Title: Ed's Doggone Day
Author: Jordanna Morgan
Archive Rights: Please request the author's consent.
Rating/Warnings: Mild PG for Ed being Ed.
Characters: Ed, Al, Mustang, Hawkeye, Breda.
Summary: Ed's day just keeps getting worse—and on an oddly recurrent theme.
Disclaimer: They belong to Hiromu Arakawa. I'm just playing with them.
Notes: Some silliness that was originally begun for the prompt of "Dog" at Fan Flashworks.
"Shouldn't you report to Colonel Mustang first?" Alphonse asked timorously, watching his brother tear into a roasted chicken. It was a house specialty of the obscure little restaurant Edward had ducked into, having insisted on disappearing in the back streets of East City immediately upon their arrival.
Ed made a growling noise around the drumstick he was gnawing on. "After that last mission? He's just gonna yell at me and send me straight out to walk into some other disaster. At least let me face that on a full stomach."
Al sighed, but he didn't protest any further, leaving Ed to enjoy his meal… until five minutes later, when something black-and-white streaked under the table. The young alchemist registered a bump against his automail leg, and then a high-pitched yip came from beneath the tablecloth.
"Hey, what the—?"
Black Hayate popped out into the aisle between the tables, prancing and whining loudly, as if to attract attention. Ed tore his gaze from the dog and looked up in anxiety. He was immediately struck by the thought that if Hayate was running around here, in a restaurant, it could only be in the company of…
"Good afternoon, boys," Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye said coolly, looming over Al's shoulder in a space that had been unoccupied a second before.
"You've gotta be kidding me," Ed gaped, his shoulders sagging. "Did Mustang really send you looking for us?"
"Actually, he didn't. But I knew which train you were supposed to be on this morning. When you were late showing up at Eastern Command, I decided to come and get you myself."
"In the whole city, how did you find us here?" Al queried, looking up from where he leaned down to scratch Hayate's back.
For answer, Hawkeye pulled a scrap of torn white fabric from beneath her jacket—and Ed was dumbfounded when he recognized it.
"One of your gloves," Hawkeye replied, with the faintest trace of a complacent little grin. "Specifically, the one you tore when you transmuted your blade in our little fight with those smugglers last month. You threw it away—but I thought it might come in handy if I needed to track you down." She lowered it for the inspection of Hayate, who sniffed it, and then butted his head enthusiastically against Ed's leg. "As you can see, it has enough of your scent on it."
Ed dropped his face into his automail hand with a groan.
"Hurry and finish your lunch," the Lieutenant prompted him, sounding faintly but surprisingly pleased with herself. "And then I'll escort you to Eastern Command. The Colonel does have a new assignment for you, but first… I have a small favor to ask."
"Are you actually serious?"
Following Ed's involuntarily hurried meal, he was resigned to being delivered to Eastern Command by Lieutenant Hawkeye. As usual, seeing Colonel Mustang was the last thing he was in the mood for. However, Hawkeye first paused in the outer office to ask her "favor" of him… and it was nothing Ed would have expected.
On Hawkeye's desk, two beefsteak bones lay nestled in a wrapping of newspaper. One was fresh enough to have bits of meat still clinging to it, but the other was plainly quite old: whitened, splintered, and worn down to a mere nub by gnawing teeth.
"Of course I'm serious," Hawkeye said resolutely. "I'm sure it should be easy for you to use the material of that new bone to build the old one back up."
"Why don't you just give him the new one?" Ed muttered.
The Lieutenant blinked at him as though he had just asked her if water was wet. "Because the old one is his favorite."
…So apparently Hawkeye was one of those pet owners—and Ed knew better than to say anything further.
Stifling a growl of exasperation, he slapped his hands together, and stretched them out over the beef bones. In a flash of blue light, the new one dissolved and melted into the old. The white nub swiftly grew and reshaped, becoming darker and softer with the addition of fresh protein and moisture. When the light faded, what lay on the paper was a single bone, looking as if it had just come straight from the butcher's shop.
"Are you happy now?" the young alchemist sighed.
A satisfied smile overcame the Lieutenant's face. She transferred the bone on its paper wrapping to the floor beside her desk, and called Hayate over from where he stood enjoying Al's petting. Upon being shown his reconstituted bone, the dog promptly attacked it, shaking it violently between his teeth before he proceeded to chew on the meatiest part.
"Thank you," Hawkeye said primly to Ed.
Before Ed had time to roll his eyes in response, the door of the inner office opened, and Colonel Mustang emerged.
