"My arm is getting tired," the blond whined and snuffled and groaned like it
was the worst thing in the world.
The Colonel wet his lips, struggled for breath and spoke.
"Almost there, don't stop, don't slow down...almost, almost..."
"Why is it taking so long? I don't take this long," the
boy's voice was petulant, his grip was alternately too tight and too loose,
his rhythm was atrocious. Learning curve, just remember learning curve.
"Just...it's almost...don't stop..."
Ah god please just shut up.
"You bastard, I'm sleepy. Couldn't we have done this in
the morning?" Then a pause and a startled, "Ah!" from the boy.
Roy shuddered out a breath and felt his back make contact
with the bed again, he didn't open his eyes. He knew Ed was probably wiping
his hand on the sheets.
All the complaining, all the whining.
And Heaven still came.
Morning. Roy's boot heels clicked down the corridor as
he stalked toward his office. He was actually in a fine mood, but it wouldn't
do any good to let anyone know that. He strode in, all confidence in a uniform,
nose in air and hung his coat on the stand just behind and to the left of his
desk. Because this routine was engraved so well into his memory from all the
mornings previous to this one, he closed his eyes as he laid his hand on the
high back of his leather desk chair and gave it a pull. Not too far out, but
just enough so he could slip into it with a comfortable space between the edge
of his desk and his stomach. He then put his elbows on the desk, laced his fingers,
rested his chin on his hands and opened his eyes.
One awkward hand job was not a new perspective on life.
But it did cause one hell of an internal conversation.
He complained and whined the entire time. He's a kid,
kids are selfish. I thought he was going to yank it off at one point. He acted
like my cum was some sort of acid that could eat through his automail. I hope
I remembered to leave Mrs. Cates a note to put new linens on the bed... and
he elbowed me in his sleep all night.
But he did it.
Roy closed his eyes again.
I got to come!
"Looks like you're in a good mood with that smirk on your
face," a voice said from about 3 feet in front of him, the width of his desk.
Roy opened his eyes and regarded Havoc with an arch of
"What happened to your lip?" Havoc asked, chewing on a
tooth pick. Roy had since banned the man from chewing cigarettes. After they'd
been chewed a while they tended to disintegrate and Havoc would leave little
chewed tobacco trails. Sure, you could use them to find him, but it would also
dirty the floors and the military couldn't have that.
His lip? Oh that.
Roy absently reached up to finger a small cut on his upper
lip. He couldn't very well say "After I made Ed come for the second time,
he was trying to be nice and rub the back of his automail hand over my face,
but one of his artificial joints snagged my lip. You should have seen the poor
kid; I thought he was going to cry. I had to kiss him a lot to make him feel
better." No he couldn't say that. So instead: "I cut it shaving."
"Huh," was all Havoc said to that. He then fished a slip
of paper out of his uniform jacket pocket and proffered it to the Colonel. "You
flew out of here the other night like your ass was on fire, so I forgot to give
Well yes, of course I flew. Ed said he was coming over
and come hell or hot water I was going to get some satisfaction. My god man,
I know my priorities!
Roy reached out and snagged the slip, his mind instantly
rewinding to a halting hand job and the look of bemusement on a young alchemist's
face after he finally opened his eyes. It took him a moment to puzzle out that
the black squiggles on the slip of paper was a name; Penelope, and a phone number.
Penelope? Penelope? Ah yes, 5'2, smelled like cinnamon, kissed like a humming
bird and giggled like a cow bell. Penelope.
Ed kisses better than she does and Ed can't kiss.
"Here," Roy said, offering the paper back. "Why don't
you keep this one?"
Havoc let the toothpick hang precariously off his bottom
lip. He didn't even notice it fall, strike the edge of the Colonel's desk and
continue on its saliva-slogged way to the floor. Instead he struck like a cobra,
snatching the slip and cramming it back into his uniform pocket. Then he snapped
the sharpest salute he could manage and noticing the Colonel had returned to
his former preoccupied smirk, he made good his escape before the Colonel could
change his mind.
