Chapter Fifty-Nine

By the time Roy had gingerly folded himself back into the car and headed it off down the road, it was fair to say that beside him in the passenger seat, Edward was beaming. An honest, genuine, purely exuberant glow of a smile that only served to floor Roy with the sheer flattery of it. Admittedly, he had been on a lot of dates – a lot of hookups, really – and never before had he been graced with such true delight.

By all rights, Roy thought this should have made him nervous that he would utterly fuck this up… but instead it only left him feeling assured, grounded. He wouldn't fuck this up, because this was Edward.

After several minutes of driving closer back into the city, Roy eased the car into an open space alongside the curb next to one of the grocers.

Edward blinked out at their destination, before quite literally popping his head through the window and then back inside again to arch an imperious eyebrow at Roy. "You brought me food shopping? Really."

Roy laughed and turned the car off, reaching for his seat belt. "Come on. You may not be able to eat on this date, but I for one am definitely going to need food."

Which is how Edward found himself tagging along with Roy as the man meandered through the aisles of the small grocery. To be honest, he didn't actually mind that much, he was happy going anywhere so long as it was with Roy, and he didn't bother to analyze how utterly soppy that sounded.

"Do you really need that big of a sandwich?" Edward commented as he saw the size of the wrapped item that Roy had picked up and placed in his hand basket. "It's bigger than your entire face."

Roy cast him an amused look, and given their public situation settled for looking just a bit playfully affronted.

Edward continued to float after the man, and poked his head over Roy's shoulder when he stopped again at another case that was stocked with various side dishes. "Don't you dare touch that fruit salad with the mayo on it. That's fruit sacrilege that is."

Roy couldn't help but crack a grin, and grabbed a plain fruit salad, which caused Edward to hum in approval. A sound which Roy decided he really wouldn't mind hearing again in the privacy of their bedroom.

Several wrapped cookies and a bottle of one of Roy's favorite teas joined the basket before he was ready to leave, Edward drifting along through the air beside him contently. A far cry from the first time he'd ever taken the ghost shopping with him.

After paying they left the grocery and went back to the car.

"What?" Roy asked as he finished pulling the car safely back out onto the main road, sensing the palpably amused look that Edward was giving him from the passenger seat.

"Nothing." Edward was grinning full on now, and merely smiled secretively as Roy shot him a disbelieving look. "Eyes on the road, you. You're driving with precious cargo."

Roy snorted and was unable to keep from grinning as he did focus back on the road, quipping back lightly, "yes. That mango tea is rather delicious." And promptly laughed at the sound of Edward's playfully indignant gasp.

After a time, silence filled the car. An easy, comfortable silence as Roy continued to drive until the lights of Central were barely a glow on the dark horizon behind them. Edward had curled his legs up underneath him, utterly content to be taken wherever, and gazing out at a new piece of world being opened to him as the white barriers of his restrictions gave way to a dark landscape dotted with trees and rolling hills and not a solitary building or other vehicle.

They drove for nearly an hour, despite Roy having milked the car for what speed it had in order to shorten the journey. Eventually he slowed the vehicle, pulling it off onto a narrow side road and following it for several kilometers before slowing the car even further to pull it off the road and drive in the grass for a few kilometers more.

Roy drove until he reached the soft dirt of the shoreline surrounding one of the largest lakes Edward had ever seen. There, he cut the engine and turned to Edward with a fond smile. Not that Edward saw. His ghost was too busy staring openmouthed at the lake, whose furthest shoreline he couldn't even see. It was as if Roy had driven him to the ocean he'd heard about as a kid, and had always wanted to see... but never had.

Edward floated out of the car as if entranced, drifting straight to the edge of a lake so placid, it was nearly a mirror of the stars above it. All around him he could hear the sleepy calls of birds nesting, and further off the splash of a fish, the sound of crickets. It was… it was like being home again; except home had nothing to compare to this seemingly endless lake stretched out before him.

Roy had left everything in the car for the moment, instead slipping his hands into his the front pockets of his trousers as he quietly made his way over to Edward. "I thought this place would be pretty at night… seems I was right."

