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Disclaimer: I own not anything involving Full Metal Alchemist. It belongs to Arakawa Hiromu. Dialogue in "Enemies" and "Storm" taken from the official English language dub.


If you've seen Episode 3 and 15, you won't be spoiled apart from hintings at the beginning of Episode 25 (and no, not THE SPOILER from that episode). And there's no actual RoyWin or subtext, so apart from the fact these are for my themes thing there's no connection to the pairing.

Rating: all are PG


Strawberries
Her grandmother shoves the bowl at her. “You need to eat.”

She can’t stop crying.

Not since the boys from down the lane left, followed by Grandmother’s favorite toolbox.

Not since she was told what the letter said.

“Winry, you have to eat.”

She reaches out with a shaking hand, grabs one of the blurry red shapes, and bites into it.

She can’t tell if they’re bitter because of her tears or because they’ve been harvested too soon.


Spring
He is perusing the newspaper over coffee one morning, soon enough after the war that real coffee and actual news still feel like blessings rather than normal things, when he reads the tiny blurb on the inside back page.

Flooding in the south-east. They had certainly been having enough rain for it lately, up in the mountains. And there was the snowmelt to contend with.

Creeks rising, three rivers fast passing floodstage, fields flooding in fourteen valleys...

His eyes widen.

Risembool village, barely saved by an alchemist just passing through.

His hands started shaking. He hoped no one in the mess hall would notice.

The girl in the photograph...

Their town was Risembool.

“The town suffered no casualties.”

He couldn’t stop shaking.

If only that were really true...


Insides
The room felt oddly bare.

Maes had removed the more incriminating items off who-only-knew where, and was holding most of Roy’s more advanced alchemy manuals and notes hostage at his home.

And the gun. Of course he had taken the gun. Without being told that it was the gun; Roy hadn’t been that drunk.

And he’d only get his stuff back once he was able to produce a plan of how he was going to get himself as close to the top as possible. Something beyond “I shalt become Fuhrer and there shall be rainbows, fluffy clouds, and puppies forever in this land!”

He ran a hand back over his hair.

Stating his basic plan while mostly drunk and incredibly ‘please shoot me for treason’ suicidal had not been the best moment of his life.

He couldn’t start at the end goal. He didn’t know if he’d ever make it there.

He had to start with the almost imperceptible. Things that Gran would brush off as nothing. Things that Bradley might never even notice.

Keep anyone from recreating Marcoh’s research. That was the big thing, after all. No red stones would mean no more insane powers available in any new wars. That meant getting high enough in the hierarchy to influence the research choices of at least some of the new State Alchemists.

Which meant staying in Central, close to the Fuhrer and the testing, for as long as he could manage, and grabbing at every single ethical promotion he could earn.

And maybe if I try hard enough, I’ll leave enough changes that if I get caught Ishbal still can’t happen the same way again.

He got up to go find Maes.


Outsides
Pinako Rockbell sat in her kitchen, reading the paper.

More cleanup by the military in the east, over the mountains. A group called the Eastern Liberation Front, causing havoc with the rail lines to the north. Blizzards up in Briggs for the past month. The third birthday of the Fuhrer’s adopted son Selim.

The usual eastern region “what our boys in the military are doing” page, including a quarter page spread on how an alchemist brat from the northeast with a dead general for a father had finally gotten a promotion for war heroism and other services to Amestris.

Just another life for the military to squeeze dry. Why do I even bother looking at this page anymore? Another five years and they’ll all be home trying to piece lives back together, career soldiers with no morals, or generals who wouldn’t know morals if they fell out of the clear blue sky and whacked them on the head.

And the military alchemists... dogs, doing anything for the scraps from their master’s table. And scraps is all Bradley’s giving them and all he ever will give them.


She folded the paper and looked out at the sky.

Just another life wasted.


Storm
He stood atop the hill, looking around the valley.

Not that there was much to see as he squinted through the falling rain.

