Disclaimer: Don't own Full Metal Alchemist. Making no money. Please don't sue. See Author's Notes as the end of the chapter. Anime-based ONLY. Spoilers through Conqueror of Shamballa.
This is specifically for silverfox2702, who went above and beyond to review one of my previous fics, Perfect After All. This is a direct sequel per her request. It could possibly stand alone, but I would recommend you read Perfect After All prior to this.
And in the spirit of its predecessor, it promises to be a ten-chapter one-shot. I'm not even going to pretend it's going to be short. In fact, it's so involved, it was co-plotted with the talented and soon-to-post-a-wonderful-FMAfic-herself Inkydoo! Two authors worked on this present!
Thank you, Silverfox2702. I hope you like it!
- x -
A bright and cheerful paper balloon floated delicately just in front of his face, and he consciously relaxed his left eyelid before it could start to twitch. The round, pumpkin-colored ball hovered a moment before losing too much altitude, and the brief gust of warm wind necessary to propel it back into the air brushed at his bangs.
He ignored both the balloon and the reason it was rising and falling so gracefully directly in front of him.
"The term heat, in physics, refers not to temperature but to the energy that is generated and collected in matter through the movement of its molecules, atoms, and smaller particles. When we refer to the 'state' of matter in physics, we are referring to a collection of variables that are fixed at that particular point in time. For the purposes of this course, those variables will consist of pressure, volume, and temperature."
A brilliant crimson balloon, slightly larger than the orange one, was swept across the room to join it.
"The four laws of gas are written on the blackboard behind me. Memorize these laws. The first three will become known as the Combined Gas Law as this class proceeds."
The crimson balloon was now rising much faster than its orange counterpart, and Professor Edward Elric relented, gesturing at the two 'practical' gas models they had been using.
"As demonstrated previously, if air pressure remains constant, the volume of a given mass of a gas increases or decreases by the same factor as its temperature increases or decreases. Once again, heat and temperature are not interchangeable in this law."
There was more scribbling – he wasn't sure the alchemists were ever going to grasp the idea that there were more energies at work on a given group of molecules than could be easily detected with alchemy.
"Because the red balloon has a larger volume of gas, in this case . . ." With a frown, he glanced to his left, where a familiar figure leaned against the wall, bright white gloves at odds with his dark uniform.
"-it is able to exert more pressure on the paper, thus it rises higher than its orange counterpart of the same gas at the same temperature and pressure."
He glanced out over the assembled physicists and alchemists, waiting until he had most of their eyes before continuing.
"Are there any questions?"
There was a good deal of murmuring; those that had taken classes from him before knew that signaled the end of the lecture. If anyone did have questions, rather than include the entire class in the discussion, he would speak to them one on one, and anyone that wanted to stay to hear the explanation was welcome to.
But there didn't seem to be any questions today.
He waited a few more beats before turning back to the lectern, sliding the unopened folder marked "Basic Thermodynamics of Atmospheric Gases" from its place and tucking it under his arm. Utterly ignoring the balloons that were descending rapidly towards him, he headed to his left. When another gust of warm wind blew the red balloon directly into contact with his face, Edward reached out with his faux automail hand and caught the delicate paper, crushing it effortlessly.
The man he was stalking towards tsked, that irritating half-smile still on his face.
When they were close enough for quiet conversation, Edward bared his teeth in greeting. "Did you enjoy the lecture, Prime Minister?"
He received a head tilt in response. "Your class certainly seemed to."
Ed did not salute his superior officer, because technically he wasn't anymore, and shaking his hand was completely out of the question. Every time you shook the hand of someone wearing ignition cloth, your hand stunk of match heads for hours. Apparently Mustang's gloves were lined, because he had to admit the smell never lingered around the Prime Minister, but then again, this was probably the first time in a week he'd bothered to put them on.
It wasn't as though alchemy was part of Mustang's day to day activities anymore.
Which made his control over the two balloons, paper no less, all the more impressive.
Having no other options for an appropriate demonstration of respect, he settled for a glare. "Your assistance was unnecessary."
Mustang's tone was mild. "Weren't the majority of the people in the room State Alchemists? They looked like they'd never seen an alchemic reaction in their lives."
Ed didn't let his expression shift. "They're here to learn physics."
