Title: Vexation
Author: Jordanna Morgan (librarie@jordanna.net)
Archive Rights: Please request the author’s consent.
Rating/Warnings: G.
Characters: Hawkeye, Mustang, Edward, Alphonse.
Setting: General.
Summary: A Hawkeye’s-eye view of a mission report from Edward to Mustang.
Disclaimer: They belong to Hiromu Arakawa. I’m just playing with them.
Notes: Written for Waddiwasiwitch as part of the 2014 Trick Or Treat Exchange. The request was for Roy/Riza, and Ed and Roy bickering.

 

Vexation

 

Riza Hawkeye knew it was going to be one of those days when Edward started talking the moment he burst into the office.

“Listen, Colonel, before you say anything—I can explain whatever it was you heard from that farmer in Trosa! If you’d seen what was in that water tower, you probably would’ve torched it! And all I did was—”

Roy Mustang raised his dark eyes over the edge of the paperwork he was reviewing, and the teenager’s words broke off with a gulp.

“What… exactly… am I supposed to have heard from a farmer in Trosa?” the Colonel asked slowly.

Ed stared and twitched. “You mean… you didn’t get a phone call yet, or something?”

“No.” Mustang set the document aside in his inbox, and steepled his fingertips, piercing Ed with a firm and chilling gaze. “So let’s hear your version of whatever it is you’ve done now.”

While Ed stood fumbling for speech, his brother Alphonse—who had rattled into the room behind him—quickly took it upon himself to offer the explanation. “Well, uh… there was an old water tower in a farmer’s field that… kind of isn’t there anymore.”

“It’s not my fault!” Ed yelped defensively, shooting a quick glare at Al over his shoulder before he resumed nattering at Mustang. “That guy Petrin, the alchemist you sent us to check on?—Who’s a nutcase like every other alchemist you send us to, by the way, so this is really your fault again. Anyway, the farmer didn’t know it, but Petrin was using that water tower to breed a bunch of piranha-frog chimeras. He was going to release them into the nearby waterways, to kill off the fish the locals rely on for food.”

“And you had to destroy the water tower to get rid of them?” Mustang demanded.

“Hey, it wasn’t me. Petrin had another, big chimera that was chasing us. When I jumped out of the way, that thing slammed into the support columns, and that’s why the tower… kind of fell over. The whole thing was just flimsy wood. Can I help it if it wasn’t built well?”

Mustang dropped his face into his hand. “Edward, please tell me that in demolishing this water tower, you didn’t release a horde of piranha-frogs on the countryside.”

“Of course I didn’t! They’re dead!”

“Really?” One eye glimmered at Ed between Mustang’s fingers. “You actually managed to kill them all?”

“Well… not exactly. I mean I didn’t have to,” Ed amended quickly, at another flash of an aghast look from the Colonel. “It turns out there were some flaws in Petrin’s equations that made them more fish than amphibian, so they weren’t able to breathe out of water. When the tank broke open, all they did was flop around on the ground and die. And then that big chimera started eating them—but that let us sneak up on it and knock it on the head. …So things kind of worked out that way, at least.”

The Colonel rubbed his eyelids wearily. “Let me see if I understand this. Having been sent to Trosa for the simple task of reviewing Petrin’s work after local complaints about him, you found out that for some reason, he was plotting against the town.”

“Right.”

“And as a result of that, you somehow proceeded to demolish a perfectly innocent farmer’s water tower, flooding a field of who-knows-what kind of crops—”

“It was peas,” Alphonse put in helpfully, only to quiver with a clank of armor plates as Mustang shot him a look.

With a deep sigh, the Colonel then returned his focus to Ed. Hawkeye could see him trying desperately to muster an air of patience.

“Edward,” he said, in a strained tone that fought to sound calm and reasoning, “I thought we had an understanding about this. If, for some unholy reason, you just can’t avoid destroying something, we were agreed that you’d restore all damage to the best of your ability before you let a complaint be submitted to the military.”

“Yeah, and I could have rebuilt that water tower even better than new,” Ed grumbled. “Only the farmer came out with a really sharp pitchfork—and he wasn’t in any mood to listen to me when I tried to tell him I could fix it.”

Even from across the room, Hawkeye could hear Mustang’s teeth grinding.

“Did you at least clean up the remaining carcasses of the piranha-frogs?” the Colonel questioned tensely.

“You heard what I just said about that pitchfork!” Ed retorted, crossing his arms. “Anyway, they’ll be good for his next planting. Do you know what great fertilizer fish are?”

Mustang muttered a word for something that could also be used as fertilizer. From the way his fingers were clenching, Hawkeye knew it was fortunate he wasn’t wearing his gloves.

She also knew it was time for the Elrics to be excused.

“I think it would be best if you fill out an official report, Edward,” she said smoothly, picking up the appropriate form. As she rose and handed the paper across to Ed, she cast a meaningful look toward the door. “Leave it on my desk later. Much later.”

Taking the hint, Ed grabbed the form and beat a hasty retreat.

Alphonse lingered awkwardly. His gaze swiveled between Mustang and Hawkeye before he finally settled on speaking to the latter, in a shy and contrite voice.

“I’m really sorry, Lieutenant. Brother always means well. He’s just—”

“I know.” Hawkeye glanced back at Mustang, who was massaging his temples as he fished in his desk drawer for headache pills. Then she looked up at Al again, and her voice lowered. “It’s alright. I don’t think it’s a bad thing for Ed to try the Colonel’s patience now and then. It’s good practice for him.”

“…Practice?” Alphonse repeated hazily.

With a twitch of her lips, Hawkeye merely returned to her work, leaving Al in puzzlement as he wandered off after his brother.


© 2014 Jordanna Morgan