Disclaimer: Once again, I do not own Fullmetal Alchemist or any of its characters. If I did, Roy and Riza would have gotten together by the end of the series. xP All rights go to Hiromu Arakawa, Viz, Funimation, and any other companies that own rights. Here is part 2 of Cracking the Code! Please read and review, so that the chapters to come will be even better than the last! Thank you so much~
Roy awoke to the sound of running water around 8:00 in the morning. A few cracks of light shone through the boards over the window. Rolling out of the bed somewhat noisily, he made his way to the doorway. Without warning, the door swung open and Miss Hawkeye walked in, carrying a tray of breakfast tea, sugar, honey, lemon, pancakes, and a small bowl of fruit. She had a bright smile on her face as she set it down on the neatly organized desk. She had cleaned last night after he had fallen asleep and organized everything for him.
"Good morning, Mr. Mustang," she greeted him warmly, yet professionally, "Here is your breakfast. My father will be in the marketplace all morning, so I've left a few books for you to read before he returns. I suggest you begin as soon as you've finished eating. Tonight, you may wash up using the shower outdoors. I will return for your dishes later."
He stared at her, dumbfounded. His brain was still processing the fact that such a cute, young girl had brought him breakfast and books, and it left him unable to really speak. He sort of just stumbled to spit out nonsense words. He cursed himself for not being more awake and coherent when she had come in. Then he would have had something witty to say. When he finally pulled it together enough to thank her, she had already left the room. He sighed with frustration and sat down at his desk, quickly eating the breakfast she had prepared for him. Once he had finished, he picked up two books that had been stacked separately with a handwritten note in neat script attached.
My father expects his pupils to understand the advanced texts immediately. I know that he's being unreasonable. If you can understand these two books on basic symbols and basic chemical compounds before my father returns this afternoon, you should be in good shape to understand the more advanced texts by tomorrow evening. That is the longest length of time he will give you to prove your worth. I will have to take these books from you before he returns home, so that I may return them to where he hid them. Good luck.
"Now she's helping me to prove my worth to her father? I suppose that I'm lucky; I doubt his other pupil had her assistance. That's probably why he was rejected…" Roy thought out loud, opening the first book and beginning to study.
Miss Hawkeye quietly washed the dishes and left them to dry, humming, softly to herself, a gentle tune. She had such a particular feeling about this boy, and she couldn't quite place it. She knew his dedication to the material would take him far, but she feared that he would turn into a recluse if it remained unchecked. Just like her father. He already seemed so quiet.
Another part of her had this warm, rushing feeling, like her heart was working overtime and pumping an inordinate amount of blood through her system. She found herself blushing when he looked at her, and having to rehearse what she needed to say before approaching him, so that she wasn't stumbling over her words. She couldn't really explain how she felt; only that she wanted him to stay.
Since she had finished with her usual chores the night before, and the laundry would be started tomorrow, she snuck into the hall close quietly, so as not to disturb Roy, and pulled out a pair of work gloves. This was the first time in a few years that she had the motivation to clean up the yard. Once she exited the front door, she knelt down by the overgrown path and began to pull weeds from the yard.
10:00 hadn't even passed and Roy had already moved on to the more advanced texts with a brand new mindset. Symbols, compounds, chemical make-ups, energy flows – it all made so much more sense now that he had been briefed in the basics, much more so than last night. If it hadn't been for Miss Hawkeye, he would probably be searching for a new mentor to learn alchemy from. He was incredibly grateful for her. He picked up the two books and left to go and find her.
Miss Hawkeye rose up from the pathway as Roy joined her outside. The smile on his face told her that he finally understood the texts a lot better. She removed her gloves and took the books from his hands, her eyes bright and energized. She held the books to her chest and looked at him directly.
"I take it that you don't need these anymore, Mr. Mustang?" she spoke with a hint of joy. "That was certainly fast!"
He bowed to her thankfully, relieved by the ease her vocal tone set him at, "I couldn't have done it without your help! Thank you!"
She moved toward the house, turning around just as a firm breeze passed through the yard. Her skirt waved in the wind and her amber eyes glowed in the sunlight. Roy could feel his ears turning red. She was so pure, so beautiful.
"I'll be right back! Just let me put these away."
With that, she disappeared into the dark building. It seemed so unfitting for her to be enclosed in such a dark, lonely space. He resolved that he would help her, as she had helped him, and pull her into the light. It was for people like her that he wanted to learn alchemy and become a State Alchemist – to improve the quality of life for all citizens. Why did he have to wait for a state certification to start? He would start with her.
When she returned outside, she picked up her work gloves and approached him, "Is there something else you need?" she questioned.
"In fact, there is! Where can I find a pair of gloves as lovely as yours?" he laughed, gesturing to the worn, dirt-covered pieces of cloth she was holding. But, when he looked up into her eyes, he found himself confused again. Their glowing amber orbs shimmered in the light, yet wavered almost imperceptibly. Her pupils seemed to have a dead lock on his mind, his heart, his soul, searching him for a hint of…something…he didn't know what. Yet, the vibrancy of the color seemed to soften and mask her ability to read his intentions. It left him nervous, and unsure of himself. She was so difficult to understand.
