Equivalent Exchange

Chapter Summary: A month has past now, and the new creatures are changing things dramatically...

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Chapter 13: Reunion

~Hughes~

1 month later...

Central Military Headquarters, Outside Colonel Roy Mustang's office, 3:03pm

"-SIR!"

'Is that Riza? Is now not a good time?' Maes Hughes grinned. Finding those two yelling was no surprise, what they were yelling about was the question. 'They are ALWAYS together, they must have some kind of secret relationship... God I only hope they do, else that idiot must really be a loner.'

Hughes put an ear to the door hoping to hear some juicy information,

Silence. That's what Hughes heard. He frowned, 'Is it over?'. But as soon as his arm reached the door knob he heard his best friend sigh and say,

"I know Riza. But what could happen?! Maybe I'll lose my job but if he comes back to us... I don't give a damn about my job! Those boys are more important than this fucking job..."

'Roy...'

Maes looked at his hand for a moment before turning the knob. He smiled and gave Riza and Roy an oblivious grin like he didn't hear or know anything, when in actuality he did know everything. He walked in on them standing beside parallel walls and facing each other, 'This is weird... So no relationship I'll assume.'

"Hughes, what are you doing here?" Roy asked, he stood with a tense posture but visibly relaxed when Hughes walked in.

"It's been some time," Hughes said to his friend and colleague, "I was expecting a friendlier greeting for this reunion."

"Sorry. I just wasn't expecting you to visit. Sit. You to Hawkeye." Roy said as he proceeded to his cluttered desk, it was filled with papers. About vampires, about man found frozen, and about Peter. Maes gazed at the other man, 'So you too?'. Riza Hawkeye took a seat in one of the two chairs in front of the messy station. Hughes walked over to occupy the other chair.

"How have you been Roy?"

~Roy~

'Very informal Hughes, do you mean to say you're not bugged?'

And as if reading his very thoughts he added,

"He is not listening Roy, Fuhrer Bradley I mean. I haven't seen him in weeks."

"Then how-?" Roy Mustang was at a loss about whether to believe him or not, 'He is my best friend, if I can't trust him this world must have really gone to hell'.

They were all bugged now, the only reason himself and Riza talked freely was because they had found a way to safely remove the wire. And as far as he knew they were the only two to have done it.

"I resigned two weeks ago, I've wanted to for a while actually. I'm a full-time papa now, and bug-free. But-"

"What, you RESIGNED?" Riza gasped, it was the first time she spoke to him, Hughes smiled nonchalantly.

"I couldn't handle it anymore, the entire military being bugged, the new sunset curfew laws, Fuhrer watching everyone who knew Ed, Al being quarantined... It's all to much Roy, not to mention all the investigations and paperwork. I couldn't leave my office for 48 hours straight one time, and except for you- right now-, and Winry, I haven't been able to contact anyone who was somewhat close to Ed."

Roy and Riza both perked up at the new information,

"You know Winry's whereabout's?"

"Of course I do. She's hiding in my basement."

Roy stared at his friend dumbly, "So this entire past month when she was marked as missing, she was with you?!"

"Well, more Gracia and Elicia than me per say." He responded innocently, and before Roy had a chance to argue he continued,

"Enough about me though. I came here for a different reason-"

'Surprising.' Roy rolled his eyes,

"-I found Edward."

Roy fell out of his chair with that, 'what just happened?', he quietly stood and looked into the unblinking eyes of Maes Hughes. For just a second he forget everything, the Elric boy's, Ed's situation, and then it all slingshotted back to him. But it was good news this time. Hope was thrown at him and he so desperately wanted to hold it tight and never let go. This kind of thing was something that hadn't happened in the military for over a month now. Roy forgot what it felt like. Was it to good to be true?

"What are you saying Hughes?"

"I thought that statement was pretty clear..."

Riza stood abruptly and turned to him,

"That-that's impossible! Everyone is looking for him! How did you-?"

Hughes leaned into Roy to whisper,

"You're girl really sees so highly of me." Roy blushed, 'my girl?'. Riza ignored them and added,

"Nevermind, just show us instead of telling us."

Alley behind 'Bob's Rib Shack', 5:19pm

"We should've waited until sundown..."

"We would never get around on the streets if it was past curfew. Anyway this is where he is living, it would make sense for him to be indoors."

"Hughes are you sure about this?"

"Yes, 100%."

"So where's the door genius?"

Roy turned to Hughes when no answer came. Hughes whistled and pretended not to have heard his friend, 'idiot, he doesn't know'.

"Sir, I believe we should start looking, we only have 2 hours before sunset, and if we're caught here at night..."

"I know... Riza check for any hidden doors inside, don't get caught. Hughes and I'll search the alley."

45 minutes later...

"Nothing, goddamnit!"

"Sir maybe we should call it a night..."

"No! I got to see him, I need to see him alive-"

"Umm..." Hughes interrupted. Roy looked at him questionably, only to find he wasn't looking at Roy and Riza. He was looking at the entrance of the alleyway. Roy turned to look in the same direction, 'looks like we aren't alone...'

There was a young man and woman standing and staring at the trio. The male was a tall, lean man, with dark squinty eyes. He wore his long black hair tied with a ponytail and had spiky bangs that hung over his face. He had loose white trousers and a goldenrod shirt that he wore open to reveal his bare torso and his sword strap. The man had white tape bandaged around his neck and upper chest, with a deep maroon scarf over it.

"Who are you, and what are you doing here?" The girl said. Roy noticed the man's young female companion seemed like is bodyguard. She positioned herself in front of the man in the same manner Riza would given the situation. She looked ready to fight. Her black hair was pulled into a bun and her deep brown eyes gazed at him seriously. She wore a black armored outfit aswell to top it off. Though she didn't appear to be equiped with a weapon unlike the man.

"Ah... We are-"

Turning around the corner was a short, pale young man. His long dark hair hung around his face. His clothes hide almost his entire body, but when he turned the corner he had pulled his hood back. Revealing the unmistakable familiar visage,

"Ed..."


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