Orphead

Feb. 8th, 2010 07:18 pm
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When Riza found him, he was sitting on a rough chunk of concrete in almost complete darkness, knees drawn up, huddling over the bloody, shaking hands curled in his lap. Only the radiance from a single ceiling fixture, dangling lopsidedly halfway down the ruined tunnel, outlined his profile and provided enough light for her to pick her way toward him through the piles of rubble.

“Oh no!” Ed, white-faced beside the hospital gurney on which his brother lay. “We’ve left a blind man wandering those wrecked tunnels all alone!”

“He was hanging onto me,” Izumi, muttering. “But Alphonse was stumbling so much that I was trying to help you. I didn’t even notice when he let go.”


She moved slowly, trying not to breathe the cold air too deeply, with its light fog of cement dust and the strong smell of burned metal. She took soft steps, setting her foot down with care each time, testing the shattered, treacherous rubble to make sure it wouldn’t shift under her. Some of the uncertainty of her footing undoubtedly stemmed from her own dizziness; she’d had only a few minutes’ worth of the blood transfusion by the time Ed and Izumi brought their prize into the Emergency department.

Their long-sought prize: a boy who appeared to be in his early teens, so thin he was virtually just skin and bones, with long, stringy, light brown hair hanging down his back and over his shoulders. But those large, luminous eyes had turned to her and a bright smile had suffused his face. And when he greeted her, she knew his voice, though it was equally thin, and hoarse from disuse. And lacked the metallic echo.

Alphonse Elric, in the flesh, at last.

“Where’s Colonel Mustang?” Falman, coming to the end of both beds. “Nobody can find him anywhere.”

And Ed and Izumi, staring at each other, aghast.


Riza’s foot slipped on a rock that suddenly snapped with a sharp crack, and she slid sideways with a jerk, waving her arms to keep her balance. Ahead in the shadows, she saw him raise his head.

They weren’t going to let her come, at first. But when she’d pushed herself up, glaring at the nurses and yanking the needle out of her arm, at last the chimera man who had carried her out of the tunnels had agreed to carry her back. She’d left him back a ways, on safer ground with better light, with instructions to bring a search party if they didn’t come out in an hour.

Now, fumbling with one hand against a rough wall that was leaning in a rather odd direction, she could just see ahead, just see the vapour of Mustang’s breath in the cold air. He was breathing too quickly, in short, almost jerky spurts.

“Who…who’s there?” he whispered. He leaned his head back against the wall behind him, and she could see the fringe of his hair hanging in his eyes.

Riza tried to call back, but could hardly even manage a rasp. “It’s me, Colonel.” She mouthed the words in silence. “Wait for me.” Swallowing around the pain in her throat, she took another couple of unsteady steps, reaching out the fingers of one hand to touch the wall and keep herself upright. Ahead in the tunnel, she saw his head tilt, just slightly, as he listened to her halting steps and the occasional clatter of a dislodged piece of rubble on the floor. Down the tunnel, the dangling light fixture buzzed and flickered.

At last, as she drew close, he bowed his head again over his hands. “Lieutenant Hawkeye,” he murmured, “you should not have come back.”

She went to one knee and shifted a couple of chunks of masonry along the base of the wall beside him, then slowly turned and lowered herself to the floor, her feet sliding out in front of her with the scrape of dust and metal shards. She leaned with a sigh of relief back against the wall. “How…did you know…?” she whispered.

“Of course it would be you,” he said softly. “Who else but you, always? But this time…” He swallowed and hunched even further between his trembling shoulders. “You shouldn’t have come back,” he repeated.

“Not leaving,” she shook her head. She lifted a hand and touched the backs of her fingers to his cheek. He flinched and jerked away from her touch, but she’d already confirmed what she suspected. “Come back now. Hypothermia…“

“Hypothermia,” Mustang agreed. “Heading toward shock too, I imagine.”

“Then come back.”

“No.” He turned his head away and took a long, careful breath. But despite his efforts at control, and the tension in his voice signalling how he had tightened his jaw, she could hear the shiver beneath his words. “Hawkeye. Listen to me. It’s over. We’ve won and Amestris is safe. Alphonse has his body back, and the homunculi and the power behind them are gone. We’ve done the work we set out to do.”

