Disclaimer – This poverty stricken author owns neither the recognizable characters or a clean toothbrush. No profit monetary profit was made, 'cept that penny found in the laundry.
A/N – This randomness was spawned one late night from a prompt given by a zany friend on AIM. As often occurs from late night scribbling – there is no point whatsoever to this piece.
Taking the Ice
"Something remains…unclear in my recollection of how this all came about."
"Maybe it has something to do with the lack of a – ow!"
"No, I have strong feeling that suggests it's because my traveling companion in this affair is an adolescent midget suffering from a severe chemical imbalance."
Roy would be nursing two goose eggs on his head – instead of one – if the other alchemist - of the name of Elric - hadn't been inconveniently (or conveniently, depending on the point of view) relieved of a leg and an arm. As it were, the ice cube violently shunted his direction missed completely and bounced off the wall, a safe two feet askew in trajectory.
"I'm telling you, it was the monkey's fault," Ed sulked, a fingernail scratching at the ice encrusted rock to his left. Of all the situations he'd been in – kidnappings, hostages, fires, earthquakes, alchemical duels…exploding toilets – this had to be the worst.
"Oh, it was the monkey's fault. That explains everything. I'm so glad you've chosen to enlighten me with that revealing bit of information. Why, how stupid could I be not to see that the monkey set this whole thing up? Of course he was the guilty culprit in rigging the hidden explosives; how logical that he was the one that booby trapped your own limbs to self-destruct; how completely and totally inconceivable that perhaps the culpable party was an individual who saw fit to waltz into a dark ice cave in order to 'thaw out' his 'butt' and set off said previously rigged explosives!" The colonel's diatribe ended in a definite exclamation.
"The monkey lured us into the trap! I mean, we're in the middle of a freaking ice age and then there's a monkey. How often do you see monkeys in the middle of an ice desert? Monkeys are tropical, aren't they?"
Roy fought an onslaught of nearly, almost, just about, pretty much irrepressible rage. At least, it was repressed enough not to dislodge an ice cycle from his right nostril and hurl it at Ed's left. "Exactly! My dear boy, you have seen the light of day, and mistaken it for yesterday's old meatloaf. You saw a monkey – in the middle of a snowscape – it ran into a cave. We both think, 'Ah! Suspicious! Danger, danger!' But this is where as far as our thinking coincides.
You think, 'Monkey! Ah, suspicious, I must follow it!' – like some blasted blood hound you throw all sense to the wind and Hi-Ho! it's off to the dark ice cave we go!
Whereas, I think, 'Monkey! Ah, suspicious, obviously A TRAP!'"
Even Ed – stubborn, Who-Said-Bean Ed – had the decency to show a bit of chagrin. "Well…it was cold…and…there was a monkey," he mumbled toward the frozen floor. The ice was beginning to melt beneath him, the moisture seeping into the seat of his pants. He squirmed. Then a thought occurred to him – not the brightest thought he'd had in his short, alchemical career, but it was enough to light the proverbial fire of hope.
He snapped his fingers on the one arm he still had. "You're the Flame Alchemist! So this is no problem. Fire and ice, and all that stuff. Just light one up and out we go." He visibly brightened at the idea of being out of this ice box and back into…the larger ice box called fondly 'The Great Outdoors'. Not to mention he was one up on the colonel for presence of thought.
Or so he believed.
Roy Mustang drew a long, steadying breath. "In case you haven't notice, Fullmetal, that's not ice blocking our way. Now, I am aware that as we find out more about our world and the way it works, theories are disproved and reformulated, scientific laws reconsidered – but as far as I am aware, rocks don't melt.
Now, before you say at – as I can see it already formulating in that snappy little brain of yours – let me add a clause to what I've just said. The heat it would require to melt said rocks would likely, no, positively incinerate us in this enclosed area before you even had a chance to say –"
Ed hurled another ice chip. "Okay, okay! I get it already. You're not good enough to do the job."
Silently, Roy wondered at the probability of a fault in the ceiling causing a section of the ice to fall and crush the bloody little bean and his big mouth.
Behind him, Ed burst several capillaries, possibly an artery or two.
"Oh, I'm sorry, did I just say that outloud? Riza always said I had a nasty habit of saying whatever was in my head."
A howl of pure frustration rent itself from the younger, floor-bound alchemist. Obviously the lack of proper appendages with which to maul or otherwise rend the colonel limb from limb was taking its toll upon his blood pressure.
"We've just got to think of a way to get out of here," Ed moaned after an appropriate time had passed and he'd temporarily checked his wrath. "If I had my arm I could make us a door right out of here. Of course you had to skip that part of your training," he groused.
"My specialty was blowing up doors, not making them."
"And I thought you liked to think of yourself as the brains, not the brawn."
