Disclaimer: I own nothing except my own ideas. Not even my bedroom at home is completely mine. And poor Fuery is probably incredibly glad I don't own FMA.

I must say this has been a long time coming. I have been a fan of FMA for years now, but never bothered to write anything. And strangely, my first foray into the fandom in humor, which is kind of a big deal for me. But, oh well, the characters write the story, I just try to keep up most times. Hopefully, I'm not an epic failure and this will make you laugh. =)

The entire mess started with a brilliant idea.

At least, according to Lieutenant Jean Havoc it was brilliant. Everyone else wasn't so sure. For the first five minutes. After that Breda and Falman jumped on board with reckless abandon, so the only voice of reason remaining was Kain Fuery. And he was the Voice of Reason, even if the others called him a chicken.

See, over the course of his years serving under Colonel Roy Mustang, Fuery had learned some very important life lessons:

- Tricking the Colonel was a Bad Idea. As lazy as he seemed to be, and as oblivious, not much got past Mustang. And anything that got past Mustang was subsequently caught by Hawkeye, which was much, much worse.

- Messing Around in the Colonel's Personal Life was a Bad Idea. Everyone knew about Ishbal. A select few knew the truth about Ishbal, and how much its ghosts haunted Mustang. And an even fewer number knew about Mustang's life before the military, or his life now. His frequent dating was considered public knowledge (it was hard to hide all the angry men demanding his head in every town they were stationed in), but beyond that, none of his staff knew much besides that he was a good man and worth following, and meddling was not to be tolerated.

- Messing Around with Hawkeye was a Bad Idea. Never try to manipulate Hawkeye. Period. She always figured it out. She had a gun. And she wasn't afraid to use it. Havoc of all people should have understood this. Hawkeye had pulled said gun on him countless times. For some reason, though, Havoc seemed to have short-term memory loss when it came those incidents.

-Roy Mustang Can Light Things on Fire by Snapping His Fingers. It was important to remember this. Very important. Not because Mustang was cruel enough to actually set his men on fire for misconduct (threaten heavily, yes. Go through with it, no.). The problem was that snapping was really all it took. And when he was agitated, or annoyed, or frustrated, Mustang tended to snap his fingers. A lot. With his gloves on. It didn't always end with flames, but he had set more than one stack of paperwork on fire simply by talking to Hughes on the phone. Fuery wasn't too keen on discovering how big an explosion the Colonel could make in the office.

And it would be an explosion of epic proportions if he ever heard even a whisper of Havoc's Brilliant Plan.

Fuery tried to remind his fellow soldiers (who had suddenly and alarmingly developed suicidal tendencies) of these lessons, but they apparently went deaf whenever he spoke. So, poor Fuery found himself shrinking further into his seat with every word from Havoc's mouth, and convinced that this Brilliant Plan was really a Very Bad Idea.

"I'm telling you! It's the perfect solution." Havoc gestured wildly, looking very much like the radicals that used to run around in the streets proclaiming Lito to be the one true God. The manic glint in his eyes was the same Fuery had seen on his brief passage through Lior. The chill that ran down his spine was the same, too.

Imagine that.

"Perfect for you, maybe," Breda pointed out, proving that he was still in possession of at least a fraction of his brain cells. "But what's in it for us?"

Havoc leaned back in his chair and placed his boots on his desk in a casual move he wouldn't have dared attempt had Hawkeye been in the office. Crossing his arms, the blond lieutenant smirked at Breda. "Just think about it. If we pull this off, he's bound to be happier. Hawkeye, too. Then, they'll go easier on us."

Breda's eyes lit up. "Well, when you put it like that…"

"Statistically, that is the most probable result," Falman joined in, entirely sold on the idea.

"Or they both just kill us." As usual, Fuery was ignored.

The distraught sergeant major buried his head in his arms and wondered how much it would cost to draft a will while he still had time. Oblivious to his distress, Havoc clapped his hands together and cackled gleefully.

"Alright, men, Operation Hook Mustang and Hawkeye Up is now commencing."

Fuery moaned in downright terror.

There was something wrong with his staff.

Oh, it wasn't blatantly obvious. At first glance they were acting like their normal, moronic selves.

But, Fuery was fidgety.

