For Kyan.

Ready
by Maaya

It's pleasant how Roy always ends up having the upper hand in conversations with Edward Elric.

Like a natural order of rank in a pack, Roy always has the upper hand over Edward and Hawkeye always has the upper hand over Roy. Neither are happy with the arrangement, Edward doesn't like to participate in a order of rank anyhow. Roy wants to be the top dog and while Hawkeye doesn't mind too much, she'd much prefer it if more people were competent enough to compete for her place.

The office is filling once again after lunch hour; the only one who has yet to return is Breda. It's no surprise--that man is in the habit to stay in the dining hall for as long as possible, enough to make Hawkeye cross. Not even Havoc dares to be quite as late. Roy suspects that they are all listening with interest to this conversation, even if they're hiding it with papers and (obviously faked) concentrated writing-faces. They gossip more than any other bunch of people Roy knows. Not that it matters. Having them gossip about this would be preferable, even.

Edward is squirming on the couch, not completely able to hide the red tint to his cheeks.

Moments like these are why Roy doesn't mind not being the complete leader. Just as long as he stands above Edward, things are fine.

He resists his urge to rest his head in his hands--it would destroy his perfectly smug pose.

"Fifteen years now, hm?" Roy muses aloud, pleased to see Edward sink down on the couch. It looks like the boy is trying to hide underneath the sofa-table, only a table like that doesn't exist in the office. Ah, nice--Edward definitely knows what will come. Roy savours his next words. "Old enough to date, I'd say."

From the other side of the room, Hawkeye snorts. But she is not reaching for her gun yet so Roy deems it safe to continue.

Edward is going a good imitation of a tomato right now, red in his face and his cheeks inflated. For a moment, Roy nearly fears that the boy has choked on something and is dying. The rude words quietly rolling off Edward's tongue seconds later makes him throw away that thought and forget he has ever possessed it.

"A reliable source tells me you're actually going on one, tonight," Roy states with a louder voice to drown out the muttered curses. He doesn't mention that the 'reliable source' is actually the neighbour lady who had spotted the Fullmetal Alchemist on a street with "that childhood friend of his" and told anyone who might be interested in that sort of trivia. (The words "meeting" and "café" had apparently been mentioned, and a peck on the famous Fullmetal's cheek.)

Really. Edward's fame was going to be his downfall.

Roy's words make everybody in the office go quiet. Havoc can't help but look up from the typewriter with a silly grin.

"A date, boss? Can I ask with wh--"

Edward's thick soles come down on the floor with a resounding slam. Standing up, he points at Mustang, cheeks more inflated than ever as he can't concentrate enough to make the words get past his lips. "You--st, pff, nng!"

And with that, the Fullmetal Alchemist stalks out the office.

When the door has slammed closed behind Edward, Roy looks at the door thoughtfully. "He has got a date, then."

Hawkeye nods--expressionless--and suggests that he should go back to work.

Edward is still lowest in the chain, Roy is middle rank and Hawkeye is highest. And that's it.

end