The sky above breathed humidity down the streets of Central City and clouds bunched and gathered, promising a full course of bad weather before the afternoon was spent. Down the narrow twisting back streets that led into shiftier parts of the city, one Edward Elric had discovered that he'd left his usual haunts behind and gotten...very lost.
It was sad to admit that Ed relied on his brother Alphonse for many things; one of them was directional beacon. Al didn't usually get lost like this. But then, Al was currently ensconced in the military dorms catching up on the latest journals they had missed during the past few weeks on the road and waiting steadfastly for Winry's promised arrival.
This kind of day, the glower of rain trapped in the clouds and the thick, pervasive atmosphere just made Ed restless. And so he wandered.
And got lost.
Shuffling down the street, hands in his pockets, he brushed past an old man making his tortoise-slow way down the street. Bemused with his own directionless wandering, he didn't quite notice that he was the subject of intense scrutiny during the approach up the sidewalk.
"Edward? Edward Elric? Fullmetal Alchemist?"
"That's me, old man, don't wear my name out," Ed replied irritably, swiveling to peer at the geezer. His eyes widened. The man was stretching out a crepey hand dotted with liver spots and there was an array blazoned on the palm of his hand in lurid blood-colored ink. "Huh? Who the hell are you?"
"People called me Fleshweaver," the man rasped, and his leathery old face broke into a rictus grin. "It's a shame you don't look more like your father; this would be so much more satisfying."
"Huh?" Ed batted at the old man's hands but Fleshweaver was faster than he looked. Much. "Hey, wait, what're you--AAAUGH!!"
Edward Elric's voice spiraled on an upward-breaking octave as a flare of red light washed over the narrow street.
The office of Colonel Roy Mustang was silent at last, but the air was charged with the kind of calm that seethed before the storm.
The clouds at his back threatened rain as they piled higher and deeper and Mustang tried his best to keep his attention on the stack on his desk in front of him that was doing the same. Piling up, as it were, and his day had been cluttered with petty interruptions and being that it was Hawkeye's rare day off he was left to fend for himself. He was certain by this point everyone had stopped by his desk, virtually everyone, from Armstrong to the girl with glasses -- he could never remember her name -- to Winry Rockbell looking for a pass to see the Elric brothers. There was perhaps one person who hadn't, and because of that there was the barest chance he could finish a fraction of the work that weighted him to his chair.
The door to Mustang's office crashed open and a figure darted inside. A slender, short young man in a long red overcoat slammed the door shut behind him, plastering himself against the heavy panel, drinking air in heaving gulps.
Never let it be said that Edward Elric failed to miss a cue.
"Fullmetal. What's the meaning of this?" Colonel Mustang's voice pierced the silence, low and full of controlled force. One did not violate his office quite so casually. Not to mention Roy was quite surprised, considering Ed was scheduled to give his report the next day and he never showed up early.
Gloved fingers scraped over the unyielding wooden surface as Ed's shoulders shook. By all appearances he was laughing silently -- or suffering a nervous breakdown. "F-F-F..." he began, stopped, cackled a little, then tried again. His voice was high and thin with panic. "F-Flesh..." He broke off and his shoulders slumped.
Roy Mustang had risen from his desk. He was somewhat accustomed to Fullmetal's manic spells, but this was an entirely new breed of disorder. "Flesh?" He was aware of Ed's search for a cure for his brother, for himself, but as far as Mustang knew the Philosopher's Stone was a long way from revelation. "Fullmetal..."
"Fleshweaver!" Ed burst out, and whipped around. The cord of his braided hair dangled over one shoulder and he was glaring at the Colonel, golden eyes accusatory. "Why didn't you tell me he was in town -- that he was so dangerous -- that he had a grudge against Hohenheim's sons!?" His chest was heaving.
Mustang's eyes widened. "Fullmetal...you..." He blinked, raised one hand to point in disbelief, then quickly whirled to his desk, clutching his mouth with a gloved hand.
"DON'T LAUGH!" Ed roared, going into full-on spazz mode behind him. His boots thunked over the carpet as he pattered in the short-circuited frenzies of an enraged dance.
"Fullmetal...you have a lovely set of breasts," Roy said to his desk.
"I hate you," Ed spat, crossing his arms beneath his ample assets and giving Roy a death-ray glare of direst proportions.
Mustang's mouth twitched. "I was merely complimenting--"
"Oh, I KNEW I shouldn't have come to you for help!" Ed burst out, waving his arms wildly, anger crackling around him with such force Roy was surprised his hair didn't stand up. "But I couldn't find Hawkeye and I can't let anyone else see me like this, I just CAN'T, so this is it. Here I am. You know I'm desperate, Colonel, I've come to you for help."
His breasts bobbled softly beneath the black outlines of his T-shirt, punctuating every word. Mustang dragged his eyes back up to Ed's face -- he was disciplined, after all -- and he gestured for the couch that was set opposite his desk. "It's nice to know I'm your last resort, Fullmetal. And what exactly do you expect me to do?"
"Capture the bastard that did this to me, of course!" Fullmetal threw himself onto the settee in an unladylike jumble and his breasts bounced twice as hard as before. An odd look crossed his face -- perhaps for the double bobble, perhaps for the wide-legged stance, only Ed could say -- then he sat up a little straighter and crossed his legs. "Ahem. Then he can FIX this, and my nightmare will be over."
Mustang settled himself into his chair with sedate grace before trusting himself to answer. "What do you expect me to do, Fullmetal?" His mouth twitched. "You've proved yourself completely capable in the past. Pfft."
"I expect you to devote resources -- STOP LAUGHING, damn you!" Ed straightened on the edge of the couch, all quivering indignance, and strained the limits of the black shirt so recently accustomed to far less...generous proportions.
He couldn't really call Fullmetal "little" anymore.
Mustang coughed into his hand, then sniffed deeply. He could taste a faint tang of metallic residue on the back of his tongue and only hoped he could get Ed out of his office before things went critical. There was something so undignified about having a nosebleed in the presence of one's subordinate. "I suppose I could have Armstrong--" he began to offer, and halted as Ed was already shaking his head vigorously enough to spray his braid out over one shoulder.
"No! Absolutely not!" Fullmetal exclaimed with adamance. He adjusted himself on the sofa and that look of discomfort crossed his face again.
At that point Colonel Roy Mustang was fairly certain that if he pinched himself hard enough he'd wake in bed to find himself hugging his pillow and heckling Fullmetal under his breath. But no, despite the watery reality of this afternoon, he reached deep into an older, dusty corner of his memory--
"Ah! Fleshweaver!" Roy snapped his fingers. Ed cringed back on the sofa, then stared at him warily when no fire sprouted from his glove. "Come to think of it, now I do remember the sorts of things he can do...pfft."
"I TOLD YOU, STOP LAUGHING, DAMMIT!"
Mustang faked another cough for composure and continued. "Yes, now that my memory has been so excellently prompted, I do recall an alchemist going by that name...about twenty years go, I think. Never was a State Alchemist. The military never had much of an interest in funding his research since his primary skill seemed to be reverting the male form to a...well, you know. So, he has a grudge against the Elric family?"
"Don't give me that, you probably knew all about it!" Ed folded his arms beneath his bounteous breasts and gave him a suspicious amber stare.
Eyes, keep it at eye level. "While I'm pleased at the implication that you seem to think I know everything," Roy began dryly, "I can hardly be expected to know details from your father's life twenty years ago when it had nothing to do with the military."
"Oh, right." Ed's eyes gleamed. "I bet you weren't even in diapers back then."
"Getting back to the point," Roy said pointedly, "you want my help, but you don't want Armstrong. If not him, then who?"
Ed gave him the evil eye. "I don't even want my brother to see me like this, Colonel. Do you understand? And so far, you and I are the only ones who know about what that shitty old man did to me." He rested a hand on his thigh, shifted, looked uncomfortable, crossed his arms beneath his breasts again and looked even more discomfited.
"All right," Mustang sighed, catching his drift but giving a last forlorn glance to his mound of paperwork, which was suddenly looking a great deal more attractive. "You want my help."
"Right." Ed's flesh fist smacked into his auto-mail palm. "We'll go out there, nail the bastard, make him get rid of these...these..." Ed's hands described circles in the air.
