It wasn’t going to be an issue, staying the last two nights
of Edward and Winry’s wedding week in a hotel.
Roy and Riza were covered for the bachelor
and bachelorette party and the one night before.
But, the evening before the wedding,
more and more people, relatives, friends,
nearly the entire town of Resembool,
quite a bit more people than one would think
by just looking at it, all of them flooded into the area.
Too many of close friends needed a place to stay.
And, the ever kind, golden-hearted Winry Rockbell
began to panic.
Attempting to calm his bride-to-be,
Edward got to work, strategizing,
attempting to remove some stress.
Because, frankly, he was quite
a bit more ruthless when it came
to other people.
Why can’t he just be nice,
Winry always grumbled.
This time, it came in handy.
Paninya had to stay. Garfiel,
Winry’s automail teacher, had also arrived.
May finally returned from Xing.
It felt right to keep her and Alphonse together.
Then Winry, Ed, and Pinako
all took up three more beds.
Now, the portion of Team Mustang that did make it out East, Havoc,
Breda and Fuery opted to actually camp in the fields of Resembool.
That was a terrible idea. Havoc pretended to take his own tent,
but most certainly snuck Rebecca Catalina in to join him during the night.
So she was covered.
Winry was sweet and naïve enough to
let all four of them use the showers
to get ready in the mornings.
Terrible idea indeed.
Either way, Riza refused to join the men.
They were always trouble when together off duty.
And, she didn’t want to be there to witness whatever
strange whatnot was happening between Havoc and Rebecca.
Roy was too pampered to stay outside,
with cow manure and bugs and the lot.
So they stayed at the Rockbell’s
until Winry’s great dilemma.
Quite naturally, Ed’s pick for the first one to go was Roy Mustang.
And with General Mustang, his Captain, Riza Hawkeye.
Ed was more willing to kick Roy out into the open prairie,
than he was Captain Hawkeye.
Hawkeye was an ally.
Mustang was a bastard.
Though, Ed would never admit his reasoning was much
more logical, sensible, rational.
Roy Mustang was still a State Alchemist.
The program hadn’t been shut down yet.
His alchemy came in handy with investigations.
Frankly, criminals were terrified of Mustang.
So they usually were less inclined to fight back when under arrest
after taking advantage of the government’s slight discombobulation,
in the transition from military state to democracy.
Not only that, but he was a Brigadier General now,
a crucial political player moving forward.
Point being, he was still one of the more handsomely
compensated citizens of Amestris. And, Riza Hawkeye,
a far more compassionate human being, held his purse strings.
As predicted, Riza was outstandingly kind when Winry
addressed her via a phone call a month before.
Riza comforted the young bride-to-be, promised her it was most
certainly not a problem. And, Ed was quite correct.
With a chuckle, she confirmed she did hold the General’s purse strings,
particularly to his State Alchemist funds and savings,
as well as held quite the persuasive hand in his decision-making.
They would be happy to free up some space in the Rockbell
household and rent rooms at the little inn by the train station.
Winry still, of course, apologized profusely,
over and over and over. But, Riza wasn’t worried.
She knew how to handle the General while he traveled,
and honestly, an inn would elicit less complaining,
because Edward wouldn’t be in earshot,
like he was two nights in a row before.
Those two nights were, as expected,
full of bickering.
Riza has acquired three headaches in the process.
So, she was looking forward to her own room.
At that point, she was more than happy to leave
behind the loud little house and stay in the inn
for the rest of the night.
She had called in the reservation far in advance,
two nights, one room,
two twin beds.
“Yes, I have you down for Room Four,
two nights, two twin beds.”
Roy tapped his foot and examined
the tiny little lobby, if you could call it that.
It was cute, quaint,
But, there were owls
Owl shaped clock,
two owl shaped rugs.
At least 30 owl figurines cluttering the shelves behind
the sweet old woman flipping through her paper logs,
reading back the details of Riza’s call.
Roy watched every owl on the shelves,
wincing at each pair of creepy eyes.
Surely they would come awake
during the dead of night
and kill them both.
He would sleep with his gloves on perhaps.
In other words, Roy wasn’t paying attention
when Riza’s voice started to betray her,
with just the slightest bit of panic.
“I apologize. I believe I reserved two rooms,”
Roy averted his eyes to a paper sign near the hallway,
over a little table boasting about a sparkling new
water jug and directions to a state of the art ice machine.
Well, at least they could have a complimentary
ice-cold glass of water before they died.
“I have you down here for only one. There are two separate beds though!”
the old woman tried to comfort Riza, trying her best not to place blame.
But, Riza knew it was her fault.
That week she made the arrangement was a particularly difficult one.
The past month was a particularly difficult one.
She and the General were far too overworked,
preparing for the official move to Ishval.
She must have made a mistake.
She had hoped Roy hadn’t heard, hoping he was distracted,
disgruntled over the loss of his latest fight with Fullmetal:
who could eat the most in one sitting. Pathetic.
