I disclaim… Except for Mrs. Braxton. She is a spawn of my own mind and rightfully deserves any disdain you may have for her.
a.n. Contains vague spoilers for chapter 108. Really, it's nothing you can't discern by staring at pages 110-111 long enough. But still, read at your own risk. Originally written for Royai day, but I've now missed that deadline. At least it was written on Royai day, eh? ;p Also, the few swear words that do make themselves present are meant to be taken in their literal sense, not their derogatory one. Unless, of course, like me you enjoy silly puns.
summary: When Black Hayate fraternizes with the neighbor's dog, Riza finds herself the owner of three mischievous puppies. Naming them proves to be quite a challenge. Oneshot. Royai. Post Chapter 108 [vague spoilers]
A Puppy Story
A Fullmetal Alchemist Oneshot
Sharp, desperate barks echoed off the walls of her cluttered apartment, accented by wild scratching at the front door. The faint sound of whimpering drifted in from the hallway, and the sharp rapt of knuckles against smooth wood culminated in a headache inducing alarm that was impossible to sleep through.
Though it was only a quarter past nine, Riza Hawkeye had turned in for the night a good hour ago. A week spent in the desert was exhaustive (especially when coupled with babysitting the recently appointed General Mustang), and her first night back had been spent with an extra long shower, an oversized mug of tea, and an early bedtime. It was a matter of days before she'd be back, continuing to oversee the rebuild of Ishval, so the brief return to office hours and her regular routine were welcomed.
Unfortunately, the noise coming from her apartment door was not.
With a groan she kicked her covers off, grabbed for her robe, and slid her favorite pistol from its comfortable bed in the top drawer of her nightstand. Light steps dusted across the floor as she picked her way past half packed boxes and worn furniture. "Hayate!" Her stern voice was enough to calm the boisterous Shiba Inu, his barks quieting as he sat himself near the door, tail wagging rapidly. A quick glance through the peephole pulled a sigh from the woman, and a moment later the door was opened.
"Something wrong Mrs. Braxton?"
Before her stood the rather pretentious woman who lived down the hall in all her four foot eight inch glory. Graying red hair was permed to perfection, a dress of the latest fashion cloaking her figure and accented with sparkling ruby jewelry. The elder woman stood in stark contrast to Riza with her short, bed mused blonde hair, threadbare robe, and collared men's dress shirt that hung to her hips. Her grip on the gun held loosely in her right hand tightened marginally, the only hint of tension in her stoic composure. To say the two women did not see eye to eye was an understatement.
"Ah, finally spending the night at home for once, Hawkeye." Narrowed green eyes gave the soldier a once over before the woman uninvitedly pushed her way into the apartment carrying a large, cardboard box. The insinuation of her words was not missed; Riza's grip on the gun tightened.
The box was placed gently on the floor, the only thing differentiating it from the other mounds of cardboard being the quiet whimpers that drifted from its top. Curiously Black Hayate made his way towards it, tail wagging happily as he nosed at the canine scented package. Before Riza had a chance to question the unexpected delivery, Braxton had wheeled around to face her, an accusatory finger pointed at the black and white male.
"That worthless mongrel of yours has been sniffing around my precious Lucila for far too long. I've told you countless times to keep him away from her, but do you listen? No! Have you taken my advice and gotten him fixed? No! You promised me he was well trained and wouldn't be the nuisance he's proven himself to be! Just because your amorous General or whatever he is now gave that mutt some useless rank to try and impress you does not excuse his behavior towards my poor Mittelspitz. I don't want to see him or those wretched little half-breed scamps of his anywhere near my Lucila. Do I make myself clear, Hawkeye?"
The woman's shrill voice only added to the dull ache that was slowly building in her head. Mrs. Braxton had never been fond of Black Hayate because his lack of papers did not meet her pedigree standards, but despite one or two minor incidents involving the fluffy dust mop that harpy called a dog he had always behaved like a perfect gentleman in her presence. Riza racked her brain for anything he could have done recently to incite this woman's wrath, but he'd spent the week in Ishval with her. In fact, it had been more than two months since she last remembered Hayate getting himself into any trouble involving Lucila.
