Roy closed his eyes. One, two, three. He opened them again. She was still sitting at the bar, across the ballroom. Her skin glittered and winked with the light from the glass chandeliers. Her deep black cocktail dress rode up high against her thigh. He could spy the barrel of her gun peeking out from its holster, nestled tight against her hip. He took a swig of bourbon. He closed his eyes. One, two, three. Captain Redford was still there, his fingers fanning out over the skin her dress so graciously exposed for him. She reached out and touched one of the medals pinned to his blue jacket. Her face was flushed and the glass of bubbly liquid in her hand dipped too far left and right when she moved. Redford shot her a toothy grin before he leaned in close, his lips almost making contact with her jaw. Roy tipped the last of his drink into his mouth. Jackass, he thought.
He couldn’t shake the jealousy that ballooned around in his gut, mixing with the bitter aftertaste of bourbon. Redford pissed him off. Animosity for the captain crackled and sputtered up until it gripped at Roy’s ribs, bit at the back of his throat. His hands itched for his gloves, but he’d left them home, and in the office, and decidedly far away from a night that was supposed to be pleasant. Supposed to be, he fumed, but it definitely was not.
He took a step back, teasing the idea of leaving them be, getting a feel for just how incredibly angry he was, but decided he should move forward instead. He kept going, his vision tunneling, Captain Riza Hawkeye’s figure magnifying in his mind, pushing his every button, curling itself around the root of his brain like a mist. A number of petty comments came to mind: She’s leagues out of your league, Redford. Or: She has more appeal in the back of her head than you do in your whole body, Redford. In the end he settled for silently sandwiching himself between them. He slammed his glass hard onto the counter. Redford flinched.
“General,” Riza poked his arm after a moment, “you are not a window.”
“And you are not sober, Captain,” he replied coolly. He felt Redford shift uncomfortably on his stool. “Let me take you home, please.” He turned his face to her, but that was a mistake. The braid her hair was pulled into was coming apart around her face, and blonde tendrils framed her deep amber eyes. They turned to honey when she flicked them over his face, into and out of the yellow lights. He fought hard to keep his eyes from falling to her lips, over her collarbone, and into the neckline of her dress. She smirked, knowing.
“What is it you really want with me here, General?” she cooed. He swallowed hard, too hard. It was audible. She heard it and dragged her leg up his calf to hitch it behind his knee.
You, he thought impulsively. Out loud he said, “Captain, I want you to go home and sleep this off.”
“With you?” she pressed. “That would be okay.”
Redford laughed. It was throaty, messy. A waft of the bitter smell of alcohol flew from the man’s mouth to whisp around Roy’s nose and his face twisted in annoyance. “I don’t know how you or your men get anything done with her around, sir,” he said. “She’s…awfully distracting.”
“We have an inherent respect for women in my unit,” Roy bit out. “What are you still doing here, Redford? What are you hoping to get by funneling drinks into my captain? She’s drunk, you know. Too drunk to go home with anyone, least of all you. So you’d better not be sitting on that stool when I turn around.”
Sure enough, when Roy managed to summon the ounce of strength it took to look away from the pretty blonde in front of him, Redford was gone. He wasn’t out of the woods though. He glimpsed more than a few pairs of interested eyes scrutinizing the way Riza was pulling him into her, her hands creeping up his chest to the high collar around his neck. She gripped him there.
“I wouldn’t have gone anywhere with him,” she said. “You know that, Ro-” Roy took one of her wrists in his hand. He picked the flute of champagne from hers and shot the remainder of it down the back of his throat, knowing that losing lucidity might not be what’s best for him in the moment, but that he needed something to numb the temptation that was gnawing at his bones. It would be too easy to take her home, peel the dress from her frame, and spend time with her. But she was drunk, and they were being watched. He groaned.
“I’m going to get Havoc and he and I will take you home,” he said. He scanned the crowd for his First Lieutenant, but could not discern his blue uniform from the dozens of others. He sighed. Riza dragged a finger around the curve of his neck. “Captain, please,” he begged.
