Could not get this idea out of my head. Takes place between Chapters 63ish and 87 - post the team's separation, prior to being reunited and a different take on Roy finding out, harshly, that Pride has gotten to Riza. They touch on serious, underlying angst in the manga but never continue with it; the author wanted it lighthearted overall. So this is what fanfiction is for. Royai, and heavy RoyHavoc friendship, because I think if they were given a spotlight, Roy and Havoc would make great banter (not to take the place of HughesRoy, of course, but to show that Roy can form new bonds and deal with the demons). Keep in mind Riza has already encountered Pride. Since a fanfiction writer is not an author, per say, I won't say this isn't a bit out of character - but then, I put them in a bit of a more serious situation to test the limits of what I can believably have them do. They are being watched and the city has eyes and ears. Please review if you luff meh?


.:. Shards .:.

" –to be used if you step out of line, Mustang."

The world is out tonight– a unified throng which chokes the cobblestones.

One would believe this is an effective method of haggling incognito, but eyes peer into miniscule cracks and whispers cannot be wholly stifled. Not with ears a-quiver, poised for citizen secrets.

Coincidence is all it is, pure accidental beauty. Being in the same city and line of work is bound to make this pass. They breathe the same air whilst gazing at the same polluted skyline, fighting the same demons in their sodden sleep.

Sodden with liquor, sopping with sweat. Either way, they love to drown.

How dare he make it obvious, brazenly strong-arming the door to the bar, leaving his poor compatriot to abandon the pouty femme fatale to chase him into the throng? A unity of disgusting couples with granted freedom to simply be, youth wantonly indulging at every turn.

The lampposts and lights, all made of lies.

Liquor's sting is not enough.

"Sir, really, I enjoy slogging around drunkenly, looking for women painfully out of my league." Lights his cigarette, his tone light and laced with hidden truths. "But for once, I'm the only one gaming here - I'm dragging around a stick-in-the-mud!"

Arms folded, the dark-eyed man squints, surveying the trolling mass and its inborn beat. Tonight, all hearts were on a passionate wavelength, a feeling he could never explain or grab 'hold of. War has curbed him, leaving him emotionally stunted and perhaps retarded, or maybe just capitalizing on faulty biology.

And then, he sees her.

Glimpses of her, they snag his dark, tumescent gaze. Being jostled by carefree adolescents and rumpled-suit businessmen, she still holds tight to herself: Double-looped around her hand is an unattached dog leash, and the small paper bag with a meal or two close to her chest. So tired is she that her stiff stance undulates, gracefully accentuating her hip –the firearm on it is strapped tight. Loaded.

"Colonel—"

Havoc yanks his elbow, attempting to snap his superior officer – and right now, his friend – out of his reverie. Trying to tear him away from the middle of the sidewalk on which he stands, entranced and intoxicated.

While the people, the blood in the veins of a city, flow around him, he's trapped.

"You can't," Havoc asserts, pulling him away, toward the hole-in-the-wall bar, away from the street, toward other women. Any other woman but this one, the Colonel's liability. "This is why I came, man."

But now the dark-haired soldier has too clear a view, and the moonlight chooses to shine.

The cut glistens.

The blonde's jaw tightens as she stares over her shoulder, uncharacteristically preoccupied by the gaping alley behind her. It pulls all the little fibers in her skin, making it protrude. Unconsciously her hand brushes it, an action that revealed enough to the man watching her. It was wrong, it wasn't like her, and he knew it all in an instant.

"Lieutenant," he murmurs, so silently, the gentle nuzzling of tree leaves.

And then, she sees him.

Drunken and rumpled is her superior officer, eyes inflamed and countenance undone. He rocks, a slave to whiskey and loneliness. Havoc's tugging is halfhearted and useless.

Eyes lock. He drowns in a color too familiar to his crutch – she drowns in a shade too similar to her fears.

Again her fingers drift to her cheek– she watches him watch her. Long golden hair is lifted in the wind's cadence while his mane is merely ruffled. He sees her stress lines. She sees his shadow and stubble. The world is out tonight; thankfully, it is a mass of ignorance. Seconds melt into halves of themselves, and time slows to a stop.

Panicking—

She's been cut –

Worrying—

He's been drunk—

Obsessing—

She's been followed—

Fearing—

He's been neglecting his plans—

Vengeful—

That bastard's hurt her—

Aching—

Bradley's mind games are torturing him—

She's scared.

