c_b_syndrome (c_b_syndrome) wrote in fm_alchemist,

[fic] Bright Light Dim ~ Part IV

Title: Bright Light Dim – Part IV
Author: c_b_syndrome/LJ Harris
Rating: NC17 – Yes, I finally get to the smut
Spoiler Warning: Post CoS
Other Warnings: Manic!Roy, evil soap, and abuse of Shakespeare. Jean/Roy

Summary: In the aftermath of the invasion from the other side of the Gate, the Hero of Central goes missing. But is it a case of revenge? Or attonement?

“He glared at the slippery, white fugitive resting just out of reach; a nest of soft foam perched on the edge of the bar surrounding one large iridescent bubble that grew and grew until it popped --taunting him.”

A/N ~ Yanno, I never thought I could come up with over 500 words just to describe how good a hot shower felt! And this chapter ended up being lighter than the rest. Yes, they finally get to the smexing. This is my first m/m story… critique is welcome (but please don’t tar and feather me)

For ceasefire

Part I

Part II

Part III

Bright Light Dim

I’m a search light soul they say // But I can’t see it in the night // I’m only faking when I get it right… ‘Fell on Black Days’ - Soundgarden


Roy balanced his shampoo and soap on the cold water pipe next to the faucets for the shower at the farthest corner from the entry, then hung his washcloth beside them. He assumed one spigot was probably as good as any, but he chose this one for the simple fact that the lines ran along both walls and gave him more places to grab if his exhaustion got the better of him. Turning on the water, he tested it with one hand until he got it to the right temperature --which was a smidgeon short of scalding. After months of cold showers and tepid, bleached spit-baths, he wasn’t going to waste the opportunity to parboil the crud off of his skin. When he was satisfied that the water was hot enough, he stepped in and gasped in pure, unadulterated bliss as the needle-spray hit his bare chest and arms. Gooseflesh popped out all over him then slowly subsided as the bone-deep chill started to leech from his body.

He leaned forward, grasping the pipe, and let the water beat down on his scalp a moment –relieving some of the constant itch from the grime and soot embedded in his hair. Slowly, his head drooped and he let the shower pound at his aching shoulders and upper back. Part of his mind kept poking at him, telling him that he was wasting water and time and he needed to step-it-up, thankyouverymuch, but he told his conscience to just shut the hell up, he was damned well going to take the time to savor the luxury.

Runnels of hot water flowed down his spine, over his buttocks and along the crack to trickle around and down his sensitive inner thighs, the backs of his knees and over his shins and calves. The simmering heat stung the broken blisters around his ankles, toes and heels, and even that was wonderful. The feeling was sensual --just this side of erotic-- and he couldn’t suppress a shiver that had nothing to do with a chill. He chuffed softly and almost smiled as he watched the water drip off, in shades of murky grey, from the curtain of hair around his down-turned face. Perhaps there was a good side to being so exhausted, after all. Fatigue was probably the only thing between him and mortification at this moment.

As much as he was enjoying just the sensation of standing under a deluge of deliciously hot water, it wasn’t doing much more than turning the grit and grime into sticky muck, and he desperately wanted to be clean. Blindly, he felt for the bar of soap to his left, fumbled, and knocked it off its perch on the pipe. “Dammit,” he muttered and looked around for where it fell.

He was dismayed to discover that the soap had skated along the rivulet of dirty water down the slope toward the center drain. His face screwed into a petulant scowl as he was suddenly torn between staying under that divine shower, and fetching the soap, thus temporarily depriving his sensation-starved body of ecstasy.

The siren song of cleanliness finally lured him out of the embrace of wet heat and with a sigh, he minced across the cold tiles to the center of the room. Kneeling, he flipped his wet hair off his face and reached for his runaway soap, but as his hand wrapped around the bar, it squelched out of his grasp and went sailing across the floor –further from the shower; from that exquisite warmth.

