Upon reflection, the chase had been spectacular.
Probably the only thing that saved Edward Elric's life
was that he got an inadvertent head start because Roy had one foot tangled in
Ed was doing an impressive impersonation of a banshee
on the rag.
"NO, DON'T KILL ME IT WAS AN ACCIDENT," the boy was screaming
as he careened down the hall, slamming into the wall once and knocking down
a watercolor some maiden aunt had once tried to paint, but in reality had only
suggested to the canvas. Predictably, the frame broke apart when it hit the
More fuel for the fire.
"AL GOT RUN OVER BY A TRUCK, WHAT WAS I SUPPOSED TO DO?"
Ed screeched, running across the kitchen table and launching himself at the
counter. He slid across it, sweeping the canister set to the floor. Predictably,
one of them flew open and the kitchen was covered in flour.
"IF YOU'LL CALM DOWN I'LL DO THE MOUTH THING," Ed begged
at the top of his lungs, falling over the coffee table, hauling himself up,
but knocking over the side table by the chair and toppling the lamp to the floor.
Predictably, it shattered into several elegant pieces and the lamp shade got
crunched under a foot.
Then Roy, by miracle of miracles, got his fingers snagged
in Ed's short black jacket, but Ed, used to running for his life, had all manners
of tricks. Not unlike how a snake unhinges its jaw, Ed unhinged his shoulders.
They went straight back, allowing the jacket to come off easily in the Colonel's
grip. This slight second of astonishment on the Colonel's behalf was enough
for the boy to yank the front door open and tumble down the stoop steps.
"WE'LL TALK ABOUT THIS WHEN YOU FEEL BETTER," Ed wailed
all the way down the walk, over the hood of a car parked at the curb, across
the street and down the sidewalk.
Roy stood naked and panting at the end of his walk. In
one white knuckled grip he held a short black jacket with white piping that
was usually seen in the company of a short blond alchemist who was a FUCKING
LOUSY LAY! He threw the jacket on the ground, he stomped on it, he ground
his heel into it, and still he didn't feel better. He turned and stalked back
up the walk, but before he got the stoop he stopped, turned back around and
went back to snag the jacket by the sleeve and drag it behind him. His neighbor
Mr. Caldwell was peering out of his bedroom window and Roy saluted him, marched
into his apartment and slammed the door, causing the second water color painting
by the same maiden aunt to topple off the wall in the foyer.
He noticed a boot print on one of his living room walls
about eye high. So he hadn't imagined it, Ed had run up the wall.
Someone had to die, preferably Edward Elric.
Only supreme force of will and sheer stupidity made him
go into the office that morning. He sat ramrod straight at his desk because
his back was armed and dangerous at the moment, and every time he tried to relax
back into his chair, it waved around a dozen knives and hissed.
Breda had made the serious breech of protocol by first
not noticing that the Colonel was in a mood beyond foul, and second, by attempting
to make a joke about the Colonel's posture in relation to Falman. The heavy
set man had received a look so terrifying, so mind numbing, that it rooted him
to the spot for several moments gibbering in fear. But then his survival instinct
had kicked in at the last moment, forced his vocal cords to make the misleading
statement 'I have to call my mother', to throw the predator off track and fled.
On his way out, he scaled Havoc like the wall he couldn't in boot camp and Havoc
staggered, sputtered and then shook his fist at the fleeing man before heading
into the office. He should have noticed the warning signs.
"Hey Colonel," he said approaching the desk, the black
eyes that lighted on him sent out a force so strong, he was held in place for
a moment, foot in air. But Havoc was more than brave and he didn't let this
stop him. Once he could move again, he approached the desk and held out an unmarked
envelope toward him.
"I ran into the chief downstairs," Havoc said, "and he
told me to give you this, and then for some reason he told me that following
him would be useless, because he and Al were leaving right away on whatever
train was at the station." Havoc shrugged.
Roy lifted his hand very slowly (because that's all
he could manage at the moment, his shoulders were having a turf war with his
back and his neck was caught in the cross fire) and closed his fingers with
a snap on the envelope. Havoc watched the Colonel move with slow precise measurements,
mistaking it for poise instead of pain.
Roy managed to get the letter open, pulled the single
folded sheet out and unfolded it.
I'm really sorry, I know you're mad, I think some time
apart would be good for us. So, I'm taking Al and heading for the hills. I'll
call at timed intervals to check in and see if there are any leads. Would you
let Hawkeye answer the phone?
I really am very sorry.