"You really don't need to repay me, Mr. Mustang," she suddenly smiled. Roy's heart jumped. Did her eyes see everything? "I was happy to help."
"You've given me some extra time. What sort of gentleman would I be if I sat around in the house while the lady worked in the yard?" he argued smoothly. She laughed gently, taking his hand and beginning to walk toward the house.
"Not much of one, I suppose," Miss Hawkeye agreed, feeling the heat rise in her cheeks. Roy followed her into the house, unsure of why he was suddenly unable to breathe properly. They continued down the dim hallway and reached the hall closet. "I'll need your help – the last pair of gloves are somewhere on the top shelf, and I'm too short to reach."
Roy looked up at the shelf; he was too small to reach as well. Miss Hawkeye looked at him with expectation. "I can lift you on my shoulders? Would that be okay?" he suggested. She smiled and stepped toward him. In a few moments, she had the gloves in hand.
"I have them!" she exclaimed, looking down at him, "You can put me down!"
"Not quite yet, m'lady!" he teased, carrying her through the house and into the yard on his shoulders before lowering her into his arms and spinning around. He felt as though he didn't want to let her go, and held her for a few seconds longer than he should have. Her cheeks were bright pink when he finally set her on her feet again.
Miss Hawkeye quickly straightened up and cleared her throat, tossing his gloves to him. "Well, let's get to work!" she smiled, pulling on her own gloves. Roy turned to her, modeling his hands playfully.
"Hey, gloves look pretty good on me!" he laughed, partially serious.
"You do look pretty good…!" she replied bashfully, quickly turning away and blushing once she realized what she had said. Roy walked around to face her, smiling brightly, though his ears were quite red. He tilted her chin up to look at him.
"You look pretty cute yourself!" he smiled, to put her at ease.
Gently warmed droplets of water rained down over Roy's body. The sun was setting and he felt as though he had a new lease on life. Master Hawkeye was thrilled with his presentation on his understanding of the basics, and more advanced aspects on alchemy covered in the texts. He finally felt relaxed, being accepted both by Master Hawkeye, as his apprentice, officially, and by his daughter, Miss Hawkeye. Roy had never felt more relieved in his life. Breathing in the fresh, outdoor air as the water soothed his aching muscles, his thoughts drifted to Master Hawkeye's daughter.
Miss Hawkeye slumped to the ground, wiping away a small amount of blood from the corner of her mouth. "You were never this unreasonable before Mom died! Why did you become so heartless?" she spat, no longer holding back the fire in her eyes.
He struck her again, his rage building, "I asked you not to distract him! He is my apprentice! How dare you disobey me! How dare you disrespect me like that!"
She stepped forward. "People are NOT possessions! You can't keep them to yourself! Why do you think Mom got so ill? You wouldn't let her leave this filthy house! The only reason you haven't died yet is because I keep it livable! I'm not her! I won't stand for this, and I won't let you hurt Roy!" she exclaimed, realizing a few moments too late that she had called him by his first name.
"Roy?" Master Hawkeye growled, raising his hand threateningly, "You are on a first-name-basis with him?"
"No, Father!" she cringed, regretting her word choice, "I have always addressed him as 'Mr. Mustang'!"
"And he to you?"
"I have never told him my first name, Father."
He lowered his hang, his eyes cold and unloving. "Prepare my tea and bring it to my room, and then go to bed. I do not want to hear another word from you tonight."
She relented and walked into the kitchen to prepare the teapot. Her warm, amber eyes were tainted by tears that would not fall.
Roy suddenly heard the whistle of the tea kettle and turned off the shower. Miss Hawkeye must be preparing bedtime tea, which meant he would soon have time to talk to her alone. With his heart racing with excitement, he dried off and made his way into the house.
After she had brought her father's tea to him, Miss Hawkeye began to put together her own blend to help herself calm down. Chamomille, tilia estella, valerian, and hints of spearmint, lemongrass, hawthorn, and orange blossom. She heard the door open and quickly grabbed a light jacket and ran past Roy and out into the setting sun, taking the worn dirt path along the side of the house, which had just been cleared of weeds.
Roy entered the house, finding a few droplets of blood on the floor near the doorway. Her looked into the kitchen, and, finding Miss Hawkeye's tea, breathed in the aroma. After thinking for a moment, he entered his bedroom, closing the door behind him.
Miss Hawkeye finally collapsed to the ground beneath a large tree about a mile and a half from her home. Her chest was heaving – she ran the entire way there, and her throat was dry. A few paces away was a small pond, and she liked to skip rocks across it when she was upset.
Once she had caught her breath, she rose to her feet and began to search for a stone, tears dripping down her face. Finding a smooth stone, she tossed it across the water, watching it skip 1, 2, 3, 4 times. She picked up another, and as she raised her hand to throw it, a hand wrapped around her wrist with a firm grip. Turning around, she dropped the stone from her hand with a gasp.