OMFG, I FINALLY got it done. Sorry about the incredibly long wait. Thanks muchly for your patience. Note: read for innuendo. I didn't write it in intentionally (mostly), but upon re-reading it's soooo there. Also, apparent the narrative is choppy and whatnot. May fix eventually. Long hiatus does bad thing to my writing skills. Anyway, hope the exuberance is insubstantial and whatnot. Can you tell I'm back in Seattle?
Edit: edited, correct breaks this time around.
"Mornin', Breda. Where's everybody else?" Falman had sauntered into the office over an hour late, but despite the slow day Breda appeared to be the only company attending.
Breda made a "shut up" gesture and pointed at the Colonel's office door, which was closed. Strange, unearthly noises issued from the other side.
Falman put his ear to it curiously, and appeared to stop breathing. Eventually, he said, "I didn't know that Lieutenant Hawkeye was capable of crying."
"Me neither," Breda agreed.
"Who's in there with her?"
"Where're Havoc and the Colonel?"
"Think they were out on some kind of patrol today."
And usually I'm the only one who knows what's going on, Falman thought a little bitterly.
"What's going on in there?" Breda asked him. The Lieutenant was still sitting at his workstation.
"Well, between your yammering cowardice and the thick wood, it's hard to tell," Falman shot back. "But I think maybe it has something to do with her boytoy."
"Well of course it does! I knew that sleazebag would do something to her," Breda hissed triumphantly. "Oh, I'm so going to kick his ass—"
"If that isn't what Havoc's already doing," Falman replied, rolling his eyes. "If he knows, he most certainly would. And you know he's more likely to get what's going on. Those three have known each other for a lot longer than we have."
Breda shot Falman a look that said he was unconvinced, but the man had a transparency that bordered on not being there at all.
"Besides, he could outrun you," Falman added.
Falman knew, though, that if you insulted Breda for long enough he shut up. He put his ear back to the door and listened.
"Kain, I just don't know what I'm going to do. At first it felt like we could get away with it, you know? But it feels like life has finally caught up to us. After all that happened last weekend—"
"Riza, are you sure you aren't overreacting? All couples have fights."
"We're not even supposed to be a couple! We could both lose our jobs, you know that. And I know you won't tell anyone, but…I don't know, I've have trouble trusting anyone lately."
"Good lord, why? We're your friends, you shouldn't ever need to hide anything from us!"
There was a long, awkward pause.
"You work with those idiots. Look what they did to our building. I can't trust them with my personal problems. I shouldn't even have personal problems!"
"Everyone has personal problems. How boring would that be if we didn't?"
"Kain, you know this is different. Breda stalks me like some kind of badly-disguised tomcat, Falman can't go five minutes without playing some kind of prank and Havoc's…well, Havoc just hasn't been right lately."
"His girlfriend is four people squeezed into one. You have to admit that takes a lot out of a person."
"People change when they get involved in relationships. I mean…I don't want that. What good is change if they're not the person you like anymore?"
"Well, from my experience with girlfriends…"
"You have experience?" Falman muttered.
"What?" Breda asked.
"…not necessarily something that you live with, but it does require a lot of effort."
"No, really, what?"
"Shut up!" Falman told him.
"If it was some comment about me and you're not letting me hear it I'm going to pound your head in."
Falman pulled his ear away from the door and fixed Breda with a Poisonous Stare that he'd learned from Hawkeye some time ago. "They're talking about Havoc and his psycho girlfriend…but if you really want to know the Lieutenant also accused you of being a perverted stalker."
"You made that up," Breda said, but a few more seconds of the Stare had him wilting. "She did? Really?"
"Yup. And thanks to your whining I missed the rest of what they were talking about."
"If there's more I don't want to know."
"Oh good, we've progressed to denial; the first stage of grieving," Falman said. "Just don't tell me to deny that I heard Fury saying he's been involved with girls. Now if you'll shut that pie hole maybe there's more here."
Breda lapsed into sullen silence.
"Like I said, I guess I don't really trust them. They've all got big mouths and don't seem to pay much attention to what they say. And I need my privacy over something like this.