"They're here to learn how physics relates to alchemy," Mustang corrected, and Ed rolled his neck slightly in irritation. He'd given up his traditional uniform about two weeks after he officially 'returned' to active duty as a State Alchemist, and was dressed much more appropriately for an academic environment.
An academic environment that wasn't usually artificially heated with alchemy to demonstrate thermodynamics. It was bordering on uncomfortably hot in the lecture hall, and he knew any other day it would have resulted in inattentiveness and drowsiness.
His students usually knew better than to outright sleep in his lectures, but occasionally the physicists would slip up. The majority of the alchemists had trained themselves out of it long before the Academy had been set up. It was inadvisable to sleep around other alchemists period, let alone the famous Edward Elric. The physicists, on the other hand, weren't accustomed to the unique and complex practical jokes the alchemic community had enjoyed for decades, and were now engaged in an under-the-table war that was probably teaching them as much about each other's science as the lectures.
But today practical jokes didn't explain the attentiveness of the class throughout the two hours. Mustang was right; even the alchemists had perked up as soon as they'd seen transmutation.
Not that this was unexpected. It was simply unnecessary, plain and simple. The Prime Minister's voluntary 'demonstration' had been as much for Ed's benefit as the classes' and he knew it.
He didn't care.
Unnecessary transmutation was what it was. He wasn't going to use party tricks to keep his class entertained.
Particularly not when he knew what those party tricks cost.
Mustang was letting his mild expression relax into something a little more stern. "The physicists in attendance today were here to see how alchemists comprehend physics. Not relating the material to alchemy-"
"Anyone at a State level already grasps basic physics, whether they know it or not," Ed snapped. "They're not children. They don't need bright colors and pretty pictures."
"Can't you two ever have a pleasant discussion?"
Edward didn't take his eyes off Mustang as the man's expression shifted again, this time into a very genuine smile. After a moment, the younger alchemist received a playful elbow in the side, and he relented, dropping the subject with an irritated shake of his head.
"I don't want to hear it from you," Mustang informed the intruder loftily. "You know what I'm dealing with."
Alphonse Elric chuckled. "I'd advise you it's a losing battle, but you're just as stubborn."
"I concur," a fourth voice noted a bit dryly, and Ed glanced past his brother to see that the colonel had also joined them.
She had to be bored out of her mind, watching this lunatic float pieces of paper around a classroom for two hours.
It had been five long months since Mustang's inauguration, but she'd shown no sign of relaxing the fairly strict security requirements she'd instituted the moment she'd become his chief of security. Unfortunately, that meant she often accompanied him personally when he decided to deviate from his set schedule and hassle unsuspecting professors.
He was considering sending her a condolence card, but her sense of humor had sharpened somewhat since he and Al had been gone, and he hadn't quite felt out their new relationship yet.
She treated him very much like she treated Breda and Havoc, which was almost as strange as the way Aunt Pinako treated him. It meant he actually had less slack with her, not more, which he found exceptionally weird, since he usually behaved better than they did and required less looking after.
"Good class," Al congratulated exaggeratedly into his ear, ignoring the growl and dodging the half-hearted swipe he threw. "You're done for the day, right?"
"Yeah." Ed just nodded as Hawkeye caught his eye. She then rather unceremoniously stepped several yards back, glaring commandingly when Roy made no move to follow her. She sort of treated Mustang the same way she treated Breda and Havoc, too, come to think of it. "Office hours, but that's it."
"After my one o'clock, I'm going to head downtown." Al stepped fully in front of him as Mustang took the hint and followed Hawkeye. "I've got a few hours of work left on Cobbs Road."
Ed sobered a bit. It had taken Al the better part of two weeks to restore that section of the city; he wouldn't ask for help, though he graciously accepted it if offered. He and Louis Armstrong had therefore been bonding over the last few months, and Ed was glad to let him. The work took a toll on Al, but gave him something in return. Closure, maybe. He'd silently assist Al when he kept excessive hours and the strain started to show, but otherwise left it to his brother.
Al would get more out of his work if he completed it on his own. Most of the restoration work was now no longer necessary; no one's lives or livelihoods were in the balance anymore. Too much time had passed. And technically it was work that could be done without transmutation.
But it was work Al could never complete without alchemy. Not in his lifetime.
And that made it something that had to be done with alchemy. That made it worth the cost.
