ezyls_girl (ezyls_girl) wrote in pillowcased,
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[fma] REset{PLAY} ~Automail is the reason we're famous~, part three

Title: REset{PLAY} ~Automail is the reason we’re famous~
Pairings: Roy/Ed. Ed/Winry + some Riza Hawkeye.
this chapter is rated: R.
Warnings: there's het!sex in this bit? It made my head hurt something awful.
Notes: Tends toward first anime arc, but I'm altogether unsure, now. Written for my dear peridottears . And yeah, I messed around with the title a bit. D|

Summary: A heart is nothing but four chambers and a rhythm.

previously: | 1; anatomically | 2; philosophically |
 

--


REset{PLAY}
~Automail is the reason we're famous~

part three: in practice

--
They live in a beautiful cream-colored house next to the road, ivory box gardens lining the window frames; orchids sparkle like emeralds, marble gnomes stand guard over scrupulously carved topiary. Aspens crawl up the asphalt, and the windows are probably large enough to glow in space. It's a fucking tragedy in three acts. Prelude, interlude, postlude. Circles and squares that are actually ovals and rectangles; shapes just short of any geometric substance, really, cognitive dissonance and chemical resonance squashed into the same equation. They were too nice, blouses and petticoats and tuxes too pressed and too starched; smiles more fake and shockingly irritating than watching Havoc trying to come up with a plausible excuse to account for his missing paperwork. Food too good, too sweet too salty too soft too chewy, too much roast chicken in a single helping, too much alcohol in a glass of sherry, too much merrymaking entertained over flaky dinner conversation. The minute he walks in, it all comes rushing back. He knows this feeling like he's felt it yesterday; the old objective correlative acting up. Here is where he grew up. Here is where he rejected imagination for rational thought. Here is the birthplace of being overwhelmed and really, really pissed-off.

"Well, if it isn't Roy, fashionably early with thirty seconds to spare. Happy birthday, my dear boy!"

"Oh, do have a seat, Roy dear, right next to granny. Good gosh, I haven't seen your handsome face in three years, now. Is my little sergeant doing well?"

(Major. Last time he checked, he'd definitely been a Major Mustang. Even her lack of research is demeaning. He clenches his jaw.)

"Fine, just fine. I've recently been promoted. I hope you're well, too, grandmother, grandfather?"

They beam. Teeth-whitening solution blinds his eyes.

Eighteenth birthday, huh.

After eleven years of academy, seven years of interdisciplinary study, four years of arithmetic, four years of mechanical physics. After eighteen years of mental scarring.

He's finally, finally free.




On his twenty-ninth birthday, Roy receives a birthday cake from Young Rockbell. The dimensions are round, icing covering the whole parameter and roughly the size of Armstrong's head. Little red and blue candy roses dot the border, and he is told that there's fruitcake filling and marmalade in the center. There are no traces of arsenic in here, are there; that's the first thought that comes to mind. The next is wondering if he'd perhaps died an early death from walking into that helium factory this morning—maybe he'd inhaled too much laughing gas. At least her scribbled-note had imbibed a little more sarcasm.

Hawkeye and Havoc convinced me to bake a cake for you, so here it is. Happy Birthday, warmest regards. Aren't you growing a little too old for this? –Winry.

He considers sacrificing Breda as gauge for poison, but decides that it's not worth it and hell, he doesn't want to face a jury in a courtroom, anyway.

A bite.

…And maybe it had just been him, but the cake tastes really salty. She hadn't meant this as an opportunity to make use of those foul smelling salts she'd scrapped from Ed's last hospital visit, did she? Get back at him for being a massive prick about avoiding her phone calls and impromptu movie-ticket, you-pay-I'll-play dates? He licks the frosting again, feels a sudden tide of nostalgia hit him like a flash flood. Makes a mental note to check on her eyelids, the next time he sees her.

It tastes like tears.




Fullmetal gives him something else. Something that makes him run a little feverish and breathe a little heavier and feel that uncanny bit of guilt that he isn't really supposed to feel, not now, not when it's he's a year away from being thirty years and world dominatrix.

