Bullet laced Vodka.
It was cold. So cold, that she was sure her fingers were turning blue in her simple woolen gloves, but she refused to move. She might have been weak before, but she swore she would not back down, be it flame or frost.
As another blast of frigid wind assaulted her figure, she could no longer feel the shivers wracking her frame, hell she could no longer feel at all. And she wanted it that way.
Better numb then hurt.
Staring out at the rugged beauty of the frozen mountain before her, Riza felt oddly small and unassuming, she felt like she could melt away in the white haze of snow around her and become nothing.
Passionate fingers brushed the ridges of her collarbone up to the curve of her face marking a trail of red-hot fire in their wake. Dark eyes bored into her own, almost as if they were tugging out every last shadow, every last secret of the depths of her soul and leaving them bare for his inspection.
Thin lips usually curled up in a condescending smirk, were pulled instead into a gentle smile, leaving her weak in the knees. She felt venerable, helpless and at the same time frenzied and ecstatic
They were walking on forbidden ground, he know it and he loved every minute of it.
Something within her snapped, all at once it was like the world shifted she forgot all about propriety, she forgot all about rules, all she needed was him, and everything else could be dammed.
With a new fire burning within her, sliding the arm that grasped weakly at his shoulder to encircle his neck, Riza immersed her fingers into the cool strands of his midnight hair, lost to all else but him, she tugged him forward.
At the shift in her position his smile grew into a full-fledged grin. A wicked gleam sparkled in his eyes. He slid forward till he was a hairsbreadth from her lips. His eyes still locked on to hers, he closed the final gap between their lips.
And the world exploded.
Desperately Rize tried to shake the memory from her mind’s eye.
She could still feel the tingle of electricity that shot through her body at the contact of his lips. She could still feel the fire of his hands as they branded their way through her body claiming every inch of skin as he stole her soul.
A great wave of grief exploded within her; weakly she hugged herself in a vain effort to suppress the tears from falling. How could she have been so stupid? For all of her tough talk she was nothing more than a weak specimen of a human being. And of all people, of all the men in the world she had to pick him.
Colonel Roy Mustang
Self-confessed lifetime bachelor, king of unfinished paperwork, irrepressible flirt and renowned playboy and…and…. the man she loved.
His touch was achingly soft. Pale gloveless fingers traced every contour of her now bare skin as though he was memorizing every line, every dip every curve. He worshiped her body with his touch, followed shortly by his tongue and lips burning a brand on her skin, claiming it for his own.
Riza could do nothing more than cling weakly to his shoulders and whimper. When she tried to move, to give him at least a taste of what he shot through her body, he paused, wrenching a moan from her swollen lips.
She didn't even realize he moved until she heard his wards whispered straight into her left ear.
"Let me take care of you instead, for this night, let me be the one you rely on, let me be the one you need, let me show you how much you mean to me, how much I need you."
The raw need in his voice shook her to her very core. He kissed the shell of her ear before swooping down on her ruby lips.
Riza barely had time to note his harp intake of breath before she found herself pulled into a fierce kiss. He tasted rich sweet and exotic and oh so very addictive.
Riza couldn't help but brush her fingers against her lips, lips he claimed over and over again during their lovemaking. Shaking her head she turned away from the mountain, facing instead the back end of a simple wooden cabin that served as her place of refuge in this icy terrain.
The sight of the familiar cabin brought a warm feeling to the pit of her stomach. Many happy years of her childhood were spent within its smooth wooden walls. With only one room sparsely furnished with several mismatched pieces of furniture, including a bookshelf and two beds all carved from dark wood and a single maroon throw rug.
A minimalists' dream come true.
During spring hunting season, the icy landscape around her would be lush grassland filled with game. It was here that her father first put a gun in her hand and thought her how to shoot. When night-time peeked its head around, she would jump on her father as he sat on his favourite armchair smoking his night-time cigar and beg him to tell her stories about all the great lands he visited.
