[personal profile] jarnsaxa

Okay, let´s try out the  semagic client  ^^ I hope it works :D

Beta&Co-Author: Still Ca11iope ^^ And I still love you for it, dear ^^

Chapter 3

Ed had no idea just how long he had been standing there, looking up, staring at Mustang.

His brain seemed to be in a deadlock. Only one thought kept spinning through his mind.

What the fuck just happened?

There he stood in the middle of a crowded park with fireworks going off all around him, held firm in the arms of Roy – the manipulative and controlling bastard – Mustang, not quite his sworn enemy anymore but still… the Bastard.

Another Silvester celebrant bumped Ed rather rudely, and thankfully it brought him out of his frozen state. Quickly, he let go of Roy and looked down. He found Ze Ren hiding behind him to escape the Ceremony. Ed couldn´t help but wonder why the boy, who was far from being as extroverted as his sister, suddenly decided to hide behind Ed, when it was clear that his most trusted protector was Roy.

Whose attention had been caught up by two little girls.

“I want a New Year’s kiss from Uncle Roy too!” Elicia said, looking up at Roy with her father’s sparkling green eyes.

Xiao Lan stood behind her, pouting a bit, wanting her uncle’s attention as well. Children getting in line for a kiss from Roy Mustang… just what was the world coming to?

One quick glance towards the group of friends and family and Ed felt sudden relief. It appeared that no one had witnessed the new year kiss Roy had treated his young subordinate to. It looked like poor Fuery was being teased for his rather colorful face. The young man appeared ready to pass out, and…

Hold on, his face was way more colorful than it should be from embarrassment alone. Judging by the color of the lipstick, it was obviously Winry’s fault. Then Ed noticed just where the lipstick was and felt his own face getting a very amusing expression of its own.

Eyes wide, Ed turned his attention to a mischievous Winry, who was now standing next to Havoc. Both alternated between looking at the sky and at Fuery. Havoc however paid more attention to his teasing friends while the young woman preferred to watch the fireworks. Falman was standing next to a giggling Gracia, and Hawkeye shook her head at the men’s childish behavior before turning her attention to the sky as well. Ed could feel Ze Ren shifting from behind his legs, enough to catch a glimpse of the spectacular event in the sky and could hear both Elicia and Jiao Lan gasp in awe at the view presented to them.

Ed didn´t see what had become of Breda, because his eyes next fell on Al. The younger Elric’s incredulous expression probably matched that of his brother. Only the younger Elric was not staring at their childhood friend who had just kissed Kain Fuery.

He was staring at Ed.

Edward could feel his face heating up, and he cursed the brightly colored pyrotechnical display that lit up the night.

There was absolutely no doubt that Alphonse witnessed what had just taken place between his older brother and Roy Mustang.

Thankfully, Roy’s smooth voice broke the staring match.

“Looks like Fuery is getting quite a bit of attention,” he observed, and added, a bit louder, “Gentlemen, I will not be pleased if my communications technician dies of high blood pressure.”

That got the attention of the group. Breda made a disappointed sound and Havoc muttered something about life not being fair. Hawkeye’s eyebrow arched up, as if she expected that her Colonel had something to add to the festivities, and sure enough, just when Kain appeared unbelievably relieved that his torment was at an end, Roy’s amused voice added:

“… simply because he can´t handle getting kissed by a woman.”

Predictably, Breda burst out laughing again. Havoc cheered while Fuery winced. Hawkeye sighed, but only Falman felt obliged to complete the sentence.

“… and man,” the stoic Warrant Officer stated, and he looked over –

- to Al.

Damn.  Brainlocked again.

“You did WHAT?!” Ed asked. He had seen the mischief in his brother’s eyes and he had known there was a prank to follow, but this?

He knew Alphonse could be positively wicked – especially when his brother just left him at the Christmas market with a group of drunk women and one pseudo-woman gay mechanic in a tent full of drunken, partying… molesters – but this was just… Ed could feel the distinctive urge to create one of those damn drama scenes women were so fond of just now.

