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Lost in a Reverie

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"What are you thinking about?"

Hawkeye looked up at her superior officer when he spoke and she shrugged, returning her attention to the gun in her lap.

"Nothing, sir. I just hope we can wrap this up soon."

Mustang nodded. He was very much in agreement on that.

He looked away from her, scanning the dark street ahead of them. It had gotten late as they sat there, staking out the presumed residence of a Cretan Mafia lord who had recently been causing havoc in Central. It was high time their streak of theft and murder was ended and Team Mustang had been assigned the task.

"Yeah," he sighed, stretching out. Sitting behind the wheel for so long was making him awfully sore. "I hope so too." He paused in thought, folding his arms over the wheel and resting his head on them. "Lieutenant?"

"Hm?"

"Have you ever thought of what it would be like if we never had to do this sort of thing?"

"No, sir. It's our job."

Roy grumbled and shook his head.

"N… No, not that. I mean… What if you never followed me into the military? What if you never had to risk your life for me? How would things be different? For us?"

Riza stopped fidgeting with her gun and froze, taking in a sharp breath. That was an unexpected turn of conversation.

"No, sir," she said, as serious as ever. "Protecting you, serving this country… It's what I was meant to do. What I want to do. I may have regretted it a bit in the past, but I haven't looked back since."

He was half expecting her to say something like that. She'd said it before. But she didn't answer the question that had been on his mind for a long time, years even. How would things have been different for them?

"Yes, but you didn't answer my last question," he replied, moving to look at her again, meeting her confused gaze. "What about us? We could be… together, without worry. It's something I've certainly thought about. Haven't you?"

Riza took a deep breath, holding Roy's serious, warm gaze as her mind reeled. Of course she'd thought about that. It was no secret between them how they felt for one another, but this was not the time or place to be discussing such matters.

"I-"

"Suspect was spotted heading South down Forty Fifth," Fuery's voice came over the radio in Roy's car, interrupting Riza and making them both jump in surprise.

"That's not too far," Mustang said, clearing his throat and firing up the engine to give chase. "I think we can catch him. And Lieutenant? We'll finish this discussion later."

Roy peeled out onto the thankfully deserted road. The engine roared as he sped through the city. In minutes he caught up to the criminal's vehicle, a fancy, expensive looking thing. If the man wanted to be discreet about his profession, he certainly was failing at it. Suddenly the criminal's car sped up, the driver having spotted Roy due to his reckless driving. The chase was on.

Roy sped after them, rounding a corner too quickly. The tires squealed and the car lifted up on on two wheels for several moments before slamming back down, jostling Riza in the passenger seat.

"Ugh, I should have driven," she muttered, adjusting herself in her seat.

"What was that?" Roy yelled over the sound of the engine.

"Nothing, sir!" she called back, gripping onto the safety handle on the door as Roy rounded another sharp corner.

"Shit, lost them," Roy said as he turned the corner and found nothing but an empty street.

He turned down another road, hoping to cut them off, but that proved to backfire. The criminal had apparently thought to do the same thing and the car came careening at them out of nowhere. Roy had no time to react. He yelled and swerved, but a collision was unavoidable. The criminal's car smashed into the passenger's side of Roy's car and they spun, hitting the side of a building. Both vehicles hissed and sputtered as their engines died, the street becoming quiet once more.

Roy groaned and coughed, squeezing his eyes shut from the pain shooting through his shoulder.

"Lieutenant?" he croaked out. "Are you all right?"

He struggled to move so he could look at Riza and became increasingly worried when she did not respond, even after he called her rank a few time times. Finally, he managed to unwedge his arm from between the bent door and steering wheel and turned to face her.

His eyes grew wide and he completely forgot about the pain in his shoulder when his eyes fell upon his lieutenant. Her head was bleeding profusely, dying her beautiful blonde hair crimson and pink. The blood spilled out over her face, leaking out her nose and from cuts all over her face and neck. Her uniform was ripped where the door had been crushed into her, though the only serious injury seemed to be to her head.

"Lieutenant!"

With a rush of adrenaline, Roy maneuvered out of the car and stumbled to her door, wrenching it open, arms immediately winding around Riza to pull her out. He lay her gently on the ground, still cradling her upper body as he knelt beside the car.

"Lieutenant, please, open your eyes!"

Despite his shouting and shaking her, she remained unconscious, her blood soaking into his jacket where her head lolled against his chest. He grit his teeth, fighting back tears. This mission was supposed to be easy. They weren't supposed to be in any life threatening danger. His recklessness in trying to apprehend their suspect is what got her injured. This was his fault.

He held her closer and continued desperately shouting her rank as sirens blared in the distance.

Chapter Text

No matter how much she wanted to respond to Roy’s frantic calls, Riza could not open her eyes or find her voice. She helplessly lay there in his arms, unable to move, unable speak. Her head throbbed, her body ached, but all she wanted to do was comfort Roy and make sure he was unharmed.

“I don’t care about my damn arm,” she heard Roy growl at some poor paramedic that was just trying to do his job. “Take care of her! Help her!”

They lifted Riza onto a stretcher, careful not to jostle her head too much, and got her into the ambulance. Roy demanded to go with her and, thanks to his rank and the ferocity of his anger, they allowed it and let him sit next to her for the entire trip to the hospital.

Any time the paramedics turned away from them, Roy would grab her hand and squeeze it, whispering reassuring words into her ear, then quickly pull back and drop her hand before anyone saw him. He just wanted to hold her, feel her warmth in his arms, but he had to settle on the small comfort of seeing her chest rise and fall as she breathed.

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Hawkeye awoke to the beeping of the heart monitor next to her bed. The hospital lights were too bright, too glaring, and her eyes burned when she tried to crack them open. She groaned, lifting her hand to rub her temple. Her head still ached as much as it did at the crash site.

“Lieutenant!” Riza managed to finally open her eyes and was greeted by the sight of Roy standing over her, arm in a sling, worry in his dark eyes. “How do you feel?”

“Sore,” she replied after thinking for a moment, her voice scratchy, throat raw. “But I’ll be okay.”

Roy flopped back into the chair he had dragged over next to her bed, letting out a long breath as if he’d been holding it.

“That’s a relief. You had me, er, everyone worried for a while there. You weren’t waking up and I thought…” he trailed off, not wanting to think about what might have been. She was safe and awake and that was all that mattered.