"Shove it, Fullmetal. Let's not forget which one of us let a monkey blow up their automail."
"Well…" Ed was struggling for a comeback on this one, "well, at least I'm not old."
"Oh, touché Edward, you must have spent hours coming up with that one. I do hope you didn't sacrifice too many brain cells on my account." Roy was seething outwardly, sobbing inwardly. The sheer stupidity of their situation appalled him. The report to his superiors on this one was going to require a lot of what he liked to call, 'creativity', in formulating. "How about this – don't tax yourself for my sake, I'd really rather you apply whatever mental reserves you have left on figuring out a way to get us out of here!" The last part echoed off the ice walls, rebounding and echoing. A chunk of ice dislodged, ricocheted off Roy's skull and skittered across the floor.
An awkward silence ensued.
Then…"Ah, so you do admit I'm worth--"
The echoes didn't stop for a good three minutes.
Roy slouched against a boulder, dropping his head into his hands. Of all the people to be stuck in a cave with – it had to be this measly little bugger. Why couldn't it have been Havoc? He was a handy fellow to have in a tight spot. Armstrong for that matter – he probably lifted these types of boulders for warm-up. Yes, or Riza would be nice – she always vastly improved any landscape. Of course, the last time he'd started slipping into that gutter, he'd been stuck drinking his meals.
No, it had to be Edward Elric of all people – the Fullmetal Crackpot.
And he didn't even have those handy limbs of his – it would have done wonders for Roy's level of stress to take one of those automail appendages and beat the little snot into a bloody –
Eventually, they did think of an elaborate, very scientific approach to melting the ice just so, which would dislodge one of the base boulders, sending it rolling into a neatly melted track that would lead it to the back of the cave, and then, theoretically, repeating the process until the whole foundation gave way – allowing them an neat escape from their icy coffin.
They were both rather proud – Roy had even found it in his good will to drag Ed out of the way of the first boulder's track. They were set to put their plan into action when there was the muted fizzle, pop…and then a very, very, very big pop.
The force of the explosion blew Roy off his feet, slamming him into the ground near Ed. The explosion was followed by a torrential rain of rock and ice, then silence.
Roy, very cautiously picked up his head, opened one eye, and tried very hard not to think very much about the very sharp looking rocks imbedded in the wall a sneeze above his head. To his right, Ed was looking somewhat cross-eyed.
"Hallooo? I don't suppose there be any colonels or nationally certified alchemists in here?"
No voice seemed so sweet on Roy's ears than Breda's. He stood in the newly remolded cave mouth, a rope over his shoulder, and a flashlight in the other. He saw them, grinned, and yodeled something over his shoulder. "Looks like you found yourself some trouble, Colonel!"
"Nothing I couldn't handle. But you made rather shorter work of the problem than I could have done from this side. " He hoisted Ed to his feet…foot, and was charitable enough to drag him toward the exit.
Breda's grin widened. "Well, actually, I didn't do anything beside climb up here for a looksee – after the dirty work was done, you see." He grabbed his superior officer by the hand and heaved. "It was the lieutenant's doing, mostly. She's got that…whatchacallit…women's intuition." He whispered the last part, conspiratorially.
Ed sniggered, "Why you're the colonel, I've no idea…"
Roy ground his teeth together, "Somehow, I don't think you're in the position to be snarking about anything. Shut up."
True…Ed was hanging by his one good arm, off the side of a nasty pile of boulders, at the mercy of emotionally unstable colonel…
He looked down, gulped, and thought how very painful it would be to climb back up with one arm and a solitary leg.
"Shutting up, Sir."
Pride didn't get you anywhere but a long drop to the wrong side of the boulder pile of life…
Hawkeye was waiting for them at the bottom, rifle cradled in the crook of her arm, and a dangerously labeled crate to her right. Roy grinned, his lieutenant did know how to get her hands on the good stuff.
She saluted, "I'm glad you're in one piece, Sir."
"Almost wasn't after that firework went off."
"No, no, no…quite alright," he squinted against the driving snow. "I'm thinking we'll drop this mission for today, and start again…presently. As it is, it'll be dark soon.
"A good idea, Sir." Hawkeye started back down the pass, without so much as a backward glance. Breda wordlessly unloaded Ed from Roy, while muttering something about wanting a wheelbarrow.
Roy took a step, paused, looked back at the crate of explosives. It was a large crate, very solid, hefty, and all that…
Curse it all, and the last underling had just run off.
Well if that didn't just fit his luck.
He came this close to kicking the blighted thing when he thought better of the action. Hefting it, he started down the slopes with the abstract thought growing in his brain that: Boy, it'd sure take all if that bloody monkey showed up again.
Two minutes later he tripped on a passing, partially furred primate - and watched with a sick fascination as the crate sailed over the edge of the pass.
Well, now doesn't that just take all.