NOTE: This story has been rewritten and reposted 11/02/2012. I strongly encourage you to read that version for a smoother more enjoyable experience. If you do not see the new version, please visit my profile and launch it. It has the same title : )
Another Run of Events:Version 2008
- mirage -
"We've had another run of events sir." Hawkeye report. Seconds later a fat manila folder left a resounding thud against his mahogany desk.
"I am on the phone." He covering the mouth piece and gave her his eyes. His voice carried with it the irritation dropping the folder just caused, but she didn't respond to his threats. She had known him for too long, and too well to find the menacing glare fearful. "It's been a car accident?" He asked turning back to the phone. The second lieutenant was on the line and the man was dreadfully unclear.
Today was like any other day, an early rise, not so different reports, not so different mishaps. Reports had continuously been coming in, the thin kind clad in light blue folders with red indicators. The remaining shipment of new recruits for Central had finished arriving, and they were now cleaning up. Central's more experienced, those which made the compound magnificently developed and sound, were being shipped about the country, stranding the entire first floor with newbies.
"Havoc you're not making any sense." He interrupt the man's rambling. "How was the horse involved?" He asked dragging Hawkeye's folder in and flipping back the cover. Havoc's story reached the climax. "Oh, it was a horse accident." He understood nodding as Havoc re-illustrated the situation. Falman, a horse, and a poorly made fence. "Broken leg." Hawkeye cocked an eye at this stepping closer to show her interest. "Horse accident." He mouthed and she looked sympathetic for a moment before casually waiting again. "Fine, fine issue the medical leave. Tell him to recover. I have to go." He said pointing down to the highlighted passage Hawkeye had provided and she reached over and turned the page for him.
It was a report. The fifth he'd gotten illustrating an unidentified alchemic substance turning up in a small well-to-do community in the East. It was a substance that was melting through their military base. Small and harmless, manned with a few soldiers and even less important materials, it was not so much the belongings they had in jeopardy, it was the fact no perpetrator was being found. No alarms being tripped. Their base was being infiltrated repeatedly and nothing was stopping it. From what they could gather it was an alchemic attach disguised with the salt substance afterward.
"Havoc." He growled to the man displaying his impatience and annoyance with the lengthy description of the horse trainer. Her long legs, long hair, soft skin, bright lips, round eyes, big breasts, amazing ass. He was a womanizer, but seeing a woman was one thing, hearing her described over the phone rather poorly a completely different one. It was time to end this. "There's been another attack?" He asked hanging up the phone without warning and Hawkeye nod.
"Not a single clue left behind." She report.
"This is a joke. Do you understand how stupid this is making us look Hawkeye?" He snapped ripping the papers up to get a better look at them. "That we can't even protect our base. One small insignificant base out in the sticks?"
"It's actually a wealthy city." Hawkeye correct and he flicked his eyes up again. "This is a blueprint." Hawkeye said noting his frustration and taking the papers from him gently and unrolling the delicate paper. "It's all residential sir, small community, a lot of money."
"Looks kind of like my home town." He sighed glancing about the zoning. It was an expensive plot of land, mainly all residential before a small town and large blue square. "What is this?"
"A school." Hawkeye supplied. "A very large campus. A private school, very expensive, and very exclusive for gifted children."
"A school hm. There's nothing much else in this town other than the school." He said sitting back in his chair and turning to her. It didn't make sense. There was basically nothing at the base being targeted. There was nothing even around the base. "You don't think the perpetrator could be a child do you?" He asked lifting an eyebrow and she frowned before nodding. Yes, that is what she thought. He could see her train of thought sitting delicately over the blueprints the way the sheet lay over his desk. The least obvious, but crafty. A child. "This is a rather extensive report Hawkeye." He said slowly giving the fat stack of papers a flick rolling her idea about. "What exactly are you planning here?" He asked growing a smile. She was such a surprise for him, all the time, excellent worker, close friend, and smart? Was she ever.
"It makes sense that the perpetrator could in fact be one of the students. They range in age from eleven to twenty three. All of them honor students, excelling in several fields. Medical, engineering, electronic, biology, chemistry, and literature." Hawkeye report. "Extensive knowledge in just a few of these fields could create some of what we're seeing. It's possible with this high an IQ basic alchemy has been learned, and this substance sir, is reported to be made of mainly salts."
"Salts?" He repeat sitting forward and curling the back of the blueprint up in order to better see their base. It was simple, but strong. "I have it listed as melting a few walls Hawkeye."
"Exactly why I think there is something we're not seeing. I have prepared a POA sir." She said pulling a thin manila folder from her back and holding it in front of her. A POA: Plan Of Action, she had made a mission, she had put together a response and he hesitate for a moment before reaching for it. His fingers slid over the thin contents, illustration of the ideas, graphing of tactical maneuver, and small diskette of records needed for it. Hawkeye began speaking immediately, illustrating her plan as he opened it. "We place two agents undercover in the school, and two in the community. We'll wormhole our way through this, and investigate it from the inside out."
"Impressive." He said examining the graphics of her plan. She had four positions lined up and had already run it through clearance for success probability. Implanting would be easy, and if need be effective this weekend. "Whom are you sending?" He asked and she opened her mouth to speak before he cut her off. "I want to keep this internal of course." He warned. He did not want men he didn't trust in his missions. He never had. They were his crew and he was the captain, and he liked all things operating through them and himself. It was his ship mastered meticulously and which never floundered.
"I knew you would sir." She smiled. "That is why I would like to station Havoc at the school, as a gym teacher. Fuery in town within the local market, Falman at a residential house, and Edward in the school."
"Fullmetal?" He cocked an eyebrow glancing again at the large blue square illustrating the school.
"It's practically flawless with him sir. No one would suspect." She said and he heard a bit of excitement in her voice. How perfect it would be, how easy Fullmetal would work, how he would complete her plan. It was amazing, she couldn't wait.
"Fullmetal is in the west Hawkeye. Researching." He said sitting back with a sigh and surveying her outlines and the job descriptions and false background she had prepared. "He can't simply be uprooted and shoved into an undercover operation." He said turning to her. "And what's more he's not going to want to be uprooted and shoved into an undercover operation, and I just had him here whining at my base a few weeks ago."
"If he is indeed conducting a nationwide search on alchemy sir. Then I think an unprecedented alchemic substance is right up his alley." Hawkeye countered and he was silent. Yes, yes it was. "Falman will of course act as his father so there is no suspicion."