“‘Captain, please,’” she mocked him like a small child. He untangled her leg from his, relinquishing her wrist to create a vice around her ankle. He ignored the fact that it was framed by high red heels and proceeded by maddeningly long legs. She smirked at him. No, it wasn’t a smirk. It was the tease of a sunrise over a hill; the promise of a light, hot kind of thing. He recalled the heat, he knew it all too well - that this woman, this Riza Hawkeye, was a physical embodiment of every need he held in his heart. She was flaunting that around at him like flares on the sun’s surface. Then she pulled her knee up, and it only just ghosted across his-
He promptly dropped her leg and backed away, his nerves flaring around the edges like worn cloth. She peeked at him from under his shadow, a light shining in a perfect line over her eyes, which glistened the color of whiskey. Another deadly undoing of his. This woman, the alcohol, the dress tacked thoughtfully onto her frame, those eyes. He found himself wanting to plant his palm down over the spot where Redford had and rub away the other man’s touch. A purely possessive, animalistic want to be sure, but legitimate.
He had no claim to her, though, so that was that.
Like a dedicated sentry, Havoc appeared at Roy’s shoulder as if he’d known he’d be called for soon. His eyes were sympathetic, but his mouth was set into an amused line. Hawkeye shot him a lazy wave, her seductive lips dropping into an innocent grin. Havoc returned the gesture sheepishly, glancing at his general. Roy’s thumb and forefinger found the brim of his nose like magnets to a fridge.
“Help me get her home, Havoc,” he ground out. Havoc took the toothpick out of his mouth, a habit he fell to when smoking wasn’t allowed, and pondered.
“You can’t take her home on your own, sir?”
Roy turned on his subordinate, all sexual frustration coming out in his words. “No, Havoc, I can’t be seen taking my handsy captain home on my own. People talk enough as it is.” His eyes darted to the few lingering eyes that were more compelled by curiosity than afraid of seeming rude. Havoc rubbed the back of his neck and stuck his toothpick back between his teeth.
“Rebecca isn’t here so it can’t be helped, I guess,” he conceded. Then he bowed a little and held his hand out to the captain, who swatted him away playfully. “Allow me to escort you home, Captain.” He flashed her a toothy grin. He wouldn’t have gotten away with that if she’d been sober.
Riza shot her general a mirthful smile and then hooked her arm into Havoc’s. He took her elbow in his free hand and helped her down gently from her stool. Even with the added stability she still stumbled. Roy reached out instinctively to catch her, his arm darting between her and Havoc to grapple with her waist. He saw with a relief that the hem of her dress had fallen.
She wobbled through the ballroom, very un-Riza Hawkeye-like, and Roy kept a safe but protective distance from her, excusing himself and this small piece of his team as he went… When he wasn’t deep into the task of staring down her back, that is. He allowed himself this much; the dress touched the notch behind her neck, curving in a wave-like fashion to match the natural curl of her body until it hit her hips where, really, his vision started to blur. He wouldn’t let himself look further than the chasm her taught, practiced muscles created in her back. He noticed there were others in the room who didn’t have the same restraint, however. He might’ve dropped his fist across a few jaws if he’d been less inclined to keep up his concerned superiorfacade.
A facade. God, that’s what it was.
After a near-tumble down the palace steps where Roy again was overcome with a raging need to keep her on her feet, dammit he was glad to see her disappear into the back of Havoc’s car. Not his, because that is too much and there were outliers hanging around outside, whispering at each other about the way Riza was clutching onto Havoc’s jacket. Roy wanted to bark at them like a dog just to make them go away. Anything to force them to scurry into the night like frightened pigeons.
He slid into Havoc’s passenger seat and proceeded to give him his - admittedly memorized - directions to Hawkeye’s house.
“She has a spare key over the threshold of her door,” he added. It was a thing he’d fought hard to keep her from doing, but alas she was stronger than him, and he’d bent under those eyes as he always did.
“You know where her spares are, General?” Havoc pried.
“I feed Hayate on occasion,” Roy lied, and Havoc knew he was lying. Any time Riza wasn’t home for a considerable amount of time, she was with Roy. Simple.
Riza spoke from the back seat, her cheek plastered to the cushion and eyes half-lidded. “General,” she worked hard to get that word out, “could I have your hand?”
Roy looked to Havoc who looked back, shrugging. I won’t tell, sir. Roy gave in and lent his hand to the back seat, half expecting the teasing Riza to nibble at his fingers or something. Instead she melded her fingers into his and squeezed as best she could. He returned the favor, feeling her lips press against the skin on the back of his unblemished hand. The one without the scar. The one without the marred alchemical symbol carved into his flesh like the lines in her back. He put the back of his head to his seat and felt her breath come and go against him in the rhythmic pushes and pulls of the tide of life. His life, forged forever into her being.
