Colonel Roy Mustang lived in a different world now, a world of truth, of change, of promise, of darkness.
It was odd and it was new.
But no matter how many things were different, how many things had been altered or revealed or hidden, she was still there, like always. And she was taking him home.
It was the first time they'd really been alone since The Promised Day. They'd both been in the hospital for a few, short days, both under careful watch by doctors and soldiers, resting and healing and managing with the creation of the new Ishvalan policies. She was there, too, just as she was now, guiding him with her touch for he could not see the way.
Riza was his eyes, his perfect eyes. Just like always.
It was strange how much he couldn't remember: how many steps from the street to his apartment building, how many stairs to reach the landing, how long the hallway to his front door was.
"We're here," she said. Roy felt her grip on his elbow tighten slightly as she shifted, signifying a stop. He obeyed, and she let go of his arm. He heard her jiggle the handle unsuccessfully. "Key?"
"Yeah, it should be here somewhere." Roy sifted through the pockets of his yet-to-be-washed uniform jacket until he found the key. His hand reached out to the door, his fingers sliding expectantly over the surface as they searched for the door handle.
"Down a little more," she said. There it was. He felt for the keyhole and, when his thumb brushed over it, he aimed well enough that he could slip the key in on only his fourth try. He opened the door and heard the click of a light switch, then felt the touch of her hand on his elbow once more as she began to lead him inside.
"Sit," she instructed, and Roy fell back onto his couch, sinking slightly into the worn cushions. He heard the opening of cabinets. "You don't have any food."
"Why, are you hungry?"
More clattering, the chink of a glass, the flow of the kitchen tap, footsteps. A clink; Riza set the glass on the side table. He reached for it, grabbing at air and grabbing at the table itself until he found the glass. He sipped slowly.
It was to be his last night of blindness.
Jean Havoc was to arrive in Central tomorrow, and after Dr. Marcoh used the Philosopher's Stone on his legs, Roy would get his chance. When Havoc walked, Roy would see.
He had one last dark night. One last quiet night.
Roy could not see, but he sensed Riza standing in front of him. She'd done it so many times. After doing paperwork at headquarters, after completing a mission, after fulfilling some task he had asked of her, she'd stand in front of him, awaiting orders.
She always stood the same way, straight and alert. And a little wanting.
"Any further orders, Colonel?"
It was funny, he couldn't remember how to get to his apartment without his sight, but he could recall every feature of hers. He could picture in his mind's eye the way her blonde hair was lying to the side of her face, the way her lips were set firmly, the way her eyes locked ahead of her.
He wasn't quite ready for her to leave his side.
"Sit down, Lieutenant." he said.
The cushions shifted as she sat next to him, keeping the distance between them. She was there, though. She'd followed him to hell and she'd followed him home, and just because he was surrounded by darkness, he didn't feel lost. He didn't feel alone. He didn't feel like he had when she'd nearly died in front of him, when he watched her throat slit, her blood drip, her eyes roll back as the weakness took over and she fell so hard. He didn't feel like he had when she'd nearly died in front of him, when he couldn't protect her.
Lost, alone, dark.
But in his mind's eye, she was still well and whole and strong. Blemished, yes. He knew the scars he'd created on her back. He knew them. But it was like he'd forgotten how horrible she looked in his arms, how terrifying it was to see her so pale.
She'd almost died.
And he couldn't protect her.
"Can I see it?" he asked. She was silent for a moment. He clarified by holding out his hand. "Can I see what they did to you?"
She scooted closer to him; her knee brushed against his thigh.
Roy held his hand out, touching only air. She grabbed his wrist and moved it closer, closer it to her neck.
The little girl with the strange alchemy had healed it enough so she didn't die. But there was still much healing left to do. While in the hospital, she had undergone a treatment of antibiotics to prevent infection and received a number of sutures to prevent the gash from splitting once more.
His fingers were light as they touched her skin, as they explored the softness and discovered the pain. He felt her breath beneath his touch. He felt her (saw her) staring at him.
The healing wound was rough both under his fingers and in his mind. Bits of scab and a terrifying number of sutures lined themselves up beneath his fingers. She made no motion, no sound, but still he felt her pain. He received her signal. And he was... so...
His name was loud in the dark.
His fingers moved, and she sat perfectly still as his touch rose up from her neck to her face and from her face to her lips. They were soft and smooth and set.
He was reminded of her smoothness when she revealed her father's secrets to him, when his fingers ran over the intricacies of the tattoo. He was reminded of her vulnerability.
He had her back in his hands then; and she had his now. Like always.
They were alive. Not well, not well just yet, but they were alive. And most importantly, they were together.
He flinched when he felt her fingers on his lips now, but he let her touch them slowly, surely. He sighed.
It was an unspoken order; she leaned forward.
His eyes were open and everything was dark and everything was warm when she kissed him. It was soft and quick, and her breath fluttered against him. It was full of truth, of change, of promise, of darkness.
He pulled away slowly.
"You are dismissed," he said.
"Yes, sir." Her hand held his firmly, and his fingers tightened around hers. It was quiet with the two of them on his couch in his mostly empty apartment. It was quiet and calm to be together, alone, after all that.
And in the dark, he sat. For one more night, he sat in the dark.
He sat on his throne with his queen.