just grazing the surface of the bourbon. Everyone turned to stare at him again as blue lightning flashed and crackled from the bar.

"Ah, that's better," he said after tasting his new drink, and smirking at the bartender.

"I could have finished it for you," Roy said leisurely while looking up at Ed through his black bangs.

"That's quite alright colonel, I think you've had enough." Again Ed looked away from Mustang's cloudy eyes. "Here, you can have what I'm having." Ed transmuted the remnants of Mustang's drink, and the colonel actually sat up to examine its new contents.

"I think your alchemy might be getting a little rusty. It looks the same." Mustang cautiously brought the glass to his mouth and drank, immediately looking at Ed in surprise and amusement.

"Apple juice? You transmuted your drink into apple juice?" Mustang's drunkenness seemed to clear up slightly while he laughed. "You need to toughen up a little, kid."

"I'm not a kid," Ed snarled. Roy looked down at Ed from his new vantage point for moment. Suddenly, Mustang swooped down at him. Thinking that Mustang was about to fall over, Ed tried to back away, only succeeding in almost toppling off his own bar stool. Mustang stopped just in front of Ed's surprised face, looking him in the eye intensely. Ed tried to return the gaze as evenly as possible.

"No, I suppose you're not." Mustang's breath smelled like liquor, but Ed noticed his eyes had cleared up substantially.

Finally, Mustang turned away and sipped his apple juice, chuckling to himself once again.

"Your eyes match your drink," he said offhandedly.

Ed remained too stunned to say anything for a moment. He didn't think he liked a drunk Mustang. The colonel was usually fairly unpredictable, but this was ridiculous.

Trying to match Mustang's supposed coolness, Ed managed to focus his attention back on his own drink.

"So, why are you here, Full Metal," Mustang asked, back straight with military poise and assurance. "Can't say I was expecting a visit. Not that I'm not delighted to see you." Roy once again graced Ed with a patented smirk, but Ed wasn't looking at him.

"Lieutenant Hawkeye saw me and Al sparring in the courtyard outside the gym. She asked me to come and make sure you didn't become a poor example of an officer in the military." Ed's eyes remained fixed on his glass while he spoke, deciding he didn't want to explain any further.

"So, she thought I needed a baby sitter?" Roy muttered too busy, making a mental note that Riza would be the first female officer in a miniskirt, to notice Ed's slight fidgeting with his glass.

"Actually, she sounded worried," Ed said defensively. "Though, I have no idea why the hell anyone would care what you do with yourself."

Roy gracefully lifted an eyebrow and looked down at Ed, who pouted fiercely at the glass of apple juice in front of him. Ed wished he would stop looking at him, which made Ed even sulkier for some reason. What kind of person got nervous being looked at.

"Well, I'm heading out, Full Metal," Roy said when Ed stayed silent. Ed watched surreptitiously out of the corner of his eye as Mustang stood up unsteadily from his seat. He was just quick enough to grab the colonel's sleeve with his auto-mail arm before Mustang's face hit the floor. Mustang grimaced to the floor before Ed managed to tentatively pull him back up. After successfully reseating himself, Roy closed his eyes and put his head down on crossed arms like he had before.

Ed looked uneasily at the back of the colonel's head. "Maybe you better stay here for awhile," he said, just about to pat Mustang on the back. But he reconsidered and withdrew his hand.

"This must be very entertaining for you," Roy muttered into his sleeve.

"Oh, yeah, its loads of fun," Ed said sarcastically and took a drink of his juice, which had become completely tasteless after the ice cubes melted.

The two sat in silence for a while, and Ed continued to muse to himself while nursing another transmuted apple juice. Just as he took the last sip, a hand landed on his shoulder, causing him to jump in surprise.

"Hey, sweetheart, don't usually see someone as fine as you in here," said a deep voice from behind him and Ed turned red from a mixture of embarrassment and anger. He turned around to look his admirer in the face.

The tall bearded man did a double take and his shorter dark-haired cohort put a hand over his mouth to hide a smirk.

"You're a guy? And a kid too! Jesus." The taller man walked away in dismay, but his friend stayed behind. Ed eyed him under a heavy glare.

