A/n: I do not own Full Metal Alchemist *sobs* or Ed, Al, Roy and any other character from this manga.

I know that this story does not accurately follow the true story of Full Metal Alchemist. I did this on purpose. I know that what happens with Ed and Al's accident when trying to bring their mother back can only happen the way it did but I wanted Al with his real body in this story so I had to play with the plot a bit. I also didn't want Ed and Roy to meet until Ed was of age so when Roy was attracted to him, he wasn't being a pedophile.

With these things in mind, I tried my best to make the situation as believable as possible. The sole reason I wrote this is so Ed and Roy could fall in love. I just wanted to give them their own story, as so many other wonderful writers have.


This is rated R for later chapters which will contain lemons, boy on boy loving and general smut.

Also, this story is long and focused on details so might be tedious for some people. However, I promise to continue posting and writing if enough people like it.

Thanks for reading!



If someone had told him the events that happened that day would completely change his life, he would have laughed quite incredulously in their face, followed with a rather rude, "Do you have fucking shit for brains?" That or simply give them one hell of a black eye (depending on what kind of mood his was in, that is)

Because, really, when he thought back on it, it was all very unbelievably incredible.

Actually, it started with a rather heated fist fight and an accident meeting.

That day started like any other day for the blond teen, waking to his brother shaking his shoulder hard enough to rattle his teeth in his head, demanding he get the hell out of bed or he was going to make them both late for school. The warmth of the blankets draped snugly around his body were unbearably enticing but when his brother yanked open his curtains for the sun to fall full over his face, he grudgingly unstuck one eyelid to squint and peer pleadingly at his younger sibling, who was towering over his bed with his hands on his hips, a sever frown on his face.

"Brother, you're going to make us late!" the tall boy said in his sweet tenor, one light eyebrow twitching in annoyance. Ed breathed heavily, loving the caress of the sheets against his body before deciding to crack open his jaw and force his voice out of an unwilling throat.

"Ugh, Al, I'm up," he managed to rasp, wincing as he did because his mouth tasted beyond foul. He heard Al mumbled a "good," and begin to leave the room and he closed his one eyes again, lulled by the soft mattress and the gentle push of the pillow against his face. Ah, maybe five more minutes…

If you couldn't tell, Ed was not a morning person.

"…and don't you dare go back to sleep!" Al yelled from his doorway, making Ed wince. Damn it. So with dragging movements, he extracted himself from those delightfully warm blankets, giving a squinty glare at the happily shining sun, oblivious to his anguish as it hung in the blue, blue sky. He hated the way it made his right arm and left leg shine unnaturally…

He wore nothing but a pair of rumpled boxers and his long, golden hair had somehow fallen out of its ponytail he slept in to become hopelessly tangled in his face. He aimed some choice words at it as he stumbled to the bathroom to brush his teeth to get rid of the sleep that coated his tongue and put his hair into some sort of order.

Ed felt a bit more human after he rinsed his mouth free of toothpaste and put his hair in a neat braid that nape of his neck and the feeling of "hurry" began to infuse in his veins as he heard Al banging around in the kitchen down the hall. Quickly, he was back in his room and frantically trying to find semi-clean clothes to wear in the mess that was his bedroom floor. A black tank that looked the least wrinkled soon graced his lithe frame as he rummaged through the mound of clothes on his floor.

"Al!" He screamed, knowing his brother would hear his bellow anywhere in their small apartment (and probably anywhere within a twenty mile radius), "Where the heck are my leather pants!?" damn, damn, they really were going to be late.

"They're in the living room where you left them!" he brother screamed back, sounding as annoyed as kind hearted Al ever did. Ed cursed, grabbed his school bag out of another heap and raced out of his bedroom and into the kitchen where his brother was leaning against the counter sipping from a white coffee mug, looking as pristine as ever. Al raised one eyebrow as his older brother skidded to a halt on the linoleum floor, smirking at his boxers. Ed caught the look as he downed the warm tea from his own mug that had been waiting for him on the table. Ed hated the thick, oily coffee that his brother insisted drinking in the morning almost as much as he hated the milk the younger boy dressed it up with.

"Shut up, Al," Ed snarled as he pounded into the living room to yank on his pants he had carelessly flung off the day before on the way to bedroom, not really caring where his clothes ended up after he had taken them off. He followed them with a pair of rather intimating oversized boots and a short, black leather jacket, completing an image of the stereotypic bad-boy. He then, almost regretfully, pulled on a pair of white gloves that he never walked around without, hiding mismatched hands. As if remembering something, Ed patted the pockets a bit frantically only to find them empty before turning an equally frantic stare to his brother who was watching the blonde's antics with some amusement.

