Warnings: Ed's language and lusty thoughts.
Author's notes: Thank you everyone for your wonderful birthday wishes!
To say thank you, here is a sequel to "In Heat". You probably need to read that first if you have not done so already. My only regret is that this was written while I had a bad head-cold, and is unbeta'd. If there's anything weird or erroneous, let me know and I'll get it fixed. Enjoy!
A hot breath of wind brushed against Ed's cheek, and he turned his face to make the most of its meagre touch. He was covered in a faint sheen of sweat, his clothes sticking to his skin even in the shade of the bar's huge awning, and any respite was better than none. Central carried the smells of an urban desert, parched and polluted; no rain had fallen to cleanse the city, and everything felt as if it were covered in a layer of dust.
This was the fifth week of the heatwave, and Ed rubbed a hand over the bare nape of his neck, growling in annoyance at the strands of hair that escaped the band to tickle his skin. He did not care if having his hair up like this made him look like a girl. It was too hot to even cringe at having his Automail on show any more. There was a certain temperature where appearance took second place to the eternal quest for comfort, and Ed had passed that point a long time ago.
'Ugh, warm beer,' Havoc grumbled, lolling in his chair like he did not have the strength to sit up straight. 'Never thought I'd miss winter.' He wiped his forehead with the back of his hand and fumbled for a cigarette, putting it between his lips as he added, 'It's too hot to even enjoy a good drink. How much longer is this meant to go on for?'
'The weather report said it could rain tonight,' Hawkeye replied, delicately eating a peanut before Breda devoured the last of them. 'Although I believe that's what was said yesterday, as well.' She lifted her brown eyes up towards the heavens, and Ed knew she was giving the dazzling blue of the late afternoon sky a hard glare, as if she could command it to rain with nothing but her will.
'It doesn't feel like a storm's coming,' Fuery said, pushing his glasses up the slick bridge of his nose as he squinted towards Central's building-cluttered horizon. 'Looks the same as every other day. Hot and dry.'
There was a mumble of agreement from the others, and Ed glanced around at Mustang's command. They looked like crap, frazzled and practically melting. None of them wore their jackets, and there were a lot of bare, tanned forearms on display. Hawkeye had gained another layer of freckles since this morning, and Falman was clinging to the meagre shade in the bar garden to prevent his sunburn getting worse.
As bad as it was outside, it was preferable to being trapped indoors. At least out here they could make the most of the pathetic breeze rather than being smothered in the oppressive warmth of the bar. Clearly everyone else felt the same way, because the garden was packed. People huddled under the massive parasols, backs bowed and voices quiet, too stifled to do anything more energetic than lift a bottle to their lips.
Ed glanced up at a movement in the corner of his eye, watching Hughes and Mustang nudge their way through the crowd. They were both carrying drinks for Roy's command, some clinking with already-melting ice and others trapped in chilly bottles. However, Ed was more interested in Roy than the beer in his hand.
The bastard was good looking, Ed could not deny that, although he had tried it enough in the past. At some indeterminate point, when the hormones had sparked to life and left him breathless, Ed realised the balance of his feelings towards Mustang had into an entirely different arena of emotion: not rage, but stomach-trembling want. It was a mortifying realisation, and Ed had cursed his bad luck as tried to ignore the way his body reacted to Mustang's presence. It worked, for a while. He had managed – but then, last week, everything changed.
It had been just another meeting: an update to let Mustang know that the latest idiot to perform the wrong kind of alchemy was in the military's custody, but almost as soon as Ed walked through the office door, he had felt Roy's eyes upon him. That gaze was not been the usual cool, professional respect to which Ed was accustomed. Maybe it was the weather that made Mustang easier to read, for once, but Ed recognised the desire in those deep blue eyes. Roy looked at him like a starving man eyeing up a feast, and Ed's stunned disbelief had rapidly turned to curiosity.
The man had been captivated by every little movement Ed made. No summer in history could make the air as hot as it had been in the office that day, and Ed had been caught between exhilaration and the tiniest edge of fear. He had never seen Mustang look that feral, before. Ed had never watched those eyes turn so dark or observed a flush sweep its way across Roy's face. The bastard was normally so controlled, but in that moment Ed had seen Roy's breaking point.
It had been a shock to realise that someone he had wanted for so long desired him equally, and Ed suspected that if he had stayed in that room much longer, something would have snapped. Maybe they would have managed to stop short of fucking on the desk, but probably not. All Ed knew for certain was that he would not have said "no" to the offer.
Yet none had ever been made. Mustang had offered some weak excuse, and Ed had been left with no choice but to turn his back and walk away, all the while feeling Roy's eyes on his body like a brand. Yet the attraction did not fade. In fact, it seemed to grow, static and tense, until Ed could barely breathe around its constant weight.
