A/N: My laptop is death ._. I will answer all reviews/pms/mails when I have my baby back. I hope it will be soon, I´m waiting already over 2 weeks(!) for it to return from repair ._.
Now have fun reading ^^
Beta&Co-Author: Ca11iope. Thank you dear for the advice ^^ It really is better this way :D
Chapter 30: Another Way to Suffer and a New Direction
“Edward.” Hawkeye sounded like a mother who had caught her teenage son looking at porn magazines. Ed deliberately looked away and shrugged.
“Nothing happened,” Ed stated, and even Fuery snorted in disbelief. All eyes went to the dark haired technician who blushed and looked down again.
“No. Stop asking,” he snapped.
Bad decision. Riza’s brown eyes narrowed and Edward took an involuntary step back.
“Edward Elric.” The tone was as sharp as her shooting skills. Ed backed away while lifting her comb as if it was a weapon. Then he seemed to remember that it was not a blade, and just who he wanted to defend himself from. He quickly placed it on her desk before starting to separate golden strands into three parts.
His actions were watched by the staff, not without some fascination. It was not the fact that Edward was braiding his hair in front of a small mirror leaned against a stack of paperwork that amazed them. It was the fact that Edward Elric was managing to hide the impressive number of hickeys with surprising skill.
He was not doing this for the first time.
Edward Elric knew about sex.
And it was obvious by the level of skill he was displaying that he had known about it well before this whole thing with Mustang started.
Havoc had known intellectually that Ed was an adult, and yes, when the young man returned to Central he had noticed that the blond was indeed attractive. At the time he had wondered how successful Ed would become with the ladies, but he had not expected this. It felt somehow strange, finding out about this particular part of Ed’s life. And it wasn’t as if this were a surprise. They had all seen the photos the Investigations officer had taken. Still, it felt weird, like finding out that your little brother had lost his innocence.
Edward Elric was used to hiding lovebites.
Havoc took a deep breath and wished for a cigarette.
And Edward was obviously used to hiding anything to do with his sex life as well. Neither Breda’s teasing nor Havoc’s speculations had gained them any information whatsoever. Neither Fuery nor Falman had even attempted to question the young man. Riza Hawkeye was obviously more of a strategist than Jean had ever guessed however. She had been sitting back, observing the give and take, and it appeared that she was now ready to act on her observations.
And damn, she always had been an excellent markswoman both verbal and with her weapon, but no one – including Havoc – expected her to behave so aggressively in order to get information from Edward. Nonetheless, all of them instantly jumped in followed her lead.
“Ed, what happened in there? And don´t tell me ‘nothing’. Not even Fuery believes that,” Hawkeye snapped. Kain buried himself behind his paperwork.
“None of your business.” The icy reply was far more than Havoc himself could have responded with faced with an antagonistic Riza Hawkeye on the hunt.
The woman smiled. Evilly.
“Pardon me, Mister Elric,” emphasis on the missing rank. He couldn’t order her to back off. “But my superior did not complete even a quarter of his assigned paperwork. And I believe Colonel Mustang left far sooner for his lunch break than he was supposed to. I also believe that he did it because of you. So, he would have had to return early from his break to make up for the lost time.” She casually reached for her weapon. “He was in his office when I arrived. So…” With a quick motion, the safety was off. “As the officer in charge of his schedule, I need to know how he spent his extended break. Particularly the time he spent in his office during that break.”
“I told you, it´s none of-“
One bullet on the right side of his hip, one on the left, and everybody knew where the third would be directed. Ed cursed. Hell, every male in the office cursed. But Ed was the only one who could not hide behind a desk.
“So, I suspect he didn´t do his paperwork to make up for the lost time?” she asked.
“Uhm… no,” The pale alchemist answered.
“Is it safe to assume he spent his time with you?”
The weapon lifted.
“Fuck. Yes. So what? It´s his break, he’s -“ Ed started and stopped when his most precious parts found themselves in the line of fire.
“I assume the two of you weren´t just talking?”
