Title: Understanding Women
For 30kisses theme #26 – if only I could make you mine
Fandom: Fullmetal Alchemist
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Havoc/Hawkeye
Summary: Havoc's search for the one woman Mustang won't steal from him has some unexpected results.
Warnings: I really hate warning for het, but...HET. Men being men. Overuse of italics.

Disclaimer: FMA doesn't belong to me either. Havoc and Hawkeye are Arakawa's and not mine. Some of them belong to Square Enix too. Square is much cooler than I am, so I have no problems with this.

Understanding Women

Jean Havoc was the type of man who looked for love in all the wrong places.

He liked cute girls, shy girls, with curvaceous figures and bright eyes. The kind of girls a man could write poetry about, girls who smiled all the time and made him want to compare them to the sun with disgustingly flowery metaphors. He liked sex, he liked women, and he wasn't looking to settle down so much as to just keep a girlfriend long enough that Mustang would no longer pose a threat, then see where it went from there.

When Rebecca from accounting was seen on the colonel's arm after spending three weeks leading Havoc on a blond, bosom-filled wild goose chase, he threw his hands in the air, stomped out his cigarette, and announced to the office, "I give up!"

Breda, Farman, and Fury looked at him in unison, gazes all saying "yeah, right." Hawkeye didn't even bother, making her disbelief known with a quick eye roll before she returned to her paperwork.

"What?!" Havoc snapped. "I do! I'm done with women!"

"You could try men," Hawkeye suggested without looking up. Breda, Farman, and Fury all suddenly looked very uncomfortable, but Havoc simply turned towards her crossly.

"The colonel would probably steal men away, too!" he moaned, falling into his chair and quickly lighting another cigarette.

"You know," Breda said conversationally. "Maybe you just pick the wrong types of women. You always go for the cute, flirty girls. Maybe a loud, lusty redhead would be less likely to be lured away by the colonel." Havoc blinked. Thought about a loud, lusty redhead, which really wasn't his type at all, but he could look past that, especially if she was wearing something skimpy and maybe made out of black leather.

Hawkeye snorted. Men. "Lieutenant, if you want to find a woman who can't be lured away by the charms of Roy Mustang, you just have to find a woman who isn't interested in a week-long fling, but something long-term" She raised one delicate gold brow. "There are women like that out there, you realize."

The men all looked at each other.

"There are?" Havoc asked.

"Are they lusty redheads?" Breda added.

Hawkeye gave them her best 'you are hopeless' look before returning to her work.


The first clue Havoc had that something was wrong was when he woke up sweaty and panting with the image of a blonde holding a gun left in his head.

Blondes weren't so unusual in his fantasies. Guns, however, didn't tend to feature, unless he was the one using them. He'd saved some fair maidens in his dream days, but never had a maiden saved him. He wasn't sure if he liked this new development, but then he reasoned with himself; maybe his survival instincts had taken Breda's advice and had decided to like other types of women without any sort of urging.

But really, he would have preferred that lusty redhead.

The second clue was when he received a phone call the next weekend. "I need someone to watch Black Hayate," Hawkeye began without preamble in her usual no-nonsense tone. "My apartment is being sprayed for ants and he can't stay here."

"I can do it," Havoc offered, and he hated knowing that she knew he would all along and that's why she called him in the first place.

"If you eat him, I'll make life extremely unpleasant for you," she warned. "I'll bring him over later tonight." With that, she hung up, leaving him staring at his messy apartment. When panic overset him and he realized he didn't want her seeing the disgusting state of his bachelorhood, he probably should have wondered why. Instead, he borrowed a vacuum from the woman downstairs and cleaned.

When she showed up with Black Hayate in tow, the question that had been circling in his mind finally came out.

"So how can you stay in your apartment if they're spraying it? Do you need to stay here too?" He realized belatedly that it sounded like a cheap line, but it was Hawkeye. He'd never thought of her like that, and he wasn't going to, even if she did look rather good in the jogging suit she'd worn over.

"The exterminators are just concerned that Hayate will lick something that's been sprayed. I'm not in the habit of going around licking things I'm not supposed to," she told him such a bland tone that he was immediately intrigued. Hawkeye was a pretty woman, he realized, and though Havoc had been friends with her for years, suddenly he noticed that Hawkeye had breasts.

For some reason, the thought made him extremely uncomfortable, and he tried his best to keep his eyes on her face as she explained how much chicken Hayate ate and how he was supposed to take the dog through his paces before he was allowed to touch a bite. She had a small smile on her face, as though she could tell the effort it was taking him not to look her up and down, but finally with one last look she left Hayate in his capable hands.

"I'll come pick him up after work on Monday," she told him, and for some reason Havoc felt a flutter in his stomach.

