Psiren Song

A FMA Fanfic

By Jaelle




Disclaimer: Not mine.

Pairings: All implied. Sore wa himitsu desu.

Rating: PG. Humour/Drama (sorta).

Setting: Post-series, Ed is 19. Al is fixed, Ed is not.



There were many methods of communication in the military, each with varying degrees of usefulness and speed. Pigeons, internal memos, letters, and messages carried by subordinates were just some of these communication methods. But the fastest of them all was rumour.

And right now, if there had been a way to time the speed of rumour, a test would have shown that it had exceeded all previous records, as the juiciest piece of gossip flashed through the building, arriving almost instantaneously in every office.

Edward Elric was reading a book when the rumour arrived in his section, and he was the only person who paid no attention to it whatsoever, until the moment the book was plucked suddenly out of his fingers.

“HEY!”

“So Ed,” Havoc said casually, as he stood over the Fullmetal Alchemist. “Who was that woman you were having dinner with last night?”

Ed ignored the question and concentrated on snatching the book back. “Give that back! Don’t you DARE lose my place!”

“The woman, Ed, the woman...” Havoc teased, holding the book just out of Ed’s reach, which wasn’t very high. Although Ed had gained a little height since he had originally become a State Alchemist, it had been a year since his 18th birthday and he hadn’t grown an inch since then, thus dashing his hopes of one day towering over his comrades in the military. Even his little brother had outstripped him, once returned to human form. Ed had huffed and complained but eventually grudgingly accepted that he was always going to be short. That didn’t mean he had to like it though.

“What about her?” Ed snarled. “The book! Don’t drop it! It’s old and fragile and... DON’T THROW IT!”

Unfortunately his cry was too late, as Havoc tossed it to Breda. “Come on Ed, talk.”

“GIVE THAT BACK!” Ed howled, and threw himself at the other man, who tossed it carefully back to Havoc. “DAMN YOU HAVOC! IF YOU DROP IT I’M GONNA TRANSMUTE YOU INTO A TRASH CAN!”

Havoc laughed and threw it to Breda again. A blue-uniformed arm intercepted it in mid-air, and offered it to Ed, who snatched it and clutched it protectively to his chest.

Captain Lisa Hawkeye sent a gimlet-eyed glare at the men of the office, who scrambled to their desks and buried themselves in their work. Satisfied that they were all suitably cowed (for now) she turned her attention back to Ed.

“The Brigadier General is ready to see you now.”

Ed grumbled something and entered Brigadier General Roy Mustang’s office, still holding the book tightly to him.

“Good morning Edward-kun, and how was your trip to Metarus?” Roy asked him, smirking knowingly.

Ed favoured him with an extensive description of just how little he had enjoyed his latest ‘mission’. “... and it’s all there in my report,” he finished, hauling a folder out of his coat and tossing it to Roy.

Roy flipped the folder open and raised his eyebrows at the opening sentence, “After receiving my orders from my fat-headed commanding officer, I immediately went to the vast hole in the ground that is Metarus...” he began. “Uh huh... I see. Fullmetal, perhaps you should think about improving your writing style.”

“It’s legible and spelt correctly, what more do you want?” Ed snarked back, throwing himself on to one of Roy’s couches.

Roy glanced at the book Ed was still clutching. “New book?”

The snarl he got in response made him smile. “Very well, aside from your editorial commentary, your report looks fine.”

Ed brightened. “Then I can go?”

Roy held up one hand... “But you seem to have left something out... this only records your actions up until your return yesterday afternoon.”

“That’s when I got back!” Ed protested. “And then I had some stuff to do...”

“And what stuff was that exactly?” Roy inquired.

“What stuff?" Ed was confused. Roy knew damn well that most of the "stuff" consisted of finding unimportant things to do in order to put off reporting in for as long as possible. Ed ALWAYS did that. It was traditional. "Oh, just... stuff. I had to get my clothes cleaned and some new outfits sorted, and then I had to eat..."

"I see, and where did you go to eat?" Roy asked casually, making notes on the bottom of Ed's report.

"The Brass Monkey."

"A very nice restaurant," Roy noted, pen still moving. "And can anyone attest to your presence there?"

"Huh?" Ed was completely baffled now. "Well the waiters and the cashier. And there was Clara as well..."

"Clara?" Roy paused and looked inquiring.

Things went 'click' inside Edward's mind.

"You just want to know about HER!" He shouted, jumping to his feet and pointing at Roy indignantly. "You're like the rest of those nosy bastards out in your office!"

"I assure you, I need to know this for official reasons," Roy said smoothly.

"Oh really? I wonder if Captain HAWKEYE will support that?"

