Disclaimer: Colonel Roy Mustang, and 1st Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye—and ALL that they are—belong to Hiromu Arakawa :3
A/N: I would like to thank my beta, The Knife—BEST BETA EVER—for being so patient as I ramble about Royai nothings almost every night to her on chat 3 do check out her work! She specializes in "introspective" and has written for various animes.
Oneshot is set after Mustang and Hawkeye first meet the Elrics and Rockbells in FMA Brotherhood Episode 2.
Colonel Roy Mustang watched with a slightly furrowed brow as his adjutant collected her coat in one arm and led the way out the front door, holding it ajar for him, Mrs. Pinako Rockbell, Winry, and the young boy-turned-suit-of-armor Alphonse Elric. Outside, he waited next to a wooden horse-drawn cart as 1st Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye turned to smile at Winry.
"Well, this is good-bye, young lady," he heard her say in a friendly, almost motherly tone.
"My name is Winry," the young soft-spoken girl replied, extending a hand to shake but looking down at her feet.
"I see." Riza smiled warmly. "Winry," she confirmed and took the girl's hand in hers. "I hope we'll meet again."
She's always had a way with children. Roy closed his eyes and smirked, his adjutant coming to join him.
"Ready when you are, sir."
"Get in, then."
The cart driver took Roy's signal to depart, and the two officers leaned back as the 'house on the hill' began to downsize until it was a mere speck on the horizon.
"I wonder if he'll come," Riza said. Her voice was clear, but Roy was unsure if she meant to think aloud.
"He will," he replied anyway.
"But his eyes looked so spiritless…" Riza trailed off, folding her arms across her chest, and her voice softening to a rare but familiar concerned tone.
"You think so?" the colonel grinned knowingly at his subordinate, his voice low and confident. "Those…were burning eyes."
"East City Station, East City Station. This train will be bound for its final departure to Central City in fifteen minutes."
Roy yawned as he stepped off the train, military hat tucked under his left arm. The trip from Resembool to East City station was uneventful, but did cost two hours of unnecessary waiting time for unscheduled cargo hauling. The conversations that had transpired between himself and Riza were short and customary—appropriate for work—Riza would call it. Roy suddenly broke off from his groggy stupor and looked around. His adjutant was not in her usual spot, two paces behind him. The colonel walked casually down the platform, searching up and down its length. It shouldn't be too hard to find her, he thought to himself, seeing as there's hardly anyone left on this platform. Roy pulled out his silver pocket watch. It read 18:00 hours. This is unlike her, Roy frowned, beginning to worry. She was right behind me stepping off that train.
Roy spun around to come face to face with just the person he was looking for. He smiled tiredly, "You've never done that before, you know," he said in a relieved voice. "Try to make this the last time."
"Sorry about that, sir," Riza replied with soft features, "but this little boy is lost."
It was then that Roy noticed Riza holding the hand of a boy no more than six years old. His round, pale face was tear-stained, and what would've been blue eyes were blurry and slightly reddish from crying. Roy felt sorry for him, but he never really dealt with children other than his niece by moral obligation, Elicia Hughes, his best friend's only daughter. He glanced once from the little boy to Riza, rendering him a stoic expression that seemed to be saying, 'Well?'
Roy swallowed and knelt in front of the boy, "Don't cry, young man," he said as gently as possible. "Where did you last see your mama?"
"Bathroom," the little boy choked out. "Have you seen mama?"
Roy bit his lip worriedly and patted the boy's head. "Lieutenant," he straightened up, "approach the stationmaster, will you? Tell him this young man is lost."
Riza nodded, "Yes, sir." She knelt before the boy and held out her arms, her features softening again, "Come on, Gregory. We'll find your mama."
Roy watched in amazement as the boy—Gregory—hugged Riza around her arms and his whimpers reduced to hiccups. The lieutenant carried him off to the station's head office, Roy following closely behind.
Within minutes, Riza had explained the situation to the stationmaster and the announcer, and a clear voice began to ring against the walls of East City Station.
"Mrs. Marilou Davis, Mrs. Marilou Davis," said the announcer into his microphone, "Your son, Gregory, is waiting for you with two military officers at the station's head office. I repeat: Mrs. Marilou Davis, your son, Gregory, is waiting for you with two military officers at the station's head office. Thank you."
