Anime: Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Pairing: Royai (Roy x Riza)
"Please, Colonel Mustang, when this is all over, I want you to burn the skin off of my back. So that no one else will ever learn this evil alchemy."
Roy just stared at her, eyes large and shaking slightly.
Finally, he sighed. "Alright." He said weekly, "Let's go."
. . .
Riza stepped into her apartment, Roy following close in her footsteps.
"Close the door behind you." She commanded, and he silently obeyed.
He pulled the steel door closed; it was louder than expected, sending a shiver of uncomfortable vibrations down his spine.
He let his fingers rest on the cool metal of the doorknob, the icy touch felt good against his sweaty palms, so he kept it there, not thinking; he didn't want to.
Startled out of his trance, the flame alchemist jumped a little, and a wave of discomfort washed over him as the reason he was there came rushing back to him.
Slowly, he turned around.
There, in the middle of her living room, Riza stood, barebacked, her shirt at her feet, facing away from him.
Roy approached her cautiously, and then stopped when he was within arms reach of her.
He watched as she shivered slightly at the cold air that was nipping at her back, and reached out to touch her spine.
He placed one finger on her top vertebrae, and then began to trace the alchemic tattoo ever so slowly: painfully slowly.
Riza's smooth skin felt like velvet to him, and the more he touched it the more he felt the heat in his body rise.
But her body convulsed, and it was then that he noticed how uncomfortable he had made her.
She was standing with her arms crossed in the front, gripping her shoulders tightly, covering her breasts.
Her breathing was quick and offbeat, and her hands clammy and sweaty.
Roy removed his finger quickly, opening his mouth to apologize, but then decided against it.
His arm dropped to his side, and he sighed heavily. "Riza..." He whispered in a shaking voice, "I... I can't. I just can't burn you..."
They stood there, neither speaking a word for a few seconds, but to them it felt like an eternity.
Then a quiet sob cut into the silence.
Followed by another, and another, gradually building up until Riza was bawling quite loudly.
Roy stared at the back of her head, stunned. This was the first time he'd ever seen the usually composed woman cry.
Her reply was a series of tears and unsteady breaths.
Suddenly, he felt himself get quite flustered; frustrated at the thought that she refused to see where he was coming from.
Roy violently grabbed her shoulders and spun her around to face him, not caring that she was trying desperately to brake away from his hold; struggling to no avail.
"Riza!" he shouted, but she looked away from his piercing stare, refusing to make eye contact.
Gritting his teeth, he grabbed her wrists, pulling them away from her shoulders.
"LOOK AT ME!"
Her breathing stopped.
The two stood there, her tears cut short, as he held her thin wrists in his hands, her eyes wide and full of fear.
The colonel's eyes grew wide too as he realized what he had done, and quickly released her wrists.
She let them drop to her sides and looked down at the ground, tears beginning to fall again.
"I'm sorry." He whispered.
Her shoulders began to shake and she fell to her knees, crying hysterically.
Roy knelt down on one knee in front of her, and took her face in his palm, bringing her chin up so she was looking at him.
"Hey," he smiled weakly, "don't cry. I'm here, it's okay."
Tears continued to fall, and she threw her head into his chest and sobbed.
Hesitantly, Roy lifted his arms and wrapped them around her, pressing her tightly against him.
"It's alright." He soothed, "It'll all be okay."
An hour later, Roy looked down at the woman in his lap who had cried herself to sleep.
Her breathing was still shaky, but it had calmed down quite a bit.
His hand rested upon her short blonde hair, which he then stroked gently.
Riza's eyes fluttered, and she opened them.
"You're finally awake."
She nodded, and sat up slowly, rubbing her eyes.
Then noticed that she was still topless, and shrieked, throwing her arms over herself in a desperate attempt to hide her breasts.
Roy chuckled. "It's alright. I've already seen them, you know."
She blushed and looked away, embarrassed.
"There's nothing to be ashamed of." Roy cooed, and tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear. "You're a beautiful young lady."
This only caused the red on her cheeks to deepen, as they sat in silence for a long time.
Eventually, she spoke. "You never..."
Roy's smile faded rapidly. "I know." He said flatly, "Please forgive me."
This time, she spun her head around and looked directly at him.
"WELL IF YOU WON'T THEN I'LL DO IT MYSELF!"
His eyes grew wide and his mouth slightly ajar.
He scrutinized her serious expression, he could tell she was trying to be tough, and yet her eyes were still teary and her cheeks red. She looked so cute when she was vulnerable!
His eyes softened and he smiled. "And just how will you do that?"
"I don't know yet but I'll figure something out!"
She looked at him angrily, her face grew even more flustered and her eyes focused on him, narrowing into the most sinister expression you could compose.
"Heh... hehehe... AHAHAHAHAHAHA!" Roy burst out in a fit of hysterical laughter, clasping his hand on his forehead and falling backwards onto the grey carpet.
"AND JUST WHAT'S SO FUNNY!"
Grabbing desperately onto his sides, he attempted to sit up, still laughing.
"You are! Haha!"
She glared angrily at him.
"And what exactly is so funny about a determined woman?"
Roy's laughter died down, and, still smiling, he whipped a tear from his eye.
Then he looked at her with the most sincere smile he could muster and sighed.
"Nothing. Nothing at all."
"Then what was so funny?"
"It's just that..." he took a deep breath, "your determination gave me the strength I needed."
She raised an eyebrow.
"Alright, Riza Hawkeye, I'll burn the instructions to flame alchemy off of your back."
She smiled briefly and then raised her right hand to her head in a solute.
"THANK YOU SIR!"
Then they both laughed together, sitting on her floor, a newfound determination in both of them.
. . .
Later that day, they stood in a similar position to how they had earlier, when the two had first entered Riza's apartment.
"Are you ready?" he asked.
"Understood. On the count of 3: 1..."
. . .
Roy sat on the floor with a bucket of ice-cold water next to him.
He reached into it and pulled out a soaking wet washcloth and rang it out.
He then took the now-room-temperature one off of Riza's forehead, and replaced it with the fresh cold one.
"Are you alright?" he asked.
She was lying on the floor with her head on his lap, breathing heavily.
"Glad to hear it." He smiled. "What you just did was no easy matter."
"E-easier than liv-living with that curse..."
"Is that so..."
"What is it?"
"You're welcome. It's nice to know this destructive, "evil alchemy" could be used for something good."
Riza smiled weakly.
"I'll cover your back." She whispered, "So that no one can ever do you harm."
Roy chuckled, lifting the compress off of her forehead and placing a light kiss where it had been before replacing the washcloth again. "I'll be counting on you, then."
. . .
"So, will you follow me?"
Riza recalled that night in her apartment all those years ago.
"Do you even have to ask?"