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Team Toddler

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Winry was exceedingly nervous as she walked through the halls of Central Command. She’d received a phone call from Ed a few minutes ago, sounding scared and overwhelmed, begging her to come over right away, but not to tell anyone why she was there. It was an emergency situation, he’d said, but what kind of military emergency required her assistance? She had asked him if he’d busted up his automail again, but Ed had quickly said no and then called out to someone—Havoc, Winry thought she’d heard—and then hung up after begging her one last time to hurry up.

“Ah, Miss Rockbell!” boomed a familiar voice and Winry winced, turning to see the large Major Armstrong striding towards her. “What brings you to our humble command center on this fine day? I had thought you were on your way back to Rush Valley.”

“I leave tonight actually,” she replied. Was it okay to tell Armstrong why she was here? Surely Ed would trust him. But he had specifically said not to tell anyone, so Winry figured she shouldn’t take that chance. “I just…uh…I came by to pick up something from Ed. He has my—erm—my wallet, and I need it. I just. I’ll just be a minute and then I’ll be out of your hair.”

“Ah, of course! Edward Elric is in Colonel Mustang’s office. Allow me to escort you there.”

Winry held up her hands. “Ah! No, no! That won’t be necessary! I know the way, I wouldn’t want to trouble you!”

“Nonsense!” Oh, fuck. There was no way to get out of this one. “A young lady shouldn’t be wandering around all by herself. It would be an honor to take you! Come along then!”

With a large hand going around her shoulders (both her shoulders! At the same time!), Armstrong led the way to Mustang’s office. Sorry, Ed. I tried my best.

They arrived at the closed office door and it was Winry’s last chance to get rid of him. “Well, thanks for bringing me all the way here. See ya later!”

Armstrong opened the door for her and any words he may have been about to say where lost as soon as they got a look inside the office. It took a lot to render Armstrong of all people speechless.

“Dammit, Winry!” Ed grumbled. “I told you not to tell anyone!” He was carrying a small child in his arms. A chubby, round baby with a tuft of red hair.

“Wait, brother!” Al’s echoing voice said. He was carrying two more babies in his metal arms. A blonde one with big brown eyes and a crying one with dark hair, a pair of glasses skewed on its tiny head. “The Major might be able to help!”

“Ugh, fine.” Ed rolled his eyes. “Just close the damn door and don’t let anyone else in. Can’t have anyone finding out about this.”

Winry and Armstrong stepped into the room and closed the door behind them, looking around open-mouthed at the office. Something nudged against Winry’s leg and she looked down to find another blonde toddler, wrapping his chubby little arms around her calf and smiling up at her with a gummy mouth. She bent down and picked him up and he immediately buried his head in her chest.

“Look at that,” Ed muttered. “Havoc’s still a pervert as a baby.”

“Havoc?” Winry asked, looking down at the baby. “As in, Lieutenant Havoc?” He definitely had the lieutenant’s blue-gray eyes and dirty blonde hair. He put a pen cap he’d been holding into his mouth and started teething on it. Because she knew babies could swallow things like that, she gently pried it from his fingers and he frowned like he was about to cry, but then took Winry’s finger and started chewing on her knuckle.

“Ed, what the hell is going on?” she asked in a shaky voice.

“Winry, please don’t swear around the babies,” Al said timidly. “Major, could you help me find Falman? He was crawling by the cabinets, but I lost him.”

Armstrong was gaping, looking around at all the babies in the room. “Where is Colonel Mustang?”

Ed sighed and walked around the table that had been blocking his bottom half from view. Gripping the tail of his red coat and looking very petulant, a little boy with a shock of black hair trailed alongside him. “He’s not as annoying as a baby, but I still can’t stand him. And Breda’s hungry. Surprise, surprise.”

Armstrong went around to the cabinets and searched behind them before extracting a tiny light brown-haired baby from them. The little boy settled into the crook of the large man’s arm as he held up an information pamphlet and started to read it.

