So it has been YEARS since I even logged into my account! And you know what? That is a horrible, horrible thing! I can't believe I've neglected these stories for that long! I mean… I don't even remember WRITING half of this crap! (btw, Ianguage warning in all of my C-O stories lol) But you know what? I'm going to fix that… Starting NOW!
NOTE: I have purposefully not read a SINGLE previous "episode" of C-O As… (read: Cracked-Out Adventures) – and so the styles will probably be completely different! I just wanted my first foray back into the depths of Eastern Command to be as organic and original as possible – no outside influences. Maybe you'll like the new style – maybe you won't. Either way, it's bound to progress and change, just like the story always has… Please keep reviewing, and KEEP SENDING ME YOUR CRACKED-OUT STORIES!!!
Disclaimer: I do not own FMA, nor will I ever… But boy, do I wish I could! And no, I do not support the usage of crack or other illegal drugs – it just makes for a more interesting plot – or lack thereof!
#19: The New FMA's Cracked-Out Reunion Special!
The desert winds outside of Eastern Command pulled at the figure in the long red coat, his braided golden hair matching the late-afternoon sun's rays in both intensity and color.
"Brother...?" a muffled, tinny voice called out from somewhere below. "Brother, where are you?"
"Sigh… Right here, Al…"
The figure's thin frame stooped down, wearily pushing away at the sand with laborious movements, the right arm working harder than the left… Suddenly there was a loud, scratchy 'clunk' – the sound of metal scraping upon gritty metal. The blond figure gave a small smile.
"There you are…"
Two red orbs, softly glowing through the caverns of a horned metal helmet, looked up with enthusiasm as the sun shone down into his sunken hole. Yet despite the relief he couldn't help but notice the sadness behind his brother's smile…
Roy Mustang's eyes lazily stared at the clock on the adjacent wall of his office, only vaguely aware of the time. He sat brooding at his desk, doing nothing… Saying nothing…
His eyes glanced over, taking her in – yet the messages his mind received stayed where they were rather than giving his body directions like they normally would – to run, hide, cry… Or all three.
"A-hem," she said.
He propped his elbows up on the desk, still hunched over but giving her his full attention – or at least what was left of it.
Riza Hawkeye sighed… Her work was never done, was it?
"Colonel," she said in her usual brisk manner, "your paperwork… Has it been completed yet?"
"You know full well that it hasn't, First Lieutenant…" Roy drawled out, his speech as thick and slow as the stifling summer air.
Riza's expression pained as she watched Roy's eyes drift from her, his focus blurring, until he was gazing at some far off place that was neither here nor there – a place that she could not go… A place where she could not help him…
"Nnnnnngh," Ed half-yawned, stretching out his arms.
"Brother, isn't it great to be back?!" Alphonse asked excitedly. "And to think we haven't been here in years! Won't this be wonderful, Brother?"
"Yeah, I guess…" Ed replied moodily, staring at the hustle and bustle of East City with a look of complete disinterest.
"Oh, Ed…" the suit of armor sighed.
"Colonel," Riza called out from the other side of the office door, a cup of warm coffee in her hands – the only remedy she could offer.
"… Colonel?" Riza asked, much more gently this time. She could only imagine what he must be going through right now, this confusing anniversary… They had both been so panic-stricken, so concerned… But her instinct to always get the job done had kept her focused and on-task, and so she had moved on, bringing Mustang with her like she knew she had to. Yet even she couldn't maintain this cold demeanor when right now the man that she loved was hurting so much…
She gently opened the door.
"Colonel, I – "
Her eye twitched.
"Brother, honestly, don't you want to go and see them? We haven't been here in ages, they must be worried sick about us!" Alphonse pleaded with his smaller, yet older, brother as they walked towards Eastern Command.
"Worried sick? What for? I never told them to worry about me…" Ed replied indignantly.
"Grr, you can be such an idiot sometimes, Brother!"
"What?!" Ed exploded, stopping and turning on his heel so that he was looking up directly into the emotionless steel mask that was his brother's face. "Who're you calling an idiot, you idiot?!"
"I'm an idiot? You're the one that left without so much as a good-bye!"
"That gives you no excuse to call your older brother an idiot, Al!" Edward snapped back.
