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10 January 2010 @ 02:02 am
Beauty in Age  
Title: Beauty in Age
Chapter: Oneshot
Author: chinesetakeout
Pairing: Roy/Riza
Summary: There was wisdom etched in the contours of her face, hidden between her lips, tucked behind her ear. Yet, for all her wisdom, she had no one to give it to. She didn’t have any children; she had nothing but a husband as sharp as herself.
Rating: PG13
Warnings: None.
Disclaimer: No.






WARNING WARNING WARNING: There is a ch. 102 spoiler near the end of this story. If you don't like spoilers or don't know what happens, do not blame me for you reading on. This is also not entirely AU, but it is a fast-forward of at least 6-8 years, give or take.



Faced away from the mirror with her lower back pressed against the counter of the sink, Riza exhaled, releasing a breath she didn’t realize she’d been holding. She ran a hand through her graying blonde hair. Her age finally beginning to take its toll, she woke every morning fearing her face had changed into something unrecognizable to herself to her to her family—even her spouse. She felt behind her until her hand collided with a brass handle, cold against her fingertips.

Younger.


“I’m not old,” she said aloud. Holding her hair in one hand, she clipped it in with another. “I’m not,” she repeated, as though saying it repetitively would change her situation, would make her go back in time just a few years. Even a year or two back would be nice, she reasoned, although not as preferable as five or six. Her body was facing the closed bathroom door, and though there was a lock upon the door, it wasn’t turned closed.


“I’m not,” she repeated as though it would change her situation; make her go back in time a few years. Even a year or two back would be nice, but not as preferable as five or six, she reasoned. Her body faced the closed bathroom door that wasn’t locked, reaching behind her to gently feel the clip’s curved plastic ridges. It wasn’t exactly the exact clip she’d used in the past, but then again, she’d grown, matured more in the last few years than in her entire youth. The thought unnerved her that she could recognize the wisdom that came with age. She could almost hear Roy’s playful taunt, “There’s something that unnerves you, Riza?” He’d say it in a way that’d make her smile; make her feel a bit foolish, but Roy wasn’t here right now. There was only a mirror behind her that kept her in place, stopped her from facing her fears.

With a finger, she traced the outer curve of her lips, skimmed the corners of her eyes. She wondered if wrinkles were appearing or crow’s feet showing. She was only thirty-six, but the constant worries that plagued her mind were certainly going to start showing on her face soon. Her fingers fell from her eyes down to her neck; fingers traced the scar carved across her throat. It was a reminder, a constant reminder, and she made sure to methodically cover it up with make-up or clothing. Never one to care for superficial appearances or what people thought, but there was something about her scar that never ceased to make her feel uncomfortable. The need to hide it away always fluttered in the back of her mind -- it was such an ugly scar.

Perhaps it wasn’t so much the thought of wrinkles or scars showing that worried her so much as what Roy would think—he loved her, but who was to judge what his opinion would be within the next five, ten, fifteen, or even twenty years? She idly traced the solid gold wedding identical to Roy’s on her finger. Her engagement band was nothing more than a simple, lovely diamond and while she hadn’t wanted something extravagant, she still meticulously cleaned it once a week. Their wedding had been more than six years ago.

Riza grasped the sink counter behind her and worked up the nerve to turn around to face her demons. Staring at her face in the mirror, she attempted to see from someone else’s perspective. Pretty, she thought, but nothing above average. With her hair clipped up there was a touch more youth to her face and this pleased her. She judged herself critically; noting that though her face didn’t sag there were faint, but oh-so present lines forming in the corners of her eyes. If it had been six or seven years ago, Riza wouldn’t have believed the face staring back at her was her own. There was wisdom etched in the contours of her face, hidden between her lips, tucked behind her ear. Yet, for all her wisdom, she had no one to give it to. She didn’t have any children; she had nothing but a husband as sharp as herself.

It wasn’t often Riza wished she was younger and rarely did she consider herself unfortunate; she was usually content with her life. It was out of character for her to lounge around or mope about her so-few dismays. She doubted anyone would ever suspect her of being worried about her appearance and why should they? Roy was nothing short of a complete gentleman to her, nothing short of a perfect husband who treated her with utmost respect and showered her in love and adoration. There was no reason to suspect or worry he would leave her for someone younger. The thought seemed idiotic now, but she certainly remembered, before their marriage, when Roy was more than capable of snagging whomever he desired. The thought made her laugh now, her thirty-eight-year-old husband flirting with women in their young twenties.

“Absurd, he would never,” she murmured. Twisting the knob on the sink, water shot from the faucet. She cupped her hands together under the running water and then splashed the water on her face. The water was so cold; her face went numb and her fingers momentarily losing all feeling. So absorbed was she, she didn’t hear the groan of the bathroom door opening behind her nor the sound of bare feet against the old, creaking wood on the bathroom floor. She was vulnerable here, in those few oblivious moments.

