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Fic: Wrong Turn, Chapter Three of Three

Last chapter of my fma_ihop kinkmeme fic for sara_rojo. First chapter is here, second chapter is here. I had a ludicrous amount of fun writing this, so thanks for the prompt, Sara! I've ended up having so much fun with these versions of the characters that I'm very tempted to get to work on a sequel - in which of course I'd be honour bound to resolve some of this ridiculous sexual tension. 

Title: Wrong Turn: Chapter Three of Three
Characters: Roy/Ed-ish, Hawkeye, Al.
Setting: Mangaverse, spoilers up to about Ch. 35 or thereabouts.
Rating: R for Ed's swears.
Word count: 4127 words. Whole fic comes in at 13478 words - pretty impressive, I think, given the thinness of my plot here.
Summary: On the battlefield, others saw the Colonel as a courageous and inspiring leader and a devastating human weapon; she saw the sixteen-year old boy who had once fallen off her father's roof trying to show her he could stand up without a handhold. 
Note: Thus far unbetaed, but would be delighted if anyone fancied beta-ing. Contains action, peril, mockery, cheap jokes and unresolved sexual tension. 




Hawkeye was surrounded by idiots.

As she jogged through the tunnels, torch in her left hand and revolver in her right, she found herself mentally reviewing the roster of untrustworthy disgraces she'd picked that morning. After Edward's phone call, the Colonel had taken a quick decision. Given the apparent strength of the enemy, the paramilitary nature of their activities, and the strong possibility that they were led by a disgraced former State Alchemist, Gregor Milne, it would be appropriate to contain the threat with military force. There was also the unspoken fact that the Colonel, quite rightly, did not trust the military police. From the perspective of their private goals, it would be preferable that Mustang's command dealt with the matter directly first. They could pass any information and prisoners over to the military authorities later, after what was necessary had been done.

Of course, there was also the fact that the Colonel couldn't stand Milne. Hawkeye herself had never met the man, but she was always content to dislike before the fact any alchemist who made chimerae. It saved time.

There had been no need to empty the office; and so Hawkeye had found herself quickly picking out a small team of enlisted men to accompany herself and Mustang. Hawkeye habitually maintained a list in her files of enlisted men with a proven record of competency and courage, for occasions such as these. After all this was over, she was going to be striking some names off that list.

She had only left the Colonel with his men and Edward for four and a half minutes. Alphonse, as everyone but Edward must have realised, barely needed her help to finish the fight. He'd nevertheless thanked her very nicely for turning up. She liked Alphonse.

Then they had got back to the junction to find Mustang missing, and five soldiers and Edward entirely unaware of the fact. One of the troopers, Private Livingston, was sitting against the wall, shot in the arm. Hawkeye would show him some leniency. A second, Captain James, was currently applying a pressure bandage to the first man's wound. He had failed either to observe or to prioritise; his attention to his comrade wasn't going to get him out of this, and the fact that he was technically the second in command here worsened the offence. The third and fourth, Warrant Officers Zavoysky and Muller, were currently in a frankly unnecessary two-to-one fight with one of the mercenaries. Hawkeye dropped the mercenary with a single shot to the knee. The men jumped. So they should. The fifth trooper, Private Woods, was standing turned away from them at the entrance to one of the tunnels. His posture and cocked gun suggested he was keeping look-out, yet he was clearly surreptitiously lighting a cigarette. Woods' wisest option right now would probably be to drop his smokes and run straight down that tunnel.

Meanwhile, Edward had his complete attention focused on restraining a foe who clearly posed no threat. Hawkeye felt somewhat more inclined to be lenient with Edward. He did have a more solid excuse than the others for behaving like an adolescent boy. Of course, that was precisely the trouble with Edward. He spent most of his life squaring up to the responsibilities of a man; and then, just as Hawkeye began to take this for granted and trust him to behave as an adult, if not as a soldier, he would do something that reminded her that he was, like all teenage boys, thoroughly idiotic. Alphonse, as usual showing himself the exception that proved the rule, quickly restrained Edward's opponent.

The enemy having been subdued, and guilty parties noted, Hawkeye moved in to deal with their remaining problem. She cleared her throat and called out. "Where is the Colonel?" Six faces turned to stare at her blankly. Woods attempted to discreetly drop his lit cigarette behind his back. It hit his shin on the way down.

