Authors Note: Hey guys! This is the start of my Christmas fic! Hopefully it'll be an enjoyable read!
There is no timeline. Roy has his sight, Al is restored…Ed has no automail
And The Bells Chime
It had been, Edward thought, the most miserable time of year for the longest time. But now, he could look on in practiced happiness, pretend to smile, be in good cheer for his brother. His adorable baby brother who happened to be getting it on with their childhood friend. In their apartment. In Central. In the freezing weather.
Ed had by now decided that his best option was to risk the cold, and he tumbled out the door, sucking in deep wintery cold breaths. It clogged his throat, made it ache, and he coughed hoping that it would clear. Being semi-successful, he started on his way, prepared to go to the library where he could do research in peace. Blessed peace. He sank into the dusty smell of books, thoroughly delighted with what his eyes saw, and as he skimmed the pages, he took notes on a large piece of paper. He was undisturbed for the better part of two hours when one of the librarians told him he had to go home now. He nodded and told her, "few minutes more" and thirty minutes later he was still working.
It was about this time that Colonel Roy Mustang received a call from the library saying, "we need your help, please come." And come he did. And when he got there he was ambushed by three girls who desperately were asking him to get rid of the man who wouldn't leave.
Thinking this man was harmful, he pulled on his ever ready gloves and followed the girls to the supposed perpetrator. He laughed when he saw who it was, and knew the boy was completely harmless unless provoked. And provoked he would be in a few minutes. Mustang chuckled and walked up behind the boy, slamming the book shut on the kids fingers gently and he got the expected reaction, "What the hell was that for?"
"Fullmetal," he told his subordinate wearily, "it's past ten o'clock. The library closes at none-thirty. Come on, the books won't run away on you."
He pulled the boy by his arm through the library and gave a smile to the librarians as they exited. Ed huffily tugged his arm away and glared. "Now where am I supposed to go, Bastard? Can't go back to the flat, the happy couple is occupying it."
"Happy couple?" the Colonel questioned.
"Yes!" Edward near snarled. "Al and the crazy-ass-machine-freak Winry! They're doing all sorts of weird things in there."
"Weird things." Mustang stated, wary of the way Edward phrased it. He had an inclination that these "weird things" were most likely associated with the topic Ed avoided like he would a plague.
Edward didn't offer him an answer, so Mustang supplied, "You mean sex?"
Ed turned shades of red and looked away, trying to hide the fact his face was now cherry red. So. Fullmetal was the epitome of a blushing virgin? The Colonel almost thought "how adorable" but that really didn't apply to the boy.
A hand twisted in his coat. "Yeah. Well. I'll go to the park and hang there for a while."
"Yessss." The word was drawn out.
Mustang huffed and made his decision. "Come home with me, and you can help me."
"Equivalent exchange, right?"
"If you'd like to think of it that way, then."
Edward agreed however reluctant he was, he'd see his brother in the morning then, it wasn't that big of a deal. He'd just creep back into their apartment early in the morning, it wouldn't be that bad.
Or so he thought. It was clear when he arrived at Mustang's house that Mustang wasn't going to let him go anywhere anytime soon.
Three hours, thirty-four minutes and twelve seconds later, Ed flopped exhausted onto Mustang's couch and groaned.
He and Roy (the Colonel had insisted Ed call him that because it was shorter than 'Colonel Bastard' 'Bastard', 'Mustang' or any of the variations Ed would come up with.) had been putting up Christmas decorations for the past three long hours. He truly wanted to know where the man had gotten all this stuff. All he had received was a small, mysterious smile and a shrug.
So now he lay here on the Bastard's couch watching the man stretch out his tight limbs. And it brought back a memory of how he and Roy managed to hang the garlands.
Roy was watching Edward haul the heavy greens through the living room and towards the mantel to be hung, and stooped to help the younger man. "We're going to hang the garlands from the beams that run along the top of the room."
"How are we going to do that?"
"I'll lift you up." Mustang stated as if that were the only possibility.
Edward blushed as he remembered the feeling of Mustang's arms around his waist as he was lifted up, the feeling of a strong chest, and even stronger arms as he was held. There was no romance to it; it was simply the easiest method of hanging up garlands.
Roy turned towards him, giving him a small smile. "So, am I more acceptable now?"
Edward muttered darkly and turned away, refusing to let him see his reaction. Sighing, Roy tunneled a hand through his hair and turned back to Edward.
