Merry Christmas, Colonel Bastard - Proof That Revenge Is A Kind Of Wild Justice

Prologue - An Assault on Unfinished Business

AN-Well. ::pauses:: I really don't know what to say about this. Created while listening to an adorable Christmas song from the Digimon drama CD.>.>;; This is a TWT fic(Timeline, what timeline? fic), so who the hell even knows what I'm doing here? Not me. Oh, I'll be taking this story down around New Years. You have no idea how irksome it is to see a Christmas story floating around in the middle of August. o Also, I'm afraid as hell of it being reported(not a G title, gasp!), so down it goes, shortly. I might put it on my LiveJournal or something, if everyone really wants it to stick around. ::shrug::

It was always somewhat of an ominous event when Edward Elric was summoned to the Colonel's office. Not just for Edward himself, but for the general staff, as well - the short and short-tempered Fullmetal Alchemist would stomp fuming into the taisa's office, there would be a few moments of scattered shuffling, conversation just a tad too low to hear(no matter how hard Havoc jammed his ear up against the keyhole, he could hardly ever make out anything but a few 'yes sirs' and a grumble), and then Edward would stomp back out, still fuming from where he considered a 'safe distance away'(which was within hearing of nearly everyone in the East Branch, though no one pointed this out). And after his raving had subsided down the hall, Colonel Mustang himself would step out, trying to hide what was clearly an 'oh-this-is-so-rich' smirk behind a barrage of orders and observations("since you all seem to find confrontation so FASCINATING, why don't you just go supress those riots in Lior?" while everyone would hastily make up an excuse to leave).

The local rumor mill had formulated a number of reasons behind Edward's quite predictable reactions to Mustang's sometimes unfathomable actions, but were yet to come up with a successful match between fact and fantasy. There was nothing to it, Hawkeye would point out in exasperation from time to time, simply the fact that someone like Edward-kun was unsuited to take orders from others, and that the taisa was just being himself - so why don't you all shut up and work, before I give you a REAL reason to flap your gums?

Which started the rumor that Hawkeye herself was somehow in on the whole thing - perhaps she kept unscrupulous visitors from interrupting the two of them when... And so on. For being battle-hardened soldiers and and frequently proclaimed 'real men', the soldiers at the East Branch sure spent a lot of time...gossiping like housewives.

And you didn't dare bring this up with Edward, for fear of incurring one of his notoriously violent fits, which consisted of throwing in exaggerations about his height even though nothing of the sort had been mentioned in the conservation. It was also quite troubling for Alphonse, who was of course forced to interject with his trademark "Nii-san!" and grab his brother's arms, preventing any chance of bodily harm to come to whomever had been foolish enough to bring up that topic in the first place.

In short, Edward Elric HATED it when he was summoned by Roy Mustang.

Today, however, was an entirely different thing, for Maes Hughes had just come home after celebrating his daughter's birthday, and with a veritable boxload of photographs to force upon hapless victims.

"See how big Alicia's gotten?"

"Look at her pigtails? Aren't they ADORABLE?"

"She drew that herself! Isn't she SO talented?"

Ed was trying to enjoy a peaceful lunch by himself, but was constantly interrupted by Hughes, who seemed to materialize wherever he went - the library, into town for a walk, even to the BATHROOM - so as he sat down for lunch, he battened down the hatches and decided to bear it. As long as he stared down at his lunch tray and grunted something every once in a while("un...uh...mmhmm..."), it seemed to pass as agreement to Hughes, whom everyone knows is the world's biggest doting daddy.

When the pictures started to evolve(or was it DEvolve?) into the ones Hughes had taken during Alicia's latest birthday - didn't Ed KNOW, wasn't it HIS birthday too, and wasn't he THERE? - he was almost grateful for the appearance of First Lieutenant Hawkeye, who informed him sympathetically that the Colonel would like to see him in his office.

