Chapter 1: Raven-haired Girl
It was mid afternoon, the sun shining down on the backs of Edward and Alphonse, Ed wary from the last mission, exhausted and irritable with their lack of success.
``Ugh, I hate having no luck with the philosophers stone'', growled Ed as he scratches his head in frustration, kicking a stone down the street in anger.
``Well, we did know this was gonna be a hard road, right brother?'', Alphonse tried to comfort his older brother as he walked beside him, carrying his suitcase over his shoulder.
``Yeah, but it would be nice if our leads were true'', Ed grumbled under his breath, walking passed a girl he didn't notice at first. She was huddled against the wall, wearing what seemed to be a ragged dress that was barely hanging onto her shoulders and a cloak that hid her form well from those not paying attention. Unfortunately for her, Alphonse was paying close attention for Ed.
``Hey! Are you ok?'', Alphonse inquired with great worry, kneeling beside the girl quickly, startling the girl from him taking notice to her.
``Al, whats wrong?'' Ed had stopped walking and looked back at him from over his shoulder. He wandered over to him and peered down at the girl, whom shied away from his gaze.
``I-I.....'', she stuttered as she backed up against the wall, quickly scanning around to find an exit, trying to keep her arm under the cloak and out of sight, but Ed started becoming more alert and caught her arm that she tried to hide from sight.
``Hey, let me take a look at that'', he murmured as he gently guided her arm out from under her cloak only to discover that it was automail, like his but it was a very rough design, as it were rushed and not given lots of care or thought on the users needs. He notices that she attempted to hide the fact it was automail by clumsily wrapping it with bandages, but pieces of metal were shining through.
``Do you have any family?'', Alphonse asked with worry laced in every word and every action he made as he gently sets the case down to help when he can.
The girl looked up at them with wide eye, the hood of the cloak falling off her head, they now seeing her long black hair that was tangle and matted to her head, grease and dirt mixed into her locks of hair, here facial structure very familiar to their eyes, but they can't pin the similarities. But Edward suddenly grows slightly irritable with he looks as he grows impatient with he silence and that she struggles against him.
``P-please, don't. They'll find me.......I'm here to find my brother and I can't get caught'', she whimpered softly, trying to pull her arm away from him, swallowing hard in heavy fear.
``Who will find you?'', Edward pressed as he pulls her closer, keeping a firm grip on her arm, refusing to let go so easily.
``The ones' who took me.....'', she whispered softly in a frightened manor as she continues to fight against Ed, becoming terrified of his fierceness.
``Whats your name? We could help you'', Alphonse reassured as he takes her free hand and tries to calm her down, trying to keep her from running. But his efforts were in vain as a man in a dark suit comes around the corner, looking around the yard in a mild panic and spots the girl between Ed and Al. He turns and hollers to two more men who seemed to be searching as well, ``She's over here men!!''
Ed looks over at the shouting men and then glances back at the trembling girl in front of him and sees her look of horror of being found. He sighs, grimacing slightly as he stand, releasing her from his grip. ``Alphonse, you know what to do.....''
``Right! Be careful brother'', Alphonse nodded to his brother before turning to the girl and picking her up quickly, running off with him in his arms. She gasps in surprise and pain, trying to hang on as best as she can.
``Wh-what're you doing?!'', she looks up at him in shock, completely taken aback.
``Taking you somewhere safe!'' He ran through the streets as fast as he could, being careful not to toss you around, heading straight to Central Command, taking inventory of her injuries, not realizing how truly hurt she was with the cloak hiding her body. He races as fast as he could while making sure he's not followed.
Edward stands before the three men that were searching for the girl, intending to stop their pursuit at all costs.
``Out of the way, half pint! That girl is ours!'' the leader growled at him, moving to pass him quickly to pursue Alphonse and the girl. Ed, his anger boiling over the breaking point, grabs the man's arm, a few anger mark littering his face as he looks up at him.
``Half pint, huh?'', he chuckles darkly and claps his hands, transmuting some of the earth to form a hand, launching the man to the far side of town before turning to his companions and does some sparing practice with them, not holding back at all. After a bit, Ed started to tie up one of them to a post near a police station and turned to find the other was starting to crawl away from him, trying to sneak away. Ed catches him by the shoulder and gives him an evil smile.
``Where do you think you're going? The fun's just begun~'', he gives him a dark grin as he ties him up as well and starts to drag him to the command center. The man thrashed and squirmed, trying to get free while Ed starts to think out loud. ``I have a lot of questions for you my friend, you best be cooperative~''
The man pales and looks up at him weakly in fear. ``I can't tell y-you anything.....''
``Well them I'm sure the government won't have a problem with sentencing you to a good 30 years for kidnapping'', Ed laugh manically as he continues to drag him to command. ``Too bad I can't lower the sentence. It's in your best interest to be honest you know.''
The man looks at him weakly and sighs heavily, caving into him and starts to murmur, ``.....we took her when she was young because she had high potential to being a great alchemist......and also having good body chemistry to becoming an experiment to see if becoming a chimera is possible.''
Ed frowns deeply and gets right into his face, whispering with malice dripping from his tongue, ``Last question, who's family did you take her from?''
The man groans and looks down as he whispers weakly, ``Mustang....the Mustang family.....''
At the mention of the name of his superior, his eyes narrowed as he whispers, ``Sorry, I lied. I've got one more question.'' He slowly and suddenly lifts the man up into the air and looks at him dead in the eyes. ``Did you do anything to her? The man in front of me, did you do ANYTHING to her?''
``N-not me.... she was taken to a lab.... I think they turned her into some kind of chimera she?s the only one who stayed human and has stayed human..... But that's all I know!'' the man swallows thickly at Ed's fierceness. Ed nods and drops him to the ground, smoothly untying him.
