Word Count: About 16,000
Pairing/Characters: Roy/Riza, Knox, Ed, Al, Madam Christmas, and Mustang's posse
Warnings: gender-switch, heterosexual pairing, some adult content
Summary: When investigating a series of alchemy-related murders, Roy and Hawkeye's genders get switched. Now they have to deal with their new bodies and race to undercover the mastermind before more innocent people are killed.
[Fullmetal Alchemists and it's attendant characters and settings are created by Hiromu Arakawa, and distributed by Square-Enix, Viz and Funimation. No profit is made from this story. The villains in this piece and various incidental characters are my own creations. Go Team Venture!]
Note: Pronouns are always a tricky business when doing gender bending. In this case I have chosen to use the original pronouns that the person is used to, at least when it is from the person's point of view or someone they knew before is addressing them. This is intentional, it reflects the character's view of themselves. For example, Havoc will refer to Roy as "he" even though Roy's body is female.
"Hey baby, wha's a girl like you doin' all 'lone in a place like this?" asked the second drunken idiot to hit on Roy that night.
Roy closed his eyes in frustration and rubbed his temples. Not for the first time did he regret not staying in his room as his aunt had suggested. "Just leave me alone," he said trying not to let his annoyance leak too much into his voice.
The drunk persisted, his breath hot on Roy's neck, "You an alch'mist or somethin', honey?"
Curious, Roy moved away from the man's groping hands and turned to face him, "Why do you say that?"
Delighted at the sudden interest, the drunk clapped his hand on Roy's lower back much too close to the butt region for Roy's comfort, "Cuz you're transmutin' somethin' in my pants into iron, baby!"
Tight-lipped, Roy replied, "You know, I am in fact an alchemist." He reached into the pocket of his borrowed clothing and pulled out a glove, "Let me show you a trick...."
With the sense of impending trouble only an experienced barkeep had, Madam Christmas descended on the scene. "Now Bart," she said facing the drunk, hands on her hips, "What have I told you about leaving my daughters alone when they're off the clock?" She ignored the way Roy flinched at the word "daughters."
"Aw, com'n, Ma'am Chris'mas," the man slurred, "We wuz jus' talkin'."
Madam Christmas wasn't convinced. "Do I need to get Rocko over here to break up your little discussion?" She pointed to the hulking bald man who served as the bar's bouncer.
Bart flushed white and stood up wobbling slightly. "Tha's tha's not nec'sary. I'll jus'... I'll jus' go ov'r 'ere...." He drunkenly weaved his way into the crowd at the other end of the bar.
The large woman watched him go then turned her attention to Roy. "How many times have I told you that there will be no flame alchemy in the bar, young lady!"
Roy flinched and glared at her, "I'm a man, dammit!" he said anger entering his voice.
Madam Christmas quirked an eyebrow and pointedly stared at the ample breasts visible through the borrowed white blouse he wore. Roy blushed and looked down at the well-used but clean wood before him. "This is only temporary," he muttered stuffing the gloves back into his pocket, "Until I find a cure."
His foster mother nodded and leaned in close. "But until then, you have the body of a woman, and that is how other people are going to see and react to you. The sooner you accept that, the better off you'll be."
Roy frowned and stared down at the bar, "Just give me another whiskey," he muttered.
The mission had been to subdue a rogue alchemist and take him into custody. Unfortunately, this had become an all too regular mission for Mustang and his team. Similar missions seemed to pop up every few months. (Hughes had once asked Roy what it was about alchemy that appeared to drive the people who practiced it insane. Roy had no idea how to answer him.)
This mission had been different though, as the alchemist, one Adam Hill, had been rumored to be experimenting with making chimeras, and was suspected as being responsible for the sharp increase in the area's missing persons reports. The military was very interested (maybe too interested, Roy thought privately) in the man's research, and the Flame Alchemist had been warned that if so much as a scrap of Hill's notes were burned, then it would be his pocket watch on the line.
They surrounded the abandoned warehouse Hill had holed up in (it was always an abandoned warehouse). He'd sent Breda and Falman to cover the back door while Fuery was across the street, helping to coordinate movements between them all. One change from the usual formation Roy'd made was that he chose Hawkeye to follow him since she was more experienced with alchemy. That put Havoc into the sniper's nest covering the front door.
The warehouse was like many others of its ilk, filled with battered boxes and rusting bits of forgotten equipment lying around all over the place. It smelt old, dirty and most disturbingly, quite a bit like human waste and blood. A thick layer of sawdust lay on the floor marred only by the small tracks of rats, and a single pair of human footprints, which led deeper into the dingy interior toward a lit area.