Havoc stood silently and watched his commanding officer
turn purple. He really was in a foul mood. With all that business yesterday,
at least he hadn't been around for that. Poor Al.
Havoc had been walking home from his date, or what could
be laughingly called a date if he was in a good mood and drunk, (either way,
it had been time out with a female) when he heard a loud horn, the sliding of
tires and a deafening crunch coming from the direction of the main buildings
Despite all appearances, Havoc really was a dedicated
military man and something like an accident on base could create untold chaos,
so he jogged in the direction of the sounds and came upon a frantic Cain Fuery,
a very flat Alphonse Elric and a very confused truck driver. Taking control
of the situation seemed the only thing to do. He calmed the driver and sent
him off to the motor pool to rally the after hours crew to come out and repair
the truck. After he left, he went over to Al and Fuery, kneeling beside the
flattened suit of armor on the road.
"Al! Are you ok?" Havoc asked as Fuery wrung his hands.
"I'm fine, Lieutenant," the young voice in a tin box said,
"is the kitty alright?"
"She's fine, Al," Cain reassured him, "she ran off behind
the offices across the street."
"Good," Al said. "I can't move."
"That's because you're flat, Al," Havoc said, "you're
"Thank you for the concern Lieutenant, but no I'm not
hurt, I don't feel anything," the boy supplied, meaning it to sound comforting
instead of finalistic, as say someone who wasn't a suit of armor getting
run over by a supply truck might say.
"I'm flat?" Al's voice said, a rising slightly in pitch.
"It's ok," Havoc said, "We're gonna take care of it, we'll
"But Brother's not home!" Al wailed, "he's going to be
mad," the younger boy let his voice drop.
Despite being flat, Al didn't weigh any less and Havoc
knew Fuery wouldn't be up to the task of moving him.
"Cain," Havoc said, then reached up to tug his sleeve
to get his attention," run over to the dorms and get Breda, I'm going to need
help moving him," Havoc ordered. Cain nodded, gave one last whimper at Al and
Havoc then had to stand and direct some traffic off in
another direction before returning to Al's side. The boy made another distressed
sound and Havoc frowned, wondering how it felt to be so hollow and so helpless.
"It will be ok," the need to comfort Al in some way made
him pat the flattened armor, "We'll get Ed, don't worry. Where is he?"
Al was silent for a long moment, but then with a small
defeated sigh, he said: "He's at the Colonel's."
The seven feet of squashed metal sounded so helpless that
it didn't really sink in, and the Second Lieutenant reassured him again.
"I know the number, we'll call him, don't worry Al, we'll
get you taken care of," Havoc said.
So Breda and Cain arrived, followed by Falman, and because
Havoc had a key to the main office, that's where they took him. When they arrived,
Havoc dutifully dialed the phone and held the receiver close to the crushed
neck of Al's armor.
"Brother?" Al had said.
The little man with the bushy mustache and overalls woke
up. He hadn't had such a jolt in some time and it was surprising, to say the
least, to be jostled from his contented nap of so many years. But, duty was
duty. He fetched up his oil can, stepped out of his shack and ran the circular
catwalk of Havoc's mind to where the Great Gears hung in silent, rusting complacency
of the familiar routine of having someone else think for him. It was strange
to get such an alert from the waking conscious, but he leaned far over the railing
and used his oil can liberally. He squirt some oil and tested to see if they
would turn, then squirt some more. Finally, after many squirts and tests, the
big wheels shuddered and groaned to life, slowly turning. Once they started
turning, the rust crumbled away and fell to the pits of darkness below that
the little man with the bushy mustache never wanted to see in the recess of
the Second Lieutenant's mind. The little man in the overalls and bushy mustache
sincerely hoped he had interpreted the signals correctly, since it had been
so long now since he'd had any kind of service, and he hoped that it wasn't
a bad thing for the Second Lieutenant to be thinking. After all, when
people aren't used to doing it on a regular basis, it can be a scary thing.
Havoc shuddered all over like an engine kicking to life.
The Colonel, still absorbed in his letter, didn't notice. Havoc looked around
the office, noting that he and the Colonel were the only ones in it. He suddenly
wondered why it was the Colonel's phone number he'd dialed for Alphonse Elric,
he wondered why Ed came rushing in, flushed and more or less half dressed, to
fall on his knees at his brother's side. He did addition, which he hadn't done
in years and realized with a start that 2 + 2 = the Colonel was doing
someone he shouldn't. It was a weird and airy feeling that he'd figured something
out on his own and for some reason he had the strangest impression of a small
man in overalls with a bushy moustache jumping up and down on a catwalk in some
dank place with giant gears. He shook his head, swallowed and looked at the
Colonel once again.
