A/N: Hi there :) Actually, I'm currently busy with another story, "The Challenge", but since the idea had been so irresitible I wrote this one. It's not related to "The Challenge" in any way, it's just something completely different. I think it's not that bad, actually that it's my best fic so far. Ok, maybe I should just shut up now and let you read the story.
Disclaimer: I don't own Fullmetal Alchemist and I honestly don't pretend to.
Because you're his son
"Mommy, mommy," a raven-haired little boy clambered onto the woman's lap. "Tell me a story!"
Her amber eyes fixed on the three-year-old, a gentle loving smile spreading across her face.
"What story, honey?" she asked.
"The one about a beautiful woman and a brave soldier!"
The woman's gaze softened as she watched her son staring at her pleadingly.
"But you've heard that story one hundred times."
"But I want to hear it once more!"
"There's no point in telling you a story that you know almost by heart, my dear."
"But I want to!"
She watched with amusement as the boy's features tensed with determination. She finally gave up, sighing in defeat.
"You're so stubborn…" her mind wandered for awhile, eventually stopping at the picture of a handsome, black-haired man with deep, dark eyes. "It's probably because you're his son… You must've taken it after him," she said quietly to herself.
"Mommy!" the boy took her arm into his small hand and shook it forcefully, demanding attention. "Tell me the story!"
"Ok, ok," she smiled at her child again. "Don't be so impatient."
She stroke his soft, messy hair and began her tale.
"Once upon a time there was a brave soldier, who wanted the people of his country to be happy. He made it his goal to become the leader and to change harmful and unjust laws so that they could live in piece. The soldier didn't have many friends, though. His best friend lost his life when he tried to help the soldier reach his goal. But there were a few people who supported the soldier and were very loyal to him."
"There was a pretty lady!" the boy exclaimed, thrilled. This was in fact his favourite bit of the story, as well as the lady was his favourite character.
The blonde woman nodded. "Yes, there was a lady. She was very devoted to the soldier."
The boy didn't interrupt. The several first times he would ask what 'devoted' meant. But now he knew it very well. Just like his mother did.
"The lady would stand by his side forever," she continued. "She wanted for him to fulfill his dreams, and she would do anything so that he could. She would protect him no matter what, even at the cost of her life. This was because the lady loved the soldier. But he didn't realize that."
"Moron," decided the boy. "Who wouldn't love a pretty lady?"
His mother smiled at the comment. "Well, I don't know that. But don't be so hard on him. He finally noticed the lady and loved her back. You know that."
"Yeah, but it took him so long!" the boy whined. "I think he was just stupid."
"No," she shook her head. "He was a very clever man."
"And a moron," her son wouldn't change his mind. "Or blind."
She sighed, still smiling. Half of her mind was amused by the boy's behaviour and his unchangeable opinion about the soldier. But the other half was far away, on a spring day nearly four years ago.
"Your paperwork, sir."
Colonel Roy Mustang sighed as his aide, first lieutenant Riza Hawkeye, placed the documents on his desk, adding them to his never-ending pile of work.
"Do you derive some kind of satisfaction from doing this?" he asked her with a pout.
"No, sir. I just believe that since this is your duty, you should be able to cope with the paperwork. That's why I don't do it myself or command some other to do it for you, but I just give you the papers. That you don't manage to do them in time, is your problem alone."
"You're mean," he accused her.
"And you're lazy beyond belief, sir," she fired back.
Roy sighed again, taking the first document from the pile on his desk and skimming it quickly. He scribbled down his name at the bottom and grabbed the next one.
"Why do I always have to listen to you?" he let out the question that had been haunting him for a longer while.
"Because if you didn't, you'd never be able to do your work properly, sir. And since you hold the rank of a colonel, a few papers shouldn't be much of a challenge for you. The higher-ups might think you're incompetent and you might've lost your rank, sir. That's why."
He glanced at her, quirking an eyebrow. "A smooth explanation you have there, huh?"
"A truthful one, actually," she glanced back.
He put his elbow onto the desk and rested his chin on his hand. He smiled at her gently. "Yeah… What would I do if it hadn't been for you?"
"I guess you'd just drown in a tremendously overwhelming flood of paperwork, sir" she muttered with a menacing irony in her voice. Their eyes met again and they couldn't suppress a short laugh.
