Author's Note: Hello! Despite what you may have believed, this story isn't ENTIRELY dead yet! (Though it may become so soon without your help.) I still can't really think of a way for Riza to go about her investigation so I decided on going down some random sidetrack! Woohoo! As always, please PLEEEASE review! Especially if you're a new reader—I'd love to hear from you! Drop me a line to let me know you exist! (And I am now officially in mourning for Lin. . .someone please tell me he gets un-Greed-i-fied sometime??)
Disclaimer: Well, apparently my inspiration DID break out of jail, hitch a ride on vol. 14, and strike me again. It was rather upset to realize that I still don't own anything except for my cat. . .oh, and a nice, swelling lump on the top of my head now. . .
Since it's been so long since the last chappie, I'll add a
"Roy was the only one who saw the tiny, red spark leap from Scar's hand, which was pressed against the wall.
LOOK OUT! Roy yelled and charged forward just as the wall exploded and three stories of already-crumbling masonry collapsed on them."
"Wow, heh heh. . .that was close."
Once his heart rate returned to normal, Roy took a moment to thank heaven for Alphonse Elric. Apparently Roy hadn't been the only one to see the warning spark of red that flashed from Scar's hand. The moment before tons of rubble had come crashing down, Al had slapped his hands together and encompassed the entire group in a dome of solid rock.
"Is everyone okay?" Alphonse asked, his voice echoing in the complete darkness. There were various murmurs of "Yeah," and "I'm fine." Roy, for his part, whinnied. Then there was a horrendous scraping noise followed by an impressively long string of curses.
"Brother. . .? Is that you? What's wrong?"
"Every time we fight Scar, man, every time!"
"What happened?" Alphonse asked, fear rising in his voice.
"My leg's been pretty well destroyed. Man. . .Winry's gonna kill me," Ed grumbled.
Al sighed audibly in relief. "You should be grateful it was only your automail, big brother!" he said reproachfully. "Besides, we'll be going back to Resembool soon, so Winry can fix it then. Right now let's just get out of here."
Once the building had completely finished collapsing and had settled on top of their protective bubble, Ed and Al created a tunnel leading up, out of the rubble.
"He got away." Ed punched a chunk of concrete once everyone was back out in the open air. It had taken a considerable amount of work to get Roy up through the tunnel, but after a few good shoves and a rather creative use of rope, they had gotten him out too.
"Yes, but at least we learned that he didn't kill the Colonel." Alphonse pointed out.
"How do you know he was telling the truth?" For just having a building fall on him, the Xingian boy was remarkably unruffled. He was just standing there, nonchalantly dusting himself off as if nothing had happened.
"He'd have no reason to lie." Ed grunted, "In fact, he'd probably be gloating about it if he did."
"Edward is right. Our best assumption now is that the Colonel is alive, but probably being held captive somewhere." Hawkeye spoke in her normal, business like tone, but Roy could see relief shining in her eyes.
No, Roy sighed in resignation, No, I'm right here, but of course you'll never realize it and I shall probably spend the rest of my days with four legs and a craving for oats. Roy realized dimly that he had gotten into the habit of talking to himself. He wondered if this was a sign of mental deterioration.
"Well, there's nothing more we can do tonight." Havoc stretched, "Let's go home and get some rest."
"Yeah. . ."
"Good morning, Shadow!"
Roy snapped his head up and blinked blearily at the overly-cheerful metal boy in front of him. What was Alphonse doing here so early in the morning?
"I've got good news, boy!"
And I am so terribly happy for you. Roy mumbled, his eyes drifting closed again. It was too early for any sane creature to be conscious.
"Remember Winry and Granny Pinako?" Al had come into his stall and was trying to coax him into a halter, "We're going down there for Winry's birthday! Well. . .that and to get Ed's leg fixed, so you'll to get to see them again! I'm sure that they'll be glad to see you again."
Yes, I'm sure, but if you don't mind I think I'll stay here and try to help the Lieutenant find me. He was still not fully awake and was making half-hearted attempts to dodge the rope Alphonse kept trying to slip over his face. He failed.
A week ago, he probably would have put up much more of a struggle, but he had gradually grown accustomed to the various indignities that came with being a horse. Such as the rope around his face. Besides, his head drooped, it really was too early to be expending any unnecessary energy. The sun hadn't even risen yet and the morning was gray and chilly.
When they arrived at the train station, Roy saw Edward leaning on a crutch waiting for them. As they approached, however, he became aware of a faint snoring noise coming from the young alchemist.
Roy sniggered as Edward snapped awake.
"You were sleeping on your feet, Brother." Al chuckled.
"Yeah, well, why'd we have to catch such an early train anyway?. . .and why the heck are we bringing the horse with us?!" He added, catching sight of Roy.
