Ah, yes, my first posted Fullmetal Alchemist story. And a Royai, to top it all off. I don't remember exactly where I got this idea, but I've been working on this story for months now. Actually, it got to the point where my friends were like, "Don't you have that Royai for me yet...?" Well, here it is, you guys! Thanks for the support.

Title: A Black Tie Affair

Setting: The FMA Universe, towards the beginning of the series (before everyone started dying)

Summary: The Fuhrer's birthday party is fast approaching, but Riza Hawkeye has absolutely nothing to wear. Roy, despite valiant efforts, cannot find a woman free to help Riza purchase a new outfit, so he settles for the next-best thing: him and his men.

Disclaimer: You know, I actually came up with the idea for Fullmetal Alchemist first. Yeah, seriously. I was all ready to publish it and everything, then I saw the TV show and I was so ticked! Oh well. I guess that it just means I'll have to fall back on that sliced bread idea...


A Black Tie Affair


If there was one thing Riza hated, it was mornings. She half-heartedly marched down the hallway, balancing a bundle of files in one arm while drinking her coffee as fast as she could without burning her tongue. Behind her, Black Hayate trotted happily, yipping a greeting every so often at the passers-by. Although Riza loved her dog, she couldn't stand him in the morning. Especially the last Friday morning of the month.

Every other day she didn't mind, but the final Friday was when all the military paperwork was due. That meant not only did she have to complete her work, she also had to complete Colonel Mustang's as well, since he never did any.

Using her elbow, she managed to work her office door open and trudge inside. Roy was already there, balancing a pen on his finger while his paperwork lay sprawled on his desk. It was incomplete, she noted crossly. "Good morning, Lieutenant," he greeted her.

"Yes, it is morning, sir, although whether it is good or not is up to debate."

The glimmer in his eye told her that a debate was the perfect excuse to procrastinate further on his work. "Well, I'd say it's been good so far." Riza pursed her lips and began to unload her files onto her desk while he continued. "First of all, you're here."

"Ha. Ha ha."

"I knew you'd like that one." Mustang beamed—whether it was at her or at his comment, she wasn't entirely sure. "And furthermore—"

"Sir, with all due respect, last night was a very long night and I would just like to drink my coffee and do my work—well, your work—in peace so I can go home early and sleep for twelve hours straight." She glared at him to drive her point home and found he was mute. "Thank you for your understanding." Testily, she pulled off the top sheet from her files and started to make her way through them.

The office was quiet for awhile; Mustang merely spun his pen in his hand and watched her work.

Then he became bored, as he usually did. Riza could hear his chair squeaking as he restlessly shifted his weight. She made a mental note to buy some WD-40 and set back to her paperwork.

That's when he began sighing. They weren't really noticeable at first, but soon, Roy was heaving sighs that would depress even Lieutenant Colonel Hughes on his daughter's birthday. After one particularly winsome groan, Riza snapped.

"For God's sake, Roy, if you don't stop, I'm going to put a bullet through your voice box." As an afterthought, she added, "Sir."

"But I'm bored," he moaned, tossing his pen away and throwing his feet up on the desk. "Nothing exciting ever happens around here anymore. Can't I have an assignment that doesn't involve a stack of paperwork?"

As if on cue, there was a knock on the door. Mustang jumped slightly, then planted his feet firmly on the floor and straightened up. "You may enter."

A nervous Fuery stumbled in and snapped into a salute. "Sir, I have your mail for today."

"At ease. Let me see it." The younger man eagerly handed the letters to his superior officer and waited to be dismissed. Colonel Mustang rifled threw, immediately discarding the official-looking envelopes. That left three letters. Again, he flipped through them, tossing aside any typewritten ones. Those were usually documents he needed to sign; he would have Hawkeye forge them later. That left one envelope.

"Interesting," he mused aloud. "This letter passed the tests." Fuery, unsure about who the comment was directed to, murmured an agreement. Hawkeye rolled her eyes. "Let's see what it says, shall we?" Slitting the top of the envelope open, he removed a thick sheet of paper about the size of an index card, handwritten with a calligraphy pen and decorated with a gold-leafed military dragon. Roy read the letter aloud:

You are cordially invited to attend

Fuhrer King Bradley's 51st birthday party

Saturday, the thirty-first of August

nineteen hundred twelve

at eight o'clock in the evening

Fuhrer King Bradley's household

All military personnel must attend

unless instructed otherwise

Black Tie

"That's a nice change of events." He glanced up at Riza to continue but found her face pale. "Something wrong, Lieutenant?"

"This party is tomorrow, sir," she stated.

"I suppose the invitation is a bit late," he mused. "It must have gotten lost in the mail. What's your point?"

"I…nothing, sir." Her face still ashen, Riza turned back to her paperwork, possibly immersing herself just a little too deeply to be convincing.

Mustang frowned at her odd behavior. "You're dismissed, Fuery," he said inattentively, his eyes still on Riza.

"Yes, sir. Good-bye, sir." The young man about-faced and made his way out of the office.

"Make sure to tell the others about the party," Roy called after the Master Sergeant. As soon the door shut, he raised an eyebrow at Hawkeye. "So, what's your problem?"

"Sir?"

"You looked about ready to faint for a moment. Is there something else you need to attend on Saturday?"

"…No, sir."

"Then what's wrong?"

"It's just that…." Her voice trailed off and she muttered something unintelligible.

"What was that, Hawkeye?"

"Sir, if it's just the same to you, I'd rather not say."

He let up for a second, and there was a brief moment where Riza believed he was not the nosy bastard she thought he was.

She was wrong.

"I order you to tell me what your problem is," he said firmly. She gave Roy a scathing glare and he smirked triumphantly back. Hawkeye would never disobey a direct order.

"Sir, I do not own an evening gown." Her face began to flush, but she reluctantly continued. "Nor…do I own any fancy jewelry…or too much make-up." Roy began to see why she had been scared. As a matter of fact, he was beginning to feel a little faint himself. What would the Fuhrer think if he saw one of his subordinates wearing a pantsuit at his black tie affair?

"You don't own anything? A skirt? Something with a sensible heel? Chap-stick?"

"Well," she amended, "I do have a black dress. I wore it at my grandmother's funeral. And I have a pair of pearl earrings, but I'm afraid that's it."

"Somehow, I don't think that'll cut it." He leaned back to think and she wistfully tapped her pen on her desk. The only solution he could come up with was to have someone teach her step-by-step how to dress. This was way out of his jurisdiction. He needed a woman's help.

Quickly, Mustang picked up the phone and dialed the number of his best friend. "Yo!" came a cheerful voice from the other end of the line. "This is Lieutenant Colonel Maes Hughes."

"Hughes, it's Roy. Is Gracia available tonight?"

"She's my wife, you dog!"

