Title: He Sleeps Alone Tonight
Fandom: </b>Fullmetal Alchemist
Word Count: 2478
Warnings: No spoilers, unless you haven't seen episode 13. Oh yeah, my friend advised that I should somehow incorporate dental floss and mac & cheese into this fic. So I did. O_o
Diclaimer: I don't own Fullmetal Alchemist. If I did, Hughes would have been much more involved in the manga, and Greed would be in almost every episode of the anime. :D
I also don't own the lyrics to the song "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight" by The Postal Service.
Havoc was driving his car through the streets of Central, an ever-present unlit cigarette dangling from his mouth. The car radio was tuned to a holiday music station, and was currently playing a slightly annoying version of ‘Deck the Halls’. He was wearing a pair of faded carpenter jeans and a black hooded sweatshirt, covered by a long, black trench coat; clothing the public usually only saw on his days off. But that was really quite okay with him, for the ladies love a man in military uniform. They just didn’t seem to love his particular uniformed self. It’s not that he only liked a certain kind of woman really, (although he did prefer cute, cheerful girls with good personalities that weren’t likely to cheat on him) or that he didn’t have the time to go out and meet people and go on dates, for he had just as much spare time as the next guy when it came to his social life. Okay, maybe not that much spare time, for he was in the military, but that’s besides the fact. And its not that he wasn’t good looking, or that he wasn’t charming, or that he tended to make a fool out of himself often (that might have something to do with it, but he wouldn’t admit it) or that he smoked a pack a day (a habit he had tried to quit several times, but to no avail). Frankly, he just had really, really bad luck.
Oh, he had bad luck and he knew it. And not just with the opposite sex, with everything. If one person in Colonel Mustang’s unit broke a lamp, it would be Havoc. If one person missed the train while being transferred to Eastern Headquarters, it would be Havoc. If one person got shot, stubbed his toe, was attacked by a rabid raccoon, was pelted with snowballs by random kids on the sidewalk, tripped and broke his hip, or fell off a cliff, it would most definitely be Havoc. And that’s exactly why his only hopes of seeing a beautiful woman he had known for many years outside of the office was by offering to drop in her apartment at at night to take out her dog.
Jean turned into the parking lot of a decent-sized apartment building as it started to snow. His co-worker, First Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye, was off at a friend’s Christmas party and had no idea what hour of the night she would be back. There was no way she could bring along her puppy with all the people and food about. Hayate was bound to get into mischief, or even worse, end up injured by accident. So, knowing how much her co-worker liked the dog, she asked him if he could ‘pet-sit’ Hayate, in a way, earlier that morning.
He remembered the smile she gave him when he accepted, knowing that her four-legged friend would be taken care of. He didn’t get to see that smile often, for Riza was always serious and stern during work, badgering everyone to stay on task. She was the perfect soldier; putting her military life before her personal, her Colonel’s life before her own. It was the way it always was. He really wished she would smile more often.
Havoc shook his head as he parked his car, got out, and made his way into the building. He was thinking about her too much lately. The way her light brown eyes sparkled, the way her face shone with happiness when her puppy licked her face, even the way she lectured him about smoking and confiscated his cigarettes…
“Oh, shut up,” Havoc said to himself as wandered around the first floor of the complex, looking for Hawkeye’s room. He couldn’t help but notice all the ugly fake plants littering the floor, and the gaudy, old-fashioned Christmas decorations hanging on the doors. The air smelled strangely like window cleaner and dental floss, and he furrowed his brow as he walked down a hallway. He never would have expected Hawkeye, of all people, to live in a complex that seemed more suited to…the elderly.
Jean was quite glad when he finally found the door to his co-worker’s apartment. He pulled his key ring out of his pants pocket and fumbled through the random assortment of ornaments attached to it. He went through his own apartment keys, the ones to his car, the one to the Colonel’s office, several he didn’t even remember what the hell they belonged to, when finally he found-
“Jean! I knew you’d probably be at my door.”
Havoc jumped with surprise, and he dropped his key ring on the floor. Did he just hear her voice calling him by his first name? He looked up, and sure enough, there was the First Lieutenant walking towards him carrying several bags in her arms, a deep, ocean blue scarf around her neck, and snowflakes in her hair. She looked beautiful.
“Ri-I mean, First Lieutenant, I thought you were at your sister’s party tonight,” Havoc spluttered, bending over to pick up the dropped keys. However, he only managed to scoop up several piles of nothing before his eyes stopped staring enough for his brain and his hand to work together properly.
And she just smiled. A small smile; nothing of which that showed her teeth, mind you, although Havoc was quite positive they were as beautiful as every other part of her body that was visible. No, it was just a little, friendly smile. “Traffic wasn’t as bad as I had expected,” she answered simply, pulling her own key ring out of her pocket and unlocking her door to relieve Havoc of his temporary brain-hand dysfunction. “Thank you so much for coming, though. I feel horrible that you drove all the way here for nothing.”
“Oh, no, it was nothing really, you know. I don’t have to drive all that far,” he replied, trying not to make it obvious in his voice that he was slightly disappointed, for he was looking just a little bit forward to aimlessly playing with Black Hayate. He had no need to worry, actually, for his disappointment was quickly disguised by the look on his face after Hawkeye’s next remark.
“Would you like to come in, Jean?”
Maybe he should quit smoking, Havoc thought. And on the way to the convenience store to buy some chewing gum, he would stop at the doctor’s office and get his ears checked.
It took him a few minutes to quit acting like a fish with his mouth half open and answer. “I’d love to.”
