Author's Note: Real life is getting me down. It's put me in a really bad mood, and I'm taking it out on the boys. Sorry the next chapter of In a Dream is taking so long, but RL is sucking up a lot of my time right now unfortunately. Here's a bit of angst to tide you over. I wrote it a couple of weeks ago when the shit started to hit my personal fan. This contains no happy. Consider yourself warned. Enjoy? *runs away*

Title: The Chain
Author: Up2Late
Rating: M (overall, to be safe)
Spoilers: None
Warnings: Mature themes, and foul language.
No beta, so it's probably not alpha.
Disclaimer: Not mine. No money. Please, no lawsuit.
Summary: Roy does something stupid.

Work in progress


The glass was ice cold against his fingers tips, and made wet rings on the coffee table. He tracked it across the dark wood, inscribing random patterns, uncaring of the damage he was doing. So typical. All the job related pressure he'd been under that week, the stress of advancing his career through a minefield of his superiors' idiosyncrasies, seemed so trivial now. He had more important concerns at the moment. Personal concerns. The rest of it just didn't seem to matter anymore, in light of what he had likely lost.

From bitter experience he knew that drinking was never the answer. It was part of the problem actually, but not all of it. He was the real problem, a self fulfilling prophesy, dragging everyone else down with him. He did not deserve to be happy, so he would see to it that he was not, consciously or otherwise. And anyone who disagreed had best be careful not to get caught in the backwash.

Like Edward, for example. The kid should have known better than to get involved with him, particularly since he was no stranger to fate's cruel justice. The little blond had lost so much himself, his father, his mother, his limbs, his brother's body. Still, he never gave up trying to make it right. Given enough time and effort, he thought he could actually solve his problems, if only he kept trying, pushing, fighting. The quixotic little fool.

The Fullmetal Alchemist was supposed to be on assignment in the East. Roy had heard from him only two days prior, a growling, discouraged phone call informing him that the assignment had taken an unfortunate turn and was infuriatingly far from completion. The young alchemist had been away nearly a month. Could anyone blame Roy for being lonely, or for looking for a little company to pass the time?

It had started out innocently enough. A particularly rough day at the office. A chance meeting in the canteen. She'd caught his eye, hair the same honey blond as Edward's. A light flirtation. A dinner invitation. He blamed the second bottle of wine for taking it farther than he'd intended. In the bed he shared with Edward. Back in the day he'd never brought his lovers home. Nice hotels, or their place. Until Edward. What was it about the kid that made him break all his own rules? Stupid question. He knew what it was.

She was beautiful, and sensual, and enthusiastic. Soft where Edward was firm, warm where he was cool steel. Hushed purrs instead of ragged growls. She was a kitten in Roy's bed, different from the playful tiger he'd become so accustomed to. Roy couldn't deny that he'd enjoyed it. Knowing he was doing Edward wrong didn't quell his desire or dampen his pleasure. The tickle of guilt was almost beneath his notice, though he knew it would grow as the alcohol's numbness faded. He lay there in the afterward, sweat cooling, her head pillowed on his shoulder, that silky blond hair framing the wrong sleeping face. Roy was wondering how he could tactfully awaken his guest and suggest that she leave, when the door quietly opened, and his heart froze in his chest.

His held his face cold and still, but Edward could never keep what he was feeling from his eyes. There was no surprise in them now. He must have been outside the bedroom for some time, listening, in pain. Betrayed. Standing in the doorway he nodded slowly, as if he had needed to see this to actually believe it. He'd met Roy's stunned gaze with devastated sorrow, and then he'd turned away. Roy followed the sound of his quiet exit, down the stairs and out the front door.

The soft click signalling that closing door finally roused Roy from his shock, panic replacing it. He slipped from the bed and rushed to the front hall, peering out the window into a street empty of Edward. Too late. He found himself in the shower, washing away the scent of what he'd done, the effects of the wine driven from his system in the wake of that panic stricken adrenalin surge. He dressed, and woke . . . Cheryl? Shirley? The idea that he'd just thrown away the brightest light in his life for someone whose name he couldn't recall nearly suffocated him.

