Disclaimer: FMA is not mine.
Warning: Spoiler for the start of Chapter 58
"Guardian" by Dailenna
Havoc tapped his cigarette on the ashtray and stuck it back into his mouth, enjoying the brief period in which his two superior officers had vacated the premises. In actual fact, they were on a mission somewhere in town, gathering some routine information from citizens. Checking up to make sure everything was still going well.
Their absence, however, was the equivalent of a break for the other officers. Sitting back and signing papers at a leisurely pace – if at all – the current occupants of the room weren't exactly in the mood for the fast-paced work that would be expected of them when Mustang and Hawkeye returned, and so each was thinking to themselves just how they could make the best use of this time.
They'd already wasted a good fifteen minutes before anyone came up with anything. "Well, we could look through our personal files," Breda suggested lazily.
Havoc waved the idea off lazily. "That's boring," he said. "We already know everything about our own lives."
"Which is why we look through each other's, not our own, dipstick."
That did make a lot more sense. "Oh. Yeah, alright, that could be okay." Now that it had been mentioned, Havoc was intrigued. "Do you have any little secrets you don't want to slip out? Because now would be the time to go and scribble all over the files so we don't find out about them," Havoc laughed.
Feury looked at the two of them nervously. "It might not be a good idea to do this. What if we're found out?"
"In trouble for looking at our own files?" Breda snorted. "Yeah, that's really going to happen. If someone finds us, we can just say that we wanted to make sure they were up to date."
Havoc sat up – he had been leaning back on his chair, but now an idea had occurred to him. "Heeey, do they still have our old files in those?"
"Yes, they never throw those out," Falman answered, a hint of curiosity permeating his voice.
"Well, knowing what people are like now is all good and fun," Havoc reasoned, "but what people used to be like is more than often infinitely funnier." Besides, he knew that he was going to get a few laughs out of looking at everyone in their younger photos. They were all in military uniform, of course, but sometimes the haircuts were more than simply a laughing matter.
The four men looked at one another, eyes glinting in amusement.
"I think you've hit on something there, Havoc," Breda grinned, standing. "Now where do they keep these files?"
"Won't it look a little odd if we all go into the file room and search around in it?" Feury asked.
The last thing they needed was to have four men sitting around off-task and laughing, where anyone could walk in and find them. "Well, I'll just go, and bring the files back," Breda told him evenly.
"You're not allowed to take files out without permission from the higher-ups or the person themself."
Havoc sighed. He opened his desk drawer and pulled a sheet of scrap paper out, scribbling on it 'We, the undersigned, give Second Lieutenant Heymans Breda permission to extract our personal files from the file room in order that we can check to make sure they are up-to-date. The files will be returned today.'
"Does that look alright to you, Feury? Falman?" The two spoken to nodded. "Good, now if you'll just sign it . . ." The other two men put their signatures at the bottom of the paper, and Havoc quickly added his own beneath theirs before handing the scrap to Breda, who walked out of the office.
Havoc squashed his cigarette butt into the ashtray before sitting back in his chair, trying to remember if there was anything embarrassing in his file. It was possible, of course, but he couldn't remember, which was most likely because there wasn't anything bad enough for him to dread others seeing. Either that or he'd blocked it from his memory. Whichever one it was, he'd have to cope with whatever they read – which he could happily do for the chance to see theirs.
When Breda returned a few minutes later he dropped six files on Havoc's desk with a devilish grin. "I'm sure that the Colonel and First Lieutenant won't mind our looking at their files, too."
Laughing, Havoc took one out at random – Feury's – and flicked it open as the others came forwards to take one of the files left. He flicked through the more recent information, and went towards the back where all of Feury's initial data was. He snorted at the older photo. "Lost a bit of weight in the last–" checking Feury's date of enlistment "–four years, Kain?"
From where he was scanning Breda's file, Feury scowled. "It was puppy fat."
"You only joined the military four years ago?" Falman asked, looking up.
Kain sighed, disrupted once again from his reading. "Yeah, I was looking for something to do and–" He stopped as he was interrupted by Breda's violent exclamation.
Havoc, Feury and Falman all turned to look in surprise at their comrade. "Something the matter?" Havoc asked sarcastically, angling his head to see whose file Breda was reading.
"Guys," Breda said, still staring at the page. "We all know that Hawkeye was still a minor when she joined, don't we?"
Everyone nodded in some degree – Havoc impatiently, waiting for the rest, Falman slowly, unsure of where this was going, and Feury as though he might have heard it somewhere, but wasn't entirely sure.
