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The Miracle


*click*

Ed: Hello? Hello? Is this the Colonel's office?

Roy: Fullmetal?

Ed: Yes, it's me. Where's the Colonel?

Roy: I'm here. It took you long enough to make your call. I was beginning to think you'd forgotten how to work a phone.

Ed: Oh, shut up! I don't see why I have to make this stupid phone call anyway. But you insisted—

Roy: It's because you can never submit a report in a timely manner, Fullmetal.

Ed: Why should I have to write such a pain in the ass report—

Roy: Instead, you can report to me over the phone. Now please, get started, Fullmetal. I don't have all day to waste listening to you.

Ed: You insolent jerk! You were the one who made me call you—

*click*

Hawkeye: Colonel?

Roy: One moment, Fullmetal. What is it, First Lieutenant?

Hawkeye: Sir, Colonel Travis is here asking for the requisition forms you were supposed to have completed and submitted last week.

Roy: I see. Please tell the Colonel I am in the middle of an extremely sensitive debriefing session.

Hawkeye: Sir?

Roy: And will be for the foreseeable future.

Hawkeye: Yes, sir.

*click*

Ed: What was that about?

Roy: Nothing important. Now, you were starting to tell me about your mission.

Ed: Huh? Oh, yeah. Well, Al and I headed out to Castleman on the Thursday before last. We'd heard these rumors, you see, about this so-called "sacred spring" where any sick people who drank from it would get well again right away—

Roy: I'm aware of the rumors, Fullmetal, seeing as I was the one who informed you about them in the first place.

Ed: Do you want my report or not?

Roy: Please continue.

Ed: Anyway, we figured it was probably total bullshit, but just in case, we thought we'd check it out. It could have been something important, after all. So we got there on Saturday—or at least, we got to the nearest station, the train doesn't go out all the way there, what the hell kind of backwater town was this place, you would not believe it, I don't think they even had running water in all the outbuildings much less any kind of sewer system—

Roy: I don't need THAT many details.

Ed: You wanted my report, you're getting my damned report! So we had to take a cart out the rest of the way to the city, this little backwater place, with a population of chickens. Al loved it, of course. He didn't have to SMELL it.

Al (background) The people there were nice, Niisan!

Ed: Whatever. Anyway, it was late by that time, so we found an inn—if you can call this hole in the wall place that, the rooms were filthy, and the food was—

Roy: Fullmetal, get to the point, please.

Ed: I'm getting to it, okay? Anyway, the next day, we talked to the innkeep guy, and he told us

*click*

Hughes: Roy? Roy, are you there?

Roy: One moment, Edward. Hughes, what is it? I'm in the middle of something!

Hughes: It is! It's an emergency!

Ed: Major?

Hughes: Oh, hello, Edward. Sorry to interrupt, but this is very important!

Roy: What IS it, Hughes.

Hughes: Resources just put out the news of their changed policies. Did you SEE them? They don't offer their laboratory up for officer use any more! This is terrible! How do they expect me to do my job as an Intelligence officer if I can't—

Roy: Hughes.

Hughes:—use their darkroom any more, this is terrible, Roy, you've got to lean on them about this—

Roy: Hughes.

Hughes:—I have three rolls of film lined up from my darling Elysia's birthday and how am I supposed to develop them now? This is a tragedy!

Roy: Hughes! You know perfectly well that the only reason they changed the rules is to stop you from sneaking in and taking up their darkroom with the pictures of your family!

Hughes: That's blatant discrimination, Roy, you can't let them get away with this. Family men have rights in this army just as much as single bachelors like you, and speaking of which—

*click*

Ed: Did you just hang up on him?

Roy: He's far too in love with the sound of his own voice to let him go on indefinitely.

Ed: Huh, sounds like someone else I know.

Roy: Your report, please!

Ed: Yeah, yeah. So we notice right off the next day that for a little nowhere town, Castleman's got an awful lot of tourists running around. We talked to the inkeep and he said it was because of the sacred spring up in the woods about a half hour away, lots of people stayed in the town so they could take a pilgrimage to go see it. A big moneymaker for the town, you bet, with the prices they were charging—

Roy: (suspicious) Fullmetal, exactly how did you pay for the room charge?

