Hi everyone. I'm back with a new story that I hope will be even better than all my old ones. This one will be written a bit differently. Every chapter takes a person's point of view, so you can sort of make out the story of many characters. Enjoy.
Riza fell onto her couch with a loud thump and sighed heavily as she allowed her muscles to relieve themselves. Boxes and other articles were strewed around the floor of her new apartment, but Riza was too tired to do anything about it. It was her first night back in Central after their mission in Ishbal and all she wanted to do was sleep, but the rare silence and free time she had was making her relish the moment and preventing her from getting the rest she desperately needed. Too long. It's been too long.
After the Promised Day, Roy had gotten his eyesight back with Dr Marcoh's remaining Philosopher's stone on the condition that he helped rebuild Ishbal. True to his words, the moment Roy was out of the hospital, the project was in full throttle and their team was headed out East. In Ishbal, everyday was a challenge, whether it was a problem with the opposition, the lingering hatred, the lack of man power and equipment or the heat. There was always something in their way. However, one thing they didn't lack was the funds. When the people of Amestris had heard about the Flame Alchemist's project and resolution, donations came pouring in and volunteers showed up at the reconstruction sites. There were many supporters and the constructions were getting done fast, much to their delight and everyone else's.
Despite all the help they got, it took them much longer than they had anticipated. Their team was only supposed to be there for the beginning of the project, to assure that all was going according to plan and that everything was well organized. However, something unexpected that needed Roy's attention and presence always came up, so their team ended up staying on the site for almost fourteen months. Everyday was hectic and they were always running around everywhere where they were needed. All of them had their own assignments and they rarely got to work together. Their busy schedules were also accentuated with the promotions they all received before heading out east. Riza was now a Lieutenant Colonel, Havoc, Breda and Falman were promoted to Captain and Fuery was now a Second Lieutenant.
I have to sleep. Riza slid down on her couch to lay on it and propped her feet up. Her bed had just come in today with all the boxes and it was still in its plastic wrapping. At least I have a day off tomorrow. Their team, except for Roy, had a day off the next day to allow themselves the time to settle into their new homes. The General, however, had an urgent meeting called by the Fuhrer the next morning and had too many things to take care of. Luckily, Central had already finished rebuilding the city after the Promised Day by the time they came back, so at least Roy wouldn't have to be bothered by that.
The next morning, Riza woke up freezing with a sore neck. Damn it, I should've grabbed a blanket. She shuffled around looking for her slippers, then peeked at the clock. Only 6:30? Riza was used to waking up at 6 o'clock sharp for the past ten years and found it hard to oversleep on her days off. She wasted no time to eat a little breakfast before she set herself to her boxes. It took her all morning to get her things out of their boxes and by the time she was finishing up, it was close to noon. She went to open her fridge, only to remember that it was empty and closed it back in frustration. She called Hayate, grabbed his leash and was getting ready to go out, but before she could put on her shoes, the phone rang.
"Riza Hawkeye speaking," she said into the receiver, curious to find out who could be calling her on her first day in Central.
"Hawkeye, it's me."
"General, sir. How did the meeting go?" she inquired after recognizing his voice.
"It was nerve-racking. Did you have lunch yet?"
"No, sir. I was about to head out to get something to eat since my fridge is empty," Riza answered, curious about his sudden change of topic. "Is everything all right sir?"
"Yes. We should go eat together. I have something to tell you. Where do you want to eat Hawkeye?" Riza heard him say hastily, like he was rushed to go somewhere.
"Anywhere would be fine, sir." Riza was getting more curious and anxious by the minute. His behavior was odd and she was itching to find out what he had to tell her.
"Perfect, we can meet at the coffee shop near HQ. The one with the terrace and the green chairs. Do you think you can get there in fifteen or twenty minutes?"
"Yes, sir. I'll see you soon." Riza answered swiftly.
"All right, see you there." They both hung up and Riza dashed out of the door.
