Woohoo! First FMA story for me! And naturally mainly Roy/Riza and some Ed/Winry later! I'm going to stick more or less to the amazing manga and this fic contains spoilers up to chapter 65. Constructive criticism is welcome and naturally every other kind of review as well!! Hope you enjoy reading this, 'cause chapter two is already in progress... but I could still stop and work harder on my other stories... n.n
-()-()- signals beginning and end of flashbacks
"So where did that prick hide it?"
Callused fingers brushed absentmindedly at the blond beard. A grim expression appeared on the man's face as he contemplated what to do next.
"It's been in front of our noses for all this time." He mused in a deep baritone voice, regarding the three figures in front of him with thoughtful eyes. "How unfortunate for her."
The shrill noise of the alarm clock echoed through the empty bedroom, bouncing off of plain white walls. In the kitchen a female voice gave a short command and almost instantly, the sound of small paws walking over the tiled floor could be heard.
As Black Hayate rounded the corner to Riza Hawkeye's bedroom, he was happily wagging his tail. With a small bark he jumped onto the small chair beside the large bed and put his forelegs on the nightstand. Lowering his head, he touched the relentlessly ringing clock almost tentatively before pushing hard on the small button on top of the annoying device.
The noise stopped and silence descended upon the apartment once again.
Having done what he had been told, the dog jumped down the chair and strolled back to where his master was preparing his food methodically. The odor of poultry invaded Hayate's sensitive nostrils and he sat down expectantly in front of the kitchen counter.
"Here you go." He heard the woman towering above him say, saliva gathering in his mouth. He watched her with keen eyes as she put down the metal dish in front of him. She patted his black head lovingly and withdrew then.
Ever since Riza had entered the military years ago, she hadn't been in need of an alarm clock. Right now she had one only for the purpose of teaching her beloved dog some tricks and discipline. He had learned almost fifty commands by now and understood more words than some of her male colleagues after two beer. A fact she was secretly very proud of.
Grabbing her blue uniform jacket, she walked to the front door and entered the still dark corridor of the house.
"Come, Hayate." She said in a soft tone of voice, beckoning the small bundle of liveliness to follow her outside.
He did as he was told and waited patiently until his master resumed walking down the hallway and out onto the street.
The smell of another dog caught his attention and he started sniffing intrigued at a pole.
The young Lieutenant watched him sideways, never concerned that he would actually run onto the street or bark at passing pedestrians. He was a good dog and she felt sorry that she couldn't spend more time with him at the moment. Riza Hawkeye had just been assigned the post as the Führer's personal secretary, and if she liked the job or not, she was a member of the military and questioning a transfer -especially such an important one- was never a good idea.
She didn't have to be a genius to realize just 'why' exactly she and her fellow comrades had gotten transferred to other destinations faster than she could pull the trigger of her favourite gun. Colonel Mustang had gotten in the way of the Homunculi and because they needed him (for what reason, Riza had yet to find out), they thought it would be best to force his loyalty by threatening the lives of his subordinates.
Free, but still a hostage. That's what she was right now.
A wrong move on the Colonel's side and she would pay the daisies a visit. 'What a view to look forward to', she thought with a sigh, coming to an abrupt halt at the porch leading to a small house.
So Black Hayate came shorter than he deserved, which was the reason why she had decided to give him the possibility to spend some quality hours with someone who had way too much time at his hands. They could play and pass the day with whatever activity they could come up with.
Pressing the button at the base of the name plate, Riza waited until she heard footsteps hurry to the door. It was still early, almost six and the darkness hovering above Central made it necessary for whoever was going to open the door to switch on a bright light.
Not even flinching, Hawkeye waited.
"Yes?" A tired female voice asked as its owner pushed her head through the crack between door and frame.
"I'm 1st Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye. Sorry for intruding at such an early hour Ma'am, but I think your son is expecting me." She answered politely, bowing slightly when the woman in front of her allowed her into the house.
"Jean is in the garden." Mrs. Havoc began, leading the way down a dimly lit corridor. "He's already training, but I fear this won't do his legs any good"
"I believe this training is merely a way of keeping himself sharp, Ma'am. It's not always about physical fitness,
but also about the state of mind." Riza answered with a small smile, seeing rather than hearing the older woman sigh in front of her.
"If only this Colonel would allow him to retire from work." Mrs. Havoc stated bitterly, shaking her head as she pushed open the door to the garden. A slight breeze gushed around their forms and in the corner of her eyes, Riza saw Hayate jump down the two stairs leading to the grassy ground with a delighted bark. He had already understood what they were doing here and sped down the garden to a row of oaks.
"I guess you'll find the way out, Miss." Jean's mother said and retreated back into the house.
Not bothering to answer, Riza walked down the stairs and followed the cobbled path to where Hayate had disappeared behind the large trees. She could hear his excited barks and allowed herself a small smile.
