Rating: This chapter rated R 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: Roy's work on his biography is disrupted by unsettling news: Edison Elric a thirteen year old hellion (and felon) and his sarcastic younger sister Emma are being shipped off to Roy's house to keep them out of trouble (and to satisfy Edison's parole officer) while their parents are away on business. When Alphonse sharply implies that Roy was hardly a saint as a child, he inspires the Flame Alchemist to begin his memoirs at the beginning: his days as his father's "Perfect Little Soldier"...
.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, CH. 2: THE PERFECT LITTLE SOLDIER
BY The Binary Alchemist 2015
“Well? Did you get anything on tape last night?” my publisher wanted to know.
“Yeah. Well….nothing to work with, really.”
There was the sound of some sympathetic clucking on the other side of the phone. “That’s perfectly all right, General Mustang. It takes some getting used to. I’ll check back with you in a few days.”
“Right.” I hung up the phone and tried to avoid the mischievous grin on the other side of the breakfast table, focusing my attention on the sizzling mountain of bacon on my plate. That’s one good thing about my peculiar health situation; I have absolutely no fear of clogged arteries or stroke, so if I want a half a pound of crispy bacon, a three egg omelet with cheese and real cream and sugar in my coffee, then, goddamn it, I’m having it all. Same for Ed, although he says he’ll pass on the bacon in favor of sausages—fried or in my trousers. Bloody sex maniac.
And the Bloody Sex Maniac was the reason I didn’t record anything useful last night. I could imagine slapping that tape down on Hugh’s desk and him having a coronary listening to a half hour of slurping and groaning and the soft sounds of my balls smacking against Edward’s bare backside. I needed to work; he wanted to play, and as soon as he pulled my cock into his mouth my brain melted and the only thing I could manage to say was “more!”
So…let me try again. Hugh has left me a list of questions that I can go over if my thoughts start to run dry.
Set the scene. Tell your readers a little bit about your day today.
The calendar on my desk reads March 6th, 2003. The date on my birth certificate says 20 November, 1885. And while making it into the 110’s is becoming more common—supercentinarians is the term for the 300-500 or so people documented in the world today in my age bracket—I’m the best looking in the bunch. If you were to look at the daily schedule of your average supercentinarian, it might read something like this:
6:00am—7:00 am: wake up and have the nursing attendant hoist you out of bed and into a wheelchair.
7:15am—9:00am: grunt and groan in the bathroom, praying for some sort of bowel movement in hopes that you won’t have to eat another dish of stewed prunes and endure yet another enema.
9:30am—somebody tucks a bib under your chin and spoons mouthfuls of tasteless sludge between your withered lips. You’d like to tell them to fuck off and get you some coffee, a ham steak and some fried potatoes with onions…but they’ve given you so many damn drugs to keep you calm and controllable that all you can do is snooze or gurgle---
You see what I’m getting at? Now here’s my morning:
5:00am—wake up with hangover from the booze and friction burns on your kneecaps from doing things to your husband on the leather upholstery that might still be illegal in some territories.
5:15am—take a shower. Nearly drown when you bend forward to rinse out the shampoo and a very rude finger rams right up between your butt cheeks and wiggles. Retaliate by chasing after Edward with a wet towel, popping him in the ass. The chase ventures down the hall and you collide with housekeeper. She smiles, shrugs, and goes back to dusting. It’s not like she hasn’t seen this sort of thing before.
7:00am—Irvine, the current chef covers the table with the most amazing fry-up . There’s an ocean of coffee, and Ed always wants a sweet roll or two. Our Major Domo, Kyoya Ouran from Kansaki, Nippon, appears at 7:30 on the dot to either make my day or ruin it, depending on what he has down for me on the scheduling books.
Address Parliament? Of course. Considering our daughter is the former Prime Minister, she’d raise hell if I didn’t. Help negotiate a cease-fire on the Pendleton border? Of course. It’s what I’m good at. Draft a proposal to request an increase in funding for space exploration? With Ed raising hell trying to get permission to visit the International Space Station? He’d shoot me if I didn’t.
And so on, and so on, etcetera, etcetera.
Okay, Hugh. Whatever you want. I’ve got that pocket recorder in my shirt. Not that I think anything particularly interesting is going to happen today that will inspire me to write….
Alphonse Elric was a terrible liar. His mother was the first to figure that out. Not that he lied all that often, mind you, but all she had to do was put her hand under his chin and draw his topaz gaze to meet her own and he would blush, stammer and spill the beans.
This is why Ed was immediately suspicious when Al arrived late to breakfast and barely picked at his plate. He hemmed and hawed and giggled nervously, toying with his knife and fork rather than tearing into his ham and eggs.
When Al’s coffee sloshed onto the tablecloth, Ed and Roy nodded to each other. “Speaking of spilling things,” Roy commented nonchalantly, “you might as well tell us.”