"Falman just broke his leg and suffered a concussion. He's further north with Havoc and can't be moved." He retort handing back the papers and she frowned with the first flaw. "But I like this. I like this very much." He smiled complementing her plainly. It was simple, but meaningful and he did not do it often. "Put this into works immediately. Phone Havoc and tell him to get down here, and tell Fullmetal the same. If he gives you any problems tell him he'll be in my office being lectured until he can legally drink if he disobeys."
"Sir." She frowned as though not seeing how they would continue, but he did.
"Simply send Breda too, and make Havoc the father." He ordered waving this off and sitting back proud. Proud this was all going so smoothly.
"Sir." She repeat again and he was quiet waiting for her to elaborate because she saw a problem. Her face was frowning that way, the small pinch in her brow like a tiny pocket. His name was spoke in that tone, a patient warning like a mother to a child she sees carrying out a familiar act of disobedience."How sir?" She finally asked and again he was silent not seeing the question. "How can I make Havoc the father sir. He's too young, it's..." She trailed shaking her head and he frowned. Yes, that's right. Havoc wasn't just acting he had to actually have given birth to Fullmetal and he couldn't have done that unless he did so illegally. "Even if we fake that he's older. It would be ridiculous." She said and he sighed rolling this thought about in his head like a marble in a pinball machine. Touching upon each of his men all of which were too young.
"Breda is the next closest in age but still too young." Hawkeye said as though picking his brain and he released another sigh, heavier this time. "Of course..." She trailed and he glanced up with this tone, because she only spoke in this tone when she'd come to a realization she wasn't sure he'd agree with.
"Spit it out. I think this is an excellent plan. It's practically flawless; I already told you good work Hawkeye. Speak freely." He said quickly sitting back and waiting for this. He wanted to cross the finish line.
"Unless you do it sir." She suggest and he stilled. Him? On the field? In a residential house? "We could easily lie and move your age to say, thirty four." She said and if he didn't know her well he'd be offended. Offended and appalled she thought he could look thirty-four, but that was not what she was implying and he frowned mauling over this. If he didn't take it, then his mission would require outside help, and that he did not want. "Fine." He sighed bringing his hand down slowly to his desk taking this in with one fast gulp. Like a shot he threw it to the back of his mouth and forgot it, let it take effect slow at first and then all at once snowballing into the weekend. He wanted this stopped. He wanted the perpetrator captured, and he wanted to know what this substance was. If he had to go into the field and play house a bit it would be no problem. He was a soldier, and also a man, and he could take it. He would master it and conduct this mission from his own false house. It would be a ballet and the town would be their stage, and it would be flawless, and with the discovery of this new material he would be promoted.
They would all be promoted.
"Salts?" Ed frowned sitting up quickly and abandoning his slouched position on the couch. "Salts that's got to be wrong. Who melts a brick wall with salts? Colonel whoever you have reporting to you needs to be fired." Ed snort tossing the report back to the coffee table and he cocked an eyebrow.
"I did the report Edward." Hawkeye spoke up, and Ed looked a bit embarrassed and gave her a weak grin. "And it really is a salt. It's been analyzed by our top labs. Four of our top labs."
"Don't question women Fullmetal." He sighed getting up from his desk with a smug grin for the boy who frowned with the words. "It'll only work against you." He advised walking over to Havoc who was still reading over his packet with a frown. "Fuery what do you think?" He asked crossing his arms over his chest and smiling to the soldier who shrugged a bit.
"Can we really pull this off? I mean, the town won't notice the addition of so many new people all at once?"
"That's a good point." Havoc nod looking up to him and he turned to Hawkeye waiting for her solution to this.
"In fact they won't." Hawkeye said confidently. "The school necessitates that a family member, or family also reside in town. So Fullmetal's enrollment and the colonel's sudden appearance won't bat a single eye. Also, because of this fact families move in and out in four year increments or less. Several false student aliases have also been introduced allowing Fuery to be a family member of one of them, and Havoc you being an employee of the school shouldn't arise any suspicion."
"I want credit for some of this when we find out what it was." Ed raised a hand lazily, speaking to the coffee table with a sly grin before glancing at him. "Since I have the worst roll."
"You have the worse roll." Havoc frowned sitting up immediately. "I have to be at work at seven Am." Havoc scowled dropping his packet to his lap as though this were preposterous.
"That's what time we come to work here Havoc." He scold the man leaving his eyes on the grinning blonde who had never showed earlier than twenty after a day in his life. "Of course, not every job can be as comfortable as the military." He said and Ed snort sarcastically. "And because we're all involved we'll all share equal credit." He said walking back to his desk and sitting down. "Falman and Breda will also be in on this since I plan on moving to the top with my team." He informed them and Ed smiled pleased with his words and all three of his soldiers were proud. "So for the time being, everyone go home and pack. And make sure you fully understand the draw backs which are not optional." He said and three frowns came back to him confused.
"Drawbacks?" Havoc echoed, and he firmed his face and made it dark.
"Yes." He snapped. "Havoc you cannot date. Fuery no pets, and Fullmetal your brother is staying in Central." He ordered quick and efficient. All three privileged removed and all three pairs of eyes lit up ready to argue, ready to rage a war on why such a privilege was necessary, normal, relevant in every way to their mission, and blending in. "Now, all three of you remove yourselves from my office at once." He snapped aware of what was coming. Of the words, and shouts, and protests, Ed was on his feet first ready to argue. "I don't want to hear one thing. One thing and I'll make whoever argues with me go undercover as a woman. And don't think I won't do it." He threaten, glaring ahead from his perch with all the venom of a mob boss. Shoulders hunched, fingers linked he was dark and serious. He didn't want to hear it. Didn't want to hear one god damn word because he was giving up things as well, and if he was going to suffer, than damnt, so were the rest of them.
"Let's go." He said handing some bills to the cashier and taking the plastic bag containing his juice, and small package of muffins from the man. "Hagane no?" He called looking for the boy.
