Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye quickly slipped out of the office, avoiding the Colonel's confused gaze. Once out of sight, she rushed down the hallway, and into the door of the women's toilets, throwing it open. Not missing a single second, she let herself into one of the stalls and slammed the door behind her. Falling to her knees, she leaned over the bowl and emptied the contents of her stomach into it.
When she was done, Riza slumped back and curled up into a ball. How could she get sick at this moment? She and Roy Mustang, the Colonel, were busy investigating a murder case. They were so close to finding the culprit; the person committing all the murders. Her getting sick was not what she needed right now.
There was a knock on the door, and Riza jumped, her head snapping up.
"Is there someone in there?" a female voice said. "Are you okay? Can I get someone for you?"
Riza did not reply. If someone knew she was sick, word would certainly get to Roy and then he would make her go home and rest, and she could not risk leaving him on his own.
Eventually, the woman left, and Riza retreated from the stall. She washed her face and rinsed her mouth before heading back to the office.
"What was that all about, Riza?" Mustang asked as Riza re-entered the room. Riza quickly thought up a viable excuse.
"I…" She started, thinking "I… I forgot I had to hand something to Führer Grumman, Sir. It was important."
"You had to hand something to your grandfather?" the Colonel looked sceptical, but did not press any further.
Riza sat down at her desk, and started to copy down all the information she had been given. Every so often, she would look up and steal a glimpse of the colonel. He always seemed to be staring off into the distance, leaning back in his chair with his eyes closed napping, and doing pretty much everything but the work he should be doing. Riza sighed, and rolled her eyes. It looked like she would be working late tonight finishing the work he hadn't done.
Riza had known Colonel Roy Mustang for a very long time, since they were both children. They had met on an incident late one night, the same night that Riza's mother had passed away.
"Papa, I want to see mama." Riza said, pulling on her father's shirt. He was sat slumped over, and tears were streaming down his face "I want to see mama, Papa. Please can I see mama?"
Her father wiped his eyes, sat up and cleared his throat. He picked Riza up, and sat her on his lap.
"Mama is not feeling well at the moment, Lizzy." Fresh tears started to flow from his eyes "There's been a little bit of a problem with her baby."
Riza's mother was pregnant with her little brother, and tonight she had gone into labour. The midwife had gotten there as fast as she could. Riza's mother had been told that this would be a risky pregnancy, and so far it wasn't looking good. She was losing a lot of blood.
"A problem?" Riza asked "Will she be okay?"
"I don't know, Lizzy." Her father replied, hugging her tightly to his chest "I don't know."
Riza's mother had passed away later that evening from loss of blood. Her brother had not survived the night.
"Lizzy." Riza's father said, his voice high pitched from the crying he had been doing "I need you to go outside and play."
"But I don't want to!" Riza crossed her arms and pouted "It's late, dark and cold and I want to see mama and the baby."
"Lizzy, honey, mama needs you to go outside." His voice cracked as tears started to fill his eyes again "Mama and the baby are sleeping right now, and need you to go play outside."
"But I don't want to!" Riza held her ground "Mama always said not to play outside after dark!"
"Well, today is different, Lizzy." Her father's voice was starting to grow impatient "Mama wants you to go outside."
"No!" Riza stomped her foot, and before her father could stop her, she ran past him.
"No, don't go in there!" her father yelled as she swung the door open to her parent's room. Riza froze, but it was too late.
He eyes widened with fear as she saw her mother, covered in blood, laying back on the bed. The midwife was busy looking after the baby, and there was another man in the room also.
"Mama!" Riza screamed, and the two people turned to look at her in shock. Riza's father tried to grab her back, but she slipped out of his grip. Riza ran to her mother, and looked into her eyes.
They were cold. Unseeing. Dead.
"Mama!" Riza called "Mama, wake up! Mama!"
"Hawkeye, this is not something a small child should see! Get her out of here!" The man said, his voice cold. Riza looked up at him, painful realization dawning on her.
He was the funeral director. Riza knew that he was the one in charge of dead people.
Her mother was not moving.
Her father didn't want her to see her.
She was dead.
She had died.
Her mother was gone.
Riza let out a cry, and ran out of the room. She left the house, and ran as far as she could, tears streaming down her face. She had ran and ran and ran, so far away that when her legs finally stopped working and she fell down, she had no idea where she was.
Riza had fallen back onto a large patch of grass, and she stayed there, her lungs heaving. Her tears had stopped, but she continued to sniffle.
"Who are you?" A voice said. Riza jumped up, clutching herself.
"Who's there?" Riza loudly said into the darkness ,trying to sound brave and failing.
"It's okay. I won't hurt you." A hand fell on Riza's shoulder, and she yelped, turning quickly and landing a punch in the person's face.
"Ow!" The voice cried, and the person fell back "What was that for?"
Riza retracted her hand, and looked down. The person was a boy, who looked not that much older than she was. He was dressed in scruffy peasant clothes, very similar to her own. The only difference was his were muddy, and looked like they had not been washed in months. He wore no shoes, and Riza could see the soles of his feet were blackened with dirt. He clearly had not had a bath in a while.
