Gin, Ed decided, had the taste and effect of paint thinner, and he really didn’t know why anyone would want to drink it.
He set his glass down with a clink and sighed out through his nose, running his tongue along the inside of his mouth, his teeth and lips, grimacing at the burning tang still there. “God,” he exhaled. “That’s *disgusting.*”
“That’s the point.” His glass was taken and he heard more being poured into it. Then Roy set it back down in front of him and his smirking face moved into Ed’s line of vision, eyes every bit as soft as Ed felt. Roy swished his own glass, tilted his head back and finished off his shot. “But drink up, Fullmetal. Once you get past the first few drinks, you’ll hardly feel the burn at all.”
“Ugh.” Ed put his hand to his stomach. “I think it’s eating my insides.”
The colonel chuckled at that, and maybe it was the drink but it sounded lower than usual, more rolling, rumbling, a bit like thunder. “Again–that’s the point.” He raised his glass and saluted Ed with mock-crispness. “To your seventeenth.”
“To my seventeenth,” Ed echoed; eyed his glass, deciding if it was really worth it or not, then shrugged and lifted it to his lips and sucked it down. It slid past his gag reflex, and he dragged the back of his hand across his mouth to dry the burn and swallowed several times. “You’re right,” he said after a while; “it gets a little better.”
“There you go.” Roy’s eyes narrowed behind his glass, and he reached out to still Ed reaching for his glass again. “Not too fast,” he cautioned. “Let it settle.”
Ed scowled at him and wrenched his hand away, tilting the glass to his mouth. This time he hardly even tasted or felt the burn; but he felt the alcohol, for certain, pooling in his stomach, spreading to his fingers and toes and curling with a heavy contentedness around his brain. He leaned back in his seat, stretching out his legs, and tipped his head back, staring with a laziness he’d never felt before at the ceiling. “Wow,” he said, “your ceiling’s made of wood.”
“Yes, the perks of being an officer.” A clinking sound, probably Roy refilling his glass *again.* “Entirely furnished living quarters, very nice. Fullmetal–sit up more, you’re about to fall over.”
“Edward,” Ed grumped, “Edward, my name’s not Fullmetal.” But he sat up in his seat, a little too fast and his stomach protested. He grabbed the arm of his chair for support. “Holy crap,” he said, blinking. “I’m drunk.”
“You’re a lightweight,” Roy said dryly, and smiled at the face Ed pulled. “That’s enough for tonight, I think.” He grabbed Ed’s glass and his own and rose with the fluidity of one damped with alcohol, and took them to his liquor cabinet, stashing them in with the wine and the champagne and– Ed squinted; damn, was that a bottle of vodka? That looked way too good right now.
Lightning flashed outside, brightening the room briefly. Ed put his metal fingers to his forehead, cooling the heat that had sprung up there, and stared out the window. It wasn’t raining, not yet, but the east had been drenched in winter rain for days. The storm would move here tonight.
Warm fingers touched his automail. Ed jumped, then forced himself to relax again as Roy’s hand slid down his to his cheek, briefly touched his nose and then settled on his lips. “You’ll be leaving for Rizen Pool tomorrow morning, yes?” Roy breathed, close to his mouth, and Ed was hard-pressed to nod and dislodge those fingers slightly. “The Rockbells should be happy to see you.”
“Mm–yeah.” He would not turn into that hand, Ed told himself sternly, but alcohol had done weird things to him and it seemed like his body wasn’t entirely connected to his mind, because he did. The fingers skated across his cheek and touched his lips again, caressing the line that split upper and bottom lip, then sliding in between them and out again. Ed sighed onto them.
“Good,” Roy said, continuing the conversation as steadily as if he were talking to the Fuhrer himself and not–here, with Ed, their last night for a very long time. “Your automail needs tuning. You’ve gained–what? Half an inch?”
“An inch!” Ed flared, rearing back from the fingers and glaring up at him. “Oh, wipe that smirk off your face, you bastard.” He crossed his arms over his chest and pointedly turned his face away, leaving Roy’s hand to drop to his side.
“An inch, then. Not too bad.” Unperturbed, Roy just stepped up against him, bringing a wall of heat into line with Edward’s body. He dipped his head down and touched his mouth to Ed’s bare neck, cool against his hot skin; Ed arched a little, inhibitions gone with the alcohol. He should fight a little, not let Roy have it so easily, but... He sighed and closed his eyes as Roy’s lips tracked a wet line down his neck and beneath his shirt, down his back, touching each bump of his spine.
