Rating: PG-13 (eventual R or NC-17)
Summary: I wrote this for a prompt over at the kinkmeme. The request was "Roy ends up maimed in some way, maybe from being captured/tortured; Ed is the one who finds/rescues/takes care of him" It was meant to be a oneshot, but it's run away with me. Thanks, per usual to elfen and cryogenia for read overs and edits and the like.
Disclaimer: I don't own Fullmetal Alchemist or any of its characters.
The rest of my fics are here.
Roy couldn’t help but envy the way Edward shifted seamlessly between one dynamic and another. It didn’t appear as if anything had overtly changed, and yet the fault lines had shifted right under his feet. Roy struggled to keep up and adapt, but the whole ordeal left him more than a little bit lost.
If Ed noticed what was going on, he hid it well. He stubbornly stuck by his decision to stay, up to and including planting himself quite firmly in Roy’s bed. The nurses didn’t even look twice anymore when Ed was curled up in the blankets, fingers fisted in the pillows, his nose pressed to Roy’s throat.
Roy himself didn’t think much of it anymore either. The more he recovered, the less he slept. More and more often he found himself awake with Ed still calmly slumbering beside him. Less and less often he found himself marveling at the way it didn’t seem strange, not because it wasn’t comfortable, but because it had become too normal to bear considering.
For all his fierce brilliance when he was awake, Ed was an entirely different creature when he slept. His breathing was soft and even, perfectly in tune with the serene expression half hidden by bedding. Golden hair splayed across his shoulders and the pillow in sunlit tendrils that tickled Roy’s cheek.
Briefly, Roy thought about waking Ed. It was midmorning by now and surely there was something more interesting to do than sleep like the dead. Roy rolled on his side, satisfied to find it didn’t hurt any worse than lying on his back now, and his shoulder didn’t complain terribly at the extra weight.
The position dragged him closer to Ed’s sleeping form. Unfortunately, it also brought him nearer unruly strands of hair that immediately poked at his jaw. Roy reached to brush them away, intent on pushing them back where they belonged.
His fingers slid smoothly across the pillow towards Ed’s face, dragging stray blond hairs along with them. They were easy to nudge into joining the others that made up Ed’s bangs, trapped between his cheek and the bedding. Ed never so much as sighed in his sleep, as if Roy’s touch hadn’t disturbed him at all.
There was no thought, no consideration that led to Roy reaching out. He hardly noticed he was doing it, only that Ed’s hair felt like cool, brushed silk between his fingers. Soft tendrils slipped between his knuckles, and Roy only realized he’d chased them when his fingertips grazed Ed’s cheekbone.
Ed’s skin was smooth and warm beneath the pads of Roy’s fingers. The curve of his jaw was softened by the light filtering though the blinds. Like this, Ed almost qualified as pretty. It was a strange thought to be having because he’d never really thought of Ed as anything but Ed.
Roy watched his hand skim Ed’s cheek, as if it belonged to someone else. His fingers combed through Ed’s bangs, eliciting a soft, pleasant sigh from barely parted lips. Roy considered what he was doing in a detached sort of way. He was too intrigued by the way Ed leaned into the light brush of knuckles along his jaw to appreciate that the touch Ed was responding to was his own.
His fingers traced the line of Ed’s chin, pausing at the junction of his jaw and throat. They seemed to continue of their own volition, sweeping across a steady pulse. Ed stirred in his sleep, but did not wake.
Roy’s palm fit perfectly, gently cupping the side of Ed’s neck. His fingers caught in loose strands of hair as they pressed against the base of Ed’s skull. Even dead to the world, Ed was startlingly responsive, tipping his head into the pillows with a soft sigh as Roy’s thumb grazed his jaw.
Most of the buttons on the shirt Ed had fallen asleep in had come undone. It happened frequently, and Ed’s state of dress was never something Roy gave any thought to anyway. But the way Ed shifted caused the fabric to slip from his shoulder, exposing the bronzed flesh it usually shrouded.
It seemed only natural for his hand to slip from where it rested along the curve of Ed’s neck. He traced the silhouette of Ed’s shoulder, lingering for a moment. He ought to fix Ed’s shirt at least, and even as he reached to do so, Roy was surprised by the disappointment he felt that he couldn’t entirely define.
