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~Holiday~ updated (1/16) *complete*


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Title: Holiday

Fandom: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood [manga]

DISCLAIMER: All credit to Hiromu Arakawa for creating and owning the characters that I know and love to torture! lol, In other words, I DO NOT own FMA. :]

Summary: When Roy Mustang is in a bad mood, his whole team is affected by it. But what happens when his refusal to slow down interferes with his subordinates' Harvest Festival plans?

A/N: Hi guys! So, in homage to the American Thanksgiving, I have decided to post a little something that I've been working on for a while smile.png This story is a representation of the undying love I have for Team Mustang happy.png While this is probably the last long fic I will write for Fullmetal Alchemist/Roy Mustang, this series and this character will always have a place in my all-time favorites. (And it will crop up in my short stories, I promise. XD) biggrin.png This piece is chiefly fluff, which I think I'm getting better at writing (or more accustomed to writing, anyway tonguesmiley.gif ) but it evolved from an idea that occurred to me several months ago that I thought would be fun to play with. And it was. aaevil.gif There are multiple chapterlets to it, so I will post one a day until it's all up. :3

So, without further ado, have some random, lovable, hopefully-canon-accurate Team Mustang slice-of-life! I hope you enjoy. happy.png


Any day that Colonel Roy Mustang forgot his umbrella was sure to be a bad day.

This was a fact well and widely known throughout Eastern Command, especially amongst the soldiers who happened to work in Mustang’s division – for they were inevitably the ones on whom any consequent misfortune would fall.

Now, it was also well known that Mustang was an excellent leader. He was dependable, fair, poised, and tenacious; he would never have obtained his current leadership position otherwise. These traits granted him the favor of many of his superiors, and the respect and admiration of his subordinates.

Nevertheless, there were still days on which it was not extremely pleasant to serve under him. Days like today, for example... When the rain descended upon the city in endless sheets, saturating the buildings and the roads and the passersby, pouring down from the gray sky with seemingly no end in sight. If the Colonel completed his fifteen minute walk to work without the shelter of an umbrella or other rain gear... well, that day was bound to be a bad one, plain and simple fact.

At best, he would be moody, tired; conveniently choosing to leave most (or all) of his work in the capable hands of his diligent subordinates. But at worst...

“Who’s handling the standards profiles?! I need the Calsiff documents. NOW!”

The men and women in the outer office looked up in alarm as the door to Mustang’s personal office swung open with considerable force and its occupant glared threateningly out.

A very young, very timid private rose from his seat, hurriedly crossing over to his commanding officer. “Y-yes, sir, right away,” he managed to stammer, giving a deferential and apologetic nod as Mustang stepped back to allow him to enter.

A collective sigh of relief issued from those in the main room as the door was shut.

Master Sergeant Kain Fuery lifted headphones from his ears, peering with interest around the radio he was working on. “Hm, I wonder what’s got the Colonel all worked up?” he mused, laying the headphones on the desk. “The Gail case must not be going very well... I feel bad for him, he’s been trying to close that one for the past fortnight, at least.”

The man working beside him, Second Lieutenant Jean Havoc, leaned back in his chair, a cigarette between his teeth. “Ehh, I feel worse for Willin than for the Colonel,” he remarked, shaking his head. “The Colonel looks about ready to kill someone. Poor Willin doesn’t stand a chance.”

“Now, now,” soothed another member of Mustang’s team, Warrant Officer Vato Falman, “he may be in a bad mood, but Willin’s not in danger of being fried. The Lieutenant’s in there too, remember?”

Havoc chuckled. “That’s true. I guess he’ll be all right, then.”

The heavyset man seated beside Falman – Second Lieutenant Heymans Breda – snorted. “I don’t see what he’s so pissed about,” he grumbled, drumming his fingers on the table. “It’s not like we’re not gonna be here working for him all day tomorrow...

Falman shook his head sagely. “Breda, we’d all like to have the holiday off, but it’s ultimately the Colonel’s decision... we have a lot of work still to be done, and orders are orders.”

Breda scowled. “Well, then, the least he could do is be considerate to us now,” he muttered. “I’m sacrificing my turkey dinner to be here tomorrow.”

The door to Mustang’s office opened again, and they all fell silent, looking up. Private Willen exited, looking rather shaken, but unharmed. Keeping his gaze down toward the floor, he clumped over to the cluster of officers.

“Lieutenant Havoc, sir!” he pronounced, saluting him. “Colonel Mustang requests your statistics report. He says it can’t wait.”

Havoc raised his eyebrows, pushing back his chair and standing. “Oh?” He shuffled some sheets of paper together, eyes roving across the desk for a stapler. “I haven’t proofread it yet... I hope he doesn’t mind.”

“Here.” Fuery leaned forward helpfully, offering him a stapler.

Havoc took it. “Thanks.” He carefully stapled the corner of the stack, then adjusted the cigarette in his mouth as he prepared to cross the room.

Breda smirked up at him as he passed. “What’s the matter, Havoc?” he snarked. “You look a little pale.”

Havoc gave him a withering look. “Aw, shut it, Breda,” he retorted. “I’m not afraid of the Colonel, and you know it.”

Breda gave a laugh, but it wasn’t derisive. “Yeah... good luck, Havoc.”

Havoc grinned, waving a hand in his friend’s direction as he made his way toward the door. “Right.” He turned the handle, smile fading slightly. I’m gonna need it...

The first thing Havoc noticed about his superior’s office was the curious lack of light. Colonel Mustang’s personal room had two large picture windows in one wall that allowed ample daylight in; but today, though the sky was already dim and gray thanks to the gloomy autumn weather, the curtains were fastened shut, the only light in the room issuing from the small desk lamps belonging to the Colonel and his assistant, First Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye.

Both Colonel Mustang and Lieutenant Hawkeye were intent on their work, and only Hawkeye looked up as Havoc entered. She stood as Havoc crossed the room, clearing his throat.

Mustang raised his head, laying down his pen. “Oh, good, it’s you.” He straightened, holding out a hand. “You have the report?”

Havoc nodded, giving the papers to him. “Yes sir,” he responded, squinting in the low light. He glanced at Hawkeye, then at the covered windows. “Got a headache or something, Colonel?”

Mustang looked up from thumbing through the report. “Wh–” He cleared his throat. “No. Why do you ask?”

Havoc shrugged dismissively. “No reason. It’s just so dark in here, I thought maybe the light bothered you. How can you even see in here?”

Mustang stiffened slightly, looking around as if he was only now realizing how low the light was. “Lieutenant, open the curtains, will you?” he muttered.

Hawkeye raised an eyebrow, but complied. “Yes, sir.”

The Colonel did not give him leave to return to his work, so Havoc remained standing there, watching the Colonel peruse his report. It was rather warm in the room, but the Colonel still had his heavy trench coat draped about his shoulders; and in the improved light, Havoc could see the fatigue lining his superior’s face. No wonder he’s in such a foul mood, Havoc thought. He’s exhausted... and that’s no surprise. He’s been running himself ragged for weeks now. He sighed, touching his fingers to his cigarette and taking an absentminded draw from it.

“Have you found out anything else about the possible con– ” Mustang’s voice caught, and he gave an irritated cough. He cleared his throat again and continued. “ – the contingencies surrounding the Gail case? We may not have had much luck in the past few days, but you need to keep looking. You never know what you might run into...” He coughed again, pressing a gloved hand to his mouth.

Havoc tilted his head, puzzled. Is my smoke bothering him? he wondered. He’s never had a problem with it before, though...

Suddenly, Havoc felt a bizarre sense of disquietude, and he turned his head.

Hawkeye was boring a pointed, disapproving stare into him.

Realizing that she must be entertaining the same thoughts, he removed the offending object from his mouth and snuffed it out, tossing it into a nearby ashtray.

Mustang paid him no heed, scrawling a note on a piece of paper. “Here. Redo sections D and H,” he enjoined, handing the report back to Havoc. “I’m writing down what I need you to change.” His voice seemed strained, still rougher despite the absence of cigarette smoke.

Havoc took the paper back without a word, dutifully waiting for his C.O. to finish writing out his instructions. The next few moments passed in silence, filled only by the scratching of Mustang’s pen against the paper.

Havoc’s mind began to wander, until eventually the sound of scribbling stopped and he looked up expectantly. However, Mustang did not appear to be ready to give any orders. His pen was poised halfway to the paper, an oddly preoccupied look on his face.

Havoc was just about to speak up when Mustang twitched forward.


He stifled it so that it was barely audible, but Havoc knew a sneeze when he saw one. He opened his mouth to give the appropriate response, but his boss wasn’t finished.

Nnkcht! HnNngxt!

Mustang stifled two more sneezes into his fist, then relaxed, sighing quietly.

“Gesundheit,” Havoc offered. He was ignored.

The Colonel added a couple more lines to the note, then gazed at it as if rereading it.

Havoc began to grow a little impatient as the minutes ticked by.

At last, when the Colonel still had not moved, Havoc ventured, “Um.. sir?”

Roy started, as if he had forgotten Havoc was even there. “Oh, yes.” He handed him the note. “See if you can have that done within the hour, all right?”

Havoc saluted him. “Yes, sir.” He cast one final glance at the Lieutenant, then left.

Lieutenant Hawkeye watched him go, then approached her superior. “Sir, can I get you anything?”

Roy glanced up at her. “Is your logistics report finished?” he asked.

She blinked. “No sir... that’s not due until tomorrow.”

He returned his attention to his work. “Then, no. You may go back to work, Lieutenant.”

She frowned slightly, moving back to her own desk. “Sir.”

She kept an eye on the Colonel as she worked. She could tell that he was not feeling well, but she didn’t know if he was even admitting that to himself yet.

She sighed. She had tried to find him a dry uniform to change into that morning, but he had refused to wear basics, and so was still clad in his damp officers’ jacket.

Also, contrary to what he had told Havoc, he most definitely did have a headache, if the way he was resting his hand against his temples was any indication. Nevertheless, he did not say a thing; nor did he ask for anything else all afternoon.

As time went on, he continued to clear his throat and stifle sneezes with increasing frequency. Hawkeye eyed him warily, her suspicions about his physical state growing stronger. Still, she refrained from saying anything. It was not currently interfering with either of their duties, so it was not her place to comment.

….However, as it turned out, she did not have to.

At about four o’clock – three and a half hours before his normal quitting time – Roy abruptly shut his notebook and stood. Hawkeye shot him a questioning look, but he did not acknowledge it, marching right past her to the entrance of his office.

