In case you didn't see, I edited the last chapter- just fixed it up a bit. No big changes, but I think I'm more satisfied with it now.
Okay, so this is it- it's ending, and I'm pretty sad, having to let go of a different kind of Royai I've grown accustomed to over these past few months. I think I've grown much as a writer through this story, so thank you for being there, encouraging me to improve myself even more. I can't say explain the... exhilaration I feel whenever I get an email, telling me someone's reviewed, favorite-d or even story-alerted. I'm happy that someone enjoys what I enjoy, and appreciates what I do as an escape.
I hope this last chapter satisfies your Royai craving. I did my best to include a lot of that. I hope you like it.
"It's next week already?" Riza asked her boss as he crossed the threshold into the reception room.
Jean Havoc grinned wryly. "I know, right? It's too soon," he said as he reached her desk and handed her a stack of documents.
"Don't tell me you're getting cold feet now!" Riza replied as she laughed and took the papers. "You know Olivia will kill you if you leave her at the altar."
"I'm just a bit...nervous."
Jean and Olivia were getting married, finally. And Riza was just having too much fun seeing Havoc like this.
"For what, Jean? There's nothing to be nervous about!"
"No, I'm really excited, actually..." he started to say when he was interrupted.
"He's excited for the honeymoon," a voice sounded from the doorway. Anytime Riza heard that baritone, a tingle of pleasure shot up her spine. Roy walked in, eyes gleaming as he took in the sight of Riza. His Riza.
"Of course," Havoc exclaimed as he grinned, then his face turned serious. "But I'm more excited at the prospect of spending the rest of my life with her."
Roy had reached Riza's seat and wrapped his arms around her, effectively pinning her down. "Don't you just hate it when he gets sappy like that?" he asked in a loud whisper.
She had an amused expression on her face, but she didn't look up at him. Instead, she directed her attention towards her work. "You mean, you didn't feel the same way when you married me two years ago?" she asked him nonchalantly.
He bent down to nuzzle her neck. "No, I was only in it for the honeymoon, sweetheart," he teased playfully as he spoke, his lips skimming her earlobe.
"Same here. I didn't realize I was stuck with you forever until it was too late," Riza shot back, a mock dismayed look on her face.
He smirked against her neck in amusement and proceeded to rain light kisses on her collarbone. I just had to choose that blouse with the wide neckline, she thought wryly. She tried her best not to react to his ministrations, keeping her head still and her hands moving to continue to sort through the documents.
Havoc made a gagging sound. "Get a room, chief! Have some shame, some decency in the workplace!" the blond complained. "You're the boss, why don't you just assign her to your private office?"
Roy straightened up and frowned at his good friend. "Chris won't allow it. She thinks we won't be able to get any work done," Roy explained, and then smirked. "And she's probably right."
"No, she thinks you won't get any work done. I, on the other hand, have my priorities straight," Riza told him in a matter-of-fact tone.
He laughed as he supported his wife and helped her out of the seat. "One of these days, you'll succumb to temptation, love. Don't fight it, just give in."
As she stood, he gently turned her towards him and took her lips into a sweet kiss. He wrapped his arms around her so lovingly that she had to respond, helplessly parting her lips and pulling him closer, despite her policy on keeping their relationship professional at work.
"Just you wait, Riza. I'll have my revenge when Olivia comes to visit. Whenever that happens, I'd advise you to evacuate the office promptly. Sorry I have to displace you, what with your condition and all," Havoc spoke out loud.
Roy smirked as his wife chuckled against his mouth. Then they parted for breath, both looking at Jean.
"Dont worry, Jean. Riza will be similarly occupied on the thirtieth floor, if ever that happens. And when it does, make sure she's done all her work for the day, because she'll be very busy upstairs," he told him, sparing his wife a suggestive glance.
Riza gave him a disapproving look. Then to her consternation, Riza suddenly felt the bile rising up her throat. Here we go again, she thought dismally. She deftly pulled open a drawer, grabbed a paper bag she kept at hand and heaved her breakfast into it. Havoc gave her a sympathetic look as Roy worriedly rubbed her back and eased her back into the chair.
Riza smiled weakly at the other occupants of the room. "Sorry you two had to see that."
Jean returned her smile just as weakly, muttering, "If I got Olivia like that..." and he turned slightly green at the idea. "God, she'd probably kill me."
"Don't be sorry, love," Roy assured her before he turned to Havoc. "Jean, if you think she looks sick, just escort her up to my office. Carry her if you have to."
"She always looks sick when she arrives in the morning," Havoc informed him. "And no offense, Riza, I don't think I could carry you up there. You...how does one say it in a politically correct way? You've gained a lot of weight," he told her with a wide grin.
Roy rolled his eyes and handed Riza a few napkins. She dabbed at her mouth, cleaning up. "Are you calling me fat, sir?" Riza asked him.
The dark haired man caressed her growing stomach ever so gently and glared at his best friend before turning back to her. "You're not fat, love. I am worried, though. Is that normal? Maybe you should start that maternity leave..." He looked at her with concerned eyes.
