Rachel (inugrlrayn) wrote,

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If I Should Die Chapter 16

Title: If I Should Die Chapter 16
Fandom: FMA
Pairing: Roy/Ed
Author: inugrlrayn
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.

Previous parts

The rest of my fics are here.

Rain pattered against the windowpane, a dull and lulling rhythm. It nearly masked the knock at his front door that had jarred Roy from his sleep. He groaned and buried his face in the pillow that was not Ed, hiding from the gray light that filtered through the curtains.

Someone knocked at the door again and Roy scowled, slowly pushing himself to sit up. His head throbbed in complaint as he shuffled out from under the covers. He yanked the blanket around his shoulders and stumbled down the stairs into the foyer.

Roy reached for the doorknob just as something hollow and hard banged against the other side. He opened the door to find Ed, automail still curled in a fist in the air. The rain had matted his bangs flat against his face, but his eyes peeked out between soppy locks of hair. “Hey.”

Ed looked every bit as awful as Roy felt. Rain soaked and bedraggled, his hair hung carelessly about his shoulders as if he’d only just rolled out of bed himself. Dark shadows smudged beneath luminous eyes, and the corners of his mouth pulled warily down. Roy hadn’t actually expected him at all, let alone so early. “Ed… It’s…”

“Two in the afternoon,” Ed replied, adjusting the paper bag he held in his grip so that he could see Roy better. Roy scrubbed his eye with the heel of his hand and stepped aside to let Ed in.

“What are you doing here? I thought you’d be… catching up with your brother or something.” Roy hoped Ed didn’t notice him leaning against the wall as he made his way to the linen closet to fish a towel out for him.

“Well, you know… Al’s got some project he’s working on and I was just…just in the neighborhood,” Ed explained. If Roy lived far from anything that could possibly interest Ed, he didn’t point that out. If he knew Ed was lying through his teeth to protect his own battered pride, he didn’t complain. Ashamed of his weakness and suffering in silence was still better than being alone.

Roy watched Ed ruffle his hair with the towel, leaving it draped over his head as he kicked off his shoes. He was already carrying the bag he’d brought with him to the kitchen when Roy finally spoke up, “Planning on staying a while, then?”

“There wasn’t much else to do,” Ed set the bag down and went about putting away groceries, and if they weren’t where Roy would have been them, he didn’t say anything about that either.

“I’m fine, you know.” Roy stood beside Ed and reached to at least help put things away. Ed gave him a sharp look and he shook his head, amused by the way Ed seemed determined to take over his house by his mere presence.

“Yeah, I know. That’s not why I stopped by.” Ed looked around, his eyes settling on the empty teapot on the stove. He quickly filled it and turned on the burner, and turned to face Roy. The way he leaned his elbows bent behind him to rest on the counter, Roy would have sworn he belonged there.

And so it went, back and forth. They conversed through the truths between their lies that neither was willing to confront. Ed fished through the cabinets until he found the coffee mugs, just a little too high. Instead of asking for help, he hauled himself up on his tiptoes, just barely catching the handles of the two closest the edge of the shelf.

The kettle whistled away on top of the stove, and Ed very nearly dropped the mugs entirely. They clattered loudly on the counter, not breaking by some miracle. He glowered at them from beneath the towel that had fallen mostly into his face.

Roy wasn’t entirely certain how he managed not to spill boiling water across the counter when he was aiming for the mugs. Somehow, he didn’t, and after a moment Ed returned to the table, one in each hand. He set them down and flopped down in a chair, flinging the towel over the back of it.

Roy had never really been much of a tea person. Coffee suited him more, but he couldn’t quite bring himself to look away from Ed long enough to make some. In any case, after the night he’d had, he was just glad for the company. The afternoon was dreary and oppressively lonesome, shrouding the kitchen in gray light that felt like it was seeping into his veins. Dismal as it was, Ed went on as if he were entirely untouched, the sound of his voice slowly driving back the melancholy.

They sat in the kitchen, and talked about nothing, as if everything was the same as it had been for the last few months. Roy leaned back in his chair, fingers steepled together as he listened. Ed went on about Al’s new kitten that wouldn’t leave him alone, and what color they were going to paint the living room.

“So I was thinking.” It was a phrase that made Roy cringe a little bit because it probably meant Ed was about to say something serious. His head was still throbbing, and not being terribly cooperative about any sort of deep thinking.

“About?” Roy heard himself ask. Before he could amend the question and ask if he might take a nap first, Ed had already barreled onward.

“I know you don’t go back to work until Monday and all, but… Harcourt is already talking about scheduling your assessment.” Ed paused to chew on his lip, waiting for Roy to say something. In five months, it was the first time he’d ever directly brought the situation up.

