“…that only leaves Ausred. Rumors say that the research center there has been reopened, but the Alchemist supposedly in charge is someone who’s been dead for two years.” Hawkeye passed her notes over to Roy.
“Hm.” He paged through them. “None of my correspondents are in that area, are they?”
“No, sir, and few are in a good position to move from what Fury says.” She narrowed her eyes in thought. “Taisa, what about Edward-kun? This is the kind of rumor he might reasonably have an interest in.” Roy smiled.
“True enough. I believe he cleared out one of the storerooms, today, for experiments. Ask him to speak with me when he’s done.”
Roy contemplated the Captain’s solution as she left. It should work. Edward’s interest would be unremarkable, and if anyone could kick the truth to the surface, it was his hunter.
His knowing, willing hunter.
It still surprised Roy that Edward had given himself to Roy’s cause. He knew Edward was uncomfortable with what Roy meant to do, but he hadn’t truly expected even tolerance. The most he had hoped for was Edward’s silence after he left. His long familiarity with Edward’s steel sense of ethics had not led him to expect the young man to condone cold-blooded murder. Edward’s offer of allegiance had both comforted and worried him.
On his darker nights, Roy wondered if Edward had confused desire for his lover with approval for his leader.
It had not surprised him, at the beginning, that Edward had let Roy take him to bed. Roy knew perfectly well that he was a skilled lover, and he had been careful with Edward. Careful not to alarm or completely overwhelm him. Careful not to let their time in bed affect their relationship at work. Too much. And despite Edward’s occasional grumbles about how no contract was worth putting up with Roy’s ego, it was clear that Edward was enjoying their liaison.
If he had know, then, where it would lead them Roy might have chosen to break the contract himself.
Because it had all become tangled. The unthinking purity of Edward’s response to him had drawn Roy, bound him to Ed more tightly than any other lover ever had. And the more he had seen of that bright spirit, the closer he had come, the more he had found himself relaxing into Ed’s trust. He knew that it was not a good idea to relax, and still couldn’t seem to stop himself.
At the start, eight years ago, Edward’s sense of rightness had been a useful extra. Roy had used him as a dowsing rod, to tell where corruption had spread. Half the time just giving Edward his head had solved the problem, too.
So why hadn’t Edward rejected the cold expediency of Roy’s plans? Roy couldn’t deny that Edward’s acceptance had soothed him, comforted him with a gut-level assurance that what he did was right. He had spent too long contemplating the dirtiness of his own methods to accept that comfort easily, but Roy had come to rely on it more than he knew he should.
Had Edward’s trust of Roy’s touch led him to trust Roy’s integrity? Was that all that had led him to it?
Could Roy really face drawing back, if that was what it took to leave his hunter’s judgment unimpaired?
Roy started a bit when a knock sounded at his door, followed by Edward himself.
“Taisa, Hawkeye-taii said you wanted to see me.”
Roy held out his hand. Edward tilted his head, curiously, but crossed the room and let Roy pull him down to a kiss.
“Should I have locked the door behind me?” Edward asked against Roy’s lips, sounding amused. Roy didn’t answer. He drew back to look at Edward, grateful that the afternoon sun would be in Ed’s eyes and he wouldn’t see the uncertainty in Roy’s.
“May I hold you for a little while, my hawk?” he asked softly. Ed looked at him wordlessly for a moment, perhaps a bit taken aback, but settled into Roy’s arms willingly enough. Roy suppressed a shiver as Ed casually rested his cheek against Roy’s hair.
The thought of letting go, permanently, affected him with something uncomfortably like panic. Roy didn’t like losing control that way, but he had yet to see any solution. For now he simply bore with it, and hoped a solution would present itself in time.
He leaned his head against Ed’s shoulder and closed his eyes.