Disclaimer: I don't own Fullmetal Alchemist.
Yeeow! Aw, I'm quite sad to have finished this :( Tell you what, to help satiate my withdrawal symptoms from Olly and Lia, if anyone has any particular ideas in mind, drop me a line and I'll see what I can do with them. Until then, adieu little ones!
Hope you enjoyed and thanks for all the feedback :D
Bedlam, circus, menagerie, pandemonium, noisy, fractious, confusing and insane were all words that could happily be used to describe the Mustang household.
All of the above was rigorously evidenced by a week of seven days that felt like seventy:
"Have you seen my waist cape?" Roy asked, poking and prodding through his sizeable closet.
"Mmm?" Riza queried through a mumble, her mouth obstructed by her toothbrush. When her husband didn't answer she strolled back out of the room to rinse off.
Roy continued to search every shelf and hanger, failing to find either one of his two waist capes. He extracted himself from the cupboard and stood back with his hands on his hips. He was going to be late.
The blonde's head appeared around the door frame. "What?"
"My waist cape, where is it?"
"Where did you leave it?" She asked, stepping into the room and prying open the hamper to have a look.
Roy cast her a cheeky glance. "On my waist – you took it off, remember?"
Riza rolled her eyes and pushed past her husband to look in the wardrobe herself.
"I've already looked in there." Roy whined, placing one hand on each of her hips as he looked past her shoulder.
"Exactly." Riza answered, systematically going through each hanger.
"Die!" A small, yet irrefutably raucous voice sounded from another room.
Roy looked at his wife then at the same time, they both withdrew their heads to stare bemusedly out the doorway.
"No, Olly! No!" Another light voice called.
There followed a few indistinguishable grunts and slaps that sounded an awful lot like a scuffle.
"What do you suppose they're doing?" Riza asked.
Roy shrugged. "If I ventured 'getting ready for school'..."
"...I would say it's good to see you haven't lost your idealistic streak." Riza finished and gave Roy's arm a playful squeeze.
"I will chop you up! Chop. You. Up!" Olly Mustang boomed, as much as he could, from down the hallway.
"Wizards don't have knives, Olly, no fair!"
"Chop, chop, chop, chop. Chop you down like a big oak tree!"
Lia's scream of protest rang through the house.
The couple started out the door and rushed to Olly's room. Roy was decidedly unimpressed with what he saw.
Olly was jabbing Lia mercilessly with a cricket bat while the small girl writhed and squealed under the assault. Both had wizard-like cloaks wrapped about their shoulders, or more properly: Roy's waist capes.
Husband and wife looked at each other and sighed.
"I'll just get one at headquarters, shall I?" Roy asked.
Riza simply smiled and shook her head before she stepped into the room to break up the fracas.
Roy leant against the doorjamb and watched with fascination as his wife performed her own particular brand of magic.
Roy got into the habit of walking Hayate every evening when he returned from work. It was a great means for him to get some distance from the mucky politics of headquarters, and allowed him to freshen up and get energised for an evening with his kids; an undertaking that definitely required energy.
He was passing a high hedged garden on a neighbouring street when he heard a very familiar voice.
"Believe me." It said with authority. "You want this football. Real leather, new design, great play."
Roy looked at Hayate in question but the dog just puffed noisily through his nose and continued sniffing the weeds growing up through the bushes.
"Well you're no good." The man murmured to the dog.
He leant closer to the bush and putting all his training to use, stealthily cleared himself a peep hole.
A ring of about ten children were gathered round listening attentively to the speaker. Shifting to the right, Roy confirmed his suspicions as he spotted his son sitting firmly in the middle.
"How much?" A red haired boy asked, leaning forward with a cynical look on his chubby face.
"Fifty cens." Olly said, and smiled when there was uproar around him.
Roy shifted in the hedge again to get a better look. It sounded like his boy was about to get lynched for his brazen idiocy.
"Calm down." Olly's confident, raspy voice urged. "I have a plan."
An anaemic looking blond boy scoffed. "Oh yeah?"
