Rating: PG-13, Ed's potty mouth
Notes: Spell checked, unbeta'd.
Part One: Candor
When Roy opened the door, he blinked in surprise to see Ed there. Ed there and cleaned up no less, or or cleaned up as Edward got these days.
"What are you doing here now? I thought you were going to patch things up with Al," Roy said, taking a sip of coffee from the mug he was carrying.
"You total bastard," Ed hissed, "we're going out tonight...remember? You said I owe you beer, I'm here to make good on my debt!"
"...OH, oh right, well alright, let me get a jacket and put on some shoes," Roy said, standing back to let Ed could come in, "shouldn't take but a minute."
"How could you fucking forget?" Ed called down the hall after him, "I mean fuck's sake, you're going out with me."
Roy got a jacket, Roy got his shoes, Roy came into the living room and sat on the couch to put on his shoes. Roy went to get his wallet.
"You don't need that," Ed said, "I'm taking you out. What's so hard about this equation for you? We even talked about this just last night!"
"You never know," Roy said, tucking the wallet in his inner jacket pocket, "It's for just in case."
"Fine, whatever, we're wasting good drinking time, let's go," Ed went to open the door and stood there holding the knob. Roy stopped just behind him, and they both looked at each other.
"I'm holding the door," Ed said, lifting an eyebrow.
"I see that," Roy returned, "so go through it so we can go already."
"Are you a fucking brick?" Ed snarled, then he grabbed Roy by the arm and yanked him forward and shoved him through the door and came out behind him, slamming the door shut with a huff.
"You are really serious about this date thing," Roy mumbled. "Oh wait, I forgot to get my car keys, you didn't lock it did you?"
"You don't need them, we'll go on the bike," Ed said, gesturing down the walk to where his motorcycle sat, dripping oil serenely onto the paving stones of Roy's front walk.
Roy looked at Ed who grinned up at him, then watched Ed trot down the walk to his motorcycle, lift it up and kick the kick-stand up into place. Roy looked at the pair of them, noting that somehow motorcycle and owner had a certain kind of scruffy charm about them, but that didn't really mean he wanted to ride either of them.
"No, let's go in the car," Roy said, "I want to get where we're going alive."
"I'm a good driver, ask anyone! I've had this bike for years, not a scratch on it," Ed scowled. "Look, I got you Al's old helmet and everything. Come on, you'll enjoy it."
"No, that bike always looks like it might fall apart at any second," Roy said. "The car has air and a radio, let's just go in the car."
"Quit being such an old stuffed shirt military fuck," Ed said. "You know what your problem is? You've lost any sense of adventure you might have had when we beat all the bad guys. You know what? Not me, I'm still out there looking, I'm still ready for anything. I haven't become a blue uniformed door stop. I'm glad Al insisted that I get out when I did, look what I could have become," Ed made a gesture at Roy.
Roy turned around and went back into the house.
"OH FUCK, no wait, I'm sorry!" Ed put the kickstand down and trotted back up the walk. "Don't lock me out!"
Roy hadn't locked the door and Ed pushed his way in, stood wringing his hands in the foyer as Roy took his jacket off.
"Come ON, I'm sorry, look, just do this one time and I promise I'll ease up. I mean you won't even give me this one indulgence and I just want to see what it's like to go out with the Roy Mustang who isn't my boss. I just want to go out with you once and maybe have some fun. Come on, come on, what do you say? Listen, fuck, you see how much I want to do it? You got me begging, I fucking hate begging, but here I am begging for you to go out. Just this once, then we never have to go out again if you don't want to. Let me take you out and thank you for being an incredible pain in your ass for these past few years."
Roy looked at him for a long, long moment and something in his face changed a little and he rolled his eyes and hitched his jacket back on.
"I don't know why I'm letting you talk me into this," Roy grumbled. "Someone needs to call you on the fact your an arrogant ass who thinks he can just insult people any way he damn well pleases and then apologize and it's all ok. I'm only enabling you."
"Al says the same thing, only he pinches really hard...not to give you any ideas," Ed slapped his hands together, rubbed them, "Uh...you want me to take you to eat first? I know we didn't talk about that, but I've sucked down enough of your groceries to owe you a steak dinner or two."
