A/N: I forgot to mention it last chapter, but ‘Silvester’ is actually celebrated here in Europe ^^ it´s the 31. December :D
Merry Christmas to all of you ^^
Beta&Co-Author: Ca11iope ^^ Thank you, honey :D
Ed hadn´t even made it halfway down the block when abruptly, Mustang’s car stopped beside him. The man leaned over the passenger’s seat and waved for him to get in.
Opening the door, the first thing Edward heard was the Colonel’s tense voice.
“They found her.”
The note of great relief in the Colonel’s voice dropped the heavy stone of worry and from Ed’s shoulders. Jiao Lan had to be alright for Mustang to sound so relieved.
Ed let himself fall onto the seat and didn´t even manage to close the door before the man beside him pulled away from the curb.
“Two patrolmen found her,” Roy informed him. “She seems to be fine, but they couldn´t say for sure.”
“They couldn´t say for sure?” the blond echoed, wondering over that statement. Then he noticed the tiny smile on Mustang’s face and instantly felt himself relax.
“You´ll see.” Mustang stopped at a red light and sent a glance towards his passenger. “Inform the others that Jiao Lan has been found, she’s alright, and that we will meet them in Southern Park for the midnight fireworks display.” After a short pause and a look at the car’s dashboard, he added, “With a bit of luck, we´ll make it before midnight.”
Ed checked his watch to note that it was just over an hour before midnight. Which was good, because it would give the others time to get to the park, including Gracia and the two children she was currently taking care of: her own daughter and Roy’s nephew ZeRen.
And once the car pulled up by a flashlight waving policewoman, Edward discovered that it was a good thing for another reason. The young patrolwoman led the two alchemists down a short alley where her partner stood tense with his hands on his hips.
“Come on, girl. I don´t have all fucking night to wait for a brat like you to-“
Edward was amazed at Mustang’s ability to clear his throat in a way that sounded both casual and disapproving. The police officer gave out a small ‘eep’ and turned around. The next moment his face turned rather white.
“Colonel Mustang. We… uh..found your niece.” The startled officer pointed towards a dark corner in the alley. Ed could faintly make out the opening of a ventilation shaft.
Mustang’s eyebrow rose up and Ed had to place himself in line behind the woman, obviously a rookie, when it came to hiding mischievous amusement. But damn, it was nice to see someone else in trouble with Colonel Mustang for a change.
“So I´ve heard,” Mustang stated flatly.“I was not aware that insults and inappropriate language were part of the protocol for dealing with children. Perhaps I should have a word with your chief.”
The policeman tried his best to become invisible and managed to squeak out a weak“It´s not, Sir.”Before taking off his hat and running his fingers through slicked back dark hair.
Mustang simply stared down at him. The man began to shift uncomfortable on his feet and nervously play with his hat. With no little amusement Ed saw the material getting smudged with hair oil as he did so, but the officer himself didn´t notice as he stuttered, “U-uhm… my a-apologies, S-sir.”
“Uncle Roy!” An excited voice came out from the air duct, but not the speaker.
Releasing the man from his stare, the Colonel turned towards the dark corner and looked up into the shaft.
This time, Ed couldn´t manage to hide his chuckle. It figured that Roy Mustang would have mastered the parental ‘you-are-so-doomed’ tone of voice rather quickly.
“What are you doing up there?”Mustang’s irritation was obvious and it must have been clear to the girl that her uncle was angry.
She was not impressed.“I´m hiding,” she stated the obvious.
Mustang sighed and started massaging his temples.
“Is that a grey hair I see?” Ed felt inclined to point out.
The completely dark haired man sent a glare his way, but didn´t grace him with an answer. Instead, he turned back to the task of attempting to pry information from his niece piece by piece.
“From what are you hiding?” Roy asked, obviously trying to not lose his patience.
Carefully, the female officer stepped farther away from Roy. It showed that unlike her partner, the woman was in possession of a brain. Because even not knowing just who the man in front of them was, only a fool wouldn’t know to run away once they caught the expression on his face.
That was, everyone except for that male officer, who only frowned, and Ed, who was sure Mustang would not blow up the entire city block with his niece so close by.
“Uhm… Sir, she… uhm…. ran away from me,” the policeman in front of them admitted.
