AN: I have no excuse for why I haven't updated in like five months. All I can say was that I had insane writer's block, which still hasn't completely unblocked itself. However, I really want to thank everyone who has reviewed. I really love hearing all your comments, especially those long ones. I hope you all had a lovely holiday season and a Happy New Year. I sure did. Why? Because I got fanart! Yes, the lovely Zero Infection has drawn me something. You can find it here:

www (dot) deviantart (dot) com (slash) deviation (slash) 45830143 (slash)

Just replace everything accordingly and you'll see it :D

Disclaimer: I do not own Full Metal Alchemist.

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B l o o d . F e v e r

- T h r e e -

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Doctor, I'm feeling a little deceitful today…

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The snow made soft crunching noises beneath Roy's heavy steps, the white powder clinging to the soles of his black boots, accumulating with every step. It created a sort of leaden rhythm that made the general feel like he was walking to his own execution, which in a sense he was. After all, he highly doubted that Alphonse would be happy with any answer he would be given. Although he couldn't exactly be certain about why the boy had decided to pay him a visit so suddenly, but Roy had a pretty good idea.

The sun was starting to dip down beneath the horizon, disappearing behind a long line of somber buildings. Obsidian eyes watched his shadow as it steadily grew longer and longer, bending completely out of proportion with the real Roy Mustang. However, observing his shadow quickly grow in height caused his heart to clench painfully and for his thoughts once again to return to Edward.

It was painful to say the least. Now that he'd seen the blonde again, Roy found his thoughts wandering back to Edward more often than ever before. Every time the boy resurfaced in the forefront of his mind, his breath would hitch in throat and his teeth would sink into the pink flesh of his lower lip. However, he knew that now wasn't the time to get all emotional. If a moment should come when he needed his impassive liar's mask more than ever then now would be the time.

However, he couldn't push the thoughts of Edward away so easily. It was frightening how the blonde still looked the same as he had three years ago. Like a person caught in a photograph, a captured memory forever frozen in the sands of time, caught between the fine grains, the eldest of the Elric brothers hadn't physically changed one bit. The same golden eyes peered out from behind a curtain of corn-colored hair that still had its usual shine past all the dirt and dust. Edward Elric was like a copper coin. If left in harsh conditions for a period of time, the metallic brown sheen would be hidden underneath an unappealing layer of green, but if cleaned then the coin would gleam as brightly as it ever had.

A small smile came to Roy's lips at the analogy he'd made. Yes, Edward was a copper coin in some ways. However, to the general, Edward was far more valuable than any coin. Not even all the gold in the world came close to how precious the nineteen-year-old was to Roy.

He let out a low whistle, watching his warm breath rise up in thick foggy tendrils. Edward was growing up quickly. Well, in a technical sense. It seemed like just yesterday that he was looking down into the fiery eyes of a foul-mouthed twelve-year-old, who seemed to be too big for his britches.

Roy clicked his tongue against the roof of his mouth, finding that the thoughts of Edward to be strangely comforting in a way. It was hard to keep his steps going in a forward motion, moving him towards a confrontation he would much rather avoid, but he owed it to Edward to at least speak with his younger brother. However, that didn't mean that he could disclose any confidential information to the younger of the two Elrics. There were some things that must be kept secret.

Carefully picking his way around a particularly slippery patch of ice, Roy started to plan out a sort of script in hopes that he wouldn't be completely unprepared when he stepped into that office. However, Roy was quick on his feet, able to come up with believable fluid lies right on the spot without ensnaring himself in a web of deceit. The general had no reason to be worried, and yet he was. Maybe it was because he would be dealing with Edward's own brother, his flesh and blood.

His brain began to tick away at these thoughts. Was he betraying Edward by withholding information from Alphonse? Or was he doing the right thing? Was he keeping the boy's sacrifice from being in vain? Or was he causing Edward to suffer needlessly? His mind was at a constant tug-o-war with itself now, pushing, pulling, pushing, and pulling. He needed to quiet down this inner battle. All it was doing was distracting him and with this meeting Roy needed to be completely alet. No ifs ands or buts.

Letting his tongue run over his dry lips – not caring that they might just chap – he walked up the stairs into the building, shuddering at the drastic change in temperature, the chilly outside and the warm comfortable interior. The walk down the hallways seemed to have passed in a sort of dream-like state. He floated down them, receiving salute after salute, responding to each one with a curt nod of acknowledgement. Faces didn't register in his mind. All he saw was an interminable sea of navy.

He moved along, the crowds beginning to thin as he neared his office. His heart was thrumming against his chest in what could've been possibly described as fear or perhaps it was nervousness. He really didn't have much time to think it over as he'd reached his final destination. Fingers that were sweaty beneath rough white fabric grasped the doorknob, paused for a moment, and finally pushed the door open with a sharp twist.

Cigarette smoke coupled with a chilly gust of air welcomed him into his office. Dark eyes flicked up from the floor, finding that neither Havoc nor Fuery were at their posts. Instead he found a certain suit of armor sitting on the couch. A very familiar suit of armor that was glaring daggers at him.

