FMA fic

Mar. 3rd, 2005 07:09 pm
swordage: Roy Mustang's glove dripping water. (x roy glove)
[personal profile] swordage
This was going to go up at the same time as Desert Unwell, but then I fell asleep and rewrote the end. Not at the same time.

Title: War Is A Fantasy
Series: FMA
Rating: PG-13
Ramifications: Ishbal, fourth and last in the Desert series. Because [livejournal.com profile] pinstripesuit actually asked for during-Ishbal, not post-Ishbal. Silly me.
Summary: Roy dreams, and then he doesn't.


In his dreams, Roy never wore a uniform.

He could dream about anything, but usually he would just be walking about Central in slacks and a buttoned shirt with the collar undone. No one looked at him strangely; Armstrong would stop to say hello and people stared then, but that was to be expected with Armstrong. Hughes stopped to show him pictures, and he had to drag the man out of the flow of pedestrian traffic, and no one looked twice. He stopped at a diner and bought a coffee and the clerk looked bored. It was good, to not be noticed, to not be a dog of the military. A Brigadier General passed by and he didn’t have to snap to attention.

When he was awake, he was never out of uniform.

He hadn’t actually brought any other clothes with him, as he had been ordered. Three pairs of duty pants, two duty shirts, five of whatever he chose to wear under the uniform top, seven pairs of briefs, not boxers. Seven pairs of socks. The implications were staggering; he was to travel light, and if they had to send his belongings home without him the postage would be minimal.

It was hard to get up in the morning.

He was clipped by a sniper five days after he arrived, and his entourage beat a panicked retreat. He clung to life in a bombed-out school, gripping his side so tightly it stopped bleeding and the skin turned ashen. He was more afraid than he’d ever been, more seriously injured than he’d ever been. He felt his age, what little of it he possessed. He felt too young to be there, bleeding on the sand with the sun beating lines into his face.

He fell asleep and dreamt of a stair that reached up into the sky, and when he looked over the edge he was flying.

He woke to find a boy standing over him. He was relieved for a moment, and then panicked. The boy had dark skin and wide, frightened eyes. They stared at each other, both frightened of the other, and then Roy laughed and slowly took out his gun and set it on the ground, shoving it towards the boy with his foot. The boy snatched it away and released the clip, checking the chamber to make sure it was empty. He handed the ammo to Roy and pocketed the handgun. They sat next to each other until the sun went down, and then the boy tended to Roy’s side and Roy gave the boy his spare clip. They went their separate ways when the sun rose.

He wished this were a nightmare, and his dreams were reality.

He met people in Ishbal. Alchemists, every one of them, as the enlisted men drew away from their miraculous powers. The alchemists had their own table to eat at, their own shower that was never profaned by privates’ steps, their own section of camp. Roy hated the stares, hated the whispers of, “How can he sleep at night, knowing what he’s done?” He couldn’t. How could they?

“Duck.”

He had listened when Kimbley first said that, thinking there was a sniper or grenade or even just a well-aimed rock prepped with explosives, but all he did was clear the way for Kimbley to press his hands against the wall and shower Roy with debris. There were screams from inside, but Roy could see with a glance there was no chance of digging them out. Colonel Gran looked over and smiled and scolded Kimbley for leaving survivors. “Not for long,” was Kimbley’s laughing reply, and Roy looked over at Armstrong and saw the same illness he felt.

He wished sometimes, ever so wistfully, that he could remember what Central was like.

He could vaguely recall tall buildings in shades of grey, rising out of steam and grime like monoliths to creatures long gone. He remembered rain on his window and wondered why nature wasted water like that. He remembered a grey desk with grey papers and grey uniforms on grey people. But it was so removed from the hot golden sand and golden sun, the shades of brown robes and brown skin, that he couldn’t entirely trust his memories.

There was no point in struggling.

He found some solace in that he still found killing children distasteful. It had never been difficult; just a snap and they were gone. He slept better than he ever had before. Deep, dreamless oceans that he had to struggle out of, panting with exertion when he finally woke and didn’t wonder why he wanted to be awake. None of the alchemists had the same reaction; he had to look farther, across that chasm at the regular troops, to find similar symptoms. He gave all his mirrors to Kimbley and had him turn them to crisp bits of razor-sharp crystals; he couldn’t stand the right of his own expression, blank and unblinking and always looking through whatever his face was pointed towards. Kimbley offered to take care of that too, and he almost accepted. Then he remembered that he needed his eyes for the military, and regretfully sent the man off to take the eyes of some Ishbal woman he never knew and never met.

He never thought of killing himself.

There was too much else taking up his attention, missions and people and oxygennitrogenhydrogrenburning. He learned to filter out the chatter of troops, because if he listened to it he couldn’t pick out just one thing and it was overwhelming, made him want to scream until it stopped. He learned to listen only to orders, learned to see only the hand signals of battle, learned to feel only the coarse flint of his gloves. He had new ones given to him every week, flawless in every detail, because he wore them out so quickly. He kept every discarded pair under his cot, watching with distant amusement as the sand slowly drifted under the tent flap and covered them up, one by one.

He didn’t know how to go home.

He wanted to stay where the orders were familiar and the sun was warm and the blood was red. They didn’t let him. He went back to the grey and wet and dark, and wondered why he was suddenly insane.

(no subject)

Date: 2005-03-05 05:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bard-linn.livejournal.com
*transports Roy home in a flash of pink smoke*

(no subject)

Date: 2005-03-07 01:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] slashy-sprite.livejournal.com
Fabulous. I love the imagery in this, with all the little things. I especially like everything in Central being grey compared to Ishbal. ^___^

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