Title: The Last Straw
Word Count: 999
Characters: Olivia Armstrong, Miles, A few OC's
Summary: Olivia finally agrees with Grumman on something. A troubling thought, to be sure
A/N: Post Brotherhood. This was originally written for the LJ community FMA Fic Contest for the prompt: "One day, your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it is worth watching." - Oscar Wilde.
Oh yeah, not mine, never will be, yadda yadda.
There was nothing more irritating, Olivia reflected as the most recent General stood up to make a boisterous claim about some underling of his, than a meeting with directionless men.
It had been like this for weeks. Ever since Grumman took over as the Fuehrer the old administration had been deposed. Only six out of the eleven seats for Generals were currently occupied, and each of the mindless idiots she was trying (and failing) to ignore were making their efforts to fill them with one bright and upcoming soldier or another, someone from their own ranks of course, and since a majority vote and an agreement for candidacy from the Fuehrer was needed to even consider the candidate, the talks had started.
Then they hadn't stopped for one idiotic reason or another, much to Olivia's annoyance. The only choice for the seventh seat being – and Olivier was loathe to put the option forth – one Colonel Roy Mustang, Flame Alchemist and womanizer extraordinaire.
However slick and manipulative he could be, it didn’t immediately dispel the fact that he was a good soldier, smart to a fault, able to sniff out a trap from a mile away, and resourceful enough to figure a way out of it if he were caught in one. He was also loyal to his country and willing to do anything to keep it safe, as he had proven during the coup.
And if Mustang were to become General, then Olivia had hope that these talks could be more than the ridiculous posturing it currently was.
She smiled a little. It was caught by the idiot making his speech about Lt. Colonel no-one-in-particular and he nodded conspiratorially to her, as if they were of one mind on whatever nonsense he was spouting. Olivia held back a derisive snort. The poor fool wouldn’t know what hit him once voting commenced.
The overconfident droning went on, and Olivia refused to squirm in her seat – the damn uncomfortable piece of wood. If Mustang were here she could be at least somewhat entertained by his fantastical theories about how to make the country better.
There was an indignant squawk and yelling started around the wide conference table. Two of the Generals stood up, banging their fists on the table to emphasize whatever they were saying. General Tover’s face was almost purple with indignation. It suited him, Olivia thought distantly. However, if it got any worse she was concerned he might have a stroke, which would mean one more seat open and more talks.
Olivia stood up, slamming both hands on the table. “Gentlemen!” She shouted with enough force to make two other generals jump. “We’re obviously not getting anywhere today-“
“Because Markallis is spouting utter nonsense,” Tover snapped. Olivia tended to agree with him but decided in the best interests of diplomacy – and getting out of this meeting – to keep her thoughts to herself.
“How dare you!” Markallis shouted, the image of righteous anger. “Lt. Colonel Steeps is a perfect candidate, you’ve seen the documents-“
“Which I’m pretty sure are forged!” Tover grabbed a stack of papers, waving it under Markallis’ nose. “We all know it!”
“Do you have proof?” Olivia asked.
Tover glanced irritatingly at her before he stuck his nose in the air like a prissy aristocrat. “My intelligence team looked into this Steeps. He was in Ishval for less than three months-”
“The amount of time doesn't matter,” Markallis shot back. “He saved an entire platoon and received the highest honors for it.”
Tover sneered. “Yes, and then he disappeared from active duty until the war was conveniently over.”
Markalis scowled. “Injuries sustained in combat and recovery from automail surgeries. He lost his foot. Which is more than what you've done in your time along the Creta border wars. Delivering missives between companies was it?” Markallis' eyes glowed evily. “A very comfortable position without much fighting. Do you know what it is to almost die at the hands of another?”
Tover looked thunderous. “Yes I do! And one day your life is going to flash before your eyes, make sure it is worth watching.”
Markallis looked shocked. “Is that a threat?”
Olivia could feel her eye twitch. “Enough! This is getting nowhere, and I’ve had it with the both of you.” She leveled an icy glare at both men. Markallis was smart enough to lower his gaze, but Tover still stood his ground, although sweat started to bead along his forehead.
“You can’t just decide when the meeting is over, it’s a consensus,” one of the newer Generals – Olivia couldn’t remember his name, although with his pudgy, pink, piglike face and nasal voice he was hard to forget – sniffed disdainfully. It was the only thing she could remember the man saying all afternoon.
“I’m not making a decision today, and neither are these two.” She jabbed a thumb in direction of Tover and Markallis. “And a majority vote needs to happen. There’s six of us. You do the math.” She stood, spun on her heel and headed for the door as the room behind her erupted in arguments again.
She closed the door with a resounding snap, already feeling lighter once out of the room. Damn, but they were impossible. She dearly wanted to rub at the small, throbbing place between her brows.
“Tough meeting?” Major Miles asked. He handed her a tall glass of water. The man was trained to perfection.
“The lot of them are fools.” Olivia took the glass, draining the whole thing in a few short gulps. Grumman's offer for Mustang's candidacy really was the only way for them to move forward. For once the two were actually in synch with something. A troubling thought, to be sure. She handed the empty glass back to her subordinate. There really was no hope for it. “Contact Fuherer Grumman. Let him know I'll agree to his candidacy for Colonel Mustang.”