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Title: Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones
Author: [livejournal.com profile] meredavey
Word Count: 2,873
Rating: PG-13
Characters: Roy/Ed
Prompt: 1 Roy/Ed (Any): Taking sparring to the next level.
Warnings: a bit of angst and a bit off-topicness in the middle
Notes: For the [livejournal.com profile] fma_slashfest.  I've edited and re-edited this piece and I'm simply not happy with it still. I use the old saying "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me" as the focus of this piece as verbal sparring or verbal jokes on different levels can be just as cruel as physical attacks. I thought Ed would probably have some feelings about this, especially when he was younger. Kids are cruel and I bet Ed has some hangups about his automail. Hence where I started this idea. (so in other words I took the prompt kind of abstractly)
Summary: Ed wants to prove the old saying "sticks and stones may break my bones" wrong, but unfortunately Roy has saddled him with a job that requires all of his attention and Ed really doesn't want to finish it.


Edward Elric’s back stiffened as he heard the footsteps approaching behind him.

“Fullmetal,” the voice didn’t seem to be amused in the least.

Ed hunched his shoulders and turned his head to glare over the right one. “What?” he asked annoyed as he slouched further down into the (uncomfortable) library chair.

“You were supposed to report to me an hour and a half ago.”

Ed blinked at Roy Mustang who was now casually leaning up against a bookshelf. Edward pulled out his silver pocket watched and opened it. His eyes popped open wide and he shoved it back into his pocket trying to look nonchalant. He didn’t want the officer to catch onto the fact that he’d gotten absorbed in his work and hadn’t intentionally missed the appointment like he was oft to do.

He swung his legs over the side of the chair and stood. “So? What was it?”

Roy sighed and pushed off the bookshelf. “Why do you have to be so belligerent all the time?”

Ed’s mouth tipped down, “You know I don’t mean to be! Why do you have to be a bastard all the time?”

Roy crossed his arms. “We’re going to be playing this game again?”

“Aren’t we always?” Ed asked sarcastically. “If we’re not talking about alchemy, we’re arguing – but did you expect it to be any different?”

“I would have thought maturity would have caught up with you these past few years.”

“Yeah, well, we don’t always get what we wish for.”

“I tend to think these days that all this verbal sparring and subtle insults are your way of provoking a fight for some odd reason. You’re not doing an experiment are you?”

There was silence from Ed. Roy narrowed his eyes. “Ed, you’re not are you?”

The deafening silence continued and in a very small voice Ed said, “…maybe.”

“Maybe what?”

Roy reached out, gripped Edward’s shoulder and spun him about. Ed attempted to hunch further into himself.

“What exactly are you trying to attempt?” Roy asked again, and when he received no response, “Edward!” annoyance rang in the man’s voice as he stared Edward down in hopes the younger man would give into his demand.

Edward sighed, and turned back to the books on the table picking them up one by one as he spoke, “You know the old proverb ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me’?”

“I know it very well. Why?”

“I’m trying to prove it wrong.”

“You’re trying to…” Roy was stupefied. Edward Elric, the youngest state alchemist, genius, a prodigy and his protégé was trying to prove a proverb that may well be older than time wrong. Only Edward, Roy thought with some amusement once the surprise had worn off, would go and try to prove something like that wrong. “And? Why is it wrong?”

Ed looked him in the eye, “This past week has proved words can hurt just as much as sticks and stones.”

Roy watched as Ed turned and left the library and a lolling pace before taking several long strides to catch up to him.




Roy sat across from Alphonse at the table in the bar. Without ado he began, “Do you know what your brother was researching this past week?”

“No, but whatever it was it put him in a horrible mood. I did my best to avoid him.”

Roy rubbed his eyebrow. “Alphonse, your brother was trying to prove a proverb wrong.”

“He was trying to prove a proverb wrong?”

“Yes – the sticks and stones one. He told me yesterday that he had proved it wrong. It’s slightly concerning.”

“I’d say so! But what makes me worry is what prompted this decision. Brother may be impulsive, but this…it’s just odd. Normally he doesn’t care about things like that.”

“You think something happened?”

“Maybe,” Al shrugged. “It’s hard to tell. Brother is very quiet about matters like that. You should know that. Considering.”

“Ouch,” Roy said laughing, “Just because your brother and I may be involved doesn’t mean I know what he’s up to or what he’s thinking all the time.”

“But you know him better than almost anyone else. Besides, he tells you more than me since he’s in love with you.”

Roy’s mouth curved up into smile. “I’m glad that somebody recognizes that fact.”

Al laughed loudly and with enthusiasm, “I guess he doesn’t tell you that very often.”

“I usually have to pry it out of him. Or bribe him. Generally with food.”

“For whatever reason,” Al said more seriously, “you two seem to have been destined to meet, to laugh, to fall in love. And it’s a wonderful thing.”

