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Title: Sensitivity

Fandom: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood [/manga]

DISCLAIMER: I do not, in any way shape or form, own Fullmetal Alchemist. If I did, almost all of the characters would be waaay sneezier... and probably hate my guts for it... aaevil.gifsweatdrop.gif

Summary: Riza Hawkeye finds a formal event to be quite bothersome... but not for such reasons as one might think.

No spoilers; this takes place when Mustang and Hawkeye are still stationed at Eastern Command, so... sometime before/near the beginning of the main events of the canon story :]

A/N: So, due to my profound love for all things Fullmetal (and especially all things Roy/Riza XD), I decided to try my hand at writing a Riza Hawkeye fic. Now when I first began contributing here, I thought I would never ever write a female sneezefic, much less post one... but I have had a way girl-"crush" on Riza for a while now, and so I had to try this! ^^ (Hawkeye is just that awesome, after all. XDD ) There is one sneeze from Roy in here, but this is nonetheless the very first female fic of any sort that I have written so I reaaaallly hope it doesn't suck!! sleep.png

This is a shamelessly (but hopefully still canonically!!) Roy/Riza fic (surprised? ..didn't think so X) )... I think I may have skewed a tiny bit OOC with the whole romance aspect.... but to be honest, I had SO much fun writing this that I don't even care.


As always, I welcome your comments!! I would like to know how I did in the female-fic-writing department, as well as with characterization... smile.png and really, just what you thought of it in general. :] But I really hope you enjoy it!! biggrin.png

Oh - and if anyone cares, I based this off of Colleen Clinkenbeard's interpretation of Riza because I freaking love her voice yes.gifhappy.png


It was at about 2100 hours when First Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye came to the decision that she hated the Founder’s Day banquet.

To be fair, it was not the event itself that she hated. As a matter of fact, the consumption of delicious cuisine and participation in pleasant conversation with guests on the spacious grounds of Eastern Command was actually a wonderfully relaxing change from the rigors of active duty.

She had no issues with the unique responsibility that she and her team members had been charged with, either. Given the significant number of dignitaries and persons of elevated importance in attendance, the head officers of Eastern Command were quite anxious to ensure that there would be no foul play. Therefore, they discreetly commissioned two or three of the elite units to scatter themselves across the grounds, keeping an eye out for trouble while mingling with the V.I.P.s. She and Mustang were currently positioned in the dining area by the main gate, where they could personally greet all who came and went. Their ulterior motive was fully concealed from the partygoers, of course; they appeared for all practical purposes to be 100% off-duty, and were dressed to the nines for the occasion. This did not, however, inhibit their capability to be ready for action; they were each armed, and on high alert.

None of this bothered the Lieutenant in the least – not even the formal attire she was unaccustomed to wearing. Her teammates found it awing enough that she had dressed herself up like the other women.. they would likely have been even more amazed if they realized how much she enjoyed doing so. For while it was no secret that Mustang felt at ease in coat and tie, they had barely even ever seen Hawkeye wear civvies, much less a dress. She was far too practical, far too attentive to protocol for that; and the men and women of Eastern Command alike respected her for it.

Tonight, however, was a different story. Colonel Roy Mustang had been selected to watch the front gate expressly in accordance with his skill... professionally, but also socially. Known throughout East City for his natural charm, he was the perfect choice for this particular position; and, decked out in his neatly-pressed black suit and coordinating tie, he did not disappoint. To no one’s surprise, First Lieutenant Hawkeye was chosen as his companion for the evening; the fact that she was his bodyguard aside, her sharp eyes were an invaluable resource to have at that location, from which the largest percentage of the grounds was visible... and in addition, her talent as a sharpshooter was a good balance to the abilities her superior possessed as an alchemist, should the need arise.

What did come as a great surprise, then, was her competency in the social department.