"It's beautiful." Edward whispered in correction, unable to draw his gaze from the expanse of starlit water, even now trying and failing to see its end. "It looks like the ocean. Or," he corrected softly with some regret, "what my dad made the ocean sound like when I was a kid."

"One day, somehow," Roy began quietly, feeling it would be sin to speak any louder in the tranquil setting he'd brought them to, "I'll take you. To the ocean. We'll see it together. Even if I have to disguise myself and sneak over the borders in a sheep cart."

"Wolf in sheeps clothing." Edward couldn't help but smile, even as he warmed with the promise of Roy's words. "You know… I never thought I'd be able to see the world. Even before I died." He whispered as he wrapped his arms about himself, gaze lost somewhere out on the water. "And then I met you."

Roy eased an arm out to curl around Edward's waist as best as he could estimate, because between the stars reflecting off the water, and Edward's own silvery glow, it was difficult to tell where the stars ended and his ghost began. But his gaze was solely for Edward as he replied softly, "there's no one else I'd rather see the world with."

A soft huff of laughter escaped Edward, and he looked up at Roy now with fondness. "Even if I want to see the glacier fields of Drachma?"

"Even then," Roy promised with a smile, and turned in order to lift his other hand to brush along the glowing line of Edward's cheek, "especially then."

Edward ducked his head a bit with a shy smile and the faintest of laughter.

Roy wasn't sure he'd ever get tired of those smiles, nor the way they caused him to flood with warmth to have caused them. "You are the most beautiful thing I've ever seen." He whispered without thinking, but as Edward's gaze shot back to him with surprised pleasure, he was hardly about to consider regretting them in embarrassment.

"Shouldn't you save the flattery for the end of the date? If you want me to still let you in the bed tonight?" Edward suggested in flustered amusement, yet wholly unable to shy away from the warmth in Roy's eyes. A warmth that spread throughout his own body as unconsciously he drifted just a bit closer to the man.

Roy breathed out a laugh, and shook his head in denial. "I refuse to waste a single chance to tell you you're beautiful, now that I finally can." And also because Edward couldn't see what he saw; the reflections of the stars just visible past Edward's own silvery glow, causing the ghost to appear to be made of starlight himself.

Edward didn't even attempt to stamp down on the pleasure those words gave him, the happiness racing through him as he shook his head with what he was sure was a besotted smile. "Thank you," he uttered in soft, shy answer.

What Roy wouldn't give to be able to stay in this moment forever, willingly lost in the ethereal beauty of the one he would forever long to take properly in his arms. And though none of those things were possible, it did not diminish the tenderness inside him as he let his hand at Edward's cheek now drift back to the silvery hair. "Am I still allowed in the bed?"

Edward couldn't help but laugh at the question, his eyes filling with immeasurable fondness as he nodded. "For now. Let me keep pretending that I could ever be comfortable in that bed without you."

"Well," Roy grinned easily, wanting to steer Edward's mind from the fear he knew the ghost likely still held about his version of falling asleep, despite not having seen the Gate the past few times, "I think I will further cement my allowance into our bed by seducing you with my dinner."

Edward burst into helpless laughter that took nearly a minute to control, leaving him grinning up at Roy teasingly. "I have been staying with you for what… almost a month now? I have seen you eat before, you know. It's rarely exciting, and never in a seductive sense."

"My love," Roy began fondly as he drew away, grinning at the way the endearment made Edward glow with radiant happiness, "have a little more faith in me."

"I have faith in your ability to act ridiculous and embarrass me." Edward shot back with a smiling laugh, but trailed after Roy all the same.

It took Roy only a moment to gather his food from the car, and then he was settling down with Edward on the grass, back up against the side of the car as they gazed out over the glittering water.

"You always seem to know when my country-raised soul needs to get out of the city, even when I don't." Edward mused as he relaxed against the car as well, leaning subconsciously towards Roy as he wrapped his hands around his drawn up knees.

Roy's lips twitched in a smile as he continued unwrapping his massive sandwich, and he cast a brief fond look to the ghost sitting next to him. "Only because I share the need. As much as I love the city… I don't think there'll ever be a piece of me that doesn't miss home."