Glove at the ready, Roy signaled to Hawkeye to move to the other side of the tracks. Gun in hand she obeyed, her eyes scanning the room top to bottom for any signs of an ambush. Cautiously they advanced toward the light, where soon enough they made out a figure kneeling and drawing on the ground, humming to himself off-key. He was dressed in what had at one time been a nice suit, but now it was dirty and stained with what looked like blood. His hair was white, but tangled and wild. He hummed what Roy recognized as a song popular twenty years ago in an tuneless, flat tenor.
Roy signaled to Hawkeye to cover him. Boldly, he stepped out from behind the crates he'd been using as cover. "Adam Hill, I am the Flame Alchemist. You are wanted by the military on charges of performing forbidden alchemy. Drop your chalk and come quietly or we will have to take you by force."
Adam stopped what he was doing and looked up at Roy, his eyes squinting against the glare. Then, he stuck out his tongue and blew a rather loud and blustery raspberry at the Flame Alchemist before turning back to his drawing.
Roy's eyes widened in surprise. He looked over at Hawkeye who had a similar reaction. She noticed his look and shrugged. He decided to try again. "Adam Hill, this is your last chance. We are taking you into custody whether you are willing or not."
This time Adam didn't respond at all.
Frowning Roy brought up his fingers to snap and eased his foot back as he settled into a fighting stance. "Sir, your foot-!" Hawkeye yelled. Quickly Roy looked down at the bare floor his foot had cleared of sawdust. It was inscribed with what was unmistakably an alchemical circle.
Dimly he registered Hawkeye running towards him, a half second before Adam slammed his hands down on the center of the circle. Rushing lines of light carved through the sawdust making up a complex alchemical array that encircled both him and Hawkeye. The last thing he remembered before blacking out was Adam's madly grinning face.
Consciousness and pain pranced together through the head of Roy Mustang. The sharp antiseptic smell of a hospital assaulted his nostrils. He opened his eyes and found a rough-edged and mildly-whiskered face he'd hoped never to see again. Roy groaned as the pain in his head decided to reassert itself.
Dr. Knox looked up from the chart he was reading and adjusted his glasses. "Ah, Sleeping Beauty is awake, eh?" He put down the clipboard on a nearby table and came up beside the bed. "You know, Mustang, I *am* officially retired from treating living patients. I don't know how the army got it in its head that I'm the go to guy for alchemical fuck-ups, but I would love to kick the ass of the guy who decided it." He pulled out a small flashlight and shined it in alternately in each eye. "How are you feeling?"
Roy frowned. "My head hurts-" he stopped and frowned when his voice sounded higher than normal. He tried to sit up but was surprised to find his balance off, thrown more toward the front. With a small thread of fear starting, he pulled down on the collar of his hospital gown. His eyes widened and he looked up at Dr. Knox in panic. "Those aren't-"
With a small smile Knox pushed up his glasses. "Oh, indeed they are, Mustang. You have quite the perky set of tatas now."
Fear evident on his face, Roy threw the sheet covering his lower half off the bed and grabbed his crotch. His face fell when his hands met smooth skin. "It's….! How…?"
Knox shrugged. "From what I can gather that alchemist you were chasing did some kind of forbidden alchemy. End result is that you, Roy Mustang, the famed playboy alchemist, are now a woman."
Roy's mind flailed around for a minute. Finally he said, "That's… That's just not possible. That's human transmutation! It violates all the laws of alchemy. The Equivalent Exchange alone would be-!"
He was interrupted by Knox. "Oh, there was equivalent exchange alright."
Mustang frowned in concentration, but then his eyes widened and gave Knox a sharp glance. "You don't mean Hawkeye-?"
Knox nodded and sighed. "Yes, your lieutenant is now male."
"I need to see her!" Roy said. Quickly, he slid his legs over the side of the bed and stood unsteadily. Suddenly, everything in the room tipped dangerously and he would have fallen to the floor if not caught by Knox.
"You are not going anywhere, Mustang," Knox said settling the alchemist back into the bed, "You hit your head after you blacked out and the hospital is keeping you here a few days for observation." He pushed Roy back against the pillows and shoved a glass of water from the nightstand in his hand. "Hawkeye is fine except for a few bruises, and frankly, seems to be handling this a lot better than you are at the moment. You can see her, er, him tomorrow after you rest."
Quiet fell for a while with only Roy's soft slurping of water to break it. Knox got up and resumed looking through the chart he'd had earlier. Eventually, the alchemist put the glass back on the nightstand and folded his hands in his lap. "Knox?" he said.
Knox looked up from his chart. "Yeah, what is it?"
