Rating: This chapter rated PG-13 for language and Roy and Ed fooling around
Pairing: Roy/Ed, past Hughes/Roy, Al/Anything in a skirt
Spoilers and Warnings: Post-Manga verse, Yaoi romance/angst/humor. Stand alone part of the “Half Lives” series.
Plot: Roy Mustang: Soldier. Statesman. Alchemist. Peace making envoy and world traveler…”And nobody knows who the hell I am, really. You can read the sanitized version of my life in the history books—or we can break out a bottle of booze, fill up the glasses and I can tell you the stories that the censors left out—which are hell of a lot more interesting…”
Chapter Summary: “YOU?? Write a book? That’s ridiculous! Bwaaahaahaa!” Roy accepts a contract to write his own memoirs—partly to annoy Ed, but partly to set the record straight, since History books have left out the sex, the booze, the hell-raising and the scandals; in other words, the ‘good parts’.
.A/N : If you’ve read this or any of Half Lives/Whole Lives/Our Lives/Private Lives, let me know what you thought—your feedback means so much!
“Half Lives”, “Whole Lives” “Our Lives” and other fics hosted at fanfiction.net at http://www.fanfiction.net/u/1651220/BinaryTales and also at my new host at AO3. Thanks for reading!!!
PRIVATE LIVES: THE MUSTANG FILES, CHAPTER 1
“NOTHING TO LOSE BUT MY REPUTATION"
BY THE BINARY ALCHEMIST, 2015
“Let me get this straight---somebody is offering to pay you to write? BWAAHAAAHAAAHAAAAAAA” Edward was clutching his belly and roaring with laughter, wiping the snot from his nose and the tears from his eyes.
He couldn’t breathe, turning all sorts of intriguing colors as he whooped and snorted, pounding his fists on the arms of the sofa. “Ah---ahaha—ahhhhaaaaaaaaa!” Knocking over his beer, he slid to the rug and slapped helplessly at his thighs, hooting like a lunatic. “Y…you…th..t..think you….can…write?? Ohhh fuck! That’s rich….th…that’s priceless!”
I’d have incinerated the son of a bitch right there on the spot but for the appalling amount of paperwork his death would have generated.
Fifteen minutes later I hung up the phone in the library and scribbled myself a note: Thurs. 8:45a. Howe Press, Hugh Howe. Book contract.
After a moment of consideration, I added: “get 520 cens back from the S.O.B”
“Hugh, I want to show you something.”
We’d gotten our coffee to go at the venerable corner coffee shop Il Gattina, right off of Central City Park. Place has been open since the turn of the century, and the only thing that’s really changed is the endless parade of felines that pose for their advertisements. Hugh’s mother, the former Elycia Hughes, turned a corner bakery into a city landmark. Smarts and a good head for business turned Il Gattina into a household name. Any grocery store you stop by will be stocked with the familiar blue boxes with the gold cat’s paw print—but those in the know can tell you there’s nothing like dropping by the corner of Park and Canal and getting them hot out of the ovens, especially with that Aerugoan espresso they serve, which has enough caffeine in each cup to jump start an armored tank.
This display of loyalty to the Hughes family allowed Hugh Howe to play right into my hands…
I strategically chose just the right spot for our meeting, and I could tell he was rather baffled by the venue. Oh, sure, we could have done this deal in his downtown office with the tasteful framed engravings on the walls, the humidor full of imported cigars and the antique club chairs whose fine leather upholstery have been buffed shiny by the asses of some of the biggest names in contemporary literature.
My ass—which, I might add, is still impressively buff itself—didn’t belong there.
And that was the whole point of bringing my literary agent to this grubby, sagging wooden bench that groaned under our modest weight.
His parents had courted on that bench; if you run your fingers over the back you can still trace the initials his father had carved into the wood.
And it happens to be directly across from the single most ridiculous statue in the whole goddamned capital: The Flame of Friendship.
“Pigeons are shitting on my head.”
Hugh’s jaw dropped and a bite of cherry turnover fell out of his mouth, staining his tie. “Wha--?”
“I’ve got pigeon shit on my head. And look,” I gestured, “some dog just pissed on my boots.” I leaned in for a closer look. “Oh, and condoms. Look at the condoms. My, my…I’ve heard of women throwing their underwear at musicians on stage, but this is ridiculous.”
Hugh Howe shifted uncomfortably. “I’m sorry, General. I had no idea that your statue is being neglected.” He sighed regretfully, looking for all the world like a friendless spaniel who’d been booted out into the snow on Solstice Eve. “That’s why the whole idea of having you write your autobiography is so meaningful, sir. You’re a hero. A legendary alchemist. The first elected president of Amestris. States man,” he was checking off my bonafides off the tips of his fingers, the same way Ed does when he’s got what he thinks is a battery of good arguments to justify something idiotic he’s just done—or is about to do.
“---Ambassador. World traveler. And—and—“
“Old. You can say it.”
Whereupon Hugh Howe immediately shut his goddamned mouth.
See, that’s what he really wants, this one. And, in case you’re reading this and have been living under a rock somewhere in Creta, I’ll make it short and sweet:
As far as we know, I’m the oldest man alive.
Hard to tell, good-looking as I am, huh?
Oh, there are some streaks of silver in my hair, and the corners of my eyes have been etched from more than laughter. My hands and wrists ache like hell in damp weather from my old wounds and I don’t run as many kilometers per week as I did in my cadet days…but if you look at my birth certificate and then at my face, you’d never believe your eyes.