"Ya lil critter!" Riza heard a male voice as she ducked under a white sheet that hung across a line. Behind it, she found her former comrade and now retired friend sitting in a wheelchair. He was ruffling Hayate's head roughly, cigarette dangling unlit between grinning lips. "How's my buddy doin'?" He asked the yapping dog and suddenly threw a stick into the far right corner of the small garden. Black Hayate dashed after the flying object as fast as his short legs would allow him to.
"Obviously too good." Riza supplied with a sigh, arms folded in front of her chest as she watched Black Hayate run back towards Jean Havoc. He had broken the stick in two and fought to fit both into his small snout.
"Ah, 1st Lieutenant." Havoc grinned lopsidedly. "Wonderful mornin', ain't it"
"You don't have to do the Führer's paperwork." Hawkeye retorted, watching Havoc roll his eyes at her. "The Colonel should seriously think twice about aiming for the top... I can't see him signing this much within one day."
"Well, he'll have a seasoned assistant with you, Ma'am. No wonder he's so blindly walking into fate's arms"
At that Riza chuckled warmly. She really believed that the tons and tons of paperwork landing on her desk every day where just about one ton too much for the one man who thought mini-skirt-orders were the only intelligent reasons worth the paper they were printed on.
"I'll be back at around 2130. You don't have to bring Hayate back, if you don't want to. It's no problem for me to pick him up after work"
"Ah, and spoil the only possibility of getting outta this nutshell? Seriously, Lieutenant. Not a prob at all. I'm glad you brought the mutt to me." Riza decided to leave the 'mutt' be. Jean wasn't an active member of the military anymore and he had all rights to initiate a friendlier banter between them. But 'mutt'?...
"Thanks a lot, Jean." She said smiling. "I'll see you tonight then."
With that Riza waved goodbye and walked back the uneven path.
Her shift started in half an hour and she wasn't the kind of person to be late.
It was raining.
As Riza looked out of the large windows, she found a steady downpour obscuring her vision of the large courtyard. Small rivulets of cold water cascaded down the glass accompanied by the steady hammering of drops splashing against the window. The sky was dark grey and an irregular pattern of flashes lit the thick blanket above HQ.
Sighing, the young woman glanced at the watch above her desk. It was already half past eight, meaning she could start cleaning her desk off of her day's work. The lieutenant still had an errand to run and had to gather the papers for one General Lowland.
True, there hadn't been any errands mentioned in the job description for the Führer's personal assistant, but bringing the General the papers would be just the perfect excuse to go to a public phone, call the Colonel at home, say 'Hi' and show him that she was still alive and safe. He was already back at his apartment right now anyway, having taken off today and tomorrow for a few appointments.
He had insisted quite vehemently, that she had to give him once a day a proof of her existence, a sign of life that she was holding her head above water. They both knew that she was merely a measure to keep the Colonel at bay, the leash for a dog that tested how far it could go without being pulled back painfully.
Riza had sighed and had said 'yes.
From that day on, she tried as inconspicuously as possible to give him said signs. Under the pretext of bringing some very important documents, she would visit him after work, or use a fellow officer to deliver messages from 'the Führer.
Sometimes it was even him calling her under her synonym 'Elizabeth'.
If there wasn't any other way, they met secretly outside.
There was a bar on the way to her apartment and whenever she hadn't found an excuse or he couldn't call, Roy Mustang would wait outside the pub on the other side of the street for her to walk by. They never acknowledged each other's presence. No lifted hands, no nods.
It was enough to know they could still walk.
But their utmost priority was that no-one found out.
His weakness that he had to see her alive was their Achilles' heel. If anybody was to find out, it would break their necks and possibly pull witnesses into the abyss.
Today though, the papers she was currently busying herself with, were containing indeed direct orders from King Bradley.
A good enough reason to go to the other side of the enormous building, exactly the place where the public (untapped) lines were. And she was still in the time frame.
Their time frame was the small window of five hours between 1700 and 2200 in which she had to 'report' to him. Anything earlier or later would raise suspicions and if she didn't call in at all, it meant trouble. Today she give him a call and afterwards she would go and get some groceries and then be back at home when Jean Havoc brought Hayate.
Standing up, Riza straightened her uniform and looked once more out of the window.
The clouds were still weeping, transforming the courtyard into a grand pool of boiling liquid. She was just glad she had been mindful enough to bring her umbrella along. Unlike the Colonel, who would have surely gotten wet over the small distance from the entrance to HQ and his waiting car.
As she rolled her eyes at his sentiments, she found herself turning towards the Führer's desk.
It was empty. The black-haired man had excused himself that morning, having said he had some appointments with two fellow higher ups. The Lieutenant had frowned but had said nothing, even though it was one of her many tasks to coordinate his day and arrange meetings of every kind. Something she thought to be very useful in her momentary predicament. That way she knew what this man -her enemy- was up to and could tell the Colonel ASAP.
