The Daring Rescue

Roy performs a daring rescue, thus saving the most important person in Riza's life: Black Hayate.

Riza had just climbed into the shower when she heard the alarm: a loud, caterwauling flowing through the building in the sound of a siren that was meant to signal two things: they were under attack, or there was a fire. Since it was quite unlikely that Eastern was under siege, a fire was the only option left open.

When she looked out into the hallway, clad only in her robe and dripping water all over the floor, she could smell the smoke.

Looking back into her tiny, one-room apartment, she called for Black Hayate. When he didn't come trotting out from under the bed as she had expected, she turned back to the hallway and called again. He didn't appear.

Her heart began to quicken at the thought of the tiny black and white pup cowering in the corner away from a raging fire, but she was quickly able to rationalize away his absence. She had a dog door for a reason. He was probably outside, anyway. And he was smart. He wouldn't go running into a flaming building.

Fifteen minutes later, standing outside, shivering in the cold air, feet numb and bruised for her lack of shoes, and Black Hayate nowhere to be found, she began to worry. The officers' apartments were blazing away in front of her, probably burning any and all personal possessions she had ever owned, very likely with people still inside, and all her thoughts were centered on the tiny canine she had somehow come to own only a few months ago.

The sirens of the fire brigade drew her attention, and in the distance she could see the flashing lights of the trucks.

A few cars pulled up, a few soldiers spilled out, and Hawkeye paid them no attention until Roy's coat dropped onto her shoulders.

"Could've picked a better place to be when the fire started," he teased lightly. "You're going to freeze out here."

She turned her face to him, tears in her eyes, and choked out "I can't find Black Hayate."

Roy frowned momentarily, then put on a comforting smile. "I'm sure he's fine," he said gently, draping an arm around her shoulder.

Riza pushed him away, shaking her head. "N-no he's not," she insisted as tears began to spill. "He would have f-found me. He's still inside!"

Then, like a mother after her only child, she turned back to the building, now blazing away merrily against the dark sky. Roy's firm grip on her forearm was the only thing that kept her out of the flames.

"You can't go back in there," Roy stated calmly, not letting go of her arm. "The fire's out of control: you'd never survive. I, however…"

"No, Colonel," she interrupted. "Don't even think about-"

"Stay here, Lieutenant," he instructed, finally releasing her. "That's an order."

And without further ado, despite the protests of the other soldiers, he marched into the burning building.

Riza forgot to breath. The flames flared up, consuming room after room, bursting through the cracked windowpanes and climbing through the tiles, until it seemed there could be no safe place anywhere in the entire building.

"Didn't I just see Roy get out of the car?" Maes inquired, stepping up behind her. He had a coat thrown on over his duckie pajamas, and was yawning into his hand.

"He's in there!" she exclaimed, gesturing wildly toward the conflagration.

Maes yawned again, and said, "Now I'm sure he's just- wait, in the building?"

She nodded, choking back a sob as the fire's roar reached a crescendo.

"In the building that's on fire!" Maes demanded, grabbing her shoulder as if to shake the truth from her.

She nodded.

Maes swore, and ran a hand through his sleep-mussed hair. "You know, I always figured he had some unresolved issues with large fires," he said moodily. "When we were kids, he used to set his mother's geraniums on fire. She'd beat the hell out of him and-"

The right wing of the building collapsed then, in a roar of heat and sparks that rushed over their faces. Hawkeye turned away, and buried her face in her hands. Bad enough to lose Black Hayate, but to lose-

"Roy!" Maes exclaimed suddenly, before grabbing her arm and pulling her toward the building, past the firemen that were urging them to keep back. The heat was unbearable, the soot and smoke mixing with the saltwater in her eyes until her vision was non-existent and she felt as if all the skin would melt off her face, but Maes' grasp on her arm never wavered, and when they had reached Roy he tucked her hand into the Colonel's. Then, like three children on a church outing, linked together by their limbs, Maes pulled them out of the violence.

When they were away from the fire and upwind of the smoke, Roy turned to Hawkeye, and there in the crook of his arm, sooty and ruffled but otherwise unharmed, sat Black Hayate.

All other concerns fled in the face of such undeniable cuteness. Black Hayate yipped once, a small scared sound, and struggled against Roy's arm. In an instant Riza was on him, sweeping him into her arms and cradling him against her chest. She wandered a small ways off, cooing soothing sounds and planting kisses on his dirty little snout. He wagged his tail, and licked her chin to show his own glee at their reunion.

"Nice to be loved, don't ya think?" Maes said sweetly to Roy, eyeing Hawkeye and the pup in her arms.

Roy just grumbled to himself, in what sounded to Maes like jealousy, and shivered in the sudden cold of the night air.

"Colonel," Riza called, drifting back to close the little circle they had formed. "Thank you." Her voice trembled slightly, and her arms tightened around Hayate, who barked happily. "So much."

Roy just smiled, and reached out to ruffle the fur on Black Hayate's head. "He's a good little guy," he said quietly. "Couldn't let anything happen to him. His mommy would be heartbroken."

Riza blushed at this remark, and looked at the ground for a moment. She caught Roy's hand as he let it fall to his side, gave it a gentle tug to pull him closer, and placed a chaste kiss on his cheek. It left a clean spot amidst the soot.

"If there's anything I can do," she began hesitantly.

He smiled lewdly at this. She scowled, and he laughed.

"Let me buy you dinner on Friday?" he suggested.

Riza was about to decline when Black Hayate yipped again.

"Alright," she acquiesced softly, ducking her head to hide the sudden color in her cheeks.

AN- Well, wasn't that cute? I wrote this on a whim, because I love Roy and Riza.

But mostly, I love Black Hayate. Any dog that can outwit five trained military officers deserves more attention than he can handle. God bless him.