His fretting over her was endearing and she wanted to reach out and hold his hand, but she felt so stiff, so sore, so tired, so she refrained. She turned her head on her pillow to face him and giving him a weak smile instead.

“It’s okay, sir, I’ll be fine.”

“I shouldn’t have been driving so recklessly. I should have pulled back. I--”

“Colonel,” Riza interrupted, eyes narrowing. “Don’t go blaming yourself, this was not your fault. The crime boss is to blame, if anyone. Hitting us like that was far more reckless than your driving... Speaking of, what happened to them?”

Roy sighed and ran a hand through his hair.

“We caught the driver and one of his bodyguards, but he managed to escape before backup arrived. I was too focused on you to even pay attention to them so I didn’t see where they ran off to.”

“I see… I’m sure we’ll catch them next time. As long as there aren’t any car chases.”

Riza saw the corners or Roy’s mouth twitch at her attempt to lighten the mood, but it was short lived. The smile never made it to his face.

“Rest now,” he said, suddenly so close to her ear, his voice soft, soothing. He reached for her hand and squeezed it gently. “I’ll be here when you wake.”

Riza was forced to remain in the hospital for three days. It was two days too long for her. She was feeling better by the end of her second day after waking, there was no reason she could see to keep her there. She just wanted to go home, but even Roy couldn’t pull any strings to get her out early.

When she was finally cleared to leave, Roy volunteered to pick her up and take her home, which was surprising to her. After the accident, she figured he wouldn’t want to get behind the wheel for a long time. Her thoughts about it went unvoiced, however, as he pulled up to the curb in a new car, presumably a rental, and helped her into the passenger seat.

She leaned back against the headrest and stared out the window as Roy drove, much more slowly and carefully than she had ever seen. As soon as she got home, the first thing she was going to to do was scoop Hayate up in a hug. She had missed the pup, though she knew Fuery always took good care of him whenever she asked him to dogsit. Getting back to work would be a nice change of pace too. That hospital had been far too stuffy. She had often felt light headed and out of breath during her stay for no discernible reason. It happened more times than she would have liked, but Roy assured her each time that it was probably just the pain killers or her nerves and that she shouldn’t worry about it. The doctors never said anything so it must not have been a problem.

It felt like they arrived at her apartment within minutes thanks to her being lost in her thoughts. Roy helped her out of the car and up the stairs, unlocking her door for her despite her protests that she was fine and could do all of this herself.

Once the door opened, Hayate flew at Riza, leaping into her outstretched arms and wiggling excitedly. Apparently he had missed her too. She hugged him and sat down on her couch to pet him while Roy put away the things she had Rebecca bring her to the hospital. Faint clinks and bangs coming from her room worried her and she hoped Roy wasn’t destroying anything in there. A while later, to her relief, the noises stopped and Roy came to sit next to her, looking like he had something on his mind.

“What are you thinking about?” she asked, absently scratching Hayate behind the ears.

“Nothing really,” he responded, eyeing her with an oddly affectionate look in his eye.

“I don’t believe that,” Riza said, giving him a skeptical look.

He chuckled, the smile on his face and mirth in his eyes filling her with warmth. A genuine smile from Roy Mustang was a rare sight and it made her heart flutter every time. That night was certainly no exception. Being alone with him, being so close, her heart was a mess. She could hear it pounding loudly in her ears.

“Nothing gets by you, Lieutenant. You’re right. I was just thinking about the conversation we were having in the car before… before all of this.”

Riza thought back to what they were talking about, trying to recall what he was referring to.

“Oh? … Oh.”

Roy smirked.

“Yeah, so, I’ve had time to think. And I… Seeing you unresponsive, bleeding, I,” Roy’s voice almost broke and he paused to clear his throat. His voice was quiet as he continued, barely above a whisper. “I realized how fragile all of this is. And I… I don’t want to lose any more time. I want to be with you and I don’t know if it’s the right time, but will there ever be a right time? I want this. I want you. Please tell me you’ll at least consider it?”

His emotional speech moved her and she sat still, feeling almost paralyzed. She stopped petting Hayate and the pup leapt off her lap, curling up at her feet instead. Roy had rendered her speechless. Of course she wanted that too. But if they were caught, she would be transferred. Could they really afford that? Would he really be safe without her protecting him? She promised to follow him into hell. Was that still possible if she wasn’t by his side?

“What if someone catches on to us? What if someone sees us?”

“They won’t. We’re smarter than that. I know this could work.”

Riza nodded slowly. His was convincing, especially with the way he was looking at her. Like a lost and lonely puppy, just wanting affection from his favorite person. She sighed, getting lost in his gaze and she finally nodded. She wanted a relationship with him. A real relationship outside of the professional, where they could spend time alone together, comfort each other through nightmares and hardships. She wanted that more than anything.

“All right,” she said, turning to face him. “As long as we’re careful…”

“Of course,” Roy replied, a huge grin spreading across his face. “I don’t want to lose you.”

He scooted closer to her, wrapping his arm around her and bringing her flush against him. He ran a hand through her hair, brushing her bangs out of her eyes. They were so close she could feel the warmth from his breath, from his lips, on her skin. Finally, after so many years together, their feelings had been spoken. It felt so liberating. Roy leaned in, closing the distance between them, his lips touching hers in a kiss, gentle at first, then growing with more intensity the longer he held her. She sighed, melting into his touch.

Her mind was swimming and she could think of nothing but the man in her arms.

Chapter Text

Riza awoke to the feel of Roy pressing a gentle kiss to her forehead. His lips were warm against her cool skin and she leaned into the brief contact. Opening her eyes a bit, she graced him with a sleepy smile and he grinned back at her, brushing her tangled hair out of her face. Waking up with Roy Mustang beside her felt so good, so right, so comforting. For the life of her she could not remember why they had avoided this for so long.

“Time to wake up, beautiful,” Roy muttered against the shell of her ear.

Riza hummed contentedly and turned to look at the clock on her bedside table. It was so early on a Sunday and Roy was already awake? Maybe he was more of a morning person that she had given him credit for. Turning in his embrace, she kissed his jaw before throwing off the covers and getting out of bed.

“I’ll make breakfast as soon as I’m ready, so since you’re awake, get out of bed and start a pot of coffee.”

“Giving the orders now, hm?”

“As long as you’re in my bed I do.”

