I gave up on Riza's tattoo and I'm retarded when it comes to Photo Shop so for now this piece will be left a simple pencil sketch. :( I would REALLY appreciate it if no one reposts this picture, but as it is the internet *shrugs* If someone is interested in coloring it for me, that would be nice. ^ ^ I don't know when I'll get around to doing the job
Title: Mother's Nature
Pairings: Roy/Riza undertones, Ed and Riza centric
Disclaimer: I do not own FMA! Duh.
Genre: Fullmetal Alchemist; Drama, Angst
Spoilers: Up to Chapter 59 of the Manga.
Summary: Edward suspects that Roy is keeping a secret from him regarding his father and discovers the startling truth of his origins. "Mother?"
I recently read chapter 59 of the Fullmetal Alchemist manga and while summarizing the contents of said chapter for a friend, I started making up a bunch of wild stuff off the top of my head to test his gullibility. The more I got into the lie, using references from both the manga and anime to defend my extreme claims, the more plausible the concept sounded. Finally, I couldn't resist the temptation any longer and I had to write it down. So here is my first real fanfic ever. Be gentle! Yes, the blend of the comic and TV show is intended, because there are certain aspects of each I favor over the other. Important Note: Hohenheim in the story is strictly manga-version so don’t get confused by the fact that his body is unscathed. Roy arriving in Resembool is strictly anime-version so he does witness the afterglow of Ed and Al’s array to bring back their mother. Also, this piece is intended to be vague and I’m interested to know how many of the references in this people catch. It’s littered with them!
"So you've heard of the red water?" a scruffy man inquires of his companion. Though his attire may disagree, the man upholds a distinct intellectual presence and his golden eyes, weary from experiences normal humans have the leisure of never knowing, inquisitively watch the equally shabby looking individual he questions.
"Of course. What do you take me for Hohenheim? I've read through Nash's work several times and I've even had the 'pleasure' if you will, of discussing matters with the man before. His quest for the creation of a red stone held a great interest for me but the methods..."
"Yes, I know how distasteful they are. Tampering with pregnancies an-"
"No, not that. I've no qualms about the sacrifices necessary to achieve the greater good. If those woman and their children die to save the generations ahead from the tyranny of the State, I won't hold his crimes against him. It's just, the idea that just anyone will do...well the quality of the ingredients says something about the result now doesn't it." The man casts his friend a crooked grin. Unamused, Hohenheim's eyes narrow behind his glasses, light reflecting off the lenses and obscuring his gaze.
"What are you suggesting?"
"I've been studying the nature of our country's Alchemy and its differences with that of neighboring countries. It seems I have come upon an interesting discovery, Professor. I've created the blueprints for the most powerful form of Alchemy this world has ever known. There's just one problem. In it's raw form, as it is now, it can never be used. What I need is a way to incorporate this ability into our society...allow it...time to adapt and allow us, well the select few needed to complete this project, time to adapt to it."
"What are you getting at?"
"Well, given your unique situation, your...un-tarnished body, resistance to wear and impenetrable flesh...you are a vital part of this outline. One of two invaluable pieces."
" I see..." Hohenheim sighs, resigning to participation. "What about the girl?"
"No worries. She's been prepped. I've taken care of everything. Your wife?"
"I've brought her with me. I understand your wishes to keep this discrete, but she is my wife. I will disclose with her as much as I feel she should know." The other man scowls at this, but says nothing more on that particular matter.
"Well then, bring her here tomorrow and we'll take care of it."
"Yes. Thank you, Professor Hawkeye."
"No no, thank you." He smiles. "Your sacrifice is greatly appreciated." As Hohenheim turns to leave, he pauses and looks solemnly over his shoulder.
"I don't believe I am the one making the greatest sacrifice here. The ones we should be thinking of are the ones who will suffer because of what we've done."
"My research...my daughter knows it all...if you're saying you will use my alchemy...my power in the correct way, she will probably present the secret to you...Roy...I'll leave my daughter to you...please...please..."
These were the last words of Roy’s mentor, whispered in a pool of Professor Hawkeye’s own blood. Hawkeye had pleaded to his student to take the knowledge he had collected over the years and use it to better the world. He begged the newly appointed Flame to care for the daughter he had failed, and to serve their country in ways he could never have done. Despite the man's teachings, Roy had joined the military and upon relaying this news to his master, the man had collapsed in agony.
