Disclaimer: In my dreams Fullmetal belongs to me…in real life I own nothing…

Disclaimer: In my dreams Fullmetal belongs to me…in real life I own nothing…

Oh my god! Last chapter!! /sobs/ It's been over two years to get this done. There have been life events (achieving my black belt in Tae Kwon-Do), dry creative spells—I've hated this story at times and loved it to pieces in others. I've made good friends and met a lot of great people! I've had my own cheering section!

Special thanks go to my beta, of course! ZaKai was a rock through all of this. You listened, you encouraged, you talked sense to me when I continually moaned over my reviews (or according to me, my lack of them). And thanks also to—in no particular order—TsukasaTheFominian, S909, Sprinx, Aubreyvamp, eagle-chan, twilights-aura (who even pimped out my story on her profile), Quitexsoul, weredragon70, silkendreammaid, alchmeyotaku4ever, anmbcuconnfan, and many others—who if I missed you, I didn't mean to—who followed me and commented on each chapter; thanks to Aino Hikaru, Ellie Underhill, and K-Laine who drew me fanart.

Oh gosh, just thanks to everyone! This was my first fanfiction and serious writing attempt. I've felt really welcomed in this fandom!

THANK YOU!!

(1) I don't remember where I heard this, but the American military, in this time, would give out clothes to men who were leaving the military. In the case of the story I remember, a solider wanted a hat that was a size too big, because he wanted to give it to his father-in-law and was arguing with the supply master, who insisted that he take a smaller size. I think I was this bit on the History Channel if that helps. Sorry I can't offer direct references to this. However, if anyone knows where, please provide a link if you find one!


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Chapter 25

The bell chimed merrily as the door opened wide to admit a stooped, weathered man, hat in hand and blue checked handkerchief wiping over his face. The diner was mostly empty at this time of day except for the few other men who were too old for farming but not old enough for dying.

With a bang, the door swung shut, the blinds swaying across the glass and all eyes turned to the newcomer.

"Frank," called one man, lifting a deep brown hand in greeting.

"Chuck. Bill," greeted Frank, nodding to each man in turn. Stuffing the soiled handkerchief in his back pocket, Frank made his way toward the bar, sitting between the two men. His hat landed on the countertop with a small cloud of dust. Wearily, Frank leaned his elbows into the counter with a sigh.

"Hot day," commented Chuck, taking a sip from his lemonade.

"Very hot," agreed Frank, catching the eye of Millie, the waitress. She gave him a wink before moving out of sight.

"I hear the fields were turned up at the MacDonald place. Those boys help with that?" wondered Bill before lifting his tomato sandwich up to his mouth for a bite.

Frank grumbled an affirmative, watching as Millie came out with a fresh glass of lemonade, placing it in front of him.

"I swear those boys are like brothers. The way they carry on sometimes, it's nice to see. I hear they went through hard times," said Millie, leaning into the counter with her hip.

"Very close and always together; but very helpful. I don't know what would have happened to Miss Thompson if they hadn't gone over to her house for yard work that day," agreed Bill, who always would have a soft spot for Miss Thompson but would never be brave enough to do anything about it.

"Does anyone know why they do all that helping? Doesn't it seem like young men ought to be…doing something else?" mused Millie. "Oh, Frank, did you want anything from the kitchen, dear?"

"I'll just have a sandwich, please." With a nod, Millie went back into the kitchen leaving the men to wonder over her question silently.

"Crop prices are going down again. It'll be another hard year. Two families have already sold their land and went to the big city. Mark my words, there'll be more in the years to come," predicted Chuck, wagging his finger at them.

The other two men stared contemplatively at their hands. The town was shrinking to only woman, children, and old men. It wouldn't be long before the town died.

"Do you know, I think it's good that those boys help out like they do," mused Bill. "Without them, the smaller farms would be long gone. They even cattle wrangle."

Millie came back out with a cucumber sandwich and placed it in front of Frank. "Thanks Millie; you make the best cucumber sandwiches this side of the great lakes," proclaimed Frank, grinning up at Millie.

"Aw, thanks hon!"

Conversation dwindled to a few mumbled words as Frank began to tuck into his sandwich. It was customary at this time of day that the four of them—Millie, Chuck, Bill, and Frank—would spend the slow hours of the afternoon together. It was often the time that they would discuss the goings on in the town folk and the world beyond. As Chuck was the only one of them to have a radio that would pick up broadcasts from the east coast, he would happily share the knowledge with them.

It wouldn't be until around four that anyone else would venture into town for supper or other shopping at the general store, so it was surprising to them that the door rang merrily, signaling a new customer.