"I thought they didn't allow pedophiles into the army," Fullmetal smirks into his face.

"The only thing prepubescent about you is your height," he says, and Ed manages to frown up at him before his eyes glaze over and then he's moaning Roy's name.

(He plants wet kisses down the tanned skin, hears a small whine in the back of the boy's throat, feels the blond braid unravel between his fingers like a particularly soft piece of silk. For all stubborn laments and claims of being lactose intolerant, he can still smell faint traces of cow milk in Ed's clothing after helping out at the farm in the city; that and the rose petal remnants of some really girly shampoo that one of the female sergeants probably forced onto the young boy in an ecstatic revival of matriarchy.)

"Happy birthday," Ed whispers, rocks his hips against Roy's, and god this must be the best twenty-ninth birthday he's ever had.




"Ed."

"What?"

"You know," she bites her lip.

"What, Winry?"

"You really shouldn't be doing it."

"Doing what?"

"Doing it. And with someone nearly twice your age."

Sighs. "Mind your own business, Winry. I'm sixteen. I can take care of myself."

"I-I'm worried for you—"

"I don't need you to worry for me."

"What, you think he's going to worry about you? Oh, Ed—"

"Let go of me, Winry. Dammit, let go of m—mmph."




(So when he's trying to find Fullmetal for another diner break, he spots Winry Rockbell kissing a pretty blonde boy with two metal limbs and a cranky posture, a pretty blonde boy whom he probably wouldn't have minded kissing, either. And the way Winry Rockbell kisses the pretty blonde boy, it looks beautiful and perfect and very, very right. It looks nothing like the sloppy kisses that he would give the pretty blonde boy, ones that carry more want and need and God-don't-stop than beautiful kissing, beautiful longing, beautiful love. It's where Roy loses and Winry gains and where it evens out on the balance because this is how a ticker tape runs.)




He finds himself making excuses to beat the kid up. It's a little depressing, but everything's been depressing, lately, from seeing Young Rockbell trying to play it cool and baking him cakes full of tears and kissing pretty blonde boys behind his back to Hawkeye trying to falsify telephone records in order to cover up Havoc's mistakes instead of sticking up for Roy—these are unprecedented changes in the histoire, and they are definitely not for the better. What is wrong with everyone? What is wrong with him?

"Enlighten me, Fullmetal. Why did you attempt to single-handedly capture an A-Class criminal by yourself? Why did you think it'd be a smart idea to break into a biology research central and smash all the biofeedback panels, why did you think that would solve anything?"

"I didn't attempt anything single-handedly," the boy grumbles, "Al helped me, too."

"…Your mistakes aren't just foolish, oh no. They have to be childish, rash, and incredibly uneducated, as well."

Eyes roll. "Apologies. Guess I flew too close to the sun."

"You could've gotten killed, you stupid idiot. Or worse, castrated."

"…Well, it's not like it matters to you, anyway."

"It does."

"What? What did you say?"

Fuck, they'd slipped out. He isn't going to repeat those words. Maybe he'll curb the matter for later evaluation. "Go back to work, Fullmetal. You don't have an official toilet break until eleven."

"…Says the perennial slacker hypocrite colonel."

(Perennial? That's not really an insult, is it? Should he make a jab at it, or save the laugh for another day? Edward Elric looks like he's ready to voluntarily drown himself in the nearest river. And besides, Roy has already got three-quarters of a jar full of these classic Fullmetal-isms, locked away in the top left cabinet along with a fat list of all the telephone numbers he's ever received from a pretty girl.)

Instead, "Another word from you and I'll have you on garbage duty for the rest of the week."

"Sure thing, Colonel. Anything to offload the amount of horseshit I keep hearing from your desk."

(Maybe a threat will do?) "I'm going to burn your hair off your scalp."

"What, so you can make a wig out of it to cover your bald spots?"

"Will you stop being so difficult?"

"Will you stop being such an asshole?"