"Got confused by your pretty hair," he said and reached out to touch Ed's braid. Ed quickly jerked away.

"You might want to be careful who you hit on. They might just hit you back." Ed's threat was barely above a growl.

With a look of utter innocence, the dark-haired man put up his hands. "Don't be mad." He leaned in close to Ed. "All I'm saying is if you're ever interested…" The man winked. Then he looked past Ed and suddenly got up and walked away.

Ed turned toward Mustang, who was sporting a glare to match his own.

"Nice place you come to," Ed said nastily, misinterpreting the glare as meant for him. "I swear you ever tell anyone about that…" Ed let the threat hang in the air. Even though he hated being mistaken for the younger brother of their duo, he now realized he hated being mistaken for a girl even more. Plus, the look in that guy's eyes made him want to gag more than the liquor he spat out.

Ed reached in front of Mustang and gulped down the drink that had just been put in front of him. His face crumpled in disgust, but he picked up the glass again and finished it, anyway. The shit had to be good for something and he hoped it made this whole mess better.

"Let's go," Mustang said, not commenting on Ed's thievery. He sat up, stretching his arms over his head and placed a pile of bills on the counter. "I think I better sleep this off." He steadied himself with a hand on the bar as he got up and managed to stay on his feet. When Mustang looked back down at Ed, he was glaring at another glass of Jack Daniels.

"I wouldn't recommend drinking too much more considering your body mass so much less than mine. You'll be in a coma before you know it."

"Shut up," Ed growled and quickly tipped the glass to his mouth before following Mustang out the door like a dejected puppy. He was still traumatized from his encounter with the lecherous man, not to mention embarrassed. Suddenly feeling sorry for every woman the colonel probably treated that way, Ed glared at Mustang once again as they wound through the tables. But, a little voice in the back of his mind told Ed, maybe you wouldn't have minded if it was Mustang.

Ed tried to suppress that thought while deliberately ignoring his lecherous admirer, who watched him leave.

Compared to the soft haze of the tavern, the glare from the streetlights was almost blinding to Roy. He shielded his eyes and leaned against outside of the building while Ed looked at him with interest, which he failed to change to disgust when Roy squinted at him with adjusting eyes.

"You should probably be heading home. Isn't it past your bedtime?" Roy asked.

"Why were you in that hell hole?" Ed asked suddenly, surprising himself a little with his own outburst and curiosity. Plus, his face still hadn't shifted into the safety of a mask of annoyance. Ed felt open, but for some reason, a warm feeling at the bottom of his stomach kept him from caring.

"Cheap drinks?" Roy shrugged unaware of any change in Ed's behavior. He started walking in the general direction of the East headquarters.

"Do you mean cheap women?" Ed spat. The warm, fuzzy feeling was creeping up to his head.

"You should watch what you say to a senior officer," Mustang said evenly, with just the slightest hint of a threat.

"I lost all respect for you years ago, Colonel. It's a good thing I didn't bring Al along; he would have been horrified."

Ed continued to follow the colonel, eventually falling into step beside him because the colonel's pace was so slow. He noticed Mustang was carefully reaching out to every lamppost they passed to steady himself. Eventually the colonel's hand slid off the slick metal and his body followed. Ed unconsciously reached out to grab Mustang as he fell, but this time his reflexes seemed to have slowed, and he fisted the air. Roy toppled into the street with a dull thud and a quiet string of curses.

"Jeez, maybe I should have brought Al. You can barely walk. At least he could have carried you." Ed rolled his eyes with the realization he had just inadvertently made fun of his own size.

"Think you could lend a hand?" Roy asked plaintivily from his sitting position in the street.

"Help yourself up," Ed replied and crossed his arms, enjoying the colonel's sudden need for aid. Ed decided he liked it when Mustang wasn't on top of everything.

And for some reason, that thought made Ed suddenly snigger.

"A lot of good you are," Roy muttered. He reached out to the lamppost that had caused the accident in the first place, and pulled himself up. Ed grinned at Mustang's obvious precariousness while he rose, clutching desperately onto the post. Like a koala, Ed thought with another short snicker.