Out into the streets, first to the small flat Alphonse and Winry shared, his obvious distress scaring the hell out of Edward's brother and his very pregnant automail mechanic. It was clear Edward wasn't there. Alphonse' panic shifted to simmering fury when Roy had reluctantly admitted that he had done something beyond stupid, and Edward had witnessed it, and had vanished into the night. The younger man had grabbed his jacket and brushed roughly past Roy, off to make a search of his own. Winry had watched her angry husband out of sight without a word, then gave Roy a final, pitying glance as she quietly shut the door.

The park was next, but he should have known Edward wouldn't be there. It was too full of the memories of happy, peaceful times they'd shared, walking, talking, just being together. Hollow memories now, made empty by deceit, a haunted place in the moonlight.

Next, the dorms. The duty Sergeant hadn't seen the Fullmetal Alchemist that evening, and a quick check through the log sheets confirmed that Edward wasn't there. Central was a big city, and there was no way Roy could check all the hotels on foot. He'd gone to his office fully intending to start phoning each and every one.

Roy hadn't bothered to switch on the lights in the outer office as he strode through it towards his inner sanctum, and almost missed seeing the young man. Edward was there, sitting quietly at Hawkeye's desk, turning his watch over in his hands, silver glinting in the darkness of the room. Roy froze, taking in the scene. Edward. The thin white envelope on the desk in front of him. The watch. No.

This wasn't over. It couldn't be.

"It's okay, I get it," Edward said softly, face the picture of calm, though his eyes told a different story. "I guess it was only a matter of time. How could I ever be enough for you?" The watch turned in his hands, over and over.

Roy's guts twisted. He wanted to slap the watch away! He wanted to tear the white envelope and its contents to shreds! He wanted to pull the younger man to his feet and shake him! More than anything, he wanted to turn the clock back a few hours and make this go away! "It's not okay. You don't understand anything!" he snarled.

Edward shrugged. "I guess not, but it doesn't really matter anymore."

"That's it then?" Roy's fear came out like anger in his voice. "What were you going to do? Leave your letter of resignation with your watch on my desk and just disappear?"

"I thought about it," Edward admitted. "But I couldn't do it. I was going to wait until you got here in the morning. Don't have to wait, now." He suddenly looked exhausted.

This was twisted, wrong. The blond should be howling in outrage, smashing the furniture, pounding the walls, kicking Roy's ass. He shouldn't be sitting so quiet, so diminished, raw misery crushing him.

"If you're going to leave me, at least do it for the right fucking reasons," Roy snarled. "Do it because I'm an asshole. Do it because I'm a lying, cheating bastard. Not because you're somehow not good enough for me, when it's really the opposite that's true."

Edward 's shoulders slumped. He looked so defeated Roy just wanted to pull him from the chair and fold him in his arms, hold him tight, but he no longer had that right. He'd lost it in a few moments of utter stupidity.

"Edward, I love you. Please, I don't want to lose you," he tried, mouth dry with fear. "I'm sorry. I was lonely. I was drunk. I was selfish, and stupid, and . . . and . . . just really, unbelievably stupid, and . . . "

"And I was supposed to be out of town." The blond said flatly, and Roy realized then what he had lost.

The all important chain of trust was broken. In the three years they had been together, this had been the one and only time Roy had cheated. But how was Edward supposed to know that? He could see it in the boy's eyes, see him wondering just how often Roy had been unfaithful, and there was nothing the older man could do to erase that doubt now.

"I need some time to think," Edward said. He stood. Picked up his watch and the envelope. Handed both to Roy. Met Roy's stricken eyes with heart-piercing amber. And he'd left.

The soda water in his glass would taste a lot better with a bit of scotch mixed in, and he'd feel a lot better anaesthetized by the spirit as well, but Roy wasn't going to allow himself that luxury anymore. This wasn't over. Edward still loved him. He was sure of it. He just had to wait for the young man to forgive him. And in the mean time, make sure he stayed out of trouble, waiting for his lover to come home. He might not deserve it, but he wanted to be happy, and Edward made him feel whole. He had to be patient. He had to get Edward back.

Whatever it took.

He would do it.

However long it took.

He would wait.

To be continued