Illustration: acexkeikai NOTE: Illustration for this part is non-explicit, but distinctly shonen ai.
Pairing: Edward ElricXRussell Tringham
Genre: Romance, lemon, drama
Spoilers: Through end of series
Warnings: Lemon, yaoi, AU (diverges from canon at the end of the TV series)
Summary: Russell and Ed make the most of their last night together before having to say goodbye in the morning.
Ed was still sleeping when Russell woke up. He slipped out of bed, walking out into the hall -- it felt funny to be walking around naked, since he was never home alone. Funny . . . and oddly delicious at the same time.
As he turned on the taps in the bathroom, he reflected that it was a good thing they had a large bathtub. He hadn't shared a bath with anyone since he and Fletcher were much younger.
This was going to be a *very* different experience from that.
Walking back into the bedroom, he leaned over and kissed Ed's forehead. "Bath's ready," he whispered.
Ed stretched like a cat and murmured something unintelligible. Finally, he opened his eyes, sitting up, slowly, and stretching again.
"What time is it?" he mumbled.
"Does it matter?" Russell said, standing up and offering his lover his hand.
"Lemme have a moment alone in the bathroom first," Ed mumbled sleepily as he took Russell's hand and got slowly to his feet.
Russell let Ed go ahead of him, absently brushing at a couple of long, blond hairs on the pillow. He didn't want to think about tomorrow night, when those hairs would be the only traces of Ed left behind.
When a voice from the bathroom called "Okay," Russell went in, to see Ed already settled in the water, his arms resting on the sides, the ends of his long hair damp and clinging to his skin. He also noticed he'd transmuted some kind of protective membrane over his automail that seemed to be made of plant material.
Ordinarily, he'd give him hell for plucking leaves off *their* plants without permission. Right now, for some reason, he didn't care.
"Hey," he said, "are you just going to stand there, or are you going to come in?"
"Oh, I'm coming in," Russell said, and quickly climbed into the water. He suddenly felt awkward -- now what? Did they start washing each other, did they wash themselves . . .
His answer came right away, when Ed just picked up the soap and started nonchalantly lathering a washcloth. Draping it over his automail hand, he began to wash his other arm, then pushed the soap over toward Russell.
"Nice size tub," Ed said. "We both fit easily."
"Well, that's because you don't take up much room," Russell said, casually -- and found himself splashed in the face, violently.
Russell spluttered, wiping the water from his face. He knew he was going to have to resist the urge to tease him further -- hard as it was -- if he wanted the rest of the evening to go the way he wanted.
Leaning over and putting his hands on the other boy's shoulders, he said, "Hey . . . want me to wash your back?"
Ed blinked, and turned around, so he was on his knees, his hands on the side of the tub. "Go ahead," he said.
Russell's eyes swept over the sight of the other boy, bent over, wet, his *very* alluring bottom sticking up, and suddenly he wanted to a lot more than wash his back.
But he decided to take it slowly and play it cool. He picked up the soap, lathered a rag and stroked it from his shoulders down to his hips, then up again, going no further. He felt Ed tense, and then relax -- disappointed, he was sure.
Before he could give himself a chance to wonder “Now what?” he stood up and started to wash himself, and he couldn’t help but notice the way Ed was *looking* at him, his eyes moving all over his body bit by bit . . . almost like a caress.
“Ed?” Russell said. “Are you . . .”
“What?” Ed said, suddenly looking flustered, grabbing the soap and starting to wash himself quickly. “Nothing, okay? It’s nothing!”
Russell knew he shouldn’t feel amused, but he did. Most definitely.
He continued to wash himself, looking over from time to time to watch the other boy, shuddering with desire a little as he saw Ed run his hands over his own torso, or along his own thighs. He began to wonder if the other boy ever touched himself. Then, he wondered what it would be like to *watch* him touching himself.
And *then*, he realized that his body was reacting to that thought, and in a big way. He turned away, flustered, wondering why it bothered him so much to have Ed see him this way -- hell, they were taking a bath together, weren’t they? And they’d just made love before . . .
When he was done, he rapidly sank down into the water, and Ed did the same. Their eyes met and held, and Russell suddenly felt for a moment that he’d never be able to look away.
Ed leaned back in the water, his long hair spread out behind him, and Russell could feel his eyes moving over his body again. "So . . . I don't think you asked me in here just to *wash*," he said, teasingly, the sly smile spreading across his face again.
Russell had an “oh, crap!” feeling deep inside, but acting casual, returned it with a wicked grin of his own. "Now, what makes you say that?"
"Oh, maybe . . ." The boy sat up, wrapping his fingers around Russell’s erection. “This?”
