DISCLAIMER: I do not own 'Fullmetal Alchemist'
Warnings: contains strong language and adult themes
Ed exploded his way into the Colonel's office, arms flailing, face flushing, screeching at the top of his voice.
Roy calmly inscribed his signature at the bottom of Havoc's report about soldier morale and settled back in his chair, resting his elbows on the arms and clasping his fingers beneath his chin. The display continued.
He coolly waited for Ed to pause in taking breath then, quick as a whiplash, his hand shot forwards, he snapped, and the miniature explosion right before golden eyes shocked Ed into falling backwards onto the couch, with his mouth gaping and, more importantly, still. Roy nodded his approval. "Good…afternoon, Fullmetal," he greeted his subordinate, politely, checking the clock. "To what do I owe this pleasure?"
After a moment, and a few more startled blinks, Ed scowled. He flung a wad of paper at the desk (aiming for Roy's face, presumably, but hitting the desk all the same) and slouched back, crossing his legs and folding his arms in the most aggressive-defensive manner Roy had ever seen, his mouth curled with disgust.
The Colonel was baffled. As far as he was aware, Fullmetal was not due to report to him for another week yet, having recently finished a trying assignment and been granted extended research leave in recognition of his achievement. And Roy hadn't even thought about Edward being a half-pint beanboy recently, let alone discussed the boy in public, so the familiar gut-bursting hatred seemed a little…unprovoked. Well, he hadn't reached his prestigious position by being uninformed or a moron, so he glanced at the paper Edward had seen fit to hurl at him in a manner similar to Hughes dispatching threats with his wicked little knives.
It was a magazine. Faded, crumpled with much use, tatty and battered. Altogether unhelpful. The Colonel slid it further towards himself with a disdainful fingertip, wary of disease, and, had he not trained them with military discipline, his eyebrows would have climbed through his hairline.
"I'm not entirely convinced this is a suitable gift, Fullmetal," he remarked. Had his tone been any drier, Edward may very well have died of dehydration. "After all, we are but work colleagues; a little dinner, perhaps, some dancing, then who knows? This may become more appropriate."
"Oh just fuck right off," Ed snarled, his fingers twitching furiously into fists. "It's not a fucking gift, you gobshite pervert freak, look at the centrefold."
This time, Roy allowed the eyebrow to raise, but then only by a few millimetres. Intrigued by Edward's display of impotent and amusing anger, he studied the cover of Big Boys in Uniform for a little longer, noting several court-martial-worthy laxities in the dress code of the officers in portrayed, then casually flipped through to the requested page. And stopped dead.
"Ah," he said.
All things considered, his voice was barely strangled at all.
Out of the corner of his eye, Roy became aware that Edward had surged to his feet and was now stalking about the office like an enraged cat, the flick of his coat mirroring angry tail-lashes. "Ah? Is that all you have to say, fucker?"
"I…will admit to being a little perturbed," Roy murmured, faintly. He stared at the offending picture, then flipped back to the contents page, scrutinising it for a date of issue- oh, holy hell, the thing was four years old. That was plain worrying- how many copies had been printed, sold, distributed, oh god, passed round? The pages rustled ominously as he turned them towards the centrefold again, numbly repeating his previous action. That was…well, that was…unexpected…
It was too early in the day for hard liquor. And he'd made a point of not keeping any in the office. Goddamn his lack of foresight.
A metal hand slammed, hard, onto his desk, startling him into leaping to his feet, combat-instincts tightening his fingers to snap, but all he could see was Edward, bristling, visibly fighting the urge to stab something.
He deliberately relaxed. Fullmetal did not.
"WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT DOING IN THERE?!" the boy howled.
It genuinely was such a lovely day out. Sunlight streamed through the open windows, highlighting everything in gorgeous golden tones, setting Edward's hair alight, even making the stacks of paperwork glow with inner life. Roy wondered, vaguely, whether he would survive a jump from this height to the ground- it was frankly criminal to be wasting such beautiful weather indoors. A hand yanking on his collar swiftly put paid to that plan.
Roy placidly let Edward drag him down so they were eye-to-eye and watched, with infinite, reptilian patience, as the boy huffed heated, angry breaths against his face and glared several thousand painful deaths at him through narrowed golden eyes. "Answer the fucking question, Mustang!"
