He didn't bother to see Mustang. He wasn't an official part of the military anyway, so all he had to do was refuse the exam and turn in his watch. Riza didn't have matters quite that simple, and the waiting game was driving him mad. Ed wasn't sure what he'd do if her request were denied, knowing she wanted him to take her away from there.
Every evening after she would get off work, he went to her house to visit for a while, needing to know she was all right, wanting to get past those awkward silences and uncertain tensions the unconventional arrangement bought along with history. He'd been uncertain about bringing Al along, and at first it only seemed to make things even more dangerously unstable, until Al called her on her shy discomfort in that patiently gentle and blunt way of his. Ever since, he'd been a buffer, someone for them to both hide behind to avoid uneasy silences as he cheerfully dominated the conversation.
Three weeks had passed, and still nothing was heard pertaining to whether or not her request would be approved, and Ed was getting restless. They never went over to her house before six, giving her a chance to get home and unwind a bit before occupying her time, and from four-thirty on, the minutes always seemed to drag.
He paced around the inn bedroom for the umpteenth time, casting a glance at the clock on the wall before he returned to his perch on the windowsill.
"That won't make time go any faster, Brother," Al pointed out, his tone distracted as he frowned at a book. Ed watched him as he tapped it twice with his pencil, then resumed writing.
"What are you working on?"
"Just doing some figures." Al looked over. "I don't suppose you know what we'll do after this?"
"What do you mean?" Ed pushed away from the window.
"Well, job-wise. We've saved up quite a bit from your years as a State Alchemist, but we've also spent quite a bit too, and staying here isn't exactly free."
Ed frowned and grabbed the book from Al, looking it over. "How much do we have left?"
"Plenty as it stands, but we still need to build a new house and equip it, and even though we have alchemy, we still need to buy some things, and get the raw materials for others," Al pointed out. "And no matter how much I like Rizenbul, I also know that there's not much in the way of an active job market out there unless we set up something that brings people to us. So that's why I asked if you had any ideas."
Ed sighed, forgetting that one perk of being a State Alchemist: a hefty income for searching for a way to restore his brother. Okay, maybe not technically, but it worked for him. "I hadn't thought that far yet," he admitted.
"Maybe we should find a less expensive place to stay, or go home and start working on the house."
"Going home isn't an option, not without her," Ed replied, scowling at the book one last time before setting it down. "I'm not leaving her here alone. We can see if there's anything we can do in the meantime during the day here while we wait, maybe something that'll cover the inn costs."
"That's a good idea." Al smiled. "Brother, why don't you go see her by yourself tonight? I want to do some more budgeting, and I know of a few places where I can start asking about some temporary work, and pick up a newspaper in the meantime."
Ed froze. He was getting used to visiting with the comfortable buffer of a chaperone in the form of his younger brother. It was so much easier then not to be tempted to do something that might scare her out of agreeing to stay with them. "Naw, you can come, you don't need to do that now, I should help you."
"You should, and you will, tomorrow." Al smiled again. "I don't know what kind of history you have with the captain, but don't think I haven't noticed you two both hiding behind me to avoid talking to each other. If there's any problems, you really should get them worked out now."
Ed shut his eyes and cursed his fair coloration and the heat in his cheeks. "It's not that..."
"Then what is it, Brother?"
If you do a good job getting him off, I'll scratch that itch between your thighs.
He scowled as he tried to ignore the way his pants felt more constricting, and turned around before Al might notice. "Nothing, Al," he said as he grabbed his coat off the hook. It was also a good way to evade any questions that would lead to places where he didn't want to go, and his little brother was annoyingly good at getting the information out of him. "I'm going now."
"I won't wait up," Al called, and the impish grin he could hear his brother's tone caused him to walk into the doorframe.
"Wait up all you like!" Ed shouted, thoroughly flustered and red-faced. "I'm not spending the night with her!" With that, he yanked on the door, making it shut with a satisfying slam. So there. Take that.