Then, Mustang tripped on the curb, desperately grappling for the lampost. Ed chuckled.

The colonel failed to get a good grip and fell on his face again. Ed laughed outright.

"Come on, sir," Ed managed after his laughing fit subsided and momentarily ignoring the colonel's constant holier-than-thou attitude. He kindly reached out a gloved hand to pull Mustang up. But once the taller man was unsteadily on his feet, Ed wasn't sure what to do; he couldn't very well support Mustang easily. He doubted his shoulders went high enough. With a gulp, he wound his arm through Roy's, like a couple walking through the park. Ed was surprised how much weight Mustang was actually putting on him, but didn't really mind as the liquor he drank continued to take the edge off of his temper. In fact, it felt kind of nice…

As they made their way down the street, Ed's good mood dissipated as Roy became a heavier burden.

"Hey, think you could support yourself a little, chief?"

"Huh?" Roy started and pulled away from Ed slightly. "Sorry." As he made the short apology, Mustang quickly unhooked his arm from Ed's. "I think I can walk the rest of the way, Full Metal."

"Good, because you weigh a ton." Ed said, silently wishing that Mustang wasn't so steady on his feet. To keep from voicing his thoughts, Ed stopped and turned left and right, cracking his back. "You need to go on a diet," he added for emphasis.

"I'll take that into consideration," Roy said dryly and the two continued to walk.

"You never told me why you were at that place," Ed said. Again he wondered where the question had come from and he started to talk quickly to act nonchalant. "I mean…it's not like there aren't plenty of other dives closer to headquarters you could get bombed at. It took me an hour to find you there. Al must be wondering where the hell I am…" Somehow Ed didn't think he was fooling Mustang.

Roy's face was blank when Ed looked at him. He wondered when the hell he started caring what Mustang did with himself.

"You know who I was with the first time I went there?" Mustang asked after a moment's hesitation.

"I hope the answer isn't one of those women I saw."

"No," Roy chuckled. "Quite the opposite."

"Oh?" One of the men? Ed thought to himself with just enough self control to keep silent. He couldn't decide whether the question would be a spiteful or truly curious one.

"The place was cleaner last time, too," Roy said, mostly to himself, and Ed actually thought he might have pried too much. "Anyway," Mustang shook his head, "Hughes sat in the same seat you took last time…he was here."

Ed kept quiet. He remembered all too well the anniversary of Hughes' death had just passed.

"Well," Mustang broke Ed's reverie, "we chose a place further away from headquarters because we didn't want any other military personal spying on us. I visit every so often to keep the memory alive." He let out a chuckle, which sounded pained even to Ed.

"Forget I asked," Ed said with as much grace as he could muster.

Roy nodded slowly, before closing his eyes and shrugging. Then, he wound his arm into Ed's, once again leaning against him. Ed happily balanced Mustang against his shoulder.

Nice.

"Ed, I have a serious question."

Startled at the sudden use of his personal name, Ed jerked his arm, nearly toppling the two of them.

"Is the street actually going in circles around us, or is that just me?" Roy asked in an oddly calm tone.

Ed calmed down when he remembered how drunk Mustang was. "It's just you."

"You sure?"

"Yeah."

"Positive?"

"…yes."

Roy shook his head. Ed hazily thought that would probably make any sort of spinning worse. He was proven right when Mustang suddenly stopped mid-stride, putting a hand over his face.

"What the hell is the matter with you! You almost took my arm off!"

"Do you mind if I sit down?" Roy sat down, taking Ed down too.

"Ow, you bastard. Let me go."

Mustang was too busy trying to keep himself steady. Ed could see where this was going and tried to loose his arm. Finally deciding it was no use, he grabbed Mustang's chin and looked him in the eye.

"I swear if you throw up on me right now, I will make your life a living hell."

Mustang managed a smirk through his nausea. "Don't you already do that?"

Ed only moved his face closer to Roy's, holding onto his chin firmly. "Don't throw up," he commanded.

It wasn't until Mustang's eyes started to clear that Ed noticed how close he had gotten. He momentarily contemplated just moving that one inch closer…

Ed was relieved when Mustang turned to cough into his hand. Perversely, he also wished the colonel hadn't.

