Thoughts of War Time

D M Evans

Disclaimer - not mine, all characters belong to Hiromu Arakawa et al, Square Enix and funimition

Rating – PG-13

Pairing – Roy/Riza

Time line- manga verse, spoilers if you haven't seen the Ishbal arc.

Summary – She hates the light

Author's Note – written for the ficvariation challenge, dark/light prompt, thanks to evillittledog for the beta.

She liked the darkness. Most soldiers would call her a fool for it. An Ishbalan could slip into camp like a shadow and kill them all. Riza knew this, was appropriately wary, but still preferred the night. Desert sand, baking like an oven in the day, didn't hold the heat at night so it provided a brief respite. What sort of sadistic military didn't have a desert uniform? In the day, everyone sweltered in the blue wool and many fell prey to heat exhaustion. Riza couldn't abide it.

However, what bothered her about the day was the light itself. Glaring off the rocks, it blinded her, especially through her riflescope. Heat waves danced, making a clear shot tricky. The light fried her skin in the few places it was visible, her scalp red and peeling if she had to take off the stifling hat. But the very worst part of the light was the large portion of it that was firelight. Granted the flames were more striking in the dark but the Flame Alchemist was rarely sent out during the night. Fires fluttered over the sand in the day, followed by shrieks of people dying horribly.

Riza had always known how destructive her father's alchemy was. She knew why he had never shown Roy the array. Riza regretted her decision to share it with Roy and he knew he had regrets, too, about learning it. He didn't want to be the monster he had been forced to become.

The heat from Roy's flames turned the desert into hell. The smell of cooking flesh filled the air, coating her mouth and throat with grease. The one thing she didn't like in the night was Roy coming to her, hiding in the darkness, wanting comfort. The reek of atrocities clung to him and he'd want her to hold him, to move under him and the only thing in her mind would be how she had made a horrendous mistake and there was no way to take it back. Her love for him couldn't squelch that inner voice or cover what this war was doing to their psyches.

As the last licks of light faded from the sky, Riza cleaned her guns meticulously. The dark came quickly as heat bled off into the air. It wouldn't be long now and, as if he knew what she was thinking, Riza saw Roy coming up on her. His face, smeared with soot, held so much pain she could feel it like poison in her soul. She couldn't make this better. She wanted to protect him. She did the best she could but there was no shield from the alchemy, not for either of them. This was their penance. Riza took him in her arms, trying not to make a face at the horrible smell of him. When this was over, if they made it out alive, she wanted to consign everything of theirs from this place to his flames. Maybe then the reek wouldn't haunt her. Maybe she could forget the haunted onyx eyes staring out from the ash.

Maybe one day she could enjoy the light and dark together and this place would be an abandoned memory.