"Plentiful boobs?" Roy offered, and wished he'd kept his mouth shut as Ed dropped his hands and stared at him, slightly open-mouthed with shock. He continued blithely, "Yes, well, you're right...it's out of proportion, they DO make you look even runtier than usual."
"WHO ARE YOU CALLING A MEAGER INSIGNIFICANT FLEA SO MICROSCOPICALLY SMALL COMPARED TO DUST THAT YOU WOULDN'T BOTHER TO FLICK IT OFF THE CUFF OF YOUR SLEEVE!?" Ed thundered, shaking his fists and displaying a mouthful of fangs.
Roy Mustang contained a smirk. He DID so love getting Fullmetal's goat. That put him back at the top of his game. "Let's get going, then," he said briskly, rising to his feet with military crispness. "If you want to catch the Fleshweaver we'll want to do it before he leaves town." That was the only option, of course; after turning Edward Elric -- Fullmetal Alchemist -- into a girl, the old geezer would be hastening out of town as fast as his legs could carry him.
Ed leapt to his feet, overbalanced, windmilled his arms, and GLARED at Mustang as if daring him to say anything, just one word.
For a wonder, Mustang held his peace, indicating by gesture that Ed should pull his red overcoat closed so as not to shock random personnel traversing the halls. Ed, rather than thanking him for this, adjusted his coat and flipped him off. Mustang contained a smile.
Outside, a wicked fork of lightning jetted across the purple gloom of the sky.
Swiping soaked limp black hair from his eyes, Roy Mustang focused on the slumped, red-jacketed shoulders before him, then reached out a hand. "All right, that's enough." Rain cascaded from his sleeve. He rested a hand on Ed's shoulder, shook the unresponsive boy lightly, and felt if not sympathetic than sincerely sorry. He hated the rain and they had been caught in it and drenched for the past four hours. "Fullmetal, enough. He's gone."
"Grrr. He is NOT gone, he's just lurking around somewhere waiting to hear the news bulletin about the IGNOMINIOUS and UNFORTUNATE condition of Edward Elric..."
The Colonel sighed and used a form of address for this boy he rarely used outside his thoughts. "Edward, it's time to go home--"
The slender shoulders stiffened. "I can't," said Ed, hunched small and miserable.
Mustang's brows gathered in a thwarted frown. "Fullmetal, the chase can wait for tomorrow. For now, it's raining and we're both tired; just go back--"
"NO!" Ed all but shrieked, two octaves higher than his already-contralto norm. He swiveled to face Roy, upturned face angry, breasts heaving. "I am not going back to the dorms like this, you understand me? Anyway, I -- I can't, in case you didn't notice! It's a MEN'S dorm!"
Roy winced, rotating one gloved finger in his right ear -- the one closest to Ed -- as if attempting to remove a rather large obstruction from the canal. "What to you expect me to do about it?" This wasn't sporting -- he had stooped to meet the unusual circumstances, hadn't he? -- but sneaking around in the rain was not his forte. Besides, under normal circumstances he did his very best to force Fullmetal to sink or swim.
It was the breasts, Roy decided. He tried not to glance at them now, outlined by the clinging shirt that had been soaked in the sudden downpour. The breasts had completely derailed him from his typical modus operandi.
Golden eyes glowered up at him from beneath bedraggled blonde hair. "You've got your own place," Ed noted, and from his tone he was trying for wheedling and missing.
"Oh, no." Mustang lifted both hands in a defensive gesture. "You are not--"
Ed sniffed, attempted to fold his arms across his chest, slipped on the sizable rack; a look of astonishment crossed his face, then he blinked up at Mustang with huge eyes as if he just. Couldn't. Take it. Anymore. Then he sniffed again, and looked down, and DAMN but Roy could see right down his cleavage. Impressive...
There was something disarming about the Ed of right now.
"Fine," Mustang acquiesced with an irritable flip of his hand, and turned on his heel. "Follow me. And whatever you do, keep your head down and your coat closed, all right?"
A slightly sullen voice issued from behind him. "Right." It would have almost been typical Fullmetal sulk if not for the range, an octave higher than he was used to.
For a marvel, Fullmetal actually maintained silence unto the very door of Mustang's house, which made him worry somewhat for the state of the boy's mind. He couldn't remember very much of the brief he'd read on Fleshweaver's peculiar talent -- inverting boyparts into girlparts had been the old man's sole talent, thus the military had never bothered conscripting him and he'd given the war a miss entirely -- but it had to be disconcerting to be on the receiving end of that kind of horribly-focused flesh-shaping alchemy. Roy blinked, and relived the clear shot of peering down ample cleavage. Now that was talent.
"Are you LAUGHING again, you bastard!?" the outraged voice pealed from behind him.
Roy fished out his keys and kept his back turned to Ed as he messed with the door. "No, absolutely not," he said, and if he were to turn around, he had the straight face to prove it. He let them both in out of the wet early evening.
"I've been turned into a GIRL and I hate the rain and I'm WET and we didn't catch so much as a GLIMPSE of the Fleshweaver--" Ed ranted, working himself into a fine state as he let his sodden-wet red overcoat drop onto Roy's coat-rack. He rubbed the glove of his auto-mail arm over his lean, muscular flesh one, shivering. "And I never realized nipples could be so SENSITIVE and I hate being wet because my hair takes forever to try and DAMN that old man..." Ed sounded as if he could quite honestly continue in that vein forever.
Roy busied himself looking for towels. He generally kept some in a chest by the drawer, Central City having the kind of weather it did from autumn solidly through spring. Anything was better than the sight of a dripping-wet Ed, round breasts riding up the front of his shirt unfettered by a bra, aforementioned nipples making prominent coins against the fabric.
"And I've got a clitoris the size of a BANANA--" Ed continued, waving a wild, drenched arm.
"You do not," Roy interrupted him sternly, seizing the outflung arm and drawing Ed close. Exercising iron control -- oh, restraint was a jutsu with him -- he dropped a towel over Ed's head and began to rub at his tousled wet hair. "Don't be ridiculous."
"Well, it damn well feels like it," Ed muttered, sounding distracted.
Roy's brow cinched as high as his brow muscles would carry it. He wasn't even going to bother wondering how that had gotten into Ed's tirade. "Really?" he murmured, while telling himself he was not interested in the mechanics of Ed's change, nor in pulling off Ed's boxers and providing reassuring verification that yes, it was the correct size, nor the heavenly fragrance of rain-drenched boy in his arms. He had never, he thought, been so close to Fullmetal. Not even in the throes of their parade-ground shattering fight.
Ed smelled good; felt better. It was strange. Though Fullmetal had gotten a phenomenal rack thrust upon him, and no doubt had other...feminine qualifications...Roy found himself continuing to think of Ed as a boy, despite evidence to the contrary. Such as the right breast just barely brushing against him.
"Yeah--" Ed tilted his head up, batting Roy's hand away and letting the towel slip to one shoulder. Uptilted golden eyes met his with a weary kind of look, then widened. Fullmetal's breath caught on parted lips. A single drop of hair glistened on his jaw, slid down the old gold of his hair and disappeared into the front of his shirt, resting between his breasts then slipping further down.
Roy let his own face settle into the blank slate he'd been using for an expression all these years. No. He had not just been wearing those thoughts on his face.
"Wh-what were we just talking about?" Ed faltered, his eyes narrowing now in calculation.
"The clitoris," Roy supplied helpfully, as if leading them right back to the subject would divert Fullmetal from a moment of weakness. The boy was still in the half-circle of his arm and he was utterly motionless, even his breathing lowered to minimal function.
"Right," Ed said with a nod, "right. At any rate, how would you know, huh?" He settled a sneer on his upper lip and jerked away, found himself snared on Roy's uniform front, and ripped himself free with a grunted curse.
With a small shrrk a button sprang free of Roy's formerly starched, now sodden uniform and went rolling down the valley of Ed's plenty. They both watched its descent with a kind of fascination, then Roy reached to grasp it.
"Crap, sorry--" Ed began to apologize, then his eyes went huge as Roy's fingers dipped down the front of his shirt.
"--I'll get that, no, Fullmetal; my fault, I pressed the uniform this very morning but--"
They both froze.
"WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING, YOU PERVERT!?" Ed blasted up into his face.
Roy went from paper-pale to fiery red and back in the span of an eyelash flicker; so fast no one perhaps save Hawkeye might catch it. "My apologies, Fullmetal," he said stiffly. "I reached before I thought."
Ed blinked up at him.
