"What are you wearing, Elizabeth?" Colonel Mustang asked, voice lower than its usual timbre. The slight crackle from the telephone connection did nothing to mask his husky tone.
"Roy," Hawkeye giggled, her tone flirty and lightly chastising. "Not much. You know how I like to relax on my nights off."
Fuery's face flushed, feeling a perverse intruder to this intimate conversation. As he sat in the room of an abandoned apartment building, exactly one floor below Hawkeye, Fuery could infer from both his growing familiarity with their coded conversations and the darkened street below that the Lieutenant was telling the Colonel that their suspect had yet to appear.
Fuery knew their deception was key, especially when the suspect was rumored to have ears inside East Headquarters. But did his superiors have to be so damn convincing? Their code seemed too natural, their voices too charged with desire, and it made him squirm. They could pretend all they wanted that they were strictly platonic, but moments like these made Fuery want to lock them in a room for an hour to relieve their sexual tension—if not for their sake, then at least for his.
"Oh? Not much? Why not make it nothing at all?"
Fuery resisted the urge to bury his face in his hands as Hawkeye breathed in sharply, instinctively, then let out a strained laugh.
It was going to be a long night.
When Fuery first joined Mustang's unit, his drive to prove himself in spite of his youth led him to arrive far too early every day for his first month. "First impressions last forever," his mother had advised him while they waited for the train to East City, rubbing his back as she used to do to help him fall asleep.
So when he entered the office at his usual time near the first month's end, Fuery was confused to see Lieutenant Hawkeye already there. Her face mirrored his surprise as she stood behind Colonel Mustang's desk.
"Good morning, Sergeant Fuery. I know you're always here first, but is it usually this early?" the Lieutenant asked, smoothing the surprise from her face.
Fuery shrugged, trying to downplay his over-eagerness. "Pretty often, Sir." He then noticed a small package in Hawkeye's hands, wrapped like a gift. Her sharp eyes followed his line of sight, and the normally unflappable Lieutenant's face grew slightly red.
"It's the Colonel's birthday today," Hawkeye responded to Fuery's questioning gaze, shifting around on her feet. "So I got him something small."
Fuery held back a smile. In his short time at East Headquarters, he'd already heard the rumors that flew around regarding the Colonel and his Lieutenant—some innocent ("They are hopelessly devoted to each other."), some wild ("Mustang keeps her on his unit because he loves being dominated."), and some that made his blood boil ("She's fucking him to get ahead.").
He didn't know the exact truth just yet, but he understood well enough that Mustang and Hawkeye harbored feelings for each other that went beyond superior and subordinate. Fuery also knew that, to protect his superiors, he needed to turn a blind eye to whatever was going on, no matter how unwittingly, frustratingly obvious they acted.
So instead, Fuery changed the subject. "Sir, I keep forgetting to ask. Could you please show me how to file an expense report?" He lied. He knew how to file an expense report.
Hawkeye gave Fuery a warm, grateful smile. "Of course, Sergeant." She stashed the gift in the Colonel's top drawer and walked over to Fuery's desk.
The rest of the unit slowly filtered into the office, with Mustang the last to arrive. After thanking his unit for their birthday wishes and settling into his desk, Mustang opened his top drawer to take out the day's paperwork.
Fuery watched from the corner of his eye as a small grin light up Mustang's face. But neither the Colonel nor the Lieutenant dared to look at each other in that moment, and the day continued on like any other.
"Permission to leave early, Sir?"
Mustang looked up at his Lieutenant with a cocky smile. "You mean leave on time for once? I suppose, just don't make a habit of it like the rest of these slackers."
Havoc sputtered an indignant "Hey!" as Hawkeye thanked the Colonel and walked back to her desk. Fuery, like always, tried to ignore how Mustang's gaze remained focused on Hawkeye when he thought the rest of the team was too immersed in their work to notice (they noticed).
"Yeah, what could possibly be so important?" Breda asked, leaning back in his chair and raising a ginger eyebrow at Hawkeye.
Hawkeye kept her eyes trained on her paperwork. "Just going out to dinner with Lieutenant Catalina."
