Little Riza Hawkeye quickly closes the door shut with a big gleaming smile on her face. She ran a few more steps before taking a pause and surveys the whole house. She takes a right in the living room and takes a look over while holding onto a piece of paper with anticipation. Riza didn’t usually feel like this but after all the hard work she did, she should be proud.
Worst Fandom Dad #11 - Berthold Hawkeye (FMA) *Possible Spoilers*
Once again our gaze swivels to the land of Amestris in the Fullmetal verse. It does seem that growing up in Amestris is a pretty hard thing to do when your Dad is either a) Dead a la Elicia Hughes & Roy Mustang or b) a Complete and Utter Dick a la Ed, Al & Nina. Another woeful subject to fall into the Utter Dick category is Berthold Hawkeye, the father of the amazing bad ass Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye and alchemy teacher of the equally fabulous Roy Mustang.
So at least he did one good thing in facilitating the environment which fostered the OTP to rule them all, OTP to find them OTP to bring them all and in the shadows bind them - Royai *omgroyaiaretotallyperfectarghbutmustgetbackontrack* *Cough*
Anyway to the task in hand! Examining the failings of Mr Hawkeye. Widower Berthold Hawkeye is portrayed in both FMA Brotherhood and the mangas as a great alchemist with mastery over many alchemic forms. His magnum opus was the creation of flame alchemy, the secrets of which where passed into the hands of his apprentice Roy ‘the Flame’ Mustang. All hunky-dory so far. However, his relationship with daughter Riza appears to be a highly strained affair. Riza herself sates that she found her father frightening, cold and unrelatable. In the manga it is also revealed that he gave her nightmares, painting dear old Berthold as being very far from the image of a loving father.
Now, as I said Mr Hawkeye was the inventor of Flame alchemy and he realised exactly how dangerous this knowledge could be in the wrong (or even 'right’) hands. So he kept his work a secret, hidden and encoded, refusing even to pass it on to Roy as he believed Roy to be too young and naive to handle the power. However, in his final moments he does tell Roy his research can be found in Riza's possession and (in the manga) he laments to having time to teach Roy himself. Now, you may wonder how exactly Berthold might store these coded notes? In a journal like most state alchemists? Hidden in a painting? Encased within an ornament? Oh no! That would make too much sense! Berthold Hawkeye literally kept his research on Riza, by tattooing it onto her back and giving her the harrowing task of guarding the secrets of flame alchemy forever.
So on top of being potentially abusive and uncaring, his parting gift is to scar his own child with destructive secrets. Additionally, if she were ever to share the knowledge she would pretty much have to bare herself to the person attempting to learn the alchemical techniques! In a wider context of the attitudes of the state military of the time, if one of the military’s officers (other than Roy) had found out the secrets Riza carried, I can barely begin to imagine how the they would have treated her. It would probably begin with imprisonment and end in death to be honest.
In the end, Riza is so overwhelmed by seeing first hand what flame alchemy can do to people, she is desperate to be rid of her tattoo and the terrible secrets it contains. She is so desperate and so distraught that she begs Roy to burn the tattoo from her back, an act that he only manages to partially complete (probably because it was so traumatic for him to do).
One can only imagine the agony she went through thanks to her father. How could she be taken to a normal doctor after the fact? It would surely lead to too many questions. Therefore, it is widely theorised that Roy either learnt enough medicinal alchemy to be able to properly cope with Riza’s extensive burns, or they had Dr Knox help in, most likely, a less than ideal location.
Our final pieces of evidence against Hawkeye come from the fanon of FMA. It is widely felt that the source of Riza’s nightmares were from physical and verbal abuse her father dealt her. Further more, it is also believed that Mr Hawkeye’s death was caused as a result of the price he paid in attempting human transmutation (the great taboo) on his wife. This is because, like Izumi Curtis (another alchemist who performed human transmutation), he is seen coughing up blood in his final moments and he makes reference to The Truth. This theory provides us with a possible reason for Mr Hawkeye’s actions. Could it be that Riza reminds him of the wife he failed to save, making her a living, breathing representation of his failure?
At the end of his life (in the manga) Berthold does repent as to how he has treated Riza, but, he doesn’t tell her he’s sorry. He tells Roy, how nice! Whatever way you try to spin Berthold’s actions, and even if you throw in the fact that “Hey he helped Roy and Riza find each other!” I don’t think he can be excused. So I give you Fandom’s Worst Dad #11 Berthold Hawkeye!