The very memory brought a smile to her face.
Feeling somewhat comforted, Riza steeled herself, there was no way she would be able to quit her job. It didn't matter that it would be obscenely uncomfortable seeing Roy once again from the other side of his desk and know that he was once in her bed. It would hurt her greatly when she saw him out with other girls and to think of what could have been.
But she would endure.
All she needed was a little time, a little time to let the memories fade, a little time to let her heart cool down. She always prided herself in being a practical person. After that…she would go on with her life as if nothing had ever happened.
It was the only logical choice.
Nodding to herself, Riza shuffled her way back to the cabin. The snow was deep and she was wary of stepping on the wrong spot and suddenly sinking up to her nose in the white stuff.
Grumbling under her breath, Riza made a mental note to fix a door at the back end of the house so she wouldn't have to walk all the way around it to get to the warm interior.
Sighing as she finally reached the veranda at the front of the cabin, Riza paused as her fine toned senses went on high alert.
She was not alone
Sliding one hand into her dark green jacket to grasp the hilt of her ever-present gun, Riza ran her eyes over the surrounding terrain. There was another car in the driveway. A car she didn't recognize.
Stealthily she slid to the front of the simple wooden door. Noting that it was slightly opened and unlatched, Riza clicked off the safety of her gun.
Tensing her shoulders, Riza raised her gun and slammed open the door.
Sharp amber eyes scanned the hardwood interior. The fire crackling merrily in the hearth gave enough light for her process every corner.
Only to be met with a pair of achingly familiar onyx eyes.
Roy Mustang, sitting in her father's chair, glaring at her like there was no tomorrow.
She studied his figure in shock. She knew she didn't look too good either, with her windblown blond hair and sickly pallor, but at least she didn't look half dead.
He looked tired, dark circles under his eyes and the beginnings of a three o'clock shadow on his jaw even his uniform minus the coat looked like it had been slept in.
He looked like a haunted man.
"As much as I appreciate the breeze, I would rather keep the snow out if you don't mind!"
His voice was sharp and unforgiving. Well trained from years of military life, Riza responded to the order without a second thought and shifted to close the door.
Turning around again Riza faced the single most terrifying entity in known existence.
A volatile fire alchemist.
His lips were hard lines; eyes shuttered and closed off, his very posture screamed suppressed fury.
"Now that we have covered the niceties" he spat, poison dripping from every syllable "Explain to me why you up and disappeared without any notice? Or couldn't you care enough to leave me a note?"
His tone gave her what she needed to face his rage. He just pissed her off.
"Unless I'm mistaken SIR I gave ample notice of my request for my leave!"
"A LEAVE I DIDN'T APPROVE!"
"A leave YOU didn't approve? Unless I'm mistaken SIR it's the Fuhrer duty to approve the leaves of his commanding officers, Not yours!" Her retort was sharp and designed with ever intention to hit him where it hurt.
When his thin lips pulled up into a smirk, she was shocked to say the least.
His dark eyes flashing with impending victory, "And if I said I was the Fuhrer?"
His words left her reeling. The Fuhrer? Him? Roy Mustang finally achieving his unreachable dream to hold the ultimate title? How could she not have known? For gods sake she was his assistant!
For all of the confusion spinning within her Riza didn't show a hint of it outside. Ever the composed one, Riza studied him for any hint of falsehood, she found none.
"Then I would have to say congratulations."
"Save it" sighing Roy brought a gloved hand to rub tiredly at his eyes. "I just earned the shittiest job in the military."
The anger in her faded as she stared at the drained and bone weary man before her. "For a shitty job they sure picked the worst man to do it, I'd hate to see all the paper work that comes with it" her words lacked their bite, teasing rather than hurtful.
A groan from behind his palm was all the answer she needed.
Leaning his head against the back of the chair, Mustang painted the very picture of suffering.
