I don't own FMA
Theme Four - Every Single Obstacle
Roy was more than a little nervous as he walked to headquarters with the weight of the gift-boxed, small metal object burdening his jacket pocket. It seemed to get heavier with every step he took closer to his office.
It was particularly early when he strolled into the office labeled Colonel Mustang in the usual fashion. Not even Riza Hawkeye was there yet. He'd gotten their before even the earliest of risers only because he'd grown frustrated after crashing into one piece of furniture or another from being caught up in his thoughts while he paced around his apartment.
Looking up at the clock he decided it was safe to take the box out of his pocket and stare at the ring for a while.
He'd walked into a jewelry store two nights before telling himself he was just looking, but he'd walked back out into the crowded street with a velvet box two hours later.
While he sat there alone in the office he was imagining the diamond set in the silver band wrapped around her finger when the office door opened. He quickly snapped the box closed yelping when his finger got caught in it. He didn't look up until the box was secure in his coat pocket.
"You okay, Chief?" Jean asked, staring at his disgruntled superior officer.
"Fine," Roy mumbled irately, nursing his throbbing finger.
"So, you're finally gonna ask, huh?" Jean said, unable to ignore what he had seen.
"If you say anything I'll roast you alive," Roy threatened, holding his fingers in his signature snapping position for effect.
"No roasting will be necessary today, Sir," Jean replied as he deposited his coat on the back of his chair.
"What's all this talk about roasting, Lieutenant Havoc?" Riza asked as she stepped into the room a bit later than usual.
"Oh, nothing really, just talking about what Mom promised for dinner tonight. Her cooking is one of my regrets about living in the dorms. You've tasted her cooking before, great isn't it?" He asked without missing a beat. With a superior officer like Riza, one learned to cover their slip ups well.
"Mhm, it's nice not having to worry about cooking. How's she doing?"
"She's lively as ever, though she keeps wondering when everyone is going to come over for dinner again. She misses cooking for a full house. It would be better for me if I brought over guests. She never asks about me finding the right girl to marry when other people are around," he answered, smirking at Roy behind Riza's back.
"At least she's not trying to set you up with her chess partner," Riza sighed as she walked back out of the office to gather the day's paperwork.
"Chess partner?" Roy choked out the words he directed only at himself. After his coughing fit subsided he finally paid attention to the dog sitting beside his chair and reached over to scratch him between the ears. It was definitely a great way to distract himself from his previous thoughts.
"I'm gonna go grab some coffee," Jean said as he slunk out of the room. Today, he was going to have fun, but he'd have to make sure not to stay in the same room as Roy, at least not alone.
He wasn't usually one to be in the office early but his new dorm mate had woken him up at an insanely early hour, and he hadn't been able to get back to sleep with the way the kid kept bugging him to go with him to the gym. Now, Jean found himself standing in the queue. It was there that he ran into his other co-workers. Kain, Heymans, and Vato were all standing at the middle of the line. Jean had always wondered how they managed to walk into the office at the same time.
It was a good thing, for safety in numbers was the rule for the day. Heymans noticed him first and waved him over. He didn't hesitate to get out of his place in line and join the small group a few feet ahead.
"Since when have you guys been meeting up here in the morning?" Jean asked, moving his cigarette from one side of his mouth to the other, as smoothly as most people shift weight from one foot to the other.
"We told you about it before, but you said you'd rather get fifteen minutes of sleep than wait in line," Vato replied.
Jean rubbed the back of his neck as he thought about Vato's explanation—it certainly sounded like something he would say.
"Why didn't you get those extra fifteen minutes today?" Heymans teased.
"New roommate's an early bird. I need to start looking for an apartment," Jean complained, a scowl sneaking onto his face as he thought of the bright, cherry, energetic young man that had woken him up.
"Oh, you're here. It seems Colonel didn't get enough sleep last night. Would you mind grabbing a cup of coffee for him?" Riza asked as she came up behind Jean with a stack of paperwork tucked under her arm.