“Are you surprised?” Roy managed something like a wry smile he didn’t really feel. Until now he’d been able to avoid anything like reality, but there was nowhere to run from here.

“Of course not. Harcourt’s a bastard, way more than you ever were,” Ed muttered teasingly. He took a sip of his tea, setting the mug down with a heavy clank against the table. “I just thought we should maybe get on that so…”

Ed never finished, though his meaning hung between them. The possibility that there was a deadline to getting his life in order was like a kick to the gut, and it was hard not to lash out at Ed for bringing it to his attention. “What are you suggesting, Ed?”

“Nothing big. I just thought that… I dunno, Al’s busy with school, and I’ve had about all the being cooped up I can handle, and… I thought maybe you’d spar with me or something.” The words tumbled over each other in their hurry to get out. Ed was so flushed with embarrassment that if Roy hadn’t heard what was actually being said, he’d have thought he was being asked out on a date or something. Still, he had no idea how he’d react, and he faltered, worried he might hurt Ed.

“Ed… It’s raining.” Such a flimsy excuse, but it was all that he had with so little warning.

“You idiot. I didn’t mean right now. You’re only going into work in the mornings, right? I’ll just… come over in the afternoon.” Ed watched Roy anxiously, his head tilted off to the side.

Roy sighed through his nose, pinching the bridge of it. He couldn’t deny that Ed had a point. More than anything, he wanted to go back to bed and forget Ed had said anything at all. Maybe forget about going back to work while he was at it. In the end though, Ed had sacrificed so much to give him this opportunity. He couldn’t stomach the idea of failing the only person he could trust.

“Okay,” he conceded, though the word caught in his throat like a thick wad of cotton. Ed leaned over enough to rest a hand on his shoulder, silently offering what consolation he could.

“I’m not asking you to use alchemy or anything,” Ed murmured reassuringly, frowning when Roy shuddered at the suggestion. “It’ll just be me. Promise.”

“I already said okay,” Roy pointed out. His voice only grew more strained as he admitted, “It’s fine…I…I trust you.”

Ed’s lips tilted in a mischievous, hopeful smile. His fingers tightened around Roy’s shoulder until Roy leaned closer, near enough to pick out the burnished speckles in Edward’s eyes. “Harcourt will never know what hit him.”

He wished he had Ed’s faith in the situation. Mostly he felt like his stomach was bottoming out, his doubts making wicked promises of how badly he’d fail. He did trust Ed though, and Ed hadn’t led him wrong yet.

He hadn’t really expected Ed to stay despite the weather that refused to let up. The sky only grew darker, and the rain poured down in sheets so thick he couldn’t quite make out the street. Roy was rather glad for Ed’s company about then.

Eventually, they moved into the living room, and Roy watched Ed curl up at the end of the old gray couch like he was a permanent fixture there. He challenged Roy to a game of chess, and really he was getting to be surprisingly good at this. The game ended in a draw, but Ed was smiling so hard you’d think he’d finally won one.

They wiled away the afternoon with games and easy conversation. Nothing had changed between them except the locale. The realization that perhaps he hadn’t lost anything after all put Roy more at ease than he’d been the day before.

He thought Ed would have left by now. The gray light outside dissolved into night, black and violent. Ed was still there, back in his kitchen and digging through the pots and pans in his kitchen like they’d been doing this for years.

Edward was such an entirely comfortable presence that it never really occurred to Roy to be protective of his home. They finished dinner and sat in the study, and even amidst a room full of coded notes and personal belongings, it didn’t seem wrong for Ed to be there. Roy only smiled when Ed discovered shelves of books he actually hadn’t read, and only gave a cursory, hopeful glance before pulling a few from the bookcase.

It was nearly midnight when Roy realized that Ed was half asleep against his shoulder. A faded book was draped across Ed’s face, only his bangs poking out from the worn leather binding. Roy shifted carefully where he sat, but Ed just scowled at losing his pillow and squirmed closer.

“I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted,” Ed finally muttered, rubbing his eyes and sitting up. Roy held his breath as Ed set down the book, hoping this wasn’t the part where he was planning to leave again.

“It’s late. You’re welcome to stay if you’d like,” Roy offered. It was silly to be so worried, but Roy found himself waiting with baited breath, hoping Ed would say yes. His shoulders sagged in relief when Ed’s lips wound in a lazy smile.

“Thanks,” Ed agreed immediately, his shoulders sagging in weariness or relief.

He started out on the couch. It felt wrong and awkward, but Roy brought him a pillow and blanket anyway. Ed dawdled and shifted back and forth on his feet, but he didn’t argue, and eventually flopped down on the couch.

