Summary: A regular transmutation goes bizarrely awry and leads to a situation Edward and Alphonse never expected.
Previous Parts: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Roy Mustang severely disliked mornings. In fact, he wouldn’t be averse to saying he outright hated them. He stared at the steaming cup of coffee on his desk and wondered briefly if Hawkeye had brewed it. He certainly hoped that was not the case, but all the same, it was hot and it was caffinated. Taste didn’t matter that much…. Right?
He was studiously ignoring the Elrics. Instead, he glanced at the small pile of reports sitting on his desk. He frowned at the reports, sifting through them idly. Edward was tense, so that meant that something had happened … usually bad. That was not something that Mustang wanted to hear first thing in the morning, but there was hardly any way of getting around it. Finally he shuffled the papers together and made a show of straightening them. He glanced up, meeting Edward’s eyes.
“You’re four days later than I expected,” he said.
“We were delayed,” Edward fired back.
“In Resembool, I suspect,” Mustang said promptly.
“You’d be right,” Edward ground out.
Mustang hesitated, surprised at the admission. The mess must be worst than expected, for Edward to concede a point so early. “Why the delay?”
Now Edward hesitated. “It’s … kind of hard to believe,” he started out slowly. Mustang raised an eyebrow, folding his hands before his face to hide his amused grin. When Edward prefaced something with “kind of hard to believe”, he wouldn’t be surprised if the boy spoke of uncovering a long-extinct race or finding a flying machine … the Elrics had a tendency to get their hands into unbelievable things of those caliber.
He still hesitated, which made Mustang worried. Alphonse coughed, which had to have been designed to draw their attention since he didn’t technically breath. Then he rapped his chest twice, when Edward’s attention still was not drawn to him. Alphonse glanced helplessly at the colonel … Edward was still trying to find a proper way to phrase it. With a sigh, Alphonse shifted and started to unhook his chest plate. “’Niisan,” he said softly. “Why don’t we just show Colonel Mustang?”
THAT got Edward’s attention. “What?” he snapped, turning around violently in his chair to face Alphonse. He already had his chest plate off, though, and Mustang’s eyebrows shot through the ceiling as a red-and-blonde blur shot out of Alphonse’s chest cavity.
The blonde crouched on the floor for a second, gloved hands splayed out in front while Edward shouted “What the HELL ARE YOU DOING HERE!”
Mustang watched, somewhere between amused and horrified, as Edward turned on Alphonse, shouting something about betraying him. However, his attention quickly shifted to the newcomer, who straightened and doubled over backwards, presumably working out the cricks from being stuffed inside of Alphonse’s chest cavity. They were dressed almost identically to Edward, with small changes in the outfit here and there. However, as Mustang’s gaze traveled up further, he realized there was at least one big difference.
She propped her hands on her hips and gave him a large grin … a grin that Mustang had seen several times before. “My name is Edana Elric,” she announced. “But I’m known as the Fullmetal Alchemist.”
Roy was going to need a lot more coffee.
“So you’re saying,” Roy Mustang said, his hands folded in front of his face and not quite hiding the disbelief evident there, “That this girl … is you?”
Edward Elric leaned backwards into the couch, scrubbing both gloved hands over his face and letting out an exasperated groan. “How many times do we have to go over this?”
“Until it makes some kind of sense,” Mustang said, not unreasonably.
Edana was seated next to Edward, both her legs and her arms crossed. She was glaring at Mustang with a venom that usually only Edward was capable of. “Look, I don’t see what’s so hard about all of this.”
Alphonse was standing behind the couch, leaning against the wall and very, very glad not to be included in the current conversation. He knew his time would come once they got this through Mustang’s head. They still had to explain about the other Edward and Alphonse. That was going to be even more fun, if this was any indication.
Mustang took a deep breath, shaking his head again in disbelief. “It’s completely impossible,” he said. “I’ve never heard of anything like it before.”
“Clearly, it’s not impossible,” Edana said dryly. “None of us have ever heard of anything like it, which is why we need all the help we can get.” She sat forward. “Al and I want to get home as quickly as possible, and I’m sure the others feel the same.”
“’Others?’” Mustang had a sudden disturbing mental image of an entire army of variations of Edward and Alphonse. He shuddered, and decided he didn’t want to know just yet.
