And I couldn't just write some notes and leave it. Oh no! The bunny wouldn't allow it.
Fortunately, it stands alone pretty well. No spoilers for the series or the manga, but a sorta spoiler for "Balance of Power".
The only set up you need is thus: 1) Hughes faked his death. 2) He ended up elsewhere for four years. 3) He's back.
This scene takes place right after he returns, coming through a gate near Lior. And it's time for He and Roy to set a few things straight. ;)
Title "The Date"
Characters Hughes and Mustang
Rating PG-13 for language. Maybe a soft R for suggestivness.
Spoilers None really for the series. Kinda for BoP.
Summary: Hughes and Mustang drive out into the middle of nowhere.
“Unggh!” Mustang growled when his teeth slammed together for what had to be the thousandth time in twenty minutes. “Damnit Hughes, will you take it easy? I don’t want to have to explain to anyone why I can’t walk in the morning.” At least this time his tongue was out of the way, although he’d managed to bite it pretty hard earlier and knew it was going to hurt like hell for the next week.
Hughes laughed. “Sorry Roy. I can’t help it. Really.”
“You could drive slower, you know.”
“Now where would the fun be in that?” Hughes said as they hit another bump in the rutted camel-path outside of Lior and became airborne.
“Shit!” Mustang blurted when the jeep slammed back down to the ground. “You’ll think it’s fun when you have to do all my paperwork because I can’t. And what the hell was so important that you had to drag me out here in the middle of the night for, anyway?”
Mustang saw the flash of grin illuminated by the dash lights and knew he was in serious trouble.
“Just trust me, Roy.”
That made the Brigadier General more nervous than being trapped in a room full of homunculi. Without his gloves. Blindfolded. And naked. Ever since they were kids, whenever Maes Hughes uttered those two words, trust me, Roy Mustang inevitably suffered for it. Always.
Except they weren’t kids anymore and Mustang wasn’t in any mood to deal with the aftermath of whatever hair-brained scheme Hughes was pulling out of his ass this time. He was a Brigadier General for crying out loud. He had responsibilities. He had an image to keep up. Besides, it had been rather quiet for the past year, and he discovered he rather liked the quiet. No short, temperamental alchemists blowing up small towns, no wars looming on the horizon, no homunculi, and most definitely no Intelligence Officers with crazy plans that only wound up getting Mustang in deep shit with his superiors.
In short, his life had become routine. Boring. And he declared it good.
“Can you at least give me an idea of what the hell we’re doing out here in the middle of nowhere? I want to start preparing whatever lie I’m going to have to come up with to save our asses from the brig in the morning.”
His only answer was a wicked chuckle as Hughes slowed down and pulled the jeep off the… Well, it couldn’t properly be called a road. It was more of a hard-packed trail. Sort of. If one had a really good imagination, squinted really hard and held their tongue just right, that is.
Hughes shoved it into first, set the brake, and killed the ignition. “You’ve gotten stodgy in your old age, you know that?”
Mustang scowled as Hughes jumped out of the jeep and trotted around the back. “I am not old,” he said, as he slowly climbed out.
He was already feeling the muscle aches he was going to suffer, and the bad news was he was going to have to take the same painful trip back to Lior.
Hughes stopped rifling through whatever he’d stashed in the back of the jeep and looked up as Mustang came near. “Bullshit. Look at you. You’re walking like you’re ninety. I’m older than you are, and I’m still moving just fine.”
“Six months does not qualify as ‘older’, Maes.”
Hughes leaned his hip against the jeep and crossed his arms. He gave Mustang an appraising look up and down, seeing more by the light of the full moon than a normal man had a right to. “When’s the last time you went on a date?”
Mustang sputtered. “What the hell does that have to do with anything?”
“That long, huh?”
Mustang wanted to squirm under that intense gaze but refused to allow Hughes to see it. He knew the look all too well and didn’t like where it was leading. “Getting a little personal, aren’t you?”
He never saw it coming; would never have expected it even if he had. Hughes took two steps, closing the gap between them, grabbed Mustang by the back of the head, and planted a kiss on his lips.
He froze. His mind refused to tell him what was happening and his one good eye snapped open as wide as it could go. An instant later, the assault on his lips was over and Hughes took a step back with a rather feral grin on his face. Mustang stared at the man until the shock faded and the incongruous information was finally processed. At that point, his body automatically acted and he decked his friend hard in the jaw. “What in the bloody hell was that for?!”
Hughes wiped his mouth with the back of a hand and said, “Testing a theory. Personally, I don’t know what all the fuss has been about all these years. I was far from impressed.”
“The legendary Roy Mustang, lover extraordinaire,” Hughes said. “I always thought that rumor was started by you in the first place. All those nights we sat in the field watching the stars, and you telling me about your latest conquests. I knew even back in school that you were full of shit. No one gets laid that much when they’re fifteen.”
Mustang couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He stood there, gaping and shaking in rage. “Is that what all this is about, Maes?” he said with gritted teeth. “Petty jealousy?”