Three steps and he realized another guest at the inn, a woman approaching elderly years, was staring out her partially-open door at him with a disapproving scowl. "Hmph. You young men are all the same, loving and leaving them with wild abandon."
"I'm not leaving anybody!" he shouted as the door shut. A pause. "I'm not loving anybody either! I'm not doing anything but talking and visiting with a friend! That's all!"
Another door opened and a middle-aged man glared at him. "Kid, nobody cares, and if they did, they're not gonna believe you anyway what with being as adamant as you are. Just admit it or shut up, one of the two. Preferably the latter."
He was already tugging his coat on and pulling his hood over his head as the door shut in an effort to hide his now very red face.
The first thing Riza did upon opening the door after greeting him was to ask where Al was.
"Um, he had other stuff he wanted to do, so..." Ed shrugged, uncertain as he stomach knotted up. The doormat was extremely interesting, and hey, so were the wooden porch boards. Something new to look at besides his boots. She didn't want him there, didn't want to be alone with him. Who could blame her, really? "I... I can go, I'm sorry."
He felt her hand catch his coat as he took a step backward. "No, I just wondered since he's normally with you." Her hand released him and fell to her side.
Ed glanced at her, his hair getting in the way. "He's going over the budget book, and looking at places we can look for work till we're ready to leave."
"Is everything all right?" Riza frowned a bit, leaning on the open door.
"Y-yeah," he stammered. She's not letting me in. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I'll make this right for you somehow, I'm sorry. "Money's not an issue but Al figures we should do other stuff to keep it from being an issue since I'm not Fullmetal anymore."
"I see." She hesitated. "Are you staying?"
He froze, studying the extremely interesting ground. "I- I- yes, no, I mean, it's... I don't have to, I know Al's not here so I can go if you want."
Silence. Oh, god, how he hated that silence. "What's wrong?"
Another glance up. "I..." He swallowed hard, his throat tight, not quite able to look her in the face. "If you're not comfortable being alone with me, I can--"
"Oh, Edward." She sounded exasperated and amused all at once. "Do come in already, would you, please?"
Feeling chastened and meek, he stepped in. Interesting doormat became interesting carpet. He heard the door shut.
"It's not that at all," she said. "I'm just accustomed to you two being each other's shadow."
"I'm... sorry?" he apologized, hesitant.
Riza sighed. "Please stop apologizing, you haven't done anything wrong, and still haven't."
He nodded, and they slipped back into the heavy silence once again as he followed her to the kitchen. She didn't need to ask him by now what he wanted to drink; coffee was ready, freshly brewed, and her own teapot was steeping, waiting to be poured into a glazed glass cup of pale orange which reflected every other color, like spilled oil in a puddle of water. When he first saw it, it seemed alien in her hands, too delicate for such a stoic dog of the military. But now it was as much as part of her in his mind as the hairclip and guns and Black Hayate, who was tangling up around Ed's feet demanding attention. Plain and ordinary in design, not a particularly remarkable color at first glance, the cup took a bit of attention in the light to see the true value and beauty; it did belong in her hands now, just as much as the guns.
The mug she set before him was solid, sturdier in his hands than her glassware, muted colors painted all around in indistinct blurs. He took his plain; one cube of sugar was dropped and stirred into her cup, and sometimes a splash of milk if she were so inclined. They sat at the table, only after sundown did they usually move to the living room. It was a comfortable routine, but without Al there, part of the routine was broken, and neither spoke.
"Where are you two staying?"
Although her voice was soft, it was a sharp contrast to the silence, and he almost dropped his mug before stammering out the name of the inn. She nodded once, her motions efficient and economical, not a woman given to grand expressions, and refilled her teacup.
"I do have a spare room here, if that would be of help."
Ed looked up quickly, wide-eyed. "I don't want to impose."
"You wouldn't be. I wouldn't offer if I didn't mean it." She sipped her tea.
