Roy: Was it weird that for the first time in three months, I wanted to pout because I had no homeroom class? The school used 'homeroom' kind of like a big study hall for all of the students, but there hadn't been enough students enrolled this year to fill out another homeroom class. The school's policy that no student was allowed in the hallway during that hour kind of defeated the purpose of the whole thing, in my opinion. Bathroom breaks were exceptions, but visiting a teacher to get help wasn't. I don't know how it helped any of the kids who weren't in homeroom with a teacher they needed help from. I didn't really want a homeroom class, but I did want a distraction. Once more, I stared at the image Ed had created. I wasn't sure why Maes had left it with me, actually. Maybe he sensed my fascination with the boy; maybe he would stare at it clear through his classes if he hadn't left it with me. Maybe there was a different answer, but it really didn't matter. Either way, he'd left it in my hands and I continued to study the image like there was some hidden meaning behind it all. There was just something about it. It felt like he had somehow captured the essence of my goddaughter in the image. He'd captured her expression, her look, perfectly. The wisp of her hair, the quirk of her lips, the happiness that shined back from her eyes for the entire world to see. But there was something in it that screamed of her innocence. I couldn't place what it was, but some instinct in me knew that it was important. There was a reason that it was her innocence that resonated most from the picture. Closing my eyes, I set the drawing face down on my desk. If I didn't, I knew I would just keep staring at it, trying to discern the truth from an image that could not speak but spoke to me. He was so talented, so bright, so outstanding. In many ways, he really was a light that drew people in. However, those weren't the things that pulled me closer and closer. The thing I couldn't seem to get away from was the flashes of pain I saw in his golden eyes. What I had realized a few weeks ago was that I wanted to sooth away that pain. I didn't want him to become as jaded and hidden as I had. I wanted to be the one who helped to make him whole, who helped to make him thrive. It was a selfish desire: I understood that better than most. Nothing was more selfish than wanting to fix someone, especially since they might not want to be fixed. The feelings I recognized in myself were startling and worrisome. Somehow, I'd already gone and fallen hard for a teenager. I was probably nothing more than a teacher to him, and yet there was no way that I could see him as 'just' a student ever again.
Ed: "Sweet Shiva, I'm bored out of my skull!" I told Beka. She was a casual friend of mine, but she was so sweet. We were in several classes together, including both homeroom and English. She was petite and pretty, very popular with the guys. Which might explain exactly why she chose to hang out with me in spare moments. "Well, why don't you draw something, then?" she asked me, smiling briefly at me before returning to her book. There were worse things to do to pass time, and I really did love to draw. Of course, I did have an edge over some: my photographic memory. Trying to decide on something to draw was a bit like Russian roulette: the bullet was in there somewhere, but there were five to one odds that you'd be drawing a blank. The first image that popped that I found in the least bit inspirational was a bit startling: Mr. Mustang, his dark silk hair slightly mused, his eyes shimmering with heat. It had come from one of my many dreams, I realized, glad I really didn't blush about anything sexual anymore. Distractedly, figuring that it probably wasn't the best thing to draw at school, as the image my mind had conjured was of him entirely nude, I tried to think about other subject matter. Wildlife. Bunnies. Squirrels. God, this is just friggin' nuts! I thought, frustrated. Since I'd failed to come up with another inspirational image, I settled on drawing him anyway. Leaning forward, I began to sketch the outline of his body before making a split-decision: I would draw him only half-naked, in jeans that doubled as a second skin, instead of the naked glory my mind had so clearly depicted for me. My imagination was really good and it had a lot of material to build that lusty look from, anyway. Besides, drawing him half-naked and posing him in such a manner that begged you to finish stripping him was almost more provocative to me that drawing him naked. At least, if my sketch was discovered, I could blame it on some fan-girl with a bit of a teacher complex. My concentration was so fixed on detailing the one item of clothing that he would be wearing that I didn't even notice it when Beka looked over my shoulder. "Who are you drawing?" she inquired, her gaze scanning the sketch. I glanced at my own sketch to find that I'd concentrated so much on the basic form and the jeans that I had neglected to draw his face. Instead of answering her question, I shrugged. Giving her an answer probably would make even me blush, and I wasn't willing to tempt fate. "You know, it makes me think of Mr. Mustang, somehow." I nearly jumped out of my skin. That was a little too close for comfort. "Does it?" I asked. "Mmm, it does. Although, I'd never picture him in jeans. I've only seen him in his work clothes. Very provocative and intense, though," she added, nodding her approval. "It is rather sexy, isn't it?" I returned softly, my eyes glued to my work-in-progress. "Kinda makes you want to tug those jeans down his hips and let gravity finish stripping him, you know?" She murmured a sound of agreement. "He is rather sexy, but I do get the feeling that he plays for your team, not mine." I looked up at her and couldn't contain my smile. "That would be good for my team. Not so much for yours, though you guys do get Havoc." It seemed that the entire school was somehow aware of my sexual orientation, which didn't really bother me. It influenced my selection of friends, though the school was notoriously open-minded. There were a few people who avoided me like homosexuality was a contagion, but that was their problem, not mine. She smiled back at me before looping her arms around my shoulders and leaning in so she could keep her voice soft. "Like him, do you?" I couldn't keep the blush down. "What can I say? He's really sexy. Too sexy to be teaching school, if you ask me." I