"They're both really horny, I'll bet," he hears Falman whisper to Havoc; they both flash subtle smirks at each other, and now the only comfort is that at least Roy knows exactly who he wants on garbage duty.




(It matters to him. It does, it does it does. It matters so much to him, so much that sometimes he doesn't believe it, himself. The scenario resurfaces in his mind a little too abruptly and a little too sharply. It's his nightmare. If Ed was to die, find his body in another world, isolated and beyond any means of communication, then maybe a little piece of Roy would die as well, run and fall over the edge of his preconscious and never find its way back. The rapport is like a heat engine, energy efficiency more than three times shittier than an effaceable supernova. Isothermal isobaric systems pushing towards equilibrium but never quite touching the fulcrum of the balance beam, only near enough to lick it with the tip of your tongue, taste a little bit of the sweetness of tangibility and then feel it swing back until it collapses internally, gone in another swirl of autumnal debris. Everything is interconnected and folded back on complexes that fluctuate enough to wrap itself around the universe twice over and still have room to move. Everything shifts and wobbles on its own axis, bumps and grinds and excruciating chills down the spine; creates enough friction to power fifteen twenty-story buildings. Roy is connected to Ed, Ed is connected to Roy. When Ed feels society's grievances falling onto his lap, Roy will experience a tremor in his bones. When Ed feels the desire to spit out salty words, Roy will develop an uncharacteristic belligerence. When Ed smiles, Roy's heart will start to beat. And, as such—it matters. It does. It does, it does it does.)




Ed asks him questions in the form of statements.

"You're not going to fuck me."

"No."

"I want to know why."

"Because you're only sixteen," Roy retorts, feeling kinda stupid saying it because this kind of thing has never stopped him from sleeping with any girls.

"You always get to decide everything."

"That's because I'm Roy Mustang."

Fullmetal frowns. "You always have to have the last word, don't y—" (Roy closes his mouth with a kiss. No questions allowed.)

His heartbeat glows.




Hughes had a little bartending gig going on around the time they'd been in the academy. Preached something delightful about trade secrets, that the magic of mixing cocktails and scooping ice cubes from ice boxes made the girls flock around at a closer proximity, spill their boobs over the counter ordering tall glasses of Sex on the Beach, spill their boobs over the counter drowning their sorrows, spill their boobs over the counter fully-inebriated and Definitely Interested in A One Night Stand. And while the boob-spilling within a single Ladies' Night implied more action than what most of them usually see in a month, they all knew that Hughes was just trying to reinforce his chances with his manager's daughter. A week later, Jean Havoc decides that Hughes is attracting too many lady friends, whereupon he forcefully establishes himself as a regular customer who drowns out his relationship woes by picking up girls who spill their boobs over the counter fully-inebriated. He somehow also manages to convince Roy to make a promise of never stepping into Hughes' bar without Hawkeye by his side or unless if it was pure coincidence; say, if a murder case had come up and it just happened to occur on-grounds—if a prostitute had been stabbed on the counter while bartender was mixing a martini or something ("Havoc, if you're going to play a dangerous game like this, don't put my career on the line," Hughes frowns).

And it would have worked perfectly, if this promise hadn't been completely forgotten by Roy the minute they'd both sworn their sex lives on it.

But wait—he remembers it, now. He'd still been going out with Riza Hawkeye, back then. When he'd still been young and virtuous. They'd lost their fucking virginity together. How did he forget about this?

Of course.

When things fell apart with Riza, Maes Hughes was the first friend he'd turned to.




"I need to become intoxicated within the next five minutes."

Hughes wipes his hands against a purple towel on the counter, rubs the back of his head. "Damn, Mustang. That can't be good."

"Liquor. OrI swear to fuck I'm gonna start blowing things up."

"What—"

"Starting with your head."

His friend scratches his chin. "Hold up, Roy. Let me come outside with you."




"Hughsie, y'know. Havoc gonna killer me when he gonna find out. Walked into your bar an' hit on girls an' everything. Gonna get killered."

