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20 December 2009 @ 01:43 pm
Star  
Star, a Closerverse Christmas fic, as I am running out of time to post it. Can be read without actually knowing any of the fic in this verse, all you need to know is that original anime mid-series Ed and Roy keep their relationship as secret as they can, and there is a cat called Flamel ^^
Rating: Light R - mentions of sex but alas no nookie
Disclaimer: The characters all belong to Arakawa-sensei. Thank you very much sensei, and have a wonderful Christmas =)
Warnings: Some mild series spoilers (episode seven). Unbeta'd, no time to edit =(

Summary: The universe conspires against Edward Elric, and sometimes he aids and abets it.


Edit: I completely forgot to say, thank you to the people who sent lj presents to either of my journals =) It's so lovely having a decorated journal. Especially thank you if I forgot to send you a particular message of thanks, I tried to do it as I went along but December is December and has been mad ^^; Thank you, and a happy Christmas to everyone =)


Note: Set AT in the Closer timeline, actually, because I wanted to write about a time before this universe depressed the living hell out of me. Ho ho ho etc.




So happy Christmas, I love you baby,
I can see a better time when all our dreams come true.

- The Pogues, Fairytale of New York




"But it's not fair! Why does he always get to do everything just 'cause he's the baby? It's not fair!"

"Edward, you know you had a whole year with me without him, and he'll never have that."

"I was only a stupid baby then, it's still not fair!"

She sighed her soft sigh, never really mad at him. "Alphonse never resents you anything, Edward. One day you're going to realise that he's the best present I've ever given you . . ."

*

It had snowed that December; what it had not done was snow for very long, just enough to leave a thin layer - which turned to slush - which was snowed on once more - and turned again to slush - and again, and again - leaving a strata of dirty snow at the edges of the pavements and shin-deep puddles on the roadsides that made Roy grateful for military boots. It was the bleak midwinter, it was nine o' clock on Christmas Eve, and the wet and miserable city matched his mood. He would not be spending Christmas with Ed.

They had discussed it, looking into each others' eyes and already knowing there was no way around it. They could dismiss Ed's weekly visits to his house as book-borrowing sessions, as Roy training Ed for his assessments, they could find ways around every week of the year but Christmas Eve? What possible reason could they concoct for the Fullmetal Alchemist to spend Christmas Eve at the house of the superior officer everyone knew he loathed? It was far too much ammunition. It was holding a red flag up for men like Archer, it just couldn't be done. Christmas Eve would be spent apart, Christmas day would be spent apart. Maybe Boxing Day? Would that look too suspicious? Maybe Roy could host a New Year's Eve party at his house just so that Ed's presence blended into the presence of all Roy's staff, no-one could point a finger at that and they could cling to each other locked in the bathroom alone . . .

Ed had given a closed-mouthed smile and said that was fine, he understood, 'course it was fine. And squeezed his hand and kissed him and left him, alone in his cold winter house and longing for Ed's firelight presence. He didn't want to decorate, didn't want to look a present in the face, the whole fucking holiday could go fuck itself, because Roy wanted Ed or nothing and apparently what he had was nothing. He spent Christmas Eve in the office, working.

By nine o' clock he just wanted a drink. He put his papers away, stared at his office from the doorway - he couldn't come in tomorrow, that wouldn't look committed so much as weird, he would have to spend the day wishing every hour away at home alone without Ed - and snapped the lights off, closed the door behind himself. The outer office was silent, empty, strung with a few paper chains but hardly full of cheer. Roy took it in in silence, contemplating quite how small his life contracted to without Ed, shifted his coat up on his shoulders, headed out. And as he came up to the main entrance to headquarters, he became aware of a voice that occupied his mind so often that he never could be sure that he wasn't just dreaming it . . .

Ed, red coat bundled close around himself, absurd red scarf wrapped four times around his neck and still trailing its ends wet along the ground, speaking high and frantic to the unlucky soldier who'd pulled guard duty on Christmas Eve. Ed was holding a hand as high above his own head as he could and saying, "-wearing antique armour, he has a spike on his-"

"I know what he looks like," the man said huffily. "But I haven't seen him tonight, have I? I think I'd remember that."

"Maybe your memory needs a little aid," Ed growled, hands poised to clap, and Roy hurried his pace.

"Fullmetal, what exactly are you doing here at this time? Thank you," he added to the soldier, a casual dismissal, putting a hand on Ed's shoulder and dragging him towards the steps and out.

"Have you seen Al?" Ed squirmed underneath and out from his hand like a writhing cat. "Have you seen Al? Did he come through here, did you see him?"

"No, I didn't. You can't have lost him, he's as tall as Armstrong."

"It's not my fault! It's this fucking useless city! He's not at the river, what the hell'm I meant to do?"

