Title: Adjusting

Summary: It had been two weeks since Ed successfully transmuted Al's body from beyond the gate, and Roy was pretty sure Al was thoroughly regretting it.

Notes: Umm, sibling squabbles. Overprotective!Ed. Amused!Roy. ...Not-Amused!Alphonse. Hee.

Disclaimer: FMA would have so much more gay if I owned it. As it is, I turn gratefully to the well-developed fandom.


Adjusting

It had been two weeks since Ed successfully transmuted Al's body from beyond the gate, and Roy was pretty sure Al was thoroughly regretting it.

"--and I set up another appointment with that one lady, Doctor Whatsherface, with the weird hair --"

"Doctor Anderson." An exasperated sigh.

"Right, her -- I set it up for tomorrow over lunch so I can come too, just for another check on your vitals and immunizations and all that stuff," Ed finished, banging through the door into the main office area.

Roy, who had been in the process of bringing some completed paperwork to Hawkeye's desk, stopped and regarded the two boys.

Edward, despite no longer having any automail, looked no different. Long blond hair framed his face, pulled partially back from his equally golden eyes. He held a handful of pamphlets in his fist, and Roy caught the words "safety" and "bacteria" and "protect" in the few he could see.

"Hey, Colonel," Ed said, a clear indication of his preoccupation that he didn't even try to add an insult onto it. He turned back to his brother, clearly wanting to continue their conversation, but Al would have none of it and nodded politely to Roy.

"Hello, Colonel," Al said, and even though his expressions had been dulled from five years confined within armor, Roy was fairly certain that Al was trying to send him a pleading stare.

Even after two weeks, Roy continued to be astounded when he saw Alphonse Elric. He had never seen the boy before he became armor, and now that he was back to his original form, Roy was still taken aback by how much like Edward the younger boy looked. His hair and eyes were the same gold of his brother's, even if his hair was shorter and his eyes more rounded, and their stances were shockingly similar. It was painfully clear, even with Al's strangely blank facial expressions and sometimes jerky movements as he readjusted to his new form, that the two brothers were siblings.

Roy raised an eyebrow, nodding back to Al and saying to Ed, "Another doctor's appointment, Fullmetal? What happened this time?"

"Al got sick," Ed snapped at him, tilting back on the balls of his feet and giving Roy a blatant 'what's it to you?' look.

"I coughed," Al corrected, holding the air of a person who has said this multiple times without being listened to. Even quieter, he added, "And it wasn't even a real cough, even--"

"He got sick," Ed emphasized again, shooting Al a glare, "and he still needs to get immunizations for those two diseases that Doctor Whatsherface--"

"Anderson," put in Al.

"--mentioned last time, on that list--"

Al gaped at his brother incredulously and interrupted, "Wait, those? Brother, I don't need those--"

"Yes, you do," Ed said without pause, continuing, "And I don't have time to listen to your shit today, Colonel--"

"--that disease was in Xing, Brother --"

"--Al and I have to pick up disinfectant and visit the dentist--"

"--over 500 years ago; are you even listening to me--?"

"--then I need to go research dietary habits--"

"Fullmetal," Roy said, cutting off the rather amusing exchange between the two brothers. Ed stopped short, looking petulant, whereas Al merely looked as if he really wanted to go home. Resisting the urge to smile, Roy said, "Don't you have a report to present?"

Ed shrugged, absentmindedly rubbing his now-flesh shoulder. "Yeah, sure, I'll revel you with the tales of that two-bit farming town and their pervert overlord later, but right now I have stuff to do." Ed rolled his eyes and muttered, as if Roy couldn't hear him, "s'not like you don't know what the hell happened anyway, with all that shit you gave me--"

"Well, I can't say I'm surprised to see you coming up short on your duties," Roy began.

"WHO ARE YOU CALLING SHORT!"

"Brother," admonished Al, latching a hand onto Ed's shoulder. It didn't do more than offer a brief resistance, but Ed halted instantly, as if Al was still encased within the armor and capable of holding him back so effortlessly.

"Al needs to see a doctor," Ed explained in lieu of yelling some more, looking for all the world like a teacher trying to explain something to his less-than-bright pupil. "He's sick."

