Ed approached the door to Mustang's office cautiously as if were a dangerous animal. He didn't want to be here; he was too afraid of what this meeting would bring. He'd avoided Mustang all week physically; but, mentally, he'd spent almost every moment with him. There was no way Ed would have believed he could be even more infatuated with Mustang than he had been in the past, but after the night they had spent together, all he could do was think about him, about how much fun they'd had together, and about laying so close to him...
Yet, Ed knew that it was all only a dream, and that was why he had stayed away. He didn't want to hear Mustang try to be nice as he rejected him. He didn't want to look into those dark eyes and know that Mustang would be just fine—probably wouldn't even think about him again—while he was dying inside...
He almost wanted to kick the door open and demand to know why they couldn't have had a shitty evening. Why couldn't Mustang have stayed all stuffy and proper? Why did they have to go to his house where Ed could see that, not only was Mustang good looking, but that he was really quite down to earth when he wasn't at work...
Why did they have to have such a good time? Why couldn't it have gone badly? Why couldn't Mustang have stayed a jerk so that Ed could distance himself from his attraction? Why? Why? Why?!
Slowly, Ed made a fist, then quickly knocked on the door. He wanted to run away, but he stayed his ground, and when he heard 'come in' from the office, Ed hesitantly opened the door and slipped inside.
"You wanted to see me?" he asked nervously.
Mustang, who was reading over something, looked up and nodded before picking up a folder and standing up. He walked around his desk and motioned to one of the couches. "Let's have a seat."
"I'll stand..." Ed said stiffly, ready for the worst.
"No, you won't. Sit on the couch. When Ed pressed his lips together and shook his head, Mustang said mildly, "That's an order, Major." He stared at Ed expectantly; and, with a sigh, Ed trudged over to the couch and sat heavily. Sitting down on the same couch but a respectable distance away, Mustang said quietly, "I haven't seen you in a week..."
"Yeah well..." Ed muttered. He looked away, unable to meet Mustang's eyes. "I've been pretty busy..."
There was a moment of uncomfortable silence, then Mustang said, "There are a couple of things I'd like to talk to you about."
Ed clenched his hands tightly. "I already know. You don't have to try to spare my feelings or anything. We can just pretend like none of this ever happened." He snapped his mouth shut with an effort and looked away. He felt so hurt and angry! Why did it have to end like this?!
"First of all," Mustang said, as if Ed's outburst had never happened. "Some control over your verbal statements is in order. Please try to think before you speak. I know it's hard, but I think you'll find yourself in less embarrassing situations when you learn not to misspeak."
"Whatever..." Ed muttered. He knew that his mouth gave him away and led him into trouble far too often; he didn't need Mustang to tell him what he already knew...
"Now... for the real reasons I wanted to speak to you..." Mustang sounded hesitant now, and Ed couldn't help but glance back at him. "I think we need to talk about..." A pause. "I think we need to come to an understanding."
Ed grunted, then growled, "I already told you that you don't have to be nice."
There was a long moment of silence, then a slow, "Okay..." from Mustang. "Last weekend, I asked you a question. In fact, I asked you several times, but you didn't answer." Ed nodded silently, and Mustang continued, "I asked you where the date with me fit in with your goals." Ed nodded again and waited with a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach.
Mustang tapped the folder against his knee a couple of times, then said, "I've been thinking a lot this past week. I've been thinking about you... and about me... Hawkeye was right. A lot of this started out of pure curiosity for me, but I quickly came to wonder about myself..."
There was a long pause while Mustang seemed to gather his thoughts, then he looked at Ed and said, "I had a great time last weekend and I didn't really expect to..." A pause. "No offense."
"That's okay, I didn't expect to have a great time with you either," Ed quipped.
To that Mustang smiled a little. "I do like you, Ed," he said suddenly, and Ed nearly choked.
"You do...?!" Ed felt his heart soar. Excitement bubbled up inside of him and he didn't know how long he'd be able to contain it.
Mustang took a moment to formulate his words, then said carefully, "Yes, I do. I think you'd be a great friend..." Ed's elation dropped like a rock. Friend?! That's it?! "I also think you're rather good looking..." Mustang added and he suddenly looked a little uncomfortable. The excitement was back and Ed suddenly felt the urge to go look in a mirror—maybe preen a bit. "But... a lot of this happened really fast, so I still need some time. This isn't exactly something I like saying, but... I have no idea what I want. I need some time to come to terms with a few things..."
