Disclaimer: If I owned any of this, I wouldn't have to write a disclaimer :P
Ed and All sat seated at the Lieutenant's oak table. Across from the brother sat a young man who claimed to be Roy Mustang. Mustang sat leaned back in his chair, arms folding and glaring at the elder Elric brother. Ed met his glare with an unattractive scowl. Hawkeye busied herself by puttering around the kitchen making tea, shaken by Ed's strange reaction to seeing her.
"Now, remind me, who the hell are you?" Mustang asked, frowning. Ed frowed.
"You really don't know who he is?" Al asked.
"How could anyone forget me?" Ed muttered.
"Sorry to disappoint you, but I think I'd remember meeting someone so short," Mustang said, gazing out the window, like a child stuck in a class that bored him. Ed's face reddened.
"Why you little-" he leaped from his chair, but was cut off by Hawkeye. With shoulders hunched, she set the tray down in the middle of the table.
"There's shortbread, and I was able to find a few ginger cookies..." she said awkwardly, sensing the rising tension.
"Thank you," Al said politely. Hawkeye opened her mouth like she was going to say something, but blushed and shut her mouth. She sat down, claiming the seat next to Mustang. The four sat in awkward silence, Mustang still staring intently at Ed.
"Sooooo..." Ed said, breaking the silence. "We're here because-"
"Because we're travelers!" Al cut through Ed's sentence. Ed frowned at his brothers, confused.
"Travelers?" Ed questioned. Al kicked him under the table, and Ed appeared to get the gist of things. "Uh, yeah. Travelers from Resembool!" Ed said with a forced grin.
"Resembool... Where is that?" Hawkeye asked quietly.
"Its near Ishval," Al supplied.
"Oh." That was all Hawkeye said.
"You're travelers, you say. Where exactly are you traveling to, then?" Mustang questioned skeptically.
Al glanced at Ed, begging for help.
"Uh, well, we're not traveling anywhere in particular. We're nomads, I guess," Ed said with a shaky laugh. Mustang scowled.
"Then I guess you wouldn't mind me asking you to leave," Mustang said coldly.
"No!" Ed said. Mustang and Hawkeye gave him a confused look. Al jumped to his brother's aid.
"Ah, what my brother means is, uh, that we've come from a long way away and that we're out of money. We were wondering if maybe we could stay here for a while until-"
"No. No way," Mustang said. He stood up. "The door's that way kid. I'll leave it to you to show yourself out."
"Wait!" Ed jumped from his seat. "You don't understand!" His hand went to his pocket, and Al knew he was going to play the "state alchemist" card. He put a metal hand on Ed's arm.
"Okay, sir. We'll be on our way." Al stood up and bowed deeply to both Hawkeye and Mustang.
"Mr. Mustang," Hawkeye said quietly. "I think we should let them stay." She said this so quietly, her request almost didn't reach Mustang's ears. He gave her a sharp look.
"What?" Hawkeye breathed deeply.
"I said, I think we should let them stay," she said, a little louder.
"I heard you the first time, but again, what?" Mustang stared at her. He glanced at the brothers. "Wait here," he said, and pulled Hawkeye into the kitchen, though Ed and Al could still hear their conversation.
"Mr. Mustang, they seem like good, honest people-"
"Its my job to look after you! I'm not just gonna let every Dick, Tom, and Harry off the street stay here!" Mustang exclaimed.
"Why don't you trust them?" Hawkeye asked.
"Why don't I trust them?" Mustang hesitated, clearly not having a good reason. "The elder brother where's a giant suit of armor, for starters." Ed prickled at Mustang's mistake, commonly made by people.
"And when they came to the door, the blond shrimp cocktail flipped out. He acted like he knew you. Tell me, have you met either of them in your life?" Mustang ranted. Hawkeye was silent. That gave Mustang the answer he needed. "They will not stay," he stated simply.
"At least, let them stay the night," Hawkeye pleaded.
"No way in hell."
"I said no!"
"Well I say yes! This is MY house! I can at least say who can come and who cannot!" Hawkeye huffed. "You are being very impolite, you know."