***


With her stomach clenched into a tense ball of anger and worry, Hawkeye ran down a straight, doorless corridor towards the large room that had served as Milne's headquarters. In order not to be mastered by the worry, Hawkeye was working on distracting herself with the anger.

The Colonel himself, she decided, had clearly done something stupid enough that a reprimand would be appropriate. Hawkeye had little doubt about what had happened; the Colonel must have split from the group to pursue a retreating enemy. She had guarded the man for years, and knew that, in the middle of a fight, high on adrenaline, cortisol and most of all his own power, he was occasionally prone to dropping his guard. It was a bad habit which he knew of, but never seemed to be able to shake. Privately, Hawkeye worried that this might be because she was too good at her job; that her protection of his back now sometimes extended to his relying on her to bail him out of dangerous foolishness. On the battlefield, others saw the Colonel as a courageous and inspiring leader and a devastating human weapon; she saw the sixteen-year old boy who had once fallen off her father's roof trying to show her he could stand up without a handhold.

As they neared the door, Hawkeye motioned for her men to stay still, and popped her torch into her jacket. She'd judged that the Colonel's most likely location was the headquarters, and so she'd taken the two soldiers who'd accompanied her to go to Alphonse, the only two whose competence she could still trust and whose noses she had no desire to break. She stepped forwards on the balls of her feet, her gun cocked. Bangs, rattles and the sound of conversation echoed from within the room. Alphonse had told her that Milne and most of his men were securely held here. She guessed that the escaping mercenary had been intending to free them. It should have been no trouble for Colonel Mustang to incapacitate him before he did so, unless - well.

Hawkeye made eye contact with Vittorio and Jenkins, and showed them her left hand, the first three fingers held up. Silently, she counted them down from three, then she bent her knees, put her left hand to the doorknob and her shoulder to the door, and pushed up hard. As the door flew open she dived through it, at the same time drawing and cocking a second revolver with her left hand, wheeling round to get a good survey of the room, and landing in a crouch.

In the centre of the empty, high-ceilinged room was the concrete pen Edward had transmuted, and from it was coming a torrent of applause. The clapping hands and surprisingly cheerful faces of the captured mercenaries peered out from a series of narrow holes at eye level, like the windows of a sheep truck. There were a few whistles and cheers mixed in with the applause, and a single shouted comment Hawkeye didn't quite catch. She looked at the captive men, automatically bringing her guns up in their direction as she did so. They fell instantly very silent.

Edward wouldn't have been so inattentive as to cage these men but leave them armed. Dismissing them as a threat, Hawkeye made a half circuit around the cage, motioning her men to do so from the other side. The room was undoubtedly empty, but one should always be thorough. At the end of the room, she saw a bloody, blackened sprawl and a large patch of charred concrete. Milne. Alphonse had filled her in on that part of events too. She didn't feel particularly sorry for him. And it was certainly going to be quicker now to wrap up the paperwork.

Vittorio called out from the other side of the pen. "The room's clear, ma'am!"

"We're moving out. Follow me!" With Vittorio and Jenkins at her heels, Hawkeye jogged back out. Although she told herself it was no more likely now than before that the Colonel was injured, the worry was rising back up. Her fingers itched. As she ran, she heard an echoing shout from one of the men from the cage. "Marry me!"

***


Hawkeye was halfway back to the junction when Edward's speaker and radio mike popped out of the wall. Edward had put a little logo on the microphone. Cute. She raised an eyebrow. Jenkins and Vittorio gawped. Hawkeye made a mental note of the gawking. While she would still recommend these two for future assignments, they would definitely need a reminder to keep their heads when faced with the unexpected.

When Edward told her he'd got the Colonel, he delivered the news with cheerful finality, as if this meant problem solved. She couldn't share his relief yet. Edward's news could turn out either to be good or bad. Unconsciousness and a head wound probably meant a concussion, but there were also worse possibilities. In Ishbal, Hawkeye had once seen a fellow soldier with a head injury walk away from the battlefield joking and complaining, only to drop dead an hour later, felled by a bleed in the brain. Ed didn't seem to realise how serious matters might be (had he read that field medicine pamphlet? At least Alphonse would have) and she didn't enlighten him. He didn't have enough knowledge to do much with the information, so the best thing she could do was to get to the Colonel as quickly as possible, and assess the situation from there.

Hawkeye signed off briskly, and set off again at a run.

