kashiwrites: (Roy pensive)

Ed pulled his red coat more tightly around his shivering body and let out a long, slow breath, watching it stream in front of him in a thin fog before it dispersed into the crisp, cold night air. There was no chance the colonel would see the foggy breath as his subordinate huddled here in the shadows: the man was too busy letting the three women on the porch of the big house next door make a fuss over him. If he’d just go inside and get it over with, Ed could go back to Al and their warm dormitory room, and this whole silly escapade would be over with.

 

He’d only stepped outside for some fresh air on this quiet New Year’s night, but when he’d caught sight of Roy Mustang sauntering through the quiet, gently snowing evening, enveloped in a long black coat, a canvas bag laden with presents hanging over one arm, he just hadn’t been able to resist following him. If nothing else, he wanted to see who in the world the man had in Central, to take that many presents to.

 

He should have guessed, when their course gradually took them outside the realm of plentiful street lamps toward the seedier, more shadowed part of town, the temperature continuing to drop as his ears and hands got colder and colder. But it wasn’t until Mustang stopped in front of a large three-story house on a corner facing a small courtyard with a little fountain in the centre (the water turned off for the winter), and began climbing the five steps up to the wide double doors, that Ed rolled his eyes with a private little sneer. Of course. That man and his women.

 

He knew what sort of house this was – and he knew what sort of work its female occupants did.

 

 

Ed gets more surprises than he expects )



(See Chapter 2

kashiwrites: (Default)
(See Chapter 14)

The alarm bells seemed to be coming from everywhere. He struggled up from the thick, fuzzy blackness, slowly, his arm reaching out in a vague search for the alarm clock. It was only when he felt the hard surface beneath him, and began to push himself away from it, that he realized it wasn’t the clock making the noise.

He gasped for breath, for some reason needing the extra air. “Gracia…get the phone…,” he managed, labouriously shoving himself up onto his hands and knees. It took about three tries, with shaky hands, before he could straighten his crooked glasses on the bridge of his nose.

And then he remembered.

The last fire )The last fire )The last fire )The last fire )
FIN
kashiwrites: (Default)

(See Chapter 13)

Maes stood looking down across the table at Roy for a long, long time. Roy, in the meantime, sat quietly waiting, saying nothing, gazing into the amber liquid in the glass cradled between his hands. His still-gloved hands.

Maes could hear the tick-tock of the grandfather clock in the hallway, and the occasional creak as the house settled for the night. The darkness outside continued to deepen as the evening progressed toward midnight. A far contrast from the brilliantly lit clouds above the warehouse just an hour ago, making the streets almost as bright as day.

The warehouse where almost everything Maes believed in, in the world, had been burned to a lifeless crisp.

Confessions )

(See Chapter 15)
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(See Chapter 12)


When Elysia had been put to bed that evening, and Maes settled with Gracia on the couch in front of the fireplace, he decided he’d had a pretty productive day, even if he’d ended up staying home instead of going in to work. He’d called the office to let his investigators know there would be some extra police patrols starting tonight, and they’d caught him up on any news they had (which wasn’t much). He’d managed one call to Roy’s place, where Breda told him that things seemed to be fine there and mentioned that Roy himself had been doing a lot of work over the phone. This was reconfirmed later on in the afternoon, when Maes had called again a couple of times and found the line occupied.

After lunch, he’d laid down to nap with Elysia again, and this time both of them had slept. They’d had a fun afternoon of playing, in between a few more work-related phone calls.

All in all, it had been a good day. And now Gracia snuggled against him, in the curve of one arm, and each of them was just starting to get engrossed in a book for the evening. He reflected that life just couldn’t get much better than this.

But when the phone rang for what must have been the twentieth time that day, Maes sighed. “Not again,” he complained. “Can’t we have just one uninterrupted evening?”