The two men sat in relative quiet, sipping their drinks. Eventually Roy pushed his glass to the side and stood. “I’d better get going, I told Ed that we could meet and discuss his official military project tonight.”

Roy ducked out the bar’s door and onto the street where he was met with a gust of wind.




Roy found Ed sprawled on his sofa with a book in his hand. He leaned over the couch back in an attempt to see what the young man was reading in his spare time. Even upon craning his neck he still couldn’t see the title.

Ed’s bland voice drifted from behind the book, “The name is worn away Roy, you won’t be able to read it.”

“How old is this book anyway?”

Ed’s golden eyes peered over the top of the book and stared at him. “I thought we were going to talk about that project tonight,” his words were muffled and Roy had to strain to hear him.

“We are. I was just curious to know what my protégé has been doing instead of his official work.”

“This isn’t that project nor is it the other one,” Ed replied.

“That and the other one as descriptors really don’t help me, Ed.”

Ed shuffled the papers that were on his lap into a pile and stuck them into the book he’d been reading before closing it and setting it down on the table. “Well, let’s talk about that project – the military one.”

Roy settled into a large armchair to observe. “So,” he began, “how far along are you in it?”

Ed made a face. “To be honest, it’s a bit harder than I was expecting it to be. The Aerugan language isn’t so vastly different from ours, but the structure and the fact they don’t refer to objects directly can be confusing. But it’s going. As soon as I have that book translated I’ll be able to understand those markings that keep cropping up.”

“Any time in the next, say, week?”

Ed sighed. “Yes, if it needs to be done by then, I can devote all my time to that project. But just so you know I don’t think it’s going to help you find your killer any sooner. Why do you have me doing this anyways? This has nothing to do with me, I deal in alchemy, not meaningless markings.”

“But what if it’s a type of Aerugan alchemy, wouldn’t you be interested in that?”

Ed scrunched his nose and hunkered down. “Maybe.”

Reluctant Ed meant that he’d found something and thought it wouldn’t be wise to let anyone in on it.

“Ed…you did finish it, didn’t you? What are you hiding?”

Somehow (the little brat) pasted a blank look onto his face and stood with his back to Roy. “It’s nothing, nothing at all.” He glanced over his shoulder and smiled. “Are you coming?”

Roy rose from the chair he’d been occupying and twined his fingers with Ed’s. “I suppose I am.” He squeezed Edward’s hand gently and started for the stairs with Ed pressed against his shoulder. He led them into his room and upon the click of the closing door he pressed his hands to the side of Ed’s face and frowned down at him. “I don’t like you hiding secrets from me,” he said softly. “I dislike it as your commander, but I dislike it even more as your lover.”

Ed’s eyes darkened and his brow began to furrow in anger and he opened his mouth.

“No,” Roy said placing a finger on Ed’s lips, “not a word. Listen to me. It’s not because you’re disobeying orders –and you are – but because I love you and I worry for you. You always get yourself into trouble and then you eventually get hurt. Ed, you are the most important thing to me, if I were to lose you…I don’t know if I’d survive it. So, please, Ed, talk to me!”

Ed looked him in the eye and said with the heat of anger turning to fear, “It’s on how to bring people back to life.”

Roy could feel Ed trembling now, it shook him, head to toe. Roy held Edward close to him and wished that this young man could finally escape from his past.

“Ed,” he whispered, “is it possible?”

Ed tipped his head back, just a hint of tears gathering at the corner of his eyes, “I don’t know, I couldn’t – think.”

Roy threaded his fingers through Edward’s hair, loosening the hair tie that held Ed’s hair back in a ponytail. “What do you want to do?”

“Want to do?”

“Do you want to continue or do you want me to tell the military they’ll have to find their killer some other way?”

Ed made a noise in the back of his throat that sounded like a pained moan. “I’ll finish it, it’ll be done, I’ll find out who is behind these killings.”





Even though he’d told Roy he’d finish translating all the archaic sigils he found that every time he picked up a pen his hand trembled so badly he couldn’t even write. Edward took a few deep breaths in an attempt to steady himself. I can do this, he told himself softly. I can, for all the people who were killed, for their families. They deserve closure. The same closure I almost never got. That many people never get.

This time when he picked up the pen his hand was steady and so was his mind. He’d finish this. He’d do this. He reworked the strange language patterns into Amestrian as quickly as he was able. He found this innate ability of his to understand the multitudes of language as inconvenient as it was convenient. Whatever sense that made Ed didn’t know nor did he particularly care at this moment.

