Frailty

By TheLostMaximoff

Disclaimer: Don't own these characters. R/R because you love Roy and his awesomeness.

It's going to rain today. The air is humid, so humid you could slice through it with a knife. It's quite ironic that the Flame Alchemist feels no comfort from such heat in the air. I suppose it's not surprising though since heat is merely my weapon and not something I usually feel any comfort from.

I stare at the marble marker in front of me, my eyes scanning the engraved letters. It's funny how weak a human being can actually be. We all like to think we're strong, so very strong. But really, a human life is too short and a human body is too fragile. Even a simple piece of metal going at a certain speed can end a human life. The marker in front of me reminds me of how fragile a human really is. Hughes, you damn idiot. You were supposed to push me up, that was the plan. You were supposed to help me make it to the top not go and die on me. Hughes, you damn idiot.

My uniform is stifling in this humidity. I remind myself that when I become Fuhrer I will change that. Yes, some less restrictive attire is needed. I should add more protection to it too. I smirk at the grave. When I make it to the top? When I become Fuhrer? When the hell is that ever going to happen? Never, that's when. Here I work hard, have him backing me, and he's the one who jumps two ranks ahead of me by dying. It's ridiculous. Someone should change things.

"But isn't that what the plan was about?" I ask the headstone, "You and I were going to change the world, huh? What the hell did we change, Maes?" The rumbling in the sky matches my discontent. This world will never change. Men will just keep finding reasons to cover up their own weakness by exposing those of others. We'll just keep finding ways to needlessly kill each other. It doesn't matter who's Fuhrer. We've accomplished nothing and we certainly haven't created any brave, new world. Alchemists are such damn predictable fools. Everyone would do better to stay away from us and our insane tendencies to play God.

"You should've let me do it," I tell the grave, "You should've let me try that transmutation all those years ago. Maybe we'd all be a lot better off if I had." I remember that night. I remember looking through all the books, memorizing the exact arrays needed to perform a human transmutation that would help give me some closure to the horrors I had witnessed in Ishbal. Most of all, I remember the feeling of being pushed to the edge. I was a man at the end of the line that night. I remember the cold taste of steel as I put the gun in my mouth. I remember losing my nerve at the last second, my finger pausing on the trigger. I thought human transmutation might be a more creative form of suicide, probably more meaningful too if I were able to actually pull it off. But I lost my nerve for that too.

"Let's see if I remember it," I tell the headstone. I snap my fingers and feel the air around me ignite. I begin drawing with the trail of fire forming off my hand. I remember the array almost perfectly. It's just like riding a bicycle, you never really forget. I draw an array for human transmutation in the air with my flame and when my masterpiece is finished I step back and study it. I could do it now. If I just made a circle and had the material, I could bring him back. He and I could resume our work of changing this wretched world. I would have my best friend back. For a few moments I seriously contemplate doing it. No one would stop me if I tried.

"A taboo," I mutter as I stare at the array, "Why'd you always have to follow the rules, Maes?" The rumbling from the sky grows louder, rain beginning to fall now. I watch as the rain makes the array pop and sizzle, the circle slowly dying. I look up at the sky, letting the cool rain hit my face and wash away my madness. He stopped me again. Hughes, you damn idiot.

"So that's your order, eh, Brigadier General Hughes?" I ask as I look up at the sky. I imagine that somewhere up there he's looking at me and telling me that there's still work to be done. I still have a world to change.

"As you wish then, sir," I reply as I stare back at the grave and give a small salute, "I wouldn't want to let you down." Human beings are such frail things both physically and mentally. It doesn't take much to end a human life but I've have learned that it takes a lot more to honor one.