A/N: My first Royai fanfic is now over! I'm kinda sad now; it was horrible hitting that "complete" button. This was so much fun to write, I'm so happy I got such wonderful encouragement from so many people! Thank you ever so much to EVERYONE who has read this. My special thanks to MoonStarDutchess, 1st Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye, Chieko Yumi Usama, winglessfairy25, xGloryHartx, cherryblossompopstar411, Vejhed, Red's 21st and ItaKure who reviewed. I hope you all enjoy the last chapter!
BANG BANG BANG. Riza groaned and opened her eyes slowly, attempting to clear the haze of sleep from them. She rolled over and squinted and the alarm clock on the bedside table. It was seven thirty. She whimpered and collapsed on to the bed. Her train wasn't until eleven meaning she didn't need to wake up until ten. She allowed her mind to begin to fall back into slumber when...
BANG BANG. She sat up sharply. Someone was knocking at her door. She frowned and reached over to the bedside table for her gun. Who would be knocking on her door at seven thirty in the morning? She ran through a host of scenarios in her mind, none of which were good, as she slowly made her way to her door. The knocking had not ceased as she approached, which only added to her worry and confusion. She reached out and swiftly pulled the door open. She froze. Her eyes widened and she almost dropped her gun in shock.
"Wh...What are you doing here?" She spluttered.
Hughes sighed and stared at the clock. It was five to eleven. He had better get going. He lifted himself off his chair slowly, not really looking forward to this. Maria raised her head from the files she was gazing at absently as he walked past, but she didn't say anything. She knew where he was going. Hughes walked quickly through the corridors until he reached Mustang's office. Taking a deep breath he stepped into the room. He was shocked at how quiet it was. More than quiet, it was almost silent, as if the occupants were almost afraid to make any sound, any acknowledgement that they were there. Breda, Falman and Fuery were ploughing their way through a large amount of work while Havoc was simply staring off into space. At the sound of the door opening, the four had looked up, but quickly looked back at their work when they realised who it was. All except Havoc. He gave Hughes a lingering look before flicking his eyes towards the clock. Hughes inclined his head slightly and strode up to Mustang's closed door. Without even bothering to knock her opened it and walked in.
Mustang was standing at the large window, gazing out towards the horizon. He didn't even seem to notice that Hughes had walked into the room. Maes gave his friend's back a pitying look. He couldn't even think of where to begin.
"What time is it?" Hughes jumped slightly, not expecting Mustang to speak. He fumbled with his sleeve to see his watch.
"It's eleven oh three." He stated, attempting to keep his voice light. Mustang's shoulders slumped at this response but he didn't turn around. He sighed heavily, resting his forehead against the glass.
"She's really gone." His voice was barely above a whisper. Hughes flinched at the amount of pain that his friend expressed in those few words. He didn't know what to say. Roy was right of course, she really was gone, there was nothing he could say or do that could change that now. Fortunately for him he didn't have to, as a knock at the door drew the two soldier's attention. Hughes and Roy turned to see a soldier saluting them.
"Colonel Mustang Sir, the Fuhrer wants to see you immediately." He stated. Roy sighed heavily.
"Thank you Sergeant." He replied. The soldier nodded, saluted once more before turning on his heel and leaving the room. Without another word to Hughes or his subordinates, Roy followed. Silence descended upon the men as they continued to stare at the door.
"Well...what do we do now?" Havoc asked turning to Hughes, causing the rest of the men to frown in confusion. Hughes sighed and flopped into a chair. He shrugged.
"The only thing we can do. We wait." Havoc stared back.
"You mean you don't..."
"It's out of my hands now. I'm not even totally sure what all of this is about." He stretched his arms up above his head before turning to look at Havoc once more.
"But I'm certain it won't be long until we find out."
