a HAGAREN fic by MEG
who are NOT MEG.

Sometimes Ed, as a mark of great favor, was ignored while he poked through Mustang's notes. It made him feel stupidly proud, although he would never admit it; he is the only one ever allowed to glance at Mustang's work that is not written out in Mustang's neatest hand and typed up by Lt Hawkeye to be submitted for review.

Not, of course, that it does him much good. Mustang's code is even more obscure than his own, and depends even more on knowing the exact associations Mustang put to each name.

With Ed's code, if you visited every site he mentioned, had his memory for obscure details and spent a year or three doing nothing but living in the National Library, buried in stacks of books, you could eventually get a vague overview of his work. Ed planned it that way. The only one who had a chance of decoding his notes is his brother, because there was always the possibility in the back of Ed's mind that someday Al might have to carry on his work alone.

With Mustang's, you had to have an encyclopedic memory, a reasoning process like a corkscrew and have known every female Mustang had ever dated.

Ed sort of admired the twisted logic that made up Mustang's system, although he would have eaten white-hot glass before he said so.

The one symbol he knew for sure was 'Riza'.

It wasn't too hard to figure out. Lt Hawkeye was the one woman Mustang had never dated, and yet quite possibly the one person that Mustang's life revolved around. Sister, mother, wife, servant and absolute ruler. She was the one person that Mustang trusted absolutely at his back, and one of the few that Ed thought Mustang would die for.

"'Riza' means 'empress', doesn't it," he said, looking up.

Mustang didn't quite stiffen, and did not look up from his paperwork. "An interesting conclusion," he said, neutrally.

"It was pretty obvious," replied Ed, and returned to Mustang's notes.