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The Crack Alchemist

Now, Where Was I?

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To Play With Fire
where's my crack
crack_alchemist
Just something random that popped from my brain tonight. Started out as a companion piece to One Night in Ishbal and then it grew a life of its own.

Title: To Play With Fire
Pairing: Roy/Riza
Rating: PG-14
Warning: Spoiler for the end of the series. Some angst.
Synopsis: Some people like to play with fire; some people have no choice.



To Play With Fire

Riza slid bit as she crested the hill. The darkness was encroaching and she was beyond tired. Her mind spun from the sharp jabs of hunger in her stomach and the events of the day. She’d been moving around for hours, looking, searching. Her life had flashed before her eyes on more than one occasion, and she wasted a few choice hours cursing herself for being a damned fool.

It was a bad habit that she couldn’t break, to worry at a goal like a dog worried at an old shoe. Her grandfather despaired that she would never learn to just leave things be, then prayed that she would learn to turn it to a good use one day.

"Well, apparently, that day hasn’t come," she muttered to herself. Or she wouldn’t have been scrambling all over a war zone looking for one scrawny, solitary soldier among the crush of dusty uniforms and dirty faces and bloodied hands.

Sharp rocks cut into her knee as she knelt and peered at the encampment just ahead. Its precise organization, the neatly lit fires and equipment confirmed that this was a military camp. Small encampments such as these were dotted all over the city and she hoped she’d finally found the right one.

Her coordination was slipping dangerously, she realized as she tripped again. She looked up at the sky; the moon was high and full. She’d been awake for over thirty hours, and expected to be awake for quite a few more hours.

Her foot was starting to hurt. She looked down, hoping that it was only a sprain. At that moment, she couldn’t tell one way or the other.

As she closed in, the fires and organization made it easier to make her way. She limped through the tents, hoping he hadn’t decided to hide in one of them. She rather doubted it.

That one didn’t seem to be the type to hide from his own shadow.

The camp was still busy. Preparations for the following morning, she supposed, sliding out of the way of bustling aides-de-camp and making dammed sure she stay out of the line of sight of any one wearing more stars than she wanted to see.

And sure enough, somewhere near the center of the camp, was circle of exclusive tents. This was the protected section, where the Generals gave their orders. And where the precious weapons and other ordinance were kept from harm.

She stumbled to a sudden halt when she came upon him. After her entire day, it had been as easy as this. He was sitting, still, quiescent even, staring into the fire. It was as if they were alone in the whirling midst of the chaos surrounding them.

Two steps and she realized that he wasn’t staring at the fire. A small table was situated in front of him, and in the midst of the chaos, and by the light of the modest fire, he was considering a...chess board. He had a scrap of paper in his hands, which covered a thin silver flask. He took a drag from it, glanced at the paper, then back at the board. As she watched, dumbfounded, he picked up a piece and placed it – from the other side of the board, then went back to his study from his side.

She stopped a few paces from the fire and rested her rifle in the sand. The sound caught his attention; his head snapped in her direction, his hand poised to snap.

“Who’s there?” he called. “Identify yourself, soldier.”

She limped slowly into the circle cast by the fire. Bracing herself on her rifle, she pulled her hand up. “Lieutenant–,”

“Riza Hawkeye.”

She blinked.

He stood slowly toward her. In his eyes danced the reflection of the fire. For a second, he looked demonic. He looked her up and down slowly. “Come to finish your job?” He said quietly, turning back to the board. “Such a little girl, they picked, to complete such a big job."

Riza bristled at the insult. She knew she probably looked like a child in her big brother’s uniform, but she also knew how hard she worked to get where she was. He didn’t. He probably didn’t know one grunt soldier from the next. His kind usually didn’t. She stood as straight as her foot would allow. “Your ... actions rendered my task unnecessary, sir.” She met his eye this time when he turned back to her. “If you had failed, you would have been dead right next to those two doctors.”

“How old are you, girl?”

She was beginning to regret her decision. She didn’t want to be anywhere near this man. His bitterness scorched her like acid. “How old are you, sir?”

He frankly stared, shocked at her temerity. Then he smirked. “Check and mate, Lieutenant. Let’s just say we’re both a little young to be playing...at this game. But, really, how old are you? Fifteen? Sixteen?”

“Does that matter, sir?”

He gave her a dangerous smile. “It could.” He came closer and gave her a head-to-toe glance that skated across her raw and tired nerves like a branding iron.

She bristled. Again her tongue ran in front of her good sense. "I believe you have had too much to drink, sir."

He waved the flask in his hand. "At this point, Lieutenant, I could never have enough...but, really, why have you come?”

Riza tore her eyes away from him and looked out over the tents. She considered the question carefully. Why had she come? Or, at least, what could she give him a reason? “I’ve come to offer my services.”

A dark eyebrow arched. “Really?”

Riza blushed, glad he probably couldn’t see it through the grime and the moonlight. “As your assistant.”

“Don’t you have a commanding officer?” he asked. “The person who sent you on your–special mission?”

Riza winced. “I report for duty wherever I am needed.”

Again that spark in the Lieutenant Colonel’s eyes, and she realized she might have said something wrong again. “I don’t need a little girl like you. What do I need with the likes of you?”

Before she could call them back, the words flowed. “This little girl almost put a bullet right into your head!” She closed her eyes and gathered her tattered nerves about her and tried again. “And I can make sure that no one even thinks of trying the same thing twice.”