``You're free to go on the condition I never see your face again and you go on to an honest living'', he growls softly then suddenly grabs him by the collar and gives him a deadly glare.
``Now beat it'', he shoves the man into the dirt as he nods vigorously and turns, scrambling off out of the city. Ed sighs at all the new information and rubs his hand through his hair. He grabs his suitcase and starts for Central Command, figuring that's where Al went.
Chapter 2: Reunion
Alphonse ran right up to the steps of Central Command, not hesitating a bit as he ran straight for the infirmary, keeping the girl close to him. She whimpered softly at the rough motion, her eyes slowly fluttering close as she gets close to fainting from the pain. Al moved quickly, passing the Colonel as he ran.
``Alphonse? What're you doing? You know its dangerous to run the halls'', he gave him a coy smile but frowns slightly when he doesn't stop his pace.
``No time! Infirmary! I'll explain in a minute!'' he cried out as he runs straight into the infirmary. ``Can I get a doctor please? I've got an injured girl!'' He carefully sets the girl onto an empty bed as a nurse comes over and starts to inspect her and change her into a gown. Al quickly spins around, a huge blush on his cheeks only to come face to face with the Colonel who had followed him into the infirmary, looking slightly annoyed.
``Care to explain yourself Alphonse for ignoring me? You two were to supposed to come straight to me for the debriefing, not running off like that?'' Roy scolded Alphonse until he took a look around the room, avoiding looking at the girl in the bed. ``Where's the shrimp? I don't see him.''
``He was giving me time to run off with her from the people who was chasing her. I think he'll be here in a bit'', Alphonse sighed out as he takes a seat, giving him a better view of the girl. Thanks to the doctors, she was somewhat presentable with her hair out of the way and a change of clothes. With proper bandages in place and some pain medicine being dripped into her, she slept soundly in the bed, Roy getting a good look at her face to see some similar and familiar features on her face.
``She looks very familiar......'', Roy murmured as he looked at her in a puzzled manor.
``That's cause she a relative of yours'', Ed stated as he waltzed in tiredly, flopping beside Alphonse, rubbing his neck.
``Relative? Impossible. The only possible relative she could be was kidnapped at 6 and presumed dead on her 10th birthday and that was over 13 years ago'', Roy said quietly, looking very confused.
``Well, I talked to one of the guys that were chasing her and he claims she's a Mustang'', Ed said bluntly, pushing a finger into the side of his head.
``You mean to tell me that my sister could be this woman?'' Roy questioned in a slightly annoyed and unconvinced tone, it reaching the sleeping woman who began to whimper and toss in her sleep, a nightmare beginning in her mind. Ed stands up, feeling sympathetic to her as he gently takes her hand and rubs soothing circles over her hand.
``How about we find out, Mr. Grouchy'', Ed murmured as he lightly taps her shoulder, trying to rouse her from her sleep. ``Hey, wake up.''
She whimpered softly in her sleep and gasps awake, yanking her hand from Ed's hold and tries to get away, her fight or flight instincts kicking in from her nightmare. Ed manages to recapture her hand into his and holds her steady and back into the bed.
``Calm down, we're not here to hurt you'', he murmurs calmly to her, looking at her eyes. His golden eyes captures her, unwavering and serious as her heart slowly calms down, taking steady breaths. She nods in understanding and looks around.
``Where.........where am I?'' she looks around nervously, noticing Roy was studying her and Ed interact, still skeptical of the situation.
``Central Command. In the infirmary. What's your name?'' Ed murmurs softly as he keeps her hand in between his, rubbing soothing circles on it. She watches him carefully, having been burned for her trusting nature before and was wary of the strangers.
Softly, she murmurs quietly while keeping a wary eye on them, ``J-Jaylene.......''
With wide eyes, Roy stumbles back in shock at the girls name, his mouth gaping slightly. Ed takes no notice to Roy's shock as he smiles charmingly to Jaylene, whispering softly, ``I see. That's a pretty name.''
Ed clears his throat and straightens up and gives you a wider smile, trying to calm your fears as he state proudly, ``Well Jaylene, my name is Edward Elric. I'm a state alchemist, so you can trust me.''
Jaylene just giggles a little bit, seeming to be calmer as she whispers a soft ok. All the while, Roy stood there in disbelief and major relief at the discovery of Jaylene's sudden appearance.
``Hey, Jaylene. I've got some exciting news for you'', Ed grins with a cocky smile, too happy to embarrass the Colonel. ``Do you know if the brother you mentioned early was named Roy?''
Roy was shocked by the question and moved to leave only to have Alphonse catch his collar, knowing he was nervous to hear her response.
Jaylene tilts her head at the question but her eyes light up a little at the thought he knew his and murmurs, ``Yes it was, how do you know that?''
``That's because I know him personally'', Ed smirks proudly and looks back at Roy, giving him an expectant glance. Tensing under the gaze, Roy slowly makes his way over to the bed, avoiding looking her in the eyes from mild guild and over humiliation.
``Roy?'' Jaylene looks up at him with hopeful eyes, searching him for the truth.
Smiling sheepishly, Roy finally locks eyes with Jaylene and gives her a small smile, leaning down and carefully wraps her in a deep embrace. ``Hey Jay-Jay~"
Chapter 3: The Reveal
``It really is you Roy.....I-I thought I would never see you again.....'' Jaylene whispered softly, gripping his uniform hard.
``Yeah, its me Jay-Jay. I'm so sorry I couldn't find you. Me and Madam Christmas looked all over for you,'' Roy whispered softly, clinging to her like his life depended on it.