But, this particular detail,
sharing a room with his Captain,
something she never ever would have allowed,
this particular mistake was unmissable,
unforgettable music to his ears,
as he immediately forgot about Fullmetal,
the heavy weight of his over-stuffed stomach,
as well as the evil killer owls that would haunt his nightmares tonight.
“One room, huh?” Roy grinned, joked, teased.
It earned him a glare. She knew precisely what he was suggesting.
It was an old joke, a dead horse.
Riza mumbled to him, utterly irritated.
“Not if I can help it, Sir.”
She turned back to the little lady,
“Could we rent a second room, ‘madam?”
Riza didn’t mean to say it,
but it certainly came out,
“I’ll pay double.”
“Double?” Roy whined, not for the fact that
the extra cost would be out of his pocket book,
But, rather, that Riza Hawkeye was just so good
at shutting him down flat. Even when he was joking.
The owner gave Riza an apologetic,
sympathetic little frown.
“I’m sorry, my dear, We had a guest book
the other three rooms for their own party.”
“Here for the Elric-Rockbell wedding?”
Roy asked. The woman nodded.
Roy looked to Riza,
“I didn’t know Fullmetal had so many friends.”
Riza didn’t have time at all to respond,
to reprimand him, still so childish about a boy
nearly half his age.
Because it was then that Ling,
yes Ling Yao, newly crowned Emperor
of the great country of Xing
appeared in the lobby out of nowhere,
closely behind was his beloved bodyguard,
All three jumped at the sudden
burst of an over-joyous voice,
“General, Captain! What a delight,”
Riza calmed her heartbeat, pulled her grip off her gun.
Roy slipped his hand out of the glove in his pocket.
And, the woman behind the counter lowered the largest
wooden owl she had grabbed off the shelf.
“We were just going for dinner.
Would you like to tag along?”
“So, you’re the guest who has booked three rooms?”
Riza ignored his offer and asked instantly,
resisting the urge to immediately plead or pay or fight
for the rights to a room of her own.
“Oh yes! Plenty of room for our stay. The suite for myself.
a cozy room for Lan Fan,“
“You guys aren’t together yet?”
Roy grumbled under his breath.
Riza elbowed him in the rib, hard.
Roy burst into a fit of coughing.
“Oh no, of course not,” Ling answered Roy, utilizing his ears
of a fruit bat, “That would be quite inappropriate, currently,
at least, for a number of reasons.”
Ling smiled slyly, “But you two know all about that.”
Roy gaped. Riza steeled, as did Lan Fan.
None of them denied anything.
“Could we use your other room, Ling?”
“Your Majesty,” Lan Fan corrected her.
“No no, Lan Fan. These are our friends.” Ling said,
“Captain Hawkeye, You are welcome to our third room.
It has a nice queen-sized bed.
Very relaxing. Just what you need, I bet.”
Riza’s lungs felt like they collapsed in relief,
all the breath she had been holding, finally set free.
Roy stared at his Captain, a bit wounded.
“Thank you, Your Majesty, from the bottom of my hea-“
“Of course you’ll have to move our luggage around.”
“Ah yes,” the old lady traced Ling and Lan Fan’s
reservation penciled in her big book,
“They rented the third room for cargo.”
She looked from Riza to Roy,
once more, apologetically,
“It is quite packed.”
“You need a whole room for luggage?” Roy said, stale,
hopeless, and not ready to hear how much of his money Riza
would offer the Emperor to let her just sleep on top of the luggage itself,
rather than anywhere near him.
“His majesty requires many things when traveling.
Clothing, traditional, formal, and lounge wear.
Our wedding gifts for the bride and groom-“
Lan Fan started with the basics, the reasonable,
Ling gave himself away as an unnecessarily heavy packer
when he mentioned, “As well as my dining collection, of course.”
Lan Fan sighed. “A dining collection?” Riza asked.
“Priceless Xingese originals,”
“Why?” Roy said simply, ready for bed,
ready to sleep away
his aching stomach,
those evil owls,
and Hawkeye’s utter rejection,
all of it.
“What else am I to eat on?” Ling laughed,
unfazed, and unmerciful in the politest way.
“Understood,” Riza said quietly,
picked up her suitcase, and admitted defeat.
“Are you sure, Captain?” Roy checked,
both with the slightest bit of sass,
and a touch of actual concern.
Riza just kept her back turned,
He would move the luggage.
He would complain about it, of course.
He would tease her until all the cows in Resembool came home.
But, he would move the luggage,
if sharing a room with him
really truly bothered her.
“Let’s just go to bed,” she said,
even too tired to tack on a “sir.”
“Goodnight General, Captain!”
His majesty called cheerily from the lobby.
Roy looked over his shoulder,
ignored Ling’s lifted hand wave,
then checked Riza once more.
Her shoulders slumped.
He saw the room across from theirs.
Room Three. He could break in,
set their luggage on fire,
That would certainly clear up some space.
“Please don’t burn their belongings, General”
Riza said weakly, without even turning.
Roy reached to hold the door open
for the rest of her way in, struggling with
her small suitcase.
“Not even for your sake, Captain?”
“Not even for my sake.”