Not specifically a Valentines fic; started for YC2005 actually but not finished in time (my bad!) and I'm not sure if I'm breaking protocol by posting it here, but I thought hopefully someone could still enjoy it, even though I missed the deadline by miles. T_T
Title: Honest Man Blues
Words: approx 1500
Warnings/Notes: angst, fluff, smut and an ideal world. Pre-series, but probably not by much.
Maes Hughes is an honest man. Honest with himself, as much as he is with anyone else. And so, he does not agonise. He doesn't debate. Doesn't angst. As soon as it starts becoming apparent that she's serious (him being serious was already a given and therefore in no way counted), he tells her. He has to. How can he keep something like that from someone he loves? It's unthinkable, in his world, but still he knows the risks. His heart is in his mouth, and his words stumble over it, and he knows this is the moment, even if the future holds other moments for them, this
is the one that matters and he tells her, because he can't in all conscience keep it from her. Any of it. And if he gets past this, he thinks, if she can accept that it isn't going to change and that his work isn't the only thing she'll be sharing him with, he'll ask her to marry him.
She looks at him like she's never seen him before in her life, and then she leaves.
So, no, he doesn't agonise. He doesn't call himself an idiot and a fool and contemplate throwing himself off the nearest, tallest building. He knew what he was doing, what he was and wasn't capable of. He knew what the risks were and now, quite logically, the consequences of that are that he goes off to get himself utterly, pathetically drunk, quietly and alone, in a corner of a bar he has never been to before. An honest bottle of whiskey for an honest man. Of course, long before it gets to that, he finds his feet walking more familiar streets, negotiating familiar stairs. When he knocks on a familiar door, and it opens, he smiles what he knows is a familiar smile.
"Well, that's that then," he says lightly, and maybe he sounds like his familiar self, but he doesn't know. By the look on Roy's face as he stands in the doorway, probably not.
"You told her," Roy surmises in a tone that says, I told you not to
, pulling the door open further as he steps back to let Maes in.
Maes just smiles again and slips into Roy's apartment, a warm cocoon of textbooks and coffee and late-night quiet, and he somehow can't imagine any reality where that statement would have been heeded, even if Roy had
said it out loud.
"Of course I did. I'm the one who keeps coming here, aren't I," he reminds him, shuffling over to the sofa to sink down into its easy confines, and he thinks maybe if he gave him half the chance, it wouldn't always be that way, with him on the other side of a ocean green door, waiting for it to be opened, to be let in. Maybe.
Roy sighs a familiar, long-suffering sigh. This is the way Maes is, it says, and a frown forms on his fine, smooth face. He stands for a moment as Maes relaxes into the couch, his arms crossed over a crisp white collared shirt, undone to the third button, sleeves open but not rolled up, and stares.
"For what?" he asks finally and closes the door, and it's as if he really wants to know, and For you
, Maes could say, but that wouldn't be the whole truth.
"For me," he says instead. "Because I'm a greedy bastard and I want everything."
Roy almost smiles. "No you don't." Not that Roy wouldn't give it to him, perhaps, if he could.
"Everything that matters, I mean," Maes amends.
"You're an idiot," Roy sighs, coming over finally to sink down on the sofa beside him, perching on the edge of it to lean his forearm across the back of the sofa by Maes' shoulder to look at him. "A fucking idiot. Even I liked her. She was the one." But the relief in his voice, coloured with a vague hint of guilt, is the sweetest sound Maes has heard in a very long while. It makes something swell warm and weighty in his chest until he feels anchored with it, bound down and sinking and held.
"Yeah," he agrees, as if he ever tried debating the fact. "I'd say she was."
"You should-" But Roy stops, because while Maes might knock on that sea-green door, Roy is the one who opens it, and he isn't as much of a bastard as he likes to pretend that he would actually tell either of them 'should', when should also implies 'shouldn't'. "Maes, what the hell am I supposed to do with you?"
"Well," Maes starts and it's probably in poor taste, but then again, it's never been about taste so much as sense, which he has in abundance apart from this single, simple thing. "You could start with asking me to stay."
