Of Fire and Flowers

Chapter 3

Back at her apartment, Riza decided she didn't want to cook. Roy agreed.

"Tell you what." Roy said, picking up his car keys "I'll go down to that takeaway we passed on the way here. I'll also stop off at my place and pick up some clothes and all that stuff."

"Okay." Riza replied, reaching for her coat. Roy put his hand on her arm.

"I think it is better you stay here tonight." He said. Riza furrowed her brow.

"I'm not a baby, Roy." She said, her eyes narrowing "And I'm not like I used to be."

"You have Black Hayate here. You'll be safer. Even you know he's a better body guard than I am."

"You're acting suspiciously right now." Riza shrugged his hand off and crossed her arms "But whatever. I'm going to take a bath."

"Even more reason for me to not be here." He said with a smile. Riza playfully smacked him.

"Be back soon, you idiot."

"I will be." Roy slipped out of the apartment. Riza leaned with her back up against the wall, and sunk down to a seated position. Black Hayate trotted over, and stuck his head into Riza's lap.

"Hey, Hayate." Riza said, stroking her dog's head "I better feed you."

After feeding Black Hayate some sort of dry dog food she had picked up cheap earlier in the week, she picked out some nightclothes from her room and left them outside the bathroom. If she took them in, the steam from the bath would make them damp and uncomfortable to wear. She closed the door behind her, and pulled her uniform off. Opening the door just a crack to throw it out, she jumped back in surprise as she realized she and Black Hayate were not alone.

"Roy?" She asked, grabbing a towel and wrapping it around her whilst cursing. "Is that you?"

She stepped out into the hallway, and gasped.

That was not Colonel Roy Mustang.

"Riza…" The person said. The voice was male, probably mid 30's. "You look much more beautiful than last time."

Now recovered from her shock, Riza grabbed the gun she kept hidden on the bookshelf. Quickly, she fired two shots towards the figure. In her mind, she cursed the crappy lighting in her apartment. It did not allow her to see the person well enough to aim.

One of the bullets hit the wall, blowing plaster and paint across her living area. The other one clearly hit home, as the person let out a cry of pain.

"You bitch!" he yelled, seeming to clutch at him leg "That really hurt! I came back to see you after all these years, and this is how you repay me?"

The person clapped, and threw his hands to the ground. Riza's eyes widened. This person was an alchemist! And they used alchemy like Ed, which meant they had been through the Gate of Truth as well…

Riza had no time to think about who this person might be, as in a split second something flew into her, knocking her to the ground.

"This is why you shouldn't mess with me, Miss Riza Hawkeye." The person growled "Or Elizabeth. Or Lizzy. Whatever you prefer."

Riza tried her hardest to stay awake, but everything was going dark.

"I'll be back." The person whispered into her ear. Riza started at the closeness of this stranger.

"Roy, help…" Riza managed, before the darkness took her.

"We did what you asked us to do." Edward Elric said, clutching his hand into a fist "We delivered the letter. Let our friends go now."

The man chuckled, and clapped his hands together. Using alchemy, he dissolved the prison that kept Winry and May, the respective girlfriends of Ed and Al, ensnared.

"I'm amazed at how easy it was to break into her apartment." The man chuckled, and Ed growled.

"You better not of hurt them!" He yelled. This just made the man chuckle harder.

"I seem to believe that it was not me that sold them out."

May ran over to Al and hugged him tightly. The man smirked at Ed.

"And it was also not me who lent a hand in things. Pardon the pun."

Ed took Winry by the hand, and turned away from the man. He did not know who he was, but he seemed to know everything about everyone. This man was dangerous.

The chuckling stopped, and when Ed turned back, the man was gone.

Fifteen years old. That's how old I was when he came back. Roy Mustang. I had not seen him since I was eight years old… He was older than me, but only by a few months or so. I was always taller, at least until he reach seventeen and grew so tall he hit his head on the door every time we came home.

We went to school together after he became my father's apprentice. It was like it should've been, every morning I would wake up, make breakfast for the three of us, wake him up since Roy was always terrible at mornings; He never woke up on time, ever, and then get myself dressed. Our school had no uniform, something he found strange. Apparently, the fancy schools in Central each had a different uniform to distinguish them from each other.

Since the town I grew up in was small, there were basically two classes. Everyone under the age of ten, and everyone over the age of ten. The youngest you could enter school was aged four, but as school cost money not many parents put their children in until they were much older. You left when they were eighteen. Because of this, I was in classes with Roy. He also thought this was weird, up in Central they have a class for each year.

We were only taught basic things- how to read, write, how to do basic maths, science, and those would could alchemy. Girls were taught how to cook and clean as well, and the boys were taught woodwork, farming, and they also got to go out every Friday afternoon to play football on the big green.