Riza could not help herself from smiling. Roy's aversion to paperwork was legendary and usually it took either a bullet or the threat of one to actually get him to finish a report on time.
She pitied anyone forced to be his secretary. As the thought entered her mind her smile slowly faded. He would have to change offices; with a new office comes a new secretary, inevitably a young woman with better connections and a pretty face. And over time Riza herself would be forgotten.
It brought a great sense loss over her.
As if sensing her shift in mood, Roy once again looked up and met her gaze.
"So why then?"
"Don't play stupid with me Lieutenant, I invented the game."
She pondered his question, biting her lip in concentration, Riza tried to think up an explanation for her behaviour.
Why did she leave? Why did she just bolt out of bed that morning? Why had she simply dropped everything and run?
Dawn peaked its head through her window. She felt the first tingle of sunlight brush her eyelids and her internal clock warned her that her she was late. But she was too warm to care. Something about lying in bed snug and warm, made her want to ignore the world outside her bed.
A slow beat nestled against her ear lulled her into a relaxed state of mind.. A beat? What the hell?
All at once consciousness slammed in.
Her eyes flashed open and she tensed her body, ready for any attack. Only to be greeted with the one sight that would haunt her for years to come.
Colonel Roy Mustang, curled up against her side, innocent and virtually childlike, he was snoring and nude as the day he was born.
OH DEAR GOD!
Flashes of the night before ran though her mind. Once again the idiot drank too much in what he dubbed 'the honour of a comrade' and ended up drunk, the bartender asked her to take him home…. she didn't know where he lived and he was in no condition to tell her…so…so she brought him to her place… then…. then…. he kissed her!
An icy spike of terror shot though her heart. What had she done?
For her, last night was everything, it was a dream come true, a real life admission of her deepest darkest desires. For him…it was probably just a misspent drunken night.
She couldn't take that. She couldn't have her feelings for him wrecked in such a way. She couldn't stand becoming another notch on his bedpost.
But she couldn't bear to cling to him either. To hold on to him like some of those disgraceful sappy females that fluttered around him. No, she had too much pride. When everything was gone, pride was all you had left.
She was his assistant first and foremost, it was her duty to protect him, and she'd be dammed before she'd let a drunken mistake change that.
As if on cue, Roy picked that moment to snort and snuggle down into the sheets.
But now what could she do? Roy by nature, though a playboy had no intention to hurt those he 'caught'. Waiting for him to wake up and then throwing his ass out sounded tempting but Riza knew him too well. The situation would be uncomfortable for him and embarrassing for her at the very least. And if left unchecked would spill over into their work relationship and wreck their friendship.
That was unacceptable.
But nothing of the sort would happen if she weren't there to begin with…in a flash an idea formed in her mind. She had intended to take a holiday anyway, all she had to do was call in a favour from work and her absence would be covered. By the time she came back, his discomfort would be dealt with and they could continue their strictly professional relationship.
It didn't matter that it could very well break her to go back to that. But her wants were secondary to his needs. And he needed her to be his support more than anything else.
With that in mind, Riza silently reached into her closet and grabbed her ever-packed small bag. A bag she often used in her 'emergency cases'. And this definitely counted as an emergency.
Unbidden, a shiver wracked through her frame.
All at once, her senses came crashing down on her. Her little stint in the snow with nothing more than a green jacket and gloves for warmth could not be good for her health. There was a sharp ache between her temples, her muscles burned, her fingers and toes tingled strangely and she was vaguely aware of spots dancing across her vision.
How long had she been out there?
Raising one hand to desperately massage her aching head, Riza felt oddly dizzy and weak. Blinking her eyes a few times, she found herself feeling lethargic.
"Riza?" the worry that laced his words would have, under normal circumstances comforted her. But she was too busy fighting off the flickers of darkness crowding the edges of her vision to feel it.
