A/N: Well, my over-achiever posting plan epically failed. But at least I managed to update according to my regular weekly schedule. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: You might think that this is only here to remind you that I don't own FMA, but it's really just a ploy to make you read more words before actually getting to the real story. Sneaky, aren't I?
Mustang looked up as Hawkeye opened the office door. He put down the file he'd been pretending to examine and let his lip curve upward in a teasing smirk. "Well, well, Lieutenant. I must say—I didn't expect you of all people to be late."
She glared at him, instantly aware of the fact that he'd been standing there for the past ten minutes just so he could greet her like this. "I sincerely apologize for my tardiness, sir. Though I do protest that this is a perfect example of the pot calling the kettle black."
Havoc let a snicker escape his lips. "She got you there, Colonel."
A flicker of annoyance flashed across Mustang's face, but in a split second his expression returned to its usual smug and cool disposition. "While that may be the case, Hawkeye, I think the least you owe me is an explanation."
"Very well, sir." She shrugged off her coat and hung it over the back of her chair. "Apparently, for the past week Hayate has been making quite the commotion back at my apartment. According to the landlord, he barks promptly at seven-thirty every morning and wakes up all the neighbors before stopping. Everyone on my floor has filed at least one complaint." She paused. "Though to be perfectly honest, I think seven-thirty is a perfectly reasonable time to be out of bed."
Havoc snorted. "Just because you get up at five every morning doesn't mean everyone else has to, Hawkeye."
"Yeah, Havoc needs his beauty sleep," Breda smirked into his breakfast sandwich. "Although it doesn't seem to be working wonders with the girls, anyway."
Hawkeye interrupted before the argument could escalate. "You do realize that all offices are supposed to be up and running at six-thirty everyday. Someone has to get here on time. Otherwise we risk another strike on our records."
Havoc scratched his head. "What? Another strike? When'd we get the first one?"
"I believe it was when Fuery rewired our office electricity but ended up accidentally cutting off the power for the entire HQ building," Falman spoke up.
Fuery turned red. "It was only because I lost that bet with Breda. I didn't have any more money so I just did what he asked."
Breda shrugged. "I wanted a makeshift hot plate to heat my afternoon snack. So sue me."
"HQ almost did," Hawkeye reminded them wryly. "Now, as engaging as this conversation is, it's already eight-thirty. I think we should start working."
She sat down to the rustling of papers and scratching of pens. Noticing the hand still resting on her desk, she looked up and raised an eyebrow at her colonel. "That means you too, sir."
Mustang ignored her verbal prodding. "I just wanted to know if you figured out what was causing Hayate to bark."
"No." She tapped her pen absentmindedly. "He was perfectly quiet today. I stayed past seven-thirty, but he didn't make a sound. Not even a whimper. I have no idea what's gotten into him."
Mustang shrugged. "Maybe he misses you."
She glanced at him skeptically. "Of course. Never mind that he's already seen me leave and come back without a problem for two months. No, just this week, precisely at seven-thirty, he realizes that he misses me and begins barking to convey his sorrow. His angst is relieved, conveniently, by the time all the people on my floor have been awakened, and he goes on about his day. Until tomorrow. And the day after that."
"It was just an idea." Mustang held up his hands to ward off her sarcasm. "But you've mentioned before that you haven't been able to spend as much time with him lately, so maybe it does have something to do with him missing you."
"Maybe." She skimmed the paper in front of her and filled in a couple of the blanks. "I'm going to stay with him tomorrow just to make sure nothing's really bothering him. So if you'd allow it, Colonel, I'll be late again."
"Certainly." Mustang slipped his hands into his pockets and leisurely walked back to his own desk.
Hawkeye glanced at the clock as she scratched Hayate's upturned belly. "Seven-thirty," she told him. She raised an eyebrow as he continued to pant contently. "Not feeling like an alarm clock today?"
Suddenly, her dog sat up, ears perked and nose pointed at the door. Excited, he ran over and began scratching at the wood, barking all the while.
"Hayate!" she spoke sharply. Immediately the puppy backed away and returned to her side. But his attention was still clearly focused on the door.
She nearly jumped when a sharp rapping came from the other side. "Coming," she called, frowning. Had the neighbors come to scold her again?
"Morning, Hawkeye," Mustang greeted cheerfully as soon as she opened the door.
"…Sir?" The only visible sign of her surprise was her bewildered stare.
"Mind if I come in?"
She stepped aside, too dumbfounded to resist. He strode in casually. "Impeccably clean as always. Excellent, Lieutenant," he commented as he looked around the apartment.
The two officers turned their attention to Hayate. The dog's tail was waving frantically, hitting the floor with every wag. He fidgeted, claws clicking on the wooden floor, but remained more or less in place.
A small smile tugged at Hawkeye's lips. "Go ahead," she said. Without another moment to waste, Hayate jumped up and bounded over to run circles around Mustang.
The colonel chuckled and bent down to pet him. "Energetic today as well, eh, Hayate?"
Hawkeye's gaze instantly switched from her dog to her superior officer. "What do you mean by 'as well,' sir?"
"Oh. Well…" He looked up as he scratched the ecstatic puppy behind the ears. "I've been seeing him a lot lately. Especially this week. Well, except yesterday; I saw you through one of the windows and decided I didn't need to drop by."
She crossed her arms and glared. "So you're the reason I almost got kicked out of this building."
"I wasn't trying to." His grin was apologetic. "I always came in as fast as I could to hush him, but I still need time to unlock the door and by then everybody else is already awake."
She exhaled loudly through her nose, massaging her left temple. "And exactly how do you have a set of my keys?"
His grin morphed into a playful smirk. "That's classified alchemist information, Lieutenant."
"Well, I guess it's better than breaking and entering," she relented, relaxing her stance a little. "So let me get this straight, sir. While I was at HQ wondering when you'd finally grace us with your delightful presence, you were sitting in my apartment playing with my dog."
"I've got to watch over my subordinates," he defended as he slid a (non-alchemic) glove across the floor for Hayate to chase. "And this little guy is the best one I have."
"Hm." She crouched next to him and rubbed her puppy's back. "Should I take offense to that?"
He leaned in closer to whisper conspiratorially. "Hayate's only the best because he's in the care of my favorite subordinate."
The dog's ears flicked towards them and Hawkeye's smile grew. "I think he heard you, sir."
"Oh, my apologies. He's in the care of my favorite subordinate and my wonderful self," Mustang corrected with a wink.
She shook her head with a look of mock disapproval. "There are many, many words I would use to describe you, Colonel, but 'wonderful' is definitely not one of them."
"Ah, yes. But I'm sure 'unbelievably talented' and 'irresistibly handsome' are on that list."
"I suppose those two would have to be on there in an attempt to balance out all the other much less flattering ones," she teased.
He raised a finger. "But you admit that I'm both unbelievably talented and irresistibly handsome?"
"Your words, not mine," was all she said.
A/N: So... I've been a bit unmotivated lately (BIG understatement). I should probably dig up that new FMA movie from some corner of the internet to get my creative juices flowing again. But next week I'll be out of town so I'll have a legitimate excuse for not updating. Until the 13th of August, then, my dear, wonderful viewers. We will meet again :)
Thanks for reading!