He ran through what he remembered of solid-state alchemy in the back of his mind as he pondered whether to find the Elric home now, or wait until morning. It was late enough as it was. Certainly there had to be some sort of inn closer to the train station.

No. He didn’t want to stay in this village any longer than he absolutely had to.

He’d only come because Hohenheim was far too powerful to simply fall neatly into Gran and Bradley’s grasps without knowing what had been done with alchemists in Ishbal. That, and if anyone in the military was going to be mistreated by the village of Risembool, it really ought to be him.

A feeling of alchemical mischief was in the air, but not like any of the pranks he’d pulled during his teenage years, this was something more... dangerous.

“There’s something foul in the air.”

The glow of good normal alchemy comes from the Elric home, then shifts into a shade Roy has never seen.

Well, I was warned that Hohenheim was a potential taboo-breaker. There, problems all solved. He could get out of this valley and back on a nice dry train to Central.

The scream of a young child, coming from the house.

The glow faded.

The scream repeated.

He walked down the hill towards the home, carefully watching his step. If he fell and broke a leg, he’d be no good to anyone.

A shape left the house, running down the street and carrying something.

Another scream, coming from whatever had just left but sounding the same.

Roy glanced around the frontporch, then followed the trail of blood down the country lane.

He reached the top of another hill just in time to see a door close on a yellow house with a sign. He squinted and felt his heart begin to race.

AUTO
MAIL
ROCKBELL


Oh please no.

Insubordination to Gran would be suicide, and he was here under Gran’s orders. Gran would know, and it would attract attention to them, the little girl and whoever she had left in this world. He couldn’t just leave.

He would have to go to the house, and he would have to be rude. Otherwise, he might be invited in. He would have to enter, uninvited, and act like just another soldier with a superiority complex over civilians.

It took an hour for him to talk himself to the front door, where he waited quietly.

A woman’s voice, familiar enough that he knew it had to be the elder Mrs. Rockbell. “... a product of mischief. You were trying to bring back your mother, weren’t you?”

So, Hohenheim’s boys had tried to bring back their mother from the dead, and at least one had survived the attempt. He knew the feeling. If I had been exposed to alchemy when I was thirteen... Not that he could have been, with his uncle’s views on the universe, but he could commiserate somewhat.

He barged in, flank to the inside and hunching over. He barely looked towards the center of the room, watching from the corners of his eyes. “Well that explains a few things. A human transmutation. I’ve never seen such a furious reaction before.” Or that color before. Which deities did you have to tick off to make alchemy go purple? He pulled the door closed; no use giving the injured kid in the bed pneumonia.

He reached for his watch. “Pardon me.” He held it up.

The armor in the room spoke with the voice of a small boy as Roy walked forward as firmly as he could. “A State Alchemist?”

And then she spoke, with her son’s eyes and the battering-ram hint of her son’s voice. “What are you doing here? I have no time to entertain dogs. Can’t you see these boys are hurt?”

It stopped him in his tracks. She knows.I have to defuse the situation before she gets in Gran’s sights too. “Take it easy, Ma’am. I’m just checking the mail.” He held up a letter.

“One of our letters! Then you know where my dad is?”

“I only wish, kid. We’ve been looking for Hohenheim for a long time, and we’re still only kicking up dirt.”

He couldn’t help but look at the girl standing next to the elderly woman. She’s their daughter.

Mrs. Rockbell spoke again. “Well if you didn’t have any information why did you come? You sure as heck aren’t going to find their dad here.”

He turned to look at Hohenheim’s other son, the one in the bed. “Let’s call it nostalgia, or a misplaced curiosity. Whatever it was, I’m happy I came. If these boys can attempt human alchemy and survive, their dad just dropped a rung on my priority list.” Hohenheim can take care of himself. These kids can’t, and Gran’ll use them if he ever gets the chance. He’d have the red stone labs running again in six months if he ever had direct access to these boys.

“I want you out of this house immediately! I’ve had enough lives wrecked by the state.”

You and me both, Ma’am. On both counts. He turned and walked toward the door, not looking back. “The name’s Lieutenant Colonel Roy Mustang, State Alchemist. Pay me a visit in Central sometime.”