Fuery was naturally high strung. Some days, Roy thought the kid would die from a heart attack or have a nervous breakdown right in the middle of the office. Simple things upset him. He had once accidentally knocked Roy's coffee mug off his desk, taken one look at the shattered mug and coffee splattered all over his colonel's uniform, and promptly collapsed in a dead faint.

Havoc hadn't stopped snickering for weeks.

So, Fuery jumping at shadows really shouldn't have been too alarming. But there was nervous-about-upsetting-anyone fidgety and then there was hiding-something-and-wanting-to-tell-but-being-blackmailed-into-silence fidgety. And Fuery was definitely exhibiting the latter.

Roy glanced up from his paper for the hundredth time that morning, surreptitiously surveying his staff as they lounged in their seats. Hell had apparently frozen over, because Hawkeye actually decided to take a day off. The men had expressed relief and jubilation over a day without Hawkeye's intimidating presence and slave driving tendencies for about half an hour. After that, boredom set in.

Now it was ten o'clock and his men weren't quite sure what to do with themselves. More proof that Hell had frozen over was the fact that they had somehow gotten all their paperwork turned in early (Roy blamed Riza and her slave driving tendencies.). While this was all well and grand, and made them actually look like the efficient, highly-trained staff they claimed to be, it left them with absolutely nothing to occupy their time.

And Fuery was being fidgety.

Roy frowned as he watched the sergeant major drum his fingers restlessly against his desk and toss a brief glance in his direction. That was the fifteenth time Fuery had looked at him—not that he was really counting or anything—and it was starting to annoy him. He would call the kid on it, but he was half-afraid Fuery would get flustered and faint again.

And that would just be a hassle he didn't want to deal with.

So he kept his mouth shut and waited sort-of patiently, convinced that Fuery would cave eventually.

His plans for spending the morning reading the paper, glaring at Fuery, and making bets with himself on how long his subordinate would hold onto his secret were diverted when Havoc broke the silence that had ruled the office for the better part of the morning.

"So, Breda, what do you think Lieutenant Hawkeye's doing on her day off?" The blond Lieutenant leaned back in his seat and puffed on the cigarette stuck firmly between his lips—Roy had glared at him, when he wasn't glaring at Fuery, but Havoc had refused to extinguish the cigarette. Now Roy was seriously contemplating lighting it on fire to remind his second lieutenant just who the highest ranking officer was here.

Then his brain registered what Havoc had just said. And almost short-circuited. Why was Havoc talking about Hawkeye? The two got along well enough—all his staff did—but Roy had thought the blond cigarette-lover would be avoiding the topic of Hawkeye like the plague.

Unless … Havoc liked Hawkeye?

When faced with that frightening image, his brain screamed in terror and shut down completely.

"I bet she has a date," Breda answered Havoc's question with a smirk.

"That idea is absurd," Falman chimed in. Roy's brain got itself working again in time to give a quiet shout of agreement. "Hawkeye would never date."

"Really?" Havoc argued. Fuery kept looking at the ground like he was begging it to open up and swallow him. "What do we actually know about Hawkeye? She never tells us anything. Maybe she has a boyfriend. Or maybe she's even married."

It took all of Roy's self-control to keep himself from falling out of his chair. Hawkeye, married? That was the stupidest idea he'd ever heard. Hawkeye was manlier than most men. Any guy that attempted to ask her out would probably end up facing the business end of a gun. No, Riza was too dedicated to her military career to ever have time for dating … right?

Curling his fingers around his newspaper, Roy forced himself to remain focused on the page. He was not going to walk down that particular road. Nope. He was not.

His oblivious staff continued their conversation. "Married? Hawkeye? You have got to be joking."

"C'mon, Falman, think about it. Hawkeye's pretty enough if she lets her hair down and stuff. I'm sure plenty of guys want to date her."

The paper crinkled beneath the iron grip of Roy's fingers. Fuery squeaked.

"I suppose so. But Hawkeye doesn't strike me as the dating type."

"Like I said, how much do we really know about her? Maybe if she finds the right guy…." Havoc crossed his arms behind his and looked far too content for the subject he was discussing.

Roy really wanted to throttle him.

But only because it was rude to talk about your co-workers behind their backs. It had nothing to do with Hawkeye. Absolutely, positively, definitely nothing.

"What kind of guy do you think she would date?" Breda just made it on his throttling list. The paper tore slightly in the corner. Fuery attempted to sink into his chair. Mustang didn't see what the kid was worrying about. He wasn't on the list.