“Edward Elric, I demand to know what is happening!” Armstrong said, trying to keep his voice calm and even. “Why are all these soldiers suddenly infants?”

“Well, actually they’re toddlers,” Al supplied. “I assume they’re about two or three years old, since they can walk and say basic words, and Falman can even read.”

“Why are they toddlers, then?” Winry snapped, pulling her hair out of Havoc’s mouth, annoyed at the lack of information they were receiving.

“Weeeeell,” Ed said. “I was showing Al this new transmutation theory, but I must’ve got it wrong, and then suddenly everyone within range was a baby. I performed the transmutation, so I didn’t get affected, and Al’s a suit of armor, so that’s probably why he wasn’t baby-fied.”

“What kind of alchemy is capable of this?” Armstrong said in awe, looking down at the tiny Warrant Officer in his arms as if he were an alien.

“I’m not sure. It wasn’t meant to do this. It was just supposed to—dammit.” He groaned in frustration and turned to hiss down at the little boy that had been tugging meaningfully at his coat. “What do you want, Mustang?”

“Up!” the little boy said, letting go of Ed’s coat and holding up his arms. “Up! Up!”

“Can’t you see I’m already holding Breda?” Ed grumbled.

“Come, Colonel!” bellowed Armstrong. “My arms are large enough for two children!” He approached the little Mustang and reached down with one arm to scoop him up but Mustang made a noise of protest and latched himself onto Ed’s leg, wrapping his arms around Ed’s calf and burying his face into the leather pants. Ed rolled his eyes.

“Here, Major, take this one.” Ed dumped Breda into Armstrong’s outstretched arm and Mustang giggled excitedly, letting go of Ed’s leg and holding his arms up again. Ed bent down and scooped him up around the ribs, holding him against his hip. Mustang beamed and took Ed’s braid in both hands, holding it and pillowing his head against it as he rested on Ed’s shoulder. Ed rolled his eyes again.

“Hungry! I’m hungry!” Breda started complaining, thrashing against Armstrong’s chest.

“I’m hungry too!” wailed another baby, this time the little bespectacled one in Al’s arms.

“Hungry! Hungry!” cried little Havoc in Winry’s hold.

Ed made a nervous whining sound, making little Mustang look up at him in concern. “If we don’t feed them soon, they’re gonna start crying, and then we won’t be able to keep them a secret!”

“Breda always has food at his desk!” Al said.

“Right!” Ed went over to Breda’s desk and wrenched open the drawers. “Bags of chips? There's some crackers? Oooh! A wrapped turkey sandwich! They can eat this, right?"

"We'd have to cut it up into smaller pieces and feed it to them, probably," Winry said, pulling her finger out from where it had found its way into Havoc's mouth again.

"Fruits and veggies!" a new voice said, and everyone turned to look at a severe-looking Hawkeye. "Fruits and veggies!"

Ed rifled through the drawers again. "I don't see any fruits or vegetables."

"Hmph." Riza tugged on the hair of Al's helmet. "Down, please."

"Uh." Al set her on the floor carefully and she got up on her little feet. She was the only one of the babies to be wearing a little white shirt to go along with the thin white diapers all the others had. She waddled to her desk and pointed at it since she couldn't reach.

"Fruits and veggies!"

Ed went over and opened a drawer. "Look at that." He pulled out an apple and a banana. "There's some decent stuff in here. All right! Let's feed these babies!"

They settled all six kids in a line on the long table made up by the staff's desks. Ed arranged all the food in front of them and grinned. "You kids wanna see something cool?"

All of them exclaimed "Yeah!" cheerily and Ed beamed.

"Check this out." He clapped his hand and pressed them to the table. A surge of light consumed the food, flickering and sparking. All the babies except Mustang watched in awe. The shrunken colonel was instead clapping excitedly and giggling, "Alchemy! Alchemy!"

