Ahhhhh. I had a brain fart and can't remember what was gonna happen!
- - -
Roy had been back at Hawkeye's for the better part of three weeks now, and yet he still couldn't remember what he had tried to tell her before. Whether he couldn't remember, or he didn't want to, he wasn't sure either. Perhaps it was because he didn't want to remember that caused him to not remember...or something like that. But he was so stumped now that he was certain that if by some miracle he did happen to remember, he wouldn't know when it happened.
But after a few more hours, he decided that he didn't really care anymore about what he was trying to say. Instead, he lied his head down on a pillow, shutting his eyes. In truth, he was pretty tired; he hadn't realized how much energy had been drained from him since he left Riza's house for the hospital. Sure, the doctors and nurses provided him with food, care, and clothes other than the typical gown, but he somehow felt at peace when surrounded by four walls that weren't the bleached white of the hospital. He liked the tranquility of knowing that he needn't rush off for rehab or clear the hall for another emergency guest.
"You should go lie down in your room."
During his absence, Riza had set up a guest room for her colonel that consisted of a bed, bath, and small closet for his belongings. And during the time he had been back with her, he hadn't once actually seen it. Riza figured it was because of the rehab that he had done that now made him wary about stair-climbing.
"No, I'm fine," he said, stifling a yawn.
"No you're not," Riza said, grabbing the remote control from his hand, and turning off the tv. "You haven't slept in days; at least take a half hour nap in your room, or--"
"Who says I haven't slept?" Mustang asked, propping himself up on his elbows.
"You sure as hell don't look like you have."
Mustang was beginning to feel affronted by Riza's argumentative tone, but he remembered hearing from Havoc that arguing and always wanting to be right was just something in every woman's nature. He never would have thought this of Hawkeye, for he'd never once thought of her as an ordinary woman, but this seemed to be the only logic behind it. Although, he never fancied being wrong either...
"And since when did you become a doctor?"
"I've had training...," Hawkeye said, turning the other way to hide the pink now rising in her cheeks.
"Now, that's more like--wait. When did you have medical training?"
Riza turned her head back towards the colonel. "I was originally going to be a nurse working for the military."
"I'm glad you changed your mind," Mustang said, yawning again. "Okay, follow me up the stairs and I promise I'll sleep in this room of yours."
"Your room," Hawkeye corrected him. "And it has to be long enough for you to actually feel rested."
When Mustang rolled off the couch, he was hoping Riza would stay there so he could use her to steady his weight before getting up. Unfortunately for him, she was completely oblivous to this, and when he had rolled over to get up, she had moved out of the way, and was already headed towards the stairs. In truth, the one reason Mustang hadn't gone near the stairs was because he was afraid he wouldn't be able to do it. During rehab, he barely managed it, and back then there were doctors and nurses that threatened his military career; and although he normally wouldn't have had that, his time spent at the hospital were most definately his weakest ones, he felt helpless.
As he walked towards the stairs, Mustang could have sworn he heard the phone ringing in the other room, and when Hawkeye said for him to go on without her, only then did he realize he hadn't imagined it. But now he figured that since she wasn't with him, he could struggle all he wanted on his way to his room. And if he couldn't do it by the time she got back, he told himself to tell her that he had been waiting for her.
He placed his injured foot on the first step, testing to see how much weight it could hold. This isn't so bad, he told himself. He hoisted himself up, bracing himself in case he wasn't able to maintain his weight. Yeah, I can do this.
Several minutes later Hawkeye hung up the phone, and walked herself over to the stairs to see if Roy had gotten up all right. When she turned the corner to the living room, she was surprised to see him sitting on the floor, an irritated look on his face.
"What happened to you?"
"I think I broke my ass," he told her.
"You can't do that," Riza said exasperatedly. "What did you do?"
"I fell down the stairs, of course. Look, Riza, I'm not ready for this. I'll sleep on the couch tonight."
"Nonsense, you had strength enough to do this at the hosptail, doing it here should be the same if not easier."
Hawkeye held out her hand, hoping the colonel would take it; when he did, she pulled him up, all the while trying to persuade him to climb the stairs. Eventually, he gave in, and she walked right beside him all the way up. She could tell he was exhausted after not having the proper rest throughout the past few days, and she was grateful when he told her that he wouldn't be needing dinner because he had the feeling he was going to sleep through the whole night.
