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“You’re hiding something from me, Brother.”

Ed doesn’t hear Al at first, because he’s reading a treatise which isn’t even worth the paper it’s printed on, regarding the overlap between Amestrian alchemy and Xingese alkahestry, working himself up to a proper rant about how terrible it is. His brain is absolutely focused on it, to the exclusion of all else.

“Brother, please.

It’s the tone of Al’s voice that snaps him out of it; he’s not capable of ignoring Al when he’s upset. “What happened? Are you alright?”

Al studies him and Ed can’t help but melt at the sight of his brother’s skinny face, his soft golden eyes and softer golden hair. Seeing Al is a miracle, and one he never intends to take for granted ever again. Al shakes his head, correctly interpreting his thought process.

“I’m fine Brother, but I worry you’re not. You’re hiding something from me.”

Ed doesn’t bother denying it. He wouldn’t disrespect Al that way. “I am,” he admits, and then doesn’t explain.

“You’re not going to tell me what it is,” Al realises, and he sounds genuinely hurt by the thought. “Brother, why not? I just want to help you.”

Ed drops the bound treatise on the cushion beside him with a snort and stands up, taking a single step to where Al is sitting. Even standing, Ed’s not much taller than Al, who’s built like a beanpole. He wraps his arms around Al’s head and pulls him to his chest, closing his eyes and inhaling the clean smell of Al’s hair. Al has hair , and it’s as much a wonder as the rest of him. Ed strokes the back of his head and Al returns the hug, almost crushingly tight.

“I love you, Al.”

Al’s breath hitches. “You’re scaring me, Ed.” It’s rare for Al to call him by his name, and his voice trembles on the end of the syllable. “Please tell me what’s wrong?”

“Can I promise you that nothing is wrong with me? I’m in perfect health, and I’m not in any danger. Will you take my word for it?”

Ed waits for a long moment before Al nods, face still pressed against his chest. Ed kisses the top of his head. “I’m alright, little brother. It’s not going to last forever - I suppose you’ll find out eventually, and then I hope you won’t judge me too hard for it.”

“I may judge your choices, Brother, but I’ll never judge you, and I’ll never ever stop loving you. I swear it, nothing could change that about me.”

Ed squeezes around Al reflexively, fingers fisting in the thin t-shirt covering Al’s back, receiving as much comfort as he’s giving. He doesn’t say anything about the wet patch growing on the front of his own shirt, where Al’s face is pressed. When he shudders deeply and releases his arms, Ed allows Al to draw back.

Al pats ineffectively at the damp patch. “I ruined your shirt,” he mumbles. Ed wraps his hand around Al’s hand to catch his attention and grins softly when Al looks up at him.

“This isn’t going to ruin anything, Al.” He’s talking about more than just his shirt and they both know it.

Al sighs and doesn’t respond. “What are you reading, anyway?” He asks a moment later, mercifully changing the subject.

“Oh, that? It’s some garbage about the difference between alchemy and alkahestry. It predates Flamel’s theorem so it’s wrong about pretty much everything, but I do want to read the raw data, you know?”

“Older than Flamel? Gosh Brother, that sounds like a first edition text. Where did you get it? I didn’t think the library would allow you to take it out…”

Ed shrugs. “Roy had it in his personal library. He lent it to me.”

Al studies him carefully. “Roy, huh?” And he looks like he’s figuring something out, but Ed doesn’t know what. He just hopes Al drops it without asking any more questions.

-

Keeping the secret only gets harder as the days pass.

Al is suspicious and worried, and it doesn’t help that others are beginning to ask questions too.

The team have been joking that Roy’s been in a good mood ever since he started getting laid regularly, speculating about the hypothetical qualities of his latest fling. Roy doesn’t even deny the accusations, just smiles beatifically, rendering Ed useless with his stupidly well-defined dimples.

Roy is so happy that Ed can’t bring himself to ask Roy to tone it down, to be careful, because Ed is terrified of the consequences if people were to find out...

In truth, it’s not like he’s Roy’s subordinate anymore; he hasn’t been for a long time. But there will always be those who remember him as a twelve year old child, who will accuse Roy of all sorts of horrible things, none of which are true but which will ruin his prospects anyway. Ed doesn’t want to be an obstacle in Roy’s path to Fuhrership. He’ll die before he drags Roy down like that.