Roy matched blink for solemn blink.
The boy's lips parted again. "So, um, Mustang. Think you could, well, remove your fingers?"
"Right." Roy snatched his fingers free. His mind was a perfect, static blank. He visualized white noise and empty spaces. His fingers were tingling.
Fullmetal turned his back on him. "Thanks," he said awkwardly. "I guess. Um, you were definitely the last person I would have gone to for help, but I figured--anyhow, you've been. Decent. Didn't even laugh too much."
Roy looked down at the top of that burnished-gold head and felt a twist of bitterness. His best-laid plans had only ever involved being a goad to this boy, using him as he used everything to get to the top while providing what he could for the Elrics. The plans said nothing on how to deal with feelings. He began wryly, "As I said before, Fullmetal, I'm flattered that I'm last--"
Ed swung around, eyes searing up at him from beneath damp bangs. "Oh yeah? Well, I--" He had his mouth open to continue their ongoing argument, but nothing further came out. His eyes narrowed as he gazed up at him and Mustang had the sudden uncomfortable sensation that Ed was looking at him, really looking at him for the first time since he'd stepped off a train five years ago and the look in his amber eyes wasn't childish at all.
Pleasantries formed and died on his lips. *I expect you'll want dinner.* *It's late and I need to shower--* *I'll sleep on the couch--* *You look like a drowned rat; let's get you out of those clothes--* The motor of Mustang's thoughts sputtered and went effectively dead.
Ed's generous mouth cracked in a wicked grin. "Pervert."
Roy matched him with a sardonic hint of a smile. So they were to continue the old game. There was a line, after all, and he'd drawn it first, and if it meant certain kindled feelings went unsatisfied, well, he was used to disappointment. "You know, it's not too late to let Armstrong--mmf!" He was suddenly fielding an armful of damp but enthusiastic boy -- with breasts. Those plush globes pressed against his chest, effectively silencing whatever else he might have said, then it was Ed's mouth against him, meeting his lips in an unskilled, searching kind of kiss.
After a moment he backed off, giving Roy a few millimeters of space to think about tongue and breasts and other things best left unjunctioned with Edward Elric. Fullmetal glared up at him, hands fisted at his sides. "Well?" he demanded.
"You do that again," Roy said reflectively, "and I'll kiss you like I mean it and start tearing your clothes off." Lines, one learned in war, were drawn to get crossed.
"Do you?" Ed asked hoarsely, then tilted his chin up. "Mean it?"
It was the rain. And the breasts. Mustang grabbed Fullmetal by the shoulders and drew him close and noted that the boy's face was already turned up even if a hint of wariness lurked in his wide golden eyes. *What are you going to do now?* those eyes challenged him.
Later Roy would wish he could restructure the moment to say he didn't go down without a fight. This, Ed would say with glee, was not true.
A soft muttering roused Roy at last from the depths of sound sleep, the hibernation of the wicked. "First you understand it completely...then you deconstruct it...then you reconstruct it completely depending on the principle you use to remake it--" The husky voice sounded familiar.
Roy propped his head in the crook of his elbow and yawned. "What's that?" He was still mostly asleep, trying to figure why the blonde in his bed was muttering alchemical principles.
"Nothing. Go back to sleep," Fullmetal said over his shoulder, one golden eye peering at Roy's sleep-fuzzed expression. "Just thinking out loud."
Roy sat up in bed like a crack of thunder had just bit him on the ass. "Ha-Hagane no--"
"Stop calling me that, will you?" Ed squirmed around in bed and his look was decidedly annoyed. "Fullmetal this, Fullmetal that. You sure weren't calling me 'Fullmetal' last night. Try out Ed for size. Go on, try it." A wicked smile split his lips. "We're way past titles, aren't we, Roy?"
Roy was asphyxiating. He contemplated the ramifications of committing honorable suicide versus trying to brazen this out.
He'd slept with a minor. He'd slept with a subordinate. He'd slept with--with--
"Hey, snap out of it, will you?" Ed demanded, taking hold of his naked shoulders. That sultry golden stare was back, a look he could hardly have credited to cross Fullmetal's face. "Now that you're awake, I'm horny."
--with Fullmetal, and it had been GOOD, and damn if he wasn't going to do it again.
Edward Elric hurried down one of the many narrow streets of Central City, headed for the dorm at top speed with his arms clutched to his chest as if sheltering some kind of package or small animal. Playing children, stray cats, and even timid adults skittered out of his way at the fearsome look on his face.
"Kill him...I'll fucking kill him..."
After three days of searching -- and sex in motor-carriages and showers and on tabletops and even, having been smuggled into Mustang's office, on a desk and a chair, -- Ed had been unable to find the Fleshweaver with Colonel Mustang's so-called "help." That wasn't the source of Ed's anger, because he'd decided last night to set out today without Roy or Al or anyone to get his body restored to rights. He would find the Fleshweaver on his own.
No, Ed was hopping mad because he'd woken with a strange twinge in his belly, an odd feeling, then he'd looked down at Mustang's sleeping face and the feelings that had risen up then had made him bolt from the bedroom to be noisily sick.
The Colonel had helped, all right. Oh, he'd helped Ed out of his boxers, then helped Ed rid himself of that pesky virginity, then helped Ed comb Central City in a motor carriage and helped him have wild messy sex all over the seat... Before Fleshweaver, Ed had never really appreciated how helpful Mustang could be.
"I'll kill him," Ed gritted, and marched for the military barracks with a stiff-legged stride. Now was the time to find Al and Winry and bite the bullet and swallow his pride and admit that he needed help.
The good Colonel had been HELPFUL enough. And, while he'd enjoyed every minute of it -- maybe a little TOO much -- now the sick sensation growing in his belly warned him that getting close to Roy Mustang might have perils he'd never considered at the time.
First, there was an all-important matter to be attended to.
Ed stalked up the dorm halls wrapped in an overpowering cloud of anger, terrified he would bump into someone he knew and grateful when he didn't. He was alternately torn between raving at Fleshweaver, Mustang, and his own damned self.
It's the next best thing to reducing Hohenheim to such beautiful indignity, the old man had cackled horribly as Ed stared down at the twin peaks that had suddenly ballooned on his chest and he felt his body tingle. Goddamned pervy old man...
Thinking of those first alchemical tingles that had accompanied Ed's transformation brought on another unbidden thought. "You're wet," Roy said, sounding dazed, and the finger slid out of him. Ed growled and his hips went up and his fingers dug down the length of Roy's naked back as Mustang rocked into him in one long firm-painful stroke of fire.
Oh god. Oh god oh god ohgodohgod. And after three days he was still horny like this.
He remembered the moment that slice of sardonic smile had slipped a notch and Roy Mustang had given him a sex look. His eyes had dilated and he was looking down at him with no derision and Ed might be inexperienced but he had fantasies, dammit, and that had been a SEX LOOK. Even more surprisingly Ed had found himself giving it right back.
Ed wasn't pissed at Mustang for all his...er...help. He was pissed over his own suspicions, and most of all pissed at himself for wasting three days in a long continuous tumble and maybe ruining his chances at finding the Fleshweaver for good. After all, he'd be DAMNED if he was going to STAY like this, great sex with Mustang or no.
Maybe they could have great sex after...
No, no, no! He shook his head vigorously enough to whip his cheeks with the end of his braid. Not the time to think about that. "First you understand it completely...then you deconstruct it...then you reconstruct it completely depending on the principle you use to remake it--" With a single glance that alchemical reaction had flared between them. And THAT was really why Ed was pissed, because he DID NOT lose control of his alchemy, least of all with respect to relationships involving smirking superior officers.
Shimmying the last bit of distance between him and his goal, Ed darted around the corner and wrenched the door open. "Hi, I'm here, thanks for waiting!"
The door burst open and Al and Winry started as a skinny gold-braided figure slipped inside the Elric dorm room, slamming the door behind him. Al shifted in a series of metallic pings as he sat at attention and Winry leapt up from the couch, levering a finger at Ed as the boy leaned against the door and panted as if he'd just had a good hard run.
"You're late!" Winry declared, fairly well furious.
Ed turned slowly, arms clasped across his front. "Sorry." One hand lifted in a brief apologetic gesture.
"Niisan," the great suit of armor that was Al said in a reproachful little-boy voice. "You've been gone for THREE DAYS and Winry came all the way from Rizenbul to visit and make adjustments to your arm and leg."
