"What if she says yes?" Maes Hughes asked, a worried look on his face as he downed the rest of his drink. "Or, even worse, what if she says no?"
Roy Mustang shook his head as he took a small sip of his own drink. "The only way you're going to find out is if you ask her."
Maes shot him an exasperated look. "Oh, that's really helpful," he snapped. "Could you at least give me a suggestion?"
"You mean other than the one I just gave you?" Roy asked, raising an eyebrow.
The look Maes sent in his direction would have sent lesser men running. Roy just smirked.
"I suggest you have another drink," he said helpfully, snapping his fingers to get the attention of one of the barmaids.
"Some friend you are," Maes muttered. "Here I am, talking to you about the most important decision of my life, and the only thing you have to say is that I need another drink."
At that moment, the barmaid sat two full mugs down on the table in front of them, giving them both a flirtatious smile before turning back around. Maes reached out and picked one of them up with a sigh. "Of course, you're probably right," he admitted ruefully.
"Personally, I think you're insane either way," Roy said, eyeing the barmaid appreciatively as she walked off. "Why you'd want to tie yourself to one woman for the rest of your life is beyond me."
Maes took a sip from his mug before turning his attention back toward the other man. "It's called love," he said patiently, as if he were talking to a small child. "I love Gracia. Love, for those of us who don't know, is a feeling that one gets when--"
"I know what love is, Maes," Roy cut in, frowning a bit.
Maes raised an eyebrow. "There's a difference between love and lust," he pointed out. "One involves flowers, chocolates, and sweet nothings murmured in a woman's ear."
"See," Roy said, smirking again. "I told you I knew what love was."
"The other is all that and more, except its sole purpose isn't just to end up in bed," Maes continued, as if Roy hadn't said a word.
Roy stared at him for a moment before his mouth twisted into an amused smile. "We've had this conversation before, haven't we?"
Maes grinned back at him. "If I remember correct, it was the other way around," he pointed out. "You were the one who was convinced that you were in love."
"And you were the one trying to talk sense into me," Roy shot back.
Shaking his head, Maes leaned back in his chair. "Oh no, we're not going down that route," he said. "There were two large differences between that time and this one."
"Really?" Roy asked, raising an eyebrow as he leaned back in his own chair. "Enlighten me."
Maes held up one finger. "One, we're not seventeen-year-old boys fresh to the academy." He paused for a moment, an amused look making its way onto his face, before holding up another finger. "And two, Gracia's not the wife of our ranking officer."
"How was I supposed to know who she was?" Roy protested. "She never mentioned that she was married."
"Until he caught the two of you in bed together," Maes pointed out helpfully. "Then she mentioned her husband several times in just a few seconds."
Roy shot him a dirty look.
Maes just grinned. "You're lucky he never got a close look at your face."
"You mean I'm lucky that those bushes outside his house kept me from breaking my neck when I dove out the window," Roy muttered.
"That too," Maes agreed cheerfully.
Still muttering under his breath, Roy glowered at him. "Now I could use another drink."
Maes pointed at the full glass sitting in the middle of table. "She already brought you one," he said lightly. "I think she's trying to get you drunk so she can seduce you."
Roy shot him an exasperated look. "Maes, I've been to this bar before," he pointed out.
"So she knows from past experience that she doesn't have to bother getting you drunk to seduce you?" Maes asked cheekily.
Roy let out a tired sigh. "You're the one who dragged me here tonight," he said wryly. "You claimed it was a matter of life or death, and that I was the only one who could help you figure out what to do. So do you want my advice or not?"
"Has it changed in the last twenty minutes?" Maes asked, his smirk fading away in an instant. "Because the advice you gave me twenty minutes ago was horrible.'
"I told you to ask her!" Roy exclaimed.
"Exactly!" Maes shot back. "I can't just ask her. What if she said yes? Or not? What if she said no?"
Roy stared at his friend. "Isn't that the whole point?" he asked. "You ask her, and she gives you an answer."
Maes stared back at him. "But...."
Roy rolled his eyes as he pushed himself to his feet. "Damn it, Maes, just ask Gracia to marry you already," he said exasperatedly. "You're a lot easier to deal with when you're either staring love struck into thin air or crying into your drink."
"Ha, ha. You're a regular comedian," Maes muttered as he stood up himself. "I suppose you have a point, though. I should march right over to Gracia's house and...."
As Maes stumbled slightly, Roy quickly reached out and grabbed his arm. "I don't mean tonight," he hissed. "At least wait until you're sober. If you don't, there's no way she'll say yes."
Maes stared at him blearily, blinking in confusion. "But I thought you didn't want her to say yes."
"I said that you were insane," Roy said, rolling his eyes. "But since I'm fairly certain you enjoy insanity, marriage is probably the best thing in the world for you."
Maes shot him a slightly lopsided grin. "Don't worry," he said, flinging his arm over Roy's shoulder. "One of these days, you'll find someone who makes you just as insane."
Roy's mouth twitched as grasped his friend's arm a little more tightly. "Who says I haven't already?" he asked lightly.