A.N. So I'll just come right out and say it. I don't get the Olivier/Miles pairing. For me, Buccaneer and Olivier make MUCH more sense. Miles as good as admitted that he was scared of her while Buccaneer is only slightly wary and very respectful, which is a big difference. Buccaneer's the only one with the guts to handle being her partner, and they seem to understand each other and communicate in ways that are exclusive to the two of them, much like Roy and Riza. Plus, Olivier looked so SAD when...

...wait, that would be a spoiler. Must not mention spoilers!

In one of the subbed episodes I watched, someone referred to Olivier as the "lady-general", which I kind of liked so I'm sticking with it. And yes, I am perfectly aware that Ed and Al are supposed to be in lockup at this point in the manga, but this would never have worked if I kept them that way. Just avert your eyes from the gaping plothole and enjoy the story!

Just Between Us

"Come on, just tell me!"

"Hell no," Buccaneer snorted and moved ahead in line. Ed ground his teeth as he trotted after the captain, carelessly thrusting out his tray so the cooks behind the counter could load it up. He was momentarily distracted when a huge slab of fatty meat landed on his plate that smelled like nothing he'd ever eaten before. Ed poked it with his knife warily and then glared at the cook that had given it to him.

"What's this suppose to be?"

The man flashed him a smile that was missing teeth. "Bear meat."

"Bear meat?" Al repeated in trepidation. He peeked over Ed's shoulder doubtfully. "You people actually eat bears?"

"Why not?" Buccaneer said, holding out his tray for the next server. "The meat's as good as any, and one animal will feed an entire platoon for two weeks. Not to mention all the fat those brutes lug around helps to ward off the cold."

Goopy stew was slopped onto his plate next, and Ed coughed at the repulsive stink of rabbit liver. He held the tray as far away from his nose as possible. "Don't you get normal rations from Central?" he griped.

Buccaneer barked a laugh. "The lady-general long ago cut off everything that wasn't essential to our survival and put the money saved into weapons development. Meat was the first to go. If we can make it, grow it or hunt it for ourselves, then we do or we go without. It's incentive to keep us from getting lazy."

"Makes sense, I guess," Al remarked. More quietly, he said to Ed. "Tell me what it tastes like, okay?"

"That depends on if I can keep it down" Ed muttered with a grimace and hurried to follow Buccaneer as he maneuvered through the crowded mess in search of an empty table. Once he found one Buccaneer tossed his tray down and began shoveling food into his mouth, ignoring them. Not to be deterred, Ed planted himself directly opposite from the captain and fixed him with an unwavering look.

"Are you ever going to tell me?"

"Leave him alone, Ed," Al chided him. "It's none of our business how the captain lost his arm."

"And I say it is!" Ed snapped, banging his fist on the table. "I said it once already. It's not fair for you people to ask all the questions and never answer any. By now this entire fort knows about Al's body so we deserve something in return."

"My arm, my business," Buccaneer said and waved his knife at them. "If you want secrets then go talk to the other soldiers. There's plenty out there with more interesting stories than mine. Why Sergeant Laurel over there, he spent two weeks out in a blizzard sharing a den with a pack of wolves! Got them to hunt for him and everything, and we still can't figure out how he did it. General Armstrong was furious when he wouldn't talk. She said if we had control of the mountain animals, we'd be even more impenetrable than we are now..."

Ed tuned his rant out and gulped down some of the nasty coffee the cooks had pressed on him. He was positive they were hiding the good stuff from him out of spite. He let his attention wander over the mess, searching for anything that might change Buccaneer's mind. Some of the soldiers that met his gaze gave him measuring looks, but there was nothing truly unfriendly there. Overall, he was impressed by their stolid nature. And just as aggravated by it. Major-General Armstrong disliked secrets because secrets bred ignorance. What one knew, they all knew.

Out of the corner of his eye he saw a flash of vivid blond hair, and the beginnings of an idea formed when Ed noticed Winry standing in line for her own meal, chatting cheerily with Buccaneer's mechanic. The captain frowned faintly at his look and glanced over his shoulder. When he looked away, his cheeks were slightly flushed.