All that panting was getting Roy's fringe into his eyes, so he put a gloved hand on Fullmetal's left wrist, scraping just so with the ignition cloth until his point was made. The boy's jaw clenched, tightening, then he let go. Roy straightened, but did not step back- to lose ground was not his aim. "You will believe me when I tell you that this situation is none of my doing," he stated, his voice completely level even as his thoughts spiralled into pandemonium shrieking howhowhowhowhowhow, "and you will appreciate that I feel as strongly, if not more so, about the matter as you. However, screaming at your superior officer," (emphasis here, remind him just who the hell he's dealing with) "will achieve little more than a stirring up of gossip. Calm down, sit down, and tell me how you came by this…article." (And then maybe tell me why it's bothered you so much, I'm sure that is a fascinating explanation.)
Edward's shoulders went from hunched-to-gather-power-for-a-lunge to livid-but-bowing-to-inevitable-teenage-slouching. He took a couple of very deep breaths, seemed to notice just how far he'd encroached upon the Colonel's personal space, and hurriedly fell back to the neutral territory of the sofa, giving the desk a wide berth as if expecting the magazine to leap up and attach itself and its offending content to his face.
Roy was sufficiently entertained by the mental image to relax enough to take to his chair again.
The leg crossed over Edward's automail knee began to bounce, kicking in restless irritation. "It was being passed around the dorms," he said, shortly. "Al nearly had a hernia, and he hasn't even got flesh to have a hernia with."
Water rushed through Roy's ears, roaring loud and violent, battering at his eardrums, and he wondered, briefly, who had opened floodgates in his mind, then the world settled back around him. "I see," he responded, ignoring the tremulous note that crept into the second word. "So its original owner…?"
"Is likely untraceable."
"And this picture…?"
"Has probably been wanked over or laughed at by almost everyone in that block since it was printed."
"…We can only hope for the former."
The sound Ed made could only be described as a squeak, though he wouldn't thank you for putting it in such a way. In fact, he was steadily turning purple.
Roy looked down at the magazine again, in the hope of deflecting another tantrum. In all crude honesty, it was worth wanking over. Whoever had taken the picture had been an expert, a genuine, passionate expert, the lighting, the setting, the pose, it was all perfect, but for one tiny little detail…
He really, really should remember having posed in a nude shoot for a male porn magazine.
It was undoubtedly him. And it was undoubtedly him at twenty-five (a terribly pretty twenty-five, if he did say so himself).
In a decidedly un-military pose, the Roy Mustang in the picture was leaning against a huge, rumpled flag of Amestris. His right arm was stretched above his head, clutched in the material so that the muscles were prominently displayed, and the other was held at his chest, one array-gloved hand half-covering, and hence drawing attention to, a ragged scar running down his right side. The V of his torso, normally hidden beneath bulky folds of his uniform, was prominently displayed, a broad, firm expanse of pale skin stretched over muscles that were none-too-shabby for a man who spent an inordinate amount of time inside, procrastinating with his paperwork.
Nestled in the middle of the Amestrian crest, centrefold-Roy's head was lowered, chin tilted at an angle down towards his chest, his black hair glossy and gloriously mussed as it hung in his eyes. In fact, that hair was just on the cusp of needing a trim- it had grown out into a shaggier, longer, scruffier affair than he would normally keep it, and it wasn't a bad look. His eyelids were at half-mast, drowsy and inviting (his very best bedroom eyes, how disturbing to have them directed at himself), dark irises glittering from beneath the fall of spiky bangs.
Normally-thin lips were as flushed as his cheeks, parted in something that was half-smirk half-gasp, hints of white teeth, arrogant and helpless all at once. On the floor lay the instantly-recognizable blue fold of the uniform, snarled and tangled about his feet.
Helpfully, the position of his legs (one straight, bearing all his weight from the look of the muscles, one bent in languorous repose) and the golden dimness of the lighting shadowed the dark triangle of his groin, but the evident invitation and the simultaneous shielding of his manhood was more erotic than a straightforward balls-out pose.
