Rachel (inugrlrayn) wrote,

Title: The Greatest of These
Rating: NC-17
Author: inugrlrayn
Pairing: RoyxEd, very brief HeixEd

Author’s Note: The italics are 1 Corinthians 13:1-8a & 13

1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

Ed gaped at the crowd gathered around his desk. He hadn’t meant to draw attention. He just wanted to go home, damn it. He wanted to go home where his brother was, home where his friends were, home where a pale face with dark eyes and ebony hair would smile at him and hold him close and all of this would fade into distant nightmares. In the meantime, he explained the theory they were all pressing in around him for, feeling as empty as a dry bucket.

2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

Hei had affectionately dubbed him the Walking Encyclopedia, fascinated with the way he could recite knowledge of alchemy, though he didn’t believe for a minute there was any truth to it. In his mind, Ed was simply a marvelous story teller. Ed knew different, knew he remembered it truly, for all the good it did him, knew someday he’d light a path home. He hadn’t ever really properly said goodbye to Roy, parting with only a slight touch of the hand and a smile. There was no room for regrets, but all Ed could think about was that he hadn’t even bothered to kiss him goodbye, too desperate to believe they were both coming out of this safe and alive to allow himself that parting gift.

Alfons was a pleasant diversion, cuddly and warm and urgent in his plaintive touches, and wet kisses, but he was not what Ed yearned for, and even now, listening to his friend’s desperate, pleasured moans as he drove in deeper, flesh and blood hand pumping up and down the man’s length. Ed was desperately alone.

3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

In the dark, when they were shrouded by night, away from the prying eyes of Central Command, Roy had praised him, not for his abilities, but for his heart. In the end, the way he cared, put himself on the line for anything that irked his morals, for any who could not stand up for themselves, while it was a terrible quality for a soldier, was a profound catalyst in what made up their attraction.

And so, here Ed was devoured by desire, aching for release at the rough touches of ignition cloth on his abdomen. Lips like fire stole his breath, sundering his soul and rendering it ashes, only to rise again in his hands.

He hadn’t understood then what he was feeling, then, assuming he was nothing more than an outlet. Roy’s fingers seared his flesh, leaving him trembling with want in their wake, drowning out the agony of emptiness as Ed assumed himself unloved. Despite his misery, Ed allowed himself to be pressed between Roy and the black steel and glass of the Flame Alchemist’s car. Roy was turning him around, breath hot, like everything else about the Colonel, on his neck. His leather pants were shimmying down his mismatched calves and icy metal was the only relief from fire that might have melted him to nothing, cold steel rubbing smoothly against his cock. Roy was inside him, cauterizing his hurts with teeth and tongue on his human shoulder, sandpaper gloves digging deliciously into his hips.

Ed felt like a phoenix, pulled from the flames as climax overcame him, soft pants of his name and Roy’s stomach going taut, his only clue that his partner had followed suit.

Ed shuddered his release, allowing himself a few more moments of lost time in reverie of times he’d never regain. He stared forlornly out the window at the full moon over Munich, wishing it hadn’t taken him so long to realize what was happening between them.

4Love is patient,

It was the third time Ed’s automail foot had connected with Roy’s shin that night, and he seriously considered shoving his bed encroacher somewhere far out of leg’s reach, like maybe the living room couch. He looked down, ready to shake his lover awake, but Ed looked so peaceful like that, despair eased from his features, lips relaxed in a mild pout, begging to be loved upon.

In spite of his misgivings, Roy found himself gently nudging Ed to his side of the bed, hoping that maybe giving up his well worn side of the mattress would keep him clear of that foot that just had to be cast of pure steel. Ed murmured in his sleep, eyes fluttering for a moment, but he relaxed into slumber once more the moment Roy was touching him again, fingertips affectionately stroking a golden cheek.

Someday, he hoped, he wouldn’t have to base what side of the bed he slept on around a metal leg. Someday, he wouldn’t be secretly terrified that every time Ed smiled at him was going to be the last time he saw it. Someday, there would be no goals in their way, no more excuses not to just be. For now, he solaced himself with embracing Ed, warm skin and automail, a tender kiss gracing the young man’s temple.

love is kind.

