Best Kept Secret
Chapter 1: Meeting the Elrics
Disclaimer: I don't own FMA but I do own my idea.
AN: This is rated M within site standards.
Meeting the Elrics
Automobiles were a rare sight to see in the rural area called Risembool. If one were to come here from one of the more populated cities such as Central or East city, then they would feel like they'd journeyed back into time. For Lieutenant Colonel Roy Mustang this was quite an inconvenience, but if the rumors he heard were true, then it would be well worth the trouble.
The lack of automobiles was why he and his chief aid, Second Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye, were currently riding in an old wagon driven by an old military policeman. A few pieces of hay still littered the back of the wagon but it was clean for the most part. However, that didn't make the ride more comfortable. His ass currently felt like it found an actual needle in a haystack.
He looked over at his lieutenant to see if there were any signs of discomfort on her face. As suspected, if she was in any pain whatsoever, she certainly wasn't showing it. She was looking at her surroundings, ever vigilant, looking for any threats that may come upon them. He had no doubt that she was thinking up places where those threats could possibly hide, or escape routes just in case something were to happen. She was always concerned about his safety. Though he never asked her to be anything but a chief aide, she'd taken it upon herself to become his bodyguard as well.
He gazed at her face for a bit longer before letting his eyes trail up and down her uniform clad body. He then tore his eyes away from her, looked at the bales of hay that were stacked in the farmyards, then back at her. He suddenly wanted to put a literal meaning to the saying, "a roll in the hay." Of course, she would have none of that, despite their relationship status.
They suddenly hit a bump in the road and he caught a glimpse of the golden chain that she wore with her dog tags. He grinned inwardly when he thought about what was hanging from the chain: her wedding rings.
During the end of the Ishbalian war, they got married. He'd promised her father a few years previously that he would take care of her. Roy didn't think this was exactly what her father had in mind, but he was sure her father would have approved of their marriage. However, that promise wasn't the only reason they married. The fact of the matter was that he'd fallen in love with her and could never see anyone in the same light as he saw Riza. There was no one else in the world that understood and accepted him the way she did, not even his best friend Maes Hughes.
His ladies man status was highly exaggerated. While he did go on dates with women, it was only to disguise the fact he and Riza were married. Women bragged to each other about sleeping with him. To make them look like they'd accomplished some sort of goal. In all actually, during those dates, there were no kissing, no hugging; not even holding hands. He just let the girls hang onto his arm and that seemed to be enough for them.
Most of the women were information drops, they intentionally spread the rumors about him to increase his reputation as well, and they knew about his preference for "Elizabeth." It also helped that girls often dumped their men so they could ask him out. To which he would politely decline most of the time, instead choosing that time to spend with the woman across from him.
He almost jumped when Riza turned her gaze toward him and narrowed her eyes ever so slightly, something that no one other than him would really notice. "What are you staring at sir?" she questioned.
He grinned and started to reply with some witty retort that he had prepared, but the old soldier driving the wagon spoke to him.
"So what brings you here to Risembool and the Elric's house Lt. Colonel Mustang?"
Roy turned to the driver slightly. "I've heard reports about them. They said that the Elrics were gifted in alchemy so I came to meet them and see for myself." Roy grinned at Riza who smiled softly at him. If the Elrics lived up to the rumors and he recruited them, then it meant a promotion possibility for discovering them. That meant he was a step closer to becoming fuehrer and closer to being able to let the world know about their relationship.
"Scouting for new state alchemists?"
"Yes, since the civil war we need all the recruits that we can get," he replied. "Many people are afraid of signing up because of a risk of going to war. So we have to come to them and do a bit of convincing."
"I can't wait to see the looks on those kids' faces when they find out that a Lieutenant Colonel wants to see them."
Roy's posture stiffened and his palms began to sweat slightly. He hoped that he misheard that last statement. "Kids? Did you say kids?" he questioned.
"Yes sir," the soldier said. Roy turned toward Riza, and then took the report out of his inner coat pocket. He looked down at it and read the report aloud. "Risembool Village, Edward Elric, thirty one years old."
