DISCLAIMER - see chapter one
"So, are you nervous?" Selares asked as Riza tied the bow of her newest dress, a white silk flowing gown, new silk heeled shoes on her feet, the small tribe had bought new clothes for her dancing debut. They would be performing in a small tavern, which was unusual considering they were Ishbalan, well, apart from Riza. This town, Madra, it was very open to them, they had been staying here for about a month and when they learned Riza was to debut they insisted on advertising in the national paper, just a small article but a lot of people had come, more that she expected and as she stood in the room they had borrowed for her to get changed in she was shaking like a leaf,
"Yes, extremely nervous…I just keep thinking I'll make a mistake, stumble or trip…there are so many things that could so wrong!" she replied nervously as she looked in the small mirror, her hair back in a ponytail thing evening, she refused to wear it down, she always wanted to wear her hairclip.
"I remember my debut…I was shaking so much I didn't think I'd get a note out." Selares laughed, Riza turning to smile at her,
"And? What did you do?" she asked curiously,
"I went out, I opened my mouth, and I sang…after the first two seconds I was as comfortable as I had been performing in front of my own family and friends." She replied assuringly, placing a hand on Riza's shoulder as they headed to the door of the small cramped room, "It's time." She said as she pushed the door open, Riza taking a deep breath as she stepped into the corridor, walking to the wooden stairs and heading down to the tavern bar, applause greeting her as she walked to the centre of the group, blushing furiously.
"Alright ladies and gentleman, it's time for Miss. Riza's debut!" the bar owner shouted. He was a dark haired middle-aged man who loved to laugh; he also loved to hear people laugh, so the entertainers were most welcome visitors no matter what their origins were. There was more applause, which died down as Riza waited in the centre of the floor, her legs shaking as the first note of the requiem sounded. It was an old Ishbalan song of both mourning and celebration, to send off a spirit to the after life, and it was this song they had chosen to have Riza dance to, and she had been practising for weeks, Selares teaching her the steps as Blaine and Marto watched from the sidelines. She was nervous at firs, but after the first movement she forgot the surrounding crowd and found herself spinning, clicking her heels and shaking her hips, and then there was the sound of applause as she finished,
"That was wonderful!" Selares praised as she gripped Riza's hands with a smile and a laugh, "I hope you stay with us for a very long time, business is good when you are with us." She laughed, Riza smiling in response,
"Alright, let's get this party started!" the bar tender shouted, the musicians of the group starting up a lively tune called Lord of the Dance, another one of their religious songs, men all over the bar grabbing women and going into a fast dance, laughter filling the tavern as the people danced, Selares quickly pulled away by Marto as one of the bar guests pulled Riza into a dance, a tall blonde man with a cigarette between his teeth,
"Riza." He said, saying her name as if her were familiar with her. She looked at him, his face…do I know him? She asked herself as she scrutinised his features, "It's Havoc, Jean Havoc." He said in a friendly tone, though his eyes displayed silent alarm,
"Um, Riza, Riza Hawkeye…though you probably already knew…you came to watch the show right?" she asked with a smile, Havoc nodding and smiling in return,
"Riza." Blaine's voice interrupted, Riza and Havoc stopping, Blaine glaring at Havoc warily,
"Go ahead." Havoc invited with a smile as he stepped away from Riza, Blaine taking his place,
"What was that?" Riza demanded coldly, she didn't like the way he was hanging around her, always interrupting her when she was talking to the local men, intimidating them so that they left before she got to ask them anything,
"What?" he asked in reply as if he didn't know what she was talking about,
"You know damn well what! I know what you're trying to do, so stop it!" she snapped, Blaine looking away without a hint of guilt,
"Excuse me, I believe I have this dance." A deep smooth voice said, Riza stopping to see a young well build man with black hair smiling at her, his face smiling. She hadn't seen him before, she'd remember if she had. His eyes were a strange shade of obsidian, filled with self confidence, and as Blaine glared at him and kept his hold on Riza the young man simply stepped forward and took her hand from his swiftly, pulling her away into his arms and sweeping her into the crowd of dancers, "You looked like you needed that." He added as they reached the centre of the floor, no sign of Blaine anywhere.
"Yes…Thank you." Riza replied, finding that she was at his eye level,
"Come on, quickly." He said as he took her hand and pulled her through the crowd, ducking out the door, Riza following reluctantly into the cool evening, the streets empty, the noise inside deadened slightly since the door was shut.
"I'm not sure I should be here…" Riza said slightly nervous of the man, who gave her a smirk, a smirk she could have sworn she had seen before,
"Don't worry, I'm the perfect gentleman on the first date." He assured, Riza laughing as she found herself in his arms once more, the music now much slower, "So, Riza Hawkeye…where are you from?" he asked, Riza's eyes widening at the question,
"I…I don't know…all I remember is waking up with these travellers…they were kind enough to care for me until I was well again." She replied with a blush, not sure why she was telling him any of this. He nodded, his dark eyes filled with warmth, something she desperately needed,
"I'm Roy Mustang…do you know it?" he asked, Riza frowning, gripping his shirt slightly, the sleeves rolled up over the elbows from the heat inside, his eyes surprised by her desperate out burst,
"Do you know me?" she asked, Roy looking away,
"I'm quite famous…I'm known as the Flame Alchemist." He added, not answering her question. He felt Riza's head lean on his shoulder, she took in his scent, it felt so comforting and familiar…but she couldn't place it,
"Dog of the military! Get away from her!" Blaine shouted as he pulled Roy away, "Riza run! He's going to take you with him!" he warned, Riza nodding and running down the street, the man named Havoc and four others wrestling Blaine away from Roy, who shouted out for Riza. Riza felt her hair clip slip and stopped, running back to pick it up, but stopping, Roy got there first and was already stooping to grab it.