"Oh!" Havoc straightened in his chair. "Is this the double date she was telling me about? I heard she's setting you up with some hotshot firefighter."
Hawkeye nodded but didn't look up from her papers. From the tense set of her shoulders, Fuery could tell she was done with the conversation. Havoc, though, either didn't realize or didn't care.
"A firefighter, huh?" Havoc looked to Mustang, who had averted his eyes from Hawkeye to stare at the file before him in a rare display of diligence. His lips were pursed together tightly. Fuery shot a warning glance at Havoc, but the man plowed on.
"Better not let him anywhere near you, huh Boss? Finally, a man who'd make you useless around the ladies."
Mustang's grip on his pen tightened, but his voice stayed even. "Yes, maybe I'd be able to sympathize with you for once."
Havoc crossed his arms and huffed as the rest of the team laughed, relieved to have dissipated the budding tension.
Still, when Hawkeye left, the Colonel sent her off with a curter than usual good-bye, and he remained uncommonly quiet for the rest of the evening.
Fuery sighed internally. He was not looking forward to repeating this tomorrow morning when Havoc would inevitably pry into the details of Hawkeye's date.
The Team was in good spirits—their sting operation was flawless, catching East City's longstanding drug kingpin with no casualties on either side and enough evidence to put Ackerman away for a long time. That Friday after work, they made their way to their favorite bar, the one far enough away from headquarters that it felt like they were free from the shackles of the military, even if just for a few hours.
Hawkeye, who was in a particularly good mood for having tackled Ackerman when he tried to run, agreed to come with them for once. Fuery was glad. As much as he loved his other teammates, Hawkeye's calming presence and good-natured humor often kept the men from teasing him too much.
"Fuery, all I'm saying is you need to pick up a sexier hobby if you ever want a girlfriend," Havoc slurred, well into his sixth drink and leaning into Falman for support. "Radios are nice and all, but unless you can show me a frequency that'll charm a woman's panties off, I'll pass."
"Clearly you underestimate how sexy a radio is, Havoc," Hawkeye interjected, cheeks rosy from liquor. She sat next to the Colonel, their bodies less than an inch apart. The further into the night and deeper into their drinks they got, the more quickly the space between the two disappeared. "FM does mean 'Fuck Me.'"
The Team guffawed as Havoc rolled his eyes, but the ghost of a smile betrayed his amusement. The Colonel used the distraction to shift infinitesimally closer to his Lieutenant. Fuery took his glasses off and rubbed his face to hide his frustration at their ever-glacial pace.
"Okay bud, I think it's time we get you home," Breda said, standing up from the booth.
"Just so you know, it actually means frequency modulation," Falman offered, sliding out of the booth after Breda. The two men helped Havoc get up despite his grumblings.
"Thanks, Mr. Encyclopedia Amestris."
Fuery decided to follow their lead. The men bid their good nights to Mustang and Hawkeye, who stayed seated in the booth, and half-supported Havoc as they made their way outside. While they debated calling a cab, Fuery realized from the slightly blurry world that he forgot his glasses on the table. He told the men he'd be right back as he re-entered the bar.
He stopped short of their booth. The space had closed. Hawkeye was leaning against Mustang, eyes closed and looking more relaxed than Fuery had ever seen her. The Colonel was staring down at the glass in his hands, the wide grin on his face making him look five years younger.
Fuery could live without his glasses until tomorrow morning. As he stepped outside the bar again, none of the men commented on the absence of his glasses.
Black Hayate jumped at Fuery's legs, tongue lolling out of his mouth. Fuery laughed and patted the dog's head as Hawkeye beamed at Hayate's exuberance over seeing Fuery.
"Thanks so much for watching him while I'm on vacation in East City for the next two days," Hawkeye said, handing Hayate's lead to Fuery. "Rebecca's apartment doesn't allow dogs."
"It's no problem, I don't mind sneaking him into my dorm for two days. Right boy?" Hayate let out a happy yip.
"I'll pick him up Thursday morning." Hawkeye squatted and gave Hayate one last treat. "Now be good."