After a thirty second sprint down the tunnel from the junction, she spotted them. Edward was trudging ahead, carrying the Colonel over his shoulders in a fairly competent fireman's lift. He really shouldn't be doing that. If the Colonel had a neck injury, he could be worsening it. Mustang's head was down and Hawkeye could see blood in his hair. Entirely against her will, her stomach rolled. She sped up. Coming to a stop by Edward's side, she saw that Jenkins and Vittorio had kept pace with her. She nodded at them, and without further instructions they carefully took the Colonel's weight up and helped Ed lower him to the ground. She noticed Vittorio holding Mustang's head gently in one hand as they moved.

She kneeled beside the Colonel and took a good look while Edward babbled his report. The blow had been to the back of the skull. It had been with something sharp enough to break the skin - that cut would need a couple of stitches - but there was no perceptible indentation below the wound. That was a good sign. The Colonel's lack of responsiveness was not. She couldn't rouse him by shouting his name or by squeezing his hand. So she popped open the top three buttons of his jacket, made a fist and ground her knuckles into the skin above his sternum, hard.

Mustang's eyes shot open. He looked at her, confused, and almost petulantly, said "Stop that. It hurts." For a moment, she saw him at sixteen, sprawled on the remains of her father's herb garden and clutching his arm.

He looked up at her glassily. She leaned forward and tutted at him, not unkindly, then brushed his fringe back and looked at his eyes. His irises were so dark it was difficult to be sure, but his pupils seemed very dilated. She turned to Edward. He was sitting back on his heels about a yard away, taking it all in. She motioned him over. "When you examined the Colonel initially, did you look at his eyes?"

"Do you mean like checking his pupils to see how dilated they were?" Edward crouched by her, seeming momentarily embarrassed. "Yeah, they were. I think the left one was kind of bigger." That was bad. Hawkeye felt her chest constrict a little. Well, at least Edward had read that pamphlet. "Doesn't that mean he's concussed?" But apparently, not that thoroughly.

"No, Edward, it doesn't mean that." This came from the Colonel. He was frowning, and suddenly seemed more alert.

"It means that it would be best for us to move the Colonel to hospital quickly." Hawkeye chimed in. "It could be the sign of a more dangerous injury." She didn't mince her words in front of the Colonel; he knew at least as much about field medicine as she did, and moreover he wouldn't want her to.

Edward cocked his head, thinking it over. Then, with a quick movement, he leaned over Mustang, examining his eyes intently. Edward was frowning in concentration, as if he was trying to make out bad handwriting. His shoulders were rigid, his arms held defensively across his chest as he tried to make the examination without touching any part of the Colonel’s body with any part of his. The awkward posture left him rocking slightly on the balls of his feet, so that he seemed in danger of toppling forwards. Hawkeye attempted to stop the corners of her mouth from twitching.

The Colonel looked back. His expression was an attempt at his usual impassive wall-face, but he wasn't quite on form, and besides, Hawkeye had learnt to read the wall-face a long time ago. Right now, she could see concern, confusion, and a generous pinch of panic. I don't like the way this afternoon is going, his expression was saying.

Then, from down the corridor came running feet, and a familiar metallic clatter. Edward's head whipped round so fast that his braid hit his cheek. The Colonel blinked, and then turned to look too. Edward wobbled, put a hand out into thin air to steady himself, and then toppled forwards straight onto Mustang's chest.

Alphonse clattered to a halt. His head was canted slightly to one side. He said, brightly but a slight squeak to his voice, "Hello!"

Ed sprang off Mustang and and onto his feet several yards away, so fast he was a blur. “What the fuck!” he yelled, pointing wildly, accusingly at Al. “You made me fall over! You made a ton of noise and you startled me and I fell and it was totally your fault that I fell! Don’t do that! I was – I was –“

“Brother – that’s not fair, I can’t help it! You know I always make a noise when I walk! And how come you didn’t notice me? What were you doing that -“

“I was checking his eyes! For the pupil thing, the thing, the concussion thing. That was in the first aid pamphlet?” Then, inspired: “Lieutenant Hawkeye told me to do it!”

“All right,” said Alphonse, in a mild, unruffled tone that suggested he was saving this one up for later. Hawkeye knew that tone; she’d used it often enough herself on the Colonel.