"You know," he started whe he regained his composure. "You reminded me about something. Actually, I wanted to ask you this question a long time ago, but it seems I somehow didn't have a chance… Isn't it strange to call me 'sir'? I mean, we're friends, after all, and we've known each other for so long. We met when I was still your father's apprentice. That's quite awhile."
"Um…well," she said, taken aback by his question. She found it strange, not to call it very strange. "I…I guess I've just got used to that. Besides, you are my superior officer, so I should adress you respecting this fact…sir."
He smiled. "Maes never did that, even though he was one rank lower than me."
"But I'm four ranks lower, and trust me, this does make a difference, sir," she assured him.
"You're quite persistent, aren't you?" he cocked his head to one side.
"I'm afraid I don't understand, sir," she blinked at him.
"Why won't you call me by my name for once? Just like friends do," he suggested.
"Please, just do it." He looked so cute when he was pleading that she couldn't resist.
"As you wish, Roy."
He closed his eyes, memorizing the sound. Then he fixed his sight on her face, a pleased smile spreading across his lips. "You know, it reminds me of the old times, when I had been learning alchemy in your house. You called me 'Roy' only once, but I remember it even now."
"It was because you forced me to. You threatened to decompose my favourite book." She smiled too. "Generally I used to call you 'mr. Mustang', didn't I?"
"Yes, I believe that was the name," he thought for a moment. "I didn't like it, though. I'd always preffered the 'Roy' version."
"And now we both have jobs which don't allow me to call you 'Roy' anymore, sir," she teased him slightly.
"As much as I don't like you calling me 'sir', I don't mind my job," he answered. "At least we can work together, can't we?"
"Yeah," she agreed. "We can."
He was silent for a moment before he spoke: "To tell you the truth, I like your being around. I kinda missed it after your father's funeral."
"I'm glad to hear that, sir. Though I can't imagine why you would long so much for my presence." Her tone was sarcastic again, but it was an amused sort of sarcasm.
"Well, I…" he stopped, uncertainty evident in his onyx eyes. He gazed at her as if he was considering something.
"Sir?" she was bewildered to see him like this.
He finally snapped out of his thoughts. "I… You see…" Then he gave it a second thought. "Or maybe it's better if you don't know…" his eyes strayed to the side, but soon enough returned to the previous direction.
Silence fell between the two as they continued staring at each other, black orbs filled with hesitation and the amber ones reflecting perplexity and curiosity at the same time. The seconds passed as Roy's gaze slowly coloured with some unexpected warmth and he bit his lip in confusion, never breaking the eye contact with his aide.
"Sir?" she eventually managed to utter. "Do you…want to tell me something?"
He blinked at the abrupt sound of her voice.
"I'm not sure," he replied in an undertone, still staring at her reluctantly.
"Why?" she questioned gently, giving in to the incredible and pervasive atmosphere around them. It was stupid, but she was afraid to interfere with this fleeting moment, afraid that if she wasn't careful enough it would just evaporate.
"Because I don't know if you would accept it or not," he stated tentatively. "I don't know how you would react, how you would take it. And I am not so certain that I want to risk."
"Try me," she suggested, somewhat daringly.
He looked at her for a moment longer before standing up and walking up to her. He squatted down just beside her chair.
"I don't know how to tell you this," he conceded.
She simply stared down at him, studying his intense expression. What was that what he wanted to say? Well, the sure thing was she knew what she wanted to hear. However, it depended on him now. Still, she could feel the warmth climb up her body. She quietly let the air out in anticipation. If he was going to say that…
"Listen to me," he had apparently made up his mind. He tenderly took her slim hand into his strong one. "We've been friends for a long time now. I trust you with everything, even my own life. You know you are very important to me, right?" he searched her face for confirmation. She nodded slightly, encouraging him to speak further. He accepted the invitation.
"I just don't think that you know how much important you are to me. What you mean to me… Who you are to me."
He paused, taking a deep breath. Strangely enough, it was hard for him to say this. Why it was so, he had no idea.
"You are my subordinate, my aide actually, but I've never thought of you as one. I've always seen you as my old friend. As my close friend. But, Riza," he shook his head a little, looking her directly in the eyes. "I no longer consider you only as a friend. I…you mean much more to me. And I mean it."
The realization hit her hard as she strove to conceal a wide grin forming on her lips. So, after all, she was going to hear what she wanted, and joy started swelling in her chest. And when it dawned on her that it was Roy Mustang, the famous womanizer, now squatting beside her and beating around the bush, the fun was twice as great.
