Follow_the_light (hotarukat) wrote,
Follow_the_light
hotarukat

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"Lessons in Borrowing" fic

Title: Lessons in Borrowing
Author: hotarukat
Genre: Mostly Gen...in my mind it's Roy/Ed
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Ed easily 'borrows' one of Mustang's gloves. The problem is, how to give the glove back before Mustang notices it's missing.



It was his first time back in two weeks, and of course the first thing Edward Elric had to take care of was his tortuous debriefing with ‘I am God’s Gift to Alchemy’ Colonel Mustang. Ed scowled as he stood outside of Mustang’s office door. Usually, he would have just barged right in, with no warning, happy that he could fuck with Mustang a little by messing up his concentration on whatever stupid paperwork the Colonel would be filling out. But for some reason, this time Ed idled outside with his auto-mail hand poised to knock. His other hand began to fidget with the chain of his alchemist’s watch, which hung loosely from his pocket.

He better not give me hell because I’m back too early with nothing to show for the effort, Ed thought briefly before he realized his stalling in the hall had gone on for more than five minutes now. He wasn’t scared of Mustang, goddammit. At that thought, he then became angry enough that his hand swiftly moved to the doorknob, and he swung the door open so forcefully it almost ripped off the hinges. The door hit the wall of Mustang’s office with a satisfying thud.

“So, Colonel, you needed to see me?” Ed asked sweetly before realizing the room was empty.

“What the hell?” He spun around quickly. He half expected Mustang to try and surprise him from behind in some sort of messed up retribution, but all that was behind him was the open door and empty air. Ed slowly peeked over his shoulder at the abandoned desk again. It was weird. He had never been in Mustang’s office alone before.

Ed got the distinct feeling he should leave, but he quickly got over the feeling. It simply had to be a joke. Ed pushed aside his uneasiness at being in Mustang’s office by himself and decided to walk around the room, checking every possible spot in the office where Mustang could be hiding, which was really only behind the desk. Of course there was no one there.

Like he’d be playing hide and go seek with me. Ed sighed mentally at his own childishness. He gave up his search and walked back towards the door.

“So…I guess he made me walk all the way here FOR NOTHING!!” Ed yelled aloud, then quieted down when he remembered the door was still open. “Fucking bastard, fucking making me come here…” Ed kept muttering to himself until an interesting idea occurred to him.

He wondered if any of the papers Roy was constantly working on might have some useful information in them. His eyes flicked to Mustang’s desk, totally devoid of files at the moment, but Ed was almost sure something had to be in the closed drawers. At least that would make this trip worth it. Glancing at the door, Ed sidled closer to the desk. Then he reached very carefully to dig through each drawer quickly and skillfully to look for anything and everything Mustang might want to keep under wraps.

After the first two drawers, Ed began to that this was another wild goose chase. His search so far had revealed an old coffee mug, an empty bottle of water, two fountain pens, and a pencil, the end of which looked like it had been chewed on. Ed gagged a little at the thought as he carefully placed everything back where it had been before closing the drawer. He eyed the bottom drawer with a dying hope and tried to open it.

It was locked.

His curiosity was reignited. Ed paused to a second to ponder what type of locking mechanism as being used and how to unlock it. Then he tapped his hands together with relish, touching the keyhole of the desk. His guess worked, and he was able to pull the drawer open smoothly when the alchemic reaction fizzled away. And there, at the bottom of the drawer, neatly folded, were a pair of Roy’s white, ignition cloth gloves. Ed just stared at them for a second. He was afraid they might explode if he even laid a finger on them, but then his intellectual curiosity kicked in. He picked a single glove up, feeling the heavy roughness of the fabric and studying the red array stitched into the back.

He had to admit they were pretty damn cool.

For a second, Ed almost succumbed to the desire to try one out, for the pure learning experience and just for the hell of it. But even he realized it would not be the best idea to torch the colonel’s office…

“Edward?” a distinctly feminine voice caused Ed to stuff the glove in his pocket and kick the drawer shut immediately. He tried to keep a ‘kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar’ look off his face as he glanced up from the floor to see Hawkeye looking down at him measuringly.

“Yes, sir?”

“Are you waiting for the Colonel? He went out a short while ago. I’m sorry.” Hawkeye glanced at Ed’s pocket, and he squirmed a little under the scrutiny.

“What were you doing?” she asked suspiciously and arched an eyebrow.

