What the title of the chapter says.
"That's what Brother said before leaving too," said Alphonse, standing close by. "He also said that it must be part of his mental breakdown. Start crying at any time with no reason whatsoever."
"Seems like it." The lieutenant's hand reached for a cigarette, but he reconsidered at once. After all, this was a hospital and he didn't want to be caught by any nurses. He huffed a bit and settled down on the chair nearby. "So Hughes said he's trying to teach him to speak?"
Al nodded. "I'm not sure how much he seems to understand though. His face was blank the whole time we've been talking to him."
"Remember, Al, this guy's like a baby. Babies don't learn to talk in one day."
"I know that. But still..." Al sighed. "I don't like seeing him like this. It's so sad."
"I understand," Havoc said. He looked at the sleeping man. "It's a shame, really. But for that deficiency in his mind, he seems like a perfectly normal person."
It was then that there was a gentle knock on the door and a red-haired nurse came in, carrying a tray of food for the patient. She smiled at Havoc and Alphonse and then lightly prodded the man to wake up to examine him.
Though the man opened his eyes, he didn't stir when she told him to sit up. His stare was empty.
"Poor dear," she said with a small sigh; then turned to Havoc. "Could you please help me with him, sir?" she asked in the sweetest of voices, her eyelids fluttering as she looked at him through brilliant blue eyes.
Havoc didn't need to be told twice, of course. Grinning silly, he pulled the patient upright and watched the nurse place a thermometer on the man's mouth; listen to his breathing; feel his forehead and cheeks for any unusual heat (though, as Alphonse noticed, the nurse should have checked Havoc's forehead and cheeks for that kind of thing, because his face had oddly turned crimson); his pulse; and, finally, she took out the thermometer and had a look at it.
"Well, everything seems to be normal," she concluded, smiling. She placed the thermometer back in the pocket of her gown and opened the door. "Should he need anything, just press the button and I'll be right with you."
"Wait, what if we need...?" started Havoc, but the door had already closed. "Never mind," he said with a sigh, kicking an invisible stone.
He never noticed Alphonse looking strangely at the man, for Al could have sworn that the man seemed like he was watching the scene with interest. Neither did Al say anything about it, because he felt that the soldier wouldn't believe him anyway - before Al was sure of what he had seen, the man's glance was empty once again.
"Now I know the guy is suffering from a mental breakdown," commented Havoc, waving a hand in front of the man's eyes. "A sweet little thing parading in front of him like that and he didn't so much as blink!"
Al preferred not to comment on that, since it seemed too embarrassing for him. "We should feed him," was the only thing he said.
Havoc nodded. "Will you do that?" he asked Al. "He seems to prefer it when you're feeding him."
Al had barely started feeding the man, however, when a sudden commotion was heard outside the room.
"Sir, you can't go in there without direct permission from...!"
"Out of my way, soldier!"
Havoc frowned and quickly stood up. "I'll take care of this," he said, his fingers on his gun and ready to grab it at the first sign of danger.
The door flung open, and a gruff-looking man walked in, looking first incredulously at Havoc, then at the armoured person who was by the patient's side.
"Well, well, what have we here? Pampering a suspect of murder, are we?" he asked, curling his lip in distaste.
Havoc clenched his jaw as he saluted more out of courtesy than anything else. "Lieutenant Colonel Fawcette."
Fawcette snorted. "Spare me the typicalities, Lieutenant Havoc, and you better start explaining to me why the suspect is here." He cast a glance full of contempt at Al. "And he even has a friend. I see the suspect won't be alone during court."
Al's hands curled into fists at the scorn he got.
"Alphonse Elric is here at the direct orders of Colonel Mustang," said Havoc. "Now, with all due respect, unless you have different orders from your superior, Lieutenant Colonel Fawcette, your presence isn't required here."
"Don't try being cheeky with me, Lieutenant Havoc, or I could have you court-martialled," said Fawcette. "Brigadier General Connors is getting impatient with all this nonsense about keeping the suspect here when there's no need. He seems pretty much cured from his wounds."
"He's suffering from a mental breakdown, Sir," Havoc said.
"I'm sure the Brigadier General will be understanding," Fawcette said mockingly. "He'll appoint an attorney to speak for him." He approached the bed. "Please, step away, Mr. Elric. The suspect is coming with me."
Al didn't move; he merely looked at Havoc, clearly at a loss. Havoc wanted to do something, anything; but he was aware he was outranked.
"Mr. Elric..." Fawcette started again, his tone about to become threatening.
"Alphonse, stay where you are."
Everyone, except for the patient, turned to the sound of the commanding voice.
It was Colonel Mustang, and he was now entering the room.
"Lieutenant Colonel Fawcette, may I ask the reasons for your presence in a hospital room?" he asked coldly.
If Fawcette felt daunted by Roy's presence, he certainly didn't show it.
"Colonel Mustang, I have orders from Brigadier General Connors to remove the suspect and place him under custody till the day of his trial."
"In the hopes of beating a confession out of him, no doubt," retorted Roy. "It seems such an easy thing, isn't it? The mystery of the murders can be considered solved; Connors gets the promotion he's been after for so long; and you can still be his right-hand man as Colonel, without a care in the world. Just like the good old times." Roy's words dripped with contempt. "Not this time."
Fawcette looked at Roy incredulously. "Excuse me?"
Roy's gaze hardened. "I thought I was quite clear. You can't have him."
"Colonel, you have no right to disregard..."
"On the contrary, Fawcette, it seems to me that it's the Brigadier General who has disregard of the procedures," Roy said quickly. "He disregarded the fact that it was one of my men who found this person before he sent you along with charges against said person and arresting him as suspect. He overrode jurisdiction - my jurisdiction. I'm sure the superiors would like to hear that."
Fawcette glared at Roy. "I should remind you, Colonel, that Lieutenant Havoc wasn't anywhere near this man when the arrest was made. He was at the registration desk, signing admission papers for a mere car-accident victim."
Havoc bowed his head regretfully, because he knew that what Fawcette said was true. As for Al, he was holding tightly the man's hand as he was looking first at Fawcette, then at Roy, watching apprehensively at this verbal clash.
Roy barked his laughter, not in the least fazed. "Then perhaps I should remind you/, Fawcette, that it was /Havoc's bullet in the man's shoulder. That makes it his catch - which also means mine/. So, if Connors wants this man under his jurisdiction, he first has to apply an appeal to the FÃ¼hrer; await his approval; then send to my office a notice, in triplicate, in which it's clearly stated that it's his wish to interrogate him - along with the FÃ¼hrer's /written approval, signed by King Bradley himself." He leant dangerously close to Fawcette. "Until that time, you and your men are to keep your distance from this room. Is that understood?"
Fawcette's eyes narrowed. "You're aware, of course, that the FÃ¼hrer is currently busy with other matters."
"You'll just have to wait till he's at the Brigadier General's disposal then," said Roy with a smirk. "That's quite the inconvenience for you, I'm sure."
Fawcette stiffened, but he didn't argue any further. He looked at everyone, his hatred clearly visible.
"And all this for a stinking ape," he finally growled, scowling at the patient. And he walked out, slamming the door behind him.
"Mean," Al said indignantly, looking at the direction Fawcette had taken.
"Bastard," seconded Havoc.
"Pompous ass," added Roy.
No one heard that fourth comment, for the patient merely thought of it. Yet he was currently doing his best not to lunge after the arrogant fool and show him what this ape was able to do.
He never realised that he had squeezed the armour's hand, earning a curious look from Al.