Fandom: Fullmetal Alchemist [Hagane no Renkinjutsushi]
Pairing: Roy Mustang/Riza Hawkeye [Royai]
Spoilers: Spoils EVERY DAMNED THING. If you don't know how the series ends and you want to remain unspoiled, you should probably stop reading now. If you've never seen the anime and you had no intention of ever doing so, go right ahead and read.
Specific anime spoilers for "Flame Vs. Fullmetal" (13), "Ishbal Massacre" (15), "Lost Thing" (16), "Farewell Ceremony" (25), "Her Reason" (26), "Teacher" (27), "The Sinner Within Me" (36), "The Flame Alchemist, the Fighting Lieutenant and the Mystery of the 13th Warehouse" (37), "Without Knowing His Name" (42), "The Stray Dog Has Run Away" (43), "Hoehnheim of Light" (44), "One Who Lets Her Heart Rot" (45), "Human Transmutation" (46), "Farewell" (48), "Death" (50), Final Episode (51 -- which has a title, but I don't know what it is).
Notes: Dialogue quotes come from the fansub. I do not own the DVD's and the Adult Swim version makes my brain cry. So, if some piece of dialogue I quote is a bit off, don't e-mail me telling me that I got it wrong, if it's not the exact same version that you have, we probably had a different translator. Also, don't e-mail me to yell at me that I've gotten it completely wrong and Roy/Ed (or Riza/Hughes or whatever floats your boat) is the only pairing. I don't really care and I'll probably call you a nasty name -- I just wanted to write the essay. . .someone had to.
Thanks to mabis for the transcribed dialogue from "The Sinner Within Me".
Thanks to mandy138 for the screencap from Episode 46.
All other screencaps and pictures I use, I probably don't remember where I got them from. They've been floating around my hard drive for a very long time.
*Taisa = Colonel
I have explained how I got into the Fullmetal Alchemist fandom before, how Sleeps with Coyotes had started writing Roy/Ed slash fiction. And since I am a loyal fan girl I followed her.
So, I won’t go into that again. Which makes this more difficult, because I honestly don’t recollect how I ended up being a fan of Roy/Riza (Royai) as opposed to Roy/Ed. I know it started out as a threesome of Riza/Roy/Ed. And that somewhere along the line Roy/Riza became my Fullmetal Alchemist OTP. And suddenly Roy/Ed wasn’t my One True Pairing any longer.
I’m not sure how it happened or where it happened. All I know is that one day I looked and Hawkeye wasn’t just another one of Roy’s minions. And then suddenly she wasn’t “Hawkeye” and became “Riza”.
So, forgive me if I sound bewildered at moments, because I don’t know how it happened to me, I was violently opposed to the idea at first. Then something happened and it became THE pairing (or at least ONE of THE pairings).
It looks much different when your focus isn’t on Edward. . .
I’ve explained the plotline before as well. But, in case you didn’t read that essay (I know that if you avoid slash like the plague, you probably didn’t) I’ll rehash the basic plot, and then proceed to put in a LOT of new information that wasn’t pertinent to the Roy/Ed essay, but is now CRUCIAL.
The series takes place during the early 1900s in an alternate version of Earth where alchemy -- a power or process of transforming something ordinary into something special, such as straw into gold -- is not only possible, but common and accepted. Somewhere in their history, they developed alchemy and didn’t progress the way our version of Earth did.
The country of Amestris is a military state (read: dictatorship) which has been at war for as long as most of the people alive can remember. Within the ranks of the military is an elite group of soldiers who are known as the “attack dogs of the military” -- the State Alchemists -- they’re the ones the army calls in when they decide they want the war to end quickly.
Which was the case in the Ishbal Civil Conflict.
This is where our knowledge of the characters begin. So, this is where I will insert the character introductions -- it will make it easier to progress.
Roy Mustang is one of the aforementioned “attack dogs”. Not a lot is known about Roy Mustang before he was in the Ishbal Civil Conflict. His specialty is Flame Alchemy -- he controls fire with fibre-synthetic gloves which have a transmutation circle, known as an array, sewn into them. He rose up in rank when he was sent in with the rest of the alchemists to stop the war before it got too far out of hand. During this time, he was given the order to execute a doctor couple who were treating wounded on the battlefield. They were treating both Ishbalites and the military, and the military couldn’t have them saving men who would kill their soldiers.
