Riza couldn't sleep. She sat on the wide windowsill in her room, watching the night's lights in the distance. Everything was quiet. She petted Hayate slowly as he dozed in her lap. Just a few minutes ago, he had woken her up from another nightmare by licking her face. He had been whining as he had continued licking her and would only stop after she had assured him many times that she was alright. Thanks to him, the dream had been cut short and she hadn't had to agonize through it for too long.
I don't think I'll ever be able to sleep through an entire night. Then again, she had always been a light sleeper. But now that she kept on having nightmares, it was even harder for her to sleep soundly. She dreaded the nights. She dreaded falling asleep. They always come. The only times she had slept through the night without any bad dreams were when she had been completely exhausted or when she had been recovering in the hospital with all the drugs in her system. I'll have to find some way to sleep more.
Every time she woke up from one of the dreams, she would try to piece them together with what she remembered. Most of them were of Ishbal, but she couldn't quite figure out the chronological order. It didn't matter though because they were all pretty similar. Deaths were repeated over and over again from the view in her crosshair. It'll never stop. She had decided that it was just something she would have to live with, something she would have to get used to. However, it wasn't that simple. It wasn't something you could just casually accept and get used to, and because of that, it was affecting her health.
She looked around her room, trying to see any familiarity in the items, but it was useless. Nothing reminded her of her past. Roy had told her that everything had been placed exactly the way it had been in her old apartment, but even then, there was no spark of recognition. She knew it hurt him whenever she said something like that. Even though he was always giving her words of encouragement, she could always see the slight flicker of disappointment in his eyes.
She stared down at the snow and the vast land in front of the house. She was glad her room had such a nice view. It allowed her to distract herself from painful memories. It's such a big contrast from our old house. For her, it hadn't been that long since she had still been living with her father. I wonder what became of that house. It hadn't been in the best of conditions when she had left. In fact, it was barely livable, but they had to live with what they had at that time and it was sufficient. A deep sadness grew in her heart when she thought about her home. I should've taken better care of it. For as long as she could remembered, she had taken care of that house alone and had taken care of her father on top of that.
Riza closed her eyes and willed herself to think of other things. It's way in the past. Even if you remember it like it was yesterday, it's not. So she thought about more recent events, of this evening that had just occurred. She thought about Roy, of how different he had become, but at the same time, of how little he had changed about his true personality. He had always had a solid self-confidence that displayed itself with everything he did. He was bright, outgoing and surprisingly caring. There was also a quirkiness in him, a sense of adventure that would get him in trouble and he also had a light-hearted sense of humour.
She remembered him clearly from their childhood, since he had been her only true friend, at least for her. When they were young, she could read him like a book. She understood him. But tonight, she had noticed changes. Changes that she couldn't figure out. He's a little strange. She thought about the conversation they'd had at dinnertime and couldn't seem to know what he was hiding.
"I don't care what they say."
Riza looked at him expectantly, but he was fidgeting with his napkin and biting his lip. What is he trying to say?
"You should," Riza said firmly. "People look up to you. You have the responsibility to hold up your image. It's not something you should lightly think about. I'm sure it took you a lot of time and effort to get to this position, so don't let something insignificant like this ruin it."
She didn't know why, but her irritation was building up inside of her. He wasn't making any sense and it was starting to tick her off. She didn't like seeing him this uncertain of himself.
"It won't be a problem. Even if they find out, they know you're my personal bodyguard and my aide. It's normal to see us together." Oh, I guess he's right. "And we don't know if anyone is still after you, so it's safest if you stay here. The closest you are to me, the safer. I don't want to see you get hurt again," he said.
Riza looked down at the table. It was still a little bit strange to her. She was certain he could've just put her somewhere with some bodyguards on the lookout, but instead, he had decided to do it himself. He's definitely hiding something. I just don't know what it is. She wanted to trust him, but at the same time, she didn't know everything that had happened between them and didn't know if she could still trust him. I wish I had my memories back.
When she looked back up at him, he was deep in thoughts, staring at his hands crossed together. A silence had settled between them. Riza sighed in her head. You're so stupid. Why did you have to go and make things bad when it was all good before. He's nice enough to even let you stay over for the night. The least you could do is not putting him in a bad mood.
"I'm sorry," Riza said quietly. Roy looked up surprised.
"What? No, don't be. There's nothing to be sorry about. I'm glad to we got to talk about it." There was still something he was not telling her, but she knew she couldn't press him. He smiled and got up. "I'll clean up the table."
"Let me help you." Riza got up as well. In the end she had returned to the kitchen with the same two glasses she had helped to bring out earlier.
