Deleted Scene I
(Set early or pre-series, prior to the transfer of Mustang's team to Central)
Lieutenant Hawkeye sat in stunned silence, with letters spilled all across her lap, eagerly devouring the words of a boy she'd once known.
"How did you come to have these, sir?" she asked softly, her voice thick with suppressed emotion. Her grandfather smiled at her from the other side of his desk.
"They were only written because of me, you know," was all he said. She was used to his riddles by now, but familiarity didn't make them any less annoying. At her raised eyebrow, he only smirked. So she tried a new tack.
"If anyone else had seen these, sir, all three of us might have been compromised."
Grumman waved a hand at her, dismissive.
"Your parentage is a matter of public record, my dear, even if it isn't exactly common knowledge. My offspring, her marriage, her husband's occupation, your colonel's schooling—none of it is exactly classified information, is it? Anyone might have figured it out by looking up the right records, or by bribing the right officials."
As Madame had, all those years ago.
"Well, still," Hawkeye murmured, her eyes still skimming over the letters.
"Oh, those letters only flesh out the human components of the story. There wasn't anything that could truly be used against any one of us, and so I never could bring myself to destroy them."
With a helpless little gesture, Riza suddenly dropped the letter she'd been reading into her lap with the others. Her shoulders slumped a little, and her eyes took on an intensely sad expression.
"I suppose you're right. But all laid out like this...it brings back a lot of things I'd rather it didn't," she admitted.
"Should I have come for you after all?" her grandfather asked softly. Riza raised those wide brown eyes to his, silently questioning. Grumman shifted awkwardly in his chair. "I…I honestly tried to do what I thought was best for you," he continued. "It's why I arranged for all this in the first place," he nodded at the stack of letters littering her lap and his desk.
"Arranged for what, exactly?"
"For the letters."
Lieutenant Hawkeye looked puzzled for another moment, but her expression cleared as realization dawned.
"Madame Christmas. Of course," she said quietly. She ought to have guessed the moment she learned that the two of them were acquainted. Her grandfather smiled, albeit a little sadly.
"Yes." Grumman sighed. "I had to know, you see. I had to be certain...and as I read them, it became clear that you were at least cared for. Relatively happy. I could see that he protected you, insofar as he was able."
"He did," Hawkeye agreed, with a faraway look in her eyes.
"I could see that in his quiet way, he loved you fiercely, and you were devoted to him in return. I couldn't bear to be the one to pull you away from all that you'd known," he explained. "I—I didn't want you to resent me, I suppose. And of course, there were also your father's wishes to contend with."
"You might have visited," she suggested, voicing at last something that had troubled her for years. "Did you think he wouldn't allow you to see me?"
"I didn't just think so, my dear, I knew it for a fact. Berthold Hawkeye would not willingly suffer my presence in his home. And not without reason. Although it pains me to admit this, when your parents married, I was…very angry," he sighed. "Tereza was so young, and so bright, and your father seemed such a cold and hard man." He was silent for a moment, lost in a memory.
"You believed they were ill suited for each other?" Hawkeye prompted.
"I was so sure she'd regret her choice if she went through with it, Grumman said. "So, I refused to give them my blessing. Naturally enough, they eloped instead. Harsh words were exchanged, most of them mine. I said some rather cruel, unforgivable things to her. To both of them."
"But my mother—she forgave you, didn't she?" Hawkeye asked softly.
"After a time, yes," Grumman sighed. "Although she and I eventually re-established written contact, I still didn't visit her. I couldn't visit her. I wasn't welcome in her husband's home. Her husband—your father…he never quite forgave me for the things I'd said. For the way I'd acted. And when she got sick, and I offered money to help with her medical expenses, they refused it. Sent it back, in fact."
"She kept a picture of the two of you, in her parlor," Hawkeye said, after a moment. "Father never said a word about it, but after she had died, it vanished. I found it later, hidden away with some of her other things."
"She had a photo of me?" the old general repeated hopefully.
"Yes. It's a formal portrait of both of you, from when she was a young girl. She's sitting on your knee, and it looks as though you're both laughing."
Hawkeye still had that photo, tucked safely away with her most important papers.
"Ah. I remember that portrait," Grumman half-whispered. "I thought she'd destroyed it when she left. I found shards of glass from the broken frame, afterwards."
"She didn't," Hawkeye said simply.
"If you remembered the photo," Grumman said slowly. "Then - did you recognize me, that first day I came to meet you?"* Hawkeye's lips curved into a smile, and the old man saw a flicker of his own cunning reflected in her features.
"I did, yes," she replied. There was a sudden humorous lilt to her voice, a bright and golden sound that sounded so much like his late daughter that tears welled up in Grumman's eyes.
