Disclaimer: Fullmetal Alchemist is created by Hiromu Arakawa and is distributed by Viz, Square-Enix and Funimation.
Note: Contains spoilers up through Volume 15 (the Ishbal Arc) of the manga.
A Fine Summer Mess
A Fullmetal Alchemist Oneshot
by Anne Packrat
Ed was wary when Mustang announced that he and every member of his unit were taking a vacation at the beach. At first Ed had flat out refused to go, but when he learned it was either everyone taking a vacation together or not having vacation at all...
Well, he couldn't deny the others their hard-earned time off now could he?
To his surprise, it had actually turned out to be a rather enjoyable trip. Most of the men spent their time in the water. The exceptions were Falman and his own brother, who had decided to go investigate some of the tidal pools with Hayate sniffing around excitedly after them. Ed spent time with both groups. He delighted in hearing his brother's excited cries at finding some rare crab, but he took just as much joy out of dunking Colonel Bastard over and over again.
The one stand-out to everyone's merriment was Hawkeye. She sat by herself reading, occasionally looking up and watching the men play in the water. She was dressed kind of oddly too, at least in Ed's estimation. She wore a one-piece bathing suit but over wore a high-collared shirt similar to those that normally went under the women's uniform. Given just how hot it was, Ed knew the Lieutenant must be sweating profusely in the heavy garment, but she kept it on regardless.
After a special barbecue performance (that had caused Ed to mentally add "showoff" to his list of names to call the colonel), Breda produced some bats, blindfolds and watermelons. In return he received several skeptical looks.
"It's a tradition that my hometown adopted from some Xingian immigrants," he explained, "First you're blindfolded, then spun around and then you try to smash the watermelon with a bat."
Ed remained unconvinced. "Isn't that just a waste of food?"
"Afraid you can't do it, shortcake?" the colonel said, smirking, "Hell, I'm not even sure you can lift the bat!"
"Shut up!" Ed yelled, ripping the bat and blindfold out of Breda's hands. The short-tempered alchemist was blindfolded and spun around. He took a few jerky steps then stopped, planted his feet and swung downward with all his might. Not hearing any wet squishes, Ed removed his blindfold and found he'd missed the watermelon by a good foot.
As Roy began laughing his head off, Ed scowled and stomped back toward Breda. "Let me do it again!" he said angrily. Again he was blindfolded and spun. He took a few tottering steps in a different direction this time, and then swung the bat. This time he heard a meaty squish, but right after it came a scream of pain. He removed his blindfold to find Havoc hopping up and down on one leg.
"God dammit! That was my foot!" the tall blond screamed.
Roy was doubled over in laughter, and so were Falman and Breda. Even Hawkeye and Fuery, who were rushing to help Havoc, had smiles on their faces.
Once it was clear his lieutenant was fine, Roy turned toward Ed. "Oh god, that was priceless, Fullmetal," he said wiping a tear from his eye, "Absolutely priceless!"
Ed thrust the bat at him. "Yeah? Let's see you do better, Colonel Firebug!" he snarled.
In fact, the colonel didn't do much better with his either of his shots, both thudded limply into the sand, sending up a small spray of particles each time.
Sneering, Ed took the bat from his scowling superior and lined himself up carefully with the obstinate fruit. He pulled the blindfold down himself, and was spun around by Breda. He took two wobbly, but confident steps and brought down the bat with all his might.
A wet, squishy smack told him he'd hit his target.
However, instead of the cheers (and the groans from Colonel Flamey) he expected, in their place all he heard were gasps followed by stunned silence. He pulled off his blindfold and met the gaze of a very surprised Hawkeye. A very surprised Hawkeye who's upper half was covered in red, sticky watermelon pulp.
No one spoke for an interminable moment. Ed gulped and carefully asked, "Lieutenant, are you okay?" He desperately hoped a bullet would not be following that statement. "I'm really sorry! I didn't mean it!" he added desperately.
"I'm fine, Edward," Riza wiped juice and pulp out of her eyes and then shook it off her hand, "And I know you didn't mean it." She took a towel offered by Fuery, wiped off her face, and then ran it through her hair. "I'm fine. I just regret my decision not to pack an extra shirt this morning," she said while regarding the gloppy mess that decorated her front.
"All right, people, I think that's enough of this game," Roy said raising his voice. "Falman why don't you cut up the remaining watermelon, Fuery, help Havoc over to the blanket." Falman picked up the last fruit and went off in search of a knife. Fuery looped Havoc's arm over his shoulder and helped the lieutenant limp away.
