Summary: Edward is getting a bit too big for his britches, and Roy needs to pull him down a peg.
Word Count: 1,257
Notes: Written for NaNo. Big surprise. And I've got a summary like that, but there's no smut. NO, SERIOUSLY.
Roy throws a thick sheaf of papers at Edward, confusion and irritation plainly written on his face. “FullMetal, how in the name of all that is holy did you manage to decimate an entire town, and the two towns next to it? That amount of destruction almost takes talent. I'd also like to know how you damaged that much property, and no one died, and only a handful were injured.
Edward sits in a chair in front of Roy's desk, and shrugs. “Like you said, I'm talented. And it's nice to see you too, Colonel.”
Roy frowns, massaging his temples with his thumb and middle finger. “How am I supposed to explain this to my superiors? They've been breathing down my neck about you since you entered the military in the first place, and this might drive them over the edge, and make them decide that you're unfit for service, and discharge you, or worse, jail you, like they did with Kimblee.”
Edward laughs outright. “They won't jail me. I haven't murdered tons of people like Kimblee, nor am I performing illegal experiments.”
“Anymore,” Roy says sternly. “If they caught wind of the truth behind Al, you would be jailed. Or maybe even executed, and you know that as well as I do.”
“They would do no such thing. The state needs me, and you know that as well as I do. After all, they value me enough to pay me.”
Roy frowns. “They don't need you that much. Look at Tucker. He made the first talking chimera, and they booted him when he didn't pass his annual evaluation.”
Edward scowls, annoyed. “Don't compare me to that bastard,” he seethes. “I did not kill a helpless little girl in an attempt to become a state alchemist!”
“No, you just trapped your brother's soul in a suit of armor, and you don't even know what happened to his body,” Roy deadpans.
Edward jumps up and slams both palms Roy's desk. “IT'S ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GATE!”
Roy quickly stands, shoving his chair back with his legs, flinging it into the windows behind him. “YOU DON'T KNOW THAT FOR CERTAIN, FULLMETAL. YOU HAVEN'T SEEN IT FOR YOURSELF.”
“WHERE ELSE WOULD IT BE?! THAT'S WHERE MY ARM AND LEG WENT, SO HIS BODY SHOULD BE THERE TOO,” Edward screams, almost to the point of tears.
Roy notices, but continues, needing to get his point across. “HOW WILL YOU GET IT BACK? YOUR WILD GOOSE CHASE IS GETTING YOU NOWHERE, AND IF YOU KEEP IT UP, IT'S GOING TO COST YOU YOUR JOB.” And maybe your life, Roy doesn't add.
“I'M WORKING ON IT.” Edward slumps back into his chair, openly crying. “We're so close,” he says between sobs. “We just had a slight hitch at this last place, but I'm so close. I want him to get his body back so badly.” He covers his face with his hands, and keeps mumbling that they're so close, he'll fix Al soon, he promises.
Roy looks around, knowing he has a box of tissues lying around somewhere, so the kid can quit snotting on his hands. He finally spots the box, and pulls it off the top of the filing cabinet, and drops it in Edward's lap. “Stop wiping your nose on your sleeve,” Roy says softly.
“'m not,” Edward mumbles, pulling a hunk of tissues out of the box, then blowing his nose.
Roy rights his chair, and sits back behind his desk, waiting for Edward to compose himself.
“Look, Colonel, we're so close. I just need a little more time, so I can...”
“No,” Roy abruptly cuts him off. “It's not in the budget, and the higher-ups won't allow it.”
“What?” Edward's face falls. “Isn't there somewhere they can send me? A de-militarized zone, something?”
“They aren't going to be sending you anywhere for a long time, FullMetal. It's cheaper and easier to keep you here. They're worried that if they keep sending you out, you'll destroy things, and then they'll have to pay for it, and if they have to keep paying for it, the state will go into a recession.”
Edward snorts. “I can't do that much damage.”
Roy raises an eyebrow. “It's costing more than twice your yearly salary to fix one of the three towns you just turned into a crater. I'm sorry, FullMetal, but orders are orders. You're just going to have to stay here.”
“Shit,” Edward grumbles. “That's fine. I can just do research in the library while I'm here. No problem at all.”
“Good. I'm glad you understand.” Roy puts his business face back on, and gets back to the reason that Edward is there. “Now, what am I going to tell my superiors?”
Edward shrugs. “I don't know. It's not my problem.” He scoots back in the chair, propping his flesh arm awkwardly over the back, looking as smug as the day is long, despite having blood-shot eyes and a little bit of snot hanging from his nose.
“You're right,” Roy concedes. “It's my problem. But, I'm making it your problem, understand? Because you're my problem. Do you understand how bad you make me look to my superiors, FullMetal? I can't control a fifteen-year-old kid, how am I supposed to command troops? How would I be trusted to lead a country? You need to start thinking about how your actions affect others. You make the military and other alchemists look bad when you destroy things willy-nilly, and it's not fair to them, it's not fair to me, and it's not really fair to you either.” Roy watches Edward sink with every sentence, and inwardly smirks, knowing that some of the things he's saying are actually sticking.
“Alright, alright,” Edward huffs. “So, tell them the truth. Tell them I destroyed the whole town because I had a fight with a homunculus, and I'll go back and fix it myself.”
“Did you forget that your orders are to stay here,” Roy asks smoothly. “Volunteering to rebuild isn't going to get you out of that, even if it would be cheaper and easier. This is about teaching you a lesson, not about this town in particular.”
Edward scrunches his nose, aggravated that his scheme was caught onto so quickly. “So, what if I donate some money, or something?”
“I believe that a monetary contribution is acceptable, and so does the military. They've taken the bonus that you were going to get, and anonymously donated it to the three towns.”
“Dammit.” Edward stands up, and Roy steadies himself for another tirade, but is surprised when Edward speaks softly.
“So, basically, I'm out some money, and I can't leave the city, but I have the same privileges,” he asks, pacing in front of Roy's desk.
“Right.” Roy nods, glad that Edward is taking this so well.
Edward looks at Roy, then looks down at the chair, debating on sitting back down, but ultimately decides against it.
“So, is that it? Or is there something else?”
Roy shakes his head, pleased that Edward is practically asking permission to leave, instead of storming out, as usual. “No, that's all. You're dismissed.”