That - did not make sense. "Start at the beginning, Fullmetal, this is worse than reading one of your field reports. How did you lose Alphonse?"

Ed scuff-scuff-scuffed through the slush, eyes on his boots. "Had a fight," he muttered.

"On Christmas Eve."

"Shut up." That had clearly struck somewhere tender, and Roy regretted it immediately; Ed's cheeks had heated, and his eyes were bright with the sting. "We had a stupid fight. An' he always runs off to be on his own after fights but I dunno where he went, I can normally find him again but I dunno where he went-"

"Calm down, we can find him. He's a seven foot tall suit of armour, he can hardly have got far unseen."

They passed the huge Christmas tree in the square outside headquarters, still and dark apart from the little lights strung through its branches. Ed looked up at it, his eyes tracking it as if it too were accusing him of something terrible and true, then swallowed and looked up at Roy. His voice rasped a little. "What were you doin' alone in the office, anyway?"

"Getting some work done while it's quiet." Roy said, keeping his head up, back straight, ignoring that inner flush of shame that he had nothing else, without Ed, after all. "Where did you have this fight with your brother?"

"In the dorms. He ran off, an' . . . I followed him."

"How much of a head start did he get?"

Ed hunched his shoulders up, making himself even smaller. "Maybe an hour," he mumbled, and Roy did not sigh to think that that was the required sulking time before Ed went to look for his brother.

"When was this?"

"What time is it now? I went out lookin' for him at about seven-"

As they passed a lit shop window Roy took Ed in properly in the fuller light; his trousers were dirty to the knees from kicked-up slush, the bottom few inches of his coat were sodden, the wet was creeping its way high up his scarf and his nose was red, which should have been jolly but wasn't, and Roy glanced up the street (a few drunken people outside a pub, paying them no attention whatsoever) before he touched his right shoulder. Ed jumped and Roy's hand started back - the automail felt like ice nailed into Ed's skin.

"God, Edward- doesn't that hurt?"

Ed wriggled his shoulders a bit, put his left hand over the join, shrugged.

"Alphonse wouldn't want you to freeze to death. There's got to be some way we can warm up."

"But I have to find him."

"The cold doesn't worry him and nothing is going to happen to him. There was someone selling mulled wine in the square, come on."

"I'm not old enough-"

"It's Christmas Eve, no-one will care. Anyway, it stews for so long the alcohol will have evaporated long ago. More's the pity," he muttered, turning Ed again back for the square, and Ed shrugged his hand off again. They walked side by side, not touching, not even speaking as Roy got two steaming paper cups and walked back to Ed, standing underneath the Christmas tree, looking up and up at its dark shape, looking small and cold and lonely beside it.

Roy handed him the cup and Ed took it into his left hand, shifting his stiff fingers around it. "Thanks," he said quietly, and sniffed it with a dubious frown. Roy raised his own cup, breathed in deep before drinking. Cinnamon, cloves, orange, wine, all rich and red and sharp. Ed took a little sip and pulled a face, swallowed but it was warm so he took another gulp, more gratefully this time.

Roy looked down at him, looked around the square - so quiet, just a few rambling groups of happy people moving between bars, between sources of joy, some singing carols as they went - and back to Ed again. "What did you fight about?"

Ed huddled around his cup. "Don't even know," he muttered, eyes on the cobbles again. "My fault. Been in a bad mood."

"Why?"

Silence, and Ed shuffled his numb foot off the ground. He said, very, very low, "Wanted you, you prick.", and sniffed.

Roy didn't know what to say to that. It twisted an old knife in his guts, the guilt and resentment that he could give Ed no more than snatched and furtive moments, that other people forced the love that belonged only to them to be something secretive and shadowy, and he said quietly, "I'm sorry." feeling the words very true in his throat. "I'm sorry, Ed."

Ed kicked at a little chunk of ice floating in a puddle with the toe of a boot. "Not your fault," he said. "S'my fault I yelled at Al. He was only tryin' to cheer me up, an' I've been a ratty bastard the last few days, I know I have. I just, you know what I'm like. Selfish brat," he added in a whisper, and Roy said quickly, "No. No. There's nothing selfish about wanting to be with loved ones at this time of year, Edward."

"What about Al? I love him an' look what I did."

"And he loves you, so he'll understand."

"He'll be on his own," Ed said, voice cracking. "Christmas Eve an' I chase my little brother out on his own in some city, what the hell kind of big brother am I? Shit, I have always been crap at this stupid holiday. Always, always, since we were little it always made me mean an' selfish-"

"I don't think young children are generally expected to understand the giving side of the holiday."

