It was a normal mission. Maybe that should have tipped Riza off.
Maybe that should have set alarm bells ringing in her head.
Nothing was normal anymore. Not since that day, three years ago, when she had met Edward Elric.
But it didn't. It was just a routine day. Go in, get rid of the problem, get out. Guard his back. That's all she had to do.
But maybe this time it might have been better to watch his front.
Because the threat hadn't come from the back.
Because if she had guarded his front, then maybe she would've seen the snipers in the building on the other side of the street.
Because if she had guarded his front, then maybe she could've taken the bullet instead of having to watch in terror as one, two, then three bullets ripped through her beloved colonel.
Because if she had guarded his front, then maybe she wouldn't have had to rush to his side, her brain screaming and sobbing as the blood spilled out of his chest.
Because if she had guarded his front, then maybe Maes wouldn't have been shouting for medics and she wouldn't have had the terror of watching as blood slowly seep into the dark blue of his clothing and turn it an ugly purple.
As she knelt next to him, horror making her hands shake and erasing every rational thought in her brain, maybe she wouldn't have had to see his obsidian eyes, fixed on Riza's face, not showing sadness, not fear, not anger. She didn't know what Roy's eyes were trying to silently communicate to her. Not then.
As he opened his mouth to speak, but instead of words, he coughed up blood. The one sliver of her brain that wasn't screaming or sobbing or numb to the point of pain told her that coughing up blood was not good, not good at all, and that the medics needed to get here, to save her Colonel-where were the medics?
Riza didn't know if Maes or Havoc or someone else had taken care of the snipers, and she didn't particularly care either. All she could do was stare in unbridled panic as Roy died. And Riza never panicked. Anyone on the team could tell you that. But Riza was frozen, red eyes staring into black, begging, pleading, beseeching him not to die, to live, so that she could live. So that she wouldn't look back on this day forever and know that she could have saved him.
Then Maes had grabbed her as the medics swarmed her Colonel, and she didn't resist, couldn't resist, and just sat there, eyes wide. Roy was still staring at her.
Faintly, she could hear consoling words spoken in her ear. Maes, looking as terrified as Riza felt, trying to reassure her. Havoc stood above them both, chewing his cigarette to shreds, eyes tracking the frantic movements of the medics.
But Riza couldn't tear her eyes away from her Colonel's dimming eyes.
Even as the ambulance screamed up and the medics lifted him onto the stretcher, Roy's eyes never left hers. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion. Sound was deadened. Nothing made sense. The only thing that existed was his eyes. Staring straight into hers through the pain she knew he'd be feeling. Trying to tell her something-what was he trying to tell her?
Then the message made it's silent way through Riza's brain, and it felt like a red-hot knife had found it's way to her heart and was ripping it apart.
"Colonel." She managed to choke out through a throat that was drier than the desert.
Then the ambulance doors slammed shut and she couldn't see him anymore, and Maes was saying something about getting a car so they could go to the hospital, but she didn't hear him. Because Riza had figured out what he was trying to tell her.
He was trying to tell her goodbye.
How long Riza had sat there, she didn't know. In truth, she didn't know how she got into the seat outside Roy's hospital room in the first place, but she wasn't thinking about that anyway. All she could see was his eyes, his black eyes, showing without words that he was not coming out of the hospital alive. She couldn't see Havoc clenching and unclenching his fists subconsciously. She couldn't see Falman and Breda standing together at the window talking to each other in terse whispers. She couldn't see Fury trying unsuccessfully to smother his sniffles. She couldn't see Hughes, sitting next to her, hands shaking, and staring unseeing into space. And she couldn't-wouldn't-look at the doors, the doors behind which she knew they had taken Roy. She was not looking. Because if she looked, then she would have to think about it. About how she had failed. About how he was dying. About how she was dying because he was dying. And if she thought about that, then she could feel the pain.
It was easier just to not look at it-I'm not looking at it- and not to look at her teammates-I'm not looking at it- and not to think about what had happened-I am NOT looking at it!
But when the gray-haired doctor came out she had to look, a shred of hope sparking in her against her will as Hughes stood up and everyone stared at the new arrival as if he held the key to their survival. Because he kind of did.