In a moment of grief over killing the innocent couple, Roy is very close to committing suicide (he has a gun to his chin and is about to pull the trigger); a fellow alchemist stops him and Roy agrees to let him escape, never revealing his whereabouts -- until he meets Edward, but I’ll get to that when I describe the Royai subtext.
This event will be extremely important, as it leads Roy to decide that he would never again follow nonsensical orders and would one day reach a level of power where he didn’t have to take orders.
If not a lot is known about Roy Mustang, even LESS is known about his second-in-command and self-proclaimed protector, First Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye. She is a weapons expert with pistols as her forte. She can kill you from 100 yards away. Other than that, most of what we get is inferred from events and dialogue. We know that she served in the Ishbal Civil Conflict, because she says she knew the doctors that were killed. (I’ll get to that when I get into the pairing.) And she either served under Roy at the time or was under him very soon afterwards, because she seems almost intimately familiar with the events. She lives alone. . .and she has a dog.
Infiltrate, Destroy, Rebuild
I am finding it difficult to figure out exactly how to start discussing the pairing.
This is partly due to a fear that I am not going to be able to do them the justice they deserve, and it is partly because to me, the relationship is so OBVIOUS.
After having watched the entire series through several times, there seem to be so many moments it would be difficult to list all of them and still make this essay seem coherent. So, what you are getting are the moments *I* interpret as the ones that show the most subtext, my favourite moments, the ones I point to when discussing the pairing.
And honestly, this is NOT a fandom that lends itself to OTPs easily. For every one moment that I could point to as being Royai, someone else could find five more scenes to counter-act it. So, let’s not get snippy here. . .Given what we know now, after the series has ended and given what Square-Enix has been hurling at us since the end of the series, it is safe to assume that the Royai interpretation of the situations I am going to mention is probably one of the more accepted interpretations.
However, if you disagree. . .fine. It’s not really that big of a deal and since the Hagaren fandom is apparently in the middle of pairing wars, I wouldn’t be surprised if most people disagree with what I have to say.
It seems to me -- and all of this IS just my interpretation -- that the Roy/Riza pairing is almost blatant. And apparently even more so in the manga.
I was originally going to write about the anime and the manga, however -- for my own sanity -- I have decided to only incorporate the anime.
It makes sense to me -- I write from the anime, I have spent the last year of my life on the anime; if someone wants to see them defended from the manga POV, someone else will have to write another essay.
By My Side
There might be scenes and moments that truly point out this relationship prior to where I’m starting, and I might leave out some here and there because if I wrote down EVERY look, touch and word that seemed to hint at this relationship, this would be a 300 page thesis (which wouldn’t help me, as I’m doing this to PROCRASTINATE about actually DOING my thesis). So, I’ll just start out here and progress wherever the evidence takes me.
In Central City, there has been a situation where a serial killer (Scar) has been rampaging around killing Nationally Certified Alchemists. In response this, the Fuhrer and most of the Intelligence Agency flees to East City, where Roy and his minions are stationed.
While Edward dares Roy to a duel in order to gain information that he believes the Colonel to be hiding from him, the minions try to convince Fury that he can’t keep a puppy he found out in the rain.
Chaos ensues, complete with Roy and Ed almost destroying each other and a park. And still Fury hasn’t found someone to take the puppy and he’s been told he CAN’T keep him in the office. (He can’t take the puppy himself, because he lives in the dorms.)
Into the middle of Fury and the minions discussing this, Roy walks in, takes the puppy from Fury and proceeds to declare “I love dogs!” and then gives a whole spiel about how they’re loyal and a brilliant mascot, etc.
After this happens, Riza says “If there are no other candidates, I’ll take him.” (She’s talking about the puppy, not Roy. . .although if she were, who would blame her?)
I know, that’s not REALLY a scene that proves the love or anything in that manner. But, I thought it was cute and deserved a mention. Roy’s like, “I love puppies!” And Riza’s like, “I’ll take the puppy.”
Yeah, anyway, moving on. . .
Remember I mentioned the serial killer that’s going around killing Nationally Certified Alchemists?
Well, Roy gets ordered to go after him. (Alright, we don’t actually HEAR the Fuhrer tell him that -- although, apparently, in the Adult Swim version, we do -- but, that’s what HAPPENED, and everyone knows it.)
So, Roy is standing with the minions and random soldiers, about to take on this serial killer who has been exploding people WITH HIS HAND, and it’s pouring the rain. . .because it always rains on this show when something bad happens.
