Rating: PG-13 to be safe
Prompt: 100moods #60 lonely and #81 relieved
It was over now. He’d healed about as much as he could expect to. The verdict came down that he was not to be charged with treason or assassination, or anything at all for that matter. Instead, they touted him as their champion, someone brave enough to make a change happen. It was not for his sake of course, so much as their own, but he had become a catalyst, and that was worth something.
They’d stood behind him, every last one, even in his bleakest moments. They’d backed him up, stalled for time, and saved his life when it came down to the wire. He couldn’t help but wonder what would have happened if even one of them had not been strong enough, hadn’t believed in him beyond a shadow of a doubt. It was of no consequence, and he tossed the thought aside in favor of joining in the good mood that pervaded his home, full of his closest friends, save one.
Even Al, happily back in Rizembul, had written in gratitude, though the boy did not truly remember him. The letter had preceded his guests by only a few ours, and he made himself put that too aside. No need to call up amber eyes and sunlit hair wrapped in a storm that was conspicuously absent now. No need to dwell on the person he’d loved and lost, and could not even be granted the closure of a body to grieve over.
He smiled and laughed with his guests. Only Riza seemed to notice the smile was painted on and the laugh rang hollow and false. Thankfully, she said not a word on the matter, not even after everyone else left, one by one. She simply squeezed his shoulder, offering a smile of sympathy and support, a silent promise of a confidante should he need it.
Then she left, and everyone was gone. It seemed funny to him how many years he’d never shared this home with anyone, preferring to take his bedmates anywhere but his own sanctuary.
With Ed, though, things were different. They hadn’t slept together, here, or anywhere for that matter. This place had somehow become their sanctuary despite that, a wall against a cruel world. He smiled ruefully at al the times he’d woken to his arms full of warm skin and automail, soft breath washing over his chest. He’d never known what it was to cherish a person, for things that had nothing to do with desire. He’d never before known what it was to love a person’s devotion and passion, even when he wasn’t the target of it, to ache over the way they laughed and the way they cried, the way they said his name. He’d never known what it was to miss the temper that flared over unimportant things, and to wish just once, he could see them stomp through his house once more over something, anything. There had never before been a person that made him afraid to move any faster, afraid of ruining something beautiful.
He couldn’t say he regretted that, couldn’t say he’d change the fact that he’d never seen Ed laid utterly bare. It didn’t matter because he knew what it was like to feel you might burst over a smile meant only for you. He didn’t mind because he knew what it felt like to be held just for the sake of holding and loved with an inconceivable force of will.
Only now, after years of being on his own, did he know what it meant to be lonely.
After they’d gone, Roy sat for a while, reading over the letter Al had sent. It wasn’t what he wanted, wasn’t the person he longed to hear from, but it was something in spite of a great big nothing that invaded him. He read it again and again, wishing he could find something in it, any clue as to where Ed had gone. Al, of course, did not know, but he looked anyway.
Finally, he could take no more and searched for some other outlet. He settled on a shower, because at least that was relaxing and maybe, just maybe, he could forget for a little bit if he wasn’t strung so tightly.
He gazed into the mirror as he waited for the water to warm, wondering what Ed would say about the patch over one eye, wondering how he’d respond to the scar at his shoulder, a sword that had gone all the way through to the other side. Shaking his head, he shoved the thoughts away. The point of this was to forget for a while, not to wallow in the things he couldn’t have.
The water poured over him, warm and soothing, caressing old wounds and sore muscles.
Hands rested on his shoulders, and he was captivated by golden eyes, a soft smile, full of selfless adoration he’d never received from anyone. Slowly, those hands, one flesh, one automail, slid down his arms, fingers wrapping briefly around his wrists before entangling in his own, and he wondered at having found something so perfect he was content to just hold hands.
This wasn’t what was meant to happen at all. Why did this have to make things worse?
”I’ve got something important to tell you,” Ed announced brightly, lips quirked in a warm smile.
“What is it?” Roy asked.
“I’ll tell you… when this is all over,” Ed promised.
“Why not now, if it’s so important?”
