Diverse Education

Author – cornerofmadness

Disclaimer – wish it were mine but sadly no. All rights belong to Arakawa

Word Count – 561

Series – manga

Time line/Spoilers – pre series but spoilers for Roy's upbringing so spoilers for anything past ch 80 and the third character portfolio

Rating – PG

Characters – Roy, Christmas and an OC girl working for Christmas

Summary – Roy's education is a most unusual one

Author's Note – This one took a few bends that I wasn't expecting (and yes, naturally, wanted to be longer) Thanks to Evil_little_dog for the beta. This is a slightly longer version (by like 60 words) but the 500 word count version took third place in the fma_fic_contest for the prompt 'pinch.' I'm very pleased.

"You're getting it," Violet said as Roy picked up a bottle of orange liquor.

"I'm training to be an alchemist. If I can't make a mixture, I'm doomed," the fourteen-year-old informed his older 'sister.'

"A jigger of the orange, a jigger and a half of the brandy then the juice of one lemon and stir."

"What do I do with the pinch of sugar?"

"Wet the rim and use the sugar to encrust it."

"Exactly what are you teaching the boy, Violet?" Chris eyed her charges from across the room. The innkeeper sauntered over to them, fishing for her cigarette case.

"Teaching him how to make girlie drinks," Violet replied. "He's been in a dusty old lab for too long. Roy needs to shake off the boring alchemist routine and get back to flirting. He's a natural at it, Madam. He'd be a big help to you if you let him use his natural talents."

"I am using my natural talents," Roy protested. "Master Hawkeye says he's never seen a sharper mind."

"Or a bigger ego." Violet slapped Roy's shoulder. "Besides, doesn't he have a cute daughter you like? You need skills if you plan on wooing her."

"She's taboo. Master Hawkeye made that clear but this is fun. I could use what you're teaching me," Roy assured his sister.

Chris took the drink, sipping it. She nodded appreciatively. "Not bad. Roy, let's take a walk." Setting down the drink, Chris put a hand on his shoulder guiding him outside. In the early evening hours, the streets were fairly empty. Most of the people were home for dinner. It was too early for them to be heading back out to the theatres and bars. "Violet is right, you do have talent when it comes to flirting, inherited trait I'm afraid. Does what I do interest you that much, Roy?"

He shrugged. "I don't think that I'd be as good as you. I like being an alchemist. That's what I was meant to do. Still, doesn't hurt to know how to impress the girls."

Chris laughed, smoke peppering the sound. "Spoken like a teenaged boy."

"I am one so…" Roy smirked. "I guess it's good stuff to know, how to get information from people. Violet seems to have fun with it, so do the rest of the girls."

Chris pulled him to a stop near one of the streets lining the walk. "You do know a lot of that is an act, right, son?" At his confused look, she added. "What we do can be exciting but it's also very dangerous. It's not a game. Always thought I'd be the one to die first, not your father. Ever since I started in this for old Armstrong, I've made powerful friends and enemies. One wrong word, poke your nose into the wrong room and you could be dead. So if you're going to learn what I have to teach, you need to take it seriously."

His eyes drilled into her. "You sound like Master Hawkeye. I get it."

Smiling, she started walking. "You're my bright boy. I figured you would." Chris shot Roy an appraising look. He might think he understood but at his age, he was too young to truly understand. She just hoped that by the time he was old enough to appreciate the wisdom, Roy wouldn't learn the lesson painfully.