Scar (bad-ass-extraordinaire), upon learning that Roy is THE Flame Alchemist, decides to kill him. Roy can’t quite understand this -- “He knows I’m the Flame Alchemist, but he still intends to duel?” -- and is about to take Scar on, when Riza screams at him.
*Roy keeps moving*
Riza: Mustang Taisa!
Riza: TAISA!! *drops to the ground and kicks Roy’s legs out from under him, sending Roy crashing to the ground, grabs the gun Roy had and shoots at Scar*
*Scar runs away and leaps up the wall as bullets ricochet around him*
Riza: He’s a fast one, isn’t he?
Roy: What was that, all of a sudden?
Riza: On rainy days you are powerless. Please stay back, Colonel.
And there is an expression on Roy’s face that is priceless. Of course. . .it’s RAINING, he can’t light fire in the rain.
Riza has just saved his life and completely owned him in the same breath.
Coincidentally, this is the ONLY time I have ever seen Scar run from anyone once he’s engaged the battle. It’s also the only time I’ve ever seen Riza miss, so I guess they’re even on that scale.
“Powerless when it rains” or whatever re-translation this phrasing takes has become one of those quoted lines, where it has been made into one of those scenes that EVERYONE in the fandom remembers. Although, most people remember it as “Roy gets pwned”, it cemented the idea of Riza looking out for Roy’s safety and was the first real moment where you had the reaction of, “this woman is friggin’ awesome!”
And this is something I love about Riza Hawkeye. She is a female character in a series that is mainly male driven. And they could have really messed her up. They could have turned her into this simpering female character. . .having any kind of connection to her C.O. makes it an easy pitfall. But they don’t. They have a strong character who cares for this man. . .who believes in him, but who isn’t afraid to tell him when he’s out of line. She’s not just the romantic interest in the series. . .they have given her a purpose.
And that purpose becomes more blatant as the series progresses.
In the very next episode, Roy is talking to the Fuhrer about the fact that Roy let a wanted man escape (the alchemist mentioned earlier) and never revealed the man’s whereabouts to anyone. After the Fuhrer lets him go, Roy leaves the office and comes face to face with Riza as she’s entering the hallway.
The look on her face would break your heart (and no, I can't make it any bigger, I've tried).
Roy: As you can see, I’m still safe.
This was one of the first moments where I can recognise that Roy actually acknowledges her. . .emotions towards him.
And to this day I don’t know what the two of them were talking about after Roy says that to her. I was so dumbfounded by his reaction to her that the conversation completely went above my head.
And later, when Roy and the minions are discussing who should accompany Al and Ed to Rizenbul, Roy makes the declaration that “I can’t leave this place.” To which Riza cuts in with “I am the organiser.”
What she’s organising, I’m not sure. I’m not ENTIRELY certain it isn’t just a polite way of saying “He’s here, I’m staying.”. I’m assuming it has something to do with trying to keep Roy and the minions from completely imploding on themselves. (Roy would never do any paperwork if she wasn’t there to push it off on him.)
I have mentioned the next moments in the Roy/Ed essay. About how Roy’s best friend was killed and that one of Roy’s subordinates told Roy that the reason Hughes didn’t tell him the Elrics were in danger was because Roy can’t remain professional when the Elrics are involved.
Riza was that subordinate.
And it becomes so much deeper when you’re not looking at it from the focus of Ed. Roy and Riza are standing by Hughes’ grave and Roy is talking out his feelings, telling her that when he returned from Ishbal he nearly attempted the accursed “Body Alchemy” (Human Transmutation) and that now he is “desperately trying to recall it”. He is simply speaking aloud. . .speaking to her and she is silent for most of it, allowing him to say whatever he needs to say. And maybe he would have said the same thing had it been Havoc or Armstrong there with him.
But they weren’t the ones with him, neither of them was the one Roy chose to accompany him back to Central.
Through this talking, Roy asks Hughes what business he has becoming General before Roy and why didn’t Hughes tell him that there was something concerning the Elrics?
Riza: You were not aware of it? When it comes to the two brothers you lose your ability to make responsible decisions. That is why General Hughes locked all of his worries about them in his own heart. So that you could aim for the top.
They are silent after this, for moments that seem almost excruciating. Then:
Roy: The rain has begun to pour.
There is not a cloud in the sky.
If I chose a moment where their relationship changed, it would be that. The two of them in companionable silence looking at Hughes’ grave. After this, there is a difference in their interaction. They seem closer, she is more vocal when speaking to him and he seems to turn towards her for advice and support more and more.
