Spoilers: OMG SPOILERS EVERWHAR. This whole fanfic is so spoiler-ful, it's like...old milk. Yes. Oh, yes. Like a refrigerator during a hurricane. Spoiled like hella yo. Spoiled all the way up to episode 51...AND BEYOND.
There will be more than just this first chapter. Oh yes.
"With More Offensive Than the Average Battle"
Roy Mustang was tactful, and calm. He had extraordinary patience and a long memory, and fantastic dental hygiene to boot. He had perspective. He had a brilliant sense of humor.
It took a lot to get Roy Mustang pissed. Yet here he was. Pissed.
See, the one way to get under Roy Mustang's skin was to make a fool of him, and they just had. (Well, make a fool out of him, and take away his lucky hair gel. That hair gel was the source of all his sexiness, goddammit, so when a certain short alchemist tried to steal it, he had every right to go medieval on said hypothetical short alchemist's ass. But he digressed. Mentally.) They shouldn't have made a fool out of him, but they did. He was, apparently, the only one who didn't know what to do, and for some reason, when they asked you to introduce yourself, they had some magical formula that everyone in the world was supposed to know.
So when he'd stood up and said that he was Colonel Roy Mustang, the Flame Alchemist, 29, bachelor, straight-thank-you-very-much-fanfiction-writers-at-least-most-of-the-time-except-when-the-guy-is-TOTALLY-hot-and-willing-but-anyway, for some reason, that was wrong. Nooo, no no, he wasn't supposed to give his last name. Of course not. It was just to be Roy, that's it, no ranks, no titles, no marital status (not that it was worth it, anyway, with the only female in the room that hippy-dippy cracked-out peace-and-love facilitator up there) – just Roy, which seemed completely inappropriate. Really – the only person to whom he was just Roy was his mother and Hughes.
And that thought, of course, made him want a drink. How ironic.
And there was some overbearing bastard to his right who kept nudging and glaring whenever he said nothing as each person introduced themselves. Funny; normally, people got angry when he wouldn't shut up.
Eventually, the thing came back to him again, and Hippy-Dippy La La asked him ever-so-gently if he'd gotten the hang of it at this point. Bint. But Roy Mustang had tact, and grace, and extraordinary patience, and a fondness for displaying his superior dental hygiene, so he flashed La La his best, whitest smile and stood up.
"Hi, I'm Roy, and I'm not really an alcoholic, they just sent me here."
Looks were exchanged throughout the room as La La nodded vehemently. "Okay," she said, "okay," and he added the second "okay" to the list of why he hated her. "No, no – that's fine. Absolutely okay. Acknowledging that you have a problem is the first step to recovery."
Tact. Grace. Brilliantly white teeth. "I'm sure it is," he said. Of course, he couldn't ever keep his enormous (and clean) trap shut: "Not that I have a problem."
"Uh-huh," La La said, her eyes wide and caring. "When do you drink, Roy?"
"When I'm thirsty," he replied, blinking.
"I mean alcohol," she said.
"Yeah," he agreed. What was she driving at?
She cleared her throat, then forged ahead. "Okay. When you're thirsty. When else? At parties?"
"Oh, sure. Nothing else to do." He thought a moment. "Also after work. And with friends." Another pause. "And generally when the camera's on me."
"Oh, yeah. I mean – who needs character development? Fangirls love a hot man who's destroying his liver."
La La nodded thoughtfully. "Roy, have you ever considered that you might have a self-esteem problem?"
Roy felt his perfectly rounded chin drop just as someone knocked on the door. She threw out, "Think about that," then went to answer it. Self-esteem problem? Him? Roy Mustang, graceful and tactful and inhumanly handsome? Was it even possible to have a self-esteem problem when he was this perfect?
"Is this grief counseling?" came the voice from the door.
"Oh, no, no – that's down the hall. This is a – card game."
"Oh yeah?" A tiny head peeked its way into the room. "It doesn't look like a – Colonel?"
Okay. Good. He could handle Fullmetal. He was used to that. Smiiiirk...Oh, that's a nice smirk, Colonel. Good job. And then something witty: "Funny, Fullmetal – I could have sworn there was a minimum height to get in here. Did you slip under the door crack?" Well, not all that witty, but it would pass.
Strange. He must have been off his game, because Fullmetal slipped inside with hardly a twitch. "What the hell are you doing here?"
"Apparently, I have a self-esteem problem."
Fullmetal stared at him a moment, then burst into laughter. Several awkward moments passed as he was the only one laughing and didn't even seem to notice. Finally, he called back:
"Hey, Al! Apparently, the Colonel has a self-esteem problem!"
"Oh! Poor Colonel," came the reply as Al himself slipped in.
La La finally got over her surprise. "Um – Roy, would you care to introduce us to your – friends?"
"Oh, that won't be necessary, really," Roy said, forcing cheer into his voice. "See, Fullmetal and his brother will only be here for a short time."
Fullmetal scowled a moment, but then closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and let it out. The hell?
