Title: Desertion
Author: Kristen Sharpe
Date: October 22, 2012
Rating: K
Warnings: None
Genre/Continuity: Mangaverse, post-Promised Day.
Disclaimer: "Fullmetal Alchemist" belongs to Hiromu Arakawa, Square ENIX, Studio BONES and various other parties.

Mustang looked at the orders in his hands with equal parts dread, resignation and relief. At least, he mused, they weren't a surprise. Then, folding his face into quiet dispassion, he looked from the paperwork to Fuhrer Grumman.

"Don't look at me that way, Mustang," Grumman muttered, knowing well what Mustang's mask hid. There was little the student could hide from the master, after all. "You know it wasn't my idea, and my hands were tied."

"Ah, and that explains these orders," said Mustang.

"Desertion is desertion."

"He refused to sign the conscription papers and agreed to the prison sentence."

Grumman's moustache quivered. "And then, he escaped from prison."

"After "rogue" elements of the military threatened to take hostages in order to force him into service." Mustang almost smiled at the memory of how that had gone. Miss Winry alone was a force to be reckoned with. When defending her children… Well, the men involved would recover. Eventually.

"They were rogue, and I dealt with them," growled Grumman, standing.

Which meant he had collected the unconscious hired muscle and threatened the generals responsible into silence.

"I don't need another lecture," Grumman continued. "I got enough righteous indignation from Mrs. Bradley. Nevermind she's the prime suspect in helping Elric escape."

"I believe she said he merely asked for her assistance with a magic trick," said Mustang.

"Only a child mistakes a transmutation circle for some sleight of hand "magic trick!" Now, Mustang," Grumman puffed himself up to his full height, "where are they?"

"You know I don't know the answer to that, Sir."

"No," Grumman's eyes narrowed, "you're too smart to know. And, all of your men have been at Eastern Command for the last three months." He paused. "What about… her?"

"Customer confidentiality is key in all of the Madame's businesses," said Mustang. "I'm afraid there are no family privileges." He shrugged. "You could ask her yourself. I'm sure the Madame would find the time to speak to our Fuhrer."

Grumman folded into himself. "No, no. That's alright." He huffed out a sigh. "I suppose there's no help for it."

This time, Mustang did smile.

No, there would be no retrieving the missing Elrics or their extended family. With Madame Christmas' usual efficiency, they would probably be safely across the Xingese border by noon tomorrow.