Disclaimer: FMA is NM. (Not mine.)

Author's Note: This was inspired by the doujinshi "Love Brace." It's in Japanese, so I couldn't really read it, but GEEZ—it was so damn cute, I couldn't stop squealing! EEEEEE! XD

Anyway, please enjoy!

Dedication: For Lessa, who loves Papa!Roy as much as I do. :3

(PS. FMA Dictionary of Terms: Papa!Roy— (n) Roy Mustang acting in a parental, caring, older-brother-ly/fatherly way; taking care of the Elric brothers despite the shit they get themselves into.)


Battle of the Bands


"…in conclusion," the Fullmetal Alchemist stated firmly, though with an evident feeling of monotony, rustling the papers in his flesh hand, "that radical group you were SO fucking worried about? Yeah, it was run by a bunch of morons who wouldn't know how to cause Real Trouble if it came with an instruction booklet." The end. Ed nodded, he snorted; he cast a smirking leer over his slapdash report, as if daring the Colonel to object to his adlibbing. But no, Roy Mustang had yet to open his mouth.

Hell, he had yet to blink.

Edward cocked an eyebrow, torn between confusion and satisfaction. Perhaps the older man was simply shocked by how wrong his assumptions had been on the rebels… Well, he shouldn't be. Even Hawkeye had agreed that this had been a stupid case to pursue. Still, if he was anything, the Flame Alchemist was stubborn… quietly so, unlike other individuals, but stubborn nonetheless—and so he had insisted on the investigation. Pity it seemed all of his plans had been for naught.

Or not. Depending on your viewpoint. Either way…

The blonde teen shrugged when, after another moment or two, his superior officer had yet to respond. Whatever—let the idiot flounder in his disbelief. It wasn't Edward's problem anymore. "All right, then," the blonde drawled, clomping a few feet closer to Roy's desk; moving to lazily toss the scribbled statement in the man's direction. "If that's all, then I'll be goin' hom—"

He was rudely cut off and quite abruptly stopped by a strong hand clamping around his wrist. In words, this gesture could be translated to "no, that's NOT all, dammit." Well he could have just SAID so, Ed thought grumpily, twisting his head to shoot an irate glare at the Colonel.

However, Mustang wasn't looking at his face. He was looking lower.

At the hand he'd grasped.

"What is this, Fullmetal?" the Flame Alchemist briskly inquired, voice full of stark surprise and… was that a hint of amusement? Ed's frown darkened, wrenching his wrist away; clasping the 'abused limb' with his metal fingers. "Surely mine eyes deceive me."

"Are you blind as well as incompetent? It's a ring, you moron," Edward retorted sourly, tucking his hands back into their proper gloves—gloves that he'd only removed because of the blistering summer heat. Even then, the movement had been hesitant… it had taken tea, spilt due to sweat-slick fabric, to change his mind.

Now Roy was glad he had. It was his turn to lift a delicate eyebrow, smiling faintly over his laced fingers. "And why, pray tell, is it on your ring finger?"

"A ring on my ring finger?" Ed cast him a flat look. "Think about it a while. It might come to you."

"That's not what I meant," Mustang shot back, though his puzzled pleasure was only growing. "You know perfectly well what a ring on one's ring finger means."

"It wouldn't fit on the thumb?"

"Marriage," the Colonel retorted—though his tone was light and nearly teasing, darkened by a prying note of inquisitiveness. "It means that you're married, Fullmetal. I know that you know that— or if you didn't, that you're at least observant enough to figure it out. For that matter, you don't even like jewelry. At least, you've never worn any before, leading me to believe that you wouldn't be wearing any still unless it had some sort of sentimental value."

He paused to gauge Edward's reaction; waited for the boy to deny everything. Strangely, however, the blonde didn't make a reaction—not of any kind. He just listened, unworriedly interested. Roy's brow furrowed. "But the funny thing is, Edward," the older man concluded slowly, tapping a finger steadily against his forearm, "I don't recall you courting anyone.


Ed's pleased grin gave him away. "Perhaps I just don't advertise my love life, like some people around here," he purred, tightening his gloves with a distinct snap of cloth. In a single fluid movement, he lifted his tattered scarlet coat from the back of the couch and started towards the exit.

This was too much.

