Roy noticed her uneasy, slightly jumpy behavior throughout the entire day. He was surprised no one else had. Every few minutes, her eyes would slowly wander around the wall until they fell onto the clock, and then her face would fall back down to her paperwork and she'd continue on patiently. She scribbled across her paper in a rushed manner, entirely different than her usual careful, smooth writing. The continuous pausing for thought gaze away her anxiousness as well. Yet somehow, all his other subordinates continued to work, without picking up on a single sign.
Her eyes fell onto the clock again, and she stood up, catching Roy off guard. He sat back in his seat quickly, only just realizing he had been leaning across his desk to watch her. Smiling innocently, he stared up at her as she walked past his desk to the door.
"I'm going to take my lunch break," she announced, even thought it was ten minutes before she usually left. "Does anyone else want anything?"
"Obviously," Breda laughed, nearly knocking over his chair as he rushed after her. The others followed after them, leaving only Havoc and Roy.
"Are you two coming?" she asked, pausing at the door to glance back at them.
Havoc waved them on. "It's fine. We'll catch up with you. I want the Colonel to look over something."
She nodded and vanished into the hallway, the others at her heels.
The moment the door clicked shut behind them, Havoc spun around to face Roy, making an absurd face with his eyes bugged out and his mouth hanging open.
Roy stared at his expression for a moment before slowly asking, "What are you doing? I've already got enough to have nightmares about, Havoc."
Havoc frowned. "I was just imitating you, Colonel. That's how you've been staring at the first Lieutenant all morning!"
"I have not!" Roy shot back defensively.
Havoc nodded, crossing his arms in disapproval. "If you're going to mentally undress someone, you have to be more discreet about it, sir."
Roy's mouth fell open, too shocked to deny the accusation. Havoc pointed at him, bouncing a bit on the balls of his feet.
"That's it! That's the exact expression!" Havoc's face suddenly turned green and he ducked behind a desk. "Sir, I didn't know that you-"
"I'm not mentally undressing anyone!" he cried, exasperated. "Jeez, what does everyone think I am?" Roy shook his head, not wanting to hear the answer. "I was just noticing how jumpy she was. I'm surprised no one else saw it."
"We were all watching you," Havoc admitted. "Your expression was freaking hilarious, you should have seen it-"
Roy cut him off before he could make the expression again. "Come on, let's go to lunch."
Havoc held up his hands in front of himself, blocking Roy from walking to the door. "Wait, wait, wait! You can't just say something like that and run off! Do you have any idea what's wrong with her? It could just be that cologne that I was wearing today; it's a new brand and it's not all that great. Or maybe Breda's haircut was annoying her, it had me feeling kind of sick, or all of Falman's coughing, that guy needs to breathe once in a while-"
"If she was bothered over little things like that, I doubt she could have been able to put up with me all of these years," he pointed out with a laugh.
Havoc nodded. "That's true."
"Maybe it's her birthday," Havoc suggested, nodding slowly at the idea. "Or her anniversary of joining this group, or something like that girls get all upset over when people forget."
"What do you know about girls, Havoc?"
"That was cruel, sir." Then his eyes grew wide in horror, and he leaned in, dropping his voice. "What if she's pregnant, sir?"
"You're just trying to drive me crazy now," Roy groaned, pushing past Havoc, who was laughing at him. "Rather than playing guessing games, I'm just going to ask her."
"She could just get even more annoyed," Havoc pointed out, following after him.
Roy sighed. "She'll be the most annoyed if she catches me with that expression that you claim I was wearing on my face."
They walked into the cafeteria and while Havoc went directly to get food, Roy walked over to the table his subordinates were sitting at. Riza had never talked much during lunch, but today she was even more silent, and kept picking at her food rather than actually eating it. Roy sat down beside her, catching her off guard.
He kept staring at her, trying to figure out what to say, until she became confused and slightly uncomfortable, asking, "Is there something you need, Colonel?"
"I was just wondering if you were all right," he said cautiously. "You seem really out of it today."
Her eyes fell down to her food, securing that there was something wrong. Riza always looked people in the eye when she talked to them. "I'm just a little tired. I didn't get much sleep last night."
"Why not?" he pressed on.
Her eyes darted up to his for a moment before falling again. "Do you know what today is?" she asked, finally giving in.
Oh, crap! Roy thought, Havoc was right. It was a date. I'm screwed…. "Um, yeah, it's something…I can't find the word, but I can see it…"
She smiled softly, staring past everyone in the cafeteria, out a nearby window. "You don't have to pretend you know, Colonel. I almost forgot myself. I usually do, actually, but this year I remembered for some reason." Before he could ask, she came out and said, "It's the anniversary of my father's death."
