Disclaimer: Roy Mustang, Elizabeth Hawkeye, Black Hayate of FMA (c) someone and Square-Enix. If I'm not mistaken.
A/N: Tis amazing what can happen when you just sit at your computer on a rainy afternoon, wanting desperately to write Royai fics...
It all started with the ice cream.
The flavour is not uncommon – vanilla with chocolate chip. It is the normal frozen treat made of cream, milk and other normal ingredients usually used for ice cream. It is the everyday, usual dessert that most people enjoy with the delicate vanilla flavour sliding easily down one's throat and the satisfying crunch of the slightly bittersweet chocolate chips.
Really, it is just chocolate chip ice cream.
Yet to Colonel Roy Mustang, it is the evilest thing ever invented and should be banned on the grounds of driving a person insane when eaten in, what he feels is the most inappropriate of situations. (1)
Mind you, it isn't the person eating the ice cream that will go insane.
He is not looking up. He will not look up.
…he looks up.
Another thought runs through the dark head of the colonel. What is it about the combination of perfectly innocent things that causes people to react in an absolutely perverse manner? It is most uncanny.
Perhaps, answers a dry voice from within his cranium. It depends on how one perceives this truly innocent combination. One of a perverse nature would see this and naturally come to perverse thoughts.
Roy curses the anonymous eloquent speaker. He is not perverse. He is merely… well informed.
In perverse things.
More cursing ensues after this dead-on statement.
With great difficulty he bends his head back to the newspaper in front of him. Of all days too, today has to be one of those rare off-days where he doesn't have to deal with any paperwork or deal with anything to do with work in fact. This means he is not in the office. Thus he can see things in front of him without having to crane his neck around piles of paper or stand up. This means he can raise his head and see things without any blockades whatsoever.
These are the times when Roy Mustang is sure the heavens toy with him just for entertainment.
Yet another ponder comes to his mind.
Since when has ice cream become a choice anyway? In fact, he has never actually seen any form of dessert, besides cake and an occasional pastry, being consumed. Hearty, balanced meals with sensible beverages, yes, but never anything as frivolous and as childish as ice cream. The reasoning was and is that it isn't good for the body and would hamper performance at work.
So, when he had seen the single scoop ice cream cone, he had been rather stunned.
He tugs at his collar as his head, all of its own accord, looks up again. Like before, it is carefully concealed behind the newspaper. He will have to face the music sooner or later, he knows. Really, there is no escape. To remain would mean getting noticed eventually. To get up and leave would attract attention.
But unsurprisingly, he does not wish he isn't here. To see such a sight was rare but most welcome. It was a shame, to his mind, that this scene only came once in a lifetime, maybe twice if you were extremely lucky.
Roy smiles slightly. He doesn't doubt that he was lucky because to tell the truth…
He counts himself fortunate to see this moment of hidden character.
"Good afternoon, taisa."
The moment of counting blessings fades instantly. Knowing that there is really no helping it now, he lowers his newspaper and smiles congenially.
Elizabeth Hawkeye comes towards him, her indifferent expression partly covered by a golden fringe at one side and framed by her unbound hair. She wears a khaki coloured jacket with a pair of dark slacks. It fits her well, thinks Roy. Her constant companion, Black Hayate, walks beside her and halts when she does. He doesn't even need a leash, such is his discipline.
"Hawkeye-chuui. What a pleasant surprise." He manages to bend over and stroke Black Hayate on the back of his neck. The waves of the dog's tail make the canine's approval of such attention known. "I didn't know you came to the park on your days off."
Liza doesn't buy it for a moment. She raises one blonde eyebrow. "Have you been watching me?"
As to the point as ever… Roy has a passing thought about how blunt she could be yet subtle when necessary. "Watching you, chuui? I'm afraid I haven't even though you are a lovely specimen for watching. I've been, in fact, engrossed in the news that the weather will be partly cloudy tomorrow with a 50 percent chance of rain. Not a good thing for someone like me, as you of all people should know."
The eyebrow goes higher but she says nothing and he delights in his lack of contriteness.
Nevertheless Roy gracefully lifts an arm and gestures beside him in silent invitation. There is a lightening of her eyes and she accepts without words. As she sits, Hawkeye lifts the partly eaten ice cream cone to her lips and takes a small bite. Black Hayate, as he lies on all fours, watches for a moment then lets loose with a short bark, as if trying to say something. However, Liza only responds to him with a rather stern command to keep quiet.
Meanwhile Roy tries desperately to keep his cool, not about to break his nonchalant expression. "Come to think of it, Hawkeye, since when have you started eating ice cream?"
There is a tinge of red across her cheeks, if only noticeable from his point of view.
Oh, heaven help him from grinning like a loon…
Despite the blush on her face, she gives him a slightly warning look. "I don't eat it often."
"But…" She gives the ice cream in her hand a softer glance, softer than the one she had given him anyway. Her voice trails off and Roy immediately looks at her eyes. The ever focused, determined eyes are far away, delving into memories that are kept locked up tight within her intelligent head.