Mustang must have felt the same, and more than once Ed had thought about tracking Roy down at his house – about calling him out on what boiled and sparked between them – but every time the idea crossed his mind he pitched it aside. Roy had been the one staring first, but he had also been the one to make excuses. Ed knew he was ready and willing to find out what they could have together, but perhaps Roy was not quite so prepared to take that plunge.
'This one's yours, Fullmetal.'
Ed's thoughts crashed to a halt, and he looked up guiltily to see Roy holding out one of the bottles of beer for him. Condensation caressed the glass, and he muttered his thanks as he reached out to take it, too busy trying not to stare at Roy to pay attention to what he was doing.
The fingers of his left hand accidentally brushed the back of Roy's, skin-on-skin, and it took all of Ed's strength not to suck in a breath as a thrill shot up his arm and down his body. Every nerve tremble in awareness, and it felt as if the world had slammed to a halt, even though the conversation continued to rise and fall around them.
Swallowing hard, Ed lifted his chin, letting the bold challenge show in his gaze as his heart thrashed in his chest:
You can't pretend you're not feeling this.
Roy's eyes were almost black, pupils flared and intense. His lips were fractionally parted as if he were hypnotised by the invisible electric web that seemed to snare them in its grasp, and Ed could see the throb of his pulse in the base of his throat – too hard and fast – like he was running a marathon rather than standing still.
Abruptly, Roy released the bottle into Ed's grasp, looking away as the tidal wave of reality flooded back over them. No more than a couple of seconds had passed, but to Ed it had felt like a lifetime. His body thrummed with the tension, whining under the strain, and he took a drink as he leaned back in his chair. No one else seemed to have noticed what had passed between him and Roy, and Ed tried not to scowl as Mustang sat down directly opposite him – close enough to reach out and touch – yet unapproachable all the same. His expression was shuttered, artfully arranged as if nothing had happened, and Ed glared blindly at the table top.
All around him, Roy's men continued to chatter, marking away time with idle, friendly conversation. It was easy to go with the flow – to give minor input where necessary and let the rest of it wash over him, but every time Roy spoke Ed's body tingled in response. He had meant to ignore the bastard, to pretend he did not even exist, but that was an impossible feat. It seemed as if, every few seconds, Ed's eyes were drawn back to Roy's frame, sprawled and relaxed in his seat. His drink dangled loosely from long, elegant fingers, and Ed wondered how it was possible for Mustang to look so good when everyone else was brought low and wretched by the summer's ferocity.
Where other people wilted, Roy appeared to accept the heat with good grace. The collar of his shirt was undone, as were several more buttons, and a narrow strip of toned chest was revealed by the gape of the fabric. Miraculously, the sun seemed to have left Mustang untouched: there were no freckles and no sunburn to add an ugly pink to his skin. Only a faint gloss of sweat showed that he was in anyway uncomfortable, and Ed bit his lip as Roy shifted, making the shirt cling. White cloth hinted at the muscular physique beneath, and Ed wondered what that body would feel like beneath his palm. He could almost taste the salt of Roy's sweat on his tongue, and he quickly took a gulp of beer to wash away the imaginary tang in his mouth as he tried to wrestle his mind out of the gutter.
As soon as he lowered the bottle, he caught Roy's sideways glance and noticed the quirk of a smile on his lips: secretive and sexy, as if Roy knew exactly what Ed had been thinking. The flush rose in Ed's face almost immediately, and he raised an eyebrow as Roy returned his attention to the conversations around them, a hint of colour riding on his cheekbones. It was the closest thing to any kind of acknowledgement that Ed had seen from Roy all week, and now Ed's heart picked up its pace beneath his ribs, torn between faint sparks of anger and the lighter brush of hope.
Was the bastard thinking this was some kind of game, or was he trying to show Ed that the feelings were mutual? Mustang was so difficult to understand, and now Ed was not sure if this strange stalemate was born of Roy's uncertainty or his undeniably manipulative nature. Was he just leading Ed on, enjoying the attention while holding him at arm's length, or was there something more serious beneath it all?
Ed picked at the label on his beer bottle, frowning at the dark green glass as he realised the truth: he would never know unless he asked the bastard outright. If it was a game, then the very act of demanding answers would bring it to an end. If not, then it could be the beginning they were both secretly hoping for.
However, this was not the time to have that kind of conversation. Whatever happened between him and Roy was private, and when did they ever get the chance to talk between themselves? There was the office, of course, but how could they have any kind of meaningful conversation with Roy's men only a room away?
Ed swallowed the last of his beer as he realised he only had one option: follow Mustang home and drag all this out in the open. They could not go on like this; maybe Roy liked the uncertainty, but it was driving Ed insane, and butterflies thrashed in his stomach as he realised that tonight was as good as any other. Surely it was better to know, one way or another, than always wonder at what could have been?
