batsutousai: (FMA-matchedset_EdRoy)
[personal profile] batsutousai

Title: Moonlighter
Fandom: Fullmetal Alchemist
Author: Batsutousai
Rating: Teen
Pairings: Edward Elric/Roy Mustang
Warnings: Police/Criminal AU, poc!Elrics, Ed is a super naughty boy, Roy is trying so hard to pretend he doesn't like that, Maes just wants them to get together already
Summary: Roy's first collar is a kid named Ed, and by the time Ed is grown into an adult, Roy has realised he'll also probably be his last.

Disclaim Her: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by Arakawa Hiromu and various publishers. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

A/N: I asked for prompts for 520 Day via a prompts meme on tumblr, and morgrimmoon asked for "Did you steal that?"
The way they left the request made it sound like they meant via canon, but my brain is full of the ColdFlash ship (if you don't know what that means, you're probably better off, tbh), so this ended up being a cop/criminal AU and I regret nothing.

Written pretty much at the last minute, so it hasn't seen an edit.

You can also read this at Archive of Our Own, tumblr, LiveJournal, or FanFiction.Net.

-0-

The first time Roy met Ed Elric, he was fresh out of the police academy and was still strutting with that new-cop stance that he would – sooner, rather than later, in his case, unfortunately – lose in time, and come to shake in head in regret upon seeing other newbies moving in the same way. He'd been on a coffee run and happened to run into a dark-skinned kid with brilliantly-blond hair, who had just made something of a mad dash out of a shop just past the coffee shop he'd been sent to. He caught the kid's shoulders, opening his mouth to ask if he was okay, when the shopkeep shouted, "Thief!"

Roy ended up returning sans coffee, but plus one kid snarling profanities. By the way the admitting officer greeted him with a cheerful, "Bad day, Ed?" he was clearly a regular feature in the cells, and Roy felt a little less bad about not just letting him go after returning the stolen bread.

That wasn't the last time Roy would catch him stealing, though he did eventually follow the rest of the precinct in letting him go after making him return what he'd stolen, because dropping Ed into a cell every day didn't really help matters. Especially since, Roy eventually found out, he had a little brother and a handful of other street kids he looked after. And while he'd never actually heard Ed say as much, Roy was fairly certain that the kid was doing his best to keep those other kids from falling to a life of crime.

As Ed got older, he got more clever about stealing, and while Roy still managed to catch him more often than not, he'd sometimes pretend he hadn't seen, especially when Ed stole from a shopkeep Roy had issue with for one reason or another. He wasn't even certain Ed knew he was letting him get away with his larceny against specific targets, until the day he got back from lunch and found a stupid-looking ceramic dog figure left on his desk with a note underneath it in Ed's chicken-scratch handwriting, which said, 'Yeah, that guy's a real dick to everyone what's not full-blooded Amestrisan. Picked this up for you.'

"Did you steal that?" Roy asked the next time he said Ed, who was eyeing the Aerugonian around the block from the precinct, like he was debating if he could manage a dine-and-dash with so many police wandering nearby.

"I'm sure I have no idea what you're talking about," Ed insisted, turning to Roy with wide, faux-innocent golden eyes. "I'm the picture of a law-abiding citizen."

"Pull the other one," Roy retorted flatly.

Ed flashed him a brilliant, devil-may-care grin. "Hey, if you buy me lunch, that's one less crime I might stoop to today!"

"What's one more crime on your record?" Roy muttered, because the folder on Ed was massive, and Roy knew plenty of his thieving hadn't made it in there, because he wasn't the only officer who didn't bother dragging him in every time they caught him running out of a shop.

Ed snorted and turned to leave, probably intent on finding an easier target to run out on the bill for his lunch, but Roy caught the back of his collar and agreed, "Fine. But only this once."