Though these events were no real fault of the young Alchemist, Roy felt as though his betrayal had killed the person he so admired. Frantic to save a dying man, he called out to a seemingly empty house for assistance, and his desperate eyes met with the face of a terrified 15-year-old girl clinging to the doorframe of her father's study. This poor child, unable to look away from the sight before her, had endured far greater pain than witnessing her father's death. How could Roy have known?
The next few weeks were spent clearing out the Professor’s study, and it was during this time that Roy began to unravel a mystery he wasn’t even aware existed. Midway through the 15th day spent organizing Hawkeye’s essentials, he found himself standing over the deceased man’s desk with his former teacher’s research documents crinkled in his fists, a look of disgust on his face. Really, how could he have known?
"How can I bear this...?"
He believed that perhaps this wasn't something he needed to bear at all. It was much easier to turn away and not take any responsibility. After all, he didn't know what Professor Hawkeye had been researching or to what lengths he would go to perfect his research. Roy convinced himself that he had other objectives, that this was not his concern.
He found relief in his deployment to Ishbal. However, this peace of mind was brief, as the years to follow were soaked in the blood of innocence, of women and children, of a people that meant no harm to Amestris, a society an eighteen-year-old Major Roy Mustang had been ordered to obliterate. With little hesitation, he slaughtered an entire Race.
Walking a path lined with the burned bodies of his victims, he encountered a familiar face. Again, the young girl stood before him, but the look in her eyes reflected his own and it was with regret that he admitted to himself, "Even this girl has gotten a killer's eyes."
She confided in him the fear she harbored for her father, a man possessed by Alchemy, and she asked him to please tell her why..."Why is alchemy, which ought to bring happiness to people, being used for murder?"
How pathetic he felt to be unable to answer her. How could such a coward ever hope to save anyone? Sensei was a fool to think I could possibly help this girl. When his mind was detached from the world surrounding him, deaf to the sounds of gunshots and screaming, quietly, he composed a plan. This plan was the closest to an answer he could give this Riza Hawkeye.
Maes Hughes was the first to learn of Roy's ambitions and he offered his friend his full support. Roy informed the girl of his goals as well and told her to find him when the war ended. After their service in Ishbal was completed, Maes and Roy returned to Central and Riza returned to the Military Academy to complete her schooling. Roy visited the now abandoned Hawkeye home and although it sickened him to do so, he neatly compiled the last of the Professor's work and added it to his own collection of Alchemic research.
Pleased with his performance in the East, the Furher promoted Roy to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. In this new position of power, Roy gathered as much information on the military as he could, and slowly, the number of his allies grew. As expected, the day arrived when he was informed that a new soldier would be put under his command and he smiled softly to himself, as the girl with the familiar face entered the room.
She was much more hardened than he recalled, with strong, intent auburn eyes, a cold demeanor, but hidden beneath her formalities lurked a pleasant smile he longed to see. With a swift salute, it was understood that they both recognized the importance of the journey they would be taking beside each other.
Once, in private, after Riza had been initiated into his ranks, he questioned her on the details of her father's research and she gave him a puzzled look. He couldn't determine whether her inability to recall what her father had done to her was a cruel joke fate was playing on him, teasing him with the promise of all the answers but always keeping them just out of reach. Or perhaps, it was a moment of kindness offered to a tortured girl, sparing her the horrors of a childhood stolen from her. Well, if the latter were the case, Fate's kindness is a fleeting thing. The letter that found its way to Roy Mustang's desk one morning, delayed a year by an inexcusably unreliable mail service, was proof enough of that. His entire body tensed at the mentioning of that despicable name.
The letter still held tightly in his hands, Roy sat silently in the back of the horse driven wagon. The man steering the outdated method of transportation continued to yap on as if the Lieutenant Colonel were listening. Of course, as with most days spent in his office in Central, Mustang's mind was elsewhere.
Scribbled upon the piece of paper before him were the bitter pleas of a child for his father to return home. Apparently, the boy's mother was extremely ill and he believed the sight of the woman's long lost love to be the only thing with any hope of alleviating her pain. Mustang scoffed at the note. If only fate were as spiteful to Hohenheim as it had been to him, then perhaps he would have the good fortune of meeting this man face to face. His fingers itched at the thought of incinerating that bastard.
The weather, as if sensing the foulness of the traveler's disposition, conformed to Roy’s mood and darkened into a violent evening storm. The carriage driver pulled aside to take shelter, but Mustang was much too anxious to rest and continued on foot. It was difficult to make out much of the rural town in the black of night distorted by the fierce rain, but the faint glow of a transmutation circle served as an unsettling guide. There was little doubt in his mind as to who would have the capabilities to perform this type of Alchemy out here in the middle of nowhere.
