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'Tis the Season

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“I still don’t understand why you dragged me all the way up the mountain to this stupid cabin. Did you see the snow out there?” Ed stomps his feet in the entryway and readjusts the wood in his arms to keep from dropping it. He shakes his nearly frozen hair out of his face and scowls across the tiny wood cabin. Mustang’s already got a small fire in the fireplace but it’s still cold. Bastard’s gonna need to up the flame alchemy and warm this damn place up! Ed storms across the small space to add his wood to the pile on the floor and shakes his head again. “And what’s with the stupid tree inside? Has being next in line to be Fuhrer completely fried your brain?”

“As I told you when we cut it down—”

“When I cut it down,” Ed snaps and crosses his arms as he looks over at the fir tree that towers two feet over his head. It barely fits in the small cabin and Ed has no idea why Roy needed such a large one. Ed takes a step closer and his eyes widen when he finally notices the shiny, red rope that wraps around the tree from top to bottom. But that’s not all. Roy’s added sparkly bits of silver and red strands of something all over the tree along with hanging baubles spaced randomly over the tree. “Is this the crap that was in that bag you made me haul up here? And what the—are those candles? Are you insane? You aren’t going to light those are you?!”

“Don’t worry about those, Edward. Why don’t you come over to the fire and warm up. You look like you’re freezing.” Ed snaps his head around to see Roy standing near the fire with a cup of something in his hand. He’s dressed in a casual brown sweater and pants, something Ed hardly ever gets to see him in, and in other circumstances his mind would be taking a deliciously different direction. But right now he’s too damn cold to even consider how tasty and relaxed he looks.

Ed shuffles over to the fire that’s grown warmer even in the short time he’s been inside. Apparently the bastard can make a good fire after all. He rubs his gloved hands together in an effort to warm his left hand that’s got to be as cold as his metal right one. He settles in beside Roy but frowns when he sees two long socks hanging from the mantle over the fire. Did Roy get his socks wet? He tilts his head because on closer inspection he knows Roy doesn’t wear anything like that. These are thick and long and very old fashioned…and does that one have his name on it? “Okay General You’ve-Lost-Your-Mind, what is this? And why did we have to come up here today?

“Were you aware that today is the shortest day of the year?” Ed blinks and stares at his insane General who’s still looking at him like this is all perfectly normal. Nothing about this trip has been normal. Roy never gets up and just “leaves,” which is exactly how he made this seem, though now Ed’s certain a fair amount of planning went into this. Why didn’t he tell him about this instead of making a scene by slamming his paperwork on his desk and storming out of the office in Central with Ed in tow? Ed was certain he’d snapped—and with all his randomness he may still have—but now he’s getting a sneaking suspicion that this was all some kind of an elaborate ruse and that they didn’t just randomly come across this place.

“Yeah, yeah, people call it the Winter Solstice or something. What’s your point and why are we here and…what is that damn smell?” Ed didn’t notice it when he first walked in but there’s a delicious aroma in the air that’s making his mouth water. He has a feeling it’s whatever Roy’s drinking and right now Ed wants some. It smells like apples, spices and winter all wrapped up in one.

“It’s spiced cider.” Roy smiles, no, beams at him and once again he’s not sure who this is and what they did with his hard as nails, never takes a damn break for himself bastard. “Let me get you some.” Roy squeezes his arm as he passes by in that possessive yet tender way that makes Ed’s chest warm with emotion and walks over to the tiny stove on the far wall. He must’ve added some wood from the fire to heat it, or just snapped his damn fingers, and Ed watches as he pours something from a metal pot into a waiting mug. That same mouthwatering aroma fills the air and Ed licks his lips as Roy returns with two steaming mugs.

Ed takes the cup eagerly and blows on it before taking a small sip. “Mmmmmm,” he purrs because somehow the stuff tastes better than it smells! He licks his lips and savors the tangy, sweet cider that clings to his lips as the liquid warms him inside as the fire does on the outside. If this is what he gets when Roy goes nuts he needs to encourage this particular brand of insanity more often.

“I’m glad you like it.” Ed snaps his head up from hovering over the cup and expects to see that disapproving look Roy gets when his manners are less than stellar, especially in public. But instead just finds dark eyes sparkling with approval and an ease he never sees. Have they ever taken a break like this before? He can’t remember one and he can’t remember a time he’s seen Roy look so damn relaxed. Who knew a little cabin tucked away in a blizzard would have such an effect on him.