In a flash, the world tilted and Riza was thrown into a sea of darkness. The last thing she felt as her weary body collapsed was a pair of warm arms halting her sharp descent, and the pleasant aroma of musk and ink.
The first thing tilted her from the warm embrace of slumber was a murmur. Soft but sounding like a constant drone, much like a distant buzzing of a pesky fly that wont leave you well enough alone.
Unwilling to leave the comfort of sleep, Riza snuggled away from the aggravating noise, But to no avail, it seemed to haunt her, getting louder the more she tried to escape it. Slowly she became aware of warmth. She felt like she was floating in a tub of warm water, except water did not murmur, nor did it smell of ink.
Still unwilling to escape the comforting arms of sleep, Riza floated in a half-conscious haze somewhere between awake and sleep. As she listened, the murmur turned itself into words that she could understand.
"Stupid, hard-headed…never listed to advi…always causing troubl…don't make me worry…"
As her mind sluggishly processed the words, Riza found herself thrust into the world of consciousness with a gasp. Forcing her heavy eyelids up, blinking away the haze of sleep Riza found herself facing a familiar bookshelf.
All at once several factors drew her attention.
1) She was in bed.
2) There was something warm, large and had a vague resemblance to a human body behind her.
3) There was a pair of arms around her waist
4) She was as naked as the day she was born.
"Awake are you? I swear Riza, for someone so smart, you can prove yourself stupid sometimes"
The lean arms that encircled her waist, tugged her closer to the warm body behind her.
The movement brought another factor to her attention.
He was naked too.
Their position was like a slap to her face.
Pushing aside the memories this stance evoked, Riza tried to struggle out of his hold, if only to regain some distance and her composure.
"Let me go."
There was a hint of desperation in her voice, she knew they were dancing a thin line and though it was tempting, she was unwilling to cross it again.
His response was sharp and immediate.
"Like hell I will." Arms like steel vices clamped around her, tight enough to hold without bruising but not allowing her any leeway. She had slipped through his arms once; he'd be dammed if he let it happen again.
"You don't know what you're doing, LET ME GO." Her struggle was in vain. Though she was a better shot then him, when it came down to sheer stubbornness and brute force, he won hands down.
Suddenly the world spun and Riza found herself flipped over to her side and face-to-face, with Roy's furious glare.
" I don't know what I'm doing? I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M DOING? Look who's talking! YOU WERE FREEZING YOUR ASS OFF PRANCING IN THE SNOW! YOU WERE FUCKING BLUE RIZA; I THOUGHT YOU WERE GOING TO DIE! WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING?"
Stunned to silence at the rage in his voice and the terror in his eyes, Riza could only watch helplessly as Roy clamped his eyes shut and tensed his shoulders. Within moments the rage passed him and he relaxed once again.
Dark lashes flickered up to reveal a softer but no less horror driven pair of dark eyes.
With a nearly tender voice, he spoke.
"When you left that morning, I was sure I screwed up somewhere. I was so afraid you'd never come back, I was afraid I lost you.
He paused and swallowed, ducking his head, Roy hid his eyes behind his fringe, but the slight quiver in his voice was telling enough.
Do you know how horrifying that is for me? Anyone else, I would have just let it slide, but not you Riza, never you, because you are not just anybody else. I need you to function, I need you to tell me what to do, I need you to remind me why the hell I do this bullshit job for every day, I need you to be with me. And for the life of me Riza I cannot let you go without a fight"
His final sentence hung heavy in Riza's heart.
In a flash, Riza found herself pinned to Roy's firm chest, and his mouth playing fury on her senses, plundered her lips. Love longing, possession, and submission, hope despair and a whole world of emotion crashed into that one meeting of lips.
Roy left no corner undone, with an intensity she had only seen from him in the heat of battle, Roy thoroughly possessed her, he tasted her, savoured her flavour as one might do to fine wine, leaving her pliant, breathless, and quaking with desire.