“It’s too important to tell you while there’s all this going on. I don’t want to be distracted by a mess,” the smile was still there, but his gaze seemed to have hollowed behind it. Roy just snorted.
“Ed, I lo..” he might have said it, right then, but Ed cut him off.
“Whatever you were saying. Just save it. Tell me later… after, okay?” Ed looked at him with pleading eyes and pouting lips, and how was he meant to say no?
He wished, in retrospect, that he’d just said it, told Ed just how much he meant. It was unfair to think that way, though. After all, it would have been a distraction, a footnote to the horrors they headed for, the roads they had to follow. He understood now, why Ed had wanted him to wait, but his chest burned with words he hadn’t said, and the water did nothing to quench the pain, each drop a memory of fingers not his own touching smooth skin and scars alike, the sound of water falling, a soft murmur of words never spoken. He closed his eyes against the world.
Soft lips pressed over his own, like it was the most natural thing in the world. It was chaste and sweet, and was this what it was to love someone for what they were and not wonder when they’d hurry up and fuck you already so they could be gone? Ed’s eyes were a question when he pulled away, and there was nothing beyond affection, plain and simple, in his gaze. His face was painfully honest and he leaned forward once more, not aiming for Roy’s lips this time. The older man’s breath caught in his throat as a cheek pressed softly against his shoulder, and something this innocent shouldn’t make his heart race like he was a kid again and everything was brand new.
He didn’t have to remind himself that Ed wasn’t one of the vapid women Roy often found himself surrounded with. They were the ones he could not open his home to, the ones who wanted him for his uniform and his looks, disdainful of the man who truly existed beneath blue wool and gold stars. Ed was nothing in that manner. He could care less about what Roy was, only caring who he was.
With an unsteady sigh, Roy wrapped his arms around the younger man, enjoying the simple warmth that was growing between them.
Ed would be angry at him, he thought, for allowing a simple thing like loneliness get to him like this. He’d shake his head and tell him to quit being a sap and move on already. After all, no one was worth tearing your soul to pieces over.
Once upon a time, he might have agreed with the sentiment, but Ed was not just anyone. Ed had wormed into every part of his life, offered happiness only to yank it away once they were thoroughly entwined.
Roy was so lost in thought, drowning in the feel and the sound of the shower, he did not hear the click of a lock, the turning of the handle on his front door. He did not hear the soft thudding of footsteps through the living room, and down the hall, echoing ever closer.
He thought he might have heard something as the bathroom door creaked open, but quickly dismissed the idea. Roy shut the eye that was still whole, tilting his head back into the water. He did not hear the soft rustle of discarded clothing, and only just barely registered the squeak of shower curtain rings against the rod. He might have turned to look, but something warm pressed against him, cold metal wrapping around his chest. Roy jumped, snapping fingers, and immediately glad he wasn’t wearing gloves, and that he was awfully wet to effectively create fire anyway, because he looked down to see steel fingers brushing against his skin, Ed’s other arm moving to cradle him.
He turned in Ed’s arms, surprised and relieved. A small smile graced Ed’s lips as he looked up, sodden hair hanging in his face.
“You…you’re alive,” Roy murmured.
“I am,” Ed replied simply.
He wanted to ask where the younger man had been, why he’d left them all that way, but Ed’s eyes were tired and he looked as happy and surprised to see Roy as the older man was to be holding him once more. He discarded the questions for something else, words he’d never been allowed to speak.
Ed gasped at Roy’s lips pressing against his own, desperate and needy. He melted against the older man, and Roy couldn’t help but smile at the way they fit together, like this had been what was intended all along.
“I…” Ed looked blankly at him for a moment, panting for breath when Roy released him.
“I love you,” Roy grinned, hugging Ed just a little tighter.
“You beat me to it,” Ed muttered in mock irritation. His lips quirked in a smile and his eyes slid shut, silky kisses ghosting over Roy’s cheeks and lips through the water.
“Love you too.”
Roy might have said something else, but there was nothing to be said, and even if there had been, Ed was kissing him again, never so much as commenting on his ruined eye, offering warmth and love, and unconditional acceptance in soft lips and tongue and fingers combing through his hair.