The problem is that every time he considers breaking it off, every time he musters up his courage to tell Roy that they can’t carry on, Roy touches his cheek, or holds his hand, or kisses Ed softly and the entire galaxy condenses into the space between their mouths, and Ed’s willpower melts like ice cream on a hot sidewalk. Roy has become critical to his very existence. Every cell in Ed’s body rebels at the thought of walking away from him.

But he must. Even if it feels like a knife through his heart or an amputation, even if it’s worse than both his automail surgeries combined, he has to. He won’t let himself be a burden.

Even as he’s working up to it, he clings to Roy, basking in Roy’s affection like it’s the only thing that’s keeping him alive. He knows he should be weaning himself off, distancing himself to make it easier on Roy, at least, but he keeps tripping up on his own desires.

Every last kiss turns into the second-last, and then the third; surely just one more wouldn’t hurt? Every last-day is pushed to tomorrow, and then next week. Roy should be proud, because for him, Ed has turned into a master procrastinator. He draws Ed in like a magnet and there’s too much iron in his body to be able to resist.

He can’t say no, not when Roy pulls him into his bed, not when Roy kisses him sweetly and undresses him, and especially not when he’s riding Roy like this, dripping with sweat, thighs shaking with exertion, hands planted on Roy’s chest and Roy crooning sweet encouragement at him. He can’t even think, let alone plan how to end this - he’s not so strong, or so selfless, he just can’t .

Roy’s hand wraps neatly around his cock and his heart is pounding so hard in his chest that Ed thinks it might escape in the melee, the flurry of limbs and hair and desperate little noises that Roy is drawing out of him. Ed presses their lips together, muffling his cries in Roy’s mouth and hoping he doesn’t notice that they sound more like grief than ecstasy. Roy meets him half-way when his strength gives out, moving his hips in tandem with his fist around Ed’s cock until Ed’s vision is flashing with light and his body is on fire and it’s - it’s perfect.

Roy draws the orgasm out of him like he’s a master and this is the craft he’s spent his entire life honing. He comes at almost the same time, burying himself and blooming inside Ed, and it’s - nothing in Ed’s life has ever been so wonderful as this closeness, this intimacy. Ed feels tears prickling at the corners of his eyes and threatening to spill over, and he wants to shout and scream because it’s not fair that he doesn’t get to keep this one good thing.

The tears eventually overwhelm, because of the knowledge that he’s never going to find anyone like Roy ever again.

He’s still sobbing when Roy pulls him down, arranging Ed’s trembling body beside his own, drawing soothing lines down his back and kissing his cheeks, his forehead, the tip of his nose.

“I love you so much,” Ed confesses wetly and Roy laughs, a sound full of joy and no teasing at all.

“I love you too my darling,” Roy replies, tucking a piece of Ed’s hair behind his ear and stroking his face, wiping tears away with soft fingertips.

Roy is the best person to lead this country, Ed reminds himself, no matter how beautiful he looks like this, sweaty and naked and in love. That’s why Ed has to do this. He takes a deep breath and holds it.

“I think we should break up,” Ed manages to choke, words sticking behind the lump in his throat.

Roy’s reaction is even worse than Ed had expected. He goes absolutely still and cold, like he’s turned into ice. His hand draws back from Ed’s face and he was right; it’s worse than an amputation. He’d give anything for Roy’s touch now, but this is a tragedy of his own making. He has to follow through.

“What.” Roy asks, so flatly that it’s not even a question anymore.

Ed sobs and brings a fist up to his mouth, biting his knuckles to keep quiet. “This won’t work, Roy. I’m not… you need someone better. I’ll just drag you down. You have important things to do and you can’t do them if I’m with you.”

The worst part is he’d actually planned what to say, calmly and rationally, but now that he’s here none of his thoughts are flowing right and his tongue keeps tripping on itself. “I’m no good for you, Roy.”

There’s a long moment of silence and Ed bites his lower lip, waiting for Roy’s reply. It’s not going to be good, if the look on his face is anything to go by. When he speaks, his voice sends a shiver down Ed’s spine.

“This is low, Ed. Especially for you. I’d hoped that of all people, if you changed your mind about being with me, you wouldn’t hide behind a weak excuse like this.” His tone is scathing, and he’s never spoken with Ed this way before. He must be hurting badly and Ed’s chest aches. “If you don’t want to date me, you should just say it. It’s not like I haven’t noticed that you don’t want us to be seen together in public.”

And this is the first time he’s even mentioned it. Roy’s not wrong, of course, though he’s misunderstood Ed’s actions; Ed had been avoiding it for Roy’s own sake. He shakes his head, but Roy doesn’t let him speak.

