Roy Mustang was on his way to the office. Although his night life was busy and everybody alive knew it, he was usually early to work, arriving fifteen or twenty minutes before his subordinates. He would either have some breakfast or revise his schedule, but he certainly enjoyed some time alone. And now that his plans had taken a more pleasant turn, he would receive extra paperwork with a smile.
General. Ishval New Treaty Policy. His goals becoming closer enough he could grasp them between his fingers and see them with his own –and now healed- eyes.
Roy relaxed himself and stirred on the chair. His head was a bit dizzy since last night he had a few drinks at Madam Christmas' place, to celebrate the upcoming event.
He would visit Ishval to sign the accords. It was not like he hadn't gone some time before to enlarge his knowledge, but this time it would be a bigger hit. With the whole military head officers, the press, the returned Ishvalans and of course, Scar and Miles. Those two made a great job on the field under his command.
But that would happen in a month, in what it seemed an eternity. Now, he paid more attention to the opening door. A well-known figured entered the room and saluted.
There she was. Colonel Riza Hawkeye. Now that she was promoted to his old position he would feel nostalgic and also proud. Proud of the woman that always accompanied him to achieve his dreams and that kept his back and his motives untouched.
"Good morning, General".
He returned the greeting and went back into his paperwork. He would usually take a second or even a third look on her, not that he could fight it. She moved around the office like a ballerina in boots. How could she be graceful and feminine being so strong at the same time? That little thing always amazed him. This time he was too distracted, too excited to pay attention to her.
Until when finally looked at her and saw something missing.
She was sitting at her desk since she was still working as his assistant regardless of her position. Riza took long sips of coffee while reading a bunch of reports. The only difference was that the clip that she used to up do her hair was anywhere to be seen.
Roy frowned. Pixie cut.
The General wanted to slap himself for his thoughts. He liked Riza for what she was, not because of her hair. Her long, soft, blonde and sweet hair. Why did she have to cut it again? It reminded him of her house, her father's funeral, the little girl he knew. And worse, it reminded him of the woman with the eyes of a killer that he met in Ishval.
I hope this isn't some kind of symbolism…
Riza noticed his gaze and turned to see him – disgusted expression, eyes in pain.
"General, what is going on?" her voiced sounded as deadpan as ever like she was expecting some stupid reply.
And God be damned if she wasn't right.
Roy wanted to be casual, to ask her properly and charming about that new look. He never took his flirting outside the "Elizabeth" persona, but after the Promised Day we could say that their relationship status had gotten a little better. A little. It definitely hadn't gone through physical appearance changes.
"Why did you cut your hair short again?"
Riza opened her mouth in surprise.
She was shut by the door. Havoc and Breda entering the room did truly make a noise.
"Good morning General. Coronel" Breda greeted and went to sit down at his desk.
"Hey! It's been a long time. I've come to visit you. Surprise!" Havoc didn't care about protocols. He made sure to show his new legs to his colleagues again and again. The Lieutenant couldn't hide his happiness and his gratefulness to the General, so he visited Central Command once or twice a week to help in what he could – make a noise.
Roy sighed in frustration.
"We saw each other last night, Havoc. Don't make such a fuss about it".
"Okay, okay… So how are the preparations going? Are you going to make a parade in your honor on something?"
"As if I was that self-absorbed".
"And how are you, new Colonel?" He talked to Riza now. "Hey! What's up with that new look? It suits you really well".
Riza smiled warmly. Havoc was always really nice to her.
"I really wanted a change, that's all".
She should have felt lucky that she couldn't see her General's death glared from beneath. But Havoc did and he found it really funny.
"Others might say that some things should never change for the better good. Or the better look. But hey, that's what others say".
Riza didn't really catch the pun so she just smiled again and returned to her reading. Havoc spent fifteen minutes greeting Fuery and asking about Falman's life and then he was gone like he came in.