Roy's eyebrows raised in surprise and he nodded.
"I'd really like that, see, now you are doing it right," and he came to follow Ed back out the door.
"It is not my fault when people interpret my actions the wrong way," Ed said loftily, heading for the motorcycle again. "I make every gesture with the best of intentions. Some people are just too sensitive. Like all of Al's girlfriends; I mean, would you get offended if I told you to go the hell home once in a while Al doesn't need you to babysit him? I mean, would you?" Ed bend down to unhook the spare helmet from where it was attached to the motorcycle.
"Well I wouldn't, but I don't intend to be hanging out with Al, seeing as I'm not dating him," Roy said, watching, wondering when it was decided they were going on the motorcycle. "Did you talk to Al about this before you mentioned it to the girl?"
"No," Ed said in a way that suggested to Roy that this was some sort of ridiculous observation, "why would Al have a problem with it? Well ok, so that's what I told myself,but you know what? Women get to Al; they get in his brain," Ed tapped his temple, "so y'know, this one bitch told Al about what I said, and yeah, Al got a little pissed off. Well ok a lot pissed off, but fuck, I mean Al can get laid whenever he wants to, he certainly didn't need that bitch hanging out at all hours of the day and night."
"You never brought home any girls?" Roy asked, taking the helmet when it was offered.
"The tramps I hang out with?" Ed waved his hand, "Why would I want any of them to know where I live?"
"Ah Ed," Roy sighed and put the helmet on, accepting defeat. "You've grown up beautifully. So, you're manically jealous of your brother's attention. Not jealous of the women he's dating, but jealous of Al, himself, is that what I'm hearing?"
"Don't start psycho analyzing me when we're going out, ok?" Ed growled. "Look, I'm the first to admit I'm fucked in the head and yeah, I have issues when it comes to Al, do you blame me? So let's just go out and you can rip apart my psyche later, ok?"
"Well I'm very impressed," Roy said, hands on hips. "That was really reasonable of you, I'm not sure what to make of that, I think I'll have to do as you suggest. Your negotiating skills are getting top notch."
"I don't take shit," Ed said proudly and straddled the bike, holding it for Roy to climb on.
The dive they ended up at, (alive much to Roy's surprise), was a somewhat nicer dive than the one Roy had found Ed at that night he decided to forgo his sanity and check up on Ed. It was in a reasonable part of town. The front wasn't littered with trash or had windows that were boarded up. Roy was in a good mood, full of good steak, (at the very least, Ed's choice of steak houses was top notch), and ready for a couple of beers to finish off the evening. Ed led the way, holding open the door again and Roy decided to let Ed play date with him for the rest of the night if that is what Ed really wanted to do.
The inside of the bar was tolerable. The tables where orderly and pretty clean, the clientel looked better dressed and there wasn't indescribable music crumbling the speakers it was playing from. Ed found them a good place at the bar and Roy sat down, looking around. He caught Ed smiling at him.
"It's ok," he said and gave Ed a wink just to see him grin.
Ed was pretty cute when he grinned.
Ed climbed up on the stool beside Roy, rapped his metal knuckles on the bar and held up two fingers when the bartender looked his way.
"You come here often?" Roy asked, easing his jacket off his shoulders and letting it puddle between his lower back and the back of the bar stool.
"Yeah," Ed said nodding, "when I've decided that I can be an descent human and not a fuckwad my brother throws out on the streets," Ed gave a helpless shrug. "I guess you could say my taste in bars reflects my moods."
The bartender came down with two large mugs, sat them and a bowl of snacky looking things in front of them.
"Hey Ed," the man said, "haven't seen you in a couple of weeks. Everyone has been asking about you."
"Hey Larry, this is Roy," Ed jerked pointed with his thumb, and Larry and Roy nodded at each other. "Just been busy, you know how it is," Ed shrugged and pulled a mug over to him.
"Carla and Darla have been looking for you, look out," Larry winked then, then turned to wait on another customer at the bar.
Ed looked sidelong at Roy who was investigating the snack bowl and picking out all the good stuff. It wasn't until the first mug was gone and there was a rap of the knuckles for another round that they got around to speaking.
