Disclaimer: FMAnot mine.
Warnings: Spoilers possible especially in the last section. Much cute!Ed and nonsense alchemy.
Roy Mustang sat listening to his old friend Maes Hughes as the intelligence officer's daughter, Alicia, ran happily around the office chasing black Hayate. He silently prayed Gracia would get better soon. This was driving him crazy. The father alone was bad enough. While undeniably cute, Alicia had just gotten into the stage where she enjoyed making trouble. The phone rang interrupting Hughes' latest picture show. "Yes?"
"Alphonse Elric is heading towards your office."
Now that was odd. The Flame Alchemist frowned as he put down the phone. Edward Elric rarely let his younger brother out of his sight, except for excursions to the First Branch where Alphonse couldn't go and even then the bound soul often stayed right outside. The brothers should have been on a mission meaning they had gotten into trouble again. Sure enough he could hear the clang of metal footsteps in the hallway now. Something must really be troubling the younger Elric as he was running full speed.
"Taisa!" Alphonse dashed into his office neatly avoiding Alicia and Hayate. "We've got a big problem!"
"Oh?" The colonel put on his best 'smug bastard' face. "And where is Fullmetal?"
"That's the problem. Niisan is-"
Just then the chest cavity of the armor popped open. "Are we there Al?"
Mustang felt his jaw fall in shock. Fullmetal would have fully appreciated it if he'd been able to. "Alphonse, is that?" Hughes asked trailing off.
"Al, do we know these people?" Golden eyes stared up at the armor. Way up.
"Yes Niisan. This is Mustang-tasia and Hughes-chusa. You work for Mustang-tasia and Hughes-chusa is a good friend."
"Alphonse, what happened?" Hughes asked staring at the small child dressed in what looked like Edward's black shirt in front of them.
"We went after Mikles. He wasn't using a philosopher's stone but he was attempted to combat death by reversing the aging process. He managed to hit Niisan." The armor looked worried. "He doesn't remember anything from after his seventh birthday."
"Al told me that it was a transmutation went wrong and I'm supposed to be taller," Ed put in helpfully. "I saw some of the arrays. They were really complicated though and I didn't get a chance to copy them."
The two adults stared at the tiny child in front of them. Okay so they knew intellectually that Fullmetal had studied alchemy for a long time. It was another thing to actually see it. "Alphonse, Hughes, come into my office. We have to figure this out. Fury, keep an eye on Alicia and Edward." He did not need this.
While the adults discussed what had happened in detail and hypothesized how to reverse it, Alicia bounced over to Edward and introduced herself. "Hi! I'm Alicia Hughes."
The girl's eyes went round. "But you were taller before!"
"I'll get big, just you wait! My brother told me so."
"My daddy is in there," Alicia pointed at the door to Mustang's office. "With my Uncle Roy! He's the best! I'm going to be an alchemist just like him when I grow up! I have to stay with daddy today because mommy is sick."
"I'm an alchemist too!" Ed announced proudly.
"Really? That's so cool! Where's your daddy and mommy?"
"Mom's home," Ed replied not knowing that his mother had already died. "Dad left a long time ago." He scowled.
"Oh," Alicia replied. She looked thoughtful. "I know! We should get you a new daddy! Everyone needs a daddy!"
Ed rolled his eyes. "You can't buy dads."
"I think Uncle Roy should be your daddy! He's an alchemist, just like you and then we'll be cousins! And Auntie Hawkeye can be your mommy!" Normal six year old logic clearly didn't translate these terms quite as well as they should. Fury, over hearing the conversation, burst out laughing.
"I have my brother. I don't need a father. And I have a mother!" Ed argued.
Just then the door to the office opened. "Daddy! I told Ed that he needed a daddy but he said he didn't have one so I said we should get him a new one and that Uncle Roy could be his new daddy because he's an alchemist too and then we could be cousins and play together all the time but he's not listening to me!"
Hughes burst out laughing. Roy Mustang, king of the typing pool, a father? This was too amusing. "Well, we do need to keep Edward some place…"
"Don't even think about it Hughes," Roy threatened. He slowly became aware of a set of eyes on him. He glanced down to see Edward intently studying his hands with this head tilted. No, not his hands, the arrays on the back of his gloves.
"Hughes-chusa, I don't believe Mustang-tasia would have the proper environment for a young child," Hawkeye put in glancing at Edward who still hadn't stopped studying the gloves.
"He can't be worse than my last one," Edward absentmindedly replied. "Those are for fire, aren't they?"