The third clue was how much he wanted to call her and update her on Hayate's wellbeing. The fourth time he suppressed the urge, he realized something was obviously wrong. Riza Hawkeye was probably enjoying her dogless evening, and he wouldn't want to disturb her. The fifth time he wanted to call her, he leaned down and scratched Black Hayate's ears. The dog barked, and Havoc stood up with a jerk.

"That's it! You miss Hawkeye, don't you?" he announced, as if making excuses to the dog made it all better. "Let's give her a call!" With that, he picked up the phone and dialed before he could really think about what he was doing, and a familiar hard female voice announced at the other end, "yes?"

"Hayate misses you," he said, then kicked himself for not saying who was calling. It didn't seem to throw her, however.

"Hello, lieutenant," she replied.

"Maybe you'd like to come have dinner with us?" he plowed onward, hoping desperately that it would sound like he just wanted her to come calm her dog, and not at all like he wanted her for anything else. It was Hawkeye.

"I suppose I can," she said levelly. "If I come over around seven, will you have anything edible, or would you like me to bring the food?"

He thought, thank god she understands men.

"You could pick up some Xingian," he suggested with a slight drawl. "I certainly wouldn't object." He could feel her smile through the phone.

"I'll be there at seven," she said, and hung up.

He wrote, 'blunt, no-nonsense women are not my type' on the pad by the phone. Wrote it again, just to remind himself. Because he seemed to be forgetting that this was Hawkeye, not some random woman, and that Hawkeye could shoot his balls off from sixty paces back with her eyes blindfolded.

Somehow not even that thought was terrifying enough to make him less intrigued.


A knock at his door, and suddenly she was there, hefting a large bag of Xingian food, which he immediately relieved her of. Then he did a double take – was Hawkeye wearing a skirt?! She was indeed, a smart pencil-skirt coupled with a loose blouse. She looked disturbingly feminine. He wanted to ask, 'why do you look like a woman?', but somehow he felt he would end up in the hospital with gunshot wounds if he did.

They were mostly silent through dinner, and Hayate seemed delighted to see his mistress once again. When they did talk, it was about simple things – work, the dog, and the weather, respectively. He smiled at her when she went to leave.

"I had fun," he said stupidly.

"So did I," she replied with a slight smile. "You're a good man, Lieutenant. Have you found that woman that Mustang can't steal yet?" He wondered at her non-sequitor.

"If I had, I'd be on a date right now," he laughed. When something cloudy crossed her face, he realized how horrible the comment had sounded. "I didn't mean it like that, Hawkeye! This was fun." She smiled again but this time it didn't reach her eyes, and he felt awkward and stupid.

"I'll see you tomorrow at work," she told him primly. "Don't forget to have Black Hayate's things ready for when I come to pick him up." With that, she was gone, leaving him with a slightly uncomfortable aftertaste. He looked down at Hayate as he closed the door.

"Hawkeye is not a woman," he told the dog fiercely, before stalking into the bedroom.

That night he dreamt of her eyes, smirking.


He followed her around the office on Monday, chattering about everything and nothing until she gave him a withering look, grabbed the cigarette out of his mouth, and stomped it out on the hard stone floor.

"Lieutenant, surely you have work to do," came her smart rejoinder.

"Hey!" he protested. "Cigarettes aren't cheap!"

"Then don't smoke in the office," she told him. Then her expression grew slightly teasing. "You know, a lot of women don't like to kiss smokers. Maybe that's your problem."

He didn't like the way his cheeks felt warm as he was herded back to his desk. As he sat down, he started to run through the motions of getting a cigarette, but stopped as he stared at the pack. Looked up, stared at Hawkeye.

He slammed the cigarette pack back into the desk drawer and furiously looked anywhere but at her for the rest of the day. Farman and Breda exchanged amused looks, but said nothing. Tormenting Havoc was more fun later in the week, when there was less to do and when Hawkeye was less likely to gut them all.


To his surprise, Hawkeye followed him home.

"I have to pick up my dog, Lieutenant," she told him as she got out of her car. "Surely you haven't forgotten since last night."

"Of course not!" he insisted, practically dashing up the stairs. "Hayate's yours. Which is great. Of course. Really." Was he babbling?! He held to his apartment open for her and she entered, patting Black Hayate on the head and grabbing the bag of his things that was left on a table in the living room.

"Thank you very much for taking care of him, Lieutenant," she told Havoc, and made as if to leave.

"Do you love Roy Mustang?" he burst out. God, sometimes he hated his mouth. She blinked and her eyes went dark, cold.

"No," she said firmly, then walked out his door.

Havoc spent the rest of the evening nursing a glass of whiskey and the newspaper, but his heart wasn't truly in it.


