Thousandsunnylyon is a wonderful person. This is a New Year's gift for her.
She wanted later day royai-mance.
Though it had been a mild day, come eleven o'clock Mustang's office was absolutely freezing. Blowing on his hands, the general tried to settle back into his work, but it was impossible. Not only had renovations been taking place directly outside his office all day, it was New Year's Eve. A time for celebration, for goodness sake. The boys had been dismissed (or otherwise escaped) hours previous, and Hawkeye had finally agreed to go home a little over thirty minutes ago. General or not, a man could hardly be expected to sign papers with glum reluctance while the rest of the country rang in the New Year together with loved ones. There was always a place at Madame Christmas's new bar for him. Maybe a bite to eat too.
Pushing himself to his feet, Mustang closed the document he had been working on, marking the page with his single greeting card: a small, impersonal one that was issued to all ranking officers since Grumman took command. Clumsily and with no small amount of frustration, he began buttoning up his coat. He'd grown somewhat used to the limited use of his hands during the summer, but the winter cold was killing him. The pain! It was enough to make him tear-up at times. Of course, the balm the doctor gave him was in his bottom drawer behind his balled-up socks and hastily hidden paperwork. It smelled of lavender. It wasn't happening.
Checking the office over once (for what, he didn't know) Mustang flicked off the light and began making his way down the lonely corridors of Central command. A young sergeant passed him on the second floor. Ruddy-cheeked, Mustang suspected the chap had already hit the champagne with whoever he was sharing the skeleton shift with. The salute left a lot to be desired too.
'Happy New Year, sir,' said the sergeant, his back squashed against the wall and glassy eyes drinking in Mustang's tired appearance. 'I've always wanted to-'
'Back to post, sergeant,' sighed Mustang, flying past the boy without another glance. It was only at top of the stairs that the general remembered himself. That is to say, he remembered not to be 'a huge bastard' as Hughes and many others called him. 'Sergeant!' he called, stopping the young man in his tracks. He smiled and returned the salute lightly. 'Happy New Year.'
Fireworks couldn't have lit the boy's face up more.
The night was biting cold as he stepped outside. His nose stung and started running immediately. He pulled out his pocket watch. Eleven-forty: just enough time to make it to Madame's before the bells.
The general froze in place, knees locking. His hands were pressed together before he'd even realised it and his eyes darted from the distant gates to the fountain before him. A great whoosh! of air raced paced the back of his neck. He spun—gasping—as a huge tablet of scaffolding crashed in front of him, cracking the pavement and throwing up an enormous cloud of dust.
The general could only stare at the mangled ruin of wood, steel and bolts before him. One inch more and it certainly would have skulled him. More than that, and he'd have been crushed. He'd survived war, high-treason and battling the supernatural, and he'd nearly been killed on the spot by shoddy construction! His heart thudded once, hard, in his chest. His stomach dropped. He'd nearly been killed. Alone.
'Sir!' a male voice came from behind him. 'Sir! Are you okay!'
Dazedly, the general turned towards the sentry. Another young officer, red-cheeked and merry-eyed.
'I thought you were going to be crushed,' said the boy, shaking his head with wonder.
Taking both his elbows with shaking hands, Mustang pulled the boy towards him. If anyone was watching from a distance, they might have mistaken it as the prelude to a kiss.
Licking his lips, the general spoke incredibly slowly. Just two words: 'Me too.' His eyes widened and he looked off, thinking. The boy, still in the general's grasp, stood dumbly with mouth and eyes open to their fullest capacity.
'Me too,' Mustang mumbled again. 'Good… God.'
'Would you like me to call you a driver, sir?' asked the sentry, unsurely.
'Hmm?' asked Mustang. He released the boy, and began striding towards the gate. 'No,' he said at last. 'No, that won't be necessary.'
'Oh- okay.' The boy skipped a little way behind his superior, then stopped and waved. 'Happy New Year, sir! I'll report this at once!'
'Very good!' called Mustang without looking back. He ducked his head and picked up his pace. Soon he was running. 'Very-bloody-good.'
Hawkeye was just drifting off when there came the most terrible racket from her front door. The mad knocking and thumping threw Hayate into a frenzy of barking and scraping madly at her bedroom door.
'Quiet, boy,' she said. Stepping into a pair of old slippers, the lieutenant shuffled towards the door, rubbing her eyes. She opened the top drawer of the vanity beside the door and pulled out her revolver. She didn't need to check it. She'd already done it as part of her nightly routine.
'Who is it?' she asked, standing clear of the door.
The thumping stopped at once. 'It's me,' said a very shaky voice from the other side.
Hawkeye tore the door open at once. The general stood before her, eyes wide and hair covered in dust.
'Sir!' Hawkeye said, pulling him inside. She checked her porch and the street beyond before closing the door. Turning, she cried out in surprise having run straight into his chest. He hadn't budged an inch since she'd dragged him inside. He was staring at her with the most peculiar expression. 'Did something happen?' she asked, guiding him towards the sofa with some difficulty. Hayate skipped around his legs, overjoyed at the visit.
He nodded slowly, still looking at her strangely. 'Yes,' he said.
She saw now that his hands were shaking. She pulled them into her own and squeezed them gently, wary of his scars. They were freezing.
'Were you- were you attacked-?' She studied him from head to toe, terrified that some terrible wound might reveal itself to her.
'A piece of central command almost crushed me. You know the renovations… they've been at it all day… and Grumman's been—been pushing everything through before the new budget,' he said, all in a rush. 'It just missed me!' He held his fingers in front of her face. 'By this much.'
'Oh… well, my…' said Hawkeye. Despite the general's clear upset, she was greatly relieved. Confused, still, but relieved. She chanced a little jest, hoping it would snap him out of his daze. 'How could scaffolding almost crush you if you were obediently processing the end of years, sir?'
His response was a lopsided shrug. She saw now that one eyebrow was stuck in a goofy-looking expression of surprise. His ears had turned bright red in the warmth of her flat after the cold, and his hair was virtually white from all the dust.
'Oh, sir,' she said, chuckling. She dusted his hair off, tutting. He had hardly changed at all—still a big child under all that blue uniform and medals.
He caught her wrist. ' Lieutenant,' he said. He swallowed hard and lowered her hand until it was clasped between them.
The lieutenant shivered, though his hands were warm now. They were standing terribly close.
'Do you know if I'd been standing one inch further back...' He trailed off, shaking his head. After a beat, he collected himself. 'You wouldn't even have been listed in my obituary. People… history… they'd never know. You'd never know...'
How violently he's trembling, thought the lieutenant. As he raised his other hand to cup her face, she realised stupidly that it was her and not him who was shaking now.
'We've been together a long time,' said the general.
Hawkeye nodded mutely.
'And...' he huffed through his nose. Some dust flew off and danced around them. Hayate sneezed twice and shoved his nose against the bottom of the general's trousers. Mustang studied the dog a moment, then his eyes drifted up and over Hawkeye's shoulder: her simple furniture, single coat on the stand, used pot steeping in the sink beyond. He looked enormously sad for a moment. And hopeful too. Earnest—dark eyes staring. His thumb traced the line of Hawkeye's jaw from her studded earring to her lips. At last he sighed and met her eyes again.
'I was wondering if you would mind very much if I kissed you.' He flinched a little at his own words. 'As a kind of declaration.'
The room was very silent. It was silent too when Hawkeye nodded her assent, and raised herself out of her old, tattered slippers and onto her tiptoes to place her lips on his. Somewhere- what felt like miles away- the clock struck twelve.