“Not all…”

“We did all that was actually possible. You must see that now – “ He broke off with a sharp catch of breath, and she realized what word he’d used.

“I know about your eyes.” She forced the words out with a rasp. “Doesn’t matter.”

She almost thought he smiled, but she wasn’t quite sure in the faulty light. “I knew you’d say that,” he answered quietly. “But I’ve been sitting here in the dark…in the dark that’s all I have left…and I’ve been thinking things through. I let them go…Ed and Al and Izumi…so I could stop and think. It’s funny how clear things become when you can’t see. We wanted to overthrow the forces that had set Amestris on the destructive path it’s been on, and we’ve done that. Our country has been saved, Hawkeye. I know I had aspirations to lead the country, but maybe that wasn’t my real task. Maybe I was just supposed to clear away the garbage so someone else could start clean. You know Olivia Armstrong will be a much stronger leader than I ever would have – ”

“No!” It came out with such force that she couldn’t help but gasp at the stab of pain that blazed up the left side of her head and down her arm and upper chest. Off to her right, she heard the small chink of falling concrete, as though her cry had shaken loose a precarious chunk of ceiling.

“Hawkeye, please be careful.” Mustang half-turned toward her, lifting his hands, and then he, too, gasped and had to curl them back in his lap. He bent over them, shivering uncontrollably, his breathing harsh and ragged. “Dammit,” he whispered, “y-you’ll hurt yourself if you stay here. You sh-should be in the h-hospital.”

“So should you. Not leaving,” she repeated.

“Please. Go back. There’s nothing left for you to do here. Just go back, and let that be the one last thing you ever do for me.”

“No.”

He fell silent, and at first she thought he was just shivering, until she recognized with some alarm that he had begun to weep. “Hawkeye…why? Are you going to smear your blood on my hands too? Why can’t you just leave me here? I’m finished.”

“No. Not finished.” She shifted gradually on the dusty floor until she faced him, with one shoulder leaning against the wall for support. “Your job – not done – “

“Yes it is. You have to understand that. Just listen to me. Olivia is there, she’s strong and capable. No one will do better at bringing order out of the chaos we’ve thrown the country into. But I – “ Again he leaned his head back against the wall, staring with sightless eyes into the dark, his cheeks gleaming with tears. “Hawkeye, I can’t see. I’m a physical wreck. And I…I don’t even know if I’m an alchemist any more. I’m empty. I’m just…empty.” He clamped his jaws tight, to keep his teeth from chattering.

It was certainly true that he was almost spent; even in the near-dark, Riza could see that. Cold and shock, as he’d said, on top of utter physical exhaustion. What had happened during that final battle, to leave him in this state, when Ed and Izumi hadn’t appeared to have suffered to anywhere near the same extent?

It didn’t matter. She could get those details later. But if she couldn’t persuade him soon to come back to the hospital with her, it would be too late. The faint light down the tunnel cast an odd glazed sheen over the moisture on his face, and she wondered if it was starting to turn to ice.

She swallowed, and braced herself for more pain as she forced her voice to work. “Listen…listen,” she said. “Yes, the general is strong, but…she’s military. She’ll be…new version of…same thing. Maybe better…while she leads…but who will come after? Another military person…”

“There are ways to choose a proper successor – “

Shut up!” She reeled, her head thumping against the wall. For an instant she thought she had burst open the slice in her neck, but as she clamped a palm over the wound, she realized that wasn’t the case. She’d only made it start to burn, so hot that it almost felt cold. The coolness of her palm brought almost instant ease, so she left her hand there.

“Riza? Riza! Are you all right? I’m sorry – god, I’m s-so s-sorry…”

“Quiet.” Her voice was hardly more than a squawk; she wondered if she’d ever speak properly again. “No time. Colonel, think. Always, we planned – set up democratic council – again. General Armstrong – won’t do that. Will keep things military. It’s what she knows.”