Really, without a body, teenage hormones, and puberty, Alphonse had been a lot nicer. At least towards his brother. Now however, he did his best to provide him with reasons for heart attacks on a regular basis.

Obviously, the younger Elric had planned to shock Ed along with the original ‘victim’ Kain Fuery. But most likely he had received quite the heavy shock of his own when he looked for his brother’s reaction only to find Ed’s lips locked to Roy Mustang’s.

Talking about karma…

“You´re not in any position to talk, brother.” Al lifted his hands in defense.

“Huh, you didn’t see what Al just did?” Havoc asked, confused.

“What the hell were you doing to miss it?” Breda asked, exasperated.

Al, while he didn´t say it out loud, clearly send a look that said ‘Yes, brother, what the hell were you doing?’

That was not something Ed wanted to explain right now, for the simple reason that he couldn´t even quite believe it himself.

Beside him, Roy cleared his throat.

“I don´t want to interrupt.” Like hell he didn´t. And judging by Al’s expression, the younger Elric didn´t believe that statement either. However, Roy didn´t even so much as blink or blush at the lie. “But I do believe our reservation at the Pearl Liang is waiting for us.” He looked over to the Elric bothers and Winry. “Feel free to join us. The place serves Xingese and western Amestrian food. Three extra guests won’t be a problem, as I´ve booked the whole room.” After a moment he added, “My treat of course.”

Al’s was the only voice of protest. “That’s not necessary, Sir,” he said. “We can cover our own tab.”

Ed frowned. He usually gave in to Al’s attempts to enforce civilized behavior, but when someone else was about to pay for an expensive meal, he vetoed. Ed felt no desire to refuse free food, and Winry’s only, rather faint complaint was that she was clearly underdressed for such an occasion and needed to change first.

“Sir, that´s not what -“ Hawkeye started, obviously about to remind him that the team had agreed to go out celebrating, but no one had ever said that Mustang needed to pick up the bill.

Before she could finish, Roy waved her concerns aside, which earned him a scolding glance that almost made him wince. Riza Hawkeye was not a woman who was interrupted, or whose arguments were waved aside.

“It´s the least I can do after all the time and trouble you went through on my niece’s behalf,” Roy insisted, and Jiao Lan suddenly appeared a lot smaller, a child with large, guilt-ridden eyes staring up at the gathered adults.

Hawkeye gave a disapproving huff, but let the matter rest.

Edward could feel Al’s eyes burning holes into his skull, the younger Elric sitting next to him on the backseat of Havoc’s car. The lady had taken the front passenger seat, while Havoc himself sat behind the wheel. Both Al and Winry had insisted Ed come back to their apartment with them to change as well after taking a good look at his clothes. That air vent he had crawled through had not been very clean, and as a result Ed was deemed inappropriate for dining in an upscale establishment. Not that Ed himself had any say in the matter. Winry seemed to take him for a damn infant or something since she hadn’t given him a choice. Al had agreed with her that yes, his brother needed to come with them to get something else to wear, and had unceremoniously shoved his older brother into the back seat of Havoc’s car, crowding in behind him to prevent escape. Ed knew, without the shadow of a doubt, that Al gave no damn about the way his brother was dressed. Likely the younger Elric had just backed Winry up so he had an excuse to get his brother alone to talk.

Thankfully, due to the distraction Al and Winry had provided when they pulled their prank on Kain Furey, Al was the only one who noticed what Ed and Mustang had been up to at the time, and he had not mentioned it. Yet. The Colonel was currently driving Gracia and the children to her place.  Mrs. Hughes didn’t plan to join in any further New Year’s celebrations. It was simply too late for the children to stay up, and Elicia’s mother didn´t mind having Roy’s young relatives stay overnight to give the Colonel some time to celebrate with his team.

Havoc drove carefully through the streets filled with happy celebration, complimenting Winry and Al for the prank they had pulled on Fuery, as well as complaining about it. The blond driver wanted to know why Fuery got a kiss from a pretty young woman and he didn’t. The offhand compliment to Winry caused her to smile sweetly at him, which went unnoticed – a possible indication why Havoc hadn’t received such treatment in quite a while.

