Emma (gretchen8642) wrote,
Emma
gretchen8642

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Big Bang 2010-11, Never Let Me Go (part I)

Title: Never Let Me Go
Author: gretchen8642
Genre: romance/tragedy
Rating: 
R
Word Count: 15932
Pairing/Characters: Royai, mention of others
Warnings: major spoilers for FMA
Summary: In order to make himself a better candidate for the Fuhrer’s seat, Roy gets engaged to a powerful General’s daughter. Riza must come to terms with losing the man she loves in a way she never expected. Although the ending has a shocking twist :O

AN: I really enjoyed writing this, a labor of love indeed! I want to thank my artists Angela and Zita for all their hard work in contributing to this project with me, which I’ve nicknamed my “Giant Epic Royai Saga”


banner by bay115





Terrible danger has a way of setting your priorities straight-- a way of making you see how short life is, how precious.... and how quickly things change. The promised day brought things to light in Roy and Riza’s relationship, things that perhaps they had not yet been ready to face. Her near death, his blindness, their sudden incredible intimacy...

The most terrifying thing about losing his eyesight was that little nagging voice at the back of his head that told him his life was completely over now. He’d have to stop being a state alchemist, he’d have to give up on his dream of being the Fuhrer... he’d probably have to live in a home for wounded veterans- assuming he wasn’t executed for treason first.

Hell, at least he wouldn’t need a blindfold.

Riza was the rock that kept him standing during that brief time of darkness- the bit of hope and courage and strength that kept him snapping his fingers. She would never let him fall, she would never, ever let him be hurt, and he trusted her with everything in himself.

But even after they’d saved the world, even after evil was vanquished, there was still the crushing reality that a blind man can’t lead. Even with Riza by his side, his dreams were over.

They both knew it.

It wasn’t hard to separate the two of them in the makeshift hospital, someone removed her hand from his, and he couldn’t see where she was. She had lost so much blood, too... she wasn’t in much of a position to argue.

His dream was over, and Riza was left facing the awful decision then of what came next in their lives together (because there was no way she could leave his side now). He’d have to retire, he probably had enough money to look after himself for the rest of his life... and she...

What else could she do?

She would stand beside him, maybe look for a way to get his eyesight back. Maybe she’d keep her job, stay in the military, and come home to him each night.

He’d stumble around the house, try to make himself useful... dying a little more each day because he was useless and trapped in a dark hell that he hadn’t deserved.

Thinking of that life together did not make her happy. It was wrong to end up together that way, wrong for such a young, ambitious dreamer to give up his whole life in such an unjust manner.

To give up being the Fuhrer... to give up protecting Amestris, his comrades... was to give up himself. Being married to Roy wasn’t worth him losing himself, his life, his dream...

Maybe that was why their physical closeness didn’t stick around once his eyesight came back, because she liked him better this way-- with a dream, a light in his eyes.... not crushed because he was useless, not resenting how badly he needed her.

They were better as equals.

“I would have stood by you either way, Colonel.” She told him softly, as Marcoh and Knox prepared to use the philosopher’s stone for one last time.

“I know that.” He smiled, feeling around blindly for her cheek. Just let me once more... I want to remember the way your skin feels before... before everything goes back to normal.

Riza was one of the first things Roy saw when he was granted back the gift of his eyesight. He reached out a hand, almost touched her face-- as though he could not believe she was truly in front of him. His hand fell to his side.

“You’re beautiful.” He whispered. And she laughed, because she was covered in bandages and she was completely, completely exhausted.

“If you say so, sir.” She said softly, putting her hand on his, smiling sweetly-- a promise that she would keep moving forward with him, keep working to make the world into a better place.

“I’ll never forget what you did for me.” He added, the pad of his thumb stroking her palm. “Thank you for surviving.”

---


The brief moments of intimacy his blindness provided (she’d held him so close, clutched at his chest with her hands... his arm around her shoulder, the way his lips touched her ear when he whispered his next command...) had all but vanished just as soon as his eyesight returned. Maybe it was the threat of ever-looming death that brought their bodies in such close proximity-- how simple it is to fall back into an old comfortable routine.

She thought about it, how close they’d been... how he was as warm as she’d imagined, how he’d clutched her shoulder like his life depended on it... how it was as though he feared he’d lose her forever if he let go.

And so it was, they went back to work- Roy Mustang a Brigadier General; Riza, his most trusted advisor... Though Riza had breached the wall of physical closeness that always stood in between them, back in the office, touch seemed out of place... there was a promise in the air, of a beautiful future together once his goals were met, once fraternization was no longer an issue. Roy Mustang would get down on one knee and ask the only woman in his life to be his bride, to make him whole.

And she would smile, touch his face, and tell him of course she would; as though it were the most obvious thing in the world.

