Snapshots

A handful of moments: Roy and Hughes at Ishvar. Drama With Occasional Porn and Angst, I-4, spoilers ep 15.

Character(s): Maas Hughes, Roy Mustang
Pairing(s): Hughes/Roy

Second Lieutenant Roy Mustang poked at his dinner roll. He should be eating it, but he wasn’t sure he had the energy.

It had been a very unpleasant day.

As Roy counted it, the day had started last night, when he had been assigned his least favorite duty, counter-assassin bodyguard. When he was looking out for one or more of the high ranking officers he had two possible distasteful outcomes. He could spend the entire time wound tighter than his own watch spring for absolutely nothing. Or he could actually counter a threat, which meant using fire on another human being, and while he could do it in the heat of the moment he was always sick afterwards.

It was the smell, he reflected morbidly, kind of like the smell of dinner here in the mess tent.

The comparison was not making him any more eager to eat his roll.

Last night had been a watch spring night. Which meant he hadn’t been able to sleep after, and was now stumbling around the camp in a state of advanced blear, fervently praying he wouldn’t draw night duty again tonight.

It was almost enough to make him want to be assigned to a Demolitions team for a few days. Annoying as it sometimes was to be looked at as a walking fuse, he wasn’t usually bringing buildings down on living people.

His musing was interrupted by a hand snatching his roll from under his eyes. Spinal reflex grabbed it back before he consciously recognized the hand as Maas Hughes’. Roy glared up at his friend, who was standing across the table and grinning at him.

In doing so he forgot to keep a good grip on his bread.

“Ah, come on Roy,” Hughes cajoled, examining the roll that was somehow back in his own grasp, “it’s not like you were eating it. Toasting it maybe. Are you experimenting on whether you can start a fire by giving something the evil eye?”

“Give me back my bread, Hughes,” Roy growled, in no mood for horseplay.

Hughes’ slow grin told Roy that his wishes had no bearing on the situation.

“Make me.”

Roy did not normally rise to that kind of bait in public. He had a certain dignity to maintain, and being an Alchemist who had become an officer by default rather than through training didn’t make things any easier. But today he was tired and short on temper, and decided that the shortest distance between two points was to vault the table and tackle Hughes.

It was unfortunate that Hughes anticipated him, and took off sprinting, but Roy wasn’t about to let that stop him now.

The two of them ducked and wove around tables and soldiers, Hughes cackling and Roy snarling. He didn’t even consider the fact that he had his gloves in his pocket. He was going to strangle his best friend with his bare hands, by God.

Right after he got his damn bread back.

Hughes ducked out of the mess tent altogether, which turned out to be a tactical error. They both skidded to a halt directly in the path of Brigadier General Hakuro. What was even worse, Master Sergeant Mitchell was with him, and Hakuro’s pursed lips and narrowed eyes were nothing to Mitchell’s expression of abysmal expectations wholly fulfilled.

It was the second expression that snapped both Second Lieutenants to attention.

Hakuro passed on without deigning to speak, but Mitchell paused long enough to rake them both up and down.

“It’s nice to see someone in high spirits. Sirs.” His tone could have put ice on the sand at noon.

Roy winced.

When Mitchell was safely out of sight and ear-shot he rounded on Hughes, mouth open to berate his friend for getting them both into trouble.

Hughes lobbed the roll back to him.

Roy regarded the rather battered hunk of bread for a long moment. “If you tell me that this was all for the sake of getting me to loosen up, as you like to put it,” he enunciated precisely, “I am going to remember that I have my gloves with me.”

“All right,” Hughes replied, airily, “I won’t tell you that, then.”

He started to stroll back into the tent. Roy’s lip curled back. Dignity, he reminded himself strenuously, an officer has a certain dignity to maintain.

Ah, screw it.

The roll bounced off the back of Hughes’ head. Roy was unsurprised that Hughes reacted fast enough to catch it, though it would have made things more… piquant if he hadn’t.

Roy made his way very calmly past his startled friend.

“Decided you don’t want it after all?” Hughes asked.

“Of course I still want a roll. That’s why I’m going to have yours. You get that one.”

“Excuse me?” Hughes blinked at him.

“In the words of your illustrious mother,” Roy said in his best laying-down-the-law tone, which he had, in fact, learned from Maas’ mother, “you touched it, you take it.”

Maas choked at the imitation, and Roy smiled with great satisfaction.

Then he sprinted back toward the table to lay hold of Maas’ roll before his friend recovered.


“Affinities have nothing to do with personalities, Maas, there have been plenty of studies on it.”

Roy sprawled on the floor or Maas’ tent and took another drink of his beer.

“Oh yeah? Point out to me one person who’s more of a cast iron bastard than Gran. And he binds that stuff to his skin.” Maas shuddered, delicately. “There’s got to be a connection.”

“Maas…”

“Not to mention Armstrong,” Maas continued. “He can call it art all he likes, there’s a man whose answer to everything is brute force.” He paused for a contemplative pull on his own beer. “Sometimes it’s the force of pure bull-headed chivalry, but still.”

