Fandom: Fullmetal Alchemist
Spoilers: Episode 25
Summary: In which Roy can't let go.
Notes: For remixredux, a remix of dogmatix_san's Persistence of Memory. Featuring creepy!kindainsane!Roy. Many thanks to daringu_filter for the beta.
Once there was a man named Roy.
Roy was very sad because he lost someone very close to him, someone he loved very much. Roy wanted this person back.
Roy missed this person so much that he broke some very important rules, some rules that Roy knew very well. Some rules that Roy could get arrested for breaking. Breaking the rules makes Roy very tired.
But Roy is happy now.
Hawkeye watches him, her eyes focused on his hands. Roy doesn't know why she watches him so much lately. Did she watch him that carefully before? She must have. Maybe Roy's just more paranoid now. That has to be it. Her eyes are cold and hard, and her lips are pulled taught and straight.
He smiles at her, tries to throw her off his scent, but she knows him too well. It doesn't work.
"You look tired today, sir. Is there any reason for that?" she asks. He doesn't stop smiling, doesn't stop faking. He wonders if it's as obvious as it feels.
"No," he says too quickly. "I'm fine. Not enough sleep I guess." His hands twitch, eager to leave her behind and see Hughes. He wants to if it remembers anything, whether there are still glimmers of the original in there. He doesn't want to be here, with Hawkeye's condemning gaze and sharp words.
She doesn't nod at his answer (like she usually would) and instead stares straight at (through) him. She lets him go without an explanation (like she usually doesn't), and the hints of disapproval are obvious on her face.
He wants to tell her (I had to. I had to.), but he knows her as well as she knows him, and she wouldn't understand.
He thinks Hughes would, that he would badger Roy until the truth came out of him. Hughes would just shake his head and laugh at it. (You're such a moron, Roy.) It wouldn't be angry, the words, just vaguely mocking and affectionate. Warm and comforting simply because it would be such a Hughes moment.
Roy likes to think that's the way Hughes would react.
The homunculus has vivid violet eyes, and sometimes they unsettle Roy. It stares at him almost blankly, indifferently (an expression that Roy can't recognize) and shifts, a clink of the handcuffs rattling against the iron bed frame. The light is dim, but Roy can still see it clearly, too clearly.
He carefully moves closer and rubs its head. It leans into his touch and almost purrs. "I'm sorry. I don't have any food for you today," Roy says, softly. It is hard, too hard, to get hold of the Stones it needs to stay alive, and it might be a while before he can bring it any more food. There are a few prospects that Roy is leaving open, chances for him to get them.
He lies down on the bed, just above where it is still shackled. He's tired.
"Do you remember the time you fell into the stream by the military academy?" he asks, voice wistful. "God, we had fun back then, didn't we?" He closes his eyes, remembering. Hughes had pulled him in too, soaking them both. The sun had been brilliant and bright, and they had laid themselves out on the grass in a futile attempt to dry. Roy can still feel Hughes toweling him off later, the feel of soft cotton on his skin, and he can remember the brilliant grin he had on his face, the pure happiness of those days. "I loved you so much, you know. I almost couldn't breathe sometimes." Roy opens his eyes to glance at it. He doesn't expect it to say anything. It never says anything.
It is staring at him, not moving, not blinking, just staring, its hands still awkwardly cuffed, and its expression merely casually curious. It looks like (is) Hughes.
Roy kisses it on its forehead before he leaves.
He gets the call, and though it isn't very clear, Roy knows exactly what has happened.
"Stay here," he tells the others. "I'll take care of this alone." The drive is only twenty minutes away, but it feels like five hours before he can run up the stairs to the house.
It is quiet. There is dust on the window sills, and none of the lights are on, a few stray beams of sunlight trickle into the basement as Roy opens the door, but they cast everything else in shadow. Roy has a sinking feeling in his gut, but it's tied up in anticipation, too. "Brandt?" he calls out into the darkness.
He hears the sound of heavy breathing coming from the left and walks toward it. He can make out the shape of Brandt lying there, on the ground. His eyes are huge and his body is bleeding. From where, Roy can't tell. It's everywhere.
Brandt heaves. "I did it," he says. "Those fuckers up at the lab said it couldn't be done. Invited them over. Have a drink." He laughs, harsh and labored. "I did it, Roy. You were right. That was all I was missing. You were right."
Roy leans over to get a better look, but his eyes are still adjusting. "You did it?" he asks. he wants to see them, see the proof of Brandt's success.
Brandt holds out his hand, his palm clean and untouched by blood. The red pebbles glitter, even in the darkness. "I did it. I did it. His arm is shaking.
Roy reaches for them, but Brandt's hand closes again, tightly, into a fist, and the thing Roy came for, the thing Roy needs, disappears once again from sight. "You brought help, right Roy? Did you bring help?" Brandt whispers. Roy can hear the strength draining out of him with the blood.
"Shh," Roy says to him. "Shh."
Brandt's shaking even harder now, his eyes are wide and panicked. "You set me up, didn't you?" he sounds as if he's trying to yell but his voice is giving out, so it comes out as a painful rasp instead. "You bastard! You set me up!" Brandt lets out a pathetic sob and changes tactics. "Help me, please, Roy. We were friends, weren't we? You need these right? I'll make more! As many as you need!"
Roy waits. Though patience does not come to him naturally, he has learned to wait. There is no regret here. Hughes would understand. Hughes does understand.
Brandt fades quickly, and though it is a little difficult to hear his dying protests and even more difficult to pry his fist open, he takes half the stones easily enough.
He finds the phone nearest to him, upstairs, and dials one of the numbers he knows by heart. "Yes, this is Brigadier General Mustang. I'd like to report an illegal transmutation..."
Roy visits Hughes immediately afterward, because he knows Hughes must be hungry. No one suspects him of anything when they clean up the mess Brandt made. They let him go without a fuss.
Hughes is sitting on the floor when he enters, still shackled. It looks up when Roy enters the room, and Roy is once again struck by the resemblance. "Hello, Maes," he says, in greeting. "Sitting on the floor again? You know that's not good for you."
Roy closes the door behind him.
"They brought in another batch of red stones today. The alchemist who made them didn't survive. I couldn't get much this time, sorry." It's not the truth, not entirely, but he doesn't think it really cares.
He thinks he loves it. He thinks it loves him too.
Later, he feeds it Brandt's stones by hand, reveling in the feel of Hughes' tongue on his fingers.
In the end, Roy gets the person he missed very much back. Things aren't quite the same as they were before.
But Roy is happy now.