"I can see why you wouldn't want anybody to take it out of context. You smack the Colonel around on a schedule, practically. I don't think you would have assumed he'd always let you do it."
"…Thank you. That's comforting, Kain."
"Well, you have to admit you've been rough on him. The poor old boy really likes you. You can't just treat him like a toy, even if that's your reputation."
"He's not allowed to treat me like one either!"
Falman gave up on listening in and shook his head. "Jesus, this is boring. You'd think even the Colonel and the Lieutenant would have interesting dirt, but they're as normal as everyone. Hell, Havoc's love life beats theirs."
"Nothing?" Breda asked, sounding concerned. "That's not like the Colonel at all."
"Yeah, I know."
"Now I'm really curious."
"Yeah, I know."
Somewhere across town…
Anyone who was at all socially conscious learned to be suspicious of stores with signs that say "Apothecary." Roy Mustang, temporary civilian had been given the opportunity to do some plainclothes investigating on the matter.
There was no jolly little jangling bell that sounded as he opened the door. Nevertheless, the old ethnic woman at the counter eyed him suspiciously. Roy tried his best not to walk like a soldier (walking in with a "partner" would have been even more suspicious, hence his solitude).
"Can I help you?" the woman asked as he began to browse disinterestedly through the shelves. She had a heavy accent—she was from Xing.
When you want a job right, he thought amusedly, send the right person to do it. He was certainly qualified; he'd grown up speaking the language. He replied, "It's all right, I'm not looking for anything in particular."
That made her start a bit. She raised an eyebrow and answered, this time in Xing's language. "Have we been acquainted?"
"I wouldn't imagine so. I don't live here."
"Oh, so you're on vacation?"
"Just taking a little leisure time, yes. I haven't seen much in the way of stress relievers over here. I don't suppose you have anything too strong?"
The faintest of smiles crossed her wrinkled face. "I have more in the back."
Roy Mustang undercover success rate, 100, he thought, reaching for his wallet.
Some time later...
Fury slipped quietly out of the Colonel's office and shut the door behind him. Falman and Breda glanced hurriedly up from their work, both looking concerned and a little angry. "Is she going to be okay?" Falman asked, breaking character just a little for the sake of his colleague.
"I told her she should take the afternoon off from work and get away for a while, away from everybody," Fury answered. "I don't know if there's really all that much more we can say or do—"
"I could pound that sonofabitch into the floor," Breda growled.
"But you won't, because that would be assaulting a superior officer and you know what terrible things that would do to your already stellar record," Fury shot back, sounding irritated.
"You seem a bit distraught yourself, Kain. Do you need some comfort time?" Falman, unable to resist the urge, popped back into shape and went over to fake-hug his slight superior.
Fury shoved him off, making a face. "I don't always appreciate playing counselor you know. I only do it because without someone in that role you'd all have killed each other by now. And Lieutenant Hawkeye isn't an exception to that statement, I might add."
Breda shivered. "I'm going to try not to take what you just said too seriously, because it scares the crap out of me."
"If you had to die, wouldn't you prefer it though?" Falman said, raising an eyebrow. "As opposed to, say, mauling by dogs."
"Only if those are my only options. I mean, what would you rather have?"
Falman shrugged. "I hear our lovely Lieutenant has quite an imaginitive violent streak…"
"Where did you hear that?" Breda demanded, and immediately directed his gaze to Fury.
Fury held up his hands. "I don't want to know. I really don't."
"Speaking of her, where is she? Is she going home or not?" Breda peered (discreetly) through the office door. "Wha? Where'd she go?"
Fury followed his gaze. "Uh, out the window? It's open…"
"What kind of sane person goes out the window?"
"I don't think she's feeling quite herself."
Roy, having shed for the afternoon all formality of rank and whatnot, took a deep breath through his third hand-rolled joint and handed it off to his partner-in-crime. "Seriously," he asked, "you've never done this before?"
His companion nodded, a somewhat truncated gesture considering they were both lying flat on Roy's apartment floor. "Not once. I mean, never had the resources. You and your savvy ethnic connections…"
"Yeah, true. But I mean, all these years and we've never even talked about it before. It's like we're being connected in a whole new way. And you know, I kinda like it."