There was no way Ed would be able to lie about that. Not after they’d seen his neck. He blushed and shifted uncomfortably on his feet. The weapon followed the motion.
“He didn´t - uhm…” Ed started.
“What? Suck on your neck?” Havoc interrupted with a leer. “Sure. And Breda is adopting Black Hayate.”
Happy for the excuse to shift his attention away from Hawkeye the alchemist glared at him.
“So, did he sucked on anything else?” Wiggling his eyebrows, Breda quickly jumped in before Havoc found himself being strangled.
Fuery stood up in a rush and excused himself, all but running from the room. Poor boy, this was too much for him.
“Or did you do the sucking?” Havoc quickly added.
“Like fuck I’m going to tell you-“
“Answer the question, Edward,” Hawkeye interrupted, and the alchemist froze.
“You´re not serious.” The third shot hit him between his legs – directly between his thighs and one inch below his groin. He stared at Hawkeye. Then at her gun.
“Why don’t you sit down and we can all have a little chat?” the First Lieutenant asked, her pistol never wavering.
With a stubborn glare and all kinds of hard feelings, Edward did.
Oh god, please let him die. Hold on. Let him fuck – preferably Ed - and then die.
Streng had not warmed up the Vaseline. Not after all the resistance he’d had to deal with. So it was freaking cold, and uncomfortable, and humiliating, and – Roy got a boner. He could feel himself blushing and tried not to wince. This was absolutely the first time in his entire life that he was embarrassed over his arousal.
As expected, there had been nothing at all sexual about the examination. It was purely medical. But his body had reacted. The general appeared to be very much in the mood to give Roy some payback, and the purely professional touch of the medical expert had sent shiver down his spine. But at the same time, Roy was struck with the brief memory of something else entirely, something very hard and quite nicely sized thrusting into the same place the gloved finger had been moments ago. Another hallucination?
Roy was still sporting one hell of an erection while the doctor filed the results of his exam in his medical records.
“Really, Colonel. It happens all the time,” Streng assured him, unimpressed. “Though I have to say it doesn´t usually happen to this extent with someone as sexually active as you are.” The man spoke as if this was a normal everyday conversation. For him, it probably was. “I have to admit, I didn´t expect it. I´ve been under the impression that your private life is not lacking in that area.” He frowned, casting a look at Roy’s impressive bulge. “If you wish, I can give you some time alone,” the doctor offered.
Roy clenched his teeth. “No, thank you.”
Streng shrugged. “I wouldn´t recommend ignoring your bodies needs on a regular basis. It can become quite painful -” As if he didn’t know, “-and can also be quite harmful to your psychological condition if it continues for extended periods of time.”
Roy blinked. “It… wouldn´t do any permanent harm, wouldn´t it?” Suddenly, he felt panic rise. It did nothing to stop the rising in another area.
Streng stopped writing and looked up.
“Colonel.” He paused and started to twist the pen in his hands. “Before this appointment, when did you have your last erection?”
If this man hadn’t been a doctor…
“Twenty minutes ago?” the Colonel gave a rough estimate.
“I meant before this appointment,” Doctor Streng repeated himself.
“I did too.”
“So, he did not touch any… improper places?”
“No!” Ed groaned and buried his face in his hands. Even his ears were red by now.
“Not even himself?”
“You saw him leaving, didn’t you?” Ed snapped back, temper rising. “Did he look as if he’d….?” The blonde stopped. “Why are you even asking that?”
Breda leaned back and observed the young man.
“He didn´t look like he’d done anything.” The redhead leered. Falman let out a suspicious cough and Havoc felt heat rising to his face at what his fellow soldier was implying.
Ed slammed his hands on Fuery’s desk and stood up. He was met with a glare from the only female in the room and sat back down.
“Look, Hawkeye,” he said. “I promise, I won´t give him another excuse to slack off on his paperwork, unless it’s a real emergency or something.” he offered. “In fact, I can pretty much guarantee that you won’t be seeing me around here anymore after this.”
Riza’s eyebrow went up. Then she sent a glance to Havoc who unobtrusively checked the list of off limits activities as outlined by the bet in front of him, hoping it looked like he was doing some paperwork. With a short nod, he confirmed that every point on the list was noted.
