A/N: I don't understand why all of my ideas start as Harry Potter crossovers. It's very weird, in my opinion. This is one of those - actually, it started as a Harry Potter Naruto crossover scene, and then randomly transformed itself into FMA while I was walking to class. No idea why. And the dream about Envy came because I thinking about hanjuuluver's Boggart Encounters story, and wondering what kinds of things he would see. Originally, the dream was going to be about his mother, but that is so...cliche. I just couldn't do it, and the Envy Boggart Encounter thing popped into my head in its place. And it's an idea I really like, because Ed has always seemed to be a person who hates to be weak, and I think the idea of losing his automail and just being crippled again would really bother him. Anyway, please excuse any weird mistakes or parts that make no sense in this, as I wrote most of it while extremely out of it and stupid thanks to my allergy pills - my brilliant doctor prescribed me the wrong ones, so I got the pills that make me reeeeeally loopy. Seriously. As in, I almost spilled water all over the Econ assignment we were going over in class, because I tried to open my bottled water while it was still upside down. Actually, it was kind of fun. But it may have made this story kind of weird. It certainly had that effect on my English paper.
Disclaimer: I do own FMA! I do! But that's probably still the drugs talking. You should just ignore me.
Would It Help If I Stayed?
After several months, the office betting pool on when the Colonel and Fullmetal would realize their feelings for one another had grown quite complicated. Havoc kept a small black book in his coat pocket where he kept track of all the side bets and the odds for each; who would realize it first, who would make the first move, when it would happen, what they would be doing at the time, and of course, whether they would end up happily together, or screw it up horribly and spend the rest of their lives miserable and alone.
At current standing, the best odds went to the impetuous Ed to make the first move, most likely in Roy's office, in the middle of one of their infamous arguments. The odds also favored a happy ending, although Havoc suspected that was mostly because everyone was too terrified to imagine enduring a breaking up between Flame and Fullmetal, which would probably involve collateral damage worse than that from Ed's battle assessment.
There were, of course, no odds on a small and shabby hotel room in a tiny town on the far edge of nowhere.
The mission was already, essentially, over. Colonel Mustang and Major Elric had been sent by the State to investigate a small group suspected of harboring a fugitive. It had quickly become clear that the accusation was baseless and no State Alchemists were needed; however, by the time they realized this, the last train of the day had already departed, so the two men returned to town to find a room in the only inn the town contained.
While it was far from the worst accommodations either of them had ever faced, the room was hardly luxurious. It was small and narrow; the two beds were pushed against opposite walls, with barely enough room between them for a small table. Other than the beds and table, the only other article of furniture was a writing desk next to the door; the wooden floor didn't even have a rug. The sheets on the beds were clean, though, and there were no visible insects; both men knew it was better than sleeping outside.
It was already getting late when they reached the inn; by a silent consensus, the two deposited their suitcases by the door, changed in the miniscule bathroom, and went to bed immediately.
At two in the morning, Ed woke up screaming.
It took Ed a long time to fall asleep that night. It was odd, but even after all the times he'd traveled with Al, he had a hard time falling asleep in a strange bed; he was almost used to nights spent staring at unfamiliar ceilings, trying to escape into sleep without letting the person in the bed beside him know he was awake, since that person was usually Al and would have worried about him. Tonight was no different, although the person beside him was Roy, rather than his brother; although that was even more reason to conceal his problem, as he didn't want to even think about the torment the older man would put him through if he kept him awake.
It was past midnight before he finally fell asleep, and it wasn't long before he started to dream. At first, it was one of those comfortably random, meaningless, inexplicable dreams, the kind with musical ninjas and talking houseplants. Then the colors started to darken, and the noise started to fade away, until it was just black, all around him. It was all black, and then he heard that voice, that cold, bitter, mocking laugh as he called him Chibi-San, and Ed tried to attack him, but he realized suddenly that he sitting on the ground, and he couldn't move, couldn't even stand, his arm and leg no more than useless lumps of metal, and he shouted insults but what could he do, he was a pathetic cripple who couldn't even stand, and that voice was getting closer and he hated being weak and hated Envy knowing he was weak and he tried to crawl away but that mocking laugh was getting closer and he was going to die and all he could do was scream…
He woke up to hands shaking him hard by the shoulders and a voice saying his name over and over but being almost drowned out by someone screaming; when he realized the screaming was him, he bit it off sharply. Much to his shame, he felt hot tears sliding down his face and was powerless to stop them.
