Okay, here we go! Shardy's first fanfic on FMA.com! *nervous, nervous* Just to warn you, this fic is pretty long. Not too long, only 7 1/2 word document pages. (Is that too long!?!?! *panics*) Before we get started, here's a few quick notes:
I'm pretty sure I got the gist of character personalities now. At the same time, I have no idea how Roy would act if he got drunk (does he get drunk?). Also, this originally was supposed to be a humorous fic, then towards the end it got angsty and weird. I was kinda depressed when I wrote it...funny how writing turns on you like that. Anyhoo, I wasn't exactly sure if the first part even fits together with the rest of it, but just in case someone out there likes it, I kept it in.
And...I have no idea of the town Mustang's little "legion" stays at (I just know that it's not Central, at least that's the idea I was given from watching FullMetal vs. Flame). So, I used the town of Areugo. The name of the town really has no significance to the story, but just in case it is wrong, please don't stone me!
Ed Plushie: Shardy, it's just a fic, not the Reader's Choice Awards.
Title: Misplaced Illusions
Pairing: None; implied Roy/Edward
Summery: Ed finds Roy drunk in an ally, and, by an odd act of kindness, drags the colonel’s intoxicated butt back to his quarters. It is there that Ed is confronted by his past, and Mustang’s handgun.
Rating: PG-13 for language and suicidal themes
He didn’t know whether he liked these periods of downtime or viewed them with the natural apathy of one who was used to running around in a chaotic frenzy. Edward Elric sighed deeply as he tromped through the allies of Areugo, on his way to his cozy little bunk. Alphonse, who actually did not accompany him this time around, would be getting worried. Normally, Ed had no problem going out to a tavern and making merry until the crack of dawn…that is, in a foreign city, not a city where everyone who was not of the male gender was either of stiff-back military personnel, or outwardly expressed that he was to small to do anything for them.
Right, like they would know, Ed thought bitterly. It wasn’t that he really wanted to saddle himself with a girl…but having one around would be nice.
Nice like Winry…
Ed shook his head vigorously, resisting the urge to slap himself with his metal arm. Nope. Get her out of your head right now! You have a job to do and have no time thinking about her!
What sucked most about downtimes was that there was nothing to do! In a world of strict routine, order, and unpredictability punishable by humiliating acts, Ed soon found himself desiring to march to Colonel Mustang’s office and demand to inspect something. Anything! Surely someone needed an inspection somewhere! Rogue alchemists causing trouble, illegal experiments with deadly side-effects, a town overthrown by a raging cloud of termites for God’s sake!
Nope. Instead, everything in all five sectors of Amestris was either shockingly peaceful or too small to have reached state awareness. Typical pessimism (or, in Ed’s case, optimism) would view this as the calm before the storm. One thing for certain, he was never going to complain about work again.
A nagging feeling in his gut pulled Ed from his thoughts. Looking around, he realized that he did not recognize this part of Areugo. Now, Areugo was nowhere near as complicated as Central, however, darkness had a way of making even the simplest concepts look twisted and intimidating. Where was the bunkhouse again? Was it to the left? Or a right a few streets back that way?
How the hell did someone get lost in Areugo!?!
“I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts
There they are a-standing in a row!
Some as big as your head
Give ‘em a twist
A flick of the wrist
That’s what the showman said!”
The extremely loud and pathetic attempt at singing on-key made Ed do a double-take, especially when such a horrible sound had an underline of familiarity amongst the slurring lyrics. A hunched-over figure staggered towards him, but whether it was trying to dance or keep its balance, Ed’s guess was as good as anybody else’s. The dim light of the streetlamp revealed the blueness of the officer’s uniform, the color almost reflecting a melancholy hue to match the owner’s personality, and then…
“Colonel MUSTANG!?” Ed half-choked, half-squeaked, regarding in shocked horror upon the sickly face of a heavily intoxicated Roy Mustang. Seeing drunken officers was not new to Ed, however, Mustang was another story. And though the calm, laid-back, soft-spoken colonel had displayed a rather neurotic moment or two, this took the cake, candles, and table decorations!
Dark eyes blinked and squinted at Ed for a moment before Mustang trudged over to him, glaring downward in disapproval. “You there…” he growled, and Ed’s nose crinkled at the heavy smell of yeast. No wonder other people got drunk around drunks. “…where is your miniskirt?”
Ed blinked in a brief moment of startled confusion. “Excuse me?” he inquired when he finally got over that initial shock.
“All female personnel are to wear miniskirts as part of their uniform!” Mustang bellowed, nearly falling on top of Ed as he tried to stand up straight and tried to look more authoritive (Ed just thought it made him look more like a jackass with an overstuffed chest). “Where is yours?”
