It was late when General Mustang got off work. The sound of his footsteps was the only sound echoing on the empty, dim-lighted streets. He glanced at the tower clock: it was almost 9 o'clock.
He let out a deep sigh that condensed in the air, transforming into white steam. Nine o'clock was late for an unannounced visit, and despite his brain being aware of it, his footsteps still lead him to her block, then to her apartment and on her doorstep. He knew she was still awake, so maybe it wasn't all that late, General Mustang decided.
He knocked on the door three times, in a way Colonel Hawkeye knew all too well. She glanced at the watch and answered the door in less than 10 seconds, a worried look spread over her face. She knew her superior way too well and he preferred calling to visiting.
"Is there something wrong, General...?" She started, growing more worried when she saw a soft smile blooming across his tired face.
"Good evening, Riza." He said with a clear voice, realising that he still wore the work attire and that didn't exactly help his informalness.
She frowned at him, unsure whether this was appropriate or not. Roy looked at her with eyes that whispered it was important, and she finally moved slightly from the door frame, making room for him to enter. She was still frowning, but Roy could tell she was pretty curious too, the curiosity and the sense of duty fighting with her.
The man nodded and entered the hallway that led to her livingroom. As always, it was neat and clean, simple and practical. As were the blond's clothes: she was wearing a black sweater with a collar covering her scar and black tights, the dark suit contrasting with her light hair that was, for once, let loose.
Roy took off his coat and his work jacket, remaining in a white shirt and the blue pants. He opened his arms widely and exclaimed:
"Happy birthday, Riza."
She smiled softly and full of affection, realising the motif of visiting. Mustang felt her relax, but he didn’t expected her to take him up on his hug offer, so he shivered when she wrapped her arms around him.
Indeed, it was her birthday today and she had decided to take a day off and care a little for herself, too (which actually meant housework and cooking). That's why, as soon as Riza heard her superior knock at the door, she began worrying about something that might have happened at work, but she was glad everything was fine. If anything, she was actually delighted that he remembered, and for him to come and visit made her more than happy.
She snuggled closer to him and just for this once let herself indulge the sweetness of the moment. He was as lovely as ever, and he smelled like papers and smoke from Havoc and fire. She inhaled deeply and let herself feel secure as his hands wrapped around her in a protective and possessive manner, her own on his back, bringing him closer.
It was rash and, some may even argue, unlike Riza to be so impulsive and actually accept any fraternization gestures, but in the safe place she called home and on her birthday, Riza decided to indulge herself such a small gesture. Besides, she had intentions of breaking off their superior-subordinate relationship soon.
Meanwhile, Mustang was wishing for that moment never to end, as he held her close and sniffed her hair. It smelled like gunpowder, and conditioner and her own perfume. It smelled like home.
After what seemed like an eternity, yet too short for either of them, Roy reluctantly let go in order to look at her before he started talking.
"I have a present for you." He said, yet his face seemed somehow reserved: he didn't have the cheerful tone a friend has on another's birthday. Riza noticed and tilted her head questioning, waiting for him to continue.
"But it comes with some conditions." He finally completed and smirked.
The blonde's heart tightened in anticipation: was it really what she had always hoped for? After so long?
"I'm listening." She answered, barely keeping her excitement in, so her voice came out shaking.
"Well, firstly, I guess one of us has to quit the military." He sighed, opening his mouth to continue, but she interrupted him:
"That will be me, Sir." The uneasiness in her voice was replaced by a sure statement, as she effortlessly told him that she'd abandon her longlife workplace.
"Are you sure?" The man raised his eyebrows in both surprise and concern. He had expected her to be more reserved about that,or more skeptical about her retiring and leaving him without a bodyguard.
"General Mustang" she began with a strict, almost disappointed voice. "You plan on becoming Führer, don't you? Don't give up on your dream for something like this!" She admonished him.
"Please don't treat this matter so lightly, Colonel." He answered, insulted. "I take this very seriously, Riza!" He added, switching back to his informal style, sounding hurt. "You'd also be throwing away a whole life's work!"
Her features relaxed and she answered in a soft, understanding voice: "The reason why I joined the military in the first place was so that I could protect you, Roy."
Of course he had a feeling that was it, but hearing her say it made his heart skip a beat. hearing her say his name always made him shiver, too. It was something only she could have accomplished.
"But then again..." She put a thoughtful finger to her chin and started "I'll miss the uniform… And how will you manage without me?" She finished, raising a playful eyebrow.
The man smiled and opened his mouth to answer, but before he could speak, she continued:
"And who will keep everyone in check? And how many times a day will you even call me asking where your files are?! Think about Rebecca: I'll see less of her! And what about the rest of the guys? And my shooting practice?" She snickered. She was joking, he could tell, but there also was a hint of sadness. He knew that he asked a lot of her. Before he could say anything, she got a soft look and started talking in a whisper:
"But then, it'll be livelier in here. And you'll also help me walk Hayate... And I won't have to do all the housework alone, I won't have to wake up alone in the house and..." She stopped upon hearing the raven-haired giggle and blinked in surprise.
"You forgot something." He said, wiping tears from his eyes. Riza was not sure if they were truly caused by his laughter.
"What?" The woman moved her body unknowingly, getting closer to the man standing in front of her, the one man who she would ever allow under her roof.
"You'll be happier." He responded naturally, extending his hand to his pocket.
"I will." She admitted with a sigh, as if that was the most obvious thing and didn't even need mentioning. "And so will you." She added.
"It's a win-win situation." The alchemist tried to joke, but neither of them laughed. With shaking feet, he got down on one knee and raised a black, closed box to his eye level.
"Riza Hawkeye" he started with a shaking voice, but she could read the happiness and excitement masked by his nervousness. The blonde wouldn't admit it, but her knees were shaking, too. "I've waited for this moment for years... For decades, actually. Since I've first saw you..." He frowned and shook his head: "no... I'm not that shallow. You've been breathtaking ever since back then, but it was more than that. It was you... Your personality that drew me in."
As he was stuttering while talking, Roy felt the blood flood his cheeks. However, he didn't think it was embarrassing: these were just his emotions, taking over his actions. "I came to love you, Riza." As he said this, he looked up at her and smiled sheepishly. "And so... I, Roy Mustang, would like to ask for your hand in marriage. Will you marry me?"
"I will." She answered simply but genuinely, with a voice that betrayed the tears rolling on her cheeks. She didn't even try to wipe them away. Instead, she caught his hand to pull him back up, and as Roy linked her hand with his, he realised hers was just slightly shaking.
The ring slipped on her finger like it was meant for her, the thin gold shining in the brightly lit room. But instead of looking at the engagement ring, Riza's eyes were pinpointed to her fiancé's face. Their looks met and he got up slowly, one hand still holding Riza's tight and the other wiping tears away from her eyes.
Without notice, the distance between them disappeared and their lips touched, shyly at first, then with more passion until they clicked together, like two pieces of a puzzle. They had known they fitted all along, but they had never realised how well until now.
It was almost midnight when Riza decided it was late, so she invited Roy to stay over.