Roy looked down at the bed. "Thanks… Thanks for not laughing about the fact that the infamous playboy Flame Alchemist is now a…" he paused and took a breath before continuing, "-is now a woman."
The doctor snorted and put down the chart. "I may be retired but I'm still a professional." Roy sighed in relief. Knox continued, "Though I will admit that I laughed my ass when I first heard about it." He looked at his crestfallen patient and grinned, "Now I'm just savoring the sweet, sweet irony."
Gripping the glass tightly, Roy asked, "Knox, tell me the truth. Do you think there is a way to reverse this?"
Knox rubbed his chin, his five o'clock shadow making a slight bristling sound. "I'm not an alchemist, but I do know that if there is a way to fix it, I can think of only three alchemists who could do it."
Roy looked up at him sharply. "And those are?"
Pointing at Mustang's now bountiful chest, Knox said, "You're one. And the other two are the Elric brothers."
When next Roy woke he found a blond male, sitting by his bed, head down and reading a book in his lap. Roy frowned and rubbed his temple. "Havoc," the man stiffened when he spoke, "I appreciate you looking after me, but just lay off okay, I am not in the mood for your jokes right now."
"Try again, sir," the man said in an voice that was oddly both familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. Roy dropped his hand and his cobalt eyes met the warm brown eyes of the man next to him
"Hawkeye," he breathed, "How- how are you feeling?"
Hawkeye sighed and shut her book with a loud clap. "About as well as can be expected. I think the more important question is, how do you feel, sir?"
Looking down at his lap, Roy took a few minutes to study his newly male lieutenant. Overall, she did not look all that different, broader in the shoulders and a bit taller perhaps. His facial features were not quite as soft as they used to be and, of course, her shirt went straight down instead of bowing out over her breasts. (Roy gave a brief moment of silence for her greatly missed breasts.) Finally he answered, "Confused. Definitely confused and a little angry." He slid a hand through his hair and winced as it hit the lump in the back, "And I hate to admit it, but I'm pretty scared too."
Surprisingly Riza reached out and took his hand in hers. "That's perfectly understandable. Frankly, I'm scared too." She looked up at Roy and the alchemist found himself looking deeply into her eyes, something he rarely did. Were they always red? Why hadn't he ever noticed? An intangible *something* built up between them that he couldn't identify… Then Riza dropped her eyes and the moment was broken.
She removed her hand and put the book back on the nightstand. "Do you feel up to hearing my report on the mission, sir?"
Roy frowned as he watched her professional side slide back into place. He wanted to see more of that odd softer side of Hawkeye of which he so rarely caught a glimpse. Nodding, he said "Go ahead, lieutenant."
She stood and saluted. "Lieutenant Hawkeye here to report the results of the latest mission. The assailant escaped out the back and managed to elude Falman and Breda. A foot chase then ensued."
"Breda, of all people, got in a foot chase?" Roy asked, an eyebrow raised questioningly.
Hawkeye nodded, "Yes sir, though using Falman's knowledge of the surrounding area, Breda had managed to come up with a plan just in case of this eventuality. Within five minutes the two of them were able to corner Adam Hill. Unfortunately, the suspect had a secreted a cyanide pill in his mouth during the chase and he bit down on it, committing suicide."
Roy's face clouded and he let out a long string of curse words which would have made his foster mother blush, (if, that is, she had not been the one to teach them to him in the first place). "Did they manage to get anything out of him at all before he died?"
Picking up a file from under her book, Hawkeye flipped through a few pages. "According to Falman's report, he muttered something about being 'one step closer to God' then, as Breda's report so eloquently puts it, 'cackled madly, and slumped to the ground with a hell of a lot of poison and drool coming out of his mouth.'"
Cursing again, more softly this time, Roy said, "Anything more?"
Riza flipped through a few more pages, "Well, Falman's report does go into quite a bit of detail about how the dead body released its bowels, while Breda's just says 'The dead guy shat himself.' Somehow, I did not think either was relevant."
Roy pinched his eyes shut and rubbed his temple again. A headache that had nothing to do with the bump on his head was beginning to form. "Did a search of the warehouse turn up anything?"
The lieutenant nodded. "Yes, sir, we did manage to recover much of what appears to be Hill's notes. Unfortunately, since they were written by an alchemist, they are, of course, in code."
"Of course," Roy echoed, his headache getting worse.
"The Fullmetal Alchemist and his brother have been contacted and will be coming to help with the decoding efforts, but since they were on the far side of the country it will take them about awhile to get here."
Something in her tone alarmed Roy. After all the years they had worked together he'd learned to read her body language fairly well. "Hawkeye, that isn't all they found is it?"