"Come on, Full Metal. We don't have all night to sit around."

"It was your fault we were sitting in the first place!" his anger flashed like lightning.

Ed found himself being pulled up, but Mustang immediately faltered on his feet so Ed had to steady him once again, this time a little sullenly. He felt like he had been cheated out of something. He wasn't sure what, but definitely something.

Roy abruptly broke out of Ed's grasp as soon as Ed managed to stabilize him.

"I can handle it from here."

"You're about to fall over! I bet if I push you, you'll topple faster than a house of cards."

"That's quite alright." Roy started walking briskly away from Ed.

"Wait up! Do you want my help or what?" He trotted to make up the distance.

Roy turned around and with no trace of smugness said, "I would very much recommend you going home right now."

"Why? Is there some kind of danger? I'm pretty sure the danger is you passing out in the street and getting run over before morning you dumbass!" Ed raged at him.

"I thought you didn't care what I did with myself." Roy could barely keep the smirk off his face.

After pausing for a second, Ed replied, "Yeah, well I'm here so I might as well do something. Plus I don't want to let Lieutenant Hawkeye down. I actually like her."

"Oh? I had no idea."

Ed blushed for no reason. "Fuck you. Don't be sick."

"Well, as long as we're on the subject, what do you think it would look like, us walking together out of the disreputable part of town together at one in the morning?" Mustang said with a heavy sigh.

"It would look like I brought home your sorry ass from a night of drinking. It seems to me Lieutenant Hawkeye would have to do this a lot. She probably got sick of it."

Mustang sighed once again, subvocally this time, and after briefly closing his eyes, looked at Ed intensely. "I would like to find myself a nice whore tonight, Full Metal."

Ed was taken aback, but his obligatory blush and stunned face were hidden by the darkness.

"Do you want to come? I don't think they cator to kids, but you could pass for a dwarf again…"

"Do what you want, sir." Ed turned around and walked rigidly away, feeling that horrible feeling of being cheated out of something again. This time, it felt worse.

Ed looked over his shoulder and kept walking. With effort, he burrowed the hope that Mustang would follow him. Ed couldn't even identify why he was so offended by Mustang's actions. The colonel was a drunk, a playboy and an egotist. But, in some recess of his brain, Ed had thought Mustang was a better person than who he pretended to be.

And that's why you're so attracted to him, an annoying little voice said. He's a diamond in the rough.

Ed rolled his eyes and made a mental note to punch Al for putting these strange thoughts in his head.

As Ed made his way further down the dimly lit street, he realized no one was following him now. While with the colonel, he had successfully ignored his dark-haired stalker from the bar while keeping Mustang ignorant of the situation. Now, Ed wondered if he should have taken care of the follower and taught him a good lesson he would remember. Perhaps the stalker's interest had shifted onto Mustang. Ed grinned to himself at the irony of it and successfully ignored the tinge of worry in the pit of his stomach.

After a short moment to think, Ed headed back in the direction he had come from. He didn't care about running into Mustang at this point. He just…wanted to kick some ass. Plus, maybe Mustang would be obligingly annoying as well and Ed could vent some frustration on him after he pummeled the other guy into a pulp.

When he got to the corner where he and Mustang had separated, it was unsurprisingly empty and Ed had no idea where to go next. There were a number of side streets branching out from the intersection and Ed had never really gotten to know the city very well on his numerous short visits.

A sudden crack of alchemic thunder emanating from one of the dark alleys gave Ed his needed directional cue.

XXX

Parting with Ed had seemed like a good idea at the time, Mustang mused to himself. He had thought that the best course of action, other than telling the truth, which certainly couldn't be truth since he was too drunk to think rationally, was to tell a lie.

"You need to go home because I'd like to find myself a nice whore tonight, Edward." Well, at least that was a half-truth.

Roy couldn't help but smirk. Definitely a half-truth. He just wanted a specific whore.

Though, no one in his right mind would characterize Edward Elric as a whore.

Roy rubbed the bridge of his nose and hoped he wouldn't remember this in the morning.