The Promised Day. Don’t tell me you don’t know about it. It’s the day our world ended and everybody died—and then everybody lived, because of one poor son of a bitch named Van Hohenheim. Four hundred years before, the king of a long dead kingdom wanted to live forever. His alchemists and magicians managed to bring something through the Gateway—something not meant for this world—and bound it in a flask with the blood of some dumb kid who was mopping out the alchemy lab. Forty odd years later, that same dumb kid got duped into creating a nation-wide alchemy array, powered by the deaths of his own people. All so that some wizened asshole with a crown on his head could try to cheat death.
The attempt worked—at least as far as the creature was concerned. Millions died for one man’s vanity—including old King Xerxes himself. And since Hohenheim’s blood gave that creature life, the poor idiot with the mop was given something very like eternal life.
Four centuries later, the ancient janitor-turned-alchemy master sacrificed himself to keep that monster from doing it again, this time using Amestris as its power source.
Five alchemists were trapped and used to channel the energy from the national array: Hohenheim. Edward Elric. Alphonse Elric. Izumi Curtis—and me.
The arrogant creature never dreamed we had enough power between us to kick its ass.
Everybody died. Everybody revived. Hohenheim was the unsung hero and everything could go right back to the way it was…
Just like 400 years before, those standing at the center of the array were—transmuted. Our cells, our bodies…hell, even our genetic material was changed. Renewed.
At first it was funny. Then it scared us. Then we got pissed, because when we realized we weren’t aging normally, we realized that we couldn’t stay in Amestris—not without possibly fueling the same sort of ugly speculations about eternal youth that started all that bullshit back in the age of King Xerxes. So, under the guise of becoming ambassadors and explorers, we got the hell out of town for well over half a century.
We have family, damn it. We have friends that mean the world to us. Imagine having to change your appearance, your names—hiding incognito on all points of the globe so you won’t draw too much attention to yourself. You think so-called eternal life is something you want?
Don’t make me laugh.
I don’t know what the hell would have happened to us if not for the two most wonderful words I’ve ever heard, spoken from the lips of our brilliant son-in-law, alchemist and surgeon (and Xingese prince) Dr. Sheng Yao:
Slow but steady. It’s going to take a while, but in time, we will pass away, just like everybody else. And that’s exactly the way we want it.
We went home. It was a hell of a shock, as you can imagine. There were medical inquiries, legal inquiries and the whole ugly business of the Bradley days and the Father all came to light.
The gist of it was this: we five did nothing wrong and what happened to us was not a blessing. Nobody wants to bury people they love.
And it does seem that those who were in and around Central on the Promised Day are having longer, more productive lives. Meeting and beating the century mark is nothing unusual now.
But most people don’t look as good as I do. Or Ed, or Alphonse or Izumi. Al has women panting over him even now, and Izumi hasn’t lost any of her panther-like grace and elegance.
And my husband, Edward?
I still want to hump his parts raw. Constantly. Which is one of many things that make my life still savory to me. I’m not ready to lie under the green grass somewhere close to my old friend Hughes.
In our absence, the real, raw, vital people we are were eclipsed by…well, what Ed calls ‘fuckin’ cartoon heroes’. We became ‘historical’. We became Legends.
There were books—not the trashy stuff that nitwits like Kelley Winchell and Frank Archer tried to foist on the mindless readers. No—these were scholarly works. History books. People writing theses in college on our lives. You could find Edward Elric in the encyclopedia—and not under some heading about Obsessive/Compulsive Personality Disorders, either.
We came back to find schools named for us. Towns named for us.
Al swears he saw an old jockstrap of mine in a museum.
Then came the ‘popular’ media: comic books, light novels. The “Fullmetal Alchemist” musical has revived about ten times and has been made into two movies. Cartoon series? Got two of ‘em. Goddamn it, I’m even an action figure!
And here’s the point—and the whole reason I even considered signing the book deal with Hugh Howe:
Nobody knows the real Roy Mustang, outside my immediate circle of family and friends.
I’ve been sanitized and wrapped in plastic and made “Safe For Ages 5 and Up”.
I don’t know how long I’m going to live—but I could fall out of Edward and fall off the bed and break my damn neck. Anything could happen. So….what the hell…..I’ve got nothing to lose but my reputation…
“There’s the stories you’ll read in the history books. And then there are the stories I might tell you late at night over a bottle of Stray Dog. Those are the stories I want to tell.”
Hugh Howe looked like he’d swallowed a big chunk of broken glass in his pastry. “I…I beg your pardon, General?”
“I was raised in a whorehouse. When we were asked to talk about our hobbies in the fourth grade, I demonstrated how to mix an extra dry martini. I used to float rubber duckies in my aunt’s homemade bathtub gin. And I swear, it wasn’t until I went to basic training that I found out that not everybody’s house has mirrors and trapeze swings above the beds.” I took a sip of my coffee. “Still interested, son?”
“I want to show you something.”
Ed looked confused as he stared at the contents of the coffee table before the fireplace in my office. An ice bucket. Two glasses. A decanter of Stray Dog Reserve. A tape recorder---and a twenty-three page signed contract for my personal memoirs.”Well, I’ll be dipped in shit.”
“I can arrange that. Let’s go out to the stable and you can help muck out the stalls.”
“I mean…they’re actually paying you for this?”
“Pfftt! I don’t need the money. Neither do you. I’m donating one hundred percent of the profits to the Marcoh Children’s Hospital Network.”
He gave me an odd look. “Hey, if you tell even half of the stories you’re threatening to, they may pick up their checks with tongs and rubber gloves.” Helping himself, he poured us each a measure of whiskey and settled down on his usual side of the couch. “How you gonna do this?”
I touched my glass to his. “I don’t know. Have a couple of drinks…shoot the shit…”
“…and roll tape?”
“Yeah. Something like that.”
He leaned in close, the whiskey warm and sweet on his tongue as we kissed. “All right. Roll the tape, Roy….”
…TO BE CONTINUED….