Disclaimer: I don't own Fullmetal Alchemist.
Well, it was bound to happen. Valentine's Day equals sappy story. Enjoy! BTW, there are some slight spoilers lurking around. Yes, yes, I know it's late. -.-
A Brick Wall
On a cold, snowy morning, Roy, on his way to work, had seen her-her, of all people outside a small jewelry shop, window-shopping. But that wasn't what had unnerved him the most, no, it had been the openly wistful look she had been wearing on her face, in her eyes.
He waited for her to leave before he'd crept -why had he crept? He wasn't trying to hide, gods, no- over to that very same window. There it was, a gold bracelet, with a twisted chain and a heart-shaped charm hanging from it. He frowned. Could this have been what she was looking at? But...But, this was Riza Hawkeye for crying out loud, and Riza Hawkeye did not look at jewelry.
Maybe there was some sort of special occasion coming up. Maybe that was why she wanted to treat herself...? Or, maybe, she'd wanted to buy it as a gift for one of her other friends. Maybe, maybe.
"May I help you, sir?" A cheerful -and rather attractive, Roy noted- sales clerk stepped out, smiling.
"Oh, no," he said, charmingly, "except, for, maybe, a date next week?"
She giggled, "Oh, sir!"
But throughout all of this, he couldn't help but wonder: What on earth had she been doing there in the first place?
He entered the office as he always did.. calm, cool, with a steady eye. She sat at her desk, staring down at her paperwork. She glanced up as he entered, and said, "Good morning, sir."
He nodded. "Morning, Hawkeye."
He couldn't -although he should- keep his eyes off her. This was a different side to her, he realized, could the stoic First Lieutenant actually like jewelry? He'd noticed, of course, that she wore a pair of simple earings, but these were simple, simple earrings, and the bracelet she had been looking at wasn't simple.
Not for the first time, Roy reflected that women were really, really complicated.
Especially blonde First Lieutenants who could cry for you one minute and shove you to the ground and tell you you were useless the next.
He hated to admit it, but he'd even be willing to ask Hughes for advice about this kind of thing -even though the reply he got was usually a blurb of "When-I-first-met-Gracia-" and "When-are-you-going-to-settle-down-Roy?"
...but that wasn't possible anymore.
"Here, Chief," Havoc handed him some papers, unlit cigarette dangling from his mouth, "for you."
"Ah, thanks," the Colonel said, accepting the papers.
Out of the corner of his eye he saw her -he blinked- yawn. It sounded absolutely stupid, but Riza Hawkeye never yawned, because that showed weakness, and Riza Hawkeye was not weak, and..
She sighed, and slumped down in her chair.
But, he thought, somewhere in his mind, it wasn't like Hawkeye was some kind of a perfect machine. She was human, even if she didn't act it very often. Right?
What was wrong with him? He was beginning to get a headache. He began to rub at his temples, gold bracelets and guns and hairpins floating around his mind.
Dear God, he wasn't suited for such things.
He collapsed, face-first, on the desk.
It made a loud sound.
"Sir?" She spoke first, not an edge of amusement in her voice. Serious, serious, and even sort of cold, if he hadn't known better.
"I'm okay," he mumbled, only it came out more like, "Pocky."
"Sir?" she stepped closer.
He lifted his head up from the desk, his nose feeling smushed. His eyesight was blurry, but he blinked it away.
And in that instant, with he gazing into her eyes, and she into his, something clicked, something snapped, something slid into place.
It would take just about forever before he realized what it was.
Somehow, he'd always known that the First Lieutenant was quite popular with the men. It wasn't like she did anything to egg them on; it was just a plain and simple fact. Anyway, it wasn't that she wasn't good-looking either; Roy had noticed on more than one occation his female companion's...attributes.
"She's hot, isn't she?" someone said, dreamily.
"First Lieutenant Hawkeye?" another said, skeptically. "Boy, you're in for it."
"What do you mean by that?" the first one asked, clueless.
"She's First Lieutenant Hawkeye, dummy! She'll -she'll -she'll kill you!"
Roy rolled his eyes and walked on. Kill? He doubted it.
Then again, she had shot at Black Hayate simply for relieving himself at the wrong place and time, so..
"Havoc, get that cigarette out of your mouth," came her clear, sharp voice.
Havoc sighed. "Yes, ma'am."
Magically, the two idiots from before reappeared behind him. "She wouldn't kill me," one was saying, "that's just stupid."
"This is Hawkeye," the reasonable one insisted, "you don't know what she'll do!"
"Then tell me," the other said, lazily, "tell me what exactly she'll do."
"She," the first began importantly, "reportedly pushed Colonel Mustang out of the way when that bloody alchemist-killer was going around, and told him, to his face, that he was useless in the rain."
Roy's mouth twitched -but whether into a grin or into a scowl, he wasn't quite sure.
"But she's freakin hot!" the other insisted, almost maniacally. "Damn you, I don't care, I'm going to ask her out."
"Noooo, you -" but it was too late. The brown-haired man, smitten with Hawkeye, had already zoomed past him and was nearing Hawkeye.
However, he collided with a taller figure.
"Hello," Roy greeted them, pleasantly.
"Hello, sir," he replied, slightly miffed. "Erm, excuse me.."
"I wouldn't do that if I were you," Roy continued, amiably.
"...sir?" It was, Roy noted, almost amusing, how the man was so clueless.
"Hawkeye has rejected stronger men than you," Roy whispered, a slight gleam in his eye, "and it's never been a pretty sight."
The man gulped. Audibly.