"Indeed, there won't be time for small talk."
A twitch, a breath, a calm. Fine then. He would get a rise out of Edward, even if he had to get out the big guns.
"EDWARD ELRIC IS A TINY MIDGET THE SIZE OF A DOLL THAT A BABY DORMOUSE WOULD PLAY WITH."
Ed's eyes snapped open, his face contorted – and then he looked over at Al, took a deep breath, and turned back to Roy with a careless grin. Roy, in turn, turned to Al.
"What the hell, Alphonse?"
"My brother got yoga," Al said proudly.
Roy raised his eyebrows, gave an "Ahhh" and wondered what he'd done to deserve this.
"It was, apparently, a big thing in London. So he took a class, and look at him now! And then he went to therapy," Al continued, "and now he's a perfectly normal, well-adjusted human being."
"Or at least he would be if he weren't actually a homunculus," Roy offered. "Because he is." Ed – Ed, of all people – shot him a look that quite clearly told him to stop being childish and went over to check out the refreshment table.
Well, didn't that just beat all. All his joys in life – gone! The only thing that could console him now was hordes of slavering fangirls. And for fangirls he needed –
"You know what, La La?" he asked.
"What did you call me?"
"Um...What is it I should know?"
"I think I'm cured, that's what. I have a problem, and I'll never drink again, and I'm in a bit of a rush now because happy hour ends at six."
Fullmetal sprayed his pecan sandies all over the coffee machine. "Colonel – you're in here for alcoholism?"
"Shut up, Fullmetal."
"Whose idea was that?"
"Shut up, Fullmetal!"
"I should buy them cookies."
"Goddammit all!" Roy turned to the other people present. "Aren't you going to throw him out?"
"Anyone is welcome here," La La said serenely.
"Hey, Colonel!" Fullmetal called. Roy turned, and the short bastard shouted "Think fast!" and then there was suddenly an apple flying at his face. It bounced against his forehead.
"You asshole!" Roy spat.
"Sorry, buddy," Fullmetal grinned. "Forgot about your lack of depth perception."
"Alphonse – will you take your brother away, please – "
"You know, girls never think that cyclopses are hot."
"Of course you'd be well-versed on the terminology!" Fullmetal laughed.
"You know what, Fullmetal?" Roy launched himself at the kid, and fell about two feet short. Fucking eyepatch. Fucking one good eye. He pulled himself into a sitting position with all the dignity he could muster and proclaimed, "I lost this eye in the service of my country. You should be more grateful. You all should be grateful."
"You lost that eye in an attempted coup, you ass," the tiny bastard corrected.
This time, Roy missed because Fullmetal was too short. "You were the one who was all like, 'Yo, Taisa, Bradley equals Homunculus!' Now, there's only one Homunculus I don't kill – and that's you – oh, wait, I totally will!"
"Colonel..." Alphonse trailed off, as generally indicated by the ellipses. "You can't kill Niisan."
"And why the hell not, whatever-your-name-is?"
"Alphonse," the boy said serenely, "and because he's the main character."
"I've heard that excuse too often!" Roy cried. "It's attempted coup number two time in Mustang-land!"
"Colonel!" Hawkeye said, standing as he came in. "What happened to you?"
He settled himself gingerly in a chair. "First," he said, rubbing at his eyes, "I learned that as good as instinct is, depth perception is even more vital to, you know, aiming things (like fire) than anything else. Then I found out what it looks like to see a coffee-maker explode. Then I got kicked out of that, that – abomination and sent to an anger management class." He fixed her with a stare that said that what was said next was in the strictest confidence. "Then Fullmetal – jumped me."
"Jumped you, sir?" she asked in a slightly strangled tone.
"Not like that, Hawkeye. You've been reading too much fanfiction. He – dammit, Hawkeye, the little bastard kicked my ass."
"Apparently, his show of – you know – placidity is just in front of his brother." Mustang sighed and shook his head. "This has been among the worst days of my life."
"Worse than when that hooker refused you?"
"Mm. Yes. Worse. Find whoever signed me up for that – thing – and fire them." There was no response, and Mustang looked over and sighed. "Never mind, then. I'm just curious – Hawkeye, what could have possessed you – ?"
She tended to a few papers when she spoke. "When you drink, sir, you're very...You have a tendency to just unbutton your jacket a little, and your hair gets a touch messier, and your collar gets rumpled a touch, and while I'll be the first to admit that you have a nice smile – " (It was reassuring that someone else recognized his excellent dental hygiene!) " – when you get to angsting...Well, Colonel, I hardly have to tell you that the number of drinks that you have in a day is directly proportional to the number of fangirls that you have."
"Right," Mustang agreed, blinking. "Why is that a bad thing?"
"Because – " She still didn't make eye contact. "When there are all those girls fawning over you, Colonel, I get a touch – jealous, is all."
Mustang blinked, unable to respond. He still didn't manage to say anything as Hawkeye stood, bid him a good night, and left. His mind was simply trying to work out how long twelve steps would take to complete.