---


But he had his priorities, they both did. Roy’s main goal was to secure the Presidency of Amestris, and Riza’s was to make sure he got there in one piece. So it wasn’t too surprising when he started dating General Grey’s daughter (a military bigshot)... it wasn’t even surprising when he got down on his knee and presented her with a diamond that had been in the Mustang family for generations.

He liked her well enough-- Camille was beautiful, smart, well educated, a lot of fun to be around... she was a good match, a good choice. A Fuhrer needed a wife or it looked like he was afraid of commitment. A Fuhrer needed a child so that it looked like he could understand his people better. Roy Mustang needed Riza by his side, (not on his arm) in order to make that dream come true.

A fraternization scandal might have ended him, though he loved her, always loved her... sometimes love isn’t enough.



“I proposed to Camille.” I’m so sorry.
“Congratulations sir, I know you’ll be happy together.” It’s alright. I understand.
“Thanks. I bet Maes would be pleased.” Forgive me. I can’t be happy with anyone but you.
“I’ll bet he is.” It’s okay. Please... please don’t look at me like that.


In a perfect world, fraternization wouldn’t have mattered. In a perfect world, he could have waited until after he got the Fuhrer’s seat to take a wife... In a perfect world, Roy could be with the woman he loved, the only person in a world who understood him on a level that transcended words... the woman who he would kill for, who he would die for.

But even after everything they’d given up, this was not a perfect world.

---


He couldn’t look at her at work sometimes, knowing what he’d given up. He couldn’t stand to see those luscious eyes, her smooth lips, the golden hair that always crept out from behind her ears.... the way she tucked it back in absentmindedly, the way her fingers played on the sides of her mug. He couldn’t look at her, those lips he’d never again capture, the heart he’d never open... she was too good for some stupid office affair.

She was too good for him.



Roy hated doing the wedding planning, so Riza had taken it upon herself to do it for him. He hated how good she was at it too, fucking Riza, knew him better than he knew himself (hell, she seemed to know Camille better than he did too). The flowers Camille liked, the cake Roy liked... She swallowed. Her perfect soldier mask slipped away for only one second as she realized there was no room for her at the head table... she penciled herself in near the back, with the rest of the subordinates.

She’d catch him sometimes, looking at her instead of at his work, eyes longing-- filled with regret. And she’d smile, and tell him that Generals have to do their work just like anyone else. Roy loved that about her, how she kept him in line, put his goals above even her own happiness.

Above their happiness.

She was getting used to the looks of pity from coworkers, the whispers in the halls about how strange it was to see Roy Mustang with any other woman besides Riza. How sad for you. How sad that you’ve lost the man you love, that he’s lost his chance for a real happy marriage. Hughes must be turning over in his grave.

---

He’d almost kissed her after Hughes died. After the funeral he’d kept his distance from her, as he knew that any small allowance of intimacy would lead to more, until they spiraled and cascaded down beyond the point of no return.

She’d seen him at his weakest, seen him with his guard completely down, and she accepted each and every part of him.

She drove him home, and the whole way there she was trying not to hold his hand, he was trying not to put his hand on her knee.

Her breath was hot by the time they reached the door together... how simple would it be for her to just let him have her, take her in his arms, ravish her on the floor maybe (they’d never make it to the bed, not enough time... no, right here by the doorway)... And she swallowed, he was thinking about it and she could see it in his eyes.

A moment of silence as they calculated the next move- it wouldn’t be hard to cover up an affair, everyone thought they were doing it (on the desk, in the closet, all of Roy’s safe houses, the car sometimes...) anyway.

And he needed her, needed her in a way that it was rare for her to see so clearly. He needed a body (maybe hers, maybe not), a set of ears and eyes that could take him this way, and love him all the same. She could give that to him, her body, her heart, whatever he wished of her.

All he had to do was kiss her.

“Thank you, Lieutenant.”
Please, come in. Ask if you can come in, ask if-- I’m sorry, I’m sorry that I need you but I need you.

“It’s alright. ...Are you going to be okay?” Just ask me... I’ll give you all of me, every part if you just ask.

“I will be.” He smiled weakly, reaching out a hand to touch her face which he dropped before it even got close. “I appreciate it.” I couldn’t take advantage like this. Not now... I don’t want our first time to be like this.

“Don’t. It’s my job after all.” I’m yours, Roy Mustang. Never forget that.

---


Maybe it could have waited until morning, she didn’t really need his signature on that one report until the end of the week... but he’d taken the rainy day off-- but she went over to his apartment anyway, cool raindrops cascading down her neck.

“Sir.” I missed you.
“Lieutenant... come in, let me get you a towel.” I’m so sorry. This is all so wrong.

