Genre: Drama, a little Humor
Rating: PG-13 for some violence and blood
Word Count 15,709
Characters / Pairings: Mustang, Hawkeye, Havoc, Breda. Fuery, Falman, Maes, Gracia, and some minor OCs. Maes /Gracia and some Roy/Riza UST.
Warnings: More Manga/Brotherhood based. Some violence, no real spoilers, set pre-series. The Cow owns the characters, not me.
Summary : When Mustang first received his team, they weren't always such a close knit group. It took a potentially tragic event to bring them all together.
Art by Bay115
CHAPTER 1: The Return
The incessant click-clack of the train wheels on the metal tracks were enough to either lull him to sleep, or drive him crazy- he wasn't sure which. He was glad that as an alchemist he got his own train cabin, even if it was barely big enough to turn around in.
Despite the size, there was another person in the cabin, sleeping soundly and shirtless in his bed. Normally he would have found the nearest person to brag to that he had a woman topless in his cabin- he did have the reputation as a playboy to uphold. But every time he looked at her- finally sleeping after so much pain and suffering, he frowned. It was his fault that she was here.
She stirred slightly, grimacing in pain even as she slept. He knelt down and touched the back of his hand to her forehead, hoping hat she was no longer feverish. She was a little clammy, but she felt a lot cooler than she had on the start of the trip. They still had another day before they arrived in Central, he just had to hope that by then she would be well enough to walk on her own.
“Shh. Rest, We're not home yet. Sleep. Rest up.”
“Mmm. Home.” The tiniest of smiles graced her face, then she fell back into a deep slumber. He touched his hand to her forehead, to let her know that he was there- a tender, light touch of reassurance.
“Almost home.” He whispered in her ear before he leaned away, letting her sleep.
Since he had no place to sleep, and he wasn't very tired anyway, he picked up a book and settled into the one small chair in the room- a molded curving thing built into the wall next to the window. He tried to concentrate, but after reading the same passage half a dozen times and still not remembering what it said, he put it down and looked out at the rolling, grassy hills of the East as they passed by the train window. It was nice to see grass and trees instead of the barren, flat, death lands that marked Ishval.
Home couldn't come soon enough.
After a few more minutes of watching the scenery, he decided to get some air. He headed back towards the caboose, where he figured that he would have company. When he got there, he found that he was right.
“Hey, Hughes. I thought you said that you were going to quit once we left Ishval.”
For just the most briefest of moments, Maes had the deer in the headlights look. But as soon as he realized that it was just Roy, he smiled and blew a ring of smoke towards the newcomer to his hiding place.
“This is my last one, I swear. See?” He showed Roy the empty pack. “Gracia was upset when she heard that I took up smoking but... she doesn't understand. Anything we could do to relieve the stress of seeing all that death and destruction...” His voice trailed off.
Roy nodded and gently pat his best friend's shoulder. “Believe me, I know. But we're going back home. And now we get to go back to our lives and pretend that we can't still feel the blood on our hands, or hear a baby's scream in our ears.”
“Wow, thanks. Now I feel much better.”
“Sorry.” Roy muttered, crossing his arms on the railing of the caboose and laying his chin down on his arms. There was a moment of awkward silence before the alchemist finally broke it. “I heard that due to my exemplary performance, I'll probably get a team and a promotion.” He angrily spit out those two words- 'exemplary performance'. “Lieutenant Colonel- it has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?”
“Just what you need, another reason to inflate your already overstuffed ego.” Maes elbowed him. “But that's good, Roy.” His smile fell. “Just be careful. There are a lot of people who won't like a 25 year old Lieutenant Colonel. You're climbing the ranks fast, and that will make people jealous.”
Roy stood up and laughed, then clapped Maes hard enough on the back to cause the cigarette to fall out of his mouth and tumble down off the back of the train.
“Dammit, Roy. That was my last fucking cigarette!”
Roy waved as he opened the door to the last train car. “I'm doing you a favor. Those things will kill you, ya know.” He slammed the door behind him and headed back to his cabin, feeling much better than had before.