So far, Ed had not said what had happened exactly, but he had denied engaging in every one of the proscribed acts. From the looks of it, Mustang hadn’t crossed the line. Damn.
But maybe that was a good thing. Havoc did not want to think about Ed actually admitting that he had done some of those things. In fact, if it weren´t for his own stake in the wager, Jean would probably have fled shortly after Fuery.
Riza stared at the embarrassed alchemist a few more seconds, before she finally nodded.
Ed didn´t even bid them farewell. He ran.
Havoc cast a shamed look toward Hawkeye and Breda, catching the guilty tint in their eyes as well.
Roy may not have crossed the line with Ed, but Havoc felt that the rest of the team certainly had. The young alchemist was really just an innocent bystander in all this, and they had harassed him unmercifully about something that he had every right to keep private. Judging from the young alchemist’s last words, this had likely done irreparable damage to his relationship with Roy’s staff.
In eleven more days, or hopefully less, it would all be over and things could go back to normal. This bet was turning them all into nasty, vindictive people, and Havoc didn’t like it. He didn’t like it at all.
The doctor blinked.
“And when was your last ejaculation?”
Roy closed his eyes for a few seconds and then looked at the man before he gave him the exact date of the day before the bet started.
The physician appeared as if he was starting to get a headache.
“Colonel, why didn´t you tell me that you are unable to reach orgasm?”
Roy cleared his throat. “I’m perfectly capable of reaching orgasm.”
“I know can be hard to accept,” the doctor said, voice soothing. “Problems of this type have nothing to do with your abilities as a man, or -“
“I’m perfectly capable of reaching orgasm,” Roy repeated, bristling. “I don´t want to reach orgasm!”
The doctor’s eyebrow went up. Then he hummed and started to write again.
The Colonel groaned. Unless he said something, he was likely headed for a psychiatric evaluation.
“I…” Roy cleared his throat. “I need to win a bet,” he finally admitted.
The moment Ed entered Hughes office, he saw the man’s eye narrowing suspiciously and was immediately on guard.
“Interesting hairstyle, Ed.” Maes’ smile was predatory.
“Not one word,” Ed hissed. “If one more person asks me about Roy, they will regret it.” That sounded very much like a promise.
Hughes’ smile widened. Now, that was some temper. Suicidal or not, he was delighted. The young man was already on edge. A murderous edge, but an edge nevertheless. Hughes prepared to give the younger man another shove to see what the he might reveal when he was tilting off balance.
“Roy, huh? What happened to ‘the Bastard’?” Maes shot out question after question.”What are you hiding under your hair? Hickeys? From who? The Bastard? Or should I say Roy?”
Maes had to take cover underneath his desk, very quickly. Fortunately the lamp Ed flung in response to this line of questioning was standard military issue, and therefore easily replaceable.
“Sexually frustrated, Ed?” Maes continued his verbal barrage from beneath the desk. “You two didn´t get far enough?”
The sheer volume of Edward’s fury was truly impressive, as were the rather imaginative insults about Hughes parentage, background, and physical attributes. Yes, the young blond was definitely in a murderous rage.
This was going to be fun.
When Roy left the medical wing, he was feeling rather stunned.
It was the first time he had ever heard of Doctor Streng actually insulting anyone. It had been startling, and even a little exhilarating, to see the mantle of professionalism drop so unexpectedly from the man, although it did sting a bit that Roy was the one being insulted. He had not known there were so many synonyms for the word ‘idiot’. When Roy reminded Streng of his position as a psychologist, all it had earned him was a cool look, and the observation that when it came to Roy, clearly all hope for sanity was already lost. That little hint of humor had also been surprising.
As was the sympathy he had seen in the man’s eyes.
So Roy had asked the man for advice, and Doctor Streng sat down and talked to him. Not as a doctor, not as a psychologist, but as a fellow man who happened to have helpful professional knowledge. It had been surprisingly refreshing, and the medical man had clearly been delighted to have someone actually listen and take his advice, even though he tried very hard to hide it.