"What's going on here?" Fuery looked over his shoulder to see Mustang approaching them through the courtyard gates of Central Headquarters. Hayate wagged his tail to greet the Colonel.
"Just handing custody of Hayate to Sergeant Fuery before I head East for vacation, Sir," Hawkeye replied, standing up.
"Oh?" Mustang raised an eyebrow at her. "You know, I would've been more than happy to look after him while you're away."
"I appreciate that, Sir, but Hayate really loves Fuery."
Fuery convinced himself that the affronted look flickering across Mustang's face was his imagination. No way the Colonel would be jealous over a dog—although Hayate admittedly hadn't greeted Mustang with the same excitement as he had for Fuery.
"Right, well, enjoy your trip."
"Thank you, Sir. See you both on Thursday." With that, Hawkeye saluted, scratched behind Hayate's ears, and left.
Fuery bent down to scoop up Hayate when he heard the Colonel let out a meager cough.
"Yes, Sir?" Fuery asked, rising with the dog cradled in his left arm.
Mustang cast his eyes upward and rocked back on his heels. "How did you get Hayate to be so affectionate toward you?"
Fighting the urge to cover his face with the palm of his free hand—he was jealous over a damn dog—Fuery laughed instead. "Lots and lots of treats and head scratches."
"Ah." The Colonel smiled. "Now that I can manage."
When Hawkeye returned, Hayate weighed almost a pound heavier and would forever after jump on Mustang each time he greeted him (with almost as much enthusiasm as he had for Fuery).
The bullet was intended for Mustang. But Hawkeye had pushed him out of the way and earned a gunshot wound in her left shoulder as a reward for her valor. While Havoc took down the shooter, Fuery watched in horror as the Lieutenant, pale and shaking with adrenaline, asked the Colonel if he was alright before she collapsed, blood seeping into the dark wool of her uniform.
The next four hours were a blur of rushing Hawkeye to the hospital, Mustang wild-eyed and yelling at the surgeon, nurse, anyone who would listen—Tell me if my subordinate is okay, goddammit—and the unit letting out a collective breath when Hawkeye made it out of surgery, alive and stabilized.
"The bullet barely missed her heart," Fuery overheard the surgeon murmur to a nurse when he went to the bathroom. "Thank God. If she died, I think the Flame Alchemist would've torched my ass."
Hawkeye awoke to the men of her unit standing around her hospital bed, looking bedraggled but thankful. They each gave Hawkeye their well wishes before trickling out of the room to go home and rest. Only Fuery and Mustang remained, the latter of whom had stayed unusually quiet so far. Fuery wanted to ask Hawkeye about taking care of Hayate during her hospital stay and then let them be alone.
But before Fuery had the chance to say anything, Mustang finally broke his silence. "Dammit Hawkeye, you could've died," he ground out, knuckles whitening as he tightened his grip around the railing of her hospital bed.
Hawkeye looked down at her hands. "I know, Sir," she said quietly. "I'm sorry to have made you worry."
Mustang made a small strangled noise and covered his eyes with his hand. "You're sorry? Lieutenant, I—" He moved his hand down from his eyes as if to grab her hand, but seemed to think better of it and instead grabbed the rail again.
Fuery had seen enough.
"Just hold her hand already!" Mustang and Hawkeye turned their heads to stare at Fuery, their eyes wide. Fuery realized his outburst too late. He shrank into himself, embarrassed. "Um, respectfully. Sirs."
Mustang blinked dazedly at Fuery, while Hawkeye let out a short laugh. "It's unusual to take orders from a subordinate, but a good commanding officer knows when to listen," she mused, finally looking up at Mustang. He smiled softly at her and tentatively took her hand into his.
Fuery fought hard to hold back his grin and instead saluted them, promising to take care of Black Hayate over the next few days before all but running out of the room.
Once he left the building, he allowed himself a small victory whoop and a laugh at his superiors' expense. If it took Hawkeye getting shot for Mustang to hold her hand, he hated to think what it'd take to get them to kiss.