Disclaimer: FMA isn't mine. If it was, this "new FMA" wouldn't be coming out >>
Warnings: BL, post CoS, a bit of bad language
Author's Note: For storm_of_62, who adamantly denies the existence of Elricest at the end of Conqueror of Shamballa. I love her dearly, even if she is in denial.
It had startled Edward when he walked into his first physics class at Yale to find Roy Mustang standing at the front of the classroom, writing "Physics 101" on the blackboard, chalk dust clouding his black slacks, covering his ungloved hands, dusting his black hair, making him appear older than Ed knew him to be. It was a shock that Ed should have known to expect, for which Ed should have known to be prepared, but somehow, some way, the entire concept had never crossed his mind, and he was extremely embarrassed when the professor turned around and stared at him in complete confusion as his jaw dropped and his cheeks flushed a bright pink hue.
Of course, his first and natural reaction was to be in love all over again, and it took some very stern mental reminders that this was not the same person, no matter how similar he looked and sounded and acted for Ed to keep from practically jumping him the first chance he got, but as the semester went on, it became more and more apparent, even in the smallest of ways, that this Roy was different, was not the Colonel that Ed had previously loved. After all, even if they were fundamentally the same, this Roy had not seen the terrors of war, this Roy was a dog to no one. Aside from the goal of becoming President of the college, he had nothing to worry about, no hardships to face. He walked more lightly, gestured more regularly, smiled more and frowned less (though his smirk was definitely the same). Over and over again, Ed told himself that the differences were too grand, that this was tantamount to cheating, but as the first semester came to a close, it also became more and more apparent that, for better or for worse, there was no way Ed could resist.
Al, of course, read him like a book and, when Ed admitted his concerns, comforted him and encouraged him, and with his bolstering, Ed finally plucked up the courage to speak with the professor in private. After all, with one very similar instance already under his belt, he knew that he would have to be the one to make the move, because Roy would never, ever risk his position for something like a relationship with him. He had a plan all laid out in his head; after all, if all Roys were really the same person, this Roy would fall for him just as easily, and after a few private meetings and lunches and library trips, he'd fall for sure. Ed was very confident in himself, expecting results in the next month or so. What he was not expecting was results in the next few minutes or so.
But this Roy never failed to surprise, and surprise he did when, only a few minutes after the door was closed to the office, he grabbed Ed by the shoulders and kissed him, very intentfully, on the lips. Ed had been stunned speechless for a moment, but then Roy had made a backassward remark and Ed had spluttered and glowered as he always had, and Roy has asked tauntingly if he was afraid, and Ed had responded by kissing him back. And that was that.
Dating on this side of the gate in this setting turned out to be a lot easier than it had in the military, but even with that added bonus, Ed still ended up with a lot of things to get used to. After all, he couldn't very well ask this Roy to call him 'Fullmetal', could he? And 'bastard' as term of endearment was something that had to be earned over time, and so simply 'Edward' and 'Roy' had to do. Ed didn't mind, per se, but it was going to take a lot of getting used to, as was the fact that this Roy didn't have over nine-thousand ex-girlfriends, but rather two ex-boyfriends and the fact that this Roy didn't in fact have suicidal tendencies, and the fact that this Roy was, surprisingly enough, a little clumsy in bed, having had very little experience, because, apparently, being homosexual was even less okay on this side of the gate than it had been back home. But get used to them Ed did, slowly but surely, more and more with each afternoon lecture, with each Saturday lunch date, with each bouquet of flowers that arrived in the post, without a card, sporadically throughout the month.
But it was only one warm spring evening, four months after they had begun dating, that Ed suddenly realized, as he readied himself for a dinner date, how much he had begun taking for granted. This Roy may have been different, yes, but that wasn't all bad. After all, the Colonel, though he was not to blame in the least for it, had never been able to put Ed first in his life, not with his duties and his goals. They had been in love, yes, they had been together when they could, but in the end, Roy had his objective and nothing could get in the way of that. But this Roy, Ed realized, had spent more time and energy, more money and thought on him than the Colonel ever could have, and Ed hadn't even given it a second thought.
There was a knock on the door to jerk Ed from his thoughts, and he hurried to finish pulling his hair back as Al called, "Brother! It's Roy!" With a final glance in the mirror, he did his best to walk slowly to the front hall of their generous apartment, as if he hadn't been rushed. But when he saw Roy waiting there, a smile on his lips, a box wrapped in paper and tied with a ribbon in his hand, Ed couldn't help but break into a grin. A few running steps and he launched himself at Roy, pressing a warm kiss to his lips.
After a moment, they broke apart, and Ed rocked back on his heels, trying to regain his balance. Roy chuckled and smiled more broadly. "What was that for, shrimp?"
Ed blushed and swatted at him. "Who are you calling short? If you piss me off I'm not going to tell you!"
Roy smirked, bending to place a kiss on Ed's cheek. "There. Does your ego feel better?"
Ed stuck out his tongue. "'Cause I love you, jerkface. Now are you taking me out, or what?"
And as Roy chuckled again and took his hand, leading him out to the waiting automobile, Ed couldn't help but smile to himself. For better or for worse, this Roy, his Roy, was a different person than the Colonel, but, Ed decided, it was better to stop comparing. After all, it seemed, as Roy handed him the gift and another peck to the cheek before staring up the car, it may very well have been for the better.