As he stood over the boy's bed within the Rockbell home, looking down at a small and tattered body wrapped in bloody bandages, a lump began to form in his throat and a sharp pain stabbed him deep in his chest at the sight of a familiar face. There was...little doubt. The choice to be made was a difficult one, but he felt his methods are in the best interest of the boy, his brother, his country, and Mustang himself. He swallowed hard and silently asked the boy feigning unconsciousness for his forgiveness before voicing his proposition. "My name is Lieutenant Colonel Roy Mustang..."
"That guy..." Edward begins, contemplating the best way to phrase his thoughts. "The one the homunculi call Father. He looks just like that bastard but..." The young blond sits in a black shirt and light blue boxers, crossed-legged on the hotel bed, arms folded before his chest in the image of deep concentration. His brother, a vacant suit of armor, animated only by the soul of an eternally ten-year-old boy, sits on the bed opposite of his elder sibling, feet planted firmly on the ground with his large, metal hands grasping his knees.
"He said some strange things about Dad, didn't he?"
"Yeah, I'll say." Both brothers reflect on the comments this new enemy of theirs had made in regards to their father. Echoing in their minds, the words there's no way It would die, but to think Its even had children add to their confusion. "Argh! This is so frustrating! Why does he have that bastard's face? How can he take away our ability to use Alchemy?"
"Brother..." a quiet voice peeps, apprehension lingering in its hesitant tone. "He knows Dad. He must know him. The way he talked about him..it sounded like..."
"Don't say it Al! Granted, the guy's a good for nothing piece of shit, but you think he could be one of those monsters? Impossible! You and I both know that Homunculi can't reproduce!"
"But the Furher! He's a Homunculus and he has a son!"
"About that...didn't someone mention he was adopted?"
"Still...the one they call Father, he seemed surprised by the idea that we were Dad's kids. You think...Mom knew about any of this?"
"Yeah right! Mom would never get involved with a guy like that if she knew what was going o-" Edward chokes on his sentence, recalling a message he was given by Pinako to deliver to his bastard father the next time he saw him. It was...a message from his mother. "I'm sorry, I couldn't keep my promise." Edward's sudden silence doesn't help reassure Alphonse.
"Uh...s-sorry Al. I just remembered something! Look, it's late! We can talk more about this tomorrow."
"Night Al!" Ed flicks off the hotel light and rolls away from his brother, directing his eyes at the wall bordering his bed. He hears Al sigh in defeat and squeezes his pillow with his metal hand. "Did Mom know something...?"
Their Mother is all that made sense in the world. Everything around them spiraled downward into chaos but she was always a pillar of hope, a refuge, a light to guide them home. She loved them with all her heart and her love was never questioned, but suddenly...maybe things weren't as they seemed. Ed curses himself for thinking such things, but over these past five years he's come to realize that there is this whole other world beneath the surface.
It started with the Tucker residence...an innocent girl and a loving father, really a madman murderer! Nina didn't see it. She believed her father loved her but then he- Ed curls up in his bed. No way Mom...The Furher, he seemed like a nice guy. Again, a cold-blooded killer. A monster! Dad...Ed thinks back on their 'reunion' in Resembool that instigated all these second thoughts.
Hohenheim had belittled him, that asshole. He had compared him to a child that wet his bed and told him he didn't burn their house down as a symbol of their resolve to move forward, but to destroy the evidence of his mistakes like that same child who hid is soiled sheets. Is that what I'm doing? Is that what Dad did, when he abandoned us? Is that what we meant to him? Were we nothing more than pissed on bed sheets?
He feels the anger inside him boiling to the surface and sits up in bed. He looks over at Al, lying with his back towards Ed and he knows better than to think his brother is sleeping. As if he has that option. In any case, he also knows Al is the type to humor him, as pitiful as it sounds in Ed's mind, and knowing this, the older Elric throws off his bed sheets and grabs his jacket and pants from the back of the chair he tossed them on earlier. Dressing quickly, he heads for the door, slipping into his boots and taking his token red coat from the peg on the wall beside the room entrance. Al stays absolutely still until after his brother closes the door behind him.
Sitting at his desk, the room's sole source of light a slow burning oil lamp, Mustang reads over the papers he's kept tucked away since Ishbal. He can feel a churning in his stomach, the definite sign of nausea. He closes his eyes and rubs them with his thumb and forefinger before giving in to resting his head in his palms. Maybe she does know. Maybe she just...chooses to turn away like it's not her problem. No...no, she's a much braver person than I am.
