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as a fever, rattling bones

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Hot as a fever, rattling bones
I could just taste it, taste it
If it's not forever, if it's just tonight
Oh, it's still the greatest, the greatest, the greatest”


Eight days of Ed not showing his face, eight days of Roy preserving his dignity, not allowing himself to show his humiliation, his indignation, his shame. It is far easier to call it that in his head, to think himself of having been slighted and rejected and that it was nothing but a minor blow to his ego, a scratch in the paint job.

Instead it feels like the entire car broke down, like someone took the wheel and drove into a tree, with Roy there in the passenger seat, speechless, powerless. Whiplash, and he is hurt because when he had thought of the things he feared to lose this had not been among them. Ed had not been among them. And yet now he is.

At the same time, however, he is among the things that Roy cannot ever have. As it was and as it should be.

“Lunch, chief?” Havoc asks, already fiddling a cigarette from the pack in his chest pocket. “Breda says it's on him if he can't fit three entire hot dogs into his mouth.”

Breda would win the bet, Havoc would lose and bemoan the loss of his hard-earned money, Fuery would giggle so hard he snorted water out of his nose, and Falman would look on with a stiff if somewhat indulgent smile.

Roy, though, Roy would barely even taste the food and their antics would only remind him of Ed spilling coffee on Roy's sheets without even apologizing for it.

“Thank you, Lieutenant,” Roy says. “But I best finish these papers.”

Havoc gives him a stupefied look but then follows it up with a careless shrug. “Fine by me,” he says, stuffing the cigarette into the corner of his mouth and giving it a twirl. “I'll bring you a sandwich, then.”

“Turkey club?” Roy asks.

“Turkey club,” Havoc nods easily and then clicks his tongue. “Later, chief.”

And Roy dedicates himself to his papers, his work, his career. He has plans. He needs to go somewhere in life. There is no point in lamenting could-have-beens. Daydreams are for children and old men. Roy is neither.

His pen scratches over the paper and his eyes strain down at the small letters, and yet he cannot keep from glancing at the clock over the door, getting more and more edgy with each passing minute and being painfully aware of the reason.

Because alphas do not have a cycle per se, but they do tend to attune to their partners, and now Roy's instincts are telling him that he needs to be with his omega.

There is no such thing, though. Only Fullmetal who has cut all ties of that nature between them.

It's alright. Soon enough, Roy would acclimate again and it would be like nothing had ever happened.

The world tilts into a macabre kind of déjà vu, however, when the door suddenly bursts open and Alphonse Elric barrels into the room.

“Something's wrong with brother,” he announces, panic in his voice, even more so than there had been during the time Ed accidentally overdosed all those months ago.

Roy is on his feet and out the door in a flash, vaguely grateful that the outer office is empty so no one can witness his immediate agitation.

“Did he take blockers again?” he demands to know because if Ed really hadn't found some other alpha it seemed like the most plausible explanation.

“No, I don't think so.” Despite his size, Alphonse has to hurry to keep up with him as they make their way out of headquarters. “But he's really out of it and he- he keeps saying your name.”

Withdrawal, then. Dammit, Roy should have expected it, what with Ed's violent reaction before. But it isn't like he could have forced the boy to keep him on as a heat partner.

In his single-minded determination to get to Ed as soon as possible, he almost forgets that he has no idea which way to go. But as always, Alphonse proves to be extremely dependable, even under duress.

“We're staying at the Heather Hotel,” he reveals, making a sharp left turn at the next corner before sheepishly adding, “We were no longer allowed at any omega inns after last time.”

Roy just gives a curt nod and quickens his strides once more. He knows where the hotel is located and it's not far, but it still seems like it might take eternities to get there.

They move in silence, apart from Al's hollow thudding and Roy's blood loud in his ears. However, he is not too distracted to feel the boy staring at him.

“Out with it,” he growls, too impatient to care for manners or other meaningless things. Still, Alphonse remains silent for a few moments longer.