"Hello, Alphonse," he said, keeping up an air of politeness – or maybe it was making it seem like he had a ten-mile pole shoved up his ass. It most likely was the latter as the air of hostility surrounding the younger Elric seemed to become even more hostile. "Are you doing well?"

"Where's my brother?" Alphonse demanded, rising to his feet. Well, he'd wasted no time in getting to the point. Roy had expected that and merely walked over to his desk, taking his time before sitting down in his chair.

"E–" He stopped himself, frowning. He rarely used Edward's first name when he was set in the military persona. Plus, he highly doubted that Alphonse knew anything about the romantic relationship that had developed between his brother and the general. "Fullmetal is on a very important mission in the north," he replied, not missing a beat.

Although Alphonse's metal body couldn't change in expression, Roy was sure that the boy's eyes were narrowing dangerously. He hated to admit it, but frankly, Alphonse Elric could be rather terrifying when his older brother was involved.

"It's been three years, Colonel," the boy pressed, "Can't he have a break to see his family?"

"I'm a general now, Alphonse," Roy corrected, picking up a pen and twirling it in between his fingers. "Have a seat." The worried younger brother was reluctant to sit down, but did so anyways.

"Congratulations on your promotion." The words were hollow, almost like they were being read off of a note card. However, Roy thanked him with sincerity. After being in the military for as long as he had you learned how to fake politeness as well as sincerity. They were essential for climbing up through the ranks.

"I'm sorry Alphonse, but your brother can't come home until he's finished the mission," Roy replied, finally setting the pen down and steepling his fingers, elbows resting against the desk's smooth polished surface.

"What is he doing?" Al demanded, voice rising in volume as he swiftly rose to his feet, obviously not satisfied with the answers he'd been given so far. Roy merely let out an exasperated sigh, wondering how long he'd have to be subjected to the boy's badgering.

"I can't tell you that, Alphonse," Roy answered, voice even and showing no signs of the headache that was beginning to form.

"Why not?" he exclaimed. "I'm his younger brother! I have a right to know where my older brother is! I'm worried!"

"I understand that you're concerned, Alphonse, but Edward is fine." He wanted smack himself across the face right then and there. Edward was most certainly not fine. Far from it actually. As far from it as he could get. "And I can't give you that information because it's top secret. You shouldn't even know that he's on a mission, let alone that it's in the north." He let out a soft sigh. "I'm sorry, Alphonse, but I can't help you."

The boy within the armor stared at Roy, eyes blazing with anger and frustration. "Is your promotion so damn important?" he hissed, each word dripping with venom. Roy was taken aback, but then remembered that the person within the armor wasn't a child. No, Alphonse was a legal adult now, eighteen years of age.

"This isn't about me," Roy said, standing up as well, body rigid, jaw locked tight. He pinched the bridge of his nose, trying to quash his rising anger and calm himself down. This was not the time to lose his normal calm and collected demeanor. Definitely not the time. "Go home, Alphonse."

The boy crossed his arms, the armor plates grating over each other. "And if I refuse?" he challenged. It was clear that the boy wasn't leaving this place without an answer. Too bad that Roy wasn't going to give him any.

"Then I'll have someone escort you out." Although it had been phrased in a more polite and proper fashion the meaning was still the same. The younger Elric knew that well enough. He understood what Roy was implying.

"I want answers."

"I can't give them to you."

"Why not?"

"I've already told you that, Alphonse." A sigh followed. Really, they were just going around in circles here, trapped in an incessant circular motion of demand and deny.

"But he's my brother!"

"I'm well aware of that."

"Then why won't you tell me when he's coming home."

"Because I don't know when he'll be back."

Lie. He knew that Edward would never be able to come back to society, to immerse himself in the throng of humans that now seemed so far away. Edward Elric had been erased from the public. The only thing left behind were the memories of him the people he'd met carried and they just might be the things that could turn the military onto its head. How could they not have counted on interference from Edward's friends and family? They wouldn't be satisfied with the mission excuse for too much longer. That was for sure.

"Can you at least give him this?" Alphonse asked, seeming to calm down as he held out a small white envelope. Roy was surprised that he hadn't seen it till now. However, he managed to keep this surprise concealed.

"I'll try my best," he replied, taking the envelope from the younger brother and setting it down on his desk. "I can't guarantee that he'll be able to write a reply or even receive this. The methods of communication where he is are rather primitive as well as faulty."

Alphonse nodded, anger giving way to worry and sadness. His shoulders slumped as a cloud of despondency began to descend over him. He missed his brother badly. Roy could see that with ease. Really, all the man wanted to do was tell the younger Elric were his brother sat and reveal the entire truth, skipping no details. However, that was an impossible thing to do.

"I'll have someone escort you back to your home," Roy said, picking up the phone. "It's dangerous to walk alone in the dark."

It didn't take long for Havoc to arrive on the scene under the order of taking Alphonse Elric back home, a home – Roy finally decided – that shouldn't be empty. Edward should be there, waiting for his younger brother to come home for dinner.