*So much for trying to hide it,* Russell thought. *Have to play it cool . . .*
“Are you going to do something with that?” he said, in what he hoped was his sultriest voice.
“What, you think I wouldn’t?”
“Well, right now, you’re just kind of sitting there *holding* it . . .”
Ed’s eyes flashed fire. “You think I don’t know what to do? You should know better by now!”
“I didn’t *say* that!” Russell said.
“I *do* know what I’m doing, you know!” Ed’s hand tightened a little, and Russell gasped -- the sensation was right on the border between pleasure and pain.
“Well, then why don’t you *do it*, and stop holding onto it like it was a rolling pin?” Russell said, a bit of a teasing tone creeping in.
“Fine!” Ed snapped. He lowered his head and began to lick at the tip of the erection, and Russell leaned back in the water, the tension instantly draining out of his body. When Ed leaned over to capture the whole tip in his mouth. Russell let out a hoarse cry, grabbing at his lover's head.
Suddenly, Ed's tongue was running *everywhere*, looping over the sensitive crown over and over, and Russell bit the back of his hand to keep himself from coming . . .
*Damn, he’s a fast learner,* he thought. He knew he was going to have to come up with something to top that. Couldn’t go down on him again, Ed would be *expecting* it, after what he had been doing . . .
When Ed released him, and moved back up, Russell grasped the flesh-and-blood hand, bringing it to his mouth, touching his lips to it. He heard Ed make a small “mmm” sound . . . and inspiration struck.
He gently kissed each of Edward’s fingertips, nipping at them a bit, letting his tongue lightly flick one or two. He looked at his lover's face, and saw that his eyes were getting heavy-lidded, his lips were moistly parted and slightly puckered . . .
*Good,* Russell thought. And he slid his mouth down over the index finger and began to suck, hard, starting to move it out, then back down again. He heard Ed let out a cry, and he felt a deep thrill down in his core.
Sliding the finger out of his mouth, he did the same to the middle finger, tracing its length lightly with his tongue before taking it in, sucking hard as he bobbed his head rapidly, and he heard Ed start to breathe heavily. "Keep going," he gasped. "Please . . ."
Russell loved the husky tone of the "Please." The more excited Ed got, the more excited it made *him*.
He turned Ed's hand over in his so it was palm-up, and leaned over, touching him with just the tip of his tongue, sweeping it from his wrist to the tip of his middle finger, then down, then back and forth. He slid the thumb in his mouth, sucked on it a bit, then started licking his way across the palm again, and Ed let out a full-blown moan this time.
*Someday,* Russell thought, *you'll have two flesh-and-blood arms again, and I'll make love to your new hand the way I'm doing now.*
He kissed the palm one last time, then brought his lips to Ed's again, and the boys pressed their wet, slick bodies together, Russell laying back so Ed could stretch out against him, their erections beginning to brush against each other. Ed started to thrust his hips, deepening the contact, the friction . . .
And there was a *splash* as some of the water went over the side and landed on the floor.
Ed pulled back. "Dammit!"
Russell sat up. "We can't do that . . . at least not here . . ."
"Yeah, I . . ." And then, suddenly, Ed stopped, the lopsided grin spreading over his face again. "Who says we can't? I can take care of the mess, easy!"
"Edward . . . it might go *out the door* and *flood the hall* . . ."
"You think I can't get all that to evaporate in two seconds?" He positioned himself so he was straddling his lover. "Sit up . . . I wanna do it like this."
When Russell did, Ed wrapped his arms and legs around him and pressed their erections together again, both boys letting out a gasp at the contact.
Ed leaned back a bit, so their chests were apart, and Russell glanced down. He saw his erection pressed against Edward's, two passion-swollen crowns rubbing and brushing. He noticed his own was slightly longer, but Ed's a bit thicker, that the tip of his was more rounded, and that Ed's curved toward the right a tad bit more.
The contrasts made the whole thing all the more erotic, a delicious reminder that the most intimate parts of their bodies were different, yet the same, and he started to pump his hips harder, feeling Ed's hardness rub on his, the friction sending tiny shockwaves of ecstasy through his body.
"You’re so hot," Ed murmured, his left hand finding and squeezing Russell's nipple as he moved in for a kiss, and Russell eagerly plundered his lover's mouth with his tongue as he felt their balls press together, sending another shudder running through the younger boy's body, and as their lips parted, Russell heard Ed call out his name in a deep, throaty voice.