"No sir, Edward Elric is eleven; his brother Alphonse is a year younger."
Roy held the paper closer to his face and squinted. Then he started turning the paper in different directions.
"Sir, I doubt the words are going to magically change just from holding it differently," Riza remarked. He looked at her, coughed to clear his throat, and then questioned her in an authoritative manner.
"What is the meaning of this Lieutenant?" Her eyes narrowed and she looked at him sternly. Why did he expect her to know all the answers? She wasn't the one that insisted they come on this trip based on a rumor.
"It would appear that the document came through some kind of time warp and managed to get into your hands," she remarked. "Perhaps it was an alchemy accident and that piece of paper has transcended time." The military policeman chuckled a bit at her comment. Roy narrowed his eyes and when did Riza become such a sarcastic human being? "Or someone made a huge error," she then offered a proper explanation.
Roy sighed, "A huge error indeed, damn. Eleven? Are you sure about that?" he asked the driver.
"Yes sir, I've known the boys for a while," he replied.
"Shit," Roy muttered. This wasn't his lucky…year.
The rest of the wagon ride was silent. Riza took the time to continue to gaze at her surroundings while Roy just stared at the report in his hands. When the wagon stopped, he stuck the report back into his inner jacket pocket.
Roy jumped down from the wagon and held out both of his arms toward Riza to help her down. She placed both of her hands on his shoulders as his hands gripped her waist, a bit lower than proper, and he helped her down. He then muttered something to her in a low tone that only she could hear.
'We should ride wagons more often; I like helping you down."
"Hush," she whispered, pulling away from him.
The three made their way up to a homely two-story house. The roses blooming along the porch banisters and the bright colors of the house made it seem very welcoming. Despite the lovely appearance, Roy felt very uneasy about entering the home.
They all walked up to the door and Roy knocked. The door swung open slightly in an eerie manner and Roy pushed it open further, revealing a horrible mess. There were papers scattered everywhere, glass shards littered the floor where jars had fell from their position on shelves and tables. The liquid from the jars left stains on the small rugs and the wooden floor. Roy turned to the military policeman. "Go see if anyone is out back," he ordered. The soldier left and Roy and Riza walked further into the house.
Roy walked over to the jars and lifted a shard that had a label on it. Riza walked over to a huge stain on the wall and placed her hand on it. Her stomach dropped when she recognized what it was. There was no doubt about it; it was blood. But how did it get that high on the wall? She loathed admitting that fact that she'd seen her fair share of blood splattered on items. She'd grown to know the pressure it took to splatter blood to a certain height: mainly because of the stains that littered the stone walls of the ruins of Ishbal.
She pushed the thoughts of the war from her head and tried to focus. She ran the possible causes of the stain through her head. A gunshot wouldn't make this much.
"Saltpeter," she heard Roy speak but didn't turn to him. She heard the clink of glass and he began talking again. "Iron, Zinc. Goddamn it!"
Her eyes widened when she realized what most likely went on. Though she didn't' know much about alchemy she knew about chemistry and anatomy. Of course, those lessons included the exact components that made up a human body.
"Damn it," Roy said.
"There's no way," she said. "They wouldn't be so stupid."
Roy turned to look at her after throwing the shards he was holding back onto the floor. He walked over to her and stared at the stain. Before either, one of them could speak anything else, the soldier returned.
"There's no one out back, sir," the old man said.
"Where would they be then?" Roy snapped, his voice filled with anger.
"If they aren't here then most likely they are at the Rockbells," the old man replied.
"I see," Roy said, his voice calming quickly. "Please wait for us at the wagon." The soldier nodded, saluted, and left the house.
"These are blood stains sir. Do you think they..." She knew she didn't need to finish that sentence. Inwardly she hoped Roy had another explanation for all the chaos that surrounded them.
'Yes, they performed a human transmutation; forbidden alchemy," he stated.