Olly's black eyes locked onto him. "You have five cens, Jimmy?"
"Of course I do."
Olly looked at another child. "What about you, Fred?"
Olly spoke while tracing invisible circles in the grass before him. "We're six, we're not babies anymore, so everyone can get their hands on five cens at least."
There was a collective murmur of agreement.
"Okay, here's the deal. For each of you who gives me just five cens, you'll get to own the football for a whole week. That's Saturday to Saturday."
Another chorus of interested, impressed noises bubbled from the gang of children, but there was another dark haired child who was less enthusiastic.
"Five cens doesn't buy a fifty cens football, Mustang."
Olly smirked back at the boy. "Nope, but ten times five does."
There was an awed round of clapping from the circle and Olly took an insincerely humbled bow.
"Come on boys, empty your pockets, you know it's the smart choice."
The other boy still wasn't convinced and tried to shout his protestations over the noise. "But what happens to the ball after ten weeks?"
Olly stretched his arms back behind his head. "It's called pro-cure-mint."
Roy blinked in utter astonishment. His son was selling shares on the black market of a neighbour's back garden, all for the acquirement of a football after ten weeks. Although a warm, proud feeling swelled in his chest, he now harboured a fear that his son would walk straight up to him one day and declare that he wanted to be a banker. That would be truly awful.
The General's thoughts stopped abruptly as two angry eyes, topped with impressive eyebrows appeared in the hedge in front of him.
"Who the hell are you!" The eyebrows jumped wildly with the angry voice.
Roy fell onto his backside, Hayate dancing out of his way. He heard the frantic thudding of eleven small feet race over to the hedge, alerted to some action by the irate voice.
"I-" Roy panted out, shocked.
One thin arm poked through the hedge, accompanied by a hysterical accusation. "Stranger!"
Then another arm poked through, a tiny forefinger pointing at Roy's recumbent form. "Stranger!"
Soon, ten boyish arms were thrust through the abundant hedge and ten frantic voices shouted, "Stranger!"
The owner of the eyebrows was still ranting, pulling apart the hedge to get a good look at the devious, perverted stranger: one General Roy Mustang.
The only one maintaining any cool was Olly, who regarded his father with amused, darkly shining eyes.
"I'm not a stranger! I'm not! That's my son!" Roy called and pointed at Olly.
The cacophony halted and Roy heard shifting as everyone turned to face Olly for verification. The man's heart stopped when Olly's eyes widened, his arm raised and he sucked in a deep, preparatory breath.
"Stranger!" He squealed, louder than anyone else.
Roy's eyes darted to 'Eyebrows' and he shook his head violently. "I'm not. I'm not! I'm Oliver's Dad. Hi Olly!" He waved enthusiastically.
"Ah!" Olly screamed and backed away. "My name's not even Olly!"
At 11pm, Riza hung up her last phone call to the last worried parent in the neighbourhood, finally finished convincing the block that her husband was not a child crazed perfect.
"What have we learned today, husband of mine?" She asked, sitting back into Roy's lap.
"Don't spy on the kids." Roy mumbled ashamedly into her hair.
"Two small spots...S. P. O. T. S. Then write 'two'. Yeap. Good."
Roy moaned and pulled himself tighter against his sleeping wife. It couldn't possibly be 6am already.
"Subject moving. Oh! One long, squiggly scar. S. K... eh... W. I. G. G. I... em, just draw a squiggle. We'll know what it means."
He felt soft fingers run over the thin, raised scar on his lower back.
"One big, ugly mole. If you do bushy eyebrows above it like this, you can make it look extra uglier."
Roy's eyes shot open and he spun around, apparently not quickly enough as two dark haired individuals thumped onto the floor, shot across the carpet and disappeared out the door to the sound of tittering.
He stretched an arm out and turned on the lamp. Beside him on the bed was a large piece of paper covered in dots, squiggles and messy writing. The top of the page read, "A Serfey of Dad's Back." Roy rubbed tiredly at his eyes and studied the survey, somewhat surprised to see a large mole-shape detailed with downward sloping, mean eyebrows above it.
