Pre-AN: SPOLER ALERT: If you've somehow NOT seen Conqueror of Shamballa then TURN AWAY.
This story is an AU, set up around 1923 Munich, Germany. I've always wondered what Roy and Riza's parallel versions were like and so this was to kind of get it out of my system. I had meant to include the rest of the cast, but perhaps that will come at a later date.
Legal: I do not own FMA in any way nor do I know the great great Hiromu Arakawa-san. This was only for fun.
Roy Harmon shuffled in from the cold, pushing the old door shut behind him, keeping out the cold. The small Munich apartment was warm and he was almost knocked to the floor as a small black Shiba puppy ran into his legs. Roy chuckled as he reached down to scratch the pup behind the ears. A female voice called out from the kitchen, "Hello?"
"I'm home," he replied, hanging up his coat near the door, flipping the latch to lock it. "How many times have I told you to lock the door? Anyone could just waltz in."
He felt the barrel of a shot gun pressed against his back. "I think I can handle myself," She said softly.
"Jeez, Riza, point taken," he said, turning with his hands up to face his love. She pulled the gun back, clicking the safety over and rested the gun near the wall. She smiled at him gently before heading back to the kitchen. She was just as lovely as the day he'd met her.
He was the bastard son of a foreigner. While his mother had been German his father had been Chinese, and being anything other than "pure" in Germany now was more than looked down upon. He'd been lucky enough that his father's sister had adopted him after his mother's death. She had died early in his childhood from influenza while he had never met his father. His aunt, Christine Gerhard, had told Roy that his father had died in a car accident shortly after he was born.
Though his aunt was Chinese as well, she had married a very open minded and wealthy German man so people were wise to keep their opinion to themselves. After his uncle's death, she had decided to not remarry and provided a way to take care of herself and her family, opening her own escort business. She was still wealthy enough to be considered one of the more elite persons in Munich but those around town held a very low opinion of her and her profession, though not low enough to bring it up with the woman face to face.
He'd befriended Riza Dewitt as children. At eight years old, she'd been nothing more than a small slip of a girl, her blond hair long, brown eyes bright. Her father had been a scientist but had fallen on hard times. He owned a small general store where Riza helped out after school. He recalled the day that her mother had died, she was 12 while he'd just turned 14. She hadn't been at school and he had gone to her family's store to find it closed.
When he'd finally reached her family's home, a small but nicely decorated two-story house, he found her sitting on the front steps, her head in her hands, her long blond hair shorn completely off. She'd told him about her mother's passing, how her father had cut off her hair as it reminded him too much of his dead wife.
He let her cry as he held her until Mr. Dewitt threw open the front door and scowled at them both. "Riza, get inside immediately," he reached down and grabbed her arm, jerking her in the front door. Roy jumped up defiantly as Mr. Dewitt turned to him. "And you! You stay away from my daughter. I don't need my daughter corrupted by the likes of you." Roy glared at him, feeling the rage build inside him. Something caught his eye at the door as he saw Riza peek around the door frame, her eyes pleading. He backed down, his own eyes pleading with hers.
He'd gone back to his aunt's home and asked her what Mr. Dewitt had meant by his statements. He remembered how his aunt's eyes had saddened as she spoke, "Your parents loved each other ahead of their time. Too much for their, and your, own good."
The next morning at school, Riza had been teased unmercifully by all the other children on the school grounds about her hair. When Roy saw her, she was standing in the middle of a circle of boys as they taunted her, calling her all sorts of names. She stood silent with her head down, trying not to cry. Roy had pushed through the other children and stood in front of her, taking her by the hand. He had yelled at the boys to stop and when one of them stepped forward. "Ha! Looks like the slant eyed bastard's got himself a boyfriend, eh?"
The boy was flat on his back from the force of Roy's punch. Roy straddled the boy as he pummeled his face, the boy crying like a coward. The group had quickly dissipated at the sound of a school master's whistle, leaving only the boy with Riza trying to pull Roy back from him. His actions had earned the boy a trip to the school infirmary while he was to be punished for the rest of the day as well as a letter sent home to his aunt. Risa had caught up to him after school to walk with him home.
"You didn't have to do that, you know? They're just stupid boys," she said quietly.
Roy glanced at her sideways. "I couldn't let them pick on you like that. It was beyond cruel."
