Sailor Mac (sailormac) wrote in fm_alchemist,
Sailor Mac

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FANFIC: Aduration (Part 3, 1/2) (RussellXEd, Lemon)

Title: Aduration (Part 3 of 3)
Author: sailormac
Pairing: Edward ElricXRussell Tringham
Genre: Romance, lemon, drama, a bit of action/adventure
Rating: NC-17
Spoilers: Through end of series
Warnings: Lemon, yaoi, AU (diverges from canon at the end of the TV series)
Beta: dragonscholar
Summary: Edward and Russell’s newfound happiness may be short-lived, as it seems the poltical rebels have something new up their sleeve -- and their tricks hit very close to home for one of the boys.

Part 1 Part 2

Part 3: Rubedo (The Culmination of the Great Work)

A yell in the hall awakened Russell. He sprang from his bed, instantly grabbing for pants and yanking them on. He was still pulling up his zipper as he rushed into the hall . . .

He saw Alphonse Elric standing in front of Fletcher's bedroom door, white-faced and trembling.

"He's gone, Russell," Al said. "I heard something hit the wall, and I came out here, and saw the door open, and . . ."

"FLETCHER!" Russell charged past the younger Elric brother, rushing into the room . . . where he saw overturned plants, an incomplete array drawn on one pot, a chair on its side, a wide-open window . . .

"They got him," he said, in a barely audible voice. "The bastards got him!" *They came in here when I was with Ed*, he thought. *I was so caught up in my own pleasure that I failed to protect my brother.*

"Russell . . ." He heard Ed's voice behind him, and he whirled around to see both Elric brothers. Edward was still yanking his shirt down. Al still looked frantic.

"We have to go after them," Russell said. "This is all my fault, if I hadn't been distracted . . ."

"There's no way you could have known," Al said, reaching up to put a hand on Russell's shoulder -- still bare. He hadn't bothered to put on a shirt.

"I should have been more alert," Russell said. "I should have *known* they'd. . ."

"Russell, will you COOL IT?" Ed shouted. "You're not doing Fletcher any good going off on a guilt trip!"

"Brother's right," Al said. "Go get dressed and we'll find them."

Russell rushed back to his bedroom, grabbing for the shirt he'd discarded just before having his fantasy about Edward, his fingers feeling numb as he buttoned it up, snapped his suspenders in place and put on his shoes.

Dimly, across the hall, he could hear Al saying, "They know, Brother. They know we have the megaweapon, and they're holding Fletcher hostage for it."

*Why Fletcher?* Russell thought. *They know he's not defenseless, they saw what he's capable of . . .*

He thought again of Fletcher's display of his abilities in front of the goons, and the transmuted plants, and the extremist's failed attempt to recruit himself, and the full truth smacked him in the face with the unpleasant shock of a bucket of icy water.

Rushing back into the other room, he said, "We have to go, *now*. We can't wait a second longer." And he ran for the stairs, not even looking to see if the other two were following him.

*Forgive me, Fletcher*, he thought. *You're in even more danger than I thought you were.*

* * *
"Dammit, no sign of them at all!" Ed said, emerging from the hideout where they'd found the gang earlier that day.

"Not in the woods, either," Russell said. "Not even a single trace."

"Come on, let's catch up with Al," Ed said. "If we're lucky, he found something in town." They rushed up the pathway back into Xenotime, eyes darting this way and that, looking for any clue whatsoever that the extremists had been that way.

When they saw Ed's brother approach them, his downcast face told the story. "Nothing?" Ed said.

"I looked in that tavern," Al said, "and all the buildings around it, and . . . "

A sudden idea popped into Russell's head. He didn't want to think of it, but if it panned out . . .

"Al," he said, "did you look in a store called Baddely's?"

"No," Al said. "I didn't even see . . ."

Russell pushed past both Elrics and started running into town. *Nobody else knew more about Fletcher and I than Baddely,* he thought. *I was in there all the time, talking to him . . . casually telling him stories about Fletcher, mentioning his abilities . . .*

And if he was right, it was no coincidence that the extremists had contacted him after he'd been in there.

* * *

The store was dark and quiet. It was also locked tightly.

"Not a problem," Edward said, clapping his hands together. "Locks don't hold me." He pressed his hands to the door, there was a flash of purple, and a large, round portal appeared in the middle of it. The three boys scrambled in, and Ed resealed it behind them.

"All this stuff crammed into the store," Russell said. "All this junk . . . it's got to be hiding something."

"Ever see seams in the floor or unusual cracks in the wall?" Ed said.

"No," Russell said. "But I wasn't looking for any, either." His eyes scanned the familiar confines of the establishment, looking for something out-of-place that he might have missed.

And then, his vision fell on something directly across the room from him. "There," he said, pointing to a huge armoire. It was barely noticeable, hidden as it was among a couple of stoves, an end table and a large, freestanding, engraved globe. He was sure that was the idea.