"It's a birthmark." He defended, looking at the dark spot on the paper with doleful eyes.
"Roy..." A sleepy, unimpressed Riza groaned from beside him. He saw a delicate hand snake out from the blankets to check the clock. "What are you doing? It's 5am."
Roy grunted out an apology and yanked off the light before slumping back beneath the blankets; he would have to ask Riza about the mole thing later.
Riza struggled to push the key into the lock as her two young children jumped, tugged and whined at her feet. They had just come from their Grandfather's and typical to visits to Fuhrer Grumman's, they were filled to the gullet with ice-cream and lemon soda.
"Ah'm gonna pee ma pants!" Olly whinged in the strange accent he had adopted when talking about anything pertaining to the toilet.
Gracia had told her the habit was perfectly normal for children his age, a psychological distancing from socially awkward human functions, but Riza had a well trained ear for lies and knew the woman was just trying to make her feel better.
Finally, she inserted the key and had only just turned it when Lia and Olly pushed the door open eagerly with their tiny palms. Both ran forward, Olly peeling off towards the downstairs toilet and Lia tripping up the stairs clumsily to where she knew her father would be napping.
Riza closed the door with an exhausted sigh. She shook off her jacket and was just walking into the kitchen when she heard rising and falling 'woah' sounds from upstairs: one baritone, the other high pitched and punctuated with giggles. Roy should know better; ice-cream and playtime were not a winning combination.
The toilet flushed and Olly emerged from the bathroom.
"Did you wash your hands?" Riza asked, her amber eyes on the lookout for a fib.
Olly's tentative 'yes' confirmed the untruth.
"Back in." Riza ordered.
The boy grumbled and stomped back into the room to wash his hands.
Riza started up the stairs, following the playful noises emanating from her bedroom. She pushed open the door and although she tried to look serious, she couldn't help but break into a silent laugh.
Roy was lying flat on his back and held Lia straight above him, the little girl's legs dangling in the air. They were both making a low, expectant 'wo' sound, staring at each other with bright, excited eyes. Then he dropped the child towards him, and the sound rose to a joyous climax. Lia kicked her legs and laughed wildly, then quieted herself to the same quiet 'wo' noise as she was hoisted in the air again.
Riza sighed and cleared her throat. Two pairs of dark eyes looked over to her.
"Hello you." Roy said lightly, a wide grin halving his face.
"Hello." Riza replied and instinctively reached behind her to cup the back of Olly's head as he joined her at her side.
Lia smiled at her mother then started making her 'wo' sound again, a cue that Roy should continue.
"I think you should probably stop now." Riza advised, running her fingers through her son's messy hair.
Roy laughed and bounced Lia, causing her low growling to bounce with her.
"She's fine, Ri." He spotted Olly. "Hi son."
Olly waved distractedly, his eyes fixed on the whitening face of his sister. He smiled sinisterly.
"Honestly, Roy. They had a lot of-"
"Stop panicking, Riza, she's fine. Aren't you, L-"
Roy didn't have a chance to finish as his daughter burped loudly and from her lofty position, emptied a stomach full of ice-cream and lemon soda all over his face.
It took several seconds for Roy to brave opening an eye.
"I-" He stopped as more foamy soup fell from Lia's slack mouth, spattering against his cheek.
Olly snickered and stoated off towards his own room, shaking his head with an amused sigh.
Roy met Lia's shocked eyes. "You didn't tell me you had ice-cream."
The girl shrugged in his grasp, her shiny black shoes still dangling out behind her.
The Women's Coalition: in short, Roy hated them. However, more than the collection of pucker-faced, heavily made-up harpies, he hated Fuhrer Grumman's 'help'. He was convinced the man resented him for marrying his granddaughter, the old sod.
"He hates me." He said as Riza did up his tie, something he was considerably better at but didn't want to say. His wife was just incredibly sexy when she attended to the simple, classic act of matrimony. If she knew his vaguely misogynistic thoughts, she would almost certainly kill him.