Ed:—so it wasn't hard at all to make them believe that we were there for the same reason. He asked me if I was sickly and that was why I was so undersized. ME! SICKLY! UNDERSIZED!

Roy: (pained) I can hear you quite clearly, you don't have to yell—

Ed: WHO ARE YOU CALLING SO SMALL THAT HE NEEDS A MAGICAL SPRING TO GROW TALLER!?

Al: (background) He didn't say all that, Niisan.

Roy: You didn't answer my question about the—

Ed: ANYWAY! He seemed to think I was some rich guy's sick son, sent to try out the sacred spring to get better, and Al was my bodyguard—

Roy: Hmm, I can see why he might come to that assumption.

Ed: What?!

Roy: About Alphonse being your bodyguard, that is. It would at least explain his unusual appearance, as well as his protectiveness towards you, and the disparity of sizes—

Ed: WHAT?!

*click*

Hawkeye: Colonel?

Roy: What is it, First Lieutenant?

Hawkeye: Colonel Travis again, sir. He seems to think that not only the requisition forms, but a good deal of your license renewal paperwork from the last month never made it into Administration. Do you have some explanation for this, sir?

Roy: Please tell the Colonel that my debriefing has taken on an unexpectedly urgent turn, relating to the security of our nation, and that I don't have time for him just this minute.

Hawkeye: Yes, sir. Also, there's a Sergeant Davies out here who seems to think you did something to his wife.

Roy: I have no idea what that's about. Send him away.

Hawkeye: Yes, sir.

*click*

Ed: Colonel, you're a lech.

Roy: This phone conversation is not about my affairs, Fullmetal, or your lack of them. Please continue.

Ed: Whatever. So okay, the next day we hike out into the woods where this 'spring' is. It wasn't all that hard to find the trail, there were lots of people coming and going both ways along it. The people who were going were fine, looking kinda nervous, but the people coming back, you would not believe it—they were dancing, singing, skipping along, not just kids, but full grown men and old people too!

Roy: Hmmm. Like people who had just witnessed a miracle of healing?

Ed: Yeah, well, you might think that.

Roy: So when you reached the spring, what happened?

Ed: There was this whole crowd there, in this cleared space in the trees. The actual spring was roped off, and there were these two guys standing behind it, yelling about how they were the keeper of the miracle and let all hopefuls approach.

Roy: Sounds like quite the public service.

Ed: Yeah, well, some service. They had this bucket for 'donations' and wouldn't let anyone get near unless they made some—

Al (background) Not even the people who were very sick!

Roy: This is starting to sound suspiciously like a con.

Ed: Yeah, that's what I said to Al. But while we watched, this bent over little old lady—musta been like eighty—came up and dumped a bunch of money in the pail, and they picked up this ladle and dipped it in the spring, and gave it to her to drink.

Roy: And then?

Ed: And she swayed a little, and everyone kind of gasped, but then she jumped up straight and yelled about how her arthritis was cured, and she felt great.

Roy: A real miracle, then?

Ed: Yeah, except that—

*click*

Hughes: Roy!

Roy: Hughes, not now.

Hughes: We got cut off so suddenly, I didn't think you'd heard me.

Roy: I heard you, all right, but I'm in the middle of taking Fullmetal's report!

Hughes: Ah, Edward, you should hear this too! Why weren't you in Central for Elysia's birthday party? It's your birthday too! We had a costume reserved specially for you!

Ed: Er...

Hughes: Roy, you have to come visit so I can show you my photographs! Then you'll understand why it's so important to get on Resource's back about this rule of theirs!

Roy: Hughes, I'm not interested in looking at photos of your daughter's birthday party.

Hughes: Oh, no that's not what these are from. These are much more important.

Roy: What are they from then?

Hughes: Our trip to the beach last week! Elysia looked so darling in her new swimsuit! It's the one with the rabbits on them. How can you even think about denying the world her adorableness!

Roy: That's still not work business, so just develop them on your own time and money!

Hughes: Speaking of work, what did you do to Sergeant Davies? He's in here ranting about—

*click*

Ed: I don't think the Major was finished.