They walked silently down the street until they reached the corner of Falk Street and Novak Avenue where they would have to go their separate ways. Head down staring at the books in her hand, she glanced up at him through her lashes, her eyes dark. "Thank you. I didn't mean to sound ungrateful before."
Roy smirked and then frowned. "It's okay. I'm sure your dad will be thrilled to hear all about it. The non-German helping his daughter."
"I don't intend to tell him about it," she said, grabbing his hand. "I'm not going to stop being your friend, I don't care what he says. There's nothing wrong with you."
"Except the half-Chinese part," Roy pointed out.
"He may care, but I don't. You're not part German, part Chinese, you're just Roy." She sighed, tugging at her coat. "I should go. Thank you again," And before he knew what she was doing, he felt her lips press against his cheek for the briefest of moments before she stepped back, her face flushed as she turned to run down the sidewalk. Roy stood for a moment longer, his heart beating fast in his chest as he watched her disappear down the street. He turned the corner, a cocky smile pulling at his mouth as he continued home, the day not entirely ruined now.
When he'd returned home with the note, Christine had listened patiently to the entire story before turning to face him. "Roy, my boy, being the mother of four girls, I have to say that I am very proud of you for sticking up for Miss Dewitt. As for the slant eyed comment, you could have slugged him once more for that."
They'd gone on for the next few years like that, walking home with one another until the street corner Novak and Falk before parting ways.
One afternoon when he was about to turn seventeen and she had just had her sixteenth birthday, he pulled her around the corner and pulled her to him in a quick hug. Her books had tumbled from her hands to the stone sidewalk as he nervously brushed his lips against hers. His hands had found her face and he pulled her to him, letting his fingers catch in the straw coloured silk of her hair that her father had finally let grow to her chin. He felt her lips press against his as her now empty hands clutched at the shirt and vest at his waist. He pulled away, staring at the surprised look in her large eyes. "What was that for?" She questioned, a blush running across her cheeks, making her that much more pretty.
"For your birthday. Didn't think I'd forgotten it, did you?" He grinned at her.
She smiled back, looking genuinely happy. "I was wondering how long it was going to take for you to finally kiss me," she said, chuckling at him.
He clasped her hand. "Tell your father that you're going to a friend's house tonight and I'll meet you here at seven."
Riza looked at him quizzically. "What friends? You're my only real friend, Roy."
Roy thought frantically for a moment. Surely there was a classmate… "What about that one girl? Uh, what's her name – GISELA! Gisela Strom, what about her?"
She looked shocked. "I barely know Gisela. We only have history together and I…" she trailed off at the look in Roy's eyes. Those eyes had gotten her into more trouble and more almost trouble than she'd care to admit. Unfortunately for her, he knew that they were her undoing. "Fine, I'll tell my father I'm at Gisela's. You had better be here, Roy Harmon." She threatened him.
He did a mock salute to her, recalling that she'd taken up target practice much to her father's annoyance (and at that knowledge, much to Roy's glee) and she had become quite the mark's man – er, mark's woman. He knew that she could more than carry out the underlying promise behind her threat.
She gave him a quick peck before making her way back around the corner down Novak. He grinned like a fool as he headed home.
He later met her back at the corner and took her to his aunt's house where he'd thrown her a small party. All of his cousins were there, Adele, Lorelei, Hannelore, and Carolina as well as his aunt.
Riza had greeted his cousins warmly but looked a bit frightened of Christine, though he had to admit, his aunt was a rather gruff and intimidating woman. It didn't help that Christine made a show of sizing the poor girl up before smiling and hugging her warmly. "So, this is the young Miss Dewitt I've been hearing so much about," she said, enjoying the blush that played over both of their faces.
":Aunt Chris," Roy moaned in embarrassment. Adele and Carolina had been in charge of the cake while Hannelore and Lorilei had decorated the parlor. Roy gave Riza a medium sized flat box that contained a gun cleaning kit inside. Riza smiled and thanked him for the kit, telling him it was very thoughtful of him.
When the clock chimed midnight, the two left the house. He asked if he could walk her to her house instead of just the corner. She smiled and nodded. "Father should be asleep by now," taking his hand as they walked. Before long, they were standing in front of the Dewitt residence. Riza stood on her toes to place a gentle kiss on his lips as she smiled and thanked him once again for her present, making him promise to thank his family as well before she skipped up the steps and slipped into the darkened house. For the second time that day, Roy walked home with a smile on his face.
The two often met like that for the next year, even more so after Roy graduated. He would still meet her after school let out and they would walk the same path on occasion, or they would make plans and agree to meet at the corner to visit his aunt or at Roy's very first place.
