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
Warning potential overdosing of crrrrack.
Synopsis: Love is Like Oxygen
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.
When he emerged from the shower, he found he was alone. Well, not entirely alone. A furry black and grey tank met him in the middle of the bedroom, wagging that tail of his and trailing something black in his jaws. Roy smiled; truly dogs were the most uncomplicated creatures in the world. “Loyal canine, how we salute thee,” he sang softly and the dog yipped in response.
He bent down and plucked the piece of black scrap from Black Hayate’s mouth, curious. Holding it up, he began to laugh. Never in a thousand years would he picture Riza wearing such a thing... but then the idea of her wearing it was doing things to him that he’d better halt if he intended to get to work in any kind of professional state. He could contemplate the vision of her in scandalous things some other time.
Like this evening.
A uniform was spread out on the bed, which had been tidily made. Roy shook his head. How contentious. He hadn’t been in the shower that long, had he? He shrugged and smiled again, wondering if this smiling thing would become a habit. Something glinted golden on the top of his uniform; he frowned and took a closer look. It was key. Not the key that he’d used the night before, but a copy, shining and brand new. That was going to take some explanation; she’d actually had a key made for him?
Again he was floored by the circumstances leading to this. And truly perplexed by who could be behind this besides Riza. Because he knew she couldn’t have done this all on her own. Yes, she was capable, but it had definitely taken some pushing on someone else’s part to get her to make such a move. He had an idea of who it was, but without her confirmation, he wasn’t going to ask any questions on his own.
She was right. This was a dangerous game to be playing at this delicate time. If the wrong person were to discover that they had spent even one night together, their heads would roll and not in a pretty way. He might even end up in prison, to keep him from using his alchemical skills for some other purpose than what the army needed him for. He’d heard plenty about the prisons in Central. The idea of spending even five minutes in one was not something he wanted to contemplate. Not on a day like today.
Dressed and ready for work, and feeling absolutely no pain, he wondered how he was supposed to get there. For some stupid reason, it was against regulations for him to actually use foot power to get to his own office, which required that he call for a driver. But who could he call?
She would kill him, but he had to. There was no one else he would trust to come here and not ask any more questions than those that would satisfy his prurient interests.
But, again, she surprised him. In the living room, quietly waiting, was the young man who’d driven him to her house last night. He’d obviously been sitting there some time, probably before Riza had left. He must have taken far more time in the shower than he thought. Roy looked at the time and almost had a seizure. He was going to be obscenely late! And, dammit, Riza was going to give him that look again, and then he was going to picture her doing it in nothing but a sheet and...
“Are you ready, sir?” The young lad stood up and saluted. Roy took him in and discovered he had no idea who the young soldier was. Before he could ask the obvious question, the man said, “I was hired by the person who assisted the First Lieutenant last night. I’ll be here to help with anything you might need in relation to this... um... situation.”
“Really?” Roy was intrigued. “And who hired you... Sergeant?”
“I’m sorry, sir, but I’m not at liberty to divulge that information.”
Damn it all to hell. “So, how long are you in their employ?”
“As long as necessary. Now, I do believe, sir, that you will be late if we don’t leave now.”
Grumbling, he followed the Sergeant to the car, this time a regulation black car. When he gotten into the car, and was on his way, he asked another question. “Why all the intrigue?”
“Permission to speak freely?”
“Sir, your situation is very delicate. While it is true that there are many relationships such as this one going on among the ranks, if anyone were to find out about you and the First Lieutenant–,”
“Yes, I know. Court-martial and all that.”
“Yes, sir. My Commanding Officer thinks that you, personally, will benefit from this relationship. My CO always has the best interests in mind.”
Well, that gave him a big hint on who it might be. “And Riza? What about her best interests?”
“I believe she was... reluctant at first. Because of the possible consequences of course. But, she was convinced that it could be carried out. However, she knows nothing of the rest of this.”
Roy looked at the back of the driver’s head. “You mean, she doesn’t know you’re still around?”
“No, sir. I arrived after she left. I’m sure it’s intended that she find out, but no, as of this moment, she doesn’t know I’m still here to assist you two in any way that I can.”
