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.
Previous: Parts 1-3
Part Four: Hospice
Work goes by uneventfully for the next several days, as does the rest of my life. I’m still trying to come to terms with the fact in six months I ain’t gonna be alive, but that’s kind of morbid and depressing, you know? I tend to keep my mind on happy things, playing with Black Hayate during the lunch hour. Dog’s the only one who isn’t going to judge me right now. Hawkeye really doesn’t seem to mind either. I have a feeling Roy told her what was going on. But whatever.
I keep debating if I should check myself into one of those dying buildings. A part of me thinks it’s the best idea I’ve had all week, and another part of me is piss scared at the idea of even going near there. I end up going to look, just to brace myself.
All the way there I keep wanting to turn back. I don’t want to see poor bastards dying the same way I’m going. That’s too scary and weird and morbid. Augh.
The place is nice enough. It looks like someone converted one of those weird old fashioned houses with lots of gables into a home for the dying. It’s a bright cheerful yellow old place with a wrap around porch and really bright flower gardens. Kind of seems like they’re trying to mask the fact they have dying people in there, and that it’s a regular old home with a family and a dog named Fido and a kitty named Fluffy and three delightful children inside who always go to bed at eight. But it ain’t fooling me.
I approach the doors with caution, looking for a doorbell. There isn’t one, so I walk in very carefully. At this point it feels like one of my feet is gonna turn and run the other way, leaving my sides to play tug-of-war with my middle. But I go in.
The inside is as nice and homey as the outside. There’s a nice little reception desk facing me, reminds me of a hotel room. A cheery middle aged woman is sitting behind it, talking on the phone with someone. She looks up at me and smiles a real comforting smile and tells me she’ll be with me in a minute. I nod and look around the lobby a bit more. There’s lots of paintings of landscapes and the ocean and bowls of fruit on the wall and comfy looking armchairs underneath them. I sit down in one, smiling. If this wasn’t a house of death I’d enjoy living here. Bet this place would make a good bed and breakfast.
After a while the woman from behind the desk puts down the phone and looks at me, smiling that same cheerful smile, “Can I help you sir?”
Damn, I was just about asleep! Those armchairs are reeeaaally comfy. I get up, with considerably effort, and walk over to her. “Yeah. My aunt recently was diagnosed with cancer,” I smile grimly. I don’t want to tell her that I’m the one dying. “I was asked to look at some hospices around the city, since the rest of the family lives here and we want to be near by. Is there anyway you could show me around the premises?” I change the grim smile to a far more optimistic one. I am not letting them know I’m the one dying.
”Sure!” she gives me a huge smile and picks up the phone. “I’ll have one of the doctors show you around if you can wait a few minutes.”
”Yeah, thanks,” I say, leaning against the reception desk while the woman talks on the phone to some doctor. I figure I’ll see the place, get some fresh air and then try and figure out what the hell I’m going to do. I guess I could check myself in. This place seems nice enough. But I don’t wanna die here, damnit.
When the doctor comes out, it isn’t what the hell I’m expecting. I guess I kind of want a really old doctor, the kind with graying hair and a few missing teeth and maybe a bald spot or five. Instead I get a woman about my height, well built, long brown hair, and she’s a doctor? I fail at life.
”Hi!” she smiles at me and extends a hand, “I’m Doctor Sariel, the on duty doctor for the moment. I’m sorry to hear about your aunt.”
Aunt? What aunt? “Yeah, me too,” I manage to get out in a solemn tone. “I hear you have really great facilities here though.”
”That we do,” she says. Her voice is cheerful and bubbly. I find myself wondering how she can remain this happy when people around her are dying. No, stop thinking! “I guess you’d like to be shown around then?”
”Yeah, if it isn’t that much of a problem.”
”It isn’t, trust me,” Doctor Sariel replies, adjusting the white lab coat she’s wearing. “I’ll show you our wards first.” She begins walking out of the reception area, her shoes clicking on the floor. “If you don’t mind my asking, how long does your aunt have to live?”
”Oh, not long,” I mutter. “Maybe six months at the most. It’s um…pretty bad. You know?”