“Shit.” Ed bent over, rested his arms on his knees and lowered his head in between them; breathing was suddenly hard, something he had to work at, and between the alcohol and Roy’s tongue going back up, now, it was getting kind of difficult. He took a deep breath, then it jumped out of him as Roy reached around, grabbed his knees, and spun the chair around so they were face-to-face.
Roy in his sex mode, Ed had learned a long time ago, was like a cat with cream, all heavy-lidded eyes and eager mouth; Roy drunk was slightly less dangerous, softer and more lenient, tongue less liable to cut. Ed had never seen a drunk Roy in his sex mode, but here he was now: soft, narrowed eyes, breath coming out of him almost as heavy as Edward’s, pink running all across his face and looking so undignified that a sober Roy would probably have been ashamed at himself.
Damn, it was sexy.
Roy leaned close to his face and breathed against his cheek, “You’ll be gone a month?”
“A-aa,” Ed said. “Yeah, Winry and Auntie want us all to themselves for a while. Figured it couldn’t hurt.”
The edges of Roy’s lips curved. “I would disagree with that, but what’s done is done, no going back on your word. So....” His zipper was undone before Ed could even realize, and hot hands were dipping into his pants and caressing flesh and Ed groaned, leaning his head back and lifting his hips into the grip. “Let’s make sure you don’t extend your visit past a month, hmmm.”
“I wasn’t–" Ed gasped and dropped his head back as Roy ran hands over his flesh, caressing then squeezing. “Planning on it–but–"
“You definitely won’t want to when I’m through with you,” Roy chuckled, a rumbling backdrop to the lightning flashing in the windows.
They moved to the bedroom in lazy slowness, Roy coaxing Edward along with a hand on the small of his back, then laying him out on the bed and settling in between his legs. Ed laced his hands in Roy’s hair and tightened, relaxed his fingers as Roy moved over him. “God,” he groaned with feeling; Roy chuckled, hot breath gusting over him like a wave, and Ed’s spine cleared the bed. He caught back his gasp at the last moment.
“Don’t try so hard,” Roy murmured over his stomach, catching his eyes.
Ed snorted and ran a hand over his cheeks, rubbing away gin-tinged sweat. “Don’t flatter yourself,” he replied. Roy widened his eyes, then smiled and kissed a scar. He slid his way up Edward’s body until they were eye-to-eye and fixed his mouth over Ed’s, grasping Ed’s chin and tilting his head into the kiss. Roy tasted like gin and the orange juice he’d used to chase his shots. His tongue teased at Ed’s, drawing it out, coaxing it along, painting the insides of Ed’s mouth with his own saliva.
“And try,” Roy said, untangling himself from Ed’s mouth with a narrow-eyed, regretful look, “try to actually make this a vacation, Ed. Your automail can only take so much wear.”
“It’s not my fault.” Ed tightened his jaw around a yawn. “The crazies come to me, I don’t come to them.”
“Fools seeking immortality,” Roy said darkly. Lightning highlighted his features, and the house shook under a crack of thunder. He wrapped an arm under Ed’s neck and started fingering Ed’s hair, sifting the lines of gold through his fingers.
“I just wish–“ Ed sighed and reached up to scrub his bleary eyes. “I’m not a god, I just wish they’d see that. I’m just drunk,” he added morosely. “Stupid colonel, I hate it when you pawn drinks off on me.”
“But it makes you ever so much more pliable, Fullmetal,” Roy said, his serious tone belying the laugh in his eyes.
Ed punched his shoulder, but he grinned anyway. “I thought,” he said, lowering his voice, “the point of this evening was to make me want to come home sooner.”
Roy raised his eyebrows.
Ed looked at the ceiling, widening his eyes in a calculatedly innocent expression. “So far you haven’t done me any favors I can’t do for myself.”
Bright light glinted off of Roy’s narrowed eyes and threw his smile into shades of white and black, like a mummer’s paint. “Ohhh, is that so?” he purred, dipping his mouth to Ed’s again. “Believe me, Ed, after a month is through you’ll miss even this.... but I’ll give you more to come back to, I promise.”
Al chafed his hands, trying to coax warmth into them again, then raised them to his mouth and blew on them. “Ahhh,” he sighed, “even my breath is cold. I can’t believe this storm.”
