Fic HALF LIVES, Chapter 17: “Ed Flies Fast, But Bad News Flies Faster
Rating: THIS Chapter PG 13---story arc rated PG13 to NC17 for yaoi sex and references to domestic violence.
Pairing: Roy/Ed, Al’s unrequited love for Winry, references to past Roy/Hughes—hints of Havoc/Hawkeye??—and Ed and Winry’s impending divorce.
Genre: Hurt/Comfort, Yaoi romance.
WARNING: This is yaoi. If you aren’t comfortable, don’t read. Wank will be ignored.
Spoilers: Years have passed since the Father’s Fall (chapter 108) Things in Resembool have not gone well and Ed has the scars to prove it, seeking healing and refuge in his work at Central Command…but Roy Mustang has never been one to calmly stand by and see his friends hurt…
FM Alchemist Links
Chapter 1: http://community.livejournal.com/fma_yaoi/1952285.html#cutid1
SUMMARY : Alphonse celebrates Eds birthday by teaching him how to pilot the airship Xerxes over Central. Ed is having the time of his life, picnicking in the sky with Al, Ling and their new friends from Drachma—but as soon as he finds out about Winry’s interview on Radio Central his world will come crashing down…while his young son Maes proves to the listeners that the Elric potty mouth IS genetic after all.
**HALF LIVES HAS HAD OVER TEN THOUSAND HITS ON FF.NET AS OF 9/1!! Thank you so much—and feedback is greatly appreciated!!***
A/N Always for rueme , with gratitude for her amazing art
Half Lives, Chapter 17: Ed Flies Fast, Bad News Flies Faster
By the Binary Alchemist 2010
It took the whole damn night for Ed to finally admit it to himself.
He loved Roy Mustang.
It was as simple as that.
It wasn’t the sex—which was…damn. Roy could make him come so hard he was afraid his brains would squirt right out of his ears. Roy could tie his body into a pretzel and make him speak in tongues and make him bust out laughing at the same time. His face burned at the memory of how they had defaced the velvet chaise longue in Madame Christmas’ private parlor—in fact he seriously doubted he could look at a stick of butter for the remainder of his life without blushing over the memory of where that particular dairy product had been—and what Roy had done once it had been applied there.
Sex was incendiary between them at times—but if had just been the fucking he’d have enjoyed the hell out of it but that wouldn’t have been enough to make his heart turn over that funny way when a strong, possessive arm slipped around his chest to pull him closer even while Roy was deeply asleep.
I’ll be here. I won’t leave you. That meant more, in the end, even more than I love you.
And that made all the difference.
Ed stretched and yawned, grinning at the memory of that stubbly kiss before Roy crawled reluctantly out of bed. Roy wanted to linger but Sebastian was quietly hemm-hemming from outside their bedroom door, waiting to bring Roy coffee, briefings and a quiet suggestion that he might want to hitch his collar a fraction higher or else resort to cosmetics to conceal the livid love bites Ed had planted on his elegant throat. Ed’s own body was peppered with similar marks of possession, including a few on his inner thighs that stung a bit. Twenty two of them, to be precise—one for each year and ‘and one to grow on’. Ed had teased that when Roy turned thirty-six this fall Ed intended to feast on Roy’s neck and he’d have to wear turtlenecks like Havoc for a week—
Oh, crap. He’d forgotten about Dr. Knox.
He felt fine and fit and headache-free after Dr. Chen had healed his head injury with alkahestry—but Knox wasn’t buying it. “Snake-oil and buttwipe, the lot of it,” he growled. “Can’t tell me a subdural hematoma and a skull fracture is going to knit up in an instant. I want radiographs, goddamn it. And don’t even think I’m going to sign off on this chart unless I see proof that you have no sign of trauma.”
Ed pulled the covers over his head and burrowed into Roy’s pillow. “Fuck off,” he mumbled. “I’m fine.”
There was a low growl. “You’re fine when I say you’re fine. Now, getouttathat bed!”
