Series Title: Games without Frontiers
Series Rating: PG - NC-17
Main Character:Roy Mustang, Riza Hawkeye
Other Characters: Various other members of the Peanut Gallery called Fullmetal Alchemist
Word Count: 2,100
Warning potential overdosing of crrrrack.
Synopsis: The Moment of Truth has arrived... or has it?
Author's Notes: AU/Non Canon. My own little private timeline; my own private little world. Yeah, and, just to add, my own little crackpot theories. Nothing else related to any episode of any kind, except the usage of the character(s) in question, though some events in some episodes will be used out of context as artistic license. I try not to make the events I use too spoilerish, but if I can’t help it, you’ll get a warning. Commentary is certainly welcome and tends to make me go “you like me! you really like me!”
Each chapter is titled after a lyric in a song that was part of the soundtrack I have for this tale. Check the current music for the song.
Chapter 6: I Have Waited to be Given any Word
Rated PG for Situations
“I’m sorry,” he whispered again.
Riza jerked out his grasp and stood. She scrambled up and reached in the cabinet for the first aid kit. The metal box made a satisfying sound as she slammed it on the counter. Then she tried, with little success, to get bandages and tape with only one hand. After a few minutes of fumbling and swearing to herself, she finally felt him reach around her.
“No, I can–,”
“Riza. Let me do it.”
She held herself stiff as he plucked the items he needed from the box. Then she followed, mutinous, back to the kitchen table.
She sniffed, wiped at her face with the back of her hand and wanted to sink into the floor beneath her feet. She was mortified. The last time she’d cried like that, she’d been about twelve. This whole evening was the limit, she thought. If she showed her face at work again, it would be a lucky day for all of them. That was it. She would tender her resignation. Or ask for a transfer. To the north. She would get on her knees and beg General Armstrong for a…
“Stop thinking so loud,” he said. “I can hear the gears turning from over here.” As she scowled at him, he continued to quietly clean and bandage her hand, handling her as if she were fine china. “And no, I won’t accept your resignation. And no, I won’t give you a transfer.”
She glared at the top of his head.
After he finished, he spent a moment examining his handiwork. He ignored her when she tugged on her hand, refusing to relinquish his hold.
Riza made herself inhale and exhale in the proper manner. Someone had told her that the more she visualized something, the more likely she was to get what she desired. She wanted to kick that someone. Because this was nothing like what she visualized.
Finally, he looked up at her, almost forcing her to meet his gaze. “May I use your phone? I have some arrangements to make.”
She managed to free her hand and stood up. “Yes, of course. I could give you the number of my driver, the one I used tonight–,”
“Oh, I’m not leaving,” he said softly. “Not tonight.”
Riza paled, then flushed. He’d made that sound like a threat.
Roy turned in the doorway. “Unless you want me to?”
Now that was a dare. Again, her tongue chose that moment to get a mind of its own. “No.” She felt her cheeks growing hotter by the second. “I mean –,”
He smiled slowly in response and continued into the living room.
While she gathered the tattered remains of her dignity – as well as the shattered ceramic – she listened to him on the phone. Of course, she could barely hear a word he was saying, but she supposed he had some lackey in his employ, someone who took care of him when he found himself in a compromising situation. It was the only way to explain how he managed to make it into work properly dressed when she knew without a doubt that he had not spent the night at home.
And, tonight, she was going to be his ‘compromising situation’. No waltzing around it. She’d thrown down the ignition glove and he picked it up.
She slammed the first aid kit back into the cabinet, hoping the noise would jolt her back to reality. No such luck. He was still in the living room.
But, she wasn’t as flame retardant as one would expect of the Shield of the Flame Alchemist.
Roy Mustang was standing in her living room, with every intention of staying the night. And she told him it was all right. Better still, she’d given him a key to her house and invited him in.
She certainly hoped that they spelled her name right on that plaque for her own personal suite in hell.
“Don’t come for... oh, two hours,” she heard as she moved into the living room. There was a pause. “Don’t be stupid. Not what you think at all. I’m warning you. You come any earlier and the only way they’ll identify you is with your dental records.” He looked over when she stepped into his field of vision, held up a hand. “Fine. It’s your funeral. Hopefully, someone will be happy to identify the charred remains as yours.” He hung up, then shoved his hands in his pockets. She watched as he actually shuffled his feet nervously for a second. At a loss for words? Him?
“Could I... impose on you a second time?”
Riza arched an eyebrow. “How?”
“Well. It just occurred to me that I’m not very... appetizing company right now. Might I... um...”
“Just spit it out, Colonel.”
He blinked at her and tilted his head. “Use your shower.”
She took him in, from head to foot again. Now that her vision was clearer, she noticed that he wasn’t quite as impeccable as she’d thought. His boots were slightly scuffed, as if he’d walked through mud puddles all the way here. His trousers, slightly wrinkled, the collar of the white button down shirt mussed had a healthy splash of cognac on one side. The only thing on him that looked impeccable was the jacket. A mask, a charade. With the shadow of a beard along his jaw line and the hair – she had to agree he was less than appetizing. He looked like a stay desperately in need of a home. The vision gave her a jolt of confidence. “This way,” she murmured while it lasted and padded back to her bedroom, not looking to see if he would follow.