"Ah, hey guys!" called the young man, the door falling closed behind him. Just like his deep blond hair, this man seemed to bring the light into the shaded restaurant.

Chuck recovered the quickest. "Edward? All done work today?" he asked.

"Naw, I'm just running errands for Mrs. Scotts and the kids. Timothy's sick again and she couldn't leave. Then Roy and I will be off to round up the Johnson's cattle, so we'll be away for about a month."

"Edward, maybe you could take a break and answer a nagging question we all have," suggested Millie, placing a new glass of lemonade to entice the young man.

"Oh, that sounds great! It's some hot out there today!" said Edward, striding across the diner with the vigor of youth in his step. He sat down on the other side of Bill and lifted the glass to his lips for a long draught. With a gasp, Edward placed the glass on the counter, empty. "So, what were you guys wondering about?"

"We were trying to figure out why you two do so much for the town?" asked Millie boldly.

"Oh…"

The four of them exchanged worried looks as Edward's mood dropped quickly. They could sense the change and wondered just what that question had dragged up, which in turn only fueled their curiosity. Their attention focused back on Edward. The young man seemed to notice that he was under scrutiny and looked down the counter at them with wide eyes before quickly looking away.

Edward laughed slightly, giving a shake of his head. "Well, I guess you could say that I'm just trying to make the world better in my own little way."

They shared a look between them.

"And Roy? You often refer to him as your brother…" Millie leaned forward, eagerly waiting on answers to her long speculated theories.

Edward looked over at them. "He is very close. Like a…brother."

"Zach once heard you say that you have another brother? Married with kids somewhere," suggested Chuck.

Shifting on the stool, Edward looked down at his glass. "Yes, he's living in New York with his wife, Noa. I have a nephew." A prideful smile graced Edward's once somber face, lighting the diner once more with his eagerness.

"Oh, wonderful! Do you have any pictures?" asked Millie, moving closer.

"Yeah, I do," said Edward enthusiastically, pulling out his wallet from his back pocket. A worn, sepia colored picture was produced and handed round. A tall man dressed in a dark suit, his arm around a slender woman's waist, with the baby between them; they looked very happy with what life seemed to have graced them with.

"That's Alphonse, his wife Noa, and there's Nathan. He's almost three now. The last letter I got, it says that he's got a whole bunch of words now and he can write too! He's smart just like his uncle," boasted Edward, taking the picture back.

"They look like a fine family," remarked Frank when everyone remained quiet.

"Thanks," said Edward, carefully putting the picture back into his wallet before putting it in his back pocket.

A series of rapid knocks on the front window and they were all straining to see. A man with shaggy, black, shoulder length hair waved, then motioned outside.

"Oh shit—I mean—sorry, Millie!" said Edward, rising from his stool. "I got to go." Edward rushed out the door without another word.

There was a moment of silence before they turned to each other.

"Well…that was unexpected," said Millie. "I mean, did Edward's brother's wife look…foreign…to you?"

"They do come from Europe, it would figure," said Bill logically.

"I don't know, it just seems…wrong somehow, you know?" pressed Millie.

"Not at all," said Frank. "I married an Irish woman, they're as foreign as you can get."

"Oh, please," huffed Millie over the round of laughter Frank's comment earned.

"There're good kids, Edward and Roy," said Chuck.

"It's just a shame that it didn't workout between Roy and Anna. They would have been good together," said Millie, still feeling annoyed at Frank.

"Nothing you can do," said Bill.

"Millie!" The front door swung open and there stood Edward. He rushed across the diner and slapped a nickel on the counter. "Thanks for the drink! See ya!" And just like that he was gone again.

"Good kid," said Frank with a smile.


The crisp mountain evening air stirred with a light wind as eight men huddled around a roaring fire, their supper long consumed. They now tried to enjoy the quiet of their individual thoughts, letting tired bodies relax as much as they were able. Ed and Roy, along with two men from the reservation sat on one side of the fire while the other four sat on the other side; glaring. Tensions were high and had been from the very moment they had set out on horseback a week ago.

Ed had been called a 'red-skin lover' in the snidest, most condescending way since he spent the majority of his time with Roy and the two men from the reservation. Roy had been dubbed 'chief' in an equally malicious manner for constantly restraining Ed from beating the other four and, seeing how angry Ed would get, they made sure to use the new nickname whenever possible.

It was become painfully obvious to Ed that this time out would be the worst ever. The usual group of men that went with Ed and Roy couldn't make it. That meant there were a few out-of-towners plus some robust Indians from the reservation. It also meant that Ed had to deal with a stranger's input again. Not only on the inclusion of the two Indians, but their comments about Roy. Unlike other people Ed and Roy have had contact with, these four immediately perceived Roy's 'half-breed' status; noting the way the two Indians deferred to Roy in a lordly manner.