“Yeah, what’s not to like?” Roy smiles more and Ed returns it with one of his own. The cider cup’s warmed up his left hand and the toasty fire has taken care of the rest of him. Well, the fire and Roy’s dark eyes locked on him like he’s the only thing on the planet. He’s never understood that look of total devotion and possession, but he knows without a doubt he’ll never be able to live without it, not that he ever intends to. He shakes out his hair, pulling out the tie so it falls around his shoulders the way Roy likes, and grins at the darkening look to Roy’s eyes. “So, you gonna fill me in on all this Solstice stuff or what?”

“What? Oh…yes.” Ed smirks with satisfaction at how easy his bastard is to distract. It has him ready to toss the tasty cider aside and strip him out of those sexy, casual clothes, but somehow he finds a way to refrain. Roy clears his throat then nods toward the decorated tree in the corner. “It’s a northern tradition to bring in an evergreen tree on this night to celebrate the rebirth of the season and turning of the year. The decorations are just to make it more festive I’d assume.”

“Huh.” Ed turns to look at the tree again and tilts his head at the irony of it. “So they celebrate life by killing a tree?” He can feel Roy’s disapproving look beside him even without looking and he laughs. “Don’t get mad. I get it. It’s an evergreen so I guess it brings life inside or something?”

He turns toward the fire again and finds Roy’s features smooth into that thoughtful, educated look he’d never seen before they started working together so long ago. He’d always seen him as Colonel Shit, someone who didn’t do anything but sit on his ass and give orders. He had no clue about the brilliant mind Roy hid behind his reputation as a lazy womanizer who wanted to bring “miniskirts” to the military.

Ed silently admonishes himself because he should’ve noticed the long hours Roy kept at the office and realized the absurdity of his false reputation, but Roy’s always had a way of making you see what he wanted. Now Ed cherishes this particular look because it reminds him of all the nights they’ve stayed up in Roy’s library debating some alchemic or philosophical idea. Those arguments always ended with them in bed, the point long forgotten by morning light, but he wonders if Roy has any idea how he looks forward to those debates almost even more than the mindblowingly satisfying activities that followed.

“I believe that was precisely the idea. Today is a turning point in the seasons and I believe the tree was brought in to celebrate the new life that was soon to come as well as the rebirth of the sun as the days grow longer.” Ed nods with interest because this is not something he ever would’ve discovered on his own. But Roy’s always been fascinated by different people’s traditions and ideals. It’s why he was successful beyond anyone’s expectations in rebuilding Ishval. He didn’t try to force the Ishvalans to conform to Amestrian standards. Instead he tried to forge an understanding and an alliance between the two peoples. As a result of his dogged determination and surprising open mindedness the East has become the most stable part of the country. Apparently he’s now turned his interests to the frozen North which isn’t surprising considering the rumors they’ve been hearing out of Drachma.

“So what about the rest of this?” He looks to the long socks hanging by the fire curiously because he’s never seen anything like them. What tradition could arise from drying your laundry by the fire? Ed smiles as he feels Roy’s arm slide around his waist and he leans against him without thought.

“Apparently the idea is if you hang up these “stockings” you might just receive a present in them by the morning.” Ed tilts his head against Roy’s shoulder to look at him skeptically out of the corner of his eye and Roy laughs. “I liked the look of them. They seemed…festive.” Ed feels Roy’s hand tighten over his hip and he leans his head back against his shoulder a little more. He’s always loved how they’ve always seemed to “fit” together. Ed shivers when he feels Roy’s breath against his ear as he murmurs to him in a lower voice. “What you should be noticing is what’s hanging over your head.”

Ed blinks with surprise and arches his head back to look up. Sure enough Roy’s tied some green sprig of something so it’s hanging over the both of them. He’s not sure where he found the green branch with tiny white berries and he’s more than a little curious at the meaning. “Is that so? So what’s the significance of—” But whatever else he was going to ask dies on his lips the instant he sees the smoldering look in Roy’s eyes.

“It’s called mistletoe and apparently it’s used to initiate a fertility ritual.” Ed wets his lips, completely mesmerized and transfixed by the dark look in Roy’s eyes. His body heats and pulses in a way only Roy can cause and he hopes whatever the branch is that it’s a short lesson. Roy leans closer, until his lips are nearly brushing Ed’s and Ed finds his breath catching as he waits for him to speak. “They say if two people are caught standing under the mistletoe…they have to kiss.”