Once the alchemic reaction had died down and the light vanished, Ed pulled back to examine his work. All the crackers and fruits and the turkey sandwich had been cut up into small, baby-friendly pieces. Ed then went and divided all the food into six separate servings, each one with a little bit of everything.

"Do you think they can eat by themselves?" he asked the others as he handed out servings to each baby, putting them on the table in front of them.

As if to answer his question, Riza reached out and took a bit of apple and started nibbling on it. Falman, one hand still clutching his information pamphlet, took a cracker and chewed it. Breda tried to shove a large piece of sandwich into his mouth and Ed pulled his hand back. "You gotta chew, you idiot!"

"Brother!" Al chastised. "Don't talk to the babies like that! We should all help them eat, just in case."

"We'll each take a baby," Winry said, all four of them standing side by side, facing the row of babies. "Riza and Falman are okay, so that just leaves one for each of us."

"Fine." Ed glared down at Breda, who was still struggling to get the large piece of sandwich into his mouth. "I've already got this one."

"NO!" At the small shout, they all turned to an angry Mustang baby, who was glaring at Breda as if he were a demon. "Ed feeds me!”

Ed scoffed. "Don't be a brat! Just let Armstrong feed you."

"Roy can eat," Riza said around her apple bite. "He no need help."

Big fat tears welled up in Mustang's dark eyes. "Ed feed me! Ed feed me!"

"Brother, you better feed him," Al said warily. "He might throw a tantrum and someone could hear him. I'll make sure Breda doesn't choke."

Ed scoffed. "This is ridiculous." He moved aside and let Al take over helping Breda. It was for the best, though. Al's gentle tones of 'small bites, small bites, that's good' were more encouraging than Ed's aggressive demands could ever have been. "All right, you little bastard," he said to Mustang, who had stopped crying as soon as Ed was in front of him. "I'll feed you if you promise not to cry. Got it?"

Mustang had very few teeth but he made the most of them, smiling as widely and sweetly as he could at Ed. "I promise! No more crying!"

The feeding process took relatively little time. Fuery didn't like the turkey sandwich so he gave it all to Breda, who gave him all his potato chips in gratitude. Havoc scarfed down his bananas and got upset when he ran out. He would have started crying but Mustang gave him a few of his and, as if even as babies they followed their boss' example, the other babies offered Havoc some of their bananas too.

Breda scowled at his apple slices as Al offered them to him, and all of Al's cajoling couldn't get him to open up.

"You gotta eat apples, Breda!" Riza said firmly. "Apples are good fo' you. Gotta eat 'em."

Begrudgingly, Breda let Al push the apple slice between his lips and nibbled lightly at it. He ate the whole thing and half of another before he decided that was enough healthy food for him.

When the babies had had their fill of food, Winry leaned back from where she'd been feeding Fuery and sighed. "Well? What now?"

"Now," Ed said, leaning back too, "I figure out that damn array and what went wrong to see if I can reverse this. You guys keep the babies entertained so they don't cry."

"You better hurry up, Brother."

"Yeah, I know, Al. You think I want to babysit these guys forever?"

"No, I mean...they just ate. That food is going to go somewhere."

All four non-toddlers exchanged looks of horror.

"I'm gonna go work on that array right now!" Ed rushed off to the little corner on the desk where he'd been drawing the array that had caused this whole mess in the first place. As soon as he was gone, Mustang started whining.

"Ed! Ed!" he complained, waving his fat little arms around. He got on his feet and started walking toward the edge of the table and it was only Winry grabbing him that stopped him from jumping off the table. "Wanna go with Ed! Ed!"

Armstrong and Al got the other babies safely off the table and onto the floor and as soon as Winry set Mustang on the ground, he ran on his short legs to the desk and clung on to the tail of Ed's coat.

Ed made an irritated noise. "Buzz off, brat. I gotta focus."