They stood side by side as Roy washed the dishes, while Riza helped dry them.
"Remember how we used to do this when we were younger? Except our roles are switched now." Roy started talking.
She did remember. In fact, everything that went on between them made her think about the past. It was mostly all she could remember anyway. If it weren't for those memories, then her mind would've already gone crazy with the images of war in her head. They finished washing the dishes in a comfortable silence.It was like this too in the past.
"I'm going to take a quick shower, so if you want to take one too, I'll show you where you can take one," Roy said.
"There's one in the bathroom attached to my room. I can use that one right?" Riza asked.
"Yeah I guess you're right. You don't need me to show you around." He grinned and scratched his head.
They both walked back to the staircase, but before ascending, he showed her the large living room that was a little further away.
"After you finish washing up, I'll be here waiting. I have some things to show you," he said.
Riza nodded, curiosity building up inside of her. Back in her room, she opened some drawers, trying to find clean underwear and some pyjamas. She ended up finding the right drawer where many underwear and bras were being kept. It was all neatly arranged and perfectly folded. She paused and stared at them. Don't tell me... he did this himself. She quickly pushed the thought away and focused on finding some pyjamas. She chose a plain light blue one and proceeded to the bathroom.
"Wait here Hayate," she told him. He sat obediently in front of the door as she closed it.
She didn't have any problem with finding everything that she needed. Roy was right. Everything is here. After coming out of she shower, she dressed up and blow dried her hair. It had gotten a little bit longer again. She couldn't remember ever having hair that passed her shoulders, but now it was starting to get long. Should I cut it?
When she opened the door, she almost tripped on Hayate, who had been waiting pressed against the door. She found a pair of slippers and put them on before she went back downstairs. When she peered inside the living room, Roy was already seated on one of the couches with many folders and papers on the table in front of him. He was so deep in thoughts that he hadn't noticed her presence yet. She took that chance to observe him.
His hair was still damp and messy. It was obvious that he had just passed a towel on it to dry it. He had a black T-shirt on and some blue patterned pyjama pants. Riza couldn't help but notice his arms. They were muscular and very toned. The way his T-shirt hugged his upper body told her he was well-built. Riza remembered how different he had looked in the past. He had been a scrawny kid with barely any muscles.
It was Hayate that gave her presence away. He had decided at that moment that he needed to scratch himself, so the noise had made Roy look up and notice her.
"Hawk- Riza. Sorry, I didn't notice you were there. Come join me," he said.
She approached him while looking down, in the attempt to hide her embarrassment. Luckily for her, Roy didn't notice since he was trying to sort things out on the table. She took a seat on the couch opposite of him. He turned some papers and folders toward her.
"These are the files of the case we're investigating right now. You'll find all the information you want here," he said calmly.
Riza's breath caught in her throat. She swallowed in down. She hadn't expected him to show them to her this soon, but she was glad he did. He showed her the first file, going through everything and explaining things to her. He did his best to answer her questions whenever she had some. She looked at the note she had apparently written to Fuery. It's my handwriting.
She remembered some of these things, but there was still a huge piece of the story missing. He said that she had been missing for a few months, but they didn't have much information on what had happened during those months.
"What's in that one?" she asked as she pointed to a file he kept close to him.
Roy hesitated, but didn't move to show it to her. "It contains the information of the place you were being kept in."
Riza felt a chill run up her spine. She had a bad feeling about it, but her desire to know the truth was stronger.
"I'd like to see it."
Roy sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "You don't need to do this. It's... not something you should be seeing ever again."
Riza thought about what he said. It's true. I don't really have to see it, but... She knew she would never be able to move forward if she didn't see it. The hard truth. She extended her hand, asking for the file. After a few seconds, Roy reluctantly handed it over to her.
There were many pictures inside. A prison? They were very familiar. Her heart felt heavy and she was starting to feel light-headed. She kept everything in as she saw the pictures of the bloody bag on the floor of the prison cell. Her throat contracted when she saw the last one. It was a picture of a dark cell with a large metal door. A choked sound came out of her. Her hands had started shaking and she let go of the picture.
"Riza, it's okay. It's over." She could hear him talk to her, but she was busy fighting other things inside of her.
The smell and the dead silence of the place were coming back to her. She was cold and in pain again. Riza her eyes shut tightly and she buried her face in her hands. She was breathing deeply as she tried to suppress those memories, but they were all coming back in a rush. They had been cruel, so very cruel to her. It had been the most painful and frightening experience in her life.
