by Melissa the Sheep
Nicole, who got me into this fandom.
Date: February 1, 2005
Rating: PG, I guess, for some drinking
Summary: Hughes finds a new audience for his photos. Fluff.
Disclaimer: Fullmetal Alchemist belongs to various people and corporations, who are all far richer and more famous than me because of it.
With two beers in him, Roy was not a patient man. Especially when it came to looking at the latest photos of Alicia.
"We all came here for happy hour. And this-" Roy shoved the photo album back across the table to Hughes- "is not making me happy."
Hughes bristled. "Is it wrong to be proud of my daughter? Here, let me show-"
"No!" Roy snapped.
Hughes looked wounded. After a moment, though, he scanned the room looking for somebody else who had yet to see Alicia's cuteness. All his officemates had already seen the album, either at work or here. Besides their table and a few thugs in the corner, the bar was deserted-and the thugs looked like they'd beat Hughes up as soon as look at his photos.
Hughes folded his arms and sighed.
Roy smirked and took another swallow of his beer.
"Hey," said Hawkeye, placing a hand on Hughes' shoulder. "I don't think you've shown the photos to that new bartender."
Hughes eyed the bartender, a fellow in spiky hair and a fur-trimmed vest, and his face brightened.
"Don't be too pushy," Roy called after as Hughes crossed the room, album in hand.
Hawkeye turned to Roy. "You don't need to be so mean to him, you know."
"I ought to burn his camera," Roy muttered. He drained his beer and refilled his glass from the pitcher.
Hughes slid onto a barstool and the bartender looked up at him.
"Hi!" said Hughes, extending his hand. "I'm Maes Hughes."
The bartender flashed a smile (Hughes thought the guy's teeth looked a bit odd, but chalked it up to the dim light and the beer) and shook Hughes' hand. "Greed."
"You're new here, aren't you?"
"Well, I want to open my own bar, maybe in Dublith-I wanted to give bartending a try first." Greed seemed to linger just a bit on the words 'want' and 'my own.' He smiled again, this time without showing his teeth. "Do you want another drink, Hughes?"
Hughes hadn't planned on drinking more, but something had kindled a desire for just one more. He'd hardly said "Yes" before another beer sat in front of him.
Greed had already returned to drying glasses, humming to himself.
Now that the formalities were done with, Hughes whipped out the photo album. "Say, Greed, would you like to see some photos of my family?"
With an indulgent smile, Greed set down his towel and opened the photo album. He listened to Hughes narrate each photo in the album-this covered several play dates, a lot of cute antics, Alicia's first haircut, and a visit from one of Alicia's aunts. When he had run out of photos, Hughes kept right on talking about the things he had captured in all the other photo albums at home. Greed kept setting new beers in front of Hughes, and Hughes' words kept getting more and more muddled.
"She's absolutely adorable," Greed remarked. There was a sparkle in his eye that Hughes hardly noticed.
Hughes beamed. "Thanksh!" he slurred. "She's my pride and joy!" Somehow through the haze of beer, he recalled his manners, and he asked, "D'you have any . . . family photosh?"
"Ugh, no." Greed grimaced. "I'm estranged from them."
"Oh, I'm shorry . . . " Hughes said, patting Greed's hand. "That'sh so sad . . . Not to have a happy family . . . "
Greed shrugged nonchallantly. "It's their problem. Not mine." His father and siblings were about the only things in this world that he didn't want.
There was a loud crash, and Hughes looked back at his comrades' table. Roy lay sprawled on the floor next to his overturned chair, and Hawkeye-the only one still sober-was saying something about leaving. She strode over to the bar, followed by the others. Fury and Havoc each had one of Roy's arms draped over his shoulder, and Roy dragged along limply.
"Time to go," Hawkeye said to Hughes. She picked up the photo album and tucked it under her arm for safekeeping.
Hughes set down money for the beers he'd had while showing Greed the photos, took a few steps toward the door, and promptly toppled over. Greed came out from behind the bar and stooped down to check that Hughes was okay.
The big fellow in the group picked Hughes up and slung him over one shoulder. "This is the Armstrong family's legendary carrying technique!" he informed Greed. As the group moved through the door, Armstrong and Hughes at the back, a photograph slipped out of Hughes' breast pocket and fluttered to the floor.
Greed picked it up and looked at Graciela smiling serenely as she held a laughing, pigtailed Alicia. Greed frowned.
He couldn't picture himself ever bragging, much like Hughes, about his father's alchemy skills, or how cute Gluttony was, or the clever outfits Envy put together, or how proud he was of Lust. He had only spite for them; his family simply didn't deserve his pride. He'd always assumed that other families were like that-but Hughes seemed to prove otherwise.
Greed imagined that Hughes didn't want money or land or power or anything of the things Greed always wanted. Hughes would be happy if he had nothing but his family-and, conversely, no amount of wealth in the world would make him happy if he couldn't have his family by his side. That kind of devotion and contentment was something that Greed had never known was possible.
So, of course, Greed wanted it. And it annoyed him to know it was something he could never have.