This is the one-shot for bunnynohoogle, the winner of my contest for 'What's Missing'. Congrats, and I hope you enjoy it, as well as all the others who read. :3
This does not follow the timeline of WM, so keep that in mind as you read. Al has his body but Ed still has automail. I'll admit, I've never written a one-shot quite like this before, so please let me know what you guys think, things you liked, and things you hated. Even things you wish I had put in here. I very well might go back and edit it once I get some critique.
The Lives We Lead
Everyone has as esoteric aspect of their lives. A secret that was theirs alone to bear. The young blonde alchemist who arose from Colonel RoyMustang's bed early one Tuesday morning was no exception to this rule. The sun hadn't even begun to color the sky, much less rise above the horizon, but yet there was Edward pulling on his boots and customary red coat. He couldn't be caught here. The implications of what he and Roy were doing being discovered were too great to risk.
At night, they met only at Roy's house. For appearances, Roy still went on dates and bedded several women a week, only to embrace Edward hours later murmuring sickly sweet apologies in his ear. Edward continued to fight with Roy at work whenever they crossed paths, but all the anger and slight resentment his eyes had used to proclaim was no longer present, having been replaced by an insatiable promise of what the night would bring.
When Edward left for Mustang's late at night Alphonse was not always asleep and would meet Edward at the door, asking if he was alright. Guilt would overtake him, but the usual lie would always slip past his lips. "Really Al, I'm fine. I just need to take a walk. Get some fresh air."
All his younger brother could ever manage was a concerned sigh. "Again Brother?" Edward just evaded his concern, saying good night and rushing out the door. Al was left standing in the doorway to fret over his brother's well-being. Nights like this, all Roy could do to sooth his troubled alchemist was to hold him, apologizing profusely for the way things had to be.
Sometimes, Edward even lost his temper with Roy. "I can't do this, Roy!" Ed would nearly holler having stood up and now flinging his arms outward to exaggerate his point. "How can you expect me to lie to Al?" Tears now obscured his vision, but he wouldn't cry. Even to Roy he couldn't expose himself like that, not when this was the way things had to be.
"Ed… You know we can't tell anyone…" Roy wanted to plead with him to stop this, but knew so well that it was a hopeless tactic. The only thing he could do was wait it out and hope to Gate that he didn't say anything wrong.
Edward whipped his head up to look at the ceiling briefly then paced around Roy's living room, frustration apparent on his face. "How long do we have to be like this, Roy? Tell me." If Mustang hadn't been hardened by his years in the military and the Ishbal Rebellion he would have broken down during one of these arguments. Ed's voice had been soaked in what had sounded like remorse.
Roy reached out to grab Edward's flesh hand, but the offer was rejected by the hand which retracted in a somewhat violent fashion. So Roy settled for keeping his hand on his knee. "Not much longer. It's only until-"
Out of nowhere Edward grabbed a fistful of Roy's shirt in his automail hand and forced the Colonel to his feet, within inches from Edward's own face. "Yeah," Ed snarled, "only until you become Fuhrer. When will you finally claim that seat, you infuriating bastard?" Roy placed a hand on his beloved's cheek, taking advantage of the acceptance of his gesture and used his thumb to stroke the skin beneath his hand.
Edward's grip weakened at the touch, his fury faltering. "Soon, Edward. I promise you on my life, I'm moving as fast as I can." The younger alchemist felt his spirit lighten slightly at Roy's marvelous promises.
"Okay." It was Edward's voice whispering in reply.
As Roy and Edward fell asleep that night, the elder of the two couldn't help but remember all of their fights. They were all the same in topic and progression. It always hurt though. It hurt to think of losing Edward to the pain of having to keep things under wraps. They hadn't even told Hawkeye, Havoc, Breda, Fuery or Falman. As Roy's personal team, and closest allies, it was shocking they didn't know. Not even Hughes, Roy's closest friend and supporter knew of the two. Their secrecy was quite obviously taking its toll on the blonde beauty next to him. And Roy hated every second of it.
Edward would do anything for Roy. He had changed for the man. Ever since Al had gotten his body back from the Gate; Roy had become his reason for living. So much of his life had been devoted to his younger brother like no one had been devoted to anything before. Ever since they had succeeded in returning the younger Elric to his body, Edward felt almost like dead weight in life. Roy made him feel alive again, so he willingly abided by the rules of secrecy. If they were found out Roy would be in serious trouble for fraternization. Yes, of course Ed could just leave the military, but Roy stood a better chance of achieving his dreams if Edward, one of the most renowned alchemists of the age, was at his side. Ed didn't mind, as time together was a rarity anyway.
When Edward had finally pulled on his coat that Tuesday morning, feeling only slightly like Roy must have when he left those women's houses; he undid the locks on the front door. When he opened it, pulling on his hood as he did so, he came face to face with a moderately shocked Riza Hawkeye. "H-Hawkeye?" Edward stuttered, eyes widening. He knew instantly that only the quickest thinking would get him out of this unscathed.
Hawkeye's look of astonishment morphed into a questioning glance. "Edward, may I ask why you're at the Roy's house?" Edward, an internal nervous wreck, fought to remain outwardly calm.
The blonde Major forced a chuckle that sounded normal enough to his ears. "Lent the Bastard some alchemy books, but I needed them back. So I was just going to walk on in and snatch them, but I have no idea what he did with them." He then maneuvered around her. "See you later then. I need to head home before Al thinks I've been arrested."
Riza waved goodbye, not entirely believing his excuse. Something had been drastically different about Edward lately. He had started showing up to work late on occasion, his hair unbraided and slightly frayed. Granted, none of the female officers complained. Edward's features had matured greatly, and he now seemed to be the most sought after man in Central besides Roy himself. His personality had changed too. Though the shift had been gradual, the change was enormous. Edward was less boisterous and voiced opinions less and less. He was much more reserved than everyone knew him to be, as if some force had stripped him of whom he was. Riza was more than slightly concerned, but knew better than to confront him; he would only say it was none of her business. Even at gun point he would be a closed book.