``Th-they hurt me a-and kept saying that if I-I beat the newest thing th-they created they would let me go......I tried to escape, but I couldn't......I-I did help a girl once.....they had turned into something bad and she was in terrible pain.......but neither of us could escape.....'' Jaylene sobs out, hiding into Roy's chest.
``Its alright, your safe now. I'll protect you. I swear no one will ever take you from me again,'' Roy vowed quietly as he rubs Jay's back soothingly, keeping her very close.
``Y-you can't promise that, they'll come for me......they kept saying I was their most successful project.....they'll take me away again!'' the terrified girl wailed, clinging to her brother, desperate for all that he says to be true but knows its not going to happen.
``I promise they will not get you Jaylene, its alright, I'm here. I will not let you out of my sight,'' the fire alchemist declared as he keeps her close, burying his face into her familiar hair. Her cries continue on for a few solid minutes before she passes out, weak from being malnourished and exhaustion.
Ever so gently, Roy lays his sister back down and tucks her back into, doing everything in his power to hold his temper in place. Ed leans against the night stand, looking down at the young girl as Alphonse goes to the library to do some more research on the philosophers stone.
``I beat the shit out of the guys coming after her, but I'm sure there is going to be more, Mustang'' Ed spoke softly as the young girl makes a soft sound in her sleep.
Roy leans over and kisses her brow before standing up straight. ``Ed, keep an eye on her. I'm going to start on investigation on this entire matter. I need you to protect her while I do this.''
``Common, colonel. I'm here to do research, not babysit. Get someone else to look after your kid sister,'' Ed groaned in annoyance, starting for the door to meet up with Alphonse.
``This is an order Fullmetal, I don't care what you got to do, I need someone I can rely on to watch my sister. And seeing as you've done the one thing the military soldiers over 13 years ago couldn't accomplish, I would appreciate the assistance,'' Roy snapped, a heated flame burning in his eyes that could kill thousands of men on sight.
Swallowing thickly at the sight, Ed growls a soft ``fine'' while he watches the colonel march out of the room with a new resolution in his body language. Shortly after Mustang left, Alphonse returned, looking at Ed curiously.
``Aren't you coming brother?'' Alphonse inquired.
``Can't Al, colonel butthead made me in charge of babysitting his sister while he tries to figure out who was behind her kidnapping. I have to stay here till he gets back,'' Ed groans as he flops onto a nearby chair, rubbing his face in annoyance.
``Well, I can bring things here if you want. Like books and food,'' Al suggested happily.
``Yeah, I'm feeling like some junk food. Here Al,'' Ed says as he tosses Al his pocket watch. ``Go pull some money out and get me some of the usual and make a phone call to Winry. Maybe we can have her make something better for Mustang's sis.''
``You got it brother, but I'm not getting you only junk food. You need actual food,'' Al said with what sounded like a coy smile, making Ed glare at him.
``Just get out of here you!'' Fullmetal yelled at his brother, Al laughing as he runs out of the room.
Grumbling something about impossible brothers, Ed gets himself comfy in the chair and decides to take a nap, yawning wide.
Chapter 4: Not All Blondes are Good
Alphonse hums softly as he heads to the bank, holding Ed watch lightly in his hand. He didn't notice someone was running right at him until the watch was snatched from his hand and a girl runs off with the watch. Her blonde hair the only thing he registered before she disappeared around the corner.
``H-hey!! Get back here!'' Alphonse yelled in despair as he chases her, managing to watch her scale the side of a building with ease. She then begins to sprint across the roof of the buildings, trying to loose Al.
Al stubbornly follows the girl, scaling a building she just jumped on with minor difficulty. When he managed to reach the roof, she was jumping onto the next one, glancing back at him. He groans to himself as he runs after her, becoming confused on how she's faster than him.
She jumps off the next roof onto the ground and heads to an abandon home, smirking to herself as she watches Al follow her close behind. She quickly slams the door in his face after retreating inside. As soon as Al opens the door, he came face to face with nothing. He races around the building to see if she escaped somehow to find no evidence she left the building.
Determined to get his brother's watch back, he starts to search the entire building, finding nothing that indicates that she even entered the rundown home. Groaning in dismay, Al flops his head onto a wall. ``Ah man, Ed's gonna kill me......and then the Colonels gonna kill me. Why do things always happen to me?''
Back at the infirmary, Ed was still relaxed in the chair, dozing away without a care in the world. Jaylene, however, whimpered in her sleep, tossing back in forth until she bolt up right with a loud gasp. She covers her face with her hands and curls into a ball and begins to cry softly, holding herself.
Ed starts to wake up from the noise and looks over at Jaylene's bed to see her awake. Suddenly wide awake, Ed hops out of the chair and rushes to her side. ``Hey, are you ok? What's wrong? Does something hurt?'' Ed asks frantically as he looks over Jay's fetal form, trying to find any sign to her distress.
``I-I'm fine......its just a nightmare.....'' the young girl whispers softly, gripping the bedding hard.
Ed studies her for a minute before sighing softly, pulling the chair he was resting in beside her. ``Do you wanna talk about it? It usually helps.''
She shakes her head, keeping it resting on her knees as she takes a shuddered breath. Ed rubs his neck weakly, not sure how to proceed. Then he remembers something his mom said and looks at her gently. ``Do you wanna hold my hand when you go back to sleep? Knowing someone else is there beside you tends to help dreams.'' Ed asks gently as he offers her his normal hand.
She looks up at him, rubbing the tears from her eyes as she looks from his face to his outstretched hand. Hesitantly, she takes his hand with her own normal hand, her automail jerking down to her lap as she puts it down.