"We used to fight every year. Practically a tradition. Who got to put the ornament on top of the tree," he mumbled, and he was holding his hot cup to his right shoulder as if he didn't realise what he was doing, face tight with his wince, and the worry was gnawing Roy's guts. "Al always got to do it, I used to - I guess I threw tantrums. But when we got older I used to hold him up so he could do it." The smile came so sudden and sad, and Ed shook his head and grinned as if it hurt him. "Why do I find it so fucking hard t'be a good brother to him when he's the nicest person I ever met? If I could be even half as good to him as he is to complete strangers-"

"Ed, he must know that you worship him, everyone else does."

Ed sniffed again, wiped his nose on the back of a glove, took another gulp of wine. "It'd be nice if just now an' then I could follow that through." He looked down into his cup, watching his own dark reflection in the wine's oily surface. "How can you want so fucking hard to be good an' then fuck up so, so much?"

Roy laughed at that, a sharp bark of surprise and humour, and grinned at Ed's stare of what the fuck? "Ed," he said, the amusement still bubbling his voice. "I believe that you've just described the universal human condition in one neat sentence."

Ed gave a 'not funny, Mustang' sigh, and drained his cup. He balanced it on the short wooden fence around the tree, and when Roy drank down to the sediment of his own wine he slipped his cup into Ed's. They stared at them there for a moment in silence.

"Where have you already looked for him?" Roy said, and this time Ed sighed so hard that the cups wobbled on the fence post.

"All the dorms - the library was closed - he's not at the station, not at headquarters - I dunno where else he could go, he wouldn't run somewhere he didn't know. At home he always went to the same place so when I went to find him I'd know exactly where he was."

"Where did he go?" Roy liked far too much finding out these little secret Elric things, as if knowledge could offer him belonging; if he knew the brothers well enough then he would become a part of them, not something that could drop off the side of Ed's map but as much a part of the key as Alphonse himself was.

". . . riverbank. I tried but he wasn't there, I hung around but - but he wasn't, he wasn't . . ."

"It's best not to wait for him in the cold if he's not coming." Roy could see how hard Ed was holding this all in, wanted so badly to take his hand, to comfort him and test to see what warmth was left. "Maybe we could try . . ."

Ed's head hung. "You don't have to help," he said. "S'my fault."

"I'm here now." This was the only way that Roy could spend even a moment of today with Ed, why would he want to cut it short by even a second? He was trying to think of somewhere indoors they could search to get Ed even a little warmed up when Ed scooped up their empty cups from the fence and marched off for a bin, plopping them home and wiping his nose again on the back of his glove. He slouched back to Roy with his hands in his pockets and said without meeting his eye, "Thanks for the drink, Mustang, I'll see you . . ."

"I'm not going anywhere until you find Alphonse, Ed."

Silence, Ed working his jaw hard and staring at Roy's left knee, and then he said quietly, "It's too hard tonight if I can't even touch you."

He never meant to twist Roy's heart when he said these things, he never meant to hurt Roy at all, didn't really think that he held any capacity to really wound him. Roy clung to that knowledge, breathed slowly.

"We could go back to your dormitories," he said, taking his watch from his pocket and snapping it open. "It's almost ten, he could have come back by now to sit and wonder where you are."

"Can go on my own," Ed muttered.

"The thing about your dormitories, Edward," Roy said patiently, "is that I'm sure we can find somewhere behind closed doors to 'search', hm . . . ?"

Ed looked up at him, his eyes hard and cold yellow. "Not in the mood," he said shortly. "All I can think about is Al."

"I wasn't actually thinking about sex, you know, I just thought-"

Ed twisted his shoulder away from him, squirming slightly in the slush. Roy sighed. He knew that the real reason Ed 'wasn't in the mood' was probably that he couldn't dream to do a thing to make himself happy when he'd just hurt his brother so much. Edward Elric, universal grand master of stomach-wrenching gut-churning guilt.

He would leave now if Roy couldn't come up with a reason otherwise. "I want to know that he's alright too, you know. At least let me walk you back to the dorms to check, put both our minds at rest."

"Colonel . . ."

A straggling group of partiers were passing through the square, their loud rendition of Jingle Bells made cold and thin and lonely by the empty black sky above them.

Ed looked at them, looked at the ground, said quietly, "Okay."

*

The entranceway of Ed's block of military dormitories was thick with heat and noise, soldiers sitting on the stairs and passing bottles about, laughing and singing along with the gramophone set to Christmas music. Paper chains chased the ceiling, and tinsel ran around the banister like an enormous bristly green caterpillar. A couple of men tried to straighten themselves up as the Colonel entered but he made a point of not noticing the general air of boozy dishevelment, busying himself with wiping his boots off on the mat. Ed began squeezing through the merry press of bodies calling over their happy noise, "Has anyone seen my brother? Did Al come back yet, did anyone see-?"

