Did everyone look at the word count? Good. Yes, this is the oneshot that I had thought I'd be lucky to get my customary 20-25 pages for, you can see how well that worked out. So before you start reading this, make sure you have enough time. Love isn't the only thing that takes time here. Seriously. I could have cut it into chapters, yes, but I didn't write it for chapters, I wrote it for a oneshot. So here you are.
May you all hopefully enjoy it.
I now have seven scorpions, I caught a female last night with young on her back. The ones this season are huge, I'm running out of container room in the freezer, I'll need to give them a bigger one to freeze to death in.
Love Takes Time
"Sir, how can you have condoned him to even research such an array!"
Roy Mustang glanced up to the blonde Lieutenant who was wearing an expression of concern and frustration. He knew the concern was not meant for him, but he would have liked to believe it was. Oh, to dream. The pen he was twirling between two fingers paused as he leaned back in his chair. "I don't see the harm in it. He's perfectly capable."
Hawkeye gaped at him, before she resumed her frantic pacing back and forth. "Perfectly capable? Don't see the harm? It's an array that was banned because it was so dangerous. Messing with wormholes in time like that?!"
"I know what it is, Lieutenant." Roy remarked blandly, resuming his twirling of the pen.
"Then you should have forbid him!" She admonished, trying not to let her voice climb any more octaves than it already had. "It is banned!"
"So is human transmutation, and look at how well they obeyed that little sweetheart." Roy let out a world-weary sigh, and cast his gaze towards the window as he rocked his spin-chair back and slightly to the side. Down below on the sidewalk leading away from Headquarters, he could see the subject of the current conversation hurrying away. "Better I give him permission, and the peace of mind that he can research properly without fear of being caught and punished. Besides, if this works-"
"If this works," Hawkeye interrupted, "it sure as hell better work. Otherwise he'll be lost in time forever."
"He won't be." Roy said softly, mostly to himself.
"If he's not-"
"He will." Roy interrupted her this time, and turned back to face her again. "He can handle it, and this is what he wants to do. He'd have done it anyway… the lure to go back through time and change the past… I can't blame him for wanting to alter a few things having to do with Alphonse. He'll be back before you begin to miss him."
Hawkeye sighed heavily, a hand covering half her face. "I sure hope you're right… otherwise you just doomed them forever with no more ways out."
Roy was silent as he watched her walk out of his office and close the door behind her. Pen still twirling in his hand, he leaned forward again and turned back to the papers there on his desk. And he couldn't help but smile as he looked them over, but it was a smile shadowed in uncertainty. Even so, he put the tip of his pen to the line at the bottom of the first paper where his signature was required. He signed his name with a flourish to all the pages before slipping them back into his desk where they'd stay safe.
He then began on his actual military work that Hawkeye would be expecting. He knew he had best get it completed on time, if not early. She seemed to be in one of those liable to shoot to kill moods.
Back at the hotel room, Edward was double checking his memory of the array against the obscure ancient tomes that had been his research material. He was certain he had it correctly committed to memory, but he wanted to take no chances. He knew that what he was about to do was highly dangerous.
"Brother, are you sure you want to go through with this?"
Edward looked up as his brother finally spoke. A self-assured smile flickered to life as he gave a short nod. "Don't worry, Al. I know what I'm doing."
"You shouldn't though. I… I don't want you to." Al's voice sounded both nervous and hollow from inside that suit of armor.
"We've been over this before, Al." Edward reminded him sternly. "You want your body back, don't you?"
The answer was hesitant in coming, but come it did. "Yes."
"Then what's the problem now?" Edward asked patiently, trying to keep the urge to sigh quelled.
"It's just such a big risk…"
"So is trying to find a Philosopher's Stone right now." And Edward sat back on his heels. "I'll be back before you know it. I promise."
Al shifted in his corner, but the helmet portion nodded squeakily. "Be careful, brother."
Smiling, Edward stood up now. "I will. Love you, Al." He said, and closing his eyes to drop himself into a deeper focus than he normally needed, clapped his hands together.
Blue and white flashed and licked at the empty air around the alchemist as Edward dropped to one knee in a smooth motion to rest his hands against the floor in a movement so gentle it appeared he barely touched the carpet. Edward's eyes remained closed, but Alphonse watched as the alchemy flared to life. An array formed on the carpet around Edward from the light, and with one jerk of a spin, the floor opened up to swallow Edward whole.
"Good luck." Al whispered to the empty room. The carpet looked exactly the same, the only thing missing was his brother.
To Edward, it felt as if he were falling slowly backwards through a cushioning warmth. He kept his eyes closed, merely because he couldn't seem to open them. Else they were open, and he was passing through a vortex devoid of any light. It was almost relaxing, considering the high risk of danger that he had just willingly flung himself into.
But he knew the risks, he knew the odds. And he knew he had to try and beat them.
He was also not about to waste a chance to do something so illegal when he had Mustang's permission. One did just not waste such an opportunity. But it had showed that his commanding officer had faith in him… so he would prove himself not a waste of such faith if it was the last thing he did.
When a sudden rush of energy pulsed through him, he could only enjoy the feel of the raw power for an instant before the sudden intensity of it blacked him out.
Edward groaned as coherence slowly came back to him. How long had he been out? It felt as if an elephant were laying on top of him, his limbs felt oddly weighted down. It was an effort at first to open his eyes, but he managed. And when he did, he came to understand why he felt so heavy.
And was promptly tongue-washed across his face by an obese Labrador.
"Euch!" Ed groaned, and tried to ward the dog off. But it was difficult when said dog was settled across his arms and chest. "Geroffame." He spluttered as he tried to avoid having his mouth drenched in slobber.
Finally, through much wriggling around, he managed to convince the dog to get off of him. And he sat up, wiping at his face with his coat sleeve. His other arm was thrown over the dog's shoulders, as the Labrador was standing beside him like a helpful chair. Once he'd satisfied himself about his face as good as he could for now, Edward looked around at his surroundings with a mixture of elation and confusion.
He had clearly transported himself somewhere… but where? And when for that matter. He didn't recognize where he was, so he had no clue of how to start going about seeing if he'd actually made the proper jump backwards through time. He was sure he'd done the array right… gotten into the correct wormhole. But this just looked wrong.
First off, Central wasn't near any vineyards. And he was on a hill overlooking one.
"Where the fuck did I send myself? This isn't Central. I was sure I got the coordinates correct." Edward muttered, and slowly stood up with the help of using the pudgy dog as a momentary brace. "Well…" he looked around, and thought he spotted a house out in the distance near the edge of the vineyard. "I suppose I can go ask."
Taking a deep breath, Edward began to carefully walk down the hill as he still felt a bit woozy and weighed down. Perhaps one was supposed to feel this way after having gone through such a transmutation? He had no idea… it wasn't as if anyone alive had ever done it before. It being banned and all.
And it was obviously a bit flawed, as it hadn't landed him where he'd directed.
But once he figured out when and where he was, he could go from there and perform another transmutation. It was just a slight hitch right now.
He made it down the hill when he noticed the overweight Labrador bounding down after him, rolls of fat jiggling with each happy bound that was accompanied by a bark. He allowed himself an amused smile, and reached down to ruffle the dog's ears as it began to walk beside him. "You're a friendly thing…" and he thought back to the tongue washing, "too friendly."
The Labrador woofed his enthusiastic agreement.
Edward chuckled softly, and turned his sights back to his intended destination.
It took him quite a long time to finally reach the sprawling wood and glass house with a substantial veranda that appeared to wrap the whole of the house. For as much of the house was made of a dark stained wood, just as much was taken up by glass windows. There was a battered looking truck sitting out front near the steps, and several pots of flowers up on the wooden railing of the veranda.
"Doesn't look familiar." Edward frowned, head tilting aside a bit as he considered the structure. And he looked down in surprise as the Labrador suddenly took off with a bark to run up the steps and begin to paw at the door, still barking. "Familiar to you?" He wondered, and stayed where he was.
The Labrador's request was finally obeyed as the door opened, but he didn't try to enter the house. Instead he whirled around, fat rolls whirling after him, and bounded back down the steps to sit in front of Edward and bark again. His tail wagged fiercely.
Edward however had forgotten entirely about the dog. He was staring wide eyed and mouth slightly agape at the person who was standing in the doorway. "Holy fucking Gate…" he whispered, frozen where he was.
Well… at least he knew the answer to the question of when.
He was staring at a teenage version of Roy Mustang.
Roy blinked, and suddenly hurried from the doorway to rush down the steps and over to where the Labrador was still happily wagging his tail next to the fainted teenager there in the front lawn. "Hush, Sam!" He chastised the dog, who ceased his elated barking. And he knelt down next to the blond haired teenager who didn't look much older than himself.
"Roy, what's happened?"
Roy turned to look over his shoulder, his mother was standing there in the doorway now. "Dunno! This kid just fainted!"
His mother nodded, "bring him inside out of the sun. Quickly, Roy."
Roy nodded as his mother vanished back inside, probably to get water. And he looked back down at the other teenager, worry lining his brow as he brushed his fingers in a feathery touch across the somewhat flushed cheek. He'd never seen this kid before… but there was something about him. Some inexplicable pull as if he did know who this was. Or was supposed to know. But he shoved such trivial thoughts away with a frown as he gathered the other teenager into his arms and stood up. "You weigh… weird." He muttered as he carefully walked back to the house.
It was as if some parts of this person's body weighed more than others. But he looked natural… no tumor looking things. And he certainly didn't have random fat rolls like his dog Sam.
As Roy made it inside he walked his armful into the living room and deposited the blond onto the couch carefully.
"How is he?"
Roy turned at his mother's voice. "Still knocked out. You think he just got overheated?"
She clucked her tongue as she thought, and came to sit on the edge of the couch next to the fainted teen. A wet cloth and glass of water in her hands. "Probably. Look at how many layers the silly thing is wearing." She shook her head, and laid the cold cloth over Edward's forehead. The glass of water she gave to Roy. "I'm going to go keep working on dinner. Keep an eye on him. Hopefully he'll wake up in time for dinner and we can have two guests tonight. It might merit a new bottle of wine to be opened."
Roy laughed at his mother's enthusiasm. "Mom, don't go tipping the bottle while I'm not looking."
"Evil child." She admonished affectionately and walked out of the room.
Roy smiled, and then sat down next to the couch, facing the fainted teen. And he smiled as Sam padded over to him and curled up at his side. "You found him somewhere I expect." He said softly. "I wonder if he was a runaway."
To Edward, it felt as if he were peacefully sleeping. But gradually he began to inch closer towards consciousness as he heard a familiar voice speaking in hushed tones. And it was the sudden flash of memory of his day and what had made him black out that caused his eyes to snap open and himself to sit up suddenly.
Roy jumped in surprise, and ignored the wet cloth as it flopped to the hardwood floor. His eyes were riveted on the person sitting there on the couch looking at him as if seeing a ghost. "Hey…" he began hesitantly, "you okay? You fainted pretty good." And he held out the glass of water.
Edward stared in undisguised shock at his commanding officer, rather, future commanding officer. Slowly he reached out to take the water offered. "I definitely miscalculated." He whispered, and took a sudden drink from the cold water as if he needed liquid now. Actually he could go for some scotch, but water would have to do.
Roy tilted his head with a slight frown. "Miscalculated what?"
Lowering the glass of water so he wouldn't snort any up his nose as he laughed, Edward did laugh. And he fixed the teenage Roy with an almost amused look. "You wouldn't believe me if I told you."
"Try me." Roy dared with a bit of a grin.
Edward gave him an uncertain, and almost foreboding look. "Let me just make sure I have this correct… what's your name?"
"Roy Mustang." Roy answered, and then nodded down at his happily panting dog. "And this is Sam, I assume you two have already met though."
"Something like that." Edward agreed, trying to keep the irony out of his voice.
Roy looked over at him then. "And who are you? You who fainted so spectacularly."
Edward hesitated. If he told Roy his name, this was messing with a piece of the past that he hadn't intended. Who knew what could happen if he meddled in Roy's past. That thought alone was almost enough to make him turn green. But at the same time, Roy was at an age where he'd definitely remember having seen Edward before. "Umm… oh hell this just got a lot more complicated."
"You must be a runaway." Roy smiled, and stood up. "Well don't worry, my mom would like you to stay for dinner. Do you think you can manage that?"
"I suppose…" Ed hedged, still internally trying to figure this all out. What the fuck was he supposed to do? Roy had obviously seen him, surely the man would recognize him. But then again…
Roy had never made mention of this. Never hinted that he may have known Edward before Edward believed they'd actually met. And from what he understood of this particular array, what he did here was like an act from the future. It was complicated, but as he understood it, Roy would have remembered him. So maybe Roy actually forgot about him? And the only reason Al didn't have a human body, was because Edward wasn't going back through time to try to stop what they'd done. He'd been going back to take a Philosopher's Stone. And he himself wouldn't have remembered any of this because he'd jumped back through the time before he'd even been born.
It was all a complicated loop, but Edward understood the finer details that were a headache waiting to happen to try and explain.
Roy frowned down at him. "Are you okay?"
Edward glanced up at him, and nodded as he slowly stood. "Just trying to figure out where I went wrong. I got the year correct, but the place?" He glanced at Roy. "Definitely not."
Roy blinked at him in utter confusion. "Maybe you hit your head…" he mused.
At that, Edward laughed. "One day you'll know why that's so funny." He said in explanation at the perplexed look on Roy's face.
Okay, so maybe Roy had forgotten about him over the years? Maybe it was safe to relax a bit here and not run for it. He at least could go for some food before he made his way to Central. Wherever it was in relation to this place.
Roy was still confused, but he clapped the blond on the shoulder anyhow. "So, what may I call you until you decide to give me your real name?"
Edward smiled at him. Hey, it could have ended up worse. Roy could have been a total prat, or he could have ended up in Armstrong's… no. Bad image. Edward shuddered inwardly. "My name is Edward." He said at last. "It's my real name too."
"Sure it is." Roy winked at him, and stepped away. "Follow me, I'll introduce you to my mom."
Well, Edward thought to himself, this could be valuable blackmail to use against Roy in the present time.
Sam ignored the two teens, opting to chew on the abandoned wet cloth.
Edward might have been concerned about not staring at the younger version of the man who enjoyed making his life difficult, but as it was, he was too deep in thought trying to figure out what he'd done wrong in the transmutation to have been sent here. He'd wanted to go to Central, to the time where he could have stolen a Philosopher's Stone and then opened up a wormhole back to the present. So why had he ended up here?
"So, where did you come from?" Roy asked as he led Edward down another airy hallway. "I've never seen you around before."
Edward tried not to laugh, or some other suspicious act. But he also didn't dare look at Roy. "Again, you wouldn't believe me if I told you."
Roy frowned a bit, and he reached out to tug Edward to a sudden stop and turn the other teen towards him. "Again, try me."
Edward glanced down at Roy's hand on his sleeve, it was missing a glove. In fact, he believed this was the first time he'd ever seen Roy without his gloves on. "Alchemy…" he looked up into Roy's eyes now, "how good are you at it?"
"And what makes you think I practice alchemy?" Roy asked, and released the sleeve of the heavy red coat.
"You don't?" Edward cocked an eyebrow in surprise.
Roy shrugged and looked away. "I do, but the kind of alchemy I like… well, it scares people. So I try not to do it."
"What?!" Edward gaped at him, and then smiled. "Don't let that stop you. Seriously, you have a great potential. Trust me, I know. Where I come from I'm an alchemist prodigy. And I know you have talent that most people could only dream of."
Roy gave him a look that quite frankly implied that he was questioning Edward's sanity. "You sure you didn't hit your head?"
"Very." Edward smirked. Who knew that Roy Mustang of all people had once been anything but an egotistical bastard.
"Huh…" Roy shook his head, and started walking again.
Edward followed after him with a small smile. And he was led into a large kitchen where a woman who must be Roy's mother was chopping up lettuce for a salad. And he could immediately tell which side of the family Roy got his good looks from. Roy's mother had the same fair skin and black hair, and she looked up as they entered the kitchen.