Riza paused for a moment, gathering courage. Finally she spoke, "On Adam Hill's body, sir, they found a philosopher's stone. It was identical to the ones used in Ishbal."
The color drained from the alchemist's face. "But that means…."
Nodding, Riza said, "Yes, that he was not working alone. He was being supplied by someone else…."
"Someone with ties to the military," Roy finished grimly.
They were both silent for a few moments pondering the implications of this. Then Roy grimaced and shifted his legs. "Riza, uh, I have to go to the bathroom."
Riza blinked in surprise and pointed toward a door. "Right through there, sir."
Roy gritted his teeth and looked at the bed. "You don't understand, this is… this is my first time using the new equipment."
"Oh," Riza said then let out a more firm, "Oh!" Pink tinged her cheeks and she moved to help the colonel up. "It's not all that complicated. Just- just sit down instead of stand up and use toilet paper to clean up afterwards."
Roy nodded and seriously hoped his cheeks weren't as red as they felt. "Uh thanks, but just in case…"
Picking up on his unspoken message, Riza said, "I'll stay here in case you need any, er, help, sir."
"Thank you," Roy said, relieved beyond measure. He took Riza's hand and tried to ignore the odd feeling he got at having to look "up" at his lieutenant. "Riza, you know I will find some way to fix this, right?"
Riza squeezed his hand and smiled. "I wouldn't expect any less of you, sir."
Roy's next set of visitors were not as tactful as Hawkeye or Dr. Knox.
"You are definitely stacked, boss!" Havoc said, his eyes unabashedly staring in wonder at Roy's chest.
Not for the first time did a frisson of irritation run through Roy. "Yeah, thanks, Havoc, but my eyes are up here." He gestured toward his temple.
Havoc's eyes didn't move from the colonel's chest. "I'm not kidding! They're like these two soft, succulent grapefruit just hanging there!"
Okay, now Roy was beginning to get weirded out. "Havoc, if you do not stop ogling my chest in five seconds there will be one extra crispy lieutenant sitting next to me."
That did it. Havoc's eyes snapped to Roy's face and he flushed white. "Sorry, boss! I was just, er, admiring your innate beauty."
Crossing his arms to protect against further stares, Roy rolled his eyes, "Oh, I'm sure. And if this is how you normally behave around women then it's no wonder you are perpetually dateless."
"Hey!" Havoc said, pointing at his commander, "It's not my fault! You're the one always stealing them from me!" His face brightened. "But that's not a problem anymore now! With the great Flame Alchemist sidelined all the women of Central are mine for the taking!"
A snort came from the foot of Mustang's bed. "Yeah, right!" Breda said grinning, "I bet they'd rather go lesbian for the Colonel than date you."
A corner of Roy's mouth quirked upward. "That is true," he conceded, "I have always had a particular way with women and I am rather attractive even as one."
Havoc frowned, "Yeah, but… you have breasts now!"
Roy formed his first smirk since the incident. "But they are particularly nice breasts. You said so yourself didn't you?" He experimentally hefted one of the objects in question.
Eyes wide, Havoc sputtered, but was saved from answering by Breda. "Any idea when they're going to let you out, Chief?" he asked, while poking around at the colonel's just delivered lunch.
"Knox says they'll probably release me tomorrow, but I have to go to my foster mother's home."
"Why?" Havoc asked puzzled.
Roy sat back against his pillows. "Well, the military wants to keep this quiet for now and going home would… Breda! Are you eating my lunch?!"
Breda, who had lifted the top off the covered tray, looked up guiltily. "No! Of course not! Come on, you don't want to eat hospital food anyway, it all tastes like ass."
"Then why is your finger covered in pudding?!"
The portly lieutenant quickly stuck the offending digit behind his back. "Well, the pudding's the only good part."
Roy put his face in his hands. "Why the hell did I choose you two to be my subordinates anyway?"
Breda carefully put the lid back on the tray and wiped off his finger on the napkin. "Well, I know for me it's because I'm the only one who can regularly beat you at chess." He pointed toward the blonde by the bed, "In Havoc's case I think it's because he's so pathetic he makes anyone next to him look better by comparison."
"Hey!" Havoc said, jumping up, "I resemble that remark!"
As Roy watched his two lieutenants get into one of their regular heated arguments full of put downs, name calling and assorted male-posturing, he smiled. There were many reasons he'd chosen the two of them to be his subordinates. They were talented, trustworthy, and good in a fight, but most importantly they were always tremendously amusing.