Roy felt like this was something he should have known, but he had never really noted the day. It wasn't one of his most pleasant memories, seeing his master die in front of him, and he tried not to think about it unless he absolutely had to. He cringed a bit, turning away from her as well, unsure of what to say.
"I completely forgot," he admitted, for lack of anything better to say.
He saw her nodding from the corner of his eye. "I was up all last night thinking about everything, and then I kept debating with myself if I should go visit his grave or not. I ultimately decided that I should, but then I felt guilty that I had never gone before. The last time I went was after the funeral, with you." She glanced over at him, remembering the time when she had showed him her back, revealing the secrets of fire alchemy.
He returned his gaze to her as well, saying, "Would you mind if I came with you? It might make things easier, and I wouldn't mind going myself. It's been a while."
She smiled at him, though she still seemed a little uneasy. "That would help a lot. Thanks, Colonel."
Glancing past her, he noticed that Havoc was watching him, winking in his direction. Slightly annoyed, he turned to Riza, asking, "Why not go now? We don't have much paperwork, and the office has been kind of dead. The others know how to reach us if anything happens-"
"Somehow I doubt you're almost done with your paperwork," she said with a shaky laugh, "but I don't think I'll be able to concentrate if I don't get this out of the way."
They stood up and went up to the office to get their coats. Havoc watched them leave the cafeteria in disbelief before turning to the others to start bets on what was going on.
The ride over was mostly silent. Roy kept his eyes straight ahead on the road, and Riza's head was tilted towards the window as she silently watched the scenery zooming by, as if it was the first time she had ever seen it. He had a feeling that if he said anything, he'd be interrupting some important thoughts, and held his tongue no matter how awkward the silence made him feel.
The car pulled up into one of the parking spaces, and they made it across the grass side by side until they reached Mr. Hawkeye's grave. There was no trace that anyone had visited it in years, which made sense. He had spent most of his final days inside, locked away from the rest of the world. Stooped over his work, he hadn't noticed a thing that was going on around him. Even when he finally looked someone in the eye, there was something faraway in his gaze, as if his mind were galaxies away. He had been long gone before his physical death.
He was sure Riza was thinking the same thing as she stared down at the abandoned grave. Her eyes were soft, but they mirrored her deep thoughts, and there was a slight trace of hurt in them. Once again, he felt the need to say something, but knew she didn't need it.
"I've always wondered what he thought of me," she said suddenly, shattering the silence. Roy couldn't help but let out a sigh of relief. "I always felt like I was getting in the way of his work. He became more and more secluded, and I was so needy when I was younger. It made me feel like a nuisance whenever I need to break his concentration, even for a moment, to ask him something. I never talked to him…no, I only asked him things, when it was completely necessary. Discussion was usually out of the question with him." She let out a sigh. "At the same time, I don't want to hate him. I don't understand him, but I don't want to hate him. Then I can't say I love him, either…" Her voice trailed off and she cringed. "Sorry, Colonel. I probably shouldn't have brought you here. All I'm doing is complaining-"
"You hardly ever complain, so I can suffer through a few minutes," he teased. "I feel the same way about him anyway. He wasn't always as bad off as he was when he died. When he took me on as an apprentice, there wasn't much wrong with him. He'd have his moments, and he'd get distracted sometimes, but it wasn't really a big deal. He was a genius, but I guess that's what killed him in the end…" He cut himself off, realizing that he probably wasn't helping. What he was saying wasn't very comforting. "He did love you, though. I know he did. Otherwise, he wouldn't have been so concerned that you be taken care of after he died."
"I'm sure the last thing he'd want me to do is join the military," she said with a nervous laugh, "or to share the secrets of fire alchemy." She looked up at Roy, adding, "I think it turned out all right, though."
"You really think so?" he asked cautiously, thinking about Ishbal and all they had been through. How could she say that with such a serious face? "I'm sure you could have done better."
She looked over his face for a moment before shaking her head and turning back to the grave. "No, I think I'm perfectly fine. The fact that I have one person who'd go out of their way to accompany me to this grave is more than enough." She smiled down at where her father was resting. "So I'm fine, father." Her voice broke off a little at the end, and Roy couldn't help but reach out and place his arm around her shoulders. "I said I'm going to be fine," she repeated, raising an eyebrow up at him.
They smiled at each other for a minute before turning their gaze back to the grave. Silence fell over them once again as they paid their last respects to Mr. Hawkeye, but Roy didn't feel as uncomfortable as before. Riza rested her head against his shoulder.
The first time visiting his grave hadn't been as bad as he thought it was going to be.
Author's comments: This is my second submission for RoyAi Day! Thanks so much for reading and please let me know what you think by dropping a review!