But Not in the Way You Think"
We hope for Colonel Mustang's erec...What?
"Hawkeye?" Mustang said, perusing the newspaper before him. "People votefor Fuhrer?"
"Yes, sir," Hawkeye replied in full exposition mode. "After a long and bitter campaign season starting roughly in January of every fourth year, unless of course you watch C-SPAN in which case it starts the January after the previous election, people gather on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in order to vote for the candidate who pissed them off the least."
"The first Tuesday after the first Monday?" Mustang said. "It seems as though holding it on a Tuesday would have the potential to systemically exclude those who are forced to work long hours."
"Why, yes, sir," Hawkeye said. "Yes, it does, doesn't it?"
"Well, those who came up with the idea must have had some particular reason for holding the election on that day."
"Well, sir, no reason that's relevant today," Hawkeye said. "Yet for some reason no one sees fit to change it. I do not know why."
There was a slightly awkward silence a moment, then the "The More You're Angry About" star appeared over their heads. Mustang nodded, satisfied.
"Anyway, what month is it?"
"January!" Mustang said with enormous glee. "There's still time! There's still time to set things right!"
Hawkeye shook her head. "No, sir; the turkey's been rotten for two weeks and Tiny Tim is dead."
"I beg your pardon?"
"It was an allusion, sir," Hawkeye said.
"Ah. An allusion. Yes." He twiddled his fingers.
"No, sir," Hawkeye said, "not a trick, an allusion."
"Oh," Mustang said. "Like Poe."
"Yes." There was a moment as they both nodded to themselves. "Anyway," Mustang said, "why haven't I known about the election thing before?"
"Because I kept it from you," Hawkeye said, "in an elaborate construct rather along the lines of such excellent films as Good Bye Lenin! orThe Truman Show."
"Ah-hah," Roy said. "But now I've learned of the truth through this newspaper. Is this not a significant oversight?"
"Yes," Riza said calmly, "I suppose it is."
Roy squinted at Riza. "Are you drunk right now?" he asked. "Because it isnot cool for you to be drunk when I'm not drunk."
"Is going fine," Roy said, pulling out a hip-flask and taking a deep swig from it. He met Riza's eyes defiantly. "It's just pumpkin juice," he gargled, then swallowed.
"Okay, Barty Crouch Jr.," Riza said.
"Augh!" Roy cried. "Ssssspoiler!"
"And you know what? R.A.B.? Is actually Regulus Black - "
"Riza!" he cried. "Damn you to hell! You know how much I hate spoilers!"
"Oh, come on, that one was obvious," Riza said. "But you know what else, Roy?"
"No," he whispered, sensing that she was going for the big guns.
"The Red Testament..."
"Nooo!" Roy howled. "Not Xenosaga! Without its myriad mysteries, that game is nothing! Nothing!"
Quickly, he covered his ears and closed his eye, and stayed that way for some time. Finally, when he guessed she was done, he tentatively started listening again.
"...the motherfucking plane," she finished, and looked at him with great amusement. "How you holding up, there, Big Guy?"
"I feel unsafe," he moaned. "How could you do this, Brutus?"
"The spoilers or the deceit?"
"The spoilers were just out of malice," she chuckled. "The lies were because I knew if you heard of the election, you'd enter the election."
"And...?" Mustang said.
"And...The Fuhrer is not a charismatic guy. Ask yourself: how does he keep winning elections?"
Roy thought. "Brainwashing."
"No," Riza said.
He thought a while more, then hopefully offered, "Money?"
"That falls under the heading of bribery."
"Oh. Okay, how?"
She posed dramatically and intoned, "Death."
Roy sighed, hunched over, and poured himself a glass of scotch, then loosed his collar and unbuttoned his jacket. Sadly, he looked up to Hawkeye for just a moment, then back down and said, his voice hushed over the mournful harmonica music, "You mean to say that that, too, isn't bribery?"
Hawkeye raised an eyebrow. "Cute."
The harmonica music stopped; he looked up again and grinned brightly. "I cut myself!" he chirped.
"And an admirable job you do of it," she said. "Honestly, sir, I'm being serious here."
"Oh, really?" Roy asked with a devilish grin. "Tell me, how is Professor Lupin in bed?"
"Ha, ha," she said. "Well, you should just be glad that I'm not actuallySirius, because he's - "
"Spoiler!" Roy shrieked.
Riza shook her head. "The book's been out for, what, three years now?" she said. "I don't understand why you don't just read the damn thing. I think they even have it on Sparknotes now."
"Oh, c'mon," Roy said. "Thing's fucking long. Let's be realistic now."
"I thought you liked long things," Riza said.
