A/N- This story didn't turn out at all like I thought it would... I hope that it makes sense to anyone.
Disclaimer- I'm writing fanfiction, aren't I? Fullmetal Alchemist is copyright of Hiromu Arakawa not me.
Colonel Roy Mustang calmly folded his gloved hands together and placed them on his chin, concealing the smirk that had broken out on his face. The feeling that had settled in his stomach was what most would classify as giddy anticipation, though he would never be caught dead admitting that he was capable of feelings that lacking in class. No, what he was feeling was more like misguided elation. He couldn't help but feel his smile curve into a devilish smirk as Lieutenant Hawkeye stoically informed him that that Edward Elric had returned to give the report after his very first mission.
And he had a feeling that Fullmetal would make things interesting at least.
Mustang shook his head fondly, remembering the first time that he had met the short alchemist. The moment that he had laid eyes on the small, pathetic looking boy, with an expression betraying guilt and desolation as he sat slumped in a wheelchair, Roy had known there was something special about him. At first, the feeling had been nagging and uncertain, simply a gut instinct, but it had driven him to give the boy a firm speech. He hadn't cared much how the boy would react when he lashed out angrily, demanding to know what he had done, because he knew somehow that the boy would be able to take it. Eventually, by his standards, he had practically resorted to begging the boy to come and become a state alchemist.
Days later, when he found himself questioning exactly why he had been so driven to convince Edward Elric to sell himself to the military. Didn't it seem monstrous to even consider asking a ten-year-old boy to join the military, to become a hated by so many people? But then he would simply remember those eyes, burning with an intensity that spoke of determination and wisdom exceeding his years. And suddenly, he was certain that he would see Edward again. There was just something about him.
His suspicions had been confirmed when promptly one year later, Edward Elric had shown up to Eastern Headquarters, miraculously standing on two legs and grinning confidently as ever. Roy had assessed him between carefully between banter with Edward, feeling mildly surprised at Edward's condition. He wondered briefly the young boy had managed to use two new limbs so naturally after only a year.
Mustang had taken him to Central to take the state alchemist exam without another thought. He never considered that Edward might be too young, or inexperienced, or even not prepared to take the exam. Edward had never seemed concerned so neither had he. Besides, Edward was more mature than most adults in many respects. Soon enough, he was sitting behind his desk, handing him the paperwork after successfully passing the exam. It could still bring a smile to his face to think of the boy's new alias- "Fullmetal."
Yes, there was something inexpainably amazing about Edward Elric, which was precisely why Roy found pleasure in tormenting him.
Suddenly, the door burst open with a loud slam and the squealing protest of the hinges as they were nearly ripped away with the force of the blow. Roy struggled to set his face into a neutral, professionally detached expression.
"If you break it, you pay for it, Fullmetal," he said, adopting an infuriatingly calm tone of voice that he just knew would tick off the short alchemist. His gaze remained fixed firmly on the paperwork that he was currently pretending to be deeply focused on.
"Shut up, Colonel %&*#," was Edward's only response as he dropped down on Roy's couch.
"Oh, are you cranky because my mission was too hard for you? Couldn't handle it?" He said, working hard to keep the laughter out of his voice as he noticed the vein practically popping in Edward's forehead. Ever unpredictable, Edward's deep frown suddenly curved into a broad smile.
"Actually, I was wondering if you could possibly have given me anything easier? Is it a habit of yours to baby your subordinates?" He asked tauntingly. Roy was careful not to let any disappointment show that Edward hadn't been swayed by his carefully aimed insult. Darn, he might have to play the 'short' card earlier than he had thought.
"No, actually. Anyway, I'll need a report," he said deciding to change to being focused and to the point, because he figured it might just get on Fullmetal's nerves in itself, his inscrutability.
"Well, I went to investigate the scene, and it did look like someone used alchemy, but the transmutation circles were really crude and obviously drawn by someone completely inexperienced-" he started, launching into what could have become a rather impressive rant before Mustang cut him off.
"Fullmetal, you don't really expect me to sit here listen to your entire description? For someone so short, you really can get really long-winded, can't you?" Mustang said, briefly reveling in the steam that threatened to come out of Fullmetal's ears the moment he heard the word "short." He once again interrupted Edward before he really exploded.
"You're supposed to have a written report, in any case. That would be official regulation. The deadline is today, so you should just write it now," he continued. He was taken aback when Edward seemed to truly deflate at the suggestion. His gaze dropped uncomfortably to the ground, his eyes concealed by golden hair.
