More Clearly Than I Ever Did
Proofread by OTP
Disclaimer: I don't own Fullmetal Alchemist and gain no monetary profit for writing this fiction.
AN: This is a request from Ash Ketchum Girl about what happened to Roy. This fic contains spoilers for chapters 100-102.
More Clearly Than I Ever Did
Facing forward, both feet planted firmly on the ground, arms folded and eyes staring at the world that they couldn't convey to his brain. The thick snowflakes were falling around and on him, then melting to create small splotches of wetness on his jacket and small droplets on his black leather shoes. The white, solid precipitation was melting as it exacted its position on everything around him, and opted to paint the world with its white iciness.
For the man sitting in the courtyard on an old iron two person bench with the pigment chipping, there was no white; nor were there any browns, greens, blues, or any other hue. Instead, his world was painted cold, silent, crisp, and fresh. He had only four of his sentiences now: Touch, taste, smell, and sound. Those four had to take up an additional brush into their nonexistent hands and paint the world around him for his psyche.
If he'd been a normal everyday man, with an average job or goal, perhaps those four senses would suffice. However, it was very clear that in his case, they would be of no assistance without his vision. When his sight had been taken, his goals, hopes, and future were jerked out from under him like a rug being pulled from under ones feet. Any chance of a possible redemption was flat on its back, dead.
As for the future of Amestris, he had little doubt that it would be fine. Olivier Armstrong had easily taken control of things. They'd spoken and without even uttering a word, came to the conclusion that Roy wouldn't take part in the new government, not by her implication, but his.
His own future was uncertain. When his mother, Christmas, found out about his condition she'd rushed back to Amestris and tracked him down. It was a bit embarrassing to have her and his "sisters" show up even though he was grateful they were there. At least his decision about where to live in the future was made.
Olivier had hired his staff they wouldn't be jobless or have any trouble with the new government. They didn't have to worry about protecting him or his goals any longer and he wouldn't have to worry about someone taking a sword and raking it across his lieutenant's neck.
Roy shook his head as the graphic scene in his mind about the event played as though it was on a projector. During that time, it was as if his world had slowed to a maddening crawl. The metal cutting her peach flesh; her eyes broadening in traumatizing unexpectedness; and her body striking the ground with a nauseating thud, had sent horror like none he'd ever felt through his blood, skin, and mind. He couldn't thank the "might be" gods enough for letting her come out of everything alive.
Riza had yet to say anything to him about the incident, both about her throat being slit and about his lack of sight and end of goals. Then again, it was probably difficult for her to get near him considering his sisters often surrounded him as if they were body guards. They acted like he couldn't do anything for himself when in reality that wasn't the case. He hoped they wouldn't be so suffocating when he moved to Xing with them.
His thoughts ceased when he heard footsteps approaching. They were slow, steady, and familiar. No matter where those steps trod, whether it be on linoleum or hardwood floors, or the ground blanketed with crunchy autumn leaves or soft white snow, he recognized them. He'd been around the person with those footfalls most of his life. The goddess of those footsteps—their creator—was the only constant in a life full of inconstancies.
"Aren't you cold?" Her voice was a beautiful addition to the winter ambience that surrounded them. Anytime he heard her speak so casually, warmth spread over him. Her voice made him comfortable because it carried no falsehood or feigned happiness with its tone. It was entirely her and nothing was more resplendent than she.
"No, I'm not cold," he finally answered, "I enjoy this weather." He heard her footsteps grow closer then stop beside him. He could smell her sweet scent that throughout the years he had yet to identify to his satisfaction.
"May I sit with you?" She made no motion to sit without him first answering.
"Of course," he answered, "though the seat might be wet."
"I'll be fine," she said, taking a seat.
He heard the bench crack and felt the seat bend somewhat under the slight, but nonetheless, extra, weight.
"I haven't gotten a chance to talk to you," she began, then paused to take a breath and gather her next words, "Your sisters are really great at being shields for you. Perhaps they should have been with us when we went to the gate."
Roy chuckled, "Perhaps. Though I think they would have ended up wanting to give the doctor a makeover or make a necklace out of his gold tooth."
Riza tensed, directed her gaze down at her lap, and watched as her hand, seemingly at its own volition, form a tight fist, her knuckles turning white at the action. She might have laughed at the joke but he'd spoken it so flatly that it came out as bland and humorless. "You…Are you okay?" It was a stupid question but seemed to be the most dominate sentence she had within her. It was first in the line of many things that she'd wanted to speak to him.
"If I said yes, you'd know I'd be lying."
"Yes, I know."
"Then I'll tell the truth. I'm fucking lousy."
"I know that, I…I don't know what to say."
"Nothing, you don't have to say anything."
"Okay," she replied. She felt like a little girl that had been scolded and made to sit beside a person that she didn't know.
"How's your injury," he asked, continuing their awkward and blunt conversation.
"It doesn't matter."
"Yes it does, how is it?"
"Doctor Knox said it should heal but if…" she trailed off.
"If the cut had been a few centimeters higher I would have died within minutes."
Roy shuddered. The thought of Riza not being alive was more than his body could withstand. He would have followed her if she'd died. "Well, thankfully that wasn't the case. We can't have you dying now can we. Olivier has probably offered you a job, is that correct? We talked about what you did when you worked under me."
"Yes she did. She offered me a job as her chief aid."
"Chief aid to the president of Amestris," Roy said, the words holding a slight bit of bitterness within them, "It's a perfect job."
"Yes, it is," she said, "but it isn't for me."