Riza looked up into his eyes. His eyes were black, pitch black, and looked tired, lonely yet intrigued. His hair was black too, and fell in a limp mop around his face.
"I'm sorry." Riza apologized, and held out a hand to the boy, helping him up "You surprised me."
"I'm sorry for surprising you." The boy replied, and then smiled "My name's Roy. I'm seven years old, and I live here."
"You live in this field?" Riza asked, astonished. Roy laughed.
"Well, I live in the orphanage over there, but I sneak out here most nights. It's nice to be out in the open, under the skies."
"Oh, I'm sorry." Riza found herself apologizing.
"Don't be." Roy's smiled faltered "I don't like people feeling sorry for me. Who are you, anyway?"
"I'm Elizabeth, six years old." Riza replied "Most people call me Riza, but I am called Lizzy by my papa and my mama-" Riza cut herself off, and corrected herself "Just by my papa."
"You're only six?" Roy said, surprised "You should be at home!"
"You're only a little bit older than me!" Riza replied, hands on hips "And anyway, I don't want to go home."
Tears started to swell up in her eyes.
"My mama died tonight." Riza replied. Roy reached out and put his hand on her shoulder.
"I'm sorry." He said. Riza smiled softly.
"Don't be." She replied, echoing his words from earlier "I don't like people feeling sorry for me."
Riza looked up again at Roy, and fought back a blush when she realized he was looking straight at her. Their eyes met, and Roy smiled.
"I think I've found a lead." The Colonel said, holding up piece of paper. Riza stood up, and walked over to his desk, taking the piece of paper and reading it.
The murder case they were working on was pretty gory, and one that Riza wanted to be over pretty soon. Multiple civilians, specifically young women, were turning up in backstreets all around Central. The victims would be found cut up, much like the victims of another famous serial killed, Barry the Chopper. Though the difference with these murders was that a note would be left at the crime scene.
"So, what you've found out is something about the notes left?" Riza asked, her eyes skimming the rest of the report.
"Yes." Roy confirmed, nodding "At first they just like a random shopping list, But after reading them, they all seem to have something in common. I believe there is a hidden code behind them."
"And that is?" Riza helped herself to the copies of the notes on the colonel's table. They really did seem like a random shopping list. The first one that Riza looked at said '1 tub of ice cream'. Another said '1 lbs of elderberries'. The first thing Riza would've looked at on the real notes would be the handwriting, but the notes had seemingly been written by different people each time, most likely the victim themselves.
Riza continued to read through the notes as the phone rang. The Colonel picked it up.
"Yes… No… I'm free… Yes, she's here… We'll be there as soon as we can… thank you… goodbye." Roy put down the phone, and Riza looked up at him.
"There's been another murder." He said. Riza's stomach dropped. She knew what was coming next.
"We need to go to the scene, right?" Riza asked. Roy nodded.
Riza hated going to murder scenes. She hated seeing dead bodies. Of course, she had seen so many in her life, but it never got any better. Every one of those victims was a son or daughter, a husband, wife or loved one, a sister or brother, a best friend.
Of course, Riza had seen many dead bodies. She had seen her mother's at age six. Then her father's at age 19. Then there was the Ishbal civil war, and Riza saw more bodies that any girl her age should of.
The pair donned coats, and headed out. Roy insisted on driving, and took the wheel. Riza climbed in next to him, and sat back.
After her first meeting with Roy, they had been close friends. They had met up in that field every day, playing, laughing, and telling each other their closest secrets- What food Roy had snuck from the pantry and what boys Riza had tried to kiss.
About a year after they had met though, Roy dropped a bombshell.
"Roy!" Riza cried, looked around. She had arrived at their field at 3pm, the same time they always met. Looking around though, she was the only one there.
"Where is he?" Riza said softly to herself, sitting down among the grass. She sat and waited for what felt like hours. Her hands were numb from cold, her stomach rumbling from hunger and it was starting to get dark. Tears started to run down her face. He wasn't coming.
Had she done something to upset him? She hoped not. At the moment, he was her only friend.
It was now so dark it was hard to see, and Riza pulled herself up off the ground. He wasn't coming. He really wasn't coming. She turned and started to walk away, when she heard footsteps.
Turning, she could just about make out someone running towards her, and after her initial feeling of panic she realized it was Roy.
"You idiot!" Riza shouted, making Roy stop in his tracks.
"I'm sorry!" Roy cried, walking slowly towards her "I'm sorry."
"Why are you so late?" Riza started to cry against her wishes. Roy handed her a hanky.
"I'm sorry." He repeated "Someone came for me today. The orphanage found a relative that is willing to take me in. It's about time, after eight years."
"They came for you?"
"Yeah. I said I had someone to go and see though, and she let me come and find you."
"My aunt. She had no idea I was even born. As soon as she got a call from the orphanage, she came rushing down to take me to Central with her."
"Wait, you're going to Central?" Riza thought tears were going to start falling again. Central was so far away! She would not be able to see Roy every day!
"I'm sorry. I'm going to be moving there. She wants to give me a proper education in a fancy school over there, and she also has her business. I asked her if she would be able to move here instead, and she laughed and said if she could she would. She doesn't seem so bad."