“Who would never what?” Roy asked, breaking the silence. His hand touched the side of the wall as he stepped into the bathroom. He saw nothing but black these days, vision nothing but a mere memory to him, but his blindness didn’t hinder him. He took a few steps toward the sound of running water and the sound of Riza’s surprised gasp only for her to breathe in relief, for it was only he. Raising a hand up, he extended it into blackness, into the thinness of air, meeting with the strong, sure hand of his wife.

It never ceased to amaze Roy how Riza kept him afloat, could tolerate his insufferable mood swings, and help him rise when he’d fallen. She was quite literally an angel in disguise. He didn’t know what it was about her that was so captivating, more than beautiful, stunning, and lovely combined. It wasn’t only her looks that could leave people breathless. Roy loved her poise, her confidence, her comforting ways. She had been with him before his rise to fame, reminding him he’d worked too hard to give up his life’s work because of a setback such as blindness.

“You shouldn’t startle me like that, Roy,” she chastised. She led his hand to her hairclip and he felt through the strands sticking out and then she guided his hand down to the clip itself. “I was just talking to myself.”

“Mmm, I apologize.”

Riza didn’t hear any real remorse in voice as he stepped a bit closer, but with confidence—not as tentatively as he might have earlier on with his disability. The hand touching her clip slid to her waist and gripped it firmly, but lightly.

“Riza, is there something you want to talk about?”


Riza laughed inwardly, wondering if by losing his sight, he had acquired telepathy. She pressed the side of her body against his and kissed his cheek. “No, nothing comes to mind.”
It was rare for her to lie to Roy as it was for him to lie to her. Maybe that’s what made her emotions so much more transparent.

“You’re not good at keeping things from me.” There’s a hint of smugness in his voice that’s impossible to miss. He lowered his head to press his lips to her forehead, “You can’t hide anything from the Fuhrer.”

This made her laugh out loud. While it looked like it was at his expense, it was nice to see her smile, since he couldn’t see her emotions anymore. This didn't bother him, but the only true thing Roy hated was that he hadn’t been able to see their wedding day. He couldn’t, hadn’t seen her dress, was unable able to see the flowers (roses in white because they were her favorite). She’d been very informative; describing everything to him as they planned their wedding, telling him every last miniscule detail and color down to a T. She had left nothing to the imagination and upon their wedding day had made sure they had at least a good 20 minutes alone, whispering everything she saw into his ear. He’d seen everything as clearly as day through her eyes. On their wedding night, they had spent a good hour or two simply reminiscing and she’d taken the time to properly tell him about her dress.

“It’s a beautiful color, Roy,” she had whispered. “Think of champagne.”

It‘d been an exchange of words with secret meanings from then on, he recalled. Knowing that while she wanted him to think of the champagne color she was also lightly teasing, reminding him to think of the champagne they had shared together hours earlier during a toast made in their honor. She had let him pour theirs; touching his wrist lightly to let him know it was full—a gesture that no one noticed, but them. It was what he loved about her, the way she never treated him differently, but like she always had.

“There are flowers sewn into the lacing.” They were lying on their honeymoon bed together. Taking his pointer finger, she traced the outline of a rose on her dress. He remembered the feeling of the skin beneath the lace under his finger and remembered that the skin had felt plush, an indication that the lace was near her breasts (for skin nearer the collarbone was less soft, less warm, less inviting, and firmer).

“Beautiful,” he had said, pressing his lips to the place where his finger had skimmed moments before. “The most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.”

But sometimes, though it was nice to linger in the past, the future needed to be the main focus, for dwelling on what could have been was never a good idea. A small shake of his head brought him to the present, her voice a reminder to not linger in the past when he wasn’t alone.

“The Fuhrer knows all, does he?” Riza laughed quietly. He felt her finger trace his lips for a moment, expecting a kiss, but disappointed when he was left with nothing but air.

“The Fuhrer is wrong, this time,” she’d said quietly and for a moment Roy thought he had lost her altogether. With his hand on her waist, he felt and heard the soft sounds of her breathing. Cliché as it was, wherever she was, so long as he was with her, he was home. Home was her laugh, her touch on his face, and the way she loved him. She was a little bit of everything for him, but though he knew her well, he couldn’t read her mind, couldn’t decipher her feelings.

He pulled her closer to him, could almost feel her discomfort now and this unnerved him. There had never been a moment when Riza hadn’t been completely at ease around him. “The Fuhrer is never wrong!”