"I'll come when I am ready." Ed snapped from an aisle, and with the shelving he couldn't even see the boy's head. He sighed closing his eyes and counting for a moment like Hawkeye suggest. She had administered soft directions when she administered his printed directions. Advice he could see in her eyes she was hoping would save them. It was a four hour drive and they'd been on the road for two before stopping at this gas station. So far Fullmetal hadn't spoken much. He'd arrived on time in the parking lot behind their base with his brother. A suitcase, jeans and a hoodie and said goodbye. The boy discussed small tactics with the rest of them before departing. They were driving together because they had to live together, and it was good for appearances. Just like Fullmetal not listening to anything he said was bad for appearances. And Fullmetal so far, had not listened to one thing he said. Hawkeye's advice for the ride was to stay patient, her advice in regards to the boy was to be friendly. No matter what.
"Get your ass to this counter now." He growled taking a few steps to the aisles and Ed emerged with a glare a moment later. Flat mad golden eyes fixed on him, arms full of snacks before stomping past him calmly and delivering the landslide of sugar and fat to the counter before turning to him.
"You gonna pay for this?" Ed asked smugly and he made a face. Why the hell should he have to pay to feed the boy garbage? Why in the world Ed thought he was going to buy..chips, pretzels, chocolate cakes, and oatmeal cookies was beyond him. Then the boy said it, hook, line, and sinker. "Dad?" Ed emphasized the word in a long smug sound. Daaad? and he froze in his spot realizing the implication and the cashier cocked an eyebrow at him. Wondering why he was being a bad parent and not buying his child food.
"Just get in the car." He ordered under his breath handing over more money. Ed snatched the bag and start for the door. "That was uncalled for." He snapped the second they were outside and Ed pulled the passenger side door open and crawled in.
"If I get to be a kid again, I no longer have to pay for my stuff. I think the army can put forth some funding into our undercover work. Just file an expense report Roy." Ed chuckled all too satisfied in his seat. He start the car with a heavy exhale and backed out sending a wondering eye to the new shopping bag. It was all terribly unhealthy, and full of sugar, crisco, and god knows what else. He sent a hand to a cookie. "Get out, that's mine!" Ed snapped, yanking the bag insulted. "This is my food old man."
"It's my money." He retort taking one and Ed scowled at the drawback the boy had not considered. "If you want things so bad go get a job." He chuckled opening the wrapper as he drove and Ed sat frowning before retreating to a bag of chips when the boy's stomach rumbled.
"I am not looking forward to living with you Roy." Ed said crunching loudly as he bit the cookie.
"Yeah, and I am so thrilled." He said about the food and Ed nod as though relieved it was a mutual disgust.
"So just let me do what I am supposed to do, and stay out of my room. I get my own room right?" Ed asked and he made a face with the stupidity of the question. It could be no other way between them.
"Good." Ed sighed slouching down in his seat and propping his feet on the dash board adding the bag of pretzels to his lap and the boy looked positively domestic. Old worn jeans frayed about the ends and on the knees, sneakers no longer white with three red stripes on either side. A red hoodie with some sort of logo on the front. Looking at the boy and the way Ed sat slouched with his legs open, a casual demeanor as he sat chewing. He imagined this is what the boy would look like if he hadn't had his life. If he hadn't become military personnel. If he hadn't become an alchemist or lost an arm or leg. This was Edward Elric growing up in a small town with a small family and being happy. Going to school, getting a job, meeting a local girl having some children. This was the boy untouched by everything that had slammed into his life like a fist to his jaw. It was startling, the realization, and the perspective of Ed so young and growing. Eating and eating, since they'd started driving Ed had been eating. Consuming food and drink and sleeping and he could almost see the boy growing and changing in his chair. Ed was inquisitive. Playing with the knobs to the car, getting slightly excited when they had passed cows. He imagined if he had a different life as well, this is what it might have been like. If he had grown up in a small town, gone to school gotten married and had a son. This is what life might be like, driving him to school, buying him food, pulling over when need be. "What's wrong?" Ed asked startling him from his thought and he put his eyes back on the road.
"What do you mean?"
"Why are you so quiet?" Ed asked swallowing some of the bulge in his face before speaking again. "And you were looking at me, I know you were. I am a foot away from you Roy; I know when you're looking at me. What is it?" Ed demand and he sighed.
"In order for this to work we need to cooperate a little more." He said casually. The frustration he felt from earlier had faded and he felt more patient.
"I am cooperating." Ed argued instantly. "I am in this car aren't I? I brought clothes, left my brother didn't I?" The boy asked as though insulted these big feats weren't recognized.
"I mean between us Fullmetal." He said turning to the boy briefly and his eyes put Ed's back on the chips for some thoughtful crunching. "Let's just try and relax a bit more. Think of this as a vacation." He suggest and Ed sighed shoving the chips off his lap and to the floor.
"Can you pull over?"
"What?" He asked yanked from his heart to heart communication. His earnest attempt to bond with the boy.
"Can you pull over? I have to piss." Ed elaborated moving a hand to the door.
"You couldn't have gone ten minutes ago? We just stopped." He exclaimed.
"I didn't have to go then!" Ed snapped. "Now are you gonna pull over? Cause I gotta go!" The boy yelled grumbling curses under his breath as he pulled over. The pavement became gravel and briefly he remembered driving along the beach as he slowed the car. Not yet to a complete stop, Ed hopped out. They were the only car on the country road, and the sun was getting low in the sky as he watched the boy run out into the field some twenty feet and stop. He was left alone, watching Ed mess with his pants, before spreading his legs a bit and pissing. This was ridiculous. He never wanted to have children. This was a nuisance, and it was not only slowing him down, but costing him money. Ridiculous.
Ed came jogging back to the car after a few minutes and climbed in buckling up. "Ok?" He asked giving the boy a dull look and Ed nod slouching back into his seat. The boy put his feet back up on the dash and tore open the pretzel bag.
"Ok. Drive." Ed nod bringing a pretzel stick to his mouth and biting as he shift gears.
In the dark, in the car, it was harder to read the map than he had anticipated. He got lost several times. Fortunately for him there were no witnesses because shortly after the sun went down Ed fell asleep in his chair. Head slumped to the side curled on the cushion covered partially with food, Ed was out cold. He was left to drive in silence. Alone his mind wandered more, and he add forty minutes to their drive before pulling into a decently sized brick house. It was fairly expensive, but not dramatically so. They wouldn't attract any attention. With a driveway on the left, the house had decent landscaping, and a small front porch. It was lit up softly for them and he ran his eyes about it several times before turning to Ed and frowning. He had half a mind to leave the boy out there in the car. "Fullmetal." He gave the boy's leg a push but Ed didn't even move. "Fine." He got out and head to the house, after locking the boy in the car. He would admit, he felt a bit nervous without any men in a strange community. He was wearing his gun of course tucked under his sweater and jacket. He walked to the lit porch and slid the key in the door before stepping in.