When they were alone, the quips and insults that flew between them in public seemed to melt away into ruin. Though they were more at ease, Roy didn’t expect much. Ed came and went, blowing in with the current of his search for the Stone, and out again chasing another lead. He was certain it would remain that way, but as they discovered each other again and again, strange things began to happen. It was small things at first. He often awoke to a pot of coffee, cream and sugar already in a mug, his favorite newspaper section lying on the table. Though Ed would be nowhere to be found, it was his first sign that the young man was home and safe. Far be it from him to comment on such things. The only response he’d get was angry sputtering, and then Ed’s small, thoughtful actions would cease for a day or two, but if Roy was wise and simply returned the favor, typing Ed’s reports instead of sending them back for him to do himself, bringing him a new set of alchemy books he’d “come across” and thought might be useful, then the kindness continued.

It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

Ed ached, thought his heart might split in two as he listened. He’d thought that Roy was something astounding, a hero of the Ishbal war, but here he was, naked in body and soul, confessing his terrors and failings to the only person who might understand why he woke up screaming, begging his hands to stop, to spare just one of the lives he’d taken. That night, he’d leaned on Ed for once, tears streaking his pale cheeks, praying for redemption that could never come. He’d begged Ed then, for some sort of judgment, some manner of relief, but there was none to be had.

Instead, a metal hand had cupped his chin, urging him to look up from his heap of limbs on the floor. Roy had reveled in the way the wood panels bit into his knees, shoulders hunched painfully in penitence. When he’d gazed up at Ed, begging for no mercy, he’d found something else.

Ed had his own sins, wrongs he cradled Roy’s jaw in, sins that haunted their very beings, but where neither could love themselves, they tried for the sake of each other.

5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking,

Roy remembered the last time he purposely manipulated Ed’s actions. He no longer knew what it was, but it had been days before he’d come to the realization that there was meaning to the way those tequila colored eyes seeped into his daydreams, coupled, not with naked flesh and murmurs of encouragement, but tender kisses and shared dreams. He had too much invested now to play games with the young man, had too much respect, too much love for the alchemist who now came and went of his own accord.

As he stood in the snow, Roy thought and remembered. The gloves Ed had adored on his skin were packed away, never to be used again. Without the younger man to hold him up, there was nothing left. This was not for him anymore, but for a love he’d failed to safeguard.
With nothing else left but a handful of aching dreams, Roy stayed far away from temptation, patiently waiting for Ed to come home.

it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Ed watched Alfons hunched over the table, focused completely on whatever schematics he was analyzing. He probably ought to have helped him, but concentrating on that would have shoved away his thought of happier days.

He found himself missing things he’d never thought to cherish. The smirk that meant Roy had him dancing by his strings, the insults just for the sake of seeing how much a short, blond alchemist could jump up and down and shout before he wore himself out.

Ed sighed. He had hated those things, but they were ties to a person who’d finally admitted the truth, nearly too late for him to ever know, and so Ed remembered them fondly. If he got back. When he got back, he corrected, Roy would do those things again and he would not get angry. He would smile and remember that even these were things he missed.

6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

Roy couldn’t help it. He marveled at Ed when the young man wasn’t looking. The older Elric brother could have held the world in the palm of his hand. He was brilliant on his worst days, with determination to spare. He was fascinating and might have been ambitious under other circumstances. Ed was even charming when he allowed himself to be.

Ed was different, though. He would never use his abilities to take the things he could have. There was always some higher set of beliefs for him, and while he was reckless, and volatile, it was tempered with a surprising warmth.

Roy could have had it all, he mused, staring down at hands soft with disuse. He shivered, fumbling for matches, the cold finally getting to him enough to brave fire once more. He could be fuhrer now, if not for his own guilt. There would be nothing right in taking what he’d gotten at the expense of a young man who loved him, and so he waited, hoping someday that Ed would return.

