A/N: Again, so long ._. I haven´t answered any reviews, I figured you would much more like to read the update sooner than later. You guys left so many amazing reviews, I love them ^^ They are one of the reasons I´m still kicking RL back from time to time and procrastinate my work to write this ^^° I´d love to write you back, but knowing me, the answers would become huge and lengthy and you´d have to wait even longer ._. I do try to at a few, but I haven´t been able to answer all of them yet and I´m not sure when and if I will be able to do so. This is not meant to be a lack of appreciation, it´s simply a lack of time and an absolutely random approach at answering ^^° But I do hope all of you will enjoy the chapter! I wish you much fun reading.

Beta&Co-Author: The most adored Ca11iope. Consider this a quick "still alive"-message and I haven´t forgotten about the email I promised to send you ^^°

What happened so far: I know, I forgot this the last time, but here is a quick – unbetaed- sort of summary to bring you up to date ^^ You don't need it? Skip the italic.

When Roy was finally willing to tell Ed about the bet, the confession was interrupted by Hughes, demanding a private talk. Shortly before Roy left Ed´s apartment, he and Ed agreed to meet at Roy´s lunch break on Monday. In the car, Maes decided to confront the Colonel´s about his behavior and questioned his intentions towards Ed, which resulted in a fight between the two friends.

With several unresolved issues nagging on him, Roy went to his booked gym session, scheduled shortly before his lunch break. But before he left to meet with Ed, Roy was attacked by two men, who managed to restrain him. While Roy is being held captive, Ed is waiting in the office for their meeting and the promised answers.


Chapter 38: Rage and What to Do With It

A dark, brooding aura seemed to radiate from Edward, getting stronger each minute the Colonel failed to show up. Both Breda and Fuery leaned away, as if the mood might be contagious - or perhaps the wrath of the former Fullmetal Alchemist might crash down on them instead of their missing superior.

Havoc, whose instincts were screaming at him to leave the room by any means possible, including the window, nervously glanced at the clock.

Seeking to defuse the unbearable tension, Hawkeye spoke up.

"You might want to pick him up," she advised.

Jean dearly hoped Ed would take that advice and leave to kick Mustang's unpunctual ass or whatever, as long as 'whatever' provided an outlet for Ed's clearly violent intentions, and was done as far away from Havoc as possible.

Ed's eyes shifted towards the sharpshooter, and he frowned. The second Lieutenant could almost see the wheels turning in the young man´s head.

"Just what kind of meeting is he in?" Edward asked.

Jean´s eyebrows went up in surprise. Ed must have assumed that Mustang was in an officer's conference; he obviously didn´t know about the booked gym session. For a moment Havoc was surprised that the alchemist didn´t just ask where to find Mustang and then go crash the meeting to haul the Colonel out to lunch. It was hard to get used to Ed as an adult. There wouldn't be any consequence to Edward dragging Roy's sorry ass out of the gym however, so Havoc was quick to spill the beans. Anything to get the moody blond out of the room so Ed could release his aggression somewhere else.

But the moment Havoc said, "He´s at the gym, working out," the dark aura around the younger blond cracked, and Ed perked up in interest.

"Is he?" the young man asked, then quickly added, "Which gym?"

"South wing, lower level," Hawkeye told him, doing an admirable job of appearing unaffected by Ed´s sudden eagerness.

As the alchemist turned to leave, Havoc couldn´t help but add, "If you hurry, you might catch him in the shower."

Ed sent quite the potent glare Havoc's way, but the effect was completely ruined by the prominent blush spreading over his face. Even Fuery couldn´t help but let out a suppressed snicker at the display.

The alchemist huffed as he opened the door. "I´ll go pick him up," the young man announced.

The moment the door closed behind him, quiet chuckles were heard. Quiet, because no one wanted to risk Ed hearing them through the door.

However, all sounds of amusement died when Hawkeye also stood up.