"I'm afraid I don't follow," said Riza warily. The whimpering coming from the box as well as a rather proud looking Hayate sitting beside it had given her a vague idea, but she wanted Mrs. Braxton to confirm it. Black Hayate couldn't possibly… Could he?
"Don't follow? Don't follow!" The older woman was practically screeching. "I'm talking about puppies, Miss Hawkeye. Puppies! That horrible little tramp inseminated my precious Lucila and left her with three disgusting half-breed bastards!"
Riza's hand again tightened its grip on the gun. Slowly she made her way from the open door to the newest box on her floor. Bending down, burgundy eyes were met with the sight of three fluffy black and white puppies nestled in a nest of towels. There was little doubt that they were Hayate's children. They all resembled him in some manner, and even if they hadn't the way he was positively glowing with excitement meant he knew. Hayate had knocked up the neighbor's dog, and said neighbor was less than thrilled.
"Hayate…" His master patted his head once before rising to her feet and turning back to their evening intruder. "My apologies, Mrs. Braxton. I don't know how he-"
She was cut off by the incredulous glare of the aging socialite. "I'm beginning to think you don't know anything," Braxton snapped. "Just keep those filthy mongrels out of my sight. Good evening, Hawkeye."
The woman slammed the door on her way out, drawing a growl from Hayate. Riza quickly locked it after her and deposited her gun on the end table stationed by the door. Raising a hand to massage at her temples, she slumped to the ground near the box of puppies. Hayate cheerily wormed his way into her lap, snuggling into her as he licked at her elbow. "Hayate," she groaned with a stern glare as if to say, 'of all the dogs out there you just had to pick Mrs. Braxton's spoiled bitch.' The dog smiled back at her innocently before turning to again sniff at his children.
The next morning found Riza waking to a chorus of barking as opposed to her alarm. A part of her had been hoping last night had all been a dream. It wasn't uncommon for Mrs. Braxton to knock on her door at least twice a month with some sort of fabricated complaint against either herself or Hayate. Maybe the puppies had just been another one of her exaggerated white lies.
The yips and barks coming from her living room spoke otherwise, unfortunately, and Riza's tired mind was struggling to process what her eyes were telling her. Apparently Black Hayate had tipped over their box sometime in the middle of the night. Now her chaotic apartment was twice the disaster it had been and she doubted there was a piece of furniture left that wasn't sporting teeth marks. No wonder Mrs. Braxton had deposited the puppies on her doorstep first chance she'd gotten.
Had she not wanted to incur another lecture from that old woman, Riza would have disciplined them the same way she had their father. Firing off a round of bullets at six in the morning, however, would most likely anger more than just Mrs. Braxton. After the last two incidents (one of which had been an actual emergency resulting in the apprehension of a thief) there was a good chance she'd end up evicted.
One happy father and three giddy puppies looked up at her with wide, innocent eyes. Riza had a sinking feeling today was going to be a very long day.
Getting to the Eastern Headquarters on time had proved impossible. Thankfully she'd had enough insight to call ahead. When Mustang had asked why she'd be late (for usually he was the only reason she ever showed up late to anything), she'd given the rather vague answer of, "You'll see when I get there." Then she'd attempted to salvage what dog slobbered belongings she could before moving on to complete her usual morning routine.
Two hours and one bumped head later she'd finally caught the last of the puppies and dragged it out from under her kitchen table. She was careful to not whack her head a second time as she got to her feet, cradling the remaining male in her arms a moment before placing him in the basket along with his brother and sister. She then took a moment to straighten her uniform, clip on Black Hayate's leash, and gather the work she'd brought home with her. Collecting the basket filled with squirming puppies, Riza then locked her door as she made her way out of the apartment.
On her way into work she stopped in the pet store. Three collars with matching leashes and one bag of treats later the puppies were bouncing happily around her heels while Hayate trotted along in leisure. Were it not for her military uniform she would have looked like a profession dog walker.