Ed barely has a chance to process the words before Roy claims him in a hot kiss every bit as blazing as the roaring fire beside them. His touch is searing, in a way he’s never been able to resist, not that he ever wanted to. Ed turns toward him and nearly drops the mug in his left hand as his right curls in Roy’s thick sweater. Fire coils in his belly as his tongue tangles with Roy’s dominant touch and he submits eagerly to the welcome aggression. How long has it been since Roy’s been this forward and demanding? He doesn’t know but maybe he’ll need to take some of this mistletoe home with them.

He shivers when Roy’s hand slides up his side, knowingly running over him as if he owned every inch of him which they both know he does. He slides his hand up Roy’s chest then curls his fingers in the hair at the nape of his neck. Ed gives a light pull and relishes the guttural sound Roy makes in the back of his throat as he breaks the kiss to take a breath. Roy presses himself closer and Ed trembles at the sound of desire in Roy’s voice. “Mmmmm, maybe I should get the covers from the bed so we can get a little more…comfortable.”

Ed nods eagerly and takes the other cup Roy presses into his free hand. He kneels down to put them both on the floor in front of the fire and looks around. It’s already getting dark outside and he quickly walks over to the door to grab his and Roy’s long coats. They should work as added warmth. He drops the coats to the floor then he turns to add more wood to the fire, pausing only when he sees an enormous log on the other side of the fireplace from the wood pile he made. He wonders about it only for a moment then tosses a few more logs on the fire, adjusting it with his automail hand.

Roy comes back into the room as the fire blazes to life, almost as if it knew it were in the presence of the Flame Alchemst, and Ed stands to take some of the bedding. It looks like he nearly brought the entire bed with him and Ed can already imagine why. Sometimes he really likes the way his bastard thinks. He meets Roy’s grin with one of his own as they add the covers and pillows to the coats on the floor and Ed claps his hands together to form it all into what should be a comfortable floor pallet to sleep on…though he’s certain sleep won’t be coming for a while.

Almost as if on cue Ed feels Roy’s arm slide around him from behind and that low sultry voice purrs against his ear. “You really do have a way with things like that.” Ed leans back against him and closes his eyes when he feels his hair brushed out of the way and Roy’s lips pressing against his neck.

“Yeah, well…you know me. Alchemist of the People. Always ready to help out.” His sigh turns into a moan as Roy’s teeth graze along the column of his throat before kissing and sucking lightly at his skin. Possessive as always and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Mmmm, not now you’re not.” Ed’s pulse races at the husky voice caressing along his jawline and the warm hand slipping under the front of his shirt. “Right now you’re mine. Mine and mine alone.”

“Yessssssssssss,” he hisses out in reply and leans back into Roy’s strong embrace. From the very beginning of things between them Roy’s always made him feel completely wanted and cherished, automail limbs and all. Ed wasn’t someone who trusted or gave of himself easily but somehow Roy made it all a non-issue by taking everything he wanted. Ed never once regretted or shied away from it because what he got back was more than he’d ever even imagined.

“Watch this.” Roy whispers in that cocky tone of his which usually signals flashy alchemy and Ed’s not disappointed. He turns his head at the sound of a snap to his right and he watches as the scarred array on Roy’s hand activates and draws a spark from the fire that in a rush of heat swirls around the tree and lights every carefully placed wax candle. Ed’s eyes widen as the flickering glow of the candles shine off the sparling ornaments and he suddenly understands the entire thing. It’s a beautiful sight and one he can well imagine heralding in a special night of celebration. How could he ever doubt this magnificent bastard behind him?

“Show off,” he teases then grins when he hears the expected chuckle against his shoulder. Roy’s lips capture and suck lightly at his earlobe and Ed shivers as his hand slides further up under his shirt.

“And you know you love it.” Ed nods, unable to deny him, and turns in Roy’s arms at the silent urging of his hands. His breath catches at the hungry look that greets him and he wonders if it will ever get old. He hopes not because he actually likes being swept off his feet no matter how girly or silly it might seem. It’ been months since Roy’s been relaxed enough to give him that look and he knows without a doubt he’d do anything to make it happen again and again no matter how silly. Roy traces his hand along the side of Ed’s face in a way that’s always felt close to worshipful and he leans into the touch. “Do you have any idea how much I’ve been looking forward to this?”