"Where are my keys?" Ed all but gasped, golden eyes round. Al just shifted his weight and lifted on hand where a ring with several glinting keys dangled. His smile was a gentle curling of the lips and it made the older of the two breathe a short sigh of relief then laugh sheepishly.

"You need to keep better track of you things, brother," said the younger boy gently, "Now, we have to leave or we're going to get marked late again,"

It had become a routine for the two boys, the shorter older brother disorganized and scattered relying on his taller younger brother to keep him on some semblance of a track lest he fall apart all together.

Despite appearances, Ed was so intelligent, it bordered on scary but because of his appearance, his abrasive and, quite frankly, rude personality, most people never bothered to take him seriously. Ed honestly didn't care what people thought of him. He was quite content to do what he needed to do and everyone else could just go jump off a cliff if they didn't like it. He's told people that before too, teachers included. Despite that, though, he didn't like actually getting in trouble and being late for school would certainly result in an after school and some boring, messy task waiting for him.

Which is why he and his brother sprinted to his little back eclipse parked on the lawn in front of their apartment building. Ed slid gracelessly into the driver's seat and peeled away from the building once his brother was settled next to him. He glared the entire time.

"That bitch better not be on hall duty," he suddenly burst out, earning a surprised glance from Al as he navigated the wide streets of Central at speeds that were less then legal. Al's look became meaningful, though he was glad his brother's current glare wasn't meant for him; he'd be incinerated.

"Brother, she wouldn't be like that to you if you were a bit more…approachable," Al chided gently, earning himself a brief scathing glance.

"She's a bitch!" Ed cried as they idled at a stop light, hands waving expressively, "I mean, come on! Any excuse she gets she writes me up! I could be minding my own fucking business, not bothering anyone and she'll just slime over and hand me a frickin' pink slip with my name already on it!! It's hardly fair! Does she do that to anyone else? NooOOoo, just because of that one time when I set her classroom on fire! It wasn't like I did it on purpose! And I got it to go right out!" Al snorted and Ed could feel the heat of anger flushing his face as he punched the gas harshly when the light turned green, tires peeling rather loudly. Al just rolled his eyes, having heard this particular tirade before as it was one of his brother's favorite subjects when he was in his "bitch-and-moan" moods.

The "she" was one of the teachers at their school who taught junior English (she was actually one of Al's favorite teachers but he would never tell his brother that) Ms. James, he did admit, was rather unbending about the rules and since his brother didn't give a shit about the rules, she kept a diligent eye on his actions.

Of course, if Ed hadn't been messing around with matches in class, claiming he was watching the chemicals igniting as they were struck while she was teaching and accidently set his desk on fire, he probably wouldn't have a problem with the woman.

Ed didn't notice the little smug smile that his brother's thoughts had plastered on his handsome face as he was attempting to find an empty space in which to park his car. Being as late as they were, the only open spot was in the back of the lot, as far away from the school building as they could get without actually leaving the property. The brothers shared an exasperated look, as this happened to them more often than they wished to admit and took off at a sprint across the asphalt and into the bulky brick building that was their high school.

Luckily for them (well, really more for Ed, as his brother mysteriously managed to never get in trouble) they made it through the glass doors seconds before the last bell went off and the teacher that had hall duty that day was busy talking to another faculty member and sipping at his coffee, barely sparing the two a glance.

Well, they were safe this time.


As soon as they were past and out of danger, Ed broke out into laughter, earning himself a few sideways looks from the handful of other students still occupying the hall, slapping his thigh, making Al giggle.

"Ha! We are just too cool for this place," he cackled, holding his hand up for Al to give him a high five. Al's laughter, while lighter than his brother's, followed the rougher sound down the hallway, tinkling innocently.

"Although, if you got out of bed in time, we wouldn't have to rush," the taller boy teased as Ed stopped at a blank locker amid the stoic, stretching line of blank lockers and twiddled with the lock, before slamming it open. Ed snorted as his brother continued walking down the hall, as the junior lockers were in a different section of the school than the seniors.

"Pffft, why would I do that?" He called after Al, who shot him a shining, amber look over his shoulder before disappearing around a corner. Ed turned his attention back to his locker, ignoring the looks he was getting. People hated loud in the morning, and Ed was one of the most boisterous kids in the school, something he took distinct pride in, which was why he didn't bother to turn the volume down in the morning, always receiving varying degrees of violent glares from fellow classmates.

It was then, as he just finishing shoving his books into his locker and was fishing out the notebook for his next class, hurrying again as he knew the bell was about to ring for classes to start, he first laid his eyes on him.