"Hey, chief, how about you hand over the coffee pot?" jeered a burly man that went by the name Roger Limpet. It always started with Roger and always after dinner.

The two men to Roy's left stared calmly at the others; murmuring indistinct words and nodding. They were from the same reservation as Roy's Indian side of the family and were Roy's second uncle's cousins, three times removed…or so the theory went.

Instantly, Ed's head snapped from the fire's hypnotizing dance to glare at the man dangerously. Lounged as he was across the ground with a log for a back rest, reclining and slightly leaning into Roy's leg, he had let his guard down, thinking that tonight, finally, he would get some peace. He was obviously wrong. "You call Roy 'chief' one more time and I'll pound you into the ground, Roger!" he growled, narrowing his eyes at the speaker.

"Hey, I'm just respecting the red man's way—" Roger said with a smirk for his fellow buddies. The three other men chuckled along with Roger for he wouldn't have it any other way.

Drawing his legs up under him, Ed perched on his knees, the firelight glinting in his golden eyes threateningly. "What the fucking hell is your problem, Roger!" demanded Ed, pointing a pale, leather-covered finger at him. "'Cause I really want to know before I beat it out of you!"

"Ed," murmured Roy soothingly. Ed clamped his mouth shut and shoved down the urge to do some much needed rearranging to Roger's face. His body shook with the desire to unleash fury greater then these men had ever known. Wrinkling his nose at the men, Ed let his hand fall back to his side, clenched.

"Yes, chief, keep your little…heh, pet on a short leash. I wouldn't want to get rabies if he should bite me," jeered Roger with a calculating gleam in his eyes. The three other men shifted on their seats nervously, sensing the charged atmosphere. Their laughter became more subdued then Roger's.

Ed gritted his teeth hard, trying to swallow the hatred that was bubbling up in him. For two years he had been good and quiet when people like Roger came into their lives. For two years he'd shown restraint and discretion, learning when to keep his mouth shut so that they would be left alone. Hell, he even pretended to like girls and date, along with Roy, to make sure no one in town got wind of their 'arrangement'.

But there was only so much that he could take, and the pressures he had been under had been growing more and more each time they interacted with people. His usually quick temper had nothing to lash out against and he had to hold it all inside. Even when they were alone, Ed could rarely keep his temper, often lashing out at Roy who was ever patient with him.

When Ed wasn't angry with the world, he would often feel remorse over how he was treating Roy. It made him love that man even more to know that despite the abuse, Roy stuck with him. There were good times—too few good times—but they were there. He only wished that they came more often. When he was out in the backlands like they were now, it was usually good. But with this crew of men, it was just compounding his stress well into the stratosphere.

"Just drop it for once, man," Roy said to the men seated across from him, poking the fire with a branch.

"I don't take orders from red-skins or red-skin lovers like blondie there. Know your place and just go back to the reservation. We don't want your kind around here," snarled Roger.

Like the log in the fire that just cracked in half, Ed snapped. "That's it!" snarled Ed. Suddenly he was on his feet, leaping at the older man and tackling him to the ground. All the other men quickly stood, some moving out of the way of the tussle, while Roy was the only one to step towards them.

"Ed! Stop!" shouted Roy, belatedly realizing that Ed's temper was high enough to cause trouble. Roy watched in horror as Ed lifted his left hand high and proceeded to punch Roger in the face.

Ed was rejoicing in the release of his anger. He had always had a volatile side, but just letting go… There was no reason to stop now. It was a relief to let all his long controlled emotions have free reign and seeing Roger cowering under him was sublime. He was mid-swing when a body slammed into his rib cage, knocking him aside, and compressing his lungs. Reacting blindly, Ed began to squirm his way out from under the larger body over his.

"Ed! Ed, stop! Edward!" Hands pulled at Ed's, pinning them above his head in a position that usually held a lot of excitement in the bedroom…until the fog of rage finally lifted and he was panting up into Roy's face. Roy pressed his lips in annoyance, giving him a hard look. Ed turned away, letting a guilty breath out through his nose.

Roy shoved a hand into his chest, pressing him into the ground as he stood. Roy hardly ever showed his irritation. Ed looked up at him out of the corner of his eyes, feeling a wave of affection hit him as he looked at Roy's profile. He was so lucky that Roy loved him despite his failings.

"Get up, Roger," growled Roy as he stepped over Ed's prone body.