"Hawkeye?" Havoc asked perplexed. "Are you planning to check if Ed gets him to lose the bet?" the second Lieutenant wanted to know. It was a good possibility if Edward did find a naked Mustang in the shower.

Riza again looked at the clock and frowned.

"That too," she claimed, but it didn´t sound convincing, especially when she checked her holstered weapon.

"Huh?" The Second Lieutenant was rather dumbfounded.

"Don't you think it´s strange that the Colonel hasn´t shown up yet? I'm sure he wouldn't forget that he had a lunch date with Edward," she said as she stepped out of the office. "Stay here," she ordered as she closed the door behind her.

"She's right," Breda said, eying the picnic basket.

Quietly humming, Havoc looked to the door. "Now that you mention it…" he muttered as he took in Fuery's worried scowl. "Whatever´s going on, Hawkeye will deal with it," the blond quickly said to reassure the younger soldier.

There were very few things that the Hawk couldn't handle. But just in case, Havoc picked up the phone and called Maes Hughes' office. Hawkeye had ordered them to stay put. She hadn't placed any restrictions on arranging for back up.


As if punching Roy in the face wasn't enough, the man in front of him was displaying behavior typical of someone obsessed about something.

They tended to talk about it. A lot.

In some respects Roy was thankful for that, because while the man was ranting, he spent less time hitting him. Still, after ten solid minutes of being called, among other things, 'sick', 'disgusting', 'freak', and 'fag', the Colonel wasn't entirely sure if he didn't prefer the punches and kicks, though the raving man showed a clear preference for hitting Roy in the face.

Behind him, the other man was no longer listening, apparently bored with his superior's verbal tirade, and not as enthusiastic when not in charge. He no doubt assumed that with a dislocated shoulder Roy would be incapable of putting up much of a fight. His hold on his captive was loosening by degrees as the man's mind wandered, likely into some psychopathic dream world.

"It´s unnatural! Sick and unnatural!" The man in front of Roy continued his rant, and the Colonel wondered if this was some new kind of torture invented by Investigations. If so, it had potential. The guy leaned forward and spat his words into Roy´s face – or rather, into the cotton of his mask. "It´s like a disgusting disease infecting our fine military. Shits like you are a cancer, spreading the infection to the healthy parts."

Someone obviously hadn´t been paying much attention in school. When Roy made Führer, he would look into improvements to the education system, and raise the minimum educational requirements of applicants for both enlisted men and officers. A soldier should have a minimal amount of general knowledge even if it wasn't directly related to the military. Not only that, Roy wondered where this man had gotten the impression that someone could be infected with homosexuality. Did this moron really believe that a person could catch gayness like a cold?

The next hit into Roy's stomach almost made him throw up. Bitter bile rose up his throat and for a moment, he feared he might choke on it as the gag prevented him from spitting it out. A low chuckle announced the approval of the one holding him up.

"Pay attention, fag!" the man in front of him roared. "Do you know what we do with cancer cells? We cut them out. That's how we'll get rid of all the little fags like you. We´ll cut them out. Of the military and the rest of society. We'll get rid of all you sick freaks!"

Oh boy, he was really working himself up into a frenzy.

"I'd like to give the Flame faggot a taste of his own medicine! Burn him and all his little fag friends off the face of the earth! Stop wasting valuable resources on them!"

The man's words struck an ugly chord with Roy. The raving man's narrow-minded view of what was right and what was wrong, of people discriminated against to the point of murder, all because of minor differences … it reminded Roy of his own role in the Ishval extermination, so very similar to what Ed had told him about Germany. Assholes like this one had been in charge both there and here. Men who didn't spare a second thought about slaughtering their fellow man in the name of prejudice and racism, regardless of age or gender. Whole families lost. Whole cultures destroyed. All at the whim of bigoted madmen.

Roy was barefoot, but his kick was hard enough for him to break the man´s nose. The crack of bone and howl of pain were very satisfying. The Colonel's sudden attack warned his captors that he was not as helpless as he seemed, but the urge to kick in the bastard's face had been overwhelming.