His luck had just turned a back flip. The Colonel was
giving him women? He hastened down the hall toward the break room, eager
to share his new found wealth with one of his fellow lovelorn. Cain Fuery had
just returned from an assignment that had kept him in Central for the last two
weeks. Havoc was glad to have such an incredible bit of news to share with his
friend. He found Fuery, nose stuck in one of those drug store dime novels, a
half eaten sandwich dangling from his mouth and a finger absently tapping the
nose piece of his glasses every few moments. It must be a really good bit for
Cain to continually make sure his glasses weren't slipping Havoc thought as
he plopped in the seat opposite the younger man. Havoc made a mental note to
borrow the book later.
"Cain, listen to this!" Havoc waited and when Cain didn't
respond, he said, "You're never going to believe it!" Still Cain found whatever
typewritten horror (or more likely porn) gracing the pages of his book
more interesting than whatever it was making Havoc jiggle in his chair like
a five year old.
"CAIN," Havoc complained loudly, then reached up and snagged
the top of the book and pushed it toward the table. Cain's hand lowered, but
his eyes followed, and his finger jammed against the nose piece of his glasses
the lower his gaze traveled, because looking down really made them slip.
"What is it?" Cain said annoyed when Havoc finally slapped
his hand over the opened paperback flat on the table.
"The sky is falling, you ninny, pay attention," Havoc
said, then fished out the crumbled paper and waved it under his nose.
Cain grunted, took a bite of his sandwich and took the
paper from Havoc's fingers. He glanced at it, shrugged and handed it back.
"I know it's important that you get dates," Cain said,
"It makes life with you a lot more bearable, but aren't you a little old to
be running around telling this to anyone who will listen? Really Jean, it makes
you come off as," and he leaned forward to whisper conspiratorially, "pathetic."
Havoc blinked and snorted, then scowled.
"Some friend you are," He growled, "and here I thought
you'd enjoy a bit of interoffice gossip."
"Gossip?" Cain straightened up, gave his glasses a tap.
"The Colonel is handing out women," Havoc said with a
half smirk as he slipped his Flame Alchemist-given woman's number back into
Cain gaped. "For free?" he boggled.
It was at that moment Breda, along with a bowl of cold
chili, took up residence at the other end of the table.
"What's free?" Breda asked.
"The Colonel's women, " Cain said, expression altering
between bliss and disbelief.
"No, no, " Havoc said, waving his hands. "That's not it."
Breda looked between them, then dipped his spoon into
the bowl and stuck cold chili in his mouth.
"Which is it?" he said around the spoon.
"Some woman left a message for the Colonel the other night,
but when I tried to give it to him he told me to keep it," Havoc said. "The
Colonel always dates the best looking girls around, so she's got to be a real
"He offered her up," Cain said in a dazed voice, "Like
on a silver platter. I have to find a way to hang out near the Colonel today."
Breda sucked the spoon clean, pulled it out of his mouth
and used it to aid in his articulation.
"Let me get this straight, some broad called the Colonel
and left her number and he gave you free reign to hit on her?" the heavy set
red head asked skeptically.
"Well it's obvious he is appreciative of all my hard work
and dedication," he said.
Breda snorted a laugh.
"I don't believe it," Breda said. "Why would the Colonel
be giving you his dates?"
Falman slipped to the table then and sat straight backed
and grim to Havoc's right. He had his usual crustless, neatly proportioned sandwich
and a cup of coffee with just enough room left in it for a prudent amount of
"It is some cause for alarm," Falman said, "That the Colonel
hasn't been dating, although the First Lieutenant doesn't seem upset."
"Hasn't been dating?" Breda asked.
"What?" Cain said, "I haven't heard about this, when has
this been going on?"
"In your absence Cain, it is markedly noticeable that
he stays late, completes his work and rushes home." Falman said.
"How do you know he goes home after work?" Havoc questioned.
"Because of requisitions," Falman said, "I file all the
ones for the higher ups," He continued as if this was something to be proud
of, "And Colonel Mustang hasn't requested a driver in weeks. He would never
go on a date without a driver; it's all a matter of image."
A chorus of 'hmmms' sounded around the table.
"Come to think of it," Havoc said slowly, rubbing his
chin, he hasn't been bragging at all lately, either."
There was another few moments of hmmms and ummms and silence.
