Disclaimer: I do not own Fullmetal Alchemist
A belated anti-valentine's quicky (so to speak) :D
To say Edward Elric was in a bad mood was something of an understatement. Having submitted his most recent report for review by Colonel Mustang only the day before, he arrived home from a productive day at the library to find the report returned with red ink scrawled all over it. The note at the bottom of the back page read: 'Were you drunk when you wrote this? Can't submit. Begin again. Colonel M.'
Not only did the Colonel butcher Ed's report, he also managed to leave several coffee rings on it. Knowing Colonel Mustang, Ed supposed that he probably hadn't even been drinking coffee but had rather added the rings just to spite him. In fact, Ed's theorising continued to the extent that the Colonel hadn't even read the report but had merely dragged a red pen across the manuscript haphazardly until he got to the back page. It sounded like a farcical notion, but there again, Ed knew the Colonel to be a farcical man.
Closing the front door of his quarters where the report had been unceremoniously shoved through the letter box, Ed made his way to the small lounge where he found his brother leaning over an alchemy text. He scrunched up the report and threw it aside.
"I'm going to kill him, Al." Ed said, standing at the doorway with hands clenching and unclenching.
The chinking sound of metal chimed through the room as Al, soul bound to the huge suit of armour, adjusted himself to face his brother.
"The Colonel?" Al asked, knowing full well that when his brother was this angry the answer was always, 'The Colonel'. "What'd he do?"
Ed glowered with obvious incredulity, palms open wide and twitching at Al's apparent ignorance.
"What'd he do, Al? What'd he do?" He faked a laugh. "Uh – like only popped onto this planet only to make my life impossible."
Al sighed, his red eyes fixing on the scrunched up report lying in the corner of the room. He wondered if things would ever change, if there would ever be a time when he didn't feel like an island trapped between two approaching storms. As irrational as his brother could be, he did sometimes wish that Colonel Mustang would resist baiting him so much – if Al had a body, it would be exhausted from his constant attempts at peace keeping.
"Well brother, it was a pretty bad report." Al tried to sound as diplomatic as possible.
Ed's eyebrow twitched. "It was a great report. The audience was bad."
"You compared Amestris' border soldiers to a herd of rheumatic sheep. And you spelt 'rheumatism' incorrectly." Al said quietly.
Ed's temple was throbbing and his golden eyes rolled in a slow arc back to the crumpled paper on the floor.
Al tried a little more quiet coaxing, hoping to calm his brother back from the brink of heart failure. "Maybe if you took it to the Colonel and talked him through it? He could help you transcribe the notes."
Ed looked blankly at his brother, the drawn out silence causing the armour to clink and shift in Al's discomfort at being stared at. Ed's face then broke into an uneven, inhuman smile.
"Maybe I will explain it to him." Ed said with voice shaking.
"Really?" Al asked, surprised that his elder brother had conceded so quickly to reason.
"Yeah!" Ed answered excitedly.
"Wow brother – I think you're handling this -"
"Explain it up his ass!" Ed shouted, storming over and picking up the discarded report as though it were a precious stone. He turned it over in his hand, regarding it with wild eyes. "You know what, Al? I'm sick of that lazy, greasy haired, self abusing, muck mongering loafer treating us like a couple of saps -"
"Brother I -" Al tried to interject with an outstretched hand. How in the world did Ed manage to misinterpret advice so completely?
Ed had already launched into an impersonation of the Colonel however. "'Fullmetal, wipe my backside!'" He exclaimed, one finger thrust into the air. "'Fullmetal, can you spare some change? I'm a little short – Oh - wait, so are you!' I'm going to march right up to his poxy little office and tell him where he can stick his damn report."
Al was stepping cautiously towards his brother in the same way one might step cautiously towards an oncoming train.
"Brother he won't even be there, it's past seven." In other words: 'Saved by the bell', Al thought.
Ed fixed his red coat, already en route to the front door. He stopped and cast a maniacal look over his left shoulder at his fretting brother. "Nah, Al – I saw it in Colonel Shithead's diary: he and Lieutenant Hawkeye have a meeting tonight about classified administration or something."
Al didn't have time to question the oddness of this knowledge before there was a flurry of red material and the front door slammed shut.
