He loved to watch her as she slept, his eyes traveling over her face early in the morning. She never looked so peaceful when she was awake, the line between her eyebrows never fading during the day. It was only in the soft amber light of dawn when he could see her for what she was; a human being set upon by more misfortune and distress than a woman of her age should ever have to experience. Only in those early hours could her reputation fade, her protective carapace fall away, and he reach beyond the crystal clear barriers that held her back even as their shoulders brushed together. He couldn't come too close, couldn't toe that fine line between them in the sunlight; the threat of court-martial loomed all too real above him to risk any visible affection for her. She would glare at him in warning if his fingers so much as grazed the transparent barricades and he would check himself, the curve of her eyebrows convincing in its plea for caution.

But in the shadows cast by moonlight she would no longer be the untouchable Riza Hawkeye, no longer miles away behind wall after wall of diamond protocol. At night he could break the glassy box that shut her away and she would let the shards rain over her, washing away all sense and reason even as they nicked her skin. She was closer then, desperate to slough her icy front away, seeking the fire she was incapable of creating for herself. He was more than happy to give her that fire, the warmth she so craved, for in turn she would give him the kind of care she would never shown anyone else. He needed this, to feel her melting around him, to feel his heat was worth something precious to someone so much stronger than himself.

Roy's gaze followed the flow of golden hair spilled across her shoulder, curling delicately around her throat like a filigree necklace. Her skin was gilt with fire where the sunrise played upon it, a dawn goddess indulging in delicious sin wrapped in the arms of her favored mortal, lending him her glow. Those slender shoulders seemed haunted by the ghost of white wings; she didn't belong here, deserved better than trailing after him always two steps behind, always smoothing over his mistakes. She shouldn't have to spend hours at the range, fingers working at the trigger of a rifle. Those hands that now lay curled upon the sheets in sleep would in just hours aim where a real person would be dead on impact. Gentle brandy eyes that looked at him so warmly every night spent day after day squinting through the crosshairs of one firearm or another, or absorbed in mundane paperwork, shooting death rays at him for every signature he missed. It never ceased to confound him how she could turn on her heel so quickly from one façade to another; his subordinate, his protector, his keeper, his conscience, his anchor, his lover, his reality.

He kissed the burn that spiderwebbed over her back, edges frayed into more intricate markings, a foreign language etched in pristine flesh. She should never have had to feel the flames that seared such a mark on her. His calloused fingers traced the elaborate red lines, symbols more familiar even than the breath in his lungs. They lit on the tongue of flame just below the base of her neck, dropped a kiss to the little shape that matched her to him. Following the curve of her spine, he stroked the sensitive skin and watched as her muscles rippled under it, making the red outline sway and reform. There was a sort of poetry to it, an easy rhythm like a heartbeat, an intensity like the fire he was known for, a devotion staggering in its depth. To think she trusted him that much, enough to give herself so plainly to his eyes, show him the secrets tattooed across her body…it was mind-bending. He would always find her trust in him remarkable, a beautiful fragile heirloom he was terrified of breaking. Her breed of faith was rare in the military. He read and reread the cryptic figures that rose and fell with her breath, latin words that meant the world to him and then some; Libera me, a silent plea written upon her she would never voice. He rubbed his hand over the words, smiling sadly. I'll try, Riza. I'll do all I can.

The rosy light that edged her body was beginning to blaze brighter, the growing threat of daylight drawing nearer. He could forgive it for now, he supposed; the gilded outline of her curves was atonement enough. The sun pulsed reassuring heat over them both, lulling him into a drowsy sense of security. For the moment she was safe and real and oh so warm in his arms, no sound between them but their breathing…

And then the magic shattered, the purr in her throat still hazy with sleep sending him floating to earth. All too soon she would begin to stir and his peaceful reverie would end; he feigned slumber, hoping it might tempt her into lingering just a few moments more. The mattress shifted as she propped herself up on one elbow, scanning his face; no, she couldn't move just yet. He felt her hand trace the outline of his face, the touch a whisper, a promise to his fevered skin. Lips pressed soft kisses to the ridged scar slashed across his eye, to his cheek, to his mouth, testing to see if he would wake. It was hard not to mold his lips to fit her own, but he would manage for the sake of the enchantment she'd broken, if only for one moment more. One more instant before the glass box would reform, before the day could wrench her away and shove them back behind their respective walls.

Somehow he knew she would wait until he woke.