swordage: Kitty cat! (x cat)
[personal profile] swordage
Title: Coin's Mettle
Series: Fullmetal Alchemist
Rating: PG-13/R
Summary: A wrong turn can lead to adventure. A cat can most certainly lead a military maneuver. I do believe this is the most plot I have ever written, and also I have forgotten how to write transitions. This is for [livejournal.com profile] celes_grant.

The knock at the door was unexpected and thus unwelcome. Not to mention it was shortly after midnight; Ed was sure nothing good could come of this. The knock sounded again, sharp and brisk, and he ran for the bedroom.

"Colonel!" he hissed, leaping onto the nightstand. "Wake up, wake up!" When a mumbled something was the only response, he lept onto Roy's chest and very deliberately dug in his claws. Roy woke with a pained gasp, reaching to shove Ed off. Ed bit him.

"What the hell-" Roy began, and Ed snarled.

"Military at the door," he snapped. "Get the fuck up."

Roy instantly rolled out of bed, grabbing yesterday's clothes and pulling them on as he hurried toward the door.

"Idiot," Ed growled, "they've come to take you away, who the fuck pays a courtesy call at midnight?"

"They'll have the building surrounded," Roy said lowly. "Shut up, now." With that he stopped by the door, sleepily asking who was making such a racket at this hour. The reponse was hardly an answer.

"Who were you talking to?" a pleasant young man asked through the door. It sounded like it might be that Archer guy, the one that nearly got Ed kicked out of the office a week ago on some technicality about allergens. "There's no one in there but the cat, am I correct?"

"I'm sure you'd know," Roy said heavily. "What do you want?"

"For you to come along quietly, of course. The neighbors are starting to pay attention. Shall we?"

Roy leaned his head against the door, and Ed took the occasion to yowl plaintively. He heard several safeties click on the other side of the door. Very not good. Roy looked over at him, his face carefully blank.

"Go," he mouthed. "Get out of here. Go to Al."

Ed dug his claws into the carpet, uncertain. Roy was as good as dead, they both knew it; it was just a matter of whether they'd kill him now or later. As if to reinforce that, the voice spoke again.

"I would not appreciate any resistance, Mustang. Unless you are on this side of the door in the next ten seconds, I will have to take you into custody by force. I'm sure neither of us want that."

"Go," Roy mouthed again. Ed went.


"Spot?" Hawkeye asked sleepily. Oh, how Ed hated that name. "What are you doing here? I bet Colonel Mustang is wondering where you are."

Ed stood thoughtfully on her windowsill, digging his claws in for balance against the shifting wind. It was nearly dawn now; he was rapidly running out of time. Well, not much choice then. He let her lift him into the room, hissing as the cut on his side pulled - a bullet had grazed him as he ran.

"There's no time to explain," he told her, trying not to look at her expression as Roy's fluffy kitty Spot suddenly spoke. "They've got Roy, and they're going to quietly execute him. We need to get him back."

"What-" she began, then caught herself. "Who has him?"

"The fucking military, who else?" Ed said sharply. "Someone must have grown a brain to figure it out - I was supposed to be put down with the rest of Tucker's experiments, after all, anyone with his file would recognize me, and he's gotten a lot of attention since he rose from the dead and ran off -"

"Edward?" she said sharply. "Well, that certainly explains a good deal. Tell me what happened tonight, and who's known about you."


"Ed," Al said thinly, "I don't think that's the best idea."

"I don't hear any better ones!" Ed yowled. He paced rapidly along Hawkeye's desk, jumping down to curl under the table for half a minute before leaping up again. "None of his people are going to be able to get in to him, that's obvious enough, that's what they build fucking prisons for, but I can get in where humans can't."

"Ed," Al started, sounding hurt. Ed cut him off sharply with a tailflick.