"You babysitting even tonight, Colonel?" some bleary-eyed soldier said, leaning against the wall. Roy glanced at him, decided him too drunk to remember this tomorrow anyway, smiled and said, "The burdens of responsibility," looking back to the jerking line of occasionally-yelping bodies that was his only indication of where Ed was behind all these much taller soldiers.

The general shouted consensus was that no, no, no-one had seen Al (hey you spilt my drink you spilt my ow), and he had messages - he had four messages - Lieutenant Hughes had left four messages for him - Ed, Ed, Lieutenant Hughes had called a bunch of times -

Red-faced from the heat Ed squirmed back to Roy in the doorway and looked up at him with his mouth open in such utter misery that Roy almost put his arms around him right in front of a room full of soldiers. "Fullmetal-" he began.

"Call Hughes," another soldier said, knocking Ed's shoulder. "Hey, you're meant to call Lieutenant Hughes."

In all this warmth and cheerful noise Ed looked like he was about to start crying. "I don't know where he is," he croaked. "This is the worst - worst, worst Christmas I ever managed to fuck up ever, I'm all he has an' I chased him off somewhere on his-"

"Don't panic, we can find him, someone must have seen where he went-"

"Merry Christmas all!" a voice barked right behind Roy's ear, nearly shocking him out of his boots. "Edward! I called four times, doesn't anyone bother to pass on a message in this military? The enemy will run us into the ground!"

There was a general yell through the room of We told him! We told him!! (He spilt my drink! Spilt my drink!!) and as Roy looked over his shoulder at Maes' wide grin Ed burst out with, "I can't find Al! I can't find my little-"

"Well, no, you won't find him here, he's in my living room playing with the cat." Hughes knocked snow from his boots off against the step and Ed swayed sideways as if he were about to faint. "You were taking so long to come get him, I thought I'd come see what the hold up was."

"He's - he's really -"

"Happy Christmas," Maes said cheerfully. "You better come along and pick him up, hm? You too, Roy."

"I-"

"You haven't wished my wife a happy Christmas yet," Maes said, and he grinned, and in his sleeve a wicked little blade of sharp metal gleamed. "You'd better come and be polite for my wife, Roy."

"I suppose I had better," Roy murmured, and Maes clapped an arm around Ed's shoulders, dragged his dazed steps out of the dorms and back into the night, Roy nodding to the room and strolling after them, trying very, very hard not to start smiling.

*

Gracia was just closing the curtains in the Hughes' quiet family home when they approached, cutting off the warm amber glow let out into the dirty snow and the bright little points of the Christmas tree's light. For the whole journey Ed had tried to squirm his way free of Maes' arm and had failed, was still clamped helplessly against him, stumbling with Maes' longer stride, while Roy walked behind them smiling quietly and trying not to laugh just out of happiness to see them finally approaching Ed's goal.

Up the steps, Ed nearly tripping under Maes' arm, and he knocked as he entered, called, "I'm home!"

Roy followed them in, took his boots off in the hallway and laid them carefully beside Ed's kicked-sideways pair, expected to walk into the living room on an Elricy hug - but on the living room rug Ed was standing stiff, hands fisted at his sides, giving Al - the purring Flamel in his hands - a blank look as if he didn't have a clue what to say to his little brother now he'd actually found him.

"Hello, brother." Al said, his voice guilty and hollow in his helmet.

Ed swallowed, drew his breath in slowly, let it go. He raised his head a little, walked to Al, leaned up and dinged him in the helmet with the side of his fist. "Didn't know where you were," he said roughly.

"Sorry, brother."

Ed shrugged, rubbed his arm, kicked Al in the ankle. Al made that small happy noise that was as close to a smile as he could manage, and Gracia smiled and said, "I'll go make some hot drinks, shall I?"

"I should get going," Roy said, as Gracia vanished into the kitchen and Maes watched the brothers and looked like his face might come open if the grin grew any wider. "It's late, and I'm sure you-"

"You're not going anywhere when my wife just went to make you a drink," Maes said, and clapped him hard in the back. "Happy Christmas, Roy."

". . . you too, Maes." Roy sighed; what could he do against this man's tireless cheer? "One drink, then I'll head home."

Ed's hand, cold metal, touched the outside of Roy's hand just for a second. "Thanks," he said quietly, and Roy looked down at him, smiled, saw the fairy lights so many and bright catch in Ed's eyes and felt something heavy catch low in his throat. His voice came out soft and a little rough; "I'm glad that you found your brother, Edward."

"I'm sorry if I worried you, Colonel." Al said, and Flamel gave Roy a thoughtful look (Would this man stroke, offer food, rub ears? Probably not. Must shed white fur over his trousers before he leaves.) from his arms.

"I'm just glad that you're safe, Alphonse."

