Title: Life in a Love
Fandom: Fullmetal Alchemist
Characters/ Pairings: Royai.
Warnings/ Spoilers: None that I can think of.
Word Count: 2309
Summary: Roy tries to get Riza out on a date, but is rejected. Edward and the rest of Roy's subordinates decide to help him out for his second attempt.
Disclaimer: ALL characters belong to Hiromu Arakawa.
A/N: Inspired by Robert Browning's poem of the same title:
Life in a Love
While I am I, and you are you,
So long as the world contains us both,
Me the loving and you the loth
While the one eludes, must the other pursue.
My life is a fault at last, I fear:
It seems too much like a fate, indeed!
Though I do my best I shall scarce succeed.
But what if I fail of my purpose here?
It is but to keep the nerves at strain,
To dry one's eyes and laugh at a fall,
And, baffled, get up and begin again,---
So the chace takes up one's life ' that's all.
While, look but once from your farthest bound
At me so deep in the dust and dark,
No sooner the old hope goes to ground
Than a new one, straight to the self-same mark,
I shape me---
Colonel Roy Mustang was fuming mad. He paced up and down his private office, too preoccupied in his angry thoughts to realise his sub-conscious snapping of his fingers was creating sparks until the carpet caught fire.
“Damn it! How could she refuse?!” he burst out, now venting his frustration by stomping hard on the burning spot in the carpet. “No one has ever said no to the charms and charisma of the Flame Alchemist!”
Like a video player with Edward Elric with the remote , Roy’s embarrassing moment kept playing over and over before his eyes. He could see her standing before him: First Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye. She was talking to him, giving a report of some sort. Roy wasn’t paying attention, except to note the melodic quality of her low alto voice. Roy watched her lips move as she spoke; her hand as she flipped through the pages of the file in front of her, and made an occasional gesture; her hair in it’s loose bun as it bobbed up and down while she moved her head. Her hair… Oh how he longed to stroke it, and hug her close as he bent down to kiss her head and ask her, in his most alluring voice, what shampoo she used.
“Sir?” the sharpness in Hawkeye’s voice cut through Roy’s daydreams. For once, the Flame Alchemist was caught off guard. “Huh?” he blurted out.
“You were falling asleep.” Riza stared intently at him, though not unkindly. Her dark brown eyes were full of concern, and the edge in her voice had been replaced by worry. “You worked late into the night yesterday, didn’t you? Probably didn’t go home at all. When will you stop putting your work in front of your health? At this rate you’ll die of ill health before you become Fuhrer!”
Roy rubbed his eyes sleepily, not yet fully alert. “Tell you what,” he drawled, yawning. “I’ll take a nap now, and then you can continue your report tonight, over dinner.” The words were out before Roy’s tired brain could process what he’d just said. Roy gagged mentally. He’d wanted to ask Riza out for years, but he wasn’t exactly planning on asking tonight. Oh well, he thought, no point trying to take it back. He’d just have to wait and see her reaction.
Riza blinked, her face slowing flushing bright red as the meaning of his words sank in. “Are you trying to date me?” she asked, her voice soft and dangerous, like a crouching tiger, poised, waiting to spring on her prey. Without waiting for a reply, she gathered her papers into the crook of her left arm, saluted curtly, and turned to the door.
“Riza, wait!” Roy started out of his chair, but a glare from the Lieutenant, more searing hot than the flames he created, stopped him in mid-action.
“Two things I hate, Roy! One, a man who can’t keep his mind focused on his duty when required to; and two, cheesy pick-up lines.” Riza barked out. “I’ve got better things to do tonight!” She opened the door and left, slamming it behind her. Roy was left half out of his chair, his mouth open, eyes staring at the door.
Roy shook his head to clear his mind of the mental picture of Riza Hawkeye’s wilting glare. “Escape me?” He muttered aloud. “Reject me? Never! My dear Riza Hawkeye, while I am I, and you are you, as long as you elude, I must pursue!” Malevolence in his eyes, he began to plot his next move.
Of all the girls he’d chased, none had ever resisted him. In fact, he was the date of their dreams. Coming to think about it, he never had to chase anyone, just ask them out, and leave the swooning and fawning over to the other party. He used to think there were so many girls just queuing to go out with him that it wouldn’t matter if any one rejected him. But Riza Hawkeye was not just ‘any one’. She was special. Roy knew that in his heart, and that bothered him. It meant the end of his suave playboy days.
