Characters: Roy Mustang, Riza Hawkeye
Word Count: ~1,800
Warnings (including spoilers): Spoilers for the end of the Fullmetal Alchemist manga. Violence, language
Synopsis: Mustang and Hawkeye get a little more trouble than they bargained for when a scouting mission goes south... which isn't to say it's more than they can handle.
Notes: Written for yhlee as the winning bid for my 'Help the Project' offer.
After being blinded for the second time in his life, it took Roy Mustang approximately five seconds to process the complete despair he felt at the knowledge that his military career was effectively over. Again.
The first time it had taken something more like half an hour for him to mentally unfreeze himself enough to start thinking, planning, moving again like he needed to in order to get things done, but as it turned out, the adage 'practice makes perfect' was applicable in a wide variety of circumstances. Which was fortunate, because it was approximately seven seconds after getting a face full of... something that he heard a bullet whiz by his left ear and realized that the grenade which had thrown burning, painful shit in his eyes also had destroyed his cover and he was now crouched in the open, easily visible to the insurgent bastards they had come this far to the northeast to eliminate in the first place.
Hearing another bullet pass him by entirely too close for comfort, Roy did an awkward half dive, half scramble to his right, vaguely remembering a convenient cropping of rubble there that had seemed at least a little more sturdy than his former cover of crumbling stone wall. Shit, where were his men? He'd left the vast majority of his command back at camp with Breda in charge and Fuery trying to intercept the insurgents' radio transmissions, but there had also been twelve soldiers with him at the start of this scouting mission. At least eight of them had survived the initial attack after their intelligence had turned out to be wrong and they'd been caught in enemy crossfire on the outskirts of this godforsaken town where the insurgents had made their base. Still, no one had known that the bastards were well stocked enough to have grenades in any quantity, and for all he knew-
Wait. Where was Hawkeye? She'd been right next to him when that first grenade had gone off.
“Lieutenant?” Roy silently cursed himself for how uneven his voice came out, how he had to clear his throat twice before he could call for his second at a volume she could conceivable hear at any distance over the constant chatter of gunfire. The sound of which quickly grew louder as it became clear they were narrowing in on his location. Roy gritted his teeth. God damn it, for all he knew Hawkeye was lying on the ground not five feet from him, unconscious or... shit, the loss of his eyes was one thing, as much as it twisted his stomach, but to lose Hawkeye again-
Roy twisted his head to the right, despite knowing he wouldn't see anything. “Lieutenant! Are you uninjured?”
Despite everything, he could still hear the sigh in Hawkeye's voice as she replied, “Caught a little shrapnel in my left leg and was stunned for a moment or two, sir, but I was able to roll out of the way before the second grenade went off.”
“There was a second grenade?”
“Yes sir. You were unconscious for that one, but the wall at least protected you from most of the explosion before it gave out. I think you lost some hearing, though, sir. I was whispering for you for nearly a minute before you started calling for me and I realized you couldn't hear anyone I had said.”
Roy hadn't noticed the ringing in his ears until Hawkeye pointed out there was something wrong with them, but he still managed an (admittedly somewhat bitter) smile. “That's not the only thing I lost, lieutenant.”
That made Hawkeye pay attention. “Sir?”
“How's my face look?”
There was a scraping sound at Hawkeye leaned closer. “Just a few powder burns on your cheeks and a nasty scrape on your forehead, sir. Nothing that will not heal, though your pupils are not focusing correctly. Are you concussed?”
Come to think of it, Roy's head didn't feel too good either. “Maybe, but there's a more immediate concern. I think the universe has it out for my eyes. Maybe God finally decided I'd admired a woman's assets one time too many.”
There was a sharp intake of breath. “Sir...”
Roy hand-waved away her concern, knowing at that moment he couldn't afford it. “Well, at least I have the comfort of knowing I've retained my good looks. Which is a trend that probably won't continue if these bastards riddle me full of holes. How many men have we lost?”
“No one but Corbin, Marshall, and Tanner are responding to call outs, sir, and both Tanner and Corbin are badly injured. I ordered Marshall to stay put and look after them, since we cannot do any more scouting as things stand.”
Roy hissed through his teeth. “Well, I think it's safe to report this scouting mission a complete cock-up, lieutenant.”
Roy didn't have to see to know that Hawkeye was currently giving him a curt nod. “Agreed. There is one good bit of news though, sir.”