But of this special appointment, she hadn't known, but questioning the Führer's integrity was not a possibility.
Her heels clicked loudly in the near silence of the large office as Hawkeye made her way to the wooden doors leading to the corridor beyond. Just as she was about to take hold of the handle, her ears caught the noise of impatient feet shuffling outside on the linoleum floor. Her fingers froze in midair.
As a sniper, Riza had learned to use her senses and believe them no matter what. And right now, they were screaming at her to get the hell outta there. A feeling of foreboding spread through her guts and her mouth went dry. Something was definitely off and she'd be damned if she played sitting duck.
Her eyes flickered momentarily to the second set of doors that led to another office, but she dismissed that option rather quickly. There were only two windows in that room and she was in the fourth storey. No way she would survive a fall.
Riza inhaled once deeply, feeling the side of her weapon pressing against her ribs, soothing her tingling nerves and giving her the security she needed.
Slowly, the blond woman stepped back from the doors, her eyes focused on the two golden handles. The room around her was reduced to darkness and all of a sudden she felt defenseless in her hall-like prison. There were only two desks and a coffee table. Some chairs and bookshelves at the walls. Nothing to give her refuge and proper hiding.
Again she heard someone walk around outside. There wasn't much of a possibility then. She would have to climb down the window to the next floor and get back inside that way. Her heels bumped against the doors leading to the second office and Riza allowed her fingers to close around the hilt of her sidearm, the steel cool against her warm skin.
Her other arm extended, the tips of her fingers touching the door handle. Just as she was about to push it down, she felt the handle vibrate under her skin. Almost in the same instant the handle was yanked down abruptly and immediately Riza knew she was in serious trouble.
She barely had time to move to the side when the doors burst open with a crash. Swiveling around while diving for cover behind her desk, the Lieutenant pulled out her handgun in one fluid motion and pointed it at the darkness of the other office.
It was silent except for the creaking of the now splintered doors and with as much self control as she could muster right then, Hawkeye brought her breathing under control. Her eyes and ears strained to make anything out, but there was nothing. Her heartbeat thrummed loudly in her ears as she waited for something -anything- to happen.
After what seemed like minutes, Riza finally heard the faint sound of bare feet walking carefully on the floor in the other room. Soon enough she found two legs stepping into the faint light of the moon that penetrated the windows and cast long ghostly shadows on the ground.
Swallowing a deep sigh, Riza trained the gun at the point where the legs vanished in the shadows.
"I'm 1st Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye. Come out with your hands up and palms displayed." She ordered into the darkness.
Nothing happened. The legs didn't move, no-one answered.
Feeling her patience running thinner, Hawkeye inhaled deeply and got up from where she had been kneeling behind her desk.
Her arms were still extended in front of her chest, gun securely in her hands. One wrong move and the intruder was faster dead than he could gurgle a 'fuck'.
"I repeat: Come out with-"
"'I repeat', yeah, whatever! Repeat whatcha want Missy. I give a rat's ass!" A male voice yelled sarcastically,
chuckling with the hint of a smirk. Riza's eyes narrowed at that, her finger suddenly itching to pull the trigger and show that maniac just with whom exactly he had decided to mess.
"Who are you?" She asked in a voice that didn't gave away just how nervous she was. Instead of answering, the legs began to move out of the light and back into the shadows.
Riza felt the uneasiness grow in her guts as the target disappeared out of her sight. There wasn't much she could do, because she was pretty sure that outside the front door another person was waiting for her to make an escape. But they shouldn't take her too lightly. They surely were in an advantageous position, having effectively blocked both escape routs, but Riza had two sidearms and, as the Colonel had once claimed, the most accurate aim in the history of the military.
Retreating slowly backwards to the large window beside her desk, Riza watched the open doors with eagle eyes.
What happened then, Riza wouldn't be able to recall exactly later.
The sound of breaking glass was all she needed as warning to dive away from the window and under the desk. Shards of wet glass rained down upon the table's surface and Riza covered her head instinctively against the sharp objects. A hollow thud echoed above the noise of clattering and the floor underneath her knees shook for a second from an unknown impact.
"Can I eat her, Envy?"
Her eyes widened as realization dawned on the young Lieutenant and with a surge of fear, she scrambled out from under the desk, away from the broken window and into the middle of the office. She didn't feel the pain of glass slicing her hands and knees open, adrenaline already surging through her vains and dulling her bodily sense of pain. Riza only registered slightly that she was bleeding when her fingers slipt slightly as she tried to regain her grip on her gun.
"Nah. Old man said to bring her back breathing... he didn't mention though whether she had to have legs."
