Riza Hawkeye decided very early in life she wasn't cut out for love. It didn't really sadden her all that much, as she watched her mother languish for her father, day by day, due to this sickness called love.

Love was an out of control feeling that made you need someone, want someone so desperately that nothing else mattered.

The lack of control frightened her, and the weakness her mother displayed, whimpering and weak from grief, made her stomach twist with contempt.

If that was love, she didn't want it.

Love was not for Riza Hawkeye.

The only place for a woman of that sort of strength was the military. Hawkeye, without a place to go and without direction, joined up.

There, she encountered, learned, and understood a few things.

War wasn't as bad as her father's letters and words described it. It was worse.

The sick warmth and acidic smell of a fired gun as she held it in a shaking hand, watching an Ishbalan no older than herself slump in death.

Her place was more as a sniper, away from the fighting, and if anything, it seemed worse. It was like playing God. She chose who lived, who died.

Once in a while, she almost deliberately shot a State Alchemist. As if she could make the choice to kill one to save her enemies out of some strange idea of mercy. Only at the last second did her finger waver.

Once, she came close to shooting a State Alchemist by the name of Roy Mustang. They had known each other, but she found him rather flirtatious and too cocky for his own good. He refrained from trying to make her swoon after him post a few rather embarrassing turn-downs.

It wasn't until she saw him, shaking and ashen faced, stepping out smelling like ashes and smoke- never blood- with propriety stripped away and bravado burnt out like a melted candle.

Unstable obsidian met her eyes for a single moment, and she realized that she had found something.

What, she wasn't sure. But it wasn't love.

He staggered, and retched his disgust onto ashes and ruin. He looked down at his hands, and shuddered.

Hawkeye stepped close to him, and placed her hand on his shoulder.

"Are you okay?" she asked, her voice unusually soft in the dying flames.

"N-yes." He bit his lip until it began to bleed, holding in his nausea. He tried to stand, and staggered drunkenly.

She grabbed his arm, steadied him, and helped him back up.

He looked at her with amazement, and then, he smiled, a shaky, weak little thing that was more precious than gold. "Thank you."

From that moment on, she never since left his side.

At first, people joked and kidded about their "secret" feelings. But there were no secret feelings between the two.

They understood each other.

He would lead, make decisions regardless of cost until his dreams were reality.

She would be there, tugging him back onto the path, being there to pick him back up, put him back together.

Hawkeye never really gave much thought to how they felt about each other, to think for a second if those people who joked and then questioned were correct.

They understood each other. They knew when the other was weak, when the other needed putting back together, what the other needed.

She was never jealous when he took women out, boasted about his achievements with them, how they gave in to his quick wit and charm.

They would never known the demon within him, the weakness and the disgust in his soul.

Not like she would.

When his soul needed repair, she would be there with a stern hand and a comforting strength. When he was useless, she would protect him.

Her loyalty was unquestioned, absolute. She would follow him to Hell, fight the Devil himself alongside him, and come back to make him Fuhrer.

He trusted her absolutely, depended on her equivocally.

She defined her life by his needs, adjusted herself for him.

It wasn't love, it wasn't out of control passion and absolute need. They didn't have any place for romance and couples and dates and love. They were dedicated, he to his dreams, she to him.

But they could live apart. They were their own people, their own lives, their own decisions.

But they found that they were better together. That life was more bearable, side by side, that the chaos made more sense with each other.

No, it wasn't love.

But they didn't need it anyway.