Author’s Notes: My entry for a fanfiction contest at Geek Kon. Thought I would try my hand at some Fullmetal Alchemist fanfiction. I love reading it, never wrote it. I’m a huge Roy fan and Edward fan, but had this idea bouncing around for a while and thought it’d make a good one shot. Enjoy!
Canon Compliant: Compliant with FMA: Brotherhood and (mostly) FMA manga. Takes place following the fight with Father and before Dr. Marcoh arrives.
Characters: Roy, Riza (Royai if you squint a lot)
The Fire in His Eyes
He was burning.
White-hot fire seemed to erupt from every pore of his body, his inhuman screams barely sounding above the sheer agony that threatened to overwhelm him.
Hands, he knew somehow they were black tendril-like things, wrapped around him, digging painfully into his skin and whispering “mine.”
Over it all he could hear the almost pleasant voice of King Bradley – no, Wrath – talking to him as blinding pain seared through his hands as they were pinned to the floor.
“I’m curious,” Wrath said. “I wonder what they’ll take from you.”
His voice faded away as a more chilling one – Father – replaced it, distorted and echoing. “The one who had his eyes fixed on the future will never see again.” He could almost feel the grin; despite the fact only blackness surrounded them. “What a fitting punishment, Roy Mustang.”
The pain erupted again, somehow more intensifying then it had been, and his screams began anew, this time joined by several others, that he knew belonged to his young subordinates.
The voice chuckled. “I thank you for your sacrifice.”
With a heaving gasp, Roy Mustang jolted up from the narrow hospital bed, heart racing as he frantically looked around the room.
But the sight of the utter, sheer blackness reflected back at him even though he knew his eyes were wide open only made it worse. Deep breaths, he told himself, willing to calm his heartbeat.
His fingers remained clenched in the blanket, the only thing he could be certain of, as the pounding in his ears slowly faded. With it came the renewed dull throbbing in his body from where he’d been dashed against the ground over and over and over by a giant black hand and his palms stung something awful where he’d been impaled and forced to be a part of a human transmutation.
He could feel his breathing quicken again at that. His last sight was that of a grinning, white figure and a large gate before thousands of hands pulled him down, down , down into the blackness that he never emerged from.
And before that… his lieutenant, bleeding heavily, watching with a mixture of guilt and sorrow and such pain as he was pinned down. He never wanted to see that look on her face again.
Ironically, he thought darkly, he never would.
Forcing himself to take deep breaths again, Roy felt himself minutely start to relax. There was nothing to be afraid of now. He was safe, in a hospital room, the Elric brothers were being cared for and his lieutenant was safe too, the hospital staff had told him right before he succumbed to their drugs.
“Sir?” a quiet voice asked very closely next to him, before a gentle hand lighted on his shoulder.
With something that wasn’t quite a shriek, Roy threw the offending hand – black hands, grabbing and twisting and pulling him down – off and toppled off the narrow bed, fingers posed to snap his deadly fire before he realized his gloves were missing.
No matter, he realized a second later. He could just clap and create a spike and impale the creature from the floor. He was posed to do just that when the hands were back, this time clamped firmly but still gently around his wrists.
Roy yelled then, flailing to get away and felt his bare feet connect several times against the figure holding him, who was shouting something at him around the small grunts of pain.
Finally, one word made it through the fog and caused him to go suddenly limp. The Homunculi, the Truth and Father had never called him that. It was ‘Flame Alchemist’ and ‘Sacrifice’ and ‘Mustang.’ Never –
“Roy,” the voice called again, and the hands wrapped around his wrists didn’t seem so confining anymore, one rubbing a thumb in small circles over his pulse.
“Riza,” he breathed out, feeling a sense of immediate loss when at his words she released his wrists. He reached a freed hand out, seeking her, not quite yet daring to believe, when she grabbed his hand and pressed it against her face.
“It’s me, Roy.” Her voice sounded heavy, filled with tears, as she spoke.
They sat there for how long Roy didn’t know. He was just content to know she was breathing right next to him in spite of all the horrors that had been thrown at her just hours ago.
“I’m okay now,” he said eventually, though the words tasted hollow on his tongue.
“Let’s get you back in bed, Sir,” Riza said, her non-nonsense tone brooking no argument. Despite the fact she was wounded – if not more so than he – she hauled him up with surprising strength and Roy realized he was trembling slightly in her grasp. She guided him to sit back on the bed and before she could move away he shot one hand out, somehow managing to actually catch her arm.
“Stay,” he said quietly. “Please.”
He felt the bed dip slightly and could hear an amused huff of breath escape. “I am in the bed right across the room, Sir,” she said, but made no move to leave again.
A tiny grin pulled at Roy’s mouth. “I’m surprised we were allowed to share the same room.”
“It’s easier to guard one door than two,” Riza answered matter-of-factly, throwing the same answer she’d provided when he and Havoc had been hospitalized following the fight with Lust. “Breda should be on guard right now. Falman is watching the Elric brothers’ door.”
Roy frowned at that. “Is there as reason we need to be guarded?” he asked.
“Just precautions,” his lieutenant said. “A lot has happened… we aren’t quite sure who is trustworthy yet within the military and you are a rather high profile target, Sir.”
They lapsed back into a quiet silence.
Once upon a time he’d been a target, Roy knew. Just that afternoon, actually. But all of his dreams of becoming the Fuhrer were destroyed. The spark that had always lit his eyes was gone, now reflecting a deadend black pool. A blind man couldn’t lead a country. He couldn’t even stay in the military.
