Author: Shoeless Wanderer
Rating: PG-13 for Language and some gore
Genre: General. No pairings
Summary: Havoc gets lung cancer, and begins to try to find a way to save himself.
Author’s Notes: This is based off the Hellblazer story arc of the same title, “Dangerous Habits”. I’ve seen a lot of Havoc art lately that reminded me of John Constantine, and let’s face it: Havoc will somehow get cancer. I wanted to play around with the idea, and Dangerous Habits inspired me to do so. Hellblazer and Fullmetal Alchemist are © their respective owners. I’ll probably write more tomorrow. Also, please blame the pain meds I’m on for this fanfic. Wisdom teeth man.
Part One: I’m Dying
Seems like this has been a long time coming, the fact that I have cancer and all. But oddly enough, I only found out a few weeks ago. And tonight’s going to be my last night alive, one way or another.
I wasn’t even aware that the cigarettes were killing me until I started coughing up blood and little pieces of my innards. I mean, I’d get up in the middle of the night every so often and cough up a smattering of blood and mucus, but I always thought it was a cold. The coughs got progressively worse. “Flu,” I’d say to anyone who asked me. But I realized I should get a doctor in on the entire situation when I started really hacking the stuff up.
I had been sleeping peacefully when I started coughing up blood again in the middle of the night about four months back. I dragged myself out of bed and hung over the toilet bowl, expecting the ordeal to be over in a few minutes. It dragged on and on for what seemed like the better part of an hour, and it wasn’t just blood this time. I kept feeling bile climb up my throat. It wasn’t regular “something I ate didn’t agree with me” barf either. It was that disgusting stuff you puke up after not eating for days. Chunks of yourself. Sure as hell wasn’t food. Then when I finally stopped swallowing the stuff and it leaped out of my mouth, I found myself staring at a bit of me in the sink. I went to the doctor’s the next day.
They ran a few tests on me. Drawing blood, a sample of my piss, swabbing the back of my throat with cotton, all the normal things they do at a check up. The doctor insisted on x-raying my chest. I had no idea what good that would do, so I took my shirt off and let a few nurses poke me and move me around. Not that I’m complaining about that.
I wasn’t expecting the test results back for a few weeks, but the doctor kept me after for some reason. I sat in the guy’s office while he put the x-rays up on a light board. He studied them for a few minutes and frowned. I was busy smoking away at another cigarette.
”Could you please put that out?” he asked, motioning to the smoke. I did so, putting a burn mark on my hand. “How many cigarettes do you smoke a day, on average?”
I shrugged. “’Bout 20 a day. Maybe more. Depends on how I’m feeling I guess.” Pause. “Why?”
The doctor walks over to the chair behind his desk and sits down. There’s a look on his face that sends a chill up my spine. It’s the look of death. Not for him, of course, but for me. “From the x-rays, it seems like you have lung cancer at a fairly advanced stage.”
The stub of the cigarette falls out of my hand, spreading ash on the floor. The doctor continues to talk, waxing on and on about how they aren’t 100% sure if it’s curable or not and how they’ll have to check with the other test results and that they’ll get back to me in a few weeks and in the mean time try not to smoke so much and exercise and keep active and I just can’t take it anymore.
All I heard was “lung cancer” and “advanced stage”. “Advanced stage” means terminal. Which means I’m dying.
Part Two: A Way Out
The doctor calls me back a week later to tell me the test results. I’m at work, but honestly I don’t care. “Tell me now.”
There’s a long pause on the other end of the line and I hear the words I dreaded. “It’s terminal. You have six months, tops.”
I watch the phone fall out of my hands and land on the floor. My co-workers are all staring at me, looking at me for an explanation. I gape in dumb surprise at the floor and then very carefully pick up the phone, “Okay. I’ll stop by after work then. Okay. Bye.” I put the phone back on the receiver and then continue to work as if there’s nothing the matter. Mustang and Hawkeye are still staring at me, Breda’s trying to pretend nothing happened, Furey’s looking at Mustang for an explanation and Falman is looking at the phone with great interest. Mustang’s the first to speak. “Havoc, can I have a word with you?”
”Huh?” I play dumb, trying to pretend nothing happened. “Oh yeah, sure thing chief.”
Mustang and I walk out into the corridor, and I get the stare down that Mustang’s known for. “What the hell was that all about?”
I shrug nonchalantly, “Just a doctor calling.”
”That wasn’t a good news call,” Mustang says in reply. “Tell me what happened.”
No use lying to your boss, I figure. “Lung cancer.” I watch Mustang’s face turn a shade of white. “S’terminal.”