“I don’t have one,” Ed said simply.
“And why is that?”
“Because I’m a guy, stupid!”
Mustang stared down at him, and then nearly fell over in an attempt to step backwards. “Edward?” he inquired, tilting his head to one side in predictable drunken perplexity.
“No, dude, I’m a chimera. I’m going to eat you,” Ed snapped sarcastically, holding out his fingers like claws and adding a dry, “Rawr.”
Not a good thing to do, as Mustang’s dark eyes shot wild with panic. “Chimera!” he shouted and, in an effort to bolt the opposite direction, fell flat on his backside in a puddle left over from this afternoon‘s shower. Ed silently found himself wishing for a camera to capture such a priceless moment to save as blackmail later on. “Please, Mr. Chimera, don’t eat me!” Roy suddenly started begging.
For the love of alchemy, just how drunk was this guy!? Ed saw the perfect opportunity to egg this on, get back at Mustang for all the bullshit he had to put up with for the past three years.
But even the great and terrible Full Metal could not stand to see a poor animal suffer.
Besides, what fun would it be if Mustang wouldn’t remember it in the morning anyway?
With a sigh, Ed stepped forward and tried to help Mustang to his feet. In a sudden switch of personality, the Flame slapped the helpful hands away and held up his own gloved ones threateningly. “Get away from me! I’ll do it! I swear I will!”
“Oh, give me a break,” Ed sighed, rolling his topaz eyes Heavenward. “C’mon, Mustang, you know it’s me. Edward? Full Metal?”
“Go away,” Mustang spat, crossing his arms in front of his chest. “I don’t need you.”
“So you actually do plan on sitting ass-deep in that puddle all night?”
Smirking, Ed leaned back against a wall and watched with amusement as Mustang tried several failed attempts to raise himself to his feet. After ten minutes, he sat there looking helplessly at the smug alchemist witnessing this humiliation.
“Ah, so someone does need my assistance,” Ed jeered.
“Go to hell, Full Metal.”
“Been there already,” Ed replied indifferently. “Would you like a free T-shirt? I’ve got extras.”
Chewing on his lower lip, Roy looked away, bringing his knees up to his chin and hugging them tightly to his chest. Ed sighed again. As much as he hated to admit it, standing here taunting Mustang was pathetically pointless. He could already hear Alphonse in his head speaking in that annoying guru-of-all-wisdom voice of his: “Brother, just because the Colonel says really mean things to you, doesn’t mean you have the right to bully him.”
And what was worse was that Al was usually right, if not all the time.
What sucked more than peaceful downtime was literally dragging your boss’s heavily intoxicated body to his headquarters, and not quite sure where those headquarters were in the first place. Eventually, Ed managed to regain his sense of direction and a half an hour later managed to hoist Mustang up the stairs and into the Colonel’s private rooms. He was severely tempted to dump the Colonel on the floor and leave it at that but his inner Al once again intervened:
“Brother, you can’t just leave him laying on the floor. It isn’t right. He’ll get cold, and the floors really aren’t all that comfortable.”
Entertaining the idea of taking out Al’s voicebox and programming it to where he could say only what Ed wanted him to say, the older Elric carried Mustang to his bedroom and plopped him down on the bed. “Well, that’s that,” he muttered and turned on his heel to make his exit. After all this, he was more sleepy than ever and impatient to retire to his own bunk.
“Edward…” he heard Mustang call from behind him. “Wait.”
“If you think I’m gonna tuck you in and kiss you goodnight, you can forget it,” Ed spat at the half-unconscious colonel. He spun around and nearly reeled back in shock. Mustang was sitting up, about to get off the bed, looking a lot more sober than he did a minute and a half ago.
“You’re a funny young man, Edward,” he remarked, standing up with no difficulty and approaching him. “Real funny.”
Ed just stood there in silent amazement. There was no way Mustang could have gotten over his drunkenness that quickly, and if he did manage to, wouldn’t he be showing signs of a hangover?
As Mustang departed the room to go into the sitting room of his quarters, Ed remembered that there were several stages of drunkenness. The first one was the most typical; slurring of the voice, inability to stand upright, confusion. And then stage two consisted of what seemed to be soberness but was really far from it. Acts of violence and other extreme emotions generated from this stage. And anything after that…
“What are you doing!?” Ed cried, chasing after him. Too late; Mustang had already fixed himself a tall glass of something named after a sex position and was drinking it fondly.
“Would you like a sip, Edward?”