It was strange enough that Riza had sent Ed after him in the first place. He was too young for that place…to young for many things…

Mustang took a random turn, thinking that perhaps an encounter with one of the many street walkers in this area might actually alleviate some of his deeper issues. An attraction to a subordinate, an underage, male subordinate, certainly couldn't be fostered, especially in a drunken state. That just made things so much messier.

Roy didn't even want to think that the attraction might also be tinged with a little bit of affection.

Mustang turned down several more streets before becoming a little disenchanted with his plan. Nobody else walked the dimly lit, side streets.

Then, as if in answer to Mustang's thoughts, someone tapped him on the shoulder and asked if he was interested. The colonel wasn't worried, even though he vaguely remembered the man from the bar who had been making eyes at Ed as he strode closer with an intense look. After feeling so defensive over the young alchemist's reputation, Mustang didn't care at this point who he ended up with.

Roy leaned against one of the stone buildings, waiting for something pleasant to happen. His haze had grown heavier since leaving Ed and he closed his eyes, unaware that the dark haired man was quickly scratching a circle onto the wall with some chalk.

Roy's eyes snapped open when he felt the heat of alchemic lightning and the wall encircle his wrists like manacles. Suddenly, he became very aware of the danger he had gotten himself into.

"Is this some sort of turn on for you?" Roy asked casually, snapping his fingers together out of habit. Of course, nothing happened and Roy started running other options through his head.

"I just like having my way with dip shits like you." His assailant looked triumphantly down at him. Mustang wished that he had longer nails, so he could use them to scratch the wall, or even prick his skin to get some blood. He needed something to draw a circle with.

"You probably know who you're messing with right?" Mustang glared threatingly, but the other man just laughed and leaned in closer to whisper in his ear.

"Some government prick who kills as a turn on? Because that's what all you military men are."

"You targeted me because I'm in the military," Roy said suspiciously.

"No, I followed you because your boyfriend blew me off."

"Uh huh." Roy started scraping his fingertips against the rough brick of the wall.

"I FOUND YOU YOU ASSHOLE!" Ed ran up the street in a fury. "YOU THOUGHT YOU COULD RUN AWAY FROM…." He stopped as soon as he saw his stalker leaning over Mustang, pinning him against the wall. All the blood drained from Ed's face.

Just as quickly as he came, Ed turned around and began to walk away.

"Edward Elric, I swear if you leave me alone with this maniac I will make your life a living hell!" Roy roared.

Deciding to ignore his better judgment, like always, Ed smiled wickedly and spun towards his target. The stalker was fairly quick and managed to avoid Ed's first kicks and punches. He taunted him into the street, where Ed, still a little tipsy, managed to elegantly trip and fall while stepping off the curb. His stalker leaped on Ed's shoulders, pinning his arms against his sides with his knees. Behind them, Mustang rolled his eyes and started to scrape skin against stone again.

"So," the dark-haired man asked while he grinned down at Ed, "is blonde your natural color?"

"What the hell is your problem you whack job!"

The dark-haired man's grin broadened and he moved his hand behind him and settled it on Ed's belt buckle.

"You're fucking kidding me right?" Ed squirmed beneath the heavier man, trying to use his auto-mail arm to force him off and ignore the unsettling laughter above him. Just when he had moved his arm into a good position to heave off the restricting knee, all the weight was suddenly removed from his chest.

Ed looked up at Mustang, who looked just about as angry as he had ever seen him.

Ignoring how surprised and ridiculous Ed looked lying on the ground, Mustang stepped over him and walked over to examine how much damage he had done by kicking the bastard in the face.

Roy was disappointed to see he had only broken his nose. His assailant crouched on the ground, trying to staunch the blood flow and laughing hysterically to himself. Mustang snapped his hand in the man's face to get his attention, but his bloody fingers slid over each other without making a sound.

"You are under arrest sir, and if you so much as scrape a nail on pavement, I won't hesitate to crush all your fingers." After that, Roy sighed, inadvertently flinching when he stuck his hand in his pocket.

But Ed came up next to him and saw Mustang's injury. "What the hell happened to your hand?" he asked.