"I think the last one brave -or dumb- enough to ask her was about...yes, a month ago. Incidentally, wasn't that just when you transferred in? Anyway." The manic grin widened, "He should be getting out of the hospital right about now..."
Roy discreetly pointed to the handgun in Hawkeye's holster.
"Best sniper on the force, you know."
The man ran. And never looked back.
Roy felt strangely satisfied and pleased with himself. He whistled as he did his work.
"Valentine's Day is on Friday," Havoc whispered, secretively.
"Really?" Roy arched an eyebrow. Obviously, the two of them had always been the most womanizing of the group. "Already, huh.."
"You didn't know?" Havoc gawked. "But I would have thought -you, of all people, I mean- "
"Of course I knew," Roy said dismissively, "it just slipped my mind for a second. Got a date?"
"No," Havoc shook his head, dejectedly, "not yet."
"Don't worry," Roy told him decisively, clapping him on the back, "you'll get one."
Havoc glanced up at him, surprised, "Erm, thank you, sir." A pause. "Do you have a date, sir? Probably do, right?"
"No," Roy answered, truthfully, "I don't." Hawkeye entered the room, unaware of their improper conversation at work, and unconsciously he followed her with his eyes -the way she gracefully took her seat, back perfectly straight-
In the corners of his mind, he realized Havoc had stopped talking. He tore his eyes away from her and looked back at him. "Havoc?"
"NO. GOD, NO." Havoc's mouth had dropped in horror.
"What?" Roy was frustratingly clueless. He was the Flame Alchemist, the Colonel...and he didn't appreciate being left out in the dark. Ever.
"You did not just look at First Lieutenant Hawkeye like that!"
"Like what?" Roy was beginning to get annoyed. "Honestly, Havoc- "
"You were looking at her!"
"I was not looking-looking at her!" Roy glared angrily, "I was merely checking to see if she had any paperwork for me!"
"You were drooling," Havoc stated matter-of-factly.
"Was not- oh." Roy reached up with a finger to wipe the saliva from the corner of his mouth. "This means absolutely nothing, Havoc." He positively growled.
"You were LOOKING- " Havoc suddenly realized that people were beginning to stare, Hawkeye included. She cast them disapproving glances, and he sweatdropped. " -at her," he finished in an undertone.
"I was not," Roy insisted, futilely.
"You were, too," Havoc bartered, "I saw you with these own two eyes." He shook his head. "Sir, I know she's really pretty, but for your own health and safety -no."
"I am a grown man, and I am old enough to make my own decisions, thank you very much. Not," he added, quickly, "that I'm going to try anything. God, Havoc, we're accomplices! We work on the force; this kind of thing would never work out!"
"Who are you trying to convince, me, or you?"
Roy's anger deflated.
Havoc smirked, though he at least attempted to hide it. His attempt failed.
"Get the hell out of here before I demote you."
"But you "
Roy's gloved hand twitched.
" -yes, sir."
"WHAT!" Edward fell to the ground in sheer laughter, "you mean the Colonel bastard -and Hawkeye -now there's a dysfunctional relationship!"
Roy abruptly stopped behind the door.
"Shh!" Breda shushed the Fullmetal Alchemist by flailing his arms around wildly, "he's- "
The door ominously swung open.
"...here," Breda finished weakly, slowly backing away.
"So," Roy announced, "the shrimp is here."
A vein not-so-discreetly twitched at the corner of Edward's head. Surprisingly enough, he held his temper in check, and bared his teeth. "Forget it, Colonel. I've got something on you now."
Roy felt slightly intimidated, but shook his head. Dammit, he was not going to be daunted by this pipsqueak who was two feet shorter than him! "Really? And what's that?"
Edward stood on his tiptoes, "You -rrgh, dammit- I'll be right back " and he scurried off to who knows where, and returned with a stool. He primly climbed on top of it. He was still slightly shorter than the Colonel, but, oh well. He cleared his throat and resumed speaking. "You. Like. First. Lieutenant. Hawkeye."
The blond stood arrogantly, arms crossed, waiting for a reaction.
And received none.
"Has your lack of calcium gone to your brain, Fullmetal?" Roy chuckled. "Really. Where'd you get that idea?"
Edward fell backwards, crashing to the floor. Unbeknownst to him, Roy shot a glare at Havoc that even Hawkeye would have backed off at. "WHAT THE HELL!"
"Yes, Fullmetal. What?" Roy strode over to his desk.
"But you like her!" sputtered Ed.
"Please," Roy said, dismissively, "I wouldn't."
"Wouldn't what?" Edward was being held back by Alphonse.
"Like her," he answered, coolly. "She's my subordinate, Fullmetal. Strictly against the rules and all."
"So?" Edward failed to comprehend. "Not like you've never broken the rules before."
"Fullmetal, I have work to do. Unless you have something of the utmost importance..."
"You do like her!" Edward gasped.
Roy dearly wished he had a knife. "Haven't we been over this already?"
"I'll go tell her," Edward bounded for the door.
Only to be stopped by none other than the Colonel himself.
The smirk on the Fullmetal Alchemist's face was sinister. "I thought you didn't like her?"
"So what's the problem? If you didn't like her, you wouldn't care. Right, sir?"
Roy didn't skip a beat. "I can't have you spreading rumors about me, can I?"
"It won't be a rumor, sir, seeing as it's true."
"Fullmetal," Roy began, warningly.
"It makes perfect sense!" Edward slipped past Roy and ran out the door. "You two are always together. And she's always protecting you, and you're always protecting her "
"We're comrades, that's what we do," Roy said, calmly, although in reality his patience was seriously wearing thin. He quickened his pace to catch up with the blond.