"Maybe he's sick," Breda said suddenly, "He sick and he
doesn't want us to know!"
Havoc barked a laugh.
"He always lets us know when he's sick! It's his surefire
way of getting to leave the office early," the blond Second Lieutenant chuckled.
"But you said he's working and getting his work done?"
Breda pressed, "Like he doesn't want to leave anything unfinished? I tell you
maybe he's sick!"
Cain looked stricken.
"And he's really a noble man, even though he doesn't like
to show it!" he cried.
Havoc rolled his eyes, Cain could live to be 100 and never
outgrow the chronic case of hero worship he had for Mustang.
"Oh come on," Havoc said, "except for this one little
weirdness, he's acting completely normal. So he was a little preoccupied this
morning, so what?"
"Does he have any symptoms of illness?" Falman asked as
Cain nervously worried the corner of his forgotten paperback.
Breda's brows furrowed and he looked at the ceiling, which
meant he was trying to think without visual distractions like other people to
get in the way.
"No, no," Havoc said, "He looks fine. He cut his lip while
shaving, but other than that he looks fine."
"His lip?" Cain said, glancing over at Havoc.
"Yeah," Havoc said, raising a finger to the edge of his
upper lip, "about right here. Seems an odd place for a razor cut though."
Cain's brain suddenly screeched to a halt, changed gears
and tore off in another direction.
"You don't cut yourself shaving the very top of your lip,"
Cain said, eyes widening, "You don't even shave right there. That is where you
get mouth sores."
"Mouth sores?" Havoc said.
Falman's hand paused in it's precise and effective trajectory
from plate to mouth.
"Like cold sores?" His clipped tones inquired.
"Cold sores," Cain said faintly, then taking a deep breath
and setting his jaw. "When I was in Central, they had a much bigger break room
than this one," the youngest among them said.
"Yeah, so?" Havoc said, leaning to rest his elbows on
the table. Breda was still staring at the ceiling, Havoc wondered if perhaps
he'd been hypnotized by the random patterns in the ceiling tiles again.
"So," said Cain, "Let me finish. They have all these posters
hung up on the walls. You know the ones, 'Loose lips sink ships', 'The Amestris
army needs you', that sort of thing."
"We have those too," Havoc said, "They are all rolled
up in the secretarial supply closet downstairs."
"Right, quit interrupting," Cain continued, "Well they
have this one about all the disease you can get, you know, abroad."
Falman slowly lowered his sandwich back to the plate.
"I remember seeing those posters when we were stationed
there," the silver haired man replied.
"You mean you actually read them?" Havoc said grinning.
"It's a good thing I did!" Cain defended, "Because it
talked about one particular disease you could get with...foreign women." Cain
chewed his lip.
Breda had somehow found his way back into the conversation by this time.
"What was it?" he said, small eyes riveted to Cain.
"Well if you put together all the factors," Cain said
nervously, "The Colonel wanting to rush home, the fact he's stopped dating,
the sore on his lip... I mean all those things together," Cain fidgeted, "Well
it could be that he can't date women at the moment because he might have one
of those diseases," he finished on a mumble.
Falman made a tiny breathless sound, almost inaudible,
that the others knew was an exclamation of massive proportions.
In the scandalous fog that shrouded their heads, no one
was quite sure afterwards who had uttered the damning line.
The Colonel...has VD.
The Colonel was busily contemplating a silver pen etched
in flame lying on his mahogany desk.
It wasn't horrible, and now that I know he can do it
I shouldn't have to be concerned that he won't do it.
The pen, like the cheap tourist trinket it was, had stopped
working the second day Roy had brought it to work. He turned it out to pasture
as an interesting conversation piece to languish for the rest of its days on
the top of his desk right next to the tiny bronze cannon that had once doubled
as a novelty lighter.
The office was empty, it must be lunch time. The Colonel
stood and stretched, pushing back his chair just enough to let him slide out
from behind his desk, and strode from the office, shoving his hands into his
He was really very cute about the whole thing, not
rushing to wash his hands right away even though I know he was dying to.
And those mock attempts that he's too macho to cuddle.
