Whee! Angst, tragedy, and sick exploitation of character emotions.
I was watching one of the film versions of Hamlet with my mom, and I was paying particular attention to the scene with Hamlet in the Jester's grave. I was listening to Hamlet's musings on the skull of a man he knew well, and I was inspired to do a ripoff.
But then, I wound up with this crap. It barely resembles what inspired it, and is much worse, but if your as much of an angst whore as I am, and you can tolerate OOCness, bad writing and sickening melodrama, you might be able to stand it.
Um, OOC, PWP (Plot, what plot?) and TWT (Timeline, what timeline?) Roy Ed friendshipness, etc.
Done in one sitting, it's my latest angst exploit. Enjoy. Hollow Steel Tmp, tmp, tmp.
It was the sound of a tiny, barely audible tap. The kind a needle might make when falling against a table, or perhaps the falling of a ladybird's foot on the edge of a lightbulb. It was a tiny scritch; the shift of gravel, and it weighed over the heavily reverberating noises of his own heartbeat, and the wind through the thick atmosphere. He swallowed once. That was the sound of sand against empty metal; he mused, and stepped up his thought into the morbid; it could be the sound of dried blood crackling. It was a bit of both, and also that of his fancy. His eyes suddenly became pained with light.
The image of a broken blood seal fizzled in his brain, in grotesquely inverted bright colors. He clapped his gloved hand halfway over his face. The picture was still there, flashing between the real vision of the iron helmet in front of him. The lump in his throat rose as he dropped unceremoniously to his knees, and tenderly lifted the helm as though it were made of paper.
"How?" He whispered shakily, gazing incredulously at the cold steel face. His fingers wandered over the surface, trembling with fear and shock as he mewled once again in a pathetic cracking whisper, "...how?"
The man who had stood beside him stood hopelessly, and swallowed hard, trying to offer the only help he could by simply speaking in response.
"... You couldn't have done anything. There was nothing you could do." He cursed his own redundancy. There was rarely a time that the Flame alchemist hadn't a single witful thing to say, but under the circumstances he deserved a commendation for having retained some form of sanity, in the loosest sense of the term, but only in comparison to the fallen figure beside him, whose only reasoning had been severed like a clipped fence wire; frazzled and stinging at the sudden loss.
"-A-al?" He squeaked in an attempt to dam his tears. While his voice indicated that he might break down at any second, he remained in a frozen astonished expression. He died. Just like... poof.
It was a crude locution, but it was the best his mind could come up with. He raised his finger and traced it over the brow of the helmet.
"He always looked at me..." he wasn't sure how to make the comparison, so capped it off, "He always watched. It wasn't his job, but he protected me. He... it wasn't like gaurding, it was just... caring."
Roy tightened his jaw, trying to piece together the reasons Ed was going on like this, even at the moment. How he could even speak at all. The blond kept on speaking as though something would break if he allowed silence to fall once again.
"And- he always knew what to say. ... you know?" He huffed a half-hearted laugh that died with one breath as though the humor had run dead as it hit the air, and continued the thought drudgingly, " 'Brother, you idiot'
. 'Brother, you need to stop slacking off.'
Even when he said things like that, it was so sweet. You could always tell he cared. He cared so much. He-"
The alchemist's eyes dulled sickly, as he scratched his finger almost obsesively over the steely surface. He traced the circles as though the loss of movement would kill him.
"Al..." uttering the name sent a sliver of cold fluttering down his spine and spidering through his nerves, "Where's your voice of reason now? Where's that cute politeness you always have? Where's that giggle that always echoed? What happened to your voice?" He began to choke mid sentence, and halfway directed his comment at someone besides himself, "Where did he go? He's not here. Where did his voice go? He... can't talk anymore."
"Talk to me Al. Talk to me!" He started shaking the empty shell in his hands.
"Dammit, Al! Say something cute! Say something adorable, and sweet, and smart like you always do! GODDAMMIT AL, WHERE DID YOU GO?!" Pap!
, indicating the sound of an empty metal object being forcibly knocked out of one's hands.)
Cold air was forced into Ed's lungs, as he stared, his eyes shrunken to charicaturized size, at the place where he'd just held the empty shell of a soul. His brother's soul.
"Ed, stop it! It's not him! He's not there!" Roy admonished frantically standing frozen from where he'd just struck the hollow steel from the boy's hands. Ed just kneeled, trembling and terrified.
"It's empty. Your brother is gone. He's not there!"
Edward's shaking face turned slowly with pained, imploring eyes staring up at his companion, an innocent, primal hurt staining his expression.
His lip trembled as he shakily asked, like a child,
"Where did he go?"
Roy's lips parted, his jaw gaping, trying to answer, but not seeing any way to make things better. This young man- no
, this child
, looked so vulnerable, so weak. He'd never seen the alchemist so handicapped by emotions before. He knew nothing of what to do. Nothing but to fall to his side and sweep him in an insecure, trembling hug.
Edward didn't resist. He simply hung limply, staring over Roy's shoulder, at the helmet that was lying in the dirt, a grotesquely empty inside exposed. There was nothing.
He wasn't an innocent person. He'd seen things that would make most people fall ill with their brightest aspects. He'd seen friends, family, people he cared about die. He'd seen humans mindlessly slaughtered; He'd seen bodies mutilated, heads split, gutting, burning, every sick display of carnage any human could ever conjure in their nightmares and beyond.
Yet it was this thing- this nothing, that seared through his mind as truly sick. The nothingness- the lonliness inside the shell that was once his beloved brother. The bile in his throat began to rise. It was all gone. All gone. All gone...
He yanked himself free, and tumbled on his knees to retch. His throat stung, his eyes watered, his limbs shook. Yet all the contents of his stomach couldn't purge the feeling of dirt on his heart.
He rolled on his side and stared at the gray sky, panting.
"It was my fault." He said, before giving up completely on words. Tears rolled from the corners of his eyes. He couldn't see anything through the warm blur, but felt his shoulder being propped up, and his arm being slung over another. Some instinct told his feet to walk, though his boots dragged lazily. There were no words, but Mustang knew he had to get him away.
Balancing the boy's grief-paralyzed body against his side, he pondered his paranoid rantings. Where had Al's voice gone? Where? How could it make so much sense for his disembodied mewl to always be there within it's safe iron casing, but where did it go once the seal was scratched?
Wherever it had gone, if anywhere at all, his heart told him that if it was where they were now, he knew just what it would say. 'Take care of brother.'
And that was just what he would do.