Peachy Isn't Fine
Here's my first Royai oneshot! XD The transitions are crap, but that's alright. I just need to work on transitions in other stories. I want to post this too badly to work on these.
This should be right up there with Readjusting in terms of how well it's written considering the length... well, a little less, actually, but it should be better than To Stand, To Walk, To Keep Moving Forward. I think that I get this done with pretty well, the whole thing. And there are time jumps, you guys. Just warning you.
Characters: Roy & Riza mostly, Havoc, Ed, Al, and two OCs.
Warnings: None that I can think of, unless you can't handle the hidden telling of rape. A few curse words, nothing worse than damn.
Couples: Royai (of course) Edwin, Almei, HavocxRebecca, FalmanxSheska
Date: 9/3/2012, 10:42
Disclaimer: As we all know, Fullmetal Alchemist does not belong to YAJJ, but to Hiromu Arakawa. And, the lullaby Beautiful Dreamer does not belong to me, but to Stephen Foster, who originally wrote it.
"I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection."
It was Saturday. A day off of work. Though it was bright and shiny outside, it was less than so inside. At least, to the building's lone occupant.
Riza walked stiffly, in a neat black blouse, black slacks, and black boots, towards her superior's office.
Black, black, black. Surely that would frighten off others. Surely she could blend in. Surely it would do something.
"Where's your little guardian, girl? That man? That Colonel? What, you think that I don't know about you and he? That he has tried so many times to take you away from me?"
She had one hand at her side, swinging stiffly, while the other stroked her slowly bulging tummy.
'What am I supposed to do?'
Elizabeth "Riza" Hawkeye was not a woman who was known for being frazzled. She kept her cool through everything—war, death, famine, separation from the man whom she loved and the family that she'd do anything to protect. And she kept that face until she was at home, where she could let it all out to Black Hayate, who would only sit there, wag his tail, and pant. It felt good, to have someone to talk to but not be judged by. Really good.
"Scream for me, little lady. I bet that I can please you better than that Colonel of yours ever could."
Mustang would be irritated that she hadn't mentioned anything, but she didn't want to upset him. He had to work harder than ever to try to be Führer, since the Promised Day. He'd only recently regained his sight in the past months; it'd be bordering on 5 months since Marcoh had used that Philosopher's Stone on he and Havoc.
The office was in sight. She could see the door, could read the neatly inscribed name: Colonel Roy Mustang.
On any workday, the office would be bubbling with people, abuzz with laughter and scribbles and the ringing of phones. Breda and Havoc would be chatting about one thing or the other, Fuery would be fiddling with one of the machines that he always had, and Falman would be reading either a book or the paperwork that he was supposed to be doing. Mustang would be at the head of the office, chatting with another member of the military, one of his many dates (Riza couldn't help but roll her eyes every time one of them was mentioned), or even with Edward in Resembool, who would happily report about Alphonse's condition once every two weeks.
Today wasn't any workday, though. It was Saturday, and because of that, there was no one in the office. The door was locked, and probably would have been until Monday, when she or Mustang came to open it if she hadn't been trudging her way to it.
Riza pushed her key into the keyhole and twisted it, unlocking and opening the door in one swift motion. She stepped inside, sliding the door shut ominously. Whatever happened today, it would stay here, in the now. No one would ever know that it happened. She just needed to be away from home for a little while. Black Hayate had been fed, he had a water dish on the floor of the kitchen, he'd been let outside… everything that would be done on a normal workday, just a little bit later.
"You can tell him that it's his fault. If he'd been here, this wouldn't be happening. Isn't that right, little lady? Oh, but I'd just find you some other time, in some other place, and I'd just take you then. Don't you know that?"
Her knees buckled, but she caught herself on the door handle. She clutched it tightly, begging it to keep her from crashing to the floor.
After a few moments of pathetic tugging, she managed to pull herself to her feet. She rested her palm on the door, took a deep breath, and slumped over to the nearest couch. Once she was settled, she took a deep breath and brought her knees up close to her.
"Wouldn't it be funny, hmm, if he didn't come with you because he knew that I was watching you? Wouldn't it be funny if he just left you to me?" "Wh-what do you mean? He wouldn't do that…"
No one would hurt her when she was like this. Her legs would make a shield, as would the couch, she was safe. And at the moment, that was all that mattered to her. She was safe, her stomach was safe, she was fine.
