"Naruto, your hair is pissing me off," Kedit growled, forcing another palmful of gel into the blonde strands that refused not to spike.
"My hair is a non-conformist - it won't conform to your rules," Naruto teased, earning himself a smack on the side of his head.
On Havoc's bed, Edward clutched a pillow and laughed, new automail shining in the daylight. It had been five months since the incident in the Briggs Mountains and all of Colonel Mustang's ass-kissing had finally convinced the military higher-ups that what he was planning wasn't such a bad idea after all.
"I don't know why you're trying to make him look so goofy," Edward said to Kedit, watching her adjust the lapels of her uniform, having given up on Naruto's hair. "I didn't look half as good as he does, and I got the position."
"You also worked for it," Kedit responded, making sure her nine braids were tucked away properly. "We're just a pair of recommendations."
"Knock, knock," Havoc called, rapping lightly on his own door. "Is everyone decent?"
"Finally," Kedit sighed. "And if you even think about making me un-decent, so help me... It took me half an hour to figure out how to put this damn thing on."
Havoc gave Kedit a swift kiss on her lips to quiet her before she could continue to rant. "Good thing you go it on, then, because it's time to go."
"Great." Kedit wiped her hands nervously on her shirt, suddenly making every wrinkle disappear. "Let's go, Naruto."
"Ok." Naruto cheerfully messed up his hair into spikes just to spite the Fox and gave Edward a quick kiss on the cheek. "Tell Alphonse-sensei that I finished off 'Othello' and I'm ready for 'Faust', ok?"
Edward kissed Naruto back lightly and nodded. "Will do."
Havoc took Kedit by the hand and led her and Naruto out of the apartment to a military-issued car. After clambering inside and taking off, Kedit made a few, nervous, last-minute adjustments to her appearance (making her pupils oval instead of the nervous slit, and making sure the white base of her braids didn't creep up to take over all her hair), stopping only when Havoc and Naruto made fun of her.
It was only when the Central HQ came into view that the seriousness of what was to happen seemed to his Naruto. He shifted nervously and tugged at the new fabric of his pants.
"Stop worrying, you two," Havoc told them from his spot in the driver's seat. "Everything's all worked out. All you have to do is show up, accept your letters, maybe show of your, ah, alchemy and then you're done."
"And Naruto," Kedit chastised, attempting to flatten the boy's hair again, "that does not mean the sexy no jutsu, you hear? We don't need the leader of this country's military coming after us."
Naruto slapped her hand away, smirking despite himself. "I know that baba-san, so stop bitching."
"Who the hell are you calling 'baba-san', bratling?! My birth certificate says I'm twenty-three."
"'Cause that's what you forced Colonel Mustang to put there."
Before a full-fledged fight could break out in his car, again, Havoc stopped and announced, "We're here, children. Hawkeye'll be waiting at the top for you. Good luck."
Kedit, having just slammed the door shut, squawked, "I thought you said we didn't need it!"
Havoc's response was to drive off to find a place to park the car.
"Your boyfriend's an asshole," Naruto teased, bounding up the long flight of stairs to the HQ.
"And your boyfriend is still taller than you!" Kedit called, chasing after him.
Hawkeye was indeed waiting just outside the door, looking as calm and collected as ever. She straightened the fabric of Naruto's uniform and brushed a bit of dust from Kedit's shoulder, informing them smartly, "You are to sit before the Führer. Do not speak unless it is to answer his questions. He will hand you two letters - you are not to open them there - and then Colonel Mustang will lead you out. Understood?"
"Yes, ma'am," Naruto and Kedit chorused.
"Good. Follow me." She turned and began to walk briskly toward the doors, hearing the other two scrambling behind her. The only pause she offered was right before the main doors so that the two could collect themselves. Then, with a final reprimanding glance, she pushed open the door to reveal a large room, lit only by a single lamp, and occupied only by the Führer Bradley and Colonel Mustang.
"Sit," Bradley instructed, motioning to two golden chairs that seemed to glow in the darkness.
Kedit lightly pushed the small of Naruto's back, urging him in first. The blonde walked in side, the Fox following closely, and neither even so much as flinched when the door was shut with a slam.
"I trust that I was not misinformed when I was told you two could perform the same sort of alchemy that our Fullmetal can, correct?"
"No, sir," Kedit and Naruto replied in unison.
"Then, may I have an example?" Bradley motioned before him and Naruto stood, internally commending himself for not jumping.
He took a breath and brought his hands together, fingers forming the necessary seals and he breathed to himself, " Rasengan."
Blue light filled between his palms, pure chakra contained within a swirling sphere. He held the ball up for inspection before collapsing it at Bradley's nod.
The Führer looked at Kedit. "And you?"
Naruto sat as Kedit stood. She strode forward to steps and clapped her hands to give the impression she was performing alchemy. She then dropped to her knees and pressed her hands to the floor. Forcing a flare of red, she used her inherent demon magic to pull forth the stone and marble into an intricately detailed statue of a raccoon fighting a fox. Bradley, whose eyes had narrowed minutely at the red flash, nodded and Kedit returned the floor to normal, remembering just barely to clap her hands.
The silence was oppressive as Kedit returned to her seat, waiting patiently for the verdict. Naruto's fingers twitched minutely and he quickly forced himself to still. Even Colonel Mustang seemed nervous, though there was nothing about him to reveal it.
Bradley sat for a long time with his eyes closed, hands clasped together before him. Kedit had the sudden urge to get up and poke him to see if he was still alive, but she forced herself to stay in the chair.
Finally, after several long, tense minutes, Fuhrer Bradley stood, a pair of thick manila envelopes suddenly in his hands. "It seems that Colonel Mustang was correct in recommending you two. I hope your new names continue to fit you two as they have just now."
Kedit and Naruto stood and stepped forward, wordlessly accepting their envelopes. Colonel Mustang strode over to stand next to them and, as Bradley saluted, the trio returned the motion.
"Dismissed," was all Bradley had to say as he took his seat again to make Mustang usher the two new alchemists out the door.
Hawkeye looked up from where she stood at ease, her eyes softening as she watched Kedit relax and Naruto tear into his envelope. The duo, minus Mustang, looked much more relaxed and happier than she remembered from that morning. The Colonel, though, looked worried about something.
Naruto was already scanning the cream-colored paper, ignoring everything else and drinking in the handwritten words penned in slick black ink, as Kedit just began to open her own envelope.
As the Fox was glancing over her letter and nodding to herself, Naruto paused, looking at the words with eyes slowly widening.
Folding up her letter and tucking it away in her pocket, Kedit looked at him questioningly. "What's wrong?"
A chuckle began in Naruto's throat, moving quickly and becoming a full-fledged roar of laugher. He held up his letter to proudly show Kedit and told her, "I always knew I'd be Hokage one day!"
Kedit's eyes softened as she looked at the words before her.
"We give the name Fire Shadow Alchemist to thy Naruto Uzumaki."
This took me forever to find that one part with the letter. That is my excuse for not having this out sooner.
Wow, I can't believe I finished this thing. And it's only taken me, what, three years? Thank you to all my loyal readers who put up with me being lazy and busy and confused all throughout this thing. I promise I'll write the sequel to this before the end of this year!
Well, for the final disclaimer of this fic, I don't own FMA or Naruto. See you at the sequel!