"But you were LOOKING at her." Edward was clearly enjoying this.
"I was not."
"I wasn't looking at her," Roy burst out, exasperated, "why would I?"
"Well, sir," Havoc appeared out of nowhere, "she is very pretty."
"Dangerous," added Falman, "but quite good-looking."
"And the bet's been going on for years," Breda put in.
"See? Everyone knows it! Except you!"
"..." Roy twitched in annoyance. "For the millionth time, I don't like her." He felt like he was back in high school no, middle school -no, elementary school. "She's too plain," he stated, excuses pouring out of him, anything to get them off his back, "and not feminine enough; who would want a sniper in the military for a girlfriend!"
There was deadly silence.
"What?" As he looked around, he saw Edward's eyes were wide; Havoc was crushing his cigarette in two with his lips; Breda and Falman made excuses about going back to work; Alphonse desperately tried to hide, which was a sad attempt. Roy had a horrible feeling in the pit of his stomach. He turned.
There she stood, rigid. She looked -shocked, confused, betrayed..
Then she cleared her head. "These are for you, sir," she murmured, handing him a stack of papers. She bowed quickly and left.
Roy shuffled past the group and into his office. They followed him, much like a puppy who has just been berated by his master would. They watched as he threw the papers down on the desk and sank heavily into his chair.
"Shit," he hissed.
Edward sat down at the cafeteria, eating silently.
Havoc, Breda, Falman, and Alphonse were gathered around him, also eating silently.
"Dammit!" He burst out. "What do you want me to do!"
"Fix things," Havoc replied, calmly.
"Me? What did I do!"
"Brother," Al said, warningly, "this is mostly your fault."
"Me?" Ed sounded incredulous, "I did NOTHING!"
Funny how he automatically avoided everybody's gaze.
"Fullmetal, I really, really, really think that you should apologize and FIX things," Havoc said, standing up at his full height.
"Same here," Falman mumbled through a mouthful of rice. "It's going to be awful with the two of them like that."
"Like what?" Ed demanded.
No one had to reply -just as Colonel Mustang was entering the cafeteria, First Lieutenant Hawkeye was exiting. They bumped into each other awkwardly, muttering polite apologies and not quite looking each other in the eye. They were still talking, but it was a more forced atmosphere, and no one liked it, not a bit.
"They're still talking," Edward tried, in vain.
"If you don't fix things, we are going to go through hell," Breda told him bluntly. "And, I'll lose the pool."
"Shush," Havoc told him. Then, simultaneously, all three military personnel stood up straight, to their maximum heights, and glared down at poor, vertically challenged Edward. "You are going to fix things, aren't you?"
Edward opened his mouth to protest.
"And, even if you don't, the Colonel is going to find a way to get you back for this anyway," Havoc whistled innocently.
...and Edward's mouth closed shut.
"So," Second Lieutenant Maria Ross cleared her throat, nervously, "is everything all right, First Lieutenant?"
"Mm?" Riza took her eyes off the shiny red apple she had been squeezing too hard and had been imagining it was the Colonel's head, "oh, of course, perfectly fine."
The apple split in half, juice spraying everywhere.
"...I see." Maria Ross eyed the apple suspiciously.
Riza nodded curtly, taking a violent bite from the apple.
Tick, tock, tick.
"Are you sure you're all right?" she repeated. Something was off, something was wrong.
"Yes. I'm fine." Cold. Icy cold.
Maria nodded, digesting this information and coming to the conclusion that Hawkeye was lying. Lying, lying, through her teeth.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
Riza chewed, slightly more ferociously than the norm.
Maria sipped her water, waiting.
Maria finally broke the silence: "So," she said, "what'd he do this time?"
Maria Ross stormed up to the rest of the other men, crying, "Can you believe what he did? And you all possibly have the gall to take the Colonel's side?"
Breda blinked. "Please, enlighten us."
"The Colonel openly insulted First Lieutenant Hawkeye!" Maria exploded. "And, it's been days since then, and he still hasn't apologized! Why! I would think even you would have enough sense to tell him to do so-"
"We tried," Havoc said, "but unless you have a strange fondness for ashes, you don't really butt into the Colonel's personal life. Especially when Hawkeye is involved."
"This was all your fault somehow," she pointed and stared at them all evenly and accusingly. "Before you stuck your noses in where it didn't belong, everything was going fine. They were beginning to grow closer! But now, now, you've just forced them apart, and now they'll never get it back to the way it was." She glared. "I ought to shoot you for this."
"Relax. Okay?" Falman tried to pacify the seething woman, "Ed promised he'd fix it."
Maria Ross shot him an ice-cold Look.
"You're saying that that fifteen-year-old teenager who can't even admit to his own childhood sweetheart his feelings for her is going to be able to fix -fix -THAT?" And she pointed -subtly, of course- to the awkward atmosphere surrounding the Colonel and First Lieutenant.
"Well, what can we do?" Falman asked.
"We can matchmake," Breda murmured, but upon receiving the glares from his comrades, hastily added, "kidding."
"Matchmake," Havoc said, eyes half-lidded, "the Ice Queen herself and the Colonel? You got a death wish or something, Breda?"
"But everyone knows that they're in love," Breda insisted.
"And sleeping together," added Brosch, seemingly appearing from nowhere.
"OK. Scratch that, then."
"Listen, listen." Armstrong magically entered the scene as well. "I know it's hard, but we can't really do anything. If anything, we'll end up making things worse. They'll figure it out, eventually. What's the worst that can happen?"