“What?” howled Edward. “What are you implying? You traitor, that’s a complete lie! You don’t know what you’re talking about!” Whatever it was that Alphonse was planning to tease him about later, Edward had obviously already worked it out. Not for the first time, Hawkeye was a little glad to be an only child.

Mustang, meanwhile, was staring, open-mouthed and frowning, at the whole bizarre exchange. A good deal of colour seemed to have come back into his cheeks. If this hadn’t been an emergency, she would have taken the opportunity to tease him about it a little. As it was, she decided to save this one up for later.

She interrupted. “Edward, Alphonse. We’ll need a stretcher of some kind to transport the Colonel, please.” Mustang tried to mutter a protest but she carried right on over him. “Some kind of rigid material like wood would be ideal, to prevent unnecessary movement of the neck.”

“There was a door back there!” Ed jerked a thumb back towards the junction, speaking far too loudly. “I’ll just go now and use that! Back right away!” And he was down the tunnel making his escape already.

Alphonse said, “I’ll make some ties. I’ll need a jacket or something from one of you guys.” You can have Woods’ pants, Hawkeye was tempted to say. Instead she just unhooked her cavalry skirt and tossed it to Alphonse. He caught it, and clapped.

***


Two hours later, Hawkeye popped her head outside of the door of Mustang’s room and was pleased to find that Edward and Alphonse hadn’t fled. They were sitting side by side on small wooden chairs in a corridor of the town’s small hospital, staring quietly at the opposite wall, on which hung a yellowing painting of a cottage with some fat, jolly peasants on the steps and a curling piece of paper saying “Please Wash Your Hands.”

Mustang was inside the room, sitting up on the bed in his shirt-sleeves. He was looking decidedly less drunk now and more like himself. Another heartening sign: he was being bad-tempered. On the other hand, it seemed that that the doctors shared Hawkeye’s suspicion that this might be something worse than a simple concussion. They were awaiting the results of x-rays which would determine if he had a fracture and possibly a collection of blood between his skull and the membrane around his brain. The latter was apparently likely, and it would mean some unpleasant-sounding emergency brain surgery.

The Colonel had harboured some unrealistic hopes that he was going to be spending that evening in the restaurant carriage of a train to Central, rather than having a hole drilled in his head by a rural brain surgeon. He was dealing with the wait by griping endlessly about the fact that he wasn’t allowed a glass of water. Hawkeye didn’t have anything against helping him distract himself - and, to a degree, her - from worry. However, after half an hour of it, she’d decided to call in reinforcements. At least the Colonel’s rank had secured him a private room while they waited. Hawkeye didn’t like to think what both their moods might have been like if they’d had to stick it out in the main bays. There they’d been sandwiched between a garrulous local drunk who’d fallen off a wall, a fractious child who was crying his way through a tetanus shot, and the child’s angry mother, who was bullying the nervous intern wielding the syringe for making her son cry.

"You can bring your chairs into the room and sit with us, if you'd like." Hawkeye tried to make it sound like a kind gesture.

Edward opened his mouth, but then paused for a moment, rubbing the back of his neck. Hawkeye guessed he'd been about to say that no thanks, they were good, but that part of his brain, the usually dormant part consisting of sensible things his mother had drilled into him, was giving a good metaphorical kick in the shin. Impending maturity? Hawkeye hoped so. It would certainly save Alphonse some work. 

Alphonse stood, picking up his chair and thereby committing his older brother to action. “Thank you, Lieutenant. How’s the Colonel?”

“He’s still awake. We’re still waiting for some x-ray results, but I’m afraid it’s likely they may need to operate.”

They sloped into the room with their chairs and sat down by the end of the bed. Ed looked at the Colonel. The Colonel looked at Ed. Then Mustang looked down and started inspecting the cannula in his hand very closely, and Ed looked to one side and started reading the fire evacuation procedures on the wall with great interest. They were both wearing matching looks of frowning innocent concentration. Hawkeye and Al looked at each other for a moment. Then Al made a tiny choking noise, and Hawkeye found the corners of her mouth twitching up irrepressibly, and so they both settled for looking out of the window instead until they could trust themselves not to laugh.

The door opened and a doctor they hadn’t seen before, a middle-aged woman, marched briskly through without knocking. She glanced round the four of them, giving the room in general a cheerful smile. If she was surprised that one of them was seven feet tall and wearing a suit of armour, she hid it well. Hawkeye supposed that even in a small hospital like this, casualty department doctors were used to a life of surprises.