"But we won't see each other anymore!" Riza complained "I'll miss you!"
"I'll miss you too." Roy admitted "I promise I'll come back someday, okay?"
"Pinky promise?" Riza replied, holding out her pinky. Roy smiled and took it.
Riza sighed. At least he hadn't broken that promise.
"Riza, I'm talking to you." Roy pulled Riza out of her thoughts.
"Oh!" She exclaimed "Sorry, Sir. What were you saying?"
"Riza, I'm worried about you." Roy said, glancing over at her "Is everything okay?"
Riza blushed slightly, and looked away. She was used to the colonel calling her Riza, and most of the time he asked about her private life, but this time felt different.
"No, nothing is wrong." She replied, looking away. She wasn't going to tell him about her sickness that morning.
"Well, if you say so." Roy kept looking back at her the rest of the drive. Finally, they pulled up to the scene and got out the car.
There were a lot of military personnel around already, but Roy and Riza were rushed to the front. They were in charge of this case, after all.
Riza braced herself, and they were shown to the body. There was a small child sat next to it, crying and screaming.
"Mama!" The child screamed "Mama!"
Riza felt her heart pang. The child couldn't have been more than three years old. A soldier was sat with her, trying to calm her down. As soon as the soldier caught sight of Riza, he handed the child over.
"You have a way with children." The soldier said, patting her on the shoulder. Riza smiled slightly, and knelt down to the child.
"Hey, hey, hush now." Riza said, her voice slow and friendly "Do you want to come with us? We'll find you someone nice to stay with. Okay?"
The child continued to cry, but allowed Riza to lead her to a car. Riza made sure the child was settled, and left her with someone whilst she went back and helped Roy with the body.
"It's another woman, Sir." Riza said, stopping next to Roy. He nodded.
"I know. Thankfully, she had some identification on her. We know her name was Ope Langard. 25 years old, unmarried, and that child was hers. It seems she was walking home with the child when she was attacked."
"This makes the 13th victim of the killer, doesn't it?" Riza asked. Roy nodded.
A different soldier made a move to pull back the sheet covering the body, and Riza braced herself. As the sheet came away, and Riza laid her eyes on the cut, bloody, disfigured body of Miss Langard.
Suddenly, Riza felt bile rising in her throat. Unable to move away quickly enough, she dropped to her knees and emptied her stomach right there.
"Lieutenant!" Roy cried, dropping down next to her and rubbing her back "Are you okay?" he turned to the soldier who had pulled the sheet back "Cover the body back up!"
Riza shook her head.
"I'm fine, leave it." She said, standing up. Embarrassed at herself for showing such weakness, she turned and went back to the car.
Sitting down, Riza suddenly realized just how tired she really was. Her eyelids drooped, and before she could stop herself, she was asleep.
Roy left that evening, and Riza was left alone. Her father, who had shut himself away ever since her mother had died suddenly cooked her dinner one night, and announced that on her 9th birthday, Riza would be starting school.
"But why now, Papa?" Riza asked as she ate the meal of mashed potatoes and leeks "Most of the other people in the village started school ages ago."
"School costs money, Lizzy." Her father explained "And we have very little money. However, an education will be good for you, and so I have scraped together all of our savings and sending you to school."
"Oh, thank you Papa!" Riza smiled from ear to ear. She had always wanted to go to school, but knew that even though they had a big house money was scarce. Roy had been taught basic English and Maths skills at the orphanage, and had in turn taught Riza. She found learning fun and exciting, and forever longed to fill her mind with information.
Upon starting school, Riza had met new people, made new friends, and gradually, the hole left by Roy started to fill. She grew from an immature 9-year-old to a mature 15-year-old in what felt like a blink of an eye.
"Papa, I'm home!" Riza called as she entered the house. She had been out with some friends collecting blackberries, and she set the huge tub down in the kitchen. Her father wasn't around, which probably meant he was in his study, working away studying alchemy.
He would not tell her what kind of alchemy he was researching, but Riza knew it was potentially dangerous and did not pry. She knew her father had been disappointed when it was discovered that she had no talent for alchemy, and since that time when she was eleven her father had been searching far and wide for an apprentice to teach his findings to.
"Papa, are you in here?" Riza asked, knocking on his study door.
"Yes I am!" her father replied "Come on in!"
Riza smiled and opened the door. She stopped, and her smiled faltered slightly when she realized her father was not alone.
Her father was sat in his usual seat by his desk, but in another seat (stolen from her room, she noted) sat a boy. His face was still young and childish, but he had a small amount of hair growing on his top lip. He was clean, and sat upright in his chair. His shoes were polished and buffed black, his clothes looked expensive and well-tailored, just screaming Central. His hair was some-what messy, though it was obvious someone had tried to tame it with a pair of scissors. He met Riza's amber-brown eyes with his pitch black ones, and the penny dropped.
"Riza, I want you to meet my new apprentice. Roy Mustang, this is my daughter Riza. Riza, this is Roy Mustang."
"It's nice to meet you, Miss Hawkeye." Roy held out his hand, smiling. Riza grinned, and took it.
"The pleasure is all mine, Mr Mustang."