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Ed stomps into Mustang's private quarters with a rolled up newspaper clutched under his arm. He's muttering obscenities under his breath. There's sheer stupidity printed in the stupid Eastern newspaper. Somehow it'd made front page headlines that Mustang wasn't going to be attending Eastern Command's military ball with a date.

He slams the paper down on the hall table as he shrugs out of his light colored jacket, hanging it up with one hand while raking his other hand over his hair. Stupid piece of shit newspaper then went on to detail the top prospects in the region for Mustang to choose from. Ed toes out of his boots and stomps down the hallway into the kitchen. He pours himself a glass of cold wine and barely stops himself from gulping it down.

Yeah, he knew what he was signing up for when he stayed in the military and followed Mustang out East but dammit, sometimes it's stupid. It's not his fault he's not the ideal for an up and coming big name in the military. Ed stalks back through the kitchen and down another hallway to see if his bastard's actually home for the day.

He highly doubts it since it's only the middle of the afternoon and Mustang, despite his reputation, does like to put in some long hours at the office. Ed blows his bangs off his forehead and moves from room to room. Even though he was right, it doesn't stop him from scowling.

He moves into their bedroom closet and strips out of his clothes, kicking them into a pile in the corner. Mustang's going to be on his ass about that later but right now he could care less. He pulls on loose sparring pants and eyes a shirt. Screw it. He's going to end up hot and sweaty as it is. He doesn't need a shirt to make him sweat more. He reties his hair then grabs his practice knives from their spot on the shelf.

There’s nothing better for working out emotions than a hard workout. He also grabs his wine to finish it off, depositing the glass in the kitchen before he makes his way into the small enclosed yard at the back of the General's compound. The knife throwing dummies are shoved off to the side. Some are in states of disrepair, mostly as a result of him forgetting to fix them after a session. He'll have to do that today before he gets started.

It's second nature to stretch and let his body go through movements he's done a million times, but it unfortunately allows his mind to wander to that stupid newspaper article again. It's not his fault he doesn't have the right name or the right looks. It's definitely not his fault for being male. How the fuck was he supposed to know he'd meet the stupid bastard and they wouldn't be able to be anything but what they are to each other.

He rolls into a tumble then comes out of it with a flying kick, spinning with arms braced for a counterattack that's not coming. He shakes the hair out of his face and goes through a familiar sequence of kicks and punches. This would be a much better workout if he actually had someone to spar against but even if Mustang was home, he's too worked up for the usual sparring niceties. He can't go bruising up the General a couple days before a big shindig after all.

Ed snorts and backflips into a sweeping ground kick. Sometimes he's wondered if it wouldn't be easier for Mustang to find someone female and pretty and settle down. Let his womanizing reputation be put to rest and make himself appear less like a threat than he already does. He's never brought the issue up to Mustang's face because he can just imagine the response he'd get.

Mustang's forehead would furrow and he'd fold his hands on the table in front of him. There'd be a slight frown on his face and he'd say something like, "Edward, my reputation best serves me as it is. There would be too many undue complications if I were to 'take a wife,' as you put it."

He'd probably lean forward and say firmly, "First, many would assume I'd have more time to focus on my political aspirations since I would no longer be chasing women. Second, it would be rather difficult to conduct missions on a strictly need to know basis." Then he’d reach across the table to give Ed’s hand a familiar reassuring squeeze.

"She would most likely be suspicious and create more complications instead of reducing them. So while I value the fact you're looking out for my wellbeing, the situation as it stands now is quite satisfactory for my goals." Mustang would then probably smile at him and brush his fingers along his jaw, completely derailing the point Ed was trying to make. Because, sure, his explanation for how things would go wrong is good, but Ed has a sneaking suspicion, it would still go far easier than the constant gossip about him that occurs now.