"So, you still think you can scare up some work for my slack and/or lame ass? I give you the and/or because my ass seems to reflect Al's moods. Elrics, huh? Bars and asses, " Ed was now rummaging the snack bowl, but Roy had gotten all the cashews and peanuts out already.
"Edward, you know just about anything you want to contract out of the military labs is yours," Roy said, finishing off the rest of his mug. "You don't even need my help to get a job, I know the private sector would weep tears of uncomprehending joy if you so much as even looked in their direction. Funny thing about how badly you wanted out of your contract and yet you won't really go away."
"I'm ruined," Ed said, "that's what it is. The military brain washed me at the tender age of twelve and made me think I need their guidance. Besides, how else am I suppose to make you look good if I go find my own glory work? Al and I fit into that mystique you keep oozing in hopes of taking over the world one day. Oh, did I say the world? Amestris with do for now."
"When I so take over, your sorry ass is working off all this aggression in the mines," Roy said. "Note I like to use the term 'sorry' when referring to your ass. I don't think your ass holds any sway with me? Disappointed?"
"Well yeah," Ed said, "considering I was planning on you having your mouth and hands all over it later, fuck, what did I buy you steak for?" Ed questioned.
"Do you realize that just by suggesting we'd have sex you're riding the ragged edge of disaster?" Roy said, gripping the handle of his beer mug. "We don't want to knock the globe out of alignment or anything," Roy took a drink.
"You don't get this, do you? I need to have sex with you. It's my weird-ass way of bonding with you or something. All I do lately is think about having sex with you. Why is that so strange? Fuck, my entire childhood all I heard was what a sex god you were. All Havoc did was moan about your steady parade of women. Why shouldn't I want a piece of that?" Ed said.
"You mentioned your childhood and sex in the same sentence, that is what is strange," Roy said, staring into his beer. He looked over at Ed then. "It's not that I'm extremely opposed, but Ed, I don't know if I'm doing you any favors here. You're just looking for the next thing, I don't want to be a thing. Ah, you know, nothing is easy with you ever, is it? I just don't think I should be having sex with you so you can burn some bizarre crush out of your system. You're right, you do have a lot of issues, this being one of them."
"No, no, no, don't help me, don't save me, that's not what this is about," Ed moaned. "Save me later, when I'm not horny anymore."
Roy's eye caught movement and he looked up in time to see a very lovely girl making a bee-line right for them. She got right up to them then balled up her fist and punched Ed squarely in the left shoulder.
"OW," Ed wailed, "Fuck, don't do that, dammit Darla, what'd I do?"
"Yeah, there you go ass-wipe, where the hell you been for two weeks? The way you act always make me think you're dead on the side of the road somewhere," she snarled. "How about a little note the next time you head out of town. You know, you don't come in to a place almost every day for months then do a disappearing act. I thought we were friends. Wait until Carla gets here, you'll get some more." Then the lovely young woman went behind the bar to stash what looked like school books and get an apron off a hook.
Roy leaned toward Ed and whispered, "Introduce me."
Ed turned his head and snorted angrily. "Like fuck I will, you're here with me and old enough to be her father."
It was then Ed got swiped across the side of the head with what looked like a canvas bag. Both he and Roy started and stared at another lovely young woman who was the very image of the other young woman glaring at them from behind the bar.
"Yeah, thanks for ditching me, fuck-head," this new girl snarled. "I managed to make a B on my advanced chemistry mid-term on my own, thanks for nothing!"
"Oh, oh fuck, Carla," Ed said. "Look, I'm sorry, I was having some family shit and I honestly forgot but you got a B, I'm proud of you..." he cut off when the canvas bag hit him square on in the face.
"Could've been an A," she growled, storming behind the bar as well.
"I don't want to sit with you," Roy said, "they won't talk to me if I sit with you."
"You don't want anything to do with the doom-twins anyways," Ed said, rubbing his face. "They're studying to be chemists and one of them wants to be an alchemist. I'm trying to talk her out of it."
"Oh, female alchemists," Roy said glumly.
"Yeah," Ed said. "They won't look at us twice."
