Title- Lives Worth Saving
Author- D M Evans
Disclaimer- All rights belong to Sensei Arakawa
Timeline/Spoilers stretches from before series to after it so spoilers for all including the new Ishbal OVA,Yet Another Man's Battlefield
Word Count- 2984
Warning- no real warnings, some canon violence
Summary- She wanted to keep him safe
Author's Note- It took me forever to come up with an idea that I really liked but I'm really happy how this came out. Thanks to SJ Smith for the beta. This was written for the girlsavesboy ficathon on LJ
X X X
Riza had made it her life's working saving one man. That Roy Mustang needed so much saving probably said something about him that was better off not thought upon to heavily. She didn't remember exactly why she decided that she wanted to save him, that he was worthy of being rescued, but she did remember when it was. They had been so painfully young.
X X X
Roy grew up hard. She knew that much but just how hard, she wouldn't know for years. Her father didn't treat him particularly well. He believed that rigorous study was what Roy needed. Riza, at least, had the escape of school. Roy spent his days locked up with her father and the few times he was given a furlough, he'd prance around the town like a stallion left off his lead.
Roy knew how to flirt. It was like his life's blood. He never flirted with her but Riza suspected it was because of her father's threats more than anything. Between threatening Roy with alchemy and with allowing her to show Roy why she had won all the school's sharpshooting ribbons, the poor kid had to be paranoid. Roy never wanted to get caught flirting with her, but all her friends were fair game.
Unfortunately, she had never had time to tell Roy not to flirt with Cheryl Coleman. Cheryl's boyfriend was the biggest bully in Riza's school and had his own little collection of henchmen. Roy could fight. Riza hadn't known that until then but it was six against one. He was lucky she had been heading home after practice.
"Leave him alone, Isaac," Riza said calmly, even though her hands were shaking as she leveled her rifle at him.
"Back off, little girl," Isaac said, but his toadies were already dispersing, letting Roy go.
"There is nothing little about my gun." She sighted down the barrel.
"He was messing with my girl." Isaac went to grab for Roy who popped him one in the face.
"You wish. He knows better. My boyfriend leaves with me now or you're limping to school tomorrow," she said, figuring Isaac was too stupid to realize she couldn't just shoot him. "And everyone hears how brave you are needing five buddies to help you take on one kid."
Isaac's face reddened. "Bitch."
"Call her that again and we'll finish this fight now," Roy growled.
"Roy, just leave it," Riza said, half tempted to shoot him, too.
She managed to get Roy going one way and Isaac going the other to lick his wounds. It probably wouldn't be the last she heard from them, but people were afraid of her father. Isaac would probably leave her alone.
"Boyfriend?" Roy smirked at her.
"I haven't ruled out shooting you yet for getting yourself into this mess," Riza told him. Roy pouted at her. How could a boy have such a beautiful pout?
X X X
Riza had lost count of how many times she saved Roy in Ishbal. She would watch him through her scope whenever she had the chance, sometimes even when he was inside the camp, relatively safe. Roy often was sent into flames of his own making alone to make sure he had cleaned out a nest of Ishbalans. Riza hated those times because she couldn't protect him when he was lost in the smoke.
Riza wondered what Roy would think if he knew she watched him through her scope. Would he find it creepy or comforting? He didn't even know she was in the desert yet. She had been careful about that. She knew he would feel guilty, would think she was here just for him and not because she, too, wanted to protect her country. He would be mostly right.
It didn't take Riza long to be thankful for her habit of watching Roy even when he was off duty. Through the crosshairs, she observed him talking to the tall lanky man who moved like a cat. That had surprised her. Usually men put together like that soldier were awkward and clumsy. They were too involved in their conversation, too unaware of their surroundings. Riza had to bite back a warning scream as a wounded Ishbalan staggered up behind them, dagger raised. She wouldn't know until later that both men had struggled to find their weapons, not that they needed them. She put the Ishbalan down with a perfect head shot, dropping him instantly.
Later, Roy learned who it was that had saved his life that day. Riza's legs shook as his gaze swept over her. She could see him crumbling, see the pain in his eyes as he realized she had become a killer, too. She had nearly cried, but Roy didn't need her tears. He needed her bullets.
How one man could need so much saving, she would never know. There were many more times in the desert that she kept him from harm and hated the fact that she couldn't be everywhere at once. Roy, she suspected, was chasing after death with both hands as a way of atoning for the things he was doing for the military, that or God hated him and wanted him gone. She could only do so much, but it was never enough. Riza had cried into her pillow the day she found out Roy had been shot, surviving only due to the sturdiness of his silver watch, the leash around his neck. She felt angry at herself for that moment of weakness, but it also illuminated one fact; she wasn't in the desert because she wanted to protect the alchemist she helped to create nor to protect her country. She was here because she was in love.