"Yeah, sure," Kain quickly replied.
"Mustang's already here?" Heymans asked, his eyes nearly twice there usual size.
"Yeah, he got here before I did," Jean answered in a lowered voice.
"Odd, I think that's a first. I wonder why he's here so early," Kain mused.
"Oh look, the line moved," Jean pointed out the two foot gap between them and the redhead in front of them, effectively silencing the answer that was bubbling up in his throat.
They talked of the usual—Kain's work at the animal shelter, Heymans' latest winnings, Vato's daughter visiting, and Jean's new roommate—while the line moved along at the usual snail's pace. When they finally got to the front they were quick about ordering their drinks and, for a couple of them, food.
While they chatted on the way back to the office Jean was thinking of the different ways he could ruffle his superior officer's feathers. Upon entering the office they found their own piles of paperwork sitting on their desks waiting to be completed. Jean looked over to Roy's desk and held back a smirk at the amount of paperwork piled atop his desk. It was going to be a long day for the raven-haired alchemist.
Kain was elected to give Roy his coffee, and performed his task with a hearty, "Good Morning, Sir."
The only recognition he got was a half-hearted salute and incoherent slew of grumbling that included the words fire and paper. He was quick to return to his desk and filter through the reports of equipment he'd worked on, or was being assigned to work on.
Heymans spent the first few minutes in the office glaring at the black and white dog that strutted from desk to desk seeking attention, well all desks, but this particular soldier's. The dog was smart enough to know he wouldn't get any type of affection from the redhead.
After sending a quick greeting to Riza, Vato was quick to begin his daily paper pushing. He only paused every now and then in his writing to take a sip of the refreshing orange flavored tea. It was a great alternative to the orange juice, since his stomach could no longer handle the acidity.
Jean watched all of these habitual happenings, carefully planning his first move while mindlessly correcting a report on his latest session of firearms training. Hell if he'd let them think the new trainees didn't need more sessions, only two of the entire unit could actually shoulder the recoil of the standard sniper rifles.
The quiet tinkling of metal on metal caused him to turn his attention to the dog approaching his desk, and a grin broke out across his face. Hayate was well trained, but Jean knew his weakness. That dog would follow the orders of anyone who gave him food. All he had to do was snag part of Heymans' sandwich and he'd be ready.
It was when the redhead excused himself to go to the resources office that Jean acted. Only Kain had questioned his rummaging through their co-worker's desk, mainly because the other three didn't want to be involved in the prank wars that occurred between the two men, but Jean was quick to satisfy the young man with a lie about searching for paper clips.
It didn't take long for Hayate to catch the scent of chicken and begin to hover around Jean's desk. Hayate soon gobbled up a small chunk of the sandwich Jean had dropped under his desk and sat, waiting for more.
Riza looked up from her work at the all too familiar sound of her dog sniffing around the office, namely, Jean's desk.
It was odd for him to need to be let out this early, but it was definitely his sign that he needed to relieve himself. She was about to excuse herself, but Jean's voice filled the room.
"I've got to turn in this report, I'll take Hayate outside," Jean volunteered.
Riza nodded and got back to her own work, not giving Jean's actions a second thought, he was good with the dog, despite the first impression he'd given everyone about his capability with animals.
Jean returned a half hour later with a bit more spring in his step, but if anyone noticed, it wasn't acknowledged.
Jean spotted a perfect scenario when Roy got up, excusing himself to the bathroom. "Hawkeye, could you ever spend your life with someone lazy?" Jean asked as Roy pushed open the door to leave.
Riza's pen didn't slow for a moment. She found that in situation where she was being questioned by co-workers it was best just to answer than keep silent. "No," came her quick answer. No matter that it was a lie—she spent every working day with lazy people.
Her head jerked up as she heard a muffled grunt from across the room. Roy was standing half in, half out of the doorway, clutching his nose.
"Is it bleeding?" Riza asked. "We really should have that door fixed, Sir. It swings back much too quickly," Riza commented after he answered no to her question.