"And now you're my home." Edward smiled faintly, and couldn't feel anything but contentment at that. The thought that there was anywhere else he'd rather be, that there was anyone else he'd rather be with, wasn't one he held.

To say that Roy wasn't left flattered by the claim would be an understatement, and his happy laugh was smothered by the bite of sandwich he had taken just before Edward spoke, something that only earned him a fond expression. "So," he asked as soon as he was able, nodding out to the lake in front of them, "you like it then?"

Edward looked back to the body of water with a faint smile, and nodded. "Very much."

"I'll bring you here again when the snows come." Roy promised with a bit of a grin, "the entire lake freezes over thick enough to skate on. And you can pretend you hurt your ankle, so I can lavish you with attention."

Edward burst out into laughter, giving the man at his side a miffed, but highly amused look. "What ankle? I have no bones." And as Roy began to finally break into his own laughter, he rolled his eyes. "Besides, I do believe that I can just ask to be lavished with your attention."

"It would be a special sort of attention, my love." Roy corrected primly after managing to get most of his laughter under control.

"That sounds ominous." Edward muttered, though smiled as Roy chuckled again. "Just don't be so focused on me that you somehow injure an ankle. Because I'll tell you here and now that I'd just haul your ass back across the ice and scold you for being reckless."

Roy actually had no doubts that Edward would do exactly that, but, he also had no doubts that his beautiful ghost wouldn't soon thereafter cave and be wonderfully attentive and nurturing. Yet he'd already been scolded by Edward enough at present to last him the next two years. "Yes, love."

Edward's smile turned fond, happy, and he only curled in on the warmth that came with the simple endearment. Having wrapped his arms fully around his legs now, he leaned his head sideways on his knees in order to look up at Roy who was somehow halfway through the massive sandwich already. "So am I supposed to be being seduced by the enthusiasm with which you eat? I must confess I am still not seeing the appeal… though rest assured I am still very much in love with you."

Roy rolled his eyes, "thanks for that," he muttered to the answer of Edward's smirk.

"Or is it perhaps that I am supposed to be seduced by the enthusiasm with which you eat your phallic shaped sandwich?" Edward then offered out coyly.

"Edward!" Roy spluttered, in between effectively choking on said sandwich, and wheezing for breath as Edward merely sat there looking quite pleased with himself – little terror.

"Yes?" Edward asked sweetly, far too innocently for said innocence to ever be believed. "Are you all right? Do you need more practice swallowing?"

Roy was quite certain, more so now than he'd ever been before, that Edward was going to be the death of him. There was a brief moment in his impending doom, choking on his dinner, in which he had the clarity of mind to wonder how the fuck Edward would even know about such things, given the fact that the ghost had been locked in seclusion for the better part of his existence, until he recalled the reasons why Edward had insisted so ardently that the office be cleaned upon Roy's arrival.

Edward was grinning wickedly as he watched Roy pull himself back together, more than a little smug pride filling him to have so thoroughly flustered the man. "You okay?"

"Never better." Roy managed to say, still trying to clear his voice a bit as he glared at the delighted ghost.

Edward laughed brightly at the claim, and merely sat there watching Roy with a fond expression as the man finished pulling himself together.

"I rest my case as to your innocence." Roy finally muttered, as Edward snickered in response. "Do I even want to ask for the details of who you saw doing that in my office?"

"Probably not, no." Edward smiled dismissively and gave a slight shrug. "I can't imagine it would ever allow you to look them in the eye if ever you were to meet them."

Roy nodded in agreement to that, and let the matter lie. "Besides, I won't have much call to be good at that anymore." And not a single part of him was sad about that. He'd rather have Edward to love and call his own.

Edward's smile softened, and he extracted himself from his curled inward position in order to lean back against the car again, and just slightly in towards Roy. "Well, you're proving pretty damn good at other things." He whispered happily.

Roy chuckled quietly, and quickly finished his remaining sandwich in peace without further incident. "I find I am well inspired when it comes to you."

"Flatterer." Edward grinned, and dipped his head down further so that it rested just through Roy's shoulder. "So when do I get my pony?"

