Title: When Two Become One

Fandom: Fullmetal alchemist

Pairing: Roy/Riza

Word count: 455

Summary: They took the plunge long before you thought they did.

They came home from the front separately, relieved and wary and afraid, but before the last star could fade from the sky they were together again. Inside her cold, empty house, they clung to each other, sought solace in the living warmth and humanity of one another's bodies. They made love on the floor of her father's study, but now it was desperate, fraught with an understanding of mortality that young person should have. Things could end too quickly, without warning. They could no longer afford to wait.

When the sun came, they showered and dressed with care. There would be eyes on them as they left the house together, whether they were touching or not. Roy put on a dark suit his alchemy had fashioned from one of his wool uniforms, and Riza put on her best black dress. They kissed each other in the upstairs hallway, far away from the first floor windows, and went out into the town, a foot of space between them.

The train that had brought them home took them to a neighboring city, and an inquiry from one of his mother's "friends" told them where a trustworthy judge could be found. The justice of the peace scowled at them, and words were tossed about, "highly irregular" and "only eighteen;" but they were followed with kinder acknowledgements, "kids will be kids" and "can't say you're the first." They held hands in the old man's parlor, before his wife and butler, and said the words that even Death could not erase. Another kiss inside a windowless room, as their kisses always were, and the judge wished them good luck. He understood, he said, about secrecy, and would never tell a soul.

They left his house apart, grim-faced, Roy in his heavy, navy blue suit and Riza in her funereal dress, the wedding certificate folded in Roy's pocket. No-one who saw them thought for even a moment that something wonderful had happened inside the small home that smelled of tobacco and ink.

They did not tell anyone, not family nor friends. When they got back to Riza's house, Roy took out the marriage certificate. It was thick and creamy, illuminated with curling gold letters and the light signatures of the judge's wife and his fussy butler. He held it up and kissed his wife's name. She watched as he rolled the paper into a tight spiral and slid it into the bottle, nodded when he looked her way. His glove rasped once, and the paper caught. It was flames, and then it was only ash. He corked the bottle and put it back in his pocket. If anyone ever asked, he would say it was a souvenir from Ishbal.

A reminder.