Disclaimer: I don't own Fullmetal Alchemist and gain no profit from this fiction.
AN: This started out as a small writing exercise with a theme from a writing book and turned into this. I hope you like it because it's a special piece to me.
AAN: I've gotten a lot of PM's through the year telling me certain words aren't words. These people even went as far as to paste my story in Microsoft Word just so they could critique the words I use. I assure you that all the words I use are indeed words whether WORD says so or not. I don't depend solely on spell check for my documents. I check in various dictionaries if I am not sure, and I would never make up a word unless it was for comedy reasons.
Roy picked up the phone from the bedside table, the receiver shaking in his sweaty grasp as he brought it up to his ear. He bit his bottom lip as his other trembling hand moved to the first number he needed on the rotary dialer. He put his finger in the round slot that corresponded with the number and moved it to the right before releasing it and letting it regress to its proper position with a small click. Then he followed with the second figure of the ten-digit telephone number that he now detested.
His finger ached as he dialed the last digit of the number and waited as the phone rang repeatedly, as if it were bells tolling him toward his fate. Then, the knolls were eradicated by a mere click and a genial voice that seemed so wrong for him to hear at a time like this. It spoke the customary hello with such a content lilt that it made his stomach retch.
Sweat coated his forehead and the shaking of his hand increased when he heard the feminine voice say hello once again, this time confusion being heard within the sweet tone. He opened his mouth to speak, but found his vocal cords paralyzed and unable to get the slightest syllable or expression of his presence pushed out of his body.
He threw the phone onto the receiver and took a step back, his footsteps thumping heavily on the floor. He folded his arms, the sleeves of his coat tightening, and pulling the creasing in the fabric taut.
No matter how much he attempted to organize the words he needed, he couldn't do so. The thoughts were so immixed he couldn't form them into verbal expressions. The phrase that was lingering, but ineffable, was tangled with aspects of his mental disbelief and denial.
He moved his hands to his forehead and rested the tips of his fingers into his hair. The bed shook when he sat down upon it roughly. He rested in the spot, motionless like a statue that could be the immortal representative of inviolable grief.
The lock of his hotel room clicked, the unappealing crack of the wood door on its hinges not making him stir in the least from his position. He would have recognized the identity of the person by just the familiar pattern of the footfalls, even if she hadn't been the only one with a key to his room.
The door shut back and he heard the footsteps approach him. He moved his hands from his forehead and looked upward to see his most precious person staring down at him. He gazed at her face, her eyes filled with extreme compassion and glistening lightly with shining tears. However, her tears weren't for the same reason that caused the currents of saltwater that were now leaving his eyes.
He moved his arm around her waist and pulled her closer so that he could rest his head against her flat stomach. He felt one of her calloused hands move through his hair and stop, while the other moved to his shoulder.
"You're here." His voice cracked and as he swallowed, it felt like someone was pouring acid down his esophagus.
"I am." She spoke with her soft as velvet voice that seemed to have the uncanny ability to fill him with calm. Even in the darkest, most troubling times in his life.
"I couldn't tell her. Not over the phone. That's not news someone needs to hear over the phone."
Riza didn't speak any comforting words, but instead chose to step a bit closer. She began running her hand through his hair, trying to soothe him. As soon as she did so, he released his grasp on her waist and then pulled away from her. Standing, he straightened his collar and looked into her eyes.
He opened his mouth to speak, only to find himself without words once again. She was his solace even if that blue uniform she wore spoke of the forbiddance of her being such. He couldn't lose her even at the risk of his own life: because his life wouldn't be worth living without her constant presence. There was no Roy Mustang without Riza Hawkeye. She was his courage, his vassal from which he drew the strength to live day by day.
"Lieutenant, could you get me a car? I need to go notify…" his voice faltered, "the widow."
Riza nodded and turned her back to him. She walked over to the door and opened it, moving to leave.
"Lieutenant," Roy called, causing her to pause and turn to look at him.
"You will be at my side right?" he asked.
"Always sir," she answered, the right side of her lips quirking upward slightly. She left the room shutting the door, it clicking in place.
The midnight colored car arrived at the apartment building where Hughes once lived: where his wife and daughter still resided and would likely remain for quite a while. The gray stone of the structure was very old but nonetheless was sturdy and seemed to fit into what Hughes was in life. Sturdy, reliable, steadfast in his position and ambitions. Loyal to protecting those within his strong walls.
Roy and Riza emerged from the vehicle and moved to the door of the building. Roy placed his hand on the handle and pulled, the heavy burden of the door much weightier than others he'd come across. He held it open for Riza as she entered, shielding her from having to push against it. When she was clear of the threshold, he let go. The door slammed back into a closed position, creating an echoing bang.
They made their way up the brown oak stairs that seemed so out of place when compared to the aged look of the building outside. Each footstep Roy took seemed to get heavier and heavier the further he ascended; the closer he got to the door to the apartment.
He stopped at the landing of the flight right before the floor on which he was destined, and Riza stopped with him.
"I don't know if I have the strength to do this Hawkeye," he said, leaning against the faded eggshell colored walls.
"Then take mine," she stated, as if he could use alchemy to take some feature of another person. He knew what she meant of course. He knew that when it got too tough, he would have her to lean on regardless of what happened.
Roy nodded and walked toward her. He slowly moved his lips to kiss her very lightly. It was a symbol of their shared durability and a reassurance that she was still alive, still there, still breathing the same air as he.
He pulled away and without any sentimental words, for they weren't suitable as a prologue to the upcoming event, they made their way to the apartment. Riza grabbed Roy's hand to squeeze it tightly before letting it go and allowing him to tap on the door, gently enough not to alarm but firm enough to alert the occupants of a visitor.
The door opened slowly, revealing Gracia Hughes, who seemed to be perfect picture of motherhood and wifedom. She was surprised at first with Roy's presence, but then her eyes widened and filled with terror. He knew she realized without words from him what had happened. Roy never visited in uniform and when he came, Maes was always with him.
He rushed forward to catch her as her knees buckled. Roy helped her inside and cringed slightly as Riza entered and shut the door. The unforgiving, blood colored wood, sounding like a heavy burden, and clicking as it locked.
AN: I hope you enjoyed this. Reviews are much loved and appreciated.