“You’re reaching, Maas,” Roy informed his friend.

“So what about you? You and your flash fire temper, even if you don’t usually show it to the poor suckers around here. Boy are they in for a surprise some time,” Maas added.

“I control my temper, Maas, and what does that do to your little theory?” Roy arched a brow. The gesture didn’t seem to have the same effect it did when Major Gloster used it. Roy would have to work on that.

“Doesn’t mean it’s gone,” Maas pointed out with some justice. “Besides, that isn’t the only thing your personality has in common with your affinity.”

“What else is there?” Roy challenged.

“Your brilliance.”

Roy blinked. Maas gave him a sidelong look.

“It’s just like fire, really. It flickers. There’s no better word for it.”

“Flickers?” Roy repeated. “Do I want to know?”

A corner of Maas’ mouth curled. “You’re brilliant,” he stated. “I don’t think anyone doubts that, except possibly Mitchell, and that’s his job. But you have the most uneven application I’ve ever seen. When something grabs your attention, you give it everything you’ve got, but if it doesn’t you couldn’t care less.”

“What’s wrong with focusing on the important things?” Roy asked, a bit defensively.

“It’s the not focusing on a few important things that stands out,” Maas replied dryly. “Like eating.”

Roy was indignant. “I was only fifteen, Maas, and it was only once,” he protested.

“A very memorable once,” his friend noted. “Your mother nearly had hysterics when you fainted.”

Roy sniffed. “The whole argument is false logic,” he declared. “You already know my affinity is fire, so you map my personality onto that. If you didn’t know, you wouldn’t be able to guess based on my personality.”

“Maybe,” Maas allowed easily. Then he grinned. “It’s still a favorite pastime for both the officers and the troops.”

“What is?”

“Guessing what someone’s affinity would be if they were an advanced alchemist.”

Roy rolled his eyes. A smile twitched at his lips, though. “So? What is yours supposed to be?” he asked.

Maas chuckled.

“The general consensus is that I would have an affinity for lightning. Supposing that’s possible, of course, most of the guys are pretty sketchy on their science. Is it?”

“Mmm. Could be,” Roy allowed, squinting at the canvas above him. Trying to translate from technical terms, he essayed, “If you break air, the bits left over can have an electrical charge. If you could recombine them correctly, you could get lightning. You’d have to clear a path for it, though. It would be very delicate work.”

He smirked.

“If you were,” he drawled, “I bet what you’d really have an affinity for is air itself. You’d have all the raw material you could ever need coming out of your mouth. Of course, the temperature might be a bit high…”

A small knife zinged past Roy’s nose and clattered off Maas’ footlocker. Roy laughed. “That’s the last of my beer you’re getting, Mustang,” Maas told him darkly.

Roy grinned and propped a foot on his knee. “Seriously, though,” he said, thoughtfully, “if it did work that way, which it doesn’t, but if it did… I’d expect you to have an affinity for plants.”

“Plants?” Maas blinked.

“Growing things,” Roy explained. “An affinity for, well, life. The quiet parts that most people don’t pay attention to.”

Maas was silent, and, looking over, Roy thought he detected a faint blush. He decided to take pity on his friend.

“So, can I have another beer?” he asked lightly.

Maas growled, though Roy could see the gleam of appreciation in his eyes. “Oh, so that’s what this was all about, hm?” Maas languished dramatically. “My best friend, and he only likes me for my beer!”

He tossed over another can.


“I hate these boots,” Maas grumbled over the footgear he was polishing. “They might at least have chosen rough leather for the field, but no, it had to be shiny!”

“They aren’t that bad,” Roy said, fitting the last piece of his gun back into place.

Maas gave him a dour look from where he sat on the bed. “You, of course, wouldn’t think so, Mister Perfectly Groomed. Gran probably keeps you hanging around the command to be a sartorial example.”

“Ah. Would that also be why he keeps assigning me bodyguard duties like I was some kind of self-mobile gun?” Roy inquired rather acidly. He glanced up at Maas and couldn’t stop a smirk. His friend was looking at him seriously, and had apparently forgotten the rag full of boot polish dangling from his hand.

“You’re going to get polish all over your bed, you know,” Roy pointed out helpfully.

Maas contemplated the boot in his hand, set it down carefully, neatly folded his polish rag beside it, and pounced on Roy, wrestling him to the floor.

Roy tried not to laugh too hard; he needed all his breath. He hadn’t won a wrestling match with Maas in about ten years, but some were closer than others. For one thing, Roy had a stronger grip.

It was hard to use it effectively, though, when Maas started cheating and tickled him.

Roy wasn’t sure when wrestling gave way to something else, but he was sure it happened sometime before the salt taste of Maas’ skin was on his tongue. He traced the line of Maas’ throat, and his friend arched back with a rough, low sound of pleasure.