Ed felt like groaning. That much stupidity had to hurt, so why was the guy not screaming in agony? Huh. Maybe he didn’t have the brain capacity to register pain either. That had to be it. Edward didn’t usually judge people so harshly, stupid or not. But under the circumstances it felt damn good. And at least Ed wasn’t taking his frustration over the little girl’s disappearance out on other people. Unlike a certain Flame Alchemist.
The Colonel’s eyesnarrowed.“You´re a police officer; why would she do that?”he asked. Mustang’s tone was carefully calm, but Ed tensed. Uh oh.
The policewoman made a brave attempt to preventVolcano Mustang from erupting.“Sir, my partner is not very skilled with children.”
“Really? I never would have guessed.”
Ed knew that Mustang expressed himself exceptional well through his tone of voice, having been treated to many bouts of verbal sparring in the past. But right now, even Ed was amazed at how the man’s voice dripped sarcasm yet still remained dry at the same time.
When the Colonel received no response from the policewoman - probably her wisest choice- he turned around and shouted “JiaoLan, come down here, this instant!” in the original, purely parental ‘you are in trouble, young lady’- tone of voice.
Still weird. But better this time. Ed was slowly getting used to it.
“No buts! Come down!” the Colonel ordered. This time the order sounded more no-nonsense military. Beside him, the two police officers stood stiffly, clearly unsure if they should witness this. The woman was fiddling with the hem of her jacket, while her partner shifted his weight from one food to the other.
A small sob was heard from the ventilation shaft.
All the adults froze instantly.
“I´m stuck!” The girl’s voice trembled.
“Don´t start this now.” The Colonel hissed at Ed. “You are the only one here who’s small enough to fit into the duct.”
“I’M NOT SM-“
“Fairy!”JiaoLan’s joyful cry interrupted the beginning tantrum once she finally recognized Ed’s voice. It certainly had been loud enough.
Instantly, the idiot of the two police officers just had to ask, “Fairy?” with a grin on his face that was quickly wiped off by glares from both Edward and Roy, though Ed wasn’t sure why Mustang didn’t take the opportunity to spread that particular nickname around.
With midnight less than an hour away, the policewoman likely decided that she wanted to live to see the new year. “You seem to have the situation well in hand, Sir,” she said to Mustang. “If you don’t mind, I think my partner and I should return to our patrol route.”
The Colonel turned his attention to the two police officers. “Not at all. Thank you for your assistance, officer.”
“Our pleasure, Sir,” the woman returned with a smile. “Oh, and before I forget, our Chief asked that we deliver a message. He said to tell you that he agrees.” With that, the policewoman quickly bid the two alchemists a goodnight as she dragged her dense partner away.
What did that mean? Ed looked his question to Mustang with a suspicious stare.
The only answer Ed got was a muttered, “I`ll explain later.” Then the man looked down at the blond and said, very carefully, “but I´m serious about you being the only one able to follow her.”
Ed glared. At least Mustang had avoided using any incorrect references to anyone’s lack of height this time.
“I could just use alchemy and get her out,”Ed insisted.
“Yes, and perhaps scare her for life. She´s not accustomed to alchemy yet,” Mustang grumbled back. “And you can´t even see inside the - Yes, I know that wouldn’t an issue, and I know you are a professional,” the Colonel interrupted himself when Ed opened his mouth to protest. “But that doesn´t change the fact that she´s not used to alchemy.”
Ed frowned, wondering how the girl could not be used to alchemy when she was part of the Flame Alchemist´s family. And further, he remembered that Roy had made no objections when Ed had offered to transmute something for the girl back at the Christmas market.
Catching Ed’s frown, Mustang went for distraction. Heput on a smirk and added, “And since we don´t want to strengthen her belief that you are a fairy and capable of magic…“
“Oh, fine!” Ed huffed.
He went over to the wall, kicking aside the boxes that the girl must have used to climb up to the duct. Mustang didn´t ask why he did so, since it was obvious that even without the automail, they wouldn´t hold Ed’s weight. They were dented from Jiao Lan’s climb, and while it could be argued that Ed was as small as the child, Ed did possess some very well builtmuscle massthat added to his weight.