“You were brother's heat partner, weren't you?” he asks, very quietly. “He never told me, but it makes sense. He wouldn't choose anyone he didn't trust.”

“That's not- That wasn't was it was about,” Roy objects, though he feels the back of his neck growing hot, caught off guard by being addressed so directly about this matter.

Alphonse only gives a thoughtful humming noise and then Roy doesn't care anymore because he can see the hotel just a little ways ahead.

True to its name, the small front-yard and the entrance are lined by scrubs of white and lavender heather, the smell of it heady in the late summer air. And maybe it's just his imagination, but Roy thinks that despite that he can still make out Edward's scent underneath it all.

This time, when they enter, they are not stopped by anyone.

“On the right,” Alphonse just informs him. “Room 12. I had to lock the door.”

He reveals a key that he must have tightly held in his clenched fist the entire time and Roy snatches it up like it promised to unlock a trove of treasures. In a way, it does. He jams it into the lock, turns it roughly, barely waits to hear it click open before he pushes down the door handle, pushes inside.

Ed's scent hits him like a wall, a warm and welcoming wall, and he is so gone on it it takes him a moment to clear his senses. When he does, the first thing he sees is Edward, half-naked and feverish, surging up from the bed across the room and moving towards him with teetering steps.

He is weak as a kitten, but he doesn't seem to care, just throws himself into Roy's open arms and begins to rub up against him, obviously trying to mash their scents.

“Roy,” he whispers in confused disbelief, his voice hoarse. “Roy, you're here, you're here, I thought you didn't want me, I thought-”

“Shh, shh,” Roy soothes, bending his knees to pick Ed up and carry him back to the bed. “It's alright. I'm here now. It's alright.”

“I'll, um, I'll best leave,” Alphonse announces from his place in the threshold and then proceeds to make himself scarce, firmly closing the door. The Elric brothers, Roy thinks, are very lucky to have one another.

Yet Edward doesn't even react to his brother's announcement or to the door closing, and that in itself is saying something. Instead he keeps his arms tightly wound around the back of Roy's neck, refusing to release him, even as he is being set down on the mattress once more.

“Edward,” Roy says, gently trying to free himself, though he does not want to lose the touch either. “Just let go for a second.”

But Ed shakes his head, an odd mixture between weak and vehement.

“Don't leave,” he whispers like a broken record, dried tear tracks on his tender face. “Please don't leave, please don't leave, please-”

The litany is like a bucket of ice water being dumped on Roy's head because there is still something inherently wrong with the Fullmetal Alchemist begging anyone in such a manner. Yet at the same time a fire seems to ignite in Roy's guts.

When the symptoms had gotten worse, Ed could have gone and found some other alpha. Many would have been willing. And maybe he had tried to do that and that was the reason why Alphonse had been forced to lock the door. Or maybe what the boy had said was true, that Edward trusted Roy, that he had been calling his name, that he wanted him.

Maybe this was bound to happen from the beginning.

Roy puts two fingers underneath Ed's chin and Ed easily follows the movement until his face it titled toward Roy's, and then Roy bends down and kisses him so thoroughly that when he tries to pry Edward's fingers from his collar they unfurl all by themselves, like moon flowers at night.

Ed quivers a sigh into his mouth but then he is already struggling out of his shorts, his lips never leaving Roy's. And, accepting the inevitable, welcoming it, relishing, Roy begins to rid himself of his own uniform, heedless of the many buttons and clasps, shrugging off his jacket, pulling his undershirt over his head so it messes up his hair.

He's not a colonel in this, not Ed's commanding officer. He is here of his own choosing, because of destiny and duty, because of something that cannot be fully named.

Edward is on his hands and knees again, much like during their first time, only now he is both more experienced and more wanton than before. And just like their last time, he is ready, wet enough that no more slick is needed but that that certain edge of friction will still be there, leaving them breathless.