"What, like your mom's...No, sorry," he said. "On second thought, that makes no sense."
"No, it does. So it was for your own protection, really," she continued, leaving Roy in a stew of his own confusion. "Because you, Colonel, are foolhardy."
"Well, I'm not foolhardy any more!" he said, standing dramatically and trying to pound one fist on the table but missing so that he just smacked himself in the thigh. "I'm going to enter that election, and I'm going to win it! Hawkeye, I'm going straight for the top!"
"Of the Fuhrer's death list."
"Yes!" he cried, pumping one fist in the air and clipping an overhanging lamp so that it swung away and then back to smack him in the forehead. "Ow, dammit."
And Hawkeye folded her arms across her chest, content that the Colonel was safe, because who in the hell would vote for him?
And that was just what Colonel Mustang was going to find out.
He was pretty certain he had the dark-haired vote, because he, like they, had dark hair, and thus they had something in common. So he decided he needed a running mate who could make up for his weaknesses.
"A running mate?" Hawkeye asked when he asked her. "Isn't the rule that you secure your party's nomination, first?"
"Ah, but in the parties I host, there are no rules," Roy said.
"And no opponents?" she asked.
"That as well," he said. "But mostly no rules. Oh, except, you know, no feet on the sofa. That's a rule. And - I ran out of vermouth, and vodka martinis are kinda nasty, so no drinking those. And no playing darts." He shook his head. "God, no playing darts!"
"I think your pun has gotten the better of you, sir."
"Looks like. Anyway, whaddaya say, Vice-Fuhrer Hawkeye?"
Hawkeye could hardly agree, as she'd already invested too much time and money into sabotaging Roy's campaign, because that's what she does in every damned chapter. "I'm sorry, sir, but I don't think I have sufficient vice to be the Vice-Fuhrer. You need someone much more vice-ious than I am."
So. Roy needed someone filled with vice. Someone steeped in sin, someone who had done terrible things and was paying the price - someone who had all the incestuous subtext in the world.
"Ew, get away, freak," said Russell Tringham.
"Little busy here," said Dean Winchester, loading his shotgun with rock salt.
"But only one of us could run, and I'm afraid I couldn't bear to be parted with my darling brother."
"Hikaru..." Kaoru sighed, melting.
"Oh," Natalia said, covering her mouth in surprise. "I'd never actually thought of that. Luke, is our engagement creepy?"
Luke looked at Natalia, then looked over at Asch, then looked back at Natalia, then looked back at Asch, then looked back at Natalia. "It could be worse." Then he looked back at Asch and sighed wistfully.
Setsuna just sat there, shaking his head, failing to act, and getting way cooler characters killed off. "Sara..." he whispered.
"What?" laughed George Michael nervously. "That's, that's absurd, I would never...Is it, is it hot in here? I'm, uh..." He took a deep drink of water. "Good water."
"I fear I cannot run, friend from the future
As only those mistaken think this incest
And kingship, furthermore, is burdensome.
It's not like I would kill for it, you know?" said Claudius.
"Dogs can pretend to be God, but it's just putting things backwards," River said, then smiled most unsettlingly.
Hawkeye informed him later on that his meeting with Lelouch Lamperouge had not gone too well, though he couldn't really remember what had happened. However, he had absolutely no desire to bother the charming young man again. Also his wallet was gone.
"What?" Edward asked, then scoffed. "You're asking me for a favor?"
"No," Mustang said quickly. "It's not a favor. I am offering you the advantage of jumping onto the Mustang Train. Destination: The Future."
Edward stared at Mustang a moment, then shook his head. "That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. You are one hundred percent going to lose."
"What, not like it's my campaign slogan or anything, but if you'll excuse me a moment." Quickly, he pulled out a flashlight and flashed a hasty, desperate message at the nearby poster factory, then turned back to Fullmetal with a charming smile. "Come on, it's not like it takes two eyes to see what's best for the country." His smile faded slightly as Edward looked on, stony-faced. "Excuse me." He pulled out his flashlight again, then turned back to Ed. "Roy Mustang: Not in Favor of Genocide." He spread his hands when Fullmetal crossed his arms. "Fine, what would you suggest?"
"How about 'Roy Mustang: Utterly Devoid of Redeeming Qualities.'"
"Brother, that's not fair," said Al. "He has a couple."
"Well, thanks, Alphonse," Mustang said. "Why, that praise is so faint that even Fullmetal can't argue against - "
"No he doesn't," Ed said.
"I stand corrected."
"Sure he does!" Alphonse said. "He's, um...Lieutenant Hawkeye is really nice, and so was Mr. Hughes, and we'd never have met them if it weren't for him. Oh, and Mr. Havoc, too! All of them, really."
