It was the annual Christmas party at the Rockbell house, and this year, a few members of the military had been invited (on Al's request, and against Ed's wishes) too, making for the biggest party held there before. Tables of food were laid out, dancing was in the cleared out living room, and decorations hung from every angle of the house. To complete the picture was the beautiful, white snow, which was slowly falling outside, creating a thin layer of white across the ground.
Roy, Hawkeye, Havoc, Falman, Breda, and Fuery arrived all at once, stepping into the warm house with festive grins on their faces. Winry and Pinako rushed over to them, helping them off with their jackets.
"Welcome," Winry cried in greeting. "I'm so happy you could make it!"
"Ah, so the Colonel and his subordinates have arrived!" called a booming voice from behind them. They all spun around to see Armstrong, dressed in a Santa costume, entering the room.
Roy cringed a bit. "Major…how…interesting…"
"Don't worry, Major. Once he gets some booze in him, he'll love it," Havoc assured him with a laugh.
"What is this?" Winry demanded. " 'Colonel'? 'Major'? I thought this was a party! Can't you drop the formalities for an hour or two?"
"At last, I can call him 'Roy Boy' to his face without getting in trouble!" Havoc cried eagerly. Roy shot him a dirty look over his shoulder.
"Come on!" Pinako called them, "get inside, and quit standing in the doorway like that!"
The group filed inside, splitting up a bit as they wandered off in different directions. Falman and Fuery went off to converse with the other guests, Havoc went to meet any single girl he could, and Breda ran straight towards the refreshments table. Roy wandered over to where Ed and Al were towards the back of the room, smirking a bit.
"Wow, Fullmetal, you're quite the partier," he commented sarcastically, eyeing the teenager who was hunched in the corner, looking like he'd rather be dead than at the party.
"Nice to see you too, Colonel," he said with as little insincerity. "Never thought I'd see the day when even you couldn't scrape up a date for a party."
"Who'd want to come all the way out here, just to hang out with a bunch of weirdos like this bunch?"
Al crossed his arms. "You guys are so pessimistic today," he remarked. "I'm going to go have fun, like I came here to do!"
Ed groaned as Al stood up, walking over to where Winry was greeting some more guests.
"So?" Ed demanded snidely, "Aren't you going to go dance with every girl you can get your hands on?"
"Havoc's beat me to it," he said with a smirk.
Ed looked past Roy, searching the crowd for Havoc. His eyes grew wide and he nearly fell over from what he had seen.
Roy stared at him, confused. "What?"
An amused smirk slid across Ed's face. "Behind you! Man, didn't see that one coming…"
Right under the doorway, underneath the mistletoe, Havoc was planting a quick kiss on Hawkeye's lips.
Ed began to laugh. "Damn…I guess he took it a little too seriously when Winry told him to 'drop the formalities!'"
Roy stared, gawking, not believing his eyes as he watched the two casually walk away, as if nothing had happened. He definitely hadn't seen that coming. Since when were Hawkeye and Havoc in a relationship?
He cringed, turning away. That was something he wished he hadn't seen. He wondered, though, why they hadn't said anything earlier. For some reason, he felt a little uneasy about the whole thing.
Roy blinked, turning back to Ed. "Huh? You say something?"
Ed rolled his eyes. "You're such an airhead…"
Roy was too distracted to even send a comeback at the young alchemist. He merely turned around and walked across the room, over to where Breda was making a scene of himself at the chip bowl.
He stood up straight, backing away from the food. "Sorry, you wanted some?" he asked, his mouth full.
"No, I'm fine." Roy checked over his shoulder to see if anyone was listening before asking, "Do you know about…Hawkeye's new relationship?"
"Which one?" Breda teased. Roy, taking him seriously, eyes grew wide in shock, but Breda quickly laughed it off. "Kidding, man. Who is it?"
"I was going to ask you," Roy muttered. "I guess you haven't heard anything, though."
Breda pointed over Roy's shoulder. "Shh! Not so loud. She might hear you. She's right over there, you know!"
Hawkeye was in the opposite corner of the room, whispering something into Havoc's ear. Roy took a step backwards, nearly knocking into the table.
"Don't tip the food! Anything but the food!" Breda pleaded.
"Sorry…" Roy murmured, lost in thought. He wished he could hear what she was telling him, but with all the noise of the party, that was impossible.
So, he wandered over to Fuery and Falman, trying to seem casual.
"Colonel, you look like you saw a ghost," Falman commented as he approached them.
"Or Armstrong in a Santa suit again," Fuery remarked with a laugh.
They exchanged a look. "What could be worse than that?" Fuery asked.
"Well, the buffalo wings were kind of nasty, actually-"
"No, that's not it!" Roy cut them off. "I was just wondering…about Hawkeye's new boyfriend. Had she mentioned it before?"
"The First Lieutenant has a boyfriend?" Fuery gasped.
"I was going to ask you."
"Why don't you ask her," Falman advised. "She's right over there, sitting next to Havoc."
