#EDIT: I've disposed of my silly "fangirl Japanese", lol P But I hope you guys don't mind me leaving 'Taisa' and 'Chuui' in- I'm rather partial to those two. I'll try not to overuse them P
Brownie Points and Wedding Bells
I always knew that it would happen some day. Grandfather has been talking about a marriage between Roy and myself ever since I can remember, and, don't get me wrong, he's the best friend I've ever had… but husband material? He's not even boyfriend material! Roy would be kind to me, I know, and he would respect me… but I can't help but think of all those women who can claim a past relationship with him. I don't care if it is him, I don't want a husband who sleeps around like that. I deserve better, I know I do! If only grandfather could see… As it is, the wedding is little more than a month away and, no, it is not something I can just get out of.
"Hawkeye? Are you in there?"
Oh Heavens… how long has Roy been out on the doorstep? Good Lord, it's still snowing out! I went to the front door quickly and opened it, shivering in the cold draft that immediately blew in. "S-sorry, Taisa!" I exclaimed, stepping aside to let him in and bowing deeply as the door closed.
"Don't worry, Hawkeye," he said lightly, "I'm fine."
"You haven't been out there long, have you?" I fussed, fetching my own cup of hot coffee from the table and pressing it into his gloved hands worriedly.
"Thank you," said Roy offhandedly as he shook his head, "and no, I only just arrived."
I knew that he was just lying to make me feel better, but I was surprised to find that it did actually help a little. "You're not too cold then?" I sighed- one last endeavour of kindness.
"I am the Flame Alchemist, Hawkeye. If there's one thing I can do, it's keep myself warm."
"That is true, sir," I said, relieved.
"Would you like to tell me what is on your mind then?" he asked, following me into the sitting room and seating himself across from me, leaning over the low marble coffee table so that his soft voice was better heard. "Come on," he prompted, when I said nothing. "If you don't tell me, I'll be forced to guess."
"Go ahead," I encouraged him, "you won't be able to."
"You're worried about the sort of husband someone like me would make."
I bowed my head shamefully- how had he even known?
"Don't worry yourself at all," he said, eyes warm, "I'll try my best to please you, and we are familiar, at least. Twenty-three years acquaintance should count for something, right? I mean, there are worse people your grandfather could have picked."
"I do know that, sir…"
Taking note of the soft, sad tone my voice had adopted, he leaned forward further and caught one of my hand in one of his, "I will make sure as little changes between us as possible. Eventually, our grandparents will want us to have a child, but it doesn't need to mean anything, and it doesn't have to happen for a long time."
"Grandfather will want me to leave the military," I found myself saying, a slight edge to my voice now. It was something I didn't even want to think about. The military was my life. I wanted to continue there, with my friends and my guns. Civilians aren't allowed to use guns… civilians didn't follow Colonels around with their children either. No matter how badly they wanted, even needed, to protect them. It just didn't work that way… but how was I supposed to just sit at home and act like a housewife?
"Gracia!" I exclaimed suddenly, then blushed, realizing that I had said it aloud and probably interrupted him.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt… I have to go now. I'll-"
"But I only just got here," said Roy, catching my arm as I made to leave, "where do you have to go so fast?"
"I need to see Gracia, sir."
"I gathered that from your exclamation, Chuui."
"Then why did you ask?"
"I want to know why you need to see her all of a sudden," said Roy, a hand still on my arm.
"Protective of me already, Taisa?" I asked, nodding towards it.
"Of course not!" he replied defiantly, letting go of me as though I'd caught aflame, "you go and have fun. Be back whenever. I don't care."
I chuckled lightly and smiled, "you can stay here if you want. I won't be long- I can make dinner when I get back… unless you have something planned…"
"And cheat on my beautiful Chuui?"
I didn't let him see how relieved I really was to hear him say that, "but we're not married yet, Taisa, and I know how much you've always loved being a bachelor."
"Though unpunishable by law, it would still be cheating, Hawkeye," he declared, "and it would be wrong and unfair, faithful as you yourself are."
"I never thought I'd hear that from you, of all people."
Roy shrugged, "I want you to be happy," he said, looking me in the eye with that intense gaze of his, adding that he would definitely be staying for dinner. "Don't be too long, I'm starving."
I laughed cruelly, but agreed- leaving the house with an unavoidably large grin on my face.
"Goodbye, Hawk… Goodbye, Riza," he called and my smile grew wider.
"Bye!" I replied, not looking back at him, but unable to stop smiling either.
"What happened?" asked Gracia, laughing as she opened the door.
"What do you mean?"
"Just that you look awfully cheerful today," she said.
I scowled at her determinedly, "better?" I asked.
"You're a poor liar, Riza."
"You're just too sharp for your own good," I retorted.
Gracia smiled warmly, "all married women are."
I didn't reply, merely side-stepping her and walking into the living room unbidden.
"Grae, who is at the door?" I heard Hughes yell from upstairs.
"Are you busy?" I asked, praying that she wasn't.
"I'm never too busy for my friends, Riza," she replied instantly, and I was glad.
"Thank you, Gracia."
Gracia nodded, sitting down on the floral couch with a smile, before calling out, "Maes! Riza has come to visit!"
A few moments later, Hughes came thumping down the stairs, with dear little Elysia riding on his shoulders, "Hawkeye! How've ya been? Wanna play with Elysia and me? Come on! You know you wanna!"
