Hello hello. :) Here's another chapter. Sorry it took longer than usual. I wrote up a really long chapter, but it ended up all drama-like, and with little humor. So thanks to Audrey- who told me it didn't fit the mood of the other chapters. I changed it now. And I'm somewhat satisfied. This is probably the last chapter, and the end of this story. If I get an idea of how to continue it, though, I'll try. :) Once again, enjoy! And thanks for reading until the last chapter.
"Gracia just came home from the hospital! I have a child now, Roy! We've named her Elysia, and she's the cutest thing ever!"
"Congratulations, Hughes." Roy truly was happy. Maes was his best friend since their military academy days. He was assigned to Central, living there with his wife and now, his daughter.
"You better get your sorry butt up here to see her soon, you're her godfather."
"I will, Maes, thank you."
"But before that, why don't you get married to a beautiful lady and produce a playmate for little Elysia?" came the light tone of the lieutenant colonel.
"Hughes." he warned. Roy had excused the fact that he was using the military line- he had just become a father, after all. But if it was turning into one of those conversations-
"Oh, get yourself a wife!" the arguably more cheerful man laughed into the phone.
Mustang, quite fed up, slammed the poor handset down. "I'll find a wife in my own time!" he shouted at the mechanism, though he knew Hughes wouldn't be able to hear.
"Sir, please refrain from letting your temper get the best of you." Hawkeye chided and frowned at him from her desk. The rest of the men, Havoc, Breda, Falman, and Fuery, were startled at the colonel's outburst.
"Chief, if you need a wife, you could always marry Hawk- oof! What the heck was that for, Breda? I think you broke something!" Havoc reached for his smashed toes.
After everything that had happened, all the misunderstandings, compromising situations and confessions, the four still believed that their commanding officer and the lieutenant were made for each other. In the pure love and feelings kind of way. Not the kind where they just- well, the kind that was temporary.
You could say they were both disappointed and relieved when they realized how their cunning superiors had tricked them. At least now they knew the truth.
"Did you hear??"
"That scheming girl- she's caught him for herself??"
"I think he's taking advantage of the fact he's her boss!"
"Does he think he can get away with this? The authorities will find out some time."
Fuery made his way through the crowded cafeteria to where Breda, Havoc and Falman were already seated. Barely taking in what people had been gossiping about, he was suddenly jerked to attention when he heard the name of his commanding officer.
"If Colonel Mustang thinks he can get away with it, he's in for a big surprise."
"Yeah, just 'cause he rose through the ranks so quickly, and at such a young age-"
"He probably thinks he can do anything."
"The laws get in the way of our relationships too- he can't be an exception!"
Two men walking in Fuery's direction didn't seem to notice the young man behind them as they complained about Mustang. What had the colonel done to upset them? He thought to himself as he sat down.
Then a high pitched voice caught his attention. It was one of the girls from accounting, seated on the next table, gossiping too.
"Mustang, she's got Colonel Mustang?"
"No way, that gun-loving tomboy?"
"What does he see in Hawkeye??"
"No idea! But John in the lieutenant colonel's unit swears he found them doing the down and dirty right in the office!"
"I thought he said he saw them kissing, or something."
"No, he apparently 'heard' something going on. Something very inappropriate."
"That conniving- I'd wanted Mustang to myself the whole time- What makes Lieutenant Hawkeye think she's exempted from the frat laws?? I'd like to give her a piece of my mind!"
By this time, the four men, who had heard everything, had paled considerably.
The rest of the morning had gone on quite peacefully. It was a slow day at the Eastern headquarters, and Roy soon found his thoughts wandering over to a certain blonde lady.
It was lunch time again. The four had gone to who knows where for their lunch break and he was sure he'd be alone with Hawkeye for quite a while.
Roy stared at the lieutenant from his desk. He stared quite blatantly, but if she noticed, she didn't say anything.
He admired the way her hair shined in the midday sun, at the way her skin was so clear. She possessed long eyelashes that brought out piercing auburn irises. She wasn't very tall, but not short either. She still had lean, long legs and a proportioned figure. Those were the simple but beautiful things on the outside. Don't even try to get him started on the inside.