"That was a low shot," Roy sighed. "Fine, you can go. If I need you again will you be staying in the dorms?"

"Mind your own business!"

Roy arched an eyebrow at him. "Why Edward, are you finally developing other interests? I trust you're taking precautions?"

The Fullmetal Alchemist beat a hasty retreat, blushing furiously.

**

"Well Edward, what did you expect?" Clara laughed. "Your friends just want to know who you're seeing, at long last."

"The long last comment was unnecessary," Ed grumbled. "And it's none of their business! AND we're not seeing each other ANYWAY! You're just planning something, and I'm trying to stop you!"

He glared at her irritably. Clara, AKA the beautiful and notorious thief Psiren, just smiled at him.

It had been a shock to encounter her when he'd returned to Central after a long and tiring mission, and he hadn't believed her excuse of "coming for a holiday" for a second. His main plan now was to find out why she was here and try to remove the reason so that she would go home and not try anything. Although he found her motives incomprehensible and her use of Alchemy for thieving distasteful, he genuinely liked Clara and didn't want to see her thrown in jail.

Not that he'd admit that, of course.

The beautiful thief had kept a low profile sneaking around so far, but had refused to give him even a small hint as to her target.

"It would ruin the surprise," she'd answered when he'd cornered her briefly the previous evening. "You'll find out when everybody else does."

Consequently he'd spent most of his time since then trying to keep her under surveillance. Unfortunately, she was very good at getting away, which was why he was currently sitting in her hotel room. He figured that if he stuck around constantly she wouldn't be able to pull anything. He hadn't counted on the way other people would perceive this behaviour.

"Oh Edward, you're so noble," Clara said, ruffling his hair gently. "Such dedication is admirable, it suits you well." She leaned in closer. "Are you sure you don't want to..."

"Gaahh!" Ed shoved her away. "You're all crazy."

"You know, you could always turn me in," she suggested with a small smile. "You don't have to keep my identity a secret."

Ed looked away. "That's not the point. Psiren is my opponent, not Clara."

"Opponent? Not enemy?"

He gave her a scathing look. "Don't be stupid."

"Oh Edward!" Clara hugged him tightly, "You're so good to me!"

"ACK! Get off!" Ed struggled furiously. "What if somebody SEES?!"

"We're in my hotel room," she reminded him. "Who's going to see?"

"I think some of the guys followed me back here," he admitted sulkily, glancing at the window. "They could be watching."

Clara glanced quickly out the window. "Then let's give them a show," she said softly, leaning in and kissing Ed on the forehead. Then she pulled the curtains and turned out the lights.

"CLARA-SAN!"

"Shhh... I needed to sneak out anyway and check on my target. This will give me a good excuse."

"DON'T USE ME AS YOUR ALIBI!"

**

The next day Ed walked tiredly down to the lobby of the hotel. He'd spent most of the evening chasing Psiren around and trying to work out what her objective was in visiting, while not getting spotted by anyone.

He'd finally admitted defeat around 3am in the morning, when she'd successfully slipped away from him, and gone back to await her return to her hotel room. Psiren had found him asleep on her couch when she'd returned and had left him there, something about which he had complained loudly when he awoke.

"You could always have just used the bed," she'd pouted. "I wouldn't have minded. And you looked like you needed the sleep. Anyway, since you're up, could you go down to the hotel restaurant and bring me back some breakfast? I worked up quite an appetite last night."

Reaching the lobby, Ed yawned widely and rubbed at his eyes. Then he double-taked as Captain Hawkeye and First Lieutenant Maria Ross stood up to meet him. Both of them examined him minutely, and then adopted identical disapproving expressions. Ed was suddenly very aware of his rumpled clothes, loose hair and general tired demeanour.

*Oh shit.*

"Um, um..." He searched frantically for the words that would get him out of this.

"This isn't what it looks like!"

**

Ten minutes later, the phone next to Clara's bed rang.

"Hello?"

"Clara, it's Ed. Two of my, ah, colleagues are here. They want to meet you. Do you think you could come down and have breakfast with us?"

"But I'm tiiiiiiireeed..." Clara moaned. "Why don't you invite them up?"

"CLARA!!! They really, REALLY want to meet you."

"Oh very well, I'll be down in a minute."

**

Ed stared at his plate. "Couldn't you have put a bit more on before you came down?" He hissed at Clara.

She smiled at him and adjusted her mini-skirt. "I don't know what you mean."

**

After an exhaustive grilling on how they knew each other and where they'd met, Ross and Hawkeye allowed Clara to return to her room. Then they escorted Edward back to base and ushered him into Mustang's office. Both women gave their commander a meaningful glare, before saluting and leaving.

