Riza lifted her last bag into the trunk of the car while yawning away her tiredness. She glanced back at the house she stayed in for little over six months. During the short time she had stayed here she questioned her life's purpose and also confirmed it. She wanted her life to continue in Central with the people she knew. Except know she could see Eureka and its people stacking close to those of Central. She would never forget the Smith's, Warren and the soldiers that she had met during her stay. That's exactly what Eureka was, a stay. Central is her home, and that could never change.
It was early morning and no one was awake at the Smith's except Riza, Hayate and Roy. She decided it would be better for the trip and the farewell if she left in the morning. Roy didn't seem to mind the early wake up but Havoc grumbled about having to wait at the train station to make sure it stayed "safe".
"Ready Lieutenant?" the Colonel said yawning.
"Yes Sir," she replied quietly. Riza Hawkeye got into the driver seat and started the car. Roy and Hayate each took their seats in the car. Roy rested his elbow against the window and his head against his hand. She paid close attention to the dirt road and where she was driving but she tried not to look at what she was driving by. Every road she drove on that morning she had walked on. Each road was a memory, a feeling and a moment. When she past the road that lead to Warren's house it did cross her mind how Warren would continue after she left. Was she an important person on his life? Would she leave an impression on him? If there was a person who Riza would miss the most it would be Warren. Just thinking of the cheery doctor made her want to smile.
"What's this?" Roy said from her side.
"What's what, Sir?" Riza replied glancing over at Roy, who was staring at her.
"Just now your expression changed, this whole car ride you've been as cold as a rock," Roy casually commentated and added "even for you, Hawkeye."
"What type of person would watch someone drive a car?" Riza said shooting a glare his way. "If you continue to do it, I'm sure you'll make me drive off the road."
"Why?" He said surprised.
"Because normal people don't stare at people, and the person getting stared at would feel uncomfortable," she then added ", Sir."
"Of course I wouldn't want to jeopardize myself so I will stare somewhere else." Roy said turning his gaze to the landscape whizzing by.
The remaining trip to the train was silent, Riza still tried not to linger on the thought about her leaving so abruptly. Would the others think badly of her for leaving without saying goodbye? If they understood her they would realize such an emotional thing as a 'goodbye' wouldn't be up her ally. She hardly ever said goodbye, being a soldier it seemed like bad luck. When her comrades would go off to missions Riza never said goodbye hoping she wouldn't need to say it, since they would see each other soon.
When they neared the station and the last of the town of Eureka slipped past the car Riza noticed something unusual. At the train station she was expecting there to be no one there. Except there were a few cars and a lot of people crowded along the platform.
"What's all this?" Roy asked sitting up properly in the passenger seat. "They said there would be a couple soldiers here to pick up the car but I didn't expect a whole company."
She pulled the car up to a spot and got out, "Wait a second," she said looking more closely at some of the people, "I know them." Riza let Hayate out of the car and grabbed her bags. Cautiously Roy, Riza and Hayate walked over to the platform. A familiar solider noticed them and called out to the others.
"Lieutenant Hawkeye has arrived!" he yelled. The whole crowd turned their focus over to the three new arrivals and all tried to talk to her at once.
"What's this?" Riza asked quietly to Roy.
"I don't know," he said shrugging, "I guess you'll have to say goodbye to everyone now." Riza raised an eyebrow, maybe the Colonel had something to do with it. "Come on Lieutenant, step forward and accept your fate."
Riza stared at him for a second and then walked up to the steps and said coolly "Hello I wasn't expecting this." Between the legs of the crowd came Tommy and Ben. They ran up to Riza and promptly attached themselves to her.
"Miss Riza you can't go, you're my best friend!" Ben said squeezing her waist.
"Mine too!" the other brother said and then also hugged her tight.
"Oh, boys, don't crowd Riza" Molly said from the top of the steps. Riza dragged the boys up with her to Molly and gave her a hug. "Riza I know you'll be going back to the fast city and all of its lights. But try to remember everyone here if you get overwhelmed or lonely." Molly let go of Riza and continued "Don't be afraid to send a letter or even call."
When Molly started crying Riza just held her hands and said, "I'll be sure of it."
Geoffrey came up and after a exchanging a brief salute he shook her hand and said, "I hope I'll be able to meet another soldier like you." And added after a second of thought, "but for some reason I think it will be hard to find someone as devoted as you."
"Thank you very much," She said in reply. Riza slowly made her way through the crowd of familiar faces and felt like a celebrity. Everyone wanted to talk to her and say goodbye. Even the recluse Angelina was there. Practically everyone she ever glanced at was there. Some of the soldiers were there. Webb gave her a coupon to a gun store in Central saying he got it and never used it. She talked briefly to Caitlin the nurse and even got a word in with Captain Everett. When Riza said goodbye to her Everett glared at her but then she saw Roy. Her face softened and she nodded a farewell. Riza finally thought she had gotten through the whole crowd when she remembered one person who wasn't there. "Where is Warren?" She asked aloud.
