A/N: I wrote this back in 2009 and it is still honestly my favorite thing I've ever written.

Hawkeye sits at her desk, legs crossed, alabaster skin illuminated by the harsh glow of cheap military lighting. They are alone, like so many times before, alone and never alone; duty breaths down their backs (tracing the length of the tattooed array, getting caught in her scars), laws, regulations, your goal, think of your goal. Roy fiddles with the edge of a paper already signed, turning crisp into wrinkled, torn. Hawkeye shifts at her desk and brings a pen to her lips. She frowns in concentration, teeth skimming the cap as her fingers dance lightly over words he cannot see. Roy rests a palm against his own paper and hopes, foolishly, that if he counts the syllables in time to the sliding of her fingertips that maybe he can traverse the space and wrap his hand in hers.

A minute passes and she is scribbling away on the form hurried details of name and place that flow from her mind and onto the page, coalescing into a single fluid signature, Riza Hawkeye, with the i dotted as an afterthought, a betrayal to capability. She always forgets the i, he's noticed, but has yet to understand why. He wonders if the calm she perpetuates gives mask to busied thoughts; if her practical mind overflows in impractical ways: situations and what-ifs that leave no time for dotting i's and crossing t's. Or maybe it is just a habit now leftover from childhood long forgotten, born while he was too buried in her father's books to notice its inception. These little peculiarities drive him mad with captivation. When he looks at her he can't help but be enthralled by even the slightest of details, nor the overarching truths that they so intricately accentuate.

His mind wanders and he thinks of the beginning, the end, and everything that encapsulates the middle that they so wordlessly float through, not lovers but just in love, like phantoms whose truth of existence is only to be found in the chill of air and the prickling of flesh. His fingers bristle at the thought of touching her and yet he cannot, so he rubs them together, sends sparks from the ignition cloth dancing into the air (they never catch, never explode in dazzling oranges and reds because he is careful, oh so careful, here in the office) and imagines Riza Hawkeye as he remembers her: rounded face and clumsy childhood speech that never alluded to the adeptness of later years. The beginning. He imagines her as he has yet to know her: gray hair and wrinkles (crows feet at her lips and never her eyes, recalling fond memories, recalling laughter and happiness), protesting joints, habitual kisses caressing the length of her body in ways that only time and care can allow.

(This is what he wishes for most, to explore her with the familiarity of a man who has traversed this Eden a million times and stared into the face of God; who has defiantly eaten from the tree and the only knowledge imparted was of her angles and curves, the secret of everlasting life. He wants to bathe in the sunlight of her hair and follow the tendrils to where they rest against her breasts, tickling the skin, drawing forth tiny noises from her throat that only he will ever be privy to.)

Hawkeye shifts in her seat, straightening the papers as she stands. Her hips bend as she maneuvers the corner of the desk, as she angles towards him, the cuffs of her sleeves sliding when she reaches up to brush a stray hair from her face. This is the ever present middle, the ellipsis in their reticent affair. Roy is always certain about the beginning, the end, but never this. The present is too wild a thing, too uncertain to be trusted, so he sits and waits and memorizes the curve of her jaw, the delicate lines that converge into strong features as she nears. She silently hands him the papers and he adds a few words and then his signature, dotting his i's and crossing his t's with added compulsion. (Every movement is deliberate and every phrase carefully rehearsed. He cannot afford to be clumsy, especially in the state he's in, intoxicated with her scent.)

When the papers are signed and neatly stacked, she leans down to collect them and he captures her wrist in his hand, thumb pressed lightly against her forearm, the exhilarating sensation of skin against skin. He fights the urge to lunge forward, to press himself against her in a desperate attempt to mold two into one, to drown himself in the enigma that is this woman, Riza Hawkeye. Slowly her eyes shut, features soften, free hand brought up to lay against his. They are never lovers, only hopelessly in love, and the seconds tick away into nothing as he watches her chest rise with each unsteady breath in time to the flutter of her eyelashes. Together they are still, forever lost in each other, forever found. When her eyes finally open again he releases his grip, unspoken promises left in the molecules of atoms that leap from his palm to hers, electricity built up over years of the uncounted minutes that pass by in this room.

(On days when he is feeling especially poetic, Roy likes to imagine that they've loved one another for millennia; that their affair was somehow written in the core of the earth at the beginning of time and fanned out in the seas, their names the basis of every iota of being set forth, intertwined like strands of DNA: Riza Hawkeye and Roy Mustang.)

Hawkeye returns to her desk and sits, legs crossed, papers shuffled as she clips them neatly together. Roy fingers the heavy material of his jacket and they are alone, like so many times before, alone but never alone and always in love.