Roy couldn't help the small, pleased smile on his lips
as he made his way down the hall toward the stairs. One of the pretty young
things from the secretary pool turned the corner coming down the hall toward
him. She glanced up at him, eyes widening, cheeks coloring and eyes dropping
immediately as she hurried past.
Well, I must be looking extra fine today, they can't
even look at me without blushing. Ed has a cute blush, I love how it starts
on his nose and then just spreads like an ink stain.
Roy trotted down the steps and turned right, to head toward
the mess hall.
He walked in whistling, minds eye clouding with the vision
of a panting teenager wiggling in the pillows and making all sorts of enticing
pleading noises. He didn't usually go into the mess hall himself, but since
he seemed to be lackey-less this afternoon, and stretching his legs never hurt,
he figured he could get his own lunch. Besides, walking helped him think and
waiting in line ever more so. He took his place at the end of the line, glancing
once at the two soldiers there who looked back at him for a moment before turning
around to stare straight ahead.
Taking notes obviously.
Roy adjusted his collar a bit.
It's not easy to look this good, and I am a Colonel
after all, an example to the enlisted man. Polish, poise and confidence are
the keys of the day. If only Ed's confidence in the bedroom was such an unstoppable
force as it is outside the bedroom... but then again that might also be deadly.
In this way I can mold him to be a superior lover. I should be showered in praise
by his future wife, yes, she should build a shrine to me.
The two soldiers in front of him suddenly moved out of
line, gave him a wide birth and stood a few feet away, forming a new back of
the line. Roy puzzled over that for a moment, looking back at them and moving
forward. There was a small gasp. Gina, head of accounting, stared at him from
the depth of her wire frame glasses and scurried out of his way. Roy watched
her retreat to the new back of the line as well.
Is it Colonel appreciation day already? It's come early
In this way, Roy advanced fairly steadily to the front
of the line.
Oh come on, for pete's sake, I don't look that good
today. Do I?
The line attendant stared at him like a small animal caught
in a trap.
"Well I hope your expression is no reflection of today's
selection," Roy joked smoothly.
"Nu...no sir, Colonel sir," the man stuttered.
Really, these people in the East should be use to me
by now. I know I'm a celebrity, but the fervor should have died down. I mean,
I know it's hard to be in my presence and not get tongue tied, but still...
"Alright then, I'll have the fish," Roy said, "and whatever
you think goes best with it, but not greens," Roy decided that if he was really
having such an exceptionally good image day, that he shouldn't indulge in something
that had the potential to ruin it. Like getting gas.
Ed stood in the doorway of the big office. It was completely
"Is today a vacation day and no one remembered to tell
me?" he quizzed the empty air.
Alphonse had stopped in the break room, saying someone
had left a book lying on the table and that he was going to sit in there and
read while Ed got his briefing from the Colonel.
As Ed stood puzzling over the lack of habitation of what
was normally the office tomfoolery hub of the building, Havoc appeared at the
far end of the hall and beckoned to him.
Ed shrugged and walked down to Havoc and yelped when the
man grabbed him by the arm and pulled him into what was an auxiliary office
used for extra filing cabinets. He blinked to see Fuery, Breda and Falman also
crowed in the small room.
"What is this?" Ed asked, "Oh wait, is it Riza's birthday
or something? Are we all hiding to jump out and yell surprise? Because let me
tell you right now, I don't think it's a good idea to startle her or anything.
Not with everything she packs."
"That's not it," Havoc said, shutting the door again.
"Something's happened," Fuery said, shifting, "Something
you need to know about. It concerns the Colonel."
"You have day to day dealings with him when you're not
on a mission," Falman said. Ed had to look around a bit because Falman was standing
so straight he blended in with the filing cabinets.
What the hell...oh no, Oh NO! They can't possibly KNOW!
"Just because I deal with him everyday doesn't mean anything!"
The blond alchemist suddenly yelled, "You all deal with him everyday too! More
than me! You don't go on missions!"
The sudden silence and four sets of curious eyes made
Ed snap his mouth shut.
"Ok, let's move past that," Fuery said, "whatever that
was. Listen Ed, something is really wrong here. The Colonel has stopped dating."
And a damn good thing he has too, otherwise I'd kill
Breda, unable to keep any sort of surprise, suddenly
blurted out "The Colonel has VD!" and everyone in the room gasped again like
it was a new revelation.
