Prologue: In Which There Is A Peculiar Dream
He found himself face down on a white marble floor, the cuffs of his shirt-sleeves digging into his cheek.
"…I should really find something more comfortable to sleep in," Roy muttered to himself as he stood upright. As he searched for his shoes – his feet were bare in a manner that was rather undignified for a high-ranking officer – he noticed his surroundings were a bit peculiar. As in… there was nothing there.
Not even his shoes.
It was all rather perplexing. "Where am I?" he wondered aloud.
"Damn it. Seriously, Mustang, be quiet! Can't you see we're a little busy here?"
He stared. "Ed…?"
That seemed to be Fullmetal, all right, right down to the red coat and the alchemy sign on his back. The annoying twerp was twisting to face him from a seat at a round wooden table, surrounded with strange companions – an oversized rabbit (which, strangely enough, seemed to be even taller than Edward), an old man with horrendously frizzy white hair and a bulbous nose, and lastly, a shifty-eyed meerkat that sat atop a plump warthog.
The latter was snorting in irritation as the meerkat grumbled, "…And here we have yet ANOTHER clueless human… hurry it up, Ed, won't you?"
The boy sighed. "Yeah, yeah, just a minute. Roy…" there was an impatient glint in his eye, "could you wait a little? I kind of want to finish this."
Roy was too flabbergasted to reply normally. This was a dream, right? "Oh, um… sure…?"
"Thanks." He pulled his cards back into his hand and faced the others. "Seven chips and a carrot."
"Guten tag," the old man greeted Roy before turning to narrow his eyes at Ed. "You're voking on dangeruz grondz, Edvard…" the old man raised his eyebrows. "Ah do 'op you're not trying to blaf…"
"Me, bluff? Ha!"
"Very well then." He tossed something into the middle as well. "Two carrots."
"Only two? Scared now, are we?" Ed gloated.
Meanwhile, the rabbit turned to Roy. "Hey… what's up doc?" he said, munching on his own carrot.
"Close your mouth, stupid rabbit, and don't eat my winnings," Ed huffed, instantly glaring. "And leave the man alone, will ya?"
"Yeah, yeah," the rabbit gestured dismissively. "No need for insults, you know." He clicked his tongue in reprimand and shook his head. "Tsk tsk tsk."
"Hey guys, back to the game! How else are Timon and I gonna win all these bugs?"
"You heard the warthog," the meerkat said. "Let's get this started!"
Roy continued staring.
…Two minutes later…
"One interdimensional formula…"
This one was followed by grumbles.
"Oh, that's so not fair."
"You're fricking kidding me, Einstein. Emc2? That old junk?"
"-All right, two interdimensional formulas."
"...And a ladybug."
…Five minutes later…
Sigh. "I vold."
"Dang, Pumbaa… all the goods gone to waste on a rabbit and a kid…"
"Watch it, tiny. Well, Bugs..?"
"I told you not to call me that."
The rabbit smirked. "Well, doc? Gonna fold?"
"You wish, furball. Raise the stakes?"
"Five carrots and three alchemic formulas."
"Haha! Read it and weep!" Edward chortled, spreading his hand on the table. "Royal Flush!"
"Oh really… that's too bad." Smugly, the rabbit showed his cards. "Because I thought I had a winning suit of some kind…Five of a kind, if I'm not mistaken…"
Fullmetal groaned and leaned back on his backrest. "Crap. I can't believe I got beaten by a damn rodent at poker… what a blow to my ego…"
He got up and stretched, his back arching like a particularly athletic feline, while behind him the table and strange companions promptly disappeared. The metal arm swung in circles and he crooked his neck, letting out a relieved sigh as it cracked grotesquely.
"Ahh… that's better… Well. Roy. You've been pretty patient, for a bastard." He stopped to yawn, and Roy could have sworn he heard something squeal in protest.
This was a very strange dream.
"So. Um. How's it going, Colonel?"
The man crossed his arms as he stopped to ponder the question. "All right, considering."
"Considering what?" he asked curiously.
"Considering you keep bothering me in my damn sleep, that's what."
The boy sniggered. "Don't look at me, you're the one dreaming. Maybe that says something about your desperate hidden desire for me…" He stretched his arms again. "Pedophile…"
Even though it was a dream, the accusation made him feel more than mildly disturbed. "Rest assured it's nothing of the sort, Fullmetal. I would sooner eat my boot."
"Whatever you say, Flame."
"...My subconscious must be exaggerating things. I don't remember you being quite this annoying."
"Maybe you're just not remembering right. You are getting on in years, after all."
"No," he said decisively. "In any case, my sights are set on someone much more impossible to reach than you, Fullmetal." He gave a dramatic sigh.
Ed seemed unimpressed. "You mean Riza? Didn't she go out with you a couple of days ago?"
"Yet still unattainable as ever…" his eyes glazed.
The other shook his head and snickered. "Poor Flame Alchemist… the womanizer who finally got caught by a woman out of his league…"
His eyes narrowed before he decided to match the blond blow for blow. "Really? And what about the ignorant, insensitive, not-interested-in-women-yet little kid of an alchemist who can't see what's under his own nose? Is he not 'caught' as well?" He smirked, knowing that the other probably had no idea what he was talking about, and would be torn between exploding at his "little" taunt and finding out. As if I don't know about his mechanic girl…
Yet strangely enough, Edward did neither. He only smiled… as if he knew what Roy was thinking.
"You forget, Roy…"
Suddenly the man had a vision of a satisfied smile, a carefree laugh, a bloody corpse and a boy wailing his grief to the world and pulling the man down with him. He clutched his head and staggered to his knees, crying out as the memories flooded him.
And all the while Ed watched him, smile gentle and unyielding.
A/N: 'Ello... been a while. In my defense, I had exams, applications to work on, and my laptop's busted - as in completely internetless, hard-drive-less, and snail's-pace-processing...less. But I'm back!... if only for now.I'm riding off a high - I just got into the best college I applied to!
Anyhoo. This is actually a remake of my other Fullmetal fic, Sooner or Later, which I just scrapped today. This is ONLY THE PROLOGUE. I realize it's a bit... weird (hopefully still enjoyable).But if you think this going to be a crackfic... well, you're wrong. There's plenty of Ed and Al and Roy angst to come. So please, give it a chance.
As always, I do not own the marvel that is FMA. I'll leave that to people who actually have a clue.
And yes, Bugs Bunny won the poker game. He's a vewy talented wabbit, after all.