Her gaze shot to the broken office doors and with a sickening feeling she found a slender man standing in the frame. He had his hands on his hips and a sneer covered his thin lips. Riza's eyes fell on an all too familiar object in the strange man's hand. A handgun.
"Ah! Women have smooth legs." The short plump creature mumbled around his index finger in delight, saliva dripping down his chin and onto the red carpet.
'Homunculi', Riza thought, panic pulling at the edge of her mind, her composure slowly dissipating. Her index finger applied pressure on the trigger and with a grunt, she got into a standing position. Her eyes watched as the smaller of the two figures took a step towards her. Her brain worked in overdrive and the name 'Gluttony' flashed through her mind. The thing had tried to kill her already twice before and she was painfully aware of the fact, that she couldn't stop him with her bullets.
"Dammit." She whispered, her breathing picking up slightly when she found the other guy following his comrade. They advanced almost at a casual pace, seemingly not in the slightest hurry.
'Why should they', she though bitterly, 'it's not like anyone is here anyway.'
"Get it done and over with, Gluttony. 's no fun watching ya have all the action." Envy barked.
"Ok." Came the child-like answer. Not wasting another second, Gluttony dashed to where Riza was standing.
Instinct took over and Riza pulled the trigger. A bullet pierced the air and hit the Homunculus' head between his round black eyes. A small rivulet of bright red blood trickled out of the hole and down the fleshy nose and for a second the monster stopped dead as if thinking about something.
Her jaw muscles tightened painfully when Riza realized that this was probably her only chance. Not thinking, she swiveled around and ran towards the closed doors. She reached them in three strides and threw her full weight against them.
The doors burst open, crashing against the walls and bouncing off of them. They banged close behind Riza, but she paid them no attention. Her legs were carrying her down the dimly lit corridor, her mind racing for a place where she could hide. But there was nowhere to go and two immortal monster were hunting her down.
What did they want from her? Who had sent them? What was she supposed to do? Was the Colonel in danger?
She didn't know.
Her grip tightened around the hilt of her favorite sidearm, the one weapon she had learned to rely on more than any other weapon in the world. Now useless, when confronted with alchemic creatures.
Suddenly searing pain exploded in her right side and with a whistling noise, a bullet imbedded itself in the ground in front of her. With knowledge came clarity and instinctively, she pressed her palm flat against the small hole in her abdomen. Blood seeped through the gaps between her fingers and a nauseous feeling threatened to overpower her senses.
Riza's legs moved on. Her steps didn't falter. Her brain and body ignored the pain.
The bullet had missed her vital organs by millimeters, but a hit to the belly was one of the most painful ones. She had learned that in her academy days: If you want to render an enemy immobile, shoot his guts.
Rounding a corner, Hawkeye sped past a row of offices. To her dismay the lights were all turned off and no-one was there.
Not that anyone of those desk jockeys could have been in any way useful and somehow, she was even glad that there was nobody who could get involved.
The sound of a second shot rang in her ears and for once, she was glad for all the adrenaline clouding her mind as she felt the projectile graze the flesh of her left upper arm. She didn't even register the blood flowing out of the wound, making her black, tight-fitting shirt she always wore underneath her uniform cling to her arm.
Another bullet whizzed past her left ear and Riza ducked. Her gun arm extended backwards and she pulled the trigger twice. A grunt told her all she needed to know and again she rounded a corner. The staircase was near. Another twenty meter and she would be able to see the emergency exit...
A hard body crashed into her back and all the air left Riza's lungs at once. Stars danced through her vision when she crashed into a large locker. Again the noise of breaking glass filled her ears and white pain shot through her shoulders. In the back of her mind, Riza felt one or two ribs breaking, but the feeling predominating was the burning of her empty lungs.
Somebody's hand grasped her neck tightly, squeezing off her windpipe. Her chest heaved desperately to fill her lungs with oxygen but nothing happened. Her head felt dizzy and her vision blackened, the figure before her fading slowly into nothingness.
Her hand had long let go of her sidearm and with what little strength was left in her aching muscles, she tried to find something within her reach resembling somewhat a weapon. As long as she still had a bit of awareness left, Riza Hawkeye would fight. She had promised to survive. She had promised. She had promised!
"Stop moving around, bitch. That back of yours is way too valuable!" She dimly heard a voice tell her some feet away.
"I want to eat her legs." The Homunculus holding her up by her neck whined and the stench of rotten flesh invaded Riza's nose.
That thing was going to eat her!
Dammit, dammit, dammit!
"I'm gonna tell them to gather the human sacrifices and you finally get those legs off"
'Sacrifices?', she thought and the picture of the Colonel and the Elric brothers flashed through her darkening mind.
