This is a prompt I received from a very lovely person on tumblr called Ripace (I'm there as writermebh).

Hope you like it!

Once again, no beta so please alert me to any errors!


The room was quiet, the corridors beyond quieter still. It was another night in Central's military infirmary, and Colonel Roy Mustang was on the verge of cardiac arrest.

"You little bastard," he hissed through his teeth, face twisted in a grimace. "You," he breathed, pulling in increasingly hot air through trembling lips. "Little… bastard."

He was speaking to his little finger on his right hand. It had obstinately refused to move since the Promised Day. So too did the ring fingers on both his right and left hands, but they didn't bother him nearly as much as this little prick. There was something particularly belligerent about his little finger.

"Move," he grunted quietly, aware that anything louder would rouse Hawkeye. "Move you little fucker. You stupid…" He growled. "Move damn you, you bastard."

That morning, scribbling away on his clipboard, the infirmary's most senior surgeon had assured Mustang he would regain feeling in all of his fingers, though to what extent he couldn't be sure. The man followed the news with a masturbation joke that had Hawkeye coughing tea all over herself in the next bay. Mustang had to credit the man. Personal ministrations of that very nature had, of course, crossed his mind once or twice. Usually in the morning.

"Fucking… move."

He huffed and focussed all his energy on moving the obnoxious digit. Hell. Maybe he was moving it all along but couldn't feel it. He certainly couldn't see it. His chest tightened painfully. Three nights into blind oblivion and he was already losing his mind. It would be another week before Marcoh restored his sight (if, indeed, he could). Ten days of darkness in total. The thought of a lifetime like this brought bile to his throat.

"Please move," he whispered.

o

So long as she didn't make a sound, the colonel would never know she was awake. In the darkness of the room, as slowly as she could, the lieutenant raised her hand and laid it across her chest, knowing she wouldn't sleep again that night.

OoOoO

"Would you like some help, colonel?" Hawkeye asked. She was propped up in bed, a book lying open on her lap, though she hadn't managed to read a sentence for the last twenty minutes. Instead, she watched the colonel as he moved gingerly through his first shave since they'd been admitted. The small bathroom lay opposite her bed. From where she was lying she could see the slope of the colonel's tired shoulders, and in the mirror, his drawn, scruffy face. He was humming to himself, feigning confidence. "Colonel?"

He ignored her. The lieutenant sighed, then jumped in place as his blank eyes met hers through the mirror. It always took her a beat to remember his blindness at moments like this. She held them, tried to accept their empty greyness until they drifted on, now fixed somewhere to her left. She continued to watch him warily, struck by the small sharpness of the blade he held in his ravaged hands. She brought her fingers to her own neck—felt the thick bandages there, the fragile skin beneath.

"Rather than bother me," began the colonel. "Why don't you continue pretending to read that book of yours, lieutenant?"

He was always meanest when he was vulnerable, ever since he was a boy. It had only been four days since he lost his vision, but she could feel the weight of it on them both. Moreover, it was clear the colonel harboured deep regret from the Promised Day; wishing he'd been of more use. He was such a fool: objective about everything but himself.

"Shit!" he swore and dropped the razor into the sink. It skittered around the basin noisily before coming to rest with a dull clunk. Bright flecks of blood dotted the white enamel. His lip was bleeding freely.

"Colonel!" gasped Hawkeye, throwing back the blankets. The book tumbled to the floor, forgotten.

He kicked the door shut behind him. The thin wall shook.

Hawkeye remained perched on the edge of her bed, her heart racing and palms already beginning to sweat.

OoOoO

Had it not been for Marcoh's imminent arrival, she wouldn't have insisted. As it was, she offered the colonel no choice in the matter. Pushing the previous incident from her mind, she told Mustang he'd been relegated to bystander for his morning ablutions.

"On what account?" he asked, thankfully playing along.

"On account of your trying to shave your face off. An eye-patch was bad enough to spin for Bradley, I'm sure, but I imagine Breda's work would be cut out for him if you went for the full-facial mask."

The colonel shrugged. "Ladies love men with scars," he said, smirking. He winced as his lip stretched painfully.

"Not this lady," answered Hawkeye, and pulled the trolley towards her with one toe. On top of it was a basin filled with steaming hot water and the colonel's expensive toiletries.

Shifting, the colonel brought his arms up behind his head and leaned back with a long sigh. "Maybe I should keep the beard," he said. His eyes were closed but his smile announced the jest like a foghorn.

"'Beard' is a very generous term for what you're sporting on thine noble chin, sir," replied Hawkeye, wetting the cloth. She pressed it to his cheek, then dropped the rest over his nose and mouth, effectively muffling any response he tried to give.

His eyes canted up towards her, seeming to catch her own again, though she knew it was impossible.

He mumbled something she took to be 'thank you'.

She flicked his nose and chuckled at his yelp of protest. When she removed the hot cloth, she was pleased to see that smile of his. It was one he tried not to smile if he could help it: all lopsided, slight snaggletooth showing like a misplaced fang. With his hair stiff from sleep, he looked an absolute state. She laughed despite herself, all in one great big burst that set him off too.

"Give me a moustache," he joked.

She flicked him again. "I'll do no such thing."

"When I'm out of here I'll grow one just to spite you."

"I'll quit and open up a bakery."

He patted the bed until he managed to find her hand. Closing his eyes and laughing with his whole chest, he took her hand in his own and weaved his fingers through hers. Even the little one.


Thanks.