Title: Sugar Coated Lies
Summary: Going undercover in a town is hard; being undercover in a school is even harder. How does a teen that grew up to fast deal with a family environment and school without blowing his cover?
Author Note: Not to worry, I haven't died. I've been taken up with school and working. So much has gone on that I can't even begin to tell you, but here is an update! Sadly, do not expect too many of them since I have a job working at a summer camp for most of the summer starting next week. I haven't abandoned this story, but the urge to write and post in any fandom has been dead up until the intense boredom caused during the wait period from the end of school and beginning of my summer job. So, hopefully I will update multiple times over the summer, but PLEASE don't pine for it. This will be an 'update as time allows'. As always, THANK YOU to the people who keep up with this and read it even though it's been dormant for so long.
NOTE: not a doctor, I'm an equestrian so naturally I know very little about how the body works beyond 'OH SHIT, your arm isn't supposed to bend that way!' and I'm still going off the premise that Havoc was alchemically healed and yadda, yadda.
There are massive cracks, long since patched over but formerly gaping crevices in the ceiling are still visible. Edward stares up at the area blankly, slowly counting the number of patches he can clearly spot without much effort. The rug he's laying on smells of dust but the unique scent of the metal lubricant from his prosthetics seeping into the fibers. The four of them had returned from their mission a little over an hour before and once Jean was deposited on the creaky bed in the first floor room Edward had been shoved out the door, screaming obscenities and demands as the peeling white door was slammed in his face. Behind the white door Jean Havoc rests comfortably in the narrow bed, his lanky frame stretched out and eyes closed. Mustang and Hawkeye worriedly watch as the soldier's legs jump and twitch, the spasms terrifying to watch but the knowledge that the chain smoker doesn't feel them even more so. Jean's rapid healing through Alchemy fused the torn and severed bones and ligaments, restored the blood flow to the appendages and allowed the sharp eyed, woman chasing soldier to return to his active lifestyle. Jean took to the return of his former life like nothing happened and for the first month nothing seemed amiss until one night while out with the other members of Mustang's crew his injury protested and his legs fell paralyzed again. Within several hours though, the feeling and strength returned and after several consultations with spinal doctors and specialists the diagnosis is that although the area is healed and functional Jean's mental and physical strength in that area hasn't. In some ways, the brain interferes when the man is stressed, intoxicated or undergoing extreme physical duress and shuts down the area. With adjustments and several more 'paralysis' sessions Havoc adapted to the idea that his brain could betray him and he'd lose the use of his legs for a short while.
Of course, knowing this and the reasons behind it doesn't make seeing it or having it happen any easier.
"He's resting now; I will come back in and check on him later." Hawkeye observes, moving from her place by the other soldier, her eyes showing exhaustion and the tinge of fear that Mustang knows is clearly visible on his own face. Although they don't speak of it, the fact that Havoc, Breda and the other members of the rag-tag unit are as close to family as they have and the thought of loosing another member of that family strikes too close.
"Well, we can't keep it from him any longer." Mustang announces and stretches out his muscles before glancing once more at the sleeping Havoc and shakes his head before motioning for Hawkeye to lead the way out of the room.
Edward had been zoning out, his golden gaze fixated on the ceiling as he works his way through the numerous problems at hand when the door finally opens. Slowly Hawkeye and Mustang emerge, the older male slowly shutting the protesting door as Edward scrambles to his feet.
"I have a right to know." He demands simply, anger coloring his words as he waits for the other man to respond. Hawkeye is already making her way towards the kitchen, needing to keep her hands busy.
"I will make some tea." Breaks the terse silence between the two alchemists, leaving them staring at each other. Mustang, never one to back down to anyone suddenly feels guilt coil in his stomach and sighs, shoulders slumping in defeat as he stares at the old brass doorknob.
"Fullmetal.." he begins but the teen hisses a soft
"No more lies." That tightens the coil further but a spike of indignant rage spreads like hot fire through his veins.
"I never lied." He hisses, eyes narrowing and body tensing as Edward's own golden eyes take on a deadly tint.
"You—" he begins but Mustang shuts down his argument
"I never lied. It was at Havoc's request that I withheld the information. Havoc is a proud man and a dedicated soldier." Mustang informs in a low tone, his words causing the younger alchemists mouth to snap shut with a soft click. The two stand in the hallway glaring at each other, neither having the will to swallow their pride and back down.
"Are you two done?" Hawkeye calls from the kitchen doorway, hands on her hips and a reproachful frown gracing her features. At the tone in her voice- that dangerous edge that Mustang often finds himself on the end of. With a sigh of defeat and the slumping of his shoulders the exhausted Flame Alchemist turns away from the still taut and ready to spring Edward. Suddenly the walk from the door to Havoc's sickroom to the kitchen seems like an arduous journey, the adrenaline spawned by the fight in the woods and the terror of the idea of loosing Havoc again finally leaving his body.
"Tea." Hawkeye supplies emotionlessly, pushing a large coffee mug of the herbal brew over to where the commanding officer plops himself down into the creaky old chair.
"Will he be alright?" Edward's soft question filters in from the hallway and Mustang closes his eyes, inhaling the herbal tea that Riza often would serve him after long meetings or stress inducing missions.