By the time she'd finally reached headquarters her eyes were cold, mouth set in a small frown. Nearly everyone she'd passed had shot her a questioning look. It was one thing to see the stoic Captain with her well trained Shiba. Watching Riza Hawkeye trying to manage three boisterous puppies, however, was a completely different story. On top of that she would be bringing the untrained mutts to Brigadier General Mustang's office. Given the fact that she was the one person who was able to keep any sort of order in that office, the grapevine was soon abuzz with why she of all people would suddenly be the one to thrust it into chaos.
"Hawkeye?" Mustang's voice was curious as he watched his trusted right hand enter amid a flurry of fur and barking.
Fuery and Breda turned to see what all the commotion was, only to add their own shouts into the mix. Well, Breda was doing most of the shouting as he scrambled on top of his desk. Fuery was more so stammering happily as he made his way towards the puppies with outstretched arms.
"Puppies!" "The hell?"
Happy yips and barks filled the office as Riza let them off their leashes to explore. Her belongings she deposited neatly on her desk before taking her chair, resting her head on her hands and rubbing her temples. She was acutely aware of three pairs of eyes staring at her in concern, one small pup tugging merrily at her pants leg. "Apparently Black Hayate has been fraternizing with Mrs. Braxton's Mittelspitz."
"Middle-what?" It was Roy who asked the question as he picked up the fluffy female. "And isn't she that crazy old woman who lives a few doors down from you?"
"Mittelspitz. It's the normal sized version of the Pomeranian," Fuery piped in as he rolled the smaller of the two males on its back for a tummy scratch. Had Farman not remained stationed in the north he would have delivered a more technical answer.
Riza reached beneath her desk to pick up the remaining of the three pups, teasing it with a pencil while she picked up where Fuery left off. "She's not crazy," she started, adding, "at least not diagnosably," under her breath. "But yes. She has a fluffy black female around Hayate's size. She dropped the pups off last night, and considering the damage they did to my living room I can understand why she'd be upset."
"Don't defend her, Hawkeye. Every time I see that crazy ol' bird she's accusing you of being a cheap whore and comments on how I have worse manners than the dog. And she's always got something to complain about." Absentmindedly he scratched at the female's ear as she struggled to climb up his chest and smother him in puppy kisses.
"She's not that far off base on her comparison between you and Hayate, sir, though she'll most likely rethink that opinion now."
Riza didn't hide her smile as Mustang glared at her. Mrs. Braxton may have been a fan of hyperbole, but occasionally she would say something smart. It was better focus on the more amusing aspects of the older woman. As much as she would have liked to shoot her tongue out, knowing Braxton the woman would have personally served Riza an eviction notice the moment she was released from the hospital.
"Captain?" It was Fuery who pulled her from her bitter thoughts towards her neighbor. Riza noted that Breda had excused himself from the room as she turned her gaze towards the youngest member of their team. "Do you know what you're going to do with them?"
Her head shook back and forth lightly, a frown tugging on her lips. "I don't think I can keep them all, but I don't want to just give them away either. I'd rather Hayate's children not end up the way he did before you found him, Kain."
Fuery reached out to stroke the ears of the father in question who had come over to sniff at his son. Hayate had been lucky to have Hawkeye take him in, especially concerning the quality of his other potential owners at the time. Finding a home for him had been difficult. Attempting to place three more dogs would be nothing short of impossible.
Of course, situations were changed now. A bright smile lit up the spectacled man's face as he looked at Riza eagerly. "When they're old enough, could I keep one, sir? I mean, my promotion qualified me for off-base housing. I'm not in the dorms anymore. I'd be honored to look after one of Hayate's puppies!"
Shock briefly entered the Captain's eyes before giving way to a genuine smile as she watched Fuery spoil the little male that had now fallen asleep in his lap. "I'd like that very much. Thank you," she replied. Frankly, she couldn't think of a better choice for one of the pups. Fuery would take good care of mutt, if his relationship with Black Hayate was any indication. Now that just left the other two…
A startled 'mnph!' followed by the sounds of someone gagging broke through the sentimental silence of the office. Hawkeye and Fuery both turned to see the General furiously wiping at his mouth with one hand while trying to fend off the little female with the other. Apparently she'd managed to climb up to his shoulders and had wormed her way around his neck in order to smother him in licks and kisses.