"No, I mean to help Lieutenant Hawkeye get ready for the Fuhrer's party." Briefly, Mustang explained the predicament.

"Oh. Well, sorry Roy, but no go." Hughes replied. "Gracia and Elycia are out of town to visit the mother-in-law. They won't be back until right before the party. We're going to be a little late as it is."

"How about Sciezka?"

There was a soft snort from the other end of the line. "She's a librarian, Roy."

"Point taken," he sighed as he began to massage his temple. "Then who knows anything about women's fashion in my division?"

"You're on your own with that one. Ya know, this would be a hell of a lot easier if you had a wif—" Roy quickly hung up, a disgruntled look on his face. It seemed like once again, it was up to him and his men to do all the work.

At least it wasn't paperwork this time.

"Hawkeye, I've got some good news and bad news."

"What is it, sir?"

"Unfortunately, there are no females in my command that can help you. Fortunately, I've got something better—all the men under my command plus me."

She stared at him incredulously. "Are you serious? You, Havoc, Breda, and Fuery are going to teach me how to dress up?"

"Of course. I'm sure if we work together, we can all figure something out."

"I somehow doubt that, sir."

Mustang didn't hear her, however; he was too busy getting his hat and gloves. "Come on, Hawkeye, let's get a head-start on this. We'll need a dress, shoes, make-up, and accessories, plus a demonstration on how to get it all on. We might also need to have your eyebrows waxed."

"Excuse me?"

"My apologies, but I'm trying to be frank, Lieutenant. This may very well take all day today. Let's go find the others and get going."


Riza groaned inwardly as she wandered through the women's section closely followed by four men in full military dress. It was barely eleven o'clock in the morning and they had already been searching for three hours.

Well, that wasn't true. When Colonel Mustang figured out that department stores didn't open until ten o'clock, he had Riza drive everyone to her apartment in order for her to change into civilian clothes. They also dropped off Black Hayate, since Breda was shrieking and trembling the whole car ride. Roy then ordered her to drive them to breakfast. At least he paid for it.

As of now, they were all roaming through a maze of ball gowns in the nicest department store in Central. People were beginning to stare at the small military parade, as they looked utterly out-of-place in the masses of chiffon and silk.

"How's this one, Colonel?" Havoc asked, holding up a little red number.

"Put that back. The point is to make her look good, not to make her look easy."

The blonde man shrugged. "It was worth a try."

"Colonel, sir," Riza said, holding up a sky-blue dress, "would this be alright?"

Mustang frowned and looked from the fabric to her face and back again. "Sorry," he concluded, "but it's not your color."

"'Not my color,' sir? What's the difference?"

"Here, let me show you." Cocking his head to one side, he barked, "Havoc! Get over here! We need an example."

"What? Why me, Colonel?"

"Because your skin type and hair color are closer to the Lieutenant's, and because I said so."

Grumbling a bit, Havoc stepped forward and nervously chewed on his cigarette. "What exactly do I have to do?"

"Just stand here," Roy said absentmindedly, rifling through the dresses on the rack. Breda sniggered and elbowed Fuery mercilessly in the side, as if the goings-on were over his head. Poor Kain looked put upon, but remained silent.

Eventually, Roy pulled out two similar gowns—one a deep emerald, and one a light spring green. "Now," he began, holding a dress in each hand, "these colors are both green, correct?" Riza nodded grudgingly. "Watch what happens when I hold the pastel green up to Havoc's face."

"What?" the Second Lieutenant interrupted. "I'm not holding a dress by my face!"

"Of course you're not. I am." With a forceful movement, Roy pushed the fabric underneath the Second Lieutenant's chin. Havoc immediately stiffened, tilting his cigarette upwards so the ashes wouldn't fall on the gown. "Notice how the color of his eyes comes out?" Roy stated matter-of-factly. "And how his complexion is more vivacious?"

"I don't want to be more vivacious!" Havoc whined.

Roy ignored him. "Watch what happens with the emerald." This time, when he held the dress up, Havoc's face became dull and pallid. "Do you see the difference?" Without waiting for an answer, he began to switch between the dresses. "Good, bad. Good, bad. Good—"

"I've got it, sir!" Riza interrupted desperately. "Thank you for the explanation. I just have one question: How do you know all about this?"

Mustang sweat-dropped. "I think you'll just have to trust me on this one, Hawkeye." In a more commanding voice, he said, "You'll be on the lookout for soft autumn colors, preferably deeper shades." He evaded the inquisitive looks of his men by turning to the nearest rack of dresses and shuffling through. Riza began to do the same, and suddenly all five of them were occupied with a different rack. That was why when a sales assistant stepped up, no one really noticed.

"Ma'am," she began brightly, tapping Riza on the shoulder, "are you finding everything alright?" The unfortunate woman was nearly frightened out of her wits when every male officer there turned toward her with a desperate smile. As soon as Mustang cleared his throat, however, everyone's face became serious and they backed off a bit.

"We would be grateful if you could help us," Roy stated officially. "First Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye needs an evening gown for the Fuhrer's birthday party this Saturday. Could you assist us in finding one?"

"I'd be happy to. Mrs. Hawkeye, is it?"

"It's Miss Hawkeye." Riza stepped out and gave a polite smile.

"You're looking for an evening gown?"

"Yes, please." Those were the magic words. Almost instantly, five dresses appeared in the assistant's arms.

"These should all do fine. Let's try them on." She led the entire group of dumbfounded officers to the dressing rooms, where she instructed the men to make themselves comfortable in the waiting area. There was a long couch there, as well as a tri-fold mirror and special lighting. Mustang remained standing, but Breda and Fuery seated themselves uncomfortably on the couch.

"I'll have Miss Hawkeye come out and show the dresses to you," she assured them while she shoved Riza into a changing room. "I'll be helping her change."

Havoc idly remarked, "I wonder if they're hiring here," as he plopped down on the couch next to Fuery. "I'd like to help women change."

Breda shrugged back. "I don't know…with your luck, you'd be working the men's rooms." The blonde sighed in agreement.

About three minutes later, Riza unsteadily walked out in a military-blue dress, flushing slightly from the embarrassment of modeling for her co-workers. The assistant gently nudged her into a spin and asked, "What do you four think?"

"Well, I like it," Fuery said meekly.

"I'm not so sure," Roy interrupted.

The sales woman glanced at Hawkeye and frowned slightly. "I'm beginning to see what you mean, sir."

"The color's good, right?" Riza asked hopefully, turning partially to look at herself over her shoulder in the mirror.

"The color's fine. I don't think that's the problem," Roy concluded.

The woman nodded. "Yes, you're right, sir. I think I've figured it out: the cut of this dress isn't flattering to Miss Hawkeye's figure. She needs something that will draw attention to her chest and back area."

Riza stared at the woman via her reflection in the mirror. "Huh? Why those places?"

