The sound of a knocking at the door shattered the peaceful nighttime silence. Gun at the ready, Riza Hawkeye rose from her armchair. The book she had been reading fell to the floor with a resounding bang, sending her nerves into a frenzy. With slow, measured footsteps, Hawkeye made her way into the entryway of her small apartment. Her hair, still short from her time in Ishval, was dampened by the slight sheen of sweat gathering on her forehead. Images of hellfire, death, gunshots, began to reverberate through her mind.
No, she thought, That won't do. I can't let that happen now.
There was a knock on the door. It wasn't heavy. In fact, it was extraordinarily weak. The kind of knock only a tired, sick person would make. The kind of knock she had heard five times since the war in Ishval ended. Slowly, Riza opened the door. She dropped the gun to her side when her suspicions were confirmed.
"Roy Mustang," Hawkeye said. He was slumped against the wall next to her door. Riza could smell the alcohol clinging to his uniform. She opened the door a little wider.
"There's no need to be so formal, Riza," Mustang slurred, "Just Roy is fine. Although I'd prefer to be neither Roy Mustang nor Just Roy at the moment."
"Why isn't Maes looking after you? Didn't he-"
"Had a night out with Gracia. He needed it. Glad he had someone to come back to. Unlike us."
Riza shook her head. "That's not-"
Mustang rose from the door and wobbled in place, "It is. You know it."
They stood in silence for several long seconds, staring at each other in the dim light of the hallway. Eventually, Mustang spoke.
"I can see that I'm not welcome. I'll just-"
Hawkeye opened the door a little wider.
"There's no way in hell you're heading home on your own. Get inside."
Mustang smiled widely and staggered through the door. Back in the living room, Riza returned her book to its place on the coffee table and placed the gun back in its holster. Roy fell onto the sofa and splayed his arms out to both sides. Hawkeye removed his gloves and began walking towards the kitchen.
"Where are you-?"
"I need to call Maes. He's at the bar on 15th, correct?"
Mustang nodded. Riza dialed a number she had scrawled onto a weathered address book next to the phone. It rang three times before someone picked up.
"Maes Hughes." She waited for several seconds before the phone was picked up once again.
"Riza? I'm kind of in the middle of a-"
"Why didn't you warn me that it was a danger night? You're supposed to call before you leave him alone at night!" Suddenly, Riza felt anger rising up inside of her. She knew that it wasn't Maes' fault, not really, but she had to take it out on someone. If Roy couldn't take care of himself, someone had to.
"Oh. Damn, I'm sorry. Is he-?"
"Oh hell.. Fine, I'll head over and pick him up in a few-"
"No need. He's already here, might as well let him cry himself unconscious again and send him off when he's sobered up." Riza knew she wasn't being fair to Mustang, but she didn't care. This was the third time in a week he had shown up at her door. Enough was enough.
"Riza, you know this is how he-"
"Plenty of us are able to deal with what we did without alcohol, Maes! I don't see what makes him so damn special! Why do you keep defending him like this!"
"Because we're the only people who will. Good night Riza. I'll be over in the morning." There was a click, followed by silence. Riza placed the phone down, her hands shaking, and walked back into her living room.
"No no no no no no NO!" Mustang was on the sofa, curled into himself and shaking. He snapped his fingers several times, aimed at his own body, to no avail.
Thank God I had the sense to remove those gloves
She walked to the sofa and sat next to Roy. She placed her arms around him, her anger ebbing away like a wave returning to sea. She placed her face next to his.
"You're not there anymore, Roy," she whispered, "You're with me. Here. At home. There's nothing to worry about."
Mustang's shaking slowed and his breathing evened out. Riza felt his body relax in her embrace. She wiped the tears from his face gently.
"I don't know how much longer I can take this. The memories. I-"
Riza walked across the room and retrieved a blanket from a closet. Riza threw it over him and watched him begin to fall asleep. She lightly kissed him on the forehead and turned towards her own bedroom. She had her hand on the lightswitch when she heard Roy rise up.
"How do you escape them?"
She turned back to face him again. "Who?"
"The ones you killed."
Riza grimaced and turned her head away, blocking the tears from Mustang's sight.
She heard Roy stagger to his feet and walk over towards her. The smell of alcohol still clung to his breath, but it was somehow lighter now. She looked into his eyes. They were less clouded than before. They were the eyes of the one man she trusted, despite everything that had happened to her.
"Maybe we can face them together," Roy said, his words only slightly slurred this time.
Riza wrapped her arms around him and clung to his uniform as though she was afraid he would float away without her.
"We can only hope," she whispered.
"That's something I haven't done in a while," Roy said.
The pair walked back to the sofa and lay down next to each other, still dressed in their dayclothes. Wrapped in Riza's embrace, Roy fell asleep within minutes. With the sound of his gentle breathing reverberating around her, Riza felt herself drifting off as well.
Neither was visited by the ghosts of their past as they slept.