Frantically, her hands wandered across the crashed locker and suddenly closed around a familiar egg-shaped object. With her thumb, she pulled the small metal pen out of its safety. She mobilized her last energy reserves and lifted her arms, one hand grasping the hand around her neck and prying open the meaty fingers. Her other arm aimed blindly for the open mouth of Gluttony and pushed the small object into the wide open maw.
Obviously startled by her sudden actions, the Homunculus let go of her neck and stepped back. Riza fell to the in glass covered floor, coughing and retching. Her vision slowly cleared, the fog lifting from around her. Her eyes settled on the dumbfounded plump creature, his black orbs seeking out his comrades frowning face. It didn't know what had happened.
"What did'cha do, bitch?!" Envy yelled, holding Riza at gunpoint.
Not caring, Riza grabbed another oval object lying discarded on the ground beside her, pulled the pin and threw it at the strangely dressed man towering threateningly in front of her. It bounced off of his bare stomach and rolled around on the floor in front of his feet.
His eyes widened in realization and he lowered the gun as his gaze shifted suddenly to Gluttony who was still standing beside him clueless.
"You damn bitch!!"
Riza didn't hear any of the abuses that left Envy's mouth. She had already gotten up from the floor and had by now rounded the corner. The green light of the emergency exit was fading away in her blurred vision and with what strength was left in her arms, she pushed open the heavy metal doors.
Just as she closed them behind her, a loud explosion followed by a second echoed through the staircase. Her hands covered her hurting ears, even as she dashed down the stairs.
Her head was spinning and every part of her body throbbed with blinding pain as she opened the exit door. Instantly cold rain pounded her ashen face, her shredded clothes wet within seconds. Her boots stepped into a large puddle, causing the reflection of the moon to ripple.
Hand pressed to the wound in her side, the Lieutenant started walking to the street. Behind her search lights went on, bathing the courtyard in unnatural bright light. At the same time the sirens went off and some distant shouts echoed over the place.
But Riza had already reached the other side of HQ and sluggishly wound her arms out of her torn uniform jacket. Her glassy eyes saw the dark red stains on the blue material and with a grunt, she draped the jacket over a pole.
Those monsters weren't dead, that much was clear from what she had experienced so far.
They were going to chase after her and maybe the smell of her blood on her uniform would give her somehow a slim advantage. She could just hope.
Coughing, she started walking into the other direction, ignoring the foamy liquid she breathed up with every exhalation.
She had to warn the Colonel. And the Elric brothers. But she was pretty sure her apartment was under surveillance and possibly the Colonel's as well.
Which meant that there was only one option left.
Ten past ten.
A black standard military boot tapped impatiently on the paved ground. A dirty, wet cat trotted past his legs, acknowledging the man attached to the limbs with a mere flicker of the tail.
Mildly interested, Roy Mustang eyed the small creature as it rubbed its spotted back against a lantern pole and finally walked to the other side of the street. There it sat down in front of the pub and started mewing softly, obviously unfazed by the constant downfall matting its fur.
The Colonel's gaze shifted to the puddle of murky water that had formed in front of him where the water dripped down the roof he had taken refuge under. He could see his long legs reflected in it and sighed dramatically into the near silence of the early night.
Fifteen past ten.
The Lieutenant hadn't shown up yet. Roy's first instinct was to run to the Führer's office, break the doors and shoot every male being inside. But reality pulled his mind out of the gutter labeled 'prince in shining armor', formally labeled 'worst case scenarios'. He had promised her not to act upon heedlessly formed plans even if he knew something had happened.
She had given in on his order to report once a day and he had grunted 'yes' when she had told him to keep a clear head as long as she wasn't around to save him from his foolishness and recklessness (he had thought about punishing her for insubordination after that description of his mental state).
Snapping his index finger and thumb, he wished not for the first time that day that it stopped raining and for dry gloves. As Hawkeye loved to point out to him whenever possible: He was worthless in the rain. And right now he was drenched like the sorry critter on the other side of the street.
Twenty past ten.
He had waited one and a half hours. Time was up.
Hawkeye had never been later than half past nine and 2200 was their absolute limit. His lips formed the words he had been mumbling in his mind over the last hour.
His Lieutenant was in trouble. That much was sure. Now the question was what to do next. The best thing would be to call her at home, hoping she had merely forgotten their deal (yeah, and hell freezes in summer) and was soaking in a hot tub. As tempting as the image may have been, he had other things to worry about.
Next he could drive back to the office under some excuse he had yet to make up, knock at the Führer's door and drag her out of any danger with a snap of his fingers. But judging by the fact that she was a formidable hand to hand combatant and the best sniper in the history of the military (she was always so embarrassed when he pointed that out), she had to be in some deep shit. But regardless of what could have possibly happened, 'he' had to do something now.
Pushing his back away from the dirty wall he had been leaning against, he drew the dark hat further into his face. As he stepped out onto the dimly lit street, his ears suddenly picked up the noise of fire sirens in the distance. With a bewildered frown he estimated the direction the noise was coming from and felt a surge of concern flooding his system anew when he realized that HQ were there.