She may not have spoken as much as Mustang did, but her lovely yet unobtrusive presence contributed wonderfully to the comfortable atmosphere, and her quiet wit kept conversations going on more than one occasion. As for her attire, she deviated somewhat from conventional style, clad in a rose-colored sleeveless Xingese dress that covered the whole of her neck and back while gracefully accentuating the contours of her body. The garment reached to her ankles, a long slit running from her right thigh to the hem; and elegant floral designs were embroidered into the fabric. Her hair was swept up into a bun, decorative chopsticks holding it in place; and a pair of burgundy gloves adorned her hands, covering her arms to past the elbows and completing the ensemble.

No, Riza hadn’t the slightest contention with either the complexities of the celebration or the hidden agenda bestowed upon her unit in the midst of it all; so, perhaps, her generalized loathing of the evening was not justified.

Rather, the proper object of her antipathy took the form of a beautifully innocuous accessory tucked artfully into her flowing blonde locks.

It was just one flower. The very same sprig of jasmine that all the lady officers present had been given by General Grumman himself, as a token of his appreciation to them.

One single blossom – that by all constructs of reason, should not have given her any significant grief.

Unfortunately for Riza, however, the front receiving area was at just close enough a proximity to the gardens – where a veritable sea of jasmine shrubs were flourishing – to make the single flower she was required to wear on her person just more than she could handle.

It was growing dim, and the lanterns and other decorative lights set up for the event filled the twilight with a warm, pleasant glow. At this point, most of the attendees had left the dining area to walk the grounds, so the Colonel had situated himself comfortably at a table, relaxing in the balmy night air. Riza, however, remained on her feet – partly because her innate sniper instincts told her that that was the most advantageous position to be in in this particular location... and partly because she did not really want the Colonel to see her face at the moment.

She fought the urge to inquire after the time. She didn’t really need to, anyway; she possessed a near-flawless internal clock, and she was all too aware of the hour. 2100, or in layman’s terms, nine pm. Meaning, they had been on duty for not even two hours, and a good four hours remained yet before their task here would be complete.

Riza Hawkeye bit her tongue, clasping her twitching fingers in front of her and vehemently cursing her luck.

The cool petals caressed her temples, the strong, sweet scent drifting directly into her face and stimulating an impressively diverse array of itches throughout her mucous membranes. It was all she could do to remain stonefaced; and she did not need the Colonel to catch sight of her expression and question her about it.

Thus, while he reclined at a table, indulging in a few delectable refreshments, she remained standing several feet away with her back to him, looking out over the groups of wandering guests and trying her best to ignore the damned jasmine.

She had been keeping up the ignoring for a full two hours, though; and as much as she hated to admit it, the effort was wearing her down. Her eyes, throat, and inner ears were burning ferociously, her vision beginning to blur with hot, irritated tears. Worse than all of that, however, was a deep-seated tickle that had manifested itself within her sinuses.. one that no amount of willpower was capable of chasing away. And though she had struggled valiantly with it for the past half-hour – an impressive feat, considering the severity of her reaction to this particular specimen of flora – she finally reached the point where she simply could not deny her own body anymore.

Hih-nxxt!” She managed to stifle the sneeze into almost nonexistence, but it did nothing to alleviate the tickle. In fact, f anything, it simply made it worse; and to her horror, she found herself gearing up for another immediately afterwards. “Hh-ngxt!” She stifled that one as well, though the force of it made it rather painful to do so. Again, however, the woefully unsatisfactory release only served to aggravate her nasal cavity further; and she cursed inwardly as the allergic tears began to well up even more, beading her eyelashes with moisture. “Hh..!” She pressed her tongue to her palate, determined to prevent herself from sneezing again. To her relief, it worked.. though her nose was not thanking her for it. She exhaled carefully, touching her knuckles to the tip of her offending feature, which she suspected was now a horribly telling shade of pink. She could not afford to keep losing her control like that. If she kept it up, the Colonel was bound to say something.



Riza raised her head, shifting so that he knew she was listening, but did not turn fully around. “Yes, sir.”

“Is that another guest outside the gates? I can’t tell from here.”

