River of Mud

By: Neptune Butterfly

Prologue: First Meeting

She straightened out her blue skirt and tugged on her new uniform jacket. after that she brushed her long blonde hair out of her face and stood at attention. Her grandfather taught her that first impressions were important. Being a highly decorated General in the military, he should know.

Her grandmother was against this of course. She just turned fourteen and just started school at the local academy. But she always wanted to follow her heroic Grandpa's footsteps. So when recruiters came to her homeroom class she signed up at once.

Her sharp brown eyes focused on the door in front of her as she listened to footsteps approaching it from the other side. It opened.

Brigadier General Hakuro greeted the young teenager with a smile. "Miss Riza Hawkeye, welcome. Come right in."

Despite her nerves, Riza managed to follow him to his desk where he briefly searched through a stack of papers before pulling out a form with her name on it.

Hakuro studied it for a moment, his middle-aged face showing great interest. This was the general's granddaughter after all. If he did his job right and turned her into a fine officer he would land a major promotion for sure. he could already tell by her attentiveness and posture she definitely had some potential.

The brigadier general smiled at Riza again. "Okay now, let's get down to business. First of all, I would like to congratulate you on your acceptance into the military."

"Thank you, sir," Riza replied not too enthusiastically.

"As you've already been told by the recruiters, you will not be eligible for full active duty until you're sixteen." Hakuro laid the form down and held his hands behind his back. "At sixteen you'll have the option of moving into the dorms and begin regular military training. You will also be eligible to rise in rank as well as acquire more specialized training upon completion of basic training. However if there's a need for reinforcements you will be called into service and immediately sent into combat or wherever else you're needed."

"Like in Ishbal?"

"What?" Hakuro was taken off guard.

"The rebellion in Ishbal. Is there any chance of needing reinforcements there? It's gone on for about three years now." Riza asked more out of curiosity than fear.

Hakuro just waved it off. "Oh there's nothing to worry. The situation in Ishbal is under control and the rebellion is dying down. I doubt we'll need any more help there."

Riza heard the door open behind her just as he finished, and a male voice.

"Excuse me sir, I have your reports."

"Thank you, Major. Just put them on my desk. I want you to meet a new junior cadet, Miss Riza Hawkeye. She's General Hawkeye's youngest granddaughter. Miss Hawkeye, this young man here is Major Roy Mustang, also known as the Flame Alchemist. He passed the state alchemist exam two years ago at sixteen, our youngest to date."

Both Riza and Roy had a good look at each other by the time they were formally introduced. Those blue eyes and dark hair were very familiar to Riza, as was his name. He was that dumb kid who liked to play with fire in the alley behind their old school and unsuccessfully tried to burn it down once. So, this is where he had been hiding for the past four years.

Roy had made his way to the desk but didn't put the reports down. He didn't think he'd see little miss bossy's face ever again, though it was a much prettier face now. He couldn't stand being around her because she'd always get him into trouble. Those years of being blissfully happy without her presence were officially over now. He should've known she would join the military sooner or later.

There was no way He was going to let her know how much it bugged him. Maybe this time he could give her some payback.

Roy never allowed any of these emotions show as he smiled graciously at Riza, who was having a harder time concealing her resentment, and shook her hand. "It's been a while. How's the dog?"

'He still has a limp because of you, you jerk,' Riza thought. "Ein? Oh he's doing just fine. My older brother's taking care of him now."

Mustang chuckled. "I meant your grandfather, but I'm glad to hear it."

Hakuro caught the joke and laughed, but Riza was burning holes into Roy's head. He let go of her hand and laid down his reports before she could decide whether to punch him or not.

The brigadier general was oblivious. "Major Mustang is one our best young officers, and he's hoping to help train some of our junior cadets. I believe he'll be working at the summer training camp for incoming officers the same year your eligible for full-time service."

'Great. Why don't I just shoot myself in the head while I'm at it.'

"Say, Mustang, does Colonel Gran have room for another office worker? I'm sure he could use some help dealing with all that paperwork. It seems like that's all any state alchemist is good for producing nowadays. Except this one of course, heh." Hakuro slapped Roy on the back.

Roy couldn't stop smiling. This was perfect. "I'll tell him as soon as I get back to his office."

"And who else works there?"

"Major Alex Armstrong, Sergeant Jean Havoc, Sergeant Heymann Breda, and Major Zolf Kimbley, Sir."

"Major?" asked Hakuro.

"Kimbley passed the state alchemist exam earlier this year."

"Is that so? I guess I'll have to find another cadet to work with Miss Hawkeye to even things out in there. I'm trusting you to teach her how things work around here, Mustang."

"Yes, Sir." Roy was still smiling.

Riza wanted to beat him into a pulp now.

"Good," said Hakuro, "I expect you to start next Monday within an hour after school, Miss Hawkeye. For two days out of the week there will be physical training. Think of it as a gym class. It'll prepare you for when the real training begins. You will also work on Saturdays for however long they need you along with morning training."

Riza couldn't stop staring at Roy. She imagined that if she stuck to her physical training, she could really kick his butt.

"Are you interested in performing drills or participating in gun competitions?"

"Guns, sir?" Riza didn't think they would let her join up on her first year. She knew how to handle a gun but only from hunting with her grandfather and private competitions with her cousins.

"Yes. From what your grandfather told me your quite a good shot. If you join up you'll be required to take classes on gun safety and learn how to use different military guns. I'm sure you would do just fine."

This was new information to Roy. He didn't like the idea of giving miss bossy anything as lethal as a gun. "Since when did you learn how to shoot a gun?"

"Since I was ten, Major. The same summer you moved away." Riza was glad to see he wasn't smiling so much anymore.

"Really. Then I look forward to seeing you at the firing range."

The brigadier general began stacking up forms in his desk. "Mustang's not bad either. As soon as you're sixteen you'll be able to compete with the officers."

Two years was a long wait for Riza. She'll need to use that time wisely.

Roy excused himself and walked towards the door. As he opened it, Hakuro just remembered something. "Oh Major, don't forget to give Miss Hawkeye a tour of the offices before she leaves. I don't want her to get lost on her first day."

"Yes, Sir."

"Miss Hawkeye, you're dismissed."

Riza bowed like she was told to do, then turned and walked quickly past Roy, who was still holding the door. If this wasn't Hakuro's office he wouldn't have let her through. He wasn't a tour guide. But he gave his superior a bow and left.

Hakuro put his forms aside and took up the reports Roy had brought in earlier, but he wasn't focusing on them at all. He kept imagining the big promotion that just walked out of his office.

A/N: Hello! I'm just expanding myself out from the Trigun section to explore this new obsession called FMA. I still have stories going for Trigun, but I thought I had better get this one out before all my good ideas disappear. It's kinda crazy (or suicidal) trying to do several of these at once but with encouragement I think I can do it. I'm also recovering from a year-long haitus (long story) so please be a little more gentle with the criticism.

Just to warn you, there may or may not be some objectionable material later on ( rating may go up depending on how objectionable). This will depend on whether or not I'm brave enough to do it. Heavy romance is new territory for me. There are also some other things that will come up later.

I also have a companion piece called 'Childhood's End'. It starts later than this one. These two stories don't actually entertwine but will probably have points where they meet. Well, I hope you enjoyed this opener. Hopefully, my notes will not be so long in later chapters.