Roy Mustang loses that which is most precious to him... his thumbs.
AN: Written as a present for Lady erised, who's computer was on the blitz and quite unusable for some time. Thus, the loss of Roy's thumbs...
If ever there was a man who could appreciate dramatic irony, Roy Mustang was such a one. He could appreciate the fact that he could not perform any sort of alchemic tasks without the use of his hands, and he could appreciate that it would, hypothetically, be quite amusing if he were to, say, break both his thumbs in a particularly stupid, macho manner. What he could not appreciate was that he had managed to do just that by attempting to prove said machoness to his underlings.
It had started innocently enough...
The heat in Eastern was uncomfortable in the best of months. In the summer it was downright stifling. Electric fans were able to alleviate some of the more pressing symptoms, but true comfort was impossible due to the scorching winds that scoured the city throughout the months of July and August. This particular August day found Colonel Mustang in an office with a broken fan. The uniform of his jacket had been discarded at about eleven that morning. Noon had come around to find every single occupant had followed the Colonel's example.
Even Hawkeye's sense of decorum had not been able to outweigh the heavy summer heat: her own coat was folded once and slung over the back of her chair. Being able to say, with all conviction, that there was, indeed, a woman underneath almost made the heat bearable for Roy.
A little past two o'clock, Hawkeye had sighed, looked up at him, looked around at Breda - who was fanning himself with a file folder- and Havoc - who was in the process of removing his shoes- and said "Why hasn't anyone opened a window?"
Then she got up and did just that.
About an hour later, when the skies above decided it would be funny if it drenched the city below in rain - cooling as long as the clouds hung around, nauseating and suffocating when evaporating into the barometer- Riza rose to shut the same window and found it to be stuck. She pushed, pulled, shimmied and even jiggled the damn thing, but it wouldn't budge.
With another sigh she said, "One of you men come prove the stereotype and fix this window."
Havoc and Breda looked at each other, smiling wickedly at the lieutenant's choice of words.
"You first," Breda said, gesturing toward the window and the now-irate woman who stood beside it.
Havoc made a big show of standing and stretching, arms reaching above his head, knuckles popping as he laced his fingers together and turned them inside out.
"No need to worry, ma'am," he said, smiling lazily at Hawkeye. "I'll fix this window for you in a jiffy."
Five minutes later, when he was red-faced and white-knuckled from all the pushing, pulling, shimmying and jiggling, he glared at Breda, who was trying not to laugh.
"Well if you think you can do better..." he said, gesturing in much the same way Breda had done moments earlier. By this time Roy had put down his pen - as if he had really been working - and was smiling in a bemused manner as he watched his subordinates interact with eachother and the window.
"Step aside, my dear friend, and let a real man show you how it's done," Breda quipped, sidling over to the window. Colonel Mustang snickered at this, and Riza rolled her eyes.
By the time Breda was in the same state as Havoc, Roy was having trouble keeping his laughter contained. The smug set of Riza's mouth wasn't helping the situation, especially when she glanced surreptitiously in his direction before turning her attention back to the man wrestling with the window.
"Damnit!" Breda swore as his hand slipped and he bashed his knuckles against the windowsill.
Roy laughed out loud at this, and stood.
"Gonna show us how it's done, Colonel?" Havoc gibed, sitting down heavily in his chair.
"As a matter of fact, I am," Roy said, pushing the sleeves of his dress shirt farther up his arms. "And I'm not gonna be an ass about it."
Roy, like Breda and Havoc before him, set his hands atop the stuck window and pushed, lightly at first. When the window didn't move, he repositioned his hands - his fatal mistake- and threw his whole weight against it.
This time the window moved - and Roy caught both his thumbs between the frames of the two panes of glass. There was a sickening, wet noise, like meat being tenderized.
For a moment, Roy didn't comprehend that anything was amiss. Then he tried to pull his hands away, and terrible, nauseating pains shot up both his arms.
"Colonel?" Hawkeye asked, concerned, stepping forward. In a uncharacteristically feminine gesture she covered her mouth with her hand and murmured "Oh God!" when she caught sight of his fingers.