“You're lucky I like you, Flamey.” Maes muttered to the wind.
Roy had somehow fallen into a light sleep in the small, uncomfortable chair by the window. As the train jerked and jolted to a stop, he found himself waking up on the floor- he groaned and rubbed his head where he had fallen. A quick look out the window confirmed that they had indeed finally made it to Central.
“Hey, Hawkeye. Wake up. We're home.” He gently touched her shoulder.
“Mmm.. huh?” She blinked her eyes and looked blearily up at him.
“We're in Central. Do you feel well enough to walk out on your own power?”
She sat up with a little hiss of pain. He had burnt as little of her back as he could, but it was still very painful and raw. Over the course of the trip, he had been very diligent when it came to changing the bandages and reapplying the salve that he had procured from the first aid tent before it was all packed away to head back to Central. A few rolls of bandages and some tubes of salve wouldn't be missed in the rush to get out of that desert hell.
“Yes. Thank you, sir.” They both knew it was more than just a simple thank you, but nothing else had to be said.
Roy turned around so Hawkeye could get dressed with even a little bit of privacy- he could hear her try to stifle small noises as she put her shirt on., He wished that he could help her, but he would never be so presumptuous to do so, and she would never swallow her pride and ask. It took a while, but eventually she cleared her throat to indicate to him that she was back in uniform.
“I'm going back to my bunk to get my gear.” She announced to him after he had turned around. Tomorrow I'll start a short leave of absence- it's already been approved. I'm going back to my father's house to settle the last of his affairs.”
Hawkeye had made the decision shortly after her father died to join Mustang in the military. Between having to start at the Military Academy almost immediately to avoid missing the start of the semester and leaving early to join the war effort in Ishval, she hadn't had enough time to go through his things and decide what to do with them. Now seemed as a good a time as any, before she got her permanent assignment. She knew that he would have gone with her if he could- for moral support, to help her pack and to continue to make sure that her back was healing. But he needed to stay in Central, especially if the rumors of him getting a command turned out to be true.
“Be well, Cadet Hawkeye. If you need me, please don't hesitate to call.”
“I will, sir.” She saluted, then left the cabin, closing the sliding door behind her.
“Stay safe, Riza.” Roy muttered quietly to an empty room.
Roy was a bundle of nerves. This was it, he knew it. He had no sooner gotten settled into the small apartment that the military had assigned him to when he got a call to come to Central Command and talk to General Grumman.
He stood in his freshly starched uniform, his hat on his head. He was the picture of a perfect solider- on the outside at least. Inside he was secretly hoping that his flip flopping stomach would decide not to throw up its contents. He stood before the newly promoted General's door for a few moments, trying to gather his nerves. He knew that he only had one chance to make a good impression. This could be his career.
When he was ready, he knocked on the door. “Major Roy Mustang. I have a meeting with General Grumman today.”
“Ah yes. Come in, please.” A soft, friendly female voice on the other side answered.
As he opened the door, he was not surprised to see a pretty young lady behind the reception desk. Grumman was well known for being quite fond of beautiful young women. Roy could appreciate that- at the academy, he had earned a similar reputation. He smiled at her and winked, not surprised to see a little blush come to her cheeks.
“He's waiting for you inside, sir.” She said, punctuating her sentence with a tiny giggle at the end.
“Thank you.” Roy took off his hat and knocked at the inside door.
“Ah, Roy. Right on time! Come on in!” He opened the door to get his first look at the infamous General Grumman. He had expected someone younger, but this man was gray haired and short with round glasses on his wrinkled face. This was the man who supposedly had all the women of Central in his address book?
He was even more impressed now.
Roy saluted, standing up straight. “You asked to see me, sir?”
“Yes, at ease. Please, take a seat.” He motioned to a seat in front of him, and Roy sat down.