"And we've been invited to dinner," Al added, almost as an afterthought. "Fletcher asked us to come take a look at something after I was finished tonight."
Something. That was specific. "Did he say what?"
Al shook his head, smiling as one of the students behind Ed caught his eye. "Probably another theory on stabilizing their alchemic amplifier."
Now that was interesting. They were both keeping well abreast of all Philosopher Stone-like activity in the alchemic community, and the Tringums were well aware of that and actively sharing their research. They hadn't given up on transmuting false Stones to aid in healing alchemy, even if those Stones weren't based on red water or human lives. And with border unrest still present despite five long months of Mustang not backing down –
Ed rubbed the bridge of his nose vigorously. "Great. We can use it when we get sent to the front lines."
"Nii-san." It was reproachful.
He sighed. It hadn't been deserved; Mustang had made no move to uproot the suddenly condensed State Alchemists anywhere else in the country. Nor had he said anything about it in the House sessions. Edward glared at the man, not surprised to see that Mustang was oblivious, accepting a battered letter from the colonel.
Roy Mustang seemed genuinely interested in furthering work between physics and alchemy, and getting the alchemists and physicists educated as quickly as possible. He'd also, ignoring that lecture, been keeping his figurative fingers out of the pot. There'd been no requirements or demands passed down regarding curriculum, hours, or tests. He'd approved all costs without complaint, even going to bat for them with Parliament to justify the new building.
Which was large, in the style of the Parliament building, and constructed in about three days with the help of Armstrong's extended family and a few very surprised stonecutters.
The Amestris Academy of the Sciences was into its third month, and classes seemed to be going well. Most of the men and women that had volunteered for the first classes were a pretty open-minded bunch, and the scientists were getting along very well. With a few spectacular exceptions.
Which could have been another reason the Fletchers were concentrating on alchemic amplifiers, come to think of it. Physicists were able to easily inflict as much damage as an alchemist, theirs just had to be a bit more premeditated.
Which usually made it a bit less innocent, or easy to justify. They were clearly feeling like the underdogs.
"I know," he waved off his brother's half-hearted glare. "It's hot."
"He has a point, you know," Al told him, still serious. "It's not a waste if it helps someone."
"I don't criticize your teaching methods," he responded, a bit more forcefully than he really meant to. Al's easy headshake demonstrated that his younger brother hadn't taken it personally, but he still cursed, quietly. A glance told him Mustang was already more than halfway down the lecture hall aisle, apparently off on more important business, and he sighed. "Just drop it, Al."
"For now," he agreed, studying the emptying hall. "I'll call you before I head to their apartment."
"Thanks." He still felt vaguely guilty about snapping, but Al was playing it off, and it was easier to just let him. It wasn't the first time they'd had this argument, after all.
It was just the first time he felt like Mustang was pushing the point.
None of the students had had either the time or the inclination to stay when they'd seen him talking with the Prime Minister, and Ed expected his office hours would probably be quiet as well. Which was fine; it was bound to be cooler in his office than the hall, and he had his own texts to worry about. He'd edited about two-thirds of the notes Mustang had had published, and gotten the previous versions yanked from Central and East's libraries.
And to his credit, the man had done a pretty good job of further encoding anything remotely useful towards new Stone creation.
But there were a lot of things they'd discovered that didn't need to be published for the world to see. Red water, for one. He was half-convinced that if Franklin ever figured out the spring had been in Xenotime, he'd dig up the mountain in an effort to find it.
Ed trudged down the halls, noting that most of the doors were closed. Mustang himself had picked the physics professors, and he'd done a pretty good job of selecting men that could properly explain physics to alchemists. He'd sat in on all of their classes, at one point or another, determining the same thing that the physicists had been in his – how someone of one science grasped another.
Rockets were a good example.
He was walking on autopilot, and very nearly didn't notice them. They were at the end of the hallway, and while it wasn't unusual to see the bright blue of the Amestris army, since more than half the student body wore it, the much darker black of the Prime Minister stood out quite sorely. He contemplated continuing down the hall to give Mustang a hard time, but the colonel was herding his other two bodyguards into the main office, and the man was wandering towards the lavatory.
He wasn't spoiling for a fight that badly.
Edward had fully entered his office before his brain noted that the Prime Minister had actually been heading through one door too far.
Confused, Edward stuck his head back into the hall.