``Hey, if you want, I have an awesome mechanic that made my arm and leg, I could introduce you to her and she could make you a better arm,'' Ed offered, holding her hand gently in his own.
``A-a mechanic?'' Jaylene mumbles, looking confused for a moment.
``Yeah, look.'' Without releasing her hand, he shrugs his coat off to reveal his automail arm to her. She looks at it in awe, gently touching it with her own automail.
``Its so intricate and delicate looking....'' the young girl whispers almost reverently as she traces the details of the automail.
``Yeah, it looks like that, but its the strongest arm she's made so far. Many automail engineers and customers are jealous of her work,'' Ed said proudly.
Jaylene hums softly as she continues to trace the automail. ``I'd like that Edward.....'' Her gentle smile spreads on her lips, giving her an almost angelic look to her feature. Ed couldn't help but swallow as he looks at her face more, thinking to himself `Sh-She's kind cute.....'
He was shocked out of his stupor, however, when Al burst into the room. ``Brother!! I'm so sorry brother!!''
Both Jaylene and Ed jump in surprise, releasing one anothers hand from surprise.
``What the hell Al, you don't just run in screaming like that! And what are you sorry for?'' Ed exclaimed, confused for Ed sudden reappearance, thinking that his trip was too quick.
``Brother, I'm so sorry. I got pick-pocketed by some random girl and she stole your watch when I was heading to the bank. I tried to follow and look for her, but she just disappeared!'' Al cried in dismay.
``You got pick-pocketed? Seriously Alphonse?!'' Edward groaned inwardly and stands up, Jaylene watching him stand with wide eyes like a startled puppy. ``Stay here. I need to make a phone call.''
Ed ran out of the room, leaving Jay in Alphonse's care. Not more than 15 minutes later, Ed returns with Lieutenant Hughes in tow. ``Jaylene, this is Lt. Hughes. He's a good friend of mine and your brother's. He'll look after you while I take care of this mess, ok?''
Jaylene looked between Ed and the lieutenant for a moment before nodding slowly in understanding.
``Great, common Al!'' Ed quickly pivots on his heel and runs out of the room, Alphonse following close behind. Once out in the street, Ed scans the crowd and building nearby, huffing for breath. ``Ok Al, what does she look like?''
``The only defining feature I can tell you brother is that she has blonde hair,'' Al whined weakly to Ed.
``Seriously Al?! That's not much to go on, considering half the city is blonde. You need to pay more attention to your surroundings!!'' Ed yelled at Alphonse just as Mustang was rounding the corner with files on his sister's case. Upon seeing Ed, Roy growls under his breath and approaches the two boys, not noticing the same pick-pocket creeping up behind him.
``Fullmetal, I thought I ordered you to stay with my sister! Or did you decide her life wasn't worth the time?'' the flame alchemist snarled at the younger boy.
``Relax, ya hot head. I left her in Hughes's care. I'm in the middle of an emergency right now, so I don't have time for you!'' Ed argued, moving to turn and leave the colonel. At that same moment, the pick-pocket made an appearance and snagged Roy's pocket watch, grinning wide as she runs off at full speed.
``Ed, that her!!'' Alphonse gasps out as the girl makes a retreat for the roof.
``Oh yeah?! Hey! Get back here!!'' Ed yells as he chases after her, not wasting a single second.
``That little, thinks she can steal from the military, huh?'' Roy growls, still in a foul mood from the information about his sister from earlier. He slides his alchemy glove on and starts to head into town, intending to cut her off. Al chases after Ed, hoping to help him.
Ed was hot on her tail when Al arrived, transmuting a hand to snatch her in her spot. She yelps in surprise and ducks under the hand with grace. Regaining her balance, she jumps to the next roof, grinning with delight at a proper chase with a state alchemist.
Just as she was about to go to the next roof, Roy appears, snapping his fingers to cause an explosion right before her. She squeaks and claps her hands, making a wall appear to protect herself from the flames. Jumping off the same wall, she changes her direction and jumps through a window, getting out of sight.
``Great job Colonel!!'' Ed said snidely as he jumps after her, keeping her in his sights. Roy snarls in frustration and heads to the ground, trying to get to the front door before she gets out.
She manages to get to the next apartment and heads down the fire escape, jumping down each flight. Once she was two stories up, she leaps off the landing, rolling to her feet and sprint towards the crowds, passing Roy by the skin of her teeth. He barely misses her and continues to run after her. Roy notices she's heading to another alley and snaps his fingers, making the alley entrance burst into flames. She yelps in surprise and skids to a halt, landing on her butt in the meantime.
Ed catches up and stands right by Roy.
``You're under arrest young lady,'' Roy growled, approaching her with malice.
``Oh goodie, am I going to the command center? You gonna apologize to me for making me land on my butt on this nasty oil?'' the young girl inquires, the boy now getting a good look at her. She wore tatter jean pants that had many holes and stains on them, her shoes in similar condition. Her chest was wrapped in a single band of green fabric, exposing her stomach, that held what looked to be a tree and moon tattoo in some sort of tribal design. She also wore a tattered jean jacket that hung open. Finally, above her snarky grin were brilliant green eyes.
``No, I'm not gonna apologize because it wouldn't have happened if you didn't pick-pocket and piss off two state certified alchemist. And why are you so chipper about getting arrested?'' Ed questioned, growling as he follows Roy in advancing the girl.
``Well, it beats living in the slums, if you catch my drift,'' she says coyly, winking at them and stands up, dusting her pants off. As she does this, they both notice that the watch is gone.
Roy snarls in frustration and grabs her wrist. ``The pocket watches. Both of them. Now,'' he demanded, holding a hand out to retrieve the stolen items.