He noticed her expression and his serious face immediately dropped, replaced by the one of reproach and childish hurt.
"Hell, you know damn well what I'm trying to say!" he whined. "You're surely not helping me… Hey, don't laugh at me!"
"I'm sorry," she managed to say between one and another burst of laughter. "It's just so funny, I'm sorry, I can't help it…"
He pouted, but soon his lips formed a mischievous smile. He grabbed her elbow and at lightning speed pulled her down to himself, forcing her onto her knees. She instantly stopped laughing, letting out a small scream, startled by his actions. But she had little time to regain her composure, for Roy wasted no time, swiftly meeting her lips with his.
She almost gasped (but only almost, for her mouth was too busy with something else to let out a real, honest gasp) and she fell from her knees, sitting down rapidly on the floor out of the astonishment. Roy leaned forward, pressing her back against the chair that he had pulled her down from. But since it was too light to stand the pressure, Riza had to support herself with her arms not to fall backwards. Her eyes closed and she willingly responded to his kiss.
After a short while they broke apart, looking into each other's eyes. Roy leaned his forehead against hers. Riza let out a quiet pant.
"That was sudden," she commented.
"You were laughing," he explained. "Since you couldn't help this, I had to do something instead. I guess it worked well."
"And how do you know that I wanted this?" she teased him, cocking an eyebrow.
"I took your laughter for a 'yes'. Have I mistaken something? I don't think so," he smirked playfully.
She chuckled a little. "Fine, you're right. But I still want you to say it."
"Huh?" he blinked in bewilderment.
"Say it. Say the words you wanted to say. I want to hear you say it."
He understood. He wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her closer, his smirk never disappearing. "I think you already know that. There's no point in me telling you this now."
"Just say it," she said threateningly.
He chuckled and brushed his lips against hers. "I love you," he whispered. "I love you, Riza Hawkeye."
"That's better," she whispered back. "That's exactly what I wanted to hear. For so long…you wouldn't believe me if I told you for how long."
The woman snapped out of her thoughts when her son tugged her sleeve forcefully, urging her to push the story further.
"So," she began again, and the boy smiled contentedly. "The soldier and the lady were very happy together, because they loved each other very much. They spent much time together, laughing and talking." As well as doing some other activities, but the child was far too young to be informed about that.
"But sometimes the soldier was naughty, wasn't he?" asked the boy, knowing the answer very well.
"Yes, he was. For example, he was lazy and didn't want to do what he was supposed to."
"I'm lazy sometimes," stated the boy after some thinking. "That's what you say."
"Yes, and that's why I scold you then, just like the lady scolded the soldier," the woman smiled at the memory of that time.
"Exactly the same way?" he wanted to know.
The child thought for awhile. "She must've been scary," he decided eventually in a somewhat frightened tone. He paused and then added: "Poor soldier."
His mother chuckled. "Well, if he hadn't been lazy, the lady wouldn't have scolded him."
"But he loved her even when she scolded him, right?" the boy grinned.
"Right. But their happy life wouldn't last long."
"Because there was a big war!" the child exclaimed, throwing his arms in the air.
She nodded and continued. "Yes, there was a war. The soldier was sent to fight for his country. He was very sad to leave the lady, but it couldn't be helped."
"But, mommy," interrupted the child. "Why did the lady not go with him? She wanted to protect him all the time, so why did she stay? Mommy, why?"
"I've told you that a fair couple of times, dear. She stayed because she had to. There were some bad people who didn't like the soldier and the lady. They wanted them to be separated."
"What is 'separated'?" asked the boy with confusion evident on his face.
"'Separated' means that they were far away from each other. They couldn't spent the time together anymore because the soldier was in a one city and the lady was in another city."
"So why wouldn't she go to him?"
"Because the bad people made her stay, and she couldn't go to where the soldier was."
"But she loved him!"
"Yes, she did," conceded the mother. "That's why it was so hard for her to stay."
Riza Hawkeye was sitting in the office, finally left alone. She opened the top drawer of her desk and pulled out a letter that was delivered to her that morning. She tore the envelope, drew two sheets of paper from it and started reading.
My dear Riza,
It's so hard to be this far away from You. I can't stop thinking about You all the time. You know why. I hope the war will end soon so that I could return and see You again. I miss You so much.