Al glanced down at Ed and Ed looked up at him, his mouth twitched in a half-smile and Al's eyes seemed to be grinning back. Maes said, "Since you're all here now-"

The door squeaked. They looked across - to Elysia's one wide eye in the crack, in a frilled nightdress with her hair loose down her back and the fairy light's glow pink on her cheeks. "Is it Christmas yet?" she said, and Maes' face simply wiped over with his helpless, sparkle-eyed adoration as he walked over, opened the door properly.

"Not quite yet, little angel - but Uncle Roy and Edward came to say happy Christmas, isn't that nice of them?"

She hung on to Maes' sleeve, looked dubiously up and up and up at Roy, said quietly, "Happy Christmas?"

Roy was really not good with children. "Happy Christmas, Elysia."

"Sorry we woke you up," Ed said, waving, grinning. "Happy Christmas."

"It's past your bedtime. We better get you back to bed quickly before Father Christmas finds out!"

Elysia giggled. Al said, "I can take her back to bed," and put Flamel down, walking over and leaning down to offer a huge gauntlet to her tiny hand. "Back to bed, Elysia." he said happily, and children always loved and trusted Alphonse. She took his hand with a smile and accepted her father's bristly kiss on her cheek ("Night night Elysia!"), and with a final settled glance between the brothers Al led Elysia upstairs and away. Roy remained amazed, as always, by how quickly their arguments blew up and then blew out again; Ed's 'worst Christmas ever' restored simply by renewed proximity with his brother.

But then, he remembered, his stomach hanging heavy again, there was more than one reason for the both of them to hate this Christmas . . .

Maes sat with a sigh on the sofa, gesturing Ed and Roy to the smaller loveseat opposite. "So, how's your Christmas Eve been so far?"

Roy sat, and Ed's body beside him dipped the cushions just enough, and they'd barely touched all day - barely touched in days - and Roy's body hummed for him, especially lit as he was by the fire in the grate, a single warm lamp and the Christmas tree's myriad lights, meaning that Ed showed up like gold in the dark, a subtle low gleam. They looked at one another. Ed pulled a face, and Roy laughed, and Maes was grinning at them like a lunatic and Roy couldn't care. Just these few hours of Edward, he could make it enough. If it made Ed happy then he could make it enough.

"It's been long," he said, and Ed ducked his head, grinned, and his hand found Roy's on the edge of the cushions and squeezed.

"Since you're here now," Maes said casually, "and since it's late and dark and cold out, you might as well both spend the night, hm?"

Silence - even Roy's heart had stopped in its beat - and he felt Ed's hand shock just as his did on the cushions.

". . . Maes . . ."

"Since you both came here perfectly innocently," Maes said, scratching the side of his nose, underneath his glasses. "To the perfectly respectable home of my family. Why shouldn't you? Gracia always cooks enough to feed at least two more mouths-"

Gracia came back into the room, holding a tray and four steaming mugs. "And Alphonse has promised to help me, Edward, you can't have a canteen Christmas dinner, really." She handed him a mug which he took automatically and the lighting wasn't dim enough to disguise how deeply red his cheeks had gone. "Thank you," he whispered. She smiled and Ed stared at the rug as if he didn't dare to look up. Ed never did get quite used to other people's affection for him.

"I couldn't think to impo-" Roy stopped. Roy looked Maes in the eye. Roy looked Maes' grin right in the eye. "Maes."

"Hm?" Maes said innocently, taking a mug from Gracia and saying, "Thank you," as she leaned down and kissed the top of his head with an amused sort of sigh.

Alphonse had come to the Hughes' home upset because he'd had a fight with his brother, because his brother was heartsore and short-tempered because he had to spend Christmas away from Roy. And Maes Hughes, the most devious human being Roy knew beside himself, had got both Ed and Roy delivered to Al in his home and now had them pinned with no reason to leave . . .

"Thank you," Roy said weakly to Gracia, and took a sip of hot chocolate, spiced through, sharp and sweet and hot. She just smiled, and sat beside Maes with her own drink. Maes was grinning like an idiot. An evil genius of an idiot.

"Then you think it's a good idea? You'll have to share a toothbrush. I don't suppose you'll mind sharing a toothbrush."

Flamel jumped onto the arm of the loveseat, flicked his tail, eyed Roy's dark uniform and licked his muzzle as he wriggled his shoulders back to bare the white breast of his coat in readiness. Roy risked a glance at Ed, who was looking up at him gold with the lights' gentle glowing, looking up at him hopeful, helpless, so fucking beautiful that Roy's heart almost spilt his drink as it fell into Ed's lap.

"Unless you had some other plans for tonight?" Maes said, and Roy looked up at him, thought of the bottle of whiskey waiting for him in the liquor cabinet and his cold empty sheets, and Ed was beside him warm and bright . . .