"I... Thank you. I'll talk to Al when I go back."
She nodded again. Silence. "I got the answer today."
Ed looked up, feeling his stomach knot tight. They said no, didn't they? You've got to stay with that jackass longer, don't you? I'm sorry, I promised I'd get you out, I'm sorry.
"End of next month, I'm free to go." Her tone remained level, her face impassive.
The knot didn't go away. "That... six weeks? But you can go then? You'll be out? That's good, right?" Maybe she doesn't want to leave.
"It is." She set the teacup down.
"D-do you not want to leave? You don't even have to come with us if that's the problem, I--"
"Edward." She glanced at him, her expression weary. "I do want to leave, and I will go back with you." She closed her eyes, and her lips curled into a tired, pained smile as her voice dropped. "Now that I know I can go, I don't want to go back in tomorrow is all."
He released the mug, lest he break it. "Why? What's going on tomorrow?"
"Nothing that I know of. He'll just know."
The scared knots in his stomach disappeared, and he reached over, gripping her hand in his. "Riza. Riza, look at me. You're going to be fine. I'll walk you to work in the morning, I'll handle him."
"No. No, Edward." She shook her head. "That won't be necessary, please. I can handle him. He's just... likely going to be upset. He does rely on me for a lot of important things."
He wanted to break something hearing her defend that bastard general. "If you're sure."
"I'm sure. I don't want this to get any bigger is all." She closed her eyes and rested her head on her arms. "I'm tired. I want this to be over already. I'm ready to leave."
He watched her for a moment then stood to wrap his arms around her shoulders. "We'll leave," he promised, kissing her hair. "I'm not leaving without you. It will be over soon, and we can forget all of this."
She straightened to lean against him and he held her for a moment longer before letting go, reaching for the percolator carafe and her teapot. "Come on," he said, "let's go in and sit down."
Riza followed him silently and they stood by the couch, looking at one another, as if she were also waiting for him to decide where to sit. Ed hesitated, then took her by the hand, pulling her to him as he sat at one end to hold her close.
He felt the tension drain from her as she settled in, and they said nothing, the silence comfortable now. When he started to smooth her hair back, the clip offered an obstruction and without a thought to the matter, he released the snap and carefully pulled out the hairband keeping the style neatly in place.
She looked up at him when he twisted his arm around to set it on the end table. He hesitated, uncertain.
"You don't mind?" Ed asked, already wishing he'd asked before removing it.
"A little surprised, but no."
"Sorry. It... it was just in my way."
"In your way?" she echoed, raising an eyebrow.
In response, he slid his flesh hand over her head, her hair, running his fingers through it, mindful of any tangles. Drawing his hand back again, he slipped his fingers under the hair hanging down over her eye, running his fingers through it as he pushed it back and away, stroking her hair again. Riza closed her eyes and when she let him gently guide her head to lay against his chest, he hugged her tighter.
"It's going to be okay, I'll make it okay. I'll take care of you, I promise," he whispered, his lips brushing against her hair.
She sighed and shifted a bit, moving closer to him. "I should be ashamed." Her voice was barely audible.
Ed frowned and closed his eyes, resting his head on hers. "Why, Riza?"
"Letting you do this, enabling you to feel obligated to--"
He cut her off, gripping her hair in one hand, cupping her chin with his other, and kissing her. Ed pulled back just enough to speak, looking into wide brown eyes. "This? Is not. Obligation," he said, verbally punctuating the sentence in an effort to get the point across.
She closed her eyes and he kissed her forehead. "I'm Riza Hawkeye. The entire Amestrian army thinks I'm more than capable of taking care of myself and anything else that comes along. I don't need anyone."
"And you are. But that doesn't mean not needing anybody. I never would have gotten as far as I have if not for Al. It's okay to let someone else take over taking care of you when you're tired."