Though he wouldn't learn the man's name until later, as soon as he lifted his eyes and his gaze tumbled upon the uniformed figure as he walked confidently down the rather dim corridor of the senior hallway, Ed felt like he knew him. It didn't make any sense as he'd never seen the guy in his life and he barely gave it a passing thought as the man pulled abreast of him. He was flanked by the school's principle and a blond, sever looking woman wearing the same blue uniform and then walked past.

Ed had just looked up from shutting off his cell phone and was in the process of allowing his locker door to slam rather violently shut when he found himself staring rather blatantly at the stranger.

The man wasn't spectacularly tall but he wasn't short either (taller than Ed by a good four inches) and his hair was as black as crow's wings, the shaggy strands falling into strange, slanted eyes that were as black as his hair. He wore the uniform of Artemis' military, black boots striking the fake tile of the floor as he walked. Not to mention he was scary good-looking, pale skin, strong jaw, broad shoulders and was just a bit intimidating. Ed was glared at by Mr. Archer, the school's principle walking next to the stranger, as if daring him to pull one of his pranks and the woman in the uniform raised an eyebrow, no doubt wondering at his staring. Yet the only acknowledgement he received from the raven haired man was when his locker clanged shut, echoing in the relatively empty hall, earning a brief flickering of those dark eyes in his direction.

They were gone as soon as they appeared, for which Ed was grateful because he had to take in a loud gulp of air, as if the wind had been knocked out of him. He didn't even realize he was leaning against his locker to keep himself upright. What the hell was wrong with him? Yes, it was a little strange to see military personnel walking their halls but so what? It wasn't like he had never seen someone in a uniform before. Oh, jeez, had he been staring like a silly school girl? At a guy?! Ed cursed himself rather explicitly completely unaware that now he was being stared at, kicking himself mentally at his idiocy.

It wasn't like he had been attracted to the guy, though he was ridiculously good looking…Holy CRAP! What the FUCK am I THINKING?!

The bell rang then and he was late for class. Again. For which he earned himself an after school. Again.

Yet as the day progressed, he was distracted by how he had reacted upon seeing the man, brooding and staring out the class room window distractedly. It didn't really matter if he paid attention in class, as he knew everything anyway and the teachers never called him out on it was they were just thrilled he wasn't causing problems. Or losing his temper when the instructor said something wrong and he corrected them, insisting he was right. He always was.

It took him the entire morning to figure out why he had been drawn to the man and he wasn't sure he liked the answer he came up with. The man had oozed confidence as he had simply walked down the hallway, as if he knew he could do anything if he tried and he knew more than the average human being. While that attitude pissed Ed off, he wished he could be more like that. Instead he was clumsy and had lost more than anyone his age should and he felt terribly venerable because of it. To make up for his rather sever short comings (not that he himself was short, of course) he was loud, quick to anger and acted much more confident than he felt. Oh, and he got into fights, did stupid things, got into trouble. Anything to take the attention off the sniveling, pathetic, useless child he felt like.

It wasn't until lunch that he was interrupted out of his daze rather violently.

The cafeteria was always at its fullest during the second lunch, the one Ed was in, making it difficult to find a seat most of the time and the lines bordered on absurd. Really, wasn't it a fire hazard to pack this many people into a space this way? The smell of food and press of the murmuring of over two hundred students greeted him as he walked to get on line and he sighed at the mundane feeling that settled upon him then. Usually he liked lunch but usually he wasn't being haunted by a pair of cool black eyes.

He was standing in line with a red tray under one arm and his fists buried in his pockets, hiding the gloves when his day began to take an interesting turn. A scowl graced his fair features and he wasn't paying any attention to what was going on around him, though, really, he should have known it was coming. Naturally, he nearly leaped out of his skin when someone leaped on him from behind.

Ed whirled.

"What the he—Russell!" Ed squawked, eyeballing the taller boy who was draped casually over his shoulders like a scarf. Really, the boy had no sense of personal space. Annoyed, Ed swung at him with his tray, though the blow never landed. It did succeed in getting the boy to stop hanging him. "What the fuck was that for? You nearly gave me heart failure!!" he was making a scene again but he didn't really care and most of the students around him were so used to it, most just watched in amusement.

"Dude, you were staring out into space!" laughed his friend, smoothly inserting himself into the line behind Ed without so much as a glance to the people behind him. The only way he even got away with the shit he did was for the same reason Al never seemed to get in trouble. He was tall and good looking and almost everyone in the school couldn't resist him. Despite all his smooth talking and carefree attitude, he was one of the few people to befriend Ed and stay a friend with the volatile boy, having proven his friendship on several occasions for which Ed was grateful. Though he hated it when some else needed to stick up for him.