Ed's breathing hard by the time he decides flipping around in the afternoon sun has made him sweaty enough. He wipes the back of his hand across his forehead to clear the sweat from his eyes and looks around for a towel. Dammit, he forgot to get that and a bottle of cold water. He doesn't want to tromp into the house covered in sweat only to come right back. He'll have to do without for now.

He rolls his shoulders then moves to the left side of the yard where the throwing dummies are. They're nothing more than straw bound together in the shape of a human body but they work for his purposes. He drags the less bedraggled ones into a line in front of a sloped mound of dirt. It’s much easier to deal with hauling dirt around than fixing up holes in the wooden fencing.

He took up knife throwing as a tribute to Brigadier General Hughes but he quickly learned that the whole thing wasn't much more than a threat deterrent. It makes him wonder just how Hughes always managed to get his knives to land blade first in his targets. He never saw it firsthand, but he's heard enough stories about Hughes' knife throwing to be pretty suspicious. Ed manages it half the time, which is pretty decent but it's all a matter of everything going right at the right time.

Ed walks out several throwing distances and he could probably walk out more to cover the whole courtyard but knives due to the way they spin through the air get more difficult to throw the farther away from the target. He's working up to a large throwing distance but a gun will always be more effective at longer ranges.

He goes through stances one at a time until he can hit the target at least ten times before he moves into the next one. The stances vary from ones that give the most power and require time to set up to the ones used in the moment for shock value. It's easy to step back, plant his foot, then rotate and throw with his upper body. He also practices with each hand because always having an additional advantage up his sleeve doesn't hurt anyone but his opponent.

He gets lost in the easy rhythm of set, throw, retrieve until he's lost all track of time. All he knows is the thunkthunk of the blades into the target or their thuds to the ground. He's sweating just as much as he was practicing sparring but in some ways this is completely different. He's centered and focused and restrained. Words he knows many people would never use to describe him.

He's on the last target and probably the last few throws when he hears the soft scuff of a foot coming off the steps of the backdoor. His turning to look skews his throw and it thuds harmlessly into the ground as he sees it's Mustang. He arches an eyebrow and calls out, "You made me mess up."

"Apologies." Mustang waves for him to continue. Ed looks at him a moment before he shrugs and does so. He's just about done anyway and if Mustang's just come home then it's not too big of a deal. It takes him less than a dozen more throws before he's hit his mark of ten hits then he drags the dummies to their position back alongside the fence. He even takes an extra moment to fix them all up before he heads for Mustang who's sitting in one of their deck chairs watching him.

"You're home early. Business get taken care of?" Ed asks as he comes up beside Mustang. There’s a towel and water bottle on the table that Mustang must’ve brought out for him because he doesn’t look like he needs them. He picks up the towel and rubs himself down with it gratefully then picks up the water bottle sweating in the heat to gulp down several swallows.

"For the most part." Mustang squints up at him and Ed moves to lean against the table edge. "You look like you've been out here a while. Any particular reason?"

Ed shrugs and drinks more of the cold water. He needs to stop letting himself forget to grab a bottle when he works out. He doesn't really want to talk to Mustang about the damn newspaper article and everything else that's happening in the next couple days. "You bring home dinner?"

Ed's an okay cook when he puts his mind to it but nowhere near as good as Mustang. Most of the time he waits til Mustang gets home to eat and that means Mustang's the one bringing home dinner unless Ed's starving and just orders in.

"Yes, it's sitting in the kitchen for when we're ready." Mustang pushes to his feet and comes close to wrap his arms around Ed. He brushes a kiss against his lips and holds him tight. "I am glad you're here, Edward."

It all makes Ed suspicious because something's obviously up. He can tell. His bastard doesn't act this way unless he's planning something and he's usually only planning something for them when he feels like he's done something wrong. As far as Ed remembers, he hasn't gotten pissed off at the bastard recently so is he reading Ed's mood wrong and making up something to apologize for? Ed leans back out of Mustang's embrace and looks at him with narrowed eyes. "What the hell are you doing? I'm disgusting right now and you have nothing to be apologizing for."