``And now why would I do that? I'm going to jail either way, why not keep what I swiped?'' she snickers at him, sticking her tongue out at him.
``Because it could get you a death sentence,'' Roy threatened, gripping her collar now to make her look him in the eye.
``Over a few watches? Jeez, you throw the death penalty so lightly,'' the annoyed pick-pocket said with a scowl, shoving his hand off her collar. ``That's why I hate the military. Especially you dogs.'' She turns to Ed and give him a belittling look.
``Right....'' Ed growls and tries to jump her to beat the watches out of her. However, she easily sidesteps him, sighing heavily.
``Honestly, you guys are so upset about something that was easily swiped from you. If you wanna be angry at someone, be angry with yourselves for letting someone like me swipe them....'' the woman glared at them, hand on her hip. ``Besides, I'm too tired to run, no reason to manhandle me now.''
``Look we don't even make the rules miss. The reason why we're so upset about you taking the watches is because were only issued one watch and if we lose it we get stripped of everything,'' Roy tried to reason, calming down enough to be diplomatic.
``And I should care because......?'' she drawls out, feigning interest as she stuffs her hands in her pockets.
``I think you have potential. And a life worth living free, rather than in prison or being killed,'' Roy stated hotly, looking right into her eyes.
``Potential? For what? To be the dog of the military? As if,'' she said in an exasperated manor, turning her back on them to kneel down. She claps her hands together and sticks her hand into the ground. After a moment, she pulls out the watches. Standing up to her full height, she turns back to them and tosses the watches back into the chests. ``Here, you can have them back. Not worth the hassle anyhow. Later.....'' She turns on her heel and starts to walk away, Roy catching sight of her slim figure.
Frowning at the sight of her petite body, Roy turns back to Ed, who was in the middle of reattaching the watch to his pants. ``I want you to go back and watch over my sister now, Fullmetal. And I catch you disobeying my orders, you'll be stuck here in Central for a month.''
``Wha?! You can't do that!! We made a deal!!'' Ed said with rage.
``Then you better obey my orders. Now get moving,'' Roy snapped at him, pointing to the Command center. Ed grumbles hotly and with Al in tow, headed back to the command center. Roy turns around and follows the girl. She ignored him for awhile, scowling every now and then when she catches sight of him as she turns the corners.
She suddenly takes off and rounds another corner. Roy curses under his breath and moves to make chase but as soon as he rounds the corner, there was a blade to his throat.
``Why are you following me?'' the young girl demanded.
Roy chuckles weakly and raises his hands in surrender. ``I figured you'd be hungry and wanted to invite you to dinner.''
The girls whole face turns dark red as her stomach emits a loud growl. Scowling at him, she lowers the knife and turns away. ``Shut up, you don't know what your talking about. Besides, I can take care of myself, I don't need the help from a military dog.'' She starts to walk away.
``Common, humor me. It'll be my treat,'' he calls out. That got her to stop. She slowly turns back to him, a grimace on her face as her stomach emits another loud growl. Roy offers his hand, smiling gently. ``Come one, what do you got to loose?''
The girl studies him for a bit before letting out a defeated sigh, turning back to him and walks passed him to the restaurants nearby, ignoring his hand. He shrugs and follows after, taking the small victory.
Chapter 5: The Offer
The young woman and the colonel walk side by side to a decent restaurant, nothing too fancy but a waiter is involved. She scowls at Roy every now and then, showing her displeasure for him even if he was treating her to lunch. He sighs heavily at the fifth scowl, glancing at her direction.
``You know, if you worked with us, you wouldn't be on the streets anymore, and you'd have food on a daily basis,'' Roy tried to persuade the girl.
``Humph, you're funny. What part of `I hate the military' do you not understand?'' the girl glares in a frustrated manor at the colonel.
``Hey, its your choice. I was only suggesting it cause if you hate it so much, you could change it to what you think the military should be,'' Roy shrugged, pulling out a chair for her when they get walked to a table.
``That would be impossible for a low ranking officer. You'd have to be the furrer to make any significant changes,'' the girl exclaims, plopping into the other chair in an act of defiance.
``That's not entirely true. Fullmetal has taken down quite a few corrupt officials in the military in his time being a state alchemist and he's only been with us for nearly 12 years,'' the flame alchemist chuckled softly, taking the seat he originally pulled out for her.
``That still doesn't get all the corrupt officials. Hence, why you need to be furrer. Start from scratch and remind everyone what it means to be an honest military,'' she stated matter factually.
``Well, don't tell anyone now, but that is my goal. I'm in agreement with you, that I'm tired of the corrupt officials. With my subordinates help, I intend to rise to the top. People like Fullmetal are one of the people that support me in a sense and he has free reign to do as he see fits,'' Mustang countered coyly, ordering the special and soup for the day for the her and just the special for him.
``Your goal is to be the furrer, huh? Someone who struggled to catch a pocket thief? That's a laugh. What are you now?'' she inquires humorously, glancing at the stars on his shoulders. ``Colonel, huh? You got a long way to go my friend.''
``That is true. But I don't intend to stop until I get there. And when I do, I'll turn this corrupt system on its head,'' Roy said with glee, leaning forward to rest his arms on the table, intertwining his fingers.
``I shall wait for the day you give up then!'' the girl announces with smirk, raising a glass to him before downing the beverage. Burping softly into her hand, she sits up at the soup is brought before her and Roy's meal before him. ``So, why are you trying to get me to join the military? You don't even know me,'' she asked softly as she starts to drink the soup.