Riza laughed and patted him on the shoulders. "He doesn't hate you. He loves you."
"If he loved me he wouldn't throw me to the lions like this every quarter."
"You're hardly being thrown to the lions, Roy." Riza said.
"I am..." Roy looked off, exaggerated danger in his eyes. "For starters, why do they need me out of uniform?"
Riza finished the knot and pulled it tight until it was almost choking him. "Because they think you have a threatening demeanour."
Roy pulled the tie loose with one finger, coughing a little. "Sure." He said dryly. "I have a threatening demeanour. Besides, a senior officer like me looking after banal duties like this is absurd."
"He's helping you build a wider public profile, Roy. Anyway, it'll be good for them to meet in you in your home environment. You're a family man now. They'll see you in your natural, peaceful, totally normal surroundings." Riza assured, but she didn't sound as though she much believed what she was saying herself.
"Right." Mustang drawled, wondering if it wasn't too much to consider toppling another Fuhrer.
The meeting was hellish. The women had asked to convene in a non-military environment, and rather than Grumman suggesting the Concert Hall, National Library or Grand Hotel, he indicated that it would be wonderful for them to see Mustang's home, a listed tenement in the leafy west end of the city. The women leapt at the opportunity and as he watched them eyeball and scrutinise every single photograph and item of crockery in his dining room, Roy knew exactly why.
"Tell me General-" One woman had said, pawing at a wedding photograph. "Doesn't your wife want to grow her hair out? She looks awfully boyish here."
Roy raked his eyes over the sizeable paunch of the woman before he spoke. "I think it compliments her slim frame actually. Your hair's grown some since I last saw you, no?"
Now as they sat around the polished mahogany dining table, Roy couldn't help but glance nervously at the clock. Any minute now, his children would arrive back from school and that could spell disaster. Olly had a problem with concealing his opinions, and there were a lot of globular, nasty women in the room.
"All we're asking is for you to relinquish some of the park to our boules lawn. We've been over this a hundred times, General and truthfully it seems as though you're not willing to budge an inch."
Roy sighed and placed his hands flat on the table in front of him. "I'm not. That's not a park, it's a memorial garden and we would do well to remember that when talking so lightly about it's transformation into a bowling green of all things."
The leader of the Coalition leant forward and rested her many chins on her steepled, gaudily ringed fingers. "General, we have already motioned to the City Council that the military must volunteer some of their public ground. It's untenable that you've retained so much."
"The City Council only exists because of the efforts of those soldiers to which that memorial garden is dedicated. If our old regime was still in place, you would all still be playing bridge instead of wasting the valuable time of a senior military official who's giving audience to you under duress and on the merit that you continue to donate whatever sums of money your dead husbands left behind. For example."
Roy took a sip of water and while he should have regretted his muted outburst, he actually relished the silence that followed. The silence that was soon broken by the sound of a key in the front door. His calm went with the quiet.
"Oh, who's this General?"
Roy took a deep breath. "My family."
There was a collective round of cooing and cheering from the women, and although their faces appeared to show warm, boisterous mirth; he actually knew they couldn't wait to have a good examination of his children. They probably brought score cards with them.
"Mrs Mustang!" One of the ladies called. "Mrs Mustang!"
Roy tensed at that. "She's a Lieutenant Colonel actually. She's on annual leave-"
The grey-skinned woman to his left patted his hand. "Of course she is, dear."
Roy closed his eyes for the briefest moment to gather himself before the door pushed open to reveal his family, perfectly framed by the doorway.
There was a frightening chorus of 'aw' noises from everyone at the table. He had to admit it though, he had a sharp looking couple of kids, bedecked as they were in their snappy uniforms. Riza ushered the children into the room, Lia looking shy but determined and Olly looking totally horrified. He canted his eyes up to his mother, betrayal written into his youthful features.
"Aren't they gorgeous? So exotic and unusual! You could never tell they were Amestrian!" A woman dressed entirely in orange exclaimed. Riza's face darkened imperceptibly.
Another woman patted her knees as though beckoning a dog, hoping to get a closer look at them. Neither child moved from their place.