"Oh good, you're awake!" She smiled in relief and wiped her hands on a towel so she could walk over to the two boys. "How are you feeling, dear?"
"Fine, thank you, mom." Roy answered cheekily, and laughed while dodging a swat his mother made at him.
Edward hid a laugh behind a hand. Seeing the great Roy Mustang flee his mother was priceless.
"Impertinent child." She grinned affectionately. "Finish the lettuce please?"
Edward was grinning as he observed them, Roy could actually be playful? It was almost cute. But he gave himself a mental shake. His bastard of a commanding officer was not cute. But he did have to wonder what had happened to change the way Roy acted.
"You'll have to excuse my son." Roy's mother said as she turned back to Edward.
Edward smiled at her, ignoring the glare Roy shot them. "I already have. I'm Edward." He said, extending his hand politely.
"Daphne." She replied, and instead of taking the hand, stepped forward to crush Edward into a tight hug that nearly had him gasping for air.
Edward glared at Roy over her shoulder as the other teenager snickered devilishly. And when he was released, he stepped away to suck in some air quickly. "Sorry for inconveniencing you." He said as he drug a hand back through his long bangs with a confused look. "I didn't mean to end up here."
Daphne smiled at him, and shook her head. "You've not inconvenienced us any. Were you traveling and got lost?"
"You could say that." Edward admitted wryly.
"Where were you headed?" She asked, and took him gently by the shoulder to lead him in further.
"Central." He answered, and noticed that Roy stiffened, but as soon as he saw it the dark-haired teen had shook it off. "I'm not quite sure where I got turned around."
Daphne nodded with a genteel smile. "You're not too far off the mark. You must have just taken a wrong turn at one of the forks. Don't worry, after a proper meal and a good night's sleep I'll have Roy drive you there."
"Oh no," Edward began quickly, "I couldn't possibly impose that much."
"Nonsense." Daphne chastised kindly. "Roy won't mind, he's heading back in a few days anyway. The Academy is starting up again, they've been on break until now. If you wait around a few days, you won't be any imposition at all."
"Don't be silly, Edward." Roy spoke up, but his tone was less relaxed than before. "It's not a fun walk, and I could use the company."
Edward hesitated, what complications could it arise? But so far he was certain Roy didn't remember any of this, so perhaps it was okay. As long as he didn't say anything that would be sure to have made Roy remember him, he wasn't altering the past more than he had intended. So he slowly nodded, he just needed to watch what he said around the future Colonel. "Okay, thank you."
"Splendid!" Daphne patted him on the shoulder. "Now I think what you need is a proper meal. Go ahead and sit down for now and rest. Dinner will be ready soon, and then I'll show you where you can bunk for a few nights."
Even as he was being steered towards the table set near the side of the kitchen next to a large glass window that stretched nearly the entire length of the wall, Edward was protesting. "Shouldn't I help?"
"Absolutely not." Daphne admonished him in a stern motherly tone, and sat him in a chair with a shove to his shoulders. "Guests do not help, especially ones who fainted not even an hour ago. You, young man, are going to sit here and rest."
"Okay." Edward agreed meekly. Well, he also knew now where Mustang got his commanding presence. So he sat there as commanded, and watched mother and son move together in an intricate sort of cooking dance. It was as if they'd done this hundreds of times, and they were always in sync working together.
After a while the clicking of nails on the hardwood floor announced Sam as the hefty Labrador ambled into the kitchen and immediately made a beeline for where Edward sat. His tail began to wag increasingly faster.
Edward smiled and reached down a hand to stroke the dog's soft head. He liked animals, but they really had never shown him any particular like before. It had always been merely tolerance. At least, aside from Den. But that was one in a million for an animal. Up until now. Sam made it two in a million. And it seemed that Sam liked him very much.
Daphne smiled rather fondly as she caught Roy staring at Edward for what must have been the hundredth time now that Edward wasn't watching them. Each time she'd caught him, Roy had jumped a bit and quickly gotten back to work on prepping the dinner, but this time Roy didn't seem to notice. He was smiling faintly as he watched the blond ruffle Sam's ears and tug at them in affection. So she cleared her throat quietly.
Roy jumped, and shot her a guilty look. "Sorry." He whispered, and ducked his head to resume chopping the almonds.
"He's rather handsome, isn't he." Daphne hinted to her son quietly.
A light flush of red stained Roy's cheeks, and his knife wavered in its chopping. "He's okay."
"Okay?" Daphne echoed with a quiet chuckle. "Roy, you can barely take your eyes off him."
"I'm just making sure he doesn't hurt Sam." Roy defended with what he knew was a lame excuse.
Daphne rolled her eyes, "hunny, if he were going to hurt Sam, the dog wouldn't be there with him. Finish with those nuts and then why don't you go talk to him."
Roy smiled over at his mother, almost shyly. "Do you think I have a chance? I doubt he's going to Central to stay considering the lack of belongings."
"You won't know until you try." Daphne pointed out. "And you're not exactly a bad catch yourself, if you could learn to commit."
"Commit…" Roy looked back over at the blond, and that shadow of a blush returned as he quickly looked away. "It can't be that hard. As strange as he is... I can't help but like him. There's just something about him, almost like I feel I should know him."
Daphne smiled, and nodded in understanding. "I've felt the same way before."
"With dad?" Roy asked her, looking her way.
She nodded, "but I don't want to give you false hope. You have to understand that reality is just that… and those fairytale love stories of destiny are hardly the norm."
"I know." Roy smiled, and hurriedly began to finish chopping the almonds. "I'll try… I'll make my own reality."
"You have a few days." Daphne said encouragingly. It was hard not to be, when she hadn't seen her son so taken with anyone before. She had a feeling Roy had hid it from Edward, but hiding it could hardly benefit either of them. If Edward was meant to be, then Roy couldn't just hide away and let the chance pass him by.
Once Roy had finished he put the nuts in the brownie mix and the dirty dishes in the sink before taking a deep breath and walking over to where Edward was sitting, scratching Sam on a spot behind his ear that made the dog's back leg thump.
Edward looked up, and smiled in welcome as Roy walked over to kneel down next to Sam. He sat back a bit, stilling in his scratching of Sam's ear. "It's so strange that an animal actually likes me."
Roy smiled back, "Sam has always had a good opinion of people."
"I had no idea you could actually be nice." Edward admitted after having carefully thought over what he was going to say. "I would have thought you'd be… abrasive." He was actually beginning to understand what Maes had seen in him for a friend. And suddenly the deceased man didn't seem so crazy.
Roy cocked his head, and slowly nodded. "Have we met before?"
Edward let out a small sigh, and rested his elbows on his knees. "Sort of. I know more of you, if that makes sense." And in a convoluted way, he did know more of Roy… just not this side of him.
"I see." Roy smiled faintly, and shrugged. If this kid truly was an alchemist prodigy, it made sense that maybe he'd heard news about certain students at the Academy. "My instructors do believe me to be a right bastard. But you've gotta be if you're going to survive. There's no room for nice people there at the Academy. If I'm going to make it to be Fuhrer one day, I can't let anyone see the real me."
Well, that did explain a lot. And Edward let it sink in. So Roy was just drawing on his desire to succeed that brought out the bastardly side of him? Some of the frustration he felt towards the man he knew evaporated, instead leaving him with a feeling almost akin to regret. "Do you ever worry that you'll lose the real you?" He asked quietly.
Roy's smile grew more successful, and he shook his head. "No. You seem to be nice enough, but my guess is that you've done or seen some terrible things." And to emphasize his meaning, he reached over to draw on the chain that was the only sign of the State Alchemist pocket watch in Edward's pocket. And he held it in his hand, before looking back up into the golden eyes of the teen. "Does that change who you are? Does who you sometimes need to force yourself to be to survive change you?"
Edward looked down at the watch in Roy's hand, the watch that this very man would one day give to him. And a small, understanding smile flickered across his lips. "No. It hasn't… no." He agreed, and met Roy's eyes again. So this side of Roy had never gone away at all? "I'm sorry." He whispered suddenly.
"Why?" Roy frowned at him curiously, and tucked the pocket watch back away. "I don't hate State Alchemists or anything."
"One day you'll know." Edward replied, and caught Roy's hand as it retreated away. "Don't give up on your alchemy, no matter what people say about it. Trust me when I say I know you will one day be one of the greatest alchemists. Respected, feared for the right reasons, and you'll be surrounded by people who do care for you. Even if you are a bastard."
Roy's uncertainty slowly faded away as a soft smile took its place. "You are strange... it must be some sort of prodigy thing. But I'll remember."
"I know you will." Edward said with quiet confidence. He knew Roy would remember, he knew where Roy had ended up in the future after all. And he knew that even though Roy didn't seem to remember Edward having spontaneously showing up in his childhood, that at least his words wouldn't be forgotten.
Roy gazed at Edward for a moment, before he shifted his hand which Edward still held so that he was holding the hand in return, and he rubbed his thumb across the back of it in a light touch. "Would you like to see my alchemy? I'm not as good as a State Alchemist like yourself, but I'd like to show you tonight if you want to see."
Edward looked down at their hands, the back of his tingling where Roy had caressed it. Really, what did he have to lose? He suddenly knew that he wanted to know the real Roy, the one that the Roy he thought he knew had kept hidden. Looking back up at him, he nodded firmly. "I'd like to see very much. Thank you."
The thought that he was on shaky ground as far as not saying anything to Roy that might cause Roy to remember him didn't cross his mind. Nor did the fact that they were still holding hands.
Sam's tail was wagging gleefully as he looked back and forth between his master and the strange human he'd found out past the vineyard. They had since fallen silent, instead seeming to be caught up in their own thoughts as they gazed at each other. But that also meant that they weren't going to be petting him anytime soon. And that was unacceptable.
Edward jumped in his chair, barely suppressing a yelp as a warm wet tongue laved over their joined hands. He pulled away in surprise, and couldn't help but smile, even in an annoyed fashion, as Sam stuck his head over his lap. "Silly dog." He murmured, and began to pet the happy Labrador.
Roy smiled as well, biting down on a disappointed sigh. He hadn't exactly wanted to let go of Edward's hand, but Sam always had other ideas. So he turned his attention to the dog, and began to card his fingers through the silky hair along with Edward. "But he's a good dog, he did find you after all."
"He certainly did." Edward agreed with a slight snort. Roy's dog had found him and guarded him quite well while he'd been knocked out.
They were still petting Sam when Daphne walked over to begin setting the table. Roy got up to help her as well as bring the food over, but Edward stayed where he was after a stern look from the Mustang matriarch. He didn't dare tangle with her. When she told him to stay sat, he wasn't about to move unless shot at.
Roy and his mother had just finished when the sound of a knock echoed through the house.
"That must be him. Roy?" Daphne turned to her son.
"I'm on it." Roy told her with a smile, and hurried from the kitchen but not before giving Edward one last lingering look.
Edward never saw it, he was too busy with trying to please Sam.
Daphne finished setting out wine glasses before she rescued Edward from the overly-affectionate Labrador. "Sam, outside." She ordered, hand on one hip, the other pointing towards the hallway where assumedly there was a way for the dog to get outside.
Sam gave her a look befitting a Spaniel, before leaving the kitchen with his tail tucking between his legs morosely.
Daphne wasn't affected, and Edward was trying not to laugh.
"He'll be chasing rabbits soon enough." Daphne said as she turned to Edward. "How are you feeling, dear?"
He smiled at her gratefully. "Much better, thank you." And it was true, the wooziness and weighted feeling of his trip backwards through time had finally vanished entirely.
"Good, do you think you can handle wine tonight, or would you prefer something less harsh?"
"Wine is fine." He answered, and knew it was true. He needed a bit of a drink after this afternoon. It hadn't exactly gone as planned. And trying to wrap his mind around the real Roy Mustang was definitely something worthy of a drink.
Daphne poured him a glass as she sat down in a chair. "All from my own vineyard, it's the best, if I do say so myself." She passed it to Edward with a grin. "And I do."
Edward chuckled, and accepted the delicate wineglass. "Do you run it all on your own?"
"Pretty much, I have help that comes by every weekend. But otherwise it's just me… and Roy whenever he comes home." Daphne poured herself her own glass. "But I like it that way."
"You don't have to answer if it's rude of me to ask," he ventured, "but where is Roy's father?"
Daphne set the wine bottle down as a fond nostalgic look crossed her face. "He died."
Edward felt a twinge of sadness, knowing the pain of having lost a parent. Both parents, as it were. "I'm sorry."
"Don't be," she smiled at him, "both Roy and I miss him, but we have nothing but good memories of when he was still alive. It doesn't do to dwell on sadness. All you can do is move forward."
Edward nodded silently, and raised his wineglass to his lips to drink. He knew the idea of moving forward all too well. No matter what hurdle was thrown at him, he had to move forward. Too many people relied on him, he couldn't let any of them have such faith in vain. Hearing footsteps coming back towards the kitchen, he lowered his wineglass so he could see who the other dinner guest was.
And he was suddenly glad he was no longer drinking, for he knew he would have spat it out in alarm.
But he was not the only one sporting a gaze other than mild curiosity.
Hohenheim's eyes had widened in surprise as they landed on the blond teen sitting at the table. And after an effort, he schooled his face to something that he hoped did not give away his shock. "Sorry I'm late…" he said, and tore his gaze away from the angry golden eyes so he could look at Daphne. "I got held up by a flock of sheep that didn't wish to move off the road."
"Sheep stood in your way?" Edward chuckled darkly to himself, and adopted a regal, and almost forbidding pose as he leaned back in the chair while swirling the dark wine in its glass.
Hohenheim ignored him, for the moment.
Daphne smiled, unaware of the tension between the two guests. "Sheep can be so uncooperative." She agreed and stood up to go over and greet her friend with a hug. "I'm glad you made it."
"It was my pleasure. It's always nice to check in on how you and Roy are doing." He said as he hugged her back.
Edward tried not to seethe, but his eyes flashed in his carefully restrained rage. "How sweet of you." He growled under his breath.
Roy had walked over to Edward, and sat down next to the other teen. "He's a pretty powerful alchemist, do you know him?"
"All powerful alchemists do not know each other." Edward replied, somehow managing to keep his voice neutral. "But I daresay I know who he is." He'd know his estranged father anywhere. Even if he did look younger than Edward remembered from his childhood, or the old pictures that had been in the house. And it was taking a great degree of self-control not to lunge the distance separating them and introduce his father to an automail fist.
Daphne was now leading the man over, and didn't seem aware of the hate glittering dangerously in Edward's eyes as he glared at Hohenheim. "Hohenheim, this is Edward, he's just recently dropped in."
"Edward." Hohenheim nodded at him, clearly noting the furious gaze the blond was harpooning him with.
"Hohenheim." Edward nodded curtly, trying not to sound snide, but he feared he might have failed. Setting his wineglass aside he stood up, turning his gaze from the man to instead look at Daphne. "I'm sorry, where's your bathroom?"
Daphne barely got out the directions before Edward was walking away purposefully.
"Wine, Hohenheim?" Daphne asked as she turned to the man.
Hohenheim smiled at her, and nodded. "Yes. Will you excuse me for just a moment though? I realized I forgot something out in the car."
"Sure." Daphne smiled, "but are you sure you don't want Roy to go get it for you?"
"I'm sure." He assured her, and smiled at Roy who shrugged at him. "I'll only be a moment." And without further ado, he walked from the kitchen. It was only when he was a few hallways down that he broke into a run and nearly flung the front door open in his haste to get outside. And he bolted down the steps after Edward who was nearly to the end of the drive. "Edward!"
Edward jerked to a halt, whirling to glare at the man. No longer did his rage remain contained, he nearly shook in his anger. "You know who I am, do you not?"
Hohenheim hesitated, then nodded. "My son."
"Then you'll know why I don't want to have anything to do with you!" Edward snapped.
"Be that as it may, we'll settle this between us eventually after you return to the future." Hohenheim sighed, shaking his head almost sadly.
"How do you even know…" Edward trailed off, his glare not decreasing at all.
Hohenheim glanced back over at him now. "Things you will learn in time. In your own time. The very reason I can't tell you is surely a reason you can understand."