"All I need to know is where they're holding him. He's probably still alive, since they're talking about his case on the radio - there's no doubt what the outcome will be, but he'll be a public example of who knows what. And if he's alive, they have to be keeping him somewhere." Ed lept onto the table, snatching a shortened pencil Hawkeye had cut down for him. Quickly sketching out a rough map, he jabbed a spot with the pencil. "There. They'll most likely be keeping him there - it's a lab supposed to be out of use, but I saw it on one of Hakuro's files once. Don't give me that look, Al, I was spying on him. I can sneak in and pick the locks -"

"And how would you get him out again?" Havoc said sharply. "Think for a minute, would you? He's gonna be under guard, how will you pick the locks right under their noses?"

"I DON'T KNOW!" Ed screamed, throwing the pencil down. "I don't fucking know!" He stood there rigidly, tail lashing angrily, fighting back the need to keep screaming. His side shuddered, spasmed with half-forgotten pain.

"Brother," Al said softly, "come here. Before we do anything, you need to be taken care of. You're still bleeding."

Silent, Ed slowly stepped over to Al, allowing himself to be picked up and carried to the bathroom. Al tended to him carefully, washing the blood from his matted fur. They said nothing, even when his wound had been cleaned and bandaged and they simply sat there together on the edge of the tub. Al hadn't called him 'brother' since he'd been made a chimera. There was nothing to say. Slowly, curled up on his younger brother's lap between huge leather hands, Ed fell asleep.


"I have a transmitter small enough," Fury was saying when Ed woke up. "Hayate's collar is too big, but-"

"I can get one," Al offered. "Some of the strays still have theirs. No tags, but..."

"That's perfect," Havoc said, sounding pleased.

"What's perfect?" Ed grumbled groggily. "Whose transmitter ran away?"

"What?" Fury asked.

"Don't mind Brother," Al said, sounding like he wanted to laugh. "He's always like this when he wakes up."

Ed yawned and stretched, blinking slowly. Taking stock of the situation, he found Roy's entire staff crammed into Hawkeye's apartment; the light creeping around the closed blinds made him think it was midday already. His bed shifted slightly, and he realised he'd been curled in the bowl of Al's cupped hands. Unthinking, he swiped his tongue over a leather thumb in thanks, turning his attention to cleaning his face next. The little noise Al made that could have been a hitched breath gave him pause; he carefully stopped his cleaning and turned his attention to the others once more.

"Alright, I'm awake," he muttered. "What's the plan now?"

"Good morning, boss," Havoc chuckled. "You're right, he's in the Fifth Lab - Fury overheard summat while fixing some faulty wiring in the communications center -"

"Imagine that," Hawkeye murmured.

"- and the plan is to send you in alone as a stray cat. You'll have a transmitter in your collar - when you're ready, you'll hit it and we'll extract you and the Colonel. That's the basics." Havoc settled back, unlit cigarette bobbing between his lips. Breda edged away from Black Hayate, who was interested in something Breda had stepped in. Ed eyed the dog archly - stupid mutt knew enough to stay away from HIM, at least.

"So basically," Ed said, "my plan is go."

"Basically," Havoc agreed with a grin. "We need a way to fix up that cut of yours, though, because you're supposed to be stray-"

"I can," Al said quietly, shifting Ed so he could reach for a pencil. They all watched, baffled, as he sketched out an array and carefully set Ed on it. It was all Ed could do to stay put; he trusted Al, but the last array he'd been used in had not been pleasant.

A moment later, a flash of light danced along the cut on his side, and it was pink and healed in its wake. Ed lept back onto Al's lap, curling his tail around him to hide how he was shaking. Evenly, he said, "So that's set. What next?"

"Next, you need a collar. Al, can you get that while we iron out the extraction?" Havoc nodded to Al, who nodded back and stood, putting Ed in the indent where he'd been sitting.

"I'll be a few minutes," Al added. "I'll pick up a few things so they don't suspect anything."

It clicked in Ed's head as the door clicked shut. Of course they were being watched; they were gathered together shortly after their superior had been taken into custody. It would be assumed they were plotting his escape, which of course they were.

"Hawkeye, you and I will be point," Havoc was saying. "Fury and Breda to the flanks, Farman to the rear. We want this to be fast and clean, and we want to get out a different way than we came in - Al, you'll hold down our exit. Best case, we get Ed to disable some folks for us."

"How?" Breda pointed out.