He stared at her for a long moment, then bowed his head in mute acknowledgment. " Come over here, Lieutenant. I bet it’s been a while since you’ve taken a rest.”

When she made it over to the other side of the fire, she sat cautiously. He handed the flask over to her. “Be careful. They use that stuff to fuel the tanks.”

She took a long pull, grateful for anything to moisten her parched throat. After her eyes settled back into their sockets, she handed the flask back and waited for him to tell her what she was supposed to do.

He took his time with the chessboard, explaining as he considered his pieces. “My friend and I have been playing this game for six weeks. It keeps me sane, and keeps him from worrying about where the hell I am.”

She nodded, not quite sure what to say. Had he accepted her offer or was he just toying with her?

Finally, he chose his move and then stood and stretched.

Before he entered the tent, he looked over his shoulder. Riza watched the shadows from the fire play over his features and thought at that moment, he looked much older than a mere twenty-three year old should.

He reached in the tent and threw out a bed roll. “Sorry,” he said, “it’s all I can offer you for tonight. Tomorrow, you’ll have all of the proper equipment that my subordinate deserves.”

It was then that he gave her a first order.

“If you don’t mind,” he said, his voice whisper thin. “Keep the fire lit. Darkness is not an enemy I care to meet tonight.”

***

Riza looked at the wounded man sleeping in her bed. Her hand gently ran over the bandage covering his left eye. He murmured and turned his head into her hand for a moment. Her throat tightened.

This little girl almost put a bullet right into your head!

And she’d almost done it again. One half-inch more to the right... She held her moan of pain between tightly closed lips.

Before she left him to curl up on her own couch for the night, she checked the lamp beside the bed. Enough oil to last the night. Enough to keep the darkness away.

“This time,” she whispered, so lightly that her voice mingled with the night time sounds outside of the window. “I'll make sure I do my job right. I swear it.”


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Eee, what a wonderful surprise this little fic was! Thank you.

by the way, I hope you didn't find this (or my other story) through fma_het. just got told i've been posting too much. guess they don't like the daily dose of fic from me, so yeah, won't be posting much there any more.

Oh, no. I found you through the fm_alchemist community. I haven't been really following the FMA fandom since the series ended, but I visited there on a whim and lo and behold, there you were! Omg! And I love Royai -- especially Riza/Royai. It's nice to find good fanfiction that isn't rife with the buttsex.

(Not that I have a problem with yaoi, it's just refreshing to see something hetero.)

Ohh and before I forget:

I was browsing through my fanart collection and while I absolutely cannot remember the name of the Japanese artist who painted this (or his website), it just screams little black dress.

http://www.midnight-fox.com/images/094.gif

He did a lot of other very pretty pictures. I wish I could find his site.

Excuse me for butting in about 3 months later, but fma_het told you you were posting too much on their community?

I'm tempted to plain out remove them now. How ridiculous is that. Your stories are some of the best FMA het out there. It's odd, I AM a blatantly het-preference person, but in FMA, I found myself mostly reading the things on sky_dark's ref list. In fact, I think that's how I found GWF (which I'm still savoring bit by bit every day) and from there, your other work. You really opened a whole new door into this fandom for me - so much so that I'm actually planning on cosplaying Riza Hawkeye and doing a Royai skit at an upcoming convention. I NEVER planned on cosplaying Riza (as much as I always liked her), EVER, but your ficcage has really inspired me.

Fuck fma_het. You rock. And I hope you don't mind, but I will be adding you to my list to keep tabs on your current works.

Thanks, hon! Yeah, back then, I was posting GWF every day and they told me it was too much. *shrugs* so now the only thing I post there is the fic i post on sundays. i guess every comm has their rules.

thanks for the kind words! i never planned to write quite so much in this fandom, but i find myself totally addicted. XDD

go ahead and add, i never mind new friends! XDDDDD

that was as good if not better than the first...i really think you can begin a profession writing stories like this...you totally grasp the meaning and catch every detail...very cool...

again, thanks! made my night!

Good fic... I love Ishbal fic. ♥

And don't worry about fm_alchemist; they're teh gay.

thanks! and fm_alchemist is okay peeps to me (so far). it was fm_het who smacked me on the wrist for posting twice in one night.

(Deleted comment)
the end of the anime kills me. dead.

the scene in the market? omgcute! I about died, then rewound and watched it over...and over...and over...giggling with girlish glee the whole time...

It was a shining spot in the mass of "wtf??"

aw very good ^_^

I can't believe they told you that you post too much wtf o-0
Its awesome being able to read a bit everyday instead of waiting weeks or even months for it o-o~!
Especially when yours is so damn good! XD

aww...that made my heart clench up...and about made me cry at the end

fabulous!

Very nice, interesting little piece. I'd love to see more of young!Roy and young!Riza.

This was excellent! As with your first piece in this series, I think it needs to continue. It does wrap up nicely but leaves you wanting oh so much more!

I agree with everyone else. I am fairly new to the LJ Communities (been lurking on them for about 3 weeks now) but I think that is stupid that one group told you that you post too much. From what I have seen some of the journals don't get traffic even every day, let alone more than a couple of posts. I figure you were just picking up the slack and at least you were posting quality stuff (assuming that your work was as good as this one).

Great job. I hope to see more from you!

very, very nice work. :) the flashback thing was very well handled. ^____^ very apt for the situation, too. :) keep the GREAT fics coming!

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