“I asked you here, Roy, because of your record in Ishval. General Grumman turned around and was looking out the window, so he didn't see Roy cringe as he said that. “You've caught the eye of quite a few people here in Central. I'm here to offer you a command. You'll be promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and will get an office at Central Command.”
“Sir, I'm honored. Of course I'll take the command.” He tried to keep his voice straight, but he couldn't help but be a little excited. This was the first step to move up the ladder to his ultimate goal- the one he had promised to Maes deep in the desert of Ishval.
“Good, I figured you would. I'll get the dossiers for your men together. There will be four of them to start, to make sure that you can handle a command.” He turned back around and smiled warmly at Roy. “I've been watching you since you joined the Academy. It isn't every day a Flame Alchemist comes around. I'm very proud of you, and I know that you're going to do great things.”
“Thank you, sir.” He saluted, and the General saluted back this time. “You are dismissed. I want you to come back at 0900 hours on Monday morning, and I'll have their folders ready for you.”
Roy turned around and took a couple of steps towards the door before he turned back around again. “Sir, if I may, I have a request.”
“Yes?” His eyebrows raised from under his thick glasses.
“I have one person who I'd like to request for my command. I... worked with them in Ishval, and we work well together.”
“Who is it, Mustang?”
“Cadet Riza Hawkeye, sir. In the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you that I've known her for years, even before Ishval. Her father was my alchemy teacher. But I assure you that there will be no issue with keeping the relationship purely professional.” Roy thought could swear that he heard General Grumman mutter “A shame” under his breath, but he knew that couldn't have been right, and shook it off.
“Granted. I'll add her dossier to your folder.” Hmm, that was strangely easy, Roy thought to himself. Either this man didn't really care about who he commanded, or he had some ulterior motive. If that was was the case he wanted to know what it was. But either way, he was going to get Hawkeye under his command, which had been his goal, so the ease of getting it done was not important.
“Thank you, sir.” He turned on his heels and walked out the door, waiting until he was out in the hallway to smile. It was all coming together. He'd make it to the top, and she was going to be one of the people who was going to help him get there.
CHAPTER 2 : The Pair
Later that evening, Roy sat at a bar close to the base, Maes occupying the seat next to him. They had already been drinking for a while but they were only in the the first stage of drunkenness- light headed, good natured ribbing.
“So, I hear that you're getting a promotion and command. Congratulations, Lieutenant Colonel Roy Mustang!” Maes smiled and raised his beer to toast.
All the dark eyed man could do was shake his head and smile. “You're going to do a good job in Investigations. I didn't think Old Man Grumman had told anyone yet.”
“I have my ways of finding out. But that isn't why I asked you here.”
He ordered another beer for each of them, then looked at Maes. “So, why did you invite me here, then?”
“I got a problem.”
Roy elbowed his best friend, almost making him spill his beer. “You've got a lot of problems, Maes.”
“No, really!” It was hard for Roy to take him seriously when he was starting to slur his words slightly. “I need you to help me.”
He sighed, it usually ended up being quite a pain whenever Maes asked for help. “All right. What is it?”
“Well, it's Gracia. She's a special girl. I'm sure of this now. She's the one that I want to spend the rest of my life with. Being in that desert, it puts things in perspective. I wanna start a family- have a wife and a couple of children, and I want it to be with her. So... I think I wanna pop the question. I already got the ring. It was my mother's.”
Roy slapped him on the back and Maes spit out the beer he had just downed. The bartender shot them a death look and cleaned the beer off the bar with his rag, then wandered off.
“Congratulations, Maes. But why do you need my help?”
“Well, I'm not sure how to do it. I want it to be all romantic. But you're the ladies' man. How do you wine and dine them?”
“Well, I take them out for dinner and buy them a glass of wine.” Roy bemusedly raised an eyebrow.
It was Maes' turn to try to punch Roy, but he wasn't holding his liquor quite as well, so he missed and spilled more beer. The bartender mumbled something about kicking them out, but he just wandered off to the other side of the bar, still quietly complaining about the troublemakers.
“Asshole. So you aren't going to help me?”