"And you let me ramble on like an old fool about having known your parents, and offering you my assistance and all that, without ever letting on that you knew who I was and why I'd come?" he asked, aghast.
"I figured you had your reasons," she said, shrugging. "And I wanted to see what you'd do. I wasn't planning to claim a relationship if it was one that you'd never wanted. I knew things were tense between you and my father, but I didn't know why. Or—or whether I was the cause of that tension somehow."
"Never," he said sharply. "You had nothing to do with it. If anything, your birth was the reason Terri and I started communicating again, even if our relationship never fully recovered. A man wants grandchildren. Offspring to carry on his legacy, you know."
"Well, I can't exactly carry on the family name," she said, chuckling softly.
"Your name doesn't make a lick of difference," Grumman argued, shaking his head firmly. "I was so pleased when you enrolled at the Academy. Your mother used to tell me she was going to be a solider, when she was a child. She wanted to be like me, and my father, and her mother's father. You come from a long line of military men, my dear. Did I ever tell you that?"
"You did, the day we met. And I hoped you'd take that into account when you saw my name cross your desk. I thought you must have signed the permission yourself, when the recruiter wrote me back and told me to report to the Academy for the fall semester."
"Actually, I just forged your father's signature and changed the date," he admitted. "No one would think to check his date of death, but it was a simple precaution in case anyone got curious. A maternal grandfather wasn't considered close enough kin to sign those papers," he grinned at her as she laughed softly.
"No wonder Colonel Mustang always loses when you play chess. You were always three steps ahead of me, weren't you?"
"In some things, perhaps," Grumman grinned briefly, and then grew serious again. "I hope I don't have to tell you this, but I never used undue influence to push you forward. You climbed the ranks all on your own, based entirely on merit."
"The thought had occurred, once or twice," Hawkeye admitted, ducking her head slightly. "For example, the single room at the Academy dorm was rather convenient."
"Ah. Yes, well, a student with night terrors is best off on her own. Prevents her from disturbing any of the other students, you see."
"But I don't have night terrors, sir," she said, raising an eyebrow.
"And how would they have been able to confirm that?" he countered, winking at her.
"And the early transfer to the front lines of Ishval?" she asked in a too-light tone. Grumman shuddered slightly, his face taking on an ashen hue.
"No. That was done entirely against my wishes," he replied in a low, grave voice. "I was furious when I found out. Bad enough that your talents meant you'd be sent straight into the thick of things, but to go before you'd even completed two years of training? I never would have wanted that." Hawkeye's shoulders relaxed just the slightest bit, and Grumman wondered how long she'd harbored that suspicion.
"I doubt another year would have made much of a difference," she said softly. "You're never really prepared for something like that, no matter the training."
"Quite true," he replied. "I often wonder whether I should have stuck to my original plan. Simply taken you in myself, and married you off to some bright young thing with a prestigious career ahead of him, instead of letting you enlist. I regret not protecting you better."
"You aren't the only one," she admitted, remembering the look on Mustang's face when they'd met again on the battlefield. "But if it's any comfort to you, I would have joined up anyway, with or without your help. I was determined by then. I'd already planned to try again under an assumed name if you didn't pull the right strings for me."
"That defiant streak, just like your mother," Grumman chuckled.
"I can't swear I wouldn't do things differently, knowing what I know now. But back then? I made the choice on my own, and I was determined to see it through."
A knock at the door made them look up with identically wary expressions, which relaxed into identically indulgent smiles when the visitor poked his head in the room.
"I hope I haven't interrupted? What state secret are you two discussing?" Colonel Mustang asked, leaning on the doorframe.
"Oh, nothing like that. We were just chatting about my first love," Hawkeye said, gathering the bundle of letters in her hand and standing up. Mustang looked like he'd been doused with cold water.
"Y-your first—?" A bewildered Mustang stammered, but Hawkeye smoothly interrupted him.
"I'd better leave you two to your conversation. Thank you again for lending these to me, sir," she said, gathering the letters. Mustang eyed them suspiciously as Grumman replied.
"You may keep them, if you wish," he added with his foxy grin. "In light of the subject matter, they're sure to hold your interest as long as they've held mine."
"Thank you, sir, I'd like that very much," she replied with a matching grin. Catching sight of the handwriting on one of the envelopes, Mustang's eyes grew wide.
"Are…are those—?" he started to ask, hesitantly.
"Goodnight, sirs," Hawkeye said with a jaunty salute. She turned on her heel and left the two men alone in General Grumman's office. Colonel Mustang stood looking after her with such a pitiful mix of jealousy and desire on his face that his superior burst into an unmanly giggle.
"Well?" Grumman demanded when the colonel whipped his head back around to glare at him. "What are you doing just standing there, young man? Aren't you going to go after her?"