“It’s what I know, too,” Roy whispered. “And I have blood…s-so much b-blood…” He lifted his ruined hands again, and lowered his eyes to them, as though even without sight he could see blood dripping from them. “I’ve learned so many terrible things about myself in the past few hours…th-things I always hid from…things I would never let myself – see!” He blurted the last word as a high-pitched bark of laughter. “At least Olivia doesn’t have that. And the country doesn’t need another murderer for a – “

Riza pulled herself away from the wall, planting her hands on either side of his face and forcing him to turn his head toward her. His voice choked off in a surprised gulp. “Listen,” she commanded. “No one innocent…not you…not Ed…not me…not Hughes.” His eyes widened as the breath caught in his throat. He tried to pull back, but she wouldn’t release him. “This is why…we continue…making restitution. We don’t quit.”

“Is that what you think I’m doing? Quitting?” The hysterical laughter lurked again at the edges of his voice. “Don’t you understand, Hawkeye? I’m trying to give the country what’s best for it. And…and I don’t think that’s me.”

She released the pressure of her hands, but kept them there, cupping his face. “Colonel, please listen. When I was…at hospital…and when…coming back here…all I heard, from everyone…where is Colonel Mustang? Where is Colonel Mustang? In hallways…in street. Military and…civilians. They weren’t…asking for…General Armstrong. Asking for you, Roy. You.

At the sound of his first name, which she had never used in addressing him before, he grew still and sat in silence for a long moment. Somewhere in the distance, Riza could hear a faint, dripping sound echoing in a tunnel. At last Mustang’s brows drew together and he murmured, “I don’t understand how the people…would ever…”

“I…we need you. All need you. You understand…weakness. Despair. You don’t want to rule…you want to help. And…you know you need help. Not like…Bradley. Not even like…General Armstrong. Already…people follow you. You are who they want. Flame Alchemist. Alchemist…for the people.”

“But I d-don’t even think I’m the F-Flame Alchemist any more. I think my p-power…is g-gone.” Tight jaw or not, he could no longer prevent the shivering from affecting his speech.

“Your power…never in hands,” Riza whispered. “Vision…never in eyes.” She slid her own hands down his cheeks and pressed them against his chest. “Here. Always here. Roy.” Beneath her fingers, she could feel his heart labouring. Battered, yes, perhaps even broken, but not stopping. Not yet.

He lowered his head, and this time she clearly saw his face crumple as the sobs came now without resistance. She pulled his head onto her good shoulder, and slid her arms around him. She let him cry for a few moments, trying to contain the shivering in the circle of her arms, hoping at least that her own body warmth would keep his condition from worsening.

“Riza…I’m tired,” he murmured at last. “S-so…tired…”

“I know. You can…rest at hospital.”

“I d-don’t know if I can make it there. I’m s-so cold I c-can’t feel my f-feet and hardly my legs. But I can s-still feel my damn s-skewered hands, can you b-believe it?”

Riza managed a quiet laugh. “Not fair…is it? But I…have help. We’ll get you back. Just…let me…help you up…”

“No.” He swallowed, took a quick breath, and already his voice was firmer. “You’re not strong enough. I’ll get up myself. But you’ll…,” for an instant he faltered, “you’ll have to guide me through the mess.”

“Of course. Always had…your back…haven’t I? Always will.” She pulled away from him and got to her knees, pressing a hand against the wall and lurching to her feet. Leaning down, she slid a hand around Roy’s upper arm and said, “Get on…knees. Lean on wall, put opposite foot down, and push up.”

It took some work, and Riza couldn’t do much more than guide his movements rather than lifting, but at last, even without being able to use his hands to brace himself, Roy managed to push himself up the wall until he was standing on his feet.

“Well, that was fun,” he muttered. “Nothing like a little dignity to set the tone. And I’m sure the place is a real mess, isn’t it? This isn’t going to be easy, with you so weak and me stumbling around like a…,” his lips twisted, “…blind man.”

“Soon,” Riza whispered, “you can call. Chimera man – waiting. He’ll come help.”

“You are efficient, aren’t you?” Roy managed a smile.

