Note: My friend challenged me to write this fic. I accepted the challenge. So in this fic, look for bizarreness. I am a huge Royai fan, and in no way am I a proponent of any pairings in this fic. Oh, the rating is for some language, but not much else. There might be some violence, but mostly not. This is strict mangaverse – I do refer to things from the manga. It will be helpful to have read up to chapter 71. The action picks up after the action in 70/71, and thus will diverge from the manga at this point.

Day One – Roy Mustang
"A Heavy Heart and a Racing Mind"

How will I get permission to go to Briggs? Roy was stumped at what to do with Olivier's letter – the Fuhrer would never let him leave Central, especially not to deal with an unknown, independent operator like Major General Armstrong, who surely could not be fully trusted by the corrupt core of higher-ups. A Colonel could not very well ask the Fuhrer for this type of self-decided assignment, even in the best of circumstances. He was not stumped for long, though, and his massive arrangement of flowers was still mostly alive (though slowly decaying towards their inevitable early death in his hotel room) when he received the summons.

The messenger came to the Colonel's room, knocked politely, handed over the letter and left.

Colonel Roy Mustang,

The Fuhrer requests your presence to discuss a temporary reassignment. You are to report immediately.

"They don't like giving me much room to maneuver, do they…" Roy thought absently as he shifted gears in his mind… going to Northern, he could see Falman, and taking his skilled Eastern force would leave him in a foreign land with many loyal followers, despite his main group being shattered. Even with the renegade Olivier Armstrong, who ominously wished that he'd "disappear", in charge, he could flesh out many plans there. Perhaps he could even take Major Armstrong and Sergeant Brosh as well, to have people with ties to Central. His brain whirled impressively as he drove to headquarters, setting up traps, decoys, disguises, and devising how to discover new friends and enemies in Northern.

"Sit down, Colonel." Without missing a beat, Mustang sat down, instinctively counting the people in the room, sorting them by rank and likelihood of inside knowledge. Of the moderately-sized group, most of whom were busy with other tasks and talking amongst themselves, only a few seemed likely to be inner sanctum level, so Mustang relaxed slightly, realizing that his death was unlikely in such company – "that which does not kill me…" he thought.

"Colonel, I have had a request for your regiment to be redeployed in the North, apparently there is some concern there that a disturbance may open them to attack from Drachma. They would like your offensive forces to join with their defensive forces to create a repellant force against our neighbor's potential attack." The Fuhrer did not know that Mustang already knew! How delightful! That flower-seller is the real deal, thought Mustang. Of course, there was always a possibility that he was being played.

"I am honored to be thought of by such a powerful defensive wing of the army as a fitting complement, sir. Have you decided if I am needed in Northern, or if I should stay here?" Mustang couldn't help but pat himself on the back mentally for his quick thinking and seamless transition to feigned ignorance. This self-affirmation took place without a single outward sign.

"I have decided you and your Eastern friends may go – all of your subordinates still under your command here at Central, and a few other Eastern divisions are to be sent to Northern with you, to be met by General Raven and kept under his custody when there. I doubt that I need to say that you yourself will be personally supervised by General Raven. If anything suspicious reaches us about you, you know what we will do."

No. "Yes, sir. I understand fully, sir."

He returned to his hotel room with a heavy heart and a racing mind, realizing that he would have to be incredibly careful – Riza would be the first they would torture and kill if he stepped out of line. He would need to get out from under Raven's thumb, of course, if he was to make any real plans, and that would be a trick and a half, to put it mildly. He quickly thought of something and ran out on a few errands, returning quite late at night.