"You shouldn't have to feel like you need to take care of me, after what--"
"Riza." He hugged her tight. "Stop it. Just... stop it." He buried his face against her neck, petting back her hair. "I don't want us to be like this, always skirting around what happened. It happened. But it's not who we are. And it'll never happen again, not like that."
"New beginning?" she asked, pressing her cheek against him, her breath warm against his ear.
Behind closed lids, Ed went briefly cross-eyed, biting his lip and nuzzling against her neck in an attempt to ignore the way his pants felt increasingly ill-fitting--
Those leather pants don't hide anything very well, Brother.
--and keep from doing anything that might make her change her mind. He couldn't quite manage it.
"Yes." He hesitated, trying to will away the hot flush forming on his cheeks. "M-may I kiss you?"
Riza went completely still -- he couldn't even feel her breathing -- but before he could stammer out the apologies that weren't quite reaching coherence in his mind, she nodded.
He waited another moment for her to change her mind before drawing back, looking at her as he cupped her cheek with his hand. She watched him, and pressed against his palm as ever so slightly, her head tilted to one side. He studied her face, her eyes, and felt a shiver run up his spine as a thought formed.
It took effort to keep the kiss light, gentle and tentative, when he wanted to push her down, kiss her until every other thought left her mind, everything except him. His to take care of, to protect, to not fail like that bastard failed his mother, like that jackass failed her. Like he'd failed all of them time and again but not now. Not anymore. He was older now, wiser, and he wouldn't repeat mistakes, his or theirs.
She responded, and it was her who increased the intensity of it which he met and matched, raising it another notch in turn, until they finally parted, trembling and breathless, faces flushed and eyes bright. While he'd hoped she wouldn't turn him away, neither had he been prepared for or expecting such a reaction, two distinctly separate and relatively stable compounds introduced and mixed for an explosive reaction, like sodium meeting water.
Hand trembling, he touched her cheek, watching her eyes as he listened to her shallow breathing, and caressed his way down to her neck to move in for another kiss. As his fingertips fluttered over her pulse, her eyes closed and she shivered, and the rhythm under his touch skipped then took off in double time.
Hmm. Wait. That was interesting. And what sort of a scientist was he if he didn't experiment on a newly-developing hypothesis?
He tried it again, lightly tracing along the sinews of her neck, feeling her quiver as this time, her breath caught. Experiment results repeated. It was time for another test. She smelled of feminine warmth and ordinary soap, and the barest of traces of cigarette smoke from from being in the same office as Havoc, and her skin was smooth under his lips as he followed the path his fingers had drawn. Her breath not only caught as her pulse jumped again, he heard a quiet sound like a half-choked whimper, and her fingers dug into his shoulders.
Ed was fairly certain that was something she enjoyed, but better to be safe than sorry later with her. "Was that a good reaction?" he whispered against her ear, catching the soft lobe between his lips. She shivered again as she nuzzled, nodding.
That was all he needed to know. Smiling against her skin, he lazily explored her reactions, savoring the feel of her pulse as it skipped and raced beneath his lips and tongue, the sound of her faint, choked whimpers and mewls catching on her shallow breath. At last satisfied with the results of the experiment, his lips returned to hers, and he wasn't quite prepared for the readiness in her response.
When her hands moved from his shoulders to his sensitive back, white heat spilled over his nerves under her fingertips. He touched her hair, gripping it as he kissed her, hungry for the taste and feel of her. His pants were painfully constricting, the leather not up to the task of accommodating his growing erection.
It was a heady flood of sensation, of fingers, of lips, of tongue and teeth, of racing pulse and growing need. She gasped as he left her lips again, gently biting her neck, the touch of his teeth followed by his tongue, and she moved closer, willingly yielding as he tightened his arms around her.
"Do you want a new beginning?" she whispered, soft kisses to his ear mixed in between syllables.
The shiver flooded him with heated visuals, and in response, he bit her harder. The sound of her soft cry made his body react, his hips pressing toward her on instinct. "I want to do this right."