Handing him a towel, she pointed the way to the bathroom, and waited until he shut the door behind him.
Quickly she took in the condition of her bedroom. That pile of things from the box was still in the middle of her bed. That went swiftly back into the box, and the box went under the bed.
It was when she bent over that she noticed that one of the straps on her tank top was covered with little splotches of blood from her injured hand, and there were little spots on her bottoms as well. She listened for a moment; the water was still running in the shower. She spun around and rummaged in her drawer for a new top and bottoms, praying he would stay in there until she changed.
She managed the bottoms, hopping on one foot to the rhythm of her prayer – stay in the shower, stay in the shower, because I’m not ready – and had whipped off her tank top. She’d balled up the new top and was about to slip it over her head.
She froze, her back to him. Her head whipped around, and she took in the sight before her. She felt like a cat doused with water from on high.
She was a military woman. She’d been in barracks before, had seen many a man wandering around in nothing but a towel, had even been ‘one of the guys’, and ducked wisecracks swathed in a towel of her own. And had thought nothing of it. Hell, once, what seemed like very long ago, this man had seen her bare back.
But now? She took in the sight of the Colonel standing there in nothing but steam and a towel and could think nothing at all.
And it was a quick as that. There was no more time to think of how she’d gotten here, and what had happened before because he was moving toward her and she couldn’t even get the shirt over her head in time... She turned away from him just as he reached out and brushed her hair away from her back.
He leaned down; she closed her eyes.
He whispered into her ear, “Are you sure you want to give me this choice? Once we go... there... things will be changed.”
She swallowed. “I recall mentioning that before,” she said, her voice reed thin.
“And... you’re here.”
“So I am,” he breathed against her neck. Every nerve in her body started to vibrate at once. That was a new sensation for her; and it was that which reminded her.
He froze instantly, as if he’d been waiting for her to beg off. She felt a cold rush of air as he stepped away from her. “No,” she said quickly. “I mean, um, I need to tell you something before...”
He took her by the shoulders and turned her slowly. She clutched the tank to her front, covering whatever she could and looked up at him. Now she knew what a target felt like whenever she took aim and sympathized. “What?” He asked.
She took a step backward, to give her some distance and breathing space. “Ah...” she cleared her throat, wondering where the hell Riza had gone and who had replaced her with this quivering, silly little girl standing there in her skin, using her voice, looking out of her eyes.
“What, Riza?” He looked at her cautiously, not moving, still clutching the towel around his waist.
“It’s just that... I mean...”
“To use your own phrase, just spit it out.”
“I’ve never... damn!” She hadn’t thought it would be this difficult.
“You’ve never what?” He certainly looked confused.
She wasn’t buying it, and she didn’t appreciate him playing dumb. “Don’t be obtuse. You know what I’ve never. Think about it.” There. She didn’t actually have to say the words, and yet she got her point across. She hoped.
She thought his jaw would completely unhinge. “What do you mean you’ve never? You’ve never...this?”
She nodded, simply refusing to say the simple words. He was so smart. Let him figure it out.
He sat down on the bed. The towel opened slightly; Riza slammed her eyes toward his face. “I don’t believe you. You have never...had sex?”
Good. He said it. Now she really didn’t need to. She just nodded again.
“Come on, Riza! You’re a military woman!”
“I may be. But, I am who I am,” She turned away from him and slipped the tank over her head, feeling slightly stupid standing there talking to him half dressed. “Think about it, Mustang. Do you know anyone who would want to... do that... with me?”
He actually pondered it. Then, without explanation, his expression darkened. “I’d better not know anyone who would want to,” he muttered under his breath.
She rocked back on her heels, certain she hadn’t heard that right. “What did you say?”
“Nothing.” He raked a hand through his hair again. “So... you’re a virgin.” He shook his head with a slow grin. “It fits, you know. Cold-as-steel-Riza Hawkeye. A virgin.”
“You don’t have to make it sound so… you know.”
He was starting to chuckle. “Oh, but it is. You know.” Now he was full on laughing. “You. A virgin. Oh, dear...” he sputtered.
“Okay,” Riza snapped, heading for the door, “if you’re just going to laugh about it, we don’t need to continue this conversation at all.” She didn’t even make it two steps before his hand captured her arm.
“Wait. I’m sorry.” He sputtered a few more moments before straightening up. “I didn’t mean to laugh. It’s just. What possessed you to do all of this then?”
That she still couldn’t answer, not even to herself.
And, at that moment, she didn’t have to. There was a knock on her door. She looked toward it, then looked at him, at a loss.
He didn’t seem to have the same problem. Eyes narrowed, he put a finger to his lips and moved toward the door.
Riza sat on the bed, glad for the small reprieve, although a bit worried by who could be at her door at this hour of the evening. She concentrated on the day that had gone by, tried to regain her center, which made her take such crazy circumstances with a grain of salt.
It was hard to do with vision of Roy Mustang in her bedroom in a towel. This was what she’d feared all day. That proceeding with this plan would make her say and do things that would change her forever. That would make her say and do things that were not in keeping with who she was.
That would make her say and do things that she’d always wanted to say and do, that little voice whispered at her again.
Just one night of moonlight…