a Fullmetal Alchemist fanfiction by Masamune Reforged
Disclaimer: I don't own Fullmetal Alchemist or the characters. I claim no gain or profit from this story
Warnings: Yaoi (Roy x Ed), angst, adult language.
Synopsis: Everything is twisted and out of place. Roy does what he can for the one important to him.
A/N - This is not a part of the Misuse of Alchemy series, nor does it have much relation to the manga or anime or anything like that. The characters are older. Roy is 37, Ed is 23.
For ZaKai, who supports me.
____________s_____K_______ E ________________
He opened the door with hands that were almost numb from the cold.
It swung open with a whiny squeal, the light from the building's corridor marching across the wood floor in a perfect, rectangular formation. The pale, white triangular point reached the shag rug he kept in front of the bathroom.
It was a small space; too narrow for two people to stand in at the same time. The bin of bottles and metal cans to go out the next morning took up almost half of it, resting up against the brick wall. In front of the slight step up to the kitchen, a pair of boots lay helter-skelter. They were military issue, but worn dull from years of use and lack of care. He could not fit into boots that small. Roy Mustang blinked at the boots, then frowned and let out a heavy breath.
His slippers were missing too.
Roy slid the key out of the lock and into his pocket. He took a step into the entryway and set his heavy briefcase down, letting out a slight groan. It was the kind of soft groan that the weary release without thought or notice, having grown too used to their weariness to distinguish such a weak, bodily protest from any other everyday breath.
Roy stood up and stretched his back slightly. Fleeting relief made him grimace. He pushed thoughts of old age to the back of his mind, again looking down at the pair of boots in the foyer that were not his, both askew and one laying partly atop the other. He blinked and the unbidden question of how long ago those boots had been issued came to his mind. He pushed this thought down as well. It also reminded him of his age.
With a wriggle and an effort of ungraceful balance, Roy partly freed a foot from one of his own boots without bending down to undo the laces. He tied them slack enough for just this reason. With his foot loose but still inside, he used the boot to step on the heel of the other, fully freeing the other foot. He would have used the lip of the entryway step to help in this task, but he could not do so without stepping on those other boots. Instead, he gave an extra effort and twist, a hand pressed flat against the wall for balance.
Roy turned and shut the door to his apartment. He stepped easily out of the second boot and onto the wood of the kitchen floor. The cold bled through his socks. Roy hated the cold. That was why he always left his slippers in the entryway.
With a resigned exhale of annoyance, Roy turned and bent down. The street lights below cast just enough light through the windows over the kitchen stove to allow him some sight, and he used it to grab the pair of smaller boots. He turned the one that had been left fallen atop the other and set it almost directly by the recycling bin. He set the second directly beside it, toes facing out. Roy placed his own pair of boots next to Ed's.
He stood up and shivered slightly as he took a step further into his apartment. This winter was a cold one, and the military rationed gas did not allow the furnaces to run throughout the day.
Roy walked through the kitchen, pausing only briefly by the door to the bathroom to turn the dial for the heat. He stepped into the living room, a relatively large space that doubled as his dining room, and immediately turned toward the bedroom. The sound of weight shifting on his couch stopped him.
A profile in shadow sat up to face him. "He—" Clearing its throat with a wet, raspy sound, the voice reached out for him from the darkness. "Hey..." An almost unnoticeable sniffle accompanied another clearing of the throat. "What time is it?" Ed's voice came out clearer this time, and Roy recognized it for what it was: the voice of one who had not spoken for hours after having cried.
"Almost midnight," Roy guessed, turning. He watched the shadow raise an arm and swab at its eyes.
"They're keeping you late these days. Finally making you earn your pay, huh?" The jab was weak, the humor hollow.
"It takes me longer than it used to," Roy answered seriously, unguardedly. His answer created silence, and he knew that although it had been a rare, honest one, it was not the one for the moment. "Maybe because I'm taking more naps these days?" He spoke with a forced grin that would not be seen, but his voice held merriment.
The fact was that he no longer took small bouts of sleep during work; sleep took him.
Ed let out a soft laugh. "Glad to hear you're still as irresponsible as ever when it comes to work ethic." The smile on Roy's face, although muted and slight compared to the false grin, was now one that sent a tinge of warmth into his veins.
Ed had expected him to reply, but when no counter to his banter came, he tossed his legs over the side of the couch and stood. He had grown a fair bit since the time Roy had first known him, but he was still short. He remained standing.
"I let myself in..." Ed began slowly. "I hope you don't mind..."
Years ago, Edward Elric would never have spoken these last few words to him. Manners and apologies were a relatively new thing for the two of them.
"It's fine," Roy said, meaning it. "That's why I gave you a spare key."
"Thanks..." Ed said softly. The words led into silence that neither were able to breach, and after what felt like a very long time, the tiredness in Roy's body won out and he turned once again toward his bedroom.
He turned on a light in the short hallway, opened a closet door, and hung his jacket up on a hanger. He tugged at one of the sleeves to make sure no creases would form around the shoulders, a matter of habit. Roy closed the door and turned off the light. Somehow, tonight it seemed as if it would be better to stay in the dark.
Ed had not moved.