Riza drew her head back, pulling away, her eyes meeting his, searching his face for something. "New memories?" she asked.
"Whenever you're comfortable." He tucked her hair behind her ear, stroking it back. "I'm not going to do anything to hurt you. I promise."
"Let's start over then," she replied, and caught his bottom lip between her teeth gently. He watched her, uncertain how she meant that, then caught her hand as she started to unfasten his top.
"Not this way, not this time," he said, kissing her palm. "Let's get up."
Riza frowned as she pulled away, and he caught a glimpse of something closing inside her eyes. Ed followed, watching her, and caught her wrist, pulling her to him again to kiss her. "I want to do this right," he whispered. "Would it bother you if we went somewhere other than the sofa? Your room, maybe?"
Whatever had closed opened up again, and she returned the kiss, letting it linger before pulling away again, backing up to the doorway to the hall. Ed followed her, never letting her move beyond reach, watching her face, his stomach tense, a fluttering knot of nerves, and his mouth felt impossibly dry. He felt light-headed from the heightened sense of awareness along electrified nerves as she reached out, her fingertips tracing his jaw.
The sound of the door clicking shut was a catalyst, and he backed her against it, tilting his head up to capture her lips, the kiss heated and demanding, possessive. She returned it readily, the choked, thready whimper caught in her throat a hungry sound. He decided he loved that sound; it almost overruled clear thought, but for the anxiety of inexperience and wanting to do everything right. He wanted her, but more than that, he wanted her to be happy, to not question her decision, to not doubt his sincerity, to make certain she'd walk away from that bastard and never look back.
The abstractly clinical side of his scientific nature cooled off his own ardor enough for him to keep a semblance of control. He knew the biology and nerves of a female body by heart, even if the knowledge had no sexual relevance to him at the time. It had simply been necessary in order to be able to get everything right, or so he'd believed all those years ago, to create a human body out of elements, to bring back their mother. That knowledge, that insane day years ago in Mustang's office, and his imagination since then were all he had to go by.
He already knew her neck was a hot spot particular to her, and he fully intended to abuse that information, breaking the kiss to nibble along her pulse as he untucked her simple pullover shirt from the slacks she'd changed into after work. As her fingertips raked over his back, through his jacket and tank top, even his nervousness almost buckled under the white heat down his spine.
As he moved his hands up to cup her breasts through the thin fabric of her bra, her hands moved to his waist and shifted her weight, sliding down the door just a bit until they were more level, and the way her hips pressed against his was maddening. He wanted to take his time, to explore every inch of her and every reaction, but he doubted his control would hold out that long. Ed pulled away, and when he pushed her shirt up to remove it, she helped, freeing her arms from the sleeves before tugging down the half-closed zipper on his jacket, their lips meeting in a feverish intensity of tongue and teeth.
They moved to the bed, clothes being tugged and unfastened, discarded along the way, and he kissed his way down her now-bare chest, feeling the way she shivered, listening to the sound of her breath catching as his tongue raked over a nipple before closing his lips around it while tugging her pants past his hips. His own were unfastened, but he would worry about removing them later; he was more fascinated by the way her skin quivered under his lips as he traveled lower over the soft skin of her belly, pushing her slacks down, and she balanced against him, a hand on his shoulder, one tangled in his hair, as she stepped out of the legs.
Riza tried to remove his as he stood again, traveling over the same path his lips had taken, this time accompanied by his tongue and punctuated with little nips that made her cry out, her fingers digging into his shoulder. Ed pulled her hands away and caught her wrists, backing her against the bed, forcing her down on it, bending over her to tease her nipples.
Braced on the automail, his free hand caressed her knee, and he kept his touch light as his fingers moved up her inner thigh. He could hear the change in her breathing, the little shuddering, quick gasps that caught on a faint whimper every so often. He lifted his head to watch her, teasing her with a soft touch at the joint of her hip and brushing over coarse blonde hair. Her reactions delighted and fascinated him; the way her cheeks flushed pink, and her eyes were bright, almost glassy in a daze of arousal, the quiet, needy sounds she made, the way her hands fluttered over and and stroked his shoulders and hair, the way her flesh quivered under his touch.