"What? Can't you write, or did you drop out of school before learning?" Roy prodded, attempting to change the suddenly dark atmosphere in the room.
"No! I can write just fine, and I'll prove it! Just hand me some paper!" Edward protested, his expressive eyes burning with renewed determination, enhanced by utter indignation. Roy allowed the corners of his mouth to creep upwards, relieved that Edward had retorted as he normally would. The feeling was short lived, as, when he motioned for Edward to follow him out to the main office, where, without a doubt, Hawkeye, Havoc, Breda, Fury and Falman would be milling around, Edward's gaze once more returned to the floor, obviously uncomfortable.
Nevertheless, Roy reached into a drawer and pulled out a crisp piece of paper and a fountain pen. He handed them to Edward, who proceeded to glare at the pen as if it had done him a personal wrong. Perplexed, Roy decided to remain in the main office, just to further investigate Fullmetal's odd behavior. He pulled out a chair next to Hawkeye's desk and motioned for Edward to sit down. Edward complied, though Mustang's brow furrowed as the boy seemed to be accepting his fate too silently to be natural.
He casually pulled up a chair in the corner and continued to work on his never-ending supply of paperwork while he watched Edward awkwardly pick up the pen. Roy locked his gaze Edward as he slowly began to write his report. Roy actually allowed himself to complete a few pieces of his own paperwork before he heard a low, frustrated sound come from Edward's direction. Most of the office's occupant's gazes settled on the twelve-year-old as he grumbled a few incomprehensible words. Slowly, reluctantly, he switched the pen to his opposite hand, angrily scribbling out the last few words on the page.
Mustang caught Riza's gaze, and they exchanged wondering looks. Mustang shrugged, returning to his work. Other than apparently being more temperamental than usual, there seemed to be nothing off about the young blond. Roy berated himself for being overly paranoid.
Hours passed before Edward eventually set down the pen, sighing loudly and stretching his cramped shoulders after remaining hunched over for so long. He picked up his report gingerly, as if it were viable to spontaneously combust at any moment. Roy smiled, vaguely considering incinerating the report just to spite him, but deciding it wasn't worth being subjected to another excruciatingly long wait before Edward managed to fill out another one. This, he thought, had better be the best report in the history of reports considering how long it took.
"Ah! Finally done I see?" He said, tone mildly irritated at best. "I figured, you being a "genius" and all, that would be a cinch!" He said.
"Just take the freaking report," Edward said, his voice uncharacteristically flat. The moment the papers hit Roy's hand, Edward spun around and made a mad dash for the door.
"Stop right there, Fullmetal! Come back and wait for me to evaluate this," Roy said, contented at the peeved look appearing on Ed's face. He looked down at the report, and his jaw immediately dropped. The report was written with the worst handwriting the Roy had ever seen, the letters shaky and uneven. Ink was splattered about haphazardly, and overall, it was nearly illegible.
"What is this, Fullmetal?!" He exploded, staring down angrily at Edward, who was standing in front of him, a defiant look on his face.
"My report, sir," He said, matching Roy's gaze in intensity, a feat in itself.
"How can you call this a report? Did you put any effort into it at all? Are you trying to waste my time?! " He reprimanded, glaring down at Ed.
"Look, I'm just not used to writing with my left hand, okay? Deal with it," Edward said back to Mustang, before abruptly turning on his heel and storming out of the office. He slammed the door shut with enough force to make the walls shake.
Mustang stood frozen for a moment, shell-shocked, as he slowly realized that everyone in the room's eyes were on him. He slowly looked down at the report, and cursed himself for being so unthinking. It suddenly struck him that Edward had only gotten automail a year before, so he must not really be all that adept at using it. He had probably struggled between learning to hold a pen in his automail hand on the fly, or using his left hand, judging by the fact that the handwriting was marginally more readable halfway through.
Roy wondered where along the way he had lost track of the fact that Fullmetal was still just a kid. True, Edward was, without a doubt, the strongest, most stubborn, most determined kid Roy would ever meet, but he was just human. Edward would probably be the last person that would tell you that, as he was the one who put up that invulnerable façade, but the fact remained.
Suddenly, guilt crashed down on Roy for the first time.
All because of one stupid report.
A/N- Please review, even if you hated it!!!!!