He rubbed a warm towel on her hair, kept his hands where they were when it was finished. So much was unspoken between them, they understood one another so well... He pressed his forehead to hers and shut his eyes.

She knew that if she asked him to, he’d call off the wedding. He knew that she wouldn’t ask him to, that there’s too much riding on this politically-- that this is the right choice if he wanted to be king. But oh hell... she was thinking about it.

“Lieutenant...” He whispered. I love you. I need you, please, please don’t let me do this.
“Sir...” She whispered back, her hand barely touching his.

His front door opened, Camille came in, soaked and beautiful. “Hey sweetie, your place was closer, and it’s still rai--- What is SHE doing here?”

Roy and Riza jumped away from each other. She muttered an apology, held up her folder of documents as some pitiful form of explanation. Camille took Roy’s arm and kissed his neck, her territory well marked. “Well, I don’t want to keep you from... your dog.” She said coolly. “Thank you for dropping off the papers, I’ll make sure Roy gets his work done. You don’t need to stick around.”

Roy stared at Riza, she stared right back. I’m so sorry. His eyes screamed. Forgive me. I don’t want things to be this way. She smiled and shook her head. “Thank you, Miss Grey. And... I’ll see you tomorrow, sir.”

“Lieutenant!” He said, ignoring the sharp glare from his Camille. “Take care. Be safe. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

She smiled, that somber, sad smile that he’d grown so used to since his engagement was announced. “Yes sir.”

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. They were supposed to have some ridiculous heartfelt confession of eternal adoration after the promised day was over, after they saved the world and stepped out into a new day, alive and together.

But these things never quite work out that way, she supposed. The declaration of love waited, and waited, until eventually she was quite sure it would never see the light of day.

---


Each encounter she had with Camille was more humiliating than the last. They obviously didn’t care for one another much, obviously were from different social circles... and they both wanted Roy Mustang all to themselves.

More and more now Riza was debating with herself about whether or not she could let Roy marry this woman. It surprised her that the pain of seeing them together never lessened, that each time they touched hands or lips she still always felt like vomiting. The man she loved was achieving his dream, he was about to become the most powerful person in the nation and change the world for the better... and here she was, obsessing over sex and love... what the hell had happened to her priorities?

It hurt. It hurt more than she would ever admit to anyone but her dog. And each day the regret over waiting so long... over letting go of this chance to be with him...it just deepened.

Maybe tomorrow she’d tell him she couldn’t let him go through with the wedding.. She pondered as she walked down the cool dark streets of Central. Maybe tomorrow she’d take back the man she loved, fuck diplomacy, fuck politics-- let Roy get the Fuhrer’s seat on his own merits.

Or maybe she would do what she always did: smile politely, shut her eyes, and do her duty... no matter the cost. Congratulate the man she loved as he wed someone else, bring a gift to their first baby shower... maybe find a relationship of her own that she didn’t even want.

And do her best to keep herself from fading into the background of his life.

---


“You won’t forget about me right?” Riza asked softly, holding the very, very end of his sleeve as he left her father’s house for what she assumed was the very last time.

“Never.” He promised her, fluffing up her hair, touching her face with his hand. “I do plan on coming back you know, after I enlist. I’ll bring you something from Central, okay? Keep your chin up, don’t let your dad get to you.”

She smiled, in one of her moods where she desperately sought out the physical contact of which she’d been so regularly deprived as a child, where she’d hold his arm or touch his back, where she didn’t recoilfrom reciprocation. She had other moods where it was quite the opposite, where intimacy of any kind got her to shut down. Roy preferred her open, happy, honest self.

“I’ll do my best, but you know how father can be.”
I’m going to miss you.

“Honestly, no one can handle him better than you can. I always feel better knowing you’re in the house, maybe that you can rescue me when he finally decides to burn my hair off.” I’m gonna miss you too...

And he wondered how the hell this girl four years his junior had worked her little way into his heart. He grew up with whores for crying out loud, he was supposed to be immune to actually giving a shit about love.

She was special, she didn’t fall for his lines, his charm... she liked him because he’d earned it, by listening and helping out around the house, by being funny and hard working and... he found that a day he could make her smile was a good day in his book.

He knelt down so his eyes were at the same height as hers. “I promise I’ll be back in two weeks.” He touched her face once more. “And I’m never, ever going to forget you. You ever come to Central, I’ll show you around to all the best places, okay Riza?”

She blushed (there were no other boys in the world who could make her blush,) and took his hands. “Just once.” She stammered. “I want you to kiss me just once.”

From any other woman, such an admission might have made him chuckle. From her... his cheeks reddened (ever so slightly), and he nodded, gently pressing his lips against hers, showing her how men kissed women when they adored them... willing her to see it wasn’t all talk, it wasn’t.

