A/N: Written in honour of Father's Day. Who can resist Roy-Ed paternal interaction? Though it's surprising I managed to come up with something this fluffy at all, considering how cynical I am about this event.
Manga readers will recognize the chess-playing General Roy is referring to.
Edward Elric's returns from missions, were rarely peaceful events. Indeed, it was quite customary for them to be accompanied by much scowling, door slamming, heated outbursts and complaints. What the Fullmetal Alchemist lacked in height he more than made up for in temper, and it was a well known fact that he and his superior, Colonel Roy Mustang, got along none too well. There was also the fact that every successfully solved mission meant that yet another possible lead on the Philosopher's Stone had proved to be fruitless. Volatile fireball that he was, Ed did not take well to delays, nor to failure. All in all, it was scarcely to be wondered at that handing in his report to Roy after each mission, was as often as not such a tempestuous affair.
As such, it was not with surprise but only a wearied sigh that Roy greeted his subordinate as he burst into his office abruptly one morning, the door practically bouncing off its hinges before swinging back to settle against its frame with a resounding thud. Ed ignored the noise, and stalking up to Roy's desk, tossed his report onto it with a scowled "There.", before shoving his hands in his pockets, looking at the door, fidgeting, and generally giving every sign that he would like to be somewhere else.
Long resigned to his subordinate's moods, Roy merely sighed and picked up the report. As he did so however, he could not help but notice something strange.
"Alphonse isn't with you?" he inquired in an offhand manner, as he flipped the report open and set it down on his desk, turning through the messy, hastily bound sheaf of papers. He retrieved his fountain pen from its stand and uncorked it.
Ed didn't answer at first, but scowled and looked away, shoving his hands even deeper into his pockets. Eventually though, he mumbled an ungracious something about "Not sure where he is."
Roy's pen paused, and he looked up. Now he knew something was definitely wrong. The brothers went everywhere together. He could barely remember a handful of times he had seen Ed without the hulking grey suit of armour that was always at his side. He considered saying something, but Ed spoke up before he had a chance.
"Just hurry up and finish whatever you have to do with that report, Colonel." he said brusquely. "I haven't got all day to hang around.
"Why, and I suppose I do." Roy retorted sarcastically. However, he accquiesed, and turned back to the report. It was as he thumbed through the scrawled pages and came to the end, and saw the date scribbled there, that comprehension dawned.
"Actually…" he spoke up after a pause, choosing his words carefully. "I think this might take some time to look through. I may have to ask you some things. Why don't you sit down?"
Ed stared at him in disbelief. "You've gotta be kidding me…" he began, but Roy narrowed his eyes at him, and after a moment, he scowled and stomped towards the couch against the wall. Plonking himself down, he swung one leg over the other, and crossed his arms in front of him, muttering various strings of epithets under his breath.
Roy waited till the boy seemed to have calmed down, occasionally turning pages of the report. He noted, as always, that whatever else he might have learnt in his time in the military, Ed's handwriting still seemed to be at preschooler levels of scribbling and scrawling.
"So." he began casually after a few minutes. "Did something happen between you and Alphonse?"
For a while, he thought Ed wasn't going to answer. Eventually though, he muttered "He said something about the day…and I went off at him."
Roy nodded. He had presumed as much. "The day?" he asked carefully.
Ed's head snapped back to glare at him. "Father's Day, you bastard. Don't act like you don't know it. In fact—" he uncrossed his arms and leaned forward, fixing Roy with a furious golden stare. "I can tell what you're trying to do with all of this, you know, and you might as well give it up."
Quirking an eyebrow, Roy turned back to the report without answering. Moving through the pages, he continued to sign wherever was necessary, occasionally—or rather, very often—putting query marks at places where Ed had conveniently left out important details.
"It's just such a farce!" Ed burst out petulantly, and he had to struggle to hold back his smile. "All these people, going all dippy and gushing over Father's day, buying cards and suchlike…" his words trailed off into a snort of disgust.
"My my, cynical, aren't we?" Roy commented dryly, not looking up from the report.
"Oh yeah?" If looks could kill, he would have dropped dead on the spot from the one that Ed was giving him. "Easy for you to say, bastard. Bet your father was some bigshot military guy, right?" His tone was loud and brash, but there was hurt hidden in those golden eyes.
"General, felicitated twice and decorated umpteen times." Roy murmured smoothly, with just the hint of a smirk. His pen moved smoothly over the paper.
Ed snorted and leaned back on the couch, crossing his arms once more. "Yeah, as I figured. You look like the spoilt brat type to me." he said snidely.
"Actually, he was a pompous oaf who only cared about the stars and stripes on his uniform, and I had virtually no relations with him."
"Oh." Ed's voice dropped away, golden eyes widening in slight surprise. He squirmed, looking very thrown-off by this sudden contradiction. "Er…okay." he settled for mumbling after a few moments, before determinedly looking away at the ceiling.
Roy had to hide a smile once more at the boy's discomfiture. "It wasn't that I didn't have a father figure, though. In fact, I was lucky enough to find a mentor in my superior at my old post in East Headquarters. An old General. Quite the character, and one mean chess player." A reflective look passed across his face.
"Yeah?" Ed mumbled. He still had his head turned away, but it was evident from his posture that he was listening. "Your superior officer, huh."
With a sigh, Roy put his pen down, and flipped the report closed. Placing his elbows on the desk in front of him, he locked his fingers together and rested his chin on them, turning his full gaze on Ed. "Yes." he said, voice a little sharper this time. "You see, Fullmetal…" he paused for a moment here, searching for the right words. "A father doesn't necessarily have to be the one who sired you."
Ed's shoulders tensed visibly at this, and he swung his head back to look at Roy, bewilderment and wonder registering in his eyes. There was such a look of aching vulnerability on his face, that, for a moment, Roy wondered if he was looking at the same person.
Silence hung in the room for a few moments, before Roy gathered up the report and pushed his chair back with a deliberate screech, serving to break the spell.
"Right," he said briskly, returning to his normal businesslike tone. "I'm done here. You're free to go, Fullmetal."
Moving slowly, Ed rose to his feet, still wearing that look of slight wonder, as if he was having trouble registering what had just occurred. He moved wordlessly to the door, and pulling it open, paused to look back over his shoulder.
"Colonel…" he hesitated, casting his eyes down to look at the floor, and seeming severely embarrassed by what he was saying. "Roy. Thank you." He cast Roy one of his familiar manic grins, and then was gone, the door thudding softly shut behind him.
Leaning back in his chair, Roy smiled, and allowed himself the luxury of a small chuckle.
A/N: Read and review, please!