"Didn't they know there was a good reason why it was forbidden?" she questioned, more to herself than to him.
"I am going to give those kids a piece of my mind if they survived this! Those idiots!" He placed a hand on her shoulder. "Let's go, I want to see those kids if they are alive."
"They probably are, otherwise the soldier would know. Word travels fast in these small villages."
He removed his hand from her shoulder, nodded, and turned toward the door.
"Sir," she said to get his attention. She wanted to help him calm down and she knew of only one way to do that.
"Yes?" he questioned, turning back toward her.
"Permission to speak and act freely," she asked in a perfect officer type manner.
"You know you don't have to ask that," he responded. Roy was always a relaxed commanding officer. He allowed his subordinates to ask questions and give opinions. A strong leader was one that was willing to listen to all points of view of a given situation, even if they were opposite.
Riza knew she shouldn't be doing what she was about to do, but she could feel Roy's stress and anger radiating off him despite his attempts to hide it.
She walked over to him, gripped each side of his collar with her hands, and moved her lips to kiss the corner of his. She then pulled away and moved her lips to cover his, kissing him very softly. A small comforting kiss was all that she had in mind, but she felt Roy's arms wrap around her waist and he kissed her back roughly. His hand began sliding lower and lower; so low that she had to pull away from him.
She smiled softly. "You shouldn't let your hands wander so much."
"You shouldn't have done that while in uniform either," he replied in a low tone, with a slight grin on his face.
"She instantly straightened her posture and saluted. "Sorry sir. I will take my punishment like a proper officer."
Roy smirked at her. "I'll let it slide this time second lieutenant. Since it was all in the line of duty to calm your commanding officer down. Excellent job as always."
"Thank you sir. It's all in a day's work," she replied.
"Let's go Second Lieutenant Hawkeye," he said and then walked out the door. Riza smiled and followed him out of the house and back to the wagon.
They made their way to the Rockbell shop and Roy knocked loudly on the door. A short old woman with a pipe in her mouth answered, and Roy pushed his way past her only muttering a "Pardon me Ms. Rockbell." Riza resisted the urge to roll her eyes. Roy always had to make a dramatic entrance. She found his actions quite rude but decided not to speak on it.
"What in blazes is going on? Who are you people?" she snapped, angry at the intrusion. It was up to Riza to add some politeness to the situation.
"We are sorry to intrude Ms. Rockbell but we are looking for the Elric brothers. Are they here?" Riza questioned, in a polite manner.
Roy looked around the room and through the doorway to another room. He spotted a young man sitting in a wheelchair situated in front of a suit of armor. He growled and stalked over to the boy. Taking in the boy's appearance, Roy noticed that the young man was missing an arm and leg. If there were any doubts about the actions that occurred in that house, then they were gone now.
He grabbed the boy by the collar roughly. Riza sighed inwardly as she and Ms. Rockbell entered the room. She was hoping Roy would have remained calm.
"What in the hell did you do? What in the hell did you create!" Roy screamed. The young man looked away, his entire demeanor displaying horror and guilt. Roy felt a hand on his shoulder and was stunned when he looked up to see the suit of armor was the pers—thing—that did it. He was stunned further when it spoke to him with such a timid voice.
"We are sorry. Please forgive us, we are sorry," it said. Roy stood up straight, letting go of the young boy's collar.
"Lieutenant, please wait outside for me. This won't take long," Roy said. Riza was both surprised and a bit hurt at his request. He'd never asked her to leave the room when he was talking to someone, unless it was a commanding officer. Then, she always knew that she was supposed to leave because of military conduct. She did as he asked, shutting the door behind her.
She sat down on a padded bench that was built against the wall, and then sighed in frustration. She stood up to take off her coat, adjusted her skirt so it would rest easier under her, and then sat back down. She placed her legs together, folded her coat, and laid it beside her. She placed her hands on her lap, one over the other and sighed again. After sitting there a bit she chuckled to herself. Even with no one around, she still sat very orderly, just as females in the military were directed to sit while wearing skirts.