He glared at the slippery, white fugitive resting just out of reach; a nest of soft foam perched on the edge of the bar surrounding one large iridescent bubble that grew and grew until it popped --taunting him. Then with a determined growl, he lunged for it.

He heard a startled epithet, and then was stopped in mid-pounce by a pair of fieldstone pillars that appeared out of nowhere to slam into the top of his skull. Inertia, being a loyal follower of Equivalent Exchange and no respecter of legendary status, promptly forced him backwards. Bare flesh met cold, hard tile with a wet smack as Roy landed on his ass.

He rubbed his head, certain he’d find a goose-egg, and blinked to clear the explosion of stars behind his eye. When he could finally see clearly again, he noticed that the flesh-covered stone columns had feet that were currently dancing about in an attempt to regain balance… and it was then he realized he’d –ohhelldon’tlookupdon’tlookupdon’tlookup—nearly bulled Jean to the floor.

He caught an eyeful from toes to head of a body that looked like an Hellenistic sculpture; long, sinuous thighs, graceful hips, generous and perfectly proportional, uncut –don’t look at that you idiot… Great Void, does he trim—up, dammit, look up--No, don’t look up—downdowndown, the floor is safe—corded stomach, muscled chest and arms --why the hell aren’t you looking at the floor you jackass?— broad shoulders, long neck, strong jaw… and a distinct deer-caught-in-the-lights expression.


Roy finally tore his gaze downward to the safe zone of Jean’s shins and feet, which were finally still and steady, and cleared his throat. “Captain Havoc.”

“Yeah, Boss?”

“You are standing between me and my soap.”

“S-sorry, Boss,” and the pillars moved out of Roy’s line of sight.

Roy made sure there was nothing else nearby that he could brain himself on, picked up his soap, and then with as much dignity as he could muster, stood and strode back to his nice, hot shower.

In a fit of pique, Roy decided to forego the soap for the moment, and made sure it was perched securely on the washcloth so it wouldn’t try to escape again later. He eyed the small bottle of shampoo and wondered if it was going to give him grief next. When all it did was stare back innocently, he decided to give it the benefit of the doubt. It smelled quite a bit more… feminine… than he preferred, but as long as it would get him clean, he wasn’t about to be picky.

He worked a generous amount of the shampoo through his stiff, sticky hair, and squeegeed out thick mucky clumps of grit and slime that smelled like someone had tried to bury a burned slaughterhouse under tons of decayed roses. Actually, it didn’t even smell that pleasant. It was a rancid, sickly sweet combination that defied description and make Roy gag. He couldn’t get the toxic mixture rinsed out of his hair fast enough and hoped that the next round wouldn’t be quite so vile.

It took four more doses, with Roy scrubbing at his scalp so vigorously that it stung, before the water finally ran clear. There was still an underlying scent of decay clinging to his hair, but it was at least tolerable… he hoped. He figured it was as clean as it was going to get, short of shaving it all off and starting over, and decided the bar of soap had been ignored long enough –at least its aroma wasn’t cloying.

The silkiness of the lather, the roughness of the cloth, and the uncovering of flesh gone sensitive from so long under an armor of filth, stimulated his blood and made his nerves sing. The brush of foam-filled material over his shoulder was enough to elicit a gratified sigh; across his stomach made him hum. He exalted in the slickness, the steam, the water pounding on his skin until it turned red, and was loathe to end it… but he couldn’t stay here forever. Besides, his legs were beginning to tremble as his fatigue demanded to be acknowledged.

He had one thing left to do; the one part of his body that he’d left for last because his abused arms wouldn’t reach.

His back.