Riza whispered his name, a plaintive, begging tone, and tried to pull him closer to her, or to push him to the bed, but he would have none of it. "No," he whispered, moving his lips to her neck, just below her ear, making her shiver. "Trust me." He hesitated, then carefully, his touch gentle bordering on reverent, his fingers parted the wet, slick folds, causing a shudder to rip a gasp, harsh and winded, from her.
He'd refreshed his memory of female biology in the past, moments of fanciful daydream he never thought would be realized, research evoking mental images that left him torn between guilt and lust. Now as he recalled the information, Ed made a concentrated effort of teasing contact where the nerves were the most sensitive, his thumb light over her clitoris, his fingertips teasing the edges of her entrance while he continued to nibble along her neck, feeling her pulse race, quick and unsteady, under his lips and tongue.
His own arousal was still quite present, but shoved back to a detached corner of his mind, all his thoughts and energy bent toward the fascination of observing the beautiful, lethal woman who was his now, and the reactions he could draw from her. Ed's control slipped erratically though when her fingernails dug into his back, making his cock twitch as his hips pushed toward her on reflex.
When he raised his head to look at her, Ed began to reconsider his original plan. It had started all those years ago with her taking him into her mouth, sucking and licking him to climax. He'd planned to reverse that, but now that he was there, the combination of shy uncertainty in the unfamiliarity of his actions coupled with the fascination of watching her brought up a different idea. He didn't want to do anything now that might obscure his view of her face.
Ed watched her eyes, amused by the glassy way they would slip out of focus with each shiver. He listened to her, and as his heartrate increased, the sound of his own pulse threatened to drown out the needy whimpers and moans which escaped her lips. He felt her hands, marveling at the way they trembled as she touched him where she could, the way the contact alternated between almost painfully hard and as fluttering soft as a butterfly, tangling in his long ponytail. He kissed her palm as she touched his cheek, watching the flush on her cheeks spread lower down her neck and chest.
She would move her hips, writhing on the bed as she bit her bottom lip to stifle breathless cries, and in turn he drew his hand back, keeping the touch of his fingers as light as possible, teasing her to the edge of climax but not letting her pass it. Then her hands fell away from him, balling up on the bedspread, clutching it, and the sounds she made held a note of frustration as well. Deciding it had gone on long enough, Ed rubbed her clitoral hood more firmly with the pad of his thumb as he slipped a finger inside of her, watching with intense fascination as her orgasm washed over her, the way her eyes fluttered shut and her entire body trembled, arching her back off the bed, the deepening of the flush that had spread down to her breasts, now beaded in perspiration, and the weak, almost helpless sound of breathless cries.
He didn't withdraw his hand, continuing to tease and stroke her, until she began to try to pull away. She was beautiful, and she was his and it was his hands, his touch, him, that brought her to such an intense state of pleasure, no drugs needed. It was a thought that left him feeling both humble with awe, and incredibly powerful and possessive.
Riza whispered his name against his still-wet fingers as he touched her lips, mingled with soft words entreating, begging him as her hands caressed down his sides. When her fingers reached the waistband of his unfastened pants, Ed once again became aware of his own arousal, and he pulled back, his hands unsteady in his haste to remove the leather. Riza sat up and kissed him as he took a seat on the bed, fussing with his boots, the gesture surprisingly chaste and tender in contrast to the intensity of desire.
He watched, curious, as she opened the drawer on the bedside table, pulling out a small package. When he realized it was a condom, his boot slipped out of his fingers as he felt his face grow hot. Of course he'd forgotten something important. He'd known what sex could do, on an abstract level, but the idea of procreation was so far removed from his realm of reality that the concern had never entered his mind. Come to think of it, he wasn't even exactly certain how to put one on in the first place. The basics were rather much a given, it was any possible details that escaped him. His hands shook as he finished undressing, and tried to keep his demeanor casual as he reached for it.
