Once again, I have no excuse, other than laziness, for keeping updates so far apart. So bear with me.

Thank you, Bar-Ohki (you rock), my only regret is that I can't say that to more people.

-

His footsteps echoed off the shambling wood of houses that were, in all probability, once the pride of the town. A cheerless gunmetal color had replaced the once lively and vibrant blue in the sky that he had witnessed during his ride through the hilly countryside. Colonel Mustang's eyes flicked from side to side warily, searching for any and all signs of movement, and life. The wind that whistled through the hollow buildings completed the eerie, unsettling setting.

Lieutenant Hawkeye had insisted that either she or Hughes accompanied him to this unbelievably empty 'town'. He had countered with the argument that someone was required to stay behind and keep an eye on the activities that occurred in the hastily made camp. The camp was rather large and it would take more than one person to manage until another colonel like himself arrived with his (or her) unit and took control of the situation.

The street Mustang had been investigating ended abruptly with an aged, hole-riddled building that had a sign hanging off a rotting post just outside of the front door. Moving closer, more out of inquisitiveness than the sense of duty, the words on the sign became clear.

Insanity Asylum

Check in at Front Desk if Visitor

With an insatiable curiosity Roy Mustang stepped lightly up the stairs, avoiding the termite-infested middle stair. He cautiously faced and attempted to open the elderly pine door. His hand twisted and tugged at the rusting handle to no effect. The entrance was stuck, or being held, fast.

Phenomenon and eagerness devouring his common sense like sharks at a feeding frenzy, he reached into his pocket and took out a pair of pristine, colorless gloves. The only feature that marred the pallid garment was the vivid red circle stitched onto the back.

Pulling them on routinely, he aimed, concentrated, and snapped.

Dust and wood exploded into his face, a deadly combination. Temporarily blinded by the grime that was the result of years of decay, Roy couldn't evade or find a suitable shield against the splinters that cut into his forearms, held in front of his face in a protective 'x'. In the midst of all the chaos he thought he heard an angered and confused scream . . .

But it must have been his imagination.

As the dust cleared he found that the small blast of fire had done exactly what he had wanted it to do. It had cleared a path into the abandoned shelter.

Still aware of the constant threat of a cave-in, Roy made his way, vigilantly, inside. Stepping cautiously Mustang's eyes skimmed the area-

-then widened in astonishment and pain as a large figure launched itself into his stomach with a victorious, animalistic cry.

-

The dust of the road bit at their heels as it had done so many time before on their long trek to Central City. Central's off-white buildings glimmered distantly in the light of the sinking sun. Pausing only momentarily to absorb the softening hues, Edward and Alphonse plunged on.

Disgruntled, but jubilant they quickened their pace, eager to feast their eyes upon accommodation, food, and the white-washed walls of Central Library.

-

Next update coming in: . . . sometime far in the future (or maybe you can convince me otherwise hint hint).