Ed walked over to it, clapped his hands and created another hole in another door. The boys peered through . . . to see a flight of stairs leading downward. Russell started to rush in, but Ed held him back. "Careful," he hissed. "You don't want to give us away."

Cautiously, the three made their way down the steps, feeling their way for each one -- they didn't want to risk putting on a light and alerting the extremists to their presence. That is, if they *were* there . . .

But Russell knew with a heavy feeling in his heart that there was no *if*. He'd found their lair, and they definitely had his brother.

As they neared the bottom, they heard voices. One of them, distinctly Sloane, was saying, "Hasn't that kid woken up yet?"

"You don't know how much stuff we had to give him!" said another -- Braun, Russell knew. "He was still fighting us after we shot him up!"

"I told you that he was dangerous," said a third voice that made Russell's heart sink to the pit of his stomach. "He and his brother are *not* to be trifled with. They're both better alchemists than their father ever was."

"Baddely," Russell mumbled aloud, his hand clenched into a fist. "Dammit, you bastard, you betrayed us."

They were starting to see a pool of light now. Ed put his hand out again to hold the other two back. "I'm gong down there first," he whispered.

"Ed, I want to . . ." Russell replied.

"You wanna get yourself killed?" Ed hissed. "In case you don't remember, you have to draw an array to work alchemy. I can do it faster."

Without another word, he went down the remaining steps. Russell put his hand in his pocket, gripping the piece of chalk there, prepared to draw it like a gunslinger's pistol. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Al pull a pair of gloves with alchemical symbols embroidered on them from his pocket and slide them on.

And then, both of them started at the sound of alchemical energy crackling and zapping, followed by Ed's voice: "So, you've got something that belongs to us, don't you? How about you think about giving it back?"

"What the *hell* is he doing?" Russell whispered.

"You think we'd cooperate with a dog of the military?" Baddely said.

"Seems to me you *like* the military," Ed replied. "At least, the way it *was*."

"Get out of here," said Sloane in a sneer. Russell heard another zap of alchemical energy, followed by a thud . . .

"That's it," he said, rushing down the stairs. "I'm going down there." He blinked as he ran into the light, finding himself in a large, bare, stone-lined room . . .

Bare except for the plants placed everywhere, that was. And all of them were in various stages of mutation. Sloane was kneeling by the base of one, activating an array, and the plant was shooting its branches out toward a small figure at the other end of the room.

Ed was slicing at the branches as they came toward him with the blade on his automail arm, but they were coming too fast, too hard, and Russell saw that he was going to be in trouble very soon.

He leapt at the tree limb, chalk in hand, and managed to sketch a fast array, activating it and causing the branches to snap off and fall limply to the floor.

Behind him, he heard Baddely say, "Bravo, Russell. I'd expect nothing less from you."

Russell whirled around to face the shopkeeper, eyes burning. "Where's Fletcher?" he said in a near-growl.

"Oh, don't worry, your brother is quite safe," Baddely said. "We don't want anything to happen to our most valuable asset."

"You were after us all along, weren't you?" Russell said. He whirled around to face Sloane. "You tried to recruit me first, and when I wouldn't go . . ."

"You were bait, kid," Sloane said. "The kid's the one we wanted."

"I had always hoped you'd bring your little brother with you when you came to fix things in my store," Baddely said. "I wanted to see his talents firsthand. But I heard enough about him from you to know the stories I'd heard were true."

"You want Fletcher because you need a plant alchemist, don't you?" Ed said.

"Not just any plant alchemist," said Baddely. "A plant alchemist of extraordinary ability. Which this boy is. You see, we found out that the plants grown in this area -- the ones that were exposed to red water -- can yield a highly explosive substance -- much more powerful than one derived just from the soil would be."

Russell and Ed looked at each other. They’d been right about plants being the source of the megaweapon.

“We were working on our *megaweapon*, so to speak, when we found a *second* substance within the plant that was much stronger than the first, and could produce something more powerful than the megaweapon. An *ultraweapon*, if you will.”

*Then everything we did on the megaweapon was for nothing,* Russell thought, *if they’d abandoned that idea and were working on something worse.*

"The problem is," the shopkeeper continued, "that it takes an *unusually* strong plant alchemist to remove it in the quantities we needed. We had tried some experiments of our own, but . . ." He shook his head.

"And you kidnapped Fletcher to help you?" Russell said, pulling out his chalk again.

"It wouldn't have been necessary if you'd cooperated with us," Sloane said. Russell noticed he was drawing a new array on the pot of the plant, and he tensed.

"Russell, if you agree to cooperate with us now," Baddely said, "we can guarantee that neither you nor Fletcher will be hurt . . ."

"You're gonna hurt *either* of them over my dead body!" Ed shouted, clapping his hands together. But before he could touch them to anything, Baddely activated his array, and branches shot out from the tree again, wrapping around both Ed and Russell, binding their arms to their sides.

