evening_bat: Bat in flight, silhouetted against the moon. (Default)
[personal profile] evening_bat
Title: There Is A Heart Somewhere
Author: [personal profile] evening_bat
Rating: R-ish? Because Ed has a foul mouth.
Pairing: Roy/Ed
Word Count: ~2900
Notes: In some nebulous-but-happy future.
Summary: Al has this insane idea. Ed thinks his brother's just plain crazy.

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] seryan for beta-duty above and beyond the call.

There Is A Heart Somewhere

For every love there is a heart somewhere to receive it.
 ~Ivan Panin 

Ed was fuming as he pounded on the door to the house with his metal hand. The length of time it was taking for the bastard to answer wasn't sweetening his mood any, either.

"Fullmetal," Mustang greeted him smoothly when he finally opened the door. "What a surprise." His tone made it sound like he wasn't expecting it to be a pleasant one. "What can I do for you?"

"My brother is insane," Ed announced.

Mustang actually blinked at that.

"He's gone completely fucking crazy," Ed continued without missing a beat. "You would not believe the shit he's going on about."

Mustang sighed and stepped aside to wave Ed into his house. "And what is your brother going on about then?" he asked, in a long-suffering tone.

Ed shoved his way past Mustang, pacing in a tight circle in the entryway. "He says I have a - a thing for you! Which is insane. And! He says you do too! Have a thing - for me, I mean. He said we'd be a lot better off if we'd get over ourselves and get it on!"

What Al had actually said was that Ed and Mustang drove each other crazy because they were crazy for each other in addition to being blind idiots and he'd hinted pretty broadly that there were much better ways to deal with the 'simmering tension' between them. Ed had spluttered and raged, Al had laughed himself near-sick and Ed had finally opted for escape. He wasn't quite sure why he'd thought coming here was a good idea but if anyone else could appreciate how stupid Al's idea was, it'd be Mustang.

Mustang, who was standing there with an utterly shocked expression on his face.

Ed narrowed his eyes at the unusually honest reaction, watched the expression vanish when Mustang caught Ed looking.

"While I'm alarmed at the notion that the sensible Elric brother has lost his mind, I'm not sure why you've come charging to my door to share this development," Mustang commented, typical vain assurance restored.

"Because you have to help me convince him that he's being stupid!" Ed yelled.

"Well of course he's being ridiculous," Mustang snapped, "but what do you expect me to do about it?"

Ed cocked his head at the protest. The tone was right but something had snagged his attention. Maybe Al's laughable ideas had gotten to Ed more than he thought but he'd swear he saw something flicker through Mustang's eyes just then. That didn't make any sense though, why would Mustang be looking at him like tha - Ed's eyes went wide as the facts clicked into place.

"Holy shit, you do!" Ed yelped, pointing a finger accusingly at Mustang.

"I don't know what you-" Mustang started.

"Do not fucking lie to me," Ed snarled.

Mustang's denial collapsed under the direct challenge and he rubbed a hand over his face. "You pick the worst damn times to get perceptive, you know," he complained.

Ed just gaped at him. "But how - you can't - this isn't -!"

"This isn't anything," Mustang cut in sharply.

"Isn't anything?" Ed echoed incredulously. "This is a big goddamn thing, you bastard!"

Mustang's calm faltered at Ed's shout. "I meant it wasn't anything for you to worry about," he offered quietly, concern creeping into his expression.

"How am I not supposed to worry about this?" Ed demanded. Just like Mustang to turn Ed's worldview on its ear and then blithely assure him that it was all under control. He glanced from side to side and hunched his shoulders, abruptly remembering that he was standing in the man's house.

"I need to get out of here," he decided, turning away from Mustang's worried examination and throwing the door open. He hurried out into the night, ignoring the call behind him. Staying and waiting was not an option. Ed needed some time and room to think.

* * * * *

As of that morning, after a few days of thinking and Mustang-avoidance, Ed was no closer to sorting out the chaos that Mustang's little secret had made of Ed's ordered world. Until three days ago, he'd been secure in the knowledge that Mustang was a manipulative bastard. He knew that Mustang enjoyed winding him up as much as he enjoyed pulling one over on the smug asshole. This knowledge was one of the cornerstones of Ed's life. He understood that - hell, he liked it that way. Now Ed didn't know what to think.

Mustang wasn't helping, either. Ed had run out of excuses to duck out on his CO's summons this afternoon and so he reluctantly slunk in to the man's office to check in. He wasn't sure what to expect, completely unsure about where they stood now. He'd charged into Mustang's office as brazenly as ever but his stomach was a knot of tension. Kicking the door closed behind him, Ed slouched over to the couch and dropped into his usual sprawl.

"So?" he promptly challenged. "I'm here. What do you want?"

Chin propped up on one hand, Mustang gestured lazily at a file on the edge of his desk. "A new assignment for you to take care of," he explained smoothly.

