A/N: It's Royai Week, and today's AU/Crossover. So of course I'm posting what I wrote for today in here. It's also in my Royai Week collection (The Things That Are), and on my tumblr (fullmetalgrigori).

66.) Grifter


The Aerugonian Job


"Roy? We've got trouble." Fuery's voice crackled through the earwig in his ear, and though he was trying hard to keep calm, there was an undercurrent of panic in the technician's voice.

"Kain? What's wrong?" Roy asked quietly, raising his champagne glass to hide the movement of his mouth.

"I didn't know they were going to be here, I'm sorry, I just found their frequency over the radio and hacked it, I didn't see it before—" Panic started to win as Fuery babbled on, and Roy ground his teeth impatiently. He'd forgotten how unsatisfying it was to be on the end of an earwig, unable to send a simple glance or a look to calm the young computer whiz down.

"Calm down, Kain." A smooth voice cut across the chatter, effectively silencing the channel. "Take a breath, and tell us what you've got."

Riza was always good in a crisis, Roy thought. Though he hoped this didn't count as one.

It did, apparently. "The Elrics are here," Fuery finally managed to say. "Both of them. And they know we are too."

Colorful expletives rattled around inside Roy's skull, but he was careful not to let any of them slip. Instead, he exhaled forcefully though his nose and asked, "Any idea where they are exactly? Or what their game plan is?"

"I'm working on it." And from the distracted sound of Fuery's voice, he was. "But I know they're in the building somewhere, so keep an eye out."

"Hawkeye?"

"On it, sir," she answered crisply. He caught sight of her near the edge of the ballroom, clad in a high-collared navy dress and holding a clutch that contained far more than an average woman's. Her eyes darted from corner to corner, but she was careful to remain inconspicuous in her scrutiny.

"Should we call it off, boss?" Havoc asked him. Roy saw him on the right side of the room, fiddling with a cufflink and keeping tabs on their mark.

"While we have never been caught, statistically, the odds of succeeding against the Elric brothers are not in our favor." Falman's unflappable voice was steady as always, even when reciting pessimistic figures. Roy could picture him seated at command headquarters, combing the hacked security feeds for a glimpse of the two agents.

"It's your call, chief," Breda said. Roy wasn't sure exactly where he was, only that he was somewhere in the bowels of the building, securing an escape route should they need it. He sounded unconcerned, though there was a slight lilt of worry in his tone.

And as Roy listened to the voices of his team, he wondered (not for the first time) how on earth he'd gotten there.

(Not in that particular ballroom, of course—he was clear enough on that. He was thinking more in the existential sense.)

It'd just been him in the beginning. Well, him and Riza. They'd grown up together, under the tutelage of the master grifter, Berthold Hawkeye. After he'd died, Roy and Riza had stuck out on their own, running cons and pulling the occasional heist or two. Over the years, they'd assembled a motley crew of thieves and crooks, until they numbered six. And as their team expanded, so did their jobs. Now, they were scamming one of the country's wealthiest and most respected businessmen, and the Elric brothers were about to send it all crashing down at their feet.

Roy sighed. "Can't pull out now. Promised Maes I'd get those diamonds to him tonight."

"He can wait a day, boss," Havoc said with exasperation. "I'm sure he'd care more about you staying out of jail."

"If we pull out now, we might not get another chance," Riza said mildly. "The Elrics will probably warn King, and then it'll be the end of it. We either go now, or we find another job."

Roy swirled the champagne glass in his hand, the casual gesture at odds with the anxiety brewing in his stomach. "No, we don't back out. We're almost there and I won't let some two-bit government agents scare us away."

"Yessir," a chorus of voices chimed.

"Havoc, chat up King's wife and draw her away, will you?"

"Gimme five minutes."

"You've got three."

There was some grumbling on the other end of the com, but Havoc ambled his way to Mrs. King with a sunny smile on his face, and Roy knew it would be done. That was Havoc's specialty, after all. Put him in a roomful of complete strangers and he'd have them all eating out of the palm of his hand in less than ten minutes.

"Falman, I want eyes on them, now."

"On it," came the crisp reply.