Ed grinned and – unusually, for him – didn't make any wise cracks about Roy going soft or being gullible. What he did do, over their food, was pass on a bit of street gossip about a brewing gang war. That gossip helped keep what could have been a nasty situation from exploding completely out of hand, and Roy ended up with a commendation and a raise.

With his first pay cheque at his new pay, he bought a load of groceries and caught a couple of Ed's kids – most of the precinct knew which street kids answered to Ed – for them to take it all back to whichever bolthole the lot of them were hiding out in that week.

The next morning, he found another stupid ceramic dog waiting for him on his desk, sans note, and couldn't help but laugh as he moved it to sit next to the first one Ed had left him.

After that, Roy started making it something of a habit to catch Ed every other week or so and buy him a meal. Sometimes he had useful intel that led to an arrest or six, sometimes they spent the meal arguing about stupid things. And, when he had a bit of extra money, Roy would buy Ed and his kids some groceries, and there would be a ceramic figure on his desk the next morning as a way of thanks.

"So," Roy's best friend, Maes, said after about two years of this, "when're you going to put a ring on that kid and turn him from a life of crime?"

Roy turned a flat stare on his friend – who was the only person in the precinct that he'd actually told where the ceramic animals kept coming from, though he suspected most people could at least make an educated guess – and deadpanned, "He's fourteen years younger than us."

Maes, of course, just grinned and replied, "Says the man who's been dating him since four months before the kid was legal."

"I haven't been dating him!" Roy hissed, torn between embarrassment and irritation, because Maes always said 'dating' when they were in the office, but not on those rare occasions the topic of Ed came up while Roy was over at his place.

Maes made a sympathetic noise, then made his escape before Roy gave in to the urge to throttle him. (There was a reason their captain had made sure their desks were on opposite sides of the floor, which had nothing to do with the possibility of them gossiping like a couple of teenagers intent on avoiding getting their work done.)

One of the problems with Maes likening Roy's little lunch meetups to dates, was that Roy had started to think of them in that way in spite of himself. Which would have been a lot less of a problem if Ed was both a decade older and not a criminal.

Still, it was true that he'd come to enjoy spending time with Ed, who was almost terrifyingly brilliant, despite having given up on school when he was ten, and was far from a chore to look at. (Was actually quite gorgeous, in that way that exotic people so often were.) Roy would be lying if he said he'd never had even a passing crush on the young man, and if circumstances were different, he could possibly see Ed being a long-term partner, which wasn't something Roy could say about any of his previous bed-mates.

But circumstances were what they were, and Roy was damn-well going to ignore Maes' insinuations about his and Ed's work relationship.

-0-

"I didn't steal this," Ed said by way of greeting, two weeks after his eighteenth birthday, according to his file.

"Why does that fill me with foreboding?" Roy couldn't resist saying.

Ed made a face at him, but it didn't last long before he was back to nervously fiddling with a little box that apparently held the item he hadn't stolen inside.

Roy sighed and rubbed at his face, not sure he had the energy to deal with another one of Ed's particularities right that moment. It had been a long couple of weeks, after the peace talks with Creta had fallen through and the declaration of war had resulted in rioting across the country; the government might have nothing against aiming bombs at each other's seats of power, but the lay-people of Amestris, at least, were done with the military's warmongering.

Ed finally let out an annoyed huff – whether at himself or Roy's silence, Roy couldn't say – then held the box out. "Here. It's for you."

"My birthday's not for another couple weeks," Roy heard himself say, even as he accepted the box and looked it over. It was a simple box, though small enough it probably wouldn't hold much more than a few coins or a small piece of jewellery.

"Just shut up and open it," Ed muttered, kicking at the ground like he was embarrassed.

Roy assumed that was a front – he couldn't think of a single time he'd seen the young man actually embarrassed about something – but decided to let it go in favour of opening the box. Within was a simple silver promise ring, the sort of thing that became popular when Amestris went to war with one of her neighbours and most metals and diamonds both became rationed to serve as weaponry. His own parents, he knew, had worn a set, as they'd got engaged, married, and died during a rationing period.

