Rating: Mature to be safe
Warnings: Edward's language is to it's usual standard. The artwork has a warning for semi-naked reasons
Spoilers: Al has his body back and this story is after the series (manga or anime), but no mention of what happens in the series.
Characters/Pairings: Edward Elric, Jean Havoc, Roy Mustang
Summary: When Ed comes in from a tiring mission, the last thing he needs is Mustang making him jump through hoops in order to make the older man look good. If it wasn't for charity and Al, he probably wouldn't have bothered at all.
Author's Notes: The artwork is my own and took a fair amount of time. So more then a little proud.
It was the jostling of the train pulling in at Central Station that pulled Ed out of his slumber. Some of the passengers in his cart were already on their feet, either getting their luggage from overhead, or heading for the door with in their hands. Ed, on the other hand was just watching them with blurry eyes. Normally, he could fall asleep at the drop of a hat on a train and feel rested enough to deal with the General after a mission, but not today.
Maybe it was his age? Was he just simply getting too old to sleep on trains? Was eighteen really that old? Sure as hell felt like it to Ed. To make matters worse, it was raining. Ed couldn’t see the rain, but he could feel it in his ports, particularly his shoulder port. It was shit like that which really made him feel really old.
Visions of a hot shower, or even a bath, made Ed long for the comfort of his apartment rather than the depressing, draughty halls of headquarters. It made him wonder why the hell he was still working for Mustang. Al was quick to come to his mind, as well as all the hospital and school expenses that came with him. Unfortunately, the military paid too damn well to consider quitting when he was trying to give his little brother the best he could in life.
“Boss?” Came a voice.
Ed blinked a few times to realise that Havoc was standing in front of him. The older blond offered him a silent hand up without comment. Ed accepted it without hesitation. It wasn’t the first time Havoc had to come and drag his sorry ass off of the train.
“Mustang sent you?” Ed asked as he stretched out his stiff back.
“Nah,” Havoc said as he grabbed Ed’s suitcase. “I offered when I saw it was raining.”
“Please tell me it’s not as bad as I think it is,” Ed groaned.
“Cats and dogs, Boss.” Havoc said as he led them off the train.
“Thanks then,” Ed said. “Probably would have said ‘fuck it’ and headed home if you hadn’t come.”
“No you wouldn’t,” Havoc eyed him. “You’re too stubborn for that. You would have walked the whole way and dripped all over the carpet while bitching the Chief out.”
“He’s still getting bitched out,” Ed relented.
“Yeah,” Havoc smiled. “But at least the carpet will be safe.”
Havoc walked ahead of Ed as the entered the office. The older blond still had hold of Ed’s luggage for him, as if trying to make at least one part of his day easier. Ed had tried to insist he could take it, but Havoc had already started to jog ahead of him to try and avoid handing the suitcase over. Though having a car ride to headquarters had easily made Ed’s day easier already. True to Havoc’s word, it had been bucketing down outside. No wonder his ports were burning.
Ed thanked Havoc again before going to see Mustang at his desk. The General had a stupid look on his face that Ed seriously wanted to wipe off with his fist. A look like that never seemed to bode well for Ed.
“Don’t know what you look so fucking happy about,” Ed growled at his superior. “If we get a leak you’ll be even more useless than usual.”
“Good to see you as well, Fullmetal.” Mustang greeted him. “I suppose I should thank the Second Lieutenant that you haven’t come in looking like a drowned cat.”
“Fuck off!” Ed snarled at him as he threw it down on the desk. “Here’s your fucking report. Am I dismissed?”
“I see your temper is even shorter than usual,” Mustang snipped.
“Who are you calling so short that he couldn’t be seen over his own report?!” Ed snapped as he slammed a metal fist down on the desk and quickly regretted it.
The action agitated his port, increasing the pain as it throbbed.
“Now, now Fullmetal,” Mustang smirked. “I didn’t say anything like that.”
“Can I go?” Ed hissed, trying to reframe from moving his shoulder port at all now.
“No,” Mustang said as he moved the report aside. “I have another assignment for you.”
“What?!” Ed snapped. “I just fucking got back.”
“This won’t take long,” Mustang tried to reassure him. “Are you aware of the State Alchemist Calendar that comes out every year?”
Ed frowned, having no idea what Mustang was on about. Mustang took that as his answer as well.
“Every year,” Mustang started. “Every State Alchemist has their picture taken and twelve are selected to be put into a calendar. These calendars are sold and the proceeds go to the children’s ward at Central hospital.”
“And that has to do with me how?” Ed asked. “Never had to have my picture taken for shit before.”
“You were not of age before,” Mustang explained. “The military does have some tact.”
“Whatever,” Ed snorted. “About as much tact as a sledge hammer maybe.”
“No,” Mustang smirked at him. “That would be you and your attempt at subtlety.”
It took a lot to reframe from physically reacting. Thankfully, Mustang moved on without too much of a pause.
“Here is an example of the types of pictures that are expected for the calendar,” Mustang picked up something on his desk and tossed it at Ed. “The photographer is set up in the gym. You’re expected there shortly.”
Ed glared at Mustang before he flipped the calendar open and his eyes widened at what he saw.
“No fucking way,” he snapped as he shot Mustang a look. “Not happening.”
“Come now, Fullmetal.” Mustang smirked at him again. “Surely this is no different to having your automail tuned up. You’ll even get to keep your pants on from my understanding.”
Ed felt himself go red.
“That’s different!” Ed yelled. “It’s private! No one, but my mechanic and Al will see me like that. My mechanic practically is family for fucks sake! These are borderline sexual pictures. Pictures, might I add, that the public will see!”
“Calm down,” Mustang sighed. “Your pictures might not even get selected. There are only twelve spots after all. Not everyone is as lucky as me to get selected every year.”