Mustang trudged down the hallway towards the Fuhrer's office, allowing his feet to take him there automatically. His mind was focused elsewhere. He hadn't been able to sleep at all, his mind too preoccupied on what ifs and if only's to allow him rest. He had come up with a dozen plans of action, started to dial her number at least seven times and lost count of the amount of times he had got up to march straight over to her apartment. But he knew it was just fantasy. His reality had sped away on a train to Southern Headquarters.
"Colonel Mustang? The Fuhrer is waiting." Without realising it, he had already made his way to the Fuhrer's office. He nodded at the Fuhrer's secretary in thanks before proceeding through to his chambers.
"Ah Colonel Mustang, at last. Please, sit" the Fuhrer gestured to the chair on the opposite side of his desk from where he was sitting. The Colonel nodded, doing as he was bid. The Fuhrer studied him over the top of his hands, his gaze piercing and serious. For the first time that day, Mustang felt something other than self loathing and despair. He was getting nervous.
"Well Colonel, we have a slight problem." Mustang frowned slightly, not entirely sure what was coming.
"Problem Sir?" He questioned.
"Yes, with your department." Mustang blinked and his frown depended. What on earth had happened now! Seeing his confused expression the Fuhrer began to elaborate.
"Yesterday, a set of extremely urgent documents concerning the incident in the North were sent to your offices. Considering how impeccable the standard of paperwork had always been in your department, it seemed only natural that they would be sent there." Impeccable standard of paperwork? Mustang thought to himself as the Fuhrer paused in his explanation, there is only one person who is capable of earning us that reputation. Sensing his thoughts were about to delve in to dangerous territory, Roy dragged himself back to the present just as the Fuhrer continued to speak.
"However, the results were far from pleasing." Mustang gulped at this statement.
"Hardly any of the documents were actually completed. Those that were were filed incorrectly and some were even signed in the wrong places, making it impossible to submit them. On top of that, a large portion of the daily work assigned to your department was not completed yesterday. When we sent men to retrieve these documents from your offices, we found them in such disarray it was virtually impossible to locate them! The cleaner even refused to step foot in your offices!" The Fuhrer sighed and stared at Mustang intently.
"This cannot continue Mustang. Not only are you a Colonel of the Amestresian army, a high post for someone of your age, but you are a State Alchemist. Mistakes like this are inexcusable." Mustang knew he was in trouble now. He had never had to be reprimanded like this by a superior, his performance never lacking considering what he was striving to achieve. He opened his mouth to say something, anything that could redeem him when the Fuhrer raised his hand for silence.
"I don't want to hear an explanation Mustang. I have already made my decision on how to deal with this situation." Mustang held his breath.
"It is obvious that you need more help. I am assigning you a new aide." Mustang was taken aback. A new aide? He was expecting to be demoted! Then suddenly the full force of the Fuhrer's words hit him. I can't get a new aide! That would be like I was replacing Riza. No, there is no way I could ever do that to her. Regaining his composure, Mustang addressed the Fuhrer.
"Sir, the offer is very kind, but I simply do not need any more help..."
"This is not an offer Mustang, it is an order. And as for you not needing any help, I think that yesterday's events have already proved that wrong. Besides, I have already assigned someone to help you. They will be starting today." Roy slumped slightly in his chair. There was nothing he could do to stop this now. He had to accept it. He nodded glumly, not trusting himself to speak.
"Good man." The Fuhrer stated, moving to the left and opening a draw of his desk. He pulled out a form and a pen and handed them to Mustang.
"I need your signature on this." He stated calmly. Mustang picked up the pen and signed the document, not even bothering to read it through. He slid it back across to the Fuhrer. He raised his eyes when he realised that the Fuhrer had not taken it. Mustang frowned as he tried to read the expression that was flitting across his superior's face. He was looking at Roy as if he was mad, probably due to how he had just signed something without bothering to read it, which was not really a good move on his part. But there was something else. Possibly...amusement? Before Roy could contemplate this further, the Fuhrer took the form back and stood up. Mustang followed suit.