"When options are at a minimum, think creatively," Roy quoted from some lesson of war as he transmuted a pair handcuffs from the nearest lamppost. Ed rolled his eyes, finally catching a glimpse of the wall Mustang had been bound too. There was a small, red circle drawn on it. Ed sucked in his breath.

"Yeah, I learned that a long time ago," he muttered.

Mustang handcuffed the madman and pulled him up by the shirt collar. "I'll handle it from here, Full Metal."

"Do you need me to…"

"Go home. And make sure you clean yourself up before you get there. We wouldn't want Al to be wondering what happened to you."

Mustang tugged his captive down the street in the direction of the police station, at the far end of the headquarters compound. Ed was alone again, too confused to try and argue with the colonel as he watched him walk away.

Ed looked himself up and down. He wasn't bloody. He was barely even dirty. What did the colonel mean?

Then, Ed noticed his belt buckle was undone.

XXX

Ed tried to open the door to his dorm room as quietly as possible, fully aware that Al would be awake anyway, since he was incapable of sleep. Ignoring his brother's stare, Ed quickly tugged off his clothes and slipped under the covers of his bed.

But even after he turned over to face the wall, Ed could still feel Al's eyes boring into the back of his head. Ed sighed and turned to face him.

"Can't I get some sleep without you gaping at me?"

Instead of answering, Al remained irritatingly quiet and tilted his head.

"…What." Ed glared, seeing a smirk on Al's face, even though he didn't have a mouth.

"Nothing, Brother. I was just worried about you. It is two o'clock in the morning after all."

Ed didn't want to put up with Al's games tonight. He turned back to the wall, pulling the covers over his head, but he could still hear Al's metallic voice after a brief moment.

"…I was sort of wondering where you were."

Rolling his eyes, Ed threw the covers off himself and sat up.

"Remember when Lieutenant Hawkeye asked me to escort the colonel back to headquarters?"

"That was hours ago."

"Yeah, well, it wasn't as simple as she made it sound," Ed muttered.

"…so, you were with the colonel this entire time?"

Al received a sidelong glare from his brother.

"What're you trying to say, Al."

"Nothing, Brother."

Again, Ed bristled at Al's obvious attempt to seem indifferent.

"Come out with it, Alphonse."

This time, Al turned toward the wall as if he was trying to become more comfortable in his tiny bed.

"Really, brother, I think you're reading too much into this."

"Into what!"

Al glanced over his shoulder.

"You tell me."

Ed glowered at Al, but red-lighted eyes kept gazing at him steadily. Finally, Ed gave up, sighing while he pulled the covers around him and laid back down.

"There's really nothing to tell," he finally muttered thinly. "Nothing happened. Nothing you would be interested in anyway."

"And what would I be interested in?"

Ed gave one final attempt to shut out Al's voice with heavy blankets, but he still couldn't take his mind of off Mustang. Damn Al! Damn Mustang!

Fuck it. Ed tossed the blankets onto the floor and jumped out of bed.

"Brother, where are you going?"

"Out," Ed sighed. "I gotta take care of something"

"…okay. Do you need my help?" Al asked hopefully.

After tugging on his boots, Ed turned to his younger brother. "No, you've helped already."

"Oh." Al fell silent for a moment. "Oh," he repeated with understanding. "Well…I guess I'll see you later then," Al waved jovially.

Ed sneered and slammed the door.

XXX

Roy definitely hated filling out reports even more than reading them. But since both were major parts of his job (other than bossing people around, which by contrast he loved), he had to but up with it a great deal.

Roy doubly hated filling out reports while just coming off of a night of drinking.

To make matters worse, he couldn't even go home for a cat nap. He had to go straight to headquarters, with his criminal in tow, and start the enchanting process of filing all varieties of papers, documents, and files. His night was made even more enjoyable by the lack of staff at the law enforcement building because of the late hour.

Thankfully, the personnel who were on duty seemed incredibly grateful for his capture of 'the military manacler', as his criminal was affectionately called. Mustang barely even faced any questions about the incident. They would have been happy to hear that he just picked him up off the street and let any questionable facts slide.