"Hmm." Havoc eyed the ceiling with serious contemplation, tapping his chin idly. "He would probably have to be tough. I don't think Hawkeye would stand for a guy who whined all the time."

"And he would definitely need to be tall. Hawkeye is rather tall and I doubt she would date a man shorter than her."

Roy grit his teeth and focused on the paper so hard it was a miracle he didn't set it on fire with the intensity of his stare. Why were the idiots choosing to gossip about Hawkeye's love life now, of all times? They had never expressed any interest in it before.

And why did he feel like there was a block of lead sitting in his stomach? This shouldn't matter to him. If it didn't affect Hawkeye's performance, it was of no concern to him. He shouldn't care if Hawkeye was dating. Or what kind guy she might want to be with. Or whether or not he could ever be that guy.

No. He did not like Hawkeye. She was his lieutenant, nothing more. Nothing. More.

"Yeah. And I bet he would have to be all charming. Like pull out her chair for her and stuff. But let her be independent, too."

"He would be muscular and buff. She would definitely go for somebody stronger than her."

"He'd need to be skilled. She'd never date someone useless. And according to Hawkeye, if you can't defend yourself, you're useless."

"I bet he'd be all romantic and sweep her off her feet and stuff."

The paper tore further, almost completely in half. Roy gave up on it and threw it in the trashcan before standing. He slammed his hands on his desk much harder than needed. At least it stopped the blabbering group of morons in front of him. They all turned and blinked at him with identical doe-eyed expressions of innocence.

Except Fuery. Fuery looked like he wanted to run screaming for the hills. Or pass out.

"I'm going to lunch," Roy declared.

"But, Colonel, it's only ten thirty." Falman glanced at his pocket watch to confirm it. When he looked back up, he found himself pinned by an intense obsidian stare. He gulped and shifted his weight nervously.

"I'm going to lunch," Roy repeated through gritted teeth, silently daring any of them to question him further.

Stunned silence.

Snorting in a mixture of contempt and satisfaction, Roy stalked from the office—not even pausing to grab his coat on the way out. He also closed the door a little harder than was probably necessary, considering the sound made an officer walking down the hall jump a foot in the air and drop all his paperwork.

Roy didn't stop to help him.

Fuery was completely certain they had all just signed their death warrants.

His fellow officers didn't share his sentiment.

"Ha, he didn't even last half an hour!" Breda chortled, slapping the table and wiping tears of mirth from his eyes.

Havoc grinned around his cigarette. "Oh yeah, he definitely likes her."

"This plan is working better than I first anticipated."

"We're all gonna die."

"Oh, shut up, Fuery. You're being paranoid."

Fuery huffed, knowing full well that he was being reasonable not paranoid. He was apparently still the Voice of Reason in this whole fiasco. Not that anyone cared enough to listen to him.

"So now we have to move to the next step." The others gathered around intently, hanging on Havoc's every word as though he was revealing the secrets to the universe. "We get under Hawkeye's skin, too."

Fuery started thinking about that will again. Maybe he could donate his clothes to charity?

"Hawkeye will be more difficult to crack." If Falman wasn't so in on this plan, Fuery might have believed the man still had a few working brain cells left.

Havoc (who had none left to speak of) grinned brightly. "Well, you never know until you try, right?"

Alright, clothes to charity. Maybe he could mail his pictures back to his mother? Surely she would want them. And hopefully there would be enough left of him after this to put in a coffin.

Day Ten of Operation Hook Mustang and Hawkeye Up was well under way.

Roy was out of the office for the afternoon. He had claimed it was research on a short-notice tip about the Elric brothers. His staff knew better. He would probably have a date by the end of the evening. Havoc just hoped it wasn't a girl he liked. Fuery hoped it was.

The only upside to this—for Havoc, anyway—was that this left Hawkeye at their mercy. So as they shuffled through mountains of paperwork, Falman, Breda, and Havoc struck up a conversation about Mustang's many exploits.

Halfway through a story about the dancer who had fallen madly in love with him after the first date and desperately tried to get him to marry her, Hawkeye's shoulders looked tense. By the story about the model he had actually spent an entire week with, she was banging things around and opening and closing drawers with excessive force. By the retelling of the gorgeous actress Mustang had managed to charm, Fuery swore he could see storm clouds hovering over the lieutenant and a permanent scowl was etched on her face.

Yep. They were all gonna die.

