Ever – Chapter Twelve

Ed talks to Hughes about his changing relationship with Roy. Drama with Romance, I-3

Character(s): Edward Elric, Maas Hughes
Pairing(s): Roy/Ed

When Hughes arrived at their house, mid-morning, with a gleam in his eye, Ed was positive he’d been targeted for something.

“Ed-kun,” Hughes caroled, “how would you like to go on a little outing today?”

Sure enough.

“That depends on where,” Ed answered warily.

“To get glasses.”

Silence.

“I beg your pardon?” Ed said finally.

“Don’t be difficult, Ed-kun, several people have noticed you squinting over your books lately, so I have been dispatched to see that the problem is fixed.”

Ed opened his mouth to deny that there was a problem, but Al cut him off.

“He’s right, Nii-san, and you’ve been getting more headaches lately.” Al gifted Hughes with a pleased and grateful look. “It’s very kind of you to do this, Hughes-taisa.”

Ed shut his mouth. There were times when he could argue with Al, but this didn’t look like one of them. With an obligatory grumble about who was the older brother, here, anyway, Ed went to fetch his coat.

“So whose idea was this?” he asked as he and Hughes strolled along. “Gracia-san’s?”

Hughes chuckled. “Good guess, but no. It was Roy’s. I suppose he sees more of you reading than she does.”

“Ah.”

Hughes waited a beat, but Ed said nothing more. Predictably, Hughes decided to needle him a bit, fishing for a reaction. Ed braced himself.

“You have been spending a lot of time with Mustang. Hm. I suppose he is the only man you know that you might someday manage to grow taller than,” Hughes commented, not looking at Ed.

He did look around, rather quickly, when Ed laughed. “I almost have already,” he pointed out.

Hughes examined him for a moment and gave him a slow smile. “I believe you will, at that, Ed-kun,” he said, and Ed knew he was not just speaking of physical height.

And then Hughes tugged on Ed’s pony-tail, earning himself a growl.


After what Ed was positive was an unnecessarily long and tedious visit, they escaped the oculist with Ed’s glasses. By that time Ed had decided that Hughes might be the best person to talk to about something that had been bothering him for a while. With that in mind he steered them toward a hot pie stand and suggested eating their purchases out in the sun in the usefully deserted little park nearby.

He was sure he wasn’t fooling Hughes for one second.

He couldn’t, for the life of him, think of a way to broach the subject, though, so they ate their pies in silence. At last Hughes stretched out on the sun-warm grass with his hands behind his head.

“So, Ed-kun, what’s on your mind?”

“Well…” Ed fidgeted with the hem of his coat. “It’s kind of… Roy.”

Hughes examined a passing cloud intently. “Roy, hm?”

“I think,” Ed broke off, pulled up a few blades of grass, “I like him.”

“Happens to the best of us,” Hughes allowed, smiling. “He may be the most likable bastard I’ve ever known.”

“That’s not… it’s… I mean…” Ed made a stern effort to cut off his own floundering. “I mean like… the other way.” He let his head thump down on his knees with a sigh. Oh, yes, that was coherent. He looked sidelong at Hughes as the man sat up.

“You’re… drawn to him?” Hughes translated.

Ed nodded silently.

“Hm. Well, yes,” Hughes said judiciously, “I can see where finding yourself drawn to a ruthless political player with a reputation as an unspeakable flirt, who happens to be your commander, and never ever lets anyone know what he’s thinking if he can possibly help it would be a bit… troubling.”

“Thanks so much,” Ed said sourly, hunching down a little further.

The strangest thing was that that breezy description of Roy Mustang didn’t ring true to him any longer. Well, except the ruthless part. And he did flirt a lot, but he obviously wasn’t serious about it; half the time, Ed swore, he just did it to get a rise out of Hawkeye. And… Ed did usually know what he was thinking these days. Ed sighed.

“You worry too much, Ed.”

“Excuse me?” Ed straightened up to stare at Hughes.

Hughes made calm-down gestures. “Let’s think about this. It could just be a crush, which really does happen to the best of us. If that’s the case, it’ll pass off in time with no one the worse for it.”

Ed considered this, trying to decide whether the idea made him feel better or not.

“And, then, you have seemed to deal with him much better as a teacher than as a…” Hughes fished for a good word.

“Puppet-master?” Ed supplied, baring his teeth. “That’s certainly true.”

“So. And, really,” Hughes flopped back down with a sigh, “the fact of the matter is that Roy is a very charismatic man. He does draw people to him. His staff is a good example.” Hughes chuckled. “Did you ever hear what happened the last time Personnel tried to transfer Hawkeye away from him?”

“I thought they’d stopped trying that.”

“Oh, they did, after this! I don’t think she even noticed that they’d thrown in a promotion to sweeten the deal. As soon as she got the papers she marched down to Personnel and held a gun to the head of the officer who signed the transfer until he wrote up a cancellation.”

They both laughed.

“That sounds like Hawkeye-shousa, all right,” Ed chortled.

Hughes stood, and offered a hand to pull Ed up. “I wouldn’t worry, Ed-kun. If it lasts… well, time to do something about it then.”

Ed nodded, accepting the advice.

“Good! So when are you and Al, and Winry too, going to come out to the bar with me again?”

“Are you that eager to lose to Al at darts again, Hughes-taisa?” Ed asked archly.

“That was a draw!”


Ed lay, that night, staring at his ceiling and considering.

A crush. A bit embarrassing, but passing. He could deal with that.

And if it was something else?

Ed ignored the tightness in his chest at that thought, and rolled over.

TBC

Ed in glasses is also thanks to Sakki’s art.