Disclaimer: Don't own, make no money, poor fan, please don't sue me, blah blah. Well. I'm not that poor. I own some stuff, just not a whole lot of stuff. I'm not materialistic, is all...Huh. I'll be in my room, entertaining an existential crisis thanks to fanfiction disclaimers if you happen to need me. Thanks FFN!
"Yes, sir. I understand. I'm sorry, sir," the colonel pinched the bridge of his nose with a repressed sigh. "I'll take care of it right now...Yes, sir. Thank you, General."
The colonel set the phone on the hook silently, and stared at it with frightening calm. There was no outward sign of agitation; if Havoc had just walked into the office, then he would have had no idea that the colonel had been gnawed on like a chew toy by General Hakuro for the better part of an hour. The entire office had slowed during the conversation when the tone became apparent, and even Hawkeye had paused mid-file. Now everyone focused on the colonel, who was presently smiling at the phone as if it were a dear old friend he'd just run into on the street...and decided to murder after tea.
"Would anyone care to inform me," he asked, voice militantly clipped, "why there are over two thousand rounds of ammunitions unaccounted for, when the paperwork that passed by my desk to sign yesterday mentioned no such discrepancy?"
The lieutenants blanched. Hawkeye opened her mouth to speak, but Havoc replied hastily, "Yes, sir, ah, maybe I challenged Hawkeye to a shooting match, and she won, so I challenged her again, and I almost beat her, so I uh, and then -"
The colonel cut him off with a sharp look. "Lieutenant Hawkeye, you speak Amestrian. Please explain."
"Yes, sir." She stared at her boots. "Lieutenant Havoc and I have been challenging each other to accuracy contests every Wednesday night...for the past year. We have been using military property for these contests, which were unauthorized and often took place outside of military property, sir."
"It was my idea, sir, and-"
"Enough, Lieutenant." The sharp tone made even Hawkeye flinch, and Fuery sunk further beneath his desk.
Havoc shut his mouth. Usually Colonel Mustang was the most laid back boss he'd ever had, but he demanded honesty from his men, and he had a perfectionist streak that usually only manifested itself in his alchemical research. The colonel might hate paperwork, but that was because he preferred to be out in the field, not because he was deficient, and to have not noticed such a glaring discrepancy because his own people had hidden it from him...Havoc needed a cigarette.
"So you stole the ammunition."
"We didn't mean it as a cover-up, Colonel," Havoc said, dully. "It just started out with a few rounds at a time. They don't make you sign out for just a box."
"It's highly recommended," Hawkeye countered sharply. "You're just too lazy to do it."
"She's right, sir," Havoc felt even more miserable. "She wanted to sign them out each time, but when I met her at the range I was in too much of a hurry."
Colonel Mustang's glare softened slightly when he saw how devastated Hawkeye looked, and Havoc would have glanced knowingly at Breda if he hadn't felt like he was a pig on a spit...and then he saw the colonel soften a little bit when he looked at him, too. The colonel had decided their misdeeds truly hadn't been intentional; they weren't secretly supplying some anti-military guerrilla movement, and his most trusted lieutenant hadn't done anything to lose his trust. His other lieutenant...Havoc gulped slightly and tried to look as non-malicious as possible.
"In the future, I would appreciate it if you let me know when you engage in experimental training exercises."
"I expect all the paperwork regarding these exercises on my desk tomorrow morning, which will entail all provisions used, the dates they were used, the methods tested, and the applications they have to weapons training for all personnel, in addition to a plan for field testing of these new training methods, which both of you will apply to those in the military academy who are struggling with their accuracy grades. You might get shot, but you probably won't get court-martialed if you manage to make it detailed."
"Thank you, sir."
"In addition, you will run a lap for every munition round that was unaccounted for in the inventory form for this past quarter. Perhaps you won't be so lazy to sign out for ammunition then, Havoc."
Havoc's gratefulness wilted. "That's a hundred miles," he muttered.
"I'm not heartless, you can run them after you turn in your paperwork tomorrow...and every day after work for the next three months. Since you two are so competitive, you can make it a race. Whoever loses has to clean the lavatory stalls, and whoever wins gets to do my laundry." Mustang's smirk slowly worked itself on his face, and Havoc almost felt bitter before he caught himself.
Mustang had taken a serious perceived blow to his ability to manage inventory and his men. If General Hakuro saw through this retcon, it might just be the colonel awaiting trial.
"Sir, are you sure this is wise?" Hawkeye asked quietly.
"I don't think either of you get to judge what's wise for a while," he countered, but not unkindly. Punishment had been dealt out, and he was ready to move on. "There's a reason I'm in charge, after all."
Breda and the colonel exchanged barbs regarding intelligence, but Havoc muted it out. The office gradually eased back into motion, Fuery crawled out from under his desk ("I thought he was going to incinerate you guys!" he'd exclaimed nervously, "I couldn't believe Lieutenant Hawkeye got in trouble!"), Breda resumed munching on his chicken sandwich and crunching municipal utility statistics numbers, and Falman resumed memorizing the personnel files of the officials the colonel had a meeting with in the morning.
Havoc smiled at Hawkeye, but she just shook her head. She still looked pitiful. "Hey, he's not mad."
"I'm not worried about that, I'm worried about him getting into trouble."
"Stop sla-a-acking," the colonel sang, his feet propped up on his desk and a folder shielding his eyes from the lights.
Hawkeye's jaw ground, but she refused to chide him.
As if reading her thoughts, Mustang smiled. "Don't you two have some paperwork to take care of today?"
"Like I said," Havoc muttered, "he's probably waited years for this opportunity."