" ... the gun too familiar in her hands, the motions of identify and target and eliminate instinctual ..." Riza Hawkeye, Roy Mustang, and the nature of trust and faith. [Spoilers for Chapter 61; Ma...
Disclaimer: Fullmetal Alchemist is not mine. No copyright infringement is intended.
Notes: Spoilers (like MAD) for Chapter 61 of the manga. I blame Tige for reminding me that I have not yet ficced my FMA OTP, and the newest manga chapter for eating my brain. (Also, this did not end like I wanted it to. It was supposed to be darker and AU-ish, and instead is ambiguous.)
Before the war, she offered him the secrets mapped out on her back. Her father had expected it of her: he had believed, with every fibre of his being, that Roy Mustang was a good man, and she, believing her father, had transferred that belief to his student in turn. When she lay on her stomach, fighting not to shiver as his fingers hovered just above the lines of the array, she was still very young, and the infatuation was no surprise.
When she offers him her back next, it has been only a handful of years, yet she feels an eternity distant from the girl she had been then. She grew up while training, learned what it was like to kill a man out here high above a city now in ruins, and it is hard to even remember that girl anymore. She has seen blood and terror and pain and death, and been the cause twice over - the gun too familiar in her hands, the motions of identify and target and eliminate instinctual, but there is also the other weapon she carries and what it has become. When he comes upon her, burying an Ishbalan child (a girl who will never grow up, a girl, she thinks, who was surely old before her time), his presence is salt against the raw aches inside, because he reminds her, so forcibly, of what has been done with that gift.
"Burn it," she says, when he hesitates at the last, when his fingers hover once more just above the skin, and the shiver this time is fear and anger and, perhaps, the remnants of that youthful adulation.
After the war, she takes what leave she has earned - they pulled her straight from the academy, so there is little - and spends most of it staring at the uniform laid out neat and pressed and folded on the chair of her spartan apartment. It should be red, she thinks, but somewhere in the midst of sleepless nights, the thought changes. It should be red, she thinks, so that no one else's needs be. If someone's hands must be bloody, let it be hers, and not the next little girl's. She remembers that desert nightmare too well.
When they meet next, it is he who offers her his back, and she realises that, perhaps, her father's faith was not misplaced - knows it was not, when he tells her to kill him if he strays from the path. They understand each other, as so many who were on the eastern frontier do: they are building a world where Ishbal need never happen again.
"Will you follow me?" he asks, and she bows her head in agreement.
Years later, when he has forgotten, her gun is at his back.
- finis -