Edward was scowling at Edana. Once Mustang was certain he wasn’t hallucinating a female version of Edward, they had turned on each other and had a shouting match that brought Hawkeye into the room, pistol drawn. After sorting the two of them out (and insuring that if any blood was going to be shed, Hawkeye would be doing it by putting a bullet into somebody), they had finally gotten some questions answered.
Of course, those answers led to many more questions.
Edward glanced back at Roy, then nodded sharply, once. “There’s another set of Al and I back home,” he said, stopping it at that. Clearly there as more to it, but as much as Mustang wanted to dig deeper and needle Edward just a little more, he could already feel quite the headache starting. He left it at that.
“This entire matter is quite disturbing,” Mustang finally said, sitting back in his chair and studying the pair of them. The similarities were disturbing, and the differences few and far between. “What do you plan to do?”
“Research,” Edward and Edana said in unison. Their identical expressions and tone of voice disturbed him far greater than any physical similarities. They glanced at each other in surprise, then frowned.
“I don’t know if you should be anywhere near the library,” Edward said, still frowning.
“I’m as much of a State Alchemist as you are,” she snorted at him. “I certainly know my way around Central’s library system. Between the two of us, we should be able to turn up any material on the matter.”
“I don’t know if that’s a wise idea,” Mustang said thoughtfully. “…I think I know where Edward is coming from on this.”
Edana glanced between the two of them, still frowning. “What do you mean?”
“There aren’t that many State Alchemists,” Edward said. “I think they’d notice if there were two of us in the same place. It looks rather suspicious for me to suddenly develop a twin sister, don't you think?”
“Idiots,” Edana said. “Did you really think I intended to parade around Central right next to you? There’s more than one branch to the Central library system. We systematically hit each branch. From enough of a distance, they won’t question that I’m you, and as long as we’re not together we should be able to pull it off.”
Mustang nodded. “That could work.”
“What do you mean, “could”?” Edana huffed at Mustang. “Of course it’ll work.”
“You’ll have to wear a different top,” Mustang said, trying not to look at Edana’s chest at that statement. “But you are small-chested enough that no one will think to look clos—“
“’WHO’S SO SMALL-CHESTED THAT THEY GET MISTAKEN FOR A GUY!” Edana bellowed, on her feet in an instant.
Edward, who hadn’t been expecting the outburst, toppled slightly to the side. Then he did a bad thing. He snickered.
Edana whirled on him. “What are you laughing at, little man?”
“WHO’S SO SMALL THAT THEY GET LOST IN THE SEAT CUSHIONS!” Edward bellowed, now also on his feet.
Mustang winced, and the door opened smartly. Hawkeye stood there, pistol in hand and a foul expression on her face. “You two are quite loud,” she said, cocking her pistol.
Edward and Edana glared at each other for a second then turned their backs to the other, crossing their arms and adopting identical sulking expressions.
If Mustang hadn’t been concerned that Hawkeye would shoot either one, the situation would have been quite funny. As it was, it was all he could do to keep a straight face while ordering Hawkeye out of his office.
“Well,” he said, coughing once into his hand. “It looks like you have some semblance of a plan. Why don’t you get started on your research, and report back to me in the late afternoon? I’m sure someone will find something of value by then.”
Edward turned and shot Mustang such a Look. “We’ll see, then,” he muttered, turning on his heel and stomping towards the door. Edana scowled at Edward’s back, but followed him. Alphonse turned and bobbed his head at Mustang. “Thank you, Colonel,” he said, before hurriedly following his siblings out.
Mustang sat back in his chair, glancing at the ceiling. He was still asleep, that was the only explanation for it. That decided, he glowered at his paperwork and contemplated setting it on fire. It was only a dream, after all.
Alphonse was closing the doors to Colonel Mustang’s office behind them when Edana finally spoke again. “Yanno,” she said, tapping her chin thoughtfully. “Your colonel is really kinda hot.”
Edward had glanced over his shoulder at her when she started to speak, and the rest of her statement made him miss the door by about two steps to the left. He swore to himself, then swore at the wall.
Havoc, being the only other person in the outer office besides the Elrics and Hawkeye, burst out laughing. Alphonse hurried over to Edward’s side. “’Niisan! Are you all right!”
