Video Game Hank

If You Sing Loud and Clear

someone passing by will surely hear

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Giving Up The Ghost - Birthday Fic for Lenna!
Video Game Hank
Just popping up with some birthday wishes!

Happy birthday, lennaofmidearth! Even though you will not see this until tomorrow. :D I hope you have an awesome one! Here's a fic for you!

Title: Giving Up The Ghost
Author: theladyfeylene
Fandom: Fullmetal Alchemist
Pairing: Roy/Havoc, allusions to Maes/Roy
Rating: PG-13
Spoilers: Full series
Word Count: 3,497
Summary: Havoc hadn't realized the date, hadn't paid attention to the subdued feel of the office on that day. But the look on Mustang's face told him everything he needed to know.

“This isn’t how it was supposed to be.”

Jean Havoc frowned, the soft words startling him in the stillness of the hallway. He glanced at the half-open door to his right. He’d been just passing by, he hadn’t meant to eavesdrop. How did you eavesdrop on a single person, anyway? Well, he supposed that’s what he was doing now. But how was he supposed to know the colonel would be talking to himself?

“Sir?” Havoc poked his head in the door, aware that if he stood there too long, heard too much, things would probably get awkward. Better to pretend he hadn’t heard anything clearly, had thought maybe Mustang had called out to him as he passed by the doorway.

Colonel Roy Mustang, hero of the Ishbal War, leader of the now-famous military coup, sat at his desk with a rather defeated expression. He was staring at, of all things, the telephone on his desk. His one eye was narrowed, ass though the machine had done him some great personal wrong.

“Sir?” Havoc repeated again, a bit louder. This wasn’t like the colonel - or maybe it was. It wasn’t like Havoc was privy to the other man’s personal moments.

“Lieutenant!” The colonel seemed to snap to himself, almost as though he’d just come out of a light sleep. “Was there something you needed?”

“Huh? Oh, no.” Havoc shook his head. “I was just walking by and I thought you said something. Shouldn’t you be gone by now? It’s after four…”

It wasn’t like Mustang to stick around after hours, either. It wasn’t like Havoc, either, but he’d been attempting to charm one of the desk clerks. It hadn’t worked.

“Is it?” Mustang peered at the clock. Havoc stepped into the office, not waiting for an invitation. Was there something going on that he didn’t know about? No, because Hawkeye was long gone, and even if the rest of them were kept in the dark, she never was.

“Yeah, it’s a quarter after.”

“Then what are you doing here?” Trust Mustang to turn the question around on him. Havoc grinned sheepishly, his cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth. May as well be honest, there was no reason to lie.

“Her name’s Helen,” he said, shrugging.

“A date?”

“A potential date,” Havoc corrected, still looking rather sheepish.

“Ah. A rejection.” Mustang nodded sagely and Havoc resisted the urge to bristle. Instead he pulled another cigarette from his pocket and lit it with the stub of the one between his lips. Mustang watched him, and for a moment Havoc wondered if he was going to be reprimanded or lectured about his health.

“The Brigadier General Hughes used to smoke, you know.”

Havoc blinked, caught off guard for a moment by what seemed to be a non sequitor. But then he remembered the date and he fought to keep his expression neutral. He hadn’t remembered, because it had been six years - seven, now - and he had never been one to dwell in the past. But everything came together for him then.

“That so?” was all he said, leaning against the doorframe.

“He quit when he got married,” Mustang explained and Havoc nodded.

“Yeah, that’s usually the way. You know, I think I can remember him smoking, now. Back when I was just a warrant officer. Well, you know what they say about us soldiers. We either smoke or we drink…”

“And half of us do both,” Mustang finished, the ghost of a smile flickering around the corners of his lips. “He never did quit drinking.”

“Women are a little more lenient about the drinking, I think,” Havoc mused. This was new and a little disconcerting, standing here idly talking with Mustang. And the subject of conversation was never one he thought he’d be discussing with his commanding officer. There were certain subjects Mustang was rather tight lipped about, and his deceased friend was one of them.