"You can stay here tonight; I have a guest bedroom you can borrow."
Ed shook his head. "Thanks, but no Colonel Bastard, I'm going back to the flat now. Winry and Al should be done celebrating by now." He turned a slight pink. "Goodnight. I'll see you in the morning."
Roy watched as Edward left, thinking that the boy never called where he lived "home". Either it was because he hadn't called a place home in a long while, or it was because he truly believed he didn't have a home.
Roy decided that it was time to fix his little blonde subordinates feelings on that matter.
Havoc was the first to see Edward appear in the office the next morning. The Boss looked tired, he thought. Fuery and Falman agreed with him. Breda shrugged and said, "all teenagers were tired after a night of sex."
Hawkeye lifted her head and spoke as Ed entered the room, "I highly doubt Edward was out last night having sex," she continued as Mustang followed behind Edward, "it isn't logical. He's not interested in girls, right Edward?"
Face flaming Edward flared up. "So what?" he snarled. "And no I wasn't having sex. After I helped out the Bastard, I went back to my flat only to have to leave again because my brother and Winry can't keep their hands to themselves!"
Mustang turned to him. "After you left my place you didn't go home?"
Ed gave him a glare. "No. I went back, found they were still engaged in activities and left again. I wandered the streets for a while."
Fuery suddenly spoke up, "Uhm, Edward? He called me this morning and asked me to tell you this, 'sorry to fake you out last night, but you're too over protective and you need to get out more. So Winry and I decided to pretend…'" Fuery didn't get the chance to finish because Ed's face was an even brighter red as he realized exactly how his brother had faked him out. He nearly howled.
The office did their best to spare him their laughter. Ed fumed and turned a glare on Mustang. "Did you know about this?"
"I certainly did not!" Mustang sounded offended.
Hawkeye shook her head and told Edward, "Your brother's right. You need to get in the season, it's almost Christmas. The military is having a party, why not come? It could be enjoyable."
"Why would I go to one of those things?"
"Free food," Breda offered, and Ed decided if they offered free food it couldn't be all bad. Not if the rest of them are going.
"We're all going," Falman offered. "It's formal dress, so you'll have to wear a tux, but I can get you one…"
Ed pondered this, and decided yes, he would go if only to make himself well known. It would be nice to see his friends outside the work place.
"Okay. If you'll help me get a tux." He commanded of Falman who agreed hastily as they made plans to meet after work today.
After departing the office with haste, Ed returned to the library to continue his research. It wasn't long until his brother joined him. Edward could never refuse the puppy eyes Alphonse gave him and so he was forgiven easily.
They stayed there the rest of the workday until Falman came by to collect the oldest Elric and herd him to the tailors. Alphonse wished them a good luck and turned back to the book he had been studying.
While Al was studying, Edward was being fitted, "his small stature," the man who was measuring him said, "was beautiful and he would look lovely". One Ed got over the fact the man had practically called him small, he sucked up the compliment like it was his last meal.
Finally returning to the office, the men were standing, talking amongst themselves, waiting for Falman to return, they planned to go drinking. Hawkeye told them that Edward was not allowed to come. And that she was going with them to enforce the rule. It gave way to a round of groans and mutters from the men saying Ed needed to get drunk before he turned legal.
This did not reach Ed's ears as he was currently napping in his dorm room due to lack of sleep from the night before and didn't rise until much later that evening. In fact, he didn't wake until he heard his brother's voice hissing angrily, "What are you people doing here?"
"We're having a meeting, but we needed somewhere where there wouldn't be any brass lurking. Here is perfect."
He heard his brother give a grudging, "okay" then, "Don't wake Brother. He's tired and sleeping on the sofa."
He could hear the men (and Hawkeye) filtering into the living room where he was now pretending to sleep.
A voice breathed, "Al, woah, he looks like an….angel. I guess. Are you sure that's not his twin? He looks so innocent!" That was Havoc. He was sure. He made a note to beat Havoc up for that.
A few hushed laughs came after that statement.
Al's voice again, "He really is an angel most of the time. Really. He's just…wild…untamed as of yet. He's without direction, and he really hates authority."
"I could tell." Mustang's voice, lower than usual, probably trying not to wake him up.
Edward decided to play a little game, see if anything came of his little…plot.