"When I buy us a new house with enough land." Roy promised as he managed to pry the lid off his fruit salad, "after I've made back enough money to buy another house, and a pony, after buying your childhood home."

"How much did that even cost you?" Edward asked with a slight frown of curiosity, "do I want to know?"

"It was for your brother," Roy dismissed as he rooted about in the fruit container for more strawberries, "cost wasn't so much an issue for me. I'll blame the cost on your father anyway, given how much land he initially bought with that house."

Edward blinked in surprise, shifting now in order to look at Roy. "Is land in Risembool really that expensive? Our yard wasn't that big."

Roy snorted and shot Edward a fond, amused smile, "dear heart, your childhood yard was actually seventeen hectares. I don't know what your father was planning on doing with that land, but now it's ours to be creative with if ever you choose."

"That is… wow." Edward blinked in surprise, and briefly wondered just for a moment how his father would have managed to purchase that much land plus build a two-story house of that scope… but then his father had been alive for centuries now. It stood to reason that he'd have acquired a bit of money in that time. That and he was fairly certain that his father, as a philosopher's stone, would easily be able to transmute gold – because he was also fairly certain his father chose which transmutation laws he decided to give a fuck about.

"Give me at least five years on the pony, I imagine." Roy was still considering the financial particulars, far more concerned with giving Edward a pony than anything else. "I should be able to do it within five."

Edward found his thoughts stolen from those of his childhood home, and back to those of the man at his side… and all that Roy was so willing to do for him. He gazed at Roy, who seemed to be totally unaware of his regard in the pursuit of gathering up some blueberries in his hand, and for a time that was all he did, until Roy did notice his staring while chomping on blueberries. "Is there anything you wouldn't try and do for me?"

Roy smiled faintly at both the question, and the awe with which it had been said, and after a moment his expression turned wry and he gave a slight nod. "Stop my plans to oust and kill Bradley."

Edward's lips thinned into a lopsided smile, and he too gave a slight nod. "I won't ask that of you… not knowing what I know now of him."

Roy couldn't help but feel a grim agreement there, but he pushed it aside to instead smile easily at the ghost sitting next to him. "Aside from that? I can't think of a single thing at the moment."

"You're going to spoil me if you're not careful." Edward couldn't help but warn with amusement.

Roy snorted as a self-satisfied smirk flashed across his lips. "Spoiling you has always been my plan, my love. It's far too late to try and stop me now." And he clunked his head back against the car with a low breath, "even before I fell in love with you, I've wanted to try and give you the best life possible. Which should have clued me in sooner towards how I feel for you, because I'm normally a selfish man."

Edward well knew that, and really, if he thought back, it was true. Roy had tried to give him the best. Roy had included him into his life from the very first day they'd met… and to Edward it had meant a great deal. It still did. Yet it wasn't that which was causing the warmth that had settled deep inside him, and he smiled. "You have, you know." And when Roy didn't appear to catch on right away, he smiled wider. "Given me the best. Before I met you, after I ended up this way, I never thought I'd have anything close to happiness again. And now I have that and more."

Roy smiled over at him softly, and he reached his nearest hand up to stroke somewhat through Edward's cheek. "I'm glad," he whispered in affection, before a mischievous smirk began to play on his lips, "I'm going to remind you of that the next time you're furious with me."

"I am certain you will." Edward remarked wryly, and a small chuckle escaped him.

"I will," Roy admitted with a grin as he began to pick through his fruit salad again, trying to find anything left that wasn't a grape. "Although I do have every intention of doing my best to not have you be angry at me."

Edward snorted, but was smiling all the same.

Giving up on finding anything besides grapes as a lost cause, Roy put the lid back on the container and stuffed it back into the grocery bag. He may not care for grapes, but Hazel certainly did. "Cookies in a moment, I'm going to go gather up some stuff to burn for a campfire. I know you can't feel it, but it's actually getting a bit chilly out here. The city is definitely warmer."

Edward immediately popped up when Roy did, "I'll allow you one piece of wood per hand. Leave the rest to someone who isn't still held together by stitches."

Roy was hardly about to argue, as the chill had definitely slowly begun seeping into him to tense his muscles and chip away at his energy. He started off towards the nearest smattering of bushes and trees with Edward drifting along beside him.

