Roy Mustang was speechless. Madame Christmas had drilled him on all the basics about girls and (since he had grown up with at least a dozen adopted sisters) it was inevitable that he would know a lot about them. Still, what greeted him at the door was about the most stunning thing… person… he had ever seen in his young sixteen years of life.
"Roy?" Riza's voice cut through his shocked expression.
"Are you okay?"
I'm just fine, we're just fine, and you're just… just… beautiful!
Riza Hawkeye gave him a 'look' that clearly said I-see-you-staring. He blinked and directed his gaze elsewhere, trying not to let his cheeks turn red in the process. "So…" Roy mumbled, wringing his hands and looking up at the ceiling as if there was something irresistibly interesting up there. "How've you been-"
"You're such an idiot!"
"What!" It was the second time the word had passed his lips and Roy had only been here for barely over a minute. "What'd I do?"
Riza looked sort of depressed, as if he had somehow given her a light smack across the face. "You didn't even call."
Oh, that's what's wrong. I get it now.
He opened his mouth, preparing to launch right into giving his best friend a sorry batch of explanations and excuses.
"Don't want to hear it."
"Oh." Roy never got the chance to utter anything he might have thought up in that ten second time frame. "Look, Riza, I'm really-"
"Don't want to hear it."
Maybe she's having PMS or something. Yeesh… scary thought…
Against his will, Roy's cheeks tinged a dark pink in record time. He stepped into the old house that had been occupied by Riza, her father, and himself for years in the past. He had moved out a couple months ago and was planning to take the State Alchemist exam this year. That is… he had planned to do so, but visiting Riza just seemed like a courtesy. As if he had to repay her for something.
"How about the old man, Riza? Guess he's still up to his neck in work, huh?" His tone was joking, as if he was trying to prod a smile from her uncharacteristically stoic expression. Roy even managed a short laugh, rubbing the back of his neck at the same time. "Yep, that old coot was always-"
"He's dead, Roy."
They say that the third time is the charm. The girls' eyes watered and she backed away, spinning around on her heels and stumbling over to the stairway. With one mournful glance back toward him, Riza hurried up the stairs and into her room, slamming the door behind her. A few moments later Roy could hear strangled sobs and muttered words that he couldn't make out from the first floor.
What the heck… dead…? That can't be right. He was alive a couple months ago!
Was it that easy for someone to die? To be there for one second and then be gone the next? Roy Mustang couldn't accept this! A crushing sadness weighed on his heart. That man had been like a father to him – a teacher, yes, but a father as well. Shock was setting in and he didn't even feel himself sit down on the floor, cross his fingers together and take deep calming breaths. I wasn't here when it happened. She didn't write or call to tell me he was dying! She didn't even call…
And sudden sensation rippled through his body and mind as he realized something very important. He hadn't called her. For months, Roy hadn't picked up the phone or written anything. He was too wrapped up in his part time job and studying and training for the exam that he hadn't thought about her much.
But now… he seriously understood how alone she must have felt. Riza had probably thought he'd forgotten all about her.
I really am an idiot.
The time had come for him to right the 'wrong' so to speak. Roy stood, his hand tentatively touching the railing that led up the creaky old staircase. One foot preceded another until both stood firmly at the second floor, making Roy face the very place he had always been forbidden to go into. Riza's bedroom.
A loud thump sounded against the door and Roy could only assume that his friend had thrown her shoe or something else against it. "Go away," she said, her voice muffled – probably by a pillow.
Roy had to admit he was annoyed, but that soon vanished the moment he pushed open her door. She hadn't locked it which led him to believe that Riza was seeking comfort, even if she didn't ask. The girl lifted her face from the pillow she had been burying it in and gave him a half hearted glare. Her mouth opened as if she were going to say something rather cutting and insulting, but no words spilled out. Instead Riza pursed her lips together, trying to hide another sob that was building in her chest and threatening to spill over.
Roy stood motionless in the doorway for a long time, surveying the room that he had never gotten to see. It was like sacred territory. A place that belonged to Riza Hawkeye only and it had always been that way. Whenever he had brought friends over they had all tried to sneak into her room on occasion, just to get a peak at what it really looked like. She had always been standing there guarding it as if it held some terrible secret. He remembered joking with the guys about how she must have a treasure chest in there.
However, the room he stood in right now was nothing special. It had wooden floors and an old rickety bed pushed up against the far right. A small desk was on the side opposite of the bed, and drawings… the drawings were everywhere. Blue skies and rolling green hills and three people with sunny smiles greeted his solemn face. Water color paintings of his face and the master of the house were also present, but most of the images were of a woman. She had pretty blond hair that looked identical to Riza's and a gentle smile. Her eyes seemed to change from light blue to light green in some of the pictures and she always seemed to wear different dresses that were simple but nice all at the same time. He realized that this must be Riza's mother. She had never spoken about her much, but he had gotten a vague idea by memories that the master sometimes told.
It wasn't a palace and it wasn't breath taking, but he loved it all the same.
"Riza," he mumbled, running a hand down his face in exasperation. "I am an idiot."
She barely had time to look up before he was wrapping his arms around her into a hug. Her face was against his chest and he rested his chin on her head. "Sorry. I'm… I'm sorry. I should have called. I should have been here for you months ago. I… I… "
"I forgive you, Roy."