"Now," Sloane said, "are you going to work with us, Mr. Tringham, or are we going to have to . . ."

There was another crackle of alchemical energy behind them, and a huge stone fist emerged from the floor -- looking, to Russell, ironically like the one Ed transmuted from his soil sample -- and punched Sloane in the back, sending him sprawling. Al rushed into the room, clapping his hands together again -- Russell understood now that the gloves allowed him to do circle-less alchemy like his brother.

"I'll find Fletcher!" he said as he dove for the floor and slid gracefully over it, touching his hands to the pot, undoing Sloane's alchemy. Russell and Ed burst from their bindings. "You take care of . . ."

But he was interrupted as something else shot out of nowhere and wrapped around all three boys. Vines, as thick and strong as ropes, tightened around Russell's body like a snake wrapping around its prey.

*But how?* he thought. *Sloane is still down and out . . .*

He looked across the room and saw Baddely with his hand on an array drawn on the wall next to the source of the vines.

"Baddely," he said, "you're . . . an . . ."

"Studied it a long time ago," he said. "Never was very good at it, but . . . knew enough to pick up a few tricks from Sloane."

"Then why did you use me in the store all the time when . . ."

"Don't you get it, Russell?" Baddely said. "I was testing you all along! I figured since we were using your brother, we might as well see if *you* were a natural talent as well. We have uses for you, both of you. But if you don't cooperate . . ."

He touched the array again, and the vines tightened. Russell felt the very air being squeezed out of him . . . but worse yet, when he looked to either side of him, he saw the Elrics choking, Ed gasping for air, Al's face turning bright red.

"Let them go," Russell said in a hoarse voice. "I'll cooperate."

"Are you nuts?" Ed rasped back as he turned to and fro, trying vainly to free himself. "You're just selling your soul, like you did with Mugear!"

"I'd rather sell my soul than have anything happen to Fletcher *or* you!"

"Don't worry about us!" Ed said, his words sounding more and more strained. *Is his vine tightening more than mine?* Russell thought.

Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Al had managed to wiggle a finger free of the constricting plant and was attempting to scratch an array on a leaf, although with the glove, it was difficult.

*I have to keep distracting Baddely,* he thought. He said, as loudly as he could, "Edward, I have to do anything I can to help my brother! And if it means cooperating with these people, it's what I'll do!"

"What good is . . ." Ed choked, gasping for breath. Russell saw the vines tighten even more, and he struggled, trying to get free.

And then, there was a crackle of energy, and Russell saw Al leap down from the vine, clapping his gloved hands together and touching one each to Ed and Russell's bonds. Russell felt the vines snap, and he barely had time to draw a deep breath into his lungs -- he had to counteract Baddely, and fast. He flung himself to the floor, sliding over to another plant, chalk at the ready. Behind him, he could hear more energy crackling -- the Elrics must be fighting with him, he thought.

He drew a quick array and turned around to check out the situation -- Ed had managed to transmute a stone prison cell around Baddely, and Al was forming a similar one around the still-unconscious Sloane.

"Are you guys okay?" Russell said, getting up off the floor.

"Yeah," Ed said, wiping his sleeve across his forehead, "but there's something bugging me about all this."

"You mean -- where are the other two?" said Al.

"We *heard* Braun," said Ed, "but we didn't see . . ."

And then, there was a *booming* sound as a huge tree branch literally burst through the wall and headed toward the Elric brothers. Russell dove down again and touched the array he'd just drawn, shooting the limbs of the plant across the room so that they slammed into the branch, holding it back. Russell concentrated hard, but he knew that holding back Braun's alchemy was going to be a daunting task.

"I've got it," he called out to the others. "Find Fletcher! Hurry!"

"You can't handle that alone!" Ed shouted.

"You think I can't?" Russell said -- but his voice was getting increasingly strained.

Ed clapped his hands and slammed them to the floor. A stone wall sprang up, crushing through both tree branches and going all the way to the ceiling. If Russell wasn't so frantic about finding his brother, he'd be miffed at being shown up.

"*We're* going to find Fletcher," Ed said.

Al peered around the wall. "Brother . . . I know where he is."

"What about Braun?" Ed said.

"I was able to trap him," Al replied, leading the others across the room to the hole made by Braun's tree branch -- Braun himself was now imprisoned in a stone cell next to it. "He got a bit distracted when you made that wall."

"That means we've only got one thing to worry about," Ed said as the three of them slipped into the hole. They peered around in the darkness, looking for any sign of where Fletcher might be.

Suddenly, there was a whistling sound, and a large vine whip flew through the air toward them, forcing all three to duck.

"You're not getting back here," a voice rasped through the darkness.

"The hell we're not!" Ed yelled back. He clapped his hands and prepared to slam them to the floor.

"I'm surrounded with explosives," Hagen said. "A megaweapon. If you use your alchemy, you'll blow me *and* the boy sky-high."

