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The apple juice sat next to her plate, a clear, cool glass of amber. Elicia Hughes stared at it thoughtfully, watching the perspiration roll down the side of the glass, knowing, when she picked it up, there would be a perfect ring underneath where the glass had sat. Round, like a transmutation circle. Round, like the world.
Picking up her pad, she jotted a few notes, a reminder of things she needed to do, of tasks needing accomplished. She blotted her mouth with her napkin, hearing a voice from her childhood, a soft rushing sound, as people cleared the way. Waiting until the perfect time, she rose from her seat, smiling and offering a hand to the blond man. "Ed. I'm glad you could meet me."
Edward Elric, onetime State Alchemist, known as 'Fullmetal', gazed at her hand for a split second before shaking it. Elicia wasn't surprised at the firm grip but the callouses seemed wrong for a scholar. Ed had never been very conventional, as far as her mother had told her. "Elicia. It's been…" he grinned a bit nervously, "too long."
She gestured him into a seat as she sat back into her chair. "I hope you don't mind meeting me for breakfast."
Waving off any concerns, Ed gave their waiter an order of coffee before turning his attention to Elicia. "Winry said you needed to talk to me."
Elicia nodded. Ed getting right to it, something that didn't surprise her. What did was how attractive he was. The photographs her mother had didn't do him justice. Still, his looks were neither here nor there, considering what she wanted to talk to him about. "There have always been a lot of stories circulating about you and your brother." At the lazy frown directed her way, Elicia went on. "Some of them are pretty fantastic. Some of them are simply amazing." Flattery, she was quick to realize, was getting her a flat stare. "What I'd like to do is write a biography, on you."
There was a pause as Ed studied her. The corners of his mouth twitched before he broke out into uproarious laughter. Elicia glanced around, noticing the other patrons staring. Ed thumped his palm on the table a few times, making the cutlery rattle. "Me? You want…Elicia." Mirth made laughlines crinkle at the corners of his eyes. "Why?"
"But…you don't want people to know everything you did?"
"Why should I?" The humor was still there, though something else, as well – a glint of steel. "I'm just a man, Elicia. Not very different than any other man." She opened her mouth to protest but he went on before she could get out a word. "If you want to write about someone…write about the current emperor of Xing. I can get you an introduction. Or that bas – I mean, Fuhrer Mustang. No one wants to read about me."
"People do. There are so many stories about you, and Al. Wouldn't you want people to take hope in what you did?"
He smiled at her earnest question but shook his head. "Nah. I didn't do any of what I did to wind up in the history books." A memory surfaced from the sudden glint in his eyes. "Except feed someone a boot." Before Elicia could ask, he went on. "There are other, better people to write about, Elicia. Really. I was just a kid who made a mistake and did what he could to fix it."
There was such a finality in his comment that Elicia knew she couldn't coax him into the story. That didn't mean they couldn't enjoy their breakfast together. As she drank her juice and Ed his coffee, he told her stories about Simon and Becca; about Al and his wife. About Winry's new automail discovery. Ed sounded like a normal person. He was charming and Elicia thought again he was a very attractive man. And when the bill came, and he finally stopped arguing with her over who was paying it, and escorted her to the door, Elicia stopped him before he could make his escape, deciding it really didn't hurt to ask.
"So. You really could get me an interview with the Emperor of Xing?"
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