I watch her hair go forward and back in a nodding motion. “That’s pretty short. Must be pretty advanced then, I would assume. What kind of cancer is it? Breast? Cervical?”
”Uh, lung actually.” I give a small laugh, “She’s smoked like a chimney since she was 14. It’s not really a surprise to us, I guess. Knew it’d happen sooner or later. We were just kind of hoping for later.”
Sariel nods and begins to walk up a flight of steps. I struggle to keep up with her, coughing quite a bit. I pray that no bloody will come out. None does.
”That’s really too bad,” she turns and smiles at me. “Well, with that diagnosis there really isn’t much we can do. Come on, I’ll show you the terminal patients ward.”
I follow her down a bright red corridor. No, looks more like blood red, if you ask me. Still they’ve got those really nice paintings up. Damn this is depressing. Sariel keeps talking at me. “It’s really terrible, but we do the best we can do.”
”What’s the best you can do though?” I’m staring at the floor because I know my face is really pale. I think I might be crying, but I’m not sure.
She sighs heavily, “Well, there isn’t much we can do. We try and make the patients comfortable, but that usually means pumping them full of drugs to numb the pain. It never really goes away though. A lot of the times we try to get them out of the bed, wheeling them around the grounds and stuff, but at that point they don’t wanna leave the room. They know they’re dying. That’s what makes it so hard. They just lose all hope. I mean, imagine going to sleep one day and the next day the person you were in bed next to wasn’t there. It’s terrifying and it’s a horrible way to die.” Sariel turns around and looks at me. “Are you okay?”
I look up and nod, “Yeah. Just fine.”
”I’m not really much of a help, am I?” she asks, frowning.
”No, no!” I exclaim, laughing. “Just really not used to the idea of her death, that’s all. It feels good to be smacked with reality, don’t worry!”
Doctor Sariel leads me into the terminal ward and continues to talk, occasionally greeting the patients and trying to remind me that it’s not me that’s dying so I don’t need to be so jittery and jumpy. I laugh and say that it’s fine. Actually, I end up talking to some of the residents, who are really nice for dying people I guess. But they’re all older than dirt. And me? Look at me? Late twenties, suffering the same fate as these old geezers! Damnit!
I leave a little while later, thanking the doctor for her time and then getting the fuck out of dodge because I cannot fucking take it anymore. I’m running down the streets, letting my feet take me wherever they think is best. And I know I’m crying this time. I don’t want to go out like that. Goddamnit! There’s got to be a way to cure this fucking cancer.
I’m too young to die. I haven’t accomplished everything I want to do yet. I’m to…well…I’m to me to die. This isn’t fair.
Part Five: Ask the Expert
My feet run me into a bar. Good idea, feet. Let’s get piss drunk and forget about everything! Best idea I’ve had all week.
I swagger over to the bar when I’m sure I’ve stopped crying and order myself one very large pint of ale. I proceed to drown myself in the drink, staring at my pale face in the ale. It isn’t very good ale, mind. Tastes kind of watered down and disgusting. But whatever, I really don’t care. All the while the idea of human transmutation on my lungs keeps running through my head. Ideas, theories, stuff I’ve overheard Roy or other alchemists talk about. It’s all in there in one huge jumbled drunken mess and just now things are starting to make sense. But I have no idea who to ask about these jumbled theorems and probably incorrect math problems. I was never good at math.
Duh. Who better to ask than Ed? Oh, wait. No way he’d even tell me. Kid’s too guarded and doesn’t trust adults. And I don’t think he’s about to tell me the secret to how he lost an arm and a leg and his brother’s whole body. Damn, I must be pretty wasted. And it’s only been one drink.
I pay for my drink and walk out of the bar. It’s a downpour. Hell, I could use a bath. No need to call a cab or anything, I can walk from here. It’s not that bad out, really. Actually, the rain seems to suit my mood. Too bad I can’t light up here. A smoke would go out instantly.
Work is quiet, as usual the next day. Mustang is procrastinating, Hawkeye is attempting to get him to work, and the other three are off doing whatever Riza tells them to do. I, for some reason, actually don’t have anything to do. “Hey, Roy?”
