AN- meh...this'd be my first fanfic,and my first time posting on a site like this,so thats my excuse for any and all stupid mistakes i'm guranteeded to make ;;. it's a Royai story, so it has a lot of angst/romance in it. however, i'm NOT at all a big romance writer usually, so this is a big change for me. plus, since i'm the kind of person who isnt happy with a story unless there's at least one big, bloody battle scene in it, expect there to be some of that. for all u action fans, i promise there'll be plenty of violence in later chapters if you can sweat out the romance. i write A LOT, which means this is not the place to come if ur a drabble/one-shot fan. i tried to control myself, tho- so far, none of my chapters are over 9 microsoft word pages. thats good for me, trust me. ;;. as for the story line, i based the ending off pictures i've seen from the last episode, but it doesnt really follow the anime story line. for instance, hughes is still alive cause i love him, and what i'm not sure of-like pride's powers- i pretty much just made up. timeline's not that complicated, tho, so...well, enough of my babbling, enjoy! reviews are welcome, of course, but if you're gonna flame--flame nicely! XD


Riza

It was just your ordinary day.

Plenty of paperwork, a quick, hurried lunch taken in the office, the daily ritual of trying to get the colonel to do something -anything- that had to do with his job. Never an easy task, 1st Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye mused as she strode down the hallway, but then, so little in life was easy, it seemed. Shifting the stack of papers she was carrying, she made her way to the colonel's office, which, although not technically hers, might as well have been; she spent most of the day in there, working side-by-side with her superior.

Well…when he felt like working, that is…

As she reached the office, she noticed the door was closed, which, although nothing unusual for most people, was a sure sign that the colonel wasn't doing what he was supposed to be doing. Sighing slightly, she raised her hand to knock on the door- and stopped when she heard his voice ring out.

"Yeah, yeah, I heard you, Hughes. You can stop repeating yourself now."

This outburst was followed by another, more care-free voice-

"Well, ex-cuuse me, Mr. Colonel. I was just making sure you didn't forget."

"Grr…" the colonel's voice was dripping with irritation, which was quite normal when he talked with Maes Hughes. "How the hell could I forget, Hughes, we've been talking about it for the past hour!"

"Yeah, but with my luck you'll forget anyway,"

"Your luck? Remind me, Hughes, what does any of this have to do with you?"

"Oh, come on, you know how long I've been waiting! I mean, come on, how long's it been since you met her?"

Riza stopped listening, sighing louder. Of course…Colonel Roy Mustang was discussing girls, again. Besides procrastinating, that was his favorite hobby- women. Not a single Friday night went by without him blowing out of the office early, eager to go on his date with whoever he was seeing that week. Very rarely was it ever the same girl twice. Him caring one way or the other about the girl was even rarer. No, Roy went on these dates with women for one reason, and one reason only; he was known as something of a legend among the other guys. He never had to worry about finding a date, either- women flocked to him the way bees flock to honey. They were always the same kind of girl, too- always ditzy, always loud, always willing and eager to go out with the great Flame Alchemist, hero of Ishbal. Half of these women weren't even sure what Ishbal was, but that didn't seem to bother Roy- he liked being considered a hero, even if his nightmares always increased after a date spent bragging about his many 'honorable achievements' during a war in which there was no honor. It wasn't like he spent too much of a night after a date sleeping, anyway.

Riza shook her head. For a moment, she'd thought it might have been something important. Still, it was unusual for the colonel to pine over a girl like this. Roy Mustang didn't pine, he dated. He never hesitated to ask a pretty girl out, and almost always, the girl never hesitated to accept. So why was he suddenly so uptight about…..

For a split second, Riza felt a small glimmer of hope stirring inside of her, but she quickly shot it down. She was being ridiculous, she told herself firmly. She'd been over this a million times. Dragging up feelings she wasn't ready to admit she had would only complicate matters…especially standing in front of the colonel's door. She raised her hand, determined to forget whatever she'd overheard, only to have her hand pause in midair as the door opened.

"Oh, sorry, Lieutenant," Lieutenant Colonel Maes Hughes gave her a friendly smile as he slipped past her into the hallway. "Didn't realize you were there."