"Okay." Roy said, staring pointedly at Riza, using any powers of telecommunication to ask her to leave. "Well there they-"
"There's a funny smell." Olly opined suddenly, his face pinched in distaste. Lia nodded her head in agreement.
Roy laughed a little and looked bashfully at the woman to his right. "He's – they've – they're tired."
Olly swung his arms up and moved them both in great circles about him. "And they're all round like this."
Roy was sure he felt a little bit of vomit come up in his throat.
Lia tugged on her mother's arm and pointed to one particularly rotund woman. "Is she got a baby inside her?" She asked in the childlike whisper that is actually louder than talking at a regular volume.
Riza could have rescued Roy at that moment, and could quite easily have explained away, then extracted her children from the embarrassing interchange, but she had read what some of these women had said about her and her family in the press, and so she didn't really care to.
Olly stepped forward and folded his arms, looking first at the women, then at his mother. He repeated his study several times, and when Roy had gathered himself enough to call order, his son stopped him with a raising of his hand.
"How come-" He started, and Roy closed his eyes, waiting for the comment as one might wait for a tidal wave to hit. "How come, Mummy's like a little hill, like this." Olly made small, gentle shapes with his hands. "And that woman there-" He pointed at the leader of the Coalition. "Is like a great, great, great, big mountain like this: woah!" He made the biggest shape he possibly could, even going so far as to stand on his tiptoes. Lia chuckled and leant into her mother's skirt in some daughter-mother act of conspiracy.
It took Roy all of twenty minutes to convince the Coalition to stay and finish their meeting. He resisted the temptation to say he didn't think he was their real father anyway. The hags never would have bought it: poxy family resemblance. Besides, if he was honest he was actually quite proud of them, regardless of the fiasco.
By the end of their meeting he had actually managed to garner some odd kind of sympathy from the women, who having seen his plight, spent the rest of their time offering him strict guidelines on parenting. Every piece of advice sounded horrific, but at least he wouldn't have to face the State accountants when thousands of cens worth of trust funds suddenly disappeared from the annual budget.
He drew the meeting to a close, thanking each one of them personally for coming to visit his family home. Holding open the dining room door for the troop of kelpies to leave, he tried his best to maintain his cool when he heard one of the women scream in the hallway.
He shouldn't have been surprised. Really, he shouldn't have.
Exiting the dining room, he saw one bloated woman swoon against another, shocked apparently, by his six year old son, naked from the waist down and performing a jive in the hall.
"Whey-hey!" The boy shouted, giving an especially vigourous twist of his hips.
Roy blanched and barely even noticed Riza rush from the kitchen and scoop the still-jiving child into her arms.
The man uttered a few unintelligible syllables and grimaced when he heard Olly's voice protest the interruption of his dancing from somewhere in the back of the house.
"But Daddy does it all the time!"
Roy met eleven pairs of eyes, or rather, Roy turned to see eleven pairs of eyes stare at his crotch, then drift up to his face.
"I wear trousers...when I do the thing."
"Why do you suppose he lies so much?" Roy asked, tossing a handful of chopped onions into the pan.
Riza looked up from the paper. "I don't know. Overactive imagination? Attention seeking maybe?"
"Like he doesn't get enough attention." He groused.
Riza cocked her head in a 'who do you think you're kidding?' fashion.
"He told his teacher I died in Drachma!" Roy shouted by way of defence.
"Yes, but he did say you were swallowed whole by an ice-dragon... Ms Mercer is smarter than that."
Roy didn't say anything but stirred the sauce a little more vigourously.
Husband and wife snuggled comfortably together on the back porch, listening to the happy sounds of their children playing in the garden. Olly was 'teaching' Lia how to play football, which more or less amounted to the boy kicking a ball around his sister while she ran back and forth trying to keep up.
Neither parent realised they had dozed off until an alarmed wail sounded from down the garden. Roy was on his feet in an instant and he saw two things at once: the bright yellow football stuck high up in the huge tree, and his son dangling precariously from a branch, far off the ground.