Maybe a fire? And she had to stay and help with whatever she could do...
Roy's eyes strayed across the building on the other side of the street, when his gaze settled on a small black and white shivering dog in the process of rounding the corner. 'What the-', he thought, running over the street and heading to where the animal sat down on his white behind, patiently waiting at the corner of the building complex.
He had barely reached the place, when the dog jumped up in delight, its small tail wiggling happily from side to side.
The small forepaws left muddy prints on the Colonel's uniform pants.
"Black Hayate?! What are you doing here?" Roy mumbled to no-one in particular as he crouched down in front of the yapping dog, his hand already caressing the small wet head.
Eyes narrowed he remembered the first time he had found the dog waiting for him right there.
After their first assignment to Central, the Colonel had frequently visited the pub late at night. Most of the time he had been too drunk to walk straight and often enough he had found his 1st Lieutenant waiting patiently outside with her small companion. He had never asked 'why' or had even questioned or reclined her actions.
But today, Black Hayate was definitely missing his master. It made the bad feeling in his stomach intensify even more.
His dark eyes fell on a white small paper neatly tucked under the dog's collar. Pulling it out, the Colonel unfolded it carefully, finding a few sentences written in a drawl on it.
'Sir, we have a situation. I'm being followed by the Homunculi. They are obviously after you and possibly the Elric brothers. I am unable to inform either of you personally. Colonel you are in immediate danger, please bring yourself in safety and tell them. Right now I can't keep my promise and watch your back. Please take care. Hawkeye'
Hands shaking, in anger or concern he didn't know, Roy folded the paper again. His brain was working in overdrive, no clear thought able to manifest itself. Roy's eyes flickered over the soaked sheet and finally settled on a small spot.
At first sight it looked like an ink stain, but as he scrutinized it more closely, he realized the color was dark red.
Not much, but combined with the words written down on the paper, it made the liquid in the Colonel's veins run cold.
They had made his Lieutenant bleed...
"Hayateeeeeeee!!" A loud voice suddenly startled Mustang out of his internal battle and bewildered he looked up into the direction it had come from. Surprised he found a man rushing towards him. What made him unique was the wheelchair he was using as race car and the stump of a cigarette dangling from between parted lips.
Jean Havoc was panting hard when he finally reached the spot where the Colonel was standing dumbstruck with a happy dog waiting by his feet.
"Colonel?" Havoc asked, brows knitted together in a deep frown. A leash lay draped across his unresponsive legs, water dripping down the leather. Just like himself, Jean was soaking wet and his cig had long gone out. "What are you doing here?"
"We have no time for that right now. Hawkeye is in danger." Mustang interjected harshly. He didn't exactly believe in fate or God, but the fact that Havoc had just arrived meant he had somebody he could rely on to take care of some things while he took care of Hawkeye. Explanations could wait for now.
"Go and call Breda, Fuery and Falman. They have to go into hiding." He started firing his orders even as he began walking down the street, Hayate strolling behind him and Havoc wheeling by his side. "Just say Elizabeth is pregnant and they'll know what to do. Meet me in thirty minutes at the flower shop in the southern district."
Suddenly the Colonel stopped dead in his tracks, bringing them effectively to an halt.
"Havoc, I know you retired, but-" He was cut short in his speech, when Jean started chuckling.
"You wanna ask for my help? Gosh, Riza's in danger. What the hell am I supposed to do if not help ya as good as I can."
For the first time, a small smile played at the Colonel's lips and he patted Havoc's back companionably.
"I'm off." Jean said and lifted a hand in a silent goodbye. He turned his wheelchair around and rolled down the street in the opposite direction, heading to a phone he was sure wasn't tapped.
Standing alone in the relentlessly pouring rain, Roy clenched his hands into tight fists. His breathing sounded strained in the darkness of the night. Slowly he bent down to where Black Hayate was sitting in front of him, watching the human with big keen eyes.
"Hayate, show me where Riza is." He said in a calm neutral voice, patting the dog's head lovingly. Roy knew tha dog understood every word, having learned more commands from his master than most police dogs roaming the streets these days.
Hayate was one of the most intelligent dogs he had ever come across and right now his only hope to find his bleeding Lieutenant.
Barking shortly, Hayate suddenly sped off down the road. Roy was hot on his heels, taking the same turns and jumping over discarded waste. When they rounded a corner, the pair came face to face with a high fence. Not faltering in his tempo, the small dog ducked under a cardboard box and eased himself carefully through a small hole in the construction.
Mumbling some choice words, Mustang jumped onto a bucket and climbed over the offending object in three seconds. Good thing he kept himself in shape or such obstacles would hurt a lot more. He landed on the other side of the metal fence with a thud, immediately taking after the still running dog.