For the rest of the day, the dynamics between the General and the Colonel/personal bodyguard were weird. That was at least what Riza thought. They weren't smooth and comfortable as it used, not that it was bad, but she had been catching some strange glares from her General. And what he was trying to ask her earlier, that grim tone…
No, no. Just no.
It couldn't be serious.
Was he mad because or her hair? Riza was a very intelligent woman and she believed she worked under a very intelligent man. Hell, she believed she was in love with a very intelligent man.
That evening, she stayed a bit longer than usual, expecting the confrontation. But when she returned to the office after a short break to the ladies' bathroom she found that he wasn't there. Riza sighed and decided to go home. She would deal with her picky General another time.
The days went along normally though. Roy started to act out as his usual self, dedicating her more smiles. Or at least, less death glares. Riza just assumed he was on a bad day or that he had started to grow accustomed to her hair.
He had a thing for her hair, he had confessed that the first night they spent at the hospital the first day after the Promised Day. Seeing the other walk along the edge – for him to lose his mind, for her to lose her life – and fight together against the evilest creature in the world had settled a new perspective onto their relationship. They had always been close, nevertheless.
Roy and Riza met when they were teens and had spent a lot of time together during the years, their bond settled when she discovered him the secrets of Flame Alchemy that rested on her back. That one had been a turning point. The other, the end of the war at Ishval. The events began to occur one right after the other: her back being burned by him, their promise, the mission they wanted to accomplish.
Mornings and evenings at work, nights either at his or at her place, and sometimes at a neutral meeting point. Secret codes, undercovers, missions and the reassurance of their shared dreams.
The next big turning point had been the promised day. Everything that she kept trying to convey eventually showed up. His own feelings showed up. All in their unique and special way, calling the other with their rankings, expressing affection in the form of near-to-death embraces and snaps of fire out of frustration.
In the hospital he had told him what he never could. And it was so precious that she would never forget it. But when he told her that he liked her hair, followed by her legs and her butt she thought he was being his non-serious flirty self. She could have never imagined how much he cared about a haircut that he wouldn't speak to her in a whole day!
Now that his behavior was turning into normal she stopped thinking about that.
Or so she believed.
One day prior their departure to Ishval, he turned up late to his office. He had spent the last few weeks meeting with higher-ranking officers to discuss the visit so he hadn't showed up that much lately and some days he didn't even get to see the General. Today, he must to.
Riza, Fuery and Breda had been waiting for him for about twenty minutes and they had started to get angry. They had to make the arrangements for tomorrow's departure and set the schedule of the visit to Ishval.
"He turns up here at 6 pm in the morning when he has nothing to do and today when we have a shit ton of work he sleeps in" Breda complained, looking at the pile of papers in his General's desk.
The oh-so-driven-to-work facade had to end some day and show his true lazy-ass colors, Riza thought. Although she missed him these weeks at work and for some time alone, Roy Mustang was Roy Mustang.
She just sighed in bore and went to drink her coffee. With cream and sugar she would forget the true face of her General. It was only that she hadn't see his true face. And when she did, she certainly wouldn't forget it.
He slammed the door open. He was wearing his formal clothes, even his hat. His expression was serious, composed.
And he had a moustache.
Fuery had to swallow his laugh and Breda threw a subtle pun to him, but Riza just froze. When she got up to salute him she stayed in her place looking at him, pale. His eyes only met hers to discover surprise and yes, a bit of anger.
The young face of her General that it seemed like a baby's butt. His handsome face. Now it had a moustache. An ugly, black, ridiculous moustache.
And he knew it. And she knew it.
Roy sat in his desk, holding his own laugh at her expression. It kept on his mind the whole day.
When they got to Ishval they finally had some time alone. Roy had chosen her to escort him at his march along the streets of the new city of Ishval, where he had to meet with the field officers in charge of the city as well as Scar and Miles, and the people of Ishval. It would be safe now that the country was clean, but he needed her to watch his back as always and to show the world that she was her most valuable asset.
In his tent –they wanted to respect Ishvalan culture, so they used tents – they revised the itinerary talking in a moderate professional tone. Riza's eyes weren't focused on the map though. They were looking at that annoying moustache.