Ed sighed as the door closed behind them. "I thought I was gonna die!"

"You're telling me?" Roy demanded. "When Breda opened his big mouth last night about where you were I thought we were ALL finished!"

"Breda, huh..." Ed's eyes glittered.

"Oh trust me, he's regretting it now," Roy assured him. "Unfortunately, as you can see, Hawkeye and Ross immediately got on the case, which brings us to this."

"What IS this?" Ed asked nervously.

Roy cleared his throat. "Well, it appears that Hawkeye went through your file very thoroughly and discovered that none of your commanding officers had ever given you the official health and safety talk, which is mandatory for all military personnel."

There was a long silence.

Ed cracked first.

"Please, PLEASE tell me that this is not the talk that I think it is," he begged.

Roy grimaced in reply.

"Why don't we just PRETEND that we had it," Ed suggested desperately.

"Do you want to take the risk that they might quiz you on it?"

"They wouldn't do that to me."

"Right, just like they wouldn't institute a third-level background security check on your Clara."

"They DIDN'T!"

Roy sat back in his chair sulkily, "I have to admit I'm jealous. Hawkeye's never vetted MY dates this thoroughly!"

"I'm NINETEEN!" Ed protested. "I don't need to have this talk, and I can take care of myself!"

"Fine," Roy grinned at him toothily, "Go tell Hawkeye and Ross that."

"Uhhh..." Ed balked.

"I thought not." Roy sighed in resignation. "Well, we might as well get this over with. Pay attention Fullmetal, because I'm only going to say this once. Now, there comes a time in a man's development when... you aren't going to need the diagrams are you?"

"NO!"

**

Forty-five agonisingly long minutes later, Ed finally escaped. No one dared to meet his eyes as he walked through the outer office. Even Hawkeye diplomatically gave him some space as he plodded away, face beet-red from the base of his neck to the tips of his ears.

Outside, he put his hands over his face. *I have never, EVER, been so embarassed in my entire LIFE!*

He had to give whoever put "the talk" together credit. It was very comprehensive, ranging from the workings of the reproductive system to a full list of the risks involved in unprotected intercourse, and including suggested preventive measures as well as "alternate activities" for BOTH genders, with full descriptions. Apparently there were diagrams for those too, but Roy had thankfully left them in the folder.

The only consolation Edward had had was that Roy was almost as mortified at having to explain it as he was to hear it.

*Wonder who delivers it normally. I would have hated to be the person who gave that talk to Mustang. Or Hawkeye!* Ed flinched at the mere idea.

*That does it, if Clara doesn't tell me what her objective is when I get back, I'm turning her in! Nothing is worth THIS level of humiliation.*

"Fullmetal?"

Ed looked up to see Hawkeye looking at him sympathetically. "The Brigadier General needs to see you again."

Edward went white. *Don't tell me he FORGOT something! There wasn't anything LEFT to discuss! Oh no... they wouldn't really give me a quiz, would they?*

Slowly he trailed back in, dragging his feet despondently. *If he even TRIES to show me the diagrams...*

"Ah, Fullmetal," Roy looked up from the piece of paper he was perusing. "Thank you for responding so promptly."

Ed blinked in incomprehension for a minute, before realising that Roy was giving him the option to pretend the previous meeting had never happened.

"Uh, yeah, well... what is it?" He asked ungraciously.

Roy's mouth twitched. "I've just had an interesting delivery. I take it you haven’t seen this morning's paper?”

Ed blinked at the odd topic choice. “Noooo...” he said slowly, afraid of a trap.

“Well, it seems that your old acquaintance Psiren is in town...”

Ed flinched.

“And while she’s here, she’s decided to do some shopping," Roy continued, an evil glint in his eye. He threw the newspaper on his desk to Ed, who glanced at it warily.

Psiren Announces Target in Central City!

A message from the mysterious thief Psiren was received by all the papers early this morning:

‘Tonight I shall steal the Fullmetal Alchemist.’

Psiren is a renowned thief, normally based in Aquaroya, and considered to be of unearthly beauty. A talented Alchemist as well, her career first began in early...


Ed stopped and skipped back to the beginning, then skimmed the rest of the article.

“Steal the Fullmetal Alchemist’s what?” He demanded. “Steal my what?! This note is incomplete!”

Roy snickered. “She’s not going to steal your possessions,” he said finally. “She’s going to steal YOU, Fullmetal!”

“WHAT?!” Ed shrieked. *I can't believe she did this! This is the LAST STRAW!!*

“Are you saying I’m so small I can be put in someone’s pocket and carried away??!!!” He ranted, reverting back to his old habits.

