Ed slides his left hand across the two or three inches of empty mattress until he reaches Roy’s forearm. He runs his index finger up and down over the stretch of scarred skin from the back of Roy’s wrist to his knuckles a couple times. If Ed’s only touching him with one finger, it doesn’t count as petting; and if they’re not holding hands, it doesn’t count as a derivation of cuddling. He’s just getting the bastard’s attention. That’s all.
For good measure, he clears his throat and adds: “Hey, Mustang.”
Arguably, the words probably would’ve done the job without any physical contact at all, but Ed’s not in the habit of taking risks like that.
Also—arguably—the way Roy catches his hand, knits their fingers together, lifts the tangle up above the sheets to kiss the heel of Ed’s palm, and then settles the knot on the bed again sort of negates all of Ed’s assiduous non-cuddling work, but he’s planning to ignore that for at least a minute more.
“Oh, dear,” Roy says, in a tone he’d probably call ‘fond resignation’, because he’s a piece of shit.
Ed scowls. It’s dark, but Roy’ll hear it. “What the hell is ‘Oh, dear’ supposed to mean?”
“Nothing,” Roy says. “It was merely an interjection related to the observation—born of extensive experience, mind—that you only ever call me ‘Mustang’ when you’re angry, hungry, or sexually frustrated, and I am not remedying the condition to your satisfaction.” He pauses, and Ed can feel his gaze fixing on the shadow-shape of Ed’s face in the dark. “It also surfaces occasionally when you’re existentially distressed.”
“That’s not true,” Ed says.
Roy stays perfectly silent just long enough for Ed to consider that maybe it is a tiny bit almost-true if you distort the facts slightly and squint.
But two can play at the stupid vocabulary game.
“Your evidence is circumstantial at best,” Ed says in his absolute best Roy impression—which involves pitching his voice a little lower and making the words flow into one another, except for the extremely precise consonants. He’s pretty damn good at it, actually; Hawkeye almost snorted once when he was doing an imitation anti-paperwork rant, and Ed just about died of delight.
Sure enough, Roy laughs softly, then tugs on Ed’s captured hand. Ed scoots closer, and Roy’s free arm slings over his waist, but it still doesn’t count as cuddling. This is—close-proximity semi-hugging. Or some shit.
“Conceded,” Roy says, warmly. “Did you want to ask me something, or was this a setup for you to mock me to my face?”
“Not really to your face,” Ed says. “Too dark for that. Maybe towards your face.”
“You can be remarkably literal for someone whose specialty was enacting massively powerful atomic redistribution at the drop of a hat.”
“I stopped listening to that partway through,” Ed says. “I’m going to assume it was a compliment.”
Roy kisses his forehead. The bastard. “What did you want to ask me?”
Sometimes it’s a huge advantage to be with somebody who knows you so damn well that they can figure out every last damn thing you’re thinking about before you’ve even finished thinking it—like the days when Ed comes home and just really, really needs to be held for, like, ever; and he can’t just say that, but Roy somehow knows it from the way he opens the goddamn door and immediately dives on him and clings and won’t let go until Ed says he has to pee or something.
“I dunno,” Ed says, which is not entirely honest, but he’s getting there. “Just… y’know, hypothetically, if you… could make three magic-ass wishes and change anything you wanted about the present—” He knows what Roy would pick if he included the past, and that isn’t the point. “—what would they be?”
“Mm,” Roy says, which is not at all the same as Hmm. The rumbliness in the base of Roy’s chest resonates straight through to Ed’s, which makes his sensitive set of toes tingle. Close-proximity semi-hugging has its advantages. “I’d reorder this entire putridly inefficient electoral vote system. It could not possibly be more obvious that they never wanted it to work.” He shifts and resettles, and there’s a tickle of his hair against Ed’s face. “I’d add an extra day to the weekends, mandatorily free of any obligations whatsoever—which is not, before you say it, my ‘legendary laziness’ talking; I really do think it would be a substantial improvement for the nation’s collective psyche.” He leans his forehead against Ed’s. “And I’d give you your alchemy back. I think missing it hurts you more than you let on.”
Ed’s throat does a weird thing. A weird, hot, sticky, contracting thing.
He knows Roy’s smiling even before he hears it coloring the man’s voice. “What would you change?”
Ed swallows, then swallows again, then scowls.
“I dunno,” he says. “Nothing.”
“Ah,” Roy says in the Significant Voice, but it’s so gentle this time that Ed doesn’t even care about the huge weight of the unsaid crap behind it.
“Yeah,” Ed says. “Wait, just kidding. My wish would be that you shut the fuck up and go to sleep.”
He may or may not be conveniently forgetting that he started this conversation.
“I live to please,” Roy says.
Ed butts his head against Roy’s collarbones a little, because… because. “If that was true, you’d blow me more.”
“I blow you a lot,” Roy says.
“Yeah,” Ed says, “but if you lived for it, you’d stay home from work all the time and just turn this place into a sex den and—”
“Don’t tempt me,” Roy says.
“Maybe that’d be my other wish,” Ed says.
“A sex den wish would coincide beautifully with my extra day of the weekend,” Roy says.
“Yeah,” Ed says, “but we could do that anyway, if we really wanted to. You could just take a day off, and we could redo the living room, and… yeah. Don’t need to waste a wish on it.”
“True,” Roy says.
“So yeah,” Ed says. “I don’t need any stupid wishes.”
Roy’s hand skims up his side, then veers off to make the last foot of the trek dancing up along his spine instead. Roy’s fingers thread into Ed’s hair right at the base of his skull where the weight of the braid tugs the most—although two or three scratches of Roy’s nails make him forget that for a long, totally fucking gorgeous second.
“I love you, too,” Roy says softly.
They’re close enough that Roy must be able to feel the heat radiating off of Ed’s face. “That’s not what I said.”
“Is it not?” Roy asks, mildly. “My mistake.”
“Shut up,” Ed says.
“Goodnight,” Roy says.
“Yeah,” Ed mutters, wriggling in a little closer… for warmth, obviously. Because it’s cold. “Whatever.”