Ed practically threw the calendar away at the idea that was a half-naked Mustang in that thing he had been holding. That was a side of Mustang he had no interest in seeing.
“Then why do I have to bother?” Ed asked.
“Because it would reflect well on the office that everyone is behind the charity event,” Mustang explained.
“You mean it would make you look good?” Ed corrected.
“Yes,” Mustang admitted. “I’m surprised you’re so against this. You’ve spent enough time in that ward over the last six years that I would have thought you might feel like giving back. Especially with all those months Alphonse was there.”
“You’re such an ass,” Ed growled. “Still don’t see why I should bother.”
“So you don’t end up having your entire budget donated to the cause,” Mustang said lightly. “And end up not only being stranded in Central expected to do missions with travel or other expenses that will come out of your own pocket.”
“I’m corrected,” Ed snarled. “You’re the world’s biggest prick! I don’t mind donating money, but I need that money I make for Al too you know!”
“Then surely donating just an hour of your time wouldn’t be so much to ask,” Mustang finished. “Now would it?”
This was how Ed found himself standing shirtless in front of an idiot with a camera. There was a big back drop covering one of the walls of the gym and big lights everywhere. Makeup had been a nightmare. Especially, as he had to wash off the grim from his mission in a shower first. It was not the shower he had been day dreaming about all day. If anything it was a bitter disappointment by comparison. The shower was barely lukewarm and did nothing to relief his port pains. Makeup was then done to cover the bruises from his mission. He could hear the lady muttering about how grateful they were that he hadn’t had anything like a cut to cover up, because that would have been inconvenient for her rather than him and his health.
Ed was uncomfortable with his using the makeup on his face, chest and arm. He didn’t normally have people up in his space like this and touching him, with his shirt missing, he didn’t know unless they were a doctor. Then the doctor was a whole different story and he hated the experience all together.
“Can’t you just take the picture and I can go?” Ed asked.
“Take the picture?” The photographer asked, frowning slightly at Ed. “We have to take several pictures. We need to find the inner you!”
“The inner me is tired and more than a little grumpy,” Ed muttered. “He’s not going to be hard to find.”
“Clearly,” the photographer snorted. “But there must be another you. We will find him.”
“If this me doesn’t hurt you first,” Ed growled.
“I have word from General Mustang that I should inform him if you are being difficult,” the photographer informed him.
“Fucking ass,” Ed growled as wiped his face with his hand.
“No!” The makeup lady shouted at him. “Now I have to do it again!”
“Fuck!” Ed spat as the lady came storming over towards him.
The photographer wasn’t kidding when he said several pictures. Though, he must have underestimated the amount. He had Ed getting into all sorts of stupid positions. Constantly yelling at Ed to smile, and no not like that! He was sitting, standing, leaning, crouching, jumping, lying down. He felt even more like a dog then before. And the positions all had to be taken from different angles.
At some stage he had really tried to make it look half decent, but he honestly just felt awkward and stupid. The photographer even confirmed this by repeatedly telling him what a horrid model he was. It was then when they had finally gotten into a screaming match when it was decided they should take a break.
Ed stormed away, muttering curses under his breath.
His left shoulder port was aching something fierce at this stage. Without too much of a thought, Ed placed his left hand on his shoulder and started to gently massage it a little. He wished that Al was here rather than visiting Winry in Risembool while he had been away on his mission. He really could have used one of Al’s massages right about now.
“Fullmetal?” The photographer’s voice called out to him.
The moment Ed turned around and made eye contact with the man, there was a flash of light. Ed frowned when he realised the man had taken his picture for some stupid reason. For some reason, that is, beyond the fact that was why he was wasting his time here. But he hadn’t been told what to do or anything.
“I think we’re done here,” The man informed him.
Ed didn’t bother asking questions as he got dressed and left. He was just glad it was over.
It was nearly a month and several missions later when Ed found himself once again in Mustang’s office, with one of those stupid calendars sitting on Mustang’s desk. Ed lounged on the couch and put his feet up on the coffee table. Mustang himself was looking at him as if he was trying to see something hidden with a frown on his face rather than his usual stupid ass smirk.
“What?” Ed snapped when he was fed up of this staring contest. “I’ve got better things to do then look at your ugly mug all day, Mustang.”
“I’m just trying to see it,” Mustang said as he tilted his head slightly to the side and squinted.
“See what?!” Ed demanded as he crossed his arms. “I’m not going to play twenty questions, Bastard. Either spit it out or I’m out of here.”
“What I’m trying to see, Fullmetal.” Mustang elaborated. “Is the ‘inner you’. Or at least the one the photographer managed to find anyway.”
“If you’re going to use those stupid pictures to make fun of-“ Ed said as he stood up and marched over to Mustang’s desk while his face heated up with embarrassment.
“Now, now, Fullmetal.” Mustang interrupted, trying to look innocent or beyond that type of thing. “Would I really do something like that?”
“Does water make you useless?” Ed shot back as he folded his arms again.
“Harsh, Fullmetal.” Mustang leaned back in his chair. “You wound me.”
“Yeah right,” Ed snorted. “Can we get on with whatever you want to say? I really do have better things to do.”
“I just wanted to congratulate you, Fullmetal.” Mustang picked up the calendar. “Not only were you selected for the calendar, but you made the cover.”
Ed frowned as he was passed the calendar. On the front, there really was a picture of him. Only, it wasn’t one of those stupid poses the photographer had made him do. It was not as bad as he thought it would turn out. The picture had him with his left hand on his port. He looked strong, yet weary. It looked different from how he normally paraded around headquarters. It was the person he only those closest to him got to see.
“Well done, Fullmetal.” Mustang smirked. “I think we’ll be raising a lot of money for those children now.”