Title: Silence of the Sound
Summary: She left to protect him — and herself. Even five years later it seemed like the best choice for everyone involved. But Riza should have known better. Fate has a funny way of making things work — no matter how hard one tries to run away —Royai—
Beginning Notes: So…this is me…trying again for FMA. I've been working on this story for awhile, and I really like it, so I figured I'd put up the first chapter, just to see if I managed to generate any interest. So…yeah. Read on!
Disclaimer: I do not own Full Metal Alchemist or anything else you might recognize. The only thing here that's mine is the idea and the laptop I write it on.
I've had some time to think about you
And watch the sun sink like a stone
I've had some time to think about you
On the long ride home
~Long Road Home by Patty Griffith
Silence of the Sound — I
Roy stared at the paper in front of him in disbelief. There was no way — no way in hell — that he was reading this right. There was something wrong with his eyes. There had to be.
"Something wrong, Chief?" Breda asked, twirling his pen between his fingers as he eyed his superior officer with a bit of curiosity in his eyes. Roy shook his head slowly, still staring at the papers and trying to process the words written on them.
"As of today, First Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye officially resigns from her post as aide and bodyguard to Brigadier-General Roy Mustang," he murmured out-loud, as if that would help him to figure this out. "Oh God, no…no way…"
He didn't see the concerned eyes of his subordinates gazing at him in bewilderment. What in the world could have upset their superior this much?…
"Sir? Sir…wake up, you have paperwork to do. Come on General…"
Roy Mustang's head snapped up as a gentle hand shook him awake. "Wha…?" He muttered, rubbing his eyes and raising his head to look into the gentle eyes of the lieutenant who had replaced Riza Hawkeye as his aide. "Oh, sorry Lieutenant."
He grabbed a file, pulling it closer to him and opening it. Maria Ross' lips quirked into a tolerant smile as she turned away from the tired general and went back to her seat. She could tell, by the dark circles that stood out in stark contrast against Roy's pale skin, that Roy hadn't slept the night before. That wasn't a surprise, though. There were many nights he didn't sleep. And many more nights he drank. But that was another story.
By the time noon rolled around, Roy had gotten through about half a pile of the mountain of paperwork that currently dominated his desk.
Fuery and Breda left, muttering something about going down to the cafeteria to get food. Roy didn't bother moving; he wasn't hungry. He raised an eyebrow when he saw Maria making no move to leave either.
"You should go eat, Lieutenant." Words that had been uttered thousands of times, though to a very different woman.
"I'll go in a few, I just wanted to finish reading this report." Maria raised her eyes when she realized the dark gaze of superior officer had shifted away from her. "Is something wrong, sir?"
"No," Roy sighed, going back to his own work. "It's nothing." Nothing he was willing to talk to his lieutenant about, at any rate.
Rebecca Catalina was not a happy person. Not that Roy really blamed her. He supposed he wouldn't have been very happy either if a crazy person had suddenly stormed into the shooting range and started shouting at him as he demanded answers. "I'm sorry, sir," Rebecca growled, putting a heavy, sarcastic emphasis on the last word, "I didn't quite catch that. Do you want to repeat what you just said without screaming at me?"
Roy swallowed a couple of times, as if trying to swallow his anger. When he realized he probably wasn't going to be able to speak, he held out Riza's resignation to her best friend. Rebecca didn't take it; no doubt she already knew what it was. "So that finally found its way to your desk?" She asked, her voice flat, betraying no emotion. "Well what do you want from me?"
"A location." Roy's words received a blank stare. "I went to Riza's apartment, the landlord said she moved out yesterday. Where did she transfer to?"
Rebecca sighed heavily, rubbing her head. "She didn't…transfer, General. She resigned from the military." If ever there was an answer Roy wasn't expecting.
"What?" Rebecca looked away from him, closing her eyes. "Why in the world would she do that?"
"Can't tell," Rebecca muttered, looking a bit resentful as she shoved her hands into her pockets. Roy narrowed his eyes at the uncomfortable lieutenant. He didn't usually like pulling rank. But he was in a bad mood, he wanted answers, and Catalina was not his favorite person in the world. He'd make an exception.
"Lieutenant Catalina I order you to tell me where Hawkeye is and why she resigned."
To his surprise, Rebecca laughed humorlessly. "General Mustang no offense but a promise to my best friend means a damn sight more to me than an order from you. So short of having me court-martialed, you're not getting any answers from me. Sorry."
