A/N: Sorry for the lack of update. The muses were fighting and the muffin people were taking over. So here it is folks!
Chapter Four “The First Mistake”
Riza’s daily schedule had somehow become cluttered and filled with tasks she had once had under Mustang, and she liked it that way. She had earned her respect from Frank, and she now had her title back. It felt good to have the lower officers have to salute her again.
She sat down at her desk, sipping her hot tea as the snow fell thickly outside. She had finished her paperwork the hour before, but yet she found an envelope on her desk, from the Fuhrer. She groaned as she realized it was a military ball invitation. She opened, her eyes scanning the invitation, and her eyes grew hard. This year everyone was required to come, and they had to have an escort as well?! She growled in a slightly irritated frustration. She had always gone alone, and then left early. The Military ball that the Fuhrer held was never interesting.
She stared at the invitation, and the form she had to fill out and send back for arrangements for her and her “date” to be made. She looked up, startled as Frank entered her office from his, holding his own invitation. “So I see, you’ve received yours as well, Lieutenant.” He observed. Biting back a sarcastic comment, she nodded her head. “So it would seem. Everyone is required to attend, and we have to have a date.” The words came out slightly venomous. Frank chuckled lightly, looking slightly annoyed at the information as well.
“Yes, it is troublesome, isn’t it?” he said, looking at the letter again. “I have to agree. Perhaps there’s a loophole…” she said, looking at the invitation. “No such luck, I’ve already combed it over several times.” Archer said, turning to go back to his office. “They’re going to have to wait to get mine back then, so I can find a date.” Riza said, tossing the papers back on her desk and sighing as Frank went back into his office.
And so she brooded over it for the next couple of hours until lunchtime. And that’s when Mustang came in, looking dejected and depressed. “Colonel Mustang, I wasn’t expecting you.” Riza said quickly, stashing her invitation in her desk drawer. “I needed somebody to talk to, I figured you’d be that person Hawkeye.” He said heavily, sitting across from her on the other side of the desk.
“What’s wrong?” Riza asked, noticing the floor creak on the other side of Frank’s door. “She called it all off, and left me.” He said, looking pitiful. Riza’s expression changed to confused. “But why? You haven’t cheated on her, have you?” she asked, her eyebrows furrowed. “No, I’ve been absolutely girl-free since I started dating her.” Roy answered truthfully. “Have you given her any reason to believe otherwise?” Riza asked carefully, standing slowly.
“No, I haven’t.” Roy said, putting his head in his hands. Riza rolled her eyes, “Than why did she call it all off?” Riza asked. “I told you I don’t know!” Roy said, started to get aggravated. “Don’t take it out on me, I’m trying to figure it all out.” Riza said calmly.
Frank chose that moment to step out of his office, trying to look as if he hadn’t been listening. “I didn’t expect to see you here, Mustang. Is there a problem?” Frank asked, standing up straight. He’d like nothing more than to kick Mustang while he was down. “Nothing that’s any of your concern, Archer.” Roy said, looking up, his eyes hard.
“If it’s none of my concern, then it’s not any of MY Lieutenant’s concern. Now if you’ll be so kind, she has work to do.” Frank said his voice cool, his eyes laughing, and a slight smirk grew on his face. Roy stood up, looking scornfully at Archer. “She can do whatever she wants to, you don’t run her life.” He said. “I don’t, but you shouldn’t be so foolhardy, Mustang. She’s under my command now, and she has work to do.” Frank said, his eyes going cold.
Riza’s eye twitched. ‘Men are so pig-headed.’ She thought severely, going to her desk, opening the drawer and brought out her gun and a box of bullets. “While you two continue your argument, I’m going to the shooting range. My condolences to you, Colonel Mustang.” She said coolly, walking past them and out the door. Both men stood there for a few minutes, glaring at each other before Mustang left.
Every single shot she hit, was right in the bull’s-eye. She stopped every few minutes to take a break, and then started up again. By the time her box was half empty, Archer strolled in casually, and watched her until she started another break. “To actually see you do that, is entirely different from hearing it from somebody else.” He commented lightly as she took a drink of water.
