Chapter 1

Worth the Wait

Roy Mustang sat idly at his desk, tapping away at the weathered wood work with the pencil that he gripped tightly with two fingers. About once every month, Edward Elric would either call or show up to dump some new Alchemy research into the archives before skipping out again – lost in his need for adventure. At least twice a week Winry Rockbell would call his office or Riza's, trying to get word of Ed to see if he was doing okay. Wanting to know if he was taking care of his automail leg and etcetera. That wasn't what bothered Roy. What bothered him was that the poor girl still hadn't even gotten a single letter from one very prominent oaf by the name of Fullmetal.

This week, Edward was supposed to be coming in to write a few forms out on his investigations and explorations, traveling back all the way from the Xing province. Havoc, Fuery, Breda, Ross, and Hawkeye were all waiting in Roy's office, conversing heatedly in what would look to outsiders like a very tense battle.

"He hasn't even called her!"

"He hasn't even written her!"

"When's that stupid kid gonna wake up and smell the roses!" That last exclamation came from Havoc, who looked every bit as disgruntled as he felt, a cigarette hanging out of one side of his mouth while he frowned in Roy's direction.

The newly dubbed Fuhrer sighed, running a hand down his face in exasperation. "It's none of our business…"

"Winry Rockbell has been waiting on him for a year, hearing nothing but a few militaristic summaries on where he is and how he's doing! The time to take action has come, sir," Riza pointed out calmly but forcefully while rearranging files on his desk. She was sick and tired of having to console the poor girl and definitely tired of making excuses on Edward's behalf.

"Well…" Roy was only starting to consider it because of Riza's input. If she hadn't been here then he would have just simply ordered his other friends out of the office so he could get some peace and quiet. But now that he and Riza were actually engaged, eh… he couldn't just ignore her. "I guess… I could have a chat with him-"

A cheer arose from the small crowd of people in the room. Apparently they had been waiting for this for a long time.

"-next year."

The cheers died into frustrated mumblings and accusations about Roy's lack of compassion. Riza gave him a look that clearly said 'do-it-or-you're-going-to-be-sleeping-on-the-couch-for-our-wedding-day'. Roy sighed, continuing to tap his desk in silence for a long while until finally giving a curt nod. Fuery, Havoc, Breda, and the rest of them all seemed to brighten at this.

"You'll really do it, sir?" Fuery asked.

"Of course I will!" The Fuhrer snapped half heartedly. "Now get out. I've got… paperwork… to do."

Riza seemed to be particularly approving of this statement, but as everyone filed out all Roy proceeded to do was prop his heels up on the edge of the wood and grin roguishly. "Paperwork… hm… how about we just kiss instead-"

He was answered with a subtle kick to his shin. Roy's voice cut off abruptly with a squeak and he reached down to rub at the bruise. "Ow…"

"I'm afraid you asked for it, sir," Riza replied with grim amusement before pointing sternly at the files that were now neatly stacked. "Come on, dear. Your paperwork is waiting. Maybe you can kiss it instead."

xXx

Edward Elric yawned as he settled comfortably into the seat of the train. His brown jacket had grown thinner over the course of the year, after so many travels had eaten away at the threads. He knew it would be high time to buy a new one soon and – even though he wished he could make a nice red one with Alchemy – doing things the old fashioned way was all he could manage nowadays, apparently. Traveling to the west of the globe had been his initial plan, but he always seemed to just… wander. Anyplace he thought interesting, that was where he would go. New information in a part of the country that wasn't to the west? He'd drop everything to go see it, not even thinking about calling Alphonse to see if his younger brother could journey there instead.

Speaking of Al, he had actually seen him quite recently when he had traveled to Xing. Edward had been searching for some ancient pieces of Alchemy in the Ruins of Xerxes, so he figured it would be fine to go the entire way to Xing – especially if he got to see Alphonse and May Chang both. Plus have incredibly awesome foreign food that tasted delectable.

He had had a lot of fun there. Ling – the new Emperor of the country – had persuaded Edward to help him spy on Lan Fan in the guard house. The former Alchemist hadn't really seen what the big deal was, since Lan Fan had only been doing her usual practice rounds with other Xingese warriors – but Ling Yao had obviously been captivated. That was just how much the Emperor loved her. Edward teased him about it later, but he had quickly stopped when he'd noticed Ling's far off stare, as if the guy was imagining something in his future. Ed had easily slipped away to find Alphonse and May, leaving Ling in his daydreams.

Edward's younger brother and the seventeenth Princess had been sitting under a tree and… and…

Kissing? Are those two kissing! Edward had thought to himself, completely shocked. Needless to say he had gotten out of there in a hurry. If he'd somehow been spotted or if May had felt his aura then it would completely ruin the romantic moment for them both.