She turned to walk away. "Was it me?" Roy asked out of sheer desperation. He had to know. Was it something he had done? Had he driven Hawkeye away?
Rebecca stopped, looking halfway over her shoulder. "Kind of," she admitted, much to Roy's surprise. "It's sort of you…but mostly her. Don't think too much on it."
As if that was possible.
Roy, as lost in thought as he'd been as he dragged himself down to the cafeteria, didn't see where he was going until he'd walked into someone carrying several large boxes that obstructed their view.
"Oh damn it…" Rebecca Catalina moaned as she stared at the mess of papers that spilled out of the boxes that had tumbled from her arms. She raised her eyes to glare at Roy. "A pleasure as always, General Mustang."
"Lieutenant Catalina," Roy sighed as he knelt down to begin picking up the papers. After a moment Rebecca joined him on the floor. "Sorry about that. Wasn't paying attention to where I was going."
"Clearly," Rebecca snorted, not taken by Roy's less than heartfelt apology.
Well like the old saying goes, speak of the devil, and the devil shall appear. Roy shook his head as he dumped a pile of papers into one of the open boxes. "Where are you going with all this anyways?"
"Paperwork office is doing an overaul, they need the range to confirm all of this stuff," Rebecca muttered disdainfully. She hated paperwork almost as much as Roy, and that was saying something. "I'm going to be here until midnight with all the crap they threw at me, and I'll probably have to come in tomorrow too, it was supposed to be my day off…expect your office to be getting hit up sometime soon too."
"I'll stay on my toes. Do you want help carrying this stuff down to the range?" Roy regretted the words the minute they were out of his mouth. Damn him and his gentleman tendencies, knowing Rebecca she'd take that as him trying to imply she was just a weak little woman who couldn't even carry a couple of boxes…
"No thanks, I won't keep you from your lunch." Roy was surprised when that was all she said on the subject. She must have been really upset about losing that day off.
Roy rocked back on his heels as they picked up the rest of the papers in silence. After a moment he stood, holding out a hand for Rebecca as well. Rebecca took it, allowing him to pull her up. "So…" Roy started to say, trying to figure out how to best word the question weighing heavily on his mind.
"Riza's doing fine." Roy blinked. What the hell, was the harpy a mind-reader too? Rebecca laughed dryly at the look on his face. "You're very predictable, General. Every time you want to ask about Riza you get this really far off look on your face and say 'so…' like you're trying to be casual."
Roy scowled. He hated being predictable. "So she's…doing all right?" He asked, noting with a bit of angry that he started that sentence with 'so' as well. He was going to have to try and break that habit. Rebecca nodded slowly. "What's she up to now, anyways? I mean, if she's not in the military…"
He really was just curious. But the way Rebecca smiled at him told him that she thought he was trying to pry answers out of her. Not that he didn't do that on a daily basis. But really, the fact that she was accusing him of such a thing now was insulting. "I have to get this stuff down to the range," she said as she piled the boxes on top of one another and picked up the bottommost one, hauling them all up again. "General." Her voice was muffled as she clumsily rearranged the boxes to salute Roy.
"Lieutenant." Roy sighed as he saluted her, and watched her walk away. He hated how she was his only connection to Riza. It wasn't fair.
"Damn paperwork," Rebecca cursed as she dropped the boxes, glaring at them as if they had done something to offend her. And in a roundabout way, they had. She stormed over to the phone, yanking it off the receiver and turning the dial with a bit more force than what was probably necessary. Whatever. She was in a bad mood. She'd pay for the phone if she ended up breaking it.
Realizing what her salary was and how much a phone for the military probably cost, Rebecca instantly vowed to treat the phone more gently.
The phone rang three times before somebody picked up. "Hello—"
"Hey Havoc, it's Rebecca," the woman rushed out hurriedly, not in the mood to listen to the full greeting that the general store workers always picked up with. There was a pause.
"Hey Riza, your harpy's on the phone!"
"Bite me Havoc," Rebecca growled into the phone.
"How much are you going to be pay me?" Another growl, and Havoc laughed. "Riza's busy right now, can I take message?"
"Just tell her I can't come tomorrow, the paperwork office is doing an overhaul or something, I got swamped." Havoc whistled, clearly amused by this.
"Sucks to be you. Tell you, I really don't miss that part of the military. Paperwork was always a pain, though I gotta admit, it was fun listening to Hawkeye yell at Mustang about doing his work, he was always so lazy about it…"
"I saw him today," Rebecca mumbled as Havoc's voice drifted off, his mind taking him away to happier times.