"Not particularly," he said. He looked at Ed again, Ed's slightly parted lips and the way his hair hung with that tilt of his head as he looked so carefully up at Roy, his eyes greedily reading down every second of Roy's gaze. "No," he said, as Ed licked his lips and Roy remembered not to swallow. "None at all, really."

Despite his embarrassment, despite his best intentions, Ed began to grin.

*

Ed's military Christmasses usually didn't make much of an impact on his year. His first - he'd been twelve - had been heavy, gaunt with the so-recent death of the Tuckers, and Ed had just wanted to hide in his sheets until the day was over. And after that he and his brother were mostly on assignment, off god knew where in the middle of god knew what, and if Christmas entered his consciousness at all it was merely as a bump in normal activities, an annoyance, people not available, facilities closed.

Al was sitting on the floor, which always made him feel less awkwardly enormous, Flamel purring in his hands and Al unable to keep in his small delighted giggles of sheer joy - Christmas with a cat was really the best present Ed could have given him, and he watched him feeling something glow hot inside, an amber coal sitting low in his chest and warming him through. Al got what he wanted this Christmas, as much as Ed was able to offer it - good. Al always deserved what he wanted.

(I didn't fuck up this time, Mum. Or at least, it got put right again . . .)

And Ed had got . . . he glanced up, as the adult voices in the kitchen moved back into the living room, Hughes handing Gracia a glass of wine and kissing her nose, and Gracia sighed, smiled, put her sewing on her lap. Hughes and Roy had moved on to whiskey, and Ed had declined because alcohol was gross and adults were stupid, but Roy walked to him glass in hand looking right into his eyes with this little sharp smile and Ed's heart bumped clumsily. Alcohol had some uses, apparently.

Roy sat as close beside him as he could, and Ed's body tried to tremble simultaneously closer into his side and away from the too much of his touch.

Their relationship was often Regency in its restraint, centuries out of date in how disciplined their interactions had to be. Strange because it veered between the extremes of sharing a bed and trying to crawl inside each others' skin and muscles in it and then their public personas who couldn't even retain eye contact in front of those who didn't know. And now here, in front of friends, in front of his brother and Hughes and Gracia - especially Gracia, somehow, made Ed feel very self-conscious - Ed could hardly shuffle the few inches to the side to put himself into Roy's lap and sigh and put his head against his shoulder and inhale the scent of the skin of his throat, which he wanted as his Christmas present, bottled forever for him. But he was being greedy, really. Hadn't he already got a better Christmas than he deserved . . . ?

Roy's hand, hidden behind Ed's body on the sofa, ran down the low bones of his spine and Ed's eyes crossed with not letting it onto his face. He looked up - Roy was looking down at him, looking sleepy and calm with lust, the corner of his mouth quirked in that little smile - and Ed said, "Are you drunk?"

Roy said, "It's Christmas," and brushed the hair out of Ed's face, and Ed snapped his head back quickly.

"You always were a lightweight," Hughes said, grinning and kicking the ankle crossed over his knee, Gracia controlling her smile at his side. "So what are you plans for New Year's, Roy?"

"Mm? I thought I'd have some people to mine." His voice was low, rough with drink, so fucking sexy Ed nearly started crying he wanted to touch him so badly, curl up in his voice, he could orgasm just from the beautiful humming vibrations of his throat. "I can return the favour for tonight, of course, if you can find a babysitter."

"That would be nice," Gracia said, and Ed looked at the Christmas tree and pressed his lips together and thought that fucking hell they weren't going to get to have sex now until the next year. Because fuck they were bouncing any mattress springs with Hughes and Gracia down the hall and his brother stroking a sleeping cat below them. And then they might not even see each other until New Year's, and fuck they were doing anything in a house full of people -

(Blowjob in the bathroom? his horniness whimpered to him, and Ed twisted his mouth just at the thought of it, everyone would know what they were doing in there. Fuck, no sex until January, fuck. Christmas dinner was going to be hell stuck at a table itching with lust for Roy, feeling electricity spit between them every time their feet brushed, their eyes met . . .)

"Not a bad Christmas, really." Hughes said, grinning wide and proud at what he'd achieved. "I think we have everyone in the house that I wanted to see for Christmas."

"I take it that you're glad that my mother isn't here then," Gracia said mildly, and Hughes made a humming noise of trying to think how to talk around that.

"I'm enjoying it," Roy whispered, head ducked a little to Ed's hair, and Ed raised his eyes to his - they were so black that the lights of the room reflected in there as if in ink, his heart stopped, his breath stopped, all he was in that moment was Roy's eyes on him -

Christmas would make sense in the future, because it would be had in relation to Roy. If they were apart, it would be defined by their parting; if they were together, defined by his presence. He had become Ed's pole star, and Ed didn't have Roy's casual easy words to say that, especially not in front of people, all he could do was stare into his heart-stopping eyes and think, I navigate my thoughts by orbiting you.

