bob_fish: (bloody but unbowed)
[personal profile] bob_fish
Title: The Small Hours
Characters: Roy/Ed
Rating: PG for sap
Word count: 894
Summary: Fuhrer Roy attempts to work through a bad cold; Ed leans on him.
Notes: Several years post-manga, AU for pairing and automail arm. Written for [livejournal.com profile] sky_dark's prompt.



It was keeping him awake. Ed wasn't sure, exactly, what it was; but he could pin it down to one of a few things. It could be the intermittent scratching of Roy's pen, which he could hear through the open door. It could be the tapping of the typewriter keys, or the rustle of paper, or Roy's discontented breathing. It could very likely be the sound of Roy thinking, a highly unscientific concept which nevertheless described the phenomenon well: Roy was up thinking, and it was keeping Ed awake.

After the alarm clock on the nightstand hit two, something had to be done. Ed headed out for the inevitable argument.

Roy was where Ed had left him when he went to bed: at his desk in the study, surrounded by fat folders full of dossiers on this and briefings on that and reports on the other. The wastepaper basket was full of crumpled tissues. Roy hadn't been crying his eyes out; he just had a very nasty cold. A cold Ed had, incidentally, given him.

Time was, long ago, Roy would have happily not only called in sick, but made his team bring him chicken soup and light reading matter. Theoretically, being boss of the whole country should have made this easier. But apparently, instead it had made Roy decide that he was never allowed a day off, ever.

Roy didn't look up. Scratch, scratch, scratch, went his pen. He tutted. He breathed thickly, blew his nose, dropped the tissue into the wastepaper basket, turned a page.

Ed came and leaned on the edge of the desk. Roy looked up after a moment. He looked even worse than Ed had last seen him before heading to bed: his eyes were pink-rimmed and puffy, his nose was red and sore, his shoulders slumped.

Roy looked at Ed for a moment. "You're wearing my pyjamas," he said. The sleeves and ankles were rolled up. These days, Ed had gotten over ninety per cent of his annoyance about the height difference.

"Yes," Ed said. "They're dorky, but it's cold and I don't have any pyjamas. Whatcha gonna do?"

"Why are you awake?"

"Because I can hear you thinking."

"Sorry," said Roy. "I won't be long."

"That's what you said three hours ago when I went to bed."

"I just have to finish this," Roy said.

"You said that, too."

"Well, I do." Roy sniffed, then grabbed another tissue and blew his nose noisily.

When he was done, Ed arched an eyebrow, lifted Roy's chin with a thumb, and put his lips to Roy's forehead. "You've got a fever."

"That's a very inaccurate method of testing."

Ed put his automail hand against Roy's forehead instead. Roy sighed and leaned into it. "That feels so nice and cool."

"Because you have a fever."

"Even so."

"Is it a good idea for a head of state to make decisions while he's burning up?"

"I knew you'd pull that one."

"You're overtaxing yourself."

"Probably."

"You can't work through this. That's how you've ended up with a fever in the first place. C'mon, remember last time?"

Roy sighed. Ed shifted towards him, and Roy leaned his head against Ed's chest. Ed stroked his hair, felt the scratch of stubble on his hot cheek. Roy wound his arms around Ed's waist, and Ed bowed over him and stroked his back. They both sighed.

"Come to bed," Ed said. Roy made a small noise. "Come to bed. I'll call up the doctor first thing." Then it would be out of Roy's hands. Even the Fuhrer had to obey doctor's orders.

He only fully realised how crappy Roy was feeling when Roy put his pen down, just like that, got up and followed him into the bedroom. Ed carried Roy's glass of water and the box of tissues from the desk, and deposited it on Roy's side of the bed.

They got in. Roy took a sip of water, blew his nose one last time, and turned to face Ed.

"You are so gross and full of snot right now," Ed said. "Maybe I should exile you to a guest bedroom." He stroked Roy's cheek with a thumb.

Roy touched his wrist and smiled, apparently too tired for a comeback. Ed put his light out, then opened his arms. Roy wrapped himself around Ed, and settled his cheek on Ed's chest. He shivered for a moment. He really was sick. Ed hugged him back, and tangled their legs together.

Ed was so married now; it was embarrassing. And here he was, worrying about Roy's health and trying to stop him working too hard and getting him water and calling doctors. Was he turning into a political wife? This was reminding him too much of that time Mrs Bradley had tried to give him First Lady pointers: he twitched reflexively every time he found himself inadvertently obeying one of her gems of advice.

Still, Roy looked after Ed sometimes, and Ed looked after Roy sometimes. So it balanced right in the end, didn't it? And now Roy was already sleeping in his arms, breaths coming soft and slow. Ed felt tender, and protective, and like an unbelievable sap. This was where love brought you, apparently: pyjamas. Snotty tissues. Worry. Nagging. Sap.

His dignity might be tarnished forever, but still. This wasn't a bad place to be.
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