Ed on the other hand, went white as a sheet.
"So you see why it was that we figured we had to let you
know," Havoc said.
"Don't worry," Fuery tried to be reassuring, "He'll be
alright. We just have to convince him to see a doctor."
"Please don't take his nefarious behavior as an example
of how military personnel should behave," Falman supplied helpfully.
"Hey Boss, are you breathing?" Breda asked.
Ed wasn't aware that he had covered his mouth with his
hands, or that he had backed himself into one of the filing cabinets.
Havoc and Fuery looked at each other.
"It's ok Ed, we know you make a show of not liking the
man, but really, he'll be alright, you don't have to take it so hard," Havoc
"We're gonna call Lieutenant Colonel Hughes and get him
to talk to the Colonel," Fuery said.
"It's disgraceful we should be brought to this," Falman's
flat tones sounded from where he had once again blended into the filing cabinets.
"I think the boss is going to faint," Breda said.
And with that, Ed fled.
Havoc leaned out the door and watched the FullMetal Alchemist
barrel down the hall, turn the corner and vanish.
Fuery also leaned out the door and pushed his glasses
up his nose.
"You know what it is," Havoc said.
"What?" Fuery asked.
"Ed is a hick. You know, he comes from that place Rizzy-something,"
Havoc stepped out into the hall. "Things like this don't happen in places like
that. It's a shock."
"Poor Ed," Cain said in sympathy, "Not only is he dealing
with the things he already has to deal with, but he has culture shock as well."
"Better he learn these things now while he is young,"
Falman said, "so he can avoid such reprehensible behavior when he's older."
"He really is a hick," Breda chuckled, "Did you see the
look on his face? You'd think he was sleeping with the Colonel!"
Havoc and Fuery laughed, Falman snorted, and they all
filed out and went back to the big office.
Alphonse glanced up from the paperback of questionable
nature when his brother thundered past the break room door looking like Major
Armstrong had just declared today was 'Hug FullMetal Alchemist' day.
He stood, taking the paperback with him, and leaned out
the door to watch his brother round the corner and disappear. About this time
he heard some laughter from the other end of the hall and turned to watch the
procession of the usual suspects walking down the hall toward the Colonel's
office. Now what? He really hated it when they teased Ed. It made Ed testy for
Falman stopped in the hall and put his hands on his hips.
"Alphonse Elric what are you doing in the break room?"
he asked, looking stern, which being his normal expression, didn't have much
of an impact.
"I'm reading," Al said, "What did you guys say to Ed to
make him run off down the hall like that?" Really, and they were supposed to
"Never mind that for a moment, are you the person taking
things from the honor box?" the corner of Falman's mouth twitched, "In case
you weren't aware of it, 'honor box' doesn't mean free, it means you still have
"What?" Al asked incensed, "You know I don't eat!"
"Well I would hope Edward wasn't talking you into doing
something you shouldn't," Falman continued on, "With his salary he should be
able to buy all the snacks he desires instead of having his younger brother
Al snorted. "I tell you what, I'm going back to reading,
when you have something bordering on sanity to say, come and see me." Al ducked
back into the break room.
Fuery caught the end of the exchange and hurried past
"Al," the young officer said, hurrying into the break
room, "Just ignore Falman, he's all out of sorts today with the news and all.
That is my book and...I think you're too young to be reading it," Fuery's cheeks
"Ah, I'm sorry, I just saw it here on the table, and don't
worry, the sexual scene descriptions are so flowery they are hard to take for
anything realistic," But Al handed the book back to him all the same, "So what's
this news that has Falman walking around making ridiculous accusations?"
"Well, keep it under wraps would you...?" Cain said.
Even without ears, Al knew bullshit when he heard it.
"Where do you think I could find the First Lieutenant?"
Alphonse asked slowly.
Al entered the dorm room and as expected, the bathroom
door was wide open. Al strolled slowly across the room, then folded his arms
and leaned in the bathroom doorway.
Ed was trying to wash his face off. Foam was everywhere
and Al wasn't sure if it were from suds or Ed's frothing. Ed turned his head
slowly, eyes large and haunted, toothbrush scrubbing the top of his mouth and
looked at Al.