She shifted slightly and inwardly cursed the piece of clothing. Roy had insisted that she wear it since it was supposed to be a proper business meeting. She'd agreed since they weren't likely to encounter enemy combatants. She knew the real reason for the request though. Roy had made it clear from the moment he saw her in it, that he enjoyed seeing her wear it. Since she wore it, it meant he had to be the "gentlemanly" officer and help her more than he would if she wore pants; hence the help down from the wagon. It was a basic way to show affection that wouldn't get them in trouble.
A young girl came up to her carrying a tray with two cups sitting on it. From the serious expression on her face, it was clear that she wasn't happy that they were there. It wasn't surprising really. The soldiers of the Amestrian military weren't exactly thought of as saints: especially after what had happened at Ishbal.
As she thought of Ishbal for a moment, it suddenly hit her. Rockbell… She'd been so damned distracted by the fact a human transmutation had occurred that the name hadn't sunk in. Surely, the fact that those doctor's in Ishbal were Rockbells and this shop was ran by a Rockbell was more than a mere coincidence. Surely they weren't connected. There were millions of people with that last name right? They couldn't have come from here; it would be too damned ironic!
"Would you like some tea?" Riza heard the young girl ask.
She snapped from her thoughts and smiled at her. "Yes, Thank you, very much," Riza answered, taking a cup off the tray.
Roy sat down at the table, across from Ms. Rockbell. These circumstances were too coincidental to ignore and he figured that Riza already realized it as well. He knew right when he heard the name, that he would be facing the mother and mother in law of the two doctors he killed in Ishbal.
It hadn't fully hit him until he actually walked into the shop. His mind was in a rage that anyone would commit a human transmutation; so much so, that he had momentary forgotten. The Rockbell name was forever ingrained in his memory until the day he died. The Rockbell doctors were his first and only kills ever using a firearm.
At that moment, he wanted nothing more than to have Riza sitting beside him. Perhaps, holding his hand under the table, calming him down wordlessly.
"What is it that you want with these two boys? I assume that is what you came here for, correct?"
"Yes," he said, took a deep breath, and began making his offer.
The young girl plopped down on the bench beside her. She stared down at her tea for a bit before looking up and staring at Riza, making the older woman feel slightly uneasy.
"Is it hard?" the girl finally asked.
Riza was surprised at the question and directed her gaze toward the girl. "Is what hard?"
"Being in the military," she replied. "I've always been a bit curious about women in the military. Especially women like you."
"Like me?" Riza questioned, her interest in the young girl peaking.
"Yeah, I mean people expect pretty women like you to just get married and have children. It's hard to believe that you are a soldier. Especially a sniper," she replied.
Riza blushed slightly over the pretty comment, and at the same time was quite surprised that the girl knew she was a sniper.
"How do you know what I do?" Riza questioned.
"The gun pin on your epaulette," the girl answered. "I used to want to be an automail mechanic for the military. Not anymore though." Riza knew not to ask about the reasons why she no longer had a desire to do so. "Still, I bet it's tough. With the way men act and all."
"It depends on who you are dealing with and who your commanding officer is. I've had different experiences. Some people accept it; others hate it. I've run into both men and women who have less than nice things to say, such as I should be at home and know my place. Others are glad to see a woman working for herself. Lieutenant Colonel Mustang doesn't care that I am a woman. He realizes that I can do my job as well as any man."
"Oh…" the girl said. She took a drink of her tea and then looked down at the floor. "I don't like that Mustang guy. He's trying to take Ed and Al away. It's all because of stupid alchemy."
Riza felt sorry for the girl. They were actually rather similar. Riza once damned alchemy because it took her father away, so to speak. Now, she had mixed feelings toward it. She both hated it because of the situation with her father and Ishbal, but on the flipside, if it weren't for alchemy she wouldn't have Roy.
"We aren't going to take them by force, the choice is theirs. We can't make them come. If those boys have a strong will, they will know where they belong. Though they may have to go through a river of mud to reach it."