“I'm serious. Girls like it when you take them out to a nice restaurant. If it was me, I'd take the matre'd aside and explain the situation, and have them put the ring in your champagne at the end of the night or something like that. Some really fancy places have a string quartet that can come to your table and play a song just for you two.”
“See, I knew there was a reason that I kept you around as a friend!” Roy just rolled his eyes and took another sip of his beer.
Several hours, and many beers later, they were both well past drunk. Maes had his arm around his best friend and had just finished a rousing rendition of “Long Live Amestris” with slightly bawdier lyrics.
“You guys have had enough. Head on out.” The bartender had finally had enough of the both of them. Maes was about to open his mouth to protest, but Roy shook his head and put his hand on his Maes' shoulder.
They propped each other up as they somehow got off the bar stools without falling onto the dirty floor and stumbled out of the bar. “Hey, Maes. Let's go to Gracia's houshe. You can propose to her.”
“But... I wanna be all romantic and stuff!”
“It will be all romantic and stuff. We'll get flowers and you can sing up to her window.”
“She lives with her parentsh.”
“We won' wake em up. Just don't be too damn loud.”
“Well, okay. As long as you're there to make sure I don' run away!”
How they ever found her house, neither of them could figure out once they had sobered up the next morning. It was a two level brick house in the middle of a working-class neighborhood. Thankfully, her window was on the side, close to the back, so it was easy for them to sneak up to it quietly.
“Up there!” Maes pointed to a second story window, where the light was off and the curtains were drawn closed. There was a small tree close to the window, but there was no branch that was close enough to the window to get to it.
Roy nudged him. “Come on, go get 'er!”
Maes found a small stone and tried to throw it up to her window, but it fell well short. Roy burst out laughing, not caring how loud he was. “You throw like a girl!”
“You try, then!”
“Fine.” He found a slightly larger pebble and tossed it up. It hit just below the windowsill.
“Yeah, but at least I almost got it up there!”
“I can hit it!” Maes picked up a stone and threw it hard up to the window. Unfortunately, it was right on the money, and there was a loud crash as the window broke.
“Oh, shit! Run!” Maes turned, but before he could go anywhere Roy grabbed his shirt collar and kept him from running away. A moment later, the light of her bedroom came on. She jerked on the curtains and opened the window.
“Who is it?” Roy nudged Maes, then let go of his collar and hid close by in a bush by the side of the house.
“It's me, Gracia.”
“Maes, it's the middle of the night. What are you doing here?” Maes looked to where Roy was- his best friend silently urged him on.
“Gracia... I... um... er... I have shomethin' that I wanna tell ya.”
“Have you been drinking?”
He paused for a moment. “... A little.”
“Go home, Maes. You're going to get us both in trouble.”
“No! I gotta talk to ya! It's important!”
“Maes, please! You can come see me tomorrow. Whatever it is, it can wait a few hours.”
Maes looked pleadingly over at Roy, not sure what he should do.
“Talk to her. Climb up the tree and get closer to her.”
“Maes. No. Please. Don't.”
But it was too late. He was already shimmying up the tree with the ease of someone who had done this before. Roy had had to climb up trees when it came to sneaking into girls' dorms in the military academy, but the quickness that Maes had gotten to the top had put him to shame. If he'd been more sober, he would've taken notes.
“Go, Maes! Go!” Roy cupped his hands and yelled encouragement up to his best friend.
Gracia looked angrily at Roy while Maes was climbing up. “Be quiet! You'll get in trouble if my parents wake up!” She turned back to the tree, where Maes had made it all the way up. There was a small branch that went close to her window, but it wasn't even close to strong enough to hold up a person.
“Gracia Matthews, I love you. I want to live with you for the resht of our lives and have a family and lots of kids and a house with a white picket fence. Marry me, Gracia!”
“Yeah! Way to go, Maes!”
A light came on in the front of the house, then another. “Oh, shit. Maes, run! Her parents are awake!” Roy sped off into the night, heading back towards his military apartment right outside the massive grounds of Central Command.
