Author – D M Evans
Disclaimer – Arakawa owns all
Rating – FRT
Timeline/Spoilers – set pre-series but does hold spoilers for who taught Roy alchemy and who raised him and for one of the profile books.
Characters – Roy, Riza, Master Hawkeye
Summary - It wasn't his fault so why should he be the one to apologize?
Word Count – 1,111
Author's note #1 – this was written for fma_fic_contest's "Well that wasn't supposed to happen" prompt on livejournalThis is a slightly expanded version of what appeared at the com. Don't try this at home but yes this is how you can make latex (well, okay you probably could try it at home but it smells and can be messy). Thanks to SJ Smith for the beta
* * *
"Well, that wasn't supposed to happen," Roy cried, horrified by the foamy, sticky mess that covered the lab table. It dripped off the edges, landing in dull splats on the stained, stone floor. How could he possibly clean this up before Master Hawkeye saw it? What had gone wrong? He'd followed the recipe in the book precisely. Alchemy was all about precision. Hawkeye had drilled that into Roy's head until the young teen thought his ears would bleed. He peered at the ancient book, its century old binding beginning to crumble and flake. Master Staton's crabbed faded handwriting was hard to decipher.
"Roy, do you care to explain what you've created here?"
At the sound of Hawkeye's amused tone, Roy whipped around, gaping. Behind him, witnessing his spectacularly messy mistake was not only his master, but his daughter, too. When had Riza gotten back from boarding school and why did she have to have such a 'boy, you're stupid, Roy,' look on her face? "I was trying to make foam."
"You sure made a lot of it. It reeks in here." Waving a hand in front of her nose, Riza followed her father down the steep warped wooden steps but didn't come fully into the lab. She stood on the last step, surveying the lab like a general observing her men then pointed to his shirt. "You have it all over you."
"I think you miscalculated, Roy." Heedless of the foamy goo clinging to his cuffs, Hawkeye made his way across the lab to pluck the book out of Roy's hand. "Tell me what you did."
"Started with rubber tree sap," Roy said, giving his master the weight used. "Stabilized it with a little ammonia. Added in three hundred grams of foaming agent then I put in the gel agent. I used pectin. Lastly, I put in the cure." He held up the jar of sulfur, the yellow powder shifting like sand in an hourglass. "I didn't even get it into the oven."
"This is a very old book, Roy." Hawkeye displayed the page Roy had used. "Sometimes they get foxed or dirty." With a fingernail, he scrubbed at a dark spot, showing a little 'm' before the 'g' behind the quantity of foaming agent needed.
Roy's mouth made a few fish-like movements before he swore. Feeling the heat rising in his face, realizing he had cussed in front of the master's daughter, Roy stomped his foot to add emphasis to his anger. "I should have used milligrams. I used way too much."
"To say the least." Hawkeye closed the book but didn't return it to his apprentice. "Well, we do learn as much from our mistakes as we so our successes. What have you learned?"
"Not to use a million year old book by a guy with the world's worst handwriting," Roy grumbled, flicking a finger at the foam starting to dry on the desk.
"That's something at least. Get this cleaned up, Roy." Hawkeye turned to his daughter. "Riza, this is too big of a job for one person. Go put on your work clothes, please, and help him before this requires a chisel to remove."
Riza gaped as her father left. She whipped around, leveling a look at Roy that made him wish the foam had buried him alive. "You are more trouble than you're worth." With that, she stomped upstairs to change.
* * *
Riza hadn't spoken to him for two days after the clean up. On the third day, Hawkeye finally let him out of the lab for some free time. It never seemed to occur to his master that Roy was still just a kid and wanted to occasionally act like one. He headed into town, every sen of his sparse allowance riding in his pocket. Hawkeye didn't like telephones and didn't have one in the house.
He had to use the pay phone outside the general store. Closing the glass door behind him, something that made him feel just a little claustrophobic, Roy used some of his allowance to make his call. His sister, Victoria, answered first but hurried off to get their mother. Chris Mustang was his father's sister but to him, she was simply 'Mom.' His parents were a hazy memory in the deep recesses of his mind.
"What's up, Roy boy?" her chipper question bit through the staticky line.
"Riza's mad at me," he replied, fully aware that his mom would spot the whining petulance in his tone.
"What did you do?"
"Nothing." He managed to draw that out into multiple syllables. "I messed up an experiment and Master Hawkeye made her help clean it up. She blames me and now she won't talk to me. Why are girls crazy?"
"Mostly because boys make us so," came her amused replied.
"But I didn't do anything."
"You made the mess. Pick your battles, Roy boy. You can't win them all. If you want her to talk to you, do something nice for her. It might seem unfair right now but it'll be worth it in the long run."
Roy talked to his mother for a while and when the operator came on the line to tell him he needed to put in more money, Chris reversed the charges so he could talk to his sisters, too. He missed them even though he wouldn't trade his alchemy studies for anything.
Going into the store afterward, Roy tried to figure out what Riza would want. He only had enough sen to buy a little candy but Riza didn't have a sweet tooth. The last time they were in the store together there were two things she wanted but didn't buy, a book and a dumb wooden horse. Roy went over and eyed the cover. No way he was buying something with a girl on it, her shirt half opened, but deep down he wanted to see if the romance had dirty parts. That left the horse, a paint in black and white. Why did girls go crazy over horses? He didn't get it. Roy sighed, seeing the price.
"Something wrong, Roy?" The shopkeeper, Mrs. Neff, asked with a smile.
"I wanted to get this to make up with Riza but I don't have enough."
"Let's see what you have." Neff counted through his money. "Tell you what, since it's a make up gift, I'll let you have if and you can pay me two sen more when you get it, Roy."
"Really? Thank you!" Roy couldn't believe his luck. He left the store, clutching the rearing stallion. Riza would definitely talk to him now. How could she resist this?