Nonplussed, Hawkeye followed after him, standing in the doorway as he halted to address the staff in the main room.

“I’ve changed my mind,” he announced gruffly, causing everyone to look up in shock. “Finish up whatever you’re working on and go home,” he continued, crossing his arms. “And don’t show up tomorrow. It’s a holiday.”

With that, he turned on his heel and tromped out the door.

Awed murmuring began as soon as he left. Upon noticing her standing there, everyone gazed expectantly at Lieutenant Hawkeye... but she did not say a word, and presently gathered her things and left as well.

When she had gone, Breda gave a low whistle. “Would you look at that,” he commented. “What do you suppose would convince him to change his mind?”

Fuery began putting his equipment away with a resigned expression. “He must’ve gotten a hot date or something...”

Havoc lit another cigarette, frowning. “No.. I don’t think that’s it.”

Breda gave a contented sigh. “Well, whatever it is, I don’t care!” he declared. “Now I can have my turkey dinner.”

Falman looked pleased as well. “I can go visit my family after all,” he added.

Fuery nodded. “Me too!” He looked at Havoc. “What about you? What will you do, Havoc?”

Havoc tidied up his own desk contemplatively. “Well, my girlfriend invited me over...” he started. “But...” He trailed off.

Breda raised his eyebrows. “’But..’ what? C’mon Havoc, I’ve never heard you be hesitant about a girl.”

Havoc roused himself. “Oh, no, that’s not what I was thinking about,” he clarified. “I was just thinking about the Colonel.”

Fuery stood, pushing his chair in. “Yeah? What about him?”

Havoc stood as well, tugging his coat on over his uniform jacket. “I don’t think he’s feeling well... and frankly, it’s no wonder,” he replied. “You know how he is with rain. And he walked all the way here in it today.”

Fuery nodded as understanding dawned on him. “Hm... that would certainly explain his bad mood, anyway,” he remarked thoughtfully.

Breda frowned. “You think he’ll be okay?”

Falman folded his arms. “Well, he did cancel work tomorrow. I suppose if he takes a break from work same as us, he’ll be all right.”

“Yeah...” Havoc nodded in agreement, shoving his hands into his pockets. “I just hope he actually gets some decent rest, that’s all. He could really use it.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Uht’TSH-sHU!!” Roy was unwillingly pulled from the comfortable oblivion of sleep by a maddeningly compulsatory need to sneeze. His eyes dragged open, and he groggily pushed himself upright, sniffling tiredly as he glanced at the time.


Groaning, he flopped onto his back, rubbing a sleeve half-heartedly over his mouth. Wonderful. I have the day off, but my body won’t even let me sleep in.

His eyes drifted closed, his thoughts becoming disjointed and drowsy again... but his nose wouldn’t cooperate. “Heh...” He clenched his teeth, willing the tickle to leave him alone. Come on...

Heh-hh...Hht’TSCHHF!!” No such luck.

He ferociously smothered it into his pajama sleeve, but that did not prevent the explosion from tearing against his extremely sore throat. He opened his eyes, staring blearily up at the rough surface of his bedroom ceiling.


Reluctantly, he sat up again, wincing at the pain that predictably erupted in the very center of his skull, throbbing in perfect time with his pulse. He ran his hand through his unruly black bangs, brushing them out of his face. He hadn’t felt this awful since he’d caught the flu on a visit to Central several years ago... not even after a long night at the bar. He sniffed again, rubbing the worn fabric against his afflicted nose. Of course, that was a different sort of awful... but still.

“Well, there’s doh poi’t id stayi’g id bed, I guess...” he muttered aloud – and cringed. He sounded every bit as horrible as he felt.

He sighed, slowly swinging his legs over the side of the bed, then stood up. The floor seemed to tilt beneath him, and he hurriedly grabbed the edge of his bedside table. When he felt steady enough, he began making his way to the door. The wooden floorboards chilled his bare feet, sending unpleasant shivers up and down his spine. The aggravating itch flared up within his sinuses in response to that, and once again he willed himself not to sneeze.

Hht’TSCH-huh!!”...and once again, his body did not mind him.

He exhaled heavily, feeling achy and nasty all over... from the top of his head to the tips of his toes.

It was going to be a long, long day.

~ ~ ~ ~

Roy splashed his face vigorously, as if he could scrub the fatigue off with the soap. It didn’t work, of course, and his spirits sank even further as he stared at his washed-up reflection in the mirror. The droplets trickled along his jawline and dripped off the ends of his hair, falling benignly into the sink. Even though the water was warm, it still sent chills through his exhausted body, and he groped around for a towel. Drying off his face did not bring about much improvement, he decided dully.

His eyes were puffy and red-rimmed, his nose already chafed and pink, even though he really hadn’t been sick for all that long... and the bruise-colored marks smudged beneath his eyes and the fatigue lines that showed up everywhere made him look ten years older than he really was. He scowled at his reflection, then swallowed painfully. His throat was on fire.

Hmp-TCHSHh!” He muffled another sneeze into his sleeve, strangling a moan at the agony it ignited in his throat. He let his arm fall, wondering languidly to himself why he bothered to cover his mouth now. Force of habit, he supposed... years of exercising the decorum expected by a commanding officer.

He sniffled deeply, trying in vain to breathe. He tugged a cabinet door open, found a handkerchief, and blew his nose.

“It’s a good thi’g you dod’t have to work today,” he told his reflection sourly. “If you wedt id looki’g like this, you’d dever hear the e’d of it, trust be...” He coughed, rubbing the back of his neck. He had originally wanted to get in a good ten hours in today, to get a jump on finishing the Gail case. After yesterday morning, though, he’d quickly realized that in all likelihood he would end up… like this... and be rendered incapable of getting any work done. Besides, he was well aware of how much his teammates had resented the idea of working through a holiday... so this way, they could do as they pleased, and he could stay home and be miserable in peace. It was for the best.

“Everywud wids,” he croaked to himself. The silence seemed to mock his words, and he sighed, shivering.

After rummaging around for a pair of house slippers, he went out into the main room, not bothering to change out of his pajamas. The larger, empty area was much cooler than his room, and he shuddered at the difference in temperature. Wrapping his arms about himself, he gazed at the jumbled mess of odds and ends that was his living room. Various belongings of his were strewn about the couch and floor and low table, giving the room a very lived-in appearance.

When was the last time I cleaned this place...? he thought sleepily, the corners of his mouth turning downward into a frown. He sighed, massaging his forehead with his cold fingers. He was far too tired to think about that sort of thing right now...

A gust of wind rattled the windowpanes, whistling down the sooty chimney in the center of the small house. Roy glanced up at the window, noting the clear sunshine already filtering across the cluttered floor. His eyes watered, and he found himself inhaling sharply yet again. “hh...t’SHHU! Het’TSCH!!” He sneezed a harsh double, shrinking into his dampening sleeve. “Dabbit...” he mumbled, rubbing at his eyes with the back of his hand.

His gaze shifted to the fireplace in the middle of the room, and he shook his head slightly. The pile of blackened wood hadn’t been lit in quite some time, but there was enough there to make a decent blaze. He shuffled over to the coat rack, poking around in the pockets of his trenchcoat until he found what he wanted.

He slipped the white glove over his hand, fingers clumsy with exhaustion and cold, and knelt in front of the fireplace. Stretching out his arm, he snapped, watching the sputter of amber sparks fall onto the charred log as the friction of cloth against cloth brought them to being.

Nothing happened.

He furrowed his brow, leaning in closer and rubbing the tips of his fingers together directly over the wood. The resulting tiny shower of sparks landed dutifully on the black surface, but all of them failed to catch. Roy shifted to a more comfortable position, pressing the palm of his other hand to the ground. “I guess I’ll just have to help it alo’g,” he groused to himself.

For a moment, he almost thought he forgot the mental commands for the oxygen transmutation, but then his weary brain remembered that that particular one was one that he could practically perform in his sleep. He proceeded to initiate it, running the calculations through his subconscious as the array imprinted on the glove shimmered. Unfortunately, however, he was interrupted in a most inopportune manner.

Hht’TSCH-huh!!” The sneeze caught him completely off-guard, and the transmutation dropped as he lost all his concentration.

He paused, fist hovering in front of his face as his breath quivered. “Hh-hh – HhTSh-SHU!!” Another shiver racked his body, and for a few moments he simply sat there on the cold floor, feeling rather disoriented. After a minute, however, his eyes flew open and he glared at his hands. “What the hell...!!” he growled, clenching his fists. “Cub od, wake up!!” He straightened, raising his hand, and forced his mind to activate the array again, snapping his fingers.

He felt the air rush obediently past him to surround the logs, pressurizing as he separated out and concentrated the oxygen. However, as the energy bled into the equation, the amount demanded from his own body was so unexpectedly great that he faltered, the sparks missing the pocket of altered air as his arm involuntarily retracted. He cried out without meaning to as every cell in his body seemed to protest the depletion, rocking onto his hands as the horrific pain in his head increased exponentially. He hissed through his teeth, his arms trembling as he felt the air return to normal.

He weakly wiped his brow, blinking up at the mantle above him. No tinderbox, of course. What in the world would the Flame Alchemist want with a tinderbox?

As the outcry of his muscles and head subsided a fraction, he shakily pulled himself to his feet. He wrenched the glove off, scrunching it angrily in his fist.

Useless,” he spat, slapping it down onto the mantle. “Absolutely... Uht’tSCHH!” The sneeze nearly doubled him over, and he gave up on finishing the self-deprecating thought. Instead, he wandered over to the kitchen, cracking open first his cupboards, and then his refrigerator.

He didn’t have much in the way of food. Some cereal, crackers, an old package of pasta... he had meant to go grocery shopping after work one of these days, but it hadn’t happened...


Roy gingerly rested his hand on his throat. And needless to say, shopping was quite out of the question now.

He grabbed a box of cereal and trudged over to his kitchen table, plunking it down in the center and sinking into a chair. It was just as well... today was the Harvest Festival, after all. The stores probably weren’t even open.

He laid his head on his folded arms, staring disconsolately at the box. The clock on the wall chimed, announcing the hour.