"Who is it, Fullmetal?" Roy asked, resisting the urge to stand and grab the teenager—resisting with all of his might. But his will was weakened by his growing bafflement. Who on earth could it be? Heck, how many women did Edward know? Not many… some of the female soldiers, but most of them were old enough to be his mother. Really, the only girls he was acquainted with—to Mustang's knowledge, anyway— was Elysia (oh, HELL no) and his automail mechanic, Winry. And, while Winry made an obvious choice, she was rarely in Central— and clearly absent now. Wouldn't she be living with Edward and Alphonse if she and Fullmetal had tied the knot? Ergo, despite the improbability of it all, it made more sense that Ed had gotten hitched to some girl in town. But when had he the time to date her, let alone marry her?

Roy's lips pursed. "Well?" he pressed, surprisingly impatient. And also (though he'd never admit it) a little hurt. Why hadn't anyone heard about a marriage ceremony? They most certainly would have come… "Who did you marry?"

But Edward, who'd long since made it to the doorway, simply flashed a toothy grin, sliding out of the room.


Rumors spread like wildfire. Fueled, of course, by the Flame Alchemist—who had never been so motivated in his life. After all, Edward—the child he'd been caring for (albeit indirectly, or even coldly, at times) since the blonde was… well, even shorter than currently… had gotten married, and Mustang couldn't even find out to whom. Not only was it rather insulting, it was irritating as hell. The Colonel didn't like secrets being kept from him… and neither, it seemed, did the rest of the military.

At least, where Fullmetal was involved.

"Good morning, Ed!" Sheska beamed over a stack of heavy volumes, thick glasses askew. Edward returned the casual greeting with a crooked little grin, fixing the young woman's spectacles on the bridge of her nose. Then he took her of half her pile, much to her relief. "Thanks…"

"No problem," Ed replied easily, flipping his ponytail over his shoulder as he tucked the books under his arm. "Where to?"

Silly question. "The library," the brunette sang, breathing a bit easier now. "The Colonel asked me to do some research."

"On what?" Edward asked conversationally, not really paying attention at all. He was preoccupied, odd as it seemed, with his clothes. As he was back for a few months of desk duty, he was again forced to dress in his military outfit—which he clearly did not appreciate, if his irritated tugs on the decorative buttons was any sort of indication. His mouth turned down in an irked sort of way. Sheska noticed his apparent distraction with an obvious attempt at airiness.

"Nothing much… just wedding records," she said all-too-innocently. Ed's shoulders instinctively tensed. "Recent wedding records. Want to help?"

"…" The second half of the tome heap landed in an unsuspecting Havoc's arms, who had been walking in the opposite direction with an expression on his face which clearly read: 'of course I'm not eavesdropping.' "NO," Ed unnecessarily verbalized after this sudden action, though he seemed more amused than angry. Regardless, he turned away with a flutter of golden locks and a wave of his hand— a hand still covered by a shielding glove, but with a lump created by a thin silver ring plainly visible; almost tauntingly so.

Both Havoc and Sheska sighed heavily at the utter letdown.

And they weren't the only ones…

"Hey Ed—!" Fury jumped out of what seemed to be nowhere, grinning broadly, waving a box of sweets at Fullmetal from over the top of his cubical. Beside the dark haired man stood Brenda, who was beaming expectantly. "Just got this from the grocery store," Fury announced cheerfully, shaking the tin in an enticing sort of way. The jumble of candy clattered nosily against the decorative aluminum sides. "Want to share," he began loudly, before 'inconspicuously' switching to a swift whisper, "…thenameofyournewspousewithus?"

Edward didn't even bother looking up from his magazine, which he'd hidden (rather poorly) between the pages of an alchemic text. He fixed his reading glasses with a lazy thumb, crossing one leg over the other. "No."

Brenda and Fury slunk away, disappointed.

"EDWARD ELRIC!" Armstrong boomed a few days later, all but bursting through the walls of the bathroom, his sparkling grin reflected in the mirror as Ed washed his hands—momentarily startled. His wedding band gleamed in the dim light of the lavatory, exposed for all the world to see with his gloves temporarily removed. The Strongarm Alchemist tried not to glance down at it, but resistance was futile. The thought of Edward with a ring—Edward married—was just too much. Like an unexpected accident or a horrible car crash, one simply found themselves drawn to it… staring, wondering, transfixed.