Riza allowed herself a little chuckle. “No. Needed him…carry me. But here…I’ll try to guide…”

Before she could take hold of him, he laid his wrists on her shoulders and peered into her face as though he could actually see her. “Listen…you have to know that you don’t have to s-stay with me now, if you want to d-do something else with your life. You don’t have to chain yourself to – “

“No!” She gripped his forearms. “Not leaving. Told you.”

“Riza…are you sure? You’re absolutely s-sure? This is a whole n-n-new situation now.”

“Yes.” She swallowed around the burning in her throat and whispered, “I’ll never leave you, Roy. Never. Doesn’t matter what…happened in past. All we can do is go forward. No looking back – “ she broke off, staring at his shadowed eyes as she bit her lip, wondering if he’d noticed her clumsiness.

But he lowered his head until their foreheads were touching, and closed his eyes. “No looking back,” he breathed. “I suppose I need to remind myself about that ag-gain. It’s hard to remember, when you’ve had your own p-past thrown in your face with such f-force. Sometime I have to tell you about the Gate… But never mind that for now. I know you’re right. You’re always right. And I…I s-still need you to remind me. And to keep pointing me in the right direction – damn.” He lifted his head. “I can’t believe how literal that’s suddenly become.”

“Don’t worry.” Riza cleared her throat again, feeling the muscles relax as other worries began to dissipate. “We’ll train Black Hayate to help guide you, and you’ll just look like you’re taking him for a walk.”

“Your voice is coming back. Thank goodness. And that’s a good idea.” His voice, too, was growing stronger. She could hear a smile in it as he added, “Do you think I’ll look like a dashing man of mystery if I start wearing sunglasses?”

She laughed softly. “Let’s get you out of here. Now you’re getting delirious.”

“Right.” Roy laid an arm across her shoulders, taking care not to jar her injured neck. “Let’s leave this place behind us and get on with the next phase. No looking back.”

“No looking back,” she agreed, slipping an arm around his waist and turning him toward the tunnel leading out.

Phoenix

Dec. 12th, 2009 02:21 pm
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“Don’t be afraid,” a soft voice whispered.

Spoilers for Chapter 102 )

Control

Sep. 11th, 2009 03:17 pm
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Roy bent over the miniature locomotive, brows drawn down in deep concentration as he tightened the tiny screw on the bottom of the frame. He rarely had to wear his glasses – few people knew he even owned them – but this close work was impossible without them. It didn’t help that the ceiling fixture in this small basement room wasn’t the brightest light around, but he wasn’t going back upstairs just to bring another lamp down. He adjusted the spectacles on the bridge of his nose, taking care to point the tiny screwdriver away from them.

He’d bought this small model train set a couple of days ago on the way home from work, and had noticed the wobbly wheel immediately, but he’d had to wait for the weekend before he could do anything about it. Now he sat back in his chair, pushing one of his rolled-up sleeves past his elbow, the dark rectangle of the open door on the other side of the table serving as a backdrop as he held the two-inch locomotive between thumb and finger, flicking the wheel with a finger on the opposite hand.

Read on... )Read on... )Read on... )
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(See Chapter 3)

He made his way along the dark hallway, guided by a wedge of lamplight that emerged from a half-opened door nearby to fall across the carpet and climb the wall on the opposite side. He could hear the murmur of voices, but couldn’t yet make out any words. The strip of light wavered and trembled a couple of times, forcing him to pause and blink until his eyes cleared.

Ed inched closer to the door, grateful for the plush carpet that masked whatever sound his steps might have made. His feet didn’t feel entirely steady right now, for some reason. He pressed his shoulder to the wall and leaned slowly forward, peering around the door jamb with one cautious eye, several strands of blond hair straying off his forehead to dangle at the edge of his vision. He saw Madam Chris and the colonel immediately, bending with their backs to him, over a thick ledger illuminated by two large lamps on either corner of a wide desk. Behind it ranged almost an entire wall of shelves filled with books.

“So,” Mustang mused quietly, “we don’t quite have enough.”

What Ed discovers )

FIN

kashiwrites: (Default)
(See Chapter 2)


Ed glanced sideways as he danced, watching the colonel a few feet away twirling Devra near the phonograph. One of the two dark-skinned women who lived and worked here, she had taken the long red scarf the man had given her and tied back her voluminous curly black hair. The ends of the scarf whirled about her brown dress as she turned, like ribbons around a may pole.