She was special, he didn’t bed her because she was special... because she meant more to him than just a fuck, more to him than a blowjob under the desk, more than any painted beauty you could find anywhere.

“I’ll see you in two weeks.” He said softly, running his thumb along her lips. I hate it when I can’t see you.

“You’re gonna miss your train if you aren’t careful.” She chided.
I think I might love you. I’m not supposed to love alchemists but...

He turned, waving as he made his way to the train station. She watched him until she couldn’t see his silhouette on the horizon any longer--- then she turned, walked into her home, and silently tears began to roll down her cheeks.

---


Riza Hawkeye rarely cried, it just wasn’t her style. And today was no exception-- she wasn’t crying, nor was she going to cry. Camille had every right to be angry that her fiance was holding hands with another woman, Camille had every right to hate Riza (she was, after all, the woman people thought of when they thought of Roy Mustang. She was in nearly every photograph he was in, she was always at his side).

Still, it didn’t make it any easier.

Riza hated Camille, she hated the way that Camille spoke to her, especially in front of Roy... she hated the way that she was beautiful, how bubbly and friendly she was... how she didn’t have to hide her body inside the baggy folds of an obnoxious blue uniform every day.

She felt plain beside her, plain and dull. Riza rarely thought about her femininity- she was exactly as she wished to be-- poised, respected, sharp. Camille made her feel like she was doing something wrong-- she didn’t smile enough, she didn’t wear enough makeup, no wonder she didn’t have a husband yet.

Camille made her feel like she’d lost a contest she didn’t even know she was in.

She entered her apartment and slumped down against her front door, fingers pressing against her temples, covering her eyes. This was for the best, she kept reminding herself. Roy was better off being married and Fuhrer than... than being with her, being held back. They’d waited this long, why screw everything up now when they were so close to the end zone?

It’s not like she needed his heart to be happy... he was still her boss, her colleague, her friend... so what if he spent every night with another woman? So what if he woke up every day to a face that wasn’t hers? So what if she’d never have children with him...? So what?

There are more important things than love, she knew that.

They both did.

---


She sat on the floor of her hallway for some time, knees drawn up close to her chest. She couldn’t stop her mind from wandering over to Roy and Camille... his hands on her body, those breasts heaving as he snuck his fingers between her legs.. she’d cry out, beg him for more... he’d fuck her like she was a goddamned princess, and Riza would sit alone in her apartment and wait for daylight.

The phone started to ring, and shook her out of those thoughts.

“Hawkeye?” Roy said softly. “I just wanted to check up on you.” I’m sorry she was so rude to you.

She smiled, you could hear it in her voice. “I’m fine, sir. Thanks.” I think about you every night. I worry about you all the time.

“Hawkeye...” He started, he couldn’t do it, he couldn’t keep up with this lie to the world.

“Sir, it’s late. Do you need something?” I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry, You can’t break it off now. It’d be political suicide.

“No. Just to hear your voice, Lieutenant.” He swallowed. I love you.

“Has this been a sufficient amount of talking for you?” I love you too much to let you destroy what you’ve worked for... not for me, not for something so frivolous.

“I’ll take what I can get. Sleep well.” I’m sorry.

“You too, sir.” Me too.

She gently hung up the phone and sighed. Riza stood up and went to her bathroom mirror, staring into her own eyes for a while. She didn’t like this woman she saw, the one who pined and pined for a man who was about to get married.

Time sped along, as it often does. Their encounter at his house was never spoken of, seemingly forgotten, and things slipped back into normality so easily that it scared her a little.

He was still Roy, still engaged, still desperately in love with his Lieutenant... and she was still Riza.

He was noticing how carefully she was avoiding being alone with him. It was for the best, he realized. As the wedding day drew closer and closer, it was harder and harder for them to resist... just one touch, just one kiss. One taste of true ecstasy before he lost her...

It was tempting, some mornings they’d be alone together for half an hour before the rest of the men showed up. Small talk was strained, since ‘How was your weekend?’ was often answered with ‘Camille wanted this and that, we went here and there..’ Sealing the silence with sex... a much easier break to that awkwardness.

But they stood their ground, the risk of getting caught was high, and Roy thought Riza was too good to be a mistress... Riza thought Roy was too good to cheat on his fiancee.

They were alone together one night, for the first time in a long time. It didn’t take much, maybe a brush of the hand as she passed him a file... and the walls broke down, he was on her, pushing her up against the wall, kissing her like the world was about to end.

They didn’t speak, words would have ruined it-- he’d say he loved her, she’d tell him about Camille, about his future... and he’d say it again. I love you. I love you and god dammit please, please don’t let me lose you.

But his lips were sealed on hers, tight and hot, desperate and wet.

