Pairing: implied manga!Wrath/Riza
Rating: PG (?)
Warnings: Manga spoilers. Not much else for this chapter.
A/N: Part of the Stockholm Series. Companion parts:
The sight that greeted her was even odder. Everything seemed wrong, from the quietly aggressive set of the room to the brutally militaristic items scattered about to the width of the desk. However, it was the man behind the desk that seemed oddest of all.
That man wasn’t the man whom Riza had sworn herself to. He wasn’t the man whom Riza had sworn to follow, to whom she had sworn her loyalty and devotion. He wasn’t Roy Mustang, and that fact was like a knife to Riza’s chest.
None of this showed up on her face.
Fuhrer King Bradley greeted her with a smile and pulled away from the object he was studying. Riza saluted sharply. “Sir!”
Bradley nodded in response, but he was still staring at the object on his desk. “Lieutenant,” Bradley greeted warmly. He gestured at her to come closer. Riza strode forward, stopping in front of the desk with another brisk salute. Bradley was still staring at the desk, so Riza obligingly followed his gaze.
Her nausea returned a hundred-fold. “Sir?” she repeated. Her face was stony, but she had to shove her hands behind her back to hide the sudden trembling.
Bradley leaned forward, placing his elbows on the desk. His smile did not match the gleam in his visible eye. “Is there something wrong, Lieutenant?”
Riza forced herself to straighten and look forward, but the image refused to leave her mind: Roy’s watch. She would be able to identify it anywhere. “No, Sir.”
Casually tilting his head to one side, Bradley returned his gaze to the watch. “He doesn’t need it at the moment,” the older man dismissed and leaned back in the chair. Riza clenched her fists behind her back. She could feel Bradley’s gaze on her, even if it appeared like he was still looking at the watch. The sensation sent chills up her spine.
“Sir?” It was the only word she felt she could safely say. Her fingers itched for her gun. This man was a threat—a major threat—to Roy.
And she could do nothing.
Before Riza’s eyes, Bradley picked the watch up and examined it. He hummed lightly to himself, and Rzia barely hid a flinch when he snapped it open and studied the inside.
“You were with him for many years, weren’t you?” Bradley inquired lightly. At Riza’s terse nod, Bradley snapped the watch shut again. “It must have been quite difficult keeping an eye on him all that time. I hope working directly under me will require less . . . work . . . on your part.”
Something in Bradley’s tone sent a shiver up Riza’s spine, but Bradley’s face remained pleasantly bland. Watch still in hand, Bradley stood and walked around the desk. Riza concentrated on not looking at the watch. It swung seductively in Bradley’s grip, matching the odd sway of Bradley’s body.
Not a proper military stance, a distant part of Riza noted.
Standing beside Riza, Bradley caught her gaze and deliberately slipped the watch into his pocket. Her eyes involuntarily followed, only for Riza to catch herself and snap to attention again. By the slight tilt of Bradley’s lips, she was too slow.
“One day I hope to speak with Colonel Mustang,” Bradley murmured. He took a step closer. Even at that close distance, she could sense nothing from the man. She couldn’t feel his body heat or smell him. It took all of her willpower to keep still.
The memory of Roy’s watch in Bradley’s pocket helped.
Bradley smiled charmingly at her and touched her shoulder. His other hand remained in his pocket. “Your official duties begin 0700 sharp. I trust you won’t be late.”
That eye remained fixed on her. Riza clenched her fists again. Slowly, helplessly, she raised her hand in a salute.
“Of course, Sir.”