It was almost tranquil, the picture they made, side by side, night after night. Mustang and Hawkeye make a small discovery about themselves. Postseries. Royai.
It was almost tranquil, the picture they made, side by side, night after night. He reclined, propped up on so many pillows so that his stitches wouldn't pull, a cane at the bedside and an assortment of painkillers and vitamins piled by the lamp. She lay curled on her side, facing away from him, the quilt pulled up to her chin, golden hair spilling over the pillow. They did not touch, though sometimes his arm would brush her back, or her heel would hit his calf. Her dog slept in a ball between their feet.
Every night she changed his bandages, counted out his pills, fluffed his pillows, adjusted the quilt around his legs. Every night he watched her, because anything he could have said was silenced in the face of such unerring loyalty.
Then, when she was certain he was comfortable and cared for, she would disappear into the bathroom and scrub away the day's strains. She reappeared pink and clean and smelling like his soap. She would sit down on the side of the bed that was quickly becoming hers and pull her wet hair over her shoulder, working a wide-toothed comb through the slick strands. He could smell his shampoo.
When she was done, she would look over her shoulder at him, and he'd nod. She'd turn, puling her knees up under her, and reach across him to turn off the lamp. She murmured her goodnights and he responded in kind, then she'd settle down into his bed, now hers as well, and fall asleep.
They had never made love, never even kissed but for one almost-drunk attempt goaded by Hughes a few New Years ago. Sharing a bed with Riza Hawkeye should have made Roy excited or nervous, or any of a dozen other acceptable emotions, but instead he was struck by the rightness of it all. Sharing a bed like this, it was as if they had been married for years. He slept soundly beside her, never stirring. She tossed a little, but only when she dreamed.
Then one night as she leaned across him and switched off the lamp, he turned his head and kissed her.
It was an easy thing to do. He had thought about it every night but the first. He could always feel her breath, light on his ear when she'd lean across him, breast warm were it brushed against his arm, her own arm reaching across his chest.
She froze, arm still stretched across him, and he shifted a little, turned his body to relieve the strain on his neck, and his leg knocked into her knees. Off-balance, she tumbled against him, knocking their teeth together. Her hand fell from the lamp switch to his shoulder, thumb pressing under his collarbone as she tried to regain her balance, and he hissed sharply at the sudden pain that shot down the left side of his chest.
She pulled away then, and before he could rehash everything that had just occurred she was unbuttoning his pajama top and pushing aside the bandages on his shoulder, running her fingers along the stitches just to the left of his heart.
"You should be more careful," she said, when she was sure he was unharmed. "I could have pulled the stitches."
Her bottom lip was swelling delightfully from where it had been mashed between her teeth and his. She licked absently at the small trickle of blood, then wiped the back of her hand across her chin, where she could feel it creeping down. He could see it in the street lamp that shone through the open curtain of his window.
He just sighed and settled back into the pillows, closing his eye as she sat up in bed, dabbing at her injury with a handkerchief she pulled off the bedside table. She didn't bother to get any ice for it, and didn't bother with trying to sleep. She laid down and closed her eyes, but just like Roy she didn't slumber. It was impossible now. She felt wrong beside him; wound too tight
and stretched too thin. She felt confined in this little corner of his bed, knowing that it had been shared by so many other women before her. She had never dared hope she would be allowed to stay so long, and still couldn't bring herself to hope that she would stay longer, that he would give her this little corner.
You didn't hold a flame in the palm of your hand, unless you wanted to be burned.
She was still all night, so he knew she wasn't sleeping. He stirred, restless on the pillows, and she knew the same.
The sun was a red sliver growing on the horizon when Riza rolled over to face Roy and pushed herself up on her elbows. He opened his eye, and glanced over at her.
"What are we doing?" she asked him, sitting up when he raised an eyebrow at her. "This," she gestured at the room. " Us. You, me, in your bed, every night for the past three weeks. What is this?"
"Peaceful?" he supplied, sitting up straighter against the pillows. "Comforting in it's regularity? Some semblance of normal?"
"This isn't normal," she countered, looking down at her hand, laying by his on the blue quilt. He made to reach for it, but settled for idly linking his pinky with her own, almost as an afterthought.
"Baby, we are far from normal," he said gently, and it scared her that she didn't flinch at the pet name.
She laughed bitterly at that, and laced her fingers through his.
"What are you so scared of, anyway?" he asked, turning in the bed to face her.
She was silent for a long while, just looking back at him as the world outside grew brighter in the window. She was afraid, but not of Them. She was afraid of all the other things that came with being Them: the looks people would give them, the arguments over money and the house and the dog, the children that would undoubtedly follow the marriage.
But she couldn't possibly say all that out loud, not yet, because admitting it could happen would be to have hope.
So instead she said, "I'm not afraid, sir," because she was a soldier and a soldier couldn't afford to let the enemy see their fear.
The little battle taking place in Roy Mustang's bed had three possible outcomes: she would end up back in her apartment, in her own bed, cold and lonely; she would stay in his bed as more than his caretaker and friend, completely unprepared for whatever came next; or she could ignore what was happening between them, knowing he would do the same if she chose to.
He laughed at her, and she stiffened beside him.
"Five in the morning in my bed, smelling like my soap, and you still can't use my name?" he teased, rubbing his thumb across her wrist.
"And why shouldn't I?" she asked, pulling her hand out of his. "Until last night there was nothing between us that hadn't been there for years. Then you had to go and-"
"Do you honestly believe what's coming out of your mouth?" Roy interrupted, sitting up on his own, leaning closer to her.
"I have to," she said, looking down at the new scars that adorned his right hand. "I'm not prepared to do otherwise."
"We're soldiers, Riza," he voiced softly. "We do what's asked of us, prepared or not."
She wanted to smile at the last line, though she didn't know why. Instead she leaned into him, resting her forehead against his temple so that he could feel her breath against his ear, just like when she had switched off the lamp.
"And what-" he couldn't help the sharp shallow breath that escaped when he felt her lips moving against his ear- "exactly, is being asked of me, sir?" she murmured, emphasizing his title.
He chuckled, a low, rough sound in the back of his throat.
"Call me Roy," he breathed, and added as an afterthought, "Lieutenant." Then, just like when she had switched off the lamp, he turned his head and kissed her.
This time when she fell into him she didn't pull away.