When she had woken up from her nightmare, she had been back in her room. I guess he carried me back up here. She didn't know what had happened after she had started to get back some of her memories, but she guessed she must've fainted. She was still a little shaky from that event, but she tried to think about other things so they wouldn't come back up again. However, she couldn't ignore those memories since they were always in the corner of her mind, threatening to resurface when she would let her guard down.
Riza sighed deeply. She was tired, really tired. I'm messed up. She chuckled sadly at herself. She was a killer and she had been tortured. What have I done in my life? Why did I choose this path? She tried to keep them away, but the tears still came. At first, they were just tears, but then it started flowing down uncontrollably and in the end she was sobbing. Hayate had woken up and was trying to lick her face while whining. She had a hand clasped on her mouth to stop herself from making too much noise.
"It's okay Hayate. I'm alright," she told him after a while. She was taking deep breaths and wiping her tears away. She looked down at him and he was still staring up at her with his dark shiny eyes. She smiled and kissed him. "Thank you for being here with me."
Unable to stay in the room any longer, she decided to go to the kitchen to get a glass of water. Quietly, she opened her door, but jumped when she saw some movements in the dark hallway.
"It's me! It's just me." Roy held up his hands and quickly scrambled up to his feet.
She looked at him quizzically with a frown. What was he doing? There was an awkward silence between them.
Roy cleared his throat and said, "I couldn't sleep. So... I was just hanging out in the hallway... trying to get back to sleep."
What kind of a pathetic lie is that? One thing she was still sure about him was that he was a terrible liar, at least when he tried to lie to her. Why was he close to my door? She felt the apprehension creep up inside of her, but she tried to push it to the side. I'll keep it as a side note.
Not wanting him to see he reddened eyes, she looked down. Luckily for her, there were no lights turned on.
"I guess you couldn't sleep either. Do you... want to take a walk with me?" he suggested.
Not knowing any way out of this, Riza nodded. They walked in silence, Riza following Roy. He led her toward the back of the house where he opened a sliding glass door that led to the outdoor garden. Her eyes widened in marvel. It was a giant hot-house, where you wouldn't even notice it was winter outside. It was the most beautiful place she had ever seen. I didn't know a garden could be this... spectacular. There was a stone pathway illuminated with small lights. It was just bright enough to be able to see the flowers. On top of that, the moonlight gave them a slight glow.
Roy's chuckle made her come out of her reveries. He was smiling at her reaction. It was then that she realized she had stopped moving for a while.
"Sorry," she apologized.
"Don't be. If it makes you feel better, then you can look for as long as you'd like," he said.
They walked slowly through the large garden. There were so many types of flowers that she wondered just how many gardeners were needed to maintain all of them. When they came in front of a row of hydrangeas, she paused to look at them. They were in full bloom and had so many different colours. She bent down to smell one, when she saw a bouquet appear in the corner of her eyes. She looked up and saw Roy holding out a bouquet to her. It was a mix of different kinds of flowers they had passed. She hadn't even noticed him picking out any of them on the way.
"For the lovely lady," he said. Slowly, she took it from him.
"Thank you," she felt her cheeks heat up, so she kept her head down.
They emerged to an opening in the center where there was a double swinging bench with a canopy. He sat on one of the cushioned bench and beckoned for her to join him. She sat down on the opposite one and they swung gently. The night air was warm and comfortable.
"You have a very beautiful garden," she said. She was still clutching and looking at her flower bouquet.
"I'm glad you like it. I knew you liked gardens so I had them plant a lot of flowers that you liked." She looked up in surprise. What does he mean? "I'm glad I got to show it to you."
He sighed happily and leaned back with a smile. Riza was still trying to figure out what he had meant.
"How do you know which flowers I like?" she asked timidly.
"I've been with you for over half of my life. Of course I know which flowers you like. You also told me some of them a few times." Really?
They continued to sit there in silence. The only sound that could be heard was the light swinging of the benches. I guess we were somewhat close, enough to make me share some of my tastes in flowers. She couldn't ever have imagined her old self talking about these things, especially to him. Truthfully, she had always liked him a lot as a friend, but she had also thought about liking him more than that a number of times. I wonder if my feelings had grown deeper for him. It was something she would never know, but she was just glad that the boy she had met many years ago hadn't disappeared.
"I'm glad I got to meet you again," she said out of the blue. Even after they had both become adults, he was still able to make her feel better.
Roy looked at her with surprise before he laughed lightly. "We've always been together. We've never truly separated," he said, then looked away. Riza noticed his pink cheeks, which made her blush too. "I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you. You saved me many times Riza. You might not remember it, but it's true. So the position of Fuher belongs to you just as much as it belongs to me."
"Don't be ridiculous," she said quickly. I doubt I did anything that significant. "You deserve that title."