The Colonel was usually the most tractable of creatures
when he's needs where being met and satisfied, but on the same note, he was
the most vile of creatures when the usual font of lovelies was interrupted by
something as tedious as work, so the Colonel had found a way to combine business
and pleasure in one fell swoop.
The Colonel was fucking the FullMetal Alchemist.
No, that's crazy.
Al hadn't wanted to say, but then he did and when I
called, Ed answered the phone.
Roy Mustang glanced up at the Second Lieutenant after
feeling the weight of the man's stare bore into the top of his head.
"Is there anything I can do for you?" the Colonel growled.
Havoc blinked, then slowly took a cigarette from his pocket,
stuck it between his lips and tapped the end.
"Well you can start, Flame-boy, by doing that little trick
you're so famous for," Havoc drawled.
The Colonel's eyes never moved from Havoc's face, but
they did, in fact, flash in intricate eye morse code, that the Second Lieutenant
was treading very dangerous ground and should perhaps duck and cover within
a very few moments.
"And after you do that, you can tell me why you switched
sides and started shacking up with Ed. I mean, this has got to be the scoop
of the century," Havoc put his hands on his hips and wiggled the cigarette between
The Colonel's skin went the color of pure driven snow,
on the first day of the first fall, in a place very far away, where no human
had ever set foot. He slowly reached into his pocket and pulled out one of his
"This is the middle of nowhere," Alphonse Elric said as
they stepped off the carriage next to a lean to that served as the carriage
"What do you mean," Ed said, "they have an inn and...
fields and look, isn't that a cow?"
"Nowhere," Al repeated, "and that's pretty bad considering
where we are from," he turned his glowing eyes on his elder brother.
"Well, I thought that you know, we could pal around, travel
a little for pleasure, I mean what's the harm," Ed said and tried to elbow Al
in the side, but hit his elbow spike instead. Armor and automail made a dull
cling and Ed flinched back, "I mean we don't spend as much time together as
we used to and I thought you might appreciate some 'us' time. You and me, on
the road! You like to ride the train!"
How Alphonse Elric managed to make expressionless armor
express, was a secret he would teach his children and then his children
would whisper it to their children and so forth down the Elric line for generations
to come. If Ed ever managed to reproduce, which Alphonse was thinking would
be less likely rather than more (and maybe that's a good thing after all), these
golden-haired, wild-eyed cousins of his descendants would never share in the
secret, because there are just some things people like Ed never need to know.
Ed raised an eyebrow, "What?" he said.
"I would have thought in our long association as siblings,"
Al began reasonably, "that somewhere down the line you would have figured out
that I am immune to your bullshit," his little brother said.
"BULLSHIT?!" Ed wailed, flapping his arms like a scarlet-winged
crazy thing, "Who taught you that word?! Bullshit! I just said I wanted to spend
time with you!"
"And I appreciate it, I do, I'm touched," Al said, "but
we both know that you could do that just as well back at the dorms as in the
middle of nowhere. You know, it's not like you are years older than me and have
to hide things from me. Just tell me what happened between you and the Colonel,"
Al said again, always the voice of reason and calm in the storm that was Edward
Ed's shoulders slumped. He sighed and shook his head.
"I'm really bad at sex," he admitted to his little brother.
The great, invincible Colonel Roy Mustang was staring
at him like he was a force to be reckoned with, and well, at the moment, he
was. He was that fearsome thing, that man among men, so high had he climbed
in a few short turns of the gears, that he towered over his mortal existence
and smirked all-knowingly on the amassed populace below.
He owned Colonel Roy Mustang.
He took a drag of his cigarette, removed it and tapped
it once, letting the ashes scatter on the edge of the Colonel's desk, then tucked
it back between his self satisfied lips.
"Well," the Colonel said.
"Well," Havoc returned.
"This is a delicate situation," the Colonel said gravely,
and must have thought about chancing a stare down but dismissed it, because
his eyes dropped from growing fire to cooling embers.
"I'll say," Havoc said and shook his head, "a subordinate
and a... a... minor, yeah a minor, that's a whole lot of... um, bad things rolled
The Colonel worked his jaw, slowly raised his elbows to
his desk and laced his fingers. It took another few moments to lower his chin
to them, this was his normal bargaining pose.
"Is there any chance we can come to an agreement?" the
Colonel asked, never breaking composure now that his color had returned, never
giving the slightest hint that he was concerned that Havoc held his career in
his somewhat tobacco stained hands, "I've always found you to be very reasonable,
Second Lieutenant," the Colonel offered in the way of a off-handed compliment.