“What was this, then? A pity fuck?” Roy sounds furious and Ed wants to reach out and touch him, but that’s not his place. Not anymore.

He shakes his head again. “I’ve never pitied you. Not once. And everything I’ve done with you,” Ed barely manages to choke the words out, “is because I wanted to, and because I love you. Please try to understand.”

Roy scoffs and crosses his arms over his chest, turning away; a marked difference from just minutes ago when he’d been touching Ed at three or four points from their heads to their knees to the tips of their toes.

“So what, I’m supposed to believe that you’re doing this for my own good?” Roy rolls his eyes, as if to show just what he thinks of that.

Ed takes a deep breath, and then another, and a third, until he stops shuddering, and then he sets his shoulders. His fingers are dying to reach out to cross the distance between them, but he clenches them into fists in the hems of the blanket. His stomach is churning unpleasantly and if he gets through this without vomiting he thinks he might even be able to call it a victory.

“I’m no good for you,” he repeats lowly, fighting to keep his tone even. “I’m the worst possible option. You’re Roy Mustang. You’re the Flame Alchemist. You’re a hero. You’re going to be the Fuhrer. You can’t be involved with a crippled orphan, Roy. I’ve got nothing to offer, not alchemy, or even an ounce of tact. It won’t make sense. You know what people will say, what people already say.”

“I don’t care what people say!” Roy bursts out, turning to glare at him and Ed doesn’t even care how angry he looks, he’s just grateful for the eye contact. He’d been afraid that Roy would never look at him again, and he adores Roy’s eyes, even when they’re furious. Ed tries for a watery smile.

“Yes, but you’re aiming for democracy. That means you kinda have to care, Roy. That’s the point.”

“So you’re telling me that the reason you don’t want to be seen with me in public is because you think I give a flying fuck about what people think.” Ed can’t help but flinch; Roy doesn’t swear unless he’s screamingly angry. The last time had been with Envy…

He takes a slow shuddering breath and nods. “Maybe our friends don’t, but there are a lot of people who notice us, when we go out. I know it’s my fault, but I can’t help it. When I’m around you, I can’t help but turn to look at you. When you smile, I smile. Sometimes it’s all I can do to not reach out and hold your hand. I know you’re good at controlling yourself but Sheska told me sometimes people place bets on whether we just got together, or whether we’ve been ‘fucking for years’.”

Roy’s gaze burns like a heat lamp, or perhaps like fire, and Ed looks away, down at his lap, just to try to escape it. “I’m scared, you know? I’ve always been inappropriate with you, even when I was younger. I didn’t treat you like my boss even when you were, and I definitely don’t, now. I’ve been trying to be more civil in public, so people don’t think… I don’t know, so they don’t think whatever they’ve been thinking, but it’s hard. This is who I’ve been around you for more than half my life. I don’t know how to be anyone else. And that’s the problem.”

Roy sighs deeply and looks away. Something inside Ed’s chest crumbles. Strange, that he hadn’t thought that there was anything left to break, but he’s been wrong before.

He pushes himself up, sliding his feet off the edge of the bed. He’s not even wearing anything that he can wipe his eyes with, so he swipes at them with the back of his hands, pushing his feet into his slippers. Well, Roy’s slippers. Ed had appropriated them when he started spending more time at Roy’s place. There’s a lot of stuff he’ll be giving up, but none of it is going to hurt more than losing Roy.

“So that’s it, then,” Roy says, not even turning to look at him. Ed’s ribs must be shattering inside his chest - there’s no other explanation for how much this hurts. “You’re just going to walk away. It’s that easy.”

The sob that erupts from his mouth hurts like broken glass in his throat and Roy immediately turns to look at him, like there’s still a part of him that cares for Ed, who hurts when he’s hurting even though Ed has just thrown that all away. “Nothing,” Ed manages to say, “nothing about this is easy.

Ed makes to stand up but Roy’s fingers catch his wrist and hold him tight, keeping him from moving. “Then don’t do it. Stay with me. Please.

Ed has never heard Roy beg before, and he never wants to hear it again. Roy’s proud voice isn’t meant for this. This is Ed’s fault.

He shakes his head but doesn’t try to break Roy’s grip. “I want you to succeed. I want you to achieve your goals. There’s no other way for me to help you, apart from this. I love you, which is why I don’t want you to give up your dreams. You can be Fuhrer, I have faith.” He brings his wrist up to his mouth and kisses Roy’s knuckles, the skin rough and dry under his lips; familiar.