“It stinks less,” Mustang said, mildly.

“You telling me I stink, chief?” Havoc grinned thought. “Hey, since we’re on the subject…” he trailed off, scrubbing at the back of his neck with a hand. “Wanna grab I drink? I mean, I was gonna get one anyway, may as well do it in some company.”

“Can’t find a woman to keep you company, so you ask your commanding officer?” Again, that small flicker of a smile. Just the barest hints of one, struggling against Mustang’s cold and hard demeanor. Havoc wanted to see it finish, evolve into a full blown smile. It had been too damn long since the colonel smiled.

“Well, you’re not as pretty as Helen, but I figure I’ve got more of a chance at spending the evening you.” Havoc grinned, teasing, trying to coax a smile.

“Marginally,” Mustang said, with a small snort. He titled his head, eyes focused on Havoc rather intently. As though he were trying to figure something out. “A drink? Alright.”

Havoc rolled his eyes and waited for Mustang to get his coat, feeling somewhat awkward. But what else was he going to do? Just let the guy sit there and wallow in… whatever it was he was wallowing in? And besides, he and Mustang were pretty close he figured. Sure, the other man was his superior officer but they’d been through hell and back together. If anything, they had a soldier’s bond. But it was still somewhat awkward, because they’d never done anything alone together. Sometimes Mustang would play poker with the rest of them, and sometimes they’d all head out for drinks, but Mustang didn’t do one on one with anybody but Hawkeye. Usually.

The two men exited Headquarters in silence. It was a gray and overcast day, more foggy than drizzly, and Havoc puffed vigorously on his cigarette in an effort to keep it lit. They didn’t go far, just around the corner to a little hole in the wall bar where all the soldiers gathered to drink. Every city had a place like that, where the officers and soldiers and men of law came and claimed it as their own.

Havoc followed Mustang to the bar, taking the stool at the very end, beside the other man. It was dim and warm inside, the mingled scents of beer and polished wood adding to the atmosphere. Soldier’s bars were all the same - dark and clean and quiet. They didn’t even have to order, not here. A glass of scotch was set before Mustang, a glass of whiskey for Havoc.

“So,” Havoc said, toying idly with his glass. “Toast?”

“A toast,” Mustang repeated, but he was looking at the surface of the bar and not Havoc. “To Maes Hughes.”

“To the Brigadier General,” Havoc agreed, lifting his glass. The subject of the toast didn’t surprise him. He could feel the ghost of Maes Hughes almost painfully, knew it haunted Mustang in ways he couldn’t begin to imagine. And he knew there was nowhere Mustang could go to escape it - probably didn’t want to, anyway. “He was a hell of a guy.”

“We were in the academy together,” Mustang said, after knocking back his drink. “He was quite the scoundrel in those days.”

“Scoundrel?” Havoc laughed. “Hard to imagine it.”

“Oh yes. For weeks I lived in constant paranoia of his pranks. We shared a bunk and he…” Mustang shook his head. “He did enjoy livening things up.”

“Never would have thought of him like that,” Havoc mused, glad at least the topic seemed to be turning to fond memories.

“He was a very complicated man.” Mustang signaled for another drink. “He went into Investigations because he didn’t want to see the front lines. Sometimes I think the battlefield would have been kinder to the eye than some of what he dealt with.”

“He was good at what he did though,” Havoc pointed out. He had a general idea of what the Brigadier General’s job had entailed. And it wasn’t something he wanted to think on too deeply.

“He was the best,” Mustang muttered, already halfway through another drink. Havoc suddenly had visions of dealing with a drunk and depressed superior officer. And he didn’t know quite how to handle it.

“I’ll drink to that,” Havoc said, his eyes now critical as he watched Mustang. Would the other man be doing this alone, if Havoc hadn’t passed by his office? Would he be in this bar, drinking to a dead man in silence? Or would he do it at home? Or hell, in the office?

