Title: Best I Ever Had
Series: Fullmetal Alchemist
Warnings: Lame title, swearing, implied sex with a minor.
Status: In progress.
Spoilers: We'll be safe and say yes, for the full series.
Summary: After a decade apart, war with Creta brings Roy and Edward together again, and they discover that nothing between them has been resolved. Sequel to Can't Be,
but you don't need to read it to be able to follow the plot here.::Best I Ever Had::But it’s not so bad
You’re only the best I ever had
You don’t want me back
You’re just the best I ever had
It may take some time
to patch me up inside
But I can’t take it
so I run away and hide
And I may find in time
that you were always right.
You’re always right.
-- Best I Ever Had, Vertical Horizon
Roy stared down at the report in his hands and wondered when the war stopped being a war and started being a joke. Amestris and Creta were standing on opposite sides of an invisible line, each poking, prodding, testing the other, but beyond minor skirmishes, neither side was actually doing
anything. The standoff showed no sign of ending any time soon, and it was driving him mad.
He could understand why Creta attacked, even if he didn’t agree with the reason. After Bradley’s death, Amestris sank into a pit of political disarray. No two people could agree on how the country should be run. In fact, if it weren’t the fact that most military and government personnel had gone on doing what they had always done, the country might have fallen apart completely. Creta had seen this weakness, and chosen to exploit it.
An offensive defense, they called it.
The general in him understood the rationale. Amestris didn’t exactly have a shining record when it came to dealing with its neighbors, and Creta had decided it was best to strike while they were weak, instead of risking their country becoming another Ishbal. It didn’t matter that with Bradley gone Amestris was no longer the military state it once was, that chances of them attacking another country for the sake of conquest were slim. All Creta cared about was that Amestris had a history of violence.
The man in him was angry that they refused listen to reason, that Creta wouldn’t back down and that Amestris couldn’t. He was angry that they couldn’t get the personnel they needed to end the conflict because his people didn’t trust them anymore. He was angry that they were throwing money and supplies and human lives
at each other and getting absolutely nowhere.
Roy was getting too old for this shit.
A single, sharp knock at the door made Roy look up. The door swung open and Miles poked a bald head in. “There you are!” he said, slipping inside and closing the door behind him. He waved a handful of forms at Roy. “You won’t believe this.”
“Yes, who is it? Oh, Captain, please come in.” Roy muttered.
Miles ignored him, slapping the forms down in front of Roy with a wide grin. “Take a look! Let me tell you, it’s about damn time!”
Roy didn’t look at the forms, instead raising an eyebrow at the captain in silent inquiry. If Miles was so happy, it was either something very good, or very bad. The pessimist in him was betting on the latter. “The Cretans surrendered?” he hazarded with an ironic grin.
Miles barked a laugh. “Naw, bastards’d never make it that easy on us, General. No, we’ve got alchemists.”
Roy sat up in interest. “Recruits?” he asked. He knew they couldn’t be any of the alchemists the military already had, ever since Parliament declared State Alchemist a civilian position, the military had been hurting for alchemists, and once the war started, well...the ones they had were spread thin. Roy’s unit only had one alchemist besides himself, and she wasn’t much of one. She didn’t have much training, or much talent, but Sophie was the best of a bad lot. Roy just didn’t have the time to take care of the duties of an alchemist on top of those of a general.
“Civilian,” Miles said, sitting on the corner of Roy’s desk and picking up the forms. “Two of them.” he began leafing through the papers. “I think I saw something in here about...here it is. One of them is a retired State Alchemist.”
Roy blinked. He had thought that those who were willing to come out of retirement had already done so. Still, the older generation of State Alchemists might still hold some loyalty to the military. They would certainly be more likely to volunteer for duty than the mistrustful public. At any rate, Roy certainly wasn’t about to turn away a skilled alchemist just because he might be a bit past his prime. The war wasn’t going well and if he was honest, they could use all the help they could get. “When are they due to arrive?” he asked, reaching out and taking the papers from Miles.
“Two days, if they don’t run into any trouble.”
Two days. Sophie was going to be thrilled when she found out that she could go back to normal duties. Roy thumbed through the papers, scanning the documents for names. He found them on the third page, and his stomach gave a dizzying flip.
Edward Elric and Alphonse Elric. He read the names a second time, a third, making sure it wasn’t sleep-deprivation playing tricks on him. Gods above. Edward. How long had it been? Ten years, eleven? He stared, unseeing, at the print on the page. They hadn’t parted on good terms, and as badly as Roy wanted to see him again, he was equal parts terrified. He was fairly sure that Ed had never really forgiven him.
“Did they request this assignment?” he asked stiffly, stuffing his inner turmoil back down where it belonged.
Miles gave him a strange look. “Request? Oh!” he snapped his fingers, eyes lighting in recognition. “I knew I recognized the name Elric. He was the Fullmetal Alchemist, wasn’t he?”
Roy sighed and nodded.
“I doubt they had time to take a piss, let alone put in a request for assignment.” Miles scratched his beard thoughtfully. “When they realized what they had HQ probably shipped them out before they had time to change their minds.” He slid off Roy’s desk. “Chances are they sent him to you because he’s been under your command before.”
Roy made a sound of agreement. Miles was probably right, and they were suffering the worst for the alchemist shortage. Ed and Al would be a huge asset, and he couldn’t let his personal feelings get in the way of utilizing that asset. Whatever those feelings might be. The fact that after a decade apart something so small as seeing Edward’s name on paper stirred such a strong reaction in him was troubling. Roy had convinced himself that he had moved past he small blond years ago.