As Havoc launched into a raunchy tale about the heiress that had decided she wanted Roy and pursued him with abandon, Fuery decided it was a miracle Hawkeye didn't pull her gun and shoot him on the spot. Instead, the fuming Lieutenant slammed her hands down on her desk so hard Fuery thought the wood cracked a little and shot to her feet.

"I'm going to lunch," she declared.

Breda, Falman, and Havoc all blinked at her stupidly.

"But, sir, you just went two hours ago," Falman ventured hesitantly. He instantly found himself pinned by an intense burgundy stare. He gulped, shrinking back in his seat.

Without another word, Hawkeye all but stormed from the office. The door slammed shut behind her with a deafening bang.

Fuery suppressed the urge to sob in relief. No one had gotten shot. Definitely a miracle.

"Hmm," Havoc mused through the quiet that had descended in the wake of Hawkeye's abrupt departure, "she held out longer than I expected."

Breda chuckled evilly. "She lasted a lot longer than the Colonel, that's for sure."

"So now what?" Falman inquired.

Havoc rubbed his hands together—the dark glint in his eyes giving off the impression of a mad scientist, or diabolical genius. Mad and diabolical he definitely was, but Fuery was certain he was not a genius.

"We execute Phase Two."

"This plan has phases?" Fuery cried in horror. "No one said anything about phases!"

"All great plans must be done in stages, Fuery."

"This isn't a great plan! This is some twisted form of suicide!"

"Shut up, Fuery."

There was something wrong with Hawkeye.

It wasn't very noticeable, even to a more astute observer, but he had known her since she was a girl—before the guns, and Ishbal, and the military—and he could tell. It was in the rigid set of her shoulders, the tightness in her jaw, and the ice coating her eyes. There was no doubt about it....

Hawkeye was mad.

He glanced up at her with an arched eyebrow when she set a stack of paperwork on his desk with enough strength to rattle his coffee cup almost to the point of spilling. Reaching out to steady the teetering cup, he frowned up at his second-in-command. She met his stare with such cold indifference the air around him probably dropped several degrees in temperature.

"Hawkeye?" he questioned cautiously, running through the past few days in his head for clues to what might have upset her.

He came up with nothing.

"Yes, sir?" Even her voice was ice-layered. Roy suppressed a shiver, contemplating how close to death or grievous injury he was treading.

But this was Hawkeye, and he would risk his life to make sure she wasn't hurting. And if anyone was hurting her, he would make sure they suffered a very slow, very agonizing death. "Is something wrong?"

"Of course not, sir." He wasn't buying it. She looked ready to kill him.

"Was it something I did?" He still couldn't figure out what crime he could have possibly committed to set her off between now and two days ago. He hadn't done anything out of the ordinary. But women were strange like that so it was better to err on the side of caution.

If looks could kill he would be dead and at least fifty feet under by now. "May I ask you a question, sir?" Hawkeye said after a very awkward silence during which Roy tried to maintain his calm composure but ended up fidgeting like a two-year forced to sit in time out.

"Yes, Lieutenant." He had the sinking suspicion that he was digging his own grave deeper with every word out of his mouth.

Hawkeye's back went ramrod straight and a blazing inferno melted the ice in her eyes faster than a blink. "Why are all men boorish, self-centered idiots who only care about how pretty a woman is, then use her and throw her away like she's nothing?"

Roy was fairly sure that men was somehow a translation for him. He blinked up at her with remarkable calm, disguising the fact that his brain was running in circles frantically trying to diffuse the bomb he'd inadvertently set off. Was this really her opinion of him? It stung. Like salt in bleeding wounds. She'd never said anything before. Why now? Or maybe he was overacting and this wasn't about him at all. Maybe she was just taking her anger at men out on him. And she had been glaring daggers at the rest of his staff all morning, as well.

He'd sent poor Fuery on an errand before the kid had a meltdown.

So … maybe it was Hawkeye's … time of the month?

That seemed to be the most logical explanation for her abrupt shift toward violence.

Sighing and marveling at the things he put up with, Roy looked back up at his silently steaming lieutenant. "I'm sure all men aren't like that, Hawkeye. Take Fuery for example. The kid wouldn't hurt a fly, let alone a woman. Just because you're having … feminine issues … doesn't meant you have to take it out on us."

The whole diffusing the bomb plan? Yeah, didn't work so well. If Hawkeye had been ticked before now she was downright murderous.

