from where we stand

Well, this here’s the first chapter of whatever monstrosity that my brain unleashed. There’s not gonna be a lot really happening, it’s largely a buildup/background chapter needed to reorient yourself into this AU. Happy reading!

Also on FFN.

Words: 8,519

Somewhere in the Eastern Mountains, Amestris, 1905

It was the sharp ring of the bell that signaled to the workers that the work-day had ended. Twelve hours they had stood on their feet, performing the same task over and over and over again, baking under the high heat radiating off of the large machines that they worked on. Often standing hunched over their machine, performing tedious work with hardly any feeling in their hands, fighting from breathing in the dust and stray particles in the air.

But it had been a good day. There had been no major accidents. Nothing for them to halt the production line while the machine was being repaired because someone had leaned too far over and their loose items became caught in the machine.

Riza remembered the sight of Mary-Ann Arbor being hauled out, half of her scalp ripped from her body, simply because she had leant too far over and one of her beautiful red braids had gotten caught in the machine. They had taken her home to her family, where they bandaged their wounds as well as they could and prayed desperately for her to make it against odds and survive the night. Their prayers had not been heard and young Mary-Ann was dead by morning.

Riza solemnly buttoned the many buttons on her coat before grabbing her pail that served to carry the lunch she never ate and made to leave the factory. She would be back before the sun broke over the horizon in the morning, and give another full day’s work. Only for the cycle to repeat itself over the next day, and the day after that. Only stopping for the one day of rest required by the government, only for her ten to twelve hour shifts to begin again until the next day of rest.

It was a dull existence, but it provided food for the table and a way to keep the bank off of their property.

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100 Royai Drabbles (59)

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.

59. Gift

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.

While he was studying under Riza’s father, Roy declared to her, rather loudly, that he intended to use the alchemy to protect the people of Amestris, through the state alchemy program. Berthold heard him and sent him away, saying he wouldn’t teach him anymore. So when Roy declares his intention to become Fuhrer, Riza tells him to keep those declarations to himself, lest history repeat.

Day 4: Forgotten

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. 

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“You’re Scaring Me”-Riza & Berthold Hawkeye

MMV about the Hawkeye household

headcanon || His Master

In regards to this particular headcanon, I make a lot of assumptions on Riza’s character, as well as her father’s in relation to a young, apprenticed Roy Mustang. I borrowed riza-hawkeye-rp to bounce ideas off of, but I do recognize not everyone will agree.

That said, I’d like to explore my idea of Berthold Hawkeye:

First, what we know of him is that he’s an obsessive alchemist, a man who married, is estranged from his family, and is now destitute, although he doesn’t need to be. Left with only his daughter, I always felt the implication that Roy made when calling out for anyone that might be at home was that at one point, Berthold did have his inheritance money from his family, and he did have servants employed in his small manor. I picture the Hawkeyes as a bit of an old money family who disapproved that Berthold would want to marry the daughter of a military man, instead of someone more his social status. (Vice-versa, the Grummans didn’t want their daughter to marry off to an anti-social, closed off scientist who was on the brink of being practically disowned.)

Now, I’ve argued that Berthold was the epitome of the Romantic era genius (strange, possibly mad, highly gifted, a personality that followed personal desires over a moral code, taken to frenzies, almost or actually successful in a suicidal lifestyle, etc…), and I would certainly compare him to say, Sherlock Holmes, although he falls short of being a high-functioning sociopath, because I believe he loved his wife, and I believe he loved his daughter, even if he was somewhat deluded. Regardless, my point is this: I don’t think Berthold was simply insane. Troubled with a social disorder? Yes, probably. Driven mad by grief? Absolutely, after his wife died - the one person who probably did understand and interpret him - he lost his guidance. A clueless parent - yes. But insane? Well, I would argue he was very lucid, if nothing else, and had some concept of what he was doing was dangerous or wrong, as he recognizes that his research is both “the most powerful [and] depending on how it’s used, the most deadly." 

I believe that Berthold Hawkeye intended to give Roy flame alchemy, and that he saw an opportunity as a father in taking a male apprentice. By this, I mean Berthold may have justified his actions by combining the welfare of his daughter with the welfare of his research.

