Title: For Lack of a Better Name
Author: Jordanna Morgan
Archive Rights: Please request the author's consent.
Rating/Warnings: Mild PG.
Characters: Edward, Mustang, and Mustang's crew.
Setting: General.
Summary: Ed questions one element of the military dress code.
Disclaimer: They belong to Hiromu Arakawa. I'm just playing with them.
Notes: Written for the prompt word "Butt" at Fan Flashworks. Which is definitely my least-favorite prompt word I've ever dealt with… but oh well, it worked for playing on one of the eternal mysteries of FMA.

When Roy Mustang heard the slam of a door and a sudden commotion in his outer office, he didn't need to be told that Edward Elric had returned to East City.

Heaving a sigh, the Colonel went to the inner office door and poked his head out. His officers were looking up from their desks at the black-clad, blond-braided bundle of surly attitude that had stormed into the room. That is, all except for Lieutenant Hawkeye, who calmly continued filing paperwork while Ed ranted something to her about "a stupid place to put barbed wire".

"…Ed," Mustang murmured by way of reluctant greeting.

At the sound of his superior's voice, the teenager stiffened and turned sharply—unfurling a mess of scarlet fabric that hung in barely-recognizable shreds.

"You owe me for the material to fix my coat!" he declared peremptorily.

Mustang blinked at him. "I don't see that. You were away following up one of your own personal research leads. Whatever trouble you've been up to these last two weeks is not my problem for once." While Ed's face turned as red as the fabric in his hands, the Colonel added blithely, "Besides, your wardrobe could use a change. In that old thing, you look like you're on your way to Grandmother's house to meet the Big Bad Wolf."

Havoc and Breda cringed. Fuery took it a step further, physically ducking down low in his chair, with only his eyeballs peeking up over the edge of his desk. Hawkeye went on thumbing through reports.

Fullmetal stood rigid and gaping for one long moment, as the tension built… but the detonation Mustang anticipated never came. Instead the younger alchemist slowly relaxed, and a vicious smirk stole across his lips.

"Like I'm gonna take fashion tips from a guy who wears half a skirt around his pants."

Taken aback, Mustang glanced down at his crisp blue military uniform—and the flap of fabric that extended down from his belt in the back. "That is not—"

"What is that thing for, anyway?" Having sensed an unexpected opening, Ed gleefully attacked. "Is it extra cloth to tear up for bandages if you get yourselves hurt? Or just a literal symbol of how you desk jockeys cover your rears? …For that matter, what do you even call it?"

By now Mustang's men—minus the woman, of course—were quietly starting to snicker. He didn't know what they found so funny, considering they wore the same accoutrement on their uniforms too.

Havoc passed a hand over his mouth, trying and mostly failing to wipe off an amused grin. "Actually, we don't know what they're supposed to be either. But unofficially…"

Mustang glared a savage expression of Don't you dare at the lieutenant. Unfortunately, he wasn't paying attention.

"…We refer to them as 'butt capes'," Havoc concluded ingenuously.

Ed's face lit up as if he'd just been handed a map to the Philosopher's Stone… and Mustang instantly knew he was never going to live this down.

2018 Jordanna Morgan