"Only if you're beside me," he said and looked straight in her eyes. She blinked, not sure what he meant by that.
"I- I'll try to get back to work as soon as I can," she said flustered.
Roy didn't move for a second, then chuckled and looked down. Riza could see his smile was forced and he looked disappointed. Did I say something wrong? She didn't understand what had happened, but she knew it wasn't what he had wanted as an answer.
The rest of the night passed by in silence. Roy had ended up falling asleep on the bench not long after their conversation. Hayate was also asleep beside her. Even though she was the only one awake, their presence was soothing. She stayed there until the the first rays of sunlight appeared, thinking about everything she had learned that day. By this time, Roy was fully lying on his side on the bench deep in sleep. It's almost morning. She decided to head back inside to prepared breakfast for them. It was the least she could do.
She got up slowly, careful not to make any noise, but she couldn't escape Hayate's sharp senses. He quickly jumped down and followed her closely. The first thing she did was return to her room to change. She tried some of her pants, but had to put a belt on to tighten it since they were still a bit too big for her. I guess I still need to gain some weight. She went back down to the kitchen and looked in the fridge.
She took out some eggs and some fruits. I could make some eggs and toast and some fruits on the side. She washed some berries and cut some apples. She then put the slices of bread in the toaster and started on the eggs. She knew how Roy liked his eggs, since she had always been the one to make breakfast for everyone in the past. She had just finished the eggs and had put them on the plate when she heard quick footsteps and loud breathing.
She turned around and saw Roy in the doorway looking alarmed. When she saw him that ways, she too became alert.
"What's wrong?" she asked, but he had quickly crossed the room and was holding both of her shoulders firmly. The look in his eyes was something she had never seen before. It was a look of desperation and fear mixed together. She stood tensely looking back at him.
"I woke up and you weren't there anymore. You weren't in your room either. I- I thought you left, or- or worse." His grip had tightened and she flinched as she felt a bit of pain in her left shoulder. The bell from the toaster made both of them jump. He quickly noticed her expression and let go of her. "I'm sorry. I'm really sorry."
She rubbed her shoulder slowly. It hadn't hurt that much, but she still became very nervous whenever someone touched her.
"It's okay. I'm sorry too. I should've told you I was going to be here. You looked like you needed the sleep so I didn't want to disturb you," she said. There was now a good meter separating them.
"No, I over-reacted. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you." He looked down guiltily.
"It's fine." There was a silent pause before she said, "I made breakfast."
She walked to the toaster and took out the bread. Both of them placed the table. He brought out some water and orange juice before they both sat down.
"Thank you for making breakfast," he said. "This is exactly how I like my egg, over and easy." He smiled before taking a bite.
As she ate, she couldn't help remember the look of terror on his face. She didn't know that the thought of her disappearance had such an effect on him. I guess we both have our own problems.
"I won't be going anywhere Roy," she said, interrupting the meal. "Unless you tell me to leave, I'm planning on staying. I... don't really have anywhere else to go right now too."
Roy smiled with relief and said, "you don't ever need to leave then, because I won't tell you to go."
When they finished eating and cleaning up, Roy went up to get ready. Riza went to wash her face and brush her teeth. She was waiting for him on a chair by the front door when he came down. He was dressed in his full uniform. It really made him look like a different man, much more serious and powerful than what she remembered. Unconsciously, she stood up and saluted.
Roy stopped in his tracks and stared at her weirdly. She gasped and lowered her hand and looked down at herself.
"I, uh, huh?" She wasn't sure what had happened or why she had felt the need to salute.
Roy burst out laughing, making her even more embarrassed. "I guess you can't get out of that habit even after having lost most of your memories can you?" he teased her.
"I guess not..." she said grudgingly.
A knock at the door got their attention. As Roy went toward the door, Riza moved to the side to hide herself. She didn't really want anybody to see her here and misunderstand.
"Good morning Fuhrer. We came to pick you up," she heard someone say.
"Good morning you two. I guess you guys switched with Havoc and Fuery," Roy said and let them in.
A burly man came in followed by a taller older one. They were both in uniform and she remembered having seen them out of the corner of her eyes the day Victor had attacked her.
"Yes, they told us to get some rest," the tall one said.
When they both noticed her presence, they snapped into a sharp salute.
"Lieutenant Colonel Hawkeye! Good morning," they both said. Riza wasn't sure if she had to salute back, but luckily Roy interjected.
"This is Captain Heymans Breda and Captain Vato Falman. They work in our team too."
"It's a pleasure to meet you. I've heard a bit about you two from Havoc and Fuery," she said.
"It's good to have you back Lieutenant Colonel," Falman said.