“Okay?” he asks, swallowing hard and forcing a smile onto his face. “Anyway, I’ll still be around, if you need me. We can still be friends, right?”

“No,” Roy growls, and Ed can’t do anything to hide the flinch at the venom in his tone.

“Okay,” he says softly, even though he doesn’t want to. “It’s okay. I understand.” And he does. If Roy had hurt him the way he’s hurting Roy now, he wouldn’t want to be friends either. He feels himself shrinking, shoulders slumping low. “You’ll have to give me some time. Maybe a week. I’ll be out of Central and you won’t have to see me again, I promise. I can do that for you.”

No,” Roy snarls, yanking him back. Ed closes his eyes and wait for the blow; whether it’s physical or verbal hardly matters. “No, it’s not okay. I’m not okay. I can’t accept this.” His grip is so tight around Ed’s wrist that it’s the only thing keeping Ed from running away, and maybe Roy knows that. This isn’t easy for either of them.

“You’ll find someone else, Roy. Someone who can help you. I’d rather die than be the reason you lose everything you’ve ever worked for.”

Roy makes a sound deep in his chest like he’s been shot, like something has pierced the very heart of him and he’s bleeding out. Nothing in Ed is capable of ignoring Roy in pain either, and his eyes fly open. “Look at me,” he demands, and Ed looks. “What have I ever done to make you feel you’re less important than my ambitions? Or that our relationship can’t coexist with our goals?”

Ed shakes his head and tries to look away but Roy’s eyes are magnetic, and Ed loves him. “Nothing,” he replies softly. “But what’s best for you is more important than my happiness. I’ll be okay, as long as you’re well. I want you to be happy.”

Roy yanks him even closer. “Do you even want to break up with me?” he demands, voice sharp, allowing no leeway.

Ed feels tears brimming in his eyes again, and he tries to speak but chokes on a sob instead. He shakes his head. He doesn’t want to break up with Roy, ever.

“Then listen to me, and listen hard ,” Roy says, so close that he’s speaking the words practically into Ed’s mouth. “I can’t go back to living without you. Without you, I could never be happy.” Ed shudders when Roy’s lips brush against his, from the touch and the intensity of his words.

“If you leave me, I won’t be able to live in Central, because this is where we live and I can’t live without you anymore. You’re written into my house, my skin, my life. I’ll get myself demoted, move to a front line somewhere, where I wouldn’t be reminded of you around every corner. Your voice would still be in my head all the time and it wouldn’t let me do anything stupid, but I wouldn’t be particularly careful either. I’d — I wouldn’t be able to hurt myself, knowing how disappointed you’d be, but I wouldn’t try particularly hard to avoid it. I wouldn’t last long, and I’d be grateful when — well. If you asked me to choose between you and the Fuhrership, do you know what I’d choose?”

“I don’t want you to have to choose, Roy, that’s the point!” Ed pleads, because his willpower is crumbling but he has to try. “If I leave, you don’t have to choose.”

“You can’t make that decision for me. I’d choose you anyway, Edward Elric. If I thought you were leaving me for a reason as stupid as this, I’d follow you, wherever you went. I don’t want to be without you. You’re vital to me.”

His words sound so much like Ed’s own thoughts, because Ed doesn’t know what he’d do if Roy leaves him. He’d probably lie down on the ground and refuse to get up. He’d do the riskiest, most dangerous thing he could, because staying safe just wouldn’t matter anymore.

He knows it’s not healthy, but he can’t help it. He’s always loved like this, and it’s — it’s something , to know that Roy loves like this too. Like it’s a zero-sum game.

“Do you still want to break up with me?” Roy asks again, moving a hand to rest gently on Ed’s shoulder, digging his fingers into the tense muscles, making Ed shiver. He shakes his head, honestly.

“Then stay with me,” Roy asks again. “Please. Whatever you’re worried about, we’ll find a solution. I promise.”

“What if you can’t be Fuhrer because of me? Because of us?” Ed asks, quietly, terrified of the answer.