How much he knows about her is like a drop in an entire ocean. He feels as if every time he manages to find something out about her, there is so much more left unknown. Yet, he feels good about it. It gives him hope. Hope for a chance to explore all of her facets slowly, over time. At least, he hopes he can have that chance.
She is so much more than just friend or comrade… so much more than lieutenant or loyal assistant. Sometimes, it seems to him like he could watch her sit at her desk all day, busy with work and never tire. He can never tire of watching that concentration on her face or the way her strands of gold hair falls over her face.
He will never tire of watching her copper eyes. The eyes that had kept watch for him, eyes that made sure he was protected… eyes that gave him comfort when it was all too much to bear. The strong pair of eyes that had been there unwaveringly for him through his years in the military.
It gives him enough incentive to try and be strong as well. And he is grateful to her for that.
…what are you thinking of, Liza…?
Then, as if in response to his silent query, she murmurs just loud enough for her and for him to hear.
"I suppose once in a while… it's alright to pretend to be a child again…"
A moment of silence passes by before he answers, just as quietly.
"…perhaps. Just once in a while."
Dark eyes, sharp and intelligent meet larger copper ones, matching the other in both aspects. The crinkling of the darker pair of eyes make the larger ones lighten and a smile, slightly bigger than the ones she usually has, lights her face.
Roy's object of focus shifts. "…your ice cream is melting."
Liza's own eyes flicks to the vanilla goo trailing down her hand. And as quick as she is…
Her colonel is faster this time.
With one hand holding a handkerchief to wipe away the off white ice cream, the other holds her hand steady. He seems to take a laboriously long time to perform this simple task, as if determined to rid her skin of the offending, sticky substance as soon as possible.
But she doesn't mind.
The difference of her colonel's gloved and bare hands are so vast. The gloves are a covering, a mask of sorts while beneath it is rough, callous skin.
And again, she didn't mind.
The roughness just told her how much he worked. The scars gave away the effort he made to keep his subordinates safe.
They told her one of the many reasons why she lets him hold her hand and wipe away the melted ice cream as if he is tending to a wound.
"…there." A tinge of regret laces that contented syllable as he lets go.
And before she can say anything, he delicately picks up a chocolate chip from the handkerchief and pops it into his mouth.
He thoughtfully chews and swallows before smiling. "I commend you on your choice of flavour, chuui."
From where he sits, Black Hayate gives another bark, once more trying to tell them something. His mistress merely looks at him then back at the man she is sitting with. Liza's smile disappears into thoughtfulness as she looks at him, a little resigned as she always is when dealing with him.
Much to Roy's surprise, the copper eyes suddenly take on a different sort of sheen.
Slowly, ponderously, she silently holds the ice cream up to his face.
Roy glances at her, eyes asking if she is serious.
Her eyes return an answer.
The playfulness of his smile melts into what could be translated as affection.
And he leans in to take a small bite of the ice cream.
The partially melted treat easily slides down his throat, leaving a sweet taste in his mouth.
It is sweet enough to make him smile. "Thank you."
She nods in return, her blush going just slightly redder. "You're welcome."
And as if there is some sort of silent agreement, Liza takes a bite out of the ice cream before passing it to her colonel. Roy does the same and hands it back to her. Along the way, they talk amicably over a variety of subjects. Some things are agreed upon, some things are not. He teases her for some; she reprimands him for the others.
Eventually though, the ice cream is finished and all that is left is the end of the cone. Roy looks at his lieutenant before handing it to her. She takes it without words and promptly eats it, inwardly smiling at his gesture.
There is a pause where both wonder the exact same thing: Now what?
Roy suddenly smiles.
Alright… so perhaps ice cream isn't so bad after all.
"So," he begins as he gets to his feet and extends a hand to her. "How do you feel about chocolate mint?"
Liza blinks in surprise and then comprehends. Without hesitation, she takes his hand and stands up with a smile on her face. "I think I'd prefer to try strawberry this time."
"Is that so? Well, I don't mind what flavour really. Only," There is a quick check of his wallet with his free hand while his other doesn't release his lieutenant's. "I'm afraid I've enough money for just one cone. Do you mind sharing, Elizabeth?"
The gleam in his eyes makes her smile wider despite herself. "Roy, you are incorrigible."
He chuckles. The hold on her hand tightens as they walk towards the ice cream vendor.
Black Hayate is two steps behind his mistress, wagging his tail in approval at the sight before him. He loves his mistress with all his doggy heart and he thinks kindly of most of the human race but really; sometimes you need to bark twice before you get them to do anything.
Didn't they hear him the first time when he said they should share?
(1) Roy was always known to exaggerate when under pressure.
A/N: Hope you enjoyed reading that... and I apologize for the formatting. QuickEdit is quickly grating on my nerves. Anyway... thanks for your time!
A/N II (27 April 05'): Thanks so much for all your sweet reviews, everyone! (hugs all the reviewers) I'm so glad you liked it. (big smile)
Oh,and HI Rabid Lola-san! Haven't seen you in a long while... anyway, taisa means "colonel" while chuui is "lieutenant". Or it could be specific enough for "1st lieutenant", not entirely sure... and thanks for heads-up on the 'percent' business! (GLOMPS!)