In purely Warren fashion, a voice from the back spoke up, "Excuse me." He pushed his way through the crowd holding a drink above his head. "Sorry I'm late; pardon me I just had to go buy a drink." He made it to Riza and she gave him a skeptical look. "What? I was really parched. It's important to stay hydrated," he said waving the drink in front of her eyes. "I would know since I am a doctor."
"Warren do you even know what's going on?" she skeptically asked.
"Yes of course I do," he said "you hurt me truly Riza. I come to say farewell to my friend and she blows me off. Such a sad day already and now you kill me even more."
"Alright then, goodbye Warren," she said bluntly holding out her hand, "to put you out of your misery, of course." Even Riza just held out her hand. She wanted to thank this man for all that he had done but a hand shake was all she could think of. Never in her life had she met a man who would be open to her in every aspect. Sometimes his openness hurt himself but his nature was to heal people physically or mentally. Maybe because of Warren, Riza could heal the breach between her and Roy.
"Come on Riza a handshake?" Much to her shock Warren gave Riza an enveloping bear hug, "this is how friends say goodbye." Riza thought that a hug would be too personal for a goodbye but from Warren it seemed okay. "Ah once again I have healed another birdie and now she must fly away from my healing tree, how tragic!" He swung her around and squeezed her until she emitted a squeak. "Oh so sorry my dear Riza, it seems my chiropractic hug isn't appropriate for farewells."
"I don't think your hugging is an appropriate for any farewell, but I appreciate you trying to be serious." She muttered.
"Riza wouldn't you rather be reminded of our happy times as you leave? My seriousness is very limited, but I may use some today I guess." He whispered in her ear something low enough just for her to hear. "Now don't go freezing over again, not after I tried so hard to crack your shell."
"I won't Warren." she said shutting her eyes to discourage tears. Tears for Riza were too uncharacteristic but on special occasions they showed up, she had gotten very good at locking them up.
"And crack that fireball of yours okay?" he said even quieter. Before letting her go he popped a kiss on her forehead.
"O-Okay," she said a bit shocked.
"Hey you guys!" Havoc said from the train. He popped out from the door, "We need to get going Sir," he said to Roy who was still frozen in place wide-eyed.
"But what about Colette, I haven't said goodbye to her yet," Riza said looking around the crowd expecting her to pop up somewhere.
Except her voice came from the train window behind her, "present and accounted for," she said.
"Colette," Riza said turning around a bit surprised, "What are you doing in the train?"
"Wait one second!" she said excitedly and disappeared from the window. Riza gave a questioning look to Roy but he seemed to have his attention somewhere else. The little private passed Havoc by the door and ran up to Riza. She wasn't dressed in her uniform but was wearing some of the most exquisite clothes Riza had ever seen. Even more so than the ones in the Central designer stores. Both lone hair and cute face was done up, now Colette looked her part of an heiress. "Father said for my safety I should return to Central. I get to go there with you. We can see each other all of the time!"
"I'm looking forward to it," Riza said happily.
"Oh my goodness you would not believe some of the food that my father set up on the train. It's incredible, follow me!" she grabbed Riza's arm and started dragging her to the train.
"Sorry everyone!" the Lieutenant said waving with an arm, "I guess it's time for me to leave!" Riza disappeared into the train.
"Havoc," Roy said after snapping from his glare at Warren, "Carry these bags to cargo."
"What? Sir I'm not a bell hop make a worker do it."
"Now Lieutenant," Roy said glaring, "or shall I fry your luggage?"
"Aye-aye Colonel," Havoc said with a false salute before picking up the remaining luggage.
Roy took a last glance around the town where Riza had stayed for half of year. He was about to board the train before he felt a jerk on his sleeve. Roy looked down and saw the two Smith boys glaring up at him. "Yes boys?"
"You can't be mean to Miss Riza!" yelled the youngest boy.
"Don't leave her alone again; we won't be there to cheer her up anymore." The older one said, and then added, "Sir."
"I assure you that I have no intention of hurting my subordinate." Roy said trying to calm the feisty children.
"You did it though when she was with us." Spoke up the littlest boy again.
"Besides isn't Riza more than a subordinate?"
"Of course," Roy said this time stepping back.
"Then you should treat her like something more." This time a deeper voice joined in the small conversation, it was the Doctor.
"Dr. Warren—"Roy started.
"Roy Mustang, I will not argue with you but I have a suggestion. You need to change this take over the world attitude because it's killing you, your subordinates and your friends." Warren said putting a hand on Roy's shoulder.
"I'm sorry Warren but I only take medical advice from my own doctor," Roy said brushing Warrens away.
"Sir?" piped up Lieutenant Hawkeye's voice from the train. She opened the door and gave the Colonel a stern stare. "The train will be leaving in a few minuets colonel. Suggest you stop procrastinating and head inside."
