Edward was sitting with his chin on his desk and staring glumly out into space. It was not the most professional way to sit behind the desk, but he was tired and irritated. Thursdays seemed to like to try to kick his ass and this one was very keen on curb-stomping him to within an inch of his life.
There was a pile of unread reports sitting balanced on the far left side of his desk. Edward could see them looming out of the corner of his eye and was trying to pretend that they didn't exist. He had had a long and uncomfortable meeting with Senior Colonel Brandt about performance reviews for some of the recently assigned State Alchemists - as if their failings were a reflection of the officers who passed them. Edward could not help but notice Colonel Neuhaus did not get called out on any of these, despite the fact that he had been the other officer - aside from Fuhrer Dalton - who signed off on the certifications.
On top of that, it was cold and rainy, which without fail put him into a foul mood. It made his joints ache when the seasons changed, and it was especially brutal transitioning into colder weather. He really could not wait to get home and lay face-down on the bed with a hot water bottle to ease the pain in his shoulder and leg.
His work was just not getting done if he continued to sit here and fantasize about running Brandt's head through a paper shredder transmuted to look like a warthog. As much as that mental image was entertaining him, he did had other things to do. Captain Hawkeye was absent today; she and Sheska had ... something … to do. Edward was not entirely sure what, she told him at least three times but he was so used to Hawkeye being his human filing cabinet that he had no idea what it was. Lieutenant Havoc was filling in her duties for the remainder of the week.
The hallway outside the office was mostly empty this time of day. Soldiers were working on paperwork, or in meetings or running drills. Edward's entire command had been moved to the back corner of the main building; it was adjacent to the largest laboratory located on base itself. It made sense, given Edward's dominion over State Alchemists but it also meant that they were divorced from the usual hustle and bustle of the base.
Edward stood in the main hallway - one side of which was entirely windows. The sky outside was gray and heavy with clouds, it looked cold and bleak. Even indoors, he could almost smell the crispness of the air. Edward smiled slightly as he thought about being outside on days like this, Alphonse at his back as they kept moving along. When he got tired of walking Alphonse would let him ride on his shoulder, straddling two of the large spikes on his shoulder guards.
For what it was worth Edward was glad that part of his life was nothing but a memory. If he never had to spend another night sleeping on the side of the road with only his coat as a blanket and Alphonse to watch over him it would be too soon. He scratched the side of his jaw and yawned.
"So have we progressed to the stage where you're gonna start cleaning the windows too, or are we still at the point where you're just contemplating everything that you can do to get out of your paperwork, boss?" Jean Havoc asked as he came up the hallway.
"I won't stoop so low as to clean the windows," Edward said, raising his eyebrow at Havoc as he stopped beside him. "Where have you been all afternoon, Lieutenant?"
"Doin' my job," Havoc said pointedly. He had several folders tucked under his arm. "Cap'n Hawkeye will be back on Monday and she'll pistol-whip me if I've screwed up her filing system any."
Edward snorted through his nose. "Who's selling tickets to that event?"
"Cushler, I get half of the proceeds if she uses a rifle," Rian Martin said as he popped up from behind Havoc. Edward gave Havoc a level stare as Havoc grinned.
"Also, brought you a present," Havoc added, indicating Rian behind him. "I get a cut of that profit, right, kid?"
"We'll see," Rian said sagely.
Havoc laughed at that, and patted the folders. "I'll be in the filing room for at least an hour, boss. Don't forget you have that three-thirty with Lieutenant Colonel Mullins about the State Alchemist who dropped the bakery on his head."
Edward heaved a deep sigh. "Idiots," he intoned. "Thanks, Havoc. I'll catch you later." He watched as Havoc strolled off, waving his hand over his shoulder in acknowledgment; and then turned his attention to Rian. "And where have YOU been all day?"
"Slept in," Rian said, looking satisfied. Edward could not help but be the slightest bit jealous at that, he had left the younger alchemist in a puddle of sheets this morning, barely disturbed by Edward's alarm clock. It was a comforting thing to wake up to Rian beside him in the morning ... he had had his doubts about letting Rian into his life like that, but it was turning out to be the best decision he had made in a while.