Now Ed was glaring at him which would have disintegrated anyone else. Russell just arched an eyebrow at him.

"I was NOT staring into space. I was thinking. Something you should try out some time," he snapped, turning away from his friend who had acquired a knowing look on his face that Ed recognized and hated. At least the line was moving quickly and they were already at the counter. Ed snatched up a plate, trying not to think of what he had been preoccupied with all day so he missed his friends assessing look as he watched the three women behind the counter that held the trays of food ladling it onto his plate.

Unfortunately for him, the lunch ladies, who had a thing for teasing him, noticed the rather dark look as well.

"You're extra quiet today, little Elric!" cried the most buxom of the three, booming voice carrying through half the cafeteria, which earned laughs from her two companions and the idiot next to Ed. The lunch ladies loved Ed as he was loud, easy to tease and had on one occasion complemented them on the food, though it was more for the food itself rather than the way it tasted.

Predictably, Ed's face flushed a hundred degrees of red as the "little" comment slipped under his skin and burned him, as it had been meant to.

"WHO ARE YOU CALLING SO SHORT HE COULDN'T SEE OVER THE COUNTER WITH A LADDER?!" the boy exploded, because, after all, he wasn't that sort to warrant such an insult! The lively serving women laughed heartily, waving good naturedly at the fuming student and Russell had to grab Ed's shoulder in an attempt to calm the other teen down.

"You, bean!" Twitch. He HATED that word.

"See you tomorrow, munchkin!" Another twitch and he was being dragged to the register by his grinning friend who was cordially waving back at the now hysterical woman.

"Really," Ed huffed, sulking as he paid for his food. Honestly, he wasn't all that short! Why did everyone insist on calling him that? What Ed didn't realize was that the only reason people even said anything was his reaction to anything that could remotely be construed as calling the boy short was usually explosive.

Ed caught the grin on his friend's face as they walked to find a table to sit at (which at this point looked unlikely) and leveled another glare at the boy.

"Say nothing," he snarled to which Russell just shrugged and smirked.

That was when, as they were walking and Ed's attention was on the steaming food on the plate (he loved lunch, it was the best thing about school) the relatively normal day became, well, very abnormal. That is to say, someone slammed into Ed from behind as he was about to sit down in a clear space amid the crush of other hyper teens, knocking the tray out of his hands so his lunch now adorned his pants and the floor.

The immediate area froze. Although, if he had been paying attention, he would have noticed the quiet had begun before his lunch was ruined.

Fury and disbelief warred on his face as he slowly turned around to see who had knocked into him. To see who was about to die.

His throat dried up was he looked into the face of his worst enemy, a guy in his class who called himself Envy and had had it out for Ed since the beginning of freshmen year. Now he stood before Ed, arms crossed, daring the blond to do something. While Envy wasn't much taller than Ed, he was intimidating and frightfully strong and backed by what can only be called a gang of the school's biggest assholes.

Envy hated Ed with a single minded passion and it scared Ed and anyone who might get caught in the impending fray. Ed, still fuming, bucked up his courage, fists balled and ready to set free.

"That was my lunch, ass fuck," He hissed, barely seeing the other kids around them hurrying to get to a safe distance. The room was now completely silent as all eyes watched the two boys glaring at each other.

"Hm, I think it's the floor's lunch now, little prick," Envy said smoothly, brushing his long, dark hair from his eyes. Ed was almost choking on his anger, unaware that Russell was trying to make his way to his friend's side but was being held back by the evil bastard's posy. Ed could feel his blood boiling hotly and all he wanted to do was shove his fist into the jerk's face. Hard. But he had promised the principle just last week no more fights. Damn it!

"What the fuck is your problem?" Ed snarled, taking a step closer, ignoring Russell's warning and the faint cries of the teachers as they tried to push through the fascinated crush of students that formed a tight ring around the two boys.

"I think I wanted to sit there but on second thought, it seemed you've gone and dumped your food all over the damn seat," again in that smooth, irritating voice that set Ed's teeth on edge.

"Go find your own fucking seat! We were here first!" snapped Ed, fists shaking at his sides. He was beginning to see red and that was never a good thing.

"Oh, such rage. You want to hit me, little Elric?" Evny smirked then, looking down his nose at the infuriated blond, "But, wait, you can't, can you, without your pretty little, fuckable brother to save your ass—"


Ed's right fist slammed into the bully's face, sending him reeling, all restraints forgotten, flying at the other boy in a seething rage. Blood was dripping down Envy's face as the shorter teen slammed into him but he was grinning.