Roy: Your report takes priority, Fullmetal. Now, what happened after the woman drank from the spring?

Ed: Uh. That. (rapidly) Well it turned out in the end that the whole thing was a con, just like we suspected from the beginning, so the next day we came back up and broke up the business and dismantled the spring and the villagers were a little upset but we dealt with that and—

Roy: Slow down. I can hardly understand you.

Ed:—well things got a little messy for a while but we sorted it out and left on Sunday afternoon—

Roy: Edward, you're not making any sense. The last I heard, it was Saturday. What happened the rest of the day?

Ed: (uneasily) Nothing happened.

Roy: Nothing happened?

Ed: No. We went away and came back the next day to break up the con ring.

Roy: And how did you know for certain it was a scam, when the last thing you witnessed was an old woman apparently being healed from it?

Ed: She wasn't healed. She was drunk. The two guys were alchemists and they'd transmuted a natural spring into one hundred and sixty proof ethanol. That was the scam they were running.

Roy: ....and how exactly did you find this out?

Ed: I could just tell.

Al: (background) Niisan!

Roy: How?

Ed: By looking!

Al: (background) Niisan, you need to be more truthfful.

Roy: I assume that the scam would not have gotten that far if anyone could tell just by looking.

Ed: Well I'm not just anyone! I'm the Fullmetal Alchemist, okay!

Roy: Something about this entire story sounds a little... short.

Ed: WHAT?

Roy: You heard me. Well, a short mission from a short alchemist, I guess.

Ed: WHO ARE YOU CALLING SO SHORT THAT HE COULDN'T EVEN CARRY OUT A SIMPLE MISSION WITHOUT USING A STEPSTOOL? I OUGHTA SOCK YOU ONE RIGHT IN THE FACE! IF I WERE IN YOUR OFFICE RIGHT NOW—

Al: (background) Niisan! You can't talk to the Colonel that way! Give me that—

*some scuffling sounds; Ed's rant is moved to the background, while Al is now in the front.*

Al: Hello? Colonel Mustang?

Roy: Al?

Al: Yes. Er, I hope you don't mind. My brother's a little, um, upset.

Roy: So I hear. Can you tell me, then, exactly what DID happen on Saturday afternoon?

Al: Oh. Well, I guess I can see why Niisan wouldn't want to tell you. He was a little, um, and he didn't really remember it afterwards anyway.

Roy: What?

Ed: (background) GIVE ME THAT BACK! AL!

Al: After we saw a couple of people go up to the spring and get 'healed,' Niisan decided he wanted to get a closer look. He wanted to try it for himself and find out what was happening, I told him not to, but he didn't listen—

Roy: Somehow I'm not surprised.

Al: Niisan started arguing with some of the guys that were running it. As soon as he closer he yelled out loud that it wasn't water, but I guess he didn't recognize the smell, because he grabbed the ladle for himself and took a drink.

Roy: I see.

Al: The guys tried to grab it back, and he got into a fight with both of them. Niisan was really excited by then, he almost flattened them into the ground. Then he started yelling about how he was the king of this hill and the spring and everyone should call him—

Ed: (background) HE DOESN'T NEED TO KNOW THAT!

Al:—er, and he managed to chase the entire crowd off. And I think the springwater was really kicking into effect by then, because he could hardly walk down the trail in a straight line. I had to help him. And then as soon as we had gotten back to the village, he announced that it was too hot in this place and sat right down on the road and began to take off—

Ed: (wail) Al!

Al:—um, got everyone in the village pretty mad at him. They were starting to get really upset when the two men from the hill came staggering in and yelling about how the little brat had ruined their whole set-up. That made Niisan really upset at them and he tried to attack them but he was having a lot of trouble...

Roy: (strangled) I can imagine.

Al:—and I couldn't get past the one of them to stop the other from picking him up off the ground by his hair, I think he might have just gone for his shirt if Niisan had still been wearing one—

Ed (muffled, background) Al, you traitor.

Al: But by this point everyone in the village had caught on and jumped in to help us, so Niisan was okay. Except that he kept yelling that he could take them, just untie them and he'd kick their asses. I had to take him back to the inn and, um, sit on him until he went to sleep.