He seems to accept and almost turn towards her loyalty more after Hughes’ death. He needs her support, needs someone to aid him in his rise to Fuhrer. It was Hughes’ job, but Hughes is gone now, so someone has to step into those shoes and keep him on track.
Who better than the woman who’s been following him since Ishbal? (We assume since Ishbal -- I’ll get to that in a bit.)
Roy: I’m going to the top. Will you follow me?
Riza: It’s too late to ask me that.
And it says something, that he ASKS her if she will follow him (although he knew the answer would never be ‘no’), because in the very next episode when Roy calls all the minions to him, he deliberately refuses to allow them to question him. He says he won’t give them time to complain -- “Follow me”.
Why then did he ask her if she would support him? If she was anything other than just another one of his minions, why would he ASK her if she would follow him? Why not just do what he did with the guys and ORDER her to follow him?
Some people might say, “Because he needs her to be the one that is supporting him” or “Because she’s not the guys and she would need to be asked”. Or maybe “If he’d ordered her to follow him, he might be spending the night alone”.
Probably. Any and all of those answers could be true. I’ve seen those interpretations and about a hundred more. The reason behind it is not so important as the fact that he DID ask her. And she did agree. . .although what she actually said was something that could be taken in a dozen different ways.
The easiest way to interpret it -- and the way I interpret it when looking at it through this particular pairing -- is that he was testing, checking to see if she was still behind him. And her response. . .why would he ask her that? Of all the people on his team, she’s the last person who’s loyalty and support should need to be questioned.
Granted, none of the minions’ loyalty should need to be questioned, but that’s an entirely different essay.
Now I am skipping ahead nine episodes, because the nine episodes following the one I just mentioned (Her Reason) mostly deal with Edward and Alphonse and their own quest, and Roy and the minions don’t figure in very much aside from a few moments that can be explained in reference to the later episode.
Until they run into each other while the military is in the process of moving a group of refugee Ishbalites, who Ed and Al have pursued in order to try to gain another method of creating the Philosopher’s Stone.
Ed, Al and their childhood best friend, Winry, have come all this way in order to gain this information and Ed ends up almost giving Fury a concussion in order to keep from getting pulled into a military matter.
Later, while Ed and Al are talking to a man whom they’ve been told can help them, a gunshot is fired and Ed and Al are ordered by Riza to come out of the tent.
Ed and Al accompany Riza back to the main tent, leaving Winry behind with two young Ishbal boys.
This may have been a mistake, as Winry learns that the boys’ mother worked in a hospital during the Ishbal Civil Conflict. Just like her parents -- who were doctors -- the Rockbells. She learns that her parents, whom she knew had been killed during the war, were executed by a State Alchemist who’s power was fire. (Something I never understood, because the Rockbells were shot, not killed using Alchemy, but. . .whatever)
While this is going on, Riza explains to Ed and Al that they are detaining some of the Ishbalites because a military officer was killed in a riot that nearly started earlier.
Ed is angry that the Ishbalites are being detained and proceeds to blame Roy for the fight, to which Riza is defensive, and she explains that if it hadn’t been for Roy displaying his power, there would have been even more casualties.
Riza defending Roy seems to be a theme for this episode, because when Ed and Al come out of the tent to tell the two boys they’ve been given a pardon, Winry is waiting for them.
Ed and Al KNOW something is wrong with Winry when Winry declares that she wants to go back to Central City to visit Hughes (neither she nor Al and Ed know that Hughes is dead) and asks “Miss Hawkeye” if she can come along when she returns.
Riza is startled (no doubt shocked that they don’t know what happened to Hughes), but agrees.
So, Winry goes along with Riza, and Ed and Al continue on their journey to Ishbal trying to find the man who created the Philosopher’s Stone.
While in the car, a conversation takes place between Riza and Winry which is flooring and definitive. In this one dialogue, we learn more about Riza Hawkeye than we have learned in the thirty-five episodes prior.
*Riza is cleaning her gun*
Riza: You can call me Riza.
Winry: Riza, have you ever shot somebody?
*Riza pauses* I have. Many times.
Winry: Did you know a doctor named Rockbell?
Riza: I did.
*moment of silence*
Riza: I'm not sure what you have been told, but there are times when a soldier must take someone's life. Even if the orders are insensible. Maybe I just don't like soldiers.
