A/N: Hi everyone. I woke up with this little bunny this morning, and it had to be written. Pure fluff and admiration in a speed-fic. I hope you enjoy it, and with any luck I'll see you again before long! Also, a belated Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it 3

B xxx

The Thaw

Morning sunlight, as weak as mist, drifted through the gap in the curtains. Roy knew that, outside, the world would be coated in the glistening promise of treacherous frost: icy roads and naked trees locked in winter's tomb. For so long he had felt the same way, a creature of passion and life trapped behind a glacial wall that not even his alchemy could melt. He'd had lovers enough to bring him pleasure, but their glow and warmth was only temporary.

Ed changed everything; didn't he always? Roy should have realised that simple truth the moment the brat stormed into the office, all raging temper acting as a poor mask for a frightened child. Yet fractured innocence and fear had been forged into something that, seven years later, took Roy's breath away. Ed demanded everything: every cruel secret and dark corner, and when Roy 's futile resistance met Ed's determination, his resolve shattered like flawed glass.

It was two years ago that Ed had basically challenged him to a relationship, and Roy could honestly say he had not regretted a moment.

He smiled at the thought, shifting beneath the blankets, but carefully. He loved this time of the morning, when Ed was peaceful and lax: calm in the way only a warrior could be once battle was done, and he was not about to disturb it for the world. Roy was the kind of man who used to lie in until duty or decorum insisted he opened his eyes and faced the world. Ed didn't ask for anything different, but he inspired Roy to face the early morning sunlight, if only for the reward that awaited him.

Perhaps it was shallow, but Roy had always paid more attention to physical appearance than the person captured within their shell of skin and bone, at least at first. Maybe that's why his previous relationships failed. He had never taken the time to know the soul within.

Ed was another matter. Most people looked at him and saw a broken child who had become a man the world should respect: sharply intelligent and perfectly trained to use both his body and his mind as a weapon, but Roy knew better. Ed was much more than that, like a mountain hiding precious ore at his heart, there was deep compassion and lasting loyalty, all married together with the kind of mind that made sure such attributes were carefully applied. He did not give his friendship easily, but once it was earned, it was almost impossible to lose. The world could be against you, and Ed would still be standing at your side, calling everyone out on their bullshit.

Still, as much as he admired and loved the person Ed was inside, the body that surrounded all that still caught Roy's attention.

He moved his hand, tucking a stray tendril of golden hair behind Ed's ears. It was loose from their fun the night before, and Ed would probably bitch about having to get the tangles out, but Roy loved the message it sent the world. Not one of ownership or possession, but something of life and intensity.

It was difficult for Roy to quantify, but here, in winter's depths, Ed reminded him of when spring turned to summer, and all the promise of life burst forth in full bloom. After the long, hard death of winter, such a thing should be impossible. Ed should not have emerged from his childhood and adolescence anything but broken, but of course, he always exceeded expectations

Ed's past was full of good intentions and the heartfelt tragedies that often followed. Sometimes, Roy had sat on the other side of his desk, watching Ed shake and bleed, rage and curse, and wondered how anyone could survive it. Yet all that had turned him into this: perfection at Roy's side. After all the hardship, Ed had emerged stronger, growing into himself and reaching his full potential. He had not unfurled like a flower, but matured, like an oak that would withstand centuries: there was nothing temporary or transient about Fullmetal, and after the switching vagaries of so many others in his bed, Roy could only marvel at Ed's constancy.

As if to reassure himself that all this was not a dream, he moved his fingers lightly down Ed's jaw, feeling the scratch of stubble, before trailing onwards to his throat. A steady beat throbbed against his fingertips, and Roy lingered there for a moment before tracing the curve of Ed's shoulder. The metal of the Automail should have felt alien to his touch, but the cool plates and bolts were as familiar to him as the the yielding give of Ed's flesh. It was a reminder of the simple fact that some parts of Ed, both his body and mind, were steel-solid: immovable.