With a shaky sigh, Ed closed his eyes. His anger wasn't used up. He wasn't okay. He still needed to release these pent up frustrations, but there was no one who he could go all out on here. Al was on the east coast with his family; successful in his small bookshop. He couldn't spar with Roy like he did with Al. It was only when he did physical work, that finally a small amount of the pressure got released. Not like either he or Al needed to do the work they did. The Americans came through and after debriefing them both, had paid out one hundred thousand each.

"Here," said Roy gruffly. Ed could hear the crunch of dry twigs. "Do you have anything further you want to add?" Slowly, Ed sat up on his hunches. He shot a glance at Roy, finding him glaring at the other three men threateningly with Roger standing in front of him. Jed, Roger's second, seemed like he might have something to add, his hand slowly inching towards his hunting knife. The fire suddenly flared, sending sparks into the night.

Ed smiled, letting his head roll back onto his shoulders, feeling the flush of desire. He loved it when Roy used his control over fire. It never failed to turn him on and make him frantic with the need to have Roy inside him. Looking up at the Milky Way, a snort of laughter worked its way out, and then another, and another until he was laughing loudly.

"He's fuckin' crazy!" shouted Roger, moving towards the safety of the other men from his group. That only made Ed laugh louder, rolling over onto his stomach and pounding the ground.

With a few quick words in Lakota to the Indians, Roy pulled on his arm getting him to his feet. "Let's go for a walk Ed," murmured Roy in his ear.

But he could barely walk for laughing so hard, and if Roy wasn't holding on to his arm, he would have fallen many times over. The light of the fire quickly faded, leaving them in the darkness under the leaves with the occasional glimpse of moonlight.

"Ed!" Roy whirled him around, shoving him against a tree and his laughter choked.

"R-Roy haha why'd you stop me?"

"Ed, snap out of it!"

"Snap? Haha!" Ed doubled over suddenly seeing Mustang in his mind eye, showing off. He thought it was incredibly funny. Roy gripped his shoulders again, slamming him into the tree again.

The sound of flesh hitting flesh echoed in the dark grotto, finally ending Ed's hysteria. He stared blindly at the dark branches, his cheek burning with the force of Roy's slap. Roy hadn't ever hit him. It chilled him better then anything else could have.

"Come on," grunted Roy, pulling on his boneless arm and going deeper into the forest.

Roy said nothing as he led the way, his grip tight above his elbow. As he walked, Ed stared at Roy's silhouette and felt desire anew. But as he followed, a sudden welling of emotions caught him unawares, making him blink rapidly and sniffle.

"Ed?" Roy paused, looking back at him—or at least Ed supposed he was. He couldn't see Roy's face in the darkness.

Closing the distance between them, Ed buried his face in Roy's chest, his arms pulling the body close to his. "I'm sorry," choked Ed, trying to hold back the tempest that was threatening to overtake him. "I'm a-a mess. I can't-t do this any-anymore," he hiccupped. Warm arms enveloped him, making him feel safe and loved as the raw emotions leaked out of him the only way he had left.

"Can you hold out until we get the herd in?" asked Roy softly against his temple when his breathing evened out and he started to calm down. "We can go somewhere. Away from this town if you want. I know you've been unhappy, but you never talk to me."

"I'm sorry," murmured Ed, rubbing his face into Roy's shirt. "I hate that man," Ed spat. "I hate lying all the time. I hate stupid people! I just want to l-love you without judgment." Emotions caught in his throat making him swallow hard to contain them.

"I know, I'm sorry," murmured Roy, pulling him even closer.

"What are you sorry for, dummy," mumbled Ed, sniffling but feeling immensely better just being where he was; in Roy's arms.

"For putting you through this; for making you stay. I had thought that the support of the Indian community would be enough for us to be happy, but I was wrong."

Ed's chest heaved over a gasping breath. He didn't have anything to say to that. It had been hard from the moment he moved in with Roy. The charades they had to play, the stories that needed to be kept straight. It was exhausting on a level that Ed had never known. And…he'd had enough.

"I can wait. I'll be good," said Ed, defeated. Roy's hand caressed his temple, pushing his bangs off his face.

"I love you," murmured Roy, placing a kiss on the same temple he had just freed from his hair.

"Love you," mumbled Ed, sighing. He allowed himself to relax and just enjoy the feel of Roy's arms around him. Without Roy, his life would be empty. Even if it was hard, he wouldn't change Roy's place in his life. He loved him so much, and yes, the man had picked up Mustang's tendency for teasing him along with some other Mustang traits. But, mostly, Roy was not like Mustang at all.

Roy's fingers trailed along the back of his neck, causing goose bumps to travel down his spine, where he began to massage the base of his skull with familiar probing. Sniffling, Ed looked up into the void where Roy's head was. Lips descended on his, warm and tender; apologizing again without words. The hand at the back of his head travelled upwards until it caught on the tie holding his hair back, pulling it free.