"You abandoned us." Edward whispered, though he was sure his father had heard him.
"I know why I must have. I don't know what happens in the future… but I can guess." Hohenheim said, his voice laden with sadness. "The only reason I recognized you was your eyes. And deny it as much as you like, you look more than a bit like me in the face."
Edward scowled at him. "I want nothing to do with you. This is a part of the past I never wished to enter."
"But it was the past you were brought to partake in." Hohenheim argued. "Which means myself, and a certain Roy Mustang."
"Neither of you could possibly help me with why I did that transmutation. Mustang may have given me permission to go back through time to fetch a Stone from Central, but not permission to enter his past or yours." Edward crossed his arms over his chest.
Hohenheim smiled slightly. "Surely you don't believe that you did the transmutation incorrectly?"
"I must have! This isn't Central."
"Why, may I ask, are you going after a Philosopher's Stone?"
Edward huffed, "I wouldn't have needed to if not for you. Alphonse, my younger brother, I had to bind his soul to a suit of armor before the Gate consumed him entirely."
"And yet, the future works out so that you do need it. You cannot try to fathom the reason things happen, Edward." Hohenheim informed him rather matter-of-factly. "You are here to get the Stone and bring it back. So maybe the young Roy Mustang in there is of some benefit. My being here is coincidence. You being deposited near Roy, instead of Central, is not coincidence."
Edward blinked, and some of his anger was banked as his interest sparked. "You mean that Roy is a key to getting the Stone?"
"It would make sense. Else the transmutation wouldn't have gone against what you wanted. The Stone is your end goal, Central was a means to get it. Something far less concrete."
"Why has he never mentioned any of this to me in my time?" Edward asked, unable to help himself. "Is it possible he forgot it all?"
Hohenheim looked surprised at the idea. "Doubtful. That kid remembers more than is probably healthy. If he hasn't said anything to you, can you not think of a reason why he might have kept quiet to you about you one day going to his past to bring back something to change the future of your brother?"
Edward blinked, and slowly he nodded, his arms uncrossing. "He didn't want to interfere."
"You being here, whatever you say to each other. The chances are high that he remembers it all." Hohenheim agreed, "but he is smarter than to risk playing with the past and future any more than you were destined to. However you'll only know once you get the Stone and go back to your own time."
"Do you know where in Central they're keeping it?" Edward asked, since he had a chance.
Hohenheim shook his head. "To be quite honest, it will either be in one of the labs, or in the Academy itself."
"The Academy?" Edward echoed, "that's where Roy is going."
"Then there's a piece of your puzzle." Hohenheim smiled at the teenager who would in the future be his son. "But Edward, word of caution, something like a Philosopher's Stone will be heavily guarded. Once you get your hands on it you can't linger. You'll need to transport yourself back immediately."
"Good." Hohenheim nodded, and then sighed. "I wish I could explain… so that maybe you wouldn't hate me. But that's meddling too much with what needs to happen to get you to this point. Hate me, I expect I deserve it… but I'll still love you."
Edward was silent.
"And now," Hohenheim announced, "we had better go enjoy the lovely dinner. Afterwards I'll leave… and you know the rest from there. Just allow me to discover it in my own time."
"No doubt you will." Edward said at last, and finally began to walk back to the house, his father behind him.
They entered the kitchen again, and resumed their seats. Hohenheim distracted Daphne with conversation as she served the food, and Edward had to lower his grudge enough to be grateful to him for it. He wasn't sure he wanted to explain where either of them had been.
Roy however sensed that Edward wasn't entirely happy about something, and he couldn't help but wonder what it was. "Is everything okay?" He asked quietly of the other teen.
Edward looked over at him, and managed a thin smile. "Sorry… I got distracted thinking about something. Family woes and such."
Roy smiled at him as reassuringly as he could. "It's okay, anything I can do?"
Well, short of helping him beat the snot out of his dad… but that might be a bit too much meddling in the past. "No, but thanks. I'll figure it out."
Dinner passed without a hitch, and Hohenheim left after saying his goodbyes. And Edward barely managed to incline his head in a farewell nod as their eyes met. And then he was gone. He breathed a sigh of relief, already feeling the tension seem to evaporate from his body. It had been hard to resist trying to stab the man… only the knowledge that if he offed Hohenheim that he would never be born kept him from attempting anything.
Daphne meanwhile turned to cleaning up the kitchen, while tossing Edward a look over her shoulder. "Why don't you go get cleaned up, dear. Roy can show you to one of the guest rooms."
Edward nodded, and turned to Roy who wordlessly led him from the kitchen. In fact, Roy was silent in thought for several hallways before he turned to Edward. "You lied, didn't you?"
Edward blinked at him in surprise and more than a little confusion. "Lied? About what?"
"When you said you only knew of Hohenheim." Roy filled in, and stopped walking to turn and level an almost admonishing look at the blond as his arms crossed.
Edward stopped as well, and couldn't hold back the sigh. Finally he raised his hands in supplication. "Yes, I lied. But I don't know him as well as I should. Nor he me."
"Explain." Roy frowned.
"It's not that easy." He hedged.
"Edward." Roy said in a tone quite reminiscent of the one that his grown up self used when Edward was being evasive about mission details. "Explain."
Edward barely suppressed a shudder. It was scary how all of a sudden the teenager could morph into Colonel Roy Mustang. But years of dealing with that side of Roy had taught him to know better than to keep evading. "He's my father." He said at last. "That's all I'll say, I refuse to indulge you in any other details."
"Your father." Roy deadpanned.
Edward nodded grimly. "Yeah, unfortunately. Can't exactly pick your parents."
Roy grunted in a way that made it impossible to tell if he believed Edward or not. "Come on." He said, and turned to keep walking.
Edward was shown to a small spare bedroom with an attached bath. And Roy had left with instructions to meet him outside after he'd cleaned up. Edward knew that Roy planned to show him his proficiency with alchemy. And if the teenage Roy was even close to being as accomplished as the grown one, he knew what to expect. But he'd indulge the teen, it might have some benefit to Roy's future path.
So he stripped from his clothes and stepped under the warm spray of the shower.
Once he'd cleaned up, needing it after a day like today, he stepped out feeling much more refreshed. He dried off and dressed again before he exited the room to go find Roy again.
He'd just finished braiding his hair again and tying it back when he found the backdoor and let himself out. He took a deep breath, and looked around. It didn't take him long to spot the flawless white skin through the darkness, and he walked over to where Roy was leaning against a tree and gazing up at the stars.
"Are you ready?" Edward asked as he walked over to the other teen's side.
Roy looked over at him with a smile. "Yes. I've never shown a State Alchemist though…"
"What do you do at that Academy then?"
"The instructors aren't certified State Alchemists." Roy frowned at him, surely Edward knew this if he was one? "State Alchemists are the best, and you're as old as I am, so you really must be good. State Alchemists usually have better things to do than bother with trainees."
Edward snorted, and waved a hand airily. "I'm no ordinary State Alchemist, I don't exactly like following rules."
"Well, if Hohenheim really is your father, I can believe it." Roy admitted dryly, and rubbed his hands together. "Okay then…"
Edward watched in amusement as Roy took several deep breaths, before pulling from his pocket the ignition cloth gloves that Edward was so familiar with. He breathed a sigh of relief, at least Roy had those already. But it was the array on the backs that truly caught his attention.
It was different.
Which would have been the reason behind the fact that when Roy snapped, the sparks of fire barely began before they fizzled.
It was a valiant effort, but Edward managed not to break down laughing at the drastic difference between the teen standing there looking sheepish, and the confident alchemist he knew that could scare masses into submission just by raising his hand.
"I'm working on the gloves… can't get 'em right though yet." Roy muttered, scuffing the toe of his shoe at the grass. "I do fine without them, just chalk and whatever."
"So, you're a flame alchemist?" Edward asked, trying not to laugh at his own joke. Even if he'd made it sound like a simple inquiry.
"Trying to be." Roy dragged a hand back through his hair with a groan. "I won't be any good though if I can't get the gloves right."
Edward felt something inside him soften, and he held out his hand. "May I?"
Roy gave him a surprised look, but took off one glove and passed it to him.
Looking down at the array, Edward didn't take long at all to discern what was going wrong and why. Yes, the array was different, but at the same time it was correct. At least for anything but ignition cloth. "Do you have any spare, unaltered pairs?" He asked, running a finger over the thin thread forming the array.
"Yes. Lots, considering I can't get the array to work correctly yet." Roy grumbled.
Edward smiled up at him bracingly. "Oh hush, Roy Mustang." He chided gently. "Give me a pair, and whatever you've been using to sew on the array. Your array is incorrect for ignition cloth, that's all."
Roy blinked at him, and then his mouth opened slightly in understanding. "You mean," he flushed, "there's a difference?"
"Yes." Edward said, and beckoned for the other glove. "You're over charging the glove, and it's shorting out. Hence why your potential fireworks poop out before they can get going."
"Poop out?" Roy couldn't help but snicker as he handed over the other glove.
Edward stuck out his tongue. "Yes, I said poop. Now where are the gloves?"
A bright smile suddenly came over Roy's face, and he grabbed Edward's hand to pull him towards the house. "Okay then, let's see how prodigious you really are."
And so Edward ended up sitting on Roy's bed, a clean ignition glove in hand, a needle and thread in the other. He stitched quickly and efficiently, forming the array as easily as if he slept doing things like this. And he knew that Roy was gaping at him from across the bed. He smiled at the knowledge, but kept his gaze down.
"Why are you helping me?" Roy asked as Edward nearly finished the first glove.
Edward hummed to himself for a moment, and let his gaze flicker up to Roy briefly before he glanced back down. "Because you helped me once. I may not believe in equivalent exchange anymore, but I do believe in thanking you."
"I'm the one who should be thanking you." Roy muttered, and sprawled on the bed, propping his head up on his hand while his elbow dug into the mattress.
"Don't thank me until you try them out." Edward said, chewing on his lower lip as he considered the now fully formed array. "Though, at the low risk of being proven wrong, I did this one perfectly." And he cut the thread.
Roy forced his gaze away from Edward's lips in order to accept the first glove. Looking down at it, he could see the difference in the arrays, and now that he could compare, he could see the sense in what Edward had stitched. "It's perfect."
"We'll soon see." Edward said, and picked up the next glove.
Roy smiled, and laid the glove down as he watched Edward begin his stitching once again. "Where'd you learn to do this sort of thing? It took me days to figure out how to even make one proper stitch."
"My mom taught me… a long time ago." Edward answered quietly, the needle flashing under his careful gaze as it formed the beginning of the array. "I loved spending time with her. She was the strongest woman I knew, and I loved her very much." And he knew how true it was. He'd loved her enough to go against the law and attempt human transmutation. His love for his mother had been the very thing that had sent his life spiraling to this exact moment.
"What happened to her?" Roy asked, sensing that his mother was indeed no longer around.
Edward paused in his stitching, a sad smile flitting across his face before he quickly resumed his activity. "We went our separate ways. And I found hope in becoming a State Alchemist. I was running very low on hope for a long time."
"When my dad died…" Roy began after he'd had some time to let Edward's words sink in, "after his death I took up alchemy. I'd never wanted anything to do with it before then. But it kept me busy, it made me feel as if I were doing something to make myself better. I wanted to be strong, become strong, so he might be proud of me. So my mom might not notice he was gone."
"You are strong," Edward replied softly, "you just have to see it for yourself. And it's not just a person's alchemy that makes them strong." He looked up at Roy now. "Power is neutral without choice. Your choices will define your strength. Strength of alchemy… strength of character. If you choose to embrace the good of what you could become, there's no way your dad won't be proud, or that your mom won't feel the same."
"You really are strange." Roy smiled, but felt warmed by the words. "You must have really been through something to speak like that."
Edward smiled to himself, not raising his gaze from what he was doing. "More than a few somethings. You'll understand when you become a State Alchemist one day."
"You think I can do it then?" Roy asked.
"I know you can." Edward insisted. "You can, so you will."
Roy smiled softly, and laid out fully on the bed on his side, his head against the mattress as he watched Edward. He wouldn't deny to himself that he was attracted to the strange blond, but it was more than the fact he was gorgeous. There was something about his presence, and his personality… the way Edward seemed to unconditionally care. Letting out a wistful sigh he settled in to wait for the blond to finish.
Edward finished with the last stitches, double checked his work, and cut the thread. Setting the tools back into the case Roy kept them in, he offered the finished glove to Roy. "Ready to try again?"
Roy grinned, and accepted the other one. "You know I am."
Shortly the two of them had gone back outside, and Edward stood a safe distance off towards Roy's side as the other teen took one of those deep breaths.
This time, when Roy snapped, Edward could barely believe that it wasn't the grown up Roy Mustang who'd managed to create such intense flames and then effortlessly cause them to vanish. Grinning, he put a hand to his mouth and began to laugh. "See!" He whirled on Roy, "you do have potential!"
Roy smiled at him with pure joy, and just a bit of shyness. "I do… don't I."
"Yes, you do!" Edward grinned at him, and tossing decorum to the wind, he launched himself at Roy to engulf the other teenager in a hug. "You were brilliant."
Roy quickly got over his shock of having Edward hugging him, and he wrapped his arms around the blond with a wistful expression. And he held on tightly to the person who was fast becoming to mean so much to him. He was committing the feeling to memory… afraid he'd never get another chance. But when Edward shifted to pull away at last he only let the blond get so far before he brought one hand up to caress his cheek. "Thank you." He whispered as he leaned in to quickly place a kiss to Edward's lips before he lost his courage.
Edward stared wide-eyed up at Roy. Did he just…? "Roy…"
Roy blushed, and brushed his hand back through Edward's bangs. "Sorry."
Sorry? Sorry?! Edward's eyes only widened more. His future commanding officer had managed to make his senses jolt with a quick chaste kiss like that and the man was sorry?! But… "You don't know who you're kissing, Roy." He said with a twinge of regret, but it shone in his eyes.
"Why don't you tell me, so maybe we'll both know?" Roy replied sensibly, not releasing Edward from the slight embrace.
Edward attempted a smile, a wavering smile at best. "It's not that easy." All he could think about was how even demanding of Roy to try that again could drastically alter the future of them both.
Roy let out a small sigh, "why not? I like you, a lot. And unless you don't see yourself ever returning it… what's the problem?"
"Don't get me wrong," Edward hurriedly began, raising one hand to cup one slightly flushed cheek of the other, "that was all kinds of feeling right… just at the wrong time."
"Then," Roy's smile returned with a flicker of confidence, "I'll just have to try again at another time. I'll figure it out… morning, noon… evidently night doesn't work for you."
A small, genuine laugh slipped out at the teasing, and Edward ran the hand that was against Roy's cheek past his jaw and along his neck before pulling away. "Goodnight, Roy."
"Goodnight, Edward." Roy smiled as he watched the blond give him a thoughtful look before walking back to the house.
In his given room, Edward slumped against the door he'd just closed as his heart tried to steady. What in the name of the Gate had just happened out there?! His eyelids drooped closed as a shaking breath was expelled. Roy had kissed him. Him! But it was not only the shock that Roy had kissed him, but also the shock that he had enjoyed such a chaste kiss. He never would have thought…
As much as he'd liked it though, and would have liked to pin Roy up against that tree and kiss him incoherent, he couldn't. This wasn't the Roy he knew…
"But it is the real Roy…" Edward murmured to himself there in the darkness. "He's older in the present… but this side of him still exists."
Hadn't he wanted to know the real Roy?
Groaning, he slumped down to sit against the door. He was getting nowhere with himself. He was still conflicted. Roy had certainly never mentioned ever kissing him before in his past. The man had given him no warning at all – and that was if his father was right about why Roy had never told him about any of this.
He had finally picked himself up off the floor and flopped with a dramatic exhale onto the bed when something finally occurred to him.
Roy had kissed him. Not the other way around.
He sat up sharply in bed. "He kissed me first. And he wanted to continue it… I wouldn't have been altering the past at all. But…" could he let this continue to wherever it was supposed to lead? There were so many possible destinations that such an act like discovering his feelings about the real Roy could lead.