Havoc suppressed his laughter as best as possible, but Riza still heard it.
"Lieutenant," Riza warned, hoping to avoid giving the lecture about that not being funny, because she feared she wouldn't be able to keep a straight face.
While he was gone, Jean was writing down a list of bad traits he knew the Colonel possessed.
When Roy returned he sat down at his desk and stared at the black and white page in front of him, not seeing the words the ink formed.
"Sir, the pile is only going to grow if you keep staring at it like that," Riza commented.
With that being said Roy seemed to snap out of his thoughts and picked up his pen.
"Hawkeye, what about someone who has been known to be a womanizer, a playboy?" Jean questioned.
Riza was getting ready to tell Jean to be quiet and get his work done, in terms not quite as polite as that, but her head turned in the direction of a low growl. Roy was standing, his coat and pants tinged with dark brown color of coffee, staring at an overturned mug on his desk. "Sir, are you all right?" Riza asked as she pulled a box of tissues out of one of the right hand drawers of her desk.
"Fine, it's just cold," he muttered, pulling of his coat, to reveal a light brown wet spot on his white collared shirt.
"I was going to stop by my apartment during lunch, would you like me to drop it off at the cleaners on my way there, Sir" Riza asked as she made her way over to him with the tissue box.
Jean's eyes widened and he shook his head, hoping Roy would notice before he agreed, but it didn't work.
He'd just have to go to lunch before Riza, and make up some excuse to take Roy's coat, so she didn't find the ring.
Jean kept his mouth shut for a decent amount of time, but when Roy got up to start his compulsive window cleaning he got another idea to ruffle the man's feathers. It was always amusing that Roy teased Ed, but Jean had bragging rights about height over all of them, being almost a just about a foot taller than the man searching for his window cleaner in the small supply/coat closet.
Hayate obediently started walking in Roy's direction as Jean tapped out the signal with his pen.
While Roy was still shoving boxes around in the closet Jean looked up at Riza. "Hawkeye?"
Riza's pen lifted from the paper she was looking over as she put her signature on the bottom, and while she moved it to her "finished" stack she looked up at Jean. "Havoc?"
"Do you remember the time we were stuck in the infirmary during academy?" he asked, watching Roy start to walk across the room, Hayate on his heels.
"When we both had our wisdom teeth out?" she asked, shooting a look in Heymans' direction, warning him she, too, would be on the receiving end of any joke he was about to make.
The redheaded officer's mouth clamped shut and he returned to his work.
"Yeah. Didn't you say once that you preferred tall men?" Jean inquired.
Riza was about to take the easy way out and answer, instead of having to listen to the question for the rest of the day when Hayate barked in agitation and a thump sounded from the middle of the room.
"That was a long time ago, Havoc," she answered, pushing her chair back and making her way to the man and dog lying stunned on the floor. "You should go change, Sir, you're covered in coffee and window cleaner," she suggested, picking up the now empty bottle the blue solution had been in. Hayate crawled away from the man who'd tipped over him and to his master, revealing the missing lid to the spray bottle. Riza scratched him behind the ears. "You'll need a bath tonight," she told him, getting up from the floor and offering her hand to Roy.
She pulled the disgruntled Colonel to his feet. "Be more careful about where you're walking next time," she advised, hoping he'd make it to the men's locker room without incident.
Roy glared over at the smirking Jean, who mouthed the word ring, and his eyes went wide. Riza couldn't take it to the cleaners. "I'll be back. I'm going to go change," he announced, grabbing his coat on the way out.
"Boss sure is acting odd today," Heymans mumbled.
"He must be getting sick," Kain added.
"Mhm, he's actually made some headway on his paperwork, and it's not even past lunch," Riza agreed, swiping the tissues off his desk to wipe down her damp dog. There was nothing stranger, aside from Roy's current behavior, than the odor of wet dog and window cleaner.
"I guess it's a good thing they don't carpet the offices," Kain said, helping Riza clean the floor with the last of the tissues.