"Ah, there you are, Fullmetal." With nothing more polite by way of greeting, he thrust out a thin folder of documents. "I need you to look into a couple of alchemic researchers here in East City, who specialize in chimera studies. As far as anyone can tell, they're not doing anything illegal, but there have been some complaints from the neighbors."
Ed almost dropped the dossier he had automatically reached out to take. "Whoa, hold it! Chimera researchers again? The last time I—"
"The last time was an isolated incident."
"My medical records beg to differ! And what I was about to remind you was that last time, you promised you'd give me a break from chimera-research cases for a while!"
"I'm sorry, Ed, but there isn't anyone else available to do it. The job requires a State Alchemist, and the few others stationed here in East City were just commandeered for an assignment by General Grand."
"Oh, sure. And of course you'd never get off your lazy—"
A sharp throat-clearing from Hawkeye interrupted Ed's retort. He shot an unappreciative scowl in her direction—it wasn't like Mustang hadn't heard even stronger language out of him than what he was going to say—but then he sighed and dropped his shoulders in surrender. There was no point in wasting his time arguing against orders, anyway.
"Fine. But the next time you'd better actually keep your word—and send somebody else to get mauled!"
From the way his superior smirked, Ed knew his demand was falling on deaf ears.
"Be sure to confiscate their research records," Mustang added, giving an airily dismissive hand-wave as he sauntered out of the room.
The two alchemists' address was a run-down suburban house with an overgrown yard and a tall, rusting chain-link fence. As the Elric brothers sized up the place from the end of the driveway, Ed frowned at the several glaring red Beware of dog! signs that were posted, the empty crates and cages piled in haphazard heaps, and the sturdier spans of wooden fencing that extended from the front corners of the house to meet the chain-link perimeter. It looked as if someone was trying to screen any view of the backyard from the street—or more ominously, keep something contained.
Ed summed up his appraisal quite concisely, in a pessimistic mutter.
"Yeah, this is really gonna end well."
Al sighed. "If you assume going in that there'll be trouble, then there probably will be. At least try to start out with a better attitude. It gives things a better chance of turning out nicely."
Ignoring the advice, Ed only scowled more deeply as he strode up to the front gate. It was secured with chains and two padlocks. He clapped, touched the locks, and they fell open on the pavement at his feet.
"…See, Brother, this is the kind of thing that makes other people less happy about talking to you."
"Well, how else are we supposed to get up to the door?" Ed snapped, as he pushed the gate open and stepped inside. "It's not like they have a doorbell all the way out here!"
Before Al could offer a response, the front door of the house banged open. A large, burly man came stomping out, looking decidedly less than welcoming. Ed surmised immediately that he had seen the removal of the locks from a window. Really, it wasn't surprising—because of course a couple of alchemists who had something to hide would be paranoid about watching their neighbors.
"Just who do you think you are?" the man bellowed, his face red and fists clenched as he stormed down the driveway to the gate.
Eyes narrowed, Ed yanked his pocketwatch out by its chain, displaying its official crest. "State Alchemist Edward Elric. Apparently whatever you do around here has been making your neighbors kind of uncomfortable, so I've been sent to give your work a little once-over."
At his shoulder, Al sighed disappointedly; probably at his no-nonsense demeanor. Ed ignored that, too. There was no reason to be all smiles when he already absolutely knew there was no chance this situation wouldn't go south.
In any case, he had the big man's attention. The alchemist gaped, looking Ed up and down in obvious incredulity—but he couldn't argue with the symbol of rank the teenager carried. After a brief moment, his jaw ratcheted closed, his frown becoming a bit less overtly hostile than it had been before.
To Edward, it merely looked as if the man had started trying to do some fast thinking.
"Look, I dunno what your superiors told you, but you people just put us through an inspection two months ago," he muttered. "We passed it just fine, and we're not breaking any laws."
"Yeah, well… I have my orders, pal. Nobody told me what you're doing that makes 'em think they should keep checking in on you. I just know I'm supposed to review your work, and collect your research records."
This time, the man's jaw-drop took on a downward twist of anger once again. "Now you wait just a minute—!"
He was interrupted by another bang of the front door, as his ostensible research partner strode out. This one was even taller by an inch or two, but very thin, with fair hair and glasses. He wore a sour look on his face as he came to join his beefier confederate.
"What's going on here?" he demanded in a nasal voice.
The other one made a growling noise. "More pressure from the State Alchemists—and this time they want our records."
Hearing that, the man with the glasses immediately swung his gaze to one of the Elrics.
Unfortunately, it was the wrong Elric.