Slowly he lay back down, knowing that while his sleep may not be restful tonight, at least he'd be able to sleep on what had happened tonight.
And Edward had woken up still thinking about it. Only having come to the conclusion that it was stupid of him to try and figure this out now. This was important. This was Roy's past… and potentially both of their futures. And whenever anything important occurred on a mission, he didn't plan out a strategy. He ran in blind and instinctive, and somewhere along the way everything turned out as it should. So he vowed to remain neutral in the entire matter in question until it presented itself again.
….though he was sure that fate was having a good, cruel laugh at him right now.
The younger version of Roy Mustang was out there in the vineyard with him… without a shirt on. And it didn't help that all morning Roy hadn't once tried to kiss him again. Despite the looks that Edward had been feeling on him. It was making him edgy, wondering what exactly the man was up to. And considering the Roy he knew best… he was understandably nervous.
And how did Roy's skin stay so pale?
Edward averted his gaze from the lean back, and directed his gaze to examining the fledgling grapes on the vines of the plant in front of him. It had been Daphne's suggestion that Roy teach him about the vineyard, and some of the work that went into it. He doubted it had been her suggestion for Roy to strip half-naked to do so.
A flash of fire attracted his attention, and he raised an eyebrow as he watched a part of one plant fall to the dark soil as ashes. "I see you're making good use of those gloves." He remarked blandly, looking over at the smug dark-haired teenager.
"You went through the trouble of making them. I doubt I'll ever take them off much." Roy admitted as a faint flush of red shaded his cheeks. "Besides, the more chances I take to practice, the faster I'll become better."
"I'm sure your mother will share that sentiment when she realizes you charcoaled part of her grape plants. I hope you don't plan to use them on her when she attempts to kick your ass three ways to next Sunday?"
Roy smirked at him, and shook his head in a smug way. "It was rotting, part of it. The best way to deal with it is to burn it off. The ashes go to fertilizing the other plants. And things grow faster after fire has been nearby."
"Hmm…" Edward grunted to himself, and moved on to another plant.
"When did you become a State Alchemist?" Roy asked as he too turned his attention back to the mindless work at hand.
Edward took a moment to consider the best answer. "Somewhere around twelve… or thirteen. It's hard to remember after everything that's happened since then. The exam, the studying for it… it was nothing compared to what was waiting for me."
"That's inspiring." Roy laughed in a monotonous way. "But it must be worth it, right? For you to have stayed so long and all."
A slight frown worried Edward's brow as he moved down past Roy to look over a new section. "Working for the reward of completing a mission and correcting a wrong, it's a feeling that can't be matched. Every part of you is alive… and very few people can say they lead such a life."
"So it's worth it to you?"
"Did anyone ever tell you that you seem to talk in paragraphs?" Roy teased mercilessly.
Edward promptly scooped a handful of thick dark soil and flung it at Roy's head. "Oh, shut up." He growled.
Roy ducked the onslaught, and grinned as he got back to work. At least the blond was smiling again. He couldn't help but enjoy that smile, and he committed the sight of it to memory.
Several hours later they'd nearly finished, and it was at that point that they were intercepted by a barking Sam who tackled Edward down and began to tongue-wash his face as the blond spluttered and Roy laughed unhelpfully.
"It must be time for lunch." Roy said, after watching Edward succumb to the treatment in an air of defeat. Grinning, he walked over and finally pried his dog off the blond. "Coming?"
"I'm going to hit you." Edward muttered as he wiped his face with his sleeve and took the hand Roy offered down to him.
Roy winked at him, not releasing Edward's hand from his gentle grasp. "Truly? Is that what you really want to do to me?" He asked in a seductive purr.
Edward tried to ignore how hearing Roy speak to him like that had affected him. And perhaps it was the fact that the blood was rushing there that meant he managed not to blush. "It'd be a start." He managed to get out after a not so smooth start. His imagination was not cooperating with his need to express himself vocally.
Flashing him a knowing wicked grin, Roy gave a squeeze to Edward's hand. "Time for lunch!" He announced with over-the-top cheer, and began to drag Edward off.
Edward followed him, trying to sort himself out in between being thankful that as of yet, Roy hadn't grabbed onto his automail hand. He wasn't sure he wanted to go into explaining that anytime soon. He had to be thankful for small blessings of peace in such a crazy time of his life. He had never thought that trying to go to Central to just grab a Philosopher's Stone and get back would have turned into… this.
Whatever this was turning out to be.
Once they got back inside the house Edward slipped his hand from Roy's while explaining he was going to go wash his face properly. And he retreated into the bathroom to do so… as well as gather his wits about him again.
Roy always did know how to unbalance him, didn't he.
When he joined Roy and Daphne in the kitchen, he immediately fell into helping set the table despite Daphne's hawkish observation of him. He knew she was still concerned that he might not be feeling well after his fainting spell yesterday. But it just wasn't everyday that you ended up back in time staring at a teenage version of the Flame Alchemist. Fainting was not just acceptable, it was unavoidable.
But soon he was sitting down with the family as Daphne immediately piled his plate with food. "Young men who work hard need food to keep up their strength." She informed him between spoonfuls of mashed potatoes that she plopped into a pile on his plate.
Edward smiled at her, and then turned to Roy with an almost challenging look in his golden eyes. "Then he doesn't need much."
Daphne laughed, while Roy stuck his tongue out at him but smiled.
Anyone else who didn't know the man's more… devious side, wouldn't have noticed the gleam in those black eyes that rested on Edward. But Edward fought not to squirm in his seat in an almost dreaded anticipation of how Roy would get him back. Yet at the same time, an undercurrent of rebellious excitement flickered.
"What time did you want to leave, Roy?" Daphne asked.
Roy was momentarily distracted from his devious train of thought as he turned to groan at his mother. "At least let me have tomorrow in peace before you ask me questions about the day after when I return to the oh-so-fun Academy."
Edward smiled around the spoon he'd stuck into his mouth in order to take a bite of his food.
"So I'm supposed to ask you the morning of?"
"Do something with him, Edward." Daphne ordered, waving a hand at her son.
Edward nearly choked on his mashed potatoes as he slowly turned a cautious gaze towards Roy. The teen was sitting there looking smug as could be, one eyebrow cocked in a silent dare. Slowly, carefully, he swallowed. And he lowered his spoon with exceptional care before he decided to take that dare. Fine, Roy wanted to play the seduction game? Who was he to deny? He knew how the future turned out… so why not engage in what Roy had set in motion.
Reaching out with his free hand now, he took Roy's hand in his. And promptly pinched the webbing between thumb and forefinger.
Over Roy's rather unmanly shriek, he quite plainly stated, "tell her." And released him to primly pick up his spoon again.
"After breakfast." Roy admitted with a grumble as he shot Edward a glare.
Daphne nodded, a look of pure interest on her face. "I need to learn that one."
"No you don't!" Roy piped up hurriedly.
"Sorry," Edward turned to her, "but I'd not like to face more of his wrath than already necessary."
Daphne deflated in disappointment, but Roy was silently breathing a sigh of relief.
The rest of the meal passed without further incidents of pinching or otherwise. However while Daphne may have allowed Edward to help set the table against her desires on treatment of guests and his fainting of yesterday, she was not about to let him help clean up.
So Edward was sent to occupy himself while Roy helped with the kitchen.
He walked out into the spacious living room and sat down next to Sam who was asleep on the floor. The dog didn't wake when he sat, but Edward didn't require him to. Instead he took off the glove covering his flesh hand to brush it lightly over the silky fur. Sometimes it was just nice to touch something beyond fabric.
"I'm really in a spot this time." He quietly told the sleeping dog. "I never thought… but I think it's possible I could fall for him. I've never felt anything like it before… that kiss… or when he actually touches me. Not the rough handling I'm used to from him. But it's Roy…"
Lowering his head, he sighed softly. He could only follow through with this mission the way he did every other one. And whatever happened, did.
He was still by the dog, but had since fallen silent, when Roy walked into the room to find him. And he looked up, dragged from his thoughts as he took notice of the other's presence. "Should I start running?" He asked with some amusement.
Roy broke a small smile as he came to sit down as well, his legs tucked under him slightly to one side. "I have no intention of ever hurting you. Especially over something like that."
"Mmm…" Edward laughed softly. He knew Roy's words to be true. Roy had never hurt him before, not really. Their arguments when they'd happened had been mutual, but they'd always moved past them. It had never been in an attempt to hurt each other. "No, not you."
"But really," Roy complained as he looked down at his hand. It still throbbed a bit. "Did you have to do it so hard?"
Edward gave him a reproachful look. "Would you have been convinced otherwise?"
With a bit of a grin, Roy shook his head. "No, I don't expect I would have. But it wasn't quite the route I was expecting you'd go."
"Oh?" Edward asked, an eyebrow raised in question. Well, technically future experience should have meant he'd whip out either alchemy or automail and beat the answer out of him.
"I've been wanting to kiss you all day." Roy said, almost idly as he gazed at Edward, but the flicker of a dare was back in his eyes.
Edward felt his breath stall just a bit. Yes… he'd noticed. "And why don't you?" He slowly asked.
Roy slowly leaned forward, and one of his hands rested on Edward's knee, the other cupping his cheek in a tender caress. "Do you?" He asked against Edward's lips as he leaned in. "Do you want to kiss me?"
He shivered as the warm breath washed over him, his eyes already falling closed of their own volition. "Yes." And he leaned forward the last bare millimeters to catch Roy's lips against his own in a searing joining that rushed the breath from his body. Sucking imploringly on Roy's lower lip he plunged his tongue into the waiting heat as he deepened the kiss.
Roy nearly whimpered in his sudden need as he gathered Edward closer to him. And Edward went willingly, molding his body against Roy's. He wasn't sure where the muffled moans were coming from, but he knew better than to discount that they were his own.
It was Roy who pulled away first, breathing heavily and his eyes darkened with lust. "Maybe it's good you pinched me instead-" he managed to pant out as he gazed back at the blond, "-might have blinded my mom doing that in the kitchen."
Edward smiled at him brightly, overcome by an inexplicable joy. "You're the one who wanted a kiss. It would have been your fault."
Roy arched an eyebrow at the unspoken statement, his hands slowly running along the firm planes of the body still mostly pressed up against his. "And what did you really want to do to me in there?" He asked just a bit warily.
His smile didn't fade, and Edward reached down to urge Roy to first give him his arm so he could take the hand he'd injured in his own two. "You didn't think that was all I wanted to do, did you? I had to know though… know that this is what you want… I can't, I won't force you."
The feeling of wariness eased from him, and Roy leaned in to catch Edward's lips in a gentle but lingering kiss. When he pulled away he smiled and gave a short nod. "I want you," he said softly, and smiled as he watched Edward's golden eyes take on a dark tinge again at his words. "You're not forcing me into anything. I want this too."
Edward felt his heart clench almost painfully as hope and the fear of disappointment warred, but he nodded. This time around… the only thing that might be blown up on the way to the end might be his own heart. But he wanted this while he knew he could have it. And he kept his gaze turned down, so that Roy might not see the emotions playing through his eyes. "Okay." He said softly, and drew off Roy's glove. There was no turning back now for him.
Roy watched him carefully, something about Edward's voice just then had sounded almost sad. But he couldn't place his finger on the why. Unless Edward doubted that he wanted him? Sure… he'd been known as a player before, but this was different. Edward was different. And he wanted the blond, not for just some fling… but for forever.
However, any other thoughts he may have had on the matter flew from his mind when Edward licked at the marked skin.
Edward couldn't help but smirk a bit as Roy gasped sharply. He knew it wasn't at all from pain, so he licked again and was rewarded with a strangled sounding groan. Flicking his gaze up to see Roy worrying his lower lip between his teeth he felt his heart lighten somewhat, and drew Roy's forefinger into his mouth to suck and stroke it with his tongue.
"Fuck… Edward…" Roy groaned as he lost himself to the feel of that hot mouth and tongue. He doubted there was any way to keep his body under control now. He couldn't even find the coherence to try picturing something less arousing than the sight before him.
Edward swirled his tongue around the digit one last time before pulling away and licking at the slowly vanishing red mark he'd inflicted. "Is your hand feeling better yet?" He asked with a bit of a smirk. He'd never seen Roy looked so flushed before, though if he shifted forward, he knew he'd discover why.
"Not yet, don't stop." Roy practically growled at him.
Not able to help the laugh at the familiar tone of voice usually directed at him, Edward had to admit it was much more pleasant having it directed at him when he was in Roy's lap and doing suggestive things to him. "As you wish." He smiled a bit fondly, and began on the next finger.
And then Roy was utterly and willingly lost to the feelings and emotion that Edward was introducing him to. He'd never felt anything like this with anyone else… no one else had shown interest in him other than for sex. So he was gladly in heaven as Edward continued wreaking delicious havoc on him.
Edward finished all the fingers, and licked again at where the now vanished mark would have been. He turned Roy's hand over to place a kiss to the palm before setting the hand down on his thigh and gazing into Roy's eyes which were slightly unfocused, but were as dark in arousal as his own. "I think I understand things a bit better now." He said quietly, mostly to himself as he turned his gaze downwards.
Roy had managed to bring himself down to earth enough to caress Edward's thigh and gather some coherence. "What sort of things?" He asked gently, his other hand retreating from Edward's neck to tilt the other's chin up so their eyes met again.
Edward smiled in an almost distant way, "it's no longer important." All the clashes of whatever magnitude or reason… he understood them now. Understood why they were always able to move past it and still be there for one another. Subconsciously, just maybe, he'd realized what he had needed to go back through time to discover.
And when Roy's lips sought his in another searing exchange, he could do little more than quickly seize dominance over their kiss even as he pushed Roy down onto the floor. He allowed their kiss to break long enough for them to gasp for some air, whispering, "just once… even if it's just once," before he dived back down to crush their mouths together while hands roamed freely.
Sam woke up from his deep sleep of chasing pigeons to two rumpled but still clothed teenagers who were tangled in each other's limbs as they rested from their exertions. It seemed that his master had fallen asleep, but the other was not. So he got up and waddled over to sniff at the crook of Edward's arm.
Edward chuckled softly and slowly turned so as not to wake Roy. "At least you waited until I was through with him, hmm?" He chided and gently disentangled himself from Roy's body so he could sit up. He'd already put his nearly perfect skill in cleaning alchemy to use on them both, but his clothes were still less than perfect. He didn't bother with them though as he pulled his red coat back on over the black leather one. He hadn't exactly been ready for Roy to notice that he was less than entirely flesh.
Sam placed a paw on the teen's calf as he wagged his tail and whined.
Tilting his head a bit, Edward tried to figure out what the dog wanted. "I didn't hurt him if that's what you're concerned about. I may have won every physical fight we've ever had, but still… that was hardly a fight even if it was physical."
Sam whined again, his ears drooping a bit.
"Do you need to go outside?" Edward guessed after a moment of thinking about it. And was proven correct when the dog perked up and bounded over towards one of the hallways leading into the living room. He had thought there was a way the dog could get out on his own… but maybe not. At any rate, he stood up.
He looked down at Roy tenderly, and sighed. "If Al had told me I'd be dangerously close to falling for you one day, I would have disowned him." And slowly he took off his red jacket again. Bending down he laid it over Roy's sleeping form to keep him warm. Right now Roy had more need of it than himself.
Walking over to Sam he didn't even have to say anything before the dog was bounding off to show him the way. He cast one look back at the peacefully sleeping Roy, smiled wistfully, and followed after Sam.
He let the dog outside, and watched as Sam bolted down the steps. He himself went to stand at the railing to watch as the dog began sniffing around for a spot to relieve himself. The dog had just found a spot as he looked away towards the scenery surrounding this place. He'd traveled a great deal of Amestris, but he'd never seen countryside like this before. Then again, he could understand why Roy might have wanted to keep him away from here… if Roy did remember all of this.
And Edward barely dared to hope that he did… but still, he hoped.
"My son says you're a State Alchemist?"
