A/N: An angsty little quickie-fic that demanded I write it before it would let me go back to work on my NaNo. Enjoy!

::Can't Be::

It started with a fight, like so many things do with you.

You came in like a hurricane, all flashing eyes and righteous anger. I don't even remember why you were angry anymore. Just that you were, and that I was tired and about to go home and I really didn't want to get into it right then. I said something that didn't placate you in the least and tried to leave, but you weren't about to be put off, and followed.

You ranted and raved at me out the door and down the stairs, stomping along behind me while I walked home. At some point I sighed and turned to tell you to go home, when I noticed we were standing outside of a restaurant. I asked you to dinner instead.

The look on your face made enduring your anger more than worth it. You stood there for a moment, looking like a landed fish before you clenched your jaw and tersely accepted, ever a slave to your appetite. You were closed off and angry at first, but as the night wore on, you began to relax and I realized I was actually enjoying your company.

After that, it became ritual by silent agreement. You would come just before I left and together we would walk somewhere and eat. Some nights would find us occupying a table for several hours, meals long-finished, simply talking. When we were finished we would part ways with an unspoken promise to do it again the next night.

Then one night you broke the routine and walked me home. I don't think you meant to, really. We were deep in the middle of some debate when we found ourselves standing outside my apartment. You looked surprised.

I asked you in for coffee.

You looked pleased.

I never should have let things go that far. By inviting you in I was crossing an invisible threshold, stepping into forbidden territory. We sat in my kitchen for several hours and several cups of coffee, talking about everything and nothing. I looked at the clock, surprised to discover it was nearly three in the morning. I didn't have to work the next day, so it didn't really matter, but I decided it was time to wind things down. I took your cup and pointed out the time. You agreed that it was late, but made no move to leave, seeming lost in thought, golden eyes turned inward.

"Ed?" I called, leaning over.

You looked up at your name, and then you kissed me.

I kissed you back.

Hours later found you asleep in my bed, curled against me, face peaceful and breathing even. I traced the curve of your jaw and you smiled, nuzzling closer, soft blond hair tickling my nose. I think at that moment you were the most beautiful thing I had ever seen, made soft by the pre-dawn light spilling in through open windows. I watched you sleep for a long time, feeling peaceful in a way I hadn't in as long as I could remember.

You were gone when I woke, and I thought for a moment that you had left, until I heard clanking from the kitchen and saw your clothes still on the floor. I pulled on a pair of pants and wandered out. You were in the kitchen, dressed only in one of my shirts that hung long and loose on your small frame. You didn't notice me at first, tending the bacon sizzling in your pan. After a moment you looked up and saw me, smiling softly before announcing loudly that you figured you ought to feed me. Equivalent exchange and all that.

I think that was the moment I fell in love with you.

From that moment on, I was yours. We met almost every night, and almost every meeting would find us back at my apartment and you in my bed. I have no excuse for it, except that I was drunk on the feel of you. Your eyes, your voice, the passion with which you spoke, all these things served only to ensnare me further.

It was torture when you left, though I understood the reason. You had a goal, and that couldn't stop because of me. The time apart gave me space to think, a cold, cruel voice I had suppressed began insisting to be heard. I didn't want to think, I didn't want to be logical. I couldn't fight that voice forever, because deep inside, I knew it was right.

We were wrong.

What you and I were doing was wrong for so many reasons. You were my subordinate and a minor. I had goals too, and getting caught with you would put an end to them. You deserved better than some old military dog twice your age. I was only hurting you, and I knew I had to end it.

You came back, and I told you I couldn't see you anymore. I gave you my reasons, and I was right damn it. I told you that you deserved better, that you should be spending time with girls your own age and not warming the bed of some foolish old man.

You were furious. You slammed your hands down on my desk with enough force to crack the wood, gold eyes flashing death as you leaned in until we were nearly nose to nose.

"A girl my own age," you repeated, the flatness in your voice enough to make me flinch. "Do you think a girl my own age would understand when I wake up in the middle of the night screaming because of the horrors I've seen? Do you think a girl my own age," you continued with a snarl, "would understand when I had to leave her at a moments notice to chase hearsay and rumors?"

I tried to speak up, but you wouldn't let me.

"Do you think a girl my own age," you roared, "would ever understand me!?"

You looked so hurt and angry and lost at that moment that I nearly crumbled. Only years of long practice kept my mask firmly in place. "I'm sorry, Edward," I told you, hating the cold, professional sound of my own voice.

"Our relationship is immoral and improper."

I need you.

"It should never have gone as far as it did."

I love you.

"We just can't be."

I'm sorry.