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: 2,906
Warning potential overdosing of crrrrack.
Synopsis: The boys were coming home.
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 12: We Are Wild
It was cold at the train station. Riza pulled her overcoat tighter around her and gazed down long railroad track.
The boys were coming home.
Roy tried not to seem worried about them, but in the evenings, when he could be himself, she could see him winding himself into such a turn she wanted to scream at him. If Edward and Alphonse were in such trouble, Maes would have told him. He knew that, so she didn’t yell at him and he kept his distress to himself. Watching him rumble like a shaken up champagne bottle wasn’t much better, so she allowed herself to become his distraction.
After Jean had surprised them with his revelation, Roy had calmed with his attentions toward her. For which Riza was ultimately grateful. She had been starting to feel as if the only reason Roy continued the relationship was for the sex. Not that the sex was bad, thank you very much, she thought, her lips curving into a secret little smile. She was still trembling from that goodbye she’d gotten into before she left to meet the boys. She’d left him lightly snoring in her bed with the puppy curled on the pillow beside him.
The train came into view and her spirits rose even higher. Life was going to get decidedly more interesting now that these two had returned. Despite themselves, Riza had acquired a soft spot for young volcanoes better known as Edward and Alphonse. Edward tried to hide everything behind that brash and tough exterior, but she knew better. She’d been a past expert at that particular brand of subterfuge. Under every layer of protection he’d built, he was still a vulnerable fifteen year old boy.
She’d decided that the two were going to come home with her for a change, at least for the night. Dormitories were really no place for young boys like that; these two had enough bad habits without gaining more from a building full of uncouth grunts.
After a moment or two of indecision, she had come to the conclusion that there was no way that those two could remain ignorant of the way things were between herself and Roy. If anyone would keep their secret, it would be those two.
She moved up the platform, looking through the windows for the familiar tow-headed whirlwind and his iron clad brother. She saw them moving through the train; Alphonse saw her and waved back, his hand scraping the ceiling of the train. She wondered if she should startle them by smiling and waving back. No, she would hold the pretense up a little longer. Besides, there was no telling who was accompanying them.
When she saw who that was, her jaw almost hit the ground. Then she physically and mentally braced herself, because she knew beyond a doubt what this particular greeting was going to be like.
“First Lieutenant Hawkeye! So wonderful to see you!” Maes Hughes said expansively. “So nice to see a welcoming face after that boring train ride, I tell you.”
“Lieutenant Colonel,” she said, saluting. She was going to be surrounded by whirlwinds from every direction.
“How are things on this side of the world? Boring? Dull? Nothing of the sort? I’m betting on the latter. Ah, I wish I could have brought my darling little angel with me! Have you seen the latest picture of her?”
Riza smiled weakly at the photograph now sitting approximately one-half inch from her nose. It was so close, it could have been anything, for all she knew. All she could see was a blur of color, which vaguely possessed a pair of pigtails and big, big green eyes.
“What a talent she is! She has this little player piano and I tell you, if she hasn’t composed her first symphony by the time I return, I’m a tree!”
A nice tree you are, Hughes, Riza said to herself. A larch, I do believe. “Beautiful as always, Lieutenant Colonel.” She looked at the two Elric brothers, one dancing from one foot to the other, one politely waiting to be acknowledged. “Edward. Alphonse. Did you have a pleasant trip?”
“Yes, First Lieutenant,” Alphonse told her. “We couldn’t keep Brother still though.”
“I understand; I don’t like long train rides either. Shall we? The car is waiting,” Riza said.
As the brothers walked ahead, Hughes bent down to her. “How are things?”
“Well enough,” she dared not crack a smile at the hopeful look on his face. “I still think you would look nice with a bullet hole between your eyes.”
“Mustang?” he asked.
“He wants to turn you into a piece of charcoal,” she replied.
“Good. Good,” Maes nodded.
“Havoc was very helpful,” she said.
Maes chuckled, “Knew he would be. It’s the quiet ones to watch out for.”
Edward, being himself, clambered into the car without a second thought. Alphonse, however, was nice enough to hold the driver’s side door open for him.
Edward and Alphonse crammed themselves into the back seat, Alphonse doing the best he could at slouching so his didn’t scrape the top of the car.
Hughes planted himself in the passenger side and busied himself by shuffling through the endless photos he kept in his wallet. “This is the dress we got her for the first day of school,” he was babbling. “I know that’s a few years off, but still… oh, and this one is Elysia’s first time at a picnic… and this one…”
As they pulled up the street in front of her home, she hoped that Roy had awakened and read the note she’d left. It would be highly embarrassing if he were still sprawled all over her bed when she opened the door.
