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crack_alchemist has managed to get me reading a pairing that I formerly had a few issues with. I still have a few issues with it at times. However, my ficmuse seems to not have said issues as something I was working on in boredom the last few days just took a turn I did not expect: I thought it was royai, the muse thought it was roywinry and, of course, the ficmuse always wins.

In trying to ignore the ficmuse, I stumbled on several 100themes lists and, well, my ficmuse has had a field day this evening. I haven't claimed these anywhere; I'm just borrowing the themes.

I apologize if any of these are a bit out of character; the ficmuse wouldn't shut up until I let him have his way. The internal lack of names so far is intentional.

As can be expected, there are Episode 51 spoilers in quite a few of these. In no particular order...


Disclaimer: I own not anything involving Full Metal Alchemist. It belongs to Arakawa Hiromu.


Beginnings (Episode 3, G)

A stranger is at the door.

Her grandmother has warned her before about the strangers that can come in the night and about the military men who can commandeer anything without cause or oversight.

She feels like running, but can't decide which way. Towards her friend, helpless as he is? Towards her room, fragile as the lock has always been?

Towards the stranger, knowing that if she makes it out into the dark there is no way he could ever find her in the damp?

She stands her ground.

He speaks. He leaves. She thinks there is nothing to fear.

She discovers the next morning that he has spoken the words that will take her friends, her almost-brothers, away from her, and decides the tremor in her stomach must be what the adults call 'hate'.


Middles (Episode 37, PG)

A too-familiar face is at the door one story below the window where she sits.

She knows, now.

She did not know before.

This face is the last thing her parents saw in this world of pain and beating hearts.

She hopes that is true, at least. That he allowed them the simple dignity of seeing what killed them.

Once, her hate for the stained soldier below was simple, that of a child left without knowing whether her friends were safe or now.

Now, it is ablaze. Here is one who orphaned her. Here is one who could have, and likely nearly did, turn her friends into the same sort of inhuman thing he himself has become. Here is one who makes work for her colleagues and her cousins and those who perform the rites of the dead.

She was once a child with a child's hate.

She is now an adult with an adult's hate and she knows he can see it in her eyes when he retreats back into the car and away from her, away from this temporary sanctuary that is suddenly not a sanctuary at all.


Ends (Episode 51, PG-13)

She spent the night of the coup that changed everything huddled in a seat on a train racing into danger.

In her mind, she knows why she does this thing. Where there is battle there is suffering and where there is suffering her relatives go. This is the logic born of hundreds of years of healing hands, hundreds of years of collected instinct from those who put others first when the pains of the world start to claim more than their share of human existence.

This is the logic that sent her parents into a war years before.

This is the logic that makes healers practically sacred beings in her country.

There will be pain and death there, and so there she goes with a small bag of basic medical supplies and the knowledge she has absorbed from all the accidents and disasters that can plague a small village in the course of a young girl's growing.

She arrives at the hospital, certain staging ground for whatever response the healers, her people by blood or by learning, will mount to the bloodshed. Within seconds she finds herself pushed into an ambulance racing towards a section of town dotted with mansions.

Before they get there, she has suspicions of who they will find there.

She is horrified when reality proves true to her imagination.

She sees the pitiable thing lying on the ground.

He did this in memory of them.

Blood seeped through the back of his suit at the shoulder and ran on the stones from underneath the same arm.

He knew he couldn't make things right, so he tried to make sure things would not go wrong again.

She gets closer to where his second is leaning over him, trying to stop the bleeding herself.

And then she sees.

Nearly half his face is gone.

He did this in memory of them.

In that moment, hatred departs on the wind and she feels only pity.

And so it is her hands which hold the pressure bandage on during the long ride to the hospital, the bandage that keeps his life from dribbling out in carmine rivulets across what remains of his face while his second sits there bleeding herself and helpless to do anything in this land of healers but apologize over and over again in whimpered murmurs.


Triangle (after Episode 51 no spoilers, G)

She hates to admit how much the odd glyph fascinates her.