“Hey! Wait for me!” Maes looked down just in time to watch Roy run off. “Don' leave me!” He looked back over to Gracia and blew her a kiss. “I mean it. I'm gonna marry you! I don' care how long it takes!”
“Go. Just go, Maes. Before my parents come in.”
“I love you, Gracia!”
“I love you too, now go!”
Maes started down the tree, almost slipping and falling a couple of times. As soon as he was down, he yelled out one last “I love you. Marry me!” before he was off into the night, right as her father knocked at her bedroom door.
“Gracia, honey. Are you alright?”
“Yes, I'm fine, Daddy. Just some random drunk from the bar down the road. I think they broke my window.”
“I could swear it sounded like that Maes boy.”
“No, it wasn't.”
“You sure you're okay?”
“I'm fine, Daddy. I promise. I'm going back to sleep.”
“Okay, goodnight, honey. We'll fix the window in the morning.”
“Night.” Despite being tired after that encounter with her seriously drunk boyfriend Gracia had trouble going to sleep. She was too excited thinking about how she was going to become Mrs. Gracia Hughes. There was only one problem. She had never technically told him yes.
CHAPTER 3: The Men
It had taken Roy most of the rest of the weekend to get over the hangover from that night of drinking. He had drank before, but he had never been that drunk. He called Maes the next day- his best friend said that he was so hungover and still afraid of being caught by her parents, so he had decided not to talk to Gracia. They didn't remember all the details from what they had done that night- just enough to remember how much trouble they could have gotten into.
By the time that Monday morning came around, Roy was back to his old self. He made sure that he arrived at Central Command with plenty of time to spare. Technically, even though the General had called him Lieutenant Colonel on Friday, this was the first official day of his new rank- and the day that he would learn who was under his command.
As he had done three days before, he knocked on the door to the outside office, after double and triple checking that his hair and uniform were in perfect order several times in every bathroom between the front door and the office.
“Come in, Lieutenant Colonel Mustang.” It was the same woman that he had spoken with the first time. “On time, as usual. The General is ready to see you.”
“Thank you.” He once again took off his hat and knocked on the inner office door.
“Come in, my boy!” Roy opened the door and saluted. “Lieutenant Colonel Roy Mustang, reporting for duty, sir!” It was the first time that he had said the rank himself. He loved how it rolled off his tongue, and he couldn't help but smile.
“At ease. Take a seat.” He took the same seat he had before. General Grumman went behind his desk and opened a drawer. He took a thick folder out, and dropped it on the desk, then pushed it over to Roy.
“You have three days to look these over. The men will arrive on Thursday morning. You'll be in Office C-20. That's on the third floor, the same hallway that I'm on here on the second floor, but a little further down. I expect you to be there when they come in at 0800 hours. The three days should give you enough time to get familiar with their dossiers and order the supplies that you'll need for your office. I suggest you requisition your chairs and desks today so you won't be sitting on the floor on Thursday morning.” He chuckled.
“Thank you, sir.” He stood up and picked up the thick folder, flipping through it quickly. He would get down to really reading and memorizing them in the comfort of his apartment later, but he wanted to at least skim over their information.
“Ah, I see you can't wait to see who they are. I like that kind of enthusiasm. We need that. Let me tell you a little about them. I hand picked them because they are each the best in their chosen fields.” He smiled. “Well, except for Second Lieutenant Hawkeye. But I think she'll make an excellent addition to your team.”
Art by Bay115
The general took a small sip of from the cup of tea on his desk and continued. “Second Lieutenant Heymans Breda.” Roy flipped to his dossier in the folder to read about the man while he was talking about. “First in his class in strategy. Unfortunately he was last in his class when it came to physical fitness.” He laughed. “He's a pretty good shot with a gun, but excellent when it comes to deduction and reasoning.”
