Rating: Individually rated, G-PG-13
Genre: Fluff, angst, reflective, UST
Warnings: Vague end-of-series spoilers.
0) Fool: Beginning, spontaneity, faith, apparent folly
"He told me not to get too used to him, because he doesn't plan to be in the military long," the newly promoted colonel told his friend over a glass of whiskey. "Can you believe it? Even after what he's been through, that kid still thinks the world can be set to rights, just like that."
"You might take a lesson from him, Roy."
"He's a fool."
"So were you, not so long ago." When he was met with silence, he added, "I can't help but think that the world would be better off with a few more such fools."
1) Magician: Action, conscious awareness, concentration, power
"So he can transmute without a circle," was what he said. But he was thinking, that idiot kid actually ran into danger.
And it worked. He must have been going on instinct alone—and it worked.
Because power and skill meant nothing without the will to use it, but a selfish will could lead, if the rest of the world was lucky, to self-destruction and ruin. But this kid. . . .
Roy watched as the boy stared at his own hands as if in amazement, and thought, he might actually do it. Heaven help us all, but he just might make it.
2) High Priestess: Non action, unconscious awareness, potential, mystery
This wouldn't be the first time he'd had to ignore his desires. But his desires didn't usually flaunt quite so much in bright red and gold and tight leather pants. As the boy grew ever closer to maturity he was spending more and more nights in dreams of metal limbs and flashing gold eyes, and his days were increasingly spent trying to sit on his impulses. It was torture of the cruelest, most delicious kind, and he didn't know how much longer he could take it. He wondered if the boy knew the effect he had on his commanding officer.
3) Empress: Motherhood, abundance, senses, nature
It didn't matter that they had an electric dryer. Edward insisted that bed linens be dried on the line. If he wanted to go through the hassle, Roy didn't particularly care.
Besides, it's fun to watch him from the kitchen window, stretching up on tiptoe to pin the sheets, singing under his breath, or humming with the clothespins stuck in his mouth. And when he comes in, automail sun-warmed and hair smelling like wind and sunshine, feeling so mellow that he laughs when Roy grabs him and spins him around the room, he has to admit that there are benefits.
4) Emperor: Fatherhood, structure, authority, regulation
Right now, the thing that annoyed Ed the most about the military was all the goddamn rules. Rules that meant he couldn't go anywhere without having to turn in a report. Rules that meant he couldn't read certain documents without signing at least three forms. Rules about how to properly greet someone with higher rank, how to properly return a greeting from someone with lower rank, even who he could talk to and when.
But mostly, rules that meant he had to sit across a desk and pretend his heart didn't thump every time his superior officer said his name.
5) Hierophant: Education, belief systems, conformity, group identification
"Remember, to have any chance of making it to the top, you have to be a model soldier. And I mean model soldier, Roy."
"I've made it this far, haven't I? Besides, I don't have time for such things."
"You just keep telling yourself that."
"I'm not losing my focus. There's too much at stake. Far too much."
". . . You've got it bad, haven't you."
"God, Maes . . . he's a kid. Even if I didn't have to think about my image, how could I—he's not—but it's a moot point. Neither of us can afford the chance."
"Mm. More's the pity."
6) Lovers: Relationship, sexuality, personal beliefs, values
Roy watched his lover gaze out the window, beautiful with the sun in his hair and shining off the automail. He walked up behind him and put his hands on the mismatched shoulders. "How did you do it?"
"I've always had four hard and fast rules for dating, and you've made me break them all."
"Oh yeah? What are they?"
"'No more than a five year age difference. No men, no matter how tempting. And no subordinates'."
"That's only three."
He settled his arms around the young man and kissed his ear. "The fourth one was, 'no getting involved'."
7) Chariot: Victory, will, self-assertion, hard control
"It would be a very bad idea."
Mustang had seemed regretful, but had proceeded, methodically and systematically, to explain exactly why a relationship wouldn't be possible.
"It just wouldn't work. You understand, right?"