"Yeah, yeah," Ed grumped, snatching at the file. Getting out of the city for a while didn't sound like a half-bad idea, actually. Al would worry but he had his studies to keep him busy while Ed was gone.

Flipping idly through the file, Ed listened with half an ear as Mustang droned on about the new job. Seemed pretty straightforward to Ed, nothing he hadn't done a hundred times before. He nodded absently as Mustang detailed some of the alchemical irregularities Ed was being dispatched to investigate. The unease that had weighed him down when he walked in was starting to smolder, a more familiar anger heating his cheeks as he glared at the papers in his hands.

He'd been worried that things with Mustang would be weird. Apparently, he should have worried that it really didn't matter enough for Mustang to care. Instead of being the least bit discomfited, he just sat there as cool and collected as ever. You'd never know that their last meeting had ended with Ed tearing off in dismay after an awkward emotional confession. How the hell was it that Mustang was supposed to be the one with the crush and Ed was the one tying himself in knots?

"All right," Mustang finally sighed, clearly fed up with Ed's distraction. "What's the problem now?" he asked, sounding so put-upon that Ed automatically scowled at him.

Like he was the one being difficult here?

"No problem at all. Nothing for you to worry about," Ed shot back, meanly pleased when the hit registered behind those dark eyes. "Guess it really isn't anything, is it?" he asked, unable to keep all the bitterness out of his tone.

Mustang's eyes narrowed briefly. "You can't have it both ways, Fullmetal," he said evenly.

I never wanted it both ways, you bastard! Ed wanted to howl. I just want you to keep treating me like someone worth noticing! For all the charm and attention he lavished on them, none of Mustang's string of girlfriends had ever made much of an impression on the man. On the other hand, Ed had always been secretly proud that their antagonism-filled exchanges never failed to secure Mustang's attention. Gaining Mustang's interest wasn't worth losing his, well, interest.

Even if Ed had been daydreaming about the man since he was about fifteen years old and damn Al for noticing in the first place.

Still sitting serenely behind his desk, Mustang gave him a deliberately patient look. "If there's nothing else...?"

Ed clenched his hands into fists, fabric creaking under the grip of his right hand. "I think I've got all I need," he responded through gritted teeth. "So can I be dismissed, sir?"

Mustang's expression tightened but he didn't say anything, just waved a dismissal.

Ed swallowed a growl and spun on one heel, storming out of the office. Rage seethed in his throat the whole way back to his apartment.

He'd had spent years - years - trying to get Mustang to acknowledge him. And he finally did...because of this? Because apparently the way Ed's ass looked in leather pants was more important than the fact that he was a damned good alchemist and the best field agent Mustang had ever had at his command.

It was enough to make Ed forget avoiding the bastard in favour of tracking him down and planting a fist in the middle of his smug face.

It wasn't fair. It was just not. Fucking. Fair.

* * * * *

By the time he arrived home after completing his assignment, Ed had realized that as much as he hated to admit it, he was going to have to apologize to the bastard. For all his protesting that he wasn't a kid anymore, he'd sure pitched a hell of a tantrum over Mustang's admission. Running off that first night, getting pissy in the office a few days later...not his finest moments. Being away had let him regain his perspective, at least. He still wasn't happy about the situation but that was his problem, not Mustang's. He could swallow his pride and admit he'd been wrong. Since when had life ever done Ed any favours, anyway?

He'd managed some luck in the timing of his homecoming at least, arriving back in Central on Friday evening. That had given him plenty of time to catch up with Al and pay off a bit more of his sleep debt. He never did sleep as soundly out on his own. By the time Sunday night rolled around, Ed was well-rested, well-fed and debating the merits of putting everything off until Monday morning versus heading out to deal with Mustang now. It was the knowing, amused looks that Al kept giving him that finally decided it.

How did Al know all the shit he knew, anyway? And people called Ed a genius.

Hauling himself out of the depths of the armchair, Ed grabbed his coat from where he'd left it draped over the end of the couch. "Kind of restless tonight," he explained to Al's unspoken question. "Think I'll go walk it off."

"Okay," Al said agreeably, following him to the door and watching as Ed pulled on his boots.

"See you later," Ed called over his shoulder as he left.

He heard Al mutter something that sounded suspiciously like, "Tell the Brigadier-General I said hi," as the door closed behind him and scowled to himself as he set off. It would serve Al right if he really did just go for a walk but Ed hated to waste the momentum. Shoving his hands in his pockets, Ed kicked irritably at the ground as he turned in the direction of Mustang's house.  He was damned if he did, damned if he didn't, so he might as well get it over with.
His resolution carried him through the city streets, up the walk to Mustang's door and failed him as he was raising a hand to knock.  Necessary or not, Ed did not want to do this.  Admitting any kind of failure in front of Mustang left Ed feeling horribly vulnerable and the man had never been shy about seizing the least advantage. Not that lurking on the man's doorstep wasn't a display of weakness all on its own, Ed reminded himself. Taking a firm hold on his temper, Ed knocked - sedately! - on the door and waited for Mustang to answer. 