"I know, Al, and I'm sorry," Ed said, sounding harassed rather than contrite. His face was a notable tomato shade that just about matched the color of his coat. His arms were clutched across his chest in a half-hug and he appeared to be carrying something sizable tucked against his chest. "Winry, wow, am I glad you're here."
Winry gave him a flinty, suspicious look. "Eh?" Ed was rarely so...polite and welcoming. "What's going on? I said I'd be here, didn't I?"
"Before this goes any further" -- he eyed brother and childhood friend with the burning gold eyes of a fanatic -- "I need to swear you both to absolute secrecy, you got it? Don't EVER breathe a word of this, not even to your great-grandchildren."
"Ni-Niisan!" Al squeaked, mortified, and his armor faceplate turned a dull red. Winry flipped her hand at him. "Get on with it, Ed."
Ed took a deep breath...and opened the front of his coat.
Al keeled over with the crash of a large object meeting and blazoning through a small smithy. Winry stared for a long moment, then said: "Huh." Her eyes were quite wide.
Ed extracted a crumpled paper bag from the depths of his overcoat and tossed it to the table, stalking into the room. "Yeah. So."
"So?" Winry asked, deadpan. "What kept you for three days, Ed? Your new brea--"
"DON'T SAY IT!" Ed howled, displaying readiness at once to transform into a vibrating ball of fury. "And. Um. I don't want to say where I've been. But. I may have to tell you."
Al said piteously, "Niisan...what happened to you?"
Ed scratched his head with one gloved hand. "Al, have you ever heard of the Fleshweaver?"
The great metal head turned this way and that, expressing the negative.
"Hunh." Ed essayed to put his chin in his hand, caught an elbow on one breast, and folded his arms with a look of extreme displeasure. "That would have made two of us before I ran into him three days ago."
At the end, Winry laughed.
Golden eyes turned her way in reproach. "It's not THAT funny, Winry," Ed complained, pulling the front of his overcoat closed again, scratching the base of his neck self-consciously. "Imagine waking up with a penis. It would be no laughing matter, right?"
Al squeaked, and Winry laughed again, wiping tears from her eyes.
"I'm sorry, it's hard to be sympathetic," Winry replied, quite unrepentant. "You bumped into a one-trick alchemist who hated your dad, and turned you into a girl."
"So...how did that keep you from coming home for three days? Al and I were really worried, you know!"
Ed darted forward, seized Winry's wrist, and dragged her into a corner of the room while Al watched with all the visible bemusement a suit of armor could muster. There he proceeded to whisper into her ear, then straightened and gave her a nod. "So I need to do that."
"Ohhhh." Winry gave him wide eyes, flattening a hand to her open mouth. "That means you...with WHO?" she said incredulously.
"Now that, I'm hoping I won't have to reveal even on my deathbed," Ed said grimly, but his expressive eyes didn't quite match the resolve in his voice. "So will you help me?"
Winry looked poleaxed. "Ed...I can't believe you...you did THAT."
"Never mind the details, just help me!" Ed snatched up the paper-enshrouded parcel with a feverish air. "I'm having trouble with the directions. You're a real girl; what am I supposed to do?"
Sighing, the "real girl" crossed over and joined Ed where he hunched over the paper bag glaring at all and sundry. "What the -- Ed, you're an ALCHEMIST, for crying out loud. You're telling me you can't figure out the instructions on a--"
"SHH!" Ed held up a finger, eyes wild and hunted as if every living soul on the floor were pressing their ear at the keyhole.
"Here." Winry shoved the box at him. "Take this to the bathroom. Unwrap it. Pee on it. Then we wait ten minutes or so."
"Oh." Blink blink. "That's it?"
With a nervous laugh, Ed clutched the parcel to his chest and backed out of the room, auto-mail hand waving at them jauntily. "Be right back, then."
After a long moment of silence, Al's head creaked faintly as he swiveled to fix Winry with his unblinking gaze. "Winry," he asked in quite plaintive tones. "What on earth is going on with Niisan?"
Winry told him.
Al thought about it for a moment. "Oh," he said, voice rather tinny. "Oh. Well, when I find out who, I'll stomp him flat." He thought about it some more. "Or at least, I'll ask him what his intentions are toward Niisan...then sit on him if I don't like the answer."
Ed made a rapid reappearance shortly after, slamming the door behind him as though a bevy of soldiers had caught him stealing state secrets. He gave them a vaporish grin and advanced as manfully as one could while sporting an impressive chestful of breasts. Between thumb and forefinger he held a stick from him as far as arm's length could take it.
"Here's the deal," Ed said, rolling up his sleeves and dropping the dipstick onto the table with a disgusted expression. "If this...thing gets a blue plus sign, it means I'm pregnant. Three wavy pink lines means I'm not."
"PREGNANT!?" Al squealed. Whatever bits of info Winry had parceled out to him, it hadn't quite been enough. "Niisan, that means you--"
"DON'T SAY IT!" Ed roared.
They sat for ten minutes and everyone found small talk unnecessary. Somehow the sight of Ed glowering over the dipstick didn't inspire conversation. At last Al pointed out that ten minutes had passed -- one of his particular idiosyncrasies was an internal clock, perhaps because he never really slept -- and Ed cracked his knuckles.
"All right," Ed said, looking at brother, then friend with gaslight-burning eyes. "If I faint, then you'll know. Al, no rampaging. Winry, no wisecracks."
They gave him solemn nods.
Wincing reflexively, Ed plucked the dipstick from the table with a tentative hand. He looked it over, then displayed the stick to them with an air of aggrieved calm.
Al fainted in a full metal clatter onto the floor.
Winry made no wisecracks.
Ed began to growl softly, then pitched the stick to the side and seized his red overcoat with murder in overly-bright eyes. "'Scuse me, I've got someone I need to see about this."
The morning had been a quiet one, with time enough to savor a morning coffee and peruse Central's morning paper before Roy Mustang prepared to don his uniform and return to the other hundred and one things on his perpetual how-to-fix-the-world list. He spared a moment's regret for the loss of warm lean length by his side in the wee hours, because he liked Fullmetal's sleeping face best. It was the third day since Ed's...change...and this morning when Roy had finally woken up drooling on a pillow that smelled of Ed's hair, Ed was gone.
Roy wondered if he would ever be able to convince Ed -- without verbally expressing it; that would demean the whole thing -- that it wasn't just the changes worked upon his flesh that made him so irresistible; Roy found the entire package attractive, in fact. He'd given some thought--
BOOM. BOOM. BOOM.
The front door caved inward on its hinges, slamming to the floor with a sharp crack.
Roy was already moving for the hallway, slipping glove over one hand, getting himself out of the line of possible fire when the voice and face registered.
"Knock, knock," Ed crooned, wearing the predatory look of a hunting beast.
Roy Mustang raked his eyes up and down the slender form of the pretty little blonde thing who'd busted his door down so knackily. Without alchemy, even; Ed was winching his arm up for another blow though he'd taken the door out already. "Problem, Fullmetal?"
"Yes. Problem," Ed gritted between his teeth, his eyes eerie amber orbs as he advanced through the dimness of Mustang's front hallway. "You're my problem, Roy Mustang." He leveled his finger like a gun. "And just be glad Al's fainted otherwise HE'D be here to make mincemeat out of you and *I* would not stop him!"
Roy's mouth twitched. "What is it?" he asked quietly, propping a hand beneath his chin in a listening pose. He found that tended to deflate Ed's dramatics most handily.
He was not, sadly, prepared for the blast from undersized but very robust lungs that all but knocked him off his feet.
"YOU ROTTEN BASTARD, I'M PREGNANT!"
Roy blinked. Several times. "That's not possible," he objected, but his face felt numb.
"Oh yeah?" Ed challenged, and thrust out his chest, cupping his prominent, finely-shaped breasts in Roy's direction. "Just exactly how is that not possible? Look, look." He jiggled them in his cupped hands.
"All right," Roy said, and felt blood draining clear down into his feet. "Let's look at this matter calmly, Fullmetal." He tried to look anywhere but Ed's perfect breasts, still offered up in both hands for his perusal.
Ed slouched and pulled his crimson overcoat closed over his front, shielding his plenty from view. "Calmly, my debauched ass. Are you going to take responsibility?" he demanded angrily.