She sighed in relief as she cracked the door. He was lounging on the couch in her front room, quite as if he’d been waiting there for the entire time. Perfectly dressed in a casual pair of slacks and a button-down shirt. He even combed his hair.
“Fullmetal! Good to see you! Hey, you’re looking a bit peaked there, you doing all right?” He snapped up and came forward. “Maybe you haven’t been eating right. Should be drinking more milk you know. Does a body good. Give you strong bones, makes you grow.”
Riza closed her eyes. Hughes groaned and took a step to the left.
“You saying I need to grow?” Edward growled. And then it began. “Who-are-you-calling-so-short-that-the-o
Roy simply leaned out the way of the flailing arms, grinning. “Well, I stand corrected. You must be just fine, to come up with that mouthful.” He greeted Alphonse with enough restraint, then turned a gimlet glare on Hughes. “You and I need to speak on a few subjects.”
Maes gave him an innocently blank look. “We do?”
“You know we do,” Roy said.
Maes pulled at his collar. “Ah, yes. Well.”
“If you would like some privacy, Brother and I can go the dormitories–,” Al started.
“You’re staying here tonight,” Riza said calmly. Edward gave her a strange look, which she made a point to ignore as she moved toward the kitchen. The boys – all four of them – knew better than to question her.
“Thought you two would like more a home-cooked meal, and my place is no place for entertaining,” Roy was saying. At least not his kind of entertaining, Riza thought, stifling another smile. She was looking forward to this. “I imposed upon the First Lieutenant to open up her home for you,” Roy said.
“Of course, it is no imposition,” she called from the kitchen.
“You are constantly imposing on the poor First Lieutenant,” Maes said. “What would you do if she got tired of you and transferred to… say Central?”
“I’m sure I would perish,” Roy said almost breezily.
“He would survive,” Riza called, as she brought out a tray of tea and cookies.
“So versatile, is the First Lieutenant,” said Maes, tugging on the rims of his glasses.
Riza shot him a look, reminding him that she was very versatile. So versatile that could draw her gun, shoot off his nose and not even drop the tray.
“Extremely so,” Roy said again.
She turned to him with a slow blink. “Thank you, sir.”
She managed to make him flush. Satisfied, she started serving the tea. “You got a cold, Colonel?” Edward asked. He took the piled high plate and started shoveling cookies in. “Perhaps you should drink more milk yourself.”
“No. The air’s just a bit thin all the way up here. But you wouldn’t know about that, would you?” Roy leaned back and staring at the ceiling. Riza cleared her throat. He looked at her and the tea cup she had shoved under his nose. Again, the flush returned and he took the cup, burying his nose deep. Then Riza turned her eyes on Edward, and surprisingly, he subsided back to his plate.
Wild. The whole lot of them.
“Well, that may change soon,” Maes said seriously, leaning forward. “I hate to bring this up here, but we have a lead on where Scar may be hiding.”
Riza sat on the couch, a good two feet away from Roy, sipped at her tea, and waited.
On cue, Roy leaned forward as well. “You found him?” he exclaimed.
“Just a lead, just a lead. But if it pans out, you might want to send a few people to round him up,” Maes said.
“Send a few people? I’ll go myself!” Roy was still smarting that he’d lost the chance to roast the Alchemist-killer with his own hand. Rather, his backside was probably still smarting, Riza thought, swallowing a chuckle in a sip.
“I suspected that you would want to go. Perhaps tomorrow we can go over what I’ve learned,” Maes leaned back and stretched. “I’m so tired! That was a long train ride, and you know I must call Gracia and say goodnight to my little precious one.”
Riza wished she could warn Roy.
“Just take a look! Beyond precious! Heavenly really...” Maes produced his ever present pictorial proof of his ability to produce offspring.
Roy simply brushed the picture out of his face. “I’ll talk to you tomorrow, Hughes.”
Maes stood. “Of course, of course...” He gave a jaunty salute to Riza. “Oh, don’t get up. It’s your own house after all and we’re all off duty. I can see myself out.”
I bet you can. Riza nodded her head just the same. “Tomorrow, sir.”
As Maes left, Alphonse said from his spot on the floor next to his brother, “Are you sure we’re not imposing, First Lieutenant?”
“Of course, not, Alphonse,” Riza told him. “It’s rare that I have these many visitors. It’s been getting a bit boring around here lately and I’m glad for the company.”
She pointedly ignored the little frown she received from her left side and stood. “I’ll just get the table set.”