Armstrong cleared his throat, noticing Ed's arched eyebrow and flat expression. "My friend, you know you needn't hide anything from me, yes? For I, Alex Louis Armstrong, can keep any secret!" He flexed his glorious muscles, posing once or twice. Ed returned to his exploits with the soap, by now used to this display. "For example, my younger sister once stole ten cookies from the cookie jar and made me promise never to tell a soul! And I never have! This form of secret-keeping has been passed down the Armstrong family line for generations!"

Edward, still rinsing bubbles from his hands, decided that he'd rather not comment on the apparent effectiveness of the "Armstrong brand of secret-keeping." Instead, he answered with an indifferent: "If I need any secrets kept, I'll let you know."

"…" The mountain of muscle seemed to deflate slightly, becoming more of a hill. Fullmetal dried himself off on a towel, careful to clean each gap of his automail, before pulling his gloves back on. "Don't you have anything you want to say?" Armstrong wheedled, still talking loudly enough to wake the dead. Edward wondered how many people were hidden behind the bathroom door… hell, in the bathroom stalls. He cast a vague glance to his left. Two pairs of feet… six… ten… nineteen… And there were only seven stalls. Funny how that was. "Anything at all? Any secret you want kept?"

Ed pretended to ponder this for a moment or two. "Mmm… yeah, actually," he then decided, scratching his chin in a thoughtful sort of way. "If you could use that special brand of 'Armstrong secret keeping' to let everyone know that I want them to mind their own fucking business, that'd be great."

He beamed sweetly and pushed out the door, torn between evil laughter and entertained exasperation when the movement caused eight soldiers to scamper.

The next day wasn't much better—

"Hey, E…!"




—Nor was the next. Or the next. Or the next. And as the military office's burning interest grew and grew, Edward's patience shrank and shrank; until just approaching Fullmetal was like asking: "hey—would you please kill me?"

But they weren't soldiers for nothing. The fear of sudden, violent death wasn't enough to stop them… Unfortunately, their opponent was just as strong willed—even the sting of comments like "maybe he's forgotten. He does have a very SHORT memory" weren't enough to get a rise out of him, anymore.

The tension was unbearable—the gossip unstoppable. Quiet whispers and half-baked ideas as to why Ed's marriage had been kept a secret ("who could be that bad?") and who the likely woman was ("you don't think it was Ross, do you? Hawkeye? That Rose girl?") became common place; more common place than actual work, anyway. Whether or not these silent discussions bothered Ed was unknown—he carried on as usual, only mentioning the subject when it was brought to his attention, and only long enough to glare and say: "No." (Or "I'm not telling you anything," if he was feeling particularly creative.)

Two weeks flew by in a flurry of melodrama. If only the soldiers could be so enthusiastic about mysteries that mattered, like why the stray rebellion groups seemed to be clumping together, why the Church of Leto was growing again—

Why Riza Hawkeye can be such a bitch, Edward thought bitterly, but didn't dare say. The icy barrel of a pistol pressed to your temple tends to make one rather silent; or, at least, encourages the victim to not say anything stupid about the gun wielder. No reason to invite death any sooner than necessary… "Can I help you?" Ed offered calmly, casting the stoic woman a small smile along with a sarcastic glance.

In response, Hawkeye scowled, cocking her weapon. Around her, the rest of the military watched with wide eyes, gathered in a circle around Edward's surprisingly tidy cubical. "Yes, you can," she informed curtly, eyes narrowed. "You can help me by telling these fine people who you married so that we can get the hell on with our lives. And work," she added bluntly, obviously irked at the lack of progress lately.

Edward snorted, flipping open an ancient book and a stack of notes. "I fail to see how it's anyone's business but mine and my partner's," he stated resolutely, completely disregarding the pistol pointed at his head. Riza, unused to this sort of reaction, moved to squeeze the trigger— (only to release a warning shot, of course; she'd never actually shoot Edward in the head, despite how appealing the prospect sounded at times—)

When the squeaking of the front door made everyone freeze; whip around.

Alphonse Elric, dressed in an overly-large forest green t-shirt and tight black pants, blinked at the mass of blue and white uniforms, taken aback by the chaos… and the sight of Hawkeye with her gun pointed at his older brother's head. It didn't seem to frighten him any, however. In fact, the younger boy readily sighed, short copper hair fluttering as he did so. "What'd you do now, Brother?" Al questioned dryly, moving from the doorway with a roll of his eyes. In his arms, he carried a lunch box—wrapped in a cute piece of polka dotted cloth.

