The last orange light of the setting sun slunk under the door frames and along window edges, fading quickly into the lamplight of the room, where it lay unnoticed by both occupants.
Mustang sat in his armchair, as he always did at this time, with Hayate at his feet. The colors of the setting sun were lost on his blind eyes, but the weight of the dog was solid, as was the weight of the book on his lap. It had taken some time to master braille, and reading was still far slower than it had been before their last battle, but it was at least possible now, and he usually took these quiet evening moments to read.
Hawkeye sat across the room at the main table, absorbed in the task of the maintenance of one of her weapons. She'd spread the pieces of the sidearm she was cleaning out on a cloth, wiping each piece with practiced strokes before replacing it quietly. The smell of oil and gunpowder wafted its way across the room to her superior - since losing his sight, his other senses had heightened; an unexpected recompense for his loss.
A series of quick metallic clicks meant that the gun was reassembled; the chunk of a loaded magazine pushed into the hand grip heralded the sound of retreating footsteps. The footsteps would return with his Lieutenant shortly, he knew, as soon as she put the box of cleaning supplies away and the gun in its place.
She returned to the room with a sheaf of papers, returning to her place at the table, intending to resume work, but a glance at the other man told her that he was far less engrossed in his reading than usual. Instead of the concentrated expression, eyes closed, that accompanied his fingertips brushing across the page, his eyes were open, following the sound of her steps, hand lax on the page, and a vague smile on his lips. The blind gaze was always slightly disconcerting at first glance - something both of them had discovered early on, but only she seemed to have adjusted to it. He kept his eyes closed while he was concentrating, especially at the office, but here, at home, he let them open more often. The gaze could be unsettling, yes, but for her only because she knew how precise it had once been.
"Is something the matter?" Her voice was neutral as always- that carefully controlled tone that was her trademark. It had not been the years of military academy that had schooled that control into her, or the years of dealing with the minutiae of the military's bureaucracy. It had been the years of holding a perfect façade as his counterpoint, and months of working to not trigger Wrath's anger. Her face would be just as neutral, he knew.
He nudged Hayate with his foot to dislodge the dog, who shook his head - his collar jingled - and trotted over towards his mistress. Closing the book, he stood up, setting it on the seat of the armchair and stepped easily towards the table. The layout of this room had been imprinted on his mind long ago.
"Nothing's wrong." He found the edge of the table and rested his fingertips lightly on its surface, skimming the edge as he made his way around the table. There- what he was looking for- the edge of the file she'd brought back. He tapped the top of it, and his expression lapsed into a familiar teasing one. "You're doing work again."
"That's nothing new." The reply was dry.
"You're not getting paid overtime for this, you know."
Hawkeye shot him a look she knew he couldn't see. He would be able to hear the sarcasm in her retort, as she shot back, "If I had ever asked for overtime, you'd owe me a fortune by now."
He smiled, and leaned back against the table, arms crossed across his chest. "But whatever would you do with a fortune, Lieutenant?"
One hand went to a hip in reply, eyes narrowing. "Hire you a strict nursemaid to keep you occupied, so I could get some work done, perhaps."
He pulled a pained expression before making one of his own trademark instant recoveries, smiling broadly at her. "I'm flattered you'd spend it all on me. There's no need, though." He reached out and successfully patted her shoulder. "I've already got one of those."
Hawkeye scowled at him, thoroughly aware of the futility of expressing disapproval through facial expressions. He seemed to guess her expression half the time anyways- one of many ways they functioned these days that seemed to unnerve most of the soldiers.
This was one of those times- Roy closed his eyes and looked away, still leaning against the table. "Don't look so cross. Unless you've been keeping state secrets from me, there's nothing pressing enough to require evening work."
He paused, and at her continued silence, started up in a cheerier tone- "Don't worry, I'm sure something will come up soon, and then I'll give you leave to work evenings all you like."
She sighed. It was useless to argue the point - they both knew that nothing was secret between them, and while the efficiency of the government was in large part due to her own ability to delegate, it was his orders that directed its path. But that wasn't the real issue. Usually their days were spent switching between their habitual gentle mockery for the benefit of their subordinates and the complete professionalism needed for meetings and audiences with envoys and emissaries. Evenings were spent tying up loose ends behind the scenes, or simply enjoying the quiet unattainable in the office. Hawkeye in particular spent her days surrounded by others, issuing orders, attending briefings, or simply attending the Colonel on his excursions, who himself had most of his news presented verbally. But tonight he was teasing her, which meant one thing.
She cocked an eyebrow at him. "What's put you in such a good mood this evening?"
"Come, come, Lieutenant, not all of us are as perpetually grumpy as you." Skepticism emanated from the nearby woman, and he smiled. Not because she was so easy to tease, and so easy for him to read, but because those very things were so critical to how unchanged things had been for them since his blindness.
"Does making it an entire day without a single person apologizing for forgetting I can't see count?"
Hawkeye stopped, casting her mind back across the day. Nothing had seemed particularly striking; things had functioned relatively normally all day, with only minor issues to deal with. But that was just it- things hardly ever functioned normally. There was always the one giant snag that she had to go sort out, or that he had to direct responses to, or some general or another managed to say something out of line, and the rest of the day would be damage control.
Vague surprise colored her voice as she replied, "I suppose it does, actually."
He pushed the file away from her, towards the far side of the table. "Let the work go for an evening, then. It will keep for tomorrow."
A smile couldn't be kept from her lips as she shook her head - safe, as no one could possibly see - and leaned back against the table next to the other man. Her voice was entirely devoid of accusation as she answered, "You are entirely insufferable, Roy Mustang."
The sly glance he sent her way and the smirk that accompanied it were more than familiar by now. "You seem to be doing quite well."
The smile stayed on her lips. "Only by years of practice."