"You think I'm going to fall for that?" Ed shouted. "Sorry, you seem to have mistaken me for an idiot."

"Brother, what if he's telling the truth?" Al said, quietly.

"No way! If he were telling the truth, then . . ."

There was a small explosion a few feet away from them, blowing all three of them back. Russell found himself tumbling to the floor, rolling over and over.

*I need to get back into the other room,* he thought. *I need to get to one of the plants and bring it back in here.*

"You see, I *do* have explosives,* Hagen rasped. "If you want this boy to live, you Elrics will leave here, and . . ." The voice was suddenly choked off, as if the speaker was being strangled. Russell struggled to his feet, peering into the darkness . . .

He saw someone moving toward them, an indistinct shape, but definitely smaller and slimmer than Hagen.

"Fletcher!" Russell shouted, running toward him, arms widespread. When he reached his brother, he drew him into a tight hug, not wanting to let him go, afraid he would vanish if he did.

"He had a leaf on his shoe," Fletcher said, weakly. "I was able to use that . . ."

And then, he sagged against Russell as he passed out again.

"Fletcher!" Russell cried, shaking his brother a bit -- but he remained unconscious.

"Get him back outside," Ed said. "We'll take care of Hagen."

Russell didn't think twice. He carried his brother through the stone chamber and up the stairs, barely noticing the weight.

"I'll get you straight to a doctor," he told the unconscious boy. "You'll be all right, Fletcher. You have to be all right."

* * *

Russell sat by Fletcher's bedside, holding his hand. The boy was sleeping peacefully -- the doctor had said it would take awhile to fully get rid of the effects of the drugs they'd shot his younger brother up with.

He'd gotten most of the story during one of the boy's periods of wakefulness. Hagen and Braun had snuck into his room -- probably using alchemy to turn one of the surrounding trees into an elevator of sorts to lift them to the second floor -- and plunged the needle into his arm while he slept. He had woken up and struggled against the drug and them -- he'd nearly completed an array when it finally overwhelmed him.

"And the explosion Hagen set off woke me up," he said. "And I found the leaf and transmuted it into a vine and trapped him."

"You did well, Fletcher," Russell told him. "You may have saved all of us, as well as yourself."

It was just the two of them in the house at the moment. The Elrics were still at the store, awaiting the arrival of military personnel and making sure the extremists didn't try to escape -- Ed had called him briefly from the store phone.

He still couldn't believe Baddely had betrayed them like that. He was the last person Russell had thought would be an extremist. He always seemed so mild-mannered and clueless, and hadn't he complained about political extremists the day that Russell had first spotted Edward Elric through the store window?

*All an act,* he thought. *A ruse to get me to trust him -- and what he said about the extremists was probably testing me, seeing how I'd reply.*

He felt heavily relieved to know that it was over, that there would be no more race to develop a megaweapon, no more people breaking into the lab, no more threats to himself or Fletcher. He wondered if he should tell Belsio about all this when he came home -- he was due back in two days -- and thought better of it. There was no need to upset the man unless it was necessary.

There was the sound of a door opening downstairs. Russell tensed out of habit, but relaxed when he heard the voices of the Elric brothers in the hall.

"Can you believe the nerve of that bastard?" Ed was saying. "Trying to get us to come back *today*?"

"Well, the assignment *is* over," Al said. "They took all four of them into custody."

"I *told* him there was something else I needed to check on!" Ed said, his voice much closer now.

"Oh?" Al replied in a teasing tone of voice. "And what are you *checking on*, Brother?"

"Look, I just want to make sure they're both all right, okay?" Ed spluttered. Russell could almost hear the blush in his voice.

"I'm *sure* that's it," Al said, the teasing tone getting even stronger.

"Al!" Ed said.

"Don't worry, Brother. I can stay with Fletcher tonight, and you . . ."

Ed just about barged into the bedroom. "How is he?"

"Sleeping it off," Russell said. "He'll be all right. Is everything taken care of?"

"All four of ‘em were dragged off," Ed said, pulling up a chair and sitting beside Russell. "And Mustang is insisting I go back tomorrow."

"My brother said he has some things he wanted to check on here first," Al said, in a very normal tone of voice. Ed shot him a sharp look.

"I see," Russell said, looking down at his brother again.

"Hey, I wasn't going to run out on you right away," Ed said. And he let his hand subtly brush the one that wasn't holding Fletcher's.

Russell turned and smiled at him a bit. Suddenly, it felt very warm and nice and beautiful, being here between Ed and Fletcher, and with Al in the room as well.

But there was also the sad, heavy feeling that Ed was going to be leaving, and soon.

* * *

Russell curled into the bed next to his brother after the Elrics went to catch a few hours' sleep. He didn't realize until he was under the covers how very exhausted he was, and his eyes shut right away.

It was Fletcher who woke him up, accidentally whacking him in the face while getting up to use the bathroom. That was fairly typical of when they'd shared a bed in the past -- it was with good reason that they had separate rooms.