He opened the door and left into the night. He got on the next train back towards Central, found an empty compartment, shut himself inside.

And wept.


Enemies
Pinako Rockbell was incensed.

“You were trying to bring back your mother, weren’t you?” It wouldn’t be the first time Ed had plotted human transmutation. Dragging Al along only made it worse.

The door opened and a soldier barged in, drawing it closed behind him.

“Well that explains a few things. A human transmutation. I’ve never seen such a furious reaction before.”

The soldier reached inside his coat. “Pardon me.” He held up an alchemist’s watch. He watched everything from the side of his eye, or focused just behind her. Like he was avoiding something...

“A State Alchemist?”

It’s him, she realized. “What are you doing here? I have no time to entertain dogs. Can’t you see these boys are hurt?”

“Take it easy, Ma’am. I’m just checking the mail.” He held up a letter as if Hohenheim’s name alone gave him permission to be there.

“One of our letters! Then you know where my dad is?”

“I only wish, kid. We’ve been looking for Hohenheim for a long time, and we’re still only kicking up dirt.”

“Well if you didn’t have any information why did you come? You sure as heck aren’t going to find their dad here.” Or are you just here so that we remember to be good little healers and only treat who you want us to treat, and that you can come in at any time to be sure we have complied?

“Let’s call it nostalgia, or a misplaced curiosity.”

Just let me get my wrench and I’ll misplace your curiosity...

“Whatever it was, I’m happy I came. If these boys can attempt human alchemy and survive, their dad just dropped a rung on my priority list.”

“I want you out of this house immediately! I’ve had enough lives wrecked by the state.”

He turned to leave. Good dog. The obedience training seems to have stuck.

“The name’s Lieutenant Colonel Roy Mustang, State Alchemist. Pay me a visit in Central sometime.”

Pinako stood, dumbfounded. “...and special services to the state.” Is that what they’re calling shooting unarmed healers these days?

She spent the rest of the evening mopping the mud from his boots from the floor, unwilling to leave it there a moment more than she had to.


Circle
She worries when the brothers don’t show up for breakfast.

She walks to their home, them runs when she sees the twisted pile of ash.

No armor.

No automail.

They made it out, but...

She kneels in the center of the burned area, in the center of the house’s foundations. She curls up on herself and cries.

They’re gone.

It’s just her and Grandma now.

Date: 2007-03-23 11:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] orion117.livejournal.com
These were all excellent, especially Storm and Circle, which was heartbreaking, especially knowing she wouldn't see them or hear from them for four years.

You did a wonderful job weaving Roy's history and knowledge into his thoughts, against the backdrop of what we saw happening in the anime. When I first re-watched that episode I was amazed at how much more meaning that scene had after learning all that we had about Roy, and you brought all of that out. The end was very powerful, too, and believable, knowing that Roy had looked into human transmutation himself. And I liked this sentence:

Which deities did you have to tick off to make alchemy go purple?

Heh.

Date: 2007-03-24 01:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jalendavi-lady.livejournal.com
Thank you.

I watched the series from the first night it aired, but that was a bad year and I was sleep deprived, so I managed to get basically nothing but something pretty to stare at out of it. That, and I was feeling very small and downtrodden-ish, so seeing Ed actually able to affect things was nice.

Then I saw Episode 15 when it aired in September of 2005 and everything went *click*. I've seen Ep 3 without knowing, but I wasn't paying attention, so my first real viewing of that sequence was with the whole two different layers of communication thing going on. Same thing with the rest of Roy's scenes (and if the way I'm plotting this stuff holds up, Winry's visits to Central will be up next in posting order. and then I can return to the post-series actual pairing stuff).

Date: 2007-04-08 09:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tenshiyaki.livejournal.com
Wow. :D Thanks so much for sharing! Your narrative style is just perfect for conveying Roy's feelings in all these events. I especially loved how Storm and Enemies tell the same event through two different points-of-view. It was all very well-done!

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