"I forgot to tell you," Hawkeye started, sitting on the edge of Mustang's bed. "That was the Furher on the phone."
"Oh?" Mustang was standing with his back to her, as he began to unbutton his shirt. "What did he want?"
"Well, I told him about your stay at the hospital." She lowered her voice some and averted her gaze as Mustang turned around to reveal his newly-exposed chest. "Not about you OD-ing or anything...just about the rehab. Anyway, he thinks you should come back to work soon, we both do."
"Do you want me out of here that badly?"
"What? No, I was just saying that I should be going back to work soon too..."
"All right then, give me two days. In two days, we'll both return to Central. Oh, and Lieutenant," Roy said, beginning to use their military titles in order to prepare himself for work. "Don't look so embarrassed to see me like this; I know this isn't the first time you've seen a shirtless man."
- - -
It was such a beautiful day that morning. The sun itself seemed to be smiling down on everything, its heat radiating the area. It wasn't cold out, but there was just enough of a breeze to lower the temperature without having anyone complain about the heat. There was hardly a cloud in the sky, and the only ones that could be seen, weren't rain clouds, but big, fluffy cotton balls that were easily shaped by the wind.
No, Mustang told himself. Today was not a beautiful day, it was horrible. A beautiful day is what had gotten him into this situation in the first place, and he wished by any and all means to try and forget that he was finally back at work. He placed his arms high over his head, wincing when he felt one of his shoulders pop.
"Colonel!" It was Feury. And he was coming from somewhere down the hall. When he was finally in the room, he was completely ruffled, and he was carrying a stack of papers that were just high enough to allow him to see over the top. "These are some of the files Brigadier General Grand took care of while you were out. He says that everything's finished, he just needs you to approve them, then send them to the Furher's secretary."
Mustang sighed. "Of course. Just put them on the table right there...Thanks."
"Don't look too excited, sir. It's bad for your health."
Mustang looked up from his work. He locked eyes with Hawkeye, and for a moment, he struggled to surpress a smirk. Since the night he told her they were coming back, she had been acting formal again, almost as if they were already at work. And now that they really were, Hawkeye acted more or less like herself, with an added flavor of sarcasm every now and then.
"Touché, Lieutenant. Now, does anyone know what I did with that whiskey bottle I had before I left?"
"That was confiscated a few days after you left by the Lieutenant Colonel," Falman said from behind his newspaper.
"That's right," Havoc said, leaning back in his chair and reaching inside his pocket for a lighter. "He said you wouldn't be needing it where you were going...whatever that means."
Just by hearing this had already worsened the colonel's already foul mood. He knew Hughes knew better than to come snooping around in his office, but to reach into his cabinets and take what clearly didn't belong to him was beyond all forgiveness.
"As a matter of fact, didn't he call in sick today?" Havoc asked no one in particular.
"He said he might leave early, yeah," Breda spoke up from his place in the corner. "When he heard Colonel Mustang was coming back today, he said he was starting to feel queasy and that he was thinking about going home. I heard him talking to a higher-up about it."
"That's highly unlikely," Mustang said, resuming his work. "I've known Hughes for a long time, and I've never seen him sick enough to want to leave work."
"Go easy on him, Colonel. Not everyone's as invincible as you are."
"Lieutenant Hawkeye, your comment was out of line. Besides, you better than anyone should know how indigent I can be."
Without glancing up to see the looks on the other's faces--although he almost couldn't help himself--Mustang reached out for the phone, quickly dialing the number to Hughes office on the third floor.
"Get me Hughes. Now," he said to who was thought to be the secretary on the other end.
Mustang heard the secretary get out of her seat in a hurry, stumbling towards the direction in which Hughes was believed to be in. He heard the woman talking hurriedly to somone else, the sound of her complaining about the colonel's rudeness; but in fact, Mustang didn't think he had been rude at all, just demanding.
"H-Hello?" the speaker said meekly into the receiver.
"I want you with my drink and anything else you might have stolen from me in my office pronto." The receiving caller said something back to Mustang and he listened patiently until saying, "That's an order, Lieutenant Colonel."
Not once in all their years of knowing each other had Mustang ever used his rank over Hughes as a demanding strategy to get what he wanted. Normally, his friend was always more than willing to provide the colonel with everything he needed, with little to no hesitation.