True to Edward's insistence, Roy didn't even attempt to carry more than one branch per hand. Edward, having not the physical limitations that Roy did, was able to gather quite more, though given the small size of some of the branches, not all of them quite made it back to the car as they instead turned incorporeal themselves and fell away.

After some quick arranging by Edward, who was just as insistent that Roy not be messing around with a bunch of pointy sticks when he had stitches that could get caught upon them, there was a nicely-sized and tidy beginnings of a campfire. The only thing missing was the fire, but one snap by Roy later, and there was a roaring modestly-sized blaze.

Edward settled back down on the ground along with Roy, back up against the car and facing the flames as they danced and glowed in the night, sending sparks and embers up into the darkness. He looked over with an amused smile as Roy pulled out his cookies now, and began munching on one of them. "Warmer?"

"Getting there." Roy fought back the psychological reflex to shiver at the question, not at all wanting to pull on his stitches.

"You should have bought stuff to make s'mores as well." Edward grinned, though nodded to the chocolate chip cookie that Roy was eating with a smile of approval. "Or maybe swap the graham crackers for cookies."

Roy gave a muffled laugh through the closed mouthful of cookie he was currently working on chewing, before swallowing to say, "that actually sounds fantastic. I didn't think about it getting so chilly out here though. I guess the lake is cooling things more than I expected."

"Next time." Edward determined for them both. "When we come out here to go ice skating."

"But until then," Roy grinned over solicitously at Edward, "how about a different campfire tradition?"

"Which is?" Edward asked with amused curiosity, even as he tried to think back. He hadn't really been camping much as a child, but there had been a few times. With Alphonse, Winry, and Den to keep an eye on them.

"Why, telling ghost stories of course!" Roy was practically beaming now in his humored delight.

Edward spluttered into laughter before arching an imperious eyebrow at the man next to him. "I rather think you've been living a ghost story at this point, Roy Mustang."

Roy made an exaggerated dismissive wave of one hand, and began shaking his head just as emphatically as he turned to face Edward now. "Nuh-uh, no. It's a tradition," he declared in reminder again. "You can go first, tell me a story about before we met. It can be anything, because technically it's being told by a ghost, so I think that counts."

"You think it counts?" Edward snickered, "I guess you're right. I am a ghost... it would be a ghost story."

"I am going to mark down on a calendar that on this night, you told me I was right about something." Roy teased, only to laugh as he was swatted at by a hand that just passed through his shoulder.

Edward managed to stifle his laughter, but he was left smiling with effusive happiness at Roy. "Okay, fine… I'll tell you a story."

"A ghost story." Roy corrected happily.

"Yes, yes," Edward snickered through a wide grin, "I'll tell you a ghost story." And reaching out to lay his hands just through Roy's knees he thought a moment as the fire crackled and snapped nearby them, before deciding on one.

And so he told Roy in only slightly exaggerated detail – because of course, this was a campfire ghost story and per tradition required some embellishment – the story of his decision to begin actively haunting the first occupant of Roy's office all those years ago, and the chaos which had ensued.

When Edward was done, and Roy had finished wiping away one of the tears of laughter he'd been reduced to at one point in the telling, he couldn't help but ask: "how would you have haunted me, do you think?"

Edward gave him a faint smile, "at first I wouldn't have. When we first met I was in a bit of a dry spell. The loneliness I endured before we met had good days and bad days, I was starting to sink towards the latter end of that spectrum when you showed up. The office had been empty for days, and even if no one could see me, at least I'd always had someone else there, even if I rarely liked them." Yet his smile grew a bit stronger as he added, "but, I'm fairly certain you'd have quickly inspired me to get back to haunting. You're so arrogant – "

"Arrogant?" Roy echoed laughingly.

" – and you were the first alchemist ever given that office," Edward continued, ignoring Roy's outburst with nothing more to show he'd heard than his smile turning a bit wicked, "I definitely would have had fun with that. I probably would have started pranking your staff first, just to make them think it was you. Once they're suspicious of you, and you were starting to realize what was going on, and realize that at this point they'd never believe you, then I'd have started having some real fun."

