If it weren't for your maturity none of this would have happened... (part one of a continuing series, Roy X Ed, YAOI)
If you weren't so wise beyond your years I would've been able to control myself
If it weren't for my attention you wouldn't have been successful and
If it weren't for me you would never have amounted to very much
-- "Hands Clean," Alanis Morissette
Roy was almost out of cigarettes. He rattled the three remaining in the pack and shook one out, sighing as he balanced it between his lips. Alcohol, women, and political machinations were his vices of choice; tobacco he indulged in only on particular occasion. As a result, he was not often out, but this particular pack had been more well stocked only a few hours ago. Normally, he would take that as a good sign, but considering present circumstances, he wasn't sure what to think of that.
Roy groped in his bedside table drawer for the book of matches from the bar nearest headquarters, ignored the advice printed on it, and struck the match hard on the back of the book without closing the cover. He cupped the tiny flame to the end of the cigarette until it glowed and he could taste sweet smoke on the back of his tongue, and breathed deeply. He could have used his gloves as he usually didn't bother with more mundane means, but they were on the other side of the room, lost in a tangle of boots and blue gabardine and one conspicuously red coat.
Cigarette lighting was a particular art for him. When he had been preparing to take the trials, Hughes had willingly sacrificed his lungs and often enough (rather less than willingly) his eyebrows by holding an unfiltered Salamander Red in his mouth for Roy to light with alchemy. They had gone through a pack a day until Roy could do it without missing once, caressing a tiny, perfectly round fleck of fire into existence.
After all, Hughes had said, as they smoked that last pack, you should never use a cannon when a slingshot would do.
/Maes/. Roy put his face in his hand and laughed silently. What would he say now? Probably 'I told you so.'
Roy shook his head, and blew smoke at the open window. /Yeah, Maes. You did/.
The lump of blankets beside Roy made a soft sleepy noise and stirred, one hand groping for a coverlet that had slid away from a bare shoulder. Roy reached out and tugged the sheet up, smoothing rumpled blonde hair until his companion slept again. Roy watched him, pale eyelashes on the tanned curve of his cheekbone, stray hairs clinging to his parted lips.
It had been an accident. Roy could say that honestly enough, for all that he didn't hold with cold hard truth when it was so often impractical. But it had never been his intent, not this golden thing-- with too much blood behind his eyes to be a boy and not enough time on his skin to be a man-- sleeping so soundly in Roy's bed.
But the question was tricky, posed after office hours as they sometimes were, so often now that Roy had grown used to the sharp knock and the obscure alchemical query in spite of the time. And Roy was hard put for answer, flipping through his own notes from the academy while the youngest state alchemist in the history of Amestria bounced impatiently in his doorway. The array in question was one he knew he had seen, and while it could have waited until morning, Roy let the thirst for knowledge infect him, until it was hours later and most of the books had been taken off the shelf, and notes were crumpled and scattered across the floor of his quarters.
He could not reconstruct how it had happened. They were arguing, that he knew, arguing in a very comfortable scholarly fashion, each convinced the other was a complete idiot. And possibly Roy had leaned over to point something out in Bowdinger's Uncommon Arrays in History/, or he was avoiding the copy of /Inorganic Alchemy being thrust in his face as though it could prove a point, but the fact remained that they were snarling and too close to be safe, up much too late and academically insulted.
How exactly that led to a crushing, growling kiss and broken spines on any number of his texts Roy was less certain, but he was confident enough of the event that if anyone had been taken advantage of, it had not been the boy in his bed. He had said something at the start, caution or apology, halfway between his jacket on the floor and an unraveling shining braid. It had been met with laughter, not mocking but not yielding, either, and one hot human hand and one cold steel one in single harmony on his skin.
And Roy was reminded why he didn't take Alchemists to bed. They were never the kind to be satisfied with one answer, they had to have three and an array before it was said and done, and there were no rules that were not worth pressing and testing and proving first in theory and then in practice all over again.
Three cigarettes now after he had fallen asleep, and Roy might have one at most in usual circumstances. He would be chain-smoking before it was over with. He had in fact forgotten his cigarette until it dripped hot ash on his bare thigh and he swore, jostling the bed.
