Once Mustang was out of sight, the genie followed after them, being careful to stay at least a hallway's width away from the officers. He physically couldn't be so far away from his bottle. Just being this far was making him feel sick, his stomach nauseous and aching. The blonde scowled at how weak he was being and continued scurrying after his new Master. When they reached the Fuhrer's office, the genie stayed at the nearest corner, trying to look like he belonged there, and Roy and the lieutenant went inside.
As the genie waited, he thought about what Colonel Mustang's last two wishes would be, and found that he couldn't really predict. This Master was strange, that was sure. Mustang was rude and downright evil at certain times, but he also seemed to be genuinely concerned about some things—the Fullmetal Genie remembered with a rush of embarrassed happiness that the Colonel had talked to him like any normal person. Not a servant. And Havoc had called him "kid." The blonde ducked his head to hide his blush, angry at himself for being so happy about something so stupid.
"Is this the kid you were talking about?" a voice that was so nearby that the genie jumped in surprise. A man slightly older than Mustang was peering down at him over his glasses. Havoc was next to him, looking apprehensive. "So who are you?" the older man asked cheerfully.
The genie tried to remember what rank he had made himself without looking down at his uniform insignia. Finally he guessed, "Major...uh…Curtis?"
"Really? A major? How did I miss a teenage major?" the man frowned. "Maybe I'm slipping."
"Lieutenant-Colonel Hughes, you're freaking him out," Havoc sighed. The smoker turned to the Fullmetal Genie. "This is Maes Hughes. He's in Investigations, so he knows everything."
The newly-dubbed Major Curtis nodded warily. "Are you under Colonel Mustang's command too?"
"That's right!" said Hughes. "And you're under…?"
"He's with the Boss too," said Havoc. The genie was impressed by how easily the lieutenant built up his cover story.
"Really?" the Lieutenant-Colonel repeated, even more surprised. "And Roy didn't introduce us? Hmm… he's asking for punishment."
The boy wondered at how casually Hughes referred to the Colonel. "I was just hired yesterday…sir," he said. If he was a major, and this Hughes was a Lieutenant-Colonel, and both were under Mustang, that would make Hughes his superior officer. He had to remember to act like a soldier.
The lieutenant-colonel waved his attempt away. "Never mind that. Call me Hughes."
"So, what do you think of Roy?" Hughes asked, grinning.
The genie paused. "I think he's a manipulative jerk who enjoys making his subordinates suffer. He's a control freak, and he's far too arrogant for his own good." The blonde thought for a moment, then added, "He makes himself out to be worse than he is, I think. I wonder why that is?"
Lieutenant-Colonel Hughes stared at him, and then finally, he laughed. "No wonder Roy hired you." The man ruffled the boy's gold-blond hair good-naturedly, and the genie pulled away, startled.
Hughes stopped, studying the boy for a moment before his thoughtful expression melted once again into a smile. "Did you know that Roy's an alchemist?"
"Yeah," said the blonde, realizing after a moment that he didn't know much else about the soon-to-be-General. "I've never seen him do anything though…He seems to be the type to refuse to degrade himself by drawing an array like normal alchemists, either way."
Hughes laughed again, and this time Havoc grinned too. "Well, you're right about the array part," said Havoc. He was busy lighting another cigarette. "The boss has these special gloves that he can use to create fire—I won't bore you with the mechanics—but basically, all he has to do is snap his fingers" –the lieutenant demonstrated— "and he can adjust the oxygen in the air to make flames."
The genie blinked, surprised that the arrogant Colonel had mastered such a difficult technique. He had heard of fire alchemy, but he'd never seen it put into action because of the skill it required.
"Hey, speaking of which, you also don't use arrays to do alchemy, don't you?" said Havoc thoughtfully. Hughes looked overjoyed.
"He's an alchemist too?"
"Sort of?" said the teenager doubtfully, wondering if genies fell under the category of alchemists. They certainly can do alchemy, but…
Hughes opened his mouth, and the genie feverishly searched for an answer to the question he knew was coming up—"What do you mean by 'sort of'?"—when the door to the Fuhrer's office opened behind them, and all three of them fell silent, watching Mustang appear.
Roy closed the office door behind him and walked calmly over to the men (and one genie) waiting at the end of the hall. Havoc worried his cigarette between his fingers anxiously, and Hughes raised his eyebrows, shooting Roy a questioning look. The Flame Alchemist stopped in front of them, his expression blank as ever.
"It seems that the Fuhrer has at last realized my value after all." His voice was calm, but one corner of his mouth twitched; Havoc hastily stuffed the cigarette back between his lips, resisting the urge to laugh.
Hughes's eyebrows went up even more. "You don't mean…?" There was a distinct edge to his voice, very much akin to excitement.
Mustang didn't reply, just not-smiled some more, and the genie got the impression that the Colonel—no, not a Colonel anymore—wanted nothing more than to jump up and down with glee. The genie almost laughed himself—it was a nice feeling, if not an unfamiliar one, being appreciated like this. Well, okay, he wasn't being appreciated directly, but that was fine. Servitude for all eternity didn't seem so bad when it made good people (or somewhat-okay people, in Mustang's case) genuinely happy. It seemed almost worthwhile, actually. Almost.
"Lieutenant-General?" said Hughes, amazed.
"Brigadier," said Mustang, and the huge grin escaped for half a second before he got it back under control.
Hughes wasn't even trying to control his smile. "And the others…?"
"Still mine," said Roy. The genie frowned. Was he talking about other officers? Or his subordinates? "As long as they'll follow me, that is," he added.
Havoc laughed. He sounded just as excited as the other officers. "Agree? Falman will have a heart attack. In a good way," he explained to the teenager, who looked at him doubtfully.
"Breda will be totally shocked, but act like he'd seen it coming years ago," said Hughes. Havoc and Mustang laughed. The genie watched them quietly, smiling slightly from off to the side, although his chest was starting to hurt.
"Fuery will be blushing and stammering all week," said Mustang, grinning. "He won't be able to do anything properly. And Lieutenant Hawkeye…."
He trailed off, and Hughes watched him, amused, until Roy snapped back into reality and glared at him. The lieutenant-colonel shrugged unrepentantly. "If you're so excited about telling them, why not go now?"
To the genie's surprise, the newly-minted General's cheeks reddened slightly. "I was just about to do that," he retorted defiantly. He stomped off down the hall, and the two blondes followed him, Hughes laughter trailing behind.