The house was modestly furnished for them and the heat was on and running. It was a basic town house design with a living room to your left, stairs in front of you. The kitchen was in the back and he found this dressed with light green tiles, and white cabinets. They were stocked with dishes and provisions, but an empty fridge. All in all he found the kitchen rather girly, and did not like it. The room was rather rectangular, dissected by the counter which jut out like a fat sideways L for some stools before their small kitchen table parallel the wall and sliding glass doors. This door unnerved him in the night, the bright light inside only illuminating them to the outside world. About most of the floor was a casual gray carpet which ran right up the stairs and throughout that small hall. The bathroom appeared on his right. It mirrored the kitchen, but was somehow less feminine stocked with soap, shaving crème, razors and shampoo for them. Three bedrooms, each furnished with a bed and dresser and one had already been stationed for him and Fullmetal. He had fake pictures of a smiling blonde who was his false wife from which he had separated, and one of a young boy who he guessed was supposed to be Fullmetal at an age when the boy may have been tolerable and even nice. Fullmetal's room had several posters up, one which brought about a laugh because it stuck out from all the others. A wet blonde in a small white t-shirt and shorts. Near her face Havoc's trademark signature of the H itself. There was also a bookbag schoolbooks and a large shopping bag he found himself curiously descending on before remembering the boy himself.
He left to fetch his accomplice.
"Fullmetal." He frowned opening the boy's door and Ed's head slumped down startling the boy awake and bringing groggy eyes to him. "You're drooling." He point to the boy's mouth and Ed wiped it away with his sleeve looking past him to the house.
"That our house?" Ed asked sitting up slowly and he reached in and unbuckled the boy before picking up the chips and pretzel bags so Ed could hop out.
"Yes. Let's move in." He said walking to the trunk and opening it. Ed followed him rubbing his face before reaching in for his stuff.
"Don't eat my food." Ed mumbled to him shutting the trunk after collecting his suitcase and he ignored this and head for the door. "Roy? Did you hear me? It's mine and I want to eat it." Ed demand catching up quickly and he entered and carried his things upstairs. "You don't even want to investigate!?" Ed yelled up closing the door.
"Already did!" He answered and he could hear Ed trekking through the downstairs of their house exploring before coming up the stairs two at a time. He brought his suitcase to his bed and tossed it down listening to Ed walk into his room and drop his stuff before the boy growled and then there was the sound of paper being torn off the wall. He chuckled flipping his suitcase open and moving to a provided dresser when the boy appeared.
"I think this is yours." Ed said holding the girlie poster and he couldn't help but laugh. "Yes. Ha ha." Ed frowned dropping it to the floor before walking out and he chuckled walking over the poster as he unpacked. He brought casual clothing for about the house, and nicer dress for when he had to leave and enter the town, or tomorrow, the school to bring Fullmetal to it. Yes, school tomorrow.
"Fullmetal, there should be an alarm clock in your room." He said loud enough his voice should travel but he received no answer. "Set it so you can be up at seven." He ordered walking to Ed's room and knocking gently. When Ed didn't answer this either he pushed the door in and glanced around. "Fullmetal?" He called out before spotting the boy on the bed. Ed lay stomach down like he'd simply tossed himself on. Legs sprawled out, hands and arms inside the hoodie with sleeves curled up about himself sound asleep.
On top of the covers.
In his clothes.
He frowned at the boy adding on top of the covers and sleeping in clothes to his list of why he would never have children. This would be reason number two and three. Number one he'd already discovered and explored heavily with the boy: backtalk.
His alarm went off dreadfully early. Six thirty, and he rolled over and shut it off closing his eyes for just five more minutes before waking up to the foreign sound of the telephone ringing at eight. He rolled over and brought it to his ear in the blankets. "Ello." He mumbled clearing his throat.
"Sir, you need to be up and getting ready." Hawkeye spoke and his mind woke up with the sound of her voice. He rolled over and sat up quickly. "I am on my way down now, I'll be there tonight. I hope everything goes well."
"Of course." He said hanging up and he got up too fast and left down the hall with his head feeling the landsliding weight of his mind. He opened the door to Fullmetal's room and found the boy curled up in his clothes, over the covers, dead asleep. "Fullmetal." He called giving Ed's shoulder a hard shack.
"Colonel what the hell?" Ed groaned cracking an eye. Half asleep Ed's hands came instantly pushing him away both offended and confused.
"You're going to be late for school. We're both supposed to be there at ten." He informed and Ed frowned like he was talking nonsense before he saw the boy remember and he was getting up. Rolling off the side of the bed and yawning he watched Ed stretch scratching at his stomach before waving for him to get lost. "Hurry up, we're twenty minutes from the school." He said leaving the boy and moving back to his own room. He pulled clothing from the dresser choosing a black sweater, his expensive pair of jeans, and his good black shoes. He was trying to stay casual as though he might have to leave the school right after the enrollment and be somewhere, but not anywhere as hardcore as an office. He had just laid everything out and uncovered his toothbrush when he looked up and through the doorway caught Ed in route from the bathroom to his room. In a full blown yawn stretching the boy's mouth, Ed walked along lazily scratching in nothing but a t-shirt and boxers. This sight stopped him in his tracks as if he were intruding. As if he'd somehow appeared in the boy's dorm where he wasn't meant to be. He'd never seen Fullmetal with so little clothing. Never seen the automail as clearly as he could now. But Ed didn't notice and simply disappeared back into the doorway as he started for the bathroom himself passing the boy's room with a considerable amount of curiosity. Fullmetal was changing inside. Pulling the shirt over his head and yanking the shopping bag off the desk as he passed and arrived at the bathroom sink. He looked like hell and was rubbing his face in the mirror with only two hours to make this better and put up this parent facade.
"What the hell is this?" Ed asked sounding dreadfully annoyed. A tone he recognized and Ed stood in the doorway holding the shopping bag and glaring at him as he brought the toothbrush to his mouth and started brushing his teeth. Ed simply cocked an eyebrow at his action standing now in a wife beater and boxers before reaching into the bag and extending a piece of paper to him. "Is this a joke?" Ed asked and he took the paper brushing away.
