Father always liked Roy best.
And because Father always liked Roy best, Riza hated Roy.
What was so great about Roy Mustang anyway? Yes, he happened to be a very talented alchemist. Yes, he happened to be dedicated to his work. Yes, he was intelligent and smart, able to think coolly under pressure. Yes, he had a strong sense of justice.
But he was also a manipulative bastard, Riza thought sourly. Who had about a thousand girlfriends, all of them pretty, young girls who giggled and annoyed the hell out of her. And he was lazy, not doing the work he was supposed to do, only doing the work he wanted to do. Which wasn't much work. And he was disobedient, unruly, and ran off a few times to skip chores or alchemy homework. Father had two other apprentices, both a lot less lazy than that. And even then, Father had dismissed them without batting an eye. She wondered what was so special about Roy.
Riza wasn't like that. Riza had all of Roy's good attributes, being smart, being logical, being dedicated. All except for being a good alchemist, which really didn't seem much to her. After all, Father had once said there were tons of good alchemists out there, but some of them got too lazy to stick to their guns. And not only that, she was better behaved. Heavens knows, she didn't even have a single boyfriend, always rejecting boys in favor of her studies to please Father. She never got lazy. She was the kind of person who stuck to her guns, as Father would say. Not like Roy. Stupid Roy.
And yet, Father liked Roy more than his own daughter.
Riza could never hate Father for some reason. She didn't know why. Maybe it was because she had no mother, her mom dying in childbirth. Maybe it was because she looked up to him. Maybe it was simply because he was her biological father. Simply because of that.
So she hated Roy instead.
Roy never asked about Mother, a fact that Riza always appreciated.
He did know of her existence, though. There were pictures of Mother, after all. She looked like an older, slender, brunette version of Riza. So he didn't have to ask who she was. The picture woman's living daughter told everything. The picture woman always smiled though, as if she didn't have a care in world. As if she didn't know she'd die so soon, so young. Of course. She really didn't know.
And only twice did Father ever mention Mother in front of Roy.
The first time was shortly after he arrived to become Father's apprentice. Father caught him staring at one of the pictures of Mother. In this picture, Mother was sitting at the kitchen table, showing her teeth to the camera, an expression of genuine happiness on her face. Father said, "My wife. She's dead. Died giving birth to little Elizabeth."
Roy hadn't said anything. Neither had Riza, who happened to be in the room at the same time. A thousand things went unsaid that day, mostly accusations. All directed to Riza. But Roy didn't say anything, something else Riza appreciated.
The second time was about a year or two later. Father had been slightly drunk. Not too much. Just a little. It'd been Christmas Eve after all, and he was allowed to celebrate. Roy and Riza sat on the couches, both very uncomfortable, not speaking to one another. Father looked at a much beloved picture of Mother. Then he said, "Why did you have to die, dear? Was it because of her? I'm sorry then. I'd trade her for you. I would."
Then he drank more and fainted. The next morning, he woke up with a wicked hangover. Father didn't remember anything that happened that night. Nobody reminded him either. That one thing Father said became an unspoken taboo between Roy and Riza. Something never to be said. But they both understood one thing.
Master Hawkeye blamed his daughter for his wife's death.
As much as Riza wished they could, she and Roy couldn't avoid each other. They lived in the same house, they did chores together, and about a million other things that put them in each other's company.
She and Roy fought. A lot. Roy was a stubborn, hotheaded young man. He would not give in any arguments, unless you could prove that he was flat out wrong. But Riza had to admit that some of the fights were her fault. She picked fights with Roy when she was in a rotten mood so she could vent all her feelings at him. And those fights gave her a more solid reason to hate Roy.
I hate Roy because he's such a pigheaded fool. Not because Father prefers him.
Or at least that's what she kept telling herself.
Argue, argue, argue. Fight, fight, fight. And occasionally, it would come to pushing and shoving and even one time, brawling out on the yard. Riza gained the credit of throwing a rock at Roy almost fifteen feet away, aiming for his nose. And not missing. Roy had a broken nose that day, and Riza had a slight concussion.
