Animal Crackers

To Roy Mustang, the apocalypse was extremely over-rated. All that hullabaloo and those babbling priests going on about the supposed end of the world and so on were not necessarily wrong; the world would eventually end with the core imploding or something huge smashing into it.

The concept of everything ending was admittedly entertaining, but, seriously, he had seen animal crackers in his youth that were more interesting than the way the priests presented it.

Actually, Roy Mustang found animal crackers very intriguing indeed. There was just something deeply philosophical about how the crackers on the bottom were always crushed and had missing limbs, how the crackers on top were mostly whole, and how the ones in the middle seemed to be the most widely diverse.

"You see this box of animal crackers on my desk, second lieutenant?" he would say whenever he decided to buy a little red box of them; "This represents our society and how the lower you are on the social ladder, the more you are crushed by the lording power. Huh? No, you cannot have the camel. These are my animal crackers. Get your own."

The colonel's staff was very well aware that when he bought to work a box of animal crackers they – and any poor soul that could be tricked into listening – were in for an earful of philosophy and social sciences. It was like Maes Hughes, just lacking photos and the general hysterical enthusiasm. They were also very aware that when he lined those animal crackers up on his desk in a graphic representation of the food chain and stared at them with murderous intent until work hours were over, muttering treacherously about how one day – one day soon – the horse would eat the lion, it was not a good day to ask him for the next Monday off.

They never quite figured why the horse had to eat the lion and not trample it instead, but they didn't bother to question. To question the colonel when he was in a bad humour was to stand up to both their superior and his alchemic flamethrowers, and that – for anyone who fond of life and their general vitality – was entirely foolish.

Roy Mustang was a very odd man, but his subordinates found it downright weird that he could say so much about animal crackers and not stand to eat them.

"Eat them, first lieutenant?" he would ask, bewildered; "Why – why ever would I do that? It'd be like I'm eating society."

"Then why do you buy them?" Riza Hawkeye would inquire with little patience.

And he would blink, frown, and shrug.

"I don't know," the Flame Alchemist would answer pensively, carefully putting the animal crackers back in the box; "I do like thinking about them, but...

"They were the only thing I ever wanted to eat in Ishbal."

Final Notes:

This fic was inspired by a box of animal crackers and a theory about how they reflect society. Originally started in July of 2004, but not completed until November of 2004. Working title is the same as final title; posted first on livejournal.