A day later Roy was released from the hospital and spent the next several days holed up in a room at his foster mother's bar. On the night of the sixth day he'd finally decided that he'd done enough sulking and sat down at the bar for a few drinks against his foster mother's advice. After three attempted pickups and several butt-pinches, Roy was coming to regret that decision.
Out of the corner of his eye he noted yet another man sitting down next to him. He sighed. "'eave me 'lone," he said, his words slurring slightly to the right, "I'm not 'onna 'ose girls. I ain' fo' sale."
"Sir," came the strangely deep but familiar tones of his lieutenant, "I think you've had enough."
"Hawkeye," he said by way of greeting while turning toward his newest "male" subordinate, "Nah, I'm nah drun' yet."
Taking in his unfocused eyes and the random slurring of words, Hawkeye didn't believe him for a second. "Sir, you clearly are." She reached for the glass in his hand. "Why don't you just let me have this?"
"Nooooo!" Roy said, resisting her grabbing attempt, "I'm nah drun'! It 'akes eight shots ta get me drun' and this is… is onl' six!"
Riza rolled her eyes. "Did you take into account the fact that you have less body mass now?"
Roy frowned and suddenly let go of his drink, causing Hawkeye's arm to launch backward quickly in reaction, spilling much of the whisky on the countertop and her hand. "No I din think o' 'at." His brows knotted together as he thought. "Taking 'at inta 'sideration then ya I am drun'."
Wiping off her alcohol-soaked hand with a nearby rag, Hawkeye sighed in exasperation, "Well, I'm glad we got that sorted out."
Moving his eyes to which of the three faces he thought was hers, Roy asked, "An'way what er 'ou doin' here?"
Hawkeye finished with her hand and gave the bar a quick swipe before putting the rag aside. "Madam Christmas called me. She thinks you would do better if you got out of this environment for awhile. I'm taking you home with me."
Roy frowned and stared down at the bar in thought. Then he looked up at Hawkeye. "You- You hittin' on me, 'Awkeye?"
Gritting her teeth in annoyance, Riza stood and dragged Roy to his feet. "I would dearly love to hit you, sir," she said dragging him stumbling toward the door, "Luckily for you there are regulations against a subordinate hitting a superior. Even if said superior is clearly drunk and acting like an insufferable ass."
Madam Christmas met them at the door and handed Hawkeye a duffle bag. "Here's some clothes and toiletries for him, mostly castoffs from his sisters. I'm sure you can provide him with anything else he needs." The older woman smiled. "Always a pleasure to see you again, Hawkeye."
Hawkeye threaded Roy's arm around her shoulder and took the bag in her unoccupied hand. "It's a pleasure to see you as well, Madam Christmas," she said, her tone turning rueful, "I just wish it wasn't always under these same circumstances."
The all-to-familiar (lately at least) sensations of pain and agony raced through Roy Mustang's head as he regained consciousness. He opened his eyes, then immediately cursed and squinted as the sunlight from the window assaulted him. Groaning, he put his hand over his face and turned away from the cruel light. Slowly, the events of the night before filtered back to him. He sighed, and thanked whatever god had prevented Hawkeye from killing him last night right there at the bar.
He sat up slowly and looked around Hawkeye's bedroom. It appeared fairly spartan, as per the rest of her apartment, but here and there were more personal touches. Several books lay on the floor near the bed, and on the vanity were the few cosmetics she owned (many of which his other subordinates had gotten for her birthday the year before). Hung on the wall was an old Creatan rug she'd found in an antique store back in Eastern, and several knickknacks and framed pictures were arranged on a bookshelf next to the rug.
Roy stood and padded toward the door, but was stopped midway when his foot painfully connected with a solid object. Hissing softly, he looked down to find a rather large bone in the middle of the floor. He picked it up and placed it next to the dog bed by the door. The inhabitant of said dog bed looked up at Roy with a bleary eye, then put his head back down and went back to sleep. "Ungrateful mutt," Roy muttered.
He used the bathroom (he'd figured out the use of his "new plumbing" quite quickly), took some aspirin, and went out into the living room to find a rather curious sight. His lieutenant was sprawled out on a couch (that was too small for her now male body), a plaid blanket covering her legs. One hand dangled near the floor and the other rested on top of her stomach where the tanktop she'd worn to bed had shifted upward in her sleep. If she'd still been a woman, then he would be getting quite the show right now, Roy thought ruefully. As it was, he was seeing more of his subordinate's skin at this moment then he had in a very long time.
Roy's cobalt eyes moved to meet the two bleary ones of his lieutenant. "Good morning, Hawkeye," he said, "Thank you for your help last night. I helped myself to your aspirin. I didn't think you'd mind."