The colonel was already out of sight, and he knew she hadn't had the time to cross the hall to follow him.
He hadn't seen her allow him to go anywhere outside of the HQ unescorted in five months.
On a whim, he tossed the folder he was carrying onto his desk and pulled his office door closed again. There was no reason to lock it; again, half the student body could disable the lock, and the other half could transmute a new door. He half-jogged down the hallway, hitting the stairwell double-doors about half a minute after Mustang had. Ed entered the stairwell quietly, glancing down the center, through the banister.
He didn't see any activity. And there were only two floors down. He'd either gone outside, or into the basement.
Edward hurried down the first flight, peering out the large glass panels of the back entrance. Sure enough, one of the dark Parliament vehicles was just pulling away from the curb, and as it had been parked at the curb, it was likely to be Mustang's. A glance through the side windows showed only one figure, but the angle and reflection of light made it too difficult to make out a specific face.
Where would Mustang be driving to that he wouldn't need escorts? Where would Riza let him go?
Without a second thought Ed pushed through the doors, heading not after the car but to the small faculty lot just behind the main building.
- x -
It reminded him of Maes, in a way.
Though if it had been Hughes, he probably wouldn't have noticed until the damage was done.
He sighed, slouching further into the recess between the faux marble building frontage and its indented, deep brick walls. It didn't provide much of a shadow, but considering the printing press was gilded in the same white stone as the rest of the industry buildings on the block, the contrast would be enough to hide him temporarily.
And temporarily was all he needed. At this point he knew there was no danger.
He just wanted the advantage of surprise.
It didn't take Edward Elric long to determine that his car had swung into the alley; he heard the squeal of the tires before the shadow of the hood crossed the sidewalk to his right. Somewhere along his journey Edward had learned how to drive halfway decently. The car pulled smoothly into the very center of the aisle between the buildings, effectively preventing Roy's car, parked several yards away, from trying to back out.
The driver's side window was easily within touching distance, and the Prime Minister of Amestris reached out, rapping his knuckles sharply on the glass.
He was rewarded with a single, surprised golden eye, and the car jerked to a halt.
Clearly he'd startled the young man, but rather than gape comically at him, that single eye just continued to regard him. While he'd finally ditched his trademark outfits for real clothing, his hair had remained very much the same. His bangs were still overgrown, and framed his face. On anyone else, it would appear they were the curtain between him and the world, and he used them as a shield.
That was certainly what they'd been for when he'd been a child.
The window rolled down smoothly; Mustang didn't even see Ed's shoulder shifting as he manually cranked it down. The elder Elric finally turned fully to face him, allowing the car to idle and resting his left arm comfortably in the windowframe.
"So what was in the letter?"
Roy considered hiding his smile, then discarded the idea. Hawkeye hadn't made a production of giving it to him, but she hadn't hidden it, either. She'd probably figured either would have attracted his attention more than what she had done.
And at the time she'd handed it to him, she hadn't known the contents. Just the address.
The current government didn't get very many letters addressed to the Fuhrer Bradley anymore.
Even fewer of them had alchemic markings scrawled on the back of them.
"I believe you're to be having office hours at this time."
Ed didn't even blink.
Mustang eyed him a moment longer, considering his options. She'd read it over his shoulder, and he could expect her to have gathered the appropriate officers and followed him within the hour. Therefore he didn't need the backup, and even if he had wanted to take another alchemist with him, an Elric would have been his very last choice.
But then again, considering how fond Edward seemed to be of alchemy in any form these days –
Maybe it would help to drive the point home.
In any case, there was little temptation for him to use it, if that was indeed what 'it' was.
"Return to the academy, Fullmetal. You're not needed here."
Unsurprisingly, Edward ignored the command. "When did you realize I was following you?"
Rather disconcertingly, the truth was that he was halfway across town before he realized who was driving. Because the Elrics held such high positions in the Academy, they had a Parliament vehicle lent them on a semi-permanent basis. He hadn't looked twice at the familiar model behind him, simply because he was so accustomed to seeing them in traffic around him. Only when he had left the capitol area had it caught his attention as being out of place.
Which didn't say much about his observational powers. He was starting to rely on Hawkeye a little too heavily.
Then again, even if Edward had been an enemy, it was unlikely he would have made a move until he was further out of the city.
"Immediately," he lied. "Are you planning on disobeying a direct order from your Prime Minister?"