Edward was jolted from his sightseeing, and turned towards the now familiar voice. "Yes." He answered simply, and felt a sudden relief to see that she had grocery bags in her hands. He hadn't thought back in there where Roy's mother had been… he'd lucked out. And he was fighting the impulse to blush as he turned from the railing. "Can I take those from you?"
Daphne looked about to say no, but decided to compromise instead with her strong-willed guest. "You can carry these." She said, holding forward the bags in her left hand.
Edward took them from her immediately. His automail hand not noticing the weight nor the pressure of the thick fabric straps of the bags handles.
"So," Daphne grinned over her shoulder at him as she swung open the front door, "how are you and my son getting along?"
Edward did blush then, and at her wicked sounding laugh, followed her into the house quickly. "We haven't done anything… not really."
She snorted good naturedly. "Why the hell not?"
"Because… we just… I mean…"
Daphne laughed again, and turned to the blond to fix him with a pointed look. "I was your age and in love once myself. So don't you think that anything you two have done will shock me."
Edward gulped, and nodded. The woman had a point, he had to admit. "Can I speak to you honestly in confidence?" He asked as he resumed following her into the kitchen.
"Yes, of course."
So once they were in the kitchen where Edward could be sure he wouldn't be overheard, he began to unpack the groceries as he talked. "I think I'm falling in love with him." He set the potatoes in a small pile on the counter. "But I'm also scared to fall in love with him."
"Scared he'll break your heart?" Daphne guessed, knowing her son's reputation as something less than someone who would want to commit.
"That," Edward agreed, "and the fact that it's all happening so fast."
Daphne smiled, and looked over at the blond who looked so caught up in his own thoughts. It was a wonder he was still taking the groceries out of the bags, instead of putting them back in. "If you truly believe that you might love my son, then there's no reason why what I'm about to say should scare you off, agreed?"
Edward nodded without question.
"This is the first time in his life that Roy is taking someone seriously. I've never seen him as taken as he is with you, and he only wants to be with you. I can barely make him focus when you two are in the same room together." Daphne informed him gently, with just a splash of motherly warmth thrown in. "Edward, I know my son… and I truly believe that he's serious about his feelings for you."
"I hope so." Edward whispered quietly to himself. Silently, he hoped that both his father and Roy's mother were correct.
"But, aside from all that," Daphne added with a smile towards him, "you should know that what you did last night to help him with his alchemy problem… well… it was very nice of you. For a State Alchemist to help him."
"I couldn't have done anything but fix his problem for him." And it was true. The Roy of the future was one who lived and breathed his alchemy… and he needed to have brought that Roy into being.
And he was beginning to wonder if he hadn't been brought here just because Roy was a key to helping him get the Stone. If there wasn't more to it. If he wasn't supposed to have helped Roy like that in return.
It was something that gave him a bit of hope, and a small smile.
Edward was eventually shooed from the kitchen, and so he went back outside to see if he could find Sam. The dog was probably ready to come in again. But when he went back outside and onto the porch he contented himself to wait as Sam chased a rabbit across the yard. He walked over to sit on the steps, his arms resting on his knees.
It was like that that Roy found him.
Edward startled as Roy suddenly at down next to him. "Hey." He said with a bit of nervousness.
Roy smiled, and set the folded red jacket between them. "Thanks."
Roy suddenly couldn't help but laugh, and he gave Edward a tender look. "You really think that, don't you."
With a startled and mostly confused expression Edward rounded on him. "Pardon?"
"That it's just once." Roy explained while clasping his hands together and staring down at them. "That I'd grow tired of you so easily… so soon."
"If one day you change your mind?" Edward countered with lingering insecurity.
Roy snorted at the idea, "I see no reason to change my mind about you." And he turned to take Edward's face gently between his hands. "I told you I want you… that means forever. I've only ever wanted very little in life, and those few treasures I don't intend to give up."
Edward gazed back at Roy with warring emotions, and he found himself glad for more than the obvious reason when Roy kissed him sweetly. It hid the brightness in his eyes caused from the battle to hold back the sudden want of tears. He had never known that falling in love would be so liberating and yet leave him with the fear that Roy would have cast him aside over the years they'd be forced to spend apart. After all… there'd been all those supposed dates. He'd never known that being so happy could unleash the worry that hurt so much.
But he'd known what he was committing himself to.
And he'd commit himself to it… for as long as this lasted.
They broke apart from their kiss when Sam bounded up the steps to tumble into them both. And the Labrador could barely find it in himself to mind their glowering looks as they gave in to his demands to be pet.
When Sam finally lay down to sleep on the veranda Roy pulled Edward to his feet and led him down the steps. "Come on, there's one thing I haven't shown you yet."
"Mmm… let me guess, you have cows or something?" Edward guessed with a smile as he walked in stride with Roy, his hands in his pockets.
"Not quite." Roy laughed, but seemed to think the idea over. Maybe cows wouldn't be such a bad thing to have. Even if they were dirty and smelly. "It's a bit of a walk though, so tell me why you and your dad don't get along."
Edward smirked at the order that sounded like a request. "I thought I said I'd give no more details?" He reminded the dark-haired boy, and was rewarded by Roy's groan. "You can't trick me that easily. Why don't you tell me where you know my dad from?"
Roy grumbled under his breath a moment before giving in. "He's friends with my parents, a good friend. To my mom at least now. When I was younger and he'd come over he'd tell me the most impossible to believe stories… but when you're that young anything seems possible. I grew up knowing him, though since I've been away to schools at Central, and now the Academy, I rarely see him. We've kind of fallen out of touch, but I still enjoy seeing him." And he cast a rueful look at Edward. "I suppose you feel differently though."
Edward let out a heavy breath, and shrugged his shoulders. "My issues with him will be dealt with in time. But at least he was a better friend than a father. After all, there's so many more people to keep happy when it's your friends… he apparently never had time for family."
"I'm sorry, you know." Roy ventured, unsure of how such a thing would be received.
"It's fine." Edward braved a tight smile. "He's my father, not yours. At least one of us should have the chance to get to know him. I turned out just fine without him. And you… well… you turned out okay."
Roy gaped at him, and could barely wipe the look off his face as he watched Edward shoot him a teasing, coy look and keep walking. "What do you mean "okay"?!" He hurried after the blond.
"I said I turned out just fine, and you're offended about turning out as okay?" Edward laughed, and pivoted quickly to run for it before Roy could intercept him.
They ended up at a small clear lake, breathless but laughing.
"So, what did you want to show me?" Edward asked in the moment before he squeaked as Roy tackled him into the lake. He entered with a splash, and surfaced with one as well as he swept his hand through the water at Roy's emerging face. "Bad Roy!" He admonished playfully.
Roy laughed and swiped a hand over his face to try and brush away some of the water. "I'll show you after I'm done dunking you a few more times."
"I think not!" Edward glared at him, standing up nearer the shallows and putting his hands on his hips. "It's you who's going to get dunked, for letting Sam slobber all over my face earlier."
"I'd love to see you try." Roy challenged, and sloshingly lunged for his prey.
And thus began Edward's first water fight with a very formidable opponent, considering said opponent preferred fire to water. It took them several hours to tire, and then take to lying up on the bank in the grass sunning themselves.
It was there, lying on his back and raising one hand up to filter the sunlight through his fingers with a thoughtful look on his face, that Edward broke the comfortable silence between them. "At the Academy, is there any place you can think of that could be used to hide an object?"
Roy hummed as he mulled over the question and the possibilities. And finally he propped himself up on an elbow to gaze upon Edward. "Yes… there's a secured corridor off of the library wing. It's the only restricted place in the whole school."
"What kind of surveillance?" Edward asked after a moment, knowing Roy would be suspicious, but he wanted to at least try and have a clue of what he'd be up against. Though he was relatively assured he could handle whatever was sent his way.
"It has a security guard, I expect there's more inside. But why do you need to know?" It wasn't a question of why after all. It was far too random a question Edward had to be anything but for a purpose.
"There's something inside there that I need to get back, supposedly. I won't know until I go in and look." Edward lowered his hand as a cloud passed over the sun. "It's more a personal mission than anything… but it's still documented as a mission."
"And that's why you're going to Central?"
"Yeah…" Edward said and his head flopped to the side so he could look at Roy. "And because you'll be there. I'll come back to you afterwards."
"I know you will." Roy smiled at him warmly, "but you're an idiot if you think I'm letting you go into a potential danger zone alone."
Edward shifted up onto his elbow as well now. "Where I'm going… it's dangerous."
"That's the point of me going with you."
"And you're an idiot if you think I'll risk anything happening to you!" Edward told him firmly. "You're too important to me."
"Seems we're of the same frame of mind." Roy laughed a bit, and said, "I'm going with you. Whether you like it or not. Thanks to you I'm finally able to use my alchemy without hassles of chalk or my own mis-stitched arrays."
Edward groaned, but smiled. He knew when to stop trying to dissuade Roy Mustang. They were both creatures of stubborn nature, and sometimes it was prudent to know when to give in. This time, it was his turn. And he knew it. "Okay then, but please, don't make me regret not chaining you up somewhere."
"Well now that you mention chaining me up…" he began with a laugh and a suggestively raised eyebrow.
Reaching over, Edward smacked him. Though not hard enough to actually hurt. "You're impossible sometimes."
"Yes, I am." Roy agreed without hesitation nor doubt in his mind about it.
They laid back down for a while, before Roy decided it was about time for them to go and visit the place he'd actually intended them to. So Edward got up and allowed Roy to lead him there. It was not a far walk, and they ended up someplace familiar to Ed.
It was where he'd first come here.
He looked around from the hilltop again, and really looked this time. And it didn't take him long to discover why Roy loved it here. The view at sunset was absolutely beautiful over the vineyard and the forest around. He smiled to think that Roy's favorite place could easily pass for a scenic romance destination. The significance of the fact that it was here he'd ended up after his trip through time was not lost on him, and he knew he had to take hope from it. "Okay… I'll try to have faith." He whispered to himself.
Edward looked over to see Roy gazing at him in question. "Oh, I said it's really pretty here. I can't imagine ever having wanted to leave such a place."
Roy smiled and looked back around at the scenery. "I always come back here when I need to escape… find myself again. There's just something about going home."
"Yeah… I can imagine. I've barely been here a whole two days and already it makes me feel at peace." And Edward's mouth quirked into a wry smile. "When I should be worrying about my mission."
"Now, now, Edward," Roy chided, "there'll be no worrying. I'm here, and I'll be there as well."
"Now that is cause for worry!" He teased back with a wicked grin.
Roy rolled his eyes, and grabbed Edward's hand. "Okay, Mister Funny, let's go. It should nearly be time for dinner. And I don't know about you, but I'm hungry from kicking your ass across the lake."
"You did no such thing!" Edward disagreed, but allowed Roy to lead him down the crest of the hill.
They were still playfully bickering about it when they reached the house and were escorted in by Sam who repeatedly tried to lick Edward's hands.
"Sam, that's my job." Roy informed the dog, to no avail.
It was only when they reached the kitchen, already set for dinner, that Sam was sent away with firm orders of "out, Sam." And they sat down to dinner.
"Where were you two all afternoon?" Daphne asked with a smug sort of smile as she glanced over not-so-secretly at Edward.
Edward somehow managed not to blush. "Took a walk."
"Went swimming." Roy added with a nonchalant wave of his fork through the air. And then he turned to Edward surreptitiously and added only for his hearing and benefit, "you could add molesting me to that list."
This time, Edward did blush, and he glared at Roy who merely winked at him smugly and resumed eating.
Daphne decided she didn't want to ask… she had a fairly good idea as it was. "Anyway, you two are on your own for lunch tomorrow. I expect you can handle it? I have some business stuff to do in town most of the day." She wasn't exactly worried about the two growing lovebirds finding entertainment.
"Yeah, we'll be fine getting food." Roy assured her without breaking pace in his eating.
Once dinner was finished, Edward was again shooed away by Daphne. And this time he left without as much of a fuss. It was clear that the woman was not about to break down and let him help. Though by what she'd said earlier, his being there wouldn't have made Roy's help of any use.
So he decided to go back outside. He had never spent much time over the years indoors, so the world outside brought him much comfort. And right now he could use some. After tomorrow he'd leave with Roy to Central, get the Philosopher's Stone, and go back to his own time so he could give Al back his body.
…And discover what was to become of the fledgling relationship that was swiftly taking wing between he and Roy.
He heard Roy's footsteps behind him before the other teen sat down with him at the edge of the railing, their legs dangling over the sides. And he grabbed onto the vertical wood posts as he turned to look over at Roy. "I really am proud of you, you know."
"Hmm? Why's that?" Roy asked as he kicked his legs back and forth in idle swings.
"For wanting to pursue your alchemy."
"Well," Roy made a vague 'forward' gesture, "out there last night you made me believe that you had faith in me. It helps to have you here to have shown me what was wrong. I mean… there's only so much disappointment you can take before you just go back to the damn chalk."
"You will be great one day, as long as underneath the bastardly front you keep, you remember who you really are."
"I will, don't worry." Roy gave him a look of reassurance. "If anything… you're worth it."
With a small sigh through his nose, Edward leaned forward to rest the side of his head against one of the wooden posts, his eyes still on Roy. "You are too, you know. I only wish I'd seen it sooner."
"It didn't take you that long." Came the teasing response.
A lighthearted laugh managed to slip past Edward's lips. "I suppose it could have been worse."
Roy nodded his agreement. "It always can be." And a thoughtful look crossed over his face, his eyes shining as they watched the relaxed figure sitting near to him. "So, shall we try the kissing at night thing again? Or is it still the wrong time?"
A flicker of challenge lit in Edward's eyes, and he carefully kept his smile under control. "Why don't you try it, and then we'll both know?"
Slowly, Roy readjusted himself until he was on his knees next to Edward, one hand reaching out to draw the blond towards him even as he leaned in. But at the last second Edward turned his head so his kiss landed on his cheek. "Oh come on." Roy groused.
Edward laughed merrily, and shifted his head so their lips met and effectively cut off any more of Roy's complaining. The tender kiss did not last long, however, and Edward pulled away only to pull Roy into a tight hug.
Roy held Edward gently, sensing that some part of the blond needed to hold onto him. And he was willing to oblige the need for the closeness. "So," he finally broached, "wrong time? Right time?"
Edward smiled against Roy's neck where he'd tucked his face up against. "Definitely right." He spoke softly, and pressed a lingering kiss to Roy's neck. And slowly he disentangled himself from Roy to see the pure love shining in those black eyes. It made his breath stall as his heart skipped. And he leaned in to catch Roy's lips in a searing kiss that left them both breathless. "Will you go for a walk with me?" He inquired softly, running his fingertips down one of Roy's cheeks.
In answer, Roy took Edward's traveling hand in his and helped the blond to his feet once Edward's legs were clear of the wooden posts. He could hardly say no to the exquisite creature who'd captured his wandering heart so succinctly and effectively.
They walked nowhere in particular, just walked. Edward committed the scenery to heart, and looked up at the stars as he slowly went along hand-in-hand with Roy. An overweight golden shadow bounding along in their wake but never reaching them.
When they finally returned to the house it was nearing midnight, and they exchanged one last kiss before saying goodnight and going to their separate rooms. Edward knew that as fast as they were moving, it was still too soon to suggest sharing a bedroom. And Roy seemed to be in silent agreement with Edward's opinion about it.
This time Edward fell into an untroubled sleep, with a shadow of a smile on his face as he hugged a pillow.
However the next morning Edward had to admit, he had never been more confused in his life. Either he was imagining it, or Roy had been avoiding him all morning. And he didn't realize before just how uncomfortable and edgy it could make him feel. If Daphne noticed anything, she didn't mention it. But then again, she was also bustling about with ten thousand other things on her mind. She didn't notice the fact that Roy didn't seem to want to look at Edward at all.
However Roy was all smiles for her when she finally left, and he gave her a hug before watching to make sure she got the well-used truck started up. And he waved at her as she pulled from the driveway.
Edward took the opportunity to finally approach Roy, the teen couldn't avoid him forever, could he? No, he couldn't. And he was adamant about that. Whatever it was, it had to stop. And when Roy turned to go back inside Edward seized his opportunity, literally, and swung Roy back around to face him. "Roy, are you avoiding me?"