"Oh, you mean something like, 'You can't strut what you don't have'?" Kain piped up, glad he could finally be of some assistance.

Roy glanced at him. "Fuery…please don't open your mouth again."

"Y-yes, sir…."

"I'll get out another dress and we'll see how it looks," said the sales woman, ushering Riza back into the dressing room. All four officers sighed. This was probably going to take awhile.

In actuality, however, it only took another two minutes. This was because of two reasons: one, it is much easier to get out of a dress than it is to get into one, and two, the second dress didn't have that much material to put on.

Hawkeye poked her head out of the door. "Sir, please don't make me come out."

Naturally, he smirked back and said, "Come on, Lieutenant. It can't be that bad."

"But sir!" Then she felt the sales assistant pushing her from behind and she stumbled out in front of the mirrors.

The dress was a light peach color, bringing out the flush of her skin even more. The men tilted their heads slightly. There was nothing revealing about the dress. The front of it, although a halter, was reasonably conservative. Confused, Kain looked at his superiors, but they were staring at the mirror. The young man turned back to Riza with a sheepish smile.

"See," he began, "it's not that ba-a…." He readjusted his glasses and gasped. Kain had finally noticed what the other men had. The back of the dress plunged nearly all the way down to the base of her spine before curving back up, displaying her bare back shamelessly.

For awhile, nothing was said.

Havoc's cigarette fell out of his mouth and burned a hole in his pants, but he didn't budge.

"I'm not wearing this," Riza suddenly declared, sidestepping into the changing room so she wouldn't turn her back on them.

Roy coughed as soon as she disappeared, an inexplicable color in his cheeks. "I wonder what the Fuhrer would say if he saw the Lieutenant wearing that."

"It would certainly be interesting to hear," Havoc remarked catatonically, brushing the ashes off of his pants and hoping no one would notice the singe mark. Luckily for him, they were all avoiding each other's eyes. The next three and a half minutes passed in silence until the dressing room door squeaked open and the sales assistant stepped proudly outward.

"I think I've found the right dress for her," she announced, ushering Riza towards the mirrors. This particular dress was a deep rose, strapless and flattering.

Havoc and Breda whistled in appreciation. "Lookin' hot, Lieutenant." Fuery, too shy to whistle and too obedient to speak up, merely nodded in earnest. Hawkeye colored once again but gave them a tight smile.

The Colonel, however, said nothing. He merely stepped towards her, grabbed her wrist and haphazardly began turning her about like a mannequin, attempting to see the dress from every conceivable angle.

Finally, he cleared his throat and said, "That will do."

Riza flushed from indignation. "Permission to speak freely, sir?" she said through clenched teeth.

"Yes?"

Without uttering a word, she stomped on his foot and marched into the changing room while Roy bit back a swear. Havoc smirked and whispered to Breda, "You know, she didn't really say anything, technically."

Mustang was still glaring at the dressing room door as the now-confused sales assistant asked, "How would you like to pay for that, sir?"

"Excuse me?"

"Cash, check, or credit card?" He raised an inquiring eyebrow.

"Exactly how much does that dress cost, ma'am?"

"Five hundred ninety-nine dollars." He paled, but she continued. "Don't worry, sir, there's a sale this week on everything in the store, ten percent off. That brings your total to about five hundred forty dollars, plus tax."

"Better…make that credit, please."

Breda muttered to Havoc, "How much you wanna bet that the Colonel thought you could rent that?" Hawkeye, who had just finished changing, silently joined her co-workers, the rose dress slung over her arm.

"Will you be needing anything else?" the woman asked as she wrote up the receipt. "Any shoes? Make-up? Jewelry?"

Roy gulped and replied, "We'll be needing all of that."

"Oh? Well, let's get going." She glanced at Riza and said, "Let me hold onto that dress for you, miss. We'll put it on hold at the register so your…um, he can purchase it all together."

"Who's paying?" she questioned. Mustang merely shook his head, subtly signaling her to remain silent. The assistant grabbed the dress and gracefully held it off the ground while she guided the troops towards the shoe section.

"Please look around; I'll put this by the register," the woman called over her shoulder. All of them immediately split up—some in search for shoes, some in search for chairs.

"Dibs!" Breda shouted, scrambling for the nearest seat.

"Hey, Breda," Havoc taunted, "this is the shoe department. There are seats all over the friggin' room."

"Yeah, but this one's the best one."

"Quiet you two, or I'll have you suspended," Mustang snapped. "Sit down and shut up." Meekly, Havoc seated himself near Breda and focused on the floor.

"Colonel, sir, what kind of shoes are we looking for?" Fuery asked. "There seem to be hundreds."

Roy looked around and noted that there were, in fact, about a few hundred women's shoes on display. He muttered something about how easy it was to shop for men's shoes, then cleared his throat and stated, "We'll obviously need a high heel that matches the dress. Probably an ivory color of some sort."

"That's correct." The sales assistant appeared behind the colonel and smiled brightly. "About two and a half to three inches tall will do it. What size shoe does Miss Hawkeye wear?"

"A size seven," Riza provided.

Roy held up a slip-on, high-heeled sandal. "Would this be a good choice?"

"That's a great start, sir. I'll search the back room for her size." She disappeared behind a door and Hawkeye turned to Roy.

"Did you see the price on that shoe, sir?"

"No, why?"

"I think it said four hundred dollars." Her superior paled but managed a weak smile.

"Well, that's something. Almost as much as the dress."

"What?"

"Ya know," Havoc suddenly interjected, lazily lifting a pump with his index finger. "I've always wondered how I would look in heels."

Breda gave his friend a lopsided grin. "I hear they're very flattering."

"Knock it off, you two," Hawkeye scolded.

Just then, the sales assistant returned, carrying two boxes. "These tend to run a little small, so I also brought out a seven and a half," she said while she pulled out one of the shoes. "We'll still start with the seven. Sit down, miss, and try this one on."

Apprehensively, Riza said, "I don't know if these are in my price range, ma'am. Could I try on something else?"

The woman replaced the heel, slightly miffed. "Well, what exactly did you have in mind?"

"How about these?" Fuery cut in, holding up a pretty ivory pump with a small opening in the front. "They're only one hundred seventy-five dollars." Mustang groaned slightly, but Hawkeye ignored him.

"These are perfect, Sergeant. Besides, I don't think we're going to find anything cheaper." Riza lifted the shoe from his hand and examined it closer. "This is my size. May I try it on?" The sales woman nodded and helped her put the shoe on. It fit surprisingly well. "I like them, sir," she announced to Mustang. "Would it be alright if I—"

"Of course it's fine," he gulped. "How much is the total now, ma'am?"

"With the ten percent off, it's just under seven hundred dollars. All that's left is the jewelry and make-up, if I'm not mistaken."