"Well," Breda continued. "That means that she had to list her parent-slash-guardian at the time, and have them sign the form to let her join the military, right? Well, excuse me if I'm wrong, but the name and signature here state that Mustang is Hawkeye's legal guardian."
Various levels of disbelief surged through the men, but all had the same reaction. They leapt for the file, grabbing at it. Somehow, they managed not to tear it apart and eventually had it held in the right way so that everyone could read it at the same time.
"Joined at seventeen and ten months – hah! She could have just waited another two and gotten in without needing permission – two years four months of sniper training before being sent to help out in Ishbal. Natural talent, blah, blah, blah."
Havoc grabbed a new cigarette from his pack and lit it up. "Ahh, nothing else interesting. Still, you have to wonder a little about how that came about. I mean, it's not like they were married that young, or anything." He looked at the others, who were all looking queasy. "They aren't, are they?"
Nervous laughter was scattered around the office as the men looked at each other uncertainly.
"I-I don't think they are . . ." Feury stuttered.
"It's against the military's recommendations . . ." Falman thought out loud.
"They'd at least tell us. I think . . ." Breda trailed off.
The silence was overpowering. It was as though a shadow loomed over each man, as they wondered how something as big as this would be able to get past them. If it had. Had it?
Feury laughed to break the silence, but even that was a little too high-pitched to sound natural. "There are other ways that it can be explained," he said anxiously. "That couldn't be the only possibility. I mean, we're talking about Mustang and Hawkeye, here."
"Yeah, but haven't you ever felt the sexual tension between them?" Breda insisted.
Havoc scoffed. "Why would there be sexual tension if they're married? It would have all been released." By the end of his sentence, Havoc realised just how little he wanted to be thinking about that particular situation.
"Argh! Please, I don't need to be thinking about that! That's not something that I want to know!"
"Ugh! That's disgusting!"
He almost felt like running to the men's room to scrub his mouth out with soap for saying it. And his eyes too, while he thought of it. Shuddering, he turned his mind to different things – or at least tried to. "So when are–"
The door opened, and two bored officers strode through into the room, each with a steaming mug of coffee. The dive that Breda made towards the files to cover them up didn't escape their attention, as subtle as he tried to make it.
"Mmm? What's this?" Mustang asked as he wandered forwards.
Havoc's eyes were almost popping out of his head, although for a completely different reason as to why the other three were all sweating profusely all of a sudden. "You know, sir, I was just asking, just then, what time you and the Lieutenant would get back," he said in amazement.
"Really? What a coincidence. Now hand over those files you're trying to hide, Breda."
Breda guiltily passed the files over. "We just wanted to make sure that our files were up to date. Just making sure, you know, sir."
Mustang raised an eyebrow as he looked at the folders that had been placed in his spare hand. "I would understand that, if my file and Lieutenant Hawkeye's file weren't also here."
"I thought that when you got back, you might also want to check that your file was up to–"
"And why so guilty?"
Breda paused. "No reason, sir. Do I seem guilty to you?"
"I might not have thought you were if you didn't blink with every second word out of you mouth. Or mine, for that matter," Mustang grimaced. He sighed when he realised that Breda wasn't going to give him an answer. "Havoc?" None there either. "Falman?" Or there. If none of them were going to fess up for themselves, he would have to turn to the one who would. He felt like a bully at having to do this, but he did it anyway. "Feury?"
The small man was trembling in his boots. "We had nothing else to do, sir, and Lieutenant Breda suggested reading through our files."
What a nicely worded answer. It gave him the perfect opportunity to announce their punishment. "Seeing as you have 'nothing else to do', I suggest that you go to the front office and request some more paperwork to do," he told all four men languidly.
Mustang's male subordinates trudged out of the office to pick up their punishment. As he walked back to sit in his big chair, Mustang eyed the other desks and their not-so-completed piles of paperwork. Nothing to do – it was about as plausible as the idea that . . . that . . . well, he couldn't think of anything good right now, but he'd get around to it eventually. From the looks of it, though, they wouldn't finish their work for today until it was time to arrive for work tomorrow morning.
Sitting back, he glanced over to Hawkeye to see if she was paying attention – she was actually reading right now instead of signing the forms in front of her, but it was all the same to him – before opening up the folders to have a glance through them.
