72. "I will knock you on your ass if you even think about it."
Tradition was highly valued within the Armstrong family. Not that that fact was a mystery to anyone within earshot of Alex as he did anything that was 'passed down the Armstrong line for generations,' which was generally either followed or preceded by Alex stripping his shirt from his body and flaunting his muscles.
Thankfully he had yet to strip his short at this party.
Olivier tugged at the collar of her dress. She would much rather have attended this nonsensical, utterly pointless ball in her dress uniform. Or not at all, if she were to be honest. While her fort at Briggs was in capable hands while she was in Central for the first formal ball to celebrate Fuhrer Grumman, she would much rather be in the cold vastness of the mountains the stuffy clutter that was Central.
Although she supposed she should consider herself lucky that she was even invited to the ball. In the chaos that followed the military after the Promised Day, Olivier was lucky that the council saw the truth that all of her actions were for the betterment of the whole country and reinstated her to her position as Major General, allowing her to return to her mountain fort she loved so much.
It was better than any alternative that could have been offered to her.
A waiter passed her by and grabbed one of the glasses of wine from it. Personally, she would have preferred something stronger, something that would actually intoxicate her so she wouldn't have to deal with the idle chit-chat of the ninnies that made up a significant portion of the Central soldiers. She drank deeply out of the crystal glass.
"You might want to take it easy there. We wouldn't want any unsolicited sword fights due to intoxication. It wouldn't do well for anyone if you were to seriously injure yourself."
Olivier nearly spit the wine that was in her mouth out again. Fortunately for her, it was a fine wine, not one that could be wasted simply due to an unsavory character idling up beside her. And she was Olivier Armstrong, heir to the Armstrong family line. She did not spit.
Lowering the glass from her lips, Olivier didn't take her eyes from the rest of the party on the floor in front of her.
"Shouldn't you go back to your date Mustang? Or have to abandoned her to pursue other interests?" Olivier's voice was as cold as the ice that surrounded her beloved fort.
Mustang laughed, seemingly unfazed by the hostility in her voice. If Olivier were to wager a guess without looking, she would expect that his face would hold the tell-tale flush of someone who never could hold their alcohol very well. She had heard through the grapevine he was a lightweight when it came to alcohol. It was appearing that she was about to find out for herself if the rumors held any weight.
Olivier broke her intent stare-down of everyone on the dance floor to look at the recently promoted Brigadier General. After the take-down of the upper echelons of the military on the Promised Day, a power vacuum had been created, and Grumman had been forced to promote some of the more trustworthy commanders to surround him.
And of course Roy Mustang would be one of those that was promoted. To the public he was something of a hero, protecting the First Lady from assassination in the chaos of the day. Of course they didn't know that a part of the chaos was actually planned by him. But they still didn't know that the former fuhrer was a homunculus either.
Mustang was indeed showing the signs of intoxication. There was an undeniable blush dusting his cheeks and he was leaning unsteadily on his feet. It was lucky there was a pillar near him, Olivier refused to catch him if he should lose the stability he had left.
"'What date?' Don't tell me that an esteemed womanizer like you came to a party like this without a beautiful woman on his arm. People may get the idea you're starting to mature."
Olivier turned her attention back to the floor. Grumman was leading his granddaughter around the floor with an amount of energy that one wouldn't normally expect from a man of his age. Most of the other dancers abandoned the steps of their dance to watch as their ruler danced with the only living family he had left.
Hawkeye was looking like she very much wanted to fade into the draperies. As a trained sniper and professional bodyguard, standing in the spotlight would never come easy to her. Especially now that she was the only relative of the leader of the country.
Luckily for her, that piece of information wasn't common knowledge midst the masses. Otherwise there would be no escape for her from the spotlight.
"She didn't believe me when I told her that she looked beautiful before she came tonight."
Olivier spared a sideways glance at the dark-haired alchemist. Roy had made his way to stand beside her, a sappy grin on his face. His arms were crossed easily on his chest as he admired the way his subordinate moved across the floor with her grandfather. The longer his eyes stayed on the blonde woman who had recently cut her hair short, the softer his face became.
It was almost like a reflection of her brother's face when he found something new to fawn over.
After a small huff, Olivier downed the rest of the wine in her glass. She didn't like Mustang. As a rival, any assistance she gave him would run contrary to the way she worked. Only the strongest survive. That was the way of Briggs. Yet she still opened her mouth.
"I will knock you on your ass if you think about it."
Startled from whatever daydream he was having, Mustang tensed, though his eyes never left the dance floor where Grumman and Hawkeye had finished their dance. In an attempt to regain the suave exterior he fronted with the public he cleared his throat.
"Excuse me? Think about what?"
Olivier restrained the growl that was forming in her throat. This man was truly naive if he assumed his thoughts were hidden behind a sturdy mask. His poker face may fool many people on aspects of who he really was, but this mask was clear as glass. And it was this mask that seemed to get him in as much trouble as his big mouth of his.