Gentle fingers combed through his hair, making Ed want to purr in contentment. Roy's other arm was warm across his back; soothing his turbulent emotions. The insidious scratching of fingernails against his scalp made his mind turn to Roy's suggestion. If they were going to go somewhere, where could they go? They couldn't leave the country, Al was still here. Unless Al came with him; but he was settled with Noa and little Nathan in New York. Roy wouldn't mind leaving too much. Beyond his attachment with certain people on the reservation, his mother, living in Boston, had no real place in his life.

Roy placed another kiss against his temple, making Ed sigh. Ed would be really happy to get even farther away from Roy's mother. She was horrible. A bitter, angry woman that made it her goal in whatever remaining years she had left to make her son as miserable at humanly possible. The one time he had actually met that vile woman, he was shocked to see how well Roy had turned out. After Roy's father had died from over consumption, she had whisked Roy away to the east coast and cut off all ties to the other side of the family. She even went so far as to change Roy's last name to Taylor, her maiden name thus erasing his Indian name of Mustang.

Ed had been horrified to learn that she had also beaten her son in an effort to 'get rid of his bad blood'. He couldn't imagine a mother—a mother—doing that to her son. It was only after finally convincing Roy to let him meet her that he finally understood. Not only had she not welcomed Roy, she had screeched in Ed's face and attacked him. He was so unnerved by the whole confrontation that he hadn't said anything for almost a day afterwards. Roy later confided in him that she once told him that she had a 'freak of a son. A horrible creature that played with fire and was the spawn of the devil', so he was okay with her hating him. It made Ed sad, for he loved his mother so much. He wished Roy could have known that as well.

"Okay now?" murmured Roy.

Ed sighed again upon hearing his voice rumbling through the chest against his ear. "Yes," mumbled Ed, hunching his shoulders and giving Roy's body a squeeze.

"Walk with me," whispered Roy, taking his hand gently now and pulling him deeper into the woods. Ed firmly gripped Roy's hand within his leather clad one; following behind Roy and watching the dark ground for holes or rocks that might trip him up. They went deeper and deeper into the forest, but Ed didn't worry that they might get lost. For all he cared, they could get lost and then they would never have to see those men ever again.

"Do you remember this place?" Roy suddenly asked him and coming to a stop.

Looking up from his feet, Ed saw that they were on the edge of large downward sloping field, bathed in moonlight and fireflies. They had yet to leave the forest, so it felt almost like Ed was standing in darkness and beyond was light—freedom. But he didn't recognize this place at all.

"No," whispered Ed. His eyes roamed across the expanse hungrily. This place called to him somehow. It felt like a dream with the fireflies winking in and out, and the moonlight making everything white. The tall wildflowers swayed in the faint summer wind, bringing with it the smell of pollen and the last hint of sun-warmed grass.

"Well, we came here a year and a half ago the first time we went cattle ranching. Remember how you got lost and saw that wolf? That was here. I wasn't too sure I'd be able to find it again, but it looks like I got lucky."

"It's awesome," said Ed in a breathy gasp. He released Roy's hand and stepped forward until the trees dwindled to small ankle tall saplings; just absorbing the sight. A warm hand gripped his left shoulder, and distantly, he could just sense the pressure of another hand on his right. Then Roy wrapped both arms across his chest, leaning into his body with a contended sigh. He felt stinging in his eyes at the understanding Roy continually gave to him. He was really lucky to have Roy in his life.

"How come you are always so good to me?" Ed wondered, leaning his head back on Roy's shoulder. This was just like that time Roy held him under the sands of Cairo, back when things were so new. "How is it that you put up with my shit?"

"It's a tough job, don't get me wrong," said Roy softly into his ear. "But the rewards are…fantastic." Ed clicked his tongue, smiling and lightly jabbed his elbow into Roy's side. "Oaf! Hey, don't damage the goods now, or else you won't get any use out of me," grumbled Roy, but that didn't stop him from pulling his hair out of the way so that his neck was now open; laid bare for ravishing. Ed snorted sarcastically and made no motion to stop Roy as his lips began to trace up his neck towards his ear.

"Am I going to get some use out of you?" wondered Ed coyly, arching his body as one of Roy's hands slid down his chest. He gasped loudly as Roy's mouth closed over his earlobe.

"Shame to waste this place just looking at it," murmured Roy distractedly, his lips kissing along Ed's hair line.

"Is that so…" mumbled Ed, tilting his head to the side to allow Roy better access. A slow smirk spread across Ed's face as he thought about what Roy had said. With a soft snort, he started feeling a little bit devious and playful. Before Roy could even ask him what was up, Ed broke free from Roy's arms and sprinted out into the field.