“Apparently Psiren thinks so,” Roy grinned, his amusement with the world restored. “Naturally we must take this threat extremely seriously.”

Ed felt a sense of doom overtake him for the nth time that day. “We must NOT take this seriously at all!" He protested. "Psiren’s just playing around!” *I'm going to KILL her!*

“Oh no,” Roy said, shaking his head. “How would it look if we, the military, were unable to keep a common thief from stealing one of our most well-known Alchemists?”

"I am NOT something that can be stolen!"

"So I'm putting you, and your friend Clara, into protective custody for the night," Roy announced cheerfully.

"What? WHAAAAT???!!!"

"It's for your own good."

"It's for YOUR own amusement!" Ed shouted.

"That too."

“I REFUSE!” Ed howled. “I ABSOLUTELY, TOTALLY REFUSE!”

"But Clara has already agreed," Roy said happily. "And YOU don't get a choice. I hope you haven't unpacked yet, because you will both be guests of the military until tomorrow. Or my guests, as the case may be, since it's MY house you'll both be staying at!"

**

*I'm in hell,* Ed thought. *It's the only explanation.*

He reconsidered his situation. *Psiren says she's going to steal me, and her secret identity and I, who everyone thinks are sleeping together, are both staying at Mustang's tonight in "protective custody". I'm going to be stuck in a house with those two nutbars all night. Yes. There's no other conclusion. I'm in hell.*

*Maybe I can set them up together. They DESERVE each other.*

Ed's mood had been getting progressively darker as the day had worn on. As if the events of the morning hadn't been bad enough, Mustang had callously dumped him into the hands of Maria Ross and Lieutenant Colonel Armstrong "for protection" for the afternoon.

Armstrong had immediately rushed him into hiding in a secret location. As far as Ed could tell, the “secret” location consisted of an abandoned warehouse on the outskirts of town, with no books, very little food, and nothing to distract him except his guardians. Armstrong had spent the entire time telling stories about his family’s noble past, and Ross hadn't said a single word all day. Ed strongly suspected that she disapproved of his "relationship" with Clara, and was giving him time to really regret it before she said anything.

"Women," he muttered under his breath.

And now it was evening, and he had been escorted, and then locked IN to, Roy Mustang's heavily guarded house. Roy and Clara had then proceeded to flirt constantly with each other during dinner, occasionally taking breaks in which to tease HIM. Ed was certain that Mustang knew damn well that Clara and Psiren were the same person, and was merely exacting revenge for having to give Ed "the talk" earlier that day, as well as enjoying watching him squirm on general principles.

*And if THAT'S not enough, I still have to worry about whatever stunt CLARA has planned for the evening.* Ed debated the merits of bothering to get changed for bed. *Maybe I could just lock myself in a room somewhere. No, no... I won't give them the satisfaction. I can handle this. I can face Psiren... AND Mustang... and not lose any face or sleep or...

I think there was a closet on the ground floor that I could fit into. If I seal the door they'll never get to me.*

"Oh Edward..." Clara carolled cheerfully. "Aren't you coming to bed?"

Ed ground his teeth together. Roy, sadistic bastard that he was, had put both Clara and Ed into the guest bedroom. And it's lone bed.

"Clara-san," he said levelly. "Would you please STOP acting as though we are in a relaionship!"

Clara pouted briefly but ceased her aggressively sexy posing. Ed sighed in relief.

"Come to bed?" She asked him quietly.

Ed let out another heavy sigh and slowly walked over to the bed. "No funny stuff," he said warningly. "No kidnapping, no thieving, no nothing. I am NOT going to let you steal me."

Clara merely scooted over to give him some room and patted the empty space encouragingly.

*I'm going to regret this.*

Ed lay down gingerly on the indicated spot and waited, tensely. Clara slowly moved up until she was spooning against him, and put an arm over his body.

"There," she murmured. "That's not so bad, is it?"

Ed sighed. He seemed to be doing that a lot today. "I don't understand you."

"Of course not," Clara's voice was amused. "Where would the fun in that be?"

"Are you really going to try to steal me?"

"Mmmm..." Clara snuggled into him. "I said so, didn't I?"

"You know, theft is bad."

"Mmhmmm..."

"Are you falling asleep?" Ed asked hopefully.

Clara chuckled. "No." Releasing him she sat up in the bed and picked up a folder she'd earlier been flicking through.

"What are you reading?" Ed was happy to make conversation if that kept her too busy to steal him.

"Oh, just some papers I took off Mustang's desk when I was looking at the window locks after dinner," Clara said nonchalantly.