No wonder Edward had been so disturbed. Part of Roy wanted to be offended, but he just couldn't find it in himself.
He coughed and closed the magazine with exaggerated care. "For what it is worth, may I trust your discretion?"
Still purple, still embarrassed and irate, Ed nodded, tightly, jerkily.
Roy let himself sigh audibly, genuinely, a rarity that made Fullmetal tilt his blond head. "You, uh, you didn't know about that? Really, you didn't?"
"I can assure you, Fullmetal, that this is one of those few instances where I am at a complete loss," Roy answered with complete honesty. May as well bare all now, it wasn't like Edward could get him any more bare than he already had.
"But…but…you're there," Ed pointed out, bewildered.
"Hm. Yes. And quite obviously intoxicated, if not drugged. Not necessarily by an enemy either." The Colonel straightened his cuffs as he thought aloud. "I would normally have expected some sort of blackmail from an event of this ilk, particularly as I have no memory of it. That four years have elapsed without any whisper of this reaching me is…faintly disturbing. I have kept a very close ear to whispers involving my name."
Ed snorted, waving a careless hand. "Narcissist."
"Fine, strategic narcissist, whatever."
Roy huffed another sigh, theatrically exasperated. "Do you have anything to add, Edward?"
The boy straightened, dropping his right leg back to the floor as he shifted out of his slouch on the sofa. "Uh…"
"Because if you don't, I would greatly appreciate you making yourself scarce. You may trust me to resolve this issue with my customary tact and brilliance."
"Uh…" The blond squirmed, seemingly on the cusp of saying something that he thought he might regret
"Fullmetal?" Roy made sure his tone was just this side of condescending. He could not adequately cope with any more surprise news from his most aggravating subordinate.
It worked. Edward's brow lowered with annoyance and he clambered back to his feet. "No need to thank me, you ungrateful bastard," he hissed, then, with a clamouring summons for his brother, he was gone.
The Colonel waited a moment for the ensuing hubbub outside the office to quieten down, then laid his head on the desk, sank his teeth into a clenched fist, and whimpered.
The Lieutenant Colonel had barely stepped through the door, having rushed over at the Colonel's urgent bidding, when he was attacked by an irate madman.
"Maes," Roy growled, his fingers twitching in front of the man's nose, "In exactly which part of your brain did you define our friendship as one in which you are entitled to profit from my nudity?"
Maes raised an eyebrow at the Colonel. Roy huffed. "Aside from the obvious," he conceded.
"You know, whatever has you this upset, it was probably your idea." Hughes' voice was an oasis of calmness.
Roy spluttered. "Excuse me, I am not the one with a photography fetish and open marriage!"
"I'm offended, Roy, one optional partner does not an open marriage make."
Roy opened his mouth, then paused, considering what Hughes had just said. He drew himself up in entirely new outrage, his anger temporarily re-directed. "Optional? I'm optional?"
"Should we even be having this conversation in the hall? Come on, old man, it was Gracia that I actually married. That makes her a sort of permanent fixture, doesn't it? Not to mention my beautiful little angel! She doesn't have your eyes, does she?"
Said black eyes narrowed. "Only by happy chance."
A pinpoint of pressure just under his ribs made Roy glance down and, ah, yes, there it was, a tiny knife strategically placed to puncture a lung- Maes had always made a point of making sure he could match Roy in terms of close-range threat levels. When you knew each other as well as they did, knew each others' every weak spot and vulnerability, such cautions were wisely taken. The Flame Alchemist gave his friend the wry grin of defeat and lowered his hand, backing away to allow Maes some breathing space.
Not that he took it. A warm clasp immediately grasped his shoulder and the taller man ducked slightly to look Roy in the eye. "What's this about? Something's shaken you." The green-gold scrutiny swept over him. "Seriously shaken you. What is it, more death threats from enraged fathers?"
"Nothing so dramatic, alas. Come through? It's been a long, trying day." Roy offered up another weary smile, then brushed the Lieutenant Colonel off him so he could make his way from the entrance hall of his modest town house to the lounge, where he sank down onto one his very fine leather sofas.
