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Sparkly Heart Emoji

Roy looked up with a start as someone clattered noisily onto the stool beside him. The man was short—his feet barely settled themselves on the bottom rung—and the jerky, over exaggerated movements as he settled onto the stool made it clear that he was absolutely wasted. Normally, Roy would have just sighed and returned to his drink, resigned to having a chatty bar partner, but tonight the bar stools were practically empty. This guy must have come over just to talk to him.

Apparently satisfied with his stability on the stool, the man turned to him with a sheepish sort of smile. He was younger than Roy would have expected and breathtakingly beautiful, and Roy found himself intrigued. He stayed hunched over his drink, but he didn't return his attention to it.

"So hi," the guy said, smile turning more confident. "Sorry to bother you, looked like you were having a hell of a melancholy communion with your drink, but, my friends are assholes."

He'd said this last bit at a near-shout, half-turned to one of the tables, and Roy glanced in that direction to see a small group of people about the stranger's age. Most of them were laughing, but one of them had his head in his hands like the entire scene was too painful to bear. Roy silently commiserated with him.

"Love you too, Ed!" a voice called back from the table.

"Fuck off, Tringham!" Ed called back, then turned back to Roy with the beginnings of a blush staining his cheeks. "Like I said, assholes."

"So I see," Roy agreed, letting a small smile tilt up his lips.

"Right," Ed cleared his throat and started playing with the little pile of napkins on the bar. He was still wearing gloves, Roy noticed, though it was more than comfortably warm in the bar. "So I'm absolute shit at flirting, and my friends know this, and somehow I got roped into a bet as to whether I could get someone's number tonight—which I wasn't supposed to tell you, but it's not cheating if I don't get caught, right?"

His smile was full of mischief and strangely contagious; Roy was far too amused by the silly logic to hide his own. For all his cursing and complete lack of an attempt at flirting, Ed was rather charming. Perhaps it was the mix of brashness and embarrassment in his demeanor, or maybe just the determined fire in his eyes as he leaned wobbily in Roy's direction and put an unashamed hand on Roy's thigh. No doubt if Roy mentioned it, he'd say it had just been to steady himself.

"I don't even have to call you or nothin'," Ed said earnestly. "But I don't have the money to lose the bet and my brother will kill me if we don't make rent this month."

Poor thing. Roy turned fully toward Ed, grabbing the hand on his leg to keep it in place as he felt it sliding away, and used his other hand to run gentle fingers down the side of Ed’s cheek. The blush that had only been threatening to appear before spread until his whole face was red.

"Why don't I buy you a drink first?" Roy asked.

"Wh—you don't have to—" But Roy was already getting the bartender's attention, and Ed's stuttering came to a flustered stop.

"Put whatever he wants on my tab," Roy told the bartender as he approached, and both of them turned to Ed expectantly.

"Uh, do you do strawberry daiquiris?" Ed asked, sounding hopeful. The bartender nodded and wordlessly started making the drink, which was one of Roy's favorite things about him. "Sweet."

They waited in silence for the drink to be completed, and Ed barely waited for it to be placed on the bar before he was picking it up. As the bartender ghosted away, he took his first sips with clear pleasure.

"I haven't had one of these in forever," he said with his most stunningly brilliant smile yet. "You really didn't have to buy me a drink. I don't even know your name."

"It's Roy," Roy said, leaning toward Ed again. Even sitting down the man was obviously shorter than him, and Roy found himself considering the height difference with interest. "And maybe I just wanted to buy you a drink."

Ed looked up at him from behind his eyelashes, a little smirk on his face. "Pretty sure I'm the one that's supposed to be hitting on you."

"Consider it a reflex." Roy's own smile turned somewhat wry. "I'm not accustomed to being the one approached."

"And here I thought you just had control issues," Ed said, his voice lightly teasing. Before Roy could respond, he'd abandoned his drink and moved in close, tracing one finger along the creases of Roy's shirt. "So, your number?"

Roy wanted to squirm from the ticklish touch. He grabbed the offending hand, prepared to say something suggestive, and the words died in his throat at the feel of metal beneath his fingers. Ed stilled entirely, no longer coyly looking up at him, and Roy could feel the tension radiating from his frame.

"I was going to make a suggestive comment about taking you home, but I've forgotten what it was," Roy said, the words rough in his throat. "I don't want you to think it's because I have an automail fetish."

"You wouldn't have been the first guy who did," Ed said. His voice was softer now, less confident, and though he'd looked up at Roy, the tension hadn't left him. "I meant it when I said you never have to hear from me."

Roy considered the man he was practically holding in his arms. Ed looked a bit tired now, like he was used to the pain of rejection due to his arm and it wasn't worth reacting to any more, and the discomfort as Roy continued to look down at him was obvious in his fidgeting. Finally, Roy took a deep breath.

"How about a date instead?" he asked. Ed jumped so harshly in surprise it was a good thing Roy had a hold of him already. "You can text me your answer in the morning if you want."

"Y-yeah, sure," Ed said, the blush attacking his face again. "I mean, yes to the date, I don't have to think about it."

Roy knew his smile was a little too pleased by the easy agreement, but as he helped Ed resettle himself on the stool and put his number into his phone, he couldn't help himself. He was utterly charmed by the man.

"I'll, uh, text you in the morning then," Ed said. He'd finished his drink while he was waiting on Roy, and he slid—more like fell—off his stool the moment he had his phone in hand again. "I guess I'll see you."

"Until our date then," Roy said. He grabbed hold of the automail hand and raised it to his lips, kissing the back of it as gently as he would flesh, and smiled at the ensuing blush. Ed lingered for a second with his hand in Roy's, then shook his head sharply and turned away.

Roy watched him walk back to his table, propping his head up on a fist as Ed's friends congregated around him. The one who'd had his face in his hands earlier gave Roy a long look full of suspicion.

Roy's pocket vibrated unexpectedly. He pulled it out of his pocket with some trepidation, and was relieved to see the text from an unknown number: "Fuckers think you gave me a fake number, wave or something."

Roy smirked and sent back the little waving hand emoji.

Ed looked up from his phone and gave Roy such a blisteringly powerful glare that Roy felt the heat of it across the room. He grinned and waved cheekily to Ed, pleased by the response, then sent him one of the drink emoji and a question mark.

While Roy asked the bartender to send Ed another strawberry daiquiri, he received a new text that read, "If all of your texts are fucking emoji this is going to be a really short relationship."

Roy sent back a row of the sparkly hearts and ended it with an angel.

"We're not going to make it to the first fucking date," he heard Ed yell to one of his friends, "because I'm going to kill him first!"

Roy still woke up to a new text message in the morning, though. Granted, it was a row of knife emoji and a skull, but that just meant Roy was free to send back a flower and another row of hearts. And, following immediately on that one, to ask how Friday at seven worked for Ed.

Needless to say, Friday worked great.