Winry: But you're a soldier yourself.
Riza: That's because there is someone I must protect. This is not something that someone has forced upon me. It is something I decided for myself. I shoot this gun of my own accord. For the sake of the man I must protect. *raises gun* Until the day he accomplishes his goal, I won't hesitate to pull the trigger.
Winry: What if that person isn't worth protecting?
Riza: That, too, is something I shall decide.
*moment of silence, end of scene*
We now know a lot more about Riza. We know that she was in the Ishbal Civil Conflict, because she knew the Rockbells by name. And we know that she will kill to protect Roy -- because while they never actually use his name, she and Winry both know that they’re talking about the same person.
And this one dialogue has opened up a thousand different fics in a thousand different scenarios and interpretations about what “there is someone I must protect” actually means and why she uses those exact words.
I honestly have no interpretation, other than exactly what she says -- there is someone she swore to protect above all else and that she will do whatever it takes to do that. Because, you know, we couldn’t pick up on that after thirty-five episodes of her shooting at serial killers and constantly being behind Roy in everything he does.
Whatever the meaning behind her words, it has set the scene for the rest of the series and Riza Hawkeye has gone from being a minor background character to a main character.
Roy and the minions return to Central and things go back to what passes for normal for them. The next episode is the very last completely happy episode, and even then it is not entirely happy.
An entire episode dedicated to Roy Mustang and his team, which turns out to be one of the most entertaining episodes and also turns out to be the last filler episode, although it isn’t entirely filler itself.
There are several scenes in this episode that strike me as particularly “shippy”, and they are easy to miss when you’re focused on what’s happening with the guys and the story doesn’t seem to be about Roy so much.
For starters, Riza is having erotic dreams about someone -- they never really say who. I suppose it could have been Havoc, but given the “someone I must protect” dialogue, it’s highly unlikely. We never actually see the contents of her dreams, we’re in her apartment while she’s asleep and it turns out her dog is licking her toes. But, the scene is there and it is one of the few times when you actually see Riza as something more than a soldier.
And then later, when Roy and Riza are driving along -- with Roy in the front seat (something else that struck me, because shouldn’t he be in the backseat?) -- Roy is complaining that he doesn’t want to go along with the guys as they investigate a haunted warehouse (it’s so stupid I don’t want to explain it) when Riza suddenly slows down and stops in front of a house.
Roy: I didn’t tell you to stop the car.
Riza: You looked like you wanted me to stop.
The scene changes and we find that Riza has pulled up in front of Hughes’ house. The house that now belongs (I’m assuming, since she still lives there) to Hughes’ widow and his daughter.
Roy is standing on the front porch and has a very short conversation with Gracia Hughes, wherein he notices Winry in the upstairs window, promptly comes up with an excuse and makes a beeline for the safety of the car.
I don’t know exactly how Riza got him to get out of the car, and maybe she didn’t do anything at all. But it’s one of those scenes that gets used a lot in fiction, most people have some idea of what happened between the scene where Roy is staring out the car window and the scene where Roy is on the front porch.
Whatever happened, it is again Riza that’s pushing him forward. . .and Roy is responding to it. He probably never would have spoken to Gracia if Riza hadn’t stopped the car that afternoon.
The end of this episode sets up the rest of the series when it comes to Roy and the minions. At the very end, Roy and Major Armstrong are given the assignment to go to Lior to attempt to quell what may turn into an uprising.
Throughout the next few episodes, we receive a lot of information regarding corruption within the military and we are being shown that there really isn’t anyone that Roy and the others can trust.
A fact which becomes more blatant as the Fuhrer gives orders to capture the Elric brothers and we learn that the man who has taken Hughes’ place (Frank Archer -- he’s gonna be important, remember that name) has under his command two Alchemists who Roy (and the viewers) had been told were dead and that they have been creating chimeras under the command of the military (chimeras = a creature that has been created by combining two completely different animals, like a human and a snake). We also learn that the military has been instigating wars and uprisings for years in an attempt to drive the poor peasants that they attack to create the Philosopher’s Stone.
Okay, that was really confusing. Here’s what you need to know: Frank Archer is a bastard who almost died, was experimented on and is now about 50% steel (think RoboCop), he has been working with two other bastards to create chimeras which would be ultimate soldiers.
The Fuhrer, as it turns out, is not to be trusted and has been working (under someone else’s command) to try to get the poor nations that Amestris attacks to create the Philosopher’s Stone, which would then be taken from the poor nation.