“Why are you here?”
“To talk to you, naturally.”
“What if I don’t wish to speak with you?”
“You’ll have to put up with me watching you.”
Frank chuckled lightly as she set her water down. “You knew I had all of my work finished.” She said, looking him straight in the eyes. Something inside of him twitched, but he ignored it. “What if I had had something for you to do?” he asked, leaning against the table. “You didn’t have anything for me to do, and you ran him off. He’s my friend, and we were having a private conversation.” She said, her temper rising slightly.
“Do you even know why she called it all off?” Frank asked lazily. “No, and I suppose you do?” she asked diligently. “Yes, it’s been going around Headquarters all morning. I’m surprised you and Colonel Mustang haven’t heard it.” Frank said his eyes laughing as he looked at her. “Don’t toy with me, Colonel Archer.” She said her calm voice had an edge to it. “You’re starting to get out of line, Hawkeye. Now do you want to know or not?” Frank asked, a smirk on his face.
She growled inwardly. “Of course I want to know, sir. You’ll have to forgive me.” She said, managing to give him a small but forced smile. “She broke it all off with him because of you. Now, everybody would have to be a huge idiot not to know that you’re infatuated with Mustang. He just happened to take it a step further after you left his team to be with mine. He realized what he had lost with your absence, and slipped up last night at dinner when he called her Riza.” Frank explained bluntly.
Riza stood stunned for a moment, and then regained her composure. “Well, he truly is a fool. I’ve already gotten over him.” She said, shaking her head. “It wasn’t easy either, but that’s not any of your concern.” She said pointedly. He resisted the urge to roll his eyes. “He’s going to become obsessed with you, and then what are you going to do?” Frank asked her. “Shoot at him.” Riza said simply, a small smile on her face.
“Ah, you’d take the old approach. Nowadays, women just file sexual harassment charges.” Frank replied, chuckling. “Because they’re afraid they’ll get killed for shooting at someone who deserved it.” Riza said, taking another drink from her water. “Politics have taken a turn for the worse. Though it’s not nice to kill someone for such silly reasons. You’d have to have a very excellent reason to kill someone.” He said, crossing his arms.
“I agree. But you also shouldn’t start wars or gang fights for personal gain or over something stupid.” Riza pointed out. “That’s all too true, but sometimes there is a good reason for wars and gang fights.” Frank defied her comment. “Another agreement we’ve come too. But lately all the reasons for war have been wrong. Yet you’ve been delighting in it.” She said. His eyes went hard for a moment. “Now, now. I have my personal reasons, and you should know those by now.” He said, tensing up.
“I do. That doesn’t mean I agree with all of them. Yet you still expect me to turn my loyalty to you, Colonel Archer.” She said boldly. “So you have figured out my plan. You’re even smarter than I thought, Miss Hawkeye.” He said, his eyes bright, and his smirk back in place. She let out a small laugh. “Did you expect me not too?” she asked, her eyes laughing as well. “No, I knew you’d figure it out eventually. With a woman on my side like you, there’s no way I can’t not get to the top.” He said confidently. “But I haven’t said I’d help you yet. What if I still feel like being loyal to Mustang?” she answered.
“I know, but it’s only a matter of time before my charm wins you over.” He joked. She chuckled, rolling her eyes, which was very unlike her normal self. “I highly doubt it. Do you know what they call you behind your back, Colonel?” she asked, trying to get back her composure. “I do know what they call me. It doesn’t affect me in the slightest. People are entitled to their opinions.” He replied.
Riza unlocked her door, coming in just as Black Hayate rushed up to meet her. “Hey boy.” She said, walking towards the kitchen. She set her coat down on the table, and went through her mail, tossing the bills to the side. That’s all she ever got was bills. She walked back to her bedroom, quickly changing into more comfortable clothes. She flopped onto her bed. She had gotten home way later than expected. She had called a neighbor to feed her dog, and that had been two hours ago. Now she was nothing but tired.