"But haven't you ever wondered how they are? Or what they've been doing? They must have searched for us for months!"
"Don't be stupid, Al, they wouldn't do that…" Ed grumbled, crossing his arms and turning his back on his brother.
"Edward… You know they cared for us…" Al said softly.
His brother remained silent, motionless except for his golden braid and the hem of his coat being gently buffeted by the wind.
"Why, Ed? Why would you do that to them?" the younger brother asked, a trace of pain in his eternally-young voice.
Ed's shoulders shook. He gritted his teeth and shut his eyes against what he knew could only come next…
Yet the tears fell forth, spotting the dusty road with sadness and shame…
Riza's nerve continued to twitch ever so slightly, her eyes closed and her face pulled into a grimace, trying to remain calm.
Roy stretched out in his chair and propped his feet up on his desk, a nervous grin on his face. "Lieutenant, please… Come sit down and relax, there's no use in getting angry."
Her eyes snapped open.
She glared at him.
'Please, God, don't let her kill me… Please, God, don't let her kill me…' Roy prayed with desperation as his right-hand woman and the best sniper in all of Eastern Command walked towards him with slow, deliberate steps.
The old fear was back, he thought ruefully…
Suddenly he began to laugh.
"Come on, Brother," Al said, his large armored hand resting gently on the thin should of the mournful Edward as he guided him up the steps of Eastern Command.
"What's so funny?" Riza asked, her eyes narrowed in suspicion, searching him for answers to this unprovoked outburst.
"Nothing, nothing…" Roy chuckled, his first true smile in over two years dawning on his face as he lifted his head to look at her.
Ed shuffled his feet through the long marble hallways, his brother, like an ever-present shadow, clanking at his side. His mind raced, two years of thoughts and emotions all flooding forth and grappling for attention inside his head.
Al looked side-ways at him; he could almost see the thoughts forming inside his brother's head, see the gears turning and the contents of a thousand books being sorted through, books that wouldn't be able to help him with what he was about to face.
Ed stopped. The light of the setting sun through the windows cast his shadow across the hall.
The suit of armor quietly turned and gazed at the down-trodden form of his elder brother, the pain and confliction written upon his old yet still-so-young face…
"Al, I… I…I'm…"
"Don't, brother," Alphonse said somberly. "We're almost there – you can tell them soon."
Ed looked up at his brother and then back down at the floor, his golden bangs covering his eyes; he slowly nodded.
They walked on.
"C-colonel…" Riza said somewhat breathlessly. She was so taken aback to see that… happiness… there – on his face again, in his eyes again… Yet it was a surprise mixed with its own kind of bittersweet joy.
He smiled at her again, much more softly this time.
"I'm sorry," he said. "I shouldn't have laughed; it's just… It's been so long since I've… I've…" he lapsed into silence, faltering. He stared at the floor, searching his mind for the right words, but they just wouldn't come.
"Yes?" she asked, taking a few small steps towards him until they were almost face-to-face.
He looked up – saw her gazing at him with concern and just the faintest glimmer of hope, a feeling he knew that she allowed so precious little of in her life. He felt his heart open towards her, his soul wanting to pull her in, into his arms, into his heart… To embrace her and never let go…
His heart stopped. It always did when she used his name…
He slowly, slowly began to reach his hand out to her…
"Roy…" she said, her voice barely above a whisper.
His heart stopped again.
"Ed, we're here…"
Edward looked up, the sight of the giant oaken doors bringing back so many memories it was painful. The weight in his chest grew heavier; he felt like it was going to tear open his heart, suffocate him with its swelling presence. Everything he had ever wanted to say, everything he had ever felt for those two people on the other side of this door was now screaming inside his mind, yearning to be let out.
He felt the tears burning behind his eyes, the words he wanted to say – those words of surrender and humility, the equivalent exchange for forgiveness – seemed to physically be in his mouth, resting lightly on his tongue, ready to be thrown out the moment those doors opened…
Al turned the tarnished brass handle…
The lock clicked.
Ed's heart stopped.
They were now only inches apart; Roy's hands were on her arms, ever so lightly – like a moth's wing against the coarse fibers of her jacket.
She closed her eyes; he leaned in…
Her heart stopped.