Rian was giving him a curious look, head cocked and dark eyes open and thoughtful. "You've got a weird expression on your face again, Colonel."
There it was. Edward remembered now Rian's arms around his neck, pulling him down heavily and gasping loudly - not his name, but his rank. There were very few things that bothered Edward about his relationship with Rian but being called that in bed ... unsettled him a great deal. It hit far too close to home for him to be comfortable with it, and they had had many discussions about how Rian could call Edward anything but that.
He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He did not want to lecture Rian about that here - hell, he did not want to have to lecture him at all. When he opened his eyes to look at Rian, the way that Rian was looking at him made his stomach do a somersault. This was not fair, he was supposed to be the adult in this situation. At least, he consoled himself, Rian had not yet learned the power he held over Edward just by existing and looking at him like that.
Edward smiled, just a little bit. He knew it would settle into a smirk very easily if he let it - and when he smirked at Rian, with his eyes half-mast Rian very quickly turned pink. It was actually charming how easily he could make him blush with the right facial expression - no wonder Mustang used to do this to him all the time. "A weird expression, hm?" Edward murmured, his gaze sweeping up and down the hall to check for watchful eyes.
Then he stepped in to Rian's personal space.
Rian took a step back automatically, his back bumping against the window. Edward put one gloved hand against the glass and leaned in, but did not touch him. "Hm," Edward said. "You know what you did again, Rian?"
Rian's eyes had gotten just a bit wider than usual. He shook his head slightly, almost imperceptibly. "N-no?"
"Think hard," Edward purred. He was in Rian's space and Rian's eyes were on his face. "Think about last night."
If it was charming to watch him blush, it was absolutely endearing watching him go from pink to a dark red hue. Last night had been very good, Edward had to admit; Rian was good at putting him through his paces. Their sex life was nothing to sneeze at, after all. "What did you do, Rian?"
"I-I," Rian stuttered, completely off his guard at the proximity of Edward in this public space. Edward had told him in no uncertain terms that they needed to be discreet in public and any time that Edward himself nudged aside those rules it always threw Rian for a loop. "I don't know-"
Finally Edward touched him, his fingers ticking under Rian's chin to hold his gaze. "What did you call me, last night?"
Realization dawned in Rian's slate eyes. "Colonel." He swallowed, face still impossibly pink. "I called you colonel."
"Yes," Edward breathed. "You did. And what did I tell you to call me, there?"
"Colonel, we're in the hallway," Rian said quickly, eyes darting to the left and to the right. Edward glanced up but they were still alone. Edward raised an eyebrow at Rian.
"You didn't answer me, Rian."
"What was that?"
Rian couldn't mumble, or turn his face away with Edward's fingers on his chin. "Ed," he said. "You said to call you Ed."
"Mm, that wasn't so hard now, was it?" Edward said idly. He released Rian's chin and went to move a step back. However, Rian's hand caught the front of Edward's military jacket and held him there. "Rian?"
And then Rian was up on the balls of his feet, his mouth on Edward's. Edward's free hand flew to Rian's back to hold him, the other still braced on the window as they kissed, Rian's tongue intent on invading and conquering the hostile country of Edward's mouth.
Edward had other ideas, however, and he broke the kiss off far too quickly. "You are a little fox," Edward said, but he was not upset. He still had his arm around Rian's back and Rian was really far too close for this public of a hallway.
The sharp click of military boots on the tile caused them to part quickly. Edward straightened casually and Rian swallowed, but when Edward glanced over his shoulder it was only Havoc.
"Forgot a folder," Havoc said, ducking into the main office. Edward exhaled the breath he had been holding and glanced at Rian, that had been a little too close. Rian smiled at him, the flush fading slightly from his cheeks. Edward could not resist and ruffled Rian's hair with one hand.
"Hey!" Rian said, indignant, as Edward left him standing in front of the windows. The overcast, gray skies were starting to see a bit of a break in the clouds, and maybe some faded blue sky could be visible in the distance.
Perhaps this Thursday was not going to be among his worst after all.