How Old Are You Now?

He's pale this morning, somewhat resigned looking. You sit down with him and bring a cup of water with an aspirin, but he waves it away. It hurts you to see him like his, tired, unhappy, on the one day when he should smile and appreciate that he is still here. But you know why he's like this, why he wouldn't appreciate his birthday this year. There's no one left to celebrate it with him; they've all died or moved away.

He leans his head on your shoulder, and you stiffen. Maybe, you think silently to yourself, he's drunk. But then he sighs and you see his hand twitch, thumb scratching at his scarred fingertips, a habit that you've noticed he pleasures to when he's upset about something. He shifts slightly and you find yourself moving as well so that his head can remain on your shoulder. You wish, quietly, that he wasn't so trusting of you; this isn't the right place to have a moment.

"It's my birthday today," he tells you, thumb outlining one the thicker scars on his middle fingertip.

You start slightly, surprised that he's talking about something like this. He normally never likes to talk about himself when it comes to these subjects; he never talks about his parents, he never talks about his childhood, and up until now he always claimed to have forgotten his birthday.

"How old are you now?" you ask, playing along with whatever game he's playing.

"I'm thirty today," he says in a gentle tone before laughing bitterly; "I'm an old man, now."

Outside of his office door, you hear the thumping footsteps of military boots against the floor, people flooding into work just before the clock strikes eight. Pretty soon, the office room door will open, the staff will come in, and they will find him and you in this compromising position.

"Sir..." you say, but stop, not knowing what to say.

He doesn't move, thumb pressing so hard against his index finger that the pinkish colouring to his nail has paled to a yellow. More footsteps echo and you can make out familiar voices. It would be disastrous if anyone was to come in to this room and find the two of you sitting at his desk in such intimacy for the military.

"Sir..." you begin again, resting your chin in his dark hair and reaching over to keep him from giving his fingers yet another scar, "you aren't an old man."

He doesn't respond, but catches your hand just as it touches his fingers and you notice a certain playfulness dancing in his eyes before he gives your hand a yank, causing your chin to slip in his hair just as his head tilts back slightly so that your lips meet his in a not too gentle kiss. Your eyes widen and you freeze, a million and a hundred shocked thoughts battling to make their way first into your brain, but then you feel his lips shift, his tongue trace over your bottom lip in the upside-down kiss that you're in with him and everything seems to stop.

The nearing voice and footsteps fade from your ears. You kiss him back and something inside of you blossoms and brings heat to your soul. For a few precious moments, everything seems peaceful, not exactly right, but you feel for the first time in years that things are good and life isn't just filled with empty promises. But soon, the voices become too loud to ignore and the footsteps are in front of the door and he breaks away, turning a flushed face to your identical one.

He reaches over to you, leaning his lips close to your ear, and he whispers, "I guess I'm not."

He pulls back, and, for a moment, he smiles.

The door to the office swings open, the rest of Colonel Roy Mustang's staff enters, and you stand up and go back to your own desk. You reach for your stack of papers to go through, still pink in the face and refusing to answer the questioning looks from your co-workers, and give a quick look at the piece of paper clipped to your first document.


7 o'clock at the café on Jones Street, Friday. Don't order the fish filet.

- Roy

You glance quickly up, meet his expectant eyes, and smile. Light bursts into his dark orbs and he grins foolishly back before dropping his eyes hurriedly back to his newspaper.

A soft voice to your left whispers, "Finally..."

But when you glance over, you only see Second Lieutenant John Havoc gripping about there being no more aspirin. You blink, shrug, and go back to work.

Final Notes:

I do not own Fullmetal Alchemist, nor do I pretend to. Originally completed at the beginning of July 2004. Inspiration for this piece is credited to a livejournal Roy/Riza colour-bar and to a certain taste to try something new.