"Yeah, we're glad you came back to us," Breda grinned.
"Alright, come on, we have to go. There's lots of things we have to do today," Roy said to ease her situation. He winked at her before he went to get her her coat.
Should I also be in uniform? she wondered. However, since Roy didn't say anything, she supposed she didn't need to be. Roy held out her coat for her again, but she took it from him and put it on herself. She heard Breda snicker, but ignored him.
In the car, Roy sat in the back with her, while Breda drove and Falman sat in the passenger's seat.
"Any news of Victor?" Roy asked.
"No. Havoc said they would call us if he woke up, but we haven't received any phone calls yet," Falman answered.
"Are you heading to headquarters sir?" Breda asked as he was driving out of the street.
"Yes I have a short meeting first thing in the morning. After that I'm free," he said.
"You don't have any paperwork to do?" Breda asked.
Roy quickly turned his head to look at her. Riza raised an eyebrow in confusion. Why is he looking at me?
"Uh, yeah, I have some. I'll do it when I have some time, or I'll just bring it home to do it." She didn't understand why he was so nervous about it. It's not like anyone's going to scold you if you don't do your paperwork.
"So, Hawkeye, do you want to come with me? Although you'll have to wait a bit until my meeting finishes before we can head to the hospital," Roy said. Hawkeye? I guess he'll only call me by my name in private.
"Are Breda and Falman staying too?" she asked.
"No, only Falman will be accompanying me. Breda's going to head back to join up with the others."
"Then is it okay if I go with him?" Roy's jaws clenched and he fidgeted in his seat.
"I guess that would be alright," he said reluctantly. He was looking at Breda through the mirror and she saw him nod to the Fuhrer. They had apparently just passed a message between themselves, leaving her oblivious to what had happened.
A wave of uncertainty came over her. She had started to trust Roy a little bit again, but these little secrets between them was making her uncomfortable. Can I really trust them? The thought of getting captured and hurt again frightened her. Now that she thought about it, maybe going to the hospital alone with Breda wouldn't be a good idea. She didn't even know the man, except for his name. But I have to get back there. She wanted to know what would happen to Victor, so she willed herself to tough it out. I wish Hayate was with me. Since animals weren't allowed in the hospital, she had left him at home.
When they arrived to headquarters, Roy looked at her and said, "I'll join you as soon as possible. Make sure you stay with Breda, Havoc and Fuery at all times." She nodded.
Roy patted Breda's shoulder and he gave a nod of his head too. She watched Roy and Falman walk away.
"Alright Hawkeye, we're going to the hospital now," Breda said energetically. Riza nodded, but her heart was beating a little bit faster than normally and her palms were sweaty. She kept on wishing and hoping he was really bringing her to the hospital. During the whole car ride, she kept on imagining all the different scenarios that could happen, how she would have to fight or jump out of the car if he was trying to bring her somewhere else. She kept on eyeing the handgun on his belt, wishing she had brought one of her own.
In the end, he had not lied and had really brought her to the military hospital that was just a few minutes drive from the HQ. She sighed under her breath and finally relaxed a bit.
"We're here," he said as he took out the keys and unbuckled his seatbelt. She did the same and got out of the car.
She followed him quietly inside the building. This time, nobody paid them any attention, much to her relief. I guess it was only because of the Fuhrer that they were looking.
"I'm sure Havoc and Fuery must be tired from keeping watch all night. Victor had better be awake," he said.
On the way there, they crossed Dr Knox. "Lieutenant Colonel Hawkeye! It's good to see you all well. How do you feel?" he asked her.
"I'm fine thank you," she said.
"I suppose you're both here to see Victor," he said. They were all walking in the same direction, toward Victor's room.
"Is he awake yet?" Breda asked.
"Yes, about five minutes ago. Fuery tried to get in touch with you guys, but no one was answering."
"Yeah, we were in the car to HQ."
When they arrived, Havoc and Fuery were standing by the window, looking intently inside the room. Dr Knox immediately went inside, where the nurses were already doing some check-ups.
"Hey, I heard he just woke up," Breda said to them.
"Yeah." They both turned to them and were surprised to see her with Breda. "Good morning Hawkeye," they greeted her.
"Did you sleep well last night?" Fuery asked, but immediately regretted his question. Riza looked at him with a deadpanned look. She must've looked really tired, since he had started muttering incomprehensibly. She nodded anyway to save the poor boy.He's just trying to be polite.
"So, where's the chief?" Havoc asked Breda.
"He has a meeting, but he said it was short. He'll be here as soon as he can."
"I don't doubt that," he said while looking at her with a grin.
"So what are they doing now?" Breda asked while looking inside the room.
