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Cool Down

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It was a blazing hot day. On top of it being a Monday—which Edward was starting to believe had been invented by some sadist who liked to kick puppies and spit on little children’s candy—it was scorching hot. The sun was a big ball of fire in the sky and it was mocking his suffering. If Ed could look at it without melting his corneas, he was sure he would see the damn thing with a smug-ass grin on its face.

(Maybe the heat was going to his head a little bit.)

To make matters worse, it was the Monday after he’d returned from a mission over the weekend, so now he had to hand in a report to Mustang.

Speaking of smug, smirking masses of hot air.


At least there was a small comfort in knowing that Mustang was just as miserable in this heat as he was. Everyone was miserable in this heat.

The team was lazier than usual—Havoc had half his uniform off and was sprawled over his seat like someone had tossed him there and he hadn’t bothered to readjust himself, Breda was half-laying over his desk and grumbling faintly, Falman was fanning himself in a corner with a couple of archive files, and Fuery was tinkering with an old fan in the corner of the room, trying to get it to blow harder.

The only one that seemed immune was Hawkeye. Not even the atmosphere dared piss her off.

She let him into Mustang’s office with a warm smile and then went off back to work like the superhuman deity she was.

Mustang himself looked as happy as sour milk, dabbing at the sweat on his forehead and neck with a handkerchief and glaring at anything that moved too much.

“Can we make this quick?” Ed griped, throwing himself on the couch after tossing his report on the desk. The leather couch. Against his leather pants. Against his sweat-sticky skin. What a godawful day it was. “I’d like to go home to transmute some water into a block of ice and have Al bash me over the head with it.”

“Wouldn’t transmuting a tub full of water into colder water be more effective and less dramatic?” Mustang asked, sounding bored and tired and miserable.

“Yeah, but then when I got out of the tub, it’ll still be inhumanly hot out. At least if I die, I can escape this heat wave.”

“I may have a mission for you a bit further up north.”

Ed felt like crying. “God, I’ll give you my other arm if you can score that for me.”

Mustang smirked. “I’ll see what I can do. But you can keep your arm. Now. Your report.”

And Ed talked. Mustang asked questions and Ed answered them huffily.

“It’s not my fault the town’s sheriff was a useless piece of—what are you doing?” Edward asked shakily, just having looked up at Mustang from where he’d been glaring a hole into the carpet.

“Avoiding heat stroke?” Mustang replied drily, continuing to unfasten and unbutton his blue uniform jacket.

“Oh.” Ed swallowed. “Okay.”

Dealing with his little hate-crush—as Al had so smugly termed it—was easy when Mustang was around to remind Ed of the ‘hate’ part. When Mustang was being a smirky, conniving, manipulative, sarcastic bastard and Ed really wanted to punch him in the face, Ed could really forget the ‘crush’ part.

But when the heat had made Mustang too lazy to even put up that cold façade, when he was offering Ed an escape to the north for a while till the heat wave passed, when he was taking off his jacket and his thin white dress shirt underneath was a little see-through and stuck to his skin a bit, when the sweat was glistening off his pale skin and Ed could just see the outline of his collarbones through the gap in his partially-unbuttoned shirt—

Sometimes it got a little hard to deal with his hate-crush.

Speaking of hard.

Ed cleared his throat, crossed his flesh leg over his automail leg and looked at the opposite the wall. Don’t look at him, don’t look at him, don’t look at him.

“Uh…where was I?” he mumbled.

“You were insulting the town’s sheriff.”

“Right!” Don’t think of what Mustang’s sweat probably tastes like. “Well, he was a complete moron.” Probably like salt and heat and fire and skin. “H-He was totally unhelpful.” Ed wanted to lick up his throat. “I think he-he had a bias. Against the military, so he was probably, like, blocking me at every turn on purpose and—”

“Are you all right, Edward?” He sounded genuinely worried, the bastard.

Fuck fuck fuck why’d he have to use my real name what the fuck happened to ‘Fullmetal’ what the fuck is wrong with him oh my god is it hot in here or—yeah, dumbass, it’s a heat wave. Duh.

“Yeah, yeah, I’m fine, j-just. The heat is going to my head or something.” He laughed nervously. His already too-tight leather pants were getting even tighter. Damn teenage hormones. “Hydrogen, helium, lithium, beryllium,” he muttered, focusing on the elements he knew so well, remembering their atomic number, their symbol, their basic properties as he recited them under his breath. Non-metal, noble gas, alkali metal, alkaline earth metal…

“What was that?”

“Just talking to myself!” he exclaimed, with a bit of a hysterical chuckle. If his face was turning red, he could blame it on the heat.

The colonel sighed. “Well, would you mind talking to me and finishing the report? Weren’t you the one who wanted to get out of here as quickly as possible so your brother could bash you over the head with an ice block?”

Good. Yes. Good. Sarcastic, asshole Mustang. This was good. This, Ed could deal with.

“Right, so, as I was saying, the sheriff—” He looked over at Mustang and the bastard was just rolling up his sleeves, undoing the cuffs and pushing them up to his elbows to expose his thick wrists and his large, sculpted forearms and Ed’s brain short circuited.

“Fullmetal!” Mustang exclaimed in concern as Ed buried his face in his hands and started reciting loudly, “Neon, sodium, magnesium, aluminium, silicon…

Ed hated Mondays, he hated the heat wave, and, most of all, he hated his goddamned commanding officer.