A Pleasant Reprieve
By Henrika

Henrika- The clothes I'm describing are in chapter 38 of the manga. I just kind of wanted to do something fun and I really happened to like that this idead popped into my head.

He had taken them all to lunch at a quaint outdoor café. Of course, Roy had had an ulterior motive with the kind gesture. It was sunny out that afternoon, after weeks of dull gray skies and intermittent rain. He had gone stir-crazy at one point, (Hawkeye had refused to let him go anywhere without an escort) and this was the only plausible excuse he could use to get out of the building and into the sunlight. His entire staff had been invited and they had spent the time pleasantly talking over things that had nothing to do with work.

Riza didn't even say a word when they were well past the time to be back at the office. Havoc finished off his steak (Mustang was paying after all) and leaned comfortably back into his chair. "Thanks for lunch sir." There was a chorus of similar thanks from the rest of group as well.

"You're welcome. It's really the least I can do for such loyal people." Mustang said.

"Then we'll have to have you do this more often." Breda grinned widely, patting his stomach.

Hawkeye suddenly leaned up in her chair, squinting at something in the distance.

"Is something wrong Lieutenant?" Fury asked.

"No, it's just…isn't that Edward?" She pointed ahead at a figure on the street that was headed in their direction.

"He isn't due back for a few more days." Farman supplied.

"Does look like him though." Havoc leaned forward, popping a toothpick into his mouth to chew on.

"I suppose we'll find out in a few minutes." Fury said.

So they waited, Mustang ordering a chocolate cake for them to split. Eventually, the figure came close enough to be identified. The long blonde hair was tied back in a fairly high ponytail. The figure wore a loose, black, long-sleeved shirt and a pair of light khaki cargopants. He (because as the figure came closer it became obvious that he was a male) also wore open-toed sandals on his feet that revealed a flesh foot and one that was made of metal. The two mismatched hands clung to a collection of sacks. The fierce gold eyes were unmistakable; yet there was an uncommon smile gracing the young face.

"Yo! Boss!" Havoc called out cheerfully, waving the young man over. Edward looked up in surprise, a strange look passing over his face as he caught sight of the military uniforms. Regardless, he crossed the street, coming up to their table.

"Hi everyone. What are you all doing here?"

"Colonel Mustang was kind enough to take us out for lunch." Riza answered. "Pull up a chair Edward, we were just having dessert."

"Thank you, but no. I need to be getting back to Al." He hefted the sacks in his hands. Mustang leaned over and deftly snagged one of the items bulging from one of the canvas sacks.

"Milk?" He asked incredulously. The others turned to the boy in interest.

"I know, I know. It's not for me." He assured them "I still can't stand the stuff, but Al rescued a litter of kittens and he wanted to stay with them, so I offered to get supplies."

"Oh." The group breathed a sigh of relief. Edward drinking milk would have been akin to the sky falling.

"What's with the look Boss? Red gone out of style?" Ed looked down at his attire, wiggling both sets of toes as he shifted his feet.

"It's roasting out here as I can see you've noticed." He pointed to the uniform jackets over the backs of their chairs. "Besides, auto-mail is a bit more accepted in Central, and these clothes happen to be very comfortable." He explained.

"And the ponytail?" Breda asked.

Ed smiled. "Again, it's hot out."

"As long as you don't start doing it in a bun or pigtails." Roy said as he tucked the milk back into the grocery bag. Ed just gave him a fanged grin.

"I'll see you all later then."

"Goodbye!" They chorused.

"Really sir. Was that last comment really necessary?" Riza asked Roy as he snickered under his hand.

Before he could answer though, a small projectile pegged him squarely in the back of the head. When he finally regained his senses, he picked it up and examined it.

It was a can of tuna.

And they could hear Ed laughing all the way down the street.

Henrika- Yes, I'm aware that a lot of cats are actually lactose-intolerant and that you probably wouldn't feed tuna to small kittens so quickly, but c'mon. They didn't know that back then. I dearly love Ed's fanged grin, you just know something slightly bad is going to happen to someone.