“Waiting, like you said. I thought I might be able to find something interesting in the colonel’s desk, but he only keeps shit in there. Plus, the bottom one is locked.” Ed hoped being slightly honest would keep Hawkeye from checking to make sure everything was in place, though from the slightly amused look he received, Ed suspected Hawkeye knew the Colonel kept nothing important in his desk. Still, Ed prayed to any god listening that she wouldn’t try to open the bottom drawer, because he hadn’t reset the lock.

“You shouldn’t be going through somebody else’s things,” Hawkeye said disapprovingly, but Ed could tell from her tone that she was just saying what she thought she was supposed to in a situation like this. Her personality couldn’t just let him go without saying anything chastising.

Ed gave her a small smirk and stuffed his hands in his pockets to make sure Mustang’s glove didn’t fall out at an inopportune moment.

“Yeah, well, tell the Colonel not to leave his things so unguarded,” he shrugged.

Hawkeye gave him the tiniest of smiles. “I’m sure he knows what he’s doing.”

Ed managed not to snort. “If you say so. Well, I guess I’ll see you whenever his majesty decides to come back to work.” Ed walked past Hawkeye carefully, refusing to hunch. He suppressed his desire to run.

“I’m sure the Colonel didn’t intend for you to come here for nothing.”

Ed managed to return Hawkeye’s level gaze with a Cheshire grin.

“Heh, heard that, huh?”

Hawkeye nodded slowly with the amused smirk she must have picked up from the Colonel brushing her lips again.
“Next time, come see me if you want to see the Colonel. It’ll save you some trouble.”

Taking this as a dismissal, Ed slowly walked out of Mustang’s office, only breaking into a sprint when he turned down the corridor. He knew he was probably in for some trouble very soon.

***

Ed sat under a tree waiting for Al at their usual meeting spot outside the training fields. Considering he had only spent a cumulative fifteen minutes in Mustang’s office, (instead of the usual half an hour of bickering), Ed wasn’t surprised that Al wasn’t waiting for him yet. He only managed a few minutes of sitting quietly before beginning to fidgit. Ed stuck his hand in his pocket and pulled out the stolen white glove. He again ignored the desire to try it out and just looked at it, wondering how the hell he was going to stick it back in Mustang’s desk. Maybe if he went back now…

“What’s that?” Al suddenly loomed over his brother, and Ed jumped.

“Al! Don’t fucking creep up on me like that!!” Ed put a hand over his heart to make it slow down while his younger brother sat next to him.

“Is that one of the colonel’s gloves?” Al asked with extreme interest.

Ed took his hand away from his chest and glanced down at the glove he was still clutching in wonder.

“Yeah,” he said, still not quite believing it.

“Why did he give it to you? Can I see?” Al reached for it.

“Sure, whatever.” Ed tossed the glove to his brother and watched out of the corner of his eye while Al examined it with a critical eye.

“It’s such a simple idea,” Al whispered to himself, turning it over and tracing the array with a steel finger. Then, his intellectual curiosity sated, he spoke again. “So, why did the colonel lend it to you?”

“He didn’t exactly lend it,” Ed muttered.

“….you stole this?” Al’s voice shifted from incredulous to extremely entertained as he finished his question.

“It’s not like I did it on purpose!” Ed seethed and tucked his knees under his chin.

“Whatever you say, Brother,” Al said lightly, and Ed could tell he was humoring him.

“Shut up! And give it back!” Ed snatched the glove out of his brother’s hands.

“You do have to return it you know.”

“I know. But, how the hell am I supposed to sneak this thing back into Mustang’s desk drawer?”

“You were going through his desk?”

“Nevermind, Al.” Ed pouted for a second, but then he simply looked upset. “I really screwed myself over this time. The Colonel’s going to have my ass for this.”

“That’s an…interesting way to put it,” Al agreed mildly.

“Whatever. The point is that I either have to put this back or make him think that he misplaced it on his own.”

“How are you going to do that?”

Ed experimentally slipped the glove onto his hand, over his own glove. It was still too big.

“I don’t know. I’ll have to slip it into his pocket or something.”

Al’s incredulous gaze gave Ed the impression his brother was not impressed by this plan.

“Well, Al, what’s your suggestion then,” he huffed.

“No,” Al’s red eye’s slitted with mirth, “I guess that’s the only thing you can do.”

