Roy had to admit it; he found the Elric brothers fascinating. They seemed to be polar opposites, but at the same time perfectly complimentary to each other. Riza had figured that the pair would be most comfortable tacking groups of customers together, and the brothers were becoming quite popular in the host club.
A week had passed and Roy was eager to attend his first alchemy class of the term. Their teacher had been delayed due to some kind of health problem and the wait had only heightened Roy's excitement. Plus there was now the additional incentive of seeing the Elrics outside of the club room. If the pair really were as prodigal as everyone claimed, then it would certainly be an exciting class.
The class had received a notice that their first lesson would take place on the school field, so with a shared sense of bemusement the class trudged out of the confines of the school and towards the field. Roy almost walked into Ed after the golden haired boy froze in his tracks, staring dead ahead where they could only just see the teacher waiting for them.
"What's wrong?" Roy asked, looking across at the teacher to see what could have incurred such a reaction from the boy. She certainly didn't look like a typical teacher, her black dreadlocks were tied back into a high ponytail and she scowled at the approaching group.
"We're screwed." Ed muttered.
"What's she doing here?" Al squeaked at Ed's side.
"I take it you know this woman?" Roy asked as the Eric's started to walk again.
Ed nodded, not taking his eyes off the awaiting woman. "Izumi Curtis, she taught us when we were children. I wonder what she's doing here."
"She must have gotten a job as a teacher." Al suggested.
"No shit." Ed laughed. "Let's hope we don't start with a month's survival training." He muttered to Al, who giggled under his breath in response.
As the group reached their teacher, Roy noticed that she had a dark red tattoo on her chest, baring the same flamel which was stitched onto Ed's threadbare red jumper. He expected the woman to acknowledge the appearance of her former pupils, but instead she simply launched into her speech.
"I am Izumi Curtis. You should all be aware, that this is the advanced alchemy programme. As such, I will not accept anything less than spectacular. With this in mind, today we'll be starting off with an exam. Anyone found to be lacking in alchemic talents will be immediately kicked off my course." There was a chorus of disbelieving mutters from the class, which Izumi silenced with a single glare. "I've brought you out here so that you have the raw materials needed for a display of alchemy. You can show me anything you like, but it had better be good. First up, Alexander Armstrong."
"She's not kidding about kicking people off the course." Ed warned Roy in a hushed tone as the first pupil stepped forwards, ripping off his school jacket for some unknown reason. "You better think up something good."
"No pressure then." Roy muttered back.
"You got it petty boy." Ed chuckled, patting Roy's shoulder with an air of amusement.
"You don't seem too bothered." Roy commented. The class was in a state of frantic nervous tension. It was clear that each student was desperately trying to come up with a plan to impress their new teacher, all except the Elric brothers who seemed very calm about the whole ordeal.
"We've survived Teacher's methods before." Ed retorted, "Compared to how she tested us back when we were kids, this is easy."
"I'm not sure I want to know…" Roy answered, watching as Alexander shifted the rock formation to create a small statue in his own likeness.
"You really don't." Ed snickered.
"Roy Mustang." Izumi called out.
"Good luck Roy." Al nodded cheerfully as Roy stepped forwards.
"Yeah, don't fuck up." Ed chimed in.
"Don't worry, I have a trick or two up my sleeves." Roy smirked, pulling on his carefully stitched gloves. Moving so that he was a suitable distance from the rest of the class, Roy clicked his fingers and a spiral of fire shot from his fingertips. The flame quickly died out and Roy flashed Izumi one of his patented grins, moving to stand with the Elrics once more.
"Impressive." Al smiled warmly.
"Cute." Ed snickered from behind him.
"Brother be nice." Al warned him with a stern look.
"Alphonse Elric." Izumi called out.
"Teacher, can brother and I do our demonstration together?" Al asked with a small tilt of his head and wide, puppy dog eyes.
Izumi paused for a moment, baffled by the request, before nodding her assent. The Elric bothers bound forwards and whispered to each other in a conspiratory tone. The class was in a state of tense excitement, everyone had heard that the Elric brothers were alchemic prodigies and this was their first opportunity to witness their genius first hand. Ed spun around to face Izumi. "You ready?"
She nodded with an amused expression and without further ado Ed clapped his hand together. Sparks shot from his palms as he dropped onto his knees and slapped the ground.
"No transmutation circle…" Roy muttered to himself in awe
Ed stood slowly and a suit of polished metal armour grew from the ground, growing to almost three times his size. The class broke out into impressed muttering as Ed stood back, not even having broken a sweat. Roy's short lived feat of alchemy had left him feling exhausted, but Ed looked as casual as ever.
Taking his cue, Al clapped his hands together and placed his palms onto the armour. The alchemic sparks illuminated the armour, which suddenly stated to walk forwards. The class leapt backwards in surprise as the hulking suit of armour bowed.
Roy glanced over at izumi, who had suddenly burst into laughter. "Trust you boys." She chuckled fondly. Her laughter soon descended into a coughing fit and the Elric boys both abandoned their creation, running to Izumi's side. "Teacher!"
"I'm fine." She waved them off, standing straight again. "Safe to say that you've passed the exam."
The boys beamed brightly, and Roy watched in amazement as he saw Edward honestly grin for the first time.
As the group headed back to the school building, Ed and Al were bombarded by questions both about their new teacher and how they were able to transmute without the use of circles. The pair avoided actually answering any of the questions, giving only vague replies.
Roy waited until they had split from the rest of the group, heading towards the music room for their host duties.
"That was incredibly impressive." He told the brothers who grinned up at him. "How on earth are you able to transmute without a circle?"
"Elric secret." Ed informed him, striding towards the music room.
"Informative." Roy chuckled. "What did you do to the suit of armour? How was it able to move independently?"
"It wasn't exactly independent." Al explained tentatively. "I can transmute part of my soul into inanimate objects for a short length of time."
"Your soul?" Roy spluttered, taken aback by the admission. "How is that even possible?"
"Elric secret." The boys chimed in unison.
"What did you do? Sell your soul to the devil?" Roy joked, pushing the door open to let the brothers through.
An unusually pensive look crossed Ed's face as he passed through the doorway. "Something like that." He sighed before restoring his cheerful façade. "Come on, I'm starving. I'm glad they serve food at this thing." Ed raced off to get ready for his customers, Al quickly followed, leaving Roy stood at the doorway wondering just how the brothers alchemy actually worked.