A/N: In which the language of love can be universal and specific, all at the same time. Warnings for OOCness.
Disclaimer: FMA (c) Square Enix.
Communication between humans is a delicate dance. There are so many little nuances, so many tiny things you automatically pick up when you speak to someone that it actually affects your perception of this person, your thoughts, your feelings. Body language, the way your eyes move, how you place your arms and hands… it all counts in this elaborate, complicated process called communication.
"WHY didn't you get away from danger! Idiot!"
"Why didn't YOU get away from danger? Fool!"
…fine. In this case, it's very clear-cut.
The two battling verbal warriors obviously do not like each other.
Or do they…?
To cut a potentially long story short: there were armed and dangerous criminals, flailing, panicking citizens and a cloudy evening. Normal police work was not standard procedure after cornering the machine gun toting drug dealers in an abandoned building. Therefore heavier artillery was sent in: the military. To them, this was just slightly more than a day's work but everyone headed on out swiftly anyway.
2nd Lieutenant Havoc had been sent onto the east side, Sgt. Major Fury and 2nd Lieutenant Breda to the west. Warrant Officer Farman was to provide backup, waiting with the ordinary police. Colonel Roy Mustang was to lead the charge since he was the one who could react the fastest. As per usual, 1st Lieutenant Hawkeye followed closely, gun in hand.
The colonel had given to the count of three before melting a steel door in with a bright flash of fire.
Out burst machine guns, shotguns and other firearms that rained ammo at the peacekeepers of Central from the building. Return fire from the military and the police combined made the situation deafening and chaotic. Rubble was shot loose; dust rose and confusion reigned for what seemed like a year. Then came a large sudden burst of fire zigzagging through the bricks and steel. After that, gunfire ceased completely with a last report from Lt. Havoc's shotgun.
Farman got to his feet, shedding shattered glass onto the ground. Countless bullets had coursed through a window right above where he had been crouched, spreading the shards all over him. Havoc and Breda got up from their crouching positions while Fury pulled himself out from under his comrades. Smoke trailed from the ground as more police officers slowly dragged themselves to their feet. Others whose senses were slowly returning, quickly tended to the wounded. More reinforcements arrived to check on the building and the criminals.
"O-kay…" croaked Havoc slowly as he got to his feet and clutched a bleeding arm. "Arm bullet ridden; blood everywhere… this has been a fun day. Everybody alive?"
With minor scratches on his face, Fury looked up from where he was splinting Breda's broken leg. "We all seem to be here." A grunt from Breda seconded that.
The warrant officer quickly did a head count and a cold feeling ran up his spine. "Colonel and 1st lieutenant aren't here."
Havoc exchanged looks with Farman. "We're going in to check. Fury, Breda, both of you better get to the hospital fast."
"No, you and Breda get to the hospital fast," said Farman sternly, pushing him onto the ground. "Fury and I will go get them."
Havoc growled. "Farman, I'm of higher rank than yo-"
"And I've got a working arm with no bullets in it." Farman yelled for assistance as ambulance sirens came wailing. "We'll see you at the hospital."
Havoc muttered something about him not having a bleeding gash on his forehead as Farman and Fury rushed off into the building. Breda chuckled weakly beside him as people trotted towards them.
Fury looked up at the wound on his comrade's forehead and winced at the thin trickle of blood that was trailing from it, staining his hair and slowly ebbing down the side of his face. "Officer Farman, you need a bandage-"
"Fury, what I need is a vacation. Unfortunately, we don't always get what we want in this world."
Fury translated that into 'Shut up and keep an eye out for what we're looking for'.
Eventually, some way inside the building, they did find their colonel and 1st lieutenant amidst fallen bricks and iron bits.
Both were lying two feet apart, each one bleeding and each one unconscious.
Farman didn't have time to curse as they rushed to get Mustang and Hawkeye to a hospital.
Due to the many injured, wards at the hospital were limited. However, due also to Mustang's rank, he was given first priority and so was his lieutenant. Both were given separate beds but had to be placed in the same ward for observation.
Sitting on a bench, Havoc winced as he moved his bandaged arm. Breda was contemplating getting some coffee from a vending machine nearby as he leaned on his crutches. Fury and Farman, sporting a head bandage like most of the patients, were talking in low voices with some other officers.
"….lost a lot of blood…but should be okay…"
Fury looked worried. "…been two days though…"
Havoc looked over at the room they were waiting in front of and sighed.
He knew very well that Mustang and Hawkeye would recover. He knew that with an unshakeable conviction.
Coz' if they didn't, he was going to personally smoke a couple dozen boxes of nicotine sticks in a row and then when he got to the afterlife, throttle them for not coming back.
And really, going to the afterlife wasn't good for one's love life. (1)
Edward and Alphonse Elric walked within the quiet corridors of the hospital. Both had been visiting Pinako and Winry Rockbell during the shooting. Their childhood friend walked beside them, carrying a fruit basket in her hands. She had insisted on coming after they had learned from Major Armstrong about Hawkeye's condition. Fury was updating them while Armstrong went back to headquarters.