Art by Bay115
“Breda's roommate at the Military Academy was Second Lieutenant Jean Havoc. A bit of a country bumpkin, not the smartest man, but a crack shot. He has the second place record for sharpshooting at the Academy, behind one of the other members of your team.” There was a bit of proud snugness in his voice when he said that last statement, though Roy wasn't sure why. “He is an expert is most firearms and other munitions, and has been trained in Covert Ops. So if you need someone to sneak in somewhere, he's the best man for the job.”
Art by Bay115
“Master Sergeant Kain Fuery. He was one of the youngest graduates of the Academy. He was allowed in at a young age because of his grades. I spoke with his parents when the board was deciding whether to allow him to enroll. From a young age, he would take apart anything that electronic in his house, and after a while he figured out how to put them back together- eventually he got to where they would work even better than before. His specialty is communications. He can both man and fix any radio you put in front of him. It's always good to have a fix-it man on the job.” Roy silently nodded.
Art by Bay115
“Warrant Officer Vato Falman. He was a policeman for years, and only recently moved over to Central Command. He has a photographic memory. He's able to recall most anything that he has seen, so he's a walking repository for information. He's very smart, but not very ambitious. That is why he's never made it beyond Warrant Officer. A quiet man, he was in the Investigation Department when he was a policeman, but that never went anywhere, so that's why he enlisted in the military. He was hoping he could use those skills here.”
“I am sure that I'll be able to use all of their skills to the best of their abilities, sir.”
“I'm sure that you will.” The General smiled at the dark eyed man. “Of course, I really don't have to tell you about the last member of your team. It sounds like you know her well.”
“Not as well as you may think, sir. When I was under her father's tutelage, he made it quite clear that I was not to do anything to get to know her better. He told me what parts of my body that he would burn if he found me talking to her.”
Grumman laughed heartily. He had known Berthold Hawkeye quite well, although this young man apparently didn't know that. He hadn't been very fond of the man that his daughter had married, but he was family, and he was honestly sad when he had heard that the troubled man had died.
“Do you know how to play chess, my boy?”
“I do, though I am far from an expert.”
“Good, good! So let's play a round. If you win, I'll tell you a juicy bit of information. But if I win, you have to give me a juicy bit of information. I am sure you have plenty of interesting tidbits in that head of yours.”
The competitive streak in Roy wouldn't let him say no.
Half an hour later, Grumman put Roy into checkmate. They had been chatting pleasantly the whole time- apparently Grumman had quite a bit of gossip about what goes on in Central Command.
“Ah, well I guess I'll have to keep my juicy bit of information for another day.” He was going to tell Roy about being related to Hawkeye, but he would hold that back for now. Maybe it would be interesting to tell him another time. “So, what can you tell me?”
There was really nothing of particular interest that he had for the man. He'd just come back from Ishval and had only been in Central for a few days. Then it hit him. If he can't think of anything interesting to tell him, he knew someone who did. “If you really want to know what is going on in Central, I would suggest that you visit The Surly Sailor Bar. The owner of the bar, Madame Christmas, is quite good at gathering information.” Roy held back that he was the foster son and nephew of the owner. It would be interesting to tell him another time. Roy knew that with the General's penchant for women, he couldn't resist going this bar- the fact that it was a brothel was the worst best kept secret in town..
“I think I may just do that. Thank you for that information.” He said, as he put the pieces back into place on the board. “I just found out that I'm going to be shipped off to Eastern Command soon, so I won't be able to watch over you directly, but I'll be watching with great interest. I know you'll show us all that this was a good decision to give you command.”
“Thank you sir. With your permission, I'd like some time to go read these over.”
“Yes. You're dismissed. Good luck, Lieutenant Colonel.” He offered his hand. Roy shook it, then saluted. He took the folder and left, heading towards his new office, curious to see where he was going to be working from now on.
CHAPTER 3: The Jitters
By Thursday, the furniture had been delivered to the office. Most everything that would be needed was requisitioned, and everything was ready. He thought that arriving almost an hour early would give him some time to get a little work done and make a good impression on his men.