“Pay attention to your partner, Ed.” Jasmine’s fingers tightened slightly on his left hand. “When you’re just learning, you could end up kicking her in the shins if you aren’t attentive. Which could be disastrous with that metal foot.”

He jerked his head back, smiling sheepishly, and looked up at the woman currently teaching him some elementary dance steps. “Sorry about that,” he said. “There’s so much going on around here, I’m getting distracted.” He judiciously neglected to mention the after-effects of the glass of wine he’d gulped, rather too quickly, while the presents were being opened.

“But there’s always a lot going on, on a dance floor,” she reminded him. “Though in this place, things do get a bit...overwhelming sometimes.”

Further revelations )

(Chapter 4)
kashiwrites: (Roy pensive)

(See Chapter 1)

“So tell me,” Ed muttered under cover of the other conversations, “were you ever planning to explain what was really going on here, or would you have let me be humiliated the whole evening?” He finished cutting the slice of roast goose on his gilded plate, the heavy silver knife clinking on the china plate. He put a piece into his mouth, savouring the warm taste of the goose and the almost sultry accompaniment of its blackberry-cognac sauce.

 

Mustang, sitting to his right at the long, heavy dining room table, picked up a thick crystal goblet and took a delicate sip of his wine. His dark eyes gleamed with amusement as he replied, “Well, I probably would have stopped them if they really had started trying to undress you.”

 

 

Dinner and a revelation )
kashiwrites: (Roy pensive)

Ed pulled his red coat more tightly around his shivering body and let out a long, slow breath, watching it stream in front of him in a thin fog before it dispersed into the crisp, cold night air. There was no chance the colonel would see the foggy breath as his subordinate huddled here in the shadows: the man was too busy letting the three women on the porch of the big house next door make a fuss over him. If he’d just go inside and get it over with, Ed could go back to Al and their warm dormitory room, and this whole silly escapade would be over with.

 

He’d only stepped outside for some fresh air on this quiet New Year’s night, but when he’d caught sight of Roy Mustang sauntering through the quiet, gently snowing evening, enveloped in a long black coat, a canvas bag laden with presents hanging over one arm, he just hadn’t been able to resist following him. If nothing else, he wanted to see who in the world the man had in Central, to take that many presents to.

 

He should have guessed, when their course gradually took them outside the realm of plentiful street lamps toward the seedier, more shadowed part of town, the temperature continuing to drop as his ears and hands got colder and colder. But it wasn’t until Mustang stopped in front of a large three-story house on a corner facing a small courtyard with a little fountain in the centre (the water turned off for the winter), and began climbing the five steps up to the wide double doors, that Ed rolled his eyes with a private little sneer. Of course. That man and his women.

 

He knew what sort of house this was – and he knew what sort of work its female occupants did.

 

 

Ed gets more surprises than he expects )



(See Chapter 2

kashiwrites: (Default)
(See Chapter 14)

The alarm bells seemed to be coming from everywhere. He struggled up from the thick, fuzzy blackness, slowly, his arm reaching out in a vague search for the alarm clock. It was only when he felt the hard surface beneath him, and began to push himself away from it, that he realized it wasn’t the clock making the noise.

He gasped for breath, for some reason needing the extra air. “Gracia…get the phone…,” he managed, labouriously shoving himself up onto his hands and knees. It took about three tries, with shaky hands, before he could straighten his crooked glasses on the bridge of his nose.

And then he remembered.

The last fire )The last fire )The last fire )The last fire )
FIN
kashiwrites: (Default)

(See Chapter 13)

Maes stood looking down across the table at Roy for a long, long time. Roy, in the meantime, sat quietly waiting, saying nothing, gazing into the amber liquid in the glass cradled between his hands. His still-gloved hands.

Maes could hear the tick-tock of the grandfather clock in the hallway, and the occasional creak as the house settled for the night. The darkness outside continued to deepen as the evening progressed toward midnight. A far contrast from the brilliantly lit clouds above the warehouse just an hour ago, making the streets almost as bright as day.