"It's just a slight case of morning sickness, Roy. Though I wish the due date came sooner. And it's fine. Doctor Pinako said I could continue working," she reminded him and sighed as she stretched her achy legs. Okay, maybe she was tired, but idling around uselessly never seemed to sit well with her.
He looked at her dubiously and was obviously torn about what to do. He wanted her to relax, and he'd practically commanded Jean to keep her from stress, but she was so darn stubborn, and he could never stop her from doing what she wanted...
She decided it was time to distract him. "Sorry, Roy, for killing the moment, getting sick in the middle of..." Riza trailed off as she apologized. They were so going to make up for it when the baby was out.
"Well, who said we were going to stop?" Roy asked as he cupped Riza's face in his hands and tilted it towards his own. "It's partially my fault you're sick, you know." He kissed her lips softly. "And I would never complain, not when I get the chance to kiss you. Even if you do taste like vomit," he assured her as she protested and he kissed her on the mouth again, this time, more deeply.
"Ew. I'm leaving. And you call me sappy." Havoc started to walk back into his office. "You, my friend, are sick," he declared.
Roy laughed. "Yeah, I'm lovesick, and I don't think I'll ever be cured," he whispered as he leaned in closer to kiss his wife once again and to rub her growing belly gently.
"You're no less cheesier than Jean, you know that?" Riza smiled lovingly at her husband. "But that's just one of the reasons why I love you so much."
"I love you more," he whispered. "And I have an idea."
"What is it?
"Well, since I'm sick, I should probably stay bed-ridden for the next couple of days, maybe even weeks. Care to join me?"
She shoved him gently. "How did you ever become so perverted?"
"Admit it, that's another reason you love me so much." He grinned boyishly at her. "And I love how you act all offended, when obviously you're just as excited as I am."
"What makes you think that?" she asked him, turning slightly red, because he was right. "Maybe I'm just used to it. Maybe I'm already jaded."
"I don't just think you feel that way, I know you do." He smiled. "Besides, there's no way you're going to get rid of me now."
"I guess I'll just have to try harder then," she remarked.
"I take you, Olivia Mira Armstrong, to be my loving wife." Havoc's voice was solemn as he stood in front of the church.
Havoc's wife-to-be, made up beautifully on her special day, had actual tears in her eyes. And Roy had the hardest time trying to hold in the urge to snicker.
"In all the years I've known her, Olivia Armstrong has never shed a tear. Not one!" Roy whispered to Riza. He was the best man today, but he stuck to his very pregnant wife like glue, only leaving her side when absolutely necessary.
She elbowed him and made a face. Here was the most romantic part of the ceremony, and of course Roy would have side comments.
"For richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health," Havoc continued, attention never leaving the beautiful lady in front of him. "'Til death do us part..." he finished.
"R...Roy," Riza spoke hesitantly as she drew in a sharp breath.
"Wait, it's Olivia's turn- I hope they catch this on tape!" Roy gleefully tried to get a better view. "She's being so emotional! I'll have something over her, for once..."
The bride started to say her vows, her voice suddenly gentle and unlike anything Roy or Riza had heard from her before. She said the words with obvious sincerity, and the happiness she felt could not be contained. "For better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health..."
The whole thing brought back memories of their own wedding, which happened about half a year after he proposed to her at the station. Roy wore a black suit, his hair slicked back like how he fixed it on formal occasions. Riza walked down the aisle with her father, who had been determined to get well enough by the date, to give her away. The ceremony, decidedly not very large by mutual consent, included just the people they loved and were thankful for.
Riza remembered seeing the tears rolling down Roy's cheeks, which he tried to discreetly wipe away. All other pairs of eyes were on her as she walked, including her father's who was staring so proudly at his daughter. And so no one had really caught him crying. No one but herself, like it was a secret he had shared with her. The sight brought tears to her own eyes, disbelieving that she was marrying that man, that man who was crying on his wedding day.
How'd she ever get so lucky, finding someone who seemed as happy as she felt at the prospect of being with each other? A warm pleasurable feeling shot through her as she realized Roy loved her. Roy loved her.
It had surely been one of the happiest days of her life. But each day that followed was even happier, she knew. They had their arguments, sure, but their respect for each other always won over in the end, and she truly believed that every moment with him was precious. Every moment was a treasure.
But she didn't really have time to reminisce right now, if what was occurring was what she thought it was...
"Roy," Riza said, much more firmly now. It was too soon. The doctor had said it would be sometime next week. "Roy!" she hissed as she suddenly sat back against the pew at the sharp pain.
"Riza, what," Roy asked when he noticed her sudden discomfort and turned towards her. "What's wrong?"
"It's...it's starting..." she sucked in another breath as she felt more pain. "The contract...contractions..."
Roy's eyes grew wide as he realized the gravity of the situation. He stood up so quickly that he shocked the elderly Armstrong patriarch who was sitting nearby. Riza, with her lightning-fast reflexes, managed to grip his arm. "No, don't make...ah...a fuss, not...here..." she tensed and ground her teeth together before she glanced up front.
"But..." Roy was at a loss. Sure he didn't want to interrupt the ceremony, but Riza was... Surely, the bride and groom wouldn't mind.