"Major Elric!" Armstrong bellowed. "I understand that you and Colonel Mustang have a certain animosity, but currently the colonel is a small child and he seems particularly attached to you. Speaking to him in such a manner will not help anyone."

"Well, what do you want me to do?" Ed snapped. "He's hangin' off me like a fuckin' limpet!"

"Ed! Stop swearing!" Al sounded aggravated. "Look, he clearly is very possessive of you right now--"

"I'm not Mustang's damn possession!"

"I mean he's protective of you! He looks up to you right now. Literally and figuratively."

That made Ed pause. "....he looks up to me?" His lips quirked in a cocky little smirk. "The great Colonel Roy Mustang, Flame Alchemist, giant bastard and all-around pain in my ass....looks up to me. Fuckin' sweet."

Al and Winry both rolled their eyes. Armstrong was corralling the other babies into order.

Ed raised an eyebrow down at the little boy that was gazing adoringly up at him. "So, what do I do? Just let him hang off me? I can't take care of him and work on the array."

Al's armor creaked as he shrugged his metal shoulders. "Do what you do with little kids that look up to you. Nina looked up to you, Elicia still looks up to you. Just talk to him like you would talk to them."

A dark look flickered over Ed's face at the mention of Nina, but then he sighed and got out of the chair he was sitting in and got down on one knee to talk to Mustang. He put both his hands on the boy's shoulders and said seriously, "Look, kid. I'm kinda busy with my work right now."

"I know alchemy too!" Mustang exclaimed. "I can help!"

Ed's mouth twitched with genuine amusement. "Thanks. But this is big boy alchemy I'm dealing with."

Mustang frowned petulantly. "I am a big boy!"

"Oh, you are?" Ed's eyebrow quirked. "Well, why don't you prove it? Go help take care of your team. I know there's some of the colonel still in you, and these are your men. So you gotta make sure they don't get into any trouble. Can you do that, big boy?"

Mustang's smile could fell cities. "Yeah!"

"All right!" Ed grinned at him. "I'm countin' on you." He held up a hand and Mustang excitedly high-fived him. Then he let himself fall forward into Ed's chest and wrapped his arms around Ed's ribs in a brief little hug before moving away to join the other babies.

Ed, looking a little flustered after that impromptu hug, cleared his throat and sat back into the chair to lean over the array.

"I have assembled the chairs into a makeshift playpen for the children!" Armstrong announced and Al and Winry admired the little ring of chairs.

"Looks great, Major!" Al said. "Now we just gotta find some toys..."

"Gun! Gun!" Riza chirped excitedly.

"That is literally the worst idea ever, Riza," Winry said.

"Gloves! Gloves!" Roy suggested and Winry looked at him in horror.

"I stand corrected.”

Armstrong kept the kids busy in the playpen while Al and Winry went around the office, looking for things that could make suitable temporary toys for small children.

"Look, Breda, why don't you play with this paperweight?"

"You having fun with that coffee mug, Fuery?"

“Havoc, stop putting all the pens in your mouth!”

"Roy, Ed's coat is big enough for both you and Riza to hide under, don't be selfish."

They realized quickly that office supplies made for very lousy toys. And they weren't needed at all. Kids were so easily entertained.

At some point Winry climbed into Al's hollow armor and closed the chest plate. Al made a big show about where Winry had gone, asking the babies over and over where she'd gone to, and then Winry popped out with a big "Here I am!" and they all erupted into giggles. Then she would close it again and open it, saying "Peek-a-boo!" over and over again. When they got tired of that, she got out and Al let Havoc and Breda climb in instead, shifting about curiously inside him. When they touched him, Al laughed and pretended it tickled, making them laugh too.

Armstrong threw himself on the ground and made wounded noises as the babies attacked him.

"Oh no! I have fallen! They are too strong!" he exclaimed as Riza bounced on his back and Fuery wrestled his calf. Falman was biting the sleeve of his uniform and Mustang was supervising the attack. Armstrong made half-hearted attempts to throw them off and they just doubled their efforts. Breda and Havoc clambered out of Al to join their teammates in their endeavor and soon Armstrong was falling limp against the floor. "They have defeated me! I was too weak! I never stood a chance!"