There was no subliminal quality to his mellifluous baritone, so she relaxed just a little, turning slowly.

He sat sideways in his seat, gazing back toward the front entrance with his arm resting on the table. She hesitated a moment, then suppressed another sigh. Naturally, he was too lazy at the moment to get up and check himself; though, truthfully, it was probably just his way of acknowledging that between the two of them, she was in possession of the superior eyesight.

She blinked rapidly as she made her way across the small grassy area, wiping moisture from the corners of her eyes. Well, that was ordinarily the case, at least, but at that moment it was probably debatable... Still, upon her watery but adroit perusal of the space beyond the entryway, she did not see anything of note; and turning back and heading for her previous position, she succinctly told him as much.

Roy stood as she passed, setting his wine glass down and following her. “How’s the party looking?” he queried, joining her at the edge of the empty dining area.

She stared pointedly ahead, folding her arms as the infernal itching intensified again. “All clear, from wh.. where I’m standing.” She clenched her jaw, angling her face away from him. Why couldn’t she keep from sounding so breathy? At this rate, her voice was going to betray her even if she didn’t otherwise slip.

Roy nodded, mirroring her own position as he crossed his arms. “That’s good.”

Riza forced herself to relax, though the desire to rub her nose was driving her insane. She had to keep from arousing her partner’s suspicions; the last thing she needed was to be deemed unfit for duty and excused from the event. Luckily, though, he seemed oblivious to her predicament so far, and seemed merely to want to amuse himself with small talk now that his more enthusiastic company was gone.

“Nice night, huh,” he commented amiably, observing the distant goings-on with contented approval.

She could feel her breath threatening to hitch again, and so responded with a closed-lipped “Mhm.”

In her peripheral vision, she saw him glance at her, dark eyes glinting in the soft amber light. “You cold?”

Oh. Nope, he was definitely on to her.

“Not at all,” she replied, shaking her head. “I’m perfectly – hhp-xxt! Hihmgxt!! -fine, thank you.” She kept her tone professional and collected – in spite of the small interruptions that had occurred against her will – and briefly pressed the base of her index finger to her upper lip. Damn it to hell...

She could feel his eyes on her, but he did not call attention to what had happened; and for that she was grateful.

They passed the next few minutes in silence; but a cool breeze picked up, carrying the variety of fragrances from the gardens with it and summarily wreaking havoc with Riza’s respiratory tract. She was able with great concerted effort to avoid exhibiting any more indication of discomfort, but it was getting more and more difficult to do so. Stifling the sneezes alone was incredibly taxing, and not only did it do nothing to calm the itching, but it was beginning to give her a headache as well.

Her increasing misery was not by any means going unnoticed by Roy. He knew her well enough to detect the extent of her discomfort, and he also knew that she did not wish for him to notice. Therefore, he pretended he didn’t.

As the silence stretched on, however, he began to feel a little uneasy. They were alone now, and probably would be so until after the fireworks at least. There was no one else around who could inquire after her health, and as he watched her desperation slowly growing, the gentleman in him began waging a war with the dutiful soldier. He forced himself to look straight ahead, keeping an eye on the guests like he was supposed to be doing. His gaze kept straying back to his subordinate, however; to her subtly ruffled features, to her elegant hands.. to the long slit that ran up to her thigh (just to be sure that those elegant hands did not move to retrieve the weapon that he knew was holstered there, which would invariably result in serious trouble for either him or someone else).

Well, that’s what he told himself, anyway.

Roy swung his head forward again, firmly derailing his distraction. And that is what he would keep telling himself, as often as necessary...

He mentally kicked himself. It was dawning on him that the wine had been a rather bad idea.

His disjointed thoughts were halted, however, by another sound from the Lieutenant.


This time, he heard her breathing stutter, and he turned his head just in time to see her stifle yet another sneeze into the back of her wrist.

hh-mpt!” She seemed to be losing her resolve, however, for afterward, she sniffled audibly.