Mustang chuckles and brushes his fingers along Ed's jaw. "I'm not doing anything. I can't enjoy touching you?"

He grumbles and still eyes Mustang warily. Okay, so maybe he's overreacting a little. You can't blame him. He's had a shitty day and the workout was just starting to make it less shitty. Now that Mustang's here, it's even less shitty than it was before. He just wants it to stay that way. "Let me get cleaned up then we can have dinner."

That earns him an arched eyebrow. "When have you ever put cleanliness above getting food into your stomach?"

Ed wants to have a rebuttal but his stomach betrays him by growling loudly right then. He scowls at Mustang's laugh and shoves at him. "Fine, food first then I'm getting clean."

"Whatever you say, Edward. There are no protests on my part at looking at you half dressed." His skins heats at the words like it always does but he'll deal with that later. Food's the more important thing right now.

Ed walks into the kitchen to find a dinner for two set out and the delicious smell of his favorite dish, spiced lamb curry, wafting from the table. "Not apologizing for anything, my ass," he mutters. "What's all this for, Mustang?"

"I can't decide to treat you?" Mustang pulls out a chair and gestures for Ed to take a seat. "Just sit and enjoy, Edward, please."

Ed sits as he humors Mustang for now. He doubts he'll have long to wait before he gets an explanation. He manages to wait until Mustang sits down before digging into the food and there's nothing but the sounds of him eating for a while. He catches Mustang looking at him with fondness in his eyes every now and then. He takes one more bite and then after he swallows says, "What? What are you staring at?"

"Nothing, nothing." After a moment the softness leaves Mustang's face and Ed knows he's about to get his explanation. Mustang picks up something from his lap and at first Ed has no idea what it is. He frowns when he realizes it's the newspaper he had earlier. "Edward...."

Ed shakes his head. "No, don't you start with me. It's just a stupid newspaper. It's nothing important."

"But important enough for you to bring it into the house? And for you to need an intense workout after reading it?"

Ed scowls back at him. He knew he never should've read the damn thing but everyone was talking about it. He figured he needed to read it for himself, which was a pretty big mistake now. "It's fine. I'm just being stupid."

Mustang sighs and pushes back from the table so he can edge his chair closer to Ed's. He takes one of his hands between his and squeezes. "What you feel is never stupid."

"This time it is." Ed sets his jaw and glares. He's not having this conversation with Mustang. He doesn't need to worry about it. He's perfectly, absolutely fine. "Just lay off, bastard. It's nothing."

Mustang rolls his eyes then leans in and kisses him. It's a soft kiss and at first Ed's unwilling to give in to it. Mustang doesn't push and finally he decides to relent. That's when Mustang deepens the kiss and Ed feels like the world doesn't exist anymore. Sure hands trace over his face and pull him closer. One slides into his hair and skims over his neck in a barely there touch. His body's vibrating with the sensation that Mustang never fails to invoke in him.

Soon enough he's crawling into Mustang's lap, straddling him in the chair, while he wraps his arms around him to try and get closer. He's dizzy from the kiss or lack of air he's not sure but only then does Mustang let up. He smiles slowly at him and tucks a strand of hair behind his ear. "This, Edward, this is why there is no one else for me. You are beyond description and those people at the newspaper, gossiping about what I could want or need? They're wrong, so very wrong."

Ed huffs out a breath as he picks at the shoulder of Mustang's shirt. Stupid bastard. "Maybe I shouldn't have picked up the paper...."

"Yes, you really shouldn't have."

Ed opens his mouth to say something but he's cut off by another kiss. Maybe he'll just let this go since Mustang seems more than determined to make him. Whatever, it's not like kissing the bastard is such a chore. He settles in closer and moans softly into the kiss as Mustang's hands start to roam lower. Mustang knows all the best ways to make him stop thinking and it’s not like he’s protesting. They might just have to make an early night of it.

Yeah, this is much better than thinking.