"SAY WHAT YOU WANT ABOUT ME BUT LEAVE MY BROTHER OUT OF THIS!!!" he screamed, bringing his fist down again, cracking against Envy's mouth. He didn't hear Russell's cry of warning though he wasn't surprised when he was dragged off the dark haired boy who was still grinning through a mouthful of blood by three other sets of arms, Envy's posy started in on him. He also didn't notice the commotion among the students watching as they began to make way for someone trying to force their way through.

He was letting his training kick in. Even five boys all almost twice his size were not a match for him and he laid about himself with a precision that shocked everyone in the room. Not that he noticed. He couldn't see past the rage in his blood as it filled him up, spilled over the side and blazed in his golden eyes like the furious summer light from the sun.

It was the gun shot that finally made him freeze.

With wide eyes and panting hard, he lifted his eyes from the boy he had currently been pounding into the floor to see a familiar blond woman in her blue uniform pointing a smoking gun at the ceiling (much to the shock of the scandalized teachers and excited fear of the students) dark eyes stern as they pinned him with the none-too-subtle threat. He got the hint and backed away from the unfortunate soul he had been slamming on, hands raised to his waist in compliance.

It was then he noticed he had lost his gloves and jacket in the confusion.

Cold metal gleamed in full view of a third of the student body, most of the teachers and an assortment of other people as they stared at the boy, the graceful substitute arm bolted to his shoulder. And they all saw it for he was left just standing in his tank. The shocked eyes made his anger rise again but the fear was there too, the dread of people seeing his vulnerability bolted to his body thick like the scent of blood in the back of his throat.

There was movement in the crowd from where several teachers were staring at him in complete disbelief and Ed felt his eyes pulled to that spot.

"That's fine, Hawkeye," said a soft voice as he stepped into view, dark eyes sweeping the bloody scene before him as the blond woman holstered her weapon with as much emotion as a broom. Ed gulped down his embarrassment as he was very aware he was the only one standing in a ring of moaning bodies of fellow classmates, their blood smeared on the floor and his hands (metal and flesh) and sporting a rather well crafted yet cold metal arm in place of a flesh one. And the man was just standing there, staring at him, handsome face unreadable.

The cafeteria remained utterly silent as everyone held their breath to see what this rather imposing individual was about to do.

Just when Ed was about to pass out from sheer mortification and the weight of the silence, the man turned and said three simple words that left Ed confused and genuinely frightened.

"Come with me," then he was gone, like a breath of cool breeze, followed by the woman he had called Hawkeye. People let him through wordlessly.

Ed spared a glance at his friend, who looked like he had been fighting as well as his knuckles were scraped and he was sporting what was already a very nasty black eye. Russell just knotted his eyebrows in concern, face worried before jerking his head to the spot where the stranger had disappeared. It seemed he had no choice.

He heard distinctly as he walked away, ignoring the way people moved away from him and stared at his coldly gleaming arm a familiar and sinister voice shriek out a laugh and then say in incredulous and happy disbelief that made his heart twist,

"His fucking arm is made of metal!"

Next time he was going to knock all of Envy's teeth out.


When he had come to the dreary looking high school on orders looking for recruits, he had been expecting maybe one or two who had the talent that could be taught and manipulated by the military's alchemy school to become mediocre weapons. It had been that way at every other high school he had been to, talking to only the of-age students and testing them to see if any of them had the ability to learn alchemy. It was just another boring assignment that he had to grit his teeth and bare so that he would be that much closer to his goal.

What he was not expecting was Edward Elric.

The day he was supposed to go to Central's high school was the day he overslept. Whether his alarm clock never went off or he just didn't hear it for whatever reason, he didn't know. The important thing was he slept right through the time he was supposed to be up, getting ready, leaving and arriving at his office at Head quarters. Good thing he heard the phone or he probably wouldn't have opened his eyes until noon.

Groggily, he lifted the phone from the cradle and slowly pressed it to his ear.

"Colonel," came the sharp tone in the ear piece as Roy tried to rub the sleep from his eyes and wonder why his room was so light.

"Hawkeye? What's wrong? Why are you calling me this early?" he rasped, thinking because since he was still asleep, his alarm hadn't gone off yet. Well, it made sense to his sluggish brain, anyway. His bed was nice and comfortable and he would like nothing more than to collapse back into it. Of course, he knew instinctively the Lt. wouldn't call him unless something was wrong. There was a momentary silence on the phone, as if Hawkeye was both pissed and trying not to yell at him or just thinking of what to say.

"Sir, forgive my insubordinence but it's almost zero eight hundred. We need to be at the school in a half hour. Why are you still in bed?" pissed it was then. Roy blinked in surprise then peered blurrily at the clock on the table next to the phone. The numbers indeed glared 7:45 at him angrily, as if accusing him for still being in bed. His heart nearly stopped.