Roy was laughing softly, a wide grin on his face in appreciation of the cunning there. Clearly Edward had been given plenty of opportunity to hone his skill at haunting, being able to turn it into a long psychological game. "I'd like to believe that my staff wouldn't think me crazy, or disbelieve me… but I also know how stubborn you are. You probably would have gotten to some of them."

"I would have," Edward told him matter-of-factly, before a fond smile slipped onto his lips as he gazed warmly at Roy. "I much prefer what did happen."

Roy couldn't help but smile back, and he set one of his hands down on his knee to cover where Edward's rested just through the fabric of his trousers, the silvery glow of Edward's own incorporeal body causing his own hand to shimmer. "I do too."

Edward beamed at him, a bit shyly, but there was nothing but contentment in his eyes.

Roy gazed in silence at Edward a moment longer, just enjoying looking at his beautiful ghost, before he suddenly declared with an enthusiasm that made Edward laugh, "my turn!" And without any delay save for that of finishing off his second chocolate chip cookie, Roy began to tell his own ghost story.

Edward listened with what felt like a permanent smile on his face, as Roy began to tell him the tale of when he'd apparently decided as a young boy to go "on an adventure". The first evening of which was painted as perhaps the singular most horrifying thing that could ever be endured, although Edward had a not-so-slight suspicion that it was not a monster that had been relentlessly prowling after Roy, and that Roy was just choosing to omit that it was most likely his own mother who'd scared him silly – because Edward was fairly certain they both knew that it was she who'd been stalking after her recalcitrant child and decided to have a good laugh and spook him into returning home of his seeming own free will.

It certainly seemed to Edward to be something she'd gladly do, and with no small amount of glee.

Their modestly-sized campfire was beginning to die off as Roy finally finished telling his "ghost story" for said campfire. They'd not been able to gather much wood, but it had been enough for a time. Long enough for Edward to have shifted closer to Roy so that his own knees were nearly through Roy's.

"I'm glad you survived the monster," Edward was grinning with wicked humor, "and if it tries to mess with you again, don't you worry. I'm the only supernatural being allowed to mess with you, and I'll make sure that claim is made clear."

"My own personal hero!" Roy declared in sing-song followed by laughter which Edward echoed.

"Are you sure there's no alcohol in that tea?" Edward asked him with an eyebrow arched in amusement, a quiet chuckle escaping him when Roy made a noise of exaggerated remembrance and grabbed the tea bottle again.

Roy chugged down several more mouthfuls of the tea happily before sending Edward a smirk. "Never tried it with alcohol, but thanks for the great idea."

"Please don't credit me with that." Edward laughed with a roll of his eyes.

"No, no, but it is." Roy pressed with a chuckle as he leaned forward a bit further into their mutual closeness. "After things have calmed down, let's go take a trip to visit my mom. I'm going to create a mango wine, and we're going to name it after you. And then we're going to use the profits from any that sell to buy you as many ponies as I can find."

Edward was laughing, a happy grin wide on his face as he shook his head in delighted mirth. "Roy, that's ridiculous. I am no... what is it your mother is called?"

"A winemaker?" Roy laughed, before adding cheerily, "vintner as well. And I'll have you know I've the same education."

"Yes, that," Edward smiled at him, "I am not that. You shouldn't take advice from me about your family business."

"I wouldn't if it were bad." Roy snorted and reached a hand up to brush through the silvery hair that passed straight through his fingers like silver starlight. "I'm going to impress the fuck out of you when I present you with your own pony farm. I'm not even going to hint to you that it's being done. One day I'll take you out on the bike, and suddenly you'll be staring at your very own pony herd."

Edward watched him with curious silence for a moment, a somewhat uncertain smile on his lips as his head tilted slightly to one side. "You really think it's a good idea?"

"I love you, Edward Elric," Roy began with a fond smile, "I wouldn't dare disappoint you with this if I thought there was a remote chance I would."

Edward couldn't have stopped the smile if he tried, warmth flooding him and bringing with it a rush of affection. "Okay then," he agreed with a soft tenderness in his voice, "as soon as things calm down, we'll take another vacation."