“Get over here, you lazy Bastard,” the blond muttered, quietly enough so JiaoLan wouldn´t hear. “I can´t reach the damn thing.”Seeing the way Roy bit his lip to keep himself from saying something he probably would regret, the younger alchemist narrowed his eyes. “Not one word,” he positively hissed.
It took all Roy’s self control to not laugh. That was, until Ed used his hands, shoulder, and head as a ladder. Then he tried to not grunt in pain. Good lord, the boy was rude.“You could try not to dislocate my shoulder,” he grumbled.
The only reply he got was just as grumbly as his own words.“You could have let me transmute a ladder.” Reaching for the vent, Ed heaved himself up and looked down at the Colonel. “You have some explaining to do,” he informed him, and it was not a request.
Grimacing slightly, the Colonel nodded, then watched Edward slip into the narrow opening. Funny, everyone noticed Ed was short, but no one considered his build. The young alchemist’s shoulders were broad, and even though his body was not of average height, the duct looked to be an uncomfortably tight fit. And he would have to get out there backwards.
Damn, now Roy owed the man even more, after the cooking lessons, and dragging him out on Silvester night.
Looking at his watch, Roy sighed. If Ed managed to get his niece out quickly, they might have half an hour left to celebrate the end of the year.
“Okay, princess.” Ed muttered, hating the almost total darkness he was crawling through. Seriously, vents needed some light. No one ever thought about the people who had to crawl through these things. “Where are you?” he questioned.
She couldn´t have gone far into the vent or else she wouldn´t have heard them speaking outside.He almost lost his balance when suddenly there was nothing below his hand.
“Hello?” The girl’s frightened voice called from below. That explained how she’d gotten stuck. The child had likely fallen into a lower part of the duct.
“Hey there, little one,” Ed greeted the girl, and instantly heard her calling his name.
Great, now she called him Ed. Why couldn’t she have done that a few minutes ago, when Mustang and the police could hear her, instead of calling him Fairy.Again.
He managed not to sigh in resignation. Thankfully his eyes were slowly getting used to the darkness and he could see a few outlines. And immediately he became grateful that the girl hadn´t fallen very far. The blond didn´t want to imagine the injuries such a fragile child might suffer. As it was, he couldpull her out of there if she reached up for his hand. Ed shifted closer to the edge until he could stretch a hand down into the shaft.
“Come on, let´s get you out of there,” he offered. Jiao Lan did not reach for his hand.“Lan?” No way he wasstruggling to use her full name when he had permission to shorten it like this.
A moment of silence and then he could hear her guilty sniffing.
“How mad is uncle at me?” she asked, and Ed felt like facepalming himself.
“Uhm…” Now, what to say? “He`s more worried.” It was an honest answer.
A sob answered him. The alchemist tried not to groan. Okay, honesty had probably not been the right approach. Even though logically the little girl deserved to feel guilty for what she had done, Ed had no desire to see her cry, and felt bad for it.
“Hush, princess. I´m sure he will be glad when you´re back with him again.” Now, that sounded better. And thankfully, the sobbing stopped.
“He won´t send me to auntie and granny?” the shaken voice sounded hopeful.
There were even more Mustangs? Oh great.
Looking down at the girl, he couldn´t help but feel curious. The way Roy’s niece absolutely did not want to be sent to her relatives didn´t say very good things about their character, and Ed remembered Roy saying he planned to adopt the children. Ed couldn´t imagining the Colonel allowing his niece and nephew to go live with some clearly unfit relative because of this incident, so Edward could be as sincere as he wanted with his answer.
“I´m sure he won’t.” When he heard a relieved sigh from below, he waved his hand in her direction. “Now come on, we don´t have much time ‘till midnight, and you don´t want to miss the fireworks, do you?”
There were no words to describe the relief Roy felt when he saw Ed crawl out of the vent followed by his niece. The girl had dirt on her hands and knees and her pigtails were sloppy, but she appeared uninjured. When Ed jumped down, she followed him without hesitation, letting herself be caught by her uncle, who immediately hugged her close.
She smelled of metal andstale air but hell if he minded. Through her silent crying he could hear her apologize over and over in Xingese when it became clear to her just how worried her uncle had been.
“You are in so much trouble,” he said softly, but wouldn´t let go of her.