*I wonder if that would happen all the time if I were to share a bed with Edward on a regular basis," Russell thought, and then immediately caught himself. What the heck was he thinking? They'd only been together near-constantly for a few days, and already he was thinking of *that* . . .

But he had to admit it was a very pleasant thought.

"I feel a lot better," Fletcher said when he returned. "I'm going to go out and check the groves."

"No, you stay where you are," Russell said. "I'll check the groves. And then I'll bring you some soup when I get back."

"And then . . . what are you going to do, Brother?"

Russell hopped out of the bed. "Excuse me?"

"They're going to be leaving tomorrow," Fletcher said, drawing his knees up and wrapping his arms around them. "You're going to want to spend time with Ed before they go."

Russell crossed his arms over his chest and frowned. "Fletcher Tringham, what is *that* supposed to mean?"

"It means that I have eyes, Brother," Fletcher said, simply.

Russell looked down, at a loss for words. Just *how much* had his younger brother figured out?

"I want you to be happy, Brother," Fletcher said. "You've been working so hard, spending every moment of your life in the lab . . . you haven't done anything *for yourself*. If you had someone . . . that would be a very good thing for you."

"I can't abandon you," Russell said. "Or turn my back on what I'm trying to do for this town."

"Brother, you could never abandon me," Fletcher said, leaning over and grasping Russell's hand. "I *want* you to have a relationship. And maybe Ed could *help* you find the solution you're looking for."

Russell had the feeling that Fletcher wasn't just talking about alchemy with that last line.

"All right," Russell said. "I'll go talk to Ed. But *only* once I've done my rounds, and I make *sure* you're okay."

"Al will come stay with me," Fletcher said. "We might even go out to the barn to spend the night."

Russell turned crimson. There was no longer any question of just *how much* Fletcher had figured out. His younger brother knew him all too well. In a desperate attempt to change the subject, and fast, he said, "Has Al remembered anything else about you yet?"

"No," Fletcher said, quietly. "But he will, someday. I'll help him remember."

Russell nodded. He was sure if anyone would be able to help Al, it would be his brother. Of course, he still didn't know the full story behind Al's memory loss, and he was sure it was connected *somehow* to the human transmutation attempt . . .

But he'd know later, when Ed was willing to talk.

"All right," Russell said. "I'll be back in a few minutes."

Fletcher threw his arms around his waist and hugged him tightly. "I'll be here, Brother," he said.

Russell headed out to the lemon groves, noticing that it was already well into the afternoon. This incident had played havoc with their sleep cycles. He imagined they'd be staying awake at night and staggering around bleary-eyed in the daytime for awhile.

*I'll make my rounds,* he thought, *and I'll check on Fletcher, and then . . .*

He knew all too well what was going to happen after that. And his heart was already speeding up in anticipation.

* * *

When he came back inside, the house was empty.

Fletcher had left a note on the table. Al had woken up and made soup for the two of them, there was some left in the pot on the stove for himself and Edward, Al and Fletcher were heading out to the barn now.

*I have to go out and check on him,* he thought. *He was supposed to stay here so I could make sure he was all right.*

A voice behind him said, "So, they ran out on both of us, didn't they?"

Russell turned around. Ed was leaning against the doorway, wearing just the sleeveless shirt and his leather pants again. He looked even more appealing than he did before, and suddenly, Russell was very, very nervous.

"They're just out at the barn," he said. "Fletcher likes to sleep out there sometimes, when the weather's nice. Um, do you want some soup? Al left some, and we haven't eaten in . . ."

Ed was already across the room, opening cabinets, looking for bowls. He found two, dished out one bowl of soup and handed it to Russell. The younger boy took it, eager for the distraction -- although he could not take his eyes off Edward for anything. He watched the boy scoop up his own soup and then seat himself at the table, picking up his spoon and eating rapidly.

Very rapidly. In fact, Russell had never seen anyone put away food so fast. It was a bit annoying, really -- especially when Ed finished his entire bowl before Russell had gotten a third through his, and went back for more.

"How is Fletcher doing?" Ed finally said after devouring half the second helping.

"A lot better," said Russell, stirring his own soup a bit. "I think the drug has worn off. He was talking to me before I went out to the groves, and . . ." He suddenly turned crimson, remembering just *what* he and Fletcher had been talking about.

"And?" Ed said, looking up from his bowl.

"Nothing," Russell said. "Just that he's glad. Um, that this is all over, I mean."

"Yeah," Ed said. "Al talked to me, too . . ."

"He did?" Russell said, rapidly, looking up. He wondered if the two conversations were similar.

"Same thing," Ed said, equally rapidly. "He's glad the two of you are safe now."

"Fletcher may not be," Russell said. "I know now why my father didn't want him practicing alchemy. He knew that Fletcher was *so* talented that the wrong people might try to get him on their side. And if it happened once . . ."