"I think she likes you, General," Fuery chuckled from his seat on the floor.
Hawkeye lifted an eyebrow in question as Roy continued to splutter.
"She put her… mffh… tongue in my mouth!" A pout was on his lips as he tried to avoid another French kiss from the enthusiastic puppy.
Riza let out a silent laugh, watching her superior struggle at the mercy of tiny ball of fluff. "I believe you have more important things to be doing than making out with dogs, sir," she goaded as she purposely let her gaze land upon the stack of papers covering Mustangs desk. As an afterthought she added, "No pun intended."
This was met with a rather whiny, dragged out, "Hawkeye," from Roy before he got an evil gleam in his onyx eyes. Finally removing the puppy from around his neck he made a large show of planting a large kiss on her furry little head. "But I rather like making out with Riza."
As expected, the Captain stiffened and turned sharp eyes on him. "Riza, sir?"
Mustang's signature smirk was in place as he continued to ruffle the pup's fur, not once breaking eye contact with his aide. "Yes, Riza. I think it's a rather fitting name for her. Don't you?"
"No." Her voice was flat and rather cold.
Mustang chuckled. "You sure, Captain? Hayate would be pleased to have his daughter share a name with his beloved master. You agree, don't you Second Lieutenant Fuery?"
At suddenly being included in the conversation, Fuery turned a bright red. Undistinguishable sounds tumbled from his mouth as his gaze jumped between the Captain and the Brigadier General. Which was he supposed to side with? Both choices would have severely negative consequences for his young career. The question was, whose wrath would be the worse to incur? Mustang was his Commanding Officer, but Hawkeye was downright frightening when she wanted to be. No good could possibly come from siding with either of them.
"I-I… um… uh… s-sir…"
Thankfully his nervous stammering was interrupted by the return of Breda. Sandwich in hand, the large bellied redhead looked about curiously, making sure the unfamiliar dogs were far away from him at the moment. Then he took stock of the tension that seemed to fill the room and confusedly stared at his three fellow officers. Taking a bite of his sandwich, he let the door swing shut behind him as he mumbled out a, "Wha'd I miss?"
"T-the General wants to name one of the puppies after the Captain," Fuery stammered out, not turning to glance at the now returned First Lieutenant. This earned a snort from Breda.
"I could wake up to kisses from Riza every morning!" The smirk on Mustang's face was now downright evil as he stared down his beloved Captain. Sometimes it was just too easy to push Hawkeye's buttons.
Riza was doing her best to keep her blush from creeping any higher than her neck, where it was safely hidden by the high collars of her uniform and undershirt. Her features were schooled into a mask of ice. "That is highly inappropriate, sir."
Of course, it was hard to appear calm when the man one desk over was guffawing like a buffoon. "Man, Havoc's gonna be real pissed when he finds out he missed this conversation."
Thankfully Breda was easily silenced when the pup in Riza's lap found itself carefully balanced upon the port man's stomach, a ham cheese and salami sub held just out of reach. The Lieutenant went as white as a sheet, his body still as stone. There was even a good chance he'd stopped breathing due to fright. This, of course, drew amused chuckles from Roy and Fuery. Riza allowed herself a satisfied smirk before turning back to the topic at hand.
"If you intend to keep that puppy, you will not be naming her Riza."
Though pleased the woman actually would let him keep one of her dog's offspring, Roy couldn't resist pushing the matter. "Last time I checked I gave the orders around here, Captain." Special emphasis was put on her rank, though it was common knowledge the office they sat in really belonged to Hawkeye. It was her orders that kept work completed on time, even if she was the subordinate officer.
"And the last time I checked, that dog was still my property, sir. Either choose a new name for her, or I will not allow her to go home with you."
The two lower officers exchanged a glance. How Hawkeye always managed to maintain such a level glare was something they would never know. Why Roy always responded as if it was some sort of foreplay was even more bewildering. What they did know was that their safest course of action right now was to evacuate the office as fast as possible. Neither wanted to bare witness to whatever was going to happen next. Witnesses got put on trial.