The girl in his arms hiccupped and then struggled to look at Ed.“You said he wouldn’t be mad,” she accused. “Fairies shouldn´t lie!”
Ed, watching the scene with mixed feelings, smiled. “No, I said he´d been worried and would be glad to have you back,” he corrected. “I didn´t say he wouldn´t be mad as well.”
The girl pouted and Mustang couldn´t help a small laugh at the sight. She was pouting. She was fine.
“Going into politics, Ed?” the Colonel teased, trying to get his emotions in check.
The young man grimaced instantly.“Fu-“ Quickly, he cleared his throat. “Absolutely not! There are too many bastards and a-“ Mustang’s glare dared him to say ‘assholes’ in front of his underage niece.“-a…and we should go or else we won´t make it to the park in time.”
Checking his watch, the Colonel bit down a curse.
Now they really needed to hurry.
In the car, the girl sat on Ed’s lap while the Colonel drove. Refusing to let her out of his sight, he had finally agreed to Edward sharing the passenger seat with his niece. Having forgiven him for the almost-lie, the child cuddled into Edward’s arm just the way she had done at the Christmas market. Slightly resigned over the fact that he was apparently incapable of staying mad at the little devil, Ed observed the streets passing by the window.
Of course they had trouble finding a parking space near the park, but Mustang didn´t seem to give a shit about parking tickets at the moment. He wanted to be with both his young relatives when the new year started, and if that meant parking right beside a ‘no parking’ sign, so be it. Not wanting to point that particular misbehavior out in front of the girl and not willing to miss the countdown with his friends and family either, Ed said nothing. It wasn’t like Mustang couldn´t afford to pay the ticket.
Then he had to bite his lip at the practiced way Mustang managed to run while balancing an excited child in his arms. Definitely not the first time the man has done that.
Keeping an eye out for the rest of the team along with his brother and Winry, Ed cursed the crowd of freakishly tall people blocking his view. He came to a sudden stop when they were spotted first. The shouted “Brother!” came from the left and both Mustang and Ed turned in that direction to see the group of people waiting for them.
ZeRen struggled out of Gracia’s armsand ran to his sister and uncle.
“Uncle Roy!” he called out and lifted his arms towards the man.
This time Ed couldn´t hold back the chuckle when Roy Mustang was perfectly fine balancing his niece on his hip as he bent to pick up his nephew as well.
And he could see by the strange expressions on the other teammember’s faces the various degrees of being-used-to-parental-Roy. It was kind of funny.
Soon enough however, the girl stretched her arms out towards Ed, and he moved to take her. He did not do it because keeping both kids in his arms at once had to be uncomfortablefor Roy. He did it just because the little girlwas pleading with the biggest, deepest dark eyes Ed had ever seen. When he took the very willing Jiao Lanfrom Roy and carried her over to join their gathered friends, he notice that the looks on the faces of his colleagues, his brother’s and Winry’s as well, had become even stranger. Some jaws wereslightly slack and someone, he couldn´t quite pindown who, let out a strangled sound.
Ed blinked irritated and looked at them.
Havoc let out a cough, having stopped breathing for a moment, unfortunately after inhaling smoke from his cigarette.
No one felt obliged to answer that question. Without turning around, Ed was aware of Mustang stepping closer.
Before the silence became awkward, Hawkeye greeted the Colonel and Edward and added a quick, “You´re right on time, the countdown should start soon.” She smiled. “New year is close.”
“Let´s hope it´s a good one.” Havoc grumbled beside her, then eyed the Colonel, who still carried a child on his arm, before grinning a bit. “I think it will be.”
“Don´t get your hopes up, Havoc. Women like men who are good with children.” Breda pointed out, and Havoc sighed, then eyed the children speculatively.
“Don´t even think about it!” the Colonel instantly growled protectively, which prompted a few chuckles.
“Yeah, and I´m sure people would totally believe that you are their father.” Breda pointed out, referring to the obvious Xiangese heritage rivaling Havoc’s blond hair and blue eyes. The Lieutenant sighed and muttered something incoherent.
“You should have made arrangements with Fullmetal to take on that role when he was twelve… well, maybe you still can try it. He´s short enough to pass for a child.” Mustang suggested, not able to resist getting that particular jab in.