"Here's your paperwork for the day, sir." Riza primly strode to the Colonel's desk, depositing the stack of papers neatly on the corner of his desk. Not that she would ever admit this to anyone, but dammit, she was waiting for the man to apologize! She admitted that yes, she was different from regular women. She was in the army; a sniper; a cold, cold woman who didn't appreciate flowers and jewelry and fuzzy stuffed animals. But she had feelings too! She deserved an apology, at the very least!
He glanced up, something unfamiliar floating within his dark, charcoal orbs. She tried not to look, for more than once she'd found herself lost within those eyes. She took a deep breath, and made to leave.
He cleared his throat.
So she took another step forward, clack, went her military boots.
He stood up, the legs of his chair screeching as they slid across the floor.
Again, she stopped, and inclined her head towards him.
He opened his mouth.
Moments passed, but again, nothing was said, and she took another step.
A hint of desperation, confusion...
She stopped and turned towards him.
He opened his mouth once more, but no words came out. He bit his lip, clenched his hands into fists, sighed deeply, bowed his head, and then he raised his head and he stared into her eyes.
"I..I'm sorry," he mumbled, "for...for what I said the other day."
She cocked her head to the side, listening.
"I...I don't know. I don't know why I said it, I mean. You're...you know, you. You're different. Maybe that's why it's so difficult with you. And then Fullmetal was giving me such a lousy time, and even Havoc-"
Riza wasn't quite sure she understood what he was saying.
"But, I mean, you're not plain-looking or anything. Gods, no."
"I mean...I wish, sometimes, you'd let your hair down, or even consider wearing a miniskirt.."
She froze, and a vein twitched.
"..I mean.." he caught himself, averting his eyes, "...I'm...I'm apologizing."
She studied himhis head bent, shoulders slouching, eyes glancing into hers hopefully.
"I forgive you," she replied, carefully.
He positively lit up. "Really?"
Something happened. But she didn't know what. One, two, three. Tick, tock, tick. "Of course, sir."
There was a strange, awkward silence, and then she nodded to him and exited. The moment she did, she saw a group of figures creep into the Colonel's office. She frowned.
NO, she told herself, sternly, I'm not going to eavesdrop.
It turned out she didn't have to. The voices were loud enough to hear.
"...what kind of an apology was that?" Edward demanded.
"It was an apology, Fullmetal," the Colonel answered, deftly. "An apology is an apology is an apology."
"Well, that was a damn crappy one!" Edward crossed his arms over his chest, "even I give Winry better apologies than that!"
"Oh?" The Colonel sounded smug. "Then what should I have done then, hm, Fullmetal?"
"Flowers," Edward replied crisply. "And chocolate."
"Please." The Colonel sniffed. "The First Lieutenant wouldn't take flowers and chocolates."
"On the other hand," Second Lieutenant Maria Ross interjected, "the First Lieutenant is still a woman. It may not be her favorite things in the world, sir, but I'm sure she wouldn't mind receiving some."
"She doesn't need flowers or chocolates. She's practically like a man, for God's sake."
A sharp intake of breath.
"Colonel!" Maria gasped.
"That's low," Edward hissed.
"Pretty bad," Havoc added, shaking his head.
"It's true!" The Colonel exploded. "She doesn't go out on dates or anything; she's so serious; she never wears dresses or skirts or make-up, or anything of the sort-"
"Sir!" Breda made flailing gestures with his arms. "What if she hears you?"
"She can't hear me; she's not here..."
The door ominously creaked open.
Riza eyed everyone in the room -particularly the Colonel- with her ice-cold gaze. "This is a working environment," she stated, "it's no time for idle conversations."
They recognized the tone in her voice. "Yes, ma'am," they murmured, more or less.
"First Lieutenant-" The Colonel faltered.
"Yes, sir?" Everyone shivered at the tone of her voice; the ice in her eyes.
"-erm, nothing. Sorry."
Riza turned away.
Maria leaned close to whisper something in the Colonel's ear: "Her favorite flowers are carnations. I suggest, sir, that you get her a bouquet. No, two."
And this was how the rainy afternoon found him- already moody because of the rainy whether, but even more moody because of, well, the certain "circumstances."
"It's not my fault," he insisted, to himself. "Hell, no, it's not."
Thunder crackled in the distance.
"But I just told the truth," he said, angrily.
Water came gushing down in a sudden torrent.
To make things worse, he realized that he was walking towards the flower shop. The florist, an elderly man, was smiling kindly at him. He acknowledged the smile with a forced grimace of his own, and sighed.
He caught a glimpse of some carnations.
Glaring furiously at them, he stuffed his hands in his pockets and continued his angry stroll in the rain.
He...He didn't like this. He'd pissed off many women in his lifetime, and he'd found it ridiculously easy to get back into their good graces every single time. Flowers, a sweet apology, turn on the charm, and he was back. But somehow, when she was involved, it was different, and he screwed himself over every single time.
He backtracked over to the florist's.
And stared, eyes narrowed, at the white carnations.
"Making fun of me," he grumbled, dearly wanting to snap his fingers and burn the offending flowers to ashes. "Shut up."
"Would you like some flowers, sir?" The elderly man smiled. "For your girlfriend?"
"Ahh.." Girlfriend? Hah. Right. "No, thanks. Just admiring it." He bowed, slightly.
"I see. You'd better get home soon," the man noted, "the rain is getting stronger."
"Yes, of course." He raised his hand slightly, and walked away.
A mini-devil Roy perched himself on human Roy's shoulders. "There you go. You don't need to go getting her anything. It was her own damn fault for being too sensitive, anyway."
Roy blinked -yes, there was a small devil version of himself. Wearing the bright red outfit, with a pitchfork, to boot.