Roy sniffled. What a holiday.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First installment, done! As always, I would love to hear what you think! biggrin.png

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you know....I LOVE FMA!!! and I :heart: you for writing so awesome stories about roy and ed!!! :yes:

this is so adorable! :drool:

roys sneezes just made me melt! :drool::nosebleed:

just can´t find the right words to tell you how happy i am...!!!

please give MOOOOAAARRR sneezy!roy!!! :wub:

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also I can't believe you're giving us something on your birthday

you spoil us :heart:

It's hilarious the way he peptalks himself with his reflection :D

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You want to know what I think?! I think it was awesome!!! Your fluff is cleverly disguised as plot. At least, that's what it seems like is going on here. xD But dude, you could write fluff forever and ever and I'd still read it! Oddly enough, I like Havoc best here. I don't know some of the characters very well, but hey, it seems like you did awesome with them, and you definitely kept the ones I DO know perfectly in character, as always. :D But Havoc!

And you say you're updating daily? I won't have internet access the next few days, so I'm really looking forward to seeing what's happened by the time I return. xD

Seriously, like Emily said, thanks for giving us awesome gifts on your birthday. xD Happy Thanksgiving!! :D

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Thanks so much, you guys! I don't think I can ever reiterate enough how glad I am that you enjoy the stuff I share with you happy.png You are the reason I keep posting. biggrin.png

@Emily: lolol well I didn't exactly intend it this way heh.gif I always planned to post this over Thanksgiving weekend. I didn't realize that my birthday would be the day before (when the first installment happens) so it's actually really weird XD (my birthday usually falls the week before.. so yeah... lol)

@Elements: LOL!! Umm... well... I guess it does have plot '.' hahaha I guess I think of "plot" as heavy series-pertinent material... which this does not have XD But this does have slice-of-life plot, so... well then. laughing.gif I'm so glad you like it though! biggrin.png

Omgosh, I LOVE Havoc. He is so awesome happy.png I have written/planned to write some things about him, as a matter of fact.... tonguesmiley.gif hehe... But seriously, I love everyone in Mustang's unit - which is pretty much the point of this fic XD So if you like how I write them, that makes me happy happy.png

Haha well that was my original plan.. and then I remembered that I will probably not have time to edit the pieces for posting this weekend <.< So... I'm going to post the next bit right now instead of tomorrow, and then hopefully another piece tomorrow... but I probably won't be able to post the rest until Sunday sleep.png (sorry guys..) So depending on how long you're gone, you might not miss much lol...

Thanks! Happy Thanksgiving to you too!! smile.png

Okay, next part. XD The... ahem... plot... thickens X)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“Hey... Fuery... Are you sure this is a good idea?”

The question hung benignly in the chilly autumn air as the two officers climbed up the plain wooden steps.

Kain Fuery paused at the edge of the porch, freeing one hand to adjust his spectacles as he gazed at the habitation before them. It was small, barely worthy to be labeled a “house” – just one of many low buildings that occupied the 17th military-owned residence district.

“Yes, I’m sure,” he assured, shifting the packages in his hands. “Assuming that Lieutenant Havoc was right, the Colonel must really be feeling awful if he decided to take the day off last-minute like this. The least we can do is make sure he’s okay.”

“Yeah, yeah..” Breda grumbled, peering into one of the bags he was holding. “Just don’t whine to me if he decides to court-martial us. Or worse.”

Fuery chuckled, clumping over to the door and reaching for the bell buzzer. “Don’t worry, Breda, the Colonel won’t do anything to us. He needs us too much.”

Breda snorted. “Riiight. That’s real reassuring. Thanks.”

Fuery shook his head with a smile, then depressed the button.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


“Hnh–!” Roy’s head snapped up as the noise painfully jerked him awake. The involuntary gasp that he uttered irritated his raw throat, and he began to cough. He straightened dazedly, looking to the clock. It was nearly 9:00am now.. which meant he had been fitfully dozing for almost two full hours.

It took him a minute to register the aggravating sound as his doorbell. His eyebrows drew together, and he stood groggily, rubbing the back of his neck. “What the hell...?” He padded over to the front door, too out of it to recall or care that he was still in his pajamas.


The obnoxious tickle faithfully manifested itself within his sinuses again as he slowly woke up, and he sneezed violently into his sleeve as he fumbled for the chain lock. He blinked rapidly, willing his vision to clear as he slid the chain over and tugged the door open.

The bright morning sunshine hit him square in the eyes, almost making him sneeze again... but the sight of his visitors struck him with such complete shock that words sprang unbidden from him instead.

“B..Breda? Fuery? What the–?!”

Fuery beamed. “Good morning, sir! We came to see how you were doing.”

Roy blinked in the sunlight, digging a fist into his eyes in a remarkably childlike gesture. “You... what?”

Breda gave an involuntary nervous chuckle. “It.. it was Fuery’s idea, sir,” he said hastily, nudging his teammate with his elbow. “We mean no intrusion, believe me.” He frowned, eying his superior with mild unease.

Fuery and Havoc were right about one thing... the Colonel looked absolutely terrible. Breda was not sure that he’d ever seen him so disheveled and unwell-looking before. Usually, Roy Mustang was nothing if not cool and collected.. but now his customary imperious manner was nowhere to be seen. The sight of him standing before them in his pajamas, hair and clothing rumpled and face blotchy and puffy, was one that Breda was not sure how to react to.

Breda’s almost apologetic explanation did not appear to really register with their lethargic commanding officer, however. He shifted, supporting his weight on the weathered doorframe with one hand. “Hmh..What’s all this?” he murmured, motioning halfheartedly at the packages in their hands. It seemed almost as though he were still half-asleep.

Breda straightened slightly. “It’s food, sir. You know, for the holidays.”

Fuery lowered a couple parcels so that he had a clearer view of his companions’ faces. “We wanted to make sure you had a good meal for today, sir,” he elaborated, directing a small grin up at Breda. “That was Breda’s idea.”

Roy glanced sleepily from one man to the other, finally attempting to respond with what was supposed to be good-natured sarcasm. “Oh... w..was it rehh –” he broke off as he tried to speak, however, his brow knitting as his nose wrinkled. “hehh...hetTSCHU!” The first sneeze nearly pitched him forward, and his fingers dug into the wooden frame of the door as it was followed by two more. ‘TSCHH! HhiSCH!

Breda and Fuery glanced at one another, startled. Roy gave his head a sort of dazed shake, pawing wearily at his offending feature with the cuff of his sleeve. “Excuse be,” he mumbled, refusing to meet their gaze.

Fuery tilted his head. “Sir..” he began sympathetically, peering over his assortment of packages. “We just –”


He was interrupted by another sneeze from Mustang, this one wetter and more forceful than before. Fuery bit his lip as his C.O. sniffled miserably, obviously trying to keep himself from sneezing... but failing wretchedly in his endeavors.

Heh’TSH-U! Hh-hh-hh... HuhISHHhuh!!” The increasing violence of Roy’s unfortunate explosions served to further unnerve his subordinates. Fuery took an unconscious step backward, and Breda glanced at him. It suddenly occurred to him that the last thing the Colonel needed was to be standing out in the chilly autumn air on account of his two nosy subordinates; therefore, he did the only thing that seemed appropriate in this situation.

“Geez, Colonel,” he scolded mildly, taking his C.O. firmly by the elbow and ushering him back through the doorway, “get inside before you catch your death!”

Fuery quickly followed his example, stepping in behind them and closing the door. He promptly made his way over to the table and began unloading the packages from his arms.

Once inside, Breda guided Mustang across the cluttered living room and over to the couch, then cleared the clothing and books and miscellaneous items off of one end and sat Mustang down before he knew what was happening. “There you go sir, now you can rest,” he stated.

Mustang rubbed at his forehead with the back of one limp hand, glancing blearily up at him. “Wh..-”

“Say, Colonel,” Fuery called over from the kitchen, where he was poking around in the refrigerator and cupboards. “Where’s all your food?”

Mustang blinked. “Well –” congestion rumbled in his chest, however, and he interrupted himself with ragged coughing.

Breda turned, curious. “What do you mean, Fuery?”

Fuery tramped over, the tired cereal box in one hand. “Is this seriously all you were planning to eat today, sir?” he asked, appearing mildly appalled.

Roy shrugged listlessly. “I wasedt... really that hu’gry...” he mumbled, sniffling.

Breda snatched the box from Fuery and strode across to the kitchen. “That’s ridiculous, Colonel, you gotta keep your strength up if you wanna get better!”

Fuery smiled approvingly after him, shrugging out of his long overcoat. “Absolutely!” he agreed, laying it on the coffee table beside him. “Good thing you brought the ingredients for the soup.”

Breda was already making preparations. “Yep.” He craned his neck to look in his superior’s direction. “I hope you don’t mind if I do some cooking, sir,” he commented blithely.

Mustang’s head snapped up. “’Cooki’g’..? Ow..” He massaged the spot between his eyes as the sudden motion set the room spinning. “Whuthehel...”

Fuery rounded the table, tilting his head to catch his C.O.’s slurred words. “Don’t worry, sir,” he soothed, dumping some stuff off of the surface of the table and perching on the edge of it. “Breda’s an amazing cook, and he’s gonna make you some nice chicken soup. Okay?”

“But I dod’t deed ady sou –” Roy began feebly, then winced as his protest rasped against his vocal cords. “Unhh...” Though he was feeling more and more exhausted by the minute, his body then decided that sneezing was somehow still a good idea. “Hhuh..heh-hh – hutTSCH-uh! HeptSCHU!” He felt around for his handkerchief, then pressed a rather wet-looking corner of it to his weary nose, sniffling thickly.

Fuery produced a fresh handkerchief from his own pocket and leaned forward, setting it on Roy’s knee. “There you go, sir.”

Roy opened his mouth, but then just gave up. He blew his nose into the clean piece of cloth, then heaved a sigh that seemed to come from his toes.

Fuery frowned slightly as something occurred to him. He rose, and contemplatively made his way over to the fireplace. “Man, it’s freezing in here!” he observed, bending down. “Say, Breda, you don’t happen have a lighter on you, do you?”

Breda didn’t bother to look up from the pot of water he was setting on the stove. “Nope... and the human chimney isn’t here either, so I guess you’re outta luck.”

Fuery looked regretful. “Colonel, do you have a...”

He trailed off as Roy glowered stormily at him from his seat on the couch.

“Never mind.” He clumped back over to the table and sat down.

Roy dug his fists into his eyes, then swiped at his nose with the back of one wrist. “What are you doi’g?” he said peevishly. “I thought you all had your owd plads for today...”

“We do,” said Fuery earnestly, “but as your subordinates, it’s our responsibility to make sure that our superior officer is safe and well at all times.”