"The hell?" Breda asked, stepping around to Roy's other side. His exclamation of "Oh God!" was much louder and more panicked.
Hawkeye put both her hands under the window and pushed. "Damnit, Breda, don't just stand there!" she exclaimed when it didn't budge.
Breda's hands joined her own, and together they managed to free their colonel from the clutches of the window.
When he could stagger away, Roy looked down at his thumbs, paled, and muttered, "Oh God..."
"Just sit down sir, and take a deep breath," Riza said, guiding him back to his chair.
"Get me an ice pack and a glass of water," she said to no one in particular, and Havoc ran to fetch the requested items. Maes Hughes walked in just moments later, looking back over his shoulder at the departing blonde.
"Where's the fire?" he asked, looking around at the room's occupants. Then, "Hey, window's open," and he walked over and shut it without any problems.
"What the hell happened to your hands?" Ed asked snidely, crossing his arms.
Roy looked down at the bandaged appendages - both swathed from knuckles to wrist - and swore again - for the fifty-first time that day, just for good measure.
"Our beloved colonel, here," Hughes offered, adjusting his glasses, "is... 'all thumbs,' shall we say."
"Shut the hell up!" Roy snapped irritably. "It could have happened to anyone!"
"But it happened to you, which is so much funnier," Hughes countered, nonplused by Roy's angry tones.
Hawkeye sighed in an almost dejected manner, rubbed the bridge of her nose as she felt a headache coming on, and said, "The Colonel broke both his thumbs by-"
"Hey now," Roy said, interrupting Hawkeye. "No need to divulge the details."
"He got his hands caught in the window!" Havoc snickered.
When Roy glared at him, Havoc did NOT go back to his paperwork as he was intended to do. He just crossed his arms and leaned back in his chair.
"What are you gonna do, Colonel? Set me on fire?"
And it was then that Roy realized he could no longer snap.
Luckily for him, Hawkeye glanced at Havoc as she flipped off the safety on her gun. Havoc squeaked like a canary who had just been left alone with a cat and quickly turned his attention back to his desk.
"You can't snap," Fullmetal pronounced slowly, drawing out the syllables and enjoying the way Colonel Mustang almost-cringed at each one.
"What an ingenious deduction," Roy proclaimed, reverting back to the oldest forms of defense: sarcasm and insult.
"You can't snap!" Ed exploded this time, before falling into a chair to compose himself. He had hard time of it when he looked up at the Colonel, who was glaring down at his hands as if they had somehow committed the offense. This nearly sent him tumbling from the chair in gales of laughter, and by this time Hughes and Havoc had joined in, though not as vociferously.
"This has gotta be some sort of insubordination..." Roy muttered to himself, and attempted to pick up a pen.
Ed stopped laughing suddenly, and sat up straight in his chair. He eyes lit up with a kind of evil glee, and he glared at Mustang before raising his right hand-
- and snapping.
It took everything Roy had not to leap over his desk and strangle the vertically challenged alchemist, broken thumbs or no.
Havoc put his head down on his desk and shook with contained laughter. Hughes and Breda didn't even try to hide their merriment, so Roy turned to the one person in the room he knew would support him.
Hawkeye was covering her mouth with one gloved hand, but her eyes said she was smiling.
"Alright, calm down!" Roy ordered, crossing his arms and hunkering down in his chair. "Calm down, I said!" he repeated when everyone kept laughing. "And get back to work or get the hell outta my office!"
"Get well soon, colonel!" Ed quipped, and he left the room whistling and snapping along to the beat.
Amidst much sniggering from Breda and Hughes, and Hawkeye's silently bemused smile, they managed to tape a pen to his right hand.
"I'm injured!" Roy all but whined up at his First Lieutenant. "Can't we just skip the paperwork today? Just today? We'll only be behind by a little..."
"We're always 'a little' behind," Hawkeye responded, glancing up at him before shuffling through the papers on her lap. "And now, thanks to the trip down to medical, we're a lot behind."
"You wouldn't begrudge an injured soldier his medical leave, would you?" he cajoled, attempting to rip off the pen, but not having much luck. He yelped as Riza slapped his hand away.
"With all due respect, sir," she said, "I don't think breaking your thumbs in a window constitutes 'medical leave'."