After another few minutes, they rounded another corner and Roy found himself standing in a dark cul de sac. Trash littered the cobblestone ground and a large waste container stood against the left wall of a high building. Squinting his eyes, he tried to get used to the darkness surrounding him and slowly brought his fast breathing back under control.
The whimper of his animal companion caught Roy's attention and he followed the sound to where Hayate had sat down behind the container. His short tail was whacking slowly from side to side as if he still had to decide whether to be happy or not.
"Hayate, where is she..." His words stayed stuck inside his throat when he found who he had been looking for.
A pained moan escaped Riza Hawkeye's lips as she tried in vain to sit up straight. Her hand was pressed weakly against the wound in her side, trying to stem the flow of red liquid.
Transfixed, Roy stared at his former subordinate, shock and anger mixing together and making his insides burn. She was a half dead heap. Clothes shredded and uniform jacket even missing completely, he could make out a large amount of wounds, the liquid puddle underneath Hawkeye's body obviously only partly originating from the rain soaked pants.
Her face was contorted in pain and with a new surge of blind rage the Colonel found blood smeared around the corners of her mouth.
"Col-" She tried to say, but the searing pain in her left lung made her stop mid-word and gulp down a cry of agony. Her whole form was shaking, both from shock and the cold rain that had soaked her thoroughly.
"Dammit, Lieutenant. Can't you for once stay out of trouble?" He suddenly asked in a soothing tone of voice. Roy had gained back some of his self-control and kneeled down in front of the bloodied woman. Glassy, half-open eyes looked up at him as he removed his jacket and folded it underneath her neck.
He watched her flinch as a new wave of pain shot through her body at the movement, but didn't stop lying her down on the wet ground. His training took over then and he used his knife to rip open the shirt where she was still pressing her flat palm against.
Even in the dim light he could tell that the bullet had pierced the beautiful white skin cleanly on both sides. Entry and exit wounds were filled with dark partly clotted blood and the skin surrounding them was stained bright red. Pressing his hand against the hole on her stomach, he swore silently under his breath.
"S-sorry, s-sir." He heard Riza's faint voice, feeling a lump rise at the sound of a slight gurgle accompanying her words.
"Don't talk, Lieutenant. I'm taking care of you." He tried to calm her down, feeling her abdomen rising in an irregular pattern every time she took a shuddered breath. A cough racked her body then and Mustang cringed when he heard the wet sound again.
But Riza wasn't about to listen to him.
"They a-are around." She wheezed, eyes squeezed tightly shut as she concentrated on talking. "You shouldn't... be here."
A short bark of laughter escaped his lips at that and he found her crack her eyes open to see what was so funny.
"If you didn't want to see me, Hawkeye, you could have just written down a 'leave me alone' on that romantic love letter of yours. Or maybe you should've taught your merry dog not to take orders from strangers."
A faint smile appeared on Riza's pale lips as her gaze drifted slowly to the waiting dog beside her.
"We have to get outta here now. I can't take care of you in this mud hole." Roy breathed slowly, looking around him to make sure he was alone. The hair on the back of his neck rose when he felt the air around him practically sizzle with tension. He had the bad feeling things were gonna turn to worse.
Suddenly Black Hayate got up and walked around the Colonel, standing facing the entrance to the small one way street.
His tail held high, he started barking and it was then that the Colonel could make out the sound of boots walking towards them.
Biting the inside of his cheek in rage, he gave Riza's hand a slight squeeze and took the second weapon out of the holster at her side. He may not be able to enlighten their intruder with a cozy fire, but a welcome bullet he could serve with.
Stepping around the container, he pointed the sidearm at the person standing some meter away from him.
The large man had his hands raised, showing he wasn't carrying anything resembling a weapon. Frowning at the familiarity of the large form, the Colonel's eyes wandered to Black Hayate... who was rubbing his head happily against the black boots of one Alex Louis Armstrong.
"What are you doing here?!" Mustang asked perplexed, lowering the gun and stuffing it into his waistband.
"I saw you running down the street and followed you, Colonel." He stated bluntly and it made Roy somehow giddy that he had been followed that easily and without him noticing at all. It made him wonder whether anybody else had gone after him and was looming around in the shadows unseen.
"Major, you haven't seen anything, yet. You can still turn around and get not involved..." And not for the first time that night, the Colonel got interrupted by one of his closest friends.
"It is my impression that Lieutenant Hawkeye is in need of medical attention and should be brought to a safer place."
Closing his eyes and sighing, the Colonel turned back to where he had left Hawkeye lying.
She had lost consciousness and wheezed softly whenever she drew a shaking, labored breath.
"Help me get her up. I don't want to jar her injuries any further." He said, smiling gratefully when the muscular Major walked past him to carefully pick up the young woman.