Breda ambled over, bearing a glass of water for Roy. “Which is formal-ass military speak for ‘we’re your friends and we wanted to make sure you’re all right and don’t starve to death on the day of the Harvest Festival.’”

Roy shifted. “I’b..” he stopped. To say he was fine would have been such an outrageous lie that he decided not even to go there. “...I see.” He accepted the glass with a sigh and tipped some of the contents into his mouth, grimacing slightly as the cool liquid met the rawness of his throat. He leaned forward, setting the glass on the table, and cradled his forehead in one hand. “Please tell be this isedt sub bizarre cudspiracy you’ve all cudcocted to see if you cad get proboted at the expedse of your superior officer..” he muttered as Breda turned toward the kitchen again.

“Nope, no conspiracy here, Colonel,” Breda replied lightly, waving a dismissive hand as he crossed the room. “Hell, we didn’t even decide to come over here until this morning.”

“Mhm,” Fuery nodded, his position on the table emphasizing his youthful appearance. “And don’t worry, we didn’t tell any of the others.”

Roy gave a sort of noncommittal grunt, dabbing the handkerchief gingerly beneath his chapped nostrils.

Fuery sensed a vague embarrassment coming from his superior, so he tactfully pushed himself up and joined Breda by the stove. “How’s the soup coming?” he inquired.

Breda shook his head, swirling the contents of the pot with a long spoon. “Some of the ingredients still haven’t thawed out properly,” he replied regretfully, reaching to adjust the heat of the gas burner. “It’s gonna take a bit to get it to a boil.”

Fuery nodded understandingly, passing Breda to attend to the bags he had left on the table. “Should I start putting all this stuff away?”

Breda glanced briefly at him before returning his concentration to the soup. “Sure, go ahead.”

Fuery set to work, and for the next couple minutes all that could be heard was Breda stirring, and Mustang’s heavy breathing. Fuery soon broke the silence, however. “Sir,” he called, “do you have a bread box? I can’t seem to find it.”

Roy dragged himself to his feet, straining to confirm that, sure enough, Fuery was holding a loaf of nice fresh bread. “I dod’t deed all that food!” he protested, though his voice was little more than a painful croak. “It’s dot like I.. hh...I... huhpTSSH’huh! HhtSCSHHU! Nng..” Roy sighed heavily, rubbing his face in defeat. “Just put it u’der the cupboard for dow...” he amended, sinking back down. He didn’t have the energy to argue; and anyway, he could definitely use some bread.

Fuery’s chipper ‘thanks!’ was drowned out by the sound of the doorbell.

“What the...”

Before Fuery or Breda could stop what they were respectively doing, Mustang had risen to get the door.

“Expecting someone, Colonel?” Breda inquired dryly.

“Doh,” Roy retorted, sliding the chain back as he twisted the knob. “You two are the first real guests I’ve had all – ”

Roy uttered a sound that fell somewhere between a gasp and a choke as he got a good look at the individual behind the door.

“Hello, sir,” said the individual – a tall, lanky man with golden-brown hair and an honest face. “Sorry to drop in unexpected, but I thought you seemed sorta under the weather yesterday and I thought I’d stop by to see if you’re all right.”

Roy blinked owlishly at the bright sunlight pouring in around the visitor, rubbing the back of his hand against his mouth. “H – Havoc? What id th..hh.. huhp’TSHH-huh! HetSCHHU!” Roy sneezed a savage double before he could continue, causing Havoc to flinch back.

“Ugh, Colonel, just ‘cause I care doesn’t mean I want to catch it!” Havoc grumbled, half-blocking his face with one arm.

Roy sniffed several times, burying his face in his sleeve. “S..Sorry..”

Fuery appeared beside him just then, tugging the door farther in to see the visitor for himself.

Roy shot him an accusatory look. “I thought you said you hadedt told the –”

Fuery ignored him, jaw dropping as he stared at the newcomer. “Havoc?? What are you doing here?”

“...” Roy trailed off, fantastically confused. “Wait.. you bead you didedt tell hib?”

Havoc, meanwhile, was equally perplexed at the scene that was unfolding before him. “Fuery..? What the hell are you doing here, kid?”

Fuery was about to reply, but upon noting the Colonel shivering in his thin shirt, he promptly motioned Havoc to step inside so he could shut the door.

By now, Breda had moved to join them as well, eying the covered dish Havoc bore with interest. He proceeded to remove it from Havoc’s grasp for closer examination, offering a casual “Hey, Havoc,” as an afterthought.

The uncertainty vanished from Havoc’s countenance, his signature good-natured grin emerging. “Oh I see, so you guys beat me to it, huh,” he drawled. “Here I thought I’d be the only one who’d think to come, but guess I was wrong.” He turned his grin upon the Colonel. “You sure got lucky, sir, now you have three guests for the harvest feast.”

Mustang barely managed a weak roll of his eyes. “Right..”

“Say, Havoc, how are you here? I thought you had a date,” Breda commented, working at the lid of the food dish.

Havoc looked a trifle flustered. “Well, I did,” he admitted, “but while I was over at her house, I mentioned why I got the day off, and she sent me straight over here.”

“Hey, you brought green bean casserole!” crowed Breda, only half-listening. “It looks good!”

Havoc uttered something that sounded suspiciously like a derisive snort. “Yeah.. Susie made it.” He glanced at Roy, then shook his head. “It was her idea to bring it here..” He paused, sighing. “She sure’s concerned about you, sir,” he added flatly, angling his head in the Colonel’s direction.

Roy blinked fuzzily at him. “...Who..?” he asked, rubbing tiredly at his nose.

Havoc crossed his arms. “You don’t hafta pretend you don’t know,” he responded, almost reproachfully. “Susie Kenton, the girl who works at the bakery on Elm. We’ve been dating for two weeks now, but our relationship isn’t really going anywhere and I think I’m starting to see why.” He regarded his superior officer with an odd mixture of mild resentment and dogged resignation. “You know what she told me to tell you? She said –”

Roy waved an impatient hand in his direction as he trudged back toward the couch. “I dod’t care what Susie says, Havoc,” he interrupted peevishly. “She’s your girlfriend, dot bide..”

Havoc let his arms fall to his sides, gaping at his normally cavalier commanding officer’s back. When he didn’t say anything else, Havoc looked questioningly to his teammates.

Fuery and Breda exchanged a glance, then nodded meaningfully to Havoc.

Havoc raised his eyebrows, irritability fading. “Are you okay, sir..?” he inquired, much more mildly.

“Yeah, I... I – heh –” Roy’s brow crinkled in frustration as his breath caught. “hup’TSH-huh!! hIGSHu!” He stopped walking, fumbling dutifully for his handkerchief; but the impending fit was taking so much of his energy that he barely managed to substitute his sleeve as he succumbed to it. “hhTSH-huh! Huh’pTSHu! HhGSHmph!!” The vicious round of explosions left the hapless colonel breathless and dizzy; and as his three subordinates looked on in concern, they saw him falter.

“Hey, easy.” Lieutenant Havoc was at his superior’s side in an instant, ducking under the colonel’s arm and bracing his own against his superior’s shoulder blades just as the sick man wilted forward. Thanks to Havoc’s quick thinking, Mustang did not fall; and once his weight was supported by Havoc, he winced and tried to straighten, bringing a shaking hand to his eyes.

“Havoc..” he mumbled uneasily, head lolling a bit as he attempted to pull away. “I.. I c... I’b dot–”

“Ah-ah-ah,” Havoc responded, silencing him. “All due respect, sir, but why don’t you shut up for a second.” Keeping his arm wrapped firmly around Mustang’s back, he shot him a stern look. “You’re burning right through your shirt, Colonel,” he announced, pointedly. “D’you know that?”

Roy grimaced, shaking his head slightly as though it pained him. “I...nnh..” He stopped resisting, pressing the back of his hand to his forehead and blinking slowly. “Oh.” He seemed to droop, lackadaisically brushing his bangs out of his face. He looked as though he wanted to speak; but the air grated deep in his lungs and he began to cough, a harsh, painfully congested sound.

“Yup..” Havoc gave a small nod, as though he had been expecting this. “C’mon, down ya go.” He guided Mustang the last few steps to the couch, then helped him sit down, his motions surprisingly gentle. “Now seriously, sir,” he said rather dryly as the exhausted Roy started to recover from the spasms, “you might wanna think about staying there for a while.”

Roy gave a short laugh that was really more of a cough. “Is that supposed to be ad order, Lieutedadt Havoc?” he growled, massaging his forehead with his fingertips.

Havoc gave him a disimpassioned look. “Not an order, sir, just a suggestion,” he qualified tolerantly.

Roy glanced up at him. “Well, thadk you, but I thidk I kdow by owd...” He trailed off, however, as another wave of dizziness apparently hit him right in the middle of his comeback. “Dab...” He mumbled the oath, leaning his head back against the couch. “...Fide.” He closed his eyes, giving up the argument with considerably less resistance than usual.

Havoc suddenly felt rather awkward. His stoic commanding officer was fretful and feverish, and he honestly wasn’t sure how he was supposed to interact with him. Therefore, at something of a loss, he shook his head. “Good,” he replied more confidently than he felt, raking a hand through his hair.

Mustang didn’t respond, so Havoc tactfully retreated to join his coworkers in the kitchen. Folding his arms across his chest, he meandered over to Breda. “I’ve never seen him like this,” he commented under his breath. “Was he this way when you got here?”

Breda didn’t bother to look up from the soup, but he acknowledged his friend with a slight inclination of his head. “Yup, pretty much,” he replied in the same low tone. He met Havoc’s gaze briefly as he reached for the long spoon he’d set on the counter. “I think he’s getting worse, though,” he added, bushy eyebrows drawing closer together. “And I don’t think he has any medicine around here, either.” He scoffed. “Man didn’t even have any food. Sheesh.”

Havoc chuckled, peering into the large metal pot. “Is that why you’re making soup?”

Breda nodded. “Mhm.” As he stirred, Havoc leaned in closer.

“Damn, that smells good,” he observed appreciatively. “I’m starving..”

Breda shot him an annoyed glare. “It’s not for you,” he returned, elbowing him away. “Besides,” he added when Havoc looked disappointed, “there’s plenty of other food I’m gonna make for us.

Havoc grinned, walking past him to look at the various dishes that were laid out. “Ahh, so we’re eating here, then?” he said approvingly, examining the spread. “Good plan.”

“Yeah,” Breda affirmed, bringing a spoonful of the soup up to his face for closer inspection. “Ah, soup’s almost done.”