Roy felt the dirtbag behind him move to tighten his grip, and the Colonel threw himself back with as much force as he could manage on the slippery tiles. His injured left shoulder flared into a pure source of pain as they collided with the wall. His own muffled scream along with the sound of the other man´s head hitting the tiles were completely drowned out by the noise the showers made, but it was worth it. The man´s grip loosened enough for Roy to shove the elbow of his uninjured arm into the man´s solar plexus, and the arms around him lost their strength. Instantly Roy used the chance to dive to the side, out of reach of the man behind and the one in front who was closing in fast with fists at the ready. Moving as quickly as he could, Roy nearly sipped on the slick tiles. His body attempted to regain his balance and another painful stab from his shoulder almost brought him to his knees anyway. The adrenaline rushing through his veins enabling him to ignore the pain, but the gag made it hard to breathe and the Colonel fought off a wave of dizziness. Keeping his opponents in sight, Roy backed farther away from them. His good hand reached for the gag, trying to loosen the knot as he assessed the situation. Both men had positioned themselves strategically. One had moved to block the exit while the other was cautiously moving in the opposite direction in a flanking maneuver. Roy was forced into a corner to keep both men in his line of sight.

Fucking gag. Where the hell did those assholes learn to tie the damn things? It was like trying to untie a Gordian knot with only one hand, but he couldn't give up; he needed to breathe. The increasing feeling of suffocation was not helping.

The man at the door was slowly advancing while his partner angled in from the opposite direction, and the Colonel gave up on the gag. He would need his only functioning arm to defend himself when they attacked. Roy went through possible scenario, determined to come up with a solution, but nothing came to mind. Kimbley might have been a psychopath, but right now the idea of having an array permanently tattooed on your skin seemed like a great idea. Roy would even settle for a knife to reopen the scars on his hand, but he'd still need a spark, and it wasn't like he had enough time to carve the array anyway.

His adversaries were closing in and Roy knew his time was running out. He wouldn´t have much of a chance to escape if they managed to grab him again, so he acted fast.

As Investigations officers these men were likely used to subduing prisoners, expecting to be assailed by desperate suspects. It was only natural to anticipate an attack from a cornered opponent, and they would most certainly expect an attack from Roy, assuming he might try to surprise them. So he did exactly what they expected. Or at least, he pretended to. Injured and barefoot on this slick surface he wouldn't have much of a chance in an actual fight, but his apparent act of desperation still got the desired result.

Roy went for the one closest to the door, the one who thought himself the commander of the operation. The man was used to giving orders, and although he certainly had some training, he was probably more accustomed to having subordinates handle the physically aspects of the job. Roy hoped that the man's reflexes would be a bit slower than the other man's.

Roy's injured left shoulder forced him to attack with his right. It was almost like a pre-written script. The man acted just as Roy expected him to; he moved to block Roy's right handed strike while the position of his body telegraphed his intention to follow up with an attack to the Colonel's injured side.

Asshole.

Roy really wished he could hit the man, but that would be foolish. Instead of attacking, the Colonel abruptly changed his course and dashed to the side. Again, he almost lost his footing, but he regained his balance when his body hit the wall. Despite his uninjured shoulder colliding with the tiles, another sharp and painful jab from his injured shoulder made his body feel like his nerves were aflame. Cradling his injured arm close, Roy darted past the man as he attempted to adjust to Roy's sudden change of course, almost running straight into his partner. The Colonel didn´t pay him any attention; he couldn´t risk turning around and wasting any time. His naked feet slid dangerously on the wet floor, but his goal was his gloves in the next room. If he managed to reach them-

Roy didn´t have time to register the weight pulling him down when the second man tackled him. All his senses were aflame with pain when he hit the ground, just two steps away from the door and his weapons. The gag muffled his scream, and for a moment he must have blacked out, because suddenly he was not on his stomach anymore, but lying on his back. One of the Investigations Officers was kneeling on his chest, hands reaching for Roy´s throat. Judging by the blood staining through his mask, it had to be the one whose nose Roy had broken.