"Won't matter, Roy. Just don't killer yourself."

He's happy, and immensely so. So happy that he going to kiss Maes on his scratchy, bearded cheek, right now. Giggle a little in stupor, maybe. Heheh. Maes giggles back, helps him up from the ground until both of them are wobbling. They go prancing down the street, singing and dancing and beautifully, gloriously drunk. Just the moonlight, the June light and two fully-inebriated men in their birthday suits.

He adds another bit to the list he's been compiling. Maes Hughes. A good guy to get smashed with, drinking in the flavor of life.




So it happens one last time, when Hughes leaves them all behind.

They move against each other to the rhythm of the storm in Roy's head, to the thunder of her heart beating and the flashes of lightning in her eyes. She leans over him; her stiff nipples poke into his chest like the light pattering of raindrops. He pinches a raindrop between his fingers, feels her breath catch, and now her breath is the little bit of cold wind that sifts through his hair during the rain. Her moans are storm birds; they cry out every time he feels the harbinger crash around his ears.

(Riza's hands on him are tantalizing, devastating, too much. His cock twitches, and he pushes her up against the bed and takes her while she's still breathing hard and hot, thrusts deep into her, feels her quiet moan and her pulse and her lithe legs that wrap around his waist. It feels good, it really does, especially when she's calling out his name, fingers scrabbling for grip on his back—she doesn't have any finger nails, she bites them when she's nervous, it's the only bad habit she's ever had, he knows her like the back of his hand. He mouths wet kisses back up her throat, and she mewls, gasps when she feels teeth. Her hair is everywhere, out of the bun; it's pale, floats like a stratus cloud. And her eyes are open, now, they glare, finish-me-up-already-you-fucking-tease, and then he's moving, and she's moving, and he's fucking her and she's fucking him he can't hold back goddamnit-you're-always-so-tight, and she's moaning shut-up-you-bastard-fuck-me-fuck-me-fuck-me, and then she's gone and he's gone REALLYGONE but unlike Hughes, they both come back. The coming-back is what makes it bittersweet. Roy hates transcendence like a crime.)




And they finish when the storm outside begins.

"What are you doing?" Riza says. She's still breathless, breathing in diamonds and rubies, a storm half-spent and too soft to scar his skin.

"I don't feel the desire any more. It's strange."

"Well…do you like me?" Hawkeye asks him, dangling a bare arm over the side of Roy's bed.

"I do," he replies naturally (because of course he does, how can he be expected to sleep with a woman he doesn't like?), and then he wonders why it's so easy to say this to Riza Hawkeye and not to Edward Elric.

"Pretty rain," she murmurs.

"Cold tonight," he agrees.

(It's a bad habit; this is what he tells himself, nothing but a bad habit. Even without counting oh fuck and don't stop, they always end the conversation in two-worded phrases, some of it single-syllabic, others with two or three, all of it meaningless. Words peter off and dwindle away, break into simpler terms, slosh their way down three or four rain pipes, simmer to a stop in the monotonous ocean. Worthless entrails. Even the scavengers won't bother to give it a glance. And it's for no real reason, both of them know that. There is just nothing more to say, that's all. Whatever happened to childhood friendship and romance happened a long time ago.)

Winry Rockbell is the one who sees him slip out from Hawkeye's apartment.




She catches him at Hughes' grave, as well, bright in the morning at an ungodly hour when the birds are still quiet; when he'd been sure no one else would be up as a witness to this moment of sentiment, weak Colonel Mustang.

"You miss him, don't you?"

"I missed him, now he's dead," He corrects her after a while.

"I understand," she lets out a small sigh, and the chilly morning air puffs up around her mouth. He wonders if she thinks she really understands what he's feeling, wonders if even he can understand what he's feeling, himself; then, with another two pistol shots, remembers that she's supposed to hate him, intensely and rightfully so. Remembers that he can't really bring himself to dislike her, because she's definitely the one who lost more than he ever had. Guilt. It's the fucking guilt, the consequences paid for being too young and too virtuous.