With a smirk, Roy looked down at the picture frame on his desk. He picked it up and looked into his old friend, Maes Hughes’ eyes, all anger seeping out in a drawn-out sigh. “Hughes, my friend, look what you’ve done to me!” he told his friend quietly. “I’ve found myself a future wife!” The glass on the frame caught the afternoon sunlight for a moment, making it look as if Hughes was winking.
Riza Hawkeye leaned for a moment against the wall opposite her supervisor’s door. That was too harsh, she reflected. After all, it wasn’t like he was that irresponsible. Riza had worked with other officers before, and by far, Roy was the most dedicated to his work. Sure, he was lazy, liked to give lame excuses to escape more paperwork, and to top it all, an egoistic Don Juan, but had many other good points too. Like his determination to achieve his goal of becoming Fuhrer (and he wasn’t a bad choice for the post, Riza thought), and his suave smile and twinkling eyes.
Admit it, a small voice in Riza’s head told her, you like him.
“So what if I do,” she retorted aloud. “I still won’t go out with him!”
“Err… Riza?” Riza was woken from her reverie by a soft hesitant voice. She turned to find Second Lieutenant Jean Havoc staring at her. “Are you alright?”
“Yeah, just fine,” she replied curtly, turning and walking away from Havoc. Oh dear, she thought, now the whole department’s going to know I rejected a date.
“Who won’t you go out with?” Havoc asked curiously, following her like a persistent dog.
“You,” came the sharp reply, without a moment’s hesitation.
“Aww come on, girl! Give a man a chance.” Riza did not reply. Shaking his head, Havoc sighed and gave up.
Despite Riza’s silence, Jean Havoc was sure her mystery would-be date was Roy Mustang, and as much as he was jealous of the colonel for stealing every single one of his potential girlfriends, Havoc felt that Riza was a good match for the Flame Alchemist. And maybe, just maybe, if Roy got attached, he would leave all the other girls alone.
But first… How can you change a heart of steel like Riza’s?
Give a man a chance. Jean Havoc’s words rang in her head. True, her colleague had asked her out before, more than once, but she always turned him down. Not that he was that bad, but Riza was too dedicated to her job to consider dating. Besides, no one had caught her attention enough to for her to want to settle down and have a family.
No, that was not right. Colonel Roy Mustang took good care of his men; he would take good care of his woman, and his kids too.
Maybe she should give him a chance.
“What? He asked her out?!” Kain Fuery jumped out of his chair at the news.
“And she rejected him?” Heyman Breda asked in disbelief. “What nerve!”
Edward Elric snorted in laughter. “Well, he had it coming. Finally, someone that can put Mustang and his oversized ego into place.” Having no missions to carry out, Edward had decided to spend a day in the office; a unusual thing for him.
“You shouldn’t be so harsh on the colonel, Edward,” Jean Havoc chastened him gently. “I say we help him get his girl.”
“Oh?” Edward short back. “Since when are you so kind to Mustang? You’re always complaining that he steals all your girls. Or do you have an ulterior motive in this, eh?” Havoc blushed red at this.
“Well, ulterior motive or not, I agree with Jean,” Farman said. “Because if this rejection has put our supervisor in a bad mood, we’re the ones that will suffer.”
“And besides, Mustang isn’t that bad a supervisor, is he?” Breda directed this question at Edward. Grudgingly, the latter agreed.
“And when you’re done with your report on washroom cleanliness, you can feed Black Hayate for Lieutenant Hawkeye,” Roy Mustang ordered Kain Fuery from behind his desk. Behind him, the sun began it’s slow descent, bringing the day to a close. Its orange glow bathed the office a warm pink.
“Bring me her report on the Isbalite camp in the south. It should be somewhere on her desk. Get Havoc and Breda to finish up her paperwork, and hide whatever they can’t get done. Edward,” Roy smirked to think what his young charge’s reaction to the work would be, “can do the filing.”
“Yes sir!” Fuery saluted. “Err… sir? Does the Lieutenant have something on this evening?”
“No,” Roy replied. “Not after you all finish her work… But she will have something to do tonight, if I have my way. Is there anything else you need, Sergeant Major?”