He touched Roy's cheek with a warming metal hand, leaned up and chastely kissed his beautiful mouth. Then he ducked his head back, pressed his lips together with his cheeks hot pink and whispered, "That's your lot, Colonel, make it last."

And he smiled his slow sexy slightly drunk smile and said, "My love, I'll treasure it, thank you."

They would go to bed soon (his horniness whined, Blowjob in the bathroom?), turn the lights off, Ed could lay against Roy's body so warm and right and it would be fucking hell the best Christmas he'd had since he ended up stuck in this stupid military. Roy made it right, Hughes made it right, Al happy with the cat made it right - people, that was the trick of it. People were the best bit. And occasionally being brave enough to kiss the man you love in front of them.

"Merry Christmas then, arsehole." he said, and Roy laughed a low secret laugh, and his eyes flickered over Ed's face and body even if he didn't, at the prompts of Ed's stance, move to touch him.

"Happy Christmas to you too, and I hope you're enjoying it, you impossible brat."

"Yeah." Ed started to grin. "Yeah, s'been alright."

*

"Higher!"

"Can't go higher!"

"Higher!"

"You're heavy! Put it on already!"

"Higher, brother, I can't reach!"

"I can't go-"

"Wh-"

"Nn-"

"Broth-!"

The first crash of two small Elrics going down in the tree branches was followed by a worrying creak, and then the second, much larger, almighty end-of-the-world crash of the tree coming down sideways, as neat as if felled for logging. Timber!

Baubles rolled across the floor as if on escape bids. Trisha Elric put a hand over her mouth.

In the ringing silence of the afterwards, Al sat up and just looked stunned, star still in his hand. And Ed sat up beside him with a bird ornament stuck in his hair, looked at Al, took the star off him and pushed it onto the tip of the tree, lolling next to him and pointing through the window to the snow-thick world outside.

"There," he said, looking up at his mother. "We did it."

Her eyes creased, her hand hid her mouth. For a second it gripped him in the stomach that she would cry, but when she bent forward with an arm around her stomach, she was laughing so hard that Ed's stomach squeezed instead with what he'd got right.
 
 
Current Mood: coldcold
 
 
 
It's always linguistic byplay o'clockkeevacaereni on December 20th, 2009 01:59 pm (UTC)
Oh God, this is beautiful. This made me cry, Rainjoyous! I hope you're happy. :P

I want a Christmas like that. *looking forward to a wonderful Christmas with her Scrooge of a father and no baby brothers*
Rainjoy's writingsrainjoyswriting on December 21st, 2009 09:12 am (UTC)
I'm glad you liked it honey, despite the tears - and good luck with your own Christmas ^^ Thanks for reading!
beautiful_fic on December 20th, 2009 03:05 pm (UTC)
As always, beautiful. There was a real flip of emotions in here, and I do love Closerverse, of course.

You made me laugh with "running out of time to post this". You do realise I haven't finished the first draft of my christmas fic yet, right? It was wonderfully timely, hun, and wonderfully Roy/Ed. I adored it!

B xxx
Rainjoy's writingsrainjoyswriting on December 21st, 2009 09:13 am (UTC)
I am now working until an hour before I catch my train home. My time, it is gone, I am retail's bitch until Christmas morning =( Good luck with your own ficcage, honey =) And thanks for reading! ^^
beautiful_fic on December 21st, 2009 10:48 am (UTC)
Ah, I had forgotten the drudgery of x-mas retail. Best of luck with it darlin' and have a safe trip home!

B xxx
Elfenelfen on December 20th, 2009 08:06 pm (UTC)
Merry Christmas m'dear. Thank you for the lovely Christmas fic. It's wonderful and lovely. Brought a few tears to my eye and I had to go give my hubby several squeezes and kisses. :)
Rainjoy's writingsrainjoyswriting on December 21st, 2009 09:13 am (UTC)
It's that kind of time of year, hee ^^ Thanks for reading honey, and happy Christmas to you too =)
ankoku_tenshiankoku_tenshi on December 20th, 2009 08:43 pm (UTC)
It's sweet and adorable and it gives me fuzzies on the inside. ♥

Loved the atmosphere that you made this one, sort of that lost and found feeling. And Hughes! Such a schemer that one. The last scene with the little Elrics was really heartwarming too, and somehow it just totally seems like something that would happen. XD