"Don't be ridiculous," Mustang said, white as a sheet of paper. Fortunately for his life and that of those in a ten-meter radius he held back the age-old question of unmarried men everywhere, 'Are you sure it's mine?' Unfortunately, there was an equally unwise question that rolled off his lip. "Responsibility for what?"
"I'm telling you I'm PREGNANT!" Ed roared, stalking over the carpet and leaving a sizable dent of left-footed auto-mail tracks in his wake. "Tomorrow I was going to leave and finish this thing with Fleshweaver once and for all, get my body back, oh, and maybe NOT BE A GIRL ANYMORE! Now I CAN'T!!" Ed paused to heave air into his lungs to renew his tirade.
"I...I had no idea the Fleshweaver's transformations could be so comprehensive," Roy said feebly. He scratched at the base of his neck, mind still whirling in contemplation. Pregnant. Really.
"THIS IS NOT THE TIME FOR ADMIRATION!" Ed thundered, and resumed his tromp across the carpet toward him. "What are YOU going to do about it, Colonel Roy Mustang!?"
Roy was in a novel circumstance. He was completely disarmed and utterly out of options.
Fullmetal took stock of his expression. "I see," Ed said bitterly, stopping a full meter away and folding his arms just beneath the ample source of Ray's woes. "You're all talk. I see what this is going to take, Roy Mustang -- and fine, JUST FINE, we'll take this to the parade ground, punishment-style!" Amber eyes sparked pure fury up at him as Ed rolled up his sleeves with evident relish.
"I can't fight you," Mustang said, aghast. "You're pregnant!"
"AND EXACTLY WHOSE FAULT IS THAT, MUSTANG!?" Ed howled at full volume. There was a manic gleam in his eye.
"I remember this one," Roy murmured, holding up a finger. Oh, did he ever remember. Fullmetal in the half-circle of his arm as the boy lifted his drenched head and Roy toweled off all that unbound golden hair, then those eyes lifted to his, solemn then suddenly startled, those lips parted. Roy had watched in fascination as a drop of water tracked down Fullmetal's cleavage.
It had just...well, it had just HAPPENED.
Then it had happened again, and again, and the next day and in the carriage and the bed and on the rug and all right, so Roy's wigglers had gotten a clear shot. Several. Many clear shots. And Ed was looking at him with those hot gold eyes as if he'd like nothing better than to skewer -- eeuugh.
"I'm sorry?" Roy offered considerately. An apology did seem the appropriate thing to do; after all, Fullmetal would, as he said, not be able to return to himself...uh...his boy-body for nine months and dear gods, Fleshweaver was surely laughing himself sick in a pub somewhere. Or would be, when he read the news bulletin.
Roy promised himself that instant that there would be no news bulletin of any kind.
"Sorry, hell!" Ed crossed the last meter that separated them and his auto-mail arm was lifting and for a hectic gleam of an instant reflected in amber eyes Mustang thought he was going to get thoroughly punched.
Instead, Ed TWINED.
"Think of the scandal," Ed purred, rubbing up against him. Strangely, though the Colonel had a thoroughly intimate knowledge of the new inner workings of this Ed, he still thought of Fullmetal as a boy. A boy who happened to have spectacularly ripe breasts. He gulped and tried to insert a fingerlength of space between them to grip Ed's shoulders and gain objective distance, but Ed seemed to have found his serious weak spot.
"The Flame Alchemist, rising through the ranks and doing so well, commended by the Fuhrer himself for the handling of the Homunculus incident..." Ed continued, the gold heat of his eyes burning up Roy's face as he nestled a little more firmly against him. Hands were stroking Roy's stomach beneath his shirt.
It was the eyes, Mustang realized with a rising sense of desperation. Ed's intense amber eyes in that beautiful face hadn't changed one whit. In fact, his appearance hadn't changed at all except for...
Poke. Rustle. Ah, yes. The lush firmness of those heavy breasts, the ones planted firmly against his chest right now. Mustang blinked and realized Ed was still talking.
"...finds out that this honorable career military dog was not just sleeping with his underage subordinate, but had ACTUALLY let Fullmetal fall victim to the Fleshweaver, THEN took advantage of him, THEN refused to marry him when he turned up barefoot and pregnant..." The rhythm of his rant was operatic in its proportions; honestly, Mustang hated to interrupt it. Fullmetal had really hit his stride.
Mustang silenced Fullmetal with a finger over his lips. "First of all, you're hardly barefoot--"
"Irrelevant!" Ed glared up at him, stepping back now as if sensing that the breasts were no longer quite the distraction.
Mustang brushed that aside. "--but you are pregnant."
"You're damn right I am!" Ed interrupted again, rolling up his sleeves again as if he'd clap a transmutation then and there and leave Roy in the decomposing stage.
Mustang squared his shoulders and inhaled a manly draft of air. He had felt the cold fingers of mortality creep around his neck many times, an incorporeal noose that whispered death was near. Never had he been so close to that specter than this particular moment, the here and now and the enormous statement that lay before him. He seized Ed to rivet the boy firmly in place. "Edward Elric. Will you marry me?"
Ed turned huge, disbelieving eyes up at him. "H-huh?"
"You said you wanted me to take responsibility," Roy said wryly, resisting the urge to tip Ed's chin up and seal the deal. There was the cutest pucker between his eyebrows because he looked so puzzled and almost lost and what the hell was he thinking!? Hadn't that been how this trouble started in the first place? "I'm taking responsibility."
"Damn right you are," Ed muttered, breaking their interlocked gaze for a moment, then cocked an eyebrow up at him with cynical cheer. "Didn't think you'd pick that route, though."
Mustang and Fullmetal stared at each other for a long moment, eyes locked. Then:
"I think I'm going to puke," Ed announced, and tore out of his grip to sprint for the bathroom.
Roy sank onto the nearest available flat surface would bear his weight. He realized after a moment of poking his finger into the indentation made by Ed's left heel that he was sitting on the floor. "What," he asked of the room at large, "are WE going to do with a baby?"
For a person who wanted as few witnesses as legally possible, Edward Elric was surprisingly finicky over the arrangements of the impromptu marriage that Mustang cooked up with the help of Lieutenant Hawkeye -- and got BITCHY when balked on the smallest detail.
"Flowers," Ed pronounced, flipping through a catalogue as he sat splay-legged in a chair he had reversed so that he could lay an arm over its wooden back. He hunched over the chair and quite effectively disguised the fact that he was sporting a pair of large breasts.
"Flowers," Roy repeated, giving him a wary glance from the corner of his eye. "You want flowers at the ceremony." He, too, had pulled up a chair to the table and they sat in the dim honey-hued glow with what meager wedding plans there were spread out between them. Initially Roy had been tempted to pawn the whole deal off on Fullmetal, then reconsidered.
When free license was given, there was the possibility of Ed tampering with the marriage vows.
"Well, yeah, we're not going to have a reception." Ed glared at him as if to imply that was inherently obvious.
"Why flowers?" Roy asked, resisting the urge to put a hand to his brow and massage his left brow, beneath which a headache of impressive proportions was developing. He kept his mouth carefully shut on the thought that perhaps having his biological bits turned inside out was having a bit more of an effect on Ed than previously considered.
Ed thought about it. "Well, it's a wedding, you know? There should be flowers. And I'm only going to do it once so it better be right. Red roses."
Roy nearly choked for a moment, then turned his attention back to the large stack of paperwork he'd brought home from the office.
"HEY! Pay attention, we're not done yet!" Ed spazzed, thumping a fist on the table.
Roy quirked his brows at him and tried to recapture the instant of insanity when he'd said "marry me" and then remembered. The wellspring of his worries could all be traced back to those perfect breasts now hidden beneath Ed's folded arms. No, as he peered he could see the faint dark rounded outlines of them between the slats of the chair. He remembered the look Ed had given him, a little puzzled and a lot vulnerable. For a change.
It really was unfair. Edward Elric was a high-level genius in the field of alchemy; he had passed the state exam at age twelve and might have passed had he taken it even earlier. He was also, if that were not gift enough, incredibly gorgeous with a striking combination of gold hair and amber eyes. Beyond that, though, he was driven, utterly focused -- and barely aware that he was exceptional or beautiful in any way.
Tipped into acknowledging the latter, Roy's world was quite regrettably unhinging and there had been sex and enthusiastic dirty talk in the bedroom and now THIS.
