Roy lets Georgina take Bunty back home in a taxi. He says he’ll go back in a little while. He wants to have a wander around first, see if Damo’s working at the pool today.
Damo is sitting reading a comic, a slow grin spreading across his face when he sees Roy. He throws the comic down and walks round the small counter to give him a hug.
Damo:Dude. Roy: Hey, dude. So, this is your little kingdom? Sweet. Damo: Right? You wanna step into my office and have a cone? Roy: So it’s not all the chlorine fumes making your eyes look so bloodshot, then? Damo: Hurrhurr. Hilarious as always. Roy: It’s tempting dude, but I’ve got some heavy shit to deal with when I get back to the Olds’ place. I don’t want to be wasted. Thanks anyway. Damo: No probs. It’s to do with your mother, right? That’s why you’re here, right?
Roy has always realised deep in some shadowy corner of his psyche that everyone in town must know the truth about Bunty, but it still takes him a second or two to steady himself.
Roy: Yeah. She…needs some help. I’m going to try and get her some.
Damo nods. Roy looks around, studies the signs on the walls.
Roy: Hey, talking about people needing help? I ran into Dom earlier. What the everloving fuck, dude. Damo: I dunno. He seems happy enough. He’s not hurting anyone. Roy: I just don’t see how what he’s doing can be healthy, that’s all. Damo: Different strokes, dude.
Roy snorts, squinting out the window. The pool has barely any patrons at 2.30 pm on a Monday afternoon, just a couple of Mums with their toddlers and a clump of geriatrics creaking and wheezing their way through a water aerobics class, two bored looking female lifeguards keeping watch. Roy squints a bit harder. One of the lifeguards looks familiar.
Jason Todd is the world’s most supportive friend, and he gives people like Roy and Bizarro the constant validation they almost crave that they aren’t evil or horrible but that they are worthy of love and respect.
Emily, I’m sorry that I answered this ask before the one you sent weeks ago, but i really felt like writing this instead of a school essay while I still have my hands on my parents’ laptop. So enjoy this young royai!
“So have you ever thought about it- marriage, I mean?” Roy’s head quirked up as he asked the question, dark eyes suddenly on Riza and suddenly serious.
Riza hesitated, staring up at the stars the two had come out to watch rather than meeting his gaze, “A little bit. But not very seriously. I’ve only just turned sixteen, after all,” the sky seemed to shine brighter that night, the moon and faraway galaxies illuminating her face better than Roy’s flashlight ever could.
“That’s understandable,” Shrugged Roy, eyes refusing to leave Riza as he contemplated what he wanted to say. Silence soon descended on the pair, not lonely or uncomfortable, but one swimming with the thoughts of the young couple it surrounded.
Roy opened his mouth to speak once more, but before he could squeak a sound out, Riza’s soft voice rang out over the hill they sat on, “That’s not to say I’ve never thought about it, though,” Her hand picked at a long piece of grass which hung low over their picnic blanket, “It’s just… Having grown up in a town where nobody particularly likes me, it’s been a bit difficult to think about the prospect of marriage being a realistic one. As if anyone here would want to marry me.”
Her brown eyes still remained downcast, leaving Roy to process her confession in silence and without any further details.
Knowing that Riza’s classmates thought her strange, and the adults in New Optain continuously whispered about her “lunatic” father should have led Roy to the conclusion that she’d never considered marriage a viable option for her. But it hadn’t. He’d been too caught up in how smart and engaging and overall wonderful Riza was, that he’d ignored everyone else.
Although she certainly hadn’t.
And the realization hit Roy like a trainwreck. His lips moved as if they had a mind of their own, and before he knew it, the words were spilling out loud and clear.
“I want to marry you.”
As quickly as Roy’s mouth had betrayed him, Riza’s head whipped around, gold hair flying around her and brown eyes wider than Roy had ever seen them before.
“I mean… I realize you’re wonderful… and- and…” Another treason from his mouth, which now refused to say anything clearly at all.
“Are you… proposing to me?” Riza’s question was urgent and desperate, telling of how confused she had been rendered by his confession.
Was he proposing to her? No, it hadn’t been a proper proposal. It had just been a slip of the tongue, “Well what- Riza. I think you’re amazing, and I wouldn’t be opposed to spending the rest of my life with you,” His wide-eyed gaze met hers, and he saw stars in Riza’s eyes. Whether they came from the sky’s reflection or her own personality, he didn’t know.
“But I guess this isn’t a proposal. It’s just an observation,” He watched her chest rise and fall with every deep breath she took, “It’s me saying that maybe someday in the future, when we’re both older and we know what we want to do with our lives, I wouldn’t be opposed to marrying you. Right now I’m not ready to be proposing, but if you still love me when we’re adults, I’d love to propose for real. I want to marry you sometime in the future if you feel the same way.”
Not a stellar explanation, Roy knew, but good enough for having come up with something on the spot with the girl of his dreams staring into his soul. Her scrutiny was excruciating. Almost as bad as her silence.
Wind blew across their set-up, moving Riza’s hair from it’s place tickling the tops of her shoulders to dancing across her face, breaking her stare. Roy’s unruly black mop of hair stood straight up; he could feel it. Centuries passed with the two of them regarding one another in silence, trying to read the other. But finally Riza’s response found its way into the space between them.
“Maybe someday in the future, when I’ve finished school, and you’re off doing whatever you can to help the country as you do, I’d like to marry you too,” Her fingers went back to fidgeting, “I’m not ready for anything as serious as marriage right now, but I do know that I always want you to be a part of my life.”
Roy let go of the breath he didn’t know he’d been holding, “So even though this wasn’t a proposal, you’re saying you want to marry me too?”
Riza looked back up at the stars, not knowing what the future would bring her, but being certain of the fact that she needed to stay with Roy when she was older, “Yes, I want to marry you too. And even many years after now, you can still be certain of it.”
Roy had never been into music. And so, when the punk rock racket that was Edward and the Broken Stones began to play, he immediately skipped the song to go to Whitney Houston’s ‘I Will Always Love You’. Not really being in the mood for Whitney, though god bless her soul, he went back to The Broken Stones.
And he listened to their hit single ‘An Alchemist’s Anguish’ over, and over, and over again. Simply put, Roy Mustang found himself oddly… taken.