Roy smiled. Now it was his chance.
"Colonel Hawkeye, is there something wrong?"
"No, Sir. I find that the itinerary is perfectly designed. Only if you would cut some time from the visit to the Town Hall and going also to the shrine, it would be perfect". She had eluded his obvious take on the moustache issue with elegance.
"I see. It is a good idea". He nodded. "Speaking of which, when did you thought that cutting your hair was a good idea?" His tone didn't vary. He could be taking about Ishvalan trade of potatoes perfectly.
"I just happen to like my hair short from time to time, Sir".
"Why didn't you just cut the damaged hair and keep like, I don't know, shoulder length?"
"That is nothing of your business, Sir".
He turned to see her, his eyes in anger.
"Why?" She repeated, using an offended pitch. "For God's sake, Roy. It's just hair. Calm down, it's going to grow back in a few months. Now why are you so mad at this, huh? Have I ruined your kink?"
Roy sighed, staring directly into her eyes. He had decided to be honest with Riza from now on.
"I associate that to the dark days. To the war here, in Ishval. To your burnt back, your screams, your pain… I know it may seem stupid. It may seem that I just want to kink you over but, yeah… Your long hair reminds me of the life we regained in the Promised Day".
Riza's eyes didn't change. She didn't even flinch.
"Sir… those things you are telling me… what do they have to do with that moustache?"
"Don't make a fool of yourself! Why did you put that hideous thing on your face, General? Is it fake? Where did it come from? Is it revenge because of my hair?"
Her hands went to touch the moustache. Damn it. It was too real.
"SO IT WAS REVENGE".
She turned crazy inside that tent. Lots of "I can't believe it", "you're such a child" "I hate you" were shouted against him. Roy laughed although he was worried about someone hearing her and for the safety of the structure of the tent. Riza could get into a storm when she was pissed.
"Hey, hey, calm down. It is true that I planned to show you to Ishval as the prettiest woman in Amestris and I'm not saying that you aren't pretty with short hair, err … Okay, Colonel, give me two seconds…"
"You are a big idiot and you are going to be an idiot Führer".
"Heh, that's for sure. But Riza, what I said it's true".
She turned her gaze to him.
"I know that but… But please stop being so sentimental on things that come and go, like hair. Just grow up, General".
"I'm trying. I'm sorry".
"So, when are you shaving off that ugly moustache, Sir?" she asked, deadpan serious again.
"Seriously?" he sounded tired.
"Consider it, my General. Because I'm considering giving up the idea of being the First Lady of an old geezer that acts like a little boy".
The march was about to start and both General and Colonel were ready. Ishval was decorated witch flower garments and the Ishvalans looked happy. They were cheering on those who used to kill them. It was so poetic. One could have thought that the Colonel's sad expression was because of that fact. But nobody knew the true reasons behind it. Riza gazed at her General again, she made a disgusted face and then she made signals to him to distract herself from the sight.
A press photographer immortalized the moment. It was the cover of the newspapers.
"GENERAL ROY MUSTANG VISITS ISHVAL TO SIGN THE ISHVAL NEW TREATY POLICY". "His march along the city – a success".
The photo decorated the Elrics' dining room, where Ed could remember the pair that helped him that much during his youth. Winry still kept Riza's letter of complaining. They both reread it together to burst in laughter. It had been 4 years since it was taken.
"… and how can I forget about that disgusting and horrendous moustache?! It is going to haunt me forever, I see. Winry dear, please never let Edward take on such an abnormal trait! I had to buy a razor myself and shave him because I didn't trust he would do it. He is such a child. I have to learn from you and keep my hair going longer and longer if I don't want another surprise like this…"
And of course, both Ed and Winry always had to talk about it whenever they met Roy and Riza. Because it was such fun to see the flushed and angry faces of two people so obsessed and in love with each other that they couldn't stand a single thing not being perfect.
Or just an ugly moustache.