The doctor looked around at all of them, six military personnel waiting desperately for news about their superior, and sighed, then shook his head. No other explanation was given, no other explanation was needed. Roy was dead. They couldn't save him.
Riza already knew that of course. She had known it before they had arrived at the hospital. Riza just hung her head back down, and sunk into the daze that had claimed her brain. She was vaguely aware of Fury breaking into unrestrained sobs, of Breda sitting down heavily and running his hands through his hair, of Falman stiffening and staring determinately out the window, of Havoc letting slip a miffled curse and throwing his cigarette angrily at the wall, and of Hughes dropping back down beside her and taking her hand, squeezing it in what he must have thought was a reassuring way, though she could still feel him shaking with silent sobs.
She knew this numbness would not last forever. But as long as she could just not think about it and let herself go into the sea of cold that was her brain, she would. She knew that sometime the haze would wear off and then she would feel the pain. And Riza was sure it would hurt more then.
The numbness in her head lasted until his funeral.
Until they were lowering the coffin into the ground. Then it just hit her, shooting through her like a bullet, like the ones that had killed her Colonel. Roy was gone. And then she fell to her knees and started shaking because it finally made sense. He was dead. And she was not.
He was dead. And she was alive.
He was dead. And she was alone.
Because he was dead.
And she was not.
And then the tears started falling and before she knew it she was full out sobbing, and someone was holding her-was it Hughes? It was Hughes, and he was crying too. The team was standing around them, trying to figure out how to comfort her. But they couldn't comfort Riza. No one could. Not anymore.
So she sobbed as the pain made her brain into one black well of hurt and fear and solitude.
Roy was gone.
If the others noticed that her eyes were always red now, they never said anything. If Hughes ever found her crying when he came with Gracia to make sure she was eating the food they dropped off, he never mentioned it out of her apartment. If anyone noticed that she never smiled anymore, that she hardly spoke, no one called her out on it.
They just left her to her pain, and she was fine with that.
Edward and Alphonse dropped by sometimes-she suspected Hughes recruited them to try and cheer her up-bringing with them a tale of their newest death-defying adventure, or with some coffee and a kitten Alphonse had found in an alley. Black Hayate was always happy to see them at least. But despite Hughes' best efforts, Riza stayed trapped in her well of despair.
Her neighbors kindly brought food and condolences. Riza thought Hughes roped them in too. But she still heard their whispers through the door.
"Ah, Ms. Riza sure is down. I wonder if she'll get better soon."
"Ms. Hawkeye? Oh, the poor dear, she lost her dear friend Colonel Mustang just a week ago, didn't you hear? She's awfully put out."
"She's grieving. We best keep out of her businees."
But was this grief? This soul-encompassing, brain numbing, never-ending pain? If it was, Riza didn't know how anyone ever got out of it.
Maybe it would be better if she was dead, then maybe everything wouldn't hurt so much.
Maybe it wouldn't bring on a fresh wave of pain every time she saw her guns, the guns that had failed to protect Roy.
Maybe it wouldn't be so hard to keep breathing. To keep trying to drag herself out of this abyss of misery. To wake up every morning and go back to Headquarters, back to Hughes and his forced smile, back to the team and their efforts to get Riza back to the way she had been, back to the Elric brothers and their problems, back to the place Roy used to be, before she failed him.
But she still tried. Because her Colonel had died trying to make Amestris a better place and she was going to see that through, no matter how much every breath hurt. No matter how much she missed him.
No matter how much she wished he was there.
A/N: Hope you like this, it took me forever to write because of school. This is one of the plot bunnies that have been rampaging through my brain all summer, and I just had to get it down on paper. I was thinking about how Hawkeye would react to Roy's death, and this kindof morphed out of that. If you find any spelling errors or mistakes, or have a comment, question, or flames, please leave a review! let's face it, even if you don't, please leave a review! Thanks a bunch.
EDIT 1/12/13: Changed a couple things that were bothering me and fixed a couple grammar errors I didn't pick up, and added one or two things.
Thanks to everyone who reviewed and favorited!