"Screw it, I´ll just kill you right now, you damn-" His rant was cut short by Roy's fist in his face, but instead of loosening his hold, the man howled with rage and squeezed.

If weren´t for the gag, Roy would have been wheezing and gasping as he was no longer able to breathe at all. He couldn´t properly punch or kick the man sitting on him, so the Colonel pressed a hand into the man´s face, fingers clawing at his attacker's eyes. The man threw himself back and Roy snorted in deep breathes as the hands left his throat. Roy kicked at the man, hoping for the satisfying sound of another breaking bone. Unfortunately, before he could land a solid blow, a heavy military boot stomped his injured shoulder – his other assailant jumping into the fray. Roy's body convulsed with pain, the gag muffling another pain filled howl. The Colonel's vision darkened and he tried to take deep breaths through his nose in an attempt to not lose consciousness. Pain radiated from his shoulder, and his vision swam in and out. It took him a moment, but through the pain he noticed a strange tingling on his skin. It was a feeling that he, as an alchemist, knew well. It was the residual ionic surge that charged the air after an array was activated - the tingle left behind by a transmutation.

And then there was shouting, and splashing. A gunshot tore through the rushing sound of the running showers. Roy tried to get up, but his shoulder protested the movement. Then there were hands. One pair, then another. Not attacking, but supporting his body, helping him to sit up. Looking up to his right, the Colonel saw an unfamiliar soldier, his uniform identifying the man an officer of the Military police. The man was pale, but his hands were steady as they eased him up. The other pair of hands was touching his body, feeling his arms, his legs, his ribs. The touch was gentle but firm, well practiced and efficient. Still, despite the gentle pressure, Roy had to bite down hard on the rope to keep himself from letting out another pain filled moan when the hands prodded his injured shoulder.

"It´s dislocated."

Roy turned around too fast and jammed his wounded shoulder against Ed´s automail arm. He pulled away and cradled his arm close, biting down on the towel between his teeth again. His shoulder throbbed in pain as the tortured muscles spasmed.

Oh hell.

Ed had quickly let go of Roy's shoulder and returned to simply holding him steady in an upright sitting position. When he was sure Roy wouldn´t lose his balance, he turned to the man kneeling at Roy´s other side.

"Keep him steady," Ed ordered.

The soldier did as he was told, and Roy felt his arm being manipulated. It was painful, even though it was clear that Edward was taking great care to do it as slowly and gently as possible. Disoriented, Roy found it strange, considering who was so tenderly examining him; the movements practiced and deliberate. What could he be doing, maneuvering Roy's arm like that? Roy suddenly realized what Ed was up to, but he didn´t have time to protest before the younger man gripped Roy's arm with his automail hand, and placed his other hand around Roy's waist. Quickly pulling Roy in to a tight embrace, he stretched the dark-haired man's arm above his head. It was not a technique Roy recognized, but it was effective all the same. The Colonel felt his shoulder shift back into place with a sickening pop. Biting down on the gag again, Roy took deep breaths through his nose, mentally cursing Ed through hell and back. The pain soon began to ebb however, and though Roy's shoulder still throbbed, the blinding pain of the dislocation was gone. The young man released Roy and stared into the older man's eyes, but not in any kind of romantic manner. He was clearly looking for something.

And Roy was beginning to feel a bit put out. Ed's reaction to this situation was by no means what could be expected someone who cared. Yes, Edward was ensuring that Roy was alright, but his behavior was so distant, as if he was taking care of a total stranger. His golden eyes were coolly calculating as he calmly lifted Roy's chin, forcing him to look up at the ceiling. Roy wanted to close his eyes against the bright light, and a pounding at the back of his head promised one hell of a headache on the way.