"So Edward, do you mean to tell me you come into this bar almost every night and do nothing but help a pair of...amazing young twin women...study for college?" Roy put his elbow on the bar and leaned his chin into his hand.
"Oh, I drink, too," Ed said quickly. "And I talk shit with Larry and sometimes I mediate fights. I'm not just coming in here because I want to make sure Darla and Carla get into advanced placement in college or anything like that. I'm sure they can do that just fine without my sorry ass," Ed said. "I copped your term."
One of them, Roy thought it might be Darla, brought over a fresh bowl of snacks and eyed Roy up and down. She folded her arms on the bar and leaned there.
"So, you know him or you dating him?" she asked with a nod at Ed.
"I know him," Roy said, "He wants me to date him, but I'm not to sure about that," Roy took another drink of his beer.
"I have advice for you, don't date him," the girl said, with a wave of her hand. "He's the biggest dork you'll ever met. He acts real tough, but..." she blew a raspberry. "Total wuss."
"Hey," Ed groused, "don't be talking me down to my piece tonight."
The other girl came over to horn in on the conversation.
"He looks like he's a convenient height and his mouth is sure big enough, but he'd probably just end up biting it off," she said with a wicked grin.
"Is Ed known for dating a lot of men," Roy said, crossing his legs and leaning back on his bar stool. "Because, you know, I'm not sure I wouldn't just be another conquest."
"The fuck?! Carla, shit like that shouldn't come out of your mouth in the first place," Ed said, "and you," he pointed at Darla, "I'm the smartest dork you'll ever meet."
"Well, that's true enough," she said and shrugged, then she smiled at Roy in a way that made Roy feel 10 years younger and 10 pounds lighter. "Are you really thinking about dating him? I mean, a good looking man like you shouldn't have to settle."
"Quit hitting on him!" Ed snarled, "Can't I ever have a date in peace in this place?"
"Well I don't know, you usually treat anyone you bring in here pretty shitty, you know the world isn't here to provide you with ass, do you even know his name?" Carla said.
"Because if you don't know his name, I got dibs," Darla said. "This one is to good for you and I'd like a shot."
"His name is ROY," Ed said loudly, "and would you quit jamming the ego pump in?! It was hard enough to get him to go out with me in the first place!"
"How did you do it?" Carla asked, "Drug him and tie him to the back of that shit tank you call a bike?"
"Why aren't you working? Shouldn't you be working? Does Larry pay you to stand around and abuse me? I don't think so," Ed bared his teeth. "See if I tell you anything about anything ever again, graduate with honors on your own!"
The two girls high fived each other, then swatted each other on the ass and Roy shifted on his bar stool and looked at Ed.
"Let's date them and not each other," he said, then winced when Ed punched him in the shoulder.
"I'm dating you and that is final, NO, you don't get a say, so shut up and take it. Oh, and put out tonight, I'm really counting on that," Ed said.
"I think sex is a bad idea, I think it's just going to complicate things that are already complicated enough," Roy said, finishing off his mug and signaling for another.
"I think that's bullshit," Ed said, killing his own mug in order to keep up. "What's so complicated about it? You get naked, there is some touching and rubbing and licking, and then you know, all that exercise is good for you. I see it as a win-win myself, orgasm AND work out."
"I'm not sure I want to have sex with someone how masquerades regularly as a sane human being," Roy said. "For one thing, your neurotic jealousy is worrisome and why should I want that transfered onto me? I see what it's doing to Al already."
"I'm not fucking neurotic, fuck! I took care of Al for so long, it's just hard to let go and I don't like it when some fucking girl that's known him for two weeks thinks she knows better than me what Al needs," Ed hissed. "You tell me I'm wrong, go on."
"Your need for attention is so great that you are diverting to me now that Al is finally putting his foot down and having an outside relationship. And when you don't get the attention you think you deserve? You get pretty rough and upset," Roy said, accepting another mug of beer. "I want to help you Ed, I do. And I care about you, I do. But I just don't think sex with me is what you actually want, I think you think you have to have sex with me to keep my attention, and that's not true."
"This is suppose to be a date," Ed said, voice sounding strained, "we agreed not to talk about this."
