Mar 11 2005, 08:59 PM
Title: By Your Side
Spoilers: Episode 25
Summary: Takes place during episode 25. Roy and Riza are on the train to Central when they receive the terrible news.
Well, this is my second FMA fanfic and my first attempt at RoyxRiza. I had to edit this because I just realized that the promotion came after 25 and that wasn't why Roy was on the train.
Note to self, set better music on playlist when writing. It’s not good when you’re in the middle of an angsty scene and the “Numa Numa Song” starts playing…
By Your Side
Riza sighed. She wasn’t very fond of long train rides and she had been on far too many recently. The Colonel and his subordinate were riding the late train to Central from the east. He had asked her to book him a ticket, and she had insisted on accompanying him. If something was going on, she’d make sure she was there to protect him.
She glanced toward the window. The Colonel was sitting with his head resting against it and his eyes closed. She couldn’t tell whether he was asleep or not, but she assumed he was since he hadn’t been sleeping well lately. She thought of waking him and insisting that he would have a headache if he slept like that with the way the train shook, but thought better of it. It was foolish of her to treat him in such a caring fashion.
She frowned and looked back at the book she’d been reading. He could never know she cared about him, at least that’s what she told herself. She didn’t want to believe that he knew how she felt and still went on about his latest date right in front of her. No, he wasn’t that kind of man. He thought of her as his Lieutenant, nothing more.
Movement from beside her brought her out of her thoughts. She turned toward the window again.
The Colonel gave her a sleepy smile. “Don’t you ever sleep?”
“Of course, sir,” she said, “I sleep at normal times, not on train rides or in the office.”
He must have been very tired, because instead of his usual sarcastic remark, he said, “You do realize we’re probably going to be on this thing most of the night.”
“Yes,” she said, “I read the schedule.”
He shrugged. “Suit yourself.”
She returned to her book, intending to actually read some of it this time, but before long her mind wandered back to him.
She sighed again and closed the book, figuring she wasn’t going to get any reading done when she wasn’t focused.
She looked back at him and found that he was asleep again, this time slouched in the seat with his arms crossed and his chin resting against his chest. She had no idea how he managed to sleep in the most uncomfortable positions. But then again, he had probably gotten used to sleeping in the records room and the basement of the library, so the train was probably very comfortable to him.
‘I wonder if he’d think my bed was comfortable,’ she thought. A second later she berated herself for being so irrational. She figured she must be tired, as that could be the only explanation for the way her brain was acting.
‘Or you’re in love,’ she thought before she could stop herself.
Damn it, she supposed she was. Of all the inconvenient things to have happened, she’d fallen in love with her superior officer.
She looked up to see a man in the crisp black uniform of a private, saluting her.
“Yes, Private?” she said, curious as to why he was there.
He lowered his arm. “Phone call from Major Armstrong in Central.”
Wondering why in the world the Major would be calling them on a train, she followed the man to the phone terminal.
“Major?” she said, after picking up the receiver.
“I’m sorry for the phone call, Lieutenant Hawkeye,” Armstrong said, “but I thought you and the Colonel should know.”
The flat, businesslike tone of his voice made her more confused and a little bit scared.
“Know what?” she asked, not sure she wanted to know the answer.
“Lieutenant Colonel Hughes is dead.”
She nearly dropped the receiver in shock. “What?”
“You will be informed of the details upon your arrival.”
She took a shaky breath and managed to thank the Major before hanging up.
She leaned against the wall, a hand over her mouth, staring wide-eyed at nothing. She could hardly believe it. Hughes was gone, the man she had known since she’d joined the military. She’d never see him again, never hear his voice on the phone, never be shown another picture of his daughter...and she had to tell the Colonel. That was going to be the hardest part of it. She swallowed the tears that were threatening, straightened her shoulders and left the terminal.
When she returned to her seat, she found the Colonel still asleep. She sat down beside him and took a deep breath. “Colonel?”
He awoke instantly and looked at her for a moment, before a look of confusion appeared on his face. “Lieutenant, what’s wrong?”
She took another deep breath, her heart aching. “I was just on the phone with Major Armstrong.” She took yet another breath. “Hughes is dead.”
The Colonel looked at her in sheer disbelief, before his face returned to it’s normal impassiveness.
“I’m going to step outside,” he announced, his voice emotionless.
She stood and moved aside to let him pass, then sat back down. She figured he needed time alone and she would let him have it, but if he wasn’t back in half an hour, she’d go after him.
When half an hour came and went and he still hadn’t returned, she went after him. She knew that some alone time after this sort of news was good, but company was better. No one should be alone with that kind of grief.
She found him seated on the small balcony at the rear of the car, staring blankly at the sky.
He looked at her and there was such sadness in his eyes, that she had to look away.
“Come inside,” she said, “It’s cold.”
He stood, but didn’t move to go inside. Instead he turned and placed his hands on the railing, clearly intending to stay. She moved to stand beside him, even though the space was barely big enough for two people.