He had never moved faster in his life. He cleared the wooden railing on the porch and shot down the garden at full tilt, passing an anxious, upset Lia.
"Olly!" He shouted but the boy continued screaming.
Positioning himself directly under his son, he called his name again. Then again. On his fourth call, Olly finally answered with a distraught, "Daddy!"
"Olly, I'm right underneath you. You're okay. You're safe Olly." Roy licked his lips. "I need you to let go."
"No!" Olly squealed, terrified, and kicked his legs while struggling to keep his grip.
Riza joined Roy at his side with Lia weeping softly against her.
"Olly. Olly! Look at me. Look at Dad. Can you do that?" He asked as slowly and as calmly as he could, but in truth he felt like he was about to have heart failure. If Olly had fallen from that height...
The boy adjusted his grip and stretched so he could meet his father's eyes, his breath hitching with upset.
"I'm your Dad, Olly, I'll catch you-" He was interrupted when another panicked burst of crying rang from the child. Olly clenched his eyes shut and tried to pull himself up onto the branch but the effort only served to loosen his fingers more.
"I'm not going to let you get hurt, Oliver. I promise. Trust me. I'll catch you. I'll catch you, Olly."
The crying quieted once more and Olly turned back to his father, far, far beneath him. He sniffed and tried to catch his breath.
"Promise?" He asked meekly.
Roy smiled and held his arms aloft. "I promise, son. Come on. Just let go. I'm here, Olly."
The boy looked back at the branch once then nodded. He shut his eyes, took a shuddering breath and uncurled his fingers. The drop was a moment of invigorating horror for all four of them.
Roy caught his son without any looseness or room for error. He held onto him as strongly as he could without suffocating him, breathing noisily against the boy's scalp. Olly bawled with renewed vigour and fisted his hands into Roy's hair and shirt. Seeing her brother safe but upset, Lia tugged at Riza's hand to be picked up also.
The soldiers-come-parents, well accustomed to moments of drama, exchanged a look they hadn't shared in a very long time. One that said they were safe, that everything would be okay.
"Daddy!" Olly wailed again and clung fast to his father's strong body. If he weren't so unsettled, he would have heard Roy's heartbeat thumping feverishly in his chest.
That night, Olly asked only for his Dad to tuck him into bed. As Roy pulled up the blanket, Olly stopped his hand. There was a shameful look in the boy's eyes as he refused to meet his father's.
"Sorry, Dad." He said quietly, some fresh tears springing to his eyes.
Roy laughed and pushed back the boy's dark fringe. "Olly... Why are you apologising?"
The boy sniffed. "For crying."
Roy stopped playing with his son's hair and used the same hand to tilt the boy's face towards him. "That's nothing to be sorry for."
"It is!" Olly blurted out. "The red fat one says you're the bravest man he knows: that you never get scared and you never cry."
Red fat one? Roy smiled. "Breda?"
Olly nodded, the action freeing a fat tear from his eye. Roy wiped it away with his thumb. "Well, he's wrong. I've cried lots of times. I almost cried today."
"When?" Olly asked, doubt evident in his tone.
"When I saw my looper of a son dangling from a 25ft tree."
Olly's sharp eyes closed slightly as he considered this and after a moment of reflection, he seemed to accept it.
"Because you were scared?" He asked.
"Yeap." Roy answered.
"More scared than when I said you were a stranger and Mr Urquhart chased you away with a rake?"
Roy laughed and held his thumb and forefinger only a hair's breadth apart. "By about this much."
Olly giggled lightly, then more forcefully, then wildly as Roy dug his fingers into his sides, tickling him ruthlessly.
Riza passed the doorway and paused, watching her boys scrap with each other on the bed. She looked back and blew a kiss through the open door towards Lia's bed, and could just about see the little girl return the gesture from the darkened room.
Bedlam, circus, menagerie, pandemonium, noisy, fractious, confusing and insane were all words that could happily be used to describe the Mustang household, and they wouldn't change it for the world.
aaaaw. :) ta for reading chaps!