Ed stormed up the empty halls of headquarters, the sweat from his palm softening the ruined report held tightly in his fist. He was keeping his thoughts occupied with fantasising about which of the Colonel's orifices he would shove the paper into. Rounding a corner, he spotted Colonel Mustang's door and sped up.
He swung the door inward and relished the sound it made as it slammed against the pale paint of the office wall. As he stood panting in the entrance, he swore he heard someone hiss out a sharp, 'shush'.
The main office was eerily silent so he guessed Lieutenant Hawkeye must have joined the Colonel in his private office to help him with his administration. He didn't know why the Colonel couldn't administrate himself without getting Hawkeye involved.
Ed stepped across the office towards Mustang's door and heard a muffled snort of laughter before hearing the 'shushing' sound for a second time. He decided that enough was enough and grabbed for the door handle just as it swung inward.
Colonel Mustang stood over Edward in the cavity of the door. Ed suspected the workload must have been fairly intense as Mustang seemed more than a little stressed, his collar undone and face flushed.
"Ed!" He said, voice strangely high pitched and breathy. A bead of sweat ran down his forehead. "Thank goodness you're here!"
Ed cocked his head as the Colonel continued with chest heaving and a giddiness in his eyes.
"The Lieutenant and I were just discussing..." he paused, surreptitious eyes drifting to the left.
"Sodium!" Hawkeye shouted from further inside the Colonel's office. She sounded strained, and a couple of dull thuds indicated that she was working at something as she spoke.
"Sodium." The Colonel smiled, seemingly satisfied with himself. "...and the Lieutenant thought that it was of the acid metal group, but we know that it's of the alkali metal group. Do a fellow alchemist a favour and explain that she's wrong?"
"Uh -" Ed was finding it difficult to understand what was happening. He looked back over his shoulder. Why would Hawkeye be talking about nerdy alchemic topics? "Alkali..." He said weakly.
The Colonel jumped a little as an equally flushed and furtive Hawkeye appeared behind him at the doorway. She waved a 'hello' and fixed a loose strand of hair behind a bright red ear. If Ed didn't know any better he would say that she was smirking. Ed hoped the Colonel's trademark smirk wasn't contagious.
Mustang sighed and hid a smile behind his hand before recovering with a cough and gesturing to the report held by Ed.
"Oh -" Ed started. "Your critique sucks." He declared, not liking the odd behaviour of his superior at all.
"Great!" The man replied enthusiastically. "Yes. Your report. And so neatly presented, Fullmetal." He snatched the paper from Ed and unfolded it.
Ed realised there was something awkward about how the Colonel was positioned and then noticed that half of his lower body was still hidden behind the opened door. He moved out from behind it then, the straightened pages of the report held against the top of his trousers. Ed swallowed a lump and wondered if it was customary for the Colonel and his Lieutenant to drink while they conducted their important administration. Something was definitely amiss with the pair.
"Well then -" Mustang said as he moved past Ed, "let me go and look at this again … elsewhere."
Ed turned and watched the Colonel as he limped out of the office. He spun back to a still smirking Hawkeye with a scowl on his face.
"Did he hurt his leg?" Ed asked, feeling increasingly as though he wasn't being let in on a very funny joke.
"Yes, Edward. Overtaxing himself." She said before looking over Edward's shoulder at the Colonel as he left the main office. "It's swollen. I think."
Ed pushed his hands into his pockets and huffed, suddenly uncomfortable and at a total loss at what to do. He was broken from his thoughts by Hawkeye's hand on his shoulder. She was still looking past him with wet, skittish eyes. Ed considered checking for a gas leak.
"I should make sure he's working on that report." She said, her hand sliding off Ed's shoulder as she drifted out of the office after her superior.
Ed remained facing the open door of the Colonel's personal room in complete confusion at what had just happened. Their odd behaviour had succeeded in taking the wind out of his sails, that was for certain. Despite that, something about his encounter told him that his report would not be returned to him a second time.
Ed reached in and switched off the light in the small office, spotting as he did so the total disarray of the Colonel's desk. "Huh -" Ed said to himself as he turned to leave, "Who thought administration could be so much fun?"
Mmm office antics. Yeo!