An icy breeze blew through the empty streets, gently ruffling the onyx hair of the Flame Alchemist. The man stayed perfectly still, his soft breathing the only sound emanating from his motionless form. His fingers were at the ready, prepared to snap at any moment and deliver his signature flames.
Crouched down at the entrance to an alleyway, he waited, one black booted foot positioned underneath him and making an impression in one of the many small composites of un-melted snow around the edges of the surrounding buildings. His other foot was upright before him with his arm draped across the knee. He readjusted his fingers, still ready to snap. His breaths formed puffs of steam that floated up to engulf his face before quickly dissipating.
He hoped it would warm up soon.
His muscles were threatening to cramp. Roy really hoped it would warm up soon; it had been far too cold recently for his liking. Spring was already here and yet, they were still experiencing the occasional dusting of snow.
At the moment, he—along with several other officers—happened to be in the middle of hunting a rogue alchemist. The Sleeping Alchemist, to be exact. And, although Roy's squadron had made numerous cracks on the docility of the title, they had begun to despise the elusive man. They had all been out in this chilly weather for hours, waiting.
Waiting and watching for their prey to inevitably stumble into their trap.
"Stop, thief!" a woman's voice called. Mustang's ears pricked at the sudden demand.
He looked up to see a short form dashing away from a bakery. The figure was of a child cloaked in a long, red coat, a small paper bag visible under their arm. The kid glanced back at the shopkeeper bellowing from outside her store. Before vanishing, however, Roy caught a glimpse of the kid's face. Black eyes locked with golden ones peeking out from underneath the red hood. The golden pair swept over the officer's hunched form, taking him in.
Then the child disappeared.
Had he not been preoccupied with his current mission, Roy might have tried to aid the shopkeeper. But as it was, he had other matters to attend to. Namely, to apprehend the Sleeping Alchemist.
He sat there for a while longer, trying to keep himself from becoming lost in thought.
If only it weren't so blasted cold…
Mustang jumped and swore, smacking his head into the stone wall beside him. He rubbed at it and winced as he turned to face Riza Hawkeye, who stood at attention.
"Yes?" he responded with irritation.
"We've captured the Sleeping Alchemist, sir. You are relieved of your post."
"Thank you, Hawkeye," Roy said, stiffly rising from his crouch. When the blonde remained rigid, the older man sighed. "At ease, Lieutenant." The woman obediently relaxed. "Well, that's one fewer criminal out on the streets," Roy surmised.
Hawkeye smiled a little. She followed as he began walking.
"Yo, Roy!" a familiar voice called. Mustang looked up to see Hughes striding toward him, waving one hand in the air in greeting, a grin plastered on his face. "You'll never guess who we just bagged!"
Mustang smirked. "Let me guess… The Sleeping Alchemist?"
Hughes feigned being impressed. "You're just too sharp for me, aren't you?" He laughed heartily. "Sure was hard to catch, but he's living up to his name now, what with that concussion Hawkeye gave him." He winked at the woman.
Riza bit back a chuckle at the men's friendly banter. It was to be expected after hours of tension. "Colonel," she began, "I was wondering–" but she was cut off as a figure abruptly bumbled into her superior.
"Oof! What the–? Whoa, whoa, there. Careful. What's the big rush?" Roy addressed the boy he had just grabbed by the shoulders. The boy stared up at the black haired man he had just knocked into with large eyes, which were a grayish mix of green and gold. The boy appeared to be around twelve or thirteen years old with hair the color of dark goldenrod. He wore a black hooded jacket.
"Oh, um…" The child swallowed, seeming a little nervous. "I was just…um wondering if you could tell me how to get to the bakery?"
"Right over there," Riza instructed helpfully, turning and pointing toward the building they had just passed. "Sir!" she exclaimed suddenly. She lunged behind her superior in a vain attempt to nab the second boy she had just noticed—the boy who was now stealing Mustang's silver pocket watch!
Roy spun around, catching a glimpse of golden-blond hair before the second boy dashed around him. Two children's figures—one red and one black—raced away from the pair of military officers.
"Pickpockets!" Roy snarled, enraged, and instantly took off after the kids, Hawkeye quick to follow. They wouldn't get away with this: trying to steal a State Alchemist's pocket watch. "Hughes!" he bellowed to the man who was still a fair distance away and also in the children's path, "Catch them; they're thieves!"
They definitely wouldn't get away with this.
Roy wouldn't let them.