Roy blinked at it a couple times, half-convinced he was hallucinating, before turning a confused look on Ed.

Ed ducked his head, the picture of embarrassed irritation, and muttered, just loud enough for Roy to hear, "I know I'm, like, stupidly fucking young, to you, but it's– Look, okay, that was my mum's, and it was, it's kinda a, a thank you, or some shit. I dunno. Al told me I should because, fuck, I mean, you do a lot of shit for us, okay? We're grateful. I'm grateful. So–"

Roy somehow managed to gather himself enough to say, "You shouldn't just go giving me your mother's ring. Save that for the girl you want to mar–"

"There isn't one!" Ed snapped, flashing him a quick angry look before ducking his head down again, waving one hand in the general direction of the box in Roy's hand. "There isn't– That's the sorta thing you give to someone you–you trust, not– And me, for me, there's only, like, three people I trust, and that's– you're it, that's yours. Do whatever the fuck you want with it, I don't fucking care." And then he turned and ran for it, leaving Roy holding the box with the promise ring nestled between carefully folded bits of tissues.

Roy rubbed tiredly at his eyes, decided he didn't have the energy to chase after Ed, and closed the box before slipping it into a pocket, then returning to the task of finding food.

-0-

"So?" Maes asked that afternoon, about an hour after lunch.

"So what?" Roy muttered into his paperwork.

Maes let out the single most put-upon sigh Roy had heard from him in some time and – completely disregarding any hint of personal space, which wasn't unusual for him – leant over Roy's desk and reached into first one of his pockets, then the other, letting out an annoying little 'ah-hah!' noise as he pulled out the little box Ed had given him.

Roy grabbed Maes' wrist before he could draw fully away, pinning him with his best murderous glare. "Maes," he said in a low, warning voice, "you wouldn't happen to have anything to do with our resident kleptomaniac giving me a ring this afternoon, would you?"

The fact that Maes took a moment to debate his answer was response enough for Roy, and he made a lunge for his best friend's throat, missing when Maes took three quick steps back with a nervous laugh. "Maybe?" he admitted.

Roy snarled and made like he was going to wring Maes' neck.

Maes tossed him the box with the ring, and as Roy scrambled to catch it, he said, "He got in to the university, you know. Central City campus, even. Word is he's heading up tonight or tomorrow."

"Why should I care if that punk's skipping town?" Roy demanded, even if he...sort of did. Damn everything.

Maes flashed him a grin. "Why do you?" he asked, then made a run for it before Roy could clear his desk to actually kill him.

Roy spent the rest of his shift vacillating between wanting to go and see Ed off, and his insistence that he didn't actually care if the little criminal made a break for the capital city; let some other poor shmuck chase after him. In the end, he didn't make it in time to say goodbye, and he tried to pretend that didn't bother him in the least.

-0-

Roy didn't visit Central City often, mostly because seeing his aunt in person always made him feel like he was a kid again, but she'd had some sensitive intel to pass on that she didn't want to say over the phone lines, and Roy had more than enough time off saved up and no other use for it, so he came up to see her. He did not travel to Central to see Ed for the first time in almost four years, no matter what Maes thought.

That said, it was hard to excuse the way he'd found himself wandering the streets of the city, all too quickly finding himself in the residential area that marked the edges of the university campus. He almost stopped himself before he could pass onto the university grounds, before huffing at himself and keeping forward, because he wasn't going to avoid the campus just to prove he had no interest in seeing Ed. It wasn't like he didn't know a handful of professors he could stop by to say hello to.

He didn't manage to make it to the applied sciences building, where he'd spent most of his time at the university – he'd had brief thoughts of being a crime scene investigator, before settling on becoming an officer and aiming for detective – when he caught sight of familiar golden blond hair against dark skin; that particular exotic blend that he'd only seen on two people, only one of which should be in Central City.

