A Place to Feel Safe
Henrika- Another one-shot. I know, I know. I should be typing my longer stuff. Hangs head in shame Anyways, hope you enjoy this. Review please!
Disclaimer- No, I really do not own Full Metal Alchemist. You thought I did?
Mustang got the feeling something was wrong the second he saw the young alchemist enter his office. Roy had noticed an interesting trend in the boy's clothing as he had observed him through the years. The standard trend was towards black pants, black boots, a black shirt, black jacket, a leather belt, and the famous red cloak.
Occasionally the boy wore what was considered normal for his age, printed sweatshirts and layered shirts, but he rarely changed his normal wardrobe.
Roy knew that there was one color he only wore at one time. This was white, because he was usually in hospital clothes and great pain when that was his attire. He also wore white when he was hiding something, such as his auto-mail under snow-white gloves. So when the Full Metal Alchemist stumbled into his office wearing nothing but white, he assumed the worst. And, of course, was correct. He blonde made it to the edge of his couch before falling, sinking heavily into the thick leather. Mustang leapt up, wondering why none of his staff had stopped the boy. Speaking of people who should have stopped him, Where the hell is Alphonse? Mustang thought as he looked around for the others.
He examined the boy on his couch. The white clothes were indeed hospital clothes, an assortment of blood-soaked bandages peeking out from underneath the thin material. "What hospital did you break out of?" Roy muttered as he gently probed the wounds' edges, noting how the pale, clammy flesh stood out in vivid relief against the harsh metal sheen of the auto-mail. Ed whimpered, but didn't move. "Hawkeye! I could use some help in here!" No one responded. Mustang carefully made sure the boy couldn't fall, and then grabbed his flint gloves from his desk, slipping them on before he cautiously looked out into the main office. Or tried to. A thick stone wall had sealed off the rest of the office from his. He heard muffled voices beyond it.
"Sir! Are you alright?"
"What the hell…wrong with Boss?"
"Alphonse…you undo this?"
Ah, Hawkeye. Mustang thought. The only sensible one of the group.
There was a golden flash and the wall disappeared, revealing Mustang's staff with various degrees of worry on their face and a seven-foot tall suit of near-hysterical armor.
"Brother!" He called, rushing to the blonde's side.
"Does someone want to tell me what the hell is going on?" Mustang asked kindly.
Once Alphonse was assured of his brother's safety he explained. "It was the last mission. An ice alchemist up in the northern region was using red stones to amplify their power and keep the ice storms going so the military couldn't get in. Ed confronted him and the man got in a few cheap shots before Ed managed to get close enough to destroy his array and the stones. The military managed to get in while they were fighting because the alchemist had to concentrate to keep the storms going. They arrested him and regained control of the town." He paused for a moment, laying an ice-pack like hand across his brother's forehead." Ed refused to be treated up there so I made him check into the military hospital as soon as we got back here to Central. I only left for a minute to ask the nurse something. I mean, he was out cold! When I came back and he was gone, this was the first place I thought to look."
"Right. First Lieutenant, what happened with the wall?" Mustang had returned to his chair; Havoc, Breda, Fury, and Falman cramming onto the other couch as Hawkeye knelt down by Ed and Al. She carefully chafed Ed's human wrist as she began.
"Edward came in, barely able to walk. He headed straight for your office though, ignoring us all. I tried to help him up when he fell, but he made that wall before I could reach him. Then Alphonse showed up and was kind enough to deconstruct it for us."
"So is suppose the question is why did he break out of the hospital to come here?"
The Colonel mused aloud. When there was no answer, he shifted back into his commanding mindset. "Havoc, inform the hospital that we have their patient. Hawkeye, dig some towels out of the supply closet. I don't want him bleeding through. The rest of you, back to work. Full Metal will be fine."
"Yes sir." The officers hurried off, Hawkeye casting one last glance at Ed, then Roy, before she shut the doors.
"Colonel Mustang?" Al shifted, the hollow clank echoing throughout the office.
Roy sighed. "Why would your brother come here?"
Al shrugged. "He was a bit delirious from the blood loss. You won't do anything about the wall, will you?" He asked fearfully.
"No one was hurt." Mustang waved the question off. Ed moaned softly, but didn't stir. "Scratch that? You said the alchemist was using red stones? We weren't aware of that."
"Um-hmm. It took Ed awhile to figure out where he was hiding the array and the stones. That's when this happened." He gestured to the bandages.
"He comes here." Mustang muttered, unable to let it go.
"I think," Al said, switching his other hand to his brother's forehead. "That Brother really feels safe here." Mustang looked surprised, something that Al knew his brother would be sorry that he'd missed.
Roy pondered this revelation for awhile. He should have figured that earlier. Ed visited very few places in Central: His dorm room, the Hughe's place, the library, and…his office. He finally decoded the look of relief on Ed's face when he had first stumbled in. He should have expected Ed to come to rely on him; despite his self-reliant façade, he was still just a kid.
Riza opened the door then, carrying a stack of white towels. Alphonse carefully lifted his brother up and she spread them out, wincing when the first layer immediately soaked through. She laid out all the ones she had, moving aside so Al could set his burden back down.
"Doctor's going to drop by later and check up on him." Havoc said as he leaned in the door.
"Thanks. Good work." Havoc snapped off a salute and left. "Alphonse, you and your brother are welcome to stay here until the doctor arrives, but we do have work to do." As if gaining her mind at Mustang's comment, Hawkeye retrieved a thick stack of paperwork and threw it on her superior's desk.
"Start working then sir." She gave a peculiarly malicious grin to the dark-haired man before she attended to her own stack, setting up at the table across from the brothers.
A silence settled over the room, broken only by the occasional scratch of a pen, a metal clank, or a low, short whimper. An hour passed before the whimpers progressed into groans, finally resulting in golden eyes looking blearily around. "Al?"
"Brother! How are you feeling?" Al leaned back so Ed could look around.
"Like someone tried to kill me."
"You do seem to have problems with that Full Metal." A smooth voice cut in and Ed's head swung around, finally taking in where he was.
"Colonel? Why am I in your office?"
"For some reason, you broke out of the hospital and came here."
"Oh." Ed glanced over at Hawkeye, who nodded. "Sorry about that."
He must be delirious. Mustang decided. For him to apologize, and apologize to me, he must really be out of it.
Ed started to put a hand to his forehead, but stopped when he realized that it was smeared with blood. "I don't remember leaving the hospital."
"Hmm, it's not surprising. Blood loss can do funny things to you."
"Ah." He let his hand drop back to his side.
"Brother?" Al looked down when his brother went silent.
"Do I have to go back?" Ed asked.
"To the hospital?" Hawkeye guessed. Ed nodded. "Yes."
The blonde boy groaned. "But it's…" He yawned. "…it's nice here." And then he fell back asleep, leaving the stunned occupants of the room grasping for words.
"Did he just say?" Hawkeye managed.
"Yes." Roy forced a response.
Al gave Mustang a pointed look. "I told you so."
Henrika- It almost seemed a tad cliche, but maybe that's just me. Review please!