The man, Sirius Black he called himself, stared at the hand clutched in his. His brows furrowed together as he noticed the small round tear drops on the back of Hawkeye's outstretched hand for the first time. Not one for prolonged physical contact with strange and possibly hostile men, Hawkeye withdrew her hand and shot Mustang a wary look. The Colonel frowned back and shook his head slightly, not knowing what to make of the scene as his mind worked furiously to piece together this queer puzzle. A movement from Black immediately drew their attention back to him. He had brought his fingers slowly to his face, just touching the tears that hadn't stopped flowing.
"It seems to me that I'm crying," he muttered, more to himself than to anyone.
"Err, well yes. We've noticed," replied Mustang bemusedly, raising an eyebrow at their unexpected guest. He still hadn't quite gotten over the fact that the Constantly Locked Door was quite open, despite its fittingly dubbed nickname. Again he looked back to his Lieutenant, wanting answers but receiving a wide eyed stare that told him she knew just as much as he did about their current situation.
Black ignored him; instead he looked sombrely at his damp fingers, all traces of humour gone as he strained to remember the scene he had just departed. He remembered he was laughing, jubilant. He remembered a mane of wild unkempt black curls. A flash of light and those green, green eyes.
"Oh Harry, I'm so sorry," he whispered suddenly, the words spilling from his mouth of their own accord. He wiped his eyes from the last of the tears that had begun to trickle to nothing more than a slow drip-drop on his chest, closing his eyes tight and finally piecing together his last moments of the life he had, only to quickly blink them open again at the sound of Mustang clearing his throat.
"Oh," he said again, looking back to the thoroughly confused pair. "Oh, apologies. You see, it appears that I'm quite stranded here." He smiled weakly to show that he meant no threat to them as he tucked the stick back into his sleeve.
"What do you mean 'stranded'? How is it you got here in the first place, anyway?!" Mustang would not let this mystery pass. Hawkeye remained silent, her fingers still grasping lightly at her trusted firearms, even though she had judged this man to be of no threat. Yet.
"Surely 'stranded' means the same thing here as it does back home…? And I told you, I came in through the gate."
Mustang was getting impatient. He walked towards the ancient gate and eyed it shrewdly. The queer fluttering of the veil enticed him closer, he absentmindedly reached out a hand to pull the veil aside, stopping only when caution in the form of Riza Hawkeye pulled his arm back from doing something he could quite possibly regret.
"That wouldn't be wise, Sir," warned Hawkeye, forever his voice of reason.
"Indeed. We should probably gather more information about this… Perhaps the old records…" Mustang drifted off into silent contemplation. He turned back to Black, who had sunk back down to the ground, his back to the wall and eyes once again tracing the distant earthy lines of the ceiling.
"It's no use, you know," spoke the man calmly to himself, his gaze unfocused, "instinct tells me there's no way back now that I've settled here…"
The Colonel paced back and forth; Hawkeye sensed his frown ran far deeper than annoyance at not being able to solve this puzzle – he was a boy again, and this his new adventure.
"Can't you unsettle? Go back? Frankly we don't know what to do with you and really we should be treating you as a threat – guilty until proven otherwise, y'know. Maybe try walking back through or something. Really. You're just going to end up as excess paperwork in the long run and I can't have that… But this is too good an opportunity to waste any time. If only I could see…"
Hawkeye shot the Colonel a disdainful glance, "I think the best thing to do is report him to Grumman, he's had quite a bit of experience on random factors similar to Black."
"I don't think that's quite how the phrase goes, Mr Military," mused Black, a sad soft smile ghosting his lips.
The energy from Mustang was palpable; the gleam in his eyes even visible to Black, should the man look away from the distance and to the Colonel pacing in front of him.
"Have you not managed to go through yet?"
"I haven't tried. What's the point? I know I can't go back." He laughed a manic bark, and then immediately dropped his chin to his chest, his hair shielding his face once again.
"You haven't even tried!? Then there's no reason to wait longer, you must want to know?" Mustang, a scientist at heart, couldn't fathom a mystery left alone and untouched. Particularly when one's entire future depended on it. "I think I might just try myself." He reached his hand up once more.
"Sir, have you lost your mind? We have no idea where this leads– or whether we could come back at all. We need more information before we try anything like looking behind the veil- "
"There isn't time for that, don't you see? This man's world has alchemy far beyond our current powers! It is my duty to learn it and use it to help benefit mankind, before anyone else uses it to start another Ishval. Think of the opportunities, Lieutenant, transmutation circle free alchemy… the possibilities! Besides, you were to stay here and call for Grumman-"
"And presumably wait by this gate while you are meandering through potential enemy lands, quite unprotected, twiddling my thumbs hoping for your safe return? Please. Do you forget my promise?"
Mustang paused. He sighed.
"Then it's decided. Though something has to be done about him, first." Her eyes flicked to Black, who was now standing again and staring quite unashamedly at Lieutenant Hawkeye. Noticing, she tightened her grip on the firearm once more, perturbed by his unblinking gaze. He moved closer to stand beside them at the gate, causing her to step back to Mustang, blocking his path to the Colonel.
"I knew there was something odd about you," breathed Black, his pace not slowing until he was uncomfortably close to Hawkeye. She backed further into the Colonel, clicking off the safety on her gun. The look in his eyes disturbed her, so full of sadness and grief fuelled determination, "I knew you'd never really left, not really."
Hawkeye was more than perplexed. She backed further one step, so she was standing beside the Colonel on the raised base of the gate, never loosing eye contact with Black for fear she might miss the moment the look in his eyes change to something more dangerous than sorrow. Mustang turned, swiftly pushing Hawkeye behind him as he raised his fingers, his gaze icy.
"I warn you-"
Sirius Black, never really a man for authority, barked a loud laugh and tumbled sobbing into the unsuspecting arms of Riza Hawkeye. Jumping back one step was all it would have taken to push them all into the veil's drag, and one step back did they take. Having never met their mark, the fire that had burst from Mustang's fingers quickly faded away into nothingness, crackling loudly in the suddenly empty room.
AN/ SORRY. Two years since the last update is simply unforgivable, but sixth form was cray cray and I'm going to try and get most of this finished before Uni starts in October! Every review and alert made me feel really guilty so… I tried my best with this, I think. Though this was mostly a filler chapter, so stay tuned..? Its also been 2 years since I've done aaaany creative writing so I'm really not sure how I've fared :S Thanks again, reviewers and readers, you're the best.