As was the baby inside.
Thinking about the baby nearly brought tears streaming down her cheeks. She'd already been assaulted, and wasn't that bad enough? Now, she'd have to live with it for the rest of her life. She'd already considered abortion a few times, but she'd already done enough killing, and this was only a defenseless infant. She would probably end up putting it up for adoption. After all, she was a working woman. If she kept the baby, there would be no one to take care of it. She'd only hurt it in the long run.
She'd already been put through hell once, twice, three times now. The Ishvalan War of Extermination, the Promised Day, and now this. What had she done? She'd been under orders in Ishval, and she had had to stay to protect someone. She'd saved lives during the Promised Day. What had she done to deserve this?
You were born…
She scrubbed her hands over her face and then through her loose blond hair. She released a disgruntled sigh, dropping her hands onto the couch.
"Next time, maybe you should keep your puppy with you? Black Hayate, isn't it? What an adorable little thing; I've seen it myself." "Don't… don't touch Black Hayate…"
"We're gonna do this again, won't we, little lady? I'll find you, when you're alone again. Maybe not even when you're alone. If I can incapacitate little Roy, wouldn't that be perfect? Then he could just watch…"
"I told you to scream!"
"You'd better not tell anyone, little lady, because if you do, I'll hunt them down and I'll kill them. I promise."
"Scream for me!"
Riza didn't even realize that her eyes had closed until she felt a hand on her shoulder and they slammed open. She looked up, and found herself face-to-face with a pair of angry blue eyes on a thick face. Light brown hair sat on his head, and she thought that he was going to squeeze the life out of her through her shoulder. She finally did scream, finally obeying her memories, and backed away to the other end of the couch. She clutched a hand over her mouth, which was really nothing more than a pathetic attempt to keep herself quiet. The hand that was on her shoulder dropped to its owner's side.
Slowly, as she watched, the eyes morphed to black. The hair tousled and changed, also, to a deep black. The face thinned, the eyes squinted a little, and the shoulders became narrower. It was spectacular, to watch as the terrifying image of her assaulter became the friendly image of someone that she knew and—though she was loath to say it considering how long it took him to do his effing paperwork—respected. Suddenly, her commanding officer morphed from her mental and physical torturer.
Her commanding officer.
Roy lifted an eyebrow at her. "Hey… are you okay?" he asked innocently. "You look like you saw a ghost."
Riza choked on her reply, "no, worse."
Roy frowned. "What are you even doing here? It's Saturday, you don't work today."
"I could ask the same of you. If you didn't have to come here, you wouldn't come within ten miles of this place."
With a roll of his eyes and a light chuckle, Roy stood and went to his desk. "Just left something here yesterday that I need back at home," he said. He leaned over the back of his desk and plucked a file from its top. "And yourself? You didn't answer my question."
"I… er, just needed to be away from home for a while."
Roy looked down at her, scrutinizing her with a piqued critical eye. "So… you come to the office? Don't you have anywhere else to be? Or, I dunno, you can go to a park—?"
"Just, drop it, please." Riza requested quietly, looking away from him.
Roy paused, sighed, and approached her. He set the file on the table in front of him, and squatted so he was eyelevel with her. "You look really pale, lieutenant. Are you feeling okay?" he asked.
"Peachy, actually." Riza muttered.
"Are you sure? You look a mess." Roy pressed.
"I'm fine, Roy, just leave it alone!" Riza snapped.
Roy flinched, frowning. "I…" For once, he didn't know what to say. His lieutenant hadn't snapped at him like that before. He shook his head, black hair tousling even more. "You've been acting very strange lately, Hawkeye, and I just want to know why."
"No concern of yours, that's for sure." Riza huffed.
Roy frowned, sighed, and stood. If she wasn't going to tell him, was there a point in staying? He grabbed his file and turned his back on her, waltzing to the door as calmly as he could feign. "Well… if you want to talk, I'd like to know what's been bothering my lieutenant."
Riza paused, watched as he put his hand on the doorknob. She was going to say it. He wanted to know. He liked helping people. And, it'd be nice to get it off of her chest. It was nice talking to Black Hayate, but there was something special about talking about it to someone who cared. "I…" Deep breaths, Hawkeye. Just take deep breaths. He wants to know. You want to tell him. Say it, dammit! "I'm…" Why was it so damn hard?