The Edward in the train chuckled at the memory, still half asleep as it pulled into the station. The sudden jolt of the stop made his eyes open and he yawned one last time, grabbing the suitcase at his feet and walking with a renewed burst of energy into the crowds of people.

He had barely gotten five yards ahead when he felt someone's fingers curl over his wrist. He stopped, fighting back the instinctual urge to yank his arm away until he turned to see the smiling face of Riza Hawkeye. Edward relaxed and switched the suitcase from one hand to the other, taking the blond womans' hand and shaking it firmly. "Hello, Lieutenant."

Was it just him, or did she look triumphant? As if catching him at the train station was some major accomplishment? This was getting sort of strange. "I'm afraid there's no time for greetings, Edward," she replied, beginning to walk ahead and motioning for him to follow. "Fuhrer Mustang is waiting for you in his office."

Okay… weird…

They walked for a long time until they reached the huge headquarters building. It sat on a perfectly trimmed green plot of land, and on the two double doors was a small newspaper article that said something about Colonel Mustang and how he had achieved his climb to power – and blah blah blah. Edward tore it off casually, seeming to smile a little brighter afterwards.

Riza didn't comment.

"Alert Fuhrer Mustang that Edward Elric is here to see him," she ordered a lower ranking officer who was standing outside, acting as one of the guards to the complex. He saluted and marched off to complete the command given. Ed and Riza strode inside and waited for a long while until they were admitted to the office.

Roy looked up lazily and he didn't seem very happy that Ed had arrived at all. Still, he wasted no time in pointing to the chair across from his desk. Edward considered making a run for it – since this behavior was utterly crazy to him – but Riza was blocking the only exit.

Instead of sitting down, the former Fullmetal just stood awkwardly behind the chair, leaning on it a little.

"Geez… Fullmetal, I thought you had some minor bit of intelligence pushed into that brain somewhere, but I suppose I was wrong about that."

Eyes widened and Edward was about to stand up for himself, but Roy held up a hand to stop him.

"You don't just have minor intelligence, you have extraordinary intelligence. Which leaves me completely confused about one… tiny… thing…" The Fuhrer paused, his voice growing dangerously low as frustration mounted. "Why haven't you called that Rockbell girl yet! It's been a year, idiot! Do you have any idea how much she misses you? What the heck are you afraid of! The birds and the bees? Are you really that much of a wimp, or did I miss something when you were saving the country? How is it that you can practically annihilate every Homunculus known to man, but you can't even call your own girlfriend!"

For once in his nineteen years of life, Edward Elric was stunned into silence. His cheeks turned bright red in less than three seconds (a record, in Roy's opinion) and slowly spread to his entire face, making Ed look like a tomato that was ripe for the picking. Riza couldn't help feeling slightly sorry for the boy, but the Fuhrer wasn't done yet.

"If you thought I was just going to sit here for who-knows-how-many-years and try to help my fiancé console your woman, then you thought wrong! Now, you're going to pick up the phone and tell her that you're coming home, got it? Because I can't stand hearing her ask about you or your stupid automail one last kriffin' time!"

Ed opened his mouth to say something at the same moment Roy opened his mouth to spout some more angry words, but Riza stopped the both of them. "I believe he understood, Roy. I'm sure he'll call her-"

"I can't."

They both turned their shocked expressions toward the barely audible squeak of protest from Edward. Now it was Riza's turn to get angry. "What… do… you… mean?" Her words came out sounding as if she were just dying to point a gun toward his skull.

"I just… I just can't."

"Care to explain yourself any further than that before I roast your eyeballs and eat them for my lunch?" Roy asked quietly, a sharp edge to his tone.

Ed looked slightly annoyed but – to the Fuhrer's chagrin – not very threatened. "Alright fine," the boy answered, his voice rising. If it was possible for his face to become even redder, then it definitely happened at that moment. "I'm afraid to call her. For a while I thought about it but whenever my hand went toward the phone… I froze. I don't know what came over me. Maybe you'd call it cold feet or something equally un-scientific-" he shot a glare in Roy's direction. "-but there you have it. After a couple months I figured she wouldn't even want to hear from me so I decided to wait… and… and…"

"And now you're getting back on that train," Roy replied, his words so soft and angry all at the same time that even Riza quirked an eyebrow.

"What?" Ed asked incredulously. "But I just got here-"

"You're going to Resembool. I don't care if you're a civilian now or not, but I'm ordering you to go. Don't make me any more upset than I already am, Fullmetal."

As it happened, there was another train going from Central to Resembool. It pulled out twenty minutes after the conversation ended… and Edward Elric was riding on it.
_

Well, that was the first chapter. It will get more interesting, I promise… but I had to start somewhere. XD I don't own FMA (obviously) but I do own this fanfic! Hope you like it! Oh, and give me some feed-back, okay? I'd love to hear from you all.