She knows the simplest aspects of the art; with the friends she grew up with, there is no way she could avoid it. They insist on calling it science, of course, but the same symbol can be manipulated to different results and she knows the level of finesse needed for the results they were seeking and achieving even before the disasters began.

She knows the inner inscribed characters show the level of power needed, knows the rough relationship between the number of sides and the sort of manipulation sought.

Pentagons were as high as she had ever seen anyone else use but the precocious one. The mundane was usually manipulated with squares and designs based off of that symmetry.

It was a complex design but the basis was more simple even that which could be made to form a simple child's toy.

Triangles, an array of all sizes of similar triangles.

The higher the sides, the closer to the most complex and priceless parts of creation.

The lower the sides, the closer to the most fundamental building blocks of creation.

He glances over at her and she looks away quickly. He has explained the array before, in a moment of boredom while he was healing.

It would not do to let him know she has more than a passing fascination with the methods of his own art.

It would not do at all.


Square (Episode 44, G)

The table sits in the center of the room, chairs at the ready.

She and most of the others sit at the longer table her grandmother has pulled out of a side room, the table placed there when there were no longer enough people to justify setting such a large thing.

They were going to pull it out once her parents returned, but they never did. She wonders if her friends remember.

He and his second, his devoted protector, claim places with her grandmother and the wanderer at the square table.

She watches him the entire meal out of the corner of her eye and can't decide whether to cheer or feel sorry for him with each barely choked down bite.

Yes, he knew what home he sat in, what kitchen had cooked the food, and she doesn't understand why his justly earned pain makes her pity him so.


Fire (after Episode 51 spoilers, G)

She had never seen him work before this way, alone and not trying to pull a victory out of wet gloves.

An empty parade ground and a candle, she and a few others standing far behind him.

Click.

WHOOSH!

She gasps, eyes following the bright red runners threaded through the fireball.

"Missed it."

He puts his hand down, turns around, and walks towards them with his eyes looking at his feet.

Everyone started to disperse at the unspoken signal that he would not be retrying the skill today.

The others were already gone when he finally pulled himself together enough to pull the gloves off.

"This might be the wrong approach,"

He did not look up. "And what would you know of such things?"

"Well, you're trying to learn how to deal with the depth-perception thing, right?"

He growled at her under his breath. It was a topic no one ever wanted to bring up and that he would not bring up himself.

"Maybe it would be easier to work with a stationary source rather than a stationary target. I don't know, I just thought that maybe..."

He was stalking towards the candle.

Click.

She could see a little light at the tip of the tall stick of wax.

He visibly sighed and his shoulders dropped slightly.

Then, there was a slight red flash and the light began to grow.

It grew into a misshapen but recognizable cat frolicking in the sky. Small, but more than impressive to her eyes.

He kept that going, slowly moving and modifying the figure, for several minutes.

Another visible sigh.

She wanted to applaud, to clap, to do anything to let him know how wonderful what he was doing was. Hadn't he been staring at walls and nearly screaming in pain not a few months ago? Even ignoring that, she certainly couldn't do anything like this herself.

She didn't dare make a sound. His control was too fragile and his opinion of himself too shaky.

And after all, what did she know about things such as this?

The figure in the air began to grow. It lengthened, grew wings, settled towards the ground.

It was still not quite right--the proportions were horrible and the lines out of place--but she found her jaw dropping as the image of a dragon suddenly threw a twelve foot nearly straight line of fire from its jaws.

Seconds later, it vanished into the wind, one last lick of fire burning itself out at the center before all was normal again.

His back was straighter now, more the way he was before.

She finally thought it safe enough to start clapping.

He spun, half-cape fluttering in the air, and the sound of his cane striking the stony ground rang out in the sudden silence of her shock. After a moment, he gave her a satisfied smile. "Thank you for the suggestion."

She smiled back. "Glad to help."


If (after Episode 51 limited spoilers, G)

There are questions she tries not to ask herself, thoughts she buries before they can find light.