Roy turned to look at her, his eyebrows raised, his eyes feigning nonchalant carelessness.
Don't look at him. Pretend that you're talking to Hayate. How hard could that be? "I'm…" Her voice immediately dropped. She couldn't do this…
"What is it?" Roy immediately asked. He stepped back toward her and dropped onto the table in front of her.
She looked him straight in the eyes. Tears filled her own eyes, but she managed to whisper around them. "I'm pregnant…"
Roy didn't reply for a good thirty seconds. Once he found it in him to speak or move, he only ducked his head, face red. "Whose is it?" he asked quietly, as though afraid of the answer.
Riza copied him, watching the floor. "It's… I don't… I don't know. I mean, I do know, but I don't know him, he just… he just kind of…" she swallowed and shook her head. Just at the thought of mentioning what happened, tears spilled over her eyelids and started trickling down her cheeks.
The colonel's hand reached up and lifted her chin, wiping the tears from her cheeks. He looked right into her eyes, not letting her look away. "He just what?" he growled out, not angry at her but at whoever had done this thing to her.
"He… um…" What could she say? How could she say it, when only thinking about it had her curled up in her bed at night, crying?
Roy leaned forward on his knees, listening intently, his face straight. She looked into his eyes, and soon found herself swimming in them. The room around them faded, the world faded, and Roy was the only thing there. She concentrated on him and him alone.
"Ah… It was one of the nights that I was alone… er, you had to stay at the office, here, and it was past time for me to go home, so you told me to go, and that you'd see me in the morning. You had a meeting with Führer Grumman 'r something…" she swallowed and licked her lips. "I felt like I was being followed, so I took a different route home. I… well… there was a man, on this street corner. As I approached, he just grinned at me and watched me. I tried to ignore him, but he grabbed my purse. I grabbed it, too, because I thought that he was going to try to take it, and then… well, he didn't take my purse… but he took something else…" Riza shook her head anxiously.
Roy looked confused, and Riza had to remind herself that men typically weren't good with cues. After a second, though, of him piecing together the tidbits of information, a worn hand went to his mouth, and he looked as though he might be sick. "Ahh…" he stopped and shook his head. "When was that?" he asked after taking a moment to calm himself.
"Not long after you got your sight back. Um… it's been about four months."
Roy nodded, pausing to think. He ran a hand over his face, making Riza certain that he'd discovered exactly what day that had happened. He moved a little bit, switching from the table to the couch, right beside her. He innocently offered an arm, hoping that he wasn't being too invasive.
Riza watched him for a few seconds, biting her lip. After a split second's indecision, she sighed and bent over, curling against him a little. Though tears fell, not a sob left her. She would not show so much weakness to the man.
Roy fitted his other arm around her, smiling softly. He held her against his chest, resting his chin ever so softly on her head.
They must have sat for ten or twenty minutes before Riza awkwardly started tugging away from him. "Um… I'm okay, now." She muttered gently.
After another second, Roy released her, sitting back to give her space. "So… now…"
Riza shrugged. "I don't know what I should do with it. I've already thought about a few things… adoption, abortion… I certainly can't keep it, since I'm around work so much, so I don't know what to do."
Roy nodded, thinking this bit of information through. "…Unless you are leaning so strongly towards it, abortion ought to be out of the question. I think that we've both done enough killing, no?"
"I was only considering. I don't think that I'd have been able to do it." Riza agreed.
Roy nodded once more, apparently pleased. "And adoption? If you truly feel like you couldn't take care of it, then by all means adopt it out. But there are always babysitters." He paused for affect, "Riza, when the baby is born, you have a three month maternity leave, already granted. I'll do any of the paperwork today if I need to. In that time, you could find a proper babysitter for when you start work again, couldn't you? If you really needed, I know that you could in a week. Less than, even." He rubbed his bare hands together, as though he were anxious. He licked his lips, watching her. "And I'm willing to help you with it, in any way that I can. With anything."
Riza looked right up at him again. She licked her lips and gulped loudly. "I… thank you."
Riza panted as she attempted to quell the pain, clutching at the proffered hand as if it were a lifeline. At the moment, it practically was. She squeezed her eyes shut, but they immediately shot open again as she screamed in pain.
"You're doing fine, wonderfully in fact, you can do it, c'mon… Push!"
Riza glanced to her left, toward her companion.
"That's right… that's right, watch me. You're doing fine."
