Ed's face was so pale it had turned blue when he let the phone slide from his hand and back into its cradle.

Instantly alarmed, Roy rose. "Fullmetal? Was there bad news-? Is your teacher all right?"

Creakily, like an automaton, Ed turned to face him. "Here," he said, eyes wild. "They're coming here."

"That's fine," Roy said, startled. "I can afford to host them for a few nights, and-"

"Excuse me," Ed said politely, and threw himself out a window.

Three hours later, Roy splinted Ed's flesh arm, his expression unamused.

"No, you don't understand," Ed babbled. "They're coming here, oh god, I don't want to die, not like this! Not after restoring my brother! I want to see him grow up! I want to see him get married! I don't want to die like this!"

"Look," Roy said, calmly. "It can't be that bad."


The doorbell rang later the next day. After a few long minutes of convincing Ed to stay on the couch, Roy opened the door. He fixed a welcoming smile on his face, and met the punch square on with his nose.

"You have a hard face," Izumi Curtis said, shaking her hand.

Uniform sleeve pressed tightly to his nose to stifle the bleeding, Roy said a rude word.

"Where's your fucking manners?" Izumi demanded. "You fucking military, always the fucking same. Do you expect me to stay out on your fucking porch all fucking night?"

Her husband, looming behind her, growled low. Roy wasn't certain if it was a greeting or a threat.

So, this was the woman who had taught Edward Elric. Somehow, it explained a lot. "Do come in," Roy rasped, head tilted back as he pressed his sleeve over his face. "Edward is just in the-" he turned, and saw an empty couch. "...Fullmetal?"

Izumi smiled sweetly at her husband. "Seig, darling, will you fetch him?"

Seig rumbled, then walked around to the side of the house. He came back a moment later, carrying a wailing and flailing Edward.

"Trying to get out the back, huh?" Izumi demanded, snarling at Ed. "You think I'd fall for that?"

"I'm sorry!" he babbled. "I'm sorry, Teacher, I just -- was going out back for vegetables, and-"

"Don't lie to me!" Izumi roared, then smiled. "Good to see you again, Ed. NOW, aren't you going to introduce me to your new boyfriend?"

Feet barely touching the ground as he dangled, Ed looked from Izumi's red knuckles to Roy's bloody nose. "Oh," Ed said, weakly. "I see you've already met."


Colonel Roy Mustang had survived the Ishbarite rebellion with his mind and body intact. He had faced down Scar directly. He had fought unkillable homunculi and lived. He had even survived seeing the Fuhrer in flower-print shirt and boxers, avoided being killed by Edward Elric's overprotective younger brother, and, more than anything else, he hadn't died after a full month of sex with someone fourteen years younger, vastly flexible, and suffering from violent tendencies.

He reminded himself of all these things, sternly telling himself that there was no reason to feel such soul-sucking terror just because Izumi Curtis had insisted on cooking.

Smiling brightly, Izumi placed steaming bowls of meat stew in front of all of them. Seig watched them, Ed shook, and Roy took a deep breath, picked his spoon up, and tasted.

"It's delicious," he said in surprise.

Izumi waited until he'd taken another few mouthfuls, then smirked. "It's also poisoned."

His spoon fell from his grasp.

She lifted a vial cheerfully. "The food will be JUST fine for you if you get this antidote in your system - don't worry, I didn't poison the pot, just your bowl, and I'll gladly fetch you another -- if you'll answer some questions."

"Oh god," Ed said, and she kicked him off his chair.

Roy swallowed, mouth suddenly gone dry, and tried to force his heart rate to slow. "Very well," he said, calmly. "I would be honoured to accept questions from Fullmetal's beloved teacher."

"Did you seduce him into the military?"

"No. He left on his own; I did offer him a place there."

"Your opinions on human transmutation?"

"Sick and wrong."

Ed gave him a sideways look.

"Intentions towards Edward?"

"Whatever he will accept," Roy said. "As little or as much as that may be."

Ed choked.

"Goals in the military?" She leaned forward, glaring.

Roy was silent a long moment, then sighed. He had no choice, but Izumi Curtis at least cared enough for Edward that she wasn't likely to repeat it to someone who would be enemies of them both. "I'd prefer this isn't repeated. I plan to become Fuhrer and change the way things are run."

"Yeah? In what way? What'll you do if you become top dog?" Her eyes were narrow and angry.

Roy swallowed again - was the dizziness simply from the fear he was keeping in check, he wondered, or from the poison? "Clean it up. Remove corrupt officials and replace them with men I've learned to be honest. Prevent the type of warfare our country has seen all too often."

Izumi snorted, apparently satisfied. "You're a fucking idealist, aren't you."

"The world needs a few."

She tossed him the vial and he opened it immediately, swallowed his contents, then sighed.

"...I lied," she said.

Roy gave her a look.

She smirked, unashamed. "It's not poisoned or anything. Go on, have another bite. Go on. Is it good?"

He picked up his spoon. "Precisely how long were you staying again?"

Izumi smiled innocently. "Oh," she said. "I'd been planning on a day or so, but I have some medical problems, and it really wouldn't be good to push myself."

"Teacher-" Ed began to protest, and she elbowed him in the head.

"I'll get some doctors out to see you-"

"Wouldn't help."

"Perhaps a thorough examination-"

"I know what the fuck is wrong with me, you know."

"Maybe if we-"

Her wineglass's stem snapped in her hand like a twig. "Oh, I think rest is all I need, thank you, Colonel. I'd love to stay the week, kind of you to invite me."

Roy stared at her, expression flat, then smiled. It wasn't even entirely forced; she was interesting, if nothing else. "Well. I hope you enjoy your stay."

At least the food was good, even if Edward seemed inclined to impale himself on his fork.