Her apartment wasn't too far from headquarters and was also near a market where she could do her groceries. This allowed her to go everywhere she needed to go on foot. The walk to headquarters took her a little over fifteen minutes, but if she walked faster, she could get there in thirteen minutes. Hayate was walking diligently beside her, just happy to be getting out of the house. Since it was her day off, she wore her hair down, was out of her uniform and wore simple jeans and a three-quartered sleeve blouse. She had cut her hair before heading out east, but it had grown back and reached the top of her shoulder blades now.
It didn't take her long to find the meeting place and when she came closer, she saw Roy already sitting on the terrace waiting for her.
"Sorry for being late, sir," Riza said as she seated herself in front of him, tying Hayate's leash to one of her chair's leg, even though she knew it wasn't necessary.
"Don't worry about it Hawkeye. You're not the one that's late. I was the one who was early." Riza smiled a bit to his wide grin. She noticed how he was missing his military jacket and was only dressed in a white dress shirt and his blue military pants with the butt cape and the black boots. He most likely decided to leave his jacket, hoping to get less attention from his military rank and blend in to the crowd.
Riza sighed inwardly at his carefree demeanor. Even if they were this close to headquarters, she was still worried about his safety and was not enjoying being out in the open this way. Even though he had tried to escape the people's eyes, she knew it was impossible. Roy Mustang was known, once more, as the hero of Ishbal after he had rebuilt the war zone and reinstalled their rightful citizens. His face had been publicized in almost every newspaper and magazine in Amestris and he was also known for being the most eligible bachelor in the country. All of that added up to one simple thing: making Riza Hawkeye ever more paranoid about the General's safety. She could see it clearly, the quick glances people were giving them, even the lustful looks from women who walked by and from the waitresses.
"Sir, why do we have to eat in the open. It's not safe for you. Do you even have your gloves on you?" She asked him instantly.
"It's fine Hawkeye. And yes, I do have my gloves on me. They're in my pockets. Besides, I knew you'd have Hayate with you so we would have to be one the terrace to attach him somewhere." Riza still gave him a disapproving look. Too carefree. "Anyways, let's order something first. I'm starving."
"Sir, what did you have to tell me?" Riza urged him. It must've been something important for him to call her out to tell her in person.
But Roy just waved it off and said, "We should eat first Hawkeye. I'll tell you after."
With that said, she quickly picked a chicken salad and Roy a club sandwich. While they waited for the food, Roy asked her about her day off.
"I just finishes unpacking everything. All I need to do is fill up my fridge with some food," she told him.
"Always the same Hawkeye, never wasting any time to get things done."
"If it wasn't for me, nothing would get done in our team, especially in the office," she replied brusquely.
"I know, I know. It was meant as a compliment. We would be all dead, buried under our paperwork if it wasn't for you," Roy said with amusement. "But you should also take advantage of your free day to relax and do other things, you know. You only have today before we all start work again tomorrow."
"Yes, I agree. And here you are, using up my precious free time," Riza replied smartly, with a playful tone. Roy feigned hurt and laughed out loud when their food finally came. Roy practically gobbled it down, but slowed down as he munched on his fries, matching Riza's speed as she ate her salad. When they were done and the plates were cleared, Riza got down to business.
"Sir, tell me what you've been wanting to tell me," she practically demanded. Hearing her tone, Roy could only submit to her fierce gaze.
"I'm going to be the next Fuhrer," Roy said, almost as if it was nothing serious. Riza stared at him, mouth agape, not a muscle moving. After knowing this man for over ten years, she learned to read him like an open book and knew when he lied or when he was telling the truth. As she studied his face, she could tell he was dead serious.
"How do you know?" Riza asked cautiously, fearing she had heard wrong or that this was some bad joke he was playing on her.
"All the Generals were called in this morning and the Fuhrer announced his decision to step down by the end of this month. Apparently it was unanimously decided that I should be the next Fuhrer." Roy said it in a voice that made her believe he was doubting his own words.