“Ha…ah…hmmm.” Mopping frantically at the tidal wave of coffee, Al’s face began turning a splendid shade of crimson. “Ahh…I don’t know what you mean, Roy.”
Fingers snapped and a small column of fire danced from the former president’s hand. “Liar, liar, pants on fire, Al. Want me to prove it?”
Unable to wriggle out of the situation, Alphonse tried to change the subject. “Say, Ed—did you hear that we were finally able to approve underwriting that grant for….” His voice trailed off into an uncomfortable silence. Roy and Edward just stared at him, waiting.
Alphonse finally sighed. “Edison’s coming.” There was no response. “Here, I mean.” He began to giggle furiously. “I mean…that’s good news. Right, Ed? It’s always good to see family.”
The only movement on his older brother’s face was a slight twitch of his right eyebrow.
Al began to babble, sweat popping out on his forehead. “He…um…his parents are…y’know…they have to take an extended research trip downriver to the várzea. You know…the flood forests in the Iquitos Basin? And—“
“—and their nanny quit?” Roy enquired.
“Uh…not exactly.” Al looked desperately from one companion to another. “His parole officer won’t let him go. He has to stay in Europa.” He blotted his damp forehead. “Under house arrest. His mom and dad figured if he needed supervision, where better than with the heads of the family?”
Edward’s voice was dangerously calm. “And they didn’t bother to let me know?”
“Do we have time to hide the silver?”
“Screw the silver, Roy,” Ed snapped. “I’m more worried about him getting into the research lab and trying to make a chimera out of a potted fern and one of Al’s housecats.”
More frantic giggling from Al’s side of the table. “Now, Ed, nobody expected that to work!”
“The cold fusion experiment?”
“He said he was just trying to upgrade the coffee maker.”
“Remember when Emma’s hamster died?” Ed’s voice was smooth and calm but his eyes were snapping with fury. “I remember when the hamster died.”
“Ed, nobody got hurt, and we all know that array wasn’t drawn correctly. He never had a chance of reanimating it.”
“It took weeks to clean up the mess. There’s still some globs and bits of fur all over the basement.”
“Alphonse, I’m sorry.” Roy shook his head and splashed more cream into his coffee. “I’m not prepared right now to babysit a convicted felon.”
“He’s only thirteen years old!”
“Didn’t his sister try to sell him on one of those online auctions as an ‘occult artifact’?”
Al rose to his feet, slamming his palms down on the table top. “And I suppose you were a perfect saint growing up, right, Roy?”
The former President of Amestris sighed and admired his manicured nails. “Me? Why I never gave anybody a moment’s trouble as a child, Alphonse. I was the perfect little soldier….”
“I suppose you were a perfect saint growing up, right, Roy?”
No, Al. I don’t believe in god, and the only saints I might have would be the loved ones that have gone before me. In times of duress, I admit I will settle myself in the grass at Hughes’ grave and carry on a conversation with my old friend as if we were sharing a beer together in the days when he was still alive.
Oddly, there are two that I’ve never turned to in times of stress, not since my childhood: my mother and my father. Not that I thought they couldn’t hear me—but because I always felt I never needed to ask for them.
Death is an odd thing, you know. For those of us who have gone through the Gateway, we do not need the assurance and comfort of organized religion. Nothing ends. Nothing is lost.
I saw Hughes inside the Gate. I saw him, spoke to him, embraced him, and when this life is finished for me I have no doubt we will meet again and laugh our asses off over the mistakes of the past. But Maes Hughes wasn’t the only familiar face I saw during that all too brief passage beyond this reality.
I saw the fleeting form of Heathcliff Arber, my close Ishballan friend who shot me on the battlefield, only to fall from a single shot from Hughes. I saw my mad but brilliant master, Berthold Hawkeye, who discovered Flame Alchemy—his glory and his undoing. I saw my father—still very much the soldier he had always been, snapping to salute me, eyes warm with pride and genuine affection.
And, for the first and only time, I saw Mother.
Unlike Edward and Alphonse, I never felt the keen yearning for the comfort of my mother’s love. She died giving birth to me. The loss of my father, on the other hand, was almost beyond my comprehension. It was like someone squeezed the very breath out of my lungs. My five year old mind simply couldn’t wrap itself around the enormity of that loss. But that would have been nothing compared to the fate the State might have reserved for this military orphan if my Aunt Chris hadn’t taken matters into her own hands….
THE PERFECT LITTLE SOLDIER
“Awful…oh, it’s just awful!” Berta, the cook daubed at her eyes with the corner of her apron. “I don’t know what will happen to poor Master Roy, losing his father like this! Who’s going to tell him?”