For some reason, those few hours a day I spent with Roy just being normal teenagers and hanging around were the best hours of my life. I can remember times when boys would try to ask me out and Roy would appear from no-where and ask me where I wanted to go after school like we were dating, I can remember times where he got detentions when I did, just so he could make sure I got home all right, I can remember the time he lied about his age just so he could stay for a few more months with me.

It seemed most of my best memories were with Roy Mustang. Every time I thought of a good memory, he seemed to be stood there, calling my name.

"Riza!" He would say "Riza!"

"Riza! Snap out of it!"

Riza opened her eyes, and looked around. She was laying in Roy's arms, and he was kneeling with her on the floor. She couldn't remember how she had gotten there.

"What the hell?" She said "I fell asleep on the floor?"

"Riza, oh my goodness." Roy said, breathing out "I came back to find you passed out on the floor in nothing but a towel, with blood and plaster everywhere over there. " He pointed to the wall.

"Woah, did you shoot someone?" Riza asked, standing up shakily. She pulled the towel around her tightly, her arms getting goose pimples from the cold. And most likely from Roy being so close to her, too.

"I didn't, you did." Roy replied, standing up himself bringing the gun Riza had apparently dropped earlier on the floor. He handed it to her, and she shrugged.

"I don't think I did-" Riza cut herself off as it all came back to her.

"Riza?" Roy asked, looked into her eyes.

"There was a man here." She gasped "He reckoned he knew me, and knew my name was Elizabeth. He also called me Lizzy." She looked over at the wall "I couldn't see his face, but I shot twice. I hit him somewhere, probably the leg. And I hit the wall too."

"At least it's not your blood." Roy looked some-what relieved.

"He said something to me, and then used alchemy without a transmutation circle… he must've been through the gate."

"We'll note this down tomorrow." Roy promised "Right now, we need to get you some clothes, something to eat and then bed."

"But the man came in here! He knows where I am!"

"It's fine." Roy turned to pick up the uniform and night clothes Riza had discarded outside the bathroom "If he comes back, I'll burn him to a crisp. Plus we're going to Briggs early tomorrow. We only found out today, there's no way he could know too."

"You're still an idiot, you know that right?" Riza asked, taking her clothes from the Colonel "Let me get changed. I'll be with you shortly."

Roy nodded, and watched Riza go into her room. Sighing, he hunted down cleaning supplies, and set to work getting the plaster dust and blood out of the carpet.

Riza sighed and pulled on the silk trousers and shirt that made up her nightclothes. Fighting the urge to prove to Roy she could be girly and wear a night gown, she brushed out her hair and put it up in her normal style. It was quick, easy, and kept it off her shoulders and out of her face.

When she was done, she opened the door to see Roy scrubbing at the carpet.

"He sure left a mess." He said, turning to Riza with an apologetic smile "I don't know if I'll be able to get it out properly."

"It's fine, leave it." Riza said, sighing "We can get something stronger to clean it when we get back from Briggs."

"You say that like this is our apartment." Roy joked. Riza paused.

"I'll put the food onto plates." She said, picking up the bag Roy had seemingly dumped at the door. He had probably opened it, seen Riza on the floor and dropped his stuff then and there to see to her. How nice of him.

After much deliberation, Riza decided on the best two plates she owned and put them on the table.

"I'm sorry my plates aren't very nice." She said "I never really have people round any more."

Roy looked over at the two plates. Both were obviously old, with cracks and chips in them. Roy recognized one of them from Riza's father's house, but the other one he had never seen before.

"This one was my papa's favourite plate." She said, putting Roy's share of food onto it. He had gone for fish and chips in the end, something she and Roy had liked to buy on the way back from school when she was hungry They would take the steaming hot meal and go to their field, and just sit and watch the clouds go by whilst eating. Her father's plate was white, with a china blue rim and Xingnese dragons swirling around the middle of it.

"Your father always did want to travel to Xing, didn't he?" Roy said softly, standing up and putting the cleaning stuff away. Riza nodded.

"He did. I think he would've loved to meet Ling and the others."

"I agree."

Riza moved onto the second plate, a light pink one with flowers adoring the rim. Noting Roy's curious gaze, Riza explained.

"It belonged to my Grandmother on my papa's side." She said "It's pretty, isn't it?"

"I never thought I would hear you, Riza Hawkeye, say something pink with flowers on is 'pretty'." He laughed; Riza couldn't help but smile softly.

"Stop laughing and eat your food." She said lightly, pushing the plate towards him and passing over a knife and fork. Roy thanked her, and after Riza had gotten her own cutlery the two ate in peace.

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