evening_bat: Bat in flight, silhouetted against the moon. (Default)
[personal profile] evening_bat
Title: Liveware Problem
Author: [personal profile] evening_bat
Pairing: Roy/Ed
Rating: Rish (entirely for Ed's foul mouth)
Word Count: ~ 1400
Warnings: none
Summary: We seem to be experiencing a PEBKAC error.
Notes: So I used to work in a reception/tech support type role...  And when [livejournal.com profile] akainagi mentioned she was having a crappy day at work, it reminded me of this cracky bit of self-indulgence.  Hope it brightens someone’s day and uh, please to not be taking this at all seriously.

Liveware Problem

Everyone jumped when the door to their suite slammed open without warning.  Jean, whose misfortune it was to occupy the desk closest to the door, started so violently that he almost tipped himself out of his chair.  Kain yelped as coffee from the cup Jean had been cradling sloshed over the edge of his desk.  Heymans just rolled his eyes and blew ashes off of his paperwork when Jean’s flailing knocked his not-so-carefully hidden ashtray flying.  Riza just passed Kain a wad of tissues and turned a calm stare on the person glowering at them from the doorway.

“Someone called about a computer problem?” Ed growled into the chaos his entry had caused.

“We did,” Riza confirmed.  “Please come this way.”

Ed snorted, tossing his ponytail over his shoulder as he stomped into the office.  “Oh great.  Don’t tell me that he managed to screw up his machine again?”

“He has,” Riza replied, quirking an infinitesimal, sympathetic smile at Ed’s eloquent sigh.

“I thought Al was the one that answered the phone?” Jean asked as Ed blew past his desk, blotting futilely at his dress shirt with a few tissues he’d snitched from Kain.

“He did,” Ed answered grumpily.  “But the Records branch called just after you guys and Al’s the only one who can figure out their stupid system.”

Given Ed’s reputation for being able to fix anything short of a smoking ruin, it was far likelier that Al was the only one who had the patience to deal with Records’ antiquated system.  Not that anyone was going to argue with the notoriously cranky tech genius.

“So lucky me,” Ed was saying as he reached their manager’s office and pushed the door open, “I get to come up and see what the hell you’ve done this time.”

“Ah, Edward,” came Roy’s voice.  “Always wonderful to see you.”

“Shove it, Roy,” Ed snapped.  “I’d be a whole lot happier if I didn’t have to see you so damn often.  Who the fuck kills their computer twice in three days?  This week alone?”

No one flinched when Ed kicked the door shut behind him; they were too busy trying to hear what he was saying.  You couldn’t pay for a better show than Ed and Roy at odds.

“I believe you all have work of your own to do?” Riza pointedly reminded her too-curious colleagues.

“Aw, c’mon!” Jean protested.  “We’re going to miss --”

“I think you’d best concern yourself with your own affairs,” she interrupted, pointing to his desk.  “Unless you’d prefer to explain to Edward why your keyboard took a coffee bath?”

“Shit!” Jean exclaimed, hastily swiping at the spreading puddle.  Kain and Vato hastened to help, while Heymans snickered and pointed to areas at particular risk.

Satisfied that their attention had been sufficiently redirected, Riza returned to her desk.  There would be more than enough work to make up without letting the office fall further behind.

On the other side of the door, Ed glared at Roy.  “So?  What is it now?”

Roy pushed himself away from his desk, both hands held up in surrender.  “I don’t know.  It’s not working.”

“Not working?” Ed repeated scathingly.  “Gee, thanks.  That clears it right up.  You think you could be a bit more specific?”

Roy’s smile widened as Ed’s scowl deepened with frustration.  “I’m not sure what happened.  One minute everything was working just fine, the next minute it was all dead,” he offered, waving a hand at the pile of inert electronics on his desk.

“Did you try --” Ed began.

“And yes, I did try restarting it,” Roy cut him off smartly.  “It won’t start.”

“It won’t start?  At all?”  Ed blinked at that, then shook himself.  “Well, if anyone could fry a computer just by looking at it, it’s you.”

“I’m hardly that bad,” Roy protested mildly.

