Author: Kristen Sharpe
Date: April 17, 2016
Disclaimer: "Fullmetal Alchemist" belongs to Hiromu Arakawa, Square ENIX, Studio BONES and various other parties.
Author's Note: This was inspired by a joke I heard. The punchline absolutely demanded to be applied to FMA characters.
The train car was silent save for the ever-present rush of wheels.
Colonel Roy Mustang savored that silence, leaning back with half-slit eyes. Lieutenant Hawkeye was a quiet, watchful presence at his side, her window seat being used less for the view and more for the chance to surreptitiously watch for suspicious movement in the reflections that played over the glass.
Across the aisle, Fullmetal was scrunched into the space left by his brother's armor, glaring in high dudgeon. His arms were crossed, and his eyes were boring into the seat back in front of him. Whenever they weren't trying to bore through Mustang's skull. But, if looks alone could kill, one of his rivals would have murdered Mustang with their eyes long before he met Fullmetal.
And, with the vocal portion of Fullmetal's tantrum over, most of the civilian passengers had gone to sleep in the late afternoon heat.
Which meant Mustang could quietly watch the other little drama playing out in the car. Because, given the way the young lady seated behind Fullmetal kept glancing to her left and blushing, Havoc, seated behind Mustang, was flirting shamelessly. And, the tight lips of the elderly woman seated beside the young lady stated more clearly than words how very much she did not approve.
One way or another, the encounter wasn't going to end well.
Havoc's love life was the best comedy.
Edward Elric cursed his commanding officer with every word he knew and a few he'd invented on the spot. There was no way it was a "coincidence" that someone like the Colonel "just happened" to show up at the only train stop for miles in the rural area where he had sent in his last report. And, of course, the man had to drag Ed along on this mission right after he and Al had finally gotten their first real lead in a month.
Somehow, some way Mustang would pay for this.
Though it would probably have to wait until they got off the train. Havoc was so busy making goo-goo eyes at some girl, he wouldn't notice if Ed jumped on the Colonel and strangled him. But, Lieutenant Hawkeye would notice.
That was okay. Ed could wait.
Alphonse Elric looked down at his brother's stiff figure and sighed mentally. Brother always thought everything the Colonel did was a deliberate plot against him. More likely, the Colonel had simply taken advantage of being sent on assignment in the same region they were traveling through.
He glanced back a bit. At least Lieutenant Havoc seemed to be having a good time. It probably wouldn't go anywhere – especially not with the grandmotherly woman in the window seat looking like Granny Pinako about to give a lecture – but her granddaughter seemed to like him.
Maybe he shouldn't, but Al found himself rooting for Havoc.
Something was going to happen. Knowing him as well as she did, First Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye suspected the Colonel knew it too. Likely, he was counting on it to relieve the monotony.
The alchemist they had been sent to arrest was neither particularly skilled nor especially dangerous. His only remarkable skill was in knowing whose pockets to line with transmuted gold, and even that had only hid him from official notice for so long.
It would, likely, be a routine mission. Bringing in Edward and Alphonse was only a precaution. For all his complaining, Edward was skilled in rooting out rogue alchemists and knew the sort of traps they might encounter.
So, with the preparations in place and only a dull mission to look forward to, the Colonel was probably anticipating some free entertainment for the trip. Whether from Edward's childish vengeance or Second Lieutenant Havoc's unwise romantic advances.
She hoped he was prepared for the inevitable fallout.
This mission was really looking up, thought Jean Havoc. It had started same old, same old. Long train rides while the Colonel and the Lieutenant went over the intel and planned. He put in what he knew, but, mostly, he was here for grunt work and because the Colonel wanted the brainier deskwork types to stay behind and work on another case. So, he got to sleep and enjoy the scenery.
Which, up until the last stop, had mostly been the Fullmetal Boss pitching one of his tantrums about being called in on the mission. Havoc would never say so – he liked his jaw in one piece, thanks – but the kid was hilarious when he got going.
Then, she had boarded the train.
She had big brown eyes, chestnut hair that glinted red in the evening sun, and an attractive figure even the plain dress her grandma must have picked out couldn't hide. There was nothing fancy about her, not like some of the society girls in East City. Nor was she the farmer's daughter type. She was the sort of small town girl he'd grown up with in a little place out east. Pretty but not glamorous. And, perfectly happy to flirt with a handsome soldier.
The scenery had definitely taken a turn for the better.
Oblivious to its passengers' dramas and passions, the train rounded a curve and rattled into a tunnel. In instants, the passengers were plunged into total darkness.
The roar of wheels doubled in the tunnel's narrow confines, drowning most sounds.
A wet smack of lips on skin and the sudden, sharp slap that followed it.
By the time the train clattered out of the tunnel and into the evening light, the little tableau at the center of the car had changed. Havoc had shifted away from the young lady to face the window with miserably hunched shoulders. The young lady was watching him with a bewildered expression, one hand hovering over her still damp left cheek. Her grandmother looked pleased and proud. Mustang, meanwhile, was clutching his own reddened right cheek, scowling. And, folded into himself, Ed was not quite silently laughing.
Over everyone else's heads, Hawkeye and Al exchanged a look of longsuffering commiseration.
He had rushed things, Havoc thought mournfully as he stared out the window. The tunnel seemed like the perfect opportunity for a quick kiss, but, apparently, the girl of his dreams hadn't agreed. Though at least she somehow missed him and slapped the Colonel instead.
This, Mustang mused as he rubbed his stinging cheek, must be the penalty for schadenfreude. And, Havoc had no idea how much of a bullet he had dodged. That young lady had a strong arm.
Ed continued to snicker to himself, vindicated. He turned toward Al as though to hide his toothy grin while surreptitiously checking to be sure his left glove was back on properly. Too bad about Havoc's date, but the old lady would have laid into him for that kiss anyway. And, really, there wasn't any way Ed could have passed up that chance. It wasn't every day he got a free shot at slapping the Colonel.