"No, it wasn't!" On his right shoulder, a mini-angel Roy, complete with the fluffy white angel wings. "Miss Riza had the right to get angry at you, Roy! Saying such awful things about her."
"They weren't 'awful things'," the devil retorted. "They were true!"
"Miss Riza is different," the angel said, patiently, "and it's obvious Roy's fallen head-over-heels in love with her. He just hasn't realized it yet, because he's still struggling with his inner conflicts."
The devil goggled. "Whaa?"
"Yeah. What?" Roy stared, stupefied, at the angel version of himself.
"I believe," the angel said, "that when Havoc caught you... LOOKING... at Miss Riza, he understood more than you."
"Impossible." Roy shook his head stubbornly, and crossed the street. "It's Hawkeye."
"But you treat her different than your other subordinates, don't you?"
"It's 'cause she's a damn woman," the devil snapped, "and she needs protecting and stuff."
The angel scoffed. "Please. Miss Riza, need protecting? Remember the Scar in the rain incident?"
"So? She's still needed some rescuing at times."
"Roy treats her differently than any other woman he's ever met," the angel stated. "He's never flirted with her. Never made out with her. Never hit on her. Never even touched her."
"Because she's so damn scary!"
"Precisely," the angel said, nodding, just to piss the devil off, "And as a result, he's subconsciously been building this wall around him, to keep her out, to keep her away. Our dear Roy is afraid of Miss Riza because he loves her."
"He's afraid of her...because he...loves her." The devil repeated this skeptically.
"And he's afraid of commitment," the angel added, wisely.
"All men are," the devil waved the last comment off. "He can't be afraid of her if he loves her! God! Do you know what kind of a dysfunctional relationship that would be?"
"Don't talk to me," the angel sniffed, "Roy's the one that's in love with her."
"...!" The devil grabbed Roy by the collar. "You. Idiot. Don't you dare fall in love with her, you ass, she'll make your life missseerraaableeee!"
Roy stared, dazedly. Ahead of him was the First Lieutenant, clutching a dark umbrella over her head. He watched as she turned the corner over to her street.
"-she'll make you clean the house. And make you make your bed! You hate making your bed!"
The angel-Roy filed his nails while the devil rambled nonstop.
Roy shuffled slowly towards the flower shop. The elderly man glanced up at his footsteps. "Ah, hello.."
"Hello." Roy smiled. "I'd like the best bouquet of carnations you've got."
"-she'll make you put the toilet seat down! Ehh.. WHAT!"
The angel grinned.
"Here's the apartment," Roy mumbled to himself. In his hand he clutched the bouquet of white carnations. He sighed.
"Gooooo, Roy!" The angel jumped up and down.
"Jackass," the devil spat.
He was trembling. It's the cold, this cold rain, he lied, but even he knew that that wasn't the reason. He ran a hand through his unruly hair, nearly ripping them off his scalp.
"Hey," the devil said, suddenly, "isn't it Valentine's Day today? Dammit, Roy, look at yourself! Wasting this day in the rain, with a bouquet of friggin carnations, outside the Ice Queen's door!"
The angel slugged the devil.
"What if she shoots me...?" Roy asked, out of the blue.
The angel raised his eyebrows. "Excuse me?"
"What if she shoots me?" Roy repeated. "With her gun. In the head."
"You mean, what if she rejects you?"
But there was no use.
"Damn. I can't do this." Roy closed his eyes, threw down the bouquet carelessly, and fled. The wall grew taller and taller, soaring up towards the sky.
Riza frowned. She could hear something outside the door. Voices. Well, actually, only one voice, talking...to himself. Riza rolled her eyes. She really didn't need this right now.
A slight thud. She stood up, gun in hand. Quietly, she tip-toed to the door, and in the blink of an eye, swung it open.
Had she been hearing things?
She turned to walk back inside when she caught a glimpse of white. "What?" She murmured, but went over to check it out anyway.
It was a bouquet of carnations. They must have been beautiful once, but now they were bent, having been thrown so thoughtlessly. "But, who..?"
She walked over to the balcony, leaning slightly over the edge. In the distance- it was very faint, and she could barely see, but she was certain, she was sure.
The familiar swish of his black jacket and his messy black hair...
The corners of her lips turned up, almost invisibly. "Stupid man..."
"This is pathetic," Ed said, gesturing to the Colonel and the First Lieutenant.
In all actuality, they were really getting a lot better. They were speaking without any of that forced atmosphere...but Hawkeye hadn't seen fit to bring up the bouquet of carnations she'd found outside her door, and obviously, neither did Mustang. Some things were better left unsaid.
However, what Ed was referring to was the bet- which he was now participating in.
The pool had grown to twice its original size.
"I bet," Falman stated, "two hundred, that they'll never do it."
"They will, they will!" Maria interjected.
"Rumor is," Havoc said, secretively, "that he bought her a bouquet of carnations."
"Reeeally?" The group, including Fury, Havoc, Falman, Breda, Maria, Brosch, Armstrong, Ed, and Al, were all sitting cross-legged on the carpeted floor. "How'd he give it to her?"
"And, how'd you find out?" Alphonse asked, curiously.
"My friend, the florist," Havoc answered, smugly.
"So? How did he give it to her?" was the question on everyone's minds.
This was where Havoc's grin widened. "He didn't."
"Apparently -it's amazing what sorts of things you can find out if you listen to the Colonel ramble under his breath, you know- he threw the bouquet down at her door, and ran."
"He ran?" Edward howled with laughter.
"A nice gesture," Armstrong noted, "that should indicate something."