returned, keeping my voice just as soft as Beka's. "Elric!" Ms. Armstrong barked out, startling Beka and I apart. A odd sort of panic settled into my stomach as I thought of how many people could have overheard the earlier part of our conversation. Then I dismissed the whole thing. Nothing 'incriminating' was said in it, anyway. "Yes, ma'am?" "Mr. Mustang asked me to remind you to stop by his room after school for the help you needed." I nodded curtly toward her. "Thank you, ma'am." Ms. Armstrong was Mr. Armstrong's older sister. They were very different people, like night and day. While Mr. Armstrong was charming and friendly, Ms. Armstrong was distant and mistrusting. Others might doubt that they were related, but I was certain they were siblings. Their differences reminded me of Al and myself, yet another pair of siblings that people couldn't reconcile when it came to personalities. I exhaled the breath I hadn't realized I'd been holding. It wasn't odd for a student to have a crush on a teacher, however, it had never happened to me before –not even in middle school, when my awakening hormones had begun to make me interested. Such a crush was very normal, even if I wasn't. Beka touched my arm. "Are you… are you thinking about confessing?" I scoffed at the notion. "I'm not that crazy yet, Beka. Why would he have any interest in a boy like me?" The smile she gave me was sort of sad. "You should see how he smiles when you enter the room every morning. It's like he comes to life because of you." Her supposition was treasure to be hidden deep in my cold heart and not replied to. Instead, I returned to my drawing. Chewing on the end of my pencil, I decided to work on his eyes next. They were always the most troublesome part, no matter who my subject was. So I sketched the shape of his eyes at their slight slant and framed them with long dark lashes. Next, I drew his irises, then his pupils and the slight reflection of light off of them. I looked at them. Perfect. I had drawn his eyes perfectly on the first try. It disturbed me greatly. Even when I drew my brother, as I had done for years, I still had to consult that reference image in my mind. But this man's eyes came to me so easily. Thoughtfully, I flipped through the nearly-full sketchbook. Of the nearly seventy sketches, at least fifty of them were of him. None of them were dirty, per say. Just a variety of poses: several of him shirtless, some in casual clothes, some in dress shirts and slacks, one in a suit, even on of him in a tuxedo! I'd been able to gauge his body-type accurately enough that none of the images seemed out of place among the others. I'd also explored many expressions on his usually masked countenance: happy, angry, annoyed, sad, thoughtful, depressed, hungry and innocent being just a small portion of the group I tried out. The blasted man had haunted my mind –awake and asleep– for months, yet it still surprised me to see how many times I'd been able to draw him. Usually, when I fancied someone, I couldn't draw them at all. Mostly, I believed it stemmed from a subconscious fear of the reality not living up to expectations built up by my fantasies. But every dream I had of him sparked an image that demanded to be put on paper. This time around, my biggest fear was that my fantasies, my drawings, would all be eclipsed by the reality of him. Not that I would ever have a chance to discover whether or not this was true, but that was neither here nor there. I flipped back to the page I was working on. Beka touched my arm gently. "They eyes are all him, Ed." I smiled softly. "Let's see how I do with the rest of him, hmm?" I shaped his nose and mouth carfully. Then I began to work on his hair. When it was done, it looked so much like the image I'd dreamed of it frightened me. Beka let out a low whistle. "It makes me want to touch him." I nodded in agreement. I should have felt guilty for drawing him so much without his permission, but he had features that begged the artist in me to draw them, learn them, memorize them, touch them. No one really saw the drawings, anyway. What was the harm in indulging myself and drawing him?
Roy: I waited for the final bell in the same anxious way one awaits marriage: jittery and nervous, happy, excited, and worried. I was about to spend time alone with a boy who had taken on a starring role in my fantasies sine the first time I laid eyes on him. I really didn't want to behave inappropriately toward him, but I was afraid that it would be inevitable when I was presented with the object of my fantasies. I shook my head, as though it would dislodge the thoughts that were troubling me. Of course, it didn't help any, but I did try. He just needs help with his paper, I reminded myself for the six-hundredth time. He didn't know that I happened to want him more than my next breath. He didn't know he'd seduced me with his looks and his sad eyes. He didn't know how he made me feel, or that I wanted to fix him. Or how bad I wanted to touch him or how much I feared that I would be unable to stop if I were allowed to. What on Earth am I going to do when he gets here? I wondered. My own desires were tying me in a knot. I took a deep breath and exhaled it slowly, hoping in vain that it would help. Master of Masks, remember? I chided myself. Just hide it from him, like you hid it from yourself for months.
Ed: I had to go to Mustang-sensei's room. Alone. How in the hell would that end well? In a classroom full of students, there was practically a puddle of drool accumulating under my desk. Alone with him, my feelings would be all the more obvious. Just chill out, I told myself. Get in, get help, get out, get home. Nothing could be simpler. I scoffed at that. Yeah right. This whole thing was messing me up so bad that I was contemplating not going at all, despite the fact that he'd gone through the trouble of having Ms. Armstrong remind me. Taking a deep, calming breath, I shook my head. I really needed help on this paper, and if I let him wait on a student who wasn't even going to show up, I was an asshole. As though cued by my inner turmoil, the final bell rang, dismissing school for the day. Oh, yay. Now it's time to get English help from my sexy English teacher and time to try to not drool all over him. Like I'm up for that task today. I hurried through the crowd of students to get to my locker. Quickly, I gathered my books and slid them into my backpack. I stopped Al in the hall to tell him I might be a while.