A/N: Yes, this story was inspired by the track, "I Talk to the Rain" from the Tsubasa Chronicle OST, namely Future Soundscape I.
And before I forget…spoilers for the end of the anime! I even took some quotes from episode 51.
It was raining.
The reflection of First Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye's face was looking back at her through the window pane, against the backdrop of rolling gray clouds and torrents of rain falling by the buckets. In fact, it was so dark that even though it was around afternoon, it looked as though the sun had decided to turn in early. But some bits of the bedroom could also be seen, like the small table with an unlighted lamp, and the bed. She shuddered when she saw through the glass an illusion of the person asleep in bed…even though she already knew full well who he was, and why he was there.
She sighed, drumming her fingers on her lap. Sometimes it felt like an eternity had passed; other times, it felt like it had only happened a few seconds ago.
Riza and Brigadier General Roy Mustang had infiltrated Fuhrer King Bradley's mansion a few days ago, sneaking away from the north where they were supposed to be stationed. Their plan was to confront the Fuhrer on the suspicions that he was a Homunculus, and mostly on Roy's part, avenge the death of his friend, Brigadier General Maes Hughes, taking the risk that if the public found out their plan, they would not welcome Roy as their new Fuhrer, as he would be considered a traitor. A duel between Roy and Bradley – who was actually the Homunculus Pride – ensued, and nearly cost the Flame Alchemist his very life.
Just when Riza thought she had escaped the manic Colonel Frank Archer after he shot her in the shoulder, she saw him face Roy as he staggered out of the mansion, obviously injured, weak from the loss of so much blood, and carrying the corpse of Selim, Pride's adopted son.
She shuddered. If she hadn't been able to fire into Archer's automail-free side, he would have finished Roy off. If she hadn't been there to fetch him when he collapsed on Bradley's porch, he would have died a slow, agonizing death, bleeding till he was dry.
So intent was she in staring out into the rain that she barely noticed her black-and-white dog, Black Hayate, curling up at her feet and using her left foot as a pillow.
Nothing's perfect, the world's not perfect, but it's there for us, trying the best it can. That's what makes it so damn beautiful.
Riza barely flinched as lightning flashed, and thunder boomed outside. There were far scarier things than nature showing off.
Then again, Roy barely escaping with his life was also a way for nature to show off. Especially since alchemists were people who also lived to meddle with and control nature.
So maybe nothing's perfect. But the plan could have been better, thought Riza, countering Roy's statement about an imperfect world. If everything had gone much more smoothly, he wouldn't have to take several weeks off to recover from all his injuries. And his left eye could have been saved. In a way, it was dramatically ironic – after all, Bradley also wore a patch over his left eye, and according to Roy, that eye allowed the Homunculus to predict the State Alchemist's possible attacks and see the weaknesses of his alchemy, and use them all to his advantage.
Then again, not everything was fair.
She noticed her frowning visage through the glass, complemented by the inclement weather and creating a grim portrait that was a mixture of disappointment, regret and sympathy. Tucking a strand of blond hair behind an ear did nothing to improve the image.
I could have been the one injured, not him…he was the one who was going to be Fuhrer and change the world and not me…I'm just around to make sure he reaches his goal…it could have been me…compared to him, I'm not much of a loss…
Riza's thoughts trailed off, and she started a new train.
Why are you thinking like this? The important thing is, General Mustang survived, and so did you. Don't pity yourself. There are other people in the world who are more in need of your pity than you are. At least Homunculi are not running our country anymore. At least Archer didn't finish the job Bradley couldn't. At least…
She started searching for other at-leasts to counter all the ifs and buts that were waging the next rebellion in her head, silently mouthing some of them to herself.
Not expecting another voice to add to the tirade of thoughts she had except her own, Riza whipped around to face the bed, finally tearing her face away from the droplet-coated, seemingly gray window.
Roy Mustang was sitting up now, watching her with a small smile, so very unlike the usual cocky smirk he wore whenever strolling through military headquarters or taking imploring ladies on dates, and his right eye. The other one was lost underneath a black patch. It didn't look like the smaller patch Bradley himself wore, but still, the fact that both of them had no left eyes remained just the tiniest bit disconcerting.
Riza could only nod in agreement, even the brighter, more hilarious moments of when Roy was deemed "useless" in rain because his attacks were fire-based lost, buried underneath more recent memories of infringing the Fuhrer's mansion, and the sight of the supposedly great, powerful, soon-to-be-Fuhrer Flame Alchemist, lying in a pool of blood with a child's corpse and a bloody sigil crudely drawn on one hand.
For several tense seconds, neither of them said anything. Not even Black Hayate broke the silence – probably because he was sound asleep. The beating of the rain and the rumbling of thunder were amplified tenfold in that long pause.
"You're frowning again."
The lieutenant's attempts to rearrange her face into a semblance of a smile were futile.
"Why were you staring outside?"
She glanced down at her feet and shifted around in the armchair she was sitting in.
"You looked like you were talking to the rain."
Still, Riza said nothing and glanced back toward the window, her hands still primly folded on her dark brown skirt. She bit her lower lip, feeling it tremble. Before she could do anything to stop it, a small tear slowly emerged from one of her eyes – the left one, she noticed.
"What's wrong?" From the corner of her sight, she saw Roy try to get up from the bed, despite wincing several times at the pain. Riza quickly turned to him and shook her head.
"Don't get up unless you really need to, like when you need a trip to the bathroom. You know the drill. And use the cane."
He sank back into his sheets obediently, but his grin was already gone, replaced by an expression of sympathy.
"What's wrong?" he asked again.
Riza wanted so badly to tell him everything that seemed wrong to her, starting with how badly he was hurt during his fight, how it didn't go exactly as planned, how Archer nearly killed the general, how it could have been better, if not perfect…
But there was no reason to let him share the burden. He already had his own to bear, and not just of the physical ilk.
"Nothing," she finally replied softly. "Are you hungry or anything?"
Roy yawned. "Not really…in fact, I'm still a bit sleepy…"
"Then go back to sleep," said Riza simply. "You need your rest. Just…tell me if you need anything."
Several more quiescent moments passed, leaving the two of them staring at each other, as though trying to read each other's thoughts, but this time, she was the first to break the ice.
"You need to rest."
"Always worrying about me, are you?" said Roy, smiling groggily as he slowly lay back down. "Don't worry so much. Don't tell me you're worrying again about our plan…"
Riza shook her head. But before she could say anything more, he was already asleep again, his voice having trailed off to a snore. She had to smile at how peaceful he looked, and envied how he could seem so optimistic despite facing death and losing an eye…it was like a grotesque parody of the principle of equivalent exchange in alchemy…
It had not stopped raining yet, she observed, as she turned back to the window pane. They say fools freely walk where angels fear to tread…but don't angels sometimes need to save those poor fools? To do that, they would have to step in the same ground the fools do…sacrifice themselves…
She blinked, and saw her reflection blink back at her after a brief flash of lightning.
Here I am, talking to the rain again…