He followed her through the open door and into her apartment, not quite knowing what to expect. He guessed the walls would be covered with various military related photos and news articles, and she would have a closet full of pistols, rifles, and any other type of gun he could think of locked in black cases. Because it was Hawkeye, right? All she ever thought about was her work life; it was all she ever talked about, really. In fact, Havoc was quite shocked when he learned that she had so much of a social life to go to her sister's Christmas party. He also didn’t doubt that her sister was exactly like her in every way. And that was precisely why he was extremely surprised to find that her apartment was utterly and completely…normal.
It was very small; only two rooms, not including the closed door to the left that Havoc assumed was the bathroom. Across from the front door was a miniscule kitchen, complete with a refrigerator, stove, and sink. To the right was a much larger room; which, Havoc noticed, was desperately trying to be a den and bedroom at the same time, much like his own apartment. The walls and rugs were a calm, pale blue, the latter being of a slightly darker shade. There was full-sized bed up against one wall, a desk and lamp up against the other. In the remaining corner was a small, but elaborately decorated Christmas tree, with a few presents underneath.
He then noticed the four-legged creature pawing at his pant leg.
“Hayate!” The First Lieutenant exclaimed, bending down to scoop up her puppy in her arms. “I hope you haven’t been upset that I’ve left you alone for so long.”
Hayate didn’t look in the least upset with his master, for he was rapidly licking her face with gusto. Havoc grinned, watching the puppy and young woman act as if they hadn’t seen each other in days.
“You’ve got a really nice place here, First Lieutenant,” he said, glancing around the apartment.
“Thank you,” she replied. She let her puppy down onto the floor and watched as he scampered off to sniff Havoc’s boots. “Please, call me Riza. It’s not like we’re in work, or anything.”
Did she just mention something about not working? And did she just offer him the privilege of calling her by her fist name? Havoc suddenly felt the urge to run and get a tape recorder.
Riza quickly stepped into the kitchen to put down her bags. “I still feel really bad about you coming over here for nothing,” she said. He could hear her open her refrigerator door and rummage through its contents. “I have some leftover macaroni and cheese, would you like it?”
Havoc had been giving Black Hayate a good ear scratch, but that question made him pause. He had never thought of Riza Hawkeye as one who kept leftovers in her refrigerator, for she did have a little dog that could most certainly act like a garbage disposal when need be. And he really couldn’t picture her eating macaroni and cheese, either.
“Uh…no, not really. Thanks anyways, though,” he answered, caught a little off guard. This was definitely not the type of question he was expecting from the woman he thought he knew.
She poked her head around the corner of the doorway, looking like she was going to say something, but then she noticed the Christmas tree in the corner with the wrapped boxes underneath. “Oh, I have a gift to give you! I was going to give it to you when I came tomorrow to get my key, but I guess I don’t have to do that now.”
“A gift?” Havoc was, once again, slightly confused.
Riza quickly went over to the tree and bent down, searching through the presents. “I know we agreed not to exchange this year, but…” She pulled out a small package swathed in bright green paper and held it out to Havoc. “…I couldn’t help myself. I got a little something for everybody in the unit.”
Havoc took it, bewildered. “Thank you, but, I don’t have anything for you…”
“Don’t worry about it,” she replied. “Think of it as a reason for actually being here, seeing as you didn’t need to take out Hayate after all.”
Havoc looked up from the gift and at Hawkeye’s eyes. They looked so gorgeous; the reflection of the Christmas ornaments danced in the light brown pools. She was smiling again. She had normal eyes, although, according to Havoc, they were much more beautiful than anyone else’s. She smiled normally, although he did believe it was stunning. She lived in a small, normal apartment and had a normal decorated Christmas tree in the corner. She ate macaroni and cheese like any other normal person and kept leftovers in her normal refrigerator. She loved her adorable puppy like any normal dog owner. She lived a perfectly normal life, for she was a perfectly normal person.
Havoc wanted to leave.
He thanked her again for the gift, and said something about having to leave to run an errand, to which she replied with something about him probably having much better things to do than staying at her apartment for no reason; neither of which Havoc can recall. He was in a fog as he walked through the apartment complex, passing two elderly women exchanging wrapped parcels, and made his way out the door and into the parking lot.
He didn’t deserve her. She was too perfect in every way; she was nothing like he had thought she was. She was barely even the same person that he thought she was. The way she could be such a brave soldier, such a hard worker, such a talented sniper, such a generous human being, and still come home from Headquarters each day and bake macaroni and cheese and play with her dog, was completely beyond him. She was too magnificent a woman for him to even comprehend. She dedicated her life to the military, but she was still…normal. No, he truly believed he didn’t deserve her.
In the passenger seat laid a wad of green wrapping tissue, and a small, wooden picture frame. Inside the frame was a snapshot of Havoc sitting in his chair in the office with a smirk plastered on his face, an unlit cigarette poking out of the corner of his mouth, and a snoozing Black Hayate in his lap.
Havoc remembered when Lieutenant Colonel Hughes had taken that photo a few months ago. Hawkeye must have gotten it from him. She didn’t have to do that, Havoc told himself. Just like how she didn’t have to work so much harder than everyone else; she didn’t have to promise to protect her superior until he reached the top. She didn’t have to do any of these things. But she did.
Havoc would be sleeping alone again that night. Just like he did every night; it didn’t matter whether it was Christmas Eve or not.
It wasn’t until he reached his own
apartment building that he realized he had forgotten to give Hawkeye back her