She was strict, and expected nothing but the best performance from everyone, she herself never one to do anything halfheartedly. She was practical and reserved, but she was also kindhearted and caring. Even loving at times. Contrary to popular belief, she had a sense of humor, a witty one at that. She was extremely strong willed, even to the point of stubborn, but that only made her fiercely loyal, as he had seen all those years... He could go on describing her all day!
After all that thinking about it, he decided that he just had to tell her his feelings. Forget about the fraternization laws- didn't he do just that, that night, when he gave in to the excruciating temptation outside her door?
When he kissed her?
Neither had mentioned anything about it. Not a word. It was as if they had some unspoken agreement that prompted them to keep whatever they had felt about that night a secret. As if nothing had even happened.
It had been a spur of the moment thing, which he had thoroughly enjoyed, and now... craved. Well, that's what Roy felt. He didn't know what she thought, but at least she hadn't rejected the kiss. He only hoped she didn't think of it as a joke. Given what he had said on the occasion- 'What, no goodnight kiss?'- it was more than likely. He still mentally slapped himself for that from time to time
Then yesterday happened. Maybe it wasn't real. Maybe it was all an act. But he couldn't deny how much he enjoyed having her close to him, as if she were really... his. He had been going crazy thinking about his lieutenant. About his Riza.
He knew there was a chance Riza wouldn't even feel the same about him. It was against the law, after all. And she was never one to rebel. But he thought it was still possible. If they kept it a secret, if they didn't do anything to catch the higher-ups' attention, then it would be alright, he reasoned out.
The particular subject had kept him up night after night since their 'date'. This whole morning, she was still the only thing he could think about. Now wonder he was always being reprimanded by the same person for procrastinating and daydreaming. Would she be mad if she knew he was thinking of her?
That was it. It was driving him completely insane. He'd tell her now, before he chickened out. He wanted to tell her just how much he needed her. How he would go mad at the thought of her leaving him. How he thought she was the best thing that's ever happened to him.
So he got up from his seat and started to close the distance between them.
She only realized his presence when he was standing next to her. Yes, he had that effect on her. Reflexes, instinct, all her sniper training just disappeared when they were alone. Together. Unfortunately. "Colonel? What do you need?"
"I need..." You, he almost said out loud, but then quickly thought the better of it. "I want... to talk, Lieutenant Hawkeye. No, Riza."
Surprise registered on her face, but she swiftly regained her composure. "Sir, we aren't out of the workplace-"
"Yes, but I don't want to talk about work." he took her hands in his, his face tinged a slight red.
She looked at him expectantly.
"Riza, I lo-"
Then suddenly the door to the office banged against the wall, again. Hawkeye stood up, unconsciously pulling her hands out of Mustang's grasp.
"Havoc, didn't I tell you-" she stopped short when she saw Fuery had opened the door, not the other weapons specialist.
"Sir, Colonel Mustang! We've got a huge problem!" Fuery stammered out as he burst into the room.
"What is it, Master Sergeant?" he asked, quite annoyed at the interruption. There was what could have been the most defining point of his life, and-
"They- everyone- thinks you're having an affair with Lieutenant Hawkeye!" he glanced alternately between the two.
The lieutenant frowned, while the colonel couldn't help but roll his eyes in exasperation at the irony of it all. They weren't having an affair, no. But he wished they were.
"And why do they think that?" Mustang asked.
"Well... Some guy apparently heard something yesterday. When Lieutenant Hawkeye was..."
She involuntarily gasped when she realized. "I knew I shouldn't have-"
"Relax, lieutenant. You know very well that nothing happened between us. It's a baseless rumor."
"But what they heard-"
"There was nothing to hear." he said with conviction.
She didn't know whether to laugh or cry at his obvious lie. This could ruin both their military careers. He needed to stay- to get to the top. She needed to stay- to protect him on the way there. But she knew that she would be reassigned to a different unit if this got the higher ups' attention. She wouldn't be able to do her job then.
"Well, we could spread a different rumor." Breda's voice came from the door. "We could say that some girl who was in love the colonel got jealous of Hawkeye being so close to Mustang and spread that crazy rumor about him and the lieutenant so that Hawkeye would be separated from him."
"Or, someone who liked the lieutenant didn't want any chance of her falling for the colonel's womanizing ways. That sounds plausible too." Falman had added, right behind Breda.