Crisis )

(See Chapter 14)

(And yes -- I know. They don't have buttons on their cuffs. I only checked this morning. But the button's been such a major part of the story since I conceived it that I left it in. When I retool the story to post on FF.net, I'll figure out a different clue. But for now, with the rush of NaNo, it has to stay.)
kashiwrites: (Default)

(See Chapter 11)


On the morning after Roy’s rough night, Maes got up and stuck around while Roy continued his deep, heavy sleep. The stricken man had finally managed to nod off, his tremors and the “night shadows” subsiding, about three hours after Maes had come to the house. His slumber hadn’t been entirely perfect even in the three hours since then; he’d tossed and turned quite a bit for the first hour (limiting Maes’s own chance to sleep during that time), but at last his mind seemed to have come to rest and allowed him to settle into the exhausted, undisturbed sleep in which he lay when Maes woke up.

He should try to sleep more himself, but he’d probably had a couple hours that Roy hadn’t had, at the other end of the night, so he made himself get up. He found Havoc still sitting and watching on the top step of the hall stairway, while Fuery was yawning as he paced through the rooms on the ground floor. He’d drawn them both into the kitchen with him, where they could talk. The last thing he wanted to do was wake Roy up, when he needed to sleep as long as he possibly could. Maes had made sure to turn off the alarm clock before he’d left the bedroom.

The calm before the storm )

(See Chapter 13)
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(See Chapter 10)


He didn’t even have to knock; the two guards at the front of the yard waved him past, and as he took the porch steps in one leap, he saw Fuery standing in the doorway, waiting for him. All the lights in the house appeared to be on.

“What’s happened?” Maes demanded breathlessly. Even though he’d driven here, he’d been unable to get a breath since the moment he’d fumbled with and dropped the phone receiver and turned to find Gracia behind him with pants and a shirt. “Where is he?” he gasped. “What’s he done?”

“He’s locked himself in the bathroom upstairs, Hughes,” Fuery said, his face drawn with worry. “Havoc’s talking to him.”

Roy's crisis )

(See Chapter 12)
kashiwrites: (Default)

(See Chapter 9)


Maes walked into the outer office and waved cheerily at its current inhabitants: Lieutenants Hawkeye and Havoc. He knew that both Breda and Fuery were napping at home this afternoon, preparatory to their guard duty at Roy’s house tonight. He also knew that Breda would have one more night after this, before he was spelled off by Havoc, and that Fuery would be replaced two nights later by Second Lieutenant Maria Ross, whom Maes had recruited into the rotation.

And right now, Warrant Officer Falman was in the inner office with Roy, having just started the first of his four days in that part of the schedule. (Or, as Roy’s people privately called it, “having drawn the short straw.”)

By now, Maes could recite the schedule in his sleep. It was even starting to infiltrate his dreams which, until now, had been the almost exclusive preserve of his wife and his daughter. In fact, he’d complained about it to Gracia during breakfast this morning.

And the bad moods build )

(See Chapter 11)
kashiwrites: (Default)

(See Chapter 8)

He sat as though enthroned, on a bench along the wall across from the doorway, his long, greasy black hair tumbling down his shoulders and over the front of his light brown prison uniform, his wrists encased at either end of a double-thick stock of wood that had been both padlocked to a post embedded in the floor and attached to the ceiling by thick chains. A couple of lamps set into the wall on either side of the door ensured that he didn’t sit in darkness, but they were not bright, and his eyes were shadowed under his brows, the merest glitter seeming to spark there as he watched his visitors enter the room.

Roy and Kimbley )
(See Chapter 10)
kashiwrites: (Default)

(See Chapter 7)


Major Vanova, when she arrived, paused in the doorway at the sight of Roy Mustang lounging all over Maes Hughes’s chair while Maes himself sat on a corner of the desk, arms folded across his chest and ankles crossed as he stretched his legs out before him.

He gave her a wan smile as she appeared. “We’ve got an extra passenger,” he said apologetically.

How Roy wormed his way into the expedition )

(See Chapter 9)
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