She whimpered and moaned against his lips, grinding their hips together, tearing his jacket open. His hand threaded through her hair, pulling her close. He needed her. He needed this moment, please...

“Sir?” The office door creaked open and they jumped away from each other as fast as they could. “I need your approval on this finance report.”

Riza fixed her hair, her jacket, and quietly sat back down at her desk. That had been a terrible lapse of judgement. If the Greys found out...

The intruder left, and Roy walked up to her desk. “Hawkeye...” He said softly, touching her shoulder. “I...”

She shook her head. They couldn’t talk about this. It was too painful, too dangerous. She smiled at him, put her hand on his. “It’s alright.” She said softly. “I can finish up here if you need to head home.”

A painful look crossed his face. “Let me stay with you.” He pleaded. “I won’t-- I won’t do anything.” She nodded, and they sat far far apart.

Maybe she’d get a transfer after they got married. Maybe that would be the easiest thing, to just be apart. Every day for over ten years they’d been together... she was his right hand, he was her rock.

She could barely even remember what it was like to be Riza Hawkeye without a Roy Mustang beside her.

---


She figured she’d probably never see him again after she gave him the secret of flame alchemy.

Her shirt fluttered to the ground, and she heard all the way at the other end of the room his quick intake of air as he saw her bare back for the first time. "Riza... you're... he..." She nodded, trembling hands clutching and covering her small breasts as he came to her. He directed her to the floor, so she could sit and be more comfortable while he worked. She heard the rustling of fabric from behind her, and felt the sudden too hot heat of the flesh of his stomach pressed against the lowest part of her back. "Equivalent exchange." He explained. "I don't want you to feel exposed."

She would have rolled her eyes if she hadn't felt so terrified.. his soft fingers grazed over her back (oh how she hated it, hated it when someone touched that marred and ruined skin of hers). "It's beautiful, Riza." He murmured, sensing her anxiety. "Do you want to stop?"

She shook her head, hands tightening around the black shirt she was using to cover herself. "I'm fine, Mr. Mustang. Take as long as you need to." He gave her a sad smile-- though she couldn't see it from where she was sitting. "I'm sorry he did this to you." He said honestly, not that it changed anything. "I won't let you down. I promise I won't."

Riza turned and faced him, her cheeks flushed red at their closeness, a smile on her face as she touched his cheek. "I know."

She’d trembled under his fingers, the skin on her back was so, so sensitive... no one had ever touched her like that before.

“Riza...” He’d whispered. “This... this is incredible... Thank you.”

He made his notes, put his shirt back on, and hugged her close. “I can stay tonight.” He whispered, and her throat went dry.

It wasn’t overtly sexual (though her whole body tingled whenever he touched her at all). They slept in the same bed, fully clothed, Roy cradling his young ward against his body. She didn’t sleep a wink... her heart was going too fast, just being this close to him.

“I’m gonna make changes.” He said finally. “Become a state alchemist, figure out how to protect this nation. Make sure everyone I love is safe.” He nuzzled her neck. “And one day I’ll come and pick you up from this place, take you to Central where you can really shine.”

She didn’t believe him. She was just her father’s daughter, Mr. Mustang would move on to bigger and better things.

He left the next morning, didn’t kiss her goodbye, just squeezed her hand and thanked her for everything. He loved her too much to tell her he loved her. He loved her too much, he had to leave her, he had a life and a job back in Central.. to tell her would have been unfair.

She waved him off, stood outside of that empty house for as long as she possibly could. He was just a boy, she realized... a lanky teenager, dreams too big for his head. It made her heart hurt to watch him go, knowing that this would probably be the last time they ever saw each other.

He didn’t write, she didn’t either. He’d forgotten about her, she suspected, and she didn’t want to be some lovesick girl who could never get over the guy who first held her hand.

But each day the casualty reports from Ishbal became more severe, and it made her feel sick. He was probably still in the academy, but one of these days... that idiot dreamer would be sent out to war. His beautiful hands would be marred with blood, his eyes would become duller, his dream would flicker... and he’d die alone.

She signed up for the academy on her seventeenth birthday, rose to the top of her class, and was sent to Ishbal by the time she turned eighteen. She didn’t seek him out, it wasn’t how snipers worked.

Riza Hawkeye protected him from above, sharp eyes peeled for danger coming from any direction.


---


It was awkward. It was awkward and he hated how awkward it was between them. The wedding was getting closer and closer, and each minute that ticked by seemed to drive another wedge between them. She’d avoid his eyes, he’d avoid even accidentally touching her hand when he took his morning cup of coffee...

It was more than an unspoken bond between them-- it was a lifelong culmination of a mutual trust and understanding, a love that went so deep that even skimming the surface made them nervous.