"I am not, Brother," Al said before Roy could respond, and gave Roy a look. "Please make him stop, Colonel, he's gone crazy--"

"As opposed to before...?" Roy asked back, unable to resist the urge. He leaned against the wall, settling in for what was proving to be an interesting conversation.

"SHUT UP, and no, I haven't; I'm just taking precautions--"

"--three times, Brother, in the past week! I don't need to go to the doctor that often; you heard Doctor Anderson yourself! She says I'm fine!"

"You coughed, and this morning you had a fever--"

"NO, I DID NOT."

"YES, YOU DID."

"Your hand was just warm from making oatmeal, which you know I don't like--"

"It's healthy for you! The book said so!"

Attracted by the loud voices -- a sure sign of Fullmetal, but rarely the same for his brother --, Hawkeye stepped a bit closer to Roy, expression concerned. Behind her, Roy could see the rest of his staff watching with barely concealed amusement.

"Sir?" Hawkeye asked, "What do you propose we do about this situation?"

"Wait it out?" Roy suggested, not even bothering to hide his grin as he watched the two brothers snarl and snap at each other. Both boys were ignoring the others in the office, too involved in their argument to pay attention.

"Sir," Hawkeye repeated, and the hint of warning in her voice was as good as any click of the safety or stroke of a gun. "They're wasting office hours, and you have paperwork."

Roy sighed, and would have attempted to plead his case had it not been the last day before reports were due to the higher-ups. As it was, Roy supposed he was lucky for Hawkeye to have given him a warning before pulling out her sidearm.

"Boys," Roy said, trying his best to interject into the siblings' fight.

"--and you eat too much--"

"You eat more than me, and I can't help it if I like the taste of cake; it's not going to kill me--"

"Boys," Roy repeated, growing annoyed.

"And just last night, you had that headache--"

"That was because you were annoying me, Brother--!"

"FULLMETAL! ALPHONSE!"

The sharpness of Roy's tone made both boys halt and turn to Roy, Edward with irritation and Al with embarrassment. He waited a moment for the effect to sink in, and then continued, "Fullmetal, I expect that report on my desk in one hour. I'm afraid you'll have to forego your other plans for a moment and sit down to write your report."

"WHAT? That's not--"

"That's an ORDER, Fullmetal."

Edward bristled and seethed, but fell into forced silence.

"And Alphonse," Roy said, turning his stare onto the younger Elric with a bit of sympathy, "Do you feel all right?"

"Yes," Al replied instantly, shooting at quick glare at his brother. Ed made to say something but stopped short at Roy's expression.

"Go home, then," Roy instructed. "Fullmetal needs to work."

Al practically deflated with relief, his haggard expression lifting with the proclamation. Grinning, he said, "Thank you, Colonel! Bye, Brother! See you at home!"

He whirled around instantly and darted as fast as he could out the door.

"AL!" Ed snarled after his younger brother, barely stopping himself from chasing him. "YOU--!"

"Fullmetal!" Roy said, enjoying the twitching glower Ed bestowed upon him. "Your report. Start writing."

By this point in time, Hawkeye had respectfully backed away and the others, while clearly still listening in, were at least pretending to be doing something else. Ed ignored all of them, clearly debating the pros and cons of attacking his commanding officer. For a brief moment, Roy regretted sending Al away; if nothing else, the boy was good at restraining his older brother from doing stupid things.

Finally, Ed emitted a long sigh and slumped his shoulders in resignation. "Yes, sir," he muttered, saluting half-heartedly and meandering over to his desk, which was rarely used for anything other than storage.

"And Fullmetal?"

Ed tensed, back to Roy, waiting for the man to continue.

Roy smirked, knowing Ed couldn't see him, and said, "Might I suggest backing off and giving Alphonse more time to adjust to his body on his own?"

From the silence Roy received, it was clear that Ed had already been fretting about this and was not overly pleased with Roy pinning down his thoughts with such ease. (It was Edward, however, and Roy was nothing if not skilled in handling him.)

Then Roy added, "Besides, it doesn't seem like Alphonse needs your help staying healthy anyway; he's already so much taller than you--"

"ARGH! SHUT UP!"