He stretched languidly, his muscles contracting and bunching, his hand rubbing his bare stomach, his other hand running through his loose hair. Sleepily, he asked his brother, "Al?"
"Brother!" Al replied with a gasp. "Are you awake?"
"Mmm. I heard voices. Who's here?"
"Ahh, well, the Colonel and his men?"
A confused voice, "The Colonel?"
"Yes. He and his men needed a place away from the higher up's to talk in private."
"Oh, well. That's okay I guess. I'm just going to get some food."
"That's fine, Brother. Don't eat too much; I'll cook dinner for all of us in a little while."
Ed graced his brother with a small smile and darted into the kitchen to pull out a chunk of bread so he could nibble on something.
When he deemed it was time to grace the living room with his presence again, Al decided to start making dinner before his elder brother ate everything on sight.
He walked into the living room and Breda's voice floated to him. "Hey, Boss, don't you want to put a shirt on? And maybe pull your pants up? You've got a lot…showing."
Ed gave him a slow, wicked smile. "Are you interested?"
Breda spluttered with horror. "What? You're fuckin' sixteen, kid. There's no way, even if I did swing that way."
Ed gave him another grin. "So? The whores you take to bed are all probably underage too."
"That's not funny! You're not a whore!"
"I could be though, couldn't I? I am pretty, right?"
"Brother!" he heard Al's shocked voice.
"What, it's true, right, Al?"
His brother firmed his lips. "Stop this. What's gotten into you?"
"Hmm. Maybe it's because I hear it every day. No big deal, hm?"
It was Hawkeye who put an end to Edward's self-pity with a well aimed slap and a sharp speech.
"Edward Elric! Whatever those men say in those halls isn't true. You are pretty. But you are so much more. You're strong, brilliant and determined. That is why people are drawn to you. They only want your body and none of your mind. You're worth more than anything those bastards could pay. Only give yourself away when you truly feel right about it. That is the one thing that you have left of your innocence to give away. The military took everything else. Believe me when I say that I completely regret mine."
Mustang made a groaning sound in his throat, and Havoc gave a low cough. And Edward stared, and fled to his room slamming the door. Eyes closed, he shuddered, took a breath and composed himself. This was not something to get sentimental over. It was nothing compared to what he had lost before…but what he had regained. This he realized, could never be regained. He knew Hawkeye was right, but he didn't want to be this anymore, he wanted to truly understand the depth of human emotion.
He clenched his hands and reentered the living room.
"Brother," Al gave a low sigh, "You're all right?"
"I'm fine, really. I'm sorry, Breda. Really. It's that,"
Fuery interrupted, "You've heard it so many times that you think it's true." He gave a small smile. "It'll be okay, Ed, you'll see."
"I hope so," Ed murmured. "I really do." His head dropped and he scuffed his feet. Dealing with people who cared was much harder than dealing with those who didn't, he thought.
"Well." Al stated. "I think it's time we all ate dinner. Stay seated, Winry's here, she can help feed you people."
Ed felt himself tugged down on the couch by a pale arm. He looked up into Mustang's dark eyes and almost flinched. They held a bit of sympathy, but they also held pride. But what was the pride for?
He nearly questioned the man, but when Al handed them their food, he devoured it quickly, unthinkingly. When he finished he rose from his spot and retreated to his bedroom.
He found he'd been followed by Mustang and he turned, face screwed up in annoyance. "What?"
"Fullmetal," his voice resonated around the room. "What are you thinking?"
"I wasn't," he said bitterly. "I really wasn't. I know, I'm an ignorant kid, one who doesn't deserve what he has, one who can't comprehend why adults do what they do. I still am a kid."
"You've been an adult for a while now, Fullmetal. But you still have a child's thinking, if that makes any sense to you. You may have guilt, but you need to let people help you, don't bear it on your own. Do you understand? It's almost Christmas, and you need to think of the future. Will you be able to live with yourself if you hurt the people who care for you?"
Edward swallowed and nodded. "I see. Thank you. Colonel. Can I ask a favor?"
The Colonel looked down at the young blonde subordinate. "Yes?"
"Can you, can you teach me to dance?" he looked up. "I need to learn for the Military Ball…if you don't mind."
"I don't mind," Mustang smiled warmly down at him. "Not at all."