It was Hawkeye's writing. A message of good luck, and not to be nervous blah blah blah, more girl crap, before instructions informing the boy that these were his school issued clothing and books.
"School clothes." He answered around his suds handing the note back and Ed snatched it and dropped the bag on the floor.
"I am not wearing them."
He spit into the sink rinsing his toothbrush. "What do you mean you're not wearing them?" He repeat as Ed reached into the bag and extend a print out. "This was all in your packet Fullmetal." He gave Ed a look of exhaustion
"No it wasn't. There wasn't a thing in there about issued clothing." Ed countered and he chuckled clucking his tongue. Hawkeye was a slick one. "Fullmetal." He scanned the page with his eyes. "It's a dress shirt and slacks." He droned.
"I am not wearing briefs." Ed clarified stepping up and pointing to the bottom passages. "I wear boxers. I'll wear what underwear I want, they can't tell me to wear them." Ed shot him a look as though this were crazy and he was quiet reading this over as Ed took the bag back to his room. He followed reading along. The school was very preppy as Hawkeye had said, and he'd been informed Ed would have to wear a uniform and abide by, her words were, all procedures. The boy had been issued three dress shirts, short sleeve with the school emblem on the chest pocket and three pairs of black slacks. He had a black tie but that was optional, and apparently was also to wear white briefs and undershirt. "This?" Ed said dumping the bag onto his bed and pulling at the t-shirt he wore. "This no prob. I can wear it. Blacks more my color Colonel but I can do it. Briefs, no. It's my ass I'll put what I want on it."
"Well they want you to wear them." He said offering a shrug and Ed made a face. "That means you'll wear them."
"What!" Ed snapped and he frowned folding the paper in half.
"You'll wear them or I'll court marshal you, it's already eight thirty." He frowned tossing the paper to the boy's end table and starting back for the bathroom to take a shower.
"You can't court marshal me over the underwear I won't wear!" Ed yelled stomping into the hall and glaring at him.
"Yes, but I can over refusal to do your military duties. Which for now is infiltrating the school like we said." He said pointing a strong finger at the boy before shutting the door in his face and starting the shower. He was only fifteen minutes into it, his hair washed and body scrubbed when Ed returned.
"Roy! There is no food here!" Ed yelled banging on the door and he shut the water off with a groan. "The fridge is empty!"
"Eat last night's left overs!"
"I did!" He groaned sliding a towel about his waists before opening the door.
"Fullmetal." He sighed starting for his room and the boy backed out of his way waving off the steam.
"And that's another thing; you need to call me by my name now. You can't call me by my state name." Ed complained following him before taking hold of his door and backing out to shut it. "You need to call me Edward! Or they're going to know!" Ed yelled threw the door and he chuckled as he pulled his boxers up and grabbed his shirt.
"I will Fullmetal!" He called back.
"Well you're not doing it!"
"We're not in public are we!" He answered hopping into his pants. He opened the door to Ed's glaring face while doing them up and the boy was even less impressed with this. "When we're in public rest assured I will call you by your first name. Edward." He smiled appeasing the boy and Ed relaxed a bit. The irritation tightening the boy's lips slackened, but his eyes stayed the same glaring little obs. "Is that the form you like? Do you prefer Ed?"
"Stop." Ed was brisling at what he was doing to the boy's name and he laughed sweeping the boy with his eyes. Ed stood in his dress shirt, it fit the boy nicely demonstrating the chest was firm and developed in a petite body, the automail looking strong so clearly visible. The boy's pants hung on him well, Hawkeye had made sure to get all the right sizes as was explained to him in her note to him which Ed was not to read. As a result Ed fit his clothes perfectly, and while he now looked younger and smaller, he looked appropriately fifteen. "You look..." He trailed trying to find something compliant and acceptable. "Intelligent."
"Thanks. You clean up nicely yourself." Ed snort giving his outfit a once over before turning to go.
"Wait." He snapped and the boy stopped and turned around. "How do I know you're wearing the briefs?" He asked with a skeptical squint which made Ed's patient expression fall to a frown in less than a second.
"Show me." He ordered beckoning to the boy with his hand. He knew the boy well, and if there was one thing Ed was it was stubborn. The boy would not let go without a fight. The sudden brief-wearing seemed like too easy a win.
"What?" Ed blurt taking a small step back.
"Show me now." He repeat his order and Ed was silent, staring back at him before slowly pulling his dress shirt up and slipping his hand into the rim of his pants. The boy's fingers slid in along his flat stomach easily and pulled up a white band. "Don't play with me Fullmetal." He scold and Ed dropped his shirt glaring. "That doesn't mean anything. You could be wearing anything with a white band."
"So what." Ed growled.
"Fullmetal." He snapped firmly. The sudden noise in their quiet house made Ed stiffen and he watched the boy's shoulders tighten up in clothing which revealed the types of movements long red coats did not. Ed stood stiffly, glaring at him beginning a blush. "You're going to be thrown from the school and blow our entire cover if we don't get you in right. Now show me your underwear damnt." He ordered trying to put patience and friendliness in his words. Ed made a face with this statement, crinkling his nose so he could see the boy's little teeth before turning around. "No!" He snapped bringing a hand to his hair and running it through frustrated. "I don't want to see the white back of anything either."
"Well what do you want!" Ed yelled turning back around angry that didn't work. "This is ridiculous Roy! I shouldn't have to wear these clothes to begin with! I am cooperating with the mission! You can't court marshal me for that!" Ed yelled with anger emphasizing words like Ed were spitting them into the hall.
"Don't think I am bluffing either." He countered raising a finger and Ed looked nervous enough to stay quiet. "Now open your fly and show me."
"No freakin' way." Ed whispered taking a quick step back like he'd advance, before shaking his head.
"I am getting my gun." He deadpan turning to his room for his weapon. Which he wanted.
"I am not just opening my fly! I'll show someone else! I don't want to show you!" Ed followed him quickly. Yelling Ed kept a safe distance while arguing and only became louder when he opened his dresser and pulled out his weapon holster.
"Will you show Havoc?" He asked turning around and slamming his cartridge into the bottom loading his gun. Ed glanced to the side for a moment before nodding nervously, face beat red. "You'll show him?" He repeat and Ed nod harder. "Good. Get your bookbag he should be here any minute." He ordered making a show of coking the weapon and Ed left stomping to his room.