Edward straightened himself out, dusted his jacket off, then turned completely around and leveled a finger at Edana. “That was NOT funny,” he told her.
“It is from where I’m standing,” she snickered at him.
Hawkeye frowned at them both as the phone on her desk rang. She let it ring once more before picking it up, now ignoring the quarreling siblings.
Edward made a show of dusting off the sleeve of his jacket, then shot a withering glare at Havoc, who was still laughing. “It wasn’t that funny,” he muttered.
Hawkeye cleared her throat, and Edward glanced at her, surprised. She held the phone’s receiver out towards him. “It’s for you,” she said simply, then glanced at Alphonse, eyebrow arching. “It’s … your brother.”
Havoc stopped laughing.
Edward quickly took the phone from her, trying to ignore the not-so-furtive curious looks that Havoc was sending in his direction. “Yes?”
It was Alphonse. “Haa, good. I’m glad that the phone numbers didn’t change,” he said by way of greeting.
“What do you want?” Edward asked, irritated. Having to deal with Mustang for any extended period of time tended to grate on his nerves anyway, and Edana’s surprise presence hadn’t helped matters much.
“My, you’re in a foul mood,” Alphonse sounded far too cheerful. Edward gritted his teeth, opening his mouth to retort something presumably acidic back. “Doesn’t matter, though. I’m about to make your mood worse.”
Edward’s jaw clicked back together. He didn’t like the sound of that. “What?”
“We’re at Central Station, and could use a pick-up.”
Edward’s outburst drew everyone’s attention to him. “’Niisan?” his Alphonse asked worriedly, as Mustang opened his office door.
“What exploded—ah, Fullmetal,” Mustang glanced at Hawkeye, who shrugged at him. She was watching Edward unload quite a mouthful of invectives into the phone line. Mustang watched for a moment longer, then glanced at Alphonse. “What’s going on, and do I want to know?”
Alphonse shrugged at him. “My best guess is that no one wanted to stay in Resembool,” he said.
Edward slammed the phone down, and everyone turned to look at him. “Those IDIOTS,” he seethed. “Why can no one stay PUT for two damn days?”
Edana had seated herself on Fury’s desk. “Ah, so I take it the others got sick of being left behind, then?”
The blonde turned on her. “Were you IN on this?”
She crossed her legs primly. “Why, Edward, I’m insulted,” She laughed when he turned easily as red as his coat. “I’ve been with you and Al this entire time, remember? Besides, I didn’t think it was a smart idea for more than one of the armors to be paraded around Central.”
“At least you have a modicum of sense,” Edward growled.
“…more than one suit of armor…?” Havoc repeated, glancing from Edana, to Alphonse, and finally to Mustang. “…Boss?”
Mustang nodded solemnly then pointed at Havoc. “You’ll drive them to the train station, then,” he said. “I’ve got work to do.”
Havoc paled at his tone. “But, Boss, what’s goin’ on…?”
“Also,” Hawkeye said dryly, picking up her sheaf of papers and neatly straightening them. “I don’t think that Ms. Elric would appreciate you staring at her rear like that.”
Havoc was still trying to process the ‘Ms. Elric’ part of Hawkeye’s sentence as Edana turned around with murder in her eye. “…what?”
Edward, who had been ranting at Alphonse about how he had better never pull anything like this, looked over when there was a solid-sounding crack. Havoc had disappeared behind the desk, and Edana was shaking her hand idly, as though she had hurt it punching something.
Her right hand.
Edward glanced at Hawkeye, mystified. Alphonse, who had heard the exchange despite Edward’s tirade, simply shook his head. “Could we please, oh, I dunno, LEAVE to pick up the others?” he pleaded.
“Sounds like a plan,” Edana said, hopping off the desk with a smile. Roy cocked an eyebrow, then walked around the desks to check on his subordinate.
“You can’t go anywhere if your driver’s dead,” Mustang said idly, prodding Havoc’s limp form with the toe of his boot.
“Aw, he’s not dead,” Edana said, waving a hand airily. “Maybe a little broken, but not dead. He’s fine. He can still drive.”
“’M fine…” Havoc muttered, rolling over. “Just five more minutes, mom…”