He worries were forced to the back of her mind. She had larger matters to deal with. She made her way through Roy's house, admiring the dark colored wallpapers on the walls. The colors ranging from blue to black. The hallway to his room was covered in a mild brown, accented by black on the edges between wall and ceiling. When she reached his door, she gave three loud taps on the door in quick succession. From the other side she heard a lethargic sounding reply. "Enter." She opened the door, giving Roy a standard salute, but he waved it off as if to tell her to be at ease.
Roy slowly rose to his feet with the speed of an ant trying to walk with a few broken legs. "What is it, Lieutenant?" His hand swept stray locks of coal out of his vision as he spoke.
"Sir," Riza began, anticipation apparent in her tone, "Fuhrer Bradley is dead. We don't know what happened though. Only that his house was burned, and him with it." Roy jumped up at the news, adrenaline coursing through his veins.
"Who's replacing him?" His voice was full of intensive need for knowledge.
Riza beamed proudly at her long-time friend and superior officer. Roy had never seen quite a look on her normally stern face before. "You are. The general's met not long ago and decided that you were the best candidate; most likely to lead the country in the direction it needs to start going." Every muscle in his body was frozen. He couldn't have heard the words correctly. But the truth in her words hit him like a block of stone. He needed to find Edward. He needed to tell him the wait was finally over.
It wasn't even five o' clock when Edward opened the door of the apartment he and Al shared, but the sun was not that far from painting the sky in the golden blossoms of morning. He jumped, caught off guard by his younger brother's figure seated at the kitchen table just beyond the entryway. His appearance, or lack thereof, was disheveled from lack of sleep and concern. The sandy hair which was normally organized and parted neatly was messy as could be. Alphonse stood and walked over to his elder brother. "Brother, why won't you tell me what's going on?" His voice stabbed Edward with its agonizing tone of betrayal and loneliness. "You've been leaving in the middle of the night for months now. You never kept me in the dark like this before." Ed fought the urge to squirm under a scrutinizing gaze from his brother.
He should have known Al would notice something amiss. Even Roy should have seen this coming, and now his Al was hurting and it was all because of them. "Damn it Roy…" Edward muttered under his breath, cautiously avoiding his brother's gaze.
"What does the Colonel have to do with this?" Al questioned with a raw and needy intrigue. As the question hung in the air Ed swore, no longer caring who heard.
His hand swept through his hair. He didn't need Al asking him this, but the option of lying was no longer on the table. He just couldn't bring himself to do it anymore. He swallowed hard, noticing how constricted his throat felt even without being restrained. "Al, well, you see… Roy and I are… Um, we've been seeing each other." The elder Elric confessed.
And then everything clicked inside Al's head. All of Edward's late night escapes, and near dawn returns. Even the edge in his voice that had started sounding like anything but spitefulness whenever the Colonel was in the room. It made absolute sense. "How long?" Even Al couldn't comprehend why he was whispering, but the topic was so well kept and guarded that it still felt taboo.
The elder brother stood in front of him, eyes locked on his boot clad feet. Neither took particular notice when someone made the door click open behind Edward. "About four months now." Edward spun with incredible speed to face the owner of the voice that seemed far too familiar to him. None other than Roy Mustang was standing in his doorway. Shimmering golden eyes went wide with shock. For once he was speechless. Stunned by the surreal situation he had found himself in. "Roy…" Once he was over the initial paralyzing shock, the name slipped past his lips all too easily. Yet, he could only ponder why Roy would choose now to reveal their relationship.
Roy was still in his pajamas, and his appearance was clearly not the definition of clean cut. This all pointed out the urgency in which he must have left his home. Disheveled hair, slight stubble and bags under his eyes from weariness and a disrupted morning routine to which humans were so accustomed to. Edward soon found his hand captured by Roy's. Amber locked onto midnight blue. All he heard was a whisper of "Fuhrer," but he didn't need the conversational formalities to understand what he had meant and for the words to echo like they were in a canyon.
Al watched their newest Fuhrer and Ed. He finally understood the secretive nature of their relationship. Had they been discovered, Roy would have been discharged and lost all hope to becoming Fuhrer, but if he was Fuhrer things could change and nothing would have to continue like this. A small smile, understanding and loving broke out onto Al's face.
Outside, Hawkeye and Havoc were standing side by side in front of a military vehicle. One that was just like all the others. Havoc leaned against the car, a cigarette hanging from his mouth. Hawkeye was standing perfectly straight though, as she always did. From the side of the street they had a perfect view of the events taking place near Edward's front door. The two blonde officers watched, being careful to keep their emotions as tightly under control as possible. They didn't need to risk making a spectacle of this, no matter how early it was. "Wow," Havoc started, "the Boss and Mustang, huh? Never saw that one coming."
Riza turned to give him an unexpected look of disbelief. "Are you blind?" Havoc chortled.
"Apparently I am." The simple words were all that was needed to make Hawkeye smile and shake her head, turning back to look and Roy and Ed.
By this point, Roy had managed to take both of Ed's hands in his own. A simple smile that radiated pure joy graced his features. "I love you, Edward." The words, which sounded louder in Ed's ears were more than a fickle emotion. They were even more than vocalized devotion. It was an unspoken promise to never allow unneeded to be the foundation of their relationship again. To build anew from the solidity of their determination to be with one another. Automail and flesh hands clasped around Roy's neck. The elder Elric forced their lips to meet, whispering his reciprocation on his Fuhrer's lips.
This was the first step into their new lives together. A life with no more secrets and no more hurt.