"Uh-huh," Edward said.
"And, um...He, um...He's got...really nice hair, and...And he felt really bad after he ruthlessly murdered our best friend's parents in cold blood after listening to them beg for him to spare them, not for their own sakes, but for their poor daughter who was left almost alone in the world as a direct result of his conscienceless brutality. And nice teeth, too."
Mustang grinned, showing off those teeth of his. "Oh, you're too kind...you." He was so pleased, he even decided to learn the tall metal one's name.
"That's not enough." Fullmetal crossed his arms.
Finally, it was time to pull out the big guns. "I'll pay you a hundred cens."
Edward turned his head to the side and contemptuously spat. The loogie landed on his shoulder. "No."
"Go to hell."
"Okay." Ed turned to his brother. "This is gonna suck."
"It'll be fine, Brother! He can act as a vain puppet-king as you manipulate him into doing your well-intentioned but ruthless bidding."
"Oh, Alphonse," Edward said fondly, leaning a little too close to his younger brother. "My better half."
Mustang's grin only widened. Why, these two were the Vice-est a Fuhrer could hope for!
The Mustang train picked up steam as it left the station, and was soon barreling along the tracks of demagoguery towards the cliff of victory as Fullmetal ably fought off the hijackers who fit uneasily at best into this strange metaphor. Mustang, a charming and handsome war hero, appealed to women and veterans, while Edward was well-liked by the young and the creepy. And whenever they ran into difficulty, Al's army of attack kittens would be on the scene silencing them, because there's nothing like a political campaign to get one to compromise one's ideals for practicality!
Soon it was time for the first debate.
"Don't worry, Fullmetal," Mustang said to the rather nervous-looking Edward. "I'll be great."
"I fucking hate you," Ed replied. Mustang shot him the immortal ironic finger guns, then walked onstage, waving.
Hughes, who, following his success on the popular program Iron Chef had gotten his own talking headless show, featuring anyone who'd encountered Scar, was the moderator of the debate.
"In the Red Corner, representing the Narcissus Party - " really, the name had just spoken to Roy - "is Roy Mustang; Colonel, possibly, depending on the timeline; twenty-nine years old, maybe, depending on the timeline; and possessed of more angst than can be encompassed in a dozen fanfics. He's a decorated war veteran, strategically single, and has great teeth."
Roy shot his friend the immortal quasi-ironic finger guns. "Thanks, old man."
"Accompanying him is Edward Elric, who - " Hughes looked down at his cards. "Is being paid 2000 cens to be here." Hughes covered his mike, which did absolutely nothing, given that his hand had as much substance as "The Conqueror of Shamballa" (oh snap!). "Edward, you do realize that that's not very much money, right?"
"Yes?" said Edward. "Why, how much is it?"
"Let me put it this way: if one were to convert cuteness into money, that would be not even a millionth of an Elysia." He beamed. "Of course, that's not saying much, as a millionth of infinity is still infinity."
"Get on with it," growled Mustang.
"Yes! Get on with it!" agreed Edward.
"Get on with it!" chorused the entire audience.
"Oh, thank you, thank you," said Hughes. "And in the Blue Corner...Maybe you should have been in the Blue Corner, given your uniform, Roy. Though it seems like all the Colonels have blue uniforms nowadays. You, Jade...I can't think of a third - "
"Get on with it!" bellowed God, then got back to thinking about how awesome it would be if there were some sort of crossover featuring Jade and Mustang, especially if they made out. Oh, I'm sorry, that wasn't God, that was me.
"In the Blue Corner," Hughes finally continued, "is their opponent, Zolf J. Kimbley. He's a lunatic and a sociopath, who, in spite of his charming exterior, will kill you as soon as look at - " An aide came up and whispered in Hughes' ear. "I'm sorry, there's been a mistake - he'll kill you sooner than look at you. Also, despite earlier rumors, he is not dead. Those who started those rumors recently went back and wondered what the hell they were driving at there. Was it a Sixth Sense parody? An obscure and forgotten literary reference? A desperate attempt to end an unfunny segment? What cannot be questioned is that it was, like everything else, self-indulgence tempered by a few jokes in dire need of editing and frequently spell-check, as is this very speech. And his running mate Archer."
"Fullmetal, this is the best news I've heard since According to Jim got cancelled!" Mustang squealed sotto voce. "We're running against Kimbley!"
"You didn't know? It's been on the news," Ed said, then tilted his head to the side, considered carefully, and added, "dumbass."
"I don't trust the news. Full of facts."
"And I don't see why it's so great. Amestris loves a sadist."