She looked at him and saw that he was staring again. She felt a little foolish for coming out here, when she had no idea how to deal with him in the state he was in. She was so used to the Roy Mustang who made bad jokes and slacked off on paperwork. She was used to the fierce determination as well, but she wasn’t used to this and she didn’t like it one bit.
At this rate, she figured it might be best if she left and waited for him to come in on his own. She turned and headed for the door, but his voice stopped her.
“Don’t go,” he said.
She turned back toward him and he looked at her with that sadness filled gaze that made it hurt to look at him.
“Please,” he said, stepping forward so he stood directly in front of her.
Before she realized what was happening, his arms were around her and he was hugging her tightly. She returned the embrace, a bit surprised by his actions. She’d wondered what it felt like to be this close to him, and in any other situation she would have enjoyed it, but not like this, not when he clung to her as if she were the only thing he had left, not when he was trembling the way he was.
She just held him as he broke down, trying to be as much of a comfort as she could, which wasn’t so easy since she really didn’t know what she was doing, especially when the crying became heart wrenching sobs.
She rubbed his back awkwardly, not caring how out of line it was, or that he was hugging her so tightly it hurt. All she cared about was making him feel better. That’s all she had ever cared about.
She was relieved when the crying subsided and he loosened his hold on her.
He laid his head on her shoulder, still shaking. “This is going to be hard.”
She wasn’t sure what to say to that, because she knew it was the truth. It was going to be very hard to get used to Hughes not being around.
“But at least you’ll be by my side,” he said.
So, he really did care and appreciate her support. That was good to know.
“Always,” she said.
They pulled apart just as the train rolled into Central.
Well, that’s the end of the first part. Yes, there will be more when I get time to write it, which, knowing my schedule will be tomorrow. I have a very boring life.
PART TWO IS NOW UP! Scroll down to read it!
Mar 11 2005, 09:16 PM
Hey, you're life can't be boring if you can write this stuff. Damn, that was good! You just captured the pain of unrequited love, of a best friend's death, all of it and wrote it out so well!
Not to mention a lovely use of description without being overwhelming.
Hope to read more!
Mar 12 2005, 10:10 AM
Goodness me, why has no-one else reviewed? Well written piece of work on what can be a difficult topic.
Mar 12 2005, 07:28 PM
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s out of character Hawkeye… Sorry this part isn’t as good as the first.
They retrieved the few pieces of luggage that they had brought, before stepping off the train to be greeted by a somber looking Major Armstrong.
“I apologize again for the phone call,” he said, after saluting them.
He looked at the Colonel, then said, “I informed the Fuhrer of your arrival and managed to get you rooms in the dormitories. I’ll drive you to headquarters and show you to your rooms. We’ll discuss things in the morning.”
Riza felt relieved as they followed him to the car. She was fairly sure that the Colonel couldn’t have handled talking about it tonight and she was glad the Major had thought of that.
The ride to headquarters was short, only a few blocks. Still, Riza found herself wishing it were shorter. She was tired and wanted to go to bed, and she knew the Colonel would feel better after he slept.
Armstrong parked the car outside of the dormitory building and they followed him to their rooms. They were next to each other as they always had been when she had lived in the dorms, since there were no separate dorms for men and women and she preferred to be where she could keep an eye on him.
Armstrong bid them good night and left, presumably heading to his own room.
“Good night,” Riza said, opening the door to her room.
She turned. “Yes?”
He looked unsure of himself. “Would you like to come in?” he said, “I mean, I’m not sure I want to be alone right now.”
“Alright,” she said. She was exhausted, but would stay up if it meant he would feel better.
She opened her door and set her luggage inside, then closed it and followed him into his room. She wrinkled her nose at the sanitary smell of the room. She had forgotten what the dorms smelled like when you moved in.
Instead of turning on the overhead light, he clicked on the small desk lamp. He went over to the window and opened it a crack to air out the room, then proceeded to unpack his luggage.
She sat down in the chair by the desk and watched him. Out of the large trunk came a spare uniform and his dress one, which he hung carefully in the wardrobe; a couple pairs of socks, some white dress shirts, and some pants, which he put in a drawer; and assorted other objects, like a toothbrush. There was one thing he left in the trunk, a picture frame. She didn’t have to look at it to know who was in the picture or why he left it.
“We move around too much,” she said, noticing the precise way he unpacked things.
He didn’t reply, but she hadn’t expected him to. He closed the trunk and pushed it under the bed.
He removed his uniform jacket and the holster that held his seldom used hand gun and threw them on the bed, then started in on the suitcase.
She followed suit, removing her own jacket and draping it over that back of the chair. She unbuckled the holsters that held her weapons and set them on the desk, ensuring that they were within reach as she always did.
When he had finished with the suitcase, he sat down on the bed. He sighed, running a hand through his hair, then he pulled his watch out of his pocket and opened it with his thumb. He frowned at it, before closing it and unhooking it from his belt.
“It doesn’t look like I’ll be getting any sleep tonight,” he said, setting the watch down on top of his jacket. “It’s already 3.”
They would have to be up early to meet Major Armstrong, so they could get things taken care of.