Pulling the covers up to her waist, she stared up at the ceiling, thinking. Had it really been so horrible to hope that his fiancée would break it all off? Had it been so horrible to hold on to her dreams of having him for herself? She closed her eyes. It had been horrible; it had been vile and cruel. Roy deserved to be happy no matter what it cost her. She should have let her feelings for him die long ago. Now look at where she was.
She decided she’d comfort him, but she wouldn’t let it go past that. Even if, by military regulations they could be together now. That didn’t matter. It was high time she move on anyways. She needed a fresh start, and she had that now that she was under Archer’s command. She was free to love, free to hate, free to feel the feelings she wanted to feel.
“What a fool.” Frank muttered as he practiced his piano and thought about the day. Of course, the fool he was referring to was Mustang. The man had let go of her so easily. As if she were a mere piece he could pawn off and trade with whenever he felt the fancy. But Frank knew that Mustang was smarter than that. The Fuhrer didn’t. Frank knew that Roy valued Hawkeye as his queen piece in the military game of chess. Now Frank has her, and he’d use her to his advantage.
But if he was going to do all these things with her, he’d have to keep his feelings in check. He already had an inkling in the back of his mind, very far back, mind you, what it would be like to be with her. To touch, to feel, to want, to need. He shook his head as a nasty note came out due to his blunder, and the cats all meowed simultaneously. His blue eyes were icy as he looked out the window at the falling snow. All these years he hadn’t allowed himself to feel for anyone even once.
He refused to let his barrier be broken. He had goals and dreams to achieve before he died, and he didn’t need a woman getting in his way. He stood up, putting the lid to the piano down and picked up a glass of brandy. ‘Feelings are for sissy boys.’ He thought ruefully, going back towards his bedroom.
“I assure you, Fuhrer Bradley, you have nothing to fear. Mustang will be taken care of. He won’t be in the way of your plans much longer.” Archer said, standing in front of the Fuhrer’s desk. “I’d like to think so, Archer. I’m glad I have an officer like you I can count on. In fact I see a promotion for you in the near future. Just keep on doing what you’ve been doing to Mustang.” King Bradley said, looking down at some documents.
Saluting and exiting quickly, Frank smirked as he walked back towards his offices. That smirk faded as he heard Runa’s high-pitched squeal as soon as he entered. ‘Why god, why?!’ his head yelled as she began talking.
Riza smirked as she heard Frank come back in the office. She knew it was him thanks to Runa’s squeal of delight. She bit her lower lip, going back to her entrancing romance novel. He walked in quickly, shutting the door quickly behind him. “Back so soon, Colonel Archer?” she asked, looking up her brow raised.
“As if you couldn’t tell by my over enthusiastic staff..” Frank muttered, strolling to his office door and going in. She chuckled, shaking her head. “She wants you to escort her to the Military ball.” Riza informed him. “That won’t be happening.” He said, sitting down at his desk. “You’re going alone then, I take it.” Riza guessed.
“Well, actually, Hawkeye…I was hoping you’d let me escort you.” Frank said suddenly. ‘Where the hell did that come from?’ his mind said, but he kept his sudden emotions under control, his mask firmly in place. He could blush like a pansy later. Riza stopped what she was doing and looked up at him from her desk. ‘Think fast.’ Was all she could think? She covered her shock and confusion quickly.
“I don’t believe the Fuhrer would allow that.” She stated stonily, looking away from him quickly. “Quite the opposite Hawkeye. This is one of the rare occasions the Fuhrer lets inner-office dating occur. Or did you skip that part in the rule-book?” Frank asked. He smirked as she gave him a slight glare. “Honestly, Colonel…me, go with you? To the ball?” she asked herself more than him.
“Well, what’s it going to be, yes or no?” he asked, pressing her. It gave him pleasure to see the emotions flicker in her eyes. Getting to Mustang would be much easier now. Finally, she gave in. “I suppose it wouldn’t be so bad.” She said quietly, going back to her book.