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Letter #9

Cath! I won the bet!

And what bet was this, you ask? I'll tell you.

I'm a bit drunk, because we've been celebrating. We're not quite back to base, but we stopped at that hot spring for a good soak, and a feast, and then sleep. We'll head home tomorrow, and finally get started with the plans we made for the southern regions. And see what's been happening with the other plans while we've been gone.

They've done some more work to fix up another couple of the pools. Which is a good thing, because there are a lot more of us on this trip. But Mustang made a point of asking the local elders if the pools had been consecrated yet, because he said we wouldn't use them if they were. The elders told him they hadn't been. They started talking about giving us what they called “special dispensation” even if the pools were consecrated, but the Colonel said his presence would defile a consecrated pool, so he wouldn't have used it, no matter what.

I looked over at Rakhella when he said that. I have to admit, I was feeling kind of smug. That'll show her, for thinking we're just going to barge in here without trying to respect the Ishvallans' feelings and beliefs. She just looked at me with those narrowed eyes of hers. I wish I had some clue what she was thinking.

Anyway, we had a good soak, and then we all got together in a big tent for a feast that someone had made for us. The way they eat in Ishval is that everyone sits cross-legged on cushions or rugs and we eat off of little tables. So we were all gathered around these little tables, and there were musicians playing on a little platform in one corner of the tent. Mustang and Hawkeye's table was on a raised platform too. My table was right in front of the platform. I thought it was a bit much, to put the two of them up there like some kind of king and queen (though it really wasn't very high), but it turned out the boss wanted it that way for a reason.

So we're almost done, and Mustang stands up at his own table. He gets our attention, and then he pulls Hawkeye up to stand beside him. She's kind of smiling, and he's gone a little pink, and I think, “This is it! I knew it!” And then he says, ”I'd like to have your attention for a minute, because we've got an announcement to make.” Breda and Falman were across the table from me, and right away, Breda starts muttering to him and Fuery about Mustang and Hawkeye announcing some big new plan that's probably going to make a lot more work for us. But I knew better. This announcement was personal.

So the Colonel puts an arm around Hawkeye's shoulders and he says, “I'm very pleased to announce that Riza Hawkeye has graciously consented to be my wife.” And this time he really did blush, and everybody started clapping and cheering, and all that. It was a great.

And of course I won the bet. I wasn't going to let Breda or Falman forget it, either. When things were starting to calm down, I stuck out my hand and told them, “Pay up.” Falman thought they'd be “sensible,” and wait to get married until most of the plans for Ishval were underway. So he didn't expect the announcement for another couple of years at least, and maybe when we were transferred back to Central or something. Breda thought they'd just leave things the way they were. Fuery lost his bet a long time ago, because he thought it would happen before we left Amestris to come here.

But I was sure all along that they'd make some kind of announcement before too long. It's kind of like all the old wounds are being healed while they're here. And you could just feel it in the air. And you could see it when you saw them acting like teenagers around each other.

Anyway, the others started digging in their pockets to pay up. It was real funny, the way Breda grumbled.

Then Mustang and Hawkeye noticed. They were still standing up. Mustang looks down at our table and he's very surprised and says to us, “You mean you guessed about us?” And Breda rolls his eyes and says, “Come on, Colonel, it's pretty hard to miss. We're not paid to be blind, you know.”

And then—this was the best part—Hawkeye laughs at us, and says to the Colonel, “I told you they knew about us.” And then she holds out her hand, and he has to fork over his bet to her!

They're just the best, Cath. I really mean it. I'm not sure when the wedding's going to be, but they did say it's going to be here, in Ishval. Can you imagine that? I sure wouldn't have thought that could ever happen, a few years ago, when the Flame was burning the place down. But that's how good things are, these days. And they really are like teenagers right now. I guess they're getting a chance to be the young people they never got to be, back then. It's good to see.

Oh, but Mustang did get in one little dig just before they sat down and the musicians started up again. He looked around at everybody and said something like, “I've waited too long for this, and I don't recommend anyone else waiting this long. In fact, I think marriage is such a good idea that I highly recommend that others follow in our footsteps.” And he looked right at me when he said it! And he had that smile – you know what I'm talking about. And dammit, I just know I was blushing! And I didn't dare look at any other tables, because I knew who would be looking at me.

Bastard sounds just like Maes Hughes, suddenly. If I weren't so happy I think I'd have slugged him.


(Letter 10)

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May 2012

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