Title: The Fire in His Eyes (The Seed of the Fire- Chapter 1)
Pairing: Roy Mustang x Maes Hughes
Rating: PG for one little kissing scene.
Disclaimer: AU, Set before the anime started, while Maes and Roy were roommates at the military academy.
Summary: Maes saw the fire in the young man's eyes, but he never knew where it would lead him...
Read all of the chapters so far HERE!
They had been roommates for a few semesters now, although Maes never saw much of Roy. He was either at the library studying his flame alchemy- which he was exceptionally good at, or out on a date with whichever gal had caught his fancy this week. A good portion of Maes was jealous of his roommate. Maes was older, taller, more filled out, and was already starting to grow a beard (even as wimpy as it was so far). Roy had yet to grow any facial hair to go with that boyish face of his. But despite all of that, the slightly younger and shorter (and much skinnier) man was getting all the girls, and Maes was stuck with just a couple of token dates occasionally.
It took quite a while- almost a semester, for Maes to discover the real reason for his jealousy. He actually liked this man. Sure, he liked him as a friend. They had thankfully become good buddies after getting put in the room together (Maes had had some bad luck with past roommates). But it was more than that, he finally admitted to himself. He was attracted to this man, and he had absolutely no idea why.
He had never been attracted to a man before, and part of himself was surprised, and even disgusted at the thought, but a little part of that side of him died away each time he saw Roy's gentle face curled up on his bunk- deep in peaceful sleep, or when Roy's dark eyes lit up with happiness when he successfully attempted a difficult alchemic reaction.
When the winter break came, and neither of them had a home that they wanted to go back to, they decided that they would hang out in thier dorm room and pal around until the break was over. The first few days were very awkward for Maes, and he tried to avoid eye contact with Roy as much as he could. His young body would react every time he saw that beautiful man, reddening his face and making his pants feel uncomforatably tight.
As bright as Roy was, (though he should win awards for his procrastination skills, Maes often thought) it didn't take him long at all to notice that something was wrong with his friend. One night, when the snow was piled deep outside, and there was nowhere for Maes to run, He decided to find out. After a friendly and slightly awkward dinner of warmed over noodles in a clear and tastless broth, Roy started to iddly chat with his friend.
"So, Maes. It looks like you have been.. well.. kinda distracted lately." he started in with a warm smile. He took a sip of the broth, scrunched up his face, and pushed the rest of the bowl away. "I know it isn't about classes, because we don't have any right now. So tell me, bud. What's up?" He iddly stretched and laced his fingers behind his head.
Maes gulped, and couldn't help but notice that this seemingly innocent motion stretched out the short blue uniform jacket to show the white tanktop that Roy had tucked into his tight pants. Was Roy teasing him, he wondered? It didn't seem like it. The look on the man's face was some mix of boredom, sleepiness, and curiosity. There didn't seem to be any malice or even playfulness there, although Maes had already found out how good Roy was at hiding his emotions when he wanted or needed to.
"I... um.." Suddenly Maes' throat felt about as tight as his pants did, and he was glad his legs were under the table so Roy couldn't see how his body was betraying his feelings. Almost immediatly Roy leaned forward again, putting his hand softly on the table between them.
"Is.. there something wrong with me?" Roy asked, suddenly worried that he had done something to offend his friend. "Is it about the girls I bring over sometimes? Because I can stop that if you want. I know sometimes it makes you feel uncomforatable, and I really don't mean to make you feel left out..." Roy stammered, slurring his words into a run-on sentence.
"It.. isn't that at all Roy, I promise." Roy heard the sincerity in the voice, and believed him, but that still didn't answer the question of what was bothering his roommate.
"Then what is it, bud? You know you can tell me anything!" He flashed a smile, then his eyes lit up. "Oh, I know! You have found a girl and you don't want to bring her over, because you are afraid that I will steal her away! Is that it, you sly dog you?" he leaned over and gave Maes a playful punch on the arm. Despite being smaller, he was wiry and strong, and his punch hurt more than one should from one his size.
For a moment, Maes thought about going with that lie, and actually opened his mouth to reply, but he was smart enough to know that it would only fool Roy for a short time. He would still have to confess his feelings sometime in the very near future. He figured that it was better that he didn't have to suffer through it any longer than he had to. He'd rather just get this over with. And if Roy hated him and wanted to leave, then at least the winter break would give him time to gather his things, not that he had many possesions.
Maes closed his mouth for a moment, which made Roy shoot a very confused look back to his friend. "Come on, bud. You know you can tell me. Nothing you can say will upset me. I promise."
Maes took a deep breath, and closed his eyes, hoping that he wouldn't have to see the punch that was probably going to come after he blurted out what he wanted to say. "I like you, Roy." He sighed.
Roy giggled, relaxing just a little. "Well, I like ya too, pal. I don't really have alot of close friends, but you are defintat-"
"No, I mean I *LIKE* you.. I mean that I like the way you look so peaceful when you sleep, and those cute little worry lines you get between your eyes when you are concentrating. I don't know what I mean.. I.. I'm still not sure.. but.. I think.. I might.. like you..." He screwed his eyes shut tight, tensing, waiting for the inevitable punch, or even worse, the snap of those deadly fingers.
He waited.. 5 seconds.. 10.. there was still nothing. Softly he opened his eyes, and looked at the man across the table. His face was shocked and confused, but there was no hint of anger. The fire in his eyes, the thing that Maes had finally realized was what drew him towards the man, was still there, burning bright and hot as ever.