"If we're willing to carry him and Roy unconscious, we can give him a gas canister to knock out everyone in the immediate area," Fury offered.

"Aren't those a bit big?" Breda said doubtfully. "How'd he carry it?"

"Clearly not in my collar," Ed said dryly. "Leave it to me. I'll figure it out."

"Transmitter and gas canister," Fury murmured, clearly making a list. "Internal communications, or are we blackout?"

"No transmitters," Farman said firmly. "Too risky. If we're far apart enough to need them, we're dead anyway."

"What's the radius on the gas?" Ed interrupted. "And the timer."

"Takes effect within ten to thirty seconds, best effect in a closed area. In a ventilated ten-by-ten room, lasts several hours," Fury rattled off. "Take a deep breath and hold it before initiating the release, and don't forget to trigger the transmitter. It'll be our signal to get in and get you out, and also the homing beacon."

"Got it," Ed grinned fiercely. "The bastard Colonel had better appreciate this. No more dry kibble, I want steak every day."

The looks they gave him were priceless.


"Hey, Biggs. Think the boss was serious when he said to shoot anything that moves?"

"Yeah, why?"

"There's a cat what got in here. Here, kitty kitty."

"You idiot. It's not gonna come over."

"Sure it is. Cats like me. C'mere kitty. I won't let the big bad monsters eat you."

Ed crept cautiously closer, not entirely sure he trusted the Biggs fellow. He hadn't unslung his gun to make good on their orders, but that didn't mean much.

"You're an idiot, Wedge." Biggs shook his head and turned his attention back to the security screens. Ed tried not to breathe a sigh of relief, rewarding the dumbass by creeping closer, sniffing at them. They smelled rank.

"See, it likes me. C'mon, kitty kitty. Hey, it's got a collar. Ratty looking thing, though. Bet it's been stray for a while." Wedge had crouched down, hand outstretched and beckoning. Ed crept closer, watching the screens shift out of the corner of his eye. Empty room after empty room flickered by, until one landed on a room with guards. Then a room with an occupied cell. Then a whole hallway of occupied cells. Ed purred thoatily, creeping close enough to pretend to sniff the idiot's hand, leaping back when he moved to pet him. Now he had a plan.


"Go!" Ed snarled over the warning klaxons, flattening his ears against his skull and leaping down from the control pad. "Get the fuck out of here already!"

The chimeras seemed to take a collective breath, and then they were free. A human hand scooped him up and he twisted to bite, only to find himself caught by the scruff of his neck.

"Easy there, kit," the man laughed. "Tell us where you're going and we'll help you get there. It's the least we can do."

"To Roy," Ed said unthinkingly. "You're my distraction. We need to get away from here."

"East," a lithe woman told him, already moving. "The labs are that way, deeper in. The rest will be headed west, up and out."

"Let's go," Ed said, shaking the man that smelled of dog off his neck.


"What the-" started the guard, gasping brokenly through his abruptly crushed windpipe. Dorochet disarmed him, not even glancing up to make sure Martel had taken the other one. Ed darted between their legs, leaping up to inspect the lock on the cell.

"Buy me three minutes," he said sharply, already digging his claws into the keyhole. The other chimeras took up guard at the shattered door, communicating wordlessly. Ed tried to avoid looking inside the cell. Roy was in bad shape, unconscious and hardly breathing. Every inhale rattled badly, every exhale took too long. "Martel. There's a button on my collar. Can you push it?"

"What does it do?" she asked, already beside him and rotating the strap around his neck, searching with her fingertips.

"Gets us the fuck out of here," he said shortly. "They'll follow the beacon in. Try not to kill anyone that isn't in a uniform."

"Gotcha," she murmured, pressing the button with a small click. It almost covered the click of the cell door; Ed nearly fell on his face as it swung open, its support failing the slumped body he'd used as a stool.

"Roy!" he called, already bounding in. "Get the fuck up, Roy, it's easier if you're awake and you better not die after all this, you asshole."

A small noise answered him, one puffed eye cracking open and vaguely scanning the room.