Ed, of course, had taken that as a challenge. Over the course of a year, he had proceeded, just as methodically, to wear down, break, and shatter every one of the other man's objections.
"You should know better than to tell me something's impossible."
"I should." Roy turned on his side and pressed close to the younger man, and didn't sound regretful at all. "I really should."
8) Strength: Strength, patience, compassion, soft control
"If you ask me, Colonel, you give that boy far too much lead."
"Is that so?"
"He's at an impressionable age right now. You need to take a firm hand with him if you want him to become a proper soldier."
That was exactly what Mustang didn't want. All the visiting General could see was a young boy with incredible power; Roy saw a keen mind untainted by fetters and constraints. A firm hand? No; Fullmetal worked best when lead with subtle hints and gentle nudges. It was trying at times, but the potential payoff would be much more valuable.
9) Hermit: Introspection, searching, guidance, solitude
The study was Edward’s.
It surprised Roy that someone who had burned down his childhood home and had spent his adolescence without any permanent residence would be so particular about a simple room, but Ed had been clear, in attitude if not in words: the study was his. If the door was open anyone was free to come and go, but if it was closed, everyone else had better stay way. Some days Roy was even afraid to knock.
It wasn’t long before Roy figured out that it wasn’t the physical room his lover craved so much as the solitude.
10) Wheel of Fortune: Destiny, turning point, movement, personal vision
I still remember that night you came to Resembool. You probably thought I was unconscious; fuck knows I was close to it. I don't even really remember Winry and Granny bandaging me up. But I remember your voice.
I wonder sometimes what was going through your head to give a half-dead, idiot kid that kind of offer. You must have figured I wouldn't fall in line and be a good dog. You took every opportunity to make me distrust the military.
Whatever your reasons, your offer that night gave me the push I needed.
I never did thank you.
11) Justice: Justice, responsibility, decision, cause and effect
He first noticed quite by accident; he'd turned back to get in some final word, and the bastard's eyes had snapped up so quickly that for a while he'd doubted what he'd seen. But he'd stared watching. Then he started leaving his coat off.
He knew it couldn't mean anything. The man was a shameless womanizer. Straight men get curious sometimes; it was probably nothing more than that. And anyway, the colonel saw him as an irritating, immature brat.
Still, he liked the attention. He had to admit that, even in some small way, it was nice to feel wanted.
12) Hanged Man: Letting go, reversal, suspension, sacrifice
After weeks—months—of nothing, everyone began him the same thing: Edward was gone. Most likely given in trade for his brother's body. If he was still alive somewhere, wouldn't he have found some way to send word, to his brother if no one else? The only logical conclusion was, Edward was dead.
It made sense. It was just the sort of self-sacrifice he'd expect from the young man he admired so much, and privately loved. The most logical course of action for him now would be to move on with his life.
But he found he couldn't let go.
13) Death: Ending, transition, elimination, inexorable forces
They'd both known wasn't something they could have now. It was too chancy; they both had too much at stake. But there'd always been the understanding that someday, once it was safe, once their goals were met, once they were both free—
I'm sorry . . .
But life doesn't always work out the way you want it, and the best laid plans can turn to dust. When the choice came down to his brother—his only family—and his own life and potential happiness with the man he yearned for—
I'm so sorry.
—It wasn't even a choice, really. Just a regret.
14) Temperance: Temperance, balance, health, combination
"Ed, you've been at this for hours. Take a break."
"Not yet; I want to follow this through."
"When did you last eat?"
"Um . . . I dunno, I've been snacking—"
"I know what kind of crap you think are snacks, you need some real food."
"I'm fine, I'll eat when I'm done."
"That might be hours."
"I'll be fine. Now stop distracting me, I want to follow this—"
"Ed." His arms around the younger man's shoulders. "You're not a teenager anymore. You can't neglect your body and expect to keep going like you're fine."
"Find a balance. Please."
15) Devil: Bondage, materialism, ignorance, hopelessness
He'd recruited the kid to take advantage of the raw talent and power; in other words, to use him. He never expected to end up wanting him in an entirely different way. But it's like trying to capture sunlight. The most he can do is stand close enough to reflect and direct some of the brilliance. He could never hope to tame or harness this beautiful force of nature; even to try would be an insult.