When Roy was training under Master Hawkeye, he and Riza used to have entire conversations in Morse code over the dinner table. They had to invent the name code they use in the series when Roy made a particularly flirtatious comment toward young Riza and her father revealed that he’d known Morse code the whole time and was listening in.
I have this theory that Riza’s father attempted human transmutation. He was a talented alchemist who coughed up blood, his wife died years before he did, and he says that alchemists are beings that must “search for the Truth for as long as they live, (…) which is why I am a man who died long ago.” It fits together far to well to be a coincidence.
Because I’m impatient. Finally! This is a prequel/companion piece to Drabble 37 (”Match”) – the soulmate tattoo AU. But since it’s a prequel, you don’t have to read that one in order to understand this one. This is focused mostly on Roy. I’ve got another one already written that is focused on Riza. I’m really glad that I decided to write more of these.
It was supposed to be a day unlike any other, shortly after he turned ten, when Roy woke up to a searing pain on his lower left abdomen. Roy jerked around in his bed, caught in the sheets and a strangled shout caught in his throat. The burning pain stopped as quickly as it began, leaving a light throb, and he halted in his struggle. He knew what it was now that he was awake, but he was hesitant to do anything about it. After all, he’d heard the stories about these sorts of marks; he just hadn’t known if he was going to get one or not.
Roy lay in bed until he heard the other habitants of the house stirring. Slowly, he made his way about getting ready, tugging his shirt down every time it threatened to rise up. He took a shower awkwardly, not looking down at himself as he washed his body and keeping his eyes either forward or up. When he got out, he made sure to angle his body away from the mirror in the bathroom. He even closed his eyes when he put on his clothes. It definitely caused him to struggle more, but he didn’t care.
For some reason, Roy couldn’t bear the idea of looking down at the words of his soulmate that he knew was tattooed on his body now.
He ate his breakfast in silence, his aunt’s girls bustling about him loudly. He tried to keep to himself for the most part, digging into his cereal, but he could feel his Aunt Chris’ eyes on him. How she could possibly know what had happened was beyond him, but he wouldn’t put anything past her. After four years of living under her roof, he’d learned firsthand that there was no such thing as hiding anything from his aunt turned foster mother.
“What’s up with you, Roy-boy?” Aunt Chris finally asked. She was sat at the table across from him, giving him the look of a shrewd businesswoman. His aunt was by no means a warm, touching mother, but she’d taken him in after his parents died, having spent months tracking him down in the system, and she was protective of him in her own way. “You haven’t been this quiet in a long time.”
Roy painfully swallowed his cereal. “Not feeling well.” It wasn’t exactly the truth, but it wasn’t a lie either. He didn’t feel well. His stomach felt all out of sorts, flopping at the mere thought of the soulmate mark, and it still burned. Subconsciously, as he sat under her gaze, he scratched at his abdomen.
The movement caught her attention. “What’s that there?”
“Nothing,” Roy said quickly. “A bug bite.”
“Oh? Is it nothing or a bug bite?” his aunt asked. When Roy didn’t respond and blinked back at her, she let out a sigh and stood up from her chair, walking over to him. She waved a hand at him. “Let’s see it then.”
Roy hesitated at first, giving her something of a fearful look. Aunt Chris gave him the softest look that she could manage, though it still seemed to have an edge. Her soulmate mark was faded after her husband’s death years ago. Most of the girls that worked for her either didn’t have one at all or didn’t have one yet. A part of him strangely felt guilty for having a soulmate mark now, like he was afraid that his makeshift family would be upset with him.
After his aunt’s look turned expectant, Roy set his spoon down and gingerly lifted up the side of his shirt. His aunt leaned down to examine the mark while he stared at the clock on the other side of the wall.
“Hm.” Aunt Chris stood back up straight and Roy dropped his shirt. “Have you seen it yet?” He shook his head. All of the words felt like they’d been taken right out of his mouth. His aunt was right in pointing out that he was never went so long without speaking, but he didn’t know if he could. “Do you want to know what it says?”
At this, Roy licked his lips, but then nodded his head slowly.
“It says, ‘If you could please follow me to your room, Mister Mustang’.”
Roy blinked. It was painfully boring, as far as soulmate tattoo marks went, but his brain jumped anyways. “Am I supposed to fall in love with a bellhop?” he burst out, which only managed to make his aunt guffaw. That was the only thing that he could think of, someone showing him to his room in a hotel. That meant that he probably wouldn’t meet his soulmate for a very long time, especially if that person was going to call him Mister Mustang. He wrinkled his nose. The name made him think of his father. He was going to make sure that no one called him that. It was ridiculous.