Riza didn't return his smile- she almost never smiled. However, she nodded her head, and her usually stern amber eyes did soften somewhat. She liked Maes Hughes, nearly everyone did—he was filled to the brim with light-hearted, carefree friendliness. Hughes pretty much never got upset over anything--it was hard not to like him.

However…the same people who said they liked him were also the first to call him annoying (especially Roy Mustang). It wasn't that he never took things seriously….it was just that, if you talked to him, you were pretty much guaranteed to have to listen to him go on and on and on about his wife and young daughter- he'd even show you a photo album's worth of pictures. If there was one word that described Hughes at times like that, it was obsessed.

"Saaay, Lieutenant…" Hughes had that tone in his voice which meant he was up to something, plus his eyes were crinkling up behind his glasses. "You are staying till closing time tonight, right?"

Riza looked at him, puzzled. "Of course, sir, I always do." Mentally, she thought he should be asking the colonel that question, not her- today was Friday, after all.

"Heh, ok, good. I was just checking 'cause—"

"Hughes." Roy Mustang, standing behind his desk, didn't sound too happy. "I'm sure you have a lot of work to do…so why don't you go do it!"

"Fine, Sir, I can see when I'm not wanted. See you around, Hawkeye." He waved to her, and went off humming down the hallway. Riza stared after him, still taken aback by his question- why exactly had he asked her that?

"Irritating little…." Colonel Mustang shook his head, aggravated, and flopped down into his chair. "Well, Lieutenant Hawkeye, you get those forms?"

"Yes sir, and also, Second Lieutenant Havoc informed me that these need to be signed as well."

"Arrrgh…" Mustang groaned--he hated signing forms. "Dammit, couldn't he just forge my signature or something?"

"Don't be ridiculous, sir," she told him dryly, setting the stack of papers down on his desk. "Lieutenant Havoc could get into serious trouble for doing that."

"Good old Hawkeye, ruining my dreams like always." He put his head down on his desk, glaring at the papers as if he could scare them away.

"No sir, just being practical. If Lieutenant Havoc did get into trouble, you'd have to deal with a lot more stress and paperwork."

The Colonel lifted his head off the desk and looked at her with a smirk on his face.

(The same infamous smirk that he nearly always wore, the same smirk that appeared on his face whether he was picking up girls, or worming his way out of work, or berating Edward Elric, or getting drunk in some seedy bar, all the while telling the unconcerned barkeep about what a great alchemist he was, such a great alchemist, everyone knew that, even the Ishbalans that he'd killed with a burst of flames, the Ishbalans who couldn't defend themselves, the Ishbalans who haunted his dreams and oh lord, what he wouldn't do for one night where they didn't come at him from the grave, trying to drag him down with them into hell…)

"Sir?"

Colonel Mustang sat up and stretched, the late afternoon sun streaming in through the big floor-length window behind him. "You know something, Hawkeye, you outta stop being so practical for a change." He knew, of course, that there was no way in hell that would ever happen- Riza was known for her calm, collected manner, for never getting upset or excited or showing any emotion over anything. "Try wearing your hair down." He eyed the blond hair that she had fastened to the back of her head in the usual bun. "I mean that literally, by the way."

"Sorry, sir, but it would get in the way during work." She turned to go.

"Hey," the Colonel protested, "Where're you going?"

"The shooting range, sir, I'm due to train for the next half hour."

"Hmph, like you really need it," he muttered; Riza was the best sharp-shooter in the military, everyone knew that. "Well, on your way back, can you grab me a cup of coffee?"

"Sorry, sir," she informed him briskly, "I'm a first lieutenant, not a secretary." She left, shutting the door behind her. Roy let out a snort. How was it, that diligent, loyal Riza, who never broke any rules or protocols, and who was never insubordinate, always managed to one-up him like that?


Riza sat at her desk in Roy's office- she was in there so much she had a place of her own to work- systematically organizing and reordering papers. She may not have been a secretary, but she certainly had her share of secretary work to fill out. Of course, everyone did. Roy always complained the most about it, though, being Roy. Right now, he wasn't complaining….he was instead drumming his fingers on his desk. Every now and then he'd look at the papers in front of him, decide that he wasn't 'in the mood yet', and go back to drumming. Riza was used to this by now, and had no trouble blocking him out. Besides…her mind was on something else.

