Yet again: all Becca's fault.
Fandom: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and/or manga
Rating: PG-13ish for language, I guess
Spoilers: None! Unless you count "everybody's awesome" as a spoiler. Set post-Ishval and maybe two or three years pre-canon.
Summary: Well, what the hell, thinks Havoc. Nobody ever claimed working for the Flame Alchemist was boring.
Edit: now cross-posted to AO3 here.
So there's not really a lot Jean Havoc can do with this situation, right now.
Oh, he's backup. And he's ready, so far as that goes. He's got his sidearm in hand, clip loaded and a few more on his belt, and he's watching the front and back and sides and shadows. (And he's got a cigarette in his mouth, but that's not relevant.) Jean might not have been on the front lines like the colonel and the first lieutenant and Breda -- and he saw enough frontliners coming back, and he's heard enough stories from people who're not the colonel and the first lieutenant, to know what a hell of a difference that made for him -- but all the same, they shipped half his class out early to help with mop-up, and even if they called it advanced practical training, that was combat. Soldiers died, and civilians too. He knows enemies can come from anywhere, and he knows you never let your guard down in a firefight.
But, well, when Colonel Mustang's around, it's a lot more literal a firefight than usual.
Which is to say, right now there's a fire the size of a car -- okay, a stack of cars -- burning on air and nothing, and filling up the entire mouth of the alleyway in front of their squad. Great roaring arms of flame wrap around to either side, blocking Harold Pettison from darting away down a side street or anybody (or anything) else from sneaking up to help him. He's not a combat alchemist, this guy, and he's got a big pigsticker of a knife but he doesn't hold it like somebody who really knows what he's doing. And yeah, Havoc knows that Pettison had a couple of accomplices who might or might not've stayed down when they were hit -- First Lieutenant Hawkeye doesn't miss often, but the angle sucked and she was noncommittal enough about whether she hit the second guy that he's pretty sure she was frustrated -- and he doesn't think there's another chimera around but he can't be sure. The three dead ones were pretty damn sneaky for giant unholy lion-snake-horse things. So yeah, there's reason to stay vigilant. All the same, being backup is feeling a lot like being an afterthought now that the chimera-shooting part's over.
Even with the wind streaming towards the fire, the heat's just a notch below too much, and he can feel the skin on his face and hands tightening. It's like sitting too close to a campfire, except that only a moron would be doing that voluntarily on a July afternoon. The colonel's standing two yards closer -- well, he would, and it's not as if he's got anything to worry about -- and his coattails keep billowing. It's a very dramatic silhouette, and Jean is privately sure that's the entire reason the bastard colonel wears his coat so often. Hell, he probably maneuvers the air or something to make it billow more.
Pettison is shouting something impassioned. It's hard to hear what he's saying over the noise of the fire, but the colonel's closer, and he's not looking impressed. Pretty bored, in fact. Jean's not surprised; what they know about Harold Pettison basically boils down to 1) he's a genius at making huge toothy chimerae that want to eat your face, and 2) he's got automail feet, and 3) he's totally bugfuck crazy.
And 4) nobody in the government had any kind of file on him that mentioned items 1 and 3 until this latest rampaging-chimera spree, which has to be making the brass collectively shit a brick, but hey, that one's not Havoc's problem.
Out of the corner of his eye he sees 1st Lt. Hawkeye's head jerk up, and his attention snaps over, following her gaze -- and oh shit, there's a gleam of metal up on that low roof that wasn't there before, could be nothing but he's pretty sure it's very much something. Fuck, yes, that's a rifle barrel, and the angle's shit for even seeing a person hiding up there, let alone taking aim -- Havoc's got to shoot practically straight up but that gun barrel's pointing right at the colonel, shit shit shit fuck.
"Sir," snaps Hawkeye at the colonel, and it's not even a shout, just urgent, and Jean fires off a shot that he know won't do much good ("Look out, sir!" he yells, because cigarette or not he's willing to shout) but maybe it'll make the sniper duck or something, and meanwhile the lieutenant's whirled and she's running--
She's running towards the flames in a flat-out sprint, and Jean wants to just gape. He shoots at the roof again instead, and hopes he saw the sniper duck down a little. Jean can feel the heat from here, and that fire's taller than his head, but Hawkeye never flinches. Just pounds on and throws herself forward into the roaring conflagration right as it goes instantly, completely out.