"That's it? Just like that?" she asked incredulously.
"Yeah." A silence engulfed them as they thought about what had just been said.
"How come Fuhrer Grumman wants to step down so soon. It hasn't even been two years," Riza asked him.
"Well, he said he had enough of it and that he was supposed to retire three years ago, but since things became hectic, he decided to stay in order to calm things down before he left." Another silence came by while she mused about this news and while he waited patiently for her to speak again.
"I- well, congratulations, sir. I never expected you to reach your goal this way, but you still made it. You definitely deserve it." Riza gave him her best smile, which only made him smile back with a hint of embarrassment.
"Thanks Hawkeye. I couldn't have made it without you," Roy told her, with a somewhat shy look, but she couldn't have been sure. "I wanted you to be the first one to know. From today onwards, until the day I'm proclaimed the next Fuhrer, there's going to be a lot of work to get done and a lot of changes going around." Riza just nodded at him, accepting everything unconditionally. Roy was staring at her, studying her face, and hesitating about something.
"What is it, sir?" Roy jumped slightly at her sudden question.
"Well, you promised to protect me until I reached my goal. Now that we know I reached it, what are you going to do afterwards?" Riza blinked at the question. Does he think I'll leave him now, of all times? Riza was amused by his fear he desperately tried to hide. She knew he was anticipating her answer, maybe even dreading it. His hands constantly fiddled with his napkin while he waited. It wouldn't hurt to tease him a little.
Riza made an effort to sigh loudly. "I don't know. I've never had the time to think about it. Maybe I should go to college, or open my own shop, or go travel." Her smile stretched as she watched him cringe awkwardly at each thing she said. "But in the mean time, I'll just continue with the same job until I decide what I want to do," she finished cooly. Riza saw the relief and satisfaction on his face as he recuperated from his shock.
Roy accompanied her to the market to buy his own groceries after their lunch, that he relentlessly insisted on paying. He also had the rest of the day off for himself, to give him a bit of time to settle into his own place. As thanks for lunch, she offered to help him unpack his boxes at his apartment, which he gladly accepted. It didn't take long before they were done unpacking, since most of his belongings were books. It was mid-afternoon when Riza decided to head back to her place.
"It's been a long time we haven't had time to ourselves like this." Roy grinned at her.
"Yes, I agree." Ever since they went to Ishbal, there was never, or rarely, a time when they were just the two of them. "I should get going, sir. I still have to put my groceries in the fridge."
"All right, thanks a lot for coming over and helping me with this. I don't think I would've been able to finish unpacking all these boxes today by myself." Roy walked her to the door.
"Are you going to be okay with all those bags?" He pointed to her groceries.
"Sir, it's only three bags. I think I can handle it."
"Fine, fine. Be careful and I'll see you tomorrow then."
"Yes, good day, sir."
Like Roy had predicted, their work in Central was no less hectic than it was in the east. Their paperwork came endlessly and they were running everywhere. At least their team was once again working together in the same office, which allowed them to talk to each other whenever they felt like it. This prompted Riza to discipline them whenever their chatter got out of hand. They just didn't have the time to procrastinate with all the workload coming in. The sudden increase in their work was caused by the changes and reforms in the military that were coming soon. The change of power was found out by the team in the early afternoon which made everyone cheer.
"Sir, why didn't you tell us sooner? It should've been the first thing you said this morning!" Havoc exclaimed excitedly.
"I just found out yesterday myself and I wanted to see how long it would take you guys before you figured it out. I mean, we've been signing these paperwork about the changes that are going to happen in the military all morning. I would assume you guys would read a bit before signing and filing them away." Roy said exasperatedly.
The men chose to ignore his comment and talked among themselves, spreading the news to everyone they spoke to. In the end, Riza had to threaten them to sit back down and continue their work. But even then, they were all fidgety and giddy like little schoolgirls for the rest of the day.
