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Morning Coffee


Sergeant Havoc was first assigned to Lieutenant Colonel Mustang as his driver. It wasn't the most glorious of roles, he thought, but nor was it active duty, and that was fine with him. He'd lost the friend of a friend in the Ishvaran Civil War, knew a couple of guys who'd lost limbs, and considered himself lucky to have left boot camp three weeks too late to be shipped East.

Yes, he was unlikely to die for his country in this job, and if he did, it would be a decidedly un-glorious death. Sergeant killed in horrible car accident, the article would read. His aunt would be devastated, his sisters and brother, too. Havoc found the thought rather morbidly funny, himself, but he'd learned his favorite jokes from his uncle, who was supposed to have a terrible sense of humor.

On the first day of his 'active duty' he arrived at the Lieutenant Colonel's apartment ten minutes early. He leaned against the car while he waited, lighting a cigarette and holding his fingers close to it in case Mustang should appear unexpectedly, so he could drop it and tamp it out with his toe.

Mustang appeared with perfect punctuality, though, boots shining and uniform pressed, just as Havoc had finished his light. He looked not at all unlike his military picture; professional and aloof, and young. It was a bit strange to think that Mustang was only five years older than himself, but it was only to be expected of a National State Alchemist, who was commissioned into the army with a rank of Major.

Havoc straightened, saluted. "Sir. I'm your new driver."

"Sergeant Jean Havoc," Mustang said for him, returning the salute with a superior officer's casualness, and his jet eyes wandered Havoc's uniform for a moment, long enough that Havoc had the fleeting thought that he should have done a better job pressing his uniform. But Mustang merely approached the car, and Havoc opened the door for him, and pressed it shut. "Headquarters," Mustang said, in a low tone, and Havoc saluted to the mirror.

"Sir," he said, and drove where he was told.

Mustang gazed out the window and said nothing.

At headquarters, Havoc jumped out of the driver's seat, but Mustang was already opening the door on his side of the car, standing. "Who else do you drive?" he asked, tugging the jacket of his uniform down to straighten it again.

"Just you, sir," Havoc answered, "And I'm supposed to get the door for you, too."

"A man can open his own doors. Save that courtesy for a beautiful woman," Mustang advised. "Put the car away, and come to my office. When you're not driving I'll put you to better use."

Havoc saluted. "Sir," he said, as Mustang nodded and turned away.

He drove to the lot.

The day was a busy one, in the end, full of 'welcome back's and 'welcome aboard's as the Lieutenant Colonel was greeted and Havoc was introduced; he was dropped at a desk that still smelled of freshly cut oak, handed a pile of documents, and asked to sort them into proper order by date and time. When he had finished, he helped move boxes into the Lieutenant Colonel's office. It was noisy work, commissioned officers viciously guarding the classified papers and enlisted men settling chairs and bookshelves in place, and through it all the young woman called Second Lieutenant Hawkeye kept firm control, hovering near Mustang, answering questions for him and asking him when necessary while the Lieutenant Colonel valiantly strove to complete paperwork amidst the chaos.

Five minutes before the day officially ended, Havoc retrieved the car, and saluted as Mustang came down the steps and opened his own door.

He longed for the cigarette he'd never had a chance to smoke that day, but he'd gone longer without one before.

"Sir," Havoc said, and Mustang glanced up at him, sketched a salute, so different from the sharp, smart ones he had given Major-General Hakuro and Brigadier-General Basque Gran.

"Sergeant," he returned, and climbed in the car while Havoc returned to the driver's seat. "Take me home." he turned and gazed out the window, and was silent.

Havoc was surprised when Mustang spoke again, saying, "Sergeant," as they approached his apartment complex.

"Sir?" he asked, glancing in the mirror, meeting the Lieutenant Colonel's eyes there for an instant before he turned his gaze back to the road.

"You did well today," he said after a moment.

"Thank you, sir. Wasn't too hard, though, nothing I didn't do back home," he added as an afterthought.

"Mm." the Lieutenant Colonel nodded, and Havoc glanced again in the mirror to see his slightly narrowed eyes, a thoughtful look. "Come in again tomorrow. I have some paperwork for you."

"Yes, sir," Havoc grinned, and brought the car to a smooth stop. "Goodnight, sir."

Mustang nodded his farewell and disappeared into the apartments.

That night, Havoc pressed his uniform to starchy stiffness.