More specifically, that spot between his shoulder blades that always managed to start itching when no one else was around, and he was forced to do a passable imitation of a bear against a tree… or a doorjamb, or an out-turned corner, or… whatever was convenient and caused the least amount of embarrassment. It was a pain in the ass to get to under the best of circumstances --and Roy envied anyone who was limber enough to never have to worry about it—but now it seemed an insurmountable task unless—

He cast a glance over his shoulder at Jean, who seemed blissfully unaware of Roy’s current predicament, and slammed the brakes on that idea, fast. Gazing down at the bar of soap in his right hand and the washcloth in his left, he found himself mourning the loss of his back brush—

The sudden, bizarre image of a splintered handle and melted bristles in a puddle of blood and a pile of smoking rubble flashed through Roy’s mind-- Alas, poor Back Brush! I knew it, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. It hath cleansed my back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! My gorge rises at it—and he had to bite back a manic giggle. Oh, holy hell I’ve completely lost it. The exhaustion-induced hallucinations will start any minute now, he thought and almost started to giggle again.

For crying out loud, Mustang, you’re just asking for a little help. It’s not like you’re asking Jean for his first-born. He forced down his growing insanity, took a deep breath and said, “Cap—Uh, Jean?”

“Yeah, Boss?”

Roy glanced over his shoulder at the expectant face of his friend, held up the cloth and soap, and pointed in the general direction of his back. “Could you...?”

“Sure.” Jean crossed the floor unhesitatingly and took the cloth from Roy. As he soaped it up, he said, “Had to do this for my kid brother when he broke his arm once.”

Roy sighed inwardly at the awkwardness of the situation --which appeared to be all his; Jean seemed perfectly comfortable—and turned his face back into the shower. He had to admit he was still embarrassed at gaping so openly at the other man though.

As the cloth buffed his skin, Jean’s left hand grasped his shoulder –presumably to help keep his balance-- and with each stroke of the right hand, the left would gently knead at the knots. Roy had to reach out and grab hold of the pipe, because if he didn’t, he’d surely melt down the drain. He’d barely noticed when Jean had reached around him to rinse the cloth and add fresh soap for another round; his left hand had remained on his shoulder and his thumb was pressing into the back of his neck at the base of his skull just right.

Roy had never been shy about acknowledging aesthetics in any form, and it wasn’t the first time he’d noticed that Jean was attractive –although never quite in this manner. It certainly wasn’t that he was adverse to the idea of intimacy with another man, Roy was too damned much of a sensualist to limit his options in that way.

His eye snapped open when the contact was gone for the briefest moment while Jean switched hands --and why in the bloody hell are you even thinking this?-- Then Jean started in on Roy’s right shoulder as he washed his back with his left hand and proceeded to turn him into a happy puddle of goo. There were no exotic techniques in the massage; just kneading the muscle like bread dough, hitting the knots in a way that made them loosen up almost instantly.

Before long, Jean tossed the cloth over the pipe and just lathered up his hands. Roy didn’t think he’d reacted, but something in his demeanor must have alerted the other man, because he hesitated and said, “You’re kinda tied up in knots.”

Roy nodded and forced himself to relax a little –nothing to see here, folks. Move along. He shouldn’t have been surprised at how skillful Jean was with his hands; he’d seen the man break down and rebuild a gun in record time and do the same with a motor. He was ashamed to admit he’d underestimated him.

His eyes drifted closed and his head lolled forward as Jean worked his way down from Roy’s neck, to his shoulders, and on down between his shoulder blades. He shut off the constant yammering in his brain and finally allowed himself to just enjoy the simple pleasure of sensation.

It had been over two years since he’d had any physical human contact –since before he’d been stationed up north, in fact. He’d forgotten how much he enjoyed being touched by someone he knew and trusted. Just… touched, with no ulterior motives, no demands, no expectations.

It was quiet --the only sounds were the water trickling down the drain and echoing off the tile walls, spray hitting skin, and their breathing. Jean massaged his back in unhurried strokes, not missing a single tight or tender spot, and not moving on until he’d rendered the area putty. The languorous rhythm was only interrupted when Jean would reach around Roy for more soap to lubricate his hands or to pause to make sure Roy hadn’t fallen asleep on his feet –which was a very distinct possibility.

