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“Smoking’s a nasty habit,” Ed said, scathingly, and turned his nose away as the smoke drifted towards him. Mustang looked towards him, raised his eyebrow, and took another inhale, exhaling deliberately towards Ed. The smoke stung Ed’s eyes, not as bad as it once would, and Ed’s scowl deepened. “When you get cancer,” Ed muttered. “Don’t come running to me.”

“Were you always this pessimistic?” Mustang wondered, voice slightly wondrous. He looked towards the grey-cast sky through the window, clouds hanging low and think, and added to the atmosphere with another exhale of dark smoke, and leant back on the wooden bench. “I didn’t think you would have cared four years ago.”

“I would have cared,” Ed spat back, and leant against the brick wall–the only dry spot along the building’s wall, against the fireplace. “It might have robbed me of the chance to kill you myself.” Mustang looked towards him, eye-patch facing him, unreadable in the most frustrating way (even though Roy had always been pretty much unreadable). Except for the turned lips that could either be a teasing smirk or a peeved frown, Ed was essentially blind. As usual. He crossed his arms, shifting the automail so it wouldn’t dig into his hip (he had forgotten how that felt), and turned his eyes downwards. “Still as stupid as ever.”

“The north is cold,” Mustang said, plainly, not unkindly. “Havoc left a pack behind, and it was something to pass the time.”

The north is cold, Ed mouthed, rolled his eyes, and shuffled downwards. “Water is wet, Mustang. You don’t see me turning alcoholic ‘cause of it.”

“Oh?” Mustang questioned, and finally looked towards him. “And the empty bottles of cognac?”

“That’s not-”

“And the vodka?”

“You know what?” Ed said, flatly. “Fuck you. Stay the fuck up here. Hell if I know why Hawkeye thought I could get you to come back. Freeze, for all I care.”

Mustang inhaled. Ed pushed off the wall. Mustang exhaled. Ed really wasn’t good at running away.

“What the fuck happened to you?” he questioned, suddenly, eyes narrowing. “All that shit about doing what’s right and I find you all the way up fucking here, slowly freezing to death and I thought–I thought that you meant something. I–I looked up to you, asshole, and you’re here doing, doing this.

Ed stared at him, something in his eyes, and he slowly shook his head.

“You’re a disappointment,” Ed said, after a second, quietly. “I thought–I spent a lot of time thinking about you, did you know that? Before, I mean before it was Al, and Winry, you know? But Al was with me, and I knew that, that Winry had moved on, that she was her own person and so I thought about you. I thought about how you must be changing the world, and living up to all your talk.” Ed laughed, bitterly. “I come back and you’re demoted and exiled and disappointing, and I never fucking thought it would ever happen.”

Mustang was silent; it seemed like a decade before he finally lifted the cigarette from his lips, eyes stuck onto a point on the ground and past Ed, and licked his lips. “I didn’t see a reason to.”

Ed laughed. “What if I didn’t see a reason to come back?” 

“Then why did you?” Mustang asked, eyes (eye, missing-eye) meeting Ed’s. “I gave you Al. I could have held you back, but I decided to give you Al.” He stared at Ed, impassionately. “This world has done nothing but hurt you, and you finally had the chance to start over. You had Al, you had a chance at happiness, and you came back.

“Maybe I didn’t think I could be happy there,” Ed said, without missing a beat. “Maybe I thought that world was as fucked up as this one. Maybe there was something I wanted on this side. You don’t know me, Mustang, no matter how much you think you do. I’m not a toy. You don’t know what I’m thinking.”

“You should have stayed,” Mustang said, and the cigarette lolled between his fingers. His hair had gotten long. “You should have stayed.”

“Don’t tell me what the fuck to do,” Ed raged, taking a step forward. “You don’t get to tell me-”

“You should have stayed!” Mustang hollered suddenly, standing up and dropping the cigarette. It hit the floor with a hiss, the very end of it a crumble of ash and smoke. Ed froze and blinked as Mustang took a step towards him, lips pulled down fiercely. “You shouldn’t–you shouldn’t have come back. You could have been happy, Ed, damnit. Nothing else matters, do you get that? Everyone else, everyone here, we were fine! We were surviving, managing, but you–you deserved to be happy, don’t you get that? You and Al, after all the shit you two have been through, you need a new start, a new home–”

“Well, I didn’t fucking want it there,” Ed growled, cutting Mustang off. “I wanted it here. I wanted it with–” He shut up suddenly, jaw clicking with how fast he had shut his mouth. 