He looked down at Ed’s noncommittal grunt, then looked away again so his brother wouldn’t see him smile. Ed’s eyes were rimmed in extravagant shades of purple and black, and his mouth had a hang to it that Al hadn’t seen since Ed’s fifteenth birthday, when some of the officers had taken him out and shown him the seediest bars in Central.
Al picked through some sympathetic words, discarded them, and settled on saying, “Here, brother, scoot closer. You’re not all the way under the umbrella.”
Ed shot him a sour look through his wet bangs, but sidled a little closer so that their bodies were pressed tight together. “What assholes don’t put a bench at the train station,” he grumbled.
“You sound like nails on chalkboard,” Al said, and winced when Ed stepped on his foot. “Sorry, sorry. Are you sure you’re up for the train ride?” He glanced again at their tickets. “You’re going to have that hangover for at least a few more hours.”
Ed ducked his head, but not before Al had seen him smile that smile Ed always used for him: fondness mixed with a liberal dose of older brother exasperation. “Do you know how mad Winry would be if we were late? Plus,” Ed added on a low note, “I know how much you’ve been wanting to see her.”
Al stiffened, feeling blood flood his cheeks in a happy rush at the thought of Winry. Puppies dying, he thought frantically. Flowers wilting. Rotten candy. “Well, y-yeah,” he said in his best noncommittal tone. “But Winry can wait. If you’re really sick, brother–"
“I’m *fine,* Al.” Ed had to reach up on his toes to ruffle his hair, but he managed anyway–and did it with that older-sibling flair that Al, even with a good five inches on him, couldn’t quite manage.
He didn’t know what it was about older siblings, Al thought as Ed trudged away from him, the red smudge of his body disappearing into the train station. How they always managed to make you feel older one second, and then like the youngest kid in the world the next. It was a mystery more powerful than any of Ed’s best transmutations, and gave him ten times more energy.
He looked down at his train tickets and finally let the goofy grin overtake his features. “Winry,” he breathed, watching his breath disappear as white fog into the rain. “Ahhh, I can’t wait to be home!” He balled up the tickets and stuffed them into his coat pocket so they wouldn’t get wet, and turned to follow Ed into the station.
He paused, though, and stopped where he was. Hovering over Ed was a taller figure, stark black against Ed’s crimson red. As he watched, the form ducked down, and Al crimsoned and looked aside before he could see Mustang kiss his brother. But he watched them out of the corner of his eye as they drew apart, and Mustang nodded his head and stepped out of the station, Ed slinking behind him to the back of the building.
A train whistle sounded, high and rumbling, from far away, and the train tracks began to shake. Al hesitated, then hurried into the train station, setting his umbrella against the side of the building.
“Um, excuse me,” he said to the dozing woman at the reception counter, and offered her a sheepish smile when she started awake. “I’m sorry to bother you, but I was wondering if I could request another ticket.”
The receptionist nodded, then lifted her hand to her mouth to cover a yawn. “Sure,” she said around it. “Didn’t your little brother just order you some round-trip tickets, though?”
Al grimaced, checking behind him automatically to make sure Ed wasn’t there and hadn’t heard that. “He’s my older brother, actually, and yes, he did, but I need to get another one for him.”
“Sure,” she said, ducking beneath the counter to get her timetables. “What do you need?”
“A ticket from Rizen Pool to Central, a week from today.” Al handed her the last of his money. “Thank you very much.”
Outside, he deposited Ed’s old ticket in the trash can and tucked his new one in his pocket, grinning to himself, snapping open his umbrella again. “Happy birthday, brother,” he murmured as Ed appeared from around the back of the station, then raised his voice over the thunder of the arriving train: “Brother! Are you ready now?”
“Yeah,” Ed said, hurrying to join him under the umbrella. He smiled up at Al with brighter eyes and a glowing face. “Well, you ready for a month with Winry and Auntie Pinako?”
“Mm-hm.” Al hoisted up their luggage and handed it over to the man leaning out of their train, extending a hand for their bags. He grinned over his shoulder at Ed. “I know you’ll have a good time.”
It would probably rain the entire week Ed was in Rizen Pool, Alphonse thought as he followed his brother into their compartment, settled down on the hard wooden seats and watched Ed sprawl his upper body over the window, leaning his face out into the rain. Just like when they were kids and played near the flooding river bank, laughing and flinging mud at each other. And then, the sun would shine in Central City.
“Happy seventeenth, brother,” he said, leaning over and giving Ed a fierce hug.