Genre: Romance, fluff
Warnings: Slight end of series spoilers
Summary: The idea of not getting him something special seemed criminal.
Word count: 1174
Notes: Originally for the steelandsparks anniversary contest. Has been rewritten slightly to bring it in line with the "Waiting" thread.
"You sure Elysia hasn't outgrown dolls by now?" Edward said, holding up the box and giving it a skeptical look. "I hardly ever see her playing with them."
"Years of dating gave me a sixth sense when it comes to women of any age," Roy replied, taking the fashion doll from him and handing it to the girl at the counter. "Haven't you noticed her shelves? She may not play with them, as such, but her dolls are in a different arrangement every time I see them."
"If you say so."
Roy glanced at his companion as they left the toy store, gift-wrapped purchase in hand. "What about you?"
"What is it you want?"
Edward pulled one hand out of his pocket and waved it in a dismissal. "Oh, that. You don't have to get me anything."
"It's your birthday as much as Elysia's," the older man argued.
He shrugged, stuffing his hand back into his pocket and looking out at the traffic. "It's just a day. Really, birthdays are only a big deal if you're a kid."
Roy sighed quietly and let the matter drop, yet again. He had been working on Edward for weeks now, first subtly, and then more and more bluntly as the day approached. The young man just didn't seem to care about his birthday, an attitude that Roy simply couldn't fathom, especially considering how much of an attention hound the blond could be.
For anyone else Roy might be tempted to get something small and safe and consider it the other person's fault for not giving him any good ideas, but this was Edward. This was Edward's first birthday since he had come home, and his first birthday since he and Roy had started seeing each other, and on top of that, he was turning twenty, which by rights should be a significant birthday. The idea of not getting him something special seemed criminal.
He had one last avenue to try.
"Thank you for stopping by, Alphonse."
The boy smiled brightly as he sat down at Roy's kitchen table. "Of course. Now, what is it you wanted to talk to me about?"
"Well," Roy started as he handed his guest a mug of tea and set a tray of cookies on the table, "Edward's birthday is coming up, and frankly . . . I'm at a loss as to what to get him."
Al nodded as he sipped his tea. "I thought so. Although, most people think Nii-san is very easy to shop for."
The older man sighed and sat down with his own mug. "I know he would love just about any book I could think to give him, especially if it was science related," he admitted. "But that seems so . . . mundane. What are you getting him?"
"A coat," he said simply, then smiled when Roy raised an eyebrow in surprise. "His old one is worn and stained, and I know he won't think to get a new one until it falls apart. I saw a nice one last week that wasn't too expensive."
"A coat." Well, Edward always had seemed peculiarly focused on his appearance, although Roy hesitated to try to guess what would fit in with the young man's particular fashion sense.
"The thing is," Alphonse went on, "birthdays were never about presents when we were little, so we never got in the habit of expecting anything special. Our mother always gave us something, but it was usually something small, like a treat from the general store." He smiled nostalgically, looking off to the side and many years into the past. "But that wasn't the thing we always looked forward to." He blinked back to the present, then smiled in embarrassment and rubbed the back of his head. "It probably wouldn't seem like much to someone else. But, the best part about our birthdays, was that our mother would spend the day with us, doing whatever we wanted. Whoever's birthday it was was in charge for the day. We'd usually have a picnic lunch, or eat something in town. Then in the evening, we'd head over to the Rockbell's for supper, so that Mom didn't even have to take time out to cook. That's what we'd always look forward to. It was just a day, but," his smile turned reflective again as he gazed down at his tea, "those were the only two days out of the year that she didn't do any work. Nii-san's birthday and mine."
"I see." Roy sipped his own tea in contemplation for a moment. "Thank you, Alphonse. You've been very helpful."
Elysia's party would be on Saturday, so on the actual day of Elysia's and Edward's birthday Gracia decided to focus on the elder of the two, inviting people over for a quiet dinner despite Edward's protests that she didn't need to do anything of the sort. The woman merely smiled and ruffled his bangs, and Edward sighed and made a show of putting up with being the center of attention for the evening. Roy grinned to himself, not fooled for a minute into thinking that the young man wasn't enjoying himself.
After dinner was over and Edward had opened his presents, Roy pulled him aside. He slipped a hand beneath the blond ponytail and bent down to give him a kiss that was soft yet full of unspoken promises. "Happy birthday, by the way."
"Mmm . . . I'd wondered what you meant by 'this isn't your entire present,'" he said, referring to the note the older man had tucked under the cover of the book he'd given him.
"Surely you don't think I meant that little kiss, do you?"
Edward smiled slyly and pressed against his side, running an arm around his waist. "I was rather hoping that was just the beginning."
Roy smiled and shook his head, tapping a forefinger against the blond's upturned nose. "Now now, you know what they say about assumptions, Edward." He watched the gathering scowl with amusement for a moment before heading it off by saying, "What are your plans for tomorrow?"
"Tomorrow?" The young man blinked up at him. "I dunno. We won't be setting up for the party until Friday evening . . . I hadn't really planned anything. . . ."
"Good." He settled his arms around his lover and kissed his forehead. "Because I suddenly find myself free."
"I thought your schedule was thick for the next few weeks."
"I moved a few things around. It's just a day, but I thought it might be nice to spend it together."
"Spend it . . . doing what?"
"Whatever you want."
"Whatever I . . . want. . . ."
"You're in charge, after all."
Roy could practically see the light bulb go off as Ed's eyebrows arched, then sank down into a grin. "You've been talking to Al, haven't you."
"And what if I have?"
He shook his head, the end of his ponytail ticking the other man's arms, before he went up on tiptoe and kissed him. "That sounds . . . wonderful, actually. Thank you."
"Happy birthday, Edward."