Forcing himself to ignore the weariness in his body, Roy took the few steps back into the living room, around a coffee table, and toward the couch. Ed had his head down and his arms at his sides, hands clenched in fists. Before he could reach him, Roy's foot met something on the floor. He stopped and peered down through the darkness at his slippers. He let out a vexed breath born of weariness and the knowledge that it would only be added to before this night came to an end. It was a breath Ed recognized.
"You're probably tired," Ed said, turning away for the couch. "I'll just sleep on the–"
Roy took three quick steps forward and put a hand on Ed's shoulder, kicking the slippers as he did. They made a soft scuffling noise as they slid across the floor, ending up who knew where and in any rag-tag position of disorder.
"You don't need to," Roy said.
Ed turned, eyes glinting even in the darkness. He looked into Roy's for a silent stretch before breaking it. "I don't—" he started and stopped. "I didn't come here to sleep with you tonight..."
"You don't need to," Roy said again; but without thinking, the hand that was on Ed's shoulder rubbed at the warm flesh beneath the cloth.
Ed shrugged the hand away, facing him with eyes that bordered on instability now. "I'm serious. I didn't come here tonight to have sex with you. Really, I just..." Whatever he'd been about to say, Ed held back instead.
Roy said nothing. If Ed didn't want to say any more, he wasn't going to force him to. Either way, he had a relatively good idea of why Ed was here tonight. It wasn't the first time he'd come. And Roy knew he'd come back. That's what the key was for.
Ed sat down on the couch. Roy peered at him in the darkness for a moment, fully giving up on the inviting prospect of his warm and soft bed. He stepped around the table and sat down next to Ed, who turned to him; face clearer as Roy's eyes adjusted to the dark.
"I mean it, Roy," Ed said tiredly, somberly. "I didn't come here tonight to—"
"That's fine," Roy cut him off. "Even if I wasn't too dog tired to try it, I wouldn't force you." He paused. More eloquent words did not come. "So, it's fine. No sex. I get it." Did Ed really think that was all he ever wanted from him?
"Sorry," Ed breathed quickly. "It's just—"
"It's okay," Roy reiterated again, but said no more. It was better not to talk about it.
Ed opened his mouth. Nothing but a tired sigh emerged. Then he closed his eyes and leaned to his right, leaning into Roy. Roy forced his shoulders to stiffen, leaning slightly to match Ed's weight. He was smaller still, but not so small any more. Roy could feel the cold steel of the automail limb that pushed against his flesh. He closed his eyes and told himself that he was not cold or sleepy.
"Even..." Ed began, voice surprisingly weak, strained. "Even after everything we've been through..." Ed broke off, leaning further into Roy, their heads touching now. "I can't..." Ed said, almost at tears now, unable to finish. "I know what would be best, but I... I can't—it's just..."
Roy turned and put both of his arms around Ed. There was the sudden glistening of distrust, narrowed eyes behind tears, but Roy pressed Ed to his chest immediately. He held him like that, Roy forcing himself to not squeeze too hard, to not grip him too possessively. He felt the pin prick flowering of want spark inside of him, but doused it with a heavy breath of the cold night air. Now was not the time or place for that.
And Roy just held him in his arms until Ed finally said, "Thank you."
"Sure," Roy whispered into his ear.
Ed pressed forward, and Roy had to lean back onto the couch, Ed sliding gently on top of him.
It was warm, Roy had to admit, but all of Ed's bones seemed to be sticking into him in the wrong places, pushing down on top of him with an oppressive weight. It hurt. Ed was too heavy for him. Roy wanted to say something, but Ed let out a sigh, a contented breath that wordlessly spoke volumes and instantly silenced any protest.
"Can... can we just stay like this, just for a little while?" Ed asked.
"Sure," Roy whispered.
He held him.
Time passed, however much it was did not matter, because in that time they'd stayed as they were, the only difference being that Ed now lay asleep atop Roy's body.
It was very uncomfortable. Ed was heavy and still dug into his flesh awkwardly. His artificial limbs stung Roy's flesh with cold, and the weight seemed to be at the perfectly wrong angle. It hurt Roy. It was almost hard to breathe. But he wouldn't move. Although it would relieve his pain, he wouldn't move.
He would support Ed; let him rest in his arms. Roy hoped it would be a peaceful rest.
Ed deserved more of that in his life... peace.
What little bit he could do to allow him that, whatever support he could lend against that turbulent strife, Roy would make whatever sacrifice was necessary to give Ed that little bit of support, that small dose of consistency, calm, and orderly balance.
He would let Ed sleep.
But Roy doubted that he himself would sleep much tonight. If he did, it would not bring much rest. Part of him longed for his bed, the familiar mattress and the warmth of the blanket. He pushed his longing away. It was fruitless. He would not move, even though it would cost him. Like this, with Ed, he knew he would be just a little bit worse off tomorrow.
But he would not move.
His feet were cold and his legs tangled, one bent at the knee and the other turned slightly too far inwards from the automail limb resting on it. His torso and shoulders were twisted, one raised up against the back of the couch, the other pushed flat onto its seat. His right arm dangled over the side and his left bent at the elbow, hand flat on the slowly rising and falling shoulder blade of the weight—that weight pressing down on his chest. His neck was tilted at a bad angle, and he had no pillow to lay his head on.
And that was how he laid.
Much thanks to ZaKai. This has been in the works for a some time. There is a subplot that I cut out of this. I thought it would be best to just focus on Ed and Roy being together...