And some desires are best forgotten. After all, there's no way such a magnificent creature would want something as tainted and tarnished as he.
16) Tower: Sudden change, release, downfall, revelation
To Ed, Colonel Mustang had always been like an icon; the model soldier, the quintessential playboy, the perfect alchemist. Ed could hate him. He could admire him. He could even have a stupid schoolboy crush that was (he insisted) merely misplaced respect. But he could never have him; the Colonel was untouchable.
Coming back to find a man with a marred face and lines of worry and stress around his remaining eye challenged all of his adolescent memories of the man. Now he could hardly see The Colonel at all; only Roy Mustang, who seemed very glad to see him.
17) Star: Hope, inspiration, generosity, serenity
"If I may speak freely, sir?"
Roy nodded his consent without turning from the window.
Riza walked up next to him before she spoke. "You know, when I commented that Edward-kun would be breaking hearts . . . I didn't mean yours."
He sighed and leaned his forehead against the glass. "Is it that obvious?"
"Only to those who know you."
Which was, thankfully, a very small number.
"There's no fault in being attracted to him."
"To a boy half my age?"
"No one who knows him would call him that."
"I'm almost old enough to be his father."
She paused a moment, then asked, "What do you intend to do?"
"'Do'?" Roy straightened and turned to his lieutenant. "There's nothing to do here. He's my subordinate. And still a minor."
"He won't be forever."
He laughed. "Yes, but he hardly needs me to complicate his life any further."
"In other words, even if given the opportunity, you plan to keep burying your feelings instead of telling him."
"While the resulting explosion might be interesting—Yes. I'm not exactly his favorite person, after all."
Riza sighed. "If you actually believe him when he says he hates you, then you are an idiot. Sir."
18) Moon: Fear, illusion, imagination, bewilderment
Someone walking in on them now would only see Mustang fucking his teenage subordinate over the desk.
They wouldn't see how Edward was thrusting back against him. They would see the man's hand over the boy's mouth; they wouldn't notice how Ed clamped that hand tight against his own lips to muffle the cries he couldn't suppress. Anyone walking in now wouldn't have seen the way Ed had dragged Roy up from his chair with fierce, demanding kisses. They certainly wouldn't stay to see the tenderness afterwards.
No; it would look really bad if someone walked in on them now.
19) Sun: Enlightenment, greatness, vitality, assurance
He could be anything, do anything, have anyone. And yet he stays where he is, as if there was nowhere else he would rather be.
"Idiot," the brilliant creature said to him, when he'd finally gotten up the courage to voice these thoughts. "You think I'm here because I haven't found anything better? That I'm settling? Or do you think I don't know what's out there? Idiot." Arms around him, and he's amazed once again that he could be this close to something this bright and not be burned. "Don't you see? There is nothing 'better'. How could there be?"
20) Judgment: Judgment, rebirth, inner calling, absolution
"Are you familiar with 'karma'?"
"I've come across the term." Ed shifted against his shoulder; a shrug. "Some sort of equivalent exchange that runs over the course of your entire life, isn't it? Why?"
"I was just trying to work out how, given—my life—how I ended up with this," he ran a hand down his lover's side to illustrate, "when what I probably deserve is . . . something much worse."
Ed pushed himself up on his elbows and regarded his lover for a moment; then snorted, and dropped back down to burrow into his shoulder. "Your accounting is off. Idiot."
21) World: Integration, accomplishment, involvement, fulfillment
Ed leaned his head back and considered the question. He was home, his brother was restored, in body and mind, and the threat that had been hanging over the country for the last few centuries was gone. True, he still had his automail, but he hardly cared about that. So what would he do now?
"Maybe it's time I started being part of the here and now," he said at last.
"And what does that entail?"
"Dunno." He reached over and shyly slipped his fingers into his former commander's hand. "But I know how I'd like to start."