Roy crossed his arms. “And how are you supposed to assist us?”
“I’ve been transferred to be your personal driver. It was a… disciplinary measure.” The Sergeant smirked, giving lie to that statement. “I am supposed to take you anywhere you need to go and I’ve been ordered to ask no questions. I am to obtain anything you need in the pursuit of this relationship.”
“This is a complicated job you have, Sergeant. I know of few people who could assign such a complicate job to anyone they wanted.” And a few had just moved higher on his list of suspects. Meddling bastards, all of them.
The young man shrugged. “It pays well.”
“I suppose it does. What's the incentive for you? How do I know you won’t tell, say, the Fuhrer, for example? How do I know someone close to him didn’t do this to set me up?”
“That’s an interesting conclusion, sir. I was told that you could be very astute and to watch for that.” The young man thought for a moment. “Sir, as I said, my job pays well. If I were sent by the Fuhrer, and I set you up, I know my life would be forfeit for even being involved in such a conspiracy. I’m not stupid. I like my life.” He chuckled. “And no, the Fuhrer did not send me. Take him off your list.”
“Indeed.” Roy looked out of the window just as they pulled into the Eastern headquarters. “Well...I’d say thank your employer for me. By the way, what is your name? I’d hate to keep calling you Sergeant if we’re supposed to be so close.”
“Carey Dennison, sir. Can I say something else, sir?”
“It would be a good idea to confide in someone else within your office.”
“Just as I said!” Roy clapped his hands together. “But...who?”
“Someone you trust to keep your secret under any circumstance. It will be difficult to keep everyone within your circle from knowing eventually. It might be better if you have at least one ally here from the beginning. Aside from me, of course.”
“You are a smart young man!”
“Just passing on advice from my CO, sir. Are there any orders for me for the rest of the day?”
“Not this moment, no.”
“Well, here is my contact information.” Sergeant Dennison handed over a small card. “Any time you need me, just call.”
“Oh, I will.”
The man saluted and left him at the front door of his office. He looked at the doors and felt briefly like the first time he’d entered these halls. Nervous. Excited.
He blinked. She had been right. Whatever he’d been like before last night was gone. Destroyed. That darkness that always hovered in the back of his mind was receding slowly. It wasn’t quite gone – he doubted it would ever be gone – but it wasn’t waiting impatiently to hit him with both fists and feet.
He rocked back on his, grinning expansively. Pushing open the doors, he entered as his usual, over the top self.
“Good morning!” he said breezily, completely ignoring the fact that he was almost an hour late. His staff scrambled up to salute, as usual, including his First Lieutenant. And, true to form, she was giving him the most disapproving look she could muster for his tardiness.
“Have a good evening, Colonel?” Havoc asked him, leaning against a table.
“You know, Havoc, I would say that I did.” He moved to his desk, examining the pile of folders sitting there waiting for him. He wondered briefly how many he could get back into that bottom drawer before Riza saw him. Probably a quarter. And how did those folders get there? Last he remembered, he’d shoved them on top of the archive file cabinet.
He looked over at his First Lieutenant. After letting him know that his tardiness was unacceptable, she gave him no further notice. Her hair was back into that severe little twist she favored. His hands actually itched to pull that clip and see it spread over her shoulders again. He sat down quickly, to hide the evidence of what that thought had done. Damn, this was going to be hard. And so was he. All damned day.
“So you enjoyed the party last night, sir?” Fuery asked him.
“Oh, I don’t remember much about the party–,”
“But I’m sure you remember after,” Havoc said around his cigarette.
Roy gave him a cocky grin. “Indeed I do. A most...interesting evening.”
“Will you be seeing her again?”
Roy leaned back and willed himself not to look over at the desk across from him. “Oh, I plan to.” He decided to sweeten the story, make it more interesting. His mind travelled into story land, mixing up a tale that Riza would have found unbelievably preposterous.
“So, no chance in getting her number, huh?”
“Over my dead body,” Roy said quite cheerily.
“That good, hmm?”
Another pile of folders slammed on his desk. “A lot of work to finish, Colonel,” the First Lieutenant muttered.