"Whaddaya want me to do, boss?" Breda asked gruffly.

"Keep on that escape route," Roy ordered. "We might need it, and soon. And let me know if anything comes up."

"Yessir."

Roy rubbed his temples as the com quieted. The Elric brothers were just what he didn't need right now, but that couldn't be helped. Wishing for things you didn't have never did anyone any good, so Roy straightened up and said, "Riza, to me."

"Already here, sir," she said, and her voice was not in his ear but by his side. It was only years of practice that kept Roy from jumping out of his skin.

"Don't do that to me, Hawkeye," he grumbled. "My nerves don't need the stress."

Riza scoffed. "Your nerves are fine, and don't tell me some cock-and-bull story about your worry over the Elrics. You've always loved a challenge, and tonight is no different."

Roy wanted to deny her accusation, but Riza had known him too long, and she might have had some semblance of a point. And from the look on her face, she knew it.

Instead of responding, he changed the subject. "Have you seen them yet?"

She inclined her head to the far corner of the ballroom. "At your one o'clock."

Two heads of golden hair were bent together, whispered and casting the occasional glance to the crowd. Roy scowled at them. At almost the same time, the two agents stiffened and turned his way, and Roy felt a frisson of alarm race up his spine. A rookie might have jerked out of sight, but Roy was no rookie, and neither was the woman at his side.

He looked at her, his movements slow and casual. "They're coming, aren't they?"

"Yes," she answered simply.

"Intent?"

"I don't see handcuffs, but they don't exactly look friendly," she said in a deadpan. "Try to be on your best behavior."

"Aren't I always?"

Riza was cut off mid-scoff by a hand tapping Roy's shoulder. Flashing him a warning look, she turned and slipped away, leaving him to talk with a very unhappy-looking Edward Elric. He watched her go, noting the way her hand tapped his five times.

Five minutes.

"Mustang," the agent before him said, the word bitten off with clenched teeth.

"Elric," he said, nodding in greeting. "What an unexpected surprise."

"And yet, I'm not surprised at all to find you here," Elric replied, gold eyes sparking with scorn. "What is it this time? Art? Jewels? Life savings?"

"You make it sound like I kick puppies and drown infants for a living," Roy scoffed, setting his champagne glass down on a passing tray. "I've never hurt anyone, you know that."

Elric's mouth tightened. "It's still crime."

"That I've yet to be convicted for," Roy pointed out. "And as I'm not committing one right now, and I have an invitation…" He trailed off, but Elric didn't get the hint. "I see no reason for you to be hassling me."

"We're not here on official business, technically." Elric's younger brother spoke up, looking apologetic.

Roy scanned them up and down, noticing their black-tie attire for the first time. Official or not, the elder Elric was still packing under his formal wear, and Roy's eyebrow lifted in skepticism. The agent noticed and scowled, as though daring Roy to comment.

"I see we're playing dress up tonight," he drawled, casually glancing out into the crowd. He caught sight of two-toned blond hair, along with a swish of navy dress and a flash of a eyepatch. It was almost time.

Elric seethed before him. "I know I can't prove it now, but I will one of these days. And then you'll be behind bars, and I'll be the one who's laughing."

"Maybe so, but then who will go after men like him?" Roy nodded to King, who was paused in the doorway of the ballroom, talking to someone inside.

Elric glared at him, but had no reply. As he stomped off, his brother leaned in closer.

"I'm sorry Mustang, for him. But you know why."

Roy nodded, because he did know, and while he hated the thorn that was the Elric brothers, he could never quite muster up the strength to pluck it from his side.

"Be careful," Alphonse Elric said suddenly. "Men like him…" He glanced to the doors King had just disappeared behind and shuddered, "I'd much rather see King behind bars than you," he admitted before straightening up. He caught Roy's gaze, and his gold eyes hardened. It was difficult, sometimes, to see Edward in Alphonse, but there was no mistaking the resemblance now. "Don't misunderstand me, Mustang. I will do my job."

"I wouldn't expect anything less," Roy said honestly. "Now, if you'll excuse me…"

He was gone before the agent could reply, weaving his way between guests as he made his way to the door Riza had left from. If all had gone according to plan, King would be up in his office, waiting for Riza to join him, and then the job would begin.

