Title: Cracked
Author: Sage SK
Date Started: 4/27
Date Finished: 4/28
Rating: K
Warnings: None
Genre: Friendship

Disclaimer: Characters belong to Hiromu Arakawa.

Comments: I should be posting the final chapters of "The Missing General", but my fic list apparently needed more Hughes. Maes Hughes is awesome. Maes Hughes is a way of life. Maes Hughes once took down an entire army of Drachmans just by flashing his family photos at them. Yes.

As always, much thanks to Kris for the beta read!

Maes Hughes wasn't sure when was the last time Roy Mustang had laughed. If Roy did laugh, alcohol was usually involved. But, even then, it was always a dry chuckle or a soft snort. What's more, Roy's once naive face was now one of permanent gloom, the corners of his mouth set in a thin line where there was always a smirk rather than a smile.

After Ishval, Hughes didn't know if his best friend would ever crack a smile again. He was hoping that Roy would at least loosen up at his wedding. He WAS the best man, after all. But, Roy's toast to the bride and groom was simple at best. No jokes, no ribbing. Just a quick "best of luck to the two of you," before he sat back down again. Maes forced himself to not sigh. This was supposed to be a happy occasion, and darn it all if he wasn't going to make Roy smile at least once.

Finding Roy through the crowd wasn't hard. He was alone on the hotel balcony outside, whiskey glass in hand, overlooking the city.

"What, tired already?"

Roy gave his patent smirk as Hughes threw an arm around his shoulders. "Kind of."

"You've barely danced once tonight. Last I checked, there was a line of ladies in there dying to dance with you. Unless, of course, you're waiting for Hawkeye to finish her conversation with Grumman before going in to ask her."

He chuckled at his friend's blush, then turned his eyes towards the city. "There's too many lights out there... Can't see a single star. Can you?"

Roy shook his head and focused on his whiskey glass.

"We saw plenty of them back in the academy, remember?" Hughes continued. "I'm still remembering the one time we were assigned for guard duty at one of the warehouses. All we did was look at the stars."

"Only because there was nothing better to do," returned Roy. "I still think that warehouse was empty."

"It was. They just needed an excuse to discipline us. Er... what did we get in trouble for that time?"

"I forget."

"Did it have anything to do with the quiche incident?"

"Maybe? It was good quiche."

"It was. Good enough to make you want to shoot me." He smirked at Roy's arched brow. "Don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about. I caught you glaring at me while you held that rifle."

Roy smirked back. "If you makes you feel better, I wasn't aiming for your back."

"Oh, so you were gonna shoot me in the legs and have me retire early?"

"I wasn't aiming for your legs, either."

It then hit Maes where this was headed. And, he didn't realize that Roy's smirk was now turning into a full toothed grin. "YOU WERE AIMING FOR MY *BUTT*? What is WRONG with you?" Had it not been for his sudden raving, he would have even noticed that Roy had now doubled over, and what was a snicker became a full bellied laugh. "That was your plan? To make sure I couldn't get to the quiche first *AND* not sit down for a month? Oh, you're cruel, Mustang!"

"Think of it this way," Roy quipped amidst gasps for breath. "You would've had battle scars before the war."

"Battle scars. Oh, sure, that would've impressed the ladies! 'Hi ladies, want to see my battle scars? Oh, wait, I can't show you because that would get me arrested.'"

And, Roy laughed even harder at that, to the point where Hughes couldn't help himself and started to laugh with him. There. There was the carefree laughter that he remembered from the academy, the laughter he heard in that pit that he and Roy were supposed to dig after getting into that fist fight. And, for once, alcohol was not involved, because Roy's glass was still full.

Wiping away at the tears pooling around his eyes, Hughes threw an arm around Roy's shoulders again. "You coming back inside now that you're done moping?"

Roy's smile remained. "Yeah. I owe you and Gracia an actual toast."

"Please don't mention the quiche incident."

"No. I'll just mention to Gracia that she's marrying into something even better than amateur photography."

"And, that is...?"

"Never a dull moment."