“No offense, Al.” The Lieutenant said, regarding his only including Winry in his complaints about not getting kissed as well.

“None taken.” The younger Elric also smiled, but it was a far cry from the smile Winry had offered. And while neither Winry nor Havoc paid enough attention to notice it, Ed could see that Al’s smile was not as easygoing as it should be. Sure, it was honest, but Edward could see that his younger brother had something on his mind. And the older sibling had a fair guess of what that could be.

Ed dreaded the moment they arrived in the flat he shared with Alphonse, and currently with Winry as well. While Paninya and Garfiel had made reservations at one of Central’s hotels for their stay, Al and Ed had insisted that Winry should bunk with the Elrics. Their childhood friend was family, and family didn’t stay in a hotel when there was plenty of room in their flat.  That was their usual arrangement whenever Winry was in town, and they all saw no need to change it. While they didn´t have a guest room, both brothers had insisted on a spare room while searching for a flat. The study became the temporary living quarters of either Ed or Al, while Winry got the ‘proper’ bedroom during her stay.

And as expected, the moment they entered the flat, the woman dashed into ‘her’ room.

Ed was immediately under the observation of Alphonse’ very piercing gaze. He stared back. It was clear the neither of them knew exactly how to address the matter.

Al finally broke the stalemate. “You kissed Mustang.”

Ed almost winced at the disapproval in his brother’s voice. But like fuck was he going to let Alphonse chew him out, when the younger Elric himself had not been any better.

“You kissed Fuery,” he countered.

His retort was bashed away with a slight gesture. “That was hardly a kiss.” Al answered, clearly irritated.

Ed sighed in relief. That clarified things a bit.  Al’s kiss had probably been nothing more than a peck on the lips. One thing less for Ed to worry about. He so did not want to find out how far Alphonse had made it when it came to acting on that hormone overdose his pubescent body was producing. Al´s track record in giving him heart attacks grew with every passing day. And speaking about heart attacks …

He needed to keep the conversation in this direction as long as he could.

“Yeah, it was a prank.” Ed quickly shot back with a disapproving glare. “You´ve developed a really strange sense of humor lately.”

Alphonse did some glaring of his own. “You´re making a bigger deal out of it that it really was. And Fuery didn´t exactly protest.” Quite the opposite. The darkhaired technician had blushed rather furiously, but didn´t seem to mind the attack other than being teased about it.

“Yeah, like he had a chance to,” Ed returned. “The guy’s going to be embarrassed for as long as it takes for Havoc and Breda to let him live that one down.” Like, never. And under any other circumstances, Ed might even have joined in the teasing. But one, it was his brother who kissed Fuery – and that thought alone was enough to give him the urge to bang his head against a wall – and two, he would squeeze this topic out like a lemon for as long as possible to avoid having to talk about Mustang.

Unfortunately, his brother was not having any of it. Ed could already see the frown appear on Al’s face. And not just any frown, no. The one Alphonse reserved for whenever he really put his mind into something. Oh damn, Ed was doomed.

“Probably.” Al said slowly, drawing the words out. “But my guess is that it won´t take long for the team to let Fuery off the hook. Not when they have something more… interesting to talk about.”

It took Ed a moment to really comprehend.

“Are you… threatening me?” he asked, disbelieving.

Al stared at him. Then blinked. Seeing his brother’s face, the younger Elric chuckled. A moment later, he laughed outright.

For a second, Ed wondered if anyone would suspect him of murder if Al’s body was never found.

The laugher died when Alphonse noticed the way his brother stared at him. Still chuckling, he shook his head.

“Okay, let´s be serious here.” Al suggested, and with a sense of doom Ed nodded. Al finally stopped showing his outright amusement over his brother’s misery and his face regained some professionalism.

For the exact amount of time it took for Edward to react to his next question.

“So… is the Colonel a good kisser?”

Part 2

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