Disclaimer: You know the drill, people. I don't own.

Well, I typed up the next chapter of Faces, Places, and Memories, so I'm just gonna get this one out of my notebook and on the computer. I'm technically banned from computer usage... oh well. My family's at a party, so... I have to type fast!


Roy and General Grumman are playing chess after hours at the office, Roy's PoV.

"Checkmate." General Grumman leaned back in his chair, a satisfied smile adorning his face. "But if you had moved the queen out, right there," -he tapped the spot with a fingernail- "You could've had me trapped."

Roy leaned forward, not looking at the game board but rather scrutinizing the old man sitting across from him. "But then my Queen would've been in danger. She could've been taken." The Flame Alchemist could stand other, less important ones doing the dangerous work- Fullmetal and his brother, the unpredictable knights in shining armour (no pun intended); Havoc and Hughes, bishops able to escape tight places with ease (most of the time at least); Breda; Falman; Feury; the many nameless pawns, even himself, the weak, underpowered King if need be. But not his Queen, never his Queen. he was, perhaps, too shy to name his Queen. But anyone who knew them, who knew him could figure it out. After all, the Queen was-

"The most powerful piece on the board," Grumman commented quietly, disturbing Roy's thoughts.

"Sorry?" Roy muttered; he had been lost in his reverie.

"The Queen is the most powerful piece on the board. The most versatile, most useful, most trusted, most valuable. There to protect the King at all costs." Grumman raised an eyebrow. "And, danger or not, she would have done more good out there. In danger, possibly taken, but the game would have been won."

Roy raised his head. "You really think that?" he asked softly.

The General sighed. "No. Strategically, yes, really, no. But you can't keep the Queen back there, protecting the King, forever."

"But what if that's the Queen's job? What if she made a stupid, foolish oath to protect a stupid, foolish King?"

"Neither the King nor the Queen is particularly stupid or foolish."

"So? What if the selfish bastard of a king wants the Queen to stay safe, next to him, the whole game?"

"Then the King should just admit he loves her." When Roy didn't respond, he added, "And maybe the King would be surprised to find out that the Queen, just maybe, loves him back."

"But," the colonel argued, "What if they're not allowed to love each other? What if there's a law forbidding it, a law the King can't change until he wins the game?"

"Well then. That King had better hurry up and finish the game. After all, with the Queeen at his side, he couldn't possibly lose."


"Yes." Grumman snapped the chess board shut, gesturing at his office door. "Now, young man, i have paperwork to do. And I believe you do as well." The general's mustache twitched at the last sentence.

"Yes sir. Good day, sir." Roy saluted swiftly and walked out the door.

General Grumman collapsed into his office chair as the younger man left. "Well, he almost admitted he loves her. And we all know she loves him. Just a little more work for an old man yet." He shook his fist at the ceiling, muttering "I'll get them next time, Hughes, I promise."


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