"I believe you're correct. Where can we find those departments?"

She restacked the boxes and grabbed the shoe Riza wanted to buy. "Personally, I can't assist you with jewelry, but if you head that way, you'll find the jewelry counters. Someone will be able to help you there. As for the make-up, you'll need to go to the second floor for assistance. Ask for Kitty and she'll also help you with application techniques. In the meantime, I'll pull out the shoes you wanted to buy and hold them along with the gown."

"Thank you very much." And with that, they all set off towards the jewelry counters.


They approached the section with caution, as there were quite a few people gathered around. Mustang sighed when he saw many of the assistants occupied. "C'mon," he said, seizing Riza's forearm. Over his shoulder, he instructed the others to wait there as he steered her towards the counter.

"Sir, what exactly do I need?" she said breathlessly, as he was practically carrying her across the aisle.

"You have the earrings," Roy murmured into her ear. "All we need is a pearl necklace and you're done."

"But sir, pearl necklaces cost a fortune!" The grim way his jaw was set told the Lieutenant he already knew. "Who's going to pay for all of this?"

"I'll figure it out. Just get the necklace." With a final shove, he pushed her through a cluster of people into the view of a free sales assistant.

"How may I help you, miss?" the woman asked automatically.

"I-I need a pearl necklace. The smallest size, please."

The sales assistant got a sour look on her face, but ducked down to the glass cabinet and unlocked the doors. She brusquely pulled out a strand of pearls, each small but flawless. Hawkeye couldn't remember the last time she had seen something so delicate.

"How much?"

"Four hundred fifty, after the ten percent, it's four hundred five."

"Do I pay here or—"

"Take it to the register. They'll check you out there."

"Thank you." A little flustered from the rough treatment, the Lieutenant wandered back to the boys with the necklace firmly grasped in her hand.

"Did you get it?" Fuery asked excitedly, trying to catch a glimpse of what was in her fist. Silently, Roy smacked him over the head.

"How much is that going to cost me, Hawkeye?"

"Four hundred and five, sir," she said glumly.

"Is that with or without the discount?"

"With."

He let out a groan and massaged his forehead. "I think we're going to have to call this a mission and get some funding from the military."

Havoc grinned. "Hey, maybe Fullmetal will fund you."

"Come on, stop it," Hawkeye interrupted, shoving the necklace into Roy's chest. "Let's just get the make-up and get out of here."

"Is someone getting a little edgy?" Breda joked.

"Of course not," she snapped back. "I just don't enjoy all this…this…."

"Pampering?" Fuery provided.

"Yes. Thank you, Sergeant." She glowered at the other three soldiers, who were obviously fighting back laughter, and marched towards the stairs in order to get to the make-up counters.

"What was up with that?" Breda said as the group started after her. "I've never seen the Lieutenant at a loss for words before."

Roy glanced over his shoulder and gave them a lopsided smirk. "I think our little Miss Hawkeye is growing up."

"'Bout time," Havoc chuckled.

The four men followed her up the stairs, keeping their distance since she seemed to be a little trigger-happy at the moment. She approached the make-up counter quickly and confidently, immediately asking for Kitty, like she had been told. When the other soldiers arrived, they began looking at the make-up as if it was the latest military technology.

"What's this for?" Fuery asked, motioning at a case. "It looks like some sort of shell."

"I believe that's lipstick, Sergeant." Roy picked up the tube he had pointed at and showed it to Riza. "You'd look good in this color, Hawkeye. It's called Deep Love."

"Sir, I'm not going to fall for lines like that," she stated, giving him as cold a glare as she could muster. Roy widened his eyes innocently, but Breda snatched the tube from the Colonel and pointed at the bottom.

"No, he's right, Lieutenant. Look." Sure enough, in bold, uppercase letters, it read "DEEP LOVE". She sighed, but before she could retaliate, a young girl popped up beside her.

"Hello! I'm Kitty! Are you the woman who needs assistance?"

As Riza stumbled backwards from surprise, Havoc lunged forward to greet her.

"Hello, Kitty. Is it hot in here or is it—"

Mustang gave an authoritative cough and Havoc snapped to attention. "That's enough, Second Lieutenant. You shouldn't bother pretty girls with your pick-up lines." He smiled his most charming smile and the assistant melted under his glow. "Kitty—may I call you that?" She nodded her head vigorously. "Kitty, would you be so kind as to assist First Lieutenant Hawkeye with her make-up? She does not own any and we have a dinner party coming up this weekend." The Colonel stepped aside, revealing a very embarrassed Riza.

Kitty's smile faltered, but she soon recovered. "I'd be more than happy to help you, ma'am."

"It's Miss, but you can call me Riza."

"Of course." She gave a huge fake smile and led Hawkeye to a chair. "Sit here and let me get out my things." Riza obeyed, scooting back into the seat and squirming slightly. She watched in wonderment as Kitty pulled out numerous cases and brushes from the recesses of the storeroom, absentmindedly reciting what Hawkeye would need to purchase in the future. "You'll need your foundation, some concealer—do you know your skin color?—and some blush and mascara and eyeliner, and of course lipstick, lip liner…."

Havoc whispered to Breda, "Jesus, with all that make-up, we won't even be able to see the Lieutenant." Roy normally would've joined in their laughter, but he was too busy adding up how much this might cost him.

"Now," Kitty exclaimed, clapping her hands together, "what don't you get?"

"Oh, I understand it all, I just haven't worn it in a long time. Could you give me a refresher or something?"

She cocked her head to the side and gave a pretty smile. "Of course! I have a few instruction pamphlets you can read, but I've also picked up a few tricks I can show you. How does that sound?"

Riza said, "That would be great, thank you." She was beginning to feel a bit awkward with this giddy girl.

"Okay, let's get going!" Kitty whipped out a stack of pamphlets and shoved them into Hawkeye's arms. "All of these will help you get ready. Now for the tips! Let's see…." She scrambled through the mess of make-up before pulling out a small tube. "This is a good tip: how to make your lips fuller with your foundation!"

"Fuller?"

"That's right! Just dab a little of your foundation on the middle of your lower lip, then when you put your lipstick on later, your lips will look bigger!" She said this with such zeal, Riza leaned backwards uncomfortably in her seat.

"That's nice."

"I know! It's great, isn't it? And your concealer"—she snatched up a small case—"you can use this to help your eye shadow stay on. Just rub a little onto your eyelid and your shadow will last all night." She giggled at the innuendo, however poor it was, and Riza sighed to herself. "Oh, and about the eye shadow…since your eyes are brown, you can wear non-neutral tones too, like purple or lilac."

"See, Lieutenant?" Roy interrupted cheekily. "You should consider yourself fortunate."

"Don't worry, sir. I'm thanking my lucky stars right now."

