Living on Borrowed Time
Disclaimer: I own nothing
Author's Note: Wow, I really like this little chapter. Hopefully I'll end up expanding on this…I've got the rest of the idea in my head, but I can't promise you it'll turn out perfect or anything. The title may be subject to change, though currently I like it. Well read, though I do suggest you pull out the tissues if you're subject to over productive tear ducts (like myself)
Chapter 1 – Always Too Late
It was 5 am in front of the military's eastern headquarters when a sleek black car drove up. The rain was falling in sheets, preventing anyone from seeing more than a few feet in front of them. At 5 am, it was still dark. The car came to a halt, but the engine remained running. The backseat driver's side door clicked and opened. Out rolled a bundle; from more than a hundred yards anyone would have thought it was a bag of old clothes…or a large dead dog. The door slammed shut and the car drove off into the flooded morning, leaving the bundle abandoned on the ground. Many moments passed, but suddenly a little movement came from the bundle…and then there was a quiet moan. After that…it laid still.
Colonel Mustang walked along in the rain, feeling the bad weather seep into his attitude. He hated the rain…it was no secret. Water, rain, it was his enemy, and he treated it as such. Angrily he stomped the ground, in some small way it made him feel better to feel the water being crushed under his feet. Even if it hadn't been raining he would have been angry. Just two days ago his Lieutenant had left. There were no words, she just got up and left after receiving a mysterious letter. No one had seen her since Monday and it was getting on his nerves. It wasn't like Hawkeye to just not show up for work, much less walk out during the middle of the day without saying anything to anyone. He'd checked her house that afternoon, to make sure she was okay, but she was gone. After interrogating her neighbors he found out that she'd left her dog, Black Hayate, with one of them and left. She'd left behind no explanation, only saying that she had to take care of something and that she'd be gone for a few days. Well the "few days" had come and gone and there was still no word from her. He was coming up on the entrance to Eastern Headquarters now. He scowled at his watch—5:30. He was never awake at this hour, but he was tired of sitting at home. He didn't know where she was and it was making him restless. It wasn't because he cared for her—no, that could never be the case, he often told himself. She was cold, hard, stubborn and exacting. Not his type of woman at all. But she was loyal and it was something that fascinated him. She proved to him time and again that she was willing to sacrifice anything for him. Anyone that saw her knew that she would be willing to take his place in hell for him. Many questioned her loyalties, and more than a few rumors flew about them possibly having some sort of relationship, but anyone that spent more than 5 minutes with her, knew that she would never stoop to being someone else's plaything. She was often described as the perfect soldier, taking orders and always carrying them out without question…well not always. Hawkeye was willing to take orders, but there always seemed to be something slightly defiant staring out from behind her red eyes. She knew when to take orders and when to order him. He was the only superior officer that she was willing to talk back to…to put him in his place, but he was also the only superior officer she was loyal to. It was a well known fact within their squad that she wasn't loyal in the least to the military…her loyalties lay with Mustang, and only Mustang. While her loyalty to him was an attractive quality it wasn't enough for him to be willing to try and start a relationship with her. Besides, the woman wouldn't think twice about putting a few bullet holes in his head, and that was a little more than scary. His restlessness crawled around underneath his skin and it made him shiver a bit in the cold unforgiving rain. He wanted to know where she was…he hated being left out of the loop. The last time that he'd been left out…he'd lost his best friend… He wasn't in love with his lieutenant, but he wasn't willing to let someone he cared about die…not while he lived and breathed.
The black bundle in front of the building caught his eye. It was closer to the steps than it had been when it was kicked out of the vehicle, but it seemed to have stopped moving again. Roy squinted in the rain, trying to figure out what the mysterious thing was. He cautiously approached the thing, staring at it with inquisitive eyes. He'd momentarily forgotten the rain and was suddenly reminded when he felt his shoe sink into a slightly deep puddle. He cursed as he took his eyes from the bundle and looked down. What he saw took his breath away. The puddle wasn't rain…it was red. The blood was diluted a bit by the rain and as he squinted at the little trail of red he could clearly deduce that it was coming from the black bundle. His heart leapt into his throat as he mind leapt to conclusions. Dropping his guard he ran toward the figure, it seemed to have a black trench coat draped over it…as if it were too grotesque to see by mortal men. Roy's nerves raced as he gripped the coat and pulled it back. His fears realized themselves as he pulled the coat back to reveal Riza Hawkeye's blood stained face.
She smiled at him in an eerie sort of way and gently blinked her eyes against the rain. Her savior had come at last…but only too late as Roy could see there were three round bullet holes penetrating the front of her uniform. "Hawkeye!" he screamed startled, his voice cracking. He knelt beside her cold form and tried to pick her up. She waved him away, "No, no, it hurts to move" she said, a gurgling sound forming at the back of her throat. She coughed a little, causing blood to rush into her mouth. Unable to contain it, the droplets curled out the edges of her mouth and flowed down her face. Roy cradled his lieutenant's upper body in his arms, trying to protect her from her obvious fate. "What happened?" the words rushed from his mouth. Hawkeye's eyes drank in his face, her mind beginning to go fuzzy. "They were..." she started but a fit of coughing quickly stopped it. Blood from her lungs was quickly soaking her uniform, and Roy shushed her. "No, no you don't have to tell me now. Just rest…I'll get you some help, just stay here." He almost started to move, but her right hand gripped the front of his uniform. "Stay!" she said, her teeth were stained red from the blood, "stay with me…I-I don't want to be alone…" the rain hit her face and dripped down it like makeshift tears. For the first time since Maes had died tears pricked Mustang's eyes and his voice caught in his throat. "Okay," he replied, trying to keep his voice from cracking. "I won't leave you."
She smiled again. Her eyes looked relieved as she rested in his arms. Rain dripped down Roy's hair and fell into his eyes, mingling with his tears. Riza's hand reluctantly let go of her commanding officer's jacket and unsteadily made its way toward his face. With trembling fingers she brushed his hair out of his eyes. His eyes screamed out in pain…he couldn't lose her…she was all he had left. "It'll be all right." She whispered. He let out a strange laugh, even at death's door; she was still looking out for him. He smiled back at her, "Yeah, it'll be okay…just stay with me okay?"
She smiled sadly at him. It wouldn't be long now. She could slowly feel her blood draining away. Strangely enough, it wasn't unpleasant. "Stay with me Hawkeye." When she didn't say anything, he became frantic. "Hawkeye! Answer me! Stay with me." She only closed her eyes. "Don't you dare leave me! You have a job to do! You promised to protect me. Who's going to do that if you're not here!" She blinked up at him, sorry that her time was being cut so short. "Help!" Roy screamed out into the torrent morning. "Someone! Anyone! Helllp!" He held her cold body closer to his, hoping that it would keep her holding on. "You can't leave me…" he said, pleading with her, rocking her frail body in his arms.
"I'll never leave you…" she said, a fit of coughing followed leaving her weak. With what strength was left in her body she gripped the front of his uniform, pulling his face closer. She whispered something to him only he could hear through the falling sheets of rain. Roy stopped breathing as he watched his lieutenant's grip slowly relax on his jacket and go limp. Her eyelids felt as if they were weighted down and she felt as if she were drowning in the middle of the morning rain. For the last time Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye closed her eyes and let out a long breath. Her body never moved again.
Roy felt her soul slip from her body. Her limp body lay in his arms and he knew she was gone. Enraged, he screamed toward the sky. Why was it that he was always too late?