When Roy left the medical wing, he stopped by the gym to schedule a few training hours. To his shame, he had been reminded of just how long it had been since he had done any regular physical training. He liked to run, but since the bet he had not been out running as often as he used to. The Colonel shuddered to think that the next time Ed groped him, he ass might not be as firm as it was now, and that was simply not acceptable. Roy liked his body and usually put a good bit of effort into keeping it in shape.
Now however, he had been informed that he could book up to four hours a month and have it accredited as working hours. And if it was arranged with a doctor’s permission, he could log as many as eight. As regulations went it made sense, since soldiers were expected to keep fit so that they would be ready and able to fight if necessary. Streng had authorized his request, and therefore Roy would be able to shove some more paperwork aside without risking Hawkeye’s wrath. And due to this sudden bonding with the doctor, Roy had gained an unexpected and valuable ally.
Despite the afternoon’s disastrous beginning, the Colonel was quite satisfied with his visit to the medical wing. Now he needed to make sure the next visit on his agenda ended just as well.
There was a certain manipulative Investigations officer Roy needed to roast.
“Noooo!” Hughes shouted. “What have you done?!”
And here he had thought Edward Elric was a good person. But this… this was exceptionally cruel.
“I fused all the photos of your daughter together,” Ed answered, crossing his arms as he leaned back to watch the other man try to separate the pictures.
“I can see that!” Maes snapped. “I was only asking a few questions about your relationship with my friend. This is uncalled for!”
Hughes felt a jab of victory when he noticed Ed self-consciously pulling at his braid to hide the evidence of his little tryst with Roy. And those were some rather impressive marks his friend had left. Which was surprising. Maes knew the Flame Alchemist had a thing for sucking on throats, but this was overkill. Not even makeup would be enough to hide these, though Edward’s strategically arranged braid did a passable job. It would work if one didn´t know Ed and the fact that the man never wore his hair that way. It certainly looked different.
Maes still wondered why Roy had marked Ed like that. It was quite the interesting tidbit of information. He couldn´t quite decided yet what was more intriguing: Ed skillfully hiding lovebites and still keeping his mouth shut – or Roy becoming possessive.
At least the young man no longer denied the fact that something had happened between him and Roy, though he refused to give away any details. Hughes decided to talk to Riza as soon as possible, since he knew the younger man had been in Roy’s office earlier, and had arrived in Maes office already in a very pissed off state. It was highly likely that Hawkeye had managed pull information out of him. Hughes briefly considered hiring her for Investigations. Or asking her to step in for difficult interrogations.
Looking up from the stack of inseparable photographs, Hughes noticed Ed getting up.
“Where are you going?” he asked. “The crime scene! We haven´t discussed-“
“After the day I’ve had, I’m not so sure about this anymore,” The young man interrupted, scowling darkly. “I need to think about it.”
What? Maes took a few seconds to inspect Edward’s glower before finally nodding. “Fine. There’s no rush. Now, if you please-“ He pointed at his precious photo collection.
Surprisingly, Ed took one of Maes’ pens and started to write on the top photo. Hughes blinked surprised. He couldn´t remember when Edward had last drawn an array. Then he noticed that the man was writing, not drawing. Ed looked up and grinned mischievously at the man’s dumbstruck expression . “Roy can fix this. It’s a pretty simple transmutation.” With that, Ed placed the pen back on Maes’ desk and made a bee line for the door.
Maes looked back at the photo stack with narrowed eyes. Of course he could ask his friend to handle this. He just had to make sure he did it before he started interrogating the other alchemist. Then Maes noticed just what the little brat had written. A note for Mustang, telling him to do the transmutation when he left Maes office – but only if he was not questioned by Maes about anything to do with Ed.
“What the- “ Hughes stopped himself from swearing. Then he glared at the blond. “You know, I wonder what happened to that good hearted young boy Gracia and I have always considered to be part of our family,” he spat.
Ed only shrugged.