"Oh I am, I am," the Second Lieutenant said with a breezy
wave of his hand, "And really, you don't have to be so formal about it, I'm
a very simple man myself, and I have very simple needs," and he grinned a truly
devilish grin at his 'superior' officer and gave a knowing tilt of his head.
"Ah," the Colonel said, "the black book, you wish to see
"No," Havoc said, which finally, finally got a blink of
surprise from the man, "I want to live it, and I want you to help me."
Ed and Al found a shady spot under a tree near the pasture
fence to have a little talk. Al, ever the practical one, decided to get straight
to the point. Ed, while brilliant, was given to fits of being scatter brained
because he had too many concerns on his mind at once. Unless the target was
sighted and locked by his sibling's internal radar, then it tended to fall by
the wayside until something kicked it back into play.
"What makes you think," Al started in his usual calm and
cheerful demeanor, "that you are bad at sex?"
Ed flushed. How could Al just say it so casually? Even
that word, 'sex', made Ed twist all up in knots, and the words 'sex' and 'Colonel'
in same thought or sentence made those knots come unraveled and point straight
to the sky. How could he be here, sitting on the ground under a shade tree in
the middle of nowhere, talking about sex with his baby brother? Oh how the mighty
have fallen. They didn't have too far to fall The Colonel's voice said
in his mind. The voice even smirked and damn that bastard for making a home
there and leaving a phonograph armed with his smarmy wit set to play at a seconds
"Well, I can't seem to get it right," Ed muttered grudgingly,
"somehow I always screw it up," he snorted and put his elbow on his knee and
dropped his cheek glumly into his palm, "and I don't think he's getting any...
anything out of it, it all seems to be me."
Al hummed, his general thinking response. "I see," he
said. "So you don't think you're satisfying him. But still he always wants you
to come over, he must be getting something out of it."
Ed shrugged his shoulders, "I don't know, I mean he likes
to moon over me I guess, he always likes to stare at me after I cu... afterwards
and he likes to cud... cuddle, but I don't like that," Ed insisted, then sighed
again, "ok I do, but he never gets to finish as much as I do. I don't know,"
"All new things take practice," Al said, "and I don't
see why this is any different. It's another new skill, I think you are being
too hard on yourself, and I don't see it as a reason to run away."
Ed looked sidelong at Al. "That's not the reason I ran,"
"Well what is it then?" Al said.
Ed took a very deep breath and in halting detail, told
his brother of the events of the previous evening.
Alphonse Elric, Ed's younger brother, Ed's devoted sibling,
Ed's drive and motivation... the very reason that despite everything, he picked
himself up every time he got knocked down and continued on, pointed at him,
The Colonel opened his mouth, but nothing came out. Havoc
cocked an eyebrow, so the Colonel tried again.
"Live... it?" he said.
"Yeah," Havoc said, "I want you to set up the dates, you
to make the introductions, you to break the ice and then I want you to make
an excuse to disappear. Oh and salute me, first! You always salute me first."
The Colonel opened his mouth again, but his eyes darted
over Havoc's shoulder and shut it. First Lieutenant Hawkeye came striding over
to the desk, looked at Havoc and then the Colonel. She deposited a neat stack
of documents before her superior officer and gave him a brief nod. It seemed
pain suited her, for this brief nod was her approval of his posture and severe
expression today, clearly the marking of a worthy officer.
"You know," she said conversationally, "this ability of
mine to kill a conversation by merely stepping into a room? That's a natural
talent, not something I had to learn. Please, carry on Second Lieutenant, Sir,"
She gave Roy a quick salute, picked up the files in his out box, turned on her
booted heel and strode from the office.
After they both shook the First Lieutenant willies, they
were once again interrupted by the arrival of the others for another inspired
afternoon of slack disguised as work, and the opportunity to hammer out details
of the newly struck deal fled.
"Meet me after work at Harrod's on the square," Havoc
Roy's jaw tightened. "I suppose I have no choice," he
Havoc appeared to think about it for a moment, putting
his hand to his chin and studying the ceiling tiles. He grinned and said, "Nope!
None at all."
Edward Elric is toast. The Colonel allowed himself
a brief fantasy of the boy, long red coat trailing flame, rushing screaming
from the office. Toast, with a capital, 'Dead'.
Scotch, while a steadfast friend, had never been a problem
solver. The Colonel sat at the bar waiting for his slave-master to make his
appearance. Not only had he been ordered into attendance (something
he found he positively loathed, but the quicker up the ladder, the quicker he'd
never have to deal with it again), but now he was being forced to wait.