They drew apart of get rid of interfering clothes, and Maas tugged Roy toward the bed. Roy’s bare back touched Maas’ sheets and he pulled Maas down against him. Yes, that was what he wanted.

“Maas, do you have…?”

Maas chuckled in his ear. “Since being your lover? I stashed some away every place I could think of.” He reached an arm under the bed and Roy laughed low in his throat.

“Does that mean I should try to find all those places?” he purred.

Maas shivered against him. “God, Roy, sometimes I think you could bring a person off with nothing but your voice,” he whispered against Roy’s shoulder.

Roy leaned in to close his teeth on Maas’ ear. “Want to find out?”

Maas laughed, breathless. “I thought we had something else in mind for now?”

His fingers returned, cool and slick, and Roy leaned back with a sigh. Maas stroked him, soothing and seducing Roy’s body until he was rocking up into the slow thrust of Maas’ fingers.

“It happens every time, and it still surprises me,” Maas murmured.

Roy made a questioning noise, about all he could manage.

“The way you relax so fast for me.”

Roy knew there were a lot of reasons for that, some old and some recent, most having to do with the core of gentleness in Maas. It was what his steel and danger were wrapped around. But Roy didn’t have the breath or coherence to explain that at the moment. “You’re my friend. I trust you,” he managed. He drew Maas down to a kiss. The long fingers inside him curled, beckoning, and Roy gasped sharply. “And I want you,” he added against Maas’ mouth. “Now, Maas.”

He could feel Maas’ lips curve into his crooked smile. “Now that doesn’t surprise me in the least,” Maas told him.

Maas withdrew his fingers slowly, stroking them across that electric place inside Roy, leaving him trembling. When Maas started to move between his legs, though, Roy put a hand on his chest to make him wait and turned over. He released a sigh as he felt Maas’ chest against his back, and Maas curled them both up.

Roy liked this feeling, of Maas’ long, lean strength folded around him. He couldn’t stop a sensuous wriggle as Maas’ arms wrapped around his ribs.

Though Roy would never have admitted it out loud, he felt very safe like this.

“Is this all right?” Maas asked against the nape of Roy’s neck, and it was Roy’s turn to shiver.

“It’s good,” he said softly.

And then it was better than good, because Maas was pressing into him, and there was something about Maas’ care that always undid Roy. And maybe he’d been under too much stress lately, because suddenly he was on the edge of tears for no reason he could find. Gentleness shouldn’t cause tears, should it?

Maas was as slow now as he had been earlier, and for once Roy gave himself up to it, letting Maas set the pace, long, leisurely thrusts, until he lay shuddering under his friend, completely abandoned to Maas’ touch. Heat built gradually in Roy until he almost felt he was floating, only Maas’ weight anchoring him. It wasn’t until Maas’ hand slid between Roy’s legs that the heat tipped over into explosion, and Roy jerked against Maas’ body behind him, as Maas drove into him faster, harder now. Fire drowned Roy’s senses.

He drifted, pleased that Maas was still curled around him.

“Feel better now?” Maas asked quietly.

Roy sighed a bit. “I can never keep anything from you, can I?”

“Nope. Besides,” Maas’ arms tightened, “you never want me to make love to you like this unless you’re feeling shaken up.”

“Thanks, Maas,” Roy said, past a small catch in his throat.

He felt Maas smile against his shoulder.

“My pleasure,” Maas whispered.


Roy knelt on the cliffs in the darkness, wondering why he wasn’t in shock.

Shouldn’t he be? Shouldn’t he have difficulty believing that he had set half a city on fire? Fire so hot it exploded stone.

But he had never doubted for an instant that it was his hand, his will, his doing that caused the destruction he now looked down on.

His power.

Even if the amplifier was no part of him, it had been his power.

He had always known his own power.

Shock would have made things vague, perhaps a bit more bearable. Not so hideously solid and exact in his sight and memory. Every flash of light, every hurtling shard of stone precise and brilliant.

Maybe he didn’t deserve that mercy.

The fist that held his gloves and that glowing ring clenched tighter.

“Roy.”

Roy bowed his head. It didn’t really surprise him that Maas had found him here. Maas always knew how to find him. He waited for whatever words his friend might find for this occasion.

Maybe they would even help.

But Maas said nothing, only set his hands on Roy’s shoulders, kneeling behind him on the sand.

Roy didn’t know how long they sat like that in silence, but eventually he leaned back just a little and Maas folded his arms around him. Roy breathed in for what felt like the first time all night, breathed out, felt himself shaking. Had he been shaking before? Or had it just started?

“Don’t let go?” he asked, voice faint and thready.

“I won’t,” Maas assured him.

And he didn’t, as Roy listened to the sobs that tore loose from his own chest, distantly amazed at their violence. They subsided slowly, and after a time Roy lay back in Maas’ arms, exhausted and wrung.

Maas still said nothing, only stroking Roy’s hair back from his forehead. They sat together there until the sun rose and called them back down to the camp.

End