Disclaimer: None of them are mine.
Except one. And I don't want him.
kind of imagine this being set after the brothers have been working for
Roy for about two or three years (he’s ranked at Colonel), and it’s set
rather nebulously in the anime version of the story. Mostly of the
action is being seen from Roy's POV, which is why Ed is usually
referred to as Fullmetal. And yes, Roy fluctuates from being Colonel
Roy Mustang to being addressed as Mustang-taisa. I like it that way. It
Colonel Roy Mustang raised his
eyebrow at the man bristling with indignation in his office.
let me see if I have this correctly," he said calmly. "You are here
from the Academy of Alchemy to demand an accounting from Edward Elric,
THE Edward Elric, the Fullmetal Alchemist, regarding his research."
"That is quite correct," the old
man, who had identified himself as Matthew Gilwarden, said stiffly.
steepled his fingers. "Might I remind you that as a State Licensed
Alchemist under the employ of the military, Elric-san has no obligation
whatsoever to hand over the results of ANY projects he might be
developing to you. In fact, I believe it is treasonous for him to do so
without the permission of his commanding officer."
is an Alchemist in the development stages of a Alchemic project,"
Gilwarden argued. "He is using the resources of the National Academy to
advance his research, and yet we have received no reports on its
development. Nor have we received any updates from the military, not
even a comment of top-secret. No matter WHO he is, an Alchemist must
answer to someone!"
"He does," Roy pointed out, "He
answers to me. I trust you are not going to call MY credentials into
backtracked, "Colonel, despite the reputations that both you and Elric
hold, you must still answer to a higher authority than your own. We
cannot blindly trust in the good hearts of men, who are weak and can
easily succumb to temptation."
"Are we still talking about
Edward Elric?" Roy asked with a slight smile. "You're certain you're
not confusing him with someone else?"
Gilwarden glared and Roy
suppressed a sigh. This interview had been going on for over an hour
now and no progress had been made on either side. Gilwarden simply
would not be dissuaded. He seemed convinced that Fullmetal was either
developing something immoral or illegal, or scamming the Academy.
Mentally Roy ran through his list of likely suspects for inflicting
this little inquisition on them. Was it one of his enemies? Or one of
Fullmetal's? Goodness knew they both had plenty of them.
problem, Roy acknowledged, was that what Fullmetal was working on, an
attempt to successfully achieve human transmutation, actually WAS
considered immoral. Certainly his original disastrous attempt to bring
back the dead had been. And he'd paid for it in blood and bone, as had
his little brother. Roy knew that both boys admitted the fault as their
own, and were willing to accept the results as a rightful punishment
for their arrogance. However, neither of them was willing to let it go
at that, and there was no way that anyone could dissuade them from
seeking a cure for their problem. Nor did he see why they SHOULD be
dissuaded, if only for Alphonse's sake.
The problem of course
was that noone else could KNOW about it. And certainly not THIS
stuck-up idiot with a chip on his shoulder.
Roy stared at him
over his steepled fingers and considered the situation. If only the
Elric's were off on a mission right now, then he could have put the man
off for a month and come up a cover story for them. Unfortunately, they
were right here on base, and had been for weeks, as almost everyone
knew. Which meant that this was definitely an attempt to undermine or
incriminate either himself or Fullmetal (or both). SOMEONE had been
having ideas and making suggestions, and when Roy found out who they
were, they were going to regret it. Deeply.
However, he first had to defuse
THIS little time bomb.
Gilwarden said wearily. "May I reiterate my original statement. I am
here to speak with and, if necessary, question Edward Elric regarding
his current line of research. You have no justifiable reason to refuse
me, if you had you would have used it already. I demand that you cease
these attempts to frustrate me, and through me, the National Academy,
and take me to see Elric immediately."
Roy hated it when other people were
right. "Very well then," he said, rising to his feet. "If you'll follow
Wandering through the corridors Roy
pondered his options. He could always claim not to be able to FIND
"WHO ARE YOU CALLING AN
such a small boy he had a very LARGE pair of lungs, Roy thought
angrily. Heading in the direction of the yelling, Roy turned a corner
to see Alphonse holding his brother back while one of the women from
the secretary pool escaped off down the corridor.
Fullmetal, there you are," Roy said calmly, as Al released his brother
and they both turned to face him. "This is Matthew Gilwarden, from the
Academy of Alchemists."
Alphonse bowed formally to the man.
"It's nice to meet you."
Fullmetal cast a disinterested look
at Gilwarden, "Oh yeah, and what do YOU want?"
gritted his teeth and wished that just once the annoying brat would TRY
to be helpful and polite. Gilwarden was ALREADY prejudiced against him.