“You look tired,” he said.
She nodded, not very pleased that he noticed, as she made an effort to hide fatigue.
“You can lie down if you want,” he said, gesturing to the bed, “I won’t be using it.”
She was about to object, but the yawn that came out instead made her reconsider his offer. She started untying her boots as he collected his jacket and watch and stood up.
After she got her boots off, she went over and laid down. She watched him set his jacket and watch down beside her guns and then walk over to the window.
After awhile, when she couldn’t keep her eyes open any longer, she gave in and let herself fall asleep.
* * *
Riza awoke, feeling like she had only slept for a few minutes, but the sunlight pouring through the still open window told her otherwise. She turned her head and saw the Colonel seated on the floor by her legs, his head resting on the bed, asleep. She felt guilty for taking his bead, but then told herself that he had given it up willingly, so she shouldn’t feel bad.
She took her hair out of the clip, and regretted not taking it out before she laid down when more than a little bit of her hair came with it, then slid out of bed on the opposite side, trying her best not to wake him.
As soon as her feet hit the floor, though, she heard a soft groan and turned to see his eyes open. He lifted his head from the bed and blinked a few times before looking at her.
“Good morning, sir,” she said, feeling more than a little strange being in his room, now that she was awake enough to fully realize what was going on.
The realization hit her then, harder than before. Hughes was dead. He wouldn’t come barging into the office anymore, giving them all a much needed break from paperwork. It was like he knew exactly when he was needed, but he wouldn’t be there anymore, no matter how much they needed him.
She fought the tears, telling herself that she had to be strong for the Colonel’s sake. He was in enough pain without having to deal with hers.
He pushed himself to his feet, using the bed for support. “You don’t have to hold it in, you know,” he said.
She just looked at him, wondering how he could have possibly known.
“I’m more observant than you give me credit for,” he said, “I’m an alchemist; it’s the way we are.”
He came to stand directly in front of her, just as he had done on the train. “Now,” he said, looking at her the way he did when issuing commands, “Cry.”
She looked at him like he’d grown an extra head. This was absurd!
“That’s an order, Lieutenant,” he said.
Well, she thought as the tears welled in her eyes, she’d never disobeyed an order.
He hugged her again, but it was different this time. His arms were gentle and comforting, as she rested her forehead against his shoulder and cried.
When the tears stopped coming, she stayed in his arms. He didn’t seem to care, which she was grateful for, because that meant she could finally enjoy being close to him.
“I realized something last night,” he said, running his fingers through her hair, “I need to appreciate the things I have and I shouldn’t hesitate to tell people things.”
He sighed. “I never got to thank him,” he said, “and I won’t make the same mistake again.”
He pulled away from her and placed his hands on her shoulders. He was looking at her in a way he never had before. She could see it in his eyes before he said it, “Thank you.”
She smiled and was pleased to see a smile appear on his face as well. It was that smile that made it all worth it.
I shouldn’t hesitate to tell people things, his words ran through her head. She realized she might not have another chance to tell him how she felt and she would never forgive herself if he died without knowing.
Swallowing her fears, she moved closer to him and pressed her lips against his. That was when her mind kicked in and she pulled away, embarrassed.
He stared at her, mouth slightly open, for a moment before his lips curled into a smile. “You didn’t let me finish.”
“I have one more thing to say.” He gathered her into his arms and kissed her.
She knew, as she returned the kiss, that wherever Hughes was now, he was smiling and thinking, Well, it’s about time.
Mar 14 2005, 04:54 AM
Mar 15 2005, 08:54 AM
How pretty. Nicely written. Very... fluffy... ^_^, we need more Roy x Riza waffs! Great job, again.
Mar 18 2005, 04:11 PM
Oh my GOD! I almost cried during that! YOU HAVE TO MAKE ANOTHER CHAPTER!
You have great talent, thanks for the RoyxRiza fanfic (so far cuz' there has to be more chapters!) I get tired of EdxWinry after a while ya' know? It's nice to read something different.
Mar 19 2005, 04:28 AM
What do ya know, its *cough* Phyco Girl...
How can there be another chapter...what you want from them now?! They've already done their thing...what you expect...KIDS?! --
.....Did I just say that...?
Mar 21 2005, 06:59 PM
Oh it's you FM Fangirl! Nice to see ya'! Let's get over our differences and appreciate this great fanfic!!!
There's a part 2 and I can't wait till she pots it. I didn't realize that when I made that last post.
Sorry about over-reacting in the Gallery FM fangirl, I'm always over-reacting. Also I really don't care if they have kids or not. I love this fanfic the way it is and am glad she's making a part 2.
Jul 2 2005, 01:31 AM
awwww this was a sweet story! i enjoyed and loved it! ^^
Jul 5 2005, 09:20 AM
That was really great!! i LOVE emotion you put into our dear Colonel. I really did love the scene on the train. That was a really wonderful story.
Kai- The Bullet Alchemist-
Jul 7 2005, 11:14 AM
That made me feel sad... Geez. I hate it when that happens.
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