There was a soft knock at the door that cut Knox off mid-tirade. “Master Edward? If you’re up, Master Alphonse is waiting to take you to breakfast—along with His Celestial Grace Emperor Ling, Dr. Chen and the young men from Drachma.” Sebastian offered a polite bow to Dr. Knox, accompanied by a smile that just overstepped the bounds of insolence. “It would not do to keep the Emperor of Xing waiting, sir.”
At the word breakfast Edward felt an answering protest from his empty stomach. He hadn’t realized how ravenous he’d been—hardly surprising when one considered the amount of energy he had burned up with all the erotic gymnastics of the night before. He vaulted over the pillows and dashed for the shower, but Sebastian intercepted him with a cautioning gesture. “They will be meeting you out of doors, sir. If you shower you will not only keep His Grace waiting but you would put yourself at risk of catching cold. Your brother has sent you some warm clothing—“ he gestured to Claude who entered, laid a parcel on the bed and slipped out with a silent bow, “—and I might suggest that the young master go ahead and dress and meet them on the front steps. I will join you shortly with the breakfast provisions. If you will excuse us, Doctor?”
Knox’s face folded in disapproval, and with a grunt of displeasure he stalked out, slamming the door behind him.
Ed tore open the parcel and dug out a leather helmet with brass goggles, snuggly lined with fleece. He stared at it a moment before it sunk in why he might need to wear it—and why he had to be careful not to risk catching cold. With a whoop of pure glee he shot past Sebastian, shouting for Alphonse to wait, that he was coming, and not to leave without him…
Ed paused halfway down the stairs and turned back in annoyance. “What, damn it?”
Sebastian’s lips twitched slightly. “Do you feel a bit…drafty, sir?”
In his wild excitement, Ed had forgotten the helmet.
He had also forgotten his clothing.
“Ohhh, shut up, willya?”
His Celestial Grace Ling Yao was pointing and howling disgracefully in Edward’s general direction. Seeing Ed bolting down the stairs, two at a time and buck naked, was something he would never let Ed hear the end of it if they both lived to be a hundred.
Alphonse couldn’t resist a gentle dig at his brother. “Well, Ling, in Amestris children refer to being naked as being in your ‘birthday suit’—and it is Ed’s birthday after all.”
Gold eyes shot daggers at the younger Elric sibling. “Ling…did I ever tell ya about the time Al had a little problem with bed-wetting and tried to hide the evidence?”
His grin was wonderfully malicious when Al ducked his head and looked embarrassed. “And the time we went to the movies and Al got so scared---“
“—he crapped his pants, right there in the auditorium---“
“Shall I go on? Or,” Ed jabbed his brother playfully in the ribs, “will you jokers just cut the shit and get me to the Xerxes already?!”
The flight coat had been cut to fit Alphonse—a bit loose in the shoulders and chest but the length was enough to shield him from the frigid breezes that would buffet them when the airship was in motion. Ed was so excited he couldn’t have cared less if his nose froze and snapped off—he was going to fly! This was so far beyond anything he could have imagined that he could scarcely contain himself. He dashed impulsively ahead of the crowd, a laughing Alphonse right at his heels.
“Hold it---Smile, boys!”
A microphone was thrust into Al’s face. “Mister Elric—a word for Radio Capital?” A dozen or more reporters crowded in close as flashbulbs went off, and from down the street people began running eagerly to the roped off area where the Xerxes was moored.
Wary, Ed drew back and tried to step away from this crush of strangers all trying to get close to his little brother. He had openly courted public adulation in his younger years when he tried to lure out homunculi by drawing attention to himself as “the Alchemist of the People”. The Promised Day and its horrors purged him of any vestiges of desire for the spotlight. He had fled to Resembool in hopes of finding peace and instead watched his life grow stagnant and dissatisfying. Right now, the last thing he wanted was anybody asking questions about his mysterious ‘retirement’ from alchemy.
Al, well….it was impressive, in a curious sort of way, how well he handled them. A boyish grin, a toss of his golden head and a self deprecating chuckle, accompanied by a gently dismissive gesture. No—please, it was no big deal, no news story. It wasn’t a national event but a family one. “It’s Brother’s birthday and I wanted to teach him to pilot the airship—we’re going aloft with a few friends. The Palace staff has made a nice hot breakfast to take with us,” (“How thrilling? And what do aeronauts eat for breakfast, Mr, Elric? What’s your favorite brand of coffee and sausage??”) “---and—OH! Look! Gentlemen, His Celestial Grace has arrived to join us!” Al bowed low, gestured discreetly for Ed to do the same, and Ling responded with a benevolent smile and a gesture that they might rise.