"You really are too open with everything you feel Mustang. I'd feel sorry for the saps who play poker against you, but that would infer that they would get tired of winning."
Tipping her empty glass, Olivier examined the inside. A finger reached out and wiped along the rim of the glass. She pulled it away to look closer to see if there was any grime from the glass. There wasn't, but she wasn't intent on searching out the flaws in the cleaning ability of the staff anyway. She refused to look Mustang in the eye.
Yet another thing that went against her beliefs.
Perhaps it was the alcohol in her system. But most likely it was not. She had the Armstrong blood in her veins, and Armstrong's could hold their liquor better than the average man. Olivier hadn't even drank more than two glasses of wine yet.
"I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about General. Perhaps you should ease up on the drinks; the night is still young and I'm sure that there are some gentlemen out there that would love for the chance to dance with the heir to the Armstrong estate."
His words were calculated and chosen with the utmost care. Presumably just as his bluff had been called before his whole team was taken from his side before the Promised Day. Probably had lied just about as convincingly then as well. There was no mistaking the beads of sweat that appeared near his hairline and the way his jaw tightened.
One of the many waiters walked past where the two of them were standing, and Olivier deposited her empty glass on the tray the waiter held.
If she held onto it any longer she was sure she would shatter the glass with her bare hand.
The waltz that had been playing as the new Fuhrer danced with his granddaughter ended. Every eye in the ballroom watched as the older man bowed slightly to the younger woman before they parted ways to intermingle with the rest of the crowds. In the Fuhrer's case at any rate, Hawkeye was probably going to attempt to go back to blending in with the crowds, a feat nearly impossible now that her identity was exposed to everyone in attendance.
Within seconds of the dance floor being cleared, the band was playing another song. One more upbeat started to play and other couples drifted onto the floor, filling the void left by the previous pair. Men in their expensive suits and women in their long gowns that looked as uncomfortable as the one Olivier was wearing.
She tugged at the neck of her dress again. At least it wasn't frilly and pink, like Catherine had wanted it to be. Still, it confined her in areas she would rather not be confined in, and she wasn't in possession of her sword. There just had been no way to properly wield it with the seemingly yards of fabric smothering her.
Mustang cleared his throat beside her, which garnered that Olivier turn and look at the man. He was looking at her with a smirk on his face and a dangerous twinkle in his eye. The last time she had seen Mustang in such a state, he was passing along the information that Selim Bradley was a homunculus through a bouquet of flowers.
Her hand itched for a sword that wasn't there.
"General Armstrong, may have a dance?"
Olivier only returned a glare at him. He couldn't possibly think that she would follow the old tradition and dance out on the floor. With him.
"Come on, General, it's tradition."
There were steak-knives only a few feet away.
Before her hands could think of acting on the muscle memory of a short blade, someone walked up from behind Mustang and rested a hand on his shoulder. The familiar face of Riza Hawkeye appeared, touched only with a dusting of makeup on her face.
"Easy sir," Hawkeye remanded her superior officer. Her face was flushed from the dancing she had finished and the attention she was getting. "You can't monopolize all of General Armstrong's time."
Hawkeye nodded to the other blonde woman.
"General. I hope your evening is going well."
Olivier scoffed. She turned away from Hawkeye and her superior once again. Despite how gifted Hawkeye was with a scope, she continued to waste her potential remaining at the fool's side. Although Hawkeye said she had her reasons why she stayed, she never divulged them when asked. Those were her secrets to keep. Although there were suspicions and rumors as to why she stayed.
Olivier never took stock in rumor. She chose to observe with her own eyes and make her own judgements.
Her judgement upon these two remained the same as always.
"If you two will excuse me, I believe I have something to attend to." Hawkeye politely excused herself before making a beeline towards one of the many tables with hors d'oeuvres where a few other members under Mustang's command were. Judging by the body postures of the men and of Hawkeye, they were being told off for something only her sharp eyes caught.
A small breath of amusement escaped Olivier's nose.
And Mustang still had not left her side.
"Was there something more you needed Mustang?" Her voice dropped to just above a growl.
Mustang responded with a laugh. His hand reached out as if he were to drop it on her shoulder, but changed his mind last minute when he caught the look of death in her eyes.
For a man in his position, he was exceedingly cheerful for a man that was on the verge of being on the receiving end of the blonde general's temper and blade. He began to walk away, with a familiar arrogance he called confidence in his step.
"A raincheck on that dance then?" Mustang called back to her over his shoulder.
Olivier ignored him and went off in search for that stronger drink. There were still four more hours of this party, and she would need something a little stronger than wine to get her through.
She hated Central.
A/N: Sooooo, the prompt was for a platonic Roy and Olivier, but it sorta turned into Royai for some reason? Forgive me, I'm trash. Also this took a bit longer to get out, partially due to school and all the papers I had to write, as well as that I wanted it to be told from Olivier's point of view. I also sort of forgot about it in my drafts for a bit. Thanks for reading and leave a review.