Riza smirked at him, satisfied with his reaction to that, and padded to the bathroom, feeling Roy’s eyes on her until she closed the door.

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Riza walked into the office the next morning and sat at her desk, immediately getting to work. Just because she and Roy were in a relationship now didn’t mean she was going to treat their workdays any differently. They still had a job to do, still had a goal to reach, and she would make sure he didn’t lose sight of that just because they were open about their feelings now.

As usual, Roy strolled in late, seeming to be in a very good mood. He whistled as he went to his desk, giving Riza a wink as he passed her. She rolled her eyes and returned to the paperwork in front of her.

“You’re in a good mood this morning, Chief. Hot date over the weekend?”

“Why yes, that is exactly why I’m in a good mood. She was gorgeous. The most amazing woman I’ve ever met.”

Havoc whistled and leaned back in his seat.

“Woo, damn. Sounds like you got lucky.”

“I did. I’m the luckiest man alive.”

Riza refused to look up from her desk. He needed to get to work and she would not give him any more reason to be distracted. Besides, she knew if she looked at him a healthy blush would color her cheeks and that was the last thing she wanted to happen when surrounded by the rest of their team.

Later that morning, Roy called Riza up to his desk. He actually managed to finish a stack of paperwork on time and asked her to deliver it to the filing office. He smiled at her lovingly when she looked at him and just as she feared, she blushed, feeling heat rise up her neck, covering her ears and cheeks. Quickly, she lifted the folders full of paperwork and hurried out of the office before anyone noticed the way he was looking at her.

Thankfully the hallway was empty when she stepped out, so no one was there to witness her blush as she hurried down the hall to the filing office. One of the secretaries there seemed to know her and started up a brief conversation, though Riza was sure she had never met the woman before in her life. She politely excused herself a few minutes later and retreated back to the hallway, wondering how the woman knew her. Sure it was part of Riza’s job to deliver reports to that office, but she couldn’t recall having ever seen that particular secretary before.

Thinking hard in an attempt to remember turned out to be a bad idea, though. Her head began throbbing out of nowhere and she felt faint, her heart rate suddenly spiking, hammering in her chest, blood rushing through her ears. She felt sick to her stomach and covered her mouth with her hands, staggering to the bathroom as fast as she could. She threw open one of the stalls and locked herself in, bracing herself as she dry heaved over the toilet. Her world was still spinning even after her stomach calmed down, heart still pounding in her ears. Shaking, she flushed the toilet and stood upright, taking deep breaths. She could almost hear Roy’s voice next to her, encouraging her to relax, telling her she would be okay. That seemed to help and her condition stabilized after a few more deep breaths.

Sighing, she turned to open the stall door, but paused when she heard two women enter the bathroom. They seemed cheerful, sharing the latest gossip with each other, though once again she didn’t recognize their voices as anyone she’d ever heard in this area of the building before. Still, Riza relaxed, not sure why she was even nervous about going out there with other women present in the first place. Until the women began talking about Roy.

Her hand froze over the lock, body tensing, immediately on high alert.

“Have you seen the way Colonel Mustang looks at her?” One of the women with a higher voice spoke. “And he’s near her all the time.”

“She is his subordinate though and I’ve heard he cares quite a bit for the people under him.”

“Yeah, but this seems different. Would he really be around her so much or look at her like that if there wasn’t something else going on between them?”

“Hmm, I don’t know. Maybe you’re right. It does seem like he treats her differently.”

“Mark my words, there’s something with those two.”

The women’s voice faded as they left the bathroom and Riza let out the breath she had been holding. The feeling of dread settled in the pit of her stomach. They were no doubt referring to her. She and Roy had only been seeing each other for one day and people already noticed a difference? That was not good. Riza made a mental note to scold Roy later for his carelessness in how he was suddenly treating her differently.

Pushing her way out of the stall finally, she washed her face and hands, staring at herself in the mirror. What she saw reflected, however, took her by complete surprise and she took an involuntary step back, eyes widening in shock. The woman staring back at her in the mirror was not herself, or rather, not her current self. The young woman she had been in Ishval stared back at her, dead eyes boring into her very soul. Riza blinked and rubbed her eyes, wondering if she was having some kind of nightmare, but when she looked back at the mirror, everything was normal again. She sighed, chalking up the strange occurrence to her bout of dizziness earlier. She left the bathroom, walking at a brisk pace back to Mustang’s office.

Unfortunately, before she was able to make it back, she was delayed again, this time by General Hakuro. He approached her after calling her rank and she saluted, the nervous feeling she got in the bathroom magnified by tenfold the closer he came. When he finally reached her, Riza noted there was no trace of humor anywhere on his face.

“Lieutenant, I’m glad I caught you. I need to speak with you, do you have a moment?”

Of course he was only asking to sound polite. Riza knew his question was a statement, even if he had worded it otherwise.

“Of course sir, what did you need?”

“It’s about Colonel Mustang.” Riza swallowed thickly, the worried feeling in her gut threatening to make her dizzy again. “He’s apparently been eyeing a certain someone and I was curious if you’d heard anything about it since you’re close to him? Should he be getting any ideas, I just thought to remind him about specific rules and protocols in the military and should he choose to ignore those rules, there will indeed be consequences. Would you relay that to him for me?”

“Ah, o… of course, sir. Is that all?”

“Yes, I think that just about covers it. Please remember what I’ve said, Lieutenant Hawkeye.” Hakuro nodded at Riza and brushed past her, the knowing look on his face sending chills down her spine. He knew. Somehow, he knew.

Composing herself, she entered Mustang’s office again, making eye contact with him. He was smiling at her at first, but his expression became dire when he caught the look on her face. She was scared, something he rarely saw in her, and Riza hoped it was enough to get him to realize how dangerous of a situation they were in.

After work, when they were finally alone, Riza warned Roy about the conversation between the women in the bathroom and also Hakuro’s none too subtle hint that he knew about them.

“If the general knows somehow… What are we going to do? We need to end this.”

Roy glared, tightening his fists at his sides. Riza knew that look. He was fuming inside, but when he spoke, he was calm. Too calm.