He grimaced as the pile just grew to twice its size. He would be there for hours going over this. “Ah, thank you, First Lieutenant.” He knew he promised he wouldn’t brag, but if he didn’t, it would cause a bit of comment – especially from Havoc.
“My pleasure, Colonel.” She didn’t even look up from sorting papers.
The phone rang. Happy for the temporary reprieve, he answered. “Mustang.”
It was Hughes. Roy winced, got halfway through hello before Maes began to expound on the singing talents of his daughter.
“I’m serious! I want to let you hear it. She’s genius! And she’s only three! How should I say this an angel’s voice? There’s ninety percent chance she’ll become a diva!”
“Lieutenant Colonel, I’m working right now.”
“What? What a coincidence! I’m working too.
”Roy sighed. “Really is there no alchemy technique to burn a person through a phone?” he said, half to himself.
“You sure ask scary questions, Flame Alchemist. That aside, I have to tell you...” and Hughes’ voice dropped from his usually loopy wheedle to his all about business voice. “There was a fire at the Library last night.”
Roy sat straight up, frowning. “What? The Library? What happened?”
“We’re sure that Scar was involved in it. Witnesses saw him. But having look at the scene, we highly doubt that he did all of that himself. There are some clues indicating that he fought someone.”
“What about Ed and...?” He’d sent Fullmetal to Central to allow them to research on their personal project. Their reward for a job well done in Lior.
“Oh, they were fine... not even close.”
“Any news on Scar?”
Hughes told him some about the scene. What he heard worried him. They’d found Scar’s clothes, covered in blood, but no Scar.
“I’m sure you’re on top of this,” he said, becoming more agitated. The Library, destroyed! The amount of work that had been stored there was monumental.
“Of course. Something else, though,” now Maes’ voice dropped to a conspiratorial level. “There is a rumor going around that you’ll be transferred back here because of Brigadier General Gran’s death.”
What did that have to do with this?
“And... There are even those who say that you are behind all of this mess over here.”
Ah. Roy snorted. He was otherwise occupied last night, he thought with an inner grin. Airtight alibi, in more ways than one. “Nonsense. But Return to Central City, eh? Not bad.”
“I’d be careful if I were you. You have a lot of enemies in the higher-ups.”
Interesting turn of phrase, all things considered. It was on the tip of his tongue to ask his friend a certain question, but he thought better of it. “I’m already prepared for that.”
“Be sure to get many allies who will understand and support you when you need it.”
Again, an interesting turn of phrase. “Of course. I’m sure you’ll share any information you find out on this incident, Lieutenant Colonel?”
“Of course, of course. Be very, careful. It would be a shame for you not to see Elysia grow up...such a sweet voice I tell you–,”
“Lieutenant Colonel,” Roy sighed.
“Did I mention that she has the voice of an angel?”
“Yes,” he said impatiently. Now, he actually wanted to wade through those folders, if only not to deal with another monologue about Elysia...
“A Diva, tell you!”
Roy rolled his eyes. A wealth of carefully compiled information was laying in charred ruin and this man wanted to talk about his daughter’s singing? What the hell could a three year old sing about? Stuffed animals and mashed fruit? “Let me see what I can find out on this end...”
“Ah, children. They are a wonderful thing to behold.”
“I’m sure,” Roy was about up to his eyeballs in this conversation. This news had the potential to completely ruin his day and he wasn’t in the mood for it. He wanted nothing to take away this particularly wonderful high he was feeling. “You know, I need to go...”
“No feeling like seeing your own child making you proud! You know, you should hurry up, my friend, and find yourself a wife. I’ve just met this wonderful girl--,”
Roy threw the phone back into the cradle. Even more now, he had to find out what was behind the events of last night. If it was Hughes and his meddling self...
Riza’s voice cracked from behind him. “There is no need to take it out on the phone. Colonel, please use the phone quietly.”
He whipped around and glared at her. She looked back passively. “That was Hughes.”
She blinked, but that was all. “I understand. That’s still no reason to abuse the phone, sir.”
He told her about what had happened. A glimmer of outrage touched her gaze. “What are we going to do about this?” she wanted to know.