Wait on the pleasure of a man he'd teased mercilessly, stolen dates from, and
barked orders at, and it was All. Ed's. Fault.
No, it really was. If Ed had not left him there, bound
to a headboard... If Ed had not ran to get the phone after Roy had repeatedly
warned him not to... If Ed had not rushed off to Al's side (ok, ok, he wasn't
that heartless), or at least released him first, then none of this would
have happened, and to top it all off, Ed was denying him any kind of retribution
by fleeing like a woman who Havoc had set his sights on (heh, heh, heh).
Nothing but nothing had gone right from that first kiss,
given on impulse in his very own kitchen. Damn him and his damn golden eyes,
and damn those delicious noises he makes and damn, just damn, damn, damn. He
wondered idly where Ed had fled to, he wondered idly when Ed would get the courage
to come back, he wondered idly why he even missed the little bastard. He was
Havoc strolled in, took time to wave at a few fellow officers
at tables scattered here and there and headed over to where the Colonel sat,
looking like a caged bird all ready to sing. Havoc stopped a few feet from the
Colonel, put his hands on his hips and looked at him expectantly. Roy looked
back at the man, cocked an eyebrow and wondered what was wrong with the bar
stool next to him. Was it wet? He looked at it, but it seemed fine, and it didn't
look like it was leaning or broken. He glanced back up at Havoc and Havoc cleared
his throat and tapped his fingers on his hip.
He was fucking serious.
Roy forced his aching back upright, squared his jaw, and
he saluted, a stiff jerk of an action that he ended as quickly as possible and
narrowed his eyes.
Havoc grinned merrily, saluted back and hopped on the
bar stool to the Colonel's right. He tapped the bar, called out 'Beer!' and
fished his smokes from his pocket.
"I want to know your terms," Roy grated out, "and make
it quick, my back is killing me, I need to get home."
"The chief must be giving you a hell of a workout," Havoc
said, winked at Roy and stuck a cigarette in his mouth. He didn't make the Colonel
light it this time, opting instead for a pack of bar matches.
"That is none of your business," Roy said curtly, "just
tell me what you want and I'll do what I can. What is this business of me being
the middle man in your love life?"
"Ok, if you want to rush it, then here we go. What I want
from you," Havoc said, "is pretty much what I said in the office. Women, plain
and simple. Roy Mustang will deliver to me on request, a woman of my selection
from his infamous black book. He will describe in detail to me each woman's
traits, her likes, her dislikes, her wants, needs... you know all that crap
females go for. He will then invite this woman to come out and 'Oh by the way',"
Havoc leaned close to Roy and smirked, "'We are going to meet up with my very
good friend, the very charming Second Lieutenant Jean Havoc. I think you'll
like him, we are just stopping to say hello and then we'll be off.'"
"I see," Roy said.
"And 'Oh my, something has come up! Some military matter,
it's very important, I have to go. Can I leave you in the capable hands of the
Second Lieutenant?' and then you scoot ass, Colonel and go... boff Ed, whatever."
Havoc grinned, thinking himself extremely clever.
Roy's jaw tightened up so much, it threatened to implode
"Oh come on, don't look at me like that, everyone knows
you had this coming," Havoc said, "and I think we both agree you had it coming
from me more than most. So be a man, or whatever, and suck it up. Oh, and don't
forget to salute. Oh, and pay for my beer," Havoc picked up the mug from the
bar and stood. "You can go home now Colonel, and plan for tomorrow. I think
I want to try out a brunette." Havoc nodded, turned and walked off to another
table where he was greeted by his fellow enlisted men.
Roy Mustang returned to his empty apartment, managed to
get out of his coat and uniform jacket, and collapsed face first onto his sofa.
His pride, or what was left of it, was whimpering like a wounded puppy somewhere
in the very back corner of his mind and no matter how hard he coaxed, it refused
to budge. Life just sucked, better than Edward Elric ever had. You little
bastard, where the hell are you? Your boyfriend could use a back rub, your boyfriend
could use some sympathy, your boyfriend is in serious doubts he ever wants to
have sex with you again! Ah god, how had he let things spiral so horribly
out of his control? How could a boy that barely came up to his chin take his
life plans and grind them under one automail heel? It just wasn't right, it
just wasn't fair and he refused to believe it was a long-deserved comeuppance
that had been waiting in ambush on the rooftops of his dignity, looking for
just the right opportunity to strike.