The hard, long slash of Ed's collar bone captured his attention, and he traced its line with a light caress. The ridge of Ed's ribs were like secrets beneath hot skin, moving softly with the swell of every breath. It amazed Roy, sometimes, how the most mundane parts of Ed's body could make his stomach curl in pleasure and his heart pause in thanks. With other lovers, he appreciated the obvious and no more. Yet here he was, fascinated by the most fundamental necessities of Ed's frame.

A deeper breath swelled the cage harbouring Ed's life. His existence was a bird, trapped behind bars of bone, yet Roy knew how loud it sang. He only had to see Ed's smile, rare still, but more common than it had been during the earlier days of his youth, to know that there was joy in Ed's life. Al appeared to think it was all Roy's doing, but he was not about to take the credit. After all, it was Ed who had come to him and seized the potential between them with both hands. Roy had merely followed, helpless and grateful.

Looking up, Roy quickly checked Ed's face, searching for any signs of wakefulness. Dark lashes still hid those amber eyes from sight, and his expression was tranquil and serene. It was hard to imagine how loud Ed could shout when he looked like this, but Roy knew the truth. Ed was a sleeping tiger. Just because he was dreaming, it didn't make him any less dangerous. Roy had never had a partner who could probably kill him with a punch before: there had been no appeal, but he could not deny the thrill he felt at the strength in Ed's muscles.

His stomach was a hard, strong plane, twitching at Roy's touch. He skirted lightly around Ed's morning erection, promising himself he would have his taste of that later, when Ed was fully awake to enjoy it. Instead he moved around, stroking his hand over the curve of Ed's backside and down his thighs. Normally, soldiers had a good upper body strength from dealing with guns and strife, but their legs were less developed, more honed for quick sprints than long-term endurance.

Ed was a fighter, and it showed: taut leather stretched across solid flesh had been enough to make the blood drain from Roy's head plenty of times over the years. Hand to hand combat was as much about lunge and dodge as it was about throwing your fists, and Ed moved like a dancer, brimming with lithe grace. As a kid he had been more clumsy, like a foal getting used to his legs. Now he was poetry in motion, and Roy was besotted.

He had never been so lost in someone before. All the other things he had termed as "love" paled in comparison to what Ed inspired in him. Sometimes it was almost impossible to breathe around the swell of his heart. In the right frame of mind, his dependence on another was almost embarrassing, but still he knew he would not trade it for anything in the world. Independence was a lonely road to walk, and in Ed he had found understanding. There were no ultimatums in their relationships, no "it's me or your work". In Ed he had found someone who knew that partnership meant two people working together, rather than one consuming the life of another.

'You're staring at me again.'

The words scattered his thoughts, and he lifted his head to see a thin line of amber beneath Ed's lashes. That voice was husky from sleep, the kind that made "Good morning" sound like an invitation to bed, and an appreciative smile curled Roy's lips.

'Can you blame me?' he murmured, nudging at Ed's nose with his own and pressing a soft kiss to the bow of Ed's mouth as he allowed his hand to continue its adoring exploration, relishing Ed's soft hum of waking pleasure. 'You're beautiful.'

Ed snorted, and there was a hint of a growl behind that laugh. 'And you're delusional.'

Roy pinched Ed's backside, making another, more dangerous snarl rumble forward. 'Beauty's in the eye of the beholder,' he reminded in a murmur. 'And if you don't believe how attractive I find you, then I'll just have to spend the whole day proving it to you.' He rolled on top of Ed, pinning him effectively to the bed and nipping at his pulse, purring as Ed bucked in pleasure. There was no protest there, except for one word, little more than a wretched croak.


'It's Sunday.'

Ed's grateful moan fanned the low glow of embers in Roy's veins, stirring the fire to life and making his nerves sing. Ed's fingers in his hair dragged his head up, gentle but fierce, and Roy felt the smile on Ed's lips as he captured Roy's mouth with his own, teasing him with a warm, moist tongue. Strong legs over Roy's ankles, tangling them together and cinching him close in a way that made Roy's entire body pulse with pleasure.

Some people saw love as a gilded prison, something to hold them back and tie them down, but as Roy showed Ed how, in his eyes at least, he was the most perfect creature in the world, he knew he had found his freedom.

Ed's touch had brought the thaw to the winter of Roy's life, and Roy would never know the icy weight of a lonely heart again.