CHAPTER 102 SPOILERS! You have been WARNED.

I don't own FMA.

This is the first fic I've written and published in a while. It's not proofread or edited, and I know this, so unless you notice a blatant error please don't remind me...I just wanted to get this published before I changed my mind about doing so.

Smile


Kain Fuery had led him down the hallway. The young officer was a nervous wreck; Mustang thought he was unsteady on his feet until he could feel the faltering steps his comrade was taking. Fuery had pushed the door to the hospital room open and Mustang heard him drag a chair from one location to another and suddenly a hand was pulling him forward and then pushing him into the chair. "I…I'm…I'm going to get—"

"Dismissed, Fuery."

"B…but sir, I was going to get—"

"You are dismissed, Fuery."

He heard the man scuttle out of the room, closing the door behind him. The footsteps stopped there, and without a glance to the window in the door he knew that Fuery was standing with his back to the door, guarding it. Ironically, this was a job that was typically Hawkeye's.

Hawkeye, however, was currently still out cold from the anesthesia she'd been given prior to the surgery she'd had just a few hours prior. He leaned forward in the chair awkwardly, hands outstretched until they found the covers of the bed. He felt the warmth of a human body beneath his left hand, and slowly slid his hand up, hesitant. He felt fingertips, and stiffened when he realized he'd almost disturbed the intravenous line situated in one of the only viable veins they'd found in her hand. Carefully, he moved his hand upwards still, tracing the line of her arm until he could feel the loose bandages at her neck. He quickly moved on, now his hands on her face, and finally he found what he was certain he could touch without breaking anything—her hair. He wasn't quite aware that his other hand was still resting on her cheek.

"Sir…?"

Her voice was hoarse and weak, and she sounded disoriented. He wondered if his gaze—if he still had a gaze, anyway—could pass for looking at her. "Yes, Hawkeye?"

He couldn't see if her eyes were open. The last time he'd seen her waking from anesthesia, she had had this nearly laughable expression on her face and it had taken quite some effort to keep from laughing at her crossed eyes. He wondered if that was what she was doing now, but he could feel the confusion on her face if only because he could actually feel the muscles of her face move as she presumably furrowed her brow.

Suddenly, she was sitting up. He could hear her fumbling, and one of her hands gripped one of his. He figured it was for balance, because she mumbled something unintelligible as he felt her sway.

"You should lay back down, Hawkeye," he said wearily. Stubborn as an ox, he thought.

"What happened to you?" She sounded very lucid despite how she was still wavering on the bed—he could feel the whole damned thing shaking as she tried to steady herself. The bed creaked as she sank back.

He was silent.

"I…" her voice was weak, shaking. Afraid? "I'm over here, sir," she whispered.

Damn it all. Too perceptive for her own good. She was still hardly out of the woods with her own injury, having just come out of the first of what the doctors claimed might be several surgeries to repair the wound in her neck, and yet she knew. How could she possibly know? Was he looking somewhere else? He was so certain that his head was at least turned towards her. Of course, he couldn't truly know if his eyes were pointed in that direction; in fact, he wasn't even certain if there were still eyes to pretend to look in a certain direction, or just empty sockets.

He felt two hands on his face, both cold and quivering—from the blood loss that seemed like the only think he could clearly remember in his mind's eye, the red just spilling all over the floor, all over her coat and her shirt and her hands and his, just everywhere. Her touch was gentle despite how badly her hands were shaking as she turned his head. "I…I'm here," her voice was a shaking whisper, barely audible. He heard it clear as a bell. She knew.

"My sight," was all he could manage. His hands found her wrists, hesitantly. He was careful not to disturb the intravenous line he'd discovered earlier, his grips on her wrists otherwise painfully tight. He couldn't tell if she winced—he never would be able to, never again, he thought miserably. "I can't see you." I can't see anything.

She didn't move. Her hands were still against his face, still shaking. He couldn't remember in his life ever seeing her so shaken, visibly or otherwise. Her fingers tightened just slightly, now almost clutching instead of guiding. He could hear something strange. At first he thought maybe it was that intravenous line leaking, since he thought he felt wetness on his face where she was touching him. He heard blankets shifting, and she wasn't holding his face anymore but her arms were thrown haphazardly around his shoulders as if she didn't have the strength to do such a thing with grace, and he presumed that was her head against his shoulder because he could feel her whole body shaking with the exertion and perhaps the fear, and all of a sudden he realized the wetness he felt and that strange sound wasn't a leaking IV but his second in command sobbing against his shoulder. He stood, hoping this didn't disrupt her balance, and hesitantly wrapped his arms back around her, feeling his way around her back until he was certain he'd gotten the position right, his hands touching behind her.

"You…aren't…dead," she whimpered. That's what he thought she said, anyway, since her words were somewhat unintelligible as they were buried into his shoulder and spoken between heavy sobs.

He wasn't sure what to say to that. It wasn't a lie, that's for certain—of course he isn't dead. Anybody could tell that. He wasn't sure if her tears were of relief or of something else, but he supposed he didn't blame her. With all of the drugs coursing through her veins he assumed she wasn't quite aware of what she was saying.

"I know I sound crazy," she said weakly, the sobs slowing to a hiccup. She leaned back now, her hands still loosely around his shoulders, though he could feel her still trying to hold herself steady. "I know because…not…seeing…isn't okay…" He could hear her sigh as she tried again to slow her breathing. "But…compared to the alternative…"

He knew, and he smoothed her hair with minimal effort. He realized that though he couldn't see her face, he knew every intricacy of her body; the space between her eyes and her nose, the distance from her shoulders to the crown of her head. He didn't need to see her face. And he did understand what she was trying to say, of course. Like knowing her physical appearance like the back of his own hand, he understood the way she thought. He related to it, even. In those moments where he saw her bleeding to death underneath Central, he would've given anything for her to just not be dead in ten minutes. When he was brought to the hospital and told that she would likely survive but never be the same, that she would need surgeries to fully stop the bleeding and then reroute the blood that would flow to and from her head, he almost didn't care because that meant that she was still alive and it was all he could ask for at the time. So he understood her weak, tenuous explanation. Compared to the alternative, a blind Roy Mustang was more than she could ask for, since she had expected nothing more than a dead Roy Mustang.

He took a steadying breath, feeling warmth on his cheeks, and realizing that maybe he hadn't been feeling what he thought were her tears but his own, a fact confirmed when he felt her fingertips shakily trying to wipe them. He could hear her hiccupped breathing, still trying to stop herself from her outright panicked relief. He could sense her relief, but he didn't want to hear her tears. He might have jokingly said so earlier, but she deserved so much better than to feel like this situation was the better one.

"Smile," he said weakly, aware that his own voice was hoarse.

He could hear her breath hitched and could picture the gears turning in her head as she tried to process his command. "What…?"

"Smile," he repeated. "I know what your frown feels like." His hands slid from her hair to her face, carefully feeling until he had wiped tears from beneath her eyes. "I know what it looks like." A pause, and he whispered, "I want to know what your smile feels like."