He lays his head down on the warm surface of the table. God I'm selfish. He exhales, hoping to rid his body of some of the extreme exhaustion baring down on him. Pushing himself up from his reading material, he moves toward the small bedroom of his apartment only to pause midway at the sound of someone knocking on his door. Glancing up to the clock on the mantelpiece he can clearly make out 1:13 AM. Moaning in irritation, the disgruntled Colonel drags his feet to the door and unlocks the latch. Slowing cracking the door open he sees that oh so familiar face looking discontently up at him.
"Yo Colonel" the boy says unenthusiastically, holding a hand up in greeting. Mustang squints at him with a frown plastered across his face.
"Fullmetal...do you have any idea what time it is?" Edward returns the frown before smirking at the older man, pleased to have once again caused his superior a bit of displeasure.
"Can you really afford to slack off in times like these?" He responds, and pushes the door wide enough to walk past the Colonel who grows more upset with every second. He watches the younger Alchemist intrude his home, and the thought of grabbing him by that little red hood and tossing his little ass back out into the hall crosses his mind momentarily before he decides to close the door follow his subordinate into the living room instead. Though it's the first time Edward has ever seen the inside of Mustang's home, he acts as though he frequents the place on a daily basis.
"I don't recall inviting you into my home, Edward. In fact, I'd like to know how you found out where I live in the first place."
"C'mon!" Ed spins around with a cocky grin. "Give me more credit! You're not the only one with connections. Hmm?" He looks over at the oil lamp and raises an eye-brow. "Oil lamp? Well isn't that classy." Mustang can practically hear the subtle pop of a vein in his temple.
"Coming from you, the kid from a town so outdated they still use horse and buggy to travel, that's quite something. Anyway, it's late and you should know we BOTH have a lot to deal with in the morn-"
"There's a lot to deal with right now." Mustang looks towards his surprise guest whose intense gold eyes interrogate him from behind ruffled bangs. Ed inhales deeply before continuing. "The 2nd Lieutenant… she told me everything...about Ishbal." Roy does what he can to keep himself composed and moves to the couch to sit down. This conversation didn't look as if it would be ending anytime soon.
Slouching back, Roy does something that Ed has never seen him do before, or at least if the Colonel has done it before, Ed never paid enough attention to notice. The Colonel, usually dressed for success with all-knowing eyes always watching him, sits un-kept in wrinkled blue military pants and a white shirt unbuttoned at the collar, averting his eyes from Edward. He is actually, as Ed interprets, too ashamed to look at him directly. You should be, Ed thinks, but it isn't as if Edward doesn't have sins and regrets. He doesn't have any right to place blame now.
Rather than dwelling too much on an issue secondary to the one he has come to address, he changes the subject to one he considers more urgent. "You came to Resembool...looking for my father, correct? You said you heard a great deal about Hohenheim but that...that after seeing me and Al and what we did, he wasn't much of a priority for you anymore. What did you hear of my father?"
A flinch. Edward catches it. Mustang tries to brush it off, but Ed isn't about to let the Colonel get away so easily. "What is this? Why are you always keeping secrets from me? You didn't tell me about Ishbal when I asked! You didn't tell me about Hughes! You always keep me in the dark. Why? Am I easier to control when I'm kept ignorant of what's really going on! Is that it? Damn it! This is about me! About my brother, my father. It's about my mother! My family! I have a right to know!"
Capturing Fullmetal in his peripheral vision, Roy smiles a bit to himself, impressed as always by the boy's determination. Ed catches that slip as well and lunges forward, grabbing the Colonel by the collar and forcing him to look him dead on. "What's so fucking funny?" Roy's smile disappears and his expression softens to what Ed interprets as pity. It doesn't make sense though. The Colonel's the far more wretched one in the room for once, how dare he look at Ed like that. The boy is seething at this point.
Roy remains calm and Ed stiffens when the man brings his hand to Ed's face and runs his thumb along his left cheekbone. Wide-eyed in astonishment, Ed can clearly make out the truly sorrowful look in Roy's eyes, though he is unable to understand what inspired it. Before he can further process what just happened enough to slap Mustang for touching him so casually and looking at him the way he was... looking at him, Mustang lets his hand fall back to his side and intentionally allows his eyes to wonder in the direction of the desk covered in the papers he'd been searching through earlier.