X X X
The ways in which she saved Roy became less dramatic once they settled in to life in Eastern Command. Mostly, she kept saving his career by lighting fires under his ass to get his paperwork done or reminding him that he needed to watch his mouth lest someone hear some of his subversive talk.
They settled into a comfortable routine at work. Everyone in the office knew who really was in charge: her. The routine at night was less comfortable. Fraternization was forbidden, but that didn't mean it didn't happen. Roy's mom came through for them in this respect. Chris found them clandestine places to meet and the aging spy taught Riza how to disguise herself well enough that she could even go to Roy's on-base housing every night as a different woman. And thus, a reputation was born. It didn't take long before all of East City seemed to know Roy was a womanizer. She felt vaguely irritated at how Roy just ate that up, but then remembered growing up with him and his flirtatious ways and realized that was just how Roy was.
Though, as much as Chris helped them, she also got Roy into trouble. He could deny his aunt nothing, truly seeing her as a mother. Sometimes Riza got dragged into it, too. Often she didn't complain. She got to go to swanky parties and gallery openings and hear the best symphonic orchestras in Amestris while Roy glad-handed and flirted his way into the lives of the people he was spying on. Sometimes it went wrong along the lines of Cheryl and Isaac and some jealous husband tried to rearrange Roy's body parts. He rarely needed saving from that. Roy had gotten good at extracting himself from those situations. Others, on the other hand, were much more dangerous.
Armstrong Manor shocked her. Riza had never been in a place so luxurious. She was doing her best to keep away from both Olivia and Alex Louis. She had trained in the north with the Wall of Briggs and Strongarm knew her through Roy and Hughes. She was fairly certain her disguise would hold but she didn't want to push her luck. Roy was here as himself. He seemed to like Strongarm and Riza understood why. Alchemists could be so lonely. People feared them more often than not. She had seen it with her father and his father.
The party amazed her. Continual trays of wine and appetizers, each more delectable than the one before, circulated through the crowds. The musicians alternated between swing for the younger guests and waltzes for the older. Roy danced so well, Riza couldn't get enough of it but eventually, he had gone off with Walter Blanchett, heir to a gun company. Riza didn't know what Chris wanted from the man, but wasn't sure Roy should be doing this alone. What were the chances a gun maker would be unarmed even at a party?
A fateful question she quickly learned, finding them in one of the rooms, a library that would have made her father drool. On a normal day, Roy would probably be rolling around in the throes of ecstasy to have so many books at his finger tips – several were alchemic at least in the stacks she was hiding behind. However, now Blanchett had Roy in a standoff. Roy's hands were trapped in his pockets, fingers probably wrapped around the static glove he had hidden there. From the size of his eyes – the only break in his otherwise cool façade – Roy didn't like his chances of getting a hand free to snap before Blanchett drilled a huge hole in him with the pistol he had.
"I can't let you tell that bitch I've been sneaking guns past her into Drachma," Blanchett said, cocking the pistol. "And using some of her men to do it."
"Olivia? That's not why I'm here," Roy replied, as Riza reached into her purse for her own pistol.
She shot Blanchett right through his hand, spattering Roy's pristine white shirt with tiny rubies. Blanchett fell back, wailing, clutching his hand to his chest. Roy picked up the man's fallen weapon, grinning at Riza.
"How many times is this?" he asked.
"I quit counting. It's too scary," she replied and it was.
The shot brought others. There must have been a lull in the music. Riza wasn't surprised to see both Olivia and Alex Louis racing into the room. Olivia looked between Roy and Riza and the wounded man and for a moment Riza wondered if his wealth would overrule reason.
"That bitch is trying to kill me. Who are you letting into your home?" Blanchett sidled toward the door.
Roy caught hold of the man's arm. "He's selling weapons to the enemy. I have proof of it."
Olivia glanced at Riza sourly and Riza realized the red hair and insanely revealing neckline she was sporting had only fooled the men. "And you didn't kill him."
"He's using some of your men and I'm not sure Colonel Mustang knows who they are yet," Riza replied.
Olivia's lips parted in a feral smile. "Then I'm glad you left me something."
While the Armstrongs dealt with the traitor, Roy led Riza into a distant corner of the library. "Chris is going to be disappointed in me that this went badly. I don't think Armstrong was her client."
"You nearly died. I'm sure she'll forgive you," Riza replied, not quite able to look at him because she was afraid it would show how frightened she had been to see him at someone's mercy.
"Yeah. Hey, do me a favor."
"Don't give this dress back to my sisters."
Riza realized Roy had been holding this conversation, eyes firmly on the mounds of breast peeping over the lacy neckline. Men.