She yawned. "No, that's fine," Riza said in a husky, sleep-filled voice. She sat up and threw the blanket off her legs, at which point Roy's eyebrows rose.
"My my, Hawkeye!" he said, a smirk beginning to form, "I know I make for an attractive woman, but please do try to contain yourself."
Frowning, Riza followed his gaze, then flushed white and quickly covered her midsection again with the blanket. "You know very well that this is a perfectly normal reaction adult males get in the morning!" she snapped, blushing and not meeting his eyes.
The smirk was fully formed now. "Oh, I know the phenomenon of 'morning wood' quite well. I believe I was the one who introduced the concept to you, in fact, oh so many years ago. I recall you slapped me, called me a pervert, ran out of the room and refused to ever come and wake me up ever again."
Rolling her eyes, Riza stood and wrapped her blanket tightly around her traitorous midsection. "I was a 14-year-old girl, how exactly did you expect me to react?"
Roy shrugged. "You could have offered to help me with it. That seems the polite thing to do."
Spluttering, Riza glared at Roy, "Help you? Polite thing to do…!" She took a deep breath and shook her head. "No, I am not having this conversation with you. Not again." She turned her attention to putting the couch cushions back in their proper place.
"So…." Roy asked, hands in the pockets of pajamas, and a mischievous tone to his voice "Have you named it yet?"
"Named what?" Hawkeye asked distractedly.
Roy rocked back and forth on his heels, "Oh, you know, your new appendage."
Riza paused then looked up at Roy in shock. "My what? Why the hell would I want to name it?!"
Scratching the back of his head, Roy replied, "It's not that weird. Most guys name it. Might I suggest you call it Roy?" His smirk returned, "That way you can think of me whenever you're using it."
The lieutenant stood and rubbed her temple, where a vein had begun to throb. "I have no intention of naming my penis, Colonel, as I do not intend to have it long enough to get attached to it." She sighed, then bent and resumed tucking a throw around the couch cushions.
Shrugging, Roy said, "I don't know what the big deal is, it's just like how women name their breasts. Heck, I've already named mine."
For the third time that day, Riza paused and looked up at Roy in horror. "You named your...?"
Grinning, he hefted his left breast. "This is Hooter." He dropped it and lifted up the other. "And this is Puff."
That vein was beginning to throb uncontrollably now. "Most women do not name their breasts, sir," Riza said, trying but failing to keep her voice level.
Roy looked confused. "My sisters and aunt do."
"Your aunt and sisters work in a bordello!"
Frowning, Roy said, "That's not an excuse. Look, I bet you're just stumped for names. Why don't you let me help? I'm good at naming things."
Riza stood and tightened the blanket wrapped around her middle. She headed toward the bathroom. "This is another conversation I am not having with you!"
She was at the bathroom door when she heard Roy call, "Hey, Riza?"
"What?" she said, her voice thick with frustration.
She could almost hear Roy's smirk in his words. "Have you at least taken it for a test drive yet?"
The angry slam of door was his only answer.
Once Roy finished his own shower, he dressed in some of the clothes his foster mother had packed and came out to find Hawkeye making eggs and toast.
"Do you still prefer your eggs sunny side up or have you tastes changed in the last decade?" she asked.
Roy shook his head. "Sunny side up is fine. Though normally my breakfast is only a piece of toast and some hair of the dog."
Riza cracked two eggs into a frying pan. "Alcohol so early in the morning isn't good for you."
Shrugging Roy answered, "I do a lot of things that aren't good for me." He sat down at the table and frowned at the stack of papers in front of him. "What's this?"
After retrieving a jar of jelly, butter, and a knife from the cupboard, Riza put them on the table. "That is a detailed history and papers for your female persona. Fuery, Breda and the others cooked it up on orders from General Gruuman"
"Robin Mustang?" Roy asked, flipping through the elaborate papers that included a detailed record of "her" childhood, job and even dating history.
Riza slid the eggs onto a plate and checked on the bread in the toaster. "Robin Mustang, cousin to the infamous Flame Alchemist, you were raised at Madame Christmas's, but ran away to the West at the age of 19 because you fell in love with a shady alchemist twice your age. He taught you some basic alchemy, but eventually dumped you for a blonde showgirl with bigger breasts. Angry and embarrassed, you used your alchemy to do odd jobs and eventually found you had a knack for it. After that you had a long series of failed relationships. You lived in the West for awhile working as a file clerk, until you finally decided to come back home and pursue your studies full time, using your cousin Roy's old alchemy texts." The toast popped and Riza put it on the plate next to the eggs. "Quite a good history, sir, since fits your personality and allows you to still do some alchemy without being questioned."