"It's not going to happen again," Ed said, sharply. "I won't allow it. *We* won't allow it."

Russell wondered if the *we* meant Ed and Al -- or Ed and himself. *Now look at what I'm doing,* he thought. *I'm imagining that Edward thinks of us as a full-fledged couple. One night spent together, and I’m thinking in terms of till-death-do-us-part.*

He busied himself with his soup, and by the time he finished his bowl, Ed was done with his second. Ed leaned back in his chair. "So, now . . ."

"Now . . ." Russell looked down into his empty bowl, as if searching for the words to say next. "You're going home tomorrow."

"That doesn't mean I can't come back," Ed said, leaning over and putting his left hand over Russell's right. "Mustang doesn't watch us like hawks every single minute. I'd kill him if he did."

"But . . . when will that be?" Russell said.

"Look, can we not think about that?" Ed got up and walked around the table to him. "We've still got . . . oh, hell . . ."

And he leaned over and kissed Russell, hard, and Russell felt like his entire body was turning to liquid. This is what he wanted, oh, yes, this is what he'd been thinking of in the back of his mind ever since the *last* time that it happened. He reached up and wrapped an arm around Ed, pulling him down, thinking how strange it felt to have Ed *above* him for once, not that it was something he exactly minded . . .

When their mouths opened, Russell pushed his tongue into Ed's mouth eagerly, hearing his lover groan deep in his throat and feeling a shudder run through his own body. They broke apart, breathing raggedly, and Russell began planting kisses along Ed's throat, sucking at the flesh a bit here and there, careful not to *bite* this time.

"Upstairs," Ed said in a ragged voice. "Now."

They nearly raced up the steps, and once they were in Russell's bedroom, their arms wrapped around each other and their lips came together again with a fierce hunger. They backed up until they were right next to the bed, just waiting for the right moment to drop to it.

Russell knew what he wanted this time, and it was *more* than what they experienced before. His arms tightened around the other boy, his mouth hungrily pressing on Edward's, his tongue probing.

He felt Edward's flesh-and-blood hand skimming down his back, to his waist, and *lower* . . . He groaned deep in his throat as the boy grasped his bottom, squeezing hard, almost hard enough to cause pain.

His lips eased from Edward's and his head leaned back, his breath coming heavily as the older alchemist started to rub his bottom in circles, pressing firmly, his fingers massaging here and there.

"Stop . . . teasing me," he groaned.

“Hey, you don’t seem to *mind*,” Ed replied.

“I’d mind a lot less if you let me take my pants off!”

Ed pulled away a bit. “I didn’t know I was supposed to be following a *script.*”

“There’s no *script*,” Russell said. “Look, just let me take my pants off!”

“I wasn’t getting in your way!” Ed crossed his arms over his chest and scowled.

“Fine!” Russell shed his shoes, socks and pants, tossing the garments aside.

“Oh, yeah?” Ed yanked at his own zipper, kicking his boots off. His own trousers were soon beside Russell’s, and he pulled the boy back into his arms, kissing him hotly again. Russell breathed hotly as he felt the boy’s lips caressing his earlobe.

“Now what?” Ed whispered.

Russell turned his head a bit. “What do you mean?”

“Well, you’re the one who seems to be following a *script.*”

“Oh, for . . .” Russell gave Ed a small push, causing his lover to tumble back to the bed. He grabbed his underwear and yanked it down, and . . .

*Now what do I do?* he thought. *I can’t stroke him, or rub against him . . . that’s what we did *last* time.

Ed raised his head. “Well?”

“I was waiting for you to take your shirt off,” Russell said in a cool tone of voice.

Ed groaned, reached for his shirt, yanked it off and threw it away. He sat up, kissed Russell again and grabbed onto the other boy’s suspenders.

Russell had to admit there was an erotic thrill in having Ed slowly undo the buttons of his shirt. When cool air hit his skin, followed by the warmth of Edward’s right hand stroking a nipple, he let out a gasp.

“That feels good,” Russell murmured.

Ed reached down with the automail hand and yanked at his boxers, and Russell pushed them the rest ot the way down. Carefully, he began to tip Edward backwards onto the bed, thinking again of what they could possibly do . . .

And then, he remembered how good it felt to have Ed kiss and suck his nipples, and wondered how that would feel somewhere *else*.

He moved down on Ed’s body, kissing along his stomach as he did so. When he reached his erection, he hesitated, then began planting a few slow kisses over the head.

Edward let out a gasp, and Russell grew bolder, starting to kiss along the length of his shaft, then licking at it with small sweeps of his tongue. This was different than he thought it was going to be. The taste wasn’t unpleasant, the heat under his tongue just made *him* feel hot . . .

He moved back to the head and, more confident now, began to lick at it over and over, and he heard his lover make a long, low, husky sound of pleasure. Encouraged, his opened his lips and started to slide it in, bit by bit . . .