The diabolical brat had left Maes with a difficult decision: he could question Roy – and he was dying to do so – or get his photos back. His curiosity pitted against Elysia’s photos.
Apparently Mustang wasn’t the only bastard in the vicinity.
Still, Maes was as good as the game. It would be a challenge, but he was positive he could manage to get both answers and his photo collection. There was no way he was going to sacrifice Elysia’s pictures. And he knew how to handle Mustang. He would get the man to transmute the pictures before he interrogated him.
Seeing the determined look on Maes’ face, the blonde smiled from the door as he bid him farewell. Hughes sent him a glare in answer, but was surprised when Ed stopped just before closing the door.
“Oh, before I forget.” Edward’s tone was anything but what it implied. The man had been waiting until the very end to mention this. “I told Roy about your job offer. He was… thrilled. ” The alchemist took a moment to enjoy the horrified expression on Hughes’ face before he made his exit.
Hughes stared at the door.
Then at the block of photographs in front of him.
“I’ll bet he was,” the man sighed. Maes had planned to tell Roy about the contract, but for his friend to find out like this...
Well, a livid Flame Alchemist certainly complicated things.
Especially when it came to getting his pictures back.
When Roy rounded stepped out of the stairwell he was surprised to see Ed in front of Hughes’ office. He was sure the young man would have left by now. It appeared as if the blond alchemist was quite satisfied with himself at the moment, and the Colonel instantly wondered how his meeting with Maes had gone. Was Edward happy to have a new job perhaps? Something must have gone right for Ed to be in such a good mood after visiting Maes Hughes with such a bruised neck. Roy knew how persistent his friend could be, and by now he also knew how closed off Ed became when questioned about anything regarding his love life.
The slight smile on Edward’s lips vanished the moment the blond noticed him.
“You!” Ed snapped, and Roy stopped in surprised as the man stormed over to him.
“Ed, I -” He wanted to tell him he could understand his anger, but it really had been deserved. He didn’t get the chance.
The younger man stopped in front of him and push the hair away from his neck. “How the hell am I supposed to hide these, you damn Bastard?” The man hissed quietly.
“You´re upset about… the hickeys?” Roy blinked, surprised again when Ed’s anger subsided for a moment as the man blushed.
“Well, I… uhm… wanted to apologize to you, too.”
Roy lifted one eyebrow. Now, that was interesting, but Edward hadn’t seemed to be about to offer an apology. “You certainly have an interesting way of doing that, Edward.”
“Shut up, Bastard. I said I wanted to. But I´m not going to do that now. Now I´m pissed at you.” The anger was back and Ed looked ready to kill when the Colonel in front of him smirked.
“Really?” Roy said, all innocence. “I hadn´t noticed.”
Ed bristled, but before he could lash out again, either physically or verbally, the other alchemist brought them back on topic.
“The point of those marks is not to hide them,” Roy explained, then stopped for a moment to gaze at the man in front of him. “Although I have to say I like your hair that way.”
Ed had braided his hair to side, leaving the left side of his neck exposed, but the other side covered by a plait of gold that reached almost to his waist. It looked lovely. Especially combined with that light blush.
“No way I´m walking around showing off the signs of your idiotic behavior,” Ed growled, and Roy grinned.
“So, if I mark the other side, you´ll walk around with two braids?” Imagining Edward with a braid on each side to cover both sides of his neck ... Roy had to bite the inside of his cheek to keep from laughing.
Ed did not appear at all amused. “Then I guess I’ll have to make sure you don´t do that again,” he spat.
Roy felt like pouting. Then he smiled disarmingly. “But you liked me doing that,” he practically purred, and the color on Edward’s face darkened considerably. Oh damn, he was just too tempting.
Having learned from the last time he had done this in public, Roy leaned in much slower this time. He wanted to kiss Ed again, but the blond stepped back, avoiding him. It appeared that the man was still angry over those damn hickeys.
Or was he? Roy noticed it again. The inconspicuous quick glance at their surroundings.