Ed gave him an easy grin. "I'm trying to get on Hawkeye's good side. Besides, there are very few reasons you'd leave her behind."
Roy Mustang leaned up off the brick wall, cocking his head slightly to the side. Sometimes the Elrics were a little too perceptive for their own good.
"Hawkeye's dealt with alchemists before," he reminded the Fullmetal Alchemist.
The young man's mouth turned upward slightly in memory. "She's dealt with Scar before."
Trust him to bring that up. "That should have been your first indication I did not wish company."
"It was my first indication that you think wherever you're going is too dangerous for her." Edward leaned back, removing his arm from the windowframe. "Besides, no one's going to come to my office hours this afternoon. You made sure of that."
Talking Edward out of accompanying him was out of the question. He could sabotage Ed's car and drive out the opposite end of the alley, but if he brought alchemy into play he was asking for like retaliation. Arguing was wasting time.
Perhaps his hesitance was nothing more than a nagging, past instinct to keep the Elrics –
Keep them safe. Throwing them a Stone was begging for trouble.
"Point taken," he conceded with a subtle nod. "Is the life of an academic too boring for you, then? For someone so vocally opposed to putting alchemists on the front lines you seem willing enough to approach the lion's den."
The easy grin slipped immediately into something decidedly . . . un-Edward-like. "A place too dangerous for Colonel Hawkeye is too dangerous for a Prime Minister, Flame Alchemist or not."
It would have been a very touching gesture if it had been stated in a tone that conveyed the slightest bit of concern for his welfare. As it sounded, it was more an observation of stupidity. "Too dangerous for a seasoned colonel, yet you expect me to trust my back to an alchemist that hasn't transmuted in combat since he was eighteen? You're one to lecture, Fullmetal. Then again," he continued thoughtfully, "that's all you've been doing lately, so perhaps I shouldn't be surprised."
A small scowl, nothing more. "Using lives to save lives seems like equivalent trade to me."
Mustang glanced towards the street as he caught a pedestrian in his peripheral vision. One thing was certain, he couldn't stand here much longer without arousing suspicion. If Edward was serious enough to control his temper, he was sufficiently vested. "Fortunately we'll have no need to test that resolve," he replied, circling the car. He climbed into the passenger's seat without another word, removing his hat and tossing it into the backseat.
Edward said nothing as he put the car into reverse, waiting for a break in the light traffic before backing out into the street.
"I'm surprised you'd let me drive."
Mustang snorted quietly. "I can't recall a time I saw Bradley without a driver."
Ah. There was the comical look.
Edward recovered himself fairly well. "Where are we going?"
"Just west of Central is a town called Mount Vesper. Do you know it?"
Ed glanced in the rearview mirror before changing lanes. "Al and I used to pass through the station there on our way into Central from Creta."
Mustang raised an eyebrow but didn't inquire. That the Elrics had traveled outside of their country on their quest for the Stone shouldn't have surprised him. And as a State Alchemist, Edward had had his own funds. Outside of his reports, which had left out much of his adventures, they'd really only had Hughes' men, and later no one, keeping an eye on those kids.
Edward didn't say anything else, and once they were out of Central proper Mustang reached into his jacket, withdrawing the weathered envelope. It was made of old parchment, something he would have expected to see his sensei's notes written upon, and it was clear the piece of paper had been used as scratch material on more than one occasion. It felt very stiff through his ignition gloves, and the letter he withdrew even more so.
He assumed, therefore, that he was dealing with an old alchemist indeed.
Mustang offered Ed the letter, and he accepted it, shaking it out and holding it level with the steering wheel so he could read and drive simultaneously. It didn't take him long, and he glanced at Mustang inquiringly.
Roy jerked his chin at the letter. "Turn it over."
Ed did so, and Mustang reached for the wheel to correct their sudden wandering into the shoulder of the road. It was obvious Fullmetal knew immediately what he was looking at.
"Six corners . . ."
"I've seen like circles in Hohenheim's notes." Mustang surrendered the wheel back to Edward as the younger man manipulated the letter closed, fingering the paper curiously with his left hand. "And it's related but not completely similar to Marcoh's."
"Human transmutation . . . you think this is about a Philosopher's Stone, don't you." It wasn't a question.
Mustang shrugged, accepting the letter as Edward handed it back to him. "I can't think of anything else Bradley would have had an alchemist working on."