“No,” he said, venom in his voice. She knew his anger was not directed at her, but it didn’t make her any less nervous. “No. We just started this. There is no way I’m leaving you. Not now, not ever. There is no way he knows. I’ll be more careful with how I look at you, but I don’t see how some baseless rumors could worry you so much. Hakuro probably saw me flirting with some secretary and since he’s a busy man, he didn’t have time to speak to me directly so mentioned it to you in passing. This isn’t going to be a problem.” He took a deep breath, closing his eyes for a moment before opening them again, meeting her gaze head on. She desperately wanted to believe him. His voice was reduced to a whisper when he spoke again. “Please, don’t leave me.”

Roy was almost pleading with the last words he spoke and it broke Riza’s heart. No, she would not leave him, not if she could help it, but fate didn’t always go according to the wishes of those it directed.

Chapter Text

General Hakuro was more suspicious and persistent than Riza had anticipated because the very next morning, one of his personal secretaries strode into Mustang’s office with a manilla folder under one arm. She was dressed in the miniskirt version of the uniform and Riza was sure the woman had hiked it up slightly higher than normal because the amount of skin showing on her thighs was bordering on inappropriate. Havoc’s mouth fell agape as he stared at her, but Roy didn’t seem fazed. He took the manilla folder from her, nodding and smiling, thanking her politely. Whether he was oblivious to her blatant flirting or just ignoring it, Riza wasn’t sure. One thing she was fairly certain of though was that Hakuro sent this woman to test Roy.

The secretary seemed frustrated at Roy’s lack of acknowledging her and her flirting got more serious. Roy looked uncomfortable, like he was trapped and warring with himself about whether he should send her on her way or keep up his playboy persona and flirt back. The latter won out, however, when the woman stepped up her game and straight up asked if he was busy that night. In the face of something so forward, Riza knew he had to pretend to be the womanizer everyone thought he was, lest anyone become suspicious and call him out.

Roy began to flirt back, saying he wasn’t busy that night and that he would love to take her out if she was interested. The woman smiled widely, obviously pleased that she finally managed to get through to him. She accepted his date invitation and left the office, moving her hips in an exaggerated fashion as she walked away. Roy didn’t give her a second look, sending an apologetic glance to Riza instead.

Even though she knew it was all for show, a way to make himself seem harmless and flaky to the higher ups, and now a way to distract them from his relationship with her, she still didn’t like it. Her rational mind didn’t help her feel any less heartbroken and jealous of the random woman that got to be seen in public with him.

She didn’t hold his gaze for long, going back to work quickly, suddenly feeling sick to her stomach again. The headache pounding at her skull just made everything worse.

Roy left early to get ready for his impromptu date and the rest of the team went home at the usual time, but Riza remained in the office late into the night, trying to distract herself with paperwork. When that didn’t seem to be helping, she finally left, walking sluggishly down the dark, strangely empty and eerily silent streets toward her apartment.

Something in the air was making her nervous and she knew it wasn’t just her being upset about Roy. The shadows around her seemed to be closing in on her, suffocating her, watching her. Her head throbbed, blood rushing through her ears, and she felt faint again. Breathing became difficult and she paused beneath a streetlamp, slumping against it as she tried to steady herself. She needed Roy, knew that if he were with her she would get through whatever it was that was ailing her, but he would not be there to help her that night.

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Getting up for work the next day was excruciatingly difficult. Riza’s headache was still painful, her body ached, and no amount of medicine had helped alleviate her symptoms thus far. Hayate was worried about her, whining, following her around, and rubbing against her every chance he got. She would have much preferred to stay home that day, petting her dog and trying to rest, but she forced herself to don her uniform and get to work. It was already an hour past the time she was supposed to be there. Riza had never been late work in her life, but at that moment, she couldn’t seem to make herself care about her record. It was oddly out of character she noted, but the headache screaming at her made everything else seem woefully unimportant.

Roy eyed her when she finally walked into the office, worry clearly lining his face.

“Lieutenant,” he spoke. It was just her rank, but the way he said it, the syllables falling husky and deft from his lips, made it sound like he was calling a lover’s name. It threw her off and was the first thing that had grabbed her attention since the previous afternoon. “Is everything all right?”

“Yes, sir,” she responded automatically. No use worrying him. He had work to do, “I was feeling a little under the weather, but I’m fine now.”

Roy nodded and she knew he was not satisfied with that answer, but with the entire team listening and watching them she knew he wouldn’t press the subject. He would definitely fret over her after work, but for now, he returned to his paperwork. Riza took her seat, noting that everyone else was also quiet and working. It was another unusual thing added to the ever growing list of unusual things that week and it certainly didn’t get past her even with her headache overtaking her senses. Maybe she should be ill more often. Apparently it was what the team needed to actually do their work without complaint.

A couple of blissfully silent hours later, Roy managed to complete a stack of paperwork and he called Riza up to his desk, instructing her to deliver them to the filing office again. She nodded, the tender, anxious look in his eyes filling her with warmth. He cared so much about her it was almost overwhelming. She hurried out of the office to deliver the paperwork before she melted under his gaze.

Much to Riza’s utter antipathy, the secretary from the previous day approached Roy in the hall just as she was rounding a corner to return to the office. Roy must have gone out to catch Riza on her way back so he could talk to her alone, but that damnable secretary got in the way.

 

Riza ducked back behind the wall, peeking out and listening to their conversation. Why she didn’t just march up there and stand beside him, she didn’t know, but hiding and spying on them was the first thing that came to her mind. Running out there now felt like she might as well throw up a neon sign that said she was in love with Colonel Mustang and women flirting with him was off limits because it pissed her off.

From what Riza could hear, the woman was asking Roy out again. Riza was sure he would accept. What choice did he have? Refusing a date with a pretty woman was completely against the character he had spent his career cultivating. When she heard him politely decline, it threw her off. He refused to see her again? What if she went back to Hakuro and told him? The general was suspicious enough. That could be the final thing that gave them away.

Roy stepped around the corner, catching Riza by surprise, interrupting her thoughts. He must have seen her peeking around the corner because he snickered at her, a teasing glint in his eye.

“I don’t know what you find so funny, but this is serious,” she whispered sternly, giving him her best scolding glare.

Roy stopped laughing and cleared his throat.

“I had to decline an invitation to go out with a pretty woman again,” he said, a little louder than was necessary. His game face was on. “Such a shame, but I’ll be too busy tonight.”

He was putting on a show for anyone listening, but Riza knew he was trying to reassure her that he had no interest in women that weren’t informants.