He guffawed and chuckled over Havoc, Breda and Falman's papers, even laughing so hard that coffee came out through his nose when he read that Havoc's middle name was Torvald. When he came to his own, he skipped over it, but Feury's was good for a few laughs. He had to admit to himself, however, that he was more than a little curious when he came to Hawkeye's folder. One corner of the cardboard folder that held the papers was dog-eared dramatically – obviously it had folded over when Breda stuffed all of the files back together. Either that or it had been sitting in the file room with one corner bent over the whole time.
Straightening out the corner as well as he could, Mustang opened it and gulped down some more of his coffee. A few minutes later, and a little deeper into the file, Mustang regretted that he didn't finish his coffee earlier when a sharp intake of air also included half of his last mouthful, and he coughed loudly enough for each of his subordinates' heads to pop up to see if he was alright – the men had returned when he was snickering over Breda's haircut in his earliest picture
"You put me as your legal guardian!?"
At this, the men looked at each other, pointedly not saying anything, but still listening avidly. Mustang hadn't noticed – he was looking at a red-cheeked Hawkeye.
"Who else was I supposed to put? It's not like I was lying, sir," she said, ignoring her flushed cheeks.
"Well, no, but– but–" Mustang replied, feeling flustered. "I don't remember signing this."
Hawkeye coughed and quietly muttered "that's because you didn't."
Now that wasn't right! An outstanding officer was siting on something as big as this? "You forged a military officer's signature! You could be dishonourably discharged and arrested for it!"
Book closing sharply, Hawkeye stood up and placed her hands on her desk, looking at Mustang flatly. "Which is why you will not tell anyone." Her gaze shifted to include the other four, who had gone from listening to the conversation without bothering to hide that they were eavesdropping, to cowering in fear.
Mustang blinked, trying to push down the feeling of intimidation that he was suddenly more than simply aware of. "N-no, of course not!" He ducked his head back down, and closed the file. "Feury, could you take these back to the file room?"
Feury took the folders and all but ran for the door, relieved just to escape the black mood hovering in the air.
"Just a question," Breda piped up, blatantly ignoring the atmosphere that had now shifted to centre around him. "Colonel, you admitted to being Hawkeye's legal guardian."
Mustang flinched. It was true that he hadn't denied it, but he hadn't exactly admitted it. However it was true – why was Breda so perceptive? He cursed underneath his breath so that the others wouldn't hear him.
"Why what?" he asked stupidly, putting off the answer.
"Why are you her guardian?"
Mustang's eyes flickered over to Hawkeye, who was pointedly looking at the papers on her desk. "I was there when her father died, and he said 'Roy . . . I'll leave my daughter to you . . .' It seems that that was close enough to a written will for the law, so Lieutenant Hawkeye was signed over to my guardianship."
Havoc turned to the First Lieutenant in confusion. "But what about your mother?" If only her father was dead, then should she have been in the custody of her mother? It would have at least been a decision that both parents had to have made, unless her mother was unfit to make a decision like that–
"She died when I was four," Hawkeye said in a matter-of-fact voice.
That could have explained it. But it was the last will of her only remaining parent that she was under the guardianship of Mustang, of all people? Somehow it just didn't seem right. Was there some sort of principal that Mustang had to abide by, or was he just supposed to take care of her until she had come of age?
"You're an orphan?" Breda asked
Havoc laughed, but before the others had time to look at him in indignation, he turned to Mustang. "Wow, chief, you're old enough to have grandchildren! So how does it feel having a twenty-seven year old foster-daughter?"
Without knowing how, Havoc was suddenly aware of an intense premonition of doom. When he looked to either side, he saw that Breda and Falman had scurried away from him, when he looked at Mustang, he saw a pallor lighter even than what was usually there, and when he looked back at Hawkeye . . . Oh no. He had forgotten that Hawkeye was somewhat sensitive about her age.
By the time Havoc stood to run out of the room, the door had already clicked shut behind Breda and Falman. It took Havoc four leaps to make it to the door, wrench it open, and pull it shut behind him, where he then followed the other two shakily down the corridor.
Back inside the office, Mustang had recovered from his shock, and Hawkeye had stiffly returned to her work – or pretended to anyway.
"It's an interesting concept," Mustang mused, trying not to quaver at the sharp look he was now on the receiving end of. "I wonder if anyone else has been both the father and the 'grandfather' of a child."
"Anyone else, sir? Even you aren't that. Yet."
Mustang smirked as he saw her fiddling with the ring hanging around her neck. "Oh, I believe it's only a matter of time."