Mustang froze. “With–” He swallowed. “I’m sorry, Ed, but Ms. Rockbell is–”

“Not Winry,” Ed said, aghast. “Winry has–this isn’t about Winry? Winry isn’t who I–goddamnit. This is about you and you’re ability to turn everything to shit.”

“Me,” Mustang said, after a second, slowly. He was close enough that Ed could smell the nicotine on his breath, the smoke on his lips. “What did...you want?” The half a second Ed took seemed to be too long, because Mustang took another step forward, breath held. “Did you want–” and then, in a quiet, broken, almost hopeful tone, “...me?”

Ed swallowed. “Does it matter now?”

“Does it–” Mustang said, and cut himself off with a hard laugh, looking at Ed with an expression of stark, bitter disbelief. “Does it matter? Now? Ed, yes it fucking matters. It–did you...do you…?”

“Does it matter now?” Ed pressed, scowling. “I don’t know you, not anymore. And it was–stupid, a stupid crush that started when I was ten years old and you were that stupid beacon of hope and the difference between right and wrong, and it never went away, not really, and then I was sixteen and I thought that maybe, anything was possible, that there was the chance that you could, and then all that shit happened, and all I wanted…” He licked his lips again and winced. “All I wanted was to come back home, to have Al, to–to see you, and here you are, telling me you don’t even fucking want me–”

“Don’t you ever,” Mustang said, harshly. “Ever, think I don’t want you.”

Ed froze, and for a second the world felt still. The wind silenced itself and the snow seemed adrift in the air, frozen in time, before the cycle started again and it fell back into place. 

Roy pressed his lips together, worked his jaw through several words that would never feel life, and finally swallowed. “You don’t...Ed, you don’t. I wanted you to be happy. I needed you to be happy.”

“I’ll be happy here,” said Ed, quietly. “I am happy here. I’ll be happy with, with you.” He twisted his lips together. “I mean, if you, if you want.”

“I want you,” Roy said, softly, and lowered his gaze for a second. The firelight licked at his eyepatch and set a dozen shades of grey, orange, and black against it. “Ed, I’ll always want you.” He took a step forward, so that the tips of his boots brushed against Ed’s, so that he could lean down if he wanted to, and–

Ed closed his eyes. “I want you to come back. To Central. I want you to be happy, with me, and I want you to quit fucking smoking.”

Before Ed’s patience wore thin, and he reached up and kissed him, Roy managed to get out, “Well, I can definitely do two of those.”

They fell together, Roy's hands moving past Ed's scarf and into his hair, crushing him against his body. Ed's arms dangled off to the side, an echo of something dead and lifeless before they jolted back to life, grabbing at Roy's overcoat, at any handhold he could manage. It was uncomfortable; they pressed against themselves so tightly it hurt, Roy’s hands held against Ed’s neck like he was going to be pulled away from him any second and he’d never be able to see him again. 

They pulled apart when Ed scowled against his mouth, pushing against his chest, pulling away with a frown and his tongue extended. “You taste like a fucking ashtray,” he commented, scathing, and frowned fiercely. “I swear to Jesus Christ, Mustang, you’re quitting.

Roy swallowed. “Who’s Jesus Christ?”

Ed closed his eyes, and rested his forehead against Roy’s shoulder. “I have–a lot to catch up on. We probably should...talk. Before anything. That’s the most important thing.”

“We should,” Roy said, quietly. “But the most important thing is that you came back.”

“Even if you didn’t want me to?”

“I think we’ve established that I’m severely out of practice when it comes to making decent decisions,” Roy said, voice still soft. “I let you go, didn’t you?”

“Yeah but,” Ed said, and sighed. “I did come back.”

Roy’s arms reached around him and held him tight. “You did.”