“Wait for more information from the Lieutenant Colonel.”
She pursed her lips, sniffed almost angrily and returned to her desk.
“A fire, did you say?” Havoc asked from the safety of his table across the hall.
Roy turned and filled the others in.
Breda whistled. “That’s terrible, sir. I hope they catch this cretin soon.”
“Yes, well...there’s nothing that we can do for it right now. We’ll have to rely on Hughes to get us any information he thinks we may need to help him.”
“In between stories about his precious little angel,” Havoc muttered.
“Hm... You know she’s singing now?” Roy said, gaining some of his good humor back. His friend would indeed take care of the situation, and would fill him in when he needed to. “A veritable symphony.”
“Hmm… enchanting... so about this new lady in your life? She was quite a looker.”
Like a damned dog with a bone, Havoc was. Roy froze in the process of opening a folder. “What do you mean, quite a looker? How do you know?”
“I saw her at the party yesterday. Remember, I told you.”
Roy’s hackles went back down. “Ah, yes.”
He heard something suspicious from Riza's desk, something that sounded like a snicker.
Havoc was going on. “Remarkable creature. Blond and leggy, a wonderful set of..., well I’m sure you know all about that. What was her name?”
Roy swallowed. “Her...name?” He hadn’t thought about that. Of course, he had to give ‘the girl’ a name, if she was so wonderful.
“Yeah, her name. She did have a name, didn’t she?”
Roy looked carefully at Jean, wondering. The man was just leaning there, curiosity and his usual nosiness prominent in his expression. “Ah...”
Riza was being particularly savage with the stapling of papers. The others didn’t seem to notice, so he refrained from looking in that direction.
“Oh, don’t tell me you didn’t get her name! She was a masterpiece!”
“I still think she looked like...” Breda started, then flushed when he realized what he was about to say. “...ah, someone we know.”
“And I still say you’re as blind as a bat,” Havoc threw over his shoulder. “So, c’mon Colonel, confess. What is this angel’s name and where does she work? The secretary’s pool? The Library?”
“Charlotte!” Roy blurted the first name that came to his mind.
He heard Riza sniff from her desk. “And she isn’t with the military,” he continued, gaining momentum. “She works... in town somewhere.”
“So, how’d she get into the party?”
“I’m sure I don’t know. Remember, I was elsewhere when she got there.”
“Hm. Wonder if she has a sister. Stunning. Like a bullet to the brain.”
There was some noisy straightening of paper from somewhere behind them. Roy refused to rise to the bait, instead arching an eyebrow. “I could find out for you. I’m planning on seeing her tonight.”
That got him another sniff from his First Lieutenant. “If you finish your work tonight, sir, you will.”
“Oh, I’ll finish!” he said expansively, stepping from around his desk to join his male comrades at the table. Despite the news from central, he was enjoying this day. There was something about being a woman’s first lover that gave a man a certain heady something that sent all bad thoughts to the back of his mind. Like an overdose of oxygen.
He was preparing for a full on brag, full of many tales that men usually shared among themselves when talking of their conquests, something sure to bring his comrades to a state of awe they’d never been in before in their lives.
Before he even opened his mouth, Riza interrupted him again. “Sir, your calendar says that you have personal errands to run.”
He turned. “What? What kind of errands? Can’t they wait?”
“It says something here about uniforms...”
He slapped his forehead. “Oh, yes, how could I have forgotten? I must pick up my cleaning!”
“Perhaps it would be wise if you delay your... other plans until you finish your work and your errands. It wouldn’t do for you to be without clean uniforms. Quite unprofessional.” The Lieutenant flicked a look in Havoc’s direction, taking in the slightly rumpled jacket. “Wouldn’t be a good example for your subordinates.”
“Hm... you’re right, First Lieutenant. Could you take care of that for me? Thanks. I know I can count on you. Have them dropped off at my home this evening. Now, gentlemen, where was I? Ah, yes, Charlotte...a vision, she was. A voice like silk...”
Even as he went on and on, telling them everything, but saying absolutely nothing, he could feel her eyeballs burning the back of his skull. He was going to enjoy apologizing for all this later.