"It's crowning!" informed a doctor, glancing their way.
Riza moaned as the baby continued to push its way out slowly. She didn't know if this would ever end.
"Gah!" Riza screamed again, squeezing the hand tighter.
"Keep going, you're doing good, you're doing good, you can do it…" Roy looked down at her, holding her hand nearly as tightly as she was holding his. His hand was being squeezed so tightly that one might have thought that Roy was wearing his gloves, it was so white.
Riza slumped in relief not ten minutes later when a baby's cry echoed through the hospital room, piercing the tense air. She closed her eyes and finally dropped Roy's hand.
"It's a… a beautiful baby girl. You, sir, are one lucky father." The doctor said, smiling at Roy, holding a bundle that they'd swaddled in blankets.
Roy stroked Riza's sweat-covered forehead gently, purring proudly. His hand cupped so only his fingertips and heel lightly touched her. He smiled at the doctor, still stroking Riza's head, and wiped away a bead of his own sweat. "Not mine." He reminded starkly. He wanted to take the little girl, but he also didn't want to leave Riza's side, because there was no way in hell that someone was touching her, unless it was him or someone he desperately, desperately trusted.
The doctor seemed to notice some kind of frustration. He strode over and held out the little girl to the two adults, not sure who would take it.
Riza was too busy panting and trying to recover to even notice that the doctor had done anything more than tell her that her child—her innocent, beautiful child—was a girl. She looked up at Roy, watching in confusion as he pried her hand off of his and then held his arms out.
Roy took the little girl from the doctor and cradled her, cooing gently to her. His eyes were soft. He smiled at Riza, muttering, "she is beautiful."
Riza looked at the girl, forcing a nod. She could already see that the baby's eyes were blue… but weren't all newborns' eyes blue? She hoped so, and that they would change to her own color, or perhaps something in between hers and the girl's father's.
Roy turned completely in the chair that he'd pulled up a while ago. He held the baby out to Riza, who swallowed and forced herself to calm. He only completely released the girl when Riza's arm had situated completely around her.
The girl fit into Riza's arms perfectly, all snuggled tightly. Even though she had an asshole for a father, Riza couldn't help but think that this girl was absolutely perfect.
"What do you want to call her?" asked Roy softly, crossing his arms on her bed.
Riza turned up to him, eyes half-lidded. She stroked her thumb over her daughter's forehead softly, and started bouncing her a little. She mentally brought up the list of girl's baby names that she'd created, her mind's eye almost immediately snapping to one of her favorites. "Audrey."
"Audrey Hawkeye." Roy muttered. He smiled again, reaching over to rub little Audrey's delicate cheek. "Gorgeous."
Riza nodded, shifting a little, still holding Audrey tightly. "Roy… I…" how was she meant to ask this? It was a strange question in its own right, but to ask her superior officer? "What if she looks like him?" she asked.
Roy's smile drooped only minutely, but then it strengthened considerably. "What does it matter what she looks like?" he asked innocently.
She gave him an exasperated look, but then shook her head and looked down at her baby.
"Ri… Riza. Riza, c'mon. Look, it really doesn't matter what she looks like. What matters is that she won't be raised by him. You'll raise her well, and you can sure as hel—as heck bet that I'm not going to let her be anything like her father. And you know what? If she looks like you, she's going to be one lucky girl blessed with spectacular looks. And if she looks like him… well, I wouldn't mind investing in hair dye."
Riza smiled when she registered the meaning of this. She looked at him. "When did you get so levelheaded? I thought that was my job…" she whispered fondly.
Roy only grinned. "I took your job when you lost yours."
Riza fell asleep not long after Audrey was christened and a birth certificate was written up. Before she did, though, she made Roy promise to take good care of Audrey… damn good care.
Which explained Roy's position a while later, half-asleep in a chair, the little baby swaddled in one arm.
"…So… would it be a good thing or a bad thing if I said that she looks just like you?"
Roy started out of his near-slumber when he heard that voice. He started dropping his arm, but then recalled who exactly was nuzzled in it and quickly retracted it back to himself. He looked up to see the owner of the voice, groaning loudly in protest when he saw who it was. "Wh-wha' are you doin' here, Fullmetal?" he asked, though he did respectfully turn to greet the boy's younger brother.