"Apparently, just as the shooting started, Lieutenant Hawkeye pushed Colonel Mustang away from the line of fire and started firing back. Not clear on why she did that but I think she knew he was very vulnerable, right there at the front, even with his gloves. So anyway, she was shooting when she got hit in the abdomen. That was when Colonel Mustang pushed her aside and snapped. The burst of fire uh… cleaned off the enemies, you might say."
Ed rolled his eyes as Al's iron eyes seemed to gleam in something akin to admiration. "Wow… we've certainly missed a lot…"
"Ch'. I'm not so concerned about the colonel as I am about Lieutenant Hawkeye."
Winry gave Ed a look then turned to Fury. "They were really in a coma for three days?"
Fury nodded. "They lost a lot of blood, you see. And when the fire burst out from the colonel's gloves, it kind of pushed them harder back onto the ground and they hit hard. Colonel Mustang woke up first then a day later, Lieutenant Hawkeye." He sighed. "Took them about two days to figure out what had happened and what was going on."
"How long do they have to stay in hospital?" asked Al concernedly.
"About another month or so, said the doctors." Fury grimaced. "They were none too pleased about that prospect."
Ed's lips turned into a smirk at the thought of the colonel shouting at the top of his voice to be let out. "Well, that makes things different then. A frustrated, taken down colonel is a good thing."
Fury sweat dropped as they approached the ward that held the two invalids.
"Who ELSE would be that foolish to put themselves RIGHT in the doorway of armed men?"
"I am a National Alchemist! Fully qualified and you know damn well I react at least two seconds faster than your guns, Hawkeye!"
"Don't insult me like that, taisa!"
There was a long silence as more raised voices continued to echo from within the ward right into the corridors. Ed, Al and Winry came to a halt and stared at one at the ward door some feet away from them.
Fury sweat dropped even more. "Uh…"
"…that can't be-" began Al.
"You HAD to shove me aside! And it wasn't even raining, chuui! What were you thinking?"
"I should be asking you that, taisa! Putting yourself at the front line like that!"
"I'M taisa! That's what I DO!"
"NO! You sit in the office and you wait for us to do the job and come back! What you DON'T do is try and get yourself KILLED!"
Fury nodded weakly. "They've been like that ever since we heard the whole story from them."
Ed sweat dropped even more. "I suppose this is why their ward is at the farthest end of the corridor…"
Fury chuckled nervously. "The hospital administration didn't dare try to stop them after the last attempt. The colonel nearly brought down the entire building. And it was a good thing Hawkeye-chuui didn't have her guns…"
Winry winced. "I didn't think Lieutenant Hawkeye would… um, shout like that…"
"I can court marshal you for this direct insubordination, chuui!"
"And I can claim a defense of my superior being in a temporary moment of insanity, taisa!"
Fury cringed further. "Well, when under due pressure… and of course, there are her injuries to consider…"
Ed who was listening closely to the argument found it difficult not to laugh. "Temporary insanity is right though. I always knew that pompous weasel had more than a few screws loose in his head."
Al sweat dropped heavily. "Niisan, it's not nice to laugh like that…"
"Look at me and see if I care, Al," replied his elder brother, sniggering at a curse that came from Mustang through the walls.
"Ed-kun, Al-kun, Rockbell-san! Nice to see you again."
Everyone turned to see Havoc and Farman with Breda still on his crutches coming towards them. They had obviously decided to play hooky and left Armstrong to man the fort with Black Hayate.
"Good afternoon, Lieutenant Havoc, Lieutenant Breda, Officer Farman." Recited Al politely. Ed nodded while Winry waved.
Havoc cocked his head at the shouts from within the door and snickered. "They're at it again?"
A shout from Hawkeye seemed to answer his question. Fury nodded helplessly while the other officers sniggered. Ed raised an eyebrow. "Aren't you scared the colonel's going to fry you for that?"
"S'not like he can hear us over his domestic war," commented Breda with a grin.
Winry winced at the volume of the war. It seemed to be getting louder and fiercer. "Didn't any of you stop them when they first started?"
"Aw, we know they never mean it," said the 2nd lieutenant gesturing with one hand then clutching his crutches again. "It's their kind of code, you know. Just so the rest of us don't catch on."
"Code?" repeated Winry with an eyebrow raised.
Farman had an amused smirk on his face. "Didn't we have a dictionary somewhere on the phrases they keep using?"
"Right here," said Havoc pulling out a small notebook. Licking his thumb, he began to flip through the pages. "Let's see…"
"Alright, alright so I'm an idiot! BIG deal! At least I have the brains not to get killed!"
"Roughly translated, taisa just asked 'Sugar pie, when should we have our wedding after we get out of hospital?'"
"You DON'T! You were right there and you would have just kept on trying to snap even after you were riddled with BULLET HOLES!"
"That should mean 'As soon as possible, Royiekins', right?" asked Breda, peering over Havoc's shoulder at the book.
Winry, Ed and Al simultaneously sweat dropped alongside Fury. "You've gotta be kidding me," said the full metal alchemist with an expression of incredulity.