He didn't need to be provoked any further! Roy could almost FEEL the
rage pouring off the man.
"Edward Elric, I am a
of the Academy of Alchemists," Gilwarden said coldly. "This is a
preliminary investigation into your research, to discover whether you
are worthy to continue to hold an Alchemist's licence."
Fullmetal rolled his eyes. "Since
when has the Academy cared about quality control?" He asked snidely.
has just returned from a mission involving an Alchemist who was
transmuting animals into horrific monsters to terrify a local village,"
Roy said quickly, hoping to undo some of the damage. "I believe he's
still feeling a little cynical about the event. Not unusual, especially
in such YOUNG boy."
He noted Fullmetal stiffen as his
barb hit home, and returned the unfriendly glare with one of his own.
Academy has very high standards," Gilwarden was suffused with fury.
"No-one is above the law Elric-san. I DEMAND that you show me the
results of your work."
Roy prepared to begin soothing the
ruffled feelings as soon as Fullmetal denied having developed anything
at all. *Mistakes happen, miscommunications, naturally nothing in
development, busy, missions, training, the laziness of youth... is the
boy having sex yet? An implied affair might work, and it would serve
him right for his behaviour...*
"Oh all RIGHT," Fullmetal said
irritably. "If you're going to be like THAT about it."
managed not to choke and sent Fullmetal a fulminating look, which the
boy missed entirely as he was turning away and heading off down the
corridor. Alphonse and Gilwarden followed quickly on his heels and Roy
was forced to catch up.
What was this? he wondered. *Don't
tell me he actually intends to SHOW Gilwarden what he's working on?
He's not THAT crazy.*
they reached a small lab, which Roy remembered had been unused for some
months now. Or at least, that was what he had THOUGHT. Fullmetal
produced a key for the door and Roy made a mental note to discuss
things like "permission" and "keeping your superiors informed" with the
boy the next chance he got.
"I still don't see why I have to
show you this," Fullmetal complained, reluctantly unlocking the door to
worry about it nii-san," Alphonse chimed in. "Let's just show
Gilwarden-san what we're working on, and then everybody can go back to
what they were doing."
Roy began to seriously worry at
this point. They couldn't BOTH be suggesting...?
door opened and the group tromped in to the lab. Roy couldn't help it,
his jaw dropped open. Fortunately Fullmetal was too busy glaring at
Gilwarden, who was completely flabberghasted, to notice his commanding
officer's amazement. Roy quickly got a hold of himself, just in time to
notice Alphonse looking away. It was astonishing how a suit of armour
could radiate suppressed amusement like that.
The laboratory was
filled with plants in various stages of bloom. Most of them were
vegetables, but there were a few flowers as well. Roses,
chrysanthemums, daffodils, Roy noted, trying to comprehend what he was
seeing. A nearby desk was covered with sheets of paper and books, and a
large chart was affixed to the far wall. It appeared to be a
measurement of something, but from this distance Roy couldn't tell what
of. Whatever it was, it appeared to be climbing steadily.
"Oh DAMN!" Fullmetal cursed.
Roy and Gilwarden turned to where Fullmetal was angrily watching a
tomato plant wither and turn to dust. Fullmetal reached over behind the
plant and yanked out a time measure, "Al! Clock this one in at four
hours and seventeen minutes."
Alphonse obediently picked up a
pencil and a clipboard, noted the time on it, and then moved over to
the chart and neatly made a mark on it. "That's twenty-two minutes
longer than last time nii-san."
Fullmetal did not seem pleased by
this and absently kicked the floor, "I was hoping it would make it to
"The vines do seem harder to
energise," Alphonse said placatingly. "Perhaps if we narrowed it to
root vegetables again."
"What's the point in that?"
Fullmetal yelled. "Subsistence level food..."
me," Roy interupted the burgeoning argument. "Perhaps you would like to
present your experiment more fully to Mr Gilwarden here." *And fill me
in while you're at it.*
Fullmetal scowled. "What does it
like?" he demanded. "We're trying to transmute weeds into vegetable
plants in a productive and fully-fertile state."
Roy and Gilwarden choked.
but that's IMPOSSIBLE!" Gilwarden protested. "Noone's EVER managed to
transmute non-related flora into productive food-bearing plants! And
when ordinary ones are transmuted they're NEVER fertile! Something in
the transmutation process prevents it."
"We KNOW that," Fullmetal said
scathingly. "That's why we're trying to FIX it!"