He tried to get up once, but his back shrieked that it
was writing a suicide note, so he waited until he could get it counseling and
tried again. The second attempt was more successful and he stumbled over to
his roll top desk, sat down, fished the key out of his pen cup, unlocked the
top drawer and lifted from it a well worn, well loved, well protected little
Might as well start with the A's.
Even with Al's longer stride, it was hard to keep up with
Ed as he streamed down the road toward the inn.
"Brother, I'm sorry! Brother wait up, brother!" Al called
out, "I'm sorry I laughed, but it was funny, you have to at least give
me that, don't sulk like this, I still want to help, aw come on Ed, wait up!"
Ed stopped and turned on Al, face still red and lower
lip in a familiar pout.
"I'm glad my love life amuses you," he said, "it's so
nice to know my own brother thinks I suck," then he really stuck his lip out,
"even if I do, I would expect you of all people to be a little supportive!"
"I am," Al placated, catching up to Ed and falling in
step beside him when he started off again, "and I will be, we can fix this,
he won't be mad forever."
"Says you," Ed said, "you don't know him like I do; he
still remembers nasty things people did to him when he was a kid! He told me
about them, there was this gleam in his eye as he said it, it just said to me
'When I'm Fuhrer, I'll show them!', he's scary like that you know, he gets all
demented and freaky when he talks about being Fuhrer. You know, I don't think
I want him to be Fuhrer, I think he might start eating babies or something for
"Or be too busy to be with you," Al said, "I think you
are mistaking ambitious for freaky and demented. The Colonel certainly has that
Ed straightened up and looked over at Al. He hadn't thought
about that, because he hadn't thought that far into the future, really. Well,
not in regards to himself and Roy. He thought about the future, but it was always
a future where he could see his brother's smile and feel the touch of his hand
and maybe, if he was lucky, have a right hand he could touch someone with that
wasn't cool and hard. But he hadn't thought about that, about Roy being Fuhrer
and Roy being not in his life. He rubbed his face. When had he started thinking
that Roy was always going to be there?
"What's wrong?" said Al.
If Roy wasn't always going to be there... then why was
he here? If Roy wasn't going to be there, then maybe he should go and take what
he could get while he could get it. If Roy wasn't going to be there, then he
shouldn't be wasting his time not being with Roy when he could, between missions
and his endless search for that something real, that Philosopher's Stone. If
Roy wasn't going to be there....
Ed stood up.
"I think we should go back," he said, "I think I should
go back and take what's coming to me."
Al stood too, fastidiously dusting at his metal rump.
"What changed your mind?" Al said.
"The bastard is way too ambitious," Ed said, "I have to
keep an eye on him."
"You know he is an adult," Al laughed, "and was taking
care of himself before he ever met us."
Ed shrugged. "I know," he said, "but I don't care. I promised
him something and I can't very well keep it way out here in the middle of nowhere."
"I see," Al said, "What did you promise him?" Al turned
to follow Ed back up the road to the lean to that acted as the carriage stop.
"To protect him. I think that implies even from himself,"
"Yeah, don't want him eating babies," Al chuckled, "he'd
The next day at work was slightly less stiff than the
day previous. His back and a hot bath had talked it over and negotiated terms
of his back's surrender, which was a small comfort, at least.
Havoc looked damnably smug and was disgustingly cheerful
all day, and that made the Colonel's eye twitch. It got so bad that the First
Lieutenant, Fuery and Falman all advised him to get an eye exam, which
did nothing to help his mood. At lunch, when the office cleared, Havoc lingered
behind and came over to tap his desk expectantly.
"Abigail," Roy said, "brunette, 24, secretary for a prestigious
uptown law firm. Born and raised in Halsack, has a great fondness for alfredo
and white wine, likes to talk about politics and stock markets in exchange for
you listening to witty stories about her nieces and nephews. She's a very well
balanced girl; I think you'll like her."
"What about the, uh, important stuff," Havoc said.
Roy sighed. "34, 26, 28." He said.
"Yes!" Havoc crowed and hopped up and down in place.
"It will only take a second, and I did promise to meet
him, we have some information to swap," Roy couldn't believe he was saying these
things. Roy couldn't believe he was escorting this girl into a trap so cleverly
laid by the black mailing bastard known as Second Lieutenant Jean Havoc. But
he did as he was told, because not to would mean trouble, serious trouble, and
he couldn't have that.
The plan went flawlessly. He introduced Havoc at the bar,
then he got them a table on the patio, then he remembered a phone call he forgot
to make while he was still at the office, then he came and made his most humble
apologies to his date, then he got the hell out of there because he wanted to
go home. To see if Ed was there.
