There was a new officer in the building, and all the ladies just can't seem to stop talking about him.

"Edward Cullen," they'd whisper, then giggle, "oh, the things I'd do to that man…"

"Edward Cullen," they'd hiss, "held the door for Selma today. What d'you think's going on between them?"

"Edward Cullen," they'd murmur, "tousled bronze hair, eyes like the finest gold. Oh, he's perfect."

Naturally, Colonel Mustang can't have that. He was supposed to be the ladies' man. He was supposed to make them blush and flush and flitter and titter. He was also supposed to be finishing the last of his overdue paperwork right now, but who cares, the Lieutenant was on sick leave today. His reputation is at jeopardy! He must act!

"Armstrong!" he hissed, grasping the elder man's arm and (with some degree of difficulty) yanked him out of the corridor. "Armstrong, I'm in need of your assistance."

The small blonde curl sprang upright. "Ho, what's this?" he asked jollily, a custom sparkle popping out. "Roy Mustang needs my help? Fire away, Colonel, fire away…"

Roy swallowed back his distaste for the hulking individual and took a deep breath. "You know that Edward Cullen? The new warrant officer?"

"Charming lad," he mused. "Much more so than the other Edward."

"Best not let him hear you say that," Roy said dryly. "Now, back to the matter at hand. Edward Cullen. I want you to chat him up, do you know what I mean—?"

"Leave this to me, Colonel. Chatting up strange boys is a talent that has been passed —"

"—down the Armstrong family line for generations, I know," Roy said wearily. "Oh! Here he comes! Don't fail me now, Major."

The large man strode out from the corner he and the colonel had been crouched in, humming casually. With a fake stumble, he sent the papers in the other man's hands flying across the hall. An apologetic sparkle appeared above his head. Apologizing profusely, he helped Cullen gather up his things, while Roy silently, sullenly observed his new object of resent.

He had a rather rumpled-looking head of dark, dishwater blonde, and when his face glanced up, his pupils were of a disconcerting (and disgusting) color resembling day-old urine. It reminded Roy of a wolf. His sharp gleaming teeth did nothing to disprove the idea. Nothing too impressive then. So it must be his natural charms. The very thought made him rather sick. He strained his ears for the words Major Armstrong and Cullen were exchanging.

"Are you a transfer?" the major was asking. "From the north, perhaps?"

"Actually, I came from a place outside of Amestris. I don't think you've heard of it; it's called Spork. It's west of this country, I believe," he added.

"Spork? What a peculiar name."

Cullen laughed, mouth gaping a little too open for Roy's taste. It made him look like a little frogboy. "It's like this—" he pulled out a spoon and a fork from his uniform pocket. "You've got the fork on one side and the spoon on the other. A pretty clever invention, too."

"Quite, quite." Armstrong scratched his head, at a loss for words why the warrant officer just happened to have the two eating utensils—nicked from the café farther down the street, from the emblem at the top—tucked away safely in his pocket. "Have you a family?"

That was the wrong question to ask. A bouquet of roses sprang up from behind Cullen and a curious-looking pixie bounced from side to side, fluttering a small fan. "A beautiful wife," he cried, pulling out a picture from the other pocket. "And a delightful daughter too! She just turned three, did you know—?"

God save us all, it's another Hughes, Roy thought in horror.

"Charming, I'm sure," Armstrong said hastily, watching the other man waggle his behind and making little coochoo noises at the two photographs. Then suddenly, as if someone had flipped a switch, the roses wilted and the pixie vanished, leaving behind dry, withered stems and a few windblown autumn leaves. Cullen's face itself seemed to draw inwards, and suddenly appeared to be rather in need of a shave.

"But then—disaster struck," he whispered. "My darling Bella—my love, my life!—"

Or you can just say 'the love of my life' and save some of your excessive breath, Roy thought.

"—passed away. And, can you imagine! My daughter's boyfriend's people accused me of killing her!"

"The nerve of them!" Armstrong gasped. "Wait a moment—your daughter's boyfriend—?"

"—so I had little choice but escape to a foreign land. I went to Drachma first, you know," he said. An image of heartily bellowing men and big-boned women downing entire bottles of vodka materialized, complete to the sounds of a kithara being vigorously strummed. "But I'm afraid the folksongs and dances were a bit too energetic for me."

"Boisterous, those Drachs are. Go on?"

"So I journeyed to the outlandish land of Xing—" exotic lute music rolled in, and the smell of dumplings wafted towards Roy, who set his mind firmly on the burgers and salads from the cafeteria. "—and tried to find a job there—" the dumplings disappeared with a pop, and the gentle serenade was replaced with the sounds of a distinctive Western voice desperately trying to speak Xingese, followed by the sounds of a slamming door, yelling in rapid Xing, none of which sounded like awed compliments or fervent thanks. A desolate leaf blew into his sad stance. "But…it didn't quite work out.

"From there, I wandered from place to place, taking up odd jobs here and there. I've been a clown—" rotten tomatoes flew towards a figure cowering against a wall, its three juggling pins forgotten. "—a paper boy—" a pitiful bicycle slumped on its side, along with a thin canvas bag, as if it had lost the will to live.

Or to take another day under the bum of that good-for-nothing.

"—and once, even a—"

Child molester? He definitely looks the type. Or perhaps a fulltime stalker…

"—fortune cookie writer!"

Roy choked on his own spittle.

Armstrong stared. "How…interesting."

Cullen was wiggling his rear end again, and the roses and the pixie returned. "Yes! Those suckers don't even know what hit them!"

His eyes took on a malicious gleam. "'You will soon succeed in your imminent endeavor'? 'Love and happiness will be soon be bestowed upon you'? Ha! I specialized in a very special type of fortunetelling. It is the art of foretelling…" He paused for effect, and a weak stream of sunlight illuminated his pale face. "Death!"

He's off his rocker,Roy decided.

Armstrong was still staring.

"Hello? Pops?" Cullen danced around him in a circle, waving his hand in front of the major's face.

"Sparkles…" he croaked.

"Sparkles? Oh yeah. It's a condition I've got, whenever I'm out in the sun—"

"SPARKLES!" Armstrong roared, ripping off his shirt. "WHY DO YOU HAVE SPARKLES?"

"I told you, it's a medical condition!"

He towered over Cullen, eyes dark, friendly demeanor long gone. "NO ONE DARES TO STEAL THE LEGENDARY SPARKLES THAT MARKS ONE AS AN ARMSTRONG!"

"Um, Pops? Can you please—put your shirt—?"

"I AM ALEX LOUIS ARMSTRONG AND BEHOLD, THE REKNOWNED ALCHEMY OF THE STRONG ARM ALCHEMIST THAT HAS BEEN PASSED DOWN THE ARMSTRONG FAMILY LINE FOR GENERATIONS!"

He raised one large, gauntlet-clad fist, and without ado, punched Cullen straight through the wall. As his high-pitched screams slowly faded away, Armstrong peeked through the man-shaped hole.

"Ah," he said, sheepishly inspecting the damage. "I might have slightly overreacted this time."

The colonel tottered out from his hiding place, shakily patting Armstrong on the back. "It's all right. You did the right thing, Major." He chanced a look at the wall, and caught a glance of blue skies. "Just remind me to never cross you again."


A/N: Weeeeeell, my first FMA fanfic :3 I'm not used to writing in this style, so any constructive criticism will really be appreciated (and needed). And ideas for future drabbles as well!

Greedling