Russell thrust harder, faster. "”Ed,” he panted, “this is so good . . . so good, I can’t believe it .. . “
Ed let out a choked sound, rubbing himself harder, faster against Russell, his fingers, metal and flesh, digging into his lover's back . . . and suddenly, he leaned backward, trembling, his eyes squeezed shut, and he let out a long, low, keening cry. Russell felt the warmth as the other boy's seed shot onto his own body.
Ed sagged against Russell, panting. His left hand reached down, grasping Russell's still-hard cock, and he began a rapid stroke, and Russell leaned back, luxuriating in the touch, the sensation . . . he was tensing up, he could feel it, he was close, so close . . .
The white-hot pleasure burst in him suddenly, unexpectedly, like a firework nobody had seen go up, and he nearly screamed Ed's name as his body arched upward, consumed with hot, honeyed sensation.
He fell back in the water and felt his lover's lips on his face, softly and gently.
"Wow," was all Russell could say.
"Mmm," Ed said in answer, leaning his head on Russell's chest, both of them holding each other.
"Ed? I think there isn't much water left in here . . ."
"I told you I could handle it," Ed said. He clapped his hands and leaned over the side of the tub. "It's going to get steamy in here."
"Like it wasn't before?" Russell said.
There was a crackle of energy, and the whole room filled with steam to the point where Russell choked. He quickly opened the window, and said, "I think we'd better go back to bed."
"Hey, I warned you," Ed said, hopping out of the tub and grabbing a towel.
"How can you do that, anyway?" Russell said, getting out next to him. "The no-circle thing, I mean . . ."
Ed leaned over and kissed him. "Look, I promise I'll tell you later, okay? Some other time . . ."
Russell only kissed him back. He knew now, Ed *meant* that.
*Maybe,* he thought, *I'll be able to find out all his secrets. Someday.*
* * *
He was awakened from a very comfortable slumber by a tapping at the door and a sweet voice saying, "Brother?"
Russell stirred, pulling Ed closer, rubbing his cheek against the satiny hair. He didn't want to get out of this bed, no matter what.
But the tapping came again, louder this time. "Brother? We made breakfast for you . . . ."
Ed opened his eyes, halfway, raising his head just a little bit. "In a minute, Al," he mumbled -- except it sounded more like, "Inaminital."
Russell kissed the top of Ed's head. "Looks like they want us to wake up," he said.
"I'm in no hurry," Ed murmured, dropping his head to Russell's chest again.
Another tapping, this time, a different voice. "Brother? Um, I don't want to rush you, but Ed and Al's train leaves at 10:30, and it's after 8:30 now . . ."
Russell's heart sank. He didn't want to see 10:30 come. He didn't want to let him go.
*It's not over until the moment he steps on that train,* he thought. *I'm going to hold onto every minute until then.*
"Looks like we have no choice," he said quietly to his lover, then called out, "We'll be there, Fletcher."
"Who booked such an early train?" Ed said, sitting up and stretching. Russell couldn't take his eyes off the athlete's torso, the spill of that fabulous hair over his shoulders, the glint of the early morning sun off the automail . . .
The temptation to yank him down to the bed and just forget about breakfast was nearly overwhelming. But he knew if they did that, neither of their little brothers would let them hear the end of it.
"Your Colonel Bastard, no doubt," Russell said, getting up and opening his bureau drawer to pull out underwear and socks. He gave Ed a small smile. "I'd like to meet him someday, to see if he's as bad as you say he is."
"Peh, I already told you," Ed said, reaching for his own clothing. "Arrogant, stuck-up, snarky . . ."
"And I don't know anyone else like that," Russell said in a teasing tone as he reached into the closet.
"Watch it," Ed said, fastening his pants. "Keep that up, and you're sleeping on the couch when you come to see me."
"You wouldn't do that," Russell said, walking over and running a finger along the other boy's still-bare back. "You wouldn't make it through the night without going out to the living room."
"You'd break before I did," Ed said, turning around and caressing Russell's chest. They leaned over and kissed, but kept it brief -- they knew they couldn't afford to be tempted right now.
Especially when another tapping came on the door.
"We're coming," Russell called, breaking away from Ed and going back to the closet.
When both were fully dressed, Russell stole one last kiss at the door. He knew it would be their last for awhile, until they were reunited again.
"Okay, okay . . . so I won’t make you sleep on the couch next time," Ed said.
"Hey, we have unfinished business for next time," Russell said. "I haven't topped yet, remember? Equivalent exchange?"
Ed gave him that sly, lopsided smile -- which didn't seem to irritate Russell as much as it used to. "We'll see about *that*."
And the two of them headed downstairs, where their younger brothers were waiting.