Roy is struck by the mental image of Ed writhing in bed, furiously fucking himself open on his fingers, moaning Roy's name, while Alphonse had to sit outside the door and listen and wait. No wonder the boy had eventually just given up and went to get Roy's help.

Edward would be terribly embarrassed by the time he figured out just what he had revealed about himself, but Roy cannot help but be pleased.

Technically, Edward is the head of the family, especially since his brother hasn't presented yet, so their affair hasn't really been illicit in that regard. But it still means something that Alphonse now knows about their relationship and that he actually seemed to approve. Like being given a blessing for something Roy has tried very hard to convince himself is a bad idea.

He doesn't waste any more time then, just sinks his fingers into the tangle of Ed's hair, tugging his head back till his neck bends gracefully. His other hand on the omega's hip, Roy lines himself up and then just thrusts forward, simultaneously yanking at Ed's scalp.

Ed gives a sharp little gasp, overwhelmed but still finding that it is not yet enough. It's no surprise, really. Judging by the state Roy had found him in, his heat must have kicked in hours ago and by now he was probably at the end of his rope.

What he needs is not just an alpha, but a hard fuck. And Roy is more than willing to provide one.

They do not need to find their rhythm. Sex can be a sensual dance, yes, with both partners anticipating the others' movements, twisting and undulating and always meeting in between. But Roy has found that, between the two of them, it is always more about unstoppable forces and immovable objects. It's about paradoxical conundrums.

Ed braces himself against the mattress, keeps in one place, his entire frame trembling with the effort, while Roy slams into him from behind, again and again, tilting his hips in that angle that soon has Ed gasping for more.

He fits his palm over the back of Ed's neck and pushes him down, holds him there, more dominating that he has ever dared to be before, ever worried of wounding Edward's pride and overstepping his boundaries.

Now, though, Edward claws at the sheets and he feebly bites his own wrist to hold in his drawn-out moan, but then is is already coming, heaving spasms that rock his body back into Roy, bucking upwards.

Yet Roy can tell that it's still insufficient. It's just a side effect of the withdrawal but even orgasm does not seem enough to curb the frenzy. There's no need to worry, though. Soon, Edward would calm down, maybe aided by some sedatives to tide him over, but come morning he would be mostly back to normal.

That's what Roy's knowledge and his logic say. His instincts, however, are roaring, demanding he give his omega what he wants, what he deserves. His instincts tell him to bite.

He flips Ed around, descends, covering him with his body, and Ed lets his legs slay open, recklessly scratching red trails down Roy's glistening back.

The skin of Ed's neck, damp with cold sweat, tastes of salt and promise, and Roy will forever remember it. He digs his teeth into the strained tendons, deeper than is strictly necessary, and Ed stills, his breath hitching, like a small animal between the jaws of a predator.

He trusts him, though, trusts him not to snap his spine and devour him.

“Yes,” Ed whimpers, carding his fingers through the hair at the nape of Roy's neck as Roy begins to lap at the wound, even as his hips keep moving erratically. “Yes.”

Roy's pride swells.

His omega, this beautiful terrifying amazing creature, wants him, wants him so badly he had rather starved himself than look for another alpha, has wanted him from the beginning instead of anyone else.

He comes with the tang of blood on his tongue.




Afterwards, when it is done and Roy can grasp a coherent thought again, he stands in the bathroom and splashes cold water on his face which looks back from the splattered mirror, mute and pale.

There's a first aid kit in the cabinet and he pulls it out, opens the lid, relieved to find a bottle of rubbing alcohol and ointment. Human mouths were full of bacteria so it was best to disinfect and properly treat the wound.

Thinking of the practicalities makes is slightly easier to ignore reality for a little while longer. The reality that he had forced a mating mark onto someone who was unable to really consent.

When he steps back into the room, Edward is already awake as well, lying on his back and staring up at the ceiling. He is still naked, the sheets pooled around his hips, and he is writhing subtly, no doubt still restless from the lingering heat, but his flesh hand is fingering the mark.