Grumman would look after him and his team, he was sure. He’d probably get a nice retirement package and go live out the rest of his days somewhere quietly in the country while the world went on without him.
Father’s voice echoed in his head at that moment. “A man who had a grand vision to save his country loses his eyesight forever unable to see what his beloved nation will become.”
The thought twisted his stomach.
“Sir?” Riza asked quietly, no doubt noting the pained expression he knew had crossed his face.
“It’s nothing, Lieutenant,” he said quickly. “I should be asking how you’re feeling.”
He knew very little of what had happened after they’d finally taken down Father – or Homunculus, as he’d learned his true origin was – other than that he and the other wounded had been rushed to the nearest hospital.
“I’ll be all right,” she said. He felt her arm reach up and gently touch her neck. “I was lucky May was there to stop the worst of it. And the doctors here have been very kind.”
“Good,” Roy said quietly, a breath he wasn’t aware he’d been holding slowly releasing. “I’m glad to hear that.”
“And you?” she asked.
“I’ll be all right,” he answered back in kind. She seemed to sense the lack of usual conviction behind his words, as a hand suddenly squeezed his shoulder.
“You don’t need to put on a brave front for me, Roy,” she said.
His only response was to clutch her hand, which had somehow intertwined with his, tighter.
In just one day he had lost everything he had spent years working towards, sacrificing for. Yes, they’d stopped a great evil from taking over not just Amestris but the world, and they had saved countless lives, but there was so much they had lost.
An image of Hughes flashed across his mind, followed by the grieving faces of his wife and child. “I’ll push you to the top,” Hughes had said. And he had died for that dream in vain.
Hot tears welled up in his eyes, which no matter how hard he blinked seemed determined to roll down his face. A heavy sob he tried to hold back caught in his throat and he distantly felt Riza move to put a careful arm around his shoulders.
“It’s okay,” she said softly. “Just let it out.”
“I failed everyone,” Roy choked out, leaning into her embrace. “Everyone who died for me… I killed them, Riza. I killed them with my stupid dream for this country. I killed Hughes.”
Quieter he added, “I almost killed you.”
She let him cry nearly silently for about a minute or so before she broke the quiet. “Permission to speak, Sir?”
Roy nodded against her shoulder, where he’d apparently buried his head.
“Pardon my bluntness, but you’re being an idiot.”
He jerked away from her at that, betrayed eyes shining with still unshed tears.
“You haven’t failed anyone, Sir,” she said.
“How can you say that?” he interrupted. “It’s my fault Hughes is dead, my fault Havoc is paralyzed. It’s my fault the world almost went to hell. And now,” he said, waving a hand in front of his sightless eyes. “I can’t even do anything to fix it.”
“Then I suppose it’s your fault that Hughes believed in you so much that he’d die for you?” she fired back angrily. “Your fault that Havoc is still alive? Your fault that you gave Edward a reason to live? That Alphonse returned to his body? That you helped save an entire country?”
Her hands moved to grip almost painfully around his arms and she shook him, as if she could physically force him to understand. “You saved us, Roy. You have always looked out for everyone, for the good of the people. You care about your team in a way that I’ve never seen before. You became a father to two lost little boys and helped them to become the capable young men they are today.
“You may have lost your sight and we may have lost dear friends, but we did not lose. You did not lose. You gained so much too. Our love, our respect and our own hopes that you would succeed in your goal. We believed in you then, Roy, and we still believe in you. You’ve only failed us if you give up now.”
“So don’t you dare quit,” she said, and he could smell the faint scent of salt from her tears. “Because then it will all have been in vain.”
“I’m sorry,” he said softly. “I made you cry.”
“At least I’m not useless when I’m doing so,” she said with a tiny snort. Roy smiled at that, feeling his own tears finally trickle to a stop.
“How do I go forward from here?” Roy asked after a few moments. “I am blind, Riza. The military will kick me out due to it. Nothing can change that.”
“We’ll just have to push you to the top,” Riza said. “We’re all behind you, Sir. We just need to figure out the best course of action from here for you to obtain Fuhrership. What would your first step have been if your sight hadn’t been taken?”
“I would like to repair our ties with Ishval.” It was something he hadn’t originally intended when he set his sights on becoming Fuhrer, but over the course of the years and especially in the past year it had become clear to him what needed to be done. A country that was broken first needed to heal itself from its self-inflicted wounds before it could ever hope to protect all of its people.
And Ishvalans were their people. And he was done blindly accepting orders that hurt those people.
“Then we should get started soon,” Riza said. “After all, you’re sure to be very busy in the coming weeks when the world is seeking answers and you’re rising to the top. I’ll have Falman start pulling Ishvalan history from the library so you can begin your background research.”
“Do they come in Braille?” Roy asked, surprised by how in the short time he’d been talking with Riza that the pain had dulled thinking about his new disability.
“Don’t be silly, Sir,” Riza said. “If we’re all going to be working under you then we’ll need to know the information too. So we’ll just have to all read them together.”
“Thank you,” Roy whispered, his voice thick once more with tears. He tried to convey the depth of this thanks in the words, but wasn’t sure if she understood.
She squeezed his fingers. “You are most welcome.”
He felt rekindled as Riza helped him to settle back down in bed to get some rest – he’d apparently woken them around three in the morning.
He knew there was a long road in front of him, and one he couldn’t even see. But his subordinates, his friends, were there to push him forward and not let his steps falter. They would not let him quit his dream so easily and so he would not quit on them.
There was a fire in his eyes.