This same atmosphere continued for the rest of the month and seemed to intensify near the end. Riza didn't mind it as much because, for once, they were actually getting work done on time, even the General. Everyone was anticipating the end of the month as much as Roy and it seemed to give them all the extra boost they needed to survive this cumbersome workload. Riza only hoped it would stay this way after he became the Fuhrer. I doubt it.
In only two weeks after Roy had heard the news from the Fuhrer, everyone in Amestris knew of his oncoming promotion. Many high ranking officers, such as other generals, colonels and majors came to congratulate him in person. Some of them even brought up talk of marriages and hinted at some daughters or nieces.
On the eve of his inauguration, Riza was alone in the office late at night sorting out through the last of the day's paperwork. They really meant to work us until the very last day. She had not slept much during the whole week and hadn't felt this tired since her trainee days. She stared with temptation at the office couch and finally decided to give in after a heated debate with her inner perfect soldier. I've never fallen asleep on duty in all my military career. I deserve at least this much on the eve of Roy's inauguration tomorrow. She tentatively laid down on her side, her back to the backrest and nestled herself comfortably. Yes, I definitely deserve this. Just ten minutes.
Little did she know that she was not alone in the building. She felt something drape on her, but she was too drowsy and confused to know what it was. I'm in the office! She remembered and suddenly bolted upright, her hand reaching for her gun, only to knock her head on something hard and landing straight back on the couch, seething.
"Ow, ow, ow. That hurt Hawkeye. I only meant to cover you with something so you wouldn't get cold." Roy was on the floor, squatting, and rubbing his forehead. Riza looked down at her body and saw his long black jacket covering her legs. She quickly scrambled to her feet and snapped into a salute.
"I'm sorry, sir. I didn't mean to fall asleep at work, nor did I mean to hit your forehead." Riza could not have felt even worse than she did at that moment. She had betrayed her image of a good soldier and even did it in front of her commanding officer, who would be the Fuhrer tomorrow. Riza was washed up with shame.
"It's okay Hawkeye. I know you didn't sleep much this week, neither have I. You're always awake and perfect during the day, it's only normal that you relax and sleep at night," Roy chuckled, "I have to say though, I was surprised to find you asleep on the couch. If I hadn't seen you, I would've slept right on top of you." Roy laughed out loud, but calmed down after he saw how flushed her face was.
"Well, we should both be getting home. It's already this late and we have a big day tomorrow," Roy said, looking away and scratching the back of his head.
"What time is it, sir?"
"It's already nine thirty." Damn! I slept for an hour. How stupid can you be? Riza scolded herself and promised herself never to sleep at the office again.
They gathered up the little things they had and left headquarters, walking silently, side by side. At the gate, they parted ways.
"See you tomorrow General Mustang."
"Yes, Lieutenant Colonel Hawkeye. It's the last time I will be called by that rank, I hope." Roy smirked at her.
"Indeed, sir." Riza gave him her own smirk.
Riza woke up the next day at the crack of dawn and was already at headquarters by the time the sun was fully up. She had a busy day ahead of her and she didn't dare waste any time. As Roy's aide and bodyguard for the past ten years, she was appointed the head chief of his security team on this important day and she wanted to make damn sure that nothing went wrong. We've been waiting for this day since the Ishbal war. Nothing will get in our way, not as long as I'm beside him. That also meant that she wouldn't be able to be close to him at all times, especially when he went up in front of the citizens and soldiers to receive his title and honours. It will be a full day of running around.
Riza was so busy that day and focused on her tasks that she barely remembered how the ceremony went. She didn't even get to see it completely. But, at the end of the day, nothing bad or chaotic had happened and she was glad everything went as planned and was finished. Now all she wanted to do was find him, but he was everywhere and nowhere at the same time. HQ was packed beyond belief, with soldiers everywhere, coming from all corners of Amestris. When she heard he was at one place, by the time she got there, he was gone and was someplace else.
In the end, she got tired of chasing after him and decided to head back to their office. When she unlocked it and went in, it was empty. Where are all the others? She had seen the other men when she was patrolling during the ceremony, but now that it was over and everyone was walking everywhere, she had no luck of finding them.
