False Rain

Oct. 26th, 2005 06:24 pm
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False Rain

Summary: Even psychologically messed-up ex-Fuhrers have to clean up sometime. Riza Hawkeye considers the current state of her world. Episode 51 spoilers (somewhat).

Occurs a few weeks before The Last Survivors

Rating: PG to PG-13, I think...

Disclaimer: The author of this lowly fanfic owneth not Full Metal Alchemist nor any of the characters held within. It and they belong to Arakawa Hiromu.


Every day I thank whatever deity saved humankind from the Brightness that he remembers something about the world.

The afternoon of the resignation he was distant, like he was half in this world and half somewhere else. It wasn't the first time, and at least he wasn't freezing out the way he did in the show-fight with Edward. Freezing was a danger sign, not staring into space. Just keep in physical contact, let Edward try to engage him in the usual Flame and FullMetal banter when he and Alphonse came over to eat dinner that night, and he'd be fine, right? Just keep him involved and he'd snap out of it, right?

He'd always pulled out of mental funks before. Just keep reminding him of what he needs to do and he'll function.

I think Maes and I were the only ones who remembered how organized he was at the Academy. Now, I'm the only one.


He loved numbers. Accounting. Even number play, sometimes. Before alchemy, he was going to go home to the southeastern forests and run a village market. He would have been good at it, before...

...just before.

Grandfather was glad he could still play chess. He lost the will to do paperwork just as he gained the rank that required it.

Maybe that was the warning sign, that the old look of calculation was in his eyes that day. Was the accountant finally free to calculate his sins?

Would one single game of chess have snapped that track of thought?

I helped him upstairs as I had for months, fluffed his pillow, and tucked the sheets around his shoulders. The usual nightly ritual since he was healed enough to leave the hospital. "I'll just be on the other side of the wall, if you need me just knock on the wall." What a joke, I always ended up by his side by dawn anyway. maybe if I'd been there that night none of this would be happening.

I know mindhealers couldn't have helped. He hasn't trusted them for years and they apparently don't trust him either. Maybe they wouldn't have helped at all -- the one that horrible morning certainly was more concerned with us adjusting to what he's become than trying to get who he was back. Since then the mere mention of his name makes their doors slam shut.

Sometimes I think I really don't want to know why the doors close like that.

When I got up that morning, his eye was open but the spark was gone. He was looking out the window and the last dusting of snow was falling from the February sky.

It's nearly November. We've never had to deal with him and lit fireplaces since this happened. We didn't bother with the fireplace that night. The lights here are electric. There's a small wood stove in the kitchen, but the primary one is electric.

We've kept fire from him entirely for months. Only warm convection coils, heated water, and current-loaded lamp filament.

Nearly ten months he's been away from fire in all its unchained incarnations. Almost a year.

Fumbling behind her brought her back to reality, all dim light and water mist and the cool curve of the tub against her back.

She smiled slightly as she shampooed the ragged black mop of hair that had just emerged from behind the curtain, one scarred hand clutching the rim for support and the other holding the curtain close.

"I hope you realize how glad I am you remember some things about taking care of yourself, wherever you are in there."

The head retreated.

Somehow, I think he understands things sometimes. Words. Actions.

I know he recognizes me. He won't trust Edward or Grandfather to sit here, shampoo his hair, hand him a towel, and give him a pile of clean clothes and a hand at getting out. He won't even trust me to do this with the light on.

It would be funny if it weren't so tragic, the fabled womanizer of Central, the stealer of Havoc's girlfriends, the unstoppable flirt, reduced to softly whimpering in a bathtub alone with water pounding on his head and too scared or too modest to even accept help washing between his shoulders. I don't know what will happen when he gets steady enough to stand alone and his shoulder heals enough for his left arm to be properly usable.

Does he see me as anything but the pair of hands that feeds him, helps him get around, wakes him from the nightmares?

And then her arms curl around her and her legs draw up as the sobs come heavy and thick.

He almost certainly isn't coming back, for only she has been able to reach him and look what good that has done...

The ex-Fuhrer, self-appointed champion of justice, reduced to this. She, his loyal second-in-plotting-and-in-battle, reduced to a glorified nurse.

Is this the way it all ends for us? The price I pay for following in my grandfather's footsteps, and he for the glint of light against the harvest-moon sky?

And there is the slightest sound of metal sliding on metal, and wet distinctly male arms are holding her from behind, her head tucked under a chin she knows too well.

She gasps.

He has not actively interacted with another being like this, with no real gain and no motivation but simple human emotion, for months.

Her hand darts up to his face, careful of the delicate skin covering the still-healing injury. "I'll be fine, Roy. Thank you. Thank you so much."

There is no response, but his arms do not leave and he does not flinch from her touch.

They stay like that until the false rain turns cold and they are shivering wet. She turns off the water and passes him a towel and then clean clothing, the same routine as always carefully managed around the dark curtain.

Only this time, when all is done and she is ruffling his hair with the towel, he takes it from her and returns the favor.

Maybe there is hope after all...
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