"Red roses," Roy acknowledged, deadpan. "I trust you'll be carrying them in a bouquet?"
Ed cast him a withering stare. "A bouquet? I'm not a GIRL."
Roy coughed delicately.
"Oh. Huh." Ed sat back on his chair and looked down at his assets. "Okay, well, right NOW maybe, but...maybe Winry can hold the bouquet or something."
"Right." Roy smirked at him, stricken with inspiration. So far he hadn't been allowed to countermand any determination of Ed's, but if he chucked in a frill of his own... "If there's going to be a bouquet, then you should wear a garter."
Ed's brow lowered like a gathering thundercloud. "And WHY would I do that?"
"What the HELL kind of tradition is that!?"
"The garter," Roy explained, "is for symbolic defloration."
Ed looked puzzled. "Isn't it a little late for that?"
Roy's expression turned pained. "Yes, well, that's where the symbolism comes in. See, you -- the bride -- wear the garter, and I -- the groom -- take it off with my teeth, and--"
"LIKE HELL YOU'RE TAKING ANYTHING OFF MY THIGH IN PUBLIC WITH YOUR TEETH!"
"I could just use my fingers," Roy offered.
A shudder spasmed down Ed's body from crown to toe. "That's all right," he said hollowly, putting a hand to his forehead. "Think about it, Roy. If you take one piece of clothing off, are you really going to stop there?"
Roy gave him a slice of his usual sardonic smile. "I don't know about you, but I have self-restraint."
"It was YOUR idea to have sex in the motor-car," Ed pointed out.
"Yes, but it was your fault."
Fullmetal dismissed that argument with a wave of his hand. "No garter." He gave Roy a speculative, slightly puzzled look as if trying to fathom the mechanics of how it could have been 'his fault.'
"Oh," Roy began wickedly, "but I think a garter would be very sexy, and if you're wearing a dress--"
"THERE IS NO WAY I'm wearing a DRESS!" Ed howled, slamming both hands on the table now. "Like I said, I'm not a girl! Not REALLY a girl!" he added, to forestall the words that smirk on Roy's face was promising. He leaned his chin on his hand.
Roy got up. If they were going to continue to wrangle these details out instead of him completing the beckoning mountain of paperwork, he had every intention of caffeinating himself. As he moved around the kitchen he noted Fullmetal's suspicious gaze followed him for a long instant before he returned to flipping through that catalogue -- for what reason he perused it, Roy hadn't yet figured out. The thought occurred to him that Fullmetal might think Roy was looking at some way to welch on the whole deal.
"It's a shame there's not going to be a reception," Roy said thoughtfully, taking his seat again and folding his arms and watching the coffee percolate from the corner of his eye. "I was looking forward to the cake."
"Oh, there'll be cake, all right," Ed said in tones at once dire and gleeful. "If only so I can smash my piece into your face."
"YOU wanted to get married," Roy pointed out.
"YOU got me pregnant!" Ed shot back.
"You--" Roy began, and stopped. Point of fact, he couldn't remember if he or Ed had made the first move but he did recall a surprising amount of enthusiasm on both their parts. Hunh. "You...you grew breasts."
"AUGH! You had to SAY it," Ed groused, giving him another baleful stare from his repertoire. "So you're telling me we WOULDN'T have done it if I hadn't grown breasts."
"Probably not," Roy said, and that made Ed's mouth snap shut.
Fullmetal's brows lowered again. He snatched up his catalogue and stood, glowering for a moment. "Fine. I've got a solution! No flowers, no garter, no cake, no wedding." He stormed out with the aggrieved air of the unjustly wounded.
"So I'll see you tomorrow at the courthouse," Roy called after him, unconcerned.
Tucked away in a shaded corner of the outdoor seating area of a charming Central City cafe, Edward Elric sat and fumed in the company of brother and friend. The afternoon was sunny, a jaunty contrast to the thoroughly black mood of the elder Elric brother seated beneath the canopy table across from Al and Winry. The younger Elric brother was fidgeting in the precarious shooting-stick tripod that the outdoor section provided for seating. Winry was stirring a frothy concoction and staring into its depths as if it were a particularly fascinating mechanical problem. Neither of them were quite able to ignore Ed.
"I should be miles from here on the trail of that damned bastard, the Fleshweaver," Ed said moodily, slumping down in his chair to disguise the changed lines of his figure. "Instead I'm still dragging my feet here attending to some stupid administrative matter" -- the marriage -- "because of some stupid unexpected bodily function" -- the pregnancy -- "because of some stupid inexplicable sex thing that just HAPPENED." The affair with Roy.
Al and Winry wisely said nothing, recognizing that nothing could truly get in the way of Ed in full-blown ranting mode.
"Instead of getting any of that taken care of I'm PISSED OFF at that SMIRKING BASTARD for saying nothing would've happened if I hadn't grown boobs. I don't get it!"
Winry swirled her swizzle stick in the depths of her tall ice-laden rainbowy concoction. "It must be hormones."
"Say that again and I'll DECK you," Ed growled.
"You wouldn't lay a hand on me," Winry said, serenely confident.
Ed's head creaked in her direction. "Wanna bet? I think I could hair-pull with the best of them, right now." There was an unholy gleam in his eye. "There's no way I'm going to marry that bastard now."
"Niisan," the great suit of armor uttered piteously, "what about the baby? You can't just be an unwed -- um, unwed parent."
"I don't want to talk about it," Ed muttered, slouching in his seat with head rested on crossed arms.
Winry observed to her umbrella-decorated drink, "Oh, yes, not talking about problems makes them go away."
Hiss. "You wanna start something!?" Ed displayed fangs for a moment.
"You wanna get married to Roy?" Winry shot back at him.
"NO!" Ed howled.
"Niisan," Al said, anguished.
Winry tossed a length of blonde hair over her shoulder and gave Ed a look of exasperation. "Well, why did you sleep with him in the first place?"
For a moment Ed did nothing but sit up a little straighter and push his own drink -- a tall iced herbal tea, on Al's insistence -- back and forth between his palms. Finally he spoke.
"Well, you know how I'm pretty driven."
Nods all around.
"Well, somehow...when I turned into a GIRL, uh, TEMPORARILY that is, for some reason when I looked at Roy he was overpoweringly SEXY. And, you know, THERE." Ed rubbed a hand over the nape of his neck and looked pained. "I guess I just noticed all of a sudden."
Winry stirred her drink some, pushed it back, then looked up at Ed with clear, fierce blue eyes. "Ed, you're an IDIOT. You're saying the same thing you're MAD over -- it wouldn't have happened if you hadn't been transmuted into a girl."
"SHH!" Ed hissed, then bristled. "Well, you don't KNOW that..." As ever, he was stuck on his one-track groove.
"Now I really know you ARE a girl," Winry said, and let out a huge sigh. "Ed, you didn't like Roy that way before, did you?"
Ed's attention was immediately reoccupied by his drink.
"Niisan?" Al prompted, sounding anxious.
"I don't KNOW, all right?" Ed pushed his drink away and sighed and scowled. "I don't want to talk about it. Don't want to think about it. I just want to go back there and pummel" -- Ed's hands began to make throttling motions -- "and beat the crap out of him" -- quick jabs at the air -- "and then, and THEN--" Ed's hands dropped to the table and he buried his face in his arms again.
"And then?" Winry said.
"Nevermind," the muffled voice issued from the crook of Ed's elbow. "You don't need to know the rest."
Al and Winry exchanged a helpless glance.
When Ed lifted his face again it matched the crimson of his overcoat quite nicely. "That's it, I'm going to take care of this!" he exclaimed, leaping to his feet and promptly crossing his arms over his chest. "He's not going to get out of making an honest man out of me THAT easy." With that, Ed stormed off with such determination his arms and legs were in sync on each side of his body.
"Al. He's insane, you know that?"
"Un. Colonel Mustang might be a good match for him."
In a small room of the Central City courthouse, the chapel was being used to perform a civil ceremony of the most unusual sort. It had been reserved that morning, in fact, by a steely-eyed military woman in full uniform who had merely to look at the chief administrator to ensure his capitulation to her unusual request. The bridal party brought few witnesses; a gentleman encased in a towering suit of armor, a slender blonde girl dwarfed beside him, and on the groom's side stood the tall, slender lieutenant who had booked the room.