"Tell me how you lost your arm," Ed said slyly, "and I'll get Winry to give your automail a maintenance check. You liked her work, right?"

"Um, Brother," Al said with a strange note in his voice. "I'm not sure that's the real reason..."

Buccaneer shifted in his seat and stole another look at Winry. He sniffed skeptically, leaning closer. "You can really set that up?"

"I bet she's just dying for the chance to work on northern automail," Ed said easily, dangling the carrot a bit closer. "She's so freaking obsessed, she'd probably do anything you wanted. Her services don't come cheap, but I'm telling you it's totally worth it—"

"Ed!" Al hissed, nudging him. "Don't you think you should ask her about this first?"

"Why's that?" Ed demanded. "Now that she's through with me, it's not like she's got anyone else to wear herself out on."

Al groaned and covered his face with his hand. "Oh, jeez. Sometimes I really wish you would think about how your words sound before you say them..."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Alright, I'll tell you," Buccaneer said abruptly. He set his utensils aside and swiveled his head around to check for eavesdroppers, baring his teeth at anyone that dared to look their way. "This isn't something I've told anyone else. Only me and the doc know what really happened. And the lady-general, of course."

"It's that big of a secret?" Al whispered, interested despite himself. "Were you on some kind of secret mission?"

Buccaneer shook his head, eyes filled with a distant memory. "No, I wasn't. In fact, it happened right here at the fort...

It was just two hours before dawn by the time Buccaneer returned from his reconnaissance of the Drachman border. There hadn't even been a whisper of activity save for a scouting party that had ventured too close. Whether by accident or on purpose mattered not. Their bodies had been left for the wolves, and Buccaneer now carried several bundles of the blade and staff weapons the Drachman soldiers favored. That little diversion hadn't taken all that long to sort out. The real reason for his delay was quite stupid in its simplicity. He had gotten lost. Over fifteen years of patrolling these mountains and he'd gotten lost. He would never hear the end of it from his comrades.

The sentries let him inside without delay, seeing the captain's weariness in the slump of his shoulders. Buccaneer kept all his gear on as he stomped through the narrow corridors. His fingers and toes had lost all feeling several hours ago. Idiotically, he had pressed on instead of bedding down in the nearest shelter and starting a fire. He was a shoe-in for frostbite if he didn't warm up soon. His left little toe and the tip of his ear had been lost last winter, and Buccaneer didn't intend to let that happen again.

Most of the fort was dead asleep so Buccaneer met no one on the way to the doctor's quarters. He was halfway there before he remembered the bloody doctor wasn't here. She had gone to oversee a complicated operation in one of the isolated mountain towns and wouldn't be back for days. Of course they had some others with basic medical training, but Buccaneer doubted any of them would get their asses out of bed to help him ward off a bit of chill. The captain reversed direction and headed for the showers. A few minutes under the hot spray and some heated cloths on his hands and feet would do him well enough.

When he turned the last corner, he paused. The shower room was just ahead, and he could hear water running and see a light shining under the door. True, soldiers were accustomed to strange schedules, but here in the fort everyone usually saved their showers for the ends of their shifts—just after dawn for the graveyard shift and late in the evening for everyone else. Perhaps whoever it was had wanted privacy. Only the major-general and the doctor had private showers in their quarters, and that was simply because there was no point in building a womens' shower for two people.

Buccaneer shrugged and let himself in. He wasn't about to forego a shower just because someone was feeling shy. The tiled room was filled wall to wall with warm condensation, and he kicked the door shut again to keep the cold out before dumping the bundled weapons in a corner and shedding his outer gear. He was down to the base layers and about to remove those as well when it hit him. He did a double take, eyes going wide when he realized what he was seeing. Something Buccaneer only ever saw on his occasional jaunts to the local villages to unwind and enjoy the company of the tavern women.