Roy glared at him and wrenched his arm away. "Not anymore."
"What?" Edward managed to utter in his complete confusion. He'd never felt more unbalanced by Roy in his life, and that was saying something. The man had the capability of pulling out some real zingers, but this?
"Just stay away from me, Edward." Roy said through a bristling stance. "I'll drop you off at the Academy, but that's all. I don't want to speak to you."
Edward gaped at him, and as Roy turned to walk away, he lunged after the teen. This time, he grabbed Roy with his automail hand, and closed in firmly. Not tight enough to hurt, but tight enough so Roy wouldn't be able to wrench free again. "Explain." He demanded coldly.
They'd been fine last night when they went to bed. So what the hell had gotten into Roy's head overnight to make him act this way? It had to be something… and whatever it was, Edward wanted to fix it. He wasn't willing to let Roy slip from his grasp, and he knew he couldn't allow it to happen. If he let Roy walk away from him now… what would happen to the future?
He dared not think about it.
Roy struggled against Edward's hand, even trying to pry the fingers off with his other hand. "Let me go." He ordered breathlessly as his attempts to get free failed.
"No." Edward's tone was final, and his eyes narrowed. "I'm not letting you go until you explain and we sort this out. You're too important to me to let you get away with acting like a childish ass. Sure, I'm used to you acting like a right bastard to me, but this is different."
"You can't have ever, we've never met until two days ago." Roy growled out. "And I'm not important to you, or you'd have never lied to me."
"Excuse me?" Edward frowned, and swatted Roy's prying hand away. "You can't unlock my grip, only I can. So stop trying."
"You lied to me!" He stopped trying to get Edward's hand off of him.
"I lied to you." Edward deadpanned, and sighed. "How do you mean?" What the hell had gotten into him?
Roy glared at him, "I care for you, you know. Very much. So I wanted to learn more about you. I called some of my contacts and guess what, you don't exist! There's no record of even an Edward being a State Alchemist, and certainly no one your age."
Edward couldn't help it, he smiled. It was a genuine smile, and his eyes shone as they considered the furious teen before him. "You cared that much?"
"Yes! Tell me who you really are." Roy demanded in anger of the betrayal.
"I never lied to you about who I am." Edward soothed through a smile. "But I never told you where I came from, did I? I told you you wouldn't believe me."
Roy snorted, "yeah, sure."
"Roy," Edward appeased, "I didn't lie to you. Why would I? What benefit would it have to lie about who I am to someone I'm falling in love with?"
It was those last words that startled Roy from his anger entirely as he stared wide-eyed at Edward. "You… you're falling in love with me?"
"Yes, silly." Edward smiled, and shook his head. "I've never known you to overreact like this though."
"Edward," Roy sighed, "I want the truth. No, I need the truth. All of it. I don't care if you think I wouldn't understand. Either give it to me, or I'll suffer the pain of seeing you arrested. I won't allow some con-artist alchemist to break into the Academy and steal something."
Edward sighed, and closed his eyes. What was he supposed to do? It was Roy's words, "I told you I want you… that means forever. I've only ever wanted very little in life, and those few treasures I don't intend to give up…" echoing in his mind that made him finally open his eyes. He knew what he wanted to say… and he could only hope that it was the right decision. And maybe… just maybe… it might assuage some of his fear. "Then, you should probably sit down. If I promise to let your arm go, will you promise to stay and listen to me?"
Roy nodded wordlessly.
So Edward released him, and Roy rubbed at his arm before sitting down. Edward followed suit, and met the hurt gaze of the one he knew he was not far from loving dearly. "Everything I've told you has been the truth… just not yet. I used a time travel transmutation to take a wormhole back to the past. Technically, I'm not born yet."
Roy stared at Edward long and hard, trying to discern the truth of the words. And he could find no sign that Edward was in fact lying to him. "What you're telling me, is that you're from the future?"
Edward nodded, "your future, my present."
"Who the hell allowed you to do something like that? It doesn't even sound legal." Roy frowned as he tried to make sense of it.
At that, Edward smiled at him. "You did."
Roy's face was incredulous, "I what?!"
"You gave me permission to research and perform the transmutation." Edward stated quite calmly, though internally his nerves were a bundle of uncertainty. "When I say you can become a great alchemist, I mean it. Because I have seen where you end up. And when I say you're very important to me, it's more than how much you mean to me intimately. You're the one who gave me the hope after my mother's death to become a State Alchemist. You're the one who looks after me, whether I like it or not."
"I was waiting for you to do this." Roy motioned with his hand between them.
Edward nodded, his smile still firmly in place. "It's my guess that in the future you've been waiting for me to come to your past. You've waited a long time." He finished with a sad glint to his eyes. "A very long time."
Roy suddenly began to piece the stranger things of Edward's behavior together, and it dawned on him. "Something happens in the future to make you think I won't wait for you? No matter how long I need to?"
"Yes." Edward admitted morosely, his smile gone now. "You have a certain reputation of being a womanizer in my time."
"Listen," Roy said suddenly, cutting across Edward's melancholy, "in the future I'd know what you'd come across because of the transmutation, right?"
"So goes the theory."
"Why would I send you, instead of trying to make you forget and give you something else to chase, if I planned to break your heart?" Roy asked him with a small smile. "I'm not that cruel. And neither am I partial to women. I can't say yet, obviously, why such rumors exist, but I can assure you that I have no attraction to the female as a species."
"You believe me, then?" Edward asked hopefully.
Roy slowly nodded. "It makes sense to me."
"But Roy, listen," Edward implored, "now that you know you have to be careful. If you do truly care for me, wait until I come back. It'll be nearly immediate for me… but years for you. If you do wait… that is. If you don't, well…" he trailed off with a frown, "just live your life the way you intended to."
Roy suddenly grabbed Edward's arms and tugged him into a tight hug. "You little idiot…" he whispered softly, "I won't betray you with someone else. No matter how long I have to wait for you, I meant what I said. I want you, forever."
Edward climbed onto his lap as guided and relaxed against him, the tears once again being held at bay as he breathed in Roy's scent. It was so familiar now… and he loved it. "I'm yours." He agreed softly, and knew it was true.
"So… how old am I exactly when you'll be coming back?" Roy asked in sudden curiosity.
Chuckling, Edward nuzzled against his neck. "Don't worry, I'm sure you'll be quite happy with your age. I don't mind it."
"Even after being with a younger me?"
Edward pressed back against the hand stroking his side. "I don't really notice that much. It's still you."
Roy continued to think over everything he'd learned, and everything Edward had said over the past few days. "I gather I'm a right bastard to you sometimes?"
A small chuckle left Edward's body. "Sometimes? Most of the time. But you mean well, and I know that. Even though you seriously piss me off sometimes. I trust you with my life though."
"I'm sorry for overreacting." Roy said at last, after several silent minutes of holding Edward to him. He had felt at first that Edward had been tense, and he could understand why, but now the blond was relaxing. He could only imagine how Edward must have panicked to think he'd lost him so soon. And he promised himself that Edward would never have to fear such a thing again. "I just…"
"I understand." Edward said softly. "I had no idea you cared for me that much. But maybe it's for the best that you know now. Because as soon as I have the Stone I have to go back to my own time."
"You suddenly being gone would have been… it wouldn't have been good." Roy admitted in a whisper. "I'm not sure I could have easily recovered from that."
"I'll come back to you one day. I'll find you as soon as I get back." Edward promised with certainty.
"I'll be waiting for you." Roy placed a kiss to the top of Edward's hair. And slowly an idea began to form in his head, but he didn't speak his mind. Instead he began to mull it over, while knowing he'd need to speak to his mother about what he was considering.
After a while Edward pulled back to meet Roy's curious look. "You know… out of all the missions you've sent me on or allowed me to do, this was your best idea yet."
Roy laughed at him, and caressed one of Edward's cheeks. "I'll remember that. Tell me how I find you in the future."
"My brother and I wrote letters to the military trying to find my father… he never came." Edward's gaze grew dark at that. "But you came… something about you looking for my dad too." And then a thought occurred to him. "You were really looking for me though, weren't you. You'd have been waiting for some sign of me."
"Mmm…" Roy smiled at the blond, "I care more about you than your father. I'll remember to watch out for those letters."
"You better." Edward muttered darkly, but kissed Roy's cheek. "Now that we have all that settled, I think I have to punish you for ignoring me all morning." And he promptly tackled Roy down to the porch.
Roy found himself suddenly glad that they were in the middle of nowhere and his mother wasn't expected home until near dinner time. But if this was his punishment for ignoring Edward for a few hours… well, he wasn't exactly seeing a downside.
Near noon, and quite hungry from their exertions, the two made their way back into the house looking rather rumpled. But for good reason. They barely put any effort into their lunch. Reheating leftovers was a novel idea. Even if it was Roy who did the reheating, as, to Edward's amusement, the teen was firmly standing behind his mother's code of guest treatment.
And they finally began to eat with ravenous speed. They barely made conversation, but once they were nearer to being done with their meal, it was Roy who finally broached the comfortable silence of their meal.
He had finally begun to catch onto something, and now he finally had a chance to ask Edward about it. "Why couldn't I get your one hand off of me? You always keep it away from me somehow any other time."
Edward met his insistent 'tell-me-now' look, and slowly set his fork down. He swallowed what he'd been chewing, and glanced down at the glove hiding his automail hand from view. "Ah." He said unintelligently, and he set his automail elbow up onto the table and pried off his glove. "That's why." He said as the shiny alloy was revealed.
His eyes widening a bit, and then softening, Roy set down his own fork and got up from the table to walk over and kneel beside Edward. Ignoring the blond's inquisitive expression, he reached up to draw the arm off and then hold the metal hand in both of his. "What happened?" He asked, now turning his gaze up to Edward.
"You'll learn for yourself one day." Edward told him. "I lost the entire arm, and most of my left leg."
"How'd you ever survive the pain of two surgeries like that?" Roy was aghast as he slowly eased his fingers up under the sleeve of Edward's jackets. The feel of cool metal never vanished to the warmth of flesh as he went up.
"I had no choice, and it was the lesser of the pains I'd been through that night." Edward admitted wryly, and slowly took his hand from Roy's grasp long enough to pull off his jackets until he only remained in his black tank top. It clearly showed where the automail ended and the scarred skin began. "This arm… it feels nothing. That's why I was able to hold you like that. It responds to my own nerve impulses."
Roy rose up, trailing his fingers over the appendage until he reached the scarred tissue causing Edward to suck in a sharp breath. "I'm sorry," he apologized quickly, jerking his fingers away, "does it hurt?"
Amused and aroused, Edward smirked up at the other. "Hardly. It's very sensitive. But not in a painful way."
Roy smiled back down at him, seeing the golden eyes darken with unmistakable lust. "So…" he proposed, hovering his fingers over the scars, "if I were to touch you again?" And he brushed his fingertips lightly over the surface.
Edward masked a tortured groan with a growl as he slumped in his chair while Roy continued to brush light touches over the area causing twinges of pleasure to spark through him.
"Ah," Roy grinned in success, "so this is how one subdues the great Edward Elric."
Edward could barely manage a glare.
Roy lifted a leg up so he could sit himself astride Edward, never stopping his petting of the blond. "But you know…" he reconsidered as he leaned in towards Edward's ear, "I don't think I want anyone else doing this to you."
"I'll get you for this." Edward managed to whisper fiercely.
"I sincerely hope so." Roy grinned before he began to nibble along Edward's ear. Yes… he did want to be gotten for this. So it was time to seduce Edward into what they both wanted, but had thus far not taken.
Edward was lost in the throes of pleasure as Roy continued to drive him closer to going insane with need. But he lacked the strength to stand and drag the tease to a bedroom… at least until Roy began to move against him in a very dangerous way-as far as willpower was concerned.
Sam barely had time to notice the two as they sped past him in a blur. Seconds later a door slammed… and he was free to seek out what was left on those plates in the kitchen. So he trotted in, tail wagging gaily.
When Daphne came home that evening, the first thing she noticed was that dinner was already made and the table set. But the two teens weren't anywhere in sight. So she set her things down and went in search of them. She finally found the two curled up on the couch together. Roy had his arms wrapped securely around Edward, the blond leaning back against his chest and fast asleep. Sam was staring at Roy from across the room as if wondering why his master wasn't holding him.
Roy looked over as his mom came into the room, and smiled in welcome. "How'd it go?" He mouthed, not wanting to wake his sleeping armful.
Daphne smiled at him, and went over to squat down by their heads. "As well as it seemed to go for you." She mouthed back with a wicked grin.
Roy blushed, knowing whatever his mom thought they'd done, she was probably right. "Disaster then?" He joked silently.
She stuck her tongue out at him. "Want me to get a blanket for him?"
Roy shook his head with a smile, and gently eased his way out from under Edward before arranging the blond's red coat around him. He then followed his mother out of the living room. "He'll overheat." He explained, considering he knew from personal experience how warm that red jacket was.
Daphne smiled at him, also putting some sound to her words now that they were in the clear of waking up Edward. "I'm happy for you, you know." She told him as they walked together to the kitchen.
"Thanks." Roy smiled, and he suddenly turned nervous. "I want to speak to you about something though."
Daphne nodded agreeably, "we'll talk while you help me mix up a cake. It's your last night here after all."
Only when Roy was keeping his hands busy by cracking eggs, did he venture into what he'd been considering the entire day. "Will you keep a secret? You can't tell anyone. At all."
"Yes." Daphne smiled at him, grating fresh nutmeg into a mixing bowl. "What's on your mind, kiddo?"
Roy took a deep breath, "Edward's from the future. He's going back tomorrow and I won't be able to be with him like this again until he comes back from this mission of his."
Daphne shot him a bland look. "Thanks for simplifying that. You mean that he's on a mission from the future back to the past and you two will cross paths again one day, but you must wait until he goes on this mission in the future before you two can be together again?"
"What the hell, you thought I was confusing?" Roy gave her a perplexed look. "You're mad, woman."
Daphne grinned at his cheek. "It's in the genetics, dear. Be forewarned."
Roy rolled his eyes. "Yeah, about that. You believe him then?"
"I don't see any reason why not to. It's not exactly something I'd make up just for the thrill of it." Daphne surmised.
Roy slowly nodded, "and in some ways it makes sense with some of what he's said before over the past few days. He knows me in the future, I found him again, but I have to wait for him to come back from my own past."
"So that must be the secret you want me to keep?" Daphne guessed, and at Roy's firm nod, said, "done."
Roy took another deep breath, mustering his courage. "He thinks I might not have waited for him. I can tell him differently as many times as I can, but I want to make him a more binding promise."
Daphne gave him a gentle look to urge him to continue when Roy faltered.
"I want to ask him to marry me, and when he comes back, we can start our engagement." Roy had no idea how he'd gotten that out, but somehow he'd managed. "I'll have been waiting for him for years, and though it won't be so long for Edward… if he says yes, we can have as long an engagement as he needs. And I can spend all those years saving up enough money to buy him the perfect ring."
Daphne smiled, but she knew she had to ask the question. "Are you sure this is what you want?" Yes, she already knew the answer… she could see how much those two cared for each other. Their relationship had blossomed in such a short time. And if Roy was willing to wait years for Edward… she knew that it was what he wanted.
"Yes." Roy said firmly, and without hesitation. "I've thought about it all day. I know what such a thing entails, and I know it's what I want. I want to be with him. Two days, or two years, it doesn't matter. I don't need forever to know I want to be with him forever."
"Then ask him to marry you." Daphne told him gently, and leaned over to kiss his cheek. "It's actually quite romantic of you I think. You have my blessing to snatch him off the market and wed him as soon as he's ready. If he agrees."
Roy groaned inwardly. "That's what I'm worried about."
"Hunny," Daphne grinned at him, "everyone is worried about the other person saying yes."
But Roy was still a bundle of nerves by the time dinner came and Edward wandered in at last – woken by the smell of the baking cake.
All through dinner Edward shot Roy questioning looks, but the teen would just blush and eat faster. He never noticed Daphne trying not to laugh at her son's antics. By the time the cake was served, he'd given up trying to figure out what was wrong with Roy all of a sudden.