"Shit. Sorry. I'm on my way," well, he was certainly awake now, letting a string of curses to flay the air as he slammed the phone down and attempted not to break his neck as he extracted himself from his sheets. The curses followed him as he crashed into the bathroom as he sloppily attempted to make himself look semi-presentable(though, he thought as he caught a passing glance at himself in the bathroom mirror, it would be a hard thing for him to not look good.)

The curses continued as he fumbled while putting his uniform on the need to hurry making his fingers shake slightly and it difficult to do up all the insufferable buttons on the jacket.

He had no time, regrettably, for coffee (the thought made him cringe as he contemplated a day without his regular caffeine fix) and had just the presence of mind to grab his black over jacket as the days still held a chill.

It was a bright day, the sun already hovering in the sky and the sky was a blue as he had never seen it, making him smile as he locked his door. The air smelt clear, spring making subtle hints at its coming arrival, already beginning to touch the world with its elusive fingers, though it was still cool. As he rushed across the small lawn that was slowly becoming less brown, he cursed his alarm clock and his stupidity, wishing he had time to enjoy the morning for a few minutes.

He drove faster than he normally did to work, still allowing the string of curses to rave on in his head. Luckily, he lived close to Headquarters and it was only a few minutes past eight when he burst into his office, looking frazzled and slightly out of breath, much to the surprise and amusement of the four men occupying the other desks in the room, all wearing uniforms identical to his own.

"Hey, boss. What'd you do, oversleep?" piped up the tallest of the four, Jean Havoc, blond hair falling into bright blue eyes that regarded him with ill concealed laughter, a cigarette hanging from his mouth. He was leaning casually against the window sill, probably loving the Colonel's discomfiture as he was jealous of the man, claiming he could never get a date because Roy took all the girls that were worth while in Central. Actually, it was probably a valid reason for jealousy, Roy often felt. Roy grunted his reply, glad Hawkeye wasn't in the room as she would probably have a gun trained at some part of his body.

"You better come up with a good excuse, sir. Hawkeye was fit to kill this morning when you didn't show up," advised Breda as if reading Roy's thoughts, a heavier set man who may not have looked like much but was one of the most intelligent men he had ever met and Roy had a lot of respect for him. Upon hearing about his Lt.'s mood, his heart sank. Bullets would be sure to fly today.

"Thank you, Breda," Roy groaned into his hand as he scrubbed it through the dark hair that fell over his forehead. Of all days to sleep in. He made his way over to his desk in the back of the room, separated from the others by a wall and a large oak door. He was in the doorway when a gunshot ripped through the room, nearly giving him a heart attack as the bullet had struck right at his feet. Terrified, he lifted his dark eyes to see none other than Riza Hawkeye just holstering her pistol she always wore at her hip and looking at him steadily.

"Are you nuts, woman?" Mustang managed to gasp, heart doing double time in the suddenly aching cavity of his chest. She just offered him a cool, bland look.

"You are late, sir. We need to get going," was all she offered, though knowing her as he did, she was probably resisting the strong urge to smirk at the abject terror on his face, regardless of the fact he knew she wouldn't actually shoot him. Well, now that he thought about it, he wouldn't put something like shooting her superior officer for what she thought was insubordination.

Roy gulped down a sharp retort that he knew would result in another smoking bullet hole at his feet. Or in his foot. Either way, a scalding comeback would probably be an extremely bad idea right now so he left it at a curt nod, Breda and Havoc looking like they were having a hard time from keeping in gales of laughter while the other two, Fury and Falman by name, were staring at him, no doubt terrified they would be next. Personally, Roy didn't blame them.

He was sweeping back out of the office when Hawkeye turned to the four watching them leave, no doubt ready to slack off as soon as the door shut.

"And if all of you don't have your paper work done by the time we return, you'll receive worse," The blond woman deadpanned to the room, earning wide eyed looks of fear and despair. Roy let them see his satisfied smirk as the door swung closed.

The ride to the school through the crowded streets of the city was quiet and rather uneventful if a bit slow due to the sheer number of vehicles and people on the streets. Roy watched the streets fly by from the back seat of the car, arms crossed over his chest and face impassive. It was no use attempting to start a conversation with Hawkeye while she drove as her responses usually only consisted of a non committal noise that could have meant any number of things and Roy hated carrying on one sided conversations.

He had been working with Riza Hawkeye for close to eight years now and despite appearances, they were actually very good friends. Fighting a rather bloody war together for two years had that affect of bringing people closer. Though they had long ago established that neither had anything but plutonic feelings for the other, Roy knew Riza would do anything to protect him if his life were endangered. Her fierce protectiveness started during the war but never once, up until this day, had she ever wavered and Roy knew he had a good friend in the seemingly cold and stoic woman. Not to mention her aim with a gun was unrivaled and was a thing to respect and even fear at times. He also knew she was a good time while off duty. She just took her job seriously.