Roy swallows.

After a moment, he gives himself a push, though, and steps up to the bed, heavily settles down on the edge of the mattress.

“Here,” he says, pouring a glass of water from the pitcher on the bedside table and handing it to Ed. “You should drink something.”

At his back, he can feel Edward shift and sit up, accepting the glass without a word, followed by the sounds of him downing the water in one big gulp.

Roy toys with the hinges on the lid of the first air kit, making them creak. Eventually, however, he unscrews the bottle of alcohol and douses a cotton ball with it.

“Come here, please,” he instructs, twisting around so he can reach Edward. “I need to disinfect the wound.”

Ed complies but Roy doesn't look him in the eye, just blankly stares at the side of his neck. The skin there is sore and reddened, the indentations of Roy's teeth clearly visible. It would scar and forever remind the both of them of what had happened.

Roy falters, pulls away.

“Edward, I am so sorry,” he begins, dropping his face into his palms, burdened by shame, “I don't- I don't know what came over me. I should've never-”

But then, very suddenly, Ed is upon him, draped over his back and clamping his mouth over the juncture of Roy's neck and shoulder.

Roy startles, cries out, because he hadn't expected it to hurt so much, hadn't expected-

“There,” Ed says, sounding quite pleased with himself, running his tongue over the slightly bleeding spot. “Now it's mutual.”

Roy has to pull free from his grasp to properly turn around, but when he does he finally gets a good look at Edward.

His gaze is clear, unaffected by whatever hormones must still be coursing through his system, and a small smile is playing around his lips.

Roy stares.

“You... you?” he stutters, his brain barely even catching up with what has just happened.

Ed rolls his eyes. “For months now,” he says. “Seriously, how slow can you get?”

But when Roy just keeps staring at him in disbelief, a flicker of doubt darkens his face and he ducks his head. “Unless you didn't want me to...?”

There's an edge of panic creeping into his voice at the end, like he were the one who had acted hastily and without permission, like he had forced this on Roy.

“A-Are there ways to reverse it?” he stammers out. “I'll- I'll figure something out, I promise. I just thought- I though you-”

He's working himself up into another anxiety attack and that finally forces Roy into action.

“Shh, Edward,” he whispers, touching a soothing hand to the boy's forehead, brushing the hair from his face. “It's alright.”

Ed's amber eyes fix themselves on Roy, his pupils like pinpricks, his lips bloodless. He looks like he wants to believe Roy but cannot quite bring himself to do so. And how could he, after this confusing hot-and-cold game they had unwittingly playing with each other, neither knowing whether they were wanted and convincing themselves of the contrary. It had been a means of self-preservation but instead they had only hurt each other.

“I tried to tell myself... that it was selfish of me,” Roy discloses. “To presume that you would want me.”

“I,” Ed closes his mouth, opens it again. “Why wouldn't I want you?”

“I'm much older than you,” Roy reminds him gently. “A soldier. A murderer, essentially. You... have options.”

But Ed shakes his head.

“I know what I am doing,” he insists. “I thought about this.”

“Genius still leaves a margin for error,” Roy points out what they both know too well.

Ed's nose scrunches up.

“This is not alchemy,” he hisses. “This is not science. It's-”

And he catches himself, bites his tongue just short of the admission.

“You barely even know me,” Roy says and he doesn't understand why he is so desperately trying for self-destruction.

Ed glares. “Most people become mates with less than that.”

“Neither of us has ever been 'most people'.”

“Look, if you don't want me, just fucking say so,” Ed hisses and slaps his hand away, scooting back and only managing to tangle himself up in the sheets even more. “Would've saved me a fuckload of embarrassment, you shit, so don't sugarcoat-”

He chokes on his words, his throat closing up, and then he is struggling against the sheets, fighting to free himself in lieu of having to look at Roy.