"The only person I ever wanted to assist when they were fuehrer was you. I have no desire to work under Olivier Armstrong in that manner. I've already turned her down."
Roy grew angry with her. "If you haven't figured it out lieutenant, I am no longer aspiring to get to the top. I plan on going back to Xing with Christmas and the girls. Olivier will need someone like you around."
"And you don't? You don't want me around?"
"You can't tie yourself to a useless blind man," he said.
"You didn't answer my question," she said.
Roy stayed silent and listened for a moment as the pat pat pats of the snowflakes hit the ground. "I don't just want you around. I need you around. Every hour of every day."
"So I'm allowed to stay with you?"
Roy moved his arm around her shoulders and pulled her closer. "I'm going to Xing. Are you sure you want to pack up everything, the life you have here, and move there with me?
"I am. I'm always sure when it comes to you, Sir."
"Call me Roy. No more, Sir."
"I'll try," she said.
"Does it take that much effort?"
"Old habits die hard."
Silence cloaked over the two of them until some music from the main hall began playing. The sounds of violins, flutes and a piano dispelled into the air and drifted around them.
"The music has started up. You want to go back to the party?"
"No, I think I'll go to bed. I'm tired."
He stood and Riza followed suit. "I think I'll go to bed as well."
The two made their way up the concrete stairs that led into the side entrance of the house, then up the staircase to the floor where their rooms were located. Riza was surprise at how adept Roy was to knowing his surroundings despite his blindness.
"At least when one is blind, the other senses improve," she said.
"Yes, that's true. I never thought I could smell or hear so well," he said, "but do me a favor will you?"
"Of course. What is it?"
"Make sure I get to the right room. I don't want to end up getting in bed and then having someone I don't know crawl in it with me."
"I can do that for you." She led him to the door and watched as he felt around for the knob for a moment. She had to turn away until he found it.
"I knew the knob was here somewhere," he said. "Riza, you went from a military dog to a seeing eye dog."
His sentence was the last straw for her patience. For the entire time she'd been around him, she waited for some expression of emotion other than resenting self-complacency. "Just stop it!" Her voice cracked as she spoke, the tone coming out furious, mixed with an additive of guilt. Tears sprang to her eyes.
"Riza, what's wrong," he said, turning to face her, knowing the direction by the way her voice sounded.
"Stop joking around with this." Her voice was now soft and tears were falling from her eyes and down her cheeks.
Roy reached behind him, opened his door and pulled her inside. After closing it, he grabbed her upper arms. "Riza, I'm sorry if I upset you. If there is anything I can do to make you feel better let me know."
"Stop joking as if you are okay with this. I was hoping you'd say something, anything to make yourself feel better."
"There's nothing I need to say. There's nothing I or anyone else can do to fix it. I have to live with what happened to me. I'm sorry if..."
"Stop apologizing," she said, and fell back against the door. Roy heard her back slide against the door and pictured her sitting propped against it. "You aren't the one that should be apologizing. I'm sorry for yelling at you."
"There's more to it than that Riza. I can tell with you," Roy said.
Riza looked up at him, took his hands and pulled him down to his knees. He was looking at her, but obviously wasn't seeing her. She couldn't see his beautiful eyes thanks to the aviator sunglasses he now wore. "Do you blame me?"
Roy's body tensed with shock. He grabbed her upper arms and gripped them tightly. "Blame you? Are you out of your mind?" He pulled her into a hug, "Never have I once blamed you."
He felt her body relax and her hands moved up to fist into the shirt at his back, pulling the fabric taut and wrinkling it where her hand grasped it. "I was so scared," she whimpered. He felt the shirt at his shoulder grow wet, a sign she was crying.
Roy moved his hand up to the back of her head while his arm around her waist tightened. "So was I Riza. I was afraid I would lose you."
"If I did my job you wouldn't be blind."
"You did do your job. All I care about is the here and now. All of that is over and things turned out this way for a reason. Perhaps this is my penance for Ishbal, perhaps it's a sign that I wouldn't be good for the country."
He moved his hand down to the back of her neck and massaged it gently. "If you don't blame me then why won't you tell me how you really feel? You may only care about the present but don't you have any anger? Why are you keeping that from me?" His heart ached at the pain that was being exposed through her voice.
"I feel like shit," he said. "I failed all of you. It was out of my control but I still failed," his voice grew louder with every word he spoke. He let go of her and stood. "I'm a damn useless blind man with no fucking prospects. I'm a burden to everyone that is around me. I should just push you away and hurt you but I can't. I don't understand why you want to stick around."
Riza remained seated and silent as she watched Roy easily make his way over to the bed. He sat down and took off his glasses, his eyes void of any sort of expression and no longer the onyx that she was used to. They were clouded over with something and now a light bluish grey, like clouds foretelling oncoming rain. He sat his glasses down on the bedside table.
Riza stood and walked over to stand in front of him. He instantly wrapped his arms around her waist and rested his head against her stomach. "I'm never going to see you again." Lifting her hand to his head, she ran her fingers through his hair.
"I'm never going to leave you," she said. "Earlier you asked why I want to stick around."
Roy nodded. She slowly slid her hands down to the side of his face and lifted it. Surprise overwhelmed her as she saw tears in his eyes: the rain that accompanied the cloudy eyes.
"Because I'm in love with you," she said, and then leaned down to kiss him. When they pulled away, Roy pulled her onto his lap.
"I lied," he said, "I still see you more clearly than I ever did."
AN: Reviews would be most appreciated. I'd like to know your favorite parts.