They reached her apartment and she whimpered when he tugged his hand from hers. The action was gentle, and she tried to pull him back but exhaustion kept her rooted in place like a rock stuck to paper.
“You’ll carry her up?” Roy asked Havoc, who shook his head.
“I don’t want to be the one to incite your wrath if I drop her,” he said. “That responsibility has to be on you.”
So Roy exerted some effort to get Riza from her bed of a back seat. She mumbled negatives at him until she opened her groggy eyes and laid them on his face. She gifted him a soft smile, so like her, and lent him her hands. He pulled her from the car like he was lifting a limp noodle out of a boiling pot: with care and not much trouble. She fell into him the moment her feet hit the pavement and he reeled backward before swinging down and lifting her into his arms. He felt her trained muscles under his hands, and her calloused hands trailed lazily up to his neck where they wound, unbidden. He had no free hand to stop her.
Havoc followed behind them up the flights of stairs (two to be exact) and fetched the key from its hiding place above the door to let himself and his superiors inside, where Hayate was waiting for his master and his second-in-command masters. His tail wagged and tongue lulled, his bright eyes assessed his tired owner and her equally tired general. Roy had to shove the concerned ball of fluff out of the way with his boot to keep from tripping over him.
“Hayate, move,” he hissed. Havoc came to the rescue and scooped the dog into his arms, once again removing his toothpick to the let the pup lap at his face. “Thanks, Havoc,” Roy said.
The man and the dog kept at Roy’s heels until he reached Riza’s room: white, and unsurprisingly tidy. Roy deposited his inebriated captain onto her bed and rummaged through her nightstand for a shirt. His fingers found one of his old button downs and he thought of coaxing her into it briefly before he heard Havoc coo at Hayate and remembered he wasn’t alone, and wasn’t supposed to be keeping clothes at his subordinate’s home. He settled for a pair of pink pajamas instead. The shirt was much too large for her - a perfect choice.
“I can’t help but notice you know your way around her place, Chief,” Havoc said, and cocked his head. “And her personal things too, it seems.”
Roy scoffed. “I told you. I let the dog out sometimes.” He shot Havoc a look, and the tall blonde shifted the dog to one arm to hold a hand out at his agitated boss.
“Yeah, I know,” he said. Then: “Are you expecting her to get into that outfit herself?”
Roy stalled, the pajamas suddenly burning holes into his palms.
“You ever been that wasted, sir?” Havoc said. “You can’t master the fine motor skills needed to button and unbutton, tie and untie. I remember this one time, I-”
“Havoc,” Roy cut him off frantically, his hands twitching, his eyes fighting to stay off the hair coming undone at the nape of Riza’s neck, the rise and fall of her chest, the way she burrowed into her fluffed duvet.
“You do it,” he said, and thrust the clothes at Havoc. Havoc blanched.
“Absolutely not,” he said, and took a step away from his superior like he’d just grown an extra head. “What if she touches me? No way, sir. She’s your…whatever, I’m not doing it.” He pointed to the pretty, sleeping blonde. “She’s your responsibility.”
Roy’s arms went limp at his sides. “What a time for Rebecca to be visiting family in the West, huh?” he whined. Then he shooed Havoc out of sight with a flick of his hand, and Havoc went easily, shutting the door behind him.
Roy was left there in her room, where memories swarmed and his captain lay. He remembered a time when they were youths, and he’d taken a bottle of wine with him to the Hawkeye house that first week - stole it right out from under Christmas’ nose at the bar - to calm his nerves. Riza had found it rather innocently, searching his room which had been her library for a book she wanted to reread (probably for the tenth time). It was in his closet and, in her defense, not hidden well. He begged with her to keep the secret, and she only flashed him a sly smile and worked the top off with her thin fingers. She downed some of that dark red stuff, stuff that burned Roy’s nose, right there in front of him. He’d marveled at her, and as the sun went down they passed that bottle back and forth like chickenpox - each taking swigs until they both swayed and giggled and fell asleep there on his floor. He woke as the sun was worrying the sky and, before his master could get up to survey the house, carried his master’s daughter to her bed and tucked a tuft of hair behind her ear like a mother would tuck sheets under her child’s chin.