In the end, it wasn’t the way Ed moved that brought him to his senses. It was the soft, whimpering sound that bled from his lips, unfocused and suspiciously needy. Ed’s eyes flickered a few times, and oh god what was he doing? Roy yanked his hand away just as Ed’s gaze settled on him.
Ed blinked, looking a bit disoriented. He watched Roy pull his hand back as if not really putting together what it meant. Finally, he pressed his lips together, his expression more focused.
For a moment Roy was certain that Ed was going to ask what he had been doing, but Ed didn’t say a word. His lips pulled up into a sleepy, half smile as he pressed is face into the pillows, half of it hidden behind his hand. “Mornin’.”
Roy hid his relief in sarcasm. He motioned at the light streaming in through half open blinds. “So I gathered.”
Ed scrunched his nose pointedly at Roy. He stretched out on the mattress with a soft, pleased hmm that he’d probably made a hundred times before. Only now Roy noticed it, and something in his chest tightened at the sound.
Abruptly, Ed rolled off the bed, catching himself easily. The collar of his shirt slipped down his arm as he righted himself. Roy watched him shiver and was struck by the urge to tug the fabric back over Ed’s shoulder again, to offer back the protection Ed gave him in some small way. He might have done so, if Ed hadn’t been just out of reach.
Ed reached to pull the cord for the blinds, lifting them from the window. The light that had trickled in before, flooded now, rolling across the bed and the floor. Ed fairly glowed in it, and Roy shook his head to dislodge the thought as he watched mismatched hands open the window.
Ed stopped for a moment, his nose nearly pressed to the screen like he was desperate for fresh air. The breeze ruffled his hair, and he closed his eyes, drinking it in. It was only reluctantly that he pulled away, turning to face Roy. “It’s a nice day.”
“Looks like,” Roy replied. Save for the trip from the hospital, Roy hadn’t been outside since Ed had rescued him. He could get out of bed on his own, with enough time and effort, but it was tiring, and he never really left the room. It felt safer, and if not for the way Ed was becoming visibly restless, he might have been entirely content.
Ed’s expression was understanding, almost sympathetic. He fixed the buttons of his shirt and straightened his pants, either unaware of his audience or simply not caring. Threading his fingers briskly through tangled hair, he smiled innocently at Roy, “I’ll be right back, okay?”
“Where are you going?” Roy wished he could kick himself. Surely he wasn’t so broken that he had to know Ed’s every move.
“You’ll see.” Ed grinned and turned on his heel before Roy had the chance to press. His steps faded as he moved to the other room and there was a shuffling sound that Roy couldn’t quite decipher. He might have gone to find out what it was, but by the time he’d decided it was worth the effort to get up, Ed was already gone.
Roy reminded himself that Ed would be back. He always came back, and generally sooner rather than later. The fear wasn’t as deafening as it had been even weeks before. Roy was coming to find that the silence was very slowly becoming more lonely than frightening now that he was healed enough not to be entirely helpless.
He half expected Dr. Edgewood to come while Ed was out. The doctor was less adamant about Ed leaving if it meant Roy actually talked to him. Telling Ed the entire truth of what happened had left him shaking and hollow, but there had been catharsis in it as well. It was easier to repeat the bits and pieces the doctor asked about without feeling like his resolve might crumble mid sentence.
There was no telling what exactly Ed was up to, but Roy thought it best to be prepared. Where Ed had once been startlingly protective, he was something else now. The better Roy got, the more Ed pushed, encouraging and teasing by turns until Roy could at least get out of bed on his own.
Roy got dressed while he waited for Ed, hissing at the pull of stitches and bandaging as he reached for the clothes on the bedside table. It was a small thing, and he wondered at how far he must have fallen for a simple thing like being able to get dressed to feel so much more dignified. It took some effort to maneuver the shirt over his shoulders without pulling too much at still healing burns, but he managed. He was just buttoning the last button when Ed returned.
“See, told you I’d be right back.” It was as much a greeting as anything else as Ed flung open the door in the little living room. He covered the few feet to Roy’s room and poked his head around the door with a broad smile. If he was surprised by Roy’s state of dress, he kindly didn’t comment on it.
Ed’s hair hung carelessly about his shoulders. Roy watched it move as Ed stepped into the room. “Come on.”
“Where?” It wasn’t that he didn’t trust Ed, but he hadn’t really left the room. He wasn’t sure he trusted the rest of the world, let alone his own ability to make it wherever Ed wanted to take him.