"Or we could say that there's no way they got together- because the colonel's gay!" Havoc laughed boisterously.
"I am not gay." Mustang glared at him.
"Damn. If you were, then all the girls who left me for you would be sorry they ever broke up with me." he frowned.
"Well, we've still got to come up with something." Fuery reminded them timidly.
"Have you heard about the rumor of Lieutenant Hawkeye's marriage?" Havoc suggested.
"Her what?" Mustang glanced at Riza, who had her usual poker face on, not giving away anything in her expression.
"I'm-" she started to say.
"Well, you know, I heard that since she doesn't have any family here in the East, nobody knows Riza Hawkeye all that well. She's mysterious. Intriguing. And she's apparently married to some guy who lives in her hometown, that's why she shows no interest in dating."
"Where did you hear that rumor, Lieutenant Havoc?" she asked him.
"Around. People are curious, not to mention skeptical, as to why such a pretty girl like the lieutenant would be single. So she's got to be taken." he grinned at her.
"I'm surprised they got it right. I had to leave him up north when I decided to join the military. I do miss him terribly." she commented, frowning.
Five heads simultaneously turned to her in shock.
"You're married, Lieutenant Hawkeye???" Fuery's disbelieving voice broke the silence.
"No way. To who? Do we know him?" Breda's.
"What's his name?" Falman inquired.
"I always thought you were going to marry Mus-" Havoc was suddenly interrupted-
By Mustang himself- "What the hell, Riza? When did that happen?" his face looked panicked, mind reeling from all the possible explanations. When? After Ishbal? Right after her father died? And more importantly, who? Some guy from the town Mustang had partly grown up in?
She stifled a laugh but cracked a small smile. "You should see your faces. It was a joke. How could you believe something that outrageous?"
"So... It isn't true?" the older warrant officer clarified.
"I just got all confused there." Breda laughed.
"Well, if we believed it, then the others will too." Havoc cheered.
"We can make his whole background story and spread the news." Fuery put in.
Mustang was the only one who stayed quiet. He'd really been scared when he thought he'd already lost.
"Men, don't you think you should ask me first?" Hawkeye fixed them a serious expression.
"But we need to squash out the rumor that you two are having an affair!" Havoc looked at her as if it was obviously the only option. Easy, pretend she was already married.
"Because if we don't, you might be transferred to a different division- we need you over here, Lieutenant!" the young communications specialist assured her sweetly.
"It makes sense. Lieutenant, you don't have any living relatives, right?" Falman turned to her. She nodded, she didn't know of any.
"Great. Then let's start creating this guy." Breda grinned, as if it were a game.
Riza sighed to herself. So did Roy.
"Lieutenant General Grumman wants you in his office, sir." the sergeant informed Colonel Mustang late that evening. "He said to bring First Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye with you too, sir."
He must have heard about it, finally. The general was a very reasonable man. He'd listen to what they'd have to say, Roy tried to convince himself. But then again, what they could explain to him was utterly weird. How could he tell him that it was all a mistake- that Riza was acting, not trying to... seduce him in the office. Roy thought that maybe he deserved it. He'd been so stubborn with what he thought was nothing but harmless fun.
As he entered the office with Riza right behind him, he saluted in greeting. She did the same, facing towards the jolly looking man behind the desk.
"At ease, the two of you. Please, sit down." he invited them. They complied.
"It's come to my attention that you two have apparently gotten together. As you probably realize, that is against the rules and one of you should be transferred. The fraternization laws of Amestris state that it is acceptable for a soldier to have a personal relationship with other military personnel, though highly discouraged. But when one is the other's direct commanding officer, then it poses a slight problem." he looked at the two younger people from under his glasses.
'Sir-" Mustang started, "General, with all due respect, what you've heard is quite false. Nothing has happened between us. I see Lieutenant Hawkeye as a colleague and a friend, nothing more, nothing less."
"My feelings exactly, sir." She concurred.
"Sir, we're both happily single, and available. I don't think I'll be diving into a serious relationship anytime soon." Mustang continued to explain, while Riza stared at an empty space beside the general, expression unreadable.