"He-hey!" shouted Roy. Ed looked back, smiling at his lover's stunned face and then took off at full speed. "Hey! Get back here," called Roy. Ed grinned happily to hear that Roy was giving chase.

This was one of those rare but good moments. There was no one around them; they could just let all the pretenses go and be themselves. This had to be one of the best gifts that Roy had given to him over their two years of living together. Roy's shouts followed him as he ran through the knee high flowers and fireflies. He looked back over his shoulder to see Roy several feet behind him, grinning. Ed answered with his own grin and then suddenly crumbled to the ground as his foot turned on a rock.

There was a moment of stunned incomprehension at his new and sudden view of the night sky before his ankle began to hurt like a sonvabitch. "Shit," hissed Ed, clutching his ankle. He had turned his ankle the other day when his horse became skittish just as he had been dismounting. Roy had been very concerned.

"Ed? Ed, where'd you go?" called Roy.

"Over here…" said Ed, waving a hand so that Roy could find him. Roy crunched through the plants until he loomed over him.

"Are you okay?" asked Roy, kneeling down next to him. "You twisted your ankle again! I told you to be careful of that. You're not all healed up."

"It's just shocked. I didn't over do it; stop trying to be my nanny," growled Ed, snapping a open handed slap against Roy's chest. He put on a brave face and showed that his ankle was fine by rotating it for Roy to see. Roy didn't buy it, so Ed figured it was better to change tactics.

"Kiss it better," he demanded, holding up his ankle towards Roy. Snorting softly, Roy took hold of his denim covered leg and pushed the pant up. Small goose bumps erupted, travelling up his leg, as his skin was exposed to the night air. Roy's calloused hand caressed the ankle just above his sock, making another wave of goose bumps follow the first.

Ed shivered ever so slightly.

Gently pulling down Ed's sock, Roy leaned forward, placing a light kiss against the tender flesh just on top of his ankle bone. The warm swipe of a tongue across the top of his ankle had Ed struggling to contain a wonton moan. God, how did Roy always do this to him? It wasn't like the man had hardly even touched him yet, but he was so close to throwing Roy down and behaving like a mad man.

"Stop that," he murmured, feeling a wave of tingling want. "My foot sinks; don't lick it."

"You're right," said Roy, and then dropped his leg to the ground. Ed huffed in annoyance. "But up here should be better," Roy then murmured, leaning over him so that he was forced back, down onto the grass, as lips moved lightly against his. Ed hummed his agreement. This was better.

Ed gripped at the back of Roy's jacket, pulling him closer so that he could deepen the kiss. He needed this so bad. He wanted to lose himself in the simplicity of touch. He thrust his tongue deep into Roy's mouth, feeling every inch and savoring the taste of coffee and supper. It was Roy's turn to moan, and loudly. It fueled Ed to shift his weight, rolling them so that Roy was now lying in the grass. He ground his growing erection into Roy's crotch while he continued his assault on Roy's mouth. The fingers of his left hand reached up and found their way into Roy's shoulder length hair, gripping it until the neck was arched so he could bend down to nip, kiss, and lick at the exposed flesh greedily.

Roy pulled him close, offering up mumbled encouragements. It made Ed smile against the warmth of his skin. Fireflies winked in and out around their heads adding a fairytale quality to the night. With his right hand, Ed pulled at the collar of Roy's shirt, nipping at the tender skin just above his heart.

When was the last time they had been able to do this? Often they had to restrain themselves from touching each other like they wanted. They had to sleep in separate bedrooms more nights then they spent together. There were too many comings and goings at Roy's grandfather's place to allow them proper time alone. Stolen moments were even riskier. Anyone might come along and see something they shouldn't. So, when a chance like this came along, they took hold of it with both hands.

Roy's hands were busying themselves with Ed's belt buckle while Ed worked on those twice damned small buttons that all shirts seemed to be cursed with and growling when they didn't immediately come undone. With a frustrated snarl, he bit the leather finger of his left hand and yanked the glove off, throwing it down beside him and then repeated it on the other side. Even with his fingers bare, he couldn't work the buttons very well. He wanted to rip the shirt open but then Roy wouldn't have anything to wear so, he had to frown and growl as he worked diligently. Sometimes he hated auto-mail.

Roy was much faster, to Ed's annoyance. He had finished with his belt, had his fly open, and began to work on Ed's own button down shirt. By the time Ed got to the second last fucking button, Roy had his hands underneath his undershirt and moved it up into Ed's armpits. As soon as the very last button was undone, Roy sat up and covered his nipple with his mouth, sucking it until it was a tight, hard nub.