"Good afternoon, Colonel," she said, spreading a series of x-rays on the bed. "Some good news for you. According to these" - she gestured at the x-rays - "Your skull and its contents is in showroom condition. No fracture, no hematoma – just a nasty concussion.” Hawkeye found herself slowly letting out a breath. “We'll keep you in for observation until tomorrow, and if there's no change, you can go back to Central and enjoy your concussion at home. Rest up, no reading or writing for a week" - the Colonel gave Hawkeye a cheerful glance - "and no alcohol for two weeks." Hawkeye gave the Colonel a cheerful glance of her own and he looked sourly back at her. "Since we're not operating, it's all right for you to eat or drink if you don't feel too sick." The Colonel and Hawkeye exchanged a glance now of mutual lack of cheer. Neither of them were fond of hospital food. Hawkeye thought that later on, she would go back to that place they'd had lunch to see if she could procure some take-out for them both, and perhaps a cold glass of beer while she waited for it. She was still in uniform, but it had been that kind of day.

The doctor retrieved her x-rays and moved on. The door clicked shut, and there followed a slightly awkward pause. It was, predictably, broken by the scrape of Ed’s chair. He stood up, and started heading for the door, looking straight ahead of him and talking as he walked. “Well, I’m starved. I missed lunch dealing with your chimera crap so now it looks like your brain isn’t broken, I’m going to go eat, and then Al and I have to go catch the night train out West, and then I guess we’ll send you a report in a couple weeks. Maybe.” He opened the door and, with his back to them, raised a hand in farewell. “See ya, Colonel. Try not to break it again while I’m gone.”

Alphonse lingered in the room for a second, his gait slightly stiff, shoulders hunching down in mild embarrassment. “Um, ” said Alphonse, buying himself thinking time. “Colonel? I really hope you feel better soon. Goodbye, Lieutenant Hawkeye.” The sentence sped up as he got it out, and on the last words he bolted out the door too.

Finally, the First Lieutenant and her Colonel were alone in the room. For a time, there was a comfortable silence.

Hawkeye sighed, half-consciously. She considered the afternoon it had been, and the many, many things she wanted to say to her commanding officer. Finally, she gave him a sidelong look and said, impassive and straight-faced, "Look, Ma, no hands."

Mustang lifted an eyebrow, presumably attempting to take the direct hit with some style. "Lieutenant?” he said. “Sometimes I'm not entirely sure that I like you."

***


Ed sat next to Al on the edge of the main square's fountain, with his feet propped up on his suitcase and his mouth wrapped around his fourth cheese pastry. These things tasted all right. He would definitely buy them again if he saw some.

He looked out across the square, at the tall windows of the houses opposite, with the late sun reflecting in them, and washing fluttering from rails on the sills. He could still smell the Colonel's stupid cologne. It must have rubbed off on his shirt. God, it was worse than Havoc's stinking cigarettes. He was going to have to have this shirt boiled, no, fumigated, and then he was going to send Mustang's office the bill. Suddenly and vividly, the moment returned to him when he had crouched on the tunnel floor with Mustang a warm, heavy dead weight in his arms, and he felt a vague press of relief that it had all turned out okay. 

"Brother? What are you thinking about?"

Ed started slightly and turned to Al. "When we get your body back, I'm going to write a pamphlet on street food. Top ten greasy snacks of Amestris, ranked in order, and the best places to get 'em. You can help me with the research."

Somewhere behind them, a horse's hooves clopped slowly on the cobbles and cartwheels rattled. Their shadows were long in front of them as the town clock chimed seven. Beside him, his brother cocked his head and gave him an invisible smile.
 

Comments

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sarasusa
Aug. 2nd, 2009 06:48 pm (UTC)
Wow! I love this story, from the pee-lantern to the shifting POVs with corresponding personalities properly reflected to the subtly delivered UST.

Moar please! If you would!
bob_fish
Aug. 2nd, 2009 07:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I hesitated about the pee-lantern at first but now can't imagine why I did! I will be working on moar.
sky_dark
Aug. 2nd, 2009 07:19 pm (UTC)
This rocked socks on the meme! <3
bob_fish
Aug. 2nd, 2009 07:22 pm (UTC)
Thanks - so glad you enjoyed!
cryogenia
Aug. 3rd, 2009 05:17 am (UTC)
This last chapter is what seals this as brilliant. So few authors who get Hawkeye's POV right. She is all kinds of intelligent and analytical and powerful, and she manages to be concerned and loving without becoming weighed down by sentimentality.
bob_fish
Aug. 3rd, 2009 07:14 am (UTC)
Hoorah and thanks - glad you liked, mememama! I found Hawkeye a bit more challenging to write than the boys because her voice is a bit quieter and subtler, but I just love the character. It was particularly fun to bring out her snarky side a bit.