What if they had never left?

What if they had planned on coming home sooner, dodged past the military to get out safe?

What if her mother's best friend had not fallen ill and died?

What if her best friends in the entire world hadn't been so damnably precocious and determined?

If. If if if if...

Today one she has never consciously asked herself slips through the cracks.

What if he had not come to the door that day? What if she had never met him then or later on? What if he had not been in charge the day she nearly died? What if he had not ended up in hospital after that insane coup?

What if she had never met him at all?

It leaves a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach.

She refuses to admit to herself that she prefers the life she lives to the life that hides behind that question.


And (after Epsiode 51 limited spoilers, G)

'And' is the thing that makes them stronger than either of them ever thought they could be. She knows he stands behind her no matter what, knows the past echoes in his eye still sometimes. He knows she watches every decision with eyes like her mother's, knows that even with his rank he is answerable.

He knows she will not let him make such mistakes again.

She knows he will not let her world be destroyed again.

It is a horrible thing to base any friendship from.

But for them it is working.


Cowardice (after Episode 51 limited spoilers, PG)

He is spineless and knows it.

He was too spineless to stand up against a misguided order all those years ago.

He was too spineless to ask forgiveness of their family until after he had tried to atone for it.

He was too spineless to fight after the coup to make his friendship with his protector, friend, confidant last through the horrors of what had happened to him. She was off helping her grandfather run Eastern now, and rumor said she only listened to his voice during official pronouncements over the radio because she had too.

He was too spineless to order her to Central or go out to Eastern himself and try to explain one more time that he could never blame her.

He is spineless even now, too spineless to let the young healer who comes through the hospital suite and checks his bandages know how much her help means to him, know how much he wishes he could make everything go back to the way it once was.

Too spineless to let her know she really does look beautiful in the clothing she bemoans as not elaborate enough or stylish enough for the great city of Central.

Too spineless to admit to himself that the touch of her hand has started making his heart flutter with something that is not fear or self-loathing.

Too spineless to even let the fact sink in properly that he feels more for her than for any woman he has dated, more than even for his fighting-partner whose absence still pains him.

Too spineless to admit that he has feelings for this almost-adult bold little orphan that stem from something totally unrelated to their mutual past, even antithetical to it.

He is spineless and he knows it.


Hug (after Episode 51 limited spoilers, PG)

His leg is acting up again.

He had managed fine without the cane yesterday but today the scar from the gash on his left thigh throbs and aches, so much so that he can barely hobble even with the cane.

There is a familiar call from the next room over and he knows the old lady is in one of her less friendly moods today. He isn't surprised, for she was in the same mood yesterday when he grumbled at some official papers he had to deal with personally and she quipped, "Even a top dog is still a dog."

Lunchtime.

He stumbles toward the door, barely managing to walk a few feet before his legs fold under him.

Fuhrers don't scream in pain. Fuhrers don't scream in pain. Fuhrers don't...

She comes through the door. "She's not as mad as she sounds, she was smiling while she said it... oh not again."

She is next to him at floor level in an instant. "Anything hurt?"

"My pride and my backside." He tries to get his feet under him, tries to get up, but his leg decides not to cooperate. "And one very sore leg."

She stands up, holding out a hand. He grabs it and lets her help him up. For a moment they stand there, nearly wrapped in each other's arms before each leans away, mumbling apologies.

A quiet moment of simply standing there with scarcely a foot of empty space between them.

"Thank you for the help."

She nods. "No problem. That's what healers do, right?"

She walks into the other room.

He stands for a moment, testing his leg.

She smells like chamomile and lavender. It's nice.

He ignores the thought and walks forward to the thrice-daily battlefield of his own dining table.

Date: 2006-01-20 08:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] forgottenlover.livejournal.com
::quiet laugh:: I'm more than happy for your muse

Date: 2006-01-20 11:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] crack-alchemist.livejournal.com
*snerk* you should know better than to fight the ficmuse! lolol!

all of these were great... very delicately written.

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