velvet mace


"Can I have a cigarette?" Ed asked as Havoc opened the car door for him. The boy was looking puzzled and disappointed. Apparently his meeting with Mustang had left something to be desired.

"Aw you don't want to smoke, boss," Havoc said. "Don't start a bad habit."

The kid paused. "You did."

"Yeah, and I kick myself every time I pay for them. Don't smoke, kid, it'll make you miserable."

"Yeah, well, anything to make me look like less of a little kid."

The kid slid into his seat and Havoc shut the door.

"Smoking doesn't make you look older."

"YES it does!" Ed insisted.

Havoc laughed and put the car in gear. "No it doesn't. It just makes you look like a little kid who believed some line some other kid told him. Not all grown ups smoke and a heck of a lot of stupid kids do. It means nothing."

There was silence.

"You don't think doing grown up things makes you look older?" Ed said after a while.

"Well, sure, but you know kid, you do LOTS of grown up activities, like that whole train thing. I heard all about that, and I gotta say, damn, that was impressive. Honestly, between that and clapping your hands to do alchemy, you were a shoo in for passing the State Alchemist's exam."

Ed was very quiet for a long time. Havoc glanced back. The kid was looking thoughtfully into his lap. "Mustang seems to think I'm a little kid."

"Ed, you are BARELY twelve. You ARE a kid."

"The Military wants men."

"The Military knows exactly how old you are, and they want you."

Havoc glanced back at his passenger.

Ed's eyes were narrowed and he had his hand up to his mouth. He looked like he was in some sort of pain.

"Are you alright, kid."

"Yeah," said Ed. "Listen. Don't tell anyone that I... that I asked for a cigarette. Will you?"

"Sure thing, boss."

Havoc had to look at the road for a while, but when he glanced back, he could see the kid trying to hide his tears. He wondered what it was all about, but as a driver, it really wasn't his place to pry.