“Don’t worry, I know exactly where we’re going, he says. Have some faith in your superior officer, he says. I know how to read a map, he says,” Ed paused in his tirade to glare back at Roy, who was trudging through the snow behind him with a sheepish countenance.
“In my defense-”
“A simple in-and-out mission, he says . It would be a real favor to me, he says,” Ed barreled right over the interruption, increasing in volume as he worked himself into a lather. There was an exasperated sigh behind him, but he didn’t bother turning again. “Real convenient how there was no mention of getting lost in the mountains during the briefing.”
“I apologize that I did not account for every possible unforeseen circumstance that might befall us, Fullmetal. I must have failed to factor in the ludicrous amount of trouble that follows in your wake, although to be fair I’m not sure anyone could factor in something so massive.”
Ed gritted his teeth, wanting nothing more than to whirl around and punch the bastard in his smug, stupid, pretty face. Agh.
The most frustrating thing about their current situation, even more than not having a batshitting clue where they were or how to get where they were going, was that they didn’t argue like this anymore. They bickered, and teased, and bantered, maybe even toed the line of flirting in Ed’s wildest dreams, but they weren’t nasty about it like they used to be. Post-promised day, Ed had realized that Roy Mustang was actually a good man, and he liked to think that went both ways.
But fuck if the man couldn’t be absolutely infuriating.
After walking a few minutes in tense silence, Ed was stopped by a hand on his shoulder. He whirled around, wanting to snarl but not quite managing to make his face look anything other than upset.
He looked into Roy’s eyes, and wanted to curse the man in a million different languages, in every language he knew and then more that he made up specifically for the purpose of cussing out Roy Mustang, because there was apology in those eyes. Ed couldn’t stay mad after seeing how genuinely sorry Roy was for getting them into such a mess. Fuck, he couldn’t stay mad at Roy full stop.
Things were so much easier before he had to go and like Roy as a person, and admire his kindness, and his bravery, and his loyalty, and his intelligence, and his shoulders in the uniform…
With a blink, Ed refocused and realized that Roy was speaking.
“I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it looks like a blizzard is moving in fast. We need to find somewhere to hole up until it passes,” Roy said, pointing at the sky from the way they’d come.
There was indeed a mass of dark clouds quickly approaching. Ed shivered from the memories of the blizzard he’d gotten stuck in on the way to Briggs. If possible, he’d prefer to go his entire life without experiencing that frozen hell again. At least he had the right automail this time.
“Fuck, yeah, like shit do I wanna get caught in that. Maybe we can find a cave or something nearby,” Ed said fervently. He wasn’t a big fan of the cold at the best of times, and these certainly weren’t that.
“I don’t suppose you could just make us a shelter? It would certainly be easier than wandering around aimlessly, hoping for a lucky break,” Roy asked, not sounding very optimistic.
“I mean, yeah sure, I could, but it’s liable to start a fucking avalanche, which would suck,” Ed said with a snort.
They continued onward, walking as fast as they dared in the deep snow, squinting around them as they tried to spot any kind of shelter. By the time they found something, the blizzard was upon them. Snow was falling heavily, and the wind was shrieking and buffeting them in frigid bursts. Visibility was so poor that they were holding hands so they didn’t lose one another.
“Hey, I think I see something just ahead, come on!” Ed said, taking a firmer grip on Roy’s hand and leading him forward to the shadow that he was praying was a cave.
It seemed that for the first time in possibly his whole life, his prayers were answered. It was a cave, and it was big enough for both of them to clamber in and move towards the back to get away from the windchill. Ed clapped and pressed his hands to the ground, alchemizing a wall to block off the cave mouth, making sure to leave enough oxygen holes that they wouldn’t suffocate.
They huddled together for warmth, neither of them having the strength to get flustered over their closeness.
“Thank god, I don’t think we could have carried on much further,” Roy said through gasps for air. Ed snorted but nodded, since he was also winded from their frantic search and subsequent mad dash through the snow.
They sat quietly for at least ten minutes, with no sound but their breathing and the blizzard outside, before Roy spoke softly.
“I really am sorry for dragging you into this mess.”
Ed turned to look at him, huffing and nudging his shoulder before he laid his cheek on it nonchalantly. This was fine, so long as he didn’t make it weird.
“As if I’d rather you got into trouble while alone. I prefer your ass unfrozen, thanks.” Fuck he made it weird. “I mean, your ass as in ‘you’, not your ass as in, well.” He tried to suffocate himself in the warm shoulder he was leaning on. When Roy chuckled, Ed could feel the rumble travel up from his chest.
“I have to say, this isn’t the strangest situation in which I’ve been propositioned, but it might be the most unexpected. If you asked me a second ago, I’d have said you were more likely to punch me than appreciate my assets,” Roy said delightedly. Ed groaned and redoubled his suffocation attempts.
A gentle hand started petting his hair soothingly. “Stop that before you hurt yourself. There’s metal bits there.”
