Hello, and welcome to Cop's second attempt at a FMA fanfiction!
This story is dedicated to the wonderful author CaptainKase, who has this amazing story of one-shots called "Shattered." Anyway, there's a chapter that she dedicated entirely to requests made by her reviewers – myself included. So, this is me returning the favor. I started writing this with an entirely different idea in mind…but I got this story instead.
DISCLAIMER – Gosh, I wish I owned Full Metal Alchemist. Unfortunately…well, I'm here writing fanfiction, aren't I? This story is an anime-based one-shot, without spoilers or pairings.
"So…how long do you think it'll be 'til they find us?"
Golden eyes, hazy and not quite focused, drifted towards the source of the voice, and their owner managed a noncommittal shrug.
"They have to realize we're missing, first," he pointed out. "Hopefully before we freeze to death."
"Ever the optimist," Jean Havoc quipped, taking in his companion's condition with a critical eye. True, Edward was having trouble staying warm, what with that automail, but the lieutenant was more worried about the alchemist's wounds. Ed had taken a head blow that had sent him staggering, and a deep slash stretched across his abdomen, still oozing blood, even after he'd done his best to cover the wound and stem the flow.
Unfortunately for both of them, Jean wasn't any better off. Bone protruded from his bloody mess of a broken leg, rendering it utterly impossible to stand on, and a bullet had torn through his shoulder.
Not to mention the weather – the sky had opened up and unleashed a torrent of rain, with no apparent intention of stopping, and the pair was drenched.
They were in a bind, to say the very least – and stranded. Only God knew when Mustang and his convoy would roll through this sorry excuse for a town, and he was apparently on a lunch break.
Shivering, Jean pulled his jacket in tighter, biting back a hiss as the movement stretched his shoulder. He glanced up and caught Edward's tired gaze.
"If you're so cold, try lighting the fire again," Ed suggested, motioning to the pile of branches and debris he'd been able to gather before collapsing to the same spot he was in now.
"You and I both know it won't start." Jean sighed and shifted in a vain attempt to get comfortable. Pain emanated from his broken leg, and black tendrils hovered on the edges of his vision. He shook his head to chase them away, but was only left feeling dizzy. "Anyway, I can't even light a cigarette – everything's soaked through." He paused for a moment, raising his eyebrows before adding, "You're the alchemist – isn't it your job to figure this kind of stuff out?"
"Maybe the colonel can help you with that one," Ed retorted, scowling. "Fire's his thing. Besides," he tugged at his automail arm, now a limp and unresponsive piece of metal, "with this thing jammed, my alchemy's shot. I can't even draw an array – the mud keeps getting washed away." He didn't add that he barely had the energy to keep himself conscious, let alone perform alchemy. Instead, he pressed his head to the tree he was slouched against, squeezing his eyes shut tightly, and breathing in as deeply as his wound would allow. Jean followed suit, trying, and failing, to block out the pain.
"How long have we been sitting here, anyway?" Jean asked a few moments later, returning his gaze to his companion.
Ed didn't even bother opening his eyes. "I don't know – two hours, maybe."
Jean swore and shut his eyes once more, cursing his wound, the cold, and rebellious villagers.
When Colonel Mustang had sent Jean and Edward ahead to scout out a small, thoroughly wooded town that was apparently threatening a revolt, they'd assumed that they'd be back to camp in a few short hours. They hadn't expected to be ambushed by a dozen men armed with guns, knives, and axes. The men had all been dispatched, but not before inflicting their share of damage on the two soldiers. Edward had taken repeated blows from an axe – the blunt side against the back of his head, while the sharper edge had nearly hewed off his automail arm, effectively destroying it. Not long after that a man with a knife and cheap shot had torn a slash across Ed's midsection. Jean took a bullet in the shoulder, and was sent stumbling backwards into a ravine, previously hidden by bushes and bramble, and somewhere along the vicious descent his leg had broken with an audible crack.
He'd ended up at the base of an ancient tree, dazed and sitting in three inches of mud and moving water. Edward had slid down the slope after him, gathered as much firewood as possible, and then collapsed against a tree only a few feet away from Jean's.
"So," Ed said suddenly, snapping Jean from his thoughts. "Why'd you join the military?"
"What?" Jean reluctantly opened his eyes and glanced over at his companion.
"Why'd you join?" Ed repeated.
Jean hadn't exactly thought about that one before – he was silent for a moment before answering.
"I didn't really have anything else to do with myself," he finally responded. "So I thought, 'Why not?' I mean, the pay's not great, but you get to see new places, help people…get attacked by a bunch of lunatics in the middle of nowhere…all of that."
Ed was watching him carefully, a puzzled expression on his face.
"You didn't have anything you wanted to do?" Ed asked, disbelieving.