"If... you want to move out.. I understand." Maes finally said, since Roy didn't seem to want to speak. Softly, the taller man sighed and not so gently dropped his head to the table, his glasses making a soft clinking noise as they hit the hard surface. Bending his glasses was about the last thing Maes was worried about at the moment. His throat closed up on him, and his eyes stung. He didn't really feel like he deserved to look at that man any more.
It seemed like an eternity of silence for Maes Hughes. Why wouldn't Roy just say something? Anything? If Roy was mad at him, he could at least yell at him. It would have been better then the silence that was deafening him.
"Roy? P-p-p-lease.. say... something..." Maes begged, his now hoarse voice barely over a whisper.
There was a noise, softly at first, coming from Roy. Maes couldn't tell what it was for a few moments. It finally got louder and louder, untill it was as deafening as the silence had been moments before. Laughter. It was laughter. Roy was.. laughing at him. Maes looked up, confused as to why his best friend was laughing at his admission. Was he making fun of him? Mocking him and crushing his spirit before the inevitable finger snap?
As soon as Roy saw Maes, slightly red eyed, looking at him, he stopped. He wasn't angry, nor even surprised any more. It was an amused look that Roy wore. Amusement, relief, happiness were etched into his face.
"You have no idea how glad I am to hear that, Maes." He was pretty sure now that Roy wasnt going to set him aflame, beat him up, or move out. It was odd that he didn't mind that another man liked him. And Roy never called him by his first name, except when he was trying to be deadly serious. He usually called him 'bud' or 'pal'. Maes knew he meant what he said.
"You... are... glad?" Maes asked, even more confused than before.
Roy chuckled a little, a slight flush coming to his cheeks. "Well, yeah. I am. You see, I do like women. That is obvious. But.. let's just say that I like to keep my options open as well.." It took Maes a moment to understand what he meant, his eyes going wide after it hit him.
"One of the reasons I like to bring girls over here is not to torture you, but... well.. to be close to you." Roy paused for a moment. "You see, sometimes, even if I am with someone, well, sometimes it helps me if I think about something.. or some*ONE* else...." he trailed off at the end, leaving Maes a couple of moments to digest that information.
"Someone...." was all Maes got out before he understood what Roy meant. ".. Else... like... me?" he asked meekly.
It was Roy's turn to look down at the table. "Um.. maybe." he admitted, awkwardly scrathing at the back of his head.
"I dunno, I guess pretty soon after we started to room together I noticed that you were kinda cute, but I didn't think much of it, because I didn't know if you had a personality to match. Despite my seemingly flippant attitude towards love, someone with a good personality is a big weakness of mine."
"Well, I never thought of your love life as flippant.." Maes started before being interrupted.
"And I used to try alot of girls beause I liked girls, but also to try to get my mind off of you, because I figured you would poke me with one of those knives that you love so much." Roy pointed to the sheath of knives that were always close to him. "I could never find a girl with the nice match of personality and charm and looks that you had, so I kept trying a bunch of different gals, with no luck." He paused for a moment, resting his head on one arm. "So, what about you? How long?"
Maes had to think a moment. He could hardly speak, this throat was dry. His mind was racing. It took a few moments for his brain to process what was Roy had asked. "I.. um.. about the same.. When you first walked in this room, I noticed that dark hair and those dark eyes first. There was a fire in there, I saw it right away. I'd never seen such a fire in anyone else before, and it intrigued me. It still does.." he blushed at the final admission.
Without even thinking, Maes reached across the short table and softly touched Roy's hair, for just a moment before pulling back. It was as soft and thick as he thought it'd be. Dark and beautiful, like the man who wielded it. "Wow" he whispered. Roy gave Maes a soft smile, and a little nod, giving a silent approval. Maes got up from the table and walked around to Roy, standing beside him. He gently ran his fingers thru Roy's hair again, closing his eyes for a moment and taking in a deep breath. He had smelt the aftershave that Roy wore hundreds of times before in thier cramped little bathroom, but it had never smelt his sweet to him.
His hand trailed down the side of Roy's face, beside his ear, which made Roy shiver just a little, down that still unwhiskered face, and down to his chin. He was baby soft, his skin so smooth and moist. It wasn't oily or dry, but that annyoing shade of perfect inbetween that almost nobody was able to attain. Maes' hand went back up, tracing against the side of Roy's lips, up the side of his nose, and between his eyes, then back to the glorious mop of raven black hair.
"Roy... " he muttered, unable to say anything else. Roy leaned up and put a finger to his lips.
"Shh. It is okay, Maes. You don't have to say anything. We are both trying to figure this out, I know." he smiled and leaned up a little more, putting the tiniest of kisses on his friend's lips. Maes put his hand on the table to steady himself, fighting a sudden bout of dizzyness.
"Well.. umm.. I think it is late.. I need to digest this for a while.." Maes said, his stomach turning knots. "But.. I'm glad we talked. It is good to get this stuff out in the open."
"So.. " Roy asked, a tired smile on his face. "Um... what.. does this... make us, I wonder?"
"Well, I'm not sure, yet. We'll probably have to talk more, but how about tomorrow? I don't think we will be able to go anywhere, even after this snowstorm lets up. And I'm not sure my mind can take much more tonight." He rubbed his temples and took off his dress blues, leaving his white t-shirt and black boxers with red hearts on them. He had worn them around the dorm before and neither man had thought much about it, but now- after all this, it seemed a bit wierd. Maes jumped quickly onto his bunk and covered up.
"Er.. night Roy." Maes said, quickly turning over, away from the younger man.
"Night, Maes.." Roy said absentmindedly. He certainly had alot to think about himself, but somehow, sleep wasn't first on his mind.