``You're obviously talented if you can get away from Alphonse Elric, the Fullmetal's brother. Not only that, but evading me and the Fullmetal himself for so long. That, and I figured it would be a nice change from off the streets. I don't normally do this, but when I see talent, I reward it,'' Roy mused softly, a Cheshire grin spreading onto his lips.
``You know, I'm a brat at heart. I don't take orders very well. I've stolen a lot, which I'm pretty sure I'd go to jail for with the amount I've stolen to live. So I don't think the military would want to trust someone like me,'' the girl laughed grimly at the state she's put herself in, leaning back in her chair after letting her spoon clatter in the empty bowl.
``I would trust you. Besides, I've had the most annoying brat under me for nearly 11 years. I don't think you could be any worse than that. Plus, my division fully believes in second chances. I think you'd be outstanding in the military, especially as a state alchemist,'' Roy murmurs almost to himself, his eyes wondering down past her short hair line, getting a good look at her as a woman.
``I've said it before, I'll say it again. I REFUSE TO BE A WEAPON OF THE MILITARY,'' she enunciates clearly, glaring at him. Notices his wondering eyes and snaps fingers in his face as her main meal is delivered, bring his eyes back to hers. ``I have no desire to go anywhere near the military. But I have a proposition. You find a way for me to join the military directly under you at all times, and I'll consider it,'' she smirks in a predatory manor, eating her meal happily, glad to feel full.
Roy purses his lips at the suggestion, thinking how he could make it work. An idea and promising circumstances that occurred recently brightens his eyes. ``Well, you're in luck. My previous lieutenant has been promoted and works under a general right now. You could be my 1st lieutenant and raise in the ranks with me,'' Roy says with a delighted grin.
This catches the girl off guard as she's mid bite. She sets down her fork and goes into deep thought, a frown forming on her lips. She sighs deeply and stands up suddenly, catching Roy off guard. ``Thank you for the meal,'' she murmurs softly and starts to leave, half her plate remaining.
Mustang frowns at her sudden change in character, standing up and paying for the meal. He follows her out and watches her walk down the street. Shaking his head, he calls out, ``If you make a decision, come to central command and ask for me, ok miss?!''
She stops walking and turns back to him, a sad look in her eyes. ``The name's Kia. And no promises.'' She turns back around and continues her march into the dark part of the slums.
Unsettled by the lack of life in her eyes now, Roy frowns further and takes a breath. He starts to head back to the command center, but the hair on the back of his neck stands up, having a bad feeling about the woman name Kia leaving on her own. Roy tries to shake off the feeling and continues to walk.
His gut feeling and the hair on the back of his neck both start to act up, making him groan and about faces in the direction Kia left, knowing he might regret this. He starts to track the young woman down, worry in his gut.
Chapter 6: Rescue
Roy manages to find the girls tracks and starts to follow once again for the day, making sure to stay out of sight this time. He notices her defeated posture as he watches the surrounding homes closing their windows as she passes.
Unknown to Kia, two men start to follow her as well, keeping pace with her right at her heels. When she does notice them, to Roy's confusion, she allows them to escort her to a large house that was in the slums.
Mustang follows close behind, recognizing some of the men that were standing guard as some of the local gang members that cause basic trouble for the citizens, their biggest crime being stealing from bank, but nothing truly note worthy. Sneaking up the house without getting caught, Roy peeks through a nearby window to see Kia kneeling before what he assumed was the gang boss. He seemed to be talking to her, seemingly agitated right now.
Fearing the worst, Roy slides on his extra glove on his other hand. Just as he feared, the supposed gang boss picks up a bat and slams it across her face. Soon, the goons all around observing start beating her up, showing no mercy whatsoever.
Growling in frustration, Roy jumps in through the window and starts snapping both his fingers, causing miniature and minor burns across the gangs, they howling in pain and anger. More than half of them flee, the others picking up weapons to attack him. With each one that tries to advance on him or on Kia, whom fell unconscious during the beating, he set them aflame.
``Should have run while you could. Can't blame me for your pain,'' Roy grumbled and turns to Kia's form. Through the entire beating, one of the goons had pulled out a knife and stabbed her side. She coughs weakly, some blood coming out of her mouth.
``Hey, common, wake up. You telling me you're gonna die on something as minor as this?'' Roy growls bitterly at her as he lifts her upright.
Her eyes slowly starting to open, looking up at him. She smirks at him, sitting up while holding her bleeding side. ``Well, look who came to my rescue. My knight in shining armor. Decided to follow me huh.....?'' She gasps in pain and coughs up more blood.
``Don't speak. I'm gonna have to ask you to bear with me. I'm going to try to close up your wound. Its gonna hurt like no tomorrow, but you won't bleed to death,'' he states softly, rolling her onto her side.
``D-don't put yourself out. This is n-nothing,'' Kia groans out, gripping the wound hard as she cough up more blood.
``You're coughing up blood. That's not nothing,'' Mustang said with a deadpan look.
``I was fucking stabbed!!! Of course I'm gonna cough up blood!!'' Kia gives him a bewildered look, starting to get up, but gasps at the intense throb of pain before laying back down.
``Stop moving around you idiot,'' Roy growls in frustration and snaps his fingers, causing a small flame to appear over the wound. Kia lets out a blood curdling scream and starts to thrash around, trying to put out the flames. The colonel quickly douses the flames with his coat and looks the wound over to confirm it wasn't bleeding anymore.
``You fucking bastard......warn a girl before you try to burn her alive.....'' Kia rasps out, giving him a one eyed glare as she holds her wound. Roy rolls his eyes and carefully wraps her in his jacket, lifting her up into his arms and strides out of the house, heading back to central command.
They travel in silence, Kia's gasping breaths the only sound coming from either of them for a time. The woman studies Roy during the traveling while she struggles to stay conscious. Finally, curiosity starts to nag at her to speak up.