“Okay then!” Ed jumped up. “This’ll blow over, and Mustang’ll be totally clueless that anything happened in the first place.”

***

Ed tried to avoid Hawkeye as he made his way back to Mustang’s office. He hoped Mustang was still gone, but didn’t want Hawkeye to tell him so. Then maybe he might be able to get the glove back in the desk easy as pie. Without a doubt, trying to reverse pickpocket Mustang was probably the stupidest idea he could come up with. But the limited options presenting themselves made this whole situation difficult.

Ed wished he had never stolen the stupid glove in the first place.

Plus, he hadn’t even tried it out.

Even with the desire to unleash an alchemic firestorm worming it’s way into Ed’s thought process, he realized the longer it took to replace the glove, the more certain it was Mustang would realize it was missing. And then he faced the door of Mustang’s office again and couldn’t believe he was doing the same thing he had done this morning. He stood outside, with an uneasy feeling gnawing at the pit of his stomach. But at least this time, he told himself, I have something to be worried about.

Ed’s polite knock was met with a commanding, “Come in,” from the other side of the door, and Ed followed the order, almost hesitantly swinging the door open. Mustang was, as per usual, busy sorting several stacks of papers that had magically appeared on his desk since Ed’s last visit. After a few seconds, he finally looked up from the piles.

“Oh, hello, Fullmetal…something you need to tell me?” Roy placed his chin on his hand and pretended to look interested.

“Yeah…I have to report to you, remember?” Ed cursed his voice for faltering and Mustang for looking goddamn disappointed, especially since Ed didn’t understand what he could have done wrong…oh, fuck, Ed cursed mentally.

“Sit down,” Mustang said after quickly slipping into his professional persona. “I’ll hear from you in a minute.” With a vague gesture to the couch, Roy returned to arranging the files into semi-neat piles.

Ed took the opportunity to brainstorm while surreptitiously studying Mustang. This wasn’t going to be difficult…it was going to be impossible. The only time Mustang left his desk when talking to Ed was to pace the room if he was annoyed. Or sometimes, he would stand up to glare down at Ed more effectively. Both these opportunities didn’t lend themselves well to stuffing a glove in his pocket without him noticing…especially if he already knew.

“Alright.” Mustang looked up from his work again. “Tell me how you failed to find the Philosopher’s Stone this time.”
Ed bristled and momentarily forgot his real objective for this visit.

“The rumors of the stone were totally false in Himley. Turns out their version of a Philosopher’s Stone is just a rock some crazy old medicine woman uses in her incantations,” Ed said, letting his disdain and frustration seep into his voice.

“And you couldn’t have found that out without actually going to Himley? There are such things as telephones nowadays. Even a letter to the outpost a few miles out would have been able to tell you that.”

“I felt like going. Needed some air.”

Roy sighed heavily and stood up, circling to the front of his desk. “Needing some air is not a viable reason to waste the military’s money.” He leaned back and sat just on the edge of the desk as he continued to lecture Ed. “If you just planned a little more, you wouldn’t waste so much time either. If you would just think…”

Ed eyed Mustang, ignoring the Colonel’s words. He wasn’t even sure where the pockets were under that skirt thing they called a uniform. They had to be there though, because Mustang always put his hands in his pockets….

Roy noticed Ed’s scrutinizing stare. “Edward, eyes up here,” he commanded in a tone that only betrayed a hint of amusement and pointed to his face.

Ed flushed briefly but quickly recovered. This was his chance.

Without warning, Ed surged up from his seat to stand straight in front of Mustang, putting himself two inches from the older man’s face while he yelled, “I’m fucking sick of the way you talk down to me, sir! Don’t treat me like a kid!”
Ed tried to stealthily slip the glove into Mustang’s pocket while he was close enough, but he couldn’t even concentrate enough to get it out of his own. He stood there frozen for a second as Mustang gazed down at him.

“How would you like me to treat you, Fullmetal?” Mustang asked quietly, seriously, and Ed’s mind blanked. He opened his mouth to say something, only to then forget what it was and close it again.

After a couple seconds of Ed being dumbfounded, Mustang sighed and gently pushed him away. Ed just let him, the glove burning a metaphorical hole in his pocket, totally forgotten.

“Because,” Roy continued, switching to his lecturing voice, “you don’t act like an adult.”
Ed was still speechless, but didn’t understand why. Yelling at Mustang, looking at Mustang, shouldn’t make him feel…guilty.