Riza nodded, playing along. “Yes, sir, maybe another time perhaps? Right now you should be getting back to work.”

“Ah, Lieutenant, you’re such a slave driver.”

“I have to be or you would never get anything done.”

Roy laughed and he turned to go back to the office, Riza following right behind him.

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A knock on her apartment door later that night caught Riza off guard. Hayate let out a few warning yaps, until Riza opened the door. When the pup saw who it was, he wagged his tail in excitement and pranced around in greeting.

Standing at her door was Roy with a large bouquet made up of white and red roses, pink carnations, and hyacinth. He offered her the flowers and she took them gently, bringing them to her nose. They were all flowers whose meaning conveyed apology. The roses doubled as both an apology and a symbol of love. How fitting. Riza sighed and stepped back into her apartment, gesturing inside.

“Come in.”

Roy followed her inside and shut the door behind him as Riza went to find a tall glass to put the flowers in. She didn’t actually own a vase. There had never been a need for one before then.

“I’m sorry,” Roy spoke quietly, suddenly closer than Riza had realized. She hadn’t heard him move. “How are you feeling? You were late and I noticed you were acting strangely this morning. Is everything okay?

“Yes, sir,” Riza replied with a sigh, turning around to face him. He was so close she almost bumped into him. “I’ve just had a headache for the past couple of days. I’m sure it will go away with a good night’s sleep.”

She walked past him, out into the living room where Hayate was curled up near the open window sleeping. Roy followed her.

“I could stay with you. Er, I mean, if that’s all right with you? I noticed I sleep much better beside you and I just thought you might feel the same and…” Roy rambled on and Riza smiled at him fondly.

“I would like that,” she said. Her first instinct was to send him away, but how could she refuse him when he was acting so adorable? And she knew she would be able to sleep better with him there too. The first night he stayed with her after starting this relationship had been one of the best nights of sleep she’d ever had in her life. His presence was a comfort that she was more than eager to feel again.

Roy smiled, obviously relieved she had accepted his offer. He reached up and brushed her hair out of her eyes, his other arm wrapping around her waist to pull her closer. Their lips met in a gentle kiss and she wound her arms around his neck, fingers weaving into his hair. When they pulled apart, Roy rested his forehead against hers and she relished the contact. It felt so natural to be with him.

Out of the corner of her eye, Riza thought she saw a flash of white light, but when she looked out the window, there was nothing but darkness.

Chapter Text

As expected, Riza slept well with Roy next to her all night. His arms around her made her feel safe, like nothing could ever hurt them as long as they were together. The blissful feeling was short lived, however.

Late the next morning, Roy and Riza were called into General Hakuro’s office.

When he got the call, Roy looked uneasy and Riza knew. She just knew it had been Hakuro on the phone. Roy told her to follow him and she did so without question, silence spanning the short distance between them until they arrived at the general’s office.

Hakuro was not smiling when they entered the office. They sat down in the two chairs in front of his desk, waiting for the bad news Riza knew was coming.

“I called you here because my secretary presented this interesting photograph to me this morning.” Hakuro pulled a picture out of an envelope and slid it across the desk to where Roy and Riza sat. “I was wondering if you could explain what exactly is going on? It’s clear that the people in the photo are the two of you.”

Riza was right. Hakuro did send his secretary to spy on them. Roy refusing the woman’s second invitation must have made her more suspicious and she followed Roy to Riza’s apartment. That explained the flash that she had seen last night. The photo was of her and Roy, tangled in each other’s arms, foreheads pressed together, lips far too close to be professional or just friends. There was no way to explain their way out of it. This was it. It was over.

Roy looked to Riza and she swallowed thickly, understanding what he was going to have to say. Nothing would get them out of this. He turned back to Hakuro, who had plucked up the photo again.

“Yes, sir,” he admitted, his voice deep and professional. He was deceptively calm, though Riza could tell that his emotions were a storm behind his eyes. “I apologize on behalf of both of us for deliberately breaking law, but I will never apologize for loving Riza Hawkeye.”

Despite the situation, Riza’s heart fluttered at his sincere declaration.

Hakuro must not have expected them to admit guilt so easily. Roy’s words gave him pause and he looked from the photo to Roy before speaking again.

“I’ll make a deal with you,” he said and it was Roy and Riza’s turn to be surprised. “I won’t take this to the fuhrer.” Riza began to feel herself calming down again, until Hakuro continued. Of course they wouldn’t go unpunished, how could she even think he’d just let them go? “But, only on the condition that Lieutenant Hawkeye transfer, effective immediately.”

And there it was. The thing Riza had be dreading the most. They were taking her from his side.

It was the greatest form of punishment she could think of. Without her to protect him, Roy was too reckless, he’d get himself hurt, or worse. How could she trust anyone else to watch his back? No one knew him as well as she did. No one cared about him, about the future goals they shared, more than she did. But the fuhrer would do more, possibly demote or outright fire Roy. She couldn’t let him take the fall for their mistake, so she sat straight in her seat, all business as she replied.

“Fine, I accept your offer.”

Roy wanted to argue, she could see it. The way he fidgeted in his seat, eyes glued on her, rage threatening to bubble out. A swift look from her stopped him, though. A look that said not to make things worse or she’d shoot him.

“It’s settled then,” Hakuro said, leaning back in his chair, folding his hands in front of him. He looked smug. He’d always had it out for Roy, looking down on him, humiliating him. And now he finally won. “That is all. Dismissed.”

Roy and Riza stood, saluting half heartedly before leaving the office. They walked back to Mustang’s office slowly, wanting to be alone together just a little longer before having to go back to work, having to pretend like everything was okay.

“I’ll find a way to get you back,” Roy said just as they reached his office. “I won’t let this be the end.”

“Just… please, don’t be rash. He let us off easy.”

Riza gave him one more meaningful look before he sighed and entered the office to face the rest of the day.

Several hours later, a courier entered the office and Roy and Riza knew exactly what he was there for. Riza saw that Roy was toying with a stapler, no doubt wanting to chuck it at the courier’s head. She frowned at him and he released the stapler, resting his hands in his lap instead. She just hoped he wasn’t attempting to put on his gloves and singe the poor boy. He was just a messenger.

“First Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye?” the courier said, approaching Riza’s desk and handing her a packet of papers. “Your transfer papers to Fort Briggs.”