"Ah," gasped Ed, throwing his head back to stare unseeingly at the star filled sky. The bastard knew that Ed would be rendered almost mindless by sucking on his nipple, but the fucker did it anyway. He seemed to like that he could make him beg just this one small action any and every time they were alone. Very quickly, Ed lost his earlier aggression and became lost in the feel of Roy's hands, his mouth.

"Give me your jacket," said Roy, his voice muffled by his hold on Ed's nipple. Ed didn't hear him though. He knew that Roy spoke but he wasn't able to comprehend what was coming out of that lovely mouth. "Give me your jacket, Ed. We'll spread them over the ground," said Roy again, tugging now at his sleeve and turning away from his chest.

Ed whined at the lose of Roy's mouth and leaned down to kiss along Roy's neck, hoping to distract him from what he was doing because he need that mouth so bad. Finally, Ed found what he was looking for and a sloppy battle of who had the better tongue ensued. The cool night air on his chest seemed to make him hyper-sensitive to the feel of Roy's chest pressing against his. It was then he realized that he didn't have skin-to-skin contact like he ought to.

"Hm—Ed wait," said Roy, muffled against his lips, but Ed didn't want to hear it, or anything. He just wanted to feel. "Ed…Ed com'on."

Ed grumbled a negative. Roy gripped him close; one arm over his back and the other gripping his hip and turned them both to place Ed gently on the ground. Ed was covered in kisses while his coat was carefully removed. Then Roy leaned back, looking down at his prone form while slowly taking off his own jacket and moving it under Ed's hips, then more lips and fingers, palms pressing urgently.

Their clothing was carefully removed and placed within arms reach; they couldn't afford to lose even one article of their clothes just incase someone might notice or suspect what had happened between them. Even in the frenzy of passion, they could both recognize how foolish it would be to make an error. And Roy, forever thinking ahead had brought enough vegetable oil that they would be able to have intercourse.

There was care in the way Roy eased in the first cool finger. Ed hissed slightly at the burn, but arched into it as well. He couldn't get enough of this feeling of being filled. He only wished that they didn't have to hide as much as they did. The second finger was a little more intense and Roy had to wait a moment for him to adjust, and then the third finger and scissoring to stretch him further.

Ed gasped loudly when the tip of Roy's erection finally touched his entrance. His heart beat wildly in his chest so that he thought it might just beat right out and flop around on the ground. Holding himself so that only his tip rubbed along his anus, Roy leaned forward and captured Ed's mouth. Each shift of their bodies made Ed anxious to feel Roy inside of him.

"Hey," murmured Ed, suddenly remembering what Roy had told him earlier and gasping as Roy pressed against him. "I thought you said I was going to get to use you-ahh!"

It was then that Roy finally moved forward, sinking the first half inch into Ed's body. They both shuddered at the heat they were feeling at the point where their bodies began to merge. "After I use you a bit," said Roy breathlessly as he moved his hips forward again. Ed moaned loudly, unable to respond.

Slowly, much too slow for Ed's taste, Roy buried himself as far as he could and then stopped 'to savior the feel' as he murmured against his chest when Ed demanded more. Roy peppered his face and neck with small pecking kisses and when he finally made it to Ed's mouth he forced Ed back with the intensity of his passion. When Roy finally withdrew from his body, Ed hissed through his teeth and threw his head to the side, his hair falling over his face. And then Roy moved forward and it was as though sparks made Ed's body jump.

His cries and demands, his threats and pleas went unanswered as Roy moved at a pace that was seemingly designed to drive him mad. There was no rhythm, nothing that he could latch onto to satisfy that hard knot in his stomach that screamed at him for release. But thankfully, it wasn't so long before Roy lost his will to tease him and started to move in earnest.

And it wasn't long after that for them to spiral up to the pinnacle of what their bodies could handle. Ed came with a surprised gasp. It came upon him so fast that he had hardly had a chance to say anything or warn Roy. When he came, Roy fell forward, his hands on either side of his head and quaked with the force of his own climax.

With a sated groan, Roy collapsed on top of Ed and buried his face in his neck. "God, we need to do that more often," murmured Roy.

"Hell, yeah," sighed Ed, wrapping his arms about Roy's wide shoulders. He no longer felt any of his anger from before. Now he was nicely blank and floating on the fading cloud of pleasure. They fell into silence; Roy's warm breath blew across his neck at regular, steady intervals, lulling Ed and making his eyelids heavy.

"Remember that dream I told you about," asked Roy sleepily, drawing small shapes on Ed's chest. "Do you remember when we went to visit my grandfather's grave? How the elders crowded you?"

