The problem was. Roy thought as he watched her putter (with careful precision and absolute focus of course) around the office, that Riza was far too obedient for her own good. So obedient in fact that it pushed on the borders of mutiny. Even as she straightened those little details that everyone else accepted, but offended her exact standards, she was silently pushing at his authority, though it was in question whether it was deliberate or not. Did she mean to pointedly comment about the state he kept the office in or was she just playing on some genetic womanly instinct that insisted all reports must form a perfect column? Still, since Roy had nothing better to do, (or at least nothing better that he was willing to do), he just chose to watch her, his tired and cramped hands casually placed behind his head as he leant back on a precarious chair.

Riza never bustled of course – she had a military briskness about her, but also a deliberate slowness that demonstrated just how she held herself and her thoughts in check. Reserved. That was what Falman had called her in a conversation between the other members who shared the office. The topic had been innocent enough, just a simple question about the true nature of their First Lieutenant. Fury had tactfully gone with 'serene' (Roy was sure the diminutive man had suspicions that the First Lieutenant in question was about and probably listening) while Havoc had opted to offer military-esque as his contribution, despite the fact that it wasn't a real word, however apt it was. Breda, daring (or stupid) as he was, had rather boldly announced that Hawkeye was a blonde dictator when it came to matters of cleanliness.

Though dictator might have been too harsh a term to be used, no one in that pleasant little gathering denied it, partly because, in essence, it was true. While no dictator, Hawkeye was a leader through and through. The woman commanded respect, Armstrong had pointed out, sparkles twinkling all the more intensely with his zeal for the subject (even his biceps were flexing appreciatively.)

Watching his subordinate frown absently down at a stain from a coffee cup one of the office crew had left on the desk, Roy allowed himself a covert smirk. Respect commanding? When she was attacking a coffee stain sedulously with a wet rag? Hardly. On the other hand, it was true that Riza had somehow and very much unofficially come to be considered the second in command of the close working group. Although there were others that outranked her, it was to Hawkeye that the soldiers (or alchemists) turned to when they looked for confirmations of orders or the orders themselves. Even Fullmetal was more likely to fulfil a suggestion from Riza than from Roy himself, something that the Flame Alchemist was sure the pipsqueak did on purpose.

His First Lieutenant was trusted by most, that was for sure. And maybe it was because people knew just how dedicated she was to the military. Or more specifically (and more truthfully) to Roy.

The Colonel yawned, pointedly stretching his arms over his had, white gloves flashing in the light. Riza paid him no heed. It had been on her suggestion (translation; command) that they stay on into the overtime hours, the purpose being to attack the never-ending pile of reports that always seemed to renew itself. The report pile seemed to defy the law of equivalent exchange since Roy worked endlessly at it, but had never gotten anything back from it (if Riza had heard that thought, she would have told him he was exaggerating.) Still, Roy's attention had shifted from the sheaves before him to the woman across the room and it had been like that for a good half hour. In spite of the fact that Riza had long since finished her own paperwork, she'd made no sign of wanting to call it a night yet and since Roy showed no inclination towards actually finishing his own work, they were locked in an amiable and silent stalemate leaving the Colonel free to contemplate her confusing, but plausible logic.

Riza was committed to the military. Riza was committed to Roy. Didn't that in itself suggest that Roy should have Riza's full compliance in every situation?

If Roy had been of a masochistic nature, he might have laughed at such a thought. Riza may have been obedient to a point, but it was on her terms, not his. His First Lieutenant saw far beyond the normal mindset of 'ask no questions, obey each order' that was the standard military generality. Riza had narrowed her field down to 'protect Roy' and if that meant overstepping an order to keep him safe, she had no qualms about doing so.

Riza was straightforward enough when you realised her goals and it pleased Roy no end to be able to predict her every move even if it did mean his pride got trampled on every now and then. Not that he could fault her because she was right in every aspect. As always.

The click of the desktop clock announced that another hour had gone by, but Roy didn't glance towards it to see what time it was. Watching Riza was much more interesting. Even while she was doing something as mediocre as adjusting a pile of files, she was beautiful.


Roy met her questioning look with a secretive smirk. Riza just raised an eyebrow, clearly suspicious of whatever was going on behind that pseudo innocent face of his. Whatever rank they held, whoever had loyalty to who, neither of them ever looked at each other as anything less than equals – a silent look of understanding and fractional challenge.

"I was just thinking that you'd command more respect in a miniskirt," he said blithely.

Riza rolled her eyes, not even dignifying the comment with a reply as she sniffed, taking her neatly folded coat from its peg. Even as Roy followed her example, looking a trifle smug at what he considered a victory (and what Riza would consider as the same, but for her) his thoughts were still on his First Lieutenant and why it was that she bore him with such quiet dedication.

What was the true nature of Riza Hawkeye? Beauty…but with a gun.