"Is that so?" he fumed at Alphonse—who flinched and promptly began to raise his hands in a negating gesture. "Lemme guess. Just because you're with the military, you think you can steal research from us small-time private alchemists and take credit for it? Well, if you think you're going to intimidate us in that armor—"
"Ha, that one's not the State Alchemist!" the big one snorted, and stabbed a thick finger toward the slowly simmering Ed. "It's the kid!"
Four-Eyes blinked behind his lenses, his gaze shifting down to Ed's indignant face… and he suddenly snickered too.
"Are they serious?" he sneered. "No wonder they had to send along such a big scary bodyguard. This is a dog of the military?"
"More like a pup of the military!" his companion mocked.
And with that, the Fullmetal Alchemist had officially had enough.
"Who're you callin' the tiny little runt of the litter?"
For the next few moments, Ed was a bit too preoccupied with punching the big guy to be aware of much else that was going on. He heard a few exclamations of protest from both Al and Four-Eyes, which was simply annoying, because his little brother should be on his side after all. Then, more gratifyingly, he saw a flash of quicksilver from the corner of his eye; apparently Al was in pursuit of the bespectacled alchemist, who had turned and taken off running.
The next shout from Al carried a far more urgent, warning tone, which was enough to get Ed's attention. He dropped the now thoroughly dazed bigger alchemist, looking up to see that Four-Eyes had reached the wooden gate to the house's side yard. It swung open, and a pack of dogs sprang out, bellowing and foaming at the mouth.
…Or not so much a pack of dogs, after all. Because, as the snarling mass of bared teeth and powerful muscles rushed toward him, Ed did count three heads… but there were definitely just four legs galloping underneath them.
Ed only had time to think about yelling a disgusted "I told you so" at Al before the chimera was on top of him.
"Do you see what I mean now, Brother? How much differently would all that have gone if you'd just had a better attitude?"
Very much the worse for wear, Ed made a choked noise and glared up at Alphonse, as they strode back down the hallway leading to Mustang's office.
It was one of those days when Ed was lucky to have two metal limbs. With his automail arm and leg shoved into two of the chimera's mouths, he had been able to fend off the third set of snapping jaws just well enough to avoid any bites to his flesh. However, he sported a number of bruises and scrapes, and he suspected he'd strained something in the contortions his maneuvers required. Not to mention that his current coat was unquestionably beyond repair, as it hung off his body in alarmingly blood-like scarlet shreds.
"Al, I seriously don't think that mutt—" (or those mutts? Ed wondered fleetingly; he wasn't really sure how many animals a cerberus counted as) "—cared about what kind of attitude I had."
"But the point is, that guy wouldn't have let the chimera out if you'd been nicer in the first place."
Ed huffed out a growl as he reached for the knob of the office door. "Why are you talking like this whole thing was all my f—?"
His aggrieved protest got no further. He was halted in mid-word when the door exploded open in front of him—only to smack him hard squarely in the forehead, throwing him back against the opposite wall of the hallway.
A loudly howling streak of military-blue rushed past the stunned brothers. Still crumpled against the baseboard, Ed stared after it from between his fingers as he cradled his head. His vision was momentarily blurry, but he recognized that the rapidly retreating figure bore the general shape of Heymans Breda.
In the Lieutenant's wake, Black Hayate popped out through the doorway with a yip of enthusiastic welcome.
When a glance right and left found no convenient blunt object to hurl at the canine, Ed took a very long, very deep breath. He silently accepted the hand Al offered to help him up, and stepped around the tail-wagging Hayate with exaggerated care.
The tail continued to wag as Hayate followed them into the office.
Lieutenant Hawkeye glanced up, and then quickly dropped her gaze back to the paperwork before her, maintaining a scrupulously straight face.
Without pausing to observe any niceties, Ed barged into Mustang's office—still disheveled from his battle with the cerberus, and now also clutching the developing knot on his forehead. He halted in front of the Colonel's desk, allowing his homicidal glare to say everything that was necessary.
Mustang, of course, hardly raised an eyebrow at his subordinate's ragged state.
"…I see that went more or less as usual," he said dryly. "Did you at least get the alchemists' research records?"
For a second or two, Ed was fairly sure he contemplated physically exploding. It would have served Mustang right to have to clean Ed's blood and guts of his walls and carpet, after all.
"I had them," he hissed between his teeth. "After those idiots' cerberus tried to eat me, I went inside and found all their notes. But as soon as I came out and that thing smelled me again, it got loose from Al, and…"
Reddening, he trailed off, and Mustang's lips twitched.
"Let me get this straight," the Colonel said blithely. "What you're actually trying to say is that the dog ate your assignment."
Edward was done after that.
And for the next several minutes, anyone who passed by the door of Mustang's office would have heard sounds of incredible destruction from within.
2017 Jordanna Morgan