Roy had dealt with enough hostage situations to know how most people behaved when reunited with their rescued loved ones. They tended to fuss over them, touching and kissing as if to reassure themselves that their endangered lovers were really safe. Roy would have appreciated some of that kind of attention right now, very much. Especially since Edward was almost as wet as he was, and his clothing was sticking to him in a very fetching manner. But no. No fussing. No kissing. And except for the quick, distracting embrace that was really nothing more than a way to brace Roy up for the shoulder repair – no physical contact whatsoever.

Roy really wished that for once Ed might get a clue from some sappy cliché novel, get rid of Roy's gag, and offer Roy some fucking comfort. Did he have to be so clinical? Did his idea of romance include relocating a shoulder without medication? Roy Mustang was no stranger to pain, but he sure as hell didn't set himself up for it unnecessarily. Not to mention that this wasn't the way he would choose play doctor with Ed. The Colonel lifted his good arm to yank at the gag while glaring at his completely indifferent almost-lover.

"Don´t do that, just let me see your-" Ed stopped when the Colonel raised his injured arm to help in the struggle with the damn piece of towel in his mouth.

Ed grabbed his wrist and Roy felt a sudden flare of anger at being manhandled this way. It ebbed down a bit when Ed reached over to unbind the gag himself. Using both hands, he was far more effective than the Colonel. In a moment he was spitting out the cloth and working the kink out of his jaw.

"Did you take a hit to the head? Black out? Miss a few moments?" the young man asked quietly.

The Colonel was not really eager to admit he didn´t know just when exactly he had been turned on his back after he had been tackled to the ground, but his silence was answer enough. Ed thankfully stopped his questions and sighed.

"Your eyes are weird. I think you've got a concussion," the blond said apologetically.

Great. Like he didn´t have enough crap to deal with. But it did explain the dizziness when he stood up. Roy swayed, and immediately felt Ed´s arm slide around his waist, mindful of the freshly relocated shoulder, as the soldier stepped closer for added support.

Even though he knew he was being irrational, Roy's temper flared. It was ridiculous; he wanted to snap at them, tell them he was able to stand on his own. But ordering them to back off would mean that Edward would step away, and the young man was distant enough as it was. Roy wanted to save whatever remained of his dignity, but at the same time he just wanted Ed to come closer, wanted to feel the other man´s body against his side.

Shaking off his indecisiveness, Roy took in his surroundings. The large, transmuted fist jutting out from the tiled wall must have been used to smack one of his captors. At the far end of the room, another soldier was turning off the showers. Two more were keeping one of his attackers captive. Without his mask and despite the broken nose, Roy recognized him as the man who had tailed them during the art exhibition. One of Arschloch's men, according to Hughes. Roy would have to determine if these two men were acting on their own. It appeared that way, but appearance was one thing, insurance another. Roy couldn´t risk overlooking a General as his enemy. He had to be sure, one way or the other.

Then he noticed Hawkeye, her weapon at the ready. She wasn't aiming, but she wouldn´t need to. That woman was fast, and her target was already down. The man lay on the floor, gripping his bleeding thigh. Another pair of soldiers were standing close, both of them pointing their weapons at the wounded man. No one seemed eager to do anything for the suspect other than to keep him from standing, which, with a bullet in his leg, was unlikely anyway.

The Hawk noticed Roy's gaze, and after a quick exchange with the soldiers around her, she came over to him. When she saluted, Roy became aware of his own appearance and state of undress, but the blond sharpshooter, always the professional, ignored his lack of clothing from the waist up and the fact that his uniform trousers were dripping water on the tiled floor.

"Sir, Investigations is heading our way and-"

"And they can ask their questions in the hospital wing," Ed snapped, appearing very much like a lioness protecting her cubs.

With the headache building to a steady pound, Roy sent a disapproving glance his way. He refused to be treated like a helpless child, especially in front of military personal. Ed stared back and bit his lip, then thankfully remained silent. Hopefully, he got the point. The young man's moods shifted far too fast for Roy to cope with in his current state.