"Are you alright, Fullmetal?" asked Mustang.
Embarrassed, Ed growled and kicked the man away; at least, he tried to. What actually happened was that the movement sent a jolt of pain shooting from his thigh, and with a hiss of pain, he pulled his leg tightly to his chest, hunching over and trying not to start crying outright.
"What's wrong, Fullmetal?" He heard Mustang say through a haze of pain.
"It hurts," he whispered. Before he had a chance to protest, he felt Mustang move, and suddenly the man had one arm wrapped around him, holding him, while the other ran lightly over his hair, and Ed felt his pride dissolve. He buried his face in the man's shoulder and sobbed, loudly and uncontrollably, tears soaking his face and the fabric of Mustang's shirt.
After a few minutes, the sobs had subsided into shaky, gasping breaths, and silence filled the room. At least until Mustang spoke again.
"Does that happen often?" He asked.
"Not too often," said Ed, pushing his soggy bangs out of his face. "It has to do with the weather making the metal tighten, or the nerves, or something…Winry explained it to me once, but I didn't get it. Hurts like a bitch, though."
"That wasn't why you were crying, though." Ed didn't have to lift his face from Mustang's chest to know that he wore an expression of stubborn certainty.
"How do you know?" He demanded.
"You woke me up screaming, remember?" Mustang answered. "Besides, you're still shaking, Fullmetal."
Ed sighed. It was too late to be pissed at the Bastard Colonel, and he was still far too shaken from his nightmare. Besides, Mustang had that tone in his voice that suggested he wouldn't leave Ed alone until he had the answers he wanted.
"I had a nightmare, okay? It's not a big deal. I have them. Everyone has them."
"Do you want to talk about it?" Mustang asked abruptly.
Ed looked up at him suspiciously. "Why should I share my stupid dream with you?"
"Because you woke me up, and I won't be able to fall asleep again for a while yet?" Mustang said, rolling his eyes. "Because it clearly was a big deal, and if you don't face it, this will just keep happening? Because sometimes, Fullmetal, it helps to tell somebody?"
There was a pause, in which Ed realized that Mustang's hand was still stroking his hair.
"It was just stupid," he said finally. "I dreamed that Envy was coming after me, but when I tried to fight him my automail didn't work. I couldn't even stand up. I couldn't fight, I couldn't do alchemy, I couldn't defend myself. I was just a pathetic cripple, and he was going to kill me."
The arm around his shoulders tightened slightly. "Under the clothes you wear, there's almost no difference between the automail and your real limbs. Most of the time when I – all of us, I suppose – look at you, I see someone who is complete, maybe even stronger than most people. It never occurred to me that having automail might make you feel weak, or broken… It must feel very strange to know your body can betray you like that."
The angle was awkward, but Ed still managed to punch him in the shoulder. "Shut up! You don't need to make such a big deal out of it. It doesn't have to have some deep dark hidden meaning. It was just a bad dream. I've had worse, anyway."
"Like what?" It didn't seem to be curiosity in Mustang's voice, but Ed couldn't figure out what it might be.
"I don't know," Ed said. "A lot of things. Scar, sometimes. Nina. My mother. A lot of my nightmares are about my mother. Those are always the worst."
"Yes, I remember." Ed raised an eyebrow. "The first case you worked as a State Alchemist. You passed out as soon as you saw the body, remember? The whole way back to Tucker's house you were babbling about your mother."
"I didn't know that you took me home," Ed remarked.
"How did you think you got back there?" Mustang asked, smirking. "Magic? Hawkeye drove, and I sat in the back with you."