- x -
"We can't do that!" It was hushed and spoken between lips that barely moved.
"We have to do something. She's been in there for fifteen minutes."
"You've never had a girlfriend, have you."
"What's that supposed to mean? You think she's in there primping?"
" . . . no. I don't think the colonel knows how to do that. Look, I'm just saying, they have the same problems we do."
A derisive noise, equally soft. "I'm telling you, that sound we heard was yakking."
Both men fell silent as one of the office administrative assistants approached them. She glanced curiously at them, as though surprised to see which door it was they were flanking, but she didn't speak, and she didn't slow down. Once she was several yards away, the first began again.
"We should have asked her."
"I'm sorry, miss, our superior officer has been in the bathroom too long, can you please check on her?"
"Don't be ridiculous. This is the colonel we're talking about. It's not like she'd care if one of us went in there, and besides, no one else has entered or left. It isn't like anyone else is in there."
" . . . you don't suppose she's ditched us, do you?"
"As in, crawled out the window?"
"Well, supposedly Mustang was hitting the head, too, and if he is, he's been in there longer than she has."
" . . . you don't think –"
"All I'm saying is, do you want to interrupt that?"
The two men exchanged a glance. Normally they would have been flanking the men's lavatory, considering that was where the Prime Minister was supposed to be, but she'd called them away to discuss personnel changes before turning pale and ducking in without a word. It wouldn't be long until the next class period ended, and when that happened, the halls would be flooded with alchemists and physicists, some as young as fifteen. There was no doubt if the women's room started getting more traffic, their presence inside would certainly not be appreciated. And they had heard a suspect noise, but of course as gentlemen they were doing their best to ignore anything that was going on behind the closed door.
The second speaker finally rolled his eyes. They were soldiers before gentlemen, after all. And he was certain he'd heard the sound of retching. "This is ridiculous," he muttered, and turned on his heel, knocking forcefully on the door.
"Colonel!" he called out clearly.
The pine door swung gently from the force of his strikes, but otherwise there was no response.
Nothing. Not so much as the sound of running water.
He glanced at his partner before he pushed the door open. The women's privy looked very much like the men's, save the row of urinals on the wall. To his right was a row of sinks, and to the left a series of stalls in a soothing light blue. Every one of the doors was slightly ajar.
At the end of the room, there was a window large enough for a person to enter or exit through. It was closed.
The room was silent.
More concerned, he stepped through the doorway, releasing the snap on his firearm as he did so. The motion attracted his partner, who stood in the doorway to prevent the door from swinging closed.
"Colonel Hawkeye, are you in here?"
He moved quickly but carefully past the stalls, pushing each door open enough to see the head before continuing to the next. The third stall was empty, but as its door opened he could see the floor of the next – and a dark blue that didn't belong there.
He shoved open the door, slamming it into the stall wall before crouching beside her. The colonel was motionless, curled around the toilet on her left side. He'd been right about the retching; there was vomit in the toilet and on the seat as well.
She'd collapsed almost behind the toilet, and he grabbed the shoulder of her uniform, dragging her upright.
She was clearly unconscious, and far more pale than she'd been when she'd ducked into the room. Her lips were tinged with blue, her face a delicate shade of gray.
It was about that time he began to question whether she was still breathing.
He heard his partner enter as he scooped up the colonel. She was heavier than she looked, and offered him no resistance as he tried to gather her up in his arms.
"Find the Prime Minister! Now!"
Someone who could have gotten to Hawkeye could have gotten to him as well.
His partner sprinted out of the bathroom, and he soon followed, shifting the colonel in his arms to get a better hold on her. The office assistant that had passed them before was now standing outside the main office door, apparently attracted by all the shouts, and this time he stared right at her.
"Call for a doctor!"
- x -
Author's Notes: Well, this looks exciting, hmm? Not much to say, other than it has at least six more parts, and I intend to post one part a day until this coming Friday, when the rest of the fic shall be posted, however longer that it. As usual, I have looked through and caught what typos were to be caught, but I am certain to have missed some, and I apologize in advance! This fic isn't intended to fix anything, it's purely based on the prompts I was given, which were "Roy and Ed working together." Expect no great revelations, just your everyday adventure fic.
After all, I already fixed everything in the last one-shot, remember? ; )