Dr Knox and two nurses were doing a check-up on him much like the one they had done on her.
"They're checking if everything's good with his condition before we can go in and question him," Havoc said.
As they waited in front of the room, Riza could feel her heart beat faster. She was about to face her attacker, but also her victim. I almost killed him, she thought guiltily.
"I'm going to the restroom," she said. She needed to distract herself a bit before going in.
"Alright," they said. Havoc started following her.
She stopped in her tracks and turned to look at him expectantly.
"I'm just making sure you don't get lost," he said as an excuse. She looked behind her then back at him. The restroom was at the end of the hallway. She didn't even need to make a turn. How can I possibly get lost?
She gave him a cold stare. "It's down the hallway. Are you really going to follow me to the ladies' restroom?" she asked. I lost some of my memories, but not the ability to think.
"Uh, no, I guess not. We'll be here waiting for you. If there's anything you need, just call us," Havoc blurted out.
With a huff, she turned around and stalked to the restroom. At least that took my mind of things. She didn't mean to be mean to him, but she didn't like the way they were all treating her like a fragile porcelain doll. I'm pretty sure I can manage to go to the restroom by myself, thank you very much.
Walking that short distance allowed herself to focus and ready herself. She went inside to splash some cold water on her face. Looking in the mirror, se notice how haggard she looked. The only thing that looked proper and in place was her hair. Other than that, her skin was pale, her eyes blood-shot and she had dark circles under them. I have to find a way to sleep. Maybe I should ask Dr Knox to prescribe me some sleeping pills.
Sighing, she went back out and trudged her way back to the others. The had all been looking in her direction, but the moment they had seen her, they all pretended to look somewhere else. Dr Knox and the two nurses had finally come out the moment she had made it back.
"How's his condition?" Havoc asked eagerly.
"Good enough to answer some questions. There are no more effects from the anesthesia and he won't be feeling drowsy anymore from the pain-killers. In fact, he'll be kept awake because of the pain,"Dr Knox said nonchalantly.
"You lowered his dose of pain-killers?" Breda asked with too much interest.
"Something like that. Let's just say it's just enough to slightly dull the pain if he were asleep. That's if he can fall asleep again," Dr Knox answered slyly with a smirk.
Riza didn't know whether she should be afraid of these sadistic people or not. Dr Knox did help me get better... Maybe they're only acting this way because of Victor. Let's hope so. She could understand why they hated this man so much. Even she was having trouble sympathizing with him. Revenge was never a solution. It only brought more hate and pain to everyone. It's his fault I'm like this.
"Thanks Doctor. We'll be going in now." Havoc walked to the door, but paused his hand on the doorknob and looked at her. "Are you sure you want to come in too Hawkeye?" he asked with concern. They all looked at her with the same look.
"Yes," she said firmly.
Havoc went in first, then her and the other two. The moment they had stepped inside the room, Victor looked at them and glared when he recognized who they were. When he caught Riza's eyes, she saw a flash of fury pass by, but it suddenly vanished as he started laughing bitterly. The men glared in disapproval and looked back and forth between Victor and her. Riza stood perfectly still by the wall, too tense to move.
"What's so funny Brandt?" Havoc spat out. From the tone of his voice, he was in no mood for pleasantries.
"I was just thinking of how pathetic I must look right now, how pathetic I am to not be able to kill one woman. Everything. Everything if finished." He laughed some more. Breda exchanged looks with the other men. He really wanted to kill me.
"Victor, who is Thomas Brandt?" Breda asked steadily.
This time, Victor's eyes were clear and focused and he looked straight at Breda. "He was my brother. My younger twin brother. He died during the coup d'etat that you guys started," he said vehemently.
"How do you know he died. His body was never found," Breda continued.
"I was the one who found him. I buried him somewhere by myself and I decided to take his place to avenge him!" He's lost himself.
Riza clenched her fists tightly. She didn't know whether to sympathize with him or not. Victor had lost himself in his revenge and was now spouting everything he knew. You're going to end up killing yourself. Riza knew if he confessed to everything, he would have no way out. His obsession had made him mad.
"You!" he pointed a finger toward her. Riza jerked back with alarm, surprised by his sudden outburst. "If only they could've killed you! That's all I ever wanted! I wanted to make him suffer, just like I did!"
"Enough!" Havoc grabbed his hand and pushed it back down, clearly using too much force. "Don't listen to him Hawkeye."