 Edward licked his lips at the end of the day and placed the last period at the end of the sentence. With the book translated he’d be able to understand the strange markings written on the victims’ bodies and around the scene of the crime. He pulled one of the reference sheets from a folder Roy had given him. It contained scene descriptors and drawings of the marks and where they were placed on the body. In the folder underneath were photos. Ed’s fingers hovered hesitantly above it before drawing them back and arranging the crime scenes in order of earliest victim to latest. He frowned as he studied them. He could see no pattern, nothing with age or gender. The only thing in common was that they all had similar body coloring even though most of their hair and eye color differed. But why would skin color matter? He doubted it was racially motivated – these were all Amestrian citizens. He tapped a pen and shrugged. He supposed diving the criminals motive was not his but the work of the military or military liaisons. Instead from the folder he drew the drawings and photos of the markings out. He laid them out atop the desk to study them. Meticulously he compared them to those in the book and found that he was right – the symbols were those of the ones he found related to Aerugan human transmutation. Was that even the right word? It said nothing about the soul or mind being brought back, for the most part all it talked about was the body. He flicked through the Aerugan book and stopped on two words he’d hesitated on translating, nigromancia and nigromante. He’d only seen something like this briefly before and then he’d thought it was just a joke, but what if it wasn’t? What if someone was really trying to raise the dead? The thought gave Ed the chills. This wasn’t something the military would be able to handle alone. In fact it seemed like something Ed would be hard pressed to handle. But if the people hadn’t gotten up it meant that it hadn’t worked. That there was something intrinsically wrong with whatever the person was doing. If Ed could figure that out he could figure out how to stop this killer.

And then Ed paused as he looked at the names of the people again. His eyes widened to the size of baseballs and he swore as he picked up the phone. Mustang wasn’t going to like this. In fact he rather thought that – damn!




Roy picked up the phone and listened to Edward’s frantic message and when there was silence on the other end Roy spoke. “I’ll deal with this. You’ve done enough for now. Don’t do anything stupid, I mean it, Ed!”

“Why? You know I’d be useful and it’s not like I do stupid things on purpose.”

“I don’t want you involved. This could be –”

Ed talked over Roy, “I’ve seen things a lot worse, and you know it. You wouldn’t keep me out of this unless there’s something else you’re not telling me  -?”

“Is now the time to be verbally sparring, Edward?”

“…maybe not. Tell me what I can do.”

“Stay put. I need you to be able to reach you in case I stumble upon something.”

Roy could tell Ed was grinding his teeth on the other end of the phone, but Ed gritted out a, “Fine. But you better explain in full to be after.”




Upon the capture of the killer Ed learned he was an Aerguan diplomat killing of people who were of part Aerugan blood. He thought that they’d betrayed their home country and to reform their allegiance he’d killed them hoping to bring them back with the art of necromancy. Ed had been displeased when he’d heard of the resolution. The military police had caught him in the act of attempting to murder some poor young woman. Fortunately for them the man was clever but not physically athletic or quick. He’d been taken down with little resistance.

He’d been told the Aerguan diplomat had been screaming profanities and slurs at the woman he’d been attempting to kill. Roy had told Edward later that the slurs had upset the young lady more than the attack.

Ed gave him a smug smile. “I told you that words can hurt more than broken bones.”

Roy studied Edward for a long moment, “People used to say things about your arm and leg didn’t they? And it hurt, that’s the point of all your physical and verbal sparring with people, isn’t it? You want to prove to them that you’re not different. That you’re still human.”

Ed made an urk noise and turned back to pulling on one of Roy’s shirts. He delighted in sleeping in and stealing the man’s shirts.

“Maybe.” Then without warning he struck as quick as a snake at Roy who caught his wrists and toppled Edward back into the bed. Ed squirmed, kicked Roy’s side and bit at his shoulder. When they wrestled Roy had the upper hand. When they sparred Ed had the upper hand. Ed grinned, things did have to be equal didn’t they? He kissed Roy before curling into the man.

“I feel for that girl, I never expected it to be racially motivated. I understand why she was more upset about the words than her injuries.”

“Why?”

“Broken bones and injuries heal. Sometimes words never heal.”

“What makes you say that?”

“I never got over it,” Ed said softly.

“Over what?” Roy asked sleepily as he listened.

“The taunts, the comments. They hurt still because sometimes I still believe them. Sometimes it’s as if these people are sparring with words and it’s on a whole different level than it should be. I see children being bullied – and I hate it. I love it when we spar because it’s good fun for us, we can be kind about it, or we can be funny about it. But we don’t intentionally bring it to a level where it’s cruel. No one can truly understand until it happens to them, and I know the feeling.”

Roy let his chin rest on Edward’s head for a moment before pressing kisses to Ed’s cheeks.

“Do you want me to distract you?” he asked mischievously as Ed attempted to keep Roy’s wandering hands still. “But speaking of sparring, we haven’t physically sparred in a while.”

Ed grinned. “I think tomorrow morning would be perfect! We can spar on the roof and the first to fall off the side loses.”

Roy choked and made horrified noises.

Ed’s delightful, beautiful, laughter shook him. “I’m just kidding. Well. Maybe.”
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