Maes followed him, occupying what Roy's mind referred to as 'his' end of the couch. The concerned look on the man's face made Roy decide against further prevarication. He drew the abused magazine from his inner jacket pocket. "Know anything about this, perchance?"
Maes examined the cover of the dubious publication, taking after a moment's study to flick idly through. "Well, it certainly helps explain why you were so eager for me to join the army."
Roy snorted as he stripped the ignition gloves from his hands. "Yes, because before I got you into the uniform I couldn't stand the sight of you. The middle page spread, if you please."
The next expression that his friend and occasional lover pulled made Roy wish he'd stolen Hughes's camera before handing over the magazine. Maes's eyes bulged, his mouth dropped, and he resembled a statue of a blowfish for a good thirteen seconds before recovering the ability to speak. "I'm not sure this counts," he wheezed, eventually, "I mean, you're a big boy, but you're not technically in the uniform, per se."
"Yes, yes, 'mock me and feel my fiery wrath, potential toasting victim', I know." Maes continued to stare, his eyes travelling over each and every pixel. "Is this…is this real?"
"No, I had it made on a whim for your personal amusement, of course it's bloody real!"
"Whoa, calm down, Flamey, don't want your house in ashes, you just put the finishing touches on all the snooty wood panels in the library."
Maes glanced up at him, then dropped the magazine to the floor and scooted closer. He reached out cautiously with his right hand and gripped the other man's knee, squeezing. The Colonel held himself stiff for a moment longer, then went boneless, flopping back to rest his head on the back of the sofa, covering his eyes with an up-flung hand and groaning aloud. Maes, skilled in Mustang-reading, took that as his cue to sidle even closer, until his legs bumped his friend's, and echo his slouched position (sans dramatic hand gesture). "Have any of the previous Fuhrers of Amestris had a history of posing for gay porn publications?" came the plaintive question from somewhere beneath Roy's arm.
Maes tried not to grin, but the lost-puppy tone was too much. "Not as far as I'm aware. But hey, maybe that means you'll have extra appeal for a niche group of the population. You could be the first leader of a country to have a national dress that everyone approves of."
"I refuse to go down in history as the man who led the naked revolution."
The hand on Roy's knee patted twice, then lifted to touch the still-upheld arm obscuring his face. "Reputation is as reputation does. You'd never be forgotten, with that one."
At his friend's urging, Roy lowered his hand and turned to face the man, so close he could smell Maes's comforting sandalwood soap and cotton scent. "What should I do?" he asked, helplessly.
It was okay to be helpless, with Maes.
Who was offering one of his darkly-amused looks. "Stage your own assassination and start again with a new face?"
"You're assuming that was a joke."
Hughes raised his hands in a gesture of surrender. He leaned away from Roy to snatch up the magazine and open it to the much-discussed page. "Do you recognise anything in this picture?"
Roy gave him a Look. Maes smirked. "Anything besides the studly stallion prostituting himself all over the place."
The Colonel took the liberty of resting his head on Maes's shoulder to get a better view, taking hold of the page nearest him to steady it. His eyebrows lowered as he studied the page, concentrating on the background for the first time. After a moment, a cheek pressed to the top of his head and his lips curled into an automatic smile at the familiar weight and warmth.
As centrefolds went, it was pretty bland. Aside from the crumpled flag hanging off the wall, there was little of interest decorating the shot. In fact, as far as Roy could make out, the background consisted of drapes. Pale blue drapes, offsetting the deep green of the flag and bringing out the blue in his dark eyes. Whilst they admittedly served their purpose in focusing all attention in on the foreground, they rendered identifying the location practically impossible.
"There's nothing I remember," he said, at last, unconsciously shifting so that his arm rested more comfortably alongside Maes'. "And the set is so generic, it could be in someone's house, for god's sake."
Maes casually wrapped his arm around Roy and added his grip to the page that his friend was holding. "You're sure nothing rings a bell? Absolutely nothing?"
Roy didn't answer. Maes sighed expressively. "To be honest, the fact that no one has mentioned it to you makes me wonder if this is as huge as we're thinking. I have a pretty good hold on anyone who's talking about you, and I've not heard the slightest whisper of this in all my time in Investigations."
"Gay porn, Maes. Gay. Porn."
