Authors: bob_fish and sky_dark
Rating: PG for swears and domestic bickering
Word Count: 1429
Summary: In keeping with his general approach to marital disputes, Roy tried charm first.
Notes: Written from a prompt for moumusu, and from a very silly comment thread RP between myself and sky_dark.
After three weeks in which a razor hadn't so much as touched Ed's cheeks, it was becoming horribly apparent to Roy that the beard might be permanent. Roy did not approve: not of the beard burn that kissing his lover was now earning him, not of the disappearance of Ed's delicious jawline under dark blond scruff, and definitely not of the middle-aged look. Something had to be done.
In keeping with his general approach to marital disputes, Roy tried charm first. "It's a crime to cover up that face," he purred, rubbing the unbearded part of Ed's cheek with his thumb.
"No," said Ed, continuing to ignore Roy in favour of the Sunday funnies, "it's just that your inherent pedo nature freaks out at any sign of my actual age."
"Not true!" Well, mostly not true. Was it dubious not to want your twenty-five year old lover to have a forty-five year old's beard? "I have no issue at all with most signs of your maturity." Roy tried a sexy eyebrow wiggle.
"Is that so?" said Ed, setting aside his paper. His voice was somewhere between amused and annoyed. "I know which parts you like, that's why I still wear these tight pants. And I still do all that is necessary to make sure these tight pants look good. See? That's love right there."
"I don't think sparring with your brother is exactly a sacrifice you make to stay looking good." Roy tutted.
"Well, I don't think my face enters into what you like to be mature on me," Ed shot back. "Besides, you liked it when I used it to scratch your back last night."
"Well, I didn't know at the time that was the beard!"
"Can't have your cake and eat it too, Mustang," said Ed, folding his arms with an air of finality. "Better get used to the built in loofah."
"And I don't see what this has to do with having my cake and eating it," Roy returned. He was not going to fold over this, dammit. "Plenty of adult men are clean-shaven. I shave. Some would say that needing to display one's manhood to the world in facial hair form was a sign of immaturity. Of course, pedo that I am, I always found your adolescent need to point out that you had an adam's apple to be quite charming."
"You're just jealous because I have to shave," said Ed. "You just show your chin a razor and it folds into submission. You know what this is? This slander on my right to manhood? It's your way of trying to make your self feel better for your beard growing inadequacies. I'm not fooled. You know, Mustang, some people are just better at some things." Ed had begun to pace up and down, golden eyes glowering at Roy. Roy was reminded somewhat of a very bored lion he'd once seen in a zoo.
"Like me," Ed continued, "I'm better at growing a beard and you don't like being second best at anything. Sure, that is something I love about you, but it's also something I hate about you. I have this love/hate thing with your smug superiority about being the best ... " Ed paused, shot a hesitant glance in Roy's direction. “While at the same time it makes me hot, like inconveniently.” Here he paused again. Ed had often berated himself, both publicly and privately about his unnatural talent for letting the proverbial cat out of the bag. He often bemoaned to anyone who would listen about how Roy had some mental powers that forced people to pony up the most sensitive of information. Like, how hot you think they are; how much you like it when they make that silly pucker face at you and of course where you have stashed all of the mixed nuts. Ed told Roy that he had a sure fire remedy for the next time he slipped up.
“You know how I always do that thing where somehow the things I'm thinking in my head are actually said out loud and they're not supposed to be? And when it's only in your presence? I've decided this is how to handle it: you know what?" Ed whirled around suddenly to face Roy, pointing a finger at him. "Shuddup! I can kick your ass!"
Roy blinked. Well, Ed had said at least one thing that merited further exploring. "Do tell me more about this thing where my smug superiority makes you hot," Roy purred.
"I'm not explaining anything," said Ed flatly. "I'll give you a head start."
Roy canted his head, trying to work out if Ed was the kind of irritated that could be turned to Roy's advantage, of if he meant business and Roy was going to have to lock himself in the bathroom. It wasn't that Ed would actually beat him up - but his vigorous ideas of manly sparring, manly wrestling and other manly ways of settling disagreements had left Roy with bruises before. Complaints from Roy generally earned the response that this was how Ed and Al always settled their differences.
Ed got a dangerous look in his eyes. "Well," he said, "you gonna start running? You bruise easily."
Well, that answered that. A swift spring for the bathroom later, Roy continued the discussion from behind the relative safety of a locked door. "I only comment because I care! I think we need to talk about your sensitivity to criticism! Some would say that threatening one's spouse with fisticuffs because they criticised a detail of personal appearance was ... not very mature."
The beard was evidently even more important to Ed's ego than Roy had realised, because he didn't even react to the maturity jibe. "No one is going to fault one's spouse for putting one's spouse in traction for the infraction of belittling one's spouse's beard," Ed yelled from the other side of the door. "Fuck, you got me talking that shit like you. Now, open the door, Mustang, my five shiny friends wanna have a chat with your nose!"
"Love?" said Roy uncertainly, trying to sound as nervous as he could.
From the other side of the bathroom door, came a heavy sigh. Roy's use of the pet name had done its job: Ed had realised he'd taken his bravado too far. There was a frustrated little slap on the door, then the sound of Ed's footsteps tapping away.
Roy opened the door - cautiously - stood in the doorway, and directed a pleading glance at Ed's back. This move had a history of great effectiveness. Ed always seemed to be able to tell, even from behind, when he was staring, and could always tell too when the stare was an appealing one. Now to persuade Ed that he could back down and save face at the same time.
"Ed," Roy said. "You know you have an ... advantage over me in hand-to-hand. You're not exactly an average joe in a fight, you know, and while I certainly don't mind being married to an athletic demigod, surely even you can admit you're ... intimidating."
Lured by flattery, Ed turned around. He probably didn't even realise he was sticking his chest out all puffed up like a little peacock. Roy was not going to tell him. "Yeah," he said, with a hint of pride, "I know I'm intimidating." Then he got inevitably caught in Roy's pleading glance, and looked away quickly, his cheeks a little pink. "So, you know, I've never really hurt you, I mean in any lasting way, you know, like I would." He glanced at Roy quickly, then away again. "So," he continued, sounding a little uncertain, "I guess we're even. Still not shaving, though."
Roy pressed the advantage and stepped cautiously closer. "I know you wouldn't hurt me, Ed," he said softly. He was still working the eyes. He held out a hand.
Ed's jaw worked. He looked at Roy's hand, looked at Roy's face, looked back at Roy's hand again. Then he looked away and took Roy's hand, quickly, as if he was trying to get it done before anyone saw him. Roy sidled closer, then decided it was safe to go in for a hug. He'd judged rightly: Ed leaned in, pressed his nose into Roy's neck and inhaled.
Roy wrapped Ed closer. And then he played his trump card. "Although," he muttered, "it is a bit distracting how much that beard makes you look like your father."
Somehow, Ed's automail toes managed accidentally to kick the instep of Roy's all too human foot.