"Is mama coming?"
Roy felt a slight tugging at his uniform's waist skirt and saw Gregory looking up at him with sad but hopeful eyes. Roy smiled as an idea came to him and he knelt in front of the boy again. "That's right, young man," he said. "Listen, have you ever wondered what it's like being a military officer?"
Gregory's head perked up slightly, his attention momentarily averted and he nodded slowly. "Mama and papa say that military people are brave."
"That's right. Are you brave, Gregory?" Roy smiled kindly and watched as the little boy looked down and shuffled his feet.
"I want to be brave."
"I'm sure you already are," Roy said, not noticing that Riza had walked up behind him, quietly listening in with a faint smile that was hardly noticeable. "When you find yourself sad and scared like this, Gregory," the colonel continued, "all you have to do is be brave. Tell yourself everything is going to be okay. Mama and papa will never leave you alone on purpose. They'll always come looking for you because they love you very much."
Gregory stared at Roy and hiccupped once. Roy could tell he wasn't sure of what to say.
"Or!" the colonel grinned and whisked his hat from under his arm. "You could put this on, and pretend you're a brave military officer. How's that?"
Gregory's eyes widened at the hat and he made a soft sound that sounded like 'aaah'. Roy placed it atop the child's head and gave him a once over, nodding in satisfaction. "There, see?" he said. "Why, it looks like it was made for you. Fits perfectly!"
For the first time in their company, Gregory smiled and held the hat's brim to keep it from falling over his eyes. He looked up at Roy and then at Riza, "Is it, Miss Riza?"
Roy jumped and looked behind him. Riza was smiling. Just then, the door of the office opened noisily and a harassed looking woman in travelling clothes and around her late twenties gasped, "Gregory!"
Roy straightened up as Riza stepped beside him, both of them watching the heartwarming reunion between mother and son.
"Oh, sweetheart, I'm so sorry—what's this?" Mrs. Davis tapped the brim of Roy's, now Gregory's, military hat and she suddenly searched the room to look at the two officers. "Officers! Thank you, thank you for finding my boy!"
Roy smiled politely and bowed in slight, "It was my adjutant, 1st Lieutenant Hawkeye, who found him."
Riza stepped forward as Mrs. Davis hustled over to shake her hand warmly, "Thank you so much, Lieutenant Hawkeye," she said breathlessly, tears slowly beginning to form in the corners of her eyes and she turned to Roy with a bright smile.
"Colonel Mustang, madame."
"Colonel Mustang, thank you. You must be proud of your subordinate."
"More than, madame," Roy replied, a genuine boastful smile spreading on his features. Riza resisted the urge slap it off his face.
Gregory grinned, "Look, mama, Colonel Mustang gave me his hat so I could be brave!"
Mrs. Davis gave Roy a meaningful look, but the latter simply chuckled and gestured that the hat was no longer his.
About ten minutes later, the two officers found themselves outside East City Station, waving to the Davises as they walked down the street on the way home. Riza cleared her throat, "Permission to speak freely, colonel."
Roy turned to her and smirked, "Go ahead."
Riza smiled, "You handled that nicely, sir. I daresay you've just inspired a future soldier of Amestris."
Roy felt his stomach tie itself into a nervous knot. He would not deny that while Riza's compliments were rare, they were really the only ones that mattered. Not even affirmations from the upper echelon could hope to parallel. Perhaps these were rather bold thoughts, but Roy smiled to himself, knowing that what he knew would remain his. He looked at Riza as East City's cool evening breeze teased the locks of her short blonde hair. Her warm brown eyes caught his dark ones and the two smiled at each other, making silent private exchanges that could not be placed into words due to the work environment that surrounded them.
These exchanges were daring, sometimes, maybe unsure and implied. But they understood each other nonetheless, in the hope that one day, exchanges need not be concealed in silence, but made in verbal affirmation.
Riza looked away, closed her eyes and smiled to herself. He's always had a way with children.
A/N: Hope you enjoyed! For every review, Roy gives away a military hat to cheer up a little kid in Amestris :3