Author: Jordanna Morgan
Archive Rights: Please request the author's consent.
Characters: Team Mustang and Edward.
Setting: While Ed is twelve, and still fairly new to being a State Alchemist.
Summary: A quiet Fullmetal can be more worrisome than a noisy one.
Disclaimer: They belong to Hiromu Arakawa. I'm just playing with them.
Notes: Written for the prompt "Did What Where" at Fan Flashworks. An oddly specific phrase to have to work with… and of course, this was the only logical thing to do with it.
Usually, Colonel Mustang's staff were not taken by surprise when young Edward Elric arrived to report to him—because they could hear the boy coming from a long way off. Even apart from the perpetual clatter of his little brother's steel armor, he was invariably given away by his own stomping and snarling all the way down the hall.
So it was remarkable when, on an ordinary Thursday morning, the first sign of Ed's presence was the hesitant creak of the office door.
An amber eye peeked through the crack, taking in the bemused faces of the four officers staring back at him. Then the crack widened, and Ed silently eased himself into the room.
"Uh… hey." He grinned around at them just a little too broadly, but the friendly greeting was belied by the way he shifted his weight and fidgeted. "How are things?"
Eyebrows rose at the tone of Ed's voice. In the months since he joined the ranks of the State Alchemists, not one of the adults in the room had ever heard the twelve-year-old be quiet; but now he was half-whispering, words creeping out in a low tone that would have made the sternest librarian proud. It was almost startling to learn he was physically capable of turning his volume down that far.
"…Everything is good here." Riza Hawkeye folded her hands and blinked at him with cool suspicion, speaking in a normal conversational tone. "Can you say the same? You weren't supposed to report in for another three days, Ed—"
He hastily cut her off in the middle of saying his name. "Oh no, I'm fine—Al's fine—everything's fine! I just, you know… I finished up my assignment early, so I was going to spend the free time studying at the library, but I thought I'd come by and say hi to everyone first…"
It was not unusual to hear Ed babbling a mile a minute. What wasn't normal was hearing him do it in that same hushed tone. On top of that, he kept shooting nervous glances at the closed door of Colonel Mustang's inner office.
"Do you need to see the Colonel about something?" Kain Fuery asked skeptically.
From the way Ed's eyes bulged, Fuery might have asked him if he wanted to put his face in a meat grinder. He waved his gloved hands, spreading them apart in a violently negative gesture, as his low voice strained to a higher pitch of anxiety. "No, no need to bother him! I'm just passing through! Uh… how is the Colonel, though?" Ed squirmed. "I mean, has he gotten particularly… angry about anything recently?"
As Mustang's subordinates recognized where this was going, momentary silence fell over the room with an almost audible thud of its own.
"…Actually, he was in a pretty good mood lately." Heymans Breda released the words in a resigned sigh as he slumped back in his chair. "Guess it's not gonna last much longer now, though."
Ed pasted on an even more desperately wide grin. "Now why would you say that…?"
"Because you're totally broadcasting 'I just triggered a huge bomb, and it's about to go off right under the Colonel's chair' signals?" Jean Havoc suggested unamusedly.
From the inner office came the muted ringing of a telephone. Ed jumped as if the sound was a gunshot. He stared at the door of Mustang's sanctum like an ant looking up at a descending boot, and then visibly squared his shoulders before turning back to Havoc.
"…I have no idea what you're talking about," he muttered with wounded dignity, despite the pronounced twitch under his right eye that declared otherwise.
Hawkeye frowned reproachfully at the young alchemist. "Ed, if you have something to tell us…"
Once again she was interrupted—this time by a sudden resounding bellow of Colonel Mustang's voice through the door.
"He did what where?"
As Ed withered under the four accusatory stares that instantly speared him, his gulp was louder than any word he'd spoken.
"Gotta go," he whispered, and bolted for the outer office door.
2018 Jordanna Morgan