Things here are as usual. It's cold and windy, still we have to go outside and fight against the rebells. And I think You know what it looks like… We're State Alchemists, after all. Actually, it's not a war. It's a genocide. Just like in Ishbal. I thought I've managed to get it over with. You know, my nervous breakdown during and after the Ishbal war. But now I remember it clearly. Everything here reminds me about the people I killed then, and this is excruciating. I can't do this, I can't watch those people die and bear with the fact that I have my hand in this. I thought I wouldn't manage to make it through this all, but then I remembered You. That I need to come back for You. You are my greatest reason for living, so I'm not giving up. Besides, I need to change this whole absurd. I have to take the position of a Fuhrer to alter all the reckless and cruel laws and rules so that the people here wouldn't have to see such a war ever again. I believe I can do this, and with Your unswerving loyalty and support I would do it even sooner. I guess I've never really thanked You for that. So now I do it. Thank You for supporting me, for being there for me when I needed it, for helping me, for loving me. Thank You that You simply are. That You've protected me and that You've trusted me, even when I wasn't sure myself that I was doing the right thing. You've always believed in me, and I'm grateful for that. So I want to come back to You as soon as I can. Even if it means obeying the wrong orders. I need to see You. And I need to reach my goal so that You could be proud of me and finally smile sincerily. Yeah, I miss Your smile. I miss all of You, actually.
I don't have the time to write more. It was just half an hour of rest and I have to return to the battlefield. I hope it won't take long for this letter to reach You. As well as I hope the war will be over soon.
Remember me to all the others, and wish Havoc luck from me in finding a girlfriend. Really, he can be so clumsy sometimes.
And I love You. Well yeah, I know that You know that, but still I wanted to tell You this. Not to leave any doubts, that is.
Please wait for me.
Riza smiled almost invisibly at the papers. It was hard for her too, but she could live with it if only he would come back unharmed. One of her hand dropped to caress her slightly swollen stomach. He didn't know that soon after his departure she discovered that she was pregnant. She didn't write about it in her letters to him. She wanted to tell him this in person.
"We'll wait for you," she whispered. "I promise we will."
"So they could actually talk," the boy expressed his opinion.
"That's not the same, darling," the woman pointed gently. "Those were just letters. It's different when you talk to somebody and when you write a letter to them."
"So they waited. Didn't they get impatient?"
"They did, but as I've already told you, there was nothing they could do about it."
"I still don't understand why the lady didn't go to the soldier," the boy crossed his arms, pouting.
The woman sighed. "Because she believed that the war would finally end and that she would see him again."
"But she didn't! And if she had gone to him, she would. That was stupid of her."
The mother's face winced with pain, but she quickly washed it away for the boy not to notice.
"Yes, maybe you're right," she said quietly. "Maybe she should've gone to him then, when she still had a chance…"
"Riza?" a gentle voice interrupted her work. She lifted her head to see Havoc, standing reluctantly in the doorway.
"What is it?"
He hesitated. "She's four months pregnant, you need to be careful and tender." Hell, but how to tell her such a thing?
"There…there is a message from the battlefield," he uttered slowly.
"What message?" she asked, frowning slightly. Then she noticed his expression. "What is it? What has happened?" she demanded in an alarmed tone. She had some bad feelings about this. Why was he so tentative?
Havoc opened his mouth, but no sound escaped it. He bit his lower lip.
"Tell me, dammit!" she was becoming more and more nervous. If it was…no, it couldn't be. Please, don't let it be this…
The second lieutenant, still not knowing how to pass the message, simply handed her a note. She snatched it roughly and skimmed through the text. Her heart stopped beating for a moment as her eyes fixed on one single word.
"And when she got to know that the soldier was dead, she didn't cry," said the boy.
The woman shook her head. "No, she didn't. Because she couldn't."
Riza gasped and covered her mouth with her hand, still not believing what she had just read. But there was no mistaking it. Roy Mustang had died in the battlefield, being attacked from four sides by furious rebells.
Her eyes were wide open, staring at the note. Her breath quickened, but it was too shortened to bring air to her lungs. Her mind rushed at full speed, searching for some kind of hope, for an explanation, for an assurance that it was a fake message. But it didn't find any.
She fell onto the backrest listlessly, her hand hanging loosely by her side, still gripping the note.
"Riza!" Havoc rushed to her to support her unconscious form. "Oh God, what have I done…"
"I know that," said the boy, somewhat offended. "You cannot cry when you're unconscious."