"C'mon, Hawkeye," Hughes said, leaning against Roy's desk. "The poor man can't even hold the pen by himself. Cut him a little slack, huh?"
"Yeah!" Roy joined in. "This'll be great practice for forging my signature! The curlicue on the 'G' is still a little off."
"Don't you have somewhere to be?" Riza asked pointedly as she looked up at Hughes.
"Yes, as much as I'd love to stay and poke more fun at the invalid," Hughes sighed, adjusting his glasses. "Gracia's expecting me home for an early dinner, then we're going to take darling little Alycia for a walk in the new pram her grammy sent us!"
"Grammy?" Roy repeated, raising an eyebrow at his friend.
"She's crazy, Roy," Hughes said, leaning down confidentially. "Absolutely bonkers. But it's hard to disobey a mother-in-law when she has your wife's ear and a large chunk of your daughter's financial future."
The day had cooled off substantially thanks to the rain, and the evening that followed was almost comfortable. The rain slowed and stopped, and the clouds hung low and heavy long into the night.
Fury was the first to finish his allotted amount of paperwork, and he left soon after the office had officially closed. Hawkeye had also finished, but she had made it her job to stick around as long as the Colonel did, and he was nowhere near the end. Havoc was in the same state as Roy, and it was almost nine before the three of them had managed to file everything away for the night.
Roy was struggling into his coat when he realized what a difficult time he was going to have once he was alone. How the hell was he going to unlock his door? Or untie his boots? Or unbutton his shirt for that matter?
He looked up at his two remaining officers. Havoc was gazing bleary-eyed out that damn window, unlit cigarette perched between his lips, flicking his lighter on and off. Hawkeye was buttoning up her coat and fishing her set of office keys out of her pocket.
Dear lord, this was going to be humiliating.
He cleared his throat.
They both looked up at him.
"Do you need something, Colonel?" Hawkeye asked when he didn't continue.
"Yeah, you see.." Roy looked at the ceiling. "The thing is... I was just thinking... well, I can't really use my thumbs, and you need them to do... Everything, basically."
Both of them just stared at him.
"I'm not sleeping in my uniform," he said, crossing his arms and feeling like a petulant child.
Havoc looked at Hawkeye. There was a bit of a glare-off before he announced, "Play you for it. Loser takes care of the cripple," and held out a fist in an open palm.
"Best two out of three?" she asked, setting her keys down.
It was over in a matter of seconds. Havoc's throw-down of scissors was mashed by rock. The second round was exactly the same.
"See you in the morning," Hawkeye said, and she saluted before grabbing her keys and exiting.
Havoc stared at Roy.
Roy stared back.
"Let's just get this over with," he muttered.
"I'm not sleeping in these pants."
"I said no. You'll have to make it a direct order."
"Look, god knows I'd rather you were some pretty little brunette with lacy knickers and a taste for cheap bourbon, but we can't have everything we want. Now..." Roy sighed, and looked everywhere but at Havoc. "Help me take off my pants. That's an order."
"And this relationship just got abusive," Havoc muttered, and then did as he was told while looking everywhere but at Roy.
When the clasps and zipper were undone Havoc took several large steps away from his commanding officer.
"Hand me those pajamas, would ya?" Roy asked, sitting down on the bed and kicking off his pants.
Havoc threw them at Roy with more force than was necessary, then took his lighter out of his pocket and began the nervous habit of flicking it on and off while he waited for the Colonel to wrestle his way into the blue linen garments.
"Do you need anything else, or am I free to head home and wallow in my shame and embarrassment?" Havoc asked, pulling a cigarette out of the carton he kept in his breast pocket.
"Get outta here," Roy said. "But take off my left sock first. And if anyone I know hears a word of this, I'll singe off all your body hair as soon as these bandages come off."
"Please," the blonde man grumbled. "As if I'd want anyone to know I undressed my commanding officer."
"G'night Havoc," Roy responded, leading the other man to the door.
"G'night Colonel," Havoc said, throwing a sloppy salute.
Then he snapped, just for good measure.
Can you tell we take Rock, Paper, Scissors VERY seriously in my group?