"Perfect." Roy grinned, and truly it was. He did honestly believe Edward had a wonderful idea, and the part of him he'd never wholly left behind as a teenager was already running through formulas and bottle design ideas in the back of his mind. Yet it was mostly the idea of taking another vacation with Edward that gave him the most happiness.

"Let's bring Hazel this time though." Edward determined with a faint laugh as he recalled exactly what they'd walked in on when they'd returned from their first visit to see Daphne.

Roy snorted, but found himself rather unable to disagree with the simple request. "I'm sure I can find his travel crate somewhere." He reassured moments before he fought off a shiver as the last of their fire died in a puff of lackluster smoke.

Edward smiled faintly over at the remains of their campfire, before turning a warm gaze on Roy. "Next time, we bring plenty of wood with us since there's so little around here this time of year."

Roy nodded with a bit of a chuckle, and leaned back in as best a stretch as he could comfortably manage with his stitches. "Definitely. For now though, I do believe we should head home, before the exhaustion starts making itself known again."

"You really should just teach me how to drive properly." Edward told him as he floated up to his feet, watching as Roy got to his own feet just a touch stiffly. "Easy."

Roy was already moving to kick some nearby dirt over the hot ashes, "I'm all right, dearest. Promise." He reassured, and the hot ashes smothered, he began to move back over to Edward. "And I will teach you to drive… eventually."

Edward rolled his eyes with a snort. "Promises, promises."

"You have to graduate from bike riding school first." Roy reminded him, and began to tick the short list off on his fingers for his ghost. "Then I'll teach you to control the motorcycle, and then, and only then, will I teach you to drive a car."

"Well you should stop getting yourself into trouble so that I have time to practice with my bike again, now shouldn't you." Edward chastised him fondly as he floated up to the man, his hands coming up to rest just over some of the stitches.

"Believe me," Roy told him as he rested one of his own hands through Edward's silvery hair, "with your help, the day I stop getting myself into so much trouble will be sooner than I'd previously planned."

Edward wasn't so sure that Roy actually could keep himself from finding some manner of trouble somewhere. The man had far too much ambition to ever have a truly peaceful existence, despite all that though, Edward knew without a doubt that Roy would still strive for as much time for them as humanly possible. "Yeah…" he began softly, his eyes gleaming with happiness, "you're still allowed in the bed tonight."

Roy burst into laughter at the unexpected response, and he drew away to open the car door for Edward with a flourish. "Then, my love, shall we go make that bed a little less lonely?"

Edward couldn't help the amused grin that broke onto his face, "dare I ask what you have in mind?" He asked as he sat back in the sedan.

Roy winked at him, "having you home by midnight, as requested." And he gently shut the door before going around to the other side to get in as well, depositing the trash from his meal in the backseat as he did so.

The drive home was not immediate, as several times Roy would pull the car over to the side of the road with a secretive grin and get out whilst insisting Edward stay in the car. He would then disappear briefly into the night, only to return to the car with some new, breathtakingly beautiful flower for Edward. Then the drive would resume, until apparently Roy's knowledge of where every random patch of gorgeous flowers were on this stretch of road ran out.

Edward was left staring in profoundly touched happiness at twenty-seven flowers, some of varieties he'd never even seen before, as the lights of Central grew closer.

Roy was rather delighted that Edward liked them so much, and he spent a good bit of the drive shooting the speechless ghost happy looks, and making certain not to take turns too fast and roll the flowers off of the dash they were all spread across.

They pulled up to the house just a little before midnight, and Roy carefully gathered all of Edward's flowers before getting out of the sedan.

Edward had floated up and out, and together they made their way back into the house.

"Home by midnight," Roy declared as he balanced the flowers in one arm in order to shut and lock the door behind them.

"Do you have a vase?" Edward asked as he wandered into the kitchen.

Roy followed after him, "behind the water glasses."

Soon the vase was sitting on the kitchen counter, water in the bottom, and the flowers arranged inside the vase in a glorious chaos of colors.

Edward gazed at them, warmth still suffusing him at not just the sight of the beautiful flowers that Roy had made multiple side-trips to collect whilst still being injured, but also the happy warmth of how much he'd enjoyed tonight as a whole. "They're beautiful," he whispered as he faintly saw Roy come up just behind his left shoulder, "really… thank you."