"Hayate!" Riza shouted as her dog appeared at her side, his bark loud and urgent as he stopped and went back, looking between her and Roy and barking, wagging his tail, his expression almost happy. "Hayate no!" Riza shouted as he padded over to Roy and looked up, Roy smiling and kneeling down, placing his hand on his head, and suddenly Riza saw it in her mind, the same scene but it was day time out in the country and Roy was wearing a blue military uniform, I can't sop on a whim! She scolded inwardly, turning to run but as a loud snap rang out down the street she found her way blocked by fire, and in her mind Riza saw fire, death and destruction, Ishbalans dying, screaming in agony as they were burned alive and she watched through a…scope…a rifle scope…a sniper rifle scope…and she was shooting the people who tried so desperately to escape the slaughter. It wasn't long until she heard screams in her own ears, and it was a little after that that she realised the screamed were her own.
"Riza!" Roy's voice shouted and she opened her crying eyes to find Roy with his hands on her shoulders, his obsidian eyes looking down at her in concern, "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry." He apologised, idiot! I should have realised this might have an effect on her! He screamed at himself inwardly, he had just seen her turning to leave and she was so close he couldn't let her leave,
"Colonel…General…Roy!" she cried as she buried her face in his chest, his arms wrapping around her as tears fell down his own cheeks,
"I'm here, and I'll never leave you again…never!" he swore, lifting her chin to press his lips to her passionately, her arms wrapping around his neck tightly, one of his arms holding her waist while he reached up with his other hand to wipe her tears away. "I love you, God I love you." he cried as he took in her sweet scent. From the tavern a crowd of people gathered, Jinto looking disappointed, but accepting, Blaine was furious and in a passionate rage, tears stinging his eyes as Havoc left Armstrong to restrain him, Fuery standing nervously to the side with Falman and Breda, who seemed relieved things were coming to a close at last,
"Chief! Let's go." Havoc said as he headed to the car,
"Come with me Riza." Roy said gently as he pulled back, Riza keeping her arm around his waist, tears running down her cheeks as she realised who he was to her,
"You're the one who gave me my hairclip…the doomed love…" she whispered as they climbed into the car,
"I'm afraid so Lieutenant…but since we're off duty for now." He added as he held her close, knowing that she now remembered her rank and what that meant for them. They would go back to hiding their feelings, never being together as lovers because of the fraternisation law. He held her close as Havoc drove to Central, the drive taking eight hours, in which Riza fell asleep in Roy's arms, Roy stroking her arm lightly until his own eyes closed.
"Fuhrer Armstrong." Roy's voice said as the door opened, Olivier looking up from her paper work feeling silently optimistic at the smile on Roy's face as he closed the door and approached her desk, snapping to attention with a salute,
"Mustang, you have something to report?" she asked calmly as she returned the salute and sat back in her chair, the grin on his face telling her all she needed to know,
"We found her, she's in the hospital right now for a check up, but I'm hoping she'll be here soon." He replied dutifully, his eyes sparkling with life again, a life she hadn't seen in months. She got to her feet and went to the window, looking down to the courtyard, where she saw Riza in uniform, stopped at the gate by Havoc, who seemed to be talking animatedly to her, her face smiling gently,
"Right on time." Olivier said as she returned to her desk, lifting a document before walking back to Roy, who was staring at Riza with a far off look. "General, your request has been official approved…now get down there." she ordered, her face rigid as he saluted, a smile creeping across her features as she turned back to the window and looked out.
Roy ran as fast as his legs could carry him, flying down the stairs, barging past the troops he passed, a few of them following curiously as he burst out into the courtyard, his shoes clicking on the pavement, his breath coming in gasps, I really need to do more exercise! He thought as he laughed and ran, Riza and Havoc looking at his in confusion as he reached them, Riza gasping as he grabbed either side of her face,
"General! Wha." She began, cut off as his lips crushed hers, pulling her closer, his arms encircling her waist as her hands rested on his shoulders, her eyes closed as she got over the surprised and relaxed, Roy pulling back and looking at her hazy eyes,
"Marry me Riza!" he said as he held her,
"General?" she replied inquisitively,
"You heard, marry me First Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye." He repeated,
"Chief…aren't you forgetting something?" Havoc interrupted, Roy smiling wider as he laughed and lifted Riza, spinning before placing her back on her feet,
"The fraternisation law has now been officially dropped…so Riza?" he asked again hopefully, Riza's eyes widening until she started laughing, her eye filled with tears as she wrapped her arms around Roy's neck tightly,
"Yes! A thousand times yes!" she replied, Roy capturing her lips once more, holding her close, Havoc smiling as he lit his cigarette and discreetly stepped away, Olivier smiling as she backed away from her window and got back to work, and the gathered crowd gradually dispersing to leave the lovers alone in a loving embrace.