It had been a small one room apartment on Emeric Street, but he'd been so proud of it. He'd gotten it after he'd gotten a job at one of the factories in town where the owner had been a good friend of his aunt's. Or a client, he couldn't recall which, but it made little difference to him or his aunt. She'd demanded that he take the job and he had, knowing how hard it would be for him to find work anywhere in Germany without help.
The first time he'd brought her there was shortly after he'd moved from his family's house. Boxes littered the place, half unpacked, everything in general disarray. He'd unlocked the door and led her in, all the while watching her face expectantly. "I know it's not much, but it's mine. Well, sort of." He said, picking up an old newspaper and tossing it into the rubbish bin. "Maybe I should have actually cleaned before bringing you over…" he mused out loud.
She laughed at his antics, putting her grocery bag on the small wooden table. "It's not bad at all, Roy," as she set about in the kitchen unloading her groceries. "I thought I'd make you dinner, you know, to celebrate your new place, if that's okay?"
He grinned at her and helped her make supper, which they ate happily at the table. He'd even brought out a bottle of wine his aunt had given him as a housewarming gift and they shared it. After dinner, Riza gathered all of the dishes and moved to start the water in the sink while he went to turn on the radio before returning to his chair. He watched her as she moved while the radio played classical music in the background. Her hair had grown longer, down past her shoulders. How he had missed it.
He rose from his chair and found his way into the small kitchen and wrapped his arms around her waist, leaning against her. She laughed quietly as she ran a dish under the water, washing to soap from it. "Can I help you?"
Roy silently took the dish from her and laid it on the counter as he turned her to face him before he kissed her, one hand threaded through her hair while the other rested at the small of her back. She leaned into him, clinging to him as their kiss grew more passionate before he pulled her to the bed. They made love for the first time that night and after, she lay next to him, brushing his dark bangs out of his eyes.
"Why do you love me?" he asked, bringing her hand to his lips, kissing her fingertips.
She looked up into his eyes, shrugging slightly, a smile touching her lips. "I don't know. I just do."
Smiling, he pulled her to him as he sighed contently. "Stay with me tonight?" he asked softly.
"Hmm? For a while." She replied, yawning sleepily.
He nodded, finding himself tired before he slipped off to sleep.
He woke with a start as he felt the bed shift suddenly. He opened his eyes to see Riza sitting up in the bed. That, however, wasn't the worrisome part.
It was daylight.
"Oh god, he's going to kill me," she jumped from the bed and began pulling her clothing back on. Roy pulled his pants on and shoved his arms through the shirt sleeves as he helped her find her shoes. They rushed out the door in a hurry, barely leaving him time to lock it. He hastily pulled his suspenders over his shoulders as he struggled to keep up with her quick pace.
As soon as they rounded the corner of her street his heart dropped. Mr. Dewitt was sitting on the front porch, waiting for them. Riza opened the gate and stepped in, Roy close behind. Her father walked slowly down the steps to her, anger in his eyes.
"Father, I-" she was cut short as he slapped her smartly across the cheek. She fell to the ground in front of him but quickly held up her hand to Roy, who had started forward. "Roy, no, please."
"Gisela Strom." Her father said evenly. "When you didn't come home last night, I called Miss Strom's parents to inquire about you. They'd never even met you. Do you know how humiliating that phone conversation was? And now, now you come home the next day like a common whore." He glanced at Roy before continuing. " I'm to assume you've been burning your midnight oil with him," Dewitt waved a hand in Roy's direction before leaning down to grasp his daughter by the chin. "I will tell you this, Riza, I won't have child of mine living under my roof, sullying my name by acting like a jezebel. It's a blessing your mother's dead so that she wouldn't have to see you this way. Get out, I want you gone from this place."
He whipped around to Roy. "And you, I told you years ago to stay away from my daughter, you worthless excuse for a human being. You've corrupted her and now look at her," He waved at his daughter on the ground. "No better than a prostitute at your aunt's bordello."
"I may be the adopted son of madam, but at least I love your daughter. You can't even see the beautiful person she really is and that is just sad, Mr. Dewitt." Roy said passionately.
"I'll not have a half-chink lecture me on my morality, sir," he spat, turned and entered the house, not once looking back.