"What has been your best result so
far?" Roy demanded.
see..." Alphonse consulted the chart. "So far the longest lasting
experiment were the carrots we did three months ago. They stabilised
fully-grown after seven hours, and achieved the first stages of
fertility at approximately eleven hours. In hour twelve they died after
seeding. Fortunately we were able to collect some of the seeds, but
we're still running tests on them." The armoured helm turned to regard
Roy slightly reproachfully. "In our spare time that is."
wasn't sure he could take many more shocks like this. They weren't
spending all their time trying to find the Philosopher's Stone or a
cure? They had OTHER Alchemical projects?! SUCCESSFUL projects??!! That
they had managed to keep HIDDEN FROM HIM??!!!
"What? It's not a
big deal," Fullmetal seemed to be torn between pride and embarassment.
"It's just something to keep busy with when we're not working on... a
mission. It's... a hobby. You know, for fun."
spluttering and looked like he was about to have a heart attack. Roy
thought he might follow him if Fullmetal continued to act like their
experiments weren't a massive breakthrough in the science of Alchemy.
Both men knew, and the Elric's probably did too, that the previous best
time for stabilising a transmuted food-producing plant was one hour and
fifty-seven minutes. And NOONE had ever managed to make them fertile.
The Elric Brothers hadn't just broken the record... they'd shattered it
into little pieces, stomped all over it, and then headed off into the
sunset, all without telling anyone.
"Why... why didn't you SAY anything
about this?" Gilwarden finally managed to ask.
stared at him as though he was stupid. "Because it's not finished yet."
He explained slowly and carefully. "What good's a vegetable plant that
only lasts a couple of hours? We wanted to wait until we actually had
something USEFUL to report."
Roy tried to decide whether it
would be easier to just collapse right now, or strangle Fullmetal
before he said anything else.
"Did YOU know about this?"
Gilwarden turned on Roy. "You ARE his commanding officer, after all!"
to face his own words coming back to haunt him, Roy lied like a
champion. "Naturally I was aware of Fullmetal's experiments," he said
casually. "But I haven't had time to read his latest reports on their
"We haven't WRITTEN any... OW!"
nii-san," Alphonse did not sound particularly apologetic. "We're a
little bit behind on our reports Gilwarden-san, Mustang-taisa. We can
show you our working notes if you like."
Fullmetal growled and
rubbed his head where Al's elbow had smacked into him. "Al's the one
you want to talk to if you're interested in reports," he said. "He does
most of the practical stuff while I'm at the library."
both work on the theory and the experiments, nii-san," Al rejected the
implication that the bulk of the credit for this project was due to
him. "And you came up with the original idea. This is something we BOTH
The two brothers shared a fond
gone back to gibbering, "Not filed any reports lately? Priceless
work... irreplaceble... children... spare time... HOBBY!!!"
Fullmetal shot the man a puzzled
look. Alphonse radiated innocence. Roy resisted the urge to bang their
Mustang!" Gilwarden snapped to his full height, which while
unimpressive was still taller than Edward. "I must INSIST that this
project be turned over to the Academy, to be assigned to a research
team under someone who can devote their full efforts towards developing
these breakthroughs into a useful commodity."
Fullmetal, predictably, exploded.
listened with half an ear to their argument and swiftly debated the key
points with himself as they came up. On the one hand, it would spike
the guns of whoever was behind this little plot quite nicely, it would
also mean the National Academy would owe him a favour, while enhancing
Fullmetal's (and by extension his own) reputation.
On the other
hand, Fullmetal would resent having his "toy" taken away from him, and
would more than likely sulk or plot revenge, which was acceptable. Also
Roy would owe HIM a favour, which was not. Alphonse also might resent
having his project taken away, which Roy was beginning to see as a much
bigger problem (and HOW had he underestimated the younger brother all
this time? Distracted by Fullmetal no doubt). Furthermore, what would
they do "in their spare time" if THIS project was taken away from them.
He shuddered to think. Also, it WAS their project, which they had
clearly developed amazingly in only a short while.
it more important to ensure that this work WAS developed further,
regardless of who did it? The benefits to humankind would be enormous,
and neither boy had the time to dedicate to it the way it needed. It
needed funding, assistants, space, more experimentation and focused
attention. He couldn't spare the brothers from their work, they were
too good a pair of troubleshooters to be allowed to spend all their
time researching. SOMEONE had to take this project to the next level.
The boys were young, they'd have time for research and development
LATER in their lives.
Roy spotted Alphonse staring at
told himself that it was impossible for a six foot tall suit of armour
to give him puppy dog eyes.
It was giving him puppy dog eyes.
you would both be quiet a moment please," he suggested in a moderate
tone. Gilwarden and Fullmetal both shut up and glared at him, daring
him to divert their anger.