Mustang smiled a bit. There was no doubting her steadfast loyalty that was for certain. If said Lt. caught the soft smile gracing her superior officer's lips, she didn't mention it. She never did.

The appearance of the school as they pulled up in front of it was a little shocking as it was in serious need of some repairs but it was still neat, with all of its windows still intact (which is more than Roy could say about some of the other schools he had visited over the span of the week) and the yard had grass and a few stubborn trees and the parking lot, though completely full, was intact, lacking any obstacles gaping in its surface ready to swallow unwary cars whole. It was grungy but it would do, he supposed.

They were greeted at the door by a tall, thin man in a thread bare suit that introduced himself as the principle and warmly ushered the two military officers into the school and a small but neat office where he offered them a seat and warm coffee. Riza declined both. Roy, with hidden glee over the prospect of caffeine, accepted.

"I know by an email why you are both here but I must admit that the details were rather lacking and I am a bit curious as to the situation that would require the military looking into recruiting our students into the ranks as alchemists. If you don't mind my asking, Mr.—" began the man, spectacles flashing curiously in the morning light that poured in through the dingy office window. His speech was polite but Roy could sense he was holding back.

"Colonel Roy Mustang. This is Lt. Riza Hawkeye," Roy said in his smooth voice, sipping at the surprisingly pleasant coffee. The man smiled, thawing a bit.

"Colonel, then," Roy sat back in the uncomfortable chair that had certainly seen better days and rested his left ankle on his knee, giving him an air of aloof confidence that Havoc envied him for. His dark eyes glittered behind the soft fall of his hair and he would have looked positively rakish if it wasn't for the impeccable uniform.

"Alas, I can only tell you what you already know. I am here on government business. I think it would suffice to say that it would be a great help to the military if we could find at least one of your of age students who could possibly be an alchemist and would be willing to aid their country," and he left it at that. It might have been his imagination (though he was sure it was not because he prided himself on his observational skills) but when he had said the word "alchemist" the men's eye lids had flickered, head tilting almost unnoticeably. But Roy had seen it and it made him wonder just what this man was hiding. The next instant, the principle was smiling.

"But of course. If you are interested, I could give you a quick tour while the students finish settling in for the morning," to which Roy politely accepted, hiding his impatience behind his well practiced mask.

The school mirrored the outside in its need to be fixed up a bit but it was clean and he supposed that was all that mattered. The principle led them around, talking about this and that, educational programs and the students and such and Roy kept up his polite mask as there was no escaping this now.

He remained completely indifferent to his surroundings, barely noticing the curious looks students still wandering the halls were giving them. After all, it wasn't every day they saw military personnel sauntering down the school corridors like they owned the place. He just couldn't bring himself to care. It was just orders and it was the last school he himself would have to visit so all he needed to do was interview the kids eighteen years or older, find some possible candidates, persuade them to join the military…

A locker slammed very loudly to his left, echoing through the hall and it caught his attention momentarily.

It took a great amount of composure and steadiness of mind not to stop short.

Before the locker that had been slammed stood a golden haired boy of just below average height, staring at him with eyes that were breathtakingly startling, as they were the same color of goldenrod or perhaps the blazing summer sun. And he was staring at Roy like he knew him, mouth slightly open. In a quick second as Roy allowed his eyes to casually sweep over this vision (though he felt none too casual about it) he saw the boy's hair was pulled back in a long braid, snaking over one shoulder. He wore all leather and white gloves on his hands, which struck Roy as odd.

Then he was marching down the corridor with the principle noticing not a thing and Riza noticing too much and his heart pounding away in his throat. All he wanted now was to know this boy's name and why he had been staring like he had and why, god damn it, did Roy feel like he'd met the kid somewhere before.

Apparently, as the morning went by, the boy was not easy to forget either.

Roy hated the interviews. They were boring and usually fruitless and it seemed that this school seemed to be no different from the others he had visited earlier in the week. None of the kids that he talked to possessed a drop of talent and as they left the office the principle had so kindly let Roy borrow for the sake of the interviews, one after another, he became more and more frustrated. At least in the last school he had been able to find two hopefuls. By noon, his head was pounding, his mouth dry, despite the glass of water beside him on the desk and he was barely able to keep the agitated glare from his face. It was bad when Hawkeye began to eye him warily, aware of his mood and no doubt sharing it, knowing her.

So when one of the teachers came flying into the office looking frantically for the principle, Roy greedily welcomed the interruption.