"You're welcome." Roy replied just as softly, and looking over, reached up to brush his fingers unfelt through the silvery glow of Edward's hair. "Definitely worth all the stumbling around in the dark."

Edward snorted through a bit of a snicker, and darted a glance over at the man. "Are you okay?"

Roy met those silver eyes, shining at him with such warmth and affection, and a delighted sort of amusement, and smiled. "Yes."

Edward wasn't sure how long he'd floated there, somehow unable to look away from Roy, nor dismiss all the meaning behind that one word. The way Roy was watching him… it made him ache strangely inside, it made him turn without really thinking it through until he was nearly in Roy's arms. "You're certain?"

"I've never been more certain of anything else in my life," Roy replied as he wrapped one arm as best an approximation he could make around Edward's waist, his other hand coming up to frame the ghost's cheek. He knew they weren't just talking about his health any more… but even so, "I'm even going to do it again. There's another road that has sunflowers with blooms as big as your head."

A surprised laugh burst from Edward, before he managed to smother it as he beamed up at Roy. "You're joking."

"Well, actual size, dearest." Roy corrected, "not ego size."

"You're impossible." Edward continued to grin, another chuckle escaping him.

Roy winked, but did not attempt to deny the accusation. Instead, he stepped away, going in search of a bottle of wine. Once he'd unearthed one of his finer vintages – because his first date with Edward deserved the best – he turned with somewhat of a flourish to hold the bottle up with a smile. "Join me?"

They ended up in their bedroom, Roy in nothing but lounge pants and his socks in order to give his stitches room to breathe, and facing Edward who was sprawled out at the foot of the bed hugging a pillow and laughing at him as he finally wrested Hazel away from the wine cork.

The squirrel darted from the room looking huffy, but somehow undeterred.

"He's going to try again as soon as you're asleep." Edward pointed out, and if he let his gaze wander with interest a bit when Roy was stretching over to deposit the wine cork in a bedside drawer for the moment, only he was the wiser and his gaze flicked back up to Roy's face immediately when the man straightened.

"He can try, but we've been through this before and I've not lost yet." Roy declared as he poured himself a measure of wine into the glass he'd snatched on their way out of the kitchen.

Edward grinned at the thought of Roy waging an ongoing battle for wine corks with a squirrel, "what do you think he wants it for?"

"Knowing him," Roy said as he swirled the wine in practiced movements, "he only wants it because he knows that I still need it. He's a very selfish pet." He determined, and gave the doorway that Hazel had exited through a wry look, but one still suffused with affection for the little furry terror, and then turned his attention back to Edward with a slight tip of his wineglass. "May I never find a flower more beautiful than you."

Edward spluttered with embarrassed laughter, "did you just call me a flower, Roy Mustang?"

Roy drank several more sips before shooting Edward a smirk. "I like that you're not denying the beautiful part."

"That wine must truly be good, if just smelling it has already made you this intoxicated." Edward remarked with a flustered quickness.

"It is," Roy admitted, but his gaze resting on Edward was fond, "but I don't need wine to make me see how beautiful you are."

Edward knew he'd be blushing, and heavily at this point, were he flesh and blood. As it was, a shy sort of delight had caused him to twist into sitting upright, the pillow cradled in his lap. "I know I said to save the flattery for the end of the date, so I'd let you back in the bed, but you succeeded with that already."

"I remember," Roy began as he carefully leaned forward, being mindful of his wineglass, and bringing him close enough to Edward to allow him to brush his fingers just slightly through Edward's cheek and down towards his neck, "but I also remember telling you that I refuse to waste a chance to tell you that you're beautiful, now that I finally can."

Edward fell into a reminiscing silence, feeling near to bursting with affection and happiness as he gazed back into Roy's eyes. The dark loving gaze of a man who had laughed and talked with him under the stars, built them a campfire and insisted on telling ghost stories, who had stopped twenty-seven different times on the way home just to pick him a different flower, and who was now gazing at him as if he were the only thing in their bedroom. "I love you."