Roy drags him even closer, until he’s practically lying back down. He strokes Ed’s face, and his hair, and Ed’s eyes flutter shut. “Then when it’s time for us to retire, we’ll buy a house somewhere sunny, near the sea. We’ll move there together, with all our books. We’ll go fishing and swimming and spend hours sitting on the beach, reading and talking and squishing sand between our toes. When the sun sets, we’ll go back to our bedroom and make love for as long as our wrinkly old bodies can handle it. Your Brother and our friends will visit us sometimes but mostly it’ll just be us, with no one to speculate about our relationship. We’ll be happy, Ed. Nothing more, nothing less. Don’t you want that?”

By the end of it, Ed’s eyes are dripping and he can almost smell the tang of sea air in his nose. He nods and Roy kisses him, just a simple press of their lips, wet and salty with tears. They part with a  slightly pathetic sound.

“You’re an idiot,” Roy says, and the chilling fury in his voice is gone even though he still sounds angry and choked up.

“I know,” Ed replies, because he does. “But I love you, and I didn’t know what else to do.”

“Talk to me before you make any big decisions, idiot. I love you too. This isn’t just your relationship, it’s ours. Whatever we decide, we do it together. Alright?”

When he puts it like that, it sounds almost stupidly obvious, even though Ed knows it isn’t going to be so easy. Roy kisses him again when he doesn’t reply. “Alright? We can figure this out.”

“You’re the only person I’d trust as Fuhrer, Roy,” Ed says, because it’s a point worth making. “It’s not just me, it’s for the good of Amestris.”

Fuck Amestris,” Roy spits, venomously. Ed flinches. “I’ve given everything for this country; my youth, my blood, my sweat and tears. I lost my best friend to this godforsaken country, sacrificed my best years for it. It’s taken enough from me. I’ll do my best, but I won’t regret it if there’s nothing else I can do. I won’t lose you too.”

“You won’t,” Ed says finally, because there’s a tone of loss in Roy’s voice and somehow it never occurred to him that losing their relationship would grieve Roy. Which is stupid, of course, but somehow it just hadn’t occurred to Ed. “I’m with you, for better or for worse.”

Roy’s grip around his shoulder tightens and then released almost immediately. “You know there’s a lot more to wedding vows than just that, right?”

Ed had known that, because he’s been helping Winry with her vows for months now. He hadn’t expected Roy to. He nods.

“Putting a ring on your finger would be the greatest privilege, Ed. Whenever you’re ready for it.”

Truth be told, Ed is already ready for it. There’s no one in the world for him, except this man. There’s no future for him, other than the one with Roy. He nods again, because words are suddenly very difficult and he hopes Roy  understands him anyway.

“No more stupid break-ups, okay?” Roy asks, letting him off the hook. “You’re only allowed to break up for me with legitimate reasons, like falling in love with someone else, or me treating you badly.”

Ed makes a face. “I can’t imagine loving anyone else. I can’t imagine you treating me badly.”

Roy’s face goes soft. “So you were willing to assign yourself to a long and lonely future just because you thought it’s what I wanted?”

Ed shrugs. Really, Roy has a way of articulating things that makes Ed’s thought process sound incredibly stupid. Roy’s hand lands on his cheek and his forehead presses against Ed’s own. “You’re an idiot,” Roy whispers into Ed’s mouth. Ed’s eyes flicker down to his lips and then back up again. “I love you. I want to be Fuhrer, but not more than I want you.”

“I love you too,” Ed says, “and I want you to be happy.”

Roy sighs and leans in again, kissing him deeply and pushing Ed until he’s lying on his back, looking up at Roy. “My darling, can’t you see? I’m already happy.”

-

They don’t do anything as crass as announcing it in public, but that doesn’t mean Ed doesn’t want to, now that they’ve decided not to hide it anymore.

He tells Al first. The whole mess, from the beginning when he and Roy collided like twin stars who’d been orbiting each other for thousands of years, to the almost-end and the way Roy had refused to let him sacrifice his own happiness in favour of the greater good. When he finishes, Al pulls him into a crushing hug, standing up so that Ed can’t escape his arms.

“Brother, you’re an idiot. I don’t judge your choice even a little bit. Truth be told, I suspected there was something there, but I wasn’t sure you reciprocated. The Colonel is more than a little obvious about how much he likes you. I wondered if you’d ever pick up on it. There are many worse choices you could have made, Brother.”

Ed ducks his head and tugs at the hem of his shirt for lack of something better to do with his hands. “Yeah well, I really like him too. I didn’t think he was more obvious than me. I felt like everything I did was announcing how much I—”

“It’s okay Brother, you can say it you know. You love him. I’m glad. I’m so proud of you, and so happy that you’re happy, and I’ll personally break his legs if he does anything to change that.”