"Well Colonel, I suggest you get back to work, you certainly have much to do." Roy nodded and saluted turning and walking back towards the door.
"Oh, Mustang?" Roy turned
"Yes Sir?" The Fuhrer smiled at him before asking.
"Have you read the fraternisation laws?" Mustang's mouth fell open at the question. What on earth was he asking him that for? Why did it even matter anymore? Taking his silence as a negative answer, the Fuhrer continued.
"I suggest that you do so. For future reference." And with that he sat back at his desk and returned to his work. Mustang glared at the Fuhrer once more before marching straight out of the doors, feeling angry and humiliated. As soon as he had left the Fuhrer took out the form he had sighed.
"Please pass that on to the appropriate person." He stated, without looking up.
"Yes Sir" came the reply.
Hughes had just started to look through his second collection of photographs when the door to Mustang's offices slammed open, causing him to scatter them on to the floor. The five men turned and stared at Roy as he marched into the room.
"What's going on chief?" Havoc asked warily. Mustang turned, anger blazing in his eyes as he glared at his subordinates.
"Apparently our department is not working well enough. What the hell were you all doing yesterday?" he roared. Havoc glared back at his commanding officer, completely fed up with his attitude. He felt sorry for Roy and understood that he was hurting but there was no need to take it out on people that were trying to help him.
"With all due respect Sir, we tried our best! In case you have forgotten we had to do twice as much paperwork without Hawkeye here!" The rest of the men cringed at Havoc using her name. They had carefully avoided doing that for the past few days.
"Well, at least you won't have to worry about that any longer." Mustang spat back venomously. Havoc's expression switched from anger to confusion.
"What do you mean?" He asked. Roy sighed, feeling exhausted as the anger seeped out of him.
"I have been assigned a new aide." He explained tiredly. There were several gasps from the men. Hughes stood up from retrieving his photographs to gaze at his friend. He moved forward towards him.
"Roy..." he began
"Excuse me?" All eyes turned towards the door where a petite dark haired woman stood, her arms bulging with folders.
"Is this Colonel Mustang's office?" She asked. All of the men nodded, staring mutely at the woman. She frowned slightly confused. Mustang sighed and addressed her.
"Follow me." He stated, marching back into his office.
"Yes Sir." She replied. Roy sat at his desk as the woman followed him in, balancing the files neatly on the desk and begun arranging them. Roy took the time to look at his new assistant. She was a Second Lieutenant and exceptionally attractive, with dark hair and eyes that stood out due to her pale complexion and a subtle amount of eye makeup. She wore her dress uniform complete with a knee length skirt and low heels that showed off her legs. Yes, in all respects she was beautiful. But she wasn't Riza. She could never replace Riza. Having finished organising the reports she smiled slightly at Mustang.
"These Sir need to be done by the end of the day and these are directly from the Fuhrer. They need to be completed by four." She stated. He nodded in understanding.
"Thank you Lieutenant. You may go now." She smiled once more then saluted.
"Thank you Sir." And with that she was gone. The others watched her leave before turning to look at their commanding officer. Roy was now firmly engaged in completing the Fuehrer's paperwork. Without warning Hughes spun around and marched out of the offices, leaving the four men alone once more. There was silence before Breda stated
"Who wants to bet that Havoc get's rejected by the new girl by the end of the week?"
Hughes couldn't take much more of this. It was not supposed to end this way! He had put far too much work into this for it to be ignored, couldn't anyone see that! And he refused to stand by and watch his friend become more and more depressed by the situation. He was going to do something. However he was so caught up in his own thoughts that he walked straight into two officer's that were coming down the corridor in the opposite direction.
"Oh I'm so sorry." He stated. A familiar laugh caught his attention. He quickly snapped into a salute as he recognised the figure before him. The man turned to his companion
"Carry on, I'll meet you there. I need a word with the Lieutenant Colonel here" The younger officer nodded and continued down the corridor, leaving the two men to their conversation.
