|Sand and blood
Author: Surburia PM
Roy tries his best to hold it together in Ishbal. Hughes is there to help. All the while Envy schemes in the background. Blood and despair in the Ishbalan desert. Has both elements of the first anime/FMA:B/manga.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Drama - Roy M. & Maes H. - Chapters: 2 - Words: 2,671 - Reviews: 8 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 5 - Updated: 09-02-10 - Published: 08-25-10 - id: 6270242
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
(A/N: Angst, Angst, Angst)
It's cold and then it's hot. There is no medium. He's either shivering under a thin military issue blanket or sweating through his uniform. Roy inhales the dry air, scanning the area in front of him. It's the same in every direction: sand and leveled buildings, some still smolder even though it's been two weeks. The smell of singed hair haunts his nostrils. He will never be able to use a hairdryer without thinking of screams and flesh melting from corpses: From an all consuming flames, his flame. All this death came directly from him. He tries not to look at their faces. The first day he did. The first day had made him want to die. Now he tries not to focus too hard (just focus on his power), on controlling the elements in the air.
"Roy?" The voice catches him off guard and he can't keep his body from the surprised jerk. Hughes stands behind him hands at his side, looking concerned.
"Maes." He hesitates for a moment, trying to make his mind formulate words. "I'm getting tired of that look."
"What look?" Maes feigns and pushes his glasses up, a grin overcoming his tired overwrought features. "I thought you might be hungry. You're missing some of the best slop I've seen yet. You can almost tell what it is."
Roy laughs. It sounds dry and hollow to him, but as long as it appeases. "You really know how to sale it, Maes."
He turns away from the decimated town, the first place they had destroyed on arrival. After all they needed to set up a safe camp. The noise of the mess hall spills out from the tent only seeming to desecrate the area more. Foreign words in a native land.
Hawkeye looks pointedly at Roy and Armstrong greets them jovially as they enter. He gives her an apologetic shrug as Maes drops a tray in front of Roy.
"You're right, Maes I can almost tell what it is." He stabs at the congealed mess, eating as quickly as possible. Trying not to think about the burnt meat (trying not to smell it) interspersed throughout the meal. Flesh sizzling, bubbling, blackening under flame. He gags, closing his eyes, trying to hide it from his comrades. He chews slowly, but can't swallow. The meat just seems to roll about like a rubbery ball of flesh, (human flesh). No, he seethes the word internally. Just swallow it. Look at them. None of them are having a problem. Hughes was saying something about Gracia to Armstrong, and then shit Hawkeye is looking at him, her golden eyes probing, a furrow in her brow, words ready to spill from her mouth. He grabs his glass of water and downs the whole thing. The meat, flesh, sliding down his throat. He can't eat any more. The idea makes his stomach churn and it takes all of his willpower not to gag again.
Hawkeye looks at him and he can tell she wants to say something, but it must be the look he gives her that stops her from voicing her concern. She looks so tired, they all look tired, but somehow Maes manages to keep the conversation light. Every time he says 'Gracia' his face lights up.
"I had a big lunch." Roy says and pushes his tray forward. "Hughes, you want my leftovers?" If he says it lightly, Maes might buy it- might not question him. Hughes looks like he's about to say something, his fork lingering in between his plate and mouth.
"What were you saying about Gracia?" Roy asks, already knowing that Hughes can tell something is wrong. Please pretend.
He hesitates for a moment, that same look, furrowed brow, and then he says "Oh." Raises an eyebrow. "Oh Gracia. Look at this picture she just sent me." The manic glint is absent from his eyes, his normal histrionics lessened, an act, but at least he plays along. He produces it and pushes it into Roy's hand. Gracia smiles up at him in black and white. "Isn't she beautiful?"
"Yes." Hughes has something to hold onto in this hell. In the blood and the sand, this black and white photo fastening him to reality. He hands the photo back. "You're lucky, Maes."
Hughes drops down next to him, extending his arms to either side of the tent and letting out a huge yawn.
Roy ducks just in time as Hughes arms swing his way. "Maes, you ever heard of personal space."
Hughes laughs, stifling the yawn with his other hand and flops back onto his sleeping bag.
"Roy I want to talk to you about something."
"If this is about Gracia, I've heard enough to last me the rest of the war."
"No. It's abou-"
"Hughes, I'm really not in the mood." He uses his friend's surname hoping he'll understand that Roy is serious about this.
Hughes stays quiet for a moment, and Roy thinks he's going to let the subject go. "I'm fine Maes." He doesn't make eye contact, but he can see Hughes out of the corner of his eye, his fingers picking lint from the cuff of his sleeve and he can tell he wants to voice something. "Roy. In the mess hall-"
"Really, Hughes I'm not up for this right now. I had a long day. I just want to sleep." And with that he reaches for the lantern its sparse light barely illuminating the interior of the tent. Hughes sighs, and begins to shrug himself out of his uniform. Roy snubs out the light and crawls beneath his sleeping bag.
He rolls over and closes his eyes, pulling the thin blanket over his body. The cool air from outside filters in through the small cracks in the tent. He lies still focusing on his breathing, making it even and steady and soon he hears Maes roll over with an indignant huff, hissing something under his breath. He lies with his eyes open long after Hughes is asleep, long after the noise from the other tents has quieted and the desert is almost silent, punctuated by the occasional boom in the distant; miles away people are still dying, being murdered. He dreams of blood and twisting, burning bodies and awakes sometime in the middle of the night, pushing himself up, breathing hard, his breath coming in heavy puffs. When he does sleep it's what he sees. All he can see. A child holding a gun, the barrel shaking in his hand and Roy hand raised, shaking just as badly. And he knows he'll have to do it. It's only a few seconds of time, and he holds his breath, hoping to a god that isn't there, pleading in those moments, middle finger and thumb pressed together, heart beating a fast rhythm. Fight or flight. And then the child raises the gun and he doesn't think he just snaps. Oxygen that damn element, it's so easy to change the air, so easy to pull death out of nothing, to change a life giving substance into a weapon. The blast is so powerful that there's nothing left of the child when the flames have finished consuming. Even the gun is mostly melted to the charred cement floor.
He rubs at his eyes trying to slow his breathing, and suppress the memory. Hughes is still asleep, and he can see his slight form under the blanket in the thin wisps of light now creeping in from the tent flap. He lies back down knowing that reveille will sound soon, and another blood stained day will begin.
(I appreciate all reviews/ critiques. Thanks for reading. I want to mention Sevlow and Miskcat for providing me with inspiration to attempt my own FMA fic. )