Disclaimer: I neither own Fullmetal Alchemist (© Arakawa) nor Almost Here (© Delta Goodrem ft Brian McFadden).
Acknowledgement: A huge thank you goes out to Bookwrm389 who bestowed on me the incredible honor of beta-ing this piece of fan fiction. If this story makes any sense at all, it is because of her excellent editing skillz!
Did I hear you right..?
'Cuz I thought you said…
"Let's think it over…"
The streets of Central were crowded with passersby exchanging early morning greetings on their way to work. The neighborhood schools chirped with the activity from all the students gathered fresh and eager for knowledge while the city's housewives chatted happily about their day's tasks.
In an unremarkable street corner near a newsstand, Sergeant Denny Brosh stared out at the sky happily. This was all he and his fellow soldiers had worked for, the easy peace that now enveloped not just Central but most of Amestris. True, the democracy Fuhrer Mustang had envisioned was still a long way off but this was certainly a beginning – a fact that was driven home even more as the sergeant watched a woman hurrying three children along to school – one of whom was clearly an adopted Ishvalan.
With a small, contented smile on his face, the young man finally greeted the newsagent with a smile and asked for the day's Times. The man returned his smile as well as his change.
As expected, the front page was splashed with a huge picture of the current Fuhrer and the soon to be First Lady of Amestris. But before the report entered into the wedding ceremony that would be held in a month, it listed all of the qualities that made Roy Mustang a great leader and how, if anyone had doubted the man's dedication to peace for the country upon his inauguration, all such insecurities had been laid to rest with this move.
The Fuhrer's fiancé smiled beatifically from the paper, and for the first time, the soldier realized how beautiful she really was. Mustang was indeed a lucky man to be killing two birds with one stone. But then again, no one would have expected any less of a woman from such a background. Right there, standing next to the handsome leader of Amestris, the blonde beauty looked like she belonged.
Folding the paper up to peruse later, the young sergeant headed for HQ with a new spring in his step and the hope of perhaps running into Maria Ross before the workday began.
Though Roy Mustang had held the Fuhrer's office for almost a whole year now, it still sometimes felt odd to make his way into the now finally completely reconstructed Central Headquarters only to take a left to the Fuhrer's Private Wing. The large main office, the adjacent private meeting rooms, an elaborate and luxurious living quarter officially christened "Roy's nap room" by Lieutenant General Breda as well as the small but grand waterfall in the waiting area up front still took the Flame Alchemist by surprise now and then. And the fact that it wasn't the one-eyed homunculus about to greet him behind the door marked "His Excellency, The Fuhrer President" took him aback. But only for a moment as that would be about the time Havoc said something like "Almost late again, Chief!" bringing a small smirk to his lips.
There was no such luck today as Roy entered the office. His huge circular office, usually a center of activity, was rarely ever completely silent, like it was that morning as he pushed open the door. And what was worse, he couldn't shake off the feeling that its occupants had only just stopped talking on his account. Even as his brain scrambled to assess the situation, his gaze landed straight on General Hawkeye who, from the looks of it, had been engaged in an intent discussion with Colonel Havoc only a moment ago.
"Am I interrupting something?" Roy asked slightly haughtily. It was his office after all and it was also clear that no help was coming from the blonde woman who seemed to be looking at something very interesting on the plain wooden surface of her desk.
To his surprise, Captain Fuery was the first to speak up. "N-nothing sir, good morning."
The Captain's words seem to break a spell, pushing Havoc back to his own desk and causing Hawkeye to grab the first teetering tower of files within reach. Both Falman and Breda muttered similarly monotonous good mornings and continued about their work, leaving Roy to wonder what it was this time.
He didn't have to wonder for long. The answer came right as everyone was about to leave for lunch after an excruciatingly quiet morning that had done nothing to settle the feeling of dread in the Fuhrer's stomach. Usually, it was custom for everyone to go out to lunch save for General Hawkeye who had her meals delivered to her along with the Fuhrer's. Being Roy's personal bodyguard, she had few moments in which she could be found without him (this morning being one of those rarities where she had left a message stating she was heading into work early which left him free to use another escort) and today was no different.
Except it clearly was. Because while normally the men rushed out of the office for lunch at top speed, today they were lingering, casting odd looks at Hawkeye and – did he imagine it? – himself.
The feeling of unease increased in Roy's stomach as the final soldier – Fuery, almost looking on the verge of tears – left the office, leaving Hawkeye to shut the door quietly behind him.
Starting on the offensive seemed like a good idea so Roy simply growled out, "Are you actually planning to tell me why all of my men look like crap today, General?"