The woman's eyes were wild with panic and she looked like she was on the verge of tears when Roy asked her what was wrong, ignoring Riza as she discreetly slipped her gun back into its holster from when she whipped it out as the door had slammed open.

"There's a f-fight—In the c-cafeteria! The students won't l-let the t-t-teachers in to break it up! S-someone's going to get hurt!" she cried, looking more and more frantic as the seconds ticked away. Roy, with no hesitation, rose smoothly to his feet, sharing a quick look with his Lt. who he realized was just as bored as he was (though she seemed to be better at hiding it) and made up his mind.

"Don't worry, we would be glad to help out," he offered in his smooth voice, to which he earned a wide, teary, completely grateful look.

She wasted no time in leading them from the offices and down the hall then down a flight of stairs to a set of glass doors beyond which he could see the entire cafeteria gathered in one section of the room, hiding the commotion from view. With a sigh and a suppressing of his own memories of high school, he looked at Riza for a moment, who gave the barest glimpse of a smile and the two swept into the room. Trust her to know exactly what he was thinking. At first, there was no response from the students as they first attempted to breach the enthralled wall of teenagers. But as soon as one saw Riza, her gun out and a no-nonsense expression on her face with an equally imposing Roy standing behind her, the way opened up pretty fast with excited murmurs running through the crowd.

When they reached the middle of the circle and the reason for the commotion, Roy was, for the second time that day, almost struck breathless by the scene laid out before him. Again, for the second time, it was all to the credit of one blond young man, the one with the wide gold eyes.

It was a fight, alright, though as he watched, he realized it was more like a rout for the blond teen had set about himself with shocking skill against five other teens all twice his size and he was winning. Quite drastically, at that. It was as if the boy was dancing, each move fluid and unwasted, resulting in limbs connecting with flesh. There was a beauty to his technique that Roy had never seen before as he watched the lithe body strike the enemy with almost professional precision. He was accurate and brutal. He was furious and ferocious, gold eyes blazing with rage. He was magnificent.

What shocked Roy the most, however, and surely everyone else in the room if the collective gasp from the onlookers was anything to go by, was when the boy's jacket slipped from his fame, reveling just his left arm was flesh while the other was made of shining, cold metal. It made him wonder. While he realized what he was looking at was an automail limb, he had never seen one so graceful and beautiful in build.

At any rate, this had gone on long enough.

"Go ahead, Lt.," Roy said softy and the blond woman nodded, bringing her gun deliberately over her head. People scuttled away in alarm.

She pulled the trigger.

The resulting crack brought instant silence and all halting of movement. Quite a nice result, the Colonel thought smugly as he watched all the fury leak from the golden haired boy's face as he stared at Riza and her gun in shock. Roy was fascinated as the boy's eyes whipped around the space that had been cleared to give him and his rage room, taking in the situation he'd made for himself as he let the last kid he'd been pounding his fist on drop to the floor with a satisfying thump.

He was almost about to pull up a cocky mask over his startlingly pretty face that had remained untouched in the fray then he must have noticed his jacket had fallen off and his arm was revealed. Apparently, he'd been hiding for however long he's had it because a look of terrified mortification washed across his face and his eyes darted around again, as if looking for judgment he thought he was sure to find on everyone's faces. Roy had the sudden and terrible urge to rescue him from his obvious agony.

"That's fine, Hawkeye," Roy said quietly, stepping around her so he could see the bewildered boy more clearly. Wide, golden eyes met his and again he was struck by how right it was to be standing there, eyes locked with this rare commodity, whose one arm was made of metal, bolted to his shoulder, other people's blood staining his knuckles and it was right in a way that Roy couldn't understand.

He gave the boy a cool look that belied the odd flutter in his stomach then calmly turned on his heel to walk away, starting back through the crowd whose eyes were pinned on the kid, shock and horror obvious in their hypocritical eyes.

"Come with me," the words fell from Roy's mouth before he could think because the anger on behalf of this intriguing boy's behalf was beginning to burn in his chest. He didn't look back to see if the teen had been listening to his orders because he was about to reach the glass door when a sharp alto voice cried out in a cruel tone,

"His fucking arm is made of metal!" and it was all the Colonel, also known as the Flame Alchemist, could do to not turn around and burn whoever had said that to a crisp as the anger flared to life deep within the pit of his stomach.

It was then, though he wasn't aware of it right away, that he made a promise to himself to do whatever was in his power to protect this beautiful, golden young man.

To be continued...

I was re-reading this story and found an inconsistancy with a later chapter so I decided to fix it here...Its hard to remember what I wrote in the beginning sometimes *shrugs sheepishly* oh well...