"Detective?" the familiar voice of Roy's (least favourite, he swore) thief called, sounding almost...pleased.

Roy allowed himself a brief, near-silent sigh, then turned to face Ed, who, it turned out, had grown to be absolutely gorgeous in the intervening three and a half years. "Hello, Ed," he greeted in a voice that sounded far steadier than he felt.

Ed's golden eyes were wide with delighted surprise – which, judging by the weird looks his two companions were shooting him, was fairly unusual – before his whole expression closed off, taking on that cautious edge that Roy was more familiar with seeing on those rare occasions he'd seen Ed with any adult other than himself. "What're you doing in Central? Lookin' to arrest me for breathing?"

Ed's companions both shot Roy hostile looks, at that, and Roy had to bite back a snort; he hadn't actually arrested Ed for years before he'd left, mostly because he'd learnt the futility of that early on. He debated sharing the truth for a moment, before shrugging to himself and saying, "My aunt lives in Central."

Ed blinked, a brief show of surprise, then said, "Oh. You're not from East City, then?"

"I think," Roy heard himself saying, "that's a conversation best had over a meal."

Ed's responding smile was every bit as victorious as a dog with its jaws clenched around the throat of the prey it had been hunting, and Roy allowed himself a brief moment of regret for his sanity as Ed dismissed his companions. Who, Roy realised as he watched them try to insist Ed needed them for his safety, were actually more guards than friends or classmates.

Once the two finally slunk away, looking displeased, Roy said, "I'm sure there was something in the student handbook about not building criminal empires on university property."

Ed let out a loud, slightly harsh laugh, then put on a faux-innocent expression that was a lot more polished than Roy was used to, from him, but still far too easy to see through, as long as Roy had known him. "Would I ever do anything like that?"

Roy sighed and shook his head. "Not my jurisdiction," he decided, and the grin Ed flashed him had a decidedly mean edge to it. "If I let you pick a restaurant, how likely is it to make me go broke?"

"Oh, I think I can go a little easy on your wallet. Just this once," Ed allowed.

Roy sighed, but motioned for him to lead the way.

Roy did indeed fill Ed in about his upbringing, deliberately avoiding mentioning his aunt's profession, and Ed carried them through the rest of the meal by catching Roy up on his brother's studies in East City, as well as a bit about Ed's own studies, which sounded rather like a lot of madness.

"How many subjects are you intending to major in?" Roy eventually had to ask.

Ed's smile, which had been slowly easing into something softer and more familiar the longer they'd been sitting there, took on a strained edge. "Just political science," he said, before giving a shrug that was a little too casual. "Everything else is just because I needed to fill in some space in my schedule to qualify as a full student."

Roy knew there was a lie in there – even if he hadn't known Ed long enough to be familiar with all of his tells, the way he'd been speaking of the hard sciences just a moment ago would have been plenty of proof that he'd taken them for reasons other than to fill in space in his schedule – but something about the twist of his mouth and the faint hunch to his shoulders told him Ed wouldn't appreciate being pushed. So he didn't, filled Ed in on some things that had happened in East City since he'd left, and the way Ed relaxed again almost immediately said he'd done the right thing.

They spent over three hours at the restaurant, Roy realised when he checked the time while paying their due, and it was a surprise, because it hadn't felt like they'd spent even half of that. Perhaps the company had just been that good, and that thought left a pang in Roy's chest, because he wouldn't be sharing a meal with Ed again for at least a couple months. More than that, he expected, if Ed really had fallen in with a wrong crowd.

Outside the restaurant, they traded stilted goodbyes, Ed already closing himself back off the same way he had done around his guards on campus. Roy watched him turn away, take two steps, and then he took a step after him, calling, "Ed!"

Ed turned back to him, raising one eyebrow. "Yeah?"

Roy swallowed down a feeling of uncertainty as he took another couple of steps forward, so he was close enough to whisper, "If you ever need somewhere to lay low for a bit, there's a pub called Madam Christmas in the red-light district. Tell the proprietress your name and she'll help you, okay?"

