A/N: Inspired by Bruno Mars's "Grenade".
"Stop! What are you doing?"
"What I have to."
"You don't! You don't have to do this!"
Riza was screaming at herself to move, but she couldn't. She was frozen, and not in horror, but by some unseen force. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion and lightning fast all at once.
One person stood between her and certain death, and while it would have mattered very much normally, what was about to transpire was beyond words.
"You say that—" Roy gave her a stare of equal parts withering, pity, sorrow, and tenderness "—but I don't see you doing anything."
"I'm trying!" Riza protested. Tears streamed down her cheeks. "Just go! Leave!"
Roy shook his head. "I'm going to do what you won't."
The shadow in front of them loomed larger. It was going to happen, and Riza could do nothing. Move! You have to save him! You promised!
"No!" Riza's scream of agony, horror, and complete despair surprised even her. Suddenly, her muscles wrenched free of their paralysis. She staggered, fell, pushed herself to her hands and knees, then to her feet, and launched herself forward.
"Too late," Roy whispered. "Why won't you save me? Why…?"
This time, Riza's cry contained no words. It was no use; she'd failed. There was no time left…
Her eyes snapped open.
She heard a sigh of relief and looked up: Roy's hands were braced on her shoulders, and he looked almost as terrified as she felt.
It was just a dream…
"What…?" Roy couldn't even get the question out. He pulled Riza upright and into his arms as she began to sob.
"I tried… save you… Couldn't…" she choked.
Roy ran a hand through her hair. "It's not real, and there's only so much you can do, anyway."
"You asked… why I… wouldn't… Why I… wasn't… doing anything… I wanted… I'd die for… I promised…" she gave up and wept for a moment, trying to compose herself enough to say it.
However, Roy spoke she could. "I'd never question that. I never have, and I never will. But I wouldn't let you do it, either." He met Riza's eyes. "I know beyond any possible doubt that you'd never so much as think of giving up without a fight, and I won't, either. Whatever we face, no matter how dangerous, whether real or imaginary, we face it together." He put one of Riza's hands over his heart. "It's still beating," he murmured.
Riza had gone quiet. Hardly three minutes could have passed, but she was already exhausted. She couldn't truthfully say she felt anywhere close to happy, but the pain and fear were receding quickly. "It's still beating," she repeated.
Roy lay back down, pulling her with him. "And as long as you're with me, it's going to stay that way." He felt Riza stiffen a little bit. "I'm not letting you go," he whispered. "That's a promise. One just as strong as yours; no less, and certainly no more." He looked down. Riza's breathing was even and deep; she was asleep. He sighed and settled back, his small smile marred by worry. "I just wish I could protect you from yourself. You've always been better at protecting others, and I can hardly deal with my own demons." He tightened his grip on her slightly. "But I'm not giving up, and you won't, either."
Glancing back down one last time, Roy was relieved to find that Riza, while still not smiling, was at peace.
And, at least for the moment, so was he.
A/N: You're going to absolutely hate me, but I really wanted to do a piece where Riza actually, knowingly, and without remorse betrays Roy. But I couldn't. Riza would not let me. And really, I'm glad she didn't; not that my faith in Royai has diminished, but my inability to make her do something so horrible reminds me why it is that I love Royai so much.
But I ended it happily… enough… I hope… I haven't written anything for these two in a while (the 100 themes I'm currently posting were finished being written back in December), so I'm probably pretty rusty. It's been a long quarter, but I hope to write more in the coming months.
Drop me a review and let me know what you think!