"Fullmetal, you know well enough
you have... other commitments which take up a great deal of your time,"
Roy pointed out, not missing the guilty look Fullmetal shot at his
little brother. "And while Alphonse-kun is an excellent Alchemist, he
too is often busy. Neither of you has the leisure to truly dedicate
yourselves to this project in the way it deserves, no matter how much
you may enjoy working on it."
"However," he added as Gilwarden
swelled up like a toad. "Considering the astonishing strides they have
already made in this area, it would likewise be foolish for
Gilwarden-san to remove it entirely from the control of the people who
formulated the theories AND made them work."
"Therefore I have a compromise to
was now watching and listening. Roy took a deep breath. "Full... Edward
and Alphonse will hand their research notes and experiments over to the
National Academy, who will assign a research team to further develop
their work... UNDER the supervision of both Elric brothers. A project
manager will be appointed to continue the work in their absence, but
BOTH Fullmetal AND the Academy must approve them. The Elric's are to be
provided with full access to any and all project notes, and likewise
any further ideas THEY come up with are to be given over to the
project. A fair sharing of information. How does that sound?"
and Fullmetal both looked as though they were both about to start
yelling again, but then paused, thoughtful expressions crossing their
faces. Roy mentally crossed his fingers as indecision fluttered over
their faces. For a long moment, noone said anything. Roy cast a quick
glance at Alphonse.
"It's alright with me as long as
nii-san agrees!" He chimed in on cue.
"You're sure?" Fullmetal asked,
almost in relief. "I don't want you to feel like it's being taken away
Alphonse assured his brother. "Mustang-taisa is right, we don't have
the time to spend on this, and the work is too important to wait for us
to be free nii-san."
"Okay then, I agree," Fullmetal
said, glancing at Gilwarden, who huffed indignantly but eventually
reluctantly agreed also.
Roy said. "I will make the arrangements to have the materials sent over
to the Academy as soon as possible. Fullmetal and I can discuss the
arrangements this evening..." he sent a meaningful glare at the boy.
"In the meantime, perhaps Alphonse-kun would like to show you out."
As Alphonse led the man away, Roy
turned to Ed, a nasty glint in his eye.
"Now, about all this 'spare time'
of yours, Fullmetal..."
Or, What The Hell Was Jaelle
anyone with a science degree will be able to tell, I am not a
scientist. Hell, I barely qualify as a LAYMAN. With that in mind, I'd
originally just intended to gloss over the details of the experiment
the brothers were doing and just let everyone else say how brilliant
they are. Then Edward "Bigmouth" Elric insisted on talking about his
work. So I was forced to make something up.
I based the concept
of their experiment on both the real-world science of genetical
modification, and the FMA-world alchemical experiments into chimeras. I
figured that with all of their interest in life-transmutation it was
logical that they would have, at one point or another, stumbled into
the plant section of life sciences. Then it was simply a matter of
finding something which would benefit the "common man", and be in
keeping with the concept of "an alchemist works for the benefit of
others". The real-world equivalent of trying to genetically engineer
food with higher levels of protein, calcium and vitamins (such as
"golden rice") appealed to me as an idea.
So I based the idea
for their experiment on the "golden rice", the fact that a great deal
of genetically-modified agricultural developments are now intentionally
_designed_ to be infertile (thus forcing farmers to buy new seed every
year, instead of allowing some plants to go to seed, collecting it and
replanting it themselves), and the principle of "give a man a fish, you
feed him for a day. Teach him to fish and you feed him for life".
Hopefully that all came through okay. If not, and if in fact you feel
I'm talking through my hat, well, that's my fault and I'm sorry.
The rest of the idea for this fic
came from Branch's fantastic
After Arc “Ever”,
in which she makes comments about Edward's talent as an Alchemist and
his joy in researching, and also has him do check-ups on other
Alchemists with Roy. I picked that up and ran with it, and took along
the concept that Ed was a perfectionist (dunno where I got that one
from, possibly just my own opinion) who wouldn't bother mentioning
"unimportant, private" stuff to other people until it was finished, and
my belief that Al needs something to do with all his spare time dammit
(seen in my previous fic - as well as the belief, shared with many
fans, that he's a much sneakier guy than anyone suspects) and that Roy
needs a good surprise now and again. It also grew out of my own
experience as a researcher that, no matter how hard you focus on your
goal, along the way you WILL find interesting little tangents to follow
up on in your spare time, as a break from the grinding work of the main
project. And sometimes these can wind up being much more interesting,
or fun, than the original job. :-)
Oh, and just for the
record, although I'm pro Ed/Roy normally, it just wasn't right for this
fic. I thought about dropping a hint, but then Roy started mentally
referring to them both as "boys" and then it all went out the window
Go BACK to the Fullmetal Alchemist Fanfiction