Havoc, meanwhile, seemed to be looking for something. “Hey Breda,” he said after a moment, “where’s the turkey?”

Breda sighed. “Turkeys aren’t exactly cheap,” he answered shortly, “and so I didn’t buy one because we weren’t gonna have the day off.”

Havoc gave a sympathetic “hmm”, narrowing his eyes in the Colonel's direction. “Yeah, the Colonel sure was set on working today,” he mused. “And now here he is, sick as a dog.” He grimaced. “No wonder he’s in such a bad mood... he must be pissed.”

Breda turned down the gas burner, letting go of the spoon. “No kidding,” he agreed, looking also. “Although.. I actually think our being here has cheered him up. At least a little.”

Both of them winced slightly as their team leader sneezed again. Though all of them had nursed colds from time to time, not excluding the Colonel, neither of them had ever seen him quite this ill.

“How do you figure?” Havoc said dryly, absently slipping a cigarette from a package.

“Well –” Breda was preparing his answer when he looked up and saw what Havoc was doing. “Hey, not in my kitchen you don’t!” he chided. He jerked his head toward the other room with a solemn scowl. “And not over there, either.”

Havoc started opening his mouth to protest, but then understood and conceded the point. “Oh, sorry, forgot,” he said sheepishly, shrugging. “Oh well, guess I’ll just go outside..” He tugged the collar of his jacket more snugly about his neck, fishing a lighter from his pocket as he tromped toward the door.

“Hey, Havoc,” Fuery called from a corner of the kitchen, “could you light the fireplace?”

Havoc waved a hand in affirmation. “Sure thing,” he said easily, crossing to the center of the room accordingly.

“Thanks,” Fuery returned, moving to join him. “Do you need more wood?”

Havoc poked at the logs, then shook his head. “Nah, this’ll work,” he said confidently, applying his lighter to the pieces. Presently, he had managed to get a nice blaze going. “There we go,” he said, straightening.

Fuery padded back over to the Colonel, who was staring listlessly at the fireplace. “How are you doing, sir?” he asked kindly, crossing his arms.

Roy tried his best to scowl at him, but couldn’t quite manage; and as he opened his mouth, presumably to answer, his breath caught. “hhTSCH-huh! Heh.. hehkTSCHu! huht’KTSHh!!” He groaned, gingerly raising a now well-used handkerchief to his face. “That adswer your questiod?..” he retorted stuffily, giving his nose a loud but not-terribly-satisfactory-sounding blow.

Fuery bit his lip, unsure what to say. He was spared any awkwardness, however, by the obnoxious buzzing of the doorbell.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

...Yes, I am aware that I am being really mean to Roy in this fic, if you were wondering... but I make up for it by sending him friends to take care of him, so it's okay... right? innocent.gif

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YAY, I didn't miss part 2!!

“Ugh, Colonel, just ‘cause I care doesn’t mean I want to catch it!” Havoc grumbled, half-blocking his face with one arm.

^ Favorite quote. xD Have I mentioned I love the way you write Havoc? You're awesome at everyone (obviously Roy, as seen in your other FMA fics), but for some reason, Havoc's standing out to me. The interaction between the four of them is seriously excellent, and I'm in awe of how well you can make them work together so not-quite-smoothly like they would if this were a real episode. This is the greatest part of your fics - you can really see them being episodes (or in some cases, like with Water Meets Flame, entire arcs).

If you can't post the next part until Sunday, that is perfect for me. xD I won't have internet access again until Saturday night, at least, and likely won't be able to do anything at length online until Sunday. So it'll work out one way or another - either you'll end up able to post it before I get back and I'll get to read it immediately or I get to read it almost immediately. xD

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heehee thanks!!! XDD Well, I love Havoc, so I'm glad biggrin.png and I have a BLAST writing him :3 Especially in this piece! Haha I actually rather like that quote myself. laughing.gif Thank you sooo much!! I strive for episode/canon-quality in everything I do, so I'm so happy to hear that you think I pull it off blushing.gif

Lol nice! Yeah, I might post some tomorrow but I don't see myself being able to post at all Friday or Saturday... and, actually, I haven't even written the last scene yet <.< ahaha so I am committing to this thread as outside motivation to finish it, like, now. sweatdrop.gif lolol but I will be posting Sunday either way, so yay! happy.png

Thank you for commenting, by the way! You always say how you reread comments on your pieces... well idk if I've told you this, but I totally do the same thing biggrin.png Everything you say means so much to me. hug.gif I'm so glad you like it!!

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-insert the ohmyglobIammelting smiley here-

; A ; oh you, I am already weak for feverish men and then you throw me a weak, feverish, sneezy man who also happens to be a military officer and oasiufaoifuiaosfuaoi stubborn as hell, Roy Mustang is, but Breda, Fuery and Havoc are so sweet to spend their Thanksgiving visiting him :'D This gave me such warm tingles heheh /happy

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I don't know the actual series/fandom but this story is so cute XD its really sweet how all his friends come to take care of him even though they have the day off :) This is so well written, can't wait for the next part

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This fic is giving me serious warm, fuzzy feelings--just like a Christmas fic should! It's also kind of funny. Breda and the green bean casserole should be a 'ship, haha. What made that part funny though was your excellent writing of it.

I am really looking forward to reading more of this!

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this fic... i don't even... brain overload... so happy stretcher.gif what?... LOVE!!

this is my perfect holiday fic, i wanted to reply earlier but couldn't and NOW i find there's a part2?? so insanely happy! i'm gonna go reread it another 3 times and get back to you later w00t.gif

“Ah-ah-ah,” Havoc responded, silencing him. “All due respect, sir, but why don’t you shut up for a second.”

edited to say I just love this line LOL! i think it sums up the plot quite well whistling.gif such nosy impertinent and loving subordinates lol.

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stubborn as hell, Roy Mustang is

^ Truer words. XD LOL!! hehe, and that's one reason why I love him X)

@Snuffles: Lol thanks!! That line made me laugh laughing.gif And yes, it really does. :3

Thank you all so much!! I'm so glad you like it. I apologize for being unable to post the next part the past few days, but I was busy with epic birthday goings-on and so I couldn't get on sweatdrop.gif But you guys are all so awesome! And I can't wait to share the rest. happy.png

Here's the next part! There should be about... two sections left, three at most. I will hopefully post them over the next couple of days, as homework and such permits. tonguesmiley.gif

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Roy’s eyes snapped open, and he made to rise, pressing one hand to his face; but he promptly encountered some unexpected opposition.

“Colonel Mustang!” Fuery exclaimed sternly, stepping in to block him off. “Just relax, please,” he continued, in a tone that was surprisingly authoritative. “We’ll take care of it.”

Mustang seemed taken aback; and yet he still looked like he wanted to argue.

However, Havoc quickly made his way over to the door. “He’s right, Colonel,” he assented cheerfully, directing an approving glance at the young sergeant. “I’ll get it, I’m already on my way out anyway.”

For the third time that morning, Roy Mustang’s front door was opened. This time, it was a tall, greying figure who stood upon the sill, a covered pie tin in his hands.

Havoc took one look at the individual, and his eyes lit up with mirth. “Well hey there, Falman,” he chuckled, opening the door wider. “I should’ve known.”

Falman, on the other hand, was aghast. “What the hell?!” he sputtered, taking a small step back. “Havoc, I thought you said you had a date... but you –”

Havoc looked a trifle offended. “Oh just shut up and come in,” he grumbled, sidestepping him and ushering him into the building. “And give the pie to Breda.” With that, he shut the door.

It took Falman several moments to get over his shocked bewilderment; but once he caught sight of Breda and Fuery, understanding dawned on him at last.

“Wow.. If I’d have known we were all meeting here, I would have brought more food,” he commented, practical as usual.

“Falman!” Breda crowed, leaving his stove to greet his team member. “No worries, I’ve got the rest of the meal covered.” He happily took the pie off Falman’s hands, peering beneath the cloth. “And now we have dessert!”

Falman rubbed the back of his neck. “Well, what do you know..” he muttered, glancing around the room.

“Hi Falman,” Fuery said cheerfully, ambling over to him. “How are you?”

“Fine, thanks,” he replied, bemused. “Man, I thought I’d stop by to check up on the Colonel; I had no idea that all of you would do the same,” he said uneasily. “Was this part of some official plan no one told me about?”

Fuery shook his head quickly. “Oh, no, nothing like that,” he reassured. “I guess we’re all just equally loyal to the Colonel!” He smiled in his superior’s direction.

Roy, meanwhile, had been watching the whole thing with a sort of disbelieving shock; and when Falman turned to look at him, he buried his face in his hands with a groan.

“Ohh doh...” he moaned, sniffling. “I dod’t believe this... you guys are – hh – all... hetTSCHmph! ...idiots...nnh..” He huffed an exasperated breath through his mouth, kneading at his forehead with his knuckles as he fished for another handkerchief.

“Hey, but at least we’re your loyal idiots,” Breda called from the kitchen. “And don’t you forget it, Colonel.”

Roy lifted his head and stared across the room at his subordinate, evidently trying to come up with a smart retort; but yet another dizzy spell prevented him from doing so, and he wilted, cradling his head in one hand.

Falman’s angular features softened in sympathy as his attention turned to his ailing commanding officer. Folding his hands behind his back, he slowly approached him. “Hello, sir,” he offered in his own quiet way. “How are you feeling?”

Roy tried to muster up his trademark imperious air, but failed so completely that he just gave up, propping his elbow on the arm of the couch and laying his head against the heel of his hand. “...Like death warbed over..” he admitted morosely. “..How about you...”

Falman’s forehead creased. “I’m all right,” he responded, glancing sidelong at Fuery. “But.. if you don’t mind me saying so, sir... shouldn’t you be in bed? You look awful.”

Fuery put his hand contemplatively to his chin, studying the Colonel’s haggard form. “Come to think of it, that’s probably not a bad idea, sir,” he added, frowning. “You look beat.”

“Doh –” Roy straightened stubbornly, rubbing his eyes. “I’b fi...” Again, he stopped himself from saying it. “I’b dot that sick, dabbit!...” He tried to fix the two of them with an obstinate glare, but it dissolved all too rapidly as his features quivered with another impending sneeze. “Heh.. heh...” He held his sodden handkerchief near his face in exhausted anticipation, eyelids falling to half-mast. This one decided to be cruel, however, and tickled and teased at his sinuses. “Ehh-hh!...nh..” He tensed, bringing the handkerchief closer, but the shuddering inhale did not end as the tickle prescribed, and he let out his breath shakily. “Heh.. hh-hh!... mm” The spasmodic breaths seemed dredged up from the depths of his beleaguered lungs, and his eyes watered with every false start; but still the sneeze refused to come. He scrunched the cloth in his hand, expression contorting in frustration, when the sensation finally verged. “HhGTSH-huh! Huhp’TSCHu! Hh-KSCH!” The violent triple visibly wore him out, yet when he was able to pause for a breath, it was evident that he wasn’t quite finished. “hh...huh’ktSSCHU!!!” He snapped harshly forward, burying his mouth and nose into the fabric, then slumped wearily when the ordeal was finally over.