"You're right," Roy said, "my apologies. Tell me more about this secret double life you lead where you want everyone to think you're some bad-ass biker, but you volunteer your time to help young women study for college."
"I really want to be a bad-ass biker," Ed said with a half smile, "but I just can't help myself."
Roy put his arm around Ed's shoulder then and gave him a friendly squeeze.
Roy let Ed into the house when they finally went home.
"You can stay tonight," Roy offered, "but you can stay out here on the couch."
"What? No, come on Roy, we're adults," Ed scrubbed at his face. "I just...I just want to, y'know, look, what can I say to make you change your mind? I don't want to sleep on the couch, fuck, don't do this."
"Do what? We're not on the 'date' anymore," Roy said, "now I can save you. I'm not going to sleep with you Edward, that's just final. I don't understand why you feel that is what you have to have, but I'm afraid it's just not going to happen. Sorry, now are you staying or going home?"
"Home? Home to what?" Ed sneered. "Al probably won't even be there. He's out all the time now and he's already talking about when he starts that project, you know the one you got for him, that he might be moving closer to the job site. You know, he said it in a way like he doesn't want me to come. He talked about me keeping this apartment. What the hell? He doesn't want me around him anymore, is that it? Why doesn't he come out and say so? And this, and you. You want to fuck me, I've seen you looking at me. You want to fuck anything that moves. I don't get it! What am I doing wrong? Why is everything like this, what the fuck is wrong with me that no one wants to be around me anymore?!"
"Well it could be that you've been an utter asshole lately," Roy said, "that tends to make people shy away, don't you think?"
"It's the only way to get any of you to pay attention!" Ed half screamed and curled his hands into fists. "What do you want me to do?! What do you want me to do?! Why does Al have to do this to me? Why do you have to do this to me?! Maybe I'm not ready for this, maybe I don't want to be abandoned just because I grew up! What the fuck is wrong with you people?!"
"Ed, no one is doing this to you," Roy said, trying not to raise his voice. "I don't understand why Al moving on with his life is causing you this much stress. He's not leaving you, he's living the life you worked so hard to secure for him. That should make you happy, not terrified. And me, where do you think I'm going? How have you gotten the impression everyone is leaving you behind? Ed, you have to realize, time didn't stand still when you lost your childhood and went to get it back. As cruel as it is, time moves on despite you wanting to get back everything you had to give up. It just moved on, like it's doing now."
Ed was taking deep breaths, trying to regain some control of himself, he kept flexing his hands. He looked away from Roy and shut his eyes.
"What have I done to shake your faith in me?" Roy asked evenly. "What have I done to make you think there is no room for you in my life? I thought by now you would trust me. I thought you had learned to trust that people aren't going to just leave you. After everything you went through, and we're all still here. We're still here, Ed."
"I hate feeling like this," Ed said, sounding strangled.
"I know," Roy said quietly.
"I hate you for knowing all of this," Ed said, "for being so fucking reasonable. Why the fuck don't you scream at me? I hate it when you talk to me like this."
"Like an adult?" Roy said, "But Ed, you're an adult now, even if you're not ready."
"I hate that, too," Ed said sounding lost.
"You stay here tonight," Roy said, going to fetch pillows and blankets himself. "You're in no condition to be flying around the streets on that piece of shit you call a motorcycle."
"It's an antique," Ed mumbled, he watched Roy make up the couch for him.
"Go on, get some sleep," Roy said. "You'll be more awake in the morning and if you need to talk about this some more, we will."
Roy retreated to his own room but couldn't take his own advice. He lay there staring at the ceiling for a very long time. He heard the creak of his bedroom door and didn't move, he felt the movement of weight on the bed and still he didn't move. He felt the pressure against his side where Ed's forehead touched him as he curled up to sleep and still he didn't move.
It was ok, just this once he supposed, but only because Ed looked so sad when he left him there to sleep on the couch. He lay his hand on Ed's head, fingers rubbed lightly at Ed's temple and he heard Ed sigh softly, as if in relief.
And he was finally able to sleep, too.
Part Three: Unreserved
He looked away from Roy and shut his eyes. Fanart by the lovely and gifted zakai_ found Here.