Roy's gaze fell on that of his portly second lieutenant. "Breda, you brought fireworks didn't you?" Breda nodded. "Okay, why don't you and Al go set them up?" The two left to do as they were told.
Roy turned toward the drenched woman beside him. "Lieutenant, I think I have an extra shirt in the car." He turned toward Ed. "Fullmetal?"
Still a bit shell-shocked by the whole ordeal, Ed's voice was a bit shaky. "I'm sorry!"
Roy's eyes softened some at the boy's reaction. "I know; it's fine. Can you please get some water from the bathroom and transmute it into ice for Havoc?"
Ed blinked in surprise. "Oh, okay." He grabbed a pail and set off toward the bathroom.
A turn of the faucet and a hand clap, and soon he was returning with a pail full of ice cubes. He stopped and slowed when he caught sight of Colonel Bastard and the lieutenant at the car. Roy's back was to Ed, and he was rifling through a bag. He looked up at the woman beside him in annoyance. "Take that off shirt before you catch cold."
Riza frowned. "Roy, you know I can't."
Roy straightened and put his hand on her arm. "Look, the others are too far away to see. Please, I don't want you getting sick."
She sighed, "I suppose you're right." She removed her shirt and Ed gasped in shock. There was no mistaking that swirl of words, shapes and symbols. Straight-laced Lieutenant Hawkeye had an alchemical array inked on her back.
Both soldiers whirled around when they heard Ed's gasp, Riza clutching her shirt to her front with one hand and reaching for a nonexistent gun with the other. Roy had dropped into a defensive stance ready to snap at a moment's notice. The both relaxed when they saw Ed.
"Oh, Fullmetal, we didn't see you," Roy said, doing his best to sound nonchalant, "I suppose it was because you were just to small to be noticed."
Ed didn't rise to the bait. He strode angrily toward Roy. Riza hurriedly stepped in between the two alchemists. Ed stopped a few feet from the colonel, his fists clenching. "How dare you!" he said, his voice low and angry, "How dare you mark her with that array! Don't you realize what kind of danger she's in if the wrong eyes see it?"
"Edward," Riza replied, her voice soft but firm, "This tattoo isn't from Roy. It's my father."
"Bull!" Ed spat out, "That's the colonel's array!"
Riza opened her mouth to reply, but shut it when Roy held up his hand. "I'll explain it to him. You continue looking for that shirt."
Roy walked a few steps and beckoned toward Ed. Reluctantly, the boy followed. When they were a few yards away, Roy turned toward the smaller alchemist. "My array was indeed derived from that tattoo." Ed tried to say something but was interrupted by the colonel continuing. "However, Riza was telling the truth, that tattoo was put there by her father, Nicolas Hawkeye. He was a specialist in flame alchemy, and he also happened to be my teacher."
Ed stared at Hawkeye's back as she rummaged around in the trunk. "And the burned area?"
The older man's shoulders dropped and his voice took on a weary note, "That is my handiwork. She asked me to burn it off when she saw what terrible things I did with her father's alchemy in the war."
He was silent as he digested what the colonel had told him. Finally he asked, "Why are you telling me this?"
"Because I trust you can keep this secret," Roy replied gazing at the boy beside him, "And so you'll understand about what she means to me."
Again Ed's eyes widened in surprise at the colonel's unspoken admission. The last few minutes had given him a lot to think about. "I'll keep your secret."
Roy nodded. Both men looked over at Riza who seemed to have found the colonel's extra shirt. Al and Breda finally got the fireworks going and Riza turned to watch as the first one went off.
As her profile was illuminated by the burst of light, Ed blushed as he realized two things: one, what he thought was a one-piece bathing suit was really a bikini, and two, Riza Hawkeye was a quite a fine figure of a woman.
"Fullmetal," Roy said, the side of his mouth quirking up in a familiar smirk, "Wipe off that dribble of blood that's coming from your nose."
This was written for the Royai Summer Festival contest on the fullmetal-alchemist dot com forums. I do believe it's about twice the 1000 word limit though, thus making it ineligible. Sigh...
Thanks to the creators, cast and crew of the FMA manga and anime. Thanks also to my husband, reviewers and feedback-leavers, and to the people on the FM-A dot com forums.
And thanks to you for reading.
Anne Packrat (August 23, 2007)