"Havoc called us when you were sure that Hawkeye was going into labor. Winry came with us but she stopped to talk with Mrs. Hughes, so we decided to come and stop here." Ed explained matter-of-factly, tossing his golden braid to the side. "And I'm not even Fullmetal anymore; I quit the military, remember?"
"Same dif… dif…" Roy produced a truly monstrous yawn that brought a smile to both the Elric Brothers' faces, "difference." He looked down at the girl in his arms, and then held her out, just a tiny bit closer to them. "You wanna hold her? M' arm's tired. I've been holding her since Riza fell asleep."
"Sure." Ed bent and took the little girl, bringing her close to him before standing fully. He bounced her a little, made a face, and then passed her onto Al. The weakened boy held her and cooed at her, far gentler than Ed. Roy watched the both with growing wary, but then dropped his head back against the wall, exhausted.
"Tired?" Ed mocked.
"I haven't really gotten very good sleep since Riza told me, and I haven't slept at all since she called me to tell me that her water had broken." Roy stifled a second yawn, his eyes sealed shut. "That was over… what time is it?"
"Er…" Ed pulled out his pocket watch, which he'd surprisingly opted to keep, and then snapped it shut, "3 o'clock in the afternoon."
"Over 36 hours ago."
Ed nodded in understanding, feeling for the tired man.
Roy opened his eyes, started as though surprised by something, and then held his arms out to Al. Alphonse obediently handed him the little girl again, backing a step to stand beside Ed. Roy cradled her, stroking the sleeping baby's cheeks affectionately.
"What's her name?" Al asked, his golden eyes wide with curiosity as he watched him interact with her.
"Au…Au…" Roy stifled yet another yawn, his mouth wide, his free hand flying to his mouth to attempt to hide it, "Audrey…"
Ed's eyes crinkled with mirth. "You pick it, or the lieutenant?"
"R-Riza. She did all of the work, y'know."
"Yeah. Right." Ed raised his eyebrows. "It's not like you could name well anyway. You'd probably try to pull off Roy whether it was a boy or a girl." He cackled.
"Would not. M-Maes would probably be my first choice, for a boy. For a girl? Well… I don't know what." Roy defended himself valiantly with a scoff. He started to yawn, pressed his hand to his throat, and was absolutely relieved to find it curbing slowly.
"Why the hell are you so tired?" Ed asked.
"Watch your language around her. If she starts cursing at nine months, Riza will have my head, and I'll have yours." Roy scowled. He shrugged in response to the question. "I've been helping Riza with Audrey a lot. Took her… took her baby shopping 'r whatever many times now… we got everything but the dresser, which we were gonna go get today… but I guess that Audrey was a little… a little bit impatient." He sighed.
"So why aren't you at home, sleeping? That'd probably be better for all three of you." Al commented softly.
Roy only shook his head, offering the younger brother an innocent smirk. "Mmph. Promised Riza that I would look after Audrey until she woke up. Thought it wouldn't be fair to drag her back home, 'specially since all of Audrey's stuff is at Riza's 'partment."
"Oh…" Al bit his lip, reveling in the ability to do so, but then turned to his brother. Ed looked at him, sighed, and nodded.
"Mustang, why don't you let me take you home. It's not safe for you to drive yourself home; you'll end up hitting someone." Ed said, placing a hand firmly on Roy's shoulder.
"I can't leave until Riza's awake. That wouldn't be fair to her." Roy denied.
"Do you think that she'd like to see you torturing yourself for her sake?" Al asked, holding his arms out to the man. "I'll watch Audrey. I'm great with kids. I don't think that I'll have a problem with her. If she does wake up and I can't handle her, I'll just ask a doctor. She's safe with me." He said.
Roy looked at him, a gentle sneer crossing his lips. He sighed, and settled Audrey into the young boy's soft, fleshy arms. He tapped his nose lightly. "You'd better take good care of her. I'm counting on you, Alphonse."
Al freed up a hand and respectfully saluted him. "I will, sir."
Roy nodded to him, an amused look crossing his features. He pushed himself to his feet, stumbled, then caught himself. He felt Ed's hand grab his arm. He sent the boy a grateful look. "alright, you're probably right. Can you even drive, though?"
"'Course I can! I'm 17 years old!"
Al offered the two a look of pleasure as he watched the two bicker down the hall, Ed's hand still tight on the colonel's arm. He cooed to the baby girl in his arms, slumping into Roy's chair.