"No, Santa Claus." Rebecca rolled her eyes.
"Great, tell him for Christmas I want a pair of fully functioning legs."
"Sorry." Rebecca could tell Havoc was grinning. "So how's ol' Mustang doing, anyways? I haven't seen him since…"
Havoc didn't need to finish that sentence. Rebecca already knew. "He's…okay. I think. Misses Riza. He asks me about her every time we run into each other — which thankfully isn't that often. Sometimes I think he corners me on purpose just so he can ask me about her. He looks tired today, which is better than the alternative, I suppose. From what Ross has told me he gets drunk a lot at night, comes in hung-over in the morning."
"He's a bitch to deal with when he's hung over," Havoc muttered. "Right after Hughes died he went on this huge one-night drinking binge. Not even Riza bothered trying to deal with him when he came in the next morning. He probably would have snapped her head off if she had. 'Course, she woulda just shot him, so it would've been a moot point, but that's not the point."
"You know I almost feel sorry for him. I mean, he's an arrogant ass, for sure, but…he's lost pretty much everyone he cares about. That can't be easy."
"I know what you mean."
They both sighed, losing themselves in thought for a moment. "So hey, is Riza still busy?" Rebecca asked suddenly. It usually didn't take this long to deal with a couple of customers…
"Oh, she's not here. I just pretended to yell to her earlier because I knew it would annoy you."
"Jean Havoc you're an ass!" Rebecca snapped. She slammed the phone down, Havoc's amused laughter still echoing down the line. "Son of bitch…" She growled as she kicked one of the boxes filled with paperwork. She'd have to kill him next time she saw him.
By the time the lunch hour was over, Roy still hadn't succeeded in getting down to the cafeteria to get food. He spent most of the time just wandering around the building, thinking. He half-considered going down to the shooting range and using a couple of bullets to unload a bit of his frustration. But Rebecca would be down there, and if he got too annoyed he'd probably end up letting loose on her. And that wouldn't have been a good thing. No matter how satisfied he would have felt directly after the fact. He needed the harpy alive, unfortunately, if he wanted to stay informed on how Riza was doing.
He returned to his office silently. Maria, Fuery, and Breda were already there, sitting down to continue their work. Roy stared at Maria for a minute. It was so wrong, seeing her sitting there at what should have been Riza's desk.
Roy stared at the paper in front of him in disbelief. After a moment he raised his eyes to the brown-haired woman standing over him. Maria Ross saluted him nervously. She'd been terrified, to say the least, when she'd found out she was being transferred to Roy Mustang's office in order to fill in for his recently-retired aide. She knew she wouldn't be received well.
At least he wasn't yelling…
"Very well, Lieutenant." Roy's voice was a little more than a growl. He jerked his head at the empty desk to the right of his. "That'll be your desk. We start promptly at nine."
Fuery and Breda exchanged looks, deciding it would be in their best interest not to mention that Roy was generally ten to twenty minutes late. Except he'd been on time every day since Riza had left.
Maria looked over her shoulder at the lieutenant and master sergeant, as if silently begging them for help. But neither man offered her any kind of help, instead returning to their paperwork. After a moment Maria went to sit in the desk Roy had pointed her too, beginning the paperwork that had accumulated in the absence of someone to do it. Roy glared at her, trying very hard to remind himself that it wasn't her fault Riza had taken off. She was just the replacement.
That didn't mean Roy had to like it.
Roy was glad when five o'clock rolled around. He really just wanted to go home. He had a bottle of vodka waiting at home with his name on it.
Riza sighed as she closed the bedroom door, backing away and turning to face Havoc, who was leaning against the wall a few feet from the door, supporting himself on crutches. "What are you doing here?" She mumbled, walking past him as she started into the living room. Havoc followed her a bit unsteadily.
"Have a message for you. By the time I realized it was too late to call so I figured I'd make the bone-breaking journey from my house to yours to deliver it." Riza rolled her eyes as she sat down. Bone-breaking journey. Right. Havoc lived two houses down from her. Havoc smiled as he sat down in the armchair he usually occupied. "Anyways Rebecca called the store earlier. Said something about the paperwork office doing an overhaul, she got swamped in paperwork. She isn't going to be able to come tomorrow."
"She must be loving that."
"Not half as much as Mustang's going to love it when the overhaul hits them." Havoc grinned, hoping to elicit some form of a smile from Riza. No luck. If anything her frown deepened at the sound of Mustang's name. "Remember that overhaul they did right before we transferred to Central? That was fun, we were there 'till what, three a.m.?"