Roy scowled. This was his least favorite part of the night's plan, but it couldn't be avoided. King's safe would accept nothing less than the man himself, so the man himself they would bring.

It didn't mean Roy had to like it.

"To your left, around the corner, then right." Riza's voice crackled through his com. Roy followed her instructions and stepped over a chain barrier to find her waiting for him in the next hallway over.

"Upstairs?" he asked.

She nodded. "And the Elrics?"

Roy shook his head. "Not on duty. They may suspect us, but they can't pursue. Just have to be a little more careful."

Riza's mouth flattened in an exasperated line. "We're always careful, Roy. You, on the other hand…"

Her words flew over his head. "You called me Roy."

A faint blush touched her cheeks. Riza was always careful to call address him professionally while on jobs, but she'd slip up every now and again. Roy loved pointing them out to her when she did. "I'm sorry, sir," she said stiffly. "It won't happen again."

"I don't mind," Roy said softly. Was she drawing closer to him, or was he leaning in…?

Riza's eyes widened in alarm as the sound of footsteps echoed from the hallway behind them. "Someone's coming," she hissed.

He shrugged. "Let them come."

"This hallway's off limits," she reminded him, head swiveling for a side door to duck into. Unfortunately, the only door was at the end of the corridor, far from their reach.

If they didn't act fast, they'd be caught, and this whole thing could be over before it began.

Roy acted on instinct, and suddenly his lips were on hers, and they were kissing, and Roy's thought process didn't extend much further than that.

She squeaked in surprise, and if Roy wasn't so busy running his tongue along her bottom lip, he'd've laughed out loud. Riza Hawkeye didn't squeak. But (apparently) she did when being kissed by one Roy Mustang.

Seconds that felt like hours later, she relaxed into his arms, and Roy felt a rush of heat race across his skin as she wound her arms around his neck. Her mouth pressed hard against his, because that was how she did things.

One of his hands was flush against her waist as the other moved to cup her face, thumb stroking across her cheek. She broke away, chest heaving and cheeks flushed, and Roy smirked at her before dipping down to kiss along her jaw.

Her hands fluttered as if to push him off, but they stilled as his lips met hers again. He'd been careful not to leave a mark, because she had a job to do, and damn if that didn't kill the mood.

Thankfully, they were interrupted before Roy's thoughts could wander any further down that path.

"Oi! This area's off limits!" A burly security guard glowered down at them, beady eyes narrowed in distaste. "Can't you read?"

Roy doubted the walking steroid in front of them could, but wisely chose not to comment. He made sure to stumble a little as he backed away, and slurred his words. "Sorry, buddy, just havin' a bit a fun." He leered at Riza, enjoying the way her face flushed and her eyes sparked.

"Yeah, well, save it for later," Steroid said, grumbling as he watched them clamber over the chain barrier and walk off down the hallway. His heavy footsteps started up again a moment later.

Roy threw an arm around Riza and leaned in close. "Still watching us?"

"No," she said, and her voice was tense.

"Don't get mad," he warned, leaning away to give her a little space. "We needed a distraction."

"So you decided to kiss me," she said flatly.

Roy shrugged. "It worked, didn't it?"

Her mouth tightened, and Roy softened. "I'm sorry I sprang it on you, but it was the first thing I thought of." And maybe that was telling her a little too much, but Roy couldn't find it in himself to care.

Riza read between the lines easily, and the look she gave him was a little more tender than he was expecting. But all she said was, "I have to go."

"I know. And I hate it."

"I know you do."

"Be careful."

She nodded to him as they drew level with the ballroom doors. Roy pulled his arm away to let her go, but she caught hold of him before he could.

"Riza, what—"

Her kiss was short and only on the cheek, but it burned like fire long after the click of her heels faded.

Roy wanted more than anything to race up the stairs after her and stop her from meeting King, but he knew he couldn't, just like he knew she could do what needed doing. They were partners, him and her, and Roy would have to trust in that as he always had.

In the meantime, he had a job to do.