He reached down to touch her now, and she stirred. “General,” she sounded like she wanted to ask a question but it didn’t come out that way. She squinted at him. “Stop spinning like that, sir, you’re giving me a headache.”
He chuckled lightly, feeling the pressure of dozens of pairs of eyes leave him. He was safe to be here with her, with Havoc doting over her dog on the other side of the door. He cupped her face in his hand. “Come on,” he said to her, “I’m going to help you change into something more conducive to sleep.” He pulled her up and away from the bed, and she went willingly but grumbled about a stabbing pain in her head all the while. She bunched his jacket into her fists to hold herself in place as he started at the zipper against her back.
While he helped to wriggle her out of her tight dress (someone, grant me strength) she nestled her face into the crick of his neck. This kind of contact felt right to him, like finally finding the piece you needed to complete part of your puzzle. He didn’t feel the warmth of her often, or even get to let her know that he’d like to, so when he slipped her dress down from her shoulders he dipped his head to place a chaste kiss there, light and loving. She squirmed against him.
“That tickles,” she said. He smiled.
“Arms up,” he commanded her. He brought her large, long bedtime shirt down over her torso and held her up by her hands as she kicked the rest of her dress off and into a corner of her room. Her shoes went next with much more effort, and she collapsed onto him when she was through like she’d just run a marathon.
“I know I don’t usually go to those things,” she mumbled into his shirt, “but I wanted to spend time with you.”
“You spend all of your time with me, Captain,” he said. She shook her head.
“Real time,” her arms snaked around to his back. “But you weren’t there when I got there, and Redford bought me drinks.”
Roy’s stomach lurched at the mention of Redford. His grievance was short lived, however.
Riza, in all her glossy-eyed glory, turned her face up to his and kissed his jaw just so: an invitation. The act was a small thing, but like a dog drawn to the clang of a bowl Roy chased his temptation and caught her face in his hand. He stared into her eyes, and she stared up into his, and he held that beautiful gaze of hers for an immeasurable amount of time. An absurd amount of time. He didn’t need to kiss her, but the pull was there, but she’s drunk, but before he could make the decision for himself she tired of waiting for him and stood up on her toes to nip his bottom lip, and that was his end.
He tugged at her lip in kind, and the soft gasp she let loose when he did started a fire in his gut; not dangerous but demanding. He latched onto her open mouth with his, glad to feel her breath huff into him as she clawed at his back, his shoulders, his neck. That incessant want to cleanse her thigh of Redford’s touch came rushing at him like a waterfall, stinging and fast, and he wrenched her leg up to his hip to race his open palm over the soft skin there. When his fingers found the gun on her thigh he broke from her kiss to concentrate on undoing the clasp of the holster - little good it did, since once she was rid of his lips she started to drag hers over his throat, his collarbone, the space under his ear. Her holster hit the floor with a satisfying thud and he was back to kissing her.
She smiled the whole time. It was driving him crazy. Her hands explored his hair, and his yanked at hers. He lined her face with kisses from her chin to the high top of her cheekbone and she sighed contentedly, dragging her hands up his forearms to clamp over his biceps. Her back bent willingly into his touch, her hips arched into his, and when she started to wrestle with the buttons of his jacket he ventured a hand up her shirt, and he only barely clutched her breast in his hand when she whimpered, plainly and into his ear, and he smelled the alcohol…
Roy jumped back, ripping his hands from her like she was a hot stove. He paced a little on the other side of the room, and whenever she meant to make a move for him he put a hand out at her. “Please, Riza,” he said with his eyes.
“Havoc’s in the other room, Captain. You’re drunk.”
Riza bit her lip. Damn her.
Roy flicked a hand at the bed. “Just,” he panted, unable to form a sentence. He forced a hand through his hair.
“Get in bed?” she finished for him. He dared to look at her, her hair mussed and fizzy around her head like a halo. Her cheeks flushed. He nodded vigorously.
It was pure luck that she complied. She hobbled her way to her bed, where she tucked herself in, and pulled the covers up to her nose. Roy watched as she fell asleep quick as he could blink, and his frame slumped as he relaxed; free of her big, amber eyes - free of those long, long legs. He forced a hand through his hair and waited as the fire in him simmered down to a dull warmth before he went to her, and tucked a piece of her hair behind her ear.