Mustang clearly wasn't expecting to find Ed standing on his steps when he opened the door. A brief flash of surprise registered on his face before being smoothed away into the bland smile that Mustang used as shield and weapon.

"Good evening, Fullmetal. Back already? I trust your assignment went well?" His tone was polite and purely professional.

"What? Oh. Yeah. It went fine," Ed replied, ordering himself not to wince at the distance Mustang's tone had set between them. He'd guessed that Mustang probably wouldn't exactly be thrilled to see him, not after their last couple of conversations.

"Good. Much as I hesitate to discourage this unusual dedication to duty, you do know that your report could have waited until tomorrow?" Mustang asked dryly.

Ed rolled his eyes at the jab. It seemed that much hadn't changed. "The report can wait," he agreed. "This can't."

"Oh?" Mustang inquired mildly. "And what's this?" The question was a masterpiece of resigned indulgence and Ed bristled automatically. Mustang was such an asshole.

"I came to say I was sorry." Paradoxically, the anger made it easier to spit out the words. The startled look on Mustang's face was gratifying, almost making up for the sting of having to apologize. "For the other night," he explained, anger seeping away at the abruptly abashed cast to Mustang's expression.

"Fullmetal, you-" Mustang began.

"You surprised me," Ed cut him off, determined to get it out now that he'd started. "I don't always deal well with surprises like that," he admitted, "but I shouldn't have freaked out like I did." He looked away and tried for a casual shrug. "It's okay now. I mean, it's not - it won't be a problem. We're cool. I just wanted to come and, you know."

"Say you were sorry," Mustang murmured, eyes intent on Ed's face when Ed risked a quick glance at him.

"Yeah, that," Ed confirmed uncomfortably.

"Well, well, well. You are always full of surprises," Mustang commented, sounding pleased. "Apology accepted," he added briskly.

Ed tried not to relax too obviously. He hadn't liked being at odds with Mustang for real but it wouldn't do to let him figure that out. "Don't get used to it," he warned him with a mild glare.

Mustang chuckled. "I wouldn't dare," he assured Ed with a smile far more genuine than the one he'd offered at the beginning of the conversation.

Ed grumbled but let a smile curl the corners of his mouth in response. Mustang could annoy Ed more thoroughly than any five people Ed had ever met but it was hard to remember that when the man smiled like he meant it and looked at Ed as if he was something extraordinary - Oh.


How had he missed this, Ed wondered distantly as the facts reordered themselves in his head. Sure, Mustang was a master of playing things close to the vest but how had he covered this up? And why? Mustang wasn't just lusting after Ed. He'd seen Mustang with women before and the man never looked at them like this. Not like they mattered. Hell, from the determined way he wasn't acting on it, Mustang might well be half in love with him! And that...that changed everything.

"Mustang, you idiot," Ed ground out.  All of this confusion and upset and Mustang had been hiding that all along?  Ed couldn't believe the stupidity of it all.  How had the man made General, for fuck's sake?
Mustang's expression closed off instantly, affront washing away any hint of softness.  "Go home, Fullmetal," he ordered shortly.  "I've had my fill of insubordination for one night."
"Oh no you don't!" Ed growled as Mustang started to shut the door.  He'd had more than enough of this crap.
Lunging forward, Ed ducked under Mustang's arm.  Using his left arm to knock aside Mustang's reflexive attempt to defend himself, Ed fisted his right hand in Mustang's uniform jacket and jerked him forward before he had time to react properly.  Alarmed and thoroughly off-balance, Mustang had no hope of shaking Ed off and Ed took a brief moment to be grateful for his greater proficiency in hand-to-hand combat.  Granted, he hadn't thought he'd ever be using it to drag Mustang into the hardest, hottest kiss of Ed's admittedly limited experience.
After a long moment of shocked stillness, Mustang didn't seem inclined to complain.  He came alive under Ed's hands, sliding one arm around Ed's waist and wrapping the other hand around the back of his neck.  Ed pressed closer, reaching up to grab a fistful of Mustang's hair as the man set about proving that he deserved his romantic reputation.

"Holy shit," Ed gasped, when they broke apart long enough to breathe. Not quite ready to let go yet, he dropped his head to rest his forehead against Mustang's shoulder. "Holy shit," he repeated, head spinning.

Mustang laughed breathlessly and hummed agreement. "Such a way with words," he teased and Ed's inarticulate grumble was undermined by his shiver at the brush of lips against his ear.

"So," Ed tried, startled at the roughness of his voice, "I'm thinking that Al may have been on to something after all." He lifted his head and tilted his face back to catch Mustang's eyes. "What do you think?"

Ed thought that the way Mustang's eyes fastened on his mouth when he licked his lips spoke volumes but for once, he was looking forward to what the man had to say.

Mustang smiled slowly. "I think you ought to come inside," he invited as he let go of Ed and stepped back, leaving room for Ed to follow. "The matter obviously warrants further discussion."


Comments always welcome!


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