Roy: I thought you said you dealt with them on Sunday?

Al: Oh, no, we were all done by Saturday. But on Sunday Niisan was too sick to go anywhere until late.

Roy: So the villagers weren't actually upset with you, then?

Al: Oh, they were. But not about the scammers. You see, before I got him back to the hotel, Niisan managed to—

*click*

Hawkeye: Colonel?

Al: Oh, hello, First Lieutenant.

Hawkeye: Alphonse? I thought the Colonel was taking your brother's report.

Al: I'm just helping out.

Hawkeye: We appreciate that, Al. Colonel, may I have a word with you?

Roy: What is it? Travis again? Tell him—

Hawkeye: Not Travis, this time. It's Sergeant Davies again. This time he's come to the office armed, and is screaming something about his wife and his sister.

Havoc: (background) Wasn't one of them enough? It's not fair!

Fury: (background) Look out! The plant—

*gunshots*

Roy: Lieutenant, I trust I can rely on your expertise to sort this question out.

Fury: (background) He's going for the office! Stop him!

Havoc: (background) Stop him? I'll help him! Marcia Davies stood up on a date with me!

Hawkeye: Yes, sir. *click*

*gunshots*

*silence*

Al: Um.

Roy: Someday when you're older, Al, I'll explain the ways of romance to you.

Al: Would you like to speak with my brother again, Colonel?

Ed: (background) Gimme that!

*more scuffling. Ed comes to front*

Ed: So, can I finish MY REPORT without any more INTERRUPTIONS?

Roy: By all means. I'd love to hear your explanation of Saturday's activities.

Ed: Uh...

Roy: From my understanding, you got yourself dead drunk, and then wandered around making an ass of yourself while your brother and some unarmed citizens took care of the scammers for you.

Ed: THAT'S NOT HOW IT WAS AT ALL! They were alchemists, they had some kind of drug—

Roy: Yes, alcohol is considered a drug.

Ed: NOT LIKE THAT! I was handling them JUST FINE even without anybody else's help! The one who grabbed me, he had an array, and if I hadn't managed to get it off him—

Al (background) Oh, was that why you were tearing up his clothes?

Ed: YES! Why else would it be?

Al: (background) I wondered.

Ed: That's not the POINT! The point is that, they were planning to get rid of EVERYONE there so they could take their scam to a new town without any witnesses, and if I hadn't THROWN myself on them to DISARM them despite being POISONED then they would have—

*click*

Envy: Hello? Is this the Headquarter's internal line?

Ed: WHY IS EVERYBODY INTERRUPTING ME TODAY?

Envy: Keep your arm on, Shorty. I'm not looking for a fight today.

Roy: Who is this? How did you get this number?

Envy: Ah-ah, I'm the one who gets to ask the questions. And if you cut me off too soon, you'll never be able to trace this call.

Roy: What is it?

Envy: So tell me, Shorty, what are you wearing?

Roy: What?

Ed: WHAT?

Envy: Hey, I need to know. It's hard to pass off a decent disguise if you can't get the clothes right.

Ed: AS IF I'D TELL YOU!

Envy: What, did you think I had some kind of designs on you? Dream on. Fine, I'll do it the hard way.

*click*

Ed: The hell was that!

*background screams, gunshots*

Roy: Excuse me, Fullmetal, but it seems certain items are in need of my attention.

Ed: What? But I'm not finished with my report yet!

Roy: Don't worry, I'll read it all over when you submit a written copy on your return to East City.

Ed: But—

Roy: Surely you didn't think this was a substitute for that, did you?

Ed: Then what was the point of making me call you!?

Roy: Well, for one, it was certainly entertaining.

Ed: When I get to East City, I am going to shove this report down your arrogant THROAT!

Roy: Mm, if you can reach that high. I'd suggest not having anything to drink first, though. Your aim might be a little off, and my tastes don't run to kids with no experience.

Al (background) Niisan, don't break the phone, it's public property!

Roy: I look forward to seeing you at the next staff party, though, Fullmetal. I hope to see you repeat your miracle performance there.

Ed: You ba—

*click*