Roy returned to find everyone at their desks working and Hayate pawing at his nose trying to get rid of the smell of the solution.
The smell of chemicals was too strong, it must have seeped into the wood, he was surprised everyone was still in the office.
"I'm going to open a window, or two," he announced, making his way to the windows when no one objected.
What he wasn't counting on was the wind being so strong. The moment he opened the windows behind his desk all the papers he had on it went flying about the room a whirlwind. He looked over at everyone else's papers, aggravated that only his seemed to respond to the wind. He growled when he noticed his subordinates had been smart enough to use paperweights.
"I believe there are more in the closet, Sir," Riza spoke up.
"More?" he asked, running a hand through his hair in confusion.
"Paperweights," she elaborated, picking up her own star shaped one, and setting the paper she'd finished under it, on top of the stack of completed work.
After picking up his papers, with help from Kain, he made his way to the closet again.
He was sure he heard them whispering behind his back as he moved boxes around. When he finally turned back around to face them with a paperweight made in the likeness of the state alchemist pocket watch everyone was busy doing their work, the wind ruffling papers, scratching of pens, and Hayate's tail thumping against his master's desk the only sounds in the office.
He tossed the paperweight from hand to hand, slowly making his way around the office to Kain's desk, where his paperwork currently sat underneath Kain's kitten paperweight.
"What about a military man, Hawkeye?" the blond man asked suddenly.
"What about a military man?" she inquired, stopping her work to look over at him.
"Could you ever sit at home waiting, worried sick about whether or not her was in danger, doing God knows what, recklessly putting his life on the line?" Jean explained.
They all heard it, the paperweight falling, hitting something, and then rolling to a stop on the side of Kain's desk.
Roy ignored the pain pulsating through his foot and opened his mouth to tell Jean to get back to work, "Hav—"
"Havoc," she cut him off, "One day I would like to settle down and have a family, but all of us here in this office have goals. I won't leave the military until I am sure mine is complete. I'm sure all of you know me enough by now to know I'm not the type to stay on the sidelines while my friends endanger themselves. No more questions, this isn't a press conference. I really hope this isn't the reason you're asking, but I'll say it anyway, no, I won't marry you. I'm going to lunch. Everyone should have some work done by the time I get back. Sir, go to the infirmary and have your foot looked at. Sergeant Fuery, make sure he does. Lieutenant Breda, stop snickering. Officer Falman, turn in the finished paperwork before you go to lunch, and Havoc, close your mouth or else you'll start catching flies," she ordered, leaving the room with Hayate in tow.
The short walk to her apartment helped her to calm down a bit. Instead of finding the sandwich she had left in her refrigerator, she went to the bathroom and ran some warm water into the bath. Hayate quickly jumped in, splashing her uniform with water. After she was sure he was clean she rinsed him off and wrapped him in the towel that was hanging on the back of the bathroom door. It was times like these she was glad his coat wasn't too long, thick, or fluffy, because he dried so easily. While he was running around the apartment, eager to use his nose again, she put on a clean uniform and got out her sandwich. She gave a little piece of the turkey meat to Hayate after he went through the usual drills: sit, speak, lay down, play dead, roll over, and stand.
On the way back to the office they passed the dry cleaners and she froze. "I forgot about his uniform," she mumbled to herself as she took the long way back to H.Q. through the park. She took her time, stopping to let children pet Hayate and chat with their parents.
Roy was alone. They'd all, aside from him, worked fiercely to make some headway in her absence, and 45 minutes into her break, left him. No one wanted to be around in case she was still upset when she got back. Kain had made him go to the infirmary, where one of the nurses fawned over him until a doctor said he'd just have a bruise for a while.
Being alone wasn't so bad—he could concentrate on the proposal. The only words he could come up with were—marry me, Riza—and he wrote them on the blank paper in front of him, trying to jog inspiration, but the only thing he felt was fatigue, could his day get, no he couldn't think that or it would, he knew it.