“Eh…I’ll pass…” In terms of alcohol, Ed stuck to cheap tavern ale, leaving fancy wines and liquors to the uppercrust.
“Surely you wouldn’t mind just a small shot?”
“I don’t drink wine,” Ed replied, creepily sounding like a horror novel he read once during a vampire fascination phase he had gone through at the age of nine. Hardly understood the detailed fancy old language style, but managed to get the gist of the story’s plot. But thinking about old childhood novels was hardly appropriate when your boss was drinking himself silly right in front of you.
“Okay, old man, enough with the fizz,” Ed declared, trying to make a grab for Mustang’s glass. “Off to bed with you.”
“Don’t tell me what to do!” Mustang shouted, swinging his hand that held the sacred glass out of Ed’s reach. “You’ve never been there before, have you? Have you!?”
“Been where?” Ed spat dully, stepping away. Oh, for crying out loud, why fight it? Why not just let the fool drink himself into stupor? Apparently, this guy wasn’t going to shut up until he was stone cold passed out on the carpet.
“The war…such a terrible, terrible place to be…” Mustang muttered, now acting as though Edward were not in the room, something which Ed wished was true. But he didn’t leave. He almost couldn’t bring himself to leave. There was something about the Colonel that held the young alchemist’s feet in place.
He’s talking about Ishbal, isn’t he? Edward had heard rumors around the dorms that Roy Mustang suffered inwardly from memories of unspeakable deeds performed during the war. He didn’t think too much of it at first; certainly wasn’t any reason why Mustang insisted on making FullMetal’s life a living hell every single day they were together. Though it might explain Mustang’s occasional neurotic moments.
“…it was awful…the flames surrounded us…consumed us…”
Okay, this guy was getting freaky. Ed was beginning to scoot towards the door when suddenly dark eyes bored intently into his and next thing Full Metal knew, he was being shoved against a counter, the wooden edge pressing almost unbearably into his spine, the sound of the wine glass shattering upon the floor echoing in his ears. The heavy musk of alcohol was so strong around them, Ed thought he was going to faint from it.
“Innocent little boys like you don’t understand,” Roy whispered, almost sadly.
“Little!?!” Ed hissed, instinctive reaction to any criticism of his stature ripping his focus away from the increasing severity of the situation.
It was only the icy metal of Mustang’s pistol pressing against Ed’s forehead that brought the Full Metal Alchemist back to reality.
“Mustang…” he breathed, feeling the color drain from his face. There was something wild in those dark eyes piercing down at him, something he had never seen on the Colonel’s face before. It was not Roy Mustang who stood before him with a gun pressed to his head, but a different man altogether. A man who had saw things, devastating things, things unspeakable but by only his silent nightmares when he awakens screaming though no one hears.
“So innocent,” Mustang continued to whisper, and Ed completely forgotten his earlier outburst, being held at gunpoint and all. “You honestly believe you know the world for what it is, Edward Elric? Do you seriously think you have seen it all?”
The gun moved down to the side of Ed’s face and he shivered at the icy touch of the frozen silver steel. “Though I’m sure you’re not completely naïve to the ugliness of this world,” Roy went on, caressing Ed’s cheek with his gun. “But tell me, Edward Elric, have you ever killed a person before?”
Ed froze. Completely and utterly froze. And if not for his involuntary senses, all manner of functioning would have ceased as well. Something in that sentence sent a cold chill down his spine. Wide-eyed he stared at the man in front of him.
“Has ever a life slipped through your hands, a life you yourself had destroyed? Did a pair of eyes cease seeing because of you? Did a tiny chest still because of you, covered in the very blood you yourself had shed?”
He trailed the gun along the soft skin until the head came to rest beneath Edward’s chin. “Or…what about taking your own life?”
Unable to say anything, Ed simply stared up at Mustang. He wanted desperately to push him away, but he was frozen, helpless.
“You ever get the feeling that you’re entire life is falling apart?”
He no longer saw Mustang. The dorm room which they were in faded away to a warm house with the familiar smells of a woman’s warmth and the soft sounds of laughter. It all came back in a flash; comforting hands healing skinned knees, bedtime stories of knights and dragons and magic, coming home from play to the scent of hot stew.
“Have you ever wanted to make it all go away?”
The gun pushed upward, forcing Ed’s head back, back, until he was looking straight up at the ceiling, pistol pointed directly to his brain. His arms hung limply at his sides, his mind consumed with raw emotion he thought he had buried long ago.
“Have you ever blamed yourself? Ever realized that everything was all. Your. Fault?”