"If you'll, uh, excuse us, w-we've got some forms to file. A-and I'm sure the dogs would like a walk." Fuery scrambled about clipping leashes to dog collars while Breda collected the handful of papers that had actually gotten completed that morning. They then exited the office as quickly as possible, leaving their two superiors alone in a stalemate glaring contest.
As the door slammed shut, Roy let out a quiet chuckle. This in turn drew out a soft smile from Riza. Their eyes turned to survey the now empty room.
"I don't think I'll ever get tired of that," he commented.
Riza's head nodded slightly in agreement, her eyes betraying her amusement. "We certainly know how to clear a room." Her gaze then shifted back to his, burgundy on coal. "Now about the puppy-"
He cut her off, voice soft. "If you really don't like the idea then I'll name her something else."
"Thank you, sir." She flashed him a genuine smile.
The next morning found the office in occupancy of only Hawkeye and her small brigade of dogs. At only a few weeks of age they weren't quite ready to be placed in their new homes and she wasn't going to risk leaving them alone in her apartment for the duration of the workday. That meant she had some time to find the remaining pup a home. Since Hayate had always been welcome around the base, it was no surprise that accommodations were made for his children as well. In relative silence she began work on the day's required paperwork, keeping her ears trained on the dogs in case of disobedience.
When Roy entered the room she neither paused nor looked up. She simply asked her question as she continued to write. "Have you decided on a new name, sir?"
"I think so." He paused as he passed by her desk, dropping a small, heart shaped dog tag in front of her. His usual, confident, know-it-all smirk was in place as he watched her pick it up.
"Sir…" Her voice was stern as she frowned up at him, turning the tag over in her fingers. Engraved on its surface were the letters E-L-I-Z-A-B-E-T-H.
He gave a noncommittal shrug as he took the tag back from her. "It's a pretty name for a pretty dog. Besides, there was no way in hell I was naming her either Maes or Fullmetal." He frowned for a moment before softening his features into a genuine smile. He looked almost boyish as he bent to her level, a secret tugging on the corners of his mouth. "Of course, my favorite kisses will always come from Riza."
The words were barely a whisper, meant only for her ears. Her smile was brighter in her eyes than it was on her face, but like his words it was an expression meant solely for him. Hesitant at first, she softly closed the gap between them with a gentle but passion filled kiss. They pulled apart a moment later, just seconds before Fuery entered with an armload of paperwork and a slightly overfilled coffee mug.
Roy smirked again as he made his way over to the mess of puppies snuggled comfortably in a large bed that had been placed in one of the corners. With a bit of trouble he managed to work the new tag onto the appropriate collar while Riza returned to her work and repeated her earlier question to Fuery.
"Have you thought of a name for your puppy, Kain?"
The Second Lieutenant gave a small shrug, adjusting his glasses as he settled in at his desk. "Not really, but I was thinking maybe Tesla." From the back corner, a bemused pup gave a sharp bark in agreement.
a.n. There, done, finally! Only took me seventeen hours, though I did pause to eat and watch a movie. Sadly, it's now past 5am so I missed all the US deadlines for official Royai day by a mile. Ah well. Considering most of my Royai day was spent reading chapter 108 and writing a Royai oneshot, I'd say it was a day well spent. xD
Alternate names for Fuery's pup included Marconi, Luke [Skywalker], and Ham (as in ham radio). I picked Tesla because given the whole Tesla/Marconi debate I like the way Tesla sounds better. ^^;;
In terms of ranks, I figured if Mustang was originally promoted one rank then his remaining subordinates would also end up promoted one rank. Except Fuery technically got two because I'm overly fond of him and wanted to make him a commissioned officer. ;p
Well, I hope you enjoyed this silly little piece of work. I've actually been wanting to write a 'Hayate has bastard puppies' fic for a while now. That image from the end of 108 finally kicked my muse into gear. Mrs. Braxton was shamefully fun to write. And hopefully the healthy does of Royai fluff at the end was well worth wading through the rest of the fic. I know I certainly enjoyed writing it. Also, I apologize for the few puns that might have popped up. They were sadly intentional. Puns are fun! Constructive criticism welcome. Thanks for reading!