He put his head down to rest for a minute, just a minute.
The wind had died down to a soft, warm breeze, lulling him to sleep.
Riza walked into the office—minus Hayate, Kain had offered to watch him while he was on lunch—and was surprised to see Roy still there, albeit asleep, but he was still there. The pile to his right indicated he'd gotten at least two fifths of his work done. She leaned over further to inspect the paper under his face and arm, but he was blocking out all of the writing. She smiled and let out a sigh. "Sir, you should go home," she said, going around to his side and sinking down to peer at his face. She held back her laugh at the drool which had blurred the ink on the paper under his head. Part of her didn't want to wake him after everything that had happened so far. Or, maybe it was just because she hadn't seen him looking so ridiculously peaceful since they were children.
She listened, steady breathing, no flinching, eye's moving back and forth in the natural R.E.M. cycle. "Sir," she called again, placing her hand on his shoulder.
No response. She always wondered how he, who used to wake up at the slightest of sounds, could sleep as deeply as he did in the office. "Colonel, wake up," she said, a bit louder, shaking his shoulder.
His eyes snapped open. "Lieutenant?" he asked, using the hand that had been hanging off the armrest of his chair to wipe away the sleep that had gathered in his eyes. His eyes widened when they focused on her face and he sat up, alert, the paper sticking to his face.
He groaned, crumpling the paper into a ball as quickly as he could.
"There's drool on your face, Sir," she told him, straight faced.
He wiped at the spot she was pointing to with the sleeve of his clean uniform. "Is that all?" he asked, turning his face from side to side for her to inspect.
"Drool, yes. Ink, no," she replied, eyes sparkling with mirth. "On your left cheek," she indicated.
He used his sleeve again, but when he pulled away she shook her head. After his second attempt failed she went looking for her box of tissues, but remembered she'd used the last of them halfway to her desk and turned back to him.
"You'll have to go get another copy of that document from resources," she told him, taking his chin in her left hand and turning his face, so she could get a better look at the writing on his cheek. She wet the tip of the sleeve of her jacket with her tongue and lifted it up to the line of letters. "Who's Major R. Ryme?" she asked. "And why is my name there?" her eyes scanned the line again, racking her brain for a Major Ryme. 'Ma' for major she puzzled, 'r' Ryan, Renyold, Richard, they had plenty of those, but she couldn't place the sir name Ryme. She lifted her brow when he didn't reply. "Is he from a different base?" she asked, dabbing at the ink with her jacket.
Roy pulled away from her and coughed.
"Are you okay? You've been acting a bit off all day," she said, worried eyes focused on him.
"Yeah, fine," he said between coughs. "There is no Major R. Ryme," he confessed once his breathing was back to normal.
"Then wha—" she stopped mid-word, he brain putting the letters together.
"Marry me?" he asked, giving her a sheepish look.
"Is that why you, all day, Sir?" she asked, unable to form a full sentence. "And I thought Havoc," she chuckled.
He nodded, pulling the box out of his pocket.
"You didn't have to get all worked up over it, you idiot," she chastised.
"I didn't" he echoed, realizing his foolishness.
"Of course not and of course I will," she smiled.
"What about your goal?" he asked, brushing the tuft of bangs behind her ear to see clearly into both of her eyes.
"It's to help you with yours, and who better to be your aide than your wife?" she asked.
"What about the rules?" he inquired.
"I won't treat you any differently just because you are my husband, and if you treat me differently, I'll just train you otherwise," she explained.
A.N.-Wow, this took me ages to write. Stupid wall impeding my ideas. Well, I think it turned out okay. 4,130 words! I've got new stories since my last post of this! Becoming Hawkeye: A story following the life of Riza's father, based on the speculation that he is part Ishbalan. Doom and the Wedding: 60 Days in the life of Olivier Milla Armstrong. Big thanks to WindxAlchemist for helping me get those walls to crumble. Oh, almost forgot, R.E.M. Rapid Eye Movement.
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