Setting: Fullmetal Alchemist, post-manga, about eight years after the Promised Day.
Rating: PG, but see title.
Word count: 1814
Summary: Ed took the box with an air of extreme caution, as if it contained a volatile substance. Which, in a sense, it did.
Notes: Thanks to a_big_apple for the super-quick read through, and for nerding with me about worldbuilding and the stuffs herein.
His absences were frequent; that Roy was used to them made it easier, but not any more pleasant. At least being President of the country helps you out when it comes to keeping busy.
His days at work were necessarily long. And when his lover was away and the rooms were empty, his friends were usually happy to help fill his evenings. His vice president was usually alone when she was in town, thanks to the fact that her partner was Governor of Ishbal. They kept each other company in their usual, easy way. At other times it would be Havoc and his wife jovially bullying him to the private room of a restaurant, and calling him an alchemy widower. Armstrong, who'd sometimes threaten to cook. Breda, who'd invite him around and let the kids jump all over him. These days, it seemed like everyone was paired off, and how had Roy had somehow not noticed that until it had happened? But then he'd had a lot on his mind: plotting a coup, and then another coup, and then reforming a country, and rebuilding a shattered region, and along the way somehow also settling down with the most irritating and brilliant man in Amestris. Who spent far, far too much time away.
But then, Edward Elric was Edward Elric. Trying to make him into anything different would be missing the point. Besides, he had work to do. While Roy was reforming Amestris, Ed and his brother were busy reforming science.
As busy as Roy was naturally, as busy as he made himself, the absences were there. When Ed was too far from a telephone to call, Roy missed his voice. When he did phone, Roy missed his expressions and his body and his scent. In between phone calls, he found himself saving up stories for Ed, wanting to ask Ed's opinion on some matter he knew Ed would have something pithy to say about. He slept with his limbs wrapped around Ed's pillow, and dearly hoped his security detail never spotted him doing it. Love had never done Roy any favours in the personal dignity department.
And then, of course, there was the sex. Or rather, the complete lack of it. Ed thousands of miles away meant no leisurely Sunday morning groping. It meant no living room ambushes from a research-glazed Ed feeling the sudden need for a very physical break. No kinky activities that took long enough that they needed to be scheduled in advance. No occasional office blow-jobs (because really, what's the point of being President if you're not going to?). It had been a two month trip to Creta, this time, and Roy was about ready to hump a hole in the wall.
So, at lunchtime the day before Ed was due back, when Roy walked into his office to find Ed in Roy's own chair, suitcase by the desk and boots propped up on top of it, Roy really couldn't summon up too much irritation.
Of course, this meant that he had to fake the irritation. Boundaries were boundaries. Let no one say that Roy Mustang, first democratically elected President of Amestris, was whipped.
Roy looked at the boots and narrowed his eyes.
Ed tutted. "I put a piece of paper under the boots. See? Paper." He pointed at the copy of today's Central Times resting under his heels.
Then Ed just carried on looking at the newspaper. He cocked his head in surprise, then suddenly swung his feet to the floor and snatched up the paper.
"How was your journey?" said Roy, coming around the desk as Ed scanned avidly through the front page story.
"Mm," Ed shrugged. "Have you seen this?"
"Of course I've seen the story, how much do you think I slack off? Weren't you supposed to be back tomorrow? Not that I'm not delighted to see your feet on my desk?"
Ed's leg had started to jiggle. "There was an earlier train, I was ready to come home." He waved a dismissive hand, then jabbed it at the paper." Did you do this? I thought you said it was a conflict of interest, so it had to come from parliament. Is this gonna get you in trouble?"
"I didn't, and it did come from parliament, and it's not."
"Oh." Ed opened the paper and glanced inside, then shut it again. Then jiggled his leg. And looked down at the headline, and then up at Roy, and then down at the headline.
House Votes Today on Same-Sex Marriage Bill.
"A Progressive Dem MP called Lucy Obermeyer proposed it. The party are backing it privately, but the leadership decided it'd be a vote of conscience, no whip. This was all last month."
"Why didn't you tell me about this? You must have known for ages."
"You've been away for ages."
"On the phone?"
"I thought I'd leave it as a surprise."
Ed shook his head tolerantly. "Sure, Roy. Nothing says welcome home like surprise legislation."
"Not a surprise if you'd been picking up Amestrian newspapers, I do know they get out there."
"Not in the Araki mountains, they don't. Anyway, I talk to you, you'll tell me if someone burned down the country while I was out."
"So. They're voting on it today. It's going to pass. Because I know all the members of parliament who don't approve, and there actually aren't that many of them." Roy took a breath. "So."