Al opened the door wide.
He took in the view of those two people – two of the most important in his and his brother's lives – frozen, standing in what was the split-second before intimacy…
He and his brother stood in the doorway, motionless…
Both pairs were suspended in time, no one moving for fear of the other's flight…
'If I still had my heart,' Al thought, 'I'm sure it would've stopped…'
"A-hem…" Roy coughed, stepping away from his colleague – the silence broken. He scratched at the back of his head, letting his gaze roam around his office.
Riza blushed with evident discomfort.
Ed looked on with general bemusement.
"Uhhh…" Al said, desperately trying to think of a way to repair the situation. "Ed!"
All three sets of eyes in the room looked up at him.
"Ed, don't you have something you wanted to tell them?"
Ed stared at his younger brother with a look of blank confusion.
"Um… Roy? I mean, Colonel?" Riza asked in a small voice.
Roy quickly glanced back at her.
Her heart was racing – she had to know… Had to hear it… "What… What was it you were trying to tell me?"
Roy looked at Ed; Ed looked at Roy. They both looked back at their respective partners…
"… What are you talking about?" the two men said in unison.
Al and Riza both stood there, dumb-founded.
"What do you mean, 'what are you talking about?!'" they both cried in exasperation.
"You were just about to tell me that – " Riza blurted.
"Y-you were just about to tell them how – " Al stuttered.
The two state alchemists said nothing, continuing to stare at the babbling figures across from them as if in hopes that they would finally say something that made sense.
"Aaaand…?" Roy asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Sooo…?" Ed prodded, cocking his head to one side.
"But… But…" Al stammered.
"But I almost got my kiss…!" Riza shouted.
"But you were about to apologize…!" Al pleaded.
Al and Riza both turned and stared at each other with looks of shock and dismay.
"But I almost got Roy to admit that he loved me…!"
"And I almost got my brother to admit that he was wrong…!"
… The sound of their sanity breaking was almost audible, like the faint, tinkling crack of a crystal as it falls upon a stone floor, tiny shards splintering off, shattering, glinting softly in the fading sunlight…
"…What's with them?" Roy asked after a minute, looking to Ed for insight.
"Beats the hell out of me," Ed shrugged, staring out the door with a confused yet disapproving expression.
"Yup," Ed agreed.
"… They'll come back eventually, won't they?"
"Should. We can always call animal control later."
"Oh yeaaaaah…" Roy said with dawning realization.
"… Wanna go get something to eat?"
Roy shrugged. "Sure. You're paying, though – you owe me."
Ed gave a despondent sigh. "Well, I guess I had that coming… So what are you in the mood for?"
"You know, strangely enough I have a craving for pickles…"
"Well, that's odd…"
"I know, I can't understand it either…"
Meanwhile, somewhere in the vast tracks of the distant desert, the cracked-out cries of "GIANT PICKLE!" echoed through the night, just as they used to all those years ago…
Yay! :D Ok, so I know that this wasn't exactly the most riveting story humor-wise, but I felt like this is the way that it needed to be… I'll be going back to that full-on, slap-stick humor, don't you worry, but at the same time I wanted to give you all a taste again of how I write – deeper, more subtle… Those little random "LOL" moments that I'm sure you all look forward to so much… :) BTW, I honestly can't remember if Roy and Riza ever kissed in one of my previous stories – for the sake of the plot, we'll just go ahead and assume that they haven't…
So, I hope that you liked it – and please comment and review! I'd hate for those hours not spent studying to go to waste… :P Also, please pass the word along to your FMA-loving friends – gotta get my readership back up! My next project – after I finish up with my summer courses, of course (college sucks… Stay in school, kids!) – is going to be revising my flag-ship fanfic, "The New Fullmetal Alchemist" – so GET EXCITED!
And please do submit your stories for me to FMA-ify and pump full of illicit substances, because I want to do at least one more story, preferably fan-based, before September 4th – which, if you didn't know (and you probably didn't), is my 21st birthday! And my 21st C-O A will be a reflection of such! *big cheesy grin*
See you guys soon, and thanks for sticking around – it's great to be back after 2 years! Hopefully these new stories will be like a fine wine – getting better with age!
-The New FMA