Ed shakes his head, unable to form words in the face of so much raw desire directed solely at him. Roy leans forward and Ed tilts his head back as he kisses down his throat and lowers him back on the nest of blankets. Usually he’d be a much more active participant in the seduction, but that’s normally because he’s had to be the instigator. He knows it’s not that Roy doesn’t desire him, times like this give him all the proof he needs, but it’s still nice to be reminded every so often.

“I’ve been thinking about you the entire trip up here.” And as usual hid it away so well Ed didn’t have a clue. He groans out when Roy’s warm hands slide his long sleeve, winter shirt over his head and Ed’s fingers curl through Roy’s dark locks as he lowers over him to kiss down his chest. Roy starts to slide lower but Ed stops him for a moment, tugging at his hair and tightening his arms around him so much he doubts Roy’s able to breathe. But he must be able to because he speaks words against Ed’s skin that make his body tingle with contentment mixed with heady desire. “Fuck, I do love you, Edward.”

Ed moans his response and Roy finally succeeds in sliding down his body. He feels his hands at the waist of his pants and he tries to help him by lifting his hips, but beyond that he’s useless and he knows it. Roy tugs his pants down his legs and Ed eyes are drawn to the shining tree, alight with candles in a perfect tribute to his inimitable Flame Alchemist. It’s not that they don’t say how they feel about each other. They do. But it’s never enough and when he hears it, laden so thick with emotion, it turns him completely to mush. Roy could probably get him to agree to absolutely anything if he only told him he loved him.

Ed’s romantic cocoon of bliss suddenly shatters, all the world snapping firmly back into place, when Roy’s hot mouth finds the hard evidence of his desire. He bucks up, unable to control the need that flares through him, and Roy’s strong hands catch his hips as he takes him deep into his mouth. Ed swears he’s not completely undone, and that strangled noise that sounded suspiciously like a squeak wasn’t him, but he knows better. Roy owns him, body and soul, and he’s good with that, even if it does make him sound silly sometimes.

He arches back on their makeshift bedding and cries out long and low, “Roooooooooooooooooooy.” His name is as close to a prayer as he’s ever come and Ed bucks into his mouth with every tortuously slow bob of his head. It’s good. It’s so fucking good but it’s not what he wants right now. He knows Roy would get him off again later, he always does, but Ed doesn’t want to wait. He wants more. He wants everything and he reaches down to tug at Roy’s silky locks. Roy growls low around him and it sends shivers of ecstasy straight up his spine. “Pleeeeease, Roy. I…pleeeeease.”

He wants to form words but his tongue won’t cooperate. Thankfully he doesn’t have to as Roy crawls up his body, kissing and sucking at his skin all the way up. Dark, smoky eyes lock with his and before he can catch his breath Roy’s lips come crashing down against his and Ed’s tongue finally remembers how to react. He kisses him back desperately, clutching at his shoulders and grinding his hips up against him. It’s fire and molten heat everywhere they touch and Ed can’t stop. He needs him. Fuck he needs him.

He reaches down and tears at Roy’s sweater, dragging and pulling it up his body and he swears he hears fabric ripping. He doesn’t give a shit. He’ll fix it later. He considers transmuting his arm to a blade to remove Roy’s pants faster when Roy finally breaks the kiss and pulls back. The intensity of his eyes pin Ed in place and his stomach does flip flops at the sultry smile that curls over Roy’s lips. “You have no idea how hot you are when you get this needy.”

Roy barely gets his pants unfastened before Ed grabs him and pulls him down again. He shoves at Roy’s trousers and growls against his shoulder before nipping at it with his teeth. “Not needy. Just want you to fuck me. NOW!” Roy’s chuckle should piss him off but instead it just fills him with even more raging warmth and desire. He’d never tell the bastard but when he’s looking at him like that anything he does is fucking sexy beyond belief. He feels a slick hand between his legs and he parts them eagerly. He doesn’t know when Roy pulled out the lube but he thinks it just made him love him ten times over. He groans when long, slender fingers push inside him and he clutches at him even harder. “Yes, Roy. Fuck. Love you too. So fucking much.”

A deep groan sounds against his ear and before he knows it the fingers are gone and are replaced with something much less slender. Ed arches back, mindless with his own need, and cries out long and low when Roy fills him, and fills him, and…fuck he feels so good. The stretch is just on the edge of too much, like it always is, and Ed writhes with pleasure. Being with him has always been mind-numbingly perfect and he wouldn’t want it any other way. He loves the lingering feeling of having been fucked by him and only him.