Suddenly, the door to the room opened and Roy came out. He slid on his coat and walked over to the door that led outside.
"Let's go," he said, his face not betraying anything about the outcome of the conversation.
"Yes sir," she said. She stood and slipped on her coat as Roy opened the door.
He turned back to look at her and was surprised to see that she was talking to the little girl. She wasn't really one to converse with strangers very often.
"I will see you later little girl," Riza said, a small smile gracing her lips.
"Oh! My name is Winry," the girl said, extending her hand to Riza.
"I see, okay, Winry. I hope to see you again," Riza said, taking the girl's hand and shaking it.
Roy and Riza left the shop, got back into the wagon, and began the ride back to town.
"Do you think that they will come?" she questioned.
"Yes, I am sure of it," he replied.
The confidence in his tone surprised her. "You sound so sure. Judging by the look in that boy's eyes, I'd say that he was beyond help."
"That's just what you saw. After I made my offer that boy's eyes were burning like fire."
"You would know that better than I would, wouldn't you?" she muttered in a low tone that only Roy could hear.
"I'm sorry," he whispered. "We'll talk when we get back to the inn. All right?" he questioned.
Riza nodded and the rest of the ride was silent. When they finally arrived at the inn, Riza got her room key from the innkeeper and made her way upstairs, not waiting on Roy.
He got his own key and ascended the steps as well. He was fortunate that his room was right across from hers. However, his room wouldn't be in use. It never was when they went on these trips and it was just the two of them.
He twisted the knob and was relieved when he found it was unlocked. He went inside, shut, and locked the door.
Riza was taking off her uniform jacket, revealing a white dress shirt underneath that outlined the shape of her chest. He took off his coat and military jacket and threw it on the chair beside the door before walking over to her. She turned to him and placed both hands on her hips.
"Rockbells," she said.
"Yeah," he replied. "They are the family of those doctors."
"I didn't even recognize the name at first. All that was in my head was…"
"The human transmutation. Believe it or not, I didn't remember either."
Riza walked over to Roy and wrapped her arms around his neck. He smiled and lowered his head to rest on her shoulder, while wrapping his arms around her waist. He took a deep breath.
"Things weren't what we expected," he said.
"We should have expected that things wouldn't be what we expected. That tends to be how it goes when it comes to us," she said.
Roy chuckled and raised his head, his lips inches from hers. "It's sad that you are right," he said.
"Yeah, it is."
Roy pulled away and then went over to the bed to sit down. He slipped off his shoes, propped his feet up and lay down. He leaned against the pillows and closed his eyes.
"You comfortable?" she questioned, with a small smile.
"Yeah but I'd be even more comfortable if my beautiful wife were here beside me," he said, opening his eyes to look at her.
Riza laughed, slipped off her shoes, and moved onto the bed. She lay down beside him and suddenly found him leaning over her, a seductive smirk gracing his lips. He leaned down and moved his lips against hers, softly at first but then increasing the pressure.
He pulled away and moved to kiss her neck, as his hands went up to unbutton her shirt.
Riza wrapped her arms around his waist as his lips worked against the skin of her neck, directly on the pulse point.
She whimpered his name and he pulled away. "I wanted you there. I was an idiot," he said. He finished unbuttoning her shirt to reveal a white lace bra underneath the fabric. Roy reached behind her and unsnapped the garment. She sat up and shrugged off the shirt and bra. He quickly removed his shirt and then pushed her onto her back.
He then kissed a trail down to her breasts and reached under her to unzip her skirt.
"Damn it, I wanted you there," he said, as he rid her of the rest of her clothing, and then his own quickly. "I need you everywhere."
"I'll always be with you," she said, running one of her hands through his sweat soaked hair. After a while, he pulled out of her and moved to lie on his side, wrapping his arms around her tightly. She pulled the covers over them and they both settled in for a good night's sleep; hoping that nightmares wouldn't invade their dreams.
Author's Personal Code: RW 2009