Fandom: Fullemtal Alchemist
Pairing: Hughes/Roy (big surprise, eh?)
Summary: "Things have been shifting between them for some time."
Discalimer: I own nothing. *prostrates self before Square/Enix*
Notes: Betaed by tatooine and mukashi_mukashi. You guys rock.
Maes sits in Roy's office, feet up on the desk. If Hawkeye were there, she'd be throwing him disapproving glances. Maes always had fun pushing her. He likes testing the limits of other people's control She's not here, though. It's early evening, and most of the daytime personnel have left. Heck, he and Roy aren't technically supposed to be here, but Roy usually does turn in a few overtime hours, so it isn't surprising that they're here right now.
Maes shifts a bit and leans back, trying to get comfortable on the wooden chairs. He should tell Roy to get new ones. These are not very conducive to putting guests at ease.
On second thought, maybe that was intentional.
Roy stands by the window, staring out toward Central's main square. Maes can see the large banner of Amestris on another building. It glows faintly in the dying light, the gold brought out by the orange of the sunset. Roy's profile stands out clearly, his face frozen in his usual serious, focused expression. Maes sometimes forgets that he's seen Roy smile, wide open and generous.
Maes forgets a lot of things these days.
He plays with a letter opener. It's worn and used, familiar. Runs his fingers down the smoothed edge, rolls it over his knuckles like a much longer knife. He pokes himself once.
There was that one time when he stole it from Roy for a week. He'd only meant to borrow it for a day. He lost his own, and hey, it was just Roy. He meant to give it back, but it just kept slipping his mind, until Roy paid him an unexpected visit and stole it back.
Maes places the letter opener back onto Roy's desk. He's half tempted to leave right now, but Roy asked him to come. Maes knows the reason why, but he wants Roy to tell him. So far, Roy's barely gotten past the pleasantries. The silence isn't really what anyone would describe as being "companionable."
Roy seems to be deep in thought, but Maes suspects he's just stalling.
The sunlight slides across the floor, throwing the shadows on Roy's face in different directions. Maes wants to tell him that his face will freeze like that if he holds it for too long.
That might be intentional too.
Maes fingers the picture of Gracia holding Alicia in his pocket. He's tempted to show it to Roy, babble on for a few minutes. They're both looking radiant in the photograph, Gracia with that little smile of hers and Alicia so small and adorable. Maes could just stare at them forever, and he doesn't know why no else can stand it. Whatever.
He realizes that this may not be the best time to talk about it. Roy does have something to tell him. That was the purpose of this visit after all.
"I've been promoted, and I'm being transferred to East Headquarters. A few of my people are coming with me," Roy finally admits. Color Maes unsurprised. He'd heard about the move and the promotion a few days ago. In the cafeteria.
"Congratulations," he says. He really is happy for Roy. The promotion was long due, and the transfer a is a way for Roy to distinguish himself. Despite that, a part of him doesn't want to lose his friend. Maes hates it when he's selfish.
Roy's expression doesn't change. Maes wonders if his face really did freeze like that.
Maes' legs have fallen asleep, so he pulls them off the desk and feels the blood rush back into them. It tingles, pinpricks running up and down the side. It almost hurts. He glances at Roy, but Roy still hasn't so much as twitched.
Things have been shifting between them for some time. Maes can't quite pinpoint when it started, exactly. The war? Roy's decision to become Fuhrer? When he finally got married? It's all so jumbled together and confused. He still knows that he'll do anything to help Roy make it to the top. He doesn't think that was ever in question. It's the other things.
He's tired. There were cases to research, paperwork to fill out. Part of him wants to go home to see how Gracia and Alicia are doing. Alicia's so young. She needs her father.
But Roy needs him too, and therein lies the problem.
"So..." Maes starts. He had something to say a second ago, but it slipped his mind.
Roy finally stops imitating a statue and turns around. He sighs, and his shoulders relax. "I'm sorry I've been so..." he struggles for the word, but can't find it. "...lately."
Maes shrugs. "A lot's been happening." There's no use in going backward, but he half wants things to be the way they used to be. He smiles in an attempt to lighten the mood. Roy's responding one is thin and forced.
"You're going to come back and visit us on Alicia's birthdays, right?" Maes asks softly. "She'd miss her Uncle Roy."
It wasn't precisely what he meant to ask, but it was close enough.
Roy nods. "Of course. And I'll probably have to bring the Elrics as well."
Maes wonders what exactly Roy had up his sleeve involving the brothers. Roy usually doesn't pull things like this until the people involved know the whole story, Roy's entire plan. Maybe it doesn't have anything to do with Roy's plans. Maybe he just wants to help them.
He fiddles with the wedding ring on his left hand. It's a little tight. Roy watches him with inscrutable eyes. Maes misses the days when he could read Roy like a book. When Roy could walk in and Maes just knew that he had a promotion or a date or a lot of flack from Haruko.
"Good luck with everything, Mustang," Maes says. He gets up to walk away.
Roy's expression goes open and raw for a second, edges of pain and confusion appearing on his face. "Maes," he says.
"I need you to help." Roy forces out the words, the last two of which are unnecessary. "I need..."
Maes thinks he knows, but he's not sure. Roy reaches out for a moment and pulls back. His fingers ghost over Maes' shoulder. Maes knows that Roy hates weakness, most of all from himself.
He pulls Roy into a hug, delighting at the surprised expression on his friend's face. "Of course I'll help, you idiot."
He feels Roy's sigh of relief. This is familiar, at least.
Roy's lips are pressed into his neck, and that's familiar, too.
He freezes as Roy's tongue flicks out to trace his carotid artery to the pulse point just underneath his jaw. He thinks Roy can feel his heart speed up. Things are on the verge of getting out of hand, and that obnoxious, selfish part of him wants it that way.
Maes pulls away before things start happening that he can't stop. He loves Roy so much, but there are things that he just can't give him anymore. Roy used to need this, but he doesn't anymore, and Maes is just selfless enough to push him away.
Roy blinks, but he nods and doesn't close back up again. An echo of his old, beautiful smile even appears on his face.
Maes walks toward the door, wondering who would get this office after Roy left. The handle of the door is cool to the touch, and the shiny brass has been worn down to a dull brown.
The door closes behind him with a gentle click.