The colonel ran a hand through his hair, sighing loudly. "Damn it all..."
"Sir, what's wrong?" Feury asked, speaking up for the first time since entering the room.
"What's wrong? What's wrong? Feury, I'm dying!"
While everyone else turned to Mustang skeptically, Feury cringed some, looking fearful.
"Ugh...it sure feels that way," Mustang said, rubbing his eyes with his palms. "My head feels like it's going to split, my leg is killing me, people feel the need to steal from me, and--"
"Aren't you being a little too overdramatic?"
Everyone turned their heads towards the door, expecting to see Lt. Colonel Hughes, seeing as he was the only one scheduled to be there other than them. But as the person stepped fully into view, they quickly realized that it wasn't Hughes, but State Alchemist Edward Elric; and surprisingly he was absent a little brother by his side.
"Edward, just the man I was looking for," Mustang said, straightening up in his seat. "And no, I don't think I'm being overdramatic at all. Vicodin would be great now, but they look that away from me; now I'm stick with these lousy, good-for-nothing--"
"You were looking for me?" Ed said, raising an eyebrow and finding this a little hard to believe.
"Not really... But since you're here, what can I do for you?"
"Just dropping off a report. Al and I headed south to Dublith while you were gone, and I figured you'd want something to read."
"Great," Mustang said sarcastically. "Leave it over here on this stack."
"So, how's your leg?" Ed asked after dumping his paperwork on the stack of reports Feury had brought in earlier.
"That's nice. Well, if you don't have anything else for me, I think I'll just--mph!"
Ed was clearly back to not caring for the well-being of his commanding office, and when he had turned to leave and began walking back towards the doors to the office, he had literally run into the Lt. Colonel. Hughes struggled to keep the drink in his hand from slipping, knowing that if it did, Mustang would surely have his head.
"Sorry," Ed said brushing past.
"Whoa, where are you going in such a hurry?" Hughes said grabbing his arm. "Mustang said we were keeping you for a drink."
"What?" Mustang and Ed together.
"Well, I guess there's no harm in a quick drink, Ed," Mustang said, pushing aside his piles of papers. "I've still got some of that tea from last time."
"That's disgusting," Breda spoke up. "That stuff's been here for over a month."
"Then Edward'll just have to sue you for food poisoning; you had plenty of time to throw it out. It's fine!" Mustang laughed.
At first there was plenty of awkward silence to fill a morgue, but eventually everyone warmed up comfortably, and there were laughs and how-many-alchemists-does-it-take-to-screw-in-a-light-bulb jokes every now and then.
And when it finally reccured to him, Mustang finally thought and remembered. When he knew the others were too busy into their own conversations, he signalled Hawkeye closer to him and whispered to her.
"I never got to thank you for letting me stay with you-- I bet I was a pain to live with. And remember on our way back from the hospital, when I was going to tell you something?"
"Truthfully, I wasn't going to tell you anything. Why I even brought up the matter I'm not sure, but I do want to give you a little something. Call it a thank you present, a parting gift, or whatever you want. Just remember this: don't think too much into it. Boss to employee relationships rarely work out, and for me, it's all or nothing. I guess what I'm trying to say is..."
Mustang checked around him one last time, and seeing that no one was paying the slightest bit of attention to them, he leaned over, giving Hawkeye a little peck on the cheek.
- - -
"I have never known Mustang to whine so much in all the time I've known him"- me
Wow, I can't believe I actually finished it with only as many chapters as I said it would be from the beginning. See, I said once that "Torn Apart" was going to be short, but hey, it's 12 chapters long and still going strong (and I rhymed). And now I hate to say it, but I'm glad this fic is finished. Sure, I got lots of feedback and it had more hits than all of my other 29 stories combined (which made me very happy), but honestly, after the first chapter, it was a pain to write. The idea for this fic came to me one night on a whim, and when I finally typed it up and ended the first chapter, I said to myself "now what the heck am I gonna write?". I had no idea where this story was headed, but when I got down to writing it again, I sort of just let my fingers type out the first idea that came to mind; plot bunnies think of crazy things! Oh, and with the ending, I was going for a recurrence to the first chapter, but with a twist of a sort.
Thank you all sooooo much for the amount of hits and feedback. You guys are the WORLD to me!