"I don't know," said Ed, "That seems pretty out of character for the emotionless bastard known as Colonel Mustang. I think you're making it up."
"Well, I had to make sure nothing happened to my protégé, didn't I, Fullmetal? I was just looking after you." Mustang's hand on his hair paused. "I've always looked after you."
"Oh," Ed said, because he couldn't think of anything else to say. He knew he should probably be reacting to Mustang's words in some way, but exhaustion was starting to numb his brain, and he didn't know if he was supposed to feel outraged, or touched, or just confused. He settled for closing his eyes and resting his head back on Mustang's chest.
"You're shaking," He observed after a moment. "Why are you shaking? I thought I was the one who had a nightmare."
"Don't be ridiculous, Fullmetal."
"You are, though," Ed answered. "I can feel it." He tapped Mustang's shoulder lightly to emphasize his point.
"Flashbacks," Mustang said cryptically.
Mustang growled, and Ed could feel the vibrations in his chest. "Flashbacks, Fullmetal. Surely you know what the word means."
"I know what it means. I just don't know what you're talking about."
Ed felt the sigh as a soft flow of air across his hair. "When you started screaming, I was asleep. I woke up, and for a second I thought I was…back in the war. In the middle of an attack, or a raid. It happens."
"I'm sorry," Ed said softly. "I didn't know."
"Not your fault," responded Mustang. The two of them lapsed back into silence.
After several minutes of sitting in the near dark, Ed lifted his head from Roy's chest and said, "You can go back to sleep if you want. I'm okay."
Roy looked down at him skeptically. "Do you think you can fall asleep again?"
Ed smiled. "No. I'd probably just have another nightmare. But there's no use in you losing any more sleep, is there?"
"Would it help if I stayed?" Mustang asked.
"Would you stop saying that, Fullmetal? I'm starting to think you have a hearing problem. Would it help if I stayed here, in this bed, with you, for the rest of the night?"
"Why?" He challenged.
"It doesn't matter," Mustang answered. "Do you want me to stay or not?"
At any other time, Ed would have refused, unwilling to allow any show of weakness to this man, unwilling to admit that he might have been scared, that he might have needed another person. But right now it was too late, and he was too tired, and he was scared, and did need someone, and if that someone had to be Mustang, then so be it. This late at night, it was easier to be vulnerable, easier to let another person in. He could always pretend it hadn't happened in the morning.
Any other time, he would have refused, but right now, he just snorted and said "Fine. Stay."
Mustang shifted again, so that he was no longer sitting on the edge of the bed, but stretched out next to Ed, half sitting up, head resting back on the pillows. Ed pushed himself back a little farther, closer to the wall, to give the bigger man more room, before lying down next to him. He fell asleep that way, Mustang's arms wrapped around him, Mustang's body warm against his. The last thing he heard was Mustang's soft breath across the back of his neck…and a voice that whispered, "Goodnight, Ed."
The next day, when Fullmetal and the Colonel were back in the office, both complaining loudly about the pointless mission they'd been sent on by their idiotic superior officers, the office betting pool met for an urgent session. It was generally agreed, from the large number of significant glances exchanged between the Colonel and Fullmetal, that something had happened on the mission, suggesting strongly that large amounts of money needed to change hands. How they managed to drag enough of the night's events out of the two alchemists to determine who the money should actually go to is, of course, another story.
A/N: It feels good to write a little bit of fluff again, after all the angst I've been writing lately...and in my opinion, this is pretty darn fluffy. I didn't even put any smut...and trust me, with Maude in my head making perverted suggestions, it was not easy. She has a twisted little mind. And now I am remembering something that happened after class today...we were talking about the fact that I always chew on my pencils, and my pens, and my necklace, and JAG said I have an "oral fixation". She just walked right into it, really. We will never let her forget it. Especially since I am Ed, and we all know about Ed and the Colonel...bad Maude! Anyway, I know almost nobody bothers to review oneshots, but please? Pretty please with sugar on top?