Word Count: 1 000
Fandom: Fullmetal Alchemist
Characters/Pairings: Roy, Riza
Summary: It hurts because she has always been a physical representation of what little good there is left in his life – his guide and his strength, his light and the reason he's still alive at all.
Warnings/Notes: Spoilers for the end of the manga. Written for the challenge on FFn regarding blind!Roy courtesy of Megami Ze, mebh, Thousand Sunny Lyon and Disastergirl.
In Absentia Lucis
There are flashes of gold in the distance – clear and bright against the curtain of black, but undoubtedly the exact shade of gold he's come to know and love because it's the colour of Riza Hawkeye's hair. Roy's standing alone in the darkness, but the gold is glinting at him: a tiny speck of light as if it's from a candle shining from miles and miles away.
Roy's mind is hazy. He's not entirely sure what's going on. He doesn't know where he is, or why it's all dark, or why there's a light the colour of Riza Hawkeye's hair shining at him from so far away.
"Hawkeye?" he calls tentatively. He doesn't know why he does that either because the light is a light and clearly not her. But he calls her name again because it's the only thing that makes sense in his mind. That exact shade of gold can't be anything else. "Hawkeye!"
He doesn't get an answer, and there's something in his chest that tells him that something is wrong. He takes a step. "Lieutenant!" he calls once more.
He's still not sure what's going on, but all of a sudden he's running, and the feeling in his chest is cold and creeping and awful, and it feels as if Hawkeye is in that light somewhere and she's in danger but he doesn't know why –
The onslaught of colour comes out of nowhere, and he raises his arms to shield his eyes from the intensity of the light. The sounds are becoming sharper too and when he drops his arms again, his breath hitches.
The gold he has been chasing is flecked with red. It's drenched in blood. Hawkeye is dying and he is watching as the light in her eyes begins to fade.
"Oh?" There's a voice from somewhere else, and it's taunting him. "She's become quiet. I wonder if she's dead?"
"No!" he cries out. "Lieutenant! Answer me! Hawkeye, goddammit! Lieutenant!"
Roy's eyes snap open. The scene is gone. It's quiet. His breathing is shallow and uneven and there's a hand on his shoulder, fingers tight and digging into his skin through the material of his hospital gown. His eyes dart around the room looking for some semblance of light or colour but there's nothing – only the images of his Lieutenant broken and bleeding and dying –
"Riza?" he gasps, raising his arms in a desperate attempt to find her. "Where are you?"
"I'm here, sir," she whispers, catching his arms. "I'm here."
"I can't see you – where - "
He stops, breath catching in his throat. He almost forgets that he's blind.
"Lieutenant," he croaks at last. He clings to her arms, fingers wrapped tightly around her wrists, afraid that she'll move away from him and leave him to flounder by himself in the dark. In his mind's eye, there's still blood pouring from her neck. "Riza."
The bedsprings creak, and he feels the mattress dip down beside him as Riza takes a seat. "I'm here, sir," she says again.
It takes a few moments for his breathing to settle before Roy can find it in himself to sit up. "Riza," he says once more, still shaky – still afraid that she'll disappear. She doesn't, and she reaffirms her presence by gripping his wrists as tightly as he's gripping hers. "You're okay?" he asks at last.
There's a pause, and Roy suspects – and hopes with all his being – that she's nodding. "Yes sir," she whispers.
Roy only half believes it. He releases her wrists and lifts his hands towards her, finding her shoulder first and proceeding to trace along her collar bone to the bandages at her throat. He can feel her tense beneath his fingers but she doesn't stop him, so he continues. "You're okay," he whispers again.
"I am," she states, voice trembling a little. She catches his hands as he tries to lift them to her face. "Sir?"
He pulls her into his arms before she can object and holds her there as tight as he can without hurting her. He can still see her bleeding out in his mind and more than anything, he just wants that image to go away. It's this exact moment that he realises that it won't, and the image of how close he had come to losing her forever will haunt him forever – branded into the darkness that only he can see.
But she's safe, he tells himself. She's here – and he can't see her, but she's in his arms and she's breathing and she's okay.
He can feel her hesitate, but after a moment, she lifts her arms and wraps them around his neck. "You're alright... Roy..." she murmurs. "You're alright..."
Roy shakes his head into her shoulder and tightens his arms around her waist. "I'm not," he whispers, shaky and upset. He's blind, he reminds himself. He can't see her. He's hardly okay at all. Roy shudders and breathes a sigh. "But you are."
Riza shifts in his arms, and it feels like she's about to say something. She doesn't, but Roy wishes that she would because every moment she doesn't speak brings the image of her blood back into his mind.
"Riza?" he asks her timidly.
"I'm not going anywhere, sir," she mumbles at last. "And – and things –" she pauses, breath hitching, " – they'll get better – and we'll get through this. We will."
Roy says nothing and nods into her shoulder, wishing more than anything for the ability to believe it because he can tell by the sound of her voice, and from the tears that threaten to be there, that she doesn't believe it either.
It hurts because she has always been a physical representation of what little good there is left in his life – his guide and his strength, his light and the reason he's still alive at all.
But he can't see her. He can't see his light.
There's only darkness and the memory of her blood on his hands.