"Point them in the direction of an inn or something if they're looking for a place to stay!" suggested Mustang, still arguing his point.
"You heard them; they're out of money!" Hawkeye shot back. "What kind of person would I be if I was to turn away people who obviously need aid!"
"They don't seem like they need that much aid!" Hawkeye gave him a hard, determined look. He hadn't seen it often, but he knew from the rare occasion that that face meant she wasn't backing down. Mustang pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed heavily.
"Fine. But one night only," he gave in. Hawkeye smiled a little.
"Thank you," she said quietly, returning to her usual quiet self.
"Its not you who should be thanking me; its them," Mustang said.
Mustang marched back out to where Ed and Al were patiently waiting, a scowl etched across his face and obvious suspision radiating off of him.
"You two can stay," he growled, "one night and one night only." He held up one finger to empathize his point.
Ed and Al both nodded at this. Ed had no idea how he could convince Hawkeye and Mustang about what had happened to them (After listening in on Hawkeye and Mustang's argument, he had no doubt in his mind that it was them. His only question, what the hell happened...?).
"Thank you for your hospitality," Al said with a small bow. Mustang gave him a dismissive wave of the hand.
"Yeah, yeah, whatever. There are a couple of guest rooms upstairs that you can use." Mustang stormed off to be alone, leaving the two brothers standing very awkwardly in the hallway.
"Well, I guess we should put our stuff away..." Ed said uncertainly. He led the way up the rickety, winding staircase, every step creaking loudly as the brothers continued their climb. Ed picked a room at the end of the hall. In it were two twin sized beds, covered in a thick, suffocating film of dust and cobwebs.
"I guess this is where we'll be crashing tonight," Ed muttered. He threw his bag down on a chair, sending up a mushroom cloud of dust.
Despite the dismal rooming conditions, Ed and Al wasted no time before unloading all of Ed's alchemy books and theorizing on what was going on.
"So, assuming these two are really the Lieutenant and Mustang-"
"Its them, I know it!" Ed said, quite frustrated. "But how the hell did this happen?"
Al flipped through the pages of one of their alchemy books, before closing it dejectedly.
"I don't think that there is anything in here on aging backwards," he said. "Unless a philosopher's stone was used, I don't see how any of this could have happened."
"But if the stone was used, then we may have a new lead!" Ed muttered to himself.
"But then we still have this issue on our hands," Al said. "Remember when we were given that false lead in Dunoon? They had no memory of the current events, only of assignments and issues from that timeframe. And now, they have no recollection of what happened just a few weeks earlier."
"So its like one step forward, two steps back?" Ed muttered, more to himself than Al. "They age back a little, then they continue on with the events that went on in their lives at the time, then they age back a little more, meanwhile forgetting things that had happened to them previously. Back when we were given that false lead, they must've reached the age point in time when they had given it to us..." Ed continued on, his voice growing less audible by the second as he attempted to work out the complexity of it all.
"And eventually, they age back so far that they wake up at HQ and have no idea what they're doing there, so they return to Hawkeye's childhood home, where, as far as they know, is where they're supposed to be." Ed's brow furrowed, as he spat all this out, feeling very confused, yet not having a better theory on what had happened.
"We need to stop this," Al said. "What happens when they reach infancy and run out of time to age back on?" Ed shook his head, unsure of the answer.
"More importantly, how do we convince them of this? It'll be pretty difficult to help them if they don't want to cooperate," Ed said. He was daunted by the seemingly hopelessness of the situation. Al let out an air-less sigh that rattled his armor.
"I don't know brother, I don't know."
Yeah, I'm back, finally. I don't really have anything except petty excuses for why I haven't been updating. School's been pretty rough, and we just finished Tech Week for the play and now we've started preforming (We're doing Jane Eyre). I've started learning to play guitar, so that's taken up a bit of my time. We have our exams coming up as well (I'm not looking forward to that).
So, for the story, I have most certainly not lost interest in this. I've just been incredibly lazy. I'm going to try an pick up the pace. As for pairings, I'll leave that a mystery until the time comes (meaning that I have yet to decide). Well, I will update soon or die trying!