And this must have been the reason why he broke off their arrangement, why he thought it necessary to try and tackle his heat on his own again. Edward Elric could not afford to be dead weight, could not allow himself to depend on someone who didn't need him in return.

He had claimed it isn't alchemy, yet it is obvious that he still applies the fundamentals of equivalent exchange to their relationship, believing it will only work if both of them get something similar out of it.

As though whatever they have is in any way quantifiable.

So Roy reaches out and pulls him against his chest in a tight embrace, stopping his feeble attempts at escape.

“I want you,” he concedes roughly, the confession strangely liberating. “I... want you.”

He had lain awake in bed, counting all the reasons why his daydream was a bad idea, except that his day dream had an agenda of his own and would not just be placated.

“So,” he says. “I would be very honored... if you would have me.”

Because at the end of the day, an omegas decision always supersedes that of an alpha.

“I...,” Ed seems rather whiplashed by the sudden change in perspective. “That's what I've been saying, you bastard.”

Roy chuckles. “I just wanted to make sure. There is still a lot we need to consider. There is the brass and how we will break the news to people. Your brother might already know but not everyone will be so understanding. Furthermore-”

“Um.” Ed swallows nervously. “Can we... can we do this later?” And his hips helplessly wriggle against Roy's thigh, his re-awakened arousal at their proximity obvious.

Roy should insist that, no, they really ought to talk about it now, but there'd really be no point to it considering that Ed would be barely listening. And already Roy cannot concentrate anymore either, too focused on how his omega wants to be claimed once more.

His omega. His omega. Finally, the fantasy he had been tiptoeing around hits him full-force in the face.

He and Edward are mated now. In a convoluted and entirely unplanned way they have pledged themselves to each other. They aren't just heat partners anymore. They are an entity.

So Roy grabs Edward underneath the thighs and topples him over, pressing him down onto the mattress, tenderly fitting his teeth exactly over they had been before. The bitter taste of disinfectant is overpowering now but Edward's pulse is underneath his tongue, fast and hot and alive.

They can always talk tomorrow.




After their hasty departure from headquarters the day before, Alphonse had apparently returned to apologize for Roy's absence without going into detail, and for a short blissful while Roy fools himself into believing that no one will ask any cutting questions.

So he tugs at his collar to make sure it covers all evidence and acts like nothing out of the ordinary has happened.

His peace, of course, is short-lived.

He and Edward had left the hotel at early dawn to get themselves some fresh clothes that did not stink of heat and sex, agreeing to meet later on to finally have a proper talk. It really shouldn't come as a surprise that Fullmetal deliberately managed to misinterpret that agreement.

Edward swaggers into headquarters, dressed in nothing but his leather pants and a black tank top. One might think he had forgone his red coat because of the sweltering weather, but the way he keeps angling his head suggests otherwise.

On the golden skin of his neck, there for everyone to see, sits a fresh bite mark that just so happens to correspond with the set of Roy Mustang's teeth.

So much for even attempting to keep quiet about this.

Roy is standing in the outer-office when Ed comes in and so he has the dubious pleasure of witnessing his team's reactions firsthand.

Fuery's eyes simply widen behind his glasses, Breda gives a disbelieving bark of laughter, Falman fumbles a stack of papers so badly he eventually just drops it, and Havoc falls straight out of his chair. Hawkeye turns around and gives Roy a stern look.

“Is this... is this still just for show?” Havoc asks weakly after he has crawled out from under his desk.

“No." Ed flips his hair back. “Problem?”

“Brother,” Alphonse sighs in exasperation. Freshly mated omegas tended to brag and, considering that Edward was a bit of a show-off anyway, there was no doubt that Al had already been subjected to a lot of preening.

“I called it,” Breda says with a grin. “Totally.”

“No, you didn't,” Fuery pipes up. “You said no one would ever be alpha enough for someone like Ed.”

A moment of realization and then they all turn towards Roy, new-found admiration in their eyes.