Ed didn't JUMP to his feet (if it looked like that to anyone, it was just that because hearing that bastard colonel's name was enough to send him into a rage), but he did move a trifle faster than he would have on ordinary circumstances."Th-Thank you, First Lieutenant,"he stammered(not gratefully, he wasn't GRATEFUL for having to see that arrogant jerk, but...), leaving his tray on the table and walking swiftly towards the door. Walking as slowly as possible, Ed stopped in front of the colonel's door, taking a moment to make sure his smart-ass, insolent grin was on his face before he entered.

There was no one there. Sure, there was a mountainous stack of papers atop Mustang's desk, a sign that this alien planet had once harbored life, but as of yet there was no sign of the perpetrator of Edward's previous summons.

Still, Ed didn't allow the look on his face to falter. Perhaps the bastard was waiting in ambush."It's somewhat RUDE to leave your subordinates all alone in your office while you slack of at work, ne, taisa?"he drawled lazily, rolling his eyes around in every direction, trying to find out where exactly the scum-sucking colonel had gone. Was he in the light fixture, maybe? It would have been tricky, but Mustang was, after all, a tricky bastard. You couldn't put anything past him.

"I'm right here, Fullmetal,"a voice answered, and sure enough, it was Mustang's - coming from his desk."I keep forgetting that a person of normal stature would be able to see me behind these stacks of insufferable reports."

"WHO ARE YOU CALLING A MOLEHILL IN FRONT OF A MOUNTAIN?!?!"Ed roared, face already turning red. There was movement behind the desk, and Ed could finally see the top of Mustang's head; he must have stood up.

And that smirk was there, oh yes, that smirk that meant nothing good for the Fullmetal Alchemist, prodigy though he was. It was such a pain, working under a person of authority. Edward replaced his glare with the previous lolling grin.

Commence game.

Ed took his usual seat on the couch, draping his arms over the side carelessly."First Lieutenant Hawkeye said you had an assignment for me, taisa?" There. That was perfectly insubordinate, as much as he could get away with. But it hadn't succeeded in annoying that bastard yet.

If anything, Mustang seemed to smirk even more, leaning against his desk(causing the aforementioned reports to wobble dangerously)."I told her to SEND for you, Fullmetal; why does that always seem to translate into a mission for you?"

"That's what it is, isn't it?"Ed's brilliant golden eyes flashed for a second."It's work. And it'll be the worst job imaginable out there, since that's the lot I always seem to be stuck with."Against his will, his temper started to rise.

The older man noticed."Losing your temper already?"That smirk threatened to split his face in two."It's a bit early for you to start your usual raving, Fullmetal."He thought for a moment."If I recall, it's usually two or three statements from now that set you off."

Right, right. With effort, Ed replaced his grin."So for what purpose have you deigned to see me, Colonel Bastard?"he asked innocently, all professionalism."I didn't someone as mighty as yourself had the TIME for insignificant State Alchemists such as myself... After all, I refused to help in your miniskirt campaign."

Which he wouldn't have minded, in all truth, but annoying the taisa had (always) come first.

"Well, consider it your to charity."

"Charity?"Ed repeated, not sure if he heard right. Last time he had checked, Mustang wasn't exactly a charitable person."What? Handing out soup to orphans? Transmuting materials into toys?"

The Colonel waved a hand in front of his face dismissively."Not for the town, for the headquarters. It IS the holiday season, after all, so I've elected to give the staff these twelve joyful days off to participate in the merrymaking."

Ed snorted derisively."You mean, you're giving YOURSELF twelve days off so you can get tanked, and in the principle of equal exchange, you're letting the other staff indulge as well."

That smirk was starting to show teeth, as though it were evolving into a new sort of smirk."Or that."

"I don't care."Ed stood up."You know I don't celebrate Christmas. Since I'm not celebrating, I'm not obligated to help you with anything."

Mustang was characteristically pleased with himself. Trapping Fullmetal in a corner was inexpressable joy brought to life."You don't say? Well, if you're going to so coldy reject my offer of a vacation..."He gestured, most offhandedly, at his desk."...There are all these reports that need reading. And I think the library could do with some reshelving...IF you can reach the shelves. Perhaps I'd better have Major Armstrong help you with that..."