"He will be as well as he can be. You, out of everyone in this room should know how one adapts to a drastic physical change. Havoc knows his limitations Edward, he won't want you treating him any different than before." Mustang imparts as Edward slowly walks past the kitchen doorway, the creak of his feet on the stairs leaving his words floating.
"You should have told him." Hawkeye observes her eyes boring into her commanding officers from the rim of her cup. Mustang gives the woman a defeated look.
"Wasn't up to me to tell him." He justifies sadly.
The next morning dawns with the chirping of birds and bright sunlight filtering through the thin curtains. Roy Mustang wakes, the sniffer of brandy sitting on his nightstand explains the furry animal feeling in his mouth. Wearily he drags a hand across his face and yawns, stretching the fighting induced stiffness out of his back. Listening for any unusual sounds Mustang's heart lightens slightly to hear the voice of Hawkeye and Edward in the kitchen, the two officers known for being early risers. Mustang sits for a moment; his gaze fixated on the back wall of the closet for several minutes as he works up the coordination and energy to push himself to his feet and stagger out to the kitchen. The old farmhouse in daylight shows the lives of the family who lived there beforehand with a startling clarity. Oftentimes the Major General finds unique evidence of the builder and those who inhabited the house after, such as the 'hidden room' up in the room Edward occupies that revealed a room filled with old wooden toys and story books. Everything about the house dictates that those before the group of soldiers left in a hurry, their lives pushed aside and forgotten or written off as victims of the local legend.
"This mission isn't as easily solved as I thought it would be." Mustang grouses softly, finally feeling awake enough to stand and proceeds to move towards the door with slipshod strides, his socked feet are sliding across the old hardwood floor with ease. He's about made it to the door when his sock catches on something, a sharp pain accompanying the sound of tearing material as the refined soldier hits the ground and huddles over his bleeding and abused toe. Dimly the Major General notices the pounding of feet up the hall but is too focused on the intense pain emanating from his torn up big toe to comment.
"Sir?" Hawkeye questions, her knock on the door urgent. Mustang swallows down the pain and gives the command to enter, the door opens to reveal three sets of eyes staring at him from the doorway. On the offside Mustang knows he should be overjoyed to see that one of those sets belongs to Jena Havoc, up and moving but he can't express anything beyond the snarl of pain.
"What happened?" Hawkeye questions, crouching down beside her fallen commander while Havoc snorts, his keen gaze taking in the liquor bottle and its half empty presentation before moving more fully into the room.
"Did you go partying without me?" he teases gently as Edward also takes the time to study the scene.
"I was heading towards the door when my foot got caught on a nail or uneven board or something." He explains tersely as Hawkeye pulls on his foot, manipulating the abused toe to check for breaks or debris. Mustang, knowing better than to complain about the rough treatment starts running his hands over the area, determined to find the offending board with a spoken promise to turn it into ash.
"I don't feel anything uneven.." Havoc responds with a controlled smile, earning him a death glare from the Flame Alchemist. Edward moves through the room, retracing the steps once Hawkeye had bandaged the injury and Mustang had gotten up off the floor.
"how were you walking?" he asks suddenly, golden eyes narrowed in concentration behind his glasses. Mustang who was in no mood to be poked fun at by the teen snaps at him.
"Like a normal human, one leg at a time with some suspension produced by the knee joint and propelled by the intense urge to pee." His sarcastic retorts earns him a chuckle from Havoc, a suffering sigh from Hawkeye before the younger man snarls back.
"Can't you be a human being for once in your life?" he growls in return and presses a hand against his forehead before running his metal foot over several of the boards, causing a screeching sound of metal on metal to fill the room and everyone present to wince.
"God damn it Fullmetal, what the hell?" Mustang curses loudly, annoyance at the younger man's antics filling his words. Edward doesn't respond, instead he silently transmutes his automail arm into the typical blade and drops to his knees. The three older officers watch as the teen works away at removing the board. Havoc moves to help but Edward shoots him a withering look as he forcefully pulls up the board and pushes it aside.
"Well damn." Havoc mutters, his expression changing to one of shock and excitement.
"What is it?" Mustang demands as Edward reaches into the gap and pulls several leather bound books from the crevice his metal hand covered in dust encrusted cobwebs.
" This might be the light we've been looking for regarding to what is going on in this town." He hints, moving the tomes so the older man can read the hand written tag pinned to the front of the book.
"If you've found these books you're unfortunately living the nightmare that I've been forced to endure. Before you make any assumptions or investigate the claims of others read my own notes and remove yourself from this place." Mustang dictates and sits back on the bed. For several minutes nobody moves until Mustang finally points a finger at the blond alchemist as he gets to his feet.
"You, start going through that book. Havoc, we're going to need notebooks and the notes you guys have collected. Hawkeye, how about some coffee and any old newspapers you haven't thrown out yet." He orders, the two lifetime soldiers spring into action while Edward shoots his commanding officer a sideways look.
"and what about you?"
"Me? I'm going to put on my pants." He declares, which sends the teen out of the room quickly, the old journals clutched in his hands as if they were precious baby birds.
Note: To be continued. Eventually. As soon as I find the time to continue to write, which might not be till the end of camp which is in the middle of August. Don't be disheartened, I will continue this!