Roy stopped and looked around as well, but no one was there. Frowning, the Colonel looked back to Ed, who looked at him questioningly. Roy wondered why. After all, Edward himself had looked around, although much more discreetly. That had been the only difference, so that had to be it. Roy openly looking around was strange, but Ed observing their environment like he expected to be spied upon was normal.
And thinking about it, when he kissed Ed in the car, the young man had also glanced around the first moment he noticed they were in public. Edward had not kissed him goodbye that time in the street either. He had even lost his temper and hit Roy for kissing him in the reception hall. Now that Roy thought about it, Edward had never shown him any affection in public. The one time Ed had taken Roy’s hand had been an almost unconscious gesture, and he had broke it off as soon as he became aware of what he was doing. Sure, there had been some light flirting when they were out eating, but it could also have been taken as teasing. Hell, back then it probably had merely been teasing. They had just been two men eating out and making fun of each other. Perfectly acceptable.
Then it dawned to him that his metaphor of Ed expecting to be spied on was probably not as farfetched as it sounded, particularly if one considered the background. He had lived for two years under the watchful eye of a very oppressive regime, in a gender inappropriate relationship. Under the circumstances, Ed’s behavior made perfect sense.
“Ed...” Roy started, and the blond looked up at him. “I want to take you out. On a date.”
The young man in front of him appeared hesitant for a moment.
“You wanna go out to eat something?” he asked.
“No… yes. But not only that. I want to take you on a date. Dinner included. Tomorrow.” It was almost amusing to see the confusion on Ed’s face.
Come on, it couldn´t be that hard to agree to date him, could it? Sheepishly, the Colonel decided to push further. “If you really want to apologize for whatever you wanted to apologize for, then just say you’ll go out with me.” Really, turning to blackmail to get a date. This was definitely a record low for Roy. Maybe he should change his name to Jean.
But speaking of apologizing ...
“What exactly did you want to apologize for?” Roy asked, curious.
Maybe he should have felt insulted at the way Ed gladly changed the subject away from being asked out on a date. But then the man huffed and crossed his arms over his chest before he murmured something, the tone sour.
“What was that?” Roy was not pushing, really, but Ed’s apology had been quite unintelligible.
“Because of what happened in the kitchen, and after, about Al.” This time, the blonde was at least understandable. “You were right about… well, that.” It was surprising how Ed could go from pissed off to confused to blushing in mere seconds. “I shouldn´t try to keep things from him. At least the.. uhm… usual stuff. Just not the … he doesn´t need the details,” Ed finished.
“I don´t think he wants the details,” Roy said, and the blonde looked at him, clearly waiting for something. Quickly, the Colonel lifted his hands. “Hey, I’m not going to fill him in on that. I do have some sense of decency.”
Ed snorted in doubt, but left it at that. Then he sighed. “I’m really an idiot,” he murmured, clearly lost in his thoughts. There was a surprising bitterness in his voice that caught Roy off guard.
“I won’t argue that.” That earned Roy another glare. “But I don’t think it´s that bad. You were trying to protect your brother, and I don’t think anyone with a brother or sister is keen to let them know what they are doing in their bedrooms … or kitchens.” Leering at the correction, Roy could see that his attempts to lighten the mood seemed at least successful enough to bring a small smile to Edward’s face.
“I’m glad he doesn´t have anything against it,” Ed admitted suddenly. That was another thing Roy wouldn´t argue about. Having to get something he found objectionable past Al would really be bothersome.
“And since he doesn´t, and you want to apologize, you’ll go out with me tomorrow?” Roy would have loved to reach for the man, to kiss him and persuade him that way, but knowing how Ed usually reacted to public displays of affection, Roy knew he would be rebuffed.
It was probably a good thing Ed was not able to read minds. If he could, his answer would likely have been different. Still, Edward hesitated a bit and looked at him while Roy tried his best to appear innocent – and failed miserably judging from the way Ed sighed warily.
“Yes. Tomorrow’s fine,” the younger man finally said.
Please cross your fingers for my files ._. I hope they will survive. Among the victims, there is the next chapter of the bet as well as a few other almost finished chapters for other fics.
Happy Easter! :D