The enemy has completely infiltrated the military and there is NO ONE that we absolutely know they can trust. The only people WE know we can trust is Roy, the Elrics and the people within their inner circles.
But not even Roy knows that.
As I said before, the Fuhrer has given orders to Roy to capture the Elric brothers after the Elrics have contact with Scar (it’s much, much worse than that, but try to keep up). Roy agrees to go after them and the Fuhrer orders some random soldiers to accompany Roy and the minions on the mission.
If they don’t capture the Elrics, Roy is going to be held responsible for the destruction in Lior. (Long story, just know it was bad -- soldiers died, people disappeared.)
The Fuhrer is telling them about the things that Ed has done (Ed didn’t really do that, but. . .that’s another long story that’s not pertinent) and Riza responds angrily to the accusations; Roy shifts between her and the Fuhrer and actually elbows her in the stomach to get her to stop.
Roy agrees to pursue Ed and Al and the minions freak. They’re going after one of their own? Surely not.
Fury: Are we really going after Ed?
Riza: That’s the order.
Off they go to Rizenbul to capture Ed and Al. While they are on their way, Winry learns that the military is after Ed and Al and she and a friend she’s made (Scieszka) rush off to try to get to Ed and Al before Roy and the minions can.
In the process of trying to get to Ed and Al, Winry and Scieszka land right smack in the middle of Roy and the minions and end up being taken as captives. (I say captives, but. . .that makes it sound a lot worse than it was.)
While they are being lead through the woods to go after Ed and Al, Winry asks Riza if she really believes that Ed and Al are criminals, to which Riza replies, “That is something we will know once we capture and question them.”
This is typical Riza and is eerily reminiscent of her “that’s the order” answer she gave Fury earlier in the episode. She will go after the Elric brothers whether she believes it to be right or not, because that is what Roy needs to have happen.
Several moments pass and Winry bursts out with questions regarding her parents, asking Roy why he recruited Ed and Al to begin with and had he always known this would happen, etc.
She doesn’t get far, because Riza steps in between Winry and Roy, shifting her weight to where she is blocking Winry’s view of Roy and Winry falls quiet and resigned.
So, they find Ed and Al and learn a whole lot of stuff that the viewers already knew. Remember that stuff I just said about the Fuhrer? This is where Ed and Al tell Roy and the minions all of this.
Roy doesn’t actually believe everything that Ed tells him -- which is only fair, because Ed NEVER believes ANYTHING Roy tells him. Either way, it is obvious that there is something wrong within the military and Armstrong tells Roy to make his excuses and not to return to Central right away.
Roy and Riza will go onto Rizenbul with the Elrics, Winry and Scieszka while Armstrong and the minions that are left over (Fury and Havoc are injured) head off to the north.
I’m not certain if it was Roy’s choice to keep Riza with him. . .or if he only allowed her to stay because he knew she’d never go without him. In hindsight, it was probably the former, because more and more it is showing from Roy’s point of view that he seems to prefer having her with him. More and more you see them constantly together. After they go back to Ed and Al’s hometown, there is a scene where Riza and Roy come out of a back room together. And again, it probably doesn’t mean anything, but you know that a night has passed and suddenly they’re coming out of a room together.
Roy decides to return to Central City and, as always, Riza follows him. Roy goes to talk to the Fuhrer about his suspicions regarding corruption in the military (again, much more complicated, but. . .it would take far too long to explain). When Roy comes out of the meeting with the Fuhrer, Riza is waiting for him outside the room. She jumps to her feet and it seems she’s about to rush to him. However, she does hesitate for a moment. Roy is sweating -- whether from nerves or actual heat, it doesn’t matter -- she pulls out a handkerchief and comes to him, wiping the sweat from his brow.
For a moment, Roy seems tense and then suddenly relaxes and appears to appreciate the attention.
The entire scene is sweet and from here on out the interaction seems to be evenly placed. Whereas earlier it was almost entirely from Riza’s side, suddenly it’s Roy that’s initiating the contact. (Considering there are only five episodes left that even feature the two of them, I think it’s safe to say -- took him long enough.)
Roy has a plan -- what that plan is. . .we could debate for the next twelve years -- the intricate details are difficult to explain in text, you kind of have to see the events to really understand them. But since the next few episodes are almost blatant Royai, I have to TRY to explain it. And if I’m wrong and there’s someone who understands it better, please let me know, because it all makes sense on the surface but when I start trying to REALLY think about it, I get confused.