His awed silence was short-lived. The owner of those magnificent appendages drew her sword with a loud rasp of metal on metal and attacked. Buccaneer brought his arm up just in time to shield his neck from the blade's decisive arc. That same arm flew across the room and smacked into the opposite wall, leaving a vivid red trail on the tiles as it slid down. The captain dropped on his back with a surprised "oof!", still clutching the stump, and the major-general loomed over him with dripping sword still in hand, tendrils of hair forming wet spirals on her chest and every lithe muscle trembling in anger. It was such a glorious sight that Buccaneer forgot all about his arm and just stared stupidly.

She kicked him in the ribs with her bare foot. "Staunch the bleeding, Captain," she snapped. "Briggs men don't die from a little scratch like that."

Pure habit made him choke out his response. "Aye...ma'am..."

She dressed in under five seconds, cleaned her sword and left. Buccaneer sighed once she was gone and shut his eyes giddily, thinking privately that he was far more likely to die from happiness than blood loss.

"See, I hadn't known that her private shower wasn't working," Buccaneer whispered hoarsely, the color in his face now much more pronounced. One great hand rubbed his metal shoulder as though it still pained him. "Plumbing froze or some such. All the others had been warned to stay away that morning under threat of death and worse, but I had no clue! No clue at all!"

"But how did you survive?" Al said in horror. "With the doctor gone..."

"Oh, that was the easy part," Buccaneer said with a dismissive wave of his hand. "I stopped the bleeding and waited for the others to find me. The doc might've been able to reattach it had she been there, but as it was I ended up with this beauty. Everyone's kinda under the impression that I was practicing with a Drachman weapon and carved myself up by accident so you two just keep this under your hats. Okay?"

Al nodded solemnly. Ed merely swayed in his seat, his food long forgotten in favor of nausea. "N-No way. There's just no way. Are you seriously telling me she cut off your arm because...because you saw her naked...?"

A sword slammed point down on the table less than an inch from his nose. Ed jumped back so violently that his chair tipped over and he ended up sprawled on the ground. Al yelped. Buccaneer leapt to his feet and saluted, back ramrod straight and lips white. "Ma'am!"

"And what are we discussing, gentlemen?" Armstrong snarled. "Your conversation looked quite...engaging."

"U-Uh," Al stammered in the sudden deathly silence the mess had fallen under. "N-Nothing, really! We were just talking about...uh..."

"The weather!" Ed piped up and could have kicked himself for the lame excuse.

Icy eyes locked onto Buccaneer. "The weather," she murmured. "Indeed."

"Indeed, ma'am," Buccaneer repeated stiffly. "We were...discussing the best types of automail weapons to use in arctic climates for durability and effectiveness. The red runt wouldn't pipe down about it."

Ed quivered when Armstrong looked at him sharply. "And how did you instruct him, Captain?"

Buccaneer grinned in a very bear-like way, which Ed thought was pure suicide. "I told him I prefer blade weapons. Swords, and the like. There's an element of grace to them that you just don't get with other weapons..."

Armstrong struck faster than Ed's eye could follow, and sparks flew when Buccaneer raised his arm just in time and the sword's edge skimmed off the automail. He made no move to counter the attack, merely standing there with grin still in place and a bead of sweat on his temple the only indication of his anxiety. Armstrong snorted and sheathed her sword. "If your reflexes had been up to par six years ago, perhaps you would still have that arm," she said coolly.

The entire mess breathed a sigh of relief once their leader calmed down and went back to their conversations. Ed waited until Armstrong had returned to her own solitary meal before he righted his chair and sat down again. Buccaneer slumped into his own seat heavily, but from his expression one would think he had won some kind of victory rather than had a brush with death. Winry sidled over to their table and crouched between the subdued brothers. "What was that all about?" she whispered.

Ed shook his head weakly, heart thumping. "Hey, Winry? What would you do if I accidentally saw you naked?"

Winry jerked. "W-What?" she stammered, blushing deeply. "What kind of a question is that? You'd better not be planning something or I'd—I'd—never speak to you again!"

"But you wouldn't cut off my other arm?"

"Uh...well, no..."

Ed threw his arms around her, ignoring her squeak of surprise. "Always stay my mechanic!"

A.N. Seriously, why does no one love Buccaneer? I've loved that guy ever since I saw him. He and Olivier need more fans, both individually and for their pairing!