By the way, I should say thanks so much for your work running kinkmeme! I had a blast, it got me off my bottom writing, and I'm sure I'm not the only new writer who appreciated the non-scary, fun atmosphere, so thanks for some great hosting and memecare!
jokerlove
Aug. 3rd, 2009 06:16 am (UTC)
Love this story why have i not seen it before? prolly my bad oh well i see it now and i likes it much! the internal debates are really funny and in character! its really great total feel for the characters. definatly not a could never happen fan fic, i really think this could happen so far! keep it up! ^_~

Love,
Joker
bob_fish
Aug. 3rd, 2009 07:16 am (UTC)
Hoorah, thanks! Part of the prompt was try and keep the characters as canonical as poss, so I did my best.
became_fire
Aug. 3rd, 2009 10:41 pm (UTC)
Well I've already commented in the kink meme how much I loved this story, but I'll just say it again! The characterisation is great, I loved all 3 perspectives and I really hope you do write a sequel!
bob_fish
Aug. 3rd, 2009 10:51 pm (UTC)
Woo-hoo, thanks! Lovely comments always appreciated. Sequel is in the works - the idea I have is quite plotty, so I'm trying to pin it down first so I don't write myself into a corner. But there will definitely be action, comedy and ho yay!
laurapetri
Aug. 3rd, 2009 11:43 pm (UTC)
Excellent work looking forward to more
bob_fish
Aug. 4th, 2009 06:48 am (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed - thanks!
pandoraculpa
Aug. 6th, 2009 02:45 am (UTC)
I *loved* this story in the meme; kept checking back daily to see if it had been updated. This story (and the Havoc one, which I just read tonight) was so well-written and engaging, your characterizations are fantastic, and I sincerely hope you'll continue writing (and not just the continuation of this story, but FMA in general). It's always lovely to see another talented writer in the fandom!

*applauds*
bob_fish
Aug. 6th, 2009 06:37 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! I'm loving writing FMA fic - Arakawa has provided us with such a fantastic, characterful ensemble cast.
lady_ganesh
Aug. 9th, 2009 04:11 am (UTC)
This is lovely. I love their Ed and Mustang's re-appreciations, and Hawkeye's Hawkeye-ness, and the ending is just wonderful.
bob_fish
Aug. 9th, 2009 05:59 am (UTC)
Hoorah and thanks! Glad you liked.
enemytosleep
Aug. 10th, 2009 11:22 pm (UTC)
Wow, just came back (yeah, evading actual work again today XD) and wow, this is such an excellent read! I hope you continue writing for FMA. You really are so talented!
bob_fish
Aug. 11th, 2009 06:28 am (UTC)
Hoorah, so glad you liked! I'm definitely continuing right now - currently working on a rather plotty post-series sequel to "Wrong Turn".
adraekh
Aug. 13th, 2009 09:38 pm (UTC)
Absolutely loved the Mustang-Hawkeye interaction. Especially at the end with the ["Look, Ma, no hands."] Very awesome. Your Hawkeye is just the right mix of dutiful and cheeky (wrong word, but only word I can think of at the moment, sadly) and serious.

Okay, now I'm probably going to sound anal: I noticed you used the construction "was/were sat" a couple times in this section. Er, I don't know if that's because you're British (great, now I sound anal and Anglophobic), but that construction is unnecessarily awkward. You can stick with "sat" in most cases. For instance: [Ed was sat next to Al on the edge...] -> [Ed sat next to Al on the edge...] and you're not missing anything. Hurrah! You also get rid of the passive voice.

A few more things:

[The third and fourth, Warrant Officer Zavoysky and Muller] - Warrent Officers? I assume both of them are are Warrant Officers, and not just one of them.

[Edward frowned, thinking it over. Then, with a quick movement, he leaned over Mustang, examining his eyes intently. Edward was frowning in concentration, as if he was trying to make out bad handwriting.] - Repetition.