He had a sour look on his face throughout Riza's recitation of his new history. "Failed relationships? Dumped for a big-breasted showgirl? Who the hell thought this crap up?"
Riza slid the plate in front of Roy. "I believe it was Havoc, sir."
Frowning Roy looked down at his food, "What the hell did I ever do to him?"
Two eggs sizzled as Riza dropped her own breakfast into the pan, "You mean besides stealing four girlfriends, five potential girlfriends and ten secretary's and waitress's phone numbers from him? Oh, and I also heard you threatened to burn him in the hospital, and in his own words 'taunted him with your breasts.'"
Roy harumphed and savagely attacked a piece of egg with his fork. "What's your story then?"
Masterfully flipping the eggs and catching them again, Riza said, "I am Richard Hawkeye, a second lieutenant at Southern headquarters. I grew up in a foster home in the South, and joined the military soon after graduating from high school. After the Ishbal War I learned I had a cousin, Riza Hawkeye. I exchanged letters with her for several years, but never had a chance to meet in person. Finally I was able to come to Central on special assignment from General Gruuman. While here, I finally got to meet my cousin and agreed to dog and housesit for her since she and her commanding officer were being assigned to a top secret undercover mission." She moved the eggs to a plate and retrieved another two slices of toast. "That is the reason for our disappearance, by the way, we have been assigned to do undercover work elsewhere in the country. Fuery and Falman doctored the books to make it look like we've been gone a week already."
Roy's toast made a brisk crunch when he bit into it. "How come you get to stay in the military and I have to be a civilian?" he asked spraying crumbs around the table and ignoring Riza's disgusted glare.
Throwing a napkin at his head, Riza said, "Keep your mouth shut while you're chewing!" She ignored the rude gesture Roy made back at her. "I pulled a few strings and was able to get my persona that of a military officer. Besides, it makes it a lot easier to investigate this case if one of us still has access to military records. And given your history, the boys thought that I better fit the profile of a dedicated military officer."
Rolling his eyes, Roy reached for the jelly jar again. "What I don't get is why we are 'cousins'? Doesn't that just make it all the more obvious that we are not who we say we are?"
"Well, we still look like our normal selves despite the gender change, sir," Riza said, meticulously cutting up her eggs into small pieces, "Making us cousins gives us an excuse for that similarity." She delicately speared a piece and chewed it thoroughly, continuing when she was done, "Also given the nature of your foster mother's, er, business, it's not unreasonable that there are various scattered Mustang fosters and foundlings out there. As for myself, I am known as a private person, and the only people who know my family history are yourself and General Gruuman."
Roy frowned. "Why General Gruuman?"
Riza blinked in surprise. "You do know he's my maternal grandfather don't you?" She grew alarmed as Roy began to choke on a piece of toast. "Roy, are you alright?!"
Holding up his hand to appease her, Roy took a big swallow and managed to clear the obstruction. "He's your grandfather?!" he finally managed to croak out.
She looked at him with concern, but eventually shrugged and reached for the jelly jar. "Yes, apparently my mother had a falling out with her family over marrying my father, and never talked to them again. General Gruuman found me when I was in the Academy and introduced himself. I knew my mother's maiden name was Gruuman, but I never put her and the General together until he approached me." She frowned. "You mean, you never knew after all this time?'
He shook his head. "No, I never knew." Rubbing his temple, a memory of an old chess match with his mentor surfaced, "But knowing that now does explain a lot."
After breakfast came an hour during which Riza quizzed Roy on his new identity until she was sure he knew it in and out.
"Can we stop this?" Roy said, "I've read these papers from front to back six times, and I'm beginning to get a crick in my neck. I know everything about my damn persona. And I'm going to kill Havoc for creating it when this is all over."
"I guess," Riza said. She glanced at the clock. "We should really get you back to Madame Christmas's."
Roy pouted, "Why can't I stay here? If I go back, my sisters will go back to cooing and dressing me up in all these gaudy outfits and makeup like some sort of porcelain prostitute doll! Plus guys keep hitting on me there."
Riza sighed and rubbed at her temple. "Exactly how do you think it would look if I, an upstanding military officer, were 'shacking up' in an apartment that is not mine with a young unmarried civilian woman of questionable virtue?"
"Who has questionable virtue?" Roy asked angrily.
Riza rolled her eyes. "Well, I don't think that, but most of my neighbors are very proper, elderly widows who gossip about everything. It was risky having you stay here for even one night."
Relenting, Roy gathered everything in the bag his aunt had packed for him, while Hawkeye fed Hayate and grabbed her keys. Soon enough they were both ready, and with a kiss goodbye on Hayate's head from Riza, they left the apartment…
Only to come face to face with one of Riza's "proper gossiping and elderly" neighbors.