X X X
With one piece of paperwork, she was taken to where she could no longer protect Roy. Riza would have to show them just how much they underestimated her.
X X X
Hot blood ran down her neck. Her vision began to lose all sense of color. All she could do to protect Roy now was to shield him with a look. She was dying, but her only thought was of not being there to save him. She had to come to his rescue one last time. Look at me, Roy. Do not give in. Do not break the taboo to save me.
X X X
Sometimes, Roy needed saving from himself. Riza took no real pleasure in that but it was true. She plotted out the best way to salvage Roy's latest flight of folly. First, she would have to shoot Breda and Havoc for creating the contest in the first place. Who in their right mind would consider it a good idea to have a moustache growing contest? Apparently not one of Roy's men was in their right mind. Second, she waited until Roy had tired himself out reading all the alkahestry notes Alphonse had dropped off from his latest trip to Xing.
Roy was deeply asleep when she slathered shaving cream over his lip. Unfortunately he woke up before blade could kiss skin. His eyes went huge. "Riza!"
"The abomination goes, Roy." She brandished the blade. "Either you do it, or I will."
He pouted for days. His men mocked him longer.
X X X
Not everyone liked Grumman in power and her grandfather knew it well. He worried more about her and Roy than himself. He always said he was old and had lived his life. That didn't mean he wasn't well guarded. Roy, on the other hand, had only his men and his own swift reflexes and now the ability to do alchemy without a circle. Roy was, naturally, a formidable man.
Still, even he didn't have eyes in the back of his head and Roy was prone to distractions. That was his biggest weakness. Roy enjoyed being social and it didn't take much to get him talking. It nearly cost him his life.
Riza had followed him to Ishbal to meet up with Marcoh, Miles and Mahdi, the name that had been given to Scar. Jokes about the four Ms even made it into the paper. The Ishbalans weren't thrilled with any of them except Mahdi. Miles was a traitor and Marcoh and Roy alchemists. It had taken a lot of time just to get clinic started, but finally they began to accept that Roy and Marcoh seriously meant to help. Miles had gone native. At this point, things should have been easy. Complacency could be deadly.
Riza had nearly forgotten that until one of their own men turned her gun on Roy. She was never so grateful for his temporary loss of vision in exchange for the ability to do circle-less alchemy. Roy got a rock shield up, protecting not only himself but the Ishbalans with him. Riza didn't resist the urge to kill. She was not going to lose Roy now and she was not going to give this woman another chance to spread her hatred and stir up another Civil war. That in mind, Riza was relieved it hadn't been an Ishbalan dissident.
X X X
Riza put her book aside. What could Roy need saving from in her house? She found him on the floor, swamped by Hayate and Spitfire's puppies. Two were yanking on his socks and one had a mouthful of hair, apparently determined to drag him away to her cave to devour.
"You didn't expect this to happen if you got on their level?"
"They begged," Roy said, managing to catch one of them, holding the fat squalling pup up.
"I'm going to let them eat you." Riza laughed, going for her camera.
"That's not helping."
Riza didn't save him until she got several blackmail photos then helped Roy wash puppy slobber out of his hair and all the other places he imagined it might have been.
X X X
Drake was his father's son; there was no doubt about it. He looked just like Roy, with walnut hair, but otherwise, he had all Roy's smart assed looks and mannerisms. Chris confirmed that Drake was nearly a mirror imagine of his father at that age. Riza wondered who would inherit the job of protecting him once he grew up.
Drake was already growing up too fast, getting into all sorts of trouble. It didn't help that Zack Elric came over with his parents often enough. Zack was a little older, more advanced in his evil, and could easily get Drake to do things that only boys would think were smart. If either boy survived to adult, Riza would be surprised though Chris and Pinako assured her and Winry this was pretty typical boy behavior. That only made Riza wonder how the species survived and Winry seemed already at peace with the idea. Growing up with the Elrics would do that to you.
Riza did, however, let her son make his mistakes. She protected him, of course, but she didn't hover over him. He was still so very young, but if he wanted to go play with his friends in a tree or something equally reckless, Riza let him. It might be his own father Drake needed the most protecting from.
Roy was determined to do everything with his son that he didn't get to enjoy with his own father who had died so young. With that in mind, Riza didn't say a word when Roy wanted to take Drake fishing with Edward and Zack during their Resembool vacation. Roy had never been fishing a day in his life. She wasn't entirely sure Ed had either, but figured he might have. However, the chances Roy listening to Ed without egos getting in the way were slim.
So, Riza wasn't at all that shocked to hear Drake screaming, 'Mom, come quick' in a tone that suggested less that he caught a really great fish she just had to see and more that Roy probably had a fish hook in his lip. With a soft sigh, Riza went to save her boys once again.