This teaser is entirely spoiler safe, although, since this fic was prompted by something in episode 50 (although it might be more accurate to say someone) the rest of it won't. However, when (if) more gets written I will be sure to indicate any spoilers.
As always comments and suggestions/criticisms welcome! Cheers.
It would be a lie to say Roy was expecting the phonecall, but then again, you couldn’t really say he expected it either. The clock over the fireplace of the retired Colonel had just struck half eleven, and Roy toasted it with a bitter -- and not entirely steady -- salute.
“Here’s to women!” he proclaimed. “Here’s to their beauty, their pretty lies and their vaunted fidelity!”
The phone rang just as he threw back the drink so he choked, grabbing the receiver as he spluttered for breath.
“Hard breaks, old chap,” a familiar voice drawled on the other end of the phone. “Still, Josephine was never the right woman for you.”
“Hughes,” Roy was not at all surprised to find his friend on the other end of the phone. “You already knew?”
“I could see it coming,” his friend confessed. “Believe me, you’re better off well out of it.”
Roy held up his port glass to the light. Half full, when you looked through it you could see a kinder world, blurred around the edges and gently rose tinted . . . a world he wanted to be in, a world where lovers didn’t cheat and a promise was a promise . . . “Is there a reason for this phonecall Maes?”
“I’m stopping you from drinking yourself into oblivion, am I?” Hughes guessed with uncanny precision. “She’s not worth it, Roy. Put the vodhka away and go to bed. You’ll thank yourself for it in the morning.”
“It’s not vodhka,” Roy answered mutinously. So, it was childish, but Hughes needed taking down a peg and Roy wasn’t that easily predictable. “It’s port.”
“Port,” Hughes repeated slowly. “What, not your grandfather’s best?”
“The same.” Even though Hughes on the other end of the phoneline could not possibly see him, Roy saluted him with the half empty bottle. Or was that half full? Either way, the port that was practically an heirloom was rapidly disappearing.
“Your grandfather’s port,” Hughes repeated slowly. “I had no idea you were that serious about her. I’m sorry Roy.”
The honesty and the understanding in his friend’s reply was enough to cut through Roy’s pleasantly drunk haze. “Maes--”
“Chin up, old man,” Hughes assured him. “Somewhere out there’s the right woman for you. You’ll know her when you find her.”
“Easy for you to say.” Either it was late, or the drink had worn him down enough that the bitterness was audible in his tone. “Look at you, happily married and with a kid -- and look at me. Leading the merry life of a bachelor. Ha!”
“I think,” Hughes said carefully, “that it is a very good thing I rang you when I did. Now, listen up, Mustang.” He’d suddenly adopted the crisp tones he’d used in their army days and Roy found himself straightening unconsciously through sheer habit. “Put the port away and go to bed. I’m sending a car round to collect you at 8:30. We’ll meet at the station, and take the 9:15 Express.”
“Where are we going?”
“Lincolnshire. The country will do you some good, I think. I’ve an invitation from some friends of Doctor Marcoh’s -- he’ll be there too. We can catch up on old times, maybe get a spot of fishing in or whatever it is they do in the countryside. You’ve probably heard of the owner of the house; Professor Elric?”
“One of Marcoh’s scientific crowd, isn’t he? I think I remember seeing his name in the paper a while back. Something about molecules--”
“Atoms, Roy. They’re called atoms. Professor Elric is the leading scientist in this field--”
“Going to the country is dull enough without adding scientists to the mix,” Roy complained, leaning back in the velvet upholstered easy chair that stood near the fireplace. Balancing the phone receiver with his shoulder he poured himself another glass. “I don’t see why you don’t just take Gracia and make it a romantic little getaway for yourselves --”
“Ah, but you’re much better with a revolver than Gracia.”
It was the second time this evening that Hughes had caused Roy to choke on his drink. “I beg your pardon?”
“I was going to tell you to bring your revolver. Possibly the air gun as well -- I don’t anticipate we’ll need something with that much distance but you never know.”
“But--why? Correct me if I’m wrong, Maes, but Lincolnshire is not an area generally known for its hunting --”
“Or at least not for deer or game hunting.”
Roy set his glass aside, interested now. Something in his friend’s tone -- “What’s this about then?”
“Now you sound like the Mustang I know,” Hughes approved. “Murder, Roy. We’re hunting a murderer.”
*crosses fingers that the lj-cut works*