Riza looked down. She had never had someone so earnestly ask for her death. Maybe it could've helped all of them get through this. She was thinking about Rob and Jack. They had all had grudges toward the Fuhrer. Her death seemed like a small price to pay to make them all stop and to allow them to continue on with other things. For a while now, she hadn't thought that she deserved to live, not after what she had done in the war. If her death could appease some people, then she was almost willing to give it to them. Except for Marcus. Even within her fragmented memories, she could still remember his viciousness and cruelty. He had only participated for the fun.
"Are there any more of you?" Breda asked.
"No. I didn't get the time to gather any more people," Victor said breathlessly. It seemed like his wound had started to hurt after all of his outbursts. A layer of sweat had formed on his skin and he looked like he was in pain.
"So, tell us the whole story, why you started all of this," Breda said calmly.
All eyes were on him as they waited for his answer. Victor seemed to be thinking about it, but when he did start speaking, he recounted the same story he had briefly told her before. They listened intently, absorbing all of the information.
"Do you think your brother would've been proud of what you did?" Havoc asked with a dark expression.
"He's dead. We'll never know.," Victor replied bitterly.
"You used him name and you impersonated him, all to play out this role. You've disgraced him," Fuery said for the first time. Riza could see his light trembles. He looked really hurt and angry at Victor for his actions.
"Brandt, I liked you. It was too bad you couldn't have truly worked with us. What happened to your brother was unfortunate, but your hate is too generalized and biased. You don't know what your brother had went through or who he was fighting for or even what had happened. You could be making all of this up," Havoc said.
"Don't talk about my brother like you know him," he said through gritted teeth. Havoc frowned deeply. He's past reasoning.
"You know you won't be getting off easily. In fact, there's zero possibility for you to escape punishment," Breda informed him.
"I don't care anymore. I don't care. Give me my punishment, kill me if you'd like. Everything's done. I'm sick and tired of this," he said with surrender.
The men took it as a sign to leave. They had asked everything they had wanted to. Breda opened the door and Havoc ushered her out, but before she left the room, she looked back at him. He stared back at her, pain and hate in his eyes. She couldn't help but pity him.
"I'm sorry about your brother," she said quietly.
Victor's eyes widened slightly in surprise, then he turned his head quickly to the side. When she saw his tears roll down his cheeks, she too turned around and left. I'm sorry you had to go through that.
Outside the room, she walked in a daze to the bench and sat down.
"Hawkeye, are you alright?" Havoc asked worriedly. She nodded absently.
Riza thought about all the people who had been victimized by the war many years ago. They haven't been able to get over it. That was the case for Jack and Rob. Violence and war had engraved such a deep hatred in their hearts that they had lost themselves, such was the case for Victor. How many people like these have I created? Not only had she been directly responsible for many deaths, she had also been responsible for the huge massacre done by Roy. Even though she hadn't killed them directly, she had been the one to provide him with that power. Riza held onto her knees to prevent her hands from shaking. Her head hung low as she was sorting out her thoughts.What should I do?
Fuery was sitting quietly beside her. She could tell he was watching her. The two others were discussing in hushed tones. She didn't pay them any attention. However, she did hear the quick footsteps coming their way. Looking up, she saw Roy, followed closely by Falman, jogging toward them.
"That was fast," Havoc stated as he got close enough to hear.
"I said it was going to be a short meeting," he said as he regained his breath.
Roy walked toward the bench and sat down beside her. She looked down at the floor, avoiding his gaze. She didn't really want to face him right now or talk about her feelings and such. Please just ignore me. Everyone was watching and she really hated being in the center of attention.
"How are you Hawkeye?" he asked.
"Fine," she answered. There was a pause and she was hoping he wouldn't ask anymore. Thankfully, he didn't. She didn't know whether he believed she was telling the truth or whether he could tell she didn't want to talk about it, but she was grateful for it.
"Alright. I'm going to talk to him," he said with all seriousness.
Riza went back into her own mind. She could heard them talk to each other, but she didn't listen. Soon after, Roy was inside the room with Breda and Falman, while Havoc and Fuery kept her company in the hallway. She didn't know what had happened, but Roy didn't stay in there for long. He came back out wearing a grim expression.
"I'm going to see Marcus," he said. Hearing the name made Riza look up. He caught her eyes and his gaze softened. "Do you want to come?"
She nodded without hesitation, but her doubt grew inside of her. She didn't know if she had the strength to face him. He had plagued her mind for a long time and she would be lying if she said she didn't fear him even a little bit. However, she had promised herself that she would include herself in this investigation. She had even been the one to demand to be included. I can't back out now.
They were heading toward the military prison, where Marcus was being kept in solitary confinement. For the whole car ride, Riza had felt anxious and nervous. She had felt Roy's eyes on her, but he didn't ask anything. Ever since he had come back, he hadn't let her out of his sight.
