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Winterborn Manor

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“You have got to be fucking kidding me.” Ed looked out the window of the car to see the massive, looming manor house sprawling out before them as they turned onto the gravel drive.

“What?” Roy sounded innocently defensive which meant the bastard knew exactly what.
The gravel crunched under the tires of the car as the neared the entrance and Ed thought he might lose his mind if he had to hear it every day. “Really? There are people fucking lining up to great us.”

“I am the Fuhrer.”

“You’re an asshole is what you are. What the fuck would we do with all this space? And all those people living in our,” he paused. “I don’t think you could call it a house. This is a fucking castle. You want to be king next?”

Roy slowed the car to a crawl so as not to spray the idiots standing and waiting for them with tiny, cream colored rocks. Ed didn’t even know where you could find rocks like that in Amestris, the rich bastard who’d built the place probably had them trucked in from Xing or some other fucking god awful and expensive place. Fucking rich people.

Roy’s fake, speaking to a crowd smile was plastered on his face as he waved to the people standing in a perfectly straight line. “I’m just asking you to look. And to not be an ass to the people who work very hard to keep this house in good condition.”

Ed heaved a sigh, pasted on his own smile and joined Roy in the wave. As soon as the car stopped, the first man in line, shorter than all the others and wiry, rushed to open first Roy’s door and then Ed’s.

“Fuhrer, Mr. Elric, it’s an honor to have you visit the manor. I am Mr. Green, the Head Butler.” He gave a deep bow.

Roy shook Mr. Green’s hand. “It’s our pleasure to be here,” Roy lied.

“Shall I show you the house?”

“Please, lead the way.”

They fell into step behind Mr. Green and Ed waited until they had some distance before hissing at Roy. “He didn’t even introduce us to the rest of the people.” Why make them line up in the cold if they didn’t even get to shake the Fuhrer’s hand?

“Don’t start.”

Mr. Green, who after some prompting and a scandalized look gave his first name as Alfred, led them through the, frankly ridiculous, house. The floors were marble, the walls covered in highly burnished wood where it wasn’t covered in ornate and weird paintings. Their footsteps echoed like gunshots as they toured and Ed was pretty sure he could fit all of Risembool comfortably within the walls of this single house.

“How many people does it take to keep this place running?” Roy shot him a look, but it was a legitimate question. The people mostly fucking loved Fuhrer Mustang to the point of tragedy but that didn’t mean there hadn’t been threats. That Ed knew of two assassination attempts that got close enough for two very focused men to be in a prison cell so deep they would never see the light of day. Managing a staff of any size was a concern, living with one brought a whole new bag of trouble to the table.

“We have twenty currently in residence, Sir. All have been with the house for many years.”

“That’s…a lot of people.”

Alfred laughed. “Hardly any to keep this old house running properly. If you were to choose Winterborn Manor for your residence, we’d need at least ten more to keep it in the condition someone of your stature would be used to.”

Ed thought of their cramped little house in a line of other, identical military housing. The wooden floors, while practical, had never been pretty and showed areas of high traffic from generations of military families living the house. The second floor bedroom slanted to the right and there was a draft somewhere in the room that Ed had never been able to fix with plaster or alchemy. The paint, while chip free, was faded and in colors that might have been popular thirty years ago, but wasn’t even made anymore.

It was old and battered, the lawn made him insane and he could count on one finger the number of neighbors he actually liked, but it had been their home for years. It was where they came together as a pair, as two people picking out curtains and fighting over who was going to wash the dishes. They’d fought in every room, and there was really nothing more awkward than a fight in a bathroom. They’d fucked in every room and on every surface. Their ‘I love you’s’ trailed along the drafty hallways.

He’d gotten used to the idea of Roy being Fuhrer; it had been a long haul and they’d fought so hard to get there, that he’d had time to come to terms with it. Moving though, moving was a whole other thing. Ed just sort of assumed that when Roy finally got to the top, he’d be able to run the country from their crappy little kitchen. He couldn’t say that it was the first place he could call home since he burnt town the house in Risembool, but it was the first one that felt like it was his. Even though he didn’t own a single blade of grass or a brick of the frame, it felt like his and this fucking monstrosity didn’t feel like a home. It felt like a mausoleum.

They stopped in the residential wing, the residential wing, and Alfred, to his credit, didn’t so much as raise an eyebrow when Roy asked for a moment alone in one of the master bedrooms.

“Ed?”

He walked to one of the expansive windows overlooking the manicured garden pond. “Yeah?”

“What do you think? You were looking a little pale there toward the end.”

Ed was on the verge of shrugging, of asking Roy his opinion, though it was pretty fucking clear Roy would roll around on the floor in glee if he could get away with it. He was nearly ready to capitulate when a flock of swans descended on the pond and a lone gardener came out to shoo them from the flowerbeds. “I think that if you make me live here, I’m going to kill myself.” He turned away from the window and stalked up to Roy, meeting him toe to toe. “I’ve done everything you asked to get you here. I kept my mouth shut about public policy. I kept my head down during civil unrest. I went with you to those god awful fucking functions and stood and talked to the other General’s wives. I helped you overthrow,” he stopped and looked around the room. Anyone could be listening in a house this size. “I helped you in every way. I did every last god damn thing you asked and I think it’s time for me to say enough. If you pick this fucking house, you will be living in it alone.”

Instead of the fit, instead of the uncomfortable silence and hurt gaze, Roy reached out slid his fingers into Ed’s hair to cradle his head, the heat of Roy’s hands spreading warmth across his scalp and down his neck. “All you had to say was no.”

“Oh.” Part word, part relieved sigh, Ed relaxed into Roy’s touch. “Okay. Good.”

Roy grinned at him, then tipped his head to the massive bed. “It’d be a shame to let that go to waste, though, don’t you think?”

Ed thought of Alfred, waiting patiently for their return, he thought of the staff, huddled around the door, listening through the cracks, he thought of the clear evidence of their actives they would leave behind. And he thought of Roy’s easy acceptance of his ultimatum, and how fucking gorgeous he looked in a suit, and a bed nearly the size of their entire bedroom. “It’d be practically fucking criminal.”