7It always protects,

He’d failed, and the nightmares reminded him of the last smile Ed ever gave him, of the way he was doing nothing to find the person he claimed to love. He woke shaking and pale, delirious with misery and wondering when it would just be over already.

always trusts,

Roy was invincible. While Ed knew in a logical sense that this wasn’t true, he convinced himself of it, desperate to believe there was still a dark haired Colonel to go back to. Roy had to have beaten Pride because Roy never lost. He was a perfect example, even. He hadn’t seen the man in two years and still he mourned the way Roy’s lips felt pressed to his jaw, the way soft fingers combed through his hair.

Roy was invincible, and Ed would really be able to believe that when he made it home.

always hopes, always perseveres.

“Why don’t you stay? Wouldn’t it be alright for you to be happy?” Alfons was pleading with his eyes, and maybe if circumstances had been different, Ed could have given in, contenting himself with the way the young man’s lips were flirtatiously worrying at the spot just below his ear. He sighed, wondering how he was supposed to explain that he needed to go home, to get back to his brother, to get back to Roy.

Maybe this man loved him, too, and that has a hard realization because his soul was spoken for and he couldn’t give it twice. He could never belong to the hands that explored his waist and hips right now except in body, and that wasn’t fair. In the end, he nudged Alfons back with a sad smile.

There’s someone waiting for me, and I have to get home, no matter what else. I don’t belong here.”

8Love never fails.

Ed returned the way he’d come. One day, to the surprise of all, he emerged from the underground city, all but silent as to what had passed. It was Al he went to first, in tears as he beheld one thing he’d managed to set right, nearly toppled as his little brother lavished him with hugs and murmurs the he’d known all along Ed would come back.

When the excitement of being reunited with Al had finally passed, he learned what had befallen Mustang. He’d feared asking before, knowing only that he hadn’t seen the man and not wanting to confirm those fears until he’d had the pleasure of hugging his brother once more.

With a heavy sigh and a halfhearted complaint that Roy just had to go and make everything difficult, he’d set off again, in search of his wayward lover who hadn’t a clue that he was home.

There was snow in his hair, and snow in his boots, and why the hell did Roy have to get himself transferred all the way out here? Ed would have kept fussing to himself, but he looked up and there was Roy’s current abode, looking very stark and lonely out here.

He thought about knocking, but it wasn’t like there was much to worry about interrupting, out here all alone. It was dark out and Roy was probably asleep anyway. Instead, he opened the door very quietly, grinning when he saw a lump on the bed, still fast asleep.

As he kicked off his boots, he noted that it was nearly as cold in here as it was outside. How exactly had Roy managed to not freeze to death? What if he had? Barely able to stifle his moment of terror, Ed made his way to the bed, sighing with relief as he watched Roy’s chest rise and fall under the blankets, his arms curled around him to stave off the frigid air.

The last embers in the fireplace had long since died, but Ed ignored them in favor of stripping off his coat and quietly climbing into bed beside Roy, warming the older man’s body with his own.

After so long, it was good just to be able to touch the man he loved again. He nuzzled his face into Roy’s hair, breathing in and smiling because this was what he’d waited two years for and he’d be damned if it wasn’t worth it.

Running his fingers through the older man’s hair, he grazed something out of place and sat up to look, discovering Roy’s eye patch. He’d have to ask about that later.

“Ed?” Roy looked blearily up at him, a wary expression regarding Ed.

“Last I checked,” Ed grinned, leaning down to kiss Roy.

This couldn’t be happening. Ed had been gone for two years and wouldn’t he have heard something if he was back? He was afraid to believe, but then Ed was kissing and no one else kissed him like that. He wrapped his arms around the younger man, terrified to let go lest his lover disappear into his dreams once more.

13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Roy raised his brow, scanning the paper that had fallen out of Ed’s pocket.

“A religious text?” he asked, holding the worn page up for Ed to see from where he reclined on the couch.

“Yeah. So?” Ed stared out the window of Roy’s office.

“That just seems very much unlike you is all.”

“I didn’t keep it because it was religious,” Ed quipped, “I kept it because it was true.”

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  • Take Two

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