"He's coming here!" Ed called and he start down the stairs wishing, hoping, praying for coffee.
"We were supposed to pick him up! But by now Hawkeye's called him, realized we're late and is sending him over!" He yelled hunting through the kitchen as Ed started coming down the stairs two at a time.
"I told you there is nothing to eat!" Ed yelled at him dropping his bag for the ringing door.
"I am not looking for food I am looking for coffee." He explained hating the concept he might not get coffee. Buried in the lower cabinets he could hear Ed let Havoc in, and the man sounded unusually chipper at this hour.
"Good morning guys." Havoc grinned standing in gym wear. A gray t-shirt and blue windbreaker with matching pants. The entire ensemble was complete only with the black running sneakers and whistle. Yes, they had even remembered the whistle. Ludicrous.
"Now show him Fullmetal." He ordered pointing to the boy whose face lit back up. Havoc however looked confused, but his eyes caught the man's cup of coffee, and nothing else mattered for just a brief breath of life. "How thoughtful of you." He said taking the warm cup with a smile, before that soft and merciful sip. Life was right now. It would all be ok. Havoc watched him drink and grin before he remembered why they were both standing there, and his frown returned. "Now Fullmetal." He snapped and Ed bristled and gave his hip a hard shove.
"Back up! Go in the other room or something!" Ed demand watching him back up a few feet and shake his head.
"No, they'll be no talking in code for you." He said and Ed growled turning to Havoc who was starting to look a little scared being in their house. He watched Ed undue his pants fast while facing Havoc and the guy looked lost. Then suddenly Ed was doing them back up while staring into Havoc's eyes. "No! Look at me Fullmetal." He ordered and Ed wait as long as possible before moving to glare at him again. "Havoc what underwear was he wearing?" He asked.
Havoc made a face. "What Sir?"
"Boxers or briefs?" He asked keeping a calm smug look on his face in response to the boy's dark glare.
"Boxers sir, but Ed didn't you always wear boxers?" Havoc answered turning to the boy and Ed let his head drop back like that was the end.
"Jean!" Ed slapped himself in the face as he pulled up his gun. "Havoc you bastard."
"Lie for him and I'll court marshals you Havoc!" He snapped stopping Havoc's sympathetic face in its tracks.
"Sorry Ed. Looks like you'll just have to tuck it in and wear 'em." Havoc said before laughing at his own joke. Ed didn't find this funny.
Twenty minutes later
"You two have made me late on my first day. It looks so unprofessional." Havoc griped from the backseat. To better protest, their seats were kicked a moment later and he drove glaring ahead to the road, both hands on the wheel.
"We're supposed to be there right now." He grumbled.
"Cry me a river." Ed waved this off before sitting up on sight of the school. It was massive, impeccably kept. Acres of dark rich grass, furnished landscapes, large windows, solid brick, and slate. It was classic, massive molding about the tops and doors, promising an interior of excellence. "Holy Shit, this is it?"
"This is huge!" Havoc sat up in the back face on the window like Ed as he pulled in frowning.
"Pick your jaws up; we're supposed to have seen it already." He ordered parking in the vacant handicapped spot to save time. This was supposed to be fast. "Fullmetal remember." He said turning to the boy as he climbed out.
"I know-I know Roy." Ed groaned.
"I gotta run guys. This will be the last time I get to know you here Ed. Good luck." Havoc grinned and they bumped fists before Havoc was jogging toward the side entrance and Ed was left grinning ear to ear.
"Let's just get this over with." Ed sighed exhausted after the morning events. He felt the same. He didn't want any more obstacles no matter what they had to do. He was sucked dry and he'd only been up for two hours. Bad coffee. No breakfast. Foreign clothing. Foreign house. And his list had grown. Number three was now: Refusal to wear purchased clothing. AKA: briefs.
The school headmistress rose from her desk with a smile as they entered her office. The school was a mansion inside, shining floors, marble trim, and cherry on the walls. He felt like he was in a museum rather than a school, and the principals did not disappoint. Elegant bookshelf built into the wall behind her, large mahogany desk and two leather chairs in front, she stood and extend a hand for the boy who entered in uniform, and he followed. "Edward Elric."She spoke and he watched Ed almost trip with the sound of his name. His own steps didn't fumble, but he felt heat in his stomach. "My name is Marianna Sallsburry the Principal here at Workashire School. Mr. Elric, such a pleasure." She smiled shaking his hand after dropping Fullmetal's and the boy sat quickly looking uncomfortable as he nod. "Let me just say, on behalf of the school welcome to you both." Marianna said and her mouth was thin, her hair grayed. She was late forties and had a stern pinch to her. She was polite and inviting in speech, but her body was twig like assuming a cold and sharp aura. "I was so very pleased to receive your transcript, Edward your grades were very impressive." She smiled turning to Ed who like him was dead silent and stiff after she had spoken his real name. His head was racing as to how this had happened when they were both supposed to have aliases. "Don't be shy Edward." Marianna laughed after a moment startling him back to life and Ed mustered a smile.
"Thank you ma'am." She correct quickly. "I am sure you're aware of how high we pride our standards here at Workashire Edward, and Mr. Elric of course I know you're aware. Your letter of application came very highly recommended. Of course because you're new Edward we'll allow you some leniency, but don't think you can slack young man because we'll have none of that." She smiled shaking her finger at the boy who was hiding his frown. Ed was sitting perfectly straight in his chair and he glanced at Ed from the corner of his eye noting the stiffness in his shoulders.
"Please, rest assured we're happy to be here. You're school is magnificent." He smiled easing the tension and the woman sat back bursting with pride "I just hope that Edward can be properly stimulated and accommodated for." He said giving her a smile and placing his impression appropriately grateful but firm none the less. It seemed obvious to him, had this been real Ed should take all priority. His son would come first.
"Yes we've composed a schedule I believe you've already seen but..." She smiled sliding it across the desk and he took it before handing it to Ed who was itching to see. "He's fitted with all the mandatory classes, as well as advanced placement math and science."
"Wonderful." He smiled giving her a nod.
