This is quite possibly the most fun I’ve had writing a little fic. It’s not often that I write about Maes and it’s happy, so this was a good laugh.
Roy grinned at the pretty brunette after he left her giggling at the bar. He didn’t need to look back at her to know that she was sneaking glances at him in between talking with her friends. That was just enough to keep him damn near swaggering as he returned to his table with Maes.
His friend was already shaking his head by the time Roy set his beer down on the table. “One of these days, Roy, your flirting will go a little too far and you won’t know what to do with yourself.”
“I’m not like you, Maes,” Roy pointed out as he sat down on a stool.
“The settling down and having a family type?”
Roy tipped his glass in Maes’ direction. “The having a relationship type.”
Maes sighed and took a swig of his drink. The Flame Alchemist could only be described as impossible and befuddling at best, according to Maes, but Roy waved it off every time things like this were brought up. “At this rate, you’re going to run out of pretty women to date.”
“There’s always a beautiful lady when I’m about,” Roy replied with a laugh.
He meant it as a joke, of course, nothing to it, but Maes wore something of a contemplative look for a second that Roy didn’t particularly like. When that contemplative look took on a sneaky gleam in his eyes, Roy really didn’t like it, not the way a smile spread onto his friend’s face or the way the bar light reflected off of his glasses in that spooky way seemingly whenever he got an idea in his head.
“So how is First Lieutenant Hawkeye doing?” Maes asked in a suspiciously disinterested tone. For a man that was working in intelligence, he really needed to stop being so transparent when he was trying to get information or beat around the bush.
“She’s doing fine, as far as I know,” Roy responded, a little more tersely than he’d intended. “Working me ragged. I’d forgotten how little she tolerated procrastination.” At that, Roy almost winced. He and his adjutant very rarely brought up their past history together, especially when in the company of others, to the point where few, if any, knew just how close they had been. “She likes Eastern well enough, I suppose.”
“Is she seeing anyone?”
At that, Roy actually choked on his beer and had to set his glass down again. There was still that disinterested look on Maes’ face, but Roy could see the amused look in the man’s eyes. “You know, I don’t know. I try not to pry into my subordinates’ personal lives.” Well, that wasn’t exactly true. Havoc talked about his dating life as if it were a daytime talk show sometimes and it didn’t help that they’d dated a few of the same women. The Flame Alchemist was just too irresistible.
“Well, if she’s not – she and Gracia actually have lunch every now and then – Gracia has really been wanting to set her up with a friend of ours. He’s a banker – a really nice gentleman.”
If he’s so nice, then why isn’t he taken already? The words popped into his head before he could even think about it, nearly coming out of his already open mouth. He just barely kept them in his head. That had sounded dangerously close to bitter and irritated.
Instead, Roy swirled his beer around and looked down into the glass, trying to appear completely unconcerned with the route this conversation had taken him. “I doubt she has time to date anyways,” he said. Damnit, he sounded so tense. This shouldn’t be bothering him at all. Maybe Riza did want to date someone. She never brought it up at work, though he could never see her bringing up something so personal. Wait. What if she was already dating someone and he didn’t know? He should really know that about the woman that was supposed to guarding his back, right? “All she seems to have time for is work and her dog. She’s more career-oriented. She doesn’t do much of anything else.”
“You sure you’re not the one working her ragged so she doesn’t have time to date?”
If Roy had been able to force any of his beer down, he probably would’ve spewed it all over the other man at this point. “What? What exactly are you trying to imply?” Holy hell, had his voice ever been so high pitched? He really needed to learn how to control himself. But what was Maes trying to insinuate? That he didn’t want Riza to date anyone? She could date if she wanted to; she just never seemed interested in anyone. Not that he’d know because he didn’t ask… Maybe he should ask.
Maes smiled, but it looked more like a predator’s smile when its prey was caught in a trap. Roy narrowed his eyes at the man. He was not anyone’s prey, least of all the prey of an idiot that swooned any time someone even mentioned anything close to the subject of his wife.
“I’m not implying anything,” Maes said in an insufferably earnest tone. “I’m merely making an observation. You refuse to go on a third date with anyone, even if the girl is seemingly perfect. The Lieutenant doesn’t seem to be interested in anyone but yourself. Then there’s the looks you give her when you think no one is looking.” This man… Roy was going to murder him. Where were his gloves? “Both of you are so touchy about one another.”
That stopped Roy cold. “Both…of us?”
“Oh, man, you should see how red Lieutenant Hawkeye turns whenever Gracia brings you up! Gracia seems to believe that you two are stuck in some sort of tragic love story. I’ve tried telling her – Roy Mustang and love do not mix – but from what she says, anyone could get the impression that you and your lieutenant have denied yourselves each other’s love in order to complete your goals for the future and atone for your sins.” Maes sniffed. The man actually sniffed as if he was close to crying. He was so melodramatic when it came to love, as if the very idea of some ill-fated love story was enough to bring him to tears. “It’s all quite sad, really.”
“That’s…” Roy didn’t know what to say. Did Maes and Gracia actually talk about this? Had Gracia actually talked to Riza about him? And she blushed at the thought of him? Roy could barely remember the last time he’d seen her blush, not since they were teenagers and that had been so long ago that it couldn’t… She couldn’t… He forced himself to drain the rest of his beer to sooth his dry mouth. “That’s preposterous.”
“I don’t know,” Maes said. The sniffing was gone. In its place was an all-too-knowing smile. “I kind of think you’re lying, myself.”
“Lying? Lying? About my heartbreaking and undying love for my adjutant? That I sabotage any relationship I might have because I’m in love with her but can’t be with her? That she selflessly focuses on her job and our work because…because it’s the right thing to do but not what her heart wants? That we both love each other but can’t admit it because we think we don’t deserve a happy ending?”
Maes said nothing, which was as well seeing as how Roy was doing all the talking. He clamped his mouth shut, staring at his friend and his smile, a smile that said he’d gotten exactly what he wanted. Roy slumped down in his seat, feeling like he’d just run a race, except his brain was still firing in a whole new direction. He couldn’t believe that he’d just blurted all of that out loud. He’d only had two beers. How drunk could he be?
“This is ridiculous, stupid. I don’t…” Roy pushed himself away from the table so that he could stand up. Despite only two beers, he felt a bit dizzy. How had that all come out of his mouth? Or had he been thinking it all along and just needed the push to get it out in the open even for himself? Had he really been lying to himself like that, to her? “I need another drink.”
This time, when he went to the bar, Roy didn’t even look in the direction of the pretty brunette trying to get his attention. Damn Maes Hughes. Maybe he was a lot better at getting information than Roy had originally thought.