Disclaimer: I do not own Fullmetal.


The afternoon was passing very slowly and Vato Falman's attention was beginning to wander away from the papers piled before him on the desk. Colonel Mustang had spun his chair around to face the window so that none of them could see him, but they all knew that he was most likely taking a nap. Fuery, too, seemed to be nodding off despite his best efforts, his head dropping down toward the small collection of devices arrayed on his desk awaiting repairs. Breda was making no pretense at working as he lounged back in his chair and stared at the ceiling. Even Havoc was staring blankly at his papers with drooping eyelids and a pen held limply in his hand.

Only Hawkeye remained diligent, the laziness of the afternoon not seeming to affect her. Her mahogany eyes scanned over each page and her small, skilled hands lay folded on the desk when they were not turning pages or holding a pen. Before Vato realized it, he found his whole attention absorbed with watching her. He tried to be discreet, his eyes half-lidded and hopefully unreadable as he pretended to look at the forms and reports in front of him.

The afternoon sun was shining at a slant through the window of the office and lighting up her blonde hair, making the stray strands glow like a halo. Usually Hawkeye was very fastidious about keeping her hair neat and out of the way, twisted up into the brown bar clip she always wore, but it looked as if she had forgotten to correct some of the strands and they lay now, wisps of gold falling down onto her shoulders. Falman watched as she moved her right hand, her palm and fingers calloused from handling firearms, up off the desk and rested her cheek on it, her attention never leaving the page. She read on, eyes focused and lips slightly pursed in concentration. This was a surprisingly casual posture for her, and it made Falman think that perhaps she wasn't as immune to the general mood of indolence that permeated the office as he had thought. But even despite her slight acquiescence to languor, Falman mused, she was a model of perfection and beauty – of a soldier and a woman. She had resisted taking off her jacket, despite the late summer heat, but the shape of her slight shoulders and slim but strong body was still discernable beneath the layers of blue fabric. She was like silk and steel, a fusion of delicate beauty and stony resolve. Her round face and big brown eyes and perfect lips, all framed by light blond hair might have looked out of place in the office of a Colonel in the Amestrian military if the look in those same pretty eyes was not so intense. There was something about her, about the way she looked at you and the way she carried herself, the flash of her eyes and the readiness of her trigger finger that spoke of a quiet strength that was not to be ignored and a lightness and grace that could not be denied.

As he studied her, mind wandering into strange poesy, Vato saw her eyes finally stop flitting over the page and glance over at the back of the brown chair where Mustang was sleeping. A very small, slightly devious smile curled her lips for just a second before she stood and took four measured steps toward the window. The rays from the low sun gave her skin a warm golden glow and her hair, those strands that were free of the bar clip, floated in the hot summer breeze that came in through the open window before her. Her hands were clasped respectfully behind her back but her little fingers curled mischievously as she turned her head just slightly toward the Colonel.

"Nothing is getting done in this heat, sir," she said, and at the sudden sharp sound of her voice there was a startled gasp from the chair and Mustang jumped awake, looking in panic all around him until he realized that he was still in the office. Hawkeye smiled perversely for just a second and then hid her amusement quickly. "Perhaps we should call it a day?"

"Uh, sure," the Colonel said groggily, trying to rub the sleep out of his eyes with the back of one heavy hand. "Take the rest of the day off, men. But you'd better come in tomorrow ready to work."

"Yes, sir," they answered and began to gather up their things. Hawkeye returned to her desk to organize her papers and writing implements as she did every day before leaving and for a moment she caught Vato's eye with hers. A little knowing smile spread across her face and up into those warm brown eyes until she turned away again to face the Colonel. She saluted him, her back straight as a rod, and he waved her off, as he did every day, and she turned on her heel and left the room, the graceful bend of her pale neck above the top of her collar catching a stray sunbeam as she went through the door.

"What are you looking at, Falman?" asked Mustang, an unreadable smirk on his lips and a spark in his eyes.

"What?" he asked, startled. "Oh, nothing, sir."

The Colonel just continued to smile. "I thought so." And Vato wached as Mustang walked out of the office before him and into their newly free afternoon.