He hadn't smoked in three days and it was driving him crazy.

If Hawkeye had noticed, she wasn't saying. She still smiled that secretive little smile and rolled her eyes at Breda's dumb jokes and made the occasional dry comment when discussing things with the men. She was still Hawkeye.

Why did everything feel so different?

When she left the office on Thursday to accompany Mustang to a meeting, Havoc began to pace nervously across the room, over and over. He needed nicotine. He needed something. He was going insane, obviously.

"Just smoke a cigarette," Breda growled, sick of Havoc's nonsense.

"Women don't like smokers," Havoc parroted back at him. "Hawkeye thinks that's why I haven't been able to find a steady girlfriend."

"Hawkeye, eh?" Farman muttered from the corner.

"You know, I've been telling you that all along!" Fury insisted. "Do you think…do you think Lieutenant Hawkeye would give me pointers on how to get a date?"

For some reason, Havoc felt irrationally annoyed by his question.

"No," Breda beat him to the answer. "She only gives Havoc pointers because he's dense as a brick."

Havoc blinked.

Blinked again.

"Dense about what?" The door opened just as Breda was about to answer and Hawkeye entered the room. She looked suspiciously at them as they all immediately shut up and tried to look busy, then went into Mustang's office. She came out a moment later with a folder and exited again, muttering something about irresponsibility.

"She's on her crusade to fix you. It's a woman thing," Farman told him after the door slammed shut.

"It's more than that," Breda insisted. "Havoc, she's nursing a gigantic hard-on for you. How have you missed it?!"

They all gave him blank stares.

"Uh, so to speak."

"Hawkeye is not a man!" Havoc spat out. "She can't nurse a gigantic hard-on for anyone, because she has breasts."

"I think some really unfortunate men have both," Fury said thoughtfully.

"So you've noticed Hawkeye's breasts?" Breda smirked. "You can't really tell through that uniform, but sometimes on the firing range when she wears a tank top, you can see that she really is a woman!"

"Breda," Havoc growled, trying to remain calm despite the fact that his head was swimming. "You just said she had a gigantic hard-on. You have no right to talk about her breasts." They all looked at him in surprise. "Plus, Hawkeye is something more than just a woman. She's smart and she could kick all of our asses, so I think we should stop talking about this."

It wasn't until later that Breda's comment hit him.

Hawkeye was nursing a gigantic hard-on for him. That meant she wanted him.

Furthermore, he'd defended her womanhood.

He stared at the table, floored. Hawkeye was a woman, a beautiful one at that, and he wanted her like nothing else.

And according to Breda she wanted him back.

But the fact that completely destroyed Havoc's sense of being was not the fact that a woman liked him, was not the fact that Hawkeye was attractive and female, but the fact that she didn't want Roy Mustang one bit.

'This time it really is the springtime of my life,' he thought dumbly.


Two weeks passed. He was down to a cigarette a day, and he had considered buying a dog, or at least a hamster. He'd gone on two dates and for the first time ever, had no desire to see the women ever again. With the lack of his desperate edge, both women had called him back several times before he'd calmly informed them that he wasn't interested in going out with them again. What was wrong with him?

And worse yet, he hadn't done anything towards chasing the woman he actually wanted. Mostly because...it was Hawkeye.

Finally one day it was raining, and Havoc brought an umbrella. This would not have been nearly as significant if Hawkeye hadn't driven, thus not bringing her own umbrella, so when she had to stand outside headquarters for awhile and wait for Mustang to get out of some meeting, she was inevitably going to get wet and cold.

Havoc saw her through the window. She looked like she was shivering and annoyed, and he had a feeling that Mustang was going to have to deal with a lot of paperwork that afternoon, a thought that made him smirk. Without really thinking about what he was going to do, he snatched his umbrella from where he'd thrown it earlier and slammed out the door into the rain.

She looked up, surprised, when he raised his umbrella over her head.

"Can't you wait inside for the colonel?" he asked. Her dedication to Mustang, even if she wasn't in love with him, was extremely frustrating.

"I'm keeping watch," she told him. He gave her a pointed look.

"This is headquarters," he replied. "Who's going to attack…?" Her Look said it all. Mustang was Up To Something. Something that had Hawkeye perched outside on the steps in the cold rain, making sure the wrong person didn't enter the building. Or keeping track of who did enter.

"Take my umbrella," he said, shoving the handle into her (small, delicate?) hands. He'd never looked at Riza Hawkeye's hands before and was shocked to find them feminine. Calloused from gun use and hardened by years of work, but feminine all the same.

He did not want to kiss the gently calloused palms, he told himself. Instead he smiled at her and dashed unceremoniously back inside before the rain could catch him.