He's scared.

How astute they are, that in the middle of the night through crowds and noise, they still know. What lovely antiquity between them that a conversation transpires through silence.

The lights turn, and she stumbles a bit before joining the throng. Heart and body wrapped up tight.

Legs working again, though barely, he lunges for the crosswalk.

Havoc struggles to grab hold of his officer – he can feel the weight pressing upon them, eyes glittering from dark corners. Watching. Dazed and defeated, the colonel presses on, his eyes fixed on the scarred curve of her cheek. She walks quickly, eyes darting from him to the lamppost which marks her destination.

"Sir!" Havoc warns, so nervous his cigarette has been abandoned, trampled under the feet of one-hundred-one city-dwellers.

They approach one another; he with his arm outstretched, her with her head held high.

Grasps her sleeve, prompting a last lock of eyes – amber and pitch and drowning and fear.

She brushes past him as he murmurs, "Riza."

Heels clicking past, she raises her head once more and continues on.

He turns, besotted and wilted in the middle of the crosswalk. Watching her gentle curves sway, and the firearm at her hip rising and falling along.

Havoc overtakes his boss as she reaches the sidewalk on the other side. Baffled, he joins him in staring at the Lieutenant, who now turns, her glittering cut so stark in the moonlight.

Threateningly winding on the cement are the dark shadows, fear personified. If it were possible for her to clutch herself tighter, she would have. Slowly, the blonde's free hand trails upward, over her stomach and comes to rest just above the curve of her breast. Resting on her heart as she met their gaze.

The colonel lunges again, but Havoc's ready. Wrenching his arms behind his back, he pulls him as close as possible, accommodating his superior's senseless thrashing and unintelligible anger, thick and retarded through a filter of whiskey.

"You—can't—help her, Colonel!" he roars in his ear. The blonde watches, stony but helpless, as the coal tendrils wind up her calves, one snaking over the crest of her shoulder, poised at her neck. Body rigid, gun inaccessible, heartbeat caught in her throat.

"Not yet!" Energy sapped from his personal drinking bout, his dirty-gold hair rests in the small of the Colonel's tensed back.

"Don't ruin it, man . . . the Lieutenant won't let you."

Finally, he's lost the coherency to fight. Limbs going slack, he is a rumpled, nameless bar-goer. And as he does the shadows recede, leaving no traces or faces as the alley swallows them whole. Again, she is left unsteady, stumbling as she tries to regain her bearings—left, right, left, right. The only sounds that seem real are her fingers crinkling the paper bag, her heel-clicks, their ragged breathing as she struggles down the sidewalk, away. Toward home and a puppy, away from the omniscient government's eye. Toward a lonely apartment and away from the lights.

Anywhere but this street, far from her handsome, hot mess of a boss.

"She gave you that look. 'Don't ruin it.'"

There is an awkward silence. Perhaps, though, it's easier than speaking.

"Havoc." Passing the back of his bare hand across his lips, Mustang croaks, "You're dismissed."

There is no response, but it is not necessary. On the same brisk night some days later they will meet again, lamenting and becoming numb.

So numb that the only friends of any soldier are the dregs in the smudged, empty glass.


Still in heels, legs splayed on either side of her, she fiercely tears the paper off the heavy bottle.

Sloppy, sodden, shaking and sweating: Riza Hawkeye should not be any of these things.

Hayate whimpers as she pours herself a shot into a glass she never meant to use.

Gone.

A second passes; she relishes the sting. Then her eyes narrow at the amber liquor, as if it had done her a personal wrong.

Pulling herself to her feet, she sways, exhausted and mentally paranoid. And as a shutter in her bedroom slams against the house she jumps—

CLING.

She is not quite sure if she dropped it or hurled it upon the floor in personal disgust. Regardless, she quickly obtains a broom, sweeping the amber-tarnished glass to the bedroom balcony. Swish, swip, swish, tinkle, and, pushed through the bars, shards begin to rain down on the sidewalk.

Around him they crash, shattering again into pieces unseen, ground into the cement by one-hundred-one moving feet. Some fall into his tussled hair, slice his bare hands and face, but nothing is so painful as to listen to her silence. This is life for them, so it will be: Struggling, hell always raining upon them, a curtain of sharp glass keeping them apart. Shards of guilt, exploitation – she's so close that she cannot be touched.

And to the night, she murmurs in nostalgia.

" . . . Roy."