A little over three years later, the thought of the soulmate tattoo far from his mind, Roy finds himself standing on the doorstep of the Hawkeye Estate, demanding to be taken on as an alchemy apprentice. He’s learned a great many of things from being raised by Madam Christmas, the art of persuasion being only one of him. Despite the fact that Berthold Hawkeye outright refuses at first, somehow or another, whether because of his presence or his refusal to give up, the alchemist acquiesces and Roy is taken in to yet another person’s household.
His new teacher rattles off a few rules, more to surely follow, and then leaves Roy alone in the parlor, unsure of what he’s supposed to do. Already he can tell that Master Hawkeye is going to be a strange teacher, but he knows the rumors about the man’s research on a special type of alchemy and it sparks a fire in Roy’s mind that can’t be tamed until he learns more.
He’s standing in the room awkwardly, suitcase still in hand, when a blonde-haired girl steps into the dark room. Her hair is cut short, a little longer than most boys, tossed about like she’s been busy working and her cheeks hold a light pink tinge to them. The outfit she’s wearing looks like a school uniform, a simple white blouse with a navy blue tie and matching skirt that stops just above her knees. She’s younger than him, but maybe only by a few years. Most importantly, she looks as if she’d rather do anything in the world than deal with her father’s new apprentice, but does her best to hide it with a painted on smile.
It’s only when she says the words – “If you could please follow me to your room, Mister Mustang” – that Roy starts with a jolt and begins to gawk at her outright. She doesn’t seem to notice the shock on his face and turns on her heels, starting up the stairs. It takes everything in his power to follow her and he nearly trips over a few of the steps because he’s too busy staring at her to watch where he’s going.
It’s her? She’s his soulmate? Roy runs his fingers through his hair. She’s so young. He’s young, if he’s being honest with himself. He’s only thirteen years-old. And he’s met his soulmate already? He tries to remember any stories about people finding their soulmates at such a young age, but most of the time, those stories involved the tattoos showing up years later when they were older and more mature. He’s thirteen and there isn’t any room beyond alchemy in his mind, much less his soulmate.
“This is your room. The study is downstairs to the right, the kitchen is on the left. Breakfast will be ready at seven. I’m to cook, so you won’t have to worry about that.” His teacher’s daughter turns to face him and gives him a careful look over that reminds him strangely of his aunt. It’s the type of look that says she misses nothing. He’ll have to be careful around her for sure. “If you need anything else, Mister Mustang, I’ll be in the study. I’m Riza, by the way.”
Suddenly, it occurs to Roy that he hasn’t spoken a single word, so she wouldn’t know why he’s acting so odd, but he finds himself almost too nervous to speak. How will she react to the knowledge that he’s her soulmate? His aunt told him that he shouldn’t be so scared about his soulmate tattoo mark – that it was a gift – but now that he’s met his soulmate, he isn’t so sure about that.
“Roy,” he nearly cries out in a panic. Riza raises her eyebrows at him in surprise. “Call me ‘Roy’, I mean, not ‘Mister Mustang’.”
He has to breathe through his nose to get any air in. What was he thinking? Had he even been thinking? This girl was going to have his name tattooed on her skin. Couldn’t he have said something cleverer? Anything besides what he’d exclaimed would have been better.
Instead of shock or glee or horror or anything that he could imagine her reacting with, Riza merely gives him something of a confused and uncomfortable look. “My father said to call you ‘Mister Mustang’,” she simply points out.
And then it hits him. She doesn’t have her soulmate tattoo mark yet. Almost all of the time, people get their soulmate marks at the same time. They could be thousands of miles apart, but their skin would burn and tingle with their soulmate’s first words to them simultaneously. There are a few stories about people getting them at different times, so that one person knew before the other, but it’s extremely rare. Roy forces himself to take a deep breath. It would appear as if they are one of those rare cases.
Roy knows in his bones that Riza is his soulmate, but she has no clue yet. It makes him feel a little better, but terrifies him at the same time. One of these days, those brown eyes of hers are going to widen and she will never be able to look at him the same again. He doesn’t know her and she has no idea what she will mean to him, but he knows that this unassuming girl will one day mean the world to him. It feels lot more like a burden than a gift.