Could it be? Another chapter? You mean this story HASN'T been abandoned? XD Sorry for the wait.
"Today is our last day of training," Abble announced, walking back and forth in front of his trainees and eyeing the smallest with contempt. "Tomorrow, you will be full fledged soldiers. You will pack up your belongings and take these lessons you've been taught with you and you will go out there and serve your country!" he said loudly. "But before you can call yourselves soldiers, you have to prove yourself one more time,"
'I already have. Shut up and let's go.'
"Now come with me and remember that a good soldier always obeys his superiors."
'I think Mustang's told me that one before.'
Ed felt excited for the first time in three weeks as they were led through a tunnel into a dark cave. He didn't need to prove himself, but to some extent he wanted to and this place looked dangerous. Would they get to fight?
"Put on your masks," BootFace instructed. Ed reached to the side of his heavy pack and unclipped the gas mask from it, pulling it over his head.
'Maybe I should wear this in to Mustang's office. I bet everyone would be scared of me.'
"Now follow me."
When they came to a pitch black chamber, the Sgt. turned on his flashlight and faced the nine men behind him.
"Take off your masks."
There was a murmur of confusion, but Ed immediately put it together. This chamber must be safe, unlike the others they'd just walked through. There'd been several of them.
Eager to get to what the thought would be the "good" part of today's trip, he pulled off his mask-
"#!$" Seven men were suddenly clawing at their faces, two more following suit moments later.
Ed's eyes were burning, his nose was running like a faucet, his throat burned as if he'd just thrown up and he couldn't stop drooling. He looked rabid, but with less foam and more...other things.
"Now put the masks back on." The Sgt. had never removed his, the clever bastard. Then again, he must have known.
Ed's was the first back on. Unfortunately, his eyes, nose and mouth were still streaming like garden hoses. The mask wasn't helping.
"Follow me." Abble seemed oblivious to the moans, gags, snorts, hacks and other disgusting noises they were making as he led them back, all the way out into the sunlight where they were allowed to take th masks off again and retrieve handkerchiefs and water from their packs.
"So," BootFace announced, "Beware of tear gas."
Ed could have killed him right then. Easily.
"Something else, Lieutenant?" Roy looked up from his paperwork.
"He'll be here in three hours."
"Ah. Thank you," she smiled and went back into the adjoining office.
Roy jumped. He must've fallen asleep, Riza must have shot-
"Wake up, Colonel Shit."
Roy blinked. Was he dreaming?
"Hellooo. Anybody home?" Ed peered at him.
"Are speaking to you," Ed finished his sentence.
"You're exactly the same." The colonel sounded a little bewildered.
"Does Hawkeye know you're here?"
Ed shook his head. "I don't know where she is."
"I am supposed to be reporting to you, right? 'Cause I can go."
"Arrgh, No. Don't leave. You're supposed to be reporting."
"Here," Ed handed him a certificate. "You're supposed to keep that."
Roy studied Ed's certificate of completion. "Right..." He put it into his filing cabinet in Ed's folder.
"Rehearsal for the display is tomorrow at three. Wear your uniform."
"Aw, man. I was starting to get used to normal clothes again."
"Only you would think those are normal," Mustang retorted.
"Sir, is Ed-"
"Come in, Lieutenant." He smiled at Ed, "Someone wants to see you."
Riza stepped in, gingerly coming closer. "How are you feeling?" she asked quietly.
"Um, OK, I guess." Ed was taken aback, uncertain of what she was asking.
"Lieutenant, would you mind escorting Edward to his new dorm?"
"What?" Ed looked at Roy, who answered, "There was some reconstruction in the dorms. Your brother took advantage of all the dorm-juggling going on and got one nearer to my subordinates'."
Ed raised an eyebrow, but didn't object. Turning to Riza, he said,
"Take me to a real bed, please. I don't care where it is."
She tried to suppress a smile. "Yes, Sir."
"Edward..." Hawkeye began as they turned a corner.
Maybe Al had thought he ewas getting his brother a dorm in a choice location but really! It was on the third floor and toward the back of the building. Their old one had afforded much faster access to the outdoors.