“Err… No sir! But umm… Do you need anything?”
“I beg your pardon?” Up till now, Roy had been busy flipping through his paperwork. He now looked up at his subordinate curiously.
“Erm… Like a bouquet of flowers? Or a box of chocolates?” Fuery floundered nervously. Just his luck to be the most junior member of the department. While everyone was supportive of helping Roy Mustang get his date, no one wanted the responsibility of asking him, so they had shoved the ‘dirty’ work to him.
Roy stood up, the fingers of his gloved right hand twitching. Breaking out in cold sweat, Fuery blurted out, “It was Second Lieutenant Havoc’s idea, sir! He said you wanted to date Lieutenant Hawkeye!”
Roy stared at him in surprise. How did news leak out so fast? Word in the military certainly spread like wildfire. He smiled.
“Yes, Kain,” he replied softly. “I do intend to take Riza out for dinner tonight. She has rejected me once, but I will ask her again, and keep asking her, until she says yes. To dry one’s eyes and laugh at a fall, and, baffled, get up and begin again. That’s what I’ll do, until my target is met.”
Fuery sighed in relief, seeing the Colonel’s smile. “Do your best, sir! We are all behind you, even the Fullmetal one. And I’ll get those flowers, shall I?”
“Filing?!” In his shock, Edward, who was leaning back in his chair with both feet on his desk, lost is balance and fell onto the floor. Ignoring the laughter from his fellow colleagues, he asked Fuery furiously, “What the hell is filing?”
“Oh you know,” Fuery replied nonchalantly, “arranging papers according to date and binding them together.”
“Sounds boring,” Edward replied, an avid hater of paperwork. “I won’t do it.”
“Oh? Well, then you can tell the Colonel that,” Fuery replied, shrugging. “I just hope you won’t get fried, by his flames or his tongue. He’s a man on a mission, and nothing will stand in his way.”
Edward gave up. He hated paperwork, but he hated Roy Mustang’s sarcasm more. It was amazing how many short jokes one could come up with in ten minutes. Mustang could probably compile a book, but Edward wasn’t going to suggest that to him anytime soon.
“Gah! Fine, I’ll do the filing,” he muttered. “The colonel sure owes me for this.”
Riza did not look up from her target practice as Roy strode in. Without a pause in her shooting, she asked, “Is there something I can help you with, Colonel? I’m busy.”
“That’s okay, I have time, I can wait.” Roy leaned his back against a wall, arms crossed, watching Riza from the side view. Riza finished her round and turned to face Roy, gun still in hand.
“I always loved the way you look when you’re shooting: dangerously alluring.” Riza opened her mouth to reply, but Roy shushed her with a gloved finger to her lips.
“No cheesy love lines, eh?” he said softly, looking into her eyes.
Riza knocked his hand away and started to reload her gun. “I have paperwork to clear tonight, Colonel,” she told him, her voice harsh, not betraying any emotion. “I was not lying when I said I have things to do tonight.”
“Things to do yes, but not better things to do, surely.”
Riza’s hands froze. Surely he could not read her mind? Surely he could not know she was thinking of him, and dearly wanted to go out with him. Behind her watching, Roy smiled.
“Lieutenant, your daily hour of target practice is over. Your paperwork has been done for you. Your desk is clear of any backlog of work. And your dog Black Hayate has been fed. I’ve even read your report, so you do not need to explain it to me, either.” Roy’s smile widened as Riza turned to him in surprise.
“So, First Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye, are you free tonight?”
The scene froze for a moment: Roy still grinning at his true love; Riza, mouth open in speechlessness, gun still in hand. Give a man a chance, she heard Havoc’s words in her mind again. Slowly, she smiled.
“Well… Looks like I have nothing to do tonight…except to spend a night by the river at some restaurant with you.”
Delighted, Roy’s eyes twinkled. He held out a hand and drew Riza close to him. Riza stiffened at this action, then slowly eased her full weight onto him. Not since she was a little girl and her father hugged her has she been surrounded by such strong, loving arms.
Kissing her head, like he’d envisioned himself doing on countless occasions, Roy bent down and whispered in her ear, “I’ve been with countless girls, but I’ve yet to say these words to any of them. I love you, Riza. And I always will.”