"Thank you, Lieutenant," the Flame Alchemist said. "Clear my schedule for the rest of the day and set up an appointment with investigations. Consult Dr. Streng for a time when I will be available," Roy instructed.

Riza, looking as unfazed and proficient as ever, saluted sharply, then moved to the rather wet soldier who had just finished shutting off the showers, likely to issue some orders of her own.

"Done?" Ed asked, thankfully in a quiet tone this time.

Deciding that nodding would only increase his dizziness and headache, Roy answered just as silently.

"Yes."

"Good." The blond turned toward the soldier who still stood at Roy´s side. "Run ahead to the medical wing and make sure they are prepared to receive a patient with multiple contusions and a possible concussion," the younger alchemist instructed. His military time seemed to have rubbed off on him, because it sounded very much like an order.

"Sir, I think we should get him to the hos-"

"Medical wing," Ed snarled, and then for good measurement, he barked out, "Now!"

What the military tone in the first order didn´t accomplish, the pure venom in this one did. The young soldier even quickly saluted before he jumped to leave Roy´s field of vision, probably to run to Medical as if hellhounds were at his heels. Not that anyone would blame him after Ed´s display of temper. When the blond man turned to him, the Colonel got the impression that Edward Elric was not someone he wanted to upset any further right now.

Despite the foul mood the young man was in, Roy still felt quite content when Edward, now his only support – not that he needed any, mind you – shifted closer to his uninjured side, flesh arm still around the Colonels naked waist. The younger man was also wet and must have felt the chill in the damp air of the shower room, but against Roy´s body he felt comfortably warm. It was tempting to just lean in and take some comfort; Roy even had a perfect excuse: he was wounded and probably had a conclusion. But he also was a soldier and ranked officer. Colonel Roy Mustang couldn´t show weakness in front of other military personal. He was about to step away from Ed and straighten himself, to take control of the situation, to give the orders, as was required of a soldier of his status. However, before he could, someone else decided to cut in.

It seemed to Roy that some people had no survival instinct when it came to their own stupidity. There was no other explanation for why someone with a broken nose, held prisoner by two soldiers of the Military Police, would start an offensive rant. Roy had hoped he wouldn´t have to hear any more of this nonsense today, but unfortunately he was not spared. Staring at Ed´s arm settled around Roy's waist, the idiot started raving. Practically foaming at the mouth, the now unmasked Investigations officer launched his verbal attack.

"Look at them! Can´t tell me that´s right! Disgusting, sick faggots! Tainting our fine military and society and spreading like a damn disease! They need to be taken care of, we need to get rid of them all, we need to wipe out the whole lot of -"

Ed hadn't appeared to be paying attention the man – until his diatribe started to include suggestion of widespread violence against gays. From that moment, Roy felt the arm around him tense, the body next to his becoming rigid and frozen. Then Edward snapped.

And good lord, Edward was fast. And shocking in his unrestrained violence. Before the men trying to restrain their struggling and raving captive even registered him, Ed was there, the prisoner's collar fisted in his hand, the first punch landed. Ed got a second one in before anyone even moved, and by time the other three officers came rushing over, a third one was added. No more insults would make it out of the beaten man´s mouth anytime soon, because in mere seconds, his face was hamburger. Roy had seen pictures of Shou Tucker after a certain young alchemist had attacked him in a pure, unfiltered rage. It hadn't been pretty. And this time Alphonse wasn't around to put a stop to it. The young blond was struggling against the two officers who held his arms and the third who was wrapped around Ed´s torso, all trying to hold him back.

And they were unable to do so.

With his arms restrained, the former Fullmetal shot out a single, well placed kick to the groin before the prisoner was pulled out of range. The man would have folded up like a pocket knife if he hadn´t been held by the two MPs. The pain filled whine coming out of his swollen and bloody lips was not of a pitch Roy thought possible for a man to reach.

Ed had used his automail leg.