"So it all comes to this," Al said and shook his metal
head filling the bathroom with the appropriate tin washboard sounds.
Ed made a pathetic moan and scrubbed harder.
"You brought this on yourself. We've both heard those
Colonel Slut rumors, but you always have to live dangerously," Al sighed dramatically.
Ed said something, but it was unintelligible. He drooled
foam and leaned over the sink. He stayed there for a moment, then his head shot
up and he whipped his gaze back to his brother so hard his braid slapped the
side of his face as he yanked the toothbrush out and let it fall from slackening
"YOU KNOW!" He screeched.
"Brother, you know you are really lousy at hiding anything,"
he said, "and you're about the age to have urges. But, I rather hoped you'd
have urges with a girl. Not that it's any of my business or anything, look I'm
not here to be judgmental...."
"I CAN'T FUCKIN' BELIEVE YOU KNOW!" his elder brother
"Brother, stop screaming, you're getting spit foam all
over me," Al brushed at his chest plate, "Where was I? Oh yeah, don't you think
he's kind of old for you and don't you ever think of things like repercussions?
I would think you would consider what happened with us..."
"ARE YOU FUCKIN' SPYING ON ME?!" Ed had turned purple
by this time, which clashed horribly with his eyes.
If Al had eyelids he would have controlled the muscles
of his face to narrow them, but all he had in his defense was his voice. He
leaned toward his elder brother and pointed with one leather gloved finger.
"Is that a sore on your lip, Brother?" he asked.
Ed sucked in a breath so hard, Al thought he would implode.
He whirled on the bathroom mirror, leaned hard over the sink and almost smashed
his nose against it.
"OH MY GOD I SEE IT!" Ed wailed.
Al turned and left his sobbing sibling in the bathroom.
Sometimes this was too easy. Besides, it was high time Ed started to make some
decisions all on his own.
Roy returned from lunch to find the office was business
as usual. Everyone looked up at him when he walked in, shot a glance at Hawkeye
(who causally lifted her hand to check the holster at her side), and then dropped
their eyes back to their work.
"I know I haven't been in the mess hall in a while," Roy
broke the silence and all eyes riveted to him. "but was it always protocol for
a superior officer to have a table all to himself?"
The boys dropped their eyes to their work again, but Riza
shook her head.
"Sir, about that. There's been this rumor...." She began.
The phone on Roy's desk rang and he held up a finger to
her and smiled. One moment. He lifted the receiver.
"Roy!" came a very familiar voice over the line, "How
you doing? Look, I know this is out of the blue but being as we are good friends
and you know I'm here to support you in times of trouble, I had to call."
"Hughes?" Roy said, mouth dropping into a scowl, eyebrow
arching. "Times of trouble?" he repeated.
"I know they have some fancy term for it..." Hughes broke
off for a moment, "I think its intervention. Yes that's what it is, intervention.
I've called to intervent you Roy."
"Intervent me?" Roy repeated slowly. He glanced up as
Hawkeye let out a loud sigh.
"I got this call you see, I won't say from who because
you know the term, 'don't ask, don't tell..." Hughes went on.
"That term doesn't apply to....LOOK, what the hell are
you talking about?" Roy kept looking at the First Lieutenant but she had decided
that the bookcases across the room were of far more interesting viewing than
he was himself. Was she blind? He looked great today.
"Roy, I want to urge you to see a doctor immediately,"
Hughes said, putting on his best serious tone, "It's nothing to mess around
with, it could have very serious long term effects."
Roy blinked several times. His brain ran over to its filing
cabinet of rational responses to insane conversations and quickly rifled through
the files looking for anything remotely resembling the one he was having right
now. It came up empty handed and shrugged at him.
"Uh..." Roy stammered, "How...how is Elysia?"
There was silence on the other end.
"I would sincerely hope you are asking that out of friendly
curiosity and not because I'm going to have to take the next train to East City
and kill you." Hughes said flatly.
Roy held the receiver out to the First Lieutenant.
"Lieutenant Hawkeye, get me a tap on this line, I think
someone is impersonating Hughes and is doing a really bad job, they are making
him sound utterly insane!" Roy said loudly, so Hughes could overhear.