"Thank you Lieutenant." Roy said. He gave Warren a nod and hopped into the train following his female subordinate. They walked into the first car where Havoc met up with them. "So everything clear?" Havoc nodded in response. "Well one of us should keep an eye on the little heiress. Where is she anyway?"
"Colette told me she was going to be in the dining car." Riza replied.
"Some one should go keep an eye on her," Roy stated.
"I'll do it!" shouted Havoc.
"Are you sure I know her better and I won't mind watching her." Riza said.
"No problem she'll feel safer if a big strong military man is watching over her." Havoc said egotistically thinking of how the "precious cargo" was exactly his type.
"Okay, Havoc but I think she may be stronger than you think." Then Riza added "I witnessed that little heiress almost castrate a man so watch out."
"Thanks for the encouragement Hawkeye," Havoc said sarcastically and said shaking while exiting the passenger car, "N-No problem."
After Havoc left Riza went to a bench near by and said, "So Havoc still is hopeless when it comes to women?"
Roy went and sat across from her, "He held a fling for about three weeks. Without a girlfriend though you can't live with him since he goes out to bars at night picking up, how should I phrase this? Havoc doesn't care how old or young pretty or atrocious his choices in women are. A lot of them are defiantly bottom of the barrel."
"Oh, and Mr. Roy Mustang has been dating the beauties of Central like always?" Riza said raising her eyebrows.
"Well, I haven't had a girlfriend since I left Central," Roy said and added "I've been busy with work, but now that you're going to be back, I may have the time." In response Riza just rolled her eyes.
The two settled down for what was going to be a long train ride. Other than Riza and Roy there wasn't anyone else in the car. She gazed out the window watching the country side pass by. Riza had felt that even though Roy never told the why, she could still survive not knowing. Roy had other ideas though.
"Hawkeye?" he said. "I am terribly sorry."
"Pardon?" she said confused.
"Hawkeye you said that you don't care, but I think you do." Roy kept talking, "Unfortunately last November you got injured, could've happened to anyone. Back then, the only way I can say it is… I was not right in the mind. What you were saying about everyone who I leaned on being gone is all too true. And I knew it too well. When you got hurt I didn't want anything else to happen so I sent you away." Roy Paused. "It's funny I don't think it was a very rational decision but alls that I wanted was to know for sure you were safe. I had just come back but no matter how hard I wanted to keep you at Central I couldn't take the risk of seeing you get hurt again. Now I know how you felt after we fought the Fuhrer."
"But Sir this time it wasn't your fault," Riza said assuring Roy. "It was my fault I got hurt."
"And I couldn't let it be my fault if you got hurt again." He stared down at the floorboards and continued on. "After you healed up I was still worried about you getting hurt, so I didn't want you to come back. But then there were the terrorist tips from around there and I didn't want to take you away." Riza gave him a questioning look. "If they attacked then you would want to go back. It was easier just to leave you there keeping a watchful eye on everything. As for not telling you," he looked down and said nonchalantly "I knew if I told you then you would try to be undercover, and no offense, but you're not very good at the spy stuff."
"Thanks" Riza said glaring a hole in the window.
"We're part of the military; we knew that by taking our jobs that someday we could get killed. I think every individual person has made piece with that fact. The problem is we get friends who are also in the military. It's too hard to see our friends become hurt or die in battle. I keep feeling as if everyone is leaving me behind." He looked up at Hawkeye meeting her eyes. "You have been there the whole time, I can't argue with that. You never tried to double-cross me or use me for your benefits. I'd have to say in the military right now you are on the top of my trust list." Hawkeye looked away and tried not to smile. Never in her life had she felt her face so warm. Inside Riza was so happy; all of her suffering had not gone without appreciation. "When I came back from the north even after the battle you never questioned once about anything. You just followed. So Lieutenant you're one friend I can not let go of." He added jokingly, "Who would help me with my paperwork?"
"Sir, Thank you." Riza said bowing her head.
"Whoa, didn't mean to be that serious Hawkeye." He said laughing and patted her noggin. The Colonel didn't realize that the reason she wasn't showing him her face was because she was crying tears of joy. Never again would she let herself not understand her Colonel from now on nothing could separate her from his side.
So I have finished my first romance and oh what a feeling it is. The greatest part? There is still one more and that one is full of all the real romance, kissing and what not. So yeah I'll be putting that one up soon after this one is complete.
A quick thank you to all of my reviewers thanks for caring enough to review and read. Thanks to the readers. My friends Melissa, Melissa, Jenessa, Ally and Megan thanks for the… err help. Especially Ally for her awesome h2h combat info, without you my fighting scenes would be a poop fest. Thanks to Krista who would…sometimes be my beta although most of the time you were pushing the work onto someone else. Lastly thanks to Arakawa sensei for creating these wonderful characters that I mess with on more than 50 occasions.
I LOVE YOU ALL AND ALL OF YOUR BUNNIES!!!