Author: Shell Mel
Rating: P G - 13
Warning: Some violence and near death scenes. Also for Ed's swearing.
Spoilers: Spoilers for episode 22 and end of anime series.
Characters: Edward Elric, Roy Mustang
Summary: AU Edward never thought much about the incident back in lab 5 with the red water. He doesn't really remember it that much. He's seventeen now, repaying his debt by helping Mustang reach the top now Al finally has his body again. But what happens when he and Mustang become targets for assassination?
Author Notes: Alternative ending to Anime series. Prologue is based in episode 22, while the rest is a year after the series.
While the doctor was with Edward, everyone else was in the dining room having dinner. Fury had volunteered to stay with Edward while he was with the doctor. The kid thankfully didn’t seem to be having any more trouble sleeping. Not that it mattered too much. He had yet to make his way back to Roy and become an annoyance once more. For that, the man was grateful. Not only did it keep Roy from getting too frustrated with the blond, but it meant that the doctor had less to scold him for.
Philip Armstrong had taken Catherine and his wife out to dinner. Alex had stayed behind with Roy and the others. It gave him a chance to catch up on what state the military was in. It was mostly a rather formal day, spent trying to get an idea who was dead, who wasn’t, what higher ranks were now vacant and who would take their place. There were also repairs to be made to the buildings and squads that needed to be relocated for the time being.
“The rumours are never ending,” Alex explained. “Most them say for sure young Edward and yourself died, however the reason for the missing bodies had sparked some of the most creative stories.”
“Soldiers will talk,” Roy said, as he paused with his meal. “That will happen. What do the higher ups seem to think?”
“It’s hard to say, sir,” Alex continued. “They are not speaking as openly as their men. Some clearly have no knowledge and others are very tight lipped about it all.”
Roy nodded, slightly thinking about this. He finished off the last of his dinner as he pondered. Could someone high up in the chain be responsible for this? How high did it go? All the way to the Fuhrer, as it had with Bradley?
“Have they said anything at all?” Roy questioned. “How long before our absence becomes a disadvantage rather than our time to rest in peace?”
“It’s hard to say,” Alex answered. “If you have no intension of hiding, then another day might be too long. They’re still assigning new offices, looking to fill positions due to the attack. They might try to give your position to someone else if you’re missing for too long. They might even declare you AWOL if you are missing for too long and they managed to figure out you’re not dead.”
Alex’s answer reinforced what Roy was thinking. Tomorrow might be another day too long away. Everything they have worked for, everything he had worked for, would be gone. If they figured out he wasn’t dead and declared AWOL, he could lose it all. Then his men might suffer for it as well.
“Tomorrow we will have to make an appearance then,” Roy decided.
“And Edward, sir?” Hawkeye asked.
“I don’t think we should drag Fullmetal around,” Roy said. “He’s a sitting duck at the moment. Taking him into headquarters would just put us in a bad position if he is as he is now. We should leave someone to look after them and see if we can’t get the doctor to watch him during the day.”
There wasn’t a lot they could do with the kid. He wasn’t alert, he was docile and a weak link at the moment. They needed to appear strong when they reappeared. Not fussing over the brat. If their attention was on him, the chances of another assassination succeeding would be higher.
Also Roy didn’t need for anyone to see how clingy the kid was right now. If he acted like he was acting now at head office, then Roy would never live it down. All sorts of nasty rumours would begin; he would be called into questioning on the matter. Not a pleasant situation really. So it was just better off he be left behind for now.
“And if his whereabouts comes into questioning?” Hawkeye said, making sure they had every base covered.
Roy pondered on this silently as he linked his together. Family reasons might draw unwanted attention towards Risembool. Illness or injury would lead to wanting evidence of such and Roy did not want the kid’s state to become knowledge of anyone outside their circle. Missions required paper trails. Day off after an attempt on his life is a little suspicious. Having Fullmetal declared AWOL was not a good idea either. Where or what could the kid be doing that wouldn’t have a negative effect on their image or be questioned too closely? There was no real great answer for this.
“Stomach bug,” Roy settled. “Fullmetal’s always eating too much anyway. He had something bad for dinner and was unable to come to work tomorrow. If need be we’ll see if we can’t convince that doctor to write up a certificate for it if the higher ups get suspicious. It might get us through to the weekend at least.”
Not everyone looked convinced at the idea, but it would have to do. What else could they say after all? Anything too big or little would draw attention to it. At least this was simple enough it might be accepted. And Fullmetal wasn’t lying around his dorm, waiting to be attacked. He would be safe here. Armstrong had already taken them through the security measures already in place before this. Now they had their own on top they should be alright for now. Also when Fullmetal was back up to full strength they would have a force to be wary of.
“Perhaps while we are away,” Roy spoke to Alex. “We could move Fullmetal into a secure location? So even if the enemy comes he will not be easily found?”
Alex rubbed his moustache as he thought about it.
“We have several hidden rooms that could be put to use,” Alex commented. “It would probably be for the best to hide the boy there while not everyone is here to protect him.”
“Thank you, Armstrong.” Roy said gratefully. “I’m sure nothing will happen in our absence, but I would rather risk nothing.”
It was settled then. They could only hope that Edward would remain docile enough to allow this. Though knowing his luck, the kid would recover enough tomorrow to fight tooth and nail at the idea of being protected. But there was always hope. The longer he was out of it, the easier it would be for his body to recover after all.