* * * * * * *
"Brother! This way!"
The dark alley was filled with echoes of shouts and running footsteps. A cat perched above a canvas covering several wooden barrels yawned as shadows of armed people passed by. After a while, the sounds disappeared and silence reigned in the dark alley again.
Suddenly, two figures emerged from under the canvas, nearly startling the cat.
"Damn Nazis," the shorter of the two rambled as he crawled out of his barrel. "First it was Eckart and the bloody Society, and now this. Why can't they just leave us alone?"
"Really, Ed," the taller one snorted. "With us stealing the bomb, I doubt they will give us a break for a long time."
Ed glared at the iron ball in his hands. "I still don't understand why people would kill over this bloody thing."
"Would you like to try it on them? Just to find out."
"Al, your sense of humor always fails to amuse me."
"Thank you, Brother, I'm flattered."
"Whatever. Let's go before they come back. And no, you're not allowed to bring that cat with you."
Al stuck his tongue out, but left the cat alone anyway.
* * *
"Fuck, Al, we're surrounded." Ed winced as another bullet whizzed by and into the wall across from them.
"Somehow I am reminded of this movie we used to watch with Winry," Al said grimly as he reloaded his gun. "The one with the good guys being trapped in a warehouse like this with the bad guys bombarding the building with bullets."
"Haha, I think I remember that one," Ed sniggered after he aimed outside and quickly took cover again. "Too bad I can't remember the ending. How did it go? The good guys miraculosly won or something?"
"An unexpected ally showed up and killed all the bad guys, saving the day."
"That sounds like something Lang would make." Ed shot outside again and hurriedly ducked. "Too bad this ain't a movie."
"Yeah," Al followed suit. He whooped as his bullet hit somebody, but quickly ducked again as the person's friends shot back with a vengence. "That would be nice, wouldn't it."
They continued to shoot at the people outside, until suddenly, their opponents' shooting stopped.
There was an uncomfortable silence for quite some time. The brothers looked at each other and frowned.
"...You think they're trying to bait us?"
"...Probably? Should I put my cap on a stick and find out?"
Ed snorted. "That is so cliched that I can't help but say go with it."
Suddenly, there was a chuckle. The two froze and turned toward the doorway.
A man stood in the doorframe, one hand across his stomach and the other holding a gun. The brothers instinctly drew up their guns, but one look at the man's face stopped them.
"I knew joining them was a good decision. Else I wouldn't have found you two."
Those words were met with silence as the brothers continued to gawk.
The man raised his eyebrow, amusement in his only visible eye. "Are your brains so addled by those damn Gatelings that you two have forgotten me?"
It was Al who managed to speak first. "...Colonel Mustang?"
"It's Captain Mustang in this world, unfortunately. Not exactly military either."
Ed finally managed to find his voice and burst out. "What the fuck are you doing with the SS?!"
"Nice uniform, don't you think? The jacket is waterproof, too."
Ed gaped again. "Colonel?!"
"Colonel Mustang, what are you doing in this world?" Al asked in disbelief. "I remember leaving you in Central years ago!"
Roy Mustang grinned sheepishly. "There were some complications."
"Complications?!" Ed shouted in disbelief.
"The Gate didn't exactly appreciate being destroyed and decided that it wants an... equivalent trade."
"Let's just say that spending a few years inside the Gate wasn't exactly my idea of a holiday. Paperwork is a lot more fun."
"Inside the GATE?!!"
"Fullmetal, I would appreciate it if you stop echoing my words. It does get boring after a while."
Ed managed to stop himself before he exploded again. He was about to say something, but the sound of cars approaching stopped him.
The Colonel went across the room and looked out the window. "The back-up came. You two should go now. I've secured the backdoor."
"What?!" Ed yelled again.
"What about you, Colonel?" Al asked worriedly as he reloaded his gun.
"I'll be fine. Now go!"
"Go! I will find you two again!"
Al gritted his teeth and turned away, pulling his brother's sleeve, but Ed patted his hand, his eyes telling Al to go first. Al gave him a worried look, but went on ahead anyway.
There was a silence as the two who remained looked at each other.
"You'd better find us again, you shithead Colonel," Ed finally said, a wistful smile on his face.
Colonel Mustang smiled back at the young man. "I will."
Ed saluted solemnly before he turned and followed his brother.
The Colonel continued to smile as he followed the brothers with his eye until they disappeared.
Then his knees gave up and he fell over. His hand lost its hold on his stomach and his jacket opened.
Blood started to pool under him.
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