"If you ever decide to do something stupid like that again, tell me first."
Ed looked up and sulked, "Going to boot camp wasn't my idea!"
"Joining the military was."
Ed subsided for a few minutes. As they turned onto a short hallway that ended at an Emergency Exit door, he blushed a little as he asked Riza, "Hey, why did you kiss me in front of Jean? He made fun of me," he whined self-consciously.
"Oh, I don't know," she said calmly. "This is your room. Mine is the one across and one to the right and Breda and Fuery share the one across."
Ed gave her a look for not answering the question as he unlocked the door.
"Thanks for showing me the way," he grumbled.
"Say hello to your brother for me," she said, planting a kiss on his cheek. He flushed hot red and rubbed at his face. "Yuck."
Riza smiled. "Come to me if you need anything. I'll be right over there."
Ed's first rehearsal went terribly. He was so embarrassed that he'd been assigned what was basically the lead role in the parade that he began to criticize everyone else's' marching to distract them. Roy had to admit though, all of a sudden Ed knew exactly what he was talking about and the display definitely benefited from it. Still, most of the older alchemists didn't particularly care for the fifteen year old's criticism and a few fist fights broke out- all of which Ed won.
The entire military plus the Rockbells and Alphonse got a front row seat at the parade. The public had to settle for a further back viewpoint.
'The first part is easy,' Ed reminded himself as they began. The very beginning was all footwork. The alchemists spread into tendrils and then spiraled back into each other, brushing past in circles going opposite directions creating a blue optical illusion of writhing, coiling blue vines or tentacles or something. Ed preferred the latter term. He thought it was kind of cool.
Then each tendril performed a burst of transmutations, each involving fifteen soldiers simultaneously combining their skills. This part was also easy because all Ed had to contribute to this part was a bit of firepower, Roy being in a different tentacle.
After each tentacle had "gone off" like a firework, the poor embarrassed FullMetal Alchemist was put on the spot. The rest of the alchemists got behind him, forming an elaborate bird with Ed at the tip of the beak. They marched forward until they were right behind the Fuhrer's float and he nodded at Ed who clapped his hands and transmuted several things at once- A burst of lightning in the clear sky; a shower of roses; a lot of sparkly electricity fireworks and then the last thing- At the very head of the parade grounds, a huge statue of the President's crest began to rise from the ground with sparks and fireworks going off around it for dramatic effect. It would have been completely flawless had Ed not "slipped" for a moment and accidentally zapped a couple of newbies by the names of Dorian and Mitchell.
Riza waved Ed over after the parade had finished when she saw him looking for a place to hide from all the yells, compliments and jeers of the crowd milling around the parade grounds. He scurried over to her and she pulled him behind Jean and Breda and he grabbed the back of her jacket for support.
She smiled and pet his hair soothingly. She knew even he wasn't used to this much attention.
"You did a good job," she said. Ed blushed, not noticing the discreet wink Riza sent to the approaching colonel, who relayed it to Jean Havoc. Breda looked away, clearly refusing to be a part of their little scheme.
Roy came up to Ed and the blond opened his mouth, probably to insult Mustang, but before he could manage, the three winking soldiers leaned down and gave him three kisses- Riza on the nose, Jean on the left temple and Roy on the right.
Ed gaped, his mouth moving like a fish's for a moment before he blushed hot red and began pleading Roy with puppy eyes, asking if he could go home and clinging to Riza's jacket.
"You can go," Roy smiled warmly.
"You're such a sucker for those puppy eyes," Jean laughed at the colonel.
"Alright then, I'll take you home, OK?" Riza offered. Ed nodded.
When they were settled in the car, Riza turned the key and Ed suddenly leaned sideways, giving her a childish little kiss on the cheek.
7/31/07 2:22 AM!
Eeee! I finished a story!! My very first completion of a FF story, WOOT!! Thank you to all my wonderful reviewers and everyone else who read this story and special thanks to my sister Sesshomaru'sSapphireMaiden because without her, I would've been hung up on that last paragraph for about another six months!!
DOMO ARIGATOU GOZAIMASU!