Despite the rumor-mill, Colonel Roy Mustang has a habit of sleeping alone.
This is because being in bed with someone leads an intoxicating sense of comfort, a camaraderie born of bedsheets. It is easy to talk to the other body next to you, forgetting that they are not a part of your furniture, a warm pillow appropriately lumped to accept your touch. You misremember that they are alive; you are drunk with their proximity. You speak. Oftentimes, you say too much.
Colonel Roy Mustang sleeps alone because he has a great deal that he does not wish to be shared, and he does not trust himself to keep things from accidentally slipping.
First Lieutenant Liza Hawkeye is aware of this. She knows that fact as she is privileged to know a great deal more, because she has never pressed the issue of her ranking officer's habits. The needs of the man are shaped around him like the shell of his personality, of his self-sure laughs and roundabout mockery. They are generated out of necessity, as a tactician would plot out navigations of terrain. Mustang works on them with the same desperation as a gully-high defense; this provides him with a flair for the dramatic, a technique born of tightly-strained adrenaline.
Liza Hawkeye is educated upon this matter just as she knows other details about the squad that has built itself in the personal gravity well of one Colonel Roy Mustang. All manner of individuals have been attracted to the man's incomprehensibility, helpless as lost satellites. It is within her ability to witness the facts.
Because she understands her business of handling the subtle degrees of military politics with a blunt-clipped revolver hand, Hawkeye collects knowledge of these other individuals with the same expectation that they will be needed later.
She disciplines strictly. That is her own quirk. It makes her recognizable, predictable, human in a world where a great many dangers are not.
She knows one Lieutenant Colonel Maes Hughes--now become one Colonel Maes Hughes--primarily through the venue of his own personal habit. Namely, the exposition of the Family Hughes, which already fills numerous ledgers of the wire-transcribers who have the odious task of recording his long-distance reports. Colonel Hughes does not know when to shut up about his wife and offspring, and Liza Hawkeye has heard more details about someone else's life than she thinks even she would want.
That is Hughes's quirk, Hawkeye has long decided. Mustang does not always tolerate the man when the clock runs over two hours, but Hawkeye sees the way he asks after Hughes if longer than three days have passed since last contact. Colonel Mustang always spends at least ten minutes on the phone with Colonel Hughes even when the latter has nothing valid to say, even when all the information so cunningly couched in hints of familial matters has run out.
The excellency of Liza Hawkeye's vision takes in this facet of Mustang's habit, just as it registers that of Hughes.
That pair is not the strangest of those involved in the military. Second Lieutenant Havoc's quirk is a preference for two cups of coffee at once, one flavored strong with cream and the other completely black. He alternates with theoretical randomness between them, sipping. Watching Havoc in motion at his desk explains the mystery; the Second Lieutenant arranges his work in a circle, switching easily from right hand to left with fluent ambidexterity. Whichever set of fingers is free is the set that picks up the cup. Havoc's workflow, ironically, handles the type of caffeine he will ingest.
Sergeant Major Fury's quirk is a tendency to staying late at the shooting range when Hawkeye is there, handing her clip after clip as she reloads her gun. He doesn't like to interrupt her when she's engaged in firing. So he always says. Even when there are other slots open for Fury to practice at, the man chooses to sit back and watch. Only when Hawkeye is finished will he stand, reach for his own gun and insulative earset.
Liza is skilled enough to cluster her shots in a tight circle fit for a man's fist, and she is pragmatic enough to rotate her groupings, aiming first for the heart and then for the stomach. Then for the arm, right before left. She does not want to be the type of person who automatically shoots to kill; in event of subduing her target, Hawkeye would like to have her victim alive. As per orders.
Hawkeye has a respect of orders, as they provide her with a task obvious to aim for. She likes them best when they have solutions well within her grasp and do not cause one Colonel Roy Mustang to turn in early because he can no longer keep up an indifferent face in public. For all his illusions of self-control, the Colonel can be easily agitated if you know which buttons to push.
Whether he is upset or not at any given time is another classified fact of information; Liza Hawkeye is satisfied with her lot in life because her vision is keen enough that it can determine what he is feeling when his eyes narrow at the corners, and his mouth goes blank and forgotten.
Liza Hawkeye is a human in the midst of alchemists and she lives up to her name because it was the one she was born with, not given. Alchemists were granted new titles to answer to depending on their personal traits. Liza has only herself, and so she commits her pride in full to that designation, accepting the jibes since childhood upon her ability to sight at one-hundred-fifty meters and the steadiness of her aim.
Now no one mocks. The reward of silence is better than that of a pocketwatch, in her opinion.
Because she does not need to keep components on hand for a pinch of one element or another in emergency situations, Liza assembles a different armory for her needs. She keeps her hair up off her neck whenever she is on duty because she relies on the exposed skin on the back of her spine to alert her to her own subconscious awareness, the sensation of a sniper nearby or rebel soldier down the hall. She always packs extra aspirin, a medkit slim and slender that fits in a pocket of her military jacket and that the others are always borrowing painkillers from.
The medkit has also become a running joke.
The optometrists at Central are familiar with Liza's visits, once every six months on precise schedule. There was a 0.002 deviance with her left eye, they informed her the last time, and she is planning to have that investigated if it remains by the follow-up appointment.
In the summer Liza sleeps on her bed, atop the sheets while the fan blows humid air.
Alone. Heat leaves her restless enough to wake frequently, which she counts as practice for being able to field-nap between stations. Each time she finds herself swimming out of sticky storm-dreams, Liza lectures herself to keep her eyes closed, gaze straightforward so that stray motion of the orbs would not stir the lids.
Breathing steady, deep. If tonight were the eve that she were captured and held for interrogation, she would be ready to feign unconsciousness without alerting her enemy.
Fan-blades hum in the night breeze, distort the atmospheric sounds of summer. Damp clings to her skin. For comfort, Liza wears drawstring pants. No top. In event of a break-in, Liza figures, she will be more concerned about her gun than her modesty.
Sometimes when she cannot sleep, Liza gets up and goes over the day's reports, spreading them out over her kitchen table and squinting at them one-eyed beneath the cheap lights. She imagines groupings upon their thin white bodies, striped with black lines of text. Upper left, lower right. A clip of six shots is more than adequate to take out a single report and all the problems it brings with it.
Liza's eyes are good enough that she does not need to bring the pages close to her nose while reading, but she does at times, fanning her forehead with the paper and smelling the bitterness of ink. Gunpowder lingering on her skin. Dinner miasma in the kitchen, which had been takeout again because Liza stayed late putting tightly-clustered holes through human silhouettes.
She would like to blame her vision for what she reads, but Liza Hawkeye knows that she has come too far in the military to begin lying to herself now. Not her, not the woman with perfect sight, keenly honed on a daily basis at the target range.
It is her responsibility to see as clearly as possible, beyond human, beyond alchemist. Weather conditions or deliberate obfuscation will retard her judgement, but Liza Hawkeye lives and breathes on the accuracy of her sight.
When she finds that she is squeezing her eyes shut tight enough that spots are dancing in the darkness, Liza puts the reports down flat upon the table. She refocuses on her work. After she is satisfied with rememorization of military details, she walks down the hall to her room where the fan-roar awaits, and returns to the practice of training her eyes for sleep.