"Hm," grunted Ed, remembering the story Roy had told him the night after his arrival here. Roy's grandfather had a vision of his coming. Not only were the elders waiting for Roy to return, but they were waiting for Edward too. As they had walked into the neglected graveyard to search for Roy's grandfather, they had been surrounded with old men and women.

It seemed as though Roy had been expecting this to happen and when Ed threw a questioning glance his way, he saw the other half of his braid lying on Roy's upturned hands.

"What're you gettin' at?" mumbled Ed, letting one eye open to stare down at the black head resting on his chest.

"I was just wondering if any of that helped you. You know, the fasting and so on."

"Ah," said Ed with a small nod in understanding. With a long indrawn breath, Ed considered Roy's question. Had any of those ceremonies help him? Watching the bottom half of his hair burn up in a fire that Roy created, or sweating in a small, hot hut, even fasting on his own in the middle of nowhere for days; did he get some closure?

He had been able to make peace with Izzy's death and the fact that he'd been unable to locate the family. They would never know what had happened to their little daughter, and for the longest while that had made him annoyed and anxious, but he now allowed himself to realize that he was only one man. He couldn't fix everything.

He had also been able to make peace with that brief but traumatic episode with the Seniore. For the longest time he'd have nightmares, violent nightmares that left him tangled in the sheets and sweating hard before he could wake. That was the dark time for him between when Al was still recovering from his gunshot wound and Roy had been shipped back to America. It would take seven more months before Al was well enough to travel and take a diesel boat across the Atlantic.

By that time Al and Noa's relationship had grown immeasurably. They had gone to the court house just before leaving Cairo, the three of them dressed in their very best, and Al and Noa had gotten married. It was small and intimate, and just what the intended wanted. Ed had been pleased with the simplicity of it all, and had fleeting wishes that Winry and Pinako could see how well Al looked.

His dreams had plagued him all the way to America, and that damned need of his to wander flared up hard as soon as he got off the boat in Halifax. The train ride down through Boston and onto the country's capital had lessened that urge for a while but, as soon as he became sequestered in a small room with two big, chain smoking men, the itch came back.

It was another month before the government would let them both go, and they could travel on to South Dakota and find Roy. As soon as Ed saw Roy again after all that time, he'd wanted to jump into his arms so bad—he had even moved forward to do so before he caught himself. Al and Noa were welcomed, but Roy really only had eyes for him. It was lucky that most of their interactions weren't observed.

Ed hadn't even realized how much of a stress ball he'd become until he was allowed to finally stop worrying over Al's health, or his wonder lust, or his dreams. Letting his breath out in a sigh, he figured that with everything else on his mind, doing those old, baffling rituals had helped… "Yeah, I guess. For a while."

"How about now? Do you want the elders to help you again before we leave? You know they'd be happy to; they accept you as one of us."

"I know," murmured Ed, gazing up at the stars and the Milky Way. "I'm okay, really. I just want to get away from everything for a while. We don't have to stay away forever. I know you love being here."

"You know what, buddy?" asked Roy, propping himself up on his elbow and looking down into Ed's face. Ed blinked his focus off the stars and then closer, at Roy.

"What's that?" murmured Ed, reaching up to push Roy's unruly hair out of his eyes and letting his hand linger on his cheek.

"I think that where ever we go, it'll be fun with you there."

Ed smiled. "Yeah, I suppose so. Any thoughts on where we should go?" He let his hand trace down Roy's face, along his neck, until it covered the hard knot of scared flesh where the misdirected bullet had ripped through Roy's shoulder.

Roy's arm was always bothering him, and he couldn't lift heavy objects for too long before his whole arm seized up. He had gotten honorably discharged with full benefits, which to the military meant that Roy got a nice suit and hat (1). Ed was even more pleased with his work for the American government now, because it meant that they wouldn't have to work harder then they wanted to in order to survive.

"How about South America? Warm sun, white sand beaches…no one around for miles on end. We could get seriously lost there…"

"Hm, South America, eh? You know, I've been reading some of the papers written about some temples they found in the deep jungle, we could check it out—" Roy threw his head back and laughed. "What?" demanded Ed.

"Always the scientist," said Roy, leaning forward to kiss Ed's down turned mouth. With a little bit of coaxing, Ed returned the kiss and rolled them over so that he was lying across Roy's body.

"My turn," he murmured against Roy's mouth, and then cutting him off when he started to protest.

--The End--


This is my last chance for this story to hear from you. Please let me know what your thoughts are. Was the ending good, weak, or just so-so?

I love you guys! It's been a fun journey, and I'm so glad I got to share this with you all!