Ed blinked at him, clearly confused. "Okay?"

"Madam Christmas," Roy repeated, just in case, then stepped back. "Take care of yourself, you little klepto."

Ed snorted and turned away. "Same to you, old man," he called back over his shoulder.

Roy shook his head, more amused than anything at the familiar insult, then turned and started a meandering path to his aunt's pub. There, he let her know about Ed, because he needed to know that he'd have somewhere to go – an ally who wouldn't sell him out for the right price to whoever he'd pissed off – if he found himself in a bind. His aunt, of course, gave him some good-natured hell about him offering asylum to criminals – as if her own business wasn't walking the line of illegal, depending on the favours of the current government – but agreed that she'd help Ed out if he ever came to her.

He didn't see Ed again before he returned to East City, but he didn't feel half so worried about leave Ed behind as he might have done if he hadn't passed on Chris' information.

-0-

In November, someone managed to break into the military's main vault, hidden in the deepest reaches of Central City Command, and escaped with hundreds of thousands of cenz, resulting in the entire city being shut down while they hunted for the perpetrators.

Roy had a suspicion about who was involved, which was proven correct when his aunt rang that night and opened with, "You somehow neglected to mention that this kid had aspirations to bankrupt the military."

Roy sighed and rubbed at his face. "I actually wasn't expecting him to be quite so suicidal," he offered by way of apology.

Chris snorted in disbelief, then said, "Too distracted by his pretty face, Roy-Boy?"

Roy groaned, but let his aunt have a bit of fun at his expense, since he sort of had put her in danger, sending Ed to her.

Near the end of the call, once Chris was certain no one was tapping the line, she said, "If that kid's smart, he's already well on his way to Creta or Aerugo." Which Roy took to mean she and her women had managed to sneak Ed out of the city without any trouble.

He'd thanked her, let her give him some more good-natured hell, then said his goodnights and hung up. And then he headed for bed, wondering what the likelihood was that Ed would leave the country without his brother.

-0-

Really, Roy wasn't surprised to find Ed waiting for him outside the precinct a couple of days after the break-in, the bright gleam of victory in his eyes almost enough to hide the bruising under them, which spoke to long hours on the road and two days of constantly looking over his shoulder.

"I'd actually expected you to go straight to the university," Roy commented.

Ed snorted, expression going haughty. "What's to say I haven't been with Al for the past couple months? Just because you haven't seen me around–"

Roy covered his mouth and pinned him with a tired look. "Pull the other one."

Ed's body relaxed, his eyes dimming so his exhaustion was a little more obvious. "Thanks," he said against Roy's palm.

Roy blinked, a little surprised, because the closest Ed had ever come to saying thank you, previously, had been his stumbling little speech about the ring he'd given Roy. Before he could dredge up a response, Maes called out, "Roy's favourite klepto!" from somewhere behind him.

Ed, unexpectedly, shifted his eyes away from Roy, looking almost embarrassed in that same way he'd done years before.

And then Maes was directly behind him, clapping Roy on the shoulder. "You two are sickeningly sweet. Teeth-rotting."

"Shut up, Maes," Roy snarled, turning to glare at his best friend.

Maes' too-intelligent eyes flickered between Ed and Roy a couple times, then narrowed, something dark and far too aware in them. "Your boy's looking a bit done-in, there. Why don't you take him home and I'll make your excuses, hm?"

Roy took a brief moment to debate that, before sighing and nodding, because Ed really did look like he needed a good eight hours' worth of sleep. And, at least if he made his escape with Ed, he would have time to figure out how to weather the slew of questions Maes would have once he got him alone. "Come on, Ed."