"Yeah, it's me, don't bother trying to talk. We're getting you out whether you like it or not. And then we're gonna hide, alright? We are gonna hide like you would not believe. After we run the fuck away." Ed was babbling and he knew it, jumping up to crouch by Roy's face. "Don't ask me where we're all gonna hide, because oh man are we all fucked, but I'm sure you can think of something. Weren't you telling me about something yesterday, oh jeez was that really yesterday it feels like forever, something about refugees from some desert? I hate deserts, but that's the general idea, that whole disappearing thing-"

"Incoming," Dorochet said softly, and Ed cut himself off. Dorochet held a hand up, fingers splayed: five. Ed frowned. His people would be five, but that was no guarantee.

"No gas," Fury's unmistakable voice said bemusedly. "Why would he-"

"Because I didn't need to," Ed called. "Get in here and let me know you're who you should be, and which way is out."


"Brother," Al asked softly as they bounced along in the back of the cattle wagon, hidden from veiw by wooden slats and hay, "what did you do with the gas canister?"

"Oh yeah," he murmured absently, sniffing Roy's hand for the eleventh time just to make sure he was really there, "It's under my right arm." Sitting back on his haunches, he began to pick carefully with his claws at the even stitches that held it just under his skin.

"That's-" Al started, sounding sick, but then he caught himself. "...Here, at least let me heal it after."

"No complaints here," Ed muttered, distracted. "It stings like a bitch."

"Hey, kids," Havoc mumbled sleepily. "Let a guy rest, wouldja? It's been a long day, and it'll be a while before we get anywheres."

Ed severed the last stitch and winced, gently easing the canister from under his skin. Holding up the bloodied tube, he asked, "We need this?"

"Can't hurt," Fury offered, rubbing his eyes. "You're not tired, are you."

"Exhausted," Ed admitted, rolling the tube in the hay to clean it. "I usually sleep a good part of the day. But there's things that need to be done first."

"Like what?" Al asked, sketching an array on the floor of the cart, careful of the bumps in the road.

"Like... um... Saying thank you to everyone." Ed glanced away from Havoc's raised eyebrow, finding himself looking at Roy instead. "I know you probably would have done something anyway, but..."

"Edward." Hawkeye reached over, gently resting her hand on his head. He flinched slightly, still watching Roy breathe. "Go to sleep."

"...Okay," he mumbled, and curled up between Roy and Al, pointedly ignoring the relieved sighs from all around.


"I don't care if my rib is cracked," Roy declared irritably. "I am tired of lying in bed-"

"Shut up!" Ed cried, flattening his ears to his head and sitting back so he could but his hands over them as well. "Grow up, old man! I could care less if you got up and killed yourself, but Hawkeye would have my skin!"

"And how is sitting on me going to help my rib?" Roy demanded, prodding Ed's unprotected stomach. He tumbled backward with a yelp, scrambling back up with bruised dignity.

"How else am I supposed to keep you in bed?" he returned, viciously curling his claws into Roy's stomach. He dodged the swat that followed easily. "Now shut up and be a good boy-"

"Oh, that's it," Roy decided, throwing the blanket over Ed's head for him to burrow out of. The bed shifted ominously as Roy swung his legs over the side, testing them before deciding to stand.

Ed grumbled and growled his way out long after Roy had left the room. He curled up in the warm dent Roy had left, sullenly deciding that the bastard wouldn't be able to go back to bed at all, if he wanted to be up so badly. Wanting to enjoy Roy's scent still lingering on the sheets had nothing to do with it.

And when Al came in and carried him out to nap in the sunlight, being with everyone as they talked and laughed and whiled away the day had nothing to do with staying there, either. Even when the dastardly sunbeam decided it would only warm Roy's lap, forcing him to curl up there.

Nothing to do with it at all.

Ed smiled as he dreamed.


1. Catnip
2. Feline
3. Coin's Mettle

(no subject)

Date: 2006-02-20 09:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] empty-geas.livejournal.com
Absolute love. You got Ed's character very well and the closeness between himself and Al came through really well, even with the obvious discomfort over Ed's change. I really liked the guest cameo by the chimeras. This is a lovely au verse. Do you have more planned out for later or are you just writing the parts as they come?