"You…" She spit the word out like a curse, but then clamped her lips together and refused to say anything more. Instead, she turned on her heel and marched from the office, muttering about "retrieving more paperwork."

Roy watched her go, feeling puzzled and flabbergasted . He had dealt with the situation in a calm, rational manner. She had no reason to react the way she had.

He didn't understand women.

Hawkeye returned five minutes later with a mountain of paperwork. When she set it on his desk, he almost couldn't see over it. Saluting him crisply, his normally calm, rational second-in-command regarded him with a downright evil glint in her eye. "Since you've been working so hard, sir, I thought you could get started on next week's batch."

Roy sighed, and glanced around the wobbling stack at his men who were cowering in terror. They shot him sympathetic looks, but refused to come to his aid.


There was only way to escape this situation alive. With another resigned sigh, Colonel Roy Mustang surrendered.

"Thank you, Lieutenant," he mumbled and picked up his pen with the air of condemned man.

Hawkeye nodded, once again looking like a professional officer instead of a madwoman out for revenge. "Very good, sir." She returned to her desk and left him alone with his punishment.

After ten papers, writer's cramp set in. He cursed.

Stupid women.

After enduring three days of Hawkeye's wrath, Havoc wisely decided that Phase Two of Operation Hook Mustang and Hawkeye Up could wait a few days. But Fuery's relief didn't last long. To make up for the delay, Havoc kicked the plan into high gear as soon as the "waiting period" was over.

The stunts were crazier than ever. Fuery got a few more gray hairs every time Havoc, Breda, or Falman approached Mustang or Hawkeye.

He didn't think he could last much longer—especially when Hawkeye and Mustang started glancing at him all the time like they wanted to open up his head and sift through his secrets.

So it went—one attempt after the other. Each one was pure torture.

"Here, sir, could you sign this?

"What is it, Havoc?"

"Just a letter from the Fuhrer's office. Hawkeye wanted me to have you sign it."

"Why are you covering it up with your hand?"

"I'm not. Look, sir, please just sign it. Hawkeye will have my head if I don't get this back to the Fuhrer."

"Fine … there. Now, I'm going out."

"Okay, sir, I'll lie to Hawkeye for you."

"Shut it, Havoc."

"Yes, sir. …. Heh. Breda, mail this to Hawkeye. The Colonel's 'love letter' is going to end up at the wrong woman's house. Oops. Falman, did you get Hawkeye's signature?"

"Yes, but I'm not sure this plan is going to work. They will probably get upset if they suspect that the other is seeing someone secretly."

"They're already not talking to each other. Maybe this is taking it too far…."

"Shut up, Fuery."

"Did you get the flowers?"

"Yep. Had 'em delivered to Hawkeye's door. Just like you asked."

"Good. Did you include the note?"

"Yep. Had some random guy at the flower shop write it. You owe me. I had to pay him."

"Guys … I really don't think this is a good idea."

"Shut up, Fuery."

"Mustang's definitely jealous."

"I just can't believe you got Hawkeye to go out with the guy."

"It took a lot of convincing, believe me."

"You're a miracle worker, Falman."

"In the end, I simply told her that he was a traveling dignitary and it would benefit the State if she spent some time showing him around the city."

"Yeah. Well, the Colonel's almost set fire to three stacks of paperwork. This is so working."

"They're gonna kill us…."

"Shut up, Fuery."

"I think we're doing something wrong."

"And why do you say that, Fuery?"

"Well, sirs, they refuse to talk to each other and they sort of glare at each other all the time now. Wasn't this plan to bring them together, not drive them apart?"

"He does have a point there, Havoc."

"Oh c'mon, men, you're just being paranoid. These things take time."

"It has been almost a month."

"A lot of time. When it comes to Mustang and Hawkeye."

"Maybe we should stop. I'm scared to even come in the office now…"

"You're scared of everything, Fuery."

"But they're really mad at each other."

"They'll get over it. Like I said, time."

"But I can't live like this anymore!"

"Shut up, Fuery."

"I've requested a transfer, sir."

Roy's pen froze mid-signature, bleeding ink through the fragile parchment. He whipped his head up so fast his vision blurred. When it cleared, he saw a stern-faced Riza Hawkeye looking down at him.

"W-what?" he stammered when he finally figured out how to make his voice work again.