She smiled to herself for nearly an hour after he left.


She showed up at his door that night, carrying his umbrella in one hand and a small bag of groceries in the other.

"Thank you for earlier," she said, pushing her way inside. "I brought you some food. I noticed your cupboards were extremely bare when I was here a few weeks ago." His heart was trying to jump out his throat and despite the fact that she was still in the thick uniform, his eyes could still just barely make out the soft curve of her body. She was in his apartment and damn, but he wanted her there.

"You should stay," he blurted out while she was putting the food away.

"Now?" she clarified, arching an eyebrow.

Forever, he wanted to say, but he knew it would just sound like another cheesy line and so instead he smiled as winningly as he knew how, threw his pack of cigarettes in the trash, and said, "why not? Have dinner, maybe a drink?"

Her eyes were warm, even if her face didn't betray her, as she echoed, "why not?"


She sipped at the brandy he'd poured for her and he just knew he was going to say something stupid. She'd removed the jacket of her uniform, leaving just that tank top, the one Breda had acclaimed, and Havoc really didn't want any other man to ever see her in that tank top ever again. When he pondered claiming exclusive tank top rights, he realized he was a bit drunk. And that he was going to say something stupid.

"Breda told me something interesting," he started.

Well, a confession had to start somewhere.

"Yes?" she looked up at him quizzically. Her cheeks were a bit flushed, the only indication that she'd drunk a bit herself. They'd had an enjoyable dinner before settling in his living room with a bottle of brandy.

"He said…" Havoc scrambled for the words. "He said you…" It felt like her eyes were boring into him as he tried to put it as politically as possible. "He said you really have a thing for me."

She put her glass down. She was sitting in one of the threadbare chairs, a slight distance from his place on the couch, but as she sat straighter and focused on him, she felt suddenly much closer. "And what did you say?" she asked tightly.

"I told him you were a woman, so you couldn't have a hard-on," Havoc babbled. Both eyebrows were raised now and shit, there was the stupid thing he was going to say. "I mean, I just kind of shrugged it off, but you...you do, don't you? Have a thing for me? I mean, I could understand if you didn't, because it is me, and a lot of times I seem desperate, but if there's even a chance…"

"Havoc," she interrupted. "Shut up."

"I knew he was wrong," Havoc said woefully, wishing the couch would swallow him whole before she shot him in the head and was done with the whole thing.

She looked to the side, then stood up and sat uncomfortably next to him on the couch. He was suddenly very aware of her proximity. "He…he wasn't wrong," she said, and for the first time he heard the unsure tone in her voice. She was always so confident, so strong.

"He wasn't?" he squeaked. Oh yes, that was manly, although she didn't seem to notice, or care. "So you do have a thing for me?"

"I guess you could call it that," she was calm and composed again, but for one moment she'd cracked. She'd cracked over him.

"I might have a thing for you, too," he said sheepishly.

"Oh?" she said, but her cheeks were flushed a bit more. "Even though I'm not a lusty redhead?" He decided to ignore that comment.

"If I call you Riza, you won't shove my foot down my throat or anything, will you?" he asked. To his surprise, she laughed nervously but with genuine amusement.

"Of course not…Jean?" she tasted the unfamiliar word, surprised at how weird it was to call him by his first name. "I might even let you kiss me. I hear you've quit smoking."

"It's not working," he muttered. "I like cigarettes." But he liked her idea even more, and he turned to face her on the sofa, eyes eager.

"I noticed you took my advice," she said softly, and she was talking too much, because he liked her and she liked him and there had been alcohol consumed. Obviously something was going to happen tonight, and he was sick of waiting.

"Well I figured you were right, and then I didn't want to give you a reason not to like me, so I stopped smoking but I couldn't handle it, so I went back to one a day, but I think I'm still going through withdrawal because sometimes when I see you I just feel so dizzy," he babbled again. Damn his mouth.

"Jean?" she said. He liked the way his name sounded with her clipped voice.


"Shut up," she ordered, then grabbed his shirt collar and pulled him into a kiss.


A few weeks later, after she spent most of her time at his apartment, he gave her a drawer of her very own. Unfortunately, he forgot that it was already occupied.

"Jean?" she called from his bedroom.


"What is this?" She entered the room with a piece of paper in her hand. She had a deadly look in her eyes as she slowly and deliberately read it. "'Blunt, no-nonsense women are not my type'?"

He waited for the gunshot, wondering vaguely what it would be like to die.

When she began laughing instead, he opened his eyes and pulled her to him, kissing her soundly. When he pulled away, she looked breathless.

"You know, Riza? Things change," he whispered, then kissed her again.

It really, truly was the springtime of his life.