Roy went to help Riza up, checking her injured cheek. Her eyes held tears in them but he knew she wouldn't let them fall. Not here. He pulled her into him as they passed through the front gate, ignoring the stares from curious neighbors as they left. Once he'd gotten her back to his apartment, he sat her in one of the chairs and placed a cool rag against her cheek. They hadn't spoken the whole walk back and he hurt for her. He saw the tears slip down her cheeks as he pulled her to him.
"H-how could he say that to me? To you?" she whispered hoarsely as she wept.
He ran his fingers through her hair, holding her tight. "I don't know. I don't know."
She straightened up, looking into his eyes. "What am I going to do? I have nothing, no home, no clothes, nothing."
"You can stay here with me. And as for clothes, I think one of my cousins might have a dress or two you could borrow." He said, trying to lighten the mood.
She smiled weakly, pressing her palm against his cheek. "Are you sure?"
He leaned forward and kissed her. "Of course. I only want you with me."
And she had stayed with him, finishing what little she had left of school before finding work herself. His aunt and cousins had more than helped out when they had heard of Riza's plight. Christine had hugged Riza tightly. "Now girl, you are a part of this family, and whether that's good or bad, I don't know."
She smiled at his aunt. "I can't thank you and your daughters enough, Ms. Gerhard. You've been too kind."
Christine smiled back at the girl. "Well, you put up with my nephew here, so it's the least I can do."
Great, he could see them all ganging up on him now.
They'd hadn't done too bad over the years. Christine had found Roy a higher paying job a few years later and they'd moved from the small apartment on Emeric to a to small two story apartment on the main street. He'd even managed to save up enough money to properly propose to Riza a year ago.
They had been living together for 6 years at that point and he had proposed, much to his aunt's delight. "Finally! You need to make an honest woman out of her, Roy," she'd told him when he had visited her one afternoon alone when he'd told her that he'd finally gotten the money together to buy her a ring.
"However, save your money," she said as she motioned for him to accompany her to a large desk in the study. She pulled a wooden box from one of the drawers and opened it, From inside, she pulled out a simple and plain ring, handing it to Roy.
"What's this?" he inquired, looking at the shine in the ring.
"It was your mother's. Your father gave her that before he died. Never did get to marry her." She said matter-of-factly. "Now, I know it's simple but I think she'll like it all the same."
Roy looked at her and smiled. "Thank you, Aunt Christine." And he headed out the door. Christine just smiled after him.
It was raining when he'd left his aunt's and he'd been nearly splashed twice by passing motor cars but it made no difference, he was still drenched by the time he got home. He burst in through the front door and was shrugging out of his coat when her head popped around the corner. "What are you in a hurry for?"
He shucked off his shoes without an answer and made his way over to her as he gathered her up and kissed her, picking her up as he did. She squeaked at his actions, her hands pressing against his chest. He let his lips linger a few more moments before setting her back on her feet.
"Marry me." He said, breathless.
She frowned at him in confusion. "What?"
He pulled the plain ring out and held her left hand. "Please? Marry me."
She looked down to where he had slipped the ring onto her finger, still shocked by his question, unable to answer.
Now he was starting to get anxious. 'Shit, she hates it. Of course, I could have asked her in a more romantic way, instead of demanding. I'm such an idiot…"
"Yes," she whispered, barely audible.
Leaning down to peer into her eyes, he asked, "Yes?"
She looked up at him, smiling brightly. "Yes! Yes, of course!" She wrapped her arms around him kissing his face. "I love you," she whispered happily.
He held her back, joyful. "I was so afraid you wouldn't like it."
"No it's beautiful. Just perfect." She answered, kissing his lips.
"It was my mother's."
Gazing into his eyes she touched his face. "It means a lot, Roy. I love it."
He sighed, holding her to him, the happiest man on the earth.
"Hello? Are you awake?" Her voice brought him out of his reverie as he felt a slight tugging on his pant leg. He looked down at the black and white Shiba puppy pulling on his pant leg.
"Donner, no." Riza firmly shooed the pup away, setting the table for dinner. As she set his plate before him, his hand reached out to take her arm. She looked at his hand then at him. "Yes?"
He smiled at her before he moved to kiss her. "Just wanted to say happy anniversary."
Smiling back, she kissed him quickly. "Happy anniversary to you too. Nine years is a long time, dear."
He handed her a glass of wine and touched the rims together with a quiet clink. "To many more, Mrs. Harmon, to many, many more."
AN: Well, that's all I have for the moment, I hope you enjoyed it. Thanks!