Hawkeye sighed and took the phone receiver from the Colonel's
"Lieutenant Colonel," she said briskly, "You have received
some bad intelligence," and she let her gaze travel to the table where a sudden
frenzy of paper shuffling occurred, "and as much as myself and the Colonel appreciate
what you are doing, there is really no cause for alarm. I have the situation
"Well that's a relief," Hughes sighed, "But you should
know, the information in question was given to me by Major Shroder."
"Not Shroder." Riza said, inwardly groaning.
"Yep," Hughes confirmed, "Ol' 'broadcast the juicy bits
from the rooftop' Shroder. Why he's been assigned to the information department
is anybody's guess."
"Do you think you can handle a spin?" Riza said, glancing
at the Colonel who was trying to rearrange his features into something less
"Well I'll do what I can to try to keep it out of the
top offices," Hughes said, "but no guarantees. Maybe you should prepare him
for the worst."
About that time a harried looking East City military doctor
and a small detail of MPs had appeared at the office door.
"It's too late," Hawkeye said, "But if you would be so
kind as to convey our conversation to those in position to try and lessen the
"I'm on it as we speak," Hughes said, "I guess there isn't
any way he won't connect this phone call to what's about to happen is he?"
"Not a chance," Riza said.
"Well, guess we won't be visiting for the holidays," Hughes
said and hung up the phone.
Because everyone loves juicy gossip but are always disappointed
to find out it's not true, it took three days to get the Colonel released
from quarantine. Even so, the Fuhrer himself issued the order that Colonel Roy
Mustang should take some personal time, and enforced a two week vacation on
Normally, Roy would have jumped at the chance to lie around
his apartment in his underwear, reading books with questionable limericks and
listening to vaudeville recordings on his phonograph, but this was not to be
the case. Instead, the first few days of his leisure time was spent wandering
around his apartment in a daze, wondering how he was ever going to repair the
It's just not fair. I refuse to give up my reputation
without a fight, I outright refuse. Someone has to pay, and they have to pay
The next day or so was spent in deep investigation of
his own, because Hawkeye flatly refused to share any intelligence.
"You can't sign papers from a jail cell," she told him
over the phone. This was his fifth call. The first one he'd been demanding,
the second he'd been slightly less demanding. The third call had been whiny
and the fourth call had been pleading. By now Roy admitted defeat. She was just
not going to tell him who started it.
He hung up, flopped onto the couch and buried his face
in one of the throw pillows. The apartment was, in effect, as good as any prison
cell could have been. Not that he was going to hide from this, no he was not.
He was going to march back into that office 5 days hence and squelch the rumor
once and for all that he, Colonel Roy Mustang, The Flame Alchemist, was of loose
He wasn't of loose morals, he was far from it, but the
problem was he couldn't tell anyone about it, and where was his supposed boyfriend
anyways. Not even a call. Some concern.
But a few hours later, as if heralded by the mere thought,
Ed appeared at the door.
Ed was gracious, he allowed Roy to lean all over him.
He brought Roy his favorite sandwich from the local deli. He brought Roy a large
variety of magazines. He brought Roy an empty chocolate box that had been devoured
while he was trying to decide what magazines to bring him. But most importantly
he brought himself, which was really all Roy had wanted.
They had made the dutiful trek to the bedroom at the appropriate
time of the evening, but instead of getting naked they merely got undressed
and both laid around in the bed looking at the ceiling.
"I just don't understand how anything like that could
have even gotten started," Roy said, "If you knew who started it, you would
tell me, wouldn't you?" he asked the teen.
"I'd tell you," Ed said, "I'd hold him while you hit him."
"Him?" Roy pushed himself up on his elbows.
"Or her, or them," Ed rushed to add, "But I really don't
know, I really don't. What are you so worried about, the doctor has already
said it wasn't true. That should be enough, right?"
Roy snorted and flopped back into the pillows.
"Ed, your naïveté is refreshing. Ed, your
naïveté is frustrating. Do you honestly think people are just going
to let something like that go?" Roy draped an arm across his eyes.
"If it's any consolation," Ed said soothingly, "I didn't
believe it for a second."