The bride wore a veil. A very thick white veil. Aside from that Ed's clothing didn't differ from his norm in the slightest - save for the addition beneath his red overcoat of a lacy white garter pulled over his pantsleg.
Ed clomped up the aisle in his heavy boots quite gracelessly. A penetrating glare sliced through the thickness of his veil and informed all and sundry that he'd deliver a fullmetal punch to whomever uttered the slightest snicker.
In that moment as Fullmetal headed for him up the aisle Roy got that sensation of impending mortality again, and the realization that this was really happening crashed down upon him.
Roy tensed to flee.
"Colonel," his best man murmured beside him, "if you twitch so much as a single muscle to run, you should know my gun will clear the holster before you make two steps."
"Want to bet?" Roy muttered out of the corner of his mouth to Riza Hawkeye. He was already calculating the myriad different ways by which he might be able to outflank the lieutenant. Then he thought about it some more and contemplated an angry Alphonse coming after him, or an angry ED, or worse yet a hurt and disappointed Ed soldiering it on his own and it wasn't worth it after all.
They would fight a lot but the sex was good.
"Think about Edward-kun," she murmured.
"Oh, I am. I'm finding it impossible NOT to think of Edward-kun," Roy replied sotto voce. Point of fact, there was a reason he, career military man, hadn't taken a wife up to that point. Simply put it was because he DIDN'T WANT ONE. Only Edward, he thought with a rueful quirk to his mouth, or at least a narrow slice of the population including Edward could get him to this point.
"Good. Breathe. And stand your ground," Hawkeye reminded him.
Fullmetal drew even with Roy at that point, squaring his shoulders and lifting his chin as he faced them. Roy reached out with rock-steady hands and lifted the veil over his head, exposing a lovely face that looked up at him with sheer stubborn resolve -- the set of that chin made him think either Ed was very angry, or Ed was trying not to run.
For some reason that made Roy feel a bit better about the whole thing.
"You can get started," Roy said drily when it looked as if the administrator was more interested in ogling his bride than providing them with the services he'd engaged him for -- and for a tidy sum, no less, what with the private room and all.
"Um. Yes. We are here today to witness the joining of" -- the administrator now glanced at the marriage license handed to him by Mustang -- "Roy Mustang and...and Ed -- Edward Elric!?"
The bride glowered up at him. "Get on with it, old man," Fullmetal said between clenched teeth.
Hawkeye's hand did not drift down to the butt of her gun but her eyes did, and the suggestion was certainly there.
"Are you sure?" the administrator said, glancing back and forth between them.
"Too late to back out now," Roy said with a casual shrug and winced as a heel glanced over the side of his ankle. With a gritted-teeth grin he reached down and took the hand of his bashful blushing bride, who jerked his auto-mail hand back, at first, then appeared to reconsider and surrendered the appendage.
"If I wasn't sure, I wouldn't be here!" Ed proclaimed, jabbing a thumb toward his chest.
"Ah, certainly," the administrator hastened to say, eyes doing a slow circuit from Roy to Ed and back again and that bland expression on his face saying it quite better than words could. The look and the thought hovering in the air made Roy consider, briefly, slipping his gloves on just for the fun of it but the man was already moving on, propping his book open on the lectern and scanning over the bit of paper that had been handed to him that might or might not involve marriage vows.
It wasn't too late...
"...ah, yes, witness the joining of Roy Mustang and Edward Elric in the bonds of matrimony as vested in me by the state..."
Fingers dug into his with sudden painful pressure.
"Don't even think it," Roy warned from the corner of his mouth, squeezing back on the fingers of a milk-pale Fullmetal, face whiter than the veil draped around his shoulders. "If I'm man enough to stand my ground, so are you."
That earned him a knifelike glare, but Ed held his ground.
At the end of the ceremony, Roy consoled himself, there would be CAKE.
The tangled edges of morning sunlight crept over the bed and threw stripes of illumination over the intertwined bodies that formed a single mound beneath the coverlet. Colonel Roy Mustang narrowed his eyes against the glare and thoughtfully imbibed recollection from the night before while his naked hand made an absent circuit over the soft sleep-mussed hair of the partner snuggled beside him.
There HAD been cake, and it had ended up plastered, for the most part, on Roy and Ed's faces. The garter, peeled with loving care from the leg of a twitching Ed, had ended up neatly snared on the wrist of a surprised Riza Hawkeye, who had glared at Roy as if he'd aimed for her.
Well, he had.
The bouquet had thunked quite neatly into Al's helmet and slid into his hand. "Niisan," the little-boy voice had issued from that great suit of armor, quite shocked.
"Oops, sorry, Al," Ed had told him, sounding unrepentant. "Guess you'll have to get married to Winry."
The burst of laughter that followed then segued, in his memory, to the laughter that accompanied them out to the car as they were pelted with rice and Ed snarled as Roy ushered him to the car with a hand on his elbow. Within, Roy had taken great care and thoroughness to remove each and every last grain from hair, bustline, and other unlikely places where rice had found a nook or cranny to lodge while Ed batted at his hands for a few moments of token protest before giving him an evil grin and returning the favor with respect to Roy's pants.
Rice, like sand, got into the DAMNEDEST places.
Roy tightened his arm down over the boy's midsection, lazily turning to pull Edward into a spooned position. They had spent their wedding night in a hotel but today it was back to business; Roy had a military takeover to continue, and Ed had decided to do some serious researching of Central's libraries while he was benched for the months of his pregnancy.
Mustang stroked a hand over Ed's stomach, wakeful and with an increasing sense of purpose. Ed murmured into his pillow a bit, something that sounded like "But I'm still eating" and Roy shifted his hand upward to cup a firm breast.
He cupped air.
"Pervert," Ed uttered indistinctly, as Roy's fingers splayed out over the flat plane of chest, feeling up pebbly nipples and firm pectorals.
His newlywed bride had, if he was not mistaken, transmuted overnight into his former boyish self. "Ed," Roy said in a low, reasonable tone. He reached down and gave Ed a tweak down below and confirmed that, yes, Ed had DEFINITELY returned to normal. "Ed, wake up."
"Do it yourself," Ed mumbled, hand worming beneath the blankets to rest on his, then stilling. "'M sleeping. I'm dreaming."
"If you say so," Roy said amiably, and kept a good grip on the boy, teasing him to wakefulness.
Ed pressed back against him with a low rumble reminiscent of a purr and tucked Roy's arm closer, giving him an appreciative mumble. It was lovely, but Roy's lips curved as he contemplated exactly how long it would take Ed to notice... Three, two, o--
Throwing the covers back, Ed jerked upright in bed and sat staring at him with wild eyes, hair mussed around his face. "Roy -- you -- I --" He cut himself short and looked down the length of his body where Roy's hand was still asserting possession. His eyes bulged. "YES!" Ed enthused, one hand punching the air. "I got my BODY back! And I didn't even have to track down that shitty old man!"
"So it would seem," Roy agreed, disengaging his hand when it appeared Ed's most immediate morning concern didn't exactly dovetail with his.
"This is AMAZING! How did this happen!? I just REVERTED, I didn't undergo any sort of alchemical..." Ed trailed off, patting his body down and grinning with incredulity. He smoothed his hands flat over his chest, feeling himself up with flesh and auto-mail, and then his jaw dropped. "Wait a minute...that means..."
Roy gave him an even look.
"Oh my GOD, we just got married." Ed slouched onto the pillows, belatedly pulling a fold of sheet over one thigh though Roy had seen it all. "You must think I trapped you, huh?"
"I'm fairly sure you didn't fake a transmution into female form simply to get me into wedlock, Fullmetal," Roy said dryly. "Those breasts--"
"AHHH!" Ed pointed at him with a mail finger, looking horrified. "You did it! You called me 'Fullmetal' again! In BED, no less!"
"You ARE--" Roy began, wanting simply to point out that Ed's title didn't change and it wasn't so easy to break habit.
"I don't want to be another name and appointment time in your little black book!" Ed fumed at him, golden eyes hot with anger and a peculiar flavor of disappointment.
"Ed," Roy said, tsking softly. "I married you."
"Oh." Ed gave him a stupefied look. "That's right, huh? Ha ha...I WIN!" His fist shot into the air in a triumphant gesture to match the wicked grin on his face.
Roy bit back a sigh at the vagaries of youth and lapsed to one elbow. He'd been looking forward to the "great sex after" bit, but Ed tended to be focused only in one direction at a time and it seemed he would have to wait for his turn on the attention span again.
