I've been writing fanfiction for over ten years and have 18 stories published.
Roy looked around the tiny hotel room. It was clean, but that was all it had going for it. It didn't even have a pool or free breakfast, not that he cared much for either, it was just a sign of a lousy hotel when they didn't have one. “Remind me again why we’re sharing a hotel room?”
“Because you asked Brother to get the hotel,” Alphonse replied as his brother had collapsed onto one of the beds and started snoring the moment they'd entered the room.
“Majors get paid enough for decent hotel rooms. What does he spend it all? Candy and bright red coats?”
“Brother doesn't like to waste money on hotels if it's only for one night.”
“He never struck me as a cheapskate,” he muttered under his breath, not expecting Al to hear him from the other side of the room, but he got a reply anyway.
“He says we have better things to spend our money on.”
“Like candy and bright red coats.” Al had a laugh in his voice though there were no outward signs of amusement. Roy chuckled as he walked to the bathroom and started to get ready for bed before grabbing his novel and climbing into the bed not occupied by a snoring teenager.
“What are you reading?” Al asked from his corner making Roy jump in surprise.
“I thought you were asleep.”
“I don't sleep.” There was definitely something sad in his voice now and his helmet lowered a few degrees. Roy thought about this, unsure of why that would be a problem. He couldn't imagine the number of things he could get done if he didn't have to waste time sleeping. Al was a kid though, they got bored easily.
“What do you do all night?”
“Wait mostly. I read if there's anything nearby, Brother doesn't like me leaving by myself and books are heavy so we don't carry them around a lot.”
Mustang nodded his understanding. “Well feel free to pick this one up when I fall asleep." He lifted up the book to indicate what he was talking about.
Mustang smiled at the excitement in his voice.
“Oh, sometimes I try to decipher Brother's alchemy notes too. "
This piqued Mustang’s interest more than he wanted to admit. Kid or not, Edward was an alchemic genius. He could only imagine the amount of knowledge lying in those notes.
"Try? "He asked looking at the suit of armor now, he wondered if his face showed as much interest as he felt.
“I think he changes the code a lot. Every time I feel like I've got something figured out it seems to me nothing on the next page. "
Mustang stared at him for a moment before his eyes flickered onto Ed’s briefcase. Al knew Ed so well that Breada was nearly convincing had some kind alchemic telepathy or something. And even he couldn’t decipher them.
“You can look at them if you want, " Al said and Roy realized he was still staring at the briefcase.
“Seriously? " Roy's eyes returned to Al, alchemy research what is encoded for a reason after all.
Al shrugged and got up. "Sure, I've joked about getting them published and in the library a couple times, he just laughed. I'd say it's because he doesn't mind, but really I think he’s just is confident no one will decipher them. You've probably seen them before. He doesn't hide them."
"I have? " Roy put his book down not having read a word.
Alphonse opened Ed’s briefcase and grabbed a notebook with tabs sticking out of its pages in every direction. Mustang had seen it before. It was the travel log Edward took with him everywhere, he’d seen him writing in it several times. Even seen Havok snatch it away from him at one point, thinking it was a diary or something. Ed must be confident that no one could decipher it. He grinned.
"Maybe I'll just have to prove him wrong then," he said glaring at the little notebook in Al’s hand.
“I'll trade you,” Al said in an innocent and friendly voice, Mustang handed over the book easily.
"I'll be careful with it. "
Mustang hardly heard him, examining the front and back covers for any kind of clue. It was leather bound with little metal clasps on the corners but no flap to keep it closed. It was clever actually, something this worn and beat up, too unassuming for a casual observer to assume they were alchemic notes in it. Plus they were from a small town and traveled a lot it made sense that Edward would have a travel log. Roy’s notes are pristine, maybe a little too pristine actually since they were made to look like discarded letters to old girlfriends. He’d have to remedy that. The notebook was also a small, no bigger than most things on hand, thick but small, again not something one would assume is full of alchemy notes especially from one as talented as the Fullmetal Alchemist. Then there were the tabs, were they part of the code, a decoy, or there just to mark bookmarks.
He hadn't even opened the log yet and he was already intimidated by what he was seeing. No doubt the response Edward was hoping for.
He was going to need a lot more paper than this low-class hotel had provided.
Ed woke with a stretch and sat up on the cheap hotel bed. Rubbing the sleep out of his eyes.
“Good morning, brother. " Al said in a tone that Ed knew included a smile.
“Did you sleep well?”
“Yep,” Ed said pulling himself into a sitting position and stretching again. He could hear the insides of his metal arm humming perfectly and reliably, he didn't manage to break it this time which meant he could avoid a wrench to the face for one more mission.
He got out of bed and looked at Al on the floor, with a book in his hand, Ed didn't recognize it. He climbed out of the bed noticing Mustang and the other one, still asleep, on his stomach and facing away from him. “Figures you'd sleep in, lazy bastard.” He muttered to himself before going in search of clean clothes. “Did you get bored last night?” Ed asked looking at his brother again, where had he gotten that book? He hadn't gone out to a bookstore on his own or something had he?
“Nope, the Colonel let me borrow his book.
“I let the Colonel borrow your notebook in exchange for the book. He was interested. "
“Of course he was, " Ed walked back to that side of Mustang’s bed, now that he was looking he saw the journal on the stand beside the bed under a notepad provided by the hotel.
Ed picked up the notebook, the handwriting was uncharacteristically tiny as if to make full use of every sheet of paper. And sure enough every sheet, front and back was full. Ed grinned as he flipped through, seeing where Mustang had backtracked or where he managed to get something right. He was better than Al that was clear, he might have to talk his brother into doing some more studying on the subject. Regardless, a quick scan of the back pages told Ed that Mustang hadn't so much is made a dent in the code.
“Well that feels good," he said without really thinking about it.
"Did he get anywhere? " Al asked
“Not really, though he's right a tad more than often than I like.”
“You don't like it when I'm right, period.”
"Yeah, I'm going to have to do something about that."
“You said he didn't get anywhere with it, you don't have to make it harder. "
"Nice try," he said before hitting Mustang in the head with the journal, just hard enough to wake him.
“The hell…?” he jumped looking around stupidly.
“What the hell does charollais mean?” he asked his eyes flickering to the pad of paper in Ed's hand.
“It's a type of sheep.”
Mustang swore, "I was banking on that being important."
“Nope,” Ed said with a cocky grin. “Train leaves in an hour. "
Mustang sighed and pulled himself out of the bed. "I'm going to need coffee if I'm going to be stuck in a train with you all day. "
“Oh hey, Mustang," Ed said rubbing an ache in his shoulder and stump. Mustang gave a half-hearted sort of a grunt and acknowledgment. "I've got a surprise for you. I think you'll like it. "
“Somehow I doubt that." Despite his disbelief, Mustang turned away from the coffee and even Al looked up from the book.
Ed took two steps to the window and pulled open the curtain. Rain streaked down the window and came down so hard Ed wouldn’t have been able to see the street a few yards away even if he had been looking outside instead of at Mustang’s look of horror.
Colonel Roy Mustang chugged the entire pot of coffee before Ed and Al head to bodily drag him from the hotel.