The twenty-forth approached much more quickly than Edward would have liked, but it was the evening of and he was dressed in the tux he had bought. He tugged the tie to straighten it, and stared at his reflection. He was handsome to some, he thought, but right now, he looked girly. Or not so much, he continued to ponder, not with his facial features or build, so maybe he wasn't girly after all. It was the hair he decided when the knock sounded. Turning, he walked out of the bathroom to open the front door, finding that Al had already opened it. Roy Mustang, Ed tried to staunch the thought as it began, was handsome. He was absolutely perfect in that tux. He was almost delighted to see his commanding officer.
But Mustang also seemed to approve of him. Gave him a once over, then did it another time before he murmured, "You look nice, Fullmetal."
"Brother," Alphonse began, "you can't leave your hair down. It'll get tangled up. Let me fix it." Ed batted Al's hands away though, and braided his hair quickly, letting the bow snap at the end.
"Happy?" he asked his brother who nodded.
"I'm ready," he told Mustang the obvious as he turned to face his commanding officer who shook his head. "Al's not. Neither is Ms. Rockbell."
"They're not going…?"
Al grinned at Winry. "We are. Winry was invited by Falman and I was invited by Fuery."
"They're out in the car at this moment, with Hawkeye. You'll be joining them. I, Edward, Breda and Havoc will be going in another car. So, please hurry."
The two took off to dress and when they reappeared, they looked every inch the perfect couple.
Ed smiled. "You look handsome, Al."
"Thanks, Brother," he flushed slightly, and held out an arm to Winry.
The two exited the flat as Ed locked it behind them. Walking shoulder to shoulder with Mustang it was blatantly obvious that he was much shorter than the man. The top of his head barely reached Mustang's shoulder.
Al towered just over Mustang by a few inches, he wondered if that annoyed the man, the fact that someone was taller than him. Then again, Mustang wasn't exactly tall himself.
He comforted himself with this fact throughout the ride to the Command Center.
Ed nearly backed out when he realized that much of the military command in Central was coming. Hughes and Gracia approached them smiling.
"Ed! And Al!" Hughes greeted them cheerfully and then turned his wiles on his best friend. "So, who's your date this evening?"
Mustang got that look on his face when he was plotting something.
"Fullmetal happens to be my date this evening."
"Edward?" Hughes asked incredulously. "Him?" he pointed at a snarly Edward.
"Yes, me." Edward looked beyond smug. "I am the one who stole him from the ladies."
Roy laughed deep in his throat. "Indeed."
Ed flashed him a grin, and the group broke up to find dance partners. Halfway through the ball, lines formed and the women and men changed partners. At this point, the women recruited Ed into the women's line since there weren't enough of them, and it was when his partner was Mustang that they landed under the mistletoe.
Cheers from their already drunk friends exploded and somehow convinced all others in proximity to join in on the cheering. It turned into a full blown every-one-in-military service chant. They all wanted to see the famed Flame and Fullmetal Alchemists kiss. The women especially.
However, it was not to happen, the two men bowed and departed ways onto the next partner. There were "boo's" and many glares from the assembled guests, but as it drew to five minutes until midnight they were surrounded by their friends and dancing dissolved into trying to convince people to kiss each other.
And the bells chimed midnight, and kisses were exchanged. When his commanding officer lowered his head, Edward stood on tiptoes so he could reach. It was nothing more than a butterfly kiss, but it sent sparks scuttling down his spine and made legs waver. Mustang had somehow gotten his arms around the boy and was dragging him closer, pulling him off the floor for a better vantage; deeper kisses.
They pulled away panting and exchanged grins before they kissed again, completely unaware they had the attention of hundreds of smirking people.
The people knew that every year at this ball the Colonel usually brought home a woman (and an occasional man), and this year everyone knew that it was going to be Edward Elric in his bed.
Laughing, the guests began departing for home, leaving behind a large mess which would be cleaned up on the twenty-sixth when the janitors would return to their duties.
With the sunlight cascading over him, Edward couldn't think of a place he'd rather be at this moment. He turned his head into the chest belonging to the person who was currently in the process of wrapping his arm around Ed's body. A low chuckle shook him and made him look up into the man's face.
It earned him another long, drawn out kiss that had him asking for more. Hands tangled together as they lay in bed.
"Are we going to make something out of this?" Edward questioned his lover who was nuzzling his neck and punctuating it with licks and nips around the prominent love bite he had been given last night.
"We can only try," Roy murmured to him, and then louder, "Merry Christmas, Edward."
"Merry Christmas, Roy."