"So that means no annulment, right?" Ed said, appearing somewhat anxious.
"It's a bit impossible," Roy said with a shake of his head. "We've already consummated."
"Ha ha...that's right, did we ever..." Ed trailed off and a slow grin spread over his face. "So, you wanna do it again?"
Roy appeared to think about it, stretching silence and watching Ed's expression lengthen into a doleful look. "Hm, yes, I definitely like this Edward best."
"Off-balance Edward," Roy proclaimed, reaching out and using Ed's braid as lever to topple him into his lap. With a squawk the boy tumbled over his thighs. "Now who's going down without a fight?"
"HEY! You can't -- you just--" Ed sputtered, pushing up with a hand on each of Roy's thighs. "As always, you fight dirty. I thought...I mean, I figured..."
"Who's going to stop me? I have my conjugal rights," Roy said serenely, fingering his chin with a considering look. "You thought...what, Fullmetal?"
"I figured for sure you wouldn't be interested once I lost the boobs," Ed said frankly, amber eyes boring into him.
"Hey, wait, I DO have a reputation to maintain but--"
"AHH, it's such a TRIAL, being tied down to Central's biggest ladykilling Colonel...well, more TROUBLESOME, really, now I've probably got to worry about half the women...no, better make that ninety percent of the women coming after me..." Ed lamented, his actions somewhat off-kilter with his words as he shifted into a more comfortable position in Roy's lap.
"By this time a good half of those are coming after you for yourself, Fullmetal," Roy noted, twining his fingers into the thick hair at the base of Ed's nape and getting ready to strike.
"Huh?" The look on Ed's face was genuinely bewildered now.
Roy gave him a slight shake of the head. One thing he could count on was Ed's oblivion regarding his own good looks. "Now that I have you here," he said, slipping his arms easily and naturally about the lean body in his lap, "I can reveal my ultimate motive in taking you as my spouse."
Ed gave him a distrustful look. "YOU had a motive?"
"Of course!" Roy set his chin in hand once more. "Now that you're the wife, we'll see just how good you look in a MINI-SKIRT!"
The bleeding stopped almost immediately, and Ed even seemed MOSTLY contrite, but of course having one's jaw brought to the brink of dislocation put a damper on Roy's ardor for a good ten minutes. After that and certain other first-thing-in-the-morning duties were tended to, they regrouped in bed and Ed knelt on the coverlet with expectant eyes.
"You did say you wanna," Ed reminded him.
Roy put a tentative hand to the side of his mouth. He hadn't spit blood while brushing his teeth so it couldn't have been TOO bad, right? Regrettable for him that Fullmetal was right-handed... "Oh, I do, I definitely do."
"Then let's GO."
Lounging afterward in the post-coital tangle and stroking the cloud of Ed's unbound hair -- he'd snapped the tie -- Roy felt most of the terrible tension had gone out of Ed's body at last. "There," he said, weight of drowsiness settling over him. "You know we're sexually compatible at least."
"Mm-hmm." Ed settled his arm over Roy's, sounding equally sleepy.
The aftermath of great sex might have given way to equally great dreams if not for a small voice interrupting Roy's transition stage.
"Roy?" Ed said, sounding unaccountably worried.
"Mrrph," Roy replied into the nape of Ed's neck. He was pliant and satisfied and in no way inclined to move more than a centimeter for, oh, an hour or two.
Ed was anxiously feeling up his belly. "Roy, what about the BABY!?" He sounded more aggrieved than upset as if this, too, were Roy's fault.
"...Oh. Don't worry, Ed, we wouldn't have made good parents."
"But the BABY!! Crap, Al's gonna kill me..."
Tension in the office was down to all-time lows with the Colonel getting laid again on a regular basis and Fullmetal getting laid regularly for the first time, ever. Word was it in quiet corners money had changed hands amongst the Colonel's people and Hawkeye herself had taken enough from Havoc to leave him wincing when anyone so much as looked at him. Though Hawkeye had not breathed a word, she had been unsurprised to come back to the office and hear that news of the marriage license was already circulating.
Edward Elric stalked through the halls the morning after "the incident," as he referred to it in his head -- the way one might refer to a traffic jam or having research funds cut, not such a happy event as marriage. No one would quite meet his eyes and he glared this way and that, just DARING someone to say something. The words never came, so he couldn't take offense.
"I heard--" Ed began, closing the door of the Colonel's office with unusual quiet and respect -- "I heard that the Fleshweaver was captured this morning."
"You're well-informed," Roy replied, folding his hands on his desk. He was in more than a typical Ed-baiting good mood that morning, and feeling magnanimous as a result.
"And!?" Ed prompted, eyes simmering with questions.
"Armstrong made a full report just this morning," Roy said, wearing his poker face. "It so happens he took custody of the Fleshweaver--"
"You didn't TELL him anything, did you?" Ed demanded. He stabbed a finger in Roy's direction. "I said I didn't want him to know; you HEARD me say it -- and it might be my imagination but the staff is avoiding me today."
"I can't imagine why," Roy said blandly, and tilted his head to give Ed a slight smile the boy seemed to categorize as "maddening."
"Rrrgh." Fullmetal held his glare to just below boiling. "You were saying something, Colonel?"
Roy was impressed. Fullmetal had managed to remember to hold onto his temper long enough to hear out the essentials. "On my orders, Armstrong picked up the Fleshweaver -- strangely enough, he hadn't left town, and I had Armstrong interrogate him."
Ed raised an eyebrow. "With sparkles?"
"I believe pink sparkles may have been levied against him, yes."
Ed plopped himself onto the sofa perpendicular to Roy's desk, turning a look on him that was filled with unholy glee. "And?"
"Armstrong interrogated him until the old man couldn't take it anymore and revealed the whole thing," Roy said. "He did have a grudge against Hohenheim, but he was more disgruntled that you and Al had recently revitalized the local economy of a town you passed through, enabling most of the young attractive girls to migrate to Central City and so he took his revenge on you."
"I knew it, he really is a shitty old man," Ed said gloomily, propping his chin on one fist. "Perverted, too. And? What about the...um, the...YOU know."
Roy smirked, mimicking Ed's pose and balancing chin on gloved hand. "There WAS no baby. Fleshweaver's transmutation didn't extend that far. He said, and I quote, 'Ohohoho...he didn't think my transmutation was THAT comprehensive, did he? Ohohoho...that means that Fullmetal--'"
"WHAT!? Fullmetal WHAT!?" Ed raged, bristling on the edge of the sofa like an enraged cat.
Roy forebore to point out that the old man was hardly implying anything that wasn't true. "At any rate, it was impossible for you to have become pregnant." He coughed.
"But the test--"
"Current theory has it that the influx of hormones caused by your recent change resulted in a false positive." That had been the idea forwarded by Hawkeye, and at any rate it was no less plausible than any other.
Ed collapsed back onto the sofa. "Oh, thank GOD," he said feelingly, patting his flat stomach again as if reassuring himself that no life was spawning in his loins. "Just the thought of birthing something with my eyes and your smirk was giving me cold shudders."
"Thanks," Roy said wryly. "I noticed you even 'thought' you had morning sickness."
Fullmetal flushed redder than his coat. "It was psychosomatic," he said gruffly. "I musta been off my rocker in the first place to, um..." He cinched his lips shut.
"To let yourself be seduced by me?" Roy pushed back from his desk with an abrupt scrape, stood, and looked down at Ed's face as the boy glanced his way quickly, looking scared. What Ed didn't know -- and he certainly didn't feel like relating -- was that there was another office pool already circulating as to how long the union between Flame and Fullmetal would last. Seeing as Roy had placed a dummy wager through Hawkeye, it was in his best interests to stack the deck. "I was wondering, Ed." Tugging his right glove off between his teeth, Roy emerged from behind his desk as Ed looked increasingly nervous. He leaned against his desk.
"Hm?" Ed stared up at him with dilating eyes. A sex look.
Promising. "Now that we've dispensed with the preliminaries, how would you like to compare sex on the desk between then and now?"
Ed leapt to his feet and Roy's jaw gave him a warning twinge and for a long moment he thought he'd either pushed it too far or lost that office pool already. "All right," Ed purred, "but NOT on the desk."
Roy gave his counter-offer. "Couch, then?
"Actually I've got this little fantasy about being bent over a file cabinet..."