(no subject)

Date: 2006-02-22 02:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] empty-geas.livejournal.com
Your AUs are wonderful and should be appreciate them. I'm sorry it took me so long to get a comment up on it. I'd realy enjoy reading more before or after this point in the plot if you ever get it worked out.

And Celes is right. Much glee at teh Biggs and Wedge cameo. I can't believe I forgot to mention them the first time round....

(no subject)

Date: 2006-02-22 02:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] celes-grant.livejournal.com
Oh wow! Awesome!! I love the Biggs cameo in there yar XD

Sorry it took me so long to reply....

Damn school XD

(no subject)

Date: 2006-02-22 01:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] celes-grant.livejournal.com

(no subject)

Date: 2006-03-02 05:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stabtastic.livejournal.com
I really liked this. AUs are always cool, your characters are spot on, and that little bit of Ed's feelings for Roy really makes me want to see what happens next :)

(no subject)

Date: 2006-03-09 04:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flame-of-chaos.livejournal.com

Wow, that's awesome. I love your AUs. And OMGWTFBBQ, chimeras. So kewl~ =DD

Yes, yes. Dastardly sunbeam. Why did it have to only land on Roy's lap? XD


(no subject)

Date: 2006-03-09 10:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flame-of-chaos.livejournal.com
Oh no, no, no. I made sure and read Catnip first. XD I hate being lost.

Cyberpunk crossover AU? *ears perk* Oh, I'm quite interested, do tell. =3

....*blinks*...*rolls up nearby newspaper then swiftly thwaps you over the head with it* No, bad Swordage! D< You do not suck! *waggles newspaper sternly at you* I'm sorry Kimmy-chan, I couldn't help myself..Dx *shifty look* You are Kimbley, right..?

(no subject)

Date: 2006-03-10 04:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flame-of-chaos.livejournal.com
Yesyesyesyesyesyessssss~ I dddooooo~ *cling-hug* I want to beta the pretty sshhinnyy~

(no subject)

Date: 2006-03-10 04:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flame-of-chaos.livejournal.com
I know what you mean..*huggles Roy-kun with wibbly happy eyes* He usually cowers/runs at the first sign of trouble, but he's loyal to the end. >w<

*paws incessently, mewling loudly* Writeitwriteitwriteitwriteeeeetttttt~!!!! I wanna seeeeeee~ *whine-growl* It's like Matrix..*shifty look*..Only cooler..'Cuz it has anime...@.@ *headdesk* Such an otaku..

*thwap-smacks you repeatedly* Yes, newspaper! I keep doing it until you stop! D< You no sucky! *bares fangs* 'Cuz AU cyperpunk is kkeewwwlll~ Unless you're implying that I suck?! D< Ah-HA! >D I KNEW it! *bounces gleefully* And you should be. >/ Forgetting to put Kimbley in..Ugh. I am ashamed for you.

(no subject)

Date: 2006-03-11 01:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flame-of-chaos.livejournal.com
Yeah, I have characters like that. o.o It can be anime chars or even real people..o.O It's rather odd. At least to me.

*has been filter-ed* =DD *happy chibi dance**continues to stare at hatred of the Matrix but makes no comment*

*hugs then sticks out hand* Care to join the club..? It's ultra-exclusive but hey, no dues! =] *pokes quiet kimble muse with ten-foot pole then hides* And yeah, deletion is okay as long as it makes the story better, yes? =D I mean, it's not final until it's the final draft. =3

(no subject)

Date: 2006-03-12 12:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flame-of-chaos.livejournal.com
When I said the Matrix, I meant the first movie. The other two do no exist in my book. They were an embarassment to the whole concept. x-x

Don't I know it. :'D I apparently need to see a shrink about mine. *huggles purdy Swordage* =DDD Yeah, I know..O.O It reminds me about the thing my step-dad used to say about the quiet dogs. Barking dogs don't bite. It's the quiet ones you have to watch out for. And I know all about deletion. D': I lost some of my older work, so ho'yay, total rewrite!


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