Instantly, Ed’s face went red with anger and one could almost see the urge to kill rise within the blond.“He wasn´t old enough to pass as a father back then,” Ed snarled, “You however could have passed for a grandfa-“
Sensing the approaching war between the two, Gracia quickly interrupted with a soft voice.
“I´m sure you don´t want to fight through the countdown, boys!” she scolded, and her daughter giggled when she recognized her mother’s tone as one she used to scold small children. “Let´s be nice.”
In Ed’s arm, Jiao Lan nodded enthusiastically. “Do I get kisses?” she asked, clearly hopeful, even when her brother let out a disgusted “Ewww!”
“Kisses?” Breda echoed and was promptly lectured by Falman.
“It´s traditional to kiss people on New Year to ensure a good relationship through the year,” the ever helpful man explained.
“How can you not know that?”Havoc added with a scowl.
“Not everyone looks for any excuse to get a kiss.” The redhead shot back, and the friendly bickering started.
Until it was interrupted by a high voice.“Do I get kisses?” The girl repeated and looked at her uncle with big eyes. “Pretty please?”
It wasn’t particularly strange to see the women “Awwww”ing over a child, except that one of them was Hawkeye.
“Of course you do, sweetheart!” Gracia quickly assured the girl.
“Yeah, course you do,” Havoc added. “And in a few years, when you´re a very pretty woman, you’ll get even more - just kidding!” he squeaked when he noticed the look on Roy’s face.
“I won´t be a pretty woman?” Jiao Lan asked, already looking crestfallen.
Ed groaned. Of course she had to pick that part as Havoc’s retraction.
“I´m sure you will be more than pretty, you´ll be a very beautiful woman!” Thank god for WinryRockbell and her talent with children. Seeing the way Eliciahad adopted her as her bigger sister, it was no surprise Jiao Lan now looked up to her.
And talking about Elicia... “And me?” was instantly heard, and both Winry and her mother quickly assured her that yes, she surely would become a beautiful woman as well.
“It’s the new year,” Jiao Lan stated with great authority. “Tonight everyone will get kisses!”
Fuery observed all the women blushing furiously. Then he looked at thegathered men and blushed even further.
“Something wrong, SargeantFuery?” Falman, who had noticedthe strange behavior, asked the second youngest member of the team.
One look at Mustang and Ed was sure the man knew what was going on. Roy appeared completely innocent – except for the amused little twitching at the corners of his mouth.
“Uhm…” Fuery looked down at the floor and finally the rest of the team noticed his discomfort, because the poor man quickly became the center of attention. “Do we have to…” he gestured to himself, then to the women, and then the men beside him, “… you know.”
Even Vato blinked. Wow, Ed was pretty sure it was the first time he saw that happen.
Then the men looked at each other and collective an “Uhm….” was heard while the woman appeared incredibly amused. The men looked to the little girl, who stared back at them, expectantly. Then they looked to the girl’s uncle, the famous Flame Alchemist and their superior officer. One dark eyebrow lifted, clearly telling them they better not dare to make a scene over this.
Ed couldn´t help but feel entertained as well. Until it dawned on him that Mustang was present. And he himself as well. He looked to the girl in his arms, who still stared at the military men, then to Mustang.
To quote the rest: “Uhm…”
“Of course you do!” Jiao Lan insisted. “You need to, ‘cause you need to be good friends next year!”
Breda and Havoc eyed each other horrified before the blond of the two looked at Mustang, and then appeared even more grossed out. Huh, nothing like having to be affectionate with your boss who steals all your girlfriends.
“Stop acting like babies, no one said it had to be lover’s kiss. A simple kiss on the cheek will do,” Hawkeye scolded the men.
Fuery blushed even further to a degree that didn´t appear very healthy. He desperately tried his best to look into no one’s face. It was so much of a giveaway that even Ed couldn´t help but pity the man.
“Uhm… Kain…” Havoc started. “Are you by any chance… you know… kind of…”
“Kind of? How can you be kind of bisex-“ Breda asked.
“Widely interested?” Roy interrupted, with a glare towards Heymans who guiltily noticed the children present.
The pitiful black haired technician probably wished to be anywhere else right now. “Could we change the subject … please?” he begged.