A hypnotic state floated down over him and a low purr escaped. He was comfortable –safe. He could let his guard down…

The tingle in his groin warned him, but before he had a chance perform the mental gymnastics that would chase it away, he was faced with a raging erection of the likes he hadn’t had in a very long while. Roy glared down at his traitorous organ and considered that under any other circumstances he’d be waving it around proudly, but not here, not now. He considered it small comfort that he was at least leaned forward; maybe Jean wouldn’t notice.

Roy entered a staring contest with his cock; a battle of nerves, with Roy wanting to will the hard-on away, and his cock stubbornly wanting to remain painfully erect. It was a matter of just who (or what) was going to blink first, and Roy was determined to win.

Unfortunately, his cock was a part of him, and thus prone to the same Mustang stubbornness. It was an impasse. His only stay of execution by extreme mortification was to hope Jean finished his back and walked away without ever glancing over Roy’s shoulder, or expecting him to move.

He felt Jean hesitate, and Roy winced. There it was, then… the proverbial ‘elephant in the parlor’ that no one could miss, but no one wanted to mention.

His cock had won and it would not be ignored.

Jean’s hands left his back and Roy sagged. He knew Jean well enough to know that this-incident-would-not-be-spoken-of, but he feared that it would raise that invisible barrier between them that had finally started to come down earlier tonight.

Then he felt tentative, trembling fingers on his hips. They hovered, barely on his flesh; asking silent permission.

Roy spread his hands further on the pipes --open to whatever Jean intended to do. Wanting what he offered.

Jean’s palms covered Roy’s pelvic bones with a confident touch. Gentle and sure, they slid around to his stomach and up, pulling him back and straight. As Jean’s thumbs brushed against Roy’s nipples –eliciting a gasp-- his arms tightened as he pulled him against his chest, his own erection obvious against the small of Roy’s back.

Roy laid his hands over Jean’s, not guiding or directing, but simply riding them as they continued up his body. Jean’s thumb skated along his clavicle and long, strong fingers embraced elegant ones from beneath as those finer ones curled. The other hand caressed Roy’s throat, his chin, his thumb brushed against his lips.

Warm breath puffed over his ear, making him shiver and setting off an intense chain reaction. Jean rumbled, the vibration traveling down Roy’s spine to curl, hot and bright, around his balls, making his cock jump and his hips to buck once then press his ass back against Jean.

Jean moaned, “God, Roy,” then bit down on his shoulder. His left arm crossed Roy’s chest and he embraced him closer as his right hand encircled the base of his cock, stroked up and skated his thumb over the head.

Roy’s groan echoed lightly off the tiled room as he rocked his hips, fucking Jean’s hand and grinding back against his cock. It had been far too long since another person had touched him and he knew he wasn’t going to last and he didn’t know if that was good or bad and didn’t care, it just felt so fucking good. All that mattered at that moment was his urgent need and the man pressed against his back, and his head fell against Jean’s shoulder and he dared to look the man in the eyes, and the heat he saw in them ignited an inferno in the pit of his belly that snapped the muscles in his stomach and thighs tight, hovered for an instant that felt like eternity, then exploded out of him with a ragged howl…

Then Roy’s legs promptly gave out as he sagged out of Jean’s embrace and bonelessly to the floor.

“Shit! Roy?” Jean said as he knelt down next to him.

Roy stared at the floor behind a curtain of dark hair, unable to speak as he tried to get his breathing back under control. His throat was tight and his eye stung as he blinked back threatening tears brought on by the intensity of release. Even when a warm, strong hand grasped his shoulder and the other brushed his hair from his face and tilted it up.

“Roy?” Jean said again. “B-boss? You okay?” Emotions flit back and forth over his face: alarm, concern and the remnants of lust.

Roy reached up to caress his face. He smiled warmly and said, “I’m fine, Jean.” He didn’t miss the fact that Jean was still painfully hard, and he let his hand drift downward.