After a while of mindlessly bouncing the baby, the door in front of Al cracked open. He looked up in time to see Havoc leave the room with a kind wave toward its occupant. The blond smoker looked down on Al, his smile drooping a little. "Where'd the colonel go?" he asked.
"Brother took him home since he's so tired. I'm watching Audrey until the lieutenant wakes up."
Havoc nodded. "She's been awake for a little bit, now, actually. I walked past the colonel and Audrey. I'd have told him to wake up, but he looked like he was sleeping and he hasn't been much, so…"
"Oh. Can I go in and see her?"
"Sure. She's been asking for Audrey anyway."
Al smiled at him, thanked him, and slowly ducked into the room.
True to Havoc's word, Riza was awake. She was sitting up in her bed, reading a novel that Roy had picked up for her. She looked up when she heard the door open. "Why, hello Alphonse. You're looking much better than when I saw you last. Come in, sit down, please. Where's Ed, and the colonel?" she asked him.
Al did as she asked, dropping into the empty chair at her side. "Mr. Mustang was failing at falling asleep here, and dead tired, so brother took him back to his house. He'll probably find his way back here in the morning, anyway, so he won't be gone for too long." He said. He smiled. "And you're looking a lot better, too!" he said, tapping his neck nearest Riza's scar.
Riza nodded, tracing the scar. "Thank you, Alphonse." She said experimentally.
Al started, and then stood to offer Audrey to her mother. "Here, Havoc said that you were looking for her."
"I was. Just wondered if she was being fed and all." Riza agreed, taking her baby. She clicked her tongue softly, stroking back Audrey's blond locks. At her mother's touch, Audrey opened her big blue eyes and yawned a toothless yawn. "Well, hello baby." Riza purred gently, sitting up a little higher. She chuckled when Audrey grasped for her hair and tugged gently. "None of that now," she scolded, pulling her hair softly from the baby's death grip.
Alphonse smiled at her. "You're gonna make a wonderful mom, lieutenant. You're so good at it already, and you haven't had her for any more than a few hours!" he said.
Riza chuckled and nodded. "Yes, well, I did have you and Ed to practice on, so that probably helped. And the colonel, and all of the others. Sometimes, the team acted more like children than you and Ed ever did, Al." she laughed.
"Knowing them, I'm not surprised at all." Al laughed as well, calming with a small sigh. He coughed once, rubbing his aching chest. "So, how is… er, how are you going to raise her? I mean, I know firsthand what it's like, being raised without a father. I know what it's like to feel like you could have… done something different, like you should have been better. Like it's your fault that you don't have a dad anymore."
"Alphonse, it was never you nor Ed's fault. I should hope that you realize that soon. Besides, look at all that you've gained from this," Riza sighed. She directed around her, indicating all of the family and friends in Central and East City. "Also, Audrey will not be raised without a father. Just without her biological father. There is a distinct difference." She shook her head.
"Oh?" Al asked, legitimately curious.
"Roy… well, the colonel has already offered to take care of her, to be her father. And I trust that he can fill in where a father might be necessary. He'll really be very good to her, he already is. He'll make a splendid father." Riza explained to him.
Al bit his cheek, looking down at Audrey. He stood, and then leant over Riza and the baby, speaking directly to Audrey, "well then, I wish you the best of luck."
Roy stroked the cheek of a weeping baby doftly, his own eyes even softer than his gente touch. He tutted down at the baby, trying to hush it.
He was standing alone in the living room, the crackling fire in the fireplace supplying the only light in the bleak darkness of the deep night.
\"Hush now, little one, hush…" he purred to it, tired but willing to stay awake for it. He'd already tried changing the diaper, feeding, and burping it, and playing. He'd even tried giving it a bath, but all attempted showed on the baby's face. It wasn't going to be silenced.
Roy groaned as the wailing grew louder and more obnoxious. He shifted the baby to his other arm, dangling his bare fingers above it to see it it would play.
"Daddy, why are you doing Mommy's job?"
Roy turned from his black-haired baby boy when he heard that voice. He smiled at the girl. Mommy's sleeping. Just like you should be, Audrey," he scolded.
"But I'm not even tired," replied the little girl peering out from the hallway door. Her blue eyes peeked out from the frame, watching the man. "Besides, Mommy never sleeps."