His fingers scratch against Roy’s shoulders and when he can focus enough to look up at him he shudders with renewed desire at the look of raw need on Roy’s face. He gives him a panting nod and watches as Roy’s jaw unclenches and he rocks his hips back before pushing hard and deep inside him again. Ed cries out sharply and wraps his legs around Roy’s hips, bucking against him and trying to get him even deeper. The world turns to a sliding blur of pants, gasps and dark eyes Ed swears see straight into his soul. He wants to focus on the intense set of Roy’s jaw, the damp hair plastered to his forehead and the way the cracking and popping fire lights up his pale body like an alabaster God from one of his research books. But he can’t. All he can do is get lost in the searing pleasure overloading each and every one of his senses.

“Roy, yes, fuck, yes,” he babbles over and over as his nerves burn with so much pleasure it’s nearly painful. He feels his legs pushed back as Roy folds him nearly in half and it only makes him groan more with need as Roy somehow gets deeper and sends electric shocks of pleasure sparking through his body like the best alchemic reaction ever designed. Ed rides the hot train of fire coursing through him until Roy’s strong hand wraps around him and he nearly blacks out with blinding ecstasy. He doesn’t know how many times he strokes him, but it doesn’t matter because in another breath he’s screaming Roy’s name and shaking out of control. He feels Roy slamming into him and before he can come down his legs slide off Roy’s shoulders and he’s wrapped up in a blanket of spent, sexy alchemist.

Ed wraps his arms and legs around him as he strokes Roy’s damp hair and back still slick with sweat. Roy nuzzles his face against his neck and Ed feels all the remaining tension drain out of him. He knows in a moment Roy will be curled asleep against him and before long Ed will follow him into blissful exhaustion, but right now his body is alive with crackling energy, his mind whirling like he’s overdosed on black coffee. He should let his lazy bastard sleep but he wants an answer first. Roy said he’d been thinking about this the whole trip and he wants to know why he didn’t tell him.

“Roy?” He nudges him with his shoulder but Roy just tries to burrow more against his neck. “Hey, bastard, listen to me.” Roy makes a noise that sounds like a wounded puppy and Ed tugs lightly on his hair. “Why didn’t you tell me about this? Why all the secrecy and shit?”

“Eeeeeeeed.” It comes out as a plaintive whine against his skin and he wonders what people would think if they knew the future leader of Amestris turned into a whiny little brat after mind blowing sex. Ed nudges him with his shoulder again and Roy very reluctantly moves off him and curls up beside him with his arm tight around Ed’s waist. “‘Fraid you wouldn’t come.” The words are mumbled and if he could see his face Ed’s sure his General would be pouting.

“Wouldn’t come? Why in the world wouldn’t I come?” He shifts slightly, trying to look at him but Roy stubbornly clings to him and Ed contents with stroking a hand over his hair. “You don’t really believe that, do you?”

Roy grunts, obviously annoyed with the conversation then huffs against Ed’s shoulder. “Things always come up. Didn’t even know if I’d go through with it but got Hawkeye to get the train reservations and Havoc got the cabin.” Ed’s eyes widen when he realizes the plan was a lot bigger than he even imagined. “Even filled in Alphonse. Just thought, up and leaving, you’d just follow and figure it out later.”

Ed smiles at the explanation muffled against his shoulder and nods because it’s probably true. He likes to put all the blame on Roy for their never getting alone time but he knows he’s as much to blame. Turns out heading up the military’s alchemy program and being Roy’s trusted advisor takes a lot more time than he ever anticipated. If they’d actually planned this and made it an official vacation one of them would’ve backed out. Damn bastard, he’ll have to remember this and try to turn the tables sometime.

“Think we can go to sleep now? Brat?”

Ed chuckles at the petulant tone to his voice and he kisses his forehead. “Yes, my cranky General. You’re older, I know you need your beauty sleep.” Roy snorts against him but in only a few minutes Ed feels the tight arm around his waist loosening and hears a soft snore near his ear. Ed smiles and closes his eyes, warm and content when he remembers something Roy said earlier. Didn’t he mention something about presents showing up in those stocking as they slept? A slow grin curls Ed’s lips as he reaches down to unwrap Roy’s arm from around him. Maybe he can make sure there’s a little surprise for Roy as well on this impromptu vacation.

