Characters: Roy, Kimbley
Summary: “You’ll have to kill me Roy, you know that right?”
In the center of the battlefield – if it could even be called that – stood Kimbley, his arms raised high above his head as he let out another merciless cackle, he flexed his fingers and gently, lovingly, caressed the red stone around his neck before bringing his hands into an arc and waving them towards a group of hidden children.
I could hear their screams, but I did nothing for them, they weren’t my concern, not right then.
I raced towards him, heart pounding, hearing my boots sink and then pull in the sand, my foot catching on a body, before snapping my fingers and stopping several enemy troops (mere boys with rifles) from taking a shot at Kimbley from behind a crumbled building, Kimbley hadn’t seen them, but he felt the flames and turned, his eyes wild and fearless, gold glinting with madness.
Kimbley wasn’t there.
I knew Kimbley; he was passionate and cynical, feeling nothing for people, but feeling everything for alchemy. I understood. I understood what he felt when he had the world at his fingertips; by god we all craved it.
But Kimbley had dared to reach out for more, like a greedy child for his second piece of pie.
We’d seen it coming. Seen reason creeping from Kimbley’s very skin, we’d stopped hearing screams during the night, screams and pleas replaced slowly with chuckles and grins.
I couldn’t move far through the smoke without choking up and I pulled my sleeve up to cover my mouth and nose, breathing through it and moving with heavy limbs, eyes watering.
I found him kneeling on the ground, shoulders rising and falling unevenly, and it shocked me so much to see him fallen that I moved forward fast, completely ignoring the very fact that he’d only have to turn and kill me – he wouldn’t hesitate.
But he didn’t, didn’t make any move he’d heard or seen me, seen anyone at all, not even after I put a hand on his shoulder and jerked him around.
I gripped his jaw and punched him hard, anything to a get a reaction. A reaction.
I got what I wanted, his golden eyes flared up and he glared, he glared at me “What the fuck flame?” he shouted, his voice hoarse.
I hit his shoulder hard but not damaging and grimaced “Fallback Crimson, fallback”
“Oh but there is so much more fun to be had” he hissed, his voice falling a little on the last word, said in a deeper, dangerous voice. His hair had been bound back tightly yet still found ways to escape and flick around his face, making him seem even more feral then he did.
“Kimbley” I spat bitterly, wanting to go back, wanting to return to the tents, wanting to wash away the blood, wanting anything other then this. This madness, the insanity that had drowned Kimbley and was threatening to bleed into my own skin.
I did the first thing that came to mind when I realized he’d stopped listening, whatever part of him that still acknowledged me as a friend had closed off, so I tossed my arms around his shoulders and dragged him back, clenching my teeth and pulling harder, hard enough to lift him off his feet once before his desperate clawing and gravity pulled him back down again.
So this way I dragged him, him pushing his weight back against me in an attempt to release his arms and only managing to push himself off the ground again, and me pulling and keeping his hands apart, spitting in the palm of one hand I reached for his and scrubbed at the array until it was faded and useless.
His screaming was grating on my ears, on the small part of me that still remembered this man, this boy as a friend.
“Don’t! Don’t take away my hands! Don’t Flame! Please! Don’t make me useless, don’t take away my life! ROY”
It was my name that made me pause, made me loosen my hold on his other arm for a pause and it was then he made his escape, cascading forward, stumbling til he fell on one knee and half dragged himself forward, grunting and letting out small bitter half laughs that never made it to full sound.
In instant a flash of blue and there was his beloved pen, and then the array and then the wide eyed familiar cackle.
It took a harsh hit from Armstrong to bring him to his knees again, his eyes rolling in the back of his head and two soldiers lurching forward to catch his arms.
“Pull him back men! Take him to his tent!”
They did so without question and I followed, face stern and eyes sterner still. I made it my duty to scrub those palms clean again, taking the pen from his pocket, making him almost … powerless. I have to catch myself before I think useless because it makes me think. Makes me think like him.
I may already think like him. I’d be kidding myself if I thought that I was here for any other reason then my alchemy. I’d be kidding a lot of people if I thought I was worth anything without my gloves.