"Who's so short they need a booster seat?!"Ed grumbled, losing face and well aware of it. He bit back his temper as well as his few choice words."What do you want me to do?"he asked petulantly, instead.

"Nothing so terrible,"the Flame Alchemist said mildly, his words betrayed by the now full-fledged grin on his face."Just a bit of tidying up in the great hall. that no speck of dust shall go unnoticed."

Perhaps that last comment was unnecessary, but the fiery blond's reaction was quite worth it."I AM NOT SO SHORT THAT DUSTBALLS ARE TREES IN COMPARISON, YOU BASTARD COLONEL!"he exploded, getting facial tics from every direction in an amusing, almost alchemical, pattern.

"No one said anything of the sort,"Mustang replied, voice still mild, but the corners of his mouth twitching."But it's quite an involving task. You'd better get started right away."

Game over. Score - Mustang:1, Elric:0.

"I - hate that - bastard colonel - "Ed grunted, finally sagging down on the floor in relief. He should have known that it was alchemically impossible to clean a room, and that dissembling the place and reassembling it was not the practical solution. The job would have been infinitely more tiring had Al not come along to help, his help with the cleaning less appreciated than the comforting rein he kept on his brother's temper. After all, he was a suit of armor - delicate strokes with the feather duster were prone to end in ruin, despite his best attempts.

"Nii-san, it's not just you,"Al remarked, not bothering with sitting - he wasn't really tired, after all, this was just normal for him. "Mustang-taisa has charged the whole building with helping in preparation for the holidays."

"But he had to give me the LOUSIEST job,"Ed howled, failing to be comforted by this fact,"while that lazy son of a bitch went with Second Lieutenant Havoc to SHOP!"He ground his teeth in anger."All they're doing is picking out booze, drinking half of it on the walk home, and stopping at the store on 1st - right next to the headquarters, might I point out - and picking up some more!"Ed cast around in his mind for more examples."And Hughes! He just sent Hughes HOME for the week! Why couldn't we go back to Rizenbul?!"

"Ah, Nii-san..."Al really ventured with his next comment."Would you really...w-want Mr. Hughes around...? All the time...?"

"Fine, fine,"Ed muttered."I'll give the bastard credit for that one."He thrust out his lower lip suddenly, looking uncharacteristically cute."Ne,'s not even fair, is it? It's like he's doing this on purpose, knowing that we don't celebrate Christmas..."

"Well, nii-san, maybe he is,"Al replied, his robotic face unreadable, then quickly turned in the direction of the door."Ms. Hawkeye!"he shouted then, and Ed turned to see the First Lieutenant struggling under the weight of many packages."Let me help you with that!"

"Thank you, Alphonse,"Ed heard her say from far away, but he was too busy absorbed in his own thoughts to care.

(Even Al thinks he's out to get us), he perused bitterly.(Stupid bastard colonel...I hope his parties suck. I hope the Fuhrer comes to visit and gets food poisoning from the stew.)

(Wait a minute...)

If Edward Elric could have seen himself in that moment, that moment when he started smirking royally and formulating his master plan, he probably would have slapped himself silly in ostracism.

His expression nearly mirrored that of Roy Mustang's.

AN-Blah. I'm not sure how well this came out. >. I guess I like it. Do I? Do you? PLEASE let me know. I'm really torn up about this. On another note, I heart the Fuhrer to death, even knowing the episode spoilers that I do. However, he won't be appearing in this story(timeline? what timeline? snicker). Enh. The big thing I'm worried about is characterization. I feel it lacking, sucking at me like some sort of vortex. Grrr. Please review! Ch.2: Of Limbos and Lovemaking!

"The Colonel's whispered comment to Edward made him blush and stammer awkwardly that he'd better not expect him to do anything like THAT."

::giggle:: Ja!