“Ha!” Ed scoffed.  “Then why do I end up in your office more often than everyone else’s put together?”

“I couldn’t say,” Roy said.  “Bad connections?”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever.  Out of the way,” Ed ordered.

Roy obediently rolled his chair further away from the desk, watching patiently as Ed tried turning his computer back on with no success.

“Okay, fine, you bastard,” Ed sighed, apparently addressing the computer.  “Make me work for a better look, why don’t you?”

“Don’t mind if I do,” Roy murmured (carefully under his breath) as Ed crawled under the desk.

The Elrics were good enough at their jobs that management tended to look the other way over minor things like dress code violations, especially since Al, at least, generally wore jeans that were more denim than hole.  This afternoon, however, Ed was wearing a gloriously frayed pair, which his position under Roy’s desk was displaying to wonderful effect.  Really, Roy couldn’t be blamed for appreciating such a sight if it presented itself, could he?

“Oh for fuck’s sake, Roy!  Half of these cables are unplugged!” Ed shouted in disgust.

“Are they?” Roy answered absently, eyes on the enticing curve of Ed’s ass as he squirmed around.  “I can’t think of how that might have happened.”

There was a dangerous silence from under the desk.

"If you're staring at my ass, I am going to stab you with your own pen," Ed told him flatly.  

“Now, Edward,” Roy protested, hastily redirecting his eyes to a handful of papers he swiped from his desk.  "Would I do something like that?"  


"In my own office?"  There was a trick to projecting injured innocence.  Roy had mastered it years ago.

"ESPECIALLY in your own office," Ed shot back venomously.

“What have I ever done to deserve the low opinion of me you have?” Roy asked mournfully, grinning safely out of Ed’s sight.

“Playing footsie with your computer cables sure as shit isn’t helping!” Ed informed him as he emerged from under the desk, intriguingly flushed from his efforts.  He jabbed the power button and sent Roy a viciously pleased grin when the computer chimed in response, start up sequence proceeding without a hitch.  “Save it for your dates next time, would you?”

He headed for the door as he was speaking but the lack of response surprised him and he twisted mid-step, surprising a look of consideration on Roy’s face.

As soon as Roy caught Ed looking, he wiped the expression off of his face and replaced it with a bland smile.  “I’ll keep the advice in mind.  Thank you for fixing my computer.”

“S’my job, isn’t it?” Ed said, shrugging uncomfortably as he darted a suspicious glance at Roy.

“So it is,” Roy acknowledged, smile broadening into something more genuine.

“Yeah, well,” Ed muttered, edging towards the door.  “Try not to need anything else for the next little while.”

Roy let him go without further comment, merely raising an eyebrow when Riza stepped into the gap Ed had left.

“A last minute cancellation of a teleconference is no excuse to waste IT’s time,” she informed him.  “Edward has more important things to do than entertain you.”

“What are you suggesting, Riza?  I’m just hopeless with computers,” Roy answered airily, though his smirk told an entirely different story.

“I’m suggesting you ask him out, Roy,” Riza replied, ignoring his astonishment and reflexive protest.  “I have it on good authority that he’d say yes.”

“Eventually,” Roy managed dryly.  “After he stopped swearing at me, maybe.”

“Probably,” she agreed as she withdrew to the outer office.  “But he would say yes.”

Roy wasn’t left to wonder about Riza’s “good authority” for long.

Just get on with things and ask my brother out, read the e-mail from Al that landed in Roy’s inbox a few minutes later.  I’m getting tired of hearing him complain that you kill more computers than we do houseplants.  You take him out somewhere that serves good food, I’ll make sure he wears those leather pants you keep hearing about.  Everybody wins.

Roy stared thoughtfully at the message for a long moment before deciding against asking Al if tomorrow was too soon.  But he was due a coffee break about now and there was no reason not to stop by the IT office on his way back.  A coffee was the least he owed Ed, after all.  And now he had even more incentive to stay on Al’s good side.

He carefully did not notice the money changing hands as he swept out of the office


Note: For those of you who’ve been lucky enough to avoid working in tech support, PEBKAC = Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair. Otherwise known as User Error.  :)


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