"Yes," Mustang agreed, "but it hates a geek. I mean, okay. One, his name is Zolf. Two, look at us. You're little, sure - " He raised his voice over Shorty Shorty Shorty's bellow. "But you're pretty good-looking, and me - I was voted Homecoming King for every year I was in high school and three when I wasn't. Zolf there? Was voted Most Likely To Be Wedgied by Homecoming King. I made sure the peoples' voice was heard." Thankfully, the light board operator knew to turn down the stage lights, which would blind the audience if they were left up while Mustang smiled. "The voting public, Fullmetal, is that accepted-but-not-cool kid who will express disapproval of these petty popularity games but as soon as an alpha-male comes by will roll over, belly at the ready. I am the captain of the basketball team. Our esteemed opponent has a bumper sticker (on his binder) that says 'My Other Car is the Millenium Falcon.' Comprendes, mi amigo?"
Edward stared at his commanding officer. "The only way you could be more loathsome right now is if you were actually made of milk."
"That's the spirit." Mustang kissed his hands and waved to the people as he walked to the podium. "Hello. Hi. Yes. Hi. I'd have sex with you. Hi. Yes. Good. Hello. I'd go to, mm, second base with you. Hi. Hey."
Kimbley, meanwhile, slouched out, then reached down and killed a small child.
The candidates having been introduced, Hughes called on the first plant - err, "perfectly legitimate citizen in the audience."
"Colonel Mustang," the woman called out, "if you were a car, what kind of car would you be?"
Mustang rested his fist against his chin briefly in mock-thought, then said, "Why - the Mustang!"
Everyone giggled appreciatively.
The next question went to Kimbley. "Square root of eighty."
Kimbley thought, then said, "Eight point nine - "
"Bzzzt!" Hughes bellowed. "Time's up. Guess you're not as clever as you claim to be!"
"Mr. Mustang," called out the next person, "do you have some sort of skin-care regimen?"
"Goodness, no. I guess I was just born this lucky."
"How bad willyou be for this country, Mr. Kimbley?"
Kimbley didn't respond. Instead, he grabbed the bird that had settled lovingly on Mustang's shoulder, turned it into a bomb, and used it to blow up a basket of puppies.
"I love you!" was Mustang's next, giggled question.
"Are you a citizen of Amestris? Then I love you too!"
No one asked a question of Kimbley, fascinated instead by the sight of him picking his nose in full view of the public. And the cameras.
Yes, the Mustang train was a runaway indeed.
"Well, that about wraps it up - " Hughes said, but was stopped by a voice from the audience.
"Colonel Mustang, do you have any comment on this?"
Mustang squinted. "Hawkeye, is that you?"
"No," Hawkeye said quickly. "Lieutenant Hawkeye doesn't wear glasses and I do. See? Glasses! Colonel, I'm looking for your comment on this."
The lights dimmed and the overhead projector came to life. Splayed across the back of the stage was an incredibly detailed and well-drawn depiction of a taller-than-usual Roy brutally kissing a girlier-than-usual Ed.
"Oh my God," Roy said. "Hawkeye, is that a yaoi doujinshi?"
"It's for a friend!" she hissed, then quickly regained her composure and clicked to the next page, then the next. This being a yaoi doujinshi, it took the predicted course of events - minimal plot, blurriness, unfortunate sound effects. It was really quite shocking. For minutes after the last page (which had some imagery involving Roy and angel wings, particularly bizarre in light of the fact that what Roy has been doing would be in most countries classified as rape) was taken off, there was complete silence in the auditorium.
Finally, Roy cleared his throat. "Hawkeye, you are aware that wasn't real, right? It was a doujin. That's not canon."
"I know," she groused. "I just want your comment."
"My comment?" he said, then grinned charismatically at the audience. "That was terribly unrealistic. I mean, look at me! Fullmetal, you'd bebegging for it."
Kimbley's response was to belch and scratch his crotch.
At first blush, the debate seemed to have been a resounding success. Yet soon the dynamic duo was met with resistance at many public appearances.
"We don't need no alchemy, baby!" someone in the audience bellowed at Edward and Alphonse's appearance in Lior.
"Alchemy baby? What the fuck's an alchemy baby?" Edward asked.
"I think he's talking about Wrath, Brother," Alphonse said.
"Ohh." Edward cupped his hands around his mouth and bellowed, "It's okay! We hate Wrath too!"
Yet rather than cheer appreciatively at how fucking annoying Wrath was, the audience sort of grumbled and shifted and looked at one another. "Rabble rabble," they murmured, "rabble rabble."
