Title : Photograph
Author/Artist : Rhyssa Fireheart
Recipient’s name : Seaweed_FMA
Rating : K
Pairing(s) : Hughes/Gracia, Mustang
Disclaimer : Don’t own it, never will. Just like to play with it in my mind.
Warnings : Extreme lameness? 😉
Author’s or Artist’s notes : None
Originally written as part of a story/art exchange over on LiveJournal. Also archived over on Fanfiction.net here.
The young man snapped picture after picture, trying to take advantage of the wash of golden light through the trees before it faded away into the evening. At first, he wasn’t paying much attention to the people walking through the park, but after he got the day’s photographs developed, he was determined to go back.
Maes Hughes quickly sorted through the piles of new pictures, tossing some into a messy pile at the end of the bed and laying others into neat rows before him. Once the initial selection was complete, it was time to take longer looks at the ones he thought turned out the best. One image in particular caught his eye.
A young woman with light brown hair was looking towards the sunset, her face illuminated by the warm glow. She was smiling slightly, a large straw bag hanging from her shoulder and some flowers poking out. Maes couldn’t stop looking at the picture, captivated by the expression of quiet joy on her face. He looked through the rest of the pictures he’d set aside and found two more with the young woman. He studied those as well, intrigued enough to wonder who she was.
The next day found him back at the same park, once again taking pictures during evening’s descent. His vigilance was rewarded when he caught sight of the young woman in the viewfinder. As unobtrusively as possible, he snapped several pictures of her. Once he caught her looking his direction and quickly took another picture before lowering the camera out of sight. He certainly didn’t want her to see him and think he was someone creepy. At least not before he got a chance to introduce himself.
How to meet her was the problem. He didn’t think he could simply walk up and say “Hi! I was taking some pictures of you and thought we should meet.” That probably wouldn’t go over too well. But he really wanted to meet this woman. There was something about her that drew him.
The next day was a bust. He’d hung around the park with his camera, trying to think of some way to attract her attention, but she didn’t make an appearance. The paths were filled with people walking, some carrying shopping bags, some carrying briefcases, others just passing through. He leaned against the edge of a fountain, the merry sound of splashing water filling the background. How to meet her? For an instant, Maes actually considered calling Roy to ask for some advice, but he discarded that idea immediately. Roy’s methods with women weren’t something that Maes thought he could copy. Women flocked to Roy Mustang like moths to a flame, pun intended. Maes didn’t have the same type of charm to draw on.
Three days later, he was starting to despair. The young woman hadn’t shown up again. How could he have missed his chance at meeting her? She’d been carrying flowers in her bag each time he’d seen her; maybe if he asked some of the flower sellers back in the market, someone would recognize her. He’d give it one more day before starting a more detailed search. If nothing else, his training for the Investigations Department would come in handy, even if it wasn’t quite the use intended.
The next day was filled with sporadic rain falling from cloudy grey skies. Even though he knew the light wasn’t the best, Maes still showed up at the park at his usual time with camera in hand. Taking shots in weather like this was more complicated, but he enjoyed a challenge. That was probably the best explanation for why he went into Investigations in the first place, for a chance to prove himself against different challenges. His biggest challenge was rewarded when he setup to take a shot along one of the paths leading to the square.
Walking towards him was the young woman of his pictures, head bowed beneath a sheltering hat and arms clasping the straw bag to her side. Even in the rain there were flowers bobbing from the top of her sack, looking cheerful despite the gloom. Maes finished setting up his camera and took a few pictures, thinking that his chance had finally arrived. He still didn’t know how he was going to introduce himself, but he’d think of something.
The young woman seemed to take her time walking his way, and he continued taking pictures in the meantime; no reason to waste a perfectly good opportunity. When she was only ten feet away, she paused and then looked his direction. He was surprised to see a small smile on her face and a mischievous look in her eyes. Her smile turned into a grin when she noticed the dumbfounded look on his face.
“So you’re the photographer I’ve seen around here. I’m Gracia, pleased to meet you.” And with that, she held out her hand in greeting.
Much later, after finally managing to introduce himself and asking Gracia to dinner, Maes felt like his plan to meet the woman of his dreams had been a success. Of course, Gracia never mentioned until after they were married that she’d seen him taking pictures in the park long before he noticed her. She’d decided then that the earnest young man with the camera looked interesting, so her daily walks home now traveled through the nearby park. She’d been planning on finding him to introduce herself if he hadn’t shown up in her path that day.
Roy leaned back in his chair and considered his best friend carefully.
“So you’re telling me that Gracia noticed you first and decided that she wanted to meet you? And you never knew until after you got married?” Roy couldn’t help but look skeptical. Maes flashed him a smile and nodded.
“Yep. Guess I wasn’t the only one looking for the woman…man…of his dreams. She confessed shortly after Elisia was born, when I pulled out my old camera and started taking photos again. I guess that reminded her of how we met. Here I thought I was trying to meet her and all along, she was the one trying figure out how to meet me.”
“No wonder she puts up with you taking pictures all the time, especially if your hobby brought the two of you together. How can you keep track of all the photos you take though?”
“Oh, I always sort them as soon as they’re developed. Which reminds me, I just happen to have some new ones of Elisia to show off. Look at how cute she is in her little sundress! She looks just like mommy, don’t you think?”
Roy pushed the pictures away from his face with a groan. No matter what the topic was, somehow Maes always managed to find time to show off the newest pictures of his beloved little girl.