And a Happy Holidays and Christmas to you too! Thanks so much for this great "present"! ^_~
Rainjoy's writingsrainjoyswriting on December 21st, 2009 09:14 am (UTC)
Fluffff, I needed some fluff in this universe ^^; I'm glad you liked honey, and thanks for reading - and happy Christmas to you too =)
mikkeneko: christmasmikkeneko on December 20th, 2009 08:47 pm (UTC)
Awww! Merry Christmas, Elrics and Hugheses'! And Roy too, can't forget him. :)
Rainjoy's writingsrainjoyswriting on December 21st, 2009 09:15 am (UTC)
A happy Christmas all 'round ^^ Thanks for reading, honey, and happy Christmas =)
Race Ulfsonraceulfson on December 20th, 2009 10:53 pm (UTC)
That was wonderful. Every bit of it, from Ed and Roy's despair to Hughes rescuing them all. Loved the flash backs, loved Christmas at the Hughes', and I adored Flamel plotting to get white hairs on Roy's uniform.
Rainjoy's writingsrainjoyswriting on December 21st, 2009 09:15 am (UTC)
Cats are evil and we know this because the internet taught us it ;) Glad you liked honey, and thanks for reading, and happy Christmas too =)
ElegantPawselegantpaws on December 20th, 2009 11:49 pm (UTC)
Simply Perfect!
Rainjoy's writingsrainjoyswriting on December 21st, 2009 09:16 am (UTC)
Thanks for reading, and happy Christmas =)
ElegantPawselegantpaws on December 21st, 2009 01:15 pm (UTC)
Happy Christmas, my dear!
zwickygirl: Snowmanzwickygirl on December 21st, 2009 04:13 am (UTC)
As has been said already, this was wonderful. Thank you!! Hope your Christmas is both merry and happy!
Rainjoy's writingsrainjoyswriting on December 21st, 2009 09:16 am (UTC)
Thank you for reading it =) Hope you have a great Christmas too honey ^^
wind_stormswind_storms on December 22nd, 2009 02:52 pm (UTC)
I loved so many elements of this, it's simply the perfect Christmas fic. I really enjoyed seeing a calmer moment in the Closerverse and the flashbacks were wonderfully bittersweet. I particularly liked how Roy and Ed sort of unknowingly got to spend Christmas Eve together, even before Hughes took over with his plan =)

This was the perfect thing to read while snowed in with my own kitten =) Thank you for sharing and Happy Christmas to you!
Rainjoy's writingsrainjoyswriting on December 23rd, 2009 09:35 pm (UTC)
Snow + kitten = yay =) I'm glad you liked this one honey, and thanks for reading - and have a good Christmas, too ^^
became_firebecame_fire on December 22nd, 2009 08:02 pm (UTC)
That was lovely, perfect Christmassy reading <3
Rainjoy's writingsrainjoyswriting on December 23rd, 2009 09:36 pm (UTC)
Never enough holiday fic when you need it! Glad you liked honey, and thanks for reading =)
mel_spielmel_spiel on December 23rd, 2009 02:12 am (UTC)
Thank you for a beautiful present! Loved the boys. Adored Maes.
Have a Happy Christmas.
Rainjoy's writingsrainjoyswriting on December 23rd, 2009 09:36 pm (UTC)
Glad you liked, honey =) Thanks for reading, and have a good Christmas ^^
ray_archangelray_archangel on December 23rd, 2009 08:37 am (UTC)
Yay!
A 'Closer' fic! I missed the universe
thank you for the early Xmas gift to us :)
Rainjoy's writingsrainjoyswriting on December 23rd, 2009 09:36 pm (UTC)
Re: Yay!
Thanks for reading it, honey =) And have a good Christmas! ^^
lelann137: fmalelann137 on December 23rd, 2009 12:22 pm (UTC)
oohh. I just finished re-reading all of closer....it's so delicious. This was a perfect christmas story! angst, happiness, memories of happier times ^_^ thanks for sharing, I loved it
Rainjoy's writingsrainjoyswriting on December 23rd, 2009 09:37 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you liked it, honey =) Thanks for reading, and have a good Christmas ^^
Jenny the dragonimpdragonimp on December 24th, 2009 05:58 am (UTC)
Awww! They got to spend it together after all! A bit bittersweet and very cute ^^
Rainjoy's writingsrainjoyswriting on December 29th, 2009 09:24 pm (UTC)
Post-Christmas comment replies: yeah, the happy ending reflex kicked in for Christmas ;) Thanks for reading, honey ^^
lazylamialazylamia on December 26th, 2009 01:26 pm (UTC)
What they could do without Maes? Feeling miserable in Christmas? Fortunately Maes was able to turn the disaster of fighting brothers into something calm, beautiful and full of Christmas spirit in the innocent way. He also made Roy happy – that’s the best friends are for.
Rainjoy's writingsrainjoyswriting on December 29th, 2009 09:24 pm (UTC)
He is a very good friend ^^ Thanks for reading, honey =)
radcat38radcat38 on January 3rd, 2010 08:02 am (UTC)
Beautiful. Thank you. cat