Roy (now Brigadier General Mustang) is having Armstrong and the rest of the minions go onto the North where there are rumours of an uprising. The Fuhrer has the intention of having EVERYONE who had ties to Hughes executed on the battlefield, because by this point in time, Roy has revealed that he knows that the Fuhrer is responsible not only for Hughes’ death, but that he knows all of that stuff Ed and Al told him.
Havoc and Fury (minions, that’s kind of all you need to know) are in hospital from their encounter with the Elrics -- Ed hurt them (it wasn’t on purpose).
Roy and Riza switch places with Havoc and Fury, disguising themselves and sending Havoc and Fury onto the North in their place.
The scene starts out with the guys making fun of Havoc, because he had a crush on his nurse and apparently, the nurse had a bigger crush on Roy (this is a running theme throughout the series, Havoc has crap luck when it comes to women). We get a flashback snapshot and. . .well, you have to look at Riza’s expression:
So, yeah, Riza isn’t happy. Not that you can really blame her; she’s spent most of her time serving Roy while Roy is going around dating random secretaries and florists.
But he does make up for it.
Later on, as they are talking to Fury and Havoc, Roy takes Fury’s glasses from him and places them on Riza. (And it was SO cute!):
Roy: Not so bad.
Riza: That wasn’t a good joke.
Riza’s a bit. . .oblivious. She doesn’t even notice when *Roy* is flirting with her.
Or maybe she did and she just felt it wasn’t a good time for that.
Either way, it was a moment where Roy’s attention was GLARING.
And in the next episode there is a scene that is even worse. Roy’s disguise as Havoc is discovered by the nurse.
Roy is attempting to defuse the situation, tells the nurse that it’s a matter of national security while the nurse *sparkles* at him.
And suddenly there’s a gun to the back of the woman’s head.
Roy: Sorry about that.
The nurse is like, “Oh, it’s alright. . .*simper* *flirt* *sparkle*”
And Riza’s like “. . .”.
After they’re in their civilian clothes (don’t ask) and they’re walking down the hallway, Roy decides to ask: “What are you getting angry about?”
Riza: I’m not angry.
It’s one of those long-suffering, “oh-geez-it’s-gonna-be-a-long-night” sighs and -- as a friend of mine put it -- “you can defend the entire relationship off of that sigh alone.”
There is one more thing to put in before I go on to the final two episodes of the series, because the rest of this episode is very Roy and Ed (and Roy/Ed) heavy and Riza’s really just IN THE CAR with them for most of it. (Although she does almost run over Ed.)
It is a very simple thing:
RIZA was the one Roy took with him on this mission. . .where they are going to assassinate the Fuhrer, where they are more than likely going to fail -- although, of course no one would dare SAY that -- she is the one by his side.
Just like every other mission we have seen Roy take on since Ed met him.
Okay, here is Roy’s plan as far as I understood it (after a friend of mine explained it so I could make it make sense for you):
Riza comes to the Fuhrer’s front door, and announces that she’s learned that “General Mustang” is planning an attack on the Fuhrer. The idea is for her to get arrested/be questioned to draw everyone out of the Fuhrer’s house so that Roy can have a showdown with him.
The Fuhrer goes downstairs alone, because he’s predictable like that.
While Riza is being escorted back to Headquarters to be questioned, Colonel Archer (meta!Archer) is on his way to the Fuhrer’s house because he’s learned of an intruder. (How, I don’t know. . .it’s not really important.) The car he’s in collides with the car Riza’s in. Archer’s trying to get to the Fuhrer’s house and the soldiers in the car are like, “The warning was a false alarm. There is nothing wrong at the Fuhrer’s house.”
And Archer notices that Riza is in the car and he’s like, “what is SHE doing here?”. Because Archer knows -- if she’s here and Mustang isn’t, bad things are happening somewhere.
So, Archer shoots at the car, wounds Riza in the shoulder and then heads to the Fuhrer’s house.
Riza follows, because this was NOT in the plan. She is willing to sacrifice her very future for Roy.
By the time she gets to the Fuhrer’s place, Roy is collapsed on the front steps, bleeding from about twelve different holes (yeah, he almost got whooped by the Fuhrer) and Archer is heading towards him.
Riza manages to shoot Archer about four times through the only human parts he has left, (one whole side.) and RUNS to where Roy is collapsed on the stairs.