Dinner in her house was an interesting affair. It was true that it had been some time since Riza had entertained quite so many people. Her dinners with Roy were intimate affairs, simple fare, and soft conversations. This was a raucous thing, with Edward devouring everything he could get his hands on, and Alphonse rattling on about their adventures at Central. He told them his take on the Library fire, how they’d discovered someone who managed to copy every book and record that had been destroyed from memory, and was probably still scratching pen to paper even now. Edwards threw in comments between chews and swallows.
Roy pushed food around on his plate, still probably stinging from her boring comment. These days, he was so sensitive to almost every little thing she said out the office. Still not sure if he was imagining their whole relationship. Still not sure of her, she knew.
Riza waited calmly for a space to fit in her announcement. It came after Edward had exhausted the contents of every serving dish on the table, and leaned back, patting his stomach and listening to the last parts of Alphonse’s tale.
“Well, I’ve just been going on and on,” Alphonse gave her just the opening she needed. “What’s new here, sir?”
Riza smiled and put down her fork. That should have warned them, that smile, but perhaps Edward was too drowsy from feeding like a newly-hatched bird, and Alphonse was just too polite to note that the First Lieutenant had actually cracked a smile without splitting her face wide open.
“Not much. Just one... small change,” Riza said slowly.
With these two she knew she didn’t need much more of a preamble. So, she took a breath and told them. It didn’t take too long, she didn’t waste time on detailed explanations or descriptions. It was unfortunate that she couldn’t tell Alphonse’s reaction from his expression. Edward, on the other hand, was another story. His eyes bugged wide enough for the both of them.
“You....? Him....?” he sputtered. “But...why?”
“Why?” Roy asked, leaning forward. “What do you mean why?”
“Just what I said. Why?”
“Because we have feelings for one another, Edward,” Riza told him.
“For him?” Edward said, boggled.
“Hey! What’s wrong with me?” Roy demanded.
“You got time? Or you want a detailed report on it tomorrow?” Edward replied.
“Look, sprout–,” Roy started.
“Who-you-calling–,” Edward's voice suddenly rose.
“Enough, you two!” Riza called. They shut down like quarreling siblings. “I won’t have you flailing my house down around my ears. I’m sure you two understand the need for the utmost discretion about this.”
Alphonse nodded so quickly, his helm rattled.
“You two could be in big trouble for this,” Edward said. “Which is another reason why I don’t understand why the First Lieutenant would risk her career for —,”
“I’m risking it because I want to, Edward,” Riza said softly.
Even he knew better than to argue with that tone of voice. With a confused look, he subsided in the chair.
“Only three other people know about this. One of them just left here. The others...” She looked at Roy, wondering if she should tell them.
“In for half, in for whole,” Roy said. “My new driver is one, and Second Lieutenant Havoc is the other. You two are the last two who will know for the moment.” He stressed that, looking at Riza carefully.
“Any more would be dangerous,” Riza replied.
“We won’t tell,” Alphonse said calmly, taking it all in stride. Surely he had heard more startling revelations in his short life.
Edward added his agreement. “My lips are sealed. I got better things to do than gossip. People know better than to ask me questions that I don’t want to answer.”
Which was why Riza thought it fine to tell them in the first place. She nodded. “Now. It’s late, and you two look like you could use some rest. I can make up the couch for you, Edward.”
“I’m fine where I am, First–,” Al started.
“Please, Alphonse, while you’re in my house, you can call me Riza.”
“Riza, can I call you into the kitchen?” Roy suddenly asked.
Riza arched her brow at that note in Roy’s voice. “You may. Excuse me, boys.”
In the kitchen, he leaned into her face. “I’m not going home tonight,” he whispered.
“Of course, you are. They are children. It’s not proper that you sleep... with me while they are here,” Riza returned in the same hushed tones.
Roy growled. “You are a cruel woman.”
“Keep calling me names and I won’t let you kiss me before you go,” the First Lieutenant returned calmly, eyes narrowing.
“Did I say cruel? You are a paragon of virtue. A vision of beauty–,” Roy said, eyes meeting hers.
She tiptoed up and put her lips on his quickly. “Shut up, sir, and go home.”
“You sure it was wise to tell them?” Roy asked.
“Could you have kept it from them?” Riza questioned.
Roy sighed, then touched his forehead to hers. “No.”
“They won’t say anything. You know this. If anyone can keep a secret, it is Elric brothers,” Riza assured him.
“Hmm.” He stole a quick kiss again. “They are full to the teeth with secrets.”
“Hey, Riza!” Edward’s voice floated from the living room. “You got any more of those cookies?”
Riza’s mouth quirked. “Did you say full to the teeth? I’d say Edward has a hollow leg.”