This felt pleasant. Extremely so. Edward was *filling* his mouth, and there was something just so *intimate* about doing this, as if he was making the boy a part of him.

And the “Aaaah, aaahh, ahh, yes!” sounds Ed was making weren’t hurting, either.

He took it in a bit deeper and started to suck, and an automail hand gripped the top of his head, the cold metal an odd sensation, but not one that was going to dampen his enthusiasm. Quite the opposite.

Russell started to move his head back and forth, taking it in a bit deeper each time, sucking a bit harder . . . oh, he could *really* get used to doing this . . .

And then, he took it in *too* deep, and he choked, pulling away from Ed coughing and spluttering.

Ed sat up. “What the hell happened?”

Russell was face-down on the bed, still trying to catch his breath. This was *definitely* one hell of an embarrassing moment.

Raising his head, he said, “Nothing.” Then, sitting up, he added, trying to sound as calm as possible, “Well, I didn’t want you to . . . you know . . . from doing that, anyway.”

That brought a sly smile from Ed that was damn close to being that lopsided grin. Russell did *not* need to see that now. “Oh? What did you have in mind?”

Russell didn’t know how to state it without sounding either crass or clinical (*Why is describing alchemy so easy, but describing sex is so hard?* he thought), so he said, casually, “Oh, you know.”

Ed frowned. “Well, you’re not *telling* me anything. How am I supposed to know what you mean if you . . .”

“Dammit, Edward, you know what I’m talking about!” Russell said.

The other boy turned away for a moment, and Russell sat up -- to see Ed reaching for an aloe vera plant that grew near the bed, plucking off a leaf. "Hey! Who said you could do that?"

"We either use this or automail lubricant," Ed said, calmly, putting the leaf on the bedside table and clapping his hands together. There was a flash of purple, and the leaf had become a green gel.

"For what?" Russell said, lying down again.

“Well, if we *don’t* do something like this, you’re going to have one hell of a sore bottom!”

“ME?” Russell sat bolt upright. “Who said anything about *me* being on the bottom?”

Ed turned toward him. “I know what to do,” he said, with just a small edge of smugness in his voice. “Do you?”

“The hell you do!” Russell snapped. “What, do you have experience?”

“What do you think?” Ed casually stirred at the gel with his flesh-and-blood hand.

“I think you’re lying!” Russell said.

“Maybe,” Ed said, calmly.

“Maybe?” Russell repeated, leaning forward.

“Or maybe . . . I’ve just read up on it,” Ed said, scooping some of the gel onto his fingers.

Russell bristled. His own reading on he subject had been way in the past. Everything he’d done so far had been based more on instinct and figuring it out for himself.

*Well,* he thought, *if I bottom *this* time, I can top *next* time, and then I’ll know what to do. And I can completely blow him away.*

“Look, do we have to keep *talking*?” he said.

“You’re the one who’s doing that,” Ed replied.

Russell had had enough of the back-and-forth banter. He kissed Ed’s lips, hard, slipping his tongue quickly in and out of his mouth as he tumbled back on the bed, wrapping his arms around Ed and pulling his lover down with him.

Ed wasted no time in rolling Russell onto his back, then moving down to his nipples, flicking his tongue over the right one before starting to kiss it, hard. When he started to suck, Russell cried Edward’s name out, twining his fingers in the long strands of golden silk.

The older boy moved his head to the other bud, licking at it, then sucking hard on it as well, then taking it out and lapping at it with slow strokes.

While this was going on, he was dipping the fingers of his flesh-and-blood hand in the green gel again. Russell lay back, parting his legs up and out, wondering what was next . . .

Ed's mouth left his nipple, and Russell gasped at the softness of his hair sweeping down over his stomach. He moved lower, and lower still . . .

When the hair brushed over his hardness, Russell let out a loud cry. “Do that again!”

Ed raised his head. “Do what?”

“You know! What you just did!”

“I didn’t do anything,” Ed said, sounding genuinely baffled.

“The hair!” Russell said, almost ready to push the boy’s head down to his crotch to demonstrate.

He looked down, and saw that sly smile suddenly cross Ed’s face. The boy lowered his head, brushing his hair up and down Russell’s erection, and Russell began to writhe on the mattress, moaning.

It was so soft, so satiny, and rubbing on his most sensitive flesh it made him feel like every single nerve in his body was ignited and tingling. He clutched at the sheets as it swept up and down his length, Ed even swirling his head around a little, making Russell gasp and arch toward him.

The softness was soon replaced by hot wetness. Ed started to lick at him, first slowly and tentatively, lapping bit by bit at the head, moving up and down the shaft.

Then, his whole mouth was sliding over it, enveloping Russell in hot, wet velvet , and Russell nearly yelled -- no wonder Ed had gone nuts when he did this to him!