"Nope!" responded Havoc unrepentantly with wide smirk. If it was anything he was taking pleasure in besides the absence of his colonel and the 1st lieutenant was the verbal sparring those two were having at several intervals during a day, particularly after the painkillers had set in.
More phrases flew back and forth making the others react with more snickering and more sweat dropping. As it were, everyone settled on a nearby bench and peered at the 'Mustang-Hawkeye Dictionary' and started guessing the definitions. Only Winry, Al and Fury had enough sense of self-preservation to just sit by and sweat drop heavily. Ed meanwhile was shaking his head at some meanings and changing it to sound more like the actual phrases noted. Or maybe he just wanted to get his own back on the colonel. Most likely the latter.
Then the loudest word flinging exercise that day resounded.
"Waitaminute, why am I taking all this! What about you and your tendencies to rush in without any thought whatsoever about your own safety? You're an A-class IDIOT!"
"YOU'RE one to talk about rushing in without any thought about self preservation! I don't see YOU bringing in a shield every time YOU run into a dangerous criminal, Mr-So-Hot-I-Think-I'm-IMMORTAL!"
Havoc mock-winced while grinning. "That has got to be the best one yet. Wonder what it means…"
There was a pause. Then as if struck by a lightning of brilliance, Ed hurriedly pulled out a pen from Fury's front pocket, grabbed the notebook and scribbled in a new entry.
Everyone looked over curiously as the alchemist scribbled. It wasn't long before a snickering Ed passed the notebook around.
Havoc took one look and began to howl in laughter. Breda scanned through and slipped in his seat onto the floor, ignoring the pain in his leg over his loud guffaws. Farman sniggered uncontrollably. Even Al and Winry had to clamp hands over their mouths at this one, making little whimpering sounds of restrained hilarity. Fury, thoroughly bewildered, looked at his friends.
"What? What'd you write for this one now?"
Over the howls of Ed, a guffawing Havoc shakily passed the notebook to him.
Fury adjusted his glasses, innocently reciting what was written in scrawling handwriting. "Mustang – 'I count the hours and minutes until I can finally take you in my arms and smother you with my passionate, burning kisses, o' my sweet tender angel.' Hawkeye - 'I can hardly wait till you sweep me into your powerful arms and we can finally be one beneath the moonlit sky of yonder. Ah, my sweet, I wait for thee'…" Fury looked up, an involuntary grin at the cheesiness of the phrases tugging at his funny bones. "Ed, Ed-kun, this is AWFUL!" He proclaimed before bursting out into laughter.
"EXACTLY!" exclaimed Ed in fits of laughter. "It's about as awful as they can get!"
"Niisan! That's (chortle) not (snigger) nice!"
"Then why are YOU shaking like that?"
Winry tried desperately to whack Ed with a spanner but her stomach hurt too much from the giggling that bubbled up from her stomach. The rest weren't making things any easier since they couldn't stop laughing.
And the entire hospital staff conscientiously avoided the last corridor of the second floor.
Mustang, as wrapped up as his head was in bandages, could hear the loud hilarity coming from outside and glowered. "I feel it fair to warn you, Hawkeye, that when we get out of here, we may experience a shortage of staff."
Hawkeye's eyes glinted dangerously beneath the white gauze that wrapped round her forehead. It was the same gleam they often obtained when she was aiming for something with her gun. "I understand, sir."
There was a longer pause that followed as the chortling wound down somewhat. Hawkeye and her colonel exchanged looks across about four feet of empty space between their beds. Then their eyes flicked back to their blanket covered beds.
Nothing more was said.
Some hours later, after the unavoidable look-in from the visitors and subtle threats that sent everyone but Winry, Al and Ed scurrying back to the office, night fell. The visitors left, the fruit basket positioned well within reach of both patients.
A glow in the dark wall clock showed the time was three quarters past two in the morning. The quiet ticks accompanied by faraway sounds of traffic coming in through the veiled windows were the only sounds in the dark ward. Thin curtains separated both Mustang and Hawkeye's beds.
Finally there was a sigh. Whether from her or from him, neither could tell.
And a low voice broke through the darkness.
"Have I ever thanked you for sticking around?"
"You've been saying that all the while we've been yelling at each other."
There was a moment's silence.
"Have I ever said thank you for worrying?"
"You've been saying that ever since we started attacking each other like that."
Another moment of silence. Then as if reading each other's minds, the 'shnnnk' sound of the plastic hospital curtains being pushed back resounded, grating the quiet. Moonlight helpfully spilled in through the open window, flooding dim light into the ward as a night breeze lifted the filmier curtains that hung over the window.
Mustang's dark, glittering eyes, covered by the strands of his dark hair met Hawkeye's brighter copper ones, somewhat hidden by the golden fringe. Both exchanged ghosts of smiles.
And they said things without words no one else would understand.
They turned their backs and went to sleep, feeling comforted by the sound of each other's breathing. It meant they were alive, they were there…
They were together.
(1) Not that he had much of one in the first place…
A/N: If you read the manga, you can tell. They yell because they care. (snickers)