Pulling away only when both were desperate for air, Roy rested his forehead against hers, in position that was almost intimate, Riza found herself once again face to face with his uncertain gaze.
"Why did you leave?"
This time she was not caught unprepared. His confession settled some of her demons, brought to life a whole other group of them. But he had spoken, he bared his soul to her and the alchemist law of equal exchange demanded she do the same.
"I was afraid."
His brows pulled together in a frown, lips parted as though to speak, to still her words, but some other, more logical force came into play and he remained silent.
"You don't understand how it is for me Roy, the military is my life, and this is everything to me, my pride, my duty, my responsibility. What I did was wrong, you were drunk, I should not have let it get so far, it was my failure to my duty that caused this, and it's my responsibility to deal with it."
Roy arched an eyebrow.
"Duty? Responsibility? Failure? Was I the only one in the room that night? Because the way you say it, the fact that we made love…."
Riza blushed at the word.
".was a failure of our duties and responsibilities to the army. If you actually believe that Riza, I am more than willing to fail time and time again."
And with a smirk Roy continued.
"As for being drunk…did you actually think I would ever for the life of me attempt to kiss you unless I was at 100. As much as I love you, I am not in the habit of dodging bullets especially with a handicap like alcohol." The evil gleam in his eyes caused another fit of blushing for Riza.
"So for the record, besides one glass of vodka, a heavy dose of acting and one hell of a post climactic high, I was pretty much steady the entire night."
"But you are still my bo-"
"At that point in time I was no longer the head of our division therefore I was not your boss, we did not break any rules in regard to inter-division relationships." Roy smoothly cut in.
"But I should not hav-"
"We have already covered that. Perhaps you should not have allowed it to happen, but I know for a fact I can be very persuasive when I want to be an even you, my darling Riza are only human and must succumb to the Mustang Charm." Roy once again intervened.
Finding herself at a loss, Riza heaved one last effort in what was inevitably a loosing battle.
"Even if you want a relationship, it would never work, you'll be so busy with running the damn army we'd never have time to meet. And I could not stand the idea of you slacking off at the office just to see me."
Roy ever the tactician saw his win.
"What are you going on about? I had given strict instructions to insure that my secretary was a person capable of handling responsibility, able to handle and work together with me, an officer of impeccable standing and reputation, a bulls eye with a gun, temper on a short string, and obscenely beautiful in short the only person qualified for the post is you."
Riza was only given a moment to let his words sink in.
"You are of course expected to sign in on Monday, giving us…say a three day reorientation period to adjust to our new respective positions."
"A reorientation period? Respective positions? That never happened before." Riza truly felt lost in this new haze of information.
"Of course it hasn't!" with a deft twist; Riza found herself under Roy's larger but welcomed body.
His lips pressed tantalizingly close to her ear sent vibrations of longing up her spine. "The process is designed specifically for us because we have to 're-orientate' ourselves to our new respective 'positions' as lovers."
The matter of fact tone of his words eased any doubts she had about their bond.
Never one to be left behind for long Riza hit back. "And if I do not wish to re-orientate myself this new position?"
"Then I would take it upon my self to make the idea very, very 'attractive' for both of us. Seeing as after all it is only the first step in our new positions in office and out." With a soft caress against her stomach Roy smirked suggestively"
"A first step?" Her voice rose a notch, both with passion and curiosity. "How much higher can we go?"
"Oh, the next step is marriage of course, then I suppose children would be nice, though I don't think we should be looking that far ahead just yet."
"MARRAGE!" Riza's eyes shot wide open. "I did not agree to such a thing!"
"You will, eventually, with the right motivation of course. But for today, the aim of this exercise is to get you to work in a mini skirt."
Feeling relaxed, Reza let herself get lost in their playful banter.
"Sorry to burst your inflated ego, but there is no way that is ever going to happen."
"AH! A challenge."
No need to say what happened next. But let it just be noted that three days down the line Riza Hawkeye did show up to work in a mini skirt.