Roy's expression is in conflict for a moment, and there are words there in his face Maes hopes he never hears, as well as the ones he wants to hear now.
"Alright," Roy relents, and his expression turns gentle, fond. "Will you stay?"
Maes smiles a little, tilts his head against the back of the sofa, and tries not to make his next breath sound like relief, because he's never sure how close Roy is to saying those other words, the ones that are sometimes in his eyes, until he says something else.
"If you kiss me, I will."
And it's simple, always simple. There's no conflict, because there's no choice. He doesn't agonise about what he does, doesn't tell himself he should stop. It's fact, a part of him, like having dark hair or green eyes. It's like being able to create fire out of what looks like nothing. It isn't something he can give up, because it isn't something he chose to do; it just existed, from the moment they'd met. And maybe they don't talk about it, at least not in those words, but it's a part of both of them, beyond any shadow of doubt; the always receding spaces between them, the warmth and familiarity of touch. Roy's gaze, the ghosting of his fingers across Maes' jaw, the softness of his mouth as he presses it to Maes', coaxes him open gently, the assurances and affirmations of being kissed, all these things are as natural, as real as his own heartbeat. They know each other, he and Roy, are parts of each other. It doesn't make any sense, not to him, to cut out a part of himself to make enough room for another. There was always enough room to start with, and Maes can't believe it has to be any other way.
"Yeah?" he breathes, and he was more lost in Roy's kiss than he realised. But Roy only looks at him for a moment, and then shakes his head and finally smiles again.
"It's nothing, after all," he says, leaning in for another, briefer kiss. "Come on."
Roy stands and tugs him up off the sofa, leads him to the bedroom, and lays him down on the bed, and everything he does, every touch, every move is slow, measured, like some kind of sacrament, or like Roy is memorising, imprinting every plane of his body, every muscle and dimple and dip. Maes lets him, lets it all happen. He focuses on the feeling of being touched, of the feeling and familiarity of Roy's hands and mouth and body. He tries to breathe and thinks hazily it's not always like this, hardly ever in fact, but it's good just the same because it makes him feel like he's done the right thing tonight, doesn't make him regret telling her, doesn't make him feel guilty for not choosing one thing over another, one person over another. It makes him remember how the word 'love' is so small compared to what he can feel, what he does feel for this man; friend, brother, lover - and how he will do anything, anything for the people he loves, except give them up.
By the time Roy is sliding into him, he's trembling, his arms around Roy's broad shoulders and slender back, holding him so tightly they're pressed together completely and there's no leverage for Roy to thrust, just rock, against him, into him, and that too makes Maes tremble. And then Roy's hand is on him, fingers curling around him, his voice hoarse and low in his ear telling him the sorts of things he knows are there but only ever hears in actual words when they're like this, with Roy in control for once and he's shuddering, coming and coming and coming and gasping and the arm around him is strong, greedy, like it will never willingly let him go.
Afterwards, their bodies relaxed and their breathing quieter, cleaned up by Roy's oddly shaking hands, they lie sprawled and half entwined, and Maes falls asleep to the gentle caress of Roy's lingering fingers on his skin.
Later, sunshine spilling through Roy's bedroom window, Maes wakes at the sound of knocking. He forces his eyes open as Roy puts the book he must have been reading down on the bedside table, slides out of bed and pulls on a pair of slacks. For a second, he contemplates just rolling back over and going back to sleep, but Roy is padding barefoot and shirtless out through the bedroom door, across the lounge to the front door, and his hair is mussed above the rim of his reading glasses and the sight is enough to keep Maes awake and watching as he opens the door.
For a moment, he can't tell who it is. Roy fills the partially opened space, blocking his view and the visitor's. And then he steps back a little and Maes thinks maybe he's actually still asleep after all, and dreaming.
"Is it alright...if I...?" she asks, and she's asking it of Roy.
And; "Absolutely," Roy answers, and Maes feels his heart take flight like a bird as Gracia steps bright and beautiful into Roy's apartment, sees him across the room, through the bedroom doorway, lying naked in Roy's bed.