Havoc snickered and Ed couldn´t help but grin as well. The man was so in trouble and everyone, including Fuery himself, knew it. There was no way anyone would let him live this down.Looking at his brother and Winry, he could see the mischief in their eyes as well, and had to bite his lip to keep from laughing out loud. Oh yes, definitely in for trouble. On the surface Al didn’t look like the pranking type, but Ed knew better, and it was more than clear that Winry would join in the fun as well. KainFuery had no idea what was in store for him in the new year, though the technician had likely never been as grateful for a countdown to start as he was today, because at just that moment the people around them started to count down from ten.
The little group of friends and family joined the counting, some people loud, some more reserved. The little girl in Edward’s arms excitedly shouted the numbers, while next to them Roy and his nephew counted more quietly.
As the shouted numbers grew smaller, Ed felt himself become affected by the anticipation around him. He could feel the girl in his arms bounce slightly when they reached the last five number and just like that, it was–
“Three… two… one!”
And the next moment, the girl in his embrace wrapped her little arms around his neck and pressed a kiss on his cheek. Instinctively, he returned it, not wanting to disappoint her.
“Happy New Year, Ed.”Gracia stepped closer and gave him a peck on the cheek, then took Jiao Lan from his arms to give the girl a kiss as well.
He could feel Elicia tugging on his arm and bent down so she could kiss his cheek too.
When he straightened up he received and returned wishes from both his brother and Winry. Kissing Winryand Al on the cheek felt far more natural. They were his siblings after all, even if only one of them was so by blood.
Turning around, he found himself face to face with Mustang.
“Uhm…” One look to the side and he could see Breda, Falman and Havoc trying to awkwardly form a line to get kisses from the women without making it too obvious that they would prefer not to get one from the other males. Fuery was once again blushing furiously as Hawkeye gave him her new year best wishes, including a kiss on the cheek. He thanked her and quickly turned his attention to the youngest girls, obviously believing himself to be saved from further embarrassmentthat way.
With everyone else otherwise occupied, there was no escaping it. Ed turned back to Mustang and for a moment didn´t know what to do. Why the hell did this feel different from kissing Gracia, Al, or Winry? But excitement was prickling like little butterflies in his stomach and he could feel the heat rising to his cheeks when Royleaned down.
He could feel the man’s warmth,and without a conscious thought his eyelids drifted shut as the man moved closer. Roy’s skin felt smooth against his cheek, his lips warm and soft as they pressed a light kiss there, just a few inches away from his mouth.
He didn´t return it. He couldn´t help it. He just kept his eyes closed and enjoyed the warm skin against his, breathed in the scent he liked so much, and sighed in contentment.A simple kiss on the cheek was usually short and sweet, but time seemed to slow, and when Ed felt Mustang drawing away he placed a hand on the man’s neck, not willing to let him go. The other man’s warm breath brushed his cheek as Mustang drew away despite the gently restraining hand, and Ed knew those lips would vanish soon and this would be over.
Except they didn’t. Instead, Edward felt the pressure return, another short kiss being placed on his face, closer to his mouth, then another, even closer. Turning his head the slightest bit to meet him felt simple and natural.
Ed felt as if his knees might melt at any moment and leaned in. Lips moved against his, a slight pressure, barely there. Soft and light, not what he expected from Mustang, but his stomach was on a rollercoaster nonetheless.
The kiss was short and gone almost as soon as it started. But just as fast as one kiss ended, the next one started. And another one.And another. He couldn´t stop this. Didn´t want to stop this.
And slowly the faint, small kisses became more intense and comfortable, almost lazy. Instead of keeping his hand on Roy’s neck, he wrapped his arms around the taller man’s shoulders. Ed let out another contented sigh against Roy’s lips when he felt the older man’s hands on his waist, drawing him closer. The kisses became more demanding, literally taking Edward’s breath away.
When it was over, he couldn´t even think. He leant back, without even realizing that he had been standing on his tiptoes, and when had that happened? Ed didn´t loose his embrace, nor did Mustang take away his hands.
Still panting slightly, both of them could do nothing butstand there and look at each other.
^^ I guess this fic just likes short chapters XD I hope you don´t mind?
PS: Screw Lj for doing the same to the format D: Sorry guys, I still have no idea how to stop this ;_;