At the same time, his finger started to gently probe his entrance. Russell jumped -- the sensation from the back was just . . . odd. As he started to push in, there was pain, and he began to wonder whether the green gel was doing its job, if he should tell Ed to stop and forget it . . .

But then, there was the pleasure from Ed's mouth sucking on him, and that was making the pain not so bad at all, and then Ed was penetrating deeper, bit by bit, and the pain was going away, replaced by a deep sweetness that made Russell let out a low groan.

Ed's finger slid out, his mouth slid away, and Russell felt disappointed -- and tense with anticipation. If that was what *one finger* felt like, what would it be like when his *whole cock . . .*

Then, there was that pressure at his entrance again, and it was *two* fingers this time, the pain on initial entry much sharper than before. Russell gave a small cry of pain . . . until Ed's mouth was on him again, and the fingers gently thrust deeper until the pain lessened and the sweet pleasure came back again.

“Stop that,” Russell moaned.

Ed pulled away. “Hey! I was just trying to make it easier for you!”

“I mean, stop playing around!” Russell’s voice was husky, his breath heavy. “Just do it!”

“Okay, okay,” Ed said, pulling his fingers out. Russell saw the other boy wipe his hand on a handkerchief, then scoop up more of the gel, rubbing it on himself, then the remainder around Russell's entrance.

And then Ed was on top of him, and he was feeling the warmth of flesh and the coolness of metal against his own naked skin, the contrast of sensations only adding to the feverishness of his mood as the boy kissed him, hard. There was a *probing* at his entrance again, harder and deeper and stranger than before.

Russell nearly whimpered when the pain hit -- and it was *pain* this time, he thought he was going to be torn in two, but he'd be *damned* if he'd let Edward see that he was suffering . . . he clenched his teeth together, his fists clenching as well . . .

Ed raised his head and asked, "Are you all right?"

"Yes! I'm fine! Just . . . don't stop, okay?"

"You sure?"

"I'm sure!" Russell said, a bit too quickly and harshly.

Ed lowered his head to Russell's for a long, wet, tender kiss, and then kept pushing -- slower this time, and more gentle . . . Russell braced himself against the pain, telling himself it would go away soon, taking deep breaths, trying to relax as best as he could . . .

And the more relaxed he got, the less painful it was. In fact, it wasn't so bad, it was starting to feel kind of nice. Pleasurable, even, a bit, and . . .

Ed paused, kissing Russell's lips firmly again. Then, he began to pull back, slowly and very carefully, until he was almost out, then began to thrust forward, equally carefully.

Then the pain disappeared entirely, and there was nothing but pleasure. Russell's eyes flew open in surprise at how *good* it felt, unlike anything he'd experience before, a deep sweetness that started at his very core and radiated through his whole body.

"Ed," he moaned, "that's so nice . . ."

"It'll get better," Ed murmured. "You're so sexy right now . . . you have no idea how hot you look."

"Mmmm . . ." Russell reached around his lover's body, his hands finding and grabbing that fabulous bottom. He wished it was possible for them both to penetrate each other at the same time. He wanted Ed to feel the same thing he was feeling now.

"More," he moaned. "Give me more . . ."

Ed responded by beginning to thrust faster, harder, deeper, and Russell raised his hips to meet every stroke. Oh, yes, it felt *amazing*, the way the other boy was filling him.

Ed's left hand wrapped around his erection, starting a rapid stroke in time to his thrusting, and Russell cried out his lover's name. He was answered by a groan of pleasure from Ed, who buried his head in the juncture of Russell's neck and shoulder as his hips moved faster.

Russell was completely lost in a daze now, there was nothing but sensation, the deep probing inside him, the silken whisper of Ed's hair on his skin, the cold hardness of the automail pressing against him, the other boy's hot breath and moist skin as he pushed harder and faster into his lover . . .

A particularly deep thrust hit something buried within him, and suddenly Russell froze up, the entire world suspended in place, and then he was flooded with a tidal wave of heat, his body being wracked by shudder after shudder of electric sensation. He went limp, totally drained, feeling his lover still moving inside him. A few more thrusts, and then he heard Ed give out a loud, hoarse cry . . .

They collapsed to the bed together, panting, shuddering, before their lips met in a tender kiss.

"That . . . wasn’t bad, was it?" Ed murmured in a teasing tone.

"Mmmm," Russell said. "But next time we do that, *I'm* on top."

"Yeah, I know, equivalent exchange," Ed mumbled sleepily, nuzzling Russell's neck. "I think I want a nap, and then a bath."

"Want company for the bath?" Russell said, wrapping his arms around Ed to hold him closer.

"Yeah," Ed yawned. It was obvious their lovemaking had taken a lot out of him. It had taken a lot out of *both* of them. Russell wondered if they’d still feel as tired afterward when they’d had more practice.

Just before going to sleep, Russell leaned over to the alarm clock he had on the night table, made sure it was wound and set it to wake them up in a couple of hours. He was going to make *sure* they got the most of this night together.

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