The warehouse where almost everything Maes believed in, in the world, had been burned to a lifeless crisp.

Confessions )

(See Chapter 15)
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(See Chapter 12)


When Elysia had been put to bed that evening, and Maes settled with Gracia on the couch in front of the fireplace, he decided he’d had a pretty productive day, even if he’d ended up staying home instead of going in to work. He’d called the office to let his investigators know there would be some extra police patrols starting tonight, and they’d caught him up on any news they had (which wasn’t much). He’d managed one call to Roy’s place, where Breda told him that things seemed to be fine there and mentioned that Roy himself had been doing a lot of work over the phone. This was reconfirmed later on in the afternoon, when Maes had called again a couple of times and found the line occupied.

After lunch, he’d laid down to nap with Elysia again, and this time both of them had slept. They’d had a fun afternoon of playing, in between a few more work-related phone calls.

All in all, it had been a good day. And now Gracia snuggled against him, in the curve of one arm, and each of them was just starting to get engrossed in a book for the evening. He reflected that life just couldn’t get much better than this.

But when the phone rang for what must have been the twentieth time that day, Maes sighed. “Not again,” he complained. “Can’t we have just one uninterrupted evening?”

Crisis )

(See Chapter 14)

(And yes -- I know. They don't have buttons on their cuffs. I only checked this morning. But the button's been such a major part of the story since I conceived it that I left it in. When I retool the story to post on FF.net, I'll figure out a different clue. But for now, with the rush of NaNo, it has to stay.)
kashiwrites: (Default)

(See Chapter 11)


On the morning after Roy’s rough night, Maes got up and stuck around while Roy continued his deep, heavy sleep. The stricken man had finally managed to nod off, his tremors and the “night shadows” subsiding, about three hours after Maes had come to the house. His slumber hadn’t been entirely perfect even in the three hours since then; he’d tossed and turned quite a bit for the first hour (limiting Maes’s own chance to sleep during that time), but at last his mind seemed to have come to rest and allowed him to settle into the exhausted, undisturbed sleep in which he lay when Maes woke up.

He should try to sleep more himself, but he’d probably had a couple hours that Roy hadn’t had, at the other end of the night, so he made himself get up. He found Havoc still sitting and watching on the top step of the hall stairway, while Fuery was yawning as he paced through the rooms on the ground floor. He’d drawn them both into the kitchen with him, where they could talk. The last thing he wanted to do was wake Roy up, when he needed to sleep as long as he possibly could. Maes had made sure to turn off the alarm clock before he’d left the bedroom.

The calm before the storm )

(See Chapter 13)
kashiwrites: (Default)

(See Chapter 10)


He didn’t even have to knock; the two guards at the front of the yard waved him past, and as he took the porch steps in one leap, he saw Fuery standing in the doorway, waiting for him. All the lights in the house appeared to be on.

“What’s happened?” Maes demanded breathlessly. Even though he’d driven here, he’d been unable to get a breath since the moment he’d fumbled with and dropped the phone receiver and turned to find Gracia behind him with pants and a shirt. “Where is he?” he gasped. “What’s he done?”

“He’s locked himself in the bathroom upstairs, Hughes,” Fuery said, his face drawn with worry. “Havoc’s talking to him.”

Roy's crisis )

(See Chapter 12)
kashiwrites: (Default)

(See Chapter 9)


Maes walked into the outer office and waved cheerily at its current inhabitants: Lieutenants Hawkeye and Havoc. He knew that both Breda and Fuery were napping at home this afternoon, preparatory to their guard duty at Roy’s house tonight. He also knew that Breda would have one more night after this, before he was spelled off by Havoc, and that Fuery would be replaced two nights later by Second Lieutenant Maria Ross, whom Maes had recruited into the rotation.

And right now, Warrant Officer Falman was in the inner office with Roy, having just started the first of his four days in that part of the schedule. (Or, as Roy’s people privately called it, “having drawn the short straw.”)

By now, Maes could recite the schedule in his sleep. It was even starting to infiltrate his dreams which, until now, had been the almost exclusive preserve of his wife and his daughter. In fact, he’d complained about it to Gracia during breakfast this morning.