How long ago was it that he first noticed this love for her? In her father’s house? Ishbal? He couldn’t remember a time when it didn’t feel this way... it had been easier to push their feelings aside before- there was the promise of tomorrow, the unspoken assumption that when the dust settled, it would be Riza on his arm.

He’d imagined it many times, them standing together at the center of some disaster, arms snaked around her back, one hand threading through her hair, kissing each other while all of Amestris cheered...

But then Camille came along. Her father had been quite pushy on the matter, and when it came right down to it... Camille was a good choice for a Fuhrer’s wife. She was smart, she was beautiful... he liked her a good deal, they got along quite well.

When he’d started courting her, he hadn’t been expecting much. It had been a half-assed attempt to appease General Grey, and it had worked quite well... but timing is everything, in these matters. Grumman started talking about stepping down, nominations for a new Fuhrer poured in... And Roy needed Riza to help him get to the top, not waiting for him at home, not reassigned to avoid fraternization technicalities at such a critical time...

Hell, the marriage had been her idea. Riza saw what a chance this was, and, as always, she put Roy’s dream ahead of everything.

Marry her, and the seat will be yours. You’ll get the support of much of the old council, the public will adore you, the press will have a great time, your face will be all over the paper... it.... it’s perfect.

And he swallowed, and nodded, because he knew that she was right.

Because she was always right.

Camille had been quite happy to accept the proposal-- Roy was a good marriage candidate himself, handsome, rich, witty, the man who would be Fuhrer... Good in bed, too.

But still... he could see the disgust in her eyes each time he undressed before her, when the scars on his side glared at her. She liked the lights off, she didn’t like to touch the ruined flesh, she didn’t like it when his bare torso touched hers... so often one or the other would wear a shirt for sex.

Sometimes, he’d close his eyes and pretend he was making love to Riza.

And sometimes he couldn’t bear to open them up again afterwards.

Camille didn’t want to hear about his scars, the ones on his hands, the one on his stomach, the ones on his heart... She didn’t want to know about Ishbal either. She didn’t want to know about his blindness, or Hughes... she wanted the Roy he showed to the world, the beautiful charmer who captured the hearts of every woman in Amestris, made their panties wet just thinking about his smooth voice.

Camille loved having this man on her arm, and he was happy to make her happy... give her the big beautiful wedding she’d always dreamed of, a wedding night in total darkness as he hid his chest and hands and face from her.

They wouldn’t say I love you, maybe he’d have a drink in a spare room at the end of the night.

And he’d think about calling Riza, even on his wedding night. Asking her how her day was, silently beg her not to leave him now, not after everything... part of him feared that part of what held them together (maybe even the critical part) was the promise of love in the future.

Riza was not like Camille. Riza liked to work for her money, she liked to be independent, she didn’t care about makeup or if her hair was perfect, she liked guns and not necklaces, she liked making sure her boots were clean... and she was the only woman in the world who didn’t fall for any of Roy’s lines. The only woman who truly, truly knew him.

She knew each and every part of him-- the parts that were weak, the parts that were damaged, the parts that were burned and scarred and... she stayed with him. She followed him to hell and back and would do it again and again if he asked her to.

Riza knew every part of Roy Mustang--- and even so, she loved him.

---


Roy hesitated for a few moments outside of her tent... she was furious, with good reason too. He’d taken the secret inscribed on her back and used it to mow down uncountable thousands, char the earth beyond recognition... two years without a word to each other, two years not knowing if they’d ever see each other again...

And the first thing she asked him was if he even remembered her.

What a question, how could he forget? How could he forget the young woman who flitted around the house, checking on him, worrying about him, always silent, always there?

That girl was gone, now, replaced by a hardened veteran with eyes far too haggard for her eighteen years. Blood on her hands; she carried the weight of her duty, and of Roy’s... he was only a flame alchemist because she had trusted him. Had that been a mistake?

He hadn’t expected to run into her in Ishbal, no. That sweet young girl was supposed to stay away from his bad choices, not follow his naive dream onto the frontlines of the worst war in recent memory. His horror upon seeing her on the dunes of Ishbal was all the worse because he’d taken her gift and soiled it. Charred corpses littered the path he walked on, and he feared that she would hate him now.

He pushed open the flap of her tent, cleared his throat to announce his presence. She flinched, reached for a gun... and slowly her shoulders relaxed when she recognized him.

“People will talk.” She said softly.

“Let them. I worry about you.” He approached, and stopped a few feet away from where she was sitting on the cool earth.

A few moments of awkward silence filled the air, whatever friendship they’d had in her father’s house had long since died. There was the temptation of course, to reach out and touch her hand. But he didn’t deserve that now... he had to earn that trust back.

He had never forgotten her... never. But...

“Why did you follow me here?” He wasn’t expecting a response. “I don’t want you to be here.” He lied-- well not exactly untrue, he wanted her gone for her own safety but...

