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For [livejournal.com profile] bob_fish's juicy murder mystery, which you just have to keep reading.

Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Gen Fic
Characters/Pairings: Team Mustang, Hakuro, Madam Christmas
Summary: You've only been awake for thirty-six hours, staged a coup, fought a bunch of monsters and nearly died a few times. It's not as if you've had a tough day." Post-Manga, Slightly AU from Ch 105. What if Olivia Armstrong hadn't survived the Promised Day? The final battle is over, but the struggle for Amestris goes on - and if Team Mustang were looking forward to a little rest and recuperation, they can think again. When Fuhrer Grumman dies after only a few hours in office, Roy and Riza launch a secret murder investigation. The stakes are high: not only the country's future, but the lives of everyone they know …

Go Read 'The Riderless Horse'

Chapter 1

Roy gets up, takes the flowers and notices the small white envelope poking out of the bouquet. Then he looks up to see a sergeant standing in the doorway, with a field telephone on his back. He's holding the receiver. "Major Miles for you, sir," he says, proffering the receiver. Roy walks over to him, takes it, and motions the sergeant back into Riza's room. When Riza sees them entering, Roy stepping backwards into the room, the sergeant shuffling after him, her mouth twitches.

"Mustang," says Roy.

"Sir," says Miles. His voice sounds horribly strained. The loss of Major General Armstrong must be hitting him hard. "Sir, Fuhrer Grumman was found collapsed in his office a few minutes ago and couldn't be roused. The medics have just pronounced him dead."

Riza's mouth has stopped twitching.

"It's a suspected heart attack," Miles continues. Riza hops out of bed and walks towards Roy.

"No named successor?"

"No, sir." Riza has taken the envelope from his hand. She holds it up in front of him, so that he can see the small, stylised rose printed in the corner. He pulls in a breath.

The card reads: Congratulations on your promotion.
Take care of the girls and make sure that they get well soon. My love to your mother, Maria x

It's a message from the dead after all. Maria is Grumman.

"Oh god," says Riza very quietly. "He knew."

And people don't generally send words of farewell just before they drop unexpectedly dead of a heart attack, do they? Grumman sent this message knowing, or guessing, that he was about to die. And he filled it with code.

There has been a murder, says the voice of a radio detective in Roy's head. He sags against the wall, and imagines Grumman's chuckles joining Roy's own quiet, hysterical laughter.

Chapter 2

"Sir," says Miles. Roy startles out of his thoughts and looks up. "However you can use me, I'm here."

Roy hesitates. He'd bring this man onto his team in a second. But doesn't Miles have his own battles to fight? "I imagine," Roy says carefully, "that you might get permanent command of Briggs, things as they are."

Miles' head cants towards him sharply. Then he says, "I've considered that. On the train up to Central, Hakuro wasn't letting me anywhere near his carriage. But I can take a good guess at what he's up to. Am I right, sir?"

Roy nods and gives him a wry grin.

"As highest ranking officer, I command Briggs for now. Briggs is a part of Amestris. The whole takes priority over the part. We've left good men and women holding the wall. The soldiers of Briggs are yours to command, sir." Roy can barely make out his eyes through the sunglasses, but he can still feel the intensity of Miles' stare.

Roy wants to say a lot of things that are probably better left unsaid. After a moment, he pushes off the wall to stand upright, fully facing Miles. "Thank you, Major. I appreciate it. I'll be making use of you, then."

Miles turns to him, salutes, and grins a hard, purposeful little grin.

This project has been such a blast! ^_^ Thanks for the good times, everyone.
Now, go check out [livejournal.com profile] a_big_apple's & [livejournal.com profile] almost_british's sweet fanarts for this fic if you haven't already! ;)

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