Edward instinctively pouted, tilting his head over the back of his chair so as to pin his puppy-eyed-stare directly on Alphonse's face. "I didn't do anything," he insisted stubbornly, crossing his arms over his chest and jiggling a foot. The crowd's collective "face" turned towards the blonde when he spoke, as if watching a tennis match. "Everyone is picking on ME."

Al grinned, pushing easily through the collected throng. He was a tall, skinny, lanky thing with an aura of kindness that made people stop and stare and sometimes even blush. If he noticed this attention, however, Alphonse didn't show it—his bright bronze pools were stuck on his elder sibling's relaxed form. "Well, if Miss Hawkeye had to whip out her gun on you, you must not have been playing very nice. Please, Brother, try not to get your head shot off in the office—people attempt that often enough out on field."

Though the comment had been meant as a light joke, an undeniable spark of horror glistened in the younger Elric's eyes. One or two people glanced away, respectfully.

Ed gave a comforting smile. "You know I'd never let that happen," he assured gently, still craning his neck, head upside down, watching Alphonse approach. Al stopped just short of his sibling's swizzle chair. "I'm not dying before that idiot Colonel."

"I'm right here, you know," Roy informed flatly from directly beside Edward—where he had been standing the entire time. But you'd never know it from the way the two brothers were acting; it was as if they were all alone in the room.

"So what brings you to visit me, here in the bowels of hell?" Edward asked Alphonse with a cheerful lilt, looking up into his younger sibling's face. Al, in response, dropped the tin box in Ed's lap, allowing his fists to fall on the arms of the chair.

"You forgot your lunch," Alphonse returned needlessly, beaming. "And I thought it would be cruel to let you go hungry—especially since we…er… woke up too late for breakfast."

Edward smirked smugly, human hand darting up to brush his brother's cheek. "Might have to happen again tonight," he murmured softly—so quiet that only the first row of observers were able to hear; observers who felt their jaws dropping fifteen stories, sure they must be seeing things. "Because now I owe you for brining me something yummy."

"It's not anything great," Alphonse protested with a blush. "Just a sandwich."

"Wasn't talking about the lunch box," Ed whispered, golden eyes glittering with mischief.

Then they were kissing—and not as one might expect brothers' to; on the cheek, or the forehead, or even chastely on the mouth. No, they were virtually attacking the others face: all lips and tongue and teeth and sweetness, even though Al's nose was squashed against Ed's chin; even though Ed's neck must be throbbing in pain. A long, winding arm worked its way upward, twining gently around Alphonse's throat. The auburn haired teen purred in response, gripping said arm with a loving hand—

On which a thin, silver ring glistened brightly. A thin, silver ring which, now that they had a good look at it, seemed awfully familiar… the same color and texture as a walking suit of armor they'd once known.

The onlookers dispersed, curiosity sated, the memory of the matching bands etched forever into their minds. And that kiss… many couldn't keep from coloring; Riza included. Because honestly: no one had been expecting that, even if it made more sense than some random city girl. Or, really, any girl… after all, no one was closer than the Elric brothers, and neither had ever been afraid to show it. Growing up with only the other, only living for the other, only being with the other… now this? In the boys' minds, it was just another natural step that society had made clear they shouldn't take, but (as always) they did anyway. Laws of nature hadn't stopped them—why should the rules of a close-minded culture?

It made sense… too much sense… even if the others weren't quite prepared to accept it, they had to admit that. And they decided—collectively, though silently— that they would say nothing else of this. Not to anyone. For the Elrics were like their own children… they couldn't let the outside world know, couldn't let the outside world do anything else to them; try to rip them apart anymore— not after all the boys had been through, all the sacrifices they'd made. Now they'd even sacrificed their privacy, just because no one would stop pestering Edward. No, the observers certainly didn't hate the poor brothers now… but… besides that, nobody was quite sure what else to do or, hell, how to react.

Nobody, that was, except Roy—

—Who decided that the following weekend would probably be nice enough for an outdoor reception.


Yea for Papa!Roy: the ultimate Elricest shipper! XD

Hope you enjoyed, though even I admit it was a little… strange, I guess. :3 Heehee.