"I'm kinda disappointed. Aren't I supposed to, you know, see stuff?"
"Nah. You don't want to get into that heavy stuff…it'll mess you up bad. This is just supposta, you know, tweak your perception. Open up your mind."
"My body feels heavy."
"Yeah, it kinda does that too."
"Don't really wanna go back to work."
"Well, I felt that way even before I got up this morning."
The newbie laughed. "Yeah, true. What time is it? They're going to be getting pissed if we don't show up soon."
"It's only been half an hour since we got here."
"Wow. Man, it seems longer than that. I mean, my brain must be working serious overtime up there."
"Any profound insights?"
"Well, I was thinking, you know, how can you feel so small and so big at the same time…?"
"So when were the Colonel and Havoc supposed to be back from their little patrol or whatever?" Breda asked.
"Dunno. Guess we'll figure it out when they get here," Falman answered. He was stretched across both his and Fury's desks, lying in a nest of papers. "Personally, I'm not really eager."
"Why would it matter? You know Fury's going to snitch on your for slacking off anyway."
"You know, Breda, sitting straight-backed at your desk having the appearance of dutifulness doesn't necessarily mean you're off the hook either. I see those crossword puzzles." Fury, having heard his name, stuck his head out of the Colonel's office temporarily.
"Shut up, shrimp, or I'll make you emotionally council me too."
"I think I've got the munchies. You have any food around here?"
"You mean on the floor?" Roy giggled. "Not last time I looked, unless you want to try to eat a dust bunny."
"Your wit astounds me," the other said dryly.
Roy, with an exaggerated groan, managed himself off his rug and went in search of snacks. "I have some raw potatoes, wheat crackers, two apples and half a loaf of bread. That would make a pretty impressively odd sandwich."
"I think all pass. What else is there to do?"
Damn, Roy thought, how many hints do I have to give? "Well…there's all sorts of stuff to do when your senses are all like….like, wow. Open. You know? I mean, stop being a Lieutenant for a minute."
"Yeah…it is pretty boring sometimes. So rigid, you know. So many rules. Uh, what were we talking about again that we got to this?"
Roy rolled his eyes. And felt quite dizzy.
Later that day…
"Hey, Falman, wake up man. I think I hear the Colonel's voice."
Falman jerked abruptly out of his doze and sat up on his desk. Just then, the door opened.
Fury glanced up and nonchalantly back down at his paperwork.
Breda stared. "Lieutenant Hawkeye? Didn't you go home?"
Hawkeye raised an eyebrow. Something about her eyes was strange. "I was out on an investigation all this morning with the Colonel. Didn't Fury tell you?"
"He said the Colonel was with Lieutenant Havoc."
"Well, that was the schedule originally, but Havoc came in and said he was taking a vacation day today."
"Wait, so…you've been out all morning?"
"Yes. You didn't notice?"
"And you and the Colonel are getting along fine then?" Breda pried.
"Of course. Not that it's any of your business."
Damn. "Then who the hell was in that office imitating your voice?"
Fury suddenly busted out laughing. Falman stared sleepily for a moment, and then began to snigger too.
Breda shot them both an un-amused look.
"I can't believe we had you going for that," Fury squeaked.
"Going for what?" Hawkeye asked.
"Some kind of prank, no doubt," Mustang told her, appearing in the doorway behind her. "Such slackers I have as subordinates, no?"
"Why the sunglasses, Colonel?" Falman asked.
"None of your beeswax."
"What were the two of you smoking?"
"I said it's none of your beeswax."
Breda's brain suddenly caught up to events. "And you're calling us slackers?" he demanded.
"Well, we're your superiors, we have privileges," Mustang replied smarmily. He sidled up behind Hawkeye, grabbed her waist, and said something into her ear.
She immediately blushed.
So did Breda. "I have had enough of this," he grumbled.
"Yeah, but we haven't," Falman told him. "And that's really all that counts here. And you're outnumbered."
"You all suck, you know that? All of you."