Hawkeye could hear the other three soldiers arguing whether lilac and purple were the same color or not. Kitty laughed uproariously at this, earning herself odd looks from the others. "You guys are so funny!" They mutely stared at her while she giggled to herself.

Hawkeye, still trying to be somewhat formal, said, "Thank you. I never knew any of that."

"You're welcome!" Kitty replied, winking cutely. "Any other questions, Riza?"

Riza scrambled out of the chair and subtly shuffled behind the other officers. "I-I don't think so. Thank you very much for your help."

"No problem! Now, about the make-up…." Five minutes later, Kitty had Fuery loaded up like a pack-mule with all the various brushes and make-up items Riza would need. The girl said her cheerful goodbyes before sending them back downstairs to check out.

"That was very informative," Havoc commented as he lit up his sixth cigarette of the day.

Breda yawned, "I think I'm all learned-out for today. How 'bout you, Colonel Mustang?" He opened one eye to glance at his superior, but found Roy chewing on his upper lip. "Colonel, what's wrong?"

"Mm?" Roy's eyes snapped into focus as they arrived back at the register. "Oh, nothing. I just finished estimating how much this is going to cost me." Just then, the woman who had helped Riza find her dress came up, a smile on her face.

"Have you all finished finding what you need?"

"Yes, thank you," Roy replied shortly. "How much do I owe you?"

Deftly, the assistant went through the bags, marking every item they wished to purchase and adding them together. She finally tore off the receipt and slid it towards the Colonel. "That will be thirteen hundred dollars, sir. I think you said credit?"

"That's correct," he uttered despondently. She didn't notice.

"Great! You're ready to go, then. Thanks for coming!" Roy grumbled something unpleasant under his breath as he tossed the bags into the other men's arms.

"Let's get going. Riza needs to get her nails done and her eyebrows fixed." Havoc opened his mouth to say something stupid, but Riza silenced him with a smoldering glare before following the Colonel out of the building, trailed by a newly-frightened group of men.

Roy led his troops down the street, barely casting a glance at the pedestrians staring at them. That is, until a short figure cloaked in red ducked into an alley about one hundred meters in front of them. His curiosity roused, Mustang led the procession to the alley entrance.

"Is that you, Fullmetal?" he shouted authoritatively. The cloaked figure stalked out from behind a brick wall, grumbling.

"Yeah, it's me."

"Where's Alphonse?"

"Right here, sir!" A suit of armor suddenly loomed over Ed. "It's been awhile, everyone!" He waved politely at the other officers, who responded with a smile or a nod.

"I haven't seen you two in a long time." Roy's voice had an eerily cheerful ring. "You're supposed to be in Lior on a mission, Fullmetal. Did you already finish it?"

The elder boy rolled his eyes. "No. So what?"

"Do you know what the fine is for deserting your post?" Ed paled slightly as Mustang's smirk revealed itself. "It's twenty-five hundred dollars. A check will be fine."

The boy's jaw dropped, then he began stammering, "You…you…you bastard!"

"Nii-san!" The suit of armor grappled with the small blonde.

"Leggoa me, Al! I'm gonna rip this power-hungry dog to shreds! He knows we need that money for research!"

"Nii-san! Calm down! It's not that much!"

"Are you crazy? That's a month's funding down the drain!" Ed roared back.

Roy yawned and checked his pocket watch. "Well, boys, I'll let you go for now; however, I expect that check to be on my desk this Monday. And since you're in town, I'm sure you won't mind attending the Fuhrer's birthday party tomorrow. It starts at eight in the Fuhrer's house, and it's black tie only, so don't forget to wear a tux." He glanced at Al casually. "Uh, Alphonse, you may wear just a bowtie." With an air of finality, the colonel nodded at the two boys and continued his trip to the salon.

"Thank you, sir," Al shouted over Ed's cussing. "We'll see you tomorrow!"

"No we won't! I'd sooner fight that Scar lunatic than wear a bowtie!"

Riza couldn't help but sympathize with Edward. She'd rather fight Scar on her own, too. Besides, Colonel Mustang had just taken a sizable sum from their accounts, seemingly on a whim. She quickened her pace in order to walk beside him. "Colonel Mustang, sir?"

"Hmm?"

"Please tell me you didn't take that money to cover my expenses. I can pay for my own things."

"Nonsense, Hawkeye. I was merely performing my duties as an officer."

She stared at him. "But sir, you've never given those boys a fine before—"

He paused suddenly and turned towards the group, interrupting her train of thought. "We're here. Let's hurry up here so we can get back to Central soon." Mustang ushered them all inside as Riza approached the owner, a small, elderly woman.

"Hello, dear," she greeted. "How may I help you today?"

"I'm here for a manicure, a pedicure, and…that's all."

"Hawkeye," Mustang warned.

"But sir," she retorted, "I don't need to have my eyebrows waxed! It's completely inconsequential."

"Of course it's consequential. You're just too chicken to do it." Her face turned red from anger, but the owner humbly interrupted.

"If someone was willing to demonstrate, this young lady might see what an eyebrow waxing looks like."

Roy stroked his chin and eventually nodded. "We'll do that. Thank you for the idea, madam." He then motioned to Fuery, who timidly stepped up. "How'd you like a promotion?" the Colonel began.

"Uh, I don't—"

"Good! I have the volunteer right here!"

"What?"

The old woman smiled benevolently. "Right this way," she said, parting a curtain of beads which had closed off a section of the salon. As Mustang, Riza and Fuery stepped behind the curtain, Breda and Havoc burst out in laughter.

"We'll stay out here, Colonel," Havoc managed to say, choking slightly on his cigarette.

"Fine. Don't harass the female customers. And that's an order." Roy turned towards the old woman. "Could you please wax the Sergeant's eyebrows to show Lieutenant Hawkeye how provincial she's being?"

"Of course," the woman said, then took Fuery kindly by the arm. "Sit down here, dear." As he tried to make himself comfortable, another woman, this one younger, came in with a jar of bubbling wax. Both attendants prepared themselves for their task.

"See, Hawkeye," Roy began casually, "this isn't that bad. As a matter of fact, the chair looks pretty comfortable." To prove his point, he prodded the back of the seat with his index finger. The ancient woman batted away his hand and dipped a popsicle stick into a small pot of hot wax, then slowly approached the Sergeant's face with it. Fuery gulped as he glanced nervously at his superior for support.

"Nothing to worry about, Sergeant. Steady, now…." Kain let out a small whimper as hot wax was slathered liberally across his brow, but Mustang put a firm hand on his shoulder, restricting his movements.

"Colonel, sir, I'm not sure about this anymore," the young man sniveled. "Can I go home?" The assistant didn't seem to hear him as she slapped a strip of paper on various parts of his forehead.

"Remember, Fuery: it's just like a band-aid. One tug and it's over." Roy thought for a moment. "Well, actually two tugs."