”Isn’t Ed’s train supposed to be coming into the station in ten minutes.”
Roy’s face makes funny noises when it splats into a desk. He lets out a few interesting curse words and tells me to go get the car and get to the train station as fast as I can. No protesting from me.
I put my feet on the gas and get to the train station as soon as Ed and Al are getting off. I’ll say one thing about those two, they’re easy to spot in a crowd. I can tell Al’s looking around for me or Mustang, and Ed’s looking for a way to get out of seeing the Colonel. Surprise, surprise. I wave a hand in the air and yell out Al’s name, hoping to get the suit of armor’s attention. It works. The two walk over and get into the car without much of a fuss (save Ed bitching about the terrible train ride and how the bathrooms on the train weren’t working properly. Ew.) I take the long route to the office, going down all the side streets. Damnit Jean, just ask the kid already. Worst he can do is bite your head off.
”Hey, Ed?” I pipe up from the driver’s seat. I’m attempting to keep my eyes on the road and failing. “Could I ask you something?”
Ed sits up in the back seat and leans over, practically on my shoulder like a parrot. “Yeah, what?”
”D’ya think it’s possible to transmute a live human being?”
I don’t get the explosion I’m expecting. Instead I’ve been told to stop the car and then turn around. I do so, taken aback by the cold response.
”Why?” Ed demands, leaning on the passenger’s seat.
”I need to know,” I reply. Shit, I’m gonna have to tell Ed and Al.
”Why?” Ed frowns and narrows an eye. “That’s a goddamn weird question for someone to ask, especially coming from you. Tell me why you need to know.”
I sigh and lean my head on the steering wheel. “Cancer.”
”What about it?” Ed’s still giving me a death glare.
”I’ve got it. And it’s terminal. I wanna get rid of it.”
I can hear Al’s voice first, and it’s unsteady and wobbly like jell-o. “And you really think you could use alchemy to fix it?”
”No,” Ed says. Cock sure bastard. “It’s forbidden.”
”Even on the living?” I turn around and look at Ed, trying to mask the overwhelming sensation of hopelessness that just took over me. “Ed, let me explain this to you. I have fucking lung cancer and it’s terminal and I’ve got six months at the most. I’m only 27! If it was Al or even yourself you’d be thinking the same thing I am! I don’t want to bring a person back from the dead, I want to save my sorry ass! You HAD to have done a live transmutation, how else could you have saved your brother?!” Ooo. Wrong words to say.
”JUST SHUT UP!” Ed screams back at me, raising his right arm. Al grabs it, trying to hold Ed back. It’s really not working. “You don’t know a DAMN thing about what it took or anything!”
”Then why the fuck do you think I’m asking Ed?!” I glare and let out a low growl. “In case you haven’t figured it out, I’m not scared of whatever you had to go through because I can assure you that this is a fuck of a lot worse than that.” Boy I’m stupid.
I feel the cold fist dig into my face. Shit, it feels like he cut something. Ed’s so pissed he’s nearly in tears and poor Al is just confused. “You have NO idea what you’re talking about Havoc! Just….shut up.” His voice gets a lot weaker. “Just shut up.”
We continue to HQ without as much as a peep. I know I touched a nerve, but really there wasn’t any other way. Who else could I have asked? Mustang wouldn’t have told me and I’m sure Al doesn’t even remember what happened that night. This was a dumb idea anyway. I don’t believe I even expected him to tell me anything.
I pull into the parking space for the car and turn the engine off. Ed and Al leap out of the car and begin to run inside. Ed stops and turns to me. I’m taking my sweet time. Maybe have a smoke to calm myself.
”Nothing,” Ed says. “Nothing is worse than what you see during a human transmutation Havoc. Believe me. Don’t try it. It’s better to die the way you’re dying than to go through that. Besides. What could you offer in exchange for clean lungs? Your heart? A limb? No, nothing.”
He runs to catch up with Al, leaving me to smoke outside. I take a long drag of my cigarette and sigh. There’s got to be a way to pull this off.
To Be Continued…