"Mrs. Finch!" Riza said in surprise. Quickly she put on a too bright smile and addressed the platinum haired woman. "How are you today?"
"Richard," Mrs. Finch greeted dryly. Her eyes left angry disapproving trails on Roy's body as she inspected him from head to foot. Her lips tightened in a scowl and Roy immediately disliked the woman. "Does your cousin know you are using her apartment for rendezvous with…" Her eyebrow raised and she glanced toward Roy again then back to Riza, "Dubious women?"
Inwardly, Roy seethed. He was no stranger to glares and disapproving looks, being on the receiving end of many all throughout his childhood. He'd be damned if he was going to let Hawkeye suffer them now! A flash of inspiration caused him to smile. He now had both an answer to his accommodation problem, and he could wipe that disapproving look right off this woman's face.
Riza fumbled to answer but was cut off by Roy. "Well, of course, she does!" he said brightly, doing his best to keep his rising anger and dislike for Mrs. Finch out of his voice, "Why wouldn't Riza have a problem with her cousin letting his fiancee stay over?"
Fortunately Riza's jaw dropping open in shock went unnoticed by Mrs. Finch. The older woman sniffed. "Fiancee, you say? If that's true then were is your ring?"
Roy waved his hand in dismissal. "Oh, I don't have one yet." He grabbed onto Riza's arm, causing the lieutenant to shift uncomfortably. "You know the Hawkeye's, they're all such traditionalists! This big lug insisted that he get me the biggest diamond ring he could find, but since he was transferred here so quickly, we've had absolutely no time to shop for one! Isn't that right, sweetie?" Roy elbowed his lieutenant in the side.
"Er, right," Riza repeated, desperately trying to regain her shattered composure, "No time at all."
"So since my cuddle bunny is finally settled in," he squeezed Riza's arm again, and giggled, "I'm able to come and stay with him now!"
"Is that so?" Mrs. Finch said looking back and forth between the two quickly. Suddenly she relaxed, and her lips quirked up in a prim smile. "Well, then, I apologize for what I said earlier. I'm Myrtle Finch. And you are?"
Roy grabbed her hand and shook it vigorously. "For now I'm Robin Mustang. But soon I hope to be Robin Hawkeye!"
"Of course," Mrs. Finch said, wincing as she pulled her hand out of Roy's enthusiastic grip, "Now if you two need anything let me know!"
"Thank you!" Roy said, in a too bubbly voice, "I'm so glad that dear Riza has such kind neighbors!"
Mrs. Finch pulled her keys out of her large wicker purse. "Yes, well, I have to go put the groceries away now."
"Okaaaaayyyy!" Roy sang, "Thank you for taking care of me and sugarkins!"
With another wave Mrs. Finch unlocked her door and went into her apartment. As soon as the door closed, Riza grabbed Roy's elbow and dragged him back into her apartment and out of earshot.
"What the hell was that?" she hissed.
A smirk decorated Roy's face. "That, my dear fiancee," he ignored Riza's scowl at the word fiancee, "was Madame Christmas Spy Technique #3, codenamed 'The Teehee Maneuver.' It's designed to put the target at ease and get them to lower their guard by projecting the image that the spy is flighty and dumb and, therefore, not a threat."
Riza's scowl deepened. "There is no need to use your so-called 'Spy Techniques' on my elderly neighbors!"
"I really don't see what the problem is," Roy said, dropping his bag on a chair by the door, "This way I can stay here properly, without damaging the Hawkeye name. Plus, it'll be easier to coordinate our investigation efforts if we are living together."
Her tense shoulders drooped in defeat. She stared at the floor. "I'm really not comfortable with this, Roy."
Roy sighed and put a hand on Riza's arm. "I know, Riza, and I'm sorry. But that woman just pissed me off and I had to do something to save your and your 'cousin's' good name."
She put her hand over his and squeezed it. Her eyes moved up to meet his. "All right, Roy. But if you ever, EVER call me 'Sugarkins' again I will shoot you in the foot."
Grinning, Roy stepped back and gave her a mock salute. "Understood. I will stick to sweetie-bird and cuddle bunny!"
Riza scowled again. "Roy, you know that-" She was interrupted by her phone ringing. Blinking in surprise, Riza turned and went to get the phone. She picked it up, and after a hushed conversation with the caller, hung it up again.
"What is it?" Roy asked.
She turned toward the door and grabbed her coat. "That was Fuery," she said over her shoulder, "Grab your coat. The Elric brothers train has arrived."
Part II is here.
Thanks for reading.