May, the housekeeper, straightened her cap and nodded at the mirror. With all the hullabaloo that was about to break loose in Major Mustang’s house, it paid to look one’s best. After all, with the Major dead and the Missus long gone, they’d all of them have to think to their next positions, wouldn’t they? So it was wise to look neat and efficient in the days to come. No knowing who might pay a sympathy call to the young master who might need to hire some new faces around their own estates. “One of those ghastly men from the Friends of Widows and Orphans, most likely. I know I wasn’t told nothin’ about it. Where’s the boy right now?”
“Where else? Out in the stables with his riding master. Asked me for some apples and carrots when he breezed out the door. Loves them beasts as much as his father did.”
“Well,” May chuffed, “won’t do him no good going forward, right? It’s going to be the Orphan’s Crèche for Master Roy, ‘cause there ain’t nobody to take him, far as I know.”
“More leg. Straighten your back!”
Hitchcock shook his head. What was the Major thinking, calling him in to train a boy so young? Better that young Roy had been given a few more years to develop his leg muscles. Still, he admitted to himself, the boy had promise. If he slid off his pony and hit the dirt, the child would get up, dust himself off and climb right back up again. “Don’t care what they say about his mother. This one’s every inch a Mustang.”
“Mustangs aren’t born; they’re foaled. Every damn one of them, as far back as anyone can remember.” Did the family actually carry the name or did they assume it out of their passion for horse breeding? Nobody knew for sure and nobody was fool enough to enquire. Sufficient to say that the sons and daughters of the Mustang family were born to the saddle and bridle. Racing, breeding, or dressage, it didn’t matter. They had old money and respect and were well placed in the military, and from the gleaming gilded running mare on their weathervane to the dung heaps behind the barn, the Mustang name was linked to alchemic and political power, honor and prestige.
At least it had been.
Just as the gold leaf was flaking off the running mare that crowned their rooftop, a subtle tarnish had come over the family name in the last generation, owing to the behavior of the brother and sister, Roy and Christine.
Christine—or Chris, as she styled herself—knew her role in life. She was to marry into a good military family, raise a brood of athletic green-eyed children and spend her days adorning the tea tables at the Officer’s Club, planning charity polo matches. Roy, her sturdy older brother, had entered the military officer’s training school at sixteen, had qualified as a State Alchemist and should have risen quickly through the ranks, bringing more luster to the family’s reputation for producing the most decorated cavalry officers in the Amestrian Army.
Both children had let their parents down, and it was whispered about that if the elder Mustangs hadn’t died in the great influenza epidemic of 1880, they would have shot themselves out of shame the way the Xingese were rumored to do—because, after all, wasn’t it Xingese blood that had disgraced the purity of the Mustang bloodline?
For Roy Mustang, third of that name and the only son born of his father, had married a Xink. An ugly word, but it was the word whispered behind his back in the barracks. Those more favorably disposed towards Major Mustang would point out that his alchemist wife was, in fact, only part Xingese, receiving her heritage from her maternal grandmother. The fact that she was an ethereal beauty of regal bearing and keen intelligence meant nothing. Major Mustang had betrayed his Amestrian race and married a mixed-blood woman who was raised in her grandmother’s country. And worse luck—his only child favored the mother, with his ivory skin and almond shaped eyes. “My brother’s gonna have a hard road,” his aunt had been heard to observe.
Major Mustang could have said the same thing about his sister, twice over.
They hissed and whispered behind her back. She didn’t even have the good breeding to be embarrassed. Caught in a compromising situation with a married man, and her not even sixteen at the time! Mortified, her father the old Colonel threatened to send her to a Letoist convent. Christine told her father to go to blazes. He ordered her to leave. She told him she was already packed and had tickets ‘on the first train headed anywhere but here.”
If there had been a child at issue, it had been done away with, and the last time anyone had seen Christine Mustang she had been lighting up a cigarette on the platform, luggage at her feet and no farewells for anyone other than her brother, who had slipped away to kiss his sister goodbye.
He pressed a wallet full of banknotes into her hands. “I know you say you can take care of yourself, Chris—but take this, just to please me. I’ll feel better if you—“
“—okay. Okay. To make you feel better, brother. If you want to stay cooped up in that golden cage, be my guest. Just know this,” she dropped her cigarette to the pavement and squashed it with her shoe, “the moment you even think about stepping out of line, they’ll cut you dead.” She embraced him briefly. “I’ll write when I settle someplace. And if there’s anything I can ever do for you—“
“—I’ll never hesitate, I swear it, Chris.”
Six years later, the Major was dead, leaving a mixed blood child trotting dutifully around the paddock, with no idea that the world was about to reject him as brutally as it had rejected Chris Mustang…..
I switched off the recorder. Ed shoved his head inside my office. “The kid’s here.”
“Who? Edison? Alone? Where’s Emma?”
“She’s coming by cab. Her brother,” Ed scowled, “arrived early, with an escort. In handcuffs. Something about joyriding around the runway with a stolen baggage transport. You got enough money for bail?”
…TO BE CONTINUED…