"And here I was hoping you would marry my granddaughter. I wonder if there's still hope." The general directed his attention to Roy, but managed to take an imperceptive glance at the lady beside him, who was unaware of the fact her grandfather was still alive. And that he was right in that very room.
"Sir, I am not planning to get married anytime soon, as I have told you a number of times, sir." he replied, a bit aggravated. First Hughes, then Lieutenant General Grumman. Why was everyone so hung on seeing him tied down?
"But then I came across the strangest rumor. It seems my granddaughter has up and married already. Without telling me, her poor grandfather." he knit his eyebrows together, completely ignoring Roy's protests.
"I'm sorry, sir. That must have been heartbreaking." Hawkeye sympathized.
His eyes twinkled as he replied to her. "But you see, I don't believe it. I've been keeping an eye on her, and there's no way she's married. Maybe she's said so to keep people off her back. She's a very strong, independent woman. You'll like her, Colonel Mustang." he turned to him.
Roy felt quite uncomfortable discussing this around Riza. He was honestly interested in the general's granddaughter. But only because he talked about her all the time. Roy felt like he knew the girl himself. But it was still Riza he liked. Riza he loved.
"Well, if that's all cleared up, I guess there's nothing to worry about. As long as you're more careful about your secret, then no one will find out. You're dismissed." Grumman smiled knowingly at the two.
Riza spoke up. "Sir, there's nothing-"
"Thank you, sir." Roy interrupted her, saluting him. Riza, at a loss, followed suit. The older man acknowledged it and they both left the office. Leaving the eccentric old man grinning by himself.
"Sir. Nothing happened between us, remember?" She reminded him exasperatedly when they reached the privacy of their empty office. "Why, just why, do you keep omitting out that fact? Or even worse, implying it?"
"General Grumman understands, and he's been nagging me to get married. I bet he's so happy I've finally gone steady with a girl that he won't even mind the fact that we're both from the military." he explained quietly, turning around to face her.
That did it. "Sir, don't you think you should ask how I feel? Do you think I want to be seen as unavailable? I have no future prospects as it is. I've always wanted a husband. And then maybe some children. A family of my own. But then I realized that my performing service here was more important, so I pushed those dreams away." she informed him angrily. When he didn't reply, she continued, softly now. "Do you think I want to be associated with you? In that way? Your... lover?"
"I-" he was rendered speechless by her sudden outburst. And by the realization that she didn't return the feelings he had for her. There was a chance, but he was so sure-
"You thought I was in love with you, didn't you? You thought I was charmed by your handsome countenance, your oh so tantalizing personality, your intelligence and foresight, your admirable leadership- just like those women who throw themselves at your feet! That's awfully presuming, egotistical and utterly self-confident of you, to think that a woman has fallen in love with you, even when she hasn't shown the slightest interest!" her quiet, angry voice pierced the air.
Every word struck his heart with an inexplicably awful pain. She was right. Who was he to say they were an item when it was only a one-sided attraction on his part. What the heck was he thinking?
"But the thing is, you're right." she whispered, bringing him out of his self-loathing thoughts. "I'm not mad at you... I'm irritated at myself. Because I've... fallen in love."
He looked up at her in surprise. Then took in what she had said.
"It... almost drove me crazy, you know? It had me up all night thinking about you, again." Roy started, recovering his confidence from earlier. "You know, what you did. And not because I found it really... sexy..." he coughed. "Though I have to admit, that was a major factor." he smiled sheepishly, referring to her 'performance', before turning serious again.
"I love you, Riza Hawkeye." he smiled at her. " I loved you since... I don't even know! Since the time you accepted this position. Since the time we were stationed in Ishbal. Since the time we met in your home, barely teenagers. I really have, for a long time. Way too long."
She averted her gaze from his, and looked down at her hands instead, while he continued in his low, rich voice:
"I put my life in your hands because you're the only one I trust enough. Yesterday, whatever you did, I don't know how much of it was real. But I have to tell you that every fiber of my being had wished it were true. I want to hold you close, and I don't want to ever let you go, Riza."
When she looked up, Roy noticed the uncharacteristic tears spilling down her cheeks. A bit startled, he was relieved to see she was smiling. Truly smiling, with a little chuckle of relief to go with it. "Roy, you don't know how frustrated I felt. I... love you too, I always have."