"But…what about our meeting—?" Mustang said uncertainly.
"We'll talk in the morning, say oh eight hundred hours. Now go on; you'd better hurry if you want to catch up to her," he advised. Suiting the action to the word, Mustang darted from the room before Grumman had even finished his sentence.
Grumman's guffaw could be heard from the outer hall, but Roy didn't care. The smile on Riza's face was worth it.
Because of course she was waiting for him just outside the door. He cleared his throat awkwardly, and attempted to fall back on his normal professionalism as he fell into step beside her.
"Colonel," she murmured, clearly amused.
"I, erm. Those letters," he stuttered, eyes flicking from her face to the bundle of letters in her hand.
"Yes, sir? What about them?" she replied, raising an eyebrow.
"Are…are those…oh, for pity's sake, just tell me!" he cried, his control snapping.
"Tell you what, sir?" she pressed, raising her eyebrow. "Whether or not these are letters written by a young man to his family, detailing his experiences as a boarding pupil of a famous alchemist? Letters that his aunt requested he send on a weekly basis for the sake of his sisters? Letters which she actually commissioned from her nephew at the behest of the alchemist's father-in-law? Letters which were meant to help that man determine the state of his granddaughter's happiness and well-being from the perspective of a neutral third party that they all could trust?"
"His grand—but then how'd he…wait, so that means…huh," Roy muttered bemusedly. His eyes clouded over as he ran through the implications in his mind. "That sly old dog," he finally added. "So they sent me in as a spy?" he added indignantly. Hawkeye bit her lip to hide her smile.
"If it makes you feel any better, I didn't know either until just a few moments ago."
"And you—you've read those letters?" he asked, eyeing her nervously. Though he was confident he hadn't said anything that might upset her, he couldn't remember how much of his infatuation had shown through in his writing.
"Oh yes," Hawkeye said. "I found them rather educational, in fact."
"Educational?" Mustang repeated in a strangled voice.
"Mm. Apparently I need to smile more often," she said nonchalantly. "I have it on good authority that I'm much prettier when I smile. Although, that was nearly ten years ago, now. Perhaps the original author would wish to retract that assessment?" she mused. Mustang's eyes softened.
"Oh, no. I'm sure he'd agree that time has only improved the effect," he said huskily.
"Well, I always knew he had a charming streak a mile wide," she retorted. Mustang stopped dead in the middle of the hallway. Hawkeye took a few more steps, and then stopped as well and looked back at him in confusion. "Sir?" she asked, worried. Had she taken the teasing too far?
"That sonofa—all this time!" Mustang cried. "He knew that you knew! So if he's read all the letters, then he knows how close we became, and he had to know you'd tell me once you figured out who he really was, and we've been under his command for years now, and all this time he's known that I know without knowing that he knows that I know!" he growled out, growing increasingly agitated with each sentence. Hawkeye had to bite her lip to keep from laughing at the expression on his face.
"Sir, I'm not sure if I follow," she replied calmly. He glared at her and then realized that he was drawing unwanted attention from the other people still straggling out of Eastern Command. In two long strides, he was at her side again, grumbling mostly under his breath.
"He's been watching me squirm this whole time. All that stuff about his granddaughter, knowing that I had to know who he was really talking about," he muttered. "No wonder he and Madame get on so well, they're two peas in a damn pod."
"And here I thought that's why the two of you got along so well," Hawkeye murmured in amusement.
"Oh god," Mustang gasped. "There—he didn't have copies of their replies, did he?"
"Replies?" Hawkeye repeated.
"The letters. The ones the girls sent me in reply whenever I wrote them," Mustang said, looking half-panicked. "Did he see any of those? Did he give you any copies of those? I mean, I assumed the originals only went to me, but then again, I had no idea they were sending my letters on to someone else, and—"
"Sir, take a breath," Hawkeye admonished him. "The only letters Lieutenant General Grumman has mentioned or showed to me were the ones that you wrote to your family. Madame apparently forwarded them along to him once the girls had finished reading them. That's all I know."
"Oh, thank god," Mustang whispered.
"Looks like I might need to pay Lucy a visit," Hawkeye said lightly. "Apparently I'm missing something very interesting."
"You wouldn't!" Mustang cried. "Lieutenant?"
Hawkeye just smiled and kept walking, leaving her mortified superior officer stammering behind her.
A.N. And that's REALLY it for Espionage. I swear, this time! I did have one other deleted scene I'd planned to put up a few weeks back, but then I recycled it for use in a different story. So this one is officially the very last scene intended to be included in Espionage :D Thanks for the reviews and favorites and follows, everyone!
*See Infinite Arms Chapter Three for how their first meeting went. :D