Ed snorts wetly at the uncharacteristically violent threat from Al. It feels like he’s been crying a lot recently, but this doesn’t feel too bad. It feels like a pressure valve inside him has been released. “Thanks, Al.”

Al shrugs. “Are you going to tell everyone else?”

Ed shrugs in turn, wondering where they’d picked up that particular habit from. “We’re not going to hide it anymore but it feels so weird to just… I don’t know, announce it?”

Al pats his shoulder and then squeezes it right. “You’ll figure it out. I know that whenever you do tell them, they’ll be nothing but happy for the two of you.”

Ed really hopes so.

-

The eventual reveal is a lot more organic than Ed had expected.

They’re at their usual bar for Friday-night drinks, and Ed is sitting next to Roy and arguing about alchemy. “The treatise was garbage, and you know it. It’s got no ‘inherent value’ because it’s wrong.

Generally, there’s no fixed seating arrangement when the entire team is out, except Roy and Ed must always sit together, because otherwise they’ll end up arguing across the table and that’s just not conducive for everyone’s sanity and peace of mind.

“It has inherent value because it paved the way to people like you and me saying that it’s wrong and that the correct answer is something different. Because of it, you can exclude this one possibility as being definitely wrong,” Roy replies, sounding as smug as he always does, not entirely hiding his amusement at how worked up Ed is getting about a poorly written academic paper.

“Sure,” Ed says, rolling his eyes, “but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s wrong. Maybe a bunch of idiots a zillion years ago thought it was correct and no one bothered to question it, and they were all wrong.”

“And what if a zillion years from now, it turns out that alchemy works in a totally different way from what we think and every paper you ever write turns out to be wrong. Will we all be idiots then?”

Yes!” Ed exclaims, because Roy’s finally getting it. “Exactly! If we get it wrong, we’re idiots, and we deserve it when future generations call us on it.”

“You should be more forgiving. It’s not like they knew any better. They didn’t ask to be wrong, you know? They did their best and failed, and sometimes that happens. It’s okay.”

Ed heaves a sigh and tries not to get distracted by the way Roy’s thigh is pressed against his from hip to knee, and the way they’re angled towards each other, shutting others out of their conversation. “This is why you’re going to be good at this politics shit. You’re too nice for academia.”

Roy grins. “That’s a hot take on things. I didn’t know politicians were known for being particularly nice. I thought it’d be the other way around.”

Ed rolls his eyes again. “You’re a hot take,” he mumbles because that’s the most mature way he can think of to end the argument.

From this close, Ed can see Roy’s cheeks pink at the compliment. It’s so subtle that it could be passed off as the beginnings of an alcoholic flush but Ed knows it’s because even though Roy is a huge flirt, he’s terrible at being flirted with.

He’s so cute when he catches his little finger against Ed’s own that Ed can’t help it; before he knows it, he’s pressing their lips together.

He only realises what he’s done when a raucous cheer erupts around them, and it sinks in that he’s just outed them to all their friends without even asking Roy. He groans and presses his face into Roy’s shoulder, because he can’t bear to look, even though the exclamations sound entirely positive. It’s so loud that no one but Roy can hear him groaning and god, they’re going to be teasing him and Roy for years.

But Roy’s left hand is soft on the back of his head and Ed can hear his heart beating steadily, like he’s not afraid at all. It makes Ed feel less scared, himself.

Ed draws back when it becomes clear that the shouting isn’t done yet, just far enough that he can see Roy’s face. Roy is smiling softly at him and he can’t help but smile back. Ed is more relieved than he can even express that no one seems to have taken it badly, that no one is shouting at them or warning Ed of the dire consequences of his actions. No one even seems to disapprove, which beggars belief. Nothing in Ed’s life is ever this easy.

“I love you,” Roy mouths at him, because it’s still too noisy for him to be heard.

“I love you too,” Ed mouths back, knowing that Roy will understand him even if he can’t hear.

“Get a room!” Havoc shouts and they both blush, but it’s not embarrassing or distressing the way Ed had thought it would be. Probably because the teasing doesn’t sound mean; it sounds joyous and genuinely celebratory.

“They already have one!” Al chips in, and the uproar doubles in volume. Traitor.

Roy leans in until his lips are brushing Ed’s ear, sending a shiver down his spine. “Want to get out of here?”

Ed grins and nods, squeezing their hands together. Besides, Al isn’t wrong; they do have a room.

They might as well use it.