I have a brief argument here that Berthold did care about his daughter - as obsessed as he was with his research. The argument is two-fold; One, that Berthold insisted his only child be properly educated (enough that she could, if needed, support herself), which given the time period, wasn’t necessary for every child, much less a daughter. A scientist - a man who values intelligence - expecting his child to be smart as well does put some faith of expectation on Riza. He cares enough that she’s not ignorant of the world. Two, that with his dying breaths, Berthold apologizes to his daughter.

"I’m sorry, I was so immersed in my research, I couldn’t do anything for you, I’m sorry, Riza...Roy…I’ll leave my daughter to you…please…”

Which is where my theory comes into play. I believe Berthold, given his own upbringing/the time period would have seen his daughter (an educated young lady), and his apprentice (someone he was training to take on his life’s work) as a potential match. I think it was unspoken that during his training, Roy shouldn’t have gone after his Master’s daughter because it would have been improper, but given the time period, training an apprentice who would be able to support himself and your only daughter after his apprenticeship would have been very efficient. They could develop rapport and companionship during Roy’s training and if all went well, Berthold’s research would remain in trusted hands. I don’t think Roy was aware of this, but the social norms of the time would not have necessarily made it a total surprise.

Of course, I think Berthold would have tattooed his daughter at 16 (before Roy left for the military), either way. But assuming he saw a potential match between them both (even simply the pressure of indebtedness to take care of his daughter), then what was so wrong with tattooing her? Berthold emphasizes to Roy that he must ask Riza for the research, and if she judges him worthy of it, it will be his. The final agency of actually being willing to share that with Roy is ultimately up to his daughter.

Berthold didn’t bestow it to Roy directly; rather, he very cleverly arranged it so that Riza had to be the one to share it, if he died. Now, I don’t think Berthold was thinking along the lines of ‘yes, I will hook up my daughter with that apprentice boy’, but more along the lines of, “Yes, my research will remain with the people I want it to be with, and I can probably assure my daughter is looked after/taken care of when I die.”

Which I summed up with when talking to Hawkie as:

 Berthold has no idea how to show he is a good dad, at all. So he’s like “yes, give my daughter my most special thing because I trust her – VIA PERMANENT INK.” then, “she likes that boy, right? She seems to listen when he talks. He does a lot of talking.” Hm. “He will take care of her, he’s not a total idiot. BRILLIANT.”

Which is why I think Berthold would be like:
 "this boy is somewhat socially adept"
 "and charming"
“I would hate him if he was not good at alchemy”

Because while Berthold may have permanently inked his daughter with deadly alchemy secrets, estranged her from all her living relatives, kept her in a slowly destitute household, and all around ignored her in favor of his research, there is no way in hell he would let anyone other than a prodigy date his only daughter. If for no other reason than to protect the living line of his genius. And who better a prodigy than the boy he molded to fit his own standard? Berthold you are a card.



Part 11 of my young Riza comic.

Every year, Berthold builds a fire for his wife.

What if I changed the art style a bit? It’s looser but it’s also easier and faster for me to do, and IMO looks better.

Next week’s update is the last part of the 1900 chapter. I’m going to take a tiny break between 1900 and 1901 to catch up on requests and stuff.

So Feb 16th, update.

Feb 23rd, no update.

March 2nd, start of 1901.

Anyway, I just want to say thanks to everyone who follows my dumb comic. I wouldn’t have made it this far without all your support (◡‿◡✿)

These are chibis of Riza Hawkeye’s parents, Berthold Hawkeye and Emily Grumman :3

Emily is probably about 17 here, while Berthold is around 26. Yes, we are aware that their age gap is very large, and yes it is on purpose XDDD Their large age gap plays a large role in their story.

So, this is what they looked like when they were younger!

We believe that Berthold stopped taking care of himself after his wife died, and it’s why he looks the way he does in the manga.

We can explain our story for them another time o3o/

Berthhold Hawkeye

I’ve been meaning to talk about this for a little while, and now I finally have the time to do so. I think that the relationship between Riza and her father is one often misinterpreted, and often centered on one issue: whether or not Berthold was abusive. Personally, I align with the belief that he wasn’t. At a passing glance, one might assume that he was, but I think it’s more complicated than that. We really need to understand Berthold, not only as a father, but also as a person, before we make assumptions.

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