To her, he was Mr. Mustang. To him, she was ... he didn't quite know. She was the small girl who answered the door. She was the girl shyed away down the hall. She was the girl who served him dinner but ate in the other room. He didn't know a girl would be here, but now, as he ascended the crumbling stairs, he figured she might as well not be a girl at all, but a maid. Or maybe a very helpful mouse.

Now that he thought about it, he payed more attention to her than he'd realized. She had short hair, something he found strange on a little girl. Maybe Master Hawkeye made her keep it that way. And, now that he thought about it more, Master Hawkeye didn't seem to pay much attention to her. He did nothing kinder than brush her off the few time's she'd come to him the entire night. Maybe that's why she had the look about her. He couldn't exactly place it, but he noticed it first when she held the door open, and again when she set his dinner plate down. It was sort of ... he still couldn't put his finger on it, even now as he wandered down the corridor to ... Well, he didn't know, really. Master Hawkeye gruffly mumbled that his room was to be here to the right – no, the left... This place really was too big for just -


Looking down to what he'd bumped in to, he found a little blonde head turning up to him.

"Sorry -" he began, but was cut off in thought, because, look, there it was again. That thing about her - it was in her eyes. She stared up at him in a way that made him lose his bearings, scramble to collect himself, and all but run down the hallway to his supposed room.

The wooly blankets were itchy over his legs and he wondered if they'd been sitting on this creaky bed for ages, but as he leaned over the press the corner of the fabric to his nose, he was surprised to find that it smelled clean. Maybe she washed it, he thought. She seemed to do everything around here, anyway. He saw her picking things out in the garden after dinner and noticed her carrying a basket of clothes out of the corner of his eye while Master Hawkeye was talking. Though he gave Roy a good long talk about how he's supposed to behave under his tutelage, he didn't once mention his little girl.

Why was he thinking so much about this girl? He was here to learn alchemy, he probably wouldn't even have time to talk to her.

Then it hit him, like a punch to the gut. The wind was knocked out of him and he knew; he could place that look in her eyes of fear, of strength, of emptiness.

She was lonely.

She, the girl with the short yellow hair and with the basket and in the garden, the girl with the glare that left him shuddering, even as he lay in bed. She was lonely, and it was because there probably wasn't even time to talk to her.