“It isn’t far,” Ed promised, holding out his human hand. There was something in his expression that made Roy’s heart clutch again, and he was helpless but to thread his fingers through Edward’s.
Ed was careful, a steady presence at Roy’s side. He marveled at the way Ed managed to look for all the world like his sluggish pace had nothing to do with the fact that Roy was having trouble keeping up. He smiled like he hadn’t a care in the world, and it was too infectious for Roy not to smile back.
He’d been so focused on putting one foot in front of the other, and on Ed, that Roy was almost surprised to find himself standing in front of the door out to the hall. He froze for a moment, nervous all over again as Ed turned the handle and flung it open. Ed didn’t say anything to draw attention to the way Roy faltered, but his fingers tightened reassuringly, and he waited patiently for Roy to decide he could do this.
Roy took a breath and reminded himself that it was just a hallway, and there was nothing dangerous about it. He let Ed guide him out of the room, measuring each step so as to keep his balance. If he focused on where he was, he knew he was going to panic, so Roy did his best to only think about keeping upright.
“You holding up okay?” Ed asked, softly so that only Roy could hear him. He wasn’t sure it was true, but he nodded his head. Ed seemed to accept it, even if he scooted a little bit closer to Roy, clinging by general proximity the way Roy couldn’t quite allow himself to do.
Ed led him towards an exit that let out into what was probably a courtyard. The doors loomed up ahead, insidious glass and steel, and suddenly Roy wished very acutely that he’d told Ed no. He sucked a breath of air between his lips, a little too fast, betraying the panic that threatened.
“There’s no one even out there right now. It’ll just be us,” Ed soothed. The reminder that Ed knew he could do this remained unspoken, but once again Ed waited for Roy to decide whether or not to bolt.
It was just a door. The area it opened out to was only a broad patch of grass and trees and tables, surrounded entirely by the hospital itself. Why it bothered him so acutely to be in a place he didn’t recognize was hard to really pinpoint. His breathing was rapid, and it took everything he had not to flee, but he nodded his head, taking one more step towards the exit.
If he could have gone the rest of the way with his eyes shut tightly, he would have. Roy forced himself to keep going to focus on Ed’s hand wrapped around his. Ed was saying something, soft words that Roy was too lost to quite make out, but the sound was soothing and he tried to think about that instead of the way the walls rose up around him and anyone could be on the other side of those windows.
He hardly realized they’d reached their destination until Ed motioned at a chair, already pulled out from the table. He was distraught and utterly exhausted, but Ed only smiled reassuringly. He held on longer than was strictly necessary, finally pulling his hand away from Roy’s to sit down.
It wasn’t the wind that caressed Roy’s face that he noticed. It was the way it ruffled Ed’s hair, the way Ed’s nose wrinkled as golden strands blew into his eyes. Ed smiled sheepishly from behind the mop of hair and pushed a plate at Roy. Pastries and fruit and Roy couldn’t help but think of waking up terrified and deathly ill and realizing Ed of all people had stayed with him and brought breakfast to boot. It was sweet in a roundabout way, and Roy slowly found himself relaxing.
Ed seemed to have forgotten Roy entirely in favor of breakfast. It gave Roy a chance to watch him, completely unnoticed. It wasn’t something he’d put much thought into, and it hadn’t mattered, but now he wasn’t certain what to think.
Ed seemed entirely at home, and Roy only wished he could manage that kind of carelessness and comfort. He looked over the plate Ed had set out, nearly overflowing, as if he’d expected a small army to be joining them. Roy shook his head in amusement, and finally his eye settled on the chess board laid out beside the fruit and pastries. So that had been the rustling around he’d heard before.
“You don’t like chess,” Roy commented, picking apart an apple pastry.
Ed stared at him around a mouth full of cream cheese and pastry crust, “Says who?”
“You didn’t seem to like it very much last time we played.” Roy was hardly aware of the way his mouth curved in a lighthearted smile at the way Ed had railed at him the last time they’d gotten the board out.
“I like it fine,” Ed argued. His lips turned down slightly and his voice dropped as he added sheepishly, “You just kept beating me.”
Ed kept his temper remarkably well, limiting himself to snarky, halfhearted insults when he lost. It was pleasant and comfortable and bit by bit Roy could almost forget he was in a hospital. They could have been anywhere, a park, his own backyard, and they might as well have been doing this for years for all its intimacy. For the first time in a long time, Roy let himself believe there might be a day where he’d finally be well again.