"Huh?"

Rrrrrip.

Kain screamed. Over his yelling, Roy's voice came strong. "Just one more, Sergeant! Hold still now!" The assistant, with surprising strength, forced Fuery's writhing figure back into the chair as the old woman began to reach for the other strip of paper.

"Please! Let me go! I just—"

Rrrrrip.

Another scream, this time not as loud because Fuery was currently crying. Roy patted the sergeant uncomfortably on the shoulder. The two workers, in the meantime, calmly tweezed some stray hairs as if nothing odd had happened. "There, see?" the Colonel said with unusual kindness. "That wasn't so bad." He then discreetly waved Breda and Havoc in. "You two get him outside and clean him up," he muttered.

"Yes, sir!" Both men collected their friend and helped him limp out of the room while Mustang turned to Hawkeye.

"Okay, Lieutenant. Your turn."

"No. I refuse."

"Hawkeye, please. You're being completely unreasonable."

"Unreasonable? Sir, with all due respect, this has absolutely no relevance—"

"Just do it, Hawkeye, before I get angry." She scowled at him ferociously, but he just nodded a goodbye before he parted the beads and joined the other males. "How's Fuery holding up?" he asked seriously.

The young Sergeant was seated in a waiting chair, desperately trying to control his shuddering breaths.

"I think he'll be fine in a few," Havoc replied mildly. "Waddaya think the Lieutenant's going to do when they wax her eyebrows?" His question was answered when they heard a small yelp from the back room.

"See," Breda gloated to Havoc. "Told ya she wasn't going to scream like a little girl." Fuery's lower lip trembled slightly. Another yelp was heard, and almost immediately afterwards, Riza stormed out of the room with angry red welts on her forehead and a firmly clenched jaw.

"You're lucky I'm unarmed, Colonel," she said in an eerily calm voice. For the briefest of moments, it looked like Roy's face blanched, but he countered her remark with a simple, "It's time to go get your nails done."

Now it was Riza's face that grew pale. It turned out that she was a bit nervous about people touching her feet for the pedicure, but after some coaxing, she settled nervously into the chair. Roy picked out the color—a nice mauve—and two young women immediately began their work.

It only took thirty minutes for them to finish. Roy paid once again, collected the troops, and set off back towards the military car. After awhile, he noticed that Riza wasn't striding next to him, as she usually did. He casually glanced around and found her passively tracing his steps, her eyes never leaving the rosy color on her nails.

"What?" the Colonel finally asked her, a playful grin on his lips. "It's not like your nails are going to fall off or anything."

"It's not that, sir."

"Then what is it?"

"The last time my nails were painted was when I was six. My mother did them. This color looks like the same one."

"Is that so?" Roy replied calmly, glancing at her face subtly. She rarely spoke of her mother, and he had no idea why she would start now.

Riza sensed his suppressed interest, kept her mouth shut the rest of the trip back to her apartment.


Colonel Roy Mustang knocked promptly on her door at 7:30 in the evening that Saturday. Since Riza was the only one who could drive, she was instantly nominated to be in charge of the carpool, but Roy thought he'd be the gentleman for once and accompany her. That's why he got ready a whole forty-five minutes earlier so he could walk to her apartment.

"Lieutenant, are you in there or do I have to bust down this door?" he shouted over the yaps coming from inside. He heard a muffled "coming" and someone grappled loudly with the locks before the door burst open. There was Riza, in the rose dress with her slightly damp hair still loose around her shoulders and the necklace a bit skewed on her collarbone. It was obvious she had only just started the make-up; her complexion was pale without the blush, but had a certain kind of glow. Instead of making a nice comment about it, Roy raised an eyebrow and asked, "Why aren't you ready yet?"

"I was getting there, sir," she retorted. "I'd like to see you try to do all of this." Riza stomped back into her room, leaving the door open so he could let himself in. He bent down and patted Black Hayate on the head before striding inside.

Roy had always found her apartment nice because it was meticulously ordered, just like everything else in the Lieutenant's life. Right now, however, it was in shambles. There were bags and boxes scattered everywhere. Make-up littered the counters and freshly washed clothing were piled on the floor.

"What did you do, Hawkeye?" Roy asked playfully, lifting a bra off the couch with a single finger. She reddened when she saw him with it and snatched it out of his hands.

"I was in a rush, sir."

"Did you forget about the party tonight?"

"No, sir. I didn't think it would take this much time to get ready."

"What do you mean?"

She frowned, then ruffled through some things on the counter until she came up with an eye make-up pamphlet. "Do you see this chart?" she said, sounding slightly frantic. "Look! It says I have to put three colors on my eyelid. Three. Lightest over the entire lid, a darker color over half, then the crease needs the darkest one. The last time I checked, one was sufficient." She sighed and massaged her forehead. "With all due respect, sir, what the hell's the point of all of this? What will it get me?"

He rubbed his chin, obviously searching for an answer to her rhetorical question. "A boyfriend?" he offered.

"I'm not kidding, sir."

"Neither am I."

Riza stared at him for a second, then blushed. He was smiling at her, not flirtatiously, not cruelly, just a normal smile. Eventually, she murmured, "I need to finish my make-up now."

"Is there anything I can do?"

"No, sir. Just sit down and wait." He unceremoniously flopped down on the couch and tossed his feet onto her coffee table, much to her chagrin, but she bit her tongue and returned to her make-up, leaving him to boredom. Black Hayate jumped up beside him and snuggled next to his leg, allowing the Colonel to stroke him absentmindedly. Roy's eyes watched the ceiling carefully and surmised that it was white, just like the last time he had checked.

"Are you ever going to paint this room a different color?" he murmured.

"Why should I? White works fine for me."

"I was just wondering." He closed his eyes for a few seconds, then added, "I have some extra cans of paint if you want them. They're kind of a slate blue-gray. Nothing too fancy."

"No thank you. I don't like the colors on the wall."

"Why not?"

"I guess it reminds me of my mother too much. She liked lots of color and flair." Roy shifted imperceptibly in his seat to snatch a look at her face, but Riza didn't seem perturbed about the subject. She was merely smearing the eyeliner on now, her mouth hanging open as she tried to maneuver the crayon smoothly across her lash line.

"Now that I think about it, I've never met your mother."

"She died a little bit before my twelfth birthday."

"Oh." The eyeliner clattered back onto the table and she rooted through the piles for the next make-up item. "What happened?"

Screwing off the cap of the mascara, she carefully brushed some on. "Stroke."

Roy felt foolish. He had known Riza and her father since he was in his teens, but he had never even considered where her mother might be. Frustrated with himself, his eyes glared hotly up at the white ceiling. "I'm sorry," he finally said, almost harshly. "I never knew."

"Forget it, sir. It's not important." Sullenly, he watched the shadows on the walls move as she finished applying the mascara and moved to the lip liner.

