Felis Catus by DuALity
Warnings: shonen ai hints of Ed/Roy and lots of double entendres...
Spoilers: I don't think there are any...Oo;; If you've watched at least the first five episodes or so, you should be safe from spoilers...for now...)
It was a beautiful summer evening in Central. The air was just cooling down from the scorching afternoon sun, and the main street was bathed in comfortable twilight hues and stretching shadows from the setting sun. Along the slowly darkening street, the windows of a quiet, wildly expensive-looking restaurant began to shine with the soft glow of lighted candles. At the back of the restaurant, in a small private dining room reserved for two, Colonel Roy Mustang and his date were seated in front of a lovely gourmet meal, making light conversation.
They made a perfectly lovely couple – Roy all in casually stylish black, wearing normal white gloves and an expression of interest, the lady in a dark emerald evening gown and a shawl of sparkling silver dotted on black draped about her arms.
It was certainly a pity, Roy thought bemusedly, that he had no feelings for the woman sitting across from him. She was definitely beautiful, with long, strawberry-blond (Roy had to admit he had a thing for blonds, curling hair, rich eyes that seemed to see too much, and a lovely mouth that appeared to always have a perpetually amused smirk hovering about it, rather similar to his own in fact. It was the smirk of someone who had an ace – or two, or three, or four – up his sleeve. Roy could identify with that.
She was also a brilliant conversationalist, making intuitive leaps of logic and pointing out interesting points in their casual debate. Of course, she was a State Alchemist, after all – luckily, not under his field of command or he'd be accused of fraternizing – so he really shouldn't be surprised that she was so well informed. Unfortunately, it was still too easy to counter her arguments. However amusing the debate was, she really didn't hold a candle to Fullmetal's biting wit. Roy was, sadly to say, bored. Very bored.
As the meal ended, Roy concluded that it really was inevitable. He'd only been delaying it.
Setting down his glass of wine, Roy Mustang gave his lady companion his most charming smile. "I've really enjoyed our evening together, Zayna," he said smoothly.
"Why thank you, Roy – I've enjoyed it very much too," she replied, with a quirk of her lips.
"However, as much as I've enjoyed your company, I believe it would best…if we didn't meet again," Roy continued slowly, trying to let her down gently. He'd dealt with his share of hysterical women in the past and he knew better than to repeat those mistakes.
The woman facing him gave him a knowing stare, narrowing her dark eyes at him. "Oh? And why might that be?" She didn't seem at all surprised, which put Roy on his guard immediately. Something was wrong here.
Roy winced. He was on dangerous footing. He sighed with some feigned emotion, and said, "I am truly sorry, but I simply don't have the time to devote to you that you deserve. You're a wonderful woman, who is more than worthy of the complete time and attention of the man lucky enough to be with you. I'm not that man. It's not fair to you," he said diplomatically.
Her eyes narrowed further, although she was beginning to look amused. "You're lying, Roy. What you really mean is that you have no legitimate reason for wanting to break up with me; you're doing it because you're absolutely bored. Even with my extensive alchemical learning, I don't hold a candle to your scope of knowledge and you can't be with someone who isn't your intellectual equal."
Roy was startled. He looked at her warily. "Nothing of the sort, Zayna…you're the most intelligent woman I've ever had the pleasure of dating and I have no complaints whatsoever. I'm honored by your presence."
Zayna started laughing. "Oh really, Roy! It's always about you, isn't it? You're not even considering my side of the matter at all," she said warmly.
"Of course I am, Zayna," Roy protested. Damn. He was really treading thin ice now. "If I'm unavailable due to my work, how can I possibly give you the affection you need?" he said reasonably.
"That's sophistry," she replied calmly, putting her napkin down. "Are you finally running out of excuses to use?"
"After all," she continued relentlessly, "this really isn't the first time you've done this to a woman. In fact, many of my close friends have testified that the minute you no longer find the 'pursuit' intellectually stimulating, you immediately drop the relationship. The excuses vary, but the end result is the same."
"I don't know what you're talking about," Roy said a bit nervously, eyeing the exit. This really wasn't going well. He'd expected to drop his news, comfort the subsequently distraught and tearful woman, and make his escape, leaving her thinking that it must have been something she'd done. It was rather despicable of him, he supposed, but it thankfully kept him from suffering the full spectrum of vengeance a scorned woman was capable of. He had a military reputation to maintain, after all. Sordid affairs were not on the agenda.
However, instead of becoming distraught, Zayna appeared calm, collected, and worst of all – prepared for this. Things were not looking good.
She smiled. "I'm sure you do, Roy. Let's see now…there was Arielle, Beri, Cynthia, Dayna, Eris…would you like me to continue? I went with alphabetical, but I'm sure I can also list them chronologically," she said tartly.
"They just didn't work out," Roy said quietly. "They were all wonderful women, it was just…"
She cut in. "Just that you realized that you had nothing in common and you chauvinistically took steps to 'protect' them and their fragile selves from more emotional trauma by dumping them? Does that about sum it up?" she said sharply.
