Title: Sing Again
Author: Zalia Chimera
Pairing: Mention of previous Roy/Ed
Notes: Inspired by the song 'I-Spy' by Pulp.
Summary: The past walks back into Roy's life.
Roy excused himself from the conversation politely before slipping into his small office. He closed the door behind himself with a sigh of relief and leaned back against it for a moment before starting to unbutton his jacket. He tugged the jacket off and dropped it carelessly over the back of a chair before going over to the drinks cabinet and pouring himself a glass of whiskey.
Why did he feel so restless? He had everything he had wanted, everything he had worked for. A beautiful flock of women for him to call when he wanted company, a position of influence, almost peace in the country. Everything. So why couldn't he settle?
He took a gulp of the liquor, carefully blotting out the image of golden eyes that came to mind.
It had been two years. Too long to still be thinking about him. It had just been another fling, another person he had bedded over the years so why was he still thinking about it?
He slammed the glass down on the top of the cabinet when the door creaked open and turned to face whoever was disturbing him.
And the past walked in.
"Nice party," Ed muttered, glaring back through the door before kicking it shut carelessly. It was all Roy could do not to take a step backwards. "Very posh," Ed sneered. "Champagne and cocktail dresses." Somehow he managed to make them sound like dirty words.
Finally Roy managed to regain his composure. "What are you doing here?" He hissed coldly. Edward wasn't meant to be in Central. He was meant to be anywhere else but Central. Anywhere but in Roy's life.
Ed smirked at him and reached into his pocket to pull out a rather crumpled piece of card. He tossed it towards Roy and watched it land at the older man's feet. "I was invited." He glared back at the door for a moment. "General Roy Mustang cordially invites you..." He trailed off, a sneer on his face at the words.
After a moment, Roy stooped to pick up the card. He traced his thumb slowly across the golden gilt letters of his own name and swallowed thickly. He remembered writing the invitation. But he hadn't sent it. Had been too afraid to send it, of contacting Ed again after so long. He had what he had worked for. He didn't need to keep the past so close.
But the housekeeper, she must have seen the invitation on his desk and assumed that he had just forgotten to send it. She was so attentive that way. Exactly the way that Ed hadn't been when he dumped his clothes unceremoniously in a heap on the floor, roughly shoved Roy's paperwork from his desk with a predatory smile, sprawled in bed until well into the afternoon...
He shook his head briefly to dislodge the unsettling images from his mind. Things were too different now. Life was how it was supposed to be. Calm and dignified and easy...
Roy scowled and dropped the crumpled invitation onto the desk carelessly. Maybe he stayed turned, fingers clutching the edge of the desk, for a little too long to be natural, but he needed his composure. He needed his mask to be perfect, because Edward had always been able to notice the flaws and he picked at them until they were visible.
When he turned back, he managed to look Ed in the eye, but only just and his voice seemed to stick in his throat. What did he say? What could he say? They'd said everything before they'd parted. Ed to his family and his travels and Roy to his life.
It was Ed who finally broke the silence and there was something strange in his voice, a wistful, regretful tone that Roy didn't quite recognise. Ah, he was probably just imagining it, hearing things that couldn't possibly be there. "This isn't you, Roy." There was something that could have been pleading in his eyes.
"What are you talking about Fullmetal?" Roy replied, reverting to formal titles and well practised scorn to hide his discomfort.
"This!" Ed gestured expansively. "All of this! Dinner parties and fancy place settings and polite conversations about nothing. It isn't you!" Roy could see now the almost desperation in Ed's body language now. The tense set of his shoulders and the crease on his forehead.
"Ed," he sighed, voice soft and apologetic. "This is who I am. This is what I worked for." He tried to think of some better way of putting it, some good way of explaining, but anything he came up with seemed trite and ridiculous.
Ed snorted and for a moment his defiance was back along with the near mad glint in his eyes. "Don't be an idiot, Mustang."
Roy raised himself to his full height, automatically preparing to lecture a wayward subordinate. But Ed was next to him before he could start, fingers raising to touch the eye patch just as he had years ago. And Just like then, all Roy could do was stand and let those fingers stroke his face gently. Only Ed touched him that way, like he knew everything and forgave it all.
"This isn't what you gave this up for, is it?" The fingers traced his cheek, down his throat and finally coming to rest on his shoulder over the place where the long scar from the Fuhrer's sword lay. "Don't tell me he gave you this just because you wanted a quiet life." He looked up at Roy's face and whatever he saw made him sigh heavily. "People wouldn't have been so loyal to you if that was all there was."
Something must have shown on his face because Ed frowned at him and gripped his chin firmly. How did someone fourteen years younger than himself manage to make him feel like a child?
"You don't believe that do you? Don't tell me that all of your confidence was just a front!" When Roy gave no reply, Ed stepped away with a growl of frustration. "I don't believe you!" he snapped. "What happened to the idealistic idiot or the vulnerable man? You're just hiding them again behind more of those stupid masks!"
He knew... Ed always knew.
"Why?" was all that Roy could say. "Why now?" Why had Ed come back, come back now when he had just about managed to forget, to push everything so far down inside himself that he could ignore it?
Ed shrugged and looked abashed for a second before his lips twisted into a wry smile. "I grew up I guess. Or something. It just felt right."
Roy managed to force a sneer to his face. "Shouldn't you work out what you mean before you barge into my life, Fullmetal?"
"Shouldn't you work out what you want before you decide on your life, Mustang?" Ed snapped back savagely. "Pathetic."
"Why do you even care?" Roy asked quietly. "You left, making it quite clear that you were finished with this life, with me." He could see Ed's throat move as he swallowed, the way his shoulders tensed further before he slumped slightly. "I made a mistake," was Ed's reply. "I lived for Alphonse for so long, I devoted myself to restoring him. It took me a while to work out how to give that up once he didn't need me any more and start living for myself a little." He looked slyly up at Roy, a smirk curling his lips. "You haven't figured that part out yet, have you?"
Roy opened his mouth to say something but it was cut off by lips pressing against his own. The kiss was less desperate than he remembered, passion tempered with gentleness and even though he knew he shouldn't be doing this, he couldn't quite bring himself to stop until Ed himself pulled away. "It doesn't suit you," he said with a twisted smile.
There was no movement for a long moment until Ed sighed heavily, fingers lingering against Roy's cheek. "I guess I can't change your mind. I just wish..." He didn't finish the sentence, just gave him that smile again before turning towards the door. "Enjoy your party, Roy."
Roy stared at the door until he could barely believe that it had ever happened. Ed hadn't really been there. He couldn't have been. He hadn't been there, hadn't said those things...
The champagne tasted somehow flat when he returned to his guests, the conversation little more than dull gossip about various socialites. He found himself waiting anxiously for the moment when they would leave.
And then what?
He could get up in the morning and go to work. Take another simpering lady out for a meal and then go home and repeat for infinity.
It was his life. It hadn't been something thrust upon him like Edward's life had been. It had been what he had chosen. His choice, his decision. He couldn't just change. He couldn't even go back to how it had been once because he wasn't that person anymore.
He bit his lip thoughtfully as he headed to his bedroom.
He switched the lights off as though it were any other day, closed the windows, locked the door behind himself. Doubtless people would talk. They talked about every tiny little pointless thing like cackling hens but he couldn't quite bring himself to care. Maybe he'd even go back to the house. Eventually. When he knew what he wanted from it.
But for now there was a train ticket in his pocket and a book in his bag that he hadn't had chance to read yet.
Roy didn't even bother to look back at the house as he left.