Arakawa owns; the fanart and "Murderball" inspire.

Mangaverse, post chapter 40. (Maybe a long, long way past chapter 40, but that's why Al's doing a handwave...) There's also a passing reference to chapter 63, but nothing too spoilery for there.


"Ed! Ed! I'm open!" Fuery waved from under the basket.

"That's real great." The blond held the ball close to his chest, blowing his sweaty bangs out of his eyes as he sized up the (comparatively) hulking man blocking his way. What do you know, Ed observed sardonically. The stick up Falman's rear comes in useful every now and then. "A little help here, Al?"

"Sorry, brother!" Edward's younger sibling was in no better a position than he was. The reason Kain Fuery had been left with full run of the court was that Breda and Armstrong had chosen to double team the tallest member of the Elric-Fuery alliance. From the courtside, one could barely make out Alphonse's desperate hand waves from between the heavily built redhead and the shirtless Strong Arm Alchemist.

"You've already dribbled down the court, so you're going to have to pass or shoot, Fullmetal," Falman reminded his opponent, stretching his arms high above his head.

"Yeah, yeah…" Ed muttered, trying to calculate the proper angle for a bounce pass to Fuery. The black-haired man seemed to either run too quickly to the edges of the court or stay too close to Breda and Armstrong. Ed wondered if Fuery had really understood that you don't have to guard the defending team. The communications officer seemed new at this.

When Edward finally did release, the ball went high and deflected off of Falman's hand, heading for the benches on the sidelines. "Watch out, sir!" Fuery called to the trio supposedly doing paperwork while the others were exercising. Hawkeye glanced up briefly, assured herself that the trajectory would not hit Mustang, and returned to her work. Roy, eager for any excuse to slack, reached up for the stray ball, only to have it slip past his fingers and land squarely in the hands of Jean Havoc.

"Well?" Ed called impatiently. "You going to shoot or are you going to look at it all day?"

The cigarette came dangerously close to falling out of Havoc's mouth. Even Riza looked up from the papers she had been organizing. "Me?" Havoc asked incredulously.

"Well, technically, he shouldn't," Falman jumped in automatically. Edward glared daggers at the gray-haired man until Vato continued, "It went out of bounds, so he should pass it to one of you and start this round of possession over again."

"It did touch your hand last," Ed pointed out, as if there was any doubt as to who ought to get the basketball.

"But Edward… including Lieutenant Havoc would make the teams uneven…" Alex Armstrong said awkwardly, wiping away a bit of sweat. Ed could have sworn that it was pink and sparkly.

"You guys take Fuery, then. Al and I could beat all of you combined if we had to," the shortest alchemist replied with a shrug.

Roy Mustang very slowly and deliberately set his paperwork to the side, avoiding Hawkeye's gaze. "You want a bet on that, Fullmetal?"

"I've got two hundred and forty cenz that says we can do it." Ed reached into the pocket of his shorts, jangling the chain of his watch.

"Why not two eighty, so that you can owe me a nice round even eight hundred?" Mustang stood, loosening his jacket.

"Because I'd hate to have to take away more of your money permanently." The blond offered him an evil grin and received one in return.

"Ed!" his younger brother called warningly. "How is the Lieutenant supposed to dribble?"

"It's okay; Falman can't dribble, either," Ed teased.

"Falman can't? You need a tennis ball if you're going to bounce it below your head," Roy needled the elder Elric brother in return.

"WHO ARE YOU CALLING SO SHORT THAT HE'D NEVER BE ABLE TO REACH THE CHILDREN'S EQUIPMENT SHELF, LET ALONE THE BASKETBALL HOOP?" Falman, knowing Ed's temper, had wisely backed off and allowed Al and Armstrong to each grab a shoulder.

"Hey, hey, calm down," Havoc said, spinning the ball on one finger. "If it's all the same to you though, I'd rather keep it to four-on-four. I haven't kicked Roy's butt at hoops in ages."

Mustang gave Hawkeye a pleading look, and after a long stare, she at last sighed and nodded, gathering up the paperwork. "I want you men back in the office in two hours, and no more than one of you should be in a wheelchair," she said, rising from the bench.

"Yes, ma'am," Havoc said, wheeling up to the half-court line.

It was the best two hundred and forty cenz Edward Elric ever lost, through no shortage of arguing over the terms of the bet.