The sudden silence slams down like a wall. It's punctuated by the grunt-and-thud of Pettison hitting the pavement (Hawkeye's got a mean leg-sweep, and she's just used it to spin out of that sprint) and three gunshots in rapid succession, all Hawkeye's.
And, twenty feet up, a choked yell of pain.
Pettison lunges to his metal feet with his own yell, something about how he's got them now -- Havoc can hear him fine with the fire gone, but he doesn't fucking care -- and Havoc yanks his gun around to bear, but he doesn't have time to decide between wound and kill shot before there's another bang and a snap-whoosh simultanously. Pettison's knife clatters to the pavement and he stumbles back a step, trying to grab one-handed for both his burned hand and the bullet in his shoulder.
Time starts to move normally again -- seriously, what the hell was that, two breaths? -- as Havoc jerks his head and snaps "Go!" and Yevgeny and Carruthers and Garrett all pound forward to grab the guy. The fight's gone out of Pettison now; he's sobbing with pain and fury, and he hardly even resists as they yank his arms back for the handcuffs. Lt. Hawkeye keeps her gun trained steadily on his head anyway, until the lock clicks into place. Five more soldiers, at another quick gesture from Havoc, hurry towards the fire escape and the building's interior stairs, and that wounded (or dead) sniper. Havoc himself heads forward past the cluster around Pettison to a point where he can get a good shot at that roof, just in case.
Colonel Mustang ignores them all entirely. He's staring straight at Lt. Hawkeye, his eyes narrowed, and there's something a little funny about his face.
Lt. Hawkeye holsters, and abruptly Jean realizes what's weird: the colonel's gone white. He doesn't know if it's anger or something else; he's never seen that look on Colonel Mustang's face before, and he doesn't know what to make of it.
"Lieutenant!" Mustang snaps, and Havoc feels himself brace instinctively at that tone, even though he knows he's not the one getting called to the carpet. That would be First Lieutenant Hawkeye, Miss Balls of Solid Steel What The HELL over there.
First Lieutenant Hawkeye, who's returning the colonel's glare with the same mild look she uses when he tries to dodge paperwork.
"What the hell was that, lieutenant!?"
"Please don't get so far ahead of your backup, sir."
Jean nearly drops his cigarette at that placid sally. Up on the roof, Heimler gives the all-clear, and a quick throat-cut gesture: the sniper's dead. Which means Jean is free to holster up and turn his focus, with horrified fascination, to the dressing-down going on in front of him.
Well, the attempted dressing-down. Colonel Mustang is about as terrifyingly furious an officer as Havoc's ever seen right now, and that includes old man Bunch back at academy, and he wouldn't want to be in Hawkeye's shoes, but she's just listening at calm attention. "You could have-- That was a stupid, reckless move!"
"I couldn't have hit him from farther back, sir. He had too much cover. I knew you weren't going to burn me."
Mustang exhales, and takes another half-step forward. "Don't ever do that again," he says, low and intense. "That's an order." Maybe it's another level of anger; the colonel spends so much time smirking, Havoc is realizing, that he's hard to read in any other mood. He can't see the colonel's face any more at this angle, which is kind of a pity. All he can see is the first lieutenant's direct, calm gaze.
"Sir," says Hawkeye.
The moment stretches.
Jean hears a breath puff out of the colonel -- startled, Jean thinks for a second it's a laugh, but that's not quite right -- and then Mustang swings around, raking them all with a narrow-eyed stare. "Come on. Let's get this idiot locked away."
Colonel Mustang stalks off down the alley, across unblackened pavement and through the warm air that was a firestorm not five minutes ago. Lt. Hawkeye falls into step at his shoulder, one pace back, same as any other day. Havoc trades a look with the variously bemused soldiers around him.
Well, what the hell. Nobody ever claimed working for the Flame Alchemist was boring.
"Come on, boys," he says, and takes the first actual drag on his cigarette in a while. "You heard the colonel. Heimler, Waters, you bring that bastard down, and grab anything he had along. We've got paperwork ahead."