Although she'd done everything in her power to try and not think about it, the conversation she'd overheard and Hughes's weirder-then-usual behavior kept playing and replaying in her mind. The colonel really had been acting weird before…kind of out of it, like it'd been taking him a few seconds to understand whatever she'd said. Who could it be, she wondered as she methodically went about her work, what girl could possibly be so important to Roy as to leave such a mark on him?

A small part of her began to whisper, and this time, try as she might, she couldn't tune it out. Could it be…was it even possible that….no, of course not, don't be silly. She furrowed her brows, angry with herself for wasting time thinking about this idiotic business. It was none of her concern who the colonel was dating. Of course, she did wish he'd go out with a better caliber of girls- girls who didn't giggle incessantly, even when nothing funny had been said, girls who weren't all too willing to get drunk and go to bed on the first night, girls with more interests then just clothes and money, a girl who could take care of herself….and suddenly the small voice inside her yelled, a girl like me!

Riza was so startled she let out a faint gasp. Embarrassed, she glanced over at Roy, who didn't seem to notice. Just in case, she buried herself in an extremely boring report, trying to look intrested. She was so rattled- and the fact that she was rattled just made her even more uneven- that she couldn't focus on the words in front of her. She'd never admitted to herself just how deep her feelings for the colonel might be...

This is nonsense, she told herself sternly. He's the colonel, and that is all. She could see him as a friend, perhaps, but not as….certainly not as….well, anyway, even if she did have those feelings for him- which she didn't- it wasn't like she was going to do anything about it. She had pledged to always support Roy, no matter what—but that didn't mean she was in love with him! His dating preferences just bothered her because she knew him so well, and knew he could do so much better. And she did know him well, that was for sure. She'd been with him from the beginning, back in Ishbal, when they'd both had to come to grips with the fact that this great war was not great, not at all.

"Oh, damn…" he'd groaned one night, a blood-stained night that fell over a land reeking of decay and burned flesh and the never-ending screams of victims. "Oh damn…"

And she'd tried to comfort him, trying even though she knew that it would be all but impossible, "Please, sir, you should get some sleep."

"God damn…." he'd mumbled, not giving any sign that he'd even heard her. "God damn….why the hell did I do that? Why the hell did I kill her…?"

"Because otherwise she would have killed you," Riza answered honestly. It was true- the young girl, who barely looked twelve, had lunged at them with a gun seemingly out of nowhere. "It was either her or you, sir."

Roy stared dully at the ground, his eyes filled with a kind of pain Riza had never seen in them before. "Then it should have been me…"

"Don't say that!" she'd half-shouted. Roy looked at her, shocked even in his despair by this sudden outburst from someone he'd come to recognize as very composed. "You shouldn't say that, sir…" she'd gone on, calmer. "You owe it to yourself and to the people who care about you not to say that."

"The people who care about me…" He smiled, a bitter, twisted smirk that was painful to see. "Those people…those people…are fools."

"None the less sir, they are there, and they do care about you. You won't stop the war by refusing to fight. You won't bring back the dead by dying yourself."

"Man, Hawkeye….."

He'd turned to look at her, the acidic grimace changed to a slight, faint, sad smile that didn't quite reach his eyes. "Man….it's a good thing you're so damn practical."

Practical….that certainly was what she was. She was practical. So why was she hiding behind a research report, her heart pounding? Telling herself sternly that she was being as foolish as those women Roy dated, she picked up a pen and began to fill out a form off the never-ending pile of them. Usually, she had no trouble keeping focused- over time, she'd honed her already sharp mind into letting her fill out papers without really concentrating on what she was writing. Today, however, the trick was simply not working.

It'd be a lot easier if the colonel wasn't staring, she grumbled mentally. Because he was certainly staring. She glanced up at one point, expecting to see him sleeping, or flinging papers around, or having a staring contest with the wall, or pawing through that little black book of his…and instead finding him watching her, pinning her with that sharp gaze. Uncertain if he wanted something, she looked back at the paper in front of her- only to glance up a few minutes later and find him still staring. A couple of times, he cleared his throat as if he was going to say something--but he never did.

Feeling more confused then ever, and losing the battle to keep her hopes in check, Riza finished the form and moved on to another. Let's see….she glanced down it, then sighed. Another 'serious issue' that had nothing even remotely important to say. It would probably be easier to just have Roy sign this and send it incomplete, she thought, it's highly doubtful anyone would even notice. Still…another quick glance up at the colonel told her that, at least in this case, she would rather just fill it out herself.