“Fullmetal, don’t you have some whiney come-back?” Mustang tilted his head to the side.

Ed could only shake his head slowly and look at the floor. He really wasn’t an adult. He couldn’t look Mustang in the eye, and he couldn’t return that fucking glove.

“Do you have anything to say at all?” Mustang prodded gently.

Ed glanced up from the floor and found Mustang giving him an even look with no hint of emotion. That somehow relieved and disappointed him.

“…am I dismissed now, sir?”

Roy coughed into his hand. “Actually, I need to step out for a minute. I’ll be right back.”

With that, Roy walked out of the room, and Ed just stood there, unable to keep the surprised look off his face.
Roy was letting him put the glove back.

Ed remained firmly planted in front of the desk for a second, half expecting Mustang to come back in the middle of returning the glove to the desk drawer. But, nothing happened, and that was somehow worse.

Sighing, Ed turned around to face the closed door. Then, with resolve, he sat down on the couch, pulled the glove out of his pocket, and waited for Mustang to come back.

After two minutes, the door clicked open and Mustang entered his office.

“Oh, you’re still here. Didn’t I tell you that you could leave?” Mustang asked lightly before his eyes settled on the glove in Ed’s hand. “Ah, I see.”

Ed stood up and practically shoved the glove into Mustang’s face. He kept his gaze firmly fixed on the wall to his right.

“This is yours. I’m…sorry I took it.”

With no hesitation, Mustang took the proffered glove, while Ed kept talking hurriedly.

“It’s not like I did it on purpose! It’s your fault for keeping such a simple lock…Plus I didn’t even try it out, though I wanted to…” Ed wanted to add ‘please don’t crucify me,’ but he didn’t think it would be appropriate. His eyes flicked to Mustang’s face to gauge his reaction.

“You should have stopped with the ‘I’m sorry.’” Mustang moved back to his desk and sat down, reaching to the bottom drawer to open it.

Ed paused. Finally, he asked quietly, “What’re you going to do?”

“About what?” Mustang returned to shuffling papers around.

“I took something from you! I could have set half the city on fire! You have to do something!!”

“Fullmetal, do you have a masochistic streak in you?” Mustang smirked to himself as he kept his eyes on his work.

“But…”

“Well, if you really want some sort of punishment, here,” Mustang said before he picked up the three largest stacks of files. “Arrange all of these by date.”

“That’s not punishment, that’s torture!” Ed grumbled, secretly trying to maintain the casual atmosphere. He definitely didn’t think he would react as well if someone had taken something from him.

“Yes, it seems I also have a masochistic streak,” Mustang sighed dramatically.

***

An hour later, Ed was staring at a huge stack of papers, perfectly sorted from newest to oldest. He had worked silently next to Mustang for the entire time, and it had been not quite awkward, but not quite relaxing either. He shuffled through his pile again, just to make sure nothing was out of place and then glanced up at Mustang.

The Colonel was solemnly reading one of the files and taking notes on a pad of paper. Just as Ed began to wonder if he should interrupt, Mustang’s eyes moved up from the paper to meet his own.

“Finished?” Mustang said lazily and went back to writing.

“Uh, yeah. What do you want me to do with them?”

Mustang sighed, looking slightly worn out. “Try and fit them somewhere.”

Ed managed to carefully slip his stack of reports onto the edge of Mustang’s desk, without disrupting any of the other piles. He couldn’t help but glance over what Mustang was writing.

“I’m seeing if there is a rising trend of violence in the area around Malins. Once I’ve read all of these, I have to decide whether to send in the military,” Mustang explained without Ed even asking.

“Oh…well…I guess I’ll see you…later then,” Ed finished lamely, not sure what he was supposed to do now.

“Edward,” Mustang murmured without even looking up just as Ed turned to leave.

“Huh?”

“Next time, why don’t you try asking?”

“About the reports?”

Mustang glanced up and quirked an eyebrow.

“Oh.” Ed paused for a second, torn between an odd fear of humiliation and really wanting to try that glove out. Finally, he caved in to his desire. “Could I try out your glove sometime?”

“No.”

Ed tensed, but ultimately blamed himself for even hoping. Mustang is and will always be a bastard, he thought sullenly.

But, as Ed left Mustang’s office, he couldn’t help but think that maybe he’d ask again sometime.
Tags: borrowing, roy/ed fic
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