"Yes," Roy answered bluntly. "Hughes, take the Elrics with you. I can't have children running around."
"No can do. With Gracia sick I have my hands full with Alicia. And Alphonse-kun will need to study book from the East Branch to find some way to reverse this. As he can't go in, you'll have to do it for him." The intelligence officer grinned. "Just think, this will give you a taste of married life!"
"It's probably not a good idea to let them just run around either," Hughes continued. "They have to stay some where out of sight. Or else." He gestured. Roy mentally grimaced. Edward was the product of human transmutation. Both he and Alphonse shared the same danger. If discovered they would end up in a lab somewhere. "And the last place the Fullmetal Alchemist would go would be to your house. Everyone knows how well you get along."
Roy's fingers twitched. 'I'll get you for this Hughes.' The other merely grinned.
So two hours later Hughes and Alica paid their good friend Roy Mustang a visit. With them came a rather large box. Once inside and safe from prying eyes Ed and Al got out. After a short time later Hughes took his hyper active daughter home and Roy turned to Al. "The library is upstairs on the right. There's paper there. Make a list of anything you think you'll need from the Branch and I'll get it tomorrow. Can you cook?"
The younger Elric shook his head. "No. Niisan usually did that. I have a hard time telling exactly when something comes out the way it should."
The colonel mentally hit himself in the head. Of course the bound soul would have difficulties with that. "Then I will handle the cooking." He suddenly because aware of the dead silence. Which, in his experiences with Alicia usually meant trouble. "Where's Edward?"
A quick search of the house quickly found the blond boy. "Niisan," Al exasperated voice sighed as they found him on the floor of the library an alchemy book in his hands. Ed didn't even look up just continued to examine the page in front of him.
Roy caught a glance on the title. It was an upper level book, one that would have given the twelve year old quite a bit of difficulty when he first came to Central. Mostly because it dealt specifically with air alchemy. Roy thought quickly then pulled several lower level books from the shelves. These should be within the boy's current capabilities but not insult him either. He plucked the heavy tomb from small tanned hands. "Start with these. They'll make more sense."
The scowl forming on the small face quickly faded as he realized Roy wasn't stopping him from learning but instead placing him on a more appropriate level. "Thanks."
"You're welcome," Roy replied surprised by the words. But then again this wasn't the alchemist he continually fought with. This was a child who had yet to face the horrors of the world around them. Even more innocent than the child who had been impressed by his display at the train station, this Edward had no reason to hate him. The Flame Alchemist hesitated for a moment. Should he try to reverse that?
No. Despite what the brothers might think, he did NOT like Edward looking at him with hate. It was necessary most times to maintain professional distance between them. Edward was very young in some ways, especially emotionally. He might lean on anyone who would take them in. If the Fuhrer discovered his intent the two would be left alone. The Fullmetal Alchemist was a prize for the military. They wouldn't let him leave but Roy wouldn't let the teen suffer the agony of a lost loved one so he stayed distant. However there was no reason that Edward should remember this. And since Hughes was insisting on keeping them at his house it would not do to sour the relationship. "Don't try anything without supervision," he cautioned.
Edward nodded happily eying the pile. "I promise!"
Roy smiled slightly at his enthusiasm and headed down to start dinner.
Three days later the trio of alchemists had once again gathered in the library. Roy was finishing going over the last of his contacts' reports while Alphonse continued to search for a cure to the 'chibi' situation. Ed lay sprawled out on the floor examining yet another book of Alchemy in his hands. Roy slowly became aware of a sense of frustration gathering about Edward. He placed the last of his papers down. "Problems?"
"I can't get this," Ed gestured at the book looking as if the world had ended.
Roy mentally shook his head. The boy was determined to learn everything. He tapped the seat next to him. "Come here and I'll explain it." Edward scrambled up on the seat immediately. Soon they were deeply involved in a discussion on the exact nature of Air Alchemy. Nearly an hour later, when Edward began yawning far too often, Roy ended the discussion and sent Edward off to bed. He became aware of a set of eyes on him. "Were we disturbing you?"
Alphonse shook his head. "No. Just bringing back memories. Niisan used to do that with me."
"Ah," Roy replied feeling odd. It had felt good to simply be an Alchemist again and not a soldier striving for the top to change the military. Why had he responded like that?
"Niisan has an ability to draw people to him," Al said matter of factly. "Especially if they aren't actively resisting it."
He really should be careful around the younger Elric. "How is your research going?"
The armor gave him a significant look telling him that the change of subject wasn't going unnoticed. "Slowly. I'm still not sure of exactly what happened much less how to erase it. I really need to see Mikles' notes."