Ed twitched slightly at this evidence of potential theft, but sat up also, vaguely curious. *Maybe if I get something on him I can get out of this mess. Or at least get revenge later on.* "Can I see?"

Clara passed him a few pages at random. Ed glanced at the top one.

"Insert Tab A into Slot B..." he read, and then glanced at the picture below the text.

There was a long, ominous, silence. Ed felt very distant and light-headed. He flipped to another sheet of paper and studied it carefully. His eyes glazed slightly at the third sheet of paper, and for the fourth he blanched completely white, before turning it sideways and re-examining it.

"I quite liked that one," Clara remarked, laughter sparkling in her voice.

Ed took a slow, deep breath.

"Clara-san... get the hell away from me."

**

Ed stormed into the Roy's bedroom and slammed the door behind him. Roy, wearing only his uniform trousers and a white shirt, could only stare at the sudden invasion.

"I can't take it any more!" Ed yelled at Roy. "She's driving me CRAZY! I'm sleeping in here tonight, and you don't get a say in it because this is ALL YOUR FAULT!"

Roy arched an amused eyebrow at the angry young man. "Lover's quarrel?"

"SHUT UP! AND I'm taking the bed too! So there!" Ed stomped over to the bed, threw himself onto it, and closed his eyes.

Roy controlled his desire to laugh before attempting to evict the younger man. "Fullmetal, I'm sure if you discuss things..."

"Piss off!"

"Edward... this is MY bed!"

"Not any more it isn't!" Ed curled into an angry ball and proceeded to ignore Roy.

"Very well then," Roy swung himself onto the bed and made himself comfortable. "At least you don't take up much space."

Ed ignored the implied size insult and let out a fake snore.

The two men lay there for a few minutes without speaking.

"So... what did she do this time?" Roy asked, finally.

"Shut up."

"You know, I went back to my office a little while earlier, and I couldn't help but notice that there was a folder missing from my desk..."

"SHUT UP!"

Roy's mouth twitched. "Did you get a chance to examine diagram 8?"

"If you say ONE MORE WORD I swear I'll kill you."

Roy grinned at the ceiling and remained silent for a few minutes before casually rolling over to face Ed's back. Gently he stroked a hand down the younger man's side and purred seductively as he reached Ed's hip.

"How about diagram 14?"

There was a long silence and then a strangled shriek.

**

In the morning, Mustang opened his door, fully dressed, and grinned at his team.

"Mission accomplished," he announced proudly. Havoc and Breda congratulated each other while Fury sighed in relief and Hawkeye allowed a small smile to cross her face. Mustang let them enjoy it for a few minutes before raising a hand for silence. "Havoc, you can go tell the papers that the Fullmetal Alchemist is still very much unstolen."

"That's a relief," Breda said, peering behind him. "So, uh, where is he?"

"And where's Clara-san?" Havoc asked, his eyebrows rising. "Having a lie-in are they?"

Hawkeye glared at him.

Roy cleared his throat, a slight blush coming to his cheeks. "Noooo... you see, it turns out that Clara-san in fact WAS Psiren. She left sometime during the night, after being unsuccessful in her mission."

There was a storm of questions.

"WHAAAT?? She was PSIREN??!!" Breda shouted. "No WONDER she was into him..."

"How long have you known?" Havoc yelled.

"And WHERE is Edward-kun?" Hawkeye demanded.

"Ah yes," Roy had the decency to look shamefaced. "About Fullmetal. Apparently Miss Psiren and I teased him a little bit too much last night, and, well... he's locked himself in the downstairs bathroom, and is refusing to come out. Hawkeye, perhaps if you and Maria Ross could see your way clear to convincing him to leave sometime today?"

Hawkeye and Ross nailed him with twin disapproving glares, and Roy sidled off to one side. "If you need me, I'll be in my office!" He called as he slipped away.

Later that day, when Ross and Hawkeye had finally convinced Edward to come out of the bathroom and into the office to file his reports, a note arrived for the Brigadier General.

"It's from the local newspaper," Roy said in amusement. "They want to know if we have a comment in response to Psiren's letter." He held up an enclosed piece of paper.

"I send my best wishes and love to the military staff of Central City, and in particular Edward Elric and Roy Mustang, who successfully resisted my attempts at theft last night. I wish to admit my total defeat to the hands of the Flame Alchemist."

"That's nice of her," Fury said cheerfully. "How polite!"

Havoc frowned at the paper in thought. "Uh, shouldn't that be, 'at the hands of' the Flame Alchemist, instead of 'to the hands of'?" He questioned.

Ed blanched and looked over at Roy, who winked at him.

"Diagram 8," he said loftily, and sauntered back into his office.

End.



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