Blood filled his vision. He saw the failure of the transmutation. He saw the failure of everything. The one person he loved more than anything in this world was gone. The other encased in a silent metal hell. If only he had known how she suffered. If only he had paid attention to the signs. Then she would still be alive, and his brother…his brother would still be here, too, not just in spirit.
It was all his fault. Everything was all his fault.
“It would be so easy, wouldn’t it? Just pull the trigger, and all of the pain, all of the blame, will vanish forever. You already have all the materials. Now you just need the guts to go through with it.”
It was easy. Too easy. Even Mustang had been generous enough to position the gun perfectly for him. All he had to do was reach up and pull the trigger. He even felt his arm lift, fingers brushing the barrel of the metallic weapon against the vulnerable spot just beneath his jaw bones.
Just do it! a voice inside him sneered. Everything’s all screwed up because of you. Go ahead and blow your brains out if you think you’ve got what it takes!
“You already have all the materials. Now you just need the guts to go through with it.”
Just do it, you worthless piece of shit! The world would be better off without you!
“SHUT…UP!!” Ed screamed, shoving whatever stood in front of him down onto the floor in burst of violent emotion he never knew he possessed. The gun slammed to the ground with only the sound of metal hitting wood. It wasn’t even loaded.
Body heaving for air, Edward stared down at Mustang sitting on the floor from the force of the young alchemist’s assault. A trickle of sweat trailed down Ed’s face from where the Colonel’s pistol had caressed moments before.
Those dark eyes returned to a state of confusion, but apparently all the excitement had sobered the Colonel somewhat. From the look Mustang was giving him, it almost seemed as if all that had just occurred had played in Ed’s mind and nothing more. Grimacing, Roy held a hand to his head, muttering, “Damn, my head hurts,” then glanced back up at Edward. “Full Metal? Why are you here?”
Still recovering from shock, it was a moment before said alchemist could answer. “Nothing. I found you outside…and brought you back here.”
“I see.” It was only a slight struggle for Mustang to rise to his feet. “Well, I’m going to retire now,” he announced softly. “My head is pounding. Good night, Edward.”
Ed didn’t even glance at him, amber-hued eyes remaining fixated straight ahead. Blinking, Roy placed a hand on the teen’s shoulder, feeling the hardness of automail through the fabric of his red coat. “Is there something wrong, Edward?”
“No. Nothing’s wrong,” came the whispered reply.
He had just began moving away from the counter to the door when Ed found himself suddenly caged in a pair of arms, hugged tightly against a warm body. Normally, displays of physical affection weren’t Edward’s forte, and being hugged by Mustang usually would register as the perfect opportunity to shove his Hand-Lance through the bastard’s gut and be done with him.
Too bad such an action was illegal.
Not to mention the adrenaline rush he had received from Mustang’s suicide display drained almost all his energy. Considering that before hand he had to drag Mustang around the town and up stairs, it was little wonder that already the warmth of the Flame’s body and the softness of his clothes were causing Ed’s eyes to droop, sleep beckoning him to dark release. He was a little boy again, and these arms…the arms made him feel so secure, so safe.
“H-uh?” Ed was barely awake enough to realize that someone had spoken his name.
“I have an extra futon. Would you prefer to sleep here tonight?”
“No, actually I woooouldn’t,” Ed spat, but it was broken by a yawn and the glare he was trying to give the Colonel was softened considerably by a cloud of drowsiness.
“Ed, there is no way you can make it all the way to your dorm,” Mustang pointed out.
“But…Al…he’ll be worried,” Ed murmured, starting to fall asleep again.
“I’ll send a message to him that you’re perfectly safe.” He scooped the tiny alchemist into his arms with the ease of picking up a small child. “Really, Edward, I insist.”
Ed groaned in half-hearted protest, but his eyes remained closed. “You’re a real bastard when you’re drunk,” he muttered against Roy’s jacket.
Mustang just smiled as he carried Ed into the room and placed him on the bed, helping the Full Metal remove his shoes. “What are you doing?” Ed half-yelled, half-growled.
“Simply trying to make you more comfortable,” the Flame replied matter-of-factly.
“Pervert,” Ed spat but he allowed Mustang to assist in removing his clothes until all he wore was his black tank top and matching pants. Roy merely watched as Ed weaved himself into the blankets, snuggling against the feather down pillows.
The Colonel was about to leave when Ed’s voice from within the covers stopped him. The young alchemist was so buried completely it looked as though the bed had started speaking.
“Yes, Full Metal?”
“If I wake up tomorrow and find out you molested me in my sleep, I swear to God I will kill you.”
Chuckling, Mustang turned and departed the room, whispering a “Good night, Edward,” over his shoulder before closing the door behind him.