If he didn’t date much at all after that, well, helping rebuild a nation was busy work. And maybe he did still think about Ed often, but it was natural to wonder how someone you cared for was doing when you hadn’t seen them in ages. Wasn’t it?
God damn it.
He didn’t need this now, he really, really didn’t. Roy looked up at Miles, who was watching him with a slight frown. Wondering how much of his thoughts had shown on his face, Roy schooled his features into a neutral expression. “Well, you might as well go let Meyers in on the good news. She’ll be happy to hear that she won’t have to listen to the bitching about bad coffee anymore.” He straightened the documents in his hands and passed them back to Miles. “I’ll leave the Elric brothers up to you; I’m sure you can keep them busy.”
Miles grinned. “You bet I can. We’ve got more then enough to keep a pair of alchemists busy until the end of time.”
“Then I’ll leave them in your more than capable hands.”
Taking the papers, Miles offered a lazy salute, and then turned to leave. He paused, tapping the papers against his thigh and turned back, brows creased in concern. “Roy, something’s bothering you about this.”
It wasn’t a question, and Roy sighed, knowing the captain wouldn’t be put off. He was almost tempted to tell the truth and say ‘Well, Edward was my very underage lover, and he was very angry with me when I broke it off. This could lead to a bit of awkwardness.’ Granted, Roy thought bitterly, if anyone could take the news that their commanding officer was a pedophile without being fazed, it was probably Miles. He was a good man and a good friend, and it was more tempting to finally confide in someone about Edward than he cared to admit. Instead, he merely said, “Edward and I parted on bad terms. I’m afraid he probably won’t be too pleased to see me.”
“Even after all this time?”
Miles seemed skeptical, and Roy had to smile. “Believe me, Ed can hold a grudge.”
“Well, I wouldn’t worry about it too much. You haven’t seen him in ages, right?” Roy nodded and Miles shrugged, “So, chances are he isn’t still angry. And if he is, well, you must have really pissed him off, and you probably deserve it.”
Roy snorted a laugh. The man had no idea. “Aren’t you curious about what happened?”
Miles grinned. “Honestly? It’s killing me, but I’m just a nosy old man. I can tell you don’t want to talk about it.”
Not for the first time, he was grateful for Miles. He hadn’t seen most of his old crew since the start of the war, and it was nice to have someone he could trust. He offered the man a grateful smile and Miles bobbed his head amiably and left, door clicking shut gently behind him.
Roy rested his chin on folded hands. Over a decade, and chance had brought the two of them together again. He got news of the brothers now and then via Riza --she corresponded with Alphonse on a regular basis-- but he had never really expected to see either of them again. Roy knew, he knew
that he had made the right decision, all those years ago, but that didn’t stop him from wishing there had never been a decision to make.
A cold shock along his side startled Roy awake, and he blinked at his young lover in sleepy confusion. Ed was still asleep, lying at an odd angle, head pillowed on Roy’s stomach. Reaching out, careful not to wake the sleeping alchemist, Roy shifted the cold automail hand from where it had crept up along his side. Edward mumbled and pulled the arm to his chest, shifting slightly and snuggling closer to the older man as he did so.
A glance at the clock confirmed he had several hours left before he had to rise for the day, but he didn’t feel much like going back to sleep. Instead, Roy simply lay there, content to watch Edward sleep. Reaching out, he brushed his hand against soft hair, gently stroking the head resting against him. Edward smiled, gold eyes cracking open the tiniest bit, sleepy gaze finding Roy’s for a moment before his eyes slid shut again.
It was at that moment, on that peaceful, lazy morning, that Roy realized he was in love.
It settled in his chest like a physical thing, deep and heavy and so, so impossible. Roy took a shallow, shuddering breath, and Ed slept on, blissfully unaware of what his lover was going through. Staring dazedly at the spill of golden hair across his stomach, he wondered when it had happened. When things had gone from grudging mutual respect, to friendship, to attraction and bad judgment, to...this. To spending every free moment together they could spare without arousing suspicion. To treasuring the times he could keep Edward all night and going mad the times he couldn’t. Somehow, he had fallen in love when he wasn’t looking.
It was completely surreal. Never in his life had he let a relationship get to the point he found himself at now. Emotional attachments complicated matters, and that was something he knew he couldn’t afford. So he had always kept himself guarded, and ended any relationships that threatened to become more than casual.
Except this time he hadn’t.
Maybe because the whole situation was so impossible he hadn’t even seen it coming. Bad enough that he sleeping with a subordinate --a male one at that-- but Edward was only fifteen years old. He was still just a child. Roy knew that and had carefully ignored the fact for far too long. He hadn’t wanted to consider the consequences of what they were doing, but he realized he was going to have to. Things had gone so much farther with Edward than they ever should have. It should have stopped when Ed had kissed him for the first time.
--lips on his, fumbling and awkward, inexperienced but urgent--
Roy pressed the heels of his palms against his eyes, shutting out the memory. Sleeping with Ed was such a gross error in judgment that it was probably unforgivable, but falling in love with him was worse. Sex was just sex, but love...Roy sighed inwardly. The longer he kept him, the harder it would be to let him go.
And he would have to, in the end. He would have to, because there was no future for them, because one day Ed would snap out of it and realize he wanted a normal life. That he wanted to get married and maybe have a kid or ten. After everything Ed had gone through, he more than deserved a little normalcy. Roy couldn’t let his own selfish desires get in the way of that. He reached out, hand hovering just over his lover’s cheek.
For Edward’s sake, he had to end it.