Roy found himself vaguely wondering how the hell she did that. He had never been able to fully stifle his own sneezes.. yet she somehow managed to thoroughly and successfully silence the end of every single one of hers.

He frowned absentmindedly, shifting his attention to his feet. Was that even healthy?

Riza was steadily losing composure, and she cursed herself for it. The tickle in her sinuses had become a raging itch that threatened to overpower her faculties entirely. She doggedly refused to let it, however, and continued to bite back every disobedient explosion that attempted to escape. She could feel dampness starting to affect the edges of her nostrils, though.. and the throbbing between her eyes was becoming more and more intense. She rubbed tiredly at the spot on her forehead, wishing very much that this evening was over.

Hih-ngxt! Hh-xxmt!” Even as she relaxed, the urge to sneeze plagued her relentlessly – and the more she let out, the worse it seemed to get. While she was still recovering from that double, the scent of the flower in her hair wafted conveniently into her face, sending her over the edge a third time. “Hhngxt-hih!” To her dismay, that one almost got away from her... and her not-so-successful stifle resulted in a high-pitched squeak being tacked onto the end of it. She instinctively brought her hand up to her nose... then glanced sharply at Mustang.

It could have been the three glasses of wine he had, or the soothing environment, or just his innate idiosyncratic temperament.. but for whatever reason, Roy Mustang was laughing.

Well, snickering, anyway. As she turned to glare at him, she saw the mischievous and yet gentle mirth in his eyes and knew at once that he was not mocking her. Still, she was not at all appreciative of his reaction, and the look on her face that said so sobered him up in a hurry.

He unfolded his arms, smile fading. “Bless you, Lieutenant,” he said mildly, meeting her glare with a look that she couldn’t quite read. “You know, that can’t be good for you..” he added, arching an eyebrow. “You don’t wanna hurt yourself.”

She refolded her arms across her chest, the deliberate rigidity of her back and shoulders reminiscent of her customary attention stance; though the effect of this posture was rather different since she was out of uniform. “I dod’t thigk –” she paused, clearing her throat discreetly. “I hardly thigk you deed concern yourself with by health, Col... sir.” She stiffened further, clenching her teeth at the unseemly sound of her own voice.

Roy inhaled slowly, slipping his hands into his pockets. “On the contrary, Lieutenant; you’re my subordinate after all, and your performance affects mine.. so naturally, your health is of concern to me.” He chuckled softly, his flippantly imperious tone decreasing by a barely perceptible degree with his next words. “Besides, how many times has my health been of concern to you?”

Riza hesitated, measuring her words. “That... is irrelevadt, sir. I am your bodyguard, so it is by duty to...” So intent was she on her rebuttal, however, that she failed to notice the prickle in her nasal cavity until it was too late. “thh – hhihISHH!” The sneeze burst out of her so quickly that it came as a surprise not only to Mustang but to her as well, and she clapped a hand to her mouth, mortified; she hadn’t even been able to attempt to restrain it.

She expected Mustang to laugh again, or else reprimand her; but he did neither. Instead, he simply shook his head, glancing mildly in her direction. “That’s better,” he asserted.

Had she been at the top of her game, she might have seen fit to wet-blanket his inappropriately gentle banter with some bitingly professional quip; but at the moment, she was too preoccupied to do so. Her nose was beginning to feel quite sore, and she was suddenly finding it necessary to dab at it every few seconds with one gloved hand... an action which was also quickly becoming rather unpleasant. She sniffed lightly, but that only served to irritate the sensitive interior of her nose even more. “HhtSH!

Mustang gazed at her from the corner of his eye. It was obvious that her affliction was rapidly overwhelming her stoicism; and he knew her well enough that this conclusion was truly unsettling. Hawkeye’s austerity was practically legendary; her ability to refrain from cracking under pressure had put many a lesser man to shame. Whatever was bothering her had to be incredibly severe, for her to be so visibly affected.

Hih – htshh! HhmtSH!” As the minutes ticked by, Riza not only found herself unable to stifle properly anymore, but her sneezes were also growing significantly wetter and harder to ignore.