The glare the blonde sent him a second later confirmed that starting off on such an uncivil note had been a bad idea.
"I wouldn't know Sir, it could be because they're going to miss me."
Suddenly, all the anxiety he had been feeling from earlier was clawing its way up from his stomach and into his chest, threatening to rip huge gashes in his flesh at the words coming out from Hawkeye's mouth.
"What…?" he fumbled, confused. Surely he couldn't have heard correctly. This didn't make any sense. She would never do something like that, least of all without discussing it with him beforehand.
"Affirmative, Sir, I have requested a transfer to East City," she said, the quietness in her tone belying the determined set of her mouth.
"And what, may I ask, will you be doing in East City?"
"The same thing I do here, I imagine," her reply is just as cool.
His head spun, he wanted to sit down, he wanted to lay it on the cool glass surface of his ornate desk and forget what she was saying, he wanted to grab her and shake her by the shoulders, ask her what brought this on? Instead, all he did was ask, "And you didn't feel it necessary to discuss this with me before making the decision?"
"I have given you ample warning, Sir," she said curtly. "The forms have all been filled and submitted for your perusal and a copy has also been sent to both Human Resources as well as Internal Affairs. If everything goes as it should, the transfer should be complete within six weeks – more than enough time for you to find a substitute secretary."
A substitute… what? Was that really all she thought she was to him? He could have had any number of pretty, made up girls from reception if he just wanted a paper pusher. But he wanted her, Hawkeye, with her no nonsense attitude, and her surprisingly sharp wit, and her spiced tea and gentle scolding and soft smiles when she thought no one was looking. She was an excellent assistant, a brilliant bodyguard and the closest thing Roy had to a best friend after Hughes had died. In fact, they were more than friends. At least, that was what he had always assumed. Maybe he was the one laboring under delusions?
But instead of telling her all of this, he simply looked at her, a veneer of anger now forming in his eyes. She hadn't come to the decision overnight. She had had time to think about it, she had gotten the paperwork ready; she had clearly discussed it with Colonel Catalina as the woman had been shooting him murderous glances lately, hell she had even told the guys before telling him. And if their reaction earlier this morning and just ten minutes ago was anything to judge by, she hadn't been marginally as cold as she was being now.
"This is highly irregular Hawkeye, and I would be within my rights to contact IA and tell them to ignore your request. Alternatively, I could always light the paperwork on fire and have them claim they never received such a document."
"Then you would leave me no choice but to resign from the force, Sir. Not even the Fuhrer can impose his will on someone else."
But what about me? Roy? Can I impose my will on you… request, beseech you to stay with me? Look at me, it's me, Hawkeye! The words in his head came out differently than he had imagined.
"I seem to recall a promise to always watch my back, General. Should I consider that null and void now?" He knew he was aiming below the belt, but at this point, he was willing to try anything to keep her here. He didn't care why she was furious enough to be transferring or what he had done to deserve this. All that could be dealt with later as long as she remained where she belonged, right by his side.
"A lot of promises have been nullified over the past year, Your Excellency," she said quietly, her eyes lowered. "This one shouldn't come as much of a surprise."
Later on, he would regret the next words that came out of his mouth, he would wish countless times as he lay awake at night, that he had never uttered them. But at that moment in time, all he felt was hurt at her using his title like a rebuke, like a curse, throwing it in his face to prove in some way that they were different. And all he wanted was to hurt her in return.
"Prepare a letter to IA immediately asking them to give your case top priority – by order of the Fuhrer. With my sign and seal, you'll be relocated half as quick as you would otherwise."
He was rewarded with a look of pure shock and horror frozen on her face for three seconds before she hurried to do as instructed.
The phone rang, sharp and shrill, jolting the Fuhrer of Amestris out of his thoughts. Usually, someone else got it before the line was directed to him. It must have been someone important if his people weren't even going to give him a heads up.
Or maybe they were all still pissed off at him?
"Fuhrer Mustang speaking," he answered curtly only to be greeted by a melodious Drachman voice on the other end.
"Roy, darling, I think I rather like that tone on you," the women positively purred and Roy smiled slightly, getting into character. All other things aside, now was the time to play the part.
"Oh is that so, Madam," he teased his fiancé lightly. "Because I can use it outside of work too."
"Do elaborate, Fuhrer President."
"Over the phone? Why, Your Highness, I didn't know you enjoyed such things."
And so the conversation commenced, a conversation that had been part of his daily routine for the last two months when he had first gotten engaged to Iolanth Lukashenko, of the royal Drachman family.
End Note: Please drop me a review to let me know what you think and in return, I promise to update frequently. ;)