"That he loves her?" Breda wondered.
"This is too damn stupid," Edward grumbled. "I never knew the Colonel was such a wimp."
"Then maybe," Alphonse said, almost slyly, "you should get to it and confess to Winry."
Edward turned as red as his coat.
"Perhaps," Armstrong began, thoughtfully, "this calls for an intervention."
"An intervention? Might as well call in the guys in the white coats..."
"I pity the soul that willingly tries to intervene with THOSE two." Brosch shook his head.
"If this keeps up, we'll be broke."
"Who started this bet, anyway?"
A slight grin from Fury. "Hughes did."
Edward leaned back on the wall. "So, we'll do it, then." There was no question in his voice as he thought of the man who had been, in so many ways, like his father. "For him."
It was an innocent little closet. Sometimes, he kept his coat in there, or his umbrella. Somehow, people always stole each other's umbrellas. It was raining again, and Roy did not feel like walking in the rain without an umbrella.
He heard her behind him. He sucked in his breath. He hadn't told her anything about the whole thing with the carnations...and he didn't feel like bringing it up. It seemed like she'd forgiven him, and he hadn't said anything else. Everything was back to normal.
"Good morning, Hawkeye," he greeted, turning his head slightly as he opened the closet door.
She nodded. "Morning, sir."
It wasn't a horribly embarassing slip, but embarassing enough that actually cried out. He cursed himself. She followed him quickly, catching him by the wrist. He realized, with a start, that her hands were quite small...they weren't even able to close all the way around his wrist.
Hands that had enclosed around a gun.
"Are you okay, sir?"
"Ah.." He nodded. "Yes. Thank you."
She didn't let go of his wrist.
Behind her, the door shut.
Everything was dark.
"Oh." She let go of his wrist, and some part of him was sad about this... She stood, and turned the knob.
The door wouldn't open.
She turned it, more violently.
"Sir.." She turned to face him; he saw the faint outline of her shadow, "the door isn't opening."
The words didn't register in the beginning. Then, very suddenly, he stood. "Let me try."
And to no avail.
"It seems," he murmured, "that it locked from the outside."
"Oh." She let out a sigh. "Well, what now?"
"I could burn it down," he suggested.
"Military property," she admonished.
"I could pay for it."
"What if you burn something- someone else?"
"Do you really want to be stuck here with me for the rest of the morning?" He couldn't help it; a slight perverted tone crept into his voice. He imagined her rolling her eyes.
"Whatever you see fit, sir."
He snapped his fingers.
The door burned down, only to reveal another door.
She hadn't seen. "Sir?"
"Hang on." He snapped again. Underneath the crack of the door, he saw an alchemic reaction on the other side.
He snapped once more.
A clapping sound -no circles.
"Sir?" she repeated, quietly.
"I, ah, forgot my gloves," he lied.
She wasn't fooled. He was stupid to think he could actually lie to her and get away with it.
"Don't lie to me." She frowned.
He didn't reply. Instead, he snapped, once more.
Except, this time, he aimed his flames precisely underneath the crack of the door. He smirked with satisfaction as he heard Edward cry out.
"Dammit! That bastard tried to BURN me!"
"Brother, your coat's on fire!"
"...sir?" She crept closer. He heard her shuffling, groping around in the darkness. Her hand found his, in some strange twist of fate. She immediately let go.
God. She was way too close.
And all the feelings came rushing, all at once. Here, and now. Sadness. Frustration. Regret. Lust. Happiness.
She would never agree to it, he thought, she lived for the rules, and military personnel did not...did not..
It would never work.
It couldn't work.
There were other women...plenty of other women, he told himself, that would never give you this much hell, this much trouble, this much pain..
But how many other women would draw a gun for him?
How many other women would kill for him?
How many other women was he truly in love with?
And all of a sudden, he felt scared. Yes, he, Roy Mustang, the Flame Alchemist, frightened, shaking in his boots, like a small child. What was he to do? This wasn't like anything else... no, he couldn't simply snap his fingers and wish it all away. He couldn't fix this with a mere bouquet of flowers or even a box of chocolates..
He felt so small, so ridiculously weak.
He began to sweat.
"Colonel?" He could vaguely hear her voice in the distance. "Colonel?"
He snapped his fingers, with as much fire, passion, energy that he could muster, burning the door to ashes. A replacement door sprang up, but he burned that one again, and again, and again...
He ignored her. Snap. Snap. Snap.
She grabbed his hand.
"Ah!" She cried out, biting her tongue the moment she did. His rage fell away, making way for concern and anger, anger at himself, anger at her for interrupting. The flames died down, her skin a raw red.
"...Hawkeye..." He shook himself, taking her hand in his, momentarily forgetting about things such as breach of protocol.
She didn't reply.
"For someone very smart, you can sometimes be very stupid," he told her, voice barely above a whisper.
He could see her frown in the darkness.
"You were out of control," she said, matter-of-factly.
"...yes. Yes, I was."
What an idiot he was..
"Are you all right, Hawkeye?" His voice didn't sound like his. It was gruff and hoarse.
"Yes, sir." A pause. "Are you?"
And he grew flustered. "Yes. Of course." Her hand was still in his.
Her hand was still in his.
Her hand was still in his.
She was too close.
Rain, lavender, gunpowder.
He didn't know what was what anymore.
"I think I love- "
Her hand grew rigid, and he caught himself, just in time.
I think I love you.
He was building a huge, huge wall. A brick wall. A sturdy wall. Around himself, so that she would stay away.And if he stayed here any longer, he didn't know what would happen. What if he actually said it? What if he told her? What then? It would only lead to unhappiness, he knew that for sure..