I understood why goddamnit, I understood why that insane part of Kimbley dreaded, feared not having his alchemy, his arrays – they made him a person.
He woke soon after, thrashing and clawing at his bonds “Let me go! I’m not done yet you bastards! This is a fucking war and you’re keeping me here? Don’t you want to win!?”
I sit there for a moment, catching the way his chest stops rising and falling at a rapid pace and slows down, watch as his eyes dim and his clawing is dulled to a simple, careless stretch towards the ropes.
“It’s over Kimbley” I say harshly with a glare, when he’s calm enough, when he’s sane enough to understand. I turn my back to him, kicking my boots and pegging my uniform shirt towards what I assumed was my suitcase.
“It’s over you goddamn bastard” I hiss a second time and this time I know Kimbley’s in there, and I know he knows who I am because he’s smiling, he’s smiling and laughing and asking how it ended up like this.
I don’t know and I don’t answer. It’s best not to think out here, out here in the desert sands. Best to just push it all under the bed, best to just wake up and go on best to just –
“You’ll have to kill me Roy”
I snap my eyes up, furrow my brows and peer at him cautiously, at my confusion he grins and repeats himself
“You’ll have to kill me Roy, you know that right?”
“Why the hell would I kill you”
He leaned forward as best he could with his limbs strapped to the frame of the tent, and whispered as though revealing a great, terrible secret.
“Because I’m insane you know” I roll my eyes and throw my body weight to my left shoulder, prodding a wound on my right and wincing “Kimbley” I mutter and continue to poke the wound until I’m sure that it’s not going to start bleeding again.
“I’m so fucking crazy the military doesn’t know what to do with me, you’ll have to kill me –after all isn’t that your job Flame, to kill those who get in the way”
I shrugged, and poured myself a god blessed glass of whiskey, downing it in a shot and pursing my lips, hissing as the liquid sailed down my throat, taking with it some of the lines from my eyes.
“Crazy people don’t know they’re crazy Kimbley, you’re as sane as I am”
He starts laughing almost immediately and I realize this was a bad thing to say, that saying has never rung true in my own ears, and Kimbley was brighter then that, and the fact that I’d compared him to me meant that he was going to be laughing for a long time.
“I feel better now; you know I’m really glad we had this talk flame, now I know I’m as sane as you. Next time I’m killing little children, rearranging their bodies until they’re beautiful, until each and every cell answers to me and then it’s a simple snap and boom they’re just as worthless as the next, I’ll remember that – I’m the same as Roy, and he’s the same as me” He broke off and started singing in a off key tone “And we’re just one big.. Family” he spoke the last word and then dazed off, humming occasionally that same infuriating tune.
I sat still, downed another glass (fourth? fifth?) And watched the Crimson Alchemist dream, his fingers tracing over the faded lines of his arrays, lovingly, the same way he stroked the stone that hung around his neck.
I barely contained a shudder, and my eyes fell on my own stone – I didn’t suppress my horrified convulsing then.
I was just like him after all.
My heart raced, just the same as his, when I used to stone to fuel my power, my heart soared, just the same as his when everything was bending to my will.
“We’re more alike then you think Kimbley” I glare, as if it’s somehow his fault “And one day we’ll both answer for that”
“Answer for what Mustang? Answer for being greater then them?”
The force in which I dropped my head on my pillow then was perhaps a bit much but I didn’t care, anything to drill his mocking voice out of my head.
“The only thing you’re greater then Kimbley is me, and that isn’t much”
Kimbley seemed to find this answer satisfying and turned himself as he best he could, arranging his wrists around each other so he could fit more comfortably in his bunk, he squeezed two eyes shut and hummed what I’d come to realize as a lullaby.
I fell asleep quickly, the comfort from his half sung, half drawled words more then I wished it were, my eyes closing with the weight of my drink, and my last thoughts flittering out from my mind as if they were nothing but sand blown on the wind.
“You’re a good friend Mustang, pity I’m going to have to kill you in the end”