As the Colonel walked in the door of his apartment, the
phone had just finished its last ring. He went over to it, waited, hoped, and
sure enough, it began to ring again. He picked it up, gave a breathless: "Hello"
and hoped (because he knew even as he struggled, defeat was inevitable)
that he would hear a certain hesitant young voice on the other end, but it was
Havoc, and he did not sound pleased.
"She left," Havoc said.
"What? Why? What did you say?" Roy asked.
"Nothing that would make her take off, I'm sure," Havoc
snorted, "but after about 10 minutes she said she remembered some 'important
engagement' and took off."
"Well I can hardly be blamed for that," Roy said.
"So bring me another one," the Second Lieutenant huffed.
"What, right now?" Roy asked incredulous.
"What? You mean you don't think you can? Aren't you THE
Roy Mustang?" Havoc asked exasperated.
Roy clenched his fist and gritted out, "Fine! Wait right
"I'm not going anywhere," Havoc said.
Twenty minutes later, Roy was once again putting on a
show for his subordinate's pleasure.
"This is Annette," he said smoothly, "would you keep her
company for a bit while I make an phone call I forgot to make before leaving
the office?" Roy said politely to Havoc's face.
"I would be delighted," the man said politely back.
"Won't be a minute," Roy said to the young lady and excused
He got a scotch at the bar, hid in the back and exited
with his escape speech on cue.
He wondered if Ed had called while he been out.
Thirty five minutes after he'd been home, the phone rang
"She got a headache," Havoc said flatly.
"My god man," Roy breathed, "what is wrong with you?"
Then Roy bit his lip because maybe he shouldn't have said that.
"I'm not going anywhere," Havoc snarled into the phone.
"You have got to be fucking kidding me!" Roy half shouted.
"The night's still young," Havoc growled, "like
a certain alchemist we both know."
"FINE!" Roy shouted, "Stay right there!"
Another forty five minutes saw Roy giving the performance
of his lifetime. He made his bows, but this time he did not leave. Instead,
he slunk around back, charmed his way into the back door and watched like, well,
like her, (his First Lieutenant had a convenient namesake cliché)
to see just where Havoc was going wrong, and just like clockwork, before a half
an hour was up, Havoc was standing there forlornly waving goodbye.
Roy Mustang apologized to the deities above. It wasn't
him they had it out for. My god, no one's luck could be that bad.
Roy intercepted Havoc before he made it to the phone.
"Please," he said, "don't you think three in one night
is enough? I know a girl named Sophie, I think she'd date anything..." Roy bit
his lip and rushed to continue, "Not that I meant that in a bad way!"
Havoc scowled, spun and stalked out of the café.
"Wait!" Roy called, trotting after him while heading down
the side walk. He snagged the Second Lieutenant's arm, pulling him into the
alley between the café and a next door grocery, and stopped. "Just wait
a minute," Roy said.
Havoc pulled his arm free, took out his cigarettes and
stuck one in his mouth.
"I don't have my gloves on me," Roy said.
Havoc shrugged, fished out the bar matches from the day
before and lit his own cigarette.
"Ok look, just let me put this out on the table, ok? We've
known each other a long time," Roy sighed. "I don't care what happens to me,"
Havoc looked at him.
"But if I can't make this work for you, then what? It
would destroy Ed. It would take his certification and strip him of his chance
to restore his brother. You know that's the only thing he really wants, don't
you? You know that's all that matters, so I'm not asking this for me, and I
don't mean to use Ed as some shield to save my own ass, I really don't, but
please, before you do anything rash, I... beg of you? Think about Ed and Al,
they don't have much, but each other and us, yeah? Please, just think about
that." Roy shut his mouth, waited and hoped.
"I am wounded," Havoc said, "just cut to the quick." He
shook his head, and Roy blinked. "Do you honestly think," Havoc said, "that
I'd do that to you? I thought we were, well, friends. I thought you at least
knew me better than that. Damn Colonel, what do you think I am?"
Roy was taken aback, not so much by the words, but by
the look in Havoc's eyes.
"I'm sorry, I just thought with all of this... I mean
you were pretty demanding, pretty sure of what you wanted and I know that in
the past..." he would have continued but Havoc held up his hand.
"Does it really suck that much to think I would want to
be, well, you? Even for one night," then Havoc took a drag, let it out and half
laughed, "to know what it was like to be the Ladies Magnet? Ah, that would be
sweet, but I think we both just got a good dose of reality there, and whatever
the opposite of magnet is, well that's what I am. Stop looking at me like that,
I guess it will just come in time."