"And now, cake to celebrate – I mean mourn – my beloved son going back to school." Daphne declared as she bore over the white frosted creation.
Roy tossed her a withering look. "Oh don't act so sad, mother. It's almost like you're faking those crocodile tears."
Daphne laughed, and offered a grinning Edward the cake knife. "Would you indulge us?"
Edward took it from her with a courtly half-bow from his seat. "I'd be honored. I think-" he considered Roy, one hand on his chin, "-a very small piece for him."
Edward was laughing as he cut Roy a modestly sized portion, and then at the glower he could feel resting on him, added a bit more to the plate. "Here you are."
Roy took the proffered plate with a mocking look. "Thank you."
"You're welcome." And Edward cut Daphne's slice to her precise directions, and passed her her own plate before cutting some cake for himself.
And once they'd finished eating their dessert, Edward left the table without waiting to be shooed off. He knew Daphne was proud of him without seeing the look on her face. He didn't notice Roy's nervous jitters return.
"When are you going to ask him?" Daphne asked as she helped Roy bring the dishes off the table.
"Later tonight." He said in conviction. But a nervous conviction all the same.
She smiled, and reached over to rub his shoulder. "It'll be fine. The worst he can do is say no, and you spend another two days with him in his present to convince him to change his mind."
Roy was trying to see the enlightenment in that, he truly was.
And he was both glad and apprehensive when he finally left to go track down Edward. His mother always cloistered herself in her room after dinner to read sappy trashy romance novels, so he knew they'd not be disturbed.
Edward was outside, this time walking around the yard as he was circled by a cheerful Sam. He had less than a day until he went back to his own time. Less than a day until his life, and Al's, would change forever from the current path they'd been on. It was a relief, and yet, it was scary. Everything would change… and he was unsure of what that would come to mean. Mostly where he and Al were concerned.
Turning with a welcoming smile, Edward watched as Roy walked over to him. Though the other teen had to shoo off Sam to do so. "I was thinking about tomorrow. A lot's going to change."
Roy couldn't help but agree more. "There's one thing that won't change though, Edward."
Edward tilted his head.
"No matter what you think, I'll still want this between us." Roy said softly, and took Edward's hands in his. "And I'm not just saying this rashly, because of you leaving soon. I mean it."
Edward was silent for some time, before he nodded. "I know. I really should know… you've never broken your word to me before. I just… I guess this is as hard on me as it is you."
Roy couldn't agree more. "Yes… but since you know I always keep my word…" he took a deep breath to steady himself – as well as make sure he had oxygen so he wouldn't pass out, "when I ask you if you'll marry me, you know how much I mean it."
Edward's eyes were as wide as he was frozen in amazed shock. And after several stuttered false starts while his heart beat frantically, he managed to find his tongue again. "How?!" His voice was a bit higher than normal, but he didn't notice or care. He couldn't put a name to this sudden light ethereal feeling in which the only thing he knew to exist was the two of them.
Roy nervously managed to smile. "When you go back, I'll have had enough time to save enough money to buy you a ring and give you a proper proposal. I'll have waited years for you, and only you. We can stay engaged as long as you need… but in the end, I don't want to live my life with anyone else. You're who I want forever. I can't think of any other way I'd prefer to promise myself to you."
Somehow, the frozen feeling of shock that had kept him relatively stationary melted away, and Edward launched himself at Roy to pull him into a tight, possessive hug. "Yes…" he whispered in happiness. He was so happy it was almost painful. "I'll marry you, Roy, yes. But I don't need a proper proposal."
Roy's arms went around his new fiancé as he took a relieved breath. "I don't care, you're getting one one day anyway. And you can determine how long we're engaged… until you're ready."
A contented sigh slipped past his lips, and Edward's hands carded through Roy's hair lovingly. "Fuck… one day I just might have to elope with you. Instead of planning a wedding."
"Now, now, Edward," Roy teased with a grin, "as tempting as that sounds, my mom at least might have a few words to say about it."
"You're right," Edward realized, "not sure I'm brave enough to face that."
"Few are." Roy chuckled, and he eased away to cup Edward's cheek and smile at the elated look on the blond's face. "Trust me, I'll wait for you. And I'll be able to explain those stupid rumors that have made you doubt me. I'm not about to give you up for anything…"
Edward slowly nodded. "Okay." And this time, he didn't have any doubts. He trusted Roy to keep his word, and remember through the years of waiting that one day they'd be together. And with a sudden rush of happiness, he leaned in to crush their mouths together, it was an excited kiss that Roy enthusiastically returned.
And not too long later Edward was guiding them back to the house, both still locked at the lips and barely resisting the temptation to rip off clothing right about now.
Edward woke up out of one of the best sleeps he'd ever had to the sensation of a hand lightly stroking down his side. A sleepy sort of hum vibrated in his chest as he shifted closer to the warmth beside him. He never knew before how satisfying waking up to a warm body gently entwined with yours could be.
And then his eyes flew open and his head raised so he could look down at Roy. "Well… that was something."
Roy burst out laughing, and ceased his petting only long enough to tuck some of the falling curtain of blond hair behind one of Edward's ears. "I'd say that's an accurate conclusion. Are you always so feisty?"
Edward blushed, "you didn't seem to mind."
"On the contrary," Roy agreed with a smirk, "I rather enjoy what you can do to me." And he reached up his other hand to touch one of the blushing cheeks. "You're beautiful, you know."
Smiling down at him, Edward supported himself on his automail elbow while he brushed fingers over Roy's still slightly puffed lips. "I think you're more fitting of such a praise."
"Hardly." Roy said against the fingers, which he then licked.
Edward's gaze softened, "what time is it?"
Roy's head flopped to one side, and then he turned back to Edward having looked at the clock. "Still a few hours until dawn."
"And you woke me up?!" Edward gaped at him.
Roy nodded with a mischievous glint in his eyes. "I was wondering if we might do all of that again… one last time before I at least, have to wait so long to have you in my arms again."
With a tender smile, Edward brushed a light kiss against Roy's lips drawing a contented sigh from him. "It's called lovemaking," he whispered against Roy's skin as his head angled so he could reach Roy's neck, "and yes, we can do it again. And we will as many times as we can fit in once I'm back in your arms again."
Outside his master's bedroom door, Sam huffed in a dignified manner and shot a dirty look towards the door as the noise level increased again. Maybe he should go over to the other side of the house where master's mother slept? It was fast becoming a good idea.
By morning however, Sam was still outside the door.
And he nearly got trampled on as Roy opened the door and tried to walk out.
"Sam." Roy chastised, nudging the Labrador with his foot, "how many times must I tell you that if you lay there you're going to get stepped on again. And I don't want to see you sulking about it when it happens."
Edward crept up behind Roy and encircled his arms around the slim waist. "Are you taunting animals?"
"He needs taunting every now and then." Roy explained and looked over his shoulder at Edward. "Rather like you I think."
Rolling his eyes, Edward stepped past the other teen and began to make his way down the hallway. "I'm going to eat your breakfast just for that."
"You wish, I'm starving!" And Roy quickly hurried after the blond.
Daphne looked up with a knowing devious smile as the two teenagers entered the kitchen looking both starving and blissful. Apparently Edward had said yes, and silently she congratulated Roy. She didn't need to ask to know they'd probably gotten little sleep that night. She remembered the evening she got engaged all too well. She knew that those two hadn't exactly gone straight to sleep afterwards… or in separate rooms.
Roy sat down with Edward at the table, and shot his mother a happy smile across the table before he began to pile waffles onto his plate.
Edward tried and failed several times to snatch a waffle from Roy's plate to put it on his own. But he did however manage to steal away a few sausages when Roy's hands were otherwise preoccupied and couldn't react in time.
"Growing boys." Daphne muttered and rolled her eyes.
As soon as breakfast was over, it wasn't just Edward who Daphne shooed away with a hug and a kiss, it was Roy. Since Roy had wanted to leave back for school right after breakfast. So they said their goodbyes, and then Edward followed Roy outside. According to Daphne, it was too hard to see Roy off as she always started crying because of it. So it was better this way.
"Do you need anything?" Edward asked, trailing his fiancé out the front door.
Roy turned as he finished going down the steps. "Just you." He replied easily and smiled while holding out a hand. "Remember? I only need a few treasures… you're one of them."
Edward walked down the stairs, placing his hand in Roy's. "And the others?" He asked as he smiled back.
"All things being with you will bring me." Roy replied with affection.
Edward followed him with a smile over to where another truck was parked along the side of the house where Edward hadn't really gone before. It was a bit less battered than the other one, but the paint had since faded away and it was clear the truck had done its job as a farm vehicle well.
They had just gotten in and Roy had started the engine when Sam came running, fat rolls rippling in the breeze, to leap with surprising grace into the bed of the truck.
Edward gave Roy an inquisitive look.
"He always comes with me." Roy smiled as he glanced over his shoulder at the Labrador. "He's like an overprotective mother that way."
"Your own mother's way of keeping an eye on you." Edward teased.
"Don't even make such a creepy statement." Roy shuddered and shifted the truck into gear so he could drive forward. "Okay, we'll be to Central a little bit before lunch."
Edward nodded, and settled in to watch the way Roy was going. He was curious just where exactly Roy's home was from Central. "You know, that was probably the best few days of my life yet."
"It'll only get better." Roy promised, looking over at him. "But I'm glad it happened the way it did."
"Me too." Edward replied softly.
"You should get some rest if you can." Roy urged him gently. "You have a mission to complete, albeit with my help, but still."
Edward nodded, already relaxing into the seat. "And let me tell you… the time traveling really takes it out of you. I just hope I'm not unconscious for too long when I send myself back."
"Just get back safely." Roy implored him, before falling silent so that the blond could relax.
Edward didn't fall asleep, wanting to still watch where they were going. But he did relax and gaze dreamily out the window as the countryside rolled by. He committed the entire route to memory even as his more conscious self took a rest.
Almost three hours passed before they reached Central, and Edward recognized it immediately. Even if there were some things missing. Sitting up a bit straighter in his seat, he looked around in interest. Well, at least now he knew the route that would lead him to the vineyard should he desire it.
"Familiar?" Roy asked with a smile.
Edward nodded slowly. "Very. You know, I didn't ever much like going back to Central, or East Central when you were there. But I think this time around, I can learn to enjoy it."
Not too long later, Roy had pulled up to the Academy, and they both got out along with Sam.
"Come on," Roy said, "it's this way."
Edward nodded, not questioning Roy about whether or not he was sure he wanted to do this now. They both knew that they needed to. It was essential to both their futures that he get the Stone and go back to his own time so they could be together forever. So he followed his fiancé along as he was guided towards the correct wing.
No one stopped them as they entered the building, and when Roy announced it was only one more hallway over, Edward suddenly grabbed him to still Roy's forward pace. And before Roy could question him, he leaned in to kiss him lovingly before pulling away. "Stay safe for me. Don't act unless you have to, please." He whispered against Roy's lips, his gaze flickering up towards Roy's.
Roy caressed Edward's cheek as he rested their foreheads together. "Don't worry, I understand what's riding on this."
Edward slowly nodded, and Roy led him forward again.
They walked past other students, all of whom steered clear of Roy. Although Edward got some curious and appreciative glances that caused Roy to scowl at them, and Edward to try not to laugh as they ran for it.
"Not been engaged for more than twenty-four hours and already you're wielding your protective nature at them." Edward snickered as he walked along, trying to avoid tripping over Sam who kept circling them.
"Doesn't hurt to make it clear." Roy grumbled, but smiled as Edward squeezed his hand in reassurance.
And Edward didn't need Roy's little head-jerk several yards later after turning another corner to indicate to him where the secured corridor must be. He could already see the guard standing there at the door. "This will only take a second." Edward muttered, and disentangled his hand from Roy's to walk faster and past him.
Roy watched him carefully, but let him get ahead.
Edward meanwhile adopted a bright smile as he sauntered over to the guard. "Hi there!" He said cheerfully, and only smiled brighter at the guard's expression of surprise. And as soon as Edward reached him, his leather notebook somehow already in hand, he whipped it open to a random page and held it out. "Could you take a look at this and tell me where I need to go?"
The guard took it in both hands.
Edward bashed him over the head with his automail fist, catching the book in his left hand with a flourish. "Thank you, you were a big help." He grinned, and primly put the book away while looking over his shoulder for Roy.
Roy looked a bit wary, if not impressed. "You're almost scary."
"You have no idea. Not yet, but you will." Edward grinned at him. "Not enjoying the act of killing makes you fairly creative."
Roy gave him an almost exasperated look, and opened the door that the guard had been guarding. "Come on, little terror."
"Ah," Edward said with extravagant flair, "but I am your little terror now."
The door shut behind them as soon as they'd managed to convince Sam to stop slobbering all over the unconscious guard.
They had gotten maybe halfway down the hall when several men who looked like researchers turned from a corner to walk towards them.
"Easy." Edward said to Roy quietly as the man made to raise his hand. "Not yet, not here." And he clapped his hands together.
It was the blue flash of light that made the researchers suddenly look up, but before they could react, they were suddenly bound and gagged by lengths of plumbing pipe that had sprung from the walls.
Roy slowly nodded. "Impressive, but what happened to your circle?"
"I don't need one." Edward said with a hint of bitterness. "You'll learn why one day. It's not something I should tell you now."
And they continued down the hallway, turning at the corner.
And Edward knew better than to feel too relieved when he saw that the large laboratory was empty of other people. He knew it was only a matter of time before someone happened across the unconscious guard.
"So, Philosopher's Stone?"
"Yeah." Edward said, and began to search around the room.
Roy quickly began to help search for the object. "What about one of these vaults?" Roy asked, happening across a few.
Edward shook his head automatically. "If you really want to hide something, you do it in plain sight. And I doubt that they ever considered the idea of someone knowing it was here."
"And how do you know?"
"Because, my time travel transmutation was supposed to bring me to Central. I had planned to search Headquarters laboratories." Edward explained as he looked around. "But I ended up with you, and you were coming here. Which means the Stone is here somewhere as well."
"I guess that does make sense." Roy agreed, pulling down a box from a shelf to open the lid and peer inside.
"By the way," Edward said, also looking through boxes now, "if you get caught, just blame it all on me. I don't care how, I trust you to figure out something. You and your baffling bullshit that I used to always accuse you of."
"Don't worry, I'll blame everything on you." Roy agreed with a conspiratorial grin.
They had gone through practically all the boxes before Edward pulled down another and opened the lid. Grinning, he looked over at Roy. "Got it, want to see?" He asked drawing out the Stone with one hand and placing the box aside.
Roy grinned, trotting over to take a look. "So that's it?" He asked as he gazed at the red flickering object. "That's what one of the most powerful objects looks like?"
Edward let out a slow, relieved breath. "Yes… after years of searching. I can finally fix everything. It's powerful, yes, but I don't intend to use it for anything but giving my brother back his life."
"A very powerful object," came a different voice from near the hallway, "and also quite dangerous in the wrong hands."
Edward and Roy turned, and Edward's eyes narrowed as he stuffed the Stone securely into an inside pocket. "I know what it would have been used for," he told the researcher who had appeared, and was flanked by several guards. "Let's not pretend that the use it was being developed for was humanitarian in nature."
Roy turned to Edward, his hand raising and fingers drifting closer together. "You have it, now go. Hurry." He whispered, his eyes gazing hard at Edward as if etching him into his mind. "I'll be fine, just go… I'll be waiting for you."
Edward shut his mouth just as he was about to open it to say something. Instead drawing his automail blade, clapped his hands together to charge the array he wanted to impart to a certain flying object, and swung his blade up to block them both against the gas canister that had been thrown their way. It exploded at the feet of the guards and the researcher, flinging them backwards.
Turning to Roy again, he quickly caught the teen's face in his hands and pressed a fleeting tender kiss to his lips. "You get out of here too. They'll be out for a few minutes because of the gas. Don't breathe it in."
Roy nodded, and kissed Edward back. "Go." He implored softly, his eyes searching Edward's. "Come back to me in the future… I'll be waiting."