"Lieutenant Hawkeye."

His voice, ringing out of nowhere like that, startled her, but she looked up with an unruffled expression on her face none the less. "Yes, sir?"

"…."

He was still looking hard at her, and she felt herself flush slightly. What was he up to? He was quiet for so long, she began to wonder if he'd forgotten that he'd spoken. (It wouldn't be the first time.) "….Did you want something, sir?"

Still, he only looked at her without saying a word. "Sir…-"

"Lieutenant Hawkeye," he repeated. "Tell me something. What's your opinion on love?"

"L-Love, sir?" What kind of question is that!?

"Love." His voice was firm, and there was no sign of that teasing look in his eyes that usually appeared when he was joking around. "You have to have some kind of viewpoint on it, right?"

"Well, sir…" She hesitated. Why was he asking her this? "Sir….does this have something to do with work?"

"Nah, this is my personal curiosity about your personal opinions. So, come on, Hawkeye, let's hear it. What's your opinion on love?"

"Well…it's a very…intense feeling…" she said slowly, uncertain as to what kind of answer he wanted. "It's very….important…I don't think it's found too often, though."

"Oh?" His eyebrows rose. "You don't think so? Sure seem to be a lot of people dating to me."

Oh, so that's what kind of question it was. Of course. She should have realized. For a minute, she'd thought…but, no, it was just him wanting to know if what he had with whatever girl he was with this week could be considered 'love'. Riza turned back to her work, her mind at ease…or so she told herself. After all, it was so much easier to believe that she was satisfied with the colonel not asking her something different, rather then believing she was disappointed

"Yes, sir, a lot of people do date. That doesn't mean it's love. For the most part, it's probably just lust on either side. I'd highly doubt if even a fraction of the people dating have any real feelings for their 'significant other.'"

"Oh really." His tone stayed neutral, and she was unable to see his eyes as he played with a paper-clip, but still….something about the way he spoke, to her well-tuned ears (which were by now so used to his voice that they could pick up any little change), still sounded off somehow… "So I guess a serial-dater would have trouble convincing a girl that he really felt something for her, huh?"

Riza couldn't help but get just slightly irritated. Alright, she got the point, he was having trouble convincing a girl to go out with him. But really, what did he expect, his reputation as a womanizer was known far and wide. Of course he'd have trouble getting a girl who was looking for 'true love' into bed.

"Yes sir, I'd say so. The girl would not be certain that his efforts really were truthful." Why did he look so annoyed at that? His efforts weren't truthful. Riza was sure that by next week he'd have moved on completely. "She would worry that he was simply trying to use her." Which he pretty much was.

She picked up her pen and scribbled something across the top, please see attached report, picked up her stapler and fastened it to the top of a thick pamphlet, placed it aside for Havoc or Fury to mail later. She was aware of Roy's eyes still on her, but it no longer bothered her- he was simply asking for advice on girls from the only girl around. He did that sometimes, and she didn't really mind; she enjoyed helping him even if it was for something as trivial as this.

"She would be afraid that he wasn't really concerned for her," she continued, evenly, figuring Roy'd want to know all the problems he was up against. "After all, sir, a man who dates so frequently must be aware that his motives will sometimes be called into question—"

"Dammit, Hawkeye!"

Colonel Mustang stood up, knocking his chair and a stack of papers over in the process. Riza stared at him, shocked, as he scowled and bent down to pick the chair up. Then he turned and looked at her again. His eyes were ablaze with an emotion she couldn't quite read…it was so powerful…blinding, almost….

"Just because a guy's dated before, doesn't mean he's not allowed to feel things for other people! Just because a man might mess around a lot, doesn't mean….doesn't mean…"

His voice was desperate now, rising rapidly in pitch….Riza could only sit there, stunned. She'd never seen him like this, so worked up…and the way he was looking at her….

The hope that had been simmering in her before now began to boil. Was it possible that he was about to…?

"It doesn't mean that he can't…." His expression was so urging, so pleading…Riza could feel her heart begin to race…was Roy Mustang really about to….? And if he did, would her answer really be….? When had this happened?! When had these troublesome, confusing, and above all, forbidden feelings manifested?