Roy climbed up onto Armstrong's back with Riza and put on his best leader pose, feet apart and hands on his hips. "We defeated the mighty giant!"

The babies all whooped in victory and Winry and Al clapped.

"Hey, Al," Winry whispered as the babies continued wrestling with Armstrong. "Where'd you get the diapers?"

"Oh. Brother transmuted the Colonel's shirt."

"And why is Riza wearing a little top? She's a baby, does it matter?"

Metal ground against metal as Al cocked his head slightly. "Well...Brother said that he'd never be able to look Hawkeye in the eyes again if he saw her naked chest, even if she's just a baby."

Winry rolled her eyes. "Boys."

"Sir!" Riza exclaimed. "There are more giants!"

Roy turned to the little girl and looked to where she was pointing at Al, a serious look on her face, and his face turned serious too.

"All right, men! New target! Attack! Attack!"

"Uh oh," Winry muttered. "You'd better run, Al."

Metal clanked as Al got to his feet and jumped out of the playpen. The kids climbed over the chairs and slunk through their legs and started chasing the giant suit of armor around the office, Al making sounds of terror as he ran from them.

Once the babies had gained ground and attacked Al and wrestled him to the ground, they began climbing all over him and beating their chubby little fists against his armor. Riza pulled off Al’s helmet and put it on herself. It slipped past her shoulders and she made scary noises at Falman and Fuery, who ran away from her.

Armstrong, recovered from his terrible defeat, laughed boisterously as he picked up Breda and Havoc and put one on either shoulder, running around the office with them. Havoc pretended to shoot an invisible gun at the other babies from his elevated position, noises and everything, and when one of the babies noticed Havoc shooting at them, they fell dramatically to the ground, and got back up to play some more.

Armstrong and Al started tossing the babies at each other, making them giggle and flail happily as they soared through the air. Riza organized them all in a line at Al’s feet and Al picked one up, tossed them, and Armstrong caught them and set them on the ground where they trot right back into the line again.

Winry sat with Fuery making funny faces at him because he didn’t like getting tossed; it made his tummy sick, he said.

When the babies got tired of flying, Falman, Breda, and Havoc played with Al and Armstrong, splitting up into two teams and ‘battling’ each other. Riza got tired of dealing with the boys and went to Winry, who started teaching her how to braid hair. Mustang grabbed Ed’s coat and Fuery sat on it and giggled excitedly while Mustang dragged him around the office.

Then Roy put the large coat over his head and made moaning noises, approaching Fuery at a slow pace. “Ooohhh, I’m a ghoooost!” he said. Fuery whimpered and took off running, so Mustang chased after him, making spooky noises.

There was suddenly a little yelp and a thud and everyone stopped what they were doing to look over at the trembling mound of red cloth. All the babies’ eyes were on their fallen leader. Fuery, who was closest, timidly went up and pulled the coat away from Mustang, who was curled up on the floor with both hands clamped over his face.

“Roy?” Winry said softly. “You okay?” She set Riza aside and went over to kneel next to the little boy, who was shaking, eyes screwed shut and hands over his nose. Little tear droplets formed in the corners of his eyes. “Does it hurt a lot?”

Ed, who had been blocking out all the noise in the office so he could focus, finally looked up.

Mustang sniffed. “I’m sorry,” he mumbled. “I’m sorry.”

“Why are you sorry?” Winry asked sweetly. “C’mon, let me see. It’s probably not that bad.” She reached up to try to pry Roy’s hands from his face, but he turned away.

“I-I promised,” Mustang moaned pathetically. “I promised not to c-cry.” He whimpered a little, trying to keep the sobs choked down.

“Oh.” Winry exchanged a concerned look with Ed. “But if it hurts, it’s okay to cry a little. No one’s going to be mad at you if you break your promise because you got hurt.”