“Gesundheit.” Havoc had chosen that moment to return, and eyed his superior with concern as he replaced his lighter.

Roy shot him a withering look. “Shudup..” he growled, voice now even thicker with congestion, if that were possible.

Havoc arched an eyebrow, then looked to Breda. “Hey, the Colonel sounds like he could use a nice helping of your chicken soup right about now, Breda...”

Breda nodded solemnly, turning back to the stove; but Roy lifted his head again.

“Doh, Havoc, I’b dot hudgry,” he said rather plaintively, rubbing the bridge of his nose.

Havoc crossed his arms. “No seriously, sir, you want this stuff,” he assured him sagely. “It always makes me feel better when I’m sick.”

Roy shook his head, then winced. “Doh.. I’b dot gudda eat right dow, okay?” he mumbled, agitation growing.

Breda approached, frowning. “You’re really not that hungry?” he asked critically. “Hey, Havoc said you had a fever, right? Well it must be pretty damn high for you to have no appetite at all.”

Roy seemed to ponder this, but then became distracted as his body subjected him to another round of coughing.

Fuery nodded at Breda. “Yeah, his color’s really off too,” he observed.

Havoc noted that he was correct; the Colonel’s face was becoming paler and paler, save for a deep flush that burned beneath the skin of his cheeks and nose.

“Hmm...” Falman stroked his chin soberly, looking toward the back of the house. “It’d probably be a good idea to have him take his temperature,” he remarked contemplatively. “It’s bad to let fevers get too high, I think. I don’t suppose we know where he keeps his first aid kit..?”

“Or if he has one at all,” Havoc pointed out.

Breda put his hands on his hips. “Well how about instead of standing around talking about it, why don’t you look for it? Fuery, you go search the –”


The rumbling baritone of their commanding officer gave all four of them pause, and they turned to face him in surprise.

Mustang had straightened as much as could, both hands pushed against the seat cushion for support; but even weakened as he was, the hardness of his face spoke of a certain no-nonsense mood that his subordinates knew all too well. “Listen to be,” he growled, an ominous quality to his tone despite his congestion. “You cad eat your didder where you please, but how I feel is by busidess.” He gave each one of them a look. “Stop babyi’g be,” he said. “That is ad order.”

Mustang’s men assumed formal solutes by force of instinct, though they eyed one another uneasily in the process of exhibiting their practiced attention stances.

“Yes sir,” they pronounced dutifully.

Roy maintained his portentous glare for a moment longer, then rested his hand against his aching eyes, obviously aiming to take no further notice of them.

At that point, the makeshift caretakers made the prudent decision to retreat to the far end of the kitchen, carefully refraining from conversing until they got there (though their superior was not paying attention anyway).

Falman was the first to speak.

“What are we gonna do with him?” he sighed, keeping his voice low. “If he insists on pretending that ignoring his fever is going to make it go away, he’s only going to get worse. We can all see that, so why can’t he?”

Fuery looked somber. “I think he knows,” he murmured. “But don’t forget, this is the Colonel. I think that our being here might be making him feel like he’s lost his dignity.” He furrowed his brow. “You heard him. He thinks we’re trying to baby him.”

“Ugh, kid’s got a point,” Havoc groaned, crossing his arms. “All we wanna do is help him out, but it’s not like we can force him to do anything, even something stupid like take his temperature. He just made that perfectly clear.”

“Yeah.” Breda shook his head. “And we’re missing the only person who even has a chance of convincing him.”

Havoc straightened, glancing at the door. “Hey, why isn’t she here, come to think of it?”

The others all stared at him, lapsing into a sort of bated silence.

He noted their expressions and raised his eyebrows. “What?” he continued, shrugging. “I just.. I don’t know, I just would’ve thought that she’d come. Especially since we all showed up, without even planning it.”

Breda sighed. “Well, maybe she’s just got more sense than the four of us combined,” he muttered. “The way things are looking, it’d probably have been better for us to have just left him alone.”

Fuery looked rather depressed at this. “I know,” he sighed. “I just thought that it’d be the right thing to do. But I’m starting to think he might actually resent the fact that we’re here.”

None of them spoke for a moment, pondering this.

However, Falman abruptly broke the silence. “Hey,” he started, “we’re forgetting one significant detail, men.”

They blinked at him.

“Oh yeah, what?” Havoc asked.

Falman straightened importantly. “He told us to stop babying him, yes. However, he did not order us to leave!”

The worry dissolved from each of their expressions as the reality of Falman’s statement sank in.

“You know, you’re right!” piped Fuery, a relieved smile gracing his boyish features. “Maybe he doesn’t mind us being here after all, so long as we don’t bother him.”

“Well then,” Breda smirked, “now that that’s out of the way, who wants to help me with dinner?”

From then on, it was as if a brooding cloud had lifted from the four of them. True to their word, they did not attempt any further interaction with their sick commanding officer, engaging instead in high-spirited conversations amongst themselves and various preparations for their holiday meal. As Breda began to lay out the food, they joked and reminisced and had a generally grand time, allowing anything that was weighing on them be pushed to the backs of their minds. Thus, in the end, the only occupant of the little house who was not enjoying himself in a particularly significant capacity was its suffering resident.

Though the members of Team Mustang made a point of leaving Roy alone as per his orders, they nonetheless glanced over at him from time to time in passing. Fuery in particular kept an eye on him, watching to make sure he was all right and that they weren’t bothering him. They did not seem to be; however, Roy seemed even more out of it than before, and sat drooped against the arm of the couch with his head pillowed against the back of his hand.

He was not asleep, though; and Fuery soon realized that he was actually paying close, if sleepy, attention to the cheerful goings-on of his unit members. Once, Havoc and Falman were guffawing at something that Breda said, and Fuery was afraid that Mustang would complain about the noise; however, when he snuck a peek at him, he saw to his surprise a wan smile upon the tired man’s lips.

Fuery shook his head with a sympathetic grin, propping his elbows on the kitchen table where he now sat. I think... I made the right decision after all, he thought, relieved.

And so, it was into this now-festive atmosphere that the doorbell buzzed for the fourth and final time.

A hush fell upon the room as all five pairs of eyes shifted to the plain wooden door. After a moment’s pause, Havoc rose to get it; but he was swiftly interrupted.

“Hold od.”

The four of them glanced uneasily at Roy as he slowly stood, looking as though they were debating whether or not they could stop him; but he held up his hand.

“I bay dot be feeli’g well, but I’ll get by owd dab door.” He fixed them all with a scowl that, though considerably less vehement than usual, was enough to make Havoc sit down.

Realizing that they would not be able to convince him otherwise, the four men lapsed into silence and waited as Mustang made his way to the front of the room, feeble but determined.

The members of the Mustang unit glanced at one another, the same thought occurring to them all. They could only hope that the person coming to call would be worth Mustang’s stubborn attempt to preserve his dignity.. and there was probably only one individual who could qualify as such.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Hmm... now who in the world could that be..? :3 lol, next part should hopefully be up tomorrow. smile.png

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AAAAAAAAAH! I stayed up all night just to check if there was an update and LO! there is! yay.gif

(ok well I was still awake anyway but I had to make a point to stalk this thread) ninja.gif

But oh my the suspense! wubsmiley.gif

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Ahhh yes, that signature stubbornness. That dignity that must be kept. I love the part where he just goes all Colonel mode on them and they're just like O ___ O SIR YESSIR. Now I wonder who could be at the door to force Mustang to get it himself? :> mehehe I jest. Surely it can be none other than *RANDOM BURST OF NOISE THAT COMPLETELY MASKS MY WORDS*

Also I can't help but feel that your writing style just gets better and better, and I'm not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing that your awesomeness is seeping into my writing. Nonetheless I get the feeling that bleep's going down. 8D

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Thank you all once again! happy.png

@Emily: Do you really think it's improving? =D Because... wow... thank you! biggrin.png I mean, I certainly hope I'm improving, so it's cool that you think I might be! smile.png I'm definitely always looking for better/more unique ways of wording things, and I'm always practicing different styles according to whatever fandom I'm working in, so... yeah happy.png Thank you! And your writing is already awesome!! lol, I am inspired when I read your work. happy.png

Okay everybody, here's the next bit, as promised! It's.. a bit short, I think. But I hope you like it all the same. sleep.png

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Even the young woman herself could not have said what it was that brought her to Roy Mustang's doorstep that autumn afternoon. Devotion... responsibility...or sheer stupidity.

Whatever the case, here she was. And even as she pressed the little button on the wall, she wondered if she was making a mistake.

Riza felt a vague sense of uneasiness as she waited upon the bare porch. The neighborhood was almost eerily quiet; all of the officers were either out enjoying themselves or taking a coveted day of rest. Her brow instinctively furrowed as she recalled her superior’s steadily declining health from the previous afternoon. If he knew what was good for him, the latter was what he ought to be doing.

As she pondered this, her unease grew – perhaps that indeed was what he was doing, and her imposition would be interrupting his much-needed sleep. She frowned, shifting position and listening for any sound of stirring from within the residence.

The breeze picked up again, ruffling the soft blonde bangs that rested upon her forehead. The day, though not unbearably cold, was quite brisk; and Riza contemplated setting her basket down so that she could fold her arms about herself.

Just as she stooped to do so, however, the sound of a chain sliding behind the door arrested her attention, and she straightened as it was slowly opened.

Riza was expecting her commanding officer to look tired and unwell. She had certainly seen him looking either or both too many times in the past to count. However, the appearance of the man standing before her was worse than even she had imagined he would look.

It was as if the entirety of the compounded fatigue and stress from the past few weeks had descended upon him all at once. Riza was able to detect the multiple physical manifestations of his illness with just one single glance, thanks to her renowned powers of observation; and what she saw caused a completely unbidden shock to buzz up her spine.