“And what might this ray of sunshine be?”
“The insurgents have several hundred grenades and a number of other small explosives. From what I could see before I made my way over to you, they appear to be making them. The group that is shooting at us has at least twenty grenades left.”
Roy snorted. “And this is good news how?”
“They aren't very good at making explosives, sir. It's a pretty primitive operation, for all its effectiveness. In fact,” and here the grin, badly repressed, could clearly be heard in Hawkeye's voice, “all of the explosives have fuses.”
Roy flexed his fingers, once, twice, making sure his hands were undamaged. He hadn't needed his gloves since his trip to the gate nearly a year ago, but somehow he had never stopped visualizing the alchemical circles on the back of his hands whenever he was called to do his specialty. “Right behind me?”
“More like a 165 degree turn to your left, sir, after you raise yourself to standing position.”
“Anything for me to hit I shouldn't in my line of fire?”
“I will have to move you closer for you to be in range of the main supply of explosives, but Corbin, Marshall, and Tanner are behind us.”
“What's the chance I'll get filled with holes before I have the chance to set of their explosives?”
There was the sound of three pistol shots in close succession from right next to his head. “Significantly less now, sir, I just killed three of them and they'll keep their heads down for at least the next ten seconds.
Roy gave a sharp grin. “Well, this bunch of extremist crazies was never up for negotiating, anyway.” Then he pushed himself to his feet, turned, and clapped.
Over the rising sound of flames and a quick series of explosions, he could just barely make out Hawkeye's murmur of, “Whatever helps you sleep at night, sir,” before the ringing bangs of her bullet shots drowned out any more attempts at conversation.
It turned out that the camp was as packed full of explosives as Hawkeye had reported (no surprise there); Roy could feel the heat even when he set them off at a distance of more than 200 feet, and to judge by how forcefully Hawkeye dragged him down to the ground, they were still within range of at least the periphery of the blast radius.
It was about five minutes after they were finished—Hawkeye having called in on the radio—that the medics from their camp showed up to take care of... well, everyone who had survived but Marshall, which fortunately included three more of their men that had been knocked unconscious by the grenade blasts. Breda—sounding like he was holding back tears—wouldn't stop apologizing for the failure of their intelligence for all he hadn't been part of the initial team sent to investigate the new insurgency group. It finally took a stern word to save it until later from Hawkeye for Breda to back off. It was only when they got back to their camp's medical tent that Roy consented to a look at his eyes, having begged off earlier on the grounds that it was the furthest thing from a life-threatening injury any of the survivors had incurred.
Roy knew he was babbling to try and prepare himself for the worst (and it could hardly be anything else, with his luck), but he couldn't seem to stop himself from chattering at Hawkeye in the bed to his left while the chief doctor shone a light into his eyes. “Maybe I'll finally learn to play the piano like my mom always wanted. She often said to me, 'Roy, my boy, you have the long fingers of a musician, you should put them to good use.' And I've heard women like a man who knows how to play instruments well... heh...”
It was then that Roy heard the click of the doctor turning off his light. He had to force his tone casual as he said, “Well?” but at least his voice came out as steady as he wanted it this time.
“The corneas of your eyes are damaged by minor gunpowder burns, but that should not have entirely destroyed your vision. The rest of it is flash blindness on your retinas. You might suffer from a little vision impairment from the gunpowder burns, but most of your eyesight will return within the hour.”
Roy let out a breath he had only been distantly aware he was holding as the doctor continued with, “You also have a concussion. A medic will check on you every five minutes for the next couple of hours to make sure you don't fall asleep, but I would appreciate you keeping him company, Lieutenant Hawkeye.”
“Of course, doctor.”
The doctor left. For a few moments, there was nothing but the sound of breathing and the occasional rustling sound of someone turning over before Hawkeye finally said, sounding amused, “You must have stared at a lot of women's breasts for you to think you had earned God's wrath because of it, sir. Maybe you should take his warning, since you never paid heed to any of mine.”
Roy grinned. “Nonsense, lieutenant. If God really wanted to punish me for my... ahem... interest in women, he would have taken my hands. Obviously, this is a hint to do less... observing... and more, er, participating, as it were.”
“If that's what it would take, I suppose I could arrange to have a few of your fingers removed, sir.”
Roy snorted. “Very funny, lieutenant.”
There was nothing but silence in reply.