She sat down heavily in her own chair and rubbed her eyes. She knew she probably looked haggard and had bags underneath her eyes. She sighed out loud and leaned back in her chair. Looking around the office, she felt a bit sad and nostalgic. It had been in this office where they worked in before they left for Ishbal and it was this same office that they came back to a month ago. Roy's desk was always at the far end of the room, facing all of them. Her own desk was a bit to the side, where she had a clear view of Roy's and all the others' desks so she could supervise them. The rest of the team's desks were sticked together in the middle of the room. She smiled at the thought of them procrastinating and finding ways to make work funner, which always ended up with her scolding them. This had been her second home and them, her second family. The thought of changing any of it saddened her.
She snapped out of her thoughts when she heard the doorknob rattle, then the turn of a key and someone burst in quickly, closing the door behind. The said person breathed heavily and sagged his shoulders. She knew this man and could recognized his back anywhere, since she had promised to shoot it if ever he erred from his path.
"Sir, why are you here?" She stood up and walked towards him.
"I knew you'd be in here. It's crazy out there. People are crowding around me like vultures to a corpse, hoping to get favor from me. I was looking for you, but you never came to rescue me." Roy gave her a tired smile.
"I couldn't get to you. The vultures devoured you too fast," Riza played along.
Roy stood in front of her and smiled proudly. "Did you see me on the podium?"
"Of course I did, everyone did. It's the moment we've all been waiting for." She looked up at him and studied the man she had blindly followed for as long as she could remember. He was her life, he was her dream and he is everything to her.
Her lack of words and expression made him curious and his smile wavered. But before he could say anything, she smiled at him softly and said, "Congratulations on becoming the Fuhrer," a split second later, she added, "Roy."
Riza watched his eyes widen in surprise. She had never called him by his first name, not when they where working together, not when they were alone, not when they were off duty, not when they were fighting in the Ishbal war, not when she had shown him the secret to flame alchemy, not when he had come back to her father's house to plead for his secrets, not when he had left her to join the military. The last time she had called him by his name was when they were young, at her father's house, when Roy was still a novice apprentice. It had taken her many months to be convinced by him to call him by his name, and even that had not lasted very long. When her father had heard her call him, he had scolded her and told her to call him 'Mr Mustang'. The short period of time she had called him 'Roy' was probably her happiest days, where she had a friend to talk to and a companion in her, otherwise, silent home. Riza had always longed for those days to come back but had never dared bring it up again.
This time, she made an exception. She wanted to be the young Riza standing in front of him. The friend in his childhood days. She wanted to be her, not the soldier she had become, not the killer she had become, not the weary Hawkeye she was today. The lapse of silence that followed felt like a decade and she was starting to doubt whether it had been a good idea or not. Maybe he doesn't remember. Maybe he finds it weird and doesn't know what to say. Maybe he doesn't like it...
As fast as her doubts had plagued her, Roy circled her in his arms in a tight embrace. Riza gasped and tensed all over. "Thanks Riza. It means a lot to me to hear you say it." She let go of a breath she hadn't known she had been holding in and returned his hug. He knows it's me.
A sudden knock on the door jolted them apart and ended their moment. Roy opened the door to welcome in many generals and other high ranking soldiers. Riza watched as he was swept away by this mob of favor-seeking hypocrites and knew their short reunion had ended for good and that she was back to Riza Hawkeye, Lieutenant Colonel, the Fuhrer's aide and bodyguard. At least she hoped she would continue to be.
A.N.: How's the first chapter? It was supposed to be longer, but as I was writing, there were many things that I wanted to add, so I decided to split it in two. This story will probably be longer than my other three. The updates will probably be irregular, but I'm panning to write many chapters in advance before publishing them so it could be kind of regular. I just wanted to know if the first chapter and probably the second would seem like an interesting story. Please leave me a review ;)