Roy laughed aloud, unable to stop himself. He turned to his son, who still wailed, though he had quieted when Audrey came into the picture. "Mommy does sleep, at the same time that Daddy does. That's just after our favorite daughter goes to bed. Daddy's taking Mommy's job for tonight because your brother kept Mommy up all last night," he explained. He gently bounced the baby, taking a seat on the arm of the sofa. "Besides, since he's my son, I get to take care of him as much as Mommy does. She just does it more because she's so much better than me."
Audrey watched him, her eyes wide. She took a step closer, completely into the living room, and let herself be doused with firelight. "Did you… did you take half-care of me, too?" she whispered.
Roy paused, sucked in a heavy breath, and dropped his son into his baby carrier. The baby whined at the loss of warmth, but Roy ignored him for the sake of his hurting step-daughter. He got to one knee and put out one arm.
Audrey, after a few seconds of anxious indecision, rushed forward into his arms. She sat sideways on his knee, nuzzling deep into his warm collarbone.
"Audrey, your father isn't here, and if he ever does come back within a million foot radius of you or your mom,, he'll be lucky to be alive. He wasn't here for anything; not your birth, your first words, or your first steps. He wasn't here for your first day of kindergarten or your first day of preschool. He wasn't here for your first birthday, first scrape, first bike ride, or anything else." Roy rested his chin on her soft blond hair. "I was there for all of that, and more, and I always will be. I'll be here for you, for Mommy, and for Maes, and that won't change until the day that I'm six feet under." He finished by rubbing her head, whispering, "Of course I took half-care of you, silly. Well, y'know, maybe a little less, since your mom's so good at it, but I've always taken care of you, and I always will. Okay?"
Audrey sniffled pathetically, but offered her stepfather a sad nod. "Okay. Will you kill my father if he comes around?" she asked seriously.
"Kill him? I… don't know. At the very least, I'd incinerate him, so that he'll be stuck in the hospital for a year or more. But if he starts saying the stuff that he said to Mommy, all those years ago, I definitely will."
Audrey listened patiently, nodding at his words. "Can I? Or am I not supposed to do that? Teacher has been teaching me way good about alchemy. He said that I could probally learn your stuff, too, if you said I could."
Roy stood and glanced around him, setting Audrey on the floor. "No, you aren't allowed near that man, no matter the reason. And you won't learn my stuff for several, several years, if you ever do," he said with a heavy shake of his dark head.
"Yessir." Audrey looked down at Maes, her little half-brother, who had quieted enough that Roy and Audrey could have a decent conversation without being interrupted. That wasn't to say that he'd yet stopped altogether. "Daddy, you aren't very good at Mommy's job, are you? I guess that there is a reason that she does it more than you do." She giggled.
"Yeah, yeah," Roy's face drooped into a scowl. He heard that from his staff all of the time, he didn't need to hear it from his family, too.
"Maybe I can help." Audrey scrambled from his side, dropping in front of Maes.
Maes' dark eyes found her face and he just watched her, fat, sad tears rolling down his cheeks.
"Mommy always sings this to me before bed. She sings so pretty. I can try it, too," she decided. She licked her lips and opened her mouth, "Beautiful dreamer, wake unto me… starlight and dewdrops are waiting for thee… Sounds of the rude world, heard in the day… lull'd by the moonlight have all pass'd away… Beautiful dreamer, king of my song, list' while I woo thee with soft melody… Gone are the cares of life's busy throng…. Beautiful dreamer, awake unto thee… beautiful dreamer, awake unto thee…" Audrey swallowed loudly when she finished, looking up at her beloved father.
Roy trailed his hand through her hair softly, proudly. "You have a spectacular voice, little one. Absolutely fantastic," he breathed to her, as though afraid to break the stillness. He looked down at his son, whose eyes were nothing more than slits and closing fast. The boy—finally silent—opened his mouth in a wide yawn. "You put him to sleep."
"Do you think Mommy will care that I took her song?" Audrey asked.
Roy smiled at her. He scooped his son into his arms, switched him to the crook of one elbow, and then stooped to wrap his arms around Audrey's waist. The blond wrapped her arms around his neck when he hefted her to his hip. She smiled into his shoulder lightly.
"I think that she'd be proud of you for using it to put Maes to sleep, not bitter. Speaking of sleep, I think that it's about time that you went to it. C'mon, little darling. If you don't get to bed, you'll be too tired for school tomorrow."
"Then I'll stay up forever!" Audrey declared.