A sympathetic frown settled over Roy’s features. The gentleman within him threatened to take over, and it was all he could do to keep himself from what the Lieutenant would have deemed “interfering.” As she suffered in near-silence, however, he saw her raise her hand to her hair; hesitate, as it brushed against the ornament fixed there, then slowly lower it again, curling her fingers into her palm. That was all he needed to see for everything to make sense.

He huffed a sigh. Taking all the factors of the situation into account – the fact that they were technically off-duty in particular – the conclusion he came to was purely logical.

Screw protocol.

“You know, Hawkeye,” he began dryly, “we happen to be alone right now.”

No amount of respiratory distress could ever hamper the Lieutenant’s almost frightening skill. She had her weapon out and aimed squarely at his chest before he saw her reach to remove it.

“All due respect, sir –

He flinched back, holding his hands up. “Easy, Lieutenant!” he yelped. “Please don’t misunderstand. You know you can trust me.”

She did not answer. She did, however, quietly replace her pistol, eying him warily.

Without another word, he stepped forward and plucked the sprig of jasmine from her hair, twirling the stem between his fingers. After scrutinizing it for a moment, he brought it to his nose and sniffed it experimentally. He immediately pulled a face, and flung it away from the two of them.

Riza watched, astonished, as it promptly burst into flame.

“Sir!!” she exclaimed, gaping at him. “That was the –”

He held up a hand. “Hh- hold on – hehpTSCH-huh!” He sneezed into the crook of his elbow and then straightened, rubbing his nose. “Damn that’s strong!..” He exhaled emphatically, giving his head a sharp shake. “Sorry, you were saying..?”

She paused, eyes flickering from his hands to his face. She could already feel the itchiness subsiding, now that the flower was gone; and though her head still felt as though it was stuffed with cotton, her relief was enormous. Mustang’s almond eyes were unfathomable, as they often were; but she could see the corners of his mouth twitching just a little bit. She resisted the temptation to shake her head. Her commanding officer was quite the piece of work; she hadn’t even seen him take the glove from his pocket.

“If anyone asks,” he continued when she did not speak, “just say it was bothering me. That obviously won’t do, because they need us to be alert.” He reached into his suit coat and withdrew a large white handkerchief, unfolded it contemplatively, then folded it again. “If anything, that’ll gain you points for integrity, Lieutenant...” He extended the folded cloth to her. “So you don’t have to worry about disappointing the General or anybody else. You’re just fulfilling your responsibilities as my assistant.”

She took the cloth, her hand temporarily swallowed by the folds of the fabric. “Yes, sir,” she murmured. She dabbed gingerly at her eyes and nose before finally giving her unhappy appendage a proper blow. “And that,” she added as she folded up the handkerchief, so softly he could barely hear it, “is only possible because of your idtuitive behavior.”

Hidden within her formally-worded discourse was a fervent and heartfelt gratitude that only those who really knew her would ever have been able to detect.

Roy smiled, dialing up the charm. “Well, you know me. I could never keep from lending my help to a beautiful woman in distress.”

The moment the words left his lips, he wished he could take them back; they had been meant as pure jest, part of the suave and refined womanizing persona he had created for himself... however, he had meant every word, and he knew immediately that Hawkeye was fully aware of this. He tensed, rubbing the back of his neck in an apologetic manner, half-expecting to find a gun pointed at his person once again; however, his fears were more than groundless.

Instead of a gun, Riza was offering him a rare, quiet, radiant smile.

He involuntarily held his breath, the warmth the alcohol had left in his stomach spreading to his entire body. When Riza Hawkeye smiled, really smiled, her whole countenance glowed. It was a truly moving sight – and one that not many had ever seen. Roy was one of the privileged few who had.

Even as he absorbed the extraordinary moment, however, she was already shaking her head. “Your histrionics fall on deaf ears here, sir.”

