Chapter I "Debts"
Riza, soaking wet from the constant heavy rain, sprinted down the final block and disappeared into Roy's apartment, grocery bags in hand. Once under dry and warm shelter she quietly tip toed into the kitchen. Despite the early hour, about seven in the evening, Riza still suspected Roy to be resting. Just yesterday he had caught a fever and she had been up all night and morning trying to keep it at bay.
Black Hayate barked happily, acknowledging his master's return. He was ordered to stay behind with Roy. Riza winced at her dog's sudden loud and high pitched bark and glared at the young dog. Whimpering in fear, the dog rushed behind the table's leg.
"Quiet, Black Hayate. You may wake up the Colonel." Riza whispered, bending down to pet her dog on the head.
"He's already up." A sudden deep voice penetrated through the silent kitchen.
Jumping up in surprise, Riza turned and found Roy leaning against the door frame casually. His face was no longer flushed nor wet from sweat.
"Sir, you shouldn't be up, you need rest." Riza tried to interject.
"Nonsense." Roy interrupted, waving his hand weakly. "All I've been doing lately is resting and sleeping." He paused to stretch his arms above his head and yawn. "I'm tired of sitting around with nothing to do. I think I can return to work now."
Riza frowned. "Sir, you're not completely recovered yet." Despite her thoughts, she looked over her superior officer and took note of his recovery. All his wounds have healed and he was able to walk without any assistance from a cane. But his eyes still reflected fatigue and he still needed to rest mentally as well.
Roy grinned as he stepped further into the kitchen and grabbed an apple from one of the grocery bags. After washing it he took a large and healthy bite into it. After swallowing he looked over his lieutenant from head to toe. How long had she been nursing him again?
"You know, Riza, you really should be off to home and rest." He replied before taking another bite from the apple.
Eyes narrowing more from exhaustion than confusion of why he had called her by her first name, she nearly took his advice and walked out the door. But her needs always came last. Shaking her head slowly she said, "That won't be necessary sir, it's my job to watch over you."
Chuckling softly, Roy tossed his apple remains into the trash before running his other hand through his hair. "Your job is at the headquarters from nine to five. And last that I remember there was supposed to be a really cute nurse here to look after me."
Riza tensed. Roy smiled inwardly as he watched her emotions peak. He always had a feeling she was irritable against that cute nurse from the infirmary.
"It's my fault you were hurt, the least I can do is treat you back to normal again, sir." Riza cried sadly, her face lowering and suddenly studying the ground. She couldn't stand to meet the Colonel's gaze.
Sighing, Roy reached his hand over and poked Riza in her upper right arm, receiving a wince from her. "You were hurt too, that couldn't be helped. We both knew our plan wouldn't go through perfectly."
"Still..." Riza burst out, her eyes down casting. "If I had been faster or if I had shown up a minute later...you would..."
Suddenly Roy grabbed Riza and pulled her towards himself, enveloping her into a fierce embrace. Eyes open in shock, Riza could only stand stiffly, what suddenly got him into this? A part of her wanted to pull away from the hug, but another, majority, part of her wanted to wrap her arms around his slim waist and breathe in his masculine scent.
After a few moments her arms seemed to have involuntarily wrap themselves around Roy and lean into his hug. He rested the bottom of his chin on her head and exhaled deeply and softly. Riza closed her eyes as she pressed her ear against his chest and listened to his quickening heartbeat, was he nervous? The infamous girlfriend stealer, womanizer of the military nervous over a simple hug?
Then, as quickly as the hug sparked, it was separated. Roy pulled back with his infamous grin planted on his face, the movement of his cheek pushing his eye patch an inch higher. Noticing the movement, guilt stabbed through Riza again and she suddenly couldn't bring herself to look at him in the eye. If only she had arrived sooner...
Roy moved Riza's face upward with his finger under her chin. No matter how many times he told her that his injuries weren't her fault, she still blamed herself. "You know." He started, his voice low in a whisper. "I never did thank you."
Riza arched a thin eyebrow in question. "Colonel, there is no reason to thank--"
"I never thanked you," Roy interrupted. "For saving my life. You saved me twice. If you hadn't arrived at the time that you did, Archer would have finished me off. And if you hadn't gotten me to the nearest hospital I never would have made it. I am in debt to you."
Tears threaten to surface, but Riza kept a strong control over her body and emotions. She couldn't bring herself to cry. Instead, she shook her head profusely. "No, for what you did for me during the war, I could never repay that debt."
Roy lowered his head, the last thing he wanted to remember was the war. But images of his encounter with Riza during the war, and both helping each other to survive, rushed through his head. They both had shared good and bad moments during that time. She saved his ass more times than he cared to acknowledge, but he too had his share of being her savior.
Being able to read Roy's expressions, Riza immediately changed the subject. "Err...I'll put the grocery's away."
Real smooth, Riza thought. Taking one step forward and suddenly her vision was spinning. She took another step forward, shaking off the dizziness but it only made her head spin faster.
"Lieutenant?" Roy asked, addressing her back to how he normally called her by.
Riza gripped the edge of the table with one hand and the other holding her head. "I'm fine, sir."
Roy frowned. He stepped closer to her, his single eye studying Riza. Her face was shiny with moisture and her skin flushed. He placed his hand on her forehead, it felt way too hot. With his other hand he touched his own but found it no where near as hot as hers.
"It's nothing, sir. You should get back to bed." Riza whispered. Her throat was suddenly dry and aching.
"No Lieutenant, you should get to bed. Why don't you take the next few days off. I'm better now and can return to work tomorrow." Roy suggested as Riza composed herself and began to put the groceries away.
"Riza." Roy said tiredly, making her stop upon being called on. "Look at me."
Riza complied and turned immediately, creating another wave of dizziness. Blinking it away, Riza looked up into her superior officer's face and felt her face grow even more impossibly warm and her heart jumped up to her throat.
Roy had his shirt unbuttoned, his lean and tight muscular body exposing. Riza finally remembered to breathe after a moment. Why was he doing this? Then she saw them.. Around his chest were a few scars, barely noticeable. She studied his skin, taking note of some of the bullet holes he most likely suffered from Archer and the stab and slash wounds from the Fuhrer.
Her hand was suddenly pulled by Roy and he placed her palm on his upper chest. "You can hardly notice the scars, and they don't hurt anymore." Taking a step back he buttoned his shirt. "I don't even need the cane anymore."
Still slightly dumbfounded, Riza quickly pushed the images of Roy's beautiful body out of her head. Roy was telling the truth, he really had recovered and was ready to return to work, so why was she insisting that he still had yet to recover?
You just enjoyed nursing him back to health and being with him alone for days, Riza told herself. Suddenly Riza wasn't feeling so good. Her whole body felt heavy, her vision began to swim again and she could suddenly feel her body falling. She shut her eyes to brace for the pain of the hard, cold floor smashing into her face, but she could feel herself being supported and held. The last thing she remembered was seeing Roy's worried face before complete and utter darkness consumed her.