The wall would come crumbling down, down, down..
Because somehow... it was like she was the one who controlled the fire; like she was the one who had the ability to go snap, and cause the wall to fall to ashes.
He couldn't stay. He had to leave. He couldn't stay here, dammit!
He couldn't stay here.
He pulled his hand away, dashing madly towards the door. He snapped, producing a large, wild flame. The door fell to ashes, and another door was produced after a white light on the other side. He bent down, snapped, and, judging by the scream on the other side of the room, got Edward.
"He BURNED me!"
He snapped, and it happened in an instant- the door was gone.
He didn't look back.
As soon as the moon rose, the Colonel murmured something about "an appointment" and hastily excused himself. He'd been rather withdrawn that day, and she couldn't shake off the feeling that something had happened. And that it involved her.
Riza frowned. But what? What could she have possibly done?
She thought back to the bouquet of carnations she'd found tossed on her doorstep.
"Hey, Lieutenant?" Havoc glanced at her furtively. "Aren't you going to go after him?"
She blinked. "Who?"
"The Colonel," Armstrong replied for him.
"...why would I do that?"
The military staff exchanged looks.
"Well...I think he's really confused right about now," Fury admitted, scratching his head. "Didn't you notice him acting differently?"
Riza looked at them all, confused.
"I suppose," someone said -Riza wasn't quite sure who-, "even the First Lieutenant, smart as she is, can ignore the things she wants to."
Riza's lips turned down.
"Blunt approach?" Falman suggested.
"Hawkeye..." Maria, the only other woman present, "...we have reason to believe...that Colonel Mustang is...well.."
"The Colonel's head-over-heels in love with you and he doesn't know what the hell to do about it," Edward stated, bluntly.
Riza looked, for the very first time, openly shocked.
"Ridiculous," she said, catching herself after two seconds, "the Colonel couldn't possibly.."
"The carnations, remember," Havoc reminded her.
"And the big bet," Breda added.
"Don't deny it," Maria snapped, "just admit it and go to it."
Riza shook her head. "But.."
"You love him too, don't you?" Alphonse was so quiet that she almost didn't hear him. "I remember when Lust told you she'd killed him, and..."
Riza clenched her hands into fists. "He's my superior," she ground out between gritted teeth.
"But the feelings are there, aren't they."
"No," she said, "no.."
"The feelings are there," Maria insisted. "You're just ignoring them."
What? The blonde felt cold, and confused, what was happening? How could things have changed so much?
"If not now, then when?"
Riza closed her eyes and sighed.
The door was white, made of wood, and had the apartment number engraved on it, in black, swirly lettering. She reached up to touch her hair, secure the bun, and then reached down to check that her gun was in her holster.
Just in case.
Taking a deep breath, and wondering exactly what the hell she was doing over here, she knocked.
She knew he was here. Where else would he go? To get drunk, perhaps? Well, yes, but something inside her told her that he was here, inside.
She knocked, louder.
Sound. It was faint, but it was something. Hope rising, she knocked, once more.
Footsteps. They came to a halt right behind the door. "Who is it?" he called, in a gruff, unclear voice.
"It's me, sir," she said, knowing he would know.
A pause. "What are you doing here, Hawkeye?"
"I- " She fell short. What was she doing here, anyway? She sighed, and realized something... "Sir, you're drunk."
A cough. "Not at all."
"Sir, open the door."
"Hawkeye, there is nothing wrong with me. I'm perfectly fine."
At least one of us is, the Lieutenant thought. But, no.. it had taken everything she had just to get herself over here; she was not, dammit, not going to let this whole entire thing be in vain.
She had to know.
"Colonel, please open the door."
Riza sighed. "Sir.."
Patience growing thin, the blonde woman grabbed her gun, making sure that he heard the safety click go off. "Sir, if you don't open the door, I'll shoot it down."
"..." She could tell he was contemplating whether she was being serious or not.
She took a step forward.
"Why are you here?" he asked, once more.
"Because," she said, trying to find excuses in her head, "you seemed...out of it at work today, sir."
"Were you worried?" He was teasing.
She didn't bother to reply. "Open the door, sir."
"But this is nice." She wasn't sure if he was being serious, drunk, or both. "Talking like this."
"I'd rather be inside, out of the cold," she stated. God, what was going on here?
"No," he replied, simply. "This is better. You don't want to see me, Hawkeye, I'm a mess."
"It doesn't matter," she countered, honestly, "I've seen you on your worst days."
He laughed, hollowly. "Not like that, Hawkeye. I don't know. I don't know what's right anymore. Everything's so screwed up, and it's all my damn fault.."
"...I knew it was bound to happen. Don't know how, or why, really. Just knew. You, you, Hawkeye, you did this to me. You brought this on me. No, no, I take that back. I brought it on myself. I was a damn idiot for letting this happen to me. And now, I don't know anymore."
She was bewildered. What on earth was he talking about?
"It was all their fault, really. The whole lot of them. Havoc, Fullmetal. D'you know, they have a bet going on? About us? About how long it'll take for the two of us to get together. It's been going on for years."
"And now, this. You don't even know, do you?"
"Know what, sir?" She bit her lip.
She thought back to the time in the closet. That's when it had all started, this whole weird behavior of his, anyway. He would snap his fingers, but nothing would happen, and then he'd claimed that he'd actually forgotten his gloves, but he'd burnt her anyway-
"Ah.." She gasped, softly. She looked down at her hand. It no longer hurt, but she couldn't help thinking of the war in Ishbal, of the countless people he must have burned. Burning was an awful way to die.