And the bad moods build )

(See Chapter 11)
kashiwrites: (Default)

(See Chapter 8)

He sat as though enthroned, on a bench along the wall across from the doorway, his long, greasy black hair tumbling down his shoulders and over the front of his light brown prison uniform, his wrists encased at either end of a double-thick stock of wood that had been both padlocked to a post embedded in the floor and attached to the ceiling by thick chains. A couple of lamps set into the wall on either side of the door ensured that he didn’t sit in darkness, but they were not bright, and his eyes were shadowed under his brows, the merest glitter seeming to spark there as he watched his visitors enter the room.

Roy and Kimbley )
(See Chapter 10)
kashiwrites: (Default)

(See Chapter 7)


Major Vanova, when she arrived, paused in the doorway at the sight of Roy Mustang lounging all over Maes Hughes’s chair while Maes himself sat on a corner of the desk, arms folded across his chest and ankles crossed as he stretched his legs out before him.

He gave her a wan smile as she appeared. “We’ve got an extra passenger,” he said apologetically.

How Roy wormed his way into the expedition )

(See Chapter 9)
kashiwrites: (Default)
(See Chapter 6)

Maes dropped in again, the day after the new arrangements had been put into place, partly to see how all the parties had survived through the day and overnight, and partly to try to take the brunt of things if Roy was in a foul mood. Havoc and Breda had stayed inside the house during the night, spelling each other off in two-hour watches while four other military guards had stood outside. The two lieutenants didn’t seem too bad for wear as he peeked in the door, and there didn’t seem to be any upheaval going on.

When he tiptoed dramatically over to the other door and opened it, he saw that Hawkeye was, again, doing her work in the inner office, her files spread all over the coffee table, her gun lying at the ready on a pile of papers. She’d be leaving after lunch to try to catch some sleep, before serving her turn with Breda in the house tonight.

A possible suspect at last? )

(See Chapter 8)
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(See Chapter 5)

Maes strode down the hall at military headquarters, reflecting on how the day was about to take a distinctly negative turn.

Breakfast at Roy’s had been riotously funny. He had seemed to wake up fully recovered, and Maes had awakened to the sensation of a finger trailing down the side of his cheek, and a voice crooning, “Was it as good for you as it was for me?” He’d rolled over to find Roy lying in the bed behind him, head propped up on one hand while the other teased at Maes’s hair.

Another development Roy doesn't like )
(See Chapter 7)

kashiwrites: (Default)

(See Chapter 5, Part 1)

And suddenly, deep, deep inside the building, a loud rumbling started that grew louder and louder, beginning to shake the ground beneath their feet. Then Maes knew with sick certainty that the wooden barrels had begun to burn through and give way, their contents quickly vaporizing in the heat, and beginning to ignite in the flames.

Oh Gracia, he thought, grief and regret stabbing through him.

What Roy did about it )

(See Chapter 6)
kashiwrites: (Default)
(See Chapter 4)

Maes ran sideways along the street, with one arm waving on the water pump truck as it followed behind him, and with the other arm trying to sweep people out of the way as quickly as possible.

“Move aside now! Hurry!” he called. “We’ve got more water!”

Not that it was enough, when they had to wait so long between arrivals. The fire was so big – the building was huge, and full of flammable materials – that it seemed that all the water wagons in Central weren’t enough to deal with this one. Everyone was scrambling to get water here in whatever way they could. Even before he’d arrived, people from nearby neighbourhoods had already arranged bucket brigades from the river three blocks away, but that barely kept the outside of the building from going up.

The situation grows dire )

(See Chapter 5, Part 2)

kashiwrites: (Default)

My very first AU fic, though it’s not *too* AU. It could fit around the end of either the anime (although Roy has both his eyes) or the manga, but not the movie (in other words, Ed and Al never ended up in our world). The story would presuppose that the great political and alchemical problems, in either the manga or anime, have been resolved, so the principal characters would be living fairly normal lives by this point. But Al was still in the armour, until the moment that triggered this story.

 

So enjoy!

**********
 

 


 

 

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kashiwrites

May 2012

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