"Ohh no you won't." Roy carted his kids to their rooms. He stopped in the nursery, which was right next door, and dropped Audrey into the rocking chair. He nestled Maes into his crib, stroking his cheek again with only the gentlest of touches. "Good night, my little man." He purred.
He turned back on his step daughter with an evil smirk, swooping her into his arms. "Your turn!" he decided. He prepared to lay her in the crib beside her brother.
Audrey kicked, laughing quietly. "No Daddy, no! I don't need no stinking crib anymore! I'm a big girl now!" she insisted.
"A big girl? No big girls that I know stay up forever to avoid school." Roy shook his head with an amused scowl.
"I am a big girl! I was only kidding!"
Roy stopped, resting her waist on the bars of the crib. "Promise you'll go to bed, now?" he asked.
"Promise!" Audrey agreed.
Roy righted her, resting her on his hip. "Well, alright. But if I hear any of that 'my fingers were crossed' nonsense, you'll be sleeping in a crib until you're 10."
Audrey put her hands up and splayed her fingers proudly. "No fingers crossed here, Daddy." She promised.
Roy grinned. He carried her out of the nursery and towards her own room, two doors over. "Good girl," he purred. Once inside, he flicked her light on and laid her on the bed. He grabbed the covers that had already been pulled back, and tugged them over her. He tucked her in tightly, and then started to leave.
"Wait, Daddy, where are you going? What about eskimo kisses? Daddy, please?" Audrey pouted at him. When he gave her a blank look, she muttered, "Let's rub noses?"
He finished for her, going to sit on her bed beside her. "Like the eskimoses."
Audrey smiled when he brought his face down to hers, and they rubbed their noses together. Audrey kissed his cheek, giggling when she felt him do the same. "Okay. Good night, Daddy. I love you."
"Good night, my little Eskimo. I love you, too. Thanks for helping me with Maes," Roy replied, petting her head.
Audrey smiled a gap-toothed smile and turned over, mumbling into her sheets around a wide yawn, "you're very, very welcome." Nearly as soon as Roy flicked her lights off, she fell asleep.
Roy smiled back at her, watching her for a few seconds longer. He closed her door, checked in on the baby yet again, went to put out the fire in the fireplace, and then went to join his wife in bed, fiting his arms gently around her waist.
Riza smiled at him over her shoulder, surprising Roy that she was still awake. "Thanks for taking care of that, Roy," she whispered softly.
Roy smiled back at her, burying his nose into her neck, sucking in her sweet scent. "Anytime, honey."
"Now go to sleep. If we don't wake up early enough, we won't catch the train east. I don't think that Ed and Al will be terribly happy if we miss their weddings, just because you slept in, lazy."
"We won't miss them." Roy muttered. He grinned against her neck. "Good night, love. I love you."
Riza's brown eyes searched for his. They settled on his mop of black hair, turned over, and pressed her lips to his in an innocent kiss. "Good night, Roy. I love you, too."
It had been almost five years since Riza's assault, four since Audrey's birth. In that time, Roy had finally worked up the courage to ask Riza out, and had within the year asked for her hand. They'd been married for almost a full year until Riza realized that she was pregnant again.
Maes was five months old, and named affectionately for Roy's old friend, Maes Hughes.
Roy had yet to make it to the very top of the military. He was near—very near, in fact. Within the next few years, the people of Amestris would hold their first election. Of course, Roy planned on being a part of that big event, though he knew that he'd have to fight hard against the tough and well-known faces that would be his opponents. It was well worth the fight, though, to change Amestris around.
Havoc and Riza's friend Rebecca had been married for six months, and already Rebecca was pregnant with their first child. Havoc had been terribly excited to share the news, though not quite as excited as Hughes had been when Elysia had been growing.
Falman was dating the scatterbrained Sheska, and things were looking up for them.
Breda and Fuery were both, as the put it, free men, though Fuery did have his eyes on someone in East City.
Edward and Alphonse had grown well. Ed and Winry had gotten together not long after Ed had returned from the West. Alphonse had met up with the bean girl, Mei Chang, and had been traveling with her. When he returned home, he didn't come alone. Now, the two boys—Men, they were men now—were engaged to their lovely girls, and would be marrying the same day, in the same place.
Every day, Roy and Riza's grew more and more, be it their own blood family or the members of their team.
And they would never take it any other way.