And this is Roy's time to gloat because he is well aware of what a catch Edward is. Not that he had so much caught Ed as had him thrust into his arms against his expectations.

In that moment there is a knock on the door and then a woman in uniform is already entering, immediately zeroing in on Roy.

“Colonel Mustang, sir,” the Sergeant addresses him with a sharp salute, but her gaze flickers from him to Edward for just a fracture of a second. “Major General Abbot requests your presence in her office. Major Elric is to accompany you.”

Roy bites the inside of his cheek to keep from cursing out loud, the buoyant atmosphere from before sucked right out of the room as all of his previous fears seem to manifest themselves.

He glances over at Edward who is already watching him with wide eyes, trying to gauge his reaction.

Roy gives an almost imperceptible nod, beckoning for Ed to join him as he follows the sergeant out of the office, leaving his team and Alphonse in uneasy silence. They all knew what this new turn of events might entail.

Because, now that they are a mated pair, it was quite likely that Roy would be no longer allowed to be Edward's commanding officer, due to a conflict of interest. And that, in turn, might mean that Ed would really be expected to become a dog of the military, following someone else's orders and doing their dirty work. Most likely, Alphonse would no longer be able to accompany him on missions, the risk of discovery too great. And their search for a cure might be postponed indefinitely.

Roy had many enemies within the rank and he shivers at the thought of someone abusing the power they might hold over his mate.

Major General Abbot was not a cruel woman, though. Tough and strict maybe, but not known for unnecessarily picking on her subordinates. If Roy presented sound reasoning she would surely side with him. And if that still wasn't enough then he would grovel and beg till she relented.

In this matter, Roy's pride meant nothing.

The sergeant leads them to Abbot's office, no chance for them to devise a battle plan, no time for anything more than a quick look exchanged between him and Ed as they step over the threshold and the sergeant closes the door behind them with a firm click.

Just like last time, Abbot sits behind her desk, dark and forbidding. Roy should feel more confident than before, considering that now he has Edward by his side, but instead it only makes him feel more uneasy, makes him feel like he has to protect so much more than just his own reputation.

“Mustang,” Abbot says curtly, no rank, no greeting, just that clipped voice of hers. “You know why you are here.”

“I have a suspicion, ma'am,” Roy replies with some chagrin. Her face doesn't change.

“I asked you whether you intended to mate with Major Elric and you told me no,” she points out.

“Correct, ma'am." Roy nods. “That is because at that time I had no insight on the fact that Fullmetal would be inclined towards a bond. Things only changed recently.”

Abbot gives him a dead-pan stare, doubtlessly translating that to mean that in the heat of the moment they just hadn't be able to control themselves.

“I that case I would have expected some more discretion from you, Mustang,” she chides. “This was already an unprecedented case, even before you decided to add fuel to the flames. What makes you think it advisable to let your omega strut around headquarters in such a manner?”

“My apologies, ma'am,” Roy says deferentially. “I had warned Fullmetal of being too open-”

“Whoa whoa whoa,” Ed cuts in, obviously fed up with being talked about like he weren't even present. “You fucking didn't.”

“Edward,” Roy tries, but is overridden once more.

“No, screw this,” Ed hisses. “I'm not 'your omega' when we're here. You don't get to tell me what to do.”

“But I am your C.O. and-”

“As you were before. So this changes nothing.”

“You are still expected to follow my-”

“Oh, up yours, Mustang,” Ed snarls and flips him the finger, making Roy bristle.

“Would you like me to pencil you in for cleaning duties again, Fullmetal, because I'm sure-”

Behind her desk, Abbot clears her throat and that has them both snap back to attention at once. The look on her face is neutral but there is still an air of amusement about her.

“It seems to me, Colonel Mustang,” she says in slow deliberation, “That you need to discipline your omega.”

Roy pulls himself up straight.

“With all due respect, ma'am,” he returns coldly. “How I treat my mate is none of your concern.” He sends a sideways glance at Ed. “Now, if you want me to reprimand my subordinate, however...”