Ed paused, surprised but also hopeful. He had been under the assumption that Roy was using his slip of the tongue against him, but maybe he’d read the situation all wrong.
“Er, yeah, alright,” he mumbled, lifting his still-red face sheepishly. He was wracked by a full-body shiver, and realized how cold it was now that he wasn’t being distracted by near fatal mortification.
“We should probably try to warm up. We can put one sleeping bag on the ground to lay on, and zip the other one on top of us. That should keep our body heat in and the cold out,” Roy suggested.
Ed nodded and tugged his sleeping bag from his back as Roy did the same. It didn’t take long for them to get it set out the way they wanted it, with the two of them snuggled between the layers.
It was warmer, but Ed was still shivering. It was nearly impossible for him to get warm when he was out in such cold temperatures because his automail was like a block of ice. The specialized cold weather automail he had on was way better than normal automail; it wouldn’t retain so much cold that it gave him frostbite.
Ed absently wondered if he could come up with an array that would keep the automail warm but not hot. Burning hot metal was just as bad as burning cold metal, he knew from experience. He’d have to work on it when they got out of there. Maybe an array to keep it cool in hot temperatures, too. But could they be combined, or would they have to be two seperate arrays? And would he have to activate it each time, or only once? Could others use it? He got lost in thoughts of alchemy, forgetting about the chills overtaking his body.
“You know, I prefer your ass unfrozen too.”
Ed startled and looked up immediately, wide-eyed and confused.
“I won’t bite. Not without permission, at least,” Roy said, holding his arms open for Ed to snuggle into them. It might have been suave if not for the ridiculous eyebrow wiggling he was doing.
Ed scooted closer anyway, and he was immediately wrapped up in warm arms. He rested his cheek on Roy’s chest and looked up to his eyes.
“When I said that about your ass, I really didn’t mean it like that,” Ed said, and then rushed to explain before Roy could get a word in. “But I do like your ass a lot. And the rest of you, I guess.” He was blushing beet red and averting his eyes, unable to stand eye contact while saying something so heartfelt.
“Oh thank god,” Roy breathed before moving his neck so he could kiss the top of Ed’s head. “Every time I think we’re flirting, I second guess myself, and convince myself it’s nothing but wishful thinking. I wanted to tell you how I felt, but couldn’t stand if you hated me after.”
Ed rolled his eyes fondly at the dramatic words, with a wide grin on his face. As if he could ever hate a single thing about this dorky man.
“We were definitely flirting, but I kept second guessing myself too. I figured you’d never want a loudmouthed guy that wouldn’t know polite if it punched him in the face.”
“Believe me when I say you’re incredibly alluring when you give the brass a public dressing-down. I’m pretty sure I fell a little in love with you the first time I was there to see it. You remember the gala to celebrate the anniversary of stopping the promised day?”
Ed did, indeed, remember the gala. It had been full of the brass and pretentious snobs who thought they were hot shit because their daddy had money. He’d rescued Roy from one such snob, and they’d stuck together for the rest of the night. It had been a lot of fun to spend time with Roy.
“I remember. I think that was the first time we really hung out outside of the office.”
“But thankfully not the last,” Roy said with a smile. Not a smirk, but an actual smile. Damn. Ed felt himself melt a little bit, and snuggled closer to Roy until he’d situated himself directly under his chin, now mostly on top of him. Roy didn’t protest, just held him tighter. One of his hands started playing with the ends of Ed’s hair where it lay on his back.
“I can already tell this is gonna be a regular thing with you, isn’t it?” He asked teasingly. His answer was a wink and a pinch to his hip, which made him yelp in surprise.
“You have no idea how many times I saw your ponytail swinging as you sauntered off, and I just wanted to run my fingers through it. I’m not wasting a second now that I can. It’s so silky,” he said, mumbling the last part to himself in a fascinated tone that made Ed want to laugh.
“It’s just hair, you dork. I can think of some things I’d rather you get your fingers on,” he told him, mostly managing to keep his blush at bay.
Roy raised an eyebrow in challenge. “Oh really? Hmm, now that you mention it, I believe I can as well, but I’m open to taking suggestions, of course.” That smooth motherfucker. If he didn’t love him so much, Ed would be really pissed off right now. No one should be able to just say shit like that.
“Oh, I’ve got more suggestions than you’ll know what to do with, bastard. Just you wait,” Ed said with a growl. “But, uh, maybe we should wait till we get off this godforsaken mountain, so there’s no risk of getting frostbite on anything sensitive,” he concluded.
“I’d love to take you up on that, but I’m afraid you’re right. Now isn’t the time unfortunately.”
“Mm, yeah, but since we can’t do any of the fun stuff, we should probably get some sleep. I’m beat after slogging through all that snow earlier.” Ed yawned and cuddled into Roy. After the physical exertion of their trek and the emotional exertion of their talk, he could barely keep his eyes open. Roy hummed in agreement, kissing the top of his head and wishing him goodnight.
Ed mumbled a goodnight, before he was out like a light, feeling more safe and warm in Roy’s arms than he ever had before.