"I believe that we are no longer capable of working productively together, Colonel." Hawkeye's voice held no emotion but there were storm clouds in her eyes.

Roy gaped. Where had this come from? Yes, they had been having a few problems this past month—okay, problems to the point of being incapable of speaking to each other without arguing, but that was nothing compared to some of the things they'd faced in the past.

"What?" he whispered again. She must be joking. Life without Hawkeye in it … he couldn't handle life without Hawkeye in it. Who else was going to reign in his idiot staff? Or keep him from getting himself killed when it rained? Or make sure he turned in all his paperwork on time?

"Hawkeye…." He stopped, unsure of what to say. Sure, things had happened over the past month—crazy things, like random flowers and letters from Hawkeye addressed to someone else, and her dating all of a sudden. And he was more than a little miffed at her because she was stubborn and got angry for no reason, and he couldn't handle the thought of her going on dates, but wasn't this a bit extreme?

"I've already sent in my request papers, sir. I should be heading back to Central in a week or so."

"I see," Roy murmured, feeling like someone had poured ice into his veins. He was going into shock, most likely. "Good luck, then, Lieutenant." Because what else could he say? There was no way he was going to get down on his knees and beg with his staff watching. Besides, she had never been his to control. She had come on her accord and so, in the same manner, she would leave.

But … life without Hawkeye? How was he ever going to manage that?

Hawkeye saluted—resigned, and unmovable, and slipping beyond his reach faster than he could find a way to hold on. He watched in numb silence as she left the office. Shock permeated the air in her wake.

He glanced at his staff and found varying degrees of disbelief and horror on their faces. Havoc's cigarette had fallen from his lips onto the desk. Breda had forgotten about the sandwich that was halfway to his mouth. Falman was staring off into space with a glazed look in his eyes. Fuery looked seconds away from collapsing in a sobbing heap on the floor.

Just perfect.

"I'm … going for a walk." Roy stood, feeling dazed. Definitely shock. He'd seen it happen on the battlefield. Hysterics often came next, if he remembered clearly, and he was not going to let his men see that happen.

So he stumbled from the office and went to find the nearest bar. Even though it was only three in the afternoon.

As soon as the door closed behind Mustang, the office erupted into chaos.

"What have we done?" Falman moaned, burying his head in hands.

"Some brilliant plan, Havoc." Breda snorted, dropping his sandwich to glare at his friend.

Havoc waved his hands defensively. "Whoa, wait a minute, you guys were just as much a part of this as I was. And I didn't think it would end up like this!"

"What are we going to do?" Fuery wailed. "They like each other, but they won't admit it because they're too stubborn. But the Colonel got mad because he thought Hawkeye had a boyfriend, and then the Lieutenant got defensive and angry because she thought the Colonel had a girlfriend, and then they stopped speaking to each other , and now instead of telling each other about their feelings, Lieutenant Hawkeye's leaving!"

"I honestly didn't think she would leave over this." Havoc picked up his cigarette before it burned a hole in the desk and sighed deeply. "Maybe we did take things too far."

"Oh, now you admit it," Fuery grumbled. "So now what do we do?"

"Well, there's no way we're tellin' them it was us." Breda crossed his arms and did his best imitation of Hawkeye's stern glare. "They'd just kill us."

"I don't want to die." Fuery wrung his hands together nervously. He definitely should have drafted that will.

"They'll just have to fix it on their own," Havoc declared, ending the debate.

"I agree," Falman nodded. "We will only make things worse at this point."

Fuery moaned, wondering how he always managed to caught up in these messes, and if his death would be from burns or gunshot wounds.

It was one a.m. and he couldn't quite figure out what he was doing here.

He had spent the better part of the afternoon trying to drown himself in alcohol. And that would have worked fantastically, if he had been able to get past the first glass. But he had guilt tripped himself into not getting drunk. Hawkeye would have been incredibly disappointed in him and she hated him enough already. And it was hardly the appropriate way for a colonel to act.

So he had spent a couple hours sitting in the bar nursing his pathetic glass of liquor, then quite a few more hours wandering mindlessly around East City. Now here he was, in front of Hawkeye's apartment and unable to even use the excuse that he was drunk and had ended up here by accident.

But he couldn't let her just walk away. Not after everything. All through his wandering he had kept trying to picture life without her and failing epically. He needed her. He hadn't realized it before, but he did. He was nothing without her.