"I don't need a babysitter," Ed muttered, but he still let Roy lead him away without any further complaining, nor did he bother asking where Roy was taking him, which was quite telling about his level of exhaustion. And, once Roy got him into his flat, Ed looked around just long enough to spot the couch, then made his way over to it, dropping onto it and falling almost immediately asleep.

Roy tried not to be too touched at the show of trust; as Ed had said all those years ago, there weren't many people he trusted, and that he still counted Roy among them, even after so many years apart was...warming in a way Roy was determined to ignore. He pulled off Ed's shoes and covered him with a blanket, then set about changing into more comfortable clothing himself, since he didn't intend to leave the flat until Ed had woken back up, which he didn't expect to be for hours.

And, indeed, it was almost nine hours before Ed started to stir, eventually poking his head out from under the blanket and blinking sleepily around the room. "Roy?" he asked, voice rough from sleep.

"Feel better?" Roy asked, catching a glass of water he'd poured and forgot about and bringing it over for Ed.

"Mm," Ed hummed in agreement, even as he sat up and grabbed eagerly for the water.

Roy waited until he'd finished most of the water and looked a bit more awake, before asking, "Why come to me? By all rights, I should have you dropped into a cell and waiting for the local command to pick you up."

"You wouldn't," Ed said with a level of certainty which shouldn't have made Roy happy, yet somehow did. "You hate the military."

While that was certainly true, and could be blamed at least a little bit for why he hadn't turned Ed in as soon as he saw him, it really didn't trump the simple fact that: "You're a wanted criminal and I'm a police detective."

Ed tilted his head to the side and watched him for a moment, his eyes so terribly intelligent, and then he held out his hands, still holding the glass in one, and said, "Go ahead."

Roy sighed and shook his head, because he knew he wasn't going to be turning Ed in. And it wasn't – he could almost admit to himself – even because of some urge to rebel against the military that ruled their country with a bloody fist, was more to do with years of history and a simple silver ring that Roy wore on a chain under his shirt. (Had done since shortly after Ed left for Central. Maes was the only one who knew about it, and a single tussle where Roy had been the clear winner had been sufficient leverage to get him to shut up about it.)

Ed lowered his hands back into his lap and relaxed back against the couch, the picture of leisure. "You gave me somewhere to run," he said after a long moment.

Which was...not untrue. Roy didn't have to give Ed his aunt's pub, or ask her to watch out for him. Probably shouldn't have, really, because helping out criminals – whether he actually was one at the time or not, Roy had done so knowing Ed would probably use the safety net after committing a crime – went against everything he was supposed to stand for.

After another long moment of silence, Ed's expression shuttered in a way that made Roy's chest hurt for reasons he wasn't sure he wanted to consider too closely. "Look, thanks for the couch to crash and the water and all that shit. I'll get out of your hair, okay?" And then he was standing up, eyes casting around like he was looking for something.

"Your boots are by the door," Roy offered quietly, not quite sure how he felt about the tenseness between them, not sure there was really anything he could do about it, really.

"Right," Ed said, and set the glass down on the table next to Roy's chair, then quickly pulled on his boots, before leaving without a goodbye.

Roy sighed and rubbed at his face, wondering if letting him go had been the best choice. Not that it really mattered now Ed was out the door, and probably out of Roy's life forever. "It's for the best," he told himself, before getting up to wash the glass Ed had used.

His words lasted him until he heard a knock on the door, and when his heart jumped at the thought that it might be Ed, only to be let down when it was Maes, told him he was pretty much a lost cause. As if he hadn't already known that.

Maes stared at him for a long moment, then sighed. "Just go after him, already."

Roy didn't even realise he was going for his boots until after he already had the first one on. He stopped himself, trying to think logically about matters, but it was clear his logical brain was no longer in charge of making the decisions, which figured. So he put on his second boot, then went to get something that he'd picked up from his old room when he'd visited Central.

Maes was grinning at him when he brushed out past him, and Roy shot him a scowl that he was pretty sure they both knew was all for show.

