Lord knows I can't write. THIS IS PROOF.
Title: Happy Endings
Inspired by the short story of the same title by Margaret Atwood
Rating: ...originally it was going to be R, but eh...
Warnings: Character death and disturbing images?
Many, many many thanks to kaltia for helping me beta and edit this. >_< Thank you thank you.
John and Mary meet.
What happens next?
If you want a happy ending, try A
--Margaret Atwood, “Happy Endings.”
It was a sight, really, to see the anger trying to seep out in the best way possible, but not quite finding a good outlet that’s reasonable enough to give. This was the way Edward Elric was right now—ready to pop at a moment’s notice but still trying to figure out exactly where to pinpoint the blame on. This was no longer something as simple as someone calling him short, or an evil father turning his daughter and dog into a chimera. This was something else, something ambiguous, and that’s what made this so hard. This was gray.
Well, it was still better to let him get acquainted with things that aren’t totally black and white and handed to him on a platter sooner or later. Roy Mustang just wished that it wouldn’t have had to been a situation as nasty and sticky as this one.
“He WHAT?” On closer inspection, Roy could almost see Edward foam at the edges of his mouth.
“He fell down the stairs and died,” Roy said evenly. He had the report in front of him telling it in elaborate terms, complete with autopsy photos, should they be needed. The look of denial on the older Elric’s face was telling him that they might be.
“He—“ Roy braced himself for another round of the “he what.”
“He was walking down the stairs at the military dorm, took a wrong step, slipped, and tumbled down the flight of stairs,” Roy said, skimming over the files. “Twisted his neck when his head made impact with the landing and died on the spot.”
Edward opened his mouth to speak again, but his mouth worked without much coming out. Apparently the typist in his brain for his thought processes either went blind suddenly or just passed out altogether. It was really a sight to behold, when the famous Fullmetal Alchemist had nothing to say, nothing of a coherent retort.
Humans were such fragile creatures, as many people would have it told. It takes a mother nine months to carry a child, hours of labour pains to give birth to it, and what did it all come down to?
A simple flight of stairs could snap a person’s neck, and just like that, all those months and years of hard work would become naught.
Well, in the Elric brothers’ case, it also included years of traveling, death-defying (HAH, they all seemed so meaningless now. A shower of bullets couldn’t kill them but a measely flight of stairs could) stunts, and not to mention hours upon hours of studying.
A simple flight of stairs.
Roy Mustang watched as Edward continued to gape at him, and, in all of his incoherency, asked the simple question of “He what” again. At this point, even Roy himself was getting extremely annoyed.
“How many times would you like me to say it, Fullmetal?” Roy asked, getting up from his chair. The light coming in from the window behind him illuminated the edges of his body, but obscured the expression on his face. From the small peeks of what was visible, one could see small traces of fine wrinkles at the ends of his eyes. He picked up the file folder on his desk and threw it at Edward, not caring if the boy caught it or not (he didn’t) or if the grotesque photos were going to be strewn everywhere in the office (they were).
“You keep asking what happened, I’ll tell you what happened, there was only one authentic result of what happened,” Roy said, finding himself raising his voice. “He really is dead, Edward.” Edward flinched at the way Roy emphasized this, as though those words were physical bullets.
“So much for endings,” Roy said, throwing his hands up in the air. “You have to remember that everybody dies, Fullmetal. I understand that he is your brother, but honestly, what are you going to do? Are you going to keep him by your side twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week? Are you going to attempt human transmutation every time something happens to him?”
Now Edward was looking so pathetic, like a beaten dog, that Roy had to let up and feel guilty. He sighed deeply and rubbed the rough material of his gloves over his face. He was the first person they notified of Alphonse's death because the boy had been working directly under him, and he had been the person asked to go and identify the body.
"I--" he began, but then stopped himself. He wasn't in the vein to apologize. What could he do with a word of "sorry?" It sure wasn't going to do much for Edward, really.
"Where's he now?" Ed asked, head lowered.
"In the morgue," Roy answered. He looked down at the autopsy photos on the ground and decided he would have to get someone else to pick them up later. He's had enough.
"Requesting permission to take his body back to Resembool for burial," Ed said. He finally looked up, and though at first he avoided Roy's gaze, he stared at the man head-on.
"Sorry," came the refusal. "I cannot allow you to do that."
"WHY NOT?!" the shout was so strained, and the end of it was so tired that Roy was sure this boy was at the end of his fuse.
"I cannot be sure of whether or not you'll be able to withstand the temptation of wanting to perform another human transmutation, and you are too much of an important part of the military. Now that Alphonse has passed away, we'll need you to take on his load as well."
"You--you..." Ed stammered, once again at a loss for words. Finally, something seemed to give out, and his knees hit the carpet floor with an un-uniformed pair of thumps.
"Dismissed," Roy announced. "Second Lieutenant Ross!"
On cue, the short-haired woman opened the oak doors of the office just a crack. It was obvious she had been worried when Ed was called to the office and stood outside the whole time. "Sir?"
"Take Edward Elric here back to the military housing, he needs rest."
Roy Mustang watched as Maria Ross hoisted Edward up with some effort--a person whose spirit has gone out of them is as heavy as a sack of potatoes, and Edward's spirit was all but completely snuffed out. The Colonel couldn't help but feel a small amount of pity. Just a small amount.
That night, he declined Havoc's offer to drive him home and instead walked back to his manor on his own, his steps heavy but with a note of eagerness. When he returned home, he threw his overcoat onto the coat-hanger, not caring whether or not he'd missed, and ventured down to his wine cellar.
Or, rather, what used to be his wine cellar.
"Mr. Tucker," he said upon entering the make-shift lab, "how much longer until you are able to refine this?"
The chimera jumped at the man's voice, and turned his head in that strange, awful quirky way to regard Roy. He seemed almost a bit annoyed at being interupted in whatever he was doing. The nerve of him.
"Almost, almost," he chanted in that raspy, whispering tone. "Almost..."
"I'd like you to know I've already pulled enough strings to fund you for this," Roy muttered coldly, equally annoyed. "If not for the fact that you've actually DONE something, I would have already cut your research and turned you in." He tapped on a glass tube next to him to emphasize. Though the fluid inside the tube was a near-opaque blue, it didn't obscure the little girl, half-formed, inside. Tucker gave a wild, shrill wail and whirled back to his notes.
"Will do, will do," he mumbled. "Don't hurt Nina...don't...Nina..."
Crossing his arms, Roy turned away and walked into the other wing of his wine cellar, to the reason why he needed Tucker. His fingers went to flick the light on in the room, and he gazed at the large vat filled with a red-violet fluid, feeling a smile touch his lips.
"Alphonse...Elric," he whispered.
At the sound of his voice, dozens of pairs of eyes flew open, and many heads, all carrying the same exact face turned towards him, smiling, giggling. Roy placed a hand onto the glass and pressed his lips to it, and one of them--one of the many, many Alphonse Elrics, came to receive the kiss.
(I was more emotional about this fic in my personal LJ O_O)
Will illustrate some time.