As he lifted his hand tentatively to knock on her door, he remembered the saying that behind every great man there was a great women. It was painfully true, he supposed. He would never make it to the top without Hawkeye pushing and dragging him up the ladder.

It was only after he had knocked several times did he remember the ungodly hour. He froze, mind spiraling into panic when he heard shuffling footsteps approaching the door.

Crap. He had woken her up. Way to go, Mustang. Banging down her door at one o'clock in the morning would definitely get her to stay.

He thought briefly about running, but he wasn't that much of a coward. His knees did knock together a little, though, when the door opened and he found himself staring at his sleep-mused, and very annoyed, second-in-command.

"Colonel?" Hawkeye mumbled, staring blearily at him. She was wearing pajamas and her hair spilled down around her shoulders like golden silk. Well, very tangled golden silk. But she was still beautiful.

And he didn't know what to say.

"Uhh…" he stammered.

Her unfocused stare was gaining power by the minute. "You had better have more to say than that since you came here at one a.m.."

He gulped, seriously considering abandoning his pride and running screaming for the hills.

No. He wasn't going to let her go. Even if he had to stab his pride to death to keep her. "I can't do this anymore!" he blurted at last.

She arched an eyebrow at him. And had her bangs always accented her features like that? "I believe that's why I'm transferring, sir."

"No!" He gestured wildly, feeling lost and desperate. "That's not what I meant. I'm not seeing anyone. I've never taken a single one of those girls out past a first date!"

He didn't know why he was telling her this. He only knew that he needed her to know. Because he cared about her. Because he loved her. He'd always loved her. From the minute he saw her standing in the doorway of her father's office.

"None of them were you," he whispered, trying not to tremble from the force of the emotions that kept blindsiding him. "I wanted them to be you."

The annoyed expression slid off her face in a blink. "What?" she murmured, staring at him with wide eyes.

"I wanted them to be you," he repeated, delivering the final blow to his stubborn pride and silencing its screams of protest at such a personal confession. "But I was always too afraid to ask. I didn't think you'd want to be with someone like me."

He'd clearly lost her. "What … are you talking about?"

Frustrated, desperate, and tired of explaining, he said the first thing that came to mind. "I love you! I've loved you for years."

Stunned silence fell between them as they both struggled to process what he'd just revealed.

Crap. He hadn't meant to say that. It was too much. Too personal. And Hawkeye wasn't saying anything. Just staring at him like he'd grown another head. This was a mistake. Such a mistake.

"I … I'll just go." And he did what he should have done in the first place.

Ran like mad.

He was all the way out in the street when he felt a hand snag his wrist. He jerked in shock and twisted to meet Hawkeye's unreadable gaze.

"Riza….?" he ask hesitantly, figuring that since he'd just professed undying love for her on her doorstep he should start calling her by her first name.

He expected a reprimand, a demand for an explanation, a kiss. Anything but her slapping him. Hard.

His head whipped to the side with the force of the blow and once he had recovered, he gaped at her, not sure if he should be offended. "What was that for?" he demanded at last, settling for somewhere between surprised and irritated.

She hit him again.

"Ow!" He brought his free hand up to cup his stinging cheek. This was not a form of rejection he had ever experienced. Punches from jealous boyfriends, sure. But this hurt more for some reason.

"You idiot." Hawkeye hissed, looking ready to strike him a third time. He cringed slightly in the face of her unexpected wrath.

Oh yes, this was going spectacularly well.

"That was for loving me for ten years and never saying anything. And for dating those stupid girls. And acting like an obnoxious, egotistical moron." She paused briefly before adding. "And for waking me up at one a.m."

Roy swallowed nervously, feeling about an inch tall. He was glad his staff wasn't here to see him, Roy Mustang the great charmer of women, reduced to a stuttering mess by his lieutenant.

"I'm sorry," he mumbled, apologizing for the indiscretions she'd mentioned and maybe some she hadn't.

"You … really love me?" All the anger had fled from her voice, leaving the doubt exposed.

Roy nodded a little miserably, wondering if she was going to hit him again. A hand fisted in his shirt, dragging him forward and down. He flinched and squeezed his eyes shut, bracing himself for the blow.

Instead, warm lips covered his own. It took him a moment to register that she was actually kissing him and that meant she wasn't rejecting him. Feeling elation catapult him to new heights, he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her closer, like a drowning man clinging to a life raft, deepening the kiss.