Jean frowned. "What do you mean?"
"When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?"
"I don't know," Jean answered. He really wished he had a cigarette right about then…
"That's not a real answer," Ed protested.
"Why not?" Jean leaned his head back once more.
"It's just not."
For a moment Jean thought about turning the question around and directing it to Edward – but just as quickly stopped himself. Somehow it was always easy to forget that Ed still had some growing up left to do, at least physically. Emotionally…well that was another issue entirely. Still, Jean preferred to avoid such a potentially awkward question altogether.
Apparently Ed had reached the same conclusion and opted to change the subject.
"Anyway, I guess it doesn't really matter if I die out here -- Winry's just gonna kill me when she sees what I did to my arm."
"Mechanic," Ed replied with a glare.
"You know, you're lucky," Jean pointed out – Edward's gaze softened from anger to confusion.
"And why's that?"
"She's too young for the colonel."
"Never mind," Jean sighed. The conversation died after that, and Jean half-way regretted it – now he didn't have anything to distract him from his wounds. Undoubtedly Ed was thinking along those same lines, but the young alchemist seemed to be out of things to talk about.
The next few hours were a blur – Jean was vaguely aware of a deep throb in his leg and shoulder, and the chill that had settled over his body – but everything else was fuzzy and distorted. He wasn't fully awake again until much later, when darkness had crept stealthily around them, flitting between the trees, and Edward's surprisingly anxious voice shook him from his half slumber.
"Lieutenant? Havoc. Havoc!"
Jean's eyes flew open and he jerked forward, sending another wave of pain shooting up his leg. He searched for Edward in the darkness and could barely make out his features in the gathering blackness.
"You…you weren't breathing right," Edward explained, concerned and still searching Jean's face for confirmation that the lieutenant was indeed alright. His worry came as more of shock than anything else – somehow it didn't fit the persona Ed spent so much time projecting. Still, given the current situation…
"I'm fine," Jean finally managed, leaning back against the tree.
Ed didn't seem satisfied, but let the matter drop nonetheless. "You were out for a while," he told Jean. "Five or six hours."
Before Jean could reply, the forest erupted with noise. A moment later a figure appeared at the top of the hill, and a light shone down, illuminating their faces. They were either rescued, or dead – the answer became apparent when a hollow voice echoed from above them.
Barely a second later Al came clanking down the slope, followed by Riza Hawkeye, her ever present gun firmly in her grip. The light, however, remained, and it took Jean the space of a few minutes to realized they were the headlights of a truck. By that time, Riza had knelt by Jean's side and pressed a hand to his neck, feeling for a pulse, then his forehead, all the while scanning for wounds.
"About time you showed up," Jean murmured, startling Riza. She locked eyes with him, apparently surprised that he was awake.
Ignoring his statement, Riza withdrew her hand. "You're burning up," she remarked instead, returning to her search for injuries, her eyes falling to his bloodied shoulder. "And you've been shot." She shifted now, getting a good look at the bone protruding from Jean's leg. "My god, Lieutenant. What happened to you?"
Jean tore his eyes away from Riza's worried gaze. "I'm fine. Just make sure he's okay." To his left, Al was hovering over his elder brother, who was assuring him that he was fine. Now more figures were making their way down the slope, almost too many to count. The sounds intensified, as well as the lights, as more trucks pulled in.
"I think he's in good hands," Riza said gently, recapturing Jean's attention. Sure enough, someone produced a stretcher, and a protesting Edward was carefully moved onto it.
Now Jean could make out Colonel Mustang's face among the others – but if his commanding officer had anything to say, Jean didn't get the chance to hear it before passing out.
When Jean had awoken again, he found himself in a hospital bed adjacent to one occupied by a scowling Edward Elric. As it turned out, Al had forced his brother to phone Winry about the current state of Ed's automail, and his mechanic planned to meet Edward in Central. It was still a few days until the wounded pair was well enough to travel that far, however, and Edward spent every waking moment dreading his return. Upon their arrival, the nurse learned a few new curse words after informing Jean just how long he'd have to stay off his leg, and Ed received a vicious beating with a wrench, which probably only served to worse his concussion.
But more importantly, two soldiers had formed a bond that was unspoken, but appreciated nonetheless.
I just had to include Riza – she's my role model. Seriously, though, she could kick almost every other FMA character's butt…'cept maybe Izumi…and maybe the Homunculi…but I'd bet she could give them a run for their money.
So…hooray! I wrote something for someone!
Once again, thanks CaptainKase, being such a nice person…this was the very least I could do to express my gratitude.
As for everyone else…you can review, you know. It'd make me super happy. But not quite as happy as when I'm injuring attractive fictional men. Close, but not quite.
Thanks for reading!
Child of a Pineapple