“I’m sorry Mr.-- Major Mustang.” She said softly. “It’s my duty to protect the secret of flame alchemy.” She looked up at him, with those sharp eyes that always cut right through him. “Why are you doing this?”

He wanted to lie to her, he wanted to tell her it was for the good of Amestris, to end the war faster, to spit out the same propaganda he’d been fed by the higher ups since he got here... But no, he didn’t like being dishonest with her. She deserved better than that.

“I don’t know anymore. I want to change this, change everything.” He didn’t touch her shoulder, though he wished to. “I won’t let anything like this happen again.”

For just a moment, there was a glimmer of the young boy she’d fallen in love with-- the exceptionally handsome teenager whose dreams sparkled in his eyes. He was still in there; that part of their relationship hadn’t died yet, at least.

“I don’t know how yet.” He said softly. “But I’m going to change this place. I’m going to stop the brass from starting wars with people who can’t defend themselves. I’m going to make sure no more civilians ever die at our hands.”

He looked up at her. “I swear that I’m going to make this up to you. I don’t want you to regret knowing me. I never want you to regret that.”


---


Roy didn’t look at Camille when he got home that night-- guilty conscience or something, or maybe looking at her made him think of all he was throwing away. He could still feel Riza’s lips on his, her soft, hot body pressed up against his... how far would they have taken it if they hadn’t been interrupted?

“Sweetie?” Camille squeezed his shoulders. “You okay? Want me to make you some tea or something?”

She was a sweet girl, really. Kind, smart, beautiful... she only bared her claws when she felt cheated or threatened... He put his hand on hers, and shook his head.

“It’s alright. Just a long day at work.”

“Oh.”

A long pause.

“How’s... Lieutenant Hawkeye?” She asked casually, a bit of anxiety in her voice because she knew that often when Roy was upset, that woman was at the core of it.

“She’s doing well, busy too, you know.”

“Oh.” She said again. Camille wasn’t an idiot, she knew a rival when she saw one... the only woman in the world who could make Roy pine, the only woman who could truly claim to have his heart.

Probably for the rest of their lives she’d feel a threat coming from Riza’s direction... but Camille had the ring... that meant something, right? She kissed him, testing the waters, and he kissed her back-- clinically, absently, like it was a chore he had to do whenever his fiancee asked it of him.

She pulled away and looked into his eyes. “Roy, do you even want to get married?”

His heart sank, the truth welled up in his chest, but he swallowed it down. “Sweetheart, why would you even ask that? You’re perfect for me.” He stroked her face. “Are you having second thoughts?”

Camille lowered her eyes. “I’m not an idiot, Roy.” She said softly. “You think I don’t know what’s going on?”

He sighed. “So what do you want to do?”

“I don’t know.” A pause. “I want you to transfer her out of your office.”

Roy’s eyes widened. “I... I can’t do that.” He needed her, now more than ever he needed her, they were so close... he’d given up the love of his life to get this far... and now... she wouldn’t even be there with him? “Please don’t ask me to do that.”

“If you love me, Roy... if you want this marriage to work... it can only be you and me. Not you and me and.. and her.” Her voice was dripping with venom.

He looked up at her, his beautiful, radiant bride to be... and in that moment, he despised her.

“I’ll see what I can do.” He seethed, standing up, grabbing his coat. “I need some air.”

---


Roy had only hated Riza once, only for one moment. It was in the heat of anger, his eyes trained on the embryonic form of his best friend’s murderer... he was so close... so. fucking. close.

And there was Riza, with a gun pointed at his head, telling him he did not have the right or mental captivity to avenge his best friend. He couldn’t think clearly, he could barely hear her voice... words buzzed around his head, drowning out everything else.

Motherfucker killed Maes. Monster took the form of his wife and laughed as he bled to death. He died alone, he was twenty nine, he died because of me, he died because he loved his wife, he died because a shape shifting monster had tricked him and he was SO GODDAMN CLOSE TO ENDING IT!

He seethed, eyes narrow, crinkled, dripping poisonous rage. “Give him to me. He’s mine. Give him to me.”

Roy tolerated Edward, even Scar telling him what an idiot he was... Riza’s pleas to calm himself fell on deaf ears as well. He could barely sense Riza’s hand shaking behind him, gun rattling ever so slightly as she contemplated ending his life. How could she? How could she take this from him?

“Please.” She whispered. “Don’t go where I can’t follow.”

He hated her in that moment. Hated her for not understanding, hated her for making him turn back from the last regret he had in his life. He didn’t even look at her, he couldn’t.

“If you’re gonna shoot, shoot.” She was silent behind him, he could only imagine the pain on her face. He would die for Maes. That was fair.

“But what will you do after I die?” He had to know that, at least.

