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“I’m not your fucking dog,” Ed said.

“I should hope not. Bestiality is generally frowned upon,” Mustang said, focused on the papers he was grading.

“You’re petting me,” Ed said slowly.

Mustang looked down at his free hand, as if he was surprised to find that it had been gently stroking Ed’s hair.

“Oh. Apologies.”

They were in the lab, because they were always in the fucking lab these days. The second round of testing for their new theorem was underway, and everyone was working around the clock to get out the longer paper before the term officially ended in December. Back at the dorms, there was a pile of letters inviting Ed to finish the experiment at bigger universities. China, Australia, Japan. Ed could basically blindly point at the map and there’d be a lab looking to profit off him.

Ed was supposed to be focused on the data in front of him, but he couldn’t stop watching the way Mustang’s wrist moved across the page. He knew Mustang had to finish these papers tonight, or Riza would string him up in the quad, but why did the grading process have to involve him pawing at Ed’s hair like some kind of follicle fetishist?

Ever since Winry’s visit last month, when Mustang kicked him out and Ed muscled his way back in, he’d been like this. More hair-strokey. More humming-into-his-coffee. The other day, Mustang texted him to ask what he wanted for dinner that night, and later, he fucking made it for them. Chicken Cacciatore. It was delicious. It was fucking confusing. It was so close to what Ed knew he could never have. And Ed missed the bastard in Roy.

“We’ve never done it in the lab,” Ed said slowly, running his flesh foot up Roy’s ankle.

“And we never will,” Roy replied, flipping a page.

“I can be quiet,” Ed said, “Or you can keep me quiet.”

Ed carefully stood up, nuding Roy’s knees apart to sink down in front of him.

“Ed,” Roy said, still not deigning to look at him, even as Ed nuzzled at his crotch.

“I want you to fucking gag me.”

“Edward, not here,” Roy said sternly.

“Why not?” Ed whined, pawing at Roy’s zipper.

“Because we are on campus, where anyone could stumble upon our sordid affair, and while I’m sure your standing amidst the academic community would protect you from any serious ramifications, it would still be-”

“You think you’re so smart,” Ed groaned, “Just let me suck you off.”

Roy sighed, fisting Ed’s hair in his hands, “Be a good boy and wait for it.”

“There it is,” Ed thought, trying to revel in the sharp bite on his scalp as Roy hauled him up, going limp to make the man pull harder.

Roy sat him back on his own stool, and left him to squirm for twenty more minutes, but Ed knew he was just pretending to grade to teach him a lesson or some shit. Soon the man silently rose, donned his jacket, and walked out the door, without a backward glance to see if Ed was following. And Ed trotted after him.

Ed was on him as soon as the apartment door closed, tugging at Roy’s jacket.

“Edward, some patience,” Roy said, brushing him off.

“But I want it nowww.”

“You’re being a brat,” Roy said.

“And what happens to brats?” Ed asked coyly.

Ed felt a nervous flutter run through him as he saw Roy’s eyes narrow and darken, the older man slowly assessing Ed’s words. While they’d thoroughly explored Mustang’s love of delayed gratification, and Ed’s need to be held down, they’d never gotten into pain play before. Ed was going to change that tonight.

“Upstairs,” Roy said, walking to the bar cart.

Ed scampered up stairs, leaving a trail of his clothes in his wake. He knew leaving a mess would only rile up Roy more-- the guy was protective of his shit, he only just let Ed start leaving more than a toothbrush, deigning to give him the bottom drawer of his dresser, if only to stop giving Ed an excuse to be late to lab. Ed hopped on the mattress, waiting on all fours, trying to figure out what Mustang would want to see. They didn’t normally do it like this, Ed alone and waiting. Anxiety clawed at the pit of his stomach, what if Mustang didn’t come upstairs? What if he decided he’d had fucking enough, and finally scraped the Ed-sized stain on his life. What if-
The door opened, Mustang’s slow footfalls creaking on the hardwood floor. Ed felt goosebumps spring in the slow path Mustang’s fingers trailed up his spine.