Riza nodded, taking the packet from him. So they were sending her to Briggs. Armstrong would be happy, at least. The general had always made it clear that she wanted Hawkeye to transfer to her command.

The courier saluted and made his exit. When he was gone, the entire team burst into chatter, asking what happened, why she was being transferred, bombarding her with questions she didn’t know how to answer. It was almost too much.

“That’s enough,” Roy silenced them. “This is not the time. It’s hard enough to deal with without you bombarding her with questions that are too complicated to answer easily. I’ll explain everything later.”

Riza was relieved that Roy came to her rescue, somehow knowing exactly how she was feeling. She guessed it was because he felt the same way. She had no idea how she would have been able to explain anything to the team. They were her friends, her family, they deserved to know, but she was still reeling from the events that were suddenly making her life spiral out of her control. She was still coming to terms with it all herself and didn’t know what to say to anyone else, let alone herself.

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Roy was adamant about Riza letting him stay at her place that night again. It would be the last time they would get to hold each other for an indefinite amount of time. Besides, what did it matter if they were seen together? The damage had already been done.

They could keep up a long distance relationship, but it just wasn’t going to ever be the same. She would be so lonely without him.

“Please be careful, sir,” Riza said as they entered her apartment that night.

“I know. I will. I’m losing the best bodyguard, after all.”

“I mean it. Please don’t make me worry about you more than I already will. I… I’m going to miss you.”

Roy pulled her into a tight hug, burying his face into her hair. She rested her head on his shoulder, returning his embrace.

“I’m going to miss you too. I’ll be extra careful. I promise.”

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Roy dropped Riza off at the train station the next day, helping her with her luggage. She held Hayate’s leash in one hand and Roy’s hand in the other. It was the last time she would see him in person and she wished time would stop. Going to Briggs was the last thing she wanted to do, but it was for the best. Roy being demoted was not an option, not with the future they had so meticulously been planning for years.

The train pulled into the station, its whistle loud in her ears. She was thankful she didn’t have a headache anymore or the noise of the busy station would have been unbearable.

“Well, this is it,” Roy said, so quietly she almost missed it.

“Yes.”

Neither of them moved, reluctant to release each other’s hand. They stood there, basking in the other’s presence for as long as they could, but finally she could stall no longer. She turned to him, pressing a chaste kiss to his cheek before picking up her luggage and walking away from him. She couldn’t look back. It would only make things more painful.

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Riza’s first few days at Briggs were a whirlwind of unfamiliar faces, orders, and snow. Everything was a blur and the only thing she could think about with any clarity was Roy.

A constant worry haunted her every waking moment. The only way she could fall asleep at night was by telling herself over and over that Roy would be fine on his own, that he had the rest of the team to look out for him, all the while clutching Hayate to her chest.

On her fourth night at Briggs, Riza got a phone call. She was hesitant to answer at first. For some reason, her mind was screaming at her that something was wrong.

Pushing her anxiety aside, she picked up the phone and regretted it the moment the person on the line began speaking. It was Havoc. The team got into a scuffle with the Cretan mafia lord they had been chasing almost two weeks ago.

Roy had been shot.

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Roy Mustang’s funeral. It was something Riza thought she’d never have to experience, at least not for a very long time. He was dead. It was a concept she had a difficult time wrapping her mind around. He was dead because she was not there to protect him. They had taken her from his side all because they had fallen in love and now he was dead.

They should never have given into their feelings. It was a mistake. A mistake she regretted with all her heart. What was a handful of moments compared to a lifetime of being by his side? It wasn’t worth it. The cost was too high. A cost neither of them had foreseen.

Riza felt numb throughout the entire funeral. No tears came. She was still trying to comprehend how such a horrible thing could have happened. If this pain was what love brought, she wanted nothing to do with it.

Havoc, Falman, Breda, Fuery, Edward, Alphonse, Winry; they all looked at her sadly, eyes full of remorse for her. She didn’t want their pity. She didn’t deserve it. It was her fault he was dead.

Everyone gradually left the cemetery until she was the only one that remained. Twilight fell over the graves, the air turning cold, a strange mist pooling on the ground around Riza. Still she stood before his grave, tears finally falling, hitting Roy’s gravestone like rain.

Roy would never be fuhrer. He was dead and her hopes and dreams for the future had died with him. There was nothing left for her anymore. She pulled her gun from its holster, put it to her temple, and pulled the trigger.

The gunshot echoed through the silent, misty cemetery and--

Riza gasped and her eyes shot open, tears streaming down her cheeks. She gripped her chest, hands fisting into the rough sheets that were draped over her. The sound of a heart monitor’s beeps going haywire next to her made her turn, brow furrowing in confusion.

She was not in a creepy cemetery at night. She was in a hospital and it was midday. And there, sleeping in a chair next to her bed, was Roy. The erratic beeping of the heart monitor woke him and he stirred, opening his eyes slowly. When he realized what was going on, saw that her eyes were open wide and lucid, cheeks stained with tears, he jumped up, hands flying to take hold of hers.

“Lieutenant!” he croaked, voice still hoarse from sleep. He dried her tears with gentle fingertips before he leapt up and away from her for a moment, shouting out the door for a doctor or nurse or anyone, and then he was instantly back by her side. “You’re awake,” he muttered, voice thick with emotion. “You’re finally awake.”

“Colonel?” Riza asked, her throat sore, voice scratchy. It was hard to speak, as if she hadn’t done so in a long time. “How are-- You’re ali-- Wha--?”

“Relax,” he said, his voice soothing to her ears. “It’s fine now. It’s going to be okay. You’re going to be okay.”

Who exactly was he trying to convince with that? Riza or himself? He had been a mess the entire two weeks since the car accident. Seeing her awake and talking filled him with such relief. It made him want to gather her up in his arms and never let her go, kiss her senseless and take her away from all of this. Then again, the whole ordeal would never have happened if it wasn’t for his reckless driving.

“Colonel, where are we?”

“Central General Hospital. They rushed you here after the accident and you’ve been here the entire time.”

That was impossible. What about everything that had happened? Their relationship, his death?

“I… I don’t understand.”

“Lieutenant,” Roy said, bringing her attention back to him. He squeezed her hands gently between his own. “You’ve been in a coma for two weeks.”

Chapter Text

A coma? She had been in a coma all this time? So everything she experienced had been dream? It was hard to believe. For a dream, it all felt so real.

“I… I don’t understand.”