He stood in the doorway in rumpled pajamas and bare feet, hair mussed, eyes swollen, face blotched, and trembling. He was doing his best to hide it, but she could see that he was. Riza found herself caught in a rare loss for words, so great was her instinctive alarm; but even as she silently assembled her wits, something else about her superior struck her as odd. He was looking right at her, but his face did not betray even the slightest hint of surprise... or emotion in response to her presence. In fact, she realized that for once, he was wearing an expression that she actually could not read.

She chose not to think about it, however, and squarely met his gaze, noting even as she did so that his black eyes had lost much of the sharpness that she knew so well.

“Good afternoon, sir,” she began evenly, tightening her grip on her basket handle and straightening to attention.

He did not speak; he barely even blinked. He simply stood there, waiting for her to continue. And so, after only the slightest of hesitation, she did.

“Sorry to disturb you, but as I was on my way out today I discovered that I bought too much food for me and Rebecca to handle ourselves. Since I was in the area, I thought I would stop by and see if you could take any of it off my hands.”

That was not precisely a lie... well, yes it was. Still, even with the dismay she couldn’t quite repress at seeing him this ill, Riza was as poised as ever when it came to interacting in a professional manner. Any casual observer would not have been able to detect her disconcertion at all. She did not allow it to show on her face, nor was anything she said out of place for someone of her position to say to someone of his; and when she had finished speaking, she remained attentive to her commanding officer as she awaited his response.

However, the way in which he reacted was not what she was expecting at all.

Ordinarily, Roy would either have replied in kind – with flawless professionalism appropriate to his rank – or he would have stiffly commanded her to leave. Expecting one or the other, Riza’s eyes widened slightly as a slow, tired smile began to spread across Roy Mustang’s face instead.

“Well,” he said, drawing the word out in his gruff baritone. The grating roughness that his voice did not normally possess was so accentuated that Riza nearly winced inwardly; however, she was immediately distracted by the undertone of humor in it – which was, in a way, almost more concerning. She could not think of any conceivable reason for it to be there.

He seemed to pick up on her slight confusion, for the warmth in his manner increased even as he leaned against the doorjamb for support, rubbing the tip of one finger down the bridge of his nose. “Id that case, Lieutedadt..” he continued, ignoring how horribly congested he currently was, “..why dod’t you just cub id?”

Riza stiffened instinctively, leveling a measured stare at him. “No, sir,” she responded, dipping her head. “I just came to give you this.” She extended the basket toward him, but he held up his hand.

“Doh, really,” he insisted, stepping back slightly to clear the way of the door. “Cub id... I deed your help.” He glanced at her, almost as though he was deliberately fishing for a reaction.

Riza narrowed her eyes and, as always, refused to take the bait. At this point, she had determined that he was either extremely feverish or in one of his obnoxious moods – and she hardly relished the thought of having to deal with either of the two. She silently looked him over again, noting the slight glassiness of his eyes and the abnormal heaviness of his breathing. On top of that, there was that strange sort of amusement that he seemed to be only barely trying to mask. She could see it in the slant of his eyes.. and that hint of a grin in the corner of his mouth.

Perhaps, she mused reluctantly, it was a combination of fever and mood.

He certainly seemed lucid enough, and yet she could tell that he was not nearly himself.. and then the presence of the mood was another puzzle altogether. It was not at all an unfamiliar one; no, he had employed it too many times to count in the years that they had been working together. Rather, she was nonplussed as to why he was using it now. It was an attitude that she likened to that of a little boy playing class clown; so she was not sure why he was behaving this way when there was no one around to watch.

Nevertheless, she methodically brushed aside her nagging concern in order to give him her carefully formulated reply. “I’m sorry, sir,” she began patiently, “but I can’t. I really have to be go–”

“Hawkeye.” Roy caught the edge of her sleeve cuff as she prepared to leave, his expression suddenly dead serious.

She stopped in her tracks, giving him a sharp, wary look as he let go.

“You’re forgetti’g that I cad order you to stay.”

Her deep brown eyes became piercing and cold. “I have not forgotten,” she said, the stillness in her voice somehow more striking than if she had actually sounded angry. “However, you would do well to bear in mind that there is only so much I can do to help you that will not fall under breach of protocol, Colonel.” As she concluded her statement, she made her way past him and over the threshold.

The sight that greeted her then was yet another one that Riza Hawkeye did not expect.

All four of her comrades rose upon her entry, giving her an instinctive cheerful physical and verbal salute.

“Lieutenant Hawkeye!”


“Hello, sir!”

Roy followed her inside, pulling the door shut once more. “What I beadt,” he qualified, rubbing the back of his neck, “is that I deed you to help be deal with theb.” He addressed her with the best near-plaintive tone he could muster in this state, poking a thumb in their direction.

Riza pressed her lips together, the hardness in her manner dissipating as she finally became privy to the entire situation. “I see,” she assented, the faintest of smiles surfacing in her eyes. Shifting the basket to a more comfortable position, she turned to her superior again. “What would you like me to do?”

Roy sighed, raking a hand through his hair. “Wel – ngh” He interrupted himself with a wincing grunt, hand migrating to his face. “hh – hhtTSHH’huh! heh’ktCHngh!” He groaned softly, sniffling into his sleeve. “Well, first of all, you probably shouldedt keep sta’di’g so close to be,” he offered as a belated warning.

Riza’s lips twitched, though she was still careful to refrain from smiling. “A few stray germs are hardly enough to make me squeamish, Colonel,” she assured him, a slight wryness to her tone.

He tried to offer some form of assent, but was predictably interrupted with another pair of sneezes; so Riza turned her attention upon Roy’s other guests while he was thus occupied.

“I must admit,” she began slowly, “I’m a little surprised that all of you are here.” She regarded the men with a mildly questioning look.

It was Havoc who then stirred, approaching her with some hesitation.

“Well, you see...” he started, rubbing the back of his neck sheepishly, “we all sort of decided to –”

“It’s really not that complicated, sir,” Breda interjected, giving Havoc a good-natured clap on the back as he ambled past him. “The boys and I just wanted to keep the Colonel company today, that’s all. And seeing as he didn’t have any food and all of us were already here, I thought it’d be a good idea to have our dinner now so nobody misses out.” He paused, regarding her basket with interest. “Did you bring food, Lieutenant Hawkeye?”

She bowed her head affirmatively, and Breda perked up. “Mind if I take a look?”

She did smile then, though most of it was still confined to her eyes. “Not at all,” she replied, handing him the basket and stepping back, returning her attention to her superior.. who was rubbing his eyes and looking so disconsolate that one might have been inclined to wonder if he wasn’t suffering from some terminal disease as opposed to a bad case of the flu.

Meanwhile, Breda gave a shout of delight upon lifting the basket cover. “Lady and gentlemen, we have a turkey!!” he exclaimed, evoking a smattering of laughter from his teammates. “Now this’ll be a real harvest feast.”

Roy did not feel energetic enough to laugh, but he managed a dry chuckle, resting his hand against his eyes. “Great..” he croaked. “It’s good to kdow that you all get bore excited about a turkey thad your work –” His half-baked sarcastic quip was interrupted as he began to cough again, cringing from the pain that the fit brought.

Without prelude, Riza took him firmly by the elbow and began walking him toward the table. “Why don’t you have a seat, sir,” she said calmly, as though nothing was amiss.

Before he or the others could protest or comment, Riza had accordingly ushered him to the kitchen and sat him down. There was a collective stunned silence, all eyes trained upon her small yet strong form as she escorted her wilted commanding officer across the room with no more hesitation than if she had been supporting him in battle. It wasn’t an unusual sight to the men, per se; but there was something about the situation – or perhaps.. something about her – that captivated their attention.

Whenever Riza Hawkeye was off-duty, most found it necessary to pause and take stock of her presence, even if only for a moment. She possessed a graceful elegance whether in uniform or not, of course; however, her frank femininity was a little more clearly expressed when she was not. She carried herself as a woman who knew that she was both beautiful and intimidating, yet she did not ever flaunt either quality.

It was no different now; and though she did not explicitly acknowledge the attachment she had to all of them – and particularly to her commanding officer – all who knew her could see that it was very real.

When she had seated Mustang, however, she turned slightly and raised her eyebrows, noting their stares; and to a man, the four of them migrated back to their former positions – Breda to the stove, and the rest of them to the table – and resumed their friendly banter with renewed enthusiasm.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I am still ironing out the rest, but I will try to post another bit tomorrow smile.png And I should have the whole thing up by the end of the week at the latest :]

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This story is great :D I love it, its so sweet that everyone comes to try to take care of him but he doesn't want to be babied! I don't watch the series but this story is a great read anyway, eagerly awaiting the next update! :)

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I am firstly so much in love with the way you write Riza Hawkeye. Like it's absolutely fantabulous and wonderficallous and awesomeiferous and every other word not in the Englsih dictionary. I don't even know how to describe the way you write the characters but it's definitely that style you have that makes me keep coming back to reread your writing and it's for the same reason you got me reading FMA. Random kudos to you for your lovely writing :heart:

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Thank you! happy.png

@Emily: Yay!! haha I think I've mentioned how Riza is one of my favorite female characters to write, so I'm glad she comes across well to you biggrin.png Thanks so much! heart.gif

Okay, here's another piece smile.png I should only have one section after this, but I haven't quite finished it yet so I don't think I'll be posting it tomorrow sleep.png This bit's also not very long, sorry :/ But the last piece will be longer (and more interesting?,,,) I promise!

Anyhow, here you go. sweatdrop.gif

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

It was only after Riza Hawkeye’s arrival, Roy decided, that the presence of his uninvited guests truly began to feel like the impromptu holiday celebration it was supposed to be. The explanation behind this thought wasn’t something he could really put his finger on; after all, their intentions and hers were the same. For while she was certainly more calm and collected and... intelligent.. about the whole thing, it was obvious to Roy that all five of them had shown up out of sincere concern for his wellbeing, unprompted and perfectly willing to risk being unwelcome.

Riza had come last, which did almost surprise him; but then again, she had brought the most food and who-knows-what-else with her, so he supposed that counted for something as far as the uniqueness of her presence was concerned. She had also brought the turkey, which naturally made her Breda’s hero (and that of the other boys too, for that matter). Still, though, there was something else about her arrival that had somehow managed to transform the atmosphere of the scenario from an awkward assemblage of subordinates and their sick team leader to what could have been a celebratory gathering of close family members. His head hurt too much to try and figure out what that might be; but, oddly enough, he was okay with that.

He propped his elbow on the table, blinking slowly. He was probably over-analyzing it anyway. Perhaps the change simply came from the fact that she was there.