Havoc yawned and looked around the office. Everyone was working diligently, but he really couldn't be bothered. He had spent a large amount of time yesterday doing more than his fair share of work only to get yelled at by his superior. Then he had spent a hell of a lot of time helping Hughes and that had got them nowhere as well. He was tired of doing things that were pointless. So staring off into space and having fantasies concerning Mustang's new assistant seemed like a better way to spend his time. He closed his eyes and didn't reopen them when the door clicked open. However, he did open them when he heard the unmistakable click of heels and movement of the military dress uniform skirt. She's back! He thought gleefully. Having only had a small glimpse of the woman, he was severely looking forward to seeing her again and turned in his chair swiftly. His mouth fell open at the sight before him. Before he could stop it a strangled gasp escaped from his throat causing his fellow officers to glance up. Breda chocked on his biscuit, Furey fell off his chair and Falman simply stared open mouthed. However, Mustang's assistant simply flashed the men a small smile before walking into her new superior's office. Hearing the unmistakable click of heels, Roy sighed.
"I'm rather busy at the moment, if I need anything I will let you know." He stated, attempting to not seem rude.
"Of course Sir, I am sorry to have disturbed you." His heart stopped. Ever so slowly, he raised his eyes skyward, not daring to blink. His eyes widened.
"Riza..." he whispered, unable to keep the pleading tone out of his voice. Riza Hawkeye looked back at her superior, a small smile gracing her lips.
"Yes Sir." She whispered back. "I'm sorry that I could not deliver your paperwork before, I was detained by the Fuhrer, but I see that Second Lieutenant Morris did just as I asked." Roy stood up, his hands shaking, no longer listening to her conversation. He then paused. He wasn't entirely sure what to do now. A sudden crash from the other side of the room drew their attention. It appeared that Havoc had stood in such a rush that he had tipped his chair over.
"Ummm...say, I hear a phone...ringing...outside...uhh yeh." And with that he rushed out of the room.
"He'll need help with that...phone." Breda stated, grabbing the packed of biscuits and following Havoc.
"It sounds broken, I think the phone needs fixing!" Fuery added, hurrying out. Falman stood and looked at his superiors for a moment before adding.
"Ummm...what they said." And leaving the room in a hurry. Roy just shook his head. Where the hell do I find these people? He wondered before turning his attention back to the blonde in front of him. For a moment neither one of them said anything. Mustang took in a deep breath, deciding to start.
"Why are you here?" He blurted put, instantly regretting how it sounded. However, Riza responded all the same.
"You needed a new assistant. Apparently I am the only person qualified for the job." She smiled slightly at the comment, and Roy couldn't help but smile as well. He moved from behind his desk to stand closer to her, but not too close. He was still confused.
"But...you were transferred, because of what we...because of what happened." He stated, unable to quite say the words. To his surprise, Riza pulled out a sheet of paper and gave it to him. Mustang instantly recognised it as the form he had sighed earlier that morning.
"The fraternisation laws clearly state that except for special circumstances, there are to be no relationships between officers in the same chain of command." Mustang continued to stare at her perplexed. Riza bit her lip slightly and then moved forward so there was very little space between them. Hesitantly, she took his hand and held it in her own. When he didn't pull away she relaxed slightly, looked up into his eyes and continued.
"There have only been a few cases where these relationships have been permitted, but it has been known to happen. Apparently Hughes, Havoc and Ross did extensive research on this." Roy couldn't help but grin at the thought. That definitely sounded like Maes! He probably threatened the other two with pictures until they helped.
"And according to the Fuhrer, you were all falling apart without me here." Riza stated, causing Mustang's attention to snap back to her. To his annoyance, he found his face started to colour slightly at her statement. However, before he could say anything to this, Riza began to speak again.
