Disclaimer: I do not own FullMetal Alchemist. In any sense. It depresses me. I need a job…

SPOILERS! You have officially been warned. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Roy Mustang walked into the military office where he worked and was promptly hit in the face with a notepad. Before it could even hit the floor, the notepad burst into flames, leaving only a small pile of ashes at Mustang's feet. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and then opened them. Havoc, Fuery, and Breda stood, frozen, in the middle of the room. On Fuery's face was a look that could only be described as a mix of utter despair and complete terror.

"S-s-sir!" Fuery's eyes welled up with tears as the three officers moved to salute Mustang, who was still standing in the doorway.

"What exactly was that?" Mustang asked, staring them down.

"M-m-my … M-m-my n-notebook!"

"Mhm. And why did it end up in my face?"

None of them really wanted to tell Mustang that Havoc and Breda had been having a bit of fun at Fuery's expense by stealing his notebook and tossing it between them. It wasn't that Mustang would do anything to them, really. The game just seemed so much more childish when they were asked to explain their actions.

"Sir?" said a voice from behind Mustang. "Excuse me. You're blocking the door."

Mustang shifted to the right to allow First Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye through the door, arms filled with paperwork. He groaned when he saw the size of the pile. "Do I have to do all of that?"

"Yes," came the short reply. Hawkeye walked to Mustang's desk in front of the large window and set the stack of papers down. Mustang groaned again, and Hawkeye turned around to look at him. "And some of these need to be sent out to East Headquarters tonight, so you can't put it off."

"Can't you put those ones off to one side so I know they're the important ones?"


"But why not? Then I would know that they had to be done first."

"Because," Hawkeye replied with a knowing look, "you'd spend all day slowly going through those few and the rest of the work wouldn't get done."

Mustang cursed to himself. She knew him far too well. "But I'm a cripple! How can you expect me to do all that work?" he shouted, gesturing wildly at the large black eye patch that covered the upper half of the left-hand side of his face.

By this time, the other three officers had slunk to their desks. They had endured this particular routine for the past month, and they all knew from years of experience to stay out of the way when Mustang didn't want to do work (they also knew to stay out of the office altogether when said disdain for work was because of an impending date). Hawkeye gave no response to Mustang's whining, but turned and sat at her own desk. She pulled the first sheet off her paperwork pile, which was considerably smaller than his. Reluctantly, Mustang moved toward his own desk and sat heavily in his chair, picking up the pen on the desk and twirling it idly between his gloved fingers.

Mustang didn't hate his job in the least, despite his attitude towards paperwork. He had missed his position and his team terribly when he had taken the solitary position in the North. But he had needed the time away to cope and recuperate. He had killed a man. Granted, he had killed a lot of people before (that, unfortunately, is the business of the military and a fact of war), and he hated doing it every time, but this time he had killed the Fuhrer, the most powerful man in the nation. He had been aiming at the position himself in order to right the wrongs of the country (and to force the female members of the military to wear miniskirts), but that dream had been dashed to right another wrong: the Homonculi. He had worked for years towards that dream, and in one night it was gone, along with the use of his left eye, and the FullMetal Alchemist.

Thinking of Edward Elric and his brother, Alphonse, brought Mustang to a more recent memory, the reason he could now sit and daydream at that desk. Ed had returned a month ago from beyond the gate, bringing in his wake an army of monstrous machinations from another world. Even in the seclusion of his icy post, Mustang had felt the gate opening inside himself. He had rushed to Central, his instincts telling him that he would be needed. He had arrived at Headquarters to see the military, his own former subordinates among them, struggling against the foreign invaders. They had followed his orders without question, as though two years had not passed and he was still their commanding officer. In fact, they had been glad to serve under him again, though he didn't quite understand the reason (the egotistical part of his mind said it was because he was an exemplary leader). Even Hawkeye, who had been closest to him after Maes Hughes, who put up with every stunt he pulled, watching his back at every move, and who had gone two years without any real personal communication with him, had welcomed him back rather than resenting the loss of her freedom from him (his ego kicked in again here). In the end, he had aided the Elric brothers in keeping the nation safe, and had seen them both cross the gate, leaving him to destroy it on this side. For "loyalty to the nation and bravery in the face of unknown danger" he had been reinstated to the familiar position of Colonel and given command over his former subordinates.

"Colonel?" Hawkeye's voice pulled Mustang from his extended mental flashback.

"Yes, Lietenant Hawkeye?"


He heaved an overly dramatic sigh, reached forward for the first paper, and began signing the papers with his terribly illegible signature without bothering to read the documents. Why create more work for himself?

A/N: My nerdiness knows no bounds! Actually, it does. It draws the line at anything by Gene Whatshisface. You know, the Star Trek and Andromeda guy. ANYWAY, after adamantly denying the existence of anime for many, many years, I have been suckered into it by my roommate and our friend. I then continued to fall downward in the rabbit hole, until I hit the bottom. Any who have gotten to the point of actually reading this author's note have just witnessed my journey through the door and into the Beyond that is the anime world. I'm a geek. There are no other words for it (which is true, because I'm nowhere near Otaku level, but nor am I the person who watches Inuyasha irregularly and says they're an anime fan).

This chapter kinda sucked…. Rats, I hate exposition! It's just so DULL, but you have to do it, otherwise no one knows what's going on, and then everyone's confused, which is not a good thing, trust me. I'm almost permanently confused. You don't want to be like me. I promise the next chapter will contain something remotely resembling a story. W00t! If you have any ideas, feel free to suggest them. I've got most of the story planned out in my head, but tidbits are always welcome. They help me get started. I suffer constant writer's block (as you can see from the number of finished fics on my profile: TWO. And they were oneshots, so I'm not even sure that counts…).

I'm trying to keep this as true to the series as I can (animeverse. I'm just starting to get my hands on the manga now). No promises for zero OOCness, though. This is fan fiction. You all know we don't do zero OOC here. If it were like that, this would be canon, and we would all be making money from it.

If you read it and liked it, a virtual peanut butter brownie for you!

If you read it and didn't like it, you still get a peanut butter brownie for reading! Yours just doesn't have chocolate on top.

If you read and reviewed, two chocolate-drizzled peanut butter brownies!

Also, if you spot a typo, feel free to point it out to me. The keyboard isn't exactly my friend (except the backspace button, who kinda keeps the peace between us).

Purple buttons rock!