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After dinner, Gracia threw them out of the kitchen. Riza was allowed to stay, apparently, because “she doesn’t get in my way”, but he and Maes were exiled to the couch.

“Give me your feet,” Maes demanded.

“What?” Roy said. “No. Leave my feet alone. You have your own feet.”

Maes grinned, and pushed up his glasses. “You’ll like it. I’ve been practicing foot rubs on Gracia.”

Roy raised an eyebrow. “This isn’t more pregnancy preparation, is it?” he asked.

Maes grinned even wider. “I have to be ready! My kitten’s feet are going to swell up, but I’ll be ready with footrubs to make it better! She’s going to be the most beautiful pregnant woman in the history of pregnant women!”

Roy rolled his eyes. “That doesn’t mean you have to practice on me.”

“No,” Maes purred, sliding into Roy’s personal space. “But you’re tired, and it’s been a long week, and it’ll make you feel better.” He ran a hand down Roy’s leg. “You always argue when someone tries to take care of you,” he observed. “Stop arguing.”

Roy sighed. “Fine,” he said, and leaned down to take his boots off.

“Just lean back,” Maes said, once he was in his stocking feet. Gently, Maes peeled his socks off and ran a thumb down the arch of Roy’s foot.

“Gah!” Roy said, and jerked his foot away.

“Oh, are we ticklish?” Maes asked, smirking.

“Everyone’s ticklish on their feet, you maniac,” Roy grumbled.

“C’mon, Roy,” Maes wheedled. “Give it back. I won’t tickle this time. I promise.”

He was as good as his promise, and the foot massage really did feel good. The uniform boots were utilitarian but not as comfortable as they could be, and he’d spent much of the last few days on his feet. He frowned. He was hoping to orchestrate a transfer to Central, but Grumman’s support alone wasn’t going to be enough. East was seen as a dead-end post by most people, and he needed to find or bribe or seduce new allies if he was going to escape upward and inward.

Maes dropped Roy’s feet onto the ground. He pointed a finger at Roy. “Clothes off,” he said, firmly.

“What?” Roy protested.

“You know the rules,” Maes said. “No work, or you lose clothing privileges. Are you going to tell me that you weren’t thinking about work just now?”

“What, I’m not even allowed to think about work?” Roy argued.

Maes jumped him, going straight for the buttons of his shirt. Roy squawked and did his best to fend the other man off.

“What is going on in here?” Gracia asked, wandering in from the kitchen.

“Love cabbage!” Maes cried. “Roy broke the no-work rule, and is trying to get out of getting naked.”

“Roy?” Gracia asked.

“I was only thinking about work, I didn’t say anything!” Roy explained, trying to push Maes away from his chest. “He’s being ridiculous.”

Gracia smiled and waved a hand. “That’s alright. I prefer you naked. Carry on, darling.”

“Your wife is a cruel and heartless woman,” Roy observed.

Maes thumped him in the head. “My wife is an angel come to Earth,” he corrected Roy. “Now apologize.”

Roy had to admit that it was probably a fair assessment. Gracia had to be one of the most forgiving women that Roy had ever known, given how tolerant she was of this... whatever-it-was that had been between Roy and Maes since the Academy. Still, thinking it was one thing, and giving Maes the satisfaction of hearing him say it aloud was another. “You can’t make me!” Roy said, not caring that he was being childish.

“Yes, I can,” Maes said, his hazel eyes gone dangerous. Damn, Maes could be a weasel. Or possibly a ferret. And/or possibly whichever other slippery, tricky mammals might apply. Within minutes, Maes had him stripped down to boxers and pinned into the sofa. “Say it,” Maes said, one hand cupping Roy’s groin. The threat was implicit.

“Can’t make me,” Roy insisted. He was just being stubborn at this point. Part of him thought that it was a very, very good idea to do whatever Maes wanted him to do- and Maes had to be well aware of that, his hand being where it was.

A shadow appeared at the periphery of Roy’s vision. “Were you just rude to Gracia?” Riza asked, sternly.

Roy wasn’t sure whether he was turned on or terrified by the threat in her voice.

Maes leaned down, brushing his lips against Roy’s neck. “I’d just apologize now and save yourself the ass-kicking,” he murmured cheerfully into Roy’s ear.

“I’m very sorry,” Roy said. “Indeed, Gracia is nothing more than an angel come to Earth.”

“Now you sound like Armstrong,” Riza said, rolling her eyes.

“It’s fine,” Gracia said, and Roy knew that tone of voice. That was the evil tone of voice. Oh, Maes and Gracia looked like such inoffensive, sweet people but underneath- evil. “I’m willing to accept the apology- provided it comes with a show.” Roy looked over to see her settling herself on the armchair.

Riza perched next to her, dropping a kiss on Gracia’s shoulder. “I like that proposal,” she commented, smiling slyly.

Maes twisted, so that he had Roy pinned down underneath him on the sofa. “Our women have the best ideas,” he purred. “They are brilliant goddesses, both of them.”

Roy shuddered against the heat and weight of Maes’s body, the closeness of his lips. “It is,” he said, turning his head to give Maes’s tongue more access to his neck, “a good idea. I have to admit.”

“Good,” Maes said, grinning. “Now, shut up, Roy.”