"Could be worse- you could be fellating a horse."
Roy nearly fell off the sofa in shock.
Maes shrugged as the Flame Alchemist turned a horrified expression on him. "To be honest, that would be a horrendous pun on your name, but then, the great scholars do not porn magazines make."
There was a pause. Disgusted astonishment loomed large in it, filling the silence like Major Armstrong filled his uniforms. "Shockingly," Roy said, eventually, in a marginally strangled tone, "that isn't making me feel much better."
"I always said you were an atrocious pessimist," the Intelligence officer grinned. He loosed his grip on Big Boys in Uniform, letting it flutter into a crumpled, discarded heap. "Roy, this hasn't hurt you. In the what, four, five years that this has been published, you have gained your promotion, assumed a pretty much comprehensive command of the East, assembled a dedicated and efficient team, and introduced the military to its most interesting and explosive soldier. Amongst other things. You really are the guy that the older Generals worry about. No slander touches your name, not from this, not from anything."
Roy's lips twitched in the flash of a smile. "I owe you so much for that," he murmured, his voice deep and heavy with promises.
Maes tightened his arm about the younger man. "Of course. And, to be honest, something like this pretty much confirms the general opinion of your reputation for…being, er, a…um…"
The Colonel rolled his eyes. "A shameless manwhore," he prompted.
Green eyes sparkled with humour. "Indeed. Your reputation as that, and an unspeakable egotist may have stood you in good stead. This whole thing has been accepted as part of the Roy Mustang legend with nary a peep."
It seemed that Hughes had more to say, but Roy as tiring of the topic, now that he was reassured it had done his ambitions no lasting harm. He twisted in Maes' hold, putting a hand on the man's knee and looking up at him through his lashes. "The Roy Mustang legend?" he purred, letting his lips twist into a provocative smirk.
Maes chuckled, low in his throat, and Roy felt the vibrations as he leaned close, lifting himself so that he could slide, with the ease of long practice, into his best friend's lap. He straddled the older man's legs, bent knees resting on the couch cushions, and lazily laid his arms about the other man's neck. In response, Maes wrapped his own arms around Roy's back, encompassing him in strong warmth, dragging his friend down so that their foreheads rested against each other. Roy shivered at the contrasting heat of Maes' skin and the cool edge of metallic-framed spectacles and stared through glass lenses into green-gold eyes.
"You know, that photo shoot may even have enhanced your reputation," Maes commented, as he stroked up and down Roy's back.
The Colonel kissed him, abrupt and forceful as his alchemy, rapid like wildfire igniting lust in the pit of Maes' stomach, fanning it to a fierce flame as he rocked sensuously in the man's lap, running his hands through his friend's black hair. "Oh yes?" Roy gasped, breaking the kiss and nuzzling along the defined jaw line, just beginning to pant hot breaths against Maes' neck, relishing the scratchy tickle of the man's beard.
"Uh-huh," Maes responded, in a long, drawn-out groan. "It got you at your most attractive; naked, unguarded and ready to be fucked."
Any more attempts as speech were lost as Roy descended on his mouth again, in a very compelling demonstration of why it was a superb idea for both of them to get naked and unguarded, together, as soon as humanly possible.
Later, collapsed in a sweaty, tangled heap on the same couch, Roy laid his head on Maes' chest and smiled, blinking sleepily. Maes wordlessly drew him closer, shifting to accommodate him better on the narrow surface. Their breathing was just beginning to settle into something resembling a normal rhythm, their heartbeats steadily slowing from the frantic war-drum tango they had been beating.
Roy wondered, vaguely, if he should consider doing more less-than-candid photography sessions, the clearly had a most wonderful outcome.
Maes was just frantically hoping that Roy would never remember losing that game of strip poker and getting drunk enough to let his snap-happy friend capture all of his best assets on film. The magazine had coughed up a surprising amount for that one picture, but the most princely sum would not be worth being slow-roasted by a vengeful alchemist.
Ed stared at Mustang's plain front door. He'd been there for a good ten minutes already, and he sill wasn't quite sure how to phrase his request.
"Um, Colonel? I know you're probably quit busy and everything, but…er…but, could I have that magazine back?"