Later in the hospital, sharing the same room, Riza looked over at Roy and said, "I hate you."
Roy replied by saying, "Same here."
For some reason, Father wasn't angry. In fact, he seemed to be more amused.
Riza was so young back then. So was Roy.
Young usually meant innocent and carefree and impulsive, which they both were. Riza was getting to be a woman, and attracted the occasional look from a boy. And one day, one of the boys came to talk to her. And three weeks later, the boy was officially her boyfriend.
Riza didn't bother to keep it a secret. She was moody and rebellious, not caring what her Father thought. Or rather, pretending not to care. She loved Father. She wanted his approval. She wasn't getting any. Maybe this way, it would get his attention. Maybe now he would notice his daughter, the one who was much better than some apprentice.
And she fell in love with the boy. Slowly, but surely.
And when he broke her heart by leaving her for another girl, she went into her room, locked the door, laid down in her bed, and cried for a long, long time. She didn't listen to Father or Roy rapping on the door, asking her to come out. She just stayed there and bawled, feeling as though her heart had been torn into itty-bitty pieces and flung in the air.
She didn't want to come out and face the world. Ever.
She didn't know how long exactly she lay down on the bed and cried. She was aware that her big boo-hoos had quieted down to mere sniffling. And then she heard a knocking noise at her window.
It was Roy.
He was knocking persistently on the window, clutching onto the frame. Apparently, he'd used alchemy to make some stairs. Annoyed, Riza went to her window and flung it open.
"What do you want?" she snapped.
And then he said, "Nothing. It's just that it's dinner, and it would be a pity if you missed it."
"I'm not unlocking that door!" Riza was irritated. Couldn't he see that she didn't want to be bothered? How would he understand? He was the more of the type who would break hearts, not have his heart broken like hers.
"Then take the stairs," Roy answered. "I can assure you they're very solid. I made them myself."
And then he left, not looking back.
And about five minutes later, Riza went out of the window and stomped down the stairs.
And she realized that he was right. The stairs were solid.
Riza had deadly aim. Roy knew that. He remembered the day when she threw the rock at his nose all too well.
In his opinion, Riza's last name was very well deserved. Hawkeye.
She had one of those little kid's guns, the fake kinds that can't kill. And during the early years when he had joined Master Hawkeye, she'd just aim and fire whenever he annoyed her, no matter what the distance was. She was talented at that.
He noticed, after many years, that Riza was grown up. No longer that little girl who shot little bullets at him. A woman, mature and calm and levelheaded. Not bad-looking, too. She didn't have a gun, though. A real one. A real one that could kill.
After thinking about it, he thought that it was a waste of talent. A waste of talent, but it somehow created more humanity in the house. It kept her human. Roy wondered if Riza would realize her talents and pick up a real gun.
They stopped fighting the day Roy thought that. It was like an invisible lined had been crossed, or maybe made. They didn't know which, even though there was a huge difference between the two.
After Master Hawkeye's funeral, Roy had walked away.
Riza could see Roy's back. She could see how much taller he'd grown since he was that little shrimp who'd come to study under Father. She could see that he'd grown out his hair more, just a little more. She could see that he carried himself in a more dignified that way, not slumping anymore. And as he walked away from Father's grave and from Riza, he gave a small wave without glancing back.
Riza remembered all the fights they got into. She remembered the time when Roy said, "Then take the stairs. I can assure you they're solid. I made them myself." And she remembered the day's between Father's death and maturity, when they'd both grown up and stopped squabbling.
And she wondered when she had started to fall in love with him.
And that was the last time they would see each other in a long time.
AN: My first Royai fic. Oneshot, nothing too fancy.
I like how the manga shows more of Roy and Riza's past. If you don't read the manga, let me tell you that Roy was apprenticed to Riza's father, some demented military-hating crazy from the looks of it. He's the guy who kind of invented flame alchemy or something, and then passed it onto Roy.
Anyway, I liked the idea of Roy and Riza spending part of their young lives together, so out came this fic.