"Your hand.." She realized that he must have seen her through the peephole in the door. Finally, he opened the door. She smelled alcohol all over him. His hair was mussed, his face weary, like he'd aged ten years in a matter of hours. Before she could react, he'd taken her hand in his, and something different was happening.
She didn't know how she knew, but the way he was holding her hand- it wasn't just concern between colleagues, it was something more, something far deeper.
"This," he said, holding her hand with far more tenderness than he should have been, "this is what I meant."
Riza didn't say a word.
"It should never have happened. I was so stupid... what happened to that damn wall...?"
She opened her mouth, but the words wouldn't come out. She needed to say something. Anything.
"It's pointless to say it now," he murmured, voice low, voice husky, "but I think I should, and I will."
Suddenly she found it very hard to breathe.
"...because I think..."
She sucked in a gulp of air.
"...rather, I do..."
She closed her eyes.
It was as if water was rushing up, up, up, to her chest, then to her neck, then to her ears, and over her head. She couldn't breathe, she couldn't do anything. She was rooted to the spot. What should she say?
...I think..no, I do...
I love you.
Strong arms wrapped around her, and she didn't resist. She didn't want to. She was crushed against him, and she inhaled his familiar scent.
"Roy.." was all she said, his first name unfamiliar on her lips, as her arms encircled his neck. But it was enough.
"It's late," he admitted, scratching his head sheepishly, "but I figured, better late than never."
Her eyebrows drew together as she tried to figure out what he meant.
"Well, here." And he handed her a small, black box.
She accepted it graciously, and opened it. Her eyes widened, and she glanced up at him, surprised. "This.."
It was the gold bracelet she'd been looking at the other day... the one with a heart-shaped charm hanging from it. She took it out from its box, draping it over her wrist. It looked fabulous.
"Here, let me put it on you." He crossed over to her and locked the clasp around her wrist. He stood back, admiring it. "It looks great on you."
She blinked. "Thank you," she finally said. "But..how?"
"I saw you looking at it the other day," he told her, "and..."
"He marched up to the poor store manager," Havoc narrated, "and upon finding out that someone else had already reserved it, threatened the poor man with life or ashes unless he gave him the bracelet."
Roy shot him a glare that promised death.
"Here, Havoc," he snarled, "let me light that cigarette for you."
Out of the corner of her eye, he caught her admiring the bracelet on her wrist. But even better was the soft light in her eyes as she watched him.
He watched, while purposely singeing Havoc's hair, as she opened the box again. A note fell out, and she bent over to pick it up.
Riza, Happy Valentine's Day. Belated, that is. I'm sorry for being such an idiot. And for taking so long to admit it.
She caught his gaze, and smiled.
Who would have thought it, really? Her, and the Colonel..
He took a seat next to her, and she turned to look at him. "...?" There was a silent question in her eyes.
Which he didn't exactly answer. His desk, after all, was across the room.
"You don't mind, do you?" he asked, grinning.
She gazed fully and freely into his charcoal eyes. "No," she said, honestly, "I don't."
They worked like that, that day, sharing her desk. If anyone outside of the military had entered the room and seen them working that way, they wouldn't have given it a second thought. They were comrades, that's all, others would have assumed, perhaps sharing a desk for convenience, nothing more. However, there were those who knew better, and smiled secretively at the sight.
And in the end, there were no loud declarations of love, no letters of poetry, no extravagant dates to fancy, expensive restaurants. Nothing of that sort. In the end, it was simply the two of them, the Colonel and his First Lieutenant; a man and a woman, no walls in between, underneath a night sky illuminated by the crescent moon and stars. But it was just right. It was perfect, for them.
(My heart -runs- underneath that sky
I can't stop my idle feelings from crying out
Surely I'll -reach- you in a little while
The sunlight shines hotly across this path)
Finished, finished, finished. Originally supposed to be posted on Valentine's Day, but what with eeevilll school and writer's block and the disappearance of my muse, blah-blah, yeah. And so it's out, like, three weeks late. XD Oopsie. I thoroughly enjoyed writing this story...hahah, my past two RoyRiza stories were kinda serious, angsty-ish, so it's nice to be back in the romantic-comedy genre, my personal favorite. (smiles) I agonized over this, actually...especially with the characterizations of the characters, whether they'd be OOC or not. Somehow, I just convinced myself that it was all good, all good, and I just stopped. lol. Lyrics at the end are the translated last verse in "Ready Steady Go," the infamous second opening theme of Fullmetal Alchemist, sung by the amaaazing L'Arc en Ciel. Heeck, yeah.
Anyone notice the "wall" thing? Ahahah... I went on this little art field trip to the museum, and we saw this piece, and it was a brick wall facing another white wall. And what was odd was there was this little seat, only enough for one person, and when you sat on it, all you saw was that white wall. Apparently it represented isolation, a barrier, stuff like that. And it just fit in so perfectly with this story that I added it, after it was supposedly "finished." Hope I didn't overdo it...
And the line, "The feelings are there, you're just ignoring them" comes from Hot Gimmick, an awesome manga series. I believe it was Ryoki who said that to Hatsumi...
Please review! (smiiiiles)
Dedicated to my awesome reviewers...especially, AnimeFreakPerson. Hahah, bet you weren't expecting that, were you? I was just reading through my reviews basking in my own glory, heh and I noticed that your name constantly popped up in practically ALL my stories. You rooock! Hahaha, and here's my thank you gift. Hopefully you enjoyed it. Also, Lady Misao and SxStrngSamurai13, both of whom have reviewed, I think, all of my RoyRiza stories...