He squirms away from Roy and smiles when he tries to stay with him even in sleep. Ed kisses his forehead again and strokes his hair which seems to appease him enough for the moment and Ed slips out the makeshift bed. He pushes to his feet and shivers at the loss of Roy’s warmth against him. It’s not that cold by the fire, but it’s nowhere near as warm as he was in bed. No matter, this won’t take long. Ed hurries over to the tree that’s still glowing with candlelight and shakes his head. Not good. They could’ve woken up in a ball of flames if one of these candles fell over. Ed quickly tip toes around the tree and blows out all the little candles the Flame left burning.

Ed rubs his arms up and down to keep warm then breaks a small branch off the tree that has some candle wax drippings on it. Then he tears off a bit of the shiny red rope and some of the sparkly silver strands hanging over the tree. He sets all the little bits on the ground them claps his hands together and kneels down to press them to the floor. A crackle of alchemy later and a tiny tree stands in front of him complete with decorations and tiny miniature candles just like the large tree beside him. He snatches it up and hurries over to the front of the fire. He drops the little tree in the stocking with Roy’s name and grins, more than pleased with himself.

He turns back to the bed when another draft from somewhere in the cabin makes him shiver. He looks over his shoulder at the fire that’s still blazing along, but it won’t be by morning. He glances around and once again spots the huge long sitting away from the main woodpile. Is that supposed to be a special log or something? Ed shrugs and shuffles over to it anyway. It can be special by keeping them warm all night. Ed carefully heaves the large log onto the fire and jumps backwards when it crackles and pops at him. He watches the fire curl around the log until another cold draft chases him back to bed. Roy makes a low murmur in his sleep as Ed presses his cooled body against him and he pulls the covers up over them both. He closes his eyes with a smile on his lips and wraps his arm tight around Roy as he follows him into sleep.

~*~*~*~

Sunlight streaming through the one of the cabin windows signals a temporary break in the snowfall and Ed wakes alone on the floor bed. It’s not a surprise considering his bastard is a notoriously early riser. Ed stretches out on the bed and smiles when the scent of coffee instead of Roy’s usual tea hits his nose. Apparently Roy really is trying to spoil him if he brought the percolator instead of the teapot. Ed rubs at his eyes and yawns before finally prying them open to look around. The fire is still burning low and a quick glance around finds Roy over by the tree picking off the little bits of half burned candles. Knowing him he’ll probably alchemy them into another candle. His bastard may be a General but in a lot of ways he’s surprisingly frugal.

“Thank you for blowing out the candles last night, Edward. They very well might have burned out, but it was a sensible precaution.” Ed grins at his words because as is usual between them neither one wants to ever admit they were completely wrong. He knows if Roy had thought about it he would’ve doused the candles with a snap of his fingers, but there’s no need to point that out…yet.

“No problem. Better safe than sorry.” Roy pauses from his task to look over at him and Ed grins back innocently. Roy knows this won’t be the last of this conversation, but instead of commenting he goes back to plucking the last of the candles off the tree. He piles them on the floor beside him then reaches up and grabs the shiny red rope at the top of the tree. “So, what are we doing today? Got some more traditions to try out?”

“We need to get packed up. The train for Central leaves a little after noon.” Roy glances over his shoulder at him for a moment before turning his attention back to unwrapping the red rope from the tree and reality suddenly hits Ed like a hard punch to the gut. Damn it. This isn’t his Roy with his warm, sexy smile and soft, relaxed edges. This is his hard assed General who’s already back to being all business. Would it really be too much to ask to get more than one damn night at a time for themselves? “Did you check your stocking?” Ed catches a tiny hint of a smile this time instead of the broad, playful one from last night and it instantly tells him he was right. The General’s back.

“Did you?” Ed rolls on his side to look for his pants and meets Roy’s questioning look with an arched eyebrow. He spots his pants a few feet away and stretches out to snag the end of one of the legs. “What?” he adds when Roy continues to only stare. “You said treats might show up during the night. You should probably check on that.” Ed jerks his pants closer then nods toward the fire and the hanging stockings. Silly bastard, he’s not the only one who can have surprises.