Ed wasn't the only one facing hardships. Roy had actually gone so far as to feel a potential donor up under the table when they were seated next to each other at a muckety-muck event, and yet she'd had the gall to say that she was still undecided on whether or not she'd help! And when Roy felt up her husband, the bastard said the exact same thing!
"Gettin' a bad feeling, boss," Havoc said upon returning from his meeting with the tobacco lobby.
"I agree," said Fury, who'd been meeting with the short and boyish lobby.
"Same here," said Falman, who'd just come back from his meeting with the guys-who-are-kind-of-there-and-who-you-kind-of-like-but-you-always-sort-of-wonder-what-exactly-they're-there-for-anyway lobby.
"Mm," agreed Breda, who'd just been at a meeting with the chess lobby. They'd been chased out because the manager of the hotel hated chess nuts boasting in an open foyer.
Roy, though, smiled. He smiled less confidently than he would have if he hadn't just witnessed a thirtysomething reapplying lipstick while he squeezed her knee, but he smiled nevertheless. "We're fine," he said. "What, are we gonna lose to Zolf?"
And once the latest poll of likely voters came out, he was confident again.
"Leading by twenty points," Mustang sang at increasing volumes until finally Ed threw a rock at him to shut him up. Mustang tried to catch it. That resulted in several minutes of hilarity.
But then the narrative telescoped to the day of the election itself, and Mustang wasn't singing anymore.
"I can't believe this," Mustang said, collapsing into his chair. His voice was strained, his face pale, his left eye missing. "I...lost? How is this possible?"
"You lost?" Edward asked, surprised despite himself. "How do you know?"
"Exit polling, Fullmetal," Mustang said. "Duh. It appears as though I only got forty percent of the vote. It seems as though my scoffing at the yaoi doujinshi situation brought some of the religious types out of the woodwork."
"Do we even havereligious types in this country?"
"Okay, one, aren't they separatists who wouldn't vote anyway, and two, they voted for Kimbley, who was the guy who blew up their entire civilization?"
"They really took the doujinshi situation seriously." Mustang fixed himself a whiskey and then tipped in some grain alcohol. "I can't believe this. Hawkeye! Hawkeye!"
"She's not here."
"Hawkeye, bring me my sharpie! I need to make myself depression stubble." But Hawkeye didn't come, so Roy turned towards Fury. "Fury, bring me some scissors. I'm using your hair for a depression beard."
"Don't use my hair for a depression beard."
"I'm using your hair for a depression beard!" Roy bellowed, then buried his face in his hands. "Whyyyyy, whyyyyyy, whyyyyy, whyyyyyyy, whyyyyy - "
But Breda looked up curiously at the television. "Someone turn up the volume on the anachronistic doohickey."
"...surprising upset," Genera K. Nusladi, the premiere reporter in the country, said, "despite the Letoans - who, in early exit polling, were believed to have decided this election - voting as a single bloc on issues, they were unable to agree on the issue of spelling."
"Hey," Edward said. Mustang looked up, too blasted to really comprehend what was going on.
"Roy Mustang, early the frontrunner in the race, had suffered due to accusations about his military service and possible promiscuity. Gay, gay promiscuity. Also straight promiscuity. Just general oversexedness. It seemed, early on, as though these issues had cost him the race, causing him to pull a measly forty percent of the vote."
"She means a sexy forty percent, Colonel," Fury said.
"Keep your damn hair."
"I kept your mom'shair," Havoc said, then pulled out the lock in question, sniffed it, and wept.
"However, this minority turned out to be a plurality when the sixty percent won by his opponent actually turned out to be split evenly among the candidates 'Kimbley,' 'Kimblee,' 'Kimberly,' 'Kimburi,' 'Kimbly,' and 'Broche.' We turn now to our senior political correspondent, Blendin V. Nondescript, to tell us what this means."
Blendin blinked his boring eyes and said, "Well, Genera, it appears that Colonel Mustang will be the winner of this election - "
"Whooooo!" Roy tossed out his drink and poured himself a champagne, then tipped in some wood alcohol. "In your face, will of the people! I steal elections like I steal hearts! Damn!"
The whole assembly celebrated. Several people got married. Fury put on a wig and made out with Havoc. Edward and Alphonse made ambiguous comments about one another. Such uninhibited joy could not be long-lived. As the fiercest fire, it must burn itself out.
" - unless, of course, someone were to file a petition for a run-off," Blendin said, "which it appears someone has."
"Goddammit," Roy said. He tossed out his champagne and fixed himself a gin, then tipped in some rubbing alcohol.
Roy lost that run-off by a significant margin. This was, however, for the best: Kimbley, having won, was summarily executed.