So, Mustang did just that. He said as little as possible and got out of there as quickly as propriety would let.

After two hours, Roy was free to leave the stuffy law enforcement building, having successfully delivered his criminal to the proper authorities, filled out the required reports, and fooled everyone into thinking he wasn't drunk. Plus, he hadn't even had to mention Fullmetal's involvement…

Roy paused at that, hand poised on the main entrance door. He had blatantly left out Fullmetal in anyway. No one would believe any of the 'military manacler's' rants, but still, it wasn't the smartest of things to do.

After sighing heavily for his own foolishness, Roy pushed open the door and began walking down the steps, only to find Edward Elric sitting on the bottom stair, gazing distractedly out into the street. It took some effort to keep from cursing aloud, especially since half of Roy was pleased by the younger alchemist's appearance.

"Hello, Full Metal," Roy chose to say instead. "What brings you here?"

Ed startled, not having noticed Mustang's approach, but he quickly collected himself and stood, even though he kept his gaze on the ground.

"I…uh…" Ed's eyes rose to meet Mustang's. "I thought I might have to make a statement or something."

"Everything has been taken care of," Mustang said kindly, seeing for the first time from the building's lights, the blush that crept onto Ed's cheeks. He was almost taken aback at that.

"Well, I'm going to get something to eat," Ed said after a second. "Staying up this late makes me fucking hungry." He looked up at Mustang expectantly.

Mustang smiled smally to himself and placed a hand on Edward's shoulder. "I think I could stand something to eat myself, if you wouldn't mind the company, that is." He thoroughly enjoyed the look of relief that passed over Ed's face as the younger alchemist's eyes flicked to the hand on his shoulder.

"Sure, whatever," he said, brushing Mustang's hand off not unkindly. "But, you're paying."

"Fullmetal," Mustang said as the two began to walk, "I believe I paid at the bar."

Ed shrugged while looking totally nonplussed. "Do you want to come or not?"

Mustang glanced at the person walking beside him, "I suppose I do."

Then, Ed shrugged again simply saying, "I'll pay you back later," before his lips twisted into a feline smirk.

Roy highly doubted he would see any of Ed's money, but didn't mind, because he was almost hoping that Ed meant something other than cash. Roy tried to push that thought aside.

XXX

Ed watched Roy sip his coffee slowly, every so often gently blowing against the steam.

"Is that all you're getting? I thought you said you were hungry." Ed stuffed another piece of bacon into his mouth.

"I think you are eating enough for both of us." Roy smirked around his coffee. "And I mean that literally, considering I'm paying for this."

"You didn't have to come," Ed huffed after chewing his bite of pancake. He wiped some syrup off his face and glared at Mustang. "I don't remember asking you."

Mustang's smirk wavered for a split second. "No, I suppose you didn't, but you shouldn't complain about a free meal."

"Fuck, with all of your Colonel's salary, you think you could spare a few dollars."

"I usually only pay for my dates, Full Metal."

Ed accidentally bit the inside of his cheek.

"It's all a matter of Equivalent Exchange." Roy said with total coolness while he poured himself more coffee from the pot that sat next to him. He offered some to Ed, who shook his head and waited for Mustang to continue. "I pay for my dates because they give me…"

"I don't think I need to hear this." Ed put his forehead in his hand.

"…an enjoyable evening out," Mustang finished and took a drink of his coffee with closed eyes. "Mind out of the gutter, Full Metal."

"You're the one who wanted to find a prostitute," Ed muttered under his breath, but Mustang didn't seem to notice.

"You should stop relying on others in matters of money. You often take advantage of the military's budget, as if Equivalent Exchange doesn't apply to that as well."

Ed decided to ignore Mustang's lecture and instead paused for a moment to turn his own thoughts over. "I don't think I owe you anything," Ed finally concluded.

"How so?" Mustang said with no hint of annoyance that Ed hadn't been paying attention.