”What? The hell didn’t you go to a doctor sooner?” His face goes from white to red in one fell swoop, and goddamn it’s terrifying. “All that coughing wasn’t the flu that was your body trying to tell you to see a fucking doctor!” He sighs. “Damnit, what were you thinking?”
”I wasn’t, alright?” I put a hand up in my defense and try to walk backwards. “I’m seeing the doctor after work to figure things out, don’t worry. And um, don’t tell anyone? Kind of don’t want people to know.”
”No, you’re leaving to see the doctor now,” Mustang glares at me. “Pack your things up and go. I want a full explanation on what the hell is going on tomorrow.”
I mock salute him and walk out of the building, smoking away at another cigarette. Fuck, I’m dying already. Doesn’t matter if I smoke now, does it?
Mustang must have called ahead to the doctor, weird, as I didn’t tell him who the doctor was, but when I get to the guy’s office he’s already waiting for me. I walk into the exam room and listen. He talks about rapid cell growth for a while and shows me a few charts. What gets me is the fucking x-rays. Yeah, they’re the same ones from the last visit, but I never took a second glance at them. It’s weird. Now that he’s pointing out all the tumors and shit I can’t help but marvel. It’s damn impressive what these things can do to a man’s lungs, even if it is evil and deadly. Almost enchanting, in a way.
He goes on for an hour, making suggestions and telling me to make final arrangements and how it’d be a good idea to check into a hospice and whatever. All the while I’m thinking that this isn’t how I expected I would die. Being a solider and all, maybe I’d die on the battle field or be a part of some great military revolution or something. Cancer, fine. But fucking lung cancer? Shit. And I ain’t gonna die pumped full of drugs lying helpless and weak in a bed either.
”There aren’t any ways to cure this?” I eventually blurt out. The doctor shakes his head.
”Weren’t you listening? Treatment wouldn’t fix cancer at the stage you’re in. It’s too far gone.”
”Nothing?” I bite my lip and chew on it. “I mean, nothing at all? Chemo? Radiation? Hell, alchemy?” Dunno where that last one came from.
”No,” the doctor shakes his head. “There really isn’t anything we can do, other than help make the last several months comfortable for you.”
I get up, wrapping my leather coat around myself tightly. It’s suddenly cold in the room. “Thanks. I’ll get back to you in a few days I guess. Kinda just want to let everything sink in, you know?” I lie. I ain’t getting back in touch with this guy. I can’t handle any more talk about the painful death I’m going to go through. But I do have an idea on how to save my sorry ass.
I wonder if the taboo of human transmutation applies to lung cancer…
Part Three: Cheating Cancer
Work was oddly normal the next day. I suppose Mustang must have told everyone not to ask me about yesterday, because everyone carried on like nothing had happened. I kept to myself, working quietly and occasionally coughing. Roy would always look up whenever I coughed, expecting me to pass out or something. At least he was worried about me, and that had to mean something.
I ended up working through lunch. My appetite had decreased a lot lately. I suspected it was the cancer. What weirded me out was Mustang worked through lunch too. This from the king of procrastination? Something was fishy.
”So how did it go at the doctor’s the other day?” he asks from behind his desk. I sigh inwardly.
”Not well. Only thing they can do is pump me full of drugs and I die in a bed amongst a bunch of other poor fuckers like me.” My voice is pretty hollow. I guess I’m still not used to the idea of me dying like that. I keep my eyes on my work. “But I kinda had a thought, walking home from the doctor’s.” I wonder what his reaction will be. “Do you think it’s possible to perform a transmutation to get rid of the tumor? You know, a live transmutation?” I finally look up and over at Mustang. It’s interesting to watch his eyes bug out of his head.
”Havoc are you nuts?! You know that’s forbidden. And it’s probably impossible.”
”You say probably,” I feel a grin creep up my face. “But the idea’s never been explored, has it?”
”Because it’s against nature!” Mustang nearly screams back. “Havoc don’t you even THINK about transmuting yourself.”
”It was just a thought,” I muttered, returning my eyes to my work. “That’s all. Hell, does it matter anyway? Either way this damn cancer’s gonna kill me. Why does it matter how I die?”
”Havoc,” Mustang glared. I wasn’t even looking at him and I could feel his glare on me. “Once you get the idea for a human transmutation in your head it doesn’t leave easily. Dammit, I should know. But don’t you do anything stupid because if you do I will bring you back to life and kill you myself.”
”Good to know,” I tossed him a grin. “Now get back to work Colonel.”
To Be Continued