"Mumgph?" Edward said, sticking his head up. "Malphonssss? s'two innamoring. Aluminum s'nt stable 'nuff." He fell over again, oblivious.
"Go back to sleep, Fullmetal," Roy said, but Edward was already gone, snoring softly.
Roy exhaled and stubbed out the cigarette in the ashtray. For a moment he considered calling Hughes, the open mockery that would come with a listening ear was not a complete deterrent and Roy had suffered worse. However, it was an ungodly enough hour in East City; in Central it was grounds for homicide.
Roy leaned his face on his knees.
"Fuck," he said, with feeling.
It would be a mess before it was over. A gooey, bitter, open wound of a mess and for that very reason Colonel Roy Mustang kept his sleeping around strictly outside the army, with one very understanding and longtime exception. And that exception, while he might laugh until his glasses slid off and his throwing knives fell out of his wrist holster, would be the first to tell Roy he was setting himself up for a giant backlash anywhere in the next five years.
Roy knew that. He knew that. he was a grown man, unlike his sleeping company, and was fully aware of his delicate position and the repercussions of his actions. And yet, for all that, as he looked sideways at Ed sleeping, his hair a gold swirl on the pillow and visible scars underneath the housing for his shoulder-mail, Roy could not bring himself to be sorry. In sleeping, Edward Elric might teeter somewhere between childhood and adulthood, but Roy had fought him and fucked him and both times, the margin of authority between them had been alarmingly small.
/He's a better alchemist than you'll ever be, and you know it/. Hughes' words, not unkind, blatantly honest. /Oh, You're older, and a little wilier, I'm sure. And God knows you're a better soldier. But there will be a day, Roy, when he bests you, and it will be sooner than you think. And you'll be the one who put him in place to do it/.
"I know, Maes." Roy had tried human transmutation, or had tried to try it, a state alchemist and an adult, and all he got was his own confusion, and Hughes giving him a much needed sucker-punch of reality. He had barely scratched the surface, had not even managed to finalize an array. But two children from Rizenbool had shown him up, and badly, for all that they had paid the price. "I know."
What he didn't know was what to do now.
He was deep enough in thought and the first knock was so timid that he didn't even hear it. It was only the second time that he realized someone was at his door, and the third before he had found his pants, put them on and answered it. It could be very bad, he thought, depending on who was knocking. The two worst things for an officer to be caught in bed with were a dead girl and a live boy. But it would be worse, he reasoned, sliding back the bolt, if he didn't answer it.
Roy did his best to look sleepy, and not relieved, at the anxious looking suit of armor on the other side of the door. "Alphonse," he said. "You must be looking for your brother."
"I'm so sorry to bother you so late," Al said, bowing loudly. "I'm sure you were sleeping, but he came to ask you a question about the use of double arrays, and that was hours ago, and I was worried--"
"It's all right, Al." Ed's voice came out of the darkness beyond Roy's front door. The Fullmetal Alchemist emerged, to Roy's gratitude looking more rumpled than tumbled, shrugging into his coat. "I must have fallen asleep." He grinned up at Roy. "Sorry if I drooled on anything important."
"Don't worry, I'll send you a bill." Roy nodded to Al. "Thanks for coming to get him."
"Yeah," Ed said, turning up his collar. "Thanks /Mom/."
"How was I supposed to know you were still here?" Alphonse scolded. "You know it's not safe for alchemists anymore, who knows what could have happened--"
"Yeah, yeah." Ed glanced over his shoulder. "See you in the morning, Colonel." He flashed a lopsided smirk, gold eyes full of challenge. "And we can continue our discussion."
"I look forward to it, Fullmetal." Roy's own features were carefully cool, his voice unmoved. "Though I think you'll find that you're still wrong."
The expected rebuttal did not come, instead Edward Elric just smiled at him, smug and entirely confident, and strolled down the hallway with his disembodied sibling, whistling.
Roy went back to bed and promptly smoked the rest of his cigarettes.