Riza didn't give it over; instead, her hand wrapped around his cock, her grip gentle and teasing as she stroked him, and when he looked up at her in surprise, she leaned in to kiss him. Her tongue parted his lips, and he felt her roll the latex down his length, the contact drawing a shiver up his spine.
"Are you sure this is what you--" she started to ask, and he didn't give her a chance to finish, his hand moving up to grip her hair, pulling her into a firm, if brief kiss.
"I want this, Riza," he whispered, not moving away from her lips, nipping her tongue as she licked him. "I want you. Do you? Is this what you want?"
For a response, her hand tightened around his cock, warm through the latex covering, and she let go to move back onto the bed, position changed for her head to rest on the pillows. Ed watched her every move intently, his breath caught in his throat, and automail met flesh as he took her outstretched hand. Taking care to keep his weight shifted, the heaviness of the automail off her, he moved over her, looking at her eyes, alert for any discomfort.
His mouth felt bone-dry and his stomach knotted and fluttered with nervous adrenaline, and Ed swallowed hard, watching her, anxiety encroaching on his resolve and arousal. Then he gasped when he felt her fingers wrap around him, gentle and firm with teasing strokes of her fingertips along the length and against the head, and it took all his concentration not to climax right then. Riza planted her feet on the bed, her hips pressed forward, and he shuddered as the sensation of slick heat enveloped him.
Even with the latex diminishing his sense of feel to some degree, he felt dangerously close to climax before he was even fully inside her, and the teasing way she moved her hips wasn't helping his control. Nor were her hands, and he gasped, lifting his head to kiss her with an intensity that bordered on savage as her nails traced his spine. His voice was hoarse and winded as he gasped her name, and reached up and back, capturing her arms, pulling her hands away and pinning her wrists to the mattress. His automail gave him the greater weight advantage, and he kept her from moving too much underneath him while he struggled to hold onto the tattered remnants of his control.
When he thought it might be safe to attempt moving again, Ed lifted his head and shivered uncontrollably when he looked at her, the way her kiss-reddened lips parted breathlessly, and the near-wicked gleam in her eyes. That was when he realized she didn't need to be able to move her hips to tease him, feeling her tighten around his cock. He might have been in physical control, but all the same, he felt helpless against her.
His thrusts were awkward and unsteady at first; the shudders tangling up his nerves didn't help. Then she moved her hips, guiding him into a rhythm that left him feeling breathless and lightheaded, weak and powerful, and trembling with an intense sense of desperation and hunger. When he lowered his head and captured a nipple in his mouth, the sound of her voice, a moan hollowed out with breathlessness, made him tremble on reflex, thrusting into her harder.
Ed raised his head again, watching, taking in the sight of her. There was more he wanted to do; to nibble her neck until she was writhing and whimpering underneath him, to lick between her breasts and at the hollow of her throat where beads of sweat had formed, to kiss her until she could no longer tell up from down. But he was barely hanging on by a thread, too overwhelmed by the sensations to do more than watch her as he thrust, more on pure need and instinct than any deliberate thought.
And then, he couldn't even do that; he closed his eyes and buried his face against her neck as he tried to ignore and stave off the sensation of something tightening inside, the white heat tangling up his nerves under the rapidly-approaching orgasm. His thoughts spilled from lips in hushed, trembling whispers against her neck, breathing her name, words of love, of possession, of apology and desire and promises. Words that were taken in and breathed back in kind, warm against his cheek and ear. Then he felt her legs move around his waist, the angle of her hips changing for an even deeper thrust, and he came, crying out, clinging to her as the world shattered out from under him into a weightless nothing. His nerves coiled and snapped like whips before settling into a pleasantly numbed and heavy feeling, and he became aware of the roar of his own pulse, and her heart beating against his chest.