"This of course is also for you." She said sliding a three sheet packet to him. "Just another overview of our conduct and standards, and of course a reminder of the donation you've pledged." She smiled turning the pages slowly and offering him a pen and he smiled noting Fullmetal's soft snort at the word 'donation' instead of fat tuition. Marianna however caught this as well and sent the boy a look as he signed. "Edward we'll have someone show you where all your classes are and give you a tour so you get settled in. Your lunch is covered in your payment but anything additional will necessitate additional funds. You'll be required to have your gym things here by tomorrow and we'll send home all the additional papers your classes require for review tonight." Marianna smiled sitting back. "Can I answer any questions for either of you?" She asked with a smile and he glanced at Ed, but the boy shook his head and he offered a polite nod.
"No, thank you so much for seeing us." He extend his hand and she shook it firmly before shaking Fullmetal's when he offered it as well.
"No thank you Mr. Elric." She sat back giving them a nod as they turned for the door. "And Edward if you have any questions please don't hesitate to stop and see me."
"Thank you ma'am." Ed replied obediently, but he heard the boys underlined irritation and they left her office informed someone would arrive to show Ed to his classes. The office was well laid out but staffed too heavily and they excused themselves to the hall where Ed breathed a sigh of relief. "Geez, who sat on a pole this morning." Ed grumbled and he smiled.
"I think we did alright."
"Are you kidding? I am freaked out of my mind. Roy, how did she know my name?" Ed hissed giving him a shove and he frowned
"Something was botched somewhere, because our story was running but your name wasn't fully covered."
"Do you think someone will make the connection?" Ed asked nervously and he chewed on this for a moment taking a glance at the boy who stood alongside him. Ed was short for his age, a thin petite build, large appetite, and large mouth.
"No." He shook his head keeping the fact the boy looked too small and immature to be an alchemist to himself.
"Thank god." Ed groaned before looking up when a young girl appeared wearing the same dress shirt, plaid skirt and sneakers.
"Edward?" She asked meekly and he took a step from Ed with a smile. He was anxious to see Ed interact with people his own height and age.
"Yeah?" Ed responded and she smiled.
"My name is Clarissa; I am here to show you around. You're new?" The girl asked giving them both a smile and Ed perked up instantly.
"Thanks. I just moved in." Ed said giving him a wave with eyes trained on her, and he chuckled watching them start off down the hall. Ed seemed comfortable about his peers. This was good. He watched the boy talk to the girl, getting close with a few words and making her blush. This brought a smile to his face and when the boy held a thumbs-up behind his back he turned to leave with his laugh. With all well at the school, there was the new and pressing matter of how and why the school knew Ed's name.
"It's about time you got here." He said as Hawkeye let herself in with a bag of groceries. She stopped with his tone and no doubt he looked irritated sitting on the living room couch surrounded by print outs and blueprints. "I was greeted by the principal this morning as Mr. Elric."
"Edward Elric is now a member of that school." Hawkeye looked horrified and he felt relieved she had not in fact somehow given the school the boy's name. He felt relived her horrified response was on the same side as his horrified response.
"That's impossible; we had it all set up. You're last name was supposed to be an alias."
"I assumed so." He said holding up her POA and with this she gave him a look and head to the kitchen phone. To do this she took the groceries with her and sat the bags on the counter and in his mind food moved from priority two, to priority one.
"Havoc it's me." Hawkeye was on the phone watching him unpack the groceries. Cheez-it's, pasta, ramen, chicken, juice, soda, ketchup, mustard, tuna fish, peanut butter, jelly...he gave up unpacking and opened the Cheez-its. She was speaking quickly as he stood crunching and watching her rub at her face before hanging up irritated.
"It's his fault?"
"Somehow it is. He mailed everything over to the school." She groaned coming to him and standing silently with eyes taking him in. This was her 'how are you', this was her 'how are you holding up'. She was studying him with her eyes monitoring what he did. He both liked and hated this, like it because it was something between them, something he could notice about her and her about him. This is how he was the colonel. This was how she was the first Lieutenant. It had to do with how close they were, and how well they knew each other. Still, he also hated it because it made him feel weak when he couldn't hide anything from her. Even his own stupid emotions.
"Everything's going fine." He said averting his eyes. "We arrived sort of late, but they didn't mention it. Havoc has been doing his thing and I assume everyone else is too." Her silence confirmed this.
"How is Edward?" She asked and he gave a shrug as they listened to the door open and close. Ed came in and there was noise by the door before the boy was starting up the stairs two at a time. "He hasn't said anything to anyone now that he's home." Hawkeye said backing up to peer out the doorway.
"He doesn't know where we are either." He said giving another shrug becoming curious when she smiled. "Why are you smiling?"
"He took off his shoes when he came in." She said turning to him, but he failed to see the significance of this. "He's recognized this as his home for now." She explained turning to him before sighing thoughtfully. "One person I would like to meet in my afterlife Colonel, is his mother." She said unpacking the groceries slowly with the sort of grace only a woman can have. "There is something I want to tell her." She said looking up and he was dead silent listening. He was entranced with the conversation, the prospect someone could have hopes to meet someone after they died, and of all people Fullmetal's mother. Not a great inventor, or a famous painter, the mother of one small boy. Hawkeye was amazing, and she sent him a smile opening the fridge and packing some things in before Ed made himself know.
"Am I alone in this house!" Ed yelled coming down the stairs searching for life. "I am starving!" Ed announced coming in wearing loose gray pants and a black t-shirt. "Hawkeye." Ed greeted pulling back the open fridge door to reveal her. "How are you?"
"Fine." She turned for more groceries as Ed became one with the fridge. "How was your first day Edward?" She asked and he was starting to get the weird feeling that they were all playing house and in fact no one was working at all.
"Weird." Ed reported opening a cheese stick like a banana. "The kids in my school are snobs, the teachers are worse, and no one's said anything about alchemy." The boy report eating the cheese strings quickly already searching for more food. "I have a ton of classes and a ton of homework I am not doing, so what do you want me to do with it?" Ed asked picking up items before frowning at the apple Hawkeye sat in his hands. Ed made a face at the red fruit before looking at the open Cheez-it box with interest. He saw this and took the box off the counter and moved to stand holding it. It was his.
"Is he supposed to do the homework?" He asked Hawkeye who gave a sigh when Ed sat the apple aside disinterested.
"We're going to make something up with the school in order to get you homework free for the first two weeks Edward." Hawkeye report closing the fridge and leaning into it. This was the first time he noticed how nice she looked. Outside of work she wore her hair down with a loose white dress shirt and skirt that ran almost to her ankles. A small silver necklace decorated her simply, but elegantly. "Be prepared if anyone is to mention it, it is due to the divorce and some depression pills." She warned and Ed frowned before sighing.