“But I promised!” Mustang wailed, tears slipping down his cheeks. And now that he knew he was crying and had officially broken his promise, he got even more upset and cried even harder.

“Brother!” Al exclaimed. “Do something!”

Ed bolted out of his chair and fell to his knees next to Mustang, scooping him up and holding him close. If there was one thing Ed couldn’t stand, it was little children crying. It just broke his heart, even if the child crying was a complete asshole. Roy buried his face into Ed’s neck and sobbed little apologies, so Ed pat his back and made soothing shushing noises.

“It’s okay,” he said softly. “It’s okay, I’m not mad.” Roy sniffed loudly. “Winry’s right. It’s okay to cry if you get hurt.”

“B-But I promised not to,” the little boy mumbled and Ed rubbed his back.

“And you tried really hard to keep that promise,” Ed said. “You did a really good job, and I’m very proud of you.” It was strange, talking to his superior officer like this. No matter what he looked like, this was still Roy Mustang, and he was currently blubbering into Ed’s neck because he had been afraid of disappointing him. Ed tried hard not to think of him as Mustang, to just think of him as any other baby, but it was Mustang, and Ed couldn’t ignore that.

“Really?” Mustang asked quietly.

Ed ruffled his hair. “Absolutely. Now, come on, let me see your nose. Does it hurt a lot?”

Roy pulled his face away from Ed’s neck, wiping at his wet eyes and said, “A little bit.”

Ed gently held Roy’s hands away from his face so he could get a good look at his nose. “Hm, well it’s red and a bit swollen.” He touched it gingerly with his flesh fingertip. “Doesn’t seem to be broken. Here.” He shifted Roy to his flesh arm and pressed his cool metal fingers to the boy’s nose. “Better?”

Roy beamed. “Better!”

“Gotta kiss boo-boos to make ‘em better,” Riza piped in helpfully. “It won’t heal without a kiss.”

Ed’s cheeks swirled pink and he laughed nervously. “No, no, I think he’ll be okay. My fingers are pretty cold so they’ll help the swelling go down. He’ll be fine.”

“No,” Havoc supplied from his perch on top of Armstrong’s head. “If you don’t kiss the ouchie, it won’t go away.”

“You gotta kiss it,” Fuery said, nodding sagely.

Mustang looked at him hopefully and Ed’s cheeks burned red.

“If you don’t do it, we’ll have a baby riot on our hands,” Winry said, trying hard not smirk gleefully. Evil, that one. Pure evil.

“Ugh, fine,” Ed grumbled, pulling his hand away and quickly giving Mustang’s nose a little peck. “There. Happy?”

Mustang giggled happily and buried his face in Ed’s throat again, this time wrapping his arms around his neck in a hug.

“Yeah, yeah, ok.” Ed gave him one last pat on the back. “Go back to playing, I’ve got work to do.”

“I don’t wanna play anymore,” Roy complained. “Wanna help Ed with work.”

“I already told you, kid—”

“I’ll be quiet!” he said desperately. “I won’t bother you! I promise! And I won’t break my promise this time!”

Okay. So maybe Ed’s stomach twisted a little from how damn cute that was.

“All right. Fine.” Ed got to his feet, grabbed his coat from where it had been left on the floor, and went back to the desk, Mustang against his chest. “But you gotta be quiet.”


The other children resumed their playing, comforted that their leader was in safe hands, and Ed sat Roy down on his knee and bent over the array again. He’d been staring at it and going over the notes for almost an hour and nothing seemed off to him. There didn’t seem to be any reason why the array had reacted the way it had.

After a few minutes of sitting still, Roy began to wriggle. Ed sighed. He should’ve known the kid’s attention span wasn’t going to allow him to be quiet, no matter what he promised.

“You wanna go play?” Ed asked him, but Mustang pressed his lips together and shook his head.

