Breakfast at home was anything but boring. His aunt was a surprisingly good cook – less good at cleaning, but that’s what delegating was for. Roy learned that fast. Often his ‘sisters’ lived in the apartment complex next to her bar. It had been a high rise hotel in its earliest life, with plenty of room. The older, more established girls lived on their own, but the younger ones, just learning the intelligence gathering game, often stayed with Aunt Chris.
Aunt Chris held to the idiom that the way to man’s deepest secrets was through his stomach first, his pants second, if at all. That meant breakfast and all other meals were bustling affairs and full of experimentation. As an alchemist, Roy approved of that, except when he had to eat some experiments gone horribly wrong. Since historically, alchemy started in the kitchen, Aunt Chris thought he wasn’t exempt from cooking duties. He had gotten good at it, if he said so himself.
Those memories stood in stark contrast with his breakfasts with his new Master. They were little more than strong coffee that could strip paint in a pitch and toast with a little smear of butter or the chicken fat from the night before. Roy opted bare toast over nasty chicken fat. When he finally asked if maybe he could be allowed to cook breakfast for them, Master Hawkeye said breakfast was more than adequate as it was. His daughter looked oddly embarrassed by this, but the tone of his master’s voice didn’t invite further questioning.
After a particularly good week where Roy felt very proud of his advancement – as was Master Hawkeye, given the heaping praise – Roy decided he’d make that breakfast anyhow as a surprise and a thank you. It was then he understood. He knew the house was old and pretty much held together by transmutations whenever the roof decided to spring a new leak. Roy had thought that was all due to age, but when he got into the kitchen, he understood. There was next to no food. The coffee was so strong because it was mostly a chicory blend, far cheaper than uncut coffee. Bread was a pretty cheap staple, too. Eggs would be more dear and bacon or sausages more so.
Master Hawkeye probably didn’t particularly like toast, but it was frugal. How could a man so talented not be making money with his alchemy? Roy didn’t dare ask. He wondered if he had room in his schedule for a part-time job. His aunt hadn’t raised a slacker. He didn’t mind helping out, but he wasn’t sure his master would approve. In fact, knowing how proud the man was, he probably wouldn’t. Roy knew he might have to make the job more about him than about adding a little money into the communal plot. He’d have to ask his aunt for advice on that account. He’d never really had to worry about money before. What if it ran out before he learned all that he could? Nervous now, Roy knew he couldn’t have eaten breakfast if he tried. There had to be a solution and he would find it somehow.