With the moon shining brightly, and the stars flickering amiably, the survivors lay sprawled across the gravel. Their wounds stinging, their tears shining. Roy Mustang, his ebony black hair shrouding his face, groaned into the ground, his back aching, and with dried blood caking his face, his clothes, he staggered upright, leaning against the broken wall for support. He clutched at the loose bricks dislodged from the battle, and he listened, eyes shut and burning. There was silence. The rest had gone to lay down the dead and care for the dieing. He was alone again. Gulping down air, Mustang navigated his way to the end of the wall, his hand trailing along the rough brick for guidance, catching every so often on the remnants of the battle. He stood, eyes still closed tightly against the wind that whipped at his face, bringing with it memories that stung him, scared him.

Lieutenant Hawkeye. Where was she? He needed her, he longed for her. Mustang heaved; the miscellany of his hastily eaten breakfast emptied themselves on the dusty floor, and spluttering, he dodged past it, to the place of warmth he could sense near him. His eyes still firmly shut closed against the darkness of the night sky, that gloomed, speckled with stars, over the scene that lay broken and sprawled below it. As if it mocked the anguish with its constantly flickering stars. Pausing, Mustang clutched his head, and felt the warm stickiness of blood. Not necessarily his own. He groaned once more, continuing only to stumble and fall, hands scraping on the blood soaked debris that lined the wall, he stopped. Defeated.

'Colonel,' a rasp, another human had escaped the tired gaze of the rescuers, 'Colonel, sir...'

Roy started, overjoyed. Anguished. 'Lieu… Lieutenant?' he paused, waiting patiently for that voice again, feeling around on the floor for the source, managing only to disgruntle the fallen bricks that blocked his path.

'Yes,' she paused, a grimace present in her voice, 'come closer, I can't move.'

'I… I, I can't Lieutenant, where are you? Hawkeye!' he sobbed, his voice cracking as he navigated across the ground, ignoring the short bursts of pain from his agonised body, 'Hawkeye, damnit, speak up!'

Moving her head slightly, she gasped in pain, the wound in her neck throbbed violently as pearls of blood escaped the hastily healed wound. Her breath left her in ragged jerks, and where she lay, sprawled beside the wrecked wall, she bit her lip, not allowing herself to display any signs of pain that could reach her commanding officer, whom she watched from the corner of her eye. 'Wha… what's wrong, sir? Open your eye-'

'No!' he stopped, biting down hard on his lip, cursing himself, 'no…' he said again, calmly, 'I… I don't want to see you hurt…'

She frowned, confused. 'What do you mean? I'm right in front of you, sir, just come a little closer.' The wind picked up again, throwing dust and dirt into their faces, catching in her throat. Roy paused, his heart breaking as he heard the pain in her voice, no matter how hard she tried to hide it, he had always managed to figure her out. She had always been an intriguing book to him, a book he found incredibly difficult to read, but one; nonetheless, he had always managed to decipher. His frantic scrambling soon bore success, as he finally touched the blonde hair of his Lieutenant.

'I… I'm sorry, Hawkeye,' he breathed, collapsing beside her, 'I couldn't- I didn't -'

'Stop,' she hushed him, her voice quavering as she searched his face, 'Listen, sir, you done what you could. None of us expected this to happen, you are not to blame, listen to me. Look at me, Roy!' she stopped, stunned at her own daring. They were silent for a while; Mustang turned his head away, breathing in the earthy smell.

'Riza…' A whisper, a flutter. 'My name… Say it again, please,' his voice quavered as he crawled around to lay beside her, his hand searching for hers, their fingers lacing.

'R… Roy.' She grimaced, groaning silently as the pain ruptured, 'Roy Mustang, don't you dare. Don't you dare for a second think you could have stopped this.' Heart pumping furiously, she fought to stay conscious, tears springing into her rich brown eyes and pooling at the side of her face. 'Why won't you look at me, R...Roy?'

The seconds ticked by. In the distance, birds sang their songs of morning, as the velvet black night was soaked a crimson red dawn.

'I… I can't, Riza, I can't look.' The glimmer of a few tears leaked past his tightly shut eyes, marking tracks down the blood and the dirt to the dust on the floor, disappearing into the clay earth.

'I don't understand, look at me, plea-!'

'I can't.'

And at last, as the final stars of night were whisked away, the truth dawned on her like a tonne of bricks. She understood. 'The passage fee… I get it, this is… I… I couldn't stop you!' fresh tears sprung to her eyes, a sob hissed past her chapped lips, breaking the silence of the new morn.

'No, Riza, don't do this,' he pleaded, his quivering arm reaching over to her, fumbling as it searched for her face. And as he wiped away the warm tears from her blood stained face, he soothed her, his own tears pouring. 'What did you say to me earlier? You told me I was not to blame, damnit, Riza, neither are you! Don't be a hypocrite now, eh?' he laughed sadly, his hand still resting on the side of her face, which was angled towards him.

'Sir… Roy… Open your eyes. Let me see.'

'No, Riza,' he whispered, his breath tickling her face, as his hand continued to cup her cheek lightly.


He complied, only because the voice he heard was now warped in agony, the face he touched tensed in pain. She didn't react at all to the glassy blue orbs that had now replaced the piercing obsidian ones she had grown so used to. She stared, never again able to quickly reprimand him with just a casual glance. Never again able to communicate in a way only they knew. She stared, fresh tears gathering in the palm of her Colonel, of the man she loved.