He let out a small sigh, turning around in his chair to stare out the window. The sun had already set and dark shadows were beginning to consume the city. His eyes darted back over to the letter on his desk. Carefully he picked up the envelope, the paper crinkling beneath his gentle touch. A small sigh escaped him as he eyed the trashcan, knowing full well that he should toss the letter and forget that it had ever existed.

However, he could never bring himself to do such a thing, so he rose to his feet, slipped on his dark jacket and exited the now empty office. He had one last errand to run: a delivery.

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Edward was sitting on his cot when he heard heavy footsteps come down the hallway. His gold eyes flicked up from the dust particle he'd been staring at, wondering who was coming his way. Ever since the incident with toothpick man he'd been wary of the guards, choosing to keep his distance. He even went so far as to move his cot into a far corner.

Reflexively he pressed his back into the wall, fingers curling into fists, the thudding steps echoing in his ears. His heart began to beat faster within his thoracic cavity, smashing against his ribs with each pump. Edward's toes curled as well, pulling the dirty sheets with them, causing the bed to creak loudly. Adrenaline pumped through his veins as the owner of the steps came closer and closer, closer still, and finally he was at Edward's doorstep – in other words his cell door.

His unease seemed to grow as he peered at the man who stood there. It was another one of the guards, but unlike the others, this one seemed to take pride in keeping himself aesthetically pleasing to the human – an inhuman eye. However, the fact that he understood what hygiene was didn't mean much to Edward. It was just a welcome change. He was tired of staring at yellow, plaque-covered teeth in any case.

He heard the loud click of a key turning in the lock and the cell door creaking open, the bars scraping across the floor, creating an unpleasant sound, like nails on a chalkboard. His eyes flicked to the door, which had been left ajar, but he knew better than to make a run for it. He'd tried that before and it had ended in rather unpleasant results.

"You have a letter."

Edward's head snapped up to look at the guard, who now stood only a few feet from him. Eyes flicking to the white, slightly crinkled envelope held in between the man's fingers, the blonde pulled his knees towards his chest in a protective manner. The guard did nothing. Instead he merely stood there, holding out the letter. Slowly and tentatively, Edward extended his hand, reaching out for it. It was nearly in his grasp when the guard snatched it away.

"Didn't say I was going to give it to you, now did I?" the man asked, lips twisting into a near sadistic fashion. Edward felt a lump form in his throat when he knew what was going to be asked of him. The boy shook his head finally when he realized the man was waiting for an answer.

"No," he croaked out, throat suddenly dry. This fact merely seemed to amuse the guard as he let out a soft chuckle.

"I never expected anyone to write to something like you," the guard said as he examined the envelope. "But apparently someone named Alphonse wants to tell you something."

Edward immediately sprung up off the bed, eyes wide as he reached for the letter, but the guard merely stepped back and held it up higher. A low chuckle rang through the room as Edward continued to try and grab the envelope.

"Important person, this Alphonse? What is he? A lover?" the man asked before he kicked the blonde in the chest, knocking him back onto the bed, which shook under the sudden weight and force. Edward thought that it would go ahead and cave in beneath him.

"He's my brother," he replied, coughing as he clutched his chest, feeling the burn of the kick slowly beginning to creep away.

"Brother?" The guard frowned, unhappy that he'd lost a bit of juicy information. Oh well, he just lie and tell the guards that the vampire bitch was fucking his brother. Well, had been. Not like they'd believe Edward if he denied it. Besides, they already thought the blonde was a slut and a whore after Ray had come back, bragging about how he'd gotten into the boy's pants.

Actually, Ray's incredibly detailed retelling of what had happened had made him lust after Edward Elric all the more. It didn't matter to him if most of what Ray had said was untrue. He just wanted to get in the blonde's pants. However, he'd have to hold on that for now. He'd start with something simple, a warm up.

"Well, if you want this," he gave the letter a wave, "Then you're gonna have to work for it." Then with a smirk, he tucked the letter into the front of his pants. That should get the vampire's attention, which it did.

Edward's eyes widened in realization as his jaw locked as his fists clenched. He looked from the guard's face to the envelope, which he so desired to have. If he wanted that letter then he had no choice but to cooperate and do what the man wanted him to do.

Taking a deep breath, he got down on his knees in front of the man and shakily unzipped and unbuttoned the man's pants. The letter fluttered to the ground, but he knew that it would be foolish to go after it now. He could feel the guard's amused gaze upon him as he pushed cloth aside, searching for something he'd rather not find.

He was just about to put his mouth upon the man when he felt fingers tangle in his long blonde hair and jerk him back. Edward gritted his teeth as pain rippled through his scalp. The rough grip forced him to look up at the guard, who was now frowning.

"Keep your fangs in your mouth bitch," he hissed. Edward swallowed and nodded. Then his hair was released enough for him to move his head down and towards the man's lower half. "Well, what are you waiting for?"

"Nothing," Edward said softly before he went to work.

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AN: I know! I know! I'm absolutely horrible for stopping there and making this chapter short. I'm sorry! I'm sorry! This chapter just wouldn't come out! I've re-written it about fifty times and I still don't like it. But this'll just have to do. Please be kind with your reviews. I know this chapter is just 'ew'.