["Good afternoon, Colonel", she said] - Typo.

Anyways, again, awesome job. I am looking forward to the sequel to this.

Also, the Roy/Ed slant was nice and subtle. Not too obvious and not too invisible. Just right. *g*

And I hope you don't mind if I friend you. Don't feel the need to friend me back, as I just want to stalk your journal more effectively.
bob_fish
Aug. 13th, 2009 10:29 pm (UTC)
Friending is good! Thanks again for lovely comments and for tremendously useful pick-ups of grammar and style things, especially the passive voice (don't worry about Anglophobia! It's just a bad habit).

Incidentally, my British English is something I sort of struggle with writing FMA fic, actually. Perhaps because I'm used to reading American English manga translations and subs, I really hear the characters speaking American English, so that's how I write them. I have read a couple of fics where POVs and dialogue use British English but I found it a bit jarring, especially the slang. Hagaren's Japanese, so there's technically no reason Ed shouldn't say "bloody hell" - but still, it doesn't quite sound like his voice to me personally. This said, I've spotted that British-isms do make appearances in my work from time to time. I've reasoned to myself that a slight European flavour is potentially OK for Hagaren, but I'm also keen that the British bits aren't inconsistent or distracting to the reader (whichever bit of the world they're from)! That was a bit of a tangent, by the way. Just something I've been thinking about.

(no subject) - adraekh - Aug. 14th, 2009 05:04 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bob_fish - Aug. 14th, 2009 06:09 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - adraekh - Aug. 15th, 2009 05:43 am (UTC) - Expand
sara_rojo
Oct. 5th, 2009 01:14 am (UTC)
Hawkeye was surrounded by idiots.

This is one way to summarize manga!Riza's characterizationXD
Still the best beginning of chapter everXD

Actually, this third chapter is still my favourite of the fic. Riza is so dry and caustic, and her POV is so...I don't know, so her. I love the way she is with the men, and her observations. No wonder thugs and bad guys always wanna marry herXD

I also loved Ed's totally over-the-top reaction to falling on top of Mustang. Maybe he wasn't as clueless to what was going on as I thought from his chapter.

“What?” howled Edward. “What are you implying? You traitor, that’s a complete lie! You don’t know what you’re talking about!” Whatever it was that Alphonse was planning to tease him about later, Edward had obviously already worked it out. Not for the first time, Hawkeye was a little glad to be an only child.

Only now noticed this. Interesting. Does Al know? Have the brothers discussed Mustang and Ed's possible interest in him before?
Also, little brother powers are scaryXD

Ed looked at the Colonel. The Colonel looked at Ed. Then Mustang looked down and started inspecting the cannula in his hand very closely, and Ed looked to one side and started reading the fire evacuation procedures on the wall with great interest. They were both wearing matching looks of frowning innocent concentration. Hawkeye and Al looked at each other for a moment. Then Al made a tiny choking noise, and Hawkeye found the corners of her mouth twitching up irrepressibly, and so they both settled for looking out of the window instead until they could trust themselves not to laugh.

Ok, they were lovely in their awkwardnessXD
Again, I wonder how much Al and Hawkeye know. Riza noticed Ed's previous reaction to be disproportionate. Al has at least teased Ed before, if Ed knows what Al is thinking about after seeing him on top of Roy. And here, our two boys aren't too subtle about their awkwardness and embarassmentXD, and Riza and Al notice again, and are amused by it. Do they know? Has Al talked about it with Ed? Has Riza, with Roy? I'm wondering specially in regards to No Small Injury, where their interection seems more subtle (explainable by less stressful circumstances, physical contact and more grown-up Ed)
Which bring me again to wonder about Riza's feelings for Roy. She was adorably maternal or sisterly here, but there's always that surprising edge and worry about him that doesn't really strike the family or friendship button...

Somewhere behind them, a horse's hooves clopped slowly on the cobbles and cartwheels rattled. Their shadows were long in front of them as the town clock chimed seven. Beside him, his brother cocked his head and gave him an invisible smile.

And just now realised that the chapter with the perfect beginning has the most beautiful end. What a gorgeous line!
bob_fish
Oct. 5th, 2009 07:04 am (UTC)
Al's noticed something, all right ... But actually, leaving aside the UST, he's noticed canonically in the manga that there's more going on between Ed and Mustang than it appears - by which I mean, he and Fuery have a conversation while Mustang's in hospital about how spookily alike Roy and Ed are as people, and iirc Al suspects that this is what's going on under all the bickering, they recognise each other in themselves. I think it's partly the fact that there are all these layers to their interactions in canon, and that there's this great connection buried under all the hostility, that makes them so fun to play with in fic as a pairing.