Roy narrowed his eyes at her. That was unfair to him. "I've always been kind to them. I never led them on," he affirmed. "In all of the cases, they were the ones who approached me first."
She laughed again, a surprisingly cheerful and pleasant sound amidst the rising tension. "Oh Roy…of course, you are ever the gentleman! But that's not your problem. You know what your problem is?" she asked. She didn't give Roy a chance to respond. "You don't let people in. Maybe you just haven't met the right person who can simultaneously hold your mental and physical interest. I can completely understand that," she offered magnanimously.
"Oh, can you?" Roy stated in a flat tone of voice. How in the world had she gone from talking about his past relationships to psychoanalyzing him? Was there a point to this charade, or should he just get up and leave?
"Yes, of course. In fact, if there is such a person in your life right now, I'm sure that you wouldn't even notice or acknowledge it; you're so used to being bored by your surroundings."
"That's quite an insightful statement to make, Zayna," Roy said in a mildly deceptive tone. "Anything else you'd like to add to that statement?" She was showing a disturbing level of perspicacity. He'd have to try and steer her onto another tangent. This one was hitting far too close to home for his comfort.
"Of course, Roy," she replied, with a cheeky grin. "As I was saying, you're bored. By being bored, you're being unfair to all the women who are genuinely interested in you, and at the same time, also being unfair to yourself by not letting yourself grow as a human being. Even animals are more open and demonstrative of their affections than you are, Roy." A corner of Zayna's mouth twisted up briefly in a smirk, and there was a suspicious gleam in her eye that Roy didn't like at all. Not one bit.
"How am I not letting myself grow as a human being?" Roy demanded irately. The road this conversation was beginning to take was starting to lose him. Badly.
"Because to grow as a human being, you need love and affection. You're stagnating in your boredom, Roy," Zayna said seriously. "You don't feel love or affection for anyone. Maybe you can't. In fact, when people start to get close to you, you immediately push them away. Maybe it's an issue of trust…or even a fear of losing them…" she said thoughtfully, tapping a finger against her cheek.
"You don't say." Roy was starting to wonder if reaching for his flame gloves would be noticeable. Damn! Where was she getting this? People were going to have to burn to keep this quiet… Roy Mustang did not have weaknesses.
"I freely admit that quite a few of my friends are rather foolish when it comes to love, and I can't blame you for dumping them. They definitely weren't right for you. However, I also can't let you off the hook that easily. You hurt, whether intentionally or not, a great number of my friends, and let it never be said that the Blending Alchemist doesn't take care of the ones she loves," the woman continued implacably, easily switching back to her original argument with the ease of long practice.
"Wait…so this was a set-up? So you could talk to me about that?" Roy asked, looking almost relieved. Great. This wasn't as serious as he had been thinking. She was only theorizing; she didn't really know what she was talking about. If she did, he would really have to take steps at that point. But this was much simpler. Zayna would continue to lecture him, he would nod at the appropriate moments, and with an ingenuous display of contriteness on his part he'd be home free. Or so he thought.
Her smile got wider. "Yes, my dear Flame. It was. But don't think you're getting off quite so easily. I'm not here to pat you on the head and lecture you. I don't believe that a lecture will truly make you repentant for breaking all those hearts because you were bored."
Roy was beginning to feel rather confused, and he was getting a headache from her convoluted reasoning. It seemed as if she was saying two completely separate and similar things at the same time. What was it about women that they felt such a compulsive urge to complicate things? He couldn't even begin to muster a counter-argument. Arguing with Edward was far simpler than this! And Edward's reasoning already resembled a Gordian knot of complexity!
"Wait… So you're not going to lecture me?" said Roy, finally.
"No. I'm not. Because you wouldn't understand; you don't understand why humans fall in love because you won't let yourself. I am going to do this, however," she grinned, standing up and pushing her chair back. Then, before Roy could blink, she dropped to her knees and slapped her hands on the floor. A vibrant green light immediately signaled the activation of an alchemy circle.
"What the…?" Roy exclaimed, leaping to his feet. Unfortunately, he was caught completely unawares and it was too late to avoid the reaction – the alchemical green light wound its way up his body to encase him in a soft glow, before fading away completely. Zayna laughed, and tossed her head, blond curls swinging over her shoulders carelessly to fall down her back.
"There. Now my dear Roy, please think very carefully about all those hearts you've broken and just why none of your relationships seem to work out," she said cheerfully. "When you're properly apologetic and have truly understood why I had to do this to you, then we'll talk about getting you restored. Oh, and dinner is on me. Consider it a form of equivalent trade. Have a good night, dear Flame…I really don't expect you to be bored for quite a while."
Zahna turned with a smile and a wave, leaving the room. As the door shut behind her, a sleek black cat with two white paws sat in the middle of the faded alchemy circle drawn surreptitiously under the table, dark eyes absolutely dumbfounded as he watched the Blending Alchemist leave.
To be con't...