Title: Collared

Author: S J Smith

Rating: K+

Summary: After the Promised Day, Roy considers whether he should use the Philospher's Stone.

Disclaimer: If I made money off of this, I wouldn't be living in Boxtown.

Roy could hear people walking past the door. The sounds of the monitors, keeping watch over Riza's and his vitals, freeing up the nurses to complete their rounds elsewhere. The familiar beep kept time with his pulse, and hers, and if they were not quite synchronized, he could almost pretend they were.

"Are you awake?" he whispered, not knowing if it was night or day.

"Yes," her voice came back, just as soft as his. "Are you frightened?"

He'd rather bite off his own tongue than admit it, but she was asking. "Yes," Roy murmured. His hands twisted in the hospital bedding, missing his own, softer cotton sheets. "Now that I know what a Philosopher's Stone is." His voice trailed off. "Am I wrong for using it?"

There was a squeaking sound, and the soft slap of feet hitting the floor. A hand took his, giving it a squeeze. Roy recognized those calloused fingers, the strength within them. "No, sir," Riza whispered, and Roy could feel the touch of her words against his cheek. "You must have your sight to continue your mission."

The mission, of course. Roy dreamed for a few seconds, of what it might be like to lay it aside, let someone else take up the cause – but there was no one else who would pick it up. It was his collar to wear, and hers to walk behind him. Still, in this quiet moment, he could do this.

Picking up her hand, he pulled it to his mouth, pressing a kiss on her knuckles. "Riza," he whispered, but before he could get farther, footsteps sounded in the hall outside.

"Colonel Mustang." It was Dr. Marcoh's voice. "Rise and shine, sir. I've come to give you back your sight."

"Thanks." And he set aside his dreams, again.

Happy Royai Day!