"I'm sorry," Roy said, and he meant it. "I'm sorry to
misjudge you like that, and I'm ashamed I thought it."
"It's ok," Havoc said, "so uh, you really care about the
chief, don't you?"
Roy gave a helpless little nod and closed his eyes.
"Huh, who would have thought," Havoc said.
"No lectures on my morals?" Roy asked, opening his eyes
"Who am I to judge?" Havoc said, "Hey, with you out of
the field, maybe there will be more chances for me to play," and he shrugged
and grinned his easy, familiar grin.
Roy gave him a half smile. "You're better to me than I
deserve, I won't forget it," he promised.
"See that you don't come pay raise time," Havoc said,
"Ok, I'm calling it a night. See you at the office tomorrow, Colonel." The lanky
blond turned to head back up the sidewalk.
"Havoc," the Colonel said behind him and he turned to
The Colonel saluted.
"Yeah, yeah," Havoc said, "the kid is making you mushy."
But he saluted back and went on his way.
God doesn't hate me at all.
Take your lumps. Get what's coming to you. Take it
like a man. Do I know any more metaphors? Oh yeah, what goes around comes around.
Edward Elric shuddered visibly and looked at his younger
"Ok," Ed said, "here I go." He looked at the door to their
"Take care," Al said, "I'll see you when you get back."
"Yeah, in a minute."
"Ok, have fun. Oh sorry, uh, break a leg," Al said.
"Don't say that!" Ed squeaked.
"You going?" Al sat down at the table.
"Push me out the door," Ed said.
When Roy Mustang opened his front door, he got a nose
full of flowers. Literally. The petal of a white daisy shot straight up his
nose like a scented saber blade and lodged there. He snorted and sputtered and
took a step back, wiping at his nose and meet a pair of wide gold eyes peeking
over the bouquet.
"I know you probably think flowers are stupid," the boy
said in a rush, "but if I keep giving you chocolate then you'll get fat, train
station souvenirs are tacky and nobody will sell me scotch!" he cried.
Roy snatched the flowers, reached out and bunched his
hand in the bright red fabric at the boy's shoulder and yanked him inside, kicking
the door shut. The foyer watercolor crashed to the floor again, but neither
The black-eyed maniac stalked him silently across the
living room as he backpedaled and pleaded for his life, or his love life, or
both, he wasn't sure.
"I'm really sorry I took off," Ed cried, "but you were
so mad and I didn't know what to do and I didn't know what to say and I felt
so horrible, but probably not as bad as you felt, huh? It just seemed
like the thing to do and I realize now that it was really stupid and something
a kid would do, and there I admitted it! But when I did realized, I came
back! Come on, that has got to count for something! If you want, I will walk
around the house in your shirt without my boxers and won't complain about having
to do the mouth thing if you'll just forgive me! I'll try to get better, because
I know I'm not any good and please don't be mad at me anymore because I really
am sorry!" he panted and the back of his knees hit the couch and he sat hard,
staring up at Roy with eyes so wide that Roy thought it must hurt to hold them
It was all Roy could do not to laugh.
"You are a very bad boy Edward Elric," Roy Mustang growled
in an attempt to cover his mirth, "and you deserved to be punished."
"I know," the blond said miserably, sincerely, and it
almost defeated Roy then and there, but instead he reached down, yanked the
boy to his feet, sat down in his place and threw the boy across his lap face
down. Ed yelped and gasped. Roy lifted the red coat and threw it forward over
Ed's head, gave that lovely little leather covered ass a raking with his eyes
and then he slapped it.
Ed howled like he was being murdered.
"If you ever," Roy said and slapped, "run out on me like
that again," and Roy slapped, "I will not rest," a slap, "until I hunt you down,"
and a slap.
"I won't, I won't!" Ed shrieked, kicking his legs.
"And if you ever," a slap, "tie me up again," a slap,
"you are never," a slap, "allowed to use alchemy," a slap.
"No, no!" Ed sobbed.
"Do you think," a slap, "you have learned," a slap, "your
lesson?" a slap.
"Yes," Ed moaned, "yes!" and he thrashed.
"Well then," Roy rolled the boy off and onto the couch
face up, taking in his flushed looks. "Make sure you remember this."
Ed licked his lips and nodded, still wide eyed.
Roy's eyes trailed down to a bulge in the front of Ed's
leather pants, and his grin was suddenly large and evil as he looked back up
into his eyes.
"I think," Roy Mustang cackled, "we just found your true
Ed slapped his hands over his face.