“EMPEROR LING!” The hounds of the press swarmed around him, yapping at his heels and panting with excitement. First The Aeronaut—now the Emperor! What a cover story!
“Quick, jump in,” Al urged softly, and Ed vaulted over the side, followed quickly by Dr. Chen, Maxim, Alexi and Pyotir, who handed up the hampers with their heated tiles to keep breakfast sizzling until they were ready to dine aloft.
“Excuse me, gentlemen,” Sebastian gently interrupted. “Your Grace, may I offer you my assistance in boarding the Xerxes?” The tall servant knelt in the half-melted slush, one knee raised as a foot rest, one arm offered as a hand hold.”
As was custom, Ling did not acknowledged him but stepped lightly up, whispering, “thanks!” so low that only Sebastian could hear him.
“Clear for take-off!” Alphonse called out loudly as Dr. Chen clanged the warning bell. “Please step back from the gondola, gentlemen!” He turned to his brother. “Turn the center burner clockwise about , then pitch the mooring lines over the side,” he instructed.
Ed nodded. “Eeet is mooch like a sailing ship,” Pyotir observed.
“Da,” Alphonse agreed. “I’ve done some sailing and piloting is piloting, when you get right down to it. Now, Ed,” he turned to his brother, “due to the cold temperatures we won’t be going too high—although we have used alchemy to alter the flashpoint of the envelope’s fabric. The lift principle is a ratio of air temperature and air mass and density to the weight we need to get off the ground. We fly higher and faster and more efficiently in hot, sunny weather than in the winter—which is also where alchemy comes in.” Al clapped his hands and blue sparks shimmered inside the massive silk envelope. “I’m modifying the mixture of gases inside the envelope for better lift—but in the summer we don’t need that.”
Ed nodded, listening intently. “Okay, got it. And if all you need is hot air, just shove Ling’s head under the silk and she’ll soar like a son-of-a-bitch,” he added. “Now what?”
“Check your drop lines—those will allow the ground crew to pull us down and position us if we need assistance.”
Dr. Chen showed him where to look. “Okay, they’re good.”
“Put on your gloves and helmet—the heat generated from the burners overhead can scorch your head and the wind will pick up so get your goggles on. Now,” he gestured, “pull down slow and steady on the valve chain…that’s it…and…here we go!!”
There was a loud roar as the burners fired and the Xerxes lifted smoothly above the Palace lawn as the passengers waved to the cheering throng below, the Radio Capital reporter eagerly giving a play-by-play of the action. Once the airship had headed westward towards the river, the Radio Capital crew phoned the studio. “We got the scoop,” they told their news director excitedly. “Brothers United Aloft—Edward Elric’s Balloon Birthday Bash!”
“Run with that,” the director confirmed. “We got a crew up in the sticks in Resembool, going up to that automail shop where Alphonse grew up after their folks died. Gonna interview old Doc Pinako about Alphonse’s childhood. Might as well get some color from Fullmetal’s wife—hey, wonder why she and the kids aren’t here to celebrate. He’s turning twenty—what?”
“Yeah, well, strange he didn’t send for his family. Anyway, we can get the wife and kids on the air to send him a live greeting from Resembool. That’ll make a good human interest angle. Dames love that kinda thing.”
“Yeah—we can scoop with the Central Times. What a great cover story for the morning edition, eh?”
Licking her lips nervously, Winry leaned into the microphone the nice man from Central had pointed to her face. “We’ve been married…about three years,” she told him. “We have two wonderful children, Maes and Nina---MAES! Quit picking your nose—ooops! Sorry!” she stammered, quickly handing her son a handkerchief before he either wiped snot all over the reporter’s sleeve or, worse, ate the mess off his finger.
There was a muffled sound from her daughter’s diaper. “Nina farted,” Maes pointed out with the same serious tone Ed would have used to discuss alchemic principles with a colleague. The reporter bit his lip. This kid was priceless.
