Author: Jordanna Morgan
Archive Rights: Please request the author's consent.
Characters: Maes Hughes.
Summary: Maes Hughes suspected he had a problem.
Disclaimer: They belong to the genius of Hiromu Arakawa. I'm just playing with them.
Notes: Written for the prompt word "suspicious" at the FMA Fic Contest community on LiveJournal.
Maes Hughes suspected he had a problem.
Or perhaps kink was the appropriate word. That was probably a more fitting way to describe a thing that would lure a man away from his warm bed and cherished wife at four in the morning, to prowl in cold dark alleys where nothing good was happening.
Not that this behavior on his part was something illicit. To the contrary, it fell under the heading of going to work--which just happened to be one of the means at his disposal for satisfying his kink.
You see, his kink, strictly speaking, was an irrational attraction to danger and risk; and, strictly speaking, this was not an especially uncommon or perverted mental aberration.
No, the problem was the other way Hughes had of indulging his craving for walking on the edge. Most people with this affliction worked it off in almost sort-of reasonable ways, like cliff-diving or bullriding or sword-swallowing... but not Hughes.
He got his fix of near-death terror by hanging out with alchemists.
Which was essentially like walking into a lion's cage wearing an overcoat made of beefsteaks.
Because alchemists attracted chaos. They didn't generally mean to; it just happened. Hughes' theory was that all the breaking-down of matter they did had an unmeasured side effect of breaking down the fabric of reality as well, creating permanent pockets of violent strangeness around them.
Granted, hanging out with alchemists was also part of his job. He was with the Investigations Department, and alchemy tended to create a lot of unholy messes that needed investigating. He couldn't be faulted for doing what he had to in the line of duty.
But the thing was, for all he complained about their hazardous influences, his association with alchemists went far beyond his work.
He got drunk with Roy Mustang, and confided things to him that he'd never even told his beloved Gracia.
He threw birthday parties for the Elric brothers--treating them like normal teenagers, instead of the scary-smart, super-powered anomalies he could never quite forget they were.
Heck, he'd even worked out at the local gym with Major Armstrong. (Okay, so that was only once, and any desire to repeat the experience was obliterated when the guy insisted on a hands-on demonstration of the warmup stretches that had been passed down the Armstrong family line for generations. Hughes' vertebrae were still having post-traumatic flashbacks.)
The point was, when they were decent and well-meaning people, Hughes simply liked alchemists. There was something about them that made him want to embrace the weirdness. They made him imagine what was possible in the world... and perhaps that was the very reason he was so addicted to their company.
All of which would have been harmless enough, even rather positive in some ways. Except for one thing.
Hughes had a suspicion that hanging out with alchemists and their freakball disasters was going to get him killed one of these days.
And the problem was, he just couldn't stop himself.
2010 Jordanna Morgan