He was honestly surprised when he walked into the office a little after 0700 hours and saw Hawkeye already there, with a pile of papers on his desk, and a cup of coffee beside it.
She immediately rose to her feet from the small desk next to his own and saluted. “Good morning, sir. Second Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye, reporting for duty.” Her eyes softened a little bit. It had been a couple of weeks since he had seen her, and he was glad to know that she was okay. He couldn't help but give her a once over. As he suspected, her uniform was fresh pressed and immaculate, her short hair perfectly quaffed. She was beautiful, there was no way to deny it.
He saluted back to her. “At ease, Lieutenant.” He smiled at her. “It's nice to see you again. Your back, it's...”
“It's fine, sir. And that's something that we can talk about elsewhere. That's not something to be brought up at the office. Sir.” She added the last word after a hint of a pause. So that was how it was going to be, he thought to himself. All business.
It was a pretty quiet hour after that. Roy wasn't sure how he had so much paperwork on his first day. Mostly it was requisitions and other paperwork for his new team. He was so engrossed in his pile of papers that he didn't even hear the light knock on the door until Hawkeye said “Come in.”
Roy looked up in time to see a tall man with dark hair, streaked with gray. He saluted, ramrod straight. “Warrant Officer Vato Falman, reporting for duty, sir.”
Roy stood up and saluted him. “At ease. Come in and pick a desk in the middle. I'll wait to brief you until everyone arrives. Until then, just relax. They should be here-” He was interrupted by another knock. It was Fuery. He introduced himself, and Roy told him the same thing. Less than 5 minutes later, the four of them heard an argument going on on the other side of the door.
“It's your fault we're late!”
“You're the one who overslept!”
“Yeah, but when I came over, you were still in the shower!”
“I wanna look good for my first day. Gotta make a good-” Roy sighed and opened the door, tired of listening to the argument. They both immediately snapped to attention and saluted him.
“Glad to finally have you on board.” He said, both amused and annoyed. “Come in. We'll get started. Breda elbowed Havoc, and then walked in. They took the last two desks that were grouped in two rows of three in the middle of the room, with Roy's and Hawkeye's desks at the far end of the room from the door.
“Now that everyone has finally arrived...” He shot a look at the two latecomers. “Let me introduce myself. My name is Lieutenant Colonel Roy Mustang. I am an alchemist, with a specialty of fire. I recently returned from the...” He paused, a haunted look coming over his face. “The Ishval Rebellion. Because of my exemplary service, I was given this command.” There was a bit of bitterness to his tone on the last sentence, but no one seemed to react to it. He looked them over- they were listening, but the little mousey man, Fuery, seemed to be hanging on his every word.
“I know most of you are fresh out of the Academy, so I want to give you a little bit of time to get acclimated to the military life outside of academia. I'd suggest you all go as a group- familiarize yourself with the layout of the building. It's a large place, so it's best to know where the various rooms are that you'll be dealing with on a day to day basis. You have until after lunch, which is from 1200 to 1300 hours. I want you all back here at 1300 hours sharp. We'll start our work then.”
For a moment, they all looked at each other, not quite sure what to think. Finally Hawkeye looked at them sternly. “Well, what are you waiting for, those are the Lieutenant Colonel's orders.” Finally they all stood up and filed out the door, leaving a less than happy Mustang in their wake.
When they had all left, Hawkeye sighed and sank into her chair.
“Well that was a disaster, Lieutenant Hawkeye.”
“Don't worry, sir. They'll come around.”
Roy just shrugged at that. “I know General Grumman picked all of the men for their skills, but I'm beginning to think that he was testing me with men that he knew were going to be difficult.”
“Well, he did give you me, sir.”
“I know, it was almost too easy. I wonder if he had some other motive for allowing you on my team, though I have no idea what it could possibly be.”
“I think I know why he did it, sir.”
“And why is that, Lieutenant Hawkeye?”
“Because he's my grandfather, sir.”