* * *
The last hour or so had gone way too fast. One moment, it seemed, they were sitting down at the breakfast table (to see Al and Fletcher grinning *way* too widely, making both Ed and Russell blush and stammer), the next, they were heading for the train station in a cab -- Russell noted with irony that it was the same driver who had taken the two sets of brothers to the station two years ago, when the Elrics left Xenotime after the defeat of Mugear.
They stood on the platform, the train slowly pulling into the station behind them, Russell not quite knowing what to say to the boy who was now . . . more than a friend to him. He certainly couldn't hug and kiss him, not out here in the open. Amestris was a society that took homosexuality between teenage boys in stride -- it was pretty much considered just another part of growing up -- but public displays of affection of any sort usually invited unwelcome stares.
"Take care," Fletcher said, hugging first Al, then Ed. "I'll miss you."
"We'll miss you, too," Al said. "A lot."
Russell clapped Al on the shoulder and grasped his hand briefly. "You make sure he doesn't get into any more trouble, okay?”
“I will,” Al said, with a bright smile -- and then quickly moved away, allowing Ed and Russell a private moment. Ed clasped Russell’s hand in his, more firmly than a friendly handshake.
"I'll be back here soon," he said.
"You'd better be," Russell replied, looking straight into Ed's eyes.
Not breaking the gaze, and with a hint of the lopsided grin, Ed said, "You know . . . I *may* miss you while we're apart."
Russell felt a tightening in his throat. He knew what those words really conveyed.
"Same here," he said.
The whistle blew, signaling the train's impending departure. Ed quickly dropped Russell's hand and grabbed for his suitcase, holding it up by his shoulder as he always did.
"Come on, Al," he said, deliberately not looking back at Russell. "We have to leave."
Al picked up his own suitcase, and waved at the other set of brothers as he followed Ed up the train steps. "I'll write as soon as we get back!" he called.
Russell watched the brothers settle down into their seats -- he noticed Ed looked uncharacteristically subdued. As it pulled away, Ed and Al leaned out the window to wave one last time, and the other brothers waved back.
Russell watched until it disappeared around the curve, and was gone.
Fletcher put an arm around his waist and hugged him. "Come on, Brother. Belsio is coming home tomorrow, we have a lot to do before then," he said, gently.
Russell swallowed hard, nodding. Yes, getting back to the farm, getting back to some kind of normal routine, would be good. Because right now, he felt more full, and yet, more strangely empty, than he ever had in his life.
* * *
The younger brother pushed open the door of the lab and tiptoed in gingerly. Sure enough, his older brother was there, blond head bent over a pile of books, poring over pages he must have read a hundred times before.
His heart sank. He'd told him to go to bed hours ago, that they could resume their work in the morning, but he was still here.
"Brother," he said, "go to bed. You can go back to working on it in the morning."
"I'll just be here a little while longer," the older boy said, not looking up.
"I know you're sad because he's gone," the younger brother said, softly, approaching the counter. "I miss them, too. But, please . . . don't completely bury yourself in work. Get some rest."
"I will," Russell said. "Don't worry, Fletcher . . . I'll be right up."
He gave one last glance to the notebook, marked his place in it with an index card, and shut it.
Analyzing the data that he and Ed had collected during their work on the megaweapon had proven quite interesting. Because he had discovered a certain side effect of the soil that he didn't know was there before.
*If whatever caused the plant mutations could be isolated, and controlled,* he thought, *it could be refined into a healing compound. A super medicine that would stimulate cell growth."
It could be turned into medicine to cure the red water sickness, to finally pay back his debt to this town. And moreso, if he really was able to refine it, and get it stronger, maybe, just maybe . . .
It could even cause limbs to regenerate.
Russell smiled to himself. He knew he was going to be able to keep the loneliness at bay until the Elrics came back again.
He had a new mission in life.
I have to give a *huge* thank-you to Steve Savage, who has done a marvelous job as my editor for years and did the honors again for this fic, and Aishuu, who contributed invaluable input while this fic was still in its early stages (it was her suggestion that I write the entire piece from Russell’s viewpoint). Thanks also to Sonya and everyone at Hellcon!
Yes, I got the term “megaweapon” from the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode “Warrior of the Lost World.” Just my little tribute to the show that was indirectly responsible for me getting into anime.
The alchemy terminology used in titling this fic is courtesy of An Alchemists Glossary of Terms, Definitions, Formulas & Concoctions (http://www.3rd1000.com/alchemy/alchemyterms.htm).
Fullmetal Alchemist is property of Hiromu Arakawa, Square Enix and Studio BONES. These characters ain’t mine, I’m just borrowing them for a little while.