"Help me get up," she implored. He gently eased her up and out the pew. On the way to the back, she moaned out in sudden pain, almost losing her balance. Roy moved to support her and they continued on quietly, but it was too late- the ceremony had been interrupted, and all eyes were on the couple.
"Sorry, Jean," Roy addressed the man in front. "Baby emergency. But don't worry, she'll be fine." he added nervously as he led Riza out the building. We'll be fine.
"Roy! Your secretary called us, she told us you left the wedding ceremony you were attending because Riza was… How is she?" Trishia worried over the phone.
"She's..." he croaked out and cleared his throat, "She's been in labor...for a while now." If only they could see the abject terror on his face. His hair was a mess from all the running-his-hands-through-his-hair-in-frustration and his once-crisp white shirt disheveled. "She's inside..."
"Inside? Then what are you doing out there?" Ed's annoyed tone signaled that Roy had been put on speakerphone. "Get in there!" he ordered. More voices, presumably Al's and Mei's tittered excitedly in the background.
He had left the delivery room to answer his in-laws' call. "I...I'll only get in the way..." Roy reasoned as Riza's pain-filled shriek sounded through the closed door. He cringed at the sound.
"What are you saying, boy? Don't be useless! She needs you in there!" Berthold commanded. "Don't you dare leave her side, and be sure to call us immediately after!" He abruptly hung up on his son-in-law.
Moments later, Roy found himself at Riza's side, taking her hand in his. "Love, I'm here..." Roy tried to reassure her, and winced as Riza let out another pained gasp. He felt her fingers grasp his own in a bone-crushing grip. He tried to soothe her, intertwining his fingers with her and feeling utterly useless.
"Keep going, Ri," he murmured as he kept his eyes on her face, which was contorted in pain. He gently brushed away strands of hair off her forehead. She tensed under his touch, and groaned again. He couldn't do this. He was beyond excited when they first found out she was with child, but if it caused her this much pain...
"…The merger wasn't very beneficial to us, but I've got Curtis working on it, and…" Roy had been telling her about his day. She hadn't been feeling well, so she had taken the day off and gone to the doctor instead. "But enough about that. How's your stomach? Is it really just gas?"
At his question, she had smiled. "Not…exactly. It's something better."
"Don't you mean…something worse?" he had asked, confused, putting down the eating utensils for dinner.
"No, better," she had told him, her expression unusually bright.
"What could be better than having gas?" In retrospect, that question had been extremely dumb.
She had laughed in return, the sound light and filled with mirth. "I'm pregnant, Roy."
And he had been so overcome with delight he'd taken her into his arms and kissed her again and again like there was no tomorrow. He was to be a father.
Now Roy felt his chest tighten in guilt as Riza bit into a towel. "I'm sorry, Riza..." he apologized, but he wasn't sure if he was heard.
"No, don't be...sorry..." Riza managed to get out and gave him a look of disbelief, even as her breathing became shallower. "And stop looking like that- you aren't helping!"
"You shouldn't be scared...don't worry..." she told him, giving him a small tired smile, but a smile nonetheless.
The doctor looked up from her work and spared him an amused look, as if to say, who's the one giving birth?
A while later, he knew why Riza had been so brave, no matter how much pain she had been in.
This tiny, beautiful, baby girl he held in his arms, she was worth it.
Once cleaned, the baby was handed to its mother and Riza stared at her daughter with indescribable tenderness for a while, before handing her gently to Roy. Scared, he took her into his arms like she was made of delicate glass, so utterly vulnerable; so breakable. He wanted to protect this innocent creature.
"She looks like you," Riza told Roy as her tired eyelids started to close.
"Is that good or bad?" Roy asked, eyeing the little bundle with awe then glancing at the woman of his life.
She laughed weakly, but did not reply. Satisfied by the sight of her baby safe and secure in her father's arms, she leaned back into the soft pillows of the hospital bed. "Let's name her later," she yawned.
The baby in his arms squirmed against his chest, and he looked down at her lovingly. "Hey there, love," he told her. Her eyes were closed, but her tiny mouth moved, forming a smile.
"Aw… You're so beautiful. You'll grow up to be a real lovely lady, smart and witty and caring and pretty, like your mom. I'm sure of it." Riza smiled at Roy's description of her as the baby let out a gurgle that sounded suspiciously like an affirmation. Roy raised an eyebrow. "Just don't fall for a womanizer, like your mom did," he warned the child.
"Yes, be careful of the notorious ones, dear, they're the worst," Riza said as she closed her eyes.
"Every father's nightmare," Roy remarked off-handedly, and frowned. "I'm a father now," he said, as if he had just realized the fact. "Every father's nightmare, indeed."
"Well, you did give mine…a heart attack when…you met him," she reminded him sleepily, her eyes still closed. He let out an amused chuckle. "I love you, Roy," she muttered, almost indecipherably.
"Love you, Riza," he whispered back as his wife's breathing evened out and she succumbed to much-needed rest. "And I love you," he told the baby in his arms as he stood still, scared to move even a muscle with such precious cargo. Not that he wanted to move an inch from his spot. From there he could watch over the two women who mattered the most in his life, and he could think of nothing better.
'til next time, Liet.