Title: Given Things
Warnings: I got nothing
Disclaimer: Fullmetal Alchemist is not mine... Does someone wanna give it to me?
Notes: FLUFF! I wrote FLUFF! Okay, there are one or two angsty lines, but my muse finally decided to stop tormenting Roy and let me do something cute again! I hope you guys enjoy reading it. It's always such a pleasure to read your reviews... Sadly, I won't be as prolific as I have been over the summer, since school's starting up again; I've actually gotta go to work tomorrow... Which reminds me, I should clear something up. Yes, I teach high school. No, I am not old! Anyways, I thought of this story while I was at a Hail and Farewell (Zamnandi, ya brat, you know what I'm talking about!) Again, hope y'all like it!
Upon reflection, Riza Hawkeye decided that certain things in life were a given.
For example, it was a given that anytime Roy Mustang and Maes Hughes entered her apartment, they'd do something to annoy her.
This time, Roy picked up the picture she kept on her bookshelf- the one of her at sixteen, dressed in a low top and short skirt that she'd never dream of wearing now.
And then he smirked about it.
Hughes, on the other hand, settled for ruffling her hair and telling her she really ought to grow it a little longer- like Gracia's.
He always did have the healthier sense of self-preservation.
But she decided it was too much effort to scold either of them, since neither was listening. So, instead, she rolled her eyes and withdrew to her bedroom to get ready for the state dinner they all had to attend. She took a long while, and was hardly surprised, when she reemerged, to find both men asleep in her living room.
That was also a given- Hughes worked too hard, and Roy lived too hard.
She leaned against the doorframe and watched them for a moment, trying to decide who would complain more when she woke them up. She decided to put the odds on Hughes; Roy would probably settle for glaring until the fog around his brain dissipated.
She cleared her throat just loudly enough to make both of them start. "Gentlemen, I'm ready now."
"Dammit, how do women manage to take so long getting dressed, even when they're just putting on a uniform!"
Roy didn't make comments like that, considering he picked up all his women after they'd gotten dressed, gone out, and started drinking. He was, in fact, glaring blearily in her direction.
It was funny, she thought, with a barely contained smile, how such smart men- and both of them were ruthlessly smart- could be so predictable.
But, then again, she knew she was one of very few people who would ever think so; Roy kept everyone else back with his arrogance, while Hughes distracted them with idle chatter.
"You should see my Gracia. She spends hours choosing her outfits, and putting on her make-up, and I just can't figure out why because she's already so perfect!"
Speaking of idle chatter.
"It takes a while to properly conceal weapons, sir," Riza stated calmly.
"-with the- What? Oh." Hughes halted his verbal torrent and had the grace to look sheepish.
But Roy let his lazy gaze slink down her body, and she could almost hear the suggestion forming in his mind.
She gave him a pointed glare. "Don't even think about trying to find them, sir." She reached for her keys. "Shall we go?"
They all lived within walking distance of Headquarters, but it had become something of a tradition for Roy and Hughes to meet her at her apartment before any military functions so that she could drive. If the two of them took to drinking- and they would- it was quicker and easier to get them home safely if she had her car.
Of course, it would've been more proper if she'd picked them up instead of letting them come to her, but Roy had a habit of bucking every rule he could afford to.
That ended when they arrived at the dinner; under the scrutiny of their peers, they behaved exactly as decorum demanded. Riza got out of the car and opened the doors for the two men, saluting crisply as they emerged. Then she escorted them into the building, announced them to the Fuhrer's secretary, and led them to their seats with a cool professionality.
Her role at such functions was always very simple: protect Roy, and do it overtly.
His enemies wouldn't dare cause trouble with the "ice-hearted lieutenant," as she'd heard herself called, always standing guard. More than that, though, her obvious presence drew their attention away from Hughes, who could then corner anyone who might interfere with Roy's networking.
Riza privately wondered if Gracia knew that her husband was shoving her photograph in the faces of some of Central's highest ranking officers. She watched in amusement as he rifled through his pockets for various images, mumbling under his breath about the incredible joys of marriage.
"You know, Hughes," Roy remarked dryly, "when you were in training and they told you to consider everything a potential weapon, I don't think they had your wife's pictures in mind."
Hughes let out a long-suffering sigh. "Can I help it if I'm married to the most amazing woman in the world? Beauty like hers simply has to be shared! It wouldn't be right to- Hang on-" his gaze focused on a point behind Roy's left shoulder- "looks like we have company coming."
Riza turned, a beat before Roy did, and noticed a cluster of younger soldiers- fresh out of Basic, by the looks of them- edging their way over. That, of course, was too be expected at these dinners; most of the newer soldiers in the military, the ones who had joined up after the Eastern Rebellion, were somewhat in awe of the alchemists who'd fought in Ishbal.
Roy, in particular, was a legend to the new generation. He was young, charismatic, and notoriously powerful. And he had air of mystery about him that drew people in, made them want to get close.
Riza knew he took no pride in it- loathed it, in fact- but he recognized that his popularity among field grade officers and enlisted personnel was a crucial part of his success. Having so much support behind him made him a very clear threat to anyone standing in his way.
The kid at the front of the approaching group, a gangly redhead with the matching freckles, drew himself up to attention and threw a hasty salute.
Riza saw Roy's posture abruptly change to convey openness- and even cheer- to the handful of privates and corporals now crowding around him. But from her vantage point, she could also see his hands clenched into fists behind his back in anticipation of their questions.
It usually took about three and a half drinks before he'd tell war stories willingly, but she knew he'd do it now because that was what his audience wanted.
Always, that was what untried children like these wanted.
They didn't realize what they were asking. If only they knew how it felt applying pressure to a stomach wound, how it sounded when a dying man screamed, how it smelled when flesh was alchemically burned...
Riza felt Hughes tapping her arm, jolting her back to the present, and gave him a brief but grateful smile.
She took a step toward Roy, knowing he was dredging up similar memories, and wanting to reassure him of her presence; she couldn't touch him, of course, but she knew being close would be enough.
"And it really only took a couple of months, sir?" The freckle-faced private was asking, sounding incredulous.
"Two or three," Roy replied, turning and catching Riza's eye. "Lieutenant Hawkeye was there a lot longer."
She nodded, understanding that he wanted her to take away some of the attention. "I was deployed almost a full year before the alchemists. It was a very different war, before they came. I'm sure you know that."
A few heads nodded, and a young woman- a corporal- asked, "Were you put under the command of any of the alchemists, ma'am?"
"She was, and she still is," Hughes interjected, "though you should ask yourselves what a woman of her talent is doing with a-"
"I appreciate that, Major, thank you," Roy cut him off, smirking.
Riza rolled her eyes and addressed the group of solders again. "In addition to my duties as a sniper, I served as Lieutenant Colonel Mustang's company sergeant, and have remained under his command as we've both received promotions."
"So it's like the old saying goes, then," said the corporal, offering a tiny grin. "Behind every good man is a good woman."
Riza expected Hughes to correct her- he was the one with the wife, after all- so she was rather stunned when Roy beat him to it.
"Maybe so," he said easily, "but the better ones are the ones who will stand beside you."
Riza ducked her head to hide her blossoming smile, even though he'd already glanced her way and caught it.
That was a given.
But it appeared there was still room for a few pleasant surprises.