"Lieutenant?" he finally said, shifting in his seat so he could see her face. She made a noise that meant she was listening. "I thought you said you didn't know how to apply make-up. You seem to be putting it on like a seasoned pro."

This made the lip pencil stop. Riza's eyes quickly darted to his smug face and she frowned ferociously. "What do you mean by that, sir?"

"I was just wondering why you're so good at this."

"I-I just…. When I…." She suddenly sighed. "I've used make-up before." She said it as if she were admitting to recreational drug use. The thought made him chuckle. Roy complacently replied, "I figured as much. When did you use it?"

"When I was younger, my mother used to dress me up all the time…make-up, hair, skirts, all of it." Riza paused long enough to finish up her lip liner, then set it down with a rattle. "She taught me how to do everything."

"Why did you stop?" Mustang pushed the dog off his lap and moved towards the table, watching her as she located the tube of lipstick and twisted it open.

"I stopped after she died. I remember going into my drawers, through my closet, under my bed, throwing away every piece of make-up I could find. Maybe it was because I didn't want to remember her after that, because it hurt. I don't know. But since then, I've barely touched any make-up."

"Well, you certainly look like you know what you're doing," he said mildly.

She laughed, slightly nervous. "I was actually a bit paranoid about this party because I didn't want to go through all of this again."

"No need to worry, Lieutenant," he replied, watching her carefully color her lips. "My men and I will always be there to help you out."

She tentatively looked up at him and smiled half-heartedly. "Thanks."

"It's no trouble at all. You should really be thanking Fullmetal, since he basically funded your entire outfit." Her face darkened at that, but she could help but laugh a bit.

"I'll remember that." They smiled at each other unreservedly for a beat, but soon Hawkeye regained her sense of self and turned back to the table, searching for the rouge and brush. Riza ran its bristles over the powder and grazed it over her cheeks rapidly. Then, as she stroked her cheeks with her open palms, she rose and declared, "I'm ready to go, sir."

"And it's about time. How long does it seriously take to put on this stuff?"

"Don't trivialize my handiwork, sir," she said seriously. "I think I have more eyeliner in my eye than around it."

Again, he smiled that smile, just an average grin that made her feel so self-assured. "Don't worry about it, Hawkeye; you look fine. Now let's go pick up the troops before we're late."


The valet service drove away in the military car while Roy lead Riza up the stairs, followed by the other officers. The other men had yet to adjust to their superior and were still drooling slightly. "It's a good thing she didn't bring that other dress," Havoc muttered partially to himself. Breda made a whining noise that meant he agreed, but could say no further, since Hawkeye glared back at them with steely eyes.

A young private quickly opened the door for them and declared their names.

"Announcing Colonel Roy Mustang the Flame Alchemist, First Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye, Second Lieutenants Jean Havoc and Heymans Breda, and Master Sergeant Kain Fuery." The Fuhrer and his wife stepped up to greet them and they all automatically snapped into a salute.

"Aw, come now," King Bradley chuckled. "This is a party, not a campaign."

Slowly, Mustang brought his hand down and smiled. "Sorry, sir. It's a habit."

"Perfectly alright, Colonel." The man smiled kindly and gestured towards the numerous tables behind him. "There's some hors d'overs out, and your seats are marked with place cards. I believe all of you are seated at table number four."

While the men talked a bit more, Mrs. Bradley turned to Riza. "My dear, you look stunning tonight," she said brightly.

"Thank you, ma'am."

"Where did you get that necklace? It's beautiful!"

"It was a gift," she replied, a hint of a smile on her face as she imagined what Edward's face would look like when he found out. Suddenly, the conversations were interrupted when Maes strode up, Gracia at his side.

"Roy, glad you could make it! Unfortunately, we had to leave Elycia at home, but I brought tons of pictures, so you won't be missing out!" Mustang glared at him subtly and King Bradley laughed aloud before saying, "I'll let you two catch up. It seems as if there is much to talk about."

"Thank you, sir," Mustang said, then added, "and happy birthday." As soon as King Bradley was gone, Roy turned to Maes.

"What the hell were you doing? The Fuhrer and I were having a conversation!"

"Don't mention it," Hughes huffed. "I was trying to interrupt you before he got on the topic of birthday presents." Roy opened his mouth to retaliate, then the words froze in his mouth.

"Presents?" he finally sputtered.

Hughes responded by patting him kindly on the back. "Don't worry. Yours is already on the table."

"Oh thank God." Pressing a cool hand to his forehead, he muttered, "I need a drink."

"Way ahead of you!" Hughes shoved a flute of champagne into his hand and he drank it like a shot.

"Thanks." Another declaration interrupted their reunion.

"Announcing Major Edward Elric the Fullmetal Alchemist and his younger brother, Alphonse Elric."

"There you are, you bastard!" a voice echoed in the ballroom. Mustang winced and turned around to see a small blonde angrily marching in his direction. "I spoke to Armstrong about your little non-existent fine!"

"Nii-san, please! We can talk to him on Monday!" the suit of armor trailing behind him begged.

"Better get some more champagne or something stronger, if possible," Roy whispered to Maes. His friend nodded and made himself scarce, leaving Gracia with Roy. Luckily, right before Ed reached Mustang, Riza stepped in his way.

"It's been awhile, Fullmetal." The young boy's eyes widened and his mouth fell open at the sight of his Lieutenant in a dress. "Are you going to be staying for dinner?" The Colonel watched from the side, an amused expression on his face. Gracia giggled.

"I-I…uh…."

Alphonse waved. "Hello, Lieutenant! You look pretty today!"

"Thank you, Alphonse." She looked expectantly at Ed, but he just flushed and looked at the ground. Riza smiled slightly, congratulating herself on another crisis averted.

The Fuhrer then approached with his wife, waving at the two boys. "What a pleasant surprise, Edward. I didn't know you were in town." Fullmetal had yet to recover from the shock of seeing Hawkeye dressed up, so he muttered his response to the floor. "I didn't know you were coming tonight, so I don't have a place for you to eat dinner. Would you like me to set up another table?"

"Fuhrer Bradley," Roy piped up, "Fullmetal and his younger brother are welcome to sit at my table. We could easily make room for them."

King Bradley looked at him favorably. "Perfect, Colonel. I'll make the arrangements immediately," he said before leading his wife away to the kitchen.

Roy heaved a sigh, but Fullmetal was suddenly in his face. "What do you mean, I'm welcome to sit at your table, you pompous dog? What if I don't want to sit with you?"

"Nii-san, please calm down. He was just trying to be nice."

"The hell he is!" Edward shouted before stalking off into the crowd, Al following him closely. Everyone watched his back for a beat, then sniggered. Maes chose that time to appear.

