This is unbeta'd. Like most fanfic I write, it's something of an AU--Roy has a bad knee and an eyepatch, but Fuhrer Bradley is very much alive. Maes Hughes is NOT dead. Alphonse Elric's soul is back in the body it was born in, but Edward is neither dead nor tossed into a depressing alchemy-less world. Roy Mustang's mother is mentioned, and if I write another drabble to follow this one, (I make no promises on that) I might even introduce her as a character. (I have my own theory on who she is and the story of her life, which I'm inordinately proud of and therefore allude to whenever it doesn't get in the way of the story.)
“I wasn't aware I could refuse, sir.” Roy Mustang subtly shifted his weight to his right leg and kept his gaze level despite the handcuffs on his wrists and four burly secret policemen arrayed around him.
“It would have been very rude on your part. I've gone to a lot of trouble over you recently.” Fuhrer King Bradley inclined his head. “Thank you, gentlemen, you're dismissed.”
“Sir?” The guard to Roy's right hesitated. “He's a State Alchemist, Fuhrer.”
“I'm well aware of that, Sergeant.” Bradley's tone firmed a bit. “I can deal with him, never fear. Go.”
The men left, and Bradley waved toward a chair in front of his solid-oak desk. “Have a seat, Roy. I know how your knee pains you when you're kept on your feet. How is that new brace working out?”
Roy took the chair, but kept his back straight instead of sinking into it, keeping his one eye almost level with the Fuhrer's. “Very well, thank you, sir.”
“The Rockbell girl designed it, didn't she?”
“Yes, sir.” Roy had trained his face to show only what he wanted it to show years ago, and it revealed nothing but a bit of residual sleepiness now.
“Excellent work, that. One can barely see you limping.”
“I'll be sure to tell her you said so, sir.”
“It's a shame the country has to lose her.” King Bradley set his elbows on his desk and leaned forward to put his chin against his folded hands, all trace of joviality gone.
“Lose her?” The words came out just a fraction too sharp.
“Yes. Along with the Elric boys—and everyone else involved in your little cabal. Monitoring your activities has been instructive, but I really don't have the time to waste putting down a rebellion. It would be a pity to execute you at such a young age, especially when there are so many uses to which you can be put.” Bradley's eyebrows lowered. “I'm offering you a choice, Colonel. If you remain in the country, I will issue a warrant for your arrest one week from tonight. I will also have your staff, the Elrics, the Hughes, the Rockbells, and the entire Armstrong family jailed on suspicion of treason. If you want to save any of them from the firing squad, you'll be well on your way to Ionia by then.”
“Ionia, sir?” Roy's face still showed nothing, but his eye narrowed a fraction, and he could not hide the hostility in his glare.
“The finest sailors in the world, I'm told. I'm sure a man of your skills could arrange to charter a ship and crew to take you and anyone you care about to Novamund.” Bradley met Roy's gaze head-on. “I think it's high time Amestris opened diplomatic relations with the western continent, don't you?”
Mustang's ungloved hands, locked in cuffs that kept them well apart, clenched into fists below the level of the desktop. “I suppose so.”
“Your friend Hughes' background in intelligence could be very helpful to you in your mission. I'm sure he'll find all kinds of shadows to skulk about in and keyholes to listen at. Your mother and her tribe might make excellent messengers from the Ionian harbors to the border, if you could find them before the week is out.”
A muscle jumped along Mustang' jaw. “Is that all, sir? I have work to do in the morning.”
“You certainly do. I look forward to your reports on the antics of the Mundians. Dismissed.” The Fuhrer took a bound report from a stack on his desk, and started idly flipping the pages.
With his hands still cuffed and his jaw clenched, Roy Mustang left without so much as a salute.
Gee, I hope that attempt at doing an LJ cut worked.
Comments? Questions? Pointing and laughing? I'm all ears, everyone! Also, if anyone wants to jump off this drabble and set up follow-up installments, please feel free! I have some thoughts on where the tale might go, but it's always interesting to see what other folks would do with it.</lj>