“It’s been seven years.” A third drink for Mustang. Havoc frowned, and wondered how much trouble he’d get in if he stopped the other man from drinking. “Seven god damn years. And I still… every time the telephone rings, I…”

“Hey, sometimes…” Havoc shrugged, uncomfortable. This wasn’t the sort of thing he was used to dealing with. Certainly not from Mustang. “Sometimes stuff stays with us, you know? We all have our ghosts, sir.”

“We’re soldiers,” was the terse reply. And Havoc supposed that was right, they were soldiers. Soldiers went to war, war made ghosts. But this was a side of the colonel he’d never seen before. And he wondered if Mustang meant to show it to him, or if it had just happened.

“Why don’t you have a glass of water, sir,” Havoc suggested gently, as another drink came from the bartender.

“I can handle my drink, lieutenant.”

“I’m more worried about me handling your drink, sir,” Havoc pointed out with a weak grin. “If you pass out, I’m not about to carry you.”

“I am not going to pass out.” Mustang shook his head. “I never pass out. Not from drinking. Maes used to. I remember dragging home night after night - even when he was married. He‘d drink until he was stupid and then he‘d just… give out, halfway home. It never failed.” The ghost of the smile was back, strong now. Havoc was nursing his second drink, well aware it would hit him harder than normal on an empty stomach.

“Well, I promise not to pass out on you,” he said, reaching out and resting his hand familiarly on Mustang’s arm. There was a moment of silence. Mustang looked down at Havoc’s hand, and Havoc looked at Mustang looking at him. And then slowly, as though through water, Mustang’s hand came and covered Havoc’s.

“I think,” Mustang said, carefully. “Perhaps this was a bad idea.”

“I’m not really known for my good ones, sir.” Mustang’s hand was warm and it gripped Havoc’s, holding him tightly and surprising the blond man. Mustang was drunk. And clutching him like a lifeline.

“No,” Mustang said, roughly. “You’re not. You don‘t think before you act. You don‘t have a head for strategy. You know your gun and you know your target and you know lining your sights and squeezing the trigger.”

“It’s what I do,” Havoc agreed, his hand still grasped in Mustang’s.

“I’m not one for guns,” Mustang went on. His voice was hoarse and throaty from the drinking and the smoke in the air. “There’s no strategy in them, no finesse, just pointing and shooting.”

“Hey now, that’s over-simplifying it,” Havoc pointed out, grinning some. He may as well indulge his drunken commander. “There’s a lot of finesse to guns. You’ve got to take of them, gotta know their little quirks and personalities, gotta treat’em right and learn just what they can do. Maybe if you used one now and again, you’d understand’em better.”

Mustang just snorted, his lips twisted up in as close to a real smile as Havoc had seen.

“You’re a passionate man, lieutenant.” Mustang leaned forward, his eyes somehow both shadowed and bright in the dim bar. “You’ve played with fire before, haven’t you?”

“Uh, sir…” Havoc chuckled, scrubbing his free hand through his hair. There was going to be a whole hell of a lot of awkwardness in the morning, he could tell. More than he’d realized, because suddenly Mustang’s forehead was pressed against his. Mustang’s hand was still holding his. And Havoc realize he was playing with fire, dangerous, dangerous fire. And he was going to get burned if he wasn’t careful.

“Take me home, Lieutenant.”

“You’re drunk, sir.” It was the only thing Havoc could think to say. The bar had taken on a surreal quality, dim and foggy and dreamlike. The feel of Mustang’s skin against his was warm and strange and not entirely unwelcome, and he wondered how much of that was the whiskey talking.

“Not nearly drunk enough,” Mustang snorted, closing his eyes.

“If we want to get technical about it, I don’t think I’m drunk enough,” Havoc responded, gently and with a small chuckle. “Come on. Let’s get you out of here and hydrated, or something. You need a hand getting up?”

“I most certainly do not.” Mustang drew back then, steady, and stood. Havoc covered the bar tab, ignoring the fact that the other man reached for his wallet. He didn’t know exactly what he should be doing. He was pretty certain that his superior officer had just hit on him. His male superior officer. The superior officer who had a long history of stealing Havoc’s women. He really didn’t have any way of handling this sort of situation, other than to get Mustang sobered up as soon as possible.