Two hands circled the colonel's neck as she pulled him down towards her, and she pressed her lips to his. He twined his arms around her waist and deepened the kiss. Her heart literally went a fluttering at his tenderness, and the feeling of butterflies in his stomach was replaced by a sudden ardency, passion, at feeling her tears stain his own face. They lost themselves in each other completely.
"Would you be mine, Riza?" he asked when they finally broke apart, his arms still around her. Embarrassed at being seen in such a weak, damsel-in-distress-like state, she dabbed at her eyes with a tissue she grabbed from her desk.
"Yours?" she asked, raising an eyebrow at him when all the tears had been wiped away.
He gently seated her at her own desk, then to her amazement, got down onto one knee in front of her, stuck a hand into his pocket, and brought out a tiny blue box.
This was what he was trying to do when Fuery suddenly interrupted earlier. Now, at least, he knew what she felt.
No matter how disciplined and ready a soldier she was, the girl in her couldn't help but let out a gasp.
He opened it with a flourish, as if he'd already done so, many many times. And he had. He'd been practicing. The seat at the kitchen table could testify to that. Only now it was an office chair, and had a happily surprised-looking Riza on it.
"Riza Hawkeye," the way he said her name, in that voice- it was like hot chocolate on a cold rainy day. It was a voice she loved to hear. It was the kind that warmed her up almost instantly, once she heard it; It immediately filled her with a sense of safety.
"Yes... Roy?" she didn't know how she got the words out.
"Would you do me the honor of being my wife?" he asked slowly, softly. "If.. even in secret? I promise to take care of you, fraternization laws or not. You're the only woman I love now, and the only one I'll probably love forever." he added.
She pondered it a few seconds. Hesitantly, she placed her hands on his shoulders and smiled sadly.
"Roy, I can't accept this. I won't accept this."
His face fell at hearing her words. But before he could react anymore, she continued:
"At least, not before you attain your dream, change the country, and... get rid of those annoying fraternization laws."
He smiled in comprehension, albeit sadly. "I understand." he thought there was a chance she wouldn't accept, but that she would after he convinced her how they could keep their relationship a secret. He glanced at the thin platinum band with a diamond one last time and closed the box, returning it into his pants pocket.
"Are you... disappointed?" she asked him, standing and offering her hand to help him up from the floor. He took it.
"Yes, but it's okay." he shook his head as he stood. "In fact, I feel driven. It's something to keep pushing me to reach my goal, and certainly something I'm looking forward to."
"Thank you, Roy." she took him in a hug, arms around his broad back. He in turn wrapped his arms around her once more, placing his lips on her temple.
"So... I'm not worth breaking the law for, Riza?" I always knew you were a stickler for rules, but..." he asked into her hair cheekily. She heard, though.
"Apparently not, sir." she replied, not at all coldly. She smiled against his chest.
"I'll be counting on you, lieutenant. I need you."
"And I'll be here, colonel. Always here."
"Will you wait for me?"
"Sir, frankly speaking, you aren't going anywhere without me. I'd always be right behind you."
He smirked at her answer, then he leaned down to take her lips again. It was a kiss full of warmth, full of promise, full of longing. It was pure bliss, simply heavenly, just to be in each others' arms. For the last time in a long time, they both realized.
"Sniff. I'm so glad you forgot to take that bug out of her gun, Fuery." Breda smiled.
"They're so... sweet." Fuery cried, wiping his runny nose with a tissue.
"Not to mention sad. Tragic, even. Falman put in, a little teary eyed himself.
"I'm going to support the colonel to the end!" Havoc bawled out loud. "Men, this only means we've got to give better than our best to help Colonel Mustang achieve his goal. And for Lieutenant Hawkeye to get her happiness!"
"Aye aye, sir!" came the determined voices from the bushes outside Colonel Mustang's office.
Phew. That was long. I thought it was time my fic lived up to the romance genre I originally put it under. :) Thank you for reading this until the end. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it.
PS. To "Sandwiches". (I just hope you read this.) Thanks for reviewing! I wasn't able to reply to you though, since you did it anonymously. Thank you for pointing out my mistakes in the last chapter. I tend to do that. :) Thank you also, for what you said about my past works. Your words are way too kind. I'll do my best.