Ed nodded unhappily. He supposed he could understand that. Not everyone could make the transition from dating only one gender easily or quickly. Ed wasn't sure how he'd feel about going on a date with a girl, so... yeah, he could understand... It didn't mean he couldn't feel a little disappointed though...
"Also," Mustang continued. "You have other obligations right now. A relationship takes a lot of time and energy; things you have reserved for another right now..."
Yes, Mustang was right... It was something that had caused Ed to feel a lot of guilt over. Al needed him...
Mustang took a deep breath, then said, "I'm not going to tell you that I'm not interested in you; because, truthfully, I am. But... I think we both need some time. I need to understand myself better in regards to... various things... And you need time to mature and meet your goals." He smiled a little. "Who knows... by the time you restore your brother, you might find that you don't like me as much as you thought you did. Sometimes feelings fade..."
"I don't think that will happen!" Ed blurted without thinking. "I've liked you since I first saw you!" He forced himself to shut up and blood rushed to his face in embarrassment.
"We'll see..." Mustang said quietly, his lips ghosting into a small smile, then became more businesslike. "You work to achieve your goals. That will give me some time to adjust to my new... interests... When you restore Al, well... perhaps we can try another date."
Ed thought about what Mustang had said, then asked, "Are you just saying this so that you don't have to reject me outright?" He could just see Mustang taking such a copout path.
Mustang's eyebrows knit together in slight irritation, before he stood and said, "Stand up, Ed."
Ed stood and watched as Mustang stepped forward. Their bodies were so close now that they were almost touching. Then, without warning, Mustang grabbed Ed's chin, tilted his head up, then bent down and pressed his lips softly against Ed's. There was a moment when Ed wondered if he'd pass out from lack of air. He couldn't breathe! His heart had stopped! His real leg felt shaky and he wondered if he'd fall over.
The kiss seemed to last for an eternity; yet, in reality, it only lasted a few moments, then Mustang pulled away and gazed down at him.
"What was that?" Ed gasped, eyes bulging. Not that he minded, but it had been so sudden.
"A promise..." Mustang murmured. "When you reach your goal, we'll discuss the possibilities of you and me being 'us'."
"A promise..." Ed breathed in disbelief.
"And, to help you..." Mustang said, holding the folder out. Ed took it and glanced through the contents.
In shock, he looked up at Mustang and said, "I thought you said..."
"I did," Mustang grunted. "Don't think it was easy for me to get Hakuro to sign off on that. You need to be sure you're not so wasteful with your budget this time around."
A grin split Ed's face. He'd been worried about how he and Al were going to make it on so few funds. True, they had been rather wasteful with some of it in the past, but they really did need more than what the new budget cuts were allowing.
"So, after I get Al back to normal...?"
Mustang nodded. "Can you wait that long?"
"Can you?" Ed shot back.
Raising an eyebrow, Mustang said, "If you think I'm going to stop going out on dates and getting laid when I can, you're wrong. I'm still single and so are you."
Ed frowned. "I don't know that I like this..." He didn't want to think about Mustang sleeping with anyone besides himself; but the man was right, Ed didn't have any real claims yet.
"Then hurry and achieve your goal," Mustang said with a smirk.
Ed glared at the man for a moment, then grinned and walked to the door. Opening it, he looked at Mustang, raised the folder in a mock salute, and said with determination, "I will!"
"I know you will," Mustang said confidently.
Ed took one last look at the man he'd always wanted and never thought he'd be able to get, before leaving the office and closing the door firmly behind him. He felt elated and hopeful for the future. He would get Al back to normal, and after that... Well, after that... anything was possible.
Well, that's the end. I hope you enjoyed the story. It's almost strange to think that this story is complete. I started this one about two years ago, though most of it was written within the last ten or so months.
Part of me would love to write a sequel to this one, but I can't promise there will be one. I have way too many unfinished works that I need to focus on. But a sequel is a possibility sometime in the future.
I'd like to thank you all for reading and for the supportive comments you've left me. Even though I more recently became unable to answer every one of them, please know that I appreciated each one and your support really helped motivate me to write, despite the fact that my life is becoming busier by the day.
— ZaKai Stonewall