The only problem was, Mustang really didn’t seem that drunk. He wasn’t wobbling or weaving as he walked. He wasn’t slurring his words. He wasn’t out of his head with drinking. And that fact hounded at Havoc, bothered him, wouldn’t let him just dismiss the incident as a drunken idea.

“Here,” Mustang muttered, stopping before his townhouse. “Are you coming in?”

“I dunno,” Havoc said, honestly. What would happen if he did? If Mustang had been hitting on him, would this be seen as an acceptance? Havoc really wasn’t prepared to embark on a complex untangling and dissection of his own sexuality in the space of time it took to climb the porch stairs and enter Mustang’s apartment. Throw in that added ‘superior officer’ issue, and he figured he’d need days to work all of this out.

“Worried I’m going to take advantage of you?” There was that quirked smile, tossed casually over Mustang’s shoulder.

“Well, are you?” Havoc asked, chuckling weakly.

“You said yourself you aren’t drunk enough.”

“Ha, ha.” Okay, did that count as flirting? Were they flirting? Havoc wondered if he was over thinking things. Maybe he was drunker than he thought, and he was seeing things that weren’t there.

“Perhaps it would be best if you walked away and we forgot tonight ever happened.” Mustang paused with his key in the lock. Havoc remained at the bottom of the steps, shifting awkwardly.

“The old ‘this didn’t happen’ trick, huh?” Havoc shrugged. “Look, sir, I’m not even sure what exactly did happen. Or is happening. Or…” He sighed. “I mean, I think I’ve got an idea but…”

“Yes, I think you have the general gist of things.” Mustang sighed. “I told you this was a bad idea.”

“Well, you didn’t say that until after… well….” Havoc trailed off. “Alright. Let’s just lay everything out on the table, okay? Are you expressing a romantic interest in me, sir?”

“I suppose I am.” Mustang made a soft noise, not quite a laugh.

“Okay.” Havoc took a deep breath. One part of his mind couldn’t help but scream out the sheer irony of the situation to him. Years of chasing fruitlessly after women, and the one time someone shows an interest, it’s his tipsy, male commanding officer. “Alright, sir, I…” Great. He did have to rapidly and suddenly detangle his sexuality on a moment‘s notice. Well, he never had had any luck with women…

But there were too many other factors. Why now? Why tonight? Because Havoc had, so to speak, extended the opportunity? Or was there more to it? He couldn’t shake a niggling suspicion that maybe there was. He couldn’t just dismiss the entire conversation prior to Mustang’s sudden interest, or what day it was.

“I've never really thought about... you know. And, you? I didn't think you..." He trailed off, making no sense and he knew it.

"I haven't," Mustang said. "Not... for a very long time." And there was a touch of something in the colonel's voice that sealed everything for Havoc. He nodded, hands in his pockets. So that was how it was. But no, that wasn't everything, because that wasn't Mustang. It was just the circumstances, coming together and complicating things.

"I’ll make you a deal,” Havoc said, slowly. “I think you’re right that this is a bad idea. Not ‘cause we’re both guys or ‘cause you’re my boss, but… look, you still wanna do this tomorrow, I’ll… well, I can’t make you any promises. But I won’t walk away like I’m gonna tonight.”

“You’re smarter than anyone gives you credit for,” Mustang said, faintly.

“If you say so.” Havoc shrugged and chuckled, and pulled a cigarette from his breast pocket. “You gonna be okay?”

“I’ll be fine, lieutenant.”

“You know, if you’re gonna hit on me, you may as well use my name.” Havoc grinned. “Just a suggestion, sir.”

“Then I’d appreciate it if you dropped the ‘sir’.” Mustang still stood with his hand resting on the doorknob. “Tomorrow, then. I’ll… I’ll call you.”