She lowered her eyes, her voice was shaking as she spoke. “I don’t want to live a carefree life alone.” She whispered, and he was surprised by her honesty. “After this is finished, I’ll erase my body from this earth. And... die with the Flame Alchemist.”

Roy tightened his fist, and let loose one final burst of his fire. She was going to kill herself because of him. She loved him enough to stop him from becoming someone terrible. His anger subsided into shame, and he turned to face her, placed his hand on top of hers.

“I can’t lose you, too.” He whispered, and lowered her gun, keeping his hand close to her. “I’ve been a fool. Forgive me.” He would have kissed her, but he could barely keep himself on his feet. He sunk to the ground, a mess of pent up anger, resentment, and regret.

It only took a few seconds for her to join him, sitting on the cool stone floor, relief flooding over her shoulders. Roy avoided her eyes while Envy made his dramatic death speech.

I’m so sorry. His eyes said. Thank you... thank you for always keeping me on the right path.

She looked at him, looked at how much this had taken out of him... how much of Roy Mustang had died with Hughes... I’m sorry that it ended this way. I’m sorry that I hurt you.

He covered his eyes once Envy was dead, heart aching, but still beating at least. Thanks to Riza... she’d saved him from death so many times... and now she’d saved him from himself.

And he realized that he didn’t hate her any longer, that as always, she was right. His dream was to be Fuhrer, not to avenge Maes Hughes. His dream was to be a man who could lead the world into peace and prosperity... his dream was to make a world safe for Elysia, to make Riza proud of him, proud to be beside him...

And together they stood up. There were more battles yet to fight before Amestris was out of danger. He almost took her hand this time... but in the last moment, he let it drop to his side.


---


Roy did what he often did when he was feeling lost and miserable... he visited Maes. It had taken a few years for Roy to grow accustomed to Maes’ silence, but he took comfort at that grave site. It reminded him of when Maes was alive, somehow... of a time of naivete, before they knew about homunculi and philosopher’s stones... when he still had his best friend’s obnoxious laugh and boatload of photographs to get him through anything.

“Hey.” He said softly. Roy didn’t believe in the afterlife, or god... but he talked to Maes here. It made him feel less alone. “Elysia’s getting so big... she’s almost ready to start middle school.” He smiled. “You’d be so proud of her... she’s on the soccer team and everything. And Gracia’s doing well, she sends her love.”

He sighed and sat down next to the gravestone, idly touching the cool letters of his best friend’s name. “I don’t know if I can go through with this.” He said quietly. “Stand up before all my friends... in front of Riza... and...” He drew his knees up to his chest. “She asked me to make Riza transfer. Doesn’t that say everything?”

Maes was, as always, completely silent.

“I don’t love her. Camille, I mean.” He finally said. “I never thought it mattered... you know, marriage and all that. You don’t grow up in a whorehouse and think marriage is this fantastic thing... all I saw growing up was married men cheating on their wives, people ditching kids, makes you realize how love is mostly bullshit. So who cares if I get married to a woman I don’t love? We’re using each other, she knows that, I know that... I shouldn’t be this miserable.”

He sighed and leaned on the gravestone. “I think I could probably put up with it if... if it wasn’t for Hawkeye. Get married to some woman I don’t love, fine. She’s nice enough, we get along... but...”

Even when speaking to a dead man, it was hard for him to be so honest. He swallowed. “I’m hurting the only woman I’ve ever truly loved. And I know that deep down, all she wants is what’s best for me and my dreams. I’m breaking her heart and she’s glad because this is gonna help me be Fuhrer. She’s too goddamn good for me.”

He laughed and looked at the gravestone. “You asshole.” He said fondly. “Jerkface, dying and leaving me alone with this bullshit.” He felt a bit awkward, actually... Maes had always wanted him to get a wife-- but deep down, Roy knew that getting engaged to Camille would have disappointed Maes so deeply... that he’d settled for a woman he didn’t love... that he’d given up on finding happiness outside of work.

A pause.

“I miss you.” He said finally. “I miss you so much sometimes that I can’t even believe it.” He put his face in his knees and mumbled softly. “I want my best friend back. I want to hear your stupid voice.”

Again Maes was silent, and for some reason it hurt more now than it had in a long, long while.

“I should go.” He stood up and pat the tombstone lightly. “You’re a good listener, for what it’s worth.” He chuckled sadly. “I’ll come by again soon, okay?”

He couldn’t bring himself to go home to his apartment. Not to her. Not tonight. Instead he walked in the opposite direction, hands shoved his his pockets, shoulders hunched up against the cold... and when he finally arrived he took a deep breath and knocked on the door.

“Sir?” Riza stared at him incredulously.

“Hey.” He smiled. “Can I come in?”


Part II
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