There Was Nothing He Could Do
Riza Hawkeye had been shot.
Time seemed to stop as Ed, even from his distance, didn't have to guess where she'd been hit. He had seen the bullet pass through her head with enough detail to give him nightmares for a thousand lifetimes. Though Ed had tried to protect her, put up a barrier to stop the bullet, it hadn't been enough to stop the determined first lieutenant. Hawkeye had thought Colonel Mustang was in danger, and even Edward Elric, sixteen-year-old prodigy, Fullmetal Alchemist, could not prevent her from her duty to the colonel. Nothing could.
"Lieutenant, are you okay?"
Hawkeye left the makeshift latrine, wiping her mouth with her handkerchief. "I am fine." She would not meet his eyes as she tossed the soiled cloth aside.
"Bull!" Ed grabbed her wrist. "My mother said the same thing when she was sick, and you see where it got her." Riza finally met his gaze, looking somewhat taken back at the way Ed had just spoken of his own mother, a woman for whom only terms of extreme reverence were usually reserved. "You have been sick every morning, even a little later in the day. The colonel paired us together, and if something is wrong with you, damn it, I should know." Ed glanced up and saw a large suit of armor approaching. "You had better tell me now, or I'll let Al know, and you know how protective and pampering he is. I'll get him to smother it out of you."
"Believe me, Edward," she said, placing her free hand on Ed's shoulder, "this is natural."
Ed had made it his duty to cover Hawkeye, had promised the colonel he would, and he had failed. Rebels were trying to take over Central, and he had been paired up with Hawkeye. Why did she have to be so damned stubborn, so protective of the colonel when that wasn't their mission? Didn't she understand that if something happened to her, especially now, he would die anyway?
Ed brought his hands together, then slapped them to the ground, forming an enclosed structure that ran the distance from himself to Riza, a feat that was much easier now that she was no longer moving and evading his attempts to keep her safe.
He wished it could have been difficult again.
He ran to her side, hoping that something locked away in his memory from Dr. Marcoh's research could help her. She just couldn't die. Not so soon. Not so close to Hughes. Ed knew he couldn't take it, and he was absolutely certain the colonel, bastard or not, would just as soon be dead himself.
He looked down at her lifeless form and began attempting arrays to save her. "Why the hell did you have to tell me?"
"Pregnant, Fullmetal," she said, irritated. "And try not to be so loud."
Ed's honey-colored eyes were wide, his mouth gaping. "Lieutenant, why are you here? You shouldn't risk the baby."
"I'm here because the colonel needs me."
"Yes, and so does that kid," Edward said, pointing to her stomach.
"Yes, but that kid needs his father, and I won't risk losing him."
"Colonel Bastard? The father?" Riza only nodded. "Then what the hell are you doing here? The colonel needs you at home, safe."
"He isn't happy about this, either, Ed, but I threatened him at gunpoint not to order me to stay behind."
"That was stupid."
Ed had tried two arrays before coming to grips with the fact that absolutely nothing he did would save her. The bullet had hit its target and killed her. The more Ed tried to save her, the more he began to sense the life--no, lives--within her. And they were dying. There was one final array he could try, though Marcoh's notes hadn't included what its results might be. Edward pulled open Riza's uniform at her stomach and used the mixture of blood and dirt at his knees to draw the array onto her body.
She was dead, and he couldn't save her, but he wasn't going to let the colonel die, too. Mustang didn't have much in the way of reasons to live, and Ed would be damned if he wouldn't try save the only ones left.
Word had reached the colonel that Riza had been injured, but no one could get through the rebel forces to get to the barrier that Fullmetal had created around her. In his rage and sickening worry, a blast wen through the city, frightening those it didn't injure or kill, and made those more familiar with alchemy question if the alchemist had been using something to enhance his abilities. When Roy and an equally concerned Al burst through Fullmetal's barrier, they discovered the young alchemist unconscious over the lifeless body of the lieutenant, Roy's love. The effort the state alchemist had put into saving her life was obvious, and though part of Roy wanted to yell at, to hurt the teen for not protecting her, he could see how hard he had tried to save her.
"Take Fullmetal to the medic," Roy ordered. "And see to it that the lieutenant is properly taken care of."
Mustang turned on his heel and left, nearly choking on the cold words that had escaped his lips. They had been so emotionless, sounding just as a commanding officer is supposed to when a subordinate becomes one of the casualties. His heart was screaming at him for not trying to do something, for not at least breaking that carefully made image he had created as a leader for just a moment to show the pain that his heart truly felt. All he could do was find an abandoned ally in the now quiet, re-captured Central and begin to cry, tears at first coming silently, though they quickly soaked his white gloves as they clutched at his eyes. Then, a scream broke free of his throat, so angry, so hurt. One that none of the nearby military personnel failed to hear. One that none of them ever discussed.