Edward smiled up at him with pure affection shining in his eyes. "I love you, Roy." He whispered for the first time, and took Roy's shocked and then tender expression to heart.
"I love you too, Edward." Roy said back, and slowly, forcibly, drew away.
Edward saw the few tears spill from Roy's eyes, and wished he could brush them away. But he knew he had little time left. So drawing on his focus, he closed his eyes. Then in a movement so sudden and deliberate for he knew if he didn't do it now he never might, Edward clapped his hands together and moved smoothly to the floor to open up the wormhole back to his present.
Roy watched, silent tears slipping down his cheeks as Edward was engulfed in bright blue and white light. And he didn't notice until the floor opened up to swallow his love whole, that Sam had made a running leap for the blond. For whatever reason. "Sam!" Roy cried out, but his order went unheard as both his love and his dog vanished into thin air.
His tears fell even faster now, and he forced himself to turn and run for it. He'd explain himself to the Academy later… how he'd been coerced into this. But for now, he wanted to lock himself in his dorm and cry his loss. Only the lingering knowledge that he'd be with Edward again kept his tears from being more… violent.
Edward groaned as coherence slowly came back to him. How long had he been out? It felt as if an elephant were laying on top of him, his limbs felt oddly weighted down. It was an effort at first to open his eyes, but he managed. And when he did, he came to understand why he felt so heavy.
And was promptly tongue-washed across his face by an obese Labrador.
"Sam!" Edward spluttered, trying to, and mostly failing, to get the dog off of him.
"That's his name?" Came a familiar voice… one he hadn't heard in days.
"Al!" Edward exclaimed. He'd done it! He'd gotten back safely, and with the Stone. Now if only he could get Sam off of him. "Help me!" He pleaded shamelessly.
There was a clunking of armor, and then Sam was being shoved aside despite the dog's growls at the rough manhandling.
Edward wiped at his face with his sleeve as he carefully sat up. Apparently he was doomed to feel all woozy every time he made such a trip. Not that he planned to again.
"Brother, where'd that dog come from?" Al asked in concern as he knelt down by his brother.
Edward looked over at Sam who was glaring at Al. "He's… Roy's." And suddenly Edward grinned. "Roy."
Sam yipped in agreement, and bounded over to the door to scratch on it and then look at Edward as if to say 'move it already, he's waiting!'.
"Colonel Mustang's, you mean?" Alphonse tried to figure this all out.
Edward looked over at him with a grin. "No, I mean Roy's. Listen," he dug for the Stone, and whipped it out, "I'm going to use this on you, and then I'm going to destroy it. I have to report back right away… I don't know when I'll be back."
"What?" Alphonse asked in confusion.
"Roy! He's waiting for me." Edward insisted, as if his brother were quite stupid. But he knew it was just his eagerness to get back to his fiancé.
Edward jabbed Al with the Stone, and the resulting lightshow put the auroras to shame. But almost instantly, a coppery blond image of an older Al, the Al he'd known, was sitting there in front of him.
Alphonse looked down at his flesh hands, and did the only thing he could think of doing first in his returned body.
"Seems to be a family habit." Edward murmured, and turned his attentions towards the Stone. It took him only a few seconds to destroy it with one well imagined array. And he sighed in relief as it vanished for good. Such a thing was far too powerful to stay in one person's hands. Even his.
Now he gathered up his fainted brother in his arms, and lay him upon the bed. "I'll be back…" he whispered over his brother's unconscious form before rushing towards the door where Sam looked about ready to have a conniption about how long he was taking.
And Edward fairly flew out the door, racing after Sam who bounded along in front of him barking eagerly, fat rolls bouncing, and tail wagging.
He followed the dog all the way to Headquarters, through the gates, and up through stairwells until he reached the outer office where Hawkeye nearly tumbled from her chair in surprise as Sam bounded into the room only to began scratching and barking at Roy's office door.
"Sam!" Edward berated him pantingly as he ran in as well. "How can you run so fast? You're fatter than three Labradors."
Edward looked around at them all, and smiled. "Hey."
"You came back safely. Thank goodness." Hawkeye had hurried over to wrap him in a hug, as if to be sure he was really there, and she slumped in relief when she pulled away. "I was expecting the worst when Mustang suddenly took off this morning."
Frowning, Edward turned to Sam. "Hush, Sam!" He ordered, and the dog immediately ceased his barking and scratching. He then looked back at Hawkeye. "Where'd he go?" He asked in confusion.
"I've no idea." She tossed her hands up, completely at a loss. "Said something about needing to find himself again over the phone and he never showed up to work."
A smile slowly returned to Edward's face. He knew where Roy had gone. "Can I borrow someone's car?"
Havoc dug out his keys, tossing them to the alchemist even as he asked, "where are you going, boss?"
"Hopefully, to bring an end to my fiancé's waiting." Edward grinned at their bewildered and shocked expressions. "Sam! Let's go!" He called the dog, and managed to dash from the room just as echoes of: "fiancé?!" came from the office.
He walked quickly through the lot of cars to find Havoc's, the Labrador trotting beside him with his tongue lolling out cheerfully. "We're going to go find him, Sam." He whispered, barely able to contain his joy.
As soon as he found the car he opened one of the back doors so Sam could hop in. He then got into the driver seat himself and started the car. Barely waiting for it to turn on, he had it in gear and was pulling out of the lot.
He drove fast, he knew it, but as far as he was concerned it wasn't fast enough. Yet soon he was amidst the familiar countryside again, and he knew he was on the right path to find his way back home. Home was where Roy was… home was that vineyard where he'd fallen in love. And he could barely muster some self-control as he finally sighted the familiar place.
Sam was whining eagerly as the tires crunched up the driveway.
Edward parked the car, and let Sam out immediately. And he followed after the dog, though at a slow and almost uncertain walk. He hadn't made it but a few feet from the steps when Sam began to bark and paw at the door.
And he stopped where he was, his heart in his throat.
It felt like it was beating loud enough to be heard for miles when the door finally opened.
But Sam didn't race inside, nor greet he who had opened the door. He raced back down the steps to sit at Edward's side and bark again.
Edward's breath hitched as Roy walked out into the doorway. The older Roy he knew best of all… the Roy that somewhere, was the side of him that had captured him so completely. "Roy?" His voice was hesitant as he waited with bated breath for some sign... any sign at all.
Roy slumped sideways against the doorframe, a relieved breath that sounded as if he'd been holding it in for near a decade slipping from his lips. And as his eyes rested on the uncertain figure before him, he smiled. "What, no fainting?"
Edward's face broke into a delighted grin, and suddenly he was dashing up the steps to be swept into a hug as Roy came out to meet him. "Roy… I love you." He whispered into the man's chest, happy tears of relief trickling from his eyes. "I love you so much."
Roy clung to Edward tightly, not wanting to ever let him go again now that he finally had his beloved back in his arms. He could feel the wetness of Edward's tears, but he didn't mind. He was far from being dry eyed himself. "I love you too, my Edward." He whispered into the blond hair.
"I can't believe it…" Edward whispered, "you waited so long for me… I can't imagine how hard it was."
"Nor do I ever want you to know." Roy whispered back. "All that matters is you're here now. I knew you'd find me if you wanted me… I'm a lot older now."
"I don't care!" Edward insisted with a shake of his head, and he pulled away enough to gaze up at Roy and cup one of his cheeks in a tender caress. "I don't care how you look, you idiot. I love you."
Roy smiled down into those bright golden eyes still damp with unshed tears of happiness. "I had a feeling you'd say that."
Edward gave a watery chuckle.
"I'm glad to see you returned my dog to me, by the way." Roy said, and looked down towards where Sam was eyeing them gleefully and wagging his tail. "I'd forgotten just how fat he was though."
Edward shook his head with a laugh. "You were the one feeding him."
Roy looked back at him with a grin, and carded one hand through Edward's long bangs. "Come with me… I've been waiting for you to show up."
Edward nodded silently, not noticing that Roy hadn't made a move to release him but was in fact drawing him closer. And he lost no time in leaning up their height difference to meet Roy's electrifying kiss. Then they were clutching at each other through moans and frantic kisses. And it was Edward who ended up pinned against the doorframe as Roy's mouth moved along his neck and his hands reacquainted themselves with the body of his love.
"Fuck… Roy…" Edward gasped through a breathy moan as Roy continued to torture him with licks and kisses and loving caresses.
Roy pulled his mouth away from Edward's neck, ignoring the groan of disapproval in order to slip his tongue into Edward's mouth and resume kissing the blond with searing intensity that was eagerly returned. When he pulled away to suck in some needed and well deserved oxygen, he met Edward's lustful dark gaze and shivered. "I've been wanting you so long… but there's something else I want to do first."
Edward tried to shake off the fog of arousal enough to first of all think. Forming words came next. "What in the name of the Gate could you possibly want to do besides take me back to your room so I can make love to you?" There, that was fairly impressive considering his state right now.
Roy smiled, and pressed a swift kiss to those lips he so loved. "An explanation I know I owe you… and something more important."
Edward groaned, but nodded. "Okay. But after that… I don't care if your mom's home or not, we're going to your room and you're all mine for the rest of the night."
"Deal." Roy winked at him seductively. "But she's not here. I called her this morning to tell her I needed the house to myself for something important. She went to stay with some friends."
Edward grinned at him, and let Roy take his hand and lead him back down the steps.
"Stay, Sam!" Roy ordered the Labrador as he made to follow them.
Edward laughingly followed him. "So how'd you get out of helping me back at the Academy?"
At that, Roy grinned. "A few lies here and there. I gave a false name for who you were, said I was coerced under threat of being expelled. Apparently I thought you were the Fuhrer's cousin."
"Fabulous." Edward rolled his eyes. "But you got off?"
"Naturally." Roy smiled over at him and squeezed Edward's hand. "I had someone to be around for. I couldn't let you down."
And they fell into a peaceful silence filled with mutual relief that they were together at this moment. And neither spoke again until they crested the hill. Roy's favorite place, and the one that had brought Edward to him. But it was not covered in just grass, but thorn-less roses scattered on and around the blanket that had been laid out. A small basket and a bottle of wine at one corner.
"Thank you." Edward said softly as he looked around at it. He felt himself soften in appreciation for the gesture of romance. Something they hadn't had much of during Edward's short time visiting Roy in his past.
Roy smiled, secretly pleased that Edward liked it. It helped bank some of his nervousness as he led Edward forward onto the blanket, toeing off their boots as they went.
Edward sat down as directed by Roy, and smiled as Roy settled down beside him. "This is perfect, you know." He said as he looked around. The late afternoon sun as it grew nearer to twilight cast the view of the vineyard into a soft shadow, the plants themselves the only things that seemed to sparkle with color.
"I had inspiration." Roy said as he grabbed the wine bottle and adeptly removed the cork. Grabbing a wineglass he poured the rich liquid and offered it to Edward. "I'm guessing you didn't have lunch?"
Edward gave him a shy smile, accepting the wineglass. "I was kind of in a hurry to find my way to you again. I left Alphonse unconscious in his flesh body… I certainly wasn't about to consider eating anything."
Raising an amused eyebrow, Roy chuckled a bit. "I'd like to say you should have stayed until he woke up. But I'm going to be a selfish bastard for a moment and say I'm glad you didn't."
"He'll understand… I mean, maybe not. This is all a bit sudden for everyone else." Edward realized with a thoughtful expression.
Roy smiled as he poured himself some wine. "We'll explain, but I don't particularly care how confused they might get. I've waited long enough."
Edward gave him an understanding look. "I know… I only wish it could have happened sooner. But I'm just glad it happened at all I guess."
"Edward," Roy began, setting his wineglass to the side and corking the bottle again. "I owe you an explanation if my memory is correct. And even if it isn't… I owe you one anyway." And he looked at Edward quite seriously. "Those womanizing rumors… I kept my word. I never once betrayed you. I've never slept with anyone else since that day, or even been intimate despite advances and those rumors. Sure… I did… you know." He flushed a bit and Edward nodded with a smirk. "But I've been loyal to you since the day I met you at seventeen."
"And the women?"
"I took them out for dinners, or plays, yes." Roy admitted without guilt. "But they knew beforehand that I wasn't interested in them. I always told them that I belonged to someone already, I was just waiting for him to come and claim me. Whatever flirting they may have yet tried to do, I allowed it, yes. But I never returned it."
Slowly, Edward nodded as Roy finished, and he smiled at the man. "I believe you." He said simply, and reached out to caress Roy's thigh.
Roy smiled at him in relief, and put one hand over Edward's, his other reaching to open the basket lid and draw out the food he'd prepared for them. And they both ate as if starved… and really, both of them were. Edward hadn't eaten lunch, and Roy had barely eaten the entire time Edward had been gone.
Yet even the subduing qualities of food, and lots of it, were helpless to curb Roy's nervousness as he set the wine bottle down after having filled Edward's glass again. They were now sitting, Edward leaning up against him and tucked under an arm, staring up at the stars. But gently Roy eased away, already having found what he wanted, and he moved so that he was sitting before Edward.
"Is everything okay?" Edward asked with a confused tilt of his head. He'd been so relaxed, and then Roy had suddenly no longer been his leaning post.
Roy gave him a wavering smile. "Edward," he began as he opened the small velvet box containing two matching engagement rings, "will you marry me?"
Edward realized that while the shock may not happen the second time around, even if he had forgotten about Roy's promise to properly propose, the joy didn't abate. And a wide brilliant grin came over him as he tore his gaze from the rings and to Roy's hopeful face. "Yes." And he couldn't help the happy laughter that came from him as Roy slipped one of the rings onto his finger with exceptional care.
"I had hoped you might." Roy smiled in glad relief. At least this was the last time he'd need propose to his fiancé.
Smiling, Edward took the other ring from the box, and slipped it onto Roy's finger with the same tender care. "I could marry only you. I'm yours forever. I'll say yes or I do as many times as you care to ask them of me."
Roy looked down at their hands as Edward linked their fingers together, both their rings glinting next to each other in the faint moonlight. "I bought the rings when you asked for permission to go back through time. The wedding rings too… I finally signed the papers to pick them up when you left. I've been… interesting to deal with the past few days."
"But happy?" Edward guessed as he gazed at Roy's thoughtful face.
"Yes." He agreed, smiling as he looked back up at the blond. "The waiting was about to be over. And I'd finally have you in my arms again."
Edward smiled back at him, and leaned in to catch Roy's lips in a gentle kiss. "Let's go back… you've been waiting too long for something else." He said, grabbing up one of the roses as he stood up and helped Roy to his feet.
"Oh? Fullmetal is getting demanding now, is he?" Roy teased as he pulled Edward to him.
"Mmm, Fullmetal is." Edward agreed with a bit of a laugh as he circled his arms around Roy's neck. "Do you protest?"
"I'm not that much of a masochist where you're concerned." Roy told him frankly, holding Edward gently by his hips while his thumbs rubbed small circles. "Do you remember that morning I was ignoring you?"
Edward's eyes glittered at the memory. "I remember that whole day." And did he ever… Roy had first proposed to him that night. He didn't think he could forget it if he tried.
"Then you'll understand when I say I've been waiting years to be even this close again." Roy said, a smile slowly forming.
A coy smile slipped into place, and Edward pulled away from Roy. "Come with me." He purred while brushing the petals of the rose he held against Roy's lips.
Roy lost no time in hurrying after the blond who somehow managed to turn it into a race back to the house and then the bedroom. But he was far from caring about who won the race as the bedroom door slammed shut just in time to bring Sam skidding to a dejected halt outside of it.
Whirling around Edward pinned Roy up against the wall, his eyes shining as happily as Roy's own. "I never would have dreamed that this would happen between us." He whispered and began to brush kisses along Roy's face.
"You've had boring dreams." Roy informed him through a contented sigh.
That brought forth a chuckle, and Edward pulled away to begin leading Roy over to the bed. "I'll agree to that. But you know… this is so much better than a dream."
They were in no hurry that night. Both sharing an unspoken need to connect on the most intimate level with every touch. They had forever after all… and they planned to use every minute of it.