“Whatever am I supposed to do with you?” Mustang grasped the tip of Ed’s chin, forcing his gaze upward.

“You should spank me,” Ed said in a rush, afraid he wouldn’t be able to get the words out.

Ed heard Mustang’s breath falter, but he kept his eyes steady.

“Are you sure that’s what you want?”

Ed nodded, too nervous to trust his own voice. Mustang sat almost gingerly on the bed beside him.

“Over my lap,” he said warily.

Ed lay himself over Mustang’s lap, tamping down the nausea by focusing on the drag of his wool slacks against his stomach. Mustang ran a slow hand over his ass, before experimentally swatting with four fingers.

“I know you can do better than that,” Ed taunted, wiggling his hips.

He could practically hear the eyeroll, before the smacks began to land heavier, the skin growing hot and tight. Ed forced out a moan, but it came out choked. Roy paused, rubbing slow circles into Ed’s lower back.

“I think that’s punishment enough,” Roy said.

“Come on, I can take it,” Ed said.

“Let’s count to ten,” Roy said.

“One,” Ed said, after one harsh smack.

He made it to six before the tears started to flow.

“Edward,” Roy carefully pulled him up by his shoulders, lifting him back onto the bed.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” Ed sniffed, shoving his face into Mustang’s stupidly soft pillows.

“You have nothing to apologize for, I, I shouldn’t have let that happen,” Roy said, carefully coaxing Ed underneath the sheets.

Ed knew Roy was still talking, but the blood was rushing in his ears too loudly to make out whatever platitudes the other man was cooing.

“God, can you just leave me already and get it over with,” Ed said, hoping the pillow muffled his voice.

“I’m not going to leave you,” Roy said, rubbing slow circles into Ed’s back.

Ed flipped himself onto his back, ignoring the stinging skin of his ass, and before he could stop his stupid mouth, “What am I to you?”

Roy looked down, and then away.

“I don’t know,” Roy said slowly, wringing his hands, before getting up to pace about the room.

“You’re my student, though I am well aware that any endeavor to educate you has only resulted in my own growing certainty that your intellect dwarfs whatever I’ve been coasting on these past few decades.”

“Everyone knows Hawkeye’s the brains of the operation,” Ed said, though embarrassment began to creep over him. He didn’t want to know what Roy thought of him. He wasn’t ready. He wanted to go back to limbo.

“You’re something of a roommate, in the sense that you eat my food and deplete my hot water,” Roy continued, “Though I cannot say that your presence is not without benefit.”

“Not without benefit, ok you old fuck,” Ed managed, but his heart was in his throat.

“You’re my lover, and despite my oh so advanced age and my best efforts, the one I’ve managed to keep the longest,” Roy said in a rush, “Which is more likely due to your lack of options within this small community than my ability to deceive you into spending time with me.”

Roy looked down at his feet, which was fortunate considering that Ed knew that if Roy looked up, if he looked at him his heart would explode and then Roy would be forced to clean him off the walls, and that wouldn’t be fair, would it?

Ed found the strength to rise up, conscious of the cold air on his bare skin, and grabbed Roy’s hand, tugging him back towards the bed. Well aware of the absurdity of big spooning the fully clothed man, Ed wrapped himself around Roy’s back.

After an endless silence, “I cannot be what you need me to be.”

“Ok,” Ed said, and that was it.

Eventually Roy got up, changed his clothes, and slipped under the covers next to Ed. In the early morning, Ed gathered up the contents of his one drawer, slipped his toothbrush in his pocket, and made the lonely trek back to the dorms. Ed picked up the letters, unopened, and shuffled them in his hands with his eyes closed. He tore open the top envelope, which had a nice weight to it.

“Melbourne it is,” he sighed to himself.