'Do you want another?' Roy's question was quiet and sensuous, and it flowed across Ed's skin like hot silk, making him tremble.
The words "I want you." were on the tip of Ed's tongue, but he swallowed them back and pitched his voice low and faintly husky, a perfect imitation of Roy's own. 'You paying?'
Roy's only answer was an honest smile, one that reached his eyes rather than barely touching his lips, and something went tight in Ed's chest. He did not resist as Roy snagged the bottle from his grasp and headed back towards the bar, leaving Ed to listen to the chatter all around him.
He tried to concentrate on what Havoc and Breda were arguing about, but his mind was constantly drifting back through the crowd after Roy like a lost puppy following its master. Worse, when Roy re-emerged, Ed felt something in his chest leap, light and embarrassingly eager. What the fuck had the bastard done to him?
This time, Roy put the bottle down on the table rather than handing it straight to Ed. Perhaps it was an attempt to avoid a repetition of their earlier sparking moment of contact, but it was a fruitless effort, because as soon as Ed smiled his thanks at Roy, their gazes locked and the air seem to crackle.
Invisible wires tugged at Eds heart as something hot flared up again in the pit of his stomach, more intense than before. Need was a snake in Ed's belly, coiling and twisting to squeeze between his legs. The rush and race of his thoughts had slowed to nothing but a thick, heady pulse in his mind, and he tightened his hands on the edge of the table, waiting for Roy to say something – anything! Even a murmur of an invitation would be better than these hot looks and thick silences. Temptation was a buzzing between them, bright and vivid and almost impossible to withstand.
Breda's guffaw made Ed jolt and tear his gaze away from Roy's face. Just like that, the spell broke, leaving him with a heavy heart and a light head. Every fibre of his being was humming with need for Roy, and he knew he was not the only one who felt that way. Opposite him, Roy had sunk back into his seat, but there were signs of weakness in his façade. Long fingers curled into a fist of self-restraint, and Ed could see the tautness of the muscles in Roy's arms as if he were forcefully holding himself back
Now, Roy's proximity was almost impossible to bear. Every time he shifted, the cotton of his shirt whispered promises at the edge of Ed's hearing, and the faintest of stirrings in the air stroked against his skin. It was pure torment, and Ed struggled to appear outwardly indifferent while his insides burned with unfulfilled want.
In the end, all he could do was keep taking sips of beer, measuring out the minutes with its dull flat taste as the evening slipped away. Gradually, the sun dipped out of sight, and Central's streetlamps sprang to life. Their mellow light coated the heady evening in a gossamer glow, but the air did not cool; it pressed downwards, hot and heavy, and Ed tipped his head back in surrender, eyes shut and his fingers cupped loosely around his third, or possibly fourth, bottle of beer. Hours had marched past, and he had drunk just enough to take the sharp edge off his confused mood. The tension was still there, of course, a taut wire connecting him and Roy. Now and again a shared glance would pluck it anew, but at least now it was almost bearable. Almost.
Someone tapped the back of his left hand, and he did not need to open his eyes to know it was Roy. Every nerve he had slammed into thrilling life again, and Ed pressed his lips together and lifted his head to give Roy a faint frown. Belatedly he realised that the others were standing up, some more unsteady than others, slinging their jackets over their shoulders and groaning at the thought of a walk home through the hot evening air.
'Are you coming, or are you staying here a while longer?' Roy asked. It was innocent enough, but Ed thought he heard a thread of something – Fear? Hope? – to those words.
Ed put the empty bottle on the table and flowed to his feet, stretching out the kinks in his back as his stomach jolted with anxiety. His earlier silent promise to follow Roy home and get some answers haunted him, and for a minute Ed considered casting it aside and heading back to the apartment to stew in unsatisfied need.
No, he'd done that all week and it had got him nowhere. It was now or never. At least he and Roy lived within a couple of blocks of each other. They would split up from the others soon enough and then he could drag the truth out of Mustang, one way or another.
'I'll come with you,' he said, falling in at Roy's side and trying not to tremble at the nearby heat of Mustang's body. He wanted to reach out and snag Roy's fingers in its grip, but Ed held himself tight and firm, shoving his hands around them as the others clustered around them in a loose crowd.
In different circumstances, Ed would have marvelled at how close Roy's command had become over the years, so much more than comrades, but tonight such thoughts were nothing more than butterflies in a hurricane. He was too lost in the presence at his side, and the teasing whisper of Roy's rolled up sleeve against his bare left arm was almost impossible to ignore. It took all of Ed's strength to listen to what was being said, nodding in all the right places as the whine of need grew louder in his head.
