One day, sitting wearily at his desk and holding a prolonged staring competition with the mound of paperwork sitting smugly in front of him, he happened to glance up at her and idly wonder whether anyone had ever told her that she was beautiful.

For she was, of course. As the only female in a group of largely single males, she would doubtless have been perceived as such whether or not it was actually the case. But, he thought to himself in a detached fashion, in her case it was entirely true. She wasn't perfect or flawless or anything like that- nobody was, especially when they were buttoned severely into the ghastly, unflattering military-issue uniform with their hair pulled back almost viciously tightly into a plain blue clip. But despite all that, she managed to be beautiful. Although her current expression was one of emotionless efficiency, with just a hint of a threat hiding behind her businesslike manner, he knew the range of emotion her soft, heart-shaped face could display- from surprise to irritation to grief to laughter- all lurking in the corners of her neat, tidy mouth and large deep eyes. Her features could- and usually did- all combine, along with her pointed chin and subtly curved cheekbones, to form a picture of military efficiency. But underneath it all, she was a pretty woman nonetheless.

He found himself contemplating it further. There were so many reasons why it would never happen- most of them lying on his side of the blame, he freely admitted- but at that moment, as the sun shone in through the windows behind him onto her soft blonde hair, making him suddenly long to see it falling loose around her face, all he could think of were the reasons why it could work- and should. He spontaneously thought about what sort of gifts she liked. Flowers? Chocolates? Cards, or jewellery? For some reason he considered that extremely unlikely. There was a chance, though, a miniscule ray of hope that just as under the brisk, businesslike expression she was a woman of emotion, under the pistol-firing behaviour lurked a person that could be won over by teddy bears.

He wondered what she looked like in normal clothes. Neat, stylish suits, blouses open at the neck, long elegant dresses with flowing skirts, or even just pyjamas- waking in bed in the morning, tousled and unwashed.

What would she do if he stole her hair clip?

You're a madman. She would kill you.

Yes, he thought, listen to the voices. They were, despite their usual lack of accuracy, entirely correct on this occasion.

But it didn't matter. He still wanted to try it, if only for the brief, rare pleasure of seeing her surprised and maybe even a little flushed, hair tumbling long and loose like soft, woven gold over her shoulders- before she shot him dead. It was madness. But he wanted to do it.

That is, until the sun went in, and all the tiny golden sparks of light and heat disappeared from her hair, and the subtle shadows faded from the contours of her face, and she walked swiftly over and deposited a fresh stack of paperwork in front of him. He looked up at her then, as he sat in the shadows behind his desk, and wondered what on Earth he had been thinking. She was his subordinate. She was the only efficient and honestly busy person in the whole room. She had pistols.

He thanked her vaguely for her hard work just as she turned away from him. She turned back and saluted, then walked to the other side of the room to sort through one of the filing cabinets.

He settled further down into his chair. I was right to start with. She's just a colleague, he thought assuredly. He glared up at the new pile of paperwork this colleague had just given him. Like it or not, he had to get started, or he would be crushed to death beneath the teetering piles of paper sometime soon. He fumbled in the drawer for a pen, and glanced around the room, looking for a pot of ink.

And the light gathering in the glass behind him chose that precise moment to burst through, alighting gently on her soft, smooth skin and settling cosily into the silky hair that he wanted to set free from its far-too-severe clip, flowing down over the smooth curve of neck and shoulder. . .

He knew it would never work. But he just didn't care.

Author's Note: I don't normally write romantic fics, but this is probably the most canon pairing in the entire world, and I was suddenly seized with a love for it. Also, I really need to start writing about other people besides the Elric brothers and Winry, and in genres other than angst or general, with occasional two-second bouts of humour. So, what better way to bring it all together? Actually, I quite it. I really seem to be settling into this style of using no names in my stories.

Dedicated to Legendary Chimera and HughesHanajimaHilariaHypocrite (whose name really is too long for her own good) as a thank you for their help and support. Much love, and I hope you both like Royai --;