Roy opened his mouth to explain, but the doctors and nurses bustled into the room then, responding to Roy’s shouts from earlier. The doctors ran some tests on Riza, checked her up to make sure everything was okay, and confirmed that she would recover just fine. Eventually, they left Riza alone with Roy again, but not before reminding him that visiting hours were up in a while and he needed to leave this time. They weren’t making any more exceptions for him. They had already allowed him to stay with her all night twice.

When they were gone, Riza went straight back to asking questions.

“Sir, please tell me everything. I just… I’m finding this all so difficult to wrap my head around.”

Roy sighed. He didn’t want to have to relive any of it, but he would do it. For her.

“You were unresponsive when I pulled you from the car. I called out to you over and over, shook you, but nothing helped. I was so scared… I…” His voice cracked and he paused to clear his throat. “Thankfully Fuery witnessed the accident from the building he was stationed in and called for backup and an ambulance. They got you to the hospital pretty quickly and ran tests right away, but there were… complications they initially missed and they didn’t realize that until a few days later. You… uh, you’re,” Roy had trouble continuing. Whatever happened had affected him that much? Finally he composed himself, found the right words and went on with his explanation. “An artery burst in your brain and you went into cardiac arrest.” He raked his hands through his hair, looking like he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. “I thought it was over. I thought I’d lost you, but they managed to repair the damage and stabilize your condition. You’re lucky we were in Central. The doctors here are the best in the country and you might not have made it if we were anywhere else... I was with you as often as I could be. They even let me stay all night with you twice. I mean, I had to pull rank and call in favors to do it, but I wanted to be here if you woke.”

Riza took all of this in and nodded slowly. She thought back to her dreams, connecting it all with what Roy just told her. How strange things kept happening. How her head hurt so much so often, how her heart beat erratically at strange times. The women she didn’t recognize must have been the nurses coming in to check on her. Roy was with her all the time so that’s why she dreamt of him the most. She realized now why Roy pushed her hair out of her face so often in her dream, his suddenly being right next to her and whispering in her ear when she was sure he had been far away. The way he spoke to her, as if pleading with her.

”Please, don’t leave me.”

“I’ll be here when you wake.”

“Have you seen the way Colonel Mustang looks at her?”

“He’s near her all the time.”

The things he said to her, the things she heard others say, suddenly came back to her.

It all made sense now.

Riza reached out and placed her hand gently on his. He looked up at her again and she could see the torment behind his eyes. She almost died right in front of him, not once, but twice in under two weeks. And he had been the one driving. He must have been blaming himself. If that was the case, his reaction was understandable. But she needed him to know that she didn’t blame him, no matter how much he blamed himself.

“Colonel,” she said, speaking softly but firmly. “This was not your fault. Honestly, I probably would have done the same thing if I had been driving. That crime boss is to blame. He would have hit us even if I was driving and you would be the one in this bed... Speaking of, did you manage to catch them?”

Oddly enough, Riza mused, this conversation was going almost exactly like the one in her dream.

“They were all injured in the accident and couldn’t escape. They’re behind bars as we speak.”

That was different, thankfully. Riza nodded.

“Good. See? They’ve been punished for this. I’m alive, they’re in jail. Everything worked out in the end.”

She was trying to be optimistic for him. He was still hurting and the look on his face made her heart ache. Taking a deep breath, she mulled over the idea of telling him about her dream. She figured it would be a good distraction.

“When I was… in that coma,” Riza began, choosing her words carefully. “I dreamed.”

That got Roy’s attention.

“Oh?

“Yes. In my dream, I woke up in the hospital and you were there. When they finally let me leave, you took me home. You… um, we... “ Riza almost blushed as she realized she was going to have to tell him about how they confessed their feelings for each other and their want to be together. She was sure he already knew how she felt, but to speak it out loud was something they had never done. It made her suddenly nervous. She decided to go on, but leave out some of the unneeded details, though she was worried his imagination would be worse. “We discussed our relationship. How we wanted things to be different. After almost losing me, you wanted us to be together in a more… romantic fashion.”

Roy grinned at that, sufficiently distracted from everything else.

“Oh really? My, Lieutenant, I didn’t know you fantasized about me like that.”

Riza sighed. There it was, his ego pushing its way to the forefront. At least he wasn’t thinking about her dying anymore. She hit his arm playfully, ignoring his ridiculous smouldering look. His typical forms of flirting would not work on her.

“Anyway, we agreed to see each other in secret. But it didn’t last long. On the very first day there were rumors about us and only a few days later General Hakuro sent one of his secretaries to spy on us. She got a picture of us, um, together and showed it to Hakuro. He made a deal with us that if I agreed to transfer, he wouldn’t tell the fuhrer about us. I accepted. I couldn’t let our mistake affect your career.”

“Mistake?” Riza paused in her story when Roy spoke. He was hurt that she would think being with him was a mistake, even if it hadn’t actually been real. “You… really think it was a mistake to be together like that?”

“I… In this case, yes. So many bad things happened because of it. If we had just continued on as we were you wouldn’t have…” Memories of his funeral in her dream rushed back to her and she sucked in a sharp breath.

“I wouldn’t have…?”

“Sir, you… They transferred me to Briggs and without me there to protect you, you were shot and killed by that Cretan mafia boss. So yes, it was a mistake.”

Roy frowned. Did she really think he was so incompetent that he couldn’t take care of himself without her? That he would get himself killed without her protecting him?

“It sounds like your dream version of us weren’t very bright, though, especially me. I wouldn’t have been killed that easily. And getting caught right away? Please. We’re better than that.”

Riza sighed. He could see she was upset about her dream and he was trying to divert her attention. It worked.

“Anyway,” she continued with her story. “The whole thing was surprisingly linear… Though it became fragmented at the end, I guess because I was waking up.” She refrained from telling him the actual part of her dream that woke her. He would be angry to know she would even think of throwing away her life like that, even if it was just a dream.

Roy leaned back in his chair and mulled over everything she relayed to him about her dream. What an odd subject for her to dream about. He figured it must have been a result of the conversation they’d had in the car before the accident.