Roy followed where he was pointing to, only to see Hawkeye sitting side by side with Havoc on a couch, a little too close for his liking, talking to another one of the party guests.
"I-I'll talk to you guys later," Roy stammered, vanishing into the crowd again.
The next person he found was Armstrong. He was sitting in a large sofa chair, allowing all the children who had come to the party to sit on his lap, telling him what they wanted for Christmas.
Roy walked over to him, whispering urgently into his ear. "Major, can I talk to you for a moment?" he asked.
"Get in line like the rest of the children! Ho, ho, ho!" he sang.
Roy, unable to believe his ears, found he had no other choice but to wait at the back of the line, ignoring all the children's stares. It was another ten minutes until he reached the front of the line, and Armstrong pointed to his leg.
"Come take a seat, sonny."
Roy crossed his arms, silently refusing. "Major, I-"
"That's Santa to you!"
"Santa," he began again, all patience gone from his tone, "I have a question to ask you."
"It's not about how I get in the chimney again, is it?"
"No!" Roy cried, finding it hard to stay calm, and just as hard to ignore the children in line behind him booing him for taking so long. "It's about Hawkeye's boyfriend. Do you know him?"
"The Lieutenant never mentioned one, so I doubt she wants anyone to know she has one! Perhaps, though, if you watch her carefully, you can see for yourself."
Roy glanced over at Hawkeye, who was now pouring herself and her friend a drink, with none other than Havoc beside her.
"I wanna talk to Santa, too, you hogger!" a young boy screamed. Roy, unable to pull together any more patience, walked out of the room, then out of the house entirely, taking a seat on the front porch.
He sat, watching the snow silently falling from the sky, landing on his shoes. He sighed, wondering what was wrong with him. Why had he been so rude and nosy? He felt like an idiot for walking around and spreading gossip. Armstrong was right: if Hawkeye hadn't told him anything, it was because she didn't want to tell him anything. Roy let out another groan, leaning his face in his hands and staring up at the moon, too humiliated to go back inside.
He heard footsteps behind him and turned around to see none other than Hawkeye standing in the doorway, calling to him. "Colonel, you'll catch a cold sitting out there!" she said. Her eyes caught his and she saw his gloomy expression. Curious, she stepped outside, shutting the door behind her, and walked over to join him.
"You'll catch one, too," he reminded her. "Go back inside. I'll go in just another minute."
She sat down next to him on the porch step. "Is something bothering you, Colonel?" she wondered. "You seem distressed. Perhaps you'd like a drink?"
"I'm fine. The last thing I need right now is a drink." He couldn't imagine how stupid he'd seem if he drank on top of it. He was already acting like a crazy drunk.
"Something must be wrong if you're turning down a drink," she remarked with a shaky laugh. "Are you sure you don't want to talk about it?"
Roy shook his head. "I'm fine. Really. Go back inside. I'm sure Havoc's waiting for you."
She shook her head. "No, he's fine now. My job with him is done." She smiled, looking up at the stars.
Roy glanced at her, confused. She had already broken up with him? Had they been dating longer than he had known? Besides, she didn't seem upset at all. She looked…happy. Then again, who dumps their date on Christmas Eve? Something didn't seem right…
A soft smile spread across her face. "I was finally able to set him up with my friend Rebecca," she explained, as if reading Roy's mind. "Havoc's been complaining about not having a girl for a while, and I figured they'd be a good match. I was surprised how well it worked out, though." She sighed thoughtfully. "Then again, who can blame them? Christmas Eve must be one of the most romantic nights of the year. Not that I'd know. I'm simply guessing."
Roy followed her gaze, staring up into the starry sky. "Yeah, maybe it is." He felt a rush of relief brush over him, and even though he still felt silly for asking around about her, he was too happy that she wasn't dating Havoc to let it get to him. Perhaps he had jumped to conclusions a little too fast.
"What was with the kiss, then?" he wondered. "If you wanted to set him up with her, why would you kiss him in front of everyone?"
"I didn't kiss him," she argued. "He kissed me on a dare." She looked annoyed for a moment before Roy began laughing, relieved. Then she joined in, becoming a little calmer herself.
Counting could be heard from inside. Roy glanced down at his watch. It was only a few seconds from midnight – Christmas.
"Five seconds," he announced, jumping to his feet. Hawkeye followed his action, and they both continued to stare up into the sky, watching and waiting.
Snow continued to fall gracefully to the ground, and some sprinkled across Roy's face, chilling his skin. The stars seemed to sparkle even more for those last few seconds, as if greeting the holiday along with them.
"Merry Christmas!" Shouting could be heard from inside, and cheerful noise flooded out from the house.
Hawkeye continued to stare at the sky, but Roy was looking at her now. He was so relieved about the Havoc thing that he couldn't help himself – he leaned in and quickly kissed her on the cheek, backing away uncertainly. She turned to look at him, a little taken aback, but then returned his smile.
"Merry Christmas," she said softly.
"Merry Christmas," he returned, taking her hand. She rested her head against his shoulder and they both looked up into the sky once last time, savoring the short moment while it lasted.