He already knew the word 'unconscious'. It took him awhile to understand it when he first asked about it, but now he was pretty familiar with it. He could (more or less) tell the difference between being unconscious and sleeping. Or at least he knew those were two different things.
"And she was unconscious because she had read that the soldier died," he finished.
"Yes, darling," the mother agreed. "She couldn't stand the thought."
"But it was dangerous, because she had a small baby in her stomach," pointed the child.
"Yes," she nodded. "That's why she was taken to the hospital."
"And the doctors said that she had almost lost the baby, but actually she didn't."
"You know that story so well, why do you want to listen to it over and over again?" she smiled at her son.
"Because I like it," reasoned the boy. "It's interesting and my favourite one."
"You're impossible, you know?"
"But you said that you loved me for that!" he pointed. For a split second the woman saw the familiar face, staring at her with puppy dog eyes, saying exactly the same thing. She shivered slightly and pushed the thought aside. That boy was a spitting image of his father. Actually, it happened strangely often that she mistook them. The child reminded her of her love that she had gained so late and lost so early. She smiled as she studied the confused face of her son.
"I guess you always had to have the upper hand, even when it comes to the genes," she thought warmly.
"Yes, I do love you for that," she conceded. "Do you want to hear the rest of the story?"
"Of course!" he exclaimed, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
"What are you going to do now?"
Riza looked at lieutenant Maria Ross, who had come to visit her and check on her health. This physical one as well as the mental one.
"What can I do?" she answered quietly. "I need to move on somehow… It's just so hard…" she swallowed, struggling to suppress the tears. She surely did cry a lot those times.
"I meant, what are you going to do with the child?" Maria specified her question.
Riza looked up at her, sudden determination visible on her face. "I will give birth to him, of course. And I'll bring him up myself."
"Don't you want to have some help? A man's help, that is," suggested Maria tentatively. "A child needs to have a father."
"No, I don't," Riza shook her head firmly. "I come from a single-parent family myself. My mother died so early that I can't even remember her. But my dad did a great job, and I'd never felt handicapped. I hope…no, I believe that I can give this to my child too."
Her eyes softened as she smiled sadly. "I will give him all my love that I had for Roy. And since this will be his child, I will love him even twice more. Thanks to him I will feel that a part of Roy is still by my side."
"So that's why you want to raise him, even if it means doing the whole work alone," stated Maria, smiling back.
"Yeah," Riza conceded. "Because he's his son."
"The lady was very sad, wasn't she?"
"She was, but when her child was born, she was also very happy," said the mother.
"Did she love the child as much as she loved the soldier?" demanded the boy, yawning widely. The story was about to end; nevertheless, he wouldn't fall asleep till it wasn't finished.
"Just as much," she confirmed.
"That means very very very much, doesn't it?"
"Yes, it does."
"Are they happy now?"
"They are very happy, because they also love each other."
"How old is that boy?"
"I believe he would be about your age," she messed his hair delicately with a little smile.
The boy suddenly cocked his head to one side, looking at his mother as if he was thinking something over.
"You know," he said after a moment. "I think that the lady must've been like you."
The woman was speechless at this unexpected comment. "Like me?"
"Yeah," he nodded. "Pretty and nice and…and scary…" he stated almost inaudibly, remembering what she'd told him earlier, "…and, and all, just like you."
"You think I'm similar to the lady?" she smiled.
"Uhm," he nodded sleepily, embracing her and nuzzling his head against her bust. "And when I grow up, I want to be like the soldier. I'll be brave and strong, and then I will protect you, and we will live happily ever after."
He was silent for awhile, apparently too sleepy to say anything else. But just when the woman was about to stand up and carry him to his bed, he spoke, still having his eyes closed:
"I would like to meet that boy…and the lady, and the soldier. Especially the soldier."
"I would like to meet him too," she replied quietly in a somewhat sorrowful tone.
"It's a pity he's dead."
"Yes, it is indeed."
The boy said no more; after a few minutes his breath became regular and calm. He was asleep.
Riza Hawkeye gently stroke her son's raven hair, cuddling him lovingly.
"I wish you could meet him too, Roy," she whispered, adressing the oblivious boy in her arms. "I wish you could. Because you're his son."
A/N: So how was it? Crappy, sweet, edible or simply so horrible that you wish you'd never come across this one? Let me know!
I'm considering writing a sequel actually. Tell me what you think about this idea. Well, this fic could be just left as it is…and could be continued as well. Share your opinion with me :)