``Why did you save me? You could have just ignored what was happening and keep the position of your 1st lieutenant open for someone better for the job,'' Kia whispers softly, looking up at him tiredly.
Noticing her change in body language, Mustang picks up the pace, not realizing how far they traveled from the command center. ``Its against my code as a man to allow a woman to come into harm while I could protect her.''
``Heh, you're a funny guy colonel.......you know what......if I live through this.......I'll take the job.....'' she murmurs weakly, a faint smile on her lips as her wound reopens from all the jostling around, blood slowly seeping into Mustang's uniform.
``When you wake up, I'll make sure you get well taken care of,'' Roy smirks with mock confidence as he goes into a full out sprint to the hospital, determined to make sure she lives.
Chapter 7: Discovery
Days have melded together as the doctors and nurses tended to their severely injured patients, deciding to put them in the same room together. After her thorough cleaning and stitching, Kia started to make a full recovery while Jaylene's health continued to deteriorate. Nerves and panic started to set into the colonel to the point he started to sleep in the room with the two women.
One day, Jaylene wouldn't wake up, no matter what happened. The doctors feared the worst would happen, telling Roy to be prepared to say good bye. Least to say, Mustang was not pleased. He stayed right by Jaylene's side the entire day, gripping her hand and even attempting to pray. Kia observed all this with bored eyes, glancing up from her book now and then to see if he change. Giving out an exhausted sigh, Kia slaps the book closed and slowly starts to get up, holding her wounded side as she stands. Roy hears the movement and looks up.
``What are you doing? You need to stay in bed,'' the flame alchemist protested as he moves to get up.
``Stay where you are, worry-wart,'' Kia dismissed as she stands by the bedside, looking down at Jaylene's face. Leaning forward, the older woman gently prods and touches Mustang's sister's body, testing the reactions. Nodding mostly to herself while she mutters under her breath, Kia lifts the blanket off Jaylene's body and inspects her stomach.
Even with her prompts, Roy can't help but stand up and slowly goes onto her side of the bed, wondering what she sees. To his horror, he finally gets a good look at his sister's stomach, which was discolored and slightly swollen with blood. He hears Kia groan as she stands up to her full height, loosening her sore neck in the process.
``This is gonna hurt.....'' she mutters softly when she finally claps her hands. Gingerly, she places them onto Jaylene's stomach. Almost immediately, an alchemic reaction occurs and the bruising and swelling slowly vanishes. While Kia focuses on this, Roy couldn't help but let his eyes bulge in realization that Kia was doing human transmutation. When he was about to pull her away, Kia lifts her hands away, holding her own wound firmly, gritting her teeth.
``Wh-when she wakes, make sure she's properly fed,'' Kia manages to gasp out softly before turning away to head back to her bed.
``Wait a second, what just happened?! And what wrong with you?'' Roy demanded as he quickly helps her to the bed and notices that her arm sleeve was slowly getting seeped with blood.
``Nothing that concerns you!'' she cries out and shoves Roy away with the arm that wasn't bleeding and grabs some gauze. Before Roy could make another move, a sound from the doorway drew his attention. Ed stood there with some food and books, but what made Roy grimace was the wide eyed look he got while he was staring at Kia.
``Shit, Fullmetal, don't-'' Roy tried to intercept Edwards actions, but Ed was too fast. He bypasses Roy and shoves Kia against the wall hard.
``Where is it?!'' Ed snarled, holding his transmuted arm against her throat, the food and books forgotten by the door.
``What are you talking about, shrimp?'' Kia said with a scowl, holding her arm close to her chest to protect it from further injury.
``Don't play dumb, I know you have the philosophers stone!!'' the younger alchemist screamed at Kia.
The injured girl studies the angry alchemist holding her. She notices the frantic look in his eyes, the way he trembles while he holds her against the wall. Slowly closing her eyes, she lets out a long sigh. ``Put that away before you cause anymore harm to those around you, idiota.''
Ed jolts at the way she spoke to him, like she was bored and could care less at the threat he poses for her life. He gaps at her for a moment, not sure how to respond until she pushes his arm away from her throat and goes over to the bed after shuffling around him. He stares numbly at her as she climbs back into bed and gets comfortable. Growling to himself, Ed returns his arm to its normal state before turning to Kia. He extends his hand expectantly. She turns her eyes back to him blankly.
``I don't have a philosophers stone, so stop asking for it. I did do equivalent exchange, dumbass. What I did was medical alchemy by offering a portion of my cells to help fix her insides. It from Ching's alchehiestry,'' Kia stated gruffly at Ed as she settles into the bed while resting her injured arm across her chest, snatching up her book and returns to reading.
Ed looks at her flabbergasted before regaining his senses, straightening up and shoving the book down. ``Don't lie! Alphonse and I have done our fair share of research into the surrounding country's history and that ain't how alchehiestry works!''
Kia looks up at him once more and sighs in defeat, shifting weakly on her bed. ``Just drop it. I promise, its not the philosophers stone.''
``Then what is it? As far as I've researched, this is a form of alchemy, but I've never seen it before,'' Ed demanded angrily, not letting her dodge it.
``I said drop it,'' Kia said defiantly, refusing to look at him.
``Ok, that's enough Fullmetal, give her space,'' Roy commanded, grabbing Ed's arms and pulling him away from Kia.
Ed glares at Mustang before shoving his arms away and marches out the room. Roy sighs heavily and gathers the books and fruit that Ed had dropped earlier, setting them onto a nearby table. A heavy silence filled the room that was filled with the soft sound of Jaylene's even breathing.