It was hard to leave him there, almost more difficult than it had been to watch him leave the day before. He knew that all it would take was one word and Ed would be following him up the stairs. As much as he wanted to though, Roy just couldn’t bring himself to take advantage.

A half dozen times as he brushed his teeth and climbed into bed, Roy thought about how off everything felt. He turned out the lights and scooted over to the side of the bed with the wall at his back. For a long time, he simply stared out into the empty darkness.

He was just beginning to fall asleep when he heard the creak of the stairs out in the hall. He tensed out of habit until he recognized the heavy clank of a bare automail foot against the hard wood. Roy relaxed beneath the covers, listening to Edward’s mismatched steps as they grew louder, a hint of a smile creeping across his lips.

“Roy?” Ed whispered his name, blond head poking through the open doorway. Roy was certain there was some sort of flimsy excuse poised on his lips, that it was cold downstairs, that the couch was uncomfortable. He waved Ed over because he really wanted Ed’s company more than the lies he allowed to accompany it.

Ed crawled beneath the covers, snuggling up beside Roy as if he’d always belonged there. He couldn’t see Ed in the dark, but everything else was utterly magnified. The weight of Ed’s arm draped over his side, the soft, warm breaths that blew out across his neck were as welcome as they were familiar, reminders that he wasn’t alone.

It was only as his vision adjusted to the dark that Roy noticed Ed watching him. His gaze was searching, though Roy couldn’t quite sort out what he was looking for. All he knew was that in the lightning that flashed through the curtains now and again, Ed was completely breathtaking.

“I…” Roy’s breath caught in his throat as Ed moved closer. It was an innocent gesture, probably only meant to hear what Roy was saying over the incessant roll of thunder. Ed’s hair grazed Roy’s jaw, though, and he was near enough as he leaned closer, that his lips almost skimmed Roy’s ear.

Ed paused there, and Roy shivered at the way he could have tilted his head and scraped his teeth along Ed’s pulse if he really wanted to. The world was frozen around the two of them, and Roy swore Ed’s fingers had tightened against his back. Whatever he’d been saying was lost in the current, and all Roy could manage was to notice how his heart was threatening to hammer its way out of his chest.

“Last night…” It took a moment for Roy to realize that Ed was whispering at him. His voice was hushed, nearly drowned out by the rain, but Roy strained to hear him. It was the times like these, shrouded by darkness and safe in the warmth of blankets and tangled limbs, that they allowed themselves the greatest honesty.

“Last night was really awful… I…Could we just, just not make a habit of that?” Roy couldn’t see Ed’s face, but he had caved where Roy couldn’t and it meant something profound.

“No. Stay as long as you want,” Roy murmured. He couldn’t admit how much he needed it, in so many words, but he pressed his face into Ed’s hair, and wrapped his arms around the slender body beside him. Ed seemed to understand at least. He always did when it mattered.

Ed rolled over in Roy’s arms, facing out into the empty room that had terrified Roy the night before. His back was pressed to Roy’s chest as he relaxed amidst pillows and blankets. Roy wasn’t certain how they were going to manage this, but nothing ever felt as right as sleeping with Ed in his reach. His body fit easily against Ed’s, warm and comfortable, even as he wormed an arm between Ed and the mattress. The other draped over Ed’s side until his hands were pressed against the flat of Ed’s stomach. Roy tipped his head forward, his nose pressing into the thick fall of hair at the base of Ed’s skull.

He could feel the steady rise and fall of Ed’s breathing under his fingers. For the briefest of moments, Roy’s mind strayed, wondering what it would feel like without the barrier of Ed’s shirt, all smooth skin and taut muscle. It was more innocent by far than many of the thoughts that had crossed his mind about the women he’d dated. Still, those women were not Edward. They hadn’t sacrificed their own moral boundaries to save his life. They hadn’t given months away just because he was afraid. They didn’t leave him utterly entranced by their every expression.

Roy clamped down immediately on that train of thought. His body tensed as he tried to deny what was happening. He thought he had hidden his reaction well, but it was enough for Ed to notice, because he ran his human hand gently over one of Roy’s, threading their fingers together. “Roy. Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” Roy muttered, hoping Ed wouldn’t catch the blatant falsehood. Ed hmmed, and for just a second, Roy was sure he was going to press the issue. Thankfully, something changed his mind.

Ed’s fingers tightened in their grip on Roy’s hand. If he noticed the way Roy trembled as he wriggled closer, he didn’t point it out. He only made a soft, soothing sound at the back of his throat, pulling Roy’s arms tightly around him. “Goodnight.”

In spite of his nerves, Roy couldn’t, couldn’t pull away. He smiled crookedly against Ed’s neck, allowing himself to enjoy this one thing. His voice was heavy with confessions he couldn’t make, but he only offered a muffled, “Goodnight Ed.”
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