"Well, first of all, I went to that fucking bar to make sure you didn't kill yourself. I kept you from breaking your nose on the floor. I helped you out of the street when you asked," Ed tallied his points on his fingers, "and I saved you from that crazy guy, although I have no fucking idea how you ended up in that position." Ed smirked, holding up four fingers on his automail hand. "Now, you paid for my drinks, arguably also saved me from the psychopath and are paying for my meal. I have one up on you."

Roy sighed. "Are you really trying to argue favors as Equivalent Exchange?"

"As if a date giving you an enjoyable evening out is reason enough to pay for her?" Ed scoffed and crossed his arms, having finished his breakfast.

Roy serenely sipped his coffee. "That was a joke. There are some things in life that people simply do for each other, whether out of love or worry or just because they feel like it or believe it is right. Where you really expecting something for coming to the bar tonight?"

"…no." Ed looked at his empty mug.

"And yet here we are." Mustang finished his coffee and stood up after placing some bills on the table. Ed also stood up, slightly wishing he hadn't left all of his money in the dorm. It suddenly felt wrong to have Mustang do this favor for him. The man had, after all, been doing favors for him for many years. He rolled his eyes as they left the little diner and stepped into the alley it called home.

Outside, the first rays of sun were starting to stripe the clouds gold and pink and orange. Ed took a second to look at the sky, just barely admitting to himself he had been enjoying Mustang's company. Plus, a tiny part of him was starting to believe, or was it hope, that perhaps the Colonel was also enjoying this.

Al was never going to let him hear the end of this, Ed thought before he looked at Roy, who had also turned his attention to the amber haze clearing into blue sky as the sun rose.

"So, does this mean I was your date?"

Roy actually startled and turned his head slowly to look down at Ed. Ed only shrugged, trying not to give a shit anymore about being embarrassed.

"I think I gave you a pretty enjoyable evening."

"You may need to look up the word 'enjoyable'," Mustang smirked. "It usually doesn't involve getting plastered and being assaulted."

"Pff, it was better than seeing some stupid theatre production. But hey if you just wanted to give me a free meal, whatever." Ed turned away, regretting his boldness just the tiniest bit. That tiny feeling immediately turned into feeling incredibly stupid, which twisted into horrible embarrassment. Ed just waited to hear Roy laugh at him, or do something, so he could pretend it was a joke. That way, he might be able to look the Colonel in the eye again someday. Instead, Roy's hand landed on his shoulder and turned him around to face him.

"Hey, sweetheart, don't usually see someone as fine as you around here," Roy said deadly serious, although his edges lips twitched as if he wasn't trying to laugh.

"Okay, now you're just making me want to throw up the breakfast you so kindly paid for, you shit." Ed rolled his eyes trying not to look at Mustang, who was, once again, too close to him.

"Now, now, if I can manage to control myself…," Roy whispered before leaning down to close the slight distance between them. He brushed his lips softly over Ed's, and Ed closed his eyes and accepted the chaste kiss with satisfaction, slightly relieved Mustang smelled like coffee and not heavy liquor. When Mustang began to nip at Ed's closed lips, however, Ed smirked to himself and gently pulled out of Mustang's grasp.

He ran a finger over his bottom lip with a Cheshire grin and ignored his own desire to continue. "That," Ed stressed, "will have to wait until the second date. Equivalent Exchange," he hummed.

Mustang's look of disappointment was priceless, although he quickly recovered with a smirk to match Ed's. "Certainly not a whore," he pretended to say to himself, though Ed could clearly hear his words.

"Damn straight." Ed paused, reconsidering what he was going to miss out on, but he decided he could wait a little longer. "See you tomorrow, Colonel. I'm free all day."

Roy sighed as he watched Ed walk away. "Same place tomorrow evening?" he said quietly, just loud enough for Ed to hear him. Ed waved without looking back.

"Sure and I'll pay for the drinks this time."

Ed smiled to himself, glad that he had banished that feeling of being cheated out of something. More importantly, he thought he had successfully given the Colonel a pleasant memory about their new meeting spot. Considering Lieutanent Hawkeye had, in so many words, asked Ed to try and cheer Mustang up a little, Ed felt the whole evening was an overall success.

He could barely wait to see how they would top it.

XXX

End?

I might continue it. We'll see what plot bunnies attack me :3