Together they clattered into one of Central's many town squares, cobbled and overlooked by dark shops. A large fountain gushed in the centre, but the crisp notes of the water splashing in the bowl were drowned out as thunder growled overhead. The noise broke into the conversation, cutting it off short, and everyone looked up towards the black canvas of the sky. Ed had not noticed the clouds draw in, but now he took the time to look he realised that no moon or stars bedecked the darkness. Another flash lit the city, and the wind stirred, whipping dust ahead of it.
'Oh, thank god,' Hughes laughed, squinting upwards as lightning flickered over to the west. 'It's about time!'
'Perhaps we should all head home before it –'
Hawkeye never got the chance to finish her sentence as the first fat drops of rain began to fall, losing themselves in the chattering fountain and smacking into the dusty street. A few breathless seconds later, the heavens opened, and Ed's breath snatched in his chest as the cool water hit his skin and caught in his hair, rapidly slicking it to his head. There were squeals and shouts from the surrounding streets as the downpour took people by surprise, and Ed grinned as Roy's men shouted hasty farewells, tenting their jackets over their heads before they all hurried off towards home.
All of them except Roy, who stood to Ed's right with his face turned up towards the sky in sinful worship. Rain traced crystal rivulets across his skin, catching in dark hair like diamonds and coiling down his throat. The white shirt that had tortured Ed all evening was now slicked and see-through, losing all coy shyness as it outlined Roy's frame. Ed could see every ridge of muscle and the wicked taper of Roy's waist, but it was the throbbing pulse at the base of his throat that drew Ed closer, hypnotising him with its fast beat.
His boots scuffed on the wet cobbles as he stopped within arm's reach, and Roy lowered his head, watching Ed through sultry, slitted eyes. Neither of them moved as the rain arrowed down around them, dashing itself apart on the hard ground and soaking them to the skin. The air was cooling, taking on a biting edge as the wind whipped around them, but the heat still lived on under Ed's skin, incandescent, burning the words on his tongue to ash until there was nothing he could say.
Gently, he reached out, curling his fingers in Roy's drenched collar. Ed half-expected Mustang to pull himself free, but he came willingly, closing the half-pace between them until they were heart-to-heart, his hands resting lightly on Ed's waist, not holding him in place, but not pushing him away, either. The tip of Roy's nose brushed down the side of Ed's, soft and questioning, and his lips hovered a bare breath from Ed's mouth as finally, Ed found his voice and uttered one hushed, desperate syllable:
Roy closed his eyes as if relieved, smiling softly as he lowered his lips willingly to Ed's and pressed a kiss against his mouth, tender and subtle, but passionate in a way Ed had never thought possible. Everything between he and Roy had always been a fight on some level, but not this.
Roy's tongue swept over Ed's lips, and he parted them happily, losing himself as fireworks went off behind his closed eyelids. It had been a week of waiting, but it felt like an empty lifetime, and now Ed surrendered himself completely. He needed this, needed Roy, and Ed could not bring himself to regret that for a second.
His hands moved without any instruction, his left smoothing out across Roy's chest while his heavier right went across the nape of Roy's neck, pulling him closer and holding him there. Ed's spine wanted to arch, to annihilate any remaining space between them, and the skim of Roy's palm under his vest was enough to make a hungry moan catch in his chest. Roy answered it in kind: a soft, husky sound that only fanned the flames further. He tasted of spirits and rain, wild, spicy and full of promise, and Ed broke back to snatch a breath of the storm-soaked air before the thrill of desire could consume him utterly.
There was too much to say – too many questions to be asked, but even as they rose in Ed's throat he realised that Roy's answer was in the intensity of his gaze and the soft proprietary of his embrace. He held Ed as if were all he had ever wanted, and even now he had not straightened up or pulled away. Their foreheads were touching as their breaths mingled, twining together with the potential of the moment, and Ed knew that what brewed between them was nothing as simple as lust.
'This isn't just for tonight, is it?' he whispered, afraid that anything louder would bring reality slamming back around them. His heart was in his throat, pounding out a mad, fast rhythm as rain ran down his cheeks like tears, but he could not bring himself to blink as he watched Roy, waiting.
Slowly, softly, Roy shook his head, keeping his gaze locked with Ed's before pressing a kiss to his brow. 'I want you for as long as you'll have me, however long that is...' A smile crossed his face as his voice became hushed, brimming with the strength of his request as he repeated Ed's earlier entreaty. 'Please?'
Ed grinned before capturing Roy's mouth again, letting the kiss speak for itself as, all around them, summer's heat began to fade. Water gushed off roofs and spilled from gutters, washing the city clean again as the wind lifted sultry shrouds from the streets and stirred life into Central once more.
Summer was dying, but as Ed pressed his hand over Roy's heart he could feel the heat living on within them, burning hard and bright in their veins as one word whispered itself in his mind.