Every man present cringed in reaction, united in visceral understanding of that kind of pain. Even Roy shuddered despite the abuse he had taken from the man, wondering how to go about defusing Edward's rage before he actually killed the miserable bigot. The expression on the blond´s face sent shivers down Roy's spine. In all the time he had known him, Roy had never seen Edward lose control so completely. Another soldier had joined his comrades to help restrain the alchemist, and Roy watched them struggle just to keep the cursing and shouting Edward in place while two more men pulled their now whimpering Investigations captive away.

More men entered the shower room, Maes Hughes among them much to Roy's relief. The Lieutenant Colonel took in the scene and immediately moved to Edward, though a moment was required to get over the shock of seeing this devil incarnate who resembled the blond alchemist he knew so well. Hughes quickly stepped between the older Elric and his target, attempting to defuse the situation. Roy heard his friend's soothing tones, his clam insistence that they needed the man alive for interrogation, heard Ed argue irately back, though Roy was finding it difficult to understand what the younger man was saying. Slowly but surely Maes managed to talk Edward down. Still plainly enraged, Ed finally calmed enough for the soldiers restraining him to loosen their hold. The blond snarled a final curse at his cowering victim as he stepped back, but now his insulting words were clear.

The Colonel frowned. Why weren´t Ed´s words making sense before? Was Roy that badly concussed? Reflecting on what Ed had been shouting during his outburst, he realized that he couldn´t recall a single recognizable word. It was as if Ed had been speaking . . .

Another language. The thought was like yet another fist in the face. Roy immediately knew which language, and reason for Ed´s loss of control was suddenly much clearer.

Roy was aware of the political situation in the other world; he knew how the people there viewed homosexuality, but hadn't considered the extent to which they reacted towards those they considered unfit. He had assumed Ed had managed to avoid any direct confrontation, but now Roy was sure there the young man had suffered much more hardship in that respect than he had admitted. He must have, for this situation to affect him to such an extreme. Theories, speculation, and hypotheses played through Roy's mind, and an uncomfortable feeling of foreboding took hold of him, turning his insides into one hard knot. He had another clue to Edward's mystery, but this puzzle was not shaping up into a pleasant picture.

He must have become lost in his thoughts, because Roy flinched when someone took hold of his right hand and tugged him toward the door. Looking up, Roy noticed that although Ed had calmed down, there was still a rigid tension in his body as the man led him out of the shower area.

"Let´s get you to the medical wing," the blond said, his voice carefully controlled and loaded with suppressed emotions at the same time.

Roy didn´t really care that his only clothing was his wet uniform pants, though they must have made quite the spectacle as the young blond, soaking wet as well, dragged the half naked Colonel through the hall towards Medical as if the higher ranked officer was a child that had to be guided by the hand. However, no one dared to say a word or step in their way, most likely warned by the dark expression on Edward's face, and perhaps by the pale-faced soldier running ahead to alert the medical wing of their imminent arrival. Warned or not, soldiers stared as they passed. A winged pink rhino dancing through the corridors wouldn't have caused more of a stir. This was bound to damage Roy's hard-ass reputation.

And he found that he didn´t care at all.

He must have hit his head really, really hard. Instead of worrying over what this display meant to his status as one of Amestris' most dangerous alchemists, Roy felt almost giddy over the fact that for once – and even more so after what had just happened – Ed was not backing down from a show of public affection. They were walking down the hall, holding hands in public like any couple.

Edward would likely insist that he was only guiding Roy along, and stubbornly growl to anyone who would listen that affection had nothing to do with it, but Roy knew better. An impersonal hand to the elbow would better serve that purpose. Roy felt pretty good about it, though he did manage to keep his smug grin to himself. Hopefully whatever fallout resulted wouldn´t leave any permanent damage. Either way, Roy couldn't bring himself to care.

Tbc.


I tried to make this not a cliffhanger, but I´m not sure it worked ^^°

Hope to see you next chapter :D

jarna