It felt like flying.

When she pulled away, her eyes were warmer than he had ever seen them. "Well, it's a good thing I love you, too."

Now he was soaring.

"So, I hope this means you won't be transferring."

She laughed and rested her messy head against his chest. In turn, he placed his chin on top of her head, marveling at how amazing it felt to hold her. "No. I won't be."

He sighed in relief. "Good."

"Still, I wonder who our secret admirers were."

Roy froze, the pieces fitting together in his mind to form one incredible picture. The men talking about Riza's love life, carrying on in secretive whispers, disappearing for unexplained errands….

And Fuery had been fidgety for almost a month. Which was right about when this whole mess started.

Oh. Oh, he was so going to kill them. They were going to die in agony.

"I think I have a pretty good idea."

Fuery was more than a little surprised when Hawkeye came in smiling the next morning. Somewhere, he was absolutely sure Hell had just frozen over. And then the colonel walked in with the same soft kind of smile on his face, as though yesterday had never happened at all. At first, Fuery was sure he was seeing things—especially when he caught the brief, but somehow intimate touch on the arm Mustang gave Hawkeye—but his comrades voiced astonishment as well, so he wasn't going completely crazy. Yet.

Then, Mustang called them into his office.

Fuery knew that the end had come. They had been found out and now Mustang was going to set them all on fire, or throw them in prison for an indefinite amount of time, or have them court-martialed for insubordination in the highest degree. Either way, this was it.

He'd never gotten the chance to tell his mother good-bye.

As they filed in with the air of condemned men, though Havoc was trying his best to appear nonchalant, Mustang didn't even glance up from his paperwork.

He was so mad he wasn't even going to look at them as he roasted them alive.

"Havoc, Breda, Falman, I have a new mission for you." The colonel sounded casual but when he looked up there was a gleam in his eye that sent shivers down Fuery's spine. His name hadn't been called. What did that mean?

"What is it, sir?" Falman asked with unmistakable dread in his voice.

Mustang smiled pleasantly at them, but his glinting eyes made the expression seem downright evil. "The military is reorganizing some of its warehouses and need staff to help catalog inventory. I've assigned you three. Report there tomorrow at six a.m. And be prepared, this mission could last several weeks."

A cloud of depression descended upon the three officers. Havoc looked ill. Falman seemed resigned. And Breda appeared to be about two seconds away from murdering Havoc right there in the office. Mustang just looked entirely pleased with himself. "That's all. You're dismissed."

They almost made it back to their own office, but Lieutenant Hawkeye spoke up from her place at the colonel's shoulder. "Oh, and since you will be absent from the office for the next few weeks, I thought it would be wise to get a head start on the paperwork. It's on your desks. I expect it completed by tonight."

The three flinched, then trumped out of the office silently. But right before the door closed Fuery heard what sounded like Breda crying "I hate you, Havoc. This is all your fault!" and a long-suffering sigh (probably from Falman.). The door shut with a loud click, cutting off Havoc's answering retort.

Fuery remained frozen to the spot, unsure if he had been dismissed or if a harsher punishment awaited him. He tried not to shake when the colonel's dark eyes landed on his.

To his amazement, Mustang shot him a dry smile, free of any evil tint. "I'm taking Riza out on a date tomorrow night."

Fuery choked on the air leaving his lungs. "R-really?" Havoc's crazy plan had actually worked?

"He is," Hawkeye confirmed, smiling brightly at the colonel and looking more like a woman than Fuery had ever seen her. She was radiant. He took a moment to stare at her in amazement, marveling at the change. It appeared some good had come from this fiasco, after all.

"I'm telling you because I can trust you not to tell Havoc. I will never hear the end of it if he finds out." Mustang leaned forward and folded his hands under his chin, regarding Fuery with amusement. "You're good at keeping secrets, aren't you, Fuery?"

It didn't sound like a question, but Fuery nodded frantically anyway. "Yes, sir, of course!"

Mustang chuckled. "Good. You're dismissed, Sergeant. You will remain with us in the office. But if you ever take part in such a plan again, I'll fry you faster than you can blink."

Fuery squeaked in terror and fled from the office, only bothering to feel relief when he sat down at his desk and realized that his stack of paperwork was noticeably smaller than his fellow officers'.

By some miracle Mustang wasn't that mad at him.

He was still going to draft a will, though. Just in case.