"I'm afraid that's not possible. My contacts found him dead. His house was burned as well."
"This is starting to look like a conspiracy."
Roy looked slightly troubled by Al's words. They were all too true.
Things quickly developed into a routine at the Mustang household. Al would see Ed and Roy off in the morning. Roy would drop by Hughes house and leave Edward in the now recovered Gracia's care. Al usually would drop by in the afternoons to pick his younger brother up. More often than not he ended up supervising Ed's Alchemy experiments preformed for an excited Alicia.
After all three had returned to Mustang's house, they would eat dinner then convene in the library. By silent agreement Ed would leave Roy alone until he had finished his work. Then the child would plop into the seat next to the Flame Alchemist book in his hands. He never asked but Roy saw the question in his eyes. He would take the book into his larger hands and begin to explain what Ed hadn't figured out earlier in the evening.
Things had become so comfortable it was almost a shock when, almost two months after Alphonse had run into headquarters, the younger Elric announced he could reverse the transmutation. The Colonel went over every step carefully with Al, triple checking everything for errors. They wouldn't take any unnecessary chances. Ed had taken their dedication reasonably well. He vanished into his rooms at night instead of taking his place next to Mustang.
After three long days of preparation, they were ready. Ed stood trusting inside of the complicated array. Al tried to forget what had happened last time they had drawn an array this complicated. Besides, from what Al had been able to figure out, what Mikles had done was deconstruct Ed and put a halt on the reconstruction phase. Removing this block would allow Edward to return to normal. To that end, just outside of the circle lay Edward's trademark clothes, silver watch and automail limbs.
"Are you going to wait all day?" Ed asked sounding exasperated. Al shook his head and placed his metal hands on the array. The lines glowed briefly then faded. Edward bit down a scream as his body suddenly began growing faster than any normal human should. Finally it was over. Al rushed to his brother who lay collapsed on the ground. "What happened?"
"It's a long story," Al told his brother picking him up and removing him from the array. "We should put the automail back in first."
"Yeah," Ed agreed. Two muffled screams later he promptly fell asleep again. Al simply smiled in his invisible way, dressed his brother and laid him on the couch.
When Edward awoke, it was to darkness and an unfamiliar room. To someone else this might have been frightening. To the Fullmetal Alchemist, resident trouble magnet, this was near normal. Far more pressing was a plate full of food at his elbow. It was cold but a quick clap took care of that.
Standing the blond stretched slowly feeling the familiar ache that followed after replacing his arm and leg. At least they hadn't been damaged this time. Winry would have killed him.
It didn't take him long to find Al. The armor was asleep, propped up next to the couch. Ed mentally sighed and covered his brother's form with a blanket. It looked like he'd have to wait for his answers till tomorrow.
Allowing his feet to lead him, Ed found himself standing outside a library. To his surprise sitting on a couch with a pile of papers was none other than Colonel Mustang. Ed remained silent until the man placed away the last of his papers. Then he moved quietly across the room, snagging a book of the table as he did so. Mustang looked shocked at he sat next to him, book in his hands. Golden eyes glared at the handsome face. A faint smile stretched across the raven haired man's face as he also picked up a book.
If anyone had come into the room they'd have fallen over at the sight of the two Alchemists reading side by side contently.
CHANGE OF SCENE
"So the situation has been taken care of itself?"
Envy nodded. "I don't see why we had to go through all that work anyway."
"That boy is the closest to the Philosophers Stone," Lust reminded her fellow homunculus.
"Maybe but we could have just left the information out for them. Two months down the drain," Envy grumbled.
"They would never trust anything so simple," Lust argued. "Besides, it was that person's orders."
"I know," Envy snapped. He smirked. "At least we'll get to go another round soon. They'll be heading to Loire next."
"That was stupid."
"Thank you so much Fullmetal." Linn turns to the blond alchemist.
"You can't just change somebody's size with alchemy. The mass has to go somewhere."
"You did get your arms back."
"Still isn't equivalent. You have a thing for turning people in to little kids don't you."
Linn shrugs. "It was fun to write. Especially since I didn't have my FFVII stuff with me. Now, if you would just stay out of my head I could finish that. Not that you're a BIG problem…"
"Who are you calling so short that he can be mistaken for a child! Who's so short…"
Linn snaps her fingers. "I know! Energy equals mass times change squared."
"You mass converted into the abundance of energy little kids have."
"Who are you calling a hyper-little twit?!"
Linn sighed. It was SO much easier dealing with Cloud…