When they arrived, Roy told her to follow him closely, which she did. All the military officers at the building saluted him when he entered. They had to go through protocol and show them their identification badges.
"ID please," a man asked her. Riza froze in place as the man stared her down.
"She's with me," Roy interjected and pulled her closer to him. The man quickly apologized and left.
"Thank you," Riza murmured and pulled her hand away.
When they had all been cleared, they continued deeper inside.
"Fuhrer sir," an officer came up to them and saluted.
"At ease First Lieutenant Dorse. We're here to see Marcus," Roy said. "Any problems with him?"
"He called for you for two hours after you left the last time, but since then he's been quiet," Dorse answered.
"Where is he right now?"
"In solitary. Should I go prepare a questioning room for you sir?"
"Yes, but I want to see him in his cell first." Riza looked at him and saw that his eyes had darkened and he wore an expression that she did not recognize. She swallowed hard and followed him.
"We'll go though an empty sector to avoid the ruckus," Dorse said as he led them toward Marcus' prison cell.
They passed though some hallways, made a few turns, then they passed through a set of metal double doors, which led them to a corridor with ordinary prison cells. Riza felt a shiver run down her spine. The walls were pristine white, the metal bars contouring every cell were in perfect condition and the cement floor was clean. Memories of her own time in this type of cell were a huge contrast with the maintained look of these ones. Don't think about it Riza. It's all in the past. She focused on the floor, the white walls, the echoes of their footsteps and on Roy's back. She wanted to latch onto him, to at least hold onto a corner of his uniform, to remind herself of the present and of the safety of his companionship. Don't be ridiculous Riza. Nothing's going to happen.
She steadied her breaths and tried to calm her mind. No one had noticed her subtle moment of panic and she was thankful about it. Just keep it up Riza, we're almost there. At the end of the corridor, they turned to the left and made another turn further down. This time, Dorse took out a key and opened a metal door that led to another hallway.
"This way. His cell is the second one to the end on the left," Dorse said as he opened the door for them. The moment Riza saw what was up ahead, all of her muscles froze. The lump in her throat had blocked her airways. The hair on her arms and behind her neck rose as fear coursed through her. No. She saw her own self inside the dark cell where she had been kept in for weeks. Her heart was racing madly and she was looking through a tunnel-vision. No, I don't want to. I'm not going back there.
She felt someone bump into her back. She had surprised the others by suddenly stopping in the middle.
"Hawkeye, what's wrong?" she heard Havoc ask, but she wasn't processing it.
In the corner of her eyes, she saw Roy turn around. He paused and looked at her. When he saw her look, he quickly stood in front of her, blocking the view.
"Hawkeye, are you okay? You don't have to come if you don't feel well." Roy put a hand on her shoulder, concerned about her current state.
Riza seemed to jerk back into herself. She looked at Roy in the eyes, then around her again. Panic coursed though her and she felt a rush of adrenaline. I can't be here. She took a step back, watching the curiosity in Roy's eyes, then spun around and dashed away. She ran as fast as she could, going back the same way they had come from. Running like that was making her breathe hard, which was making her chest and side hurt. The numb pain in her leg was coming back too, but she didn't notice it very much. She was running like her life depended on it.
"Hawkeye!" she heard Roy call after her. He was fast on her tracks.
"Riza!" he called out this time.
Bumping into a few people, she finally made it back to the main entrance. She needed to get out of here. Everyone stared at her as she ran for the door.
"Riza!" she heard him call again.
Seeing the Fuhrer chase after her, some officers had tried to stop her but she was already half-way out the door. Unfortunately, someone outside had heard the ruckus and grabbed her arm in a firm grip.
"Let go of me," Riza said breathlessly.
"Don't touch her!" Roy said loudly as he was coming out of the building.
The man immediately let go of her and she jogged forward. Once she was a bit further away from the building, she slowed down to a stop and dropped onto her knees to the ground. She crouched low and breathed hard to catch her breath. Her body still wasn't in shape and any little physical activity easily tired her out.
She felt someone on the ground beside her, but she didn't have to open her eyes to know who it was.
"I'm sorry," she whispered.
"Shhh, don't worry about it." She felt his hand on her back, rubbing it gently.
"I'm sorry. I couldn't do it. I can't be in there," she confessed. She felt ashamed and angry at herself for her weakness.
"It's okay Riza. I understand. You don't have to go back in there. I won't make you go through that again."
Roy pulled her close and hugged her tightly. She let him do that as they sat alone on the ground in front of the military prison.
A.N.: Surprise! It was faster than I thought. I hoped you enjoyed this chapter. Please leave a review. See you next time!