“Why don’t you just come by my place,” Havoc suggested. “I figure we’re gonna need to have a nice long talk anyway.”

“I suppose.” Mustang frowned. “Thank you. For not…”

“Yeah, yeah, I know.” Havoc held up his hands, grinning. “Don’t get all soft on me now.”

“Then I suppose I’ll see you tomorrow,” Mustang said, opening his door. “Goodnight… Havoc.”

“Night sir.” Havoc winced. “Uh, I mean… ‘night Roy.” This was going to take some getting used to. Or not. He didn‘t know what the hell was going to happen. He just knew that on this night, he wouldn‘t be able to shake the notion that the ghost of Maes Hughes was haunting them still, in more intimate ways than he‘d first thought. Roy needed to lay his ghosts to rest before anything could happen, if there was anything to happen at all.

When the door closed, Jean Havoc turned away and headed out to the street, bewildered and bothered and only now coming out of his surreal, dreamlike state. He didn’t know what was going to happen tomorrow, didn’t even know how to think about it. But he did know that regardless, something between him and the colonel had changed forever. And maybe, just maybe, it was for the better.

The icon used on this post is also yours, but I thought what better way to showcase it? :D
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wow, that was very interesting. Loved the intensity of grief present through it. And the point of view of Havok is wonderful.

Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed. :D

Eeeeeee, loved this *_* The emotion in it was wonderful; it rare that I find a piece of writing that moves me like this did.

YAY! Thank you so much! *blushes* Thank you! Your feedback seriously made my day!

Mmm, I loved this. You characterize both of them so beautifully. Yay.

Thank you so much! :D Wheee!

oh wow, this was just fabulous - I absolutely love your characterization and Havoc's decision was very nicely done. Wonderful job ^^

Thank you! I'm so glad you think so. :D Thanks so much for the feedback!

I like this piece. It was rather...mature. Does that make sense? I liked the way the situation was handled by both of them. Good job. :D

Thank you, very much! That does make sense, I'm glad you enjoyed!

Thank you! I really enjoyed that. I'd say more know. I do better in person anyway.


I am very glad you enjoyed! *hugs* I know you do. :D

Interesting. I loved the ghost of Hughes throughout this and the very real tensions created by Mustang's flirting. All too often people just fall into bed instantly and it always strains my ability to make the leap. THis didn't. It felt quite real

Thank you! Yeah, I try and keep my fic to a more realistic dynamic between people. I'm very glad that came through! :D

and I appreciate it (it's something I try as well). Sometimes it's harder to do than people think

I really loved this too. The characterizations were great, the mood and emotions were perfect, and I also loved that they didn't fall into bed instantly, like something was saved for another day.

Thank you so much! Yeah, I couldn't see Havoc actually going to bed with Roy at this point. :D I'm very glad it's IC and fits!

This is awesome! Aptly titled and so very full of emotion. I love Havoc and you really got into his head here. Beautiful.

Thank you! I'm very glad the emotion came through in this, and the characterizations were right. I'm so glad you enjoyed, and thank you so much for the feedback!

This was beautiful. Protecting Roy is Havoc's overriding goal, even when it means protecting Roy from his own self. You used the flame and gun imagery to very good effect, as they added a lot of depth.

You showed Havoc as an easy-going guy, who doesn't spend a lot of time thinking about himself, and that made his interior journey as he tries to come to terms with Mustang's offer all the more entertaining. Like this passage:
Havoc really wasn’t prepared to embark on a complex untangling and dissection of his own sexuality in the space of time it took to climb the porch stairs and enter Mustang’s apartment. Throw in that added ‘superior officer’ issue, and he figured he’d need days to work all of this out. Amusing and sweet.

I also liked that you didn't hammer home that Havoc figured out that Mustang propositioned him because of his memories of his relationship with Hughes. The little hint made it more poignant.

A lovely piece.

Thank you, very much! I'm so glad you enjoyed the story! I really enjoyed writing this peice, and it was s much different than what I usually write. Thank you so much for the feedback, I really appreciate it!

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