It was always the traditional, first thing you were asked once you were married, before the bouquet was thrown, the reception, the speeches from tipsy friends and family.

When are you going to start a family? When are you going to have children?

But as Roy watched all of the guests mill about the tables and dance floor, occasionally laughing out loud at a joke or stumbling on unsure foot when the beat in the music changed, he knew none of them realized that they felt they already had a family. Family wasn't always defined by blood or how much you resembled whomever; it was the result of a mutual respect, understanding and love for one another's strengths, weaknesses and quirks.

He found his gaze wandering to his subordinates one by one, and he realized what an important asset they had been to his throughout the years, and indeed, each one of them seemed closer to him than his real family had ever been.

Jean Havoc, who had become like a brother as well as a trusted friend; loyal and courageous to the point of being blind to the consequences, yet aloof and laid-back when the need arose. Perpetually unlucky by women (partly by Roy's own fault) but ever hopeful, he'd become a victim of Roy's teasing while at the same time bringing out his determined nature. Jean was currently leaning against the door of the hall, his hair being ruffled by the cool droughts of air coming from the courtyard outside. Roy saw, with high amusement, that he appeared rather forlorn at being one of the only men on the dance floor who was currently without a dance partner. Sometimes you had to pity the poor guy.

Then there was Heymans Breda, whose quick wit and sense of humour had helped him out of many a bad situation. He was an intelligent man and a strategist, who saw everything that was and would be in black and white terms. If you thought you were two paces ahead of him at the beginning, you'd end up three paces behind by the end. There were some times where he thought he didn't take anything seriously, but then came to realize that was what characterized him from others; his ability to treat everything with total nonchalance until you realized he was calculating and analysing the situation the whole time. He was seated next to Falman at the table that all of his most loyal friends had been placed at (save one), with a shot of tequila in one hand and a piece of wedding cake in the other.

Vato Falman looked tired but alert, his wrist subconsciously tilting back and forth as he swirled the whisky in his glass around idly, as he listened to whatever Breda was saying, occasionally adding his own short comment. He was probably the most refined of Roy's subordinates, a quieter support that was sometimes partially forgotten but never under-appreciated. He worked with the quiet, absolute obedience that all military seniors seemed to lust after in their personnel, but rarely found. Some people would have said Roy brought out those characteristics in his subordinates. Roy knew Falman has probably been blessed with these skills since the day he was born, but he probably still thanked himself for them everyday.

A guest he knew by appearance but not by name was currently whisking Kain Fuery around the dance floor; his eye level was even to the woman's chest, and he seemed caught between good fortune and utter humiliation (the way Havoc was glaring jealously wasn't helping the boy's nerves). Roy smiled at this; Kain had always been shy around women, but had never been discouraged by whatever tasks Roy had given him back in the military days. To Roy, Kain was the son that he'd never had, that Edward and Alphonse hadn't wanted to be. Sometimes he was almost frustratingly kind to a fault; the case of Lieutenant Hawkeye's dog was a prime example of this behaviour.

Almost on que, fingers traced over the knuckles of his left hand, and he met the gaze of Riza Mustang, nee Hawkeye (a small smirk crossed his lips at this thought). In a twist of events, and after years of working together, and not quite being together but not being split up, he had managed to propose (and judging from the look on her face after he had done so, it was a wonder she had managed to accept). Perhaps it was only now that he realized how much they had come to rely on each other's strengths and weaknesses, the finer points of their personalities. Roy took this opportunity to take her hand between both of his; it was amazing, how much Hawkeye had done for him, taught him about himself. And regardless of whether it was as his lieutenant, his emotional anchor or his wife, he was thankful for her every day he lived his life.

Roy Mustang often looked back on his wedding night, recalling what he had thought about his subordinates; even now, they were his family, his safety, his friends. And as for children? Well... Fuery, Breda, Falman and Havoc would have joked that he and Riza already had a son; sometimes, Riza even convinced him to let him into their bed with them. Even in the darkness of their bedroom, Roy could still see his "son's" shadowed outline; his back legs twitching as he dreamed, ears pricked and listening even in deep slumber, the tail making little sounds as it wagged back and forth against the blankets...

Realizing that it was nearly dawn, Roy smiled and reclined with his arms behind his head, stretching his tired muscles. Black Hayate stirred and opened one eye sleepily, as if checking that all was well, before letting his eyelid droop shut again and returning to slumber. Roy let out a contented sigh and realized that although some people desired children, a happy family life, wealth; all of the things that were shallow on the surface but like water, were deceptively deepů he already had all of this and more. And as his mind once again drifted back to that fateful night, he was sure that every member of his family had realized this, too.