"Actually," I said sternly, "I came here to speak with your wife, Hughes."
"Aww! But I-!"
Hughes pouted and Elysia just nodded understandingly before tugging at his yesr, grinning widely, "come on, daddy! Lets go!"
With that simple command, the two of them left, Hughes now occupied once again with keeping his daughter happy.
"Heavens," I said, shaking my head in amusement, "I hope I don't go quite so soft when I have children."
"You're thinking about it then?" asked Gracia, seemingly amused.
"Having kids with Roy," she expanded.
I blushed at her question. 'Having children' was an obvious yes- 'with Roy' made it harder.
"We both come from high families, Gracia," I told her carefully. "It is expected that we will produce an heir some time in the coming years."
"And you're okay with that?"
I shrugged uncomfortably, "at first I was quite worried, but Roy was very nice about it… actually, that's partly the reason I came."
"I've decided that eventually I will have to leave the military."
"But, Riza, you love it there!!" my dear friend cried, appalled. "I'm sure I could watch any number of children while the two of you work!"
"Gracia, if I must have a child, I will take care of it myself," I said determinedly. "My own mother died when I was very young and my father was Roy's alchemy teacher- he never had much time for me. I want my child to have at least one full-time parent."
"Why, when he or she can have two part-time parents and a hoard of aunts and uncles?" asked Gracia, obviously very distressed. When I didn't reply, however, she just sighed and leaned over to put a hand on my knee, "if there is anything I can do to help you at all, Riza, please let me know."
"…I'm having dinner with Roy tonight," I said, "and I'm working for the rest of the week, but I was wondering if you'd like to have lunch with me on Saturday? I want you to teach me how to be a married woman- I don't know much about it… being a mother too."
Gracia said something then but I tuned out. I knew she would try to dissuade me from having children, and going along with the marriage itself, until I was 'ready' and I didn't want to hear it. I'm twenty-nine-years-old and Roy is thirty, we are both old enough to be married and parents as it is, and if that is what my grandfather wants then I might as well get used to it now. "I have to go, Gracia," I said eventually, "I'll call you later to arrange a time and meeting place for Saturday." I stood and left, only barely registering Gracia's distressed sigh as I closed the door.
"Riza, were you even listening…?"
"I see you've found my secret store of chocolate," I said, trying to hide a smile as I walked into the kitchen and caught him taking a bite out of a block of white chocolate and savouring it with the most hilarious look on his face. He almost choked just then, but managed to laugh at himself anyway. "Sorry, Hawkeye," he said, ducking his head sheepishly. "I just came in to start dinner so that you wouldn't have to do it all when you got back-"
I gave him a sad smile -he was calling me 'Hawkeye' again- but forced myself to laugh too, "don't worry, I'm not mad. Chocolate is hard to resist, after all- just no more 'till after dinner, okay?"
"My mother and your father used to have to say that to me all the time."
"No wonder," I said, nudging him teasingly and putting my chocolates away. "knowing your sweet tooth. Aren't you due a dentist appointment soon anyway?"
"Hey! I was just trying to help… but I got distracted… the vegetables are cut up though, and the chicken's in the oven too! And-"
I cut him off, smiling and shaking my head, "thank you, Taisa."
He seemed to consider what I'd said for a moment before grinning broadly.
"Anyway," I went on, "you can go and sit in the living room- you've done enough. Let me finish up here and I'll bring it out to you."
Roy reached over and brought my hand to his mouth, kissing it lightly, before thanking me and turning to leave.
Isn't that adorable? He's trying to be a gentleman."
"So, Hawkeye… how was your talk with Gracia… fun?"
I smiled, "Taisa," I said.
"You suck at small talk."
I have to admit, the look on his face was very cute- I just couldn't help but smile at his foolishness. Still, my mind drifted back to his reference to me as his Chuui again. "You know, Taisa, if we are going to be married you'd be better off calling me Riza from now on."
Roy looked surprised, "thankyou," he said, then he paused. "Riza?"
"Do you mind that your father chose me?"
I shook my head, surprised that he would even ask, "not at all, Taisa-"
"Roy," he interjected firmly.
"Roy," I said, "like you were saying, there are many worse men to be paired with. You know me, and respect me and you're, well, you… We've known each other since I was six-years-old and my father took an interest in you. Besides, this way I can always keep an eye on you to see whether or not you're doing your homework."
"You've put a lot of thought into this, haven't you, Riza?"
I smiled and nodded, a little embarrassed, "I think I'm almost getting used to the idea, Tai-"
"Spoke too soon…"
"Roy," I corrected myself.
"So, Roy. How about you?" I asked, almost afraid of his answer. "You have to live with me for the rest of your life."
"I've never really thought about it, on my part, at least- more, what everyone else wanted and expected from me… but if I had to make a choice of any woman to take as my wife, it would be you, Riza."
'Good…' I thought, somewhat –no, very- relieved.
"Are you okay?"
"I'm fine," I said, meaning it, as I stood to clear the table for us both.
Roy stood too, taking his own plate to the sink. I smiled and wondered if he knew that I was testing him.
'At least he's tidy outside of work,' I thought appreciatively, 'that's one brownie point…'
Roy left my house around nine. I noted that he was very polite as he left and found myself with that ridiculously wide smile on my face as I saw him off. It wasn't that I was glad that he was leaving, but because he just made me feel special and happy that way.
Maybe this is gonna work out after all.