He finally realizes why Winry Rockbell's words sting the most.

"Stop hurting."

"I'm not hurting."

"It's going to hurt Ed even more the minute he finds out you've been sleeping with a billion women behind his back."

"What are you—?" Shit. Shit, shit, shit.

"And now Riza Hawkeye? She's like a mother to him. You can't do this."

He grins sourly. "Really, Winry? That's kind of a bitch thing to do."

"What, telling him the truth? He's actually in love with you, and you don't give a shit about him."

"It's a lot more complicated than you t—"

"Looking pretty simple to me. And it's not even because you killed my parents or anything," Winry Rockbell spits out, "It's because I love him more than you ever will. And he knows it. Get out of his life."




(And what sucks, is that it's true, absolutely true. He can dice himself up, chop his mind and his body into little pieces, burn himself up into trillions of particles of carbon dioxide, become completely unrecognizable to the world, and he'll still know it, know it like he knew it the first he'd kissed Fullmetal on the lips, awkward red-faced boy kissing fully-inebriated man who'd probably have spilled his boobs over Hughes' counter if he'd had any boobs. Roy knows it as a fact of life—it's true, because he has never loved.)




"I-I shouldn't have expected," the blond boy says, his voice a little on the edge of wavering, held back only by his pride.

"You shouldn't have." Roy replies, because it's the only thing he can say now. He can't say I'm sorry, because he hasn't said it in a long time, and he can't say that he didn't mean it, because –if Hawkeye's scattered clothing around his bed, the tangled sheets, the fallen lamp is any indication– he clearly had.

And he most certainly couldn't say I love you, because he doesn't have the heartbeat to accompany the words.




Once in a while, he will lie down on the living floor in his apartment and look at the stars from the glass hole in the roof. Flat on his back, just him and the black velvet sky, the burning balls of hydrogen-to-helium. Questions arrive like hummingbirds to a precious bit of sunflower. Why he's still here, why he's still alive, why isn't his heart beating when he's alone, why the prices of milk and cheese have to keep rising, why he's so upset about milk and cheese when Fullmetal doesn't even like milk, what the hell is his problem anyway, why did Hughes have to leave them all behind, when was the last time he'd actually shed a tear? Constellations twinkle, crickets chirp, trees rustle, the commercial-capitalist upstairs cranks up the volume on her precious stock exchange report.

And somehow, life manages to go on.




"I'm going to the other world."

He smiles wanly, stares into the sky to avoid the face.

"So this is it, isn't it," Ed says, releases a little bitter breath, "Guess I really don't merit any reaction coming from the great Colonel Mustang, do I?"

"We'll miss you," he just nods, and then he turns away; his heart has stopped beating, once again.

(So Fullmetal got the last word anyway, Hughes would say, stupid Mustang you shameless, retarded fuck—but this time Hughes isn't here to say it anymore and so he does it himself. It doesn't hurt twice as much as it should.)




The science behind the heart is nothing new, Professor Harvey tells his class (and he's the one who likes to insult his students, make them identify as worthless in order to stimulate his selfish pessimism and justify that there is no meaning to life in the military)—the heart in empirical study is just a theory of bloodstreams, circulatory, arteries, veins, and capillaries. Knowledge of its functions benefits not a single one of the lousy cadets in this battle school, so we will leave it for the medical professionals. However! It is absolutely essential that you appreciate the importance of what brilliant knowledge that medical practitioners hold in their hands. As a mindless killing machine, you will want to strongly consider any ulterior motives, alternative solutions, convenient excuses before you pull the trigger on a medical professional, because lives will be at stake and you will be blamed. Never point your gun at a doctor if you can help it.

Well, it's just tough luck, Riza Hawkeye mutters, and when Roy agrees he feels the weight of the world slam down on his hands.




TBC.

Last part next?

Reviews are lovely. I will be putting a public service announcement very soon.
Tags: %angstyle, %slashstyle, +fma;resetplay, [fma], omg! fic, rated r, there is het
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