The Wants of the Few

Author's Note: Spoilers to episode 25. There'll be Roy/Riza and maybe a few moments seeming like Roy/Gracia.

Chapter 1 – Separation Anxiety

"It should only be for a few hours Riza." Gracia said to the officer.

Riza smiled compassionately, "No problem. Elysia is always welcome here." The lieutenant felt sorry for the now single woman. The death of Maes weighed heavily on his wife and even heavier on their daughter. It'd been nearly a year and tomorrow was going to be Elysia's first birthday without her father. Gracia needed time to prepare and buy presents, so she'd asked if Hawkeye would baby-sit for a few hours. Naturally, she said yes. Gracia knelt down to face her child in the eyes.

"Sweetie," she said Elysia, "I've got to leave for a little while. I need to visit some friends."

Her daughter frowned, "Why can't I go? I don't want you to leave."

"You can't honey…I've got to go talk to some people, and it'll be a lot of big people talk. You'll be bored-"

"I want to go." She said, her voice starting to whine.

"You can't. I have errands to run-" Suddenly she was interrupted by her child's body plowing into her own. Elysia was hugging her tightly, hanging on for dear life.

"Don't leave!" she pleaded again. "You might not come back."

Gracia sighed, and tears threatened her eyes. "I promise I'll come back. I'd never leave you forever." Elysia tightened her grip on her mother. "You remember Miss Riza don't you, Elysia? She's just going to take care of you for a little while." Elysia cautiously looked over her shoulder at Riza and turned back quickly to her mother. Riza could see this wasn't working. She was going to have to intervene.

"Elysia, I think Black Hayate is in the backyard. And I know he's been really looking forward to you visiting him." Riza had gotten the girl's attention. Elysia looked at the woman with a little intrigue. Riza continued, "He hardly ever gets a chance to play fetch anymore…and I remember how good you were at throwing—"

"Okay…" Elysia said. Gracia could see that her little one wasn't crazy about her leaving, but at least she was willing to stay. The child unlatched her grip from her mother and walked slowly over to stand by Riza. Hawkeye looked down at the child, "Do you remember where the backyard is?" Elysia nodded, her frown dissolving a bit and went into the house and out the back door. The two women watched until she was gone.

Riza looked back at her guest. "How are you doing?" she asked sincerely.

Gracia sighed a tired sigh, "Things have been hard…and just when I started to think we were going to start getting on with our life—I can't blame her for missing him. I miss him too. It's just that he always made such a big deal out of these things. Elysia's birthday was always a big deal to him. He always stressed how important it was to be together…" Riza listened quietly. "I don't know what to do anymore Riza. I put on a brave face for her, but when she puts on that pleading voice, I know she can see right through me. Do you know that there hasn't been one night that she hasn't come into my room in the middle of the night to make sure I was still here? I'm sure she's afraid she's going to lose me too. I can't help but worry about her."

Riza looked at her friend, she could see the worry lines creasing her forehead. "Well you won't have to worry about her while she's here. I'll keep her so busy she won't even have time to realize you're gone." Gracia just smiled and waved good bye as she started walking down the street toward the shops in town. "Don't worry…"Riza said under her breath. "I can do this." As Riza turned back inside, her own words hit her ears again…was she saying them to reassure Gracia…or herself?

It gets better, I promise ;)