It was a weak and spent feeling, but not an unpleasant one, and he was content to remain inside her, savoring the heady warmth relaxing detangled nerves, and feeling their heartbeats under him, slightly out of synch. Then reality began to seep in around the edges, like ink bleeding through paper, and a stab of guilt reminded him how heavy he was with the automail, even if she'd not voiced a single complaint. Ed withdrew, minding the condom, which Riza took and discarded in a small wastebasket within reach of the bed as he moved off her, and settled in to drape his flesh arm over her stomach.
"Are you okay?" he whispered against her shoulder, not quite in possession of the necessary nerve to look at her lest her answer might be an unfavorable one.
"Mmhmm." Riza's murmur was an affirmative noise, punctuated by a little nod that combined with a nuzzle. She too turned a bit on the bed, shifting toward him, until their foreheads touched. He touched her cheek, barely making contact as if she might break, or disappear as he awoke, feeling a certain amount of reverence on the thought that she was his. She was trusting him to take care of her, to make everything right again, to fix the past for her as surely as he'd succeeded in fixing it for Al.
That pulled him rather quickly out of the post-climax daze, and he sat up, looking around the dimly-lit room for a clock.
"What is it?"
"It's after nine," Ed replied as he swung his legs over the edge of the bed. "I should get back to Al." He flipped on the overhead light and gathered his clothes.
"Oh." The bedsprings creaked as she sat up. "Yes, it is getting late."
Ed glanced over to see her holding a pillow in front of her like a shield, covering herself as she looked at her discarded clothes on the floor, out of immediate reach. He quickly pulled his pants up over his hips and returned to the bed, half-kneeling as he leaned in, reaching behind her head to grip her hair, and kissed her. "Is that spare room offer still good?"
Her eyes met his and she nodded.
"I'm just going back to pack and get Al. Think you can give me an hour or two?"
Another nod, and he kissed her again, feeling her relax a bit. "I don't want to leave but I don't want Al to worry." Or tease me mercilessly if I don't come back until morning.
"I understand." Riza let the pillow fall away and stood to fetch her robe off a hook on the wall, not bothering to redress at that hour. While Ed hurried to pull his shirt and boots on, she picked her own garments out of the scattered piles on the floor and tossed them into a hamper. Before they left the bedroom, he kissed, brief but firm, and didn't let go of her until they reached the front door, where he kissed her once again.
"I'll be back in a couple hours, tops," he said, cupping her cheek in his hand. "I promise."
Riza kissed him softly, leaning against his hand. "I'll get the guest room ready."
The lingering, poisonous guilt that had gnawed him since that assessment day was evaporating. She didn't hate him, she forgave him, and his touch wasn't something she found hurtful. It felt as if something had been cut away as he returned to the inn, something heavy and tangling to weigh him down. It was still a while yet before they could leave the military behind once and for all, but that was something he could deal with. She was trusting him, she was letting him take care of her, and she loved him.
Those were the main concerns. She was his now, part of his small, haphazard family that held his brother, Winry and Grandma Pinako, and a hard-as-nails woman that had evolved from a teacher to a mother-figure. And now there was Riza too. As long as his family trusted him to take care of them, the remaining matters were just details he could field as they came up.
Final notes: The end? Finally? Oh, glory hallelujah! What's the final count? Thirty-two pages and 12,603 words. WTF, bunnies? WTF? This could keep going but I have at least two other bunnies for other Ed/Riza fics sinking their little teeth into me, and besides, I really, really, really need to write a nice little RoyxRiza in penance (and for FMA FuhQ). Believe me, writing his characterization like this hurts, and I deliberately avoided having to write any dialogue for him that was not in Angelus. But this bunny wouldn't go away and it liiiiiiied to me. "Just a little PWP," it promised. Bastard. Soooo... Ta-da! The end.