Ed bares his teeth at him and Roy would in fact rebuke him. But in that moment Major General Abbot barks out a laugh.

Roy turns to stare at her.

“Very well, Mustang, Elric.” She nods, pulling a blank sheet of paper towards herself and scribbling something down. “I will make the necessary changes to your respective contracts. Someone will also have to write up a new sub-clause for the military's operation orders regarding mated pairs. I believe so far there are only specifications for alpha-beta and beta-beta combinations, but that's outside of my jurisdiction. I will talk to the Führer, though.”

“Ma'am?” Roy asks, but she just talks over him.

“He'll also want to issue an official press release, so be prepared for that. With the way omega activists have gained followers, it will be a good thing to get some positive coverage. People have been demanding the system to change for decades.”

Finally, Roy catches on.

She had wanted this. She had provoked them to see whether Ed and Roy were able to separate their work from their private life, whether they could still operate objectively. This had been nothing more than a test and, it seemed, that he and Edward had passed it with flying colors.

“Wait, what?” Ed says, blinking, and Roy surreptitiously steps on his toes to keep him from asking an impertinent questions.

“I'll get back to you later,” Abbot says, not looking up from her papers. “Dismissed, Mustang. Elric.”

Roy salutes, the movement just calculated enough to nudge Edward into doing the same and then they leave Abbot's office together.

Roy closes the door behind them and they walk down the corridor in silence, their steps echoing off the walls. Slowly, Roy comes to a stop.

“What now?” he asks abruptly, making Ed look up to him in askance.

“What now what?”

Roy laughs, a little helpless. “Typically, a mated pair will move in with each other,” he says. “If only for posterity's sake.”

Ed frowns down at the floor.

“I have promises to keep,” he says, very quietly.

“Many would consider this a promise,” Roy says and strokes gentle fingers over the mark on Ed's neck. The corners of Ed's mouth pull down, but he doesn't pull away.

“You know what I mean,” he objects, though he does sound reluctant. “I've got Al to consider.”

“I know.” Roy smiles. “I'm just teasing you.”

Ed rolls his eyes. “What else is new?”

“I mean it, though,” Roy points out, more sober now. “About where we will go from here on.”

Ed shrugs. “Same as before, I guess? We do our jobs and occasionally we fuck.”

Roy gives a small sigh, fond exasperation at the simplicity of youth.

“There is so much more than that,” he knows. “And I, for one, would like to... court you, so to say.”

Ed stares. “Duh?” he says, pointing to the bite mark.

“I know,” Roy huffs. “We got it backwards. But... if you would allow me... I would very much like to get to know you as something other than your commander or your heat partner.”

Once more, a delightful blush blazes across Edward's cheeks.

“Maybe, um, we could... grab some food whenever I'm in town?” he offers, as though even that were too much to ask for.

“That sounds wonderful,” Roy agrees. “And maybe, whenever you are not in town, you write me. Or give me a call.”

At that, Edward looks suspicious. “Are you just trying to keep tabs on me?”

“That, too,” Roy admits. “I worry for you. And you do have a penchant for dropping off the radar. I need to know you are safe.”

For a moment Ed just looks at him with wide eyes, not saying anything. Then he stands up on his tiptoes and grabs Roy by the collar to pull him down, kissing him soundly. Roy gasps a little in surprise but then just surrenders himself into the delightful sensation, arms sneaking to wrap around Edward's hips.

Ed pulls back, just a fraction, uncaring of the fact that they are standing in the middle of a corridor at headquarters where anyone could see them.

“I've always wanted to do that properly,” he confesses bashfully and then ruins it by licking his lips, making Roy want to kiss him again and again.

Because now they no longer need to shroud themselves in the excuse that any of this is just because of Ed's heat or Roy's nature. Now they can finally admit that maybe there had been something more all along.

“So,” Roy says and smiles. “Dinner at my place?”