Hughes snorted. “Jealousy? Hardly. How can I be jealous of a—“
Hughes didn’t get a chance to finish because Mustang decked him again. Hughes was sent spinning into the side of the jeep and nearly toppled over into it. He righted himself and wiped at his mouth again. The top of his hand came away with a dark smear. Mustang had drawn blood.
“Bastard.” Mustang hissed.
“Tell me, did word finally get around just what a disappointment you really are? Is that why you—“
Mustang hit him again, this time sending Hughes sprawling into the sand on his ass. He followed and yanked him up by the front of his shirt. “What fucking right do—“
“I have every right, Roy,” Hughes said as he pried the other man’s hands off the front of his shirt.
“You lost it when you stopped trusting me, Hughes,” Mustang choked. “When you… when you…”
“When I died?” Hughes said softly. “When I didn’t tell you that I was alive?”
Mustang felt his good eye begin to sting and he looked away. “Yes.” He touched the eye patch. “Losing this was nothing. Losing you… it was like losing my arm.” He looked back up, facing Hughes, looking him in the face. “You keep wanting to reach out with it, but it’s gone. You feel like it’s there, and every time you realize it isn’t it hurts all over again.” He swallowed, his throat tightened. “A part of me died that night, Maes. I… think it was the best part of me.”
“So you just thought you’d throw everything we’d worked for away? For revenge?” It was Hughes’s turn to fist the front of Mustang’s shirt. “Is that how you thank your friends, Roy?” He shoved the smaller man back against the jeep. “Is the life you’re living now any way to thank your friends?”
Mustang let himself be bent backwards over the hood, ignoring the bite of metal in his kidneys. He let Hughes rant because he just didn’t have the energy to fight him any more. Then he realized he didn’t have the energy to fight anyone anymore; hadn’t had it for a long time.
“You were given a second chance, damnit,” Hughes said, his own voice growing thick. “Why are you wasting it by living this… half-life?”
“It’s a new world order, Hughes. Amestris doesn’t need a new Fuehrer.”
“No, but without people like you at the top, we could end up right back where we started.” Hughes let go and stepped back. “Don’t sit on your ass, Roy. Don’t get complacent.”
Mustang finally righted himself, jerked his shirt down, and smoothed it out. “What makes you think I’ve gotten complacent?” he asked archly.
Hughes lightly rubbed his jaw and grinned. “You’ve gotten soft. There was a time you would’ve cold-cocked me, not given me a love tap.”
A fine brow rose. “Love tap? I think that’s your blood on the back of your hand.”
Mustang sighed and ran his fingers through his hair, but he felt something he hadn’t felt in four years. He felt himself smile. “I should hate you, you bastard.”
Hughes chuckled and went back to the back of the jeep again. “You’re the bastard, Roy.” He pulled out a blanket and a bottle of scotch. “I’m the son of a bitch, remember?” He came back to the side of the jeep and handed Mustang the bottle, then he proceeded to spread out the blanket.
Mustang watched this with curiosity. “Uh, Maes?”
Hughes plopped down on the blanket and leaned back against the rear tire. He gave Mustang a wicked grin and patted the blanket beside him.
Mustang took a cautious step backwards. “We’re out in the middle of nowhere. At night. Alone.” He held up the bottle of scotch. “You brought liquor and a blanket. Maes… are you attempting to… seduce me?”
Hughes started laughing hard. Mustang failed to see the humour in the situation, himself, and wasn’t about to move from his spot until he got a straight answer from his friend. He silently waited until the fit of laughter tapered off, wondering just what in the hell the man had lived through on the other side of the gate.
After a long moment, Hughes wiped his eyes and shook his head. “Really Roy, you need to see a doctor about getting that steel rod removed from your ass.”
Hughes pointed up at the sky, and Mustang looked. He saw a shooting star, and remembered what tonight was. The night of the Perseids meteor shower. When was the last time I watched one of these? he thought. He realized with a shock that it was long before Hughes had faked his death. Back when he was much younger and had a lot less to worry about.
“Have a seat,” Hughes said. “The show’s getting ready to start.”
Mustang chuckled and flopped down next to his best friend. He cracked the seal on the bottle of scotch and took a long pull from it, then winced and immediately regretted it. “Ow. Shit.” At Hughes’s questioning look, Mustang said, “I bit my tongue on one of your rough landings.”
“You shouldn’t have been sticking it out then,” Hughes teased. Then with a lecherous wiggle of his brows, he added, “It’s been four long years. I might get ideas.”
“If you ever come near me again with those lips, I’ll burn them right off of you.”
Hughes grabbed the bottle from him and took a drink. “Don’t worry. Like I said, I wasn’t impressed.”
“Glad to have you back, Maes.”
“Glad to be back.”
They watched the meteor shower in companionable silence after that, passing the bottle of scotch back and forth between them until it was empty.
The next morning, a jeep was found parked at the front door of the Lior city hall. No one was ever really sure who drove it up the stairs, or how they managed to get it turned sideways. But it took one Lieutenant Colonel Armstrong to get it unwedged from between the pillars, and back down into the street.