He took the trip to the university campus and the building he knew Al lived in at a jog, because there was no power on earth that would make Ed leave his little brother behind when he fled the country.

Since Al was the one to open the door to Roy's knock, it was clear they hadn't run for it yet. Based on the hostile glare he'd turned on Roy as soon as he'd recognised him, and the way he was bodily blocking Roy's view into the flat, he assumed Ed had already made it over. "What do you want, Detective?" Al said flatly by way of greeting.

"I have something for your brother."

"Handcuffs?" Al guessed, somehow managing to make the word sound like the most vile of curses.

Roy sighed. "No. Would you–" He stopped himself, shaking his head, then held out his hand, revealing the gold promise ring he'd grabbed on his way out. "It was my mother's," he said, while Al stared at him in shock.

They were both still for a long moment, and then Al was being shoved out of the way by a frowning Ed, who froze when he caught sight of the ring, his eyes gone wide. And then he pulled in a shuddering breath and looked up to meet Roy's eyes. "Is that–"

"For you," Roy managed to get out, feeling a little like a whole flock of butterflies had taken up residence in his stomach.

"Oh," Ed whispered, taking the ring and holding it like it was the most precious think he'd ever held. (Given that Roy was fairly certain the ring wasn't actually gold, had just been painted to make it look like it was, the idea was ridiculous.)

"Now, get the hell out of here before someone finds your file and realises you've got a brother," Roy ordered, turning to leave.

He got about two steps before Ed called, "Roy," and grabbed his arm, pulling him around so they were facing each other again.

The kiss was somehow both a complete surprise and the inevitable conclusion, and Roy could never say who actually moved first to initiate it, only that they'd both been quite determined participants.

Ed was the one to pull back, his eyes bright and happy in a way that Roy couldn't ever remember having seen, and the thought that he was the cause behind that made him feel a little weak in the knees. "I'll be back," Ed promised, and Roy believed him, because never let it be said that Ed made smart choices when he wanted something.

"Try not to get killed," Roy muttered in return.

The smile Ed flashed him was nothing but chaos, and Roy didn't bother resisting a groan as Ed shoved his brother back into the flat and shut the door between them.

By the time the military made it to the flat in the early hours of the morning, both Elrics were gone with any trace of the money Ed had stolen. If anyone at the precinct had any suspicions about how close Roy had once been to Ed, they clearly didn't choose to share them with the military crowd that descended on their files, looking for any possible hint about where the two young men might have gone next.

By the end of the month, the military had to admit Ed had managed to completely slip their grasp. While they'd managed to capture three of his associates – all of them, according to the military spokesperson, and Roy didn't know enough about the heist to say whether or not there had only been four of them involved – and collected the money they'd each escaped with, the funds Ed had taken were long gone.

Ed's escape had inspired plenty of copycat thieving attempts on military and government installations, which kept Roy plenty busy during the months following Ed's vanishing act. As annoyed as he was at the extra work, he was honestly grateful that the brothers had managed to get away, and he really hoped Ed was smart and kept away for at least a year.

-0-

The day of Roy's thirty-eighth birthday, he found an ugly ceramic pig waiting for him on his desk. Underneath it was a note that said, 'some habits die hard'.

Maes laughed at his utterly unconvincing cough, but their captain rolled her eyes and waved him away, saying, "Go home and enjoy your birthday, Mustang."

He was completely unsurprised to find Ed waiting for him when he made it home, grinning wide and happy, and Roy barely paused long enough to kick the door shut before he was hurrying forward to meet Ed with a kiss.

When they pulled apart, he couldn't resist asking, "Did you steal that?"

Ed flashed him a smile that spelt trouble. "Depends on whether or not you're gonna arrest me for picking it up in a different country."

Roy moaned, because that was as good as a confession, and Ed kissed him again with a laugh.

Well, Roy didn't suppose he really could complain; he'd known he was dealing with a thief since long before he'd let him close enough to steal his heart.

.

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