The merry group of gentlemen and lady were currently engaged in happy conversation before him, all enjoying the small feast that Breda had so thoughtfully prepared. Roy was mildly regretful that he had temporarily lost his olfactory capabilities, as he was certain that Breda’s cooking smelled delectable and tasted even better. The mere sight of the holiday dishes would have been enough to set his mouth watering, had he been healthy.

Still, he didn’t feel like he was missing out, for while they were occupied with the meal, they had settled him down at the head of the table with a small bowl of Breda’s famous chicken soup. Roy did not have much of an appetite, but he was able to take some sips as he watched his teammates eat. The soup really was nice, he agreed, even if he couldn’t properly taste it. It was a perfect balance of broth and vegetables and meat, and each spoonful of the warm liquid soothed the fire that was ravaging his raw throat. It also served to lessen the chilled sensation that plagued his core, its pleasant warmth spreading comfortably throughout his body. The soup also made him drowsier; and by the time the meal was ending, Roy could barely register the goings-on around him. He didn’t mind, though; the fact that his companions were there was all that really mattered.

~ ~ ~ ~

It hadn’t taken Riza long to notice that the boys seemed to have some sort of unspoken agreement regarding the treatment of their superior. No reference to his condition was ever made, and there were remarkably few concerned glances in his direction. It was almost as if they had been ordered not to say anything.. and, as she passively observed her commander from the opposite end of the table, she wondered if that might not be far from the truth.

Roy was a considerate and generally earnest man, but he definitely had a streak of pride in him. It showed up primarily at times like this – when he believed that those around him perceived him as weak. Thus, whenever he was sick, the illness was always a sore point – making dealing with him that much harder, she had found.

Despite their lack of overt concern, however, Riza did not fail to notice what Roy’s men did do – little, yet considerate things: the way they kept their speaking volume a few notches lower than they usually did, to avoid exacerbating his headache.. Breda refilling his glass of water when he had finished.

She could not deny that she was proud of them for this. Mustang's men – including herself – were nothing if not loyal, and it was pleasing to see this made evident now.

This, she was sure, did not escape Mustang's attention either. In fact, she could tell that his mood had lightened considerably from the afternoon before; and though he was not able to participate in the meal or the bulk of the conversation, every time she looked his way he seemed exceptionally content. Once, he caught her gazing in his direction, and he gave her a smile. It was not one of his posturing simpers, but rather, a real one – the small, private sort she rarely saw, which always began as a subtle warmth within his deep black eyes, then spread slowly across the rest of his face like a smoldering fire.

The sight of this was unexpected, but hardly unwelcome. Riza had spent enough time with him over the past fifteen years to know when he was faking and when he was serious, so she could tell that he was actually enjoying their company. Deep down, this made her glad, for she had not seen him truly happy for a long time.

Ever since the death of his best friend, he had been drowning himself in his work, attacking it with far more determination than was his wont. He had been moody and difficult by turns, which had made the office a challenging place to work during the past few weeks. He was to be transferred to Central Command within the month, so naturally there were mountains of paperwork and forms to process in addition to his normal array of cases. He didn’t sleep much, she knew. Sometimes he would forget to eat, too. She understood that this was his way of coping with grief – he would never waste a moment in mourning, but blazed ahead instead, almost as if he were trying to shoulder the workload of both men. She could hardly blame him for taking Hughes’ death hard; in fact, she would certainly have been more concerned if he had not. But even so, it was good to see his spirits slightly improved for a change.

However, though his emotional state was noticeably improved, the same could not be said about his physical state. For though he seemed almost cheerful, whatever militant bug he had caught was obviously inflicting much misery upon him. He was barely able to touch the soup Breda had made for him, though he tried his best to eat at least a little; but his throat was overwhelmingly sore, if the way he unconsciously rubbed at his neck was any indication. He was feverish, as well, for she could see that his color was heightened, even from across the table; and his head lolled listlessly every so often, though he fought to stay alert. Worst of all, his exhausted body was racked periodically with vicious coughing and sneezing fits; and because he was seated at the table, he would lean back every time and twist to the side, smothering them ferociously into his sleeve so as not to spread his germs to all present.

It was nearing the end of the meal now. The others were reclining lazily in their seats, enjoying coffee and slices of Falman’s pie. Roy was busy stifling another relentless bout of sneezes. He seemed determined not to allow them to escape; thus, though the fit was rather violent, his sneezes were almost completely silent, though he had more success stifling with some than with others. Riza sighed inaudibly as she watched him shake with the contained explosions.

HHngt! HehKght! h’nxt! hh...hktch! k’chghh!

He winced visibly with every sneeze, and Riza almost bit her lip, forcing herself to avoid staring at him any longer. Her own temples throbbed just from witnessing his ordeal; she couldn’t think how much his head must be hurting. He was already prone to headaches anyway, and they worsened considerably whenever he was sick.

Her gaze migrated to the window. The late afternoon sun was streaming into the little house, casting ribbons of liquid light across the table. She frowned slightly. She hadn’t realized how late it was getting.

The boys’ conversation was winding down, from the looks of things; and so, after a moment, she stood and crossed the room.

“May I use your restroom?” she inquired quietly of Roy, who was finished with his fit though his arm remained against his face.

He nodded slowly, not bothering to open his eyes. “First door... od the right...” he mumbled, half-gesturing toward the back of the house.

Riza dipped her head, ever-formal despite the fact that he could not see her. “Thank you.” She took a step from the table, then glanced back for a moment, making eye contact with each of Mustang's men. Then, before any of them could say anything, she slipped out of the room.

~ ~ ~ ~

By the end of the meal, Roy was appalled to find that he was actually having trouble remaining awake.

...Well, he was awake, technically; however, everything felt muted and blurred to him, as if he were dreaming. He was largely no longer capable of following the conversations of his men, nor was he able to accurately track the passage of time. Worst of all, his symptoms did not decrease with his energy levels; and after suppressing yet another round of sneezing, he vowed never to take luxuries like the ability to breathe..and think.... for granted ever again.

Amazingly, he was able to comprehend a query put to him by Hawkeye well enough, though she did not speak very loudly; and he even was able to come up with a decently intelligent response, though the effort it took to speak was far more than it should have been. However, after she left, everything else faded in and out of his awareness again, and he was only able to catch snippets of the conversation.


Yeah, we really should.

Do you think the parade

My family is...


A faint buzzing was affecting his ears, and he sighed, burying his face in his hands. Though his senses were dulled, every inch of his body ached. Maybe... my fever’s worse than I thought... he mused wearily. I can’t...even..... He gritted his teeth as another chill afflicted him. ...damn.

Someone touched his shoulder, and he looked up instinctively, his body reacting before his mind in accordance with some latent reflex acquired from years in the field.

It was Havoc. He was staring down at him kindly, something clutched in his hand.

“We’re gonna get going now, sir,” he informed him when he saw he had his attention.

Roy’s disjointed thoughts began to assemble themselves properly again, and he found himself able to respond, though his mind still lagged. “Hmh... good for you...” he murmured dourly. He knew his foul mood was misdirected, but he was too sick to care.

Havoc was unfazed, however, and leaned forward, placing the object on the table in front of his superior. “I just need you to take care of something before we leave,” he explained.

Roy blinked at the item before him, then recoiled slightly as he realized for the first time what it was. “You wadt be to do paperwork?” he vociferated incredulously, ignoring the crack in his voice. “Whatever the hell that is cad wait till toborrow, Havoc, udless you wadt –”

“No, sir, this isn’t mine,” Havoc responded patiently, shoving his hands in his pockets. “It’s yours, and it can’t wait.”

Roy squinted down at the words. They were difficult to make out, but after a few moments the most important line registered.

I, ______________, request leave for the duration of the dates below, by reason of ____________.

Someone handed Havoc a pen, and he set it down upon the form.

Roy shot him a look. “If you thigk I’b taki’g toborrow off, thad you really are ad idiot –” he began, but Havoc interrupted him.

“Sir, we need you to sign this.” His tone was frank; and if he feared any potential consequences for insubordination, he did not show it. “We can handle the office for one day, really. We’ll catch up on all the filing for the Gail case, so you’ll have the materials when you come back.” He paused. “C’mon, Colonel. We all know you don’t take sick days. If you make an exception just this once, none of us will say a word to the board. That’s why I brought this.” He touched the form. “Just authorize it yourself, and we’ll file it for you.”

Roy suddenly found himself at a loss. They had really thought this out. All he had to do was print and sign his name, and he would have all of tomorrow to rest. He could not deny that a day to himself sounded wonderful. Much as he appreciated his team’s presence today, he was beginning to want nothing more than to sleep, undisturbed, for a week.

He picked up the pen, and signed his name.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Note: I have no idea if that whole thing about applying for sick leave is even remotely accurate <.< lolol but the point is that they pulled strings to make him able to take the next day off. tonguesmiley.gif

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As insanely happy as I am right now, it does complicate things a bit as that sign your own sick leave form was totally something i had sitting down somewhere in an unfinished fic... except that this was hundreds of times better written and everything i could ever have hoped to imagine wubsmiley.gif

It is seriously as if you wrote my perfect fic for me down to every single button. I am so in love with all your character interactions... especially Hawkeye with... well... everyone else laughingsmiley.gif And i am so looking forward to some one-on-one fluff time shy.gif

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As insanely happy as I am right now, it does complicate things a bit as that sign your own sick leave form was totally something i had sitting down somewhere in an unfinished fic... except that this was hundreds of times better written and everything i could ever have hoped to imagine wubsmiley.gif

It is seriously as if you wrote my perfect fic for me down to every single button. I am so in love with all your character interactions... especially Hawkeye with... well... everyone else laughingsmiley.gif And i am so looking forward to some one-on-one fluff time shy.gif

^ YEEES, ALL OF THAT, if you don't mind my repeating what she said. This tickled me in all the right places and it was so inscrutably adorable that Roy's still trying to stay awake and the fact that he authorized his own sick leave :lol: I love this fandom dude

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haha now ordinarily I wouldn't have a character authorizing his own sick leave, mind you, because that doesn't make a whole lot of sense =P However, I believe that Roy's case is unique - he's in full charge of his unit, so if anyone under him wants leave they go to him; he's beneath General Grumman, of course, but it seems like Grumman pretty much lets him do as he pleases because he likes him. So, I decided that with just a little string-pulling, they could get him to sign a form for himself and no one would even notice. Especially if it's just one day. lol... smile.png

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