Title: That's Gonna Leave a Mark
Author: Jordanna Morgan
Archive Rights: Please request the author's consent.
Characters: Roy Mustang and the Elric brothers.
Summary: Ed has had more embarrassing injuries, but not many.
Disclaimer: They belong to the genius of Hiromu Arakawa. I'm just playing with them.
Notes: Merely a bit of fluff for the prompt word pinch at FMA Fic Contest.
"What happened to you?" Roy Mustang queried, not entirely successful at swallowing a chuckle, when Edward Elric stalked into his office one morning.
The question was prompted by a small but painful-looking red welt on Ed's left cheek. He had clearly made an effort to camouflage it behind his unruly bangs, but even for someone less observant than Roy, it would have been hard not to notice.
Ed blushed hotly, raising a self-conscious hand to the welt. Then he shot a glare over his shoulder, at the suit of armor towering behind him.
Alphonse quivered. It sounded like silverware rattling.
"...Last night I fell asleep reading at the desk in our quarters," Ed submitted reluctantly.
On the face of it, this statement seemed to explain nothing, and Roy blinked at him curiously. "Okay. So... what? Have a nightmare? Fall out of your chair and hit your face?"
"If only," Ed muttered sourly... and his uneasy squirming gave Roy a sudden, intense curiosity about what could be even more embarrassing than injuring one's self while asleep. There was no way Ed was going to escape from the office without spilling that secret, even if Roy had to make it a direct order.
"Then what was it?" Roy asked patiently, in a tone of polite concern.
Of course, Ed knew that concern was utterly false, and he knew the Colonel was on the scent of a good laugh at his expense. However, he also knew when superior rank had him backed into a corner. He wavered for a moment on the verge of arguing, but then his shoulders slumped, and his expression knotted up in resentment - which couldn't have felt very good for that sore spot on his cheek.
"Al here decided to move me to the bed, okay?" he snapped, planting his hands on his hips.
The connection between cause and effect continued to elude Roy. He glanced at Al, and then frowned at both brothers. "I don't -"
"It happened when I picked Ed up," Al cut in sheepishly. "I... kinda got his cheek pinched in a joint of my armor."
Roy couldn't have asked for a more sublimely ridiculous answer.
He managed to choke back his howl of laughter into a violent cough, hiding his mouth behind his hand; but he was aware that his eyes weren't concealing anything, and now Ed was just waiting for the mockery to commence. The young alchemist had dropped his tight fists to his sides, and his face was changing from red to a very fashionable purple, which only made the welt stand out all the more.
"Well," Roy said lightly, clearing his throat, innocently folding his hands on the desk. "I can see why people would want to pinch your cheeks, Fullmetal - but your brother seems to have taken it to a whole new level."
He knew, as sure as the sunrise, that he was going to pay for that one...
But the look on Ed's face was so worth it.
2010 Jordanna Morgan