"Because he misses Winry and Granny! And I'm sure they want to know how he's doing." Al stated firmly. Roy let out a great sigh.
They waited in silence for a while in the pre-dawn gloom, both Roy and Ed looking like they'd like nothing better than to crawl back into bed for another five hours or so. Finally Edward straightened somewhat.
"I know it's Winry's birthday and all. . .but I just don't feel comfortable leaving when the Colonel's still missing." He chewed his lip in irritation.
"But brother, Lt. Hawkeye is gathering information right now. There's nothing we can do until they find a lead. Besides, there's nothing you can do until you get a new leg."
"Yeah, yeah, I know. I just. . .hate feeling so useless, y'know?" He tilted his head up to the slate gray sky, his hands shoved into his pockets.
"Yeah, I know." Al said quietly, "But come on—the train's here."
The hazy shape of the train slowly pulled in through the mist. They were just preparing to board when a loud voice called out just behind them.
Both boys stiffened at the enthusiastic baritone. Roy sweatdropped.
Edward plastered a strained smile on his face. "Major Armstrong!" he called without even turning around. "What are you doing here?" He spun slowly to face the towering officer, trying his best to ignore the sparkles.
"You are well aware that Scar is still at large! It is much too dangerous for children like yourselves to be wandering around alone, especially in your condition!"
"Yes, but. . .HOW DID YOU EVEN KNOW WE WERE LEAVING?!!" Fullmetal still had that forced smile, but his eyebrow was twitching.
"Ah! That nice boy from Xing told us. He was about to follow you, but I, Alex Lois Armstrong volunteered to go in his stead!" There was a veritable shower of sparkles at this point, "Besides, it would be a pleasure to see the Rockbells again. They are such a nice family, and to take you in as their own. . .!!" Tears shone in the large man's eyes. The sweatdrops that had formed on the backs of both the Elrics' and Roy's heads quickly disappeared as the two brothers dove for the security of the train as Armstrong attempted to engulf them in a bear hug.
"How did we get saddled with him again?" Ed whispered urgently as he tried to scramble over Al into the relative safety of the train car.
"Ah, is this your horse?" Armstrong exclaimed enthusiastically, whacking Roy on the back hard enough to make his knees buckle. "A fine animal! No, no, don't worry, I'll take care of him for you! You two just stay there and I shall return in a moment!" He deftly swiped the halter from Al's startled hands and proceeded to drag a wobbly-legged Roy to the livestock compartment.
"Well. . .this should make the trip more exciting, at least!" Al said, trying his best to see the silver lining around the very, very large, sparkly cloud. Ed looked forlornly at the mangled remains of his leg.
"Why does she have to make it so complicated?" he complained to no one. "It would be so much easier if I could just use alchemy to fix it."
"Oh, stop whining, Brother. It'll be good to see them again. What did you get Winry for her birthday anyway?"
"Oh yeah, I almost forgot." Ed dug around in his suitcase, then pulled out an exquisitely complicated mechanism. Al stared for a bit.
". . .You bought her an automail arm?" he asked incredulously. "You do realize she MAKES automail arms, don't you?"
"Hey! You saw how starry her eyes got when she saw this in Rush City!" Ed said defensively. "What did you get her anyway?"
Al reached into his armor and brought out what appeared to be a thick scroll of something. When he unrolled it, Ed whistled.
"Ooooh. . .Wrench Variety Pack. How many are in there?"
"Twenty-three!" Al said happily. Ed inspected the largest one, which was easily over two feet long.
"Al. . ." he started. "Why are you giving her a weapon this big?"
"Oh don't worry, Brother." Al waved a hand at him. "When she finds out how you demolished your leg, she'll only hit you once or twice. . .three times at most. You're skull's thick enough to handle that!" Ed would have attacked his younger brother then, had the Major not chosen that precise moment to appear.
"Oh, what brotherly love!" he exclaimed, inserting himself next to Ed, so that the smaller boy was smashed up against the window like a sardine.
"Hello, Major," he squeaked.
"Did Shadow give you any trouble?" Al inquired politely.
"Oh, no! Splendid creature! Very obedient." Armstrong laughed, then paused. "He did fall asleep halfway to his compartment. Though when I attempted to pick him up and carry him the rest of the way, he seemed to wake up. Never seen an animal move so fast in my life!" For the first time, Ed felt a strong well of sympathy and kinship with the horse. It was the sort of fellowship that comes from the shared experience of Major Armstrong. For the Major was an Experience. . .and not necessarily a good one.
"Why, he reminds me of a horse my family used to have when I was young. . ." continued the Major, oblivious to the look of resigned desperation that had settled on Ed's face.
This was going to be a long, long trip.
Author's Note: Can anyone tell me how to make a proper line in this format?! 'Cause I don't know about you guys, but I'm getting sick of the oOoOoOo's. . .