Roy was stunned. “The General, he's your grandfather?” It made a lot more sense now, that he knew that. General Grumman wanted to know that his granddaughter was safe, and who better than with the Flame Alchemist?
“He is, sir. My mother's father. I take after my father's side of the family more.” She paused for a moment. “My mother's side of the family, they disowned my father before my mother died. And after she died, they never spoke to my father or myself until I joined the military.”
“I never knew.” Roy's voice seemed small in the large office.
“We... never really talked about it, sir.” He had been a student under her father for so long, and he had tried a couple of times early on to get her father to tell him about his wife, but he quickly learned that the subject was taboo, and after the first week he never bothered to bring it up again.
“I guess I really do owe the General a lot, for letting his granddaughter work under my command. I'll have to work extra hard and show him that I deserve this.” He smiled cockily at her, a hint of mischievousness to his grin.
“I have no doubt in my mind that you can do it, sir. I wouldn't have suggested it to him otherwise.”
That woman never ceased to amaze him. All he could do was laugh, and then get back to his work. Hopefully working through lunch would set a good precedent for his men.
The lunch hour passed quickly, though the pile of papers that he had to work on never seemed to budge- he really wasn't sure how that was possible. It wasn't surprising that the men walked in about five minutes late from their lunch break. He knew he should ream them for it, but he was pretty sure that fear wasn't the best way to get his men to respect and work well under him.
“Thank you for finally coming back.” It was the closest he got to chiding them. “As you can tell, you all have work waiting for you on your desks. The first part are forms that you need to fill out for your jobs, information on yourself and your next of kin in case something we to happen to you, and other forms such as insurance and paycheck and such.” He wasn't surprised at their faces when he so nonchalantly talked about their possible deaths. He had seen so much, been through so much, that it was just another part of who he was and what he did.
“I expect you to have all of this work done by the end of the work day, 1700 hours.” That was met with a few groans.
“Okay, if there are no objections, then get to work, gentleman.” They all filed over to their desks and started to eye the papers in the stacks in front of them. Roy had put their own military paperwork on top, giving them something fairly easy to start on. But those didn't take long, and as soon as they got to the real work, they started to talk softly to each other, trying to figure out what they were supposed to do.
Art by Bay115
Finally, after letting them flounder for about 15 minutes, Hawkeye rolled her eyes, got up from her desk, pulled her gun from her holster, and walked over to them, cocking the gun. “It's not hard. The paperwork is in triplicate, so you fill out the first page with the information, and then put the papers in their respective baskets here in the middle of the desks. They are color coded. The yellow copy goes in the yellow basket.” she tapped it with the tip of her gun. “The pink copy goes in the red basket.” She tapped it as well. “And the blue copy goes in the blue basket.” It also got tapped. “The blue copy is the copy we keep. They go on my desk at the end of the work day. The pink copy goes to Administrative, and the blue copy will go to the Fuhrer or one of the Generals for a final approval. Is that clear?”
It was only when she was done that she noticed that the color had drained out of all of their cheeks, and they were staring at her, slack jawed and open mouthed.
“Well? Get to work.” Four pairs of eyes quickly went to their desks and four pairs of hands went to the papers to start filling them out.
Roy was just as slack jawed as the rest of them. As soon as she turned back to him, he ducked his head down and started on his own work, even though he knew that hadn't been directed at him, he was already well aware of the ire of Hawkeye, and he didn't want that anger directed onto him.
For the rest of the day, hardly a word was spoken. At 1700 hours, Roy rose out of his seat and announced that they could leave. He hadn't even finished speaking by the time the three of them had stood up and were already gathering their stuff to leave.
“I expect you all back at 0800 hours. Sharp.” He put a little emphasis on the last word, reminding them that they had been late today. “Dismissed.” He saluted them, then sat back down. He still had a little work that he had to get done himself. To his surprise, and pleasure, they all saluted him back, which was the correct protocol, and then left quickly, practically falling over themselves to get out of there.
Roy smiled and rolled his eyes at his Lieutenant, then got back to work.
On to Part Two