"My car is parked just around the corner. The first aid kit is in the back seat." He offered and lead the way, the unconscious sniper mumbling incoherently into his chest. As she moved restlessly, her keys suddenly fell to the ground with a clatter and the Colonel bent to pick it up. As he glanced at the chain, he found a dog whistle dangling down between his middle and index finger. A smile tucked at the corner of his lips as he finally understood.
"Why were you around?" Mustang suddenly asked the man with the blond mustache with a suspicious frown.
Sighing, Armstrong waited until the Colonel had opened the door for him to lie down Riza softly on the leather bench in the back of the car. Her face contorted in pain, but soon her features relaxed as she drifted off into a troubled sleep.
"The Führer's office was the scene of a fight and one of the corridors got destroyed by two grenades. There was a lot of blood and the gun of the 1st Lieutenant was found outside the Führer's office." He answered solemnly, getting into the driver seat and starting the engine immediately.
Roy nodded, opening the med kit and rummaging through its content, looking for bandages and compresses. He had to stop the steady flow of blood or the Lieutenant was soon... he couldn't continue his train of thoughts, eyes falling on the pale white face of the person he entrusted his life with. His faithful, unfaltering pillar.
"I thought it would be wise to find her before her opponents did." Alex continued driving down the street, away from HQ. In the distance the sirens were still crying faintly and for a second, Mustang allowed himself to sigh in relief. They were gaining some space between them and the crime scene and he could just hope that the Homunculi were off.
Carefully he partly ripped open Hawkeye's black ops shirt, jaw muscles tightening at the sight. The bullet wound wasn't the only reason for the large amount of blood covering her body. It seemed like she had fallen into a glass factory, her back bearing a strange pattern of deep ugly cuts. Small shards were still imbedded in the angry red skin, probably the reason why she had been so unwilling to lie down minutes ago.
With the right amount of pressure, the Colonel started wrapping a white bandage around Riza's midsection, trying to ignore the moan of pain from her. Mere seconds later the white had turned dark red and Mustang used another bandage to hopefully gain the upper hand in the fight.
The rest of her injuries would have to wait until they had more to work with and at least a penlight. He couldn't exactly see the real extent of her wounds and hoped this one caused most trouble. Though he realized that there was something seriously wrong with her lungs. It wasn't normal to breathe up foamy blood. Maybe a rip fracture.
His gaze shifted from her abdomen to her face. Her normally rosy cheeks were ashen and her lips had taken on a blue hue.
Her blond hair, that always made Mustang contemplate the feeling of silk on his palm, was dirty and matted to her clammy skin.
As he looked up to see where they were driving, Roy's eyes found Black Hayate's head lying on the space between the two front seats. He was whining pathetically as his droopy eyes watched his master's pale features somewhat concerned.
"Major." The Colonel started, absently caressing Riza's cheek. "We need to pick up Havoc at the flower shop in the southern district."
Nodding, Armstrong drove down the street and finally around a corner.
It was then that a thought struck Mustang. "Do you know of the whereabouts of Edward and Alphonse Elric? It seems like they are in danger... whatever danger that actually is." He mumbled the last part, his eyes averted from the other man as he watched Riza's eyes open slightly. A thin line of foggy obsidian looked at him and he thought he would crumble then.
"They are in the north."
Brows rising high, Roy regarded Alex with a surprised 'Huh.
"They are obviously stationed under my sister's command."
Contemplating what do to next, Mustang didn't pay attention when Alex pulled aside and opened his door. He got out into the rain and walked up to where Havoc was sitting miserably in his wheelchair. The Major helped Jean into the second passenger seat and folded the wheelchair neatly in the trunk.
As Havoc turned around in his seat, the cigarette fell from his lips.
His gaze had settled on Riza's silent form and he suddenly felt the need to punch out the lights of the guy who had done this to her. Hayate, sitting on his legs, poked the man's arm with his wet nose to get his attention.
"Colonel, I informed them of the situation. I had to assure them to notify them of our exact position whenever possible though." Jean heard the man in the backseat sigh dramatically. "Ya have to give them some credit, Roy. She's our girl after all. And big brothers look after their lil sister, ne?"
Smiling faintly at Havoc's reasoning, Roy pulled a wet strand of hair out of Riza's face.
"Major, we need a place outside town for tonight. We have to take care of her wounds before attempting any escapes.
Then we'll see on."
Nodding again silently, Armstrong took the next turn right and sped down the alley to the suburbs of Central.
My first FMA story. Liked it? Didn't?
If there's a next part, lemme tell ya in advance that the problem will be solved, how Hayate escaped from Havoc and of course, some RoyRiza-goodness!! Oh and all those EdWinry fans out there: be patient. The couple will have a major role in this fic!!
Now go and R&R!! I know you want it!