Roy finishes with the length of red rope he was unwinding and sets it on the floor next to the candle bits. Then he walks over to the fire and takes down both of the stockings while Ed shimmies into his pants. Roy turns back toward him and holds out Ed’s for him to take but instead Ed pats the open space beside him on the bed. For a moment Roy makes no move toward it, probably worried that Ed might try to distract him from his plan of leaving early, but in the end he relents and sits down beside him.

Ed takes his stocking eagerly and peeks inside. He knew Roy would do something like this after mentioning it and he’s glad he got up and made the little tree. For all he knows it’s going to be better than— “Is this what I think it is!” Ed reaches into the stocking and pulls out brightly wrapped candies he hasn’t seen since their last trip to Xing. He immediately unwraps the waxy paper on one and pops it in his mouth, his face instantly puckering at the sharply sour taffy taste.

“I still can’t understand how you can eat those atrocious things.” Disapproval is written all over his face but Ed doesn’t miss the glint in his eyes. He must’ve been hoarding these things forever, or spent a fortune importing them in. Either way Ed’s more than grateful for the treat.

“They’re not atrocious,” Ed says as he smacks around the sticky taffy-like confection. Roy rolls his eyes and Ed nudges him in the side. “They’re just sour. Now look in your damn stocking and stop rolling your eyes at me.”

“I’m not rolling my eyes. I wouldn’t even—” His words cut off as he pulls out the tiny tree and Ed’s pleased to see its no worse for the wear being shoved in the stocking. Roy’s eyes widen as he turns the tiny miniature in his hands and he glances over to the big tree and back probably comparing the two. “Ed, this is….”

“A treat from whoever doles them out up here.” Roy’s head snaps over to look at him and Ed just smiles as he unwraps another candy and pops it into his mouth. The sour hits him like a brick to the face and he does his best to grin around the extreme tartness. Roy shakes his head disapprovingly then turns his attention back to the little tree, his face softening as he continues to take in all the little details. “Hey…Roy.”

Roy looks over at him and Ed’s instantly struck by the lines of exhaustion around his eyes that he knows aren’t from last night. Why hasn’t he noticed this before? It’s probably because for whatever reason his bastard isn’t wearing one of those masks he hardly ever lets crack, even when it’s just them. How has he not noticed this before now? Has he really been that busy? Roy obviously doesn’t want to go back any more than he does. Ed reaches over and laces his fingers with Roy’s. He gives his hand a little squeeze and Roy looks down at their intertwined fingers curiously.

“You know, it looks like the weather’s let up.” Roy lifts his head to look at him again and Ed nods toward the window. “I bet I could go out and find us something to eat. I saw rabbit trails on the way up here.” Roy slowly shakes his head and Ed squeezes his hand a little tighter. “Why don’t we stay here one more night? We could even get things packed up so we can leave first thing tomorrow. Why don’t we…?” Ed looks down when Roy brushes his thumb across the back of his hand and he sighs softly. He’s not going for it. That means they’re gonna have to go back to work and who knows when the next time they’ll get to—

“I believe…there is a train that leaves tomorrow morning.” Ed snaps his head up and his eyes widen. Is Roy really suggesting…? “Maybe we could do with a little more research on this northern culture.” The corner of Roy’s mouth turns up slightly and Ed feels a warmth spreading through his chest that has nothing to do with the fire or with carnal desire. “I see you put the big traditional log on the fire last night…I hear you aren’t supposed to extinguish it until it burns out completely….”

“And we wouldn’t want to offend any of the traditions up here!” Ed squeezes Roy’s hand again and beams when Roy’s smile grows a little and his body takes on a more relaxed posture. He swears the lines around his eyes lessen and well and Ed grasps onto this tradition idea with all his might. “So what other traditions did you hear about? Is there anything we should do to the tree? Or maybe I should get some more of that mistletoe? Didn’t you say something about fertility rituals?”

Ed goes quiet when he’s suddenly tugged toward Roy and he grins when he feels a strong arm slide around his waist. Roy’s eyes have already lost the tired look to them and Ed grins when he sees it’s been replaced by amusement. “First of all, Edward, this season seems to be steeped in much tradition…and I do believe you’re talking too much.” Roy leans forward to capture his lips in a kiss that’s warm, soft and most of all tender. It’s a sharp contrast from the heated exchanges of last night, but they’ll get there. Though, to be honest…he thinks he enjoys this most of all.

He’s never believed much in holidays and traditions, but this year he’s making an exception. And maybe next year he might just have to make one more.