Jean was visibly relieved that Roy had finally answered him, but then he stunned him by going paternal. He stopped Roy’s descent, and said, “No can do. You’re exhausted.”


“I can take care of myself tonight,” Jean said and flushed at the admission. “You need to get to bed—“

Roy started to smirk, but was denied.

Alone,” Jean insisted. He grumbled and tangled his fingers in his bangs. “I shouldn’t have done that, but you really needed it, and Hawkeye’d probably have my balls if anything happened to yours and… aw, hell. Let’s just get you up and into bed, okay?”

Roy felt a heavy weight settle in his stomach, and he tried to cover the disappointment he was beginning to feel. “I see, Captain. The assistance was appreciated, but I won’t be requiring your services any more,” Roy said and started to get to his feet.

Jean went pale and his jaw dropped, then his blue eyes went hard and he lunged forward, pinning Roy to the tile on his back. “Is that what you think it was?”

“Wasn’t it?”

“No, you jackass!”

“Then why in the bloody hell wouldn’t you let me return the favor?”

“Jeeze! I’ve never known anyone who was as hard-headed as you are!”

“Me?! What about you?”

“I’m not the one who collapsed! What the fuck do you think is gonna happen if you fall again and crack your skull open while you’re in the middle of jac—“

And then Roy brought an end to the absurd argument by grasping the back of Jean’s head and pulling him down into a soul-searing kiss…

…Or it would have been, if Jean hadn’t been so startled, but Roy was insistent and once Jean got over it, his lips softened and he returned the kiss with as much passion as Roy had ever felt from anyone before. He discovered the man’s tongue was as skilled as his fingers, and Roy couldn’t help imagining just how incredible that tongue would feel on his cock. Then he felt a threatening twitch and he figured he’d better think about something else… such as taking care of the man crouched over him.

Jean broke the kiss and glared down through a haze of want as soon as he felt Roy’s hand cupping his balls.

Roy glanced around them and said, “I really doubt I’ll fall off the floor, Jean.”

Jean sighed, defeated… by logic and lust. He didn’t resist when Roy pulled him closer and kissed him deeply as he stroked him to a shaking, noisy completion.


Jean smoked a cigarette as he sat in the dark on his bunk. Roy was across the room from him, but he couldn’t see much of him in the sliver of moonlight that peeked through the tiny window up near the ceiling of the dorm room; only the slight curve of his back slowly rising and falling in the even rhythm of sleep.

It had taken the team three months to track him down –three months, two weeks, five days and an odd number of hours, to be exact— and when they finally found out where he was being sequestered, Hawkeye’s orders were explicit.

Take care of him, she said, he thought with a grin. This was probably not how she meant, but whatever works.

It pissed him and the others off in a serious way when Hakuro had manipulated the records that denied Roy his field promotion and his recognition, and found a way to bury him. Yeah, they had a new government, but there were still officers in the top Brass of the military who were making moves to kick the Prime Minister’s feet out from under him, and Hakuro was one of them.

Jean damn near killed Ranson, then intended to hunt down Hakuro, when he showed up to find Roy on his hands and knees in a puddle of gore. He thought he’d looked defeated when he saw him up north… but today, he looked like a beaten dog.

Never again, he thought, as he stubbed the cigarette out, and set the ashtray on the nightstand. He slipped under the covers and clasped his hands under his head and gazed up at the moonlight. With the intel Strongarm and Hawkeye picked up last week, Roy was going to be headed back to the top.

Jean heard a clicking and scrabbling from under his bunk and he braced himself for the inevitable pounce. All of a sudden, he had a heavy shepherd blanket covering him and he scratched the dog behind the ears. “Heyas, Pook.” He pointed up at the window and added, “Take a look. The sky’s starting to clear.”


Disclaimer: Fullmetal Alchemist (Hagane no Renkinjutsushi) was created by Arakawa Hiromu and is serialized monthly in Shonen Gangan (Square Enix). Copyright for this property is held by Arakawa Hiromu and Square Enix.
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