Push Me Forward
Most people would be surprised to know that it was Edward who supplied most of the gentle words, the tender touches in their relationship. He massaged Riza's shoulders and made her tea after a hard day at the office, ran her a warm bath and read to her from her favorite mystery novels while she soaked. When Roy drank too much Edward coaxed the bottles away from him, held him while he sicked the alcohol up if he hadn't stopped Roy quite soon enough, put the older man into his sleep clothes and sat beside him on the bed, stroking black hair and listening to the slurred stream of self-recriminations, kissing his forehead when he finally trailed off into silence and holding him until he fell asleep.
There were some mornings when Roy lay staring at the wall, unable or unwilling to make himself get up and face the world, to face his impossible goals and the unrelenting reality of what chasing them had cost him, would likely still cost him. On those mornings, Edward did not bully him out of bed, as many would expect, but instead spooned up behind him, wrapped two flesh arms around Roy's waist and pressed a gentle kiss to the back of a pale neck, reminding the General-who-would-be-Fuhrer that even the most impossible of dreams could be realized, and more importantly, that Roy was in no way alone. That he had Edward Elric's faith, a thing that had moved mountains and nations, challenged death and fate and came out the victor. He would kiss down the man's spine, chaste and feather light, something Roy had never had before. Then Ed would get out of bed, go down to the kitchen to start the coffee, feed Black Hayate for Riza. He would come back upstairs with a cup of coffee: cream and two sugars. He would set the coffee on the night table, lean down and press another kiss to the corner of Roy's unsmiling lips. No words but the gesture was enough, and Roy would take that first step, and every step that followed, knowing that if he faltered, Edward would be there to nudge him along.
There were some evenings when Riza found herself staring blankly at her hands as she unbuttoned her jacket, and the task of undressing would suddenly seem too large an undertaking, and she just wanted to lay down in a dark room with the memories of everything she'd had and lost and the too-vivid images of everything she could have had but had given up. But then Edward would be there, and he'd tug her hands down to her sides and carefully set to undressing her himself. He'd lead her to the bathroom, slip into the shower with her and go about washing both of them. She would watch him, stand immobile while he cleaned away dirt and sweat, maybe-ifs and yesterdays, washed her hair with a soothing, scalp-tingling attention to detail that Roy could never quite manage. He'd bundle her into a bathrobe, lead her down to the kitchen where he sat her down with hot chocolate laced with Brandy and started dinner. He wouldn't talk to her, but wait for her to talk to him, and she always did. She'd open her mouth and it would all spill out, every worry and every fear, every deeply buried wish that things were different, that they could be open about their relationship, could be honest, that they could go away, far, far away from the military and the responsibilities and the blood on their hands. Ed would listen while he cooked, and when she started to cry he would come over and hold her. She never sobbed, her tears were always silent, even in her exhaustion she was reserved. He stroked her hair, kissed the top of her head, and when she had cried herself out, he would ask, "Better?" And she would be. She would wipe her face with the damp cloth he handed her, and by the time Roy came home, she would be composed again.
Riza and Roy fought, sometimes, and they supposed that would surprise people, too. They had little snits where they both went cold and distant, or larger snits where they both went absolutely frigid and one of them would retreat to the guest room. They never had screaming rows like Roy and Ed did. For all he loved her Riza could never draw real heat from Roy, could never snap his control completely, just made him wind himself tighter and tighter. It was always up to Ed to unwind him afterwards. Always Ed who had to pry Riza out of the shell she retreated into. Ed who had to smooth the edges of bruised pride and bruised emotions. Sometimes he did it gently, kindly. They wouldn't break in front of each other, but they would break in front of him, and he would hold them while they did. He never took sides- he was too smart for that –but he did unerringly know who needed the most of his attention, and he gave it to them. Sometimes, when it was more bruised pride than emotions that had incited their argument, he had cold words for them instead of gentle hands and careful kisses, hard cold truths and no sympathy what-so-ever. The times when the arguments were truly bad, when he couldn't soothe over the broken edges, couldn't cut through their misplaced pride, couldn't push them together and make their threesome whole again, he was always wretched with worry. Because as much as they tried to keep him out of their arguments, it wasn't possible. Not when just deciding where to sleep at night (The bedroom with Riza? The guest bedroom with Roy?) could be seen as him choosing one of them over the other.
Seeing him stuck between them, pulled in opposite directions, wanting to help them both and completely at a loss on how to do so, they'd take the first step towards making up for his sake.
Yes, most people would be surprised. They had been surprised, too, at first; until they remembered that holding people up and pushing people forward was just what Edward did.
Author's Notes: I am working on just going with my ideas and not giving myself time to over think. This took me fifteen minutes and was inspired by, of all things, caffeine withdrawal.
What do you think?