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Hands Down

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Roy feels it, her blood is at his knees as he pulls her into his arms, rushing to add pressure to the slit on her throat. There’ve been plenty of times he’s seen this much blood, plenty of times he could have lost a man, one of his own, or someone else’s but this is different. The warm blood that spills over her gold hair and his white gloves makes him dizzy with fear, and the rest of the room no longer matters. 

“Get ahold of yourself Lieutenant-“ He commands, chest shaking as he slips his palm over hers and presses harder. Pressure can slow the bleeding, it has to, she can’t die - not like this, he must know something about biological alchemy, but what does he know? Burning the wound shut might kill her faster. Panic sets in, and Roy slips forwards, still cradling her in his arms, body hunched over her own. “—Open your eyes!” 

Please, he thinks. There is a chance, of course, it’s too late. Maybe she is dying, now. It’s so hard to tell, to see if she’s even able to make labored breaths, that Roy leans forwards with the intention of finding out, let her be alive. You can sacrifice any piece but the Queen

The rush of blood in his own ears drowns out the noise in the background, but Roy doesn’t bother trying to hear a ragged inhale and exhale. If she needs his breath, then she can take it, he thinks. He places his lips against hers, because he needs to feel the warmth of her breathing; light, thin, and growing thinner as blood slips past their hands and over his fingers. It is ostensibly not a kiss, but a touch, and their noses bump; her skin feels cool when he moves. An exhale passes over his skin, and as soon as it has happened, it is over, and he thinks that if only she were drowning, he could save her. 

“-I can’t lose you.” Roy repeats for the second time that day, and it is then that a brilliant flash of pink bounds into his vision, and a young girl whose name Roy cannot place firmly directs him, “—Leave this to me!” 


Riza Hawkeye lives. 


In the immediate aftermath, they are torn apart from each other, though Roy cannot prevent it. For that matter, he does not try. Riza is rushed to Central Hospital and Roy remains in the medical tents at the pit that is now Central Command. Without any idea as to where exactly Major General Olivier Armstrong even is, Roy is the temporary highest ranking Commanding Officer of Central, and blinded or not, he is running the show. Get the Elrics to the hospital, get the most urgent medical cases to Central General, get Lieutenant Catalina to report to the Lieutenant. Everyone knows he means Riza, because when he says it, her title lingers on his tongue in relief. His orders are direct, simple, necessary. The throne is going to Grumman, and he knows it, but Roy takes command because they need him now

The process of paying the toll of the Philosopher’s stone to regain his sight is not a pleasant one, but when it is over, Roy walks into Central General Hospital of his own accord, and checks himself into the same room as first Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye. She is asleep, or perhaps medically unconscious, but breathing, and hooked to IVs that promise to stabilize her fluids. And after spending half an hour insisting he could donate blood if necessary (they’re the same type, he knows, he’s seen her file, ordered her dog tags, considered the possibilities if worse came to worse), Roy himself heaves himself into the bed beside hers and falls asleep. 


They’re both out for longer than they realize, and it is Roy who wakes first, exhaustedly dragging himself to the hospital shower, where he finally bothers to rinse off the blood, sweat, and dirt. A meticulous shaver, Roy manages to pretend that he doesn’t look like a man who just walked straight through hell and didn’t bother to clean, or comb his hair, and when he leaves the bathroom, he is dressed in the green hospital pants and a wrap gown top that is thinner than he would like.

When he leaves the bathroom, Riza is standing by her bedside, looking back at his empty bed. The click of the bathroom door behind him has her turning to see him, hospital gown and all. Riza Hawkeye does not just smile at the sight of her superior officer, she salutes. 

“Sir,” She greets, before her eyes widen, and her hand falls before he can return the gesture. “Your eyes—“

“Yes.” Roy says quickly. “I know. Doctor Knox had a friend,” He hesitates, but the understanding is clear in her eyes, and suddenly, Roy is smiling too. She knows. Not the express details, which will come later, but what his smile means, and why he takes another step forwards, close enough that he could reach out for her hand. 

“I would tell you I’ve had a lot of time to think about doing this right now,” He says, unfolding his bandaged palms, and lightly skimming his fingers across hers until they slip together, and he has her hand. “-but I just decided in the shower that this had to be addressed immediately.” 

Not that he hadn’t thought of it before, but Riza knows this too, and falters only with another quieter, “Sir.”

“I almost lost you,” He begins, and before she can manage to protest, Roy continues. “Almost, but didn’t. We try our best to live without regrets, and the idea that I would move forwards from this without having told you-“

“—Colonel—“ Riza tries, her lips curving into the beginnings of another smile despite the fact that she still feels light on her feet. Amusement leaks into her expression, and Roy can’t help but think she knows where this is going too.

“-Please don’t interrupt Lieutenant,” He insists, smoothing his thumb over the back of her knuckles gently. “—that I would move forwards from this without having told you here and now that I love you, and I will always mean that, even when so many other words are used, and that I refuse to die without having said as much, whether or not you-“ He stops babbling when she leans forwards a fraction of an inch, and kisses him, hands still gently holding his own healing palms. 

Riza Hawkeye has never been one to listen to all of Roy Mustang’s orders. 

Her lips are warm, and though he has thought of this many times over the years, wondered about what it would be like to kiss Riza Hawkeye, Roy Mustang’s only real conclusion is that he has a terrible imagination. Actually kissing her is much, much better than anything he had considered. One of his hands finds the small of her waist, and Roy soaks in the feeling of it all, the warmth, and the softness that is partly because the moment is that new, and partly because they are only barely pieced together at the moment. 

She breaks away and Roy is grinning, widely and without pretense, and Riza levels her gaze with his. “Sir, I know.” She says, laughter running through her voice. “We’ve been together long enough,” Riza begins, before she breaks herself off, and drops the formality from her words, squeezing his fingertips lightly. “-I love you too. I knew.” 

It could, of course, never have been mistaken for anything else. 

Roy kisses her again this time, thankful that they are alone, grateful for the door between them and the outside world, not terribly concerned with his next order or mission, because for a moment, their goals will have to wait for them to heal, and this is the start. 

Riza sways slightly, and then pulls away, resting her head on his shoulder. 

“Lieutenant, are you alright?” He asks, worry creeping into his voice. 

“Dizzy, sir.” She says softly, throat still raw. Roy hesitates, drawing his arms up under her elbows for support. Riza leans harder against him. “I’m anemic at the moment. If you could just,” She says, before her body begins to go limp in his arms, and Roy rushes to settle her back on her bed, before Hawkeye unceremoniously faints on the tile floor. 

She hits the mattress instead, and comes to when Roy elevates her legs over his lap. 

“Don’t say it, sir.” She implores, draping an arm over her eyes. 

“Oh, but Lieutenant,” Roy answers with relish, “-I’ve never kissed a woman so she swooned.” 

With a long suffering sigh, Riza replies, “You’re incorrigible, sir.”

“I know, Lieutenant.” Roy says, and then they both smile - they're going to be okay.