Riza *kneels next to Roy’s side*: Taisa? *puts hands on his back* Taisa! Roy Mustang!
And then THE MOST soul-shattering, gut-wrenching scream I have ever heard in my life and she’s resting her head on him, sobbing.
Come to think of it, it’s the only time I ever recollect Riza crying in the anime.
Of course, she did think he was dead. She thought she’d failed, that she hadn’t protected him like she was supposed to. I’d imagine something like that would get to a person.
At the end of the final episode, they are piecing together the characters’ lives after all of this hell has broken loose and we see this:
Roy is alive! (*fangirls rejoice*) Granted, he’s in a hospital bed and has an eye patch, but. . .HE’S ALIVE!
And then we have the apple scene. Remember how I talked about “someone to protect” as being one of those scenes that gets quoted and that “powerless when it rains” is one of those scenes everyone knows?
This is another scene like that.
Riza is peeling an apple, dressed in civilian clothes, seated in a chair next to Roy’s bed. It’s obvious that she’s sad, exhausted and has probably been doing this routine for awhile.
Roy: Don't look so sad.
Riza: The plan went perfectly. And yet because I didn't make it in time. . .
Roy: Nothing is ever perfect. The world is imperfect, that's why it's beautiful. *reaches out to touch her hair*
*Riza shoves a piece of apple in his mouth*
That scene strikes me as terribly cute. Roy’s waxing philosophical and is about to become VERY (maybe) schmoopy and Riza’s like, “OMG!kfjdkjfdkl!Shut up!” and shoves an apple in his mouth.
And then, there is another scene where we are getting flashes of lives and Al is repeating Roy’s earlier words “the world is imperfect” -- Roy is standing in a market, watching Riza as she (apparently) haggles with a fruit seller. (I don’t get this fascination with fruit all of a sudden, unless the apple is symbolic? *shrug* Whatever, they like fruit.) And it is again one of those moments, where if you could see it, you could get it. The look of. . .well, alright, I don’t think Roy ever REALLY looks happy, but if he ever did, that would have been one of the times.
I thought there was a lost more of this until I started looking for it. Suddenly, it seemed very small and lonesome and I understood why the Royai fans cling to people when they meet a new one.
Fullmetal Alchemist -- the official website. If you're still hanging around, you've probably already been there.
The Roy Mustang Network -- I only just found this awhile ago, so I'm not real sure what all is on there, but. . .it's a site dedicated to ROY! What else do you need?
Touka Koukan -- You'll have to finagle to get to the Royai, but it's there. It used to only be a slash archive, but has been redone to encompass all.
Follow Me -- a Royai fanfic archive of zauberer_sirin's stuff. Brilliant writer. Some of her smut has left me wibbling in a corner for days.
After the Rain -- a small Royai fanfic archive. Fairly new, so there's not a lot there yet, but, it's worth a look.
Fics by Maaya She writes Hawkeye beautifully and should be read if you're going to have anything to do with Riza.
royai -- a GREAT group of writers/artists/royai fans, they will welcome you with open arms. They seem to be very excited any time someone who enjoys, or is even curious about Royai comes along. And they'll love you even more if you bring shiny things to share with them. They're the ones who pointed me towards most of the recs for this essay.
fma_het -- although, there was recently a rape!fic or something and now, I'd recommend being careful in going over there.
mustangism -- The Church of Roy Mustang. I really have no words for this.
_rizahawkeye_ -- a really little group of Hawkeye fans, if you like Hawkeye, they want you there.
greywing -- the author that got me writing Royai. Read Love
After the Ball is Over by Mirokimi's Pen -- One of the most beautiful stories I've ever read in the entire genre. Left me speechless.
Faith and Service, Adoration, Duty and Observance by Kira Yanami -- Beautiful character portrait of Hawkeye.
All Martyrdom Aside by ItsumademoOtaku -- first Royai fic I ever read. Takes place after the end of the series. Work in Progress.
Roiai deviant art community -- exactly what it says. A Royai deviant art community. *shrug* Yes, that's the best description I have. But trust me. . .it's worth it.
Night Show by chihaya. NOT CHILD/WORK-SAFE. But, who_shot_kr showed me the picture and it melted my brain.
One Day by limbebe -- One of the most adorable pieces of artwork I've seen involving Roy and Riza. Cute little chibi cartoon.
Central, 1920 by hime1999 -- Gorgeous artwork. Has inspired quite a few Royai fics.