"If it gets me out of that." Ed pointed to the ceiling where his bookbag was located. "I am down with it." Ed agreed standing alongside of him tugging at the Cheez-it box. He held it firm. "Will this take longer than two weeks?"
"We don't want it to." He said and Ed yanked the box away with a sarcastic 'thank you' and started eating.
"I have to go now; I'll be in town mainly with Havoc. I'll call as soon as I find out about the name issue." Hawkeye said giving them both a smile and Ed waved moving to the small kitchen table with the box. "Call me for anything." She reassured heading to the door, and he watched her walk. "As always." She added before the front door closed behind her and the soft touch that had entered the house with her, vanished.
"Are Cheez-its dinner?" Ed asked and he sighed at Fullmetal's eating head of blonde hair which had merged with the box. Outside of the question the boy asked, which was spoken about the food in his mouth there was nothing but crunching, and he wondered briefly if he had eaten as much when he was a boy.
"No, I am making myself something." He said turning to the food Hawkeye had left and Ed looked up with the keyword 'myself."
"Will you make something for a man on the clock?"Ed asked grinning as he filled a pot with water and he laughed. Ed was pleased and let out a satisfied chuckle before looking to the phone which started ringing. He let it go for three before sitting it to his ear waiting for whichever of the team was calling. After a moment of silence he became nervous and the change in his expression made Ed nervous and the boy stood slowly eyes locked on him.
"Ah..hello?" The other end finally managed and he sighed.
"Who is this?" He demand even as the voice became familiar.
"Ah Colonel? Hello, it's me Alphonse. Can-Is-can I talk to my brother please?" Alphonse asked with a voice even smaller on the phone. His facial slump to this request brought Ed to the counter looking confused but ready to join him in annoyance.
He extend the phone. "It's your brother." He deadpan. "Calls to and from Central cannot happen." He scold and Ed swiped the Cheez-it box from the counter before yanking the phone from him.
"Aru." Ed smiled into the phone. "Fine, you?" Ed dumped a small pile of Cheez-its to the counter and began stacking them while talking. The boy was chatting back and forth calmly with Alphonse about Central, and then laundry which needed to be done, then a cat the latter had found before Ed's tone changed. "Different, I, yeah...well I am gonna have to try...cause I am not really..." Ed trailed with his words backing into each other like cars piling up. Reluctant to speak. He could hear it in the boy's voice. Ed was reluctant to speak honestly with him in the room so he casually abandoned the pot and left to get something. He left loud footsteps on the stairs before sneaking back toward the doorway when Ed started talking freely. "They're getting me out of all the homework for two weeks, but I was there all day and I can't see a single suspect." Ed report dully. "No, I don't really like it at all. Everyone there has lots of money Aru." Ed report and he heard the little Cheez-its fall over when the stack got too high. "I miss you." Ed confessed quietly. "I am here all by myself with the colonel." Those words hurt a bit. All by myself. Even though he was there Fullmetal felt alone. Was this because the bond between the brothers was so strong the older would feel alone without the younger for any separation? Or was he so less of a person to Ed that he could not fill even a single social void. This bit at him and stuck like a flea. "I stick out in the school. The kids don't like me Aru." Ed continued and he heard irritation now, frustration, and disappointment. "Yeah right!" Ed laughed before the stack of Cheez-its fell over again. "That will go over real well." Ed chuckled before there was crunching. The stacking had gotten old. The stacking was no longer fun. Ed was eating the building materials. "When Roy comes back I gotta get off ok." He frowned. Apparently he couldn't fill any social voids. "I know I know, it's only my first day blah blah blah." Ed droned but his voice was lifting, the smile coming more frequently after just talking to Alphonse. "I will. I don't think I am allowed to call you so don't tell anyone if I do." Ed hushed and he stifled a smile. "Yeah he said he'd court marshal me but he's full of hot air. You know the Colonel." He felt fire rise up inside him with these words. Full of hot air was he! He was going to beat the boy. Number four: Snide ass remarks. "Yeah he's ok." Ed said stopping him before he walked into the kitchen to beat the child. "His room is near mine Aru, I'll be fine. I should be able to deal without you for a while. Hold up ok without me...ok." Ed was beginning departures, wondering where he was and he backed up a bit before striding in casually. Ed glanced up and watched him turn the stove back up and retrieve pasta. "Tell Maria I say hi." Ed chuckled before turning the phone down a bit to speak to him. "Make a lot."
"Are you bottomless?" Ed only grinned bringing the phone back to his mouth.
"Ok, I will, bye Aru." Ed hung up as he read the back of the pasta box. After several minutes of silence he glanced up to the boy who was just standing there quietly. "Can I ask you a question Fullmetal?" He asked and Ed wait for it. He sat the box down and moved to the jar sauce Hawkeye had bought. Garden mix, it was supposed to contain piece of vegetables and things. "Do you feel safe here?" He asked and Ed made a face.
"What do you mean?"
"Safe. We're staking out a location, do you feel safe here."
"I feel safe no matter where I go colonel." Ed grinned propping his automail up as if to show him. The metal on the counter hit roughly, but Ed didn't feel it, and didn't notice the hard sound it made. He looked it over before opening the jar.
"I want you to know we're guarded well, and we're safe here." He said popping the top and Ed was frowning as he listened. "Just so you're aware."
"Thanks." Ed mumbled confused before tossing the empty Cheez-it box over the counter like a basketball player and grinning when it fell into the garbage. "Score. The Fullmetal Alchemist one. Flame Alchemist..." Ed trailed and he glanced up. "Zipo." Ed taunt heading for the door. "I am going to take a bath." Ed called back before taking the stairs two at a time and he dumped the pasta into the pot. The small hard shells sprinkled in like sand filling a bucket.
Ok everyone! That was my first chapter! –wooo, this baby is old so spelling and grammar checking is a big pain in the you-got-it!
Please let me know what you think! This is the second Fullmetal fic I am posting, but it won't be my last : ) I post chapters every Friday, and only post completed stories so you can be sure this will run till it's done!
Please take the time to leave a review –anything!- Reviews are easy to do and keep authors going.
Next chapter: In This Together will be posted Friday 02/29/08