Her eyes were locked on his….her heart thudded faster…Roy took one last, deep breath—

And then he laughed.

"Eh, forget it. Sorry about the mess, I dunno what I was thinking." She didn't like the quality of his laugh—it was too empty, too bitter. Something, she couldn't help but note, it hadn't sounded like since Ishbal.

"Seriously, though, I'm glad I got that out of the way." He made for the door, and Riza felt her confusion growing- wasn't he going to…? "Hope you don't mind if I cut out a little early today, Lieutenant, I got a date tonight. Hot as hell girl, great body, plus she's a blond, heh heh. Another girl falls for my charms, hah!" He grinned, proudly…

But it was certainly strange how the smirk didn't quite reach his eyes.

"Yeah, probably one of the hottest girls in the city….I've known her from way back, and let me tell you, she has one hell of a nice ass…anyway, I'm looking forward to it." Roy sounded nothing if not pleased with himself and his latest soon-to-be conquest.

He didn't seem to notice the expression on Riza's face.

Riza felt very…odd. She knew the colonel was saying something, but she couldn't figure out what. Oh yes, a date. Of course. It was Friday, after all, no surprise there. It was Friday, and he was going out with another good-looking woman whose bed he'd be in by the end of the night—the thought made her want to puke. He'd dated half the female population of the city, but he'd never so much as looked at her….she was the one woman he wasn't interested in. He didn't care about her like that. He didn't care….

"Lieutenant…?"

Riza snapped out of it quickly, realizing for the first time that she'd been clenching her pen so hard that it had burst, with the ink now leaking out and dripping down her hand.

"Oh…yes?" She hurriedly cleaned her hand off, hoping Roy hadn't seen. "I'm sorry, did you say something, Colonel?"

"I was just asking if you wanted me to help pick up those papers…."

"Oh--no, sir, it's ok."

Riza knelt down on the floor and began picking up the files like a good subordinate. Because that was what she was. A subordinate. And she had been stupid, very stupid, to forget that. She could feel Roy's eyes boring into her back, and she wanted more then anything to scream at him to get out, go find his hot blond bitch and stare at her for a while…but of course she didn't.

"Hawkeye…" He sounded uncertain now, and she could picture his smile faltering and his eyes filling with concern. "Is everything—"

"Everything is fine, sir," she interrupted calmly, her voice as smooth as glass. She sensed rather then saw him pause by the door, and couldn't help, even now, but wonder why he didn't just leave like always…despite what had just happened, despite everything, she wondered why he was lingering, faint traces of hope drifting upwards once more…but, as she rose to put the files back on his desk, she heard the door shut behind her, heard him whistle as he made his way down the hallway, heard his footsteps vanish as he left, obviously not looking back. Why should he? He had a date.

Riza returned to her desk and sank into her chair. Why had she even thought that he would think of her like that? Why had she even bothered to wonder? It couldn't be, wouldn't be…

She sat very still, ignoring the mounds of work she still had to finish, trying desperately to convince herself that she didn't care. Colonel Mustang as a friend was more then enough. She could still honor him, still respect him as a friend. Of course she could. It was fine, really. She didn't care. Besides, it had been a stupid idea to even consider that possibility. Why would the colonel be interested in her? Not that she wanted him to be…

And so, Riza Hawkeye sat there, and told herself over and over again how little Roy's romantic interests mattered to her, how little she cared…and tried very, very hard not to cry


AN- yeah, yeah, i know-angsty. not my usual cup of tea, but...eh. i tried my best to keep the characters in character, but i'm not gonna lie, Riza was hard to write for, so be open-minded, please! also, i DID spell check this, but we all know how reliable mw spell check is. plus, i'm a BAAAAD speller. so feel free to point out any and all spelling mistakes! grammer, i was a bit loser with on purpose, but u can mention any glaring errors there, too. i'll update frequently, and as for story lenghth...well...all i can say right now is it's gonna be long. ok then, thanks for reading, and r+r, please!

EDIT 4/15/06-- fixed up this chapter because i hated it. still hate it. gargh. it'll probably wind up getting redone about twenty times, knowing me. chances are i'll be redoing most of the chapters, actually, so yeah. expect to see a lot of these edits.