Ed was apparently having one of his oblivious moments. Roy came around the desk, and kissed Ed hello, because he hadn't done that yet, and then pulled his top desk drawer open, and took something from it.
Ed looked at the little box in Roy's hand, and groaned.
Then he bit his lip and said, "Roy." The word was practically a continuation of the same groan, full of fears Ed was clearly too guilty to voice about the probably camp and definitely sappy contents of the box, and probably of Roy's brain, and possibly of Ed's brain too.
It was, in short, the exact reaction Roy had been expecting.
He grinned reassuringly, and Ed smiled nervously. Ed took the box with an air of extreme caution, as if it contained a volatile substance. Which, in a sense, it did. Ed's eyes were big, and his eyebrows had disappeared somewhere in the upper recesses of his bangs.
Ed grinned at Roy. Then he jiggled his foot. Then he squared his jaw, and clicked the box open.
"Huh." The surprise in his voice wasn't clearly happy or horrified, and so now it was Roy's turn to nervously widen his eyes and raise his eyebrows into his hair. "This is, uh. Wow. That's actually - really fucking cool."
Roy breathed out.
Ed had taken the ring out and was weighing it in the palm of his left hand. "It's really heavy." He turned the ring over. It was chunky, with a brilliant sheen to the darkish metal. "I love it, it's awesome. Is it" - he peered closer - "it's an alloy, what is it?"
"Tungsten carbide. You don't have to polish it, it keeps its shine. And apparently it's nearly impossible to scratch." And make sure that they use nickel and not cobalt as a binder, Winry had told Roy on the phone as he frantically scribbled, because of the oils from skin. And … It had gone on for ages - but now he really owed her one.
"What's the ring of black stuff going all the way around, is it onyx or something?"
"It's ancient wood. Two thousand years old, from the banks of the river Sulis. It was part of the old port, when this city was first built."
Ed turned the ring over again, then put his nose so close to it that his eyes nearly crossed. "Did they have to chemically harden it, or is it a transmutation - or does it partially fossilise? How do they seal it, is it lacquered?"
"No idea." Ed rolled his eyes and shook his head with a grin, because of course these were the first questions Roy should have asked, because this was the important thing here, the biochemistry of the wood. Roy took a breath. "So."
Ed returned his look with that blinding smile. "Thank you! It rocks." Ed put the ring on the end of his index finger and admired it from all angles, titling his head around.
Roy put a hand to Ed's shoulder. "Ed! The ring comes with a question. Remember?"
Ed blinked, then frowned and looked inward for a moment. Then he looked back up.
Roy didn't breathe.
"Yeah, we can do that." Ed shrugged and nodded, his voice happy and casual. "I mean, you're just talking about a small thing and then a party, right? Like Havoc and Catalina? Not the big old Presidential dog and pony show, because, no way. Right?"
"God, no," said Roy with feeling. "I still feel like I'm having to steer you towards the point here. Look." He took Ed's face in his hands, as if holding his head in place would have any effect at all on his runaway brain. "I'm not asking about the wedding. Forget the wedding. I'm asking you to marry me. I'm asking you to be married to me. We make a bunch more promises, and then we live with them, and we carry on loving each other."
Ed looked at him. He looked at Roy and cycled through half a dozen of his best expressions. There was embarrassed (delicious blush and mouth pressed into a line), then taken aback (mouth slackened and open a little), then manly determination (lips setting into a wide frown, made him look like a grumpy child), then getting sappy despite himself (eyes wide, muscles of his face softening), and then he was kissing Roy. The kiss was lovely and purposeful and it had a lot of tongue in it. Apparently, Ed had had tuna sandwiches for lunch. Roy wasn't a big fan of tuna, but he'd cope.
Ed pulled back a little. His hand scratched at Roy's hairline. "The kiss is a yes," he muttered. "I'm telling you this because when you're nervous as shit you can get kind of dense."
"Oh," said Roy. "Well. Thank you for the clarification." His throat closed up, with no warning, on the last word.
Ed's eyes were suspiciously bright.
Roy took a breath. It hitched, but his throat relaxed. "By the way," he said, "I should mention. If we can both go the next ten minutes without any manly tears, we win fifty cenz from Winry."
Ed nodded. He pulled in a breath, put his fists on his knees, and did the frown of manly determination again. Then he commenced heroically attempting not to sniff, while Roy himself breathed deeply and slowly, and tried not to blink.
Two and a half minutes later, Roy was pulling fifty cenz out of his wallet, while Ed dialled the number of Atelier Rockbell.