“Not now, Maes,” Winry hushed.
“But she did,” he insisted stubbornly. He sniffed and wrinkled his nose. “She shit too!” he added. “She’s all stinky!”
“I’ll take her. Excuse me, gentlemen.” Pinako scooped the little girl up off the couch and whisked her away for a wash and a change.
Winry gestured for Maes to follow his great grandmother but the reporter shook his head. “Nahh, the kid’s fine. Let him stay. So, two beautiful children. Are you hoping to give Maes and Nina more brothers and sisters?”
Inwardly, Winry panicked. Godz Studios prided itself on its professional image. Godz engineers were treated with the same respect as the finest physicians and physical therapists in Amestrian medicine. She would have to present a more professional face to the world from now on as a representative of the legendary studio.
And besides…it wasn’t like Ed was going to hear this local broadcast, right?
“Oh yes!” she gushed. “Of course, we’re going to settle in to our new home in Rush Valley first. I’ve been invited to join the Godz Studio—“
“Godz Studio? Mrs. Elric, that’s amazing! A busy mother with a growing family and she’s joining the most prestigious automail studio in the known world! How do you do it?”
“Well…Ed’s useful around the house,” she continued. “I mean, he’s not an alchemist anymore, but he tries, you know?”
The reporter consulted his notes and moved in a fraction closer. “I understand that your husband is in Central and is currently living at the Presidential Palace. He’s been seen at quite a number of official functions, mingling with the foreign dignitaries and the cream of Central society. Meanwhile, his wife is working so hard as the breadwinner of the family, or so it seems. Tell me, Mrs. Elric---how does it feel to know that your husband is celebrating his twenty-first birthday with the Emperor of Xing, the President of Amestris and the Tsar of Drachma instead of being home with you and the kids?”
Winry flushed. “Well…ah…”
“Were you invited to the celebration?”
“Of—of course!” she stammered, twisting her hands nervously. “Ed would never put anything before his family! He—he—knew that I was busy getting packed for our move, so I told him we’ll have our own family celebration when he comes home in a few weeks.” She felt a trickle of sweat under her arms and down the middle of her back, even though it was the middle of winter.
The reporter winked. “Maybe you’ll give him a special present---and Maes and Nina will have a new little brother or sister to play with.”
“I’m counting on it!” she blurted.
The microphone pointed at her son. “How about that, Maes—do you want to be a big brother again?”
Maes wriggled uncomfortably. “I gotta piss!”
“I do!” the child insisted.
Winry giggled awkwardly. “Well…family first. That’s the way it is for us Elrics. Will you excuse me?”
“Thank you, Mrs., Elric—and thank you, young man.”
A trickle of urine dripped down the toddler’s pants leg and onto the reporter’s shoe. “I…I think that’s a wrap.”
In the Fuhrer President’s office, Riza Hawkeye snapped the radio off. “Shit.”
Havoc glanced at her anxiously. In all the years he’d known her, Riza Hawkeye had never soiled her gorgeous mouth with anything even closely resembling a vulgarity. “You think Ed heard it?”
“Bad news travels fast—and with Alphonse in the public eye as a hero there is no way he won’t find out.” She glanced out the window. In the distance she could see the Xerxes making lazy circles around the city. She could imagine that right now Ed was having the time of his life up there in the cold with his new friends, his old companion—now the Emperor of Xing, she reminded herself—and his beloved younger brother. She imagined that they would touch down in a few hours, chilled to the bone and euphoric, Ed bouncing around with his old zest and energy, dashing into the library to devour anything and everything about balloon construction. He’d probably be sketching his own designs before dinner.
Or at least he would have, if Winry had been discreet and handled the reporter with a good deal more finesse.
“I’d better inform the---“
There was a loud curse from the inner office, accompanied by the sound of a coffee cup smashing against the fireplace.”
Havoc grimaced. “I think he’s just found out. Damn.”
Riza nodded grimly. “I’ll check on him.”
Their eyes met. “I’ll come with you and clean up the mess.”
She paused. Then she nodded. “That would be nice of you…Jean.”
…..TO BE CONTINUED…..