Yeah, Riza and Roy have a complex friendship in the 'Wrong Turn verse. Although I didn't want to delve too far into it in NSI, I imagined they'd had a romantic history together (as is probably obvious from A Modest Proposal and its NSI references). However you play mangaverse Riza and Roy, their relationship has to be complicated and somewhat intense - because, canonically, that's how they deal with one another - and because they have that whole series of strange bargains between them (Riza giving Roy her father's legacy, which incidentally would have involved getting semi-naked in front of him, Ishbal, Roy burning her back, him eliciting the promise to shoot him if he goes wrong). To be honest, while I didn't want to ship-tease, I also felt there's such a romantic buzz to their interactions in manga canon that, if I didn't write a romantic future for them in NSI (which is where I see canon going if they both survive the manga), there had to be a romantic past. It's also quite common to have an early 'first love' and/or a friendship full of sexual tension to mellow over the years into a more platonic closeness, so that's how I saw them.
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ductapealchemst
Dec. 13th, 2009 04:03 pm (UTC)
Just wanted to say I loved this; it very innocently plants the seeds of RoyEd in cannon timeline without getting into the creepy pedo arena! Very well done! 'Cause I so see (and <3 )RoyEd, but the timeline and ages usually so skirt the line :/
bob_fish
Dec. 13th, 2009 11:00 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! Yes, I totally know what you're saying. If you look at my fic index (first entry on my lj) you'll see I quickly took the sequel to this post-manga, with Ed coming up for nineteen and just out of a serious relationship. Besides the potential ickiness of sixteen year old Ed with someone so much older, manga!Ed at sixteen has a big learning curve to go before he's ready for any adult relationship - look how his relationship with Winry evolves through the course of the manga, and how long it takes him to process the fact that he's into her.
shanny_chan
Jan. 16th, 2010 05:03 am (UTC)
Oh love it, loved it! Loved the shifting POV's. And with all my fav characters, Roy, Ed, and Riza! Well written and in character, this is probably now definitely one of my favs.
bob_fish
Jan. 16th, 2010 01:26 pm (UTC)
Yay, thanks so much! Really glad you enjoyed it. It was a lot of fun to write!
astridv
Jun. 16th, 2010 01:07 pm (UTC)
I LOVE this. This was so much fun, with great voices and great characterization, and compelling action on top of it. I love it how you can write a Roy/Ed subtexty fic that I as a die-hard Roy/Riza shipper can so wholeheartedly enjoy. I just love reading your Hawkeye! And this:

Hawkeye sighed, half-consciously. She considered the afternoon it had been, and the many, many things she wanted to say to her commanding officer. Finally, she gave him a sidelong look and said, impassive and straight-faced, "Look, Ma, no hands."

Mustang lifted an eyebrow, presumably attempting to take the direct hit with some style. "Lieutenant?” he said. “Sometimes I'm not entirely sure that I like you."


this must be one of my favorite exchanges in fma fic. ^^

Heh, and Al and Hawkeye both "saving it up for later". *snicker*

bob_fish
Jun. 16th, 2010 09:46 pm (UTC)
I love Hawkeye - and I really appreciate it when committed canon shippers can enjoy my subtexty slash. I do try to keep them all as IC and canon-flavoured as possible even though I'm playing around with the relationships somewhat. I love how canonically Hawkeye knows exactly what a big goober Roy is and has no problem with teasing him about it. XD
leorising1959
Jul. 15th, 2010 10:34 pm (UTC)
Aw, see? That was really good. I knew it would be. You're a helluva writer, as many above have noted. I hope it surprises you a little bit, happily, that people are still finding and enjoying your fic!

I'm sorry I don't have much more to add, I'm a bit slow today -- maybe, that I'm now moving on to all the other stuff you've written? Can't wait to see moar, even if it's not in this particular 'verse.

Well done, oh, well done. ♥
bob_fish
Jul. 21st, 2010 05:10 pm (UTC)
Thanks! It's always fun when people go back and rediscover old stuff.

There is lots and lots more in this 'verse ... it expanded. A lot.
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