"So in light of such a compelling argument and support from others, the Fuhrer has decided to make an exception in this case. He just needed you to sign the form." Roy froze, unable to make his brain function. He was torn in two. Half of him was deliriously happy, so much so that he was bordering on sprouting glasses and becoming Maes Hughes. The other half was still totally confused. Why would Riza want this? She didn't care about him. He dropped his gaze from hers to where their hands were still intertwined. Keeping his eyes fixed on their hands, he asked.
"Do you really want this? Do you really want...me?" The last part was said in a whispered, but Riza heard it. Pain shot through her heart at the tone of his voice. She reached out and with her free hand and lifted his chin so that he would meet her eyes. Roy was surprised to see tears shining there.
"Roy...what I did, I had to do. I have to protect you, it's my duty. Not only that I have to protect you because..." she paused, gripping his hand once more, feeling suddenly terrified. To her surprise, she felt him squeeze her hand back. It was all she needed. She looked back up to him once more.
"Because I love you." She said quietly. It felt as if something had snapped in Roy's mind. She loved him! After all that they had been through, all that he had done, she still loved him. He grinned and pulled her towards him and kissed her deeply. Riza closed her eyes and lifted her hands to his face, allowing a few stray tears to fall from her eyes. When at last they broke away, he smiled and wiped the tears away with his fingers and leaned his forehead against hers.
"I love you too." He said in reply, receiving a true smile from her in return. All at once a host of cheers meet their ears, causing the two to jump. They turned and found Breda, Falman, Fuery, Havoc and Maria cheering and clapping, Armstrong sobbing and sparkling and Hughes snapping photographs while hopping like a pixie in the doorway. The two laughed, Roy wrapping his arms around Riza's waist and pulling her close. She gazed up at him and smiled. Suddenly Roy looked at her strangely.
"What's with the skirt?" He asked. Riza smiled
"I packed all of my uniforms already. Since this was so last minute I ended up having to wear my dress uniform." Seeing a new expression cross his face she frowned and swiped at his arm
"Don't start getting any ideas Roy Mustang; I am not ever going to be wearing a mini skirt!" She stated crossly. To her surprise Roy laughed and kissed her. He smiled and said
"Start getting ideas? They've been there for years; you're just bringing them closer to reality!" Riza snorted.
"Yes, well keep dreaming." Before Roy could say anything else in protest she kissed him once more, knocking all thoughts from his mind.
Hughes sighed at the scene before him. Snapping one last photo, he removed himself from the group. He turned to the man sitting down on a chair a few feet away.
"A perfect end if I do say so myself." He stated proudly. The man laughed and turned to Hughes
"Yes, we finally managed to sort out that little mess. Though as I said before, we should have started this years ago." Hughes grinned
"Oh I don't know General; I think the timing of this worked quite well. I'm sort of sorry that it's over, but I'm glad I don't have to keep running around cleaning up Roy's mistakes. Mission accomplished eh?" Hughes stated. General Grumman however, turned back to Maes.
"I'm sorry Lieutenant Colonel, but this is far from over. This was just the first part in a much greater plan I have for my granddaughter and Mustang." With this he stood up and began to walk away. Suddenly he stopped and turned towards Hughes.
"I could do with a little help, if you are interested in completing your mission." He stated. Hughes frowned and said
"Completing it? How do you mean..." suddenly a thought dawned on Hughes. The General chuckled when he saw the Lieutenant Colonel's face.
"Oh yes. It has been my plan all along to have the Colonel and his Lieutenant married. This was just the first part of the plan. Do you wish to help me?" Slowly, a familiar smile started to spread across Maes Hughes' face, which got all the wider as a plan slowly stared to formulate in his mind. Did he want to help? He laughed as he skipped up to General Grumman. Did he really need to answer?
A/N: And the story continues in "The Mission" which is up on my profile now!
Please drop by one final review to let me know what you thought. I hope you have all enjoyed "The Inspection!"