He opened his mouth, then closed it again. Hawkeye’s esoteric tender side was gone almost before it had surfaced, replaced completely by his phlegmatic Lieutenant; but her tone was perhaps not quite as culpatory as it might ordinarily have been. “So they do,” he replied, almost thoughtfully.

A silence descended between them, broken only by the soft sound of Riza’s residual sniffling. The two of them stood side by side, gazing out across the darkening lawn, each lost in their own thoughts.

A dazzling array of color and light, accompanied by thunderous explosion, announced the commencement of the night’s crowning attraction, the fireworks. Roy glanced up at the dark blue summer sky, then shifted his attention to the lady next to him.

The light of the demonstration was reflected in the liquid depths of her chocolate-brown eyes, sparkling and scintillating as she turned her head toward him. The luminance brought out the warmth in the shades of her garment, and cast a rosy glow across her cheeks. Neither of them said anything, but their eyes met, briefly; and in that sententious moment, the light sparkled fiercely in the tenebrous eyes of the Colonel, as well.

Roy tilted his head up, admiring the beautiful patterns and bursts in the sky. The noise seemed almost to fade, absorbed by the quiet around them.

It was, he decided, a very comfortable silence.

The End

Yeah, idk...

blushing.gif I'm so not used to doing straight-up fluff... and I sort of feel stupid about some of this ninja.gif I anxiously await your opinions, lol - they'll help me decide whether or not to try this sort of thing again heh.gif

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I only have a modicum of FMA knowledge, but I rather enjoyed this ficlet :) I wouldn't have known that you don't really write female fic without reading the author's note. Thanks for sharing!

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I have no prior knowledge of FMA but your descriptions of Riza desperately trying to control her rapidly building urge to sneeze was amazing w00t.gif

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0_0 Smiley, you did an AMAZING job with this!!!! :D :D :clap: Thank you so so much for even trying to do this, but I loved this!!! Not only this story, but your other stories with Roy and Ed and other FMA characters have made me start watching the anime. Not very far at all ^^;, but thank you :) I enjoy it so far ^^

I suggest that you do anything you want to try! :)

'She took the cloth, her hand temporarily swallowed by the folds of the fabric. “Yes, sir,” she murmured. She dabbed gingerly at her eyes and nose before finally giving her unhappy appendage a proper blow. “And that,” she added as she folded up the handkerchief, so softly he could barely hear it, “is only possible because of your idtuitive behavior.” ' XDD You really know these characters so well :) Totally can imagine her saying this in the show.

Now for the real question: will FMA make a character, whether a female or a male character, have a sneezy cold like Spider Man did or have an alchemist that causes an allergy to a character? *evillaugh*

Anyway, thank you SO SO much for sharing this ^^ I enjoyed reading this very much :D Poor Riza ;). She has joined your ranks for sneezy characters ^^

One last thing: for your first attempt at anything female, WOW! You did a wonderful job in my opinion!

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  • 2 months later...

Thank you all so much for your feedback on this one! happy.png I'm glad you all enjoyed it. Even though I chiefly write male stuff, I'll definitely be writing more female in the future (if only for anime characters... tonguesmiley.gif )

Now for the real question: will FMA make a character, whether a female or a male character, have a sneezy cold like Spider Man did or have an alchemist that causes an allergy to a character? *evillaugh*

lolol well sadly no, though both Roy and Ed do sneeze in canon.. Ed more than once X) And in the 4-panel comic theater OVA, Ed catches a cold (but doesn't sneeze <.< ) when he goes to the north. Which, incidentally, made me mad that they didn't put it in canon because it totally would have made sense. laughing.gif I still liked that OVA though. Vic Mignogna does stuffy talk quite well. aaevil.gif The series could totally have stood to have someone get sick at some point, though.. it was certainly long enough, and pretty much ALL the characters are epic XD

An alchemist that causes an allergy to a character? hmmmmmmmm *wheels in creative head begin to turn* no, but... wow, that's an interesting idea >:3 I may have to play around with that one.. :]

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