The main question, though, was why that scenario in her dream specifically played out the way it did. Was all of it a result of her actual fears should anything like that happen between them? Did she really think that starting a relationship would end in her being transferred and him being killed? It was ridiculous to him. They were too smart to be caught. And hell, Grumman made it clear that he supported them. Even if they did get caught, there was no way anything so drastic would happen, Roy was sure of it. Unless, of course, the fuhrer caught wind of it, but that was highly unlikely. Why would the fuhrer take an interest in two random soldiers from out East?

Roy had loved Riza since shortly after they began working together in East City. He was sure she knew how he felt and he always felt like she reciprocated those feelings, but they never discussed the subject. Did her acceptance of a relationship in her dream mean she really did feel the same way about him? The thought made him happier than he’d been in a long time. It gave him ideas and the confidence to act on those ideas. If he asked her to be with him, just like in her dream, would she accept? Or would her dream scenario affect her answer?

Asking her would have to wait though. One of the nurses came in and informed Roy that visiting hours were up. He put on his most charming smile, but even though the woman blushed, she still made him leave.

He reluctantly got up, promising Riza he’d be back as soon as he could. She smiled.

“I’ll be fine, sir. Now go home.”

The nurse shooed him out and he looked back to Riza just as he walked out the door.

“I’ll be back as soon as I can.”

Riza rolled her eyes.

“You said that, sir,” she sighed as the nurse pushed him out the door.

It’s not like she was going anywhere.

No more than an hour and a half later, Roy stood outside the hospital. No longer dressed in his uniform, he sported his black coat over dark slacks and a white button-up. He stood at a dimly lit corner of the building where it wouldn’t be easy for anyone to spot him, especially dressed in such dark clothes.

Some may have called him insane for the plan he was about to put into action, but he couldn’t bear to be apart from Riza while she was injured because of him, especially now that she was awake. The dream she spoke of gave him a lot to think about. There was so much that had gone unsaid in the years they’d been together and he wanted that to change. He wouldn’t discuss it until she was released, though. Trapping her into talking about things while she was stuck in a hospital bed was unfair.

Glancing about to make sure there was no one around, he found a foothold in one of the bricks jutting out from the building and began his ascent, scaling the outer wall of the hospital toward an open window that appeared to lead to the stairwell. He would certainly get into trouble if he were spotted, but he was sure he could sweet talk and weasel his way out of anything so he wasn’t too concerned.

The climb to the second floor window wasn’t very difficult, though he almost slipped a couple of times. He climbed into the open window and fell gracelessly on the stairs inside. A few choice words were uttered as he stood, rubbing his head as he looked around. Riza was just one floor up and down the hall. He’d have to be quick and silent if he wanted to make it to her without being spotted.

Riza was still awake when the door to her room creaked open and Roy hurried inside, closing the door as quietly as possible behind him.

“Colonel? What on earth are you doing here?”

Roy spun around when he heard her voice. He grinned sheepishly and scratched the back of his head.

“I uh, wanted to stay with you, so I snuck in.”

“How could you have possibly managed that?”

“I, um, well, I climbed up the wall and got in through an open window.”

“You what? Sir, that is the most reckless and extremely dangerous--”

“I know, I know,” Roy cut her off, flopping into the chair he had occupied earlier. “I’m sorry. I won’t do anything like that again, but I… I needed to see you.”

Riza blinked at him incredulously.

“You just saw me an hour ago.”

I know,” Roy sighed. “But now that you’re awake… It’s been two weeks, Lieutenant. In that time, I was worried sick. And I missed you. Just let me have this.”

Riza sighed, leaning back against the pillows, though Roy caught the smile threatening to curve her perfect lips. His antics had managed to cheer her up to some degree and he was glad he decided to go through with his plan.

“Fine. But if the nurses yell at you and kick you out, I’m not going to stop them.”

Roy grinned.

“I know. Nor would I expect you to.”

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Two days after his stunt at the hospital, -which, he was never caught for, much to his delight- Riza was released from the hospital. Just like in her dream, Roy picked her up. Only it was with his own car, repaired in the two and a half weeks since the accident.

He drove her home and could tell Riza was absolutely relieved to be leaving the hospital. She radiated a relaxing aura from the passenger seat, so different from the tension he felt from her back at the hospital. Riza had seemed so upset after she woke. His death in her dream must have really shaken her. He had never seen her quite so troubled before.

They stopped at Fuery’s house to pick up Hayate. Fuery was happy to see her well and out of the hospital. Hayate was even more happy to see her. Riza picked up the pup and he licked her face and wiggled excitedly in her arms. After a quick hug from Fuery, they left and made it to Riza’s apartment in minutes.

Riza climbed the stairs to her apartment with Roy right behind. She set Hayate down as soon as they crossed the threshold and she immediately collapsed on the loveseat in her living room. It felt good to be home.

Roy sat down next to her a while later holding two cups of tea. He offered one to Riza and she took it with a nod of thanks. After taking a sip of his tea, he cleared his throat, deciding to bring up the topic that had been on his mind since Riza woke up.

“About that conversation we were having in the car before all of this... I’d like to continue it now, if that’s okay with you?”

Riza visibly stiffened and Roy was worried he made a mistake in bringing it up. He waited patiently while she thought about how to answer. After a few moments, she sighed, the confliction she felt visible on her face.

“You know we can’t. The future of this country is more important than our personal feelings. And after that dream, I just… It was too much, I...”

Roy took her hand in his and nodded, coaxing her to look at him. It was the answer he was expecting, though he still felt a little disappointed.

“I understand. But, everything that happened in your dream wasn’t real. Just remember that. And even if there’s never anything more between us than what we have now, know that my feelings for you will never change.”

Riza gazed sadly into his eyes. He was so sincere, so warm. Oh how she wanted to be with him. But she couldn’t even think about that, not with the nightmare of Roy’s death still looming in the back of her mind. No, they could never be together so long as she feared he would be hurt without her protecting him, so long as the end to their goals were still so far away, though that didn’t mean she couldn’t indulge herself for a just a moment. She reached up and cupped his cheek with her hand before closing the gap between them, meeting him in a kiss so loving, so tender, that it almost made her forgot the horrors she had witnessed while in her coma. Almost.

She pulled back too soon for Roy, but he wasn’t about to try to kiss her again. He was a gentleman and would never do anything she didn’t want. He was also quite fond of his face and would be quite put out if she shot him.

Tomorrow they would continue on like that kiss didn’t happen, like they didn’t finally voice their feelings for one another. They would go on pretending like they didn’t love each other, but they were together, and for now, it was enough.