“You need to go to the bathroom?” The mere idea terrified him. Luckily, Mustang shook his head again.

“What is it, then? You can talk if I ask you a question. It doesn’t count as breaking the promise.”

“Oh,” Roy said, mildly surprised. “I just wanna know why that’s upside down.” He leaned over and put his finger on a symbol in the top right-hand corner of the array and Ed rolled his eyes. He didn’t have time for stupid questions.

“It’s not upside down, it’s—” He paused. Stared at it. Cocked his head to the side. “Son of a bitch.”

Jumping to his feet excitedly, Ed spun Mustang around in the air, laughing and making the little boy laugh too. “You’re fucking brilliant, Mustang!”

“Did you figure it out, Brother?” Al asked enthusiastically.

“Aww,” Winry bemoaned, slumping her shoulders. Falman pouted from where he was getting a piggy-back ride from her. “I was having fun.”

“Put all the babies with each one’s respective clothes,” Ed ordered. “And stand back.”

The four of them put each baby beside the piles of their forgotten clothing and Al, Winry, and Armstrong hovered by the office doors as Ed stood in the center of the room and clapped his hands. He pressed his hands to the floor and the entire office was swarmed in alchemic light, reacting to the array in Ed’s mind.

There were noises of complaints and confusion among the shower of light, and once it had died down—Ed feeling a bit more worn out than performing alchemy usually made him feel—there were suddenly six very grown-up, very naked adults sitting on top of piles of their clothes. Everyone respectfully looked away while they got their bearings and dressed themselves.

“Would someone kindly care to explain what the hell just happened to us?” came the colonel’s voice, cold and hard and just slightly angry. Nothing like the little boy who had been so upset about breaking his promise to Ed. Something in Ed’s gut churned.

“I may have accidentally turned all of you into toddlers for a few hours?” Ed said apologetically, still not looking at his commanding officer or his team. “But I fixed it!”

“How did you manage to turn us into toddlers?” Havoc asked, sounding more lost than usual.

“Uhh…that’s a good question.” Ed still wasn’t sure exactly what had happened or how, but it was definitely worth looking into. And he would look into it—in a lab, or a library, somewhere very, very far from here. “Are you guys dressed yet?”

“Most of us.” Hawkeye’s cool, crisp tone seemed unperturbed as usual. “It seems the colonel has misplaced his shirt.”

Ed turned around and, yep, sure enough, there was the colonel, looking irritated beyond belief as he stood in the center of his office half-naked. Ed felt heat rush to his cheeks and looked away again.

“I think I found it, sir,” Fuery chimed in, holding up the scrap of fabric he’d had tied around his middle while he was a baby. “Or…what’s left of it.”

“No worries, chief. I’ve got a spare.” Havoc rubbed his head as he walked over to his desk, opened a drawer, and pulled out a folded up shirt before tossing it to Mustang. The colonel thanked him as he pulled it on.

“Fullmetal, you’re going to have to explain this whole situation to me, in detail.” Ed really couldn’t focus on Mustang’s angry tone while he was buttoning up his shirt like that. To think, those thick strong fingers had been curled so possessively around the tail of his coat, refusing to let go of him.

“Right—well, I’ll do that. Later…I have to figure it out for myself first.” Ed took the large paper he’d had the array scribbled on, folded it and stuffed it into his pocket. “I’ll let you know as soon as I know anything, all right?”

He made a hasty retreat towards the doors, eager to escape before they made him explain anything else but then Mustang spoke again.

“And why is my nose so sore?” he asked, gingerly poking his still slightly red nose.

“Brother!” Al exclaimed. “You must not have kissed it properly!”

“Yeah, Ed!” Winry added in, because the pair of them were just pure evil. “You should go over there and kiss it properly this time! Or else it’ll never heal!”

Grumbling, Ed grabbed onto the tail of Al’s helmet and Winry’s wrist and dragged them out of the office before anyone could ask him anything else.