"Sorry, Roy, but they don't have anything stronger than champagne. I brought you all I could carry."

"I owe you one."

Hughes coughed apologetically and said, "Actually, you owe me fourteen, the last time I counted." Roy laughed lightly and the two wandered off to say hello to the other officers. Gracia sighed as she watched them, then turned towards Hawkeye.

"Hello, Riza. How are you? I'm sorry I wasn't here to help you get ready, but it looks like you didn't need me."

"Yes, everything turned out alright. Colonel Mustang and the others helped me out." Gracia raised an eyebrow and Riza flushed. "They came with me to pick out the dress and buy make-up," she elaborated. Finding that this didn't help her embarrassment, however, she coughed and changed the subject. "Was your trip nice?"

Gracia shrugged noncommittally. "I suppose. It was hard on Elycia; she got a cold."

Riza made a sympathetic noise, then asked, "Who's watching her tonight?"

"Sciezka is." Both women looked at each other, then tried to stifle their laughter. Imagining Sciezka doing anything that didn't involve books was quite entertaining. As soon as Gracia gained control of herself, she said, "Come on, Riza, let's go get something to drink."


"And now, let's eat!" the Fuhrer finished, seating himself at the head of the main table. There was polite applause from his guests as a mass of waiters flooded out, carrying large pots of soup and bowls of salad.

Ed, seated at Riza's left, began to drool slightly until Al nudged him into wakefulness. "Nii-san," he whispered, "it's not polite to drool."

"But it smells so good," the older brother whined back.

Riza watched as her salad was set in front of her. She reached for her fork, then gasped. To Roy, she hysterically whispered, "Why the hell do I have three forks?"

"Don't worry," he replied in a low voice. "They're all for different things. Pick up the salad fork." Mutely, she stared at the utensils as if they were going to gang up on her. He sighed and added, "Just watch me and I'll show you what to do." Then, making his actions distinct, he picked up the fork furthest on the left and slowly began to eat. Cautiously, Riza followed suit, then turned her attention to the conversation.

"…so Elycia-chan took this poor little spider—she's so brave, isn't she?—she took this spider and put it outside all by herself! And I said to Gracia…."

Beside her, Ed slyly pushed away his salad and pulled his bowl of soup closer. Taking a heaping spoonful, he slurped some down and smacked on it thoughtfully. Fullmetal's face suddenly contorted and he snatched his drink and began to gulp it down.

"Edward? Are you alright?" He ignored Riza as he finished the entire glass of water and reached for Al's. "What's wrong?"

"What kind of crap is this? It tastes like milk!" He finished Al's water and started stuffing forkfuls of salad into his mouth. The rest of the party laughed at him.

"Don't worry, Elric," Havoc said. "I think the main course is shrimp. You'll like it."

"What was that, you damn smokestack?"

Riza put a hand on his shoulder, pushing him back into his seat. "Let it go, Edward. You're only embarrassing yourself."

"No I'm not!"

"Listen to the Lieutenant," Mustang commanded casually, "or you'll be paying for her outfit tonight."

Fullmetal scoffed. "What kind of a threat is that, Colonel? Losing your touch?"

"It costs about thirteen hundred dollars." That happened to be enough to make Fullmetal clamp his mouth shut.

Maes brightened. "Oh, I forgot you all went out with Ms. Hawkeye to get everything. Did you guys have a good time?"

Havoc snorted, then received an elbow in the gut from Roy. "Actually, I found the trip enlightening," the Colonel said in a serious tone. "I've already looked into hiring people to do eyebrow waxing as a means to extract information from enemies." Fuery reddened and a few of the others stifled their sniggers.

"It hurt!" he murmured lamely.

Gracia patted his shoulder tenderly. "I thought your eyebrows looked especially nice tonight." Everyone burst out laughing at that and Fuery buried his face in his napkin.

"Did you enjoy yourself, Lieutenant?" Falman asked, directing the group's attention towards her.

"I suppose. It's been a long time since the last time I dressed up like this." She smiled then and added, "But it was quite a setback."

"Why does all that stuff have to be so expensive?" Ed said to no one in particular. "I rented this tux for thirty dollars. Why's a dress cost more?"

Roy smirked, then motioned for Fullmetal to come closer. The man whispered something into Ed's ear, and suddenly the boy flushed a bright red and sat back in his seat, completely mortified.

"Nii-san?" Al asked softly.

Breda chuckled while Fuery asked, "What? Why does it cost so much, Colonel?"

The Colonel shrugged. "Ask me later. If I said it aloud here, I believe I'd be shot in the face." At this point in time, another wave of waiters came out carrying platters of roasted duck, mashed potatoes, and steamed vegetables.

"Finally," Ed muttered, still red in the face. "I was beginning to worry about the shrimp-thing. I hate seafood."


Hawkeye came to a halt in front of Roy's apartment complex and glanced at him tiredly. "Here you are, sir."

"Thank you, Lieutenant." He paused for a second, then unlatched the door and began to climb out.

"Oh, sir," Riza said suddenly, catching his arm.

He slipped back into his seat and cocked his head in her direction. "Yes?" She suddenly froze, unable to remember exactly what she wanted to say, but then she shook it off.

"I need to pay you back. Hold on, I have a check in here somewhere." She began rooting around in her handbag, trying to dig out the slip of paper. Hawkeye was stopped, however, by the sound of laughter.

"No thank you, Hawkeye," he said smugly, the amusement dripping from his voice. "You can keep your money."

"But sir!"

"Consider it a gift." He laughed again as she stared at him incredulously. "Don't worry, I'm not expecting repayment later. If anything, this is me paying you back."

Riza looked down at her hands, which were still grasping her purse in an awkward way. "I don't understand," she finally murmured.

"I'm not asking you to. I just want you to keep everything for me." With a smile, he patted her gingerly on the shoulder before climbing out of the automobile. "See you on Monday, Hawkeye."


The door clicked open and Riza walked in, carrying all of her files, a mug of coffee and a few envelopes, too. "Good morning, Lieutenant," Roy stated casually.

"Good morning, sir." Hawkeye scurried over to her desk and immediately buried herself in her paperwork, startling her commanding officer. He leaned forward in his seat to try and see her face. Something about her seemed different.

"Are you feeling alright, Lieutenant?"

"Perfectly fine, sir. It's just a busy day for me." As she spoke, Roy's eyes immediately dropped to her lips, which had an unnatural sheen.

"Is that…lip gloss?"

She didn't answer immediately, but she eventually uttered an affirmative sound. For awhile, neither of them said anything. Mustang finally cleared his throat before turning back to his work and shuffling through a few letters. "It looks nice," he said nonchalantly to his desk.

Riza glanced over at him briefly, then gave him a faint smile. "Thank you, sir."

The End


So, yeah. Admittedly, it might be a little corny, but whatever. I like it. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it as well!