Roy begins to slice the fruit up into edible bites, working quietly. Without turning to her, Roy murmurs softly, ``Thank you.''
``You're not going to interrogate me?'' Kia immediately questions, finally opening her eyes to gaze down at her arm.
``You have your reasons to not explain. I'm sure after a time, you'll trust us enough to indulge into our curiosity. In the meantime, I think it would be wise for you to get more rest. You've really done a number on yourself,'' Roy said lightly, finally turning to Kia to give her a charming smile. Her cheeks faintly powder with a dust of red, still avoiding his gaze. He come over quietly and places a plate of the sliced fruit with napkin for her to use.
``Eat up, you'll need your strength,'' Roy encourages softly before turning back to his sister and takes her hand gently. Kia studies the colonel for a time before smiling to herself and indulges into the sweet treats.
Chapter 8: It Starts
Jaylene finally woke later that week, looking healthy but extremely hungry. The doctors and nurses hurried to remedy her appetite with filling foods and drinks, fully intending for her to gain more weight. While her health proceeds to improve, her mental health slowly declines as she's filled with nightmares of her captures and memories.
And with each nightmare, she'll startle her body awake and scream for help, waking the rest of the hospital. So in order to prevent such nightmares from continuing her unrest, Mustang and the Elric brother's make it their jobs to oversee Jaylene's rest while still recovering. They ensure that she remains asleep and calm during the night, taking turns each night.
On one such night, Ed was quietly reading his book next to her bed when Jaylene started to whimper and toss in her sleep. And like every night, Ed would reach over with his normal hand take her normal hand within his, not even blinking an eye at the contact. But instead of her relaxing and returning to sleep, she startles awake with a soft gasp and looks down at the intertwined hands.
She then follows the arm back up to Ed, he studying quietly, unaware that she woke. Afraid to go back to sleep, she turns onto her side to be a little more comfortable, studying his face. She blushes lightly as her eyes trace over his relaxed face, to his keen eyes and down to his lips. She notices that he mumbles the words quietly to himself while he reads. `Probably doesn't even know he does it....' Jaylene thinks quietly to herself.
Suddenly, Ed's face scrunches up as he yawns wide, setting the book down to rub his eyes tiredly. Taking a deep breath, he looks down at her, becoming aware she's looking at him.
``Oh, hey. I didn't mean to wake you,'' Ed flustered softly as he tries to pull his hand away. But Jaylene just tightens the hold on his hand, keeping it close.
``You didn't wake me. Just my nightmare. But it was nice waking up like this....'' she whispers quietly, looking up at him. Ed flushes up at her admission and smiles gently. He leans down and pulls up a basket he brought with him, full of books, snacks and drinks.
``Here, can I have my hand back? I wanna get you something to eat and drink while you're awake,'' Ed requests softly. Jaylene reluctantly releases his hand, having liked the feel of his big, warm hand encasing her smaller one. As Ed starts to cut up an apple for Jaylene, she sits up fully and glances at the book he was reading.
Her own curiosity gets the better of her, Jaylene leaning over and grabbing the book off of Ed's lap and starts to read what's inside.
``Don't loose my spot please,'' Ed says with a laugh as he watches the curious girl read with eager intrigue. She continues to read, having the same attention span as himself. He chuckles and continues to cut up some fruit for her.
Soon, Jaylene tugs him over onto her bed, a look of confusion on her face. ``Can you explain this to me Ed?''
The alchemist looks at the passage she was reading and chuckles softly at the passage about chimera's. Doing his best, he explains in detail on what it was saying about chimera's, Jaylene's attention completely entrapped by his words. Without meaning to, Ed roused the other sleeping female in the room, making her groan quietly. Her groan went unnoticed from the attracting couple, making her scowl.
Kia sat up a bit, hefting up her extra pillow and chucked it square in Ed's face. ``Will you two love birds keep it down? Some people are trying to sleep,'' she groused angrily before flopping over and tries to go back to sleep.
``Hey! That was rude!! I was just answering a question!'' Ed growled angrily.
Jaylene whimpered softly for having angered her room mate, leaning into Ed unconsciously. The young Alchemist flushes hard at how close she is to him, swallowing thickly.
``Yeah, yeah. Get your head out of the gutter fullmetal and put her back to bed. She needs her sleep, not for you to teach her more alchemy, especially when her brother doesn't want her doing anything that reminds her of her time in that lab. Chimera's are getting a little too close, don'cha think?'' Kia said with an exhausted scowl.
That made Ed flush in embarrassment for having forgotten that and looked down weakly at Jaylene. ``Hey.....I'm sor-'' he tried to say before Jay put her hand over his mouth.
``Don't be. I asked you to explain it. And with that knowledge, I can probably sleep better,'' Jay said confidently as she smiled up at him. Ed's eyes widen at how cute she is, making his heart hammer. He yelps and falls back, scrambling off and away from her bed. Jay gave him a confused look as Kia looks over and snorts at his flushed face.
``Are you ok, Ed?'' Jay said softly, leaning over the side to look at him.
``F-FINE! Totally fine! J-just eat your fruit and get some more rest!!'' Ed exclaimed a little to quickly, sitting up and pushing the plate closer to her and quickly gets up, turning around to hide his increasing blush. Still looking his way, Jaylene slowly begins to eat the fruit. The alchemist went to great lengths to stop his throbbing heart as he takes deep breaths. When he manages to calm down enough, he turns back to see Jaylene laying back down, her eyes dozing close for a minute.
Smiling gently, he helps her settle into the bed, tucking her in and gently stroke her hair, finding it soft and silky to the touch. Blushing harder, he pulls back and sits down, watching her doze off into a blissful sleep, her nightmare long forgotten.