“No, I suppose he isn’t.” Stepping away from his grasp, she leaned a bit closer to the mirror, an action she knew that Roy couldn’t see now that she was no longer in his grasp. She tugged at the bottom of her eyelids exposing her eyes, but she wasn’t sure why she did that –it was just something she had seen numerous women do in public bathrooms when they were primping themselves up, and suddenly, she wanted to feel as pretty as those women always looked.

“What if one day, Roy, you wake up and touch my face to realize it’s not one you recognize?”

“Riza, I can’t see a thing. You know that. You could have grown an extra eye and still be as beautiful as I remember.” Not to say that Roy wanted her to have an extra eye per say, but it was the only thing he could really think of to say on such short notice.

“That isn’t what I mean, Roy.” She took one of Roy's hands and brought it to her cheek. "One day you may very well wake up and touch my cheek like you do every morning and realize it's not the same as it was years ago."

It wasn't often she let her guard down. He could almost feel the way she needed him to comfort her. This was one of those rare moments when, just for a moment, he would have given anything to see her expression. Be able to directly into her eyes and tell her all the things she wanted to hear with expressive (seeing) eyes. If only life were fairer, for then he would’ve been allowed this small moment of happiness. Instead, he settled on stroking her cheek, softly murmuring, "Riza looks mean nothing when you can’t even see." He straightened, leaned in and kissed her cheek. "Besides, you'll always be as beautiful as I remember."

For a moment, he couldn’t hear anything except for the sound of water dripping from the faucet. He could hardly hear her breathing. He thought, for a horrible moment, that he had said something wrong and made the situation worst, but it only lasted for a fleeting moment. He felt her weight against his chest, could feel her hair press against his cheek.

"Thank you,” she whispered. 


Riza, resting against Roy's chest, found solace in it. She couldn't look into his eyes anymore and found herself remembering when she could. Still, she took comfort in what was offered, but it was what he said next that soothed her most that made her feel completely loved.

"Riza, regardless of whether I can still see you or not and whether you feel the same all those years ago, you're still the only woman beautiful enough for the Fuhrer.”



------------------------


This actually took a long time to write because usually my stories are incredibly short. This is also my first Fullmetal story, so I'm a bit shy about posting it.

Yes, the spoiler is that Roy goes blind, although I suspect (almost?) everyone knows about that at this point. I bawled, I admit it.

A big thanks to my McMuffin from her Bacon for beta reading this, too. ♥
 
 
see no evil: bedroom!
speak no evil: accomplished
hear no evil: death note opening on tv(;
 
 
 
sunri: king & queenthe_sunri on January 10th, 2010 01:02 pm (UTC)
Aww, this was lovely. I love when people write about them as older. I think you caught their personalities well and the language was just beautiful, how you described how Roy moves in his blind world was especially something I liked. ♥
Kyuuvie*Paifish ~chinesetakeout on January 10th, 2010 08:49 pm (UTC)
thank you, this comment really made me smile(:
I tried a little to keep their personalities in tact because I didn't want to go completely OC XD;

thank you<3
seaweed_fma: Roy- Blindseaweed_fma on January 10th, 2010 03:43 pm (UTC)
wow.. you have now given me a new fic love.. older!blind roy/riza....

This was so well done. I REALLY REALLY hope that you write more of this.... Please?
Kyuuvie*Paifish ~chinesetakeout on January 10th, 2010 08:48 pm (UTC)
ah, i might! depends on if I can have enough time to continue writing |D i get so caught up in school ;; sadly.
(Deleted comment)
Kyuuvie*Paifish ~chinesetakeout on January 10th, 2010 08:48 pm (UTC)
I didn't really notice the repetition, so I'll go take a look after replying to this.

Well, imo, When people near their forties it's usually when people begin to fret about these types of things, but that may be just because I live in California where everyone is obsessed with youth and spending obscene amounts on staying like so.

Thanks for the crit(:
chris with a 'k'jezebel_social on January 10th, 2010 06:54 pm (UTC)
So so so good! I'm actually trying hard not to cry. Really lovely.
Kyuuvie*Paifish ~chinesetakeout on January 10th, 2010 08:48 pm (UTC)
aw, don't cry ~ ♥ glad you liked it :)
live4him4evalive4him4eva on January 11th, 2010 05:15 pm (UTC)
a;lsjdkgjoh T_T So touching. I really love this piece, because I feel like any aging woman, no matter who, will have a moment like this eventually. People don't expect it out of Hawkeye though, so it was a step into new territory and you did it well! Bravo.
starr.: you`re beautiful [lost tk&mn]hopelesstarr on January 31st, 2010 05:36 am (UTC)
that was.. wonderful. :] it was really well written! it's not everyday i run into a lovely older[blind]roy&riza fic ♥