"If memory serves, you and Breda fell asleep at your desks," Riza pointed out dryly.
"Yeah and Mustang tried to sneak out for a date." Havoc laughed. "Good times, eh?"
"Yeah, wonderful." The sarcasm in Riza's voice was not lost. "So is that all you came down here for? I mean, you could have just told me all that tomorrow morning, could you?"
Havoc sighed. He was pretty transparent when it came to Riza; she could always tell when he had an ulterior motive. "Well my physical therapy doctor says I should try and get more exercise. And I wanted to see how everything was going here, so I figured I'd get off my ass and hobble down to see you and my favorite godson. How's he doing anyways?"
"Well I finally got his fever to break." Riza sighed as she leaned her head back on the couch, closing her eyes. "I was up with him all of last night though, he kept coughing and he couldn't sleep…"
"You shoulda called me," Havoc said with a frown as Riza's voice drifted off. "I would've come down and sat with him so you could sleep."
"He was being clingy last night, I don't think he would've sat with you. Besides, it was late."
"And you hate asking for help." Havoc shook his head. "Do you want me to stay tonight, at least? You look like you could use a good night's sleep."
"I'll be fine," Riza declined, of course. Havoc raised an eyebrow at her, taking in her paler-than-usual skin and the dark circles that had formed under her tired amber eyes.
"Come on Riza, no shame in admitting when you need somebody to lean on." No answer. Havoc pushed himself up slightly, getting a good look at Riza. Her face was insanely serene and peaceful, her breathing deep and even. She'd fallen asleep. Havoc chuckled. He felt bad about having to leave her on the couch, but he couldn't exactly carry her. So instead he stood, moving Riza so she was in more of a laying position (she must have been tired if that didn't wake her up, she was usually a light sleeper). He went into her bedroom, grabbed a pillow and blanket off of her bed, and brought it back out to the living room. He slid the pillow under her head and covered her, smiling slightly as she stirred in her sleep, muttering something under her breath.
Mustang should be here, he reflected dryly as he switched off the living room light and started outside, locking the door behind him. Mustang should have sat up with her and Maes last night, Mustang should be carrying her to bed because she fell asleep on the couch. This should all be Mustang.
Havoc had never really agreed with the choices Riza had made. But it wasn't his place to question her, either.
Havoc stared at Rebecca in disbelief, trying to process what the raven-haired woman had just told him. "Are we…talking about the same Riza Hawkeye here?"
Rebecca' response was to slap him upside the head. "Come on Havoc, this is serious. Riza's in a hard place right now, she needs your help. She handed in her resignation today, it'll reach Mustang by the end of the week, she wants to be out of the city and far away from headquarters before that happens. But you know her, she won't ask for the help on her own. So this is me. Coming to you. And begging you to help the woman you're always saying is like a sister to you. Please. Help her."
Havoc sighed. As if Rebecca even had to ask. "She can stay at my place until we find her a place of her own. I'm sure I can talk my parents into giving her a job if she needs one." It was quite the fall from grace, going from being a well respected sniper and first lieutenant in the military to working in a general store. But beggars couldn't be choosers.
"I'll let her know." Rebecca smiled weakly. "She's going to kill me for going to you."
"We'll deal with her later." Havoc followed Rebecca to the front door. Two words were ringing over and over in his head.
"Is Mustang the father?" He asked as he opened the front door. Rebecca bit her lip.
"She won't tell me," she admitted finally. "But come on, unless she was raped who else would it?" Havoc's eyes widened. He hadn't even thought of that… "She wasn't raped. Mustang's the father, trust me."
Havoc made his way down the street, frowning. There were times — plenty of times — that he had thought about calling Mustang and telling him everything. But he really had no proof that Riza's son was Roy's — the child looked exactly Riza, no a hint of his father anywhere in him. And anyways, Riza would hate him for life if he